May 8th, 2012
04:53 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Tuesday, May 8

By Laura Koran, 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:

Vice President Joe Biden went further than President Barack Obama has on supporting gay marriage.

CNN: Biden's support for gay marriage matches most Catholics' views
Apparent White House division over gay marriage – with Vice President Joe Biden saying Sunday that he is “absolutely comfortable” with the idea, going further than President Obama has on the issue – mirrors a nation that is evenly divided on the matter. Recent polls show that about half of Americans favor legalized gay marriage, while half oppose it, with support for the idea gaining significant ground over the past 15 years.

Tweet of the Day:

[tweet https://twitter.com/#!/iwritereligion/status/199625060628180992%5D

Enlightening Reads:

The Washington Post: Chavez’s cross: Venezuelan leader increasingly turns to Christianity during cancer struggle
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has spent much of his career praising the socialist ideas of famed atheists such as Karl Marx and Fidel Castro. Now in the thick of a prolonged battle against cancer, however, the leftist leader is drawing inspiration more than ever from a spiritual leader: Jesus Christ.

Reuters: Sin has led to Middle East unrest, says Saudi Arabia’s top cleric
Saudi Arabia’s top religious official has blamed Muslim sinfulness for instability in the Middle East, where pro-democracy unrest has toppled four heads of state. “The schism, instability, the malfunctioning of security and the breakdown of unity that Islamic countries are facing these days is a result of the sins of the public and their transgressions,” Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh was quoted as saying by al-Watan newspaper.

Catholic News Agency: Sebelius invited to speak at Georgetown’s commencement weekend
In a letter to Georgetown President John DeGioia, Reilly called it “scandalous and outrageous” that America’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university would provide such a “prestigious platform” to a Catholic who supports abortion and has played a key role in launching the controversial contraception mandate that threatens the continued existence of many Catholic institutions.

The Christian Post: School Backs Down From Student Wearing Jesus T-Shirt
A student who has been frequently disciplined by a Canadian school for wearing a Christian t-shirt is now allowed to attend classes wearing the shirt. School officials from Forest Heights Community School in Chester Basin, Nova Scotia backed down from disciplining William Swinimer, who had been given multiple in-school suspensions for wearing a yellow shirt that read "Life Is Wasted Without Jesus."

Quote of the Day:

Spiritual people should not be ashamed of being wealthy.

Deepak Chopra tells the Guardian at Toward a Science of Consciousness, a biennial conference in Tucson, Arizona.

Join the conversation…

CNN: Ahead of elections, French Muslims feel like scapegoats for nation’s problems
There's no doubt in university student Ouissem Satouri's mind about who he is. He’s Muslim. And he’s French. And there’s no contradiction between the two. “I’m sitting here with you in a French cafe, wearing French clothes and having a French book in my bag, and I'm never asking myself if I am French or not,” says Satouri, who’s studying politics in Paris. “I am speaking French, I am living in France, I am dreaming in French, I want to live in France. I am French. But I am Muslim also.”

- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Jacindai Eutslery

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    July 10, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  2. Codix Wisamq

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    July 4, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  3. AtheistSteve

    I chose to post this bit here since it's off topic and very little conversation is happening here.

    Basically I just want to ask two questions. More will follow as I respond to what you have to say. Concise, clear answers will help move the dialogue along.

    1. What do you believe?
    2. Why do you believe it?

    The goal is to see if you can adequately describe where you're coming from with regard to those two main questions and ultimately to explain why I or anyone other than yourself should also believe.

    To get the ball rolling I'm going to adopt my theist hat and provide answers to those first two questions that many of you will probably agree with. You could simply post a reply saying "yes" or provide a clarification, elaboration if you feel it's necessary.

    1. I believe in the Lord our God, creator of the universe and mankind who sent his son Jesus to sacrifice his life to atone for our sins Through His loving act we are blessed with the gift of everlasting life in Heaven at His side.

