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Do Christians, Muslims and Jews worship the same God?
September 1st, 2013
03:26 AM ET

Do Christians, Muslims and Jews worship the same God?

Opinion by Jeffrey Weiss, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Pope Francis surprised Israeli and Palestinian leaders last month when he invited them to a special prayer ceremony at the Vatican this Sunday - not least because religion has often been the source, not the salve, of the region's conflicts.

Still, Pope Francis offered his "home" - the Vatican - as the perfect place to plea for some divine assistance, and Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas dutifully agreed to attend.

"The Pope has placed it in this perspective: Prayer is like a force for peace,” Vatican Secretary of State Archbishop Pietro Parolin told Vatican Radio.

"We hope that there, where human efforts have so far failed, the Lord offers to all the wisdom and fortitude to carry out a real peace plan."

But Sunday's special ceremony at the Vatican raises an interesting question: When Francis, Peres and Abbas bow their heads in prayer, will they be talking to the same God?

After all, Jews, Christians and Muslims all trace their faiths back to a fellow named Abraham, whom they all claim was chosen for special treatment by the Almighty.

Not academic

The “same God” question is one theologians have hammered at for as long as there have been enough religions for the query to make sense.

The question is hardly academic, though. In fact, a number of politicians, religious leaders and scholars have expressed hope in recent years that a convincing answer on the God question might dampen the violence committed in His name.

Yale Divinity School theologian Miroslav Volf recently edited a book titled “Do We Worship the Same God? Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Dialogue.”

In the introduction, Volf explained why the title question matters:

"To ask: ‘Do we have a common God?’ is, among other things, to worry: ‘Can we live together?’ That’s why whether or not a given community worships the same god as does another community has always been a crucial cultural and political question and not just a theological one."

On the other hand, there’s CNN Belief Blog contributor and Boston University religion professor Stephen Prothero.

His book on this subject is titled “God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run The World.”

Prothero writes:

“For more than a generation we have followed scholars and sages down the rabbit hole into a fantasy world where all gods are one … In fact this naive theological groupthink – call it Godthink – has made the world more dangerous by blinding us to the clash of religions that threaten us worldwide.”

In the world of politics, President George W. Bush asserted the unity side of the argument more than once in the years after the 9/11 attacks - often as a way to deflect accusations that America was at war with Islam.

Bush told Al Arabiya television, “I believe there is a universal God. I believe the God that the Muslim prays to is the same God that I pray to. After all, we all came from Abraham. I believe in that universality.”

Pope Francis invites Israeli, Palestinian leaders to Vatican peace talks

Pope John Paul II drew from the same rhetorical well several times.

“We believe in the same God, the one God, the living God, the God who created the world and brings his creatures to their perfection,” he first said in a speech to Muslims in Morocco in 1985.

Looking for a more recent example? Consider the plight of Vatican envoy to Malaysia.

Shortly after he arrived there last year, Archbishop Joseph Marino said that is was fine by him that Christian translations of the Bible into Malay use the word “Allah” for “God.”

“Allah” is, of course, the Arabic word for God and is found in the Quran. The Christian translators explained that since most Malaysians are Muslim, it’s the word they’re most comfortable with and therefore the best choice for the translation.

But many Muslim authorities in Malaysia were furious. They say Christians are slipping in the familiar word as a way to convert Muslims. And conversion of Muslims is all but illegal in Malaysia.

There’s a lawsuit ongoing about the translations. Marino had to apologize for pushing into Malaysian politics.

Points of disagreement

So what do the “Abrahamic” religions disagree about?

Among other things: the purpose of humanity, the relationship of God and humanity, sin, forgiveness, salvation, the afterlife, Jesus, Muhammad, the calendar, and the religious importance of Abraham himself.

Plus the nature of God.

Any summary will leave out enormous nuance. Internal divisions within religions have fueled some of the worst examples of human violence. Consider the long and frequently bloody history of troubles between Catholics and Protestants or the growing death toll of Muslim-on-Muslim attacks.

But there are common elements about God widely accepted in each tradition.

Judaism

Start with Judaism, since it came first and established roots that carried into the other two.

Jewish tradition teaches that there is one and only one God, creator of everything, and He established physical and moral laws. As Judaism’s preeminent prayer says: “The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”

This God walks and talks directly with His creations – for a while.

Eventually, He chooses one particular nomad (Abraham) to father a mighty nation that God sets up as an example to other nations.

This God likes the smell of burning meat and demands other extremely specific physical offerings as evidence of obedience and repentance. And He gives His chosen people a particular set of laws – but doesn’t mind discussion and even argument about those laws.

A famous rabbinic saying implies that every word in Judaism’s sacred texts can be understood in 70 correct (but related) ways. And human reasoning can even trump divine intention. (No kidding. It’s in the Talmud)

This God judges His people every year. Tradition says he’s willing to accept imperfection, as long as it comes with repentance.

