My Take: The Bible’s surprisingly mixed messages on sexuality
February 9th, 2011
10:31 AM ET

My Take: The Bible’s surprisingly mixed messages on sexuality

Editor's Note: Jennifer Wright Knust is author of Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions about Sex and Desire.

By Jennifer Wright Knust, Special to CNN

We often hears that Christians have no choice but to regard homosexuality as a sin - that Scripture simply demands it.

As a Bible scholar and pastor myself, I say that Scripture does no such thing.

"I love gay people, but the Bible forces me to condemn them" is a poor excuse that attempts to avoid accountability by wrapping a very particular and narrow interpretation of a few biblical passages in a cloak of divinely inspired respectability.

Truth is, Scripture can be interpreted in any number of ways. And biblical writers held a much more complicated view of human sexuality than contemporary debates have acknowledged.

In Genesis, for example, it would seem that God’s original intention for humanity was androgyny, not sexual differentiation and heterosexuality.

Genesis includes two versions of the story of God’s creation of the human person. First, God creates humanity male and female and then God forms the human person again, this time in the Garden of Eden. The second human person is given the name Adam and the female is formed from his rib.

Ancient Christians and Jews explained this two-step creation by imagining that the first human person possessed the genitalia of both sexes. Then, when the androgynous, dually-sexed person was placed in the garden, s/he was divided in two.

According to this account, the man “clings to the woman” in an attempt to regain half his flesh, which God took from him once he was placed in Eden. As third century Rabbi Samuel bar Nahman explained, when God created the first man, God created him with two faces. “Then he split the androgyne and made two bodies, one on each side, and turned them about.”

When the apostle Paul envisioned the bodies that would be given to humanity at the end of time, he imagined that they would be androgynous, “not male and female.” The third-century non-canonical Gospel of Philip, meanwhile, lamented that sexual difference had been created at all: “If the female had not separated from the male, she and the male would not die. That being’s separation became the source of death.”

From these perspectives, God’s original plan was sexual unity in one body, not two. The Genesis creation stories can support the notion that sexual intercourse is designed to reunite male and female into one body, but they can also suggest that God’s blessing was first placed on an undifferentiated body that didn’t have sex at all.

Heterosexual sex was therefore an afterthought designed to give back the man what he had lost.

Despite common misperceptions, biblical writers could also imagine same-sex intimacy as a source of blessing. For example, the seemingly intimate relationship between the Old Testament's David and Jonathan, in which Jonathan loved David more than he loved women, may have been intended to justify David’s rise as king.

Jonathan, not David, was a king’s son. David was only a shepherd. Yet by becoming David’s “woman,” Jonathan voluntarily gave up his place for his beloved friend.

Thus, Jonathan “took great delight in David,” foiling King Saul’s attempts to arrange for David’s death (1 Samuel 19:1). Choosing David over his father, Jonathan makes a formal covenant with his friend, asking David to remain faithful to him and his descendants.

Sealing the covenant, David swears his devotion to Jonathan, “for he loved him as he loved his own life” (1 Samuel 20:17). When Jonathan is killed, King David composes a eulogy for him, praising his devotion: “greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women” (2 Samuel 1:26).

Confident claims about the forms of sex rejected by God are also called into question by early Christian interpretations of the story of Sodom. From the perspective of the New Testament, it was the near rape of angels - not sex between men - that led to the demise of the city.

Linking a strange story in Genesis about “sons of God” who lust after “daughters of men” to the story of the angels who visit Abraham’s nephew Lot, New Testament writers concluded that the mingling of human and divine flesh is an intolerable sin.

As the New Testament letter Jude puts it:

And the angels who did not keep their own position, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deepest darkness for the judgment of the great day. Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and went after strange flesh, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire (Jude 6-7).

The first time angels dared to mix with humans, God flooded the earth, saving only Noah, his family, and the animals. In the case of Sodom, as soon as men attempted to engage in sexual activity with angels, God obliterated the city with fire, delivering only Lot and his family. Sex with angels was regarded as the most dangerous and offensive sex of all.

It’s true that same-sex intimacy is condemned in a few biblical passages. But these passages, which I can count on one hand, are addressed to specific sex acts and specific persons, not to all humanity forever, and they can be interpreted in any number of ways.

