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Do Christians, Muslims and Jews worship the same God?
September 1st, 2013
03:26 AM ET

Do Christians, Muslims and Jews worship the same God?

Opinion by Jeffrey Weiss, Special to CNN
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(CNN) - Pope Francis surprised Israeli and Palestinian leaders last month when he invited them to a special prayer ceremony at the Vatican this Sunday - not least because religion has often been the source, not the salve, of the region's conflicts.

Still, Pope Francis offered his "home" - the Vatican - as the perfect place to plea for some divine assistance, and Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas dutifully agreed to attend.

"The Pope has placed it in this perspective: Prayer is like a force for peace,” Vatican Secretary of State Archbishop Pietro Parolin told Vatican Radio.

"We hope that there, where human efforts have so far failed, the Lord offers to all the wisdom and fortitude to carry out a real peace plan."

But Sunday's special ceremony at the Vatican raises an interesting question: When Francis, Peres and Abbas bow their heads in prayer, will they be talking to the same God?

After all, Jews, Christians and Muslims all trace their faiths back to a fellow named Abraham, whom they all claim was chosen for special treatment by the Almighty.

Not academic

The “same God” question is one theologians have hammered at for as long as there have been enough religions for the query to make sense.

The question is hardly academic, though. In fact, a number of politicians, religious leaders and scholars have expressed hope in recent years that a convincing answer on the God question might dampen the violence committed in His name.

Yale Divinity School theologian Miroslav Volf recently edited a book titled “Do We Worship the Same God? Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Dialogue.”

In the introduction, Volf explained why the title question matters:

"To ask: ‘Do we have a common God?’ is, among other things, to worry: ‘Can we live together?’ That’s why whether or not a given community worships the same god as does another community has always been a crucial cultural and political question and not just a theological one."

On the other hand, there’s CNN Belief Blog contributor and Boston University religion professor Stephen Prothero.

His book on this subject is titled “God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run The World.”

Prothero writes:

“For more than a generation we have followed scholars and sages down the rabbit hole into a fantasy world where all gods are one … In fact this naive theological groupthink – call it Godthink – has made the world more dangerous by blinding us to the clash of religions that threaten us worldwide.”

In the world of politics, President George W. Bush asserted the unity side of the argument more than once in the years after the 9/11 attacks - often as a way to deflect accusations that America was at war with Islam.

Bush told Al Arabiya television, “I believe there is a universal God. I believe the God that the Muslim prays to is the same God that I pray to. After all, we all came from Abraham. I believe in that universality.”

Pope Francis invites Israeli, Palestinian leaders to Vatican peace talks

Pope John Paul II drew from the same rhetorical well several times.

“We believe in the same God, the one God, the living God, the God who created the world and brings his creatures to their perfection,” he first said in a speech to Muslims in Morocco in 1985.

Looking for a more recent example? Consider the plight of Vatican envoy to Malaysia.

Shortly after he arrived there last year, Archbishop Joseph Marino said that is was fine by him that Christian translations of the Bible into Malay use the word “Allah” for “God.”

“Allah” is, of course, the Arabic word for God and is found in the Quran. The Christian translators explained that since most Malaysians are Muslim, it’s the word they’re most comfortable with and therefore the best choice for the translation.

But many Muslim authorities in Malaysia were furious. They say Christians are slipping in the familiar word as a way to convert Muslims. And conversion of Muslims is all but illegal in Malaysia.

There’s a lawsuit ongoing about the translations. Marino had to apologize for pushing into Malaysian politics.

Points of disagreement

So what do the “Abrahamic” religions disagree about?

Among other things: the purpose of humanity, the relationship of God and humanity, sin, forgiveness, salvation, the afterlife, Jesus, Muhammad, the calendar, and the religious importance of Abraham himself.

Plus the nature of God.

Any summary will leave out enormous nuance. Internal divisions within religions have fueled some of the worst examples of human violence. Consider the long and frequently bloody history of troubles between Catholics and Protestants or the growing death toll of Muslim-on-Muslim attacks.

But there are common elements about God widely accepted in each tradition.

Judaism

Start with Judaism, since it came first and established roots that carried into the other two.

