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February 28th, 2011
11:13 AM ET

Opinion: Arab youth want democracy, not theocracy

By John L. Esposito, Special to CNN
Editor's note: John L. Esposito is professor of Religion and International Affairs and director of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal center for Muslim-Christian understanding at Georgetown University. His most recent book is "The Future of Islam."

Hosni Mubarak's resignation resurrected a tsunami wave of articles and commentaries on whether Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood would now come to power. And yet, few have asked why the primary leaders of grassroots revolt in Egypt and across the Arab world curiously have not been Islamic organizations.

Authoritarian rulers in the Arab world, like Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, Tunisia's Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, have long justified their repressive governments by warning the United States and Europe that the alternative to their governments was "chaos" and an Islamist takeover.

The new generation of Arab youth and their supporters, however diverse and different, is united in its desire to topple entrenched autocrats and corrupt governments.

Read the full story
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Opinion • Uncategorized

soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. Tony

    Hello does anyone know that Gadhafi is a criminal and a terrorist, how can the west accept the socialization of this terrorist member with a President of a country " Italy" that happens to be one of US alleis.

    March 21, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
  2. Tony

    Hello does anyone know that Gadhafi is a criminal and a terrorist, how can the west accept the socialization of this terrorist member with a President of a country " Italy" that happens to be one of our US alleis.

    March 21, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  3. Tony

    In 2008, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi signed the friendship treaty that included a pledge by Rome to pay Libya US$5 billion as compensation for its 30-year colonial rule. Libya in return promised to help Italy crack down on illegal immigrants.

    One of the provisions in the treaty states that the parties commit themselves "not to resort to threatening or using violence." Another provision included a pledge by Italy neither to use nor allow others to use its territory in any hostile act against Libya.

    There are several U.S. and NATO bases in Italy, and the U.S. 6th Fleet is based near Naples. After the treaty was signed, NATO sought clarification from Rome, and Frattini had to reassure allies at the time that multilateral international treaties that Rome was party to would stand.

    Libya and Italy, whose islands are just a few hundred miles (kilometers) away from Libya's coast, have enjoyed warm ties recently and strong business interests, with Berlusconi and Gadhafi exchanging frequent visits.

    As the protests in Libya spread and Gadhafi was accused of using excessive force against his people, Rome stepped up its condemnation of the regime's brutal crackdown.

    Frattini welcomed a U.N. Security Council's decision Saturday to impose sanctions against Gadhafi's regime. He said that imposing a no-fly zone over Libya — which council members did not consider — remains an "important" option. But he added that further reflection was needed as such an option would significantly escalate the level of international community's intervention.

    March 21, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
  4. Tony

    What terrorists you assume is not you... posts are not written to offend and much less to express hatred towards mankind or other humanity, my voice is from GOD, who is pure in body and spirit, I seek the pure truth from within the information knowing that mankind is liar. Do we mankind know where the universe begins and where it ends? the answer is obviously “NO” you proclaim yourself and your religion to be righteous over another mankind religion, knowing that only GOD is righteous, all mankind are hypocrite together with their belief including you.

    March 21, 2011 at 6:49 am |
    • Muneef

      Including you Tony...

      We call for God and message of God and not been advertising any organized religion...I do not care in which religion you call upon him but the main issue is his message;

      Al-Anaam sura 06:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      Yet they ascribe as partners unto Him the jinn, although He did create them, and impute falsely, without knowledge, sons and daughters unto Him. Glorified be He and high exalted above (all) that they ascribe (unto Him). (100) The Originator of the heavens and the earth! How can He have a child, when there is for Him no consort, when He created all things and is Aware of all things? (101) Such is Allah, your Lord. There is no God save Him, the Creator of all things, so worship Him. And He taketh care of all things. (102) Vision comprehendeth Him not, but He comprehendeth (all) vision. He is the Subtile, the Aware. (103) Proofs have come unto you from your Lord, so whoso seeth, it is for his own good, and whoso is blind is blind to his own hurt. And I am not a keeper over you. (104) Thus do We display Our revelations that they may say (unto thee, Muhammad): "Thou hast studied," and that We may make (it) clear for people who have knowledge. (105) Follow that which is inspired in thee from thy Lord; there is no God save Him; and turn away from the idolaters. (106).

      March 21, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  5. Tony

    Ever since the call for prophethood first came to Muhammad, the son of “Abdallah”
    approaching the age of fortieth on the month of Ramadan, it is related the Angel Gabriel came to Muhammad and he slept in solitude on Mount Hira and said, “Recite” what Muslims know as the first four verses of the ninety-sixth chapters of the Muslim scripture, known as the Qur'an. This is the Arabic world which combines the meaning of “Reading” and “Recitation” which flourished in the empty desert, broken by a few scattered oases crossed by a few caravans routes, mostly nomads who supported their livelihood by raising sheep, goats, and camels. Under Islam, Moses was not permitted to enter the promise land, and died while people went forward. Jesus was crucified, and Christianity remained a persecuted minority religion for centuries, until a Roman Emperor. Constantine, embraced the faith and empowered those who upheld it. Two religions, very different genocides.

    Today the Islam religion is questionable, due in part the acts of terrorism against humanity carried on by its members supported by their leaders, the moral question is larger then religion and life and its asinine leaders .

    Gaddafi is nothing more then a puppet used by democratization apparatus for revolution mechanism in lybia, the Gadaffi regime is of oppression and dictatorship. Gadaffi is also a Muslim terrorist whom bombed Pan Am flight 103 in England. The problems here is that the Libyans rebels are also Muslims, the question here is ( how can we trust one Muslim over the another) This is a hypocrisy policy to trust one terrorist over another. Have you heard the more I hate people the more I love my dog.

    The no fly zone is aimed at saving lives and infrastructures, the polices for peace all aim for a democratic and westernized middle east.

    Arabs are violent people, their woman have no rights and live under subordination, we can not trust these man and much less their leaders.

