My Take: It doesn't matter who wrote the Bible
April 1st, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Take: It doesn't matter who wrote the Bible

Editor’s note: David Hazony is the author of "The Ten Commandments: How Our Most Ancient Moral Text Can Renew Modern Life," published recently by Scribner.

By David Hazony, Special to CNN

I am a person of faith. But sometimes I like to step outside of faith and just think about things rationally. Usually this oscillation between faith and skepticism serves me well, with faith giving reason its moral bearings, and reason keeping faith, well, reasonable.

It’s a nice balancing act — except when the question of who wrote the Bible comes up. My Jewish faith tells me that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch. Reason tells me to be open to the idea that somebody else had a hand in it.

And there are definitely a few glitches in the text that back up those suspicions - notably the last eight verses of Deuteronomy, which describe Moses’ own death.

But try as I might, I just can’t believe that the Five Books of Moses were written by J, E, P and D – the four main authors whose oral traditions, biblical scholars say, were cobbled together to make the Torah. (The letters stand for the Jahwist, the Elohist, the Priestly source and the Deuteronomist. Those, we may assume, were not their real names.)

Call me an academic infidel.

I know, it’s been generations now that Bible study scholars at universities around the world have accepted as true that:

(a) the Pentateuch was composed over many centuries through these four oral traditions, which were later written down;

(b) these main texts were woven together by an editor or series of editors living around the 6th century B.C.E.; and

(c) these different traditions are detectable by scholars today, to the point where you can justify entire conferences and an arena’s worth of endowed chairs to figure out not only the source document of every scrap of biblical text, but also the gender, political inclinations, subversive intentions, height, weight and personal traumas encumbering every one of its authors.

The first two are plausible, I suppose. But the third has always struck me as pure fantasy, the point where idle speculation gives way to heavily funded hubris. Of course, if I’m right about the third, the first two lose their authority as well.

Why don’t I buy it?

It’s not just because of how stark, uninspiring and vaguely European those four letters look in a byline. Nor is it the fact that in more than a century’s worth of digging up the Middle East by archaeologists, not a single trace of any of these postulated “source texts” has ever turned up. And it’s certainly not because the scholars’ approach contradicts my faith — after all, it was the willful suspension of faith that led me to consider it in the first place.

No, faith and skepticism dwell together in my confused bosom like pudding and pie.

Rather, my rebellion against these scholars comes from experience. Specifically, my experience as an editor.

It all started a few years back when, as the senior editor of a Jerusalem-based journal of public thought, I ran into trouble on a 10,000-word, brilliantly researched essay about Israeli social policy composed by the sweetest man on earth who, unfortunately wasn’t a stellar writer.

I spent a few weeks rewriting, moving things around, adding and cutting and sweating. Finally I passed it up the chain to Dan, my editor-in-chief.

"Hey Dan," I said. "Could you take a look at this? I added a whole paragraph in the conclusion. Tell me what you think."

A few days later I got it back, marked up in red ballpoint. On the last page, in the conclusion, he had written the words “This is the paragraph you added,” and drawn a huge red arrow.

But the arrow, alas, was pointing at the wrong paragraph.

You see, it turns out that it’s not very easy to reverse-engineer an editing job. To take an edited text and figure out, in retrospect, what changes it went through — it’s about a million times harder than those tenured, tortured Bible scholars will tell you.

Language is fluid and flexible, the product of the vagaries of the human soul. When an editor has free rein, he can make anything sound like he’d written it himself, or like the author’s own voice, or something else entirely. It all depends on his aims, his training, his talent and the quality of his coffee that morning. A good editor is a ventriloquist of the written word.

That’s when I started to suspect that what Bible scholars claim they’re doing — telling you what the “original” Bible looked like — might be, in fact, impossible to do.

Think about it. My case was one in which the author, editor and reader are all known entities (in fact, they all know each other personally); the reading takes place in the exact same cultural and social context as the writing and editing; and the reader is himself a really smart guy, Ivy-league Ph.D. and all, who had spent a decade training the editor to be a certain kind of editor, with specific tools unique to the specific publication’s aims.

Not only that, but he was even told what kind of edit to look for, in which section. And still he couldn’t identify the change.

Now compare that with what Bible scholars do when they talk about J, E, P, and D. Not only do the readers not know the writers and editors personally, or even their identities or when or where they lived. The readers live thousands of years later and know nothing about the editors’ goals, whims, tastes, passions or fears — they don’t even know for sure that the whole thing really went through an editorial process at all.

