Conflict, theology and history make Muslims more religious than others, experts say
A recent global survey suggests that Muslims are more religious than Christians and Hindus.
December 3rd, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Conflict, theology and history make Muslims more religious than others, experts say

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - Every religion has its true believers and its doubters, its pious and its pragmatists, but new evidence suggests that Muslims tend to be more committed to their faith than other believers.

Muslims are much more likely than Christians and Hindus to say that their own faith is the only true path to paradise, according to a recent global survey, and they are more inclined to say their religion is an important part of their daily lives.

Muslims also have a much greater tendency to say their religion motivates them to do good works, said the survey, released over the summer by Ipsos-Mori, a British research company that polls around the world.

Islam is the world's second-largest religion - behind Christianity and ahead of Hinduism, the third largest. With some 1.5 billion followers and rising, Islam's influence may be growing even faster than its numbers as the Arab Spring topples long-reigning secular rulers and opens the way to religiously inspired political parties.

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But while there's no doubt about the importance of Islam, experts have different theories about why Muslims appear to be more religious than members of other global faiths - and contrasting views on whether to fear the depth of Muslims' commitment to their faith.

One explanation lies in current affairs, says Azyumardi Azra, an expert on Islam in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim majority country.

Many Muslims increasingly define themselves in contrast with what they see as the Christian West, says Azra, the director of the graduate school at the State Islamic University in Jakarta.

"When they confront the West that they perceive or misperceive as morally in decline, many Muslims feel that Islam is the best way of life. Islam for them is the only salvation," he says.

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That feeling has become stronger since the September 11 attacks, as many Muslims believe there is a "growing conflict between Islam and the so-called West," he says.

"Unfortunately this growing attachment to Islam among Muslims in general has been used and abused by literal-minded Muslims and the jihadists for their own purposes," he says.

But other experts say that deep religious commitment doesn't necessarily lead to violence.

"Being more religious doesn't necessarily mean that they will become suicide bombers," says Ed Husain, a former radical Islamist who is now a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

In fact, Husain argues that religious upbringing "could be an antidote" to radicalism.

American Muslim women who cover explain their choice

The people most likely to become Islamist radicals, he says, are those who were raised without a religious education and came to Islam later, as "born-agains."

Muslims raised with a grounding in their religion are better able to resist the distortions of Islam peddled by recruiters to radical causes, some experts like Husain argue, making them less likely to turn to violence.

But he agrees that Muslims are strongly attached to their faith, and says the reason lies in the religion itself.

"Muslims have this mindset that we alone possess the final truth," Husain says.

Muslims believe "Jews and Christians went before us and Mohammed was the last prophet," says Husain, whose book "The Islamist" chronicles his experiences with radicals. "Our prophet aimed to nullify the message of the previous prophets."

The depth of the Muslim commitment to Islam is not only a matter of theology and current events, but of education and history, as well, other experts say.

"Where religion is linked into the state institutions, where religion is deeply ingrained from childhood, you are getting this feeling that 'My way is the only way,'" says Fiyaz Mughal, the director of Faith Matters, a conflict-resolution organization in London.

The Ipsos-Mori survey results included two countries with a strong link between religion and the state: Legally Muslim Saudi Arabia, which calls itself the guardian of Islam's two holiest sites, Mecca and Medina; and Indonesia, home of the world's largest Muslim population.

The third majority Muslim country in the study is Turkey, which has a very different relationship with religion. It was founded after World War I as a legally secular country. But despite generations of trying to separate mosque and state, Turkey is now governed by an Islam-inspired party, the AKP.

Turkey's experience shows how difficult it can be to untangle government and religion in Muslim majority countries and helps explain the Muslim commitment to their religion, says Azyumardi Azra, the Indonesia expert.

He notes that there has been no "Enlightenment" in Islam as there was in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, weakening the link between church and state in many Christian countries.

"Muslim communities have never experienced intense secularization that took place in Europe and the West in general," says Azra. "So Islam is still adhered to very strongly."