He’s big on obedience, not so much on faith. He’s not nearly as attentive to the behaviors of non-Jews. (There’s a famous Jewish joke with the punch line “Would you mind choosing somebody else once in a while?”)

Tradition holds that there’s a World To Come after death where moral accounts will somehow be settled. But this God is vague on details.

Christianity

The most obvious differences in the Christian God are the traditional teachings about the Trinity and Jesus. God is three separate persons who are also one. How? Christianity says the Trinity is a “mystery” of faith.

According to Christian tradition, God begets a son who is somehow also Him but not Him to atone for Original Sin. He sacrifices that son though a brutal death and thus achieves humanity's salvation.

But the son, who also is God, rises from the dead. And that sacrifice redeems eternally all who accept and believe in it. Faith, not behavior, is the essential measure of salvation.

This God is willing to vastly expand what it means to be among His “chosen people.” He’s also willing to cancel many of the laws that had applied to that chosen group for this expanded membership.

Orthodox Jews say that God prohibits them from eating a cheeseburger; Christians say God has no problem with them wolfing down Big Macs.

Unlike the Jewish God, whose instructions are almost all about this world, the Christian God is focused more on eternal salvation: heaven and hell.

Finally, for this God, much of the Jewish scriptures (which are all God’s word) are actually about foreshadowing Jesus. Including Abraham.

Islam

The Muslim God is a bit more like the Jewish God.

There is no Trinity in Muslim tradition. Jesus was a prophet, but no more divine than other prophets.

God has never has had anything like physical attributes and has no gender. (Some Muslim commentators say that the noun “Allah” is masculine, but only in the way that all nouns in some languages include gender.)

Muslim tradition holds that God wants one thing from humans: Submission. The word “Islam” is defined as “submission to the will of God.”

For Muslims, all true prophets in Jewish and Christian traditions were actually Muslim because they knew to submit correctly to God. Differences between Muslim, Jewish and Christian interpretations of God are due to errors that crept into the other two faiths, Islam teaches.

The Muslim God, like the other two, initially demanded that Abraham sacrifice a son. But the Muslim God wanted Abraham’s son Ishmael, not Isaac, who Jewish tradition holds was offered as a the sacrifice.

The Muslim God also designated, from before the world began, a perfect man to be his final prophet: Muhammad. God’s perfect truths are found only in the Quran and in the sayings of Muhammad, the hadiths.

And the Muslim God, like the Christian God but unlike the Jewish God, will welcome believers to paradise and condemn many non-Muslims - exactly which ones is a matter of much discussion - to eternal torment.

Final answer

So do Christians Muslims, and Jews, really all worship the same God?

In two major volumes on the subject recently published by scholars from various faiths and traditions, including Volf’s, the most inclusive response from these scholars is basically: Yes, and it’s our God.

This is not a new way of answering the question.

In 1076, Pope Gregory VII wrote this to a Muslim leader: “We believe in and confess one God, admittedly, in a different way…”

But like many other religious leaders on all sides of the argument, Gregory insisted that his version of the Almighty is the one whom the others are unknowingly and incompletely worshiping.

A less exclusivist set of religions might shrug off the differences. But all three claim to have the only “True Faith.”

So do all three faiths actually worship the same deity, whether they call him God or Allah or Adonai?

God only knows.

Jeffrey Weiss is an award-winning religion reporter in Dallas.The views expressed in this column belong to Weiss. A version of this story first ran in September 2013. 

CNN's Daniel Burke contributed to this article. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • History • Islam • Judaism • Muslim • Religious violence • Torah • Vatican

soundoff (7,438 Responses)
  1. AbdulKhaliq

    "Muslim Destroys Atheism (Logical Proof for God) – in few seconds "

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAPqwOV8zn8&w=640&h=390]

    September 1, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • Time For You To Grow Up...

      His 'proof' of god is that he believes in god... LOL... Typical brainwashed religious nut job.

      September 1, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
      • RH

        Allah will punish their mockery and will let them continue in their transgression, wandering blindly. 2:16

        Allah has set a seal on their hearts and their ears, and over their eyes is a covering; and for them is a great punishment. 2:8

        How can you disbelieve in Allah? When you were without life, He gave you life, and then He will cause you to die, then restore you to life, and then to Him shall you be made to return. 2:29

        Surely, the Believers, and the Jews, and the Christians and the Sabians — whichever party from among these trulybelieves in Allah and the Last Day and does good deeds — shall have their reward with their Lord, and no fear shall comeupon them, nor shall they grieve. 2:63

        Do you expect that they will believe you when a party of them hear the word of Allah, then pervert it after they have understood it, and they know the consequences thereof ? 2:76

        Do they not know that Allah knows what they conceal and what they disclose? 2:78

        Woe, therefore, to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say: ‘This is from Allah,’ that they may take for it a paltry price. Woe, then, to them for what their hands have written, and woe to them for what they earn. 2:80

