Catholics and Muslims adore same God?


#1

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 841, Muslims together with the Catholics, “adore the one, merciful God.” This cannot be true. The Muslims and Catholics do not adore the same God.

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]
Is this true? Any clarification?


#2

You might find this thread of interest …

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=3122


#3

i think (this means it’s my understanding or opinion and therefore not binding so please don’t attack what i am about to say) that it means that islam, Christianity and judaism all come from the same tradition (that of judaism) and therefore all claim to worship the same God. these are the three monotheistic (although jw would be included but let’s not get into that) religions and therefore we have that common ground. i believe that is what the catechism means when it says we adore the same God. now, we also know that the personalities of God portrayed in the Bible as opposed to the koran are very different, and the fact they deny the trinity and the salvation found in Christ show that there are more differences than similarities but we still start with one God from the tradition of abraham, isaac, and jacob.


#4

[quote=byzzy]According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 841, Muslims together with the Catholics, “adore the one, merciful God.” This cannot be true. The Muslims and Catholics do not adore the same God.

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]
Is this true? Any clarification?
[/quote]

I address this specifically in this post.

forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=46597&postcount=56

I hope that this helps to clarify the statement for you.


#5

[quote=byzzy]According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 841, Muslims together with the Catholics, “adore the one, merciful God.” This cannot be true. The Muslims and Catholics do not adore the same God.

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]
Is this true? Any clarification?
[/quote]

It is true that there are, in the Muslim conception of God, attributes and characteristics of God which are incompatible with the Catholic view. However, it is equally undeniable that there are many attributes of Allah which are also properly attributable to God as the Church believes him to be. Given a significant amount of overlap, especially on many of the most basic of God’s attributes, it would seem to be quite rational to say that, at its essence, the Muslim understanding of God is strikingly close to the Catholic one. Hence, it would seem reasonable conclude that they are closely enough united to say that it’s the same God. After all, many Reformed Protestants would hold a voluntaristic view of God, rather than a Catholic essentialist view of God’s nature (to say nothing of all this “omnitemporality” talk a la William Lane Craig et al.), but that doesn’t commit a Catholic to the position that Protestants therefore are worshipping a different God because they haven’t got it perfectly right on every single attribute and/or characteristic which is properly predicable of God. If we don’t do this of Protestants, then why would we do so of Muslims?


#6

Byzzy:

It is significant to note that the Church has always considered Muslims to be in a category seperate from pagans. Traditionally, she regards Muslims and Jews as “infidels” and opposed to “heathen” pagans.

This seems to have been at least an implicit recognition that Muslims worship the same God as we do, although their doctrine of Him is greatly imperfect.

And this isn’t a “Modern” view either. Pope Saint Gregory VII made the following statement to Muslim King Anazir of Maurentania:

We and you must show in a special way to the other nations an example of this charity, for we believe and confess one God, although in different ways. Many of the Roman nobility, informed by us of this grace granted to you by God, greatly admire your goodness and virtues.

[St. Gregory VII, Letter III, 21 to Anazir (Al-Nasir), King of Mauretania PL, 148. 451A.]

Now, some radical traditionalists claim that Saint Gregory didn’t know the real truth about Islam, and so that’s why he made these statements. But I find this really hard to believe. Read even a short biography of the man, and you see that he was one of the foremost intellectual minds of his age, and Islam had already been around for centuries. Gregory knew what Islam was, and what it taught.

Also, my understanding is that Asian Christians have often held more charitable views of their Muslim rulers than their European brethren. According to Samuel Moffat’s monumental study A History of Christianity in Asia, they often had no problem acknowledging that they and Muslims “believed in and worshipped the same God, though in different ways.”


#7

The notion that Christians and Muslims do not worship the “same” God confuses the idea of God with the reality that is the living God. Each of us personally has our own limited and faulty idea of God. As a Catholic Christian I of course believe the magisterium’s idea of God is infallible, but even the Church’s idea is still limited and far from completely describing the reality that is God–in fact infinitely so! (God is infinite; our ideas our finite.)

The fact that a Muslim’s idea of God is a worse approximation of the real living God than is a Baptist’s idea of God, which is itself a worse approximation than a Catholic’s, does not change the fact that each have as their object (the real thing to which the ideas point) the same One God, the God of Abraham and David, Jesus and Mary, the Creator of the World. Neither of us–Catholic, Protestant or Muslim–worship our idea of God, or at least hopefully not. We worship God, the real God, not an idea.

God is real. He is not just a character in book. That some people have books that portray Him falsely does not change the reality. Just like people who write that the Holocaust did not happen and that Hitler was actually a really nice guy are not talking about a “different” Holocaust or a “different” Hitler. They are simply wrong about the real Holocaust and real Hitler. Muslims are also wrong about God, the one God, the only God there is.

