Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

JanJan Posts: 196

This question has caused some controversy recently.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/07/wheaton-christian-college-professor-larycia-hawkins-muslims-worship-same-god

Here are my thoughts.

Most Muslim background believers (MBB) I have talked to consider YHWH and Allah the same God, whereas most Christians I have talked to don't consider them to be the same. Since MBB know both worlds, and have worshipped both Allah and YHWH, I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt, and consider that YHWH and Allah might be the same. Of course truth is not defined by that, so it requires further investigation.

So what does it means to "worship the same God"? Since there is only one God, we must investigate what it means when two "gods" are the same. And I don't think there's a universal definition of that to which everyone agrees. And depending of the definition, the answer to the original question varies.

In the sense that God is the one uncreated Creator, of course he is the same God in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. When someone worships Him, we can be sure that the worship and prayers arrive at the same address (in the heavenly throne room). Just the same as if I write a letter to the POTUS and another letter to Donald Trump. Both letters arrive at the same address at the White House.

So are Donald Trump and The POTUS the same? Again, that depends. It is not a universal definition that the POTUS is Donald Trump. For example, I could say that I once waved at the POTUS and he waved back at me, which would be true, in spite of me having never seen Donald Trump in real life. (Fact is, I waved at Bill Clinton, and he waved back at me.)

And in that sense, YHWH and Allah are not the same god. When Muslims say that Muhammad received the Quran from Allah, then that's not the same god as YHWH. Because YHWH never revealed the Quran to Muhammad. Or when the Muslims say that Allah does not have a son, then that's not the same god as YHWH, whose son is Jesus Christ.

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Comments

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367
    I would simplify the matter and say that Muslims and sometimes Christians have a misunderstanding about the nature or attributes of God—who God is. All of our lives we are all learning more of that Truth. We may also believe untrue stories about what God has done.
  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,130

    If a Muslim, or Jew, or Christian is born again, God becomes discernible to each. If not born again, they worship Satan by default, calling him God in their own tongue.

    The Jews worshipped Molech thinking he was YHWH according to the martyr Stephen.

    “But God turned away from them and gave them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: ‘It was not to me that you offered slain animals and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, was it, house of Israel? But you took along the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of the god Rephan, the images you made to worship, but I will deport you beyond Babylon.’” (Acts 7:42–43)

    And note also: “Then Peter started speaking: “I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism in dealing with people, but in every nation the person who fears him and does what is right is welcomed before him.” (Acts 10:34–35)

    But if we read further, only the born again will produce these fruits. Because the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God.

    Note: this only works with “limited atonement” because it actually saves all whom God intended. And the New Birth always happens before or in conjunction with hearing the gospel. Sometimes the redeemed are beyond the reach of the gospel.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    @Jan said:
    Here are my thoughts.
    Most Muslim background believers (MBB) I have talked to consider YHWH and Allah the same God, whereas most Christians I have talked to don't consider them to be the same. Since MBB know both worlds, and have worshipped both Allah and YHWH, I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt, and consider that YHWH and Allah might be the same. Of course truth is not defined by that, so it requires further investigation.
    So what does it means to "worship the same God"? Since there is only one God, we must investigate what it means when two "gods" are the same. And I don't think there's a universal definition of that to which everyone agrees...

    ---------------- ----------- ------------ ---------------
    Jan,
    This OP is almost the equivalent of saying when one studies world religions the teachings of Jesus were borrowed extensively from Hinduism and Buddhism.

    There is absolutely no substance to this argument. It may be a bit off topic but this can and it can easily be refuted.

    • First, there are parallels that exist in all world religions, and you could just as well argue that the traditional rabbis borrowed extensively from Hinduism and Buddhism as you could argue that Jesus did.
    • Second, there is a no scholarly evidence that Jesus had any connection or contact with these religions.
    • Third and most importantly, Jesus' teachings clearly contradict these religions in many foundational, irreconcilable ways.

