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January 20th, 2012
04:27 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Friday, January 20

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: ‘Hate religion, love Jesus’ video goes viral
With so many atheists coming out of the closet, it’s not difficult to imagine a video decrying religion racking up millions of hits on YouTube. But a video along those lines has been viewed 15 million times and liked more than a quarter-million times since it was posted on January 10, featuring an enthusiastic young Christian from Washington state.

Belief on TV:

Tweet of the Day:

From @AmericaMag: In 2011, a surprising number of films had genuine spiritual intentions: bit.ly/wSGUg3

Enlightening Reads:

Jewish Daily Forward: U.S. Jewish Population Pegged at 6 Million
Two new independent studies have found that there are between 6.4 million and 6.6 million Jews living in the United States today, representing about 1.8% of the population. Though the studies used drastically different methodologies, they appear to point to a growing consensus on the number of Jews in America, a figure that has been elusive in recent decades.

Catholic News Service: Pope wanrs of threat to freedom of religion, conscience in US
Pope Benedict XVI warned visiting U.S. bishops that "radical secularism" threatens the core values of American culture, and he called on the church in America, including politicians and other laypeople, to render "public moral witness" on crucial social issues.

Religion News Service: Are Mormons Christian? It’s complicated.
Ask Mormons if they are Christian, and their answer often starts with a sigh. Look at our name, they’ll say, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Read The Book of Mormon’s subtitle, “Another Testament ofJesus Christ.” Examine our Articles of Faith, “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved…”

Relevant Magazine: Reaching the World – From Your Desk
Everyone knows the best place to foster relationships with the poor is on the church’s annual week-long mission trip or within the specified hours we’re doing “volunteer” work in the community. Or, reluctantly, when we can’t quite zip through a red light in time to avoid the sign-holding stranger who wants a bite to eat. Where we don’t always encounter the poor is at work.

Excerpt of the Day:

Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Jews may not have the luxury of a synagogue that welcomes them. However, an ambitious Welcoming Synagogues project, launched in 2007 at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, aims to train congregations cross across denominations to become safe and welcoming spaces for Jews of all sexual orientations and gender expressions.

Jessica Youseffi, a community organize from the Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, sings the praises of an organization the attempts to make synagogues more open to the LGBT community.

Today’s Opinion:

Washington Post: Muslim with sharia?
On Tuesday, January 17th, former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich said that the only way he would ever support a Muslim for the presidency of the United States is if that person would “commit in public to give up sharia” thereby continuing his trend to exhibit his ignorance on the subject of Islamic law (sharia) as well as his ignorance of the United States Constitution.

Join the conversation…

After winning in Iowa and New Hampshire, Romney looks to make it three wins in a row in South Carolina.

CNN: Evangelical for Mitt: A South Carolina power brokers promotes the frontrunner
You’ve probably never heard of her, but Cindy Costa’s tablemates at a Sunday prayer breakfast here hint at her influence. Inside a hotel ballroom bulging with 400 socially conservative activists, Costa is seated with the headliners: White House hopeful Rick Perry and political operative Ralph Reed.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer causes small kids to get hit by buses when they aren't paying attention.
    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how very stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you crave the smell of kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    January 21, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • bringoutyourdead

      restless demon tormented at the concept of prayer

      January 21, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Prayer brings change you can believe in

    January 21, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  3. ALBERT

    Albert Einstein: God is a Product of Human Weakness

    The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.

    if this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him?

    January 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  4. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer causes small kids to get hit by buses when they aren't paying attention.
    Prayer takes people away from actually working on solutions to their problems.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you crave the smell of kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    January 21, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  5. Forget

    GGIS
    (good grief it's Saturday!)

    January 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Forget

      Why aren't there "Morning Speed Reads" for Saturday and Sunday?

      Did you guys think weekends don't matter............and you work for an international news corporation?

      ಠ_ಠ Are you kidding me?

      January 21, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Prayer illuminates the Holy Bible

    January 21, 2012 at 4:49 am |
    • Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer causes small kids to get hit by buses when they aren't paying attention.
      Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
      Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
      Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
      Prayer fucks up your knees and your back.
      Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
      Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
      Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
      Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
      Prayer makes you hoard cats.
      Prayer makes you crave the smell of kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
      Prayer wastes time.

      January 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  7. Do you hear what I hear?

