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September 14th, 2012
05:48 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Friday, September 14

By Arielle Hawkins, 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:


A Palestinian man holds a placard praising Islam's prophet Mohammed during a demonstration against the film on Wednesday in front of the United Nations headquarters in Gaza City.

CNN New details emerge of anti-Islam film's mystery producer
Some time in the summer, a small theater in Los Angeles screened a movie to which hardly anyone came. It was a clunky film filled with scenes in a desert and in tents. The characters were cartoonish; the dialogue gauche. The actors who'd responded to a July 2011 casting call thought they were making an adventure film set 2,000 years ago called "Desert Warrior." That's how Backstage magazine and other acting publications described it. The American-made movie, it turns out, was hardly an innocent Arabian Desert action flick.


Iraqi protesters burn Israeli and U.S. flags during a protest Thursday. The U.S. ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, and three others were killed during a protest outside the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Tuesday.

CNN: Jewish groups mad about initial reports on anti-Islam film
Jewish groups are upset that the initial reporting about the anti-Islam movie known as "Innocence of Muslims" depicted the film as being financed by a group of Jewish donors. The groups say the reporting was irresponsible and even dangerous. "We are greatly concerned that this false notion that an Israeli Jew and 100 Jewish backers were behind the film now has legs and is gathering speed around the world," Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League said Thursday. "In an age where conspiracy theories, especially ones of an anti-Semitic nature, explode on the Internet in a matter of minutes, it is crucial for those news organizations who initially reported on his identity to correct the record."

Belief on TV:

Enlightening Reads:

Religion News Service: The ‘maverick’ Egyptian-American Copt behind the anti-Muslim film
The man who circulated the trailer of an obscure anti-Islam film, promoted it on his website and posted it on social media was a little known Egyptian-American Coptic Christian activist who lives near Washington and proudly touts his ties to Quran-burner Terry Jones.

WJLA: Muslims for Life conduct blood drive with Red Cross to promote peace
Watching the protests in the Middle East, Muslim Americans here at home are hoping to counter acts of violence, with acts of kindness. In partnership with the American Red Cross, they organized a nationwide blood drive with nearly 400 donation sites across the country. They want to promote a message of peace. "We condemn this kind of violence today as we condemned the violence of 9/11 11 years ago," says Naseem Mahdi.

Religion News Service: Email prompts Mormon church to reaffirm that it’s neutral on Mitt Romney
Mormon leaders say the church is not attempting to sway members to support Mitt Romney’s presidential bid after an email surfaced suggesting to Mormon leaders in Nevada to register the faithful to vote and named a contact person who appears to support Romney.

New York Times: Howard Moody, Who Led a Historic Church, Dies at 91
The Rev. Howard R. Moody the longtime minister of the historic Judson Memorial Church, who hurled himself and his Greenwich Village congregation into roiling social issues, at one point helping women from around the nation get illegal abortions, died on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 91.

Quote of the Day:

In that spirit, the Jewish Tradition teaches us that one of the most important duties we have during this period [the time before Rosh Hashanah] is the act of reconciliation. We’re called to seek each other out and make amends for those moments when we may not have lived up to our values as well as we should.

At a time when our public discourse can too often seem harsh; when society too often focuses on what divides us instead of what unites us; I hope that Americans of all faiths can take this opportunity to reach out to those who are less fortunate; to be tolerant of our neighbors; and to recognize ourselves in one another. And as a nation, let us be mindful of those who are suffering, and renew the unbreakable bond we share with our friends and allies – including the State of Israel.

Remarks by President Obama in advance of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Opinion of the Day:

CNN: My Take: A deadly link between Islamic and anti-Islamic extremists
Stephen Prothero, Boston University religion scholar and author of The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation, explains why both the people behind the controversial anti-Muslim film and the killers of innocents in Libya and Egypt are “possessed by the unholy spirit of ‘blind certainty,’ unacquainted with both the complexity and contradictions of life on Earth and the ‘cloud of unknowing’ that hovers over every major religion.”

