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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."

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"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. Bob

    Our relationship with God has nothing to do with our religion, it is a one-on-one relationship that we accept on faith and faith alone..."Happy Birthday"

    December 25, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Skata

      One can believe in a 'superior being', i.e. 'God' without the nonsense and dogma of man-created religion. Every other religious 'holy' or sacred book, tome, or manuscript was conceived of, and written by, mortal man. End of story.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  2. Skata

    Christmas is for CHILDREN. Kids love Santa, elves, reindeers, Frosty, toys, presents, etc. It is a time for families to come together and bond ,as it is just one of a few days off that greedy corporate America grants to them (compared to Germany, other Euro nations, etc.). We all know religion is a grand sham, based on man conceived and created fairy tales and nonsense. God may or may not be real (you may believe in a deity directly), but RELIGION is a JOKE!

    December 25, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Adam

      I am a Muslim and we love Jesus (peace be on him). How can you say God is not real. Just look at the Sky and the Trees and the Birds, do you really believe they created themselves from nothing! Maybe evolution was involved, but someone had to write the program that created them. About the Tree and the Lights in Christmas. In Islam, God made a Star appears when each Messenger of God was born. And people think of Jerusalem and Jordan as deserts, they are wrong. There are some many pine trees and olive trees. So having a star on top of a pine tree is natural. Now days you see less trees because in Jerusalem because the Israelies are cutting them down to build more stone houses. I looked at the protesters in Russia yesterday, I saw very beautiful building in the photos, but I did not see a single tree. How can people enjoy life without trees and birds.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Rick

      absolutely

      December 25, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Skata

      So then WHO or WHAT created or gave genesis to 'God'??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is a nonsensical, cyclical conundrum, as you can see.

      'God' is a CHIMERA.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  3. tounsi2

    peace and love

    December 25, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  4. deb

    Who gives a crap what other people think?! This would never–but should be–written about other faiths, especially islam. America is a majority Christian country, whether you like it or not.

    December 25, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Skata

      And becoming increasingly agnostic and atheist. Whether you like it or not.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  5. don

    All Hail Ragnarok,
    I have been to the mountain, and the valley.
    I have watched shepherds in the dunes and political leaders in their towers.
    I have seen the desperation of need and the avarice of greed.
    The prayers and rites of the divided masses all aspire to the same end and given individual thought and action will aspire to the most noble and mutual benefit for all.
    The greed for power and position, combined with the sloth of the masses leads to the religious conflicts we see.
    individual responsibility and accountability for ones own actions is the key to peace, not the opiate of organized religious or political doctrine.
    all major faiths have the same core values and beliefs.
    Christ did exist, we celebrate Christmas to honor the teachings and word of Christ.
    the major fight now as in the past between Islam and Christianity is over power for the church / mosque leaders.
    The Islamic faith has a plan as part of their Doctrine to take over the world. much the way the Vatican or Cesar tried.
    we humans are rebellious by nature. but we know right from wrong. now we have to apply that.

    December 25, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  6. muhammad

    prophet Muhammad (pbuh) mentioned by name in the old testament:

    Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is mentioned by name in the Song of Solomon chapter 5 verse 16:

    "Hikko Mamittakim we kullo Muhammadim Zehdoodeh wa Zehraee Bayna Jerusalem."

    "His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters
    of Jerusalem."

    In the Hebrew language im is added for respect. Similarely im is added after the name of Prophet Muhammad
    (pbuh) to make it Muhammadim. In English translation they have even translated the name of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as "altogether lovely", but in the Old Testament in Hebrew, the name of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is yet present.

    i have the youtube video from israel also as proof..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cur_6aYs_7k&feature=bf_prev&list=PL298CBF148060EFFA&lf=results_main

    December 25, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  7. Plug1

    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!!!!!!!

