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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. Dyslexic doG

    Joseph Smith and L. Ron Hubbard showed just how easily the unscrupulous can start a religion and within a short time the simple minded will believe and within a generation they are raising their children to believe so no matter how brilliant and educated individuals in the next generation are, they are being pre-programmed with this nonsense and are unable to shake it.

    Christianity, Judaism and Islam are the same as Mormonism and Scientology, except with a 2000 year head start.

    a weakness in the function of the human brain, capitalized on by the god virus.

    September 3, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
  2. Eithar

    II think that the writer of this article do not really understand the real Christianity and he tries to put it in a way to appear as complex or not logical. We know that all real christian believers understand that God is like Sun, Sun is one Object but have different core characteristics : Light, Temp. , and Physical Material. Also We know that Jesus is God and human like Physics says about Light that it has Wave–particle duality.

    September 3, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I think your 'Google Translate' is broken...

      September 3, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • ME II

      Is the sun fully light and fully matter?
      Is light fully wave and fully particle?

      September 3, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Vic

      God created man in His Image, one aspect of that Image is "Trinity." God is One of Three, On Godhead, Three Persons, Father, Son (Lord Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit. Man is one being of three entities, spirit, body and soul.

      September 3, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
      • joe

        God created man in His Image
        --------
        right, an invisible sky fairy with an image.

        Makes perfect sense.

        September 3, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Anybody who can worship a trinity and insist that their religion is monotheistic is capable of rationalizing anything.

        September 3, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        I have some excellent beachfront property in Las Vegas that I'll sell you...

        September 3, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
      • A Frayed Knot

        Vic,

        1. You state that as a declarative sentence. Perhaps, "my hunch is..." would be better.
        2. "Soul" and "spirit" are 2 different ent.ities? It looks like you are trying a bit too hard to shove your square peg into a round hole.

        September 3, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • God talks to my brain

      I don't understand why others can't hear God like I do. It doesn't make sense. Why are the rooms in this place always padded?

      September 3, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
      • Atheist, me?

        Joe are u incapable of answering without quoting first.

        September 3, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
      • Atheist, me?

        What is faith?
        The belief that right action leads to right results ultimately! That means
        you have to act.
        My point is that if you have faith you will have perfect behaviour. Christianity also requires this. The main distinguishing feature is what consti.tutes perfect behaviour. The Jewish and Christian Bibles frown on religious behaviour (fasting, almsgiving, prayer, pilgrimage, correct theology) not backed by spiritual behavior (love, joy, peaceableness, faithfulness, honesty, humility, self-control). The Quran emphasises the former over the latter.
        Whichever book one follows however one would ultimately form one of the two mutually exclusive mindsets-religious or spiritual.

        September 3, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
  3. Kenosis

    68 pages and is there anything even worth reading in any of it?
    It probably can be boiled down to this.
    Atheist: Religious ppl, prove to me there is a god based on the criteria that I insist upon.
    Religious: There is a god because _________.
    Atheist: Sorry but you didn't do it to my satisfaction, you failed.

    Add in a bunch of insults and there you have it.

    September 3, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Jeremy

      I notice that both sides of the aisle are very good at the ad hominems.

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

        That they do.

        September 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      Unfortunately that's the nature of a forum like this, intented to communicate with "sound bytes."

      September 3, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
      • Kenosis

        That's the irony in all this. Atheists usually lean heavy into science and rarely is science simple. Yet, they expect others to explain something complex like a religious concept or creed in these small sound bites as you put it.

        September 3, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          And even more irony is seen when the "science only" people lean on mathematic formulae and theories to explain the universe, but their only proof is more math... Math proving math, but no observable reality to back up the math.

          September 3, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
        • ME II

          @Lawrence of Arabia,
          "Math proving math, but no observable reality to back up the math."

          Other than, of course, the fact that math works.

          September 3, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Yep, and if you believe math for math's sake, I've got some formulae for you that "accurately describe zombie infestations." I've said so many times, math must stack up with observable reality, or it is so much fiction or wish fulfillment. (Robert J. Smith, University of Ottawa, "Mathematical Modeling of Zombies")

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

          Lawrence of Arabia

          "Yep, and if you believe math for math's sake, I've got some formulae for you that "accurately describe zombie infestations."

          Nope. You've got someone's OPINION that he has accurate statistics and has applied sound statistical techniques.

          September 3, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
        • ME II

          @Lawrence of Arabia,
          A mathematical model by definition is an approximation based on certain assumptions, such as the existence of zombies, without which it means nothing, but the math still works.

