home
RSS
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
[twitter-follow screen_name='WeissFaithWrite']

(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. otoh2

    This is a very old article. I'm not sure why someone dug it up. The "Recent Posts" links do not work here; but carry on if you can keep up with the posts.

    June 8, 2014 at 11:52 pm |
  2. Dyslexic doG

    Given this jewish/Islamic/Christian god's fixation on rules and submission and mindless belief and endless punishments. Given that he will send you to hell for eternal anguish unless you obey his every whim and praise him at every available opportunity. You religious folk all sound just like abused spouses.

    he/she really does love me.
    he/she doesn't mean to hurt me, it's my fault that he/she hurts me.
    if I could only stop doing the things he/she tells me are bad, then he/she wouldn't have to hurt me.
    he/she really is a loving person

    what an unhealthy relationship you all have, and what an unhealthy relationship you drag your children into!

    So what is it about you that makes you see yourself as a lowly worm, as a sinning evil creature in need of saving from something, as someone who needs a deity to make all the rules for their lives? What makes you seek out such an abusive relationship?

    June 8, 2014 at 10:57 pm |
    • awanderingscot

      Comment not logged. Unregenerates are ignorant about the things of God.

      June 9, 2014 at 10:11 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        what does that even mean?

        June 9, 2014 at 10:29 am |
      • G to the T

        Comment not logged. Trix are kids...

        June 9, 2014 at 11:18 am |
  3. Dyslexic doG

    yes, it's exactly the same nonexistent god.

    June 8, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
  4. Salero21

    This is a charade, a very deceptive article/report, a Media driven pretense, a make believe.

    Only fools and atheists will fall for these chicaneries and shenanigans of the Media and of the Pope.

    The question should be if Roman Catholics, Jews and Muslim worship the same God? The answer will still be a resounding NO! Catholics worship a god who has a mother.

    WE Christians, believers in Christ (therefore the name), worship the God and Father of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That's the One and Only True God, just as Jesus Christ is the One and Only Mediator between the Only God, His Father, and mankind.

    That One, Only and True God WE Christians call Him Father, the Father, our Father. Because the relationship we have with the Christ, because of what and who Jesus Christ is, because of His relationship with the Father God.

    Catholics, Jews and Muslims do worship something else other than God. They worship an ideology, and interpretation, a dogma. We worship the God and Father of Jesus Christ. They don't, therefore they and us don't worship in the same manner neither do worship the same God; if their God is not the God and Father of Jesus the Christ. Period, end of the discussion. No need to continue with a mile long or hours long conference lecture. Only fools and atheists need that to waste time and keep themselves entertained.

    June 8, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
    • Reality

      Hmmm, tis the Baptist spewing words of brainwash?

      The nitty-gritty once again:

      . JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

      June 8, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
      • awanderingscot

        Comment not logged. Unregenerates are ignorant about the things of God.

        June 9, 2014 at 10:12 am |
        • G to the T

          Comment not logged. My mother was a hamster...

          June 9, 2014 at 11:39 am |
        • Akira

          Did your father smell of elderberries?

          June 9, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
        • G to the T

          Akira – Go away or I will taunt you a second time!

          June 9, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
        • Akira

          G to the T, go and boil your bottom, you son of a silly person.

          June 9, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Actually you worship a god who had a wife, (Yahweh had a wife), and a mother. El Elyon was Yahweh's father. So then, your god, (the trinity) is a mediator between men and himself, for himself. Makes perfect sense. You beliefs have no more legitimacy than anyone else's. You people ALL say YOUR truth is the ONLY truth. CAPITALIZING words does not make nonsense anything but nonsense. I like your "end of discussion". We DO get it you are threatened by complexity and need childish back and whites, and go "lalalalalalala" with your fingers in your ears if anything threatens your mental crutch.

      June 8, 2014 at 11:38 pm |
      • awanderingscot

        Comment not logged. Unregenerates are ignorant about the things of God.