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yOVTF5gTXM&w=480&h=360]

    January 20, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  8. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer causes small kids to get hit by buses when they aren't paying attention.
    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you crave the smell of kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    January 20, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Prayer brings the joy of God to life
    Prayer brings relaxation at days end
    Pray from sun to sun
    Always in the presence of God
    Practice the presence of God
    Pray without ceasing in 2012

    January 20, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  10. Brad

    Someone said that the Second Law of Thermodynamics pertains to sin. It's a common idea. Basically, entropy (or increase in entropy) is identified with sin. If that's true, then what implications would the Third Law of Thermodynamics (Nernst's postulate) have for sinners? What would it say about heaven?

    January 20, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Teletubby Chainsaw Massacre

      Whoever said or believes that the Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to sin is easily one of the dumbest humans to ever suck air. The Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to . . . thermodynamics. I have never met anyone dumb enough to think that sin is a thermodynamic entity. The Second Law of Thermodynamics addresses energy states, not sin, and not a lot of other things that religious fundamentalists mistake it for.

      But I always get a laugh out of religious dingbats who try to use science that they do not ever remotely understand to try to undermine science, not only the Second Law of Thermodynamics, but my favorite, attempts to use various theories about evolution to say that evolution does not exist.

      January 20, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Brad

      My my! How disappointing. Just a Teletubby. And this could have been about sin, Shannon entropy, crystals at absolute zero in heaven and all kinds of good stuff. What a world. I'll look for my fuzzy slippers now.

      January 20, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Big Bad John

      Brad got whooped by a teletubby. Too funny!

      January 20, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  11. Donald Shimoda

    The sea is always a perfect sea, and it's always changing too. If perfection is stagnation then heaven is a swamp.

    January 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Not

      Oh, go soak your head you idiot!

      January 20, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      You are free to feel and do whatever you wish, just as I am. Therefore at this time I will not soak my head because I do not want to.

      January 20, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Ironicus

      I see someone is experiencing mental illness. Donald, why don't you do some drugs? That might help you.

      January 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Ironicus
      I used to do drugs, but then the voices stopped talking and I didn't know who to kill or what to burn anymore.

      January 20, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Ironicus

      lol

      January 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      The sky is always a perfect sky, and it's always changing too.

      January 20, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  12. RLONG

    Believing may be hazardous to your health, therefore I choose not to believe, as others may choose not to smoke. I just don't BELIEVE, period..........

    January 20, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      I don't believe in RLONG either. Oh i know, there'll be people posting saying "of course RLONG exists – you can't see him but his words prove something", to which i say "nonsense! The words of RLONG were made up a long time ago by a bunch of old men who wanted control over the masses".
      Er, right?

      January 20, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Er, wrong.

      January 21, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  13. hippypoet

    ok todays lovely topic of discussion is – is knowing better then not knowing?

    January 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Mirosal

      It would depend if "plausible deniability" is an accepted defense lol

      January 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      Depends on the topic.

      I really don't want to know what the mafia is doing and who is involved. 🙂

      January 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Almost always better to know.

      99% of the time.

      I do recall hearing a freind had molested his cat with a pencil.

      That was the "I would rather not have know" 1 percent.

      January 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      There are few things that can enrage me more than someone telling me "that's on a need to know basis, and you don't need to know".

      “When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know, the end result is tyranny and oppression no matter how holy the motives.”
      – Robert Heinlein

      January 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Ironicus

      It depends, hippypoet....duh!

      Once again your lack of specificity ruins your intent, your questions, and your attempts to provide a "topic"...!!!!

      But you are the winner in the slipper category, so I guess I'd better shut up, huh...

      January 20, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • hippypoet

      @Ironicus wow dude – what is it that makes it so hard for you to deal with simple things. Having a complete lack of specifics allows for the entire spectrum of answers and thats kinda the point – i am sorry that you can't see the use of asking circular questions where often times the answers can become the questions – this is a grand tool that can allow people to see things from different points of view and from it grow as a person. Knowledge is the most powerful tool anyone has, but when knowledge of things becomes dangerious thats when people say that they wish they didn't know...lets take the mafia answer for this one – lets say you knew the mafia was meeting in warehouse number 2 – you would aviod number 2 or perhaps call the police to fill them in... or you don't have such knowledge and find yourself in the middle of a drug exchange to which there are NO witnesses to that! Such exercises of the mind of useful because there is always two sides to every coin but most only ever see one. You sir are in my opinion either a children or an adult who just never grew up past the time when every loop hole was made known just for the fun of it – hint, the fun of it is really just an acknowledgment of something you learned a.k.a. more knowledge, the other side of what you do is balantly not answer questions but yet say things anyway much like that of a 5 yr old – they have nothing of importance but they HAVE TO tell you ALL about it!

      crying isn't crying but rather laughter on the wrong side of your face – learn to see things from the other side and life isn't so blah everyday mundane bs over and over again, let it be new everyday!

