December 20th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Thursday, December 20

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:

Tourists are seen in front of the 'Gran Jaguar' Mayan temple at the Tikal archaeological site, 560 kms north of Guatemala City. Ceremonies will be held here to celebrate the end of the Mayan cycle known as Bak'tun 13 and the start of the new Maya Era on December 21, 2012.

CNN: Some believe Friday is doomsday on the Mayan calendar; the Mayans don't
There may be no one left on earth to say TGIF this week. Some believe the world is coming to an end Friday - on 12/21/12 - which is when an important phase on the ancient calendar of the Mayan people terminates. Mayans don't buy it. At least the ones living in the city of Merida, Mexico don't. Neither does the Mayan village of Yaxuna. They know the calendar their ancestors left them is about to absolve a key phase, which means the end of an era and the heralding of a new one, but they don't think we're all gonna die.

Tweet of the Day:

[tweet https://twitter.com/MuslimIQ/status/281605043910758400%5D

Belief on TV:

Enlightening Reads:

Religion News Service: Churches under fire for using gun classes as outreach
A few dozen churches around the country offer gun classes as a way to reach out to non-Christians and attract new members. But after the massacre at Sandy Hook, such classes are facing fierce criticism.

The Guardian: Ephraim Mirvis has been chosen as the next chief rabbi
Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has been confirmed as the next chief rabbi, replacing Lord Sacks, who is stepping down as the leader of Britain's Orthodox Jewish community next September after 22 years. Mirvis, who was chief rabbi of Ireland from 1984 to 1992, is the senior rabbi at the large Finchley United Synagogue in north London.

Huffington Post: Rev. Saeed Abedini, American Christian, Imprisoned In Iran For Preaching Christianity, Thrown In Notorious Prison
Rev. Saeed Abedini, a 32-year-old U.S. citizen and a Christian convert of Iranian origin has been imprisoned without charges in one of Iran's notorious prisons due to his work in Iran's underground Christian community. Saeed was ordained as a minister with the American Evangelistic Association in 2008.

Religion News Service: Vatican works to stop Sunday shopping in Italy
The Roman Catholic Church, trade unions and small business associations have joined forces in a bid to save Sundays. In a bid to spur economic growth, outgoing Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti backed a new law that allows shops to stay open on the Sabbath. But Sunday traditions are strong in the European nation, and the change provoked strong resistance from religious and secular groups.

Huffington Post: Westboro Baptist Church Newtown Funeral Protest Thwarted By Good Samaritans
Members of the quasi-religious group, Westboro Baptist Church, planned to gather in Connecticut to protest the funeral of Newtown, Conn., shooting victim Principal Dawn Hochsprung. However, Good Samaritans were already there to thwart any possible protest with a human wall. The Westboro Baptist Church announced plans to picket Hochsprung's funeral on Wednesday in Woodbury, Conn., and "sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment." The group has blamed the mass shooting on Connecticut's same-sex marriage legislation. On Dec. 14, 26 people were shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School, 20 of those victims included children ages 6 and 7.

Quote of the Day:

We pray for our nation, for the families and friends of those whose lives have been taken away far too soon with one selfish act of aggression in Newtown, Connecticut, and for thousands affected by other unreported acts of violence occurring in our urban cities and communities; we pray for those among us who have no hope, that their faith might persevere and keep them strong until there is a breakthrough in their lives; we pray for our leadership, that they begin to do what is morally right and set a civil and respectful tone even in times of honest disagreement; and, we demand a change for the good of us all.

- Excerpt from a statement of the National African-American Clergy Network released December 19, 2012.

Join the conversation…

Ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee appeared to blame the Newtown massacre at least partly on the secularization of schools.