    It is absurd for the west and the world to even believe they will not turn on us one day.

    The reality is that the world as a whole does not want the Arab countries untied, as they will become a powerful force in the middle east and the world, that is why the world turns them against each other so they stay divided.

    March 20, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • Muneef

      That libyan terrorist killed more Muslims round the world than he killed yours,he had financed every rebel group in the world..

      But does not give you the right to suspect others actions....any way here that will answer you;

      Ibrahim sura 14:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      Verily they have plotted their plot, and their plot is with Allah, though their plot were such whereby the mountains should be moved. (46) So think not that Allah will fail to keep His promise to His messengers. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Able to Requite (the wrong). (47) On the day when the earth will be changed to other than the earth, and the heavens (also will be changed) and they will come forth unto Allah, the One, the Almighty, (48) Thou wilt see the guilty on that day linked together in chains, (49) Their raiment of pitch, and the Fire covering their faces, (50) That Allah may repay each soul what it hath earned. Lo! Allah is swift at reckoning. (51) This is a clear message for mankind in order that they may be warned thereby, and that they may know that He is only One God, and that men of understanding may take heed. (52).

      At-Tariq sura 86:
      Lo! they plot a plot (against thee, O Muhammad) (15) And I plot a plot (against them). (16) So give a respite to the disbelievers. Deal thou gently with them for a while. (17).

      As-Saff sura 61:
      And who doeth greater wrong than he who inventeth a lie against Allah when he is summoned unto Al-Islam? And Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk. (7) Fain would they put out the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light however much the disbelievers are averse. (8) He it is Who hath sent His messenger with the guidance and the religion of Truth, that He may make it conqueror of all religion however much idolaters may be averse. (9).

      March 20, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  6. Muneef

    Al-Anbiya sura 21:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful 
    Verily this community of yours is a single community, and I am your Lord; so worship Me. (92) And they cut up their affair among them: , all are unto Us returners. (93) Whosoever worketh righteous works, and he is a believer, there shall be no denial of his endeavour; and We are for him the Writers. (94).

    Al-Mumenoon sura 23:
    And lo! this your religion is one religion and I am your Lord, so keep your duty unto Me. (52) But they (mankind) have broken their religion among them into sects, each sect rejoicing in its tenets. (53) So leave them in their error till a time. (54).

    http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/episode/the-human-family-tree-3706/time-line

    March 3, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • Geri

      Hiya again Truth..:) Thank you so much for your more then kind conclusion of me and my posts to you. Please know the admiration is very mutual. If all would present themselves in such a fine manner as you do, and yet respectively as well, it would be a greater love between mankind, despite thier differences.
      I did truly enjoy conversing with you. You made every point of your well composed debate, a very worthwhile read.

      I usually try to keep some humor in all my postings, but I am human,lol, and sometimes I can be a little testy, but hey, were all human right? Thats one common denominator we all have, despite the arguments over the moon and the man in the moon,lol.

      People overall, are very interesting. I enjoy the engage under these blogs, although at times it can get a little over the edge. I do, even though some may want to stone me for this,lol, pray for every person on these blogs. I pray that wherever thier path may lead them, that thier journey is safe, and that in the end, it will lead them to the truth.

      That includes even those whom I may have had the "testys" with,lol. Its a funny kind of thing, but when you are around these blogs long enuff, and you get use to seeing some of the regular posters, there is, (for me anyway), a kind of "knit" with them. Even though they may be as far from your beliefs and thoughts on some issues, it is still a pleasure to see them.
      That is a unique feeling. I believe its that love your neighbor kind of feeling.

      I certainly look forward to more discussions with you. You have made my evening a most pleasant one, and i thank you from the bottom of my heart!

      March 3, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • The Truth

      @Geri....

      Hi Geri... sorry for the delayed response, but I just noticed this now.

      Nice post!

      ******I certainly look forward to more discussions with you. You have made my evening a most pleasant one, and i thank you from the bottom of my heart!*****

      That feeling is mutual. See you around the boards!

      Have a good night!
      🙂

      March 9, 2011 at 4:19 am |
  7. Geri

    @The truth...Would you believe it, that short post above got the Mod monster...hehe!
    Guess what the naughty word was? ME-TH...as in M-e-thod. LOLOL!

    March 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • The Truth

      LOL... this site is beyond absurd. It is like being back in 2nd grade the way they won't let you say basic things. Moreover, the words that they are trying to stop just get MORE attention now because people have to hyphenate them.

      I did a post today and realized that I can't say "sof-tware." What a joke.

      Cheers!
      🙂

      March 3, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  8. Geri

    @The Truth....Thanks for that tip, I will surely use it. Am on lunch break now, hopefully this evening I can post back to you. Your me-thod
    seems like a less time consuming one then I have used,lol...meaning the Sherlock Holmes one..;)

    March 3, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  9. Geri

    @The Truth....Thanks for that tip, I will surely use it. Am on lunch break now, hopefully this evening I can post back to you. Your method
    seems like a less time consuming one then I have used,lol...meaning the Sherlock Holmes one..;)

    March 3, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  10. Muneef

    Guess all in any Religion or Faith have among them which are called as;
    -The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

    Those all are there in a Chase after on thing in mind as told to be;

    -A Fistful of Dollars.

    So non is perfect as those are among all nations. 

    March 2, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Geri

      @Muneef....I loved that movie with Clint Eastwood, tThe Good, The Bad, and the Ugly! I still have the music from the soundtract, and yes, you are right. It seems religion does all have these traits. Yiu just came up with a good name, lets change CNN to...The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly! LOL. 🙂

      March 3, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
  11. Geri

    @Reality,,,Yes, I am.
    Just slap me under the Jesus, Gabriel bunch...and oh yes, care to join us? The more the merrier 🙂

    March 2, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  12. Geri

    Hiya Truth!
    I tried twice to copy your post, and to respond under each part. The "moderation" monster ate my posts,lol, and so far, I cannot figure what the "naughty" word is , that lurks within my post.
    I will try later to come on and moderate it, one more time.
    If that don't work, I will just type a solid response, instead of chopping it in parts.

