home
RSS
December 24th, 2011
10:00 PM ET

'What's Christmas without chopsticks?' How other faiths celebrate December 25th

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) -
Two days before Christmas, Imam Mohamed Magid, the executive director at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, preached about Jesus at Friday prayers.

"We live in a country with a majority of Christians, where Christmas is a major holiday... It's a reminder we do believe in Jesus. Jesus' position in Islam is one of the highest prophets in Islam," Magid said, adding that Muslims view Jesus as a prophet on par with Abraham, Moses, Noah and Mohammad.

Often when he says the name of Mohammad or Jesus in conversation, Magid adds the Islamic honorific "Peace be upon him" after his name.

"Jesus is a unifying figure, unifying Muslims and Christians," he said. The Quran, the Islamic scriptures, makes specific mention of Jesus and of his mother Mary. "It's very interesting that there are many places where the prophet (Mohammad) is quoting Jesus."

Christmas has a way of bleeding into other faiths in America.  The Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ in a manger in Bethlehem 2000 some odd years ago is ubiquitous across the country, even if the American tradition has leaned away from the sacred and toward the secular.

Christmas at every corner can be somewhat problematic for those who are not in the estimated 246 million Christians living in the United States.  But for some faiths, the season brings reminders of their own traditions.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

Magid said Muslims believe many of the same things about Jesus that Christians do: Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, he lived a sinless life, he raised the dead, and he preformed miracles. He also said many Muslim scholars believe that Jesus will one day return to the earth, using the Christian vocabulary of "the Second Coming."

Explain it to me: The Hajj

"Certain aspects of our theology are different," he carefully notes, pointing specifically to incarnation, the Christian belief that Jesus was divine. Muslims are perhaps the most ardent monotheists in the world, making them at odds with Christians theologically over not only the Christian doctrine of incarnation, but also belief in the Trinity, that God the Father, the Holy Spirit and Jesus are three in one.

The All Dulles Area Muslim Society is one of the largest Muslim congregations in the country with ties to 5,000 families in the Washington area. Some of the families do put up a Christmas tree and exchange gifts, which one member suspects is often more about cultural assimilation than religious observance.

"I think Muslims, although they believe in Jesus, they give respect to this as a Christian holiday, so they don't pretend to celebrate this in a religious way," Magid said. "A Muslim would not expect a Christian to celebrate his holiday."

My Take: Why we're skipping the Christmas roast

At the Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery three hours north of San Francisco, there is a small Christmas tree set up near the statue of the Buddha.

"Normally we just have flowers, incense and candles, but now we have a tiny Christmas tree. It's really cute," Ajhan Yatiko, a monk in residence who is originally from Canada, said. "It's more like a traditional thing, respecting and appreciating the culture of where we live."

During the holidays, Yatiko said, "The senior monk might give a talk to the lay people which might draw parallels between the Christian faith and the Buddhist faith, as well as the differences, because I think both of those are important aspects of interfaith harmony.

"Sometimes in the West these days there's a kind of tendency to clump all the religions together and say, 'We're all climbing the same mountain,' and I think the intention there is nice. There's a harmonious intention there. But I think it's much nicer to say, 'Let's respect the differences and love and appreciate the differences of the other faiths," Yatiko said.

For the monks at Abhayagiri, life is spent in meditation, community, celibacy and work. They practice Buddhism in the Theravada tradition or the Thai Forest tradition. In their faith tradition, monks cannot handle money, grow their own food or trade, so they live entirely off of the generosity of others.

That means every half moon, about once a week, they head into town for alms rounds, where they walk around in their saffron robes with alms bowls to collect donations. The new moon this week fell on Christmas Eve.

"Everyone we see is going to be wishing us a Merry Christmas, and we'll be doing likewise," Yatiko said a few days before Christmas.

"We don't touch money and live a very simple lifestyle, so the Christmas tradition of exchanging gifts doesn't work so well for us," Yatiko said.

Yet Buddhists are called to live generously at every chance, be it in material things or spiritual ones, so at Christmastime the monks bring a truckload of fire wood and a fruit basket to a neighboring Ukrainian Catholic monastery.

In Brooklyn, a Hasidic walking tour opens ultra-Orthodox Jewish life to outsiders

"We do have some rather revered traditions for Christmas Day," said Rabbi Rick Rheins.  "I'm not sure if it was Talmudic or not, to visit the movie theater followed by a Chinese dinner," joked Rheins referring the collection of ancient rabbi teaching called the Talmud.

