January 11th, 2012
04:27 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Wednesday, January 11

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:

CNN: U.S. Protestant pastor reject evolution, split on Earth’s age
America’s Protestant pastors overwhelmingly reject the theory of evolution and are evenly split on whether the earth is 6,000 years old, according to a survey released Monday by the Southern Baptist Convention.

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl Tebowing in front of the Pittsburgh skyline.

CNN: Pittsburgh’s mayor ‘Tebows’ in defeat
Pittsburgh's mayor knelt down in defeat on Tuesday, donning a Denver Broncos No. 15 jersey and "Tebowing" in front of the Steel City's skyline to pay off a bet he made with the mayor of Denver over the Steelers-Broncos playoff game.

Get more involved with Belief:

Subscribe to our Religion News Twitter feed and message @danmericaCNN your opinion of the Speed Read.

Tweet of the Day:

From @EricCNNBelief: Great to see our John 3:16 explainer on the #CNN homepage. If you missed it: http://on.cnn.com/zzeKjN

Enlightening Reads:

Mormon Missionaries Balance Politics, Proselytizing
If campaigning for Republican presidential candidates in New Hampshire sounds like hard work, try going door to door on primary weekend for Jesus.

Catholic News Service: Spanish priest says exorcism is God’s ‘gift to help us believe’
If everything you know about exorcism you learned by watching the movie, "The Exorcist," Father Jose Antonio Fortea wants to exorcise those notions from your head.

Pastor Driscoll struck a nerve when he published a book on sex.

Relevant Magazine: Review: Real Marriage
Like most celebrity pastors, Mark Driscoll is a locus of controversy. Mark's comments about gender and sexuality have made him either a demon or a banner-man in the eyes of Evangelical Christianity. So when, in the wake of yet another controversy over gender, Driscoll announced that he and his wife, Grace, would be writing a book on marriage, the lovers and haters both waited on pins and needles.

The Christian Post: Coptic Billionaire on Trial in Egypt for ‘Insulting Islam’
A Coptic Christian who is a billionaire telecommunications mogul is on trial in Egypt over allegations of “blasphemy and insulting Islam.”

Get Religion: Colbert, comedy and the cross
Stephen Colbert may not be the most mainstream source for news, but religion news and interviews make a pretty regular appearance on the Colbert Report, more than your average late-night show.

Quote of the Day:

The Haredim has always received special treatment in this country and people thought it was okay. But something has changed... in the sense that they feel they are going to control this country. That's disturbing.

Tanya Rosenblit, a 28-year-old well-know activist from Ashdod, Israel, discusses that ultraorthodox Jews have begun to flex their muscles and have been fighting to refuse equal rights to women. According to some, however, a fight back has begun.

Today’s Opinion:

Huffington Post: Do Jewish Youth Movements Glorify Violence?
There are times when war is necessary. However, putting M-16s in the hands of 15-year-olds, glorifying violence, and playing war games minimizes the real consequences and suffering associated with combat.

National Catholic Reporter: Show compassion – reduce prison sentences
I've begun urging the lawmakers to cut all Missouri sentences by 20 percent. For example, four years instead of five for selling crack cocaine within two blocks of a school; eight years instead of 10 for robbing a convenience store with a gun (but not using the gun); 16 years instead of 20 for using the gun but not causing death or permanent injury.

Join the conversation…

A movement called Young Earth creationism promotes the 6,000-year-old figure.

CNN: Explain it to me: John 3:16
The New Testament verse is held up by Christians around the globe because it neatly summarizes some key points of Christianity: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whosoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life."

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Douglas Baker

    It would seem that many are too quick to attack! Show me your proof that my beliefs are not valid, (that God exists), and I'll show u mine.

    January 11, 2012 at 10:37 pm |

    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 retard individual = how homeless people are produced), YOU ARE SCHEDULED NEXT !!!







    January 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • He's Coo-Coo For Cocoa Puffs!