        And they say: ‘The Fire shall not touch us except for a small number of days.’ Say: ‘Have you taken a promise from Allah? Then, Allah will never break His promise. Or, do you say of Allah what you know not?’ 2:81

        And remember the time when We took a covenant from the children of Israel: ‘You shall worship nothing but Allah and show kindness to parents and to kindred and orphans and the poor, and speak to men kindly and observe Prayer, and pay the Zakat;’ then you turned away in aversion, except a few of you. 2:84

        Yet you are the people who slay your own brethren and turn out a section of your people from their homes, backing up one another against them with sin and transgression. And if they come to you as captives, you ransom them, while their veryexpulsion was unlawful for you. Do you, then, believe in part of the Book and disbelieve in part? There is, therefore, no reward for such among you as do this, except disgrace in the present life; and on the Day of Judgment they shall be driven to a most severe chastisement; and surely, Allah is not unmindful of what you do. 2:86

        Evil is that for which they have sold their souls: that they should disbelieve in what Allah has revealed, grudging that Allah should send down His grace on whomsoever of His servants He pleases. So they incurred wrath upon wrath; and there is an humiliating chastisement for the disbelievers. 2:91

        And thou shalt surely find them of all people, the most covetous of life, even more than those who set up equals with God. Every one of them wishes that he may be granted a life of a thousand years, but his being granted such life shall not keep him away from the punishment; and Allah sees all that they do. 2:97

        ‘Whoever is an enemy to Allah, and His angels, and His Messengers, and Gabriel, and Michael, then surely, Allah is an enemy to such disbelievers.’ 2:99

        And now when there has come to them a Messenger from Allah, fulfilling that which is with them, a party of the people to whom the Book was given have thrown the Book of Allah behind their backs, as if they knew it not. 2:102

        They who disbelieve from among the People of the Book, or from among those who associate gods with Allah, desire not that any good should be sent down to you from your Lord; but Allah chooses for His mercy whomsoever He pleases; andAllah is of exceeding bounty. 2:106

        And those who have no knowledge say, ‘Why does not Allah speak to us, or a Sign come to us?’ Likewise said those before them similar to their saying. Their hearts are alike. We have certainly made the Signs plain for a people who firmly believe. 2:119

        But they who will disbelieve and treat Our Signs as lies, these shall be the inmates of the Fire; therein shall they abide. 2:40

        September 1, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
        • Time For You To Grow Up...

          Your references to fictional books only serves to prove your ignorance and childishness... Time for you to grow up and stop basing your life on fairy tales.

          September 1, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
      • RH

        [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries&w=640&h=390]

        September 1, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          LOL ...fitting video......

          sums up God nicely.

          September 1, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • RH

      But they who will disbelieve and treat Our Signs as lies, these shall be the inmates of the Fire; therein shall they abide. Holy Koran 2:40

      And those who have no knowledge say, ‘Why does not Allah speak to us, or a Sign come to us?’ Likewise said those before them similar to their saying. Their hearts are alike. We have certainly made the Signs plain for a people who firmly believe. Holy Koran 2:119

      Evil is that for which they have sold their souls: that they should disbelieve in what Allah has revealed, grudging that Allah should send down His grace on whomsoever of His servants He pleases. So they incurred wrath upon wrath; and there is a humiliating chastisement for the disbelievers. 2:91

      September 1, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      LOL

      When is he going to argue his case??

      September 1, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
  2. Bahbahbahrant

    Yet another vapid article purporting to give credence to the psychotic abrahamic religions using fallacious arguments.
    I've seen better articles written by trolls. Bah.

    September 1, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • mickey1313

      I think they do all worship the same god, but regardless it is a man made fictional mythos.

      October 22, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
  3. Time For You To Grow Up...

    Science is the study of reality...

    Religion is the study of fantasy.

    September 1, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      There is still time for you to be born.

      September 1, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
      • Lou

        I want to be reborn as a cyborg

        September 1, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
      • Time For You To Grow Up...

        That's as logical as a belief in talking snakes...

        September 1, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Who believes in talking snakes?

          September 1, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
        • Time For You To Grow Up...

          "Who believes in talking snakes?"

          You do, if you believe in the bible...

          September 1, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Genesis 3
          King James Version (KJV)
          3 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

          September 1, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
        • skytag

          "You do, if you believe in the bible..."

          Poor Robert.

          September 1, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
      • rick

        i asked my mom if i could be born again. she said no way, i'm way too big

        September 1, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
        • Lou

          Haha....where's the snare drum when you need it

          September 1, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
      • tallulah13

        Everyone who is posting on this blog has been born. Sadly, it appears that many of the believers here have yet to grow up.

        September 1, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Everyone has been born of the flesh, but not everyone has been born of the spirit.

          September 1, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
        • skytag

          Robert, what if it's all a fairytale and no one has been "born of the spirit?"

          September 1, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
        • tallulah13

          What you call "spirit", Bob, is the special emotion you feel when you think that you are somehow more important than other people because you believe in a specific myth. Your "spirit" is nothing more than your ego.

