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October 16th, 2013
03:20 PM ET

What Oprah gets wrong about atheism


Opinion by Chris Stedman, special to CNN
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(CNN) - To some, Oprah Winfrey appears to have an almost godlike status. Her talents are well recognized, and her endorsement can turn almost any product into an overnight bestseller.

This godlike perception is fitting, since in recent years Winfrey’s work has increasingly emphasized spirituality, including programs like her own "Super Soul Sunday."

But what happens when an atheist enters the mix?

A few days ago Winfrey interviewed long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad on Super Soul Sunday. Nyad identified herself as an atheist who experiences awe and wonder at the natural world and humanity.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Celebrity • Ethics • Faith • God • Inspiration • Nones • Opinion • Spirituality

July 14th, 2013
12:18 AM ET

Twitter theme: Zimmerman will face a higher Judge

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(CNN) - As news spread on social media of the not guilty verdict in the Trayvon Martin case, a religious theme soon emerged: Sooner or later, a higher authority will judge George Zimmerman

Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, may have been the first to express a version of this theme:

FULL POST

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Church • Courts • Ethics • United States

Arizona firefighter families: `Is God punishing us?'
Prescott, Arizona, welcomes home a procession of hearses of 19 firefighters after a 100-mile procession, returning the bodies of members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.
July 9th, 2013
11:40 AM ET

Arizona firefighter families: `Is God punishing us?'

Opinion by John S. Dickerson, special to CNN

Prescott, Arizona (CNN) - If you stood next to one in a grocery store line, you could smell the smoke on his fire pants.

They were known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots, but to us they were sturdy, sweaty, smoke-stained neighbors, fathers, friends, husbands, sons and uncles.

They were the strong shoulders and backs who ran into danger to protect us. Just two weeks ago they ran toward the 200-footl flames of the Doce Fire northwest of Prescott, diverting it away from my neighborhood.

On June 30, while battling a fierce wildfire in Yarnell, 19 of these elite Prescott firefighters died. It was the deadliest day for firefighters since September 11, 2001, and it had a devastating effect on our small community.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Arizona • Belief • Christianity • Church • Death • Faith • Opinion • Uncategorized

The Gospel of Tony Soprano
"The Sopranos," starring the late James Gandolfini, had a surprising religious side.
June 27th, 2013
09:40 AM ET

The Gospel of Tony Soprano

By Father Edward L. Beck, CNN Faith and Religion Commentator
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(CNN) - The only time I met James Gandolfini, we talked about God.

It was a chance meeting at the Broadway play “God of Carnage,” in which he was acting. I went backstage to see someone else but was introduced to James.

When he heard that I was a priest he laughed and said, “Gee, Father, I hope you didn’t think this was a play about God.”

“No, I didn’t,” I said, “but I was surprised to find out that it actually was.”

He looked perplexed by my answer, hesitated for a moment, and then said, “Well, we’ll have to talk about that sometime.”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Celebrity • Christianity • Entertainment • Media • Opinion

In Oklahoma, a balm after the storm
Volunteers unload donations for tornado victims at the First Baptist Church on May 23, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma.
May 25th, 2013
06:05 PM ET

In Oklahoma, a balm after the storm

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(CNN) - For six days, First Baptist Church in Moore, Oklahoma, provided food and shelter to victims of Monday’s deadly tornado. On the seventh day, the church offers another scarce resource: solace.

“Simply put, we are urging people to draw near to the Lord and near to each other,” said Kevin Clarkson, the church’s senior pastor. “As bad as this time is, we find that God will give us comfort and solace and hope for the future.”

Four of the nine children who died in Monday’s tornado had ties to First Baptist. On Sunday evening, the church will host a prayer service called “Oklahoma Strong: Coming Together in Faith,” which Gov. Mary Fallin is expected to attend.

FULL POST

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Church • United States

Who hears #PrayersForOklahoma?
May 21st, 2013
04:45 PM ET

Who hears #PrayersForOklahoma?

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(CNN) - God may not notice the thousands of prayers tweeted for victims of Oklahoma’s devastating tornado - but Ricky Gervais sure has. And he is not pleased.

As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 75,000 people have used the hashtag #PrayForOklahoma, including pop starlets, pastors and politicians, according to Topsy.com, a trend-monitoring site.

For example, the White House tweeted,

But the hashtag and the sentiments it promotes prompted a fierce backlash on social media, led by Gervais, a British comedian, and other prominent nonbelievers.

And while one Oklahoma City pastor says he appreciates the Twitter prayers, some religious scholars say devout petitions require more than moving your hands across a keyboard. FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • United States

October 15th, 2012
01:47 PM ET

Spiritual, but not religious

(CNN)–In this week's Faces of Faith, Randi Kaye asks, 'Do we need religion to have faith?'

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Spirituality • TV-CNN Newsroom

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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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