      Oh goody, the white trash conspiracy howler is back in his all-caps psycho-racist glory.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  3. Bo

    If man evolved how did he survive? Man is physically very defenseless: he can’t fly he can’t swim very good, he can’t run very fast, he can’t jump very high, comparatively he isn’t very strong. If man evolved he is intellectually, billions of years ahead of the next most intelligent animal from which he was supposed to have evolved from.
    A single celled animal can’t even think so what would motivate it to improve it’s place in evolution?
    But, before these questions can be answered, the question of where did the matter come from that made up the singular which exploded to form the universe, where did the gravidly come from that held the singular together, where did the energy come from to cause the singular to explode. all these things had to have happened before there was any life to evolve.
    Where did God come from? I don’t know, but if He had wanted me to know he would have told me. It is not necessary to belief, in deed to know where God came from would be a detriment to faith, because God wants us to have faith in His exitance, not proof.
    By the way, I believe the universe is trillions, or more, years old; this planet earth, by man’s measurements, I believe is very old also, God just decided about six to ten thousand years ago to create life on this planet–why? I don’t know. But, it may have been because sin had invaded the universe via Satan who claimed that God was unfair and he rebelled against the God head, taking a third of the angels with him. Then he, Satan, claimed he would set himself above God. Now God must vindicate Himself. We are here for the evidence of what sin and rebellion can do to the universe. When sin has run it’s full course, it will be destroyed by God at some time in the future.

    January 11, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • MartinT

      Wow, what are you five? I mean, mentally I suspect you quit thinking for yourself around that age, because you haven't evolved AT ALL. I know being that ignorant does seem to have it's value for some people, but for those of us who want to really understand our world, your world view is just sad...

      January 11, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • MartinT

      I also wonder where you got your information about god and satan? Have you read anything from any other civilizations? What research have you done? Do you realize that the Christian god was the god of a very small tribe of people in a very small part of the world? You really need to read something other than the bible..

      January 11, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • hippypoet

      Bo, you should tell that to a psycologist, they can help you.

      January 11, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Chuckles

      Bo – So many issues

      First and foremost to answer your question, we survived because of our brains, that's it. Instead of evolving wings, or gills, or super strength, our path led down big, thinking brains. With these brains we learned domestication, irrigation, community, with our evolutionary trait, THUMBS, we learned to craft tools and use them, to build traps, to fashion weapons. Try for instance to go a day without using your thumbs, it's nearly impossible.

      As for your next, shall I say musing on the singularity, The question of "where did the singularity come from" is a good question and currently impossible to solve because we can't look back in time before it existed with our current technology. That might frustrate you because you infer from not being able to answer this question that it points towards a completely different, unrelated point. That's fallacy in its highest form. The questions like, "why did the singularity occur?, Why did it expand? why, why why" all these questions are more philisophical in nature and from a purely scientific point of view, irrelevant. It's not to say they are irrelevant questions that should be ignored, but you'd be hard pressed to prove scientifically a motive for something that appears in all likelihood to not be sentient in any capacity. There are theories like multiverse and expansion/contraction theories that could answer the "how's" but that's as far as you're going to get.

      Lastly, and this part was my favorite, you concede that the universe is trillions of years old (it's around 14 billion by the way at current estimates) and you think the earth is also old and so you understand the idea of geological time, and yet (this is my favorite part) you think that life began 6,000 years ago, meaning that for about 8,999,994,000 years, nothing existed on earth, it was just a floating rock in space and then god took aim with his finger and zapped everything into existance. Nevermind the dinosaur fossils or other fossils of life millions of years ago, you grasp that the earth has been around for a very long time and then retreat to a 6,000 year model of the bible to reconcile your belief in god and the biblical word.

      Honestly Bo, it's truly astounding that you could write what you did and not see the falsehoods spring up in front of you.

      January 11, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • hippypoet

      oh and that trillion years idea... are you a scientologist? let me know how my old buddy Xenu is doing? tell him/it/her i said hi please. 🙂

      January 11, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Bo is just too easy to ridicule

      Here is the best line in Bo's masterpiece: "A single celled animal can’t even think so what would motivate it to improve it’s place in evolution?"

      I am feeling pretty motivated to evolve today. How should I evolve? I know, I am going to evolve in such a way that I and all my descendants can jump four times higher than other humans. Here I go . . . I am really very motivated to evolve today . . . Bo said this is how it works . . . uh . . . not working . . . maybe I shouldn't get my ideas on evolution from a religious moron.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • He's Coo-Coo For Cocoa Puffs!

      Okay, so Bo is saying that the Earth was a barren rock until 6000 years ago, when Satan made sin invaded the universe, so God populated the Earth in response?

      In Bo's mind, sin can exist without there ever having been living organisms to actually do the sinning?

      If sin was already around, why would God create life so that the sin could grow and fester?

      Ah Bo, your theology is really comical!

