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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. mickar

    Since there is no such thing as a 'god', anyone worshiping it would have to be suffering from mental delusions.

    September 1, 2013 at 6:19 am |
    • tenants of atheism

      all people worship something. money, self, drugs, politics

      September 1, 2013 at 6:27 am |
      • John Sharp

        You obviously don't understand the meaning of the word worship.

        September 1, 2013 at 7:03 am |
  2. Dan W

    There must be a God, even the people who don't believe start talking about Him when someone writes an article on CNN. Ha!

    September 1, 2013 at 6:18 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Wow, Dan – with logic like that, ummm ........

      Wow.

      September 1, 2013 at 6:23 am |
      • Yudhisthira Mahabharata Jr

        what did horus say?

        September 1, 2013 at 6:32 am |
      • Dan W

        What I can't break from the super serious and make a joke? It's obvious that none of the Atheists have researched faith, religion, or belief. The only thing it seems that you all have studied is how to argue with an atheist using an A.B.C model laid out by a really well versed atheist who actually reasoned. Everyone here is just copy/pasting his methods, which at their very best are nothing more than insults. "Sky fairy, delusions, mentally ill, evidence." Would you talk to a real crazy person who was suffering from delusions like that? No of course not, these arguments are intended to cause pain, to make people lose faith. It certainly isn't going to make them listen to you. And at this point Ive heard these arguments thousands of times, and I can reason around them all day long, but unless the Atheist Messiah comes again you won't have any answers or rebuttals for me. None of you are capable of reasoning on your own.

        September 1, 2013 at 6:39 am |
        • Dan W

          I dont understand why some articles use a different system for commenting.... I want to edit... argue with a Theist!

          September 1, 2013 at 6:40 am |
        • Karloff

          Another falsehood and generalization, Dan. I grew up religious and read about many religions, even Islam, throughout my life. The thing about most atheists is not that they DON'T know religions, but is that they DO know. And they also know of science, reason, and rational thinking, which many god-believers still need to learn.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:50 am |
        • jungleboo

          "...I dont understand why some articles use a different system for commenting.... I want to edit... argue with a Theist!"

          It's called science, Dan. You are bound to the rules and regulations of the system you are using, kind of like flying an airplane or using an electron microscope. Rather than simply spout nonsense, consider reading your post and editing it, and then click on POST.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:53 am |
        • ReligionBlows

          Dan, I have read many of your posts and I have not seen one example of you reasoning around any arguements posed by atheists. All I see, is the same tiresome post accusing atheists of being single-minded and poor at debating, which is simply a stall tactic on your part and a poor example of debate. And for your information, I am an atheist but I was raised very religious. It was due to my reasoning, endless nights of contemplation, and deep inquiries into my faith and faith in general did I conclude that I could no longer believe in god. I wonder if you have spent nearly the same amount of time or any time really questioning your own faith as much as the rest of us have. And furthermore, I can tell you from a study that was done that was reported a year ago, the most educated group of people religion-wise are atheists/agnostics.

          September 2, 2013 at 6:25 am |
    • tenants of atheism

      1. There is no God.
      2. I hate him!

      September 1, 2013 at 6:25 am |
      • Yudhisthira Mahabharata Jr

        u got it. except, they only hate what exists!

        DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUH!

        September 1, 2013 at 6:33 am |
      • Karloff

        Preposterous twaddle and more wrong-thinking by a god-believer.

        September 1, 2013 at 6:52 am |
    • John Sharp

      This guy is a perfect example of the religious. His logic is so flawed and simple minded but yet he thinks he has made a wonderful and witty point.
      LMFAO

      September 1, 2013 at 6:26 am |
      • relax

        it was a joke.

        September 1, 2013 at 6:28 am |
      • relax

        a joke is an example that human logic is flawed. people who think they are logical are flawed.

        September 1, 2013 at 6:29 am |
    • Karloff

      People are talking about "it"–not that god is real, but that the delusion of god is real to the god-believers such as you.

      September 1, 2013 at 6:46 am |
      • faith

        How's it feel to be equal with people who hold such huge "delusions"?

        These delusional people who believe in God, just like you, can master the art of sciences like chemistry and physics. They can show love to people who don't hold their "delusions". And they have fought and died for people who don't hold their "delusions".

