January 1st, 2011
02:34 PM ET

Security tightened after deadly church blast in Egypt

By the CNN Wire Staff

Government officials in Alexandria, Egypt, increased security around places of worship following an explosion that killed at least 21 people at a church in the region, the governor told state media Saturday.

"We are stressing now on guarding churches," Adil Labib, the governor of Alexandria, told state-run Nile TV.

Evidence indicates that a suicide bomber caused the blast, the country's interior ministry said.

Read the full story about the deadly blast near a church in Egypt

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Houses of worship • Middle East • Violence

January 1st, 2011
02:23 PM ET

Pope rallies Christians not to despair in face of recent attacks

By the CNN Wire Staff

Pope Benedict XVI spoke out Saturday against a recent wave of religious attacks against Christians and rallied worshippers not to "cave into depression and resignation," hours after a bomb explosion outside a church in Egypt killed 21 people.

During his New Year's Day homily titled, "Religious Freedom, the road to peace," Benedict asked followers and governments to join efforts in combating religious persecution.

"Mankind cannot resign himself to the negative forces of egoism and violence," the pontiff said, adding that governments must show a willingness to combat violence.

Read the full story on the pope denouncing recent attacks against Christians

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • Violence

11 faith-based predictions for 2011
January 1st, 2011
06:00 AM ET

11 faith-based predictions for 2011

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

To open 2011, CNN's Belief Blog asked 10 religious leaders and experts - plus one secular humanist - to make a faith-based prediction about the year ahead.

Have a faithy prediction of your own? Share it in comments.

Here's what those in the know are predicting:

1. With the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" there will be a more concerted effort by the gay, lesbian,  bisexual and transgendered community for gay marriage, uniting conservative evangelicals, Roman Catholics, Muslims and Orthodox Jews in a much more civil but principled resistance. Respectful debate will produce more precise and pluralistic solutions.
-Dr. Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, a Church Distributed, in Orlando, Florida

2. A new generation of Muslims will bust out of their culturally and politically isolated cocoons and passionately reclaim their voice and narratives; one that has been stolen, used, abused and hijacked by extremists, terrorists and fear-mongering propagandists. Watch out for a major cultural renaissance as a new generation of Muslim artists and storytellers grab the mic, enter the arena and speak their voice with a revived passion and purpose.
-Wajahat Ali, Muslim playwright and attorney

3. As anti-Christian violence accelerates in places like Iraq, Egypt and India, a government crackdown on Christian churches gathers steam in China, and European bureaucrats continue to drive Christianity from the public square, “Christianophobia” will become a buzzword.
-John Allen Jr., CNN's senior Vatican analyst


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Islam • Judaism • Leaders

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.