When Christians make the claim that the God of Islam is not the “same” God, it distresses me because it suggests that those Christians have given a false ontological status to the idea of God in their own minds and forgetting that the idea is actually of something, the real living God.


#8

Islam, and the STUDY of Islam…is a mental illness!!! Islam is the worship of Allah, the moon god… not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Islam is a cruel twisting of half truths and men’s prideful arrogance…with a degree of bloodlust in the heart for control of the human soul…Islam is CONDEMNED as a false religion, but it’s REALLY a MENTAL DISORDER nurtured in ignorance and want of truth.


#9

This text quite plainly says not only that Muslims adore the one true God, but that the plan of salvation includes them. The Catechism also says that those who have never professed explicit faith in Christ can be saved in virtue of their moral striving (no. 847). These teachings, as I recall, come from the ecumenical documents of the Second Vatican Council. (Note that there is some tension in reconciling them with nos. 151 and 161 of the Catechism; if someone can reconcile these, please e-mail me; I suspect the solution has to do with implicit belief, being an ‘anonymous Christian’.)

At any rate, the orthodox tradition of the church throughout history has been clear in stating that Muslims (and other non-Christians) cannot be saved without joining the church. The Roman rejection of this ancient article of faith is, to me at least, a very powerful reason for failing to become Catholic. Sadly, many people become Catholic without considering these “tangential” issues which are commonly very powerful apologetic peices, and very often strike at the heart of our faith. I mean, how many Protestants have converted to Rome without even knowing about Rome’s position on the evangelized and comparing it to the tradition of earliest Christianity? The New Testament with the early tradition on the one hand, and Roman dogma, on the other, cannot be reconciled on this point; they are contradictory. The spirit of Catholicism, in struggling to keep the door of the kingdom of God open to unbelievers, is at root opposed to the spirit of the first Christians. (For a fairly involved survey of the NT claims on the reprobation of the unevangelized, see esp. John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions.)

I wished to say that in very strong terms to distance myself from the Roman doctrine. At the same time, though, I do think a case can be made for saying that Muslims and Christians serve the same God. My case for this is primarily exegetical: in Acts 17, Paul quotes “some of your own [pagan Greek] poets” as saying that “we are all his [God’s] offspring.” Paul is quoting Greek writers like Aratus. The interesting thing is this: in the passage Paul quotes, Aratus is speaking about Zeus, not Yahweh. Yet Paul identified the reference of Aratus’ words with his own God of the Jews and Christians. This is truly remarkable. And if Paul can say the Greeks who spoke of Zeus were really speaking of Yahweh, what is to stop us from saying a Muslim speaking about Allah is speaking about Yahweh?

The conclusion of all of this would seem to be that Christians and Muslims may perhaps serve the same God–that is, the same all-powerful, all-knowing being. But it would seem that Muslims attribute to this God properties that he does not have (e.g., non-trinitarian properties).

It seems to me that pluralists, who make much of the fact that the referent of all religious devotion is the same, do not appreciate a fundamental Christian doctrine, namely, that even if we do worship the same being, this is not sufficient for salvation. God has very strict requirements concerning proper worship; to worship him wrongly is to incur death. This is why, after saying to the Athenians, “what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you,” Paul adds that, “God has [now] commanded all men to repent.”

Please e-mail me with any comments or questions.


#10

[quote=byzzy]According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 841, Muslims together with the Catholics, “adore the one, merciful God.” This cannot be true. The Muslims and Catholics do not adore the same God.

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]
Is this true? Any clarification?
[/quote]

There’s only one God, so it’s the same God. We all just know God a little bit differently. Just like any human friend of yours-- everyone knows him in different ways (some intimately, some vaguely).


#11

I believe Peter Kreeft also mentions that Muslims Jews and Christians worship the same God.


#12

[quote=Ashton]At any rate, the orthodox tradition of the church throughout history has been clear in stating that Muslims (and other non-Christians) cannot be saved without joining the church. The Roman rejection of this ancient article of faith is, to me at least, a very powerful reason for failing to become Catholic. Sadly, many people become Catholic without considering these “tangential” issues which are commonly very powerful apologetic peices, and very often strike at the heart of our faith.
[/quote]

The truly sad thing is how many people don’t realize that the teaching of the Church HAS NOT changed. In addition to the link I put in post #4 above (which is in the thread that squirt linked to in post #2), I have also addressed this issue in the following posts.
forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=36222&postcount=232
forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=37272&postcount=247
forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=44016&postcount=353
forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=45919&postcount=434
forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=49744&postcount=64
forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=50111&postcount=71
forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=50144&postcount=72
forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=50532&postcount=86
forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=50577&postcount=90
forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=61247&postcount=2
forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=36876&postcount=141
forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=46445&postcount=76


#13

If a person believes in one and only one God then it is unreasonable to ask if people worship the same God since this implies there is more than one God.

It is reasonable to ask if people worship or do not worship God.