          "... no observable reality to back up the math."

          2 + 2 = 4 is observable in the only "reality" that can be demonstrated currently. That is not to say that all math is observable and true, e.g. models, but you can not accurately claim that there is no observable basis for math.

          September 3, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          ME II, true, what I was getting at are the mathematical models that attempt to explain our existence via the multiverse theory and others. Models that try to explain how life can come from non-life, and models that try to explain how something can come from nothing... THOSE kinds of models where un-observable assumptions must be inserted into the math to make it work.

          September 3, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
        • ME II

          @Lawrence of Arabia,
          A model by itself does not "prove" anything, I agree, but claiming that math itself is unfounded, is incorrect.
          Additionally, models that use reasonable assumptions and explain known phenomena can be used to predict other phenomena and thereby become testable and verifiable approximations of how the universe works.
          For example, the Theory of Relativity is a mathematical model that predicted time dilatation effects that were subsequently verified.

          September 3, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      You described the argument perfectly Kenosis. Atheists require proof, and Christians don't have any.

      September 3, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        I've listed this several times, but apparently Atheists seem to want the clouds to open up for them for proof of God's existence, but prophecy fulfillment is excellent proof for the divine authorship of Scripture... I could talk about prophecies regarding Israel's captivity to Babylon, Cyrus called out by name hundreds of years before his birth as the one that will rescue Israel from Babylon, the destruction of Babylon foretold, the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple foretold, the destruction of Tyre and specifically how it was to be done, how the city of Petra would be destroyed... These are just a few verifyable examples...

        September 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
        • Hear This

          @Lawrence of Arabia,

          "..bible inerrantists would have us believe that Isaiah prophesied specifically that Cyrus would be Babylon's conqueror and would enter through gates, and that he made this prediction over 140 years before the event. In reality, this section of Isaiah was written shortly before 537 BCE, so even if the prediction was not made after the event its occurrence at least was imminent and the name of Cyrus would have been known.

          Isaiah's reference to gates, although the actual means Cyrus used to gain entry to the city of Babylon, was nonetheless meant figuratively. This is evidenced by noting the continued use of obviously figurative language in the next verse:

          I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. (NIV)

          It should be noted that Babylon is not actually mentioned anywhere in the chapter.

          It should also be noted that "anointed" as used in Isaiah 45:1 is translated into Hebrew as "messiah" and into Greek as "Christ." Although never admitted by Christians, this passage seems to assert that Cyrus is the messiah." http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Failed_biblical_prophecies#Cyrus_will_conquer_Babylon

          Besides that, how many times has The Artist Known as Prince changed his name? This "Cyrus" guy could've had another birth name which was smoooged after his "conquest", whatever "conquest" that might have been...

          September 3, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Hear This: Wow, was that guy a comedian or what? Look, Isaiah was written between 700-681 BC. It was the book of Daniel that was written between 536-530 BC, so he would have been an eye witness. You only get the kind of stuff you're using as a reference from historical revisionists... They make statements, but they use ash as their sources... It blows away with the slightest breeze, and proves to be nothing.

          September 3, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Besides, it wasn't just Isaiah who made prophecies about Cyrus and the destruction of Babylon... Jeremiah made a similar prediction when he said that the Babylonian captivity would only last 70 years. (Jeremiah 25:12-14)

          What does your wiki source say about that? Incidentally, can you really trust a "wiki" source that ANYONE can edit? I can go into there and say that ham sandwiches are made from clay pigeons if I want to...

          September 3, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
        • ME II

          "Deutero-Isaiah's predictions of the imminent fall of Babylon and his glorification of Cyrus as the deliverer of Israel date his prophecies to 550-539 BCE, and probably towards the end of this period.[28]"
          (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Isaiah)

          While the first part of Isaiah was written much earlier, the prophecies pertaining to Cyrus apparently were written just before or at the same time as the event, hardly a prophecy,

          September 3, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "Deutero-Isaiah's predictions of the imminent fall of Babylon and his glorification of Cyrus as the deliverer of Israel date his prophecies to 550-539 BCE, and probably towards the end of this period.[28]"
          (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Isaiah)

          OH! I see, so the wording suggests that they start with the assumption that miracles are impossible. Thank you, that clears it up.

