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July 5th, 2012
05:06 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Thursday, July 5

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:

CNN: Mosaic in Israel shows biblical Samson
Archaeologists are reveling in the discovery of an ancient synagogue in northern Israel, a "monumental" structure with a mosaic floor depicting the biblical figure of Samson and a Hebrew inscription. The synagogue – dating to the fourth and fifth centuries in both the Talmudic and late Roman periods – is in Huqoq, an ancient Jewish village in the country's Galilee region, the Israeli Antiquities Authority said.

Tweets of the Day:

Belief on TV:

Enlightening Reads:

BBC: Kenyan Muslim groups 'to protect churches'
Muslim leaders in Kenya have agreed to form self-defence groups to protect churches following a deadly attack on Sunday. Fifteen people were killed in the raids on churches in Garissa, a town near the border with Somalia. Kenya's border region has been tense since it sent troops into Somalia to pursue al-Shabab Islamist militants.

USA Today: Bishop's July 4 call: God grants freedom, not government
Independence Day abounds in political patriotic displays. But today Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput brought theological fireworks in a bell-ringing homily on the Affordable Care Act as an enemy of freedom under God.

The Birmingham Mail: Solihull man who ripped off Muslim woman's veil spared jail
A MAN who ripped off the veil of a Muslim woman in a Solihull shopping centre has been handed a suspended prison sentence. Ian Brazier, from Shirley, pleaded guilty to racially aggravated common assault at Solihull Magistrates’ Court last month.

Reuters: Pope backs his deputy Bertone at centre of VatiLeaks furore
Pope Benedict on Wednesday expressed full support for his deputy, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the chief target of leaked documents which the pontiff’s butler has been charged with stealing. Benedict’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested at the end of May and charged with stealing the pope’s private papers. He remains locked up in a Vatican police “safe room”.

The Courier-Journal (Kentucky): Clergy enlisted to assist veterans
Brent Rice walked forward at Maple Grove Baptist Church last Sunday to have his feet washed — a common ritual in many churches, recalling the biblical account of Jesus washing his disciples’ dusty feet. The Iraq War veteran doesn’t expect to wash away the memories that have haunted him since 2003, when he served as a tank driver in the vanguard of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. But he does expect to draw spiritual strength from this rite of passage, which Maple Grove has conducted with other returning veterans in recent years.

Opinions of the Day:

Religion News Service: Guest commentary: Thomas Jefferson, our least Christian president
Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion professor and the author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," explains why “to call Jefferson a Christian is to demonstrate disdain for either history or Christianity (or both).”

Join the conversation…

CNN: Tom Cruise divorce raises question: What is Scientology, anyway?
News of Tom Cruise's split with Katie Holmes and questions about any role that Cruise's status as a Scientologist may be playing in the divorce have a lot of people wondering: What is Scientology, anyway? In a series of tweets on Sunday, News Corp. boss Rupert Murdoch called the religion "a very weird cult" and said that Cruise is the "number two or three" man in the church's hierarchy. Here are the basics about the religion. What other questions do you have?

- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Chuckles

    Next All play question

    If you can think of an improvement on something, can you call it perfection?

    Many people point to god being perfect because of the human body, or the beauty of the world, etc... but I can think of many different improvements I would make to the human body before considering it "perfect".

    July 5, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Artemus Gordon

      The human body will never be perfect until we have retractable nipple propellers that can wisk us quickly wherever we want to go.

      July 5, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Fred Kenderman

      Retractible ni.pple propellers?

      July 5, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    July 5, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does 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! .

      July 5, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  3. Chuckles

    Real question for everyone (though mostly atheists because I think I already know what a believers answer would be).

    If you believe that gay people should be married, should we also legalize gay marriage between brothers? I know this sounds like kind of a gross question, but hear me out. We can all pretty much agree that inc.est is a bad thing and any children born out of that could have some serious genetic issues. When a believer bit.ches and moans about how if gay marriage is legalized, next is polygamy, in.cest and beastiality, (because for some reason all of those things are related) and we reject that because 1) beastiality is stupid because we're talking about two consenting adults 2) Polygamy is not really immoral but just incredibly tricky legally to design docu.ments that would make sense and 3)inc.est has some scientific ramifications and most of us can agree that as far as icky se.xual stuff goes, that ones a doozy. However, two gay brothers wanting to get married would definitely not be able to reproduce and could adopt (in some states) and they are of legal age.

    For the record, this in no way is an argument against gay marriage and as an atheist I find it ridiculous that this is actually a big debate we're having in our country, let alone that there is just an incredible amount of opposition.

    July 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • J.W

      I think the argument would be then that there will be some straight people like brother and sister who want to marry and they will begin to argue that it is unfair that incest is legal for gays but not straights. And what about heteros.exual incest in which the couple cant have children? All kinds of weird arguments may pop up. If they say they cant have children do we then make it a crime if they do happen to have a child somehow? That is the way I see it. Otherwise my argument is mostly that incest is just gross lol.

