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September 15th, 2013
07:54 AM ET

Jerusalem's 5 most contested holy sites

By Daniel BurkeCNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

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(CNN) -  Heaven and Earth are said to meet atop Jerusalem’s sacred mounts, but the city’s stony streets have seen more than their share of violence.

King David subdued the Jebusites, the city's Canaanite founders. The Babylonians and Romans routed the Jews. Muslims booted the Byzantines. Christian Crusaders mauled Muslims and were, in turn, tossed out by the Tartars.

The Ottomans followed, then Britain, then Jordan, before finally, in 1967, the city came nearly full circle when Israel annexed East Jerusalem. That sparked another cycle of violence, this time between Israelis and Palestinians.

“It’s easily the most contentious piece of real estate in the world,” says Anthony Bourdain, who visits Jerusalem in the season premiere of “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown,” which debuts Sunday night on CNN.

“And there’s no hope - none - of ever talking about it without pissing someone off.”

MORE FROM CNN: Exploring Jerusalem's Old City 

Why would people argue about a holy place?

You might call it the Jerusalem Paradox: If the city wasn't considered so sacred, there'd be nothing to fight about.

But since the days of the Jebusites, more than 3,000 years ago, the otherwise unremarkable place has been called a portal to paradise, and everyone elbows for a closer look.

After all, how many places can list God on their guest registry?  And Abraham, David, Solomon, the Virgin Mary, Jesus and the Prophet Mohammed as well.

“The city is chockablock full of places that have historical meaning for different groups of people - and they are all contested,” said Samuel Heilman, a professor of Jewish Studies at Queens College in New York and author of “A Walker in Jerusalem.”

“Everybody’s story is just one of many,” Heilman said. “And so they not only try to make their story the right story, they try to delegitimize everyone else’s.”

Some Muslims say Jerusalem never housed a Jewish temple; some Jews argue that Mohammed never visited the sacred city, and the argument runs on and on … for centuries.

And it’s not just Muslims, Christians and Jews fighting each other. Sometimes the most serious squabbles erupt within the faith themselves. Want to see Christian monks fist-fight? Go to Jerusalem.

The good news is, all three Abrahamic faiths teach that the Messiah will eventually return to Jerusalem and sort the whole thing out.

Until then, here are the sacred city’s five most contested sites:

1. The Temple Mount

This broad platform in Jerusalem’s Old City is said to have hosted an almost unimaginable series of sacred events.

The rabbinic sages say that God gathered dust from this spot to create Adam, the first man, before setting him loose in the Garden of Eden.

Jewish tradition holds that the Temple Mount also contains Mount Moriah, where Abraham, the Hebrew patriarch, is said to have nearly sacrificed his son - under God’s orders - before an angel intervened.

Later, Solomon constructed the first Jewish Temple on the mount, including the Holy of Holies, a room that kept the Ark of the Covenant, which was said to contain the tablets on which God wrote the Ten Commandments.

Only the Jewish high priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, where tradition holds he met with God on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. Rabbis say that Jews are still forbidden to step on the Temple Mount, for fear of intruding on the Holy of Holies.

The Temple was destroyed twice, first by the Babylonians and then by the Romans. Religious Jews pray the Third Temple will be built by the Messiah himself.

Since 1967, the Temple Mount has been an almost constant source of tension because it is also home to the …

2. Haram al-Sharif

Muslims call the Temple Mount "Haram al-Sharif" (the Noble Sanctuary), and it's home to one of the most sacred sites in Islam: the al-Aqsa Mosque.

Muslims believe that the Prophet Mohammed was carried on a flying steed from Mecca to al-Aqsa during his miraculous Night Journey, said Muqtedar Khan, an expert on Islam and politics at the University of Delaware.

“It’s all about al-Aqsa,” said Khan. “That’s why all Muslims are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.”

According to Islamic tradition, the night journey took Mohammed to the same Jerusalem rock on which Abraham nearly sacrificed his son, where the Muslim founder led Abraham, Moses and Jesus in prayers as the last of God's prophets.

That rock is now said to sit in the Dome of the Rock, whose golden roof gleams above the Old City skyline.

Since its construction in the seventh century, the Haram al-Sharif,  now controlled by an Islamic trust, has been an almost constant source of tension between Muslims and Jews.

In the 1980s, Jewish radicals plotted to blow up the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa, believing that it would lead to a spiritual revolution and usher in the messiah.

In 2000, the Second Intifada – a five-year-long Palestinian uprising - was sparked, Palestinians say, after Ariel Sharon, then a candidate for Israeli Prime Minister, visited the compound surrounding al-Aqsa.

Sharon insisted that his visit was not intended to provoke Palestinians, but many saw it as an attempt to underline Israel’s claim to Jerusalem’s holy sites.

3. The Western Wall

Israeli soldiers wept when they saw the Western Wall in 1967, after seizing East Jerusalem from Jordan.

“We have returned to our most holy places,” said one Israeli general. “We have returned and we shall never leave them.”

Located at the foot of the Temple Mount, the 62-foot-tall stone wall once supported the courtyard of the ancient temple, the center of Jewish spiritual life for centuries.

For Jews, the wall is one of the last remaining links to that time, and they gather before it to hold religious services, to pray or to slip notes into its cracks.

“There's a tradition that notes put in the wall are like notes transmitted to heaven,” Heilman said, “since this is as close as Jews were able for generations to get to the Temple Mount where they believed God dwelt on earth.”

How close Jews get - and which kind of Jews - has been a subject of fierce debate in recent years.

The praying area is divided into men’s and women’s sections, and ultra-Orthodox men have hurled chairs at women who sing and pray at the wall or try to enter the men’s section, accusing them of violating Jewish law.

In response, a group called Women of the Wall has launched a highly publicized protest campaign to win the right to wear prayer shawls, lead prayers and read collectively from the Torah at the holy site.

4. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

In the fourth century, after converting to Christianity, Emperor Constantine launched what historian Karen Armstrong calls “one of the first recorded archaeological excavations in history.”

He was looking for Jesus’ tomb and thought he found it in Jerusalem. Constantine asked his mother to oversee the construction of a magnificent church on the site.

Originally called the Church of Resurrection, it was destroyed by a Muslim caliph in 1009, but later Muslim leaders allowed Christians to rebuild the church.