But it's not only the link between mosque and state in many Muslim majority countries that ties followers to their faith, says professor Akbar Ahmed, a former Pakistani diplomat who has written a book about Islam around the world.

Like Christians who wear "What Would Jesus Do?" bracelets, many Muslims feel a deep personal connection to the founder of their faith, the prophet Muhammad, he says.

Muhammad isn't simply a historical figure to them, but rather a personal inspiration to hundreds of millions of people around the world today.

"When a Muslim is fasting or is asked to give charity or behave in a certain way, he is constantly reminded of the example set by the prophet many centuries ago," argues Ahmed, the author of "Journey Into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization."

His book is based on interviews with Muslims around the world, and one thing he found wherever he traveled was admiration for Muhammad.

"One of the questions was, 'Who is your role model?' From Morocco to Indonesia, it was the prophet, the prophet, the prophet," says Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington.

But while Ahmed sees similar patterns across the Islamic world, Ed Husain, the former radical, said it was important to understand its diversity, as well.

"There is no monolithic religiosity - Muslims in Indonesia and Saudi Arabia are following different versions of Islam," says Husain. "All we're seeing (in the survey) is an adherence to a faith."

Political scientist Farid Senzai, director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding in Washington, raised questions about the survey's findings.

"Look at the countries that are surveyed - Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Turkey," he says. "There are about 300 million Muslims in those three countries, (who make up) about 20% of Muslims globally."

Islam is "incredibly important" in Saudi Arabia, he says.

"But in Tunisia or Morocco you could have had a different result. It would have been nice if they had picked a few more Arab countries and had a bit more diversity," says Senzai.

The pollster, Ipsos-Mori, does monthly surveys in 24 countries, three of which are majority Muslim – Turkey, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. The other countries range from India to the United States, and Mexico to South Korea, and are the same each month, regardless of the subject the pollsters are investigating.

In the survey released in July, about six in 10 Muslims in the survey said their religion was the only way to salvation, while only a quarter of Hindus and two out of 10 Christians made that claim about their own faiths.

More than nine out of 10 Muslims said their faith was important in their lives, while the figure was 86% for Hindus and 66% for Christians.

Ipsos-Mori surveyed 18,473 adults via an online panel in April and released the findings in July. Results were weighted to make the results as representative as possible, but the pollster cautioned that because the survey was conducted online, it was harder to get representative results in poorer countries where internet access is not widespread.

CNN polling director Keating Holland also warns that in an "opt-in" survey, where respondents actively choose to participate, results tend to come from "people who are confident in their opinions and express them openly... not good for intensely private matters like faith or income or sex."

Online surveys in countries that are not entirely free are also open to the possibility that pollsters get "the approved response" in those nations, "where the people who are most likely to be willing to talk about such matters are the ones who hold, or at least verbalize, opinions that won't get them in trouble if they are expressed," Holland says.

That may have been an issue in Saudi Arabia, where respondents were given the choice of not answering questions on religion due to their potential sensitivity in the kingdom. The Saudi sample was the smallest, with 354 participants, meaning "findings for Saudi Arabia must be treated with caution," Ipsos-Mori said.

About 1,000 people participated in most countries, but sample sizes were smaller in the three majority Muslim countries and in eight other countries.

The survey participants did not reflect the true percentage of Christians and Muslims in the world. Christians were over-represented – as were people who said they had no religion – and Muslims were under-represented.

Nearly half the respondents identified themselves as Christian. Eleven percent were Muslim, 4% were Buddhist, 3% were Hindu and 3% were "other." A quarter said they had no religion and 6% refused to say.

Fiyaz Mughal, the interfaith expert, argues that even though the countries surveyed might not be representative of the entire Muslim world, the findings about Muslims rang broadly true. Muslims in different countries were committed to their faith for different reasons, he says.

"Saudi Arabia is an institutionally religious state. Indonesia has religion tied into its culture," says Mughal.

But Muslim immigrants to Europe also show strong ties to their religion, either as a defense mechanism in the face of a perceived threat, or because of an effort to cling to identity, he contends.

