Do we (Muslims, Christians and Jews) believe in the same God or not?

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by Muhammad-Khalifa, Feb 29, 2004.

  1. chokmah

    chokmah Noachide

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    From a Christian POV, I completely agree with you.
    From Judaic/Noachide/Muslim POV, I cannot.

    There have been many messiahs throughout Jewish history. The different messiahs would be: Moses, Joshua, David, Hezekiah, the judges, the prophets... many, many people. If I'm not mistaken, Muslims do not consider Jesus to be THEE Messiah, but instead, simply a messiah. The same would be said for Muhammed. He is an "anointed" man according to Muslims; not divine.

    I can't really take Paul's interpretation of the Tanakh as legitimate, but I do understand where you're coming from.
     
  2. InChristAlways

    InChristAlways New Member

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    Hi chokma. The above was from a muslim and according to him Mohammad [PBUH] never read the OT/NT. That appears to present some problems as the OT describes what the Messiah would do for Israel/Judah upon His coming to them.

    How would Mohammed know who Abraham, Ishmael and Moses [PBUT] were for example:confused:
    Steve
     
  3. chokmah

    chokmah Noachide

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    True. I guess I would ask this particular Muslim to show proof of such statements.

    I was under the impression that Muhammed actually consulted with Jews about some things. Maybe I'm wrong. Whether he read the Tanakh or not, I do not know.
     
  4. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    In explicit words, yes.

    But what is monotheism? It is not just belief in one God and assigning partners to God but also building gods out of wood, clay and stone. This is what the God of Israel objected and complained about in the OT/Torah.

    We all have different ways of expressing our concept of God, the universe, cosmos and spirituality. Jews have their traditions. Muslims believe in following rules, protocols and institutions and constructing the Islamic State. Christians use different terminology to explain how God works in the spiritual and physical universe in His efforts to connect with us personally.

    Conceptualising God as a Being that gives us rules, traditions, protocols, institutions, ideologies and statecraft may actually be the same as making gods out of wood, clay and stone. If this is our idea of God then we are pretty much trying to "create God." These concepts are concepts of a man-made God, and we are no better than the Canaanites who built gods out of wood and stone because they couldn't think of a better God.

    People make rules because they don't trust each other, so rules are man-made. People start traditions for the fear that followers of a religion or movement won't continue aligning themselves to the same concepts or the same aims/objectives, so traditions are also man-made. All these things are built on human cynicism. We have this idea that things will fall apart and won't hold together if we don't have these things.

    It's no wonder atheists criticise us for "creating God." Following rules and traditions doesn't mean much when we could all have just made them up for ourselves without God existing in the first place. For atheists, "there is no God but what we make for ourselves." They believe that God was created by humankind to solve humanity's problems. Rules and traditions are not dependent on God, but on human beings.

    Haven't we all followed something man-made? People who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. The Canaanites built gods out of wood, clay and stone. We continue the mistake by building God out of rules, traditions and institutions. Aren't we hypocrites?

    Some basic do's/don'ts:
    1. Believe in one God; don't believe in other gods.
    2. Don't assign partners to God.
    3. Don't build gods out of existing, freely available or man-made materials. You can't recreate God.
    4. Don't build a Tower of Babel. This includes coming up with statecraft or a utopian political system.

    Do all that and you have a truly 100% monotheistic religion.

    It's easy to criticise Christianity because of the way people express it. However, saying "we believe in one God and no other" doesn't mean your religion is purely or truly monotheistic. I can't agree with the idea that Judaism and Islam are 100% monotheistic then.

    If we were all highly critical of each other's faiths, then we could all find reasons why Judaism, Christianity and Islam aren't monotheistic. Christianity would violate points 1 and 2 because of the Trinity. Judaism would violate points 2 and 3 because of devotion to Jewish traditions. Islam would violate points 3 and 4 because of the command to conform to the institutions of the Islamic State.

    Don't just look at what they say directly and explicitly about God. Look at the whole theology. A religion may say "believe in one God" but that religion's theology may not agree with the "one God" theory. What is God? Can you recreate God? I think they are all equally monotheistic, but we tend to have biased rather than balanced views on monotheism.

    The Bible (as in Christian Gospel) never speaks of God as three-in-one. This is merely Christian leaders and scholars extrapolating from what Christian apostles wrote. Neither, Paul, Peter, James, John, Luke or Matthew ever say God is three or three-in-one. The issue seems to come from the terminology that they used -- Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Word, Christ, Spirit, Spirit of God, Spirit of Christ, Lord, God.

    I think the reason why we have terminology like Father, Son, Word, Holy Spirit, Lord is simply to explain how God works in this world without man-made structures like rules and traditions. Father means God is the Source. Son refers to the first fruits of God -- God's glory. Word means "God's Revelation." The Holy Spirit is God's Spirit. God is the Holy Spirit because everything holy comes from Him and He is incorruptible.

