Christians, Muslims, Jews - same God or different gods? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 187 Old 03-12-2009, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do the Christians, Jews and Muslims all worship the same God, or do they worship different gods? What is the belief of those in each religion about that?
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#2 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 12:08 AM
 
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Certainly the same in the sense of being of the same lineage of beliefs. And certainly not the same in terms of holding the same beliefs about what God is and what God has and has not done here on earth. Each successive religion makes a claim upon sameness; each successive religion also makes a claim that those which precede them include erroneous/irrelevant beliefs about God, his nature, his demands, or his works.
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#3 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 12:51 AM
 
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Great question! Subbing

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#4 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 11:40 AM
 
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subbing...

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#5 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, people have subbed, but I would like to see people from each religion explain what their religion's opinion on the matter is.

I was raised in Reform Judaism and I don't really know exactly what their opinion regarding the other religions is or if there is a definative opinion about anything among Reform Judaism as it is the most liberal of the Jewish groups, but when I was growing up I thought that Christians were polytheistic. I thought they had 3 gods - a father, a son and a ghost (and the ghost part sounded kind of halloweenish to me - like were they praying to Casper?)
But I think that was just how it looked to me from the outside and probably does not represent a Jewish view per say - just one of a non-Christian.

I have heard some Christians say that they believe they worship the same God that the Jews do and others claim that the Jews have a "different God" since they do not believe that Jesus is God.
I have also heard some Christians say that Muslims worship the same God and others say they have a "different God" since apparantly Muhammad said that God has no son.

But I don't know enough about the Muslim religion to know if that is correct or not.

So, I wondered what each religion thought. Do you think all three worship the same God but have different concepts about Him, or that they are worshipping 3 different entities?
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#6 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 12:06 PM
 
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Allah, Hashem, God...all the same.

Jesus...not the same.
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#7 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 12:07 PM
 
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When thinking of devout people of that religion (not just people born into it who don't really care about it at all) I think personally, that it is all the same God. we just see it differently. we have a different understanding past a certain point, but i see devotion to God in all three of them. and the devout ones I know take God very seriously...

I once had orthodox clients and the mom was going back for a section after some complications. we had gotten rather close through it all so I asked if it would be ok if i prayed for them, and the guy said, "of course, it is the same God!" and they seemed warmed that I offered. and so I did... I just did it in my heart instead of outloud. but that doesn't speak of all jewish people of course... so I can't say what they all think of *me* heh... (I had a lot of jewish clients)

sorry that is as much as answer as I can give. I don't know beyond my own perceptions and experiences.

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#8 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 01:54 PM
 
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I'll take a crack at it And, FWIW, I sub so I can come back later and answer with some thought put into it. Otherwise I lose the thread in the abyss of new posts

Anyways, my entire life I was taught (evangelical/fundamentalist Southern Baptist) that ONLY born again Christians worship the correct god becuase their names are in the book of life. Only. And if your name isn't in the Book of Life, then you're going to hell. The denominational aspect of the various branches of Christianity were up for discussion, but generally if you were baptized and washed in the blood of the Lamb, and had offered yourself to the Lord for forgiveness of your sins, then you were following the right guy. Otherwise, you were following Satan. Because there is only one God, the other 'gods' are really Satan in disguise trying to lead you astray, a wolf in sheep's clothing. Other religions were ALL following the 'wrong god', or Satan. Including the Jews (although we certainly prayed for their souls to accept Christ as their savior, the poor dears ), and ESPECIALLY the Muslims because they didn't even worship GOD...the worshipped ALLAH and Muhammed, so clearly that couldn't be the same as God. Occasionally our pastor would talk about the heathens of eastern religions, but it was generally believed that they were all worshipping Satan anyways, so it didn't merit much discussion beyond that.

Now, as for what I believe NOW. I think each culture creates their own religion based on their society's structure and historical understanding. That's why Muslims are predominant in the Middle East, Christians in North America, Buddhists and Hindu in the Far East etc etc. I don't think any person worshipping the supernatural is worshipping anything/anyone different than the guy next to them. It's just a different 'flavor' that might not appeal to one person or the next.

