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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. db

    Easy one, CNN. Only virgin females and men who want to engage in coitus with virgin females go to Heaven.

    May 1, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
  2. Truth Teller

    For SURE there will not be even ONE Muslim in Heaven. Hell is there home.

    May 1, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • Reverend Tim Lovejoy

      I remember another gentle visitor from the heavens, he came in peace and then died, only to come back to life, and his name was E.T., the extra terrestrial. I loved that little guy.

      May 1, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • db

      Yup, that E.T. sure was a cutie.

      May 1, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • Alan DeGolmon

      @Truth Teller,

      You probably meant to say that "hell is their home," not "hell is there home."

      Also, who goes to heaven or hell is up to Jesus, not you. I wonder how he feels about you making his decisions for him, declaring that you are sure there will be not even one Muslim in heaven?

      Who are you to say this? Only Jesus can say this.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:03 am |
  3. tim

    More religious bull. There is no god. We are just here for a short time, then die. It's hard for some people to come to grips with, so they have to make up some "I'm gonna live forever story" to pacify their weak minds.

    May 1, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • Reverend Tim Lovejoy

      And he was cast into the fiery cauldron of Hell! The searing heat, the scalding rivers of molten sulfur!

      May 1, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • Alan DeGolmon

      @Reverend Tim,

      You mean he was sent to Jupiter's moon IO, the only place in the Solar System where molten sulfur flows? Why would god do that? Why not just send him to the center of the Sun? Isn't it hot enough?

      Boy, god sure works in mysterious ways. Imagine him condemning lost souls to other planets, moons, or even the center of the sun in this backwater, totally insignificant solar system. You would think that the creator of the entire Universe could come up with somethng better than that.

      May 2, 2013 at 3:09 am |
  4. wolverinoceros

    ( Allah to the newly arrived martyr )

    – ALLAH : "I have some good news ... and some bad news : The good news is I am giving you seven beautiful young virgins that will stay with you forever !!"

    – Martyr : "Thank you Oh Great One !! ... But what is the bad news ??"

    – ALLAH : "They must remain VIRGINS ... FOREVER !!" 😉

    May 1, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • Reverend Tim Lovejoy

      I cast thee out!

      May 1, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • Don Camp

      In do get the feeling that Muslim heaven is all about them and little about God. When you make God your servant you put yourself above God. You manipulate God.

      May 1, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
    • Alan DeGolmon

      @Don Camp,

      Do not get the feeling that Muslim heaven is all about what you think it is. When you make god your servant you put yourself above god. You manipulate god.

      Who are either of you to say what heaven is and what it isn't?

      May 2, 2013 at 3:14 am |
  5. lou50

    who cares what muslims believe. there is no relevance!

    May 1, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      Because they are taught that martyrdom is a huge plus – guaranteed to give them some currency in the afterlife.

      If an Imam commands it people die, without question.

      May 1, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • Reverend Tim Lovejoy

      I'd like you to remember Matthew 7:26. "The foolish man who built his house upon the sand."

      May 1, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      Maybe....but if it was beachfront property.....:)

      May 1, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
    • Reverend Tim Lovejoy

      Matthew 21:17: And he left them and went out of the city, into Bethany, and he lodged there.

      May 1, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Then why are you on board, concerning Muslims and Islam, hindu secular, ignorant self centered.

      May 1, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • Reverend Tim Lovejoy

      This so-called new religion is nothing but a pack of weird rituals and chants, designed to take away the money of fools.

      May 1, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
    • Alan DeGolmon

      @Reverend Tim Lovejoy,

      You said "This so-called new religion is nothing but a pack of weird rituals and chants, designed to take away the money of fools."

      That's certainly true, but what about Islam?

      May 2, 2013 at 3:17 am |
  6. TIO

    Wow, still can't get over how many people still believe in a those, what I like to call them, 'public control books'. I think someone needs to invent a new religion. All it takes is writing a book and find the most ignorant people you can find to pressure others to believe it, just like a parymid sceme.