    March 2, 2011 at 8:59 am |
    • The Truth

      ******@Geri I cannot figure what the "naughty" word is , that lurks within my post"******

      LOL... this site is beyond ridiculous. They could at least highlight which words they don't like instead of making people become Sherlock Holmes. I believe it is the user Reality that posts up a list of the "bad" words here from time to time. For what it is worth, 98% of the time for me it is one of 4 words:

      1) t-it (e.g. insti-tution)
      2) c-um (e.g. doc-ument)
      3) ho-mo (e.g. ho-mosapien)
      4) s-ex (e.g. s-ex) lol

      So when you are done with your post, hit CTRL+F and search quickly for those 4 words and most of the time you'll find it quickly.

      Cheers!
      🙂

      March 2, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
  13. Geri

    Geri
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    The Truth

    ***@Geri: I am a Christian, and will always believe the Holy Spirit exists. Now, when the Holy Spirit is withdrawn from the world, you will see Satan.***

    I will? I thought Satan was already here corrupting people.

    ************** He is here donig his unholy thing,lol. However, even though some will acknowledge that, they still probably haven't actually seen the devil with thier eyes. nor his unheavenly cohorts, demons. But, there is going to come a day, when they will be visible, and that will be when the Holy Spirit withdrawls out of the world.

    ***So, enjoy not believing in him, Christains or unbeliievers, for you will for sure see and meet him then!****

    I do enjoy not believing in him because I used to be religious for many years. I am MUCH happier now that I have "emancipated myself from the mental slavery" that is organized religion.

    GERI ***********Yes, I agree, organized religion can be a hinderance. Truth, real Christians in Christ, are not under any mental salvery. Jesus set us free from that. We can live happy, joyful, peaceful lives, and still honor the Lord.
    ***Besides, I am thinkng those "christians" that don't believe in the Holy Spirit, or that Satan is real, must be
    "Professing" christians. Who would ever claim to be Christian, and not know the Holy Spirit? Bogus or masquerading Christians Is all that could mean.****

    As David has pointed out numerous times on here, there are 38,000 different Christian sects (using his numbers)... do you get it... hardly any of them agree. So basically, you are in sect XYZ which means that 37,999 of the other sects are incorrect. It is madness.

    Geri********* But there some within those numbers, who do worship God, and lbelieve in some common facts, like the Trinity, that Jesus Christ was the son of God, that he died on the cross for our sins, Sacraments. and so on. If the Lord is your Saviour, he will guide you. Some people don"t attend church, as in or-ganized religion, for the very reasons you stated. Some don't because they don't have access to a church, like in some countrys. But, you can stll worship and serve the Lord, within your personal relationship with him.

    Here's something I wrote elsewhere which talks about the odds of religion:

    >
    >

    WHY?

    The one thing that puzzles me the most the most about why people choose just one religion revolves around the absolute enormity of the world in which we live. In the United States alone, there over 300 separate religions comprising around 3,000 different denominations. That is just in the United States which only makes up a fraction of the entire world.

    Thus, if there is one true religion in the US, you have a 1 in 3,000 chance of getting it right. You have a better chance statistically of catching a baseball at a game (776:1), writing a book that becomes a best seller on the NY Times list (228:1), marrying a millionaire (220:1), getting on a plane with a drunk pilot (115:1), getting killed next year in a transportation accident (87:1) than you do with picking one correct religion in the US alone. In fact, you have nearly the same odds as fatally slipping in the bathtub/shower (3,333:1) and you have a much better chance of getting away with murder (2:1).

    With all that in mind, why would God create all of these different human beings in all of the many parts in the world if only one or a few of these religions get rewarded? It makes absolutely no sense at all. There are certainly people in places such as Tibet who may have lived their entire lives in remote regions that have never even heard of Christianity. So I guess God put them there just for the fun of it? Or perhaps the Yanomamo people in South America that were only discovered in the late 20th century... so I guess all of those who died without ever getting to hear about Allah, God, Jesus, Buddha, Vishnu, etc, etc, etc all get the short end of the stick? God spent all that time creating them and they get screwed because they didn't have access to the outside world? What sort of logic is that?

    Geri********** Man created or-ganized religion and churches. God is available to all people, everywhere and all the time. Call upon him, and he is with you. When God created the world, I am sure he knew all the things you said, and unlike man, God doesn't put ridicolous constraints on us. He is waiting, and all it takes is for one to call upon the Lord for his help. Don't matter where you are,

    As for the notion that they get a "free pass" into Heaven, that is just as illogical. What? Some people who have technology have to work for it, but others get a free pass?

    And we don't even need to get into the ancient Egyptians who believed in Amun-Ra or the Greeks who believed in Zeus, etc. They must have either been screwed or gotten a free pass as well I assume.

    Doesn't it make more sense that God would have created different people with the aspiration that they could all go to Heaven just for doing "good" in their own way? Do they need to genuflect, do they need to wear a cross, do they need to wear kippahs, do they really need a prayer rug, do they really need prayer beads, etc, etc, etc to get into Heaven? If so, a bunch of people are going to be really ticked off after they die because only a small group is going to get it right.

    Geri>>>>>>Again Truth, all manmade stuff.

    So why do it? What are your odds that your particular customs are going to get you in? Isn't it better just to try to do the common things that all major religions teach? Doesn't that make FAR more logical sense?

    Geri********* Well, there is only one religion that has a saviour, that has died for them so that their sins be forgiven them, and that Savior is Jesus Christ.

    Even if say for argument sake, Christianity is the only right religion, then I guess that man in Tibet gets shafted and that Yanomamo man gets shafted. It makes no sense why God would spend the time creating that life never to give it a chance for an afterlife if others do get that chance.

    Geri********** Who is to say that the Lord is not? I believe that the Lord will honor these people, knowing thier condtions.

