January 26th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

My Take: An American Jew finds MLK – and a new understanding – on the West Bank

Editor's note: Arri Eisen, PhD., is professor of pedagogy at Emory University’s Center for Ethics, Department of Biology and Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts. Carlton D. Mackey, who took the accompanying photographs, is the director of the Ethics & the Arts Initiative at the Emory University Center for Ethics.

By Arri Eisen, Special to CNN

Monday was Martin Luther King Day. Monday, Barack Obama was inaugurated president for the second time.

This was one of the few glimmers of hope held up by many of the Palestinians I met with at the turn of the year in the West Bank: “Who would have thought in Martin Luther King’s day that you would now have a black president? If that can happen in the U.S., then maybe one day there can be peace here.”

I spent 10 days in Jordan, Israel and the occupied territories on a “journey of reconciliation” my university sponsored, with a dozen other Americans — I the only Jew among them — meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

We met with Vera Baboun, the newly elected and first-ever female mayor of Bethlehem, a small city in the West Bank. The mayor told us she earned her degree in African-American literature at the Hebrew University; she was inspired by Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. Like many of the Palestinian political leaders in the West Bank, she is Christian. She is a mother of five; her husband was detained by the Israelis for three years and died soon after his release. Just outside her office, across the square, Jesus was born.

As we stand in the lobby saying goodbye to the mayor, a full-sized picture of Yasser Arafat, waving and smiling at me. In the world I grew up in, the late Palestinian leader was considered nothing but a Jew-killer, a terrorist.

Take everything that is good in humans and everything that is bad, mix it together, pour it in a vat of irony and then boil it down and stick it in one small area. This is the Middle East.

As we leave Bethlehem, the “separation barrier” — tall, thick concrete walls topped with gnarly wires cutting through the land like a knife — is on our left. On our right, says our guide, is the valley where the shepherds were told by the angels of Jesus’ birth. As we cross through the checkpoint, one of 500 in the West Bank, I turn and look back to see a huge red sign warning that it’s illegal for Israelis to enter Bethlehem – as well as dangerous to their lives.

I think of another sign we saw earlier that day. We had driven our bus up a good road that led to a settlement — full of Jews, surrounded by their own fence and guarded gate — and then took a ragged road as far as we could, up to the boulders strewn across it. We got out and walked the wind-whipped path to the Tent of Nations, 100 acres owned by Daoud, a Palestinian with a deed for this land that dates to 1916. The sign on entering Daoud’s property: “We refuse to be enemies.” He fights as MLK would; his right to the land has been tied up in the Israeli courts for more than two decades. When Daoud puts up tents for a summer camps he runs for kids from Bethlehem, he is issued demolition orders for them. He sees swimming pools in the settlements, but his water and electricity are cut off; he collects his own rain water and produces his own solar power.

These were not the stories I was told. I was raised in the classical Jewish American Zionist narrative of black and white, good and evil. Seeing the endless stream of evangelical Christians and Jews on birthright trips from all over the world touring through Jerusalem, I want to stop and shake them and tell them what they’re missing, what I wasn’t told.

It’s not that the Palestinians are angels. When the Israelis built the separation barriers, the suicide bombings terrorizing Israeli citizens stopped. I had dinner with an old friend, an American who had moved to Israel decades before. She spoke of gas masks and bomb shelters and of fear for her daughter, who is in the army guarding a West Bank settlement.

In Jerusalem, I walk out of the Church of the Nativity with our Palestinian guide Nabeel, one of 42 allowed to enter the city (on a six-month renewable permit). He walks with a limp. I tell him, “I now know three men with your name, one from Pakistan, one from Lebanon and now you.” He smiles. “What is your name again?” he asks. “I’m glad you’re on the trip. You know, in America, outside, I have Jewish friends, but here ...”

At the place where Jesus was buried, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, bells compete in aural space with Muslim prayers over loudspeakers. Our guide shows us a side entrance for black Christians who at one time weren’t allowed to use the main entrance. We take it and wind upward. On the roof of the church, here in the middle of the Old City of Jerusalem, a group of African monks has set up their own village!

