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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. Vic

    God is the same, religions' claims "who God is" are that differ.

    September 2, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • I_Am_Human

      There is no god, and there probably never was so we should move on from this absurdity and embrace compassion, logic, reason, ethics, and science as our guides.

      Or leave religion in its place: At the pulpit, not in politics or war.

      If anything, its powers should be reduced by a wide margin.

      It won't solve all the world's problems, but it's a start.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:50 am |
      • Vic

        Actually, it is very logical by reason that "there is a God," and we detect that by sentience. Concurrently, science reveals "design" in every studied bit of this existence, which in turn reveals a "Designer" and "Creator," hence God.

        September 2, 2013 at 11:02 am |
        • Bob

          It is entirely logical to conclude that the Christian god as presented in the bible, with all its contradictory and absurd characteristics, is a complete fabrication of human minds and does not exist in reality.

          September 2, 2013 at 11:08 am |
        • sandalista

          Is god willing to prevent evil, but not able?
          Then he is not omnipotent.
          Is he able, but not willing?
          Then he is malevolent.
          Is he both able and willing?
          Then whence cometh evil?
          Is he neither able nor willing?
          Then why call him god?
          (Epicurus)

          September 2, 2013 at 11:24 am |
        • dwightmccauley

          "The only thing that is infinite is man's capacity for self-deception." If you want to bad enough, you can convince yourself of anything, can't you. Especially things that help you sleep easier at night or give some external meaning to life. Once I shed the bonds of faith I was free to think for myself. People who say that observable complexity is proof of design and therefore a designer are only guilty of wishful thinking and do not have a true graps on logical thought. It's not a crime, but it does lead to division, which leads to so many other things we could all do without. I wish only peace and happiness for all. I found my peace through self determination. Is that such a bad thing?

          September 2, 2013 at 11:34 am |
        • Vic

          God is "Sovereign," and we can not nor are we equipped to know everything about His Divine Will and Wisdom and how they totally work. Keep in mind that this life is "test," and that its trials come with the territory, let alone "Free Will" that God gave to man, which impacts the course of this life by the choices man makes, and that God does not interfere with it. Given that, I believe everything will be sorted out by God at the appointed time.

          Human is finite in everything including his/her capacity for anything. Regarding "Faith," it is boundless and religion is what has a "yoke" that burdens, and as a Christian, I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ shed that yoke and relieved us from. Concerning logical, it is utter non-sense to ignore the "design" in this existence! Every system is a design, and every design has a designer! The single atom, the single living cell, compounds, living organisms, etc., are all systems and therefore designs and have a "Designer" and "Creator," hence God.

          September 2, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • Madtown

      And, yours is the "correct" version!!! Congrats.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • bostontola

      Vic,
      We are so close,

      God is mythological, religions' claims "who God is" are what differs.

      September 2, 2013 at 11:10 am |
  2. Thought Purification

    They are water from the same contaminated well.

    September 2, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  3. chuckmartel

    I have never had any use for any religion, but if you take the 'religion of peace' out of the equation, most of the violence is gone.

    September 2, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  4. I_Am_Human

    In all likelihood, there is no god and all we're doing is killing each other over who loves our invisible best friend the right way.

    Religion, and the belief in a god in a world of weapons of mass destruction is dangerous. It's sad, pathetic and criminal.

    I'm not saying that if we were to magically all stop believing in god and organized religions tomorrow that it would solve all of the worlds problems.

    Just most of them.

    September 2, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      Harvey demands that all doorways be built to 9 feet so that his rabbit ears won't hit when he enters the room...

      September 2, 2013 at 10:45 am |
      • Bob

        Good one. Cheers.

        September 2, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • G-Money

      Do you really believe that millions of people who believe in God are simply ignorant and are completely wrong when it comes to believing in a God or higher power?...really?

      September 2, 2013 at 10:56 am |
      • Necrosis

        Yes. At one time the majority of people on the planet thought the earth was flat, which we now know is incorrect. (You are aware it isn't flat, right?) The fact that a majority believes something is true doesn't make it so. And since, by definition, the majority of people are clustered around the average in terms of intelligence hardly makes their opinion on anything have much merit.

        September 2, 2013 at 11:25 am |
  5. Madtown

    If God exists, it's likely there is only one. Religion certainly is an invention of the human mind, meant to organize and express ideas we have about spirituality.

    September 2, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • Sara

      Why do you think there would be only one?

      September 2, 2013 at 10:43 am |
      • Highlander

        There can be only ONE!

