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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.

The case against TLC’s “All-American Muslim”

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.

The case for TLC’s “All-American Muslim”

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. Dick Essellborn

    The Dalai Lama said, "It's important to have faith, but it's more important to do good works" I disagree that Muslims are more religious than other believers. The pollsters should consider th

    December 4, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  2. Wonder Pet

    Rainer Braendlein, you couldn't be further from the truth. Prophet Mohammad does not dislike Christians or Jews. To the contrary, Prophet Mohammad had a Jewish neighbor whom he visited when became ill. The Christian King of Ethiopia at the time was the first to harbor the oppressed Muslims of Mekka and allowed them to practice and preach their religion freely. And BTW, all the verses you quoted were directed to people of Mekka (Quraish or the Pagans) who oppressed Mohammad and his followers for trying to peacefully convey the message of God. Please don't try to interpret the Quran or any Holly book for that matter to your preconceived notions. "the Google" & "Wikipedia" don't cut it...

    December 4, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • No need to lie O Muslim! (but you always do it anyway!)

      The Koran commands the death of all unbelievers and makes special note of Jews and Christians as targets for violence and oppression, including lying to them at the Muslim's whim.

      December 4, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      What is funny is the parrallels between Mz lms and the Mafia. Under President Thomas Jefferson, the US established a larger navy and the marine corp as a direct result of Barbary pirates who were Mz lms. The pirates were attacking merchant vessels, enslaving the crews, and then allowing the hostages to go free if their families could come up with a ransom. To prevent attacks, the pirates demanded protection money. It is exactly how the Mafia started – protection money, extortion, kidnapping. I guess if the Mafia had written a holy book they could have been established as a religion...like Iz lam.

      December 4, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  3. Pekovianii

    hawaiiduude, it's surprising you took time away from your Tijuana camel show to post your opinions here.

    December 4, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • hawaiiduude

      surprising you take time to post non relevant message

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEIh4le0dcg&w=640&h=360]

      December 4, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • hawaiiduude

      posting youtube videos is no expressing my opinion just showing truth for the sheeple to wake up.

      December 4, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  4. Cassarit

    The moslems are all gung ho about their religion because they have a reason to be. They are growing, expanding and they are on a roll. They also see a declining west that has lost its faith and is being sucked into an amoral abyss. The question we should ask is Why aren't we Christians more like Islam?

    December 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Reality

      To all those suffering from the Three B Syndrome, i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in your religion:

      “John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident (the randomness) of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

      The Situation Today
      Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville

      It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe, just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

      December 4, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  5. GeoYoda

    It is very simple. Islam is a religion that controls every waking moment of a believer's life. It governs how a person lives and thinks, completely. It is completely intolerant of any other state of being...you are all in, or you are an infidel. Any deviation from devote belief and structured behavior is not tolerated. This all-encompassing control and intolerance allows no other way to practice Islam other than fanatically. It is the same recipe behind cults. If God wants them to pray 5 scheduled times a day, they do. If God wants them to drink the poisoned Cool Aide, they do. If God wants them to kill the infidel, they do.

    December 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Ad

      No, that is not true. Where do you get this inaccurate crap from?

      December 4, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • expakistani

      Yes, ditto .... and to quote the article " Muslims are much more likely than Christians and Hindus to say that their own faith is the only true path to paradise." Ok did it every occur to the author that the religion teaches death for apostasy or to think otherwise in Islam?

      December 4, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • No need to lie O Muslim! (but you always do it anyway!)

      GeoYoda is correct. Muslims always lie about the Koran. I doubt there's a single post in the past two years in this blog where a Muslim has been honest about the Koran and Islam!!!!

      December 4, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  6. s767

    Naturally one would be more pious and faithful if such behavior was motivated by having a gun to one's head.

    December 4, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  7. Pekovianii

    hawaiiduude, before you blow up the van, drive it off a remote cliff.

    December 4, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  8. Thinker not Hater

    Why is that deemed to be Jewish children since Muslims are also Isrealis? Or don't you know that Muslims live in Israel? A hat like that looks Muslim to me. Why are you speading hate? of Muslims or Jews? Video can be taken out of context to events as intelligent questioning people know.

    December 4, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  9. hawaiiduude

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA6vRC1xW_c&w=640&h=360]

    December 4, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  10. Tony

    Look at this quote from above:

    "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."

    Wow that falls right into what would be considered "Anti-Christ".
    I would rather spend my time with a Buddhist than a Muslim.

    My internal warning bells are telling me that this so called Prophet came up with a lot rules to live out human existence which is much easier to do then what our Heavenly Father is asking of us!
    Think Cafeteria style that is free of charge.
    No joken way ever!

    December 4, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Reality

      From Sir Salman Rushdie's book "Satanic Verses", p. 376, paperback issue – for those 1.5 billion Muslims to read as they are forbidden to purchase or read said book:

      One of the passages that prompted the crazy Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa against Sir Rushdie:
      Mahound = Mohammed
      Gibreel = Gabriel

      "The faithful lived by lawlessness, but in those years Mahound – or should one say the Archangel Gibreel? – should one say Al-Lah? – became obsessed by law.