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#9 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 02:10 PM
 
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I agree with everything Theoretica said (and honestly, did we go to the same church? ), with the added comment that I believe people create religions out of a deepseated and uniquely human desire for God and the Eternal. I believe there is a spiritual Reality out there which we yearn for and try our best to explain and access through religion. So from this perspective, I wouldn't say they are all the same God, but rather all valid but incomplete reflections of the same spiritual Reality.
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#10 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 02:57 PM
 
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Christianity and Islam are both talking about that same God that spoke to Abraham way back when, the one who saved the Jews in the wilderness and all that other stuff. The OT is a continuing revelation of God to the Jewish people, and Christians and Muslims say that he continued to reveal himself, either through the person of Christ, or through a prophet such as Mohomet. So their conceptions about what that God is like changed somewhat based on what they believe was revealed.

Of course Jewish people think that last bit is untrue, but there is really no doubt that they are talking about the one God, creator of everything.

But, IMO, anyone who believes in one unified God who is the creator and/or sustainer of all things is talking about the same god. If a guy on a desert island becomes convinced that such a god exists, whether he concludes it for rational reasons or personal ones, would have perceived the same one god the Christians Muslims and Jews are talking about.

I would even say that when Hindus talk about similar things, they are talking about the same God.

Obviously, not everyone has all the details right, since in many cases they contradict themselves, but they are all talking about the one underlying self-existent reality.

Now if a person thinks that that reality is a crock, and there is nothing like that, it is a different story. In that case, they are not all talking about the same God, they are talking about the same nothing. Their stories may be related in a purely literary fashion, but that is it.

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#11 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 03:04 PM
 
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why do so few peole realize that "allah" is the muslim name for "God"? :doh I don't get that one... I heard that before too - that muslims aren't worshipping the same god b/c their God is "allah" and ours is "god". um??? that's the lamest excuse Iever heard honestly lol... considering we call god by many names in Christianity! we alos use many fo the jewish names too... so.. um...?

I could by that their different gods b/c they haven't different atrributes or that perhaps we think they belive wrongly about who god is... but e can't blame it on the "wrong name" being used for goodness sakes!

It's the same God, different messiah. it's complicated!!! (that's my way of saying I wish I knew how to reconcile my conflicting feelings about it but I don't... and I don't know if I ever will)

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#12 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 03:21 PM
 
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Not a religious scholar here, but I don't see how Jews and Christians can be said to worship the same God.

Christians believe Jesus and God are one, or at least that Jesus was a human manifestation of God (right, Christians?). Jews don't believe God impregnates women, or can have a human as equal to or part of him, so how could the Christian God be the same as the God Jews worship?
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#13 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 03:26 PM
 
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well maybe it comes down to it being the same God with us having a different understanding of him? I mean truly nobody understand the entire being that is God...

or... maybe I'm wrong... ?

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#14 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 03:29 PM
 
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G-d is G-d. There's only one Divine Being who created the world and keeps it created. It doesn't matter what name you call Him, or if you want to use feminine or andogenous pronouns to describe the Creator. The Jewish and Muslim concepts of G-d are excactly the same- what differs is the way in which we worship Him.

The concept of the trinity is foreign to Judaism.

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#15 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 03:51 PM
 
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G-d is G-d. There's only one Divine Being who created the world and keeps it created. It doesn't matter what name you call Him, or if you want to use feminine or andogenous pronouns to describe the Creator. The Jewish and Muslim concepts of G-d are excactly the same- what differs is the way in which we worship Him.

The concept of the trinity is foreign to Judaism.
Yes, but I think it would be better characterized as a difference of opinion about what God is like, rather than saying that Jews and Christians believe in a "different" God.

I'm not sure what people even mean when they say that the groups must worship "different" Gods, since they are all monotheistic religions? Not to mention they share many of the same stories of God revealing himself to people.

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#16 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 03:53 PM
 
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I have heard some Christians say that they believe they worship the same God that the Jews do and others claim that the Jews have a "different God" since they do not believe that Jesus is God.
I have also heard some Christians say that Muslims worship the same God and others say they have a "different God" since apparantly Muhammad said that God has no son.

But I don't know enough about the Muslim religion to know if that is correct or not.
Kind of what I was saying, if a bit haphazardly.

