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Author Topic: Do Muslims worship the same god as Christians?  (Read 7557 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: August 23, 2007, 10:32:35 PM »

This topic is being debated on another forum.  What is the opinion of the esteemed members of this forum?

Rob
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2007, 10:44:15 PM »

In a way I think they do, in other ways, no.

I mean they just address Him differently. And they just don't think that Jesus was the son of God. They believe He existed.

But in one way, since they don't believe Jesus is the son of God, they can't believe in God, and not believe in the son.
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« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2007, 10:50:33 PM »

In a way I think they do, in other ways, no.

I mean they just address Him differently. And they just don't think that Jesus was the son of God. They believe He existed.

But in one way, since they don't believe Jesus is the son of God, they can't believe in God, and not believe in the son.

Ho about how their god and how their belief is manifested in their behavior or interaction with those they deem to be non-believers or "infidels"?

Rob
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2007, 01:03:21 AM »

This topic is being debated on another forum.  What is the opinion of the esteemed members of this forum?

Rob
Hi Rob,

 While I am in no way an authority on the matter, I was a practicing Muslim for almost 10 years so I *may* have a somewhat upper hand on this particular topic. To begin with, the Arabic word for God is Allah, and both Muslims and Christians use the word. Now, so far so good. Where we greatly differ from Muslims is on the nature of Jesus the Christ (Arabic- Yasu al Masih). Muslims say that Jesus is not God but simply a prophet (they even call him the Christ too). Their holy scripture, the Koran (Qur'an), has Jesus denying that he is God, admitting that he is ONLY a prophet of God. So while Muslims revere Jesus as a prophet, we cannot say they worship the same God as we do; namely the Triune God of the Bible. Never-the-less, I have known many sincere, devout Muslims who care deeply for us, just as we do for them. And while it is true that they do not worship the same God as us, we are not to judge them and comdemn them to hell. Hope this helps.

 In Christ,
 Gabriel
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2007, 01:13:03 AM »

BTW, Despina, I love your dancing dog in the banana suit avatar.  That's pretty cute. Smiley

Now... back to your regularly scheduled discussion
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2007, 01:14:27 AM »

BTW, Despina, I love your dancing dog in the banana suit avatar.  That's pretty cute. Smiley

Now... back to your regularly scheduled discussion
Dude, it's peanut butter jelly time!!!
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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2007, 02:27:36 AM »

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Ho about how their god and how their belief is manifested in their behavior or interaction with those they deem to be non-believers or "infidels"?

Of which group of Muslims are you speaking?  The diversity in practice, theology and culture is at least as great as that found in Christianity (i.e from a Russian old believer, to the Pope, to someone handling a snake in the rural South).  Many early Islamic philsophers espoused a view that all religions were essentially the same philosophical truth - just made easier for the hoi polloi to understand in different ways (and it is amusing to me how people talk of ecumenism as if it were something new).  Obviously the other extreme is the Wahhabists - don't buy into their propoganda that they are the totality of Islam.   
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2007, 03:10:07 AM »

rosborn, peace be with you.

The simplest answer to your question can be attained by asking a Muslim if s/he worships Jesus Christ as God.

All Christians believe that Jesus Christ our God is to be worshipped as the second member of the Holy Trinity together with His good Father and the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit), the One God, Amen.

The Arabic word for 'God' is 'Allah' and so it is quite valid to use this word to mean 'God' however this does not mean that Muslims worship the same God as Christians who speak Arabic any more than a Jew, a Hindu or a Sikh also worships a god who is not the God of the Christians.

On a side note, historically only the Shi'ites (or Shia) are truly Muslims (if this term is used to mean the followers of Mohammed). Sunnis are more like 'Protestant Muslims' as are the rest of the sects. If anyone doubts this please review the history of the situation.
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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2007, 07:09:41 AM »

Hi,

This is debated to death; actually, do you believe that the Jewish faith believes in the same God? They do not except Jesus or Virgin Mary.

However, love and reverence is apparent in the Muslim faith for Jesus and Virgin Mary.

Lets look at it in another view; ask a person of the Jewish faith if they believe in the God of Abraham, ask a person of the Christian faith if they believe in the God of Abraham and then ask a person of the Muslim faith if they believe in the God of Abraham.... you will find the answer "Yes" for all the above.

As a Christian, my God and Teacher, Jesus taught me to love and not to hate; teach and not to condemn;and finally, forgive and not to Judge.

For historical information, Arab-Christians use the word "Allah" 2-Centuries before Islam and the Arabic / Aramaic (the old language of both Arabic and Hebrew) Language is older than Islam so do not judge by language either.

What do I believe, as Jesus said to the Roman (the Roman that asked Jesus to heal his servent), "Everyone, Everyone, is welcomed at my Father's table; children of Abraham and of Pagans."

Again, my opinion.

