February 21st, 2012
06:20 PM ET

Jeremy Lin emerges as emblem of burgeoning Asian-American Christianity

By Steve Almasy, CNN

(CNN) - When Jeremy Lin was a sophomore at Harvard, he was struggling emotionally. A good guard on an awful basketball team – the Crimson finished the season with an 8-22 record – he needed something more than hoops.

Lin, who had been baptized into an evangelical Chinese church near San Francisco in ninth grade and had come to value Christian fellowship through his youth group, was part of the  Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Christian Fellowship group, regularly attending Bible study.

But most of his life was spent with his basketball teammates and other athletes, he later told the Student Soul, a website of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

“It’s a tough environment and if you don’t have appropriate boundaries, you’ll compromise your faith,” he told the website, run by a major Christian college ministry, in 2010.

So, during his sophomore year, Lin stepped up his involvement in the Asian-American Christian group, about 80 members strong, gaining a sense of community that had eluded him.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

Those kinds of stories are becoming increasingly commonplace as more second generation Asian-Americans like Lin join campus Christian groups, said Carolyn Chen, who directs Asian-American Studies at Northwestern University.

"What's happening at the college level, for students this is a really important time and this is a really important form of community," Chen said. "It is also somewhat like an extended family for them."

According to the latest census, the Asian population in the United States grew by 43.3% between 2000 and 2010, the largest percentage increase of any ethnic or racial group. Asians make up just under 5% of the population.

Asian-American Christianity, experts say, is growing along with that population boom, especially among second generation Chinese-Americans. Jeremy Lin, whose parents are from Taiwan and who talks openly about his Christian faith, has become a symbol of that trend.

Pyong Gap Min , a sociology professor at Queens College in New York, said there has been growth in the number of Asian-America Christian churches, though it is hard to get reliable numbers on the size of the community.

But Min said the number of Pan-Asian churches is increasing, especially on the West Coast, where congregations that have traditionally been dominated by one ethnicity have become multiethnic. Many of those churches are adding services specifically for second generation Asian-Americans, many of whom want services in English.

Chen said more Asian-Americans are also joining traditionally white evangelical congregations.

“You see Asians gaining more visibility in American evangelical circles,” Chen said. “What you are seeing is more integration.”

Lin grew up in Chinese churches. On college campuses, Asian Christian groups have grown up separately from the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

Jeremy Yang, a senior at Harvard who sits on the board of the Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Christian Fellowship, said his group offers a place where faith and culture intersect. Students feel comfortable being with and sharing their faith with other Asian-Americans, he said.

The Harvard group began in 1994 as part of the Harvard-Radcliffe Christian Fellowship. So many Asians joined their Bible study that the founders decided to form a separate entity, he said.

“The growth was really explosive,” he said. “There is something about being Asian-American that attracted people into the fellowship.”

Fenggang Yang, author of “Chinese Christians in America: Conversion, Assimilation, and Adhesive Identities” and a professor at Purdue University, said Asians are drawn to Christianity partly by values that dovetail with Asian culture, including thrift, education and family.

“In that way it helps them assimilate into the U.S. culture while preserving important aspects of their cultures,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Evangelicals tend to have a value system that fits a widely held Asian desire for order and success, he writes in his book, adding via e-mail that Lin is being lifted up as an example of those values.

Despite being a superstar in high school, Lin received no scholarship offers to college. And despite being a high-scoring player by his senior year in college, he didn't get drafted by the NBA.

Lin signed a free agent contract with the Golden State Warriors and seemed to get in the game only when his team was way ahead or far behind.

The Warriors sent him down to a developmental league, where he fought emotional battles while on long, late-night bus rides, he told an audience at River of Life Christian Church in Santa Clara, California, last year.

Lin, who until last month was sitting on his third bench in his short pro career, was given a chance to play when some fellow New York Knicks were injured. He responded with a record-setting stretch of games in which he scored more points in his first five starts than stars like Michael Jordan or Allen Iverson had over a similar number of games.

As a student, Lin led what the Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Christian Fellowship calls a "family group," a small group devoted to Bible study and praying for others.

"A lot of people looked up to him because he was good at sports and really solid in his faith," said Yang, the Harvard senior.

Lin, who has said he may become a pastor someday, credits his rise as a professional athlete to understanding the way God was working in his life and developing a trust in God’s plan.

"I've surrendered that to God. I'm not in a battle with what everybody else thinks anymore," he told the San Jose Mercury News last week.

But there have been plenty of struggles.

When he was sent down to the minor league the first time, Lin told a church group last year, he turned to his pastor, Stephen Chen, at the Church in Christ in Mountain View, California. Chen told him to spend an hour a day with God.