      January 20, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Ironicus

      hippypoet, I think you should talk about slippers instead. It seems more your speed.

      January 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • J.W

      I agree with Damian it depends on the topic. I like the fact that I know where my car is right now, but I also like the fact that I don't know what my life will be like 10 years from now. I don't know if you wanted to relate the topic to religion or not, but I think not knowing isn't a bad thing there either. Sometimes doing research and coming to your own conclusions is part of the human experience.

      January 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • hippypoet

      oh dear! - - – - – - – – -- – – – – – - – - – – – – - – – – - -- - - – – -
      Of course if depends on the topic... thats not the point – J.W. got to the core of my overall point – self found conclusions have often longer lasting impacts and more meaning to you but that doesn't state that your self-found conclusion is truth, its just meaningful and sometimes truth is less meaningful hence why some parents employ lies when trying to teach there kids things – it will have more meaning to the child then the truth would have – plus if they (the kids) dig into the issue, they will find truth and because it was discovered on there own it too will hold more meaning! Knowledge is only power when amongst the lesser knowledgeable (thats you ironicus).

      i play at greater meanings in a world that has gone from seeking out meaningful things to creating machines to breed laziness. All these machines now-a-days have access to the internet and yet how many people do you know that don't know there @sshole from there elbow – seriously, its frig.gin sad!

      once when the accquirement of knowledge was needed to become something, knowledge had meaning...now when knowledge is literally at your finger tips, no one cares and it has little meaning to have such intelligence. All people care about is stuff. there is a greater picture and its not found in your iphone!

      January 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Ironicus

      You should DEFINITELY talk about slippers.

      Definitely. No question.

      January 20, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • hippypoet

      ironicus, thats great, maybe next time we can have a grand convo over some pretty slippers – but until then, if all you have is childish comments stating the obvious then please find yourself elsewhere. physiological discussions are my favorite and many times there is no point to having the chat but much can still be gained from having it. much like you, while brushing your teeth is a great idea, it won't stop the sh!t spewing out of your mouth. sorry. perhaps its the foot lodged deep in your mouth thats the real problem...who knows – maybe you really do have a weird fet.ish for pink fluffy slippers and thats the real reason your now talking to me, you want me to mention then again- oh you sick fuc!

      i'll await the verdict...for your issues i recommend dr. suess – no one better then 1 and 2 to help you. its there job you see, and if it wasn't for me they wouldn't be! so lets be sharing and kind, help us help you and oh what wonders we shall find.

      January 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Ironicus

      When you want to have an intelligent conversation, be sure and ask someone else to do it for you since you can't do it yourself.

      January 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • J.W

      I dunno. I kind of like the hypothetical question thing. We spend so much talking about just whether God exists or not. We learn more about each other with the hypothetical questions.

      January 20, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Ironicus

      Yes, we learn who is a fuzzy thinker and who is not. I guess that's why hippypoet wears fuzzy slippers – he's a fuzzy thinker.

      January 20, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Forget

      Ignorance CAN BE bliss.

      January 21, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  14. Nonimus

    The Pope speaking on American values and "public moral witness"? Are we sure this wasn't SNL, the Onion, or the Daily Show?

    January 20, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Mirosal

      He should be the LAST one to ever speak of public morals, given his membership in 2 cute little fraternities ... the Hitler Youth and the Catholic Church ... gee his morals seem to be a-ok don't they?

      January 20, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Nonimus

      @Mirosal,
      The church is one thing, but my understanding is that his membership in the Hitler Youth thing was not exactly voluntary, as was the case for many children in Germany at that time.

      January 20, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Mirosal

      It was pretty much state law when you turned 14. Do it or else. Coersion ... the Nazis were good at it, and so is religion .. do it or else

      January 20, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  15. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer causes small kids to get hit by buses when they aren't paying attention.
    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer just wastes time.

    January 20, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Donald Shimoda

      Would you step in front of that bus? Are you working on solutions? Would you walk rather than ride? We all do exactly what we want to do.

      January 20, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  16. You Sir, Are A Tard

    Poor chaps, just can't seem to figure it out. Think they have all the answers when they're blind as a bat!

    January 20, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Donald Shimoda

      Do yo have the answers?

      January 20, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  17. Independent

    Re: last nites debate.

