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. Ruth

    Peoples at all times in all religions cling tightly to the religion when they are oppressed. So it is with Muslims especially in Arab lands now. When and if, they experience freedom of expression and opportunities, the more educated ones will lesson their ties to their faith just as we have. It is also complicated by mullahs who don't want to lose power just as the Catholic clergy in the middle ages in Europe. Also don't forget that even here in America now, there are large numbers of people who would like to see religion back in schools and public life–never mind if it tramples non believers.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • jimbob22

      Per Western media, they're not being oppressed though. They are freely choosing to live under oppressive Islamist rule. They want to live under Islamist rule.

      Where's the oppression? It's not coming from the US, who has spent billions of dollars and thousands of lives fighting secularism and helping to prop up Islamist leaders for Muslims.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  2. gliese42

    Blinky@ LRA is not a christian army and its plan is to dispose Uganda's government. Please read about it before you confuse the others

    December 5, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Binky42

      LRA actually IS a Christian army. It may not be "Your Brand" of Christianity, but who are you to judge?

      December 5, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • gliese42

      Blinky@ Please don't confuse CNN fans because you can check the fact with the Ugandan embassy in Washington

      December 5, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • Binky42

      Yeah, because embassies never try to spin the truth... Do your own research. They carry the cross, and justify what they're doing through their religion.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • jimbob22

      Is the LRA merely defending themselves and others from jihad?? US media hates no one more than Jews, Christians, or Hindu that defend themselves from jihad. How horribly 'disproportionate'! Everyone knows that the US should step in and expend US dollars making Muslim-only states ruled by oppressive Islamist leaders...

      December 5, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  3. DeeNYC

    Only Buddha can save you all.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • PoppySeeds

      Dang! Where's the "Like" button!

      December 5, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  4. Colin

    My Dream Headlines


    Reuters AAP – The last place of worship the USA officially closed its doors yesterday. The Church of Christ Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama held its last service at 10:00 on Sunday morning and was promptly shuttered by its pastor. “While I will be sorry to see a tradition pas.s, I guess it was time to move on,” declared Pastor Kevin Smith, “It saddens me a little, but I can no longer preach things I no longer believe in myself. Also, given that my congregation is elderly and poor, donations are down to a spasmodic trickle.”

    The closure marks the culmination of a dramatic surge in secularism in the USA following the Catholic Church scandals of the early 21st Century. After phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Network revealed that the Pope and virtually all Archbishops were acutely aware of the depth of the pedophilia problem since the 1950s, sweeping new policies were implemented under President Gibbs’ administration (2040-2048).

    Under his “No Mind Left Behind” policy, children were taught science, history, psychology and critical thinking from their first year of school. It was not until they were in their early teens and had a grounding in healthy skepticism and independent thought, that any supernatural belief, such as astrology or religion was allowed to be presented to them. Such beliefs were, of course, almost universally rejected by them.

    As interest in the supernatural has dwindled, the vacated churches, synagogues and mosques in the USA were sold off and the proceeds invested in a fund which, under the XXV Amendment to the US Const.itution, could only be used to further scientific education and environmental awareness and protection. Already the fund has been responsible for returning vast swaths of land to their natural state, in the USA and elsewhere and has largely been credited for ensuring the survival of the tiger, cheetah and mountain gorilla.

    Bibles and The Book of Mormon, which once graced virtually every hotel room in the USA, were replaced with Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion.”

    As people have increasingly realized there is no sky-being looking out for us, donations to the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation, the Red Heart (f/k/a “Red Cross”) and Doctors Without Borders are at an all time high. “Looking back, it’s weird to think of some of the nonsense people believed as late as the early 21st Century,” commented Pastor Smith, as he locked the doors and walked nonchalantly from his church. “I guess you can’t judge them too harshly, though. When you’re taught it from such an early age and then told it’s immoral to even question it, I guess you are easy prey.”

    December 5, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • Binky42

      What a dream! Although, I don't know if Dawkins would make the best hotel reading. He's not 100% right all the time. Maybe something less heavy like Dr. Seuss.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • gliese42

      The last Christians will be latinos

      December 5, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Hob

      The last Christians will likely be psychotic and dangerous.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  5. tk

    because they make most crimes in the world.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:28 am |
  6. Bill

    Christians are taught "Thou shall not kill." uslims are taught it's ok to kill when you are Jewish/Christians.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • gliese42

      Bill@ you are right. they can kill and deceive in the name of god

      December 5, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • Binky42

      Google "Lord's Resistance Army" in Uganda. Christian terrorism is alive and well too y'know.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Sean

      Really? Where is your proof?

