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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. Answer

    ===quote from article===

    Why would people argue about a holy place?

    ===end===

    There is no such thing as a holy place. That is what is wrong with you religious freaks. It is all in your thinking that you've acquired a special place because you place a religious value on it. The land could care less if you were all buried in it and p!ssed on. The land will remain indifferent to your petty desires and self righteous claims.

    September 15, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • dennis

      WHAT IS A RELIGIOUS FREAK???
      IS IT THE SAME AS A BLIND FREAK, WHO CANNOT READ OR SEE THAT BIBLE PROPHECY IS COMING TO PASS.
      STAY DECEIVED, AND KEEP WATCHING CNN!!

      September 16, 2013 at 5:53 am |
  2. #1Christ-Fan

    Anthony Bourdain is a GOD-Less,evil disgusting execuse for a HUMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He KNOWS NOTHIN G!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He is SO GROSS!!!!!

    September 15, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Actually, he is smart and funny. And articulate - something that you are not.

      September 15, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
  3. dinaosullivan

    Bourdain is borred with what he is doing. Morgan Spurlock was much better., more interesting and more involved with the people. What happened to his show?They do push Bourdain a lot.Must be a reason.

    September 15, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
  4. Charles W

    Was very disappointed with this article. I clicked the link and though this was going to be an article written by Bourdain. The first lines before the article starts are "World-renowned chef, best-selling author and Emmy-winning television personality Anthony Bourdain returns for the second season of CNN's showcase for coverage of food and travel." And the article's actual author is listen and it goes into something completely different. Not to happy with this kind of promotional material in an effort to get me to read some editors blog.

    September 15, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
  5. suzie669

    What do Jewish people care about? Jesus Christ? They sold Him out for Pontius Pilate. They killed their Savior. So, what holy Jerusalem are they talking about? They deny the man whose name is Jesus Christ delivered them from Slavery to Freedom and rescued them from the Egyptian. They even deny until today that they, Israelis, orchestrated the murder of Jesus Christ. What holiness are they talking about?

    Hey, Jewish, please stop lying to the world and stop your tantrum behavior. Sure the world feels sorry about the Holocaust but don't use it to justify your deeds and hypocrisy. Religiously, you has been cursed and it will be carried out exactly what the bible said. You will never feel secured of being secured and you will never find your promised land.

    But, in this human world, history proved you murdered Him. Why trying to make money from the holy sites where Jesus Christ walked or born? Hypocrite!!!

    September 15, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • dinaosullivan

      How can Christians be so mis informed about Jews.They did not kill Jesus.The courts of Rome executed him for crimes agains the state.Christians need to read something other than the new testament to find out the facts.Other than a few stories written a hundred years after the alleged Jesus lived, there is no real proof there ever was a man named Jesus. When you find proof, then speak to it. Get educated.

      September 15, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
      • Robert

        I am not religious, but there is fairly accepted evidence that someone names Jesus existed.

        September 15, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • Mark

      What do Jewish people care about? Jesus Christ? They sold Him out for Pontius Pilate

      -You are wrong!!!

      Jesus had to go on the cross and die for the sins of the world. It was a divine sacrifice only God can make to restore the broken relationship between man and God. In HIS resurrection is eternal life!

      On that day he said, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do"

      September 15, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
    • Akira

      How do you really feel about Jews? Let it out; so much hate cannot be good for your soul.

      September 15, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      If it was god's plan how were the Jews responsible?

      September 15, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • Vic

      Clarification:

      Jesus was arrested as a result of the betrayal of Judas Iscariot who was paid by the Chief Priest of the Pharisee Jews, and not the Hebrew Jews, to do so. And when Jesus was brought to the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate, he found nothing wrong with Jesus! Pontius Pilate wanted to release Jesus but the Pharisee Jews refused and insisted on Barabbas instead! Then Pontius Pilate said to the Jewish people "I am innocent of the blood of this just person," referring to Jesus! Then the Jews said "His blood is on us!" The Jews, and not the Romans, accused Jesus of blasphemy and had Him crucified! That's also why Pontius Pilate had a plaque inscribed with the Pharisee Jews' accusation of Jesus "King of the Jews" posted! And when the Chief Priest of the Pharisee Jews asked Pontius Pilate to take it down, he refused!

