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December 30th, 2011
04:28 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Friday, December 30

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.

From the Blog:

The stage featured a giant rotating disco ball in the shape of a dreidel, the four-sided spinning top played during Hanukkah.

CNN: Beardless Matisyahu stills rocks hard, with dreidel mirror ball
He may be clean shaven, but Orthodox Jewish reggae star Matisyahu still has the energy, passion and talent as when he donned a traditional Hasidic beard.

CNN: Russian court rejects petition to ban Hindu scripture
A Russian court has rejected a petition that sought to ban a Russian translation of the Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism's most important texts.

Tweet of the Day:

From @HarrisZafar: Today I am observing a complete fast in order to #pray for #peace and #security throughout the world.

Enlightening Reads:

Washington Post: 2012: The year when extremism self-destructs?
Extremism in religion and politics contains the seeds of its own destruction. The self-destruction of political extremism is already upon us. The Tea Party faithful force GOP candidates into ever more ridiculously extreme, and often self-contradictory positions that make it impossible for that candidate to win a general election.

The Guardian: Pope’s address to parliament vetoed, National Archives files reveal
Suggestions that the pope be given the honor of addressing both houses of parliament on his first visit to Britain were discouraged by senior advisers and vetoed by Margaret Thatcher.

Though their beliefs are similar, their campaigns are going in different directions.

Christian Post: Iowa Evangelical Leaders Call on Santorum or Bachmann to Exit GOP Race
“If you can’t beat’em, then join’em,” seems to be the strategy of an Iowa pastor who only weeks ago asked former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum to withdraw from the Republican presidential primary before deciding later to endorse his candidacy.

Compass Direct News: Five Christians Slain in Another Assault in Kaduna, Nigeria
Local Islamists and Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked a Christian community in Kaduna state on Monday (Dec. 19), killing five people and wounding six, area sources said, just nine days after a deadly attack on a Christian community in Kukum Gida in the same local government area.

Quote of the Day:

To those of us who knew him before his incarceration began more than two years ago, he is now frail, weak, and appears decades older than the 60-year old man that we last saw on American soil.

Judy Gross, the wife of jailed Alan Gross, said this about his appearance when she visited him in the Cuban jail that now holds him. This statement comes after two Cuban Jewish leaders met with jailed American Jewish contractor Alan Gross.

Today’s Opinion:

CNN: My Take: The 3 biggest biblical misconceptions
The Bible is both a reservoir of spiritual insight and a cultural icon to which lip service is still paid in the Western world. Yet when the Bible is talked about in public by both believers and critics, it becomes clear that misconceptions abound.

Join the conversation…

People quickly responded to Maher on Twitter and called him (in summary) a hell bound atheist piece of trash.

CNN: Bill Maher takes on Tim Tebow and feels the wrath
On Christmas Eve the Denver Broncos were getting destroyed by Detroit Lions on the football field and comedian, liberal commentator, and religious provocateur Bill Maher couldn't help but tweet about it.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Greg Powell

    May you and I both have our best year ever of abiding in Jesus, being filled by the Holy Spirit, and resting in Abba's arms. May we love with God's love and patience, battle with God's power and courage, and walk in His ways and will. Since His desire is that every single human on earth be saved and come to a full knowledge of the truth, may we pray and work to that end, trusting in His power, crying out for His grace and mercy. May we be more conformed to His moral likeness and less conformed to the world system than ever. May we bring more pleasure to God, more cause for celebration to the holy angels, and more frustration to the demons than ever. May this be our best year ever because God got so much glory from our broken, humbled, devoted, obedient lives; and because so many hurting, screwed up, sinful image-bearers experienced unmerited, non-judgmental, affectionate, and sacrificially practical love when they let us into their lives; and because we were more zealously focused than ever on the expansion of the Kingdom of Jesus, one heart at a time... starting with our own.

    January 1, 2012 at 3:38 am |
  2. GODS THE BOSS

    THATS Y EVERYTHING HAPPENING AND MAN CANT CONTROL IT YES GODS THE BOSS BETTER GET USED TO IT

    December 31, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • Bob

      God doesn't exist. Break the chains. Ask some questions. Be free of religion and other supersti-tions in 2012.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      December 31, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • PsiCop

      You tell me to "get used to it"? Is that all you can do ... level threats? Nice. I sure as heck want to be part of your religion ... not!

      January 1, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  3. Bob

    Break the chains. Ask some questions. Be free of religion and other supersti-tions in 2012.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    December 31, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • anotherGuest

      I'm worried about you Bob. You used to have something to say.