At the Wailing Wall, small birds have taken up residence in a very resilient plant that grows from its ancient bricks. The birds look out at me, at the man holding his iPhone to the wall so a distant friend can pray into its mortar, at the Israeli soldiers completing their training and swearing to die for their country before this last remnant of the second Temple, at the masses of praying men and women — the women in a smaller area, separated from the men and further from the holiest part of the Wall. I am humbled. I turn and am struck by a huge sign advertising “bar mitzvahs at the Wall.” I wonder what the birds are thinking.

Many, Palestinians and Israelis, talk of how “things have gotten worse the last two years,” how peace is not even an issue in this week’s Israeli elections.

We meet with a group of young men and women calling themselves Kids for Peace: Palestinians, Christians, Jews, Israelis, Muslims. They get together regularly and share stories; they bring their parents together across the enmity formed by walls and fences. I see my son in them. The oldest one clears his throat. “We have peace in our veins,” he says, “We are changing people. We must listen to each other.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • History • Israel • Jerusalem • Judaism • Middle East • Palestinians

soundoff (453 Responses)
  1. elliot

    FYI – The holiest part of the wall is accessible by tunnel only and reserved for WOMEN only praying for health and childbirth issues – so your comment that women are restricted to the less holy areas is wrong.

    And, no one "swears to die" for their country. We leave martyrdom to Hamas.

    Some other points are misrepresented, as well.

    January 27, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Perhaps rather than "misrepresent" they are presented as he saw them, as he understood them.

      January 27, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
  2. ignorance of history

    4 questions:
    Why are Palestinians still living in refugee camps while Suha Arafat (widow) is living the life with millions of dollars stolen from international donations?
    Why is Israel the only nation in the Middle East where Google, Microsoft, Intel and other Fortune 500s are setting up multi million dollar R and D centers?
    Why did Ms. Baboun have to study at Hebrew University, are her people not capable of creating a world class university? (NO THEY ARE NOT)
    Why are there hundreds of square miles left undeveloped in the Gaza strip, including one of the most beautiful strips of beach in the world, while Palestinians squalor in refugee camps? (HINT: MONEY IS USED TO BUY BOMBS)

    January 27, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
  3. Darwin's Dog

    The Father of Muslim "Palestinian" Nationalism was Amin el Husseini. An ally of Hitler and a close friend of Heinrich Himmler, Head of the SS. They worked together to create the 2 Muslim SS Divisions. Their original work continues today with the goal of exterminating the Jews...

    January 27, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
  4. lionlylamb


    January 27, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • lionlylamb


      January 27, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
  5. LibyanJew

    Why is it always Jews "walking the path to reconcilliation"? As a Libyan Jew who experienced the destruction of Libyan Jewish civilisation at the hands of the Libyan government, I am still waiting for the day when a Libyan Muslim will write a blog expressing remorse for the death and destruction caused by his or hand. I probably shouldn't hold my breath.

    January 27, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Not a Libyan Jew

      Do you mean the Libyan government that was toppled, led by the dictator that was assassinated? Are you looking for vengeance?

      January 27, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • LibyanJew

      @Not.....Read the history of the Libyan Jewish community before you reply with ignorance. I don't seek vengence, but I'm not going to listen to a European Jew try to make all Jews feel guilty for the suffering of the Palestinians, especially since the history of Jews in countries such as Libya, Syria, Egypt is nearly as catastrophic. European Jews can feel as much guilt as they want but they can keep their guilt to themselves, for my grandparents the massacres by Libyan Muslim mobs and the theft of property is too recent a memory to feel much sympathy for the Palestinians.

      January 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Not a Libyan Jew

      So the Palestinians must suffer for the sins of anti-Semites? Sounds like the Palestinians have taken the blame for the Holocaust and more. And your blaming the Palestinians for the actions of "Muslims mobs" is just typical of anti-Semites, like those who blame Jews for everything. Get over yourself.

