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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Their temple even had a holiday party for the children.

Sacred Spaces: Inside a Hindu temple

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

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

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

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

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

soundoff (2,252 Responses)
  1. Gonzalo

    Happy Festivus for the rest of us!!

    December 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  2. NoMoreLabels

    Merry Christmas everyone!

    December 25, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • George

      Merry Christmas!

      December 25, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  3. tony

    Ancient mankind didn't need any faith to want to celebrate surviving past mid-winter.

    December 25, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  4. The Flamingo Kid

    Christmas is a pagan sham. No one even knows the true date of the birth of Christ. It has been ascertained, however, that is is definitely NOT the date of Dec 25, nor was it even in the month of Dec. Christmas promotes nothing but greed and materialism and is a slap in the face of Jesus Christ. STOP bringing Jesus into your PAGAN holidays!

    December 25, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • George

      This is a tired old tactic deployed by atheists every Christmas. Look, most Christians know that Dec. 25 is not the actual birthday of Jesus. It is the day we CHOOSE to celebrate the birth of Jesus. And there were historical reasons for choosing this date, i.e. to win over pagans.

      December 25, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  5. cd

    Who cares why don't we on MLK day write a story on how other races go about there day,or go to all white Nation's that day and see what they are doing. How about on bl@ck history month you put a reporter smack in the middle of Finland to report on just how they go thru there day. Just another dumb @s s liberal I h@te god writer!

    December 25, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  6. dougaussie

    Christmas can be anything you like, just don't indoctrinate your kids that it is the truth that they have to live by for the next 40 years. The Christmas tree is an old northern europe tradition and santa claus is a complete perversion. The gifts were given to Jesus at his birth, the giving of gifts to one another has got completely out of hand, i don't give gifts to anyone at christmas time [except the wife]. We had hamburgers and a few snacks this year but i'm aiming to completely alter my mindset to this worthless overindulging. As Christians i think we should not 1. have a christmas tree. 2. decorate our house with lights. 3. give gifts to one another. 4. get fat whilea quarter of the world starves to death. If Christmas has become a bondage to your family: break it.

    December 25, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  7. Plug1

    The scriptures clearly record that the only worship acceptable to God is worship that conforms to his instructions concerning how he wants to be worshiped. Moreover, God's law imposes the death penalty on all who improperly worship him.

    Compiled by Charles E. Barrett.

    December 25, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • AdmrlAckbar

      We get it already.. You know how to copy and paste. Now move on learning about the 'undo' function.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  8. Not Christian

    Celebrating diversity is wonderful. I may have been raised an observant Jew but I can respect traditions of all faiths. It is quite easy to appreciate the lessons and values that religions of the world can teach. I certainly respect the idea of Jesus and am fully behind the celebration of his birth. No, I don't know if he was a man who truly existed but his story is interesting and valuable. All one need do is read the Sermon on the Mount to be inspired by his story. Very wise and very much appreciated by myself. Yes, it is likely that he was a David Koresh-like figure but perhaps even Koresh will be venerated one day as a martyr. Perhaps in 2000 years or so. Who knows? Remember that allegory has its own value which certainly outshines the mundane reality with which we are surrounded.

    December 25, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Lyssa

      You are obviously suffering from mental retardation. Good luck getting that fixed. They say you can't fix stupid.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Not Christian

      Lyssa, darling, WHAT are you even talking about????????? Perhaps I truly AM stupid for I have no clue as to what you could even mean...OR...ya know...maybe you're just spouting off a bunch of nonsense. I won't assume either way until you clarify yourself.

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

      Lyssa, Christmas is a thorn in the side for us because you basically hijacked our religion. They were our scriptures, our Torah, God gave the Torah to the Jews And then Christianity came along and tried to tell us, our Rabbis that we who had the Torah for 1000 years before Christianity are all wrong and that we are going to burn in hell!! I think that Christianity should be considered a totally separate religion from Judaism. Christianity is NOT the fulfillment of Judaism just as Islam is NOT the fulfillment of Christianity. Jesus is NOT the Messiah of the Old Testament. Christianity is mostly a Greek and Roman religion that borrowed bits and pieces from Judaism. Christians should stop trying to convert Jews and Muslims for that matter. Let each religion be totally separate and have mutual respect for each other. Christians should stop telling Jews they are going to hell because they don't accept Jesus. The Torah was given to the Jews and they have a right to determine what is Judaism and what isn't.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • Rachel Klein

      Cassandra – go back to China or where ever you are from...

