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Making time to pray five times daily
March 21st, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Why do Muslims pray five times daily?

Editor's Note: CNN’s Soledad O’Brien chronicles the fight over a mosque’s construction in the heart of the Bible Belt. “Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door” airs at 8 p.m. ET March 27 on CNN.

Text by Soraya Salam, for CNN, photos by Angie Lovelace, CNN

ATLANTA, Georgia - It’s 6:00 a.m. The sun isn’t up yet, but Wahaaj Mohammed is.

He’s performing a ritual washing in preparation for his first prayer of the day. He’ll go on to pray four more times before the day is through, a practice called “salat” that many of the estimated 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide perform daily.

It’s a practice that Mohammed, a 21-year old recent graduate from the Georgia Institute of Technology, can’t imagine life without.

“It reminds you about God throughout your day,” he says. “At fixed intervals, no matter how busy you are, all of a sudden you have to take out a few minutes and you’re remembering, OK, why am I really here?”

“And while I was doing whatever I was doing, was I doing it in a manner pleasing to God?”

Praying five times a day is considered the second most important of Islam’s five pillars, after professing that there is no god worthy of worship but God and that the Prophet Mohammed is God’s messenger.

Each prayer includes a series of movements, supplications, and recitations from the Quran, Islam’s holy book, in its original Arabic.

Muslims consider prayer to be a spiritual and physical act, with various standing, bending, and prostrating postures symbolizing devotion to God.

“When you’re at your lowest point, your head is on the ground, you’re saying ‘Oh, praise to my God, the most high,’” says Mohammed, who was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. “It’s very humbling.”

Imam Zaid Shakir, co-founder of Zaytuna College - which is aiming to be the first accredited Muslim college in the United States - says salat symbolizes what Islam considers the purpose of creation: to worship God.

“As a human being, I have a physical body, I have an intellect, and I have a spirit, and the ritual prayer involves all three of those aspects,” says Shakir, who is also a professor of Islamic theology at Zaytuna.

“My entire being is involved in my prayer, and that symbolizes the dedication of my entire being to the service of my creator,” he says.

The first prayer, called “Fajr” is performed before sunrise; the second prayer, “Thuhr” comes just after noon; the third prayer, “Asr,” arrives during mid-afternoon; the fourth prayer, “Maghrib,” is just after sunset; and the last prayer, “Isha,” is performed at night.

These prayers are considered an obligation for every Muslim by the time he or she reaches puberty. Mohammed says he has rarely missed a prayer.

Preparation

Before each prayer, Mohammed performs a ritual ablution, called “wudu.” The process involves washing the hands, face, arms and feet. Wudu symbolizes a state of physical and spiritual purity required to stand before God.

“There’s a saying (in Islam) that our external form impacts our internal state, just as our internal state has an impact on our external form,” says Shakir.

When Mohammed is away from home for a prayer, he washes up in a public restroom.

“You do feel kind of awkward,” he says. “And it usually happens, for whatever reason, that someone always walks in and your feet are in the sink and they’re thinking, ‘What’s this person doing?’”

Afterward, Mohammed finds a quiet, clean place to perform his prayer, during which he will face northeast towards the holiest site in Islam, the Kaaba. The cube-shaped building is located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia and, according to Islamic tradition, was built by the prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael.

“(Muslims) all pray in the same uniform way, wherever they are, whether they’re in India or Indonesia or Saudi Arabia or America or Japan,” Mohammed says. “They all pray in the same manner, facing the same direction.”

Mohammed raises his hands to shoulder level while reciting, “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is the greatest,” signaling the start of the prayer.

Making time

Mohammed often gets questioned about how he finds the time to pray so many times a day.

“I think it’s just where you put your priorities,” he says. “If you put (prayer) at a high level, then it’s not hard.”

As a college student, Mohammed would schedule his classes and social events around the prayers. He says they mostly take five to ten minutes to complete and that technology has made it easy for him to remember when to pray.

“When the prayer time starts, (my phone) sends me a text message,” he says. “I know a lot of people that have the iPhone app that gives a little alarm or a text or something. And some people even have the iPhone app that shows them the direction of the prayer.”

Zaytuna’s Shakir says the intervals between prayer demarcate transitions within the day that necessitate the remembrance of God.

