Monday, May 27, 2013

Two Gods

Sheikh Amed Magghabri (left) and Rev Isaac Poobalan (right) at St John's Episcopal Church which is also being used as a mosque
picture source

The Woolwich muderers were converts to Islam, if memory serves more than a few other Islamic assassins are converts too. Being Muslim is more or less self defining, the credal proclamation of "God is Great and Mohammed is his prophet" is all that is necessary; beards, circumcision, prayer, pilgrimage, mosque attendance or anything else are desirable "additions". In Islam though there are scholars and scholarly opinions there is no body to define orthodoxy, except the local Islamic community, in the West there are perhaps more diverse and isolated extremes than in traditional Islamic countries, though even in these countries, which were once marked by a degree of tolerance are now moving towards a bloody extreme. Perhaps there is a reaction to the secular "westernisation" of the West.

On Trinity Sunday it is worth comparing the two Gods: the monotheistic God of Islam and the Trinitarian God of Christians. The doctrine of the Trinity isn't about mathematics 1+1+1=1 but about relationships, in his oneness God is a Community of Persons. He is in his very nature dynamic and although he has no need of his creation, it is his nature to desire a relationship with his creation. The Christian God is not a solitary being who delivers positive law through his "prophet" so that we might become abdullah, servants/slaves of God, but rather he embues us with his own divine nature and makes us a "new creation". Indeed at the heart of Christianity is not obedience to divine positive law but theosis, humanity becoming by adoption, infusion by the Holy Spirit, what Christ is by his Divine Nature. We become Sons.

Pope Benedict's Regensburg address is important in understanding the fundamental difference between these two God's. The question of the Emperor Manuel II still stands, "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” In the best interpretations of Islam God is merciful, even compassionate, towards human failings but he is always distant. God sharing human experience, temptation and death is obviously entirely alien to the Islamic God.

The Regensburg address not only draws attention to the difference in the understanding of God but consequently also the difference in understandings of man. The Christian God through his desire for intimacy enables man through reason to understand the the very mind of God through the Natural Law, hence humanity even untouched by revelation can by reason grasp something of the mind of God.

Perhaps the Church needs to recognise the enormous distinction between the Christian God and the Islamic God and taks seriously the need to evangelise Islam. "We all believe in one God" is true but it certainly is not the same God, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity liberates, redeems and sanctifies humanity.


Independent said...

Is it not the case in Islam that Allah is the proximate cause of everything? There is no distinction between proximate and ultimate and human endeavour is consequently pointless. Free Will cannot exist. Allah is also quite arbitrary and can be contradictory.

It is not surprising that science does not flourish against such a background.

Katalina said...

Fr Blake you really no better than to fall into this Neo Con Ideology. Go Back and read the Vatican II Document on Non Christian Religions as well as the Catechism of the Catholic Church which BOTH say that Islam IS one of the three Monotheists Faiths as well as Christianity and Judaism. If you do not follow these two than why not point out that Hinduism is a false Faith where Brahmin is not the same God as well. The same point applies.

Pastor in Valle said...

Bravo, Father. My thoughts precisely.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I presume you meant "know", I am unfamiliar with "neo-con" ideologies.

I am however concerned with theology, are you suggesting that VII was suggesting that the Trintarian God is the equivalent of the Monotheism of Islam? That there is no advantage in Christian Revelation of God?

I suggest you re-read what you think have read in the light of Tradition.

nickbris said...

A Catholic education,especially in GB teaches people to spell and relying on spellchecker is no excuse for not using the Dictionary.

Incidentally,those Moslem converts have probably been converted by other radicalised converts and what they preach is not Islam at all.They are just EVIL individuals who will use any excuse to cause misery.

Using the name of Allah to perpetrate their evil should be punished extremely by Muslims

Paulinus said...

Mohammed is a false prophet. We all seen the fruits. The god he proclaims is therefore a false god.

Our Lay of the Rosary, pray for us.

Martyrs of Otranto, pray for us.

Cosmos said...

What right do Christians have to disobey the Great Commission by refusing to attempt to baptize and disciple Muslims, simply because they are monotheists?

My hunch is that the answer will utilize the terms "dialogue" and "pastoral."

