January 11th, 2013
04:59 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Friday, January 11, 2013

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: Giglio bows out of inauguration over sermon on gays
In the face of withering criticism over a sermon he apparently delivered on homosexuality in the 1990s, the Rev. Louie Giglio has withdrawn from giving the benediction at President Barack Obama's inauguration. Giglio informed inauguration officials Thursday morning of his decision to withdraw from the ceremony, an inauguration official told CNN.

CNN: Obama to swear-in on a stack of historic Bibles
What do the 16th president, a civil rights leader, and Michelle Obama's grandmother have in common? Their Bibles will be used in the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) made the announcement on Thursday that Obama will take the oath of office on the Robinson family Bible on Sunday and on the Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. Bibles on Monday.

CNN: Expectations high for first Hindu member of Congress
Just days after Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii was sworn in as the first Hindu member of Congress, Hindu American advocacy groups made it clear that they hope Gabbard will help represent the nation’s wider Hindu community, on top of her Hawaiian constituents. Groups like the Hindu American Foundation and the Hare Krishna Society have lists of priorities they plan to present to Gabbard, making clear that expectations are high for the groundbreaking congresswoman.

CNN: Bucking previous trends, survey finds growth of the religiously unaffiliated slowing
After years of marked growth, the size of Americans who identify with no religion slowed in 2012, according to a study released Thursday. Since 2008, the percentage of Americans who identify as religious "nones" has grown from 14.6% to 17.8% in 2012, according to the Gallup survey. That number, which grew nearly one percentage point every year from 2008 to 2011, grew only 0.3% last year – from 17.5% in 2011 to 17.8% in 2012 – making it the smallest increase over the past five years. This study contrasts with headlines from previous studies on religious “nones,” including a 2012 study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life that found the group was the fastest growing "religious" group in America and that one in five Americans now identify with no religion.

Tweet of the Day:

[tweet https://twitter.com/HuffPostRelig/status/289484392072617984%5D

Photos of the Day:

Mantu Das, 6, dressed as Hindu god Lord Shiva takes a nap at the Gangasagar temporary camp in Kolkata on January 10, 2013. Sadhus and Hindu pilgrims began to gather in Kolkata on their way to the annual Hindu holy festival Gangasagar Mela, where an expected hundred thousand Hindu pilgrims will gather at the Gangasagar to take a dip in the ocean at the confluence of the River Ganges and the Bay of Bengal, on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a holy day of the Hindu calendar considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology.

Twenty-year-old female tour guides dressed in traditional kimonos wash their mouths and hands at Tokyo's Meiji Shrine before attending a purification ceremony with a Shinto priest to celebrate Japan's Coming of Age Day on January 11, 2013. Since tour guides will be busy working on Japan's national holiday Coming-of-Age Day on January 14, the company had a ceremony for them ahead of time. Young people turning 20 are officially recognized as adults in Japan.

Enlightening Reads:

Salon: Who Obama should pick to replace Giglio
With Rev. Louie Giglio bowing out of giving the benediction at President Obama’s second inaugural after his anti-gay sermons came to light, the question turns to who should be selected in his stead. A spokesperson for the Presidential Inaugural Committee confirmed that “there will be an effort to replace him,” but declined to specify who it might be. With so little time left, we thought we’d offer some suggestions.

New York Times: Echoes of Prayer and People
After decades of photographing sacred sites around the world, Kenro Izu embarked on a personal photographic pilgrimage. He now does classic portraits of the faithful whose prayers and rituals give a special life to these holy places.

Religion News Service: Hungry Jews in America? Kosher food pantries report growing need
A 2011 survey of Jewish New Yorkers revealed that Jewish poverty has risen in the past decade and increased at a faster rate than poverty among other groups. One in five of the 1.7 million Jews in the New York area — the largest Jewish community in the nation — now live in poverty or near poverty. The study’s authors noted the proliferation of fervently Orthodox families — who, more than less observant Jews, shoulder the expense of Jewish schools and keeping kosher. For those Jews who do keep kosher — about 21 percent of the 5.3 million American Jews overall, according to the most recent National Jewish Population Survey — hard times mean particularly scant options for feeding a family, which, among the most religious Jews, tend to be large. That’s where kosher food pantries come in, to serve a clientele with very specific and relatively expensive dietary needs.

Reuters: Israeli party pulls “What, you’re not Jewish?” TV ad after Russian complaints
Complaints by Russian-speaking immigrants prompted an ultra-Orthodox party in Israel to pull a TV commercial plugging their election campaign which shows a man recoiling in horror at discovering his bride is not Jewish.

