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August 6th, 2013
06:26 PM ET

Islam's `Night of Power' and the terror alert

Opinion by Hussein Rashid, special to CNN

(CNN) - During Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims, there is a night that I look forward to every year.

This night is called Laylat ul-Qadr, which translates as the “Night of Power” or the “Night of Destiny.”

It is the night when Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammed received the first revelation of the Quran. He was in a cave, praying, when he hears the angelic voice of Gabriel speaking to him, bearing him a revelation from God.

CNN's Peter Bergen thinks that this night has symbolic meaning for al Qaeda, and perhaps it does.

Bergen speculated that the holy night might be the reason behind the recent uptick in al Qaeda's activity and the corresponding closure of U.S. embassies in Africa and the Middle East. I remain unconvinced of the causal link that Bergen tries to establish.

READ MORE: Drone strikes kill militants in Yemen; Americans urged to leave

More importantly, such links between Islamic holy days and militancy allow al Qaeda to continue to define what Islam is. For them, Islam is not a religion with spirituality, but is a political movement, where the holiest of days are simply calendar markers to run campaigns.

The Quran asks of believers, “What is Laylat ul-Qadr?” While older translations favored “power” or “destiny,” newer translations of the Quran simply keep qadr.

To me, Laylat ul-Qadr emphasizes the divine wonder and awe that Muslims should feel, and it offers an opportunity, as Ramadan winds down, to commit oneself to the best of intentions and actions.

It reminds us, as believers, that it is a night when God’s power is immanent, and that we can choose our destiny. The one word encapsulates the relationship between Creator and created, and the multiple meanings of the word is part of the deliciousness that I savor.

In that moment when the Quran is revealed, God’s power is made apparent to Prophet Muhammad. We, as Muslims, understand the sanctified and holy nature of Muhammad, to be able to receive this revelation.

We also recognize his humanity, as he reacts with disbelief and awe. As Muslims, we stay up all night in prayer on Laylat ul-Qadr, to recreate that experience of Prophet Muhammad. While we cannot receive revelation, we hope to achieve that proximity to God.

Despite the important nature of this night, there is no consensus as to its exact date.

Tradition holds that it is an odd numbered night during the last ten days of Ramadan. For example, my community of Shiah Muslims – holds that it is the 23rd night of Ramadan.

Other communities will select the 19th or 21st. Some people will stay in prayer every odd numbered date during those ten nights to make sure they honor the occasion.

Because of this lack of specificity, and because of the traditional practices associated with Laylat ul-Qadr, I remain unconvinced of Bergen’s data correlation.

However, it is plausible, as I can imagine al Qaeda saying qadr means “power,” and arrogating the divine attribute for themselves. I am not willing to cede that ground to them.

​There is a beauty and spirituality in Islam that attractions hundreds of million people the world over. When I choose my destiny, al Qaeda will have no part in it, nor in defining my faith.

Hussein Rashid teaches at Hofstra University in the Department of Religion. He is an associate editor at Religion Dispatches, a term member on the Council on Foreign Relations and fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. The views expressed in this column belong to Rashid.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Holidays • Islam • Opinion • Ramadan • Religious violence • Terrorism

soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. VD Peruvian

    I don't think God and Gabriel would tell that guy to kill people that are Christian and Jewish!!!

    August 20, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
    • SATHEESAN KOCHICHERIL

      The World does not work on the basis of our imaginations. It has a System that many called the Truth. Gabriel and party are the creations of imaginations and speculations. They have no validity in the System of life. The Prophets were speaking of rooting our life to this System that alone is moral. Speculations are for entertainment, not to guide life.

      August 21, 2013 at 6:43 am |
  2. Morris

    Gabriel was really a dark angel. Gabriel, the wretched being, was sent by the Satan not god.