    May 1, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      it's coming to me – gold tablets ... new york ... unknown language
      Send me your money!

      May 1, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
    • Reverend Tim Lovejoy

      This so-called new religion is nothing but a pack of weird rituals and chants, designed to take away the money of fools.

      May 1, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
  7. Austin

    At Islam foundation

    "Allah, way of life in truth absolute, and foundation of american consti tution."

    Truth absolute -American const. What is the reason those are in same sentence? What are you meaning bro?

    What are you talking about

    May 1, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

      Yeah, I'm wondering the same damn thing.

      May 1, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Founding fathers of America did not recognize any religion, but GOD, truth absolute, constant, because religions are hinduism, corruption of truth absolute by hindu secular s, crook self centered and deniers of truth absolute GOD in many forms. they choose to make GOD, truth absolute foundation of America, only way to get rid of hindu Mithra ism, criminal savior ism of hindu dark ages, to justify human as gods, by formula envisioned by hindu Plato and others, god of hindu, ignorant s, justified boy abuse as a holy tradition. There is no other way to freedom, but in following of limit of truth absolute, and with in limit of truth absolute. They choose GOD, truth absolute, one who gave gift of choice to HIS creation, to be like HIM on earth.

      May 1, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
    • Akira

      Many of the Founding fathers were Deists, Islamabot. Look up the term.
      If you follow Islam, it isn't this God.
      The American Constitution is not based on any God at all. It was done that way for a reason.
      When Islamabot goes on about Islam being the basis for the US Const., it is wishful thinking, and not based in any way, shape, or form, fact. At all.
      Neither is the US Const. Based on Christianity. Or Judaism. Or any other religion.
      He has been told this. He believes what he believes, even if it isn't true.

      May 1, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • Akira

      And I would also like to remind Mr. Bot that Islam is what...? Oh, yeah. A religion.

      May 1, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
    • Reverend Tim Lovejoy

      I remember another gentle visitor from the heavens, he came in peace and then died, only to come back to life, and his name was E.T., the extra terrestrial. I loved that little guy.

      May 1, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Word Deist id combination of two words, both of them of Latin version, but corrupted in Sanskrit version, DE means HE, in Latin, German, French and English, Ist is, IS in same languages including Arabic. True translation to be HE IS, truth absolute GOD, known as Allah, Elohim and Ellah. made foundation of america, none other. Ger some education , knowledge of language, than to be repeating after others like a hindu, dumb, deaf and blind..

      May 1, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
    • Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

      Islamabot, the key Constitutional framers of the U.S. (Christians, Deists & Deistic Christians) realized the only way to enable freedom of religion was to keep religion out of government as much as possible. Some people say that we have a secular government because of their goals in providing for all people to practice the religion (or not) of their choice. So nearly all of them recognized and/or believed in the Christian God or the Deist God, but they made sure neither were mentioned in the Constitution because of that freedom they were trying to provide to everyone. Get it?

      Notice the way I used "secular" and "recognize". Now look again at how you are using them, and even though they may make sense to your history with Hinduism, think for a moment about how what you are using may look to an American who can only make out those few words and are thinking something quite different from you.

      May 1, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

      Islamabot, I could care less where the word came from – what you need to look at is the effects of Deism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in the U.S. Here are some critical elements of the kind of Deism that some of the key framers are likely to have believed:

      Rejection of all religions based on books that claim to contain the revealed word of God.
      Rejection of all religious dogma and demagogy.
      Rejection of reports of miracles, prophecies and religious "mysteries".

      Many Christian Deists of that time rejected the divinity of Jesus Christ (and thereby rejected the idea of the trinity)

      Deism holds that God does not intervene with the functioning of the natural world in any way, allowing it to run according to the laws of nature. For Deists, human beings can only know God via reason and the observation of nature.

      These are widely accepted concepts about Deism of that time.

      Now does all that match up with Allah??

