May 19th, 2010
09:35 AM ET

Welcome to CNN's Belief Blog

Welcome to CNN’s Belief Blog, where we'll cover the role that faith and belief play in the news - and in our readers’ lives.

We believe that understanding the role of faith in today’s world isn’t optional or nice to know. It’s need to know.

Consider these recent stories: 

An American woman is held in a Haitian jail for more than 100 days after allegedly attempting to traffic children out of the country in the wake of a devastating earthquake.

A young man is charged in a plot to bomb Times Square.  

A Columbia University graduate quits his first finance job for a go at community organizing - the beginning of a political life that leads to the White House.

To understand any of this news, you need to know something about faith.

Laura Silsby, released from a Haiti jail this week, was a Baptist missionary.

Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the failed New York bombing, is a Muslim who vowed to “fight back” against the Islamic word’s “humiliation.”

And Barack Obama’s early community organizing was sponsored by Chicago churches - an experience that led him to Christianity and to a minister named Jeremiah Wright, who helped launch Obama’s political career and who, years later, almost ended it.

Faith isn’t incidental to these stories; it’s the driving force behind them. Covering those faith angles is this blog’s mission. CNN’s Belief Blog will focus on the places where faith bumps up against the rest of the news and the rest of the world, from breaking news to entertainment, from business to politics, and from foreign affairs to sports.

We’ll also shine a light on religion as most people experience it in daily life. In a shrinking world, knowing what it’s like to undergo an adult baptism or to pray to Mecca five times a day is essential to understanding the world’s most powerful leaders - and, perhaps, the person in the next cubicle.

And as the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated grow, we’ll cover the rising voices of atheists, those who call themselves “spiritual but not religious” and others who are religiously conflicted or confused. Covering the faithful necessitates covering their critics and rivals.

To do the job, the CNN Belief Blog has enlisted CNN’s international newsgathering team, with correspondents, producers, and writers all contributing. We’ll also be posting the opinions of guest bloggers and will feature regular posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero, an expert at revealing the hidden faith angles that explain so much about American life and world geopolitics.

Finally, we're hoping to have some fun here and avoid getting, shall we say, overly reverential about our subject. Have you checked out CNN's recent church sign iReport? There are as many goofy church sign messages as poignant ones, and many are a little of both.

We hope you'll join us in this new conversation about faith. We're reading those comments - let us know what you think.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (358 Responses)
  1. Demeter

    About God being absent from Aurora: Well, sorry, l God wasn't there. Actually God wasn't anywhere. What do you expect from a deity without a name. There are many religious myths, and there are many named Gods, it's just that Christians label their deity with a general name, perhaps to cover all bases. That said, Heaven does exist and all of us alive will go there when we die, so expect Paradise at the end of life. No exceptions. Life's not fair. Children die without a chance to live a life. Good people sometimes suffer awful fates, but, take heart, there is good news at the end of our lives. There's a joyful reunion for all departed. Don't worry. Oh, bye the way, Angels are here with us. Sometimes they guide.

    August 2, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Not Kant

      Carl Sagan summed up Humankind's need to 'make sense' out of the senseless when he wrote, 'What people wish to be true, they believe to be true'. People have given rationalizations for every type of occurence. It seems to me that a middle path of 'not knowing' is a comfortable and safe road to take. Agnosticism (from the Greek words for 'without knowledge') allows us to say with confidence that we honestly don't know the truth about why a particular event has happened and move on from there. Belief without justification, such as a claim that there are angels all around, is merely opinion, not knowledge or truth.

      August 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  2. david

    Humans only use 11 percent of their brain. How can you comprehend something like God without that other 89 per cent?

    July 29, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  3. AnnaMaria44

    "Where Was God..." the answer is in Scripture. God is LOVE; Rebbe Yeshua taught LOVE. Matt. 24:12, "Because of the increase of wickedness, the LOVE of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm will be saved."
    Matt. 22:36-39, "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied,"LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'LOVE your neighbor as yourself."

    July 26, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  4. JF

    The US makes me sick, your guys love violence and Love guns.
    You will kill to keep the stupid gun.
    Now this happens, and it's always white males. Your country is so stupid and uneducated. Its all the violent movies, evil internet and a country that has no values. 6000 rounds of bullets come on, what kind of country that you can go to Walmart and buy a gun and bullets. Shame on you America......................

    July 21, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Delusional idiocy.

      July 21, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  5. Sue

    Read "Under the Banner of Heaven" and then tell me faith doesn't matter. It's not atheism or a believe in God, the issue in this election is how and what you believe and how one thinks about the getting to heaven. Or, read about the Mountain Meadow Massacre. The Bible, too, is filled with violence. It's a long book, but I am sure it will leave you wondering. The Koran is also a long book, but it does not support Muslim extremism. Read that one, too.