      December 31, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      @the whywontgodhealamputees guy: Marshall Brain [the anonomous 'brain' ('how stuff works' author) behind whywontgod...website] has designed an experiment to "prove" that God cannot heal amputees. The experiment goes something like this. Pick an amputee (must have both legs severed, just one would not be good enough), and have millions of Christians throughout the world pray for his healing. According to Brain, this proves that God does not exist. The main problem is that the experiment has never been done. So, in reality, Brain has proved nothing. Even if the experiment were to be run, there are some problems with its design. The first wrong assumption is that a large number of Christians are able to dictate to God what He should do. Healings do not necessarily require large numbers of people praying, since most recorded healings have involved just one prayer. The second wrong assumption is that God heals all who are prayed for. Even the Bible records examples of Christians – even apostles – who were not healed, despite prayer.3 The third wrong assumption is that every Christian has the gift to heal people. The Bible clearly says that this is not so.6 A fourth wrong assumption is that somebody can be found who is "deserving." According to the Bible, none of us is worthy of being saved.5 However, God, in His love, saves the undeserving through His mercy.4 God does not heal everybody of every infirmity in this life. I began working for my current boss in 1983 at the UCLA Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center. Within two years, I developed Crohn's Disease, the most severe form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which has no cure. I found myself unable to do things using my own abilities and strength. After two months of being bedridden in severe pain, I cried out to God, even though I was a One who believes in the existence of an impersonal God.deist deist at the time (I had gone from an agnostic atheist to a deist in college). Within three months all symptoms of Crohn's disease had disappeared. That was over 25 years ago, and no symptoms of the disease have ever reappeared. However, thousands of people have gone through our Inflammatory Bowel Disease clinics and not been cured. I am sure that most of those people have prayed to God, but are still suffering. For some reason, God chose to heal me, so that I would know that He was personally involved in the lives of people. God acts to produce eternal, spiritual outcomes, and not just temporal, physical changes.

      December 31, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Bob

      No paragraph breaks, b4bigbang? Yes, we know you have something to hide: the truth, that you have no real evidence for your god stories.

      Break the chains. Ask some questions. Be free of religion and other supersti-tions in 2012.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      December 31, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    To speak with God is the breath of life

    December 31, 2011 at 7:26 am |
    • Bob

      Break the chains. Be free of religion and other foolish supersti-tions for 2012 and beyond.

      Break free from religion in 2012.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      December 31, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  5. Ironicus

    I think we're all quite sick of Teebow now, thanks anyway Dan.

    December 30, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  6. MKULTRA BRAINCHIPIMPLANTSMAN

    MILLIONS TO BE ASSASSINATED FOR THE SAKE OF $$$ LIABILITIES(mk-ultra, chip implants, electroshocks etc. performed on them) AND NEW WORLD ORDER(multiculturalism = terrorism) POLITICAL AGENDA KNOWN AS "YOU ARE NEXT"(financial liabilities are 2 expensive for the government and it is cheaper to get read of you instead) !!! IF YOU WERE TREATED WITH ELECTROSHOCKS OR DRUGS USED FOR WIPING OUT MEMORY(numerous Americans and Europeans were and are) AFTER ENDURING FORCED CHIP IMPLANTS(or to simply rethard individual), YOU ARE SCHEDULED AT 100% RATE AS GOOD TO GO NEXT !!!

    http://myshortbiography.blogspot.com/

    LEARN TRUTH ABOUT UNITED NATIONS, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL AS WELL AS NEW WORLD ORDER(MULTICULTURALISM = TERRORISM) GOVERNMENTS(Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) !!! NOT THERE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, BUT TO DENY YOUR RIGHT TO EXISTENCE !!!

    ABDUCTIONS / BRAIN CHIP IMPLANTS / BLACKLISTING / FORCEFUL UNEMPLOYMENT / MK-ULTRA BRAINWASHING AGAINST WHITE(under "NAZI" lie) CIVILIAN POPULATION TODAY IN 2011/2012 ACROSS THE EUROPE AND NORTHERN AMERICA !!!

    http://myshortbiography.blogspot.com/

    WHY TO ACCEPT LIABILITIES FOR CRIMES COMMITTED WHEN WE CAN SIMPLY ASSASSINATE OUR VICTIMS(YOU) THANKS TO HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS AND FREE PRESS/MEDIA(most severe censorship of genocide ever !!!)!!

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xGfYOAydjw&w=640&h=360]
    OR
    http://www.youtube.com/user/BostjanAvsec <== OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE RECORDED LIVE IN 2009 !!! These are hard facts about lunatic Obama/Bush's twilight zone administrations(HORROR) or genocide against whites per ZIONIST Washington DC and in complete agreement with communist Moscow !!!

    EXILING WHITES WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE AND IMPORTING NON WHITES IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS COMPLETELY FREE.

    December 30, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • PsiCop

      Some thorazine might help you.

      January 1, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  7. MY TAKE BRINGING IN 2012

    FATE ALWAYS WINS & YOU KNOW WHO I AM BECAUSE IM THE ONLY ONE WITH A CLEAR ANSWER GET OVER YOUR JEALOUSEY ITS UGLY ON YOU

    December 30, 2011 at 6:51 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.