“In the morning we’re getting up from our sleep, so we’re beginning that day by praying to our Lord and our creator,” he says. “And then at noon… just as we take our lunch break to replenish our physical body, we take time to reaffirm our commitment to our creator and thereby replenish our spirit.”

“At night, before we turn in and go to sleep to regroup, we don’t know if we’re going to see the new day,” he says. “Once again, (we) take time to acknowledge our creator and the rights he has over us.”

When Mohammed is at his mosque in Atlanta, Georgia, he has the “adhan” to alert him that a particular prayer time has begun. The adhan is the Islamic call to prayer that consists of a series of phrases recited melodiously, including, “God is the greatest,” “Come to prayer,” and “Come to success.”

In Muslim-majority countries, the adhan is called from an outdoor loudspeaker. For Muslims in America, it is recited in the mosque or in the privacy of one’s home. Mohammed compares it to the ringing of a church bell to signify the start of a service.

Mohammed says that in addition to adding structure to his day, salat helps keep him accountable for his daily actions and lets him have a personal relationship with God.

Striving for spiritual success

In the glow of a recent coming dawn, Mohammed and his family complete their first prayer of the day with a phrase in Arabic that means, “May the peace and mercy of God be upon you.”

He notes that the call to prayer before sunrise has an extra phrase added in: “Prayer is greater than sleep.”

“So, no matter what you’re doing in your life, it’s always, ‘God is greater than that’ - whether it’s sleep, whether it’s work, whatever it is, God is the greatest,” Mohammed says, pausing to rub his eyes.

“Behind any type of success,” he says, “there’s always a sacrifice.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Prayer • Uncategorized

soundoff (834 Responses)
  1. Timothy C

    I am not a Muslim (in fact, an agnostic), but I admire anyone who is dedicated enough to make time to pray 5 times a day. That shows a level of commitment and sincerity that is sorely lacking in many aspects of the modern world.

    March 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Tripp

      Really? How so? If religious fanatics would put forth that effort they put into prayer and actually do something constructive, it might be enough to change the world. Instead of "praying for change, or Peace, or food, etc..." How about they actually, phyisically do it. And I am an Atheist.

      March 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • runswithbeer

      The basic premise of the founding of the United States of America is the right to worship (or not) as one sees fit. If you expect fellow Americans to respect your right to worship (or not) as you please, then you should respect their rights as well. As for me I constantly ask for divine intervention but have yet to get an answer back. As for Muslims and 5 times a day that's a deal Mohammad worked out with God. It should be noted that like Meditation, Prayers do have their effect. If it turns out there is a God it wouldn't hurt to be on the safe side. If it doesn't then just the calming effect of prayer is worth the effort.

      March 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • RZ

      And what have you done Tripp? People like you complain about the problems of everybody else but yet you yourself have done nothing to change society. You are no different than the fanatics who cry hate for others' beliefs.

      March 21, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • Allison

      I fully agree with you. I am an evangelical and I think this post has a good amount of truth contained in it. In fact, I was on my way to go and do a written analysis of the truths found.

      March 21, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Timothy C

      Tripp - I understand your point. However, the discipline shown in prayer probably carries over into the remainder of their day (and nights). Also, the amount of time spent in prayer is not really that much each day–about half an hour to 45 minutes. That's a lot less than many Americans spend each day doing mindless activities of marginal value.

      March 21, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Anne Chovies

      @Tripp
      You're assuming that they're praying and doing nothing else. But you know that's seldom the case. Their prayers are in addition to their actions.

      March 21, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  2. Dmoney

    why did God make us flawed? wouldnt be easier to just make everyone perfect, or at least not killers, rapists, and such. maybe that would have been too boring for him. i guess having babies born with diseases, children having cancer makes things more interseting for him, that way we can pray to him to help us from these terrible things. he seems like a jerk of a God to keep punishing innocent children and babies becasue Adam and Eve screwed up. I though he forgave us when Jesus died for us? he has a funny way of showing his love...

