Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, and Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.

Yes, Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God (But Here’s What That Means & Doesn’t)

 

In the ongoing conversations about Islam in America, the issue of God v. Allah is a critical one to have.

Do we worship the same God? If so, what does that mean?

The best answer to this question is, of course, Miroslav Volf’s book, Allah: A Christian Response. It’s so important that I’d almost say one should hold off on having a firm opinion on the matter until they’re informed- and Volf has produced what really is the best that exists on the topic. However, for those who would never go out and read a book, I’m going to answer this question in the most broken-down, basic way I can.

Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? Is God and Allah one-in-the-same? In the most primitive way, yes. Let me explain:

In ancient times there was a man named Abraham who is revered in three of the world’s great religions. Abraham, of course, is considered the father of the Jewish people as well as Arabs and then Muslims. Essentially, Abraham somewhat founded a religion that went into three different streams: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Here’s the important part: all three of these religions are Abrahamic religions, trying to worship Abraham’s God.

And this is where we can say all three religions do in fact worship the same God, as all three religions are pointing to, offering worship, and attempting to describe, the same object. 

On the surface, it appears different because we say God, and Muslim’s say Allah, but that’s simply because that’s the word for God in Arabic. In fact, Christians in that part of the world also call God Allah. Allah is just a word- if Islam were born in a different culture, they’d use a different word. In this regard, saying that God and Allah are different because we’re using different words would almost be like saying, “Who is this weird god Mexicans worship and call Dios?” It’s an issue of language, that’s all.

Here’s where we’re at: all three religions are offering worship the same object, and that is Abraham’s God– though they might use different terminology (and described traits, which we’ll get to).

Now, when we affirm that Muslims and Christians worship the same God the Evangelical Machine™ goes bonkers, and that’s because they assume we’re affirming way more than what we affirm when we say, “yes, it’s the same God.”

Same God yes, but that doesn’t mean all three religions are equally true, or that we’re describing this God in the same way.

Affirming the basic fact that Christianity, Judaism and Islam are three religions attempting to worship and describe the same God (Abraham’s God, whatever one calls him), doesn’t mean we’re saying all three religions are the same, equally valid, correct, or anything else. We’re simply pointing to the fact that we’re attempting to describe the same entity.

Some will argue that God and Allah are not the same (Abraham’s God) because Christians and Muslims describe the character of Abraham’s God differently, even conflictingly. However, describing an object differently doesn’t mean that two people are describing two totally different objects. For example, let’s say Jane and Henry both work for a guy named Jeff. Jane says that Jeff is a decent boss who treats people fairly. Henry on the other hand, describes Jeff as being lazy and unavailable. The two people may be describing Jeff differently, and one or both of them might be wrong in their understanding of Jeff, but they’re still attempting to describe the same object.

Describing an object differently doesn’t make it a different object.

However, if having different understandings and opinions on the attributes of the object to which we offer worship were a legitimate argument to say that they are entirely different, one would have to say the same thing about Judaism, and even among Christian denominations/traditions.

For example, Evangelicals are quick to paint Judaism as our close brother, and will say that not only do we worship the same God, but that they are God’s favorite people. However, Jews do not believe about God what we believe about God. If this difference in understanding God’s attributes or activity through history makes the God of Islam a different God than the one we are worshipping, we would have to say the same thing about Jews. Not only that, we’d have to say it about other Christians, too– making the case that each denomination has it’s own God.

And this is the basic logic that’s wrong: “You describe the object differently than I do, therefore it is a different object.” Unfortunately, that logic would get us into all sorts of problems.

For example, plenty of Christian traditions describe a God I have a hard time recognizing. I even find some of the ways they describe his attributes to be offensive. However, as Christians we do in fact worship the same God– we just disagree on what God is like. It’s not the object we disagree on, but the attributes.

We could play this out with every Christian sect– 40,000+ of them. Again, if we apply the same principle Evangelicalism applies to Islam (they describe God differently than how we describe God, thus it is a different God) that same logic would cause us to declare that every Christian different than ourselves is worshiping a different God.

However, we don’t do that. While we disagree and sometimes even fight about these differences, we still have the charity and decency to largely affirm that all Christians are attempting to offer worship to the same object: the God of Abraham. That obviously doesn’t mean we think all Christian traditions are equally right or valid– we simply affirm that we are attempting to worship the same entity: Abraham’s God.

We extend this charity to other Christians. We extend this charity to Judaism– which outright rejected God’s covenant and the Messiah. Yet, when we find Islam, we depart from our norm of acknowledging the object of our worship is the same but simply disagree on what the nature and characteristics are like.

Why we refuse to have the charity to admit that, like Jews and 40,000 versions of Christianity we disagree with, we’re all attempting to worship Abraham’s God, is beyond me. There’s plenty the Christian and Muslim disagree on, theologically. We disagree on the attributes of God, the nature of sin, soteriology, etc. However, like it or not, both religions are attempting to worship the same entity.

And that is the God of Abraham.

When I myself was struggling with this question, the most helpful words came from Miroslav Volf when he came to speak to my class when I studied Islam at Gordon-Conwell. Volf said, “there’s a difference between worshipping the right God, and worshipping the right God rightly.

One can affirm we are worshipping the same God without it being an affirmation that one is worshipping the right God in the right way.

So, yes: Christians and Muslims do in fact worship the same God– but that doesn’t mean everything you’re assuming we mean when we say it. It’s not a confession of Unitarian Universalism. We’re not saying both religions are the same and equally true or correct.

Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and earned his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller.

He is the author of Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, and Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus.

It's not the end of the world, but it's pretty #@&% close. Trump's America & Franklin Graham's Christianity must be resisted.

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  • “NO” they don’t!! Jesus Christ rose from the dead, Mohamed didn’t!! Jesus preached peace & salvation, Mohamed preached hate & “death to infedels!”
    GOD IS REAL, allah isn’t !!!

    • Ask a Muslim, and they might say, “Allah is real; the Christian God isn’t!”

      Neither of you would have the empirical evidence to objectively rest your case.

      • Or maybe you just agree and have a linguist problem.
        Allah is the word God in another language. Which as we all know is NOT a name, it’s a title. Christians in Persian, Turkish and Arabic speaking countries use the world ALLAH when they pray to God.

    • I’m a muslim but I was never taught to ‘preach hate & death to infidels!’ I’ve never even killed anyone.
      Learn the difference between extremist muslim and regular muslim. Go to southeast asia and ask a muslim if islam ever told them to kill a soul. Just because a cult misunderstands a religion, doesn’t mean it was the truer form of the religion.
      Second of all, what part of this article you do not understand. Let me sum it up for you, muslims and christian BOTH worship Abraham’s God. We call it Allah because it’s the arabic word for it!
      We love Jesus, we love the virgin Mary, and above all, we love God.
      So why don’t we just set aside our ego, and move on already.

      • But in Quran Sura 9-29 your allah god calls for fighting and subjugating Christians and Jews and your Islamic history is full of that hate and killing of Christians and Jews. Quran sura 5-51 tells you not to make friends with Christians and Jews. Quran Sura 9-5 tells you to slay pagans. Sura 9-5 and 9-29 calls for violence against 99% of Americans. Your religion is false. The allah god is Satan and he has fooled both you and Muhammad and a billion Muslims. In fact, Muhammad thought at first in 610 AD that he was possessed by a demon…he was! Leave Islam and come to faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God…but you could be killed for leaving Islam,,,apostasy. Leave it anyway. Islam god is a god who hates…AKA Satan. Faith in Jesus Christ will save your eternal soul. I pray for Muslims to come to faith in Christ every day.

  • Are any of you people even AWARE that Arab Christians also say “Allah” when they speak of God? Because “Allah” is the WORD for God in the Arabic language! Arab Christians also say “Inshallah” (if God wills it) and “Allahu Akbar” (May God be praised). Just thought I’d throw that out there.

    • I agree that allah means God in Arabic, however, if you study the Quran and the Gospels, you will find that the allah god of Islam, a god who hates, is not the “same God” Christians worship, a God of love and forgiveness.

      • Excuse me. I was thinking of something else. But Arab Christians DO say “Allahu akbar.” They say just about everything most people think of as being Muslim (except, of course for references to Muhammad) because Allah means GOD.

  • Abraham is at the root of the Jews, Christians and Muslims. Abraham had
    two sons Issac and Ishmael. Issac was the son of Abraham and Sarah who
    was Abraham’s wife, Ishmael was the son of Abraham and Hagar, the
    servant of Sarah. Issac stayed in the line of the Jews and Jesus.
    Ishmael went to the Arabs. At this point the two split their heritage.
    Issac was the line that bore Jesus who was the son of God. The Jews
    denied who Jesus said he was. This is because they were waiting for a God
    who would free them from the Romans. Those who followed Jesus became
    Christians, The Jews are still waiting for their Messiah. The Ishmael line
    had diverged from the Jewish and Christian line. I’m not as familiar
    with the line of Ishmael other than this line was the origin of the
    Muslim faith. The Arabs had many pagan gods. Muhammad was the profit for
    the start of the Muslim faith. I can say that the God of Issac who says to
    love your enemies is the polar opposite of the god of Ishmael, Allah who
    says kill your enemies. They both have a “great deceiver” the bible
    says he is Satan, the Koran says he is Allah.

