November 24th, 2011
04:37 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Thursday, November 24

By Dan Merica, CNN

Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.

First things first: Happy Thanksgiving!

From the Blog:

CNN: Romney’s faith a factor for GOP primary?
If half the public says they don't know very much about Mormonism and one-third of Republicans say the Mormon religion is not a Christian faith, how will GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney fare in his bid for the White House?

CNN: In the season of giving thanks, signs that gratitude is back
A mother in Missouri updates her Facebook status with something she’s grateful for each day. A doctor in Boston makes a gratitude list before bed. A priest in New York ends his day with thanks and reflection.

Tweet of the Day:

From @MuslimMatters: There may be 2 religious opinions on Muslims celebrating Thanksgiving. But only 1 opinion on arguing endlessly about it: Waste of time!
(For more about “shukr,” or “thankfulness” in Arabic, read this.)

@CNNBelief’s follow of the day: Faith in Public’s twitter feed, @BoldFaithType, does a great job of aggregating religion stories – including pieces that come from Belief!

Enlightening Reads:

Huffington Post: Thanksgiving Reunion Brings Holocaust Survivor Together With Her Rescuers after 66 Years
It's been 66 years since Mary Katz Erlich last saw the boy and girl who saved her life. On Wednesday, the threesome was reunited.

The Hindu: India looks to Buddhism to boost flagging China tourism
Eying China's fast expanding outbound tourism market, which has, so far, largely bypassed India, the Indian government has launched a tourism campaign targeting the world's fastest-growing Buddhist population with a direct sales pitch: visit India and reconnect with your faith.

The Christian Post: Beyond the Turkey: Keeping Christ Present During Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving continues to bring together families around a feast every year. But what’s increasingly missing from the table is what the Pilgrims regularly practiced – praising God.

Chalk it up to unfamiliarity with sports:

Christian Post: Denver Broncos Drop Kyle Orton, Keep Tim Tebow
Kyle Orton, Colorado's NFL quarterback before Tim Tebow, is departing the Denver Broncos.
(One problem – the team is the Denver Broncos, not the Colorado Broncos.)

Headline of the Day:

Catholic News Agency: German bishops to quickly sell shares in porn publisher
The Catholic Church in Germany says it will act “without delay” to sell its stake in a publishing company that offers pornography among its products.

Today’s Opinion:

Sojourners: Rewriting History: Thanksgiving or Genocide?
At the expense of being called a cynic, a hater, an angry Asian man, and [insert your words here], I still think it’s important and necessary to be mindful of the history, context, and stories of why we mark or celebrate certain “events.” For example: Thanksgiving.

Join the conversation…
“About one-in-five religious advocacy organizations in Washington have a Roman Catholic perspective (19%) and a similar proportion is evangelical Protestant in outlook (18%), while 12% are Jewish and 8% are mainline Protestant,” according to the report, called "Lobbying for the Faithful: Religious Advocacy Groups in Washington, D.C." Read more and join the growing conversation here.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. Constanze

    What a breathe taknig view of the sunrise!Yes!His mercies are new every morning!Thank you Jesus.Have an awesome Friday and weekend.Blessings

    November 10, 2012 at 1:45 am |
  2. Off topic

    I have noticed the fundies are making a big deal that the president left god out of his thanksgiving address, please someone tell them that thanksgiving is not a religious holiday and they have x-mas to shove jeebus down everyone's throat.

    November 27, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Hebe

      And tell them they left the light on in the kitchen, too. And give them a hug from me. The death-hug. Yeah. That one....

      November 29, 2011 at 1:51 am |
  3. Bob

    HeavenSent, provide any proof that your Jesus-on-a-stick guy was divine. And then explain why your sky fairy god needed to use him as a scapegoat. Or rather, why Christians stole that whole scapegoat thing from earlier tales.

    Then, get back to your goat sacrifice, or your god will be very angry with you.

    November 26, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Norman

      I'm worried about you man. Its the goats again.

      November 26, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  4. myklds

    People are spending time, energy and money to make a website just to bash it. That's how special it is.