Now called the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, it is believed by many Christians to house a piece of the cross on which Jesus was crucified, his tomb and the site of his resurrection.

Under a centuries-old agreement, the church is shared by six Christian communities, but they squabble over every stone, sometimes coming to blows over perceived slights.

In 2008, for example, Israeli riot police broke up a melee between Greek Orthodox and Armenian monks. Ethiopian monks reportedly sneaked into the church's rooftop monastery during Easter prayers in 1970 and changed the locks, evicting the its former owners, the Copts.

The six Christian communities at the Holy Sepulcher don’t even trust each other with the church keys. A Muslim family has held them, opening the church every morning and closing it every night since the 12th century.

5. The Garden Tomb

Not all Christians believe that Jesus was buried and rose again at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

In the 19th century, doubts crept in about Constantine’s site, said Robert Wilken, a professor of Christian history at the University of Virginia.

“What it really boils down to is that Protestants came to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the 19th century and were appalled that it was an Orthodox church,” Wilken said. The icons and incense were apparently too much for Protestants more austere sensibilities.

In 1867, British Christians unearthed what they believe was the garden of Joseph of Arimathea, outside the Old City's Damascus Gate, where they believe Jesus was entombed.

The Gospel of John says that Jesus' tomb was near a garden, and the British Christians who run the Garden Tomb say their site matches the Bible’s descriptions perfectly.

The tomb is carved from solid rock, it sits near an escarpment that looks like a skull (Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified, means “place of the skull,”) and most importantly, they say, the tomb is empty, signifying a resurrected Jesus.

READ MORE: 10 things to know before visiting Israel, the West Bank and Gaza

So, is there any chance the battle for Jerusalem will end before the End Times?

Muqtedar Khan says yes, if the traditions that trace their history to Abraham - Jews, Muslims and Christians - start seeing themselves as part of the same sacred lineage, rather than three separate religions.

"If there were willing to share this identity," Khan said, "perhaps they'd be more willing to share Jerusalem."

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown • Belief • Christianity • Greek Orthodox Church • History • Houses of worship • Interfaith issues • Israel • Israel • Jerusalem • Judaism • Middle East • Muslim • Religious violence • Sacred Spaces

soundoff (453 Responses)
  1. Tareq Abdeen

    I prefer my favorite chef anthony bourdain stick to culinary and food shows and let alone politics ...

    September 15, 2013 at 11:55 am |
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    ASIAN SEAMANA .

    ARE KILLING THE VENEZUELAN LIVING .

    HUAMANALLLSAXOLLL RACE STUDIES .

    NORTH AMERICAN AGENCIES USING HACKER FOR COLLECTORS NOT PUBLISHED REPORTS OF ASIAN CRIME .

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    ASIAN SEAMANA .

    ARE KILLING THE VENEZUELAN LIVING .

    HUAMANALLLSAXOLLL RACE STUDIES .

    NORTH AMERICAN AGENCIES USING HACKER FOR COLLECTORS NOT PUBLISHED REPORTS OF ASIAN CRIME .

    TRY TO WRITE NAMES OF ASIAN MINISTERS AND EVEN CHILDREN AND THESE CRIMES AGENCIES DO NOT LET THAT PUBLISHED IN COMPLICES COMBIRTIENDOCE .

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    NORTH AMERICAN AGENCIES USING HACKER FOR COLLECTORS NOT PUBLISHED REPORTS OF ASIAN CRIME .

    TRY TO WRITE NAMES OF ASIAN MINISTERS AND EVEN CHILDREN AND THESE CRIMES AGENCIES DO NOT LET THAT PUBLISHED IN COMPLICES COMBIRTIENDOCE .

    INCENTIVES TO HANDLE WOMEN NANOTECHNOLOGY IN WOMEN .

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    September 15, 2013 at 11:32 am |
  3. A Dose of Reality

    Is there any religious person out there that can prove to us Atheists that Zeus and Apollo are not real? If so, please do. And then, we can use YOUR method to prove that your god is not real. Ok all you religious folks, we're waiting! Up for the challenge? Or will you just quote some more BUYBULL nonsense in response?

    September 15, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • SouthernCelt

      What good is there in proving God's existence to you when you won't accept events that happened prior to your birth? If you don't accept or acknowledge them why would you accept anything now? The evidence is all around you and abundantly available in this day and age. If your mind was open you would find it, but a closed mind sees nothing.

      September 15, 2013 at 11:39 am |
      • Robert

        Unquestioning pot calling the thinking kettle black.

        Of course as always, the challenged is ignored as you know it is not possible. If you studied logic, you would know you cannot disprove a negative.

        I am sorry but to those that think, you come across as pathetic.

        September 15, 2013 at 11:44 am |
        • SouthernCelt

          I'll challenge you right back. Show me one thing that Zeus or Apollo have done. I can show you hundreds of things proving God's existence. I can show you lots of things that baffle Science. As for Logic, read Thomas Aquinas. He says it far better than I can.

          September 15, 2013 at 11:53 am |
        • Robert

          You don't have to show me hundreds of things proving god's existence. I challenge you to show me JUST ONE PROVEN, YES PROVEN thing that shows god's existence. That's all I ask, just one. Then prove it was "god" and not "Zeus" that did it.

          September 15, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • A Dose of Reality

          Southern whatever....you have no proof...just your opinion. but you cannot tell the difference. Do you even understand what the word PROOF means?

          September 15, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
      • stewpidmonkey

        Lol. wait. Your reason for ducking the question is to place blame because someone doesn't beleive your claim. Isn't that the point?

        Hey...my great great great great great grandfather invented the question mark. Since I said it, and I have it in writting, then IT MUST be true correct? Lol. So you have to believe me! That is basically your claim? lmmfao. wow.

        January 28, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Sired as "A Dose of Reality" has asked, "Is there any religious person out there that can prove to us Atheists that Zeus and Apollo are not real.?"

      Zeus. Apollo, Athena and all the rest of Grecian and Roman ideological ordinations are but sons and daughters of God Almighty... Today's folklores are found within movies more often than in book-lore... A person's abilities to dream the dreams of one's desires is hampered by socialized traditionalisms from which the individualist barters away their dream fields of individualized securities and becomes part of a pride or a group with an Alpha superior being the domineering force in cultish sociologies...

      September 15, 2013 at 11:46 am |
      • Robert

        Obviously you do not understand the word PROVE.

