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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. From elsewhere

    "...Accordingly, every bishop, priest, religious or layman who in the future give support to Jews against the Christian Faith, be it through briberies or favors, shall be regarded as profane and blaspheming God, and shall be excluded from the Communion of the Catholic Church and shall be regarded as not belonging to the Kingdom of God..." (CANON 58, 4th TOLEDO COUNCIL)

    December 25, 2011 at 12:48 am |
    • Daleri Rileda

      The westminster confession said that God no longer speaks to us.

      ...did God tell them that He no longer "reveals His will" to us?

      December 25, 2011 at 12:55 am |
  2. From elsewhere

    A man can have se.x with animals such as sheep, cows, camels and so on. However he should kill the animal after he has his org.asm. He should not sell the meat to the people in his own village, however selling the meat to the next door village should be fine.

    -Ayatollah Khomeini, Tahrirolvasyleh, fourth volume, Darol Elm, Gom, Iran, 1990.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • Daleri Rileda

      Something is very wrong with that.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • Ron

      That is the best you could come up with on Christmas???? Not that I like that idiot myself, may he rot in hell but I also feel sorry for you

      December 25, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • moebar

      just because you quote one of the popes and the religious leader of Iran does not mean you discredit a religion....it just means you discredit those people...but on a side note the Ayatollah only represents Shia muslims....90% of all muslims are Sunni....so it would be better for you to go after the mainstream

      December 25, 2011 at 12:58 am |
  3. Bill

    Nobodies faith stands a chance of being 100% correct anyways. Might as well relax and enjoy the fact that we all have an opportunity to celebrate together.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:45 am |
    • Daleri Rileda

      It is 100% correct that only our Maker can remake us again because there is no one else who can.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • Answer

      Yet you posted that same comment to make sure right? Not so sure of yourself so you had to re-post it.

      Hilarious.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:54 am |
  4. Boston Bob

    Very nice write-up and nice to see the commonality in religions and the festivity of the season. Just a reminder though that the Christmas tree has nothing to do with the birth of Christ. It helps celebrate the pagan german winter solstice or the festivity of lights. Funny how things get hijacked. Don't get me started on Easter Eggs and Bunnies...lol. It is all rather comical. Merry Christmas.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:45 am |
  5. The Master

    I hate xmas. I hate xtians. I hate the stupid people who this god or gods exist. I just hate them

    December 25, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • Bill

      I guess "live and let live" isn't an option for you?

      December 25, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • Dean

      You mad bro? You don't have to believe in god to enjoy the gift exchange and family time that accompanies celebrating christmas.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • GAW

      Too much eggnog

      December 25, 2011 at 12:54 am |
    • JohnR

      The Master sounds like a Christian troll.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • Isaac

      Hopefully, one day soon you will realize the self-destructive power of hate, and not from first hand experience.

      December 25, 2011 at 7:28 am |
  6. Marcus

    I've heard it said that Christianity is among the most successful Jewish inventions of all time.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:43 am |
  7. Angelo

    Living in Thailand for 4 years, I always liked how open Buddhist culture is. In Thailand, every big store and shopping mall has Christmas trees and decorations up and is playing Christmas music ad nauseum. While the Thais don't celebrate Christmas in a religious aspect, they never miss an opportunity to party and enjoy Christmas as a day/night to party and hang out with friends and dress up in Christmas inspired clothes.

    It's unfortunate that so many Christians and Catholics are, by contrast, so closed to the beliefs of other religions. Especially considering that Christianity is nothing more than a hodge podge of belifs from many religions and pagan belief systems. Christmas itself is more pagan than Christian or Catholic. Everything from the tree to the day it's celebrated has nothing to do with Christianity.

