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.

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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. Your Daddy

    Is there really anyone who doesn't know why Muslims are more religious? It's because they're dumber and more gullible than believers in other fairy tales. Don't laugh, Christians and Hindus – you're dumb and gullible too. But Muslims are perhaps the dumbest group of people on the planet. Need proof? Just wait and see the animals they put in power after all they've worked for in this "Arab spring".

    December 5, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Hob

      I think you might have something there. Already the extremist groups are seizing power. They have traded one vicious dictator for another and are too ignorant to figure out why this happened. They are going to spend a few years feeling stupid if they aren't all drafted and sent to holy war with someone right away.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Paul

      Your Daddy – your post is not very helpful and adds nothing to this exchange. Why must atheists be so sardonic.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Sam

      Paul I think it does add to the discourse. I for one think the sheepishness of the deeply devout leads to gullibility and naivety. Critical thinking and out of the box thinking are at odds by definition with organized religions which profess to to be the one true path with codified rules on how to live, love and eat ...

      December 5, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Achmed the Terrorist

      SILENCE !! i'll kill you.....

      December 5, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Paul

      Sam – I think you need to think of a better word than "sheepishness". You think religious people are sheepish? Awkwardly shy or bashful? Meek, timid? That's the last religious people are, no matter what the religion. And why would someone consider a religious person "dumb and gullible" just because they believe in a higher power. Something greater than themselves. Dumb and gullible is the last way a person would describe me, even the many agnostic and atheist friends that I have.

      December 5, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  2. Bradley

    I beleive Jesus is the only way to heaven!

    December 5, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Madtown

      What about people who've never heard of Jesus through no fault of their own, they don't get to Heaven? Think more primitive cultures who'd never be exposed to Christianity.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • lacoaster

      If you are looking for a discount, you won't get it like that. Cut the coupon from the Penny Saver, bring it to the store, you get the discount. Any other story won't work. Looking from the distance, I believe that you should prioritize your salvation. Try this: Be saved from disease eating healthy, visiting your doctor and following his/her advise, be saved from harm (watch out for the thugs and the irresponsible), save your money because the economy is bad right now. The rest, you might not need to worry about. What happens after you die should not be that important either. To make it short, your body gets buried in the dirt, people cry you for a while and new people are born. That's it. Drop that back pack of worry about a next life that you don't need or that might be a total lie. One life is perfectly fine. Be grateful, enjoy. Mind your decisions now and for this life instead of day dreaming. Be socially conscious if you want people to be cosiderate to you.

      December 5, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Achmed the Terrorist

      Hummmm..hummmm....SILENCE !!

      December 5, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  3. Lance

    Any group that controls your time and resources from an early age is going to retain more members and have more observance. It also helps when that control is coupled with fear: fear of hell, fear of physical punishment or even death (allowed in some Muslim countries) and fear of social banishment from one's cultural and family community.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:26 am |
  4. Kris

    They are NOT more religious. They hide behing religion to get their way and to whine about things like big stupid babies. They use their religion to perform terrorist acts. They use their religion as a excuse to treat women like crap. This is one religion that I wish would go far away and never come back. I am soooooooooo sick of reading and hearing about it.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Bradley

      Look up honor killings. Its shocking.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Hob

      Yes, be sure and look at all the gore pics. These are things we hardly ever see in the West anymore. Yeah, go get grossed out.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  5. akay

    Well, it helps that in many countries where Islam is common that apostasy is a crime.

    When there are immediate and secular penalties for failing to be overtly religious, it certainly helps keep the "faithful" in line.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  6. Muslim

    islam is for terrorists, it is a violent and murderous cult.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Kris

      I agree 100 percent.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • CJ

      Golly, you're so right. Just like Christianity. Exactly like it. Both have many good people, but both cause more harm than good. Ironic huh? – while we secularists work our btts off doing good for all, everyday...