    I would bet that there is not one person on earth that knows about every single possible religion because they are not all even accounted for. We sit with here with computers and forget that there are people who live in very remote places without communication to the outside world in many cases. So I guess they get shafted as well.

    Geri***** NO, he loves them and knows where they are. He will honor them, if all they have is love and the beauty of his creations around them. I believe God speaks of his love thru the beauty of which he created.

    It would be like me spending my whole life replicating Michelangelo's statue of David 4 times and then just destroying 3 of the 4 for the heck of it. It makes no logical sense.

    Geri*** Exactly, Truth. I agree. Thats why knowing that God did all the things he has for us, he will see things thru, That is why he came in the flesh, thru his son Jesus, to save of us all.. He is love. Knowing he is the Supreme Being, he certainly would not do anything that would be non sensesical.

    Think about the Golden Rule... "Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you." Now let's look at what other religions have to say about that:

    Geri*** I agree. That is a universal law, I believe it is written on the hearts of all men. Just have to wait and see what each person will do with it.

    Bahá'í: "And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself."

    Buddhism: "Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful."

    Confucianism: "Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you."

    Egyptian: "Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do."

    Hinduism: "Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you."

    Humanism: "Don't do things you wouldn't want to have done to you."

    Islam: "None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself."

    Jainism: "A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated."

    Judaism: "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary."

    Native American Spirituality: "Do not wrong or hate your neighbor. For it is not he who you wrong, but yourself."

    Shinto: "The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form."

    Sikhism: "No one is my enemy, none a stranger and everyone is my friend."

    Taoism: "Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss."

    Yoruba in Nigeria: "One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts."

    Zoroastrianism: "Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others."

    Isn't the commonality obvious? Doesn't it make much more sense to simply live a life trying to be a good person rather than trying to get into Heaven (despite the massive odds presented earlier of picking the "right" religion) based on how many times the rosary is prayed, or how many times one meditates, or how many times a prayer rug is used, or how many times the Bible is read, or how many times one attends church, etc, etc, etc. Doesn't it also make more sense for God to judge us based on our "good works" rather than how many times the rosary was prayed, or how many times a prayer rug is used, etc, etc, etc?

    Geri**** ABSOLUTELY! But, we can live a good life here on Earth, without doing all those things, but livinga good life here, whowould not want to go to heaven? That is our reward for doing the right things, as the Lord ha told us to. Your good works, is just something that the Lord looks at, and if you are a good person who loves helping others, that comes naturally anyhow. Reading the bible, only stregthens us, gives us comfort and teaches us how to be even better people.

    See, its all that "man made" stuff that causes on to feel burdened down. Jesus said, My yoke is light...and it is. Like anything else,things are only what people make them.

    Ask yourselves this: How many times have you attended a Muslim Mosque? What about a Hindu Temple? What about a Jewish Synagogue? How can anyone possibly know for certain that you've found the "right" religion while not experiencing the others that millions upon millions of others find to be their salvation? If you haven't, then you are the person that sits there and insists that Pepsi tastes better than Coke, but you have only tried the Pepsi and never the Coke. Yet, you will be steadfast in your belief that Pepsi is better despite having no conclusive first hand experience to prove otherwise. Thus, the whole argument is invalid.

    Geri**** Again, your right Truth. Just think of it this way, IIf you have found the one that has written those words above, in your heart, and accepted him, you won't be out there looking for a religion, or a diety, or any of that confusion. You will know and won't have to test anything. If that Coke did everything you could want, then you would not need to try Pepsi, to see if it was better, You will know up front, that what you have IS the best.

    In the end, the realities are that if you were born in Iran, you'd have just as much zeal for Muhammad as you do for Jesus. If you were born in India, you'd believe in the Trimurti of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as you do for the Trinity of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. If you were born in Thailand, you'd have the same zeal for Buddha as you do for God. And so on and so forth. Thus to think there is one "correct" religion, when you'd be just as zealous for a different set of higher powers based solely on place of birth (of which you have zero control over), makes little to no rational sense whatsoever.

    Geri******Yes, I see your point. But, I believe we are all where we are suppose to be. Who knows, God may come to each person when they draw thier last breath, and ask, what is your choice? What you have been doing, or do you want eternal life with me?

    Anyway, Truth, Very good post, lots of good topics!

    Peace!

    Hiya Truth! I am going to go back up above, and type under different parts of you post, using *****, OK?

    March 2, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • The Truth

      @Geri

      ************** He is here donig his unholy thing,lol. However, even though some will acknowledge that, they still probably haven't actually seen the devil with thier eyes. nor his unheavenly cohorts, demons. But, there is going to come a day, when they will be visible, and that will be when the Holy Spirit withdrawls out of the world.*******

      When I look at things, I try to do them from multiple points of view. If I am God or if I am Satan, this doesn't seem to make logical sense. Why would God want to withdraw the Holy Spirit in the first place? Why would Satan not come up now? If it is because the Holy Spirit is stopping him, then how does Satan think he's ever going to defeat God? He couldn't even beat God's angels which got him cast out in the first place. Surely God could just turn Satan into a pillar of salt with the blink of an eye if God is truly omnipotent. Etc, etc, etc.

      *********GERI ***********Yes, I agree, organized religion can be a hinderance. Truth, real Christians in Christ, are not under any mental salvery. Jesus set us free from that. We can live happy, joyful, peaceful lives, and still honor the Lord.****

      FYI... the mental slavery line was from "Redemption Song." 😉

      As for real Christians not being under mental slavery... take a look around here at some of the people and you might change your mind. lol

      (and while you might say they aren't real Christians, keep in mind they'd say the exact same thing about you)

      ***********Geri********* But there some within those numbers, who do worship God, and lbelieve in some common facts, like the Trinity, that Jesus Christ was the son of God, that he died on the cross for our sins, Sacraments. and so on. If the Lord is your Saviour, he will guide you. Some people don"t attend church, as in or-ganized religion, for the very reasons you stated. Some don't because they don't have access to a church, like in some countrys. But, you can stll worship and serve the Lord, within your personal relationship with him.

