December 26th, 2012
05:23 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Wednesday, December 26

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: A Christian prayer for peace in Syria
Pope Benedict XVI urged warring parties in Syria on Tuesday to end the 21-month-old civil war. "May peace spring up for the people of Syria, deeply wounded and divided by a conflict which does not spare even the defenseless and reaps innocent victims," the pope said in his traditional Christmas message, delivered from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica. "Once again, I appeal for an end to the bloodshed, easier access for the relief of refugees and the displaced, and dialogue in the pursuit of a political solution to the conflict."

CNN: 12 killed in attacks on two churches in Nigeria
At least 12 people died in northern Nigeria when attackers raided two churches during Christmas Eve services, police said. One assault occurred at the Church of Christ in Nations in Postikum, in Yobe province. Gunmen attacked worshipers during prayer, killing six people, including the pastor, and setting the building on fire. Worshipers also were attacked at the First Baptist Church in Maiduguri, in Borno state. A deacon and five church members were killed.

Tweet of the Day:

[tweet https://twitter.com/jbarooah/status/283786039531806720%5D

Photo of the Day:

Photo credit: Sanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images

An ash smeared Hindu Sadhu or holy man prepares tea outside a tent at the confluence of the Rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati in Allahabad on December 24, 2012, ahead of The Maha Kumbh Mela. The Kumbh Mela, which is scheduled to take place in the northern Indian city in January and February 2013, is the world's largest gathering of people for a religious purpose and millions of people gather for this auspicious occasion.

Enlightening Reads:

NPR: Dig Finds Evidence Of Another Bethlehem
Thousands of Christian pilgrims streamed into Bethlehem Monday night to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It's the major event of the year in that West Bank town. But Israeli archaeologists now say there is strong evidence that Christ was born in a different Bethlehem, a small village in the Galilee.

New York Times: Israel to Review Curbs on Women’s Prayer at Western Wall
Amid outrage across the Jewish diaspora over a flurry of recent arrests of women seeking to pray at the Western Wall with ritual garments in defiance of Israeli law, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked Natan Sharansky, the chairman of the Jewish Agency, to study the issue and suggest ways to make the site more accommodating to all Jews.

The Guardian: Film challenges extremism by and against British Muslims
Combinations is a short film being produced by Media Cultured, a fledgling organization using film and social media to challenge extremism by and against Muslims. In an age when the Taliban and Somali group al-Shabaab use Twitter, and the anti-Islamic film The Innocence of Muslims on YouTube was disseminated by extremists on both sides to further their own ends, Media Cultured is an attempt to use the same tools to promote harmony rather than discord.

Tablet: Chopsticks: Why Jews eat Chinese on December 25, and how a hip Brooklyn deli is modernizing that tradition
Mile End opened in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, at the beginning of 2008, a deli specializing in Montreal Jewish cuisine. So take a guess what Mile End is serving on Christmas Day. That’s right: Chinese food. Titled a “traditional Jewish Christmas,” the prix fixe—served to two seatings on Christmas Eve and four on Christmas Day and made right in the kitchen—will start with wonton eggdrop soup, continue to roast duck with smoked-meat fried rice and Chinese broccoli, and end with fortune cookies and orange wedges It’s your traditional Chinese meal, made hip, and—with that crucial addition of smoked meat—brushed gently with Mile End’s idiosyncrasy. But it’s not a twee hipster affect or a one-chuckle joke; it’s a stark claim—almost a polemic. You will not go to Mile End on Christmas because you happened to feel like fried rice. You will go to proudly proclaim your Jewish-American identity.

Join the conversation…

CNN: Author Lorna Byrne: I see angels
Are there really angels among us? Lorna Byrne claims she’s been able to see angels since she was a child. The Irish-born author of the international best-seller “Angels in My Hair” says guardian angels watch over believers and nonbelievers alike all the time.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Chick-a-dee

    Thanks. Been offline lately & this was all I saw. Good to know it's just a hoax.

    December 27, 2012 at 3:10 am |
  2. Chick-a-dee

    @ AB: Just saw yr post. Consider it done. And I am quite sorry to read that you are expiriencing difficulty. Is there anything else we can do to help?

    December 27, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • *


      That is just a puerile, idiotic troll impersonating Apple Bush all over the place. Don't get too excited.

      December 27, 2012 at 1:41 am |
  3. 2357

    Re Newton
    Newton believed that sometime shortly after the fall of the corrupt (Trinitarian, Catholic) Church, Christ would return and set up a 1000-year Kingdom of God on earth. On page 144 of his Observations (1733), Newton cited Daniel 7:26-29 as evidence of this.

    December 26, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  4. lionlylamb

    In God's many ways does God take in all life's strays!
    Not just one but all does God catch after one's fall!
    Life onward and ever after to forever be,
    God grants the many to become of his tree.
    Love all those that your life does so touch,
    Kindness is loving others so very, very much!

    December 26, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  5. Apple Bush

    I'm having a tough time and the only sense of relief I can find in this world is to lash out against Christians.

    Obviously this is a cry for help. So please help me and say a prayer for me. Nothing else seems to be working for me. I hate being a bigot, but it is how I was raised. Show some mercy, please.