    July 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  6. Chris Lovato

    I had a craniotomy to remove two tumors from the base of my cerebellum. I wrote to my family on Facebook so I could reach most of them. I wanted to let them know that I was unafraid and confident. I only asked that they pray for the surgeon and his team. I also told them that I believed in Gods will and will accept what he gave me . I prepared myself spiritually and emotionally and was at peace.

    I asked them to ask the angels, saints, Blessed Mother and their friends and families to pray as this is a great intercession of
    Prayer at a time like this. I believe in my guardian angel and has been present to me all my life.
    I am telling you this because it felt so strongly that I have to let all know about the outcome. Like it was a directive from God.

    About 5 that morning I had a quick flash of a vision that a host of angels were in the operating room. it seemed like they were prepping it. No wings but translucent white and bright yellow. One had short long length wavy head of hair and it was gone. I was so happy because I always knew we have divine assistance. The surgery was too perfect for me. I had youthful vitals which I thought was too good for a 62 year old woman who hadn't been able to be active as before. I didn't need the rehabilitation . I was sent home for my recovery because I did so well. There's much more but this is the jist of it. I believe in sharing your pain in union with Christ and the burden is light. Its called redemptive suffering.

    Thank you for your time.

    June 28, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  7. Shep

    Without a doubt "Belief Blog" is one of the most biased and misleading religious commentaries I have encountered. The hatred and contempt CNN expresses for evangelical Christians is truly tragic. You folks evidently have no shame. I used wonder if true persecution of Christians could ever arise in America. CNN's commentary and coverage of Christian news stories leads me to believe that I will not only see Christian persecution in America in my lifetime, but that organizations like CNN will actually promote it. May God have mercy on us all.

    June 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • clint whaley

      Don't worry about Christian Religion it's here to stay. Let God do his or her thing if you believe why do you doute God..

      July 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  8. Foreign nationals help

    You actually make it seem really easy together with your presentation however I find this topic to be really one thing that I feel I'd never understand. It kind of feels too complex and very large for me. I am looking forward in your subsequent post, I'll attempt to get the hang of it!

    May 9, 2012 at 5:43 am |
  9. Dr. Anthony F. Buzzard

    Would anyone tell me why Christians do not believe the creed of their founder Jesus? Jesus, in agreement with a scribe in Mark 12:29, recited the "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is One Lord." Will anyone dare to say that this was a Trinitarian creed? It was not. Jesus's God was the God of Israel. In Church there is a Triune God. So is Christianity the only world religion which begins by discarding its own founder's creed?

    April 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  10. Loans From the Government

    Attractive component of content. I just stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to claim that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your weblog posts. Anyway I'll be subscribing to your feeds or even I fulfillment you get right of entry to persistently quickly.

    April 3, 2012 at 1:53 am |
  11. isolate

    I enjoy this blog, but isn't anyone ever going to put that "Your Church Photos" piece out of its misery? It hasn't changed for nearly a year, and I doubt anyone would miss it very much.

    April 2, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  12. Kenrick Benjamin

    I find the Blog interesting and a forum for view points on beliefs.

    March 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Evolutionary

      How about including the role of spirituality...different from religion. Over 1/2 of Americans define themselves as "spiritual but not religious." Many identify as "spiritual AND religious." Include the broadest spectrum possible beyond the crumbling religions (as we've known them) of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. There's so much more to the world of Spirit than these. Thanks.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Maria Constantine

      I am actually replying to a long contemporary history of bashing St. Paul as somehow not following Christ because he 'disposes of the Torah' while Jesus promoted it. But St. Paul's position is the position of Christ–that Jesus is the Word of God, the Word made flesh. He IS the Torah and He wrote it. He fulfills it perfectly. Therefore, following Jesus Christ perfectly is following the Torah perfectly and fulfilling it.