        September 1, 2013 at 6:53 am |
        • John Sharp

          So exactly how does that discredit the fact that they are delusional?

          September 1, 2013 at 7:04 am |
        • Karloff

          Faith: Your comment is indicative of the flimsy reasoning and faulty arguments of god-believers.

          September 1, 2013 at 7:14 am |
  3. RickP

    I do not believe it is a question if the Qur'an and Bible refer to the same God. Qur'an's Allah says you can lie to non-Muslims and kill to spread Islam. Islam is about conquest of the world systems. Qur'an's Allah is capricious. The only promise made by the Qur'an's Allah regarding entry into paradise is if you die opposing non-muslims. Murder, lies and conquest are not attributes of the God of the Bible, that is Satan the "conquer" the "Father of lies," the "Murder" that seeks who he may devour. The Qur'an's messiah corresponds with the Bible's anti-Christ exactly and gives the same scenario but with the the good guys and bad guys switched around from the Book of Revelation. Expect a response to this comment to say that I do not understand Islam and that I got it all wrong. Remember, they can lie to spread Islam.

    September 1, 2013 at 6:12 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Islam is a much younger religion and hasn't gone through a Reformation yet. Christianity used to be staggeringly violent toward non-believers: the Crusades, witch-burnings, etc. But, that was at a time where the average believer was an uneducated serf. Islam – in today's much more highly educated, connected world – can be staggeringly violent. I don't like religious fundies, but give me a Christian fundie over a Muslim fundie any day of the week. The Christian fundie may SAY you're going to HEll; the Muslim fundie will actively try to send you there.

      September 1, 2013 at 6:22 am |
      • University

        C-

        September 1, 2013 at 6:35 am |
      • RickP

        Islam is Satanically inspired, and Christianity is God inspired. The two are totally different with opposite goals. In fact, Islam is more a governmental system than a religion.

        September 1, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
      • ReligionBlows

        I dont believe you know much about the reformation. The reformation wasnt a wake up call to christians to cool it with the violence. The reformation was nearly 700 years ago and it didnt prevent christians from decimating the Indians and enslaving black people. The reformation was meant to rest power away the pope.

        September 2, 2013 at 6:33 am |
  4. Zeynep Karakurt Ozman

    As I understand the most recent explanation of God (Allah) comes from President George W. Bush. I totally agree with him that Abraham was the turning point in God deciding to contact humans........

    My understanding is this; There are two religions. One is Abram's first son from Hacer called İsmail....... Although he is the first son of Abram, the mother is wrong.... God told Abram that he would become a father of a boy.....Abram became impatient and with the approval of Sarah made Hacer (a young slave) pregnant...... God told him that he was going to have the boy from Sarah....... They (Abram and Sarah, were old, and with their worldly concept they misinterpreted God's plans) made a mistake which was not adjustable.....There was an innocent boy called İsmail who was growing up steadily....Then God's plans continued as He thought fit and deem and Sarah conceived at the age of 80...and gave birth to İshak..... İshak's 12 tribes formed Judaism, and İsmail's 12 tribes formed Islam....... İsa (Jesus is called İsa in Turkish) is God's son......He was born as a Jew..... God sent His son as a role model.......Many Jewish people still deny Jesus's position....... Ignorant people in any religion continue making misjudgements on and on and on......Christianity and Judaism are all in one... Jesus came along to revise the wrong doings of many Jews........In the seventh Century Jesus contacted Mohammed via Gabriel.....and gave him the Koran....... Koran is a quantum physics book...... Neither Mohammed, nor Arabs could understand the modern physics.....In the 20th Century, with God's permission Christian/Jewish scientists started to cipher out the quantum physics..... Nano technology, is the first step of the three... This three-some is the clue...... We are long way behind to reach the third level....... But we have started with Nano tech......
    I think God's invaluable present to humanity was the computers and digital technology........ There are very few people on earth who can understand God's science........ The same rules apply to the religion too........ Very few theologians can understand the teachings of God in the form of religion........ When one thinks about the proportion of the Atheists to the human population, the message becomes clear....... Out of 7 billion there are about 1,5 billion atheists all over the world....This percentage is very safe....... just like 2 out of 3 calculation....... when (-) x (+)= (-) but (-)x(-)= + that means (+) is bound to win....... (-) has only 1/3 survival rate....... We are safe.......There is only One........ (God, Allah, Intelligent) GOD... you can call it however you like...... The most important thing is to be able to follow His path, and try to understand what He wants from US.......