      God, before the world ever was, foreknew that the crucifixion was going to happen; therefore, He fore-ascertained to turn the table on Satan by making the "Fulfillment" and the "Salvation" of the world through that betrayal. Satan thought he won over God but God had the last call. Even the disciples did not understand what Jesus meant when He foretold His death and resurrection.

      September 15, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
      • Thinker...

        "God, before the world ever was, foreknew that the crucifixion was going to happen; therefore, He fore-ascertained to turn the table on Satan by making the "Fulfillment" and the "Salvation" of the world through that betrayal."

        Good to know you do not believe in free will. Also any god that would create the world in such a way that he would eventually have to sacrifice himself to himself to forgive his creations of their 'crimes' against him that he knew they would commit before he made them is rather... odd.

        September 16, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
  6. smgordon

    An honest Israeli Jew tells the Real Truth about Israel

    http://www.youtube .com/watch?v=etXAm-OylQQ

    September 15, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
  7. jeff

    my sky man is better than your sky man so you must die

    September 15, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
  8. Akira

    CNN is really pushing Bourdain's show. Wonder how it's doing, rating-wise?

    September 15, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
  9. Colin

    Smart people do smart things and stupid people do stupid things, but to get otherwise smart people to do really stupid things takes religion.

    September 15, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ,

    September 15, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • smgordon

      tel that to these kids

      jonathanturley .org/2013/04/24/faith-healing-parents-arrested-after-second-child-dies-from-lack-of-medical-care/

      content.time .com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1877352,00.html

      September 15, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
  11. Brampt

    In the bible, in the NT, the term "Israel" or "Jerusalem" is often used to identify, the new nation God has chosen from "peoples of all nations".

    September 15, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
  12. Psalm 122

    Jerusalem is not considered the most sacred place for the Muslims and yet they clamor, rage and fight over something that does not belong to them to begin with.

    You have nothing to do with Jerusalem. Enjoy your holiness in Mecca.

    September 15, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • Genesis 15

      Exactly!

      September 15, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • Kat

      they have everything with Jerusalem. Jerusaelm has been a Muslim city for the past 1400 years. Muslims sacrificed tons of blood and wealth to defend and liberate the city from the Romans, Crusades, Napoleon, the British and Zionazis. Their magnficent mosques that they built 1400 years has become the landmarks of Jerusalem ever since speak to that truth

      September 15, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
      • Robert

        You say liberate, I saw conquered. History tends to be on my side. Liberate would imply giving it back to the original inhabitants and not having any control over it. That is not what Muslims did.

        September 15, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
        • Kat

          except Muslims ARE the inhabitants of the region, Muslims who liebrated the Mideast are all tthe people that converted to Islam and had for long resisted the foriegn Roman/Byzantine european empires occupation. And Muslims did give the lands to ALL its inhabitants, muslim or not. They for example allowed Jews to return to Jerusalem after 600AD in exile, since the Romans kicked them out in 70AD

          September 15, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
      • Robert

        You really need more independent sources of history as well. How could "Muslims" liberate Jerusalem from the Romans when Muslims did not even exist till centuries after the Romans were out of Jerusalem?

        September 15, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
        • Kat

          because the romans belonged to Rome, an overseas empire based in europe whose presence in the nationed that it subjected was marked with racism, brutality, and theft. Whereas Muslims, on the other hand, and their allies that liberated Palestine consisted of semitic tribes that belong to the region, including Jewish, Syriac and Aramiac allies.

          September 15, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
        • Robert

          Wow there is the pot calling the kettle black. It is encourages in the Muslim texts to loot those you conquer. You know this to be true. The manly Muslim expansions incurred extensive looting, killing of "infidels", brutal, violent .... how can you realistically deny that. They did not liberate, they conquered.