CNN: My Take: Six things I don't want to hear after the Sandy Hook massacre
Stephen Prothero, author and Boston University religion scholar, lists the five things people should stop saying as they try to reason through the tragedy of the Newtown shooting.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. hippypoet

    There exists no evidence to support belief in any gods. Fact! There exists plenty of evidence to support belief in evolution. Fact! Since no evidence exists of any gods, gods only exist in the mind. Through the belief in god people have created traditions on how to worship and how to live in accordance to their gods commands. People who believe in gods adhere to a mental structure built to explain and give ease to unanswerible fears such as death. Since no evidence exists for any gods all belief in them is unfounded and speaks more to the fear of death which is as alive today as it was at the founding of the belief! Perhaps the fact of having a consciousness and our very awareness of life/death screams at us to question it all. And perhaps due to a lack of answers we choose to weave a story to answer everything! This part i completely understand. It is very nice to have and in the ancient times with many unanswerable questions was a comfort. Now however with modern science and todays knowledge of the universe and life, beliefs such as these should be a thing of ancient times not modern. It was primitive mans way of coping a lack of knowledge. It has served its purpose but now only serves to bring us back to its primitive roots.

    To put it simply, the concept of gods bares no merit at this current stage in the human species and would be a betterment to the species to have the concept removed from accepted delusional realities so prevalent in todays society.

    December 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Knowledge is good, wisdom is best. I can remember when I was in my twenties and I looked back and thought I sure was dumb when I was a teenager. I can remember when I was in my thirties and looked back and thought I sure was dumb in my twenties. I think you get the point so I won’t go on and reveal my age. The same applies to looking back in history. I wonder how smart folks will think we were in the year 4012.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • hippypoet

      i can imagine they would say things much like what i say about those that believe in gods and how its an ancient belief system that is out dated yet still alive and cancerious!

      December 20, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      I think it is still alive, because it is alive. If I tell you I have a gift for you hp and extend it in my hand. Here you go, all you have to do is take it. That is God’s offer to you, he extends life, and with it peace, hope, and joy. Whether you accept it, or not, is up to you.
      But you have decided because you can’t see, feel, or otherwise detect the gift it is not real. Here is when it will become real; when you want or need it. If you don’t want God he may not reveal himself to you. Oh, he could, and I have heard testimonies where he has revealed himself to those who deny him, but I wouldn’t count on it. Is God beyond the realm of possibilities for you?

      December 20, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Huebert


      If you extended your hand to offer me a gift, and there was a gift in your hand, I would gladly take it. If your hand was empty, I would look at you funny and walk away. What would you do if I extended my hand to offer you a gift and my hand was empty?

      December 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      That is an excellent post. I can't hardly find anything wrong with it at all, dammit.

      December 21, 2012 at 4:15 am |
    • Saraswati

      I don't believe in any gods myself, but I think these kinds of extreme statements only serve to make non-believers look foolish.

      "There exists no evidence to support belief in any gods. Fact!"

      If a person feels the presence of god in their brain that is evidence of god. The fact it is also evidence of schizophrenia or simply the way the human brain is designed does not negate this. Something can serve as evidence for multiple things at the same time."

      "Since no evidence exists of any gods, gods only exist in the mind."

      Even if your premise were true it wouldn't make the conclusion true. We had no evidence for string theory 200 years ago, but that didn't make it untrue. Even if people can never gain evidence of something, it doesn't make it untrue.

      No, that last point doesn’t mean people should go around believing in things for which there is no evidence (nor does it mean the opposite). Concentrate just on what I have said. You’re arguments are not sound and most Christians are going to see this easily. Examine your own logic before criticizing that of others.

      December 22, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  2. Robert Brown

    O that we were more thoughtful about the things that are not seen, that are eternal, and then the less thoughtful we should be, and the less thoughtful we should need to be, about the things that are seen, that are temporal!

    December 20, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Primewonk

      The giant invisible fuzzy pink unicorn who circles Uranus is eternal. Do you spend enough time in thoughtful contemplation of my god?

      December 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      That sounds like daydreaming when one should be working.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      It could have been daydreaming, but I think it was the job of his choosing. This was a quote from Matthew Henry’s commentary on the bible. Please don’t chew me out for not referencing properly. Thanks.

      December 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      I jest Mr. Brown.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  3. myweightinwords

    Happy Thursday folks.

    December 20, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  4. Huebert

    I want an Islam se.x product.

    December 20, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      Is thier an article I have overlooked? If not, may I inquire as to your interest in said product?

      December 20, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Huebert

      It's the video ink.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      Ah. I'm at my work computer, which blocks the videos.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  5. .


    December 20, 2012 at 8:23 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.