September 24th, 2012
05:15 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Monday, September 24

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:

CNN: Sunni Islam leader calls for peace, urges Muslims to have 'patience and wisdom'
A leading figure in the Sunni Islam world called for fellow believers to respond to recent controversial portrayals of Mohammed - which he said "spread hatred" - just like the prophet himself would, "through patience and wisdom."

Tweet of the Day:

[tweet https://twitter.com/MuslimIQ/status/249846540829605888%5D

Belief on TV:

Enlightening Reads:

The Jerusalem Post: 'NY Post' gifts Ahmadinejad with Jew-themed basket
The New York Post on Sunday offered Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a basket brimming with distinctively Jewish delicacies, stating that it hoped to "take the edge off his bloodthirsty desire to develop nuclear weapons and wipe Israel off the map."

Reuters: Mormon with outspoken blog posts on church says may face excommunication
A Florida-based Mormon blogger has said he is facing discipline and possible excommunication by church officials over posts they perceive to be anti-Mormon. David Twede's posts offer his account of the history of the church's political involvement, criticism of fellow Mormon and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and the author's take on Mormon beliefs about the nature of God and temple ceremonies.

The Times of India: 'Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal' makes Catholics angry
Catholics have threatened to stop the screening of a forthcoming Hindi movie directed by Priyadarshan, " Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal" if certain scenes making a "disresptful portrayal" of the community and its priests are not deleted, an official said.

Religion News Service: For-profit Christian college wins free campus
A for-profit, Christian university in Arizona has won one of the education world’s most sought-after prizes: a free, historic, freshly renovated campus in the rolling hills of western Massachusetts. Phoenix-based Grand Canyon University plans to open an extension campus in Northfield, Mass., on a 217-acre site formerly owned by Northfield Mount Hermon School. The private secondary school sold the campus in 2009 to Hobby Lobby, a craft store chain owned by the billionaire Green family of Oklahoma. The Greens invested $5 million in upgrades with the intent to give it to a Christian institution.

Baptist Press: Chick-fil-A's Dan Cathy: We have made no concessions
Following reports that Chick-fil-A had agreed to stop funding certain traditional family groups in order to get approval for a new Chicago restaurant, company President Dan Cathy said Friday the restaurant made no concessions and "we remain true to who we are." Cathy's statement, posted on Mike Huckabee's website, came one day after the company released its own statement saying that its corporate giving has "been mischaracterized" for many months and that it will continue to fund programs that "strengthen and enrich marriages."

Excerpt of the Day:

“There is no final revelation. There is no perfect religion. There might be the thing we call Truth but it is never a possession, it is at best a destination. Thinking you've got it all right and others are wrong is a sure path to disaster.”

Ben Bowler, Founder of World Weavers, Monk for a Month, Muslim for a Month & Blood Foundation.

Opinions of the Day:

CNN: My Take: I don't know if Jesus was married (and I don't care)
Stephen Prothero, Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," explains why Americans alter the identity of Jesus to fit “the shifting sands of economic circumstances, political calculations and cultural trends.”

CNN: Different Takes: Should we abandon idea of hell?
Frank Schaeffer, New York Times bestselling author, discusses “ the political implications of having a huge chunk of humanity believe in damnation for those who disagree with their theology.”

Join the conversation…

CNN: Joel Osteen explains stance on homosexuality
Lakewood Church Pastor Joel Osteen addresses questions about the view of homosexuality according to scripture.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (47 Responses)
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    October 15, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  3. hippypoet

    religion itself isn't a bad thing. i can say that honestly and believe those words. any belief that makes one want to be a better person is a grand belief to be sure! however, the belief in something unpovable full heartedly is what i find to be disconcerting. the real issue with religion is when those that believe full heartedly run a country or when the majority of the cizitens are religious. For as we all know, the majority make the rule. wether it be thru having more votes or greater numbers in your army the idea is the same, strength in numbers! But when this is the case what you get is oppession.

    any religiously ran government is an oppressive one. All religions state what people should, should not, can, and can not do and even at times religions state when one should do these things. it is in its most basic function a form of social control that warps the mind of the creature being controlled so that the end result is a person who willin
    gly acts in accordance to that very same oppressive government thereby making the government appear to be not controlling at all.