In Christ (Ya'sou Messiah),
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« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2007, 07:48:55 AM »

It doesn't matter how much anyone "respects" Christ or thinks He is a great teacher or prophet. If they do not hold that He is God, then they do not worship the same God as Christians.
The God worshipped by Orthodox Christians is the Holy Trinity.
The Q'uran clearly states that the God worshipped by Muslims is not a Trinity (4:171).
I fail to see the difficulty.
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« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2007, 10:11:23 AM »

AFAIK, the most essential difference between Muslims and us (as far as theology is concerned) is that in Islam, one of the "negative" attributes of Alllah is his principal "non-entering-ness" (Arabic "Hulool"), that is, the belief that nothing enters into God and God never enters anything (remains totally transcendent). Therefore, Islam rejects Incarnation.
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« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2007, 10:45:35 AM »

I think the difficulty behind this is that when Muslims teach others about Christianity, they say that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, that is Allah is to Islam, as the Father part of the Trinity is to Christianity.  When a Muslim said that to me, I told him that you cannot separate the Father from the rest of the Trinity and say we worship the same God.  In our prayers, we always start in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and we emphasize that these three are One God to prove our Monotheism and their inseparability.  Therefore, really, we don't worship the same God, and if a Muslim says we do, then he sorely misunderstands our theology, which is understandable.  They assume it's tritheism, not monotheism.  To them, Allah is just Allah, the unknown.  To us, Allah is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the unknown who made Himself known to us.

God bless.
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« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2007, 01:07:37 PM »

Well Said minasoliman !

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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2007, 03:01:38 PM »

+ Irini nem ehmot,

Very good points Mina.  I'll be sure to pass that notion along the next time I sit and talk with Fortunatus.  Wink
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« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2007, 05:36:13 PM »

While it would be perfectly acceptable to answer this question with a "no", based on their rejection of the Trinity, I don't believe it is quite that simple.

I think few would suggest the OT people of Israel worshipped a diety other than the God we too worship. Yet, although the Trinity is obscurely alluded to here and there in the OT, there was no absolute revelation of the Trinity until the Incarnation of the second Person thereof.

So on that basis, one could argue Muslims worship the same God as the Christians, despite their view of Him as a monad.

Likewise, one could argue that we believe in the same God, but we believe He became Incarnate, they do not.
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« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2007, 06:11:50 PM »

While it would be perfectly acceptable to answer this question with a "no", based on their rejection of the Trinity, I don't believe it is quite that simple.

I think few would suggest the OT people of Israel worshipped a diety other than the God we too worship. Yet, although the Trinity is obscurely alluded to here and there in the OT, there was no absolute revelation of the Trinity until the Incarnation of the second Person thereof.

So on that basis, one could argue Muslims worship the same God as the Christians, despite their view of Him as a monad.

Likewise, one could argue that we believe in the same God, but we believe He became Incarnate, they do not.

No one disputes that the OT people did not have a clear revelation of God, but now that God has been made manifest to us and explained to us, we take this enlightenment to heart and reject those who reject the True God.  In other words, the Jews today no longer worship the same God we do.  I think we have to be clear on this and not play political or semantic games.  Even the Koran condemns our view of who God is.  Everyone must stay consistent and true to themselves.

God bless.
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« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2007, 12:55:20 AM »


On a side note, historically only the Shi'ites (or Shia) are truly Muslims (if this term is used to mean the followers of Mohammed). Sunnis are more like 'Protestant Muslims' as are the rest of the sects. If anyone doubts this please review the history of the situation.
No disrespect to you brother Didymus, you're not entirely wrong, but I don't think it's as cut and dry as that. Although their differences are more complex today, historically, the division began soon after the death of Muhammad. Because Muhammad had left no clear successor, 'Abu Bakr was chosen to be the next leader, but a group of people soon after began calling for 'Ali to be the next Khalifa (Shia comes from 'Shi' at 'Ali', meaning 'group' or 'party' of Ali.) The vast majority of Muslims did not accept this assertion and, soon after Muhammad's death, began calling themselves 'Sunnis' after the word 'Sunna', which in Arabic means 'discourse' or 'story', but has come to mean the particular sayings, doings, and stories of and about Muhammad. This is basically the same story I was told by both Shi'as and Sunnis.
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« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2007, 01:18:27 AM »

No disrespect to you brother Didymus, you're not entirely wrong, but I don't think it's as cut and dry as that. Although their differences are more complex today, historically, the division began soon after the death of Muhammad. Because Muhammad had left no clear successor, 'Abu Bakr was chosen to be the next leader, but a group of people soon after began calling for 'Ali to be the next Khalifa (Shia comes from 'Shi' at 'Ali', meaning 'group' or 'party' of Ali.) The vast majority of Muslims did not accept this assertion and, soon after Muhammad's death, began calling themselves 'Sunnis' after the word 'Sunna', which in Arabic means 'discourse' or 'story', but has come to mean the particular sayings, doings, and stories of and about Muhammad. This is basically the same story I was told by both Shi'as and Sunnis.

