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My Take: It’s time for Islamophobic evangelicals to choose
September 15th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Take: It’s time for Islamophobic evangelicals to choose

Editor's Note: Brian D. McLaren  is author of "Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World" (Jericho Books/Hachette Book Group). 

By Brian McLaren, Special to CNN

I was raised as an evangelical Christian in America, and any discussion of Christian-Jewish-Muslim relations around the world must include the phenomenon of American Islamophobia, for which large sectors of evangelical Christianity in America serve as a greenhouse.

At a time when U.S. embassies are being attacked and when people are getting killed over an offensive, adolescent and puerile film targeting Islam - beyond pathetic in its tawdriness – we must begin to own up to the reality of evangelical Islamaphobia.

Many of my own relatives receive and forward pious-sounding and alarm-bell-ringing e-mails that trumpet (IN LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS!) the evils of Islam, that call their fellow evangelicals and charismatics to prayer and “spiritual warfare” against those alleged evils, and that often - truth be told - contain lots of downright lies.

For example, one recent e-mail claimed “Egyptian Christians in Grave Danger as Muslim Brotherhood Crucifies Opponents."  Of course, that claim has been thoroughly debunked, but the sender’s website still (as of Friday) claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has “crucified those opposing" Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy "naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Many sincere and good-hearted evangelicals have never yet had a real Muslim friend, and now they probably never will because their minds have been so prejudiced by Islamophobic broadcasts on so-called Christian television and radio.

Janet Parshall, for example, a popular talk show host on the Moody Radio Network, frequently hosts Walid Shoebat, a Muslim-evangelical convert whose anti-Muslim claims, along with claims about his own biography, are frequently questioned.  John Hagee, a popular televangelist, also hosts Shoebat as an expert on Islam, as does the 700 Club.

Many Christian bookstores that (used to) sell my books, still sell books such as Paul Sperry’s "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington" (Thomas Nelson, 2008). In so doing, they fuel conspiracy theories such as the ones U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, promoted earlier this year.

In recent days, we’ve seen how irresponsible Muslim media outlets used the tawdry 13-minute video created by a tiny handful of fringe Christian extremists to create a disgusting caricature of all Christians - and all Americans - in Muslim minds. But too few Americans realize how frequently American Christian media personalities in the U.S. similarly prejudice their hearers’ minds with mirror-image stereotypes of Muslims.

Ambassador's killing shines light on Muslim sensitivities around Prophet Mohammed

Meanwhile, many who are pastors and leaders in evangelicalism hide their heads in the current issue of Christianity Today or World Magazine, acting as if the kinds of people who host Islamophobic sentiments swim in a tiny sidestream, not in the mainstream, of our common heritage. I wish that were true.

The events of this past week, if we let them, could mark a turning point - a hitting bottom, if you will - in the complicity of evangelicalism in Islamophobia. If enough evangelicals watch or try to watch the film trailer that has sparked such outrage in the Middle East, they may move beyond the tipping point.

I tried to watch it, but I couldn’t make it halfway to the 13-minute mark. Everything about it was tawdry, pathetic, even pornographic. All but the most fundamentalist believers from my evangelical Christian tribe who watch that video will be appalled and ashamed to be associated with it.

It is hate speech. It is no different from the anti-Semitic garbage that has been all too common in Western Christian history. It is sub-Christian - beneath the dignity of anyone with a functioning moral compass.

Islamophobic evangelical Christians - and the neo-conservative Catholics and even some Jewish folks who are their unlikely political bedfellows of late - must choose.

Will they press on in their current path, letting Islamophobia spread even further amongst them? Or will they stop, rethink and seek to a more charitable approach to our Muslim neighbors? Will they realize that evangelical religious identity is under assault, not by Shariah law, not by the liberal media, not by secular humanism from the outside, but by forces within the evangelical community that infect that religious identity with hostility?

If I could get one message through to my evangelical friends, it would be this: The greatest threat to evangelicalism is evangelicals who tolerate hate and who promote hate camouflaged as piety.