      July 5, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      HeavenSent

      Matthew 16:22 Then Peter took him, and began to go down on him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: he shall not c u m on thee.

      Amen..

      July 5, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Cal

      I would say it depends on whether or not their are laws against incest itself. Just like marriage is not the sin, gay "relations" are, if you can't regulate the "act" of brotherly lovin', who cares if they have certificate to frame?

      July 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Answer

      If two consenting adults were to join in their union, let them be. If it were a brother and sister situation – the same – let them be.

      If the outcome of the union results in a child, my only say is that they should have responsibility. Because it is their responsibility.

      July 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • hippypoet

      lol, lets say they are conjoined twin brothers that are in love – what now....

      in all seriousness, the brothers shouldn't have the right to get married because that completely opens the door to brother and sister marriage which is clearly a bad idea – victorian age anyone?

      i am all for gay rights in every aspect but brothers and sisters should stay that way.....granted no ones saying they can't get jiggy with each other just not legally married...kinda like how gay folks have it now – jiggy without marriage!

      July 5, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Chuckles

      It's funny, after taking a break from the blog for a while, I still get a response from the regulars. Hi Hippy! Hi JW! Hi Answer! ....... Hi HeavenSent?

      Sorry Cal, I don't know you, unless you went by a different alias.

      Anyways, I agree it's pretty icky. I have a twin sister and I gotta say, the idea of her being in a se.xual situation with ANYONE let alone myself, if really gross. I was just trying to take the idea to another level, but JW you make a good point that if they allow one group they should allow all groups and what exactly happens if a brother/sister relationship creates a child? You can't exactly kill it, and throwing the parents in jail would practically orphan the child, then again a fine just doesn't seem to cut it.

      You're probably right, inc.est is pretty yucky anyways.

      July 5, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • hippypoet

      its good to hear from you chuckles.. i only recently started blogging again.... but i have a new idea for what believers think god is... and it may actually exist and funny enough is only tested thru its effect on other objects – kinda like a black hole – the collective conscienceness of every living thing...since we all are part of the same energies and have in some form or another a conscienciness, i believe that collective is what the believers claim is god – the collective being felt and moved like any conscienceness but with the power to effect us all as we all play into it – as long as we are open to it... your thoughts?

      July 5, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Answer

      @Chuckles

      "Heya"

      @hippy

      I wouldn't want to be part of that collective. I'm the anti-collective guy. XD

      July 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      hippypoet.
      I think what you are refering to is the midichloriens from Star wars, which actually makes more sense than most of the prevailing ideas

      July 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Hippy

      Interesting idea, sort of like being connected invisibly to everyone and everything. Being able to tap into that not only feels like some sort of huge being but also gives us keen insight into everything. I like it a lot actually, it's similar to an idea I read and really liked that called these connections "philotes". Invisible strings that reach out from a person and connect with other things and unconsciously controlled by our will. We can wrap a philote around a person or a specific object which is why losing a person or an object is so difficult, it's literally breaking a piece of you.

      To call it "god" might be a little extreme, but I like the idea.

      July 5, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Stepping back a bit, let's look at a slightly different take on the scenario.

      A brother and sister are separated before the eldest is 3 years old. They are adopted by different families, raised in different states, but at some point they meet, say in college. Neither knows they are related. They date, fall in love. Is it wrong for them to marry?

      July 5, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Myweight

      It's an interesting idea. I guess the real question is after this couple finds out they're related, would they still want to marry? I was focusing on more of the type of people who go into a relationship knowing they're related. Your scenario raises the question of whether or not state can legislate love. I don't personally think they should go through with it because of the genetic consequences, but then again I also find it "icky" so who's to say.

      July 5, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Cal

      You would think that Genesis would have addressed all of this in the Garden of Eden and subsequenlty after Noah's flood.

      July 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  4. Unknown

    Atheism is a fantasy based on the ideals of men exactly how atheists mock religion for..massive flaw for atheism!

    July 5, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Lux

      atheism
      · n. the theory or belief that God does not exist.
      – DERIVATIVES atheist n. atheistic adj. atheistical adj.
      – ORIGIN C16: from Fr. athéisme, from Gk atheos, from a- ‘without’ + theos ‘god’.

      July 5, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Silliness.
      It seems you are the one who cannot seperate belief from fact.
      Once you acknowledge that what you believe can be different than what is truth, you will have a more3 fulfilled life.
      Thinking that all of your answers come from a book written by ignorant men thousands of years ago is very short sighted

      July 5, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Cal

      And members of every other religion mock yours. Why single out athiests?

      July 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Unknown

      why do atheists single out one group?

      July 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Unknown

      Well, in terms of America, which is what I think your talking about, Hindus, Brights, Jains, and myriads of other religions aren't attempting to legislate their religion in direct opposition to the first amendment.