    If God is the Source then rules, traditions and institutions aren't necessary. No man-made structure is needed. God provides the radiance that transforms and regenerates us so that we will hold together naturally as we grow and develop spiritually. God doesn't need rules or traditions and nor does His creation.

    The Christian faith doesn't say rules and traditions are wrong, but it does tell us to avoid them if they distort our perception of our own spiritual journey and God. Christianity does not revolve around rules, traditions or institutions. Christianity does not have any formalised concepts. I think the reason is so that we will all grow into God's spiritual Kingdom and spiritual Temple.

    I actually think the Christian faith is monotheistic in the sense that it is a "more natural" approach to the concept of God. I suppose Christianity does in some ways satisfy all four criteria (points 1 to 4) mentioned above.:)

    Here are my reasons (my view only):

    Point 2 - Don't Assign Partners to God
    We do not associate rules, traditions, protocols, institutions, ideology, statecraft and political systems as wisdom coming from God. We do not formalise God in this way. God doesn't need rules, traditions and institutions.

    Point 3 - Don't Build God Out of Wood, Clay and Stone
    We don't build our concept of God out of rules, traditions, etc. We believe in a Living God. God is the Source. Everything that is holy comes from Him. He grows and develops us from within. We can't recreate Him.

    Point 4 - Don't Build a Tower of Babel
    Our aim is not to create a utopian political system. Statecraft has never been the aim or objective of the Christian Gospel.

    Point 1 - Believe in one God and no Other
    Points 2 to 4 support this point.

    Christianity sounds monotheistic to me. You may accuse me of avoiding and neglecting the Trinity, but as I said the Christian apostles never put forward a Trinity concept. Moreover, they were in Christian terms closer to God then we are now. Trinity is more about the terminology they used rather than a definition of God. The Trinity doesn't define God.:D

    The apostles never defined God in the first place. They simply explained the meaning of God.

    And no, I don't want to start a heated debate on the Trinity.:confused:
     
  5. NewAgeNerd

    NewAgeNerd Goal: Orthodox Jew

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    Hello All,

    It has been a long time since I've posted here, but this discussion is interesting and I thought I'd jump in.

    According to the Jewish Tradition, G.D cannot be fragmented. He is a perfect Oneness devoid of seperation absolutely. Therefore, any concept of G.D that includes fragmentation is automatically rejected by Judaism as strictly monotheistic. In addition, the idea that G.D, an infinite being, could incarnate is something that Judaism also rejects. There is a question, however, of wether or not a belief in a god who is one and yet many constitutes Idol Worship and would thus be a violation of a Noahide Law. I for one do not think it does and consider Christianity a perfectly acceptable Religion. This holds true for the Hindus as well.

    With regards to Islam, Jews hold that their G.D is our G.D and a Mosque is considered an appropriate place for a Jew to worship. It is a huge shame that there is so much bad blood between our peoples as we(Muslims and Jews) are truly brothers. The Sikhs are also strictly monotheists and as a result their G.D is our G.D.

    Just to clarify, while we do believe in a Messiah, this Messiah is of the flesh and is no more a part of the infinite creator than any one of us. He will lead the world back to its Supreme, and Awesome Creator, and will unify the world with worship of Him.

    Peace and Love,

    J.L.
     
  6. mansio

    mansio New Member

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    Newagenerd

    Very interesting discussion.
    You say that God cannot be fragmented according to Jewish tradition, but he could be fragmented according to his own "tradition", that is his own free-will. It is not up to us to decide that God is like this or like that. He is as he wishes to be.
    I agree with you that Muslims and Jews are brothers in faith.
     
  7. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    hey NewAgeNerd:)

    it is good to see you again & welcome back!
    we started doing weekly Parshas since you were gone & we are also trying to build the Tabernacle from scratch. i for one, & i think others would surely appreciate your views & input in that forum when you have time & if you want to.

    check it out here:
    Interfaith Parsha Project

    & again, welcome back:)
     