    So keep that in mind the next time you complain about how "Christmas isn't about Jesus anymore." Christmas originally had nothing to do with Jesus until Constantine decided to turn the pagan Roman holiday of the winter solstice into a celebration of the birth of Jesus. It was one of many changes to Christianity that he made so it would be more palpable to the Roman populace. Jesus was born in the spring.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:42 am |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      TIS THE SEASON FOR GETTING TRASHED AND USING MUAY THAI ON CHILDREN

      December 25, 2011 at 12:56 am |
  8. From elsewhere

    a nice quote

    "I do further promise and declare, that I will, when opportunity presents, make and wage relentless war, secretly or openly, against all heretics, Protestants and Liberals, as I am directed to do and to extirpate and exterminate them from the face of the whole earth, and that I will spare neither se.x, age nor condition and that I will hang, waste, boil, flay, strangle and bury alive these infamous heretics; rip up the stomachs and wombs of their women and crush their infants' heads against the wall, in order to annihilate forever their execrable race."
    — Pope Paul III, 1576

    December 25, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • Answer

      It's always nice that in this world you can't hide stuff like this – someone will always bring them to light.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:45 am |
    • Andrew C.B.

      I think Jesus Christ is not on par with Abraham or Moses or any other prophets. Jesus Christ is the incarnation of God. Jesus Christ is GOD Himself. While Abraham and Moses and others are just human, creation of GOD.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      AND GOD WAS A CREATION OF MAN

      December 25, 2011 at 1:03 am |
    • Fizzylift

      If that's not a great Facebook quote, I don't know what is!

      December 25, 2011 at 2:39 am |
    • Isaac

      There was a reason for the reformation that Martin Luther started.

      December 25, 2011 at 7:30 am |
  9. Rod C. Venger

    As a near life-long Christian (Was born Jewish, raised Catholic yet went to a Baptist sunday school, and finally being baptized as a Christian when I was 14) even I can see that Christmas is more about the ritual of giving 'stuff' than anything else. As best as anyone can figure, Jesus was likely born in March, but not knowing a date, one day is as good as any other. I don't have a lot of interest in how or whether other religious relate to us, or me. The idea that Islam acknowledges that Jesus led a sinless life yet they can't...or won't...put him on a level that exceeds that of Mohammed, is baffling. The Quran certainly doesn't say that Mohammed led a sinless life and fact is, no human possibly could, which makes a strong case for Jesus' diety, a fact seemingly lost on Muslims. Fact is, Jesus was a Jew and not in this life or the next would Muslims willingly acknowledge a Jew as being God, the Son of God or the Holy Spirit. Fascinating that their bias will damn them and they don't care.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:38 am |
    • moebar

      Muhammad isnt better than Jesus and Jesus wasnt better than Muhammad according to Islam.....and jesus wasnt born in March he was born in the summer.....also you are quick to atk another religion but have you looked at your religion.....the bible has many contradictions....just look at what happened to Judas.....in one story he took the silver and bought potters field and then fell into a hole and died....in another story he gave the silver to the Jewish clerics and they bought potters field and he went onto hang himself.....so my question is how did Judas died what happened to the silver and who bought potters field?

      December 25, 2011 at 12:46 am |
    • Sa

      Uh Rod are you kidding me, Muslims believe all Prophets led sinless lives. You cant just pickup the Quran and derive your own meanings from it, that is why Quran and Sunnah(the way of the Prophet) is always mentioned together in Islam.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:48 am |
    • moebar

      Sa you are wrong about your statement.....the Quran attributes sins to each prophet accept Jesus

      December 25, 2011 at 12:52 am |
    • JohnR

      Jesus didn't live a sinless life, either. ANd for Moebar, among the MANY things not known about the historical Jesus is when, or strictly speaking even whether, he was born. I have heard theories about him being born in the spring, though I heard that it was most likely April, not March. Since it is far from established that there even was a historical figure uniquely linkable to the figure in the New Testament, it is of course impossible to say with certainty when such person was born, as he may never have been. But among those who believe in a historic Jesus, there is significant controversy over when he was born. It is certainly not established that it was the summer. It was, however, surely not December 25th!

