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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. Sir Cecil

    I consider Jesus the greatest Jew of all time. He lived and died as a member of the Jewish faith and was a wonderful rabbi. Christmas is a celebration of the most influential jew of all time and it's inspiring to see so many non-Jews celebrating his birth.

    December 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Skata

      I thought Gene Simmons of KISS was the 'greatest jew' of all time!

      December 25, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Atheist #1

      Ironically Most Christians Hate or Dislike Jews.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  2. zack

    What about Jewish .... what they think about Jesus and Christmas ???? ...

    December 25, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  3. Marc

    The best thing about Christmas day for me is that it is a sign that I wont have Christmas shoved down my throat for the next 10 months... I find the holiday season, the malls and all the christmas stuff I have to put up with disrepectful to others who do not celebrate this holiday. Call me a mean jew.. w/e, but that's just how I feel. I keep my religion to myself, why must you all knock on my door at least 4 times a year trying to get me to convert, and the entire country turn into a Christianathon during easter and christmas... It's a way to take peoples money and push your religion on others. bah humbug.

    December 25, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Skata

      LOL! How the heck do you think agnostics and atheists feel?!

      December 25, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Knows it all

      the Nation of Islam has nothing to do with Islam....Islam was founded in the 7th century in Arabia by an Arab....the Nation of Islam was found in the 1930's in the USA by an African American....if thats your only view on the prophet Muhammad you should really consider reading about him because you will find out those things are not true....the truth is just twisted to make it look bad and i can do it with Christianity too....take Mary the mother of Jesus, she was 12 years old when she married Joseph a man in his eighties or nineties....she was also 12 when she gave birth to Jesus....What kind of loving God would give birth to himself trough the birth canal of a 12 year old virgin over 2,000 years ago....sounds like an uncaring god to me

      December 25, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Marc

      Well, just because I'm Jewish doesn't mean I believe in god. I'm definately an athiest, or a secular jew since I follow traditions, but do not believe in god. So to you who asked, "how do you think agnostics and athiests feel?" I feel the same way...

      December 25, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  4. Kurt

    OK Atheists....settle down...I have no problem that you believe in nothing, that is more than fine by me. However, just because I believe in God and more importantly; Jesus...Does by no means say that I am of less intelligence or am less educated. I have spent years upon years of my life educating myself and trying to make this world a better place for all people. I can tell you that after 2 Master Degrees and a PhD. that I am probably more educated than most of you and can say without a doubt that the idea of no supreme being is borderline stupid...it comes down to this – something can't come from nothing...There is something more out there and its Jesus....I would recommend getting to know Him...if you don't you'll be sorry...forever

    December 25, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Jim

      First reply I read... geez... so sad.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • Skata

      We don't believe in 'nothing' (agnostics included). We just acknowledge reality and science, and live very full and happy lives based on the knowledge that life is very finite and precious. We believe in love, and have humbled ourselves in accepting the wonderment of the universe without having to believe in a 'celestial father figure'. In fact, given this probable existential finality, many of us value life here on Earth MORE than many overly religious people who waste their finite time constantly exalting and conforming to the whims of myths! THAT is a huge tragedy.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • dillonb

      Thats great that you "believe" but maybe you need to put into practice some of what Jesus actually taught. Seeing as how you are so much more educated than most of us this shouldn't be a hard task for you. You're humilty precedes your self sir.

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

      @Kurt

      You said, "OK Atheists....settle down...I have no problem that you believe in nothing, that is more than fine by me." and later "I would recommend getting to know Him...if you don't you'll be sorry...forever"
      Doesn't really sound like you don't have a problem with us not believing.....

      You said, "However, just because I believe in God and more importantly; Jesus...Does by no means say that I am of less intelligence or am less educated. I have spent years upon years of my life educating myself and trying to make this world a better place for all people. I can tell you that after 2 Master Degrees and a PhD. that I am probably more educated than most of you and can say without a doubt that the idea of no supreme being is borderline stupid...it comes down to this – something can't come from nothing...There is something more out there and its Jesus...."
      That just goes to show that you don't have to be intelligent to be educated. You are arguing from ignorance. You just accept one thing coming from nothing over another. A supreme being coming from nothing isn't any more reasonable than a universe springing from nothing.