    • “I’m not as familiar with the line of Ishmael other than this line was the origin of the Muslim faith.”

      From Ishmael (2100 BC) to Muhammad (610 AD), 2700 years, the Arabs were pagans worshiping many gods or allahs. There is no proof that the Arabs were descended from Ishmael…some maybe, but just as there were people in present day Israel when Abraham got there, I suspect there were people in present day Arabian Peninsula in Ishmael’s time. The claim to Abraham cannot be proved and is just an unsubstantiated “claim”. There is no genealogy from Ishmael to the Arabs as there is in the Bible from Abraham to David to Jesus Christ. The “same God” claim is also just a claim and the attributes of the Islamic god is full of hate and violence against unbelievers (Christians and Jews and Pagans) while the Christian God, Jesus Christ, One in being with the Father, is a God of love and forgiveness.

  • Much of this article is helpful and logical. But when you use the words “right,” ” correct” or ” true,” to define your own specific understandings of God, you lose credibility. My take is that we worshippers are all finite seekers. None of us is wise enough to be “correct” in our interpretations of God. We imperfect seekers need to be open to other imperfect seekers, allowing for varying interpretations.

  • No, they/we do not worship the same God. The Muslims worships lies. Just as they lie about Jesus and who he truthfully is. The Muslims dismiss multiple prophets of the Hebrew God that also bear prophecies to Christ and other truths from God.

    Muslims do not know God according to truth, they do not worship the same God/Allah.

    Here is what Jesus told the ‘woman at the well’ about her/their ‘worship’ compared to his and that of the Jews:

    (John 4:19-26) The woman said to him: “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our forefathers worshipped on this mountain, but you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where people must worship.” 21 Jesus said to her: “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, because salvation begins with the Jews. 23 Nevertheless, the hour is coming, and it is now, when the true worshippers will worship the Father with spirit and truth, for indeed, the Father is looking for ones like these to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit, and those worshipping him must worship with spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him: “I know that Mes·siʹah is coming, who is called Christ. Whenever that one comes, he will declare all things to us openly.” 26 Jesus said to her: “I am he, the one speaking to you.” -[RNWT

  • Allah and God in the bible are not the same. Allah in the Quran is a colorful sparkling being enamored with how he looks. God as he is discribed in the bible is not a sparkling being. How is one the other?

    • Your argument proves exactly the point of the article. Everything you mention is an attribute description. I believe in a Jesus that called us to humility and servitude. Other believe in a Jesus who wants us all to be rich and have extravagant cathedrals and for pastors to have their own private planes. That I find repugnant. Yet, I believe we started from the same place and got to completely different locations.

  • One of the things I DON’T agree with BLC on! There’s a lot of comments here about how the ‘Judaeo-Christian’ God is not the Islamic God, but the word ‘Judaeo-Christian’ is a misnomer created only about 100 years ago as a political tool. One could argue very effectively that the attributes and descriptions of God are more alike between Judaism and Islam, with Jesus presenting the truly different picture.

    And so we come to the one good point BLC makes here: if we reject Islam as a false religion, we must reject Judaism too, but as the whole evangelical machine he talks about goes into overdrive to express nothing but admiration, affection and camaraderie with Judaism, one has to ask the question “what is going on?” Might it be that all the Jew-loving and Muslim-hating has more to do with politics (aka The Religious Right) than it has with the gospel of Jesus?

    I do NOT believe that Muslims (OR Jews) even remotely worship the same God – God IS Jesus, after all, or is that pillar of Christianity being eroded too? – but I HAVE visited a local Islamic centre and had talks with a Muslim scholar. We disagree on religion, even though he clearly understood grace (and seemed dejected when he confessed it), but we were able to ‘agree to differ’. WHY is it that we cannot seem to be able to live on the same Earth in harmony WHILE agreeing that our religions are not compatible? As Archbishop Welby so eloquently said:

    “Our calling is to love one another and to find ways of good disagreement in a world that is completely incapable of good disagreement.”

    However, the clincher for me in all of this is, of course, the words of Jesus himself. When he was addressing some of the most prominent Jews i.e. the Pharisees, he told them:

    ‘If you were Abraham’s children,’ said Jesus, ‘then you would do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father.’

    ‘We are not illegitimate children,’ they protested. ‘The only Father we have is God himself.’

    Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.’

    There you have it! Jesus said that the Jews who rejected him (not the ones who received him) were not children of God, but of the devil. So too are Muslims, since they reject Jesus as Son of God.

  • Having the same patriarch is not the same as having the “same God.”
    You can appreciate her desire for God’s heart for those in Islam – that said, she could have easily identified with them by saying we have the same patriarch (Abraham).

    Likewise, I can appreciate Ben’s desire to be inclusive. However, it does seem unwise and even silly at times to trip over the semantics. Why make a statement that you know will be misinterpreted, and then provide a summary statement that says, “we have the same patriarch?” The other thing I don’t understand is the insistence we have the same God based only on Abraham as the patriarch. Feels like it is taking a position just to be “liberal.” Which feels divisive, not inclusive.

  • Is Islam an Abrahamic religion? It presents itself as one, but does this statement hold out as far as history goes and the fact that the Quranic version of Abraham has little in common with the Biblical one. In fact, it contradicts what the Bible states about Abraham and the Bible is our only source on Abraham. Some 2500 years after the time Biblical scholars consider when Abraham lived, Islam comes along with an almost completely different narrative. What historical basis is there for the Quranic idea that Abraham and Ishmael constructed the Kabba? NONE. So, the Quran’s Abraham is not the same figure as the Biblical one, just as the Quran’s Isa has almost nothing in common with the real Jesus of the Gospels. It categorically denies the most important facts about Jesus in the New Testament. So, I don’t that Islam is an “Abrahamic faith”, although it falsely claims to be such. Since the final version of the Pentateuch is considered to have been redacted around the year 300 B.C. and the Bible is the only source for the story of Abraham and 1000 years later and the Quran invents a completely false narrative to justify its claim that it is an Abrhamic relgion, how can its version be correct? It cannot.

  • A sq and a triangle are both the same basic thing. They are shapes; but if i take a corner from the definition of a sq do i still have the same object? No, so when muslims take the triunity and personalness of God away, it is not, nor can it be, the same God.

  • This has too many problems for me to deal with. So I will deal with just one. We worship a totally different God than the Muslims do. The only proof that you have that we do worship the same basic God is that they just describe God differently. And that is where you are wrong. It’s not just the description that is different. It’s what their God said versus what the true God said. It’s what their God did and does versus what our God did and does. And it’s what they as Allah’s followers are told to do versus what God tells us to do. We are told to love our enemies (Matt. 5:43). They are told to convert or kill them. Your whole basis is wrong. And if you’re going to prove something about God, maybe you should try using Scripture. Compare their description of God and ours. Oh and one more thing. I hate to break it to you, but the argument you use about describing the same thing differently, is that you do exactly what you say at the end that you are trying to avoid. That argument IS the exact same argument Universalists and Buddhists use to prove that all paths lead to God.

    • You are RIGHT ON! The allah god of Islam is Satan because he denies Jesus Christ’s divinity and death on the cross, lies against the Gospels written 600 years earlier by eye witnesses to Jesus’ teachings and miracles. Jesus says in John 8:44 that Satan is the father of all lies. The allah god of Islam is Satan.

  • No, this is categorically false. I have studied Islam for 8 years and I know this to be false. Muslims and Jews and Christians DO NOT worship the same God. Muslims claim this legitimacy based on a tradition of descent from Abraham. This tradition states that the Ka’aba was the house that Adam built when he was expelled from Eden, and that Abraham rebuilt it. There is no biblical or archaeological evidence that Abraham ever entered Arabia. Any similarity between Islam and Judeo-Christianity is a fabrication of Muhammad, intended to make his cult more palatable to the Jews and Christians he was trying to court
    into joining him.

    My God does not endorse the assassination of people who speak out against him. (Ibn Ishaq 676)

    My God does not permit you to rape your captive females. (Tabari IX:25)

    My God did not endorse his prophets to take slaves and “marry” (read:
    Rape with legitimacy) them hours after publicly executing their fathers. (Quran 50-51, Ibn Ishaq 466)

    My God does not share his glory with his two sister goddesses (oops, sorry, Satan dictated that part of the Quran, according to Muhammad. My bad . . . or his. . .. whatever). (Ibn Ishaq 165)

    My God does not endorse 57 year old prophets to have intercourse with 9 year old brides. (Bukhari:V7B62N64)

    My God did not advocate his prophet to wage a campaign of banditry from
    which the prophet got 20% of all the booty. (Quran 8:41, Bukhari:V1B2N50)

    My God did not reverse his teachings. (Quran 2:106)

    My God does not deny the immaculate conception, the divinity of Jesus or that Jesus died on the cross, let alone rose from the dead. (Quran 4:157)

    My God does not teach that a woman is worth half of a man. (Quran 2:282)

    My God does not require that you be killed if you leave the faith. (Quran 4:89)

    My God does not consider the mindless recital of scripture in an archaic language that the penitent doesn’t even understand as prayer. (Bukhari:V2B16N108)

    My God does not instruct the sons of prophets to divorce their wives so that the prophet can marry them. (Tabari VIII:1-3)

    My God does not instruct his prophets to renounce the trinity. (Quran 5:73)

    Monotheism does not automatically mean that you worship the God of Jesus, Moses and Abraham.

