Do Catholics and Muslims Worship the Same God?

from:http://www.crisismagazine.com

by Robert Spencer

pope_iman

It certainly seems as if we worship the same God. After all, we call God by the same name. Arabic-speaking Christians, including Eastern Catholics such as Maronites and Melkites, use the word “Allah” for the God of the Bible.

But are they the same God?

The question is not answered by simple linguistic identity, as evidenced by St. Paul’s complaint to the Corinthians: “For if some one comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough” (2 Corinthians 11:4). The “other Jesus” that was being preached among the Corinthians was not a different person of the same name, but a view of Jesus of Nazareth that was so radically different from Paul’s that he termed it “another Jesus” altogether.

In the same way, it is possible that the Qur’an and Islamic tradition present a picture of God so radically different from that of the Bible and Catholic tradition that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to maintain the proposition that they are the same Being in both traditions, apart from some minor creedal differences.

But wait a minute. Don’t Catholics have to believe that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, because the Second Vatican Council says so? The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church tells us that the “plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Mohammedans, 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.” (Lumen Gentium 16)

It is almost more important to clarify what this text does not say than what it does. The first statement, that “the plan of salvation also includes” Muslims, has led some – mostly critics of the Church – to assert that the Council Fathers are saying that Muslims are saved, and thus need not be preached the Gospel, as they’ve already got just as much of a claim on Heaven as do Christians.

This is obviously false. This statement on Muslims comes as part of a larger passage that begins by speaking of “those who have not yet received the Gospel” and concludes by reaffirming “the command of the Lord, ‘Preach the Gospel to every creature.’” It speaks of the possibility of salvation for those 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.”

Clearly, then, Muslims figure in the “plan of salvation” not in the sense that they are saved as Muslims, that is, by means of Islamic observance, but insofar as they strive to be attentive to and to obey the authentic voice of the Creator whom they acknowledge and who speaks to them through the dictates of their conscience.

This suggests that a Muslim who refrains from suicide bombing because he understands that it is cold-blooded murder has a better chance to be saved, and is more clearly attuned to the promptings of the Creator within whose plan of salvation he finds himself, than does a Muslim who blows himself up in a crowd of infidels because the Qur’an promises a place in Paradise to those who “kill and are killed” for Allah (9:111).

The Conciliar statement also wisely adds the caveat, all too often ignored by the Church’s critics, that “Mohammedans” (Musulmanos) are “professing” to hold the faith of Abraham. Whether or not they actually hold it is arguable, but the Vatican Council is only noting that they claim for their faith that it is that of Abraham, without discussing whether or not Islam actually is an authentically Abrahamic faith.

Likewise widely misinterpreted, or at least given a weight that it was clearly never meant to bear, is the subsequent affirmation that Muslims “along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind.” Many see in this also an assertion that the Gospel need not be preached to Muslims, or that they are already saved, for they adore the one and merciful God. Many Catholics, including writers of some prominence, have asserted that Vatican II, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church that quotes it, teach that Catholics and Muslims worship the same God, and then proceed as if this establishes more than it actually does, or as if it were obvious that the Council was thus forbidding a critical stance toward Islam or concern about Islamic supremacist advances in Europe and the U.S.

In this vein the great Catholic writer and apologist Peter Kreeft writes disapprovingly that “many Christians, both Protestant and Catholic, do not believe what the Church says about Islam (for example, in Vatican II and the new Catechism): that Allah is not another God, that we worship the same God.” He leaves unexplained, however, what he thinks that means exactly, or what responsibilities or courses of action it sets out for Catholics.

The Council document is actually saying perhaps less than Kreeft and others of like mind would wish it to be saying. In the first place it is clearly affirming that Muslims, like Christians, are monotheists, which is a rather commonplace observation that has been noted numerous times over the fourteen centuries of Islam’s existence. As far back as 1076, Pope St. Gregory VII wrote to Anzir, the king of Mauritania, that “we believe and confess one God, although in different ways.”