        June 9, 2014 at 10:13 am |
        • G to the T

          Comment not logged. My wife is a cheese sandwich...

          June 9, 2014 at 11:52 am |
        • Salero21

          That's right and also atheism is Absolute, Complete and Total NONSENSE. Atheists are extremely hypocritical and Compulsive pathological LIARS. Which is the Evidence of what I've been saying all along.

          June 9, 2014 at 10:51 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Actually you worship a god who had a wife, (Yahweh had a wife), and a mother. El Elyon was Yahweh's father. He had a mother also. There is NO sect of Christianity that says Jesus did NOT have a mother. "Fully HUMAN, fully divine. You really should learn about your cult, 21.

      June 8, 2014 at 11:41 pm |
      • awanderingscot

        Comment not logged. Unregenerates are ignorant about the things of God.

        June 9, 2014 at 10:21 am |
        • G to the T

          Comment not logged. The eye of an ostrich is bigger than its brain...

          June 9, 2014 at 11:55 am |
  5. rosenj72

    http://www.amazon.com/300-Times-examination-prophecies-Jesus-ebook/dp/B00BDFMLAI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402277154&sr=8-1&keywords=300+times+0

    June 8, 2014 at 9:29 pm |
  6. Peaceadvocate2014

    Same God if one Accepts one God. We just have to determine the one Gods teachings.

    June 8, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
    • igaftr

      Even the christian's god believes there are other gods...why else would "he" have told them to not worship them?
      though shalt have no OTHER gods before me....pretty much tells you there are other gods.

      June 9, 2014 at 9:28 am |
      • kermit4jc

        Even the christian’s god believes there are other gods…why else would “he” have told them to not worship them?
        though shalt have no OTHER gods before me….pretty much tells you there are other gods.<-yes false NONEXISTANT ones..read through the Bible...the other gods are anything that is worshipped...a piece of wood..etc etc...they are non eixtstant...false gods.....God says he is the only TRE and Living God

        June 9, 2014 at 9:50 am |
        • igaftr

          kermit
          You are reading a lot into it that is just not there. Your god said not to worship OTHER gods... it does not say false gods, it does not say wood, it says OTHER gods. Are you saying your god is wrong? You are trying to claim he mis-spoke ( or rather had the MEN who wrote it get it wrong)?
          Thou shalt have no OTHER gods before me, so your god believes in other gods, why don't you?

          June 9, 2014 at 10:04 am |
        • kermit4jc

          OMG see this is where you don't know how to get the conrtext..REDA THE REST OF THE BIBLE! It DESCIBES other gods...wooden gods....gods of money and pleasure...etc etc..and God says he is the TRYE God..it does NOT have to say it in THAT one Passage....see..this is whyt I call contrxt all the time.....I did not read into it..I read the REST of the Bible that TELLS about who/what these other gods are....sheesh....literacy seems to be declining in here

          June 10, 2014 at 2:09 am |
        • Madtown

          God says he is the only TRE and Living God
          ----
          God "said" nothing in the bible. God didn't write the bible.

          June 9, 2014 at 10:13 am |
      • awanderingscot

        Comment not logged. Unregenerates are ignorant about the things of God.

        June 9, 2014 at 10:20 am |
        • G to the T

          Comment not logged. Error, redo from start...

          June 9, 2014 at 11:58 am |
  7. truthfollower01

    A question for skeptics:

    Why is there something instead of nothing?

    June 8, 2014 at 8:23 pm |
    • observer

      Beats me. No one knows how any God could have come from nothing and then created EVERYTHING from NOTHING. Maybe material just existed forever.

      June 8, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
      • Reality

        Amen !

        June 8, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
      • truthfollower01

        Observer,

        As I have explained to you in the past. God did not "come" from anything. There was never a time when God did not exist. He has ALWAYS existed. Concerning your possibility of material existing eternally, this has it's own issue. If material has always existed eternally in the past, why hasn't our universe come into and already gone out of existence forever ago, presuming we our a result of this "material" you speak of doing something to bring our universe into existence?