      January 27, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • LibyanJew

      @Not.....Nice try at manipulating my words. Please show me in previous posts where blamed the Palestinians for anything. However, as a Libyan Jew who has never been to Israel, tell me why I should feel guilt for their suffering? I understand that the European Jewish author feels guilt because the Zionists that expelled the Palestinians were European. No Libyan Jew murdered a Palestinian or forced a Palestinian out of his or her home in 1948. Why are you blaming Libyan Jews for the suffering of Palestinians? Answer yes or no, did we deserve to be dispossessed by Libyan Muslims because of what Israeli Jews did to Palestinians? There should be an ignorance censor before people can comment.

      January 27, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Not a Libyan Jew

      "Why is it always Jews "walking the path to reconcilliation"? As a Libyan Jew who experienced the destruction of Libyan Jewish civilisation at the hands of the Libyan government, I am still waiting for the day when a Libyan Muslim will write a blog expressing remorse for the death and destruction caused by his or hand. I probably shouldn't hold my breath."

      "European Jews can feel as much guilt as they want but they can keep their guilt to themselves, for my grandparents the massacres by Libyan Muslim mobs and the theft of property is too recent a memory to feel much sympathy for the Palestinians."

      These are your remarks. So because you'd been oppressed in Libya, Jews in Israel should continue doing wrong? You need help.

      January 27, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • LibyanJew

      "So because you'd been oppressed in Libya, Jews in Israel should continue doing wrong?"

      Nowhere in my posts did I come anywhere close to make an outrageous and immoral insinuation like that. Do you always resort to outright lies when you debate with someone?

      However, at least you admit that there was oppression in Libya, and you also admit that only Israeli Jews are responsible for Palestinian suffering. That's a step in the right direction.

      January 27, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
  6. Darwin's Dog

    It is sad how Liberal news media constantly portrait Muslim aggressors as victims. Muslims want Israel destroyed, yet international and media pressure constantly portrait Israel as the bad guys. We are seeing the second holocaust develop before our eyes, with the full support of the media...

    January 27, 2013 at 11:54 am |
    • .

      Wait until they find out what Muslims do to gay people when they catch them.

      January 27, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • *

      "Wait until they find out what Muslims do to gay people when they catch them."

      Classic homophobic, come on dude just come out that you're gay, you're life will become real and fulfilling.

      January 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • hz

      You didn't even read the article. The author talked about CHRISTIAN Palistinians. He also talked about how not all palestinians are good (or bad). Either you didn't read it or you never read articles in here and you just post the same comments everywhere.

      January 27, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Darwin's Dog

      The article is about peace in the West Bank. Without an understanding of how the conflict was formed, there will never be peace.

      January 27, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
  7. empresstrudy

    15 years ago Bethlehem was 75-80% Christian. Today it's about 5%. Driven out violently by the Arab Muslims.
    Alice Walker is openly an antisemite in her own words.
    The 'wailing wall' is called the Kotel. Either you're an idiot or ignoring that on purpose.
    Did you ask anyone in Hebron – oh wait you can't. They were all massacred in 1929.

    January 27, 2013 at 11:49 am |
  8. Reality

    Why Israel needs more Conservative Jews:

    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. (prob•a•bly
    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

    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.

    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."

    See p. 1 for Hebrew and Arabic translations of the above and please foward to any Jewish friends you might have in Israel.

    January 27, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Darwin's Dog

      Nobody reads comments over two paragraphs long...

      January 27, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Reality

      Only for the reading- challenged:

      The topic commentary has 15 paragraphs.

      January 27, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
  9. Darwin's Dog

    Sad how clueless liberals are. There was already a "two state" solution. I know you don't know about it, but EDUCATE yourselves!!! Google the British Mandate and Trans-Jordan. A Two state solution has already been created with Muslim Palestinians getting the majority of the land – Jordan. Israeli Palestinians received a sliver of the land now call Israel. Now Muslims want MORE of Israel's land. PLEASE EDUCATE YOURSELVES!!!