    It is so bizarre but it has come up in anti-missionary arguments. It would be helpful to note a few things. There is some common ground that can be found in all world religions. This fact is known to any student of world religions, and it should be expected, since:

    • (1) God has revealed truths about himself through nature (see Ps. 19:1–6; Rom. 1:19–20).
    • (2) We are created in the image of God, and although we have fallen from that image, there remain vestiges of that nature—such as a moral conscience—within every human being (Gen. 1:26–27; 5:1–3; John 1:9).
    • (3) There are certain traditions, like the flood or Tower of Babel, that go back to some of the earliest stages of the human race and have been passed on in varied forms around the world.
    • (4) Certain religions, like Islam, utilized portions of the Bible as well as Jewish and Christian traditions.
    • (5) As human beings seek after God and learn to distinguish right from wrong, they will develop moral codes and wise sayings that, in many cases, will be similar in various cultures.
    • (6) It is only natural that certain elements, such as water, would be used in similar rites (in the case of water, rites of purification, cleansing, initiation, etc.) even across different cultures and in different religions.

    This list could be greatly expanded, but one example may suffice by New Testament scholar John Nolland notes that:

    • The Golden Rule has a very ancient and diverse pedigree. Though the wording is not at all fixed, versions of the rule have been found in Zoroastrianism, Confucianism, Buddhist literature, ancient Indian literature, Greek literature from the time of Herodotus, and Jewish sources at least from the time of the Letter of Aristeas and of the Greek versions of Sirach [meaning, from the second century B.C.E.].

    Truth found truth shared. CM

    SOURCE:

    ---John Nolland, The Gospel of Matthew: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), 329.

  • JanJan Posts: 196

    @C_M_ said:
    This OP is almost the equivalent of saying when one studies world religions the teachings of Jesus were borrowed extensively from Hinduism and Buddhism.

    Do we know what Hinduism was like at the time of Jesus?

    I'd propose the hypothesis that it was not, and that today's Hinduism has borrowed from Jesus over the past 2000 years, starting from the apostle Thomas who first brought his message to the Indian sub continent.

    Hinduism has evolved over time. The oldest scriptures are the Rig Vedas (written c. 2000 BC), allude to a time of monotheism!
    Then over time more and more gods are added; and gods are becoming demons at random.

    So who knows which scriptures and teachings were common 2000 years ago...

    Considering the monotheistic god that preceded Hinduism ("Dyaus Pitr" = Heavenly Father), we cold ask the exact same question: Is this god the same one as YHWH?

    I would suggest that it most certainly was at some point in the very distant past, after the Indian people arrived in India, where they had been driven after the events at Babel.

    Since YHWH had not yet revealed his name, they used a different name for him.

    Later the Indian people invented a wife and a family for their one god, along with millions of other gods.

    If a Hindu today worships Dyaus Pitr, does he still worship YHWH? Most certainly not!

    So when did Dyaus Pitr "cease" to be YHWH? Now it is becoming quite tricky to answer...

    There is absolutely no substance to this argument. It may be a bit off topic but this can and it can easily be refuted.

    • First, there are parallels that exist in all world religions, and you could just as well argue that the traditional rabbis borrowed extensively from Hinduism and Buddhism as you could argue that Jesus did.

    There are just superficial similarities.

    • Second, there is a no scholarly evidence that Jesus had any connection or contact with these religions.

    Agreed.

    • Third and most importantly, Jesus' teachings clearly contradict these religions in many foundational, irreconcilable ways.

    Agreed.

    It is so bizarre but it has come up in anti-missionary arguments. It would be helpful to note a few things. There is some common ground that can be found in all world religions. This fact is known to any student of world religions, and it should be expected, since:

    • (1) God has revealed truths about himself through nature (see Ps. 19:1–6; Rom. 1:19–20).
    • (2) We are created in the image of God, and although we have fallen from that image, there remain vestiges of that nature—such as a moral conscience—within every human being (Gen. 1:26–27; 5:1–3; John 1:9).

    This is indeed vey striking. Darwinists argue here with evolution. But there has not been any evidence that morals are defined by genes.

    Darwinism of the gaps?!

