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March 25th, 2011
09:34 AM ET

Christian to Muslim: A change of faith

Editor’s Note: "Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door" features the Muslim community of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where Matthew Miller has lived since age 15. CNN’s Soledad O’Brien chronicles the dramatic fight over the construction of a mosque in the heart of the Bible belt. “Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door” airing at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. E.T. April 2 on CNN.

By Elizabeth M. Nunez, CNN

The actual conversion was brief. It only involved one sentence: “I bear witness that there is no God worthy of worship but God, I bear witness that Mohammed is the messenger of God.”

For 30-year-old Mathew Miller, those words represented the culmination of a long religious transformation from Christianity to Islam.

Miller is a digital media communications major at Middle Tennessee University and works part-time at a golf course. He was raised Christian in California, surfing and dreaming of being a radio DJ.

“My first interaction with Islam was this movie called ‘Not Without my Daughter’. That was my first glimpse into what Western society believed was really going on in Islam,” he said.

"Not Without My Daughter" is a 1991 film in which Sally Field portrays an America woman who flees from Iran with her daughter. The movie, based on true story detailed in a book by the same title, was faulted by critics for portraying a stereotypical view of Iranians and Islam.

But in questioning his own beliefs, and after a conversation with a Muslim friend, Miller’s interest in Islam was piqued.

“I think for the most part I was afraid, don’t really know of what,” he said.

Later, attending Friday prayers at a small Mosque in Murfreesboro, he began to learn more.

“When I put my head on the ground with them, it felt like I could say anything to God, and what I was asking for at the time was guidance. I wanted to know whether what I was doing was the right thing to do.”

His mother had long expected his change of religious faith. “I told my mother I was Muslim in Disneyland. She said ‘I don’t necessarily know if I feel good about it, but if it makes you happy and it’s what you feel is the right way, then there’s nothing I can do.’”

Now he regularly worships at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro mosque.

Miller, a white convert in a diverse congregation, has heard comments about his faith - and the controversy surrounding his mosque. Once, an Iraqi war veteran told him that the new controversial Islamic Center of Murfreesboro should not be built because it could potentially harbor terrorists.

“I addressed his questions formally and it was funny because at the end of the conversation, he kind of started admitting, 'Well you know, I don’t know anything about Islam.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Interfaith issues • Iran • Islam • Mosque • Muslim

soundoff (3,206 Responses)
  1. xiaobao

    Throw the Bible and Quran in the trash
    Problem solved

    March 25, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  2. Jamoca

    Having my post deleted gives me great confidence in the "freedom of speech" left in America 😉

    March 25, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  3. Reality

    Obviously, Mr. Miller has been brainwashed but fortunately there is an eacy cure.

    To wit:

    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 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 or her a copy and help save the world.

    Analogous step programs are available at no charge for "deprogramming" Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Pagan and Hindu mumbo jumbo.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  4. liza

    For every 1 Christian converting to islam, there are millions of muslims converting to Christianity.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  5. fundies

    i gotta get this forum up to 90 to check out the fluorcarbon output.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  6. rundog67

    He must have not been a true Christian. Because the facts of Christianity are undeniable.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  7. fundies

    nanu nanu

    March 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  8. fundies

    shazbot

    March 25, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  9. fundies

    if we are all God's descendants, then aren't all of the words in this forum from God? If so, he has said some pretty funny
    sh * t.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • rundog67

      What do you mean God wrote this?

      March 25, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  10. Jim J.

    There's only one right conversion - a conversion to atheism.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  11. Bobby

    Does anyone else thinks it's funny that the username Tyler Durden always ends up on comment pages considering that that character hated technology and felt that technology was making us worthless so he shunned it. Odd that he's suddenly on the internet. Also, the person who uses that name is usually the most uneducated comment on the page.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  12. Me

    He was never a Christian, therefore no conversion took place. A true Christian does not leave the faith.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  13. stymie

    Muslim is pretty much as contradictory and mis-guided as is Christianity and Judaism. One big difference is the fact that a small group of fanatics have been allowed to hijack the Muslim religion. A wacko Christian will say goofy stuff and maybe spew some hate speech here and there. A wacko Muslim will kill people and fly airplanes into buildings. There is no equivalence here. Alleged reasonable and moderate Muslims have stood by on the sidelines and allowed their religion to be perverted. As flawed as Christianity is, Christians would – today – never allow this to happen.

    March 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Bobby

      I live in the Bible Belt and believe me when I say that Christians have stood by on the sidelines pretty well. In fact the FBI released a statement saying that the Muslim community in America was one of the greatest help in rooting out extremist because of the information given out by the Muslim community.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  14. Practilist

    Hey folks, don't be crazy about religions. The fact is that all the books of the world major religions were written in the time people believed the earth was flat. The sun was revolving the earth. The four brahmans were shouldering the earth. No one can reach the Moon. Therefore, do you fully believe what those people wrote? My suggestion is that you must believe what is practically true, and should not believe what is controversial. And don't hate one another because of religion which is not solid fact.