    it is a very nice trick, but aren't tricks for children?
    should we not grow up?
    are dreams really worth giving reality up?
    how is a hope greater then knowledge?
    why aren't other things taken at face value with the same "faith"?
    if anything then at least shouldn't the tenets of your faith be adhered to and be upheld?
    should you stone your own children because they were dissrespectful to you?
    should you kill those of differing cultures or beliefs because they have differing cultures and beliefs?
    would you allow those that survive YOUR jihad to be enslaved and turned into property?
    should women be viewed as property and treated as such?
    how many commandments do you follow and how many do you think there are?
    shouldn't the followers of the abrahamic faith know the answers to these questions?
    was hope greater the knowledge?
    did the dream live up to its reality?

    food for thought.

    September 27, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  4. derp

    Islaminals don't understand free speech.

    September 25, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
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  6. Dear Qasim Rashid

    It amazes me how many on this blog seem to lose the whole purpose of this discussion. We are NOT discussing whether or not you have a right to be outraged at insults to your faith.

    You do.

    Whether or not that outrage is rational, irrational, or whatever. You have a perfect right to express that outrage peaceably, just as your tormentors have a perfect right to express their scorn or mockery peaceably. It’s called free speech, and it is often, as I have said, ugly. We here in the West call it enlightenment.

    The only thing you are enjoined from doing is physical violence. It’s that simple.

    And, if you don’t like that arrangement, there is one word for your displeasure.


    September 25, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  7. Dear Qasim Rashid

    Contrary to the implication of your cartoon, free speech makes NO pretense of being "pretty", let alone beautiful. Free speech is often very ugly. Free speech is usually neither intentionally ugly, for ulgyness' sake, nor intentionally "pretty"

    Free speech is intentionally only one thing.


    If you can't understand that, then return to the crude barbarism of primitive reciprocal tribal vengeance where your values will be perfectly expressed.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Irrational Exuberance

      Some speech may be ugly, very true, but freedom of speech is itself a beautiful thing.

      Even if it threaten the power of some people so they fear it.

      "return to the crude barbarism of primitive reciprocal tribal vengeance where your values will be perfectly expressed."
      They will be happy to, but they insist on taking us all with them.

      September 24, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • hippypoet

      very simple – free speech is the right to speak on any topic freely however, no one can be hurt due to your speaking freely...like for instance – screaming fire in a theater...thats bad!

      September 24, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Irrational Exuberance

      It saddens me how often the fire in a theater thought is just too complex for some people to hold all at once.

      It is only bad if there *isn't* a fire.
      Because a *reasonable* person is susceptible to panic upon being told "hey, your about to burn to death", so falsely creating that sense of panic is wrong.

      A *reasonable* person doesn't decide to kill people because they heard some words that hurt their feelings.

      September 25, 2012 at 6:41 am |
  8. lee

    "Mocking Jews is anti-Semitism, mocking Blacks is racism, but mocking Prophet Muhammad is free speech."

    I don't think this guy gets it. Mocking Jews, blacks, Muslims, men, women, midgets, etc. is ALL free speech. What he is doing is asking for an exception, which our const.tution will not make.

    September 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Agreed. Free-speech and politically correct speech are not the same thing.

      September 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Quite Correct

      Precisely, Lee. "Mocking Jews is anti-Semitism, mocking Blacks is racism,..." and mocking Prophet Muhammad anti-Isalmic bigotry, mocking Mexicans is anti Hispanic bigotry, mocking Jesus is anti- Christian bigotry, mocking Krishna is anti-Hindu bigotry, etc, but ALL is protected free speech. Repeat, ALL is protected free speech.

      Remember the furor over "P*ss Christ? A direct insult to the whole Christian community; SOME Christians were outraged, some Congresspersons threatened the budget of the National Endowment for the Arts, and artist Andres Serrano was threatened with loss of his grant, but there was NO violence, NONE.

