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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. ProdicalSon

    You are connect JR.

    September 1, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  2. DHB

    Mr. Brown, I think Mr. Wiess is right. Most people's faith are at different levels. Some have the grain of a mustard seed and some of us have a much greater level of faith. And if you are not obediant then truly you do not believe and or have faith in the word and or will of God. Make sense?????

    September 1, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  3. bob

    My middle finger to all these three psychotic stupid religions.

    September 1, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  4. hharri

    Their posts are filled with sadosecksual threats and depictions. The lawsuit should bring all of their doings under a microscope during discovery. Hopefully, we can rescue at least some of their kids before it is too late. Hopefully we will see some strong christian foster patents come forward.

    September 1, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      We've been waiting months for this...what's the hold up??? How did you manage to obtain personal info on people from any anonymous blog or is it safe to assume you're blowing smoke again?

      September 1, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Faith/hhari

      Where was this lawsuit filed, which jurisdiction, what is the suit number? What is the scheduled date for discovery?...all of this would be public knowledge so no reason to hold back, except for the fact you are lying, as usual.

      September 1, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
      • gary

        patience!

        September 1, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
  5. Mr.X

    There is no creator. We ourselves with our minds create a universe for ourselves. Enough of this Abrahmic religions. Time to revive Indo-European religions by Indoeuropeans for Indo-Europenas. Love to see Indoeuropean Zorastrianism sweeping central asia, celti religions sweeping celtic regions, greek religion in Greek, Slavic religion in Eastern Europe and Noorse religions sweeping northern europe. Indo-european Budhism sweeping the rest. Proud to be an Indoeuropean.

    September 1, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  6. Elena

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=51VOHrxtlT0

    September 1, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=hpV6licCOMw

      September 1, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • tony

      Good grief! Sound and light are not just different frequencies of the vibrations of matter.

      September 1, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
  7. tony

    But do they all have the same collection plates?

    September 1, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  8. GJW

    One day at work, this part of a verse from the Bible, "...as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord", kept popping into my thoughts multiple times, enough so that I looked the verse up and was quite shocked at the message that the entire verse has. It speaks for religious tolerance, and finding one's own path. "But if serving the Lord seems evil to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
    Regarding Christ: On the night of Christ's birth, the Angel of the Lord brought "good tidings of great joy for all people."
    In II Corinthians 5, Paul wrote that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself."
    John the Baptist proclaimed Christ as "the Lamb of God, which takes away the sins of the world."
    At one point, in John 12:44, it says that "Jesus cried and said, he that believes in me, believes not in me, but in him that sent me."

    I know somebody who doesn't attend church or read the Bible, but makes a habit of turning her worries over to prayers. Whenever she starts worrying about something, she stops worrying and "gives it to God." Some folks that know her have asked where that Godly "glow" comes from, when she doesn't go to church, read the Bible, or say "Amen, Praise God, Hallelujah"?
    She took God out of the box. You can, too.

    September 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • MagicPanties

      I just keep finding Jack.
      Go figure.

      September 1, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  9. Mr.X

    Lets live in harmony with the nature appreciating and value all living and non living beings. Lets be compassionate and support mother earth for future generations to come. As Indoeuropeans lets embrase our own religion instead of a foriegn religions. Enough of this Abrahmic religions. Time to revive Indo-European religions by Indoeuropeans for Indo-Europenas. Love to see Indoeuropean Zorastrianism sweeping central asia, celti religions sweeping celtic regions, greek religion in Greek, Slavic religion in Eastern Europe and Noorse religions sweeping northern europe. Indo-european Budhism sweeping the rest

    September 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  10. hharri

    I agree that several are possessed. It is an ugly situation. I am sure some have young children at home.

    Some undoubtedly are involved in satanic sacrifice. Their children are vulnerable. It is a great tragedy.

    September 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  11. Burt

    We will all be dead soon enough and then we'll know the answer. Until then, try not to be jerks to each other and try to show some respect for the unknown. We can't all be Christians (for example). That will never happen. So do your best within your framework. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. For example, do not hate or disparage Muslims because you would not want them to hate or disparage you. Same goes for you Muslims. Do not hate or disparage Christians. We are all on this rock together. Do not allow yourself to be manipulated by leaders or media.

    September 1, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Sara

      I thik that type of mutual respect is a great idea as long as everyone has joined in. However, once a group opts out then you have to change the rules. I will not respect any group that has worked to destroy my life by trying to rip apart my marriage. To ask me to do so is at best ignorance and at worst evil.

      September 1, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  12. MagicPanties

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster will rule all ya'alls.

    So put that in yer colander and strain it.

    September 1, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    September 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      daily lies from prayer bot

      September 1, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
      • Colin

        Two wonderful Truths accurately expressed. Atheism is useless and God is available for conversation. What is not to love?

        September 1, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          If your god is available for conversation well that's a game changer. Arrange a time and let us know.

          September 1, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          You claim truth, prove it. How is atheism bad for anyone when all are born atheists?, second, there are studies that show prayer is not only inefffective, but that it can actually be harmful.