      January 11, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  4. TruthPrevails

    5 Founding Fathers Whose Skepticism About Christianity Would Make Them Unelectable Today (By Rob Boston )

    Here are five founding fathers whose views on religion would most likely doom them to defeat today:
    1. George Washington. The father of our country was nominally an Anglican but seemed more at home with Deism. The language of the Deists sounds odd to today’s ears because it’s a theological system of thought that has fallen out of favor. Desists believed in God but didn’t necessarily see him as active in human affairs. The god of the Deists was a god of first cause. He set things in motion and then stepped back.
    Washington often employed Deistic terms. His god was a “supreme architect” of the universe. Washington saw religion as necessary for good moral behavior but didn’t necessarily accept all Christian dogma. He seemed to have a special gripe against communion and would usually leave services before it was offered.
    Washington was widely tolerant of other beliefs. He is the author of one of the great cla.ssics of religious liberty – the letter to Touro Synagogue (1790). In this letter, Washington a.ssured America’s Jews that they would enjoy complete religious liberty in America; not mere toleration in an officially “Christian” nation. He outlines a vision of a multi-faith society where all are free.
    “The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for giving to Mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation,” wrote Washington. “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one clas.s of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no as.sistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens.”
    Stories of Washington’s deep religiosity, such as tales of him praying in the snow at Valley Forge, can be ignored. They are pious legends invented after his death.
    2. John Adams. The man who followed Washington in office was a Unitarian, although he was raised a Congregationalist and never officially left that church. Adams rejected belief in the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus, core concepts of Christian dogma. In his personal writings, Adams makes it clear that he considered some Christian dogma to be incomprehensible.
    In February 1756, Adams wrote in his diary about a discussion he had had with a man named Major Greene. Greene was a devout Christian who sought to persuade Adams to adopt conservative Christian views. The two argued over the divinity of Jesus and the Trinity. Questioned on the matter of Jesus’ divinity, Greene fell back on an old standby: some matters of theology are too complex and mysterious for we puny humans to understand.
    Adams was not impressed. In his diary he wrote, “Thus mystery is made a convenient cover for absurdity.”
    As president, Adams signed the famous Treaty of Tripoli, which boldly stated, “[T]he government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion….”
    3. Thomas Jefferson. It’s almost impossible to define Jefferson’s subtle religious views in a few words. As he once put it, “I am a sect by myself, as far as I know.” But one thing is clear: His skepticism of traditional Christianity is well established. Our third president did not believe in the Trinity, the virgin birth, the divinity of Jesus, the resurrection, original sin and other core Christian doctrines. He was hostile to many conservative Christian clerics, whom he believed had perverted the teachings of that faith.
    Jefferson once famously observed to Adams, “And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be clas.sed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”
    Although not an orthodox Christian, Jefferson admired Jesus as a moral teacher. In one of his most unusual acts, Jefferson edited the New Testament, cutting away the stories of miracles and divinity and leaving behind a very human Jesus, whose teachings Jefferson found “sublime.” This “Jefferson Bible” is a remarkable doc.ument – and it would ensure his political defeat today. (Imagine the TV commercials the Religious Right would run: Thomas Jefferson hates Jesus! He mutilates Bibles!)
    Jefferson was confident that a coolly rational form of religion would take root in the fertile intellectual soil of America. He once predicted that just about everyone would become Unitarian. (Despite his many talents, the man was no prophet.)
    Jefferson took political stands that would infuriate today’s Religious Right and ensure that they would work to defeat him. He refused to issue proclamations calling for days of prayer and fasting, saying that such religious duties were no part of the chief executive’s job. His a.ssertion that the First Amendment erects a “wall of separation between church and state” still rankles the Religious Right today.
    4. James Madison. Jefferson’s close ally would be similarly unelectable today. Madison is perhaps the most enigmatic of all the founders when it comes to religion. To this day, scholars still debate his religious views.
    Nominally Anglican, Madison, some of his biographers believe, was really a Deist. He went through a period of enthusiasm for Christianity as a young man, but this seems to have faded. Unlike many of today’s politicians, who eagerly wear religion on their sleeves and brag about the ways their faith will guide their policy decisions, Madison was notoriously reluctant to talk publicly about his religious beliefs.
    Madison was perhaps the strictest church-state separationist among the founders, taking stands that make the ACLU look like a bunch of pikers. He opposed government-paid chaplains in Congress and in the military. As president, Madison rejected a proposed census because it involved counting people by profession. For the government to count the clergy, Madison said, would violate the First Amendment.
    Madison, who wrote the Const.itution and the Bill of Rights, also opposed government-issued prayer proclamations. He issued a few during the War of 1812 at the insistence of Congress but later concluded that his actions had been unconsti.tutional. As president, he vetoed legislation granting federal land to a church and a plan to have a church in Washington care for the poor through a largely symbolic charter. In both cases, he cited the First Amendment.
    One can hear the commercials now: "James Madison is an anti-religious fanatic. He even opposes prayer proclamations during time of war."
    5. Thomas Paine. Paine never held elective office, but he played an important role as a pamphleteer whose stirring words helped rally Americans to independence. Washington ordered that Paine’s pamphlet “The American Crisis” be read aloud to the Continental Army as a morale booster on Dec. 23, 1776. “Common Sense” was similarly popular with the people. These se.minal docu.ments were crucial to winning over the public to the side of independence.
    So Paine’s a hero, right? He was also a radical Deist whose later work, The Age of Reason, still infuriates fundamentalists. In the tome, Paine attacked insti.tutionalized religion and all of the major tenets of Christianity. He rejected prophecies and miracles and called on readers to embrace reason. The Bible, Paine as.serted, can in no way be infallible. He called the god of the Old Testament “wicked” and the entire Bible “the pretended word of God.” (There go the Red States!)
    What can we learn from this? Americans have the right to reject candidates for any reason, including their religious beliefs. But they ought to think twice before tossing someone aside just because he or she is skeptical of orthodox Christianity. After all, that description includes some of our nation’s greatest leaders.