        September 15, 2013 at 11:48 am |
        • Lionly Lamb

          Shackled Sired Robert...

          Why should anyone of Christian assent desire to prove an atheist's point of view declaring the Sons and Daughters of God as being a relative conditioning by our ancient ancestry pools..?

          September 15, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • Robert

          Interpretation ... "I can't so I won't and I am going to take my ball and go home because I don't want to play with you.".

          Religious people don't want to try to "PROVE" that god exists because they fear the results.

          September 15, 2013 at 11:57 am |
        • A Dose of Reality

          Me thinks Lionly Lamb is a chicken or a coward.

          September 15, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          Sired Roberta...

          How the hell can anyone prove anything to anyone who is damning and hostile to another's breaking the breads of thought mindedness..? I find your séance of wordage usages as being antagonizing and against the grains of thought mindfulness... Your disparagements are "argumentively" asinine and delves beyond comparative contriteness...

          September 15, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
        • Robert

          If you keep talking in circles, then I will keep calling you out on it. You disparage actual thought, intelligent reasoning, and critical thinking. Anytime anyone challenges you to actual proof, you get defensive, and aggressive. "séance of wordage usages". Where did you steal that from. I have not used "séance of wordage usages", I have used logic, pure and simple. Something your ilk seems afraid of.

          September 15, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
      • stewpidmonkey

        what nonsense are you spewing. Using big words does not show any type of wisdom. lol.

        January 28, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
  4. A Dose of Reality

    Faith that could stand up to any form of reason is long gone. Our knowledge of the world from 2000 years ago to what we now know about the world has irrevocably changed the need for religion. We do not need God to explain things; and religion becomes obsolete as an explanation when it becomes optional or one among many different beliefs. We now see that the leap of faith is not just one leap; it is a leap repeatedly made, and a leap that becomes more difficult to take the more it is taken, reaching its pinnacle in blind allegiance and active denial and rejection of any other possibilities. At that point, the credibility of the faithful is entirely lost.

    September 15, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • SouthernCelt

      Saint Augustine once said "I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe" . Pope Benedict (still alive if you want to talk to him) echoed the Saint's view many times as one of his favorite Saints, is that recent enough for you? Faith and Reason are the two wings of the Soul (also from Saint Augustine). Forget your prejudice, open you mind, and read what he had to say. A simple search for 'Faith and Reason' should lead you right to him.

      September 15, 2013 at 11:46 am |
      • Robert

        Quoting scripture to prove scripture or quoting someone's belief in something unproven as proof as both often repeated fallacies of the religious.

        September 15, 2013 at 11:50 am |
        • SouthernCelt

          Saint Augustine did not write any Scripture. He's just a smart philosopher with more patience than I possess. Turn off the computer a read a book. Education opens the mind, travel expands it. I recommend Knock, Ireland, Lourdes, France, and Fatima, Portugal for an itinerary.

          September 15, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
        • Robert

          I know who St. Augustine is and that fell under the "quoting someone’s belief in something unproven" part of what I wrote. Perhaps you should seek knowledge in more than one book as your reasoning and comprehension appears to be lacking. I have traveled. Unlike you, I have traveled the world and explored diverse cultures, not just a few western cultures all very similar in nature. May I suggest you travel to Thailand, Malaysia, China, Nigeria, Ghana, Costa Rica, Russia?

          September 15, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
      • stewpidmonkey

        Saint Augustine once said "I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe" . <-this is great. The only thing is that people do not live this way and knowledge is not gained this way. talk about starting with a presupposition. The problem is that faith is not a vehicle to knowledge. Let's look at what hebrews 11 has to say on the subject.

        "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." <-this sums it all up. Those that have faith DO NOT know they have truth. It's a hope that they are correct nothing more.

        Pope Benedict (still alive if you want to talk to him) echoed the Saint's view many times as one of his favorite Saints, is that recent enough for you? Faith and Reason are the two wings of the Soul<–This is so begging the question. What is a soul? Where is it? How do you test or measure it? If you can't, then how do you know it's real? Faith and Reason are two opposing sides and are NOT compatible.

        Faith. Hebrews 11 already stated what faith is about. It's about hoping you are correct and trusting in your bronze aged books. Reason does not trust. Reason actually needs people to be skeptical. If you cannot look at things from various angles, you cannot reason logically. For instance. I see a twinkling light in the night sky. After years of reaserach we find out that it is a gaseous ball of flame. I can now use reason to say, this is plausible. Can religion do that? No.
        nt Augustine). Forget your prejudice, open you mind, and read what he had to say. A simple search for 'Faith and Reason' should lead you right to him. <– I ask you the same.

        January 28, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
    • Bob Bales

      Faith doesn't have to 'stand up' to reason, as it is based on reason. This is true now, as it has been for well over 2000 years. Atheists will probably claim this is not so, but those who have faith are much more qualified to define what it is than are those who don't.

      September 15, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
      • Robert

        Negative logic to prove negative logic. I am sorry, but what a crock. Can you ever, just once, make a logical argument that does not involve circular logic along the lines of .... it's true ... therefore it is true. Sorry, but logical proofs do not work that way.

        Using the basis of a logical proof, the faithful are the least qualified.

        September 15, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
        • Bob Bales

          I did not say something is true because it is true. In fact, in the posting to which you responded, I did not even say that what theists believe is true. I merely pointed out that faith and reason are not opposed, as faith is based on reason.

          September 15, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
        • Robert

          Except we are talking about religion here and there is certainly a disconnect between faith and reason.

          September 15, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
        • Bob Bales

          Atheists say there is a disconnect between faith and reason, but there really is not. They appear to be projecting their though process onto others: they look at the evidence and conclude that God doesn't exist. So they presume that everyone must conclude from the evidence that God doesn't exist. But there is no rule that says everyone must think like atheists. And, in fact, people - millions of them - have looked at the evidence and concluded that God does exist.

          Atheists cannot show that their reasoning is any better or closer to reality that that of those who have reached a different conclusion than they have.

          September 15, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
        • Robert

          Actually we can and do prove things on a regular basis as atheists.

          Also we do not "make up" the rules of logic or proof. Such a simple concept as cause and effect is missing in religious proof. All you ever have is effect, but never ever ever any proof of cause.

          The difference is, we as atheists may say, "We don't know the cause ... yet". You are theists say, I don't know the cause therefore it must be god.