  8. Out There

    Out There Servant of God

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    Assalamu'alaikum,

    In Principle, all religious movements believe in the same God, the One Almighty Being who permeates and rules the whole universe. But the difference between say Islam or Hinduism is that, Islam does not believe in ascribing models to God whilst the common Hindu does. Another example, Islam and Christianity. Islam teaches us that we must not ascribe intermediaries between God and men. Christianity on the other hand makes it a point that one must believes in Jesus Christ in order to reach God. However, the fact of the matter is, most religions do contain the concept of monotheism or TAWHID. Unfortunately, these are either disregarded, over-looked or misinterpreted or contradicted by later additions. E.g. In Mark chapter 12 relates the story of some Pharisees, Herodians and Sedducees looking for trouble with Jesus. One of the scribes of the Sedducees, asked Jesus in verse 28 of Chapter 12,"Which is the first commandment of all?" If indeed Jesus believed in the concept of the Trinity and preached it as such, this was one of the best occassions to impart it! but did he say anything to the effect? no he didn't. He said in verse 29," The first of all the commandments is:'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. In Hebrew it's Shama Israe'lu adon adonai Ehad. And Jesus was only confirming WORD FOR WORD what Moses taught in Deuteronomy 6, verse 4. He didn't say three in one or one in three...but ONE God. Believe it or not the word "Trinity" is inexistent in the whole Bible. And the closest verse which suggest to the effect is in the first Epistle of John, Chapter 5 verse 7,"For there are three that bear record/witness in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit and these three are one". Do you know that this is actually an INTERPOLATION? try finding the verse in any of the modern renderings of the Bible, the NIV, RSV, NLT ...any one of them. The verse is thrown out...that verse can only be found in the Authorised King James Version. According to the RSV and NIV translators that verse does not exist in the most ancient manuscripts.In other words, it's an addition, an interpolation, a corruption.
    Jesus said in Matthew 4:10 and Luke 4:8, "You shall worship the Lord, your God and serve HIM ONLY".

    What about Hinduism?
    Well if you ask a common Hindu,'How many gods do you worship?'. Some may say 3, some may say 10, some may say 100 while some may say 330 MILLION. But if you ask a learned man, how many gods should the Hindus worship? He will tell you One.

    But you see they believe in the philosophy of antropomorphism. Which means, God Almighty takes forms. The philosophy is actually quite good, on the face of it that is. They reason through this philosophy that God Almighty is sooo Pure, sooo Holy that he does not and can't possibly comprehend the intricacies of human behaviour and nature such as pain, lust and sadness. So God Almighty came down as a human being Himself to understand his creation better and thereafter set down rules for them, telling them what is bad and what is good.
    Let me give you an analogy. Suppose that I'm an engineer and I create, produce or design a DVD player. Now do I have to become that DVD player in order to understand how it works? No, I created it, so I should know how it works. And to set down rules for its smooth operation I may write down an instruction manual, listing its dos and don'ts. If you say that human beings are also machines in a sense, then I must say that we're the most complicated machine there is. Doesn't it need an instruction manual as well? The instruction manual for the benefit of mankind was given to Muhammad pbuh and it is the Holy Qur'an. It's the last and final instruction manual written by the Engineer Who created us.
    The common Hindu also believes in what is known as "pantheism", meaning that everything is God, He manifests in everything. They say that, the tree is God, the sun is God, the monkey is God, the snake is God etc. The major difference in this respect between Muslims and Hindus is that the Hindus say God is everything but we say everything is God's with an apostrophe s, meaning everything belongs to God. The tree belongs to God, the sun belongs to God, the monkey belongs to God, the snake belongs to God etc. So the major difference is that the hindu says God is everything and the Muslim says everything is God's. If we can solve this difference of apostrophe s, Hindus and Muslims will be united in faith.
    How to do it? The Qur'an says in Surah Al-Imran, verse 64,"Come to common terms as between us and you, that we worship none but Allah, that we associate no partners with Him". First is that we worship God and God alone and Second is that we do not associate partners with Him. So how do we come to common terms? We say One, they say 320 million. Let us analyse the Hindu scriptures and compare it with the Qur'an.

    Bhagavad Gita, CHapter 7, verse 19-23,
    "That all those that worship the demi gods, all those that do idol worship, they are materialistic people."

    Among the Hindu scriptures, the most sacred to them are the Vedas, namely; Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sam Veda and Atharva Veda. And the most sacred of the four Vedas is the Rig Veda.

    Yajur Ved, Chapter 32, verse 3,the sanskrit goes,
    "Natisapati ma'asti" meaning "Of that God, no image can be made."

    Yajur Ved, Chapter 40, verse 8,
    "God is imageless and bodiless."

    Yajur Ved, Chapter 40, verse 9,
    "All those who worship the SAMBOTEE(natural things e.g. air & tree) they are in darkness, they are entering more in darkness those who worship the SAMGOTEE.

    In another place in the Rig Ved, it says,
    "Ekam braham dustia naste nia naste naste kichan buguan ekiya dusra nahihe, nahihe nahihe zarbin nahihe."
    which means " there is only One God, not a second one, not at all, not at all, not in the least bit."

    In the same Rig Ved, Volume 8, Chapter 1, verse 1,
    "Majtadani Sansad" meaning "All praises be to Him(God) alone".

    Rather similar to what the Qur'an says in Surah Al-Fatihah, verse1 and 2,
    "Alhamdulillah Heerabbil 'Alameen" which means "All praises be to Allah, God of the worlds".

    and in Rig Ved, Volume 6, Chapter 45, verse 16,
    "Ya'eket Mushtihee" meaning"There is only one God, worhsip Him only."