      You just go a few steps further. You claim to know both what caused the universe to start AND who did it. You do this without a single shred of evidence supporting your story, while rejecting or ignoring all evidence in support of competing hypotheses. You accept fairy tales written thousands of years ago over scientific theories.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Santy Claus ... see I DO exist, you faithless bunch of unbelievers

      No, it just proves a PhD in one field, does not mean you are not stupid in another. Read some physics bud. There are many explanations for "something from nothing". If you never heard of them, we can't help you.

      December 25, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Marc

      Because you are educated, doesn't mean you're smart. Wasn't the world flat when we invented god? Didn't the stars, planets and the sun, go around the earth? What do you believe now, or has education told you that the earth is not flat, and that their is a huge universe out there and we are not the center of it? Please point your telescope at heaven and let me know where it is... It's amazing how education can produce ignorance. One day when religion is off this planet, we will finally be a single, human society, and not this huge soup bowl of beliefs that cause nothing but fighting over who is right and wrong about what god is. Once we realize that there isnt one, we will truely begin to understand peace.

      December 25, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  5. rightwingwac

    I love how Christianity keeps getting pushed out of the way in preference of educating us on muslim ways. Here's it in a nutshell; The enemy of the US is a radical sect of the Nation of Islam. They want to kill you, me and anyone that doesn't follow their rapist muhammad and the novel he wrote. People get nuts about the Bible and it's interpretations but it was written by many over periods of time all revolving around the same basic concept. But put a Quran out there which was written by a power hunger pedophile rapist and you'd think it was the greatest thing on earth. The Quran in it's modern text is FULL of evil, destructive, typical brainwashing lingo that instructs the followers to eliminate infidels. Enough said? Doubt it because for some reason the love affair with this Jim Jones type crap is going to be the end of us all. It's Christmas...I don't care how other religions view it. If you don't believe it or don't agree with it don't celebrate it but if you really don't want anything to do with it have some balls and don't take advantage of it either. God bless during the Christmas season.

    December 25, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • moebar

      the Nation of Islam has nothing to do with Islam....Islam was founded in the 7th century in Arabia by an Arab....the Nation of Islam was found in the 1930's in the USA by an African American....if thats your only view on the prophet Muhammad you should really consider reading about him because you will find out those things are not true....the truth is just twisted to make it look bad and i can do it with Christianity too....take Mary the mother of Jesus, she was 12 years old when she married Joseph a man in his eighties or nineties....she was also 12 when she gave birth to Jesus....What kind of loving God would give birth to himself trough the birth canal of a 12 year old virgin over 2,000 years ago....sounds like an uncaring god to me

      December 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  6. Ed

    Who cares how other faiths celebrate Dec 25. Judging by the responses it seems that those who care are the ones with an axe to grind. I know that these people feel outside the pale but they should just be happy with what they have going. These are the same people who scream for tolerance in regard to everything except what they don't believe in. Narrow minded small people in my opinion.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • kade madison

      Who cares? Well who cares how you spend your day with your made-up religion. The only plus side is that you are worshiping a Jew, and from another Jew, I think that is great. So, bow down to the Jews, because without a Jew, you would be celebrating Chanukah like everyone in the world should since the only religion that started with Adam & Eve was being Hebrew.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  7. Skata

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeSSwKffj9o

    December 25, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Ray in Vegas

      Awesome! It's been a long time since I watched this. Thanks for posting it!

      December 25, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • Skata

      Anytime! 'God' made it possible! ; )

      December 25, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Ray in Vegas

      People like George Carlin, who could see through all the muck and accept the truth .. are the true prophets of humanity. Bright, shining lights of truth. Most people refer to the "Dark Ages" as something from the past .. seems to me we are still in them!

      December 25, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  8. Patriot00

    Thought I would share some facts about various religion.

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_oldest_known_religion_in_the_world

    All said and done. Imagine there is no countries and no religion too. Imagine all the people living life in peace as lennon sung. I would rather have that if we are going to fight and kill each other in the name of religion,race,creed...

    December 25, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Folks will fight over something....anything.... We are humans ...the baddest and meanest MF'ers on the planet. We are the same that went from the sling and rock to a intercontinental nuclear weapon.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Guru

      Property......one will not allow another to take water and fruits from his property.....there will always be fights as humans identify themselves with the "I" and "mine".

      December 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • moebar

      if religion wasnt around we would find something else to kill each other over....