Jibrail,

Unfortunately, I don't have time to research the history myself at the moment, but wasn't the disagreement over whether only a blood relative of Muhammad could succeed the Prophet?  Wasn't the Ali you mntioned like Mohammed's uncle or cousin or some other kin?  If you can clarify that, I'd appreciate it.
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« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2007, 01:38:40 AM »

Jibrail,

Unfortunately, I don't have time to research the history myself at the moment, but wasn't the disagreement over whether only a blood relative of Muhammad could succeed the Prophet?  Wasn't the Ali you mntioned like Mohammed's uncle or cousin or some other kin?  If you can clarify that, I'd appreciate it.
I believe Ali was Muhammad's son-in-law. The disagreement was familial, according to some accounts, but more to the point, it was tribal; my tribe vs. your tribe. Or if you like, according to some accounts, the same tribe, just diff. factions within. Obviously, the whole thing was also highly politicized. The successor, Abu Bakr, was not related (or at least closely) to Muhammad, but was a companion of his. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is shrouded in myth and history.
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« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2007, 01:50:06 PM »

+ Irini nem ehmot,

No one disputes that the OT people did not have a clear revelation of God, but now that God has been made manifest to us and explained to us, we take this enlightenment to heart and reject those who reject the True God.  In other words, the Jews today no longer worship the same God we do.  I think we have to be clear on this and not play political or semantic games.  Even the Koran condemns our view of who God is.  Everyone must stay consistent and true to themselves.

God bless.

I would have to agree with Mina here.  Islam did not arise in a vacuum.  Christianity had already been well established at this time (seeing as how Islam arose 600 years after Christ), and so the revelation of God as a Trinity had been clearly taught.  Islam, at its core, arose as a result of a Christian heresy taken to the next level.  Thus, I find it difficult to give this religion any sort of excuse, or attempt to equate the God of Christianity with the god of Islam. 
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« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2007, 03:12:40 PM »

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Islam did not arise in a vacuum.  Christianity had already been well established at this time (seeing as how Islam arose 600 years after Christ), and so the revelation of God as a Trinity had been clearly taught.  Islam, at its core, arose as a result of a Christian heresy taken to the next level.

To be fair, early Islam's contact with Christianity was far outside of any of the centers of Christian orthodoxy (note the small o).  Most of the Christians in the Arab penisula, Persian lands and Central Asia were Nestorians.  And of course, the further one gets from the urban centers of Christian activity, the stranger folk customs and beliefs become.  I don't think any of the early Muslims really had a fair exposure to Christian doctrine to really be judged as having rejected it. 

I think the other questionable approach in this argument is the idea that a few (relatively) minor theological points means someone no longer worships the same God.  Taken to the logical conclusion, not even Roman Catholics worship God since they have a slightly different understanding of the Trinity.  Or for that matter, Orthodox people with different theologoumenia would not be worshipping the same God (take the dispute over iconography of Trinity and the Father in particular).  I think the argument could hold weight when it is made about groups who aren't monotheists - the LDS for example.  Even then, I just don't see how or why it is productive to tell people they don't worship the same God.
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« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2007, 03:17:26 PM »

+ Irini nem ehmot,

Just out of curiosity... would you consider denying the Divinity of Christ to be a 'relatively minor theological point'?
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« Reply #22 on: August 25, 2007, 03:24:28 PM »

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Just out of curiosity... would you consider denying the Divinity of Christ to be a 'relatively minor theological point'?

That is why I said relatively.  Compared to Buddhism and Hinduism that are a mix of old tribal deities, I'd say that compared to a monotheistic religion that believes in a omnipotent creator, a similar idea of heaven and hell such a thing is relatively minor.
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« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2007, 03:25:24 PM »

Speaking of Sunnis and Shi'ites, I heard an interesting story from one Turkmen Muslim. Turkmenia, or Turkmenistan, is a country southwest of Uzbekistan, northeast of Iran, and northwest from Afghanistan, formerly a constituent republic of the USSR. Its population is virtually 100% Sunni Muslim. But they have a popular saying, a folk rhyme; when they want to praise a young man for courage and/or strength, thay say, "hey, here's a jigite (i.e., a strongman, a hero), he's a true Shi'ite!" Generally, Sunni and Shia do not consider each other heretics or "bad people." They very highly esteem each other as real, 100% Muslim. This Turkmen actually told me that the notion that "Sunnis fight Shias" in today's Iraq is totally false, a product of either total ignorance or a total malice of the American propaganda.Smiley In fact, it's different ethnic tribes who fight each other in Irag, some of which happen to be Sunni and other Shia.
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« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2007, 03:38:51 PM »

+ Irini nem ehmot,

I see.  I would have to disagree though.  In my eyes, there is no difference between Islam and, say, Buddhism or Hinduism.  At one time, Ancient Egypt was monotheistic (under Akhenaton).  That did not make the one god believed by them the same as the God we know.  Thus, to me, Islam is no different then any other monotheistic pagan religion.  It just happens to use a corrupted version of the Christian God as a guise.  I see a denial of the Divinity of Christ to be quite a major theological point on par with any other varying religious view.
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« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2007, 04:28:05 PM »

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At one time, Ancient Egypt was monotheistic (under Akhenaton).  That did not make the one god believed by them the same as the God we know.