          We use logic, correlated reasoning, etc. You do not.

          You have absolutely not one, NOT EVEN ONE shred of independently verifiable evidence of an actual act by god. You point to the world around us .... and say "that is proof enough". Well guess what, that is only proof if you stop using critical thinking"

          September 15, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
        • Bob Bales

          Atheists have proved nothing regarding the existence of God.

          Few if any of the things theists say involve "I don't know the cause therefore it must be God." And atheists say, "We don't know the cause ... yet, but we are sure it isn't God." There is no logical difference between this and what you claim theists say.

          "We use logic, correlated reasoning, etc. You do not." This is simply false. Theists use exactly the same cause and effect, logic, and correlated reasoning as atheists. Again, that we reach different conclusions is not any indication that we do not follow the process.

          You state that there is not a shred of evidence for an act by God as if that were a fact. It is not. It is your opinion, nothing more. Millions of people have looked and have found evidence of acts by God. That you did not find evidence carries no more weight, and is no more likely to be true, than others' finding of evidence.

          September 15, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
        • Robert

          You still do not get this logic thing.

          When science does not know something, they do not attribute it to a magical sky ferry that NO ONE has ever seen, NO ONE has ever verifiably heard, and NO ONE has ever directly seen an action of. That is the difference. In science there is this thing called verifiable proof, something of which you have absolutely none, 0, nothing, no matter how much you make up. Heck, all you have is a couple books, written by third parties, that are not complete, politically motivated ....

          September 15, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
        • Bob Bales

          That a telescope has not seen a bacterium does not show bacteria do not exist: a telescope is not the proper instrument to study bacteria. Similarly, the absence of scientific proof does not show God does not exist: science does not have the proper instruments to study God.

          The statement that no one has seen God's acts is, as it was before, only your opinion. Many people have believed they have seen acts of God. You cannot objectively exclude the possibility that they, not you, are right. In your terms, your statements lack verifiable proof.

          I do not base my conclusions only on books, but on the same thing than you have available - which is all of history.

          Logical reasoning is a process, not a conclusion. I see evidence that God exists. You don't. But you can't deny that I do. And since I do, then it is completely logical and reasonable for me to conclude that God does, in fact, exist.

          September 16, 2013 at 2:30 am |
      • stewpidmonkey

        Lmao. Here are the two problems with your post.

        1. Hebrews 11 already defines faith for the christian. – Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. You know nothing as truth. lol.

        2. You also realize that the majority of atheist are from faith based religions. lol.

        January 28, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
  5. Buck Rogers

    "The good news is, all three Abrahamic faiths teach that the Messiah will eventually return to Jerusalem and sort the whole thing out."

    This statement is false for the Christ follower as old Jerusalem was left "desolate" By Christ, rebuked by Christ, and He declared it to be "Sodom and Egypt" in Revelation. Christ has prepared the golden city of New Jerusalem which is above (Heb 12:22). This Earth will be burned up and dissolved, and "Sodom and Egypt" will go down with it. "Behold, I make all things new".

    September 15, 2013 at 10:53 am |
  6. too much fun

    I've been working on a new kids game,, called 'Crucify Jesus'. It's a fun game where you need to do stuff to him. ie. if you put a crown on him, he's temporarily blinded. But you must do it when he's off guard as in preaching to crowds. He can escape, like walk on water. What you need to do is lure him to John the Baptist,, then quickly put holes in his feet. Doing so will cause him to sink when he walks on water (the holes allow water through). If you only get one foot, then he limps across water which slows him down.

    One of his pitfalls is that he descends to see satan. There you can nail his side, but be quick.

    When you finally crucify him, he then transforms into god. As he becomes god, you must start to destroy his power. His followers will now try to stone you to death. You need to start with the muslim and christian ministers. Once you have terminated them, the followers become confused zombies and can no longer harm you. Next, you need to destroy the religious right muslims and christians. much more fun stuff.

    Kids will love it! It will be the talk of parochial schools.

    September 15, 2013 at 10:53 am |
  7. A Dose of Reality

    A few questions should help shed light on the relationship between religion and rational thought.
    The completely absurd theory that all 7,000,000,000 human beings are simultaneously being supervised 24 hours a day, every day of their lives by an immortal, invisible being for the purposes of reward or punishment in the “afterlife” comes from the field of:
    (a) Astronomy;
    (b) Medicine
    ;(c) Economics; or
    (d) Christianity
    You are about 70% likely to believe the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with only one man, one woman and a talking snake if you are a:
    (a) historian;
    (b) geologist;
    (c) NASA astronomer; or
    (d) Christian
    I have convinced myself that gay $ex is a choice and not genetic, but then have no explanation as to why only gay people have ho.mo$exual urges. I am
    (a) A gifted psychologist
    (b) A well respected geneticist
    (c) A highly educated sociologist
    (d) A Christian with the remarkable ability to ignore inconvenient facts.
    I honestly believe that, when I think silent thoughts like, “please god, help me pass my exam tomorrow,” some invisible being is reading my mind and will intervene and alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to help me. I am
    (a) a delusional schizophrenic;
    (b) a naïve child, too young to know that that is silly
    (c) an ignorant farmer from Sudan who never had the benefit of even a fifth grade education; or
    (d) your average Christian
    Millions and millions of Catholics believe that bread and wine turns into the actual flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because:
    (a) there are obvious visible changes in the condiments after the Catholic priest does his hocus pocus;
    (b) tests have confirmed a divine presence in the bread and wine;
    (c) now and then their god shows up and confirms this story; or
    (d) their religious convictions tell them to blindly accept this completely fvcking absurd nonsense.
    I believe that an all powerful being, capable of creating the entire cosmos watches me have $ex to make sure I don't do anything "naughty". I am
    (a) A victim of child molestation
    (b) A r.ape victim trying to recover
    (c) A mental patient with paranoid delusions
    (d) A Christian
    The only discipline known to often cause people to kill others they have never met and/or to commit suicide in its furtherance is:
    (a) Architecture;
    (b) Philosophy;
    (c) Archeology; or
    (d) Religion
    What is it that most differentiates science and all other intellectual disciplines from religion
    :(a) Religion tells people not only what they should believe, but what they are morally obliged to believe on pain of divine retribution, whereas science, economics, medicine etc. has no “sacred cows” in terms of doctrine and go where the evidence leads them;
    (b) Religion can make a statement, such as “there is a composite god comprised of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, and be totally immune from experimentation and challenge, whereas science can only make factual assertions when supported by considerable evidence
    ;(c) Science and the scientific method is universal and consistent all over the World whereas religion is regional and a person’s religious conviction, no matter how deeply held, is clearly nothing more than an accident of birth; or
    (d) All of the above.
    If I am found wandering the streets flagellating myself, wading into a filth river, mutilating my child’s genitals or kneeling down in a church believing that a being is somehow reading my inner thoughts and prayers, I am likely driven by:
    (a) a deep psychiatric issue;
    (b) an irrational fear or phobia;
    (c) a severe mental degeneration caused by years of drug abuse;
    or(d) my religious belief.
    Who am I? I don’t pay any taxes. I never have. Any money my organization earns is tax free and my own salary is also tax free, at the federal, state and local level. Despite contributing nothing to society, but still enjoying all its benefits, I feel I have the right to tell others what to do. I am
    (a) A sleazy Wall Street banker
    (b) A mafia boss
    (c) A drug pusher; or
    (d) A Catholic Priest, Protestant Minister or Jewish Rabbi.
    What do the following authors all have in common – Jean Paul Sartre, Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, David Hume, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, John Milton, John Locke, and Blaise Pascal:
    (a) They are among the most gifted writers the World has known;
    (b) They concentrated on opposing dogma and opening the human mind and spirit to the wonders of free thought and intellectual freedom;
    (c) They were intimidated by the Catholic Church and put on the Church’s list of prohibited authors; or
    (d) All of the above.
    The AIDS epidemic will kill tens of millions in poor African and South American countries before we defeat it. Condoms are an effective way to curtail its spread. As the Pope still has significant influence over the less educated masses in these parts of the World, he has exercised this power by
    :(a) Using some of the Vatican’s incomprehensible wealth to educate these vulnerable people on health family planning and condom use;
    (b) Supporting government programs that distribute condoms to high risk groups;
    (c) Using its myriad of churches in these regions to distribute condoms; or
    (d) Scaring people into NOT using condoms, based upon his disdainful and aloof view that it is better that a person die than go against the Vatican’s position on contraceptive use.

