ARE ALLAH AND GOD THE SAME?
Slate‘s Steven Waldman asks, Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? It’s an more complicated question than most of us think, apparently.
When George Bush last month declared that Christians, Jews, and Muslims worship the same God, some of his evangelical supporters had a holy cow. They have been arguing for some time that Islam is a fundamentally dangerous and false religion, and then the most important evangelical in America, George Bush, goes and pays Muslims the ultimate compliment.
Richard Land, a top official of the Southern Baptist Convention, explained the theology. “The Bible is very clear about this. There is only one true God and His name is Jehovah, not Allah.”
Haggard and Land were articulating a common view among evangelicals. In a poll of evangelical leaders at the community level, 79 percent disagreed with the statement that Muslims and Christians “pray to the same god.”
As evidence that Jews, Christians, and Muslims “have always assumed their differences to be about the character rather than the identity of God,” Miles points to life in medieval Spain, where people of the three faiths mingled and disagreed with each other about the “same divine subject.” Thomas Aquinas, for instance, wrote Summa Contra Gentiles in part to refute the Muslim philosopher Ibn Rushd, but he never tried to make the argument that Muslims were praying to a different God.
Muslims have been even clearer about the kinship among all “peoples of the book.”
Update (1314): Kristopher Vilamaa posts on this too and swears he didn’t see mine first.