No one can serve two masters. You can’t serve God and greed, nor can you serve God and fear, nor God and hate.

The broad highway of us-them thinking and the offense-outrage-revenge reaction cycle leads to self-destruction. There is a better way, the way of Christ who, when reviled, did not revile in return, who when insulted, did not insult in return, and who taught his followers to love even those who define themselves as enemies.

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Yes, “they” – the tiny minority of Muslims who turn piety into violence – have big problems of their own. But the way of Christ requires all who claim to be Christians to examine our own eyes for planks before trying to perform first aid on the eyes of others. We must admit that we have our own tiny minority whose message and methods we have not firmly, unitedly and publicly repudiated and rejected.

To choose the way of Christ is not appeasement. It is not being a “sympathizer.”

The way of Christ is a gentle strength that transcends the vicious cycles of offense-outrage-revenge.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Brian D. McLaren.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Islam • My Take • Opinion

soundoff (8,500 Responses)
  1. The Dude

    Islamophobic? I don't think anyone fears Islam.. We just despise such a murderous religion.

    September 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • wjshelton

      You exemplify everything wrong that this article points out.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  2. HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

    The USA should try an old Catholic idea:Rehabilitation in a Convent. When they prove they can stop killing each other, we turn em loose.

    September 16, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If there's anyone dumber than you on this board, somebody must be watering him.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      tom, tom, Hey teach, leave those kids alone!!

      September 16, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  3. Franky

    I think after this last week, the islamaphobia is warranted. Neither Jewish nor Christians would run around burning middle east nation embassies if a film insulting Jesus or Moses or whatever else was released in the middle east.

    September 16, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • skytag

      Phobics always believe their phobias are justified.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  4. bird72

    created by a tiny handful of fringe Christian extremists???????????? what the fuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!! now Christians are guilty of Islamic barbarie??? wow!

    September 16, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  5. Scott

    One undeniable point for McLauren. Who is doing the murdering in these incidents. Hint: It is NOT the Christians.
    Question for McLauren. When was the last time he saw Christians rioting in the streets and murdering innocent people because a "movie" insulted Jesus?

    Scott

    September 16, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • MadGOPer

      They bomb abortion clinics, they did bomb each other in Ireland and Britain. They burned people at the stake. They massacred Muslims by the tens of thousands during the Crusades. They d@mn you to h3ll for not believing their twisted version of Christianity etc, etc etc.... So I don't buy that some of my fellow "Christians" are blameless......

      September 16, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • MadGOPer

      Christian Extremists pulled the trigger and Islamic extremists provided the action, meanwhile good Americans and Libyans died because of it....

      September 16, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • skytag

      Funny how you completely ignored his point.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Kelly

      MadGOPer brings up the conflict in Ireland as an example of Christian violence against non-Christians?? Guess he doesn't read much history. The Crusades??? Oh yeah that is recent history for sure... Lame

      September 16, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Scott

      Yup, just what I figured. The komrade libs point out the crusades ... NINE HUNDRED YEARS AGO!

      Also, regarding my not distant enough cousins, the Irish, bombing each other. The Irish have been roundly criticized by both Catholics and Protestants about their political murders hiding behind the weak facade of religion. So where are all of the goat pokers criticizing their fellow goat pokers?

      Regarding the bombing of abortion clinic. When these foul things murder the VAST majority of Christians vocally condemn the murder. So where are all of the goat pokers criticizing their fellow goat pokers?

      Oh, and by the way MadGOPer, so what if some of the far right Christians claim to d@mn you to heII? If you're an atheist, then you shouldn't care because you don't believe in an afterlife. If you're a Christian, then you know that you are already saved and headed to Heaven regardless of what some wack job says.