"What's Christmas without chopsticks?" joked Rheins who is the head of Denver's Temple Sinai, a Reform congregation of about 1,100 families.

"We acknowledge the importance of this day for our Christian neighbors and for my Christian colleagues. And so we don't celebrate Christmas as Jews, but we do thrill for our Christian neighbors," he said. Rheins said the celebration of Hanukkah simultaneously at Christmastime this year will mean he won't be bringing in any Christmas metaphors into services on Friday and Saturday.

As for the Christmas Day itself, including the popcorn and chopsticks, he said, "We encourage our members to do special volunteer work to relieve our Christian neighbors of their responsibilities, whether it's at hospitals or emergency services, to give them the opportunity to spend this time with their family and celebrate this sacred day for them.

"Christians and Jews, especially over the last generation, have really worked so hard to build bridges, not just of tolerance, but also have generated true mutual respect and cooperation," he said. He cited working to fight hunger and poverty together. "These are the expressions of a society where the differences in religion and the expressions of one's faith are less divisive than they are enriching.

"I don't think that was the case a generation ago," Rheins said.

Christmas has a way of seeping into Hindu traditions, as well. At least the tree and presents part.  "Because of the children," Uma Mysorekar, the president of the Hindu Temple Society of North America said.

"The children say, 'Oh, there's a tree in my friend's house.  Why not in my house?' So they will get a small tree, a symbolic tree," Mysorekar said.

"We do look up to Jesus as one of the deities of Christianity," Mysorekar said.

At the Hindu Temple Society of North America in the Flushing area of Queens, New York, Christmas Day will be filled with worshipers coming in and out.  Unlike other faiths, Hindus do not have a set day for communal worship.  The temple is a key part of Hinduism for prayer, worship and offerings.  Christmas will be busier because of the three day weekend, Mysorekar guessed.

Their temple even had a holiday party for the children.

Sacred Spaces: Inside a Hindu temple

"We have a holiday party for them, and we give them gifts and tell them what it's all about.  You know the Hindu festival of Diwali, it is more or less the same, where we give gifts and we meet with friends... So the custom is very easy to relate to."

During Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, lamps are lit in celebration of good triumphing over evil.

"Apart from the religious aspect of it - the concept, theme of Christmas - I think it's very much the same all over," she said.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Buddhism • Christianity • Christmas • Hinduism • Islam

soundoff (2,252 Responses)
  1. *

    FREE FREE PALESTINE!
    FREE FREE PALESTINE!
    FREE FREE PALESTINE!

    December 25, 2011 at 5:14 am |
  2. GRACE & MERCY

    Romans 14:11 It is written:
    As surely as I live, says the Lord. Every knee will bow before me; Every tongue will acknowledge God.

    December 25, 2011 at 5:10 am |
  3. eyeson

    Just got back from "Christmass" church service. I live on a very tight budget but I have everything I need, love. Love everyone of you that reads this. I wish you well and don't forget to love each other.

    December 25, 2011 at 5:10 am |
  4. Rodney

    typical liberal garbage, this war on Christmas. Islam is a terror jihad religion which must be outlawed already.

    December 25, 2011 at 5:06 am |
  5. jimmy the freak

    Organized religion is the scourge of mankind.

    December 25, 2011 at 4:56 am |
    • Ray in Vegas

      Amen!

      December 25, 2011 at 5:35 am |
  6. Islam=Peace

    Jesus and Mary in Quran:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve_Zt4GZL38

    December 25, 2011 at 4:53 am |
  7. Peace

    Muslims, Jews, and Christians were living together as neighbors in Palestine. Besides different beliefs, Muslims have nothing against Jews and Christians, we are human beings and we are actually taught in our religion to treat everyone kindly. Only those who hurt us do we have a right to defend ourselves (example if someone wanted to rob your house)

    December 25, 2011 at 4:51 am |
    • Ray in Vegas

      You must be reading a different version of the Quran than I've read. Because in the one I've read the suggested course of action, unless they convert, for "people of the book" is slaughter.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:57 am |
    • *

      Perhaps you're right. Jews ought to be more welcoming of their Palestinian neighbors. Muslims and Jews will get along just fine ... yes, just fine.

