Sunday, November 28, 2010

But we all worship the same God

It used to be said the Christians and Jews worship the same God. Now we have the Muslims added into the soup, with the Islam-favoring category of the "Abrahamic" religions.

Do Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same God, only in different ways?

Jews worship a monotheist God with a unique relationship to Israel.  Christians worship a monotheist God who is also a threesome of Father, Son and Spirit and the Son became human in Jesus.  Muslims worship a monotheist God who is most definitely not any kind of threesome and whose revelation culminates not in Moses or Jesus but in Muhammad.

The younger religion has a stake in making a case for "the same God" because it legitimates its claim against its ancestor. It can claim what it likes in the ancestor religion and still maintain its supercessional supremacy. But the ancestor religion is far less likely to recognize its God in the version maintained by the new kid on the block. Would a Jew recognize as "his" God the Trinitarian Christian God? And would a Christian recognize as "his" God, the anti-incarnational Unitarian Muslim God?

Bahai is a post-Islamic religion which tries to do to Muhammad what Muhammad tried with his predecessors, include him in a larger vision in which he loses the place he asserted for himself and is relegated to an ancillary role, preparatory to Bahaullah. Would Muslims agreed that they and Bahai's worship "the same God"?

So I am inclined to say that "we" monotheists of the Adamic religions do not worship the same God.

"We" compete with and against each other for ownership of the God who created Adam and Eve. It's sort of like the Palestinians and the Israelis saying, "We both love the same land".

*The photo shows demonstrators in Pakistan supporting the death sentence given to a Christian laborer accused by her Muslim co-workers of blashpheming Muhammad.


Anonymous said...

It does strain logic to say these different faiths worship the same god, when they give him such different "biographies."

While we are by the way...My parents were both intermittently involved with Baha'i-ism for years, but my own exposure to it (and to some smallish Baha'i communities in Ohio and PA) was rather minimal. During much of my childhood, we were a three-generation household, and the idea then was just having me go to Methodist Sunday school to keep peace with the grandparents. I don't talk about this often, as I don't really know that much about the religion, and people I mention it to can be more curious about it than I am.


USMaleSF said...

Bahais have shown up intermittently in my life, but not recently. They played themselves as ultra modern globalist egalitarians, in the same vein as Unitarians, but have had to deal with the publication of the complete writings of their prophet Bahaullah and the strong role of religious authority...Bahai has more in common with Islam than most Unitarian types would like.

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