Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? Lots of folks are asking that question these days, and though it is an important question (and one that I will not be answering in this post), I don’t think the question is as helpful as other people seem to think.
Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?
Some people say yes, and these people imply that Christians are therefore under obligation to show compassion to Muslims because of their theological commonalities. After all, aren’t Christians and Jews and Muslims all “people of the book?” (That phrase comes from the Qu’ran.) And, since we are all people of the book, shouldn’t Christians treat Muslims with compassion?
I do not agree with this implication.
The Problem With Saying Yes
As Mark Tooley points out in Newsweek, if you stress that Christians are obligated to show compassion to Muslims because they are theological cousins, you are inadvertently implying that Christians are not under the same obligation to show compassion to other peoples with whom they don’t have any theological commonalities. Hindus, for example, are not “people of the book,” and yet that fact should not affect Christian treatment of Hindus (or Sikhs or Jains or Buddhists or atheist communists, etc.)
A Christian’s compassion for another does not depend on that other’s theological commitments. Whether or not Christians and Muslims worship the same God is completely irrelevant to the issue of whether a Christian should show compassion towards his Muslim neighbor.
Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? What if the answer is no–should that change how a Christian treats her Muslim neighbor?
Love Isn’t Conditional
Christians are not required to only love people with whom we agree (or partially agree).
Jesus, after all, told his followers to love their enemies.
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