(If anything, the same textual redundancies, narrative glitches, awkward word choices and so forth that the scholars claim are the telltale signs of an editing process are, in my experience, very often the opposite: the surest indicator that an author needs an editor, desperately. If the text was edited, it was done very poorly.)

As with any field of research that tries to reconstruct the distant past, biblical scholars get things wrong on a daily basis.

And that's OK: Getting things wrong is part of the nature of reconstruction. Whether you’re talking about the origins of galaxies, dinosaurs, ancient civilizations, medieval history or World War II, the conclusions of all historical research come with a big disclaimer: This is the best we’ve got so far. Stay tuned; we may revise our beliefs in a couple of years.

With biblical scholars, however, you often feel like they’re flying just a little blinder than everyone else. At what point does a scholar’s “best guess” become so foggy as to be meaningless?

The Five Books of Moses take place somewhere in the second millennium B.C.E., centuries before our earliest archeological corroborations for the biblical tales appearing in the Book of Joshua and onward. We have no other Hebrew writings of the time to compare it with. So all that scholars really have to go on is the text itself — a wild ride on a rickety, ancient, circular-reasoning roller-coaster with little external data to anchor our knowledge of anything.

This would be fine, of course, if there weren’t so much riding on it.

With other fields, we usually don’t have our own dinosaur in the fight. But with the Bible, it’s not just the scholars duking it out with the clergy. There’s all the rest of us trying to figure out what to do with this stupendously important book — either because it anchors our faith, or because it contains enduring wisdom and the foundations of our cultural identity.

Where does that leave us? Some people, sensing their most cherished beliefs are under siege, will retreat to the pillars of faith — whether that faith is religious or academic. Either it was Moses, or it was J, E, P, and D. End of discussion.

As for the rest of us, it may raise questions about whether we really ought to care that much about authorship at all, or instead just go with Mark Twain’s approach. “If the Ten Commandments were not written by Moses,” he once quipped, “then they were written by another fellow of the same name.”

Using our reason means sometimes admitting there are things we just don’t know, and maybe never will.

Maybe that’s all right. After all, isn’t it enough to know that the book is really important, that it has inspired love and hate and introspection and war for thousands of years, that it is full of interesting stories and wisdom, poetry and song, contradiction and fancy and an unparalleled belief in the importance of human endeavor - in the possibility of a better world - despite the enduring and tragic weaknesses that every biblical hero carries on his or her back? That it is an indelible part of who we are?

Isn’t that enough to make you just read the thing and hope for the best, forever grateful to Moses, or that other fellow by the same name?

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of David Hazony.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • History • Judaism • Torah

soundoff (2,549 Responses)

    Not much more can be said. Either you believe or you don't! You will die one day and then I guess you can say Lord I didn't know... You didn't tell me...I was in you shoes once...I didn't know Jesus.. Thank God I know... I Love you Lord..."Forgive them for they know not what they say"......

    April 1, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  2. john

    Biblical texts were written to insure the Church maintained complete control over the population by using threat of excommunication, and damnation. I was born into Catholicism but I flushed that Christian cult for Buddhism, a philosophy that actually makes sense. The 3 faiths of the middle east are ill because they're born through an incestuous relationship that has them trying to cut each others throats in search of truth. You won't find peace through these 3 faiths of hate and bigotry.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • GW


      I would have to disagree with you on this one. When Christ as asked what is the most important commandment, He said that Loving God with all your heart was number one and number 2 was Love your neighbor as you love yourself. So with that being said, those who follow Christ do not harm others, it's mans own greed that does that.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  3. Seer

    It always amazes me to see the backward logic that many Bible-thumpers use: "I have spiritual experiences, so therefore the Bible is true and the God described in the Bible must exist" However, I'm certain that they would not apply the same "logic" to other parts of their lives, such as "I look out over the ocean and don't see any curvature, so therefore I will believe in ancient texts claiming that the Earth is flat."

    Invalidating the Bible and its authors (Christian Bible scholar no less – says that the Bible was forged or written by impostors: http://www.christianpost.com/news/is-the-new-testament-forged-49605/) does not threaten the truth about whether God exists or not – it only threatens a religion founded on the manipulations and machinations of mankind. Similarly, even if the Bible ceased to exist, people would still have spiritual experiences – how do you think that Hindus or Buddhists get by?