          September 3, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
        • Brother Maynard

          Proof ?
          OK ... I'll take the proof that was provided to Thomas.
          Put me in a room with 12 of my friends. Have Jesus come in and let me examine the holes in his hands and in his side.
          I'm not asking anything more than what Doubting Thomas did AND recieved.

          September 3, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
        • ME II

          While it is widely accepted that the book of Isaiah is rooted in a historic prophet called Isaiah, it is also widely accepted that this 8th century prophet did not write Isaiah the book.[7][14] The observations which have led to this are as follows:
          Historical situation → Chapters 40-55 presuppose that Jerusalem has already been destroyed (they are not framed as prophecy) and the Babylonian exile is already in effect – they speak from a present in which the Exile is about to end. Chapters 56-66 assume an even later situation, in which the people are already returned to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple is already under way.[15]
          Anonymity → Isaiah’s name suddenly stops being used after chapter 39.[16]
          Style → There is a sudden change in style and theology after chapter 40; numerous key words and phrases found in one section are not found in the other.[17]

          (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Isaiah)

          September 3, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • Johnny

          Biblical prophecies are a joke. One would have to be pretty dimwitted to fall for that.

          September 3, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
        • Johnny

          It should also be pointed out that Daniel was most likely written in the mid second century BC some 300 years later than Lawrence claimed.

          September 3, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
        •  

          Godless Vagabond
          Apparently there are plenty of pretty dimwitted folks around.

          September 3, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
      • Kenosis

        It would be more accurate to say that they do not have evidence that atheists would accept.

        September 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          That's true... They demand the miraculous, but Scripture tells us of people whom would not believe even if someone should come back from the dead and proclaim to them what they saw... So miracles are not always enough.

          September 3, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
        • What IF

          Lawrence of Arabia,

          A real god would know precisely what would be "enough" - for *everyone*, individually and equally.

          September 3, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
        • Susan StoHelit

          Lawrence – so you claim that you know how every atheist on earth would react, because of scriptures CLAIMING that some people back in the past didn't believe even after seeing the dead walk? You can't see how that's no wee little bit condescending, not to mention unconvincing?

          We don't have to prove it because our book says that even if we did prove it you wouldn't believe – so it's all your fault that you don't accept our lack of proof. Nice strawman, but how about dealing with real people?

          September 3, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          "but Scripture tells us of people whom would not believe even if someone should come back from the dead and proclaim to them what they saw"

          Of course it tells you that. If it didn't your numbers would be a tremendous amount less. Most Atheists come to our disbelief as recovering christians and for whatever reasons, we've come to our disbelief...it's not just your god we don't accept, it is all other gods too...sorry your imaginary friend is not so special. Christians get called on their belief mostly because if there is a battle over same sex marriage; or woman's rights or what should or shouldn't be taught in schools...you can be guaranteed a christian has their hands muddied. I don't care what you believe in your own personal head space but don't disrespect my choice either. No-one will ever know in the grand scheme of it who is right or wrong because there simply is no way of telling for sure and I'm sorry your holy book doesn't cut it for me.

          September 3, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
      • Observer

        Given enough time, just about any "prophecy" can come true if you stretch facts about an event. I can prophesize the earth shaking, the waters rising, and fires. I can prophesize nations coming and going. No talent needed.

        God could prove he exists in less than 5 seconds with a simple announcement to the world.

        Hasn't happened. Guess that's too much to ask of him to save BILLIONS and BILLIONS of souls.

        FIVE SECONDS!

        September 3, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          With so many variations of gods, how would we know which voice was correct?

          September 3, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Spam Filter

      Believer: Sorry but you didn't do it to my satisfaction, you failed.

      See how easy that is!

      September 3, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Believers only offer their religious texts as proof. Would you buy an investment with only the seller's word that it exists or is what the seller claims. If there were proof of a god, I doubt that there would be unbelievers and I suspect there would only be one religion as presumably the god would communicate directly.

      September 3, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      aaahhh evidence. yes, we are just foolish to look for evidence. evidence limits us to reality, but if we just go with our fantasies, the world can be anything we like! wheeeee!

      September 3, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • HamsterDancer

      LOL! You described the ENTIRE list of comments on any subject under the Belief Section of CNN!

      September 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Vic

      "There is a god because..." That is an invalid premise! Your "causal relationship is reversed! There isn't God because of anything, there is a creation because of God!

      God is "Sovereign" Who exists Eternally in Generation, and by Whom we and this universe exist.

      September 3, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        There is no evidence of a god, therefore no evidence of your god and no evidence that a god created the universe. You believe that the god of other religions is man-made and they they believe yours is man-made, when in reality they are all man-made.

