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. Johan Christensen

    Excellent article however the truth of the matter is that men would be more willing to share their wives and daughters with other men than see Jerusalem change hands. The Koran never mentions Jerusalem and has always been a Jewish city leave it to the Israelis and the Jews the people of Jesus, they will administer it and Christians and Muslims will have access as well.. it is the only way.

    September 25, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • Robert Gemerek

      johan, clearly you have a bias towards jews and I hate bias. Jerusalem has not always been a Jewish city and you know that. Jews are the people of jesus? the choosen ones? nothing irritates me like religious bias, we're all the children of god, if you think your religion is better then another or you know better then everyone else, then you truly are a fool.

      October 7, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
  2. Lincoln


    September 24, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
  3. Joel

    As the article says: Messiah will indeed come and sort the whole thing out. He came the first time as a suffering servant (Isaiah) to atone for the sins of the world. He will return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and all the kingdoms of the world will be given to Him. Baruch Hashem Yeshua is indeed the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, for all who receive Him as their Lord and Savior. Shalom

    September 22, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      There is no messiah. Never has been. Never will be. Why do you believe such nonsense?

      September 25, 2013 at 1:54 am |
      • Nelson

        Like everybody else, it's because mummy and daddy told him to.

        September 26, 2013 at 10:56 am |
  4. laststonecarver

    It seems there was a story, about a wise man, a judge, who was confronted by a case, wherein two women wanted possession of the same child, each claiming that they were the mother –
    The judge proposed to literally divide the child, knowing the real mother would never allow that to take place –
    I think that all three of the religious groups (Judaism, Muslim and Christian), should know that story –
    But yet these same three groups have allowed their city to be apportioned, much as the false mother would have accepted, for the judge's decision –
    What did they learn from their own story?

    September 19, 2013 at 8:23 am |
    • George

      Um, that children and cities are two different things, maybe?

      September 21, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
      • laststonecarver

        Cities are the offspring of Man (humans) – cities are like minds – the minds of Man –
        Cities are a pattern for how Man would like for their children to think – (consider a pyramid town) –
        You may think that symbolizism is redundant, but only a percentage of life is physical –
        They greatest percentage of life is what you imagine it to be – how you think life to be –
        Comparison is the key to the Door of Life –

        September 24, 2013 at 6:36 am |
        • George

          Quite a stretch, I'd say.

          September 26, 2013 at 10:58 am |
        • laststonecarver

          A stretch huh, what about the founding fathers?
          What is their child?

          September 27, 2013 at 11:14 am |
  5. Prophecies about World War III

    Mother of Salvation: A new, bitter world war will be declared
    Friday, September 6th, 2013

    My dear child, I must, on the instructions of my Son, Jesus Christ, reveal that the wars, which will unfold now, in the Middle East, will herald the great battle, as a new, bitter world war will be declared.

    How this breaks the Sacred Heart of my poor suffering Son. The hatred, which infuses the hearts of those leaders, entrusted with the responsibility of running their countries, by ordinary people, will spread. They will betray their own nations. Millions will be killed and many nations will be involved. You must know that the souls of those who will be murdered and who are innocent of any crime will be saved by my Son.

    The speed of these wars will escalate and no sooner will four parts of the world become involved than the Great War will be announced. Sadly, nuclear weapons will be used and many will suffer. It will be a frightening war, but it will not last long.

    Pray, pray, pray for all the innocent souls and continue to recite my Most Holy Rosary, three times a day, in order to ease the suffering, which will result because of World War III.

    Thank you, my child, for responding to my call. Know that there is great sadness in Heaven at this time and it is with a heavy heart that I bring you this difficult news.

    Your Mother

    Mother of Salvation

    Read more prophecies: http://www.thewarningsecondcoming.com

    September 18, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • Robert

      Seems September 6 has come and gone ... and no declared war. Not only no new war but an agreement on how to move forward with Syria. Maybe not perfect, but taking any weapons out of the hands of zealots is a good thing.

      September 18, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
      • ZimZam

        Shouldn't we be disarming Israel too then?

        September 18, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
        • Robert

          Last time I checked, Israel was not trying to kill all their neighbors .... their neighbors cannot say the same thing about Israel.

          September 18, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Utter nonsense. Get your head out of your backside.

      September 25, 2013 at 1:56 am |
  6. Jim

    saveusa (dot) us

    September 18, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
  7. Sam Yaza

    we should just level it then. no more fighting.

    September 18, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Those fools would fight over the dust that remains.

      September 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
  8. saggyroy

    "The good news is, all three Abrahamic faiths teach that the Messiah will eventually return to Jerusalem and sort the whole thing out." – I know this to be true. I read it on the internet.

    September 18, 2013 at 5:59 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Yes, riding a unicorn with a leprechaun on his shoulders.

      September 25, 2013 at 1:58 am |
  9. lunchbreaker

    "The treasure you seek, the treasure you know, there shall your heart be found also". Thes people are fighting over dirt, that's it. I consider how I treat my felow human beings to be far more sacred than a piece land. They should worry more about what actions they perform based on what's in thier hearts than on what hunk of dirt they perform those actions upon.

    September 17, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
  10. Leigh Anne

    Hmmmm, the descendants of Abraham actually honoring that lineage (and their forefather) and actually treating each other with respect like brothers? No chance.

    Ego and vengeance have come to mean much more to them by now than any respect and honor their actions might bring to Abraham and his God. These three religions alone have probably caused more humans to become atheists than everything else combined just by watching them quarrel and throw their egos around.

    September 17, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Leigh Anne- "the descendants of Abraham actually honoring that lineage (and their forefather) and actually treating each other with respect like brothers? No chance."

      Israel is a major example of just the opposite. The state of Israel pays for the upkeep of many mosques. Minorities like the Druze lives peaceful lives as full citizens in Israel. The same goes for the Arab citizens. Israel respects the Muslim's right to the Dome of the Rock while the Jewish people enjoy their worship area at the Kotel.

      There will always be those that want to stir up garbage. Call it the 1% rule. 99% of people want to live their lives, make a little money, have a family and believe however they want. It's the 1% of idiots that want it their way or no way and are willing to do whatever they can to screw it up for everyone else.

      September 17, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
      • Robert

        Great post .... I just think it is more than 1% in my experience.

        September 17, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
        • Uncouth Swain

          Sadly you are probably right but I can remain hopeful. Perhaps it's only 2%.