    • (3) There are certain traditions, like the flood or Tower of Babel, that go back to some of the earliest stages of the human race and have been passed on in varied forms around the world.

    Certain traditions, plus, indeed, monotheism - which is a taboo topic among anthropologists.

    Too severe moral implications?!

    • (4) Certain religions, like Islam, utilized portions of the Bible as well as Jewish and Christian traditions.

    Islam is essentially built on Judaism and Christianity. It heavily depends on all OT and NT Scriptures, re-interpreted and "abrogated" by Muhammad.

    Islam claims that Allah and YHWH are the same, so the question has a lot more to it than the questions about similarities of Christianity with Hinduism.

    Everyone who answers with a clear YES needs to think about questions like "Do Christians and Mormons worship the same god? Do Christians and JW worship the same god?"

    Everyone who answers with a clear NO needs to think about the question "Do Christians and Jews worship the same god?"

    • (5) As human beings seek after God and learn to distinguish right from wrong, they will develop moral codes and wise sayings that, in many cases, will be similar in various cultures.
    • (6) It is only natural that certain elements, such as water, would be used in similar rites (in the case of water, rites of purification, cleansing, initiation, etc.) even across different cultures and in different religions.

    All of these could be pre Babel remnants, chance discoveries of truth, or genuine divine revelations to non Christian tribes.

    Source:
    Corduan, W. (2013). In the beginning god: a fresh look at the case for original monotheism. Nashville: B&H Academic.

    And my own thoughts

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    @Jan said:
    Most Muslim background believers (MBB) I have talked to consider YHWH and Allah the same God, whereas most Christians I have talked to don't consider them to be the same. Since MBB know both worlds, and have worshipped both Allah and YHWH, I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt, and consider that YHWH and Allah might be the same. Of course truth is not defined by that, so it requires further investigation...

    Jan,

    Upon "further investigation" the above views hold potential danger for the Christian faith and Church. Historically, Christians had a distinctive reason for their evangelistic outreach to non-Christians. Bringing to them the knowledge of Jesus Christ was seen as indispensable for their salvation.

    Today Christians are becoming increasingly tolerant toward non-Christians. They are promoting “interfaith dialogue” with people of non-Christian religions. Bible-believing Christians seen to minimize the differences and maximize the similarities. What are we doing?

    The sad truth of the above reality as an example (below) has been attempted of a Pope and other Christian leaders to build a partnership with the Muslims by acknowledging their God, Allah, as being essentially the same as the God of biblical revelation. This belief is expressed in an official Catechism of the Catholic Church, which speaks of the new Catholic relationship with the Muslims in these terms:

    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. The Church has also a high regard for the Muslims. They worship God, who is one, living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has also spoken to men. They strive to submit themselves without reserve to the hidden decrees of God, just as Abraham submitted himself to God’s plan, whose faith Muslims eagerly link to their own.”

    I think the Muslim background believers (MBB) may need a little more "converting" or maturing into the Christian faith. Let's be tactful, respectful, talk, and fellowship, but let's not compromise revealed truth from the Creator-God. CM

    SOURCE:

    -- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994, Paragraph 841.

  • JanJan Posts: 196

    @C_M_ said:
    Upon "further investigation" the above views hold potential danger for the Christian faith and Church. Historically, Christians had a distinctive reason for their evangelistic outreach to non-Christians. Bringing to them the knowledge of Jesus Christ was seen as indispensable for their salvation.

    The real danger is believing that worshipping the true God will automatically lead to salvation. Not even everyone who worships Jesus will have salvation. Matthew 7:22-23

    Acknowledging that in **some **sense JHWH and Allah are the same doesn't remove the requirement to evangelize the Muslims, but it opens up a different set of options for the approach.

    Instead of proclaiming a wholly different God to them, we can introduce Jesus as the Son of their God, and then step by step challenge the false teachings they have received through the Quran.

    Today Christians are becoming increasingly tolerant toward non-Christians. They are promoting “interfaith dialogue” with people of non-Christian religions. Bible-believing Christians seen to minimize the differences and maximize the similarities. What are we doing?