        September 3, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • Vic

      "There is a god because..." That is an invalid premise! Your "causal" relationship is reversed! There isn't God because of anything, there is a creation because of God!

      God is "Sovereign" Who exists Eternally in Generation, and by Whom we and this universe exist.

      September 3, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • GodIsLoveIsBlindIsRayCharlesIsGod

      Actually Kenosis,

      It's more like,

      Atheist: Religious ppl, prove to me there is a god based on the criteria that, not just I, but you would insist upon if, say, your neighbor claimed he had a giant, invisible yeti as a pet living in his back yard.

      Religious: Of course we'll use such criteria like demanding evidence and not believing my neighbor until he proves to me otherwise when faced with such an outrageous claim...but we won’t use it with my god.

      Atheist: Well...there's the malleable, inconsistent logic we have come to expect from Religious people. I'm amazed and a little frustrated that you can't see that.

      Religious: You have insulted me!!! See... we are an oppressed and reviled people even though we make up a majority of the world's population! But our suffering ensures that we are favored by God or Jesus or Allah or Yahweh or whatever deity or version of invisible yeti we believe in ....

      September 3, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
      • Kenosis

        I think you are a little off base. If someone would say they got a yeti or god in their backyard, then ok. That could be proven or not.
        But the religious are not saying (or ever have to my knowledge) said they got god in the backyard so that comparisson is faulty.

        September 3, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
        • GodIsLoveIsBlindIsRayCharlesIsGod

          No, they go one step further. They say they have God in their heart.

          September 3, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
        • Kenosis

          And that would be as hard as proving if someone has love or hate in their heart.

          September 3, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
        • GodIsLoveIsBlindIsRayCharlesIsGod

          Seems to me that it would be pretty easy to prove since we all know that what is actually in the heart is BLOOD!!!

          Hmmmm... Mr. Kenosis, it says here on your medical record that your blood type is O positive hate. But you forgot to check your deity type. Is it Jesus, Allah, Yahweh, or Invisible Yeti? And if it's O positive hate Invisible Yeti would you be willing to donate?

          September 3, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
        • Kenosis

          I think you need to refresh yourself with figurative language and literal.

          "But you forgot to check your deity type."

          I have no deity. Do you require one for some reason?

          September 4, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
        • GodIsLoveIsBlindIsRayCharlesIsGod

          So is God figurative or literal? Does he truly exist? Or does he just represent the awe and inexplicable wonder of the universe? On that note, did the events in the bible really happen or were they just allegorical? I think we've come to the crux of the problem. Most of "the religious", as you call them, believe that God is literally in their heart; that he is, in fact, literally everywhere and sees everything and is in the kitchen with them when they make pancakes in the morning, or in the car when they're driving to work, and, yes, even in their backyard when they're flipping burgers on the BBQ. So, how is this not comparable to the crazy neighbor who claims he has a giant invisible yeti as a pet?

          And as for me asking you about your deity type: I think you need to refresh yourself with sarcasm.

          September 4, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
  4. Rynomite

    All Christians don't even worship the same god. There are 41,000 distinct sects of that cult. Each with its own distinct god concept. All believing that their concept of the god is the "right" one.

    September 3, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    🙂

    September 3, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
  6. Lee

    This was really enough "news" to be considered for an article on this blog? I learned this 10+ years in a eastern/western religion class.
    Yes, they all worship the same God. It was invented by the Jews almost 6,000 years ago and was very specific (elaborate rules/punishments, supernatural explanations for obviously scientific phenomena, etc.). Cool!
    The Romans stole their Gods from the Greeks, who I believe were the first advance culture to come up with deity nonsense to explain the "complex" environment around them.
    This article fails to bring up the argument of religion vs. science as well. Because each religion is so vastly different, no one religion across cultures in ANY time period could be replicated. However, science, no matter what decade, no matter what language or where it occurs in the world, will always be the same. Fire starts the same, water has the same properties, etc.
    That is how we know science is real (and be be replicated the same over and over, i.e. the laws of physics are unchanging). Religion seems to change with every generation, every human's emotion at a particular time, and splinter off into theoretical nonsense speculating about words on a page that are thousands of years old and fail to make any predictions outside of the bronze age (yeah, that's how old this crap is).
    Yeah, so you're an average American "feeling" the presence of a middle-eastern sky god giving you love and the promise of eternal life if you blindly belief he "sacrificed" his son so he could resurrect himself to save his creation from an eternal damnation he created. Makes perfect sense!

