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My Take: Why some people hate God
March 8th, 2011
10:07 AM ET

My Take: Why some people hate God

Editor's Note: Bernard Schweizer is an associate professor of English at Long Island University in Brooklyn. He specializes in the study of iconoclasts and rebels, including the controversial writer and public intellectual Rebecca West. His third book is “Hating God.”

By Bernard Schweizer, Special to CNN

There’s a lost tribe of religious believers who have suffered a lasting identity crisis. I am referring to the category-defying species of believers who accept the existence of the creator God and yet refuse to worship him. In fact they may go so far as to say that they hate God.
 
No, I’m not talking about atheists. Non-believers may say contemptuous things about God, but when they do so, they are simply giving the thumbs-down to a fictional character. They may as well express dislike about Shakespeare’s devious Iago, Dickens’ scheming Uriah Heep or Dr. Seuss’ Grinch who stole Christmas.
 
For atheists, God is in the same category as these fictional villains. Except that since God is the most popular of all fictional villains, New Atheists – those evangelizing ones such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins - spend a considerable amount of energy enumerating his flaws.
 
But someone who truly believes in God’s existence and yet hates or scorns him is in a state of religious rebellion so perplexing as to strain our common understanding of faith to the breaking point.
 
Although these radical dissenters could steal the thunder from the New Atheists, they have remained almost unknown to date.
 
When it comes to God-hatred, a collective blindness seems to settle on us. First, we lack a generally agreed-upon name to refer to this religious rebellion. And anything that doesn’t have a word associated with it doesn’t exist, right?
 
Well, in the case of God-hatred, this principle doesn’t hold because the phenomenon does exist whether or not there’s a name for it. And in any case, I’ve ended the semantic impasse by naming these rebels and their stance once for all. My chosen term is misotheism, a word composed of the Greek root “misos” (hatred) and “theos” (deity).
 
Why do I care so much about them? They strike me as brave, visionary, intelligent people who reject God from a sense of moral outrage and despair because of the amount of injustice and suffering that they witness in this world.
 
At the same time, they are exercising self-censorship because they dare not voice their opinion openly. After all, publicly insulting God can have consequences ranging from ostracism to imprisonment, fines and even death, depending on where the blasphemy takes place (Ireland, for instance, imposes a fine of up to 25,000 Euros for blasphemy) and what God is the target of attacks (under sharia law, being found an enemy of God, or “mohareb” is a capital offense).
 
But I also care about these rebels because they chose literature as their principal medium for dealing with their God-hatred. I am a professor of literature, and the misotheists’ choice of literature as their first line of defense and preferred medium endears them to me.
 
Literature offered them the only outlet to vent their rage against God. And it was a pretty safe haven for doing so. Indeed, hardly anybody seems to notice when God-hatred is expressed in literature. Such writers cleverly “package” their blasphemous thoughts in works of literature without seeming to give offense in any overt way.
 
At the same time, these writers count on the reader’s cooperation to keep their “secret” safe. It’s like a pact between writer and reader.
 
Zora Neale Hurston could write that “all gods who receive homage are cruel” without anybody objecting that “all gods” must necessarily include the persons of the Christian Trinity.
 
Or Rebecca West could write that “something has happened which can only be explained by supposing that God hates you with merciless hatred, and nobody will admit it,” counting on the fact that, since nobody will admit it, nobody will rat her out for blasphemy.
 
There lies, in a sense, the awesome, subversive power of literary writing, something that had worried Plato 2,400 years ago when he required that all poets be removed from his ideal “Republic.” Interestingly, though, while guardians of propriety have put Huckleberry Finn on the list of proscribed texts because of its liberal use of the N-word, few people have declared Hurston’s "Their Eyes Were Watching God" or Shelley’s "Prometheus Unbound" or West’s "The Return of the Soldier" as forbidden texts because of the underlying misotheism of these works.
 
And even where the misotheism is overtly expressed, as in Elie Wiesel’s "The Trial of God" or in James Morrow’s "Godhead Trilogy," literature offers an enclave of religious freedom that is vital to the human spirit and its impulse to free itself of any shackles, even the commands of God.
 
I refer to the story of misotheism as “untold” partly because misotheism tends not to be noticed even when it hides in plain sight. Another reason why the story of misotheism is “untold” is that nobody has bothered yet to draw the larger lines of development over time, beginning with the Book of Job and ending up with utilitarianism, philosophical anarchism and feminism. That story in itself is quite engrossing, but again it is not a story that has really ever been presented.
 