    I propose that Christians have always been tolerant. It's the meaning of the word "tolerance" that has changed. It used to mean to be respectful to others despite their different views. Today it means to acknowledge that their views could be true, or even (for the relativists) that their views are true to them.

    That has implications on the interfaith dialogue, with outcomes such as "all religions are essentially the same and all of them lead to salvation."

    Inter-faith dialogue on a basis of understanding and respecting each other would be okay, and I believe it is actually needed. But what is happening today has clearly crossed the line of compromising the faith.

    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. The Church has also a high regard for the Muslims. They worship God, who is one, living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has also spoken to men. They strive to submit themselves without reserve to the hidden decrees of God, just as Abraham submitted himself to God’s plan, whose faith Muslims eagerly link to their own.”

    This one is an example that the line has been crossed. It goes both against Biblical as well as Catholic teaching. Or rather, since it has become official Catholic teaching, it makes Catholic teaching as a whole incoherent and contradictory.

    • Salvation apart from Christ is possible?
    • God has spoken to man. Whereas this is generally true, is here implied that he has spoken to Muhammad and revealed the Quran to him?
    • Hidden decrees of God??? The Bible reveals his decrees plainly and clearly. Is there some supposed "secret" that reconciles all the contradictions between the Muslim and Christian faith?

    I think the Muslim background believers (MBB) may need a little more "converting" or maturing into the Christian faith. Let's be tactful, respectful, talk, and fellowship, but let's not compromise revealed truth from the Creator-God. CM

    I was not at all suggesting to compromise truth. Let me put it into a Biblical example. The Athenians, among many gods, had one particular God they were worshipping, and called him the "unknown God". Paul explained to them that this "unknown God" was actually YHWH. (Acts 17:23).

    When I suggest that YHWH and Allah are in some sense the same, I mean it in the same sense as YHWH and the "unknown God" are the same.
    Muslims do worship the one true God, although they do not know him. He is essentially an "unknown God" to them.

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367

    Good post.

    I would add this consideration when befriending Muslims, that at the outset, avoid terminology of "trinity" or of Jesus as the "Son of God" because some Muslims have heard those terms and they have become hot buttons of automatic rejection.

    Better in some cases might be to introduce Jesus as a prophet, which they already believe. To be saved, Muslims must read the prophets, and thus should read what all the prophets have said, including Jesus. Upon reading the Words of Jesus (easily found in red-letter Bibles), Muslims soon work around to understanding the Biblical sense of Jesus as the "Son of God," and they come to understand the Biblical sense of Trinity. I have seen this work, though my experience with Muslims is not extensive.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    GaoLu,
    Thanks. Please drop this off in a hyperlink under the post entitled: Witnessing to Muslims: Effective Methods For Christians.

    Reasons asked: It helps to compile important points under one heading.
    I don't know how to hyperlink in these forums. If I did, I don't know what I have done. :(
    Until next time. CM

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    Thanks, Jan. I appreciate the points and time taken. I will address the questions you raised in your response a bit later. CM

  • JanJan Posts: 196

    @C_M_ said:
    Reasons asked: It helps to compile important points under one heading.
    I don't know how to hyperlink in these forums. If I did, I don't know what I have done. :(

    Hyperlinks can be found on the timestamp of a specific post. I'll add the hyperlink.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    @Jan said:

    • Salvation apart from Christ is possible?

    Romans 4:4−8, states that salvation is only by faith in Christ and Abraham has been used in verses 1−3 to illustrate this point.

    After all, salvation is only by grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace you have been saved. . . . It is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."

    Our knowledge of God is entirely dependent upon Divine Revelation. Without it, we would be in total ignorance. There are several reasons for this:

    1. The fact that God is infinitely greater than we are. In order for us to know anything about him, he has to come down to our level of understanding. We have no way to raise ourselves to his.
    2. Divine revelation is also necessary because God is a personal being. You can’t say that you know a person unless he or she communicates with you.
    • a). Christian faith affirms that God is a person. Consequently, we can say that we know God only if God communicates with us.
    1. There is a third reason that revelation is so important. The great distance between us and God is due to:
    • a. Our creaturely limitations.
    • b. Also, to the fact that we are sinners. Whatever our original capacity to know and comprehend God, it has been seriously damaged by sin. This makes it utterly impossible for us to learn anything about God on our own.

