April 12th, 2013
04:03 PM ET

Battle of the sexes at Western Wall

By Sara Sidner, CNN

Jerusalem (CNN) - A group of women in Israel is again expressing outrage after police detained some of its members for doing two things they say should be perfectly normal and legal: praying out loud and wearing a prayer shawl at the holiest site for prayer in Judaism.

The women who were detained on Thursday are part of a group that calls itself Women of the Wall. For more than two decades, its members have been defying traditionalists and the Israeli government.

The women say they should be able to pray as they wish at the Western Wall and be given the same rights as the men who pray there. The idea - and trying to make it true by just doing it - has outraged some of the ultra-Orthodox who pray at the wall, where a partition separates men and women. FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Jerusalem • Judaism • Prayer • Women

April 12th, 2013
04:00 PM ET

Where do morals come from?

By Kelly Murray, CNN

Editor's note: The Science Seat is a feature in which our sister blog CNN Light Years sits down with movers and shakers from different areas of scientific exploration. This is the eighth installment.

Being nice to others and cooperating with them aren't uniquely human traits. Frans de Waal, director of Emory University's Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Lawrenceville, Georgia, studies how our close primate relatives also demonstrate behaviors suggestive of a sense of morality.

De Waal recently published a book called "The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates," which synthesizes evidence that there are biological roots in human fairness, and explores what that means for the role of religion in human societies.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Science

April 12th, 2013
03:47 PM ET

Franklin Graham calls for prayer on North Korea

By Dan Merica, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

Washington (CNN) – In light of threatening statements from North Korea, famed evangelist Franklin Graham says prayer is a viable option for cooling tensions between the communist country and the rest of the world.

“First of all, I think we need to pray,” Graham, the CEO of Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian humanitarian organization, said in an interview on CNN’s “Starting Point.” “We need to pray for our president, we need to pray that God will give him wisdom as he makes decision at this point. This is a very critical time, right now, for our country and we need to come behind our president and support him with prayer.”

Through Samaritan’s Purse, an organization founded in 1970, Graham has visited North Korea four times over the last 13 years. The group’s slogan is “Helping in Jesus Name” and it describes itself as a “Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.”

Tensions with North Korea began to rise last month, as the rogue state began issuing increasingly threatening statement towards its Asian neighbors and the United States. Most recently it was uncovered that North Korea may be able to deliver a nuclear weapon via missile with low reliability, according to the Pentagon.


- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • North Korea • Politics • Prayer

April 12th, 2013
12:01 PM ET

Want your ashes spread where Jesus walked?

By Sara Sidner, CNN

Sea of Galilee (CNN) - When I am visiting the United States and tell people I live in the Middle East I generally get one of two responses:

“Seriously? Isn’t it dangerous? Stay safe out there.”

Or some version of:

“Wow. There is so much Biblical history there. I have always dreamed about going to the Holy Land but doubt I’ll ever get the chance.”

I never thought I’d be able to give the latter this option for a visit.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Israel • Judaism

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.