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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. Seen

    I notice that Christians are Atheist to the other 3000 or so Gods on Earth. But the Christians I have spoken with don't see it that way – they don't think that the other Gods are real! only theirs...STRANGE. Seems rather ignorant and hypocritical doesn't it?

    September 1, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  2. Amin Siad

    The 3 main, worldwide monotheistic faiths all do worship the same GOD. Our theologies may vary a little from religion to religion, but pretty much we all stem from a unifying religious impetus. According to Islam, Prophet Abraham coined the name and the word in Arabic, a Semitic tongue, which denotes the submission to 1 GOD. This name and word has become a symbol of truth for all of the adherents that believe in it. According to Islam, Abraham coined this word, and named his religion of ISLAM. Christians call themselves by this name because they believe in a trinity that has GOD, the Father; Jesus, the son; and the Holy Spirit at its core. They are followers of Christ. Jews or the followers of Judaism, call themselves by this name, because after Assyria destroyed the first temple and slaughtered every living person in Israel, the sole survivors of this onslaught were the people of Judea and Samaria, hence the name Jew stems from Judea. Jews are still waiting for their Messiah, while Christians and Muslims believe that JESUS, the son of MARY was and is the MESSIAH.
    According to Islam, JESUS never died, but returns during "the end of times" to put an end to the ANTI-CHRIST and his corrupt, evil, hypocritical ways. Christianity says that JESUS dies on the cross for humanity's salvation, but also returns during "the end of times". The Jews believe in a MESSIAH, but according to Judaism, he has yet to appear; because JESUS was not "the anointed one". All 3 faiths are symbols of civility and civilization. The fact that people do not get along, even though their beliefs are similar, is only political, not necessarily religious.

    September 1, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • Amy

      I usually don't get along with religious people because I think they are brain dead. If they didn't believe in zombies and gods and faeries and souls and supernatural silliness, I suppose that I wouldn't mind them so much 🙂 So I think that religion is a cause for strife (at least from me anyway and I don't even have weapons)

      September 1, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Just Call Me Lucifer

      All three faiths are symbols of civility and civilization? I guess your religion includes smoking crack. I believe Allahs boys thought crashing planes into buildings was a good way to convert those of other faiths to Islam. Why is it your all powerful gods never show up to prove their existance? Never have and never will, even though they supposedly could AT ANY TIME. Yeah, right.

      September 1, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
  3. Truth

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPOfurmrjxo

    September 1, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  4. tony

    Believe in the ONE TRUE COLLECTION PLATE!

    September 1, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
  5. R.G.

    As a Buddhist, I find this all a bit ... pedantic. Most foci on belief(s); almost none on actions. Talking-head religions.

    September 1, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • heehee

      Buddhism, on the other hand, is crystal clear and never arcane.

      September 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
      • G to the T

        "Suffering exists" – Not that hard to grasp really...

        September 3, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
  6. Hugh McMichael

    This is like a Three Little Piggist arguing with a Little Red Riding Hoodist about whether or not their respective Big Bad Wolves were actually the same creature. Until we stop letting bronze-age mythologies drive our culture we're doomed to this cycle of useless violence. Grow up, folks. It's ALL a load of codswallop.

    September 1, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
  7. bobsruncle

    there is no God...gods...whatever. the sooner mankind shakes off the shackles of religious stupidity the better mankind will be.

    September 1, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
  8. JJJ

    Do we have our teeth taken by the same tooth fairy?

    September 1, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • One one

      No ! My tooth fairy is the one true tooth fairy. Yours is a false tooth fairy !

      September 1, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
  9. Mark

    OMGosh you atheists are so clever, knowledgeable, witty, all knowing about a subject you don't believe exists, and blips on the eternal timeline. You guys crack yourselves up! Your time is short.

    September 1, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • snowboarder

      as is everyone's

      September 1, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
      • Mark

        Okay proved the all knowing, now say something witty.

        September 1, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
        • snowboarder

          are you somehow suggesting that atheists have shorter lifespans than other religions? it would be interesting to see your reasoning for such an assumption?

          September 1, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
        • tony

          My imaginary god kicked your imaginary god up the a*** last night

          888

          September 1, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
        • Mark

          That is so funny thanks for proving my point...

          September 1, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
        • Mark

          Snowboarder did you just construe atheism being a religion? Your fellow atheist may seek you out.

          September 1, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
        • snowboarder

          @mark, I see you make a bunch of baseless statements and then making an unwarranted claim the high ground. your comments are simply your attempt to make yourself feel better about your belief.

          September 1, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
        • Mark

          I don't need your remedial comments to make me feel better about my belief, you're just comic relief.

