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Five takeaways from Pew’s comprehensive study on Islam
April 30th, 2013
03:33 PM ET

Five takeaways from Pew’s comprehensive study on Islam

By Dan Merica, CNN
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Washington (CNN) – A Pew Research Center study released Tuesday takes an in-depth look at Islam, including how Muslims around the world view extremism, sharia law and the meeting of religion and politics.

The study is a four-year effort by Pew, which conducted 38,000 face-to-face interview in 80-plus languages for the survey. In total, 39 countries and territories were included, all of which had over 10 million Muslims living there.

Here are the report’s five major takeaways:

1.) Differences between U.S. and international Muslims are vast

While Muslims in the United States share a belief system with Muslims abroad, the Pew survey released Tuesday and a Pew survey on American Muslims from 2011 reveals wide differences between the two groups.

An overwhelming number of Muslims outside the United States told Pew that “Islam is the only religion that leads to eternal life in heaven.” Ninety-six percent of Egyptians and Jordanians, 95% of Iraqis and 94% of Moroccan Muslims responded that “Islam alone” leads to heaven.

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When all Muslims outside the United States were considered, only 18% said many religions can lead to heaven. In the United States, that number is 56%, according to the 2011 survey.

Additionally, U.S. Muslims were more likely to have friends who were not Muslim.

“About half of U.S. Muslims say that all (7%) or most (41%) of their close friends are followers of Islam, and half say that some (36%) or hardly any (14%) of their close friends are Muslim,” the survey reports.

By contrast, an average of 95% of Muslims outside the United States said “most or all of their friends are Muslims.”

2.) Sharia law favored, especially by more devout Muslims

A whopping 99% of Muslims in Afghanistan told Pew that they favor sharia law – a Muslim code that dictates everything from dietary laws to morals – as the official law of the land.

Though Afghanistan is by far the most supportive of sharia, majorities in countries like Iraq (91%), Palestinian territories (89%) and Malaysia (86%) favor applying sharia to everyone in their respective countries. Support for this viewpoint was particularly strong in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Middle East-North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Analysis of the survey results by Pew found “most Muslims believe sharia is the revealed word of God rather than a body of law developed by men based on the word of God.”

Those who approve sharia becoming the law of the land generally pray more than their Muslim brethren.

Muslims who pray several times a day in Russia, for example, are over twice as likely to favor implementing Islamic law as the law of the land. The same split between those who pray several times a day and those who pray less often can be seen in Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Tunisia and Turkey.

3.) Most Muslims believe religion, politics should be intertwined

A majority of Muslims surveyed in Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Middle East-North Africa told Pew that religious leaders in their respective countries should have political influence.

Much like favoring sharia law, religious devotion played an important role in these beliefs.

"Devout Muslims tend to be more supportive of religious leaders playing a role in politics,” the survey reads. “In a number of countries, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa but also in Southern and Eastern Europe, Muslims who pray several times a day are more likely than those who pray less frequently to say religious leaders should have at least some influence on political matters."

4.) Around the world, Muslims heralded religious freedom

Despite views that Islam should influence politics and law, an overwhelming number of Muslims told Pew that religious freedom was a good thing.

Ninety-seven percent of Muslims in South Asia, 95% in Eastern Europe, 94% in sub-Saharan Africa and 85% in the Middle East and North Africa responded positively to religious freedom, according to the poll.

“Overall, Muslims broadly support the idea of religious freedom,” the study states. “Among Muslims who say people of different religions are very free to practice their faith, three-quarters or more in each country say this is a good thing.”

5.) Islamic extremism widely rejected, but still a concern

Carrying out violent acts in the name of Islam is strongly rejected by Muslims around the world, according to the survey.

While a majority of Muslims, according to Pew, in all countries surveyed said “suicide bombing in defense of Islam” was rarely or never justified, “there are some countries in which substantial minorities think violence against civilians is at least sometimes justified.”

For example, in the Palestinian territories, 40% of Muslims said suicide bombing was often or sometime justified. In Afghanistan that number was 39% and in Egypt that number was 29%.