          September 1, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Skytag, what if it is true?

          September 1, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          If the god of the bible exists then I will accept his judgment, but I'm not going to lie to him or anyone else about his behavior being petulant, lying, azzholedness. He is welcome to change my mind, but I won't cower in fear and be dishonest about my judgment of him. Presumably, I will have to take whatever judgment he gives to me, so the question really is what does he DECIDE to do with my judgment of him.

          September 1, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
        • tallulah13

          What if you find yourself on the banks of the River Styx when you die, Bob? What if you die and Osiris greets you, waiting to weigh your soul against the feather of Ma'at? You can say "what if" all day. But the problem is, you haven't proven that any of your claims are valid. So "what if" remains "what if", and you really have no real idea if you have a spirit or not, just desperate hope.

          September 1, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
        • Doobs

          I know exactly what you mean, Robert. I'm enjoying the spirit of Hendricks, stirred, with just a bit of M&R and two jalapeño olives right now, and talk about a peace that passes all understanding!

          September 1, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
      • skytag

        zzzzzzzzzzz

        September 1, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
      • mickey1313

        Bobie,all of the abrhamic religons believe that the devil in the form of a talking snake convinced eve to commit original sin. Though the fact they think knowledge is a sin proves there ignorance

        October 22, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Yet atheists suppress science.

      September 1, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Most atheists do support science exactly as most Christians do, retard. There are a few s.c.r.ewb.a.lls out there who can't figure out how to understand science and hold onto their outdated religious beliefs, but those people just don't know what the fvck they're doing in their own heads.

        September 1, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
        • mickey1313

          Agreed, also agree with your above about relishing a debate with the petulant creator if Im wrong. Alas Im 99.999% sure there is no hear after.

          October 22, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
      • skytag

        Not because it conflicts with their religious beliefs.

        September 1, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
      • tallulah13

        What science is that, John? As far as I can tell, atheists promote all honest science, and indeed go so far as to protect it against bad and false interpretations of fact, such as creationism. Perhaps you are confused about what defines real science as opposed to pseudoscience.

        September 1, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
      • Doobs

        Here goes John P. Tarver with the Einstein thing again. Don't you have anything more recent? Like how the RCC finally apologized to Galileo in 1992?

        September 1, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
        • mickey1313

          That is also a falacy. Einstein said he believed in a spirit that is overarching but he was clear that it was not the theistic god. And science has come a long way since he was around

          October 22, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
  4. God has a name

    Hey, whoever you are, I'm a "big ole tattooed biker" It is what it is... He loves me, he must love everyone... Do what ya gotta do...

    September 1, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
  5. Lou

    http://warhammer40k.wikia.com/wiki/Emperor_of_Mankind

    September 1, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • Lou

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yUCZ-IBvsc&w=640&h=390]

      September 1, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
  6. God has a name

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riG0UzNANUQ&w=640&h=390]

    September 1, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • Lou

      I pray to Odin...

      September 1, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • RH

      "Mankind were one community, then they differed among themselves, so Allah raised Prophets as bearers of good tidings and as warners, and sent down with them the Book containing the truth that He might judge between the people wherein they differed. But now they began to differ about the Book, and none differed about it except those to whom it was given, after clear Signs had come to them, out of envy towards one another. Now has Allah, by His command, guided the believers to the truth in regard to which they (the unbelievers) differed; and Allah guides whomsoever He pleases to the right path." Holy Koran 2:214

      September 1, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • Lou

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrrky5Jg9D0&w=640&h=390]

      September 1, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • adamhoyer

      psalms 83:18 ive been studying for about 4 years can't give up!

      September 1, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
  7. Caihlyn

    Three dimensions are all we can perceive as our biology has evolved in three dimensions. Mathematics shows that the universe must contain at least eleven dimensions for the forces (gravity, electromagnetic, weak nuclear and strong nuclear) to be unified. Therefore, as we are extremely limited by our biology to understand the physical universe, we must be very arrogant if we, in fact, wish to make conjectures concerning knowledge beyond the physical universe. Unfortunately, humans are a very arrogant species.

    September 1, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • RH

      O ye who believe! render not vain your alms by taunt and injury, like him who spends his wealth to be seen of men, and he believes not in Allah and the Last Day. His case is like the case of a smooth rock covered with earth, on which heavy rain falls, leaving it bare, smooth and hard. They shall not secure aught of what they earn. And Allah guides not the disbelieving people. Holy Koran 2:265

      September 1, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
      • Lou

        Koran or Bible...it's all goat-herder gibberish.

        September 1, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
        • Foray

          Hey ignoramus -which goat herder are you referring to who wrote the Bible? Provide the names.

          September 1, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
        • Lou

          The fables in these texts where first oral tellings of their myths. There primary sources of meat and clothing was from goats....Abraham was a goat herder!