    September 3, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Vic

      Comparing Faith and Science for "validation" is an "invalid premise!" It's like comparing spirit and body for proof of existence where the former is physical and the latter is metaphysical. Apples and oranges, in the metaphorical sense!

      However, science reveals and shows that there is "design" in this existence which in turn means that there is a "Designer," since there is a design, and a "Creator," since there is existence.

      Therefore, instead of comparing, or contrasting for that matter, Faith & Science should be combined, as far as I am concerned.

      September 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        vic
        "However, science reveals and shows that there is "design" in this existence which in turn means that there is a "Designer," since there is a design, and a "Creator," since there is existence."

        False. There are an infinite number of other possibilities that do not involve any creator.

        September 3, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
        • Vic

          As far as I am concerned, logically by reason, all other "so-called" possibilities are "lower seeds," way lower! Need not mention how "prima facie circumstantial evidence" to God this existence is!

          September 3, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
        • midwest rail

          No need to mention it because it is not prima facie evidence.

          September 3, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Vic.
          You have been told before, life nor anything else is first look evidence of any god, any more than it is that we are in the matrix.
          Second, metaphysical relates to philosophy, an exchange of ideas with NO basis in reality, just the ether of the mind.

          You can tap dance all you want, justify your staunch belief all you want, you have proven you can't comprehend scientific method, ideas, or anything else scientific, so believe what you want anyway, you will never understand more than you do now, and I am certain, you understand far less than you think.

          Please let others do the thinking for you, I'm sure we will all be safer that way.

          September 3, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
        • ME II

          @Vic,
          "As far as I am concerned, logically by reason, all other 'so-called' possibilities are 'lower seeds',...."

          What logic are reason would that be?

          September 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
      • Vic

        "..for the former is metaphysical and the latter is physical...."

        September 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
      • Spam Filter

        Translation: ("spooky physics" vs. actual physics)

        September 3, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
        • Vic

          Humor Filter – output: LOL!

          September 3, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
        • Observer

          It's related to believer George W. Bush's "fuzzy math".

          September 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
        • Vic

          "Fuzzy Logic" is one of the most powerful techniques in the "Automatic Control Systems," my friend!

          September 3, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
        • George

          That doesn't excuse your own Faulty Logic, Vic.

          September 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
        •  

          Godless Vagabond
          Would that be Vic's "Faulty Fuzzy Logic" or "Fuzzy Faulty Logic?"

          September 3, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Magic isn't not amenable to scientific scrutiny becuase supernatural explanations are sooner or later revealed to be simply natural.

        September 3, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Forgive the grammatical error. I am ashamed of the "isn't not". *sigh*

          "We don't need no education..."
          Obviously we do since I just used a double negative.

          September 3, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
  7. Nudge

    Last try. Sorry, folks, it was just a stab at it...

    September 3, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
  8. Nudge

    Test #3

    September 3, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  9. Nudge

    Test #2

    September 3, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrDFGa0juCM

      September 3, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
      • Nudge

        🙂

        September 3, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
  10. Nudge

    Just testing to see if filling the quota of 20 original posts per page and starting a new page will cause the Recent Comments links to work on this page. Why can't/won't CNN fix that glitch?

    (sorry, there will be 2 more nonsense posts...)

    September 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Just two more to add to the pile.

      September 3, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  11. Ruby

    I lost my religion when the fuel tank in Ohio that had a rust spot that people were convinced was in fact an image of Mary. The tank was later painted and that was the end of Mary and the nuts that were causing traffic jams.

    September 3, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Jeremy

      Why would that cause you to lose your faith in God?

      September 3, 2013 at 11:50 am |
      • G to the T

        It's an example of how easy it is for humans to believe weird things...

        September 4, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  12. hharri

    Nice one athies. Tell ms. Stone she is hot!

    September 3, 2013 at 11:27 am |
  13. hharri

    We are still waiting for the lying pig, observer, to present us with Horus' statement Christ borrowed. Eternity won't be long enough for her, cause she's been lying about that for many years. No one believe her. True scholars think she is a but job. Average people think she is insane. And she tries to convince her other selves on this dump that she's credible. To date, she's offered ConfuseMe saying be nice to each other as evidence that Christ took from other dudes and stole their thunder. Whacka doodle doo

    September 3, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • sam stone

      speaking of lying pigs, how is that lawsuit coming, poo-tah?