The problem is that not even all of the Orthodox church fathers would agree with that.  Socrates was praised highly.  The idea that Greek philosophy played the same role to the Greeks as the prophets played in Hebrew society isn't entirely unheard of in Orthodoxy.  I'll dig up some interesting quotes and post them later if you wish.  Frankly, I don't care one way or another whether Christians (or just Orthodox Christians if you prefer) and Muslims worhsip the same God - my concern in this thread is that such a complete dismissal of all things non-Christian hasn't really been the historical position of the Orthodox Church and has some unpleasant implications. 
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« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2007, 04:36:25 PM »

+ Irini nem ehmot,

Oh no, you are absolutely right.  I did not want to give the impression that I dismissed all things non-Christian.  I am the first to admit that elements of Truth can be found in all religions.  We all are God's creatures, and as such, within all of us we have a longing to know Him, just as He longs to draw us to Him.  That being said though, the fullness of Truth can only be found in Christianity (Orthodoxy if you like).  And thus, by extention, who God is, is defined within this fullness of Truth as He has revealed it to us.  I would be very interested in those quotes whenever you get the chance.  Thank you in advance.
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« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2007, 04:44:57 PM »

+ Irini nem ehmot,

One other thing I would like to add, that makes Islam different then any of the ancient religions that pre-date Christianity, is that, prior to the Incarnation of Christ, all of man was not privy to the knowledge of God.  God had revealed Himself specifically to the Hebrews at first, and thus, other cultural attempts at knowing God, could be viewed as truly sincere efforts on the part of those practitioners.  After the Incarnation, Death, Resurrection and Ascention of Christ, and after His command to the Apostles to go and 'make disciples of all nations', the knowledge of God is no longer for an exclusive group, but for the whole world.  Islam came along, took a corruption of the Truth and perverted it further.  Thus, even if we were to argue that the ancients worshipped God in their own right, I do not see how we can argue the same for Islam.
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« Reply #28 on: August 26, 2007, 08:40:55 AM »

The problem is that not even all of the Orthodox church fathers would agree with that.  Socrates was praised highly.  The idea that Greek philosophy played the same role to the Greeks as the prophets played in Hebrew society isn't entirely unheard of in Orthodoxy.  I'll dig up some interesting quotes and post them later if you wish.  Frankly, I don't care one way or another whether Christians (or just Orthodox Christians if you prefer) and Muslims worhsip the same God - my concern in this thread is that such a complete dismissal of all things non-Christian hasn't really been the historical position of the Orthodox Church and has some unpleasant implications. 

I don't have the exact quote nektarios but to paraphrase st Basil refered to the ancient greek philosophers as nectar from the flowers that we must gather and use in conjunction with the what we already have. Sorry for butchering a beautiful quote but it sounded more inspiring than that
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« Reply #29 on: August 26, 2007, 04:08:17 PM »

Quote
I don't have the exact quote nektarios but to paraphrase st Basil refered to the ancient greek philosophers as nectar from the flowers that we must gather and use in conjunction with the what we already have

The quote went along the lines of that we ought to emulate bees who take only that which is good from all the flowers and produce sweet and pure honey. 

Quote
I would be very interested in those quotes whenever you get the chance.

I guess the first and most obvious is St. Paul in starting in Acts 17:22.  If any Orthodox bishop were to speak in such a manner today, he would be condemned as an ecumenist, syncretists, new calendarist or whatever else (to be honest, I'm surprised certain EO sects haven't taken St. Paul out of the synaxarion...).  To say that a God worshipped by Pagans is the Christian God is certainly a step further than saying the Abrahamic God worshipped by other monotheists is the same as the Christian God. 

St. Justin Martyr:
"Those who lived in accordance with the Logos are Christians, even though they were called godless, such as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus and others like them."

Lactantius:
The Greeks speak of God as the Logos...for Logos signifies both speech and reason, inasmuch as he is both the voice and the wisdom of God.  And of this Divine voice not even the philosophers were ignorant, since Zeno represents the Logos as arranger of the established order of things, and the framer of the universe: whom he calls Fate, and the necessity of things, and God, and the soul of Jupiter, in accordance with the custom, indeed, by which they are wont to regard Jupiter as God.  But the words are no obstacle, since the sentiment is in agreement with the truth.