          September 17, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  11. Joey

    For someone to actually believe the following is insanely crazy:

    Robert, then look at it like this: The Bible is the Word of God because it can make specific and 100% accurate prophecies that no other book in history has ever made. Since only God knows the future, only God can make accurate prophecy. Remember that the penalty for a false prophet was a death sentence...

    September 17, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      And I could post the same statement about the unscientific model of evolution.

      Evolution is not a fact. As a matter of fact, evolution does not even qualify to be a scientific theory, despite the fact that this is the most commonly used term for it. In reality, it’s not a theory, it’s a model. That’s because scientific theories have to be observable, testable, and the results repeatable. But evolution has never been observed, no one was there when life first appeared on this planet, nor can evolution be tested.

      Evolution qualifies as a belief system. Wow, imagine that...

      September 17, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
      • Joey

        evolution is as much of a fact as gravity is. DNA alone is enough to prove the theory of evolution, and to destroy creationism.

        September 17, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • Hell and destruction are never full

          Science is heavily involved in americult's food industry. I just opened a can of green beans, drained the water, and was left with a pile of beans about 2/3 full. How schmart is it to ship all that water all over the country in that manner??

          September 17, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
      • Joey

        Also, evolution has nothing to do with how life started, only how it changed on time after it started.

        September 17, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
      • Joey

        Thirdly, evolution has been observed, and the theory is put to the test every year when new flu vaccine comes out. If the theory of evolution was wrong the the vaccine wouldn't work.

        September 17, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
        • Hell and destruction are never full

          The evolutionists have been workin' at it for over 25 centuries. It reminds me of the auto mechanic that said, "I don't actually get paid to fix the problem, only to work on it."

          September 17, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
        • Joey

          It appears that you don't know how many years are in a century.

          September 17, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        I have never seen someone put the bible blinders on so much as you do. It is a theory, we see the observable results every day, the history of our evolution is actually written in your DNA, has been proven and scientists that work in fields where evolution is relevant, they proceed with evolution being accepted as fact. Just because you deny it, just shows how blind you willingly have made yourself. There are none so blind as those who are told what to see.

        September 17, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
        • Joey

          What gets me the most is that he can claim evolution has no evidence (despite mountains of evidence), and then in the same breath claim that all biblical prophecies have been proven 10% true (when there is zero evidence to support this position).

          September 17, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
        • Joey

          that was supposed to be 100%, not 10%

          September 17, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
      • DonH

        Christianity: "The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree."

        Yep. That makes waaaaay more sense than evolution.......LOL

        September 17, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
      • Robert

        Actually Evolution has essentially been observed. It has been observed in the selective re-inforcement of genes in viruses (and I think bacteria now too), that resulted in drug resistance. Sorry that is far far far far far more proof than of anything biblical.

        September 17, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
        • Hell and destruction are never full

          Viruses are designed to evolve, silly.


          September 17, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "designed to evolve"
          I don't care who you are, that's funny right there.
          If they were designed, then they didn't evolve, but if they evolved, they didn't ahve a designer... HAHA
          "Everything I say is a lie, and that's the truth." (sorry, dating myself with that TV reference)

          September 17, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
        • Hell and destruction are never full

          Larry, thinkin' dialectically in a Boolean wurld can cause one to "TILT!!".

          September 17, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
        • Hell and destruction are never full

          Want another laugh?? Google "tilt".

          September 17, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        Evolution merely in a sense that things can change over time is evident, as we can observe that change over time. (such as adaptations or mutations) But evolution in a sense that life came from non-life, and then that life began to randomly generate new genetic information, and over time that process eventually produced humans is something entirely different and quite frankly doesn’t even hold up to science.

        In other words, evolution in a sense of “molecules to man” is not scientifically plausible, and therefore should not ever be viewed as scientific fact. In fact, it is in great opposition to science: operational science is observational in nature; it involves using observable, repeatable, testable results to draw conclusions. What science has taught us is that over time, organisms lose genetic information, not gain it. That same science tells us that life does not arrive and has never arrived from non-life.

        Fact #1 – There is no observable natural process by which new genetic information can be added to an organism’s genetic code
        This pretty much disproves evolution right here because there is no way for a fish to become an amphibian without adding genetic code
        If living organisms cannot produce new genetic information, then how can anything gradually change into something of higher intelligence, form, or complexity? It can’t.

        Fact #2 – Life does not come from non-life.
        This was actually proved to be impossible by Louis Pasteur and others over 120 years ago. This is the Law of Biogenesis – this states that life arises from pre-existing life, not from nonliving material. Pasteur's (and others') empirical results were summarized in the phrase Omne vivum ex vivo, Latin for "all life [is] from life", also known as the "law of biogenesis". Pasteur stated: "La génération spontanée est une chimère" ("Spontaneous generation is a dream").

        Fact #3 – The second law of thermodynamics, that everything tends to break down and decay, refutes evolution.
        Evolution says that things become more complex over time – this is impossible.

        September 17, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
        • Joey

          The Second Law of Thermodynamics only applies to a closed system, Earth is not a closed system. Your Fact #1 seems to be not true, see: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB102.html. And for the other part, evolution says nothing about how life started only how it changed once it had started.

          September 17, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
        • Robert

          Genetic "code" is added virtually daily to viruses and bacteria ... hence why we have a new strain of virus every year.

          The "Law" of biogenesis. I am almost ashamed to even respond to that. For one, it is not a law. It was only observational ... over a very very brief period of time by people with 0 concept of how life may actually be formed. None, none at all.

          If you are going to quote thermodynamics, I suggest understanding it. The second law is "IN A CLOSED SYSTEM", entropy will not decrease. The Earth, the Solar System even, are not closed systems. The Earth is right night to (cosmically) a massive source of Entropy, i.e. the Sun ..... it would take untold "order" to decrease entropy.


          September 17, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          What is being spoken of is not adaptations, but additions. Additions that could turn a fish into an amphibian. The addition of information that would be required to turn gills into lungs. Even Richard Dawkins was clueless for an example of that. Not that he's the best expert on the subject, but just citing an interview that I saw.

          September 17, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          This conversation is going to die the death of a thousand qualifications fast...

          September 17, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "you're wrong."
          "No, you're wrong."
          "No, you're wrong because I heard this guy with a PhD say something."
          "Oh, yeah, well I heard THIS guy with a PhD say something that contradicts your guy with a PhD."
          "Oh, yeah? Well MY guy with a PhD can speak with a British accent!"
          "OK, you win."

          September 17, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
        • Joey

          Do to you care to address the fact that you FACT#3 is clearly a lie?