      May 1, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      no need to hind, lie, they did not recognize god of any religion, but truth absolute GOD, HIM, and Christians have nothing to do with him, but a fabrication called Jesus, creation of hindu Jews, criminal secular s by faith of Egyptian and Persian origin, to hind, fool humanity in to hindu Mithra ism, racist savior ism, to justify hindu crook kings and their hindu crook prophets, fortune tellers as gods, with hindu crooked formula of trinity of hindu dark ages, divide of truth absolute between two hindu crooked men to impose hinduism racism of hindu dark ages.

      May 1, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

      Wrong, Islam. Actually they "recognized" the Christian God in more ways than one. They really had to because there were far greater numbers of Christians that were their constituency that they represented and needed votes from. Just because they saw a need to keep religious influence out of government doesn't mean they personally abandoned their beliefs. And as I said some of the very key framers like Madison & Jefferson still were Christians, even if Deist Christians. You really need to look more into this, Islamabot. Don't confuse separation of church and state with abandonment of Christianity. Heck, even James Madison's cousin (also with same name) was for separation of church and state and he was the first Episcopal bishop of Virginia.

      May 1, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
  8. Pilgrim1

    Kinda funny article.... since Muslims are 100% likely to be overheated in the afterlife.....

    May 1, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      hinduism, absurdity of a hindu by his hindu atheism, self center ism, way of hindu Lucifer, ignorant self centered of all to hind, fool humanity.

      May 1, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • Alan DeGolmon

      @Pilgrim1,

      That's up to Jesus, not you.

      I wonder how he feels about you making his decisions about who does or doesn't go to hell?

      Make sure you tell him about that 100% requirement! No sense letting him get away with less than that!

      May 2, 2013 at 3:20 am |
  9. A Muslim woman

    Islam is a peaceful and free religion. History will tell you that Jews have been prosecuted by Christians way more than by Muslims. In Crusades Saladinn Ayubi spilled way less blood than the Christian armies. Hijab does give one security and safety. The only problem in the Muslim world is lack of true knowledge of Islam. There is a difference between calling oneself a Muslim and knowing what Islam is about. Unfortunately, uneducated Mullahs have made Islam hostage and the irony is that Islam as a religion does not even need a figurehead priest as other religions do. The media perpetuate only bad things about Islam and if they accidentally do say something good, as in this survey about religious freedom, people are predisposed towards refusing to believe it because of their narrow-mindedness.

    May 1, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • reality check

      "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%. " Yep – sounds like a religion of peace...lol

      May 1, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      "Islam is a peaceful and free religion" = please ignore watch you ve seen.

      "History will tell you that Jews have been prosecuted by Christians way more than by Muslims."

      given that there been no real peace between the three sides ever kinda makes it hard to tally who ranks on the kill board.

      "In Crusades Saladinn Ayubi spilled way less blood than the Christian armies."

      Way less? arguable.... also Islam invade Europe several times ....the moors into the Iberian peninsula and two thrusts up through the Balkans that im aware of....

      The rest is the usual lines..."its not our fault" so on and so forth

      May 1, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Islam is not a typical hinduism, corruption of truth absolute by hindu secularist, self centered, but Theen Allah, way of life in truth absolute, and foundation of american consti tution.

      May 1, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Brad

      If you follow the words and example of Mohammed, the founder of Islam, you will engage in violence, lying, thievery, misogyny, and oppression. That is the sad truth.

      May 1, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • Free

      Do you believe the koran 100% or not. If you do, then your a liar or haven't read it.

      May 1, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • Michael

      Hey Muslim woman;_____You need to spend some time researching the difference between a True Christian and a self-proclaimed Christian. It was the self-proclaimed Christians that persecuted the Jews; not the True Christians. A person doesn't become a Christian just by calling himself or herself a Christian. A True Christian is one who has made Jesus Christ his savior. I'm sorry, but no muslim will make it to Heaven. According to your Islamic belief, if a muslim is 51% good , then he will enter into Paradise. What does the muslim do with the 49% evil that is still in his heart? An unchanged heart entering into Heaven will create chaos and the poor muslim soul will be miserable. Study the Bible: We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.____________________Your Allah is a rock; you and other muslims worship a rock..