      December 5, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Salih Abdullah

      islam is not a violent religion at all only terrorist try to act like muslims to make us look like violent people, i know i am a peaceful muslim that works on computers,harmless.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:32 am |

      and you are basing this on what??? It may do you well to actually research your point of view as oppose to speaking from what you hear.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Hob

      Salih is lying of course. How sad that Muslims lie more often and always about their religion of hate and violence.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • Lance

      As much as I dislike aspects of the religion of Islam (though I have issues with most religions in general) and I strongly dislike countries that punish leaving Islam with death I am also opposed to painting everyone in Islam as a terrorist. Broad stereotypes do little more than to increase animosity between opposing viewpoints. Most Muslims are I believe good people-just like most people of other religions or those of no religion at all.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  7. OhISee

    I'm sure it has nothing to do with poorer education.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:23 am |
  8. rh

    It is simple. Because of the high-level of communication in the US and England, the commercialization of Christianity has made many believers skeptical of what it all means, and they just think buying a Christmas tree and having an Easter egg hunt means being Christian. Things like the comic book "The 99" will slowly make jaded Muslims out of newer generations.

    There are many more atheists out there than statistics show, many Christians "keep the faith" for societal and cultural reasons.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • Paul

      Great point RH. People need to come to God via a spiritual relationship, not just because there parents were Christians. That's why Jesus said one must be Born Again. Not born of just the body, as we all are, but of the spirit. Accepting God on His terms not ours. God is spirit and must be known in spirit.

      John 4:24
      24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

      December 5, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  9. Muslim

    The answer is pretty simple. Muslims are the guardians of the TRUE religion "Islam". They are the followers of The True God "Allah" and they are the followers of the last Prophet "Mohammad (pbu). The above fact is universally believed in the Muslim world and being the second largest and the fastest growing religion in the world that says something. If you stop for a second and think about it logically, you will realize it cant be because so many folks are part of some cult or brainwashed. Muslims who believe this include doctors, engineers, scientist, scholars.. so why is this. The only reason this is because if you study Islam as a religion you realize everything in Islam is logical and makes sense its not a religion that conflicts with modern life or science. It gives you answers to all your questions and has solutions to all your problems from establishing peace and hormoney in the society to studying modern science. If you read Quran you will realize this is the true word of God "Allah" There is a reason Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. I can challenge anyone here including the Author that no one has read Quran end to end or has any knowledge of what Islam is all about. I can also challenge you that anyone who reads it with an open mind will most likely convert to Islam. They say the truth is out there. Read Quran and find out. If you wanna get a glimpse search for "surah Rehman english translation" Just Read what it says. its one of the chapters from Quran.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • rh

      Intellect and religious beliefs are apples and oranges. They are using different parts of the brain. There are many atheist doctors, lawyers, politicians, etc., in many countries, who profess and follow religious practices because they are AFRAID of societal and family repercussions.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Krista

      Every faith, especially the relatively young ones, believe they're the "one true way". Of course if the religion were as perfect as people say, then the followers of it would have a lot harder time twisting it to their own desires of jihad.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Muslim

      Why is Atheism a growing trend in western cultures and most of them are like you said highly educated people. this is because when they look for answers in Christianity and Judaism they don't find it and a lot of things do not make sense and rightly so. Christianity and Judaism religion has been changed and is not what it was in its true form. Quran is the final testament the preserved word of the True God "Allah".

      December 5, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Hob

      Why would anyone say to read the Koran when it is full of hate and murder against non-believers? Everyone who reads it can see that it proves Islam is a lie. And it has been changed many times in the beginning.
      Also, there are hundreds of contradictions and inaccuracies in the koran. It is filth.
      Only a fool would try to bluff his way past the fact that the koran shows him to be lying. What a dog's bottom you are, Muslim.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Lance

      @Muslim-Your religion has grown at the cost of physical threats of violence. All religions sadly have a violent past and yours is no exception. It also continues to thrive because of threats-in many Muslim countries leaving Islam is punishable by death. In countries without a Muslim majority that cannot create such punishments there is certainly cultural banishment that occurs of those who leave Islam. I will only be impressed with the growth of your religion once all physical and social threats are removed. Until then you are no better than Middle Age Christianity-which only thrived because heresy was punishable by death.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Muslim