      December 25, 2011 at 1:30 am |
  10. ButterSquash

    The Messiah (Christ is the Greek word for Messiah and not the old chaps last name) must be descended on his father’s side from King David (Genesis 49:10 and Isaiah 11:1) as stated in the Bible. According to the Christian claim that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth, he had no father—and thus could not have possibly fulfilled the messianic requirement of being descended on his father’s side from King David! The entire Holiday is made false by the Bible itself... funny huh.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • Daleri Rileda

      Yeshua's adoptive father Yoseph was descended from King David and Miriam was too through another line.

      The real King is G-d Himself.

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

      Bestowing more t-i-t-l-e-s onto your deity .. sure sign that you are insane.

      If god were real the already stated god reference is all it needs.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:48 am |
  11. MK

    Hey, I actually liked this article. Thanks 🙂

    December 25, 2011 at 12:37 am |
  12. Marc Leger

    This article falls short of exposing god, many man-made gods. They have existed since the dawn of time. Anyone claiming their god is the real "god", you must present proof that these 3,700+ gods never existed.

    http://www.godchecker.com/

    December 25, 2011 at 12:34 am |
  13. ben

    Another way of looking at your comment Answer would be if you can't have faith, then you have nothing.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • Marc Leger

      Faith is the absence of knowledge in science. Period.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:36 am |
    • Answer

      In essence your faith shows that you have nothing.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • Jim

      Faith is often defined as a strong or unshakeable belief in something, especially without proof or evidence. Why would you base your world view on something like this when there are well thought out alternatives grounded in the present and backed up by empirical evidence?

      December 25, 2011 at 12:46 am |
    • Marc Leger

      I have the knowledge that your god is man-made.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:47 am |
  14. Mark Gottlieb

    I grew up Jewish in a small town outside of Pittsburgh. There were only about 6 Jews in my graduating class. My family always visited one of my father's friends, who was Greek Orthodox, but celebrated Christmas Eve. We went to their house almost every year to watch the TV Christmas specials (they had a color TV!). However, we celebrated Hanukkah; never Christmas. Back in the late 1950's and early 60's, when Christmas Carols were sung in public schools, we were just told we could say the name "Jesus" but to just "mouth" the words "savior" or "Christ." Never had any problems with that.

    I never felt that I "missed out" on Christmas. I could enjoy the songs, enjoy my friends and their presents (although we had 8 days of Hanukkah and 8 presents–what Christian could beat that?). Maybe because both my parents were teachers, as well as attending Sunday School at the one synagogue in town, we learned that we were Jewish and what that meant.

    I never missed Christmas because we had Hanukkah. I never missed Christmas because we were allowed to sing the beautiful Christmas Carols (except, of course, Christ and Savior). I never missed Christmas because I was brought up thinking that we Jews came first, that Jesus was Jewish, and other people (later we learned about Paul, etc.) were just different–no better nor worse. Well, in actuality, I always felt being Jewish was a bit better than being a Christian.

    Even though I went through my Zionist and religious period, I know don't believe in any one religion. I'm not an atheist nor do I claim to be an Agnostic. My beliefs about the world and about life and death, are basically Buddhist in nature. Since no one really knows about the "off" switch of life, live our "on" life to its fullest. Have compassion for everyone. Be more concerned about the present life than the hereafter. This is the way I try to live my life. Sometimes I succeed; sometimes it's difficult. However, the Jewish/Christian/Muslim "Western" religions do not resonate with me at all. I'll take the Buddha's advice and teachings above everything I grew up with.

    I am Jewish; I am proud to be Jewish, even though I am not religious. I am definitely NOT Christian, nor want to be. I'm not Buddhist nor Taoist, though their teachings resonate with me. I'm a mongrel, just like my cherished dogs. Maybe, some day, I can write a treatise about the "religion" of dogs. They love no matter what and they love to be loved. Isn't that similar to us?

    December 25, 2011 at 12:33 am |
    • moebar

      whats your view on Zionism now?