    September 15, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • Holy Moley

      If you write off ther top of your head, it is amazing.

      September 15, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • RRWRWERWER23543245

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      ESTUDIOS DE LA RAZA HUAMANALLLSAXOLLL.

      AGENCIAS NORTE AMERICANAS USANDO COLECTORES HACKER PARA QUE NO SE PUBLIQUEN DENUNCIAS DE CRIMENES ASIATICOS.

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      SEAMANA ASIATICA.

      ESTUDIOS DE LA RAZA HUAMANALLLSAXOLLL.

      AGENCIAS NORTE AMERICANAS USANDO COLECTORES HACKER PARA QUE NO SE PUBLIQUEN DENUNCIAS DE CRIMENES ASIATICOS.

      TRATAMOS DE ESCRIBIR NOMBRES DE MINISTROS ASIATICOS Y CRIMENES INCLUSO HIJOS Y ESTAS AGENCIAS NO DEJAN QUE SE PUBLIQUEN COMBIRTIENDOCE EN COMPLICES.

      NANOTECNOLOGIA PARA MANIPULAR MUJERES ESTIMULOS EN MUJERES.

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      SEAMANA ASIATICA.

      ESTUDIOS DE LA RAZA HUAMANALLLSAXOLLL.

      AGENCIAS NORTE AMERICANAS USANDO COLECTORES HACKER PARA QUE NO SE PUBLIQUEN DENUNCIAS DE CRIMENES ASIATICOS.

      TRATAMOS DE ESCRIBIR NOMBRES DE MINISTROS ASIATICOS Y CRIMENES INCLUSO HIJOS Y ESTAS AGENCIAS NO DEJAN QUE SE PUBLIQUEN COMBIRTIENDOCE EN COMPLICES.

      NANOTECNOLOGIA PARA MANIPULAR MUJERES ESTIMULOS EN MUJERES.

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      SEAMANA ASIATICA.

      ESTUDIOS DE LA RAZA HUAMANALLLSAXOLLL.

      AGENCIAS NORTE AMERICANAS USANDO COLECTORES HACKER PARA QUE NO SE PUBLIQUEN DENUNCIAS DE CRIMENES ASIATICOS.

      TRATAMOS DE ESCRIBIR NOMBRES DE MINISTROS ASIATICOS Y CRIMENES INCLUSO HIJOS Y ESTAS AGENCIAS NO DEJAN QUE SE PUBLIQUEN COMBIRTIENDOCE EN COMPLICES.

      NANOTECNOLOGIA PARA MANIPULAR MUJERES ESTIMULOS EN MUJERES.

      http://hrwpgi.blog.com/wp-admin/

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      http://hrwpgi.blog.com/wp-admin/

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      SEAMANA ASIATICA.

      ESTUDIOS DE LA RAZA HUAMANALLLSAXOLLL.

      AGENCIAS NORTE AMERICANAS USANDO COLECTORES HACKER PARA QUE NO SE PUBLIQUEN DENUNCIAS DE CRIMENES ASIATICOS.

      TRATAMOS DE ESCRIBIR NOMBRES DE MINISTROS ASIATICOS Y CRIMENES INCLUSO HIJOS Y ESTAS AGENCIAS NO DEJAN QUE SE PUBLIQUEN COMBIRTIENDOCE EN COMPLICES.

      NANOTECNOLOGIA PARA MANIPULAR MUJERES ESTIMULOS EN MUJERES.

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      SEAMANA ASIATICA.

      ESTUDIOS DE LA RAZA HUAMANALLLSAXOLLL.

      AGENCIAS NORTE AMERICANAS USANDO COLECTORES HACKER PARA QUE NO SE PUBLIQUEN DENUNCIAS DE CRIMENES ASIATICOS.

      TRATAMOS DE ESCRIBIR NOMBRES DE MINISTROS ASIATICOS Y CRIMENES INCLUSO HIJOS Y ESTAS AGENCIAS NO DEJAN QUE SE PUBLIQUEN COMBIRTIENDOCE EN COMPLICES.

      NANOTECNOLOGIA PARA MANIPULAR MUJERES ESTIMULOS EN MUJERES.