NYT: Monks in California Breathe Life Into a Monastery From Spain
The rebirth of a medieval Cistercian monastery building here on a patch of rural Northern California land was, of course, improbable. William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper tycoon, brought the dismantled Santa Maria de Óvila monastery from Spain but failed to restore it. The City of San Francisco, after some fitful starts at bringing the monastery back to life, left its stones languishing for decades in Golden Gate Park. The Great Depression, World War II and lethargy got in the way. But an aging and shrinking order of Cistercian monks have accomplished what great men and cities could not: the reconstruction of Santa Maria de Óvila’s most architecturally significant building, a 12th-century Gothic chapter house.

Reuters: Leading African Anglicans denounce Church of England’s gay bishop rule
Senior African Anglican leaders have lined up to denounce the Church of England’s decision to allow celibate gay bishops, warning it would only widen the divisions within the worldwide Anglican Communion. Archbishop Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria, effectively the largest province in the Communion, said such reforms “could very well shatter whatever hopes we had for healing and reconciliation within our beloved Communion.”

Join the conversation…

CNN: The spiritual but not religious likely to face mental health issues, drug use, study says
Can being spiritual but not religious lead to mental health issues? The answer is yes, according to a recent study. The study, published in the January edition of the British Journal of Psychiatry, says spiritual but not religious people, as opposed to people who are religious, agnostic or atheist, were more likely to develop a "mental disorder," "be dependent on drugs" and "have abnormal eating attitudes,” like bulimia and anorexia.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (280 Responses)
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    January 13, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
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      January 14, 2013 at 9:50 am |
  3. Correctlycenter

    " But if you abandon Me and disobey the laws and commands I have given you, and if you go and worship other gods, then I will uproot the people of Israel from this land of Mine that I have given them." 2nd Chronicles 7: 19-20a

    God plainly set forth certain conditions for Solomon to meet if he wanted the kingdom to continue. If Solomon followed God, he and his descendants would prosper, if Solomon did not (which was eventually the case) he and the nation would be destroyed. Although God allowed Solomon to be king of Israel for the remainder of his life, the Lord told him the kingdom would be divided because of his allowance of false idol worship in Israel. This should also be a warning for the United States of America today...

    January 12, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • Athy

      What a pile of bullshit. How can any thinking person believe this? Use your brain and you'll realize how silly this is.

      January 12, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
  4. lionlylamb

    Squid Vicious,

    I do no illegal drugs nor do I even drink alcohol as your barbaristic writings entails. Since all you can do is rant insipitously and rave incongruently without any righteous causes, I deem you to be a troll of rebuked narcicism in little regards of wanton curiosities for meaningful enlightenment issues. Do all those who dwell here seeking enlightenment a favor and make like a tree and just leave. The bigots train is now leaving. Get on it!

    January 11, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • Squid Vicious

      Do you really believe that your writing is good?

      January 11, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Athy

      Lionly, that may be your problem. Perhaps you should do drugs, it could only improve your writing. Couldn't possibly make it woany rse.

      January 11, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • Athy

      Sorry, "any worse"

      January 11, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Squid Vicious,

      My postings are my thoughts, views and perspectives. If one goes away after reading them without a negative post being heralded, the better I feel.


      Sometimes my posts are hard to muddle thru. Sometimes easy to understand. Sorry, but my drug use days have gone into the history books. If only 'pot' were to become legal in my state, I would begin again!

      January 11, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
  5. lionlylamb

    The all out denying of ID puts humans in line with the animal herds giving humanisms as being but animalisms without a cause to be any different in the habitualized essences. Global retardation is a social trait of characterizations awash with emotionalized pleasantries instead of literal hindsight.

    January 11, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Squid Vicious

      Scored some really good smack today, did you?

      January 11, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
  6. Kent Proctor

    So to recap the questions posed today, if atheists and Christians could somehow learn the full truth, three atheists said they would, apparently aware their views may prove wrong. One atheist (I think) chose to not know, seeing knowledge as a Pandora's Box. One person said he would see but might well choose to stay with his existing beliefs, but could not be defined as either religious or atheist.

    On the Christian side, only one answered, and he would disbelieve the truth as being a trick of the devil.

    Numerous people on both sides responded obliquely but did not answer, and a few on each side claimed to already possess knowledge of absolute truth.

    What can be derived from this? Well, the sample size is dangerously small, but in general the atheists seem to have more courage to state a position, and they also proved more willing to abandon faulty information and evolve their understanding. It is almost impossible to know if Christians would change their thinking if absolute evidence was presented as only one responded, but I would venture to guess that he is probably fairly representative, and no amount of knowledge or evidence would change their opinions.

    Alternate interpretations welcome.

    January 11, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      1. The inner cosmology of the atomized realms.

      Are these atomic realms not the first realms conceived in the grand schemes of cosmology?

      2. The outer cosmology of the celestial realms.

      Did not this realm become conceived only after the inner cosmological realm of atomic reactions was made nearing a finalized completion?