    • “My God does not deny the immaculate conception, the divinity of Jesus or that Jesus died on the cross, let alone rose from the dead. (Quran 4:157)” LIES against the Gospels written 700 years earlier by eye witnesses to Jesus’ miracle and words. Jesus also says that Satan is the father of alllies. The allah god of Islam is Satan…or Muhammad made it all up…again lies…Satan’s handiwork. I go with Muhammad getting revelations from Satan…he thought at first he was possessed…and he was. For this death culth religion to last 14 years, it had to be Satan revealed as opposed to Mo making it up.

  • I don’t think so … from what I understand … Muslim simply claim that they are from the line of Abraham citing they come from one of Abraham’s son, but that doesn’t unequivocally makes them the follower of Abraham’s God … Mohammed had some dealings with the Jews before and even tried to convince them to side with him … and to do that he must have a in depth knowledge of their faith in order entice the Jews, unfortunately he failed miserably on it, then he tried again with the Christian … again he failed … if you would notice, he had acknowledge both the Jews and Christians and called them the people of the book … curiously despite his acknowledgement of both you would notice his deep contempt at both religion… another point to add, he seemed to have copied a number of tales from the bible and incorporated it to his own religion … and one of major thing that he did probably to make his religion a legitimate one, he had claimed lineage to Abraham … as for the Gods … quick comparison between the Gods of Muslims, Jews and Christians would simply show two distinct personality, one tend to be more violent and the other radiate an aura of tolerance (except in times of war)

  • Using your logic, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons and every other cult spun off from Christianity can be said to be worshipping the same God. However, most of these people who are trying their best to worship the God of Abraham are going to completely miss out on the promise of abundant life and the adoption into God’s family made available by Christ Himself.

    There is another ss2ee thing. You may only understand a fraction of the truth and theology of the bible, yet the faith of a child is enough to save. Why? Because our faith is in the one who saves.

    I dare say that many Muslims, Jews, Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses have more faith than many Christians I know. Their problem is not because they misunderstand God’s attributes. The problem is that their God cannot save. He is powerless and heretical. The reason for this is simple- The One True God had been replaced by the ideas and concepts of man which have been written down as if they were as valid as Scripture. The idea of God- the basic concept, really- has been stolen and redefined. It is sad that many of the founders of these religions and cults were so close to the truth.

    Re-read Matthew 24 and you will see Jesus’ warning about false religious leaders. These antichrists come in the name of the God of Abraham, but there is no truth within them. Jesus warns us of their lies and the destruction that comes from following their counterfeit religion. Their god has the same name and they claim He has the same origin. Are they following the same God from the Bible? Not a chance. Jesus was very specific here.

    Matthew 7;21-23 tells of an encounter that will happen at the end of the age. People who honestly think of themselves as believers will try to convince Jesus that they true Children of God. Jesus tells them plainly “I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!” He did not say they were close but simply got their attributes wrong. No. Their god was God in name and concept only. These people were counting on a false idol.

  • This HAS to be one of the most flawed analysis pieces on the entire net. The Christian God is THEE God, the Muslim god is Satan and that’s a fact, jack!

  • Mohammed envied the monotheism of Judaism and Christianity, not knowing they worshiped the same One and only true GOD, Maker of the Universe. He reached into his Arab polytheism and pulled out “allah” the moon god and — presto! — transposed this spirit as the Arabic Yehwah, Jehovah-GOD. St. Paul tells us in I Cor. 10 that idols and all false worship are demonically inspired; which is to say, all the world’s large and small worship systems, not least among them ISLAM.
    What Hebrew teaches us biblically is that a name specifies character, and allah’s character resembles most exactly the ancient moon god and demonic spirit of REVENGE, CRUELTY, THE SWORD & DOMINATION in the name of “divine justice”. So let’s be spiritually discerning. The GOOD & HOLY GOD JEHOVAH cannot be the same or even derived thru “father Abraham” as our common God with Islam. ISLAM DENIES and therefore goes to WAR with JEHOVAH-GOD who required at Calvary a BLOOD ATONEMENT FOR THE SINS OF THE WORLD — pious Moslems included.

  • What is the the meaning/purpose of life? This question can be best summed up by quoting Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. Jesus said in Matthew 22:37 Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the true worship of the Creator.

    Benjamin L Corey’s last line in his OP above states ‘we affirm that Jews, Christians, and Muslims are all trying to worship the same entity: Abraham’s God. Maybe we should do more than just ‘TRY’.

  • “it’s not the object that we disagree on, but the attributes.”

    pray continue. tell me more about this cubical yellow planet that you live on.

  • Back when i was a soldier, President Obama gave me a direct order to go into Casper, Wyoming, and massacre all of the American citizens living there.

    You doubt this? This is my testimony and it is well-documented, by me! Barack Hussein Obama. The 44th President of the United States. He ordered me to shoot and kill any American citizens that I found.

    Listen, just because I know President Obama “differently” that you, doesn’t mean that this wasn’t Barack Obama. Just because he ordered the slaughter of American citizens doesn’t mean that he could never be acting as the President of the USA.

    (Qu’ran 9:29, gentle readers)

  • The trinity of God was revealed through Jesus completing the prophesy of the old testament and is the only way that man can have a relationship with his creator. Mohammad is not a messenger of God, but a blasphemy and portrays God falsely. As Christians we can love, forgive and try to share our faith, but when it is rejected, we should walk away. Other religions are misled from the true word. The personal relationship we as Christians filled with the Holy Spirit is unlike either Judiasm or Mohammadists. salvation is a gift freely given by belief in Jesus. Dont hate Muslims – share the truth with them.

  • God is like Jesus. Christians worship the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. I worship Jesus, and his Father is pretty happy, ecstatic about that, from what the Scripture suggests. The fundamental error in this article is to assume a “bedrock” understanding of God at a lowest common denominator , i.e,”religion of the book level” that does not take progressive revelation seriously at all. A cursory reading of the book of Hebrews shows that going back to Judaism from Christianity is not an acceptable way to worship God. I honour Jews and Muslims for holding beliefs separate to mine. But for them Jesus-worship is anathema and blasphemy. For Christians, not to worship Jesus is to miss the point of God.

  • Okay, we are a cusp…I know it. Had what you call a gnosis, but you will not hear me. I know it. Totally, I know what is going on. Right….called supporting robotics…which you all say you hate? Right.

    The woman of GOD, MY ABBA, THE LIGHT, THE WAY…HAS COME TO CALL YOU OUT. STOP IT. I KNOW WHAT IS UP. YOU ARE A PART OF WHAT IS WRONG.

    I AM CALLING…YOUR GOD, THE SECOND COMING, WHATEVER YOU ALL THOUGHT IS WAS A GENT…HOWEVER…WHAT IF A WOMAN WITH A DOG CAME INSTEAD.

    COME ON….I HEAR YOU SPEAK OF ABBA…YOU KNOW HIM…WELL…BIG WISH….WOOOOOOOOOOOOSH. A CLEANSING PROCESS.

    SO…..THE WOMAN WITH A GOLDEN RETREIVER SAYS….DON’T LIKE IT HERE. WE ARE DOWN…..

    HELP US CREATE HEAVEN. WE CAN DO THIS. LOT’S OF HARD WORK, BUT I DO BELIEVE IT MIGHT BE A BIT EASIER….WELL….I AM PRAYING……BECAUSE HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE MOVIE….TESTAMENT…….

    WATCH IT….DO WE WANT TO GO THERE….AND IF YOU CAN HEAR ME…TIME TO STOP TALKING ABOUT IT ALL AND GUESS….WHAT…DOES HEAVEN LOOK LIKE? REALLY……….WANT TO SEE……….IT IS A WOOOOOOOOOOOOSH MOMENT…..WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS TO YOU AND THEN……..CALLED REINCARNATION, DEATH, BIRTH, A NEW PLACE TO BEGIN…….BOWING DOWN…..THAT ENERGY SOURCE YOU BELIEVE IN IS SO POWERFUL…..THAT IT IS PAINFUL.

    IT IS NOT GOOD RIGHT NOW. SO PLEASE…STOP TALKING AND HELP ME CREATE SOMETHING…..MY E…IS AMYASKS@GMAIL.COM. COME AND MEET ME.

    IT’S BAD OUT THERE. WE KNOW…..ABBA AND THE WOMAN…WE KNOW….SHE HAS A GOLDEN RETRIEVER, BENJAMIN…

    WOULD SOME REALLY GODLY PEOPLE LIKE TO MEET THE MUSLIMS. DIG THE FOOD SOOO…..AND THE CULTURE IS REALLY COOL. HOWEVER ALL THE MUSLIMS I HAVE MET WERE SUCH GODLY PEOPLE….BUT ONE TRANSGRESSED. HE KNOWS IT, I TOLD HIM TO FLEE AND HE DID, A WINK TO MOHAMMED. A BROTHER….BUT DO YOU KNOW REALLY THAT WE ARE JUST SOME OF THE MANY NAMES OF GOD.

    SO COULD WE DO A GENESIS PLEASE…HELP ME.