      December 25, 2011 at 5:10 am |
  8. Bribarian

    Jews hate christmas, mostly because they murdered jesus

    December 25, 2011 at 4:42 am |
    • Rachel Greenberg

      The Romans murdered him. Or don't you know your history?

      December 25, 2011 at 4:45 am |
    • *

      Oh, brother ... First Klein, now Greenberg. You two seem to have trouble concentrating and staying on topic. Perhaps you need a concentration camp.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:50 am |
    • Ray in Vegas

      Wow Asterisk! Did you really need to go there? And that doesn't get filtered?

      December 25, 2011 at 4:53 am |
    • *

      Right, Ray ... As fond as you may be of limiting speech, sometimes a firm statement is called for. You can go back to your pc hall monitor duties after Christmas.

      December 25, 2011 at 5:05 am |
    • Ray in Vegas

      Uhm ... asterisk boy ... I never said I was fond of controlling speech .. but CNN has filtered some pretty innocuous stuff from me for laughable reasons. But Nazi concentration camps and gas chambers are no joking matter, and nothing you should throw in someone's face because you think it is justified due to your enlightened, atheistic philosophy. You give atheists like me a bad name.

      December 25, 2011 at 5:25 am |
    • *

      Oh, boo hoo, Ray! You're a big boy. You don't have to worry about others giving you a "bad name." You don't need any help with that. Now grow up and stop trying to "shame" people into sharing your phenomenological reality. Freedom is freedom, boy; it's not freedom "within certain politically correct parameters."

      December 25, 2011 at 5:33 am |
    • Ray in Vegas

      Oh, don't misunderstand me, starboy. I absolutely defend your right to be a jerk and demonstrate that in your speech. But Rachel Greenberg is factually correct ... and for all you know she could be an atheist herself .. it WAS in fact the Romans who crucified Jesus.

      December 25, 2011 at 5:50 am |
    • *

      I never said it WASN'T the Romans who crucified Jesus. What are you talking about?

      December 25, 2011 at 6:04 am |
    • Ray in Vegas

      I just assumed you lambasted her because you disagreed with what she said! Now I know you are just anti-semitic. My mistake.

      December 25, 2011 at 6:45 am |
  9. *

    Rachel Klein wants to show everyone what an ugly Jewess sounds like. You know what Muslims would do to Jews around the globe were it not for the noble Gentile whose cultures you've polluted. Watch your tongue or we'll let them have you. Filth.

    December 25, 2011 at 4:36 am |
    • Rachel Klein

      Oh, did I offend you? Well murdering my people in the name of that fake gets me a little bit annoyed. I'd watch the threats if I were you,

      December 25, 2011 at 4:38 am |
    • *

      Perhaps we should just let the Muslims have you. Maybe it's time we stopped throwing money at Israel and let nature take its course. That's not a threat, that's just politics. You KNOW what Muslims would do to you. What THEY would do, not ME. Watch you mouth, you rat-faced piece of shiit!

      December 25, 2011 at 4:44 am |
    • Angela Johnson

      The Crucades, Inquisition, Progroms and Holocaust were all part of your "noble gentile culture". Keep in mind, my ancestors were priests in the Temple of Solomon while your ancestors were a bunch of barbarians – and I see that your noble gentile culture hasn't progressed that much. You call Rachel rat faced, but she's just telling you this historical facts – hard to take, I know...but she happens to be right.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:53 am |
    • Angela Johnson

      Yes, you'll that we're christians by our love, by our love, yes they'll know that we're christians by our love. Gagggg

      December 25, 2011 at 4:56 am |
    • *

      Who let the Jews out?! Did a gaggle of Jews just happen upon this blog, or what? Can't you "people" give it a rest today? You don't have to insinuate yourselves into other peoples' business all of the time, do you? This is Christmas morning, not Pushy Loud Jew morning!

      December 25, 2011 at 4:59 am |
    • *

      I'm not a Christian, Angela. I'm an atheist. Jews: gagggg!!!!!

      December 25, 2011 at 5:01 am |
  10. Ray in Vegas

    Referencing frame 2. A question. If Jesus is a prophet on par with Moses, Mohammed, Noah, etc .. then how come muslims only go nuts when they perceive an insult to Islam? I'm an atheist .. just asking.

