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.


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.


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.


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. R.M. Goodswell

    Do Christians, Muslims and Jews worship the same God?

    No! God is an American!

    It all comes from the same foundation – the Torah – if Judaism is false then both Islam and Christianity have a problem.

    But then its all about the interpretation of God's will – Islam claims while the Jews got the message right initially, they fell away from that good launch....and the Christians? well...there is the new testament....an amendment just incase some found the OT to be over the top...gotta cover those bases right?

    and that is why the world is such a wonderful place today....One God, with everybody claiming to have the true take, because why not? Its not like there's going to be a god exploding onto the scene claiming otherwise.

    September 1, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
    • RH

      Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of night and day, and in the ships which sail in the sea with that which profits men, and in the water which Allah sends down from the sky and quickens therewith the earth after its death and scatters therein all kinds of beasts, and in the change of the winds, and the clouds pressed into service between the heaven and the earth — are indeed Signs for the people who understand. Holy Koran 2:165

      Mankind were one community, then they differed among themselves, so Allah raised Prophets as bearers of good tidings and as warners, and sent down with them the Book containing the truth that He might judge between the people wherein they differed. But now they began to differ about the Book, and none differed about it except those to whom it was given, after clear Signs had come to them, out of envy towards one another. Now has Allah, by His command, guided the believers to the truth in regard to which they (the unbelievers) differed; and Allah guides whomsoever He pleases to the right path. Holy Koran 2:14

      September 1, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
      • R.M. Goodswell


        why do those verses carry any more weight than any found in the Bible?, the Torah? Book of Mormon? Who told you the Quran was true? Another human being right? How did he know? How is his judgment special? Did Allah appear to this man? If not, then he is just another schmuck trying to get you chained to his brand of lunacy.

        Question RH, question it all.

        September 1, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
  2. hharri

    atheists are going to hell in record numbers. gladly. eagerly. without regard for their own children

    September 1, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
    • Akira

      Sure. Not.

      September 1, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • Tish

      If you can't even master the keyboard, capitalization, and punctuation, why do you think you're any sort of authority on religion?

      September 1, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
  3. hharri

    atheists are going to hell in record numbers

    September 1, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • Alien Orifice


      September 1, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
      • Derrick

        Not a loving comment.

        September 1, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
  4. RH

    There is only one God. And his name is Allah. The Jewish and Christian holy books were rewritten by men thus compromising the original true message of God. This is the reason Islam came into Fruition. The holy Koran is untouchable and try as you may you cannot change it's words. It has a mirror image in Heaven. If you become a true practicing Muslim you will go to heaven, if not, you won't be going. Period.

    September 1, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • Tallus

      Actually, the Koran was written last. Second to last if you take Mormons seriously.

      September 1, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
      • RH

        "Those who conceal what We have sent down of Signs and guidance after We have made it clear for the people in the Book, it is these whom Allah curses; and so curse them those who curse." Holy Koran 2:160

        September 1, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      The good news for the rest of us is we don't want to be any where near you.

      September 1, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
      • RH

        If you want to go to heaven, I'm sure you would want to be a Muslim. Remember everything you are saying here, God is keeping an account of your actions. Islam doesn't believe in Suicide, especially blowing yourself up. People who do that regardless of faith are brainwashed, desperate, and ignorant. So like I said, that is not want Islam teaches. Islam teaches, believing in one God, praying to God for your needs, which must be reasonable, you can't pray for things like flying, or waking up and being ten inches taller, speaking the truth, not killing anyone, especially yourself, not lying etc etc. The list is long. Pick up an English translation of the Koran and you will be enlightened. After you read the Koran, ask yourself do I want to be near a Muslim? Guaranteed your answer will be yes!

        September 1, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Are you hitting on my mister?

          September 1, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • Akira

      Sure. Not.