      If some Muslims want to alienate themeselves from civilized society, and say an insult is reason for wholesale murder, they're going about it the right way. For the rest, join the enlighentment, grow up, and enjoy the fruits of modernity.

      As we here in the West say on the third-grade playground "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." THAT'S civilized maturity

      September 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Lucius Beebe

      It depends on why you are mocking them, who among them you are mocking, and whether your mocking is based upon facts, your opinion, or what-have-you.
      If I want to mock Jews for observing some idiotic tradition that revolves around lies, I will do so. If I want to mock "blacks" for refusing to stop the racism within their ranks, I will do so. And if I want to mock Muslims for being yet another group of brainwashed ignorant idiots, I will do so.
      This is not only free speech, my mocking is also politically and factually correct. It is not hate speech and is protected speech regardless of how offensive anyone might find it...and only those who are ignorant of the actual facts of the matter are those who tend to be the most offended of any group I may mock.

      No one is above the law. No one gets to make up their own facts. No religion is anything but a codified set of brainwashing rules and crib-notes. No gods exist. There is nothing to protect you from your own mistakes. Avoid error and learn facts and you are more likely to avoid mistakes. Praying to your imaginary god will do nothing but show you to be schizophrenic as far as I'm concerned.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  9. The Bottom Line

    What people think they know is more than they actually know. Sometimes it is a lot more. For example, teenagers think they have all the answers, but in reality they know very little. Peoples' political opinions are almost always a case of thinking they know when they really don't.

    But nowhere is this dichotomy more dramatic than in religion, where religious people are sure they know all the answers and know things for which there is absolutely no evidence. They literally think hey know everything in a matter in which they know absolutely nothing.

    The total lack of evidence always strongly implies that there really is nothing there – not conclusive but about as close as it can get.

    When the equation "Total lack of evidence = a god who acts in all the complicated ways I say he does" passes for truth to you, you are definitely the person who knows nothing but thinks he knows everything.

    Oddly enough, that level of ignorance is sometimes the most aggressively defended viewpoint.

    September 24, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  10. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    William is thinking of a future where we, in all our diversity, spread off-planet. I'd like to explore a future that involves post-humans. We are coming to a time when we can participate in the emergence of what comes after us. As we are, we aren't really suitable, biologically, for life off of earth even if we could tone down our tendency toward irrational thought and decision-making. Perhaps post-humans could be of many different types. Some would live sustainably here and others would live in other environments elsewhere.

    September 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  11. Irrational Exuberance

    Regarding the Tweet, or is that twit, of the day.
    What an excellent example of poor analogy.
    Being black is not a choice, religion is a choice. A person chooses to state they believe in a thing, they choose to take a feeling over evidence. That differs from calling someone something on account of their race; it is also an exercise of freedom of speech.
    Something said about a Jew may or may not be anti-Semitic, for instance, they worship a blood-thirsty god who, if the Torah is accurate, demands sins be washed clean by the blood of an animal. It isn't anti-Semitism to say so, it may be anti-Jewish, but religion is not race.
    Stating that the Hadiths about Mohammed indicate he rap.ed a 9 year old little girl may be anti-Islam, but it is true, and it is freedom of speech to say so.

    September 24, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Lucius Beebe

      You are correct, my friend, but who will listen? Madness is everywhere. The froth appears in the news and we make comments, but no one will fix these things without some massive change in the dynamic we live in. Good luck, anyway.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  12. llɐq ʎʞɔnq

    Islam is a moon god cult :

    September 24, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  13. hippypoet

    Religion has served a purpose and we should all be thankful to it,seriously. Once it was the meaning to all things, the reason to live and keep on living....But lies it always was and still is and so the world is finally awakening to the truth. Since we haven't a clue about half of everything, we just make sh!t up and stupid people believed it. Then a new creature appeared on the scope of the human tools. Science. not an answer based society but rather a question based one that enjoys finding the truth by asking, searching, and testing insteading of pretending to know.