        September 2, 2013 at 10:44 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          I never understood why Sean Connery's character helped you. Why not just chop your head off? One less rival.

          September 2, 2013 at 10:45 am |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          You would think this was Highlander after looking around at all the religious chatter and realizing they no longer have any brains which must have gone missing along with their heads...

          September 2, 2013 at 10:48 am |
      • Madtown

        I have no idea! Just a thought. Same as every religion, a notion with no proof.

        September 2, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • Ken

      Isn't "religion" where we get the idea that gods might exist?

      September 2, 2013 at 10:48 am |
      • Madtown

        Ken, I'd say religion was invented because humans had a notion of something greater. Something "out there", something spiritual.

        September 2, 2013 at 10:50 am |
        • Marion

          I'd say religion was "invented" by the Prophets and carried on by their followers. It was no "Joe Schmoe" that thought it up. Peopled believed the prophets because it made sense to them. In my opinion, it is small minded and egocentric to believe that there is no power higher than ourselves.....no matter what "name" you give to that Power.

          September 2, 2013 at 11:01 am |
        • Madtown

          I'd say religion was "invented" by the Prophets and carried on by their followers
          -----
          Ok, that still just equals "invented by human beings", exactly what I'm saying.

          September 2, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Marion

      Read the cnn article on "the six types of Atheists". I wonder which article will get the most Atheist's attention.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:52 am |
  6. TG

    The religions of so-called "Christianity", under which the churches of Christendom have hung their hat, as well as Muslims and Jews, who murdered the founder of genuine Christianity, Jesus Christ (1 Thess 2:14, 15), do not worship "the only true God".(John 17:3)

    The churches of Christendom are divided among themselves in some 41,000 different denominations and sects, whereas Muslims are divided into Shiite and Sunni, as well as Jews are divided among Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism and Reform Judaism. How can they possibly worship the same god or, for that matter, the "only true God" since they are so divided ?

    Among the Jews during Isaiah's time (prophet from about 778-732 B.C.E.), they were in a deplorable moral state, so much so that Jehovah God said "when you spread out your palms, I hide my eyes from you. Even though you make many prayers, I am not listening; with bloodshed your very hands have become filled."(Isa 1:15)

    Did their moral content ever change ? No, for by the time of Jesus during the 1st century, days before his death, Jesus said that the nation was guilty of murdering the "prophets and wise men and public instructors."(Matt 23:34) What did this bring about ? The nation of Israel being rejected as God's people.(Matt 23:37-39)

    The churches of Christendom have also been rejected by "the only true God", for they have accepted and continue to promote false religious ideologies, such as the trinity, hellfire, immortality of the soul. Muslims cannot be counted as worshiping "the only true God", for they fail to use his personal name, Jehovah, but use the Aramaic word Allah, meaning "the God" and are as mixed with the "world" and violence as are the churches of Christendom and Jews, not having ' beaten their swords into plowshares and spears into pruning shears' whereby "nation will not lift sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore".(see Isa 2:2-4)

    September 2, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      If the soul isn't immortal, why worship anything? What's in it for me?

      September 2, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "do not worship "the only true God""

      You are correct, but only because there is no God.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:50 am |
      • Marion

        It appears to me that Atheism is your religion, but a religion nonetheless. Why do you feel you can declare "there is no god", when you excoriate those who say there is?

        September 2, 2013 at 11:10 am |
        • Bob

          Marion, atheism is no more a religion than bald is a hair color, or than not collecting stamps is a hobby. (credit phrases to Dawkins or whoever else thought them up). The fact that you can't understand that is just one of your comprehension problems.

          September 2, 2013 at 11:20 am |
        • Marion

          You make it a "religion" by BELIEVING what you decide is true and "proselytizing" your beliefs. Are you going to say this is a "hobby"? Dictionary: "to convert one doctrine to another", which is what you want to do. You are no different than anyone else who declares a belief that cannot be proven.

