Question about worship of God



I’m not asking this question in any way implying that I “disagree” with the Vatican 2’s wording or anything like that. I’m rather asking for insight to better understand the thinking behind it.

Ok, in Nostra Aetate 3 we read:

  1. 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.

I’m not the one who has a problem with that. I can read Acts 17:23 where it’s written …

For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, “To an unknown god.” What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.

However, that passage in NA seems to set many people on edge. Some claim that Muslims don’t worship God, because God is the Trinity, and they don’t believe in the Trinity, therefore they don’t believe in God, hence they don’t worship God.

That’s all very nice reasoning, but it’s not the Church’s teaching!!

I suppose there are some psychological and perhaps phenomenological issues there that are at root in the Vatican 2 attitude. But I don’t know about all that.

If someone would help me along the way, that would be awesome, thanks!!


This is the way I think the Catholic Church looks at it:

Jews and Muslims both worship one God.

To the extent that they worship One God, and since there is in fact only one God, then they do worship that one God–even if their understanding of him is incomplete or mistaken.

We would of course, say that the God of the Jews is truly the God of revelation–Yahweh who revealed himself to the Israelites under the Old Covenant, preparing a people for himself, out of whom the Messiah would arise. (And who would, as the living Word of God, or Son of God, fully complete God’s revelation to mankind.)

The Muslim God seems to be something of a distortion of the true God of the Israelites, and Islam appears to be a heresy derived from both Judaism and Christianity, probably by taking early Gnostic heretics at face value. Still, it affirms one God–Allah–and insists on submission to him. To the extent that it contains partial truth–i.e., monotheism and the submission to the will of God–we can affirm those truths, while hoping that it would grow to accept the full truth about God.


Here’s an in-depth article on the subject:



JimG put it very well. There is one God who is God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. We worship Him; the Muslims worship Him. We know a lot more about Him than they do, because He has revealed Himself to us through His Son Jesus, but that does not change the fact that they are worshipping the One God who made the heavens and the earth.

  • Liberian


Thanks for the replies.

DeFide, I read that article, thanks!!

I betcha Karl Rahner has some insight on that line of thinking, and I’ve not read any of his stuff yet. “Hearers of the Word” is on my to-read-list.

Gotta read up on phenomonology a little also.

Romans 10:2 - that’s a good verse, that’s mentioned in that article.


When we talk about moslem people, I agree that some of them (maybe most of them) do not reject Jesus out of total awareness like the pharisees but out of ignorance. Thus they may worship the same One God that we worship, though they do not know Him whom they worship.

However, having read their book “The Koran”, I notice inside the koran are taken from the bible, yet added with something else that questions the truth of the bible. This resulting in “faith” that is confused.

Having some of moslem friends whom I see as genuinely good people, I always see The Koran as “the bad guy” that has confused many good people.

I guess Vatican 2 try to answer the more important question of “how to deal with this situation that we are in”.

I have been pondering in my heart and believe that something good must come from this situation. At least from my case, I learn this : anything that doubt God’s goodness is sin. To reject God’s Son is to reject God. This word from the letter of John has become much more firm in my heart after I read The Koran which has “all kinds of doubts” writen.

We are to love our enemy, and therefore we are to tell them God’s truth of Love. The Koran has confused many good people, but we ought to love these people. And how do we love them? By telling them the truth. But how do we tell them? Will they listen to us? Is there opportunity?

These are the more important questions : how we deal with this situation that we all are in. In loving our enemy : will love win? or, will euphoria and hateful spirit win?

Vatican 2 try to answer those more important questions: to embrace those souls.


Agreed…shutting people out by having disrespective attitudes about the deepest part of many of their lives (their Muslim faith) isn’t exactly the way to get them interested in Christianity.

Hmmmm…didn’t St. Francis meet with a great Muslim emperor or somebody and have good conversations with him and won his respect? I’ve heard/read that story, can’t remember the details though.


The way I see it, God is reaching to all of His creation. If a Muslim responds, even if he has a faulty view of God - through no fault of his own - then how can we say he does not desire God?

