Do we worship the same God?

Do Jews, Christians, Muslims (and other Monotheists) worship the same God? Some claim so, others deny that this is the case.

Most often Muslims seem to believe that we do worship the same God, while a large number of Christians deny this, and Jews agree mostly with Muslims, though some seem to lean more to the Christian understanding when it comes to Muslims, while most religious Jews believe that Christians are not worshipping the true God, while Muslims are, though misunderstanding His Will.

The question is not easy to answer, it demands a good insight into the theology of the three religions, and tempers are often flaring when the subject is discussed. However, to a certain extent the question should be able to be answered based on logic thinking, though no final answers can be given (I fear).

First and foremost; if we believe that there is only one God, then that should basically settle the matter, you would expect. True, there might be different approaches to how to worship Him correctly, but that there is only one God, that can easily be agreed upon.

However, some credit – in their eyes – false belief or practice to the worship of another divine power. For example, many Christians are viewing Allah as a “moon god”, and the Muslims as worshipping an Arab pagan demon or the like. However, to insist that this is the case is to ignore an overwhelming amount of issues in Islam, which totally counters this view. For example, the Muslims are relating to Abraham and his God, the same God the Jews and Christians themselves supposedly are worshipping. At the same time they relate to God as the Creator, the one God who has no partners and to Whom all creation submits itself.

The case becomes a little more complicated when looking at the Christian notion. The Christians believe that Jesus is the son of God and God Himself, dead and risen, part of a Trinitarian whole, where the three “parts”, the Son, the Father, and the Holy Spirit, share essence, but are distinct from each other. Jesus is – sort of speaking – God in flesh.
That seems to run counter with both Judaism and Islam. In Judaism it is very clear that God is in no way anything remotely comparable to man, and Islam outright refuse the idea that God should become man. Also the relation to law and how to structure society differ strongly between Christianity on the one hand, and Judaism and Islam on the other hand. While Judaism does give room for non-Jewish religions, and Islam accepts the partial truth of the older religions of the Book, both religions seem to be at so strong odds with some of the basic principles in Christianity, that they simply differ too much to share the same fundamental thoughts and concepts.

Does that mean that while Judaism and Islam do worship the same God, Christianity worship another God? It would be tempting – and easy – to claim so. However, there are some similarities of great importance. Christianity also holds to the One God, the Creator, the God of Abraham, as well as accepting the Torah as a Divine Revelation (something Islam only does to a certain extent). As such a great Jewish thinker like Maimonides stated that it was allowed for a Jew to teach a Christian Torah, but not a Muslim, since the former accept the Divinity of the Torah, while the latter doesn’t. I believe it speaks for the acceptance of also Christians worshipping the same God as Jews and Muslims, but it is obvious that the three religions disagree on some very fundamental and important issues, which most likely cannot be bridged. That is most likely not the goal either, at least not for me. The goal should not be to create a new hybrid religion or the like, but rather to celebrate and focus the similarities between us, while studying the differences in order to reach a better understanding of each other.

In times like these, Monotheists should hold hands and focus on what we have in common, rather than fight about our differences.

Author: Peter Kaltoft

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