    January 27, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • Chuckles

      It's astounding that you write "educate yourselves" twice (in caps no less) and then show you clearly have no idea what the two state solution is or why neither israelis or palestinians have accepted it. The two state solution is the main part of israel goes to the jews while the gaza strip, west bank, golan heights and the sinai peninsula go to he palestinians. Jerusalem would also be made into an international city or split down the middle (either way, it's not given to one specific group). The israeli's reject that because a) they control the golan and b) making jerusalem anything other than fully israeli is a non starter.

      The palestinians reject the two state solution because they reject the very idea that israeli's would own even a sliver of land in the middle east. The israeli's must be completely annihilated or "driven to the sea" and a two solution to them is surrender.

      The two state solution will not work until the palestinians come to the negotiating table with something other than " completely kill all jews"

      January 27, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  10. .

    There's an MKL Boulevard on the West Bank? Must the the most dangerous place in town.

    It usually is here in the USA.

    January 27, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • hz

      It is a shame that less affluent neighborhoods don't get the same police protection as neighborhoods with more cash. You try living in a place where when you call the cops it takes them 30+ minutes to show up and then tell us how it's your fault as an individual. But you keep hating on other people if it makes you feel better. It says a lot more about you than them.

      January 27, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • .

      It's the truth. It may not be what you want to hear, but it is the truth.

      Maybe you should try to convince the people who make MKL Boulevard the most dangerous street in town to stop hating each other?

      Or is that too hard?

      January 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
  11. steve

    Israel has created an apartheid state in Occupied Palestine

    January 27, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • .

      Yeah, you know... blowin' up innocent kids in school buses kind of has that effect on people.....

      January 27, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Darwin's Dog

      Clueless – The word "Palestine" was created by the Romans to describe the area including Israel and Jordan. Jews and Muslims in the area are Palestine. A two state solution was created in the early 1900's to give the muslim and the Jewish Palestinians a home. This was not good enough for the Muslims, now they are trying to take the rest of Israel's land. Research Trans-Jordan and EDUCATE yourself!

      January 27, 2013 at 11:56 am |
  12. Tim

    How about giving us back George Washington's B-day as well as Lincoln's, and deleting MLK.

    January 27, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Rob

      How about keep all three I like holidays.

      January 27, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • .

      Festivus for the Rest of Us!

      January 27, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  13. BL

    What Ms. Mayor of Bethlehem failed to mention (or else Prof. Eisen neglected to report) is that, since the Oslo accords (1993) under which Arafat was imported to the West Bank, Bethlehem turned from a predominantly Christian town into a town with a Muslim majority. Christians are persecuted by their fellow Muslims in the Palestinian territories (and all over the Arab World) and are emigrating by the thousands.

    January 27, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Christian

      BL. I dated a Christian Palestinian expat woman from Ramallah for a couple of years. I got to know her family and the Christian expat community well. They left Ramallah because of the intifadas. They didn't find much fault with Palestinian Muslims, but outright hated the Israelis. The Israelis are the ones with the guns and the power and the jails. They don't leave much for the Palestinians when they see something they like. So of course they are hated. It's not going to get better. People like Netanyahu can't exist without Palestinian hatred and the support of Jewish hardliners.

      January 27, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Thinker23

      "Cristian": If the Palestinian Arabs (Muslims and Christians alike) did not like the current arrangement they would NEGOTIATE A BETTER DEAL long ago. As long as they are willing the war to continue it will continue and with it will continue the guns and the power and the jails and all other things Palestinians love to complain about.

      The fact is that peace and a sovereign independent state was offered to Palestinian Arabs in 1948, 1967, 1978, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2009 and they've rejected it every single time declaring that nothing short of destruction of the Jewish State would satisfy them. If and when the Palestinians will create leadership ABLE AND WILLING to stop violence, recognize Israel and NEGOTIATE A PEACE AGREEMENT Israel will gladly agree. Hating Israel will not be very effective, however.