      July 5, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Unknown

      Ahh the lamest excuse you can think of.Right.You keep telling yourself that

      July 5, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
  5. Do not debate with atheists: Matt 7:6

    God does not approve of debating with atheists.

    July 5, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Cal

      ??? Matthew 7:6 "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. ???

      July 5, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Lux

      As he doesn't exist how could he? His self-proclaimed representatives in the real world would have good reason not to.

      July 5, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Do not debate with atheists: Matt 7:6,
      I think the anonymity of the internet makes it ok. I suppose it would be possible for someone to hack cnn, get your information, and do you harm for your statements or beliefs, but why would they bother? This verse is a warning not to stir a nonbeliever to wrath. Would you walk up to a stranger and make statements like the things you see posted here? I wouldn’t. We share our beliefs in person with those who express interest or ask questions. If they say we don’t want to hear it, that’s the end of the conversation. If you continued to harass someone it could make them angry to the point of violence. I have also heard commentary about this verse in the context of being careful who you help. Would you pick up a homeless person and bring them home to your family? If you would, it would be a good deed, but it could also be dangerous.

      July 5, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  6. M.F. Luder

    I'm very disappointed that Kaku mentioned a fairy tale during this great announcement. Why play into the hands of the ignorant masses?

    July 5, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      You have to take his comments in context. He's attempting to explain science to the average American.

      Before you flame me, I'm an American too and embarrassed by the state of education here.

      July 5, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • HeavenSent

      I see you're making the rounds this morning M.F.

      Again, this scripture is for you.

      And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

      Luke 4:8

      Amen.

      July 5, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      Speaking of fairy tales.

      July 5, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • just sayin

      Get thee behind me, Satan? Sounds kinda gay.

      July 5, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Badger, the only fairy tales is what goes on inside of your remaining gray matter. Sorry that happened to you.

      July 5, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • HeavenSent

      HeavenSent

      Matthew 16:22 Then Peter took him, and began to go down on him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: he shall not c u m on thee.

      Amen .

      July 5, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  7. hippypoet

    christianity is mythology just like all the others!

    July 5, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Good morning hippypoet,

      From Merriam Webster:
      Myth
      1 a: a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon b: parable, allegory
      2a: a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone; especially: one embodying the ideals and inst.itutions of a society or segment of society b: an unfounded or false notion
      3: a person or thing having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence
      4: the whole body of myths 1.body of myths: a group of myths that belong to a particular people or culture and tell about their ancestors, heroes, gods and other supernatural beings, and history

      Mythology
      1: an allegorical narrative
      2: a body of myths: as a: the myths dealing with the gods, demigods, and legendary heroes of a particular people b: mythos 2
      3: a branch of knowledge that deals with myth
      4: a popular belief or assumption that has grown up around someone or something

      Atheism
      1archaic: ungodliness, wickedness
      2a: a disbelief in the existence of deity b: the doctrine that there is no deity

      Words have lots of meanings. So we could either agree or disagree depending on which ones you meant.
      Christianity is a popular belief. It embodies ideals of a society. It does contain parables and allegory. So it could be termed mythology in that context. Kind of like, most atheists would agree that atheism is disbelief in the existence of deity, but may take issue if I said atheism is wickedness.

      July 5, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      Xtianity is still a cult of death worshipers with no basis in reality.

      July 5, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Honey Badger Dont Care,
      Based on your post this is obviously what you believe to be true, but Christ is real to me and hopefully he will be for you one day too.

      July 5, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Hippypoet,

      Matthew 16:21   From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

      Matthew 16:22   Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

      Matthew 16:23   But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

      Amen.

      July 5, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      RB,

      If something is "real" to you when you have no evidence that it exists that is called a delusion. You should seek out a professional, not a priest.

      July 5, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      I can quote nonsensical bible quotes too.

      Ezekiel 23:19-21

      19 Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prost itute in Egypt. 20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. 21 So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled.
      (NIV 1984)

      July 5, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Honey Badger Dont Care,
      Not that you care because you posted those verses for the shock effect, but this is Ezekiel recounting the wrongs of Israel and Judah using the prost.itute and her sister symbolically for the two groups.

      July 5, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Hypatia

      amen!

      July 5, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Honey Badger, go ahead. Explain that passage to me. You can get help by going into any of sermons listed on the Net.

      July 5, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Lux

      @Robert. Does the archaic give a clue? From a time when religion had a tighter grip.

      July 5, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Lux, how's it feel to know you only learned the basics in life?

      July 5, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Matthew 16:23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me and go balls deep: thou art an offence unto me: for you taste salty to God.

      Amen.

      July 5, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Lux,
      Are the newest ideas also the best?

      July 5, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Lux

      @Robert. I have no idea what you mean by your "basics: post. As to new ideas – do you think that women should not vote, black people should be slaves, etc.

      July 5, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • hippypoet

      ok, so i have yet to get one real reply refuting mine...it makes me happy to know that we can all agree that ALL stories about ANY god is part of mythology!

      🙂

      July 5, 2012 at 2:21 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.