    November 26, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  5. Mr. Widemouth

    What's underneath the magic Mormon underwear? – Exposed http://www.squidoo.com/mormon-church

    November 26, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  6. Bo

    @johnrichardson, No matter how you or I choose to view God, it is still our choices and that will not change the truth. By faith, I choose to serve my God. By your belief, you are free to choose your destiny, which by all rational, doesn't make any sense to me, that is to choose to live or die eternaly? Still, if I have choosen wrong, I've lost nothing, if you choose wrong, you have lost everything, that is not even an argument. I have an appointmet to keep. You have a good day. And, by the way, discussions like this, only helps my faith in God. It gives me the chance to reiterate what I believe and why.

    November 26, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • Larry of the Long Wind

      Here's my take on your "Pascal's Wager":
      You evidently do not value your soul as much as I value mine.
      I am not going to fall for any mind-control con-game. My soul is more valuable than that.
      Con-games have certain characteristics and can be verified to be con-games with careful analysis.
      For some reason, you do not care whether your beliefs are actually true or not.
      You speak as though they are true, yet you have never questioned the basis for your beliefs.
      This is also how these con-games were presented to you.

      Here's some actual facts of life, presented to you in the hopes you might listen and not close your mind to actual facts.
      1. Sincerity is only a measure of a person's sincerity. It does not prove anything beyond that person's beliefs or ability to act sincere. Lying with a straight face is not that hard. But if someone believes in a sincere way, it still does not prove anything beyond the fact that they are sincere.
      2. Dying for a cause does not prove that cause to be true. It only proves that someone was willing to die for some reason. It does not even mean that they were honest in their stated reason. Liars can lie to the death if they want. It is not hard to do.
      3. Positive emotional feelings are not proof of anything. They are chemicals sloshing around in your head.

      When you look at religions you don't like, what could possibly be going through your mind that could not be equally applied to your own beliefs?
      Lots of people like to mention hypocrisy and accuse others of it. What's terrible is how easy it is to do. Be aware of what you are doing as opposed to what you think you are doing. Be objective. Many times our actions do not match up very well with our intentions. This is made a thousand times worse when trying to use randomly interpreted religious values in making decisions. Somewhere along the line you are going to be guessing and then taking the guess seriously.
      Guessing gives random results biased towards your personal experiences and knowledge. Guesses do not prove anything either. Your interpretation of your religion can always be successfully challenged and questioned by fellow believers and non-believers because every religion is not consistent, rational, or even true.

      My soul is more important to me. I am not going to rely upon a stranger's guess about a different stranger's written words claiming one thing or another about a being who obviously does not exist in the first place.
      I may have a soul. If I do, I am not giving it to some vicious and violent non-existent being for any reason. You can't trust people like that can you? Then why trust a "god" who is like that?

      See why you shouldn't use Pascal's Wager? It has so many holes but it only needs one to fail. Try valuing your soul a little more. Or don't you care about it? Yet you try Pascal's Wager. You must have some sort of value on it. Just one that is worthless and without reason or prudent skepticism. Don't throw away your soul or your life on lies.

      November 26, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • johnfrichardson

      See, Bo, this is why you come up as such an insufferable idiot. You aren't choosing to live. You are choosing to live this life as a mere flash in the pan tryout for some eternal life you have no evidence for and of course no experience of. I'm not choosing to die. I'm choosing not to deny that I will die.

      November 26, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • N

      By my faith in Flying Spaghetti Monster I choose to live. If I'm wrong, what have I lost ?

      November 26, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Short but densed Michael

      @ Larry of the long wind

      Your post suits best with your moniker. It was long but all air.

      November 26, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Well put, Larry. However, it appears to have been too intellectual for Michael, who correctly calls himself dense.

      November 29, 2011 at 2:01 am |
  7. Bo

    @Mirosol, No! it is not a "done deal", that is what Satan would have you to believe, but it is your choice that makes it a "done deal". God wants to save you, but it is your choice. It is not God's choice, not Satan's choice, but your choice! God loves you, and He loves you enough to give you the choice, He will not force you to choose anything. Satan may try to make you to choose between good and evil, but it is still your choice.

    November 26, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • johnfrichardson

      Your god can stick the "choice" he provides up his nose.

      Bo, most of the early Protestants believed in predestination. You seem to be rejecting that doctrine. You of course probably just aren't understanding it, but you clearly don't accept it. Care to explain where you think the early Protestants got it wrong. And are they all going to hell because they did, in your view of things?

      November 26, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • Brad


      Predestination is alive and well in Protestant theology. Paul was explicit about it: "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." I imagine there is no error-free doctrine. Perhaps Bo will agree that error does not necessarily lead to condemnation.