    The man was made to worship. It's in his nature to worship the Creator or something. When one knows better he should and want to do better. This is why the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20; A command/invitation) is so important to implement in these "last days", before the return of Jesus.

    We must proclaim today that salvation is only by faith in Christ, a faith that leads to obedience.

    • God has spoken to man. Whereas this is generally true, is here implied that he has spoken to Muhammad and revealed the Quran to him?

    The Bible simply declares that there are prophets through whom God spoke: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son." Heb. 1:1, 2.

    When sin came, it formed a wall of partition between God and man. But God did not discard or neglect the work of His hand. He chose to communicate with men primarily through:

    • Prophets (Gen. 20:6, 7).
    • At times, through Priests (Gen. 14:18).
    • Through Angels (Gen. 16:7-13). (See also 2 Chron. 36:15; Jer. 35:15; 2 Peter 1:21.)

    God has spoken to man by His prophets, and that this method of communication is the one used by God from the very earliest period of man's history to our own time. "If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream." Num. 12:6.

    They were generally known as prophets, but there are other names or titles applied to them in the Scriptures:

    • Prophet in 1 Samuel 9:9
    • Son of man in Ezekiel 4:1; 5:1
    • Seer in 2 Chronicles 16:7
    • Messenger in Malachi 3:1; Haggai 1:13
    • Spokesman in Exodus 4:16; 7:1
    • Fellow servant in Revelation 22:9; 19:10
    • Servant of God in 1 Chronicles 6:49
    • Man of God in 1 Samuel 9:6; 2 Peter 1:21
    • Watchman in Isaiah 52:8.

    None of these were Muhammad. God leads his people. CM

  • JanJan Posts: 196

    The only place where the Bible speaks about Muhammad are verses like Matthew 24:24...

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    @Jan said:
    The only place where the Bible speaks about Muhammad are verses like Matthew 24:24...

    Jan,
    We know that the Antichrist is “the son of perdition,” which is a phrase Jesus applied to Judas in John 17:12. Judas was a professed Christian within the inner circle of Christ’s followers.

    And again, as He prayed for His disciples, Jesus testified to His Father, "'I have given them Your Word'" (John 17:14).

    John 17:17 – The Word of God is truth. God put his word in

    • The mouth of his prophets (Jer 1:9; 1Thess 2:13).
    • Who proclaimed it (Isa 1:20; Heb 1:1)
    • Put it into writing (Jer 36:1-2).

    It is the standard by which all doctrine and experience must be tested (John 17:17).

    ACCORDING TO JESUS, WHERE DO WE FIND THE TRUTH? (John 14:6; John 17:17)

    We find the truth in God’s word—the Bible. Very few people in the world today know what Truth is, and all the people of the earth suffer as a result. The Truth about everything that really matters is found in the Scriptures. Studying and following the counsel given in the Scriptures, sets people free (John 8:32), and brings them a happy, abundant life, (John 15:11). CM

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    @Jan said:

    So what does it means to "worship the same God"? Since there is only one God, we must investigate what it means when two "gods" are the same. And I don't think there's a universal definition of that to which everyone agrees. And depending on the definition, the answer to the original question varies.

    Are the Koranic God and the Biblical God the Same?

    “There is only one God, Allah, and Muhammad, his prophet”. Can the God of the Koran be legitimately reconciled with the trinitarian view of the biblical God, consisting of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? The answer is “No!” The two Gods are different in two ways:

    • In numbers
    • Also in nature and character.
    1. The God of the Bible is a triune Being because HE IS LOVE. Love cannot be exercised in isolation. You cannot be all-loving and be alone at the same time. Love is manifested in relationships. Augustine said: “Ubi amor, ibi trinitasWhere there love, there is a trinity.” By that he meant, that where there is love, there is a lover, a beloved, and a spirit of love.

