Same God?


#1

This came up in a thread about Islam, but I think it deserves its own thread.

How much does a person have to believe about God for him/her to believe in the same God in whom Catholics believe?

Do Jews believe in the same God as Catholics? (I think so.)

Do Muslims? (I think so.)

Do Mormons? (I think so, though this is tougher.)

You can press the principles:
Do Lutherans believe in the same Jesus as Catholics do? The reason I throw this in is that Lutherans and Catholics disagree about some of the details of Jesus’s life. For instance, Catholics believe Jesus gave Peter and his successors authority over the Chruch he founded; Lutherans do not believe this (at least not in the way Catholics do). Do Lutherans and Catholics believe in the same Jesus (refer to the same individual, but differ in our understanding of what Jesus intended)? Or do Catholics believe in the real Jesus, while Lutherans believe in some “Jesus” of their own imagining (who did not give Peter and his successors authority)? (I believe Lutherans and Catholics believe different things about the same Jesus.)

It seems to me that someone could have some wrong opinions about God (that he inspired the Qur’an, or the Book of Mormon) and still be referring to the same God. As long as someone says that God is the only God there is (there are not many gods), then he/she is referring to the same Being as I am.


#2

Hello

There is only one God and there is only one Jesus Christ. For me whatever beliefs people have it does not matter, so long as it leads to God.

God Bless
Saint Andrew.


#3

[quote=aridite]This came up in a thread about Islam, but I think it deserves its own thread.

How much does a person have to believe about God for him/her to believe in the same God in whom Catholics believe?

Do Jews believe in the same God as Catholics? (I think so.)

Do Muslims? (I think so.)

Do Mormons? (I think so, though this is tougher.)

[/quote]

Muslims (and Jews) worship the same uncreated God as Catholics do, but they don’t see Him as clearly as Catholics or other Christians do. This article addresses the issue:

catholic.com/thisrock/2003/0301fea4.asp

The same cannot be said for Mormons, as they believe in (but only worship one of) countless created gods by consequence of their doctrine of “eternal progression of the gods”.


#4

[quote=DeFide]Muslims (and Jews) worship the same uncreated God as Catholics do, but they don’t see Him as clearly as Catholics or other Christians do. This article addresses the issue:

catholic.com/thisrock/2003/0301fea4.asp

The same cannot be said for Mormons, as they believe in (but only worship one of) countless created gods by consequence of their doctrine of “eternal progression of the gods”.
[/quote]

Can you point me to a dogmatic statement that clearly states that the God of Islam is the same God that we worship.


#5

[quote=ByzCath]Can you point me to a dogmatic statement that clearly states that the God of Islam is the same God that we worship.
[/quote]

CCC 841 quotes Lumen Gentium #16 – “. . . together with us, [Muslims] adore the one merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”

An Ecumenical Council seems pretty dogmatic.

But you avoid answering the questions I posed at the beginning: how much does a person have to believe about God to be believing in the same God?

Why do you think Muslims worship a different God?


#6

When discussing the multitude of religions and their relationship with each other and God, I always find it useful to use the analogy of dating.

Suppose there’s a woman, who’s true identity is relatively unknown. One man dating her is told that she’s a lawyer, another man dating her is told she’s a doctor, and another is told she’s a farmer.

Are the three men *really *in love with the same woman, or are they incorrectly in love with who they think the woman is?


#7

[quote=DeFide]The same cannot be said for Mormons, as they believe in (but only worship one of) countless created gods by consequence of their doctrine of “eternal progression of the gods”.
[/quote]

I see your point about Mormons, but when I am actually talking to one, I think we have admittedly serious differences about God’s attributes, but we are talking about the same God. The reason I say this is that Christians and Mormons ostensively accept some of the same Scriptures (OT/NT), and disagree on how to understand some of those Scriptures. I think the Mormon is right that the Heavenly Father, God, is the father of Jesus, and of all of us humans. I think they are terribly mistaken in believing the One, Uncreated God is a member of the series of created gods. I think charity (and even rational discourse) requires the our term “God” has the same referent in order for us to try to arrive at the truth through discourse.


#8

[quote=aridite]CCC 841 quotes Lumen Gentium #16 – “. . . together with us, [Muslims] adore the one merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”

An Ecumenical Council seems pretty dogmatic.

But you avoid answering the questions I posed at the beginning: how much does a person have to believe about God to be believing in the same God?

Why do you think Muslims worship a different God?
[/quote]

First,
I can not find the word Muslim anywhere in Lumen Gentium.

Here is paragraph 16.

  1. Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God.(18*) In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh.(125) On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues.(126); But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Mohamedans, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things,(127) and as Saviour wills that all men be saved.(128) Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.(19*) Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel.(20*) She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator.(129) Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, “Preach the Gospel to every creature”,(130) the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.
    I do not think the God of Islam is the same as the God we worship from my experience with Islam and my readings of the Qur’an and my study of Islam.