    2. There are other reasons but foremost is the Holy Bible. The inspired Word of God as revealed to us in Holy Scriptures.


    May 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      I can agree to your proposed answer to 1 and add that not only are we blessed with eternal life but also an abundant life here on earth as members of Gods spiritual kingdom.

      The answer to number two for me is faith and you are correct that the written word is important, but a person would need some faith or interest to read the written word in the first place. My personal experience was hearing the good news preached in the power of Gods holy spirit. I am not saying that someone could not be converted through reading the written word but combining it with witnessing the power of god in the preached word is more effective.

      May 8, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • captain america

      Try rolling your balls in your own country, we don't need you here. There's your sign

      May 8, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Thank you Robert

      Adding "an abundant life here on Earth" seems superfluous since even I as an atheist would agree we all experience that...but without the spiritual kingdom bit.

      I'll set aside faith for now and focus on the Word. I do have an interest in the written Word because the implications, if true, are vitally important. Before the Reformation the only access the laity had to the Word was from the pulpit. The idea was that only the learned clergy were competent to interpret the scriptures As a former catholic in some ways I tend to agree with that. Just as I wouldn't want Joe the plumber to perform my open heart surgery even if he had the best medical journals at his disposal I think that someone who tries to interpret the Bible without knowledge of it's history or an ability to read and understand the original Hebrew or Greek scrolls is ill equipped. But whether hearing the message being preached or reading it first hand the result is the same. The belief you hold to in question 1 is dependent upon the message revealed in question 2. It's the source...if you had never heard of the Bible or been preached to then you would have no knowledge of the God you believe in. History shows this to be true in many areas of the world that until fairly recently had no knowledge of scripture and other religions took hold instead. Hinduism, Buddhism and the like...
      Now I get how you appeal to Faith to allow you to accept what you've been told or read about scripture. Without faith the entire idea is reduced to simply believing what you've been told or what you've read. The problem is that people can lie or be misinformed and books can be fiction. Now God never wrote anything down(the stone tablets of the ten commandments currently exist only in story form), neither did Jesus and all scripture was penned by men who were supposedly inspired by God. Now whether or not these men were actually acting as conduits for God's message the problem remains. The testimony of mere men is not sacrosanct.

      So the 3rd question is why should one believe that the Word is truly a message from God? Like a Russian nesting doll this is required to accept the premise in question 2 which is required to accept the belief in question 1.

      May 9, 2012 at 4:56 am |
    • Robert Brown

      At some point, if not all, then most believers have a trial of faith. Turning to the word and spiritual leaders may help for a time. However, those who have strong faith, have had that faith strengthened by a personal spiritual experience. They have been in contact with God through his holy spirit.

      If you feel that men may have misrepresented him you can check with him for yourself. The catch is you have to have some faith to do that.

      Faith comes by hearing the word of God preached in the power of the Holy Spirit. For example, you can go and read the words to a hymn and think that is really nice, then when you hear that same hymn sung live and in person in the power of the holy spirit it will have a much more powerful effect. The same is true for the written word and the preached word.

      If you are truly seeking the truth and have a problem with the words of men then please don’t take my word for it. Seek him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, believing he is who, he says he is, and find out for yourself. I wish you the best.

      May 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      I think I get where you're coming from. It's just that the method you're using to approach your belief in God sounds a lot like confirmation bias. What you describe as feeling the power of the Holy Spirit sounds simply like an emotional response. A charismatic preacher or a heartfelt hymn can surely stir powerful emotional responses. Similar feelings of emotional elation are also experienced by sports fans who are caught up in the fervor of a game. These are well understood psychological phenomena. This is why you are able to see Gods hand at work in everything around you. In the beauty and majesty of nature and in the way you perceive your own consciousness. What I'm saying is that you've already concluded that God is real and therefore you experience confirmation of the idea that the power of the Holy Spirit is working through the hymn or spoken word when most likely it's just a typical emotional response. You are approaching the concept from the top down and interpreting what you expect to experience as falling in line with those expectations.

