Is Catholicsm and Islam compatible?


#1

According to Nostra Aetate, proclamation from Pope Paul VI, Muslims worship the same God as us Catholics. How can that be when we are so different?

http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651028_nostra-aetate_en.html

Here’s the part of Nostra Aetate that I found about this:
“The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,(5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.”

How can Muslims and Catholics believe in the same God when they claim that their God says kill all infidels (which they label Catholics as)?


#2

I found this article awhile back, it goes through some of what your question is about:
https://www.ewtn.com/library/HOMELIBR/HERESY4.TXT

(Paragraph 12 is where this begins to get really interesting… hard to stop reading once you get that far…)


#3

There is a man named John. Two people have met John, but they both get different first impressions from John. These two people go off and gossip about John to their families, one saying that he is super generous, and the other saying that he’s quite the opposite. Are the both talking about the same John? Yes. They are both talking about the same John, however, they both have different perceptions of the same John. They aren’t both absolutely correct about John, but they are indeed speaking of the same John.


#4

I’m not sure Nostra Aetate is de fide. That is to say, I’m not sure the document is dogmatic and requires belief. But I could be wrong and would appreciate any guidance from members.


#5

Hi, Joe!

I think that when a Catholic Pope speaks about Muslims and Catholics having the same God they are attempting to bridge the gap of monotheism.

Muslims go to the Old Covenant God of Israel–yet they take different routes when they meet with Ismael and Isaac.

They hold that the One True God Created everything… then their theology grows way apart…

However, no Pope states that they are one and the same as Catholicism.

Maran atha!

Angel


#6

[quote=“Joe1, post:1, topic:454864, full:true”]
How can Muslims and Catholics believe in the same God when they claim that their God says kill all infidels (which they label Catholics as)?

According to Nostra Aetate, proclamation from Pope Paul VI, Muslims worship the same God as us Catholics. How can that be when we are so different?

Well, they claim to believe in the God of Abraham. Do the Jews believe in the God of Abraham? Do the Jews believe in the same God as we do?

Now, if we look at Nostra Aetate more closely, we’ll

[quote=“Joe1, post:1, topic:454864”]
“The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,(5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, …

Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God.

…they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.”

So, they acknowledge that they don’t worship Jesus Christ and therefore the Trinity. But neither do the Jews and we have a great deal of esteem for them.

And they take pains to feature all the things we have in common with them, without mentioning all the disputes.

So, I think the Catholic Church is trying to build bridges. The same is going on with Lutherans and the Orthodox. Of course, we’re much closer to them. But have you seen the negative press that the Catholic Church is getting for her efforts on those fronts?


#7

This is the classic, typical misunderstanding when comparing Catholicism and Islam.

Yes, Catholics and Muslims believe in the same God–the God of Abraham.

We believe very different things about that One God.

That doesn’t mean that God is different—it means that people are different. We do not believe (indeed we actively dis-believe) the teachings of Islam about God. That doesn’t mean that there are 2 Gods (or 1 God and 1 god). It means that what Muslims believe about God is untrue.

I prefer to use a less inflammatory example here than killing infidels. We believe that God said that all animals are clean (changing the Law of the Old Testament). When Moslems say that God prohibits eating pork, we believe that God did not say it, but rather that Mohammed said it and falsely claimed to be speaking on behalf of God. Again, that doesn’t make 2 Gods. We still have One God.

We have false prophets (ie Mohammed) and true prophets (above all Christ Himself) both speaking about the One God.


#8

Except the analogy isn’t very much like the situations regarding the God of Scripture and the Qu’ran.

Assume that there exists the eternal omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent Creator of all that exists. Let’s call him John.

Three cases:

Case 1: John repeatedly appears to members of an ethnic group – let’s call them ‘Johnists’ – over many centuries, sometimes shrouded in cloud on a mountaintop, sometimes sending personal messengers to important leaders of this group, and once appearing as a burning bush. Over many centuries, frequently accompanied by miraculous acts, John leads generations of this ethnic group, teaching them about himself, guiding them, inspiring them to write laws, prophetic words and wise teachings. Eventually, the Johnists compile those writings into a treasured and safeguarded collection of books which record the most important episodes of John’s appearances, his prescriptions and his wisdom to the people.

Case 2: John takes on the bodily form of one of the Johnists and walks among them. He lives as a Johnist for over thirty years as one of them, working, speaking and sharing his life with them. After thirty years John draws together a small group of followers who come to know John intimately and are convinced he is, indeed, who he claims to be. John’s words and teachings, although consistent with everything written about him by the ancient Johnist writings, incite the current leaders of the Johnists to have him arrested and put to death for claiming to be John. After three days, John rises from the dead and visits his followers over a period of many days. He establishes a Church and guarantees to be with it always by sending his Spirit to guide it and protect it until the end of time. Many of his followers suffer death and persecution rather than deny John.