    2. By contrast, the god of the Koran is “ONE,” because he is SELF-CENTERED, living in solitary aloofness, “far above” and beyond any intimate relationship. The notion of a triune God is blasphemous to Muslims because the Koran teaches: “They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three in a Trinity, for there is no God except One God” (Surah 5:76).

    Islam’s teaching of the absolute Oneness of God derives from gnostic sects that lived in Saudi Arabia at the time of Muhammad.-- Truth found truth shared. CM

  • reformedreformed Posts: 1,885

    There is a simple answer, WE ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WORSHIP THE SAME GOD.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    Who defines God? Who is God? What are his powers and territory? The answer to these questions will answer the question in the OP. CM

  • reformedreformed Posts: 1,885

    @C_M_ said:
    Who defines God? Who is God? What are his powers and territory? The answer to these questions will answer the question in the OP. CM

    God defines God. You can find it in the Bible.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 1,187
    edited October 12

    @C_M_ said:

    @Jan said:
    So what does it means to "worship the same God"? Since there is only one God, we must investigate what it means when two "gods" are the same. And I don't think there's a universal definition of that to which everyone agrees. And depending on the definition, the answer to the original question varies.

    Are the Koranic God and the Biblical God the Same?


    “There is only one God, Allah, and Muhammad, his prophet”. Can the God of the Koran be legitimately reconciled with the trinitarian view of the biblical God, consisting of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? The answer is “No!” The two Gods are different in two ways:

    • In numbers
    • Also in nature and character.

    To further clarify, neither the Trinitarian "Godhead" nor the Islamic "Allah" are the true God of the Bible ...

    The Trinity Godhead is different in numbers from the true God of the Bible
    The Islamic Allah is different in nature and character from the true God of the Bible

    Post edited by Wolfgang on
  • reformedreformed Posts: 1,885

    @Wolfgang said:

    @C_M_ said:

    @Jan said:
    So what does it means to "worship the same God"? Since there is only one God, we must investigate what it means when two "gods" are the same. And I don't think there's a universal definition of that to which everyone agrees. And depending on the definition, the answer to the original question varies.

    Are the Koranic God and the Biblical God the Same?


    “There is only one God, Allah, and Muhammad, his prophet”. Can the God of the Koran be legitimately reconciled with the trinitarian view of the biblical God, consisting of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? The answer is “No!” The two Gods are different in two ways:

    • In numbers
    • Also in nature and character.

    To further clarify, neither the Trinitarian "Godhead" nor the Islamic "Allah" are the true God of the Bible ...

    The Trinity Godhead is different in numbers from the true God of the Bible

    No. The Trinity is one God and the God of the Bible. Just because you can't grasp that doesn't make it three gods.

    The Islamic Allah is different in nature and character from the true God of the Bible

    Agreed

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    The heading: "Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God"?

    Let's cut through the chase, the Bible is the standard of Christians and all believers. Are the Muslims worshiping this God?

    • 6 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—
    • 7 saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” (Re 14:6–7).

    Did the Islamic "Allah" do such? This passage clearly says who we should worship! How we worship we can explore in another thread. CM

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 401

    Here are but a few snippets from the internet that may or may not be relevant to the topic at hand:

    Michael Abd ABD El-Massih director of the Arabic Bible Outreach Ministry.

    The term Allah (Arabic: الله, Allāh) is the standard Arabic word for God and is most likely derived from a contraction of the Arabic article al- and ilāh, which means "deity or god" to al-lāh meaning "the [sole] deity, God." There is another theory that traces the etymology of the word to the Aramaic Alāhā. Today's Arabic speakers from all religious backgrounds (Muslims, Christians, and Jews) use the word Allah to mean God. In pre-Islamic Arabia, pagan Meccans used Allah as a reference to the creator-god, possibly the supreme deity.

    https://www.arabicbible.com/for-christians/1810-the-word-allah-and-islam.html

    Is 'Allah' God? by Scott Bridger May 12, 2015 The Gospel coalition:

    "Christians can and should focus their energies on distinguishing the character of the Allah of the (Arabic) Bible from the Allah of the Qur’an. Theologically, when an Arabic-speaking Christian talks about Allah, there is a difference in the nature and attributes of the One to whom he is referring compared to his Arabic-speaking Muslim neighbor."

