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September 13th, 2012
11:23 AM ET

My Take: A deadly link between Islamic and anti-Islamic extremists

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

What should we make of the attacks on the U.S. consulates in Egypt, Libya and Yemen, and the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens?

It depends on who you mean by “we.”

From the perspective of those who stormed the embassies, taking down the American flag in Egypt and replacing it with a black flag reading, “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger,” theirs was an act of justice on behalf of the One True Faith.

The Americans had it coming, according to this view, because Americans are on the wrong side in the clash of civilizations between the Judeo-Christian West and the Muslim world. And the creation of an anti-Islamic video (ironically entitled "Innocence of Muslims") by a producer thought to be an American provided the catalyst (or excuse) for the protests.

Why Muslims are sensitive about portraying the Prophet Mohammed

Most Americans operate by a different “we.” From our perspective, the assault was an unjust and cowardly attack on (among other things) the rule of law, the institution of diplomacy and the right of free speech.

Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur gave voice to this perspective when he said on Twitter, “I condemn these barbaric attacks in the strongest possible terms. This is an attack on America, Libya and free people everywhere.”

“Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton added. “The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.”

In a commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2005, later published as "This Is Water," novelist David Foster Wallace urged student to scrutinize the “natural, basic self-centeredness” that puts “me” at the center of the world.

This unconscious “default setting” fosters the sort of “blind certainty” that manifests as arrogant atheism and fundamentalism alike, Wallace said. And the point of education is to shake us out of that “default setting” - to begin to see things from the perspectives of others.

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Wallace focused in his speech on the individual “I.” But his critique can be applied as well to another “default setting” (this one more cultural than natural): our tendency to understand the world from the perspective of “we."

According to those who stormed the embassies, "Innocence of Muslims" was not made by an individual (whoever the shadowy "Sam Bacile" may - or may not - be). It was made by an American.

Moreover, according to this groupthink, Americans as a group are responsible for the sins of individual Americans, so it makes perfect sense to strike out at embassy personnel who issued a statement before the protests turned deadly, condemning "the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims, as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions."

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Meanwhile, the shadowy figures who produced and distributed "Innocence of Muslims" are imprisoned in some groupthink of their own, which gathers all the world’s Muslims under the category of an evil Islamic empire. Their film doesn’t just depict Mohammed as a con man, philanderer, and pedophile. It portrays his followers as dupes.

Unfortunately, the events of recent days have done nothing to jar the alleged producer out of this default setting. When questioned about his film in the aftermath of the Libyan and Egyptian attacks, a man identifying himself as "Sam Bacile" reportedly told the Wall Street Journal that “Islam is a cancer.”

You don’t need a Kenyon college degree to see how this vicious cycle of provocation and violence is fueled, and you don’t need to be a moral relativist to see that it takes two sides to keep it running.

I am an American who is justly proud of the First Amendment and its protections of freedom of speech and religion. And I believe that killing your opponents in the name of God or nation is a far greater offense than offending them with an ignorant movie.

Nonetheless, the root problem on display here is in my view what Wallace denounced as “blind certainty.”

Our world is not divided first and foremost along religious or national lines, into Muslims and Christians and Hindus or Israelis and Americans and Egyptians.

Neither is it divided into secularists and people of faith - the New Atheists and partisans of old-time religion.

The real “red line” in the modern world divides the certain from the uncertain. And in the tragic events of recent days, those who produced and distributed this hateful movie stand on the same side of this line as the killers of innocents in Libya and Egypt.

Both groups are possessed by the unholy spirit of “blind certainty,” unacquainted with both the complexity and contradictions of life on Earth and the “cloud of unknowing” that hovers over every major religion.

The great religious thinkers in Judaism, Christianity and Islam always knew enough to know that they did not know everything.

They knew the difference between the eternal decrees of the God of Abraham and the all-too-flawed thoughts of ordinary people. They knew, in short, that they are not God, who alone is charged with creating and destroying the world and discriminating along the way between the real and the illusory.

The killers in Libya have forgotten that. So have the not-so-innocent producers and distributors of "Innocence of Islam."