    August 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
  3. Satheesan Kochicheril

    Islam got misdirected with the laying of its rules by the people who fought along with Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad, like all other Prophets, were finding solutions to the derangement of life brought by faiths. Religious faith is a mental exercise where as spirituality is the expression of the soul that we get with life. Like all other beings we too get characteristics with our birth for the management of life. This is the soul part of the mind. When confronted with evil social practices the mind has the ability to regain its real sensibility- those who regained the real sensibility of the soul wanted to give moral guidance in life. The soul is the seat of conscience and human consciousness. It is a moral expression as its sensibility is related to the System that supports life here. http://www.purereason.org

    August 9, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Reality

      Returning to the 21st century:

      Only for our sister and brother Muslims:

      From the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi----–

      The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

      ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

      Are you ready?

      Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

      The First Five of the 77 Branches:

      "1. Belief in Allah"

      aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

      "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

      Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

      "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

      A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

      "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

      Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

      Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

      Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

      "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings
      be upon him) alone."

      Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

      Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

      Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

      Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

      August 9, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
  4. Morgan

    A nice colorful picture!

    August 9, 2013 at 10:15 am |
  5. Frank

    A serpent around the neck and a kid in hand, what kind of a celebratory picture is that? That kid sure does not look happy.
    Exotic animals and reptiles belong in the wild and not near kids.

    August 8, 2013 at 8:24 am |
    • niknak

      As they just found out in Canada where two young boys were killed by a 100 pound python that got out of it's cage during the night.
      All according to god's plan, I am sure.

      August 8, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
  6. Reality

    Gabriel never existed!!!!!! No Gabriel, no communiques from heaven and therefore Islam has no foundation!!!

    from Google Translate:
    غابرييل لم تكن موجودة!!!!!! لا غابرييل، لا بالبيانات من السماء، وبالتالي لا يوجد لديه أساس الإسلام

    And of course no Gabriel makes Ramadan a waste of time.

    Added details are available upon written request:
    =======================================================================

    August 8, 2013 at 7:34 am |
    • Sean

      You'd never know when Gabriel will show up and reveal the truth about God to you. Don't give up! Keep seeking! The truth shall set you free!!!

      August 8, 2013 at 8:27 am |
      • niknak

        Sorry Sean of the dead, but religion keeps your mind closed.
        The last thing the religious scammers who brain washed you want is for you to open you mind.
        Because if you did, you would start to question their ruse and then walk away.

        A mind is a terrible thing to lose, to religion.....

        August 8, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • Reality

      AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

      Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

      "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      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/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As do BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

      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/horn-blowing 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.

      August 8, 2013 at 10:46 am |
      • Lawrence

        Reality, I don't know who it is that you are referring to when you say "contemporary biblical and religious scholars," but if you are referring to people like the "Jesus Seminar," then I wouldn't put anything past them – those people fall into the same category as the man who claims that he is a poached egg.

        If you want to hear what REAL Biblical scholars have to say, you need to read the works of John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, and Albert Mohler, then go back and read folks like John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, and Martin Luther.

        August 8, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • Reality

          The ground-breaking work of the Jesus Seminar appears in two texts: The Five
          Gospels (1993) and Acts of Jesus (1998), both published by Polebridge Press.
          The Jesus Seminar is a group of biblical scholars chaired by Robert Funk, PhD.,
          who took the unprecedented step of voting as a group on the authenticity of the
          teachings and acts of Jesus. The following observations are taken from the
          introductory chapters of 5G and AOJ.

          Every individual saying and action was examined and rated by the Seminar as to
          whether Jesus actually said it or did it, or whether it was primarily the
          product of the author of the gospel. Building on the earlier work of individual
          scholars, the Seminar's research represents an unprecedented cooperative effort
          to separate what Jesus really said and did from what gets added on over time in
          the story telling and writing process.

          In addition to the four Gospels: Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John, that we have
          known for two thousand years, the Seminar also included the Gospel of Thomas in
          their considerations. Thomas consists of sayings of Jesus that were discovered
          at Nag Hamadi, along with hundreds of other ancient texts, in a major
          archeological discovery in 1945. Thomas is not in story form, but it is a
          series of sayings. Many of the sayings are very similar to what appear in the
          other four gospels, and it was used by the Seminar as an independent report of
          what Jesus said.