          September 1, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • bobsruncle

      most atheists know your bible better than you because we were once like you.. until we actually read the damn book without blinders and saw it to be fiction.

      September 1, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
      • Mark

        Another all knower. Apparently you know me or you would never have said such an absolute...oh wait yes you would atheist.

        September 1, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
      • Chubbs

        Citation for this broad stereotype? Google Scholar doesn't come up with any relevant hits.

        September 1, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
      • Gecul

        Amen!

        September 1, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Morgan King

      Religion exists, even if its deities do not. Religions have been central to the social and philosophical growth of humanity, and being knowledgeable about them is vital to understanding the modern world.

      September 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
      • snowboarder

        absolutely. we should all learn from our mistakes.

        September 1, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
        • Mark

          It appears society is truly learning from our mistakes. Things are awesome right now.

          September 1, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
        • snowboarder

          @mark, these are some of the most peaceful and affluent times in the history of humanity. you are absolutely correct.

          September 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
        • Mark

          You've already done the all knowing thing Mr. Studied every epoch since the beginning of time to make such a rationale.

          September 1, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Mark, Some of us read more than just the bible, hence a broader knowledge.

          September 1, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Please, Mark. Explain what era was more peaceful and more affluent. And please provide your historical references.

          Remember, the peace and affluence must not be contained to one culture or socioeconomic group. It has to be a worldwide phenomena. I truly don't know that now is the most peaceful or affluent time, but I do know that things are pretty good right now, at least in the big picture.

          September 1, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
        • Mark

          Are you assuming I don't because you too are all knowing. Kant, Kierkegarrd, Watson, etc...

          September 1, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
        • Mark

          Tallulah...I'm not all knowing like the rest of you.

          September 1, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • heehee

      Haven't you read all the confident declarations of truth here by the religious? Could you apply the same criticism uniformly?

      September 1, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  10. 7

    Hello folks. Everyone is invited to receive a newly released "free" downloadable song at... thetreasureofzion.com

    September 1, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
  11. donnie

    Of course not. The Muslim religion states that God does not have a Son. The Scriptures say that do deny the Son is to deny the Father and the Father will deny you. The Jews also do NOT worship the same God as the Christians do.

    September 1, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • snowboarder

      yet their traditions are based on interpretations of many of the same texts.

      September 1, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Doobs

      What is your understanding of a triune god? What did Jeebus mean when he said, "I and the Father are one."?

      September 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
  12. Robert Erickson

    I have come to agree with the concept of God having no shape or image. When we "humanize" God with mass and shape, we reduce this omnipotent power to understandable levels but that act alone also reduces the power that would be required to create the universe. What is consistent throughout all three (and other) religions is a set of laws and rules that provide a framework for us to live together in harmony and prosper. Unfortunately, all of us have failed that test rather miserably.

    September 1, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
  13. Elena

    lets watch Brian Greene a theoretical physicist and string theorist. and a professor at Columbia University since 1996 talk about the infinite copies of you!

    http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/7QpWdXW1uYI/mqdefault.jpg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QpWdXW1uYI

    September 1, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • snowboarder

      how would that be relevant to the discussion?

      September 1, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
      • Elena

        very relevant my friend very relevant and if you don't see it then you should not be here

        September 1, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
        • Doobs

          You sound just like one of those women who gives your partner the silent treatment when you're pissed, and when he/she asks what's wrong, says "If you don't know, I'm not going to tell you."

          September 1, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
        • snowboarder

          lol! I do love the appeal from ignorance. "if you don't understand my nonsense, you must simply be unintelligent"

          September 1, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
      • Elena

        should I explain you why the sky is not blue?

        September 1, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Perhaps you should first explain why your video is relevant to the topic at hand before you go off on even more unrelated tangents.

          September 1, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Dan W

      I love how atheists are drawn to God talk like a moth to a flame. If there's nothing to it, why not ignore it? The opposite of love isn't hate, it's apathy. Pour your energy into something constructive because your words are simply destructive.

      September 1, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
      • tony

        We have to protect our children from your underage grooming

        September 1, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
      • Dan W

        Don't protect your children on my account, protect them because it's your duty.

        September 1, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
      • Doobs

        I am doing something constructive by coming here. I'm letting the fundies who try to codify their fantasies into civil law know that we live in a secular country and you won't be teaching my children your lies and bigotry in public school, you don't control my decisions about my body, and that what consenting adults do in the privacy of their home is none of your business.

        September 1, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
      • Morgan King

        Because it's still hugely influential in all of our lives. Religion is at the heart of many of our social disagreements and our military conflicts, and so attempting to discuss it rationally with fundamentalists is an effort, perhaps in vain, to appeal to reason instead of belief, or, at the very least, to show that we are a diverse population that does not adhere to the protocols of a particular faith.

