Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Do Muslims Believe in the Same God Christians Do?

Dear Madame L,

A friend of mine, a Catholic, recently told me that Muslims believe in the same God that Christians and Jews believe in. Only they call him "Allah," the Arabic name for God. She said there are only two difference between Muslims and Jews and Christians: Their beliefs about Jesus Christ, and their beliefs about Muhammad.

But I don't think that can be true. If Muslims believe in the same God, then why do they go around killing Christians and Jews, as well as other Muslims?


A Christian

Dear Christian,

Yes, Muslims do believe in the same God that Christians and Jews believe in. In fact, check out this verse from the Qur'an, the so-called Throne Verse (2:255), which, as LDS writer Dan Peterson notes, "offers a fine summary of basic Islamic Teaching regarding God":

 “Allah! There is no god but he, the Living, the Everlasting. Neither slumber nor sleep seizes him. His are all things in the heavens and the earth. Who is there who can intercede with him, except by his leave? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, while they comprehend nothing of his knowledge except as he wills. His throne extends over the heavens and the earth. Sustaining them does not burden him, for he is the Most High, the Supreme.”

Peterson, who studies Islam and the Qur'an, wrote in the Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World:

"Perhaps the most popular and beloved passage in the Qur‘an, this often-memorized assertion of God’s universal dominion is a favorite of artists across the Islamic world. Tradition credits it with a special saving power and reports that the prophet Muhammad himself considered it the greatest verse revealed to him. The depth of Muslim devotion to Allah is apparent virtually everywhere in Islamic life, including even in the use of elaborate calligraphic renditions of the word Allah as architectural and artistic ornamentation."
I am positive that those of any and every faith who kill other people, even supposedly in the name of their God or their religion, are not in fact obeying the precepts of their religion and are not pleasing God with that behavior.

I also want to remind you of all the Christians who have killed others in the name of God throughout the centuries.

We cannot judge a religion by the actions of its misguided and mis-understanding adherents. What we can do is work together with believers of every faith to bring peace and love, follow the teachings and actions of Jesus Christ, and keep improving our own behavior.

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