#9

Case 3: Six hundred years after John is crucified, a desert dweller – let’s call him Maht – with some acquaintance with Johnists and their writings, receives a night visit from a mysterious “messenger” who purports to be from John and gives Maht a series of messages. No one except Maht sees the messenger and no one except Maht has any idea what the messages are about. Maht doesn’t write these down immediately, but begins to gather around him followers. Maht convinces his followers to wage war on anyone in the area who does not accept that Maht is speaking for John. Maht begins to dictate his messages to his followers, who write these down on any medium they can get their hands on. The messages are so numerous and scattered that some are lost and they don’t get compiled until over a hundred years after Maht dies. A warlord admirer of Maht’s begins to compile all of the disparate collections of Maht’s dictated writings. He finds so many that, to make any consistent sense of all of them, he destroys a great many and compiles those he and his compatriots prefer to keep into a chronologically ordered book. The followers of Maht continually wage wars of conquest over anyone who does not accept the message of Maht or fails to comply with it.

Question:

What assurance do we have that all three of these groups are equally familiar with the nature and character of John and do we have any assurance that they are, indeed, speaking about the same John?


#10

Let’s use logic, both Christians and Muslims profess to believe in one God, as well as Jews, in fact the Muslim understanding of God, is closer to the Jewish one than to the Christian one. Well, if they profess to believe in one God, and there’s only one God to worship, how could they worship another God? Is they don’t acknowledge the existence of those other so-called gods, then they can’t worship a separate God. Before anyone says it, because someone always does, Allah is Arabic for God, this is even what Middle Eastern Christians call God. I just thought I’d throw that out there. There’s someone out there always, that claims they know more than the Church does on this, and I’m getting sick of that attitude. I remember a few years ago, when people said why did Pope Benedict call God Allah? Um, because he was talking to Arabic speaking Christians in Lebanon? But, the reality is, if Muslims profess to worship one God, and there is no other God to worship, then it with logically speaking, mean they worship the same God as Christians. Now, they have the wrong understanding of God, that I would say, but not that they worship a different one.


#11

Unfortunately, you are confusing the God with the messages (true and false) about that God.

Whether you like it or not. Whether you accept it or not, the God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is the same God—the God of Abraham.

The 3 religions believe different things about this God.

You are confusing 2 different ideas that if Islam believes things about the God of Abraham which are not true, then they cease to believe in the God of Abraham. It is a distinction that you are not making—the God and the belief about the God.

This is NOT an “open question” or unresolved. Catholic teaching about this is absolutely clear, and even for that matter so is Jewish and Muslim teaching. We all believe in the same God of Abraham.


#12

So does any religion that “worships” a monotheistic “highest power” – in whatever way that is conceived and by whatever ritual is the prescribed one – believe in the same God? I would be a bit concerned about the principle this establishes.

Let’s take Pharaoh Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV, 1364-1347 B.C.). According to this pharaoh, Aten (God) created himself (akin to the theistic idea of existing a se without the benefit of philosophical clarity) and illuminated the world of the living and the dead. Akhenaten, was uncompromising in his monotheism. He made Aten the supreme and only state God, symbolized by a disk with rays ending in hands for different ministeries. Worship of all other gods was abolished, their images destroyed, names excised, temples left abandoned, and all tributes to them confiscated. The plural term for deities was no longer used.

Was this Pharaoh worshiping God? I think you would have to say he was if you hold that Mohammed was.

I would suggest that he was more likely to actually have been worshiping God than Mohammed was, given the source or inspiration for his beliefs and actions seemed directly from his heart and mind rather than through external stimulus or base desires and ambitions. His actions also seem consistent with inspiration by the same God we are familiar with from the OT.

Mohammed’s “inspiration” is somewhat more dubious and appears to have been more akin to projecting his own aspirations, desires and personality traits onto the entire universe to make out of them, collectively, the highest and only supreme “god” controlling the universe. This “projection” then appears to turn around, take on a life of its own and directs Mohammed to carry out those aspirations and aims in the world around him under the guise of the one omnipotent being who controls the entire world and desires complete submission from it.

Mohammed’s “God” can be explained psychologically in terms of Mohammed’s own personality being “deified” and imposed on the world as from one omnipotent “God” to rule over it, whereas though Akhenaton might be understood this way, it seems less likely because a Pharaoh in Egypt already enjoyed that kind of power over his subjects, so there wouldn’t be any psychological need or motive to reduce the pantheon of Egyptian gods to one. His monotheism would seem less well-explained in terms of power-based ambition and, because of that, seems more authentic.