    It's a shame your News Network felt they had to join the game of Slinging Mud. I think the Candidates have been trying to keep their debates focussed on the issues at hand, I guess that just isn't sensational enough for your Network. We all want America to be Great again. I believe in Freesom of speech. You don not have to muddy your information to report news. We Americans are not stupid! Report the news & perform your jobs with DECENCY. Shame on your Network.

    January 20, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • William Demuth

      Seriously?

      The Republicans want to promote a false morality. In fact they want to ENFORCE it on me and mine.

      And all the while, they are deviants, liars and posers who hide their perversions behind their imaginary savior.

      January 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      The only thing not imaginary is the messiah, of which there are many. Everything else is an illusion. The messiah may not choose to participate however. Then we have only fiction.

      January 20, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  18. Prior

    "So it came to pass that Ver Omesh was gripped by a great famine. So Markon went to the Prophet Articus and asked to go to the forest for food. The prophet bade him be patient, for the Ori provide for all who have faith. But Markon did not believe. So the prophet drew a line in the sand and told him, 'step across and you may do as you wish.' So Markon did and left the village and feasted on wild berries.The fruit was bitter. It did not satisfy him. He longed to return to the village, but found that the line had widened to a great chasm. He called out to the Prophet in fear, but the Prophet said, 'The line has not changed; it is you who have changed. Step across if you truly believe' So Markon prayed for forgiveness and took the first step and the hands of the Ori enveloped all those who welcomed him back."

    "Hallowed are the children of the Ori."

    January 20, 2012 at 8:24 am |
  19. Blaxx Xparx

    Facts: the first church was materialism clocked by paganism! Yahsua ofTHE nazareth told you! Nicademus showed you when spoke of being reborn. Moses brung you the books and you tossed them for $,©,£,& %....... it was written not bow to icon non as IDOLATRY WORSHIP THIS YOU HAVE A CANANITE AS JESUS. IS NOT THE PALE SKIN A CURSE BUT LIFE TO ALL IS A EQUAL BLESS NO MATTER THE BODY OT REST IN? DO NOT THE MOUNTAINS SUPPORT THE ROCKS IN IT BREAST LIKE BANY SUCKLING? HOW YOU WANNA BE SPIRITUAL NOT KNO THESE UNIVERSAL PRINCIPALS. THIS IS BLASPHEMY THIS IS SATANIC IN ITSELF..... IF YOU CURSE THE CHILDREN OF THE 13 TRIBES YOU CURSE YA OWN SELF SO AS WE WATCH THE WORLD DIE WE WILL SING SONGS OF PURE JOY AS YOUR FALSE TEACHING COME TO A COMPLETE END.... FOR IT IS WRITTEN AND NO MAN CAN CHANVE THE WORD OF THE MOST HIGH YAH ALLAH ELYOWN ELYOWN EL SHADDI ..... SINCERLY THE APOSTLE HOSEA OMAR PEACE AMERICA. WE ARE NOT AT WAR WITH OUR COUNRTY MAN BIT THE LIES IT COVERS OVER OUR BLOOD.

    January 20, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Fluffy, the gerbil of doom, and a rodent who HATES rap

      "brung"......Bwahahahahaha.
      Now clearly this a puzzle, or written in some sort of code to be deciphered. Do we draw a diagonal line somewhere, or read every 3rd word ? As it is, it makes NOT one word of sense. Why are you shouting ? Did you skip your pills today ?

      January 20, 2012 at 9:19 am |
  20. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Enjoy the sounds of prayer in the morning
    Speak with God
    Early and often
    Pray without ceasing in 2012

    January 20, 2012 at 4:39 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      DELUSIONAL!!

      January 20, 2012 at 4:57 am |
    • Mirosal

      It won't change a thing, and your own doctrines and beliefs confirm that.

      January 20, 2012 at 6:28 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @Mirosal: Good morning my good friend 🙂 I love how this freak say's 'pray without ceasing'...not sure about how pathetic of a life it lives but most people have lives to live and jobs to go to.

      January 20, 2012 at 7:03 am |
    • Mirosal

      and hello m'lady 🙂 ... well, it had to stop for a few seconds to type out its daily dose of drivel. Then I'm sure it was yanked by the chain into a pew and forced on its knees again until tomorrow.

      January 20, 2012 at 7:06 am |
    • Prior

      "Truth is elusive to those who refuse to see with both eyes."

      "Hallowed are the children of the Ori."

      January 20, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer causes small kids to get hit by buses when they aren't paying attention.
      Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
      Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
      Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
      Prayer fucks up your knees and your back.
      Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
      Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
      Prayer makes you hoard cats and eat cat litter.
      Prayer just wastes time.

      January 20, 2012 at 10:40 am |
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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.