There are more quotes, but I'm kind of lazy.  The basic outline of this idea is put forth very well in the book Christ the Eternal Tao.  The premise of the book is that if many fathers accepted ancient Greek philosophy as almost inspired (and the reality is that Christianity got the concept of the Logos from the Greeks, not the Hebrews), than ancient Daoism can be accorded the same respect.  No mention is made of Islam - that is my own extension, if the pagan Greco-Roman philosophical tradition can be call worshipping the same God and the almost non-theistic ideas of Daoism, is Islam that much more of a stretch? 

Quote
After the Incarnation, Death, Resurrection and Ascention of Christ, and after His command to the Apostles to go and 'make disciples of all nations', the knowledge of God is no longer for an exclusive group, but for the whole world.  Islam came along, took a corruption of the Truth and perverted it further.  Thus, even if we were to argue that the ancients worshipped God in their own right, I do not see how we can argue the same for Islam.

To that I'd argue that St. Paul still told the Athenians that their unkown God was the Christian God after the Christian revelation.  The reality is also that in most of the Islamic world, the social and political conditions make the open knowledge and preaching of Christianity all but impossible.  I'm not as familar with Arab and North African Islam but the typical central Asian Muslim lives in a state with a Soviet style near dictatorship and his only exposure to Christianity has been Russian chauvanism and colonialism - so is it really accurate to judge such a person as having heard the Christian Gospel and rejected it? 

   
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« Reply #30 on: August 26, 2007, 05:47:27 PM »

Thank you all for your thoughts on the matter.  Very interesting and informative discussion.

Rob
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« Reply #31 on: August 26, 2007, 06:53:46 PM »

Well this was a defining moment for choosing Orthodoxy over protestantism as the to be saved you must believe. I asked someone would humble african tibes not knowing other civilisations (in theory as these places probably don't exist) would they go to Hell for never knowing Christ and they answered with a hard Yes and I thought maybe this is an isolated opinion but no they leave no room for subjective judgement from God they believe in the sola fide doctrine so blindly someone said that the moment Christ died on the cross anyone dying immediately after that went to Hell. With Orthodoxy I liked how they believed that those outside of the church could be saved and I believe it is summed up in the beautiful quote "We know were grace is but we do not know where grace isn't".
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« Reply #32 on: August 26, 2007, 07:26:35 PM »

"We know were grace is but we do not know where grace isn't".
I was just on another forum where we were discussing infinite mathematics (or rather, they were and I was reading, as that subject baffles me), so excuse the rather logical response here. My brain's still in math mode.

If we do not know where grace is not, then would it follow that everything we have seen is filled with grace? And if that is true, then would a corollary to the postulate above be "There is nothing which is not filled with grace"? And if we can prove this corollary true, then would it follow that because God is the origin of grace, then there is no place where God is not, and therefore God is indeed omnipresent?
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« Reply #33 on: August 26, 2007, 08:03:05 PM »

I understand what you mean but as an Orthodox and not a Catholic (lol) ytterbiumanalyst I would suggest you get out of logic mode  when reading the quotes of the holy fathers. 
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« Reply #34 on: August 26, 2007, 08:08:14 PM »

anyway back to the question at hand I think there is are a few ways you can answer the question. speaking from a purely linguistic and anthropological view I would say yes muslims worship a omnicient omnipresent and omnipotent being of no origen also that they believe in the God of Abraham and Moses so its a double yes. speaking form a christian point of view after christ became incarnate as a man he taught us the concept of God as the trinity so anyone not worshipping the trinity would be worshipping an "outdated" view of God. But a rebuttal to this is that the concept of God is different among different people so as long as it entails the 4 above mentioned attributes it doesn't matter if its a trinity, duality or several avatars that make up the essence of God.
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« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2007, 10:13:36 AM »

Jibrail Almuhajir, peace be with you and thank you for your interest and I am sure you have some knowledge of these things in your part of the world. However, the story you were told is the usual one told to avoid causing offense and it is the one adopted by most textbooks also but, as I said above, if you delve into the history of the situation, you will find that the Sunnis broke away from the Shi'ites. As the Sunnis now greatly out-number the Shi'ites the facts of these matters are raised even less often. However it is actually very similar to how Joseph Smith appointed James Strang as his successor and yet today the largest body which claims to follow Smith does everything it can to ignore this since they rejected Strang in favour of Young who then took his followers (about 2/3rds at that time) to Utah. Similar instances can be found amongst many faiths. There are seldom true divisions but rather it is much more common that some people reject the way things are and either change or reject something that they may break away. Also (back on Islam), if you look at how their mosques are decorated inside, you will see how the Shi'ites retain more of the Christian influence which Mohammed received whilst hiding in Churches. Sunnis lack this because they moved away from the faith of Mohammed himself.

