Do we all worship the same god?

Religious pluralism is one of the greatest challenges facing Christianity in today’s world. Is Jesus Christ the only way? Why cannot we accept religious diversity on our Earth? Isn’t that saying “All roads lead to Rome.” true?

Pope Benedict XVI has stated that ‘Muslims worship the same God as Christians do’. Pope Francis echoed the same thing many times. Not only that he declares that “We are all children of God, All Major Religions Are Meeting God In Different Ways”. The Second Vatican Council taught that Muslims worship the one true God: “The Church regards with esteem also the Muslims. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even his inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God” (Nostra aetate 3). Are we all children of God?

Canada is one big cultural mosaic. People from every conceivable ethnic and religious background come together to form one nation. At the heart of our national sense of unity stands the crucial principle of religious toleration. Under the principle of religious toleration, all religious systems are guaranteed freedom of expression and equal treatment under the law. With the principle of equal toleration has come the idea that no religion has exclusive claims to truth. Though the concept of legal religious toleration says nothing at all about the validity of true claims, many have drawn the implication that equal toleration means equal validity. So, when Christians make claims of exclusivity, when they claim that Christianity is the only truth, their claims are often met with shock or anger at such a narrow-minded attitude. Is God so narrow-minded that He provides only one way of salvation? Does God care what we call Him?

There are so many secular studies and books published reflecting an attempt to get the basic core of religious truth that was found in all religion. In these studies, religion was reduced to its lowest common denominator – that is, all centered in concept of God. Frequently, the filtered essence of religion was pinpointed by the phrase “the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man.” It was seen that at the heart, all religions were working for the same thing. The popular notion in the 21st century is… “All Religions Are Good. It Doesn’t Matter What You Believe.’

The Mountain Analogy

Out of the quest for the essence of religion came the famous and popular “Mountain Analogy”. The mountain analogy pictures God at the peak of the mountain with man down at the base. The story of religion is the account of man’s effort to move from the base of the mountain to the peak of fellowship and communion with God. The mountain has many roads. Some of the roads go up the mountain by a very direct route. Other roads wind in winding fashion all over the mountain, but eventually reach the top. All religions climb up a mountain in different ways.

The Methodists will be methodical in their approach, the Anglicans will stop at every turn for a reading from the Book of Common Prayer, the Catholics draw the help from Mary and saints, the Muslims will have to carry their prayer rugs for their daily prayers, and so on. Each climbs the mountain in their own way, their own tradition, and when they get to the top, they see that all the other religions have gotten there too. So, according to the proponents of this analogy, all religious roads, though they differ in route, ultimately arrive at the same place.

We are not all Children of God

Bible does not teach a universal fatherhood of God and a universal brotherhood of man. And, we are not all children of God. Indeed we are called children of the Devil by nature (John 8:44; Eph. 2:1-3). The fatherhood of God restricted in the Bible to believers in Christ and therefore adopted into the family of God. Neither does the Bible teach the universal brotherhood of man. What the bible teaches is the universal neighborhood of man. All people are my neighbors, but not all are my brothers. The brotherhood is a special group of people who are united with each other by virtue of their union with Christ.

All religions are not the same

If someone says that all religions are the same then he knows little about other religions. How anyone could assert that all religions were the same when he had no knowledge of what those religions professed or denied. Muslims DO NOT worship the same God as Christians do. God of the Bible is NOT the god of the Muslims. Confusing the God of the Bible with Allah of the Quran is not only a mistake, it is a dangerous distortion of the Gospel of Christ.

God in the Bible vs god of Islam

There are only few similarities but so many differences. We both believe God is eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing creator. But we worship two different Gods.

  1. According to Islam, Allah is God’s proper name (it is the Aramaic word for “God”), while Christians and Jews know Him as YHWH or Yahweh.
  2. Allah is a single god but God of the Bible is a triune God. Islam teaches that the doctrine of the Trinity is blasphemous. But the Christian faith is essentially and irreducibly Trinitarian.
  3. According to Islam, Allah does not have a son, but God of the Bible has a Son, Jesus. If Allah has no son, then Allah is not the God who reveals Himself through the Son.
  4. Jesus is not merely a prophet, as acknowledged by Muslims, He is God in human flesh. This is precisely what Islam rejects.
  5. The God we worship did not send his most important prophet hundreds of years after the ascension of Jesus.
  6. God of Islam, made Muhammad higher than the name of Jesus. But the God of the Bible made the name of Jesus the highest name above all names.
  7. God of the Bible solved the sin issue through Jesus and asks sinners to find Jesus; but Islam teaches to get rid of believers of Jesus.
  8. God of the Bible calls people who trust in Jesus Righteous and saints. But God of Islam calls people who trust Jesus Infidels and Dogs.
  9. Islam does not have a doctrine of grace. They deny Jesus, His incarnation, His perfect life, His atoning suffering and death, His resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father.
  10. The differences are too many to list. Muslims are not worshiping the God of the Bible.

If anyone says that ‘all religions worshiped the same God and all of the religions are different paths to the same God’, that is an utter lie from Satan! All roads lead to their own exclusive destinations, and they do not even intersect, and they do not lead to the same God.

There are only two possible ways to maintain the equal validity of all religions. One is by ignoring the clear contradictions between them by a flight into irrationality; the other is by considering these contradictions as insignificant, non-essentials to accommodate religious peace. Differences in religious conviction have led again and again to passionate disputes between people, family alienation, violent forms of religious persecution, and in many cases even war. Thus if we were able to achieve a universal religious essence perhaps we can end these very costly disputes. The goal is peace. The price is truth. Rome sacrifices the truth of God for peace. But if we are interested in truth we can never discover it by denying real differences of truth-claims. The peace that is produced by reductionism (religious universalism) is a false and carnal peace.

The Preamble to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that Canada is founded upon biblical principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law. Now there is an immense pressure to the government to remove the “supremacy of God” clause from the Constitution. Also, they want government to remove the reference to God from Canada’s national anthem. Already, there is no place for the Lord’s Prayer in public institutions. We are living in challenging days. One of the most pressing challenges of our times is the task of speaking rightly about God. What is our stand when the world is crumbling around us? Without an apology we proclaim that Jesus Christ is the only way to one true God, and there is no other way!

Reference:
Dr. R. C. Sproul, Dr. John MacArthur and Dr. Albert Mohler