    Science is still in its infancy. If we had the ability to understand the natural world as we do now before now the world would be a different place. Well, maybe the world would be nothing more then what the future is for us now. Asides from having answers provided by modern science now is little different from our past where notions of truth ruled! Interesting thought to ponder. Without religion however, many will find a lack of connection with complete strangers...i mean besides being a fellow human of course. The thought arises now what unifying idea can bring together a race, then the species? Or will we forever maintain the path of selfdestruction but now just be honest about the reasons? – Land. Money. Power. – This "idea" will be the power struggle of the 2100's. Mark my words. Without a unifying idea or force i fear the worst for a selfdestructive species now without reasons to be good for we now "know" heaven is just another "idea".

    world peace – how about that as an "idea"... can you get behind the belief in the human species and our ability to achieve such an actionless goal?

    why not give peace a chance? we have given all the time and effort asked for from anyone for peace and put it towards aggression already and we know where that leads....lets try something else.

    Or lets bomb the human species out of existence so the rest of the creatures using this planet can ACTUALLY use it like they did before we thought so highly of ourselves and took everything....changed it.....packaged it....and sold it to other humans who then priced it higher, repackaged it, and sold it again... then someone changes it, THEN repackages it again, then sells it another time under a different name and with a new price tag. Aren't we humans just the topping to the cake of stupid. Talk about circular agruments, the whole of the human species is nothing but!!!

    September 24, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • hippypoet

      reposted from yesterday but improved from yesterday...thats called progress and something religion is lacking...infact progress is religions number one fear – the fear of knowledge is a sad one and one that shouldn't be snuffed out because someone told you a certain god doesn't adhere to that science stuff and therefore you shouldn't either.

      can the so called top species on this planet be that dumb?

      September 24, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • William Demuth


      You are so close to the key, but you dance around it.

      Diversity or Conformity. Conformity by force, or destruction by those resisting conformity seem to be our destinies

      For diversity to endure we require one thing that is missing.

      We need a cost effective means to get off this planet. Within a hundred years (if we survive) we will have begun emigrating off this world.

      Humanity with unlimited room to grow (like roaches in a sugar factory) can spread out both geograpicaly AND biologicaly.

      If we endure that long, we might well survive all of eternity, BUT I WOULDN'T COUNT ON IT!

      September 24, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • hippypoet

      i would not wish for that in a million years – why would anyone wish for us, the most destructive creature on this planet – so much so that we are killing it – why would anyone wish us on another? i mean besides stupidity and self preservation? Its like asking for cancer, one that is incurable? until we can learn to live without destruction there can be no hope for us.

      September 24, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • CS

      The sooner humans are gone the better for the rest of the biosphere.

      September 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Not saying better or worse my freind, just observing

      If we spread out far enough, each visionary group might actually break free, and become independent

      But considering we haven't seen others, I suspect that the knowledge of the inner workings of the atom may just be a death sentence for whomever or whatever finds it. A trial by nuclear fire that civilizations may not live through

      Life competes. It's sad, but it is the truth

      September 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • hippypoet

      i do agree William – life does indeed compete...i am simply posing that we allow for all life to compete. If we maintain the current style of life that we are enjoying then no life will exist at all! Or... we can alone can die off or leave the planet allowing for a real circle of life to continue where we left it dead or broken...pending how you chose to look at it. i consider the so called circle of life dead due to our impact and continued killing of species for no appearent reason. And we even over breed species creating more issues. turkeys, chickens, cows...to name a few. nothing like playing god and like god we have killed off species at a whim and even created a few...we are put a spoke on the wheel and we either need to be removed or be reminded of our true place in the wheel so we can cease this selfdestruction and move on towards a new light. afterall, what is life without competi.tion?

      September 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • SickofNonbelieving

      Nonbelievers believe themselves to be bright and special without having to work at anything through in life. They write ridiculous lies about Jesus because they don't want to lift a finger about curtailing their bad behaviors.

      September 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • hippypoet

      we need not make up lies – you believers have done that already...most of them weren't the best of lies either ,but luckily for us believers are morons and so lieing to you folks is easy. One catch is that you must be lied to from one of your own however. Thank god right... lol

      now thank you for your addition to this conversation. shooo.

      September 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Reading you guys' mental mast urbation....
      Good luck finding something willing to mate w/you so you can reproduce.
      Have fun at the Star Trek convention nerds.
      Live long and prosper – hahahahaha!

