August 29th, 2011
03:33 PM ET

Polygamist leader Jeffs hospitalized in Texas

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs was in critical condition in a Texas hospital Monday after falling ill during a fast, a state prison official and his attorney said.

The leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a breakaway Mormon sect, was sentenced early this month to life in prison plus 20 years for sexual assault. Jason Clark, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said Jeffs was sent to a hospital in Tyler on Sunday night and was in critical but stable condition Monday.

"He was not eating or drinking enough fluids and also has some other medical conditions," Clark told CNN. He would not elaborate, citing inmate privacy rules.

Read the full story on Warren Jeffs' hospitalization

A Muslim family's 9/11 loss
August 29th, 2011
02:07 PM ET

For Muslim family, faith complicates grief for loved one lost on 9/11

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

Edmond, Oklahoma (CNN) - His smiling image has been cut out of a snapshot and carefully added to a photo of his father, so it looks as if he is standing beside the man. It smacks of a bad Photoshop job, but it gives the two a shared moment, even though they never met.

The boy's sister, Fahina, is 15 and clings to scant memories and aging photographs. But Farqad, almost 10, has nothing.

She remembers sitting beside their father on amusement park rides, his words - "Look at my daughter; she's so brave" - soothing her nerves; she still thinks of him whenever she's on a rollercoaster.

She leaned on his legs when he watched basketball on TV and imagined him cheering her on when she played the sport after he was gone. She recalls being driven to see Harvard University, before she even started elementary school, and dreams of attending an Ivy League school to make him proud.

Read the full story about a Muslim family's grief 10 years after 9/11
- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: 9/11 • Islam • Oklahoma

August 29th, 2011
01:59 PM ET

Texas pastor opens drive-in church

A pastor outside Dallas has launched a drive-in church that operates along the same lines as a drive-in movie theater: Congregants stay in their vehicles and tune in to the sermon on their car radios.

Sanctuary Under the Sky, which meets in a high school parking lot in Lucas, Texas, is the third outdoor church launched by Pastor David Ray, according to CNN Dallas/Fort Worth affiliate WFAA.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Church • Pastors • Texas • Uncategorized

August 29th, 2011
01:02 PM ET

August 29th, 2011
10:16 AM ET

Despite daily Ramadan fast, Muslim NFLer trains for the season

By Chris Welch, CNN

Eden Prairie, Minnesota (CNN) - Watching Minnesota Vikings starting safety Husain Abdullah on the sun-drenched field during practice on a recent afternoon, you’d never guess he hasn’t had any food or drink since sunrise.

Abdullah is an observant Muslim, which during Ramadan - the Islamic holy month that ends Monday night - means no eating or drinking from sunup to sundown, not even water.

“My religion is very important to me," Abdullah said after practice. "I mean, it’s the basis of my life.”


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Ramadan • Sports • Uncategorized

My Take: God no longer in the whirlwind
Seeing the wrath of God in natural disasters was once commonplace.
August 28th, 2011
04:56 PM ET

My Take: God no longer in the whirlwind

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

As I am riding out Hurricane Irene on Cape Cod, I cannot help thinking about how differently New Englanders in colonial times interpreted these natural disasters. While we speak of the eye of the hurricane, they were ever mindful of the eye of a God who was watching over them, and sending storms their way as punishment for their collective sins.

A fierce debate among academics about secularization theory–the view that societies will become less religious as they modernize–seems to have been won by the skeptics.

Yes, secularization of a sort is happening, but only in certain places (western Europe, most notably). And it seems to be reversible (see the United States today vs. the United States in the 1970s). So simple versions of secularization theory seem just plain wrong.

However, one place where American society, at least, plainly seems to be growing less religious is in the realm of natural disasters.


- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Belief • Faith • Science

My Faithlessness: The atheist way through AA
Six of AA's 12 steps explicitly refer to God, a Higher Power, or He.
August 28th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Faithlessness: The atheist way through AA

Editor's note: Marya Hornbacher's latest book, "Waiting: A Nonbeliever’s Higher Power," explores what spirituality can mean to the recovering person who does not believe in God.

By Marya Hornbacher, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Kicked back with his boots on the table at the head of the smoke-dense room, the meeting's leader banged his fist and bellowed, “By the grace of this program and the blood of Jesus Christ, I’m sober today!”

I blinked.

This was not an auspicious beginning for the project of getting my vaguely atheistic, very alcoholic self off the sauce.

I wondered if perhaps I’d wandered into the wrong room. I thought maybe I’d wound up in Alcoholics Anonymous for crown-of-thorn Christians, and in the next room might find AA for lapsed Catholics, and downstairs a group for AA Hare Krishnas and one for AA Ukrainian Jews.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief

Glenn Beck: Hurricane Irene is a 'blessing'
Glenn Beck appeared to be echoing Mormon doctrine on preparing for adversity.
August 27th, 2011
09:44 PM ET

Glenn Beck: Hurricane Irene is a 'blessing'

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Conservative radio host Glenn Beck told listeners Friday that Hurricane Irene, the Category 1 storm that’s working its deadly way up the Eastern Seaboard, is “a blessing from God.”

Beck has long urged his fans to stockpile food in their homes in anticipation of a global food disruption. He said Irene should be construed as a divine warning for those who have ignored that advice.

Here’s Beck on his show Friday:


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Mormonism

'El Shaddai' on rare video-game turf: the Bible
Developers hope players will look beyond the game and find out more about the Biblical story after playing "El Shaddai."
August 26th, 2011
04:02 PM ET

'El Shaddai' on rare video-game turf: the Bible

By Larry Frum, Special to CNN

(CNN) - There's "God of War" and "Devil May Cry." "Kid Icarus" and "Battle for Asgard."

Plenty of video games use mythical gods or other characters and creatures from beyond to drive their stories.

But notably absent, at least among mainstream titles? The Bible. At least until now.

Read the full story on "El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron"
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Technology

August 26th, 2011
09:54 AM ET

Vera Farmiga's directorial debut a story of struggles, tested faith

By Steve Almasy, CNN

(CNN) - Actress Vera Farmiga can empathize with the fears and doubts of Corinne Walker, the character she plays in her new film, “Higher Ground.”

Corinne is a Christian who's struggling to hang on to her faith. Farmiga's fears and doubts, meanwhile, were born of making her directorial debut with the movie, which opens in Los Angeles and New York on Friday.

The film spans several decades, following Corinne from a young girl who half-heartedly proclaims herself to be saved by Jesus to a teenager who marries when she becomes pregnant to a woman ensconced in a deeply religious community after she and her husband come to believe that God has saved their baby.

Farmiga, who starred opposite George Clooney in the hit movie "Up in the Air," told CNN that she began panicking during preproduction, as the magnitude of the undertaking - simultaneously directing and playing the lead role, lots of child actors, and 25 scenes that included music - became clear.


- Producer/Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Faith • Movies

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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.