      September 1, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
      • RH

        If you want to go to heaven, I'm sure you would want to be a Muslim. Remember everything you are saying here, God is keeping an account of your actions. Islam doesn't believe in Suicide, especially blowing yourself up. People who do that regardless of faith are brainwashed, desperate, and ignorant. So like I said, that is not want Islam teaches. Islam teaches, believing in one God, praying to God for your needs, which must be reasonable, you can't pray for things like flying, or waking up and being ten inches taller, speaking the truth, not killing anyone, especially yourself, not lying etc etc. The list is long. Pick up an English translation of the Koran and you will be enlightened. After you read the Koran, ask yourself do I want to be near a Muslim? Guaranteed your answer will be yes!

        September 1, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
        • RH

          And when it is said to them, ‘Believe as other people have believed,’ they say: ‘Shall we believe as the foolish have believed?’ Beware! it is surely they that are foolish, but they do not know. Holy Koran 2:14

          They who disbelieve from among the People of the Book, or from among those who associate gods with Allah, desire not that any good should be sent down to you from your Lord; but Allah chooses for His mercy whomsoever He pleases; and Allah is of exceeding bounty. Holy Koran 2:106

          And those who have no knowledge say, ‘Why does not Allah speak to us, or a Sign come to us?’ Likewise said those before them similar to their saying. Their hearts are alike. We have certainly made the Signs plain for a people who firmly believe. Holy Koran 2:119

          September 1, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
  5. My frogs have a name and the love jams

    Play List:

    "Ready to go Steady" by Go! Team

    September 1, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • My frogs have names and they love jams


      September 1, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • My frogs have names and they love jams


      "Spaceboy" by Smashing Pumpkins

      September 1, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
  6. God has a name

    Carbon dating is corrupted... move one number and a totally different solution is achieved... Now tell me about the "half life" of dirt"! Carbon is carbon is carbon... Carbon is dead stuff...

    September 1, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Have you tried moving it the other way? Wholly shit balls man! We don't exist yet!

      September 1, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
      • God has a name

        Your point? You are a fan of assumptions when they meet your idealism?

        September 1, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
        • Tallus

          There are no "assumptions" in science. There are hypothesis, and then years of work done to prove the hypothesis, at which point it becomes a law. Then, they use a neat thing called a "Scientific Theory" to explain the "Law."

          Don't think a "theory" is worth its weight?

          Let me put it like this.

          There's the Law of Gravity, and the Theory of Gravity. The Law is what you experience, the Theory is what's written down to explain how it works...the equations and such.
          There's the Law of Evolution, and the Theory of Evolution. The Law is what's out in the world...fossils of ancient creatures that don't exist anymore. The Theory explains it...change over time, adaptation to diversifying environments and ebb/flow of native species. Some creatures don't need to adapt as much as others (sharks, crocodiles, etc.) but others change drastically (humans, birds, most land-based creatures.)

          Scientists don't gather together every sunday and hold hands, chanting about how much they believe in their observations, or make up crazy systems of rules and barbarism to make their observations fit the world-view they want to be true. They change their world view based on what the world tells them, based on things that are real, that can be measured, sensed and experimented with. Science is true whether you believe it or not, and if every science book disappeared over night and every scientist died, the science would still be exactly the same the next time someone rediscovers it. Religion, not so much. It's always different, and it always changes depending on who's interpreting it. If a King can change your holy book's canon so he can get a divorce...where' the credibility in your religion?

          September 1, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
      • Alien Orifice

        My point? MY POINT? Your point was my point.

        September 1, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Do you trust GPS? The atomic clock that makes it usable works on the same underlying science as carbon-dating.

      September 1, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
      • tallulah13

        Shhhh. Don't confuse the believer. Remember, they utilze things created by science while at the same time condemning science. Hypocrisy is a major tenet of religion.

        September 1, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • Tallus

      Way to go, advertizing to the whole CNN message board about how you barely understand atomic dating systems and how uneducated you are about anything else about the natural world. Here's your sign. I'll be giving one to the equally stupid preacher who fed you that line of unscientific drivel.

      September 1, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
      • God has a name

        Uh, no, you are wrong... but hey, if someone tells you you are right, I guess all is okay in your world...

