When I posted Ali, The Mulim, a sentence in my post began a bit of discussion in the comments area. I feel that discussion merits it’s own article, so I’m writing this one to clarify what that sentence means.
Here is what I wrote:
Muslim’s serve the God of Abraham , which happens to be the same God those of Christian faith serve as well, even though Muslim’s call him “Allah”.
What’s your thoughts when you read that? Does it make you angry? Does it move you to “correct” me?
The simple fact is that my statement is very much true when taken for what I actually said, rather than reading more into it than I meant. The sentence immediately preceeded one that stated:
During a conversation about the departure of Ali’s wife of many many years, it was not the time to discuss theological differences.
And that, my friends, is also exactly what I meant. I was acknowledging that there are definite differences in what Christians vs Muslims believe about God (and many other things). In no way was I trying to make any assertions as to the “salvation status” of any groups of people. I was merely stating that our Father and their Father are the same Father. There may be differences in perspective on His attributes, but both Christian and Muslim faith begin with the God of Abraham. Keep reading and I’ll further clarify that statement with an example from my own life. But first…
In comment # 22, Jeff posts the following:
I don’t dispute that both faiths start at the God of Abraham, but as you’ve even said, the attributes given to that God are different for each faith. So let me name off three differences in attributes:
-Followers of Christ say that God has a son who became man (Jesus), where followers of Islam say that Jesus was a prophet but NOT the only begotten son of God.
-Followers of Islam say that Muhammed is Allah’s prophet, where followers of Christ say that the law and prophets that had been passed down in the Hebrew faith are God’s prophets.
-Followers of Christ say that God’s blessed people followed the family line of Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 17), where followers of Islam say that God’s blessing followed the family line of Ishmael.
These three statements point out three distinctly different historical attributes given to either God or Allah. They also point to attributes that are 100% at odds with each other. But either side says, “These are attributes of my God, the same God that Abraham believed in.” So even though I agree that each have the same foundation, the foundation alone cannot does not mean that what is built upon it is the same.
— > Yes! Score! Touchdown! Great way to word it, Jeff! <—
Do our differences in beliefs about those issues make one group better than the other? Not at all. Does it mean one group has something confused? Let me answer with that promised example, which I also posted as comment # 24 (in response to the quote I posted from Jeff above).
Here’s what I said:
We’re both speaking the same language now.
This whole thing started because of a sentence I used in my post in which I stated “The Muslims serve the God of Abraham…”
That’s all I meant by that. The sentence after that statement was this one:
“During a conversation about the departure of Ali’s wife of many many years, it was not the time to discuss theological differences.”
The rest of this resulted from comments on that first sentence, and has been a slight bit frustrating because I am of the opinion that so much bickering in the world can be avoided if all of us, Muslim and Christian, remember to just communicate like we would if we were brothers (Christian and Muslim).
Let me elaborate:
Just a few months ago my brother and I were sitting around discussing our childhood. I was completely blown away at some of his perspectives of our parents during our younger years. He seriously believed some of the things that were coming out of his mouth, yet I don’t remember any of the things he claimed happened. It was like he was talking about different people than the parents I knew. I didn’t bother correcting him, because it was evident he was convinced these memories were true.
As I’ve mentioned before, I hated Christians, but I never hated my parents. The negatives I associate with Christianity were the result of actions of people from my parents’ churches. My brother, however, was bitter toward Mom and Dad for many things he attributed to them. I remember it being OTHER people, he remembers it being THEM.
One of us is completely wrong, and if you ask me, it’s HIM. He’d say the same thing about ME, however.
In the case of the Muslims, looking at it from a logical perspective I cannot blame them for the way they feel about God. I have no doubts Ishmael felt like an unwanted outcast when Abraham’s favor followed his younger, “legitimate” siblings. He must have been bitter, don’t you think? Things must have snowballed to the place where all his memories of God were skewed by the hatred and bitterness. To cope with it, who can blame him for beginning to believe that God had actually passed on the “first born” favor to HIM, rather than those hated brothers? He passed his opinions on to his children, who passed it on to their children who… you get the picture.
So now we have a group of people who know no better.
So many Christians fail to realize we have the same “parents”, but like the case with Daniel and I, one of us has our perspectives wrong. At some point I’ll tell my brother about the loving parents I remember, and tell him where the negative feelings I had were rooted. Perhaps he’ll begin remembering things the same way I do, and get rid of some of his bitterness toward Mom and Dad.
Likewise, it would be so much easier to speak with Muslims from the perspective of realization that we both worship the same God, and that we’d like to give them our perspective of His grace and plan. It won’t be enough for most of them, no doubt, but it would sure make it easier if all they have to accept is a “perspective shift”, rather than the acceptance of an entirely different Creator.
Know what I mean?
Does that make a bit more sense? I’m sure hoping so.
In my opinion, Muslims definitely need a “perspective shift” about God. I’d love for all of them to realize that God wants a relationship with ALL of his children, and that he’s made it SO EASY to have that relationship. He sent Jesus to die for all of our sins, and simply accepting that sacrifice, that gift, allows an amazing relationship to begin between them and their Creator.
Unfortunately, discussions like that rarely happen, because humans seem to prefer feeling superior to others, and often use their beliefs on God to somehow back up those feelings. I don’t get it. God loves all of us. We’re all his kids. He doesn’t want us fighting and arguing. He wants us loving each other, and having a great relationship with Him. Some of us have screwed up “memories” of Him, and those memories will never be changed with a spirit of hatred and division.
And when our brothers don’t accept what we have to say or what we believe, let’s never resort to killing them over it, whaddaya say? World history has more than enough bloodshed (be it literal or otherwise) in the name of God, don’t you think?
That’s just my 2 cents…