The book of Leviticus, for example, is directed at Israelite men, offering instructions regarding legitimate sexual partners so long as they are living in Israel. Biblical patriarchs and kings violate nearly every one of these commandments.

Paul’s letters urge followers of Christ to remain celibate and blame all Gentiles in general for their poor sexual standards. Jesus, meanwhile, says nothing at all about same-sex pairing, and when he discusses marriage, he discourages it.

So why are we pretending that the Bible is dictating our sexual morals? It isn’t.

Moreover, as Americans we should have learned by now that such a simplistic approach to the Bible will lead us astray.

Only a little more than a century ago, many of the very same passages now being invoked to argue that the scriptures label homosexuality a sin or that God cannot countenance gay marriage were used to justify not “biblical marriage” but slavery.

Yes, the apostle Paul selected same-sex pairings as one among many possible examples of human sin, but he also assumed that slavery was acceptable and then did nothing to protect slaves from sexual use by their masters, a common practice at the time. Letters attributed to him go so far as to command slaves to obey their masters and women to obey their husbands as if they were obeying Christ.

These passages served as fundamental proof texts to those who were arguing that slavery was God’s will and accusing abolitionists of failing to obey biblical mandates.

It is therefore disturbing to hear some Christian leaders today claim that they have no choice but to regard homosexuality as a sin. They do have a choice and should be held accountable for the ones they are making.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jennifer Wright Knust.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Homosexuality • Opinion • Sex

soundoff (4,235 Responses)
  1. clown

    Leviticus 18:22
    "You shall not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, it is an abomination."

    February 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Yum for Men

      But it feels so goooooooood

      February 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      But in the ancient Greek of the original text, "abomination" actually means "bomb-diddy-bomb-bomb."

      February 9, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Topher

      "If a man lies with a woman during her sickness and uncovers her nakedness, he has discovered her flow, and she has uncovered the flow of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from her people." (Leviticus 20:18)


      "Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property." (Leviticus 25:44-45)

      February 9, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Talon

      We are all missing the big picture! The shrimping industry is the spawn (or prawn) of Satan!
      Leviticus 11:9-12 says:
      9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.
      10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:

      February 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • joe

      "But if ... evidences of virginity are not found for the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones..." (Deuteronomy 22:20,21)

      February 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • jmsdays

      Leviticus 21:9 – 10

      9 If anyone curses his mother of father, he must be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother, and his blood will be on his head.

      10 If a man commits adultery with another mans wife-with the wife of his neighbor-both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.

      This is a few lines above. Notice is says that they MUST be put to death... maybe we should start legislation immediately!
      But if this is not convincing as to why we do not and should not take every text in scripture literary lets take another look at another line from Leviticus...


      You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between clean and unclean birds. Do not defile yourselves by any animal or bird or anything that moves that moves along the ground- those which I have set apart as unclean for you.

      Any one up for chicken? Guess not! How much of your meat walks the ground

      Perhaps the common sense that God gave us should be used when quoting and living by the bible. Just maybe...

      February 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • joe

      "But if ... evidences of virginity are not found for the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones..." (Deuteronomy 22:20,21)

      So a true "christian" has two clear choices here: 1) Stone to death any woman he or she knows not to be a virgin when she marries or 2) Be a hypocrite and ignore this verse (along with many others) which is supposedly the WORD OF GOD, and choose only to follow the ones that are more agreeable to them.

      Sorry "christians" you're all hypocrites.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Inquisitor

      So one sentence tells us how to judge people? Therefore "All men are created equal" means that women have no rights. They're not mentioned in that sentence, and we're going to follow 1 sentence to the letter, therefore, women can't work, vote, drive, etc. The only thing they're good for is keeping the house clean and popping out children.

      February 9, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • W247

      @Joe, have you studied the bible much and the reason why man created these laws? Do you know what Jesus said about the law in the new testament?

      romans 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

      romans 8:
      1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

      February 10, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  2. Paul Sullivan

    This is home brew religion.

