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First academic journal on secularism, nonreligion to debut in January
July 28th, 2011
01:39 PM ET

First academic journal on secularism, nonreligion to debut in January

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - It’s turning out to be a banner year for nonbelievers.

First came the publication of a secular Bible. Then we saw the birth of the first American college major in secularism. This week, it’s the launch of the world’s first academic journal dedicated to the themes of secularism and nonreligion.

The journal, to be called Secularism and Nonreligion, will begin publishing in January as a joint project of Trinity College in Connecticut and the Non-religion and Secularity Research Network, an international interdisciplinary network of researchers.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Education

May 9th, 2011
12:37 PM ET

College becomes nation's first to offer major in secularism

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - I don't know whether to be surprised that it happened or surprised that it took so long: a California college has become the first in the nation to offer a major in secularism.

The New York Times reported this weekend on the move by Pitzer College, a liberal arts institution in Southern California that's one of seven Claremont Colleges.

Some back story from The Times:

The department was proposed by Phil Zuckerman, a sociologist of religion, who describes himself as “culturally Jewish, but agnostic-atheist on questions of deep mystery.” Over the years he grew increasingly intrigued by the growth of secularism in the United States and around the world.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Atheism • California • Education

My Take: Remembering the Rev. Peter Gomes
The Rev. Peter Gomes, Harvard University's chaplain for more than 30 years, died Monday at age 68.
March 1st, 2011
04:43 PM ET

My Take: Remembering the Rev. Peter Gomes

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

The Rev. Peter Gomes, who died Monday from complications arising from a stroke at age 68, may not have been “America’s chaplain” — that title belongs to Billy Graham — but he was Harvard’s for three and a half decades.

He was also sui generis — of his own kind. Officially, Gomes was the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church at Harvard University. But he was also gay, black, Baptist and, for much of his adult life, Republican. Fascinated by the pilgrims, he made his home in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Baptist • Christianity • Education • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Politics

Baby boomers flood seminaries
February 13th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

Baby boomers flood seminaries

In the 2002 film, “The Rookie,” actor Dennis Quaid plays a middle-aged high school baseball coach who tries out for a major league baseball team.

The movie’s plot line is now being replicated at the nation’s seminaries. A growing number of baby boomers are entering seminaries to take their last shot at fulfilling a lifelong dream, a recent article suggests.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Education

February 11th, 2011
07:55 AM ET

Kentucky Senate passes bill to teach Bible classes in public schools

From CNN Louisville, Kentucky affiliate WLKY

Frankfort, Kentucky - Bible classes could be taught in Kentucky public schools under a bill that's made it halfway through Kentucky's legislature.

State Senator Joe Bowen wants Kentucky public school students to have an opportunity to take classes about the Bible.

"No doubt about it, the most important book ever written and obviously, it's had so much influence on our society and all of western civilization," Bowen said. Last year, former State Senator David Boswell introduced the same bill. It passed the Senate, but died in the house. Bowen defeated Boswell last November.

Read the full story from CNN Louisville, Kentucky affiliate WLKY.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Education • Kentucky • United States

November 2nd, 2010
08:00 AM ET

My Take: Feminist theology and feminism, R.I.P.

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Yesterday my students and I discussed Mary Daly, the Boston College professor, feminist theologian, and professional provocateur who died earlier this year. Judging by our discussion, feminist theology has died too, and feminism with it.

Our reading for the day was a selection from Daly’s second book, Beyond God the Father (1973), which decries a sexist cycle that has patriarchal cultures creating patriarchal divinities who then sanctify in turn the patriarchal cultures that gave them birth. “If God is male,” Daly writes, “then the male is God.”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Culture wars • Education • Women

October 27th, 2010
06:27 PM ET

Gingrich at Liberty University: Obama's a secular socialist

From CNN's Dan Gilgoff:

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who's mulling a run for the White House, appeared Wednesday at the school founded by Jerry Falwell to address students and to meet with key conservative Christian activists from across the country.

In a speech to students at Liberty University on Wednesday morning, Gingrich said that Americans needed to fight back against secular socialists, including President Barack Obama, at home and against Islamic radicals around the world.

"Imagine a small secular political elite imposing its radical values on a massive majority of worshippers," he said in a passage describing Poland under communism, according to remarks distributed by his spokesman. "You can see how strange Poland was - or maybe you can see how relevant this story is to America today."

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Education • Newt Gingrich • Politics

Punk rock prof explains ‘Anarchy Evolution’
October 22nd, 2010
06:00 AM ET

Punk rock prof explains ‘Anarchy Evolution’

Editor's Note: CNN's Gabe LaMonica recently spoke with Greg Graffin the lead singer of Bad Religion.  In addition to being a rock star, Graffin is also teaching evolution at UCLA and this month released a new book.  Below is an edited transcript of their conversation.

In his book Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science, and Bad Religion in a World Without God, Greg Graffin says, “For me, the existence or nonexistence of God is a non-issue.”

He’s a naturalist, the lead singer of the punk rock band Bad Religion.

The notorious punk riot at the El Portal Theater in Los Angles on December 29, 1990 made his band infamous – CNN covered it – but Graffin wasn’t involved in it.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • California • Culture & Science • Education • Science • United States

My Take: O'Donnell's and America's First Amendment ignorance
October 20th, 2010
09:43 AM ET

My Take: O'Donnell's and America's First Amendment ignorance

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

It’s time for our politicians to take the religious literacy quiz.

In a debate on Tuesday with Democrat Chris Coons, Republican Senate candidate from Delaware Christine O’Donnell seemed to be learning, in real time and reluctantly, that the First Amendment prohibits the establishment of religion.

As Coons was arguing against the teaching of creationism in the public schools on the grounds that the First Amendment mandates the disestablishment of religion, O’Donnell said, “The First Amendment does? Let me just clarify: You’re telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Christianity • Church and state • Delaware • Education • Opinion • Politics • Polls • Religious liberty • United States

Muslim Fast-a-Thon
September 29th, 2010
02:05 PM ET

Muslim Fast-a-Thon

Over at the Wall Street's Journal's Metropolis Blog, Jo Piazza writes about Muslim students putting on a "Fast-a-Thon" at New York University.

Fast-a-Thon participants refrain from eating from sunrise to sunset and donate the money they would have spent on food to charity — this year, to Islamic Relief, which is directing money to flood victims in Pakistan. The day culminates with a communal dinner and celebration, including prayers and poetry. The event is typically held during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, but this year’s fast was pushed back to accommodate the university calendar.

The event drew about 350 students according the the Journal. it also drew from a wide range of students.

[United Muslim Association] co-sponsored the event with sixteen other student groups including Campus Crusade for Christ and the Muslim Urban Professionals (known to members as “muppies”).

You can read the full article over at Metropolis.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Education • Food • Holidays • Interfaith issues • Islam • New York • Ramadan • United States

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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.

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