So I am doing quite a bit of connecting the dots, unearthing overlooked connections and making distinctions such as proposing a system of three different types of misotheism - agonistic (conflicted), absolute and political. Misotheism in its various manifestations is a dark, disturbing and perplexing strand of religious dissent. But at the same time, it is an attitude toward the divine that shows just how compelling belief can be.
 
If people continue to believe in a God they find to be contemptible, then belief is such a powerful force that it cannot be simply switched off on the basis of empirical data. Thus, in the last consequence, the study of misotheism is a testament to the power of belief, albeit a twisted, unconventional form.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Bernard Schweizer.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Books • God • Opinion

soundoff (1,730 Responses)
  1. rotaman

    I believe in God. I am not a fool, nor am I naive, nor am I an uneducated sheep. I examined the scriptures, history, archeology, philosophy, and the precepts of other religions, and I came to the conclusion that the Bible contains truth. It can be understood with careful consideration, even though there are many things about history and the thoughts of God we will never understand. His thoughts are not our thoughts; His ways are not our ways. Not all Bible stories are intended to be literal – a rational person can identify a poem as a poem, allegory as allegory, history as history. Jehovah God is a jealous god, yes, but as Creator He is worthy. He is also fare and just. Killing is not murder when the killer has the authority to execute. And just because God allows the innocent to die does not mean He does not love them – He merely considers our frail life of less importance than the eternal one He offers. God does not allow evil to exist, rather evil is what occurs in the absence of God. Many evil acts have been committed in the name of God, but God cannot be held guilty for the sinful and misguided acts of men. I know that many of you will lambast and despise me for this post, but I am not afraid of you. Even though most of the comments here are laced with hatred, ridicule and condescension, I offer instead a calm, respectful and rational voice of faith – love for mankind, even in the face of persecution. I will pray for all of you, even if you chose to mock me.

    March 8, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Q

      You mock yourself with misplaced vanity. Justifying the slaughter of innocents is hardly "calm, respectful and rational" but rather betrays the heart of a true sociopath...

      March 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      So you justify killing with the excuse of that he is allowed to do so?
      The god of the OT is a nasty, vain, evil murdering SOB and to use the excuse of 'hey its ok, im allowed to do it' does not lessen the evil acts.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  2. The_Dutchman

    If I have learned anything in life, there is a "God" and I am not it.

    March 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Wiseman

      Guess you haven't learned very much then have you?

      March 8, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  3. Dan

    "Misotheism". Interesting term. I would have chosen "lost", "unsaved" or "damned".

    Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to the Father in Heaven. Place your faith in Jesus. Peace.

    March 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Anotheralt

      We live in a world with way better marketing conventions. Your emotional appeal to fear (accept christ or burn) is kind of lame. Try again.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  4. JAB

    The most famous believer who hates God is Satan himself. He talks regularly with God (see Job), and he has many followers who also believe and hate God (see James). Therefore, I propose the word demon or devil.

    March 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Brownie

      I love how people quote the bible as if it is full of facts! It's like watching kids play house.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Leucadia101

      you probably HATE the Devil, don't you? What else do you hate? You also must FEAR God? Aaah FEAR and HATE – a great combination for speading evil. Remove these elements from your life and feel the ENERGY around you. Release yourself from the things that MAN has conditioned you into believing in order to serve HIS agenda.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  5. J

    After the second trimester loss of a baby my husband attempted to comfort me by reminding me that the child is now with God. I think I hurt him by saying, well, I hope the first thing he did is kick that jerk right between the legs. But honeslty, why should I be happy that my son is with the mad creature that ripped him from me in the first place? If you wonder why people of faith come to hate the object of that faith, you can't be very bright. Look around. The answer is obvious.

    March 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Q

      Thank you for this very personal and moving post.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Anotheralt

      People can: Accept tragic events and move on...Accept tragic events and not move on...Make assumptions about why something happened when it can't truly be known. A lot of people use God as a coping mechanism. If he/she/it exists, I'm not sure how they'd feel about it. I'm also not sure that it matters all that much when it can't possibly change anything. Being told "all things happen for a reason" is infinitely non-helpful when no one can say with certainty what the reason is. In a way causes are more comforting than reasons, but not by much. I'm sorry for your loss.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Bree

      I'm sorry for your loss. I think saying "they're with god now' is an inappropriate thing to say and you explained why. Just like when somebody dies and then people try to console you by saying "everything happens for a reason". Oh yeah, there was really a reason for this tragic and life changing death.... and look on the bright side, they're floating around in heaven too! Sure...