As for the Muslims knowing God the Father... 1 John 21-27:

"I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and know that no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he has promised us, eternal life. I write this to you about those who would deceive you; but the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him.

Anil Wang said...

It depends on what you mean by "same God".

In the sense that God is the creator of all things and is actively involved in the world and have their root in Abraham, the three monotheistic faiths have the same God. The so-called Gods of all other faiths including Hinduism are either the universe itself or a super being within the universe (e.g. Zeus, tribal god's etc).

Similarly, in the sense that God can make unbreakable covenants and that God is Father, only Judiasm and Christianity share the same God. From the Islamic perspective, God is so great that the difference between we and God is like the difference between a person and a virus. From the Islamic perspective, it's presumptionous to the point of blasphemy to suggest that God would bind himself to our viral existence or even allow us to call him Father. God is merciful in Islam in the sense that we are merciful when we allow a virus to exist and don't just sterlize it out of existence.

Similarly, in the sense that God is truly personal and became man, and allows images of him and even his name to be used (i.e. Jew's refer to God in English as "G-d" not "God"), Jews and Christians have a different God.

Similarly, in the sense that God has a visible body that is the source of all Grace and has authority to teach, Catholics have a different God than Protestants.

Anil Wang said...

For the record, this comic expresses the "same God" issue in far fewer words:

Ma Tucker said...

Abraham and Moses looked forward to Christ. Any religion that claims Abraham and Moses as their heritage while denying Christ is a false religion that Abraham and Moses would never recognise. The god these false religions preach is likewise a false god or at best a poor reflection of The One True Triune God.

This is very beautiful and please God I think sums up good attitude to have.

Extract from THE SECOND EVE"; Cardinal Dechamps:
"I was one day with a friend, who was passionately fond of flowers, in a room which commanded a view of his magnificent gardens, when we saw a poor man come in who began to walk backwards and forwards over the beds, trampling the choicest flowers under his feet. The owner went out in a tumult of indignation to punish the culprit, when he saw that he was blind. He was immediately touched with compassion, took him gently by the hand, and led him back into the path which he had lost. Let us do the same with regard to those blind souls who trample under foot the holiest, sweetest, and most sublime truths. Let us do still more, for their blindness is not incurable; let us show them the truth of that which they have been made to misunderstand, the greatness of that which they have been made to despise, and the divinity of that which they have been made to blaspheme. "

(thanks to Rorate Caeli for the discovery of a truly wonderful book)

nickbris said...

Apostasy and using the name of God to perpetrate EVIL is an insult to God and is punishable by execution.

epsilon said...

"Let us do the same with regard to those blind souls who trample under foot the holiest, sweetest, and most sublime truths."

or holy places?...

surely not right up onto the altar! Does noone else find the photo on this post very disturbing?

DrAndroSF said...

Western, Christian and Catholic naivete and self-delusion about Islam is part of our culture's suicidal trajectory.

Islam is, and always has been, an expansionist (imperialist) and totalitarian theocracy. It only seeks co-existence when it is a minority. As its numbers and power grow, it becomes more and more aggressive.

Even liberals respond to it with appeasement and deference because it is a Third World religion, a non-White phenomenon and "we" have been forbidden to assert ourselves against any such people.

You may know some nice Muslims, but Islam is our implacable enemy.

Deacon Augustine said...

Well said, Fr. Blake. The one true God has adopted us as sons. The Muslim "god" only has slaves.

While they may be monotheist, Lumen Gentium only says of the Muslims that they "profess" or "claim" to hold the faith of Abraham and adore with us the one God. It does not categorically say that they do so. It is one of those carefully contrived ambiguities which has perhaps misled Katalina above.

Jacobi said...

Islam is a construct of pagan, Jewish and Christian ideas. As such it can be considered, partly, as a heresy, see Belloc’s “The Great Heresies”.

It is monotheistic, but then that is not uncommon. Many pagan religions are e.g., native North American beliefs.

The Islamic God is not the Judeo/Christian God, as fulfilled by the Incarnation

Regarding Vat II documents, Deacon Augustine’s point re ambiguities (there were so many in the documents) is surely definitive.