      December 25, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • JohnR

      Cram it, Guru. Self interested organisms act like self interested organisms. No surprise, or crime, there.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Leslie

      People are not fighting over religion. They are fighting over power.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  9. Skata

    We'll NEVER KNOW if a 'superior being' ever existed or not, past or present. And all life on this planet EVOLVED. Get over it. Educate yourselves. Get logical, and realize the closer true potential of your mind. I need no mythical, made up 'sky father' to appreciate the wonderment and beauty of life and the laws of science.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • CelticStar7

      Atheists. When your wife or boy/man life partner shuts you off for 2-weeks or a month, just wait, when she/he allows you to come back into the bedroom, you will get down on your hands and knees and thank GOD, unless she looks like Janet Napolitano and weighs over 300 pounds. If that's the case you have a right to be Atheist.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • stillnotregistering

      never know? maybe when we die, eh?

      December 25, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • CelticStar7

      Shait-For-Brains. There is no 'Sky Daddy'. The essence of Christianity is within the heart of GOD, within the heart of mankind (a kind of man). Spirituality is dimensionless. Flush your f e ca l ideas and yourself into your fe c e s-hole.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Guru

      Its the same mythology that gave us lots of technologies (ask the Nazi German scientisis). Its the same mythology that gave us health Science – ask the Ayurvedic hospitals treating patients successfully with no modern medicine. You have got to understand the whole meaning of religion to understand it fully. Little knowledge is dangerous as can be understood fron your comments. There are many parts of mythology which are being prooved to be true science with more scientists exploring them.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • JohnR

      Read a book, Guru. Ayurvedic medicine. Yeesh.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Atheist #1

      Celticstare7! Atheist just want a more Educated society where people Know Whats a Fable,Myth AND Far-fetched Tale when they hear it.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • rightwingwac

      So based on your logic why would life be precious? Why not simply kill anyone that does something evil at any time. (I'm sorry to use the word evil...hope I didn't offend you, after all-evil is a defining measurement of good to bad, and what's to say that there is anything good or bad if not for some type of faith in a here-after? If you truly think this is it and once we're gone it's just lights out and worm food, why do anything "good" in life at all? Life is very short by your belief so why not go on a fun-filled rampage and simply live it up as long as you can get away with it. If there is absolutely no judgement involved in what we do then why in the hell (sorry I know you don't believe in hell and I'd hate to offend you...wait a second, no, I could give a rats ass if I offend you), to continue, why in the hell live life with any degree of kindness at all?

      See, this is why true faith has a place on earth whether it's real or not. I have the personality that if there weren't something keeping me in check I would simply take people out that I felt really didn't deserve life. Now I'm actually a very mild mannered guy and I guarantee I could line up millions who are just like me. So if we, as you stated, "get over it, evolve, and educate ourselves" the way you would prefer, this world would be finished in no time at all.
      If you don't believe that you are the one who needs some education and should process things with a little more logic. But then again you don't believe in anything that doesn't have scientific proof so ironically in this case; you are the fool for thinking that faith has no place on earth.
      Merry Christmas dude, may God above give you blessings and open your heart and mind to an understanding that you don't currently have.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Skata

      'rightwingwacko', your foolish, nonsensical rant is not based on truth and logic. Life is precious, by virtue of temporary existence (whether you are a believer or not). Physical death makes life precious. Our families are precious because we LOVE them. Love, ethics, and morality, I have news for you, are not solely predicated upon, or reliant upon any of the world religions to exist and flourish. Humans have this innate ability called learning and intelligence. Please get a clue. Merry Xmas.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Ray in Vegas

      Ding ding ding .. AND he's down! And furthermore .. when people rely on some religious dogma as their guide for what's acceptable behavior and what's not .. instead of our basic universal human instinct to realize we are all related and ultimately share the same fate and so LOVE one another .. then you get all kinds of horrific, murdering, mutilating practices justified by what their religion often literally demands of them. I believe we can naturally sense what's right and wrong. Our parents and community should fill in the gaps with experience and wisdom. Religion just interferes with and corrupts that sense.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Yusuf

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFGl-1cDOq8

      Peace!

      December 25, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Ray in Vegas

      Ah! A true agnostic! That's refreshing. Most people don't truly understand what that means and so I usually say I'm an atheist .. but I agree that we may never know if something at least resembling a god exists. I'm not entirely convinced we're not just part of some huge computer simulation .. suggesting a programmer?