What it is asserting beyond that bare fact, if anything, can best be ascertained by considering the passage in light of those “different ways” to which Pope Gregory alluded. It is noteworthy that Pope Gregory doesn’t say that the one God that he and King Anzir both worship is the same God. All he says is that both he and Anzir worship one God; in other words, they’re both monotheists. And the Second Vatican Council is not actually making a definitive statement on that issue. It is saying that both Catholics and Muslims adore the one and merciful God, and while that clearly does indicate a certain commonality, there can be no doubt about one thing it certainly doesn’t mean: that Muslims and Catholics adore the same God in every particular, for Catholics do not believe that Muhammad was a prophet or the Qur’an is God’s Word, and Muslims do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God or the Savior of the world, or that God is Triune.

The same may be said of Jews, of course: they, along with Muslims, reject the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the divinity of Christ, and yet clearly Catholics and Jews worship the same God. This, however, is because Christianity began as a form of Judaism and is in a certain sense an extension of it, affirming faith in the same Old Testament Scriptures, the same prophets, and many points of belief.

These things cannot be said about Islam, which considers itself to be less an extension of Christianity than a rejection and correction of it, such that Muslims even reject the Old and New Testament Scriptures as corruptions.

In declaring that both Muslims and Catholics adore the one and merciful God, the Council obviously did not mean that Muslims and Catholics regard that God in exactly the same way, or that the differences were insignificant. The Council is silent on the question of whether or not the Muslims’ adoration is blind or informed. So what, then, is the Council actually saying?

Vatican II was a large-scale attempt to restore relationships that had been broken for centuries and build new bridges of trust where groups had been divided from the Church by centuries of mistrust, suspicion and outright conflict. Consequently it emphasized common ground rather than differences, unlike every ecumenical council that preceded it. No case, however, can be made that its statement about the shared adoration of the one and merciful God in any way mitigated the Church’s truth claim or sense of its own responsibility to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, any more than shared monotheism removes that responsibility in regard to Protestants or anyone else, for that responsibility is reiterated in the same passage.

It is not even certain that the Council is saying that Muslims and Catholics adore the same “one and merciful God.” Muslims certainly believe that their one and merciful God is the same One whom Christians (and Jews) worship, for the Qur’an tells them so (29:46). And whether they know it or not, the only God actually available to receive their adoration and hear their prayers is the Christian one. However, the differences in how Muslims and Catholics conceive of the one and merciful God lead to the possibility that while Muslims believe that they are worshiping the same God that Catholic worship, the teachings of Islam itself, despite the Qur’an’s insistence that Muslims worship the same God as do Christians and Jews, actually paints a picture of a God who is substantially different from the God of the Bible and the Catholic Faith.

It is noteworthy in this connection that the Council speaks of “Muslims” (Musulmanos), not “Islam,” adoring with Catholics the one and merciful God. It is a manifest fact that Muslim people believe that their God and the Christians’ God is the same. It is by no means as clear that the teachings of Islam itself about God offer a picture of the same Being who is delineated in orthodox Catholic theology. Although Arabic-speaking Christians generally use the word “Allah” for the God of the Bible – the same Arabic word used for the God of the Qur’an – this identity of name does not require that the two Beings referred to in each book are one and the same. It may be so, but it is not established on the basis of the Qur’an’s declaration, or of the identity in nomenclature.

In any case, this short passage from Lumen Gentium is burdened down by a weight of assumptions. When Kreeft says that “many Christians, both Protestant and Catholic, do not believe what the Church says about Islam (for example, in Vatican II and the new Catechism): that Allah is not another God, that we worship the same God,” he apparently assumes that to affirm that Muslims and Christians worship the same God establishes an important kinship between the two groups, and may even indicate that Islam in itself is a fundamentally good thing, such that Catholics should encourage Islamic faith and Muslim piety. Kreeft, in fact, espoused such a view in a debate with me.

These assumptions, however, do not proceed as a matter of necessity or inevitability from the Conciliar text. It would do no outrage to that text if the differences between the Islamic and Catholic views of the one and merciful God, and between Islam and Catholicism in general, were such that Catholics would not wish to encourage Muslim faith or fervor. One may therefore take a jaundiced view of the prospects for Catholic/Muslim cooperation and dialogue without dissenting from the Council’s teaching.