      Amid the palm-trees of the oasis Gibreel appeared to the Prophet and found himself spouting rules, rules, rules, until the faithful could scarcely bear the prospect of any more revelation, Salman said, rules about every da-mn thing, if a man farts let him turn his face to the wind, a rule about which hand to use for the purpose of cleaning one's behind.

      It was as if no aspect of human existence was to be left unregulated, free. The revelation – the recitation- told the faithful how much to eat, how deeply they should sleep, and which se-xual positions had received divine sanction, so that they leamed that so-domy and the missionary position were approved of by the archangel, whereas the forbidden postures included all those in which the female was on top.

      Gibreel further listed the permitted and forbidden subjects of conversation, and earmarked the parts of the body which could not be scratched no matter how unbearably they might itch.

      He vetoed the consumption of prawns, those bizarre other-worldly creatures which no member of the faithful had ever seen, and required animals to be killed slowly, by bleeding, so that by experiencing their deaths to the full they might arrive at an understanding of the meaning of their lives, for it is only at the moment of death that living creatures understand that life has been real, and not a sort of dream.

      And Gibreel the archangel specified the manner in which a man should be buried, and how his property should be divided, so that Salman the Persian got to wondering what manner of God this was that sounded so much like a businessman.

      This was when he had the idea that destroyed his faith, because he recalled that of course Mahound himself had been a businessman, and a damned successful one at that, a person to whom organization and rules came naturally, so how excessively convenient it was that he should have come up with such a very businesslike archangel, who handed down the management decisions of this highly corporate, if noncorporeal, God."

      December 4, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • hawaiiduude

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-JmtG2eCTM&w=640&h=360]

      December 4, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • One7777777

      Why is this website still promoting islam in this country, yet continually putting down Christ?

      People – if you can't see they are trying to crash the God believing countries and you don't know "what time" it is. Look up.

      "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

      “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that itd is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generatione will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."
      Matthew 24:30-35

      December 4, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • JLP

      Jesus, on the cross, said,"It is finished". To me this means that his word is the last word and that he was "The way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except by me". Pretty clear he meant no more prophets.

      December 4, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  11. Jameson

    There are no religion that are more religious, it is people that are more religious or not for either religions. Do not get fooled by the dress code.

    December 4, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  12. Reality

    Only for the those interested in a religious update:========================>>

    1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

    “New Torah For Modern Minds

    Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “

    2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

    earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

    For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

    2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:
    Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

    3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

    This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

    And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

    Current crises:

    The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

    5. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

    The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

    Current problems:

    The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

    6. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

    "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

    Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

    Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

    Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

    December 4, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  13. hawaiiduude

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIQbe9ATUNU&w=640&h=360]

    December 4, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  14. hawaiiduude

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlT3ARuUSGc&w=640&h=360]

    December 4, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  15. Daniel

    From the article:

    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."

    What a bizzare statement for a Muslim to make. Islam teaches that the preceeding prophets–such as Moses and Jesus and over 100,000 others–preached essentially the same message of God's Oneness and submission to Him. Islam views itself as restorative, not nullifying.

    Now, one might disagree and believe that the Muslims teaching on the unity of all the prophets messages is untrue; but it is odd for anyone who knows the basics of Islam–let alone a Muslim–claim that Muhammad's mission was to "nullify" the previous messages. I tend to think that this is a misquote by a ill informed writer or editor at CNN, rather than by Husain.

    December 4, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  16. Pekovianii

    hawaiiduude learned about religion in the same way he learned about group marriage... prison.

    December 4, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  17. Reality

    How much money would the following save the US taxpayers ?:

    Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
    There never were and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror

    One trillion dollars over the next several years as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will end.

    Eighteen billion dollars/yr to Pakistan will stop.

    Four billion dollars/yr to Egypt will end.

    Saving 2 billion lost Christians including the Mormons:
    There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!i.e. No Easter, no Christianity.

    The Mormon empire will now become taxable as will all Christian "religions" and non-profits since there is no longer any claim to being a tax-exempt religion.

    Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
    Abraham and Moses probably never existed.

    Four billion dollars/yr to Israel saved.

    All Jewish sects and non-profits will no longer be tax exempt.

    Now all we need to do is convince these 3.5+ billion global and local citizens that they have been conned all these centuries Time for a Twitter and FaceBook campaign!!!!

    December 4, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • George

      Thank you.

      December 4, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  18. lee s

    Sounds to me like they just have their heads farther up their rears than any other religion.

    December 4, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  19. janaki

    Islam is totally bereft of spirituality. That is why they need to be "religious". Have you noticed how most of muslim riots (such as recently in egypt) take place right after the friday sermons? If they had any "spirituality", they would not come out of the mosque ready to riot. They would be more in peace with themselves and the world.

    December 4, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Daniel

      Oh, please, Janaki. This is like saying the violence of the IRA proves that there is no Catholic spirituality. Some of the deepest spiritual writings come from Sufi Muslims...including the poet most popular in the United States, Rumi.

      December 4, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  20. hawaiiduude

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LR4NknlEGws&w=640&h=360]

    December 4, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Pekovianii

      1.6 billion Muslims, 16 million Jews. 47 Muslim states, 1 Jewish state. 300 million Arabs, 7 million Israelis. 22 Arab League members and 8 of 12 OPEC members, Israel is the size of New Jersey and has no oil. Your Jihad fantasies about Israel and Jewish control are pathetic.

      December 4, 2011 at 11:55 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.