        September 1, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
      • heehee

        When religious people stop trying to indoctrinate my kids, introduce falsehoods into school curricula, legislate discrimination, take money from seniors to fund their mega-estates, and knock on my freaking door on Saturday morning, then I'll ignore you.

        Until then, get used to engagement. You asked for it, you got it.

        September 1, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
      • tallulah13

        We comment because we can, Dan. Remember the First Amendment? That even applies to atheists.

        What I don't understand is why you are so upset about views that conflict with your own.

        September 1, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Dan W

      I mean come on, String Theorists have to keep inventing something new to keep their theory together. It was broken until someone was like, no there's super gravity, see that fixed the equation. They simply don't get microcosms. Our 'universe' is just a big solar flare on a sun so big it seems like there is nothing else, kinda like a super super super massive black hole. On some level we are really 'Hawking Radiation' on a massive scale, energy that has escaped the super super massive 'black hole'. Try to think of yourself in a box, that's inside of a box, that's inside of several other boxes. How can you ever know how many boxes deep you are if the only thing you can see is the edge of the box you are in? Reasoning is what bridges the gap.

      September 1, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
      • Morgan King

        That's why its a theory, not a belief.

        September 1, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Accepting your analogy, how did you come to the conclusion that the outer box, which you acknowledge you cannot see or perceive, is your god?

        September 1, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
      • tallulah13

        That's the difference between science and religion, Dan. With science, things that are proposed are scrutinized and tested and that which is shown to be wrong is discarded or corrected. Science cannot be rationalized. It either works or is doesn't. Science grows and builds on itself.

        On the other hand, religious dogma tends to punish the questioner rather than answer the question. Religion changes only when societal pressure threatens it's continued existence.

        Frankly, I prefer the honesty of science to the chicanery of religion.

        September 1, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  14. Friend

    About 150 years ago, in the Middle East, Baha'u'llah said:

    "The well-being of mankind, its peace and security are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.”

    "These principles and laws, these firmly-established and mighty systems, have proceeded from one Source and are the rays of one Light. That they differ one from another is to be attributed to the varying requirements of the ages in which they were promulgated."

    For that, he was imprisoned, tortured and exiled for decades. 150 years later, looking at division rather than unity, Protestants and Catholics still kill one another, and Shia and Sunni still kill one another, when both of those divisions were made by us people, not by Jesus or Muhammad.

    Interestingly, every major religion has stated that it believes in the same God as those preceding it (Moses said so about Abraham, Jesus said so about Abraham and Moses, Muhammad said so about Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, and so on) while adherents of the religion before adamantly deny such a claim. If one goes by the denial of followers of old religions, then no religion would be right because each one has been denied by the people of their time. But if you look at the spiritual teachings themselves, directly from the words of Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Baha'u'llah, Buddha, Zoroaster, the oneness is evident.

    September 1, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
  15. Kevin Quail

    What silliness it is to have an adult imaginary friend in the sky. When will mankind grow up and admit that when you're dead, you're dead? Sigh- never, probably, because just like the failed war on drugs, there's to much money to be made off of perpetuating this insane belief in an afterlife.

    September 1, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • Dan W

      How many believers do you think you've swayed with this argument? Every believer has heard the sky fairy nonsense, you all throw around. Get something new, talk to use eye to eye, learn to reason and talk without berating.

      September 1, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
      • Douglas

        Because reason fails in the face of baseless faith. No number of facts or logical arguments will sway the deluded. I have tried and tried, but "I believe..." can never be convinced mere knowledge.

        September 1, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
      • Just Call Me Lucifer

        So you want atheists to be reasonable with fools. Nah... won't happen.

        September 1, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
      • Morgan King

        Is not the entire premise of faith that it is a belief can't be swayed by reason?

        September 1, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Rufus

      Show me your proof that when you're dead you're dead. When will people who attack religion grow up and realize they are just as ridiculous as religious fundamentalists? Probably never, because they are too blinded by their perceived superiority and can't accept the fact that they don't know everything and could possibly be wrong.

      September 1, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
      • Just Call Me Lucifer

        Ever been to a funeral? Dead means dead, and you see some ambiguity there?

        September 1, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
      • Kevin

        Open your eyes. No God EVER.

        September 1, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
      • Amy

        150 years of neurology and neuroscience pretty much says that when you're dead, you're dead. But hey, everyone loves surprises!

        September 1, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
      • tallulah13

        I would say that the complete and utter lack of evidence to the contrary indicates that life ends at death. But you can believe whatever you chose. Perhaps there is indeed an afterlife. Perhaps Big Foot will attend your funeral.