      December 25, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Lyssa

      Thanks Rachel, but I am not a Christian. I just hate stupidity wherever it may be found. I keep finding it here.
      Don't defend someone else if you don't understand what's going on in the first place. Ignorance is similar to stupidity.

      December 25, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • Not Christian

      Lyssa, ignorance and stupidity are quite different. YOUR ignorance is showing here. But no hard feelings. Can't we all get along? This article is a statement about tolerance amongst religions.

      December 25, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Lyssa

      No, we cannot all get along. You really are stupid, aren't you?

      December 25, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Not Christian

      Lyssa, doll, I think your pessimism is unfounded. As long as all religious people can admit that their notions of morality & such are based on belief (as opposed to "knowing"), then we CAN get along. Ever heard the common cliche, "To each, their own"? It's quite common and explains what I'm talking about here nicely. Now, would you please quit assuming people are "stupid"? I'm not sure that you understand the meaning of the word. I don't mean that as a slight to you but merely as a suggestion to review the definition. Cheers.

      December 25, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • Not Christian

      And Rachel, I don't think that the Jesus worshipers "hijacked" our religion. It's pretty obvious to the illuminated that Christianity is a rehashing of Egyptian mythology mixed with Mithraism and even Druidism. The names have changed but the traditions remain. Christians seem to be pagans who forgot their roots. Remember that it was Jews who propogated Christianity amongst he "pagans" of the Roman Empire. Christians might even say that it was WE who hijacked THEIR religious traditions, legal systems, lending systems, etc. And they would be right o an extent. That's just honesty.

      December 25, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
  9. Cassandra Chu

    Why do the Jews always try and get into the press at Christmastime? It's like an odd pathologic syndrome that manifests every year. Often they complain about nativity scenes, whine about Santa... it's pathetic. Maybe all the Jews should migrate to Israel for the winter... and then maybe just stay there.

    December 25, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Not Christian

      Feh! This is rubbish. We love Christmas because it clears the streets and restaurants for us! No traffic! No lines at the Chinese restaurant! What's not to love? Quit your complaining and blaming! You know nothing of us.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  10. Plug1

    although no one knows the exact date of Christ's birth, there is evidence that he was not born in the winter: "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night" (Lk.2:8). This never could have occurred in the month of December in Palestine. The shepherds usually brought their flocks from the mountainsides and fields and corralled them no later than the middle of  October to protect them from the cold, rainy season that followed. The Song of Solomon 2:11 and Ezra.10:9, 13 show that winter was a rainy season during which shepherds could not have remained in open fields at night:

    "It was an ancient custom among the Jews of those days to send their sheep to the fields, and deserts about Passover [early spring] and bring them home at commencement of the first rain . . .During the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day, . . .The first rains began early in the month of Marchesvan, which answers to part of our October and November  [begins in the middle of October] we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole summer, and as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields by night. On this very ground, the nativity in December should be given up. The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a chronological fact" (The Adam Clarke Commentary, Volume 5, page 347).

    December 25, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  11. Plug1

    The truth about Christmas;
    "although the Christmas story centers in the Christ child of Bethlehem, it begins so long before his coming that we find its hero arriving on the scene after more than half of the time of the story has gone by. Christmas began over 4000 years ago, as the festival which renewed the world for another year. The 12 days of Christmas, the bright fires and probably the yule log; the giving of presents; the carnivals with their floats; their merry makings and clowning; the mummers who sing and play from house to house, the feasting; the church processions with their lights and song —all these and more began three centuries before Christ was born. And they celebrated the arrival of a new year" (ibid., page 18).

    "For that day [25th of December] was sacred, not only to the pagan Romans but to a religion from Persia which, in those days, was one of Christianity's strongest rivals. This Persian religion was Mithraism, whose followers worshiped the sun, and celebrated its return to strength on that day. The church finally succeeded in taking the merriment, the greenery, the lights, and gifts from Saturn and giving them to the "babe of Bethlehem" (ibid., page 27).