          September 17, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Your first fact is quite incorrect. There are MANY things that cause genetic mutation, that are quite observable. The code can be broken, change and added to by sevral natural processes. Look up genetic mutation.

          Second fact is not a fact. It is a theory. Life CAN come from non-life. We just haven't figured out how YET.

          Your third fact is a misrepresentation of reality. That particular law assumes a closed environment where no other forces act on something.

          Really, don't bother with science, you clearly do not understand it, and try to twist it to your bias, quite unsuccessfully.

          September 17, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
        • Joey

          O.K. then Lawrence show me a peer reviewed scientific article that says genetic information can't be added.

          September 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Richard, then don't bother with theology because you clearly don't understand it...

          September 17, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
        • Joey

          Lawrence here are 45 more articles that will help you to learn why you are mistaken.


          September 17, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          I understand theology. Here it is
          I see something happening that I cannot explain, so I create a god, which explains everything. I will then convince other people that I am right, making sure that they should go out and spread the good news.
          I will make sure that while there is no basis for my creation of this god, since god has all the answers, it will be correct. Then I will brainwash generations of people , telling them that they are special, and anyone who does not believe is the enemy.

          Did I miss anything?

          September 17, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      What a maroon! Did the Easter Bunny tell you this nonsense?

      September 25, 2013 at 2:02 am |
  12. lol??

    In Jerusalem look for the cab that has 2 bumper stickers. The one in front sayz Buddha Lives and the one on the back sayz Buddha is Not Human. He gives great rates to a shrine at the grave of Moses. And he claims to be an actual Shriner.

    September 17, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  13. Universe

    Quran says, (Islamic scripture)

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    ‘They said, "You have to be Jewish or Christian, to be guided." Say, "We follow the religion of Abraham – monotheism – he never was an idol worshiper." [2:135]

    “Proclaim, He is the One and only GOD. The Absolute GOD. Never did He beget. Nor was He begotten. None equals Him." [112:1]

    “The Messiah, son of Mary is no more than a messenger like the messengers before him, and his mother was a saint. Both of them used to eat the food. Note how we explain the revelations for them, and note how they still deviate!” [5:75]

    “It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is.” [19:35]

    “No soul can carry the sins of another soul. If a soul that is loaded with sins implores another to bear part of its load, no other soul can carry any part of it, even if they were related. ... [35:18]

    “They do not value God as He should be valued. God is the Most Powerful, the Almighty.”[22:74]

    “If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of God. They follow only conjecture; they only guess.” [Quran 6:116]

    “There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in God has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. God is Hearer, Omniscient.” [2:256]

    “O people, here is a parable that you must ponder carefully: the idols you set up beside God can never create a fly, even if they banded together to do so. Furthermore, if the fly steals anything from them, they cannot recover it; weak is the pursuer and the pursued.” [22:73]

    “God: there is no other god besides Him, the Living, the Eternal. Never a moment of unawareness or slumber overtakes Him. To Him belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. Who could intercede with Him, except in accordance with His will? He knows their past, and their future. No one attains any knowledge, except as He wills. His dominion encompasses the heavens and the earth, and ruling them never burdens Him. He is the Most High, the Great.” [2:255]

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to clear your misconception by going to whyIslam org website.

    September 17, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Which God?

      Blah, blah ,blah. islam is a made up fantasy, just like christianity.

      September 17, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Robert

      ... and the religion with the best army wins.

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

      Comparing Islam to Christianity is like comparing unicorns to leprechauns.

      September 25, 2013 at 2:04 am |
  14. Ana

    Jerusalem is sooooo Yesterday.

    September 17, 2013 at 8:38 am |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      And it will be sooooooo tomorrow! 🙂
      Daniel 9

      September 17, 2013 at 8:45 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Have you ever noticed that The End is always nigh?
        Christians have been waiting on tenterhooks for the Second Coming since the Bible itself was written.
        Unfortunately, scripture makes it abundantly clear that Christ's return was supposed to have happened 2,000 years ago.
        “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”
        —1 John 2:18
        If the last hour happened in John's lifetime, doesn't that mean that Satan's 1000 year reign is long over?

        “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things be fulfilled.”
        – Matthew 24:34
        The use of the term "generation" is not allegorical or unspecific.
        In Matthew 1:17, he tells a specific and chronological story wherein he defines what a generation is.
        "Therefore all the generations from Abraham down to David are 14 generations; and from David down to the Babylonian captivity are 14 generations; and from the Babylonian captivity down to messiah, are 14 generations."
        He is using "generation" as defined in Psalm 90:
        "The years of our lives are 70; and if by reason of strength they be 80 years, yet most of them are labor and sorrow; for life is soon cut off and we fly away."
        26 Psalms 90:10

        Christ has been quite thoroughly dead for 2000 years and will remain so.

        September 17, 2013 at 8:53 am |
        • james

          good point doc since the first fulfillment was in 70 with the destruction but what about the second part of the dual prophecy for our day? interested?

          September 17, 2013 at 9:55 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Actually, no, the Bible nowhere says that the Second Coming was supposed to have occured 2,000 years ago. In fact, Jesus said that even in His incarnation where He had given up some aspects of His deity in order to become also human, NO ONE knows when the coming of the Son of Man will be. Matthew 24:36-44

          The last hour, spoken of by John, and the emminance of the Second Coming spoken of by others was a dictate that we are to live in constant expectation of the coming of the Son of Man becuase there is nothing else prophetically that must be fulfilled before He comes again. We're not looking for a SIGN of the coming, we're looking for the COMING.

          The Coming of the Son of Man will be after the "fullness of the Gentiles," and only God knows when that is.

          The scriptures that you quoted were great, but you're proof texting. You need to look at ALL of scripture, not just the ones posted on atheists websites.

          September 17, 2013 at 10:01 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Acts 1:7-8 – He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

          Jesus told His disciples that it is none of their business to know the time of the end, but rather to be concerned about evangelizing the lost so the world may be prepared for it

          September 17, 2013 at 10:05 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          Lawrence, Most "prophesy" of this kind is deliberately ambiguous – astrology, tarot, etc. – because it has no factual basis. There is no evidence that the majority of the bible is true and this falls into that majority category.

          September 17, 2013 at 10:09 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          You're making assumptions, sir.
          I have looked at all of scripture. I've a copy of the Bible with me everywhere I go (an electronic copy, mind you).
          I am using scriptural references to backup my assertions about scripture, treating the Bible as a logically consistent tome where one passage can be used to verify another.
          Are you absolutely positive that your interpretation of the Bible is correct?
          No matter how you interpret it, there will be innumerable Christian denominations who have a different, if not entirely contradictory idea of what it means.
          The thing about citing God as an authority is that you can prove anything you set out to prove.