Νεκτάριος, good point about the Nestorians. Sadly, many Baptists in Texas are becoming Muslims because they are in fact Nestorian in dotrine and do not truly believe that Christ Jesus is God. You are correct in saying that historically the Orthodox Church does not dismiss all things non-Christian however she will dismiss all those who leave Christianity. In Acts 17:22 St. Paul said the Athenians were "too superstitious"; how does this relate to non-Christians worshipping God or otherwise?

Heorhij, you are correct in saying that most Sunnis and Shi'ites are willing to consider one another as Muslims just as many Protestants and Roman Catholics are willing to consider one another Christians. This does not mean it is historically accurate to do so though.

prodromas, whilst it is true that we do not know where grace is not, that does not imply that there is any grace outside of the Christian Church (although there might be).
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« Reply #36 on: August 28, 2007, 09:30:33 AM »

+ Irini nem ehmot,

Quote
There are more quotes, but I'm kind of lazy.  The basic outline of this idea is put forth very well in the book Christ the Eternal Tao.  The premise of the book is that if many fathers accepted ancient Greek philosophy as almost inspired (and the reality is that Christianity got the concept of the Logos from the Greeks, not the Hebrews), than ancient Daoism can be accorded the same respect.  No mention is made of Islam - that is my own extension, if the pagan Greco-Roman philosophical tradition can be call worshipping the same God and the almost non-theistic ideas of Daoism, is Islam that much more of a stretch?

Thank you for those quotes.  They were very insightful.  Now, regarding Islam, I would still think it is a stretch.  My reasoning has to do with the chronology of God's revelation.  Now, I know God stands outside of time and is not bound by it, but His revelation of Himself occurred over a period of time.  His full revelation as a Trinity did not come about until the incarnation of Christ.  Thus, even the pre-Christian Hebrews had an inkling that God was a Trinity, but it wasn't confirmed 100% the way it is now.  That is why, the pre-Christian religions, it could be argued, may worship the same God as the Christians, because this revelation was not known to them. 

However, I still hold that Islam, being a corrupt and perverted form of Christianity, cannot be viewed in the same light.  Islam all but calls Christ a liar, so how can a religion that calls Truth a lie worship the God of Truth?  In this day and age, yes, it is difficult to preach the Gospel in Islamic countries, which is quite unfortunate.  But this is also the era of the internet superhighway, and so, oral preaching is no longer as necessary as it once was.  The Truth is accessible to virtually everyone who seeks Him.  As such, I'm still not as flexible considering a god of perversion to be equivalent to the God of Truth.

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« Reply #37 on: August 28, 2007, 11:28:01 AM »

There's always the "depends" factor.  The issue is that if they have some element of truth, you can tend to exaggerate and praise their "Christian-ness."  One time, a hijabi girl would always talk about how much she prays and talks a lot about her love for the religion and love for hard work.  Such "evangelistic" tendencies bothered me, but my spiritual father taught me to look at how Christian she acts.  At this point, I admired her for such qualities.

At the same time, one has to realize that you there's a line that has to be drawn.  I don't think any of the fathers in the quotes given or St. Paul when talking about the "unknown God" crossed this line.  They used what the people believed and stretched it to included the real Truth of Christianity.  Such evangelistic practices are not foreign.  I've watched Coptic priests and bishops who are extremely knowledgeable of the Koran use some verses of the Koran when agreeable with Christian dogma as a technique to attract the Muslim.  I would agree with the Muslim that there is "no Allah but Allah," the "beneficent and merciful," but I would continue to disagree with the Muslim and say that the Allah is Trinity.  I think the idea of an "unknown God" is that exception where really, the people did not know this god to begin with.  Not only was it a tool of teaching, but also a way to debunk all the other gods they have worshiped.  Would I dare say to a Greek that your Zeus and my Father in the Trinity is the same?

I'd also like to point out that using the language of the Greeks or Arabs to define Christianity does not mean that the dogmas of Christianity was formed with influence by the beliefs of other religions.  Christianity has an unchangeable essence of faith on its own, manifest in different cultures, different languages, different customs and traditions.  Perhaps, the problem here is that Christianity has become so "Greek," they may make is as though Christianity can ONLY be explained with Greek understanding.

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« Reply #38 on: January 09, 2008, 07:14:27 PM »

Jibrail Almuhajir, peace be with you and thank you for your interest and I am sure you have some knowledge of these things in your part of the world. However, the story you were told is the usual one told to avoid causing offense and it is the one adopted by most textbooks also but, as I said above, if you delve into the history of the situation, you will find that the Sunnis broke away from the Shi'ites. As the Sunnis now greatly out-number the Shi'ites the facts of these matters are raised even less often. However it is actually very similar to how Joseph Smith appointed James Strang as his successor and yet today the largest body which claims to follow Smith does everything it can to ignore this since they rejected Strang in favour of Young who then took his followers (about 2/3rds at that time) to Utah. Similar instances can be found amongst many faiths. There are seldom true divisions but rather it is much more common that some people reject the way things are and either change or reject something that they may break away. Also (back on Islam), if you look at how their mosques are decorated inside, you will see how the Shi'ites retain more of the Christian influence which Mohammed received whilst hiding in Churches. Sunnis lack this because they moved away from the faith of Mohammed himself.