    March 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Ria

      Dmoney

      why did God make us flawed? wouldnt be easier to just make everyone perfect, or at least not killers, rapists, and such. maybe that would have been too boring for him. i guess having babies born with diseases, children having cancer makes things more interseting for him, that way we can pray to him to help us from these terrible things. he seems like a jerk of a God to keep punishing innocent children and babies becasue Adam and Eve screwed up. I though he forgave us when Jesus died for us? he has a funny way of showing his love...

      Not anymore then you have a funny way of understanding God!

      March 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Dmoney

      i dont understand, thats my point. i wouldnt punish someones grandkids becasue there grandparents didnt listen to me...like God does to us. i dont really believe there is a God and if there is, he is not the all powerful, or loving God that people think. there is just too many innocents suffering, and no one can convince me that he loves us but yet allows babies to be born with all kind of terrible birth defects and problems. IT MAKES NO SENSE.

      March 21, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  3. Dorothy

    I'm sad that so many people come on to these boards just to hate (both Christians bashing Islam and atheists/hostile agnostics taunting or mocking any kind of belief). Common ground is the best place to start, people.

    That said, as a Catholic, I find the multiple movements during prayer very interesting. We are sensual creatures (e.g., we learn and have deeper experiences through the senses) and the kinetic motion, the touch, the changes in what we see all affect prayer. Catholics kneel and stand and sit during different parts of the Mass, and the different postures for Muslim prayer do the same thing: to remind humans of their place in comparison to God.

    While I may not agree with some of the teachings of the Islamic faith, I can admire those who follow the salat and make the time to pray 5 times a day. Everyone can do it, but as Wahaaj said, you have to make it a priority. To the person who said that no one needs to have that much time spent on them: I hope you're not married or otherwise in a relationship, because the total prayer time equals not even an hour a day. If you are willing to spend more time than that with a person who will probably hurt you (though not necessarily intentionally), perhaps not always listen to you, and maybe not even like you some days, why wouldn't you spend less time than that with someone who would never hurt you, always listen, and always love you and like you for you? That assumes you actually believe in God, of course...

    March 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • RangerDOS

      I absolutely believ in God, for my own personal reasons. My father is a professed athiest, all his life, except when something goes wrong, then God gets the blame for making his life miserable 🙂 I think the hate mongers and suppossed athiest are all the the same, myopic and in need to criticize what they can't understand, mostly behind the anomyminity of this blog – none would have the nerve to be so hateful to peoples face.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Colin

      @RangerDOs. I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that you are referring to me, as I am currently the most active atheists here. In nay event, my comment is pertinent to yours. First, I do understand Christianity very well, having been raised one and subject to learning its doctrines. Second, there is nothing "hatelful" about non-belief, it is simply a conclusion drawn, just like I conclude I do not believe in santa clause. I do not "hate"those who believe in a god, I just think they are flat wrong. Finally, I will (and do) happily declare my atheism to anybody that asks and do not feel constrained to pretend I believe in front of people.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Frank

      Ah, it is so refreshing to hear a kindly voice for a change. My point in my post was that there is good and bad everywhere. The crimes of Muslims as well as the crimes of Christians or any other group for that matter should not be an indictment against an entire people. Ordinary Muslims, Christians, Jews, etc. all just want a place to peacefully raise their kids.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Summerland

      Almost anyone who opposes Islamization is familiar with the outlines of sharia:

      It makes women into second-class citizens.

      It also insists that they be sto-ned to death for adultery.

      It prescribes amputation for theft.

      It demands the death penalty for leaving Islam, and even for “insulting the prophet”.

      It includes many other practices that would be considered barbaric in any civilized country. It subjugates women and brutally punishes transgressors, particularly ho-m-os-e-xuals and apo-states

      I ask any peaceful Muslim, do you accept the above?

      Can you see this in America?

      Islamist ideology, sharia is deemed to be the necessary precondition for Islamicizing a society — for Islam is not merely a religious doctrine, but a comprehensive socio-economic and political system. Read on:

      John Paul II himself stated that the Muslims and Catholics worshiped the same God, a viewpoint which is erroneously and naive at best. Allah is not the loving Father God of Judeo-Christian Revelation and obviously, as Islam is a man-made religion and not revealed, as are Judaism and Christianity, one expects heresy and gets it in the Koran.

      There will be a subtle blending of Islamic faith with the Catholic faith, if we are not vigilant. There will also be Muslims protected by our laws, that will allow muslims to incorporate thier sharia law. using again, our own laws to permit this.