At the same time, even if the Council Fathers did mean to affirm that Catholics and Muslims worship the same God, this would have little significance for the contemporary ecclesiastical or political situation, in which Muslims are oppressing and killing Christian believers in several countries without regard for the Qur’an’s insistence that “our Allah and your Allah is one.” And as for the assumption that the Council meant to speak of a special kinship between Catholics and Muslims, Catholics have a moral obligation to be charitable to all people, regardless of whether or not they believe in the same God we do. Genuine charity includes a concern for justice.

The second Vatican II reference to Islam comes in the Declaration on Non-Christian Religions, Nostra Aetate:

The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom.

While this is a bit more descriptive about Muslim belief than was Lumen Gentium, as it includes the Islamic classification of Jesus as a non-divine prophet and Islam’s respect for the Virgin Mary, it adds nothing in terms of substance to the Dogmatic Constitution’s statements about Muslims. Here again we see that the Muslim linkage of Islam to Abraham is presented not as fact, but as something Muslims affirm, or “take pleasure” in affirming. Here again we see that they adore the one, merciful God; in other words, that they’re monotheists.

That is all that Vatican II is really saying about Muslims: they’re monotheists, they say they belong to the religion of Abraham, and they revere Jesus, but not as the Son of God, and His Blessed Mother.

The tone is very different, but not much in terms of substance is added in earlier Church statements on Muslims and Islam. And as Pope Benedict XVI has reminded us, Vatican II is not a super-council that supersedes all previous Church teaching; rather, its teachings must be understood in light of tradition. When it comes to Islam, the consistent focus in earlier statements about Islam is generally not on what Muslims believe, but on Islam as a heresy, and on the hostility of Muslims to Christians and Christianity. In that vein, Pope Benedict XIV in 1754 reaffirmed an earlier prohibition on Albanian Catholics giving their children “Turkish or Mohammedan names” in baptism by pointing out that not even Protestants or Orthodox were stooping so low: “none of the schismatics and heretics has been rash enough to take a Mohammedan name, and unless your justice abounds more than theirs, you shall not enter the kingdom of God.”

Pope Callixtus III, in a somewhat similar spirit, in 1455 vowed to “exalt the true Faith, and to extirpate the diabolical sect of the reprobate and faithless Mahomet in the East.” Neither this statement nor that of Lumen Gentium rise to the level of a dogmatic definition, but is it possible for Islam to be a “diabolical sect” that at the same time adores the “one and merciful God”? Certainly, for it is always possible that their adoration of the one and merciful God may be wrongly directed, marred by wrong emphases and outright falsehoods.

Nonetheless, many Catholics would argue that the statements of Benedict XIV and Callixtus III (and others like them from other popes) reflect a very different age from our own, and that Vatican II’s statements reflect a more mature spirit, as well as the charity toward others that Christians should properly exhibit. And that may well be so, although it must be noted that even though they are only fifty years old, the statements of Vatican II on Islam reflect the outlook of a vanished age no less than do those of the earlier popes. For in the 1960s, secularism and Westernization were very much the order of the day in many areas of the Islamic world. It was, for example, unusual in Cairo in the 1960s to see a woman wearing a hijab, an Islamic headscarf mandated by Muhammad’s command that a woman when appearing in public should cover everything except her face and hands. Now, on the other hand, one may walk down the streets of the same city and be surprised to see a woman who is not so attired.

This change has not been solely external. The hijabs in Cairo are but one visible sign of a revolution that has swept the Islamic world, or more properly, a revival. Islamic values have been revived, including not only rigor in dress codes but also a hostility toward Western ideas and principles. The “Arab Spring” uprisings have led to a reassertion of the political aspects of Islam, as opposed to Western political models, all across the Middle East. Western ideas of democracy and pluralism that were fashionable in elite circles all over the Islamic world in the first half of the twentieth century have fallen into disrepute.