Despite most country’s disapproval of violence in the name of Islam, religious extremism – and in particular Muslim extremism – is a concern for a majority of Muslims in the world, according to the survey.

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“At least half of Muslims in 22 of the 36 countries where the question was asked say they are at least somewhat concerned about religious extremist groups in their country,” the report reads. “In most countries, Muslims are much more worried about Islamic extremists than Christian extremists.”

Concern over Muslims extremism was at it highest in Indonesia, Iraq and Guinea Bissau, where over 45% of Muslims said they were either very or somewhat concerned about violence in the name of Islam.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Islam • Islamic law • Polls

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soundoff (1,682 Responses)
  1. trollintraining

    All i see in this article is that Islam is just like any other religion.

    May 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Brad

      Then you are blind. Christianity, for just one example, provides no justification for the use of violence to advance the religion. None. Islam, by contrast, provides not only an explicit justification to use violence to expand Islam, it also makes the use of violence in the name of Islam a religious duty for the faithful. The "all religions are the same" argument is both intellectually dishonest and illogical at the same time. Islam is to religions as National Socialism is to political theories.

      May 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • trollintraining

      Brad,
      take the rose colored glasses off and read a history book.
      they picked their promissed land and killed everyone on it – except te virgin women. They became slaves.
      Crusades.
      Inquisitions.
      locking up all those scientists who tried to say the world was round
      burning pagans
      KKK
      forced conversions for hundreds of years in europe
      forcing their religion on the native americans .....

      May 1, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
  2. Gwen

    I once thought that Islam was nearly the ideal religion, but it seems that every time there is a bombing or major killing, Muslims did it. This makes me heart sick. I know many good Muslims. This must be so hurtful to them.

    May 1, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Daniel

      Reading the bible or the koran as anything but ancient fiction is like raking hot coals to your bossom and you cannot help but get burned.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  3. lol??

    Daddy and Mommie Chimp didn't do such a hot job on domesticating their offspring. Calling Dr. Spock!

    May 1, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Lunatic Fringe

      We all know you're out there....in your case, way out there.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @lol, your posts are always incredibly bizarre.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • lol??

      Be nice, Fridge. You're showing your roots.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • lol??

      Snow, I thought of you when I read about that last major accident. Thought you might be an historical accident. That's what yer mom said, anyway.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @lol, i was at a-basin the day of the loveland avalanche. we saw the emergency vehicles pass by. we assumed it was an accident at the pass because of the heavy snow. for an east coaster, i put 29 days on the slopes this year. not a bad year.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • lol??

      Those guys were not kids and very experienced.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • lol??

      Why not have a small rocket pack on yer back like an ejection seat, that could make you jump about 15 feet instead of being hit by a wall of snow? Might give ya a chance of survival.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • ..

      Daddy and Mommie Chimp did a shitty job domesticating you too, lol??. Have you learned to flush your feces instead of throwing them yet?

      May 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @lol, i'm aware of their ages and experience. we had contemplated dropping the pass ourselves, but the avalanche report on friday was severe, so we decided against it.

      May 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Snowborder Control

      "Why not have a small rocket pack on yer back like an ejection seat, that could make you jump about 15 feet instead of being hit by a wall of snow? Might give ya a chance of survival."

      lol. I'm sure the whole "Having an explosive container of fuel strapped to my back as I attempt flips and tricks" will go real well...

      May 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @lol, a rocket pack? i suppose if life were a cartoon. they do have an airbag equipped backpack that works pretty effectively to keep your upper body above the snow, but this slide was so large that it may not have mattered.

      May 1, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • lol??

      I never said it would be fool proof.

      May 1, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • lol??

      I've heard of biker wearable airbags. Gotta be something to help to get out of that initial wall of snow. Size would matter, of course.

      May 1, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • lol??

      It's amazing how easy it is to die digging a trench if it collapses. Doesn't have to be deep at all.

      May 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
  4. Brooklyn

    religions need to stop leaching off society and pay their fair share of taxes,, property tax too! They use our services,, pay!

    May 1, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • lol??

      The gubmint god will stomp on you like a bug.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Frank

      "On Wenzdee, ah gits mah free gubmint cheez."

      May 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • ..

