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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.

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"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. JenniferinTX

    Merry Christmas everyone!

    December 24, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • tighthole

      Merry Christmas, hagface!

      December 24, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • JenniferinTX

      Merry Christmas to you too!

      December 24, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      JenniferinTX, thank you and the same to you and yours.

      Amen.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • Isaac

      Merry Christmas, Jennifer!

      December 25, 2011 at 6:00 am |
  2. Lol!

    Crom laughs at your puny pine tree! He laughs from his mountain!

    December 24, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
  3. GAW

    Jingle Bells Jingle Bells Trolling all the way. Yes Santa is out tonight as are the trolls on CNNs Belief forum. So don't waste your time "Don't Feed the Trolls"

    December 24, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
    • GAW

      And by the way: My gay lover just fisted me. Merry Christmas!

      December 24, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • GAW

      "Don't Feed the Trolls"

      December 24, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • GAW

      Just keep feeding me your salty yum yum.

      December 24, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • GAW

      Troll Face anyone?

      December 25, 2011 at 12:10 am |
  4. Jim

    As an Atheist I can appreciate the day off, and the boost to the economy all the shopping brings. As far as the religious dogma, I think it should probably stay a personal thing. Believe in your own way, to yourself. No legislating to your beliefs, or lack thereof. And for Odin's sake, no more street corner preaching!

    December 24, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • srikanth

      Good approach mate.
      I agree with you, I am a hindu.
      I would also like to add, if we were to think of helping someone in trouble, religion should not be the deciding factor.
      I am hinting at religious conversions, distribution of aid and stuff across the world in the name of god.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • srikanth

      I mean, if we want to help someone, why do we have to change their religion and then give aid?
      That is insane in my view.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • Relictus

      Street corner preachers are specifically called out as hypocrites by Jesus himself in the Sermon on the Mount. There will be no reward for them in heaven. They may even believe in Jesus, but they will go to the same Hell as I.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:57 am |
    • Loggan44

      I agree. Helping our fellow man can't be just based on whether or not they have the same belief system we each have. It must be given freely and without expectation. How can we ever hope to live together in peace if we can't help each other out unconditionally? Peace to all.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:18 am |
    • AdmrlAckbar

      You had me until the the Odin thing.. it's Christmas.. go level your elf..

      December 25, 2011 at 3:36 am |
    • Sa

      If you believe in God and Heaven, then the decision is God's who does and does not enter heaven. As a Muslim, I believe we do have a duty to spread the message, either through exemplary action or by directly speaking to people with humility and sincerity. After that, the matter is between God and his servant. Unless you're a prophet of God, who has been given the message, to say with certainty that a specific person will enter heaven or hell with such certainty seems pretentious and arrogant. No man knows in what time, what land, what state, and what state of faith he himself will die. And no man knows what sins God forgives through his immense unmatched mercy.

      Rather than consuming ourselves with the sins of others, we should strive to make amends for our own actions and hope for God's mercy on day when there will be no shade but his.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  5. Someone out there

    Jesus was the Son of Mary, not the Son of God. Never in the Gospels does Jesus say "I'm God" nor does he say "Worship Me". One day, a man called Jesus 'Good Teacher' but Jesus rebuked him saying "God alone is good." Jesus worshiped God – the ONE GOD.

    The Trinity was established more than 300 years after Jesus left the Earth at the Council of Nicea. So too was the establishment of Christmas on December 25th. In fact, December 25th was an ancient Pagan Holy Day on which was observed 'Sol Invictus' (Day of the Living Sun). It was the day of the winter solstice on the Julian calendar and they worshiped the sun (that bright yellow gas ball in the sky). So, the Council decided, hey, let's plop Christ's birth on a day already used by the pagans to worship the sun.

    Christmas tree with lights is a pagan tradition. Were these trees around in Jerusalem, in Bethlehem, in Nazareth??? No, its from German pagan tradition. Lights on trees were used to depict stars in the sky and evergreen tree was a symbol of life. Perfect for 'Sol Invictus' and the pagan holidy.