    December 25, 2011 at 4:32 am |
    • Ray in Vegas

      I meant when they perceive an insult to "Mohammed".

      December 25, 2011 at 4:34 am |
    • Peace

      Isn't feeling bad when someone insults something or someone dear to you a normal human instinct? Wouldn't you feel bad if someone denied the fact that science is based off of scientific research and experiments, and not a bunch of theories and hypotheses and subjective standards which people set to measure results?

      December 25, 2011 at 4:46 am |
    • Ray in Vegas

      Yes .. but my question was .. if he was considered truly on the same level as, say, Jesus .. then why would you only get angry when Mohammed is insulted. I don't hear any death threats when cartoonists, etc make fun of Noah or Moses .. or Jesus. You catch my drift?

      December 25, 2011 at 4:51 am |
    • F

      Mohammad is held at the same level as Jesus in Islam but since Mohammad is the "founder" or the one who spread the message, Muslims hold him in a higher regard. But according to the religion they are both equally important.

      December 25, 2011 at 5:07 am |
    • Ray in Vegas

      Thank you for responding. And I have no idea what angle you're coming from ... but that's a total contradiction. If "muslims" hold Mohammed in higher regard than "Islam" does not consider Jesus on the same level as him. I'm just looking for clarification here .. I hate all religions actually .. but can't stop studying them! Go figure.

      December 25, 2011 at 5:19 am |
    • F

      I'm actually a Muslim, but what I was saying that according to the religious teachings they are supposed to be held to at the same level, but Muslims today are maybe biased (don't know if that would be the right word to use) and don't hold Jesus up to the same standard. And as for the way Muslims react when Mohammad is insulted, in my opinion they are overreacting and if they wouldn't react as harshly as they do non-Muslims are less likely to insult their holy prophet.

      December 25, 2011 at 5:27 am |
    • Ray in Vegas

      I understand where you're coming from. I like you, F. I like people I can communicate with .. even if they believe differently than me.

      December 25, 2011 at 5:33 am |
    • F

      Thanks, I go through a lot of different articles and most of the time I see ignorant comments and posts but if someone has a legitimate question I am always glad to share my view on the matter.

      December 25, 2011 at 5:36 am |
  11. Nomena

    I wish every human being on earth a merry Christams and a happy new year 2012.
    May the love of God be fullefied your entire life and the grace of Jesus Christ will be upon us.
    Jesus loves you. Take and accept Him as your savior.
    Nomena, Montreal-Canada

    December 25, 2011 at 4:31 am |
    • American Vet

      ok, so 7 billion on this planet. not quite 2 billion are Xtian. So you have condemned the other 5 billion to eternal suffering just because they don't follow YOUR book. Yea, that's a very "X-tian" atti-tude

      December 25, 2011 at 4:35 am |
    • Ray in Vegas

      "fullefied?" Take and accept a long dead, although obviously very bright and charismatic, mystic as your saviour if you want. My universe is bigger than that. If Jesus was alive today he would probably agree with me.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:37 am |
  12. Tim

    "Christmas at every corner can be somewhat problematic for those who are not in the estimated 246 million Christians living in United States." How is it "problematic", exactly?

    December 25, 2011 at 4:29 am |
  13. No Peace

    Primitive religious folk will be forced to conform to the norms of a reality-based worldview. You do not, and ought not, have the luxury of acting upon whatever fantasies "feel good" to you.

    December 25, 2011 at 4:28 am |
  14. Rachel Klein

    Christianity hijacked Judasim. Jesus is not the Messiah. The prophets were Jews and as Jews we get to decide what Judaism is and is not. The Torah was given to the Jews, not the Gentiles. Jesus did not fit the "job description" as described by the prophets. Christianity and the "second coming" is a theology created out of despiration. To make the "facts" fit. They don't . Therefore, since he didn't do the job, the idea of the second coming was fabricated. It is not in the "Old" Testament as any honest scholar can see.

    And, millions of Jews have been murdered in his name, with the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Eastern European programs and the Holocaust to name a few examples of "Christian love" May his name be erased.