      January 27, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Christian

      Yes "Thinker" people who get the worst end of the worst deal do tend to complain about it. But I've met a few Israeli expats and quite a number of American Jews who think Israel is the greatest place on earth. The Israelis came here because Israel is becoming a pis s hole and none of the Americans have ever spent more than a few days in Israel which they seem to think is kind of like a Scottsdale to the Palestinian Phoenix. Maybe every pro-Israeli American should spend a couple of years in Israel.

      January 27, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • LibyanJew

      @Christian You are correct on the assessment of Palestinian Christian sentiments towards Israelis. That's not at all saying that Palestinian Muslims do not oppress Palestinian Christians, because they absolutely do. However, when you are oppressed by an outside group you tend to ignore internal conflict. It's similar to indigenous Mexicans who ignore their mistreatment by European Mexicans in order to present a more unified front against their mistreatment in the United States.

      January 27, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Thinker23

      "Christian"... If "Israel is becoming a pis s hole" then how come millions of Arabs demand the "right to return" to that horrible place? Besides, if you DID NOT AGREE with something I've said you would say so, wouldn't you? PLease consider that as long as there is nothin you DISAGREE with it means that you AGREE with everything I've said... 🙂

      January 27, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  14. Ben

    Martin Luther King on Israel:


    January 27, 2013 at 10:45 am |
  15. Russell NYC

    And I want to shake you. What makes you think you can go to the region as half a tourist for a week and decide who needs shaking. There is such a strong peace movement in Israel, in Jewish Culture and Tradition in general. If the Palestinians took a half a lesson from MLK they would stop dressing their toddlers in Jihad wear, recognize that Jews have a right to live in peace and this whole story is over. Start by shaking yourself. How this oversimplified dribble gets published nationally is a mockery of two shams of a mockery of a balegan.

    January 27, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • ReaderfromCali


      January 27, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  16. pnesswrinkle

    Are any of you bored yet? You're all saying the same sh!t over and over. The article doesn't even matter anymore.....comments are gonna be the same. Here's any interesting question? Atheist: Have you changed the theist's mind? Theist: Have you changed the atheist's mind? All: Which is more foolish for trying the theist or the atheist?

    January 27, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • End Religion

      Morganucodon "Morgie" is an early mammalian genus that lived during the Late Triassic. It is our ancestor, a survivor of the meteor strike which decimated the dinosaurs and allowed us to take over the planet. Thanks, Morgie!

      January 27, 2013 at 10:32 am |

      I must be the fool to think after reading an article the comments one this blog would be any different.

      January 27, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Rob

      Why is anyone a fool people can talk and share different opinions. No one is a fool for trying the only fools are those that never try.

      January 27, 2013 at 11:25 am |

      Sorry Robby, not buying it.
      "Arguing with a fool only proves that there are two."

      "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt."

      But I'll remember what you said the next time I'm NOT trying to convince someone to believe as I do.

      January 27, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
  17. TV

    This article shows you how the people in the US view the Middle East: One huge important country called ISRAEL and then there are some places that have oil that are controlled by terrorists and extremists, who obviously don't deserve the oil and should be gotten rid of. Hate to break it to you, but there are almost 400million people in the Middle East and North Africa of which Israel has 8million a ratio of 50:1. Land mass difference would be even bigger.

    January 27, 2013 at 10:31 am |
  18. lionlylamb


    January 27, 2013 at 10:27 am |
  19. Science

    Evolution won in the Dover court trial. ID/creation can not be taught in public schools in US.. Moving forward, take a blood test map your genes.

    Creationists' tactics also have a more profound impact on science education which goes beyond biology because they communicate the idea that there is something lacking or something wrong with evolutionary theory, an idea which is not actually true from a scientific standpoint. This causes students to develop very mistaken beliefs about the nature of science, the scientific method, and how scientific research is used. This cheats students out of the proper science education which they deserve.