      Dayum, lol?? is freaking NUTS. Back to your bunker, and don't forget your hairshirt, chicken little idiot.

      May 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
  5. Adsams

    a drity evil people

    May 1, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Which, the muslims or the christians judging them...oh, right...both.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • humans suck

      Don't forget to include yourselves (and me too) in the "dirty evil" people category. Nobody ever realizes what they see in others is mostly true of themselves.

      May 1, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
  6. Brooklyn

    christian/muslim,, all the same

    May 1, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • lol??

      what?

      May 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • BKK

      It's hard to ignore that most of the components of Sharia Law are things that Christians technically agree with. They give their god a different name, but at the core they are basically the same religion.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
  7. Steve in CT

    You want an example of a predominantly Muslim nation that is somewhat moderate. try TURKEY.

    May 1, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Randy

      Somewhat moderate – compared to what? Iran? There is no REAL freedom in any Muslim country. The biggest testament to the intent of this evil religion.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Brad

      Moderate Turkey? You must be kidding. Turkey suppresses freedom of expression ruthlessly. Just try telling the truth in Turkey about the Turkish genocide against the Armenians. 1.5 million (Christian) Armenian civilians killed by "moderate" Turks, and the Turkish government will throw you in jail if you dare tell the truth about it. The tiny remaining Christian population in Turkey has second class status, and cannot even repair an existing church without government harassment. Christian pastors and priests have been killed by Muslims in Turkey on several occasions in the last several years. There is no moderate Islam.

      May 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Finny

      Actually, neither do Canada nor German support freedom of expression; Canada has 'hate speech' laws, and it is unlawful in German to deny the Holocaust...

      If expression is going to be truly 'free,' that means we have to support it even when we don't like it...

      May 1, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  8. V

    Over and over again the line went through my head the bombers line "I had no american friends". The overwhelming difference betweeen american muslims and non-american muslims is that american muslims have non-muslim friends. For the most part there is no homegrown jihad. All of the terrorist attacks have either been done by foreign nationals or people who only recently came to the US and/or were alienated from fellow americans. The best thing we can do to prevent homegrown jihad is to embrace american muslims not shun them. The loud shrill jihadists thrive in an echo chamber.

    May 1, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      good point. Most wars result in assimilation of the antagonists. If we could learn a way to assimilate western culture to Islam, we could avoid bloodshed. The problem as I see it though is that in a lot of ways Islam is right. Western culture can be "satanic" but because we exercise liberal democracies, we accommodate diverse value systems. Any absolutist ideology cannot tolerate that

      May 1, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • lol??

      Your optimistic imagination of being "in control" is not warranted.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • lol??

      Is "V" short for vanity?

      May 1, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Dan

      Is lol?? short for "lazy old liar"?? or maybe "loser on loan"?? or maybe "last one left" in reference to your brain cells?

      May 1, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Science

      Dan add this to the list maybe ............leech on leesh !

      May 1, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
  9. Beth

    Why don't they address their religious passages which advocate killing infidels (which is the rest of us that don't follow islam)? Sharia Law is sheer horror. The nonsense about all those perpetual virgins in heaven should have alerted the lot of them in the beginning that it was written by a man, not inspired by Allah. Although muslim men would think this is just great. They treat women like one of their livestock. And, if it's so noble to blow yourself up for Allah, how is it that all those bearded old guys who have lived their lives aren't the ones strapping on the bombs hmmm? They're getting the young ones to do it. Blind following of any religion is idiotic. And Islam is one of the most dangerous religions on this planet. Not good, not noble, just evil.

    May 1, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • ..

      So they have a book that's EXACTLY like the OT. That they still act on. Don't look down you patrician nose because they don't have a version of your NT. The OT commanded the same damn thing, and you know it.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Frank

      The Christian God is not very kind to unbelievers either.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Retta

      Beth, you are spot on, AND who's ideal that virgins are some kinda door prize in heaven..? Sick SOB's..
      They mock God to have followers beleive God is that shallow, and that he too vaules virgins as property.
      How do they get women to beleive in that kind of a God..?
      Sick that these creepy so called religious men can manipulate the word of God, and treat the most helpless of their society with such cruelity.
      Everytime I read about the horrors of how the extreme Muslims treat thier so called loved ones, I send it to my daughter, saying Thank-God we were born in America, cause we would have suffered so, and died young in a extreme Muslim country, we would have not gone down without a voice, or fight..shame on those creepy Muslims men, God has a special place just for you in Hell, you can be on it!