    The only thing that makes the Bible important is Man. Asking logical, reasonable questions about your faith and your beliefs is not heresy, it's what God intended.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Zero10

      Actually, many sailors knew and accepted that the world was round because they would see the top of the mast first and not the entire ship on the horizon.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Seer

      You made my point for me. If the Divine is true, then it exists, and it can be proven to be so. The sailors proved the world was round for themselves, they didn't avert their eyes because Aristotle told them the world was flat. But today's Christians do just that. And you also make it clear that the kind of spiritual inquiry that the author of this article is making is actually the best way to find one's relationship to God, rather than mindlessly following Authority. Authority always does what is best for itself, not for you – which means that Churches and the Bible are created to do what is best for religion, not for the individual seeking God.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  4. tommyjonq

    as a pretty serious bible scholar myself, let me suggest that it matters a very great deal who "wrote" the bible. The NT in particular presents the single best (and often only) cross-section of philosophies and theologies across the entire hellenistic mideast from about 150 BC to after 300 AD. the only surviving copies of many "lost" texts by philo and many others are absorbed into the NT, and as whole, it represents a surprisingly broad AND deep debate on the nature of humanity; the first discussions on what we call the "soul;" the origins of ideas like equality; and even very profound discussions on topics such as semiotics and hermeneutics. the very question of "authorship," not just of the bible, but of any "book," and the experience of reading itself are discussed for the first time in history in the bible (that is, the texts from which the bible was woven together.)

    the evolution of the received texts throughout the middle ages; the effect of translation on texts whose translators were unfamiliar with many of its vocabulary words and source texts; the question of paradox vs error. and so on and on. the book itself presents itself to the reader as a riddle, the answer to which is suggested to be the key to eternal life: "who is the Author of this book?"

    if you don't care who wrote the bible, then you might as well be a mormon or a scientologist.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  5. The Real God

    Don't listen to that first God, I'm the real God.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  6. Zero10

    What a load of tripe. Religion is cancer, I'll be glad when humans evolve past it.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Eric G.

      Well said.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Pheroc


      April 1, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Ruth

      I hate man made religions. Good thing – God hates religion as well. But I love God, and am grateful for being wonderfully made and not evolved from some slime or monkey. I wonder what you think you will look like in your evolutionary belief?

      April 1, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  7. DW

    Why is it that the atheists hang out around the religious sections of various websites, for no other reason but to ridicule anything and everything written? Are they that insecure in their own beliefs that they rely on the emotional security blanket of commiserating with fellow atheists and agnostics?
    The ridiculous argument that religion has been the cause of more killing that atheism is extremely short sighted and entirely untrue. The crusades and the spanish inquisition are often brought up, but the combined number of people killed in the name of those events is estimated at about 160,000-200,000. Atheistic Communism has killed over 110,000,000 people in the last 100 years alone.
    Finally, if a crime committed by a religious person can taint the entire religion as being untrue based on the crime, I'm sure we can find a crime committed by an atheist that in turn can prove that atheism is also untrue. Think about it.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • EZNY

      Were looking to open the eyes of someone who has never been exposed to idea of not needing to believe in God or a God as a part of life. We are usually call heretics and satanists. Wasn't Jesus crucified for being a heretic? Hmmmm maybe atheism is close godliness.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Seer

      DW, YOU should think about it. I see more so-called Christians hanging around here to defend God from atheists than vice-versa. If God really was all-powerful, would HE need your help in defending himself?

      Your other arguments are equally specious. Religion has killed a lot more people than you care to admit. Don't forget the Crusades, he extermination of the Cathars, the deaths of millions of women (Read "when God was a woman") in the Middle Ages, and even today the US has killed over 200,000 people in Iraq by conducting a war that the comments even today from Christians make pretty clear had religious overtones. You'd better clean your halo, its dripping blood. And if you match the scales of the bloodshed with the size of the human population, religion has killed a greater percentage of the population at any particular time than any other cause.

      However your worst sin was the backwards logic in your last sentence, about holding the religion responsible for a crime committed by one of its adherents. If the adherent can claim that he committed the crime because the religion allowed or encouraged him to (think about cross burnings and gay lynchings), and the religion remained silent and allowed the adherent to continue to associate with it, the blood is on the religion's hands. Religion is drenched, nay suffused, with blood. And for every teaching against sin that it makes, it commits a passel of them. And this is what you cleave to?

      April 1, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • John in Vegas

      I hope you are not including Hitler and his army in your 110MM figure. Nazi Germany was predominantly Lutheran and Roman Catholic. Or Saddam Hussein or Mohammar Kadaffy or the Taliban. They are (were) Muslim. Or any of the other conflicts in the Middle East. Or conflicts in any of the former Soviet states: Serbia and Croatia for instance was a Muslim-Christian conflict. Or between the IRA and England. That was a conflict between Christian denominations. Or Timothy McVeigh. I could go on and on.