          September 2, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  7. libertyadamson

    For the purposes of life, eternity, creation, redemption, there is indeed only one God, however, he is not the God of a religion, he is the God of himself. Religion is man's interpretations of someone who is beyond the scope of any religion. For those who say Christians believe people go to hell for not believing in God, that is not categorically true. The Bible teaches that mankind must believe in and fully subscribe to the atoning work of God's Son Jesus to avoid hell. It is an important distinction. Among other significant deviations, if Muslims believe Abraham was to kill Ishmael, their understanding of how and why all that works in the Biblical narrative might be informative. The Bible clues us in that the reason Abraham was to kill Isaac is that Isaac was the child promised to Abram by God and born of his wife Sarai in her old age. Ishmael was born of Sarai's maidservant (a common custom for barren women in ancient times was to give a maidservant to her husband to bear the child–akin to surrogacy and then claim the child as her own for inheritance purposes). It was God's intention to bless Abram through his firstborn with Sarai, but since Sarai took matters into her own hands and (initially) claimed Ishmael as firstborn, God did not cut off Ishmael, but made him a great nation as well. However, Isaac was the child God asked Abram to sacrifice and Abram was willing – we find the answer to why later in the Bible – it's because Abram trusted that God could raise Isaac from the dead to fulfill the promise God made to him to make a mighty nation of Abram's child with Sarai – an astonishing faith and God rewarded that faith. It was also a model of the Christ who would come (God's firstborn) and the Son of God who would indeed be sacrificed for the sin of the world.

    September 2, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      No there isn't.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Bob

      The root premise of Christianity as you present it is absurd and stupid, and the religion that you are shamefully promoting is just a fairy tale.

      Look, how is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      September 2, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • I_Am_Human

      There is no god, and that's all right.

      I'm a moral, kind, ethical, thoughtful, compassionate, logical, reasonable human being without false prophets, holy books or beliefs in fairy tales.

      Imagine there's no heaven. It's easy if you try.

      No hell below us. Above us only sky.

      Imagine all the people living life in peace.

      You may say I'm dreamer.

      BUT I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE.

      I hope some day you'll join us.

      And the world will live as one.

      There is no god. No heaven. No hell. No soul.

      Just life, humans, the universe and we deserve better from one another. We can be better.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:47 am |
      • Bob

        Like.

        September 2, 2013 at 10:48 am |
      • Hai

        Inspiring

        September 2, 2013 at 11:09 am |
      • Marion

        To use John Lennon's song and pollute its meaning for your own atheistic purposes is beyond wrong.

        September 2, 2013 at 11:15 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Pollute it??? I would think you'd hate that song considering it speaks out against religion and your biblical beliefs.
          Lennon might have believed in god but it is more likely that it was not the christian god he believed in. This talks about his belief: http://www.counterpunch.org/2005/12/08/the-lost-john-lennon-interview/

          September 2, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • guest

      How do you interpret: “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” if God is a god unto himself? (BTW, there are so many posters here this morning, that I may lose you in the crowd. I guess it's the holiday.)

      September 2, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • jungleboo

      You are a stone-cold nut case.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:54 am |
  8. Bob

    It's not necessarily about the people who use it it's about the leaders who twist religion into a tool that can support their ideas and their actions without the leaders and extremists in all religions the world will become extremely more peaceful. Yes God does exist!

    September 2, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Bob

      Well, actually, god doesn't exist, but certainly religion is a great tool for controlling stupid sheeple. It has been used very successfully that way in the past, and is still in use today. Just look at the hordes of Muslims being manipulated by their religious governments throughout the Middle East.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:39 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Religious is not synonymous with stupid.

        September 2, 2013 at 10:44 am |
        • Bob

          True, but my comment is still applicable.

          September 2, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Marion

      As it pointed out in the article.....the use of religion for political purposes.

      September 2, 2013 at 11:18 am |
  9. mohamed

    what i would like to say is that it is anice article but who gave you the right to say some thing like this
    have you read all the hooly books
    specially have you read the holly quraan "القرآن الكريم"
    if you have then you will have gotten more informations about the god "الله"
    ok ????????? 😀

    September 2, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      The first amendment gives us the right to say your book is as false as the bible, your god likely does not exist, and ALL religions are not of peace, but are the main source of conflict in the world.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:36 am |
      • John P. Tarver

        Atheists are the main source of conflict in the world.

        September 2, 2013 at 10:46 am |
        • Bob

          False.

          September 2, 2013 at 10:46 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          JPT
          Once again, your opinion is proven false by history.

          September 2, 2013 at 11:04 am |
        • Marion

          Richard, saying that atheists are the main source of conflict is borne out by the fact that religions that profess theirs is the only true religion/God and thereby create conflict....is no different than an atheist declaring none of them are true. How do atheists extract and excuse themselves from this conflict? we are all in the world together.

          September 2, 2013 at 11:27 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          marion
          Atheism is not taught, it is the default. Religions teach what there is no evidence for. All atheism is , is a non-belief. Why do you think not believing in that which there is no evidence for is part of the problem?