    Attempts to use the law to restrict or dilute the teaching of evolution in public schools matters because science matters. As society relies more and more heavily on science and technology on ever more fundamental levels, it becomes increasingly more important that all citizens receive a proper grounding in science and the scientific method. Science education is becoming a key part of what it means to be a well-informed and well-educated citizen of today; therefore, any effort to temper science education in order to placate a vocal religious group cheats the students, cheats society, and cheats our future.

    January 27, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Thinker23

      There is indeed something wrong with the evolutionary theory. It's the fact that it can not explain where the very first living creature came from. You see, this first living creature was surrounded by absolutely sterile dead matter (sand, rocks and air) and it would have to know how to conver this sterile dead matter into energy needed for the living creature to exist as well as into other living creatures like itself.

      As I've said biology and evolution can not explain where the first living creature came from because they pick up from the time where many of competing living creatures already existed.

      January 27, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • End Religion

      Hydrothermal origin of life hypothesis (among others) outweighs your magic god theory because it has basis in science, which is the educated field of study we use to understand how our universe works. "God did it" has no education to its guess. It is simply a fervent belief. One can believe the sun rises because it is actually a chariot of fire that Helios rides across the sky each day, or one can depend on science to actually explain why the sun rises and sets.

      January 27, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • Science

      A Relative from the Tianyuan Cave: Humans Living 40,000 Years Ago Likely Related to Many Present-Day Asians and Native Americans
      Jan. 21, 2013 — Ancient DNA has revealed that humans living some 40,000 years ago in the area near Beijing were likely related to many present-day Asians and Native Americans.


      January 27, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Thinker23

      "Hydrothermal origin of life hypothesis (among others)" DOES NOT outweigh anything as long as there is no sound scientific FACTUAL evidence to support it. Feel free to come back with when the scientists who succeeded to create a living organism in their lab will receive a Nobel Price.

      January 27, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Science

      Origin of Life: Hypothesis Traces First Protocells Back to Emergence of Cell Membrane Bioenergetics

      SEE DATE !!!
      Dec. 20, 2012 — A coherent pathway - which starts from no more than rocks, water and carbon dioxide and leads to the emergence of the strange bio-energetic properties of living cells - has been traced for the first time in a major hypothesis paper in Cell this week.

      January 27, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Science

      They are making ears for transplant from STEM cells and heart valves from pigs and STEM cells go figure.

      January 27, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Thinker23", but since "God" is an element of mythology, hydrothermal origin of life hypothesis (among others) does, in fact, outweigh your "magic god theory", and your assertions are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your unfounded assertions may represent truths is: "EPIC FAIL".

      January 27, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Thinker23

      I'm sorry "hal 9001" but when someone does not have a clue of what he is talking about he creates a strawman and argues with his own creation... You're welcome to say something that makes sense and I'll gladly respod to you.

      January 27, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • lionlylamb


      January 27, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Evelyn

      What's a "respod"? Sounds like someone needs to slow down and "Think" a little more carefully. They might just wind up with different conclusions achieved from such haste.

      January 27, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • lionlylamb


      January 27, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Evelyn

      lionlylamb's video is old, and is nothing more than generalizations regard ID. It might be appropriate for a two-year old who heard of ID theory from a friend who is being raised as a Christardian.

      January 27, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Evelyn

      Another ridiculous preacher video from the cosmological pussy-tard. The Chinese have been keeping historical records longer than anyone else and they don't mention any break in leaders or animal life eithe, like the Noahs Ark story in the bible. Same for the Mayans, Babylonians, and all the other historical records & people that seemed to have missed & even survived that story.

      January 27, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Science

      The courts have created- not mine you better have the money to fight the courts and educations postions on the facts

      January 27, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • End Religion

      Psalms 135:7 "He makes the clouds rise from the ends of the earth, fashioning lightning for the rain, bringing the wind from his storehouses."