      April 1, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  8. JustSaying

    It does matter when you think about the entire principle of religion. For the most part, many religions disregard faith and attach process to getting into heaven. The Bible is supposed to have been inspired by God. If it was written by criminals or scam artists, how could we believe in any of it. Needles to say there are many other scrolls that have not been included in the bible by King James and people all together ignore them. If it was true that apostles had not written the Bible, it would be hard to find meaning in many of the ceremonies that the church holds so dear. Concepts like the Ten commandments or the importance of assembly becomes nullified.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  9. Sebastian

    People are converting to atheism, not because of reason, but because they don’t want to buy Christmas presents anymore.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • crucified

      Atheism is a Very small group...in fact they are all on this Thread!

      April 1, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • EZNY

      Atheism and agnostics are the fastest growing segment in America after Islam.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • EZNY

      In fact there are more atheists in America than Islam and Jews

      April 1, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • crucified

      Yes it is easy to grow from 2% to 3%.... it is a Very small Group... they have Minny Me Syndrome.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • EZNY

      More like 10% and they are also usually college graduates. Let me guess, education is the devil for steering thinking people away from God?

      April 1, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • EZNY

      The most recent ARIS report, released March 9, 2009, found in 2008, 34.2 million Americans (15.0%) claim no religion.

      April 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • crucified

      @ENZE Because someone has no religion does not mean they are atheist... your numbers are flawed.. there are many Christians that do not have a particular Religion.

      April 1, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • EZNY

      That's the best you got to come back at me with. Atheism is more popular as people are educated. The higher your education level the more likely you are an Atheist or "non-religious". In countries that are above us on the education meter the more atheists exist within that country. So in theory, the more educated you are the less likely you are going to ascribe to your God or the Bible as truth. Therefore it is the practice of religious fanatics to suppress increased education by trying to get things like "intelligent design" and the Bible tossed into education.

      April 1, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  10. Bob

    Everybody has faith:
    Agnostics put their faith in the fact that they believe it is impossible to know if there is a true God.
    Atheists put their faith in the belief that there is no God
    Theists put their faith in the God of their particular religion
    Christians put their faith in Jesus Christ
    Since man created religion, and EVERYTHING we create is flawed, Im going with faith in Jesus Christ.
    I subscribe to no religion, for what is religious? I can be religious about drinking my coffee at the same time every morning.
    Every man made religion in the world pushes the idea that we have to do this or that in order to get to "heaven". Knowing that I have never and will never be able to meet these standards, I will rely on Jesus who took the punishment for my sins in order to save me. If is a fairy tale, I will never know I was wrong. I do know that it is faith that allows me to trust in Jesus. So, remember, we all have faith in somethingl

    April 1, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Wayne

      You are clueless about faith. A nonbelief in magic requires no faith.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Bob

      Your "non belief" in magic is your faith in your belief that it does not exist. You have faith Wayne. Don't worry.. we all have faith in something.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Bob

      I'm certainly not trying to argue with you or try and make you believe in the same faith I have. I am simply stating that as a definition of faith, everyone has faith in something. Belief in nothing is still faith that your non belief is true.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • EZNY

      800 years ago in the middle ages they thought that dinosaur bones were dragons. Do we need to prove dragons don't exist?

      April 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Bob

      All I am saying is that everybody has faith. What your faith defines as truth in your mind is none of my business.

      April 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Bob

      1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
      2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

      You see, everyone has faith.

      April 1, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • EZNY

      I have faith in what is observable by independent thought and sources. I have a personal faith in God that has nothing to do with Religion or anyone else's version of faith and Religion. It just appears from the past and present that the "faithful" always seem to be pushing their faith as the only true faith and then hurt you to prove it.

      April 1, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • EZNY

      Magic/Miracles are just things we don't understand yet.

      April 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  11. Wayne

    Since religion seems to permeate cultures around the world and has so much influence on policies and therefore mankind as a whole, I think we should look at the historical facts about all religions. For those who seek truth I recommend the works of the late Joseph Campbell, world renowned professor of comparative religions known for works like"the Power of Myth". Maybe then we can take responsibility for our own actions and quit waiting for something or someone to save us and evolve to a higher plain of compassion and action. All religions are based on myth. This is factually provable.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • GW

      Prove it then? Show me some information that proves religion is a myth.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • EZNY

      We don't believe in Zeus anymore. Where's the proof the God you believe in isn't a myth?