      Not true. what you are referring to has to do with peoples misconception of what Islam is. there is no doubt that there is a problem in the Muslim world where many are left un-edcucated and become victim of radicalization. regardless this has nothing to do with what Islam teaches us. the only solution to this is to spread the word of islam and educate them. West attributes this to Islam and wants Muslims to not adhere to Islam which is contrary to the solution.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Dodo

      What a bunch of nonsense! I have read the sanitized version of Islam (english) and even that is full of crap that no sane person or intelligent person can take it seriously. I am so tired of scientific claims and others that most religions make – yeah, not only Islam. Vedas and Buddhist texts contain rather elaborate logical and scientific conclusion (and I mean detailed) that Islam is total childish compared to them. Have you read those scriptures? There is no logic Islam. It is either you believe me or I will cut off your head. It is fastest growing because muslims try to out populate the natives by producing babies like a sow and having strict rules against marrying others without them changing their religion or killing off people who dare to leave Islam. It is the biggest cult on the planet. Muslims are so afraid of scrutiny that they will kill people for criticizing or even drawing a picture of Muhammed. Of course, that is the message of Islam in reality. Obey or get killed. For me, if a person said he/she believes in Islam, I know right away they are morons and can't think for themselves. case closed.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Muslim

      Not true. If maybe true w.r.t Christianity and other religions but not Islam. See how Islam came into being and how it was spread in the initial days. Muslims were prosecuted and tortured. they were the minority they were not the majority but they did become majority not by swords but by spreading the word of Allah. Afterwards when Islam was the dominant religion and culture in the world for over a thousand year they may have been wars which Muslim empires must have fought for advancing their territory. I don't have all the facts about which war was waged and what folks did at that time. Again I am not talking about what people have done or doing I am talking about what Islam is about.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • BRC

      Read your recommended Surah, and there is nothing convincing about it. I see how it tries ot be persuasive (promissing men that if you follow all the rules you will be met in several paradises my virgins, who don't have any bodily funcitons), but there is nothing in the way of proof. It does what all religious texts do-
      "Look at this tree, it exists because Allah made it!"
      "Of course, see look, it says right here that he did."
      "Huh, look at that, okay, I guess it's right"

      There is no more reason to belive in this text then in any other religious volume.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Muslim

      reading some sanitize version of islam is not Islam or Quran. your statement is far from what the truth is. you think over 1.5 Billion Muslims in the world are living in fear and wants to leave religion but cant because they are afraid their heads will get cut off 🙂 my friend you are wrong. let me give you one example of what Islam teaches Muslims. "Killing of one human being (not muslim but a human being) is equivalent of killing the whole civilization.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Muslim

      read it and study it you will have answers to all your questions. I know its a long book but read it. yes it has strong words for the unbelievers but read the whole thing to find out why that is and who was the intended audience. Islam does not teach Muslims to seek out unbelievers and start killing them. Far from it. Most folks like yourself have a very bad impression of what Islam is about and mostly the reason besides the obvious bias in western media are Muslims who have diverted from the true path and misrepresent Islam.

      December 5, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Hob

      I HAVE read it you stupid cretinous dog! It shows you to be LYING like the stupid cretinous dog you are!
      You are so god-damned stupid I will take great pleasure in joining the military to kill stupid Muslims whenever it becomes necessary!
      I read it. It is full of filth. I shlt on it and burned it. How do you like them apples?

      December 5, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Dodo

      oh dude, I knew you will say that. The next one will be do you know Arabic otherwise you don't know Islam. I dare say the one in Arabic is worse than the english version where meanings are made more palatable to the modern world and words are deliberately twisted to make it seem humane. I have one answer for you. The 19 hijackers on 9/11 knew arabic. You do know it is allowed to beat woman? It is in the bloody Quran. I know it is later once again made to appear not so while clerics all across middleeast testify to the authenticity of it. Are you sayign Mohammed is the perfect example of a human being to you? lets get to the source of the farce here.