        June 8, 2014 at 10:40 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          When you refer to a general rule (something can't come from nothing) and then create a circu.mstance where that rule does not apply (god) without proper justification ....that is called "special pleading".

          What do you continue with that faulty logic?

          June 8, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
        • evolveddna

          truthfollower.. explain again then with evidence that god has always existed..you actually have no idea but have to believe that in order for your god hypothesis to work.

          June 8, 2014 at 10:56 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Blessed,

          You misunderstand the Christian position. God never "came" from anything. He has ALWAYS existed. He didn't come into existence. This is the Christian view. He exists necessarily, not contingently.

          June 8, 2014 at 11:07 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Oh I understand the position just fine. Your position is an assertion.

          Saying the rule does not apply to your god and providing nothing more to justify that assertion is special pleading.

          The real problem with your argument is that it can be used to argue for ANY god...not just the Christian one.

          What can be asserted without evidence can be rejected without evidence.

          June 8, 2014 at 11:13 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          The Christian's position is that everything that begins to exist has a cause.

          June 8, 2014 at 11:17 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Defining your god as not "beginning to exist" is still special pleading.

          But for hypothetical argument let's say that your god is immaterial. How does the mechanism for something immateral creating material actually work?

          June 8, 2014 at 11:37 pm |
      • truthfollower01

        So again, why is there something rather than nothing?

        June 8, 2014 at 10:42 pm |
        • igaftr

          belief follower
          Why do you think there is a reason?

          June 9, 2014 at 9:33 am |
      • observer

        truthfollower01,

        You are still completely STUMPED to come up with ANY proof that God always existed and then made EVERYTHING out of NOTHING.

        Try again and please use more logic this time.

        June 8, 2014 at 10:50 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Here we go again with the similar rhetoric. Do you believe that an infinite regress is possible? The Christian stance is the most logical. God is the powerful, immaterial, spaceless, timeless Being who brought space-time and material into existence.

          You think the most logical explanation is that "material" existed forever and then brought our universe into existence? If "material" existed forever in the past, why hasn't our universe already come into and gone out of existence forever ago?

          You have great blind faith if this is your personal view. Is there any evidence for the view you put forth?

          June 8, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          Maybe it took "forever" for atoms to interact enough to cause a "big bang". No one knows.

          We DO KNOW that there is NO PROOF that God exists. There is PROOF that material exists.

          June 8, 2014 at 11:04 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          "Maybe it took “forever” for atoms to interact enough to cause a “big bang”. No one knows."

          This makes no sense. If it took "forever" for the atoms to interact as you say, why hasn't our universe already come into and gone out of existence forever ago?

          June 8, 2014 at 11:11 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          An honest question. We have had many discussions in the past over various topics concerning God. What is your purpose for spending time on this blog? Are you genuinely searching for God? Let's say hypothetically that I was able answer all of your questions to your satisfaction. Would you bow your knee before God and follow Him in obedience as your Lord and Savior? Be honest please.

          June 8, 2014 at 11:22 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          Comment not logged. Unregenerates are ignorant about the things of God.

          June 9, 2014 at 10:15 am |
        • Madtown

          The Christian stance is the most logical.
          ----
          Says the christian. Interestingly(or not), the Muslim says the Muslim stance is the most logical. The Hindu states the Hindu stance is the most logical, and on. This is further evidence that each are a creation of the human mind.

          June 9, 2014 at 11:57 am |
      • Reality

        Once again:

        o Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this cha-otic, sto-cha-stic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the va-ga-ries of its local star.