    Conclusion=Hinduism and Christianity does speak of TAWHID, though innovations have abrogated or overwhelmed this. The fact of the matter is, the concept of ONE GOD is evident in most religions. More especially in the major ones.
     
  9. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    The way I see it is that no matter how hard one tries, no religion can ever be free of attributing a model or philosophy to God. Of course, one may criticise Christianity and say Christians believe in a three-in-one or one-in-three God. However, if the Christian Bible does not say God is one-in-three, you should not think of the Christian faith in those terms. Christians say God is one-in-three to avoid confusion and to avoid being branded a heretic. Many false Christian religions are founded on the idea that the Son was not God in any way, even as a projection or image of God. As a result, many Christians will stick to the idea of a three-in-one God. It's a tradition. There is a very prevalent notion that if you doubt that God is three-in-one you are weak in faith and have doubts about Christianity.

    In the past few months, I've gradually come to the way of thinking that maybe we're just slightly wrong about our own religion!!!! I think the mistake is to think that "Jesus is God" means Jesus is a part of God or that "God is Jesus."

    A pure, holy and righteous God has a character and personality. Purity, holiness and righteousness are a part of this personality. This character and personality could be seen as "God's Image." It is a spiritual signature of God. It says that Christ had the "image of God" but nowhere in the Bible does it say "Jesus is a part of God" or that "God was Jesus." Saying "Jesus was God" and "God was Jesus" are not the same thing. I think the difference lies in what Colossians 1:15 says about Christ being a carrier of God's Image.

    The notion of an image of God or some other object of devotion is quite important. Of course, God is infinite and we can never know all about Him. God's Image, is a part of God that can be revealed, seen and known. Therefore He can provide us with His Image so that it is at least possible to align ourselves with a common purpose. Without this Image, we cannot align ourselves to that common purpose. For Islam and the Christian Gospel, the most important thing of all is the "Source of Righteousness," the entity that generates the purity, holiness and righteousness in human beings. This is where we may start seeing the difference in the approaches of Islam and the Christian Gospel toward God, as well as the conflicting teachings between them.

    This is perhaps what leads us to the next point:

    The Quran, as far as I know, is not merely just an "instruction manual." After reading commentaries on the Quran online, I get the impression that Islam is about a political movement. Of course, the goal is to achieve some form of purity, holiness and righteousness, a kind of utopia of some sort. However, in almost every religion that promotes a movement toward purity, holiness and righteousness, people must align themselves to a common entity. This is because the movement would otherwise be confused or simply fall apart. The entity that aligns people to such a movement consists of the principles, rules, tenets and institutions that represent the kind of purity people believe the world should have.

    This entity is called an "Ideology." People believe that in order to achieve this purity, they must align themselves to this Ideology. If Islam is that kind of religion, it isn't the only one. There are thousands, perhaps millions of religions that work that way. Many of these religions are cults that involve control mechanisms. This is probably where the theological conflict between Islam and Christianity lies. An Ideology is often considered to be a "Source of Righteousness" (SOR). However, we know that God is the "Source of Righteousness," so why say that an Ideology is an SOR? The idea is that an Ideology that acts as a SOR, comes from a God that is a "Source of Ideology." The reasoning behind this is that if an Ideology is an SOR, the God that provides that Ideology is also an SOR.

    This Ideology is an Image of Purity and Perfection. However, we know that an Ideology is not God. An Ideology is not even the Image of God!!!! An Ideology, actually, comes close to being a "God Incarnate." It is god's manifestation of purity, holiness and righteousness. We know that we are told not to bow down to images that are not the Image of God. In Old Testament times, the Israelites and Canaanite people used to make statues to represent gods. These statues were made of wood, clay and stone. An Ideology is made of rules, tenets and institutions. People align themselves to those rules, tenets and institutions to give the Ideology the kind of power they believe is inherent to the Ideology.

    I think the reason why the Christian Gospel says that Christ had the Image of God was because it was a break from this tendency by human beings to create for themselves an Ideology, an image that represented purity, and to pursue it as the Source of Righteousness. Saying that God's Image was manifested in a human being was a way of saying that we don't follow an Ideology, we are explorers and discoverers of God's Kingdom. Our lives are a constant process of spiritual exploration and discovery.

    But why put God's Image in a human being? Well, think about the purposes for which God could use such a human being. Jesus was called the "Son of Man" and I think that could be rephrased as "Man of Justice." Jesus didn't take credit for himself for being the Man of Justice. He gave credit to God because he was God-made, not self-made. He was sent by the "God of Justice" to serve as the "Man of Justice." That's probably why he was also called the "Son of God." Jesus the Son of Man/Son of God was the Justice below and Yahweh was the Justice above. The Justice below was an image of the Justice above.