          September 1, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Amen

      September 1, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
      • rick

        including the arrogance to think we know the mind of god

        September 1, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          We get some idea of the way God thinks from scripture, but you are correct it is impossible to know the mind of God.

          September 1, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
        • hharri

          we must be very arrogant if we, in fact, wish to make conjectures concerning knowledge beyond the physical universe.

          rick
          including the arrogance to think we know the mind of god

          arrogance? "intelligence" is the correct choice of words

          September 1, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          If there's one thing Christians do continually prove, it's their arrogance. Believers can be sweet and kind and good and intelligent, but rarely do you find one that disagrees in one tiny way with the behaviors and decisions he a.s.s.igns to his own deity--really just an embodiment of his own highest ideals.

          September 1, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
        • tallulah13

          It's also quite arrogant to presume that just because we don't yet have all answers, we must credit some sort of god. That only begs the question "Who created the god."

          September 1, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      We evolved that arrogance for a reason, though. How much cool stuff would humans have never attempted if we weren't a little too full of ourselves?

      September 1, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
  8. Basic Reality

    Know body knows a thing as far as the big picture. Science will help us get to the truth or at least get close to the truth. It is so exciting! Believers grow up and join in the excitement of reality!

    September 1, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • RH

      Allah burdens not any soul beyond its capacity. It shall have the reward it earns, and it shall get the punishment it incurs. Our Lord, do not punish us, if we forget or fall into error; and our Lord, lay not on us a responsibility as Thou didst lay upon those before us. Our Lord, burden us not with what we have not the strength to bear; and efface our sins, and grant us forgiveness and have mercy on us; Thou art our Master; so help us Thou against the disbelieving people. Holy Koran 2:287

      September 1, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • Doobs

      Dippy is gonna go medieval on you for that one!

      September 1, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • Dippy

      "Know body?" You've got to be kidding. I'm not even going to touch this one.

      September 2, 2013 at 2:14 am |
  9. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Do Christians, Muslims and Jews worship the same God?

    Yes, Yahweh, the Canaanite God of War.

    September 1, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • Realist

      Man has worshiped thousands of gods and goddesses.

      Yes, like all the rest, the cannanite http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com

      September 1, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
  10. Chip

    The God of Christians sacrificed Himself on a cross in order to redeem humanity. I'm pretty sure Muslims and Jews do not worship that God.

    September 1, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Akira

      I'm pretty sure they worship the God of Abraham. Is that the same God as Christians? Yes.

      September 1, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
      • Chip

        The God of Abraham instructed Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac...I'm pretty sure Muslims do not worship that God

        September 1, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
        • Akira

          According to Muslims, "The Muslim God, like the other two, initially demanded that Abraham sacrifice a son. But the Muslim God wanted Abraham’s son Ishmael, not Isaac, who Jewish tradition holds was offered as a the sacrifice."
          So I'm pretty sure they are the same God, just with a slightly different spin on it.
          I'm pretty sure you're using this as a way to distance yourself from admitting they are the same God by using semantics.
          Same God. Like it or not.

          September 1, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
        • Chip

          There is very little difference in the genetic makeup of identical twins....but they are completely different people

          September 1, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
        • Sara

          Unless you think there are actually multiple gods they are either worshiping the same god or some are worshiping imaginary gods. But since they all believe in only one they are all presumably trying to contact the one-and-only ... and anyone listening would recognize himself as fitting that description. So among groups who only believe in a single god I'd say that if one exists, that's what they're all trying to reach.

          September 1, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
        • Akira

          ...And?
          Chip, the books may be different, but the God is the same one.

          September 1, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
        • Doobs

          @ Chip

          What do you mean when you bring up identical twins. Ishmael and Isaac weren't twins, they were born 13 or 14 years apart.
          Did I miss something?

          September 1, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
        • mickey1313

          Chip, if the twins comment is relivent, how could one true god have a twin? By definition thete can only be one.

          October 22, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Correct, Chip, now you just have to realize that none of the religions, yours included, have the first shred of verifiable evidence. You all utilize the same mechanism to bolster belief: faith. And faith can do nothing to verify one belief over another; it merely strengthens that belief a person already holds.

      September 1, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
      • Chip

        Of course, you are assuming I am a Christian...not sure where you got that

        September 1, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
        • skytag

          He said "none of the religions." I don't know where you got that he was assuming you're a Christian.

          September 1, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
        • mickey1313

          He assumed you were a Thiest you were through one who said Christian

          October 22, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
      • Chip

        Cpt. O, how do you know this is a human responding to you and not a cat walking across my keyboard....faith.

        September 1, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
        • Doobs

          Judging from your posts, I have to concede that you have a point.

          September 1, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Chip, I don't have faith that you are a human, I believe it based on the evidence I have. Out of all the reasons I can think of for complete, cogent sentences to arise in the manner that yours did, the most likely reason is a human typing them.