      September 3, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • God is a load of crap

      Using mommies computer again while she's out scoring some meth?

      September 3, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
  14. hharri

    Atheists, lying, criminal, deceitful, filthy, nasty, disgusting atheists like ms. Stone and her pals are poised to spend a lot of time burning. Fortunately, they don't think so and are having a wonderful time here acting like the morons they are. Enjoy it while it lasts beloved. You will beg god to let you die, and he will ignore you. Right Jeremy? You are a good christian. Tell em

    September 3, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • sam stone

      go suck a 12 gauge

      September 3, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Jeremy

      The beauty of the USA is that people are free to believe whatever they want.

      I don't see what the purpose of these posts are, but you can believe whatever you want, hharri, as sam stone can. (I think he is male, though.)

      I'll also thank you to stop referring to me in your posts, because I don't think you are sincere when you speak of me. I am asking you to stop.

      I would like to think I am a good Christian. I try. I know I fail often, but with Christ's forgiveness I pick myself up and try some more.

      Whatever your game is, leave me out of it, please?

      God Bless,
      Jeremy

      September 3, 2013 at 11:43 am |
      • hharri

        You started it, observer. Lol
        U idiot!

        September 3, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
        • Jeremy

          I didn't start anything! I commented on a horrible judgmental post that you have reposted, full of lies about people you do not understand, or know.

          I am not observer. You are confused.

          Leave my name out of any further posts, for you are not representative of True Christianity.

          I will not address you further.

          I wish you well. GB

          September 3, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
        • hharri

          Ignore me, I'm an ignorant troll.

          September 3, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        As Christians go Jeremy, you seem like a decent fellow, so here's a word of advice. It's best to avoid interacting with some of our resident nutjobs. They're either trolling or psychotic. Either way, it's best to avoid them.

        September 3, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
        • hharri

          That's good advice. Plus, hang out with some of the role models like sweet Sam the bam Stoned

          September 3, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
        • Jeremy

          Thank you, Dave. I will remember that.

          Hharri, my role model is Jesus Christ Who is yours?

          GB

          September 3, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
        • joe

          Hharri, my role model is Jesus Christ Who is yours?
          ---–
          You could do much better following Boy Scout law. No invisible sky fairy drama required.

          .A Scout is:

          Trustworthy,
          Loyal,
          Helpful,
          Friendly,
          Courteous,
          Kind,
          Obedient,
          Cheerful,
          Thrifty,
          Brave,
          Clean,
          and Reverent.

          September 3, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Isn't the Scouts a Christian thing?

          September 3, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
        • Jeremy

          Joe, I could, and I am all of those things because I WAS a Boy Scout, but I will stick with the original Scout: Jesus, thanks.

          September 3, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
      • A Frayed Knot

        Jeremy,

        hharri refers to everyone he/she disagrees with as "she/her"... it's hharri's way of deni.grating and minimizing both females and the posters. I think he/she got it from Paul of Tarsus.

        It's best to ignore him/her as best as you can... and don't waste too much time or typing. Your posts to him will probably eventually be deleted along with his/hers anyway.

        September 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Peter

      And here I thought that Christians were supposed to be happy folk.

      September 3, 2013 at 11:44 am |
      • hharri

        Y would u think that? R u an idiot? Haven't u been paying attention to what we have proven them to be?

        September 3, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          No not all are as<bses or quite as crazy as you. Put the crack pipe down and seek some help!

          September 4, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • Shame on you

      I'm not feeling the love here. Is this the new Christianity? To be hateful and threatening, seeking to harm others and call it love?

      September 3, 2013 at 11:47 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        Well, whoever is doing that isn't representative of true Christianity.

        September 3, 2013 at 11:54 am |
        • midwest rail

          It is, however, representative of contemporary evangelical Christianity.

          September 3, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • joe

          Well, whoever is doing that isn’t representative of true Christianity.
          --------–
          One of the blatantly obvious reasons we know Christianity is man made. The Christians can't even agree with each other!

          "You're not a true Christian." "No, you're not a true Christian." blah, blah, blah. And before you know it there are hundreds of sects and they go to war against each other to prove who's right.

          September 3, 2013 at 11:58 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          No True Scotsman

          September 3, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          To the absolutely ridiculous "True Scottsman" comment... How can you tell if someone is a true Christian? There is actually a legitimate test... Look to Scripture, if they are not doing according to what it says, then it is because they have no light.