I'm Muslim. It is absolutely a core part of our theology that these three faiths worship the same god. BUT ... I completely respect it when a Christian, for a particular example, disagrees with that assessment. We deny that Jesus was more than a mortal man, we deny that god ever begot any child, we deny the crucification even happened, let alone resurrection, and we deny that Jesus in any respect died for our sins or that salvation comes through faith in him. We strip away pretty much everything that makes the Christian perception of God and God's works unique and call it wrong. I am not about to expect a Christian person knowing these things to agree with the Muslim assessment of sameness -- our perceptions of god directly contradict and outright blaspheme one other.

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I'm not sure what people even mean when they say that the groups must worship "different" Gods, since they are all monotheistic religions? Not to mention they share many of the same stories of God revealing himself to people.
"Different," I think, is pretty plainly a nice way of saying "incorrect" -- it of course does not mean a belief in the existence of three gods; rather a belief that the ideas about god held by others are so in error as to be irrelevant to the One. And while they share many of the same stories, they differ -- as above -- in stories that are absolutely critical to the formation of our perceptions of god.

All theistic religions have different notions of what god is like. It takes a perfect pantheism which is not always compatible with religions themselves, though, to say that all are at core the same.
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#17 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 03:59 PM
 
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Kind of what I was saying, if a bit haphazardly.

I'm Muslim. It is absolutely a core part of our theology that these three faiths worship the same god. BUT ... I completely respect it when a Christian, for a particular example, disagrees with that assessment. We deny that Jesus was more than a mortal man, we deny that god ever begot any child, we deny the crucification even happened, let alone resurrection, and we deny that Jesus in any respect died for our sins or that salvation comes through faith in him. We strip away pretty much everything that makes the Christian perception of God and God's works unique and call it wrong. I am not about to expect a Christian person knowing these things to agree with the Muslim assessment of sameness -- our perceptions of god directly contradict and outright blaspheme one other.
I'll take a stab at this... as a Christian.

you're right that we disagree on the Christ/messiah issue. no dodging that fact! and true we couldn't all "worship together" in accord as we have such different beliefs about the messiah... but on another note, I completely recognize it started with the sameness. maybe it isn't the same NOW, but it was. and that to me means there are a lot of similarities.

I can't speak for all Christians. But I'm not somehow insulted by someone disagree with Jesus. and if it was "blasphemous" to not believe, that would be in god's court to decide. I can't decide another person's blaspheme, that is a job for God. I'm tying to put it in the right words... am I having any luck making a bit fo sense?

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#18 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 04:14 PM
 
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"Different," I think, is pretty plainly a nice way of saying "incorrect" -- it of course does not mean a belief in the existence of three gods; rather a belief that the ideas about god held by others are so in error as to be irrelevant to the One. And while they share many of the same stories, they differ -- as above -- in stories that are absolutely critical to the formation of our perceptions of god.
I think this only applies if one is certain that one's own conception of God is the complete and absolute truth of everything there is to know about God. Which in my opinion is a somewhat hubristic idea, to think that man can understand everything about God, even when God has revealed parts of himself.

If, on the other hand, one maintains a mindset that one's own conception is but a partial understanding of God, that there were other parts of God that he did not reveal in one's scriptures, then it is possible that other understandings, even those which directly contradict your own, may also be true. God is full of all sorts of qualities that appear contradictory to human minds, and indeed this would be expected of a being that is completely beyond our experience and understanding.

It's like the old story of the blind men and the elephant. They were all contradicting each other, and they were all right.
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#19 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 04:20 PM
 
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I'll take a stab at this... as a Christian.

you're right that we disagree on the Christ/messiah issue. no dodging that fact! and true we couldn't all "worship together" in accord as we have such different beliefs about the messiah... but on another note, I completely recognize it started with the sameness. maybe it isn't the same NOW, but it was. and that to me means there are a lot of similarities.