          September 17, 2013 at 10:11 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Ambiguous? I challenge you to read "The Coming Prince" by Sir Robert Anderson. A bit wordy, but it's a great example of how someone like us who are so far removed from prophecies like Daniel 9 can systematically and logically determine prophecy.

          September 17, 2013 at 10:30 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Doc, the idea behind basic hermaneutics is to avoid seeking a result at the expense of proper interpretation. Many people have used verses that say "this generation," and "this is the last hour" in order to support the idea that you stated – that the second coming should have already taken place. What many fail to do is to study what he meant by "this" generation in MAtthew 24... Was he speaking of the generation of men who were alive at that time? Or was he instead speaking of the generation of people who were in the tribulation? Obviously, Jesus was referring to those who were in the tribulation spoken of by Daniel the Prophet.

          September 17, 2013 at 10:37 am |
        • Robert

          "Obviously" ...because you were there when it was spoken. Spoken by who comes into play as well of course.

          September 17, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Lawrence, Yes ambiguous – unless you or Robert Anderson have an actual time and place.

          September 17, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
        • james

          If you guys want to know what the Bible really teaches go to jw.org and learn for free or have a serious discussion with them when they come to your door. The only people I have seen that are doing the work that Jesus taught his true followers to do and are making his father's name known and offering to teach people at no charge. Again like Jesus taught.

          September 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
        • Robert

          I am not thrilled with them but they do seem more honest with their faith ... however misguided.

          September 17, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          In Santa, Yup, that's the point. By looking at the prophecy of Daniel 9, you can actually count to the day when Jesus entered Jerusalem in what scripture would call His "triumphal entry." That's why Jesus wept over Israel, because they should have known who He was based on that prophecy alone.

          At any rate, Sir Robert Anderson looks at Daniel 9 and shows you how specific the prophecy really was. That's why I challenge you to read it.

          September 17, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          James, if the leaders of Jehovah's Witnesses are so concerned over what the Bible says, then why did they write their own version of the Bible that reflects a theology that denies that Jesus is God?

          1 John 2:23 – Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.
          2 John 9-11 – Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.

          Someone can say that they believe in Jesus, but if they don’t believe in the RIGHT Jesus, then they do not have God. You’ve got to be careful that if someone is using the right words, that they are also using the right definitions of those words…

          September 17, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
        • Robert

          When will religious people ever stop using the stupid argument of ... because the Bible is true ... the Bible is true. That is circular logic ... and hence meaningless.

          The Bible was not written by Jesus, was not written in the time of Jesus, was not edited by Jesus, ... so to claim it is the word of Jesus is rather foolish. It was written by committee at best. To fault the JWs for not following it is rather comical.

          September 17, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Without getting too deep into it, JW falll into the trap of an old heresy known as Arianism.

          September 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Ok, I checked it out... I'm pretty sure it does not say what you think it says.

          from http://www.theism.net/article/4

          A popular and frequently quoted source by amateur Christian apologists in defense of the validity of messianic prophecy is Sir Robert Anderson of Scotland Yard, from his book The Coming Prince. Anderson finds precision in the fulfillment of Daniel 9:24ff by finding exactly 173,880 days, or sixty-nine "weeks" ("sevens") of 360-day prophetic years, between March 14, 445 BC and April 6, AD. 32 in the Julian calendar.

          This article addresses only one problem with this claim of precision: there are not 173,880 days between these two Julian dates; there are 173,883 (including day one). Anderson found his "solution" by subtracting three days from the result to "correct" for the fact that there are 3 more leap years counted in the old Julian calendar than what is required to accurately synchronize with a solar year. Our modern calendar, the Gregorian, handles this more accurately by making only every fourth centennial year a leap year. It is this adjustment to his result that this article intends to show the invalidity of.

          "The unfortunate result of this is that Anderson's oft-quoted calculations which find precision in the fulfillment of Daniel 9:24ff are erroneous. Thinking Christians should analyze this data very carefully - we have a responsibility to think soberly before offering anecdotal confirmation of our faith which we do not know is true. Christians should be among the first to eschew dogmatic obstinacy and welcome honest analysis."

          Your Robert Anderson did a lot of mathematical "fudging" to get his numbers to come out right.

          after reading Daniel myself, I see know reason that Anderson was using solar years in the mix. The reference is to certain numbers of weeks, and Robertsons calculation result in more speculation than actual data.

          Fisrt Daniel refers to a certain number of sevens(weeks), which somehow got trasnslated into 1 seven equalling

          September 17, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
        • james

          Not misled at all and if you want the truth about the relationship between Jesus and His Father please check it out and see if it does not make more sense than believing that Jesus is Almighty God and not The Son of Almighty God.(sacrifice makes more sense) Also the NW Trans has been inspected by many and praised by some and criticized by some. See their reference Bible and do the research for yourself.

          September 17, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Robert, then look at it like this: The Bible is the Word of God because it can make specific and 100% accurate prophecies that no other book in history has ever made. Since only God knows the future, only God can make accurate prophecy. Remember that the penalty for a false prophet was a death sentence...

          OK, having said that, look into that book that I mentioned, "The Coming Prince" to study the prophecies found in Daniel 9 (written b/w 536-530 BC) and partially fulfilled in the triumphal entry of "Messiah the Prince" almost 570 years later. The rest of the prophecy will be fulfilled later...

          September 17, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
        • Robert

          There nothing the bible has prophecized past its actual creation as an edited work, that has come true. Oh sure, we can twist numbers, facts, etc. to make anything look "true" ... but that does not make it so. Once we hit a point of actually recording history and verifying history, suddenly anything looking like a fulfilled prophecy stops dead in its tracks. Knowledge is ultimately powerful.

          September 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
        • Uncouth Swain

          My only critique is that no prophecy (Bible or otherwise) has been identified prior to it coming to pass.