    February 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • AL

      Chill out Francis

      February 9, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  3. Evil

    Adam and Steve

    February 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  4. Juni

    The author is clearly a well-read scholar who's actually taken the time to read the Bible IN CONTEXT, giving her the ability to explain the context of the rules and laws put down in the Old Testament. Reading the comments here, I suspect most people decided to insult the author without actually bothering to read her article. Considering the small-minded black-and-white mentality of those sort of people, it's not surprising.

    Get over yourselves, folks. Let people live their lives without judging them falsely.

    February 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Ry

      no, Juni, she definitely read it OUT OF CONTEXT. and her "research" is off the wall and incorrect. I can give you testimonies of dozens of real scholars who actually have a track record of legitimacy that say she is wrong on her entire article. Her stance is so off the wall, I really don't know if she is even a Christian.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • JIm

      I'm with you, Juni.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • JA

      Juni – I skimmed through the comments and saw that you replied to A LOT of people by simply saying "you didn't read the article" and then a mean phrase like "get out of here" or something. Please stop. You have no clue whether or not someone read the article. I almost stopped reading after the typo in the first sentence, but decided to go on. I ended up reading the whole article, simply because I really wanted to get to the part where she said "Just Kidding. Anyone who's read the Bible knows everything I'm saying is ridiculous. Here's an early April Fool's jokoe for you". And I imagine most everyone else read the whole article waiting to read the same line . . . . unfortunately, it appears the author forgot that line. Forgetting the "just kidding" line must have simply been another "typo".

      February 9, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Scott

      Juni, I'd have to agree. Seems most commenters didn't read the whole article and didn't even INTEND to read it... only intended to put their ignorance forth. For that matter, I wouldn't doubt most of these people haven't even read these sections of the Bible...

      February 9, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      That gray area you like so well, as do so many who like to take the Bible out of context, is the sort of thing that Jesus said would make Him start to vomit us out of His mouth. [ in Revelation].
      If you are neither cold, not hot, but lukewarm…is what is disgusting to Jesus.

      If you are cold….you have not heard the Word of God and have an empty heart, if you are hot, you have heard His Word and your heart is open completely to Him; lukewarm is hearing His Word but living your life against His Way.

      February 9, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  5. Tim B

    This is why God commands women to be silent. I Tim 2:12.

    February 9, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Juni

      Oh, I bet you'd like women to be silent, wouldn't you.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • displeased

      Is that what those sheep herders believed back then? Things have changed since...

      February 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Wow, this is not just bringing out the gay bashers, but the women haters as well.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • SG

      Tim B, you speak like a closed minded fool. I pity your inability to open your mind and actually think before you speak.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Kevin

      I like Tim's comment. His tongue is firmly in his cheek. The rest of you need to learn about humour.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  6. ray

    god destroyedsadam and gomora because of the people commited gays acts...idk what the author of this article is talking about...being gay is a sin it represents anti creation

    February 9, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Kevin

      The bible also says that god made people speak different languages so people could not communicate, because they were building the towel of Babel to reach up to where god lives. We have much higher buildings now, we have travelled in space, and we can all communicate around the world (with some help – just click "translate" in Google). So why hasn't god intervened to stop our communication again? It would be the right thing for him to do, because he's perfect and couldn't have made a mistake the first time. In sort, the bible is useful as a door stop and not much more.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • W247

      Kevin : The background to the tower of Babel story is that the Lord commanded that the people disperse to different parts of the world. They didn't obey Him, instead they created a tower that was basically represented their arrogance towards the Lord "we can do this on our own and follow our own ways, we can be Gods!". So God dispersed them by confusing their language.

      February 10, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  7. Sally

    A person who studies religion purely from a scholastic point of view will definitely have a different interpretation from one who reads thier bible with belief firmly in place. There are many different versions of the bible, as passages have been removed and added through the years to suit the various popes and kings agendas. Anyone reading today's bible is reading the result of hundreds of years of interpretation. Anyone saying that the author is wrong is so incredibly naive to believe their interpretation is better or more in line with what Jesus preached. None of us were there; we do not know the true interpretation of what is written or even if what was written was by an apostle or a pope with an alterior motive. If you are a good person, who does not judge others and tries your hardest to do unto others as you would have done to you, you are living a life that you can be proud of. I believe that God put us here to live together, love each other, make our own choices and direct our own lives to live to our fullest potential. He didn't put us here to condem and preach hate and intolerance of others. Look inside and be the best person you can be and stop trying to dictate what others can do.