Jewish tradition teaches that there is one and only one God, creator of everything, and He established physical and moral laws. As Judaism’s preeminent prayer says: “The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”

This God walks and talks directly with His creations – for a while.

Eventually, He chooses one particular nomad (Abraham) to father a mighty nation that God sets up as an example to other nations.

This God likes the smell of burning meat and demands other extremely specific physical offerings as evidence of obedience and repentance. And He gives His chosen people a particular set of laws – but doesn’t mind discussion and even argument about those laws.

A famous rabbinic saying implies that every word in Judaism’s sacred texts can be understood in 70 correct (but related) ways. And human reasoning can even trump divine intention. (No kidding. It’s in the Talmud)

This God judges His people every year. Tradition says he’s willing to accept imperfection, as long as it comes with repentance.

He’s big on obedience, not so much on faith. He’s not nearly as attentive to the behaviors of non-Jews. (There’s a famous Jewish joke with the punch line “Would you mind choosing somebody else once in a while?”)

Tradition holds that there’s a World To Come after death where moral accounts will somehow be settled. But this God is vague on details.

Christianity

The most obvious differences in the Christian God are the traditional teachings about the Trinity and Jesus. God is three separate persons who are also one. How? Christianity says the Trinity is a “mystery” of faith.

According to Christian tradition, God begets a son who is somehow also Him but not Him to atone for Original Sin. He sacrifices that son though a brutal death and thus achieves humanity's salvation.

But the son, who also is God, rises from the dead. And that sacrifice redeems eternally all who accept and believe in it. Faith, not behavior, is the essential measure of salvation.

This God is willing to vastly expand what it means to be among His “chosen people.” He’s also willing to cancel many of the laws that had applied to that chosen group for this expanded membership.

Orthodox Jews say that God prohibits them from eating a cheeseburger; Christians say God has no problem with them wolfing down Big Macs.

Unlike the Jewish God, whose instructions are almost all about this world, the Christian God is focused more on eternal salvation: heaven and hell.

Finally, for this God, much of the Jewish scriptures (which are all God’s word) are actually about foreshadowing Jesus. Including Abraham.

Islam

The Muslim God is a bit more like the Jewish God.

There is no Trinity in Muslim tradition. Jesus was a prophet, but no more divine than other prophets.

God has never has had anything like physical attributes and has no gender. (Some Muslim commentators say that the noun “Allah” is masculine, but only in the way that all nouns in some languages include gender.)

Muslim tradition holds that God wants one thing from humans: Submission. The word “Islam” is defined as “submission to the will of God.”

For Muslims, all true prophets in Jewish and Christian traditions were actually Muslim because they knew to submit correctly to God. Differences between Muslim, Jewish and Christian interpretations of God are due to errors that crept into the other two faiths, Islam teaches.

The Muslim God, like the other two, initially demanded that Abraham sacrifice a son. But the Muslim God wanted Abraham’s son Ishmael, not Isaac, who Jewish tradition holds was offered as a the sacrifice.

The Muslim God also designated, from before the world began, a perfect man to be his final prophet: Muhammad. God’s perfect truths are found only in the Quran and in the sayings of Muhammad, the hadiths.

And the Muslim God, like the Christian God but unlike the Jewish God, will welcome believers to paradise and condemn many non-Muslims - exactly which ones is a matter of much discussion - to eternal torment.

Final answer

So do Christians Muslims, and Jews, really all worship the same God?

In two major volumes on the subject recently published by scholars from various faiths and traditions, including Volf’s, the most inclusive response from these scholars is basically: Yes, and it’s our God.

This is not a new way of answering the question.

In 1076, Pope Gregory VII wrote this to a Muslim leader: “We believe in and confess one God, admittedly, in a different way…”

But like many other religious leaders on all sides of the argument, Gregory insisted that his version of the Almighty is the one whom the others are unknowingly and incompletely worshiping.

A less exclusivist set of religions might shrug off the differences. But all three claim to have the only “True Faith.”

So do all three faiths actually worship the same deity, whether they call him God or Allah or Adonai?

God only knows.

Jeffrey Weiss is an award-winning religion reporter in Dallas.The views expressed in this column belong to Weiss. A version of this story first ran in September 2013. 