    January 11, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Vupra

      I like that. Very nice!

      January 11, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Liberty

      I do find it hilarious that the conservatives who keep claiming the Founding Fathers who have hated them for being radical leftists if they lived back then. The truth is that the conservatives of 1776 chose to be Loyalists and fought with the British, not against them. And when their war was lost, they went to Canada, where their descendants would develop a semi-socialized society.

      No irony at all.

      January 11, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • captain america

      Why does some dip sh it canadian think their opinion cuts any mustard with American politics, Past present or future.Don't you have your own country to screw up? There's your sign

      January 11, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  5. Vupra

    Define your god and then we can discuss the definitions and whether they are impossible or otherwise shown to not exist, for I will tell you now: there are no gods as described by any religion, no such thing as "magic" or religious facsimile, no apparent "afterlife", no apparent "soul", and no communications of any sort from any so-called "god" that is incontrovertible.

    No gods. Just people imagining things about their religion.
    If this is comforting to you, merely follow the laws that protect all humans and live in peace with your fellow human beings.

    Do not seek a theocracy because all religions are subject to personal interpretation.

    Having personal interpretation instead of direct communications with a supernatural deity is proof that there is none as described.

    You worship the imaginary in your head.
    That is no way to run a country nor is it a good resource when interacting with your fellow human beings unless they have the exact same interpretation as you – and they don't, otherwise the whole world would have one religion and no disagreements over any of it.

    Be realistic and keep your religion to yourself. It is only your own interpretation anyway. And it is only imaginary.

    In this country we have religious freedom. That means you should not invade my religion, or lack of one, with your religion.
    Our country is not allowed to prefer one religion over another either. If you don't like that, imagine your most hated adversarial religious enemies gaining control of our country and destroying yours. See how preference and support by our government is a bad idea? Do not even attempt a theocracy here. Many people who do not share your religion will oppose you in a very violent manner. Take your religion and stop stabbing our country in the back.
    We all live together here. That is how we are free. We live together and do not oppress each other.
    Or at least that's how I think it's supposed to be.
    At some point countries will merge into each other, either by invasion or agreement, so we must be respectful of most people. Some people do not deserve respect, for they give none to others and have no shame or empathy.
    Which sort of person are you? One who lives in peace? Or one who seeks to invade the lives of others with religion?

    January 11, 2012 at 8:21 am |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    January 11, 2012 at 4:58 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Theism is not healthy for children and other living things...prayer has NEVER been proven to change anything...you are a troll...go back to your bridge now!

      January 11, 2012 at 6:00 am |
    • MartinT

      I will pay ANYONE one million dollars who can prove, under scientific scrutiny, that a single prayer works. It doesn't have to be a big thing, just something that only god could perform. I have the money and I'll put it up to anyone who can do this.

      January 11, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @Martin: You'll be a long time waiting for someone to claim that. Didn't the James Randi Foundation offer the same thing over a decade ago and yet no-one has been able to claim the money?

      January 11, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • MartinT

      @ Truth, yes they did and noone has collected. You'd think by now someone would get the hint, eh? Thanks for the comment, I enjoy reading yours.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      It has already been done. Check out George Fredrick Muller. Send your million to Franklin Grahams Samaritans purse. Thanks so much.

      January 11, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Baloney. The fact that some event occurred after some nut prayed doesn't mean the prayer caused the event, dufus. Correlation does not equal causation.

      January 11, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
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.