      3. The living cosmology of the cellular realms.

      Did this cellular realm of living cosmological matter come about by sheer coincidence? Was there an intellectual cosmological order for the cellular realms of living cosmological components to become ever evolving cellular realms ending upon this celestial shorelines’ planetary cosmology as being physical realms of mankind’s cellular embodiments?

      January 11, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      I'm the one who posted

      “I'd leave it shut. For me, the only benefit to opening it would be to satisfy idle curiosity. That's not important enough to risk a Pandora's box type of unintended consequences from a deluge of information greater than that which could be safely comprehended at once.” followed by

      “@ myweightinwords: I consider it idle curiosity because I believe that when we die we get to open that door and have all the answers to the universal questions of creation, existence, and the afterlife . So, why rush it? I can be patient.
      My idle curiosity did get the better in one respect causing me to pose your question to 2 other people.
      #1 said no, because if it turned out that there was nothing behind the door then all his faith would have been for nothing. He's a cradle Catholic that lapsed for 20+ years, hooked up with some friends that hooked him on reading the KJV without practicing other than his own blend of christianity, but has spent the last 3 years back as a practicing Catholic (getting catechised by moi) .
      #2 said yes, because he'd be busting with curiosity to know the answers to all kinds of questions that have yet to be revealed. He's a retired Catholic priest.”

      I am a practicing Roman Catholic.

      If you're willing to take the additional two answers, the talley could be adjusted by subtracting 1 athiest & adding 3 christians.

      Basically, you're answering two questions and comparing the 4 possible combinations. I read my description of the data table and immediately thought “Oh, we only have 2 viewpoints represented. Damn! It's too bad that we don't have more of a variety of viewpoints. It would be awesome to ask people from all different beliefs what they would do. It would be FASINATING to listen to the anecdotes, personal histories, thought processes and musings that the question “Why or why not?” would produce. Then, I had the opportunity to pose this question to 2 others. I had 2 of the most interesting conversations I've had in quite a while. All three of of us are Catholic. 2 said no & 1 said yes. The 2 no's were for totally different reasons and the yes reason had more in common with 1 of the no's than the 2 no's had in common with each other. The reasons for why in all three cases was so varied and nuanced, you'd almost have to say they were three different perspectives all leading to the same ultimate conclusion which really means 3 different unique answers.

      My circle includes quite a few people for whom I don't actually know their personal belief system. Of the ones for which I have primary information about a belief system, the range includes athiest, agnostic, mormon, hindi, evangelical fundamentalist, alternate Protestant, mainline Protestant, Russian Orthodox, Jewish and Roman Catholic. I can see myself bringing this up in conversation for at least a year or 18 months before I'd hit everyone in my address book with whom I could have this kind of exchange and compiling the most eclectic collection of stories one could imagine.

      While I was thinking of how great it would be to collect tons & tons of these unique and individual stories, all of which would defy the attempt to categorize it into a label, another thought came to me in a flash. While I'm sitting here thinking how great it's going to be to compile all these stories and how they could be published. I'm also thinking someone here has got to be thinking about compiling all this data and producing charts & graphs and tables of percentages. So, if anyone is interested in doing that kind of analysis, I think it would also be interesting to see if there was any relationship between whether a person is verbally or mathmatically predisposed and the type of belief system to which they subscribe in addition to all the other axes. (Oh, how glad I am that I won't be putting together that pain-in-the-as.s spreadsheet.)

      January 12, 2013 at 1:04 am |
    • Kent Proctor

      Sorry about the very slow response. Duly noted, Chikadee.

      The score is two atheists who would take in the knowledge, and two christians who would either not look or would disbelieve anything that didn't agree with them.

      This is what I suspected. I was only interested in open-mindedness and willingness to accept new information. If you want to do the rest, go for it.

      January 13, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
  7. Origin of Life

    Theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg suggests that in fact this is not much of a God at all. Weinberg notes that traditionally the word "God" has meant "an interested personality". But that is not what Hawking and Lederman mean. Their "god", he says, is really just "an abstract principle of order and harmony", a set of mathematical equations. Weinberg questions then why they use the word "god" at all. He makes the rather profound point that "if language is to be of any use to us, then we ought to try and preserve the meaning of words, and 'god' historically has not meant the laws of nature." The question of just what is "God" has taxed theologians for thousands of years; what Weinberg reminds us is to be wary of glib definitions.

    January 11, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • It is Called

      Looks like the answers are here today in the comment section new stuff even.
      According to courts can't teach ID/creationism in public schools in US.

      January 11, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      !!!???!!! I thought that the ruling was that public schools cannot teach ID/creationism in science class but are free to do so in a liberal arts class like comparative religions or world cultures. Correct or not correct?

      January 12, 2013 at 1:09 am |
    • It is Called

      Can't be taught as fact!!!!

