December 22nd, 2011
11:23 PM ET
By Gabe LaMonica, CNN
(CNN) – The Internet is the grapevine. A Vatican spokesman's comments on radio this week led news organizations to report that the Vatican had lost its bid for Vatican.xxx, a coupling of the Vatican and the ".xxx" extension now reserved for pornographic content.
"This domain is not available because it has been acquired by someone else, but not the Vatican," the Rev. Federico Lombardi said on Vatican radio.
But that turns out not to be the case. On the contrary, the domain is reserved specifically for no one.
"Vatican.xxx is a name that is on the permanent reserve list, so it was pulled out of the registry before the launch," said Jocelyn Johnson, a representative for ICM Registry, the company operating the new dot-triple-X domain as a voluntary option for pornographic sites.
December 15th, 2011
10:48 AM ET
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.
By Arri Eisen, Special to CNN
A referendum that would have restricted in vitro fertilization in Mississippi, disagreements on the causes of global warming, the question of how to allot health care resources for desperate cases at the beginning or end of life.
Many of today's headlines and hyper-polarized political debates happen at the borders of science and society, especially where science meets ethics and religion.
At the same time, in at what first appears to be in an unrelated domain, President Barack Obama and others call for more and better science education in America to compete in innovation with rising giants India and China. This at a time when American science literacy appears to be decreasing, and even students who like science drop like flies from that pursuit once they hit college and its huge introductory lecture courses.
Is it possible that rethinking the ethical calculus of how we teach science could enhance the pool of future scientists and enrich the quality of conversation around controversial issues?
December 7th, 2011
11:17 PM ET
By Elizabeth Landau, CNN
(CNN) – Catholic nuns take a vow of chastity, so you might not think that any sister would need to be on birth control.
But oral contraceptive pills have other uses besides preventing pregnancy; in fact, Catholic bioethicists say there is no inherent conflict in nuns (or any other Catholic) taking these very same substances for prescribed, therapeutic reasons, such as for treating heavy menstrual bleeding or endometriosis.
A new article in the journal The Lancet goes one step further. It argues that nuns "should be free to use the contraceptive pill to protect against the hazards of nulliparity” – that is, heightened cancer risk among women who do not bear children.
According to the authors, Australian researchers Kara Britt and Roger Short, there are about 95,000 nuns in the world, and they are paying "a terrible price for their chastity": increased risks of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer.FULL STORY
December 7th, 2011
06:00 AM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Nearly one in five atheist scientists with children involve their families with religious institutions, even if they personally do not agree with the institutions teachings, a recent study says.
The study, conducted by Rice University and the University at Buffalo, found that these scientists affiliate with churches for both social and personal reasons. Additionally, the scientists indicated a strong desire to prepare their children to make educated decisions about their personal religious preference.
“This was so surprising to us just because of all of the public discussion about the ways in which scientists are very against religions people,” said Elaine Howard Ecklund, a sociologist at Rice. “When in fact, those we might most expect to be against religious people are sitting alongside them.”
November 12th, 2011
10:00 PM ET
By Paul Root Wolpe, Special to CNN
(CNN) - “My thoughts, they roam freely. Who can ever guess them?”
So goes an old German folk song. But imagine living in a world where someone can guess your thoughts, or even know them for certain. A world where science can reach into the deep recesses of your brain and pull out information that you thought was private and inaccessible.
Would that worry you?
If so, then start worrying. The age of mind reading is upon us.
October 28th, 2011
03:55 PM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) - It’s become an increasingly hot topic of debate between atheists and religious people: Is belief in God helpful or hurtful?
A study published Thursday by the American Psychological Association suggests that believing may be a little of both.
According to the study, simple reminders of God have both positive and negative effects on people’s motivation. The report, which focused primarily on students, found that religious reminders both diminish a person’s desire to complete personal goals and improve a person’s ability to resist temptation.
September 27th, 2011
08:39 AM ET
By John Blake, CNN
(CNN) -True love doesn’t wait after all.
That’s the implication in the upcoming October issue of an evangelical magazine that claims that young, unmarried Christians are having premarital sex almost as much as their non-Christian peers.
The article in Relevant magazine, entitled “(Almost) Everyone’s Doing It,” cited several studies examining the sexual activity of single Christians. One of the biggest surprises was a December 2009 study, conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, which included information on sexual activity.
While the study’s primary report did not explore religion, some additional analysis focusing on sexual activity and religious identification yielded this result: 80 percent of unmarried evangelical young adults (18 to 29) said that they have had sex - slightly less than 88 percent of unmarried adults, according to the teen pregnancy prevention organization.
The article highlights what challenges abstinence movements face. Movements such as “True Love Waits,” encourage teens to wear purity rings, sign virginity pledges and pledge chastity during public ceremonies.
September 15th, 2011
07:53 AM ET
September 8th, 2011
09:48 AM ET
(CNN) - Flamboyant fashion designer John Galliano was found guilty Thursday on charges of making anti-Semitic comments against at least three people in a Paris cafe.
The French court gave him a suspended fine of 6,000 euros ($8,415) but he was not sentenced to jail time. The plaintiffs were awarded one symbolic euro each. Aurelien Hamelle, Galliano's lawyer, told CNN he was not surprised by the verdict.
He said the designer was happy it was all over and wants to put the whole episode behind him. Galliano was not present at the trial because he didn't want to face the media, his lawyer added.FULL STORY
August 16th, 2011
11:28 PM ET
By Gabe LaMonica, CNN
(CNN) - Moses is a cartoon with a big head, a small body and beady black button eyes with a spiky grey beard and spongy grey hair in a new game on Facebook.
The art style is meant to reflect "the casual social game" that it is, says Brent Dusing, CEO of Hexify, creator of the first biblically based Facebook game, The Journey of Moses. "It's a fun, immersive, adventure game, so it's meant to be fun but respectful to the content and appropriate for the gravity of the story."
Dusing says "300 million people play social games on Facebook." That's close to the population of the United States, so his target audience is "anyone from 13 to over 70 ... it's a timeless story that billions around the world know."
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.