He detects a link between insular communities and commitment to faith regardless of what religion is involved. It is prevalent in Muslim Saudi Arabia, but he has seen it among Israeli Jews as well, he says.

"The Israeli Jewish perspective is that (the dispute with the Palestinians) is a conflict of land and religion which are integrally linked," Mughal says.

"What does play a role in that scenario is a sense of isolationism and seclusion in Israeli Jewish religious communities, a growing trend to say, 'Our way is the only way,'" he says.

Religious leaders of all faiths need to combat those kinds of attitudes because of the greater diversity people encounter in the world today, he argues.

They have a responsibility to teach their congregations "that if they are following a religion, it is not as brutal or exclusive as possible," Mughal says. "Things are changing. The world is a different place from what it was even 20 years ago."

Politicians, too, "need to take these issues quite seriously," he says.

"In the Middle East there are countries - the Saudi Arabias - where you need to be saying that diversity, while it may not be a part of the country, is something they have to deal with when moving in a globalized area," he says.

But Senzai, the political scientist, says that it's also important for the West to take the Muslim world on its own terms.

"Many Muslims want religion to play a role in politics," he says. "To assume that everyone around the world wants to be like the West - that they want liberal secular democracy - is an absurd idea."

- CNN's Nima Elbagir and Atika Shubert contributed to this report.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: 9/11 • Islam • Middle East

soundoff (5,459 Responses)
  1. Justmyco2011

    I have been reading a lot of comments here and other places and I don't understand, why Muslims think that their truth is the only truth? It just shows how brainwashed they are. What makes them think that their prophet – who lived after the Bible came to us, and most probably got all the hints for a new book from the Bible – gave the final revelation? And why they always make it a point that Islam accepts "uncorrupted bible" – just to feel more confidant by being a part of something great? Sounds like boosting in front of a girl that you are friends with the coolest guy in the room. Does that make you cool?!!! Does saying that you accept Bible and Christ – albeit in your own way – give you more legitimacy?

    December 5, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Jose M. Pulido

      You are right: But Muslims downgrade Jesus, the Son of God to a common man and a regular stand-up prophet and upgrade child molester Mohammed to a real stand-up prophet of God in an attemp to legitimize the ideology of Islam.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Monti

      Interesting how each religion claimns they are the truth and the other guys are false. If only religious people held themselves to the same standard of scrutiny they have towards others. They might find themselves actually seeing all gods require men to speak and write on their behalf. Otherwise, all is corrupt and comes from man. I respect that people have the right to believe as they wish. This does not mean I take them seriously and hold them to the same standard I would a medicated person who claims to see and feel things that are not there.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Justin

      1) Muslims agree that Jesus was born of a Virgin-they do not say this of their own prophet,
      2) Muslims call Jesus either 'the word of God' or 'A word of God' which is again not attributed to their prophet.There is arabic equivalent for this term, which can be interpreted to mean THE word of God!

      December 5, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • NYCchick

      Every religion things their religion is the right one. Why are you just saying this about Muslims? If you believe in something, you will believe it's the right thing.

      December 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Jose M. Pulido

      At least Jesus said, "He (Jesus) said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation'" (Mark 16:15) He did not order them to murder all those who reject Him. Contrary to that, child -molester Mohammed said: (Paraphrased), "Go and behead all those who reject Islam." In the name of common sense, who would anyone follow: The Son of God or a pedophile who orders his cronies to murder all those who rejected islam?

      December 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • dean

      @NYCchick – because the *article* is about Islam/Muslims. Shouldn't you be in the kitchen making sandwiches?

      December 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  2. Lawrwns

    If you study the biography of Muhammad, Quran,and The Sharia freely, then you can say the Islam is Tolerance,democracy,High Moral Standard,Equality. Come on, only the no brain retarded people believe that teaching. And teaching by SWORD

    December 5, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  3. dlmacintosh

    Religiosity is perceived as necessary to those who are unaware of the unearned, undeserved Grace of God. The incorrectness of this approach is demonstrated in the parable of the prodigal son via the older brother. Religious people are the older brother in the parable. Refusing to accept the grace of his father, he cannot bring himself to attend the feast.