          September 2, 2013 at 11:43 am |
        • Marion

          Richard, you need to read the other article cnn put up about "the six different kinds of Atheism". Which one are you.....if you believe all atheism is is a "non belief" in God? I believe all atheism is is an egocentric belief. And you seem a bit egocentric to me.

          September 2, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          marion
          Trying to pigeonhole me or my beliefs really doesn't work. I read that article and all apply or none.
          I am an atheist and agnostic. That means I do not believe in any of the gods men have made, the definitions of god seem extremely insufficient. If there are any gods, I seriously doubt anyone would recognize it from the descriptions of god that man has yet created. I do know the bible is false, having seen the evidence that it is wrong, shows it is not gods word at all, it is the work of men, nothing more. The bible is a collection of stories from previous cultures, cobbled together, and the Christ character sure sounds like Buddha, strikingly similar, yet Jesus never gives the Buddha any credit for his work, seems rather odd for a man-god to plagarize so much of his teahcings and not even one nod to where it came from.

          September 2, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      It's an opinion piece, no permission is required to write an article like this.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Bob

      I support what Richard Cranium and Truthprevails1 said. Furthermore, the Quran promotes bigotry and hatred of non-Muslims, and even murder of them, very explicitly. It is sad that you can't appreciate that yet, mohamed.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:44 am |
      • Marion

        Please quote from the Quran as to what it says about this exactly?

        September 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Sara

      Ummm...the US consti tution.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:45 am |
  10. Name*ned arbogast

    What the big 3 have in common is this. Each believes God is infinitely powerful, all knowing and perfect. God knows the inner heart and mind of every person, their struggles and their moral triumphs and failures. God is there to help. There can't be more than one such being.(I'm agnostic. There could be less than one.) I think this has to be the starting point for dialog and the resolution of hostilities.

    September 2, 2013 at 10:33 am |
  11. Colin

    Is religion only for the super-stupid? Hmmm, let's see....

    Q.1 The completely absurd theory that all 7,000,000,000 human beings on the planet are simultaneously being supervised 24 hours a day, every day of their lives by an immortal, invisible being for the purposes of reward or punishment in an “afterlife” comes from the field of:

    (a) Astronomy;

    (b) Cosmology;

    (c) Psychology; or

    (d) Religion

    Q. 2 You are only capable of believing something as patently absurd as the entire Universe beginning less than 10,000 years ago with one man, one woman and a magic talking snake if you are influenced by:

    (a) your education;

    (b) your diet;

    (c) your family history; or

    (d) your religion

    Q. 3 I believe that an all-knowing being, powerful enough to create the entire cosmos and its billions of galaxies, watches me have $ex to make sure I don't do anything "naughty" (like protect myself from disease with a condom, for example). I am

    (a) A victim of child molestation

    (b) A r.ape victim trying to recover

    (c) A mental patient with paranoid delusions; or

    (d) A regular Christian, Jew or Muslim following my religious belief

    Q.4 I have convinced myself that gay $ex is a choice and not genetic, but then have no explanation as to why only gay people have ho.mo$exual urges. I am being obstinate and closed minded due to my:

    (a) hetero$exuality

    (b) genetics

    (c) nationality; or

    (d) religion.

    Q5. I honestly believe that, when I think silent thoughts like, “please god, help me pass my exam tomorrow,” some invisible being is reading my mind and will intervene and alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to help me. I am

    (a) a delusional schizophrenic;

    (b) a naïve child, too young to know that that is silly

    (c) an ignorant farmer from Sudan who never had the benefit of even a fifth grade education; or

    (d) your average Christian, Muslim or Jew who believes that prayers are answered

    Q6. Millions and millions of Catholics believe that bread and wine turns into the actual flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because:

    (a) there are obvious visible changes in the condiments after the Catholic priest does his hocus pocus;

    (b) tests have confirmed a divine presence in the bread and wine;

    (c) now and then their god shows up and confirms this story; or

    (d) their religious convictions tell them to blindly accept this completely fvcking absurd nonsense.

    Q.7 The only discipline known to often cause people to kill others they have never met and/or to commit suicide in its furtherance is:

    (a) Architecture;

    (b) Philosophy;

    (c) Archeology; or

    (d) Religion

    Q.8 What is it that most differentiates science and all other intellectual disciplines from religion:

    (a) Religion tells people not only what they should believe, but what they MUST believe under threat of “burning in hell” or other of divine retribution, whereas science, economics, medicine etc. has no “sacred cows” in terms of doctrine and go where the evidence leads them;

    (b) Religion can make a statement, such as “God is comprised of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, and be totally immune from experimentation and challenge, whereas science can only make factual assertions when supported by considerable evidence;

    (c) Science and the scientific method is universal and consistent all over the World whereas all religion is regional and a person’s religion, no matter how deeply held, is clearly nothing more than a matter of upbringing; or

    (d) All of the above.