    "If ye love me (Jesus), keep my commandments." John 14:15

    "...the first of all the commandments in, Hear O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord." Mark 12:29

    "No man hath seen God at any time," John 1:18 So, if the disciples, Israelites, Romans and others were seeing Jesus in their midst, doesn't that say he is NOT God???

    "...for my Father is greater than I." John 14:28. If you believe in the Trinity & that all 3 are equal, answer this...can someone be "greater" than himself?

    Wake up Christians!

    December 24, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • Collin

      You see... it's that kind of cherry picking of verses that shows just how ignorant you are of Christian theology

      December 24, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Someone out there

      Cherry picking? Well, prove it then. Does Jesus ever say he is God or worship him in the Gospels???

      December 24, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • Answer

      @Someone

      You just have to ask why "you" chose those verses and not others. Ask yourself why.

      December 24, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • Collin

      "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

      And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

      And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.

      December 24, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • Someone out there

      Why don't you show me your quotes from the Gospel then 'Answer'? Try this one:

      "Verily, verily, I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him." John 13:16

      So, the author of John tells us that God is greater than Jesus.

      December 24, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • Collin

      Also your interpretation of John Ch. 1 is woefully inaccurate "No man had seen God." Read it in context, please. It references a time before Jesus. If you would read the whole chapter, John states that "The word became flesh" and "The Word was God"

      You need to educate yourself before you speak

      December 24, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • Answer

      @Someone

      Why I do care to post stupid bible quotes? That's your job. So on with you and continue your nonsense.

      If this holiday is to you -a cheap need to post bible crap- then by all means post them til you die of mental breakdown.

      December 24, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Collin

      Are you seriously stating that Jesus is referencing himself and God in this passage? The context is the feet washing of the disciples... This has NOTHING to do with the trinity. And if you had actually read the passage, you would see this two verses before.

      “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am"

      December 24, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      JESUS DID IN FACT CLAIM DIVINITY IN THE BIBLE

      LOOK IT UP FOR CHRIST'S SAKE

      December 24, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • Someone out there

      Colin, according to the Bible, God has sons by the tons!

      Psalms 2:7
      "I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me (KING DAVID), Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee."

      I don't see the Jews worshipping King David as the son of God, nor do you worship King David as the son of God. The Jews worship ONE GOD, the Muslims worship ONE GOD, but Christians, don't.

      "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:3

      NO HE DID NOT CLAIM DIVINITY IN THE GOSPELS!

      December 24, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Someone out there

      "But of that day (Judgement Day) and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." Mark 13:32

      Is he not part of God? Is the "Trinity" not ONE God? The fact that one "personality" of God has knowledge not available to the other "two thirds" is a clear indication that they are distinct and separate beings, and not three of one being.

      "For God is not [the author] of confusion." I Corinthians 14:33

      December 24, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
    • Betty

      Why do you feel compelled to attempt to disprove and degrade anothers spiritual guide?

      December 25, 2011 at 12:23 am |
    • HeavenSent

      John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

      John 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

      John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.

      John 14:4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

      John 14:5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

      John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

      John 14:7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

      John 14:8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.

      John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father?

      John 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

      John 14:11 Believe me that I [am] in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.

      John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

      John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

      John 14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it].

      John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

      John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

      John 14:17 [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

      John 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

      John 14:19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

      John 14:20 At that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

      John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

      John 14:22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

      John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

      John 14:24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

      John 14:25 These things have I spoken unto you, being [yet] present with you.

      John 14:26 But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

      John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

      John 14:28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come [again] unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

      John 14:29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.

      John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

      John 14:31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

      Amen.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:45 am |
    • kr

      Jesus said, "The Father and I are one" (John 10:30).

      December 25, 2011 at 1:35 am |
    • Ben

      Jesus did not explicitly claim to be "God" but the fact that he said he was the Son of God suggested it. If you can get through the New Testament without realizing that the disciples clearly believed Jesus was God you're just not understanding it. You know so little of Christian theology...