    December 5, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  4. Jawbone44

    When Muslim countries start educating their populations, and stop mistreating their women and intellectuals, then you will see this level of devotion begin to drop off.

    December 5, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Monti

      Like the christians, it is a devotion guided by ignorance.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  5. Reposting good stuff 101


    islam is a religion of moral without grace. it teaches moral and enforce it . in the other hand the christian religion is a way of life hanging on the grace of God from the moment you have given your life to Christ and one has accept Him as his or her Lord and savior, which we called born again as Christian. In Islam, your eligibility to go to Aljanna depends on your performance of your Islamic rituals like: going to mecca once in your life time, paying sakat and sadakat, giving things to the needy, fasting during the month of ramadan, praying 5 times a day. Once you are able to do those things, eventhough you destroy life others or you steal it doesn't count. And another things is that the more you are religious as a muslim the more you the people of toher faiths look like a devil and as long as they are not Muslims they must be killed if they are not ready to be converted to islam. In Islam, every sin you comited have a kind of prayer you offer Allah and you are free.Even if you rerlate with another man's wife. Though they are comited to their religion, unfortunately none of them have assurance of where they are going at the end except that there is 32 vifgings awaiting everyone muslim in Aljanna. All born again christian have assurance of heaven. You can contact me if you need more explanation. Thanks

    December 5, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • adkhan74

      I am very surprised by your observation and these are purely due to lack of knowledge about Islam. I start by your statement that commenting on your observation that if a Muslim do observe the five pillars of Islam and after that he can do anything commit sins of every kind. These people in Islam are called 'Munafiq' mean 'Hypocrites' and according to Allah they will be in most horrible part of hell, even more worse than 'Non Believers'. So if a person is for worldly benefit (that can that people will call him pious) praying five times, giving charity, fasting and performing pilgrimage, his deeds are worse than that of a non believer.
      Islam respect other religions, when Prophet (PBUH) conquered Makkah he forgive all the non Muslims, these are those non Muslims given extreme hard ships to Prophet (PBUH) and at announced that all non Muslims will live in peace. Islam does not say to non Muslim, as per Quran if you kill a human it is like you have killed the whole humanity. As per chapter 1 verse 256 Allah says
      There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path.
      The Holy Quran says: “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah and be just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Well Acquainted with what you do.”
      Coming to your last point that Allah will forgive all sins. In Islam there are two main types of sins. Major sins and minor sins. The major sins will not be forgiven they include killing innocent people, adultery, not believing in God and His Prophets. In chapter 4 verse 31 of Quran Allah says if you avoid major sins than Allah will cancel your minor sins with your good deeds.
      Islam is religion with grace have laws that are universal and have message which is for the whole mankind. Please do your research and than comment. Please read Quran and I challenge you that cannot find a single verse which contradict that Islam is not a religion of peace and harmony.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Vickers

      4:89 They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them,

      See? It is so easy to find these types of passages from the Q'uran because the 'Q'uran is FILLED with them!
      Muslims lie about Islam because they are stupid and the Q'uran tells them to do so, but to challenge someone to read the Q'uran and find ONE passage that proves you a liar is the dumbest way of lying I have ever seen on the internet in the past 12 years!
      You are one of the stupidest Muslims to ever sit down in front of a computer. No wonder you people smell bad. You are so clueless you cannot help being stupid. It is just the most pathetic thing among all the world religions ever.

      December 5, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @adkhan74: You said, "Coming to your last point that Allah will forgive all sins. In Islam there are two main types of sins. Major sins and minor sins. The major sins will not be forgiven they include killing innocent people, adultery, not believing in God and His Prophets."

      So, by your own admission, Allah won't forgive all sins. It took you all of two sentences to completely contradict yourself.


      December 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @adkhan74: My apologies. Misread what you had posted. I thought your restatement of OP's position was your own.

      Either way, it's still silliness. Won't apologize for my opinion on that.