      Scott

      September 16, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  6. Emile Besancon

    We can debate all we want now. One can only hope that when Iran inevitably attacks Israel* and other American interests abroad that people like this author stop thinking about obscure reasons for "why" things happen and deal with the reality of "what" is happening - it's US (evangelicals, liberals, independents) versus THEM (radical Islamists aided and abetted by the other 1 billion Muslims that stand by and do nothing while their people murder, maim, decapitate, and kidnap innocent civilians by desecrating and hijacking what is supposed to be a peaceful religion). Whose side are you on?

    * In response to Israel's justified action to prevent their people from, in the words of Iranian leaders "being wiped off the map" for the second time in the past 70 years.

    September 16, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Jim

      Wait, so now all Muslims are responsible for what extremists do if they don't personally stop it? So are us white people responsible for every serial killer we don't stop?

      September 16, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Dr Tom

      Interesting that you don't include most Christians on your side. In any case, The 1 billion Muslims are not on the side of the Radical Islamists. Looks at the pro-American demonstrations in Libya. No way Iran will attack Israel (I assume you mean with nuclear weopons), mainly because they would be wiped off the map if they did. Read what's been written by people with intelligent people (not what you hear on Fox News) before you advocate that we all choose sides for the great upcoming us vs. them world war.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  7. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    Operator: 9-1-1
    Caller: Please help!!! Someone HELP ME!
    Operator: Calm down Sir what is your emergency?
    Caller: "They have taken away my Mohammad"
    Operator: Who took away your Mohammad and for what Sir!
    Caller: Ummmm they looked like Devils wearing black cloth Mam! They said they were taking away for inciting hatred towards non-Muslims Mam!!
    Operator: stop making prank calls Mohammad.
    Caller: No please please don't hang up.HELP ME!! HELP ME!! HELP MY MOHAMMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD BI. TCH OR I'LL KILL YOU.

    September 16, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • cigarlover6

      you MF, whats up with your handle? Did some hindu f'cked u in ur ass or sprayed seeds in ur mother or sister's private areas?

      September 16, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  8. Dillard

    I had a severe case of religionphopia and I found the cure. Atheism.

    September 16, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • christopher hitchens

      Suicide would have been a better solution for everyone else around you

      September 16, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • skytag

      People like christopher are the best evidence I know that Christianity is a fraud.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Joe

      Part of the problem with Atheism is that it's become a religion of it's own. Can you dis-prove God any more than you can prove God? I'm an Agnostic, literally, I don't know, and I lean Ateist, though I distance myself from those who are arrogantly so.
      Main problem I have with this article is it condemns one side for being uninformed and unbending in it's views, while much of the Islamic world is the same, if not worse. Atheists are becoming much like those they despise, people who believe what they believe regardless of proof and who refuse to accept any challenge to their beliefs.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • christopher hitchens

      Common sense you would hurt way less innocent people.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • The Dude

      Touche

      September 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  9. GAW

    I wish McLaren would realize that he asking to commend a faith that believes that it is superior to all others and that Christianity (His own faith) is a heresy. Me thinks he is living in a dream world unless we were to drop into Libya or Afghanistan.

    September 16, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Jim

      ...All faiths believe they are superior to others... What's the First Commandment, after all? If that's your justification then you should hate all religions, all religions should hate you, and we should all be in a state of never ending religious war, yes?

      September 16, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Dr Tom

      I think most faiths believe they are superior to all others. Catholisism calls itself the one true faith. Jews are God's chosen people. I'm sure most Muslims don't think Christians are heretics.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  10. Jake

    To religious people: Grow a brain please. All religions are equally insane. That is all.