    December 26, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • WASP

      2bush: bahhhhh weakling. 🙂

      December 26, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Mercy for a failing God? Crucify this maggott!!

      We must strenghten the strain!

      Lets send it back to its mother in a cardboard box.

      December 26, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • 2357

      If you like blowing satan, blow satan. No conflict, it's probably who you were meant to be. Hate Christ and his followers? Carry it through fully and purely, see where it takes you. It's your destiny.

      December 26, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  6. hippypoet

    ah, new years is just around the corner – i'm excited!

    a great day to celebrate life and death.

    December 26, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • William Demuth

      Well then may your New Year have as much life and death as you can possibly enjoy my freind!

      I remember well when my first marriage ended. My wife lost both of her parents within a few weeks of the divorce.

      To this day I still mourn not having waited a few weeks longer to file.

      My haste prevented me from being able to enjoy their passing.

      Such is life 🙁

      December 26, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Really??

      The celestial new year is the solstice, which already happened, but happy new year anyway.

      December 26, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      The position in the earth's orbit around the sun which we call a new year is completely arbitrary, be it the specific rotation which has the least amount of daylight in the northern hemisphere or some other specific day on a man made calendar.

      December 26, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • hippypoet

      lunchbreaker – as much as i know that the years end is completely arbitrary..in order to measure the length of time it takes to do anything one must have a starting point and therefore an eventual ending point. i simply enjoy the passing of time, watching things change, my kids grow...to celebrate the new year is for me to be celebrating life and death...it is just plain and simply a landmark inwhich to remember to take a moment to look back at the past year, to reconnect, correct, or to do over....to understand and gain wisdom of the type that can only be attained through mistake and hindsight. 🙂

      December 26, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      Hippy, I was actually poking fun at Realy??

      December 26, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  7. Topher

    Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

    December 26, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      May your cult deprogramming go well.

      December 26, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • William Demuth

      I have always enjoyed celebrating the crucifiction much more.

      December 26, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Really??

      I celebrated Sir Isaac Newton's birthday. He was actually born on DEC 25, and he actually existed.

      December 26, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Akira

      I had a lovely day, Topher, thank you.
      I hope you had the same.

      December 26, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  8. Which God?

    Good morning, all. Any day my eyes open, and I can get out of bed is a good day. Back at work. Retirement? I can't aford too, even though I'm eligible.

    December 26, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • $$$$$$$$$$$$

      The one in the bank acct...

      December 26, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  9. William Demuth

    Has anyone else noticed the speed of change here in the US seems to be picking up??

    What a year! Some Highlights

    Things that are in!
    Gay Marriage
    Taxing the rich

    Things that are on their way out!
    Tea Party
    Assault Weapons
    Republican Party

    Who would have thunk the Christians would lose this cultural war as decisively as they have!

    December 26, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Author John Irving considers the rich (of course he is one such) to be a persecuted minority:

      "There's a minority which is an open target in this country which no one protects, and that's rich people." (Burlington Free Press, 1998)

      It's insensitive of you, William, to rub it in as the people who make wealth possible for the wealthy ask for a larger slice of it in return.

      December 26, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • William Demuth

      Sad, but my needs are great.

      I often dwell on the idea that democracy MUST eventually lead to socialisim.

      If everyone voted logically, they would all demand an equal share.

      Alas, we Americans are rarely logical.

      I believe religion is the root of this. Being led to believe that others of a special class are better able to discern what is best.

      Thus the correlation between religion and poverty.

      Surely no one would believe someone who was taking from them their birthright, unless it is rationalized with a demand from above.

      I have always had far more than my fair share, (Probably 20 fold or greater) yet I still wonder why anyone would tolerate poverty.

      December 26, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  10. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Without gods will we still find excuses to squat naked and covered with ashes before devoted followers (photo of the day)?

    "At least 12 people died in northern Nigeria when attackers raided two churches during Christmas Eve services..." Back in the day, Christians would have started a crusade over this shit. Christians, let's you and them have a fight.

    December 26, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • Akira

      That is not how I imagined the Saraswati that posts here looking....lol.

      December 26, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • 2357

      Despite the crusades, bush doctrines and what not, being unjustly murdered for Christ's name is actually the highest calling to which a believer can aspire.

      As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." – Apostle Paul

      December 26, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  11. niknak

    Hey, I am first today!
    Cause I had to get up early and go to work 🙁
    Well, it will be just another beautiful day without god(s).

    December 26, 2012 at 5:37 am |
    • WASP

      don't worry niknak, you're not alone. i'm sitting here at work as well. it's a beautiful freezing mourning here in NYC. 🙂

      December 26, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • William Demuth

      Workin here as well. but diverted long enough to get a HUGE breakfast!

      December 26, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Likewise, I am also back to work today. Wishing I'd saved a few hours of vacation for this 3 day week.

      It's going to be quiet around here.

      December 26, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Retirement, from gods and work, is a wonderful thing.

      December 26, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      I'm glad I'm not the only one who posts from work. Do you ever wonder if some of the posters here are in an adjacent or nearby cubicle, or office, or whatever station you work from?

      :::looks around suspi ciously:::

      December 26, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • WASP

      @lunch: *waves from across the room* ROFLMFAO XD

      December 26, 2012 at 1:45 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.