#9

[quote=ByzCath]Can you point me to a dogmatic statement that clearly states that the God of Islam is the same God that we worship.
[/quote]

It’s not a dogmatic statement, but based upon doctrinal statements. Vatican II defined no new dogmas, but it was a doctrinal teaching from the solem magisterium.

Vatican II’s Nosta Aetate states: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)

[footnotes:]

  1. Cf St. Gregory VII, letter XXI to Anzir (Nacir), King of Mauritania (Pl. 148, col. 450f.)

Footnote 5 is in reference to what Pope Gregory VII stated here:

Pope St. Gregory VII (pope from 1073 to 1085) to Muslim King Anazir of Maurentania: “***… we believe in and confess the same God, although by different modes (licet diverso modo), that we praise and venerate each day the Creator of the ages and master of this world***” [St. Gregory VII, Letter III, 21 to Anazir (Al-Nasir), King of Mauretania PL, 148. 451A.]This is not an approbation of the teachings of Islam or their understanding of God. This is merely admitting that the object of worship, false as Islam is, is the one true God.


#10

Hello

Forget about the different religions for a minute. Do you believe that there was one God or several Gods that created this planet?

The is only one supercreator, but it is the beliefs or our different religions that causes the disagreements.

God Bless
Saint Andrew.


#11

[quote=Saint Andrew]it is the beliefs or our different religions that causes the disagreements
[/quote]

Hmmmm… no. It is the understanding that truth cannot contradict truth which causes the disagreements. Catholicism and Islam and Mormonism contradict one another. There may be “rays of truth” in each. But, they cannot all be true.


#12

[quote=ByzCath]First,
I can not find the word Muslim anywhere in Lumen Gentium…
[/quote]

Your translation of LG16 uses “Mohamedans”, the English translation of CCC 841 uses “Muslims”, my translation of LG16 (tr. Flannery) uses “Moslems”. They all refer to the adherents of Islam; they all mean exactly the same. So you have your dogmatic statement.

[quote=ByzCath]I do not think the God of Islam is the same as the God we worship from my experience with Islam and my readings of the Qur’an and my study of Islam.
[/quote]

OK, but why? What about your experience and/or the Qur’an indicates that theirs is a different “god” (different referent) and not just a misunderstanding (different sense) of the **same God **(same referent)?


#13

As I stated in the thread about Islam, Muslins worship a false god. And so do the Jews. Otherwise, why do we want to kill, or at least convert, each other? If we worship, and believe in the same God, why did the Church disappear wherever the Islam prevailed? If we worship, and have, the same God, there is no reason for conversion; the blood of the martyrs becomes senseless and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ useless. The Christ is the only true way to the only true God. Take any other way, you get lost. You end anywhere. This is clearly stated in the Bible. John, 1, 10-12: “He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name.” The end of the bond between God and the Jews: Mark 15,38: “The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom”. Philippians 2, 10 “and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”. Etc., etc. So, the sole word “God” is not enough to equal different religious beliefs. It is also dangerous to equal Catholicism and other religions. In fact, Catholicism is not a religion. Christ did not found any religion. Christ is God revealing himself. It is the very Truth itself. Even the Devil believes in the true God: Matt. 8,29: “They cried out, “What have you to do with us, Son of God?””.


#14

I think that it is not merely a coincidence that *Lumen Gentium *uses “Muslims” (or an equivalent) instead of “Islam.” I think the writers specifically intended to make a distinction between the people and the tenents of the religion.

They are basically saying that the people received some good from God and rightly worship God, while remaining conspicuously silent on Islam as a religion. It is in the silence that the Church condemns the heresy of the religion, while at the same time reaching out to the good in the people.

Peace,
javelin


#15

[quote=barsapp]As I stated in the thread about Islam, Muslins worship a false god. And so do the Jews. Otherwise, why do we want to kill, or at least convert, each other? If we worship, and believe in the same God, why did the Church disappear wherever the Islam prevailed? If we worship, and have, the same God, there is no reason for conversion; the blood of the martyrs becomes senseless and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ useless.
[/quote]

In dealing with non-Catholic religions, the Church does not say she contains all truth, and the others contain no truth, but all falsehood. The correct position is that the Church contains the fullest revelation of God in Jesus Christ (yet there is some Truth, contained in the Mystery of Jesus, that even she has not articulated [not that any other religion has]), but that other religions can contain some truth. So it is with Islam – it teaches some truth about God (that he is one and that there is no other) but is in serious error about others. Simply because the Church acknowledges some truth in Islam, it does not follow that there is no difference between her and it, or that conversion is not necessary, or that Christ and the martyrs died in vain, etc. We should bring as many people as we can to the fullness of truth found in Jesus Christ as professed by the Catholic Church, and we do that by acknowledging the truth of other religions where it exists.

The same goes with non-Catholic Christians. Just because they do not accept the fulness of truth about Jesus and the Church he founded, it does not follow that they worship a different Jesus, or that there is no truth in their version of the Gospel. Even Protestants (even Mormons) can have some truth – that is where we have to begin explaining the fulness of truth found in the Church.