      That is true... they do share many main points in common. However, be careful about calling them "facts" as they aren't necessarily facts (though I know what you meant). People in various sects all have different "facts" that they believe are 100% true.

      As far as attending Church, Jesus is pretty clear that you should do so in your room in private and he rebelled back against the church in his lifetime. Christians on one side will agree 100% with that and Christians on the other side will disagree 100% with that. The dichotomy is amazing.

      *********Geri********** Man created or-ganized religion and churches. God is available to all people, everywhere and all the time. Call upon him, and he is with you. When God created the world, I am sure he knew all the things you said, and unlike man, God doesn't put ridicolous constraints on us. He is waiting, and all it takes is for one to call upon the Lord for his help. Don't matter where you are,*****

      Are you saying that God didn't want organized religion and churches? How was God available to the Native Americans during the 1500 years from when Jesus walked the Earth until the new world was beginning to be col-onized? They didn't have any idea about him (unless someone believes the Mormons). Once again, putting myself in God's shoes... why do that? It doesn't make reasonable sense.

      With regard to God knowing all those things I said, I would agree because I would think that a Creator would have massive intelligence. Now the problem with that is the writers of the Bible were simpletons who contradicted themselves over and over again. Thus, it is clearly not inerrant, so why believe the rest of it?

      *****Geri>>>>>>Again Truth, all manmade stuff.****

      Agreed.

      ********Geri********* Well, there is only one religion that has a saviour, that has died for them so that their sins be forgiven them, and that Savior is Jesus Christ.*******

      So what? If based on what you are saying, then God gives places in Heaven for Tibetan Buddhists, Iranian Muslims, etc because that is where they were born... so then why have Jesus in the first place? If other people don't need to believe to get into Heaven, then what's the point? While Christianity has Jesus, other religions have things that Christianity doesn't have such as reinca-rnation. So they'd say the same thing but vice versa.

      *****Geri********** Who is to say that the Lord is not? I believe that the Lord will honor these people, knowing thier condtions.*****

      See above. BTW... I agree that if there is a Creator, then he'll likely not take religion into account because there is no common frame of reference. Following the Golden Rule and trying to do the right thing is a common frame of reference.

      ********Geri***** NO, he loves them and knows where they are. He will honor them, if all they have is love and the beauty of his creations around them. I believe God speaks of his love thru the beauty of which he created.*****

      See above.

      ********Geri*** Exactly, Truth. I agree. Thats why knowing that God did all the things he has for us, he will see things thru, That is why he came in the flesh, thru his son Jesus, to save of us all.. He is love. Knowing he is the Supreme Being, he certainly would not do anything that would be non sensesical.*********

      Why did he need to come in the flesh to save us? He didn't need to do that to save anyone. He could have just snapped his fingers and done it if he is indeed omnipotent.

      I agree that he wouldn't do anything that would be non sensical, which is why many of these items are being debated because they are just that (MUCH more so with others on here than you). If we begin to talk about non-sensical things, we can start with the Bible itself as previously mentioned. Jesus couldn't have even been born according to the Bible because the dates conflict with each other.

      **********Geri*** I agree. That is a universal law, I believe it is written on the hearts of all men. Just have to wait and see what each person will do with it.***********

      We agree 100%.

      ***********Geri**** ABSOLUTELY! But, we can live a good life here on Earth, without doing all those things, but livinga good life here, whowould not want to go to heaven? That is our reward for doing the right things, as the Lord ha told us to. Your good works, is just something that the Lord looks at, and if you are a good person who loves helping others, that comes naturally anyhow. Reading the bible, only stregthens us, gives us comfort and teaches us how to be even better people.********

      I agree with most of that with 2 exceptions.

      1) The Lord has not told us about the reward in Heaven... just some of us. Why wouldn't he tell the Yanomamo people or the Native Americans? Putting myself in God's shoes, that doesn't make sense.

      2) The Bible teaches many to be better people and it also teaches many to be WORSE people. It is used by many devout Christians to demean women, spa-nk and beat children, discriminate against ho-mos-exuals, etc, etc, etc.

      *******Geri**** Again, your right Truth. Just think of it this way, IIf you have found the one that has written those words above, in your heart, and accepted him, you won't be out there looking for a religion, or a diety, or any of that confusion. You will know and won't have to test anything. If that Coke did everything you could want, then you would not need to try Pepsi, to see if it was better, You will know up front, that what you have IS the best.*********

      Just so you know, I must have posted that particular paragraph over a thousand times and you are one of the few people to ever have the gu-ts to attempt to "really" answer it. So kudos to you for doing it.

      Your answer was a good one all in all, however a couple of points:

      1) You will not KNOW up front that what you have is the best... you will only trick yourself into thinking that because it is impossible to know without trying the others. It might very well be the best fit, but it is impossible to know this without trying the others.

      2) Imagine if everyone in the US married their first love in your example above. If people did this the divorce rate would go through the roof. The first love isn't always the "right" love.

      Or imagine if you went into Baskin Robbins one day and had 30+ flavors of ice cre-am to try. Now imagine if you tasted an ice cre-am that is a "6" on the 10 scale for you... we'll say it is Vanilla here. Then every time you went into BR, you ALWAYS got the Vanilla... then you'd be cheating yourself out of flavors that you like a "10" on the 10 scale... well say Chocolate Chip. You would say that you "know" Vanilla is the best, but it is a false reality because you don't know because you haven't tried the Chocolate Chip.

      The realities are that most people spend FAR more time selecting a flavor of ice cre-am at BR than they do selecting a religion that will determine their eternal salvation. It lacks all logic.