    The Bible tells us of a Jesus who lived in defiance of religious leaders that made rules for people to follow. In other words, these religious leaders were ideology-makers. What's wrong with ideology? Ideology does not always reflect right and wrong. Ideology no longer encourages people to do the right thing when it becomes a brute-force approach to setting things right.

    Jesus was martyred for the purpose for which he lived. His defiance led to his death. The Justice below was murdered by jealous, arrogant religious leaders. But that was not the end of the story, the God of Justice raised the Son of Man back to life. The Justice above accepted the Justice below.

    This was our liberation from ideology. Jesus was not a follower of ideology. He followed his instincts and lived as his conscience told him. God accepted him. If we now believe in him, God will accept us too. Christ died for a cause. He died in defiance of ideology makers. He died and was crucified, but his legacy lives on. Its sounds strange doesn't it. God will accept us because He accepted Jesus, but only if we understand why. Otherwise it will depend on God's mercy in the end times.

    At least from a Christian point of view, a God that is a Source of Righteousness does not need an Ideology for His Creation to achieve purity. If you say we need an Ideology you are suggesting that God Himself is not capable of acting as a Source directly. He needs to give us some model, pattern, or structural framework because He can't do it Himself. Christ having the Image of God suggests to us Christians that if a part of God can be revealed, seen and known, this is enough for us to start living for His purposes. We align ourselves to His Image and connect to Him directly so that there is no longer a need for rules, tenets, statutes and institutions. We live in God and God lives in us. God is our home and we are His home.;)

    That's at least the theory:D .

    In many ways, the God of Islam does have a partner. This partner is the Ideology of Islam. It's a very subtle concept. It's easy to pick on Christianity because we say Christ had the Image of God. However, if you think about it, Christ is actually the substitute and equivalent for the Ideology of Islam in Christianity. It is simply a different way of viewing God's plan and how He wants to lead us to purity.

    My conclusion: No religion can possibly go without a model or philosophy on God. Even Islam cannot. If an Ideology is the model you conform to and the pattern you fit yourself into, that is your model and concept of a God that generates purity. If an Ideology is what you consider to be a Source of Righteousness, then you are, in fact assigning partners to God.

    Just some thoughts.:)
     
  10. pohaikawahine

    pohaikawahine Elder Member

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    saltmeister - thank you for your very thoughtful discussion on this question .... especially the reference that "Christ was a carrrier of G-d's image" .... it is my deep belief that Christianity, Judiasm, and Islam (and many other's) are connected by an ancient line of wisdom that is buried in the symbols of both the oral and written traditions .... and in essence each describes, through the symbols and inner meanings, the process to reach "enlightnment" (for lack of a better word) .... the place where one meets g-d "face to face" and its location is within each of us .... which is why the reference that "christ was a carrier of g-d's image" is important in my view .... we are all carriers of g-d's image when we remember who we really are ....

    the three-in-one has always symbolized to me part of that process of "enlightnment" .... basically that the three hemispheres of the brain must work together to become "one" (in otherwords we return to the state of being whole brain thinkers) .... it is only in the way, as I understand it, that the center of the brain (the location of the holy of holies) can open ....

    that place in which we meet g-d "face to face" is called "peniel" (genesis 32:31) and is in the brain known as the "pineal gland" (the third eye, also known as the "epiphysis" (www.encyclopedia.com/articles/10212.html) and it is also said in matthew 6:22 "if your eye be single your body will fill with light"

    so, imhv, mulsims, christians and jews do have a connection when we get beyond the literal meanings of our texts and begin to see them with the third eye in that place called 'peniel' .... just my thoughts .... he hawai'i au, pohaikawahine
     
  11. Out There

    Out There Servant of God

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    Assalamu'alaikum Warahmatullah,
    Peace and blessings of Allah S.W.T be upon His messengers. You've posted a most interesting rebuttal. I thank you Saltmeiser. Now in return I shall
    attempt to rebutt your rebuttal.
    You said and I quote,"However, if the Christian Bible does not say God is one-in-three, you should not think of the Christian faith in those terms. Christians say God is one-in-three to avoid confusion and to avoid being branded a heretic. " and in later you said "It says that Christ had the "image of God" but nowhere in the Bible does it say "Jesus is a part of God" or that "God was Jesus." Saying "Jesus was God" and "God was Jesus" are not the same thing. I think the difference lies in what Colossians 1:15 says about Christ being a carrier of God's Image."
    How did you come to such conclusions? Christians who believe that God in Christian terms is a TRIUNE God believe so because they are under some kind of compulsion and fear of being branded heretics? This is something new for me. Lol. I ask again, how in the world did you come to such a conclusion? You are attempting to point out to me and others that the Bible is absent of any verses that speak of the trinity which means that there Godhead is divided and united in three i.e. the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Last I checked, this was the prevailing notion or rather doctrine of mainstream Christianity. Where is the basis of this belief? Have a look at the first Epistle of John, Chapter 5, verse 7 where it says,"There are three that bear record in heaven: The Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit and these three are one. Interestingly enough, this verse is expunged in all of the modern versions of the Bible i.e. NT, NIV etc. But it remains vivid in the King James Version which is used by most Christians today even by Catholics.
    Thomas Watson in his book entitled "The Trinity" said,"God is but one, yet are there three distinct persons subsisting in one Godhead. This is a sacred mystery, which the light within man could never have discovered."
    The website www.christiananswers.com says,"Jesus Christ is most definitely God. He created Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, in his image. He is the Creator of the universe. The Bible says, "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made" (John 1:3). "

