CNN’s New ‘Belief Blog’

churchsign11This was sent to me by a reader and fellow blogger via email and I almost missed it. For whatever reason my ISP’s spam filter snatched it and I just happened to skim the spam to look for just such emails.

First, you have to check out this article by Simon Owens, “New CNN “Belief” blogger says he’ll give voice to atheist and nonbeliever issues,” in which he interviews Dan Gilgoff, the co-editor of Belief, the new blog at CNN. In this interview, Owens asks some pretty pointed questions of Gilgoff with regard

to the “balance” of the blogging that will go on there. Specifically, Owens was trying to pin down whether or not the atheist viewpoint might get some play. If you’ve foll

owed On Faith, a blog at the Washington, you may have noticed atheists such as Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett among the panelists there. Gilgoff, whose been a columnist at U.S. News & World Report as well as beliefnet, didn’t say atheists would be among their bloggers, but, as Owens put it, you could say his response was a “mixed bag.”

“We’re not being pro religion, we’re not being anti religion,” he said. “We’re acknowledging that faith plays a huge part of the news and a lot of news organizations don’t have the will power or the man power to do this.”

You should definitely give Simon Owens post at Bloggasm a read.

So on to the Belief blog at CNN.

I gave it a look and found it interesting. While I didn’t see any posts from atheists like Dennett, Harris, Dawkins, et al, I did notice a couple by Stephen Prothero, who wrote, God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World–and Why Their Differences Matter. He may not be in the New Atheist camp, but he’s definitely one that has a few theists’ feathers rankled. His posts include one on Sikism and one on Hinduism. Other posts include titles like “Louisiana lawmakers declare day of prayer to stop oil disaster” and “Cardinal’s deposition sheds new light on how church handled abuse.” The latter of these has a video clip from CNN that shows some of the recently released video deposition by Cardinal Mahony as he admits mishandling the child-molesting priest, Michael Baker.

No posts yet by obvious atheists, but perhaps this will happen if enough atheists show up in the comments to show the editors there’s a market for them. On the post, “Keeping the Faith in the Gulf,” one godless commenter writes, “keep kneeling and clasping your hands together and doing nothing. The real heroes aren’t the religious do-nothings, it’s the hard workers who are on the beaches actually doing something and cleaning the mess up instead of praying to non-existent deities.” This comment clearly offended a few believers, but it still shows the frustration that atheists the world over have when believers just pray in the face of crisis rather than taking action.

Belief Blog proves to be interesting in spite of the lack of atheist discussion, particularly if you have an interest in what people believe and why, and how those beliefs manifest themselves in contemporary times. By the way, I lifted the church sign in the image above from their slide show of user-submitted church signs. A few were funny.

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