      December 25, 2011 at 1:46 am |
    • me123me

      Jesus, The Holy Spirit and God the father are all God. They are just three separate aspects of God.

      December 25, 2011 at 6:06 am |
    • Ricky

      It is gretely regretful how poor knowledge you have about Bible.before you will make such stupid and primitive statements as in your text, take the Bible into your hands and read where the God Himself called Jesus Christ the God. But where it is in this book it is up to you to try to find. The basic knowledge is very required before will start open your stupid mouth.How truly stupid and blind you can be saying that jesus was the son of Marry.He was before even Marry was born. Marry was used only by God to bring His son-Jesus to this world in the form of the human being.Go back to books.let the God Jesus Christ foregive you.Because denying the jesus as the God, it is the sin agains the Holy Spirit which will never be forgiven.But it is the another issue but not for the blind people.

      December 25, 2011 at 8:04 am |
    • buck

      hey someone, I've always liked this scripture Mt 11:25..where Jesus said" I publicly praise you, Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intellectual ones and have revealed them to Babes"
      I never could understand why people just can't take Jesus at his word when he says he is the Son of God, and not God himself. People blindly follow traditions and others, few investigate for themselves with an open mind.....if people tell you that the "Trinity doctrine" is a mystery, it's because they can't prove it! Wake up people! you can start your own investigation on this subject by simply googling "1 John 5:7"......and go from there

      December 25, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • ambi

      THANK you, there is no Trinity and I don't get why people need there to be, smh folks will believe anything if you tell them it enough. When I pray I pray to God there is ONLY 1, Jesus was great and I love him too but he is not God, I don't end my prayers with "in Jesus name" and if God really won't let me in because of that...LOL then that is not the God I was praying to, never understood why God needed an intermediate. It actually shows me that folks belief is shaky, you don't have real faith to believe in a God you never saw but it's is easier and eases your mind to think God lived in a humans body and had a face you can think of as your etc, I do good deeds all year, I don't need the commercial holiday to suddenly become nice, I say Happy Holidays so I won't offend anyone since lots of faiths have something going on at this time of the year. I get so sick of Christians in particular shoving what they believe down the whole worlds throat (though I can't stand it of anyone religion) I don't have a religion (men and their interpretations) I have faith in GOD and GOD only do you but stop trying to tell everyone else that what they BELIEVE or have FAITH in is wrong smh and Jesus WAS not born in DEC at least finally admit that geez

      December 25, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • len

      Your Jesus is just fictional character.he never exsisted ever.that being may all that celebrate chrsitmas enjoy their holiday!

      December 25, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
  6. AJ

    I'm an atheist. I don't believe in any of that mumbo jumbo. Show me the proof with the scientific method. And show me how God planted the fossils a few thousand years ago and maybe i'll listen.

    December 24, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • Collin

      You do know that not everything can be proven with the scientific method, right? In fact, your belief in "logical positivism" (the idea that what is real can be observed with the 5 senses) doesn't even fit it's own criteria of being proven by the scientific method.

      Also, I'm a Christian. Evolution is real. The Earth is 4.5 billion years old.

      December 24, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      2 Peter 3:1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in [both] which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

      2 Peter 3:2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

      2 Peter 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

      2 Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation.

      2 Peter 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

      2 Peter 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

      2 Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

      2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

      2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

      2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

      2 Peter 3:11 [Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness,

      2 Peter 3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

      2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

      2 Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

      2 Peter 3:15 And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

      2 Peter 3:16 As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

      2 Peter 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

      2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen.

      P.S. Colin, if you don't want to stay confused, read all of 2 Peter and know he wasn't talking about Noah's flood which was regional, not global.