    Sunni, Shiite, Episcopal, Lutherian, etc. are just unnecessary details to confuse each other...THERE IS ONE GOD, AND HE IS OUR FATHER. HE IS A LOVING, GIVING AND FORGIVING FATHER...... We are so lucky and blessed to be a human. Because He created humanity in His own image......Each of us have individual finger prints, and none of us look alike even the twin-brothers or sisters......... I think God makes US think..... the clues are there..... if you think properly you are bound to become a winner in finding God. Good Luck to you all....... Happy Peace Day.....

    September 1, 2013 at 6:12 am |
    • ReligionBlows

      You write like a crazy person.

      September 2, 2013 at 6:35 am |
  5. chris

    All you need is love... shalalalala...!!!

    September 1, 2013 at 6:11 am |
  6. Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

    "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."

    Like little kids in the school yard, each claiming that HIS dad can beat up the other kids' DADS. Except they use guns and bombs. But, hopefully, with education and awareness, humans will continue to grow up and continue to reject all of this religious nonsense.

    September 1, 2013 at 6:05 am |
    • S-3B Viking

      Well, Jesus did say in Matthew 18:3: "...unless you change and become like litte children..." 🙂

      September 1, 2013 at 6:08 am |
      • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

        And there's a reason why religious followers are referred to as "sheep"!

        September 1, 2013 at 6:11 am |
        • faith

          Because God is like a shepherd.

          And people who don't know Jesus Christ are lost sheep.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:13 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          And yet they demand that they are more like John Wayne...how odd.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:13 am |
        • Sara

          If this were so, your god would be a very poor ahepherd.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:15 am |
        • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

          @ Faith: If your god is a shepherd, he's doing a really lousy job of it! Look at the millions of innocents who die each year under his watch, through no fault of their own. I'd fire that bozo in a second.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:17 am |
        • Zeynep Karakurt Ozman

          I hope your sheppard is Jesus...

          September 1, 2013 at 6:19 am |
        • Dan W

          If you're going to speak about death in terms of religion, then talk about it from religions perspective. Death is parole, life is a prison, we ate the apple and were cast out. This life, this world is a punishment.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:20 am |
        • faith

          Everybody dies. Even Jesus died, and because of evil he suffered and was humiliated.

          "Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
          I fear no evil,
          for you are with me;
          your rod and your staff-
          they comfort me."

          God is with us. Even during the things that feel bad.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:21 am |
        • John Sharp

          @ faith, umm. No what he was referring to is that sheep are stupid and follow blindly with out any proof.

          Just like your name. Faith – belief in something without evidence.

          Believing in something without evidence is just silly or moronic. Take your pick.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:22 am |
        • faith

          John, you are mistaken.
          The Bible defines faith as complete trust and confidence in God. And God is someone who can be known. Jesus is the way to the evidence of God.
          But faith as in belief in things with no evidence, all people have faith in things. That is what makes us human beings. We can't be logical about everything.
          Not everything you believe is logical. It is impossible for you to be completely logical. You are flawed by no fault of your own.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:33 am |
        • John Sharp

          @ faith,
          You quoted the bible as though it was fact. Too funny.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:41 am |
        • faith

          You think there are no facts in the Bible?

          September 1, 2013 at 6:45 am |
        • Rett

          From what I have read sheep are often oblivious to the danger they are in ......many would argue that is fitting description of an atheist .....proclaiming wisdom not knowing how foolish they are.

          September 1, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
      • Karloff

        The actual translation is "If you become ignorant and believe in fairytales..."

        September 1, 2013 at 6:22 am |
        • Dan W

          Its obvious that you came here to argue with Theists, otherwise you wouldn't be commenting on an article that deals with God. Insulting Theists isn't going to convert us. You can call God all the names you want, but it's obvious you are trying to make the Theists mad and irrational, self fulfilling your prophecy about how irrational we can be. Silly rabbit science is for kids. Silly scientists who can't reason about the most simple things. If the Atheist Messiah didn't say it, you won't either, because you're quoting and paraphrasing someone else's conclusions and using the same 3 insults. Try harder, read more, reason more, quote less. Think for yourself.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:50 am |
        • Karloff

          You are so wrong, Dan. I didn't call god any names. Your English comprehension is blinded by your delusion. I didn't quote anyone–you are grabbing at straws. Your responses are proof of the futility of talking with a god-believer–you attribute things to me that I didn't say. Who is the "atheist messiah"? And you're putting down science–an indication that you yourself have no power to reason as an adult, but you do so as an obstreperous child holding dear to your flimsy arguments.