        September 1, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • Caihlyn

      Would you please clarify what you mean by "move one number"?

      September 1, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
      • God has a name

        Carbon dating hinges on the equation being accurate. It is a hypothesis and as such subject to scrutiny (very much protected by some in the field of science).

        September 1, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
  7. A question to the Christians.

    Does anybody know how Islam is connected with Abraham, where are the descendants of Ishmael doc.umented in the Bible to clearly establish this connection?

    September 1, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • Muslim


      September 1, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Akira

      Read the Quran; that's the Muslim equivalent of the Bible. Why would the Bible address that?

      September 1, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
      • RH

        In both the Torah and the Bible, God says that the final Prophet will be Prophet Muhammed. But Jewish and Christian religious scholars were too proud to admit that their Prophets would not be the seal of the Prophets so they rewrote the Torah and Bible and conveniently left out everything related to Prophet Muhammad. Thus prompting God to make his last holy book, the Koran, untouchable. No one can rewrite it. Try as you may you cannot. Bring your mightiest writers, poets, and academic scholars and you won't even be able to write one verse equal to that of a Koranic verse. All of this is included in the Koran. Also, again, there is only one God, he doesn't have a son or anyone that is equal to him.

        September 1, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
        • Johnny

          I could rewrite the Koran in a week, and it would be better than the original.

          September 3, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
  8. Bion

    He/her/it IS the same God. this article is stupid – in other words, what one expects from CNN.

    September 1, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • YOU are incorrect.


      September 1, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
  9. Derrick

    if we are serving the same God, what of Jesus, then who is he.

    September 1, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • AB

      Jesus was a rabbi long time ago. End of story.

      September 1, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Hated Muslim

      He is the Messiah, the Prophet, the Messenger. In Bible he is described as a person who eats, drinks and uses restroom. What kind of God is he if he needs food, water and restroom to survive? According to Bible he also sleeps. What would happened to this whole universe if the God really does sleep? Isn't God the Universal Supervisor? According to bible some people ask him which way is Jerusalem? Where he replies I don't know? What kind of God (who created universe doesn't know where a city is?). Dozens of times it is mentioned in the Bible that Jesus prays and ask for forgiveness. If he really is the God, then is he asking himself to forgive himself? Last but not least, why would God come to earth and torture himself in order to take away the sins of Humankind? Isn't he God? Can't he just forgive everyone with a blink of an eye (the way he created this whole universe?)

      September 1, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
      • Derrick

        Would you say He is a true prophet?

        September 1, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
        • Hated Muslim

          No doubt.

          September 1, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
        • Derrick

          Then we have to conclude he lied about himself ad recorded by apostle John. Can you look at John 14.

          September 1, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
        • Hated Muslim

          "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

          Exactly. He is saying believe in God and the Prophet of God (Himself). This is exactly what Islam teaches (There are no gods but God, and David, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad {Peace be upon all of them} are the God's Prophets). In the second verse he is talking about the God (His father {Not literally his biological father, Its a way to express himself close to God, as we are all children of God, cuz he created us all}), how he has reserved space in heaven for the believers. The third verse is also confirmed in Quran. Muslims believe Jesus wasn't crucified, It was somebody else that the Jews crucified. Jesus was called to the heaven alive by God. He will return one day, and tell the whole world about the the truth and the last Prophet (Muhammad (P.B.U.H). The fourth verse he is talking about the heaven, the eternal life with no pain.

          September 1, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
        • Derrick

          You notice further in the chapter he said " I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man gets to the Father except through me. Was he lying.