    September 16, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  11. A Muslim here

    A common Muslim here. All religions and followers of no-religion have a God given right to believe or disbelieve. What I believe in is a disbelief for a Christian and vice versa. So is with other religions.
    That does not mean there is no common ground where we can’t operare. I believe followers of most religions (and those who don’t believe in any religion at all) have a lot of common ground when it comes to common moral values and human dignity. True that Muslims are going through a very rough patch, but I'll argue that problem here is not Islam..in fact it's absence-of-Islam from Muslims, ironically in name of Islam. Again you may not agree with this but if you have time, do some firsthand objective reading from classical sources of Islam yourself and see how some of today’s misguided Muslims have gone far away from what Islam really says. Obviously you can’t benefit from any knowledge if driving force is fault-finding. Tragedy is that those small extremists (and every religion and non-religion has those at one time or the other) make for better news. The overwhelming majority of common silent people are busy in their lives for the same type of things..running families, raising kids, earn living etc.
    The response to such movies, cartoon and others is very simple in Islam... Just ignore these non-sense and act good with people and truth will hold itself in long term. Alas some short sighted, ignorant Muslims who are so hollow in themselves are willing to die in name of Islam but they are not willing to Live Islam. But that’s not what Muslims or Islam is all about. What you think of 15000+ Muslim doctors treating your sick every single day in America – not to mention other professions.

    September 16, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • An Atheist Here

      well said....well said

      September 16, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • What IF

      "What you think of 15000+ Muslim doctors treating your sick every single day in America "

      I think that I am appreciative that they have learned good science; and I hope that they will keep their superst'itions out of it (the same that I think about Christian, Hindu, or any other fantasy religion's doctors).

      September 16, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • bradleyscarbrough

      Whenever Islam is criticized, you hear the same thing from Muslims. 1. They were not real Muslims that did that, and 2. You should learn more about Islam. That's when I know to tune out.

      September 16, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  12. skytag

    The author is an example of the kind of people Christians should be. If more Christians were like him I might not be an atheist and believe Christianity is just another well-intentioned fraud, but most Christians don't seem to have a clue about what t means to be a follower of Christ.

    As they author points out, a true Christian does not hate, and certainly doesn't hate entire groups of people. Not Muslims, no liberals, not conservatives, not anyone. The Bible they claim to believe contains the word of God teaches them to hate the sin but love the sinner. In practice way too many Christians embrace hatred in one form or another for me to take their religious beliefs seriously.

    September 16, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Kelly

      "skytag" needs to follow his own advice..

      September 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Primewonk

      " The Bible they claim to believe contains the word of God teaches them to hate the sin but love the sinner."

      Really? Can you show me the book, chapter, and verse, where your god says this in your bible?

      Hint – you won't be able to. Because it's not in there anywhere. In fact, it's a quote from Gandhi – a Hindu. Hell, your god tells you to go and kill all those who worship other gods. He commands you to go and kill gay folks. He orders you to kill all women who aren't virgins on there wedding night -but not the men.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Kelly

      Primewonk: Christians believe in the God of the Old Testament, but they also believe that the New Testament replaced all of those old laws with the love and forgiveness of Jesus. That is why Christians do not make sacrafices or follow all of the rituals as they did in the old Testament. If you are going to criticize them then at least be accurate..

      September 16, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  13. Dorothy

    How many killings by Muslims over how many years will it take for them to be satisfied that they are noticed?

    September 16, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  14. capnmike

    "The way of Christ is a gentle strength that transcends the vicious cycles of offense-outrage-revenge."...??? Good. You can think about that while these filthy animals are chopping off your head. Hope that saves you.... Me, I am sick of these pigs and their crazy "religion" of violence...A "phobia" is a Fear, and we have every reason to fear these animals as long as there are too many wimps and apologists ready and willing to appease them . Meanwhile, I will keep my own gun loaded, thanks

    September 16, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • skytag

      A phobia is an irrational fear. Given that there are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, which is almost four times the population of the United States, it should be obvious to any thinking person that it's only a very tiny percentage of them that are a problem. Apparently you aren't one of those thinking people. You're too busy hating and being scared.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • An Atheist Here

      and this is why those Muslim extremist don't like Americans

      September 16, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  15. edmundburkeson

    It is very telling that McClaren would take this event and use as an occasion to criticize evangelicals. Evangelicals have been criticized, ridiculed, and scrutinized more than any other religion. Don't you think it is time sir for Muslims to get over their pity party, come into the modern world and be subject to the same ridicule and scrutiny as any other religion. I would think that to be the pivotal message to be gleaned from the recent events. They need more scrutiny not less and it is time for not only evangelicals but everyone to speak up and ask hard questions about the Muslim faith.