          September 15, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
        • smgordon

          you are ignorant of history .....

          en.wikipedia. org/wiki/History_of_Jerusalem

          Kingdom of Jerusalem (Crusaders) period

          Main article: History of Jerusalem during the Crusader period

          Fatimid control of Jerusalem ended when it was captured by Crusaders in July 1099. The capture was accompanied by a massacre of almost all of the Muslim and Jewish inhabitants. Jerusalem became the capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Godfrey of Bouillon, was elected Lord of Jerusalem on July 22, 1099, but did not assume the royal crown and died a year later.[30] Barons offered the lordship of Jerusalem to Godfrey's brother Baldwin, Count of Edessa, who had himself crowned by the Patriarch Daimbert on Christmas Day 1100 in the basilica of Bethlehem.[30]

          Christian settlers from the West set about rebuilding the principal shrines associated with the life of Christ. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was ambitiously rebuilt as a great Romanesque church, and Muslim shrines on the Temple Mount (the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque) were converted for Christian purposes. It is during this period of Frankish occupation that the Military Orders of the Knights Hospitaller and the Knights Templar have their beginnings. Both grew out of the need to protect and care for the great influx of pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem in the 12th century.

          http://www.discoveringislam .org/roman_invasions.htm

          get educated

          September 15, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
        • Robert

          Seems you do not understand the difference between "Romans" and Catholic. Care to change feet?

          September 15, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
        • smgordon

          seems to me you can not read beyond whats already been put in your head...

          September 15, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
        • Kat

          I can deny because it is simply untrue. You hang out too in anti-Islam sites. You need to find more independent sources. Muslims were the 1st people to apply freedom of religion and tolerance because Islamic texts say let there be no compulsion in religion. Muslims dealt with civility with all the people they liberated or conqured, established them on their churches/synagougs, and translated their knowledge and books and built on it to create the mmulti-culture/ethnic muslim civilization.

          September 15, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
        • Robert

          Oh please. You actually believe that. Are you looking at the world around you today?

          For one, the ONLY ONLY ONLY other religions remotely acceptable to Muslims is Judaism and Catholicism ... other Abrahamic religions. All others of other religions have two choices, convert or die!

          In almost all Muslim countries, people of non Muslim faith are under constant threat. They are persecuted regularly, usually with the state turning a blind eye. About the only Muslim states where any freedom of religion has occurred was in dictator states. If you claim you are an atheist in a Muslim state, you may as well jump off a bridge as they will kill you. How is that freedom of religion. Even within your own faith you cannot get along. Sunnis and Shias have been killing each since Mohammed died.

          Translated knowledge and books .... you mean like in Timbuktu ... one of the great libraries of the world ... ran by a fringe Muslim faith ... that was recently ransacked by other Muslims? How did Muslims use that knowledge? Their seems to be little evidence. Multi-ethnic/multi-culture is what you find in New York, or London, or Toronto, NOT what you find in Muslim countries.

          September 15, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • Aiden

      Just so you know, history goes back in time to 3000 BC and does not begin in 600 AD.

      September 15, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
      • Sigma

        600 AD appears older than 3000 BC for some 😉

        September 15, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
      • Kat

        history actually starts 1000's of years before 3000BC. Are you going to give Jerusalem to the very 1st people that walked Jerusalem? if so why not give America back to the native Americans? either way, according to the bible, 3000bc, the father of both jews & Arabs bought a cave in Palestine from the Canaanites. So there you have it...

        September 15, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
      • Sigma

        The religion was birthed in 600 AD and by cavemen you mean Lot? That goes in a totally different direction in the history prior. And yes 600 AD is a lot younger compared to 3000 BC.

        September 15, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
        • Kat

          not really, Islam's core claim is it is the religion of Abraham, it started with his "islam" = submission to God. It attributes its monothiesm to Abraham's example. The caveman is some 7000 years before 3000BC. The point is muslims history and roots in Palestine is ancient, you cannot negate it because of fairy tales said to have taken place 5000 years ago that no historical evidence back it up. Let alone the fact your bible admits that the hebrews/jews invaded their way to Jerusalem and took it from the Canaanites after they exterminated them in the name of Yehwah

          September 15, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
        • Sigma

          Troll!

          September 15, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
    • Aiden

      Hear O Israel, the Lord thy God is with you!

      Isaiah 43

      2 Chronicles 7:14

      September 15, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • Kat

      you confuse modern political conflicts with religious ones. Secular dictators have made things worse by stoking religious/ethnic hatred and bloodshed to justify their atrocities to stay in power. I give you that modern muslims generally have become a distant shadow of their great ancestors.

      September 15, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
      • Robert

        I am not advocating dictatorships, just stating that only an iron fist seems to be able to maintain the peace in some muslim countries. The populace has not gotten past the hate. As seen in Egypt with there is also a critical lack of understanding of why the separation of Church and State is needed to ensure true religious freedom for all.

