Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Their God and our God

Those who say Allah refers to the same God as Christian theism sometimes use this argument: Muhammad had some knowledge of Jews and Christians. He may have gotten his information from members of the Jewish community as well as his Christian uncle (Waraqa Ibn Nawfal). So he intended to refer to their God. 

But I think that argument misses the target. Non-Christians can certainly refer to the Christian God. No doubt non-Christian theists like Maimonides, Al-Ghazâlî, Dale Tuggy, and Seyyed Hossein Nasr (to name a few) can and do refer to the Christian God. (For that matter, atheists can refer to the Christian God.) They talk about the Christian God when they attempt to critique Christian theism.

That, however, is not to be confused with the question of whether their God refers to our God. Indeed, they typically contrast their God with the Christian God.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe we could quickly get at the heart of the *motive* behind this statement by asking the interlocutor a simple question:

    Does the ISIS Muslim worship the same God as the Christian?

    Or, variously:

    Does the ISIS Muslim worship the same God as the non-ISIS Muslim living in the suburbs of New York?

    Of course that won't settle the philosophical debates about reference. But I think it will quickly weed out the majority of people who make the claim, who are really just interested in religious pluralism.