      Amen.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:58 am |
    • kr

      The creation story in the book of Genesis is not science but theology which teaches that everything in this world was created by God, and the Israelites should not worship any animal, the moon, stars, or any created thing like what their neighboring pagan tribes. A Christian can accept science and even the theories of evolution, big bang, etc...as long as one believe that the "prime mover" is God.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:43 am |
    • kr

      The creation story in the book of Genesis is not science but theology which teaches that everything in this world was created by God, and the Israelites should not worship any animal, the moon, stars, or any created thing like what their neighboring pagan tribes did. A Christian can accept science and even the theories of evolution, big bang, etc...as long as one believes that the "prime mover" is God.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:46 am |
    • Ben

      Many Christians nowadays believe that the Earth and the Universe are several billion years old. In fact, the Catholic church has publicly stated this. If you'd like some sort of "proof" of God you're not going to find it. Instead ask this: Why is the Universe here? What created it, and how? And finally, upon what grounds are morals based? Are they objective or subjective? These questions and more may lead you to God, as they have led me.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:50 am |
    • Sa

      And neither is there proof of non-existance of God. The absence of proof is not a proof.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Sa

      And neither is there proof of non-existence of God. The absence of proof is not a proof.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Mark Taylor

      Read "How God Changes Your Brain" by Andrew Newberg. It is chock full of EMPIRICAL evidence regarding the benefits of spiritual practice. On the other hand, Richard Dawkins has offered absolutely NO EMPIRICAL evidence for his anti-spiritual/anti-religion method. You want proof, look at the brain scans in Newberg's book. You also need to consider the other side of your demand for proof. The greatest physicists in the world will tell you that when it comes to these questions Science can only take us so far, so many of the great physicists today are in fact Theists. Instead of spouting stuff you hear informally through friends or forums, you really should take the time to investigate the big questions for yourself. Learn something about Cosmology, the fact that expansion happened at precisely the rate required to allow particles such as quarks to form hydrogen and helium, the fact that without these 2 elements nuclear fusion could never take place and without fusion there are no supernovae and without supernovae there are no heavier elements. Again, READ, STUDY. Expansion happened in the early universe at a very very precise rate and if it hadn't, you and I could not be hear to ponder and ask how we got here and why. Hold your existence in wonder and start asking the tough questions and begin looking for your answer. I'll think you will surprise yourself. Merry Christmas whoever you may be.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Mark Taylor

      And for those beating people over the head with your scripture. You aren't going to convince anyone of anything with that. You need to take that stuff you are spouting off about and incorporate it into your life, every day, every moment you can. Love your neighbor as yourself – including strangers and those who you don't particularly care for. Spouting scripture does nothing. You have to live it with action. Can you do that? It's a tall order. What Yeshua (Jesus) offered over 2,000 years ago really is the perfect way to live. LIVE, not talk. Do, don't talk. People who have not seen this Truth are simply not going to respond to throwing scripture. You can only work within your circle of influence. The more you practice these teachings, the greater the circle of influence becomes. THAT is how you change the world.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Mark Taylor

      KR, precisely right. String theory tells us at our most fundamental we made up of incredibly tiny vibrating strings of energy. That this energy finds itself organized as utterly unique beings that can contemplate the origins of the universe and our place in it is awesome and absolutely a cosmic longshot!

      December 25, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • Jules

      AJ ...

      Go to http://www.miraclesofthequran.com/index.php and read yourself. I was confused then astonished then I had to just surrender to the truth because I couldn't deny it ? How could I ?. When a book that wasn't even revealed to talk about science and then it tells you that every human being was created with a unique finger prints then we, today, use finger printing to differentiate between us that's astonishing!!! When I learned Muhammad wasn't even a learned person I was shocked because no one can ever give you precise scientific facts, thousands of facts while he endured a tough time with his own people full of adventures, wars, hunger, and problems serving the whole humanity around him. Back then they lived in the desert, how could they have had any idea about science ?

      December 26, 2011 at 12:11 am |
  7. tighthole

    Chrkee Pride's a funny injun!

    December 24, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • JenniferinTX

      If you want a laugh look in the mirror! Stop thee! hate and Merry Christmas to everyone!