      December 25, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  10. Stanley Smith

    As it's the essence of Christianity, we forgive everyone, we live and let live... I just wish all other non-Christians leave us alone. Don't explain our religion to us, we already know it.. don't hypothesize, don't get creative.. just focus on YOUR religion, on your family and you can make the world better. We (Christians) really have nothing to prove, the majority (if not all) of western civilization creativity and inventions in science and technology came from us. Try,, try to focus on Muslims, systemically trying to dismantle Islam like you do to Christianity and you'll find out that you'll pay a dear price!!
    Try to do that to Judaism, you'll get economically destroyed...
    As for us Christians, since we're the truth, we're not combative, we get picked on always....

    Merry Chritmas.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Susan

      But being passive-aggressive is not outside the realm of christianity, I see.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • JohnR

      Science arose in the west despite Christianity, not because of it.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • unitedmuslimahs

      um actually its a huge part of the Christian faith to preach and spread the message. You don't see muslims knocking on people's doors and preaching. Christians do that-and it is beyond rude and reflects severe intolerance. Furthermore islam is being analyzed and spoken for everyday, by non-muslim christians. Every day a christian is telling the world what islam means by this and that. and you say you don't speak for us? may God guide you

      December 25, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • umavadee

      To Stanley Smith. I have been in Thailand Since I was born. Majority of people in my loving country respect to Buddhism , and on the three sounthern provinces ,which people are muslim. In thai society never and even more will divide and contempt in difference faiths.
      I really intend to recommend you that you should have be open-minded and revere people all over in this world who believe in other faiths. I am really confident in my head that No one want to explain or criticize on the essence of your christianity or be christian of you.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Stanley Smith

      There you go, there's the peace/love !

      http://news.yahoo.com/muslim-sect-claims-nigeria-church-attacks-25-dead-123853144.html

      December 25, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • rightwingwac

      @UnitedMuslims
      Whacked out radical Christians handle snakes, protest for really wrong things and chastise with stupidity and harsh words in the name of their belief. Whacked out radical muslims kill, beat, maim, torture and hide behind scarves because they are too cowardly to actually show their faces all in the name of Allah and what it tells them to do in your Qur'an. I'll put up with wacky Christians any day.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Ray in Vegas

      rightwingwac .. maybe not so much (though still some) in the modern world .. but certainly many times in the past .. those "wacky" Christians slaughtered many innocent people including women and children, in the name of their religion, and it could happen again. Islam does not have a monopoly on the murdering of innocents in the name of morality. Religion is a scourge on mankind (and womenkind, and babykind, and animalkind ...).

      December 25, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  11. Prof. Yameen Zubairi

    There is one lesson common to both Jesus and Muhammad's experience is to abhor priesthood,Jesus was crucified by the priests and Muhammad persecuted by them for years. Both Christians and Muslims decided to ignore the lesson.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • JohnR

      No priests! No prophets! No messiahs!

      December 25, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Stanley Smith

      http://news.yahoo.com/muslim-sect-claims-nigeria-church-attacks-25-dead-123853144.html

      December 25, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Stanley Smith

      Really? http://news.yahoo.com/muslim-sect-claims-nigeria-church-attacks-25-dead-123853144.html

      December 25, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  12. stillnotregistering

    The first thing that struck me was about the article was the rather curious use of the religious icon for Judaism on one of the greatest Christian holidays.

    Couldn't find a pic of a cross, CNN?

    December 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • JohnR

      I've never seen a cross on a Christmas tree. Kinda icky, really. A crucified baby Jesus? Nope, that won't do at all.

      In any case, since you obviously don't understand the whole point of the article, the article is about people of other beliefs celebrating Xmas in some fashion.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • unitedmuslimahs

      lool

      December 25, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • stillnotregistering

      never seen a cross on a Christmas tree? get out much?

      December 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Stanley Smith

      Systemically, the Jews are on the "divide & concur" mission. No you won't see the lib CNN put any crosses or any hint that points out this is indeed a Christian Holiday, It's simply Christmas.

      I find it interesting when people say: "Holiday Tree" while there are other decorations that resemble various holidays, I'm just not seeing why it should be called a "Holiday Tree"?? Holiday? why not A Christmas Tree? One wouldn't call an "Apple", "Orange" would they?

      I mean, if it quacks like a duck, then it's duck. It's a Christmas Tree and not a holiday tree because last time I checked: Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc.. have got no symbols resembling decorated trees, do they? I may well be very wrong but explain how..