CNN's Daniel Burke contributed to this article. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • History • Islam • Judaism • Muslim • Religious violence • Torah • Vatican

soundoff (7,438 Responses)
  1. victorygin

    Does the clay ask the potter what are you forming?

    September 1, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • Colin

      The only place I know of where clay (or dirt) turns into humans and talks I know of is the Bible.

      September 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • rick

      clay cannot ask anything

      silly an-al-ogy

      September 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • ME II

      If the clay made up an invisible potter, why balk at it asking questions too?

      September 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
  2. kimmerkel

    Given what a mess we humans are – emotionally, physically, mentally.... and all the war and crap we have produced, I am at a loss to understand why anyone would worship the being that created us. He/she/it did a pretty lousy job.

    September 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • snowboarder

      no truer words were spoken.

      September 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Epica

      Mold broke halfway through and he just slapped it back together and said good enough is my theory.

      September 1, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
  3. Terry Wisland

    What I find sad is when someone, like a Christian I know, will claim that all the other Gods of other religions other than theirs are all make believe. Seems pretty hypocritical to think that way. At least athiests will say that ALL gods are make believe.

    September 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
  4. Time For You To Grow Up...

    Different imaginary gods... The same imaginary god... What's the difference??

    September 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  5. Elena

    I cant but to laugh at atheist ignorance. first they lack the level of understanding to understand the spirit, just like a dog could never understand what is a particle. Secondly, they think the Bible was meant to be taken literally, well taking in mind my first point, then it is easy to see they could ever understand the Bible is a hidden code written by ancient khabbalist, at least the old testament. Finally, they are so arrogant they cant see that great scientist like Einstein and Newton were not completely atheist! or may be for pure comfort they pretend they don't see it!

    September 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • rick

      Atheist ignorance? You are a pompous gash.

      September 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
      • Tony

        hahahahahahhaahahha! If she had any clue what you just called her would be the only way to make that any more funny than it is right now... LOLOLOL

        September 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Colin

      You said "they could ever understand the Bible is a hidden code written by ancient khabbalist, at least the old testament."

      Seek help.

      September 1, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
      • Elena

        sorry it is you who need help!

        September 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Such a good loving christian you are! Doesn't your imaginary friend tell you that judging is a sin?? Enjoy your time with your imaginary friends imaginary enemy...you're no better than any of us, in fact you're not much more than a gullible fool.

          September 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • rick

      Also, Einstein did not believe in a personal god. He was more a deist. But, don't let this fact ignore your self-congratulator babble

      September 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      The great scientists you mention saw great order and beauty in the Universe and hoped to worship that along with its Creator, should there be one.

      September 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • Time For You To Grow Up...

      The definition of arrogance is making fun of others because they don't believe in talking snakes...

      September 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • heehee

      Well, NOW it makes sense. I've never heard the idea that the bible is meant metaphorically until just now. Thanks for clearing that up.

      p.s. is your unfounded caricature of atheists the result of arrogance?

      September 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • deanq

      "not completely atheist"? What? So they were more atheist than not? Like what 60% or 80% atheist? Did know know Einstein and Newton well? When is the last time you had an original thought that was based on fact?

      September 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      An education is a wonderful thing...look in to getting one!

      September 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Morgan King

      So you're arguing that atheists are Biblical literalists, but that religious phenomena like 'the spirit' is a literal truth? Huh?

      September 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Colin

      in his 1954 letter to the Physicist Eric Gutkind, Einstein wrote,

      "The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this."

      By the way, whether this gifted man believed or not is quite beside the point of whether there is a god, but I get frustrated when people wrongly attribute a belief in [always their] god to him. Here are some more quotes.

      "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

      "I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature."

      "It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere.... Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."

      "I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own – a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body

      September 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Curwen

      Your brainwashed.

      September 1, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Jez

      Athiest ignorance? You're the one worshiping the magic man in the sky that exsists only if you believe in him first. That's rich. Religion is ridiculous – I can't believe anyone buys into it, let alone gives their money over to it.

      I think I'll go worship Baccus and see if he gives me any wine. I have faith that he'll pony-up...