      I'm not trying to find God by first assuming he is real but trying to figure out WHY I should believe in the first place. By starting from the source of where the concept of God originates and building on it from the bottom up. This stems from a basic method used to determine what is true. Gather the facts and assemble them into a coherent whole. For instance look at what Darwin did to formulate his origin of species. Darwin didn't begin by thinking that evolution was true. He was led inexorably to this conclusion by the data he collected. He was in fact quite disturbed by what he discovered and kept his ideas from his very devout Christian wife while he searched for anything that might prove his ideas wrong. This is just an assumption but I'd wager you do the very same thing when you consider claims of UFO abduction or BigFoot. You don't begin by assuming on faith that these things are real and then find confirmation in eyewitness reports, first person testimony and castings of footprints.

      Therefore unless I'm able to find compelling root facts to support the idea that God is real it seems quite unlikely that I'll be able to suspend my disbelief. Without strong evidence to build a coherent whole picture to claims pointing to God being real it is impossible for me to accept them as being true. Likewise I can't simply accept concepts like spirits, ghosts, miracles or a soul. Faith in the way you apply it isn't a reliable path to truth. Using faith one can justify believing in anything regardless of whether it is true or not.

      Your faith in God works for you and that's just fine. If it helps you find peace then good for you. But much as I suspected sound reasons for doing so are absent. I cannot walk down the path you do and maintain my integrity.


      May 10, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    May 8, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Jesus

      ~Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      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!.~.

      May 8, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  5. Jeanine

    So, Eric Marrapodi, Dan Gilgoff, and today's speed read writer Laura Koran, will you weigh in on this and clarify things or do you get the giggles from seeing how many proxies I can burn through in an hour?

    I know you guys could post here but don't. I know you probably have an excellent idea of what is going on here.
    Why don't you fill us in? Use a method that cannot be done by someone outside of CNN. I don't need more fake "moderators" giggling in the background. I want to know for a "fact" and not using a bunch of bluff from a bullshtter "IT" guy.
    And yeah I'd like it soon if you wouldn't mind.
    In return I will do one reasonable thing for you, including leaving here forever. I do have other places I can go if you don't want me here. Or you can continue your inscrutable arrogance. Thought it was worth a try.

    May 8, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • CNN

      You suck. We could go into more detail, but it all boils down to that.

      May 8, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • sam

      Can we pretty please skip all the rest, and you just leave?

      May 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  6. just sayin

    Sign the peti,tion to end the National Day of Prayer (which violates the 1st Amendment. God & government are a dangerous mix.)


    (remove the dots from anything with t.it in it)

    May 8, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • just sayin

      Post above by phony just sayin. God bless

      May 8, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  7. lastofall

    Just because worldly people support that which is worldly, it should not be of any amazement. And just because these such worldly people label themselves with what is not worldly as a means of giving them the appearance of virtue, does not means that they are; nor does it mean at all that they in some way represent that which is actually virtuous.

    May 8, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • Weak Sauce

      Well said! I always find it hilarous when an atheist claims that Christianity is everything wrong with this world and then in the same sentence they advocate violence against Christians.

      May 8, 2012 at 10:37 am |
  8. Jesus

    Who wants to see what God's pen1s looks like? The Holy Wang? The Perfect Pole? (never mind the rash, I'll heal myself inna minute) C'mon! Who wants to ride? It's not contagious! Wait!

    May 8, 2012 at 7:29 am |
  9. Chtulthu


    May 8, 2012 at 6:04 am |
    • Chtulthu


      May 8, 2012 at 6:05 am |
    • Ling Shu

      what asymmetrical gruntlings of wisdom!

      May 8, 2012 at 6:47 am |
  10. Parma P

    Deepak Chopra is one of the most disgusting, slimy liars it has ever been my misfortune to come across.

    May 8, 2012 at 5:24 am |
    • Jeanine

      It is like that for me, also.

      May 8, 2012 at 5:52 am |
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.