          September 1, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
        • Hated Muslim

          What is the duty of a Prophet? To deliver the God's message to the people. If you don't believe in the Prophet how can you receive the message of the God, which leads you the the heaven? "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man gets to the Father except through me". I am the way, the truth, and the life (Since Jesus {P.B.U.H} is the prophet of God, he is telling the people, if you want to know the right path come to me, if you want to know the truth come to me, if you want to know the way of life come to me. Why? Because he has a message from the God. He is the Prophet, the Messenger). "No man gets to the Father except through me" (Would you be able to pass an exam without any teacher or books? NO. Why? Because you don't know anything about the subject. So Jesus {P.B.U.H} is saying if you want to know God or get close to God there is no other way, but to follow me, because I have a message from God. In those days there were Jews who were using the religion for there own benefit deceiving the people of Israel, so Jesus {P.B.U.H} is telling them don't listen to them, if you want to know the true message of God, then you can only get it through me, It is as simple as that).

          September 1, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
      • Helen

        Good to see you are reading the bible. Keep going one day you may see the light.

        September 1, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
        • Hated Muslim

          As a Muslim, we are supposed to read and believe in the Bible and the Torah.

          September 1, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
  10. bostontola

    Lets look at the premise of Abrahamic religions.

    It's not that man should believe even though god makes no appearances. God showed for Moses, then later again as Jesus.

    Think about how much society has changed since the last showing of god. 2000 years, extraordinary changes in what we know about the universe, extraordinary differences in technologies, how we trade, share ideas, art, literature, knowledge of all kinds, standard of living, moral standards are much higher. In short, an almost complete change in what it means for people to live together.

    Since it is established that god will appear to man, wouldn't we expect a showing given all the changes outlined above? The fact that there has in fact been no showing makes the notion that the Abrahamic god ever existed preposterous on its face.

    September 1, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • Colin

      Not to mention the 120,000 years before that humans have lived on Earth or the other parts of the World, that included 99% of all cultures and civilaizations on Earth 2,000 years ago that JEsus gave no indication of even knowing about.

      September 1, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
  11. Mohamed

    English Translation by Muhammad Shameem, Mohammad Wali Raazi and Muhammad Taqi Usmani:[1]
    Say, “The truth is: Allah is One. [1] Allah is Besought of all, needing none. [2] He neither begot anyone, nor he was begotten. [3] And equal to Him has never been any one.”[4]
    English Translation by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall:[2][3]
    Say: He is Allah, the One! [1] Allah, the eternally Besought of all! [2] He begetteth not nor is he begotten. [3] And there is none comparable unto Him. [4]
    English Translation by Yusuf Ali:.[4][5]
    Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; [1] Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; [2] He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; [3] And there is none comparable unto Him. [4]

    September 1, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
  12. Colin

    What is the only thing capable of making 40% of the country fvcking stupid enough to think the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with one man, one woman and a talking snake:

    (i) paleontology

    (ii) archeology

    (iii) biology; or

    (iv) religion

    September 1, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
  13. Lionly Lamb


    September 1, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
  14. God has a name

    Ignore the words of man and his corruption...God loves you, no matter who or what you are...


    September 1, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • Uber Nerd

      God has many names:

      1. Mithrandir
      3. The White Wizard
      4. Gandalf the White
      4. Gandalf the Gray
      5. Gandalf
      6. The Old Coot
      7. The Old Coot the Gray

      September 1, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • tallulah13

      There are thousands of gods, and they all have names. That doesn't make them real. In fact, there is no rational reason to believe that any gods exist, as there is no evidence to support their existence. Belief in god is rather like the vestigial tails humans still possess: Something that continues to linger despite the fact we no longer need it.

      September 1, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
  15. Leeroy

    This article focuses on our differences and is very divisive and toxic. The comments (posts) prove that. Typical CNN. So unfortunate.

    September 1, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Morgan King

      It's divisive, but it's also important to be able to discuss this stuff – it has huge implications for people all over the world.

      September 1, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
      • Leeroy

        I suggest focusing on the many things we have in common and building upon that rather then starting an argument. BTW, I disagree with the author. I believe we in fact do pray to the same God/Allah.

        September 1, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
        • Morgan King

          Perhaps, but the issues between people that we'd like to see resolved aren't really the ones we all generally agree on.