          September 1, 2013 at 7:05 am |
      • John Sharp

        @faith, too funny. So the fact that there might be one or more actual true statements in a book of mythology makes the book factual?
        Nice try, no...
        As they say, even a broke clock is right twice a day.

        September 1, 2013 at 7:06 am |
  7. Karloff

    Yes, they worship the same god–the god of delusions.

    September 1, 2013 at 6:04 am |
    • Dan W

      Bring something better to the table. The days of calling believers deluded schizophrenics is over. You need to learn a new way to reason so we can really talk about this instead of just throwing insults back and forth.

      September 1, 2013 at 6:22 am |
      • Simon

        One can be deluded without being schizophrenic. Adding the 'schizophrenic" is hardly honest discourse. Delusion describes the assertion of belief as Truth with a capital T without evidence.

        September 1, 2013 at 6:58 am |
    • kandi

      My God is different from yours simply by evolution.

      September 1, 2013 at 7:13 am |
  8. Brenda

    John,what are you so mad about? Religion makes you feel wonderful. It's real and we all know people deny it but it's really just because your afraid of it. How about goingi into a quiet room and talking to God. Afraid?? I thought so.. Even if you want to believe he's fake, try and talk to him.. See if your brave enough to have a one on one... Peace

    September 1, 2013 at 5:56 am |
    • John Sharp

      Brenda,

      I just tried that. Yep, just like I thought, god wasn't there this time either. Because he doesn't exist. Your comment was the most delusional I have seen in a while. Not everyone is as simple minded as you. Some of us use rational thought and analysis.

      All religions worship the same imaginary friend in their head.

      Hopefully everyone grows out of this childishness.

      Religion, together we can find a cure!

      September 1, 2013 at 6:06 am |
      • faith

        You are here looking for God.
        When you have serenity, you are getting closer.

        September 1, 2013 at 6:15 am |
        • John Sharp

          LOL, too funny.

          The imaginary friend in your head will not provide anyone serenity. For some people I guess believing in this delusion is comforting.

          Me, I prefer the truth.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:23 am |
        • Yudhisthira Mahabharata Jr

          johnny dull, you prefer darkness

          September 1, 2013 at 6:25 am |
        • faith

          What is serenity to you?

          September 1, 2013 at 6:39 am |
      • Yudhisthira Mahabharata Jr

        prove you sought god with every ounce of strength and desire and honesty in your being.

        this is observer setting up a cream puff for a fellow athie to refute christianity. this is a sample of the disease they bring to the table

        September 1, 2013 at 6:24 am |
      • Dan W

        Stop insisting that belief is caused by mental illness. Learn to reason with believers instead of just slamming them with insults. You think we look kindly on you because of your insults or that the insults in some way strengthen your position? No they make Atheists look like a bunch of jerks.

        September 1, 2013 at 6:25 am |
        • John Sharp

          You are assuming that all of us are atheists, I am not.

          But I do know that simple and thoughtful analysis of Christianity, Islam and Judaism prove them false.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:44 am |
      • Zeynep Karakurt Ozman

        Did you prove that God does not exist? How can you be so sure that He does not exist...... He doesn't bother to prove Himself to you...... but just because you are not able to feel the wonderful hand of the "imaginary friend" , it does not mean that He does not exist? I wonder if you have many concrete friends here on this planet??? If so, are you denying God's existance together, and make fun of the believers....... In your scenario, you and your friends (if they exist!!!) must be very sharp people, and the rest of the world are idiots....... Congratulations!!!

        September 1, 2013 at 6:27 am |
      • John Sharp

        @Yudhisthira Mahabharata Jr
        Actually light is exactly what I am shining on the delusional.

        Hey I am open to your silly god. Send him to my house, we can talk.

        Pretty sure that the imaginary friend in your head won't show up.