      May 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Finny

      Beth,

      ALL religious texts have passages that would make your hair stand up, including–if you are Christian or Jewish–yours.

      As for Sharia Law, would you kindly explain exactly what that is? I'm curious–since it's about as well-defined as the Christian term 'sin.' It's a nebulous term. I've asked 50 Christians in the last year what 'sin' is, and gotten an egual number of answers. Sharia Law is in the same boat. Muslims may profess a liking for it–but they really have different ideas as to what it is.

      May 1, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Brad

      To the idiot below who tried to analogize the OT to the Koran, consider this. Both the OT and the Koran contain numerous injunctions to use violence. The OT condones and at points urges the use of violence against specific enemies of the tribes of Israel. The Koran, by contrast, urges the use of violence against all non-Muslims 9at least the ones that refuse the "invitation" to convert or to submit to Islamic rule). That's the whole non-Muslim world. You tell me which is the greater threat to the world at large. The NT, in contrast to both the OT and the Koran, does not urge the use of violence, quite the opposite. the NT preaches a radical notion, that God is here to serve humans and not the other way around, and that love for your neighbor is the objective of society. Islam is just another ignorant ideology.

      May 1, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
  10. Taqiyya it is!

    4.) Around the world, Muslims heralded religious freedom

    Despite views that Islam should influence politics and law, an overwhelming number of Muslims told Pew that religious freedom was a good thing.

    Ninety-seven percent of Muslims in South Asia, 95% in Eastern Europe, 94% in sub-Saharan Africa and 85% in the Middle East and North Africa responded positively to religious freedom, according to the poll.

    “Overall, Muslims broadly support the idea of religious freedom,” the study states. “Among Muslims who say people of different religions are very free to practice their faith, three-quarters or more in each country say this is a good thing.”

    ^
    ^
    I
    I
    I

    That folks is TAQIYYA. Don't be deceived. Anyone who is a non-Muslim is an infidel and Muslims can not be friends with non-Muslims. They lie though to make Islam look "tolerant. It is nothing but a sleek and deceptive "hook" to try and lure people into believing Islam actually is a "religion of peace". Look at the facts, use some common sense. It isn't what it claims to be...

    May 1, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Footnotegirl

      Uhm... how many Christians, including Christian lawmakers, openly and frequently state that biblical law should be the law of the land? That the 10 commandments (i.e. biblical law) should be placed in court buildings, etc? This is the EXACT SAME THING. I hope that, being so strongly against religiously based laws, you are also funding the ACLU to keep Christianity out of our civil matters?

      May 1, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Finny

      "...Muslims cannot be friends with non-Muslims..."

      Your ignorance of Islam (and Muslims, generally) is typical. Kindly get new parts for your head. Or, short of that, pick up a book.

      May 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
  11. weezer

    I have Muslim friends and generally support most of their causes, but the thing that bugs me the most about people of Islamic faith is their reluctance to try to improve their culture, and how they put up with violence within their ranks. The poll above says 45% of Muslims are afraid of Islamic violence. So do something about it. I'm an agnostic at best, but it certainly seems like Christianity is much less selfish than Islam. They are the proverbial New Yorker who passes by an injured mugging victim because they don't want to get involved. The Taliban would be powerless if the populace decided to not put up with their garbage. Even within their own families - what Christian would let their daughter be abused by clerics for going to school? The cleric would be dead and the next cleric would be more hesitant to attack another kid. That's how society works.