    Q.9 If I am found wandering the streets flagellating myself, wading into a filth river, mutilating my child’s genitals or kneeling down in a church believing that a being is somehow reading my inner thoughts and prayers, I am likely driven by:

    (a) a deep psychiatric issue;

    (b) an irrational fear or phobia;

    (c) a severe mental degeneration caused by years of drug abuse; or

    (d) my religious belief.

    Q.10 Who am I? I don’t pay any taxes. I never have. Any money my organization earns is tax free at the federal, state and local level. Despite contributing nothing to society, but still enjoying all its benefits, I feel I have the right to tell others what to do. I am

    (a) A sleazy Wall Street banker

    (b) the mafia

    (c) A drug pusher; or

    (d) any given religious organization

    Please complete the following sentence. It is not uncommon in many parts of the World for a young man to strap a suicide vest to himself and blow himself up and members of a rival __________
    (i) corporation
    (ii) university
    (iii) research insti.tute; or
    (iv) church?
    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
    It is only acceptable as an adult to believe Bronze Age mythology like talking snakes, the Red Sea splitting, mana falling from the sky, a man living in a whale's belly, a talking donkey, superhuman strength, a man rising from the dead and angels, ghosts, gods and demons in the field of:

    (i) history

    (ii) literature

    (iii) anthropology

    (iv) religion

    Yes, I guess so. I guess it is.

    September 2, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      The scientific method is not used by most of science, otherwise there would be no big bang theory or evolution as a means to species in science, no black holes either. That is because they are false notions.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:39 am |
      • What is going on? FREEDOM

        Tarver stop trying to deny evolution. You have already been proven wrong in that category. If you are lost in the woods are you going to just sit down and pray? No you are going to adapt to your surroundings and eventually your future generation will become adapted to the environment. That is called evolution.

        September 2, 2013 at 10:53 am |
      • truthprevails1

        What??? Of course the scientific method is used!! The Big Bang is the accepted model of our universal start, there is enough data to back it. Evolution is the accepted theory of 'our' start. It is you who lacks comprehension of scientific issues. You deny these things due to some wall that we'll call religion, you have put up. This wall disables you from thinking outside your religion because doing so might make you question everything you have ever believed in. Until you enable yourself to break down that wall, we can't expect you to accept what real science says.
        (I've been to your facebook page, you're as irrational there as you are here.)

        September 2, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • pepsee

      Excellent, Dude, I mean Colin.

      September 2, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Name*ned arbogast

      Is science evil? Let's see.

      Guns, bombs, nuclear weapons etc. are made possible by
      Singing
      Poetry
      Duck-hunting
      Science

      Climate change, pollution the elimination of entire species etc. have been made realities because of
      Prayer
      Buddhism
      Pottery
      Science

      I could go on.

      September 2, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • Marion

      You are confusing religion with a belief in God. I can agree with most of what you said, but still believe in the existence of God and an afterlife....because it makes sense to me, not because I was am "indoctrinated" by organized religion. If it is the teachings of religions and the "faithful flock" you have a beef with, don't blame it on God. I don't know why atheists can't recognize this?

      September 2, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
      • joe

        don’t blame it on God. I don’t know why atheists can’t recognize this?
        -----
        Funny. A God without religion. Then you can know nothing about it and have nothing to say. Perfect.

        September 2, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  12. d_h

    It is very sad but God does not exist and never did exist.

    September 2, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • us_1776

      It's not sad at all.

      It is something to celebrate.

      WE are in control of what happens to us.

      And WE must take control and bear responsibility for everything that happens to us and our world.

      .

      September 2, 2013 at 10:38 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        The god bit isn't sad but the loss of an afterlife is sad. I enjoy living.

        September 2, 2013 at 10:47 am |
      • Marion

        Yes, "we are in control" because God gave us free will. He doesn't micromanage our stupidity.

        September 2, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
        • What IF

          No micromanaging? Then surely you don't thank "Him" for your "daily bread" then, do you? And you don't credit "Him" for saving disaster survivors and curing diseases, right?

          September 2, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Name*ned arbogast

      Something exists. So the possibility of existence exists. As long as there's something, there may as well be everything.

      September 2, 2013 at 11:05 am |
      • Marion

        OMG.

