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None Out of Three

McCain gets strange intro, you get a quick lesson in global religions

By Richard Whittaker, 3:00PM, Mon. Oct. 13, 2008

It's always perilous ground when political figures get too close to religion. But when Sen. John McCain decided to get pastor Arnold Conrad to give the invocation at his meeting this meeting in Iowa, he could have got someone with a stronger grasp of, well, religion.

“There are millions of people around this world praying to their god, whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah, that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons," Conrad said of McCain's presidential bid.

Where to begin. There's no such god as Hindu, since Hindusim is a pantheistic religion. There's not even a consensus on whether the ultimate force in the universe, Bhagavan, is really an entity or more of a concept. As for Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama was an enlightened teacher, not a god. And the big oops: Allah, to Muslims, is the same god as Jewish Yahweh and the Christian God, which is why all three are refered to as the Abrahamic religions.

Still, comparative theology is hard.

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