    May 1, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      The Taliban came to power precisely because THEY TRIED TO DO SOMETHING about the violence in their midst. The Taliban heard about an afghan women was abused across the border, and were so upset they decided to gang up and travel to afghanistan and seek justice. The success of their mission and the subsequent positive response resulted in them turning into a political movement and eventually becoming the de facto government of Afghanistan less than a year later.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  12. Jamie

    I'm so sick and tired of all the PC talk and all the sugar coating. Look at the simple facts and history people!!! Islam has been nothing but toxic and violent from the very beginning and continues to be the single biggest ideological cause of hate/suffering in the world. Its followers are incredibly intolerant of others by default... It's truly the number one threat to peace in the world.

    May 1, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • ..

      Better look at the beginning of organized Christianity, sweetheart. It's every bit as violent as you think Islam is now. Islam just hasn't been doing it as long. Maybe Christianity finally grew up these last few years.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Finny

      It's obvious from your statement that you know nothing about the history of Islam. Get back to us when you study it. You'll find that there have been periods when all the Abrahamic religious followers peacefully co-existed. There are so many exceptions to your misguided statement, how could anyone possibly accept it as a rule?

      May 1, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • SImran

      You are a typical bigoted individual with half baked knowledge. Take a lesson in history first.

      May 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • tffl

      .. – It is true that Christianity directly and indirectly committed many offenses when "young" and that Islam is a "younger" religion than Christianity. However, it is now 1400 years old – no longer a youngster, and in my opinion, way too old to pull the "yeah, well others were bad too when they were starting out" excuse.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:40 am |
  13. tony

    A religion in which their extremists think that the virgins given as a reward, somehow won't be the eternally angry one's they just blew up.

    May 1, 2013 at 11:51 am |
  14. tonyl

    Islam is a pluralistic religion. There is no one interpretation and beliefs. There are over 72 sects in Islam with different beliefs and interpretations. Most people are of modest beliefs. There is a minority of extremists beliefs. Some of the extremism rises from the political situations. They justify using the religion as a excuse for the their human rights being violated by the west in either taking their lands or interfering in their politics or west supporting nations that kill their people. This is a human instinctive reaction.

    May 1, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • ..

      Yeah, and those indigenous Indians didn't like the spread of Christianity her in the United States, either, for the same reasons. Good point.

      May 1, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Finny

      Yes, very well stated.

      May 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
  15. People of the world..relax

    I've never been so stumped by a subject as I am by religions. It is a world with a mountain of data and every last bit of it is subjective data.

    Shouldn't we all with hold judgement, name calling, and conclusions until some objective data is available?

    Is there any reason at all that this ever confusing subject need be the cause of everything from battles to petty arguments?

    May 1, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • trollintraining

      but if we did that we would abandon all religions.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  16. Alex

    The solution to this problem is to establish a truly liberal Islamic religion in which women have equal rights and don't have to cover themselves any more than men, gay people are accepted etc. It sounds crazy, but this has been done before with other religions and its worked. Islam isn't going anywhere, but the influence of the Western world can reshape this religion into a more rational, progressive belief system.

    We can't outlaw religion, but we can and should outlaw religion that is oppressive and takes away human rights.

    May 1, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • DavidTX

      " but we can and should outlaw religion that is oppressive and takes away human rights."

      All religion is oppressive and takes away human rights and gives those rights to an invisible man in the sky.

      May 1, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • ..

      This is why American Muslims are so much more tolerant, and why the international Muslims hate the Unted States (among other things of course)

      May 1, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      What rights has religion taken away from you David?

      May 1, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • DavidTX

      "What rights has religion taken away from you David?" Oh, I don't know, the right to marry any other consenting adult I choose? The right to send my children to a public school that doesn't teach that an unknown invisible spirit made everything instead of continuing the search for answers about our origins? The right to enjoy my October, November and December free of the incessant religious advertising that get's pushed on everyone else. The right for my wife and other women to choose what happens in their own bodies regardless of your religious beliefs. The right to a government free from religious intervention and free of what is essentially a religious litmus tests for office.

      That would be a start.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Ted Jones the crusader not for khrist

      "into a more rational, progressive belief system"
      .
      This is a joke when you think of Kristianity and Islime

      May 1, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • tony

      My right to not have a false religious upbringing and the corruption of my conscience, and hence the screwing up my personal happiness, that took me the lost rest of my life to untangle.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      We can and should? Have you read the report? the majority of the muslim citizens in mide eastern nations want sharia. The number is 96% in Afghanistan, and well over 50% in the other nations. They arnt oppressed when they are the ones overwhelmingly choosing that culture. From there perspective, nearly everything we do there oppresses what they believe. What we believe their culture should be is irrelevant, it's up to them to change.