      So let's see... we now know god doesn't create clouds or lightning, and doesn't keep wind in a storehouse. We understand the rest of the bible is a fraud as well.

      Thinker23: "Feel free to come back with when the scientists who succeeded to create a living organism in their lab will receive a Nobel Price."

      What about all the folks who ranted endlessly about their omnipotent god creating lightning, just as you ramble on about the same impotent god creating life?

      "It is possible to trace a coherent pathway leading from no more than rocks, water and carbon dioxide to the strange bioenergetic properties of all cells living today."
      While the hydrothermal vent hypothesis is not yet theory it is another, stronger, candidate for origin of life base don science. ANY hypothesis based on science far outweighs any notion of "Gawd dun it wiff magic spellz" even if that hypothesis turns out to be in error because our reality is described by science.

      January 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • Thinker23

      "Science" - A coherent pathway – which starts from no more than rocks, water and clay and leads to the emergence of the strange properties of multistorey buildings - must be a "proof" that Empire State Building and George Washinton Monument are notihng but natural phenomena... 😉

      January 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Wow

      "I'm sorry "hal 9001" but when someone does not have a clue of what he is talking about he creates a strawman and argues with his own creation... You're welcome to say something that makes sense and I'll gladly respod to you."

      The exact same thing can be said about any gods humans have come up with.

      January 27, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Evelyn

      Well at least science is on some kind of rational, methodical pathway, and not relying on ancient writings whose self-serving content have been challenged ever since their discoveries.

      January 27, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Evelyn: What's a "respod"?

      It's called a 'TYPO', Einstein...

      January 27, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • .

      Thinker23 = UncouthSwain = Lycidas = EndBeginning

      January 27, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      I read some of the stuff you posted.
      Lets start with your assumption that there was a "sterile" environment. Incorrect
      The primordial soup would have many different chmicals and elements floating around in it. When you take the 4 most common elements in the universe, and subject them to the various energies that are abundant, you will create amino acids, whice then will string together to make protiens, which are the building blocks of life. It happens all over the world still. There are unique life forms that exist only around certain undersea volcanic vents. They cannot exist too far away from the vents, but exist and thrive in the energy of the vents.
      The life gets created right there...we can see it happening at EVERY undersea volcanic vent that exists.

      Much better explaination of the origins of life than " god did it"

      January 27, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Science

      New back fill for evolution.

      Ancient DNA reveals humans living 40,000 years ago in Beijing area related to present-day Asians, Native Americans January 21, 2013

      Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-01-ancient-dna-reveals-humans-years.html#jCp

      January 27, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Science

      @tink they have been trying to reply but the filter prevent the written form
      Keepers at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC have taught their Orangutans to use iPads as part of the Apps for Apes initiative which was started by a non-profit organization, Orangutan Outreach.


      News & Politics

      January 27, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
  20. Jared

    People are inherently good.

    This article misses the root of the problem which is an elected government that wants to destroy all the Jews and Israel. You can't negotiate with people who don't believe you exist. Why does this so often get overlooked?

    IIt doesn't matter how many good people there are wanted to do good things if they elect a government that supports the misdeeds of a few.

    And enough with the Apartheid Wall – if that was the only thing you could do to protect your kids from getting blown up (this was at the top of every headline years ago until the walls were put up), you would do the same.

    January 27, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • TV

      If the true intention was to protect the kids/people then the wall an the exclusion zone would have been on the Israeli side of the border or shared. It is always on "Palestinian" land. Its a way to fragment the West Bank and make life difficult for them, with the hope that at some point they will just leave.

      January 27, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • lionlylamb


      January 27, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • tony

      "Destroy" as an intention, is only as the natural consequence of the imported and unasked for and resisted fake nation and it's people not going peacefully back to where they nearly all came from in just the past 70 years. Palestine (aka the Holy Land) has always been there and is the entire land. Its named as such in the maps in my 1930's Bible. And it has always had a tiny minority Jewish and Christian population among the majority Muslims.

      January 27, 2013 at 11:01 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
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.