Lin memorized a few Bible verses, Chen says, including a passage from Paul’s letter to the Romans in the New Testament that reads in part: “We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Chen told CNN's Sandra Endo last week that Lin doesn't believe in a prosperity gospel, where having great faith means everything will always work out.

"It's true hard things may come and you're not guaranteed an outcome but through it all, there'll be joy because you're walking with the Lord," Chen said. "The greatest joy you could have. Greater joy than being a professional NBA basketball player all-star."

Michael Chang, a Taiwanese-American who was once the second ranked tennis player in the world, said Lin will need to keep a balance in his life that can be hard in the world of competitive sports.

Sports stars are offered a tricky platform, said Chang, who now plays tennis on the Champions Tour and runs a Christian foundation that administers several sports leagues. People will listen to your every word, but they also watch your every move, waiting to see what you will do in public, he said. They  equate your value with your success or lack of it in the spotlight.

"As believers, we don't measure it that way," Chang said. "For us, it's going out there, knowing the Lord, and being able to take all the talents and gifts that you've been given and use that as a platform to  touch lives and touch hearts."

Lin told the Mercury News that his own battle as a believer continues.

"There is so much temptation to hold on to my career even more now," Lin told the paper. "To try to micromanage and dictate every little aspect. But that's not how I want to do things anymore. I'm thinking about how can I trust God more? How can I surrender more?

"It's a fight,” he said. “But it's one I'm going to keep fighting."

- Producer/Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Sports

soundoff (629 Responses)
  1. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things

    March 6, 2012 at 6:56 am |
    • Jesus

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      March 7, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Hugo

      Studies from the 19th Century? Gimme a break.

      How about studies from the 21st Century? Google - oxytocin prayer. Sure, meditation works too. But prayer also works.

      Unless you have a problem with science....

      March 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Satanluv

      I'd say it has the same effct as hoping and wishing...now if you pray w/ a cross, I would say that THAT would have the same effct as wishing with a horseshoe..

      March 12, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  2. scubadude

    I always amazed at the God haters on the religious site. They must really be a lonely and empty group.

    March 5, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • momoya

      You can't hate what you don't believe exists, so which believers do you mean?

      March 6, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  3. annapolisforchrist


    When the USA had morals, had values, had God in their lives, we were a blessed Nation. However, the politically correct "norm" of today has removed all, especially God. The consequences are abhorrent. Poverty, hunger, homelessness, joblessness, the violence against one another,- not just being a victim of a robbery – I'm talking high school shootings, teens killing parents, or parents killing their families. And yes, there are different denominations of faith all over the world but there is only one way to God – and that is through his Son. Those of different denominations are not doomed to Hell. Actually no one really knows how God judges when we pass on. The only message is that God, through his Son, has given us a chance to know Him, to love Him and serve Him in this life and be with Him in the next if we choose to do so. But the choice is ours. And the suffering and tests are only to draw us closer to God. He knows our pain, our sufferings, our hurts, and wants us to give it all up to Him so we can be closer in fellowship, know His love and his blessings. I do know this for a fact as my life has totally turn around since I finally "let go and let God". Once you do, you ask yourself "why didn't I do this sooner?" Peace to all....

    March 5, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  4. Ted

    How can you be smart enough to get into Harvard and actually believe that some supernatural stories scribbled down by various unknown people between around 60 AD (years after the alleged death of Christ) and 1,000 AD, threatening you with merciless torture if you don't believe the outrageous stories, are true?

    March 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • MIT

      It's called faith. I don't have it but I do respect the people with that kind of conviction

      March 5, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Ted

      um, why is faith a good thing? I never quite understood why believing things without evidence is a virtue.

      March 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Joseph


      March 5, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • joe

      You do know that Harvard was founded as a Christian University to train ministers of the gospel. Why do you think they're so successful?

      March 5, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • chuck

      Define faith Ted and you'll have your answer. Also, remember people believe without fail that homer wrote the Iliad. This was scribbled down 1,000 years after he created it. Do you think people could write about the Holocaust today or World War two? This occurred over 60 years ago. Do you think they remember exactly what personally happened to them?

      March 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Eric

      I agree with you Ted.. Christianity is a dumb religion founded on purely FICTIONAL stories. Nothing about the Bible is factual and in 100 years, I hope christianity and all religions are DEAD

      March 6, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Albert

      Critics against Christ never give good reasons for their lack of faith but belittling statements. There is ton of proof but staying blind to them is safer. Have you really check out the facts. I don't dislike you but I was one of you thinking that I was brilliant, until I saw the darkness of humanity in my own heart. Christ is real to me and has set me free to love others even if they kill me.