      Also guys a lot if things you mentioned either arent rights or argue against free speech.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I'll be back later. Sorry tony you don't have the right to happiness. Only the pursuit of it. David, I'll dismantle yours when I come back.

      May 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Dan

      Tony – "My right to not have a false religious upbringing and the corruption of my conscience, and hence the screwing up my personal happiness, that took me the lost rest of my life to untangle."

      Bill D – "Sorry tony you don't have the right to happiness. Only the pursuit of it."

      I'm sorry dishonest Bill, but I fail to see where Tony is saying he should have the right to happiness, but his comment shows very clearly that his right to pursue it was c o c k blocked by religious d i c k heads like yourself. You force your religion on others and whisper in their ear as you do it "Shhhhhh, this is for the best, trust me, you'll like it..." like some gentle Jerry Sandusky.

      May 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Finny

      Alex it's happening. Not nearly as fast as some of us would like. But look at those who participated in the "Arab Spring" - they were not inspired by ancient custom and accord. They were inspired by the idea they could have more control over their own lives.

      Unfortunately these sorts of changes take time–too much.

      May 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      OK David, your turn
      A. You have the same rights to marry in the United States that every other citizen has. What you are talking about is not a right that is restricted but the establishment of a new right
      B. Religion is not currently taught in public schools so I'm not sure how you contrived this one.
      C. You have the right not to celebrate religious holidays but you do not have the right to restrict others to the point you are talking about. It's kind of a free speech thing.
      D. Apparently you haven't heard of the Roe V Wade decision. Mothers have the right to kill unborn babies in America. It's the law.
      E. Religious people do not run the government but they do have the rights, the same rights as you to express themselves politically based on their value systems. It's called a democracy.

      So I guess your answer is none.

      May 1, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Dan, parents have rights too. tony's parents had the right just as you and I do to bring our children up in accordance with our values and beliefs. tony has the right to blame his parents for his own unhappiness but most people grow out of that by the time they reach adulthood. Of course, if he was subject abuses, he has the right to and is afforded the protection of the child welfare and legal system. Both of which are essentially formed around concepts intrinsic to religious traditions. Just because tony, you and David hate religion doesn't give you the "right" to live in a society free from contact with it.

      May 1, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Ted Jones the crusader not for khrist

      A. You have the same rights to marry in the United States that every other citizen has. What you are talking about is not a right that is restricted but the establishment of a new right
      D. Apparently you haven't heard of the Roe V Wade decision. Mothers have the right to kill unborn babies in America. It's the law.
      .
      Do you view black rights as new rights? Or was it rights they already had? Do you view woman rights as new rights? Or rights they already had? Please note the bible was used and is still used to put them in their place.

      And yes the mothers have a right to do as they wish with their own body and fetus as it should be.

      May 1, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Ted Jones the crusader not for khrist

      The struggle for rights has always been at odds with the bible and quran. The enemy of freedom is kristians and muslimes

      May 1, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Interesting.
      Now Bill seems to be just closing his brain off when it comes to the fact of how religion has and currently is affecting and imposing on all people in this country.

      May 1, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Ted Jones the crusader not for khrist

      When Bill defends the katholic church, he defends his own disgusting act. How many kids Bill?

      May 1, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • Ted Jones the crusader not for khrist

      Bill had an appointment with a kid and taking a shower right now....he will be back later

      May 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • DavidTX

      "A. You have the same rights to marry in the United States that every other citizen has. What you are talking about is not a right that is restricted but the establishment of a new right" So when blacks and whites were finally allowed to marry that was a "new right"? I disagree. It was a right that was just not recognized by the bigots and racists surounding them until public pressure was applied and those bigots were made to feel the shame of their prejudice, which is what is happening right now in America with gay rights.