      December 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Lance

      The fact remains that many countries here and now that are predominantly Muslim have death penalites or other severe penalties for leaving Islam. Islam also cannot be spoken against in those countries and to do so can mean death. Any religion or idealogy which feels it must actively suppress opposing ideas through violence clearly has no interest in truth. If Islam can save mankind one has to wonder why the countries which are predominantly Muslim are not beacons of freedom, prosperity and progress instead of being beacons of rigid control, poverty and war.

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

      you are right about the sad current state of affairs are w.r.t Muslim countries but is because they have lost their ways and left the true teachings of Islam. But your argument doesn't hold overall. Not too long ago most of the modern history which most westerner refer to as dark ages were beckon of prosperity and success for the world. Thats when most of the foundations of modern science were laid including medical sciences, mathematics, chemistry and astronomy and yes these were all Muslim scientist and scholars part of a prosperous peaceful Muslim societies which lasted for over hundreds of years..

      December 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Lance

      LOL. When predmoninantly Muslim countries accomplish great things (like the Muslim empires of 1000 years ago) it is because of Islam but when they have tyrannical laws and terrible poverty today it's because they 'lost their way'. Anyone can pick and choose the good and bad things that happen in their religious history and attribute the good to the religion and blame the bad on something else.

      You believe in Islam because of your evolved instincts to accept the beliefs of your social group-just as those raised Christian believe in Christianity or those raised Hindu believe in Hinduism-and outsiders view it as nonsense. The key dogma of a religion is also repeated over and over until it is not questioned. For Christians that is that the Bible is the inerrant word of God and Muslims it is that the Quoran is the word of God. I was raised Mormon and Mormons say the exact same thing about the Book of Mormon that you say about the Quoran, "if you read it you will know no man could have written it and that it's from God." They believe it because they were either raised Mormon or accepted into Mormon culture. They are taught over and over that the Book of Mormon is so amazing and divine and eventually it's impossible for them to think otherwise. That is why you believe the same about the Quoran. That is why scientists and scholars raised in Islam of Mormonism still believe in it in spite of all their training on skepticism, science and evidence.

      December 5, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • Paul

      Islam is the world's largest cult. And was warned about in 1 John 4:1 – 3

      1 John 4:1-3
      Chapter 4

      Test the Spirits

      1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

      Jesus said that He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life! And when died on the cross for my sins and yours He said it is finished!

      John 14:6
      6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

      I have read the Quran. It is one of the hardest books to follow. Open your eyes my brother. Ask God and He will reveal the answer to you!

      December 5, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • Paul

      Muslim – Islam was spread by the sword. Mohammed built up an army after he was kicked out of Mecca. The early verses of the Quran speak of peace only because he was a minority. He went Medina and built an army. Jesus said live by the sword, die by the sword. And that's what happened to Osama Bin Laden and all others who wish to spread their religion by force. The Quran says there is no compulsion in religion. To bad Muslims don't follow that verse! We are all given free will from God. Who is any man to force another religion on someone by threats?! God calls out to everyone and showed us how to love by loving us first.

      1 John 4:19
      19 We love because he first loved us.

      And how does He do that??

      John 3:16
      For God So Loved the World

      16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

      Open your eyes my brother.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • Muslim

      i am sure followers of the Jewish religion has exactly the same thing to say about Christianity and Jesus so now what? There has always been on God and one religion and still is and the true from of that religion is called Islam. everything else which were at one point the true word of God are not the same anymore because they have been changed and un-accounted for. Quran is the only book that validates the books before it and gives answers to questions you may have as christian or jewish or even hindus. Quran is not just the book for Muslims. that's the most important thing to realize. its the book for the whole mankind and the universe. Read it you will probably find more about Christ and Mary from Quran then you could find in what is left of the original bible or the old testament. Quran is same as it was written 1400 years ago nothing has been changed or modified this is one of the miracles of Quran as Allah has taken it upon himself that his words will be preserved till the day of judgment.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Paul

      That's not true! 11 of Jesus's disciples were murdered, Peter being crucified upside down! He was the one who denied that he knew Jesus, three times! What changed his perspective? Because he witnessed the Risen Christ! And it changed everything for those disciples. They were given Jesus's Holy Spirit, as promised by Jesus. The early church was persecuted by the Jewish leaders and the pagan Roman empire, until around 300 AD!