One consequence of all this is that the Islamic world that the Fathers of Vatican II had in mind is rapidly disappearing. The words of Vatican II on Muslims must be accorded the respect that all Church teaching merits, and obeyed to the degree that obedience is owed to all magisterial statements. These statements must be evaluated, however, within the context of their times. The documents of Vatican II are no less a product of their age than the statements of Benedict XIV and Callixtus III are a product of theirs. Just as the age of crusading knights has vanished, so also the age of a dominant secular West striding confidently into what it terms the “modern” age is rapidly vanishing. This is not to devalue or denigrate the Council in any way, but simply to see it as what it is, no more, no less: an enunciation of certain eternal truths, to be sure, but within the context of a number of unexamined and yet decisively influential core beliefs and assumptions about the nature of the world and of mankind.

Ultimately, while it may always be the Christian’s responsibility to reach out with respect and esteem to Muslims, the hostility that the Islamic world had always displayed toward Christendom was never less in evidence than it was in the 1960s, and so a statement of friendship was never more appropriate, either before or since. That situation does not prevail today, a fact that has a great many implications for the prospects for dialogue as well: Western-minded Muslims who have a favorable attitude toward the Catholic Church no longer have nearly the influence among their coreligionists that they once had, at least in the Islamic world.

That is not to say, however, that we have returned to the world of Benedict XIV and Callixtus III, when Catholics understood that Mohammedanism, as it was then popularly styled (to the indignation of Muslims themselves) was a heresy, steeped in falsehood and perhaps even diabolical, and dedicated to the destruction of the Church and the conversion or subjugation of Christians. We are centuries away, and separated by chasms of cultural assumptions, from the world in which it was even possible to think of one’s faith as having enemies and needing to be defended. Catholics of the modern age have long assumed that that world was gone forever, and there is some reason to believe that it is indeed.

But with Muslim persecution of Christians escalating worldwide, there is also considerable evidence that that rough old world is returning, and may never have been as far away as it seemed to be.

The views expressed by the authors and editorial staff are not necessarily the views of
Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.
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27 Responses to Do Catholics and Muslims Worship the Same God?

  1. Roger says:

    Augustine analysed the various Gods from a vice and virtue perspective, but these were existing at the time of Our Lord’s revelation.
    Islam wasn’t an existing Faith was it? On the contrary it was a revelation to the seer and prophet called Mahommet.
    Now what and how does the Church deal with false and true seers and prophets?
    How did the Church deal with Arianism?
    The same can be said of for instance the Mormons can’t it?
    Why did the Church react in the way it did against Islam? Why the Crusades? Vatican II cannot contradict or deny the previous 2000 years can it?
    There is a new religion that has been created since 60’s that seeks to rewrite the Bible for its own purposes and deny tradition. This new religion even believes it can judge the past.
    The only reasonable view would be of religions that where prior to Christ not Post. This is why Our Lady Of The Rosary is appropriate because the Rosary as preached by St Dominic is the weapon against heresy.

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  2. golden chersonnese says:

    Allah is indeed the Arabic word for God (capital G). It has the same essential meaning as God.

    For the small g god, the word is ‘ilah, also having essentially the same meaning. There are even derived or related words like ‘ilahi (divine), alaha (deify) and lahut (theology).

    I think the word God is essentially the same for Christians and Muslims. Where we differ is in the things we predicate of God. Catholics differ from protestants in that respect too.

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  3. Roger says:

    No neither Islam nor Judaic believes in the Trinity. Not the same God. If it was the same God then the revelation would be the same.
    Islam is denigrating the Man God and at the same time Public revelation for private revelation. Islam has rejected the Bible and replaced this with its own book. Created its own tradition.
    It isn’t the same God is it?
    You see Emmerich saw this Church of Man where All things were to be permitted. All we are seeing is massonic pluralism. The Holy Martyrs wouldn’t worship false Gods. If there are Bishops and Cardinals who think they can then their Faith isn’t the same as the Apostles is it?

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  4. golden chersonnese says:

    I think the way language usually works is that each word has an essential meaning, its denotation, its basic definition. For the word big G God, its denotation or basic definition is surely something like the “sole supreme being” (we can probably leave out “sole” there). I’m pretty sure that you will ind that’s the basic definition of Allah also. God and Allah have the same essential meaning.

    Of course what we attribute to God (Allah) or predicate of Him, may be different in certain ways and similar in other respects. That is the case between Catholics and Muslims. I really don’t think we need Spencer to tell us that.