          You claim truth, prove it or acknowledge you are also lying.

          September 1, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
        • Colin

          The time for salvation is now, the sinner is you, God is waiting to hear that you've been enlightened.

          September 1, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
        • Colin

          No one is born atheist as with any sin it is a learned and practiced deception. All people are given life from the throne of God.

          September 1, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Another Sunday, more smoke and mirrors from the believers fresh from their dose of delusion.

          September 1, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          colin
          So you decided to prove you are lying. Thank you.

          September 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • MagicPanties

      My invisible pink unicorn is praying that you get a clue.

      September 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • tony

      So why does this keep repeating without changes?

      September 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Colin

      There are billions of people on this planet beyond you and they all deserve the opportunity to know God.

      September 1, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Billions of them feel they know a god – it just isn't your god: hindu, sikh, shinto, etc.

        September 1, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
        • Colin

          Then they are being deceived and need the Truth even more so.

          September 1, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          They think you're being deceived and need their truth.

          September 1, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
      • Observer

        Yep. And if they are the nicest, kindest, most generous person on the face of the earth, God doesn't care. If you haven't heard of him, he'll send you to hell anyway.

        September 1, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
      • just one dering

        Seems you'll be sending yourself to hell. Do you know what hell is?

        September 1, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
        • Observer

          Yep. It's where billions of Christian HYPOCRITES will end up.

          September 1, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • Observer

      Speaking of not healthy for children and other living things:

      (Gen. 7:21) “And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and ALL HUMAN BEINGS”

      Oooooops!

      September 1, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
      • just one dering

        Who was speaking of not healthy on this thread? Is that why you added oops because you were on the wrong thread?

        September 1, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
        • Sara

          Observer is on the right thread. Are you?

          September 1, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
        • Observer

          just one dering,

          Look at the FIRST comment on this thread. Ooops! Reading comprehension a problem for you?

          September 1, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
  14. Mr.X

    There is no creator. We ourselves with our minds create a universe for ourselves. Enough of this Abrahmic religions. Time to revive Indo-European religions by Indoeuropeans for Indo-Europenas. Love to see Indoeuropean Zorastrianism sweeping central asia, celti religions sweeping celtic regions, greek religion in Greek, Slavic religion in Eastern Europe and Noorse religions sweeping northern europe. Indo-european Budhism sweeping the rest

    September 1, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • Colin

      And yet God is revealing Himself to millions in Asia and the Middle East as Christ.

      September 1, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
      • Mr.X

        Thats because people want to live in a make-believe world ignoring the history and their past. Before christ there is a big history. Read it, understand it and revive it. Make-believing helps no one.

        September 1, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
        • Colin

          No that is because they are meeting God. Hard to unmeet someone wouldn't you say?

          September 1, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          It can't be hard to unmeet someone who doesn't exist – it's impossible to meet someone who doesn't exist. It's all in your mind, but you can rid yourself of superstition.

          September 1, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
        • Johnny

          Knowing Christians converting is probably the only way the missionaries will give them any food or water. If I was about to starve to death I would claim to believe anything you said if it meant I got to eat.

          September 3, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
        • Brother Maynard

          "Knowing Christians converting is probably the only way the missionaries will give them any food or water."
          A neighbor of mine relayed a story of what the minister of his church did on his missionary work to Afganistan (sp?)
          The minister went to a very poor village whose water well had gone dry. He also had a geologist on his team and it was determinded that all that was needed was that the current well needed to be dug deeper. The Villagers were having to walk like 3 or 4 miles to get their daily water. The Minister told the group to pray to Allah for water for a month. See if Allah gave them water. Then pray to Jesus for a month and see if he answers their prayers. In the mean time he made a call to the congrigation back in the states and said that he need donations for drilling tools to make the current well deeper. The congregation gave the money. The minister waited a month ... then when the villagers were praying to Jesus dug the current well deeper and the villiage got their water.
          I was shocked that the minister manipulated the villiagers that way. Just sad to do that.

          September 3, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
      • HOPE,LOVE,FAITH

        colin, remember, dont rebuke a mocker and dont cast your pearls to pigs

        September 1, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
      • Hobo Banana

        and 'he' hasn't been arrested for indecent exposure?

        September 1, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
  15. JR

    "The idea of the Holy Trinity was inserted by the Apostle Paul at the Council of Nicae."

    That's a half truth. The idea of the Holy Trinity was indeed inserted at at the Council of Nicae during 325 AD, but by that time the apostle Paul had been dead approximately 200 years.

    If you're trying to say that the apostle Paul introduced the Trinity into the scriptures via his letters, that, too is wrong. He was a Jew and clearly understood the nature of the Hebrew God, Yaweh.

    And....1 John 5:7 was clearly added much later in an attempt to force the Trinity into the Holy Scriptures, since the earliest manuscripts don't have the same text as that found in the King James and other erroneous translations.

    September 1, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • ProdicalSon

      1John 5:7, 8 "For there are three witness bearers,  the spirit and the water and the blood, and the three are in agreement."