      December 24, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • tighthole

      You're just mad because you're not half the woman I am! Dried up hag!

      December 24, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • JenniferinTX

      Merry Christmas!

      December 24, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  8. LouAz

    246 million christians huh ? You couldn't tell by the way they treat one another, or any one else for that matter.
    Me thinks your cookin' the books . . . oh I forgot, you only have one book. Too bad.

    December 24, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • Will

      Plss off you Jew

      December 24, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • k

      actually, we have 66.

      December 24, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      IS THAT COUNTING THE 30 OR SO BOOKS THAT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH DECIDED THEY DIDN'T WANT IN THEIR TERRIBLE LIFE MANUAL?

      December 24, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • Ben

      Those books were not included because they didn't meet certain criteria such as being within the lifetime of the apostles, being written by an apostle or a person close to an apostle, or being historically reliable and not in contradiction with the other established letters. Also, typing in all caps doesn't help your point.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:53 am |
  9. cannonball

    Much hatred...so sad! Some of you are missing the point....PEACE!!!

    December 24, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • tighthole

      My, but you're a stern taskmaster! Are you gaycurious?

      December 24, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
  10. Greg

    T'is the Season of Reason. Season's Greetings everyone!!

    December 24, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • Relictus

      Happy Holidays!!! =)

      December 25, 2011 at 1:01 am |
  11. John Gabriel

    Religion, the peoples' drug.

    December 24, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • Sa

      Atheism: The people's way to cop-out.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  12. faberm

    The article keeps talking about other faiths "setting up a Christmas tree" like it is a Christian practice. It is not a Christian practice, but is a European practice since the beginning of celebrating the winter solstice. Most Christians celebrate Christmas by going to Mass/Church and we engage in our pre-Christian European traditions of gift giving and Christmas Trees because it has been passed down to us by our forefathers who came from Europe. Jews, Buddhists, Muslims and all can celebrate the season with a tree in their house without thinking they're doing something "Christian" unless they want to profess Jesus as their savior and go take Holy Communion or something.

    December 24, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • JenniferinTX

      The article also mentions that many other religions recognize Jesus as a prophet in addition to referring to other traditions,

      December 24, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
  13. Mohamad

    It is weird how people want to fight about everything in life. Religion is not for us to fight each other. Who cares what you believe in. I am a muslim and living in the US. True believers (of any kind..) understand that we are all the same and our origin is Adam. This is the basis for three religions. So stop going through the details which are MADE for us to fight and lets focus on rebuilding this sick world into a peaceful one.
    No matter what anyone tells you, hurting another person is not acceptable in any religion. Sometimes I see people saying "look at their book , ie. quran" it has hatred or killing, I have even looked online on the translations. The BIG mistake is that people donot translate the whole sentence in the Quran, instead will translate half of it and NOT IN THE CONTEXT. (i.e talking about an episode that happened between Moses, where God is talking to him etc..)

    For all people here who believe in God, stop being prejudice and treat people as people from Adam and hate only those that hurt you personally regardless of what their religion is. If they are true believers, then you should see Jesus, Mohamad and Moses, Adam in them.

    Take care and have a wonderful holiday! I pray to God to teach us everyday so we can have more wisdom.

    December 24, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • Answer

      "Religion is not for us to fight each other."

      That's a laugh. 🙂

      December 24, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • Greg

      Freedom from Religion is worth the fight.

      December 24, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • LouAz

      Hey , believe in my god, or I'll kill you. Onward Christian Soldiers !

      December 24, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • Isaac

      Muhamad, may God bless and protect you and your loved ones during all through this year. May you find joy and peace in your relationship with your Creator, and may we all honor Him by seeking to love and understand each other in meaningful ways. Peace and Goodwill from me to you.

      From an American Christian living in a Muslim country in the Arabic-speaking part of the world, where I have always been treated with courtesy and respect.