      Here is a good example:
      Sharia in New Jersey: Muslim husband ra-p-es wife, judge sees no se-xual as-sault because Islam forbids wives to refuse s-e-x
      Muhammad said: "If a husband calls his wife to his bed [i.e. to have s-e-xual relation] and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning" (Bukhari 4.54.460).

      He also said: "By him in Whose Hand lies my life, a woman can not carry out the right of her Lord, till she carries out the right of her husband. And if he asks her to surrender herself [to him for s-e-xual in-terco-urse] she should not refuse him even if she is on a camel's saddle" (Ibn Majah 1854).

      And now a New Jersey judge sees no evidence that a Muslim committed -s-e-xual as-sault of his wife - not because he didn't do it, but because he was acting on his Islamic beliefs:

      "This court does not feel that, under the circ-u-mstances, that this defendant had a criminal desire to or intent to s-e-xually a-ssault or to s-e-xually contact the plaintiff when he did. The court believes that he was operating under his belief that it is, as the husband, his desire to have s–ex when and whether he wanted to, was something that was consistent with his practices and it was something that was not prohibited."-

      Better watch out.

      March 21, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  4. Leo

    I don't mind if people pray, practice the violin, or do the polka five times a day. If this guy finds it fulfilling in his life, then that's fine by me.

    My only issue is with him sticking his feet in public washbasins. I mean, that's just not very hygienic. I don't want to walk int a public restroom to wash my hands, only to find someone putting their feet in the sink. Maybe it'll help the guy avoid foot fungus by keeping his feet clean, but he can do that in his own sink. Maybe I could recommend that he just rub his feet with Purell instead if he's in public, rather than using the public restroom sink.

    March 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  5. xabana

    The only salat I practice is nicoise, chef's or spinach.

    March 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  6. Matt

    They have the time. They don't work.

    March 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  7. Chris

    Because they dont have cable TV.

    March 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  8. Methusalem

    The question should be, "Why do Muslims curse Jews and Christians five times a day?". Then, while Christians pray for everybody, even for their enemies, Muslims practice their prayers cursing Jews and Christians in order to please their god.

    March 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Amina

      And you are sure we do this because.....? Just stop it, okay? It is NOT true. Not one line of my prayers says "Jews and Christians are horrible, do away with them." Yeesh. As a matter of fact, Al Kafiroun (The Disbelievers) states: "To you your religion and to me mine. I do not worship what you worship and you do not worship what I worship." It is in the Qu'ran, seriously, take some time out of your day to look it up (I know that has fallen upon deaf ears).

      "To you your way and to me mine...." Yup, that's pretty darn mean and hateful stuff.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Timothy C

      I have yet to find a Christian who prays for his enemies or turns the other cheek. It's like trying to find someone who actually washes their rented car.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Jake

      what you just wrote makes absolutely no sense, where in the world did you hear such a thing, Although, i won't be surprised if you just made that up and posted it, b/c that is what half of the people on this site are doing

      December 16, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  9. Peter

    To Colin- You sound like one hand clapping. I am investigating and have concluded there is a god. Your posts seem....juvenile and smacks of a know-it-all even though you make no sense. None of what you say has a shred of proof, flyes in the face of what's already known and is not accepted at all in scientific circles. It's like saying the universe was made by an amoeba. It might get a few laughs from the uneducated and all but if you are going to espouse some non-factual and ridiculous theory then you should have some facts to support it or at lease offer something that seems plausable. But you don't. The sound of one hand clapping.

    March 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Colin

      By far the best current view we have of the origins of the Universe is the big Bang. This is based on a number of observations of the nature of space-time and its const-ituent galaxies. That may change inthe future, but it has some pretty solid evidence to support it and it would take a lot to overturn it.

      Nothing we have discovered has suggested there is a god behind the creation of the Universe, much less the Christian god. Indeed, what we do know has ripped the Bible and its explanation to shreds.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  10. Amina

    Look, I like to make things plain and simple for people: I am born and raised American and Christian, from two Vietnam Veteran parents, I served 6 years in the Army myself. I served during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and I lost friends in combat.