          The Seminar's work assumes that for a period of some years the stories about
          Jesus were passed on by word of mouth as his followers practiced his teachings
          and some anxiously expected his return. Ten years may have gone by before
          teachings and actions began to be written down, and perhaps another ten years
          passed before they were put into larger collections like Thomas. These
          collections were probably taking place about the same time that Paul was writing
          letters (Galatians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans) to various Christian communities.
          Eventually the materials were put together in story form, probably first by
          Mark, sometime around 70CE, followed by Matthew, John, and Luke/Acts, in that
          order. Some of the writing occurred as late as the first part to the middle of
          the second century CE.

          When the Seminar members voted, a red vote received 3 points, a pink vote
          received 2 points, a gray vote received 1 point, and a black vote received 0
          points. The colors were given the following definitions: Red = This statement
          is an accurate representation of what Jesus said or did. Pink = This statement
          very likely represents what Jesus said or did. Gray = This statement is most
          likely a formulation of the author, but the content is similar to what Jesus
          actually said or did. Black = This statement is purely a formulation of the
          author. A statement or event was given a final color code based on the
          following percentages: Red = .7501 or more of the scholars agreed that the
          teaching or event was authentic. Pink = .5001 to .7500 of the scholars agreed
          that the teaching or event was authentic. Gray = .2501 to .5000 of the scholars
          agreed that the teaching or event was authentic. Black = .0000 to .2500 of the
          scholars agreed that the teaching or event was authentic.

          THE SCHOLARS USED RULES to determine if Jesus really said or did something; for
          example:

          1. Primary assumption: Jesus was a reasonably well integrated person whose
          behavior was more or less congruent with his words.

          2. Certain categories, some much more than others, are common to the teaching
          and behavioral materials.

          (a) Itinerant

          (b) Family ties don't bind

          (c) Demon possession and exorcism

          (d) Social deviance

          (e) Association with undesirables

          (f) Embracing the unclean

          (g) Sabbath

          (h) Critics of Jesus

          (i) Healing

          3. Material that reflects knowledge of events after Jesus' death must be looked
          at cautiously.

          4. Material that appears in independent sources is older than the sources.

          5. Material that appears in independent contexts circulated on its own at an
          earlier time.

          6. Similar content that has taken on different forms had a prior life of its
          own.

          7. Oral memory best retains short, provocative, memorable material, like
          aphorisms and parables.

          8. It is more likely that the core or gist of a matter was recalled, rather than
          precise words.

          9. The writers likely put their own words in Jesus' mouth under the following
          conditions.

          (a) Story transitions: for example, "Let's go over to the other side." (Mk 4:35)

          (b) Summarizing the message: "The time is up. God's imperial rule is closing
          in." (Mk 1:15)

          (c) Anticipating the story: "The son of Adam is being turned over to his
          enemies, and they

          will end up killing him." (Mk 9:31)

          (d) Expressing the writer's view: "Why are you so cowardly? You still don't
          trust, do you?" (Mk 4:40)

          (e) Underscoring a narrative point: "He was unable to perform a single miracle
          there, except." (Mk 6:6)

          (f) Clarifying current practices: "The days will come when the groom is taken
          away from them, and then they will fast on that day." (Mk 2:20)

          (g) Eliciting a confessional point: "What about you, who do you say that I am?"
          (Mk 8:29)

          WHEN THE RULES ARE APPLIED an emerging pattern reinforces itself:

          (1) Talks distinctively, distinguishable from common lore.

          (2) Teaches against the social and religious grain.

          (3) Surprises and shocks by role reversal or frustration of ordinary
          expectation.

          (4) Uses characteristics of exaggeration, humor, and paradox.

          (5) Uses concrete and vivid images.

          (6) Uses metaphorical language without explicit application.

          (7) Seldom initiates dialogue, debate, or healing activity.

          (8) Rarely speaks about himself in the first person.

          (9) Makes no claim to be the Messiah.