      March 7, 2012 at 2:32 am |
  5. Brian

    I'm not going to comment on the religious aspects of Jeremy Lin. It is what it is. However, I am *super* impressed with how much this young man has done with his short life so far. I'm half a year younger than him (just turned 23), and my list of accomplishments is nowhere near him. Not only did he go to the most elite college in the US, he was a star varsity basketball leader, and successful bible study group leader. He graduated (something most athletes cannot say), and is now a good starting point guard in the NBA.

    I'm also impressed with how he hasn't let his religious beliefs dictate his recent success, and become the highlight of his fast start... I think you know where I'm going with this, but it doesn't belong here.

    Anyways, he's doing really impressive stuff at such a young age, but maybe I'm just getting older...

    March 5, 2012 at 2:05 am |
  6. tallulah13

    I don't particularly care about the NBA, Jeremy Lin, or christianity, but I'd really like to thank the author for using the word "Burgeoning" in the headline. You just don't see that word often enough.

    March 5, 2012 at 1:00 am |
  7. RC Smith

    When are we going to drop the qualifiers? Asian American, African American??? Does that make me a European American? When we are going to truly erase the racial and ethnic lines and call ourselves Americans, period. When we stop glorying in where we came from and start glorying in where we going together then we will be a great nation. Not before.

    March 4, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  8. AreChristiansSerious?

    Christian values – "thrift, education and family." Is this for real? Take the US – a proclaimed Christian nation for example.
    More violence and wars than any other country. More broken families than any other country and high divorce rate. Poorest education than any developed country. In fact, the smartest ones come from Asia and typically non-Christian. The most gluttonous, obese, war mongering nation in history – true Christian values.

    March 4, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Travis Patterson

      Christians don't start wars, murders, or any other type of wrong doing. while i was reading your post i found your post a "slap in the face" for the Christians around the world to help people with there troubles... So think about what your going to say before you speak.

      March 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Bob Christman


      March 4, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • RNB

      You have to be kidding me. We have the most prestigious universities in the world. We have all the scientists. We have so much innovation. Regardless of what other countries think of our government, most Europeans and Asians like Americans and have no hatred for us. You think our religion makes us stupid? NO. PEOPLE make this nation what it is, not religion. People can use religion for terrible things, but it can also be used for wondrous things.

      You think Asians do not have their own religious cultural values? Buddhism, Taoism, Shintoism, etc are all deeply ingrained in the lives of Asian peoples. The way they carry out their lives reflects this. Americans are the way they are because of a lack of values, a lack of direction, no family structure, poverty, and a broken government that does nothing to help its citizens. Do not use religion as your scapegoat, it is ignorant of you to do so.

      March 5, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • wayne

      Our illustrious president stated that we are "not" a Christian country. We are not any more. Just like when John Lennon said that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ. At the time, he was right, just wrong to say it. The reason we and the rest of the world as a matter of fact, is in the sad shape we're in is an archaic word called 'sin'. Adam and Eve disobeyed God. and what did we get? A fallen world. Christianity birthed a free society. But with freedom came license. License to do evil as well as good. Not to worry, judgement is coming soon. Jesus wins in the end.

      March 5, 2012 at 4:53 am |
    • andrew

      Might have to take into consideration that we as a nation have stepped away from God. We are free will agents and have been since the dawn of time. If there is a problem with proclaiming something and doing the opposite you have the word hypocrite. With that being said, remember every man reaps what he sows. Don't really matter if you believe in God or not. Call it Karma if you want, but this nation has some plants that are growing and I wish we could pray for crop failure. (not going to happen though) Have mercy on us God for we have transgressed against you as a whole. Restore us as we humble ourselves before you.

      March 5, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • annapolisforchrist

      When the USA had morals, had values, had God in their lives, we were a blessed Nation. However, the politically correct "norm" of today has removed all, especially God. The consequences are abhorrent. Poverty, hunger, homelessness, joblessness, the violence against one another,- not just being a victim of a robbery – I'm talking high school shootings, teens killing parents, or parents killing their families. And yes, there are different denominations of faith all over the world but there is only one way to God – and that is through his Son. Those of different denominations are not doomed to Hell. Actually no one really knows how God judges when we pass on. The only message is that God, through his Son, has given us a chance to know Him, to love Him and serve Him in this life and be with Him in the next if we choose to do so. But the choice is ours. And the suffering and tests are only to draw us closer to God. He knows our pain, our sufferings, our hurts, and wants us to give it all up to Him so we can be closer in fellowship, know His love and his blessings. I do know this for a fact as my life has totally turn around since I finally "let go and let God". Once you do, you ask yourself "why didn't I do this sooner?" Peace to all....