    "It happened that the date [December 25th] did fall in the midst of the Saturnalia. Far from being an invention to compete against Roman and Persian paganism, the birthday of Christ ran the danger of being swallowed up in pagan merry making. The [church] fathers tried strenuously to keep Christmas strictly a churchly celebration. It was part of their unremitting struggle to break the grip of the pagan gods upon the people. And as they broke, Romans became Christians . . . but the Saturnalia remained" (ibid., page 28).

    "When was Jesus born? No one knows. December 25th is no more than the historical date of his birth than is any other" [page 50]. "Christmas, as we have seen, is of the Mediterranean . . .for the Mediterranean world already had not merely centuries, but millennia behind it, when Christ was born; and even the religion which he founded had traveled several centuries before it discovered its need of Christmas" (page 86).

    December 25, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  12. Reality

    And a Merry Mythmas to all of our sister and brother Christians as we send along the following:

    They are called the Infamous Angelic Cons:

    Joe Smith had his Moroni.

    "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    December 25, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  13. Reality

    Our holiday gift to our sister and brother Muslims:

    from the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi)

    The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:
    ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

    Are you ready?

    Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

    The First Five of the 77 Branches:

    "1. Belief in Allah"

    aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

    "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

    Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

    "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

    A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

    "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

    Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

    Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

    Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

    "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)
    alone."
    Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

    Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

    Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

    Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

    December 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • .........

      hit report abuse on reality garbage

      December 25, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  14. T'is Himself in Maine

    Mankind is the Myth ! Anyway to all Nollaig Shona Dhuit !

    December 25, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  15. Plug1

    THE TRUTH ABOUT CHRISTMAS

    Most professing Christians believe that Christmas is one of the most important holidays.  without question, many people blindly follow its observance. Moreover, they  assume that Jesus was actually born on December 25th. Because we look to Christ as our Savior, it is important to take a deeper look into his birth. We often hear people say,  "Let's put Christ back into Christmas!" Perhaps  we should investigate just how Christ got into Christmas in the first place.

    Most Bible scholars agree that Christmas is of pagan origin. In his book 4000 Years of Christmas, Earl W. Count, Professor of Anthropology at Hamilton College, explains the origin of the Christmas celebration:

    "We do not know its beginning . . . we do not really know when the Christ child it venerates was born: or the time and place when Christmas was first celebrated: or exactly how it was that, over the centuries, a bishop saint of Asia Minor, and a pagan god of the Germans merged to become Santa Claus."

    December 25, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  16. Mary Anne Landers

    Thak you for your article.

    I'm a non-Christian American-specifically a Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist and an agnostic. I live in a very Christian Bible Belt town where Christmas is a big deal.

    How do I celebrate Christmas? I don't. Plain and simple. I don't interefere with others celebrating this holiday, but I won't compromise my faith and practices.

    Sometimes when you're in Rome, you shouldn't do as the Romans do.

    December 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • felixelgato

      What faith?

      December 25, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • B

      Then why are you reading articles on Christmas?

      December 25, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
  17. Sarah Levy

    Christians have a lot to answer for ex the Crusades, Inquisition, forced conversions, Pogroms, the Holocaust etc. When Jesus "returns", he is going to be PIS**D at what you did to his people....

    December 25, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Cassandra Chu

      .... sounds like the jews are angry at xmastime... go wimper somewhere else... maybe go back to israel

      December 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Angela Johnson

      Sarah is right. As Christians, we do have a lot to answer for. I think that Christianity should be considered a totally separate religion from Judaism. Christianity is NOT the fulfillment of Judaism just as Islam is NOT the fulfillment of Christianity. Jesus is NOT the Messiah of the Old Testament. Christianity is mostly a Greek and Roman religion that borrowed bits and pieces from Judaism. Christians should stop trying to convert Jews and Muslims for that matter. Let each religion be totally separate and have mutual respect for each other. Christians should stop telling Jews they are going to hell because they don't accept Jesus. The Torah was given to the Jews and they have a right to determine what is Judaism and what isn't.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Wow!