    Good job CNN, first the American Muslim, family story now this guy Magid, who has no real knowledge of Islam. So he knows families, who exchane gifts, put up Christmas trees in their house, and these things are ok with him!!!!!
    Islam is monotheism, which can't be mixed with these pagan beliefs, Islam is the Quran, and the Sunnah which Magid obviously knows not much about , reading this story. Next time you, CNN....want to tell the Christains, about Islam, find someone who can explain in it in it's proper light. I will take the joy away from MANY of the Americans, with this statement,to explain Islam in it's proper light..... Meaning no terrorism, and all the crazy thing non Muslims say about Islam.

    December 25, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Santy Claus ... see I DO exist, you faithless bunch of unbelievers

      Then why are all the Iraqis slaughtering each other ?

      December 25, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  8. Skata

    *** JESUS IS COMING- LOOK BUSY ***

    December 25, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • korkea aika

      God just called. She said all these posts are non-sense.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  9. sathayvrath

    Christ was a Hindu-Bhuddist-Taoist. He was trained in India where he spent many years. When he went back to Palestine, he preached Devotional Bhuddism. Nothing he said was original or new to us. He in fact is one of us, and is part of the Indian pantheon of Avatars.

    December 25, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Santy Claus ... see I DO exist, you faithless bunch of unbelievers

      Prove it.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Isaac Newton

      What do you smoke? Christ was a Jewish rabbi.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • SN

      Seriously, get over this mentality of putting the "made in india" label on every idea and event that you see !!

      December 25, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  10. muhammad

    Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the New Testament:
    Al-Qur'an Chapter 61 Verse 6:

    "And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said, 'O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me and giving glad tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmed.' But when he came to them with clear signs, they said, 'This is evident sorcery!' "

    All the prophecies mentioned in the Old Testament regarding Muhammad (pbuh) besides applying to the Jews also hold good for the Christians.

    1.

    John chapter 14 verse 16:

    "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever."

    2.

    Gospel of John chapter 15 verse 26:

    "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which
    proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me."

    3.

    Gospel of John chapter 16 verse 7:

    "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not
    come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you".

    "Ahmed" or "Muhammad" meaning "the one who praises" or "the praised one" is almost the translation of the
    Greek word Periclytos. In the Gospel of John 14:16, 15:26, and 16:7. The word 'Comforter' is used in the English translation for the Greek word Paracletos which means advocate or a kind friend rather than a comforter.
    Paracletos is the warped reading for Periclytos. Jesus (pbuh) actually prophesised Ahmed by name. Even the
    Greek word Paraclete refers to the Prophet (pbuh) who is a mercy for all creatures.

    Some Christians say that the Comforter mentioned in these prophecies refers to the Holy Sprit. They fail to realise
    that the prophecy clearly says that only if Jesus (pbuh) departs will the Comforter come. The Bible states that the
    Holy Spirit was already present on earth before and during the time of Jesus (pbuh), in the womb of Elizabeth, and again when Jesus (pbuh) was being baptised, etc. Hence this prophecy refers to none other than Prophet
    Muhammad (pbuh).

    December 25, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • dddddd

      Nice try. but your own post ruined it for you:

      John 15:26
      "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, ***** even the Spirit of truth, ****** which
      proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me."

      He explicitly calls the comforter 'the Spirit of truth.'

      December 25, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • KeithTexas

      Cool, I never knew that.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  11. korkea aika

    Jesus was a Yogi. A realised soul who recognized the unity of all in all. Only then can his life and his command to follow him be truly understood. OM TAT SAT

    December 25, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • KeithTexas

      After his education in India I would expect him to live a life closer to the Sadus. Most of his companions were men, so it fits

      December 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  12. The Chosen Juan