    September 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Jim

      Really? Would you point me to the last time the US Congress held hearings into evangelical Christian groups based purely on their being Evangelical? Or the last time there was a controversy for a Congressman being sworn in on a book of worship an evangelical Christian might use?

      September 16, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Jim

      I'm pretty sure Herman Cain said he'd require all MUSLIM government officials to swears oaths of loyalty to the US, not all evangelical officials. Really doesn't sound like the most persecuted to me.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • edmundburkeson

      Did you ever here of the Nebraska Seven. 7 Evangelical pastors were held indefinitely on contempt for preaching without a license.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • edmundburkeson

      We have laws in this country which protect Muslims and their faith. You cannot make that argument about Christians in Muslim countries. So your pity party about Muslims in this country will not find much credibility. In fact if your intention is to do the same here you will find resistance. Muslims do not have a history of extending protection to those of other faiths.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Primewonk

      " Evangelical pastors were held indefinitely on contempt for preaching without a license."

      This, of course, is a fundiot nutter lie. They were jailed for sending their kids to an unlicensed fundiot nutter school.

      September 16, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  16. Ryu

    This article is pretty terrible. It's also hilarious to see this guy preaching censoring freedom of expression. Go put the towel back on your head and hit the mosque you tool.

    September 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • skytag

      Attacking the messenger because you cant refute the message is known as an ad hominem. Ad hominem arguments are intellectually feeble.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  17. Colin

    Dear Evangelicals:

    God here.

    First, I do not exist. The concept of a 13,700,00,000 year old being, capable of creating the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, monitoring simultaneously the thoughts and actions of the 7 billion human beings on this planet is ludicrous.

    Second, if I did, I would have left you a book a little more consistent, timeless and independently verifiable than the collection of Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology you call the Bible. Hell, I bet you cannot tell me one thing about any of its authors or how and why it was compiled with certain writings included and others excluded, nor how it has been edited over the centuries, yet you cite it for the most extraordinary of supernatural claims.

    Thirdly, when I sent my “son” (whatever that means, given that I am god and do not mate) to Earth, he would have visited the Chinese, Ja.panese, Europeans, Russians, sub-Saharan Africans, Australian Aboriginals, Mongolians, Polynesians, Micronesians, Indonesians and native Americans, not just a few Jews. He would also have exhibited a knowledge of something outside of the Iron Age Middle East.

    Fourthly, I would not spend my time hiding, refusing to give any tangible evidence of my existence, and then punish those who are smart enough to draw the natural conclusion that I do not exist by burning them forever. That would make no sense to me, given that I am the one who elected to withhold all evidence of my existence in the first place.

    Fifthly, in the same vein, I would not make about 5% of the human population gay, then punish them for being that way. In fact, I wouldn’t care about how humans have $ex at all, given that I created all of the millions of millions of species on the planet, all of whom are furiously reproducing all the time. Human $ex would be of no interest to me, given that I can create Universes. Has it ever occurred to you that your obsession with making rules around human $ex is an entirely human affair?

    Sixth, I would have smited all you Christian activists, and all evangelicals and fundamentalists long before this. You people drive me nuts. You are so small minded and speak with such false authority. Many of you still believe in the talking snake nonsense from Genesis. I would kill all of you for that alone and burn you for an afternoon (burning forever is way too barbaric even for a sick, sadistic bast.ard like me to contemplate).

    Seventh, the whole idea of members of one species on one planet surviving their own physical deaths to “be with me” is utter, mind-numbing nonsense. Grow up. You will die. Get over it. I did. Hell, at least you had a life. I never even existed in the first place.