My brother, this is a weak position because, Ali, affirmed Abu Bakr as the successor of Muhammad.  The fact that Ali (the supposed leader of the Shites) affirmed Abu Bakr as the successor of Muhammad is a proof that the Sunnis are the true Orthodox Islamic group.

At one time Iran was all Sunni, and then with the rebirth of the Shia lead to the killing of alot of Sunni Muslim, this similiar action has happened with the Wahabis of Saudi Arabia who in turn kill many Sunni Muslim in Arabia and trying to re-establish the "old" way.

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« Reply #39 on: January 09, 2008, 07:39:32 PM »

My brother, this is a weak position because, Ali, affirmed Abu Bakr as the successor of Muhammad.  The fact that Ali (the supposed leader of the Shites) affirmed Abu Bakr as the successor of Muhammad is a proof that the Sunnis are the true Orthodox Islamic group.

At one time Iran was all Sunni, and then with the rebirth of the Shia lead to the killing of alot of Sunni Muslim, this similiar action has happened with the Wahabis of Saudi Arabia who in turn kill many Sunni Muslim in Arabia and trying to re-establish the "old" way.



Since the True Faith is not at stake I hesitate to post, but for educational purposes: Ali accepted Abu Bakr only when Fatima died, thus weakening his link to their prophet.  Using Sunni sources, you can show that the patriarch of the Umayyads and Abbaisids urged Ali to revolt. Further Sunni sources claim that the prophet designate Ali as a leader, and that only Ali alone besides the prophet delievered the Quran, was designated as Aaron is to Moses, etc.
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« Reply #40 on: January 09, 2008, 07:39:44 PM »

  Would I dare say to a Greek that your Zeus and my Father in the Trinity is the same?

It would depend upon how that Greek thinks, speaks, and acts.
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« Reply #41 on: January 10, 2008, 12:55:03 AM »



At one time Iran was all Sunni, and then with the rebirth of the Shia lead to the killing of alot of Sunni Muslim, this similiar action has happened with the Wahabis of Saudi Arabia who in turn kill many Sunni Muslim in Arabia and trying to re-establish the "old" way.



Iran's conversion to Shi'ism breathed new life into an Arab sect of 'mainline' Sunni Islam. Iran persianized Shi'ism completely. The conversian to Shi'ism was for political reasons. Mainly to counter their rival Ottoman neighbors. Also, to make Iran distinct from Arab muslims. Arabs may have conquered Persia and converted it to Islam. But this conversion to Shi'ism was in a way giving the conquered the last word -- as well as a way to ensure that the country didn't drown in a sea of Arabic and Arab culture, as was the fate of Egypt and former Byzantine areas of what is now the Levant.

I know this went a little off course, but Iran's being Shia did not come about because of religious motives or a fervor for Shi'iam at the beginning.
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« Reply #42 on: January 10, 2008, 04:00:35 AM »

As they say, answer a question with a question:
Do Muslims worship the same God as Jews?
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« Reply #43 on: January 10, 2008, 11:04:23 AM »

Hello friend! 

Just wanted to also give you the option of using the search engine on the forum. 

Just type in the word "Islam" and you will have many threads come up regarding this topic. 

Good hunting! 
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« Reply #44 on: January 11, 2008, 12:35:09 PM »

As they say, answer a question with a question:
Do Muslims worship the same God as Jews?


I think fundamentally, or in general Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same God.  The God of Abraham, the Creator of the heavens and the earth.  However the difference between the three is their understanding of God, they differ in the expression of who and what is this God they are worshipping, but it is the same God.

I am not familiar with the spiritual aspects of the Jewish faith, however I am quite familiar with the Islamic spiritual aspects, known as Sufism.  The methods by which one attains the connection to God is the generally the same between the Orthodox tradition and the Sunni Sufis of which I have studied. 

The nous "the eye of the soul" in the Orthodox tradition is the spiritual faculty by which one directly experiences or sees God.
The ruh "the soul" in the Sunni Sufi (Tasawwuf) tradition is the spiritual faculty by which one directly experiences or sees God.

The spiritual books of both almost mirror each other in regards to the means by which one activates the nous or ruh in order to experience God directly, or course the terminology is slightly different but the meaning is the same.

In conclusion:

1) If one wants to believe there is a difference between the God of Islam, Judiaism and Christianity, then one will be able to establish proofs for that.

2) If one wants to believe there is no difference between the God of Islam, Judiaism and Christianity, then one will be able to establish proofs for that.

I am personally convinced of the second, and I don't believe one will be damned to hell for hold either belief.

I also personally believe that if the Islamic propheisies are true, then the future Islamic leader Al Mahdi and his followers will give his allegence to Jesus when he descend, so in that day, according to Islamic propheises Muslims and Christian will both be one all followers of Lord Jesus Christ.