        And to save some time, an update:

        o "In the 1930s, theoretical physicists, most notably Albert Einstein, considered the possibility of a cyclic model for the universe as an (everlasting) alternative to the model of an expanding universe. However, work by Richard C. Tolman in 1934 showed that these early attempts failed because of the entropy problem: according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, entropy can only increase.[1] This implies that successive cycles grow longer and larger. Extrapolating back in time, cycles before the present one become shorter and smaller culminating again in a Big Bang and thus not replacing it. This puzzling situation remained for many decades until the early 21st century when the recently discovered dark energy component provided new hope for a consistent cyclic cosmology.[2] In 2011, a five-year survey of 200,000 galaxies and spanning 7 billion years of cosmic time confirmed that "dark energy is driving our universe apart at accelerating speeds."[3][4]

        One new cyclic model is a brane cosmology model of the creation of the universe, derived from the earlier ekpyrotic model. It was proposed in 2001 by Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University and Neil Turok of Cambridge University. The theory describes a universe exploding into existence not just once, but repeatedly over time.[5][6] The theory could potentially explain why a mysterious repulsive form of energy known as the "cosmological constant", and which is accelerating the expansion of the universe, is several orders of magnitude smaller than predicted by the standard Big Bang model."
        A different cyclic model relying on the notion of phantom energy was proposed in 2007 by Lauris Baum and Paul Frampton of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[7]"

        June 9, 2014 at 6:40 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Better question

      Why does "something" = "Jesus"?

      June 8, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
      • awanderingscot

        Comment not logged. Unregenerates are ignorant about the things of God.

        June 9, 2014 at 10:33 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Cult Logic

          June 9, 2014 at 11:50 am |
    • alonsoquixote

      "In the case of a universe that is approximately uniform in space, one can show that this negative gravitational energy exactly cancels the positive energy represented by the matter. So the total energy of the universe is zero." In other words, it is not the case that something came out of nothing. It is that we have always had zero energy.

      ~ Stephen Hawking as quoted by Victor Stenger in "Has Science Found God?"

      Some people don't like the notion of a universe forming from quantum foam, but, instead, would much rather imagine a god forming the universe, which is why we have thousands of creation myths, including the two biblical ones, the one written by the Priestly Source in Genesis 1 and the older creation myth written by the Jahwist in Genesis 2, myths which borrow from older Sumerian mythology.

      Some people feel that they must have an answer as to how the universe came to be. They don't like "We don't know all the details"; they find "God created it" to be so much more satisfying. Some prefer the answer given thousands of years ago by our distant ancestors who said Atum or El, or Ptah, or Vishvakarman, or Yahweh, etc. created the universe. For some, that is a much more comforting answer. But if everything must have a cause then their god must have a cause as well, but of course they resort to special pleading in that case and say, "no, my god is an exception and has always existed."

      June 8, 2014 at 10:59 pm |
      • truthfollower01

        Alonso,

        Do you believe an infinite regress is possible? Let's take a look at your quantum foam. That just pushes back the question one step. Who or what created the quantum foam? Are you postulating that the quantum foam is eternal?

        June 8, 2014 at 11:05 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          Tell us who created God. You can't PROVE God wasn't created anymore than you can even prove he exists.

          You have ZERO PROOF that God wasn't created by Zeus.

          June 8, 2014 at 11:08 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          "Tell us who created God."

          God is not a created Being. He exists necessarily, not contingently. You can't have an infinite regress.

          "You have ZERO PROOF that God wasn’t created by Zeus."

          Let's start with the basics. Can you at least give some historical evidence for the actual existence of Zeus?

          June 8, 2014 at 11:16 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          Perhaps it is or perhaps we live in a cyclic universe with a big bang followed by a big crunch with the cycle repeating infinitely. You state something is eternal, a something you prefer to call "God" But why are you fixated on the idea that everything must have been created by a god? And a particular anthropomorphic deity of the ancient Near East, Yahweh, at that. Saying "God did it" is essentially meaningless. Why does "God" have to be an anthropomorphic being like the biblical god or even a sentient enti_ty of any kind. "God" could simply be some force of nature. One can just as well say as did Frank Lloyd Wright, "I believe in God, only I spell it 'Nature'."