    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/is-allah-god/

    Why do many Arab Christians refer to God as “Allah”? (Christian Answers.net)

    what about the 10 to 12 million Arab Christians today? They have been calling God ‘Allah’ in their Bibles, hymns, poems, writings, and worship for over nineteen centuries.

    https://christiananswers.net/q-eden/allah.html

    Dean Smith, Court orders Christians to quit using Allah to refer to Jehovah

    Today, about 12 million Arabic Christians use Allah to reference God as do approximately 30 million Javanese and Sudanese Christians, among others. These Christians pray to Allah, worship Allah and consider Jesus the Son of Allah. Even Arabic Jews use Allah.

    https://opentheword.org/2013/10/18/court-orders-christians-to-quit-using-allah-to-refer-to-jehovah/

    The name Allah for God in the BibleLet Us Reason

    (CNN recently reported Authorities in Malaysia seizing more than 20,000 Bibles in recent months because they refer to God as "Allah," Christian leaders said Thursday. The Bibles were written in the country's official language, Malay, the word for God is "Allah," as it is in Arabic. Among the confiscated Bibles were from the Bible Society of Malaysia that had imported from Indonesia with about 10,000 others from Gideon’s International. The difference is that Malaysia's government says the word is exclusive to Islam. They banned its use because they see this as a means of confusion to Muslims that it can draw them to Christianity.

    http://www.letusreason.org/current102.htm

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367

    Good post and that matches our experience with Muslims and Christians in many countries who both use the term "Allah" إله‎ just like we use that term "God" or deity. "Allah" also seems to be a name of God for some Muslims whereas it is not for Christians who use the term (although that could be argued). Muslims would say that YHWH or variations may or may not be a name of God, but don't seem to accept it as valid.

    Muhammad said: “Allah has ninety-nine names, one hundred less one; whoever comprehends them all will enter Paradise.” [Sahih al-Bukhari (2737) and Sahīh Muslim (2677)]

    Muslims would further say "there are up to 81 names of Allah that have been identified in the Quran. As for the 99 mentioned in various ahadith, these are merely a fraction of His names which have a special significance attached to them. There are, however, countless names the knowledge of which Allah has withheld for Himself, names He has taught to no one."

    This may come down to what we mean or feel when we say "God" in any language.
    1. Is this a Name?
    2. A sort of half-name?
    3. Do Christians pray to God or YHWH? Do we know clearly to Whom we pray and if so, when we address Him, what name or terms are is valid?

    Sometimes I call my father "Dad" and other times use his name.
    1. Is there a difference?
    2. You and I do not have the same "dad" but we both use the term meaning the same thing. Is "Allah" the same?
    3. Do some people abhor the word "Allah" because they associate it with Muslims?
    4. If so, would you feel that way if you lived among Christians who used the term for God?

    Resources:

    http://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-islam/allah-99-names/

    https://islam.stackexchange.com/questions/37873/can-yahweh-יהוה-be-regarded-as-a-valid-name-of-god-in-islam

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    @Mitchell said:
    Here are but a few snippets from the internet that may or may not be relevant to the topic at hand...

    Is the average person aware of these nuances? Is this a roundabout way of confusing, watering-down, and making everything acceptable into eventually a "One World Religion"? CM

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367
    edited October 21

    Is the average person aware of these nuances?

    Probably not.

    Is this a roundabout way of confusing, watering-down,

    No.

    and making everything acceptable into eventually a "One World Religion"? CM

    Nope.