      ************Geri******Yes, I see your point. But, I believe we are all where we are suppose to be. Who knows, God may come to each person when they draw thier last breath, and ask, what is your choice? What you have been doing, or do you want eternal life with me?****

      Thank you for being open minded. I think we are all where we are supposed to be as well... but much of that is ethnocentric on my part because I have a great life. If I had flies in my eyes and were starving to death in Ethiopia, I'd think differently.

      ****Anyway, Truth, Very good post, lots of good topics!****

      Geri... I am impressed by you on numerous levels:

      1) You are much more open minded than most believers.

      2) You attempt to use logical thought in your answers.

      3) You responded in an extremely Christian fashion and tone.

      4) You didn't run around citing crazy one liners from the Bible and "using" them to "justify" your life.

      5) All in all, you gave solid answers.

      So big kudos to you. I mean this 100% sincerely when I say that there a MANY Christians on here that could learn a lot from you based on those 5 items. As I told only one other person on here, you remind me of where I was at one point in time as well. It was along my road of progression to where I am at today. Not saying my way is the way for you, just that I can see where you are coming from because I've been there myself.

      Peace!
      🙂

      March 2, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
  14. Geri

    David Johnson

    @Geri

    Maybe you missed the memo: There is no Satan. Satan was invented by men, because they felt "funny" worshipping a god that had just devastated a village of good people via a flood. They didn't want their god to be the one who did evil. So, Beelzebub was born.

    Consider: You believe god is all knowing. Yes?

    You believe god is all powerful. Yes?

    You believe everything written in the bible is true. Yes?

    You believe Satan is at least as intelligent as your average human. Yes?

    You believe Satan can read? Yes?

    Do you think Satan ever read the part, in the King James, where he loses the battle against god?

    Who, more than a fallen angel, would believe/know god was omniscient? Not to mention omnipotent. That would have been a stumbling block to any coup attempt. Right?

    So, rebellion would have been dumb of Satan and his band of angels. God would have said, "You will lose and you will lose your health insurance." End of rebellion, I think.

    What's funny, is that you believers bestow upon your god, the attributes of being omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient.
    Never mind that it is impossible for a god to be all those things at the same time.

    But, fundies never stop to think how these attributes affect their fairy tales. They never consider the ramifications resulting from these superlative qualities that they give to their god.

    Fundies do not believe in Christianity because it is true. To them Christianity is true because they believe it.

    Cheers!

    @David J
    You said:
    These stories are fiction. Do you see that? What ent ity would rebel against an all powerful, all knowing god? You couldn't even sneak up on Him. Sheesh! Use your brain, just a little.

    David, use YOUR brain just a little as well! First of all, think of it this way, the devil, Satan, had it made in Heaven, before he screwed up,lol. He had EVERYTHING imparted to him by God, he was Gods favorite angel. Then, Satan decided he wasn't happy with all that, and wanted to be God. Thus, he got kicked out.

    There are many today that have alot, but don't apprecaite it, and always want more. Its called Greed. You say was Satan stupid? Yes, indeed he was. To have everything and then get greedy KNOWING the power God had (same point you make above). he still got rebellious! CAN YOU SAY STUPID??

    The devil knows he was deafeated, and he knows he is going to be cast into Hell, but he has a mission, to take as many with him as he can. Kinda like a prisoner on the run, who knows he is trapped, and who knows his end will be bad for him, but continues to kill along the way.

    Don't be so quick as to think you have all the answers.Some people are stupid as well, and could be compared to Satan . They know they can have a choice. Go to Heaven, or don't go to Heaven. Like Satan, they will make a choice. Look around you, are yuou like Satan, knowing wwhat has been told, yet choosing to believe in your self, or what science or somebody else says, over God?

    Stupid is as stupid does. Sheesh! Cheers!

    March 2, 2011 at 7:10 am |
    • Reality

      Geri,

      Obviously, you are victim of the Great Angelic Con Game:

      Joe Smith had his Moroni.

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day Dem-on of the De-mented.

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      March 2, 2011 at 8:29 am |
  15. T-party

    less religion in the middle east. Sounds great to me. I am agnostic and realize how religion has destroyed those countries. The bad news is the minority religious fanatics will use terror to get their God fearing point across.

    March 1, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • Muneef

      T-P.

      It is mentalities like yours that destroyed the middle east and no religions....ME is the source of religion who lived peacefully until 1948 when all started and was made possible by such mentalities giving what is not theirs to give...

      March 1, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
  16. Muneef

    Is this theocracy what had Israel done getting all to vow in the name of religion as being a religious state?

    Why are they allowed when others not? Any way we want democracy and for our laws we need sharia otherwise the injustice would remain and rotts would be allowed to continue rotting far more ancients to become as bad.

    March 1, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • T-party

      Isreal is an awesome country many Arab nations would benefit if they would try to be more like the great country of Isreal

      March 1, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • Muneef

      T-P.

      What so great about it ? Is it the confiscation of palestinians lands, farms,homes,unearthing their olive trees? What is great about it? Could it be because the produce the best destruction weapons,N-Clr plant and heads?
      Or because they steel the efforts and produce of others and brand it as theirs? Or is it for being so tough and rough with original inhabitants of the land? Or they good because they are strong in and out,with ability even to stop American presidents from interfering in their policies ? It is a dead country that
      Ives like a parasite on a back of a dog feeding it with his blood with or against his will.. She is consuming west financially,politicly beside becoming the sheep for their wars against the truth...
      No matter how long it takes truth will avail soon and the unjust who gave land that is not theirs to those they them selves kicked from their own lands,then those who supported them against the true owners by killing or moving them out of their land. They are good in lies and media,racism and hate towards our skin&faith made you give them with out limits?
      Or am I wrong?

      March 1, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
  17. Luigi Enrico Pietra d'Oro

    Has anyone ever really researched our beliefs in Heaven and Hell. They are states of mind, not actual places. If you want the answers to the Second Coming, and what we humans have to do about it, order the new book The Second Coming, The Last Parable of Jesus from http://www.revolvingdoorbooks.com. Jesus Himself will tell you where we have gone wrong and what we have to do!