          June 8, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          ruthfollower01, as for historical evidence for Zeus, there is as much historical evidence for Zeus as there is for Jesus or Yahweh.

          June 8, 2014 at 11:36 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          I have ZERO PROOF that Zeus existed.

          You have ZERO PROOF that God exists.

          Big difference: I admit it.

          June 9, 2014 at 10:42 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Alonso,

          Concerning your Big Crunch scenario, you may find the following article of interest. Read the section under Oscillating Models.

          http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-ultimate-question-of-origins-god-and-the-beginning-of-the-universe

          June 9, 2014 at 10:47 pm |
    • alonsoquixote

      "In the case of a universe that is approximately uniform in space, one can show that this negative gravitational energy exactly cancels the positive energy represented by the matter. So the total energy of the universe is zero." In other words, it is not the case that something came out of nothing. It is that we have always had zero energy.

      ~ Stephen Hawking as quoted by Victor Stenger in "Has Science Found God?"

      Some people don't like the notion of a universe forming from quantum foam, but, instead, would much rather imagine a god forming the universe, which is why we have thousands of creation myths, including the two biblical ones, the one written by the Priestly Source in Genesis 1 and the older creation myth written by the Jahwist in Genesis 2, which borrow from older Sumerian mythology.

      Some people feel that they must have an answer as to how the universe came to be. They don't like "We don't know all the details"; they find "God created it" to be so much more satisfying as an answer. Some prefer the answer given thousands of years ago by our distant ancestors who said Atum or El, or Ptah, or Vishvakarman, or Yahweh, etc. created the universe. For some, that is a much more comforting answer. But if everything must have a cause then their god must have a cause as well, but of course they resort to special pleading in that case and say, "no, my god is an exception and has always existed."

      June 8, 2014 at 11:05 pm |
      • awanderingscot

        Comment not logged. Unregenerates are ignorant about the things of God.

        June 9, 2014 at 10:23 am |
    • G to the T

      "Why is there something instead of nothing?"

      Answer = Because everything.

      June 9, 2014 at 9:03 am |
  8. hotairace

    They're all just faces of basically the same god delusion cult, competing for market share amongst the mentally ill and the under educated. Nothing new here. . .

    June 8, 2014 at 5:35 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      amen!

      June 8, 2014 at 10:51 pm |
      • awanderingscot

        Comment not logged. Unregenerates are ignorant about the things of God.

        June 9, 2014 at 10:25 am |
  9. Jones

    Do Christians, Muslims and Jews worship the same God?

    The key issue is: Who is Jesus? Christians clearly believe that Jesus is God.
    Since, Muslims and Jews disagree with the Christians on that key and critical fact, the answer is No.
    All three religions however believe that Abraham was the patriarch.

    The above disagreement should not and does not preclude human beings from getting along with each other in the spirit of camaraderie and should never attempt to hurt another for their belief.

    June 8, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
    • thesamyaza

      So 2/3 says your wrong their prophets,..and you say that makes you right.

      you know i asked a tree and he said Jesus, that gut cut down my brother.
      so i asked a demon and she said,.. like i care what you humans think your a plague to your world.
      so i asked an angel, he said nothing because their dicks
      so finally i asked a titan and he said grow up!

      June 8, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      No...the key issue is the god of the OT is the foundation of all 3 dogma's. Of course they diverge, Jesus is just believed to be the manifestation of the god of the OT.

      June 8, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
    • Ryan

      Spot on! It's funny when Non-Christians or Non-Jews or Non-Muslim try to weigh in and give their 2 cents on what the Christians or Muslims or Jews believe or don't believe in.

      June 8, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Being a non-Christian (or Jew or Muslim) does not preclude someone from understanding the belief.

        And many non-believers are non-believers because they were believers and do understand all too well.

        June 8, 2014 at 5:51 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          Comment not logged. Unregenerates are ignorant about the things of God.