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  5. Roger says:

    Golden why would God introduce another Religion after the Birth of the Church and a Religion outside of Peter’s Authority? Mohammed AD 570? You know the Faith that there is No salvation outside of the Church. It seems that the smoke of Satan that entered the Vatican in 1960’s has obscured the Faith of a considerable number of the hierachy. La salette warned of this. 19th September 1846?
    Massonic pluralism and muddying the waters, thats dirty and pure in the same pipes. I call this lukewarm Christianity. Wishy washy lukewarm Christianity.
    Christnaity and Islam well, Our Lady Help Of Christians, The Battle of Lepanto. Our Lady of the Rosary (Fatima).
    The question is are we seeing the General Apostacy fortold in the Gospels? Was this and changes in the Church fortold in that part of the fatima secret which hasn’t been released. Islam was the scourge of Spain for 5 centuries.
    http://rt.com/news/muslims-uk-church-christianity-005/

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  6. golden chersonnese says:

    We can see here at the 2:33 mark Arabic-speaking Latin-rite Catholics in Nazareth very happily using the word Allah, where the Arabic looks like this: فى كل الارض لله هاتفىن (fi kul al-ardi lillahi hatifin – in all the Earth chanting to Allah). The fourth word from the right is a compound containing ‘Allah’.

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  7. Toad says:

    “Augustine analysed the various Gods..”
    Well. I’ve long contended that there are, indeed, “various,” indeed a potentially infinite, number of Gods.
    Just as many as people care to concoct for themselves.
    Interesting to see I’m not alone in this.
    And nobody on CP&S would disagree for a moment. I think.
    Far too many gods on planet earth, we all agree.

    Back to Montaigne, a devout Catholic* – so we can believe anything he says – when he said, “Man cannot make a worm, but he makes gods by the dozen.”
    No arguing with that, I suggest. We still can’t make even a worm.
    We seem to have made some sort of trinity of gods, amongst everything else, that nobody can understand though.

    *According to Jabba.

    We don’t care much for Allah.
    Well, I don’t. All those virgins in Paradise. No peace.And no dogs. Or horses. Soppy.
    “You know the Faith that there is No salvation outside of the Church. “
    Roger,as usual. puts it bluntly and clearly.
    Good Old reliable Rog.
    All non Catholics, all uutterly stuffed. For all eternity.
    This is exactly what I was taught, as a Toadpole, over 60 years ago.
    But Is it still considered true today, or not?

    Was I told untruths back then, or am I being taught them now?
    Nobody ever gives a clear answer. Maybe there isn’t one.
    OK. But I rejected the assumption as absurd then, and still do so now.

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  8. kathleen says:

    Let’s state one things clearly (hey, are you listening Toad?): THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD.
    The ‘”I AM” Who spoke to Moses at the burning bush.
    The One Triune God so described in the Nicene Creed by poor little Man’s inadequate language.
    For God is transcendent, or IOW, far beyond or above the range of normal or merely physical human experience.
    Yet God still chose to reveal Himself to us, His children, and form us in His Image and Likeness.
    And through Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, we have been invited to “know and love” Him too, and to follow the path He has revealed to us.
    We have the Holy Spirit to guide us in this endeavour.
    And the Holy Catholic Church is the one and sure way to lead us to Heaven.

    So yes, I agree that no other religion (and certainly not the non-Chrstian ones) have these incalculable blessings.
    Up to there I agree with everything Roger has said above.

    But then, who do the Muslims pray to? The Devil? Of course not.
    Surely they are also praying to the One God…. for there is no other!! They pray to the Creator of the Universe too, Who is All-knowing, All-Powerful and All-Loving.
    So I agree with Golden: “Where we differ is in the things we predicate of God. Catholics differ from protestants in that respect too.”