    March 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  15. Me

    He was never really a christian in the first place...so no conversion took place.

    March 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  16. Wzrd1

    Some of my favorite bible passages:

    "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, she must be silent" Timothy 2:12

    "This is what the Lord Almighty says ... 'Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.' Samuel 15:3

    "Happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us / He who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks." Psalm 13:7

    "In the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error" Romans 1:27

    “And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, ‘If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, then whoever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return victorious from the Ammonites, shall be the Lord’s, to be offered up by me as a burnt-offering.’ Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah; and there was his daughter coming out to meet him with timbrels and with dancing. She was his only child; he had no son or daughter except her. When he saw her, he tore his clothes, and said, ‘Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low; you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot take back my vow." Judges 11:30-1, 34-5

    "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you." Genesis 22:2

    “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:22

    “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel.” (1 Peter 2:18

    March 25, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • troll1

      good verses but way outta context

      March 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • Lakota

      good. I like it. This whole continents indigenous population from the beginning fell to chrisitanity. we know it as the most wretched and vile belief system to have ever existed.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  17. whatevs

    WOW... 90% of you guys are completely ignorant, as most typical religious people are. If you all claim to know that you know so much about your own christian religion, and about what Islam is, you would know that THEY BOTH WORSHIP THE SAME GOD!!!! Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are simply branches from the same tree. Islam is a beautiful religion at its core, and its too bad most of you fail to see that. But i guess it's just typical ignorant christian behavior.

    March 25, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • nailed

      You are wrong! How can the god of Islam be the same God as Christianity when Islam doesn't believe that Jesus is God?

      March 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • sensei

      Islam does not worship the same God as Christians and Jews! Any true and honest Muslim would admit that, just not within hearing of non-Muslim's. You should read your history more carefully. And yes the Jewish and Christian histories are filled with violence however they are not founded in violence. Remember no Christianity, no modern women's rights, no liberals, no freedom of speech...you get the picture...or more then likely not.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • nailed

      Judaism also does not believe that Jesus is God... so again, you are wrong. You have no grounds of calling someone ignorant, when you yourself is ignorant on the subject.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • whatevs

      *sigh* it sometimes.... no.. all the time.. amazes me how ignorant and close-minded christians and other people of abrahamic religions are, not only of their own religions but of everything else as well. lol

      March 25, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • David B (Oxnard, CA)

      Actually this poster is correct. All three worship the God of Abraham. Christians choose to make Jesus a higher figure in their religion, while completely ignoring the old testament as if it was a completely different God. Jews only recognize Yehova as the one god, and Muslims who also recognize Yehova, or Allah, worship the exact same God. It is man who gave definition to religion and changed it to fit their own need.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  18. Keith

    If this moron wants to experience islam firsthand, then he should look long and hard at the photos of the Fogel family. Islam is destined for the ash-heap.

    March 25, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  19. Nathan

    We get it, CNN, we really get it. We understand that you want your readers to fall head-over-heels in love with the religio-political system known as Islam.

    Honestly, it seems like CNN puts up a story on their main page every week about Islam and how wonderful it really is; you know, they do the whole "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain" sorta thing. Meanwhile, more innocent people died this week from Islamic terrorists blowing themselves up. What's that...Islam is a religion of peace? Ha, I'll believe it when I see it - like when the "moderate" Muslims in the world go after these terrorist thugs, instead of calling peace-loving people "bigots" due to those people having a cautious eye on the alarming situation the world is in today because of Islam.

    March 25, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Keith

      Right on. For a minute there I thought maybe that I was the only intolerant, ignorant bigot who posts here.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • Jim J.

      +1. You'd have to be blind not to notice that CNN has a pro-islam agenda.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • Aman

      Nathan, you are so ignorant that I can just laugh at your extreme prejudice. No one attacked hindus and extremist like bal thakray who incessantly announce to hurts muslims. Dont forget Gujrat disaster. Look at your own face in mirror before calling ALL muslims extremists.....

      March 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • David B (Oxnard, CA)

      Many people died from smoking this week as well, but I'm sure those corporate big wigs at big tobacco aren't Muslim. And if you didn't notice, Muslims are going against their own governments and corruption so they are doing exactly what you are demanding of them.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  20. fundies

    Islam = Judaism = Christianity = Buddahism = hinduism = etc.

    unaffiliated = non-judgmental peace and freedom

    March 25, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Mei

      A true Christian would never leave the Faith. Only CNN puts links like this on their site. Islam is a FALSE religion. It was created by a man who actually took bits and pieces from Judaism and Christianity.