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

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- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Belief • Egypt • Islam • Libya • Middle East • Violence

soundoff (395 Responses)
  1. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    Another important message "professor" Stevie P forgot to mention:

    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..

    September 16, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Reality

      For those Arabs who do not understand English:

      – from the Google translator:

      ----–

      الخطوات الخمس لأبطل تأثير الخرافات من 1400 سنة الإسلامي:

      (-اتخاذ خطوات أقل من دقيقتين إلى دقيقة، والانتهاء ببساطة مذهلة-سنتين إلى إحلال السلام والعقلانية لأكثر من مليار نسمة، فقد لا تقدر بثمن!)

      هل أنت مستعد؟

      استخدام "الفروع الإسلامية 77 من" الإيمان "مجموعة الإمام البيهقي جمعتها كنقطة انطلاق. في ذلك، وهو ما يفسر الفضائل الأساسية التي تعكس صحيح" الإيمان "(إيمان) من خلال الآيات القرآنية وأحاديث نبوية ذات الصلة." أي ملخصا لطيفة من المعتقدات الإسلامية والقرآن الكريم.

      والخمسة الأولى من الفروع 77:

      "1، والإيمان بالله"

      وينبغي أن يضاف الملقب كما الله، الرب، زيوس، الرب، الطبيعة الأم، وما إلى ذلك لالخلايا العصبية الذاتية التطهير الخاص.

      "2. وإذا ما تصورنا أن كل شيء غير الله كان غير موجود. بعد ذلك، خلق الله العلي هذه الأمور لاحقا وجاء إلى حيز الوجود."

      التطور والانفجار الكبير أو "غي ب G-NAB" (عندما يبدأ الكون لإعادة تدوير) هي أكثر قبولا وينبغي إدراج "المندرجة" في سبيل الله إذا كنت لا تزال تشكل "CREA-tionist".

      "3. إلى الاعتقاد في وجود الملائكة".

      A بندا رئيسيا لتطهير الخلايا العصبية. الملائكة / دي vils-الإبداعات الأسطورية هي من الحضارات القديمة، على سبيل المثال Hitt خائبي، لشرح / تحديد الأحداث الطبيعية، والاتصالات مع آلهتهم، والطيور الكبيرة، والرياح المفاجئة، وحماة في ليالي الظلام، وما إلى ذلك لا "جميلة / UG-لاي ثينجيس افسح المجال ل" أو بزيارة أي وقت مضى تحدث إلى محمد، يسوع، مريم أو جوزيف سميث أو جو. اليوم سوف نصنف الملائكة كما airies-F و "كير القصدير يكون LLS-". وتصنف الحديثة دي vils كما دي مونس هيئة اجتثاث mented.

      "4. إذا ما تصورنا أن جميع الكتب السماوية التي تم إرسالها إلى الأنبياء مختلفة صحيحا، ولكن بصرف النظر عن القرآن الكريم، كل الكتب الأخرى غير صالحة بعد الآن."

      آخر بندا رئيسيا في حذفها. لا توجد كتب في ولاية روح السماء (إن وجد) كما لا توجد الملائكة لكتابة / نشر / توزيعها. القرآن، OT، NT وما هي ببساطة كتب من قبل البشر للبشر.

      اخترعت من قبل الأنبياء الكتبة القديمة عادة للحفاظ على الجماهير من الامم المتحدة والمتعلمين في الصف. اليوم ونحن ندعو لهم مقابل لحن فرز الأصوات.

      كما نبوءات invali مؤرخة من قبل الهدايا الطبيعية / الله / الله من الإرادة الحرة والمستقبل.

      "5. لنعتقد أن جميع الأنبياء صحيحة، ولكن ونحن أمرنا اتباع النبي محمد (عليه الصلاة والسلام
      صلى الله عليه وسلم) وحده. "

      قضى محمد ثلاثين يوما "الصيام" (أسطورة رمضان) في كهف الساخن قبل لقاءه الأول مع الله ويعرف أيضا باسم الله وما إلى ذلك من خلال "افسح المجال ل ثينغي جميلة". الحس السليم يتطلب حذف الخلايا العصبية من رقم 5. # 5 هو أيضا المصدر الرئيسي للالاسلامي VI-olence أي تحول محمد "سريع والجوع يحركها" hallu-cinations إلى واقع فظيع لغير المؤمنين.