      November 26, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • fred

      In the case of Paul he did not have much of a choice; God zapped him with blinding light. These conversion experiences still happen today. Some wade into belief from childhood or gradually through exposure to the truth in the Bible. Jesus said anyone can come but, only if the Father draws them / softens their heart. This drawing / softening happens for various reasons. Your denomination Protestants / Catholic whatever has little to do with a heart that is inclined towards God. Just like the Protestants took a few verses and ran with them so to the Catholics ran with the Peter is the rock verse to build their church on that. There were 7 big churches in the first century and Jesus made comment on where each needed some improvement. Nothing has changed.
      The criminal on the cross next to Jesus had a heart inclined towards God and we are not told why. That last minute confession of faith put him in Paradise. In short Jesus made the call but based on the predispoition of the hearts of the criminals one got in and no comment was made about the other who mocked Jesus with his last words

      November 26, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • johnfrichardson

      @Brad Oh, and how much error is allowed?

      November 26, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Brad


      How much error is allowed? I don't know. I've met some Christians who insist that no error is permissible and that (of course) their doctrine is free of error. This may be comforting to them, but it excludes a lot of people of faith who are of differing confessions of faith. I believe God cherishes faith and tolerates error.

      For an example of error, Orthodox Christians accept the Pope as simply the Bishop of Rome while people of the Roman Church believe that he is a unique and supreme representative of Christ and the only one with the power of the keys (derived from Peter by apostolic succession). A significant difference and they can't both be right, but I don't think anyone is going to hell over it.

      There are limits, though. The nature of Christ must be defined and agreed upon to the extent that we know we all recognize the same Christ. We must confess that we are in need of salvation and that salvation is to be obtained through Christ alone.

      November 26, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      @Brad Yeah, sure. Christ will save you, but only if you acknowledge him as lord. Good thing firemen, cops and EMTs, lifeguards, etc, etc operate on a superior moral plane than this egomaniac savior of yours does.

      November 26, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Brad


      You hold up a particular kind of good, that of first-responders, that would not be possible in a monotone world of good without the potential for evil. If bad things don't happen, how does such good occur? This actually addresses your earlier post which I think comes down to this: Why would a benevolent God create a world in which evil is possible and of which he has foreknowledge that evil will occur? Isn't good trivial in any other sort of world?

      November 26, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      @Brad You can't follow a simple point, can you? Here I was discussing your "savior", who didn't live in a monotone good world and is supposedly saving us from the horrors of the real world, a world his daddy created, of course, but will only do so if you worship him. As I said, right here in the real world, Jesus's morality is vastly beneath that of first responders and pretty much anyone else who has ever given critical aid without demanding any groveling. As for the supposed banality of good in a world without evil, ok, so why is the whole purpose of this life for Christians a scramble to get into such a world where good is banal, ie heaven? And if it's okie dokie to have such a banal world for all eternity, why not for this patch of time we call the history of the universe?

      How liberating it is to understand that the world is not some idiotically incoherent morality play staged by some almighty, all-knowing but somehow logically challenged and all sorts of creepy creator. Bad things happen to people not because a pair of naturists ate a piece of fruit. Natural disasters happen because nature is nature and couldn't stop on a dime to avoid clobbering little Jenny and Jimmy if it wanted to, and it not only doesn't but can't want to. People hurt other people because people's interests, though they often coincide, also often conflict, and certain particularly awful people appear to have an inordinately hard time seeing how cooperation, compassion and empathy could ever be in their interest. None of this is going to go away entirely until the world goes away. And no, it won't be replaced by heaven or hell or anything of that sort at all.

      November 26, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Brad

      You are right, I chose to address your earlier post before taking up the morality of Christ. Christ came knowing that he would die, in fact came for the purpose of dying to atone for everyone and to put an end to death for everyone. Groveling is not required, but belief is.

      In fact even belief is not something we have to bring about on our own: “But what about you?” Jesus asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven."

      In every way what Jesus did was a gift. Now, was the gift of Jesus' life an act of supreme morality? A moral act is one in accord with accepted behaviors that are put forward by society or that would be accepted by rational human beings. The gift was not compelled by any such norms. It was an act of supreme compassion. Fortunately for us, to Christ morality was subordinate to compassion.