    December 25, 2011 at 4:27 am |
    • Daleri Rileda

      Zachariah said that the Lord would suddenly show up in His Temple and before the scepter departed from Judah, Yeshua was in the Temple impressing the teachers of the Law.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:30 am |
    • Daleri Rileda

      It was not Christian teaching that persecuted the Jews.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:31 am |
    • *

      Perhaps you ought to be more worried about Gentiles allowing Muslims to exterminate Jews. If not, just keep popping off at the mouth, Jewess.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:32 am |
    • American Vet

      Rachel, I liked your post, especially the last sentence. I am an Atheist. So with true sincerity, in this, your Hannukah season, may I say ... "Shalom"

      December 25, 2011 at 4:32 am |
    • Atheist

      You are deadright.

      December 25, 2011 at 5:07 am |
    • JustAguy

      True Rachel. Not hijacked but purposefully put together. Once again I consider the Hebrew "religion". The only valid one. Abrahams blessing covered the earth. The people of the earth will always have that. The Hebrews are Gods alone I feel. Without consideration for anyone else. That is the truth in my opinion. However I also think if they could pull that one off. They could also pull off something like the farce of mass murder. A useful tool for keeping people away true. However truth be told. Its not the truth. Set up with a small contingent of some really bad people. Yet set to encompass all Hebrews as bad putting forth a big lie. Which is not the case. Bringing on the frustration of many who like the truth. With so much usury in Israel. Over 17 banks. Everyone getting home loans credit cards the selling of land. Why would the Hebrews of today keep silent on the rest of what is not true?

      December 25, 2011 at 5:24 am |
  15. Peace

    I can us both reason and belief in Islam. Islam can be proved to be true. It encourages you to think and reflect and ask, you just have to be willing to listen and learn with an open mind and an open heart.

    December 25, 2011 at 4:20 am |
    • American Vet

      ok .. PROVE it

      December 25, 2011 at 4:23 am |
    • No Peace

      Enough of your babble, fool! If you want to delude yourself, go ahead, but don't assume that others are as cowardly and ignorant as you. You are a primate. Primates evolved. No superbeing had anything to do with it. Try to be a real man and face reality!

      December 25, 2011 at 4:25 am |
    • Daleri Rileda

      Salvation is through sanctification by the Spirit and believing what is true. Only your Maker Himself alone, in person, can be your Savior because no one else can be.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:25 am |
    • Peace

      There are many levels where the Quran succeeds as a miricle whether through the language, history, numbers, challegnges, parables...etc.

      Just to keep it simple here is a scientific proof whcih was found recently, but was known in the Quran over 1400 years ago.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKqOQdXZ6Qg

      December 25, 2011 at 4:37 am |
  16. Daleri Rileda

    The ordered function of hydrogen working inside of us proves that all matter in the universe consisting primarily of hydrogden has a maker because ordered functions always have

    December 25, 2011 at 4:19 am |
    • Ray in Vegas

      How come CNN filters for profanity but not total stupidity? I hate it when people who obviously don't understand anything about science try to use it to explain their nutty beliefs .. like yours.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:44 am |
    • hahahaha

      who made that "maker"?

      December 25, 2011 at 5:16 am |
  17. master

    jesus (masih) was born in summer. i dont understand why you celebrate in winter, besides he was born under a palm not the tree you celebrating.. the Romans lied on you and make you astray

    December 25, 2011 at 4:19 am |
    • American Vet

      Read up on the history of Xmas and you'll have your answers. You'll learn about the Yule tree, WHY the 'church' chose that date, and other little tidbits about how Dec. 25th was usurped from the Romans and corrupted right from the start.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:26 am |
    • Jellyfishdude

      Christians who study its past understand fully well about the ties with Paganism and Christianity...and how Dec 25th is a commemorative feast to celebrate the birth of Christ...it's a fixed feast which means it doesn't change dates according to the phases of the moon, unlike Pasca (Easter)...it does not have to be the exact date of the birth of Christ...it is a date to maintain the essence of Christ's journey in order to communicate to the world outside Christianity.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:31 am |
    • Jellyfishdude

      American Vet: It wasn't just the Romans...a whole council across Europe agreed to celebrate it on Dec. 25th. It wasn't made up to control people...it was inspired and grew out of that stage organically. The Pagans embraced it and also converted out of their own choice, so the communication worked.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:33 am |
    • Uranjan Howpage'

      Mr. Master (or who ever you are),
      I totally agree with you. What I can not quite comprehend is what right does the Romans have to give Lord Jesus's teaching a Roman flavor. And why can't the Roman Catholics understand the truth.??????