      المشي هذه الخطوات الخمس ونحن نضمن انتعاش الكامل من طرقك الإسلامية!!

      للأسف، لا توجد العديد من المعلقين مسلم / القراء على هذا بلوق لذلك "لمدة دقيقتين" هو عدم الحصول على علاج لأولئك الذين في حاجة إليها. إذا كان لديك صديق مسلم، وإرسال نسخة منه وتساعد في إنقاذ العالم.

      خطوات مماثلة متوفرة في طلبك للحصول على deprogramming الأساطير المسيحية واليهودية والبوذية والهندوسية والوثنية ..

      September 16, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ,

    September 15, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but you assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 15, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • ufadoof

      Still attempting to pray the gay away I see. How's that working out?

      September 16, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • i am a moron

      Prayer has three answers. yes. no. maybe later. That means no matter what happens, your prayer has been answered. HOW MIRACULOUS!!!!!

      October 2, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    September 15, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but you assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 15, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
  4. Marx

    If you don't like a movie/film , don't watch it. It is as simple as that. Boycotting a film is the best retaliation, why resort to violence???

    September 15, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Geek Girl

      Because they are soooo bored. Everything that's fun is frowned on there so a little bonfire once every so often does lighten things up a little.

      September 15, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  5. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and lets them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago**; and that other things, like god, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Sometimes, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). Sometimes, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Religions are just big old evil clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division along the way (disguised as love).

    So instead of praying to make-believe people, get a good cup of tea and go on and sit down and collect your damn thoughts. My goodness.

    ** (yes, charlatan spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think it hadn't?)

    mama kindless

    September 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  6. atheists are bunch of cowards and gutless jerks

    The man behind it is a closet atheist and the movie was secretly funded by atheists' cult. Its real intent was more than plain ridicule and insult of Mohammed and Islam but rather not less than creating war and chaos between all religions. And they are now planning to on of the 3 Major religions(Christianity, Islam, Jewish).

    It's their long-time obsession to topple down and end religions of all sorts. But they don't have enough numbers to doit. They are just a drop in a bucket even in the non-believers segment.

    It's now their design to stir-up the the one or a couple of the major religious group to anger to make them (all religions) anihilate each other that they (atheists) will prevail in the end.

    I just hope that all our muslim brothers will be enlightened that they may discern things in deeper perspective that will not be used by atheists to further their evil agenda.

    September 15, 2012 at 4:41 am |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "atheists are bunch of cowards and gutless jerks", but all of your assertions are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 15, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Geek Girl

      By the way, are you a Birther, a Truther or both?

      September 15, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  7. Iqbal Khan

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2_cjYg29Sc&w=640&h=360]

    September 14, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  8. Iqbal Khan

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv_XSTI2lqM&w=640&h=360]

    September 14, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  9. carol

    This violence was not due to this film. It was planned events in several countries to celebrate the 9-11-01 event that these extremists consider a victory. They are celebrating our mourning.

    September 14, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Geek Girl

      Hard to say. It's easy to get their panties in a twist about something or other – a few years ago it was about cartoons.

      September 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  10. GodFreeNow

    We should all be disturbed by the idea of people who believe in fairy tales toting around guns. Personally, I see little difference between how we treat the gun-toting, fairy-tale believers in islam and the gun-toting, fairy-tale believers in christianity. Both should be considered armed and dangerous.

    September 14, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Geek Girl

      Hear, hear.

      September 15, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  11. PAUL

    This is Becelie & Klein!!
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmigBOhYTns&w=640&h=360]

    September 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    September 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      September 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Geek Girl

      Oooooh, if I ask for that brand new Porsche I just saw, do I get one? Which god do I have to ask (I used to ask Zeus but Hera got jealous)?

      September 15, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Damocles

      @Geek Girl

      Pray to all of them just to be safe. I know, I know, that's a lot of deities to run through, but I'm sure one of them will answer. Let us know which one did give you the new car so we can all pray to that one.