    Watering down and one-world religion may be dangers in our world today, and the blanket use of "Allah" used across two huge religions, Christianity and Islam could contribute to that. But to lambast the use of "Allah" as a name for God by Christians whose language uses that word and has for centuries is to change the language of another culture to fit our own feelings. Is lengua-cide a word?

    There are also benefits to the common term Allah--it leaves Muslims open and listening, understanding and accepting the true attributes of God. At least we have the same word and fundamental concept for what the word means. That is not at all true when dealing with most other religions.

    Post edited by GaoLu on
  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    @GaoLu said:

    There are also benefits to the common term Allah--it leaves Muslims open and listening, understanding and accepting the true attributes of God. At least we have the same word and fundamental concept for what the word means. That is not at all true when dealing with most other religions.

    Are you sure this is not a slippery slope or mine-field of pluralism and syncretism? What assurance can you or anyone give that the use of "Allah", in Christian circles, is not a Trojan-horse as my question inquiries? CM

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 401

    @C_M_ said:
    Is the average person aware of these nuances?

    Not, sure who the average person is for you.
    But, in many of places where I have lived the answer would be "yes".

    Now, how many English Speaking Christians do you know who are aware of the etymology, history, and nuance of the common English term "God"? How many have actually thought of why they call Yeshua, "Jesus"?

    @C_M_ said:Is this a roundabout way of confusing, watering-down, and making everything acceptable into eventually a "One World Religion"? CM

    Of, course not!

    Rather the articles point out that
    Arabic speaking Christians and Arabic language Bible editions often use the title Allah to refer to YHWH. Jews often use Adonai (Lord) and some Orthodox Jews often use Ha-Shem (the name)

    …It’s interesting to observe that, in rejecting the Athenian’s erroneous concept of God, Paul did not reject the word they used for God, Theos, which was the common Greek word for God. (link)

    I think the above is a great point because it is very similar to what happened in the OT. In the Hebrew Bible and in ancient near eastern literature El and Elohim can be used for both the pagan deities and the Elohim of Israel.

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 401
    edited October 22

    I would like to make clear that I do not advocate western Christians using Allah to refer to God in English speaking contexts nor in a number of eastern contexts.

    Post edited by Mitchell on
  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    @Mitchell said:
    I would like to make clear that I do not advocate western Christians using Allah to refer to God in English speaking contexts.

    Thanks for the clarification! You're a wise brother. Please state your reasoning for such a position:

    @Mitchell said: "...I do not advocate western Christians using Allah to refer to God in English speaking contexts".

    I wait for your understanding. CM

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 401

    @C_M_ said:
    Please state your reasoning for such a position:

    The Bible I believe is clear that there is only one God (1 Kings 8:60, Ephesians 4:5-6 ), one way to God (John 14:6).

    The Bible is also clear that God chose the time and places were people would live (Acts 17:26) and that people from all nations and languages would worship God (Revelation 7:9). This I think makes clear that all languages are permissible (if not divinely ordained) to use in prayer, worship, study, and communication. Christians in different places thus have a right to use their ethnic, national, local, or regional languages.

    So, there is one universal 'Truth', but it can and must be expressed in the languages and or ways that people can understand. This why Christians in English speaking countries use an English translation of the scriptures, listen to sermons in English, pray in English, Sing in English and so on. However, the same is equally true other languages and speakers of other languages around the world. I interpret Paul as speaking on his practice of this concept in passages like 1 Corinthians 9:19-2.

    When I come to these forums I write in English and I thus use English theological terms like 'God' and 'Jesus and so on. Off these forums, I live in a country that does not use English and attend a congregation where English would not be understood by anyone other than myself. In such an environment using English theological terms would be meaningless or would result in me speaking to myself.

    This why I recommend that when English speaking Christian seek to communicate to another English speaking Christians or to other non-Christian English speakers that they generally use the English terms, expression, and ways of speaking in other to make sure that the message is understood. In an English speaking environment like America, the term 'Allah' is often more than not associated with Islam/Muslim and would most likely be confusing, plus modern English is already rich in ingenious commonly used and understood theological terms one could choose from.

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367

    I wish there was a like button.

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