    Salvation can only come through the Catholic Church – that we affirm – so Toad asks if this leaves everyone else out in the cold?
    We do not know, but it seems unlikely that the Infinitely Good and Just God would allow sincere yet ignorant followers of other faiths have the “doors of Heaven” slammed in their faces. We can only assume (no more) that some form of Purgatory and revelation of the Truth of Christ’s Bride on Earth, with the necessary learning process, awaits good souls who have died without the sacraments and knowledge of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

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  9. Roger says:

    Toad
    The Church is the mystical Body of Christ. In other words Christ and Passion open the Father’s Heaven.There are times when (sic Arianism) Rome actually had become heretical including the Pope! Remember that St Paul corrected St Peter.
    There is No salvation outside of the mystical Body Of Christ. But what is Our Lord’s view of membership of His Body?
    In Eternity there is Heaven (entered by putting on Christ) and Hell. Two choices and nothing Sinful can enter Heaven. Purgation is the painful reparation of poor sinners who are not ready for Heaven.
    Why do you think that Heaven showed Hell at Fatima? Why at Garbandal was that very stark warning about priests , Bishops on the road to Perdition? Because we can lose ours souls for Eternity.
    Now implying that Heaven 600 years after the Passion and Ascension (opening of Heaven) created another Religion to Heaven (Islam) is to deny the necessity of the Passion. Masonic pluralism is an opinion of Man not Our Lord.

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  10. Roger says:

    Kathleen and Golden. I understand your dilemma.
    But masonry has the Grand Architect (is that a valid God? ) Arianism? Jasonism? . St Teresa of Jesus said that the soul of the heretic was like a shattered mirror. It isn’t about offending our neighbour its about putting other gods before Our Lord. St Francis walked bare foot to convert the Muslim.
    I don’t presume to understand or see Our Lord’s understanding of his mystical Body and whom he sees as a member. However one thing I know and that is for a Catholic to offend one of the least of his little children that it was better that that man had not been born. The history of the Church is replete with those in high places who have destroyed (through heresy and bad behavour) the Faith of the little ones.
    Islam and prayer but we know that without the sacraments they remain in the sin of Adam.

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  11. kathleen says:

    Roger,
    I was only referring to Muslims in my comment. They worship a distorted image of the True God.
    BECAUSE THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD.

    That is the point I was trying to make.

    Jews, Muslims, and of course Christians, know that there is only One God.
    You could look “down the line” of worldwide religious and see that there are those that worship multiple deities!! These are obviously even further away from the Truth.

    Salvation can only come through the Catholic Church, and for this reason we should all have a missionary spirit to bring the ignorant into the one Church Christ founded to bring this salvation to Mankind.

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  12. Roger says:

    Kathleen I understand but one thing to study to evangelise and another to imply equality. The holy martyrs who shed their blood rather than worship other religions. The belief in one God isn’t exclusive to these religions by the way. What is exclusive is Public Revelation the Gospel. What would Augustine say? placing Mohammet above Our Lord? If Our Lord is true God and True Man what God is Mohammet worshipping if he is preaching that Our Lord was only a Man?
    Islam doesn’t recognise the Christian God does it? Neither does Judiasm. So they may worship One God but that is not the God manifested in Our Lord is it? Obviously we cannot deny Our Lord and worship any deity other than the One True God.
    The Holy martys knew this. St Peter and St Paul knew this. We can’t just wear Our Faityh on Our Sleeve we must bear witness (like St John the Baptist) to Our Lord. No theseGods are not tyhe same.

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  13. Toad says:

    Well, if your definition of God, is, “A being that there is only one of,” then, yes, there can only be one God. Bur that’s rather Mi>circular, isn’t it?

    How many persons He might have is up for discussion, I suppose.
    Thousands? Three?

    How can anyone be sure their particular image of God is not “distorted”?
    If you only have one mirror, how can you assess its “undistortedness”?

    “Salvation can only come through the Catholic Church – that we affirm – so Toad asks if this leaves everyone else out in the cold? We do not know,”
    Well, we ought to know. It’s important, surely? Vital.
    Roger knows, I think..
    When I was young, we all knew,
    It did.

    Good comments from everyone but Toad..

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  14. golden chersonnese says:

    Roger, we will leave you to do the honours and tell those Catholics at Nazareth (in the clip) that they are not Catholics, but crypto-Muslims. Why not start with that Franciscan friar, Friar Rafael? He seems nice.

    When you’ve done the needful there, come on down to the Chersonese here and tell almost three million Catholics and other Christians the same thing. With a bit of luck you can pop over to Indonesia as well, where over 20 million Christians call God Allah.