          September 2, 2013 at 8:36 am |
      • RH

        How can you disbelieve in Allah? When you were without life, He gave you life, and then He will cause you to die, then restore you to life, and then to Him shall you be made to return. Holy Koran 2:29

        Surely, the Believers, and the Jews, and the Christians and the Sabians — whichever party from among these trulybelieves in Allah and the Last Day and does good deeds — shall have their reward with their Lord, and no fear shall comeupon them, nor shall they grieve. Holy Koran 2:63

        September 1, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
        • skytag

          "How can you disbelieve in Allah?"

          Same way I can disbelieve in Zeus, Odin, Santa Claus and leprechauns.

          September 1, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • Realist

      Man has worshiped thousands of gods and goddesses. Yes,like all the rest, your http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com

      September 1, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
      • RH

        How can you disbelieve in Allah? When you were without life, He gave you life, and then He will cause you to die, then restore you to life, and then to Him shall you be made to return. Holy Koran 2:29

        But they who will disbelieve and treat Our Signs as lies, these shall be the inmates of the Fire; therein shall they abide. Holy Koran 2:40

        Surely, the Believers, and the Jews, and the Christians and the Sabians — whichever party from among these trulybelieves in Allah and the Last Day and does good deeds — shall have their reward with their Lord, and no fear shall comeupon them, nor shall they grieve. Holy Koran 2:63

        September 1, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I think that's right, Chip. What Jew worships a God who required and was satisfied by a human sacrifice? Or a God that is incarnate?

      September 1, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
      • Chip

        To answer your question, every writer of the New Testament, and 11 disciples of Jesus Christ...yes, they were all Jews

        September 1, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      First of all Christianity is not monotheistic. The trinity nonsense is window dressing – it is a pantheon of three unique Gods.

      Judaism was not originally monotheistic.

      The God of Abraham is not the same ent!ty as the God of Moses – though all would be considered Elohim. Yahweh, originally a Canaanite God of War was one of many Gods including Baal and though now equated with El Elyon / El Shaddai, was not always so.

      Being the latest to arrive, Islam is the closest to being accurately called monotheistic.

      September 1, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
  11. hharri

    unfortunately, instead of seeking a satisfying spiritual way of life, often these mostly isolated, older, poor, uneducated, single white women apparently find refuge feigning important persons in internet chat rooms and by blogging about their anti-religious views.

    well, that checks out here, certainly!

    September 1, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      What you said only the complete opposite.

      September 1, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • Mark

      Got any evidence to back that up, or are you just pulling the bs out of your ass? Besides, the atheists of here are overwhelmingly MALE. You're kinda dumb, aren't you?

      September 1, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
      • hharri

        "overwhelmingly male" i rather doubt it

        September 1, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
        • Mark

          They're not overwhelmingly female, toots. So it follows that they are overwhelmingly male. I notice you call everyone 'she', but that don't make it so. The majority of posters overall are MALE-both believer and atheist alike. Sorry to burst your little fantasy.

          September 1, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
        • hharri

          sounds like you really mean it

          September 1, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
        • hharri

          just wrong

          September 1, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
  12. Lionly Lamb

    HOLY ANNOINTING OIL vvVvv

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWrqwZ4G_8Q&w=640&h=390]

    September 1, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
  13. Realist

    Man has worshiped thousands of gods. And every ... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com

    September 1, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
  14. Convince me and I will Convert to CHRISTIANITY!!!

    I believe Jesus was the Messiah, the Prophet, the Messenger, where the Christians believe he was the God himself, so can anybody please answer these questions for me? I really want to convert to a Christian. In Bible he is described as a person who eats, drinks and uses restroom. What kind of God is he if he needs food, water and restroom to survive? According to Bible he also sleeps. What would happened to this whole universe if the God really does sleep? Isn't God the Universal Supervisor? According to bible some people ask him which way is Jerusalem? Where he replies I don't know? What kind of God (who created universe doesn't know where a city is?). Dozens of times it is mentioned in the Bible that Jesus prays and ask for forgiveness. If he really is the God, then is he asking himself to forgive himself? Last but not least, why would God come to earth and torture himself in order to take away the sins of Humankind? Isn't he God? Can't he just forgive everyone with a blink of an eye (the way he created this whole universe?)

    September 1, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • Realist

      Man has worshiped thousands of gods. And every ... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

      September 1, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
      • Derrick

        You assume He's God – why?

        September 1, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
        • Realist

          Corrction. Thousands of deities, gods and goddesses. ;-)

          September 1, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
      • Realist

        And thank goodness, because HE emanates from the http://www.EVILbible.com

        September 1, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Yeah, there is all that but you should be a Christian so you don't burn in hell.

      September 1, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
      • Realist

        Man has worshiped thousands of gods. The Christian ... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com

        September 1, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
      • God has a name

        There is no fiery "hell" only death and non existence...

        September 1, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          See right there, you will burn fer that right there.

          September 1, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
      • Lou

        you pray to a corpse...