      I have read th Koran. How can Mohammed come along and say that the Bible was altered?!? What was altered? The Word of God DOES NOT CHANGE! You need to open your eyes and heart. God will reveal the Truth to you. And the Truth will set you free! You seem like a good man. And a man of strong faith. Ask God. He will show you, by His Spirit!

      Isaiah 40:8
      8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

      Peace Brother

      December 6, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • Paul

      Muslim OK I read Sura 33 again. The sura where Allah says that adoptions are all cancelled so Mohammed can marry his adopted son's wife! It's amazing how Allah's word changes based upon Mohammed's desires! He had seen his daughter-in-law and admired her and wanted her for his own. Coveting his son's wife. It makes Mohammed sound like a cult leader to me! And not a very good person.

      One day the Messenger of God went out looking for Zayd (his adopted son). Now there was a covering of haircloth over the doorway, but the wind had lifted the covering so that the doorway was uncovered. Zaynab (Zayd’s wife) was in her chamber, undressed, and admiration for her entered the heart of the Prophet. (Al-Tabari, The History of al-Tabari, vol. viii, p. 4)

      December 7, 2011 at 7:01 am |
    • Muslim

      Problem is you are seeing what you want to belief rather than understanding what it is. Its difficult for Christians and followers of other religion to all of a sudden realize their fore fathers screwed them up and now they are following the wrong religion. Its difficult and human nature is to shun any such things. Allah realizes that and that's why there is a huge reward for anyone who realizes the truth and does take the step to come to the right path all of his or hers prior sins are forgiven no matter how grave just like a new born.

      Ok so now to answer some of your misconceptions. you seem to be suggesting that Jewish people consider Jesus as the prophet. this is kind of delusional at best so i rather not even discuss this.

      So you go look for anything you can find in Quran that you can use as an argument to falsify Islam and you find Prophet Mohammad marrying his adopted sons wife. First of all Quran unlike your current version of bible or torah is not the word of Mohammad but the words of one True God Allah. so its not Mohammad saying bible was changed but its Allah telling Mohammad what happened. If you had bothered doing some more reading you will realize this happened as people took money to make changes i.e changing things which they didn't like or just added things making Jesus Son of God. if these things didn't happen there was no need for Jesus to come as at that time people had stray from the original teachings of Moses. similarly Mohammad came as teachings for Jesus were forgotten.

      Now back to your dislike of what Prophet Mohammad did in marrying his adopted sons wife AFTER she was divorced. The key word here is adopted. adopted son is not your real son. A commonly held belief at that time. this marriage was just to make that distinction that your adopted son does not become your real son. when it comes to who you can marry is not just based on likes and dislikes but what is good for you and what is not good for you biologically and genetically and that is the point this marriage is making. Also, your version of the story is distorted and wrong. when Allah told Mohammad to marry Zenub he was hesitant just like any person would be but did marry eventually as was told to him to do by Allah to make it clear that adopted sons are not your real sons.

      You are too consumed with your hatred and beliefs so you may never understand. Instead of understanding and looking at the bigger picture of what the truth is you like many haters look for anything you can find and distort it to make it look bad and use it as justification that Islam is a cult. you are wrong. this is the reason perhaps why Allah reseructed Jesus so one day when he comes back as a Muslim only then folks like you will finally realize what the truth is.