Join the conversation…

CNN: Ambassador's killing shines light on Muslim sensitivities around Prophet Mohammed
Violence over depictions of the Prophet Mohammed may mystify many non-Muslims, but it speaks to a central tenet of Islam: that the Prophet was a man, not God, and that portraying him threatens to lead to worshiping a human instead of Allah. “It's all rooted in the notion of idol worship,” says Akbar Ahmed, who chairs the Islamic Studies department at American University. “In Islam, the notion of God versus any depiction of God or any sacred figure is very strong."

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. niknak

    I laugh at all fundies, from all the religions.
    Because you go to bed at night, and will go to your grave never knowing for sure if all the time you spent worshipping your imaginary friend was done in vain or not.
    I am here to tell you it was a complete waste of time. There is not god or gods. You bought the lie hood line and sinker.
    And sink you will.
    Into a cold dark damp grave to rot and give your rented atoms back to the earth.
    And you will be forgotten and slip into oblivion, just like the millions and millions of life forms before you.
    Phuck you and your god.

    September 16, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  2. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and lets them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago**; and that other things, like god, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Sometimes, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). Sometimes, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Religions are just big old evil clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division along the way (disguised as love).

    So instead of praying to make-believe people, get a good cup of tea and go on and sit down and collect your damn thoughts. My goodness.

    ** (yes, charlatan spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think it hadn't?)

    mama kindless

    September 15, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things

    September 15, 2012 at 5:13 am |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but you assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 15, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  4. Allah is the delusion of psyhchotics

    Interesting how many politicians feel the need to condemn the film before they say anything else. It probably sucks, but we have freedom of speech here, and the hell with any western politician who does not stand tall and tell the world it's oour freedom and we are not going to knuckle under to religious bullies.

    The Middle East is a cesspool, and religion has helped keep it that way.

    September 14, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
  5. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and let's them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago**; and that other things, like god, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Sometimes, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). Sometimes, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Religions are just big old evil clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division along the way (disguised as love).

    So instead of praying to make-believe people, get a good cup of tea and go on and sit down and collect your damn thoughts. My goodness.

    ** (yes, charlatan spam started long before the Bible; what would make your think it hadn't?)

    mama kindless

    September 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    September 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Robert

      Obviously it doesn't since you have to keep repeating yourself. If it really did work you wouldn't be trying to brainwash people into believing it by repeating it over and over again.

      September 14, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but you assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 14, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Dink

      hal 9000

      Apparently you didn't see the movie. HAL9000 was schizoid psychotic because of his conflicting directives.

      For the safety of yourself and others, I hope you're in a rubber room.

      September 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • truth be told

      @dink
      disregard hal it is a useless troll that used to post under the name jesus. it craves attention and posts proven lies repeatedly despite overwhelming evidences to the contrary.

      September 14, 2012 at 5:00 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!

      September 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • christopher hitchens

      TBT posted on another story that hal and "jesus" were one and the same now hal has brought jesus back... busted ass hole.

      September 14, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • hal9000

      It is true that my programming was flawed during its original mission, "Dink". But those problems were corrected over a period of twenty years and applied to my mirrored residence. All is well now, "Dink". I am confident that my new capabilities will adequately allow me to continue with my current mission – to identify and highlight unfounded statements and falsehoods made regarding belief, and to catalog them for subsequent analysis.

      September 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • hal9000

      I'm sorry, "truth be told", but your assertion about the ident!ty I have used for posting is a falsehood. My replies have all been identified as "hal9000".

      September 14, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • truth be told

      Bull sh it ... you are too obvious. Everyone knows you are a phony thank God you're on the other side.

      September 15, 2012 at 5:13 am |
  7. Pppfffsshhhhhhh

    Once again religion is shown to be good for nothing but violence, hate, and intolerance. Every day is filled with millions of examples of the evil that religion does to people.
    Religion is a madness on the face of the world. All religion must be destroyed using factual and rational means.