      April 1, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  13. M.F. Luder


    March 28, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  14. RightTurnClyde

    This Belief Blog has d.e.g.e.n.e.r.a.t.ed into an i.n.s.u.l.t.i.n.g m.e.s.s over the past year. There is no longer any p.r.e.t.e.n.s.e that it has anything to say about belief or faith. It is primarily a p.u.l.p.i.t for some dedicated atheists to bash faith in God. It is also highly p.o.l.i.t.i.c.i.z.e.d toward left with pro-atheist politicians. Many of the regular posters are obviously d.e.m.e.n.t.e.d and merely post r.e.p.e.t.i.t.i.v.e slogans about such things as "prayer does not work" or "all priests are p.e.d.o.p.h.i.l.e.s." They have no genuine comment on anything. The atheists are somewhat e.n.i.g.m.a.t.i.c because they strongly protest something they claim not to believe exists. Very few a.c.t.i.v.i.t.i.e.s are similar... kind of like strongly objecting to talk about unicorns. So this CNN Blog has lost most of its purpose in the last 12 months. They write n.e.g.a.t.i.v.e stories about conservative political candidates (they tend to believe in God). They write positive stories about anti-Christian ideas and themes. They select l.u.n.a.t.i.c fringe to post anything pro-Christian (thus making it seem as lunacy - a Mennonite nut wrote several stories all of which were anti-Christian). So there is not a lot of point in viewing this blog any more. It is a mess.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • No Gods, No Masters

      Funny that you conveniently forgot to mention the slimey hate-filled posts of religious people like . . . you.

      Funny how atheist-bashers complain about religion-bashing.

      Funny how you don't mention how, every time an atheist makes a well-supported point or asks for evidence, they are bashed with the lamest non-arguments of "going to burn in the lake of fire" and "you hate God", and a lot of other ad hominem.

      Funny how you did not mention how religious people have oppressed non-believers for millenia, and set the stage for this blowback.

      I could mention a lot of other religioous hypocrisy and bad behavior, but the point is clear: You made your bed, now lie in it.

      Yeah, the problem is everyone else, Clyde. It could not possibly be your side as well.

      March 28, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • M.F. Luder


      March 28, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • John

      You are absolutely correct. The atheists on this blog are hate-filled, insulting, narrow-minded hyprocrites. I have met quite a few narrow-minded religious people in my life but they are a minority of the group but if you judge atheists by the ones who post on this blog then the vast majority of them are narrow-minded & hypocritical. The ones that post here may be the fringe-hanging-wingnuts of the atheistic group.

      April 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  15. Linda

    move out of our country, American was founded on the belief in God, so we can speak also, take your beliefs and go to a foreign country

    March 24, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • AGuest9

      It would seem that John Adams begged to differ.

      The 1797 Treaty of Tripoli stated expressly that "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

      March 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Gary

      The blog today covers "Myths in the book of revelations". I wonder when it will cover Myths in the Koran ?

      April 1, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Sue

      John Adams would differ as would Thomas Jefferson.

      July 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  16. Alejandro

    Hi guys I believe this is a great post I will dnfieetely keep up reading your works, well done. It is very important to have quality contents on the web, we can use them as a reliable source for our projects.Ia1afve read it with pleasure and Ia1afm sure Ia1afm gonna read all the other things you will write, good job man!.

    March 4, 2012 at 1:16 am |
  17. E.


    February 17, 2012 at 3:38 am |
    • Maxo

      J. Max, I think what I see in this post, especially the nceosd half, is a denunciation of complacency, not hypocrisy. And I think that would have been a better way to frame the whole post. If you take a given act alone, say, paying 10% to some charity instead of the church, it is I think much harder to make a case that there's something terribly wrong with that per se. If that's really the best someone can do right now, then I welcome them doing that, exercising that particle of faith. If coming to church even though she doesn't believe in the Book of Mormon is the best someone can do right now, I welcome them doing that too. It sounds like you agree with that(?). When I start thinking people are going wrong, and I think we agree on this too, is not in the action itself, but in getting complacently stuck in that action and not striving to grow and reach higher next time. (and, as you point out, supporting that complacency with various rationales)So, I think, if I'm reading you correctly, the core of the thoughts you have here could be very positive and inspiring a call to abandon complacency, to get off the ledge and back on the face of the rock, etc. Where I suspect this post will raise some ire in some quarters is in how you took that positive, inspirational kernel, and framed it as hypocrisy and pointed to specific actions (which, again, I don't think you can blanket label as good or bad, it depends on where the individual sincerely is in their progression). All things being equal, I'd rather have all these people, even the complacent ones, in a pew than not. Therefore, I'm less inclined to go naming names of specific actions that, if people are doing them, they should get lost. Complacency can use a good kick now and then, but isn't, I don't think, very malicious. It might help you have more charity for those you are preaching against here, if you saw the problem more as complacency than hypocrisy (which implies deception, malice), and anyhow I think that is a more correct view of the problem in the vast majority of cases. Hope that makes sense.

      March 2, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  18. Betty Rhodes

    Thank you for Belief Blog. We need a balance in our news and in our day.

    January 29, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  19. {i}Feather{/i}

    OK OK OK

    January 17, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  20. Feather

    OK OK

    January 17, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.