      November 27, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  8. Bo

    @NEWS FLASH. In many ways you are right, and in many ways you are decived. Denying there is a God, does not change anything. You are right, God would not have had to send His Son if it were not for an angry, vengeful concept–the false concept that Satan plants in the minds of sinnful men that God is a hateful God. God does hate sin, but not the sinner. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should live. But it is all a matter of choice. God loves you and God wants you to choose Him. Why choose to die when you can choose to live?

    November 26, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • johnfrichardson

      According to your story, Bo, God created the whole shmear, including Satan, and knew what a disaster it would be before he started. There is no way to make the god you for some reason choose to worship look like anything but a cosmic jerk. Your lame rationalizations, which are inspired by nothing more than your egotistical need to be special to the creator of the universe, aren't going to change any rational person's mind.

      November 26, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  9. Bo

    @ Mirosol, our fate is sealed, not by what God knows, but by the choices we make. By omniscienice:God knows what choices we will make, that is how well God knows you and me. (You too, in a limited way, know the choices your kids will make, just by knowing them.) Choice, a gift of God, is still ours; we can not blame God for sealing our destiny by our bad choices. God love you, choose Him.

    November 26, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • Mirosal

      But, "it" will already know if I do choose, and WHEN I choose .. so like I already told you, our fate is already sealed. This magical mystical sky-fairy of yours already knows the answers, even before we're born, according to your beliefs. It's a done deal. I can see you aren't educated in logic. You're probably not a very good chess player either lol

      November 26, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • Brad

      Hi Bo

      The omniscience of god is compatible with free will. "Our fate is sealed" is a provocative choice of words. Rather, as you say, our fate is determined by the choices we make, all of which are foreknown by God.

      The logic Mirosal is referring to is probably similar to the argument of Maimonides: ”Does God know or does He not know that a certain individual will be good or bad? If thou sayest ‘He knows’, then it necessarily follows that that man is compelled to act as God knew beforehand he would act, otherwise God’s knowledge would be imperfect.” Arguments of this kind depend on a fallacy.

      November 26, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • johnfrichardson

      @Brad Divine omniscience is indeed compatible with free will. But it is not compatible with divine benevolence. No one would end up suffering for their supposed sins if god had just canned his decision to carry out this disastrous experiment. He had already existed for an eternity w/o. Why create a bunch of angels that you know will immediately fall and humans who will come under their spell? Was god just cranky out of cosmic boredom just hanging around in all his glory for all eternity, so he created a bunch of being to feel superior to and damn? This guy's a trip!

      November 26, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  10. Bo

    @ Mirosol, our fate is sealed, not by what God knows, but by the choices we make. By omniopotance:God knows what choices we will make, that is how well God knows you and me. The choice is still ours; we can not blame God for our bad choices.

    November 26, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • Mirosal

      But according to your own beliefs, this "god" already knows our choices, doesn't he? And IF "it" doesn't, there goes your omniscient theory. And since you claim "it" is omniscient, this "god" already knows if we're "saved" or not. Our choices won't matter, good or bad. It's already decided. if it isn't already decided, your "god" isn't much of a sooth-saying fortune teller is it?

      November 26, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • Sarah P

      Logic, reason, and common sense are death to religion.
      Bo cannot use them. He is already damned to the hell of ignorance, lies, and delusions.
      Why waste your time on this nasty person who hates reality so much?
      His "god" hates what he hates and nothing else. He is his own god. He worships himself as seen in his delusional fantasy.

      November 26, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Sarah P, you atheists are too funny ... "Logic, reason, and common sense are death to religion"

      Answer: I hate to burst your delusional bubble but, logic, reason, and common sense are atheists words used that originally was stolen from Jesus' truth called wisdom.

      Christianity 101. Try learning it after you are sick of being arrogant and lazy.


      November 26, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • johnfrichardson

      @HeavenSent Can this oh so logical Jesus of your prove the consistency of arithmetic?

      November 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • Bob

      Sarah P, thanks for that great post. Getting Bo to think is a tough and perhaps impossible task. And I agree that reason blows away religion.

      November 26, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Bob

      HeavenSent, provide any proof that your Jesus-on-a-stick guy was divine. And then explain why your sky fairy god needed to use him as a scapegoat. Or rather, why Christians stole that whole scapegoat thing from earlier tales.

      Then, get back to your hideous goat sacrifice, or your god will be very angry with you.

      November 26, 2011 at 5:00 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.