          September 3, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
        • joe

          Look to Scripture, if they are not doing according to what it says, then it is because they have no light.
          ------
          Analogizing to direction, scripture says go North, South, West and East. Then, it's up to the explorer to decide which direction at which time. In other words, scripture is worthless as a true directional tool, rather it merely assists the mentally deluded in self reflection.

          September 3, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          There would be truth in that if the Bible wasn't so contradictory. Should I love my Canaanite neighbor or slice him open and violate his entrails?

          September 3, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
        • A Frayed Knot

          No, Lawrence. There are 3 major religions that have evolved from that Middle Eastern "scripture"... each with subsets (thousands of them in the case of Christianity), who don't agree with each other because of how they translate and interpret those old writings and ideas... each saying that they are the "true" one.

          September 3, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
      • hharri

        Time out! U r not feeling the love now? But u could feel it a few days ago when the athies were blaspheming Christ? Observer, be careful. U r blowing ur cover u stupid idiot! Lol

        September 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
  15. rosbif06

    Of course they are different gods. Everyone has a different imagination!

    September 3, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • hharri

      God will crush you like an ant, beloved!

      September 3, 2013 at 11:14 am |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        because God loves you... and HE needs your money...

        September 3, 2013 at 11:17 am |
      • sam stone

        you god is as impotent as you are

        how is that lawsuit that is going to bring us all to justice?

        coming about as fast as jeebus's return

        any time now, yesssir, annnnnny time now

        force the issue, hharri/faith/etc ....go suck your 12 gauge

        September 3, 2013 at 11:32 am |
        • hharri

          Lol

          September 3, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  16. rosbif06

    It's definitely a different god because everyone has a different imagination.

    September 3, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • hharri

      Pure genius

      September 3, 2013 at 11:32 am |
  17. HeavenScent

    The divinity of Jebus was DIFFERENT in each of the gospels. In some he was always divine. In one he gave it up, and took it back. In one he achieved it. In Hebrew culture a "divine being" was not equivalent to Yahweh. A "divine being" was a being which was "other than natural", (like angels). Why do Christians know NOTHING about their historic roots ?

    September 3, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • hharri

      He was exactly the same.

      September 3, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  18. CK

    Why am I not allowed to believe?

    September 3, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Why do you sound so whiny?

      September 3, 2013 at 10:32 am |
      • CK

        I am not whining. Just asking a question.

        September 3, 2013 at 10:35 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          If you say so. Who said you couldn't believe in whatever dumb thing it is you believe in? As an America you have the freedom to be as religiously retarded as you desire. (as long as it isn't harmful to others)

          September 3, 2013 at 10:42 am |
        • Bill Deacon

          Seems obvious after reading your post ET.

          September 3, 2013 at 10:49 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          @Bill – 'clear and obvious' well I do try...

          September 3, 2013 at 10:58 am |
      • hharri

        Lol. What an idiot. Good girl, lucy

        September 3, 2013 at 11:35 am |
        • CK

          Idiot???

          I never even met you before.

          September 3, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • midwest rail

      No one can be forbidden to believe. Try asking the question in an honest fashion.

      September 3, 2013 at 10:39 am |
      • CK

        Alright. I’m sorry.

        Why doesn’t anyone on this board want me to believe if it gives me happiness.

        September 3, 2013 at 10:42 am |
        • Bob

          because you also get to vote.

          September 3, 2013 at 10:44 am |
        • midwest rail

          There are plenty of believers who post here that agree with your world view. Simply because you do not enjoy 100% agreement means nothing. Believe what you will.

          September 3, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Why are you a troll?

      September 3, 2013 at 10:55 am |
      • CK

        A troll?

        If by troll you mean an individual who provides well thought out posts and is quite good looking then my response is, that’s the way God made me.

        September 3, 2013 at 11:03 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          I don't enjoy tolchocking yahoodies, ergo religion isn't for me.

          September 3, 2013 at 11:05 am |
        • CK

          Huh? Can you clarify that statement.

          I don’t know what tolchocking or yahoodies mean.

          September 3, 2013 at 11:08 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Are you an Abrahamist? Is so, what kind of Abrahamist doesn't enjoy stories about tolchocking yahoodies?

          September 3, 2013 at 11:11 am |
        • CK

          Abrahamist?

          I don’t know what that is either.

          Are you referring to the Abraham in the Old Testament?

          Abraham Lincoln?

          Abraham Simpson?

          Further explanation would be appreciated.