    CALLED….MARKETING…..E.F. SCHUMACER….INVESTMENTS…IN SMALL…BUT WITH JUST A LITTLE HELP?

    WHAT WOULD HEAVEN LOOK LIKE….THE GOSPEL OF THOMAS…51…….

    IF YOU CAN HEAR ME…….I HAVE BEEN PRAYING FOR YOU FOR A LONG TIME. TRUST ME. WE CAN START THE GRIEF…OVER…..IT IS CALLED JOY….WE CAN DO THIS. A Spiritual thing. I am just a human, who has come to bring a message to you.

    The WOMAN OF HER ABBA HAS COME TO SAY…..

    HAVE YOU EVER MET THAT ENERGY…EVER, IN YOUF LIFE….GOD, THE LIGHT, THE WAY, THE WAAAA….

    COULD WE GENESIS…WHICH IS WHAT REVELATIONS, OR WHATEVER BOOK….COME ON…WE ARE IT….

    ARE YOU READY….OR NOT YET….HAS IT NOT GOTTEN BAD ENOUGH….OR DO YOU ALL HAVE TO GO THROUGH MORE HARM…

    WE DON’T KNOW, ABBA AND THE WOMAN HAS COME TO ASK…
    WE ARE JUST TRUSTING THAT SOME HOW, SOME WAY, IN GOD…WE WILL MEET…

    AND I DO FEEL….WOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSHHHH…..THANK YOU…..

    ARE WE STARTING TO SWITCH IT, ABBA, BECAUSE IF WE AS GODLY SPEAK OF YOU THEN HELLLLLOOOOO……WE CAN CHANGE IT UP…AND WE ARE ALL SO WONDROUSLY MADE…UNIQUE…..THE WOOOOOOOSH….I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE. I DON’T KNOW HOW I COME. WHAT WERE YOU EXPECTING….A GUY……REALLY NOW…AND GOD, YOU WHATEVER, HAS NO HUMOR….AND THEN FROM HUMOR COMES PAIN AND THAT GOES ON BUT THEN YOU KNOW.

    THAT YOU ARE DIFFERENT. YOU JUST KNOW IT. AND THEN SOME ENERGY SOURCE, WHATEVER….STARTS TO BRING YOU TOGETHER.

    I am not screaming. I just know we can do. We are just tired of what it looks like, right…..SORRY….

  • I’ve read somewhere–or maybe I heard Ravi Zacharias say it–that there are no Christian Studies departments in Islamic Universities in all of the Middle East. Zero. So it seems as though Muslims reject the idea interfaith solidarity in academic matters.

  • I disagree that we are worshipping the same God. Although Abraham was the father of many nations, that doesn’t mean he’s the father of all three faiths. Christians and Jews believe that the faith of Abraham is the faith of the Bible, and that is why we view Jews to be more close than Islam. Islam is not grounded in anything we worship. From what I have seen of the Koran, they don’t include the words of their prophets, except for Mohammed. Though Jews may worship God differently, we believe the God of Israel is the same God we worship. And although Allah may be their word for God (similar to Elohim in Hebrew), they haven’t ascribed him any other name (unlike Judaism and Christianity), so that must also be the only name they know him by.

  • Just read that Iceland is building its first temple to the Norse gods in 1,000 years. That is interesting, but not relevant. This bit was, however:

    “Worship of the gods in Scandinavia gave way to Christianity around 1,000 years ago but a modern version of Norse paganism has been gaining popularity in Iceland.

    “I don’t believe anyone believes in a one-eyed man who is riding about on a horse with eight feet,” said Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson, high priest of ‘Asatruarfelagid’, an association that promotes faith in the Norse gods.

    “We see the stories as poetic metaphors and a manifestation of the forces of nature and human psychology.”

    Membership in Asatruarfelagid has tripled in Iceland in the last decade to 2,400 members last year, out of a total population of 330,000, data from Statistics Iceland showed.”

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-iceland-religion-pagans-idUKKBN0L70FN20150203

    The bit I’ve made bold is exactly how I see all religious texts.

  • When I was in college, I watched the movie “The Scarlet Letter” starring Demi Moore. This movie was the best thing to happen to literature teachers who wanted to catch lazy students, because it would be extremely easy to tell who had watched the movie instead of reading the book.

    *** Spoilers ***

    From the long segment at the beginning playing out the romance between Hester and Arthur and their eventual adultery (the book starts long after these events), to Chillingworth as a feral ninja, to the Puritans imprisonment of Christian Indians, to Hester and Arthur both being convicted and sentenced to hang, to being rescued from the gallows by a vengeful Metacomet, to the little blurb at the end that said, essentially, “You might think what Hester did was wrong, but who knows if God agrees?”

    *** End Spoilers ***

    The movie begins with a placard that says it was “freely adapted” from the novel. Judging from the actual movie, “freely adapted” meant that they had the same main characters, kept a couple of central plot elements, and filled in a bunch of other stuff to weave a story they felt was more interesting and relevant – a Hollywood action/romance with a happy ending for the main characters. Not only is this story rather significantly different from the original in important ways, it is also bereft of the drama, full emotional range, and powerful themes of the original, replacing them instead with elements the authors felt would be more entertaining and palatable to modern audiences.

    It is clear to me that the people in this thread maintaining that Allah is not the same God as God are doing something remarkably similar with the Bible and the early Christian narrative.

    Time and time again, those people have argued on doctrinal grounds, yet when confronted with actual Scripture that seems to indicate the New Testament narrative is different than their construction, discussion stops. They just quit talking (or say helpful things like “get a life). They are not interested in figuring out what these early testimonies have to say about the content of their faith. It is just not important.

    What they have is a modern body of dogmatics that is “freely adapted” from these early testimonies. The main characters are there, along with a couple of major plot elements, but everything else has just been filled in to create a story more palatable to the audience – in this case, people who want to be right about Muslims going to Hell (or anyone else who does not share their story).

    The Bible tells us that Paul told pagan Athenians they were worshiping the true God – the God specifically who raised Jesus from the dead – and does not tell them about Jesus’ divinity or activity as Savior. Paul also tells us that Jews who have rejected Jesus as the Messiah still have a zeal for the true God.

    It is entirely possible to say Paul was just wrong about that, and that’s at least a coherent response, but I am completely convinced that popular American evangelicalism just does not care at all what the Bible’s coherent narrative is. They are interested in scraps they can dig out to superficially support a concept of God they have created themselves which gives them license to determine who goes to Hell. I am a Christian and Jesus is my Lord, and I am very pleased not to be a part of whatever these so-called “evangelicals” are doing.

  • After much back and forth, I think I have a handle on what divides people on this issue. It’s so simple that I’m surprised I didn’t see it sooner.

    Ultimately, the “God of Abraham” argument is begging the question. The reality is that Muslims worship the god of MUHAMMAD. The notion that Allah is also the God of Abraham is dependent on Muhammad’s credibility.

    It seems to me that how you measure that credibility depends on how you view Scripture in general. If you believe that Scripture was written by religious philosophers who were using human faculties to describe God to the best of their human ability, then you are more likely to see Muhammad as just another man in that tradition. That supports the “he tried” argument.

    But, there is another view. Fundamentalists believe that God inspires Scripture. Any description of God that isn’t founded on inspired Scripture is worthless. It’s basically philosophical fan fiction.

    Dispite the theological differences, Fundamentalists still believe that Jews worship God as revealed by inspired prophets. For that reason, we believe they worship the same God we do. That’s the distinction between Jews and Muslims. The Law and Prophets were inspired by God. The Quran was not.

    I imagine some will argue that Muslims are still TRYING to worship God. Doesn’t that matter? And, to a fundamentalist, the answer is no. It does not matter. We don’t worship the “God of Abraham” – at least not in the sense that the term is used here. Instead, we worship the God who revealed himself to Noah, Abraham and Moses – the God who ultimately revealed himself AS Jesus. We worship a God of revelation. And, Muslims don’t worship that God.

  • The example with boss Jeff doesn’t really work for me because Jeff has a physical existence. It’s easy to say he’s the same object regardless of how he’s described because we can point at the object without referring to any of the descriptions.

    When someone talks about God, we can’t really know what they mean except by asking them. I can’t think of any aspect of God that isn’t in dispute somehow. The very question of whether there is an object there to refer to is in dispute.

    I think it’s closer to the question of whether Edward Cullen and Christian Grey are attempted descriptions of the same object. Are they? How can you tell, either way?

  • Excellent scholarly article by Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, author of ‘Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus’.

    “…Now I believe that the phrase “Muslims and Christians worship the same God” is only true in a fairly uncontroversial sense: There is one Creator whom Muslims and Christians both attempt to worship. Apart from this banal observation, Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God. I do not condemn those that think they do, but the deeper I delve into the Christian faith, the more I realize that this assertion is not only untrue but also subverts Christian orthodoxy in favor of Islamic assertions.”

    http://rzim.org/global-blog/do-muslims-and-christians-worship-the-same-god

  • An interesting debate, though I do have to say that my impression is that many of the contributors have simply not understood Mr Corey’s argument. The oft-repeated assertion, for instance, that because Christians believe Christ is God and Muslims and Jews do not, it must follow that the three religions are not seeking to worship the same God, the God of Abraham, our father in faith, strikes me as missing the point entirely. Of course, I, as a Christian, think that Islam has fundamentally misunderstood the nature of the God of Abraham. Islam’s insistence that Christ was merely a prophet, not the son of God, is, to my mind wholly wrong. But that does not mean that Mr Corey’s assertion that my religion and Islam are seeking to worship the same God, the God of Abraham, is flawed. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that his contention is plainly correct.