      December 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
  13. Maria

    Every religion is great except Muslim. It fake and hell.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Skata

      ALL religions are a grand sham. End of story.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • moebar

      muslim is not a religion....Islam is....but what about Islam makes you think that its fake when compared to your religion?

      December 25, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Guru

      @Maria – God laughs at you for thy know not what religion is.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • JohnR

      If you are going to try to speak in pseudo-archaic English, Gu, try "thou knowest not ..." 'Thy' is a possessive pronoun.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Yusuf

      Peace and Love to our Christian friends and families...

      I am a Muslim, but my parents and family are Christian. I love them and respect them, but my heart is different in faith to them. It doesn't mean I cannot talk to them or have close relations to them. In fact, Islam has brought me closer to them with love, respect and tolerance. Something all humans should strive to do. As a Christian growing up, I was taught to Honor your father and mother. Islam says the same, in fact more honor is given to the Mother in Islam, as She is the one who looked after me when I was a Baby. In terms of religion, I believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) is NOT God, but rather a Prophet of God, a Man that talked, walked and lived like a human being, that was given faculties to perform miracles ONLY by the Power and Will of Almighty God. Jesus (a.s) himself says in the Bible:

      John 5 :30
      "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of Allah, which hath sent me."

      I was told Jesus died on the Cross for the sins of the world. I don't believe that Jesus or 'God' died on the cross, I don't believe in a dead God, or a God that can ever die, or be killed. I don't believe a person can bear the sins of another person. People have been deceived by the Devil with a false religion.

      -

      Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon Him) said, "If anyone testifies that None has the right to be worshipped but Allah Alone Who has no partners, and that Muhammad is His Slave and His Apostle, and that Jesus is Allah's Slave and His Apostle and His Word which He bestowed on Mary and a Spirit from Him, and that Paradise is true, and Hell is true, Allah will admit him into Paradise with the deeds which he had done even if those deeds were few."

      -

      Jesus (Peace be upon Him) is mentioned 25 times in the Holy Qur'an.

      [2:87] We gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of messengers; We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the holy spirit. Is it that whenever there comes to you a messenger with what ye yourselves desire not, ye are puffed up with pride?- Some ye called impostors, and others ye slay!

      [2:136] Say ye: "We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them: And we bow to Allah (in Islam)."

      [2:253] Those messengers We endowed with gifts, some above others: To one of them Allah spoke; others He raised to degrees (of honour); to Jesus the son of Mary We gave clear (Signs), and strengthened him with the holy spirit. If Allah had so willed, succeeding generations would not have fought among each other, after clear (Signs) had come to them, but they (chose) to wrangle, some believing and others rejecting. If Allah had so willed, they would not have fought each other; but Allah Fulfilleth His plan.

      [3:45] Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah;

      [3:52] When Jesus found Unbelief on their part He said: "Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the disciples: "We are Allah's helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims.

      [3:55] Behold! Allah said: "O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute.

      [3:59] The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be". And he was.

      [3:84] Say: "We believe in Allah, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another among them, and to Allah do we bow our will (in Islam)."

      [4:157] That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-

      [4:163] We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms.

      [4:171] O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not "Trinity" : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.

      [5:46] And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah.

      [5:78] Curses were pronounced on those among the Children of Israel who rejected Faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary: because they disobeyed and persisted in excesses.

      [5:110] Then will Allah say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Recount My favour to thee and to thy mother. Behold! I strengthened thee with the holy spirit, so that thou didst speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught thee the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel and behold! thou makest out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My leave, and thou breathest into it and it becometh a bird by My leave, and thou healest those born blind, and the lepers, by My leave. And behold! thou bringest forth the dead by My leave. And behold! I did restrain the Children of Israel from (violence to) thee when thou didst show them the clear Signs, and the unbelievers among them said: 'This is nothing but evident magic.'

      [5:112] Behold! the disciples, said: "O Jesus the son of Mary! can thy Lord send down to us a table set (with viands) from heaven?" Said Jesus: "Fear Allah, if ye have faith."

      [5:114] Said Jesus the son of Mary: "O Allah our Lord! Send us from heaven a table set (with viands), that there may be for us – for the first and the last of us – a solemn festival and a sign from thee; and provide for our sustenance, for thou art the best Sustainer (of our needs)."