      December 25, 2011 at 12:36 am |
    • Daleri Rileda

      Dogs know how to get fed.

      The only truth is that our Maker is the only One who can do anything for us because no one else can remake us, perfect us and translate us into forever to be where He is.

      So the Messianic teaching is the only true teaching there is.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • Answer

      "The only truth is that our Maker is the only One "

      You will eventually come to believe your own garbage through repet-i-t-i-v-e posting of your own distorted truths.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • JohnR

      @Daleri I live with dogs. I also feed a colony of )spayed and neutered!) feral cats and some peafowl and a rooster that came to live on my property. The cats and birds "love" me as a source of food, but will only allow me so much contact. My dogs love me whether they are hungry or not and seek me out for pure social interaction all the time. Yes, they enjoy their food, just as I do and humans in general do. But just a humans can love their job as something more than just a paycheck, certain animals can love the people they live with as more than just a source of food. Denials by certain forms of emotional stunted humans don't change this.

      Oh, and while there will always be a bit of a gulf between me and the feral cats, they are highly social and loving towards each other.Humans are one of nature's most remarkable products, but we aren't unique in our capacity to love.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:40 am |
    • Daleri Rileda

      I like dogs tool

      December 25, 2011 at 2:05 am |
  15. WCatholic2

    Perhaps it would be best to leave theological opinion to the academics. They are, after all, the experts. if I have learned anything from the few courses in comparative religion and mythology that I've taken, its an interest in the incredible variety in the expression of human spirituality, and persistant human search for meaning. My guess is that even nihilism must serve some purpose in this regard.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      ANYONE WHO DOESN'T BELIEVE IN RELIGION IS MORE OF AN EXPERT THAN THE BELIEVERS

      MOST OF THEM DON'T KNOW A THING ABOUT THEIR OWN RELIGIOUS BRAINWASH MANUALS

      December 25, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • Daleri Rileda

      Did they tell you that only our Maker is able to remake us again because no one else can?

      You learned nothing about "religion" if you did not learn that a Savior (God) born of a woman took everything on Himself for our sakes.

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

      @ THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE 4 words for you ...Caps Lock Off Please

      December 25, 2011 at 12:39 am |
    • Answer

      @Daleri

      Those who keep lying to themselves are always the first to come down and fall victim to their mental disorders.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:39 am |
    • GrumpyOldLady

      GAW: "Garbage..." has been a bad boy all night with his caps key. We need to be quiet now as its been about 15 minutes since I've heard him yelling. I think he finally cried himself to sleep. Shhhh...

      December 25, 2011 at 12:46 am |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      STUPID PEOPLE GET UPSET OVER THE MOST TRIVIAL THINGS

      December 25, 2011 at 12:59 am |
    • GAW

      @ GrumpyOldLady And visions of sugarplums danced in his head.

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

      Ooops spoke too soon. Baby boy just woke up!

      December 25, 2011 at 1:07 am |
  16. Satan

    Hey CNN, can you be any more religiously ethnocentric? How do other faiths commemorate Christmas? You guys are idiots.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • Jim

      "How other faiths celebrate December 25th"

      December 25, 2011 at 12:28 am |
    • Satan

      Hey Jim, the implication is "Christmas". Do you remember seeing a story from CNN at any point during 2011 where they had an article exploring how other faiths celebrate March 28th?

      December 25, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • lachman

      Satan, you're name indicates your the biggest idiot on the earth.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:32 am |
    • Satan

      Iachman, what does the word Satan mean? Look it up since you obviously don't know.

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

      considering about 76% of the population reading CNN are indeed Christian, it make sense that the article would be writing to its largest crowd.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:40 am |
    • Satan

      Well, Liz, that may be true, but that doesn't make it any less ignorant.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:42 am |
    • Liz

      it doesn't make it ignorant.... It's just sharing information.

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

      Ooooookkkkk.....