    I am now a Muslim. I don't advocate violence, I don't advocate nationalism, I don't advocate genocide. I get myself up every morning, pray, go to work to pay my bills and taxes, and then go home and get ready to do it all over again. The average everyday American...I am Muslim.

    My parents and I and millions of other Americans defend (and have died) this country for the right to worship as they please. If that means you sit in a pew on Sunday singing Amazing Grace (or kneel during Mass),or you prostrate yourself facing East five times a day, or you observe Hannukah (forgive my misspelling), or you meditate while trying to reach Nirvana, then so be it! I don't drive by churches and think horrible thoughts about others...who am I do make judgement? My only purpose is to worship Allah (highly praised and glorified is He) to the best of my ability and hope that I will be granted Paradise. Islam is seriously that personal. I can only control my actions and worship...if I am allowed the chance to help others in this world, then it is only beacause God (highly praised and glorified is He) has allowed me to.

    That's it.

    March 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Timothy C

      Well said. I'm agnostic but I appreciate your dedication, honesty, and commitment. You may not be like me, but the world can use more people like you.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  11. whatever

    Who cares?

    March 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • x

      Obviously, you care enough to comment.

      March 22, 2011 at 9:37 am |
  12. Jake

    to Nonimus- You've proved you can count to two and that's it. And atheism certainly is a belief.

    March 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Colin

      We reject belief, dogma, superst-itions and believing in things just because it makes us feel good. We have no churches, priests or creeds. We do not dictate to others how they should behave or seek to know answers to questions we cannot know. We go where the evidence takes us and refuse to allow our emotions to dictate our beliefs.

      No, Atheism is no more a belief than medicine is a disease.

      March 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Haemisch

      Colin: A lot of Christians feel the same way you did about doctrines, creeds, etc. Jesus did too. He rejected the faith of teh Pharisees completely. We also do not worship God because it "makes us feel good." I agree with you there as well. You really don't understand why we worship. Your assumptions are not proof of anything.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Colin

      Jesus or Chrisitans rejecting one form of dogma or another and substi-tuting their own is vastly different to atheism, which will not worship anything. Nor will we believe anything unless there is a reason to do so. This is the very thing that differentiates us from religion.

      I wish religious people would stop trying to claim us. We are not one of you.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • krashundburn

      Atheism is NOT a belief, anymore than failing to recognize the Easter Bunny as real is a belief.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Jake,
      Apparently, I can read and write as well as count to two, but that's a different matter.
      If atheism is a belief, what are the tenets of that belief? You were close when you wrote, "Well, atheism certainly isnt the answer, it believes in nothing and offers nothing." As a lack of belief in the supernatural, it's more correct to say 'it has no beliefs and by itself offers nothing.' And by itself it is not an answer, true, since it is a lack of belief, but neither is belief in the unsupportable, unevidenced supernatural. However, what that means is that we as humans need to figure things out for ourselves, such how the universe works, how society should be run, and what standards of morality should be applied, all without being dependent ancient writings, which are one source out of many.

      March 22, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  13. Sam

    To Colin- But the universe has not always been here. It has a starting point. Scientists today know and admit it. That's provable and if you knew what you were talking about then you'd know that. But you don't so no one should listen to you. And you should question yourself.

    March 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Colin

      Not necessarliy. It is inetirely possible that time began in the Big Bang, such that there was no such thing as "before the big bang" making the idea of a creator meaningless. It is also possible that our current cycle is one of an infinite number of cycles stretching forever back and forward in time.

      At this point, we simply do not know. But, to pretend we do know, call our answer "god" and walk off happy and smug that we have addressed the issue and answered the question is self-deluding.

      March 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  14. Druid

    To Frank- You are blissfully naive and no doubt have little understanding of most of what you wrote (a good starting point would be to investigate the reasons for the Crusades for example but we wouldn't want you to let facts get in the way of your nonsense). Please just go away.

    March 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Frank

      Regardless of what the reasons for the crusades were, the fact of the crusades indiscriminate brutality remains. You have told me absolutely nothing to enlighten me, only insults.

      March 21, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  15. MirrorMirror

    This isn't a news article - it's relgious propaganda.