    Christmas is a holiday with pagan trees, a German public figure Sinterklaas and to help generate business. IMO – christmas uses the Christ no different than the guys who were selling sacrificial animals at the temple to make money, where Jesus took a whip of chords and started swinging at everyone for trying to make income with the name of G-D. ( at that time there was just the Jewish path to God, no Christians yet, and contrary to popular belief, Jesus was not a Christian! If you really want to celebrate the life of Christ, you do it 365 days a year by caring about your fellow man. What did Jesus say about it ? "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division." and he also said – "This is my command: Love each other." – by the looks of the comments on this article, there is a division...and by the looks of people being tolerant of each other on how they celebrate christmas there are people that love each other and His words made a difference, to those who can hear. – and for the non christians who are caring people that are tolerant and caring of those from different beliefs ....Jesus also said "I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd." – who cares to read ? who cares to understand ? who cares about christmas bonuses ? who cares about the gifts ? who cares about all these people blubbering about christmas ? who cares about people starving in 3rd world nations ? who cares about the homeless ....it's all divided. .......and what was the point of christmas ? there is nothing at all that talks about the sales at walmart on december 25 in the bible... – it depends who you ask. I say merry christmas because it makes people smile ....but i celebrate the birth of Christ 365 days a year.- strangely enough i don't consider myself a christian though, Christ wasn't a christian , I like his view best. -shrug- with that said, Merry Christmas everyone!! – at least we have 1 day a year that everyone tries hard to get along ...well mostly everyone hahahaha!! ....just sayin

    December 25, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  13. Mark

    I find the topic insulting. It is Christmas today you idiots. So why you think this is a good day to post an article about how non-christians don't beleive in it? Next Ramadan, are we going to have a headline article about how the world thinks Islam is not good? I bet not! CNN, you make yourselves more irrlevant every day.

    December 25, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Lady

      Because CNN likes to incite people to post their anger, so they put up articles like this as red meat.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Skata

      A bit too sensitive Marky?

      December 25, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • Kat

      1. This was posted YESTERDAY. The day before Christmas. 2. No one in this article, at all, posted about how they think Christianity is not good. Where did you read that? In fact, they posted about how they adapted to a Christian holiday and supported the Christian religion by doing things such as working for Christian people so they could have the day off, etc. So NO, they won't write an article about Islam not being good, because they didn't write an article about how they think Christianity is not good. Did you even READ this article?

      December 25, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • SN

      Your intolerance is not characteristic of the Christian faith. People like you will never see the light of religion (yes, even your own)

      December 25, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  14. Joe

    Muslims just bombed two churches, that's what Islam thinks of Christmas.

    December 25, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Lady

      So you are going to label ALL Muslims for the actions of the violent ones? That doesn't make any sense. The Klan bombed black churches in the South. That doesn't mean all white Christians should be blamed. DON'T LABEL A WHOLE GROUP just for the actions of the extremists.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • M. DaSilva

      People of other faiths are always persecuted in countries where Islam is the predominant religion, especially if they are Christians or Jews.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • korkea aika

      Its very heroic for you to stand up for your black christian brothers when they are in Nigeria. But I bet you would be the first to burn their house down if they moved in next door to you. Anyone who categorically lumps muslims into one mind-set, likely does the same with others like blacks, gays, immigrants and the poor. That's the kind of Christianity we reject.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Joe C

      Radicals did in africa. Dont group all muslims for the actions of the ones who lost the true meaning of their faith. You look ignorant.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  15. Dr.Tong

    You left out Festivus.

    December 25, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • numbers guy

      There are 308 milion people in the US and 246 milion are christians? Where can we get real numbers?

      December 25, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  16. John

    To those who do not believe in Christmas but respect those who celebrate it. Thank you. To those who make fun of Christians and Christmas I would encourage them to spend a year in a country where Christianity isn't the major religion like China or Iran.

    December 25, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • galaxy101

      Or Sweden or Norway

      December 25, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Caveman73

      I have and it's just fine..... besides you christians stole all that is good about your holiday from pagan ones.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  17. ing marie

    Much ado is made over the idea Christians hitched their ride on a pagan celebration, as if that somehow negates the sacred meaning ascribed through the centuries. So what it coincides with solstice. You simply cannot deny Christians have infused the Holy-day with some pretty wonderful traditions and music. You'd have to be an awfully hard-hearted grinch
    not to have your spirits lifted even a little bit by "JOY TO THE WORLD" and other christmas songs. Pure and simple , it's the
    time of year we are called upon to really express what we should be living all year...to observe and interact with our fellow human family with love from the heart rather than judgement from the mind. No one said it was easy, just that it's expected
    from those of us claiming to be Christian to at least give a good effort. If anything the holiday has been hijacked by commercialism and advertising. Not all bad but rather distracting from the "true" message, if you let it. Teach your children well, it's not all about getting stuff. My favorite day is Dec. 26th. when I'm free from all the got-tos and gift lists and going places. Isn't 2012 the year the world is supposed to end? Perhaps people of all faiths should humbly approach their God in prayer for a more peaceful and compassionate world. blah blah blah I know. Just words waiting on some action.
    Happy New Year everyone.