#16

[quote=aridite]So it is with Islam – it teaches some truth about God
[/quote]

Could sound funny, but, if I’m not wrong, most of the Muslims do not seem to think exactly the same as we do with regard to this matter…

In fact, they consider us Polytheists taking the Trinity as a plurality of gods…

Finally, stating “So it is with Islam – it teaches sometruth about God”, you recognize that Catholics and Muslims do not believe in the same God. If Islam teaches only some truth about God it is logical to conclude that they do not believe in the same God of Catholics, who is the whole Truth. “Some truth” and the “whole Truth” could never be the same thing.


#17

[quote=barsapp]Could sound funny, but, if I’m not wrong, most of the Muslims do not seem to think exactly the same as we do with regard to this matter….
[/quote]

Of course not, but it does not follow that they are referring to something all together different from Him to Whom we are referring. I am confident that I do not think exactly the same way you do about God, but you will grant that we are talking about the same God. Why not with Muslims?

[quote=barsapp]In fact, they consider us Polytheists taking the Trinity as a plurality of gods…
[/quote]

OK – they may think we are referring to different gods than the God they are referring to, but they are wrong. Both they and we are in fact referring to the same God, even if one or both of us do not understand that.

[quote=barsapp]Finally, stating “So it is with Islam – it teaches some
[/quote]

truth about God”, you recognize that Catholics and Muslims do not believe in the same God. If Islam teaches only some truth about God it is logical to conclude that they do not believe in the same God of Catholics, who is the whole Truth. “Some truth” and the “whole Truth” could never be the same thing.
“Some truth” is contained in the concept of “whole truth” – it is a mistake to think they are mutually exclusive. They are not the same thing, but there is overlap, and certain propositions about God (the same God) are held to be true by both Catholics and Muslims. Just because they do not understand God as fully as Jesus has revealed him, it is false to conclude that they do not understand God at all, and that they are referring to a different Being when they utter the word “God” (or its equavelent).

If you do not accept this unity in reference, but diversity in senses, then we each have our own Gods, since I think it is beyond dispute that each of us thinks of God in different ways. If different ways of thinking about God make for different Gods, we each have different Gods.

The Church does not teach, nor is it true, that Truth is an all or nothing affair. Lots of people, myself included, have only a partial grasp of the Truth, even of Who God and Jesus is. Being partial, it does not follow that I have no knowledge of Him. So it is with Muslims.


#18

I get into some trouble here, but I believe one simple thing. God knows everyone…even if they do not know Him at all. And He knows their hearts. Now obviously, those who trust and believe in God should have healthier, holier, and more complete lives because they answer to and trust Him. Those without knowledge or faith in Him don’t have the amazing graces and “benefits” that believers have, but it is still possible for them to be of good heart and character on earth, some even better than those who do believe. Therefore, I believe that anyone who truly and sincerely lives their life on earth in the full persuit of good and honesty eventually has a place in Heaven…whether they will have to wait longer than those who believed and were saved is up to God…because only He truly knows our hearts, and only He can make the decision in the end of who should live with or without him.

I guess I tend to lean this way in my faith because I have an incredibly hard time believing that such the just and good God who we believe in could sentence “good” people to Hell…I do believe that the only way to Heaven is through Christ, but I guess I believe that in certain circumstances, God may allow this transition to happen after death.

Does anyone else share this? Maybe I’m completely off, but, like I said, only God knows anyway:)

My general belief is live your life through your faith to the best of your ability, try to bring as many to the faith as possible, but, in the end, let God decide, not us:)

That’s just me:) PBWY:)

In Him,
Britty


#19

CheesusPowerKid,

I believe that anyone who truly and sincerely lives their life on earth in the full persuit of good and honesty eventually has a place in Heaven

It appears that you are simply trying to work out your thinking on this matter, but I recommend you study the implications of your thesis, and what the Catholic Church has taught about it. I believe your thesis is called Indifferentism. See more here: CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Religious Indifferentism

May God guide you in your studies.


#20

[quote=barsapp]Could sound funny, but, if I’m not wrong, most of the Muslims do not seem to think exactly the same as we do with regard to this matter…

In fact, they consider us Polytheists taking the Trinity as a plurality of gods…

Finally, stating “So it is with Islam – it teaches sometruth about God”, you recognize that Catholics and Muslims do not believe in the same God. If Islam teaches only some truth about God it is logical to conclude that they do not believe in the same God of Catholics, who is the whole Truth. “Some truth” and the “whole Truth” could never be the same thing.
[/quote]

It does not follow that because muslims think Christians don’t believe in the same God they do, that we must conclude they are praying to a false God. The fact that they consider christians polytheists simply underscores the heresy of Islam, but it does not make muslims followers of a false god.

It is not logical to conclude - as you seem to above - that because Islam teaches only some truth about the true God it does not teach about the true God. It is logical to conclude that they teach less than the full truth about the true God, and so they are more likely to fall further into heresy. But one cannot conclude that because they teach or believe less than the full truth about the true God, they must therefore believe in a false god.

Peace,


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