Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

Colm Fitzpatrick August 1, 2019

Questions of Faith

The question of whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God has been a point of contention among different religious denominations and various scholars. It has been suggested that the sheer disparities theologically and philosophically between both religions indicate that its adherents must be praying to separate deities. It seems, however, that arguments which support differentiating the two aren’t sound.

Both Islam and Christianity, just like Judaism, are monotheistic religions tracing their roots back to Abraham. While Muslims believe that the Bible has been corrupted or altered in some shape or form, they still hold that God revealed his message to the prophets like Moses and Abraham.

The Vatican II document Lumen Gentium makes this clear when it reads: “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.” (16)

Distinction

But while the Church teaches that both religions worship the same God, an important distinction must be made, namely that our conception of God is different. Muslims, for example, don’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God or hold to the doctrine of the Trinity. This doesn’t mean that Muslims aren’t referring to the same God, only that they have a different sense of who God is.

It’s a difficult concept to get your head around, so an analogy would best serve to elucidate the point. Suppose there’s a man called Fred who has two siblings.

One sibling sees him as charming and kind; the other views him as a cold and self-centred. Both siblings conceive of Fred in different ways, but there’s no doubt that they’re definitely referring to the same person.

Likewise, even though Muslims don’t understand God in the same way as Christians, it doesn’t mean they aren’t genuinely directing their prayers to him.

Perspective

The famous Church document on religious unity, Nostra Aetate, lucidly sums up this perspective.

“The Church regards with esteem also The Muslims. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, 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 honour 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.” (3)

So, while Muslims and Christians have different conceptions of God, the deity they worship is the same.

source:

Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

1 reply

  1. Call me crazy, but after 20 years participating in “Christianity”, I think the fact is that Christians may pray to God, but they worship Christ, a character the Romans wrote into the Cannons which became the bible. Christ is based on Jesus of Nazarene, but I’ve seen NO real history to confirm anything more than that he existed, took the title of Messiah (he who would save the Jews.. from the Romans at that time) as he preached Liberal behavior (like the Prophet Muhammad), then that he was crucified for sedition and the evidence against him was the title assigned by the people, “King of the Jews”. The roman king occupying Judea wasn’t going to have that. Notice that the Bible blames the Jews even though the Roman history is there and clear from many angles while the story of Christ is only available through the Bible and faith.

    Christians in the US at least, hardly understand the roots of their religion as they relate to Judaism, even though it fully explains the difference between the old Testament (based on Judaism) and the new Testament; written by the Romans to bring the masses under the Roman Catholic Church. One only has to look at the oldest Catholic churches to see their real intent; ruling the masses like kings.

    The protestants seem more confused still as they won’t even acknowledge their origins with the Roman Catholic church and think themselves fundamentally different for the more “personal relationship with God” they seek. Even though though we can see through the “salvation of Christ” how he becomes the focus there, while the Catholics are effectively poly-theistic by design of the Romans that were embracing the movement started by Jesus.

    What really kills me is how easily Americans will buy into the image created by Islamic extremists while completely ignoring the violent history of the Roman Catholic Church.

    It seems to me that anyone who sincerely tries to achieve what was taught likely doesn’t need to concern themselves with the rules assigned by other humans. Personally, I am grateful for believers on either side who focus on the original teaching (caring, love, peace, and community) and don’t get lost in the religions created by more flawed humans and continuously changed at their whims; a phenomenon that has plagued both Christianity and Muslims as politicians have sought to leverage those beliefs and kindness.

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