      December 25, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • Liz

      🙂

      December 25, 2011 at 12:48 am |
    • GAW

      Satan Hey your missing the Amazing Atheist videos on You Tube.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:51 am |
  17. Mark

    With all due respect, I don't care any more about how other faiths celebrate Christmas than I do about how Jews celebrate Hanaukah, Blacks celebrate Kwanzaa, or Atheists celebrate whatever it is they celebrate.

    Similarly, I don't care how other people view the oatmeal cookie as superior to the chocolate chip. I celebrate the latter...

    December 25, 2011 at 12:25 am |
    • Liz

      well, that the beauty of the United States. you'll never be forced to read anything you don't like. unless you're in high school...

      December 25, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • Alex

      "Blacks celebrate Kwanzaa" makes as much sense as "Whites celebrate fall equinox". Yes there are people from these groups who do it, but they are a tiny minority.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:42 am |
    • JohnR

      With all due respect, Mark, no one much cares what you do or do not care about.

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

      Dear Mark,

      I think Oatmeal cookies are better with chocolate chips in them. I also think chocolate chip cookies are better with oatmeal (and cinnamon) in them.

      Merry Christmas!

      December 25, 2011 at 7:38 am |
  18. Bina

    Am I the only one that finds it a bit odd that Judaism is not mentioned anywhere in this article? CNN is beyond biased...

    December 25, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • Jim

      Read the entire article, the last third is about Judaism.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:25 am |
    • moebar

      they do reference Jews....there are also many religions in the world and most of them are not referenced in this article...Also Judaism does not include Jesus and since Judaism does not accept Jesus as the messiah this is a rejection of the New testament....

      December 25, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • srikanth

      Bina, I would have thought of agreeing with you on the point you made..."judaism not mentioned by CNN ..implies they are biased".... ONLY if you were not a jew. So, are you a jew?

      December 25, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • SlimDunkin

      What are you talking about. There is a Hassidic Jew giving his view on Christmas right in the Article!

      December 25, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • SATX

      Because Jews don't believe in Jesus, and he is despised figure in Judaism

      December 25, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • Beth

      Jesus is not in Judaism. He is not "a dispised figure in Judaism." He isn't in Judaism. That's like saying Mohammad is a dispised figure in Christianity. Mohamman isn't in Christianity any more than jesus is in Judaism. Get it?

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

      Bina,

      I couldn't help but notice that the Jew who was interviewed was the only one who made fun of Christmas by pointing out how members of the tribe go out of their way to distance themselves from the Christian holiday. The spokespersons for the other religions were very respectful and explained how their religions view Jesus Christ and how they have incorporated some aspects of Christianity into their teachings. Jews just don't get it - they are not God's chosen people and the world doesn't revolve around them.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • Liz

      anon, I don't think it's fair to group ALL of the Jewish based on one person's comment.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:52 am |
  19. Dave Shelter

    Well instead of worrying who made the universe, lets take of the people in this country. I am sitting at the McDonald's on route 75 here in Florida, using the wifi to send emails to friends that I am ok, I am a homeless veteran, everything is closed just sitting here in my RV, had a can of sardines for dinner tonight, can't afford much more than that, thank god for the dollar store. In a few hours I will have to find another spot to rest my eyes since I can't stay at McDonalds all night. I will go to a rest stop and most likely be left alone from the police since it is Christmas Eve. There are veterans far worse than I am who are living without a roof over their heads, tomorrow drop some food off for them, I am going to volunteer my time tomorrow for a homeless food drive in Tampa. People, the country is falling apart, start getting ready http://shelter101.com

    December 25, 2011 at 12:20 am |
    • *

      Stay away from scam artist "Dave," folks! It's Christmas eve and he's out to make a killing.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:25 am |
    • Beth

      If your post is really true I'm very sorry. It isn't fair that our economy was sold by Wall Street and there aren't any jobs. 50% of the country is living in poverty right now. There are more homeless people in parts of Florida than anywhere in the US. It isn't right that you are homeless, especially after serving our country. I hope you find a way to get a steady, good job and a home of your own again.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • Nisha

      Dave, if you need a place to park your vehicle, Walmart lets people park their RVs in their parking lots. I hope things work out for you...