      December 5, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  7. jimbob22

    Why is CNN so obsessed with Islam, a religion with few adherents in the US, with few if any positive effect on US society/arts/sciences/medicine?

    December 5, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Binky42

      There are no religions with a positive influence on science, art, or medicine.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • jimbob22

      Incorrect. Any religion that advocates improving the world and liberating the oppressed yields expected gains in such areas.

      Religions sponsored by fascists governments as a means of removing civil rights, crushing dissent, and oppressing the working class yield the expected backwardness and barbarity.

      To slander entirely opposite value systems as the broader category 'religion' would be ignorant and absurd.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • Binky42

      jimbob – all religions oppress the followers by giving them sets of rules. Most of the rules in the Bible have no place in modern society. Letting go of the ancient book will free people up to start being better citizens in the modern world.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • jimbob22

      Incorrect. The Old Testament is a legal framework that protects citizens from oppressive leaders. In ancient Greece and Rome, probably 98% of the people were oppressed slaves. Judaism was their salvation and liberation, which is why the Greeks and Romans spent hundreds of years trying to kill of the Jews.

      How so?? It's laid out in the OT (year of jubilee and similar protection of slaves that embraced said legal framework).

      Not surprisingly, the Torah has never been used for conquest by any imperialistic government in world history. It's impossible to do so.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Binky42

      jimbob – the OT is rarely historically accurate. I wish people would stop using that book of fables as historical truth.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Matt

      Are you out of your mind? Maybe you don't respect the religion, but it has many adherents in this country and CNN is not your local neighborhood news bulletin. These are current events my friend, it's the second largest religion in the world, and it's impacting us on a global scale. So if you don't care about relevent news, stick to your comic books.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • jimbob22

      Fail and fail. A book of law 'isn't accurate'?? It's clear that you (binky) have an anti-law bias.

      Matt–Islam is not remotely relevant in the US, and is similarly irrelevant in the world, except for the fact that it's a human rights removal system, and that CNN and CNN's loyal adherents enjoy inflicting it on others.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Toez

      The OT has hundreds of inaccuracies and contradictions so why do you call it a book of law when it is only a religious text?

      December 5, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  8. Dawood khan achakzai

    Assalam u alaikum..every body who see this comments and all human who are dead or alive Allah bless there soul with peace.
    dear,brothers and sisters we muslims are so, faithfull and religious as for our religion is so,un doubted,clear and so good for human being life.now,now the peoples of the world thinks that we muslims especially pashtoons(led on pak afghanistan border)are extreemists,terrorists and brutals aswell, via pakistani insurgents.Basically pakistan plays such a policy against the world that issues pashtoons as very bad nation across the world atlas.Just for there intrests,look pakistan don't want pashtoons to be well minded and educated why,Because only pashtoons are there to interefare in pakistans worst policies.so,we see just this result of the topic that pakistan and there agents shows pashtoons in a very worst ways like those followings.Musharaf said"that pashtoons are al-qaeda and al-qaeda are pashtoons.But we says that panjabi are Al-qaeda and terrorist these days every one coul'd see and feels it.The readers are my imaginers just see and think over the result what coul'd be happen in the coming days.Pakistan use islam in very worst ways just for his intrests and now the world thinks that all the muslims are terrorists.islam is very good religion and have had very great followers But these punjabies are neither muslims nor they know the major ways how to be a muslim and good muslim..thaks w.salam Allah bless u...

    December 5, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Toez

      As if I would bother reading such an illiterate post by a lying Muslim. No thanks. Shlt be upon you.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • toxictown

      Good for "human-being life" as long as you agree and submit. Otherwise, not so much.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  9. Aaron

    People don't take religion seriously anymore. They may go and worship once a week, but that's about it. If you see your neighbor mowing the lawn on Sunday do you go out and kill him? You're suppose to. No work on the holy day.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Binky42

      Tim Tebow works on Sunday, and people still think he's the Second Coming.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • Toez

      Don't you mean Saturday? That is the "Sabbath" after all. Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus command his followers to change the Sabbath to a different day. Try reading it sometime. You'll find that you probably have many wrong ideas because of your church culture as opposed to actual Biblical study.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Binky42

      Toez – where in the Bible does it list an actual day?