      September 1, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • cvult

      1. Atheists have "spiritual" experiences like anyone else; they just don't assume it's caused by an imaginary agent.
      2. If you can pick and choose things in the bible, or interpret the bible to whatever you want, what's the point of the bible? You just demonstrated one does not need the bible for morality.
      3. It doesn't matter what Einstein or Newton think about god. Atheists can think for themselves, not solely rely on argument by authority. Religion is all about argument by authority, which is why this line of argument, however fallacious, appeals to the religious.

      September 1, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
  6. Lionly Lamb

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=FxrI31Vait8

    September 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • snowboarder

      what is the point of all the video posts?

      September 1, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
  7. Alert Sooner

    No wonder all of these "major religions" are up in each other's a$$.

    September 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  8. ...

    Once you realize that literally EVERY religion asks you to have "faith" and believe in their god without actual, real evidence, you tend to realize they're all trying to pull something over you.

    September 1, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
  9. James PDX

    If 3 people all think highly of a man noted in history books, but each prefers a different accounting of that man's life, do they all appreciate the same man? No. You are only truly on the same page if you are all using the same interpretation of the being. Each religion has changed this god's attributes to make him the god they want. These are 3 distinctly different gods with very different attributes.
    So which one is right? The Jews have the best case, since all 3 religions agree that the religion began with the Jews and accept the Old Testament. That means that all 3 agree that god lived with and,personally taught the Jews. The other 2 religions simply changed the religion to make it more palatable for their people.
    But no matter which of these 3 religions you subscribe to, they all agree on the Old Testament. And anybody who reads the OT with an open mind has to admit that the god portrayed therein is flawed in all of the same ways a human being is. That god broke his own moral rules constantly and contradicted himself. He also showed he is not all powerful, all knowing or even remotely perfect. Given that, none of these religions can possibly be right, so this entire argument is moot.

    September 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  10. Rex

    Christians, Jews and Muslims all worship the same God. Largest monotheist religions of the world has the same origin. Referring to some of the comments here, there are a lot of things we don't understand. It's unfair from our side to insist that we understand everything. God has His plans and He knows the best. We're just His creation and there is a limit to which a creation can understand the Creator.

    September 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Morgan King

      And that limit to understanding is 'not at all.'

      September 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • James PDX

      God would have to actually exist for them to be worshiping the same god. Since he doesn't, they are each worshiping a different fictional being that is based on the same origin story. You can be wrong about a real being, but not when creating fiction.

      September 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  11. Lionly Lamb

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TK28pVUp3QU&feature=player_detailpage

    September 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • rick

      can you be any more obsessed with pot? put down the bong

      September 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        LL is too afraid to pick up the bong but you can be guaranteed that the day it is legalized across the board he'll be the first sitting on his front porch with bong in hand.

        September 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        Sorry Rick...

        My obsession is for spreading the good news about marijuana... I don't smoke it because it's still illegal here in Florida.. 🙁

        September 1, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        • Rebbe Bupkis

          I believe Rick's point is that these are comments on an article about the possible theological connection among the Abrahamic religions and has nothing to do with legalizing marijuana. Now, if you post these on a forum that does in fact have to do with that, you might receive a less hostile response.

          September 1, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Vic

      It seems like marijuana will become legal across the entire United States as the Federal Government is loosening marijuana laws enforcement!

      September 1, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
      • Rebbe Bupkis

        And this has to do with the question of unity among the Abrahamic religions how exactly?

        September 1, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
  12. bryanbro

    Sad. People look at truth and religion like a buffet. They pick and choose what parts they want to consume. There is only one true God and Creator, Jehovah. As such, he chooses what type of worship is acceptable. False teachers and false religion abound. True religion promotes peace and unity. Not wars.

    September 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • rick

      "There is only one true God and Creator, Jehovah"

      thanks for clearing that up, bryan. now everyone can stop searching

      September 1, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
      • Rebbe Bupkis

        Not to mention that the name "Jehovah" is a misnomer on the worst level. It came from superimposing the diacritical marks from Adonai ("Master") over the Tetragrammaton (YHWH, the unpronounceable name). I love how Christians conveniently loot Judaism and then make it safe and easy for their own consumption. Much of this was the fault of Paul, that ol' Uncle Tom Hellenic Jew.

        September 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Morgan King

      How is deciding on that any less of a choice than you decry in others?