      December 25, 2011 at 6:26 am |
    • tasaad

      It's sad to say, but almost every Christian sermon I have ever listened to takes Bible scriptures out of context, and weave several scriptures together to prove the speakers point.

      December 26, 2011 at 12:47 am |
  14. Tyrannosaurus Maybe?

    Hmmm, maybe you mean "Tyrant", Andre? Or maybe you're abbreviating "Tyrannosaurus Rex"?

    December 24, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • Jim

      Tyran is acceptable.

      December 24, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • André

      Yes I meant tyrant. Tyran is the french spelling for the word, sorry.

      December 24, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
  15. André

    Tyran/tyrant: An oppressive, cruel and harsh person. Source: Wiktionary.

    December 24, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
  16. Lol!

    Jesus is a bipolar attention wh0re.

    December 24, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • ChrkeePrde

      Woah there kiddo... stop the hate and start to love more. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

      December 24, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • Collin

      How is he either of those? I do believe it was Jesus who told the people he healed not to tell anyone he did it....

      December 24, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • Sa

      Says the person trolling on CNN

      December 25, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  17. ChrkeePrde

    MERRY CHRISTMAS !!! I love y'all! I'm Christian, but I don care what you are! Still love yah! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

    December 24, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • ArmGar27

      Amen to that. Merry Christmas to you as well.

      December 24, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • Junius Gallio

      II'm not Christian, but let me say thank you, and a merry Christmas to you as well. 🙂

      December 25, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • Relictus

      Happy Holidays!!!

      December 25, 2011 at 1:03 am |
  18. Kevin

    I'm not Christian and it doesn't bother me a bit. I like Christmas, as a matter of fact.

    December 24, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • ChrkeePrde

      Merry Christmas bud!

      December 24, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
  19. tighthole

    Were Muhammed and Jesus "blow buddies"?

    December 24, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • ChrkeePrde

      Do you lack education? I believe you do.

      December 24, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • tighthole

      Oh, poo on you, dirty injun!

      December 24, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • Relictus

      No, Mohammed copies Jesus's gig 500 years later.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:04 am |
    • Isaac

      Merry Christmas, TH.

      December 25, 2011 at 6:29 am |
    • Sa

      Whenever a prophet of God cam to people, he was first ridiculed and then eventually oppressed but not successfully. When Abraham cam with the message, he was ridiculed. When Moses came with the message, he was ridiculed. When Jesus came with the message, he was ridiculed, and Mohammed came with the message, he was ridiculed. May peace be upon them all. 3000 years after Moses, 2000 years after Jesus, 1400 years after Mohammed, you still ridicule them. So whats new? It might give you the illusion of safety for now, but this ridicule will not help you. You will not turn back men of true faith. I pray for your guidance.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  20. André

    Christians are hypocrites. They celebrate Jesus, who, for me, is an intergalactic tyran.
    He demands people believe in him and pray to him, or else they will suffer eternal damnation where they will
    burn, choke, suffer and much worse (you name it) until THE END OF TIME.

    That, to me, is a tyran.

    December 24, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • Collin

      Or... he's a liberator. Whatever. To each his own

      December 24, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • tighthole

      What's a "tyran"?

      December 24, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • Lol!

      That's Tyran Banks, fool!

      December 24, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • André

      Tyran/tyrant: An oppressive, cruel and harsh person. Source: Wiktionary.

      December 24, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • JenniferinTX

      I think you confuse Jesus with what some churches preach about Jesus. Jesus is not a tyrant; he spoke against them. He would be the last person to condemn anyone to eternal pain and suffering, only some of his misinformed followers do so. After all, Jesus instructed us not to judge, lest we be judged ourselves. Wishing you the best Andre!

      December 24, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • Ben

      It's sad that you've probably never read a single word of Jesus. You wouldn't say such foolish things if you had.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:55 am |
    • tasaad

      Unfortunately, this has become the 'Christian"message, but it is not the message of Christ! Jesus' message was of love and tolerance for all.

      December 26, 2011 at 12:50 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.