Allah and Jehovah … the same God?
Answers to your questions about life, religion and the Bible
Dear Father Paul: I frequently hear someone in the media, a professor, a politician or some “religious leader” say something like, “Muslims and Christians need to learn to get along together. After all, we both worship the same God.” Is that true? Are the God of Islam (Allah), and the God of Christians (Jehovah) the same God? What do you say? — Barbara.
Dear Barbara: Thank you for your excellent and timely question which has become so important in the current era of strife between Islam and Christianity. Do both religions indeed worship the same God?
Please keep in mind that this is an “opinion” column. Having said that, my opinion, after years of studying both religions, is that Muslims and Christians do not both worship the same God. Here’s why.
First, while there are similarities in both religion’s descriptions of God, there are also some distinct and major differences. And while many in academia, the media, politics and both the Muslim and the Christian communities sincerely “wish” and sincerely “proclaim” that a sameness exists between the two religions, “wishing” and “proclaiming” simply cannot make a myth into a fact. Indeed, it has been my experience, upon probing the background, views and history of those making the claim that both groups worship the same God, that one inevitably finds such folks most often have never, ever done any serious, focused and in depth study of both religion’s holy books … the Bible and the Koran. Why? Because it is far too much work. Its much easier to simply mouth the propaganda of progressives who proclaim the idea of sameness than it is to do the hard work of digging out the truth. Besides, speaking against the prevailing opinion that both Gods and both religions are essentially the same is not politically correct.
Second, the personalities, temperament, tone and declarations (spoken words) of Allah and Jehovah, as revealed in the Koran and the Bible, simply are too vastly different for them to be from one and the same God. I challenge you to read their words for yourself
Third, What are some attributes of both religions that demonstrate clearly the fact that they do not worship the same God? Here are just a few of the most basic. There are hundreds, but I am limited by space.
While both religions do affirm that there is only one God; that he is eternal, all powerful, all knowing and present everywhere, Christianity is radically different from Islam in that Christians espouse the doctrine of their God as a “Trinity” … three manifestations of the same God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) … while Islam denies this and accuses Christianity of blasphemy and teaching polytheism … the worship of many Gods.
Christians believe that mankind is corrupted by an inherited sinful nature that cannot be overcome by any human means, but by faith in God and Jesus alone. But Islam denies that humans have a deeply sinful human nature, claiming that we sin because we are weak and ignorant but we can attain heaven by obedience to Allah, the Koran and works..
Adherents to Islam point out that the Arabic word Allah means “God,” and that Allah inspired the Hebrew prophets including Jesus, but that Jesus was nothing more than a great teacher and the last prophet before Mohammed. Thus, Jesus was not and is not God in the flesh, he was not crucified and was not resurrected from the dead. Koran 5:7 says as much..
These views, and many others, present a huge problem for people of good will on both sides. God cannot be part of a Trinity (Christian) and part of a Non Trinity (Islam) at the same time. The fact that there are so many other key, differences in the two religions has absolutely nothing to do with “hate and intolerance” as some claim, but rather the simple fact that the two religions are so opposite in beliefs that they are indeed, in many ways, irreconcilable.
The fact that a growing element in Islam has been hijacked by violent extremists bent on the submission or total destruction of Christianity and the West should give everyone (including Muslims) serious pause. Things are very close to getting out of hand and total war between the world’s two largest religions is not out of the question in my view.
Do you have a question? Email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to answer your question in the paper.
Father Paul Massey is pastor emeritus of Church of the Holy Cross in Fayetteville, Georgia. Visit us at www.holycrosschurch.wordpress.com for information, service times and directions.