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October 26th, 2010
04:30 PM ET

Vatican condemns Tariq Aziz death sentence

Editor's Note: This report comes from the CNN Wires staff.

Tariq Aziz, one of the best-known faces of the Iraqi government for more than two decades, was sentenced to death Tuesday by the Iraqi High Tribunal for his role in eliminating religious parties during Saddam Hussein's regime, court officials told CNN.

The Vatican opposed the death sentence, spokesman Federico Lombardi told CNN.

"This is not the most adequate way to promote reconciliation and reconstruction of justice and peace in a country that has suffered so much," he said.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Courts • Death • Iraq • Vatican

October 26th, 2010
12:30 PM ET

Johnny Cash to be inducted into gospel music hall of fame

Johnny Cash at a National Medal of Arts ceremony in 2002 with President Bush and first lady Laura Bush.

The late Johnny Cash, who made more than a dozen gospel albums, will headline the list of 2011 inductees into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame in January.

Also set to be inducted are Christian rock group DeGarmo & Key, the Golden Gate Quartet and disc jockey Bill "Hoss" Allen.

In 1954, Cash auditioned for Sam Phillips at Sun Records as a gospel singer, according to his official website. Phillips "immediately nixed that idea," the website said, and made Cash a country singer.

FULL POST

- Producer/Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Culture & Science • Music

October 26th, 2010
11:02 AM ET

My Take: Bible has some shocking 'family values'

Editor's note: Michael Coogan is a lecturer on Hebrew Bible-Old Testament at Harvard Divinity School, professor of religious studies at Stonehill College, and director of publications for the Harvard Semitic Museum. Editor of "The New Oxford Annotated Bible," his most recent book is "God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says" (Twelve).

By Michael Coogan, Special to CNN

When talking about so-called family values, pastors, popes, and politicians routinely quote the Bible as if it were an unassailable divine authority - after all, they assume, God wrote the Bible, and therefore it is absolutely and literally true.

But that is a misconception. As the Bible itself makes clear, its authors were human beings, many of whom are named: David, Isaiah, Luke, and Paul. These human writers wrote over the course of more than a thousand years, and their writings reflect their own views and the values they shared with their contemporaries, so not inconsistencies are frequent in the Bible, both trivial and profound.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Opinion

Can meditation change your brain? Contemplative neuroscientists believe it can
October 26th, 2010
08:45 AM ET

Can meditation change your brain? Contemplative neuroscientists believe it can

From CNN's Dan Gilgoff:

Can people strengthen the brain circuits associated with happiness and positive behavior,  just as we’re able to strengthen muscles with exercise?

Richard Davidson, who for decades has practiced Buddhist-style meditation - a form of mental exercise, he says - insists that we can.

And Davidson, who has been meditating since visiting India as a Harvard grad student in the 1970s, has credibility on the subject beyond his own experience.

A trained psychologist based at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, he has become the leader of a relatively new field called contemplative neuroscience - the brain science of meditation.

Over the last decade, Davidson and his colleagues have produced scientific evidence for the theory that meditation - the ancient eastern practice of sitting, usually accompanied by focusing on certain objects - permanently changes the brain for the better.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Buddhism • Culture & Science • Meditation

Meditation: Focus on now
October 26th, 2010
08:10 AM ET

Meditation: Focus on now

Everyone has busy, stressful days and feels distracted by a multitude of tasks and obligations. Many people find stress reduction, as well as physical benefits,  in meditation, as found in an ongoing study.

Here's the low-down on what meditation is and how to get started.

What is meditation?

Meditation is training in concentration, mindfulness and compassion, says Sharon Salzberg, a meditation teacher and author who co-founded the prominent Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. It is not merely relaxing, but rather training the mind in specific skills.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Meditation

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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.

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