Now I might agree that many Muslims, as a matter of fact, worship the same God as Christians and Jews in their own way, and have perhaps even direct or intimate knowledge of God via natural grace, but I remain dubious that the god experienced by and portrayed by Mohammed is that God. I would also suggest that one way of telling regarding who is worshiping God and who is not, is by the actions that follow from their alleged knowledge of that God.

I would claim the same thing about some Christians, who by their actions betray God or undermine his image and plan, and therefore cannot know, love or worship the real God of Abraham and the Apostles.


#13

No.

And you are completely distorting what the Church says.

No one is saying that any monotheistic religion worships the same God as Christians—What you are doing is creating a completely false characterization of the situation.


#14

Since they (Muslims) claim that they worship God, then we worship the same God. Reason - there is only one God, not two or He has twin, or three.

From our perspective, they have the wrong information about this God. They did not see God but we do. We have the right knowledge about God in contrast to them.

They are genuine in believing and living their lives according to to their belief, albeit a wrong belief.

I think that pretty much about it.


#16

As a starting point, we all worship the same creator. When we begin to add definitions, everything unravels pretty quickly.


#19

No. Not at all. Definitely not.

You are trying to compare religion itself to a mere cultural tradition.

A religion is either “true” or it is “not true.” There is no comparison to a mere cultural custom which is nothing more than a nice thing some people do. Maypoles cannot be “true” or “untrue.”

Judaism is what we call a “revealed religion” meaning that God Himself established this religion. He revealed Himself to certain people in a certain way. That religion is “true.” It is accurate. It is a true expression of Who-God-is and what He has revealed about Himself.

Christianity, the next stage of Judaism, is likewise a revealed religion.

Islam is not a revealed religion. God did not reveal Islam. Mohammed invented it. Even though he based his new religion on Judaism and Christianity, and even though this new religion continues to worship the same God, Islam was not revealed by that God.

There is an absolutely essential distinction here.


#20

If the Church were to “step down” it would no longer be the Church. We cannot abandon our faith in Christ as the Messiah. We cannot even entertain the idea that there might be a different Messiah.

And by the way, I don’t mean that to be directed at you personally. I am not saying “you cannot ask that question.” Although, at the same time, I would caution that if you are a Christian, the question itself should be one you approach with extreme caution, and seriously think about what you’re asking.

The question you are asking makes no sense, theologically speaking. Because if I were to even think that there could be some other Messiah, then that means that I would not, at the same time, believe that Christ IS the Messiah. There is a reason why we start the Creeds with the words “I believe…” instead of “I think this might be true, but I’m open to other suggestions…”


#23

Are you suggesting that I should not tell the truth? That I should lie about something?

My purpose there was to provide an explanation of the difference between a revealed religion and a religion that is not revealed.

I’m not going to spend all day writing a lengthy explanation. Sometimes a simple and direct answer is sufficient.


#24

You are asking me, obviously a Christian, to ask myself “what if God lied to me and everyone else?”

I will not ponder that question.


#26

Joe 1 - Since many of my medieval ancestors were notable Crusaders, and another one was Charles ‘The Hammer’ Martel; and I also have a few historic ancestors who were kings of Nabatea - including one known as ‘King of the Arabs’: I have made a point of researching the origins and development of Islam. Most claims about Islam do not accord with my research. Islam arose out of the need for a rapidly growing Arab empire to engage in the politics of forging some sort of union and ‘legitimacy’, which included a supporting 'religion. It appears to be a largely cut and paste mixture of Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism, including apocryphal stories and tales, often ‘modified’ to suit the case of Arab triumphalism. - This all mixed in to a strong base of Nabatean and Arab pagan history and practice. ‘Allah’ was an important pagan god who had a goddess wife and daughters - hence the ‘Satanic Verses’ that later became abrogated. The description claimed for Mecca in Islamic texts, more accords with Petra, which at that time was the main city and trading hub of the Nabateans and northern Arabs. The earliest known mosques, on studying their floor plans, seem to have the qibla/direction of prayer - for 170 years, all towards Petra - it took over 200 years for the direction to become focused on Mecca. Mecca was arid and could not have supported a large population; it was not even mentioned on any map until the 9th century. While Muhammad most likely did exist, it appears that many of the details about him were later additions that got redacted back in time. It is interesting that much of Mecca is currently being thickly cemented over and built on, since this will make historic research and inquiry more difficult to ascertain. In effect it is as though the Islamic authorities are concerned that even more damaging reality concerning their claims, will emerge.


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