    And you referred to Colossians 1:15 which says,"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation" from which you concluded and I quote,"It says that Christ had the "image of God" but nowhere in the Bible does it say "Jesus is a part of God" or that "God was Jesus." Saying "Jesus was God" and "God was Jesus" are not the same thing. I think the difference lies in what Colossians 1:15 says about Christ being a carrier of God's Image."
    Please read the following verses after that until verse 17. Christianity and its foundation/source the Bible does confirm the trinity, whether you wish to believe this or not is another matter all together. I as a Muslim, reject such an conception and I congratulate you for agreeing with the Muslims that Jesus is NOT God :). But unfortunately, you seem to have created a new Christian sect. I think the world contains more than enough Christian denominations at the moment for you to add another to it.

    You said and I quote,"The Quran, as far as I know, is not merely just an "instruction manual." After reading commentaries on the Quran online, I get the impression that Islam is about a political movement. Of course, the goal is to achieve some form of purity, holiness and righteousness, a kind of utopia of some sort. However, in almost every religion that promotes a movement toward purity, holiness and righteousness, people must align themselves to a common entity. This is because the movement would otherwise be confused or simply fall apart. The entity that aligns people to such a movement consists of the principles, rules, tenets and institutions that represent the kind of purity people believe the world should have." You made a most correct statement in the first statement of this excerpt that the Qur'an is not merely an "instruction manual". Unfortunately you made a most clumsy statement in the following sentence. The Qur'an is in fact a complete and wholesome manual for mankind containing instruction and guidance. Islam is a POLITICAL movement, in a sense. But you see, the politics of Islam is not the equivalent of the politics that you see today. Regarding the COMPLETENESS of the Qur'an. For a book to claim to be a complete guidance for mankind is in effect putting forth the claim that it guides mankind to all truths and guide them in every possible thing. That said, Islam is the only religion on the face of the earth that have successfully molded both spirituality and secularism into one common substance. No Muslim is a good Muslim if he does not balance worldly matters with spiritual matters. Tell me which religion teaches economy, banking, science, equity, love, defence, family matters and the list goes on and on. Encylcopedia Brittanica says," Muhammad is the most successful of all spiritual leaders". He was a Prophet, a Politician(not in the modern sense), a son, an orphan, a father, a husband, a pauper, a rich man, a general, a beholder of amnesty all in one! He is the perfect example for the whole of humanity as the Qur'an says," In him(Muhammad) is the best example to follow". In Islam it is foolish to seperate politics from religion or faith. Who is to govern the populace otherwise? and if there is someone who will govern us, then how? what are the exlicit clear rules?...

    You said and I quote,"The Bible tells us of a Jesus who lived in defiance of religious leaders that made rules for people to follow. In other words, these religious leaders were ideology-makers. What's wrong with ideology? Ideology does not always reflect right and wrong. Ideology no longer encourages people to do the right thing when it becomes a brute-force approach to setting things right." I surmise that what you're saying is that rules is synonymous to ideology and that it's not really that beneficial to mankind. What Jesus was doing was defying the corrupted Samaritans and Pharisees' interpretation of the Torah(Law), not the laws themselves. They were so encrusted for example with the law that says "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth". It's an excellent law for a nomadic people which the Jews were but unfortunately they went to extremes and forgot in the strength of Mercy. Jesus came not to destroy the law but to remind them of mercy and love. Jesus said,"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the prophets. I did not come to abolish them but to fulfill(complete);for I assure you, while heaven and earth endure not one iota or one projection of a letter will be dropped from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever, therefore, abolishes the least significant of those commandments and teaches people to do so, he shall be of the least significance in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall observe and teach them shall be prominent in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not all enter into the kingdom of heaven."(Matthew 5:17-20) and in Matthew 19:17 Jesus said,"If you wish to enter into life keep the commandments."