      March 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Leucadia101

      First off-sorry for your loss. I know that this must be a painful one. Second, and foremost, these things do happen, but if I was to say it was for a reason, I would be trying to sell you something(like a bridge). God is an Object that we go to for strength when we are weak, and when things are good, we don't turn to God until something goes wrong. My personal opinion: I have no idea exactly who or what God is. I am always in charge of my destiny, and things sometimes happen that take away my control. Do I want to blame God? Probably sometimes yes, however hating is destructive so I chose to bounce back and get as much out of life as I possibly can. Bounce back and Positive Energy to your healing process 🙂

      March 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • mars25

      TO J- SRY TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR KID. BUT IM THINKING YOUR FAITH WASNT STRONG AT ALL. DONT BLAME GOD. THE DEVIL DOES EVIL THINGS JUST TO TEST PEOPLES FAITH.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • scott

      Any loss is sad, we lost a child as well and look for to the day we are reconnect with her on earth... you see when you get past all the false teachings of religious leaders of today and focus on what is really taught through the bible itself.. not church doctrines... then you realize that
      1. God does care and your child is but sleeping in death awaiting their resurrection (read the account of Luther's resurrection when Jesus had to explain this to his Apostles)... it will be but a blink
      2. Most of us are not going to Heaven... only 144,000 have been promised that privilege.. the rest of us make up the "Great crowd" that will reside on a Paradise Earth forever.
      3. Aramageddon is not to be feared... It is God's war not ours... He tells his faithful flock to stand still and see the salvation of God... So we just need to have faith that he will do as he promised
      4. There are over 1000 promises (Prophesies) by God.... to date not one has failed.... 999 and counting – I'll keep God in my corner.
      5. God does not cause the problems of this world, Satan, his fallen angels, and we do by not following the good council given in his word the bible...
      6. and lastly... there is no Hell... the teachings are a misinterpretation of the Words Hade and Gehenna which mean the Common Grave of mankind

      Sorry, I didn't mean to keep going

      In the end just know that God did not take your child from you and he has promised us that we will be resurrected and get to see our loved ones again.

      May the true God Jehovah find his way into your heart, so that you may be there with open arms when your child is resurrected. I for one will be waiting for ours for sure and nothing will stand in my way.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  6. Leucadia101

    Not necessarily hating God, but look at it more like who am I to tell other who or what God is, as I have never had the experience or comprehension to experience this Super Being. Who is to say if God is even a Super Being? Maybe God is the Constant Life Force and Collective Energy of all living things? Who knows. One thing I do hate is when people shove it down your throat with all the conviction manifested from the guilt of things they did before they found out "the Truth". The Truth? What a joke-there is no truth-only perception.

    March 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  7. Wiseman

    God says no fapping allowed. So I hate god. I'm gonna go fap now. Haha.

    March 8, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  8. Chris

    It's seems to be a waste of energy hating something that doesn't exist.

    March 8, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • numbnut

      I'm right there with you.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  9. WIll

    Hating God is as worthless an enterprise as loving God. Ain't no God gonna do anything for you that you're not willing to do for yourself. Don't slavishly praise the sky for your good fortune nor curse the storm clouds for the tragedies that befall you. Don't fall into the trap of relying upon someone else or something else to give you what you want or need. Don't wallow in self pity. Go out and do it. Good fortune is yours if you are willing to embrace self-reliance, responsibility, and hard work. Those who waste time and emotion on contemplating God's role in their daily lives are likely to accomplish nothing. Don't worry about God. He'll let you know if he needs anything extra from you...

    March 8, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  10. LouAz

    Great old Rock n' Roll song : Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin".

    If it were not for some religious fanatic (and all religious humans are FANATICS) telling me how to live and what to think, not many would even think up this silly stuff about god, gods, redemption, everlasting life, heaven, hell, angels, miracles, blah, blah, blah. Often the guy telling me this, that, and the other is in a dress and wants me to symbolically eat his dead guy !

    It is all voodoo, hoodoo, doodoo !

    March 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  11. Manic Messiah HE HE HA HA

    God is a work in progress. which still has so many flaws. Predominantly, because of this silly interpretation of what he is from a person from over a millennium ago. A person, who was much less informed than we are today. If everyone fix that which is within them. Eventually, as a result, will come closer to perfecting god. Which not whom is harmony. Yes I smoke weed. q;)-~~~

    March 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  12. DWTT

    Down With The Trinity

    Awesome stuff here. Why do I say that? I used to be a God hater too.