      [5:116] And behold! Allah will say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah'?" He will say: "Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden.

      [6:85] And Zakariya and John, and Jesus and Elias: all in the ranks of the righteous:

      [19:34] Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute.

      [33:7] And remember We took from the prophets their covenant: As (We did) from thee: from Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus the son of Mary: We took from them a solemn covenant:

      [42:13] The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah – the which We have sent by inspiration to thee – and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allah, hard is the (way) to which thou callest them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him).

      [43:57] When (Jesus) the son of Mary is held up as an example, behold, thy people raise a clamour thereat (in ridicule)!

      [43:61] And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment): therefore have no doubt about the (Hour), but follow ye Me: this is a Straight Way.

      [43:63] When Jesus came with Clear Signs, he said: "Now have I come to you with Wisdom, and in order to make clear to you some of the (points) on which ye dispute: therefore fear Allah and obey me.

      [57:27] Then, in their wake, We followed them up with (others of) Our messengers: We sent after them Jesus the son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Gospel; and We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him Compassion and Mercy. But the Monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them: (We commanded) only the seeking for the Good Pleasure of Allah; but that they did not foster as they should have done. Yet We bestowed, on those among them who believed, their (due) reward, but many of them are rebellious transgressors.

      [61:6] 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 Ahmad." But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, "this is evident sorcery!"

      [61:14] O ye who believe! Be ye helpers of Allah: As said Jesus the son of Mary to the Disciples, "Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the disciples, "We are Allah's helpers!" then a portion of the Children of Israel believed, and a portion disbelieved: But We gave power to those who believed, against their enemies, and they became the ones that prevailed.

      In the Arabic original text of the Holy Qur'an, Jesus, the Messiah – Son of Mary (peace be upon Him) is mentioned explicitly by name exactly 25 times.

      In conclusion...

      I testify, that None has the right to be worshipped but Allah Alone Who has no partners, and that Muhammad is His Slave and His Apostle, and that Jesus is Allah's Slave and His Apostle and His Word which He bestowed on Mary and a Spirit from Him, and that Paradise is true, and Hell is true.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Skata

      Yusuf, you are brainwashed! I truly hope you get 'deprogrammed' before you waste your life.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Muhammad Zaka Asif

      why? what do you know about islam? why slander and hurt other peoples sensibilities,? what good does it do to you?

      December 25, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  14. SoWhat

    I could not care what others think of Jesus. He is NOT a prophet. He's the ONE. The thing is that one can still pray to him regardless of religion. But the issue is when they make him out to be some one he's not. Other religions have their holidays, theis is Christianity's. Its only one day, let it be.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Stanley Smith

      Well-spoken, SoWhat. Yes, it makes sense but the cowards who on a contact attack against Christianity just won't stop. It's quite OK as, here's my opinion on this:

      It's the inferiority complex. Christians keep getting attacked by the pen and by the sword because it's genuine, authentic, peaceful, helpful, forgiving, well-organized, have value/respect and compassion for other fellow human life. We preached love, progress, support, help, dignity and honour..

      I am not a bible beater whatsoever, quite honestly I'm as "scientific" as they get but this is my humble understanding of my religion.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  15. Skata

    The ONLY logical, honest, and humble conclusion we as humans can draw concerning the past or present existence of 'god' is one of agnosticism. We just DON'T KNOW. There is no proof either way. So 'god' is not important. But, love, compassion, empathy, and understanding are. As the great German philosopher Erich Fromm said, "LOVE is the only answer to the question of man's existence."

    December 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • CelticStar7

      What's this 'WE' c r a p? Put yourself in a category of 'ONE'. Flush yourself and your diatribe into your the f ec a l-hole.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Skata

      Yes, 'CelticStar7', WE. Unless you have other superhuman powers the rest of us do not, then you are included in my original point. Idiot.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • stillnotregistering

      There is proof. Study evolution. Really delve into it. After you're convinced evolution is crap all you have left is God.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • CelticStar7

      Shat face or what ever your current name. I believe in one supreme GOD. I KNOW my God. I don't need physical proof. So as I said, flush your f e c al philosophy and your self into your fe c a l-hole.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • 4mercy

      what do you mean there is no proof? There have been notable visions of Mary (Lourdes and Portugal recognized by the church) and many others still being investigated such as Medjugorje. There's the cloak of Juan Diego in Mexico which bears the unexplainable image of Mary. There proof is there. People have witnessed these things. Witnesses are often good enough for murder trials....why are they not good enough to prove the existence of God?