    You made a very insulting statement when you said,"In many ways, the God of Islam does have a partner. This partner is the Ideology of Islam. It's a very subtle concept. It's easy to pick on Christianity because we say Christ had the Image of God. However, if you think about it, Christ is actually the substitute and equivalent for the Ideology of Islam in Christianity. It is simply a different way of viewing God's plan and how He wants to lead us to purity."

    The God of Islam? Allah is not the God of Islam only, He is the God of all. You said and I emphasise on it,"IN MANY WAYS, the God of Islam does have a partner". Give me one clear example sir. You say it's a subtle concept. To this I say it's a foolish concept. In Surah Al-Ikhlas God says clearly that, "Say,'Most surely Allah is ONE. He does not beget not was He begotten...". Allah was there before Muhammad s.a.w. came, He was there during the time of the dinosaurs, He was there when Julius Caesar was ruling Rome etc. etc., how then can Islam be His partner? God does not need Islam, rather it his creation i.e. men who do! Islam is Him and He is represented by Islam. He has 99 beautiful names, but that does not mean He is one in 99 ! Christ is a person sir, a human being..he walked on earth in flesh and bones, as solid and concrete a creature as any of us. Islam sir, is an abstract conception. How you've come to the conclusion that Jesus Christ's status as God's partner(Holy is God above such a lowly attribute) is equivalent to that of Islam which you claim is also a partner to God is beyond me.

    My Conclusion:"No religion can possibly go without a model or philosophy on God. " I agree with this 100%....when I said that Islam does not submit models to God I meant that we do not give Him imagery. You misunderstood me, perhaps it's my fault also. I should have made myself more clearer. I apologise for that. But brother, I respect your opinions but I must say you've produced a very poor case.

    Wallahu'alam Bisawab, God knows best. Wabillah Hitaufiq Wal Hidayah Wassalamu'alaikum Warahmatullah.


     
  12. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    Welcome to CR, Aidyl Nurhadi.

    Thanks for the post. This is no debate. It is simply a discussion. I posted my thoughts and said what I was thinking and what I believed about my faith at the time. I see it as a learning process. Your disagreements are a chance for me to learn.

    In my NIV translation it says,

    The commentary at the bottom of the page of my Bible says that "The Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit and these are one" were found in later manuscripts of the Vulgate. The Vulgate, if I remember correctly, was the Latin translation of the Bible some time in the Dark Ages or Medieval Europe. The Greek manuscripts predate the Vulgate. The commentary says that the Greek manuscripts that came before the sixteenth century did not have this passage.

    As you said, it was probably an interpolation made by the Vulgate translators.

    I did not actually say Jesus wasn't God. I said God wasn't Jesus. There is a difference between the two statements. Colossians 1:15 says he had the image of God. Colossians 1:19 then says that God's fullness dwelled in him.



    Of course, I don't want this discussion to lead us in the wrong direction. I'm not saying anyone's religion is better. My point was that in Christ there would have been no need for a systematic approach to inner peace, as Christ had God's Image. Seeing God's Image meant that God was personally present in the life of a Christian, meaning that he/she already had all he needed. God alone was sufficient. Because God was there, there was no longer any need for a systematic approach to life. The Source came down and lived inside us.

    Of course, every religion has its own way of explaining how the Source would set things right again. This is the Christian story of how it has and will happen.

    Lol. I wasn't saying God didn't give us a Law. I meant that God's Law is not a systematic specification of right and wrong. The Pharisees had a systematic approach to right and wrong. Jesus was against that. Anything systematic is merely an approach, recipe, strategy or plan of action on how to achieve something. The Pharisees taught people to believe in and follow their systematic approach and this was against God's purposes because we are all independent of any systematic or structured approach to right and wrong.

    My reasoning was that when Colossians 1:15 said Christ had the image of God, it was another way of saying that what we really needed was in him. However, because Christ had the image of God, it was really just another way of saying that it was God that we needed. In other words, no systematic or structured approach is the answer to the problems human beings face, but God Himself.

    It sounds a bit blunt to say "all we ever needed was God," but that is perhaps the goal of Christianity. That's perhaps why Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. Nobody comes to the Father except through me." Notice that Jesus himself says that he is not the most important thing in the cosmos/universe, but God, the Father, the Source. Jesus was simply a gateway, or bridge to God.

    Must of us want to achieve sound kind of purity and righteousness. This could well be our "God Incarnate" -- the manifestation of everything that is God. However, Christianity says that nobody can do it himself. Only God can provide that. In other words, it's not a systematic or structured approach that leads to purity/inner peace, but God. You can't create your own purity/inner peace because you can't create God. If you could create your own purity/righteousness/inner peace that you are in fact creating your own god. God would never tell us to create our own purity/righteousness as that is blasphemy.