          September 17, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
        • Robert

          Damn it man, stop getting caught up in semantics 😉

          September 17, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Many have prophesied the exact time of date of His return and ALL have been wrong.
          George Rapp said it would be September 15th, 1829.
          William Miller predicted October 22, 1844. Jesus’ failure to arrive is known as “The Great Disappointment”. Many of his disillusioned followers went on the found the 7th Day Adventist Church, who are still patiently awaiting His return.
          Charles Russell, 1st President of the Watchtower Society told his fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses that Jesus would be back in 1874.
          Rudolf Steiner maintained that from 1930 onwards, Jesus would grant certain people psychic powers to enable them to witness his presence in the “etheric plane”.
          Herbert Armstrong, Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God said 1975.
          Bill Maupin managed to convince his followers to sell all of their worldly goods in preparation for Jesus’ return on June 28th, 1981.
          Benjamin Crème stated that on June 21st, 1982 Christ would make a worldwide television announcement.
          Mark Blitz, Pastor of El Shaddai Ministries says it would be September 30th, 2008
          Jerry Falwell said it’d happen between 1999 and 2009.
          Harold Camping told everyone that the Rapture would happen May 21, 2011 after failing in his first predicted date of 1994.

          But going back even further, a lot of the core prophecies "fulfilled" by Jesus are up for debate.
          For example: They say that Jesus being born of a virgin fulfills the Isaiah 7:14prophecy.
          However, the Hebrew term in Isaiah “almah” which means a “young woman”. "Virgin" is a mistranslation.
          The Messiah must come from David's line, but Jesus cannot be The Son of David through Joseph since tribal line cannot be passed through adoption (Joseph isn't Christ's biological father, after all).
          Even if it were passed through the mother (which it is not), Mary was descended of Davic through Solomon.
          Don't forget that during that time, the Jewish people seemd to have Messiah fever! There were all sorts of "credible" claimaints to the Messiah role like Simon of Peraea, Athronges, Menahem ben Judah, Vespasian, Simon bar Kokhba, etc. ad nauseum.

          September 17, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
        • james

          Lawrence; Jesus never claimed to be Almighty God,John17:3,11,18,24-26; and best to read the whole chapter to see His prayer to His Father. also many other scriptures show that they are one as we are one (not the same as three in one) just means united in thought and purpose. So much tp back up JW beliefs so please do not shut your door on them if you have not thoroughly examined their beliefs.

          September 17, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Also – using the New Testament as confirmation of Old Testament prophecies is akin to saying that Connor MacLeod is "the One" because Highlander II fulfills the prophecies of the original Highlander.

          September 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
        • james

          Why else did Jesus refer to law and prophets so much and many men have tried to pick dates and failed but if you look at JW site you will see Matt.24:21,36 cited to show what and when and I believe they have it right. no one but the Father not even the Angels or the "Son".

          September 17, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          James, although the Jews overwhelmingly regarded John the Baptist as a prophet (Matthew 3:1-17, 11:9, 14:5, 16:13-14, 21:25-26, 6:20, Luke 1:76, 20:6) – which meant that they regarded what he said as coming from God – when John testified to the deity of Jesus (John 1:6-9, 15), they still would not believe him

          Deuteronomy 13 – since the penalty for a false prophet is a death sentence, if they regarded John as a true prophet of God, why didn’t they believe him when he testified to the divinity of Jesus? If they felt that John was a false prophet, why didn’t they kill him?

          September 17, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Doc, and I can post many articles that just as painstakingly defend Anderson's work. (don't worry, I'll spare you) The important thing is to take it all in and make a determination for yourself on the information you've got. One of the blessings (and curses) of the internet these days is that anyone can post something online. But, there is a huge list of dead people whose credentials far exceed any modern scholar that I know of that agree with Mr. Anderson conclusions. Like I said, it's up to you to look at the evidence and decide for yourself.

          September 17, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
        • james

          John / baptist never claimed Jesus was Almighty God and He tho he was Divine but never claimed to be His Father but gave all praise and glory to his Father, Jehovah as should we as He taught, and I know there is no way to know how Jesus pronounced it but the fact is that He used His Father's name and taught his followers to also. I also believe that the fruit that has been produced by this organization shows who Jesus was talking about, Matt.7:19,20

          September 17, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
        • james

          LoA, I do not have time today but wonder which translation you are using? Also would like to continue later, thanks, j

          September 18, 2013 at 9:35 am |
      • Joey

        Pretty much everyone believes that Daniel was written sometime after 167 BC, and as far as biblical scholars are concerned this has been the accepted date for over a century.

        September 17, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Well, they HAVE to say that because they are looking at Daniel with the pre-conceived notion that miracles are impossible.

          September 17, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
        • Joey

          Wrong, it is exactly the opposite. You have the bias that the bible is 100% true, and therefore refuse to even consider that you might be wrong.

          September 17, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
      • james

        I have to go for a little while but really appreciate the discussion and without the usual (others) so thanks again for sharing the scriptures which I believe shows a sincerity and i will look for you to see if you are even interested in a serious and peaceful discussion. j

        September 17, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          James, here's just a few, but I've got lots more that I can give you...

          Revelation 1:7-8 – Jesus was the Almighty
           Genesis 17:1 – and the Almighty was God
          John 8:58 – Jesus was the I AM
           Exodus 3:14 – and the I AM was God
          Acts 3:14 – Jesus was the Holy One
           Isaiah 43:15 – the Holy One was God
          John 8:24 – Jesus is the I Am He
           Isaiah 43:10 – the I Am He was God
          Revelation 22:13 – Jesus is the First and the Last
           Isaiah 44:6 – the First and the Last was God
          1 Corinthians 10:4 – Jesus is The Rock
           Psalm 18:31 – The Rock was God
          2 Corinthians 11:2 – Jesus was the One Husband
           Jeremiah 31:32 – the One Husband was God
          Matthew 23:8 – Jesus was the One Master
           Malachi 1:6 – the One Master was God
          John 10:16 – Jesus was the One Shepherd
           Isaiah 40:11 – the One Shepherd was God
          Acts 4:12 – Jesus was the One Savior
           Isaiah 45:21 – the One Savior was God
          Luke 1:68 – Jesus was the One Redeemer
           Isaiah 41:14 – the One Redeemer was God
          Revelation 19:16, 1 Timothy 6:14 – Jesus was the Lord of Lords
           Deuteronomy 10:17 – the Lord of Lords was God
          Philippians 2:10 – Every knee must bow to Jesus
           Isaiah 45:23 – Every knee must bow to God
          John 1:3-10, Isaiah 44:24 – Jesus was the One Creator
           Genesis 1:1 – the One Creator was God
          John 1:49 – Jesus was King of Israel
           Isaiah 44:6 – the King of Israel was God

          September 17, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
        • Simon

          Lawrence, that is an awesome post, thanks for sharing!

          September 17, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          James, I agree... I just hate this format of discussion that lends itself more to "sound bytes" than to actual discussion. So if anything I say sounds "snippy" it isn't, it's just my attempt at brevity, so I appologize ahead of time.