      March 25, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • darkstar

      Someone calling another's religion false is actually quite amusing. Newsflash: ALL religions are false and have no evidence in a place I like to call reality.

      March 25, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Rickie

      Jesus is the answer for the world today. With out him there is no other, Jesus is the way. Jesus is The way The truth and The life.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • James

      You're so confused about your hypocrisy that it's scary. You type "non-judgemental peace and freedom" while at the same time judging incorrectly that all religions are opposite. You are too narrow minded to accept that religion (even the ones that are false) have changed the lives of the majority of their followers for the better. Alcoholics/drug addicts have been healed, the poor have gotten on their feet, and the unloved have found love. It's too bad that your liberal brainwashing has closed the area in your mind that enables you to think objectively. Poor you 🙁 I feel so sorry for people like you. I almost see it as a handicap or a mental problem that can't be fixed. I wish I could help you.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • Civilization

      To equate all these religions just shows your ignorance. It is like saying football=baseball=hockey=pingpong. Christianity and Islam are as different as light from darkness.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • fundies

      James – ge the rod out of your a ss and realize that I am only stoking the fire. I could care less about all this rhetoric and blah, blah , blah about true religions, or my god , or your god. I could give two flying sh * ts about any of that stuff. Have fun. Truthfully, I am very well educated and intelligent. I need an idiotic outlet such as this to let off some steam. I have way to much energy to focus at times. Have fun brother. Relax

      March 25, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Some of my favorite bible passages:

      "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, she must be silent" Timothy 2:12

      "This is what the Lord Almighty says ... 'Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.' Samuel 15:3

      "Happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us / He who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks." Psalm 13:7

      "In the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error" Romans 1:27

      “And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, ‘If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, then whoever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return victorious from the Ammonites, shall be the Lord’s, to be offered up by me as a burnt-offering.’ Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah; and there was his daughter coming out to meet him with timbrels and with dancing. She was his only child; he had no son or daughter except her. When he saw her, he tore his clothes, and said, ‘Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low; you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot take back my vow." Judges 11:30-1, 34-5

      "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you." Genesis 22:2

      “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:22

      “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel.” Peter 2:18

      March 25, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Saint

      @fundies – I will pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Chris for your mind to be healed and that you will find the true peace which can only come from Him.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • James

      That's my point. You have no true peace inside you. I cry inside for you. I'll be worried for you all day and hoping that the liberal brainwashing isn't permanant. I've seen so many people like you who have lost their hope in life b/c of the lies liberals tell. Don't buy into it friend. You're life is worth it.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Daniel

      Really? Non-judgmental? I have seen some of the most judgmental people that claim to be "free-thinking and all-accepting" be some of the most judgmental towards Christians. I follow a life of Christianity, but I don't necessarily believe that a Muslim isn't going to heaven. I believe what I believe and if someone wants to know why I do, I'm happy to tell them, but I would never judge someone based on their beliefs, and shame on you for hypocritically implying that religion=stupidity.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • James

      Wzrd1, too bad you didn't want to put the rest of what was written before/after the verses you quoted to put them into perspective. I guess making your point was more important than being honest. I'd take the time to explain all of them for you , but I think you might be another brainwashed liberal that doesn't really care to be honest or know the truth. How sad 🙁

      March 25, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • jeking1961

      Actually Darkstar, there is a lot of evidence that clearly supports Biblical teaching and authority, and more being discovered all the time. All you have to do is take the time and do the research. Interestingly, secularists say that being a follower of Christ is very close-minded. But I say to them, it is very close-minded of them to believe what they say is true, especially without evidence. On a personal note, it's really sad to know that there are so many wondering throughout this world, who are so self-rightous thinking there is no God, or that Jesus didn't exist, that they actually have no hope of what comes next.

      For all those who are non-believers out there, who are either tired of hearing or don't understand what a true Christian is saying when they proclaim themselves as Christian, I believe this will help answer their questions:

      "When I say that 'I am a Christian', I am not shouting that 'I am clean living. I'm whispering 'I was lost, but now I'm found and forgiven.' When I say 'I am a Christian', I don't speak of this with pride. I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide. When I say 'I am a Christian', I'm not trying to be strong. I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on. When I say 'I am a Christian', I'm not bragging of success. I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess. When I say 'I am a Christian', I'm not claiming to be perfect. My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it. When I say 'I am a Christian', I still feel the sting of pain. I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name. When I say 'I am a Christian', I'm not holier than thou, I'm just a simple sinner who received God's good grace, somehow!"

      March 25, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Ohmybuddha

      If you truly, truly believed in your religion to be true then you could not accepet other religions to be true. There is only one truth. Isn't it?

      ..

      March 25, 2011 at 5:36 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.