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« Reply #45 on: January 11, 2008, 01:16:56 PM »

I think fundamentally, or in general Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same God.  The God of Abraham, the Creator of the heavens and the earth.  However the difference between the three is their understanding of God, they differ in the expression of who and what is this God they are worshipping, but it is the same God.

I am not familiar with the spiritual aspects of the Jewish faith, however I am quite familiar with the Islamic spiritual aspects, known as Sufism.  The methods by which one attains the connection to God is the generally the same between the Orthodox tradition and the Sunni Sufis of which I have studied. 

The nous "the eye of the soul" in the Orthodox tradition is the spiritual faculty by which one directly experiences or sees God.
The ruh "the soul" in the Sunni Sufi (Tasawwuf) tradition is the spiritual faculty by which one directly experiences or sees God.

The spiritual books of both almost mirror each other in regards to the means by which one activates the nous or ruh in order to experience God directly, or course the terminology is slightly different but the meaning is the same.

In conclusion:

1) If one wants to believe there is a difference between the God of Islam, Judiaism and Christianity, then one will be able to establish proofs for that.

2) If one wants to believe there is no difference between the God of Islam, Judiaism and Christianity, then one will be able to establish proofs for that.

I am personally convinced of the second, and I don't believe one will be damned to hell for hold either belief.

I also personally believe that if the Islamic propheisies are true, then the future Islamic leader Al Mahdi and his followers will give his allegence to Jesus when he descend, so in that day, according to Islamic propheises Muslims and Christian will both be one all followers of Lord Jesus Christ.



Then how would you explain 'No one comes to the Father except through Me' statement that our Lord said?   Was this just a momentary idea of His or was he serious. Did Christ really mean this?  How would this statement impact the Jews and Muslims?  I am well aware of the "mercies of God" answers for this, but I am trying to get an answer to is: why should any of us care what religion we belong to as long as it's God centered?
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« Reply #46 on: January 11, 2008, 02:51:25 PM »

Then how would you explain 'No one comes to the Father except through Me' statement that our Lord said? 

There are a million ways to "Me".
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« Reply #47 on: January 11, 2008, 03:47:12 PM »

Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?  NO.
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« Reply #48 on: January 11, 2008, 04:01:30 PM »

Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?  NO.

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« Reply #49 on: January 11, 2008, 04:54:42 PM »

Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?  NO.

Would it be unorthodox to believe otherwise?
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« Reply #50 on: January 13, 2008, 07:43:02 PM »

It would be unchristian to believe otherwise.  If you do, then you might as well be Muslim.  There is no other god as our God. 
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« Reply #51 on: January 13, 2008, 10:51:07 PM »

It would be unchristian to even be concerned about other ways to God. We know how to come to Christ; we do so in every Liturgy. If there are other ways to Him, great; but when ours is presented to us every week, what need have we of knowing whether there is another, more difficult path?
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« Reply #52 on: January 14, 2008, 12:03:07 PM »

... what need have we of knowing whether there is another, more difficult path?

Not that the path to Christ as it is in the church is easy...

Although that was always a conflict for me.  My path is easy my burden is light, but you live it and it doesn't quite feel that way...

I'm sure there's a thread on it somewhere on the forum.  Time to do some searching! 
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« Reply #53 on: January 14, 2008, 01:53:13 PM »

It would be unchristian to even be concerned about other ways to God. We know how to come to Christ; we do so in every Liturgy. If there are other ways to Him, great; but when ours is presented to us every week, what need have we of knowing whether there is another, more difficult path?

This is the most correct answer. And the answer to JoeS' Question:

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Then how would you explain 'No one comes to the Father except through Me' statement that our Lord said?   Was this just a momentary idea of His or was he serious. Did Christ really mean this?  How would this statement impact the Jews and Muslims?  I am well aware of the "mercies of God" answers for this, but I am trying to get an answer to is: why should any of us care what religion we belong to as long as it's God centered?

Jesus is the way, and we should only concern ourselves with this.  Because in all honesty, we don't know the answer and we should leave that judgement with the Lord himself.

A wise man once says, "Be avid for that which benefits."  And the only that benefits a believer are those matters which pretain him and the means by which he follows the Lord's commendments.

On the last day when A believer stands before the Lord, he isn't going to be asked, "Do Muslims worship the same God is you?"

A believer however might be asked, "Did you worship the one true God?"

Judgement is for the Lord not us, our business is to adhere to His commendments.

So I guess the best answer is to refrain our judgement and be concerned with ourselves and what we are doing to please our Lord.

And the Lord knows best.
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« Reply #54 on: January 14, 2008, 08:16:30 PM »

Wouldn't the Lords greatest commandment love thy neighbour be a more pertinent commandment to follow? But i guess if you worshiped the one true God then you would have already followed that.
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