Are non-Christians technically our "Brothers and Sisters"?

I just read someone on another thread refer to Muslims as his brothers and sisters.

Is that correct? I thought Christians were our brothers and sisters (in Christ) I think of those names in the Biblical sense, referring to our religious brothers and sisters in the faith.

It sort of irks me a bit to hear it expanded to Muslims, who as a rule are opposed to our faith, at least somewhat. They are fellow humans, to be sure, but I don’t think of them as brothers and sisters.

I guess it depends what you mean by technically. St Francis wrote the Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon. If he called the sun and moon brother and sister, I’m guessing he had no qualms using those terms for non-Christians.

Latter-day Saints use the terms “brother” and “sister” referring to others in or out of our faith because we believe that everyone was born as spirits in Heaven prior to being born physically on the Earth. (We don’t believe in creation ex-nihilo at conception.) So, we’re all siblings in the sense of our prior spiritual births. I hope this helps.

They are our brothers and sisters in a natural sense, yes. We all share a common human ancestry (through Adam and Eve). We also share a commonality in having been made in the image and likeness of God.

They would not be our a spiritual, true brothers and sisters, however, as that relationship is established by our Baptism into Christ.

We had a very vigorous conversation about this during a bible study and came to the conclusion that non Christians are our brothers and sisters, well we all agreed except one member of the Parish bible study who just wouldn’t be swayed by our Assistant Priest or our discussion of Romans 14. From what we were told Muslims are in fact our brothers and sisters.

Christians are brothers and sisters in Christ; non-Christians are our brothers and sisters in the human sense (i.e. they’re fellow humans beings, so we ought to respect them, love them, care for their innocents even in times of war with them, etc).

All good answers. :thumbsup:

I think the term used isn’t what matters, but how we treat them. Consider the parable of the good samaritan. The parable answers the core question of “who is our neighbor?” In the parable, those who would consider the hurt man a neighbor passed him by, while the samaritan, someone who most definitely did not fit the description of neighbor to those Jesus was speaking to, was the one who acted neighborly.

Whether we call them brothers, sisters, or neighbors, I believe what’s important is how we feel about them in our hearts and how we treat them.

This is what I understood of this issue:

By birth and descent, we are all brothers and sisters in Adam, and we all share in the stain of original sin.

When we are washed and re-born through the Sacrament of Baptism, filled with sanctifying grace, we become brothers and sisters in Christ. This is a greater brotherhood in my understanding, a brotherhood of adopted children of God, to which we are called to bring all of the human race.

Thus not only we are all brethren, but to those who are not in the mystical body of Christ, the Church, we owe special love and service, that they too may be saved.

What an extraordinary question!
One is reminded of the days of slavery & colonialism when such ideas were considered permissible and plausible.

Perhaps you need to check our DNA and see how much we share with chimps, goldfish and centipedes as well as our brother Muslims. We are all part of God’s Creation from the humble slug to the PhD student. A reverence for all life (human, animal & vegetative) will go a long way in helping you to enter the Kingdom of God. Remember what He said - He is looking out for the sparrow just as much as for you. In the Great Scheme of things (The Divine Plan) I fear the sparrow is definitely a few jumps ahead of you. Humility is the greatest of virtues; we & the slugs (sharing a common DNA) quickly turn to dirt - a sobering but comforting thought.

fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Fear not…ye are of more value than many sparrows.

We are indeed all part of God’s creation, indeed share a special brotherhood with the entirety of creation (as the beautiful Laudes Creaturarum of St. Francis of Assisi reminds us), but we must always remember that the human being is infinitely higher in dignity than the remainder of creation (after all, nothing less than angels have been tasked to take care of men, and Christ took it upon Himself to suffer and sacrifice Himself for man’s redemption), and that the spiritual brotherhood in Christ is the highest degree of brotherhood, as it is communion with the living God and no less than partaking in the divine nature.

Why must asking a basically theological question elicit accusations of siding with slavery and colonialism?

All humans are our brothers and sisters.

I guess I’m asking for a Biblical perspective, from the usage of the Bible, specifically.

The Catholic Church refers to Protestants and “separated brethren”. Does it use brethren to refer to Muslims, Jews, Pagans, Buddhists?

Regardless of the answer, I find it is helpful for me to view all people as my brothers and sisters. It is easier for me to treat people the way God wants me to.

I love my brother and am fiercely protective of him and we’ve never had a fight which I hear is unusual. I really loathed a coworker of mine for very good reasons - on two occasions I just happened to be standing right behind her when she was saying outright cruel lies about me when I had been nothing but nice to her. Who knows what she’s said when I’m not around? Thinking maybe I was crazy, I asked a few other people and everyone I spoke with, including her friends, said she has lied about them (vicious ones that damaged relationships) or lied TO them. Then I imagined I loved her like I love my brother and instead of feeling anger towards her, I began to sad for her because I realized something really damaging must have happened in her childhood to be that way. She never changed, but I began to listen to her when she’d talk about things that seemed important like her family and I’d ask questions and give her sympathy and support. I started to see a hint of some of the things that hurt her. So by viewing someone as a sister that some people might think doesn’t qualify for that title because of some predefined line they draw I was able to let go of anger and resentment in my own heart and give kindness to someone who really needs a lot of love.

Great point, although I’m not crazy about my brother, so it wouldn’t work for me. But well said. It’s very true that making the effort with an ‘enemy’ like you describe can be positive.


  1. God, Who has fatherly concern for everyone, has willed that all men should constitute one family and treat one another in a spirit of brotherhood. For having been created in the image of God, Who “from one man has created the whole human race and made them live all over the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26), all men are called to one and the same goal, namely God Himself.

Is that definitive enough?

Thanks. You don’t need to include the “Is that definitive enough” remark, as if you showed me and I’m an idiot. Just answering a question with a positive spirit would be great. :slight_smile:

Why wouldn’t it? Doesn’t the Catholic Church constantly try to recruit all other people to Catholicism? Wouldn’t that include Protestants, Muslims, Jews, Pagans, Buddhists, etc?
The term “brethren” actually has two meanings: (1) all brothers of mankind, and (2) all brothers of an organization (religion). So, as many words in the Bible, it is a matter of context and interpretation.

As for me, I think of all people as brothers and sisters to me as fellow humans regardless of religion; but I also believe all people who love, obey, and follow Christ–and that includes all denominations that are Bible based and Godly–are my brothers and sisters in Christ.

It is my duty as a Christian, however, to convince others who are not Christians of the great love and sacrifice Jesus gave to us for our eternal salvation. People all have a soul. It is what it is filled with that matters. God commanded us to spread the Word to all creatures of the world, and that is what I try to do when I meet people in person or online, and I pray for their salvation and for them to have an open heart and soul to receive Him.

Apologies - I guess I was irked by your being irked. We’re all made in the image and likeness of God, and the Church insists we believe in Adam and Eve as individuals and parents of the race. And Christ died for ALL. By what metric would we NOT be brothers and sisters?

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