      December 7, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Paul

      I don't know where to start. First never in any of my posts did I say that Jews consider Jesus as a prophet! They do not even consider Him. To them He is nobody! But to the Muslim, it gets very convoluted when my Muslim friends say that they know Jesus and that He is mentioned in the Koran, along with His mother, Miriam! But they do not know Him as God. And that what does it for me! The fact that God became Man, a poor one, and then was mocked and killed for OUR sake. Yours and mine! He was the sacrifice for OUR sins. That's the difference! I don't follow a religion, but the risen savior. We are told to love God and He shows us how to do that!

      1 John 4:19
      19 We love because he first loved us.

      And how did He love us first?

      John 3:16
      For God So Loved the World

      16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

      Romans 5:8
      8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

      You say I have hatred because I challenge the Koran. I disagree and so would my many of my Muslim and Jewish and non-believing friends. I care about them so I share my faith. Peacefully and respectfully. I share my hope in Jesus.

      Who says that the Bible has been altered? Do you know that Joseph Smith, who started the Mormon faith said the same thing! That God and Jesus told him that ALL faiths are wrong and have gone astray. Sound familiar??

      December 7, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Paul

      Muslim – your whole faith is based upon one man and his writings. Writings that he said were from God. And that ALL scriptures before his hav been altered! The Bible aw written by 42 men over 1500 years. All with the same central theme! When someone makes a claim as great as Mohammed's, shouldn't he have evidence for it? The bible is full of prophecy to prove it is from God! There is no prophecy in the Koran. Every old testament prophet gave prophetic messages to show that he was sent by God. And the Bible says to test the prophet.

      Deuteronomy 18:15-22
      A New Prophet like Moses

      15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— 16 just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die. ’ 17 And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. 20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. ’ 21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken? ’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.

      Genesis 22:7-8
      7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “GOD WILL PROVIDE FOR HIMSELF LAMB for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

      Genesis 22:13
      13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a RAM, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.

      John 1:29-30
      Behold, the Lamb of God

      29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me. ’

      That prophetic message from Moses in Deuteronomy speaks of Jesus!

      I really hope this helps you, brother.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:48 am |
  10. Locke

    I think it is because there is a death sentence for anyone who converts from Islam to anything else. That would make me more religious.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  11. J.C.

    Whether the invisible flying spaghetti monster wears a turban, a cross, or an ankh, it remains a make believe creature.

    Throw away your crutches, people.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • rh

      Hey, don't mock the FSM! He can beat up any sky god with one tentacle tied behind his back!

      December 5, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  12. Jimmy Jow

    Muslim more Religious and more trouble’s

    December 5, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  13. Paul

    Most Christians unfortunately do not know their Bible and what it teaches! It teaches that Jesus is the only way. John 14:6-7
    6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”. It also teaches that we cannot earn our salvation as ALL other religions teach! Ephesians 2:8-9
    8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

    One of the things that caught my eye is the quote from the article that Mohammed came to nullify the message of the other prophets that came before him. Every prophet from the Bible came with the same message and built upon that message! Jesus said he came to fulfill the scriptures and the law not to abolish it! Matthew 5:17-18
    Christ Came to Fulfill the Law

    17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

    Only one comes to abolish or destroy the law! I pray for all the Muslims who are good people but are misguided. May their eyes be open by the Holy Spirit.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • rh

      How are women and children treated in the Bible? How are enemies treated in the Bible?

      If you only believe that Jesus' teachings are the way, do you follow the Ten Commandments? When was the last time you stoned an adulterer (as noted in the Bible). How about not having money in church?

      Another hypocrite.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Krista

      @rh To give him some credit, Jesus didn't teach the things you stated, but he did say that all the laws and prophets must hinge on the two laws that he does give. Love God and Love others (paraphrased) so in a sense, that does away with quite a few things from the other books.

      The real problem here is literalism... those who claim that every word of the bible is of God and yet ignore those that conflict.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Paul

      RH- because of what Jesus did, we are all under a new covenant, freeing us from the rules and regulations. Think about a world where Jesus commanded us to Love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. You wouldn't have to lock your door in fear of a theif breaking in nor another man sleeping with your wife.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Craig

      Of course, its Jesus! He is the answer! Oh, wait, maybe its Allah? Or Abraham? Hmmm...