    Charles

  • Let’s start with the obvious: Christians believe Jesus is God, but the Quran is so opposed to this belief that it condemns Jesus worshipers to Hell (5.72). For Christians, Jesus is certainly God, and for Muslims Jesus is certainly not God. How can it be said that Christians and Muslims worship the same God? This fact alone is enough to settle the matter, but at the very least, no one should argue as Volf has that “there isn’t any theological justification” for believing Christians and Muslims worship different Gods. There certainly is, and it is the obvious position when we consider the person of Jesus.

    Another difference between the Islamic God and the Christian God that is quite personal to me is his Fatherhood. According to Jesus, God is our Father, yet the “Quran very specifically denies that Allah is a father (112.1-4). In fact, in 5.18, the Quran tells Muslims to rebuke Jews and Christians for calling God their loving Father because humans are just things that God has created.

    The same is the case when we consider the doctrine of the Trinity. Islam roundly condemns worship of the Trinity (5.73), establishing in contrast its own core principle: Tawhid, the absolute oneness of God. Tawhidspecifically denies the Trinity, so much so that it is safe to say the doctrine of God in Christianity is antithetical to the doctrine of God in Islam. Not just different but completely opposed to one another.

    There is much more to be said about the differences between the Christian God and the Muslim God, but this much can already be said with confidence: the Christian God, both in terms of what he is (Triune) and who he is (Father, Son, and Spirit) is not just different from the Muslim God; He is fundamentally incompatible. According to Islam, worshiping the Christian God is not just wrong; it sends you to Hell. They are not the same God.” http://rzim.org/global-blog/do-muslims-and-christians-worship-the-same-god#.VoIXH7Lswt4.facebook

  • Nice try, but nope. Not one mention of Jesus, and Jesus said he is the way, the truth and life. Also, no mention of Deuteronomy 14:2, I Chronicles 17:20-21, Isaiah 41:8 (where God calls Abraham His friend), Isaiah 43:1-3, Ezekiel chapters 36 & 37, Romans 11:1-2 and more. Allah’s prophet is Mohammed, a man who worshiped the moon god. YHWH’s prophets are men like Elijiah and Amos and Isaiah who were men who rejected such things. Mr. Corey is deluded if he thinks that we worship the same God. Sharing an ancestry with Abraham does not mean they worship the same God. Muslims believe that Jesus is a prophet of God but not the Son of God. That alone is a deal breaker. To teach this kind of lie leads Muslims to hell. They need to know that salvation only comes through faith in Jesus Christ.

  • Jesus said “I am *THE* WAY, *THE* TRUTH, and *THE* LIFE. None come to the Father but through ME.”
    He could not have made it any more plain…if you don’t come to God through HIM…you have not even approached His throne!
    Even some who call themselves “Christians” don’t even do this…so how could those who are trying to worship the Father through Mohammed – a pedophile and murderer – have any access to Father?
    The truth isn’t in you, and lest you repent you will fall into Hades to your father, Satan when you die. Repent now for putting lies and guile into the mouth of the Lord, Christ Jesus.

  • I like what carl jung said when asked if he believed in god; ‘I don’t believe. I know!’. I disclosed to a friend of mine who I met awhile back onna blog that I yoozta read the bible constantly, obsessivly & I’ve taken a break bc I was not having a connection w it so much anymore as I was now maintaining a loving relationship w a loving god I found on the third step of a 12step program in AA. I’ve been sober now (much of the time in a serene state of mind & emotions) almost twelve years & have a brand new life bc of constant contact. my friend said abt my bible addiction that: ‘once you learn to swim you don’t need a life preserver…we should all learn to swim.’ I don’t believe. I know who gave me this wonderful clean, sober existance. I’m talking to him right now!

  • From Pastor Bob – If Islam is trying to worship the same God [God the Father] that Christians are then Romans 1:21-22 describes their error. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” Muslims knowingly reject Jesus Christ who is God. This is much more than trying to approach God using a wrong method. This is an organized religion spreading a false gospel. If Romans 1:22-23 rings true then Muhammad knew the scriptural way to approach God and knowingly rejected general revelation and revealed scripture. 2 Peter 2:1 ““But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there
    shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable
    heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon
    themselves swift destruction.”

  • Find yourself unable to articulate how your Christian faith is unlike the Muslim faith? Do you not identify with either and yet purport to believe you understand Christianity enough to form an opinion of how they are or are not relative? This article hits a home run, it doesn’t get any simpler than this. ‪#‎Christianity‬≠Muslim

    http://www.charismamag.com/life/culture/25190-of-course-christians-and-muslims-don-t-worship-the-same-god#st_refDomain=www.facebook.com&st_refQuery=/

  • Copied this from an article posted by Nabeel Qureshi about the Wheaton College issue posted on the Ravi Zacharias ministry page. Qureshi was a muslim and knows the quran and the bible well, so he knows what both sides believe and why. :

    “There is much more to be said about the differences between the Christian God and the Muslim God, but this much can already be said with confidence: the Christian God, both in terms of what he is (Triune) and who he is (Father, Son, and Spirit) is not just different from the Muslim God; He is fundamentally incompatible. According to Islam, worshiping the Christian God is not just wrong; it sends you to Hell. They are not the same God.

    “Let’s start with the obvious: Christians believe Jesus is God, but the Quran is so opposed to this belief that it condemns Jesus worshipers to Hell (5.72). For Christians, Jesus is certainly God, and for Muslims Jesus is certainly not God. How can it be said that Christians and Muslims worship the same God? This fact alone is enough to settle the matter, but at the very least, no one should argue as Volf has that “there isn’t any theological justification” for believing Christians and Muslims worship different Gods. There certainly is, and it is the obvious position when we consider the person of Jesus.

    “Another difference between the Islamic God and the Christian God that is quite personal to me is his Fatherhood. According to Jesus, God is our Father, yet the Quran very specifically denies that Allah is a father (112.1-4). In fact, in 5.18, the Quran tells Muslims to rebuke Jews and Christians for calling God their loving Father because humans are just things that God has created.

    “The same is the case when we consider the doctrine of the Trinity. Islam roundly condemns worship of the Trinity (5.73), establishing in contrast its own core principle: Tawhid, the absolute oneness of God. Tawhid specifically denies the Trinity, so much so that it is safe to say the doctrine of God in Christianity is antithetical to the doctrine of God in Islam. Not just different but completely opposed to one another.

    “So how can people argue that Muslims and Christians worship the same God? By unduly giving priority to the Islamic assertion that this is the same God. The Quran says that Allah is the God of the Bible, so He must be. The Quran says that Allah is the God of the Biblical prophets, so He must be.

    “The Quran says that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, so it must be the same God. Ultimately, this is the reasoning of those who believe, as I once did, that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, and it is flawed.”

    (hopefully it won’t scramble again. If it does, look up Ravi Zacharias ministries or the issue itself, and search for his article)

  • I must suggest that I find it quite odd that you should use the terminology of “object” to describe what Christians fundamentally understand as the Personhood of God. In my estimation, you and I can look at a wooden “object” and make varying comments as to its essential features and perhaps be referencing the same object. But in terms of personhood, especially the Personhood of the Essential Being from whom all personhood derives its own existence cannot be understood nor discussed in such simplistic terms.

    But let’s draw out your object analogy to its logical conclusion. One co-worker describes Jeff as arrogant, mean, hostile, uptight, rigid, prejudiced, etc. The other co-worker describes Jeff as humble, nice, compassionate, easy-going, flexible, inclusive, etc. On this occasion, Jeff is either being falsely described by one co-worker, or he is, deceptive with one and not with the other, essentially making him equivalent to one description or to have an entirely different set of personality attributes. But true, both work for Jeff and at least must have had some encounter with him. So, their references are to the same “object”. And, so, if we apply this sort of object referential analogy to God, then Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover, ancient Egypt’s Aten, the Gnostic’s Great Archon, Deism’s God, etc are all referring to one and the same “object”. No matter how utterly different one describes the attributes, it is still a reference to the same “object”. You have allowed no line to be drawn. While I understand you were not attempting to support the notion of Unitarian Universalism, your analogy gives way to at least some form of this.

    Then, of course, the entire analogy of “knowing” people breaks down entirely when we consider that we cannot “know” God in identical terms as we come to “know” people around us. This is not to say that there are not some similarities in the way in which we can “know” God and “know” one another, but it is highly suggestive, if not completely unhelpful, to use an analogy about how we come to know finite, physical, flawed individuals in the same way we come to know the Infinite, Invisible, Transcendent Being of all creation. In fact, in many ways, we cannot come to know the Christian God apart from his true essential attributes, otherwise, there’s no condemnation in Paul’s language for the Jew who has rejected Jesus (Romans 9-11).

    If Islam rejects that Jesus is God, even going so far as to suggest that those who do worship Christ are subject to the pangs of hell (5.72), and Christianity maintains that the greatest image of the revelation of God given to humanity is in the person of Jesus Christ, it is going to be terribly difficult to suggest that we worship the same God, especially if personhood has anything to do with God.