    February 9, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Really

      @ Sally – that is EXTREMELY well said. Reading some of the hateful comments on this board really shows how closed minded and misguided people are. They hate things just because they are different or because they think they go against some book written by who knows how many people hundreds of years ago. If you want to believe in God that is great for you but that does not give you the right to hate unconditionally. The sad thing is none of these people will change their minds. Was this article meant to change their minds? Maybe but it obviously didn't work. They will continue to hate and pass it down to their children. Hopefully they will win the Darwin awards and the more enlightened people will persevere.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • SG

      ITA, this makes so much sense – very well put Sally. This article is food for thought people. I found it to be interesting reading actually. Truth be told, men wrote the Bible, not God himself, and mankind continues to interpret and re-interpret it to both try to understand it better and to suit whatever political need arises (this includes organized religion). Who are any of us to say that what this article states is wrong?

      February 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      The Catholic Church is the one who gathered the inspired Books and placed them in the Bible and has been given the authority by Jesus Christ to interpret it. None other has the right to change the meaning. Even the Bible says that Scripture is not a matter of personal interpretation. How do people skip over these crucial verses? It is just heresy upon heresy….

      Also the Church does not condemn people and neither should we. Each person condemns himself if he chooses ‘that Path’. We do need to look at actions and determine if they are actions we should partake of or not on our earthly journey towards Heaven. Any deviation from the right Path can lead us astray [of our own choosing] so we must be vigilant and know the Truth about actions….they are either sinful or they are not…choose correctly by judging the action correctly.

      February 9, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  8. Jared

    Christianity has become a terrible poly-headed monster. What say we go back to the way it was fourth-century: Friends gathering in each other's homes to read, discuss, drink copious amounts of wine. Christianity is meant for those who have open heart and can find love for everything and everyone DESPITE their vices and past transgressions, not a forum for people to tell one another that they are wrong about their personal interpretations of a book written for a society we BARELY even understand today.
    Jennifer, you really are doing God's work the way it was meant to be done: lively, thoughtfully, and without personal attacks on those who perhaps live with different personal philosophies than your own. Good for you, pastor!

    February 9, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Xto

      Ha. Itching ears much?

      February 9, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  9. xavier

    Proof that fundamentalists selectively quote the Bible:

    A lesson about the book of Leviticus


    February 9, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • ummm

      You're quoting Fallwell. This shows your ignorance in and of itself.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Dr.Toxic

      ummm...apparently JERRY Falwell is the only Falwell in the world (according to you)? If you bothered to follow the link, it CLEARLY states that the website is not affiliated with Jerry Falwell.

      God, you knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing idiots just can't be bothered to do the work, can you?? No wonder you'll believe what's written in the Bible.

      btw, xavier – EXCELLENT link. Thank you for trying to shine a light on the ignorant.

      February 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  10. Selena

    First of all, God did not intend for women to be preachers of the gospel in his church. We are to be leaders among women, not men so therefore nothing she said holds any credibility with me. Second, not only is her entire blog ridiculous, she is evidently uneducated when it comes to scripture. Worst of all, she will be held accountable not only for her soul but for the souls of those she is misleading with her interpretations of what God's word actually says. We are warned to beware of wolves in sheep's clothing and she certainly fits that bill.

    February 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Hello

      that my friend is very true. VERY VERY TRUE. It says let the woman not speak in the congregation and if she has question she should ask her husband in secret. THAT IS THE TRUTH.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Eric

      Yea, we should stone her to death...for thinking for herself.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • displeased

      Wow, that's pretty scary. If you want to be submissive to men because that's what sheep herders believed 2000 years ago, then knock yourself out. In the meantime, civilization will progress without you.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • Ry

      BOOM! Selena you nailed it! That comment was consistent with scripture. This entire article, however, is not. Selena, you are a prime example of a womanly leader! AWESOME. 🙂

      February 9, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Kevin

      Your comments make me think unwholesome, sinful thoughts about how to most effectively prevent women from being preachers. So by your logic, you are now responsible for the eternal damnation of my soul. Have a nice day!