          September 3, 2013 at 11:18 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          I've made it as clear as I can. As an unmuddied lake Fred. As clear as an azure sky of deepest summer.

          September 3, 2013 at 11:20 am |
        • CK

          Well, I have to admit that an unmuddied lake is clear…

          September 3, 2013 at 11:32 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        What's a rhetorical question?

        September 3, 2013 at 11:08 am |
        • CK

          I would say that it is a statement that is formulated as a question but that is not supposed to be answered.

          But what does that have to do with anything???

          September 3, 2013 at 11:13 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          The above posting is known as "jocularity", or a "joke" in the vernacular.
          The humour derives from the irony of rhetorically asking for the definition of rhetorical as a response to a rhetorical query.
          As humour is a subjective experience, not all those exposed to the aforementioned jocularity will find it humourous.

          September 3, 2013 at 11:17 am |
        • CK

          I would agree with that definition.

          I noticed from the way you spelled humor you must not be an American. May I ask where you’re from?

          September 3, 2013 at 11:25 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I'm Canadian.
          Currently residing in Toronto, though I've also lived in Victoria, Borden, Ottawa, and Winnipeg (and a stint at the Headquarters for the United States European Command in Stuttgart, Germany).

          September 3, 2013 at 11:29 am |
        • CK

          Thanks. I’ve known people from the UK, Canada, Australia and they all spell the word “humour” that way. I wonder why it’s different in the US.

          September 3, 2013 at 11:36 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          American spelling tends to be more shorter and more phoenetic in those instances where there is a difference.
          Eliminating silent "u"s seems to be the most common – humour, neighbour, etc.
          "Donut" is easier to spell – not to mention cheaper to make into a neon sign – than "doughnut".

          Perhaps the most Canadian phrase in the world is:
          "Pass me a serviette – I got poutine on the chesterfield, eh."

          September 3, 2013 at 11:54 am |
        • CK

          Thanks for the info. I had to look up what a serviette is but I do know what poutine is, to my credit.

          September 3, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • Candiano

      Why do you ask this question periodically when you know that the answer is "who is not allowing you to believe?"
      Do you do it just to see what answers may change? For outrageous effect?
      You know better. Stop being disingenuous. Thanks.

      September 3, 2013 at 11:05 am |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Exactly

        September 3, 2013 at 11:09 am |
      • CK

        Okay. I’m sorry.

        September 3, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • sam stone

      who is stopping you from believing whatever you wish?

      September 3, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • Ken

      CK
      You are allowed to believe what you like; and we are allowed to believe what we like about your beliefs, and voice them.

      September 3, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  19. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    The beautiful people, the beautiful people
    It's all relative to the size of your steeple
    You can't see the forest for the trees
    You can't smell your own shit on your knees

    September 3, 2013 at 10:13 am |
  20. hharri

    Yo, CNN and WordPress, big, big trouble ahead for you pathetic, lying, criminals.

    September 3, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • truthprevails1

      Get medicated!!

      September 3, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • hharri

      Yes. The first thing I would do is ban liarsdon'tprevail, ms. Stone, observer, tom the moron, Kelly, Jeremy, no religion, reality, and all their lying cohorts.

      September 3, 2013 at 11:12 am |
      • Akira

        Wouldn't you be doing precisely what you are already accusing CNN of doing? That seems a bit...hypocritical, wouldn't you say?

        September 3, 2013 at 11:31 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          What satisfaction could you possibly get from interacting in any serious way with this troll?

          September 3, 2013 at 11:34 am |
        • Akira

          I'm bored.

          September 3, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          That is the best answer anybody could have given to that question, kudos.

          September 3, 2013 at 11:58 am |
        • Akira

          Do I win cash and valuable prizes?

          September 3, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Does my kudos not count as a prize? If not, then no.

          September 3, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
        • Akira

          Thanks for the kudos, then. Guess I'll have to buy my own wok.

          September 3, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
        • Lou Reed

          Akira
          Take a wok on the wild side.

          September 3, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Akira

      Well, hi, faith! (Waves)
      We are all awaiting the trial of the century.

      September 3, 2013 at 11:14 am |
      • Doobs

        I hear she has Nancy Grace on retainer.

        September 3, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Ha! 'Nancy Grace on retainer'... how apropos, a useless media troll advocating for a useless blog troll... LOL

          September 3, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
        • midwest rail

          And Nancy has hharri on restrain-her.

          September 3, 2013 at 1:01 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.