      September 1, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • rick

      "true" religion promoted devisiveness

      September 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Elena

      the only true God is " i am that I am" . and there is great power in those words

      September 1, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
      • Rebbe Bupkis

        God is POPEYE??? I KNEW it! Then Olive Oyl was extra virgin?

        September 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
      • Wake up

        Sounds more like Popeye

        September 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
  13. rick

    "my god's the right one" "no, mine is" "you are both wrong, mine is"

    frigging imbeciles

    September 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
  14. Brock

    Yes, I think they do imagine they all worship the same god.

    September 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
  15. Lionly Lamb

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGOYDSoQ-KE&feature=player_detailpage

    September 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
  16. Elena

    NO, we dont worship the same God! I am christian and i could not worship the God of the Jews, a god that calls to exterminate human because he gave their land to the Jews and many more killings.

    September 1, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • rick

      elena: but, you worship a god who seeks to punish people for disbelief?

      how is this just?

      September 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
      • Rebbe Bupkis

        True, Rick, but that's AFTER you die. And only for eternity. You know, compassionate and just. 😉

        September 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
      • Elena

        and what is that God that punishes disbelieve because I haven't say what God i worship?

        September 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
        • Rebbe Bupkis

          I'm having trouble understanding your comment.

          September 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
        • rick

          fair enough, elena. do you worship the god of the babble?

          September 1, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Rebbe Bupkis

      Um, as Jew, might I bring up some periods of extermination championed by the Christian religion? Say, for example, the Crusades, the Inquisition, Luther's call to burn the Jews in their synagogues? Hmmm.

      September 1, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
      • rick

        rebbe: don't interrupt elena while she is plunging that jeebus marital aid in and out of her secret garden

        September 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
        • heehee

          Easy there, rick.

          September 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
      • heehee

        She doesn't know history, just the bible.

        September 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Harry Cline

      "The God Wars"
      part 1

      In other news you're all full of s–t including the so called Atheist.

      (beam me up Scotty)

      September 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  17. Tracie

    We exist in an infinite universe in which there is room for an infinite number of truths. It is doubtful that the universe, if it had a consciousness and were even aware of the concept of truth as we understand it, would pay particular attention to one truth over the others. Limited minds see limited space and only their truth to fill it. If people would contemplate infinity, they would realize that there is more than enough room for everyone's truth. The universe is very generous.

    September 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • jy

      "number of truths"? Is that really possible. I believe it is black, someone else believes it is white. And they BOTH can be true? Really? No Ultimate Truth?

      September 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
      • Rebbe Bupkis

        Great question. This is precisely why I prefer the nuanced musings of the Sophists over the black and white theology of the laity of most major religions.

        September 1, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
        • snowboarder

          no kidding.

          September 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • heehee

      Sounds deep. What does it mean?

      September 1, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • snowboarder

      you would think a conscious universe would have realized how having so many supposed truths on one little planet might generate conflict.

      September 1, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • nelbert

      Well ... the universe isn't exactly infinite and while there might be myriad ways to interpret truth, there really aren't "infinite truths." Truth implies absolutism.

      September 1, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  18. bob

    At least us Atheists and religious people can all agree that Agnostics are all pretty dumb. They don't even know what they believe in.

    September 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Morgan King

      That's the point. You can't KNOW there's not a specific deity anymore than you can KNOW that there is – in both cases, it's a matter of belief, not knowledge. Agnosticism makes no such claim because none can be made without belief.

      September 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
      • grignon

        It's true that one cannot disprove the existence of a generalized god. But nobody worships one of those. It's gods with particular characteristics that can be disproved.
        If I hypothesize a god who takes a gigantic steaming dump in the middle of Times Square at noon every Labor Day, I have set it up for disproving. Tomorrow, at 12:01 pm, that particular god will be disproved.
        The gods that cause eclipses, earthquakes and plagues have likewise been disproved. Believers are generating pushback because the gods are being relegated to their original territory- the space between the believer's ears.

        September 1, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Terry Wisland

      Well, I was born an agnostic but recently decided I was actually an atheist all along. I would not have classified me as dumb when I called myself an agnostic, just uneducated. Ooops, I guess I was dumb.

      September 1, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
  19. shalshah

    Yes, Christians, Jews and Muslims all believe in the Same God. Hindus also believe in that same omnipresent, omniscient God, except they believe God created the soul and set the souls in motion where salvation may take more than one life called transmigration of the soul. Of the major world religions.... Only Buddhists and Jains don't believe in this concept of God.