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      September 15, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • SouthernCelt

      Bandwidth waster!

      September 15, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
      • Robert

        Are you telling me that Santa does not really know if we are good or bad? Now I am upset!

        September 15, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
  8. Charles Darwin

    Just proves how evolution failed when it came to humans.
    To those that believe in a devine creation, the failure is a gigantic catastrophe since a so called god supposedly created everything.

    Personally, I could give a flying fur ball about the holy place which symbolizes more suffering, wars and deaths than could ever be imagined in the worst horror film ever to be made.

    So rave on.

    September 15, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Buck Rogers

      Evolution is fraudulent and will be exposed as such when the hour of 'Babylon's fall' comes to pass.

      September 15, 2013 at 10:56 am |
      • A Dose of Reality

        See a Doctor Buck, you have serious delusional problems

        September 15, 2013 at 11:18 am |
      • Edweird69

        At one time, most people used to think the world was flat, disease was caused by demons, and human sacrifice seemed like a sensible thing to do.

        September 15, 2013 at 11:22 am |
        • SouthernCelt

          and now they thing denying religion is the thing to do. What makes you different from them?

          September 15, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
        • Robert

          What makes him different is obvious.... to many. We stopped believing the world was flat, demons caused disease, etc. because we acquired knowledge that showed these things not to be true. This is similar to how we have acquired knowledge to remove the fear that drives a belief in sky fairies.

          September 15, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
  9. mustardseedhead

    Atheists – don't confuse a culture's "religion" (consistent practices) with their faith. Simply because someone rises every morning and goes to church or pray 15 times a day does not mean their faith is true, real or authentic. It simply means that they are religious. Cultures are derived from religion. If the faith is not right, then the religious practices will become "strange" and thus, the "culture" of the people. This is why there are so many different cultures – some strange and some, not so. A people can give the appearance of being in perfect harmony and peace and are in emotional and spiritual turmoil. Anyone can drop into one of these countries and "practice" everything they do, without believing in their faith and or where their hope lies. The reason they practice a particular religious act, the structure of their culture is due to where their "hope" lies. If their "hope" and "faith" is wrong – then so is their culture and religion -regardless of how "right" or "orderly" it appears. This is why people (particularly atheist), if they are going to look at "people" in judgment, then it
    is only fair you look at the faith of the people and where it lies-in a "tree" or a "dome" or in statues? Even then, if the practice is correct, the faith isn't (still backwards). The uniqueness of Christians, is that while our faith and hope may be correct – our structure of its practice is lacking. Their is more lip service than actual service. It is a difficult walk, but trying and making strides is worthwhile. --While I understand why atheist exist, they themselves do not understand that it is only because of God, that they do. Anti-God, is still in recognition of God. A challenge to your disbelief is for you to wake yourself up in the morning, stop breathing on your own – since God gave you breath, try not to move for 30 seconds, stop listening, try not to blink, stop your own heart from beating, etc etc. While these tasks may seem simplistic, they are actually evidence that you have no control of your own body, because it isn't yours. You are a design of God and your vital signs were effected in you by him. Deny if you insist – but you cannot, except in words and even then, He allows you to talk – thus making denial of Him – IMPOSSIBLE!

    September 15, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      "He" does not allow me to talk. There is no evidence that any of the thousamds of gods that men have worshipped are real. There is a great deal of evidence that they were all made by men.
      No gods have any power over me that has been demonstrated to this point.
      I do not trust in gods.
      One nation, under Canada

      September 15, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Charles Darwin

      ""Anti-God, is still in recognition of God""

      You miss the entire point of atheism and twist it into your own god delusion!
      How else can we possibly state there is no god without acknowledging the word "god" or anything to do with your god?
      You are the one stating there is a god so prove it! And I don't mean by seeing jusus face in a cheese sandwich. I want cold hard proof, no mumble jumble of words spouting off some words of the bible. The bible is a whole other fictional story as far as I am concerned so don't bother even going there.
      I am stating the god delusion is in your own mind, and god never existed to begin with. Not here now, never was, never will be, nada, nothing, zero, empty space.
      I think you cannot understand or comprehend or accept the notion that if any one states that there is no god so you have to justify in some manner that you are right in your belief and the Atheist is wrong.
      So please stop twisting my statement to fit your own belief.

      I doubt any of this makes any sense to you so I doubt I will get back a coherent response that doesn't continue to twist what I have said into your own religious belief. I'm really not interested.

      September 15, 2013 at 10:52 am |
      • A Dose of Reality

        conversely, x-tians, please prove to us Atheists that Zeus and Apollo are not real...and then we can use your method to prove your god is not real. Up for the challenge?

        September 15, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • Thinker...

      "A challenge to your disbelief is for you to wake yourself up in the morning, stop breathing on your own – since God gave you breath, try not to move for 30 seconds, stop listening, try not to blink, stop your own heart from beating, etc etc"

      Some of these are quite possible if not easy. If you have enough will power you can hold your breath long enough for you to pass out (where you begin breathing again). With a skilled mind and body you can not move for 30 seconds as well. Heck I think I can do that one even without much focus. I have ADD and tend to hyper-focus if I'm not midful of myself and when that happens I can literaly not conciously hear a sound depending on what I am focused on. Stopping your heat would be hard since it is controled by your unconcious mind. There are stories of monks who can slow their heart rate to very low bpm with meditation, but I do not kknow if that has been confirmed or not.

      To not blink all you have to do is close your eyes! 😉 In seriousness I have gone without blinking so long my contacts have dried up and they fall out when I remember to blink again. The key to not blinking is to focus your mind on something else. I used to win stareing contests by focusing on breathing patterns and ignoring the discomfort in my eyes.

      None of these are proof of god however. The heartbeat is so vital to life that if you had any consious control over it you could kill or damage yourself in your sleep by forgetting to pump blood. It is so vital that it is removed from the concious mind entirely. Though similarly vital and mostly unconcious we do have control over our breathing if we want it, but again if it was only concious we would die when asleep when we forget to breathe. We would not exist without these traits. That in no way proves your body isn't yours. As for being impossible to be absolutly still that is due to our warm-blooded nature. No warm-blooded animal can completely stop the miniscule twiches in the muscles. That and our hearts beat which causes movement (very slight) due to hydraulic pressure.