          June 9, 2014 at 10:28 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Many non-believers were believers who after an open-minded read of the bible realized that it is so full of holes and lies, it is just foolish to accept it. When any of you provide sufficient evidence that you're right and we're wrong, we'll be open to consider it–sadly that is not the case for many believers.

        June 9, 2014 at 5:13 am |
        • awanderingscot

          Comment not logged. Unregenerates are ignorant about the things of God.

          June 9, 2014 at 10:28 am |
    • Reality

      Abraham is a myth as is Moses. So now what? Details previously provided. Check via Google or Bing or Yahoo via "the New Torah for Modern Minds".

      June 8, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        The general pattern in Arabian Empire conquests, was, as long as 1 local deity was identified, to say "well you worship Allah by another name, so *carry on*", (as long as monotheism was embraced). In that same general pattern, Islam wanted to claim Yahweh from their neighbor's religion as the same deity as Allah. So the claims are there. Historically we know the Hebrew "hosts of heaven" included many divine beings, and there are places in the OT where they even talk to each other, and discuss what course of action to take. Being "divine" in Hebrew culture, did not mean "of equal nature with Yahweh". Judaism does not accept the notion that was cooked up, and argued about, in early Christian councils, (the "trinity"). Originally Yahweh was the 70th son of the Babylonian chief deity, El Elyon. He had a wife, Ashura, (statues of her have been found in Jerusalem, Dan, Beth-el, and Shiloh. Allah originally was the crescent-moon phase of the Arabic moon god, named "Sin". (All proven by archaeological finds). Today they are all conflated. They are certainly not the same "ideas". Most people don't even reference anything specific, mentally, when they use the word "god". It means something different to every brain that uses it.

        June 8, 2014 at 6:02 pm |
        • Reality

          Only for those who do not know how to use search engines:

          origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

          New Torah For Modern Minds

          “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
          Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

          The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

          Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

          The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

          The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

          June 8, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          Comment not logged. Unregenerates are ignorant about the things of God.

          June 9, 2014 at 10:29 am |
  10. Bootyfunk

    Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all offshoots of the same cult. Christianity and Islam sprang from Judaism, all of which "borrowed" from other cults/religions/mythologies.

    June 8, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      The Hebrews chose Yahweh (the Babylonian war god, "the lord of hosts".... a *host* was an arrayed army formation) and made a "covenant" with him, that they wouldn't worship any of the other gods they all believed in, (it's called monolateralist polytheism), IF he would help them in their battles with their neighboring city-states, and with expansionary land ambitions. So it goes back to at least Babylon. The precursor of Allah was one of Yahweh's brother gods. Many interesting finds about all this were unearthed when the ancient Royal Library at Ashurbanipal was discovered, by archaeologists.

      June 8, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
      • awanderingscot

        Comment not logged. Unregenerates are ignorant about the things of God.

        June 9, 2014 at 10:30 am |
        • igaftr

          scot
          You, like everyone , is ignorant if there are any gods or not. Ignoring people because they don't believe what you believe is silly. You have to believe in god to know god, is completely baseless.

          June 9, 2014 at 11:15 am |
    • awanderingscot

      Comment not logged. Unregenerates are ignorant about the things of God.

      June 9, 2014 at 10:31 am |
  11. Keith

    Although they all trace their linage back to Abraham they abandoned the "God of Abraham" long ago. The Jews and the Muslims worship the Moon god of war but the Christians worship a "Three in One God" created by the meeting of bishops that Constantine, held in Nicea to consolidate his control over the Roman Army.

    June 8, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
  12. MidwestKen

    @Belief Blog,
    Just curious, why is this article being reposted after more than a year?

    June 8, 2014 at 11:50 am |
    • doobzz

      Laziness?

      June 8, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
  13. SeaVik

    Do they worship the same god? What a strange question. Is the figment of one person's imagination the same as that of another? I suppose everyone who believes in a god has imagined that god in their own unique way. Since god is only imagined, no two people believe in the same version of a god. So essentially everyone is an atheist towards anyone else's version of god.