    Eighth, I do not read your minds, or “hear your prayers” as you euphemistically call it. There are 7 billion of you. Even if only 10% prayed once a day, that is 700,000,000 prayers. This works out at 8,000 prayers a second – every second of every day. Meanwhile I have to process the 100,000 of you who die every day between heaven and hell. Dwell on the sheer absurdity of that for a moment.

    Finally, the only reason you even consider believing in me is because of where you were born. Had you been born in India, you would likely believe in the Hindu gods, if born in Tibet, you would be a Buddhist. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. What, do you think we all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Look, let’s be honest with ourselves. There is no god. Believing in me was fine when you thought the World was young, flat and simple. Now we know how enormous, old and complex the Universe is.

    Move on – get over me. I did.

    God

    PS: My Siamese Twin Allah asked me to pass on his non-existence for any Muslim reading this letter, too.

    September 16, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • nope

      @colon
      nope

      September 16, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • snopes says

      nope to nope

      September 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • capnmike

      Fantastic and true! Thanks!

      September 16, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Kelly

      Colin, your ignorance is showing. The Christian God is the same as the Muslim God who is also the same as the Jewish God. They all believe in the God of the Old Testament.. Actually reading the Bible, the Koran or the Torah might help.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • ArchieDeBunker

      ATHEISM: The belief that there was nothing, and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything, and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason whatsoever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinasours. Makes perfect sense, right?

      You have a religion, Colin. It's called "science" – and it is not really any more rational than any other religion. Look at all the mistakes that have been made by scientists through the ages, from Isaac Newton, who's conclusions were later proved to be only special cases, to all those scientists who thought they knew that the world was made up of "atoms", which proved to be not quite true, to those who thought the atom was made up of only protons, electrons and neutrons, to those who (tee hee) "proved" that electrons, protons and neutrons were divisible into smaller parts, to the late hubbub about the "God particle" (which will be proved to be made up of even smaller particles, who's particles will be proved to be made up of . . . . well, you get the idea. It's like looking at a reflection of yourself looking at a reflection of yourself in a mirror – there's never going to be an end to the fiddling around by scientists, until eventually they will realize that the "Big Bang" of which they so lovingly speak actually DID happen – when GOD opened his mouth and said "Let there be light!" (See Bible – Genesis – Chapter 1). Go back and read the first paragraph of this post and think deeply about it. Atheism is, after all, the Greatest Nonsens in the World.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • FromNJ

      This is great! Funny! I am going to copy and send to friends.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • edmundburkeson

      How could you not exist if you did send your son?

      September 16, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Susie

      Dear false God, the real God YAHWEH created time and is ageless. I know it is difficult to wrap your limited intelligence around this but try pondering it for a while. Then, as many billions of people have done, try to realize that human senses are fallable and limited. God does not need to communicate through our five senses. Listen for Him and He will reveal Himself. He said seek Me with all your heart and you will find Me. Christians have plenty of proof of the existence of God. He answers our prayers.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Dave 666

      AMEN!!!

      September 16, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Dave 666

      AMEN!!!!!!!

      September 16, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Colin

      Kelly – that's why I deliberately used the expression "my Siamese Twin". I was also thinking of "alter ego" or "half-brother"

      September 16, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • bigdaddycoolness

      Well, colin...I guess I need to submit to your brand of logic...that mans' mind is the pinnacle of existence...that all we know or can know is all there is. Whatever, dude. By the way, Buddha is not, nor ever was, a god. If you're going to direct your "godlike" logic towards religion, get educated first.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Jim

      @ArchieDeBunker: Are you attempting to use scientific progress to claim that science is wrong? It's a bad thing that something can improve upon itself and fix it's flaws?

      September 16, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Colin

      Bigdaddycoolness – and where did I say he was?

      September 16, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • FromNJ

      Archie, you are wrong.