      December 5, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • Toez

      Seventh day of the week is Saturday. Or will you argue with every Jew and lose? Why not provide proof that Sunday is the seventh day of the week or show where Jesus said to change the Sabbath to a different day? Because you can't.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  10. Jargo

    Education (or the lack of it, rather) could something to consider

    December 5, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Toez

      This is a whitewashing article and so has many interesting omissions like that.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:22 am |
  11. darketernal

    These muslim murders are as devout as the devil. These so called experts are amateurs, killing people in the name of a supposedly loving Allah is idiotic at its best not devout. And what do they do? If for every time you prayed to god, you would instead stick out your hands and help someone you would really make this world a better place. No lets do the same useless rhyme over and over again and letting your fellow person starve to death, way to go. Religion is quicksand, anyone who is foolish enough to believe they can stand on it , will sink.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  12. petemg

    If you call them religious, fine, but they have to bow and pray the way they do for fear of death by human hand in the name of Allah.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • Binky42

      That's pretty much how Christianity used to be, until people started to soften up right around the time they finally accepted the world wasn't flat.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  13. John

    All 3 Old Testament religions have a fundamental flaw; they believe in an exclusive god. Therefore through history a minority can overrun all the beautiful history, cultural and moral lessons of these religions and wield power by focusing on "the one true god". Christianity has had the same problem in history – not now. Islam has the same issue.

    From my view point, Hinduism and Buddism, etc, as unusual as they are to me – never have problems of people saying there god is supreme. Most conflicts in the east have been based on class, ethnicity but not religion.

    At least thats my view point – a US atheist.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Toez

      Your ignorance makes your post something worth passing over. I also doubt that you are really an atheist.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • gliese42

      I was born in a muslim country before my parents immigrated to America and they begun their religious classes at an early age so that it becomes a part of them when they grow up. Bible study too is practiced in some parts of America but there is more fun and laughter unlike muslims who have to memorize every sentence

      December 5, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Chuckles

      Just to point out a couple of things.

      Hinduism has actually had its own fair amount of war, between sects and obviously right now in the Khyber Pass between India and Pakistan where there's a HUGE amount of religious violence between hindus and muslims. You could say it's pretty one-sided (Hindus being attacked by Muslims) but conflict always has two sides.

      Buddhism is slightly different. It's a proseltyzing religion and the monks and nuns try their best to spread buddhism, it's just a lot less violent. Because they are doing this though, they are attacked frequently themselves by people who don't want to be preached at. My question for you is, is it right if someone knowing they are going to be hurt and beaten because they are trying to preach their religion and do so anyway? Who's really to blame? Is Buddhism "better" because they aren't initiating the violence first?

      You are pretty much right, in order for a religion to flourish the adherents must believe they are "in the know" and it's exclusive. This stands true for just about every religion around and has ever been, which in my humble opinion is the main part of the problem.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      everyone wants to feel special. There was an article just the other day on cnn about 'american exceptionalism.' It's not just in the religions where the tactic is used to create followers. Political parties, with their 'real american' type language for example, also use the same concept.

      it's part of the human problem in my mind. We never seem to be able to see the forest through the trees.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  14. gliese42

    Christians are losing their faith and hopefully its not a dying religion. Arabs have death sentence for those who leave their religion but not in America anyway

    December 5, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Binky42

      Of course Christianity is a dying religion. It is has no place in modern society.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • petemg

      Christianity a dying religion? So be it, but it is the sign of the End Times. It was foretold in Revelation and Daniel. We Christians must just learn to push technology and the fast pace to take time to be with God in silent prayer and meditation. Also the time to prepare for the great harvest.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Binky42

      petemg – you missed the point. The end of Christianity doesn't mean "the end of days" it means people are finally waking up and appreciating life, the universe, and everything in it. Christianity is nothing but a weight tied to your ankle.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Joe Christianson

      Christianity is not dying out lol. If you add both Catholics and Protestants together they represent over 2.5 Billion people.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Binky42

      The number of Christians is slowly shrinking, and the amount of religious conviction among so-called Christians is at an all time low. This is wonderful news, because it means people are becoming free of that crap and can finally see reason.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • Colin

      Blinky – agreed. Let's hope the churches continue to empty.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  15. Binky42

    Muslims are more religious because their culture raises them to have stronger religious convictions, and there is also WAY too much political involvement that keeps people trapped in this religion.

