Islam's Allah and Christianity's God--the same?

I just love “Letters to the Editor”. Here’s a gem I saw in today’s (10-16-2001) Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY). A man wrote to the editor incredulous that they said in an article, “Muslims worship the same God Christians and Jews do. ‘Allah’ means ‘God’ in Arabic.” The author even mentions Muslim friends that told him Allah and God were the same. He replies that they cannot be the same since Islam regards Jesus as a prophet and not the son of God, and “my God” wouldn’t tell one group of people one thing and another group of people another.

Here’s where it gets good (and why this may soon end up in the Pit). This is a direct quote: “Muhammad is dead. Jesus is alive.” And to sum up: “I respect the right of all Muslims to believe as they choose. But if I agree that their Allah and my God are one in the same (sic), then the strong tower of my belief in God’s charcter crumbles.”

Now to me this sounds like the old “I’m not a racist/bigot/sexist/etc., BUT…” with a dash of “It’s ok, some of my best friends are…” Then again, I am far from a religious scholar and would like to know what some more knowledgeable people think about the nature of these two deities.

Although perhaps Reverend Lovejoy said it best after one of Ned Flanders’ late night phone calls: “Ned, have you considered one of the other major religions? They’re all pretty much the same.”

Hey, Elwood.

Former resident of the Stolp Ave. area and regular reader of the Sub-Standard here. :slight_smile:

Here’s my take on it:

The God of the Old Testament (Jewish Bible) presents Himself as the One True God, to Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and a cast of thousands.

Christianity understands that One God to encompass Three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with #2 having taken on human nature in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

Deal carefully with this stuff: One God. Three persons in one godhead. The whole megilla is the Jewish God, not the Father person alone.

Okay, along comes Mohammed. In a polytheistic society, he gets a revelation from God (or so it’s reported). Same guy, the one who inspired Abraham, Moses, and the rest of the O.T. gang. Wants him to preach His word to the idol worshippers in Mecca and such. M. doesn’t buy into the Jesus=God-the-Son concept that Christianity has adopted to clarify what was going on by this point. But he’s still subscribing to one God, the same one as the O.T. Just, of course, using the Arabic for Elohim - Allah.

When you get down to juggling people’s concepts of deities, it’s a pay-yer-money-take-yer-cherce business. But I’d be hard put to argue against the equivalence of the God concept in the three faiths.

How they interpret Him, on the other hand… :eek:

Well, Allah does mean G-d in Arabic, but I also see the writer’s point, because the Jewish, the Christian, and the Muslim conception of G-d are all different…the Jewish and Muslim conception of G-d being more similar than either are to the Christian one. They’re all similar…G-d, in each, created man and loves him, judges the world and everyone in it, and is the only G-d out there, but G-d in Islam didn’t take human form to die on a cross and save a doomed world, and G-d in Judaism didn’t reveal the truth to Muhammed so that he could correct the errors in belief of the Jews and Christians. So, I sort of understand what he’s trying to say. I probably would have said something like “Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same G-d, but each believe the others worship Him wrongly.”, but that’s just me.

You know, not all Arabs are Moslems. Some, especially in Lebanon, are Christian.

So, if you went to a Christian church in Lebanon, what name do you suppose Arab Christians call God?

If you said “Allah,” give yourself a cookie!

I am NOT going to pretend that Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all the same- they’re not! The differences are real and significant. But there is no doubt at all that the God Jesus called “the Father” is the same God who gave Moses the Ten Commandments, and that the God Mohammed called “Allah” is the same God that Jesus called “the Father.”

So, I, as a Catholic, would not feel ill at ease in joining a Jew or Moslem in a prayer to that one God we all profess to believe in.

“All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward enabling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.”

  • Albert Einstein

“When we look at modern man, we have to face the fact that modern man suffers from a kind of poverty of the spirit. Which stands in glaring contrast to his scientific and technological abundance. We’ve learned to fly the air like birds, we’ve learned to swim the seas like fish, and yet we haven’t learned to walk the earth as brothers and sisters.”

I’ll go you one further-I believe ALL Gods and ALL religions stem from the same God.

Or, they are both mythical constructs that people use as excuses to do great good or great evil.

Including those that practice child sacrifice, ritualised rape, cutting the heart out of living victims, child sex, deliberate desecration fo the holy places of others, murder by strangulation in order to achieve paradise …:eek:

Something’s not right here. How can the worst and most depraved forms of cultist Satanism for example stem from the same God as christianity or buddhism in any sense beyond a belief that God created Satan?

sigh That is how PEOPLE practice religion-to me, Buddha, Allah, Vishnu, God, Jehovah, Yahweh are all one.

I believe that God is much bigger than any religion.

sigh That is how PEOPLE practice religion-to me, Buddha, Allah, Vishnu, God, Jehovah, Yahweh are all one.

I believe that God is much bigger than any religion.

If I was a religious man I think that I would find this extremely insulting. You are saying that all these peoples specific religious beliefs are just so much noise.

No, I am NOT. But what I’m saying is, that I don’t believe there is such a thing as any “true” religion-since each religion believes that THEIR religion is the “true” religion.

Obviously, they can’t all be true. And if you look at them, and study them, there are many similiarities?