      March 5, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Albert

      Wow..you make the USA to be horrible...why do people escape to here not China, Cuba or atheistic communist countries. Mao and Stalin who were devoted atheists killed over 140 million people in just 40 years and most were their own people. How many countries did the soviet union take over and completely oppressed? Your statements are absurd. Why be so hateful...Are you kept from escaping the USA?

      March 7, 2012 at 2:35 am |
  9. grahamgirl

    No matter what you believe, it's refreshing to see young people stand up for their beliefs.

    March 4, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Calhusker


      March 4, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  10. Josh

    Being an Asian American myself, I can understand where Lin comes from concerning his views. I am not Christian myself, but I respect the fact that he has opened himself to the world. He is trying to make a difference both in himself and outside of himself to the best of his ability and knowledge. The words of bigots and naysayers mean very little to a man of faith like him-its like rain on a windshield-we got wipers for that @ssholes. I am joining the US military because I believe in Democracy and Freedom, and we will overcome the ignorance that pervades this society through the strength of our actions-not through paltry words and stunted thinking. Our diversity is our strength, individuality the core of our unity and the American Dream our goal. Stand in the way if you dare.

    March 4, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • wayne

      Josh, where do you think democracy and freedom came from? Certainly not Asia. The U.S. was founded as a Christian country contrary to what liberals will tell you, but if they have their way, NO democracy, NO freedom.

      March 5, 2012 at 4:32 am |
  11. stan

    One day everyone will confess Jesus as Lord, but for some of you it will be to late. Jesus said, " If you confess me before men I will confess you before my father, if you don't confess me before men I willnot confess you before my Father."

    March 3, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Credenza

      Amen Stan. Bless you, my friend.

      March 4, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • periwinkle

      again, just your point of view, stan...

      March 4, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Babz

      Truth. Every tongue WILL confess and every knee WILL bow and the time is close at hand. Only a fool says there is no God and there is only ONE true God.

      March 4, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • TR in ATL

      @periwinkle. No, stan is stating GOD's point of view. Your comment is your point of view and that's fine. One day we will all know GOD. For me, it's much better to know Him before my last day on earth. If you continue to turn your back on Him, you will meet Him after your last breath. His only choice for you at that point is eternal punishment. Eternal punishment, separation, torment, burning... it's real and you'll have no other options then. But there's still time to meet GOD and to know His promise for you. Find a Bible and read the book of John. GOD will transform your life forever... that's His promise!

      March 4, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • tintin

      Oh wow so GOD is Christian. I am a Hindu so all my fellow Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs are we all doomed???

      March 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  12. Tare

    Just what we need, another religion that pretends to know the truth. Do yourself a favor and find the truth yourself – it doesn't do any good to try stepping into someone else's head. Conformity is the big lie about religions. Get 'em young so they can be brainwashed But the big problem is brainwashing accomplishes exactly the opposite – dirtying the brain to the point where one can't think for themselves.

    March 3, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Jim

      What do you consider as "the truth"?

      March 3, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Credenza

      So teaching a trainee to do a job well, to the best of his ability, and to do so in keeping with the laws the land AND of Health and Safety is "BRAINWASHING "him/her so they can no longer think for themselves, is it?

      To teach a child to live their life well, to the best of his/her ability, and to do so in keeping with the laws of God and man is "BRAINWASHING"?

      Life isn't a rehearsal my friend. You only get ONE chance at everlasting happiness. An intelligent person would at least give it consideration.

      See how irrational you look?

      March 4, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • TR in ATL

      @Tare... why do you hate GOD so much? Where does that come from? The Bible does say that 'the world' will hate Him, but I really don't get it. How can you live your life that way and know you'll spend eternity burning in flames? GOD has a promise for you and will make a place in heaven for you if only you believe in Him. It's a free offer, and all you have to do is accept it.

      March 4, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Calhusker

      Why is it anything different from your belief is bran washing? Life you have the one true answer.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  13. JEN


    March 3, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • DCC


      March 4, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  14. wafflefriesfofree

    Dude- no one wants a thesis here- it's a comment section.

    Noonecares University

    March 3, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  15. skeptic2

    Do you think that maybe Jesus now sups with chopsticks?