    Pay attention Evangelicals – if you had your way the United States would be the Christian alternative to Afghanistan!

    December 5, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • ud


      December 5, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  16. kathy

    We're all on this planet Earth for a very short period of time. These particular people spend a lot of that time on their prayer rugs. Not sure they realize the silliness of it. When we die, we die, our bodies die, our organs die, we are no more. We leave behind memories in others' minds.....that's it.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • jason

      u lady are an ignoramus

      December 5, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • Abdul Salam

      I'm surprised why people don't believe in life after death? where as they find it easy to believe that monkeys turned into humans.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • Chuckles


      Apart from us being descendents of APES, not monkeys, it's not "easy" to believe it until after being presented with records and proof that it is entirely possible and most likely. Life after death has what proof again? Oh yeah, a book that says so and a bunch of people who in their dying moments where they are delirious and drugged up say they saw a "bright light" and what not.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  17. fred wood

    only one sacrrifice,onlly one Saviore,JESUS,OF NAZARETH,THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON,O F THE FATHER,JEHOVAh God,.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • everest

      i guess fred has a hard on today

      December 5, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  18. Colin

    As an atheist watching Christians, Muslims and Jews squabble over who is the most religious, I can't help but feel like an astronomer from NASA watching three astrologers from the National Enquirer arue over whether Virgos, Geminins or Capricorns will find love that month. It's all worship of the same sky-fairy, with different rituals and holidays.

    December 5, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Agreed! I hope ('cause prayer is pointless) to see the day when religious charlatans take their rightful place beside the astrologers in 'Vegas, their predecessors on the evolutionary tree of human superst!tion!

      December 5, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • petemg

      Isn't it nice to live in a Christian nation so you have the freedom to believe or not to believe as you wish. I have no problems with how you feel, but please to lump me in with Muslims. Live your life in peace.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Binky42

      If you're talking about the United States you should probably retake 3rd grade civics class. This is NOT a Christian nation.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • toxictown

      Truth, Colin!

      December 5, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • BRC

      Not this agian. The United States is not a christian nation. Nor are we a nation founded on christian values. We are a nation founded on the principles of freedom, personal responsibility, and limited governement interference except where required for the public good (I'm not saying we're achieving those goals, just saying that's what the goals were). In setting up a system that would allows those principles to flourish we enforced certain long standing social concepts that existed LONG LONG before Yaweh was even a concept, let alone christianity. Since its formation, christianity has co-opted many of the key principles involved (the same don't lie, don't steal, don't kill rules that all societally supportive religions enforce). So, we are a nation, founded on principles similar to those that Christianity extolls, but we ARE NOT a christian nation. anyone with hard evidence to refute this fact, is welcome to brign it forward. Otherwise, please find something else to talk about, this one is getting old.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Vulpes

      @petemg: If you live in the US you live in a nation comprised mostly of Christians, not a Christian nation. A Christine nation implies Christian faith and practices are codified in the law ... which it is not.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • AndyB

      We live in a secular nation. That's where the freedom of religion comes from.

      December 5, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  19. I'm The Best!

    Dear CNN, please fix your mobile site to allow one to browse previous comment pages instead of just the most recent.

    Thank you.
    -mobile user.

    December 5, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • everest

      you mean "mobile user who is too poor to afford a better mobile device."

      December 5, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      I have a droid thunderbolt and the only way to go back is to switch to the non-mobile site which doesn't work as well on a phone. I don't know if other phones don't have this problem but the droid does.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • CNN


      December 5, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • MarcAA

      I have the same problem with my IP4S, and it's a pain in the a$$.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Toez

      What a bunch of babies. If you'd just quit using those stupid things and get something more intelligent, you wouldn't be having these problems.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  20. HugoCorv

    This article seems to have a malicious intent. it starts innocently by explaining by explaining the Islamic faith.

    At the end, it reveals the true intent of the article – to justify the racist, supremacist agenda of Islamist fascists.

    "To assume that everyone around the world wants to be like the West – that they want liberal secular democracy – is an absurd idea." What about the non-Muslims in these countries? Do you want to simply gas them to death? What about their rights? Do they want to be willingly become second-class "dhimmi" citizens with no rights, as is the case in all countries where the law is Sharia?

    December 5, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • jimbob22

      CNN is merely mimicking the State Department's support for Islam–the ultimate human rights removal system.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:17 am |
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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.