Hi. I was raised in a strong Protestant family but have been considering converting to Catholicism. I have been praying the Rosary & the Divine Office daily. While reading the Catechism I came across paragraph 841 which states that Muslims worship the same god as Christians. I have a BIG problem with that. Hopefully, someone can tell me I am misunderstanding what the Catechism is saying? Thanks and God Bless!
Muslims do worship the same Abraham God, but have a different theology about the God than Christians. Is this what you have issue with?
It seems to explain further by paragraph 841-onwards.
841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day."330
842 The Church’s bond with non-Christian religions is in the first place the common origin and end of the human race:
All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city. . .331
843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as "a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life."332
844 In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them:
Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasonings, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair.333
845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. the Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. the Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.334
“Outside the Church there is no salvation”
Does 841 say that Muslims worship the “same god as Christians”? No, I don’t believe so.
What it does say is that, like Christains and Jews, Muslims acknowledge the Creator. They profess belief in the God of Abraham, the one true God.
Can you expand on what problem you have and what you think this is saying.
Yes, you are misunderstanding the Catechism.
There is only one God. He is the same God who spoke to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. All who worship that God worship the same God.
*]Jews worship Him but don’t believe that He is triune in nature; they believe that the Messiah has not yet come, and they deny Jesus’ divinity.
*]Catholics worship Him and acknowledge His triune nature; they proclaim His Word as handed down to them through the centuries.
*]Protestants worship Him and acknowledge His triune nature; they proclaim His Word with occasional lapses (some teach that His priests cannot forgive sins; some teach that Purgatory doesn’t exist; some teach that the Bible is the only reliable teaching there is; some teach that a one-time profession of belief in God is enough to obtain eternal salvation; etc.).
*]Muslims worship Him but deny His triune nature; they acknowledge Jesus as a prophet but deny His divinity; and they believe that Mohammed preached additional teachings of God.
No matter which of them is doing the worshipping, it’s the same God. He doesn’t change His nature just because we describe Him incorrectly.
Think about this: If I claim that Jesus was white, and you claim that He was black, are we worshipping different Gods, or are we just both wrong about His nature? Or this: if I claim that there is a Purgatory, and you claim that there isn’t, are we worshipping different Gods?
No: we’re just wrong about certain things, that’s all. Muslims are simply more wrong about God’s nature than all other worshippers of the one, true God; but, at the same time, they’re more right about Him than are atheists, Hindus, etc.
The problem I was having is that Muslims don’t believe in the Trinity. In fact, they are downright hostile to Christianity. I know they claim they worship the God of Abraham but I have read parts of the Koran. Muhammad was clearly a false prophet. I do not believe in political correctness; I believe in speaking the truth. No one enters the Kingdom of Heaven except through Jesus Christ.
I agree with ke, I’d like to know why you have such a big problem with this.
I also have a big problem with it. I understand the apologetic from the Catholic perspective…and I have debated it many times. However, I do not agree with this teaching about Muslims worshipping the same God as the Christians…and I suppose I never will agree with it. :shrug:
Sura 4:171 (Koran)– Allah forbid that he should have a son!
1 John 2:23 (Douay-Rheims)– Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.
Okay, but Jews don’t believe in the Trinity, either, and they clearly worship the same God, right?
Muslims are just a lot more wrong about their description of God than Jews are. Sure, Mohammad was a false prophet, but you can’t blame modern-day Muslims for that; they weren’t in on the fraud. And having a false prophet isn’t discernibly worse than denying the divinity of Jesus, is it? And Jews do exactly that.
But there’s only one God. We all worship Him imperfectly; some of us (Muslims, for example) simply worship Him less perfectly than others.
Sorry, I didn’t see that you had already posted your reasoning.
Most Muslims that I have met are not hostile to Christianity. I went to a Catholic university where there was a small population of Muslim students. I never saw any hostility from them. If anything, they were willing to defend their beliefs in a civil manner a wide variety of settings. The hostility you are probably seeing toward Christianity has been caused by extremists within Islam itself - not all who are Muslim are hostile to Christians. It’s not true and would be a blanket statement.
I guess I would like to see what parts of the Koran point out that they do not worship the God of Abraham.
Well, I do not think this is necessarily a matter of political correctness, but rather a misunderstanding of Islam itself.
Muslims believe Jesus was a prophet like Mohammad. They do not believe Jesus was/is the Son of God. They too are denying the divinity of Jesus so it is as bad.
If Christ founded His Church, the idea that 600 years later God would start another doesn’t make sense. Christ is the Truth and there is only one Truth.