This is even worse than what you were saying before. Now you are saying their religious beliefs are obviously untrue.

Sure there are a lot of similarities between religion they are all at some level trying to solve the same basic problem. How to get a number of people to live together in a stable society. They all go on to try and explain various other things and the similarities start to disappear. I find this to rather poor evidence for the idea that they all worship the same god.

I’m with Guinastasia…I think all religions pretty much have the same values and same beliefs. All gods are probably the same source, so long as you are the religious type. There are minor differences, but a lot of the messages are the same. Be nice to folks. That’s my watered down take on the whole thing.

As far as the Muslim/Christian thing, basically each recognizes (for the most part) that they all are based on the same god, Yahweh. Muslims just believe that the previous two have gone astray, and that their religious message is closer to what God really wants than the others. They feel that Christians misinterpreted what Jesus was saying, and that he never really said he was the son of God in a literal sense and that Christians got the wrong idea and ran with it. Christians obviously believe differently. They believe that Jesus = son of God and the trinity and such, and that Muslims are basically like the Jews in the sense that they believe in the same God, but just blew it when it comes to recognizing the Messiah.

Hang on. Those things aren’t how people practice religion, they’re very fundamental tenets of those religions. They’re as fundamental to those religions as ‘love thy neighbour’ is to Christianity. If you don’t do those things God will reject you. They are orders from those Gods on how to achieve what you desire. That being the case those Gods wanted people to kill, rape, steal, murder, torture and imprison. If that is so then by saying that all gods stem from one then you are saying that the god you worship condones such acts. If you don’t accept that those gods said such things despite it being written in the (un)holy books of those religions then what exactly are you basing the nature of these gods on when you say they stem from the one god?

What exactly are the similarities between Satan and Allah. Or between any of the extremely bloodthirsty meso-American deities and Allah. Or Baal and Jehovah? They didn’t teach pretty much the same thing, they taught the correctness of murder, the righteousness of strength and a lack of mercy, the inevitability of death and the resulting oblivion of the consciousness, the morality of doing what you wished to and with people because you could, the justification for turning a person into a zombie to be used after death. Are you saying that Buddha and Mohommed taught pretty much the same thing? What values and beliefs do these religions actually share?

I don’t see how the belief that one’s God is different from others’ is more ridiculous than other religious beliefs. When you compare it to bigotry, do you mean to include the connotation of immorality?

It seems to me that if you believe that one being exists, and another does not, it is a perfectly valid deduction to conclude that the two beings are not the same.

Gee, and I thought that Christians believed in a Trinity, which is different that a singular “Allah.” It all depends on your perspective. Some people believe that all religions lead to God and that it doesn’t matter which you follow, so they would say yes, it’s the same God. As I Christian, I’d disagree. Allah sent Mohammed the prophet. The Christian God sent Jesus, the Son of God. The Jewish God is the same one described in the Hebrew bible (known to Christians as the “Old Testament”). So yes, each religion has the same roots, but different complete texts. Consider giving a drawing of a little boy to three people and have them write stories about him. In the first stoy, the boy built a toy plane, the second snuck out to see the races, and the third went fishing in the pond. You’d have three different boys being described in each story, but they had the same original picture and the same concept, but each author created a different boy. None of which is better than the others.

I think people are responding as though Christians are saying that it’s bad to be Islamic. It’s not. Christians have always said that Allah is different from the God of Christianity, it only recently began sounding anti-Islamic (but it clearly isn’t).

You guys OBVIOUSLY haven’t read the relevant Jack Chick tract

As a devout agnostic who has yet to see any proof of God’s existence or nonexistence, the scientist in me (who is too easily lured in by the convenient concept of a monotheistic deity) finds it extremely hard to believe that if there is a God that there is not just one God that all valid religions have different visions of. Barring such perversions as the Taleban and Black Mass worshipers, the benignly religious all seem to be worshiping the same entity.

According to Rene Descartes, “God is a concept of which no higher concept can be conceived of.” (IIRC)

Now if there were two such entities extant that were struggling for supreme popularity, wouldn’t there be one heckuva a donnybrook going on upstairs? It would make the clash of the Titans look like a catfight and our own earthly conflicts appear to be a wet firecracker.

As far as Muslim/Christian thing being basically the same god. I think that this is really an anthropologist’s view of these religions. It is like saying all the K cars are basically the same because they are built on the same chassis. It is true as far as it goes but what does it have to do with questions of the spirit? You are basically giving the Coca Cola view of religion, a multi cultural group standing on a hill singing why can’t we all get along.

I see that when I went off to get dinner some people are chiming in with somewhat similar ideas. I will add my own.

Central to Christians beliefs if the belief that God sent his only son down to earth to Jesus die on the cross and take mankind’s sins. I don’t think this is part of Muslim theology. This is not a minor difference in the ritual practice of religion.

What if a fourth person took the picture of the little boy and went on to write a story about the little boy torturing a dog or raping his cousin? Is that conception of the little boy also no better than the others?

Which is another way of saying that even if different religions do take have a common inspiration, one can still argue that the inspiration has been perverted in ways antithetical to its origins. Somehow I can’t picture the Thuggee worshipers of the Indian goddess Kali (with her necklace of severed human heads) as being in the same ballpark as the Dalai Lama.