          August 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
        • Reality

          Some contemporary NT scholars:

          A sampling is presented at http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

          :Jesus the Myth: Heavenly Christ
          Earl Doherty
          Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy

          Jesus the Myth: Man of the Indefinite Past
          Alvar Ellegård
          G. A. Wells

          Jesus the Hellenistic Hero/ Zealot
          Gregory Riley

          Jesus the Revolutionary /Zealot
          Robert Eisenman

          Jesus the Wisdom Sage
          John Dominic Crossan
          Robert Funk
          Burton Mack
          Stephen J. Patterson

          Jesus the Man of the Spirit
          Marcus Borg
          Stevan Davies
          Geza Vermes

          Jesus the Prophet of Social Change/Zealot
          Richard Horsley
          Hyam Maccoby
          Gerd Theissen

          Jesus the Apocalyptic Prophet /Zealot
          Bart Ehrman
          Paula Fredriksen
          Gerd Lüdemann
          John P. Meier
          E. P. Sanders

          Jesus the Savior
          Luke Timothy Johnson
          Robert H. Stein
          N. T. Wright

          August 8, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
        • Lawrence

          Reality, the Jesus Seminar uses gnostic gospels as their source text... You can't really call these people scholars! Come on, they may have letters after their name, but what does that mean? When it comes down to it, they are using texts that have been deemed fiction and heretical for over a thousand years... Do you even know what the gnostics were? Look them up and see what kind of non-sense they are.

          And your list of "Biblical Scholars" includes quite a few people with something to prove. Have you looked into them? You cannot be a scholar of any subject if you start out with presuppositions. If you do, then everything that you discover will be skewed.

          Look at what the Bible says. Look at history. Compare the two. Look into the prophecies of Scripture, look at the dates the books were written, then look to their fulfillment and those dates. Isaac Newton once said that the veracity of scripture can be staked on the prophecies contained in Daniel 9 alone.

          The historicity of Scripture, and its accuracy is unquestionable, except by those with something to prove.

          August 8, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
      • Reality

        Just some of the conclusions and also references used by contemporary NT scholars to include the Jesus Seminarians in their studies:

        From Professors Crossan and Watts' book, Who is Jesus.

        "That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.

        “ The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea. And is very hard to imagine that Jesus' followers would have invented such a story unless it indeed happened.

        “While the brute fact that of Jesus' death by crucifixion is historically certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much more problematic. "

        “My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.

        I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those "last week" details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered."

        See also Professor Crossan's reviews of the existence of Jesus in his other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .

        Other NT exegetes to include members of the Jesus Seminar have published similar books with appropriate supporting references.

        Part of Crossan's The Historical Jesus has been published online at books.google.com/books.

        There is also a search engine for this book on the left hand side of the opening page. e.g. Search Josephus

        See also Wikipedia's review on the historical Jesus to include the Tacitus' reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.

        From ask.com,

        "One of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus is a primary source for much of what is known about life the first and second centuries after the life of Jesus. His most famous works, Histories and Annals, exist in fragmentary form, though many of his earlier writings were lost to time. Tacitus is known for being generally reliable (if somewhat biased toward what he saw as Roman immorality) and for having a uniquely direct (if not blunt) writing style.

        Then there are these scriptural references:

        Crucifixion of Jesus:(1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20; 6:22; (2b) Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John 19:17b-25a,28-36; (3) Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b) 1 Clem. 16.15-16 (=Psalm 22:6-8); (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b; (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.- (read them all at wiki.faithfutures. Crucifixion org/index.php/005_Crucifixion_Of_Jesus )

        Added suggested readings:

        o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

        2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
        – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

        30-60 CE Passion Narrative
        40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
        50-60 1 Thessalonians
        50-60 Philippians
        50-60 Galatians
        50-60 1 Corinthians
        50-60 2 Corinthians
        50-60 Romans
        50-60 Philemon
        50-80 Colossians
        50-90 Signs Gospel
        50-95 Book of Hebrews
        50-120 Didache
        50-140 Gospel of Thomas
        50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
        50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
        65-80 Gospel of Mark
        70-100 Epistle of James
        70-120 Egerton Gospel
        70-160 Gospel of Peter
        70-160 Secret Mark
        70-200 Fayyum Fragment
        70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
        73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
        80-100 2 Thessalonians
        80-100 Ephesians
        80-100 Gospel of Matthew
        80-110 1 Peter
        80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
        80-130 Gospel of Luke
        80-130 Acts of the Apostles
        80-140 1 Clement
        80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
        80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
        80-250 Christian Sibyllines
        90-95 Apocalypse of John
        90-120 Gospel of John
        90-120 1 John
        90-120 2 John
        90-120 3 John
        90-120 Epistle of Jude
        93 Flavius Josephus
        100-150 1 Timothy
        100-150 2 Timothy
        100-150 T-itus
        100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
        100-150 Secret Book of James
        100-150 Preaching of Peter
        100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
        100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
        100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
        100-160 2 Peter

