Joee has take me to task over a remark I made on a post I made below "By their fruits ...", “I get annoyed with Catholics and others who come out with the rather meaningless platitude, "Well, we all worship the same God". My answer: Don't be daft of course we don't!”"
Well, I was being provocative and it provoked Joee to produce an excellent riposte, dealing with what the Church says about Muslims and their worship of the One True God. I wasn’t really referring to Islam but just the rather unthinking remark that I am all to often met with when visiting those who drift away from the Church into Buddhism, different forms of Protestantism, Spiritualism and even occasionally Wicca or more often apathy or even and inability to choose between the variety of different options in the religion market place.
I do think that we have to ask the pretty basic question what do we actually mean when we say, “I believe in (one) God”.
If we judge belief by what we say, then it is important to ask quite what we mean, there is a great difference between someone who believes in a God who merely makes a watch sets it in motion and leaves it to run, and the God who is as we Christians belief is concerned about falling sparrows and who has counted the hairs on my head and comes to me each day in Holy Communion.
If we judge belief by what we do, then again I think there is a lot of difference between the concepts of God which my remarks prefaced in the Longeneker article about “fanatical” Christians and Muslims. What we believe, has definite effects in what we do. Hence Athanasius’, “You can tell an Arian by the way he treats the poor”.
In England, the Elizabethan “Poor Laws”, I believe could not have been introduced where there was a sense of the immanence of God, who was revealed in the iconography, sacramental theology and spirituality of a generation before, what had changed was a how God was seen. As soon as God had been made distant, then does he really care how we treat the poor? If we use actions to judge what people believe then we Catholics may well find we have more in common with those who value life, give alms to the poor, shelter the homeless, visit the imprisoned, care for the sick, value simple human goodness than we had thought.