    March 3, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  16. brian Kimball

    Jeremy visits the chewstroke homepage daily, always leaving encouraging comments...we love him

    March 3, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  17. Horus Cheng

    Asian Religions are more complicated and philosophy-oriented. Buddha never promise anything and the only way to Nirvana is that you have to figure out the essence of life. Even being a good person would only lead to a better reincarnation. Only knowledge can break the circle. Daoism is even more abstract,it not only require people to love the nature ,but also command us to be at the Nature's rhyme.

    Believing in Jesus on the other hand, is better. You don't have to do anything, just before you die, say sincerely "I believe you", then all the sins would be swept. No wonder 2nd Generation Asian who have little knowledge of their culture would become Jesus's lamb. Who wouldn't? !

    March 2, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Credenza

      You are WRONG. Soooooooo wrong.
      You obviously have no clue about the Catholic Faith. You CAN'T say "I'm sorry " because you're frightened of going to Hell. You have to be deeply sorry that you have offended a loving God. The words are NOTHING if they are not sincere. They'll get you nowhere fast AND God knows our hearts – you can't fool him.

      Mercy and forgiveness are always there for everyone who is sincere.

      BUT not many people know EXACTLY when they'll die. and Jesus said "I will come like a thief in the night – no-one knows the appointed hour" In other words you need to be sorry and make amends LONG before you die.

      Do try not to parrot facts that have little meaning, there's a good chap!

      March 4, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • GrownUp

      @Credenza – if that's what Catholics believe, how do they explain the theif on the cross? The thief did not have the option to get off the cross and go live a life of righteousness. However, he is the only person in the bible who Jesus said would be with Him in paradise. The thief only hinted that Jesus was the Messiah by saying "When You enter Your kingdom, will You remember me?" And the thief only did this shortly before he died.

      March 4, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • periwinkle

      Stop with your millennia-old scare tactics. No such thing is true, it's all in your imagination.

      March 4, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  18. Emily Laurie

    What a great article concerning someone in the spotlight who openly professes his faith and sufferings. I found this article especially interesting because I recently was sent an email from my friend, Anthony Tolliver, regarding a new website he had launched called Active Faith. Their motto is “To use the platform that athletics provides to represent our faith while sharing and spreading the word of God.” One of the celebrities who is a part of the “In Jesus Name I Play” active wear is Jeremy Lin. After reading your post, I got a better understanding of him and his religious perspectives. While, rreligious views may be more of a personal nature, Jeremy stepped out in faith and openly shares his Asian-American Christian perspectives. I believe those in the Christian community can learn from him by stepping out and really standing up for what you believe in as a person. The stamina behind his views is not foreign, however and is represented by our nation whether people have a religious perspective or not. So what non-western religious perspectives type of people to western perspectives? I believe you’re exactly right in saying that, “Asians are drawn to Christianity partly by values that dovetail with Asian culture, including thrift, education and family.” In our readings this week for my Graduate study program we learned that there are six ethical standards for communication held in common in many religions:

    1.Tell the truth, avoid lies
    2.Do not slander anyone
    3.Do not blaspheme, dishonor and profane the sacred persons, symbols or rituals central to the religion
    4.Avoid communication that demeans other persons or life in general by being evil
    5.Aim habitually to embody ethical virtues in your character…and aim to become trustworthy
    6.Go beyond traditional notions of communication to inform, persuade, and please in order to aim at edifying others

    (Johannesen et al, 2008, pp. 86-87)

    I believe that any person, who is in the spotlight for their religious perspectives such as Jeremy Lin, should act appropriately as a role model, even though we are not perfect and hard things in life happen...it’s just the way life it. Religious views “emphasize moral and spiritual values, guidelines, and rules that can be employed as standards for evaluating the ethics of communication” (Johannesen et al, 2008, p. 81). If Jeremy Lin acts ethically, it shouldn’t matter what his religious perspectives are.

    Emily Laurie
    Communications Grad Student
    Drury University

    References: Johannesen et al (2008). Ethics in Human Communication. Long Grove: Waveland Press, Inc.

    March 2, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  19. SickofCNNBumps

    I question why CNN does an article like this. Libs are a hateful group.

    March 1, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  20. Ben

    Why do these Asian-Americans believe in Jesus? I would think they would follow Buddha, who I find more enlightening.

    March 1, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Tim Nichols

      Because Buddha is dead.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • SickofCNNBumps

      You obviously are a fool. Jesus was a liberal.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Ethan

      Buddha more enlightening? A fat fool who wants you to kiss his tummy for good luck, is all. Nirvana doesn't seem so great to me, being disconnected to everything. Jesus is a whole lot better. He just wants you to believe, and you'll have salvation, not to mention all the great benefits that comes with him. Buddha comes with none, except for bragging rights.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:50 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.