I can't speak for all Christians. But I'm not somehow insulted by someone disagree with Jesus. and if it was "blasphemous" to not believe, that would be in god's court to decide. I can't decide another person's blaspheme, that is a job for God. I'm tying to put it in the right words... am I having any luck making a bit fo sense?
Starting with sameness and diverging to the point of non-sameness is, well ... non-sameness. Ok, that made no sense. What I mean is ... take Bahai faith. They say theirs is the same god as well. And certainly it is in the same lineage. But, to a Muslim, they make claims about god that contradict our own claims. They make claims that, according to what we believe to be our god's self-revelation, are untrue about god. And so for us, while they may well be included in people intending to worship god, they can not be included in people who are worshiping god as he is. For us their god is different in certain critical aspects.

As you said, that would be a matter for god himself to decide. But as a point of belief, Muslims will expect that to be decided in accordance with what we believe to be god's self-revelation to Muslims, not in accordance with Bahai beliefs about -- as far as we are concerned, false -- revelation. Christians, likewise, will anticipate the differences between Christian and Muslim perceptions about god to be judged by the standards of god as they are revealed to Christians, and not by the standards of our own -- false to you -- revelation.
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#20 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 04:21 PM
 
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I think this only applies if one is certain that one's own conception of God is the complete and absolute truth of everything there is to know about God. Which in my opinion is a somewhat hubristic idea, to think that man can understand everything about God, even when God has revealed parts of himself.

If, on the other hand, one maintains a mindset that one's own conception is but a partial understanding of God, that there were other parts of God that he did not reveal in one's scriptures, then it is possible that other understandings, even those which directly contradict your own, may also be true. God is full of all sorts of qualities that appear contradictory to human minds, and indeed this would be expected of a being that is completely beyond our experience and understanding.

It's like the old story of the blind men and the elephant. They were all contradicting each other, and they were all right.
: This is how I feel about it.

I believe that every representation of Divinity is just an interpretation of God and sense I feel we know Him at our core it's just different aspects of God.

ETA- my DH explains it like this-- you have a group of people looking through a dirty smudged window at a picture. Each person looks through this window and is asked to describe it. Each description is different but it's the same picture and the only real truth is no one is seeing the whole picture.
He makes that make more sense then I can so sorry!

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#21 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 04:31 PM
 
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I think this only applies if one is certain that one's own conception of God is the complete and absolute truth of everything there is to know about God.
Hmm, no. This is not "I say god is green and you say god is blue," this is "you say that god says he is blue, while I say that god says it is sinful to make a claim that he is blue."
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#22 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm Muslim. It is absolutely a core part of our theology that these three faiths worship the same god.
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What I mean is ... take Bahai faith. They say theirs is the same god as well. And certainly it is in the same lineage. But, to a Muslim, they make claims about god that contradict our own claims. They make claims that, according to what we believe to be our god's self-revelation, are untrue about god. And so for us, while they may well be included in people intending to worship god, they can not be included in people who are worshiping god as he is. For us their god is different in certain critical aspects.
Thank you for your replies. I am a bit confused here. So, do Muslims believe they have the same God as Judaism and Christianity, but they think that the Baha'i have a "different god"? And even though they know that Judaism and Christianity have different concepts about God that they don't share including the fact that Christians believe that Jesus is God, they still believe they worship the same God?
Is that correct?
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#23 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 04:53 PM
 
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Hmm, no. This is not "I say god is green and you say god is blue," this is "you say that god says he is blue, while I say that god says it is sinful to make a claim that he is blue."
Can you give me an example of what you mean? Are you referring to the Muslim belief that God is One as opposed to the Christian belief in the Trinity?
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#24 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 05:04 PM
 
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Thank you for your replies. I am a bit confused here. So, do Muslims believe they have the same God as Judaism and Christianity, but they think that the Baha'i have a "different god"? And even though they know that Judaism and Christianity have different concepts about God that they don't share including the fact that Christians believe that Jesus is God, they still believe they worship the same God?
Is that correct?
Muslims - broadly speaking -- believe in progressive revelation, so we believe that God sent clear messages to mankind via prophets, which over time were altered by man to include false information. We believe the Torah was a legitimate revelation from God, but that Judaism in practice went off-course. We believe the Gospel was legitimate, but that beliefs about God which are incompatible with the nature of God as we perceive him worked their way into things. Islam is mostly about what is in the heart and what is in one's actions, so we believe that, even while corrupted, these revelations are intact enough for the followers of them to be right with God, both in their hearts and in their actions in this life. That is not the same, however, as saying that we believe the differences only display equally legitimate facets of god.

