I had a Hindu roommate for a semester. I was cataloguing a collection of early-20th-century Indian artifacts at the time, including various religious items, so I asked her for information about Hinduism from a modern Hindu’s perspective, versus a 1920’s Baptist missionary’s filter. She said that the different gods in the Hindu pantheon are actually facets of one god-- Shiva, perhaps? Anyhow, that would be one example of a Hindu believing that Hinduism is a monotheistic religion.
Allah is not obliged to be rational. The Christian God cannot do anything that is contrary to his nature. The Christian God is a Trinity. Islam says that chastisement will befall anyone who believes that Allah is a member of a Trinity. Christians approach God through the merits of Jesus’ passion and suffering and redemption. Allah is unapproachable, and communicates only through angels and prophets. God loved sinners to the point where Jesus died for us while we were slaves to sin; Allah needs to be loved before he’ll love a sinner enough to forgive his sins. Do they sound parallel?
It’s interesting to discuss things because we find out more about our own beliefs in the process. Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate the truths we hold without being able to compare them to others’ tenets of faith. Catholicism certainly does not hold a monopoly on Truth— but remember the parable of the weeds sown in the field. Others will have some truth, because Truth comes from God— but the Truth gets mixed with a lot of weeds once you get too far from the Church. Jesus said the Gates of Hell would not prevail against his Church, so it’s a matter of figuring out whether he wasn’t really telling the truth, and, yeah, the Church was nice while it lasted, but it went off the rails at some point in history and he never bothered to put it back on track; or whether he was talking about leaving behind some other Church and we just are mistaken thinking it’s us.
“I am young in years,
and you are old;
that is why I was fearful,
not daring to tell you what I know.
7 I thought, ‘Age should speak;
advanced years should teach wisdom.’
8 But it is the spirit** in a person,
the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.
9 It is not only the old[c] who are wise,
not only the aged who understand what is right.
re: speaking with things, have you ever spoken with a thing? Have you ever known anyone who has? Number one, it’s certainly not something anyone needs to seek out. Number two, it still happens, even if you’re not seeking it. Sometimes, God lets stuff happen for his own reasons. Number three, there’s a lot of writing about “discerning spirits” and things like that. It’s all well and good— until stuff actually happens. Then it’s very difficult, because you’re focused on the moment, and not necessarily in a place where you can say, “Wait, let me go find my Fourteen Guidelines for Discerning Spirits.” Number four, we tend to be very trusting people. Something tells us, “This is the way things are,” and we tend to believe them. For some people who are very, very far from the Church, this might entail something accepting a statement that is perfectly ridiculous as fact— but they trust it, because, you know, a spirit said so, so it must be so. For someone who is very, very devout within the Church, it might be something that’s perfectly sensible and believable-- but also totally false. Since we’re body + spirit, and are limited by our senses, it can be incredibly difficult to pick out a truth from a lie. And Bad Things can be very, very good at weaving together truths and lies. It’s better to keep doors closed that 99.9% of us don’t have the qualifications to handle opening, and let God allow what God wills, rather than inviting things that we don’t have any business dealing with.