    Your analogy from the “40,000” sects of Christianity as still referring to the same “object” of worship in order to permit Islam to refer to the same “object” of worship is no variation from what has been stated above. If, by God, we mean the “ultimate source of existence” and absolutely nothing else, then, yes, let Islam be lumped in with all the sects of Christianity.

    But Christianity, even the vast majority of its 40,000 sects, worships a “Person” in the Triune God that Islam abhors. Even so, if Jesus is the height and glory of God on earth, then we must come to understand God’s primary attribute as something akin to meek, humble, self-giving, sacrificial love. And, as Islam contends, what does any of that have to do with Allah, whose primary attributes are of a more domineering sort of power? Recall that Christianity essentially rose to prominence in the Roman Empire and gained converts neither through military force nor through coercion of any kind, but through virtues of love that the ancient world had never conceived. Even the beginning of the Israelite state began in captivity. This is in stark contrast to the military conquests of Muhammad and his successors.

    The word “same” might permit various responses to this question depending upon how we define that word. But as a Christian, I find it quite misleading to utilize such language when discussing the similarities of the Christian God and the Islamic God. Note that the truths of history are always more important than the facts of history. Though Christianity and Islam share some similar facts of history, that is, similarities within certain “Biblical” stories, we often do not at all share the same truths of these stories. The fact of the Crucifixion of Christ, which is denied entirely by Islam, is still not as important as the truth of the Crucifixion for the Christian, which not only suggest that Christ was crucified, but, much more so, he was crucified for the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of creation.

    Now, all that being said, if the goal of suggesting that Muslims and Christians worship the same God is, in fact, to develop better, more peaceful, more understanding relationships between the two religions, then, it is at least a valiant, even though misplaced, attempt at loving neighbor and enemy. It is absolutely essential that Christians learn to engage their Muslim co-worker and neighbor with understanding and not fear. It is even more essential that Christians learn to love their Muslim neighbor as Christ has loved us. Yet, in a world of pluralism, I think there is more danger than aid in equating the Christian and the Muslim God as the “same”. After all, if we should ever want hate to be overcome, we must stand firm in suggesting that the Christian God is the very God who laid down his life, forsaking any and all honor, being abandoned by those closest to him, rejected by the people who longed to save, and crucified, naked, humiliated, as a criminal, if only he might have a chance to be united to his beloved creation at last. Sacrificial, self-giving, self-interest denying, others’-centered love is the primary means by which Jesus offered his disciples as the way to transform the world. This is a kind of love which much of the world, even many a religion, still has no concept of. In Christ, we have been given an image of a God we would never expect. And it seems to be a hasty conclusion to lump this Imago Dei with other images of god.

  • Since we’re talking about Christian denominations…. I’m not sure whose comment to stick this under, so I’ll start a new thread. I’m not making any special claim to knowledge or understanding here. This is just food for thought.

    I think that the first and most fundamental question we need to ask is where a group finds its beliefs.

    It seems that the sola scriptura folks can really only differ about the interpretation of specific passages. As a result, there is a relatively finite number of dividing points for those who fall into the sola scriptura camp. It’s a large number, but it’s still finite.

    Next, folks might differ about church governance and/or succession, too. The Bible isn’t terribly explicit on those points, and yet they end up mattering quite a lot.

    Then, for those who add traditions and personal revelation, then there are essentially an infinite number of dividing points.

    I suspect that the explosion in the number of church groups – whether you consider them to be denominations or something else – is largely due to the last two categories. It’s a function of people wanting to be in charge and/or add some extra-biblical doctrine or practice. And, as society begins to be more self-centered and more accepting of New Age secularism, I think that trend will continue for quite some time.

    And, I doubt you’ll see the same thing from the sola scriptura folks. Those differences played out a long time ago.

  • Accepting that in terms of variance in belief there are not anything like 40,000 denominations of Christianity is Christianity more or less divided than the other major beliefs, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism?

    I admit straight up that I lack the knowledge to answer for even one of those beliefs. I also admit that in terms of numbers of followers Judaism may not warrant a place among the major beliefs and I am ignoring (through ignorance) so-called primitive beliefs like animism which are still prevalent in parts of Africa and other developing parts of the world.

  • “Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God. In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh. On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues. But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things, and as Saviour wills that all men be saved. Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life.(16)”

    Lumen gentium (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church)

  • This discussion has obviously taken many strange turns. But I’d like us to return to the original question of the “sameness” of God. Personally, I’m agnostic on the basic question of existence; at present, I don’t see the Universe as possessing personality, although I could be convinced otherwise. But for those of you who contend that Christians and Muslims are NOT “worshiping the same God”, there are at least two possibilities that flow from that, maybe more.

    (1) There is only one God, either the Christian one or the Muslim one; one group worships correctly, the other is worshiping something that simply doesn’t exist. OR

    (2) There is one Big God (either Christian-type or Muslim-type) and some other quantity (one or more) spiritual entities of significant spiritual power who masquerade as God and accept worship from the group(s) that doesn’t/don’t have the Big God. This might be a devil of sorts; it might just be anonymous. But in any event, it isn’t the True God, but it IS real.

    So which is it? Are those who define a God with characteristics different from those that define the True God simply wasting their time with vain ceremonies and pleas to things that don’t exist, or are they actually working with a spiritual entity or entities that DO exist and can actually do things, but are somehow lesser in power than the True God?

    In short, how many personalities does the Universe have that might be addressed by humans in any meaningful way? And is worshiping the wrong thing simply a waste of time because the wrong thing doesn’t actually exist? Or is it actually dangerous because they are worshiping a being of significant power who might actually make things difficult for the True God?

    This isn’t a troll; I really am curious about this idea of the number of powerful personalities that the Universe might contain. And the question seems germane to the basic issue posed.

  • Let’s examine Jesus’s interactions with other faiths.

    Did he scold the Samaritan woman for having a different belief system? No, he said that all will worship in spirit and it truth.

    Did he scold the pagan centurion? No. He praised him for his great faith.

    Did he scold the pagan Syro-Phoenician woman? No. She put him in his place and He healed her daughter.

  • The article makes some good points, but basically I read it as claiming the foundation point is Abraham. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all look back to Abraham. So there may be a common source, but does a common source mean things are still that way? Evolution postulates that man and chimpanzees have a common ancestor, yet a man is different from a chimp. I think common roots mean one thing, but what is more important is what the current situation is. Do Jews, Muslims, and Christians today worship the same God? I would say no, because of the way each religion views Jesus. To Christians Jesus is God. Not so to Jews and Muslims. Therefore, the three religions currently worship different Gods.

    • Jesus was NEVER a Christian…….He was a Jew and worshipped as a Jew.

      So you’re saying that God worshipped a different god.

    • Are you suggesting that God has ‘evolved’ or that the three different beliefs have altered God’s nature in some way.

    • Not quite. Jews and Christian believe in the same God. The Jews don’t believe that God had a Son. Islam’s description of god is not the same as the God of Abraham, as believed by Christians and Jews.

  • My ancestors suffered under Protestant rule because they didn’t have the ‘correct God’. In fact they tried to wipe them out.

    When will we end this bullsh!t?

  • Unfortunately, the descriptions have been designed so that each seems to have a different God.
    Abraham – had a God based on rigid rule following.
    Christianity – a God of love and forgiveness
    Muslims – God was designed by a soldier as someone who wants us to conquer areas in his name and make entire people’s under his rule.
    Those have changed –
    Judaism – “I do not want your sacrifices. What I want is your love” Hosea 6:6
    Christianity – “Obey God or burn in hell forever! This means all Christians, too!” BOW! YIELD! KNEEL! OOGA BOOGA!
    Muslims – Be at peace with others (DEATH TO INFIDELS! ALAHU ACKBAR!) They have separated Muhammad’s war message into the two diametric opposites it’s made from “conquer, then rule peacefully”

  • Something I don’t understand is why when Latter Day Saints or the Society of Friends say the exact same thing…but using evangelical language…nothing is said anymore. Neither of these groups (plus many others) are pushed under the bus as much or as fast as Muslims.

  • For the crime of saying, “we worship the same God” Hawkins was suspended from school. Once news of this broke, the Evangelical Machine™ went into over-drive to celebrate the decision.

    So much for Peace on Earth at this time of year. Wheaton would sow division for the sake of theology rather than love for the sake of people. Seems like Wheaton got both the letter and the spirit wrong on this one.

  • Lots to say here, but I disagree. While it’s true that two people may be talking about the same object with different names, that proves NOTHING in this case. For just as possibly, two people may be talking about different objects with the SAME name (e.g. calling both jadeite and nephrite “jade”). Just because we all use the expression “the god of Abraham” doesn’t mean we’re picking out the same thing. “Possibly two people can use different words for the same object” doesn’t show that that’s what’s going on here, since “possibly two people can use the same word for different objects” could just as well hold.

  • Meh arguing over gods is like arguing over how long a piece of string is.

    It’s about whether or not you become a better human being, not what your cognitive understanding of the divine is.

  • If Muslims and Jews are worshiping the Holy Trinity exactly like the Christians, then we are worshiping the same ” GOD” ! Frankly speaking I don’t think so, even if Pope Francis will be upset by reading ever my opinion! 🙂

  • But don’t Christians worship Jesus? There is the major difference between Christianity and Jews and Muslims. Jesus is God to Christians, but not to Jews or Muslims. I think that is essential.

