Previous posts in this discussion:
PostDo the Abrahamic Religions all Worship the Same God? (Tor Guimaraes, USA, 01/22/15 3:13 am)
For someone who dismisses himself as not being a theologian, I thought David Duggan's post of 21 January was quite savvy. Once again I feel compelled to point out that to me it is logically impossible to be worshiping the "same god" with such basically different religions, regardless of whether they have a common origin or not. Why would the same god for these religions demand that followers from the others convert to it before salvation? Why would the same god for these religions consider only the followers of one of them to be the chosen people? Do these facts suggest a common god to these religions in any way? Clearly not.
John Eipper commented that he is of "the 'one God, different interpretations' school when it comes to viewing the Abrahamic religions." I suppose it boils down to semantics and how flexible the interpretations are allowed to be. Conceptually it would be quite a stretch. To me by definition, different religions must be worshiping different gods. From a practical perspective, most of the time people from the "Abrahamic religions" have conflicting beliefs and they do not seem to have much respect for each others preachings.
JE comments: These comments seem to be missing my point, which is within the theologies of the different Abrahamic religions, there is only one God "shared" by all. Granted, looking at religious practice from the outside certainly gives one the opposite opinion.
More on the Abrahamic Religions
(Enrique Torner, USA
01/23/15 2:39 PM)
There has been a great deal of discussion on WAIS regarding whether Jews, Muslims, and Christians worship the same god. Nobody so far has defended that there is only one God, and that it is the same god in the three religions. I do.
I believe there is only one god, as do Jews, and Muslims, and it's the same one. The key word in my statement is one that is absent: "worship." Each believer thinks he/she is worshiping God, the only one. The problem is that the three religions have different interpretations of their god; therefore, each religion believes that only they are worshiping God correctly. However, they are mutually exclusive, so only one can be doing it correctly. So, Christians believe that Muslims and Jews are really not worshiping God, because they are not doing it according to the whole Bible; Muslims believe the same of Jews and Christians because of the Quran; Jews believe only in the Old Testament, so they disagree with Christians about the nature of Jesus, and with Muslims in other areas. The three religions are monotheistic, but Christianity is actually a trinitarian monotheistic religion (God is represented by three persons), while Islam and Judaism are unitarian monotheists (God has only one person).
My belief has been shared by several popes: Francis, John Paul II, and Gregory VII, to mention a few. The first two invited leaders of the other two religions to go to the Vatican for a shared prayer. President George W. Bush, though not a theologian, also stated that he believes there is only one god, and it's the same of Jews and Muslims. Check these websites for support:
If you think about it logically, if we say that two or more religions do not worship the same god, you are actually stating the existence of several gods, and, therefore, you are declaring yourself polytheistic. However, you can find theologians of the three religions defending that they don't worship the same god, without realizing the logical implication of the statement. An example would be a leader of a Southern Baptist church, who defended it some years ago. However, another Christian theologian disputed it. Read it for yourself:
JE comments: I was trying to make the same point as Enrique Torner, when I stressed that within their respective theologies, the three Abrahamic faiths worship the same God. Now I find out I'm in the company of President Bush! One observation: those who subscribe to the "different God" thesis probably believe their counterparts in a rival Abrahamic faith worship a false god. That at least would save them from accusations of polytheism.
- Weighty Theological Questions (Tor Guimaraes, USA 01/25/15 6:13 AM)
As an extremely religious person, what I find most amazing about organized religions as a discussion topic are the incredible inconsistencies in logic and argumentation. After all the hand waiving that is going on, I need someone to explain to me a few facts. For example, in the Old Testament we have a people chosen by their god (which excludes all other people), so special that their god even allowed/promoted genocide. The New Testament is the antithesis of such a nasty god. It says god wants you to love thy neighbor and turn the other cheek. How can these possibly, under any circumstances be the same god?
Much further into this logical impossibility is that the people following the New Testament think that their god wants the Old Testament people to be converted to the New Testament or suffer damnation. Obviously, one of these two gods is very wrong and completely contradictory. Which one is it? A third group of people says "there is but one god" and it is theirs; all other gods must be wrong because there is only one possible imagination of god leading to heaven. The various imaginations or interpretations of god are contradictory, therefore, aren't there different gods inspiring these different interpretations. No?
Another issue that is totally unacceptable to me is humans saying that god created man in his own image, when by the erudite explanations and discussion we are having, no one ever saw god (except for a burning bush, but we don't look like that) and knows nothing about what (s)he looks like. Clearly man must have created gods in their own images or for their own interests and circumstances; thus the multitude of gods and the countless interpretations of what god is.
Last, John Eipper is correct in contradicting Enrique's Torner statement that "If you think about it logically, if we say that two or more religions do not worship the same god, you are actually stating the existence of several gods, and, therefore, you are declaring yourself polytheistic." Indeed, as John noted, "those who subscribe to the "different God" thesis probably believe their counterparts in a rival Abrahamic faith worship a false god. That at least would save them from accusations of polytheism."
As far as I am concerned, the only more "scientific religion" is the one where God is the Universe, created itself and tour mission is to use the scientific method to learn about the real God. There should be no room for inventing gods in people's own images, unsubstantiated outlandish superstitions, etc. I rest my case.
JE comments: Nobody ever said these discussions of faith are logical. To come to Enrique Torner's defense, that is the whole point of faith: to believe in something unseen and unmeasurable, which means it defies logic. Is Enrique correct? Tor, with his deist view? Luciano Dondero's atheism? Or how about our friend from the Baha'i tradition, Vincent Littrell? My answer will be "yes." All of these correspondents, and others, have rested their cases.
- Weighty Theological Questions (Tor Guimaraes, USA 01/25/15 6:13 AM)