          September 17, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
        • james

          LoA, I posted in the wrong place but see above for ?

          September 18, 2013 at 9:37 am |
        • james

          LoA; Where did you get those verses from? I have many translations and none word these like you say and people criticize the NWT? Please compare it with other actual translations and not just "versions",like king jimmie or other altered paraphrased Bibles. Serious mistake and makes the need to compare even more justified. Sacrifice of Christ so well explained by Paul at Hebrews 9 and note vs.15,22,28 to see he is Mediator and sacrifice paid to Father in Heaven.

          September 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          James, these are paraphrases from the NASB. In order to keep it brief, I didn't write the whole verses out, but the main ideas are there. Look into how the NASB was put together and you will see a firm dedication to keeping scripture as accurate as possible by using all of the manuscripts that are currently available.

          September 18, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
        • james

          LoA, please look into NWT and see what the translators say in their preface also DNKJV preface about name Jehovah and what was done to it from oldest manuscripts available. See the need to bring praise to Almighty God, Jehovah, as Jesus,(The Son of God) did and look at other "translations" like "The Bible in Living English" or the NIV and many real translations out there that use God's name and why. Again, go to jw.org to learn What the Bible Really Teaches and see those that you are listening to may be just the ones you should be afraid of and the ones being Blasphemed the ones teaching the truth.. See Matt.4:1-11 or Luke 4:1-14 and ask yourself who was he saying to listen to and worship? His father in Heaven. The Lord's Prayer? No1 (Our Father in Heaven)Please make no mistake they are Father and Son, no mystery. thanks, j

          September 18, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
  15. Reality # 2

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" are converging these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" especially those in Jerusalem.

    September 17, 2013 at 12:29 am |
    • Lawrence of Arabia


      September 17, 2013 at 8:02 am |
      • james

        This guy makes so many mistakes,(at least I hope they are just mistakes and not intentional) but do not just listen and believe but do the research and learn what the Bible Really Teaches and ask your questions at jw.org or have a Free Home Bible Study and oh did I say "no charge"?

        September 18, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          John MacArthur is human, so of course he can make mistakes, but what specifically are you talking about?

          September 19, 2013 at 8:33 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          James, just an article for you to browse and think about.

          September 19, 2013 at 8:40 am |
        • james

          LoA; I have researched the trinity and triune gods many times and they are a pagan teaching from Egypt and Babylon but never in the Bible as the nation of Israel knew God as one,Jehovah, Deut.6:4-9 also Deut.10:17 or look at and now I would ask if you have ever researched what I asked to see the relationship between Father and Son or to see God's name in other Bibles like New English Bible, Ex.3:15, 6:3, see also Gen.22:14, Judges 6:24, Ezek.48:35 and if this and others use God's name in several places why not those who have removed it and why. If you are interested next time I can send a list of 15 Bibles that use His name and explanations and footnotes of where and why. Also The Emphatic Diaglott is a good "translation" that uses Jehovah in Matt.21:9 and 17 other places in The Christian Greek Scriptures and did you look up the DNKJV preface to see what has been done to the Name of God?

          September 19, 2013 at 10:47 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          James: If you insist on using the word "Jehovah" I've got no disagreement with you, but just understand that the word itself is a transliteration from the Hebrew, not a translation.

          As for the doctrine of the Trinity, there's only so much I can show in the format of this forum, but if it is a pagan idea as you claim, then it would take a lot of white out to erase the idea from scripture.

          I will ask you this then...
          Do you worship Jesus?
          Do you believe that Jesus is also God?
          Because if you worship Jesus, but do not worship Him as God, then you are admitting to practicing idolatry by worshipping something that is not God.

          John 1:1-3, 14 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being… And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us…

          I do wish that we could speak face to face, as I've got pages and pages of notes on this. But as it is, I feel that we are at an impass.

          Colossians 1:15-20 – Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation…

          1)God is fully manifest in the person of His Son, Jesus, and has eternally existed as God (John 14:9, Philippians 2:6, John 1:1, 14) Scripture repeatedly says that God is invisible (John 1:18; John 5:37; 1 Timothy 1:17; and Colossians 1:15). But through Christ the invisible God has been made visible. God's full likeness is revealed in Him. Colossians 1:19 takes the truth a step further: "It was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him." He is not just an outline of God; He is fully God. Colossians 2:9 is even more explicit: "In Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form." Nothing is lacking. No attribute is absent. He is God in the fullest possible sense, the perfect image. Philippians 2:5-11 – says that Jesus existed in the form of God (equal with God), but took on the likeness of man

          2)“firstborn” refers to preeminence in position or rank, the rightful heir; here, the rightful heir of all creation (Hebrews 1:6, Romans 8:29, Psalm 89:27, Revelation 1:5, Hebrews 1:2, Revelation 5:1-7, 13)

          3)“firstborn” does NOT mean the “first created” because:
          Christ cannot be both “first begotten” and “only begotten” (John 1:14, 18, John 3:16, 18, 1 John 4:9)
          When the “firstborn” is one of a class, the class is in the plural form (v 18, Romans 8:29), but “creation,” the class mentioned here, is in singular form
          If Paul was teaching that Christ was a created being, he was agreeing with the heresy that he was writing to refute
          It is impossible for Christ to be both created, and the creator of all things (v 16)

          September 19, 2013 at 11:13 am |
        • james

          your NASB is actually taken form the ASV that used Jehovah's name and info says they changed it to Lord,God and then took that and gave all credit to Jesus which is like taking your birth certificate and taking your name out and putting man in its place. why did they do that? the oldest manuscripts use the tetragram YHWH that in English has been accepted as Jehovah for centuries. The verses you use can all be explained very easily but as you say "impass" Born is not eternat as His Father is "from time indefinite to time indefinite" Ps.90:2. have you read the preface to the new revised Divine Name (King James Version? this is where your Bible originated) not our New World translation and it explains what happened and why and like you we have so many references NWT hailed as "the most accurate "Translation" and we are not going on and on but I have enjoyed the discussion and perhaps one day...? For now though that verse you quoted does not mean to shut your door on anyone but please do the research I asked for no one but yourself and the truth that leads to eternal life. Thanks again, j

          September 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
  16. Levi


    September 16, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
  17. carol

    They should just bulldoze the mosque, then muslims wouldnt have anything to protect and would stop threatening the rest of the world with violence

    September 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      That would be utter stupidity.
      Destroying things that are important just because others use it as an excuse to do dumb stuff makes no sense. Those same people will find something else to fight about.
      Also, The Dome of the Rock is quite beautiful.