      September 1, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • ProdicalSon

      You are correct JR.

      September 1, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • HOPE,LOVE,FAITH

      that is not correct, the trinity is introduced in the first book of the bible

      September 1, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
  16. Mr.X

    Enough of this Abrahmic religions. Time to revive Indo-European religions by Indoeuropeans for Indo-Europenas. The natural religion of Indoeuropeans of all ages

    September 1, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Dave

      There's no such thing as a "natural" religion. All religions are manmade conststructs. The natural state of mankind is atheism.

      September 1, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
      • Russ

        @ Dave: so, if atheism is "natural," why is the vast majority of the planet religious?

        September 1, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Superstitious brainwashing from an early age.

          September 1, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Santa: and how is that not equally problematic for the pluralist or atheist?

          “Suppose we concede that if I had been born of Muslim parents in Morocco rather than Christian parents in Michigan, my beliefs would be quite different. [But] the same goes for the pluralist...If the pluralist had been born in [Morocco] he probably wouldn't be a pluralist. Does it follow that...his pluralist beliefs are produced in him by an unreliable belief-producing process?”

          September 1, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
        • Russ

          forgot to attribute the quote: Alvin Plantinga

          September 1, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          It can be a problem, but there is no evidence for a god so surely teaching a child that we don't know the origin of the universe is better than attributing it to an unobservable entity.

          September 1, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Santa: you said "there is no evidence for a god" – ignoring the fact of existence itself.

          ironically, you are assuming existence as the premise for the discussion, but that dodges the most basic & germane FACT of the discussion (namely, that we do exist). and that leaves at least an equal (if not heavier) burden of proof on those who would deny a greater basis for existence.

          September 1, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • tony

      Natural lightning strikes are probably the root cause of religion in early man.

      September 1, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  17. Lionly Lamb

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=SU5u7EIGp5E

    September 1, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  18. Elena

    No light is not comprise of waves and particles. Light just as all particles, as demonstrated by Young's experiment is a wave until measured or observed

    September 1, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Isn't it time for your family prayer??? What are you doing on an Atheist built machine? Your imaginary friend will surely smite you for that...run a long child, the adults are chatting!

      September 1, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
      • JimK57

        People might be more inclined to listen if you spoke to them with respect. Just some advice for the future.

        September 1, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Sorry Jim but if this lady wasn't spewing so much hate towards Atheists, I might have reason to respond differently.

          September 1, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
        • Elena

          truthprevails1, I am spewing hatred towards atheist? I mean if that would be the case what are atheist spewing against believers?

          September 1, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Disbelief at delusion.

          September 1, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
      • Elena

        Noise and annoying people like you are a nuisance fro the spirit and the mind, better to ignore them!

        September 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Annoying? Sorry I'm not making false claims...the hypocrisy is funny!

          September 1, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  19. Russ

    Claiming these three faiths are essentially worshipping the same God requires refusing to listen to each of the religions in question. The *central* tenets of these 3 faiths are mutually exclusive – not just theologically (in who each claims God to be), but also & especially soteriologically (*how* they claim one is saved).

    Look for similarities? sure.
    find bridges for dialogue? sure.
    but claim they're basically the same? it's simply a refusal to listen.

    September 1, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Nathalie

      The author never posited that the religions were the same, only that God was the same one.

      September 1, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
      • Russ

        @ Nathalie: that's a failure to understand what you're claiming: namely, that you have insight on the truth better than each of these three religions (including how they understand themselves). in the place of the 3 major Abrahamic religions, you're setting up a fourth one...

        Per the old "blind men & the elephant" parable...
        "In the famous story of the blind men and the elephant… the real point of the story is constantly overlooked. The story is told from the point of view of the king and his courtiers, who are not blind but can see that the blind men are unable to grasp the full reality of the elephant and are only able to get hold of part of it. The story is constantly told in order to neutralize the affirmations of the great religions, to suggest that they learn humility and recognize that none of them can have more than one aspect of the truth. But, of course, the real point of the story is exactly the opposite. If the king were also blind, there would be no story. What this means then is that there is an appearance of humility and a protestation that the truth is much greater than anyone of us can grasp. But if this is used to invalidate all claims to discern the truth, it is in fact an arrogant claim with the kind of knowledge which is superior that you have just said, no religion has."
        -Lesslie Newbigin

        September 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          So are you saying that christianity is not built upon judaism and that islam is not built upon christianity and judaism?

          September 1, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Santa: no. historically, Christianity saw itself as faithful Judaism (per Jesus). Mohammed taught that Christians perverted the real message of Jesus.

          there certainly are connections & bridges (as I said above).
          but it's dishonest to claim they are – especially on what is most essential (namely, who God is) – the same.

          September 1, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
  20. MagicPanties

    My invisible pink unicorn pooped 3 different times, and they each smelled similar though with individual pungency due to the previous meal.

    So yeah, pretty much the same thing with the Abrahamic religions.

    September 1, 2013 at 4:19 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.