    March 1, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      Luigi..what we have done wrong is society is allowed myths to permeate our real world..What we have to do is work together as human beings.. not as religious islands. Surely, if god exists would he prefer we work together and all get along, or spend all the time we have trying to promote him and killing each other in the process..

      March 1, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  18. Pajarita Sanchez

    This may not be the blog to address Rob Bell's Book. But he is absolutely CORRECT! Heaven and Hell are right here on earth. He says there is no Hell, and I say it this way, it is more succinct: HILTLER WENT TO HEAVEN, OR He went back to God just like we all will. Those who don't believe this have not studied the Word at all! Even Jesus asked of the Father, 'Let it be on earth as it is in Heven' NOW, after he died. That was his contract with God the Father, IF he went to the cross, and He did! When we die, we WILL ALL GO TO THE SAME PLACE, OUR SPIRITS WILL; BACK TO THE FATHER! End of story!

    March 1, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  19. Reality

    The real Islam of Professor Esposito and B)iraq Hussein Osama

    o The Muslim Conquest of India
    ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

    19 million killed in Islam's Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C

    Then more recently:

    1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

    1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

    2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

    3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,481 and 924 died in non-combat98,691 – 107,707
    Iraqi civilians killed as of 11/9/2010, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and
    defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

    4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

    5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

    6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

    7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

    8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

    9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

    10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,116 killed in action, 902 killed in non-combat situations as of 08/10/2010. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

    11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

    12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

    13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

    14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

    15) Followed by the daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings every day in the terror world of Islam.

    16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

    17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

    18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011
    ---

    March 1, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • Nick

      And? You seem to be one of this simple minded idiots who can only think in black and white. None of this can be understood without taking into to account all of the severe political and social problems in that part of the world. If you think it is as simple as religion you are a simple minded fool. Go study other acts of terrorism carried out by other groups, such as the IRA, and you find some common parrallels.

      March 1, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • Reality

      Of course Muslims are not alone in committing atrocities with one very disturbing difference, the koran dictates such atrocities to be carried out against the infidel. And that is why no Muslim male can be trusted.

      from: http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat0.htm

      "The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:

      Rank Death Toll Cause Centuries Religions/Groups involved*

      1 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      20 million Joseph Stalin 20C

      8 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)
      15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians)
      13 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C
      14 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C
      10 million Xin Dynasty 1C
      16 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)
      17 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans)
      8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)
      19 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)
      7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      *:" Is religion responsible for more more violent deaths than any other cause?

      A: No, of course not – unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century – Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union – no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion."

      Q: So, what you're saying is that religion has never killed anyone.

      A: Arrgh... You all-or-nothing people drive me crazy. There are many doc-umented examples where members of one religion try to exterminate the members of another religion. Causation is always complex, but if the only difference between two warring groups is religion, then that certainly sounds like a religious conflict to me. Is it the number one cause of mass homicide in human history? No. Of the 22 worst episodes of mass killing, maybe four were primarily religious. Is that a lot? Well, it's more than the number of wars fought over soccer, or s-ex (The Trojan and Sabine Wars don't even make the list.), but less than the number fought over land, money, glory or prestige.

      In my Index, I list 41 religious conflicts compared with 27 oppressions under "Communism", 24 under Colonialism, 2 under "Railroads" and 2 under "Scapegoats". Make of that what you will."

      March 2, 2011 at 12:01 am |
  20. Geri

    The Truth

    @DavidJohnson:

    David, one last item to take solace in for our cause is that Christians are turning to our side slowly, but surely. The Internet has helped free the people of Egypt and it freeing the minds of Christians as well toward reality. Everyone is free to read this article enti-tled:

    MOST U.S. CHRISTIANS DON'T BELIEVE THAT SATAN NOR THE HOLY SPIRIT EXIST:

    http://in.christiantoday.com/articles/most-us-christians-don-believe-satan-holy-spirit-exist/3704.htm

    I am a Christian, and will always believe the Holy Spirit exists. Now, when the Holy Spirit is withdrawn from the world, you will see Satan. So, enjoy not believing in him, Christains or unbeliievers, for you will for sure see and meet him then!
    Besides, I am thinkng those "christians" that don't believe in the Holy Spirit, or that Satan is real, must be
    "Professing" christians.
    Who would ever claim to be Christian, and not know the Holy Spirit? Bogus or masquerading Christians Is all that could mean.

    March 1, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Geri

      Maybe you missed the memo: There is no Satan. Satan was invented by men, because they felt "funny" worshipping a god that had just devastated a village of good people via a flood. They didn't want their god to be the one who did evil. So, Beelzebub was born.

      Consider: You believe god is all knowing. Yes?

      You believe god is all powerful. Yes?

      You believe everything written in the bible is true. Yes?

      You believe Satan is at least as intelligent as your average human. Yes?

      You believe Satan can read? Yes?

      Do you think Satan ever read the part, in the King James, where he loses the battle against god?

      Who, more than a fallen angel, would believe/know god was omniscient? Not to mention omnipotent. That would have been a stumbling block to any coup attempt. Right?

      So, rebellion would have been dumb of Satan and his band of angels. God would have said, "You will lose and you will lose your health insurance." End of rebellion, I think.

      These stories are fiction. Do you see that? What ent ity would rebel against an all powerful, all knowing god? You couldn't even sneak up on Him. Sheesh! Use your brain, just a little.

      What's funny, is that you believers bestow upon your god, the attributes of being omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient.
      Never mind that it is impossible for a god to be all those things at the same time.

      But, fundies never stop to think how these attributes affect their fairy tales. They never consider the ramifications resulting from these superlative qualities that they give to their god.

      Fundies do not believe in Christianity because it is true. To them Christianity is true because they believe it.

      Cheers!

      March 1, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • The Truth

      ***@Geri: I am a Christian, and will always believe the Holy Spirit exists. Now, when the Holy Spirit is withdrawn from the world, you will see Satan.***

      I will? I thought Satan was already here corrupting people.