If we take the other view, that Muslims worship a “different God” then I think to be consistent we must also say that Calvinists and Arminians worship different gods - because they believe many different and mutually incompatible things about God… so do they worship different gods? I say no.



Now, I’m by no means schooled in modern philosophy, or ancient greek philosophy for that matter. However, what little I do know, it seems to me that the Church’s attitude can be linked to, or seen as a logical development of 2 historic attitudes about “proving” the existence of God.

  1. A Reformed/Presbyterian view (St. Augustine*, Calvin, Charles Hodge, etc.)
    That the existence of God is proven by the fact that humans are born with an “innate idea of God implanted in their mind.”
  • I’m not saying St. Augustine was “Reformed” I’m simply pointing out that he is credited with such a line of thought on God’s existence, which later men picked up and used.
  1. The Ontological Argument (St. Anselm)
    That man has an idea of an infinite and perfect being, and that for something to be perfect, it must exist… hence man’s conception of a perfect being proves that such a being exists, because if said being didn’t exist, then man can imagine something greater than what exists. Which is impossible, because if it doesn’t exist, then it’s not greater than what does exist.

Ok, I’m going out on a limb here… but… it seems, that with recent developments (past 150 years) in phenomenology, some propositions have arisen:

Such as… phenomena are the “things” (anything) that we are conscious of, and they are “as given” in our consciousness. Our perception of them may or may not be exactly as they truly are in existence, but there is a link between our perception of the phenonomena, and the actual existence of the phenomena. Whether it be your buddy’s car, the pancake you eat for breakfast, or your belief in God, you will have a perception of those “things” in your mind, that is related to the way they actually are.

**Tedious ground, which I’m not trodding, but was hoping to understand a little. This thread has helped. Thanks!!
So, you know where I’m going. It’s not new, this goes back to, uh, like Plato. Anyways, that appears to be the direction of more recent Magesterial thinking. I say that, because Pope John Paul II was very phenomenological in his thinking, which is apparent in documents such as “Redemptoris Humanis” and I suppose the book “The Thinking Man” but I haven’t read that.


Haha, yeah, right on Zero!!

You hit it right on the head there… one leading factor for me starting this thread was because a buddy (whose into “AntiVatican2ism” as he calls it), when I asked him what type of things he doesn’t like about Vatican 2 and the Church since then, he brought this issue up and we discussed it.

Since he used to be, probably still is Presbyterian, I asked him “did you ever worship God in the Presbyterian church?” and he said, “No.” I was surprised, but it was consistent, right??

And his group of Presbyterians believe in the Trinity and recite the Nicene Creed!! So, where do you draw the line??

Of course, his criticism was more on the “proper worship” rather than the “proper perception” of God.


[quote=Reformed Rob]Agreed…shutting people out by having disrespective attitudes about the deepest part of many of their lives (their Muslim faith) isn’t exactly the way to get them interested in Christianity.

Yeah… but it is not only about being “nice” nor “trying to appear more attractive”. Instead, we honestly believe that our moslem brothers have a genuine will to worship the true God.

Although Quran contain “modification of Bible truths”, it surely have to contain “some truths”. In fact these truths are the only substance Quran depend upon (because to modify something we need something to modify). Quran will not exist without them. Unfortunately Quran only quotes here and there from our bible, and insert some modifications in between, resulting partial truths.

But we want to respect these truths which our moslem brothers have embraced : we can grow “a prescious teaching” from there. These truths might be the ground where one day our moslem brothers will be able to break free from the bondage and to finally understand The Whole Truth that we are trying to tell them.

The Quran talks about darkness, God’s punishments, eternal damnation. If we say that the moslems are worshipping other gods, in other words, we say they are idolators, we would agree with what The Quran suggesting (You need to read The Quran to know what I mean). This is the irony we have to overcome.

For example The Quran writes about all-mercyful Allah, but it also say that all-just Allah will punish those who are “bad” . This is some of the basic truths in the Quran from which we can develop a good teaching from. We can ask a question “How can all-merciful God be all-just as well? It seems impossible isn’t it ?” Then we can tell them Jesus’ parable in Matthew 18:23-35. “The all-merciful God is also all-just because He has forgiven us first, therefore we must forgive as well”. This is also to address the “horror & terror” of how The Quran potray God as.