      December 25, 2011 at 4:39 am |
  18. JustAguy

    I like Zach's comment. I do not respect most religion. The truth.. I respect the Hebrew religion as valid. Although I am not one. Everything else is just well I guess not opiate. But has a purpose. I don't think its very nice to fool people myself. Basically many religions have taken of what is Hebrew. To make them similar to Hebrews. Once again I am not a Hebrew. They are not Hebrews. They need to seriously consider their position in that regard. That they are not Hebrews. Also consider the fact that the God of the Hebrews cares only of his people and nothing for them. The whole world was blessed through Abraham. The rest of the world needs to accept that fact. Try to understand what was perpatrated on them. Why it was. Accept they are not Hebrew or similar in any regard. Accept their blessing and leave the rest of the myscogny done to them alone.

    December 25, 2011 at 4:13 am |
  19. Daleri Rileda

    No Yeshua, no peace.

    Know Yeshua, know peace.

    December 25, 2011 at 4:12 am |
    • American Vet

      Daleri, you are no different than the muslims on previous pages. They are spouting off their qu'ran, and you're throwing your bible in our faces. Your 'savior' was esecuted by the state over 2000 years ago.. give it a rest will you? He's dead, and he isn't coming back. Not one peron, not a single one, who authored anything in your new testament ever knew that guy. They just wrote down stories that were passed down for a good 30 years after your jesus died. And you KNOW how verbal stories get corrupted every time they are told. Think what 30 years of it had done to the original stores.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:18 am |
    • Daleri Rileda

      Only our Maker is able to remake us again as He is willing because there is no one else who can.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:21 am |
    • Peace

      "And the servants of (Allah) Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, "Peace!" {Quran:25:63}

      December 25, 2011 at 4:24 am |
    • American Vet

      You cannot offer any evidence at all about any kind of 'maker' .. your bibles and qu'rans have no evidentiary value ... do you have any other sources you can quote?

      December 25, 2011 at 4:27 am |
    • Daleri Rileda

      Mechanisms that function as ordered inside of us prove that we have a very great Maker.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:33 am |
    • American Vet

      Is it so hard for you to understand how the human body functions? Try a biology or a physiology class sometime.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:39 am |
    • hahahaha

      @Daleri Rileda: So you're proof that a functioning brain stops functioning when you introduce religion...way to prove to the rest of us what stupidity looks like.

      December 25, 2011 at 5:18 am |
  20. Eban

    I'd say this to non-believers all the same, "I'd rather know Jesus and not need him, than to need him and not know him." For if I believed in Jesus and he does exist, then when I die I have nothing to lose; but if I believed not and died then where in eternity would I open my eyes. That's a gamble I'm not willing to take.....

    December 25, 2011 at 4:12 am |
    • Jellyfishdude

      you're "missing the mark" on that one...(pun intended...yes...that is a greek pun)

      December 25, 2011 at 4:38 am |
    • hahahaha

      @Eban: It's called pascals wager and fails miserably!

      December 25, 2011 at 5:19 am |
    • galaxy101

      Quoting poorly from Pascal gets you nowhere. "Pascal's Wager", as it is often called, is deeply littered with defects. First, the wager doesn't tell us WHICH religion to follow. There are far too many exclusive religions. Indded, which of the thousands of gods currently worshipped on the planet should we follow ? Nearly all of those gods claim to be THE one.... often with punishment in store for following lesser or "false" gods. There are many other reasons this wager is corrupt but this isn't the place to list them all.

      December 25, 2011 at 5:36 am |
    • Hitch Lives

      Eban – you're giving yourself a false wager, as did Pascal. The choice is not bet, logically and evidentially, between Jesus or nothing – hence "you might as well go with Jesus" (itself, surely such a reprehensible position that were God/Jesus to exist then such a reason for faith would be viewed as far more dimly than the atheist which honestly tried to interpret the evidence using critical faculties). But I digress – the actual choice you have is between almost infinite possibilities. There is no more evidence for the God of the Christian bible than there is for a green turtle as the prime mover – or that we're living in the Matrix (as just two of the almost infinite possible examples).

      Can I suggest you'd be better off using your critical faculties to try to understand reality, rather than throwing your faith in with just one very unlikely explanation? In all probability, you will be more likely to live forever and have eternal peace that way.

      December 25, 2011 at 5:38 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33
Advertisement
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.