          September 1, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
        • Leeroy

          Morgan, thus the reason to start a dialog on the topics we do agree on. Once we can discuss these things like rational human beings, I believe we will get to better understand one another . . . and actually like one another . . . and be more willing to discuss these differences in less violent ways. Yes, a very optimistic approach. But it served me well in my Key Leader Engagements in Iraq. 🙂

          September 1, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
  16. Micah

    Do Christians, Muslims and Jews worship the same God?

    –The answer is not yes. The impatience of one man, Abraham, caused the irreversible split.

    September 1, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Dave

      They all foolishly live in mortal fear the same fictional character, dredged up from the diseased mind of an itinerant Bronze-Age barbarian with heat stroke.

      September 1, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
  17. Colin

    There are some pretty fundamental objections to Christianity that are hard to get around. Now before some believer rants back at me that I am evil, an “angry atheist”, or going to burn for all eternity in hell, please take the time to actually read and cogitate the objections. If you have a disagreement with a point I make, post it. However, if you only object to the fact that I said it, please understand that I do not buy into the whole “it is immoral to be skeptical of the Christian religion” nonsense.

    1. At its most fundamental level, Christianity requires a belief that an all-knowing, all-powerful, immortal being created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies 13,700,000,000 years ago (the age of the Universe) sat back and waited 10,000,000,000 years for the Earth to form, then waited another 3,700,000,000 years for h.o.mo sapiens to gradually evolve, then, at some point gave them eternal life and sent its son to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle East.

    While here, this divine visitor exhibits no knowledge of ANYTHING outside of the Iron Age Middle East, including the other continents, 99% of the human race, and the aforementioned galaxies.

    Either that, or it all started 6,000 years ago with one man, one woman and a talking snake. Either way “oh come on” just doesn’t quite capture it.

    2. This ‘all loving’ god spends his time running the Universe and spying on the approximately 7 billion human beings on planet Earth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He even reads their minds (or “hears their prayers”, if you see any difference) using some kind of magic telepathic powers. He also keeps his telepathic eye on them when they are not praying, so as to know if they think bad thoughts (such as lusting after their hot neighbor) so he knows whether to reward or punish them after they die.

    3. Having withheld any evidence of his existence, this god will then punish those who doubt him with an eternity burning in hell. I don’t have to kill, I don’t have to steal, I don’t even have to litter. All I have to do is honestly not believe in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty on me a billion times worse than the death penalty – and he loves me.

    4. The above beliefs are based on nothing more than a collection of Bronze and Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology, much of it discredited, that was cobbled together into a book called the “Bible” by people we know virtually nothing about, before the Dark Ages.

    5. The stories of Christianity are not even original. They are borrowed directly from earlier mythology from the Middle East. Genesis and Exodus, for example, are clearly based on earlier Babylonian myths such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Jesus story itself is straight from the stories about Apollonius of Tyana, Horus and Dionysus (including virgin birth, the three wise men, the star in the East, birth at the Winter solstice, a baptism by another prophet, turning water into wine, crucifixion and rising from the dead).

    6. The Bible is also literally infested with contradictions, outdated morality, and open support for the most barbarous acts of cruelty. All of this is due to when and where it was written, the morality of the times and the motives of its authors and compilers. While this may be exculpatory from a literary point of view, it also screams out the fact that it is a pure product of man, bereft of any divine inspiration.

    7. A rejection of the supernatural elements of Christianity does not require a rejection of its morality. Most atheists and secular humanists share a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent we reject Christian morality, it is where it is outdated or mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, our basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – we just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over our head in order to act in a manner that we consider moral.

    Falsely linking morality to a belief in the supernatural is a time-tested “three card trick” religion uses to stop its adherents from asking the hard questions. So is telling them it is “wrong to doubt.” This is probably why there is not one passage in the Bible in support of intelligence and healthy skepticism, but literally hundreds in support of blind acceptance and blatant gullibility.