        September 1, 2013 at 6:28 am |
        • Yudhisthira Mahabharata Jr

          athies make the same simple-minded statements they have for years.

          they love god when they want him to punish xtards. they hate him when they realize they are going to hell

          September 1, 2013 at 6:42 am |
        • John Sharp

          I guess that would apply if I were an atheist.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:45 am |
        • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

          @ Yud: very silly statement. Atheists don't hate god, or love god, because they don't believe in god.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:47 am |
    • Sara

      Brenda, You seem to take it as a premise that everyone who tries to talk to god is answered. What if you are wrong? What does that say about your beliefs and experiences?

      September 1, 2013 at 6:08 am |
      • Yudhisthira Mahabharata Jr

        you know there is no god. you have no proof for making such a claim. none. the evidence proving god exists is found in the reality that you are alive.

        September 1, 2013 at 6:12 am |
        • Sara

          Where did I say I know there is no god?

          September 1, 2013 at 6:14 am |
        • Yudhisthira Mahabharata Jr

          "Journey
          No one should be afraid of God. They should be afraid of God's crazy followers; without them God has no power." this saint has a beautiful and open mind

          fear sara, she thinks she's clever. where did observer say christ took what horus said and used it for his own gain?

          September 1, 2013 at 6:20 am |
        • Dan W

          Describe to me what this proof would look like? You want me to drag God out of Heaven for you? Or do you think you can capture a picture of Him using Hubble? Give me a break.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:26 am |
        • faith

          proof = fulfill their selfish desires

          September 1, 2013 at 6:40 am |
        • John Sharp

          @faith, OMG you are hilarious.
          So wanting proof that god exists means someone is selfish.
          That is mighty convenient.

          September 1, 2013 at 7:09 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Except, Brenda, that people do exactly what you suggest: they go in to a room, talk to their god, and come out convinced absolutely and unequivocally that their god has commanded them to, for example, fly hijacked jets into buildings. Or they drown their children in a bathtub. Or blow up schools. Or invade Iraq.

      September 1, 2013 at 6:09 am |
      • Yudhisthira Mahabharata Jr

        people like you say nothing for years and go out and fly airplanes into buildings

        September 1, 2013 at 6:14 am |
        • John Sharp

          Hilarious, you do understand that the people that did that were believers in god.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:35 am |
        • Yudhisthira Mahabharata Jr

          i believe they said they were. you believe everything you hear except the gospel, you moron.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:40 am |
        • John Sharp

          Wow, Moron because I pointed out that the one's believing in God were responsible for flying into those buildings.

          This makes you look really stupid. These people were practicing Muslims and true believers. You are the first person I have come across that refutes this point.

          I am not religious because just as you said, people will believe anything. But I don't.

          At this point, and we are talking about 2,000 years of no evidence, I say either produce your silly god or be quiet.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:48 am |
    • Journey

      No one should be afraid of God. They should be afraid of God's crazy followers; without them God has no power.

      September 1, 2013 at 6:10 am |
      • Yudhisthira Mahabharata Jr

        they should fear racist, red neck know nothing bigots who prejudge all christians like you

        September 1, 2013 at 6:15 am |
        • Journey

          Relax, I meant Gods(including all God/Jesus, Allah, whatever). All the same.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:21 am |
        • John Sharp

          @Yudhisthira Mahabharata Jr
          too funny but you just described the American Christian.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:29 am |
      • Simon

        That's all there is, crazy followers.

        Or, more politely, people who listen to their inner voice and think it's a god because people are indoctrinated into belief as children.

        Here's a question: why would a transcendent being have a gender? One answer is that "he" was invented by members of a Patriarchal society. Do you have a better one?

        September 1, 2013 at 7:07 am |
        • John Sharp

          Thank you, well said.

          September 1, 2013 at 7:11 am |
  9. Journey

    I believe if there is a conscious God, it do not like humans.

    September 1, 2013 at 5:55 am |
  10. maria

    SAME GOD different names .....

    September 1, 2013 at 5:52 am |
  11. maria

    SAME GOD ......different religions of course! if you really believe in God your God is the same !