      December 5, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • KE

      Islam and its Prophet DID NOT NULLIFY the message of pervious prophets (Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Moses, Adam) BUT INSTEAD builds on it. Being a muslim or becoming a muslim REQUIRES you to accept these previous prophets AS TRUE messengers of the same ONE God!
      This article got it wrong!

      December 5, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  14. Return To God

    “How many of us would be able to overcome our desires and resist the temptation of sin? How many of us even lower our gaze when we look upon something that we are not supposed to? The real prisoner is the one whose heart has been kept away from remembering his Lord, and the real captive is the one who has been captivated by his whims and desires.”
    . In Islam, the ideologies of optimism and contentment with the decree of Allah (God) go hand in hand. Consider the following verse about understanding the divine decree:
    “No disaster strikes upon the earth or among yourselves except that it is in a book before We bring it into being. Indeed that, for Allah, is easy. In order that you not despair over what has eluded you and not exult [in pride] over what He has given you. And Allah does not like everyone self-deluded and boastful” (57: 22-23).

    December 5, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Hob

      Another Muslim apologist. This article has brought them out of the woodwork like the vermin they are.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  15. chris

    liberalisim and materialisim has been rotting America from the inside for decades. The Islamisits should just wait for this decaying fruit to fall on it's own.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Binky42

      Yeah, how dare those women be allowed to vote. Get back to the kitchen woman, and take off those shoes!!!

      December 5, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  16. AKP

    One word, enemy will not come in terrify mood, very calm difficult to distinguishes. Once you trap in brainwash, life under notice…

    December 5, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • rh

      Try finding someone who speaks English to translate, or post in your native language.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:26 am |
  17. palintwit

    Mohammed is reincarnated millions of times every morning, the world over, in " The Great White Porcelain Bowl ".

    December 5, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  18. Rebecca

    "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." The so-called West? Yes, we're really the fake West masquerading as the real one. Curses! Foiled again!

    December 5, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • jimbob22

      I guess that not enough US soldiers have died fighting for the Muslim-only regimes of Karzai and Maliki...

      December 5, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  19. John

    For every Christian you should your Bible, For every Jewish people you should read your Torah m Same goes to Islam , how ever Jewish people and Muslims they read the Quran and they follow it , not like us we don't follow anything, that's really a big mistake,
    Look how Jewish people they are so stricked, in there religion also Muslims , but on the other hand we Christians we don't care about God or even Jesus, we put a sign of jesus in our nick but we don't follow his rules , so that is really wrong, how ever i think there is a big similiary between Islam and Judaisim !
    Kind Regards,
    The Priest John Alex

    December 5, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Hob

      For a priest you seem to lack insightfulness. I suggest you read the Koran. It's hate and violence is more focused towards non-Muslims than the OT is focused against non-Jews and non-Christians.
      But of course you wouldn't dare because you prefer ignorance otherwise you would not be a priest for a false belief.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Dodo

      John the Baptist, you should be glad that the Christians don't follow the old testament and nor does the majority of the muslims truly follow the words of the warmongering Mohammed, otherwise the world will be chaos due to some illiterate hate mongerig lunatic who said God told to do this or that. Islam is a farce. It is only there for people who don't have a brain of their own and must be told to what to do and how to do it. Islam does not promote peace but rather hatred and disunity and war and strife and pain and superiority complex and so on and so forth. It is a vile disease on this planet and one of the reasons why humans won't evolve beyond this. Curse this black plague.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  20. Lord Unga Bunga

    Further proof that the "I'm more religious than you are" game the GOP Presidential Clowns are currently playing is retarded.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • palintwit

      The only thing the GOP loves more than the baby jesus is boinking their cousins every Sunday right after church.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • rh

      Yeah, Newt Gingrich's life is a fine example of family values. It's okay to cheat for fifteen years if you then ditch your wife and marry your mistress.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:27 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.