      December 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  6. kamran

    Majority of Muslims (some 80% of world's Muslim population) are not educated and are illitrate. Clergies in Muslim faith have done a lot of damage to Muslims and continue to do so. Unfortunately, Illitrates Muslims believe their clergies.

    December 5, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  7. sickofit

    I think there is a direct coralation between how "religious" a person is and their level of intelect. Hopefully I don't have to elaborate but I just know half the christians out there that read this will think that I mean they have a higher intelect. Let me put it this way, I beleive in science...not mythology.

    December 5, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Belos

      Well then, get this: most of the muslims in Europe and usa are all above average in college degree and intelligence. 60% hold a BA 20% hold a master's degree in their field while the other 20% have a highschool degree. This research was not done by a muslim. You can also search wikipedia for islam in the us or american muslim.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Fritz

      I think it has more to do with the obsessive and compulsive nature of all religions. Intellect is used to make it more complicated than it needs to be. Gullibility is not a function of intellect but how a person has been raised to treat the words of others and how they are trained to trust others.
      There are some very clever and devious religious people who have a mental "blind spot" regardless of their IQ.
      But I understand how you feel. So many religious people are incredibly ignorant and stupid it is easy to over-generalize.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  8. Kandi

    The "religious police" (the Mutawa) will beat the Muslim's @sses if they don't pray. That would explain why Muslims APPEAR more religious than Christians and Hindus.

    December 5, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • Jose M. Pulido

      Kandi: No freedom of religion in those totalitarian countries. The problem is that they are coming to the USA in order to impose Islam and force averyone to bend over like those guys in the picture pointing their smelly behinds toward Mecca five times a day.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  9. ABD

    They are religous becasue it is the true religion, if you are not convinced of your religion you will not be a religous and vise versa.Peace

    December 5, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  10. Jane

    It is amazing how BAD and BIASED this article is. Among the many things wrong withthis article, 2 stand out..
    A. They assert that Mohammad is not "just a historical figure". This is clearly a swipe at Christians. If a person believes Jesus is less than God, that person is not a Christian. And ironically, Mohammed was JUST A HISTORICAL FIGURE. He did no miracles, committed many sins, and is not even the one coming back for judgement day in the Koran, JESUS IS!
    B. They fail to mention the OBVIOUS fact that ALL religions save Christianity are WORKS BASED. So yeah if you think "being good" or trying to be every second of the day will get you to heaven, you will be more "religious".
    Of course, CNN was not REALLY interested in the truth, they wanted 5,000 comments and another reason to prop up Islam as somehow more positive than other religions because they are not fans of Christianity.

    December 5, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  11. Imtiaz Khan

    I am a Muslim and I respect Christianity from the core of my heart. But at the same time I want that my religion should be given a due rspect .... no reasons to fight, let us try to understand each other as humanbeings.

    Muslim Christian Hindus Jews And Bhudist all lived peacefully for centuries and centuries without any problem for each other, Y CANT WE LIVE NOW ?

    Simple solution : live peacefully, respect others and give complete freedom to people of other religions. Never force other to change their faiths and beliefs ... this will never happen by any means at any cost

    December 5, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Kandi

      If that's what you want they you have to get the one-tenth of one-percent of Muslims to STOP BLOWING UP PEOPLE!!!!!

      December 5, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Emma

      If you want to live in peace with others, you cannot use a violent religion to inform your actions towards them.
      Better yet, just get rid of your religion. Then it will never be an issue one way or the other.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Vickers

      From the Q'uran:

      4:89 They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them,

      So tell me why anyone should believe anything a Muslim says. There is no reason to ever believe a Muslim. The Q'uran also says to lie to non-believers. Every Muslim loves to do this because they do not like being honest or do not know how to be honest. Islam will always be a religion of hate and violence. Until the world obliterates Islam, there will be no lasting peace possible.

      December 5, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Jose M. Pulido

      Imtiaz Khan:
      You almost sounded like Rodney King:
      "People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along?"

      December 5, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  12. Tina

    I have never been more disappointed in Americans than I am when I read the comments on these articles. I realize this isn't the whole of my country, but come on. Enough hatred and stereotyping already. What is wrong with people???