    September 1, 2013 at 5:51 am |
  12. Nate

    Myths as Santa or Thor or Jaweh/Allah grew out of our own angst and fear and desire. To claim to know otherwise is to be a liar. The common thread for all religion is a demand for faith because liars cannot ask for trust. Liars cannot ask for anything, which is why religion has to continually kill.

    September 1, 2013 at 5:51 am |
  13. Sara

    The question of whether or not the same god is worshipped would depend first on whether any god's exist, second on the listening choices of those gods and third on what individuals hold in their heads when thinking about these gods and praying.

    But the article really misses the point when it talks about the relevance of all this to conflict. If doesn't matter if all these groups believe they are praying to the same god as long as some of them think others do it incorrectly enough to risk the eternal souls of their members. If someone thinks that the spread of something (a disease, economic system or religion) endangers not only the life but eternal soul of their children and grandchildren they will usually believe that fighting and even killing is worthwhile to protect against this greater harm. Whether or not the two gods are the same doesn't matter in these calculations.

    September 1, 2013 at 5:47 am |
  14. EntoyDaDragoN

    All 3 are the same but Islam today is most violent of all 3.

    September 1, 2013 at 5:45 am |
  15. David

    The difference between Christianity and other religions is DONE and DO. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty of our sins to purchase a place for us in heaven. This gift can be received by trusting in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life. Salvation is not our doing as the work has been done by Christ.

    September 1, 2013 at 5:41 am |
    • Sara

      I would steer clear of this as an advertising technique for you religion. I don't belong to any of these belief system and frankly this claim of Christianity is one of the sillier claims of the group.

      September 1, 2013 at 5:49 am |
      • faith

        God's plan. Not David's advertising technique.
        Sara, you can be a part of or against God's plan.

        September 1, 2013 at 5:55 am |
        • Sara

          If god has a plan he is all powerful and perfectly able to come and talk to me about it and provide a well docu mented business plan with evidence that meets the quality we expect in the courts. I would expect as much from anyone in government or business.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:01 am |
        • faith

          God's will, not Sara's, be done. He doesn't have to meet your list of demands. That would make you the god.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:36 am |
        • John

          He play tricks? Of course not. FAKE!!!!!

          September 2, 2013 at 12:11 am |
    • P.g

      "Faith, not behaviour, is the essential measure of salvation" in Christianity –This has been reiterated by several commenters here, but it is incorrect to assign this, as a theological principal, to Roman Catholicism. The RCC believes strongly in the concept of solipsistically earned Sanctifying Grace, necessary to salvation and earned by good works and adherence to the commandments. *Access* to that grace was earned at Calvary. Other Christian religions might believe in salvation by faith alone, but not Roman Catholics; thus the Pope's recent comments about the ability of atheists of good moral behaviour being granted salvation. This is not a fine point: religious wars were fought in the 17th C. all over Europe over exactly this question.

      September 1, 2013 at 8:18 am |
  16. coolusernametwo

    Reject religion, get a life!

    September 1, 2013 at 5:40 am |
    • Dan W

      Silly rabbit.

      September 1, 2013 at 6:34 am |
    • faith

      Reject god, instantly become an atheist "intellectual"

      September 1, 2013 at 6:47 am |
      • John Sharp

        No, not an intellectual. Just a person that uses sound rational thought and analysis to navigate their life.

        Talking to an imaginary friend in your head is phenomenally stupid.

        September 1, 2013 at 6:51 am |
  17. CN

    The Trinity is a fairy tale!! Jesus i believe was caring and wise - possibly even a messenger for GOD?? But the Jewish faith is the only faith that humanity should follow which i base on the miracles Moses did which were the real deal!! Further more the New Testament was written 100 years after Jesus was dead?? Rabbis have never abused or molested children!! As for Muslims--- Mohammad had blood on his hands and performed 0 miracles!! That notion of convert to Islam or die is a joke!! The whole Jihad nonsense is just an excuse for violence?? No one who kills in Gods name will ever enter Heaven- All Muslims wil be judged on JEWISH LAW BY THE GOD OF THE JEWS!!!

    September 1, 2013 at 5:38 am |
    • Sara

      You might want to start with a few google searches on rabbi's who molest children and then see if you can list reasons to believe the miricles of Jewish mythology over those claimed by other religions.