        September 1, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Convince,

      I don't think a person can convince you, that would be the work of God. I may be able to help you with some of the misconceptions you have about Jesus. He was all human and all God at the same time. He was born of a woman, so he had the same flesh that we all have. This flesh requires food and rest. Jesus is one of the three persons of the God head, God the father, God the son, & God the Holy Spirit. God the father & God the son agreed before creation that God the son would redeem man. He was the only one able to do it. God spoke, no blinking involved.

      September 1, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
      • Doobs

        @ Robert Brown

        God the father & God the son agreed before creation that God the son would redeem man.

        That means that god knew he was going to create humans imperfectly before he actually created them. He made the first people flawed, then when didn't behave perfectly, he told them it was their fault and has been punishing us ever since for it. The whole redemption part doesn't even kick in till we're dead and Jeebus returns. (Personally, I hope he takes his time. I need the sleep.)

        So how does free will work again? God created man wrong on purpose, but somehow he expected Adam and Eve to behave perfectly?

        That sounds pretty douchey.

        September 2, 2013 at 12:02 am |
        • Will

          God made men perfectly. We chose to sin. God merely gave us free will to chose

          September 2, 2013 at 12:06 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          So sinning is perfect?

          September 2, 2013 at 12:08 am |
        • Will

          No, sinning is the opposite of perfect. I said that God made choice and that is perfect. Without choice we are all just robots and frankly that would suck

          September 2, 2013 at 1:28 am |
        • mickey1313

          Will, so you believe that using your god given free will to aging knowledge is a sin? Also that using your knowledge is a sin? How sad for you. Ps if eve could not resist the serent then she was not perfect. Since god made her, that is obviously the fault of the creator.

          October 22, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • RH

      Prophet Jesus was not a God. God forbid. There is only one God and his name is Allah. Your comments are why Christianity is flawed. DO NOT CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY! YOU HAVE TO CONVERT TO ISLAM!. In Islam, there is only one God and God says that the final messenger of God is Prophet Muhammed. Jews and Christians rewrote their holy books out of envy because they could not bear the thought that the final Prophet would come later. Christians made Prophet Jesus into a God, God forbid, so that everyone would think their religion was the correct one. This is blasphemy! Because their is only one God and Prophet Muhammed is his final Messenger. Prophet Jesus was a Prophet and only a Prophet.

      They who disbelieve from among the People of the Book, or from among those who associate gods with Allah, desire not that any good should be sent down to you from your Lord; but Allah chooses for His mercy whomsoever He pleases; andAllah is of exceeding bounty. Holy Koran 2:106

      Mankind were one community, then they differed among themselves, so Allah raised Prophets as bearers of good tidings and as warners, and sent down with them the Book containing the truth that He might judge between the people wherein they differed. But now they began to differ about the Book, and none differed about it except those to whom it was given, after clear Signs had come to them, out of envy towards one another. Now has Allah, by His command, guided the believers to the truth in regard to which they (the unbelievers) differed; and Allah guides whomsoever He pleases to the right path. Holy Koran 2:214

      And remember the time when We took a covenant from the children of Israel: ‘You shall worship nothing but Allah and show kindness to parents and to kindred and orphans and the poor, and speak to men kindly and observe Prayer, and pay the Zakat;’ then you turned away in aversion, except a few of you. Holy Koran 2:84

      September 1, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • aqua

      No one can convince you unless the Lord Himself decide to reveal Himself to you! If You are sincere and really want to find the right path, keep on going and you will see his glory...as it is written "Seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be open to you"
      God Bless you,
      #It's all about love!!!

      September 1, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
      • Observer

        aqua,

        "It's all about love!!!"

        Unless you are gay, apparently.

        September 1, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
      • Doobs

        No one can convince you unless the Lord Himself decide to reveal Himself to you!

        But he says, seek and ye shall find. Now you're telling me that I won't find him unless he decides to show himself. What if he decides not to reveal himself to me?

        Sounds pretty passive aggressive to me. Sort of like when women say to men "If you loved me, you'd know I want!" Doesn't he remember that he and his old man forgot to include mind reading when they created the first human out of mud and god spit?

        September 1, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • Juanito

      You have a lot of good questions, many I had to reckon with as well.

      Jesus was born, so he lived, and was prone to every thing a person could be exposed to: sleepiness, exhaustion, hunger, temptation, happiness, joy, pleasure, love, anger, loneliness, sorrow, sadness, physical pain, and ultimately death.

      He was resurrected, and revealed it to many.

      As for blinking an eye to issue a blanket of forgiveness over all of humanity, He offered it. We just have to accept God's sacrifice.

      The thing I was reminded of was that the only thing that was greater than God's love for us was His holiness. We, who thrive in our moral freedoms, cannot stand before Him in our state of being. We must be washed, cleansed of deeds God objects to.

      It why Jesus was sacrificed.

      To put it another way, if all God had to do was forgive, then the birth, teachings, the ministry, the betrayel, the trial, the beatings, humiliation, and crucifiction, the sacrifice of His Son, Himself, was a pointless act, a token gesture at best.