      September 16, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • DonH

      Right. We all know the Jews and Christians would "never" use violence in any form. Just those pesky Muslims right?
      If you are going to destroy one thing, then you must destroy "all" of it. If you are not willing to destroy all of it, then you should destroy none of it.

      September 16, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Reverend Ambush

      It's always been a secret hope of mine that someday some fundamentalists detonate a nuke in the city. It would be horrible, but it would remove the biggest obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

      September 18, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
      • 616

        No, it would probably bring about WWIII.
        Heck, if we have to blow stuff up to solve our social problems, maybe it's better that we just release all out chemical weapons now and finish us all off. The human experiment on Earth is a failure.

        September 18, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
  18. Woody

    "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."

    It seems as if the ultra-Orthodox Jews are just as wacky as the hated Muslims when it comes to women. This entire article is really depressing for the simple fact that seemingly intelligent, educated people in the 21st Century actually believe these laughable, ancient fairy tales. Ah, good old childhood indoctrination.

    September 16, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Robert

      Quite mind blowing actually.

      It really speaks to how weak the human mind can be and how susceptible to indoctrination it is. I would have thought the average person to be stronger. I was wrong.

      September 16, 2013 at 11:21 am |
      • DonH

        Yep. Nothing quite like watching 3 groups of "adults" arguing over whether Superman, Batman or Spiderman is the only one true "real" superhero while calling the other two contenders mere make-believe....lol

        September 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
        • Robert

          Love the analogy and oh so true.

          September 16, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      It's quite pitiful when people can be so stupid and regulate the beliefs of adults to that of simple indoctrination. Ignoring the fact that these are adults and not children. If anyone would claim that you are just a product of your upbringing and have no will of your own, you would probably disagree. Odd that you won't give these fellow adults some measure of respect and the benefit that they probably came to their belief and accepted as an adult.

      September 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
      • Woody

        "....... these are adults and not children." – Uncouth Swain

        That's what so amazing. They ARE adults. For educated, intelligent adults to follow ridiculous traditions, which are based on totally unprovable old stories that are basically "hand me down" nonsense from ancient times, and are perfectly willing to kill other human beings based on this nonsense, is just too incredible to fathom.

        September 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
        • Uncouth Swain

          "They ARE adults. For educated, intelligent adults to follow ridiculous traditions"

          Obviously those traditions are not ridiculous to them. I think they have a better understanding of their personal faith than any of us could judge them on.

          September 16, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
      • Robert

        Unfortunately it is NOT true that they came to their belief as an adult. There is actually proof of it.

        95% of religious people are the exact same religion as their parents.

        In a state where there is a dominant religion, almost everyone who is religious will follow that religion.

        If you are in Mexico and religious you are Catholic. If you are in Saudi Arabia and you are religious, you are Muslim.

        That is not an adult choice, that is indoctrination.

        If Adults TRULY chose their religion more often then were indoctrinated into it, then there would be far far far more diversity of religion amongst people of similar ethnic groups, but there is not.

        September 16, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
        • Uncouth Swain

          "Unfortunately it is NOT true that they came to their belief as an adult."

          Meaning that some point as an adult they accepted it as their faith. I think it is quite impossible to never doubt and examine one's faith as they get older.

          "That is not an adult choice, that is indoctrination."

          Then what you are saying is that we (you, me and everyone else) is a product of their surroundings and have little in regards to a personal position on anything. We are merely tossed about by the waves of chance.

          September 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • Robert

          Not by chance, but the whims of others, or in the case of religion their parents mostly. A very small percentage of religious people about 5% from what I have read, pick their religion as adults .. at least organized religion.

          However, with odd exception, most people are not indoctrinated on subjects as they are with religion. Generally people are educated and are encouraged to ask questions and to question with disbelief, not blindly follow. Only in religion does anyone ever use something as ridiculous as "You must believe to believe" ... the proverbial swamp land in Florida for sale.

          September 16, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
        • laststonecarver

          @Uncouth Swain,
          We are created by our surroundings, our environment – and also by what we consume, that which our bodies and minds consume –
          The suggestion that Robert implied about each person's religion being a product of the parental units, is also similar to the consumption of the same dietary supplements, both in body and mind food, as in family dining/activities' experiences (keep in mind that a family, is not only parental units and their offspring) –
          The difference in each of us, is in how we perceive, because of our decision making processes –
          Because of how we perceive, the same world takes on a differing appearance –
          The atheist and the religious perceive the same world, because of how they have developed their thought processes –
          It is still the same world, but opinion dictates different interpretation of what is sensed –

          September 17, 2013 at 7:17 am |
        • laststonecarver

          – meant to finish this thought process for –
          The atheist and the religious perceive the same world, but because of how they have developed their thought processes, they finalize their perception of that environment with differing interpretations –
          Our environment/surroundings create us, and some describe their surroundings as a god –
          Isn't a god supposed to be omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent? – and when you compare yourself to everthing else (your environmet) don't you find your Relativity? –

          September 17, 2013 at 7:27 am |
        • George

          "I think it is quite impossible to never doubt and examine one's faith as they get older."

          But the thing is, the faith they might doubt and examine is almost always still the same faith in which they were raised.

          September 17, 2013 at 9:50 am |
        • Uncouth Swain

          "But the thing is, the faith they might doubt and examine is almost always still the same faith in which they were raised."

          Yes and they will make an active choice. Either to continue to accept it or not.

          September 17, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
        • George

          I didn't emphasize clearly that I was echoing Robert's point about adults not really choosing their faith, that the only choice being made is whether to continue in the faith in which they were raised or to become non-believers, not a choice to explore a different faith than they currently practice.

          September 17, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
      • DonH

        Pitiful and stupid?
        Well for certain, "I" am not the one still running around believing in flying horses, Jewish zombies raised from the dead, or whether or not some invisible man in the sky will send me to hell for eating fish at Long John Silver's on a Friday....lol

        September 16, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
        • Uncouth Swain

          ""I" am not the one still running around believing... Jewish zombies raised from the dead, or whether or not some invisible man in the sky will send me to hell for eating fish at Long John Silver's on a Friday....lol"

          You are welcome to whatever belief or non-belief you want. Though no one on here has said they believe in zombies or an invisible man in the sky. Try to use proper terminology if you want to be taken seriously.

          September 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
        • Robert

          What does proper terminology matter? Is your faith so weak?

          September 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
        • DonH

          "Proper terminology?"
          Like what?
          Would it make my stance more "serious" if I said Al-Buraq instead of Flying Horse?