  • The God of both the Muslims and the Jews is eternal, one and
    indivisible, with no progeny – no offspring, no son. There are no man
    gods in Judaism.
    ….
    The God of Christianity is…… triune, comprised of three entities, one being a son.

    Same God?

  • In order for the “different views of the same object” (aka “the six blind men and the elephant”) argument to work, it seems to me that the object needs to have some kind of verifiable objective reality in order to be a touchstone. Otherwise there is no true common object that we can say they are all describing.

    For instance, let’s postulate that a friend and I believe in an object called a “froblunken,” which neither of us has seen or otherwise experienced in any concrete verifiable way. I may imagine or be told from early childhood or otherwise conclude that the froblunken is green, fuzzy, and pear-shaped, while my friend opines that it is a half-spiky and half-smooth purple cylinder. We are attaching different and contradictory adjectives to the same noun, but there is no common object we can really point to–only a word. Can we really say in any meaningful sense that we are discussing the same “thing?”

    It’s similar with the different Abrahamic religions and “God.” They have stories, many of them interconnected and overlapping, that tell believers in each tradition the nature of this putative being, what it has done, and what it wants. But to claim that the stories are all about the same God is as meaningful as it is to say that my friend and I were talking about the same froblunken.

  • What we believe about God doesn’t get us into heaven. We get to heaven because God declares us righteous. If God says a Muslim is righteous, then that Muslim is righteous, regardless of what the Muslim believes or accepts or decides.

  • If one takes a strictly trinitarian theology into consideration here there may be some problems since much of Islamic theology abhors the idea of God begetting.

  • Anyone and everyone that denies the deity of Jesus Christ is not a Christian regardless of their claim.
    Muslims deny the deity of Jesus Christ, so it is impossible that they worship the same God as Christians.
    Many false Christians also deny the deity of Jesus Christ so they too do not worship the same God as Christians.

  • I know Billy Graham and Dennis Hastert attended there and Franklin apparently wasn’t enough with it to get in. Wheaton was certainly proud of counting Hastert as one of their own until his recent legal troubles. Wheaton might be less of a fundamentalist prison than Bob Jones but that’s not much of a compliment. I’ve met people from both colleges and it seems to have done them only marginal harm. These might not be institutions that reliably make a Christian out of anybody but they sure make them into Republicans

  • Assuming Christianity is true:

    Since there’s only one God, anyone “in prayer” is: (1) praying to God, (2) praying to some other entity (Satan, demon, angel), (3) intending to pray to something that does not actually exist, (4) or not really praying (just going through motions).

    If Muhammad was a real person and actually received messages from an angel to write the Koran, he was writing down the words of a spirit opposed to God – Satan or a demon.

    I would guess that while in prayer, most Muslims are not (2) in spiritual communication with demons, but either are (3) passionately expressing themselves, but not in communication with any spiritual being [phenomenologically similar to someone honestly attempting to pray to Luke Skywalker], or (1) are in fact communicating with God, whom they do not understand well, and in this case we would expect God to eventually reveal Himself to them in line with the Bible.

    • IF Muhammad was a real person and IF (he) actually received messages from an angel to write the Koran, IF he was writing down the words of a spirit
      opposed to God……………….. BUT he might not have been.
      ……….
      “we would expect God to eventually reveal Himself to them in line with the Bible.”
      .
      Which version?

  • why all of this theological hair splitting? To me is deceptively simple. Ms. Hawkins was fired/disciplined because she dared to put herself in solidarity with Muslims who are being persecuted in this country by Christians. Wheaton isn’t going to alienate their fundie sugar daddies by tolerating a black woman wearing a hijab

  • I don’t even think you have to read a book that analyzes the question. Simply put – does one believe in God (a force/creator) who created the world and the people in it? If yes, there is only one God (or source of creation) right? If yes, then you all worship the same God. Now, the problem is, if you believe that (and it is the only logical answer out there) then you realize that being Christian, Muslim, Jew, Pagan, Buddhism, etc. makes no difference, and therefore, no sense. So it does make sense that the Christian college got up in arms about this. To accept her position is to accept that not everyone needs to find salvation through Jesus. Which of course they don’t, but that hurts the coffers.

  • Great post. I would like to offer some hopefully gracious pushback though. When we talk about the ontology of God, is it possible that Trinitarians can say that they worship the God of Islam and Judaism, but that Islam and Judaism do not worship the same God of Christianity? Essentially, this is because we can affirm the central ontology of their God whereas they cannot affirm the central ontology of our God.

    Also, at what point do the descriptions of an object differ so much that it becomes clear we are no longer talking about the same object? I think this speaks to why Christians, whether they know it or not, are more inclined to say they worship the same God of Judaism but not of Islam.

  • I wonder what sort of God Franklin Graham is worshipping. Where did he find this God that loves guns and hates immigrants?

  • Yep. This is the problem with THEISM and its continued struggle to identify and describe the mythical being called God that is forever bound to ancient texts. Since the texts range from 600 BCE (Torah) to 600 CE (Qur’an), is it any wonder why this “same” God is vastly different? The same God? Yes, in the sense that these communities all needed a mythical, elusive, supernatural being to keep their tribes in line – they all are worshiping that same idea of God. But at the same time, it should not be a shock that, because of this wide time spread, this “God” is addressing vastly different psychological/cultural needs. Thus, this constructed “God” ends up pitting each Abrahamic faith against the other with no possible “interfaith” resolution. Time to move these religions towards post-theism.

  • My take is that Muslims may think they worship the God of Abraham, but they do not really do so. How can I claim that?

    Because the God of Abraham is a covenant keeper and made 3 covenants with Abraham and all of the promises in those covenants have been kept by the God of Abraham. Islam’s Allah is claimed to be so free, powerful, and unconstrained that Allah is free to keep or break covenant promises. This is not a small thing as this means a lack of assurance for followers of such a conception of God, all bets are off.

    In other words, just because someone may claim to worship the God of Abraham means nothing unless one starts getting into the details of how the God of Abraham has revealed Godself.

  • They’re in good company. Presumably the Israelite kings who worshipped Ba’al thought that Ba’al was Abraham’s God. But the Prophets didn’t exactly see it that way, and they had the victors’ privilege of writing the history.

  • Really nice and clear write up. I’m an atheist, but found this to be a perfect way of explaining the differences and similarities between the big three religions at a basic level. I think you’re all wrong in your understanding of Abraham’s God’s attributes, LOL, but knowing religious history is critical for all of us.

  • You wrote, “We disagree on the attributes of God, the nature of sin, soteriology, etc. However, like it or not, both religions are attempting to worship the same object…And that object is the God of Abraham.”

    Yes and no. )Here’s my view, that of an outsider (I am an ex-Christian, but was a committed Christian for 55 years):

    Yes–they are both monotheistic, (though even there Muslims claim Christians aren’t monotheistic)!

    No–
    #1 Generic Christians (except for Calvinists) have almost nothing in common with Muslims’ concepts of God. When most of the attributes are different, then the word “God” means something different.

    For instance consider the word “freedom.” For most humans the word means that each person has a choice as in I have a choice of whether to steal an item from Walmart or to pay for it.

    In contrast, determinists claim that the word “freedom” means that nothing is physically restricting a human. Like a bullet is “free” to hit its target, so a human is “free” always to sin as ordained by God.

    #2 Muslims have a very different story about Abraham than Christians and Jews. Contrast them.

    #3 Muslims have very different ethics based in Allah than Christians. According to Muhammad it was just for him to behead at least 500 Jewish men, at 50 years of age marry a 9-year-old girl, and to engage in polygamy, and to rob caravans, etc.

    Contrast these actions with Jesus’!

    Jesus was crucified, but Muhammad as a prophet of Allah in the Qur’an told his followers to “cruicfy” unbelievers!

    #4 Muslims’ Qur’an and Muhammad’s words are extremely different from the New Testament and Jesus’ words. Check out all the differences. There are books of differences.

    #5 God isn’t an “object.”

  • Ben don’t you think it was wearing the hijab that put a target on Hawkins? Sort of like that Congolese /Angolese church that got booted out of a church sharing situation because somebody didn’t unplug a microphone. Basically it was just a matter of time before the heresy police would find some ruse to take action against her. The Wheaton elders probably took counsel to plot against Hawkins in the Dennis Hastert Economics Center

  • Love the clarity here Ben, thank you! This way of thinking does not in any way threaten my faith in Jesus as the clearest manifestation of what God is like, it simply makes room for solidarity, conversation and an opportunity to see the Kingdom of God at work amongst people of other faiths. Realist 1234, when you say in your comment below “this isn’t about theology, we’re not only talking about the very nature of God, but about his relationship to us…” You have given an apt definition of what “theology” IS. All our talk, speculation, history, interpretation and relationship to God IS doing theology. We can’t ever be certain we are describing someone as vast and mysterious as God with complete certainty. What Ben suggests is actually a wonderful bridge to conversations with people of other faiths and in my opinion strikes the appropriate humility to listen as well as share about my experience of Jesus as not only the fullest representation of who God is, but also the fullest representation of what it means to be a human created in God’s image.