      December 25, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • Ben

      Beth if you think 50 percent of country is in poverty you're just delusional.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:42 am |
  20. Daleri Rileda

    It is not nice to lie to people. Christianity is the only teaching that is telling the truth.

    Only our Maker Himself alone can be our Savior because there is no one else who can be.

    December 25, 2011 at 12:20 am |
    • Jennifer

      Oh man are you in for a surprise.....

      December 25, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • Daleri Rileda

      Mechanisms that function as ordered inside of us prove that we have a Maker because mechanisms that work cannot exist without having a maker.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • Answer

      "It is not nice to lie to people."

      It is the truth!

      Worst yet is to lie to oneself – just like you Daleri. I congratulate you on your ability to lie to yourself.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • *

      Troll. No one is really that stupid.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • Daleri Rileda

      I am being honest.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • ben

      Don't know what you mean Jennifer...please clarify. I think Daleri has it right. Mathimatically speaking, this would be considered a constant. It only makes sense. True love always must sacrifice something it would normally do (selflessness), for the benefit of another. This is Christianity, and why GOD is LOVE.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:28 am |
    • Answer

      Keep on lying. If you can't continue on with your own lies then you have nothing.

      That is why you freaks from religions keep on doing it.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • ben

      Lying about what?

      December 25, 2011 at 12:32 am |
    • Answer

      What do you think ben?

      December 25, 2011 at 12:33 am |
    • ben

      There's another way of looking at your comment Answer...if you can't have faith, then you have nothing. You know I'm not lying. Why would I?

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

      I am not getting salvation, I am getting Hell. So, I do not like God very much. I do like eating good food with family, and presents! Yay for presents! =)

      December 25, 2011 at 12:36 am |
    • Beth

      If you were born to people of another faith you would have been another religion. YOu only believe what you believe because you were told these stories from childhood. the bible isn't 'proof'. It is a story you were told. It is too bad that you are not open to the idea that there are other paths to god. I obviously do not agree with your opinion on things. Believing in another religion or not believing in any religion isn't a 'lie'. Lying means you know something to be false but you say it anyway. It isn't a lie. It is a difference in belief.

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

      Keep on thinking ben..

      Keep on with your own lies. Why wouldn't you is what I would ask of you? Ask yourself what possible motive you have for yourself to keep up with the charade?

      December 25, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • Daleri Rileda

      The truth is true no matter what your GPS says.

      Only our Maker can be our Saviior because there is no one else who can be.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • Answer

      You'll be able to convince yourself fully some day.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • ben

      By your own reasoning, you prove my point Answer. Why wouldn't I? You obviously know the nature of man. That is why I wouldn't. Because I do too. And I go to God to make the better decision.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:54 am |
    • Answer

      I know psychology. Ever man/woman has an innate nature to want to know. To make up stuff for a lack of knowledge is always the first thing a person will do.

      Religious people are that product.

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

      Beth, I only agree in that you would have been exposed to a certain faith, but that's it. So was I. I was born in America and born under Christianity. I revolted against Christianity once I was free to roam. I searched other religions and philosophies as well as life as a whole. Once I stepped back, I was able to see that compared to all aforementioned, the good news of the gospel is no doubt the highest and most reasonable ideal to create a better world. People just don't want to give God credit for that.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • ben

      Congratulations on knowing psychology Answer. Good luck with that. Just as you proposed, I have a proposition for you. If were sitting on a crowded bus in a chair and you suddenly dropped your keys and stood up to pick them up and someone else took your seat in that moment...what would you do?

      December 25, 2011 at 1:05 am |
    • Answer

      Well ben .. why don't you answer it yourself? Go on and think – you want to say that it won't be exactly as yours. Correct?

      That line of reasoning – how could this person be moral? Good luck on your inferior thought process.

      December 25, 2011 at 1:11 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.