    June 8, 2014 at 11:39 am |
  14. Reality

    The Abrahamic god? Give us a break !! Said god does not exist, nor did Abraham. Details previously presented. Next topic.

    June 8, 2014 at 10:11 am |
  15. calebboone

    Dear Mr. Weiss:

    I have read your article carefully.

    You did not mention the most important, and most well-known reason Christians believe that Jews and Muslims do not worship God.

    That is: Jesus is the Only Way to God.

    Jesus is the Only Path to Heaven, and the Only Name by which anyone can be forgiven of sin and saved.

    Now, of course, Jews and Muslims many not believe that.

    But Christians do.

    Therefore, that must be the only reason, or perhaps we might label it the "paramount reason" Christians believe that Jews and Muslims do not believe in The One and Only True God.

    I was surprised that you did not mention this in your article.

    Sincerely yours,
    Caleb Boone.

    June 8, 2014 at 9:13 am |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      "A less exclusivist set of religions might shrug off the differences. But all three claim to have the only “True Faith.”

      You are just proving his point.

      June 8, 2014 at 9:36 am |
    • igaftr

      Christians do not believe in any one and only true god either. Their god specifically tells them not to worship the other gods, so christians are polythesistic. Why else would their god tell them NOT to worship the OTHER gods before "him"?

      June 8, 2014 at 9:37 am |
      • G to the T

        I believe the term is "Monalitry" – the belief that mulitple gods exist, but only one is worthy of worship. Can be seen a stepping stone from polytheims to monotheism.

        June 9, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • revealer003

          There is only one true God but God acknowledges that there are false gods created by man, man setting himself up as god, as well as demonic forces that masquerade as gods. All through the Bible we see various groups including the Israelites turn to false gods (golden calf, Baal, etc.) and God always called the Israelites back to Himself. Christians are not supposed to be polytheistic and they should understand that there is only one true God and no other.

          June 19, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
  16. 00 00

    refute what jesus said.

    January 19, 2014 at 3:45 am |
    • stewpidmonkey

      Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.

      Not possible, There is no mountain high enough for one to see the kingdoms in China, Egypt, the Galec lands, etc.

      March 31, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
      • revealer003

        We have to account for the supernatural when the Devil took Jesus up to the highest mountain to show him all of the kingdoms of the world. I don't know how the devil did it but as humans we can use satellite transmissions to show images from around the world at the same time. I am sure that something supernatural was happening in this instance. We can't just look at Jesus' activities as purely physical. There is the spiritual as well as supernatural component to consider.

        June 19, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
    • G to the T

      Do you mean "refute what the biblical authors claim Jesus said"?

      June 9, 2014 at 11:32 am |
  17. Joe M

    Leave it to a Pope or any other "heathen" to profess that all religions worship the same GOD. The Catholics worship the Sun while using Christianity to hide it. Islam also plagiarized from Christianity as well. There seemed to be a trend. And we have also seen much false "evidence" of other religions creeping up in the past 100 years, claiming to have come before the Christian faith. But NONE have proven themselves over time to be TRUTH. Islam continues to do damage in the world. Catholicism continues to exalt a man to be authority over the Christian world. Of course, its all pretend for the sake of Mary the sun goddess.

    It doesnt matter that Christ was nailed once. He continues to be crucified over and over by the world. And as He told us, know that when the world hates us for walking Truth, they hated Him first.

    Christianity in its truest essence, well before the roman religion, has always been clear and precise. And fully accurate in defining the world. All others are worshiping suns, statues, murderers, symbols, and anything other than TRUTH. Christianity without denomination will forever be the ONLY TRUTH.

    January 9, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
    • Dick

      Joe, somebody forgot to tell you. There is no god.

      January 14, 2014 at 11:50 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80
Advertisement
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.