      May 1, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • Austin

      How can we feed a dinner feast to our hebraic brothers as a fruitful outreach?

      May 1, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
  10. Bazoing

    Its real problem is that it didn't get at certain issues which Muslims would have a harder time answering. One is, "Do women go to heaven?" Another is, "Where do all those virgins come from and would any women that went to heaven get along with them?" Still another, I am not kidding, "Would they stay virgins or just keep vanishing to be replaced by more virgins?"

    May 1, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
  11. joe sarr

    They keep saying that their kingdom is not for this world(Jews, christian, Muslim),then takes everything they can lay their hands on.
    Civilization will never reach perfection until the last stone of the last church, Senegalese,mouseq has fallen on the lasts pries,rabbi and mullahs t,and the earth is rid of that Evil Lot.

    May 1, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • AW

      Civilization will never reach perfection until Man's hunger for power is not curbed. That is what makes him use Religion in the worse possible ways.

      May 1, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • Free

      Islam is the only so called religion that says it has an unfailable book written by god. Even though the originals don't exist. That you must follow it and submit to it. Although it has incorrect names, places dates etc. That book tells them to cut off the hand and the opposite foot OR Kill someone who leaves the faith. Lie when it is convenient to someone they think isn't muslim. Christians, Hindu or atheist, they don't have that do they? Trust me, NEVER do business with these people. You will learn to regret it. Look at their countries, every one of them a mess and HELL ON EARTH already.

      May 1, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
  12. the colosseum is full

    I do not belive in the Number four point in this article.. Muslims lie deliberatly to hide their true feelings...They do not believe in relligiious freedom..they lie because their history says another thing in their own lands...they martyr muslims who convert to Christianity ..they use state support to supress Muslims who convert to Christinaity

    May 1, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Every hindu denier of truth absolute in life by his atheism, self center ism, believes, every one to be like him, rest assured, believers of truth absolute fear no one, but truth absolute GOD, and speak in limit of truth absolute, unlike hindus, believing human as their gods and faith in hinduism, racism, living by end justifies the means in life like a hungry dog, secular, self centered by nature.

      May 1, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
  13. Free

    Muslims definitely are going to hell. Its a religion written by a Jew who was forced to do so out of jealousy of Christianity. Ask a muslim if they believe the koran is infallible and 100% correct? They all believe it even though there are many flaws (facts incorrect for instance copied from older incorrect Greek beliefs in medicine). It is full of hate. Your telling me god cares what a woman wears and that men have to shave their pubes... disgusting.

    May 1, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • Frank

      So you're saying that there aren't any flaws in the Christian bible either? You're kidding yourself. All religion is a gateway to violence and suffering. Heaven and hell are just a form of leverage. We're part of something much bigger than 'heaven' or 'hell' We're part of something that humankind cannot comprehend. So it's pointless to fight others and kill others over ANY religion, because they're all wrong

      May 1, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • khalie

      you are an real ignorant

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

      I've read it and studied it. I've found the flaws (sperm is made of clots of blood) etc etc. Ignorant would mean I haven't read it. I say it fails all my tests. Not withstanding that it condones murder, slavery, abuse against women. Yeah, yeah old testament... but the bible is written by people (says so right in it). Also, the new testament washes all that away and basically says love the sinner and be nice to people. That my friend is a real truth. Not following some liar, thief and child molester. Kissing a meteorite covered in poop stored in a building stolen from another religion that was killed off. Islam destroyed Persia and India. Its a cancer.

      May 1, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
  14. elephant in the room

    How come nobody is ever talking about astral projection?

    May 1, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • lol??

      Must have something to do with Hannibal.

      May 1, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
  15. Banjo Ferret

    Ferretianism is the one true religion. Repent and secure your purple energy bubble! (banjoferret d c)

    May 1, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
  16. SHUAE

    Would have been nice to hear the Muslim women's perspective. As someone that's lived in the Middle East I feel that the information from the survey that was selected for this article probably gives an overall dreary picture than it needed to.