        September 1, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
      • Doobs

        can't accept the fact that they don't know everything and could possibly be wrong.

        I've never heard any nonbeliever on this blog claim to know everything, or to claim infallibility. That's the domain of religion.

        Science is based in skepticism. As technology advances and our understanding of the natural world increases, some of the things we thought were true are proved untrue, and discarded. Being able to say you were wrong in the face of new evidence doesn't invalidate the scientific method. It's critical to the advancement of humanity to accept we know very little about the natural world, and to challenge what we think of as true continuously.

        It's only in religion that you find people who believe that one book, written by men, long before we even understood how rain happens or that people and continents existed thousands of miles from them, holds all the answers.

        September 1, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Moe

      what proof do you have that god exists or doesnt exist? You claim that others are fools for believing "an adult" friend in the skies? I pitty the simplicity of your thinking. If you're a physicist or atleast studied a bit of philosophy and physics you'll reach a to a point even you were atheist to admit that there is a design, rules for natural laws, that cannot be placed in randomness, and the simplest way for our small human brain to grasp it is simply by taking a leap of faith and "believe" in "god". Now i would rather believe in something and live my life here on this Earth in peace and hope for another better life in the hereafter.

      September 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
      • Amtrak

        "...hope for a better life..." that is the key to all religions, poor humans looking for a better lot in life. Stupid talking monkeys, table this discussion for 41365 years until the dolphins can take part in it (Humans will look different by then, but thankfully we have frozen our DNA so we will have 20th century humans there as well to keep the Noodle Monster talk alive)

        September 1, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Moe, The issue is – what proof do you have of your god? Believers push their god into education, law, and society in general when no evidence points to any god as described by religions and all evidence points away from those gods.

        September 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
      • Doobs

        and the simplest way for our small human brain to grasp it is simply by taking a leap of faith and "believe" in "god".

        You are right. It's far simpler to sit back and pay a preacher man to tell you what to believe.

        September 1, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
      • tallulah13

        Intellectually lazy people are the ones that give up and say "god did it." People who are interested in honest answers are willing to work for, or wait for the truth.

        When you say "god did it" you are absolutely no different than the ancient Greek who saw lightning and invented a god named Zeus to explain it.

        September 1, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
  16. prof. gerald peters

    the issue is NOT whether christians, jews, and muslims believe in the same god. even various christian factions have spent centuries fighting, persecuting , and torturing each other. protestant vs catholic in ireland was not much different that sunni vs shiite in iraq.
    the issue is this. should i pass laws and tell someone else how to live and what to believe , even if they are not hurting anyone in the community?
    should my religion not only guide how i live, but also what i dictate to others? (about their beliefs and lifestyle).

    September 1, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • Dan W

      Everyone has a right to speak from what they know and what they believe in. If they are moved to pass laws that are rooted in religion like 'thou shalt not kill', then so be it. You can't really separate church and state, because the state will invariably be populated by people who come from the Church community. But if you want murder back there is a hilarious skit by Louis C.K. about it.

      September 1, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
      • Morgan King

        And by that same turn, religions often adapt to meet shifting societal standards – just look at the creationist 'God started evolution' permutation.

        September 1, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
      • heehee

        Separation of church and state means that the state not favor one particular religion. That is both possible and desirable.

        September 1, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Thou shalt no kill may be written in the bible but it precedes the bible. So religion is not needed for morality.

        September 1, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
      • Doobs

        Louis C.K. also has a brilliantly funny and profoundly uncomfortable skit about how the word "fag" became associated with gay men.

        Our laws are not based in religion. Humans figured out that cooperation with others was important to their survival long before the myth of Moses and the ten commandments was made up. No deity or proxy threat is necessary for people to treat others the way they'd like to be treated.

        September 1, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
  17. Truth

    Religion = The mother of all f ups

    September 1, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • correction

      religion = the atheist's scapegoat

      September 1, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
      • Rebbe Bupkis

        And now for a little lesson in etymology: Religion< religare (to bind together) Cicero; Religion< religere (read it again) Aquinas; Religion< bovine excreta (to kill, persecute, and ridicule anyone who doesn't believe what we believe) Pretty much everybody.

        September 1, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
  18. WOT

    Read all three words for yourself and come up with an answer.

    September 1, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • G to the T

      Yep – all three are worshiping versions of the god El from the caananite pantheon.

      September 3, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
  19. Truth

    Religion = The Mother of all assumptions.

    September 1, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Reality

      The Yahweh god is an alien. The christian god is not Jesus and the allah god is Satan. I would say they are not the same.

      September 1, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
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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.