    September 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • snowboarder

      so all paths are equal?

      September 1, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
      • Epica

        Hindu's believe everyone is just taking a different path up the same mountain.

        September 1, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
        • Damocles

          Is your name a tribute to the band?

          September 1, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • don garrow

      Of course their is more than one god, its a proven fact. The bible, the torah, the koran and other books all practice their own version of some kind of god. It is written! What more do you need to know. There is one commonality among the major religions and that is, "Believe in me or I will kill you." History as proven that, that is why I do not believe in any one god. Therefore none exists as far as I am concern.

      September 1, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  20. jyoti

    Funny how the article leaves out Hinduism when 'wes't shamelessly uses Yoga and meditation completely a Hindu tradition. So west wants to solve their physical problem by yoga and psychiatric problem by Dhyana, meditation. They don't find solutions through their religion and they turn towards Hinduism, steal all the wisdom and then claim how great their god is but he never taught them how to pray or solve their problems ? Looks to me no body wants to give credit to Hindus for their contribution to world on spirituality.

    September 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Jeffrey Weiss

      Hinduism is not one of the "Abrahamic" faiths that some say are so intertwined.

      September 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Toad

      Westerners prefer their Hinduism to filtered through Buddhism. What's filtered out? The caste system.

      September 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Doobs

      The article doesn't speak to Hinduism because it's focus is on the common origins of three major world religions. It's not being disrespectful or ignoring Hinduisms many contributions to medicine, health, and spirituality, just of keeping on the topic.

      One of the wonderful things about Hinduism is that anyone can benefit from its body of knowledge, without exclusion. I don't believe in any deity, but I've practiced yoga since I was a teenager, and I can't see ever not having a practice. I'm particularly fond of Iyengar. I've received many physical benefits. It relieves my carpal tunnel syndrome, digestive problems (GERD), and running injuries. My osteoporosis was reversed with a combination of yoga, weight training, and medication. Adding ujjayi breathing to asanas increases the physical benefits.

      The beauty of this is that Hinduism has freely shared this knowledge with the west without obligation to become Hindu. I've never heard of anyone being turned away from a yoga studio for not being Hindu, or for being an atheist, Muslim, Roman Catholic, or Wiccan.

      The three religions discussed in this article are exclusionary. Whatever "benefit" they offer, and I use that term loosely, requires conversion.

      Christianity boasts that it offers a "free" gift, salvation. That's a lie. There's no gift, only the promise of one after you die, and it comes with the strings of humiliation and shame. I was told that practicing yoga was "of the devil" and I was worshipping other gods when I practiced. That didn't make sense to me. I wasn't worshipping any other deities, and I enjoyed better health. They steal from many sources and then claim it as their own.

      If you are a Hindu, I hope you can be happy that your religion is inclusive, not exclusive, and that it has real benefits in this life, not false promises of rewards in the next.

      September 1, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
      • Mike

        judaism accounts for about 2/10ths of 1 percent of the world's religious believers. Hinduism accounts for 14%. In what sense is judaism a major religion?

        September 1, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • cigarlover9

      Absolutely Jyoti. The western media and machinery is heavily influenced by the Abrahmic religion's lobbyist. Its nauseating.
      If you lived in US for the past 12 years, you would see how Islam has creeped in to the daily news cycle of this country. And you guessed it why? Simply 9/11. That event has penetrated the judeo-christo bubble that the media kept perpetrating prior to that event and then the islamic Juggernaut (e.g. CAIR) came in action to push themselves in that club and the American daily conscience. Hence the transformation of judo-christo to big 3 abrahmic religions.
      Whats the lesson here then? It seems you got to be able to exert enough influence on the machinery that the media would accept you as equal to these big 3 lobbyist loaded news control.
      On the other hand Hinduism being an inclusive way of life (religion ??) has so much to give to the world then such non-sense as someone died for the whole world or humanity, etc. So normal folks find the pearls and wisdom of Hindus and live the life whereas normal Hindus dont have an organized setup and lobbyists to inject themselves in media conscience as yet.

      September 1, 2013 at 4:09 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.