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Discuss: Worship

I was wandering around the blogosphere last night waiting for the Remewin to fall asleep when I came across a review of a book called 'Walking the Bible.' The blogger was disappointed and in her review she made a comment something like this:

The author used the premise that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all worship the same God. That is in no way, shape, or form accurate.

That got me thinking. I guess I've always thought of God as God, whether he be referred to as Allah or Heavenly Father or whatever else he might be called. I hadn't really stopped to think that I was inferring we all worship the same God.

If you really wanted to think long and hard about this (which is what I've been doing since 9pm last night) you start making some connnections.

Thinking academically the three religions do come from the same source. All splitting off at different points in time. This would lead one to believe that we basically believe in the same God. Also, and I'm really treading in deep water here, aren't these three groups the only monotheistic religions in the world?

Theologically there are some major differences. One being the belief in Christ. Another being the belief in Mohammed.

I'm no expert of religion (although sometimes I think I'll go into that someday), but I would like to dissect this idea a little.

So what do you think?


Claire Wessel said…
Since they do split off from the religion of Abraham, I would think they are worshiping the same God. Whether Elohim, God, Heavenly Father or Allah, I think scripturally that would be the same entity. People who believe in the strict view of the Trinity will take issue with this since they believe that Jesus IS Heavenly Father, so if you aren't worshiping Jesus as the one and only then you can't be worshiping God. Since this trinitarian thing came about by agreement in Europe and (as far as I know) doesn't exist in other religions that acknowledge or worship Jesus outside of Creed based Christianity, I don't think it is particularly fair to impose it on an analysis of other religions. That said, this is the major point of Christian belief that allows the vast majority of Christians to believe that Latter-day Saints are not Christians, even though we believe in Christ. We don't believe in the creed that established mainstream trinitarian thought and to many, we therefore don't believe in the true nature of Christ. Muslims also believe in Christ, as do Baha'is, but again, not in the same sense as Mormons or Catholics or Protestants. Christ is not the center of Islam or the Baha'i Faith, but Christ is acknowledged as either important or equal to the entity who is the focus of their faith. Other than the neo-pagans, I don't know of any world religion currently in practice that is 100% polytheistic. Even Hinduism has a main creator god form (Brahman)and all the other gods are really god-aspects in some ways, just with a physical manifestation. Worshiping Brahman does occur in very small sects here and there, but is not the form commonly worshiped in India at least.

So, in my opinion, everyone is worshiping the same God. We are all sinners and we are all endowed with the ability to find the good and uplifting and follow it to God. I think the problems begin when people feel complacent or closed-minded so they stop looking for God or when they feel that God likes them best, forgetting that God created us all.

If you ever want to come investigate our library of world religions, you're welcome to swing by any time :) We've got shelves of them.
cannwin said…
You sound a little more educated in the subject than I am. I'm jealous. Perhaps I will come snag a book... someday, at the moment I've been reading a book for 4 months now. I'm on page 5. This is huge for me, I'm a voracious reader so you can really tell how busy I am.

As for our topic.

I was discussing this with a certain roommate of mine and we agreed that since Latter-Day Saints know Christ to be a separate entity from the Father then it is perhaps easier for us to accept that other faiths can worship that same God.

It might also be worth citing that "We claim the privilege to worship the Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where or what they may."

This, to me, indicates a certain understanding that God can, and is, worshiped in many different ways.

It stands to reason therefore that these three tenants CAN worship the same God differently.

I agree with you about the Nicene Creed. If you believe that God the Father is the same as Jesus Christ then it would be impossible to see non-Christians as followers of the One True God.

But what I don't understand is how you can argue that the Jews don't worship the same God. I mean if Christians believe in the Bible and Jews believe in the Bible (and I think Muslims do to) then how do you get around stories like that of David & Goliath where David says, "... I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied." (Sam. 17:45)

So if the Israelites didn't believe in the same God that the Christians believe in then why do Christians read the Bible. Or to flip it around, if the Jews believe in the same God that David believed in, how do Christians not believe in the same God as the Jews.

Did that make sense?
Claire Wessel said…
I haven't read a book that wasn't required reading for a class since the summer. I can usually manage a book or two during the summer. I do miss leisurely reading. I don't get where moms find the time for it. I have more time with Lee here but I remember doing it alone with the other kids and I never had a leisure minute until school-age! I have the first book in the Joseph Smith Papers series and I haven't gotten more than 5 pages in either! I need to be able to read in 3 minute snippets like the internet :) I think that is the appeal of the internet. It is much easier to be interrupted and not feel like you have to go back and re-read.

I definitely agree with you and the roomie. I've never really thought much about the Jew/God question though. I think that does present a bit of a problem to the idea of the trinity. Clearly, the Jews and Jesus were worshiping the same God, yet the Jews chose not to accept Jesus. Does that necessarily mean that they all the sudden started worshiping the wrong God? Did God change on them? Does God not like you anymore if you make a mistake in not recognizing Him? I think to claim that Jews aren't worshiping the correct God would be more of a statement that God has chosen to abandon them since they are still doing worship as they have always done, which was fine before Jesus. It's an interesting question. A question made even more cloudy by the Nicene creed's trinity, in my opinion.

Well, you may not be getting much reading in, but you are keeping me thinking :)
cannwin said…
As are you. I find this topic appealing, I hope someone else joins in and give us some other view. :)
dana in dublin said…

Thanks so much for visiting my blog and leaving a comment! I am glad to hear you are interested in the topic. I would love to join the discussion but I am on holiday right now. I will pop in to your blog when I get home. -Dana

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