      February 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Selena

      If you follow New Testament teachings, you will see that the Christ is the Head of the Church, Man is the head of the household. As a Christian wife, yes I am submissive to my husband as I should be. As a professional woman, I am a Manager and lead both men and women. I am not submissive to any man but my husband. Being submissive to your husband is commanded in the New Testament but if do not read your Bible you would not know that. I choose to follow the Bible and will stand in my own shoes on Judgement day. For the rest of you, I only pray that somehow all these comments will encourage you to look to the Bible for the answers. If you are so sure we are wrong, Study for yourselves. I can back up my statements with God's word and not my opinions.

      February 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  11. Humble child

    For one there's no need to get upset on any side of the argument. As a christian myself if people don't want to believe that's their choice I don't treat them any different I just live how the Lord has asked me to and answer people's questions when asked. On the other side of the argument, that the bible is fake and that we believe in fairy tales, I too once did not believe in God, totally anyway. But just the same there is no need to be cursing at people and belittling people, what makes you any better than them? People get God word so twisted and it's sad. As far as the article goes, gentiles( me included) tend to twist the original story and meaning of stories in the bible. Israel was supposed to be the example to the world. Also if we want to know how to properly look at and interpret the Bible we nee to get a Jewish perspective on it since it was originally addressed to them. I hope we all stop fighting and learn to communicate, have a blessed day.

    February 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Mike

      Most intelligent comment i've read all day.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  12. Adam

    There is no such thing as God. It is a delusion invented by humans.

    February 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  13. Lacey

    For sure!

    February 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  14. Gustav Malloy

    Next up: an article showing how the Quran actually enourages people to draw pictures of Muhammad and that "jihad" actually means "pizza party".

    February 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Paul Sullivan

      That says it all, brother,

      February 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  15. Eric

    I think the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolken has a better plot than the Bible does...anybody? or am I the only one?

    February 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Rod

      Actually, 'The Lord of the Rings' is written by a biblical scholar and born again Christian (Tolkien) with the intent of teaching biblical lessons of good and evil through grace and temptation. Yes, it is a good series, but in referencing it as 'better than the bible', the fact that it is intended to teach the bible completely invalidates the statement.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • yourbestfriend

      just a fun fact for you: J.R.R. Tolkien's epic triliogy is profoundly influenced by his Christian faith. The party with the mission of the Ring each display characteristics and attributes of the Incarnate God, and many of the literary scenes and events are allegorical parallels invoking the Gospel story; e.g. Gandalf the Wise's descent into the underworld of fire and brimstone (classical hell), and his rise from it back to a life that is transfigured in some way that prevents his closest friends from knowing him (the resurrection of Christ and the encounter of his disciples, as told in Mark 16 and Luke 24). A great book to read is "Following Gandalf." Please excuse poor grammar and typo's as I'm in a hurry. G'day

      February 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Chris

      I second that

      February 9, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  16. LRJ

    Ms. Knust's article is just another example of terrible deception. She thinks that her article can set straight thosands of years of biblical teaching by the Church Fathers. Forget about it.

    February 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Juni

      You didn't read her article. Shameful.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  17. papaalex

    The lets be clear. If gays ARE that way because of biology and IF they are Christians they still have to follow the same commandments and rules as the rest of us. Lust is a sin, Fornication is a sin for EVERY Christian. You don't get a free pass to lust because your 'gay'.

    February 9, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • David

      So I take it you don't eat shell fish?

      February 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Mike

      So, according to your beliefs, lust between a man and a women and fornication between a man and a women is sin as well? Well, then I don't want any part of your heaven. Sounds like a bore to me.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      You can choose, it is your free will.

      February 9, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  18. ray

    completely false

    February 9, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  19. Lacey

    What a bunch of lies! Wow what twisting of the scriptures. Made me sick. She is wrong about everything that flows from her mouth. Satan sure is glad to have her onboard his team!

    February 9, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Juni

      You didn't read her article. Get out of here.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Kevin

      If your god created everything, he created Satan, too. He must be a sadist.

      February 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      God created an angel, and the angel chose to do evil which made himself the satan.

      February 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  20. Xto

    Romans 1 18:21 sums it up pretty well. I think this "pastor/bible scholar" is what is wrong with Christianity today. I fear for anyone who follows her.

    February 9, 2011 at 12:28 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.