  • The great insight of Abraham was that there is ONE God (monotheism). This was radically different from the cultures that had various gods intermingling and competing, all of whom had to be somehow assuaged. The God of Abraham was everywhere, Reality itself, and in a covenant with humanity. This is a radical breakthrough for human consciousness. That there are 3 different streams running from this burst of awareness only further enriches the mystery. There 3 faith traditions: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, have much to give to and receive from each other.

  • Disappointed but not surprised by this posting. In summary, Ben seems to be saying in regard to Christians and Muslims ‘we do in fact worship the same God – we just disagree what God is like’. That couldnt be any further from the truth. This isnt just about theology, we’re talking not only about the very nature of God, but about His relationship to us, what He has done for us, what He is going to do, and how we relate to Him. In other words, reality. Both Christianity and Islam claim to be ‘revealed’ religions, ie God has revealed Himself to mankind. Yet the God who has supposedly revealed himself through Mohammed and Islam is quite different to the God revealed through the Bible, and specifically through Jesus of Nazareth. Both are not true revelations of God. You simply cannot reconcile the two and pretend they are the ‘same’ God. Jesus said,’ Do you not understand – when you have seen me you have seen the Father’. You can hardly say the same of the Muslim God. And yet Islam rejects Jesus as any way divine, let alone Yahweh on earth (‘Before Abraham was born, I am’), and rejects His death on the cross as having any meaning (most Muslims dont even accept He died on a cross, but rather Judas was substituted!). And to say that ‘Allah’ is just a generic word for ‘God’ is irrelevant. Yes Arabic Christians still use it today – the first known Arabic translation of the Bible, which was produced in the 9th century, uses the word Allah for God. In fact, Arab Christians were using that word for God prior to Islam, but it is important to note that they were using it in place of Elohim, but not in the place of Yahweh. So Allah is a generic word for ‘God’ but not the personal name of God. But for most Christians today ‘Allah’ specifically refers to the Muslim God, which is a false god and not worthy of worship. The fact that Muslims reject every basic assertion of Christianity should give you a hint that we are not talking about the same ‘God’ at all. Perhaps, Ben, you should try telling those Muslims who have given up Islam and followed Jesus instead and suffered the consequent persecution from their former ‘brothers’ that really, in the end, its all the same.

    • If you believe that the Bible is THE frame through which to view God then of course Allah is not God. But if you believe the Bible is simple one of MANY frames to view God then God and Allah may well be the same God.

      You might as well say that an Apple is the only good computer because that’s what the Apple manual says.

  • I’ve been working this since I was born into a Christian family 63 years ago and know less today than I ever have about the reality of who or what God is. For me to tell someone else their view is wrong is very self centered and ignorant of the possibility that God transcends all of our understandings.

  • Also there is a difference between Allah as a term for diety in general and Allah as the name of the specific diety. Pagan Arabs probably would refer to their gods with the term allah, but these gods are clearly not the same as Jesus or the Muslim Allah.

    It is similar to how in english we have god to mean any diety, and God to reference to a specific diety of a religion, or we have their specific name to use as well.

  • They deny Jesus is god, which is who Christians worship. So how can we worship the same. To say they worship our God Jesus is shirk for them, or basically the worst sin possible for a Muslim

  • I disagree with the suggestion that Christians are being unfair or hypocritical when we say that we same God as Jews, but not Muslims.

    Christians believe that Jesus is the Messiah who was promised to the Jews. Zechariah promises that the Jews will turn to Jesus. Revelation concurs. We believe, from Scripture, that God is not done with Israel and that they are being supernaturally blinded to the truth of the Messiah. In other words, there is actually a Biblical explanation for the differences of opinion about the nature of God.

    That is not true of Muslims. God expressly told Abraham that Ishmael was not the child of promise. There is no Biblical basis for the future ingrafting of the Muslims. Thus, there is no principled way to excuse their disagreement about the nature of God.

    Further, look at Muslim eschatology. They believe that Jesus and the Mahdi will make a deal with Israel and that Jesus will kill anyone who refuses to worship the Mahdi. They believe that a fake Jesus will then arrive to fight against the first two guys, only to be defeated in the ultimate battle. This is exactly the opposite of the story told in Revelation. Indeed, their hero is our Antichrist.

    There is s good argument that Muslims are worshipping the Biblical Satan. Certainly, if both religions’ end-times prophecies carry out as planned, they will be following the side of Satan. That is beyond dispute. Consequently, telling people that it’s the “same God” is potentially one of the greatest and most dangerous lies imaginable. It could doom the souls of all who believe it.

  • Object – noun – a person or thing to which a specified action or feeling is directed.

    Worship – verb – show reverence and adoration for (a deity); honor with religious rites.

    The object of Christian affection is Jesus and the Father, God. The object of Jewish, Christian and Muslim worship is the same God/Allah each in a different relationship. Each of mankind is in their own special relationship with God beginning where they were born carnal. God is big enough to handle everyone being unique, it is we who have trouble with no one being exactly the same. Today, I worship God as I once did my faithful carnal family as their child, with awe, trust and love. Today, I recognize all mankind as one carnal species blessed to be in the image of all of one God of spirit.

    “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

    “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

    The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

    Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” John 4:19-26

    So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

    The word others in Matthew 7:12 is the Greek word ” ἄνθρωπος”;

    -extracted quote-

    Greek Word: ἄνθρωπος

    Transliteration: anthrōpos

    Phonetic Pronunciation:anth’-ro-pos

    Root: from and ops (the countenance, from ), man-faced, i.e. a human being

    Vine’s Words: Man, People, Person

    English Words used in KJV:

    man 552

    not tr 4

    miscellaneous translations 3

    [Total Count: 559]

    from (aner) and ops (the countenance; from (optanomai)); man-faced, i.e. a human being :- certain, man.

    Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.

    Today, all “others” are persons of my carnal species. Today, all others who show me mercy are my neighbors who I cannot help but love just as much as I love myself. Today, I even love those who do not show me mercy, my enemies, and will do all I can to improve and extend their lives.

    Today I hold these truths to be self-evident, that all others, regardless of religious influence, are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, which among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Thanks for actually answering this question in the most broken-down, basic way you can with such love, empathy and respect for all others. My basic way is clearly much more broken-down than your most. We need you. Love you Ben!

  • I love how reasonably this essay approaches certain fundamental questions that people are scared of and breaks them into simple issues related to the way we do language and logic.

    I’m curious. In what key ways do you see Islam’s general description of God as being different from the general protestant Christianity’s description of God?

  • It doesn’t matter whether I worship correctly or not. What matters is whether, when I was yet a sinner, God declared me righteous. There is nothing I can do to earn salvation. Correct worship doesn’t get me any closer to being justified than incorrect worship. God can, and probably has, declared Muslims righteous solely on the basis of Jesus’ sacrifice for all mankind. They don’t have to decide to accept or reject their salvation since nobody’s decision either way affects God’s declaration about their righteousness.

  • ‘Entity’ might usefully replace the word ‘object’. Oddly, the page rendered badly in Google Chrome and lost all the emphasised text. Had to copy it into a word doc to read it.

    One of the criticism atheists (of which I am one) have of Christianity is exactly this point that different groups of Christians appear to worship a different God. This is especially ‘apparent’ if one is English (as I am) and used to the CofE God who is much less um, vindictive and intolerant than the God we hear of from the Fundies. More reasonably, one could argue that the God of the OT is very different in character than the God of the NT and my understanding is the OT God is essentially ‘tribal’ whereas the NT God is for all mankind.

    The latter seems a valid issue whereas the former is simply a matter of taste and I firmly believe that everyone ‘recreates’ God to fit their existing preconceptions and character.

    You might be amused to know that I have just stopped following the American Atheists Fb page because they are mostly ignorant, arrogant, self-righteous bigots who assume that arguing for secularism and freedom from Christian intolerance means attacking the Christian faith. In trying to point out their error I ended up being called “not really an atheist”. Like I said, everyone recreates ‘God’ to fit their existing preconceptions and that includes those who don’t believe in God.

  • Perhaps “entity” instead of “object”?

    So solidarity with Ganesh or Apollo worshippers is out? No historical links. But we still have an old scenario concerning putting up fences either on the precipice or at the beginning of a slippery slope. For example, people who equally accept the authority of the New Testament differ on the priority of God’s justice and power versus God’s mercy and grace; and have come to blows, expulsion, and shunning.

    Do not Acts 17 and John 4 illustrate using commonalities to bridge and engage? The current crisis (grin) differs from these and other New Testament examples in finesse. Rather than sitting down face-to-face, those directly involved and the host of commentators are lobbing provocations via blogs and comment threads, um, just as I am doing here.

  • Thanks, Ben, you were able to articulate a point that I wasn’t yesterday on this very topic. I will definitely get Volk’s book. Best to all.

  • I’ve been reading your posts regularly and find them enlightening. In the latest one, on Christians worshipping the same God as Islam, while I agree in principle with your position, I can see others having a difficult time with your use of the word “object” to discuss a totally spiritual entity. I am struggling to come up with the right word myself, in my reflection on your article, to replace the word “object.” Thanks for all you do to dispel the growing fear and ignorance perpetrated by narrow minds toward our Islamic brothers and sisters.

  • Books from BLC:

    >