      According to courts can't teach ID/creationism in public schools in US.
      NOVA | Intelligent Design on Trial
      Nov 13, 2007 – Featuring trial reenactments based on court transcripts and interviews with key participants, including expert scientists and Dover parents,

      January 12, 2013 at 7:42 am |
    • Mac

      Evolution WON fact. Cool Science
      Everything starts in the Brain!

      January 12, 2013 at 7:54 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Well that makes sense. ID/Creationism should never have been in science class. This will be interesting to watch. I wish I didn't have a child of public school age at the moment. They are so busy teaching to the "No Child Left Behind" standardized tests to have time in the curricula for elective subjects like World Religions. The irony I see in this is that the republicans are effectively being prevented from adding classes in which they may legitimately teach ID/Creationism by their support for this as.sinine education funding legislation. Maybe this will be the catalyst for them to get on board with the idea of teaching for the sake of learning instead of teaching to get students to use their #2 pencils to complete the answer pattern which will render the best financial results for the school district. My, my! What if students actually had time to think, question and pursue independent study. Nah, never happen. We might end up with an educated electorate.

      January 12, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • JWT

      No child left behind – I know quite a few families that have have had to use that law to force the schools to teach their children.

      January 12, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • It is Called

      Bring it up with congress or the courts !!! Nees $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!
      Bottom line children should be the winners !!!

      January 12, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • It is Called

      NEW science standards created by majority of 26 states for 2013. Stem standards. CNN has article.

      January 12, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Origin of Life

      NOVA: Decoding Neanderthals – PBS Pressroom
      NOVA: Decoding Neanderthals. Wednesday, January 9, 2013, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET. Check your local listings. Decoding Neanderthals Ep Main. Find out what

      January 12, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  8. lionlylamb

    Are not all people to 1stly seek the kingdom of God? Where does one look if it is so written that this world is not the kingdom domain of God? Is it not written that the kingdom of God is inside us? If so, then how could the kingdom of God dwell inside of us? Is it not also written that we labor with God and we are God's husbandry? Also, are we not God's buildings where God and all God's kinds inhabit our embodiments which are mere buildings conceptualized and conceived by God?

    God and all of Godliness dwells inside all living things of celestial reckoning upon a realm of atomized dimensioning so small, we will never wholly know with certainty the true realms of the Godly. It is for this reasoning that humanity is left alone and distanced from God and the Godly. Our body like buildings manifested from the 1st moments of evolution are Godly creations built upon the atomized cosmologies into beings of cellular dimensioned realms in q u a n t I t a t i v e measuring.

    We are of the Godly and in cosmological securities are we held in bondages ever formed into celestial beings thru the atomized realms of variations made manifested into the cellular commodities of the living realms of cosmological wonders.

    January 11, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Athy

      Are so buildings not all Godly embodiments written people also to labor God and not seek the Godly buildings husbandry kingdom of God? Where dwell does one look if it is so that this Godly world is not the Godly kingdom domain of God? Is it not written that the Godly kingdom of God is inside us? If, then how could the Godly kingdom of God dwell inside of us? Is it not Godly labor written that we with Godly God and we are God's? Also, are we not God's God where and all God's kinds inhabit our Godly God which are mere God conceptualized and Godly conceived by God?

      God and all of Godliness Gods dwells inside all God's living things of God's celestial Godly reckoning upon a Godly realm of atomized bullshiit so small, we Godly gods will never wholly know with Godlike certainty the true Godly realms of the Godly Godlike Godliness. It is for this Godly reasoning that God's Godly Godlike Godliness of humanity is left Godly alone and distanced from Godlike Gods and the Godly. Our Godly body like buildings manifested from the last Godly moments of Godlike evolution are Godly Godless creations built upon the atomized cosmologies into Godly Godlike beings of Godly cellular dimensioned Godlike realms in qualitative measuring.

      We are of the Godly Godlike Gods and in Godlike cosmological securities are we held in Godly bondages ever Godly formed into Godly Godlike celestial Godly beings thru the Godly atomized realms of variations made manifested into the Goldy Godlike cellular commodities.

      January 11, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Squid Vicious

      You are totally incompetent at writing incompetently, Athy.

      If you want to write like LaLa, take a ball peen hammer and pound your IQ down to about 72 or so – might take quite a few stiff blows to the head – then take a whopping dose of heroin, meth, crack, and LSD, with a big Jack Daniels chaser. Then type while blindfolded and then run it through Google translator into a wide range of different languages before returning to English. Then paste the results here.

      January 11, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • lionlylamb


      Remind everyone not to put knives in front of you. You seem to butcher apart anything that hints of ritualistc relevations.

      January 11, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Squid Vicious

      Oh yeah, you have to also be totally certain that you are brilliant when you write your stupid gidderish in a foppish flaccid prose-masturbation.

      January 11, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Athy

      That was good, Squid!

      January 11, 2013 at 6:10 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.