      Science is not a religion because it is not a collection of belief systems (look up religion). Science depends on observations and then proposes concepts that can support the observations. However, a basic tenet of science is that it evolves (oops there is that nasty world evolve ....or evolution). There is not a true scientist in the world that would state unequivocally that any current concept or theory is immutable – that is the definitive answer. Newton was a trial blazer. He started down the pathway towards the truths of the universe, but again no one who understands his work would say he arrived at the absolute truth. But, logic tells us if a premise can explain a phenomenon or predict a reaction then it is likely to be on the right track to the ultimate truth.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Kelly

      Colin: They are not twins, or brothers, or even friends.. They are one in the same. All three religions worship the God of the old testament. Your diatribe is soley against Christians, specifically Christian Evangelicals. You add a sentence at the end to try an show impartiality, but you are too late. I am not attempting to defend Christian Evangelicals as I am rather non-religious myself. I just like to point out the hypocracy of ridiculing the Christian religion while leaving others out. Specially when you are likely in a nation that most, rightly or wrongly, would consider Christian. If you were in a Muslim nation and wrote a diatribe about how ridiculous it was to believe in Allah do you think that all that would occur is that you would have to debate others with opposing opinions??

      September 16, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Cody K.

      In my view, as a physicist and, I'd like to think, an objective observor of the universe around me, I think religion is the true source of many of our "issues" wrt our fellow beings. As a scientist, I can live w/o definitive answers, and just wait and see if "we'll know more 'later.'" In the meantime, the only thing I am intolerant of, is Intolerance. And I'm not such a purist that I do not/cannot consider "revenge" and countermeasures. Eye for an Eye has meaning in the Darwinian and the current political world.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • skytag

      ArchieDeBunker: You use one of the lamest arguments of all. You scoff at the idea that the universe just popped into existence, but you blindly accept the existence of a being that could pop it into existence with a mere thought. You think yourself clever, but you've just replaced one mystery with another.

      At least the Big Bang theory only has one question we can't answer. Your theory is littered with them because the concept of God leads to many questions you can't answer, not just one.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • cigarlover6

      Excellant post colon.
      @ArchieDeBunker, you call science a religion? No wonder you believe in fairy tales as your ignorance is palpable. Without trying to be really nasty towards you, here is the deal: In science things change if there is overwhelming evidence of something new which invalidates old observations and understanding!! Got it? Things changes based on evidence and corroborated by other scientists. Not in your f'king religion! It never changes, the myths are still the same. So don't make a fool of yourself by calling science a religion. There is no blind faith in science.
      If not for science, you would still be s(h)itting in a cave and not spewing your ignorance for everyone to see via the "internet", another fine example of science. Whast has religion given to the world? Other than self/mass-delusion, wars and killings?

      September 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Iowajoe56

      @archiedebunker, All you seem to be debunking is that you actually know how science works. Science is the quest for the probable truth. Probable, because scientists know that new discoveries are always just around the corner based on better technology and better questions. Scientists are loathed to use the word prove. And before you get all excited, probable truth is very powerful and has given us all of our current technologies.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Colin

      "Kelly – they are not one and the same. First, they don't exist, so, at some level, whether they are" the same" or not is a purely semantics argument. Second, Christinas believe that their god is made up of three – God the Father, the Son and the holy Spirit. Jews and Muslims reject this, so how in hell can they be "the same". Second, most of my points are all relevant to Yahweh and Allah, but I focus on Christianity because it is Christians who try and tell me what I must do, not Jews or Muslims. They would if they could, but they can't due to where I live.

      September 17, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • nope

      @colon...
      nope

      September 17, 2012 at 7:43 am |
  18. Christopher

    I hardly "fear" muslims but I am definitely awake and aware that they are particularly violent and use any excuse to do so to justify their violence in their own little minds. This Marine and his M1A Springfield will make short work of a group of rabid muslims really quickly if they are unfortunate enough to try their violence around my castle. Muslims and Occupy leftist types... You don't want none, you have no idea what some of us are capable of doing to you.