      ***So, enjoy not believing in him, Christains or unbeliievers, for you will for sure see and meet him then!****

      I do enjoy not believing in him because I used to be religious for many years. I am MUCH happier now that I have "emancipated myself from the mental slavery" that is organized religion.

      ***Besides, I am thinkng those "christians" that don't believe in the Holy Spirit, or that Satan is real, must be
      "Professing" christians. Who would ever claim to be Christian, and not know the Holy Spirit? Bogus or masquerading Christians Is all that could mean.****

      As David has pointed out numerous times on here, there are 38,000 different Christian sects (using his numbers)... do you get it... hardly any of them agree. So basically, you are in sect XYZ which means that 37,999 of the other sects are incorrect. It is madness.

      Here's something I wrote elsewhere which talks about the odds of religion:

      >
      >

      WHY?

      The one thing that puzzles me the most the most about why people choose just one religion revolves around the absolute enormity of the world in which we live. In the United States alone, there over 300 separate religions comprising around 3,000 different denominations. That is just in the United States which only makes up a fraction of the entire world.

      Thus, if there is one true religion in the US, you have a 1 in 3,000 chance of getting it right. You have a better chance statistically of catching a baseball at a game (776:1), writing a book that becomes a best seller on the NY Times list (228:1), marrying a millionaire (220:1), getting on a plane with a drunk pilot (115:1), getting killed next year in a transportation accident (87:1) than you do with picking one correct religion in the US alone. In fact, you have nearly the same odds as fatally slipping in the bathtub/shower (3,333:1) and you have a much better chance of getting away with murder (2:1).

      With all that in mind, why would God create all of these different human beings in all of the many parts in the world if only one or a few of these religions get rewarded? It makes absolutely no sense at all. There are certainly people in places such as Tibet who may have lived their entire lives in remote regions that have never even heard of Christianity. So I guess God put them there just for the fun of it? Or perhaps the Yanomamo people in South America that were only discovered in the late 20th century... so I guess all of those who died without ever getting to hear about Allah, God, Jesus, Buddha, Vishnu, etc, etc, etc all get the short end of the stick? God spent all that time creating them and they get screwed because they didn't have access to the outside world? What sort of logic is that?

      As for the notion that they get a "free pass" into Heaven, that is just as illogical. What? Some people who have technology have to work for it, but others get a free pass?

      And we don't even need to get into the ancient Egyptians who believed in Amun-Ra or the Greeks who believed in Zeus, etc. They must have either been screwed or gotten a free pass as well I assume.

      Doesn't it make more sense that God would have created different people with the aspiration that they could all go to Heaven just for doing "good" in their own way? Do they need to genuflect, do they need to wear a cross, do they need to wear kippahs, do they really need a prayer rug, do they really need prayer beads, etc, etc, etc to get into Heaven? If so, a bunch of people are going to be really ticked off after they die because only a small group is going to get it right.

      So why do it? What are your odds that your particular customs are going to get you in? Isn't it better just to try to do the common things that all major religions teach? Doesn't that make FAR more logical sense?

      Even if say for argument sake, Christianity is the only right religion, then I guess that man in Tibet gets shafted and that Yanomamo man gets shafted. It makes no sense why God would spend the time creating that life never to give it a chance for an afterlife if others do get that chance.

      I would bet that there is not one person on earth that knows about every single possible religion because they are not all even accounted for. We sit with here with computers and forget that there are people who live in very remote places without communication to the outside world in many cases. So I guess they get shafted as well.

      It would be like me spending my whole life replicating Michelangelo's statue of David 4 times and then just destroying 3 of the 4 for the heck of it. It makes no logical sense.

      Think about the Golden Rule... "Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you." Now let's look at what other religions have to say about that:

      Bahá'í: "And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself."

      Buddhism: "Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful."

      Confucianism: "Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you."

      Egyptian: "Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do."

      Hinduism: "Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you."

      Humanism: "Don't do things you wouldn't want to have done to you."

      Islam: "None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself."

      Jainism: "A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated."

      Judaism: "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary."

      Native American Spirituality: "Do not wrong or hate your neighbor. For it is not he who you wrong, but yourself."

      Shinto: "The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form."

      Sikhism: "No one is my enemy, none a stranger and everyone is my friend."

      Taoism: "Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss."

      Yoruba in Nigeria: "One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts."

      Zoroastrianism: "Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others."

      Isn't the commonality obvious? Doesn't it make much more sense to simply live a life trying to be a good person rather than trying to get into Heaven (despite the massive odds presented earlier of picking the "right" religion) based on how many times the rosary is prayed, or how many times one meditates, or how many times a prayer rug is used, or how many times the Bible is read, or how many times one attends church, etc, etc, etc. Doesn't it also make more sense for God to judge us based on our "good works" rather than how many times the rosary was prayed, or how many times a prayer rug is used, etc, etc, etc?

      Ask yourselves this: How many times have you attended a Muslim Mosque? What about a Hindu Temple? What about a Jewish Synagogue? How can anyone possibly know for certain that you've found the "right" religion while not experiencing the others that millions upon millions of others find to be their salvation? If you haven't, then you are the person that sits there and insists that Pepsi tastes better than Coke, but you have only tried the Pepsi and never the Coke. Yet, you will be steadfast in your belief that Pepsi is better despite having no conclusive first hand experience to prove otherwise. Thus, the whole argument is invalid.

      In the end, the realities are that if you were born in Iran, you'd have just as much zeal for Muhammad as you do for Jesus. If you were born in India, you'd believe in the Trimurti of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as you do for the Trinity of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. If you were born in Thailand, you'd have the same zeal for Buddha as you do for God. And so on and so forth. Thus to think there is one "correct" religion, when you'd be just as zealous for a different set of higher powers based solely on place of birth (of which you have zero control over), makes little to no rational sense whatsoever.

      >
      >

      Peace!

      March 1, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
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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.