      You are lumping all current Christians into being the reason for the inquisition? Alot of wrongs were done by alot of different people of different beliefs through out history. I think the people of those times are paying for the errors of their ways. I don't think the people of today will pay for their sins back then.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Wow!

      Angela, well put.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • Lyssa

      Anyone who thinks we are all "born sinners" and that we are doomed to "hell" because of Adam and Eve is really, really stupid.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • felixelgato

      Christians are not responsible for the Halocaust. Read a book, Sarah. The Nazis were not Christians. I am a Christian and I am only responsible for my sins as you are yours.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Angela Johnson

      Hey WOW I'm talking about all anti semitism. It exists today as much as it did during the Inquisition. I see Jew hatred on these blogs all the time. Constantly. So, the sins of the Inquisition are the same as today. So, it's a fair comparison.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Lyssa

      The Nazis were not only Christians, they felt they were doing "God's work" in wiping out those "horrible Jews".
      Anyone who denies that Nazis were Christians is a bald-faced liar.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Wow!

      I sure don't hate Jews. Am I going to be judged for other peoples mistakes? Sorry I misunderstood. I believe the Bible states that i am only responsible for my own sins.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Angela Johnson

      wow- when murder is done in the name of religion, then the religion is partly or sometimes mostly at fault. For an Imam to encourage jihad or a priest to start blaming the Jews for the death of Jesus, then the resulting pogroms, or whatever are the fault of the church and if you belong to the church, then your support of the church does implicate you to a point. yes it does. the germans can't say well, we didn't know during the holocaust so they are without blame. As a society they are fully to blame and there is a collection moral responsibility for what they did. Same with christians and the horrible things we did to the Jews.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Angela Johnson

      I meant to say a collective moral responsibility.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Wow!

      So if current Christians believe that the inquisition was wrong, they are still showing support for what was done hundreds of years ago?

      December 25, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Lyssa

      The Inquisition was a Catholic Bible-based action. If you support the Bible, then you support every action based on it whether you personally agree with the action or not. Your support of the Bible is all that is needed to condemn you. And without your Bible you cannot support any other part of your personal interpretation of same. Don't blame us, it's YOUR Bible filled with much worse than the Inquisition. You support it, right?

      December 25, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  18. Justin Cohen

    Jesus Christ claimed to be God.
    Islam regards Him as a prophet.
    If Jesus was not God, He was a liar.
    If Jesus is a liar, then He is not a prophet.
    Jesus is either liar, lunatic, or Lord.
    Pick one.

    December 25, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • bint alshamsa

      That's so illogical as to be ridiculous. Some Christians believe that Jesus said he was God. It's a belief that's not shared by all Christians, by the way. The Qur'an (and a few other holy books from other religions) also makes claims about what Jesus said. People can choose between these ideas, some combination of them, or entirely different ones. The idea that one can only choose between seeing Jesus as God or seeing him as a liar is just ignorant.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Steverific

      Jesus did not claim to be God, he in fact was quite clear about that.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Iagree

      I totally agree, pretty infallible logic, too bad religion doesn't care about that.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  19. Joe G

    Why cant everyone just celebrate each others differences ? And be Cool !

    December 25, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Lyssa

      Why the *hell* would anyone want to celebrate others' "differences" when so many of those "differences" are insane, hateful, disgusting, and stupid?
      Oh, wait, you must be one of those "stupid people". I keep running into you guys. You're everywhere I don't want to be.

      December 25, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Wow!

      Lyssa, Your comments show no relevant intellect. You have no examples of why you think this, other than "you must be one of those stupid people". You seem like a rather hateful person? Am I right?

      December 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Lyssa

      If you can't see the stupidity in celebrating "differences" then you are also stupid. Just a fact. I hate stupidity, don't you?

      December 25, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Wow!

      Do you believe in celebrating diversity? If so, that would be differences.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Lyssa

      To celebrate "diversity" or "differences" is to be a total idiot who ignores all the bad "diversity" and "differences".
      Celebrating difference is completely and utterly stupid.

      December 25, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Angela Johnson

      If everyone would stop trying to cram their beliefs down everyone else's throat, then that could happen...

      December 25, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  20. steama

    Jesus is a myth. Have fun on Christmas.

    December 25, 2011 at 3:48 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.