    But Anyway, to respond to this non-news article - you can't argue with people who suspend disbelief. Faith is not rational. All religions are posited on their version as being "true" and then forcing reason to function somehow within it. The fact is, all religions are wrong because they attempt to explain the unexplainable and then develop a fear-reward system around it. Mohmmedans believe praying 5 times is required to enter heaven when really, Mohammed himself probably recognized people needed to feel physically involved and ensuring a new creedo"s success meant habitualizing the people. It made sense to the illiterati of the desert centuries ago, I'm just surprised people still buy this snake oil today.

    March 21, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Haemisch

      I find it funny that the scientific community looks at the brain of a T-Rex and, in spite of the fact that it is sttucturally nearly identical to that of a vulture, conclude that this poor-sighted, bipedal creature, with superior olfactory capabilities, and no ability to catch itself if it fell, was a predator. Everything about this creature screams "scavenger" and yet few scientists are able to see it. Why? They suspend fact for some childhood dream of the Great Tyrannasaur. Please. When they can see clearly enough to rightly evaluate an animal whose skeletal remains are right in fornt of tehir eyes, then maybe I'll listen to them when it comes to the beginnings of life.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Colin

      And who would you listen to Haemisch? The Christian's and their talking snake theory, The Buddhists, the Hindus, the Australian Aboriginal and their Dreamtime fables? Chucking in science for religion because science does not know everything is like trading in your set of Encyclopedia Britanicas for a Di-ck and Jane book. You are going in the wrong direction. Trading a little ignorance for 99% ignorance and guesswoark.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  16. Hiawa23

    Paul, I don't think we are here by chance but I certainly don't believe that the supreme powered allknowing God, if there is one needs puny humans to worship him to give him power, nor do I believe the being is up in the clouds with a notebook jotting down everything we have ever done in our lives.

    March 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Colin

      N oscientist or evolutionary bioplogist thinks "we got here by chance" either. Do not confuse that with atheism. If chance were the only alternative, I would be more inclined to believe in a god.

      March 21, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Haemisch

      Again, God does not "need" our worship. He asks it of us, because it is for our good. Acknowledging that someone is higher, more power, etc. is very hard for the human heart. To humble ourselves in worship is good for us because it brings us closer to our Father and children who spend time with their fathers become more like them. God wants us to be more like him - kind giving, generous, etc.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  17. Frank

    Let’s see now, up to 50,000 Muslims murdered by “Christians” in Jerusalem during the Crusades, hundreds of thousands of Europeans murdered during the Inquisitions, Colonization-virtual genocide of Native-Americans, slavery and racial hatred, two world wars involving the only use of nuclear weapons against a civilian population, America’s traditional support of murderous dictators around the world-including Saddam Hussein until he fell out of favor, and more recently, Serbian “Christian” ethnic cleansing against the Muslims of Bosnia and Kosovo. Still most westerners believe that they have the highest morals, probably because Fox-news told them so. Now would someone please tell me again why the Muslims are the worst of all people?

    March 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Colin

      They are not, but Islam is an extremely paranoid and violent religion. It brokers no discontent, totally subjugates the females of the faith and keeps 90% of its population in an intellectual Dark Ages. Christianity's sins (mainly the RCC) are well known, too, and I agree with much of what you said, although a lot of it had purely secular motives. Religion, in general, is the worst of humankind's many inventions.

      March 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Haemisch

      The Curch didn't bomb Nagasaki and Hiroshima, friend. As to the rest, going back to ancient times is ridiculous, especially given the fact that you seem ignorant of the reason for the Crusades. They were the response to Muslim (Turkish) advances into Europe and the twice-sacking of Rome by Muslim pirates. Sound familiar? All that, not to mention the forced conversion of Christians in Muslim lands. At the time of Mohammad there were 40,000 bishoprics in North Africa alone. By the time of the FIrst Crusade there was one. Please do come back when you have learned a little bit about history.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • jill

      Muslims are no less loved by God than Christians or Buddist or any other people. God loves us all the same, but were all in need of a savior. Were all born into sin and need to be forgiven. Thats where Jesus comes in....to bring us back to a once perfect creation between man and God.....no works can get any of us to Heaven only a free gift of salvation of the cross....