      One way to look at it is through the eyes of a parent of an addicted son or daughter. Additction is very much like sin, in fact, its just like it. Sin is that which we do that pulls us away from God.

      Drugs and alcohol can turn those we love dearest into beings we can no longer trust with our money, cars, access to our homes or other family members. In fact, the parent casts the unrepentant addict from the home because the addict chooses their drug of choice over the love of their parents and family.

      But even as the addict is forced from the home, the parents don't stop loving that child. They just cannot accept their child's choices.

      Just like God. He doesn't like us doing things that seperate us from Him. He loves us. Just as the parents of the addict hate the addiction with a ferocious intensity, God hates sin even more. It keeps us from Him.

      And should the addict choose sobriety, they turn from their drug(their sin), the addict then admits to the parents and the people they hurt that they know they hurt hurt them, and they're truly sorry for it, and they ask our forgiveness.

      The main difference is that we cannot 12 step our way back to the Father. He knows we can't do it so He made is far more easier. He stepped it for us, all the way to Calvary Hill.

      All we have to do is admit that we need to be forgiven, and the work of our salvation was already done by Jesus. Just accept what He's done for us, to be our Savior. That's it!

      Just as the family rejoices in a renewed life of their sober child, brother or sister, all of Heaven rejoices when one who was lost to their drug of choice, or sin, renounces it, and accepts Jesus.

      I know He's real, and the physical world is loaded with what we experience everyday and will one day leave, we cannot the spiritual world, which is where God resides and waits for us!

      He is a gentleman, and will not break down your door. But He will knock. It's up to you to you to answer Him!

      In His perfect Love, Juanito.

      September 1, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
      • skytag

        What evidence do you have that any of that is true?

        September 1, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
        • Juanito

          Skytag, the evidence is all around you but you refuse to see it. There are many who reject God's Existance even if His face would appear across the sky and announce it to the world.

          Many would question it as a computer generated stunt, or an incident of mass hallucination. Even in scripture, where Jesus healed ten passing lepers, only one came back and gave praise to God. The nine others were never heard of again.

          But you put your faith in tools. How much did it cost, and how long did it take before what scientists claimed to have found the 'god particle'(although it has nothing pertaining to God whatsoever)? What did it tell you? It only opened doors to more theories and hypothesis, little more.

          My question is did the findings give you more conclusive proof of what you already believe?

          My point is that your tiny sliver of Existance, much less your limtied understanding of our physical world and all the laws of physics is hardly enough to refute the Existance of its Creator.

          And you are correct: to the true athiest, this exercise is pointless. These so called believers have all their bases covered.

          The real question then becomes: why are YOU even here entertaining us believers?

          Could it be you really aren't sure what you believe?

          September 2, 2013 at 11:04 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          juanito
          There is no evidence of any creator. There are many creation stories, which one is right? Likely none of them since all the creation stories are works of ignorant men.
          As far as any one can tell, all religions and all gods are made up by men.

          You said "My point is that your tiny sliver of Existance, much less your limtied understanding of our physical world and all the laws of physics is hardly enough to refute the Existance of its Creator."

          not enough to refute or acknowledge any creator is far more correct.

          September 2, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • skytag

      This is a futile exercise. The authors of Christianity gave Christians a god with no limitations of any kind, so they can make up answers limited only by their imaginations, and none of it has to be testable, verifiable, or consistent with any evidence. As long as they think their answers are plausible — and with God having no limitations everything they posit is plausible. They'll have answers for your questions but no evidence to support any of their answers, so they're no better than no answers at all.

      September 1, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
  15. God has a name

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgMFMLDgdNs&w=640&h=390]

    September 1, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I haven't watched this but from the first frame, it looks like heaven allows wife swapping?

      September 1, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
    • Lou

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MeVxKZBOfM&w=640&h=390]

      September 1, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
  16. hharri

    never known for familial relationships, forbidding their offspring from visiting churches, mosques and temples seems harsh even for them and contradicts their often vaunted self-descriptions

    September 1, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • Tish

      You are a liar. You know nothing about anyone except yourself. Grow up.

      September 1, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
      • kitty

        if that helps you

        September 1, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
      • hharri

        it is one thing to turn one's back on god over some disappointment, a love interest that didn't pan out, the loss of a job, but it is quite another to turn their backs on their precious little ones who are quite impressionable and bursting with youthful optimism and potential. that is sickening

        September 1, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
  17. Apple Bush

    Tweeker is a fun word to say.

    September 1, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • Akira

      I like the word 'umbrage', myself.

      September 1, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
  18. computertechnicianottawa

    What Does The Bible Really Teach?
    http://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/bible-teach/is-this-what-god-purposed/

    September 1, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
  19. Lionly Lamb

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ypbNYYMPXg&w=640&h=390]

    September 1, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
  20. Play List

    "Tweeker" by Keller Williams

    September 1, 2013 at 9:15 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.