Hmmmm…didn’t St. Francis meet with a great Muslim emperor or somebody and have good conversations with him and won his respect? I’ve heard/read that story, can’t remember the details though.

Yes. St Francis teach him the philosophy known as “the prayer of st. Francis”

“Make me a channel of Your Peace…”

We will be able to teach our moslem brothers about peace if we really truly believe in peace. We can teach about God’s grace if we truly believe in it. The Quran will not be able to say “they disagree among themselves” anymore if we really truly believe in the good news. The Quran will not be able to say “The lost Injeel” anymore because we really proclaim and give testimony of “Injeel” (Injeel=Gospel=Good News).
The Quran will not be able to say “impure Injeel” because our testimony is nothing but the Good News.

God bless us all


How many Gods of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob can there be? All three religions, Islam, Judaism, and Christian say they worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Each has a different viewpoint of the gem which is our God.


[quote=rwoehmke]How many Gods of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob can there be?


Only one God. And this is the reason why we are having “huge discussion” about Him : because we believe there is only one God.

Other religions those believe in many gods, they would not be in such “huge discussion” about WHO HE (the one God) really IS.

Different opinion about which one is our god will be alright if there are many gods. But it certainly not alright since we believe there is one God. And it is not up to us decide Who He Is, instead it is a revelation that we receive : From the begining of the bible to the end, it is about “knowing God”. We call it “relationship with God”, but the Jews call it “The Name”. In the Old testament “The Name” of God is a huge thing. It is always about “identifying” Who
God is. And although a phrase of “the name of God” mentioned all over the Old testament, it was only until Jesus came and fulfill the prophechies and the law that we (christians) know Who God is. In other words, God is identified through His ONLY Begotten Son. This Son carries His Image, His Name, and His Authorities.

The Jews however cannot see that prophecies and the torah has been fulfilled in the person of Jesus, thus they identify God as Moses identify Him : “God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob” without ability to “identify Him” in person.

For example I know the reputation of “the most brilliant scientist” but have never seen his picture nor met him, thus I can spell his name as “the most brilliant” only, and identify him through his works as much as I can. The criteria of identifying him was revealed by the person himself through “a form of communication” between he and I, but I have never seen him “face to face”.

Now my neigbour (Islam) hear about “the most brilliant” and he want to “befriend” him as well. But having no good communication with him, he has to hear about him from those who know him (Christian and Judaism). Unfortunately the Jews and the Christians are in “heavy discussions”, thus our brothers become confused. The Quran was released out of confusions.

The Koran / Quran write in one of the verses about God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Ismael. Now the last one is not writen in our bible. In this, Quran fail to identify the One True God.

Quran tries to take “middle road” for example : “Jesus is not the Son of God (or is He?)” because the Jews said so, and “Jesus will comeback at the end of time to judge all men” because Christians say so. (The Question is, “If Jesus is a mere man, how can he comeback at the end of time to judge all men ?”… but nevermind)

The lack of understanding lead to the bad reasoning and vice versa. The Quran is full of errors in both understanding and reasoning. Bad reasoning makes up false conclusions. These conclusions are errors for it comes from errors as well. Then reasonings become deteriorated further as false conclusions becomes bad premises for the next conclusions. (Against all of those errors-- however, it is ironic that-- we cannot blame the moslems for The Quran because most moslems has nothing to do with how The Quran is. Many of them born in moslem families in moslem countries, they are not the writer of The Quran. They follow it because their parents told them to. And many of them do not understand it.)

Jesus said to the Samaritan woman “You Samaritans worship without knowledge, but we are Jews worship with knowledge for salvation comes from the Jews” (John 4:22). (Isn’t it interesting that the Samaritan woman had no husband, and when we read the book of Hosea, God talks about unfaithful Israel as a woman without a husband)

God is one (united), but we-- who don’t understand Him-- break Him into our own perspectives and interpretations (religions, philosophies, doctrines, beliefs). Some of those perspectives and interpretations are results of “good knowledge” (meaning they come from God), but some are not. No matter how our perspective about Him, The One True God is always one (united) and the same.


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