      September 15, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  13. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and let's them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago**; and that other things, like god, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Sometimes, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). Sometimes, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Religions are just big old evil clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division along the way (disguised as love).

    So instead of praying to make-believe people, get a good cup of tea and go on and sit down and collect your damn thoughts. My goodness.

    ** (yes, charlatan spam started long before the Bible; what would make your think it hadn't?)

    mama kindless

    September 14, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Geek Girl

      September 15, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  14. Sam

    wonderful read

    September 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  15. Ilias

    They should turn the other cheek, Do not think Jesus and his disciples would have committed murder and mayhem if someone criticized him or called him a liar. They are just insecure bullies who want everyone else to be just like them or die. Very strange behaviour. Holy men do not come here to cause this kind of chaos.

    September 14, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Geek Girl

      I suppose that the Inquisition was just a friendly debate over coffee?

      September 15, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  16. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and let's them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago**; and that other things, like god, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Sometimes, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). Sometimes, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Religions are just big old evil clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division along the way (disguised as love).

    So instead of praying to make-believe people, get a good cup of tea and go on and sit down and collect your damn thoughts. My goodness.

    ** (yes, charlatan spam started long before the Bible; what would make your think it hadn't?)

    mama kindless

    September 14, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • i12bphil

      I believe you just illustrated the author's assertion of “blind certainty” to the letter. You are the very textbook interpretation of his thesis.

      September 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  17. Irrational Exuberance

    "The Americans had it coming, according to this view, because Americans are on the wrong side in the clash of civilizations between the Judeo-Christian West and the Muslim world."

    You are incorrect, or maybe incomplete, from their perspective it is not Islam vs the west, it is Islam versus everything else.

    You are so right and so wrong in this article.

    Atheists embrace uncertainty, that we don't know everything. But the foundations of Islam are centered on their book being perfect. That is is unerringly correct. That every syllable that dribbled from the child mol.esting lips of Mohammed were golden drops of honey to be savored and consumed as the perfect truth.

    So you are correct. Certainty is a part of the problem, but it isn't the problem.

    Because it isn't certainty that is the root problem, one can be certain that our understanding of the universe is at best uncertain. That our understanding of morality is at best uncertain. That kind of certainty isn't the problem. But what they are certain about that is the problem. As has been pointed out time and again, it isn't that they are fundamentalists, but the fundamentals of what they believe which are the problem.

    September 14, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  18. dan

    Thank you for this article. I shall forward it to friends.

    September 14, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  19. BOb the Prairie Dog

    Religious fanatics feel disrespected, get mad and do something stupid which causes the rest of us to marginalize them further which in turn makes them feel more disrespected so they get madder and do something even dumber. Lather, rinse, repeat until the end of time...

    September 14, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • islam is so funny

      It is noted that even prairie dogs have more brains than the average muslim.

      September 16, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  20. Rodney McGlothlin

    Well said. The opposite of faith is not doubt. Doubt dialogues with faith. "Lord, I believe! Help thou my unbelief." faith's opposite is certainty. Certainty kills faith and inquiry. It prevents dialogue and understanding. When it becomes fundamentalism it moves the default setting from individuals to a text that is culturally read and applied, a proof text for violent opposition to anything that threatens certainty. Don't confuse we with facts (or alternate viewpoints), my mind is made up.

    September 14, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Irrational Exuberance

      Faith is taking something as true even without evidence. One may not be certain of a thing by evidence, but if they have faith in it they may act on it just as it they were certain of evidence, because their faith tells them they must act on it.

      People who act on faith are demonstrating a certainty that faith is a good enough reason to do something. That their belief that something is true, even when the evidence for it is not good enough or in some cases entirely absent any evidence, is reason enough to act. That is a problem, thus faith is a problem when it empowers them to act depending upon what their faith tells them.

      If your faith says tying your child to a rock, preparing to kill them, and burn their body to ash is a good idea because you believe the voices in your head are a god talking to you then your faith is a problem. Because there is no way to distinguish the Abraham of the Jewish/Christian/Islamic myths from a schizophrenic psychopath.

      Faith is a type of certainty, so it all depend what they are saying they have faith in which is the problem.

      September 14, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
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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.