      April 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  12. DiewatchamRICCHO

    Christ's actions were more important.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Pheroc

      If he existed.....

      April 1, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • EZNY

      He may have but not the way the BIBLE describes it. Those are the stories for the kiddies.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  13. crucified

    Prove there is No God?

    April 1, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Eric G.

      I created everything, and I am not God.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • EZNY

      Prove there is one? And if there is one why not Anubis, Zeus, Gaia? You are claiming all other religions are wrong based on your belief you are right. That's pretty egotistical.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • m

      While we're at it. Prove that I'm not God.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Wayne

      Prove there are not a hundred gods, idiot.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Mao

      Are you claiming all religions are wrong and your right? That's pretty egotistical.
      The same reasons you use to uphold the stance that you take are why we hold to whatever religion we hold to.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • crucified

      Don't get mad.. I just said Prove there is No God... You mean you cannot prove what you believe..? I can prove there is a designer for the things designed.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • m

      you can? I would love to hear that proof. Of course lets not start the proof with an assumption. Lets just say "things."

      April 1, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • EZNY

      I don't claim to "know" there is a God. Unlike many Christians I have Faith without Religion. I believe more closely in the Jefersonian concept of Jesus and God. You on the other hand are claiming knowledge of God and forcing your interpretation down everyone else's throat. Hence you are an egotist.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Robin

      The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." Psalms 14:1

      April 1, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • EZNY

      Crucified, would you call the scientist that figured out how to create the building blocks of life in a lab GOD. Cause we have created organisms from inorganic matter. Or as has been proposed by science for over 100 years that life evolved over millions of years and have facts that support that theory. Where exactly is the proof of God? When did "God" sign his design?

      April 1, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • crucified

      Again, I restate... You cannot prove there is NO God.. therefore do not be critical of those who believe there is one.. Even one of the smartest Scientist in existance came to the conclusion "God Does Not Play Dice" – Albert Einstein

      April 1, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • crucified

      @ENZY a scientist coping Creation is not Creating..it is coping. Creation is creating something from Nothing.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • crucified

      And we have not created living organisms from non carbon inorganic material.... We have inserted organic material and caused it to produce.. Nice try.. but the only thing Created was by God himself.

      April 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • EZNY

      Actually we have created organisms from inorganic matter sorry. Saw the report myself. They even divided at a cellular level. Just like your version of GOD and Religion your knowledge of science is antiquated.

      April 1, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • EZNY

      My next questions for the faithful, if God is all powerful and all knowing, why has Israel been destroyed many times in history? Where is the Ark of the Covenant? Why is there no independent source that verifies any of the "miracles" or "actions of God" that are in the Bible? Why must you hold on to the BIBLE to hold on to your faith?

      April 1, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Jessie

      Prove there is no Flying Spaghetti Monster:
      Prove there is no invisible tea pot orbiting between Earth and Mars:
      Prove there is no Santa Clause, Unicorns, tooth fairy, good will on earth..
      You can't prove or DIS-prove a negative, but, that doesn't make it true, or not true.

      It's the crazy stories that make it easy to disprove.

      If there is a god, who created him?

      April 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • EZNY


      The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." Psalms 14:1

      The ridiculous say there is as loud as they can so everyone can hear them

      April 1, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  14. Disciple

    It does matter who wrote teh bible because it the source of authority..it was written by God...2 Tim 3:16...it is historically accurate, and we know who wrote it...It is God's standard and what he will use to judge by...as for me and my house, we will serve teh Lord

    April 1, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  15. Scott Johnson

    OK... now – who wrote the Qu'ran (Koran)? And how much editing did it undergo? And who were the editors? Or, is it like the Book of Mormon? Reason says it is not the exact words and thoughts of the One God.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • JohnR

      Straining at gnats are we? Of COURSE, it's not the "exact words and thoughts" of some fanciful being that doesn't exist.

      April 1, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  16. AlmightySkyGhost

    That's right, my little dancing monkey's, don't think about it. Just believe it.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  17. Jesus

    And neither did I.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  18. God

    I did not write it.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  19. Ethan

    Reading the ignorance in this comment section is better than watching cable!

    April 1, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • aubrie

      You're right there!!! Amazing....

      April 1, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  20. Shan

    The problem is that is DOES matter. It only DOESN'T matter to those who would blindly follow it.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:17 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.