      December 25, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Skata

      You 'KNOW' your 'god'? Really?! You've seen IT? Touched IT? Infantile, simpleton fool. Alas, the world is made up with simple minded fools like yourself not steeped in reality. It's really very sad and pathetic.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Skata

      '4mercy', don't be a sucker. Be informed that there is a scientific explanation for EVERYTHING. There are no true 'miracles'.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Susan

      Bet you drink Dr. Pepper too, right?

      December 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Skata

      'stillnotregistering', OF COURSE you don't believe in Evolution. You are an undeducated, brainwashed simpleton not capable of understanding science. How sad.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • JohnR

      Evolution is true and as someone once said, the truth shall set you free.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • 4mercy

      I know God exists and Jesus is the Savior of the World. I live my life for Him, to do His will. I honor and glorify Him and seek his limitless mercy. All are in need of that – especially those who have been told but do not believe.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • 4mercy

      there has been much scientific research on the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the cloak. It is not paint or pigment. It is not part of the fabric, yet seems to "float" above as a separate image. There is NO explanation for it. It is a miraculous occurrence...just as miracles happen every day in many lives. Do some research.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • 4mercy

      Jesus is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. He is the only TRUTH which we need to follow and all things which come from Him.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • stillnotregistering

      ah, the gloves come off, skata

      December 25, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Skata

      The gloves were never on fool. Logic and reality slayed you from the beginning!

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

      how beautyfull!!!!!

      December 25, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  16. I believe

    I I had someone ask me the other day, "How do you maintain your faith in a GOD who does not meet your needs?" I laughed and asked," How is he not meeting my needs?" He replied, "You don't have a job. You and your kids live with your sister, and you've been accepted to Law School but can’t go because you can't afford to pay for a place for you and your kids to live. Plus, you are still trying to get scholarship to pay the remaining tuition." My response, “My God will meet my needs. He always does!" And I walked off with a smile. I thank God for the wisdom to "Walk off, with a faith building response." I only have 30 days till school starts, but I know my God will provide. No need for me to argue and try to convenience him. He will see it! Although, I am a Christian for life I don't bash the other faiths. I learn from them. I take the positive aspects of their teachings or doings and apply them to my life!
    For example, “Yet Buddhists are called to live generously at every chance, be it in material things or spiritual ones, so at Christmas time the monks bring a truckload of fire wood and a fruit basket to a neighboring Ukrainian Catholic monastery."
    Simple: For me this reminds me to give!
    Another example: "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."
    Simple: For me this reminds me to help other!
    So Yes, I am a believer in the trinity, I am a believer in Jesus Christ, and that he lived, died, and rose again. Even if I don’t get to Law School (which is my dream), and have to stay with my sister until I find a job, I will still believe in God, and I will not lose faith in him.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Susan

      And if you do not get the money in time, it is not your destiny to go to law school, not at this time. Course you don't need to believe in your god to believe that.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  17. pat

    I am a hindu born in india..We celebrate christmas/good friday more than lots of hindu festival.. my mom used to make cakes or at least my dad used to buy cakes on Christmas..don't know why, but in addition to my prays to hindu gods/goddess, I always prays to jesus..it gives me peace and solace.. Merry Christmas to all

    December 25, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  18. Yusuf

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cur_6aYs_7k

    Peace!

    December 25, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Sa

      I like the point, but I think you will drive people away with the crazy music and dramatics. The best way to give dawah is the way given by our prophets. Through exemplary action, humility and sincerity. Thanks for the video tough.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Santy Claus ... see I DO exist, you faithless bunch of unbelievers

      Where are the women ?

      December 25, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • Rudolph the Red Nosed Raindeer

      The women are at home, celebrating their success. They fed these guys the junk that caused their impactions. And now they obviously can't get the sticks out of their a$$es.

      December 25, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  19. Skata

    'God' is a CHIMERA. All other man conceived, and created religions, are a SHAM. There is no such thing as a 'divine prophet' or 'saviour'. And people don't wake up after they die. Sheesh. When will humanity grow up and act their age?! Merry Xmas.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
  20. ++

    Peace on Earth and good will to all people.

    How nice it would be if every day was Christmas.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
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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.