    You might also like to make a submission to the Court of Appeal here in the matter of The Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur vs The Home Minister, if you are not too late already:

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  15. golden chersonnese says:

    Kathleen, did you know that in the Qur’an it says this in chapter 4 verse 171 (Yusufali translation):

    O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity” : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.

    Clearly then, for the writer of the Qur’an, Allah is the God of both the Muslims and the Christians. If not, he would have had no beef with the Christians over the divine sonship of Jesus or the Divine Trinity and would have just shut up.

    http://quran.al-islam.org/

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  16. golden chersonnese says:

    How can anyone be sure their particular image of God is not “distorted”?

    Dear Toad, I suppose it’s like everything else.

    it’s conceivable that Toad, after rummaging through the bodega in Moratinos, could find something he accounted as the best bottle of wine there. Assuming that there is nothing too amiss with Toad’s taste buds and olfactory sense, (do Toads have taste buds?), there will probably be many who would agree with Toad, though no doubt a few who might not. Oh well.

    O taste and see how gracious the Lord is. Blest is the man who trusts in Him

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  17. Roger says:

    When it comes down to life and death choice (the holy marytrs decision) then we have two pillars for the Faith
    1/ The Bible (that is off course the complete books of the Old Testament not the shorted version of the Masoretic text) Including the New Testament and ending with the Apocalpyse.
    2/ Sacred Tradition handed down and through Our Lord to the Apostles.
    The Bible is God’s work. The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. That is the entire Bible not just up to the 4 Gospels.
    Why would God create a book like the Qu’ran over and above the Bible? Haven’t the Mormons done the same? The Qu’ran is the work of a man, the opinion of a man. The God of Islam isn’t the Christian God.
    Sacred Tradition were is the connection between Islam and the Apostles?
    What was the Church and Peter’s response to Islam in the 7th, 8th and ongoing centuries?
    No if God is not the author of the Qu’ran who is?
    Golden you of course appreciate that a picture is worth a thousand words and there are Saints and martyts on the altar who have crusaded and fought Islam. the Blood of the Holy martyrs the tradition and teaching of the church over centuries. Not some modernist PR stunt.

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  18. Toad says:

    Golden, I think your wine analogy a very good one.
    Because if I had only tasted one kind of wine in my life, the wine made by my friends and neighbours – I’d probably have formed the impression that wine is not very nice stuff.
    But, having tried others, including that from Toro, I know different.
    We must not be blinkered and assume that the ‘wine’ that was good enough for Mum and Dad is necessarily good enough for us. Although it well may turn out to be.

    We would do well to be open and receptive to other new and interesting ideas, in other words.
    Which, of course, on CP&S – we all constantly are.
    Not shackled to the past by “tradition.”.
    And we all know what Churchill said about “Tradition.”

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  19. Roger says:

    Toad. Tradition is the building block from first experiences passed on beyond human memory. The tradition I am talking off isn’t human its a Divine action and promise. There is off course the tradition of writing, arts and education passed on and taught from generation to generation and here we find of course shackles. The Reformation for instance has shackled English Catholics. The Bank Of England and Central Banks are shackles. The Atom bomb is a shackle. Some traditions off course are just passing fads and fancies such as Islam.
    The Faith isn’t shackled in the Past because it is living and moving forward to what is called the End Of Time. Public Revelation is God dwelling amongst Us so the Gospels are not a secondary source (as Islam teaches) it is the Singular timeless source.
    The idea that it is all in the Past etc.. simply isn’t true because we see saints such as St Pio and seers and Prophecies such as Lourdes, Fatima and Akita. Actually we are dealing with living not dead. Our Lord and Our Lady are flesh and blood. Elias and Enoch are alive. So we are not talking of the dead pst but the living present and future.

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  20. golden chersonnese says:

    Plenty of tradition behind a good bottle of wine, Toad.

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  21. kathleen says:

    Fascinating video Golden – and so appropriate for the discussion here.