        September 2, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
  13. Andrew

    Religion is dumb in the sense that it causes division among humans and also causes war. But it gives people hope that there crappy lives will get better. Some times it just takes fantasy to just continue with are lives. Because with out religion we relay cant explain why we are here. Sure we have the big bang theory but that don't explain Why we are it explains how we are. Some people just need some thing to believe in even if it is logically wrong. But never less i believe in god but not religion. I thing religion is the work of man and is not divine in any way.

    September 2, 2013 at 10:28 am |
  14. srwedd

    To each their own – More people have died in the name of "insert deity" than any other reason. The teaching are based off of (a) book(s) that was written by man and interpreted by man. This leads me to believe that there is one key over-site that the human race is missing – Pride. Of course each religion is the "one true" religion; as we are too proud to admit our interpretations could (and most likely) might be inaccurate.

    September 2, 2013 at 10:28 am |
  15. Wastrel

    Allah was a moon god with three daughters, retconned by Mohammed into the same god as the Jews. Not that it matters what they worship as long as the Muslims are the enemy of civilization.

    September 2, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • G to the T

      And Yaweh was a reworked version of Cannanite god "El" so I'm unsure what your point is...

      September 4, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
  16. Roddy 2112

    Hey, if you can't understand even basic science, then there is always religion.

    September 2, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • guest

      What "basic science" are you refering to?

      September 2, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  17. dave

    As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord!

    September 2, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Thankfully, I don't live in a fiefdom.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • What is going on? FREEDOM

      Why don't you serve your family first before God. Family should come first before anything else.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • fsmgroupie

      why do you need a "lord" ? I really don't get it

      September 2, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • truthprevails1

      As for me and my home, we shall serve humanity and do so without imaginary friends to guide us.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:34 am |
  18. j

    No...

    Allah is the pagan moon god and Jews dont recognize the Lord Jesus as savior, and he that has not the son has not the Father

    September 2, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • What is going on? FREEDOM

      Yawn you are all the same. It is just as similar to the Romans believing in the same gods as the Greeks, only with different names.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      That's just Christian fundamentalist BS. However, Yahweh was the war god of the Canaanite pantheon.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Me.

      Come on man, you just read above that Allah is the Arabic word for God and still believe in the BS you've been fed. Grow up already.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:27 am |
      • Bill

        We all use the word home to refer to where we live, but my home is not the same building as your home.

        September 2, 2013 at 10:33 am |
  19. Joe

    From what I've learn over time about these religions is that all the players are the same,different Religion,differernt pecking order.

    September 2, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and ever since then there has been a lot of discussion about if that was such a good idea or not. There are two main versions of the same story, one out of Egypt and one from Canaan. In one the creator is the one perfect spirit and in the other he is a 3rd rate demon.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:35 am |
      • Richard Cranium

        Well, we know for fact the Big Bang happened, what led up to it, no one knows. Ancient folk-lore says there are gods and there are many creations stories...all have the same 100% lack of evidence.

        September 2, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  20. @ catahoula

    Catahoula, wrote:
    This article is incorrect in its description of Christianity. It incorrectly cites that Christians believe that non- Christians are damned and that faith is all that matters not acts. While this is true of Evangelical Protestantism, Catholics and Orthodox Christians believe that to follow Jesus is to love your neighbor as you love yourself and that acts are more important than faith. One does not need to be a Christian to obtain eternal paradise in these Christian tradition, merely behave in a Christ-like way more than not.
    September 2, 2013 at 3:24 am | Report abuse | Reply
    Good Morning Catahoula,I have a question: are you just listening to (I’m presuming) your priest, or are you studying the Bible? While it is true that to love your neighbor is very important, remember, love is a “fruit of the spirit”, Galatians 5:22—23, consider what else the scriptures teach: Matthew 7:22—23 (22) “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me ye that work iniquity. (KJV). Or, Hebrews 11:6 “…without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is….” Also read and understand what Jesus said: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15, notice: “commandments” is plural. You have a blessed day.

    September 2, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      Sheol, or upper Hell, is the only Hell the Hebrews have and it is the natural place for a person to go after death; also called paradise by Christ.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Jack

      The impression I get from reading the Bible is that belief in Christ is necessary for salvation, but once a person is in Heaven they will still be accountable for their actions towards others and may face some lesser punishments initially.

      September 2, 2013 at 10:30 am |
      • guest

        Elaborate. I don’t know how you came to that conclusion that there will be some “lesser punishment”.

        September 2, 2013 at 11:00 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.