    September 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Jim

      Read that post again, replacing Muslim with any other ethnic group hated throughout history. Just stop it, dude. How hard is it to understand that fundamentalists do not represent the group? All Italians are not the mob. All Christians are not the abortion clinic bombers of the 80s. All soldiers are not the Gitmo detainee abusers. But for some reason it's ok to refer to THIS group in this way, Christopher?

      September 16, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • MadGOPer

      I hope you are no longer serving as a Marine for you are a disgrace to the uniform and Service. You are sworn to defend every and all Americans whether you like their politics or religion or not. Yes, there are "Muslims" who are a threat to us and their fellow Muslims just as there are Christian Extremists who are a threat to us and the rest of the world. As for the Occupy folks, last time I checked, you're allowed to assemble and protest against the questionable behavior of Wall Street or right-wing (fascist) politicians. And I'm sorry but average Americans are not leftist or right-wingers, they are people who want a fighting chance at the American Dream. They have a right to complain against those who steal our money and jobs to take care of their 1% percent buddies.....

      September 16, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • An Atheist Here

      this is a retarded post. gotta love jarheads

      September 16, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Iowajoe56

      @Jim, very well thought out and said.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  19. small

    The author really needs to examine himself. Poorly written and does not address the real issue of Isalmic violence and hatred. The author seems to be somebody more interested in academic rhetoric and is not in touch with reality. I applaud the efforts of the United States and America is not the problem. Why doesn't the author work for Al Jezzera and see how far his objectivity gets him.

    September 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • skytag

      Pathetic response. The "poorly written" comment is an ad hominem. The article doesn't address the issue of Isalmic violence and hatred because that's not what he was discussing. Your hatred will not solve any problem.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  20. Chad

    so.. there's no such thing as Islamic extremism, they arent suicide bombing Jews around the world, they didnt attack the US on 9/11, the US Cole, the beirut barracks bombing.. they are just.. what? misunderstood?

    serious question.. are you insane?

    "Islamophobic" is like saying someone is "Naziphobic"... having a fear of a group of people dedicated to killing you.. is .. a good thing..

    September 16, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • skytag

      Yours is exactly the kind of ignorance the author is talking about. There are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, so yes, the percentage of that number who are causing problems is truly tiny.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Chad

      @skytag "Yours is exactly the kind of ignorance the author is talking about. There are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, so yes, the percentage of that number who are causing problems is truly tiny."

      =>hmm.. you sure about that?

      lets add it up, here is the state dept list. you're talking 100's of thousands.
      Add to that the Taliban, Syria.. you easily get to millions.

      way to many to be called a "fringe element".

      Abu Sayyaf, Philippines
      Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, Egypt
      Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, Gaza Strip and West Bank
      Al-Shabaab, Somalia
      Al-Qaeda, worldwide
      Ansar al-Islam, Iraq
      Armed Islamic Group (GIA), Algeria
      Caucasus Emirate (IK), Russia
      East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), China
      Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Egypt
      Great Eastern Islamic Raiders' Front (IBDA-C), Turkey
      Hamas, Gaza Strip and West Bank
      Harkat-ul-Mujahideen al-Alami, Pakistan
      Hezbollah, Lebanon
      Islamic Movement of Central Asia, Central Asia
      Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan
      Jaish-e-Mohammed, Pakistan and Kashmir
      Jamaat Ansar al-Sunna, Iraq
      Jemaah Islamiyah, Indonesia
      Lashkar-e-Taiba, Pakistan and Kashmir
      Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Pakistan
      Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Philippines
      Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, Morocco and Europe
      Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Gaza Strip and West Bank
      Tawhid and Jihad, Iraq

      September 16, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • One one

      Actually, according to a Pew research pole, 2010, fairly large numbers of Muslims, up to 80%, depending on the country, support capital punishment for leaving the religion, stoning for adultery, and bombings.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Iowajoe56

      @Chad, 'adding it up' implies using numbers. Your list, while impressive, just segregates the "relatively small number" into several groups. Please try again if you wish to make your point.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:32 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.