    March 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  13. can't you people read???

    I can't even believe in myself. How am I supposed to believe in something else?

    March 8, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      I think therefore I might be?

      March 8, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  14. guest

    It seems to me people do not know God of have a clue about Christ. This article sounds like an American thing. You think your freedoms or seemed freedoms allow you to say anything about God that comes to your mind. What I will say is that you underestimate God, You underestimate Him greatly. The fear of Him is the beginning of wisdom. When it is your turn to explain you rejection of Christ, you will find out that you cannot talk to him like a man. You americans disrespect every office your political system and somehow you feel that extends to the Christ. If you feel there is no life after this life, I employ you to read some of the testimonies of others and listen to their experience with the spiritual realm and how their enlightenment change their whole life for the better because of what they found to be true. Also, there should be some things you should not say. What you should say is “I LOVE GOD”!

    March 8, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • weasel

      Well if you prefer a slave mentality suit yourself.

      I for one would rather face oblivion than lick the boots of others.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • RedRiver

      How cute. Any other pearls of wisdom from this fire and brimstone preacher? I need a laugh

      March 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Never listen to a zombie. They lie!

      March 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Rick

      Our freedoms DO allow us to say anything about God that comes to our mind. It is freedom of speech.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Brownie

      So if I want to prove that life after death exists I just talk to people who have had "otherworldly experiences"? You mean to say that people can't have life changing dreams without it occuring in the spirit wold? Yeah right!

      March 8, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Rick

      Guest: People cannot fear (or love, that matter) beings in which they do not believe

      March 8, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Underestimating?

      I expect nothing of God, and He has never disappointed me.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Teo

      Yawn.

      March 8, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  15. The Jackdaw

    The entire religious debate is childish. Humanity needs to move on to something more constructive before we use up all of our resources and die on this rock.

    March 8, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Carl

      The problem is, we can't just drop the argument because religious loons think prayer and other nonsense is a valid alternative to addressing our real problems with scientific knowledge.

      March 8, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  16. Bree

    "Mesothiesm": Nothing but simply a transition state between belief and non-belief. I'm certain many, many atheists went through it, myself included.

    You start out learning about God, at a young age. You are a Christian. You don't question what you learn yet.

    As your life goes on, you find out more and more things are fake, such as Santa Claus. Then you start to see as you grow older one contradiction after another about God. You start to see the ugly world for what it is, you start to ask questions without answers. You may begin to get angry at a "God" who would allow so much pain and misery, so many wars and deaths fought in his name, so many countless killings.

    Congrats, you are now a "mesotheist". You don't quite want to write God off as fake yet, because of your crippling fear of death and the strong desire for it to be real.

    Eventually, you let go and become an Atheist.

    March 8, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Rhonda

      You stated it perfectly.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Travis

      My life in a nutshell. Well said.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  17. geochron

    Misotheism: Worship of soup.

    March 8, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      Aye. Well played.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • numbnut

      Yeah. Shouldn't it be spelled, "mysotheist"? Like mysongynist (hates women), or mysenthrope (hates people).

      March 8, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  18. Blaine

    I read something recently that got to me: "If God is all knowing and powerful, then wouldn't the idea of sacrificing his/her only son be pretty hypocritical? I mean if God knows all things, then he/she knew from the beginning that his/her only son would eventually be resurrected and thus, no damage done. Sure, Jesus would suffer some on the cross, but ultimately be back at "home" in the end." Sacrifice only means something if it's real. God convincing us a sacrifice actually took place is a pretty good one.

    March 8, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Fa shizzle

      Blaine,

      High five!!! Only smart thing I have read all day.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Which is why I've always gotten a chuckle out the the single least martyred martyr in history. Not impressed.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Brownie

      None of that matters if the event in question never took place. Maybe a guy was crucified, but how does that prove it was for our sins or that any of this stuff isn't made up in your heads?

      March 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Todd

      Blaine,

      God let his son die so that we could be forgiven... he didn't kill his son nor did he want it to happen. Jesus even yelled "Forgive them Father, for the know not what they do...". Soon after Jesus died there was great destruction to the Earth, which was God reacting to this son dying. It wasn't hypocritical of God to let his son be born knowing that he was going to die on the cross and end up in heaven eventually. Have to remember that even Satan tempted Jesus to sin and had Jesus been any less of a Lord, a Saviour, the Son of God we would all be facing torment in the after life.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • L in Seattle

      Jesus would "suffer some"? He suffered so much that He bled from the pores of His skin. He willingly took on the pain that every one of us causes when we sin. God had to stand by and let His Son suffer like that in order for it to be possible for us to repent and return to Him. There was no other way. Jesus didn't have to put Himself through that pain, but He chose to do it for us.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'God let his son die so that we could be forgiven'
      and what the heck does that even mean?