Thanks for the replies. Mickey, I totally agree with you. If Muslims (or anyone else for that matter), don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God, they are not saved. Period! You can have different beliefs about Jesus & still be saved, of course. But, if you don’t believe that Jesus is the Savior & the Son of God then you are not saved.
As Godfollower pointed out, Jews also don’t believe in the Trinity (for that matter, there are some Protestants who don’t either). Does that mean they don’t believe in the same God?
Regardless of that, however, CCC 841 is more an acknowledgement of what the Muslims say about themselves: “…Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham…”
Acknowledging a statement does not necessarily equal agreement. Many Catholics who likewise examine Islam come to the same conclusion you did.
Think about it this way: one person says that the Republican candidate for President is a liberal, Massachusetts, abortion-loving, non-Christian, silver-spoon, elite trust-fund type aiming only to help the super-rich and bad for the country. Another person says that the Republican candidate for President is a conservative, God-believing, fiscal conservative with hard-earned business experience that will help the country get out of its economic mess.
Are both people describing the same man, or are there in fact two Mitt Romneys?
All the Catholic Church is saying is that there’s only one God, and the Muslims – though incorrect in their understanding of Him in many ways – adore Him.
But that’s not the same thing. St. John was talking about so-called Christians who were denying Jesus’ divinity. If your logic is correct, then Jews – who also deny Jesus’ divinity and Sonship – don’t worship the same God we do. And that just doesn’t make sense.
Neither do the Jews. Are you proposing that they do not worship the God of Abraham, the on true God?
Which doesn’t have any bearing on whether or not they believe in the God of Abraham.
These two things are not actually contingent upon one another. Yes, Mohammed was a false prophet. Yes, he got things wrong about God, influenced as he was by Aranism and Judaism.
But, that does not mean the Muslims do not sincerely worship the God of Abraham, even though misguided in their beliefs about him.
The Church does not believe in “political correctness” either, but she does believe in the virtue of charity.
I don’t believe you will find anything in Church teaching that contradicts this. Everyone who enters the Kingdom does so via Christ and his Church.
I think you need to learn more about the Church’s teaching regarding salvation. The idea of “being saved” as a one time event is contrary to Catholic teaching. It is a wholesale mental shift you will need to make here.
Then you’re REALLY going to have a problem as you keep reading the Catechism:
“Outside the Church there is no salvation”
846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:
Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.
847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:
Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.
848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”
Catechism ¶¶ 846-48.
The Catholic Church teaches that there are those who have never heard of Jesus who nevertheless can be granted salvation.
But, as far as ¶ 841 is concerned, the Catechism is not saying that all Muslims will achieve salvation. It merely acknowledges that they adore the one, true God.
And, by the way, the Catholic Church doesn’t teach the concept of “being saved” as some Protestant churches teach. For one thing, St. Paul made it clear that salvation is an ongoing process; for another, St. Peter made it clear that you can lose your salvation even after finding Jesus. Leaving that aside, however, the Church does not teach that “All Muslims are saved” or anything similar.
Not a problem, an opportunity. An opportunity to reclaim an authentic understanding of redemption, salvation, and sanctification.
I do not believe that being saved is a one time event. I believe you can lose your salvation if you turn away from Christ. I just don’t see why you are having such a problem with my question. Of course God loves Muslims & wants them to be saved. He loves everyone. I do have a huge problem in the Church saying that Islam is the same or equal to Christianity.
“I BELIEVE IN ONE GOD”
200 These are the words with which the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed begins. The confession of God’s oneness, which has its roots in the divine revelation of the Old Covenant, is inseparable from the profession of God’s existence and is equally fundamental. God is unique; there is only one God: "The Christian faith confesses that God is one in nature, substance and essence."3
201 To Israel, his chosen, God revealed himself as the only One: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might."4 Through the prophets, God calls Israel and all nations to turn to him, the one and only God: "Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other… . To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. ‘Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength.’"5
202 Jesus himself affirms that God is “the one Lord” whom you must love “with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength”.6 At the same time Jesus gives us to understand that he himself is “the Lord”.7 To confess that Jesus is Lord is distinctive of Christian faith. This is not contrary to belief in the One God. Nor does believing in the Holy Spirit as “Lord and giver of life” introduce any division into the One God:
We firmly believe and confess without reservation that there is only one true God, eternal infinite (immensus) and unchangeable, incomprehensible, almighty and ineffable, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; three persons indeed, but one essence, substance or nature entirely simple.8
And yes, I know that Muslims claim that they follow the God of Abraham. I know they are descended from Ishmael (sp?) & they profess the God of Abraham. But they don’t believe that God has a Son.