      September 24, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Wow. How sad I am for you, b4Uwetthebed.

      I'll bet you've never had a girlfriend.

      September 24, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • hippypoet

      lol i have a wife and two kids. thought you should know.

      now for a second lets imagine a person took time to do nothing but read a post, re the replies to that post, and then post not a reply but rather just an insult in an attempt to appear above.

      did it work?

      September 24, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  14. William Demuth

    Having been fascinated by faith for over fifty years, I have made one observation I believe to be of critical import, and was curious to see others perspectives on it.

    I have never met (to the best of my knowledge) an Atheist who actually privately admitted that they did believe in God.

    I have met MANY believers, who privately admit they don’t believe a word of it, but publicly still claim faith.

    I believe these individuals, who have rejected religion only in private may in fact be the new silent majority.

    These “weekend believers” are the political key to the next generations politics. If they can be brought forward as a force, I suspect it might cause a schism between economic conservatives and the religious right.

    It has long been said that the US is a center right country, but I believe that is changing.

    In the event Obama wins, as many as three of the current Supreme Court Justices may need replacement in the next four years, including Scalia.

    If a Progressive gets to make those nominations, we might find ourselves in a VERY different United States before the end of the decade!

    September 24, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  15. derp

    "Mocking Jews is anti-Semitism, mocking Blacks is racism, but mocking Prophet Muhammad is free speech"

    Let me know when blacks and Jews start flying planes into buildings or rioting over silly cartoons and movies.

    Until that starts happening, your barbaric religion deserves all the mocking it gets.

    September 24, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • William Demuth

      I suspect if we had a census, we would find the majority of Semites are actually Muslim.

      Palestinians certainly are

      September 24, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  16. ME II

    @Qasim Rashad,
    Not that any mocking is a good thing, but there is a difference between mocking an entire group of people, i.e. Jews and blacks, and mocking an historical/spiritual figure, i.e Mohammad.
    One big difference is that no one can discriminate against the Prophet Mohammad any more, but the other groups are still around.

    September 24, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • derp

      What this stupid camel fvcker doesn't get is that ALL speech is protected in America. The KKK is allowed to mock Jews and blacks. They do it all the time. When was the last time you saw Jews or blacks go apeshzit and riot over some silly picture or video made by the KKK?

      September 24, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  17. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    “There is no final revelation. There is no perfect religion. There might be the thing we call Truth but it is never a possession, it is at best a destination. Thinking you've got it all right and others are wrong is a sure path to disaster.”

    But, poor Ben, how do you know you are going in the direction of Truth? My advice (it's free) is look back often, be skeptical, and continue to question whether there is Truth.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Topher

      You don't believe in truth?

      September 24, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • William Demuth


      Truth is relative.

      Put your faith in facts, not opinions

      September 24, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  18. ...



    September 24, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Mirosal

      And you can't have your own opinions in religion.. for some strange reason they frown upon that.. I wonder why? 😉

      September 24, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Baloo

      Mirosal, they don't frown on having one's own opinions, they frown on opinions that don't agree with their imaginary religious ideas that each person interprets individually. Each person has a "personal relationship and understanding" of what they think their religion means to them.
      The fact that all these personal opinions have nothing to do with reality and rarely agree with each other is just more proof that there is no actual god behind any of these religions.
      All these "interpretations" and "opinions" are no better than guesses and no better than lies.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:36 am |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    September 24, 2012 at 5:16 am |
    • Mirosal

      No, it doesn't. It's a placebo.

      September 24, 2012 at 7:24 am |
    • .

      Prayer changes things. Proven. I prayed for jeebus, and he and I got it together. So ‘HeavenSent’ a night it was. ‘TruthBeTold’, it was just carnal. That ‘Deacon’ guy told me all about it. He had a ‘CatholicEngineer’ and someone from ‘MiddleRiver’ arrange it all. Changed me for sure. I’m carnal for jeebus

      September 24, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • 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 24, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • HeavenSense

      Hi Prayerbot.

      September 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
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.