      March 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Reader

      1)That God always knows everything is a common assumption not supported in the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation he is described as one who can know the outcome of a matter if he so chooses, but who often instead reacts to developments as they happen. For example, see Dueteronomy 30:15-18.
      2)Jesus did give something up, life as a perfect human on earth and the fathering of children. He was not an imperfect, dying human as are we and therefore could have lived forever. Instead he chose to live a life of self-sacrifice and obedience to God, ultimately ending in a painful, undeserved death. This proved that Adam could have made better use of his free will, for Adam's was a less severe trial. Jesus' death being wholly undeserved, it had sacrificial value. It can be used to buy back what Adam lost. The Bible even calls Jesus "the last Adam". (1 Corinthians 15:45)

      March 8, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • ELO

      Blaine

      According to your argument, you are saying that because Jesus was ultimately restored and made whole again, that what he experienced while walking the earth doesn’t count as sacrifice.

      “his/her only son would eventually be resurrected and thus, no damage done. Sure, Jesus would suffer some on the cross, but ultimately be back at "home" in the end." Sacrifice only means something if it's real.”

      If I may draw a parallel, what do you think about our troops overseas? Or anywhere they are serving? We (the country as a collective) send them to war. Some come back with “no damage done.” They aren’t injured. They aren’t suffering from a severe case of PTSD. So, based on your post, we can conclude that their time spent in Afganistan, or Iraq or the middle of the ocean, or wherever doesn’t count as a sacrifice. That leaving their families behind and witnessing atrocities we can never imagine isn’t something “real.” That there’s no “sacrifice” for the ones who make it back because they are “back at home in the end.”

      Seriously? Restoration at the end does not necessarily mean there was no sacrifice.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • L in Seattle

      Cedar Rapids, when we do wrong we break a law and there are penalties for breaking laws, like a debt. We all rack up way too many debts for us to ever be able to pay them back. Someone who was able to pay those debts stepped in, and that person was Jesus. He makes it possible for those debts to be forgiven and for us to stand free and clear of our sins. This is only an analogy, but that is how I see things.

      March 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  19. Laslow

    The world would be a more productive and safer place if people took a collective responsibility for mankind's successes and failures. Pawning them off to anything unexplainable/unknowable is childish. Be proud of what we've done to help each other, be resolute to change what we have done to cause harm, and strive to create a future that allows greater freedoms.

    March 8, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Anotheralt

      In a sense, you're right, but people don't need God as an excuse. We'd just find another way to finger point and avoid solving problems if no one believed in God.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Nayrlladnar

      -slides you a beer- Well said, friend.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      I blame the gremlins.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  20. TheTruth

    I understand where all of you are coming from... Some of you might not find logic in believing in God... But to me, I believe in Him being the One true God and creator of all mankind... It's not about religion with God, He wants a relationship.... for those who credit God for allowing evil things to happen, look back at why evil began in the first place... It was never His desire to have that happen, but it happened because of our free will... As mentioned before, I don't wish to offend anyone, and I really hope nobody disrespects me for my belief, in the end, we are all flesh and blood...

    March 8, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Anotheralt

      Ok, I can accept that you're making certain unsupported assumptions about God, its existence, and its motivations. I guess I'm not sure where you're going with it.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      If you create an autonomous system with free will and it does not act as you intended, that pretty much defines a flawed design. The fault is in the creator/designer. I'm not impressed.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Scott

      I don't hate God, I just don't believe that there actually is a god. Evolution is why we're here, plain and simple. Religion was created as a business, period.
      What do you call one person with insane aspirations? Crazy.
      What do you call a group of people with insane aspirations? Religion.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • His

      Couldn't agree more!

      March 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Matt

      When I hear people say things such as this, they just sound mentally ill to me. I don't understand how a rational adult person could believe this stuff.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Jon

      If God is all-knowing, then freewill does not exist. What does it say about a creator who knows that you are going to do something wrong, does nothing to stop you from doing it and punishes you doing it? That is the essense of malevolence.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • NoGr8rH8r

      GOD has a gender?

      March 8, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
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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.