      As to waking yourself up in the morning; if you have to have something else wake you up or you will sleep forever that is kind of odd (and you should definatly seek medical aid). Most people will wake up on their own when they are done sleeping.

      September 16, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
  10. Rainer Braendlein

    Strictly speaking the city Jerusalem is no more sacred place, simply because the place of God's presence, the Temple, doesn't exist anymore.

    Today the only sacred place on earth is the Holy Christian Church which consists of living stones, people believing in Jesus Christ.

    Within the Christian Church miracles are still possible; when people receive forgiveness of their sins and the soul's health also the body can be cured.

    By the way the Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem was excavated where still at Jesus' time miracles took place (sick people were cured when they got into the water of the Pool). Today there is even water at the excavation side but nomore miracles happen. Why? Simply because God's glory has forsaken Jerusalem when the Christian Church, the new Temple, was dispeled from there.

    September 15, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • Robert

      Wow, that is really arrogant.

      September 15, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Sired Rainer Brendlein wrote, "Strictly speaking the city Jerusalem is no more sacred place, simply because the place of God's presence, the Temple, doesn't exist anymore.."

      The Temples of God are our bodies and in the knowing of this being said, the kingdom domains of the Godly beings do all dwell upon our innermost kingdom domains being the atomized cellular cosmologies of all Life living materializations... Science is just now learning about the body's "endocannabinoid system" and I am keeping abreast on our sciences' ongoing studies and the ongoing medicinal properties of THC and CBD molecules of the Cannabis plants giving our body's a needed boost to help our body halting many sicknesses and diseases the big pharmacopeias cannot cure and in fact their drug formularies speed up the rates of people dying...

      September 15, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
  11. ll

    I don't know one person who has ever watched that show.

    September 15, 2013 at 10:13 am |
  12. Isaak

    "The Temple was destroyed twice, first by the Byzantines and then by the Romans. "

    Incorrect. The Byzantine Empire was the eastern successor to the Roman Empire. The first temple was destroyed by the Babylonians around 587BC, while the second temple was later destroyed by the Romans in 70AD.

    September 15, 2013 at 10:10 am |
  13. Cynthia Avishegnath

    It is deliberate Divine plan. Gd deliberately made the place contentious.

    In 500 years', humans would have colonised much of the galaxy. And humans would leave this planet in droves never ever wanting to return. Therefore, the deliberate plan is to create a religious affinity to Jerusalem, People would send representatives in pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

    In 500 years', people (humans or otherwise) would call each of their respective home planet "earth", in their respective evolved creolized languages. That would be confusion. So a council of planets and habitations would call to convention that no planet would galactically called "earth" to avoid the confusion. What would you think would the name chosen for our planet? I predict our descendents would call this planet "Planet Jerusalem".

    September 15, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • Ramen Noodles

      That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. The Creator did not make any place contentious. People did. If any of my descendants called this planet Jerusalem, I would roll over in my grave. The only divine plan contention is part of is the one that exists in the heads of fools.

      September 15, 2013 at 10:44 am |
      • Edweird69

        Since your god knows everything, and knew that it would be "contentious", and since he is all-powerful and could easily change the horrors that would occur because of his convoluted methods of communicating with his creation... he is totally responsible for all the atrocities caused by this "contention".

        September 15, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • Thinker...

      So.... god made jerusalem contentious so that humans wouldn't leave earth and then get confused. I apologise if that wasn't your meaning, but really that is what I just read. Considering that I doubt that humans will have colonised the galaxy in 500 years I find that kind of an odd statement anyway. I mean even if every woman produced a baby every year for the next 500 years there still wouldn't be enough people to colonise the galaxy even asuming you could reach more than the few closest stars in 500 years.

      September 16, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
  14. Mary

    It appears to be human nature to fight over inheritances .
    There are Many sibling fights when parents with assets pass .

    Jerusalem is home to the 3 siblings of the Abrahamic faith , Jews – Catholics – Muslims .
    Sufficient power has arisen over the centuries and Jerusalem is
    the "home base" of the asset ( power ) they fight over .

    Given the nature of the dogma , it is highly Unlikely that they will evolve
    into sufficiently rational people to peacefully coexist .
    Hence , it will NEVER be on any of my travel itineraries .

    We can hope tho !

    September 15, 2013 at 9:49 am |
  15. Enlightened

    The so-called Holy Land is a hell-hole of hatred, racism and murder. Why anyone would want to risk their life to visit such a place is beyond me. Religion is evil.

    September 15, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • Ramen Noodles

      Well said.

      September 15, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Sired Enlightened One...

      Your declaration for calling religions to be a hateful plate of evil doers is based upon what foundation(s)..? I find Christendom to be a Trinitarian submissive religion nowadays and has for some time now become a religion of peaceful meanderings despite those minority Christians openly being subversive and even antagonistic within public domiciles or on the streetwise corners... In the suburban quarters where I live, I have yet to have any Christian knock on my door but I do receive many letters and emails... Your wordage spills of hateful innuendoes and seems an antagonizing force of bigotry...

      September 15, 2013 at 11:28 am |
  16. Linda

    Please CNN, no more Anthony BORE Dain!

    September 15, 2013 at 9:22 am |
  17. BOBNOSTIC

    9:04 – You, along with your drivel, are really part of the problem. You also, are full of it.

    September 15, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • Mary

      Why do robots tend to resent those living a self directed life ?
      Rancid bitterness will Not improve your situation tho .
      Therapy maybe ?

      September 15, 2013 at 9:54 am |
  18. bore dane

    does anyone really watch this show? i personally can't stand this guy, with his pseudo-soul-seeking commentary and his psuedo-not-trying-to-be-condescending epiphanies. there's a reason he's being pushed away from channels that focus solely on travel, to a channel that used to be about news.

    September 15, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • Mary

      Robots do tend to resent those living a self directed life .
      Rancid bitterness will Not improve your situation tho .
      Therapy maybe ?

      September 15, 2013 at 9:53 am |
  19. Sharkmann

    Could CNN pimp a show a bit more? Anyone who cares already knows about that show. and I do not care about that show.

    September 15, 2013 at 9:17 am |
  20. Rainer Braendlein

    "From the very same rock, chosen by God, Abraham nearly sacrificed his son, Jesus was crucified and Muhammad ascended into paradise to receive the order of daily prayer for Islam. It's also where the Day of Judgment will begin, where the righteous and the wicked will receive their rewards and punishments."