          September 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
        • Uncouth Swain

          Robert- "What does proper terminology matter?"

          It matters to mature people with common sense and the good manners to not insult people for no good reason.

          September 16, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
        • Robert

          The insult, so to speak, not that I wrote was to prove a point, that the bible, and most religious texts, taken in the collection of other literature, is just a bunch of fairy tales better served in a late night movie than as the guide for too much of the worlds population.

          September 16, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
        • Uncouth Swain

          DonH- "Would it make my stance more "serious" if I said Al-Buraq instead of Flying Horse?"

          Don't know about your stance being taken more seriously, but perhaps people might take you more seriously.

          September 16, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          A rational person should not find slight caricature to be insulting. A person who is "raised' after being dead is a zombie, in modern terminology. The Christian philosophy, when reduced to its fundamental elements, is precisely a fairy tale with god acting the supreme azzhole.

          September 16, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
        • DonH

          @ Uncouth....
          All I can tell you is that the only person whining here is you.
          Trust me when I tell you that "you" are the last person on earth I'd take advice from in regards to having other people take me seriously. I'm not the one crying when somebody mentions your defense of leprechauns and unicorns.....LOL!

          September 16, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
        • Uncouth Swain

          Cpt. Obvious- "A rational person should not find slight caricature to be insulting."

          Past experience on here says otherwise. Either that or a great deal of self proclaimed atheists are not rational.

          "A person who is "raised' after being dead is a zombie, in modern terminology."

          Nope, you fail at pop culture 101. A "zombie" is something at is reanimated and still dead. The concept of resurrection is that the being in question is actually alive. It's ok, many people don't understand it. I blame their biased upbringing.

          DonH- "All I can tell you is that the only person whining here is you."

          Pointing out errors is not whining. Unless you are willing to call every single atheist on here a whiner. Are you?

          "I'm not the one crying when somebody mentions your defense of leprechauns and unicorns.....LOL!"

          At any point have I defended anything of a spiritual nature on here? I am merely pointing out errors in terminology. Are you always this stupid or are you having a good day?

          September 16, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
        • DonH

          @ Uncouth.
          So to translate what you've said....
          You have nothing of value what so ever to add to the discussion in defense of religiosity. Yet, somehow, you are to be taken seriously, while others are not, simply because you derive some weird pleasure from trolling the internet in search of spelling, grammar and/or terminology issues?
          Then to top it off, you want to preach about respect, yet call somebody else stupid in almost every one of your posts?
          That sounds like some sort of mental illness to me buddy.......LOL!

          September 16, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
        • Eyeroll

          Oooohhhh...the condescension is fairly dripping, Uncouth. Fact.

          September 17, 2013 at 12:45 am |
        • Uncouth Swain

          "You have nothing of value what so ever to add to the discussion in defense of religiosity."

          Perhaps it is not valuable to you but no one has claimed that you have the mental faculties to know what is of value.

          "in search of spelling, grammar and/or terminology issues?"

          Nope. I could care less about spelling and grammar. Nit picking those items is just a form of ad hominems. But terminology is important. I would just as likely correct an idiot that is trying to belittle evolution by saying it means we are descended from monkeys. I just don't see why you are so offended by being corrected.

          "Then to top it off, you want to preach about respect, yet call somebody else stupid in almost every one of your posts?"

          Well, that is a bold face lie.

          September 17, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • DonH

          @ Uncouth....

          You need professional help. Seriously. Get some counseling or something.....ha ha ha.

          September 17, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
        • Uncouth Swain

          I am entirely certain you could personally recommend someone.

          cha cha cha

          September 17, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
  19. Rainer Braendlein

    Jerusalem was once a sacred place indeed.


    In Jerusalem there was the Temple, and God was present at the Temple.

    Still Jesus recognized the Temple as a place of divine presence through saying: "This is the house of my Father."

    The Temple was destroyed around 70 after Christ through the Romans. But there was yet a new Temple of God, the Christian Church. The Christian Church emerged at Pentecost when Jesus Christ and his Father sent down from heaven the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. Since Pentecost God is present in the Christian Church through the Holy Spirit.

    When Christians meet in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, God is present, and there is a sacred place. This does not depend on any building made of stones or concrete.

    Jerusalem is no more sacred but still very interesting because it is the capital of God's Chosen People Israel. Although the majority of the Jews still rejects Jesus Christ as Messiah or redeemer of deliverer, the Old Testament promises of God concerning Israel are still valid. St. Paul said that Israel will turn towards Jesus Christ when the full number of the gentiles will have converted.

    Furthermore Jesus Christ will return on Mount Olivet nearby Jerusalem.

    I suppose the first thing which Jesus will do when he returns in glory, in the form of God, not as ordinary carpenter, he will destroy the Muslim Dome of the Rock which disfigures the Temple Mount. The Islam is the worst heresy which was ever made-up, it is the exact opposite of Christianity, and justly they were called enemies of God by the elders.

    September 16, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      St. Pauls Epistle to the Romans, Chapter 11:

      25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. 28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. 29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. 30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

      September 16, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Acts, Chapter 1:

      And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. 12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey. 13

      September 16, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • Solomon

      That carefully explains in detail the scriptures. Kudos!

      September 16, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • George

      "Furthermore Jesus Christ will return on Mount Olivet nearby Jerusalem."

      Yet every Christian is looking forward to the day when Jesus returns from the clouds... in their own exact location!

      September 16, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
  20. Reality # 2

    One more time:

    Sacred sites in Jerusalem? Give us a break !!

    Nothing sacred there as most of the "historic" sites are nothing more than tourist traps.

    The cons:

    "David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital,
    was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide
    a rallying point for a fledgling nation."

    The JC crucifixion embellishment.

    The JC resurrection con

    Mohammed's ascent to heaven con.

    September 16, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • Say it As You See It

      One more time: Stop posting the same, useless opinion over and over and over and over and over and over again.

      You're just embarrassing yourself.

      September 16, 2013 at 9:40 am |
      • Reality # 2

        Updating Matthew 28:18-20:

        As a good student, you have read the reiterations of the "fems" (flaws, errors, muck and stench )of religion. Therefore the seeds have been planted in rich soil. Go therefore and preach the truth to all nations, reiterating as you go amongst the lost, bred, born and brainwashed souls of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as Rational Thinking makes its triumphant return all because of you!!!!

        September 16, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
      • Uncouth Swain

        Best thing to do is to ignore it.

        September 16, 2013 at 1:10 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.