We also believe, however, that the Qur'an was the final revelation to mankind, under god's protection from similar corruption. The Bahai faith claim upon later revelations attributes actions and intentions to god which are commonly incompatible with the Muslim view.
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#25 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 05:23 PM
 
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Can you give me an example of what you mean? Are you referring to the Muslim belief that God is One as opposed to the Christian belief in the Trinity?
That is a fair example. But not so much that the belief differs, but that the Muslim texts plainly state that the latter belief is in error and would do better to cease outright. Either we are wrong that it is wrong or we are right, but because it is something directly addressed it is not quite the same as one man touching a trunk and another touching a tail in the dark.
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#26 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 05:43 PM
 
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I see. I didn't know that Islam specifically condemns certain Christian beliefs.
This is pretty much what I am talking about though:
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Islam is mostly about what is in the heart and what is in one's actions, so we believe that, even while corrupted, these revelations are intact enough for the followers of them to be right with God, both in their hearts and in their actions in this life. That is not the same, however, as saying that we believe the differences only display equally legitimate facets of god.
See, I agree with you here. Saying that all religions are a partial understanding of God is not the same as saying they are all equal. Merely that they are all glimpses of something legitimate. You can still say that your glimpse is the clearest, and that other glimpses contain errors, but you are still all glimpsing the same God.

This is OT, but I'm curious what Islam teaches about religions that are not "people of the book", like Buddhism?
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#27 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 06:12 PM
 
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Saying that all religions are a partial understanding of God is not the same as saying they are all equal. Merely that they are all glimpses of something legitimate. You can still say that your glimpse is the clearest, and that other glimpses contain errors, but you are still all glimpsing the same God.
I do see what you're saying with that and personally I don't wholly disagree ... like I said, that POV is more or less built into my own religion to a degree. "Same god" talk, though, mostly seems to be of value to interfaith outreach efforts which, in my experience, do tend to simply gloss over core disagreements. I'm not sure of the value of the discussion outside of that, other than in a worldview in which for one to say he believes another's belief is wrong is itself by default offensive. And that's not a connection I'm willing to make myself.

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This is OT, but I'm curious what Islam teaches about religions that are not "people of the book", like Buddhism?
It doesn't. Or rather, there is a belief that all people in all times have had access to prophets/revelation, so some expand upon that to suggest that most or all religions preceding Islam have a basis in legitimate revelation, and others prefer go with the "safer" position of eschewing such speculation in order to avoid attributing incorrect things to god. Mostly we just leave that subject alone, *except* for to say in a broad sense that polytheism is unacceptable before our own idea of god.
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#28 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 06:23 PM
 
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So...

Baha'i : Muslim :: LDS : Christian

Is that right?

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#29 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 06:46 PM
 
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"Same god" talk, though, mostly seems to be of value to interfaith outreach efforts which, in my experience, do tend to simply gloss over core disagreements. I'm not sure of the value of the discussion outside of that, other than in a worldview in which for one to say he believes another's belief is wrong is itself by default offensive. And that's not a connection I'm willing to make myself.
Right, I don't know that it has much value for the various religions. And I understand the reticence on the part of sincere religious people who view such efforts as being attempts to "water down" their religion. In terms of politics and society, however, I think such talk and attitudes is absolutely critical for peaceful relations. When one's worldview has a respectful space for other religions (not necessarily saying they are equal to your own, but that they participate to some extent in something valid and are doing good, not harm) then it becomes much harder to ignite religious-based hatred and warfare.

And thanks for the quick explanation! I like the concept that all times and peoples have had their own prophets.
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#30 of 187 Old 03-13-2009, 09:18 PM
 
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I think it's the same God being worshipped. Just because the perceptions of who or what that God is are different doesn't make God into a set of gods.

Or, maybe this is a better analogy... water can be liquid, ice, or steam. Salt or fresh. We can stir in orange juice concentrate or coffee crystals. None of this changes that water is what it is. It make look different or taste different, and some people who love orange juice may hate coffee, blah blah blah. But the water itself remains water.

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