Thursday, January 14, 2016

The God of Christians and Muslims and everyone else

Is being discussed in this article.  In it, the belief advanced by Pope Francis, the Catechism, and the modern Catholic majority is that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.  Well, yeah.  In a sort of 'altar to an unknown god' sort of way.  In the same way that pagans, Buddhists, Hindus, Druids, theists, Deists, and spiritualists all essentially worship, or at least seek, the same God.  There is one God after all, and it is that God who draws all of His creation back to Himself, whether we know that is what we are looking for or not.

Unfortunately, that's increasingly not what I get the feeling people - Catholics - are saying.  They are almost acting as if they want to elevate Islam to that of Judaism, if not higher.  In fact, as in the article, appeals are constantly made to Moses or Abraham or David.  They didn't believe in a Triune God did they?  Huh?  Did they?  Well, technically, they did, they just didn't know it.  They saw the Messiah and proclaimed Him, even if they didn't realize it.  Because they were the Chosen people.  That is why their Sacred Texts aren't simply important books that are good for reading and studying, but were elevated by the Church to the level of Holy Scripture.

In fact, the equating of the Old Testament and the Koran is one of the most frequent things I'm seeing in these debates.  Just because the Koran doesn't talk about a Triune God, neither does the Old Testament.  Again, correct me if I'm wrong, but yes the Old Testament does.  It just doesn't know it yet.  And also, unless I'm mistaken, we don't consider the Koran to be Holy Scripture like we do the Old Testament.

Likewise, I notice a sort of underlying idea that the Trinity is just how we Christians 'get God.'  That's our way of describing Him.  Yeah.  That's because the Trinity is not just our way of working things our, but our feeble language's ability to grasp the fundamental nature of God.  Jesus is not just God's kid that some may or may not attribute to God's genes.  And yet, as I watch the debates roar across the modern Catholic world, I'm seeing arguments that almost suggest the Trinity, like the Old Testament, is just another way to grasp the God that all religions eventually get to, however they choose to describe Him.

Some years ago, a woman in a parish Bible study said she heard a priest on Catholic radio.  According to her, the priest said that apart from the Marian dogmas, there was no real difference between Islam and Catholicism.  What!!!!  Yep. Now, I hope she merely misunderstood the priest.  That's my hope.  But it's indicative of the state of things that not only could she think she heard something like that, but that she actually believes it and has no problem with it (which she didn't). And there were plenty of nodding heads at that study that seemed to agree. 

So whatever the final conclusion of the Church, I would suggest that clearer language be used.  Assuming, of course, that we don't believe that the New Testament and the Trinity are just our little game, and others' games are just as good.  If not, we better start making some changes in how we are presenting this little dilemma.  I'm not sure everyone who is listening is hearing what is intended if that's not what we, in fact, intend.


  1. If you hear someone proclaim that Mohammad was a Pope, it's definitely time to leave the Catholics.

    Maybe you should start asking people their thoughts on the CS Lewis quote: "Islam is only the greatest of the Christian heresies"

  2. I asked the Orthodox priest I've gotten to know the Orthodox view. Orthodoxy, like the rest of the religion, has its liberal elements. Especially, I'm told, in the Orthodox Church of America. But those elements are like the more liberal Catholic elements: the faith has been wrong and it's high time we change and get with the times. There doesn't seem to be an attempt to say 'well, we've always taught this, it just wasn't quite obvious...' But officially, the traditional view was just that: Islam was a heresy. They worship the same God that Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons worship. Yes, in one way it is God. But it is a heretical take on God. Not simply the Koran side of the Old Testament coin.


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