    May 1, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      Many of them are so afraid they'd probably give canned answers that they ve always given for self preservation purposes.
      fear is an ugly thing...

      May 1, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
  17. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    Elah, Elohim and Allah, means. THE TRUTH ABSOLUTE, AND TRUTH ABSOLUTE RULES THE UNIVERSE, Proven by science and adopted by founding fathers as foundation of America.

    May 1, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
  18. LAST DAY

    Prophet Moses and Jesus and David and Muhammad

    were/are truthful Messengers of the same GOD (=i.e. YAHWEH ELOHIM = HUWA ALLAH),

    here is the Ultimate EVIDENCE:

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com
    UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES

    May 1, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
  19. Tim

    What i would like people to rationally discuss is what they think the essence of life is. Life is not DNA or cells because the presence of these are still in the body when the "life force" does not exist. That is what has lead me to believe in a creator(who I call God). If you do not believe in a creator please rationally explain life to me.

    May 1, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

      Silence! The water of life is not yet known in your time!

      May 1, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • Rev Mom

      Tim, I think you might want to explain what you mean by "life force".

      May 1, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
    • DavidTX

      Tim,

      What we define as life in humans is the electrical impulses being fired in our brains, when that electrical activity ceases, life ceases. The human body is just a giant battery that can consume celular materials which it breaks down with acids and chemicals into usable fuel to power our battery. As with all things in the known universe, including the stars themselves which contain a finite amount of energy and eventually will burn out, our bodies ability to retain that energy and produce more begins to fail and the electrical impulses stop firing and we die.

      What led you to believe in God is not the question of what is a "life force" but the fear of losing yours to the unknown, so your timid brain came up with a solution to ease that fear by turning the unknown into a known. Before it was "what happens to us when we die? I don't want to give up this consciousness! Aghhh!" and you changed it into "I know what happens when we die, God takes care of us so theres nothing to worry about. Who's this God I'm talking about? Well, you know, he's anything I want him to be"

      Do not be scared. There is nothing to fear in death. The only ones who will notice when you pass are those around you selfishly agonizing over why they don't get to have you around anymore. You won't notice a thing when the lights go out.

      May 1, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • Tim

      Life force to me is the spirit( I put in life force because I was hoping to get an honest answer from everyone).. The spirit to me is what leaves the body when the body dies.The body is still there the DNA makeup is still the same along with cell structure. So what changes and where did it come from if not a creator.

      May 1, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • Tim

      DavidTX first of all thank you for actually answering non sarcastically. I understand what you are saying but what about a persons will to live. I have seen some extraordinary cases of people just refusing to die. I have also seen many cases where a persons will is not very strong. Do you not feel something inside of you that cannot be explained by pure science. If this is a trick of the mind why does it happen? I know personally I feel something inside of me that seems to be not of the flesh.

      May 1, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      Tim,

      The will to live is hardwired into every living creature. as far a people go its slightly different for us because we can predict the short term future to some degree and take actions that may hurt us in the short term but save us in the long run. most other animals absolutely will not put themselves through any more pain than absolutely necessary..no complex planning ability.

      hence the 'extraordinary' will to live in humans.

      May 1, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • Have you considered

      That in alzheimer's patients, you can observe this "life force" dying away as the disease progresses until all that's left is a body with no "life force" at all

      May 1, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • fred

      Tim
      I always sensed something and played with reincarnation and hypnotism and Zen to reach that ultimate state. I never reached it but one day by miracle a man gave me Bible and when I read it I was instantly convicted of sin and went through a conversion experience. The essence of life is to worship God in thanks for that gift.
      Prior to that the essence of life was to achieve some unattainable spiritual high or just get high on crazy jumps and prideful competitive sports.
      Seems my essence went from self serving to serving God and others

      May 2, 2013 at 12:44 am |
  20. TheTruth

    Sadly no one does because it isn't real.

    May 1, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
    • ==o==

      What? There was no study??

      May 1, 2013 at 7:43 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.