         4. Jesus Database, http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –"The JESUS DATABASE is an online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
        5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
        6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.o-rg/wiki/Jesus_Seminar
        7. http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT
        8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
        9.The Gn-ostic Jesus
        (Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)
        by Douglas Gro-othuis: http://www.equip.o-rg/articles/g-nosticism-and-the-g-nostic-jesus/
        10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
        Presented on March 18, 1994
        ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2
        11. The Jesus Database- newer site:
        wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.php?t-itle=Jesus_Database
        12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:
        faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/jdb016.html
        13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
        mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
        13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies
        14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
        15. D-iseases in the Bible:
        http://books.google.com/books/about/The_d-iseases_of_the_Bible.html?id=C1YZAAAAYAAJ

        16. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
        theologians, ethics, etc.
        religion-online.o-rg/

         17. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/
        18. Writing the New Testament- e-xisting copies, o-ral tradition etc.
        ntgateway.com/
        19. JD Crossan's c-onclusions about the a-uthencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other NT e-xege-tes in the last 200 years:
        http://wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.p-hp?t-itle=Crossan_Inventory
        20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
        21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?
        in-fidels.o-rg/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html
        22. NT and beyond time line:
        pbs.o-rg/empires/pe-terandpaul/history/timeline/
        23. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
        harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm
        24. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
        25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
        27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
        28. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
        29. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

        August 8, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
  7. Phelix Unger

    I can understand the distaste you may have for Peter Bergen's rationalizations, as you say, you choose to believe. Many others don't though if it makes others do things to be kinder to the fellow human beings, then that has promise. As long as Muslims stand by when they know who the fox in the henhouse is, then they are supporting these terrorists. This is where the rubber meets the road, you can't have it both ways. These people who use your gods name and the prophet's to carry out their acts of evil if you will, are being harbored by those who decry their actions. Until your community makes the effort to excise these groups from your cities and towns and countries, it becomes guilt by association. There may be many colors with which to paint each groups story within the Islamic fabric, but until your followers point out those who mean harm to others, the paint will always be just one color. You can pick it for whatevers its worth. Your responsibility is greatest as is your sight. Just walk up behind the bad apples and point, the tree may yet be saved. I myself don't follow the rules of visionaries, the glass is never as clear as they think. I'll trust my own eyes and even then I'll take a second look.

    August 8, 2013 at 12:47 am |
    • HUGH J. E. RECHTSHUN

      tl;dr

      I got around six words in before I realized this comment was just an incoherent diatribe of nothingness.

      August 8, 2013 at 8:53 am |
  8. Rico

    Mohammed (pork be under him) Was known for defiling sows. Soooooooooooweeeeeeeeee!

    August 7, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
  9. Ghostriver Studios

    Reblogged this on Ghost River Studios Blog.

    August 7, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
  10. CommonSensed

    Only the insane are sane in an insane world.

    August 7, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
  11. CommonSensed

    "It is the night when Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammed received the first revelation of the Quran. He was in a cave, praying, when he hears the angelic voice of Gabriel speaking to him, bearing him a revelation from God."

    Did he have an epileptic seizure just like Joseph Smith?

    August 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Lawrence

      "Iif we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed..." Galatians 1:8

      August 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
      • CommonSensed

        “Pay heed to the tales of old wives. It may well be that they alone keep in memory what it was once needful for the wise to know.”

        – Lord of the Rings

        August 7, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
  12. TheTruth

    muslums do jee-had, go ka-boom. why?

    August 7, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • NoChance54

      Because of shitty comments like this.

      August 7, 2013 at 3:22 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.