    December 5, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Fascist

      The problem is that they have ignored the call to fascism. The liberal democrat "self" is a nasty reification.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • dean

      Your mistake is in assuming all posters are American.

      December 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Jose M. Pulido

      What you read here is not hatred, it is the truth. Islam is not a religion but an ideology disguised as a believer -friendly religion; Islam is used as an excuse to murder and physically and mentally oppress men, women and children.
      You should be glad we are trying help to Muslims free themselves from such a deadly ideology. As you may have noticed: Our authorities often capture Islamists/Muslims in the process or planning to blow up buildings and refineries in U.S. soil. Some of them are American-born converts to Islam. Is this the ideology you support? Are you one of those potential criminals who would dare to sabotage nuclear plants and other important facilities? If those Islamist/Muslim Imans only come here to brainwash weak minded people and persuade them to commit terror crimes in the name of Islam, why are you surprised of the fact that we react against Islam and its leaders and followers? Would you like us to say: "Yes, we love you, and go ahead and blow yourself up along with a building"? So be mature and do not play victim of hatred, as many Muslims do when we tell them the truth about Islam and its leaders and followers. If anyone hates the U.S.A., is Islam and its leaders and followers.

      December 6, 2011 at 2:40 am |
  13. Jade

    Nobody is more devout than I am. I am a very devout atheist.

    December 5, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      Caution there, Jade. When you say "devout", you get dangerously close to religion. Atheists insist theirs is not a religious belief, so don't blow their cover.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  14. Colonel Aukmed

    Get me a sword, I want to cut his head off!!

    December 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  15. Me

    To answer the question the headline asks, Muslims are more naive than other religious followers.

    December 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  16. ss

    Greatest inventions and discoveries known to mankind were attributed to people who practice chistianity.

    December 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • William Shelton

      Algebra? Nope, you're wrong. The greatest inventions and discoveries throughout history do NOT belong to just one group - religious, ethnic or otherwise.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • MM

      As far as scientific inventions are concerned, you are right. But as far as spiritual inventions are concerned the credit goes to Hinduism/Buddhism.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • What are you talking about

      Not to rain on your parade, but people who practice christianity caused the Dark Ages, where technology moved backwards by a 1000 years.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • CosmicC

      Nice try, but a miss. Would you like to play again?
      While Europe was wallowing in the Dark Ages, the Arab world was developing math, science and medicine in ways that were forbidden by the Vatican.
      Many early to mid-20th century inventions can be credited to Jews and Atheists.
      The industrial revolution was fueled by inventions of Deists and Theists, who explicitly did not believe in the divinity of Jesus.

      December 5, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  17. Fascist

    There is a third way!

    December 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  18. josh

    The sad part about this whole debate, is that you are all debating a bunch of stories that were created to show how our lives should be lived. Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all have the same basis, a prophet was chosen to speak the word of a god, and because someone wrote these stories down, it became real to man. I understand raising your children to hold certain values is important, and religion shows them the way. But all it really is in the end is a bunch of stories that were created to brainwash, control and manipulate people no matter what religion it was

    December 5, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • J.I.M.

      Much of that control owes it power to the corruption of words like religion itself. Religion is now equated with monotheistic authoritarian systems of belief.

      December 5, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Me

      Nicely put, Josh!

      December 5, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  19. Fascist

    Have you considered becoming a fascist? Are you fascist-curious? It's not your father's fascism anymore!

    December 5, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • JustPassingBy


      December 5, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Fascist

      In a sense we are all "just passing by" in this world. Fascism recognizes the human longing for existential integration into something larger than the "self," and does so explicitely. The future belongs to us!

      December 5, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  20. JustPassingBy

    Just an observation: If someone that is born a Muslim decides that he no longer wants to be a Muslim what would happen to him? What if a muslim girl decides to marry a Jew what would happen to her..? Maybe this is how Muslims retain their numbers ....

    December 5, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • khanikun

      I think that varies depending on location. I was deployed in Pakistan and many Pakistani are Christian.

      December 5, 2011 at 1:13 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.