Category Archives: CNN

CNN’s ‘Atheists: Inside the World of Non-Believers’

Last night, I watched “Atheists: Inside the World of Non-Believers” on CNN. Reporter Kyra Phillips mostly focused on the “atheist” label as an identity and a social factor in families and small towns.

Her report primarily told the stories of four atheists:

1. A Georgia college student who left the faith of his conservative, Bible-believing family to become a leader of student atheists on his campus;

2. a former Pentecostal preacher in Louisiana who now leads Sunday-morning, church-style gatherings for atheists;

3. a man currently in Christian ministry who has lost his faith (he was interviewed with his face hidden and his voice disguised for fear of distressing the congregation that currently depends upon him);

4. and the somewhat militant founder of American Atheists and Atheist TV.

With the emphasis on the social aspects on the “atheist” identity, the program did not directly address arguments for and against the existence of God.

Phillips gave a considerable portion of the program to the college student’s parents, who expressed their heartbreak over their son’s unbelief and their conviction that he is hell-bound. The tension within the family was apparent especially in the interview with the parents, and it was somewhat apparent in the interviews and on-campus filming of the son. At the same time, the son appeared to have warm, supportive relationships with the other members in his atheist group.

The ex-Pentecostal preacher, the one who now leads a church-like atheist community, appeared genuinely upbeat and kind. He seemed at ease with himself and others around him.

I’ve been wondering what else constitutes evidence for a religious, or non-religious, perspective.

The arguments for a particular way of living aren’t the same as the actual living of that life, no more than (as William Barrett once noted) a menu is a substitute for a meal.

You can memorize a menu and still starve. You can also spend so much time admiring the menu, you forget to eat.

We could allow that there’s a difference between the descriptions on the menu, and the actual experience of the meal.

We could also say that some people eat while looking at the menu, convincing themselves that what they’re eating is the same as what appears on the menu, when actually they’re eating an inferior meal.

Last night’s program didn’t show me much menu, but it showed me some people enjoying a particular kind of meal. They didn’t appear to be starving.

CNN International: ‘Skeletons found “holding hands” after 700 years’

Five things you didn’t know about Jesus

“In the end, as theologians like to say, Jesus is not so much a problem to be solved as a mystery to be pondered,” writes Rev. James Martin. That reminds me of a Gabriel Marcel quote. (Also interesting in this short piece: The literary evidence of Jesus growing in wisdom, in a natural, normal sense, rather than just knowing all from the beginning.)

CNN Belief Blog

Opinion by the Rev. James Martin , special to CNN

(CNN) — With Easter approaching, and the movie “Son of God” playing in wide release, you’re going to hear a lot about Jesus these days.

You may hear revelations from new books that purport to tell the “real story” about Jesus, opinions from friends who have discovered a “secret” on the Web about the son of God, and airtight arguments from co-workers who can prove he never existed.

Beware of most of these revelations; many are based on pure speculation and wishful thinking. Much of what we know about Jesus has been known for the last 2,000 years.

Still, even for devout Christian there are surprises to be found hidden within the Gospels, and thanks to advances in historical research and archaeological discoveries, more is known about his life and times.

With that in mind, here are five things you…

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Obama: religious freedom ‘under threat’

YES, this is true, and I’m glad President Obama shined a brief light on the issue. I recently blogged about The Atlantic’s coverage of the same topic: .

CNN Belief Blog

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama says that “around the world, freedom of religion is under threat.”

And at the annual National Prayer Breakfast Thursday, the President also said he’s looking forward to meeting Pope Francis.

“I’m especially looking forward to returning to the Vatican next month to meet his holiness, Pope Francis, whose message about caring for the least of these I hope all of us heed. Like (the Apostle) Matthew he has answered the call of Jesus, who said ‘follow me’ and he inspires us with his words and deeds, his humility and his mercy and his missionary impulses to serve the cause of social justice,” Obama said.

The President touted the Pope’s stance on inequality as he and congressional Democrats highlight the issue of income inequality. Obama met Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, in 2009. That meeting, which took place at the Vatican, was Obama’s only meeting with…

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Pastor Rick Warren speaks about his son’s suicide and the unnecessary stigma attached to mental illness

Pastor Rick Warren on CNN’s Piers Morgan:

“Piers, any other organ in my body can get broken, and there’s no shame, no stigma to it. My liver stops working, my heart stops working, my lungs stop working, well I just say hey I’ve got diabetes –my pancreas or my adrenaline glands or whatever. But if my brain is broken, I’m supposed to feel bad about it, I’m supposed to feel shame. And so a lot of people who should get help don’t.”

Warren also said his son was completely loved and accepted by his family and extended family members: “If love could have kept my child alive, he would have been alive today.”

A few questions about potential U.S. involvement in the Syrian civil war

(A) Death by chemical weapons is always and absolutely worse than death by conventional weapons?

(B) War includes inhumane and humane ways to kill children?

(C) Lobbing missiles into Syria will prohibit future use of chemical weapons?

(D) Assad is planning to invade another country?

(E) NATO member and Syria neighbor Turkey can’t take the lead?

(F) We want to piss-off Russia and China?

(G) We can’t overthrow Assad?

(H) We can dabble in a civil war, with a one-time-only military action?

(I) Northrop Grumman is advertising on CNN?

(J) Our Nobel Laureate in Peace cannot arrive at a better alternative?

Why the rich already pay their ‘fair share’ — or, what’s ‘fair’ to you?

I’m watching CNN’s program Your Bottom Line, and I have the TimeWarner DVR paused because I don’t believe my eyes.

In 2009, the top 5 percent of U.S. earners — those making $154,643 or more per year — paid 58.7 percent of the nation’s taxes, according to CNN with the Tax Foundation and the IRS as sources.

Better yet, the top 1 percent of U.S. earners — making $343,927 or more — paid 36.7 percent of the nation’s taxes, again, according to CNN with the Tax Foundation and the IRS as sources.

One percent of U.S. incomes provided more than 36 percent of the nation’s taxes. What does “fair” mean to you?

Really — what does “fair” look like?

Thank you, Will Cain!