        September 15, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
  13. Sharkmann

    A city that embraces apartheid. What is sacred about that?

    September 15, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
  14. D MURDOCH

    BECAUSE I SAID SO

    September 15, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
  15. Vic

    Jerusalem is the Capital of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. It has been destroyed to the ground more than forty times throughout history, and that's why only a few remnants of the ancient is left today.

    Jerusalem, the Holy City of God, is for all the people to come to God in Faith. Jesus Christ, the greatest Rabbi, the High Priest, Lord and Savior, will restore her before the end of time in His "Second Coming." From thereon, it will be The Holy City Of God, New Jerusalem.

    Revelation 3:12
    "12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name."

    Revelation 21:1,2
    "21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband."

    Revelation 21:10
    "10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,"

    Scripture Is From:

    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

    http://www.biblegateway.com/

    September 15, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Andy

      @Vic-Great post, thanks! including Ezekial 48:35 to that list.

      September 15, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
      • Pole dancing for Jesus

        Another learned christian who can't even spell the book that he so preciously quotes.

        September 15, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      All that proves is that Jerusalem existed when the bible was written.

      September 15, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • Brampt

      Vic – If it New Jerusalem and it comes from Heaven...then its not this Jerusalem that we know...good try though

      September 15, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
  16. sparky

    This place is about as far from Holy as possible on this earth. If God created a Holy Land anywhere, it's Hawaii - at least before all the humans ruined it.

    September 15, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Edweird69

      The Hawaiian gods have more validity than the Christian god.

      September 15, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
  17. alaink

    This is how it is. European Jews want to "return" to Israel after a whopping 3,000 years. Guess who was there for those 3,000 years? The Palestinians.

    September 15, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • Colin

      Guess again. The "palestinians" are outcast gypsies and va grants from nearby arabic nations that did not want them and do not want them back. "palestinians" are not the original inhabitants of the land but rather a more modern migration. The oldest continual inhabitants of Israel have always been the Jewish peoples exiled except for a remnant for 2000 not 3000 years.

      September 15, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        That's not true; other tribes that were contemporaneous are still there.

        September 15, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
  18. Jeff R. - Houston

    Well, I was born a Jew and converted to Roman Catholicism...maybe I'll give Islam a try. What the hell.

    September 15, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Vic

      Beware, it is a one way street!

      September 15, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
      • Jesse

        It is for all the Abrahamic religions.

        September 15, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
        • Robert

          Christians and Jews do not try to kill you for leaving.

          September 15, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
        • Vic

          Thank you Robert!

          September 15, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • smgordon

      Robert : you are still ignorant to facts in history

      Chritains killed for not believing. the crusades was a war for christianity killing all non believers....

      September 15, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
      • Robert

        Mainly it was about killing Muslims. I can admit it (I am not Christian). It was a response to Muslim aggression. Unfortunately it seemed to grow to any that would not support the cause.

        I am not "defending" Christians, I am just tired of Muslims trying to rewrite history as they often try to do to look like innocent victims. That is simply not true. Their attrocities are every bit as bad as the Christians.

        Realistically, they are both awful and a sore point to human history. Fortunately Christianity for the most part is beyond its violent past or at least has lost influence to secularism in most predominantly Christian states. Unfortunately the close linking of the religion and politics in the religious world has not allowed it to shed its violent past. CHRISTIANITY WAS TEMPERED BY THE COMMON SENSE OF SECULAR MAN, NOT GOD. We can only hope that same happens in the Muslim world.

        September 15, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
  19. ed dugan

    I have never seen a larger collection of fairy tales in my life. How anyone smarter than a turnip could believe that trash is beyond my understanding. Talk about self-delusion, those tales take the cake.

    September 15, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Yep, adults believing (and happily dying) that there are invisible, magic people in the sky, monitoring the thoughts and actions of 7 billion people, every second of every day.

      September 15, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Tony Antin

      To coin a word, "Amen." If it were not for all the killing over it, it would be truly comical.

      September 15, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
      • Robert

        It is actually quite sad isn't it. Religious people come across as about the most intolerant people there are.

        September 15, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
  20. Steven Gold

    Most places that have multiple history associated become a popular and safe and mostly friendly tourist location. Sad that hate of different people for others beliefs makes it less so.

    September 15, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
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About this blog

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