It is reasonable to ask if people have the same description of the characteristics of that one and only one God.


#14

[quote=Ken]If a person believes in one and only one God then it is unreasonable to ask if people worship the same God since this implies there is more than one God.

It is reasonable to ask if people worship or do not worship God.

It is reasonable to ask if people have the same description of the characteristics of that one and only one God.
[/quote]

The problem with your statement is that most people will infer from the statement “the same God” that they believe the same things about that God; that their ideas of God include the same characteristics. That is where your claim falls apart. For, I believe that there is one and only one God but don’t believe that that God is infinite, omnipotent, and omnicient, then I clearly don’t believe in the same God as the Church professes. Likewise, if I believe that this one and only God is both good and evil, can deceive and be deceived, is material as well as spiritual in his very nature, is not the God of Abraham, and would never pass any judgment over us, it would also be incorrect to say that I believe in the same God that the Church professes.

No, it is very reasonable to ask if they worship the same God; otherwise you fall into the error of minimalism (reducing the teachings of the faith to the least common denominator). We need to be able to qualify what God is when we make such statements. I will leave it to the authority of the Church to determine when it is appropriate to say that some other religious group worships the same God as the Church.


#15

[quote=theMutant]The problem with your statement is that most people will infer from the statement “the same God” that they believe the same things about that God; that their ideas of God include the same characteristics. That is where your claim falls apart. For, I believe that there is one and only one God but don’t believe that that God is infinite, omnipotent, and omnicient, then I clearly don’t believe in the same God as the Church professes. Likewise, if I believe that this one and only God is both good and evil, can deceive and be deceived, is material as well as spiritual in his very nature, is not the God of Abraham, and would never pass any judgment over us, it would also be incorrect to say that I believe in the same God that the Church professes.

No, it is very reasonable to ask if they worship the same God; otherwise you fall into the error of minimalism (reducing the teachings of the faith to the least common denominator). We need to be able to qualify what God is when we make such statements. I will leave it to the authority of the Church to determine when it is appropriate to say that some other religious group worships the same God as the Church.
[/quote]

So, why not use more precise language? What is gained by sloppy and inaccurate use of terms? The answers in this thread demonstrate that the inference you suggest is not widespread.


#16

[quote=Ken]So, why not use more precise language? What is gained by sloppy and inaccurate use of terms? The answers in this thread demonstrate that the inference you suggest is not widespread.
[/quote]

Look, I am not saying that I agree that the Church has used the best language in presenting its teaching. I have, in many posts on this forum, professed my overwhelming dissatisfaction with how the current “ecumenical movement” is managed. However, the problem does not really lie in the language of the Church but in the failure of Catholics to fully and carefully read the documents of the Church; most commonly reading more into a statement than is actually stated. I point this out in several of the threads to which I provided links above.

The answers in this thread do not represent a change in the Church’s teaching, but a failure of the Church to properly catechize the faithful and also a failure of the faithful to carefully examine Church teachings so that they avoid jumping to wrong conclusions.


#17

[quote=theMutant]Look, I am not saying that I agree that the Church has used the best language in presenting its teaching. I have, in many posts on this forum, professed my overwhelming dissatisfaction with how the current “ecumenical movement” is managed. However, the problem does not really lie in the language of the Church but in the failure of Catholics to fully and carefully read the documents of the Church; most commonly reading more into a statement than is actually stated. I point this out in several of the threads to which I provided links above.

The answers in this thread do not represent a change in the Church’s teaching, but a failure of the Church to properly catechize the faithful and also a failure of the faithful to carefully examine Church teachings so that they avoid jumping to wrong conclusions.
[/quote]

I’d say the use of language in Church teaching is very precise and considered. The usage that uses terms such as “worshipping the same God” is a colloquialism that lacks the refinement of Church usage. I’d be delighted if people had the same linguistic standards as the Church.


#18

I know I’m just restating the obvious, but Muslims acknowledge God the Father. Unfortunately, such a view is incomplete (as we all know that God is a triune God) and insufficient for salvation, as Christ said in John 14:6

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.”


#19

Regarding the church’s position on the salvation of the unevangelized, one commentator said this in response to my post:

[quote=theMutant]The truly sad thing is how many people don’t realize that the teaching of the Church HAS NOT changed.
[/quote]

I would simply want historical proof of this assertion. It seems to me the church’s position on this matter has changed. Perhaps I am wrong, but surely it does look as if something fishy is going on here. Further, most Roman Catholic historians are aware of the fact that doctrine develops over time, and that many practices of the church today are postapostolic developments. Catholicism in principle, then, is not opposed to doctrinal change over time, so long as the trajectory of doctrinal development is valid. See J. H. Newman’s* Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine* on this theme.


#20

Ofcourse we worship the same God. Jews Muslims Christians and even Rastafarians worship the same God.


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