    8. We have no idea of who wrote the four Gospels, how credible or trustworthy they were, what ulterior motives they had (other than to promote their religion) or what they based their views on. We know that the traditional story of it being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is almost certainly wrong. For example, the Gospel of Matthew includes a scene in which Jesus meets Matthew, recounted entirely in the third person!! Nevertheless, we are called upon to accept the most extraordinary claims by these unknown people, who wrote between 35 to 65 years after Christ died and do not even claim to have been witnesses. It is like taking the word of an unknown Branch Davidian about what happened to David Koresh at Waco – who wrote 35 years after the fact and wasn’t there.

    9. When backed into a corner, Christianity admits it requires a “leap of faith” to believe it. However, once one accepts that pure faith is a legitimate reason to believe in something (which it most certainly is not, any more than “faith” that Bigfoot exists is) one has to accept all other gods based on exactly the same reasoning. One cannot be a Christian based on the “leap of faith” – and then turn around and say those who believe in, for example, the Hindu gods, based on the same leap, got it wrong. In a dark room without features, any groping guess by a blind man at the direction of the door is as valid as the other 360 degrees.

    Geography and birthplace dictates what god(s) one believes in. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams, and prejudices. Do you think they all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Faith is not belief in a god. It is a mere hope for a god, a wish for a god, no more substantial than the hope for a good future and no more universal than the language you speak or the baseball team you support.

    September 1, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • Dave


      September 1, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
      • Doobs

        Reading is hard, huh?

        Maybe he'll be nice and break it down into three word sentences for you.

        September 1, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Colin, this was the perfect length. I soaked up every word like s a sponge. Well done and thanks!

      September 1, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • skytag

      "please take the time to actually read and cogitate the objections"

      This is a futile exercise. The authors of Christianity gave them a god with no limitations of any kind, so they can make up explanations and answers limited only by their imaginations, and none of it has to be testable, verifiable, or consistent with any evidence. As long as they think their answers are plausible — and with God having no limitations everything they posit is plausible — they believe they've successfully defended their beliefs, but as an atheist you have to produce some kind of hard, irrefutable evidence to make your case.

      It's the biggest double standard imaginable, but that's how they insist on playing it. As long as they can stack the deck like that you haven't a prayer (pun intended) of winning a debate with them.

      September 1, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
    • Ifinditfunny

      IT takes a LEAP of FAITH to be an atheist. You have to have faith that all of this just happend.......Guess you just got grouped into a faith group 🙂

      September 2, 2013 at 1:20 am |
  18. God has a name

    God Jehovah loves you, warts and all. Only man distorts this...

    September 1, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • Dave

      Yippee. That, along with $4.75, will get you a cup of overpriced coffee at Starbucks.

      September 1, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • nope.

      @God has a name

      September 1, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      'Jehovah' is a mistranslation of 'Yahweh'. your whole religion is a mistake. lol.

      September 1, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      What does god do with his name? Put it on business cards?? Why would god need a name, unless you are an ignorant Palestinian goat herder in 100 AD ? Does God have a middle name? Warren? Henry?

      September 1, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • skytag

      Only gullible men believe it.

      September 1, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
  19. Jack Lehr

    That G-d would order the execution of the followers of his son is asinine on it's face. The language of the old testament speaks of G-d desiring to be our god (as opposed to others, deemed to be false.) Every successful religion inspires deeply and reaches the most base and basic emotions. The trick is to know which one leads us to love. The distortion of Christianity causes the Christian body to behave badly sometimes. This makes people think "Christianity is B.S.," or, "there is no god" Same thing happens in other religions. So, if Islam is fundamentally good, and all this trouble is caused by outliers, what is the condition of the peaceful believer and their family? Good or bad? Are they silent when their brethren do bad? Are Christians silent when their members are hypocrites? I'm not silent, but you know, I'm just a loudmouth jerk...

    September 1, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • Edweird69

      There is nothing good about religion. It flies us into buildings. Grown-ups believing such things baffles me. Religion is scourge of humanity.

      September 1, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • Colin

      Why the fvck would a being powerful enough to create the Universe get "offended" if you use his name? What's with the G-D bullsh.it?

      September 1, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
  20. God has a name

    Blessed be the father of all creation


    September 1, 2013 at 8:36 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.