    Roger,
    Nowhere in my above comments do I imply that there is “equality” in the way we Catholics worship God, versus Muslims. I reiterated that their idea of God is “distorted”, or incomplete…. that is hardly saying we have the same understanding of God is it?
    And placing Mohammed above Our Lord!! Where do you get that from? Neither I nor Golden has said anything in any way for you to come to that conclusion!
    Mohammed was in no way Divine, nor did he ever claim to be, nor is there any proof (except his own testimony) that he ever even spoke to the angel Gabriel. It is quite amazing that a religion based on so little evidence (unlike Christianity) has had such an enormous following. (Although much of its spread was effectuated “by the sword”, as we all know too well!)

    None the less, when faithful Muslims pray to God (who they just happen to call “Allah”) who would you say they are directing their prayers to if not the One and Only God of all Mankind…. even if their image of God is far from complete?

    Re Golden’s interesting links: would you say then that those Catholics in the golden chersonnese (Malaysia), Indonesia and elsewhere, who happen to refer to God as ‘Allah’ too, are making a mistake? Do you really think God would be so petty as to take issue with such a detail?

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  22. kathleen says:

    Let me just make clear that I agree Islam is a heresy, a Christian heresy, based on the Arian blasphemy. Millions of people have been drawn into following this false creed that has persecuted Christians throughout the centuries, and continues to do so even as we speak. I am no fan of Islam.

    However we know that one of the attributes of God is His boundless Mercy. Surely He looks into the hearts of the followers of this false creed and sees that which is good and well-intentioned.

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  23. golden chersonnese says:

    Hello Kathleen. If you’re interested in the court battle going on over here between our Archbishop and the Home Minister over the Church’s use of the word Allah, you might like to view this clip also. It’s a fight on TV between three Malay Muslims on whether other people can rightfully use Allah. Khalid (from the Islamic Party here), Marina Mahathir (daughter of our former prime minister, Dr Mahathir) and a chap from the Muslim Students Association do not see eye to eye, to say the very least.

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  24. Roger says:

    God is Love.
    Our Lord gives plenty of examples of dealing with innocent and indeed poor sinners. But Our Lord’s dealings with the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes etc.. was very different. The more you know, the more that has been given to you, then more is expected off you. The Cardinal wears Red to given his blood for the Faith. That is to die rather than deny the Faith. Woe to that religious who gives bad example to the lambs and children.
    What’s in a name?
    Well confusion when it implies that there is no difference between the Gods of the false religions and the True God. This is masonic thinking, plural religions, many beliefs, one Grand Architect! Pure masonry!
    Why has the Faith declined? that is the question. Fatima and the third secret seems to be the answer. Wars rumours of Wars and a General Apostacy is this what we are seeing.

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  25. kathleen says:

    Roger,
    If all Men were to speak the same language, we would all refer to God using the same word, but since the Tower of Babel we have been cursed with ever-increasing multiple languages spoken worldwide! That is what causes the confusion, difficulty in communicating with each other and misunderstandings.
    This is where the problem lies with the debate going on in Malaysia with the Christians using the ancient word “Allah” to refer to God, that the more hard-line Muslims seem to take offense at! (BTW, very interesting debate Golden – many thanks for the link. :-))

    Roger, you have surely gathered by now after many months discussing Catholic issues on CP&S, that in no way whatsoever would I, or Golden, or indeed any of the CP&S Team criticise or doubt the whole of our Catholic Church’s Dogmas, Doctrines and Teaching on Faith and Morals. We all love Our Blessed Lord and our Catholic Church passionately, and would defend it with our dying breath…. yes, not just Cardinals would die for the Faith!!
    We know Who is the One Holy Triune God and would never deny that He is the Only One Who Saves: “Blessed be His Holy Name”.

    Therefore please don’t imply that we are in trying “to water down the Faith” by our disagreeing on this topic. That is the last thing any of us wants to do.
    Why has the Faith declined so much in the secular West? Multiple reasons (many of which we discuss on this blog) but whether we and Muslims worship the same God or not, is definitely not one of them, IMO.

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  26. Adrian Meades says:

    If all drinks are free, why are some drinking Chateau Haut Brion, and others Jacob’s Creek and Schloer? It can only be a problem with communications.

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  27. Toad says:

    If you think all drinks are free, Adrian, try visiting The American Bar at the Savoy.
    Where on earth did you get that loony idea?

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