April 12th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
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.
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.FULL STORY
April 11th, 2013
03:13 PM ET
By Florence Davey-Attlee, CNN
(CNN) - Dropping to his knees before the 10 cardinals of the Inquisition, dressed in the white shirt of penitence, Galileo Galilei was forced to retract his "heretic" theory that the Earth moved around the Sun. Threatened with torture and interrogated for 18 days, the scientist, who was imprisoned in the 17th century, promised to never again teach the theory and spent the rest of his life under house arrest in his small farmhouse outside of Florence.
Galileo's fate was very different from that of other scientists at the time of the Inquisition. Some were executed for threatening the church's teachings. Italian astronomer Giordano Bruno, an Italian philosopher who argued that the universe was infinite, was burned at the stake.
Now in 2013, as Pope Francis settles into his new role as leader of the Catholic Church, the Vatican's head of science is urging a re-think of the "mischaracterization" of the relationship between the church and science.
The Vatican would like the world to see how much this relationship has changed.FULL STORY
October 29th, 2012
01:33 PM ET
Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
I am riding out Sandy on Cape Cod and wondering whether this, too, is God’s will.
As this storm has carved its path through the Caribbean and up the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, it has taken 67 lives and (so far) spared the rest of us. Was it the will of the Almighty that so many should perish?
Is God angry with Cuba, where 11 died last week? More angry with Haiti, where 51 perished? Relatively unperturbed with Jamaica, where the death toll was only two? If a tree falls on my house today, will that be an Act of God, too?
October 21st, 2012
06:59 AM ET
By John Blake, CNN
President Barack Obama was sharing a pulpit one day with a conservative Christian leader when a revealing exchange took place.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a conservative Christian who has taken public stands against abortion and same-sex marriage, had joined Obama for an AIDS summit. They were speaking before a conservative megachurch filled with white evangelicals.
When Brownback rose to speak, he joked that he had joined Obama earlier at an NAACP meeting where Obama was treated like Elvis and he was virtually ignored. Turning to Obama, a smiling Brownback said, “Welcome to my house!”
The audience exploded with laughter and applause. Obama rose, walked before the congregation and then declared:
“There is one thing I have to say, Sam. This is my house, too. This is God’s house.”
Historians may remember Obama as the nation’s first black president, but he’s also a religious pioneer. He’s not only changed people’s perception of who can be president, some scholars and pastors say, but he’s also expanding the definition of who can be a Christian by challenging the religious right’s domination of the national stage.
October 10th, 2012
12:01 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
Washington (CNN) - A U.S. congressman is attracting attention and criticism for an online video that shows him blasting evolution and the Big Bang theory as “lies from the pit of hell” in a recent speech at a church event in his home state of Georgia.
“All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, the Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell,” U.S Rep. Paul Broun said in an address last month at a banquet organized by Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Georgia. “And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”
Broun, a medical doctor by training, serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
October 4th, 2012
10:20 AM ET
By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a "delusion," one world-renowned physicist - Albert Einstein - was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.
“The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. "No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”
Dubbed Einstein’s “God Letter” by the Los Angeles-based auction agency that's posting it online, the original document will be up for grabs starting Monday. The opening bid: $3 million.
September 6th, 2012
12:27 PM ET
Atheist. Biologist. Writer. Thinker. Richard Dawkins has developed an international reputation of spreading the word that evolution happened and that there is no "intelligent design" or higher being, as you might gather from the title of his book "The God Delusion."
But no matter what you think about his convictions, his ideas have gone viral – including the word "meme."
CNN caught up with Dawkins while he was passing through Atlanta earlier this year. His next U.S. tour is in October.
Here is an edited transcript of part of the conversation. Watch the video above for a more focused look at Dawkins' ideas about evolution vs. intelligent design.Read the full interview with Richard Dawkins
August 31st, 2012
04:34 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) - Bill Nye's viral YouTube video pleading with parents not to teach their children to deny evolution has spawned an online life of its own, with prominent creationists hitting back against the popular TV host.
"Time is Nye for a Rebuttal," Ken Ham the CEO of Answers in Genesis writes on his website. Answers in Genesis is the Christian ministry behind the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.
Nye's criticism of creationism went viral earlier this week, after being posted last Thursday.
"I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, that's completely inconsistent with the world we observe, that's fine. But don't make your kids do it," Nye says in his Big Think video, which has been viewed nearly 3 million times.
August 31st, 2012
03:24 PM ET
August 27th, 2012
11:31 AM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
"Denial of evolution is unique to the United States," Nye begins in a YouTube video posted on Thursday. The video quickly picked up steam over the weekend and as of Monday morning had been viewed more than 1,100,000 times.
Nye - a mechanical engineer and television personality best known for his program, "Bill Nye the Science Guy" - said the United States has great capital in scientific knowledge and "when you have a portion of the population that doesn't believe in it, it holds everyone back."
"Your world becomes fantastically complicated if you don't believe in evolution," Nye said in the Web video.
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.