      "B. Religion is not currently taught in public schools so I'm not sure how you contrived this one." My child attends a school here in TX. Because of a decision made by the State Board of Education back in 2009 – requiring teachers to encourage students to scrutinize “all sides” of current scientific theories, including evolution – a number of proposed supplemental school materials include teaching intelligent design alongside science.

      "C. You have the right not to celebrate religious holidays but you do not have the right to restrict others to the point you are talking about. It's kind of a free speech thing." Bombardment of an entire country for months with religious icons and music and messages, all while simultaniously proclaiming a "war" on your holiday because someone said "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" is not a free speech thing, it's a mass telemarketing program.

      "D. Apparently you haven't heard of the Roe V Wade decision. Mothers have the right to kill unborn babies in America. It's the law." – "Ohio Orders Abortion Clinic Closed, Breaking State Health Laws" "Kansas Abortion Laws: 12 States Are Waging an Unconstltutional War against Roe vs Wade"

      "E. Religious people do not run the government but they do have the rights, the same rights as you to express themselves politically based on their value systems. It's called a democracy." They do have rights, but they should also know when their rights end and another citizens begins. To say it's your right to decide for others that their newly fertilized egg has an eternal soul that you are voting to protect, that has crossed the line into my rights.

      "So I guess your answer is none." Does it feel good to be wrong so often?

      May 1, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      No Dan, before civil rights blacks did not have many rights. Civil rights, like virtually all rights were fought for. Rights have never been simply given. Much like commandments, they are written on paper and followed because we say so and can enforce them. That's how rights work.

      May 1, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • DavidTX

      "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

      "No Dan, before civil rights blacks did not have many rights. Civil rights, like virtually all rights were fought for. Rights have never been simply given."

      So I guess it was simply deciding that blacks were in fact "men" protected under our already decided upon rights? Bull Shlt. They were owed those rights from the beginning, the fact that there were bigots preventing them from enjoying those rights does not mean they weren't there. They had to fight for THE ENFORCEMENT of their rights, much like our gay brothers and sisters. It's the ignorant bigots getting in the way and shouting their opinions of hate and discrimination that have been blocking the same rights you enjoy under our secular government.

      May 1, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      During the time that was written the law declared it a white mans right to own a slave as he owns a mule. Good or bad, that's just how history is. If you look at the history of rights from the original "divine rights of kings" which first defined the concept until today, every single one has been fought for. Ocassionally Americans have even given up rights, the point is they aren't set in stone and they require the ability to be enforced, otherwise they don't exist yet.

      May 1, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • DavidTX

      Okay, all humans who are owed human rights please step forward... not so fast Poltergiest...

      The point was that it is not a "new" right, it is an old right that they should have had all along, but disgusting bigots declared their rights invalid based on their skin color. When finally their rights were "recognized" we moved past an ugly episode of our history, though those rights have still not been recognized for all so much more work needs to be done.

      May 1, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      I'm not because they aren't owed, they aren't a birth right. Burn the paper they are written on, they don't exist. Raise a big enough army, and you can decide who has rights and who doesn't. We can debate the ideals of what rights should be all day, but that doesn't change what they are, a written agreement between the government and its people that allows them certain privelages. There's nothing intrinsic about them.

      Consider a right like abortion. It couldn't have always existed because it requires certain medical technologies to exist first.

      May 2, 2013 at 9:07 am |
  17. Vic

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/breaking-boston-police-three-boston-marathon-bombing-suspects-151027478.html

    May 1, 2013 at 11:27 am |
  18. xirume

    There is no heaven or hell. It all happens here on earth while you are alive and it all ends when you die. Hell or heaven is what you choose to make of the one an only life you have.

    May 1, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • DavidTX

      And the majority of humans today prefer to live in heII now because they have been lied to about an afterlife.

      May 1, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  19. God's Towrah(instructions/Law) are still applicable today

    Islam is simply an instrument of Yah's judgment.

    May 1, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • snowboarder

      islam is just another of the myriad of religions invented by man. just like yours.

      May 1, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  20. Jeff

    I got news for you, none of you are going to heaven because it's a fairy tale.

    May 1, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      amen!!!

      May 1, 2013 at 11:22 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.