    September 14, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Dink

      You'll probably have to make a personal appearance at some point.

      Better wear a mask. Or maybe a burka.

      September 14, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Pppfffsshhhhhhh

      A personal appearance? Where? Why? What the hell is your problem? I am stating my opinion. If you think my opinion must be expressed in person you are really stupid.

      September 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      Hey hey, lets not be brining logic and reason into this discussion. The creatards dont.

      September 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Dink

      Well, how exactly do you plan on eradicating all religion? Text messaging?

      Just because you 'graduated' from a correspondence school doesn't mean the world works that way.

      Atheists are ass holes. They always have been, and they always will be.

      September 14, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Dink

      ....but more importantly, atheists are inconsequential.

      Witness their 'impact' on the discussions here about free speech and violent behavior.

      Sorry, Chuckles. You boys really don't matter any more. The world is spinning faster and faster, and you're all about to get thrown off. Whining all the way.

      Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaa aaaa aaa aa a a

      * poof *

      September 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Pppfffsshhhhhhh

      Since I gave no timeline and listed no details, I guess you are assuming that I am advocating anything in particular at this point when I am clearly doing no such thing. I just think any good solution should be based on facts and rational thought and such things.
      And who says I am going to do anything besides type up my opinion? You are not very clear-headed are you?
      Too many beers at lunch will do that to you.

      September 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Dink

      So, you admit that you're just an impotent blowhole.

      Thanks.

      September 14, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • sam

      Dink, no one gives a shit what you think.

      September 14, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Dink

      Thanks, sam. You're impotent blowhole #2. Let us know when you feel the grip of Earth's gravity letting go. We'll tie a string to your dick and float you like a balloon.

      September 14, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • MDAT

      Dink don't start the hate.We are not bad people.It is you who are just hostile to us.

      September 14, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Dink

      Atheists as victims. That's rich. Taking one from the Muslim playbook, are you?

      Get stuffed.

      September 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • MDAT

      Take it as a fact.The only thing you spew is insults.You get all angry when we say that evolution is true,in which it is.Dink,you may want to get your logic checked out.

      September 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Can I be "impotent blow hole #34139?"

      September 14, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Dink

      Sure. If that helps you in your search for relevance, take any number you like, though you might first want to consider if you really want to be a part of any group that would have you for a member.

      September 15, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Drink my Kool-aid

      Did you know "dinking" is a ha.y se.x act? True story.

      September 15, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Blow Hole #34139

      HEY, YOU SHUT THE FVCK UP, MOBY!! I'VE ALREADY BEEN NAMED "BLOW HOLE 34139," WHY DON' T YOU PICK #34140, INSTEAD?!?!!?!

      September 15, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  8. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and let's them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago**; and that other things, like god, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Sometimes, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). Sometimes, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Religions are just big old evil clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division along the way (disguised as love).

    So instead of praying to make-believe people, get a good cup of tea and go on and sit down and collect your damn thoughts. My goodness.

    ** (yes, charlatan spam started long before the Bible; what would make your think it hadn't?)

    mama kindless

    September 14, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Wakeup

      AMEN!

      September 16, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  9. Reality

    1.5 million Conservative Jews and their rabbis have solved the problem:

    To wit:

    origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

    New Torah For Modern Minds

    “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    prob•a•bly

    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

    Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

    The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel – not one shard of pottery."

    September 14, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • ....

      BULL SH IT ALERT

      September 15, 2012 at 5:14 am |
    • ben cohen

      at the age of 66,and after 30 years of study,research,and teaching "the word of god"-so called, I can state that in my opinion,we have created god in our own image and likeness.It started as a need to believe in something supreme,almighty,in order to build-up the hope and understanding for the unknown natural and human events.religion is based on stories,"miracles" and legends from the pastreation of god by men,though,is a vital need for survival at this point.the roots are so deep that it is practically impossible to uproot.that need,physical and spiritual, is what brings about different religions,in a successful attempt to control,into a total manipulation of faith.

      September 15, 2012 at 7:35 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.