Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?
Larycia Alaine Hawkins, a professor working at the Evangelical Protestant Wheaton College in the U.S. state of Illinois, shared a photo of herself wearing a headscarf on Facebook to protest Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr.’s call to “end those Muslims.” Under the post, which soon appeared in the media and attracted considerable interest, she wrote:
“We worship the same God.”
Professor Hawkins' post once again raised a question that has been asked many times over the centuries:
“Do Muslims and Christians believe in and pray to the same God?”
Hawkins’ employment was soon terminated by the school administration. Her view regarding that question was expressed as follows on her Facebook page:
"… I love my Muslim neighbor because s/he deserves love by virtue of her/his human dignity. I stand in human solidarity with my Muslim neighbor because we are formed of the same primordial clay ... I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God."
Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and head of the international relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, expressed the following opinion on his Facebook account:
“Islam denies that God has a Son. They deny that Jesus is God. They do not believe in a Triune God — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. [Surely God is beyond that.] I can tell you — Islam and Christianity clearly do not worship the same God.”
While Prof. Hawkins' approach is a well-intentioned and peaceful one advocating interfaith union and brotherhood, Graham's words are also not entirely devoid of conceptual foundation. Some Christians today really do not pray to the same One God to Whom we Muslims pray. The reason for that is the idea of the trinity, which was later added onto the Christian belief that the Prophet Jesus brought.
Due to this belief, and with the exception of a few sects and faith groups, Christianity is totally divorced from the Christianity brought by Jesus. The Christianity of Jesus calls on people to believe in one God, while the trinitarian belief of the “Father, Son and Holy Ghost” prevails in modern-day Christianity: indeed, the trinity is one of main articles of faith in Christianity today.
Yet the idea of the trinity appears nowhere in the Old Testament, the Judaic sacred scripture, nor in the original of the New Testament, the Christian sacred text. Even so, there are still references to the oneness of God even in the corrupted versions of the New Testament. Some of these plentiful expressions read as follows:
“For there is one God …” (1 Timothy, 2:5)
"Jesus said to him, ‘… For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only’.” (Matthew, 4:10)
The belief in the trinity, which is completely at variance with monotheistic belief, is an erroneous belief in which divine status is ascribed to Jesus, who was sent down as a prophet. The concept was entirely unknown to the early Christians, and only became part of Christianity in the 4th century A.D.
“...to the only God our Savior be glory …” (Jude, 1:25)
Christians who believe in the trinity base their claims that Jesus is God in human form on the references in the Gospels to “the son of God.” Yet these references to the “son of God” in the Gospels in fact mean that believers are His beloved servants. This is made abundantly clear in the Gospel according to Matthew, in 5:9; “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Similar expressions also appear in the Torah; however, no observant Jew ever interpreted these literally, but only ever considered their metaphorical meaning. And that is clearly what the expression means.
Besides, Jesus never described himself as God. In another passage from the Gospel according to Mark, Jesus objects even to being called good, and says that God alone is good. (Mark 10: 17-18)
The prominent British religious historian Karen Armstrong stated that Jesus never claimed to be God - or even the son of God - and described it in these words:
"Paul had called him the ‘son of God’, but had used the title in its traditional Jewish sense: Jesus was a human being who had a special relationship to God … and had been raised by Him to uniquely high status.” (The Bible: The Biography, Karen Armstrong, p. 67)
A documentary based on a book by Karen Armstrong describes the emergence of the belief in the trinity as follows:
“A fierce debate sprung up in the early 4th century in Alexandria, in Egypt. Arius, a young priest started saying that Jesus was not divine in the same way as the Father, he was a human being who have been promoted to divine status because of his perfect obedience to God. The Emperor Constantine summoned a council to Nicaea in the year 325 to get things sorted out once and for all. It was at the Council of Nicaea that Jesus was declared to be fully divine. This trouble to define Jesus and his relationship to God and all of humanity would eventually give rise to a single, powerful idea: the belief that God in fact reveals himself to the world in three ways: as Father, as Son, and as Holy Spirit. It is a belief that would come to be called the trinity. … When it was decided that Jesus was divine in the same way as God the Father, Christians were understandably confused. Were there two gods? Then there was the question of the Holy Spirit… So were there three gods, how could you be monotheists?” (A History of God, Karen Armstrong)
The way that Christianity, an Abrahamic faith that recognizes God as the One and Only, was corrupted and turned into belief in a triune God was one of the worst harms ever inflicted upon it. This belief, portrayed as a Christian article of faith, leads to present-day Christians being improperly acquainted with God, to young people being misinformed about their Creator and the faith He sent down to them and, as a result, to major spiritual losses in the Christian world. All those Christians who do believe in the trinity must use their conscience and realize that God is One, and there is no other god than Him. He was never born nor given birth to. Turning to Him alone, without ascribing any equals to Him, is the essential way for those Christians to prove their devotion to Jesus.