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  • One of the wisest things I've heard on this subject has been told to me by a muslim. As you may know, the first of the five Pillars of Islam is the shahada : a muslim must claim his faith by the means of the following sentence : There is no other god than God, and Muhammad is His prophet. The theological importance of the first part of the sentence is enormous : the other religions have the same God -- but different prophets. Muhammad -- from a muslim point of view -- happens to be a better prophet because
    • the other religions have the same God [as Islam]...

      I have heard this argument before. And, interestingly, it's usually atheists who make it.

      Well, it's bogus. I'm sure that from an atheist's point of view, a logical identity relation exists between all religions that have the quality "Num_Gods==1". But that's silly. If anything, an atheist should be more inclined to distinguish between various purported all-being entities, since they're all fictitious!

      In any case, it is fallacious to draw an identity
      • In any case, it is fallacious to draw an identity between Allah and the Christian god, for the simple reason that they have different, incompatible, characteristics.

        By the same, argument, it seems to be incorrect to refer to the Christian god then. Some people think that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (the People of the Book) share a god because of the shared ancestry of the religions. But if you reject that idea, should you not also reject the idea that all Christians share a god because their religions share roots? Perhaps the god of Jerry Falwell is more like the god of Osama bin Laden than it is like the god of some other Christians.

        • Hmm ... maybe we need to:
          unshift @NAMES_THAT_KILL_THREADS, 'Osama bin Laden';

          Anyone who thinks that Christianity & Islam share the same God is mistaken, as previously stated. From the Qur'an:

          "They do blaspheme who say Allah is one of three in a Trinity, for there is no god except One Alah". Surah 5:73

          I'm not as knowledgable about Judaism (except that they don't accept Jesus as the Son of God, which probably means that they don't accept God as a Trinity, which would also mean that their God != th

          • Okay, bringing up ObL was unnecessarily provocative.

            I'm still not sure that everyone who believes in the Trinity believes in the same god. Is that really the only significant characteristic of God? Other differences in one's view of God don't matter, as long as trinitarianism is there?
            • Well, specifically the Trinity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit/Ghost - as long as someone else believes in that Trinity, they share the same God as I, as described by the Bible.

              There are other characteristics of God (as jdporter points out below) that some 'sects' of Christianity focus (or distort, imo) on more than others.


        • In principle, yes, I would say that is the case.

          In particular, some "Christian" sects (which I'd rather not name here) contend that, for example, Christ has already Come Again, and is, as we speak, Reigning Over the Earth. Others say that Jesus of Nazareth was not divine, or was not born of a virgin, or did not rise from the dead. Some Christian sects hold that God is not triune. Some hold that all of humanity shall be saved, sooner or later, regardless of anything (including whether or not they Take Je
          • Well, I did say "more like", not "identical to". I was mainly thinking of the shared idea of a God who smites the United States for its sins, though admittedly Falwell doesn't seek to actively help God do the smiting, and is sorrowful rather than joyful about it.

            Still, it was a bit over the top.