      March 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  18. Hiawa23

    I like to think of myself as a good person, college educated nice home, car, not a believer in religion, as I don't think it makes one bit of difference whether you pray once a day, or 50x's a day. I respect religious folks, but most of my sudays are movie day, or sports day, or Xbox 360 or PS3 day. If praying gives people the peace they need, then more power to em. I don't believe in it, as I think what happens in our life is going to happen regardless of what we do, or how many prayers you say.

    March 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Jared Williams

      So afterlife doesnt bother you at all. Have you ever questioned why are you here, what is your purpose on this earth.. If Sunday is movie night and video game day.. I hopes youre spending your time wisely..

      March 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Haemisch

      Being a decent human being and making peace with God are two different things. You have sinned. You have not only done God wrong, your very conscience does not excuse from some things that you have done in spite of teh fact that you're a decent human being. You need forgiveness - perhaps not as much as I or someone else, but you need it nonetheless.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  19. Colin

    The whole idea that a beaing powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, and which is still alive 13,400,000 years after doing so, would experience human emotions is completely asinine. Much less so, that it would have an ego requiring stroking by humans five times a day.

    It is so abunadntly clear to me that we created the gods in our image and not visa-versa.

    March 21, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Haemisch

      We tend to be like what we give our hearts to. People who give their heats to money become greddy; those who give their hearts to s e x often end up experimenting in perverse things, etc. The purpose of giving yourself to God in worship is to become more like him. He wants us to be more like him, because he is good and kind and loving. It has nothing to do with stroking his ego. He needs that like a dog needs a driver's license. (I am Christian, btw).

      March 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Colin

      There is no evidence that there is any kind of supreme intelligence behind the Universe's creation, about 13,400,000,000 years ago. If there were however, I doubt very much it would experience human emotions, much less sit back and wait 13.4 billion years to send its "son" to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle Eas. I am sorry Haemish, but time to give up that security blanket. You, me and everybody reading this blog are going to die. Get over it.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Haemisch

      Why do assume that intelligence precludes emotion? Rational, intelligent people cry, so what's your evidence?

      March 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Haemisch

      PS...I am fully aware I am going to die.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Colin

      No, you think you will live happily ever after in Heaven. Silly stuff.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Haemisch

      Nice dodge. You still haven't answered my question. Why do think that intelligence precludes the experience of emotion?

      And yes, I am quite sure I will live with my heavenly Father.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Haemisch

      Well, it's time for me to go home. I'll look for your answer whe I get there. Bye, now!

      March 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Colin

      My point was that it is a huge stretch to say that any being capable of creating all this would experience human emotions. Instead of just reciting what you have been taught as a child, stop and think for a minute. Spend five minutes trying to actually conceive of such a being as a god. The powers it would need, the size it would have to be, the complexity it must have, how could it have always existed, and what is its motivation?

      Would it really care about my $ex life or what I did on a Sunday? Why create 200,000,000,000 galaxies, each with about 200,000,000,000 stars and even more planets, then sit back and wait 13,400,000,000 years to send your "son" (whatever that means, when one is god) to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle East.

      I mean, come on!! If you HONESTLY once held your own belief up to the same exacting level of proof you require of science (and science requires of itself) your belief would collapse in a heap.

      March 21, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  20. Paul

    To Colin- You're right about one thing, Muslims are ridiculous and scary. But you're not right about a supreme being. What's your explanation/answer? No God, nothing, we're here by chance, no intelligent design, just...nothing? Great and thoughtful position. Starts with nothing and ends in the same place. Got to be more, just logical. Oh, and by the way the laws of physics and other evidence proven in the universe leads exactly to the same place..a creator is the only logical answer. Do some research instead of just blathering drivel.

    March 21, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Colin

      Your answer to the big quation of how the Universe started is no answer at all. You have no idea, so you just rename your lack of an answer "god". The next obvious question, "where did god come from" is bound to result in an answer "he was always there". Well, why not just say the Universe was always there. No, god is no answer – it is a shrug of the sholders, a cop out.

      March 21, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Paul,
      "Got to be more, just logical."
      Why? Show me the logic.

      "the laws of physics and other evidence... leads... to ...a creator...."
      There is nothing in physics or science that indicates a 'creator' god. If you think otherwise, please explain why you think that way.

      March 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
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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.