    Unquote.

    This statement of Mr. Hect is a very shame. Muhammad, of course, never ascended into paradise but he was a wicked fraud. It is a historical fact that Muhammad spilt very much innocent blood. He was never a divine prophet.

    Muhammad claimed that God had talked with him but he had no witnesses, not even one. When Moses saw God, and talked with him, this was observed by an infinite number of people, the whole People of Israel, and they keep the memory of that event up to today. Thousands of people saw the miracles of Jesus which confirmed his divine sonship; Muhammad did not even one miracle confirmed by any witnesses. Judaism and Christianity have a strong and solid foundation but the Islam is based on nothing.

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    1Ki 8:29

    That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place.

    This is the crucial verse of the two biblical texts below. God promised that he would be present in the Tempel of Jerusalem all the time, and that he would hearken prayers of believers there.

    Regretably the Temple was destroyed by the Romans. Jesus had still acknowledged the Tempel (the building) as a place of divine presence by saying: "This is the house of my father." The first Jewish Christians used the Temple as a church (read Acts). Regretably the Jews (the Jews which rejected Christianity) dispeled the Christians Church from Jerusalem, and together with the Church the Holy Spirit forsake Jerusalem. Shortly after that the Tempel was destroyed by the Romans.

    The new Temple is the Christian Church. Whereever people gather in the name of Jesus, God will be amongst them. This Temple doesn't consist of stones but of living stones: human beings believing in Jesus.

    2 Samuel 7

    And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies; 2 That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. 3 And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee. 4 And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying, 5 Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? 6 Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. 7 In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar? 8 Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel: 9 And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth. 10 Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime, 11 And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house. 12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. 14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: 15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. 16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. 17 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David. 18 Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? 19 And this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord GOD; but thou hast spoken also of thy servant' house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord GOD? 20 And what can David say more unto thee? for thou, Lord GOD, knowest thy servant. 21 For thy word' sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them . 22 Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears. 23 And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods? 24 For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever: and thou, LORD, art become their God. 25 And now, O LORD God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said. 26 And let thy name be magnified for ever, saying, The LORD of hosts is the God over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee. 27 For thou, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee. 28 And now, O Lord GOD, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant: 29 Therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee: for thou, O

    1 Kings 8

    Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. 2 And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month. 3 And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark. 4 And they brought up the ark of the LORD, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, even those did the priests and the Levites bring up. 5 And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for mult-itude. 6 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims. 7 For the cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above. 8 And they drew out the staves, that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place before the oracle, and they were not seen without: and there they are unto this day. 9 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt. 10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place , that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, 11 So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD. 12 Then spake Solomon, The LORD said that he would dwell in the thick darkness. 13 I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever. 14 And the king turned his face about, and blessed all the congregation of Israel: (and all the congregation of Israel stood;) 15 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which spake with his mouth unto David my father, and hath with his hand fulfilled it , saying, 16 Since the day that I brought forth my people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build an house, that my name might be therein; but I chose David to be over my people Israel. 17 And it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel. 18 And the LORD said unto David my father, Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house unto my name, thou didst well that it was in thine heart. 19 Nevertheless thou shalt not build the house; but thy son that shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house unto my name. 20 And the LORD hath performed his word that he spake, and I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel. 21 And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD, which he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt. 22 And Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven: 23 And he said, LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart: 24 Who hast kept with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him: thou spakest also with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day. 25 Therefore now, LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me. 26 And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father. 27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded? 28 Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee to day: 29 That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place. 30 And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive. 31 If any man trespass against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house: 32 Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness. 33 When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house: 34 Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers. 35 When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them: 36 Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance. 37 If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, blasting, mildew, locust, or if there be caterpiller; if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities; whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness there be ; 38 What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house: 39 Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;) 40 That they may fear thee all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers. 41 Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name' sake; 42 (For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house; 43 Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name. 44 If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the LORD toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name: 45 Then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. 46 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near; 47 Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness; 48 And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name: 49 Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause, 50 And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them: 51 For they be thy people, and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron: 52 That thine eyes may be open unto the supplication of thy servant, and unto the supplication of thy people Israel, to hearken unto them in all that they call for unto thee. 53 For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD. 54 And it was so , that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. 55 And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying, 56 Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant. 57 The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us: 58 That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers. 59 And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require: 60 That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else. 61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day. 62 And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the LORD. 63 And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the LORD, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the LORD. 64 The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court that was before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings: because the brasen altar that was before the LORD was too little to receive the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings. 65 And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before the LORD our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days. 66 On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the LORD had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people.
    © Copyright by International Bible Society.© 2013 ERF Online

    September 15, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • Justin

      That is the type of thinking that creates so much unnecessary conflict in the world.

      September 15, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Padric2

      Well, your religion seems to be based to Copy/Paste shortcuts on a keyboard. You know about as much about these allegedly historically religious figures as a defense lawyer knows about their clients guilt of innocence. "Well, that what I was told or read".....because YOU and THEY weren't there. Put a sock in it.

      September 15, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • Pierre

      Did you know that the gospels were written in Greek 70+ years after the presumed death of JC. Roman history books do not mention JC and Josephus is the only Jewish historian who mentions him briefly (70AD) and many say that the sentence was added much later after Josephus died.

      September 15, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • bore dane

      that's a lot of words. here's some gospel for you: he who says many words says the least.
      hence you, and hence antonia boredane. and hence cnn and its media buddies, for that matter.

      September 15, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • edward

      No one can witness God talking to them. You want witnesses of that for Mohamed, yet none you require from the rag called the Bible.

      September 15, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • icantbelievepeoplebelievethisstuff

      So you're saying your fairy tale book without any historical or factual basis is more true than someone else's fairy tale book without any historical or factual basis?? And this is the stuff people fight wars about?

      September 15, 2013 at 9:50 am |
      • Ramen Noodles

        I think we should destroy all of the "holy" artifacts, take a bulldozer to the place, and replace it with a theme park dedicated to the real fairytales; the ones that make more sense, like the Three Little Pigs and Snow White.

        September 15, 2013 at 10:47 am |
      • jamesdusch

        Complete with flying horses and talking snakes.....

        September 15, 2013 at 10:58 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.