    December 25, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  18. todaypost

    The logic of putting other's prophet below your god is problematic. You are de-value the prophet of other religious. No wonder these two religious don't get along.

    December 25, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Lady

      Christians do it too. Some protestant Christians consider Mormons, Jehovah Witness and Catholics to be below them.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Fauzi

      It's not only Jesus (peace be upon him) that is put below God, it's also Mohammad (peace be upon him). All the prophets (Ibraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Solmon, Joseph.. ) are humans and all are servants of God the creator. They should all be viewed with equal respect.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Dhiienz

      The non-Christians I know typically have great srepect for Jesus of Nazareth- they just don't accept him as the Messiah. As a Christian, I do believe they're missing the most important part of His teachings, but the best way I know to share the Gospel is by trying my hardest to live by the example He set. It's my responsibility to let God's love for the world embodied in Christ's great sacrifice reflect through my words and actions.

      April 1, 2012 at 5:25 am |
  19. muhammad

    Another interesting fact comes from Elizabeth herself. She hid herself for 5 months and then the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary both Elizabeth's condition and that Mary would also bear a son who would be called Jesus. Mary went "with haste" to visit Elizabeth, who was then in the first week of her 6th month, or the 4th week of Dec., 3 B.C. If Jesus was born 280 days later it would place his birth on Sept. 29, 2 B.C. Some scholars interpret the 6 months to be in line with the Hebrew calendar or the August-September time frame. Since Mary's pregnancy commenced a little before the sixth month around July, Jesus would be born somewhere around March-June. But does it matter if Jesus was born on the spring, the fall, or on December 25? Does it matter, theologically, when Jesus was born? What do you think, does it matter what day we celebrate His birth

    December 25, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • todaypost

      The actual exact day is no critical. No one doubt that he was born and he brought goodness to human kind. He was great philosopher who promotes correctness of social orders and sincerity. This world would be a much better place if the stone age people did not make him "God" because of their own hidden agenda. The greedy people hijacked his ideas and twisted them to promote their governmental loyality. The church profit themselves by promoting "live forever in heaven" to the faithfuls.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Edward G

      We celebrate Jesus birthday on December 25th because it is celebrated throughout the world that day. It is more likely his actual birth was probably in the fall, we continue to celebrate during the Winter season, a beautiful season, don't you agree? To change it would bring confusion and perhaps uneventful activities by families worldwide. It's customary now and the bottom line his birth is celebrated each year magnificently. Many orphans and and their caregivers sometimes do not know their adopted child's actual birth day but still celebrate on a day close to the actual unknown exact birthday.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  20. BiblicalChristianityIsNOTreligion

    I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. – Mere Christianity, pages 40-41.

    December 25, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • William

      Amen

      December 25, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • galaxy101

      People seem to often say these things about Jesus because they are moderates and/or cherry-pickers. They want the holy book they read and the god(s) they worship to be what they think he should be. They choose to accept part of the ball of wax rather than the whole thing. As for what he (Jesus) intended, it's abundantly clear that he wasn't clear enough. If he had been, there'd be no one unwilling to follow him.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • todaypost

      galaxy101,

      The is one fault with your logic. The book was written by human who cherry-packed their own agendas into the book. So how can you accept the book whole without questioning?

      No one doubt his goodness to human kind. It is the preachers that are questionable.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • KeithTexas

      Jesus never claimed to be God.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Fauzi

      You are right about the fact that describing Jesus as just being a great teacher is not sufficient. After all there are many great teachers through the history of human kind. Jesus (peace be upon him) was a prophet and messanger of God.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:45 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.