      September 1, 2013 at 5:52 am |
    • Topaz

      But if were judged by law we will never be good enough. You break one you break them all. Breaking just one disconnects you from a holy god. Thats why Jesus came. So we can be reconciled to god. Jesus is the way.

      September 1, 2013 at 5:55 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      "THE GOD OF THE JEWS"? Oh, you mean Milton Berle? I heard that he was God-like in certain departments, if you know what I mean!

      September 1, 2013 at 6:13 am |
    • Dan W

      I'm a huge fan of the Jewish people so I am inclined to let your ignorance stand. But death is parole from this world, which if you know the bible story you know we were cast out after the whole apple incident. So the Muslims and their prophet are famous for, sending people back home to God. That's how I look at it.

      September 1, 2013 at 6:32 am |
    • ReligionBlows

      i think Dan W is right. We should not look at religious people as mental. And the next time I do see a crazy person I am going to be more open-minded. I am going to say hey he might not be crazy, he might just be religious.

      September 2, 2013 at 6:47 am |
  18. kerfluffle

    I was hoping that this was going to be about Ra.

    September 1, 2013 at 5:37 am |
    • Sound Smart

      The Only TRUE God is Flying Spaghetti Monster. Ramen.

      September 1, 2013 at 5:53 am |
  19. john

    Yes all religions worship the same FAKE god(s). Tinkerbell is just as real as god and the boogieman devil.
    Whats wrong with you (religious) people? Or maybe god is the devil and its manipulating you all, Idiots!

    September 1, 2013 at 5:36 am |
    • Anonymous

      Atheists are puppets kept purposefully blind by their flawed definition of science. All science is, is the philosophy of gaining knowledge about the material world through observation and experimentation. Modern Atheists have tried to turn science into some infallible deity itself and as science has always proven itself wrong century after century from claiming the world is flat to darwin's theory of evolution being proven wrong and needing to be re-hypothesized. Thus being the nature of technology, scientific progress, and breakthroughs is the old science being usurped by new science. Science is not at all infallible, and if you think it is we can scientifically prove that scientists' theories have been disproven by other scientists for the whole of history.

      September 1, 2013 at 5:55 am |
      • Dan W

        I like this guy/gal.

        September 1, 2013 at 6:29 am |
        • jungleboo

          Perhaps that is why you and your posts are the laughing stock of this Sunday morning prayer house meeting.

          September 1, 2013 at 7:09 am |
      • William

        Scientists are willing that they may be wrong. That is why Darwin's idea was called a theory and not the absolute and incontestable truth, unlike what quite a few people who profess to be religious say. The idea that the Bible could have mistakes in it seems to scare them to death since it is supposely God's word.
        Wake up folks! It was written by individuals years ago who did not understand the world they were living in and felt they had to try to explain things by making up a single, all powerful deity.

        September 1, 2013 at 6:31 am |
      • John Sharp

        "All science is, is the philosophy of gaining knowledge about the material world through observation and experimentation"
        Exactly...
        And through this observation and experimentation science has proven many tenets of the faithful false.
        Sorry the truth contradicts your fairy tale book. But that isn't science's fault.
        And attacking the messenger only proves how silly your beliefs are.
        You would be better served by providing your own scientific analysis showing god does exist.
        But you and I know that won't happen.

        September 1, 2013 at 6:54 am |
      • ReligionBlows

        And who told you to say that. Your expose on science shows just about how little of science you know. First of all, ugh. I am not going to even bother arguing evolution with you, but hint it has not been proven wrong. The world is flat. See, you dont even have a clue. This was never science, just beliefs of scared ancient civilizations. You said yourself science is observation and experimentation. You know what theism is? Just observation. The same as believing the world is flat. Just observation. Its not science until you test as they have with countless discoveries including evolution (on a micro level of course). But you wouldnt know this because you are a puppet. Just parroting what you heard.

        September 2, 2013 at 6:58 am |
    • Dave

      Religion, the true cause of most of the killing and wars over the last 2500 or so years.

      September 1, 2013 at 6:09 am |
      • faith

        People, not religion, were fighting in those wars.

        September 1, 2013 at 6:54 am |
        • John Sharp

          Silly faith, they were fighting in those wars because of their religious beliefs.
          and your god loves to kill. just read the old testament. The Christian god is definitely not pro-life.

          September 1, 2013 at 6:57 am |
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About this blog

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.