    It is blasphemous especially if we use a systematic/structured approach to creating it!!!!!:)

    I could well have talked about Buddhism and the systematic approach of Buddhism. But Buddhism doesn't have a concept of God. A systematic approach could well be considered a partner of God. But Christ was not systematic was he? So this is why we believe Christ is the key.

    It sounds strange and bizarre, but this is what we believe.:D
     
  13. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    One of the Major problems of comparing faiths, is that the one who does not follow a particular faith, no matter how much reading one does on that faith, will always be on the outside looking in. Even if there are similarities between two faiths, there are still enough differences and nuances that many points are missed, or misunderstood.

    The only real time that one will understand a particular faith, is if they choose to become part of that faith. Then they must go through the painstaking time to learn the history, and all there is about the particular faith, before they can even take a step into it.

    To the Muslim, Jesus is a prophet, to the Jew Jesus was perhaps a teacher that got too big for his britches. To the Christian, Jesus is God.

    Unlike Islam (which is a faith based soundly in logic), and Judaesm (which is a faith based soundly in law), Christianity is a faith based in trust and hope (not very logical, nor of the law). However the messages given by Christ on how a Christian is supposed to live life, are very sound in their logic.

    Is the Abrahamic God the same God for all three faiths of Abraham? Well, they all come from the same root, and all three profess there is only one Creator of the Universe. And all three believe they are following (or attempting to follow), God's will for us.

    All three profess to accept the Genesis of the universe and man's beginnings, and all three say it was God that did all this. The issue is our getting caught up in how God interacts with man, then and now.

    For example, in the old testament, GOD appeared as a burning bush, and later GOD wrestled with man while in the form of a heavenly host. Does that make God a burning bush, or an angel? No, He still is God. He chose to appear in ways that man could at least partially comprehend. When Gabriel appeared to Mohamad, and gave him scripture to capture and present to future faithful, was God Gabriel? No, Gabriel was the medium in which God chose to speak with Mohamad.

    In the Christian faith, Jesus came from the Father, and stated He is one with the Father. When asked who He was, Jesus repeated what God the Father had said about Himself in the old testament. Jesus said, "I AM WHO AM." God the Father had also stated of His ultimate identity, "I AM".

    This statement is the ultimate declaration. It is the first person form of the verb "To Be". It leaves no room for doubt as the the declarer's intent.

    Jesus declared He is God. Christians accept His declaration.

    Is that blasphemy? Not to a Christian.

    So in short, it appears we all believe in the same God, just not how God interacts with us.

    It should be no surprise to anyone that GOD might choose to walk among men for a time. After all, GOD did physically walk with man before man's fall. We all agree on that point (man and God in the garden?).

    my thoughts.

    v/r

    Q
     
  14. OzAndy

    OzAndy New Member

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    I've been watching the last few posts with interest. I think I agree with Quahom1 to a large degree. We Abrahamic faiths do believe in the same God. Abraham, Noah, Isaac, Ishmael, and Adam being a few of the figures we have in common. We all believe that we are the inheriters of the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12:1-3.

    However whether it is the same God or not we none the less conceive of God quite differently I think. Just as it is insulting to suggest to a Muslim that God has a companion, it is also insulting to Christians to suggest that Jesus is merely a companion of God. The classic formula of Christianity is that we believe in One God in three persons, but each of those persons is of one substance. Each of these persons is co-eternal and they do not differ in will. So some of the classic New Testament texts are Jesus saying "Before Abraham was I AM", "I and the Father are One", "If you have seen me you have seen the Father", "the Word [Jesus] was with God and the Word was God", "baptize them in the name of the Name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit". There are many many many others which show a relationship between the Father, Son and Spirit which is so close that they seem to be inseperable in will and purpose and even role. Even so This is very different I think to what a Muslim or a Jew would mean when they say there is only one God.

    For this reason perhaps we can argue the toss about whether we believe in the one God since the way a Christian, a Jew and a Muslim would describe God differ. As a Christian I would describe God as Trinity or in terms of Jesus who reveals God's character including God's trinitarian nature, along with compassion, reconcilliation, justice, and so on. I would also speak of God's Character in terms of the Old Testament revelation of God, but very much still through the lens of the New Testament and therefore in terms of things like Jesus fulfilling the Old Testament promises and covenants.

    In Contrast as I understand it a Jewish person would understand God as revealed in the Law/Torah with the writings and the prophets providing commentary. And again as I understand it a Muslim understands God in terms of the Revelation to the Prophet dictated and transcribed in the Quran. Quahom1 rightly points out that it is difficult for a Christian to know what this would mean to a Jew or a Muslim.

    I wonder too whether another area of difference might not be our different views of Revelation. For Jewish people as I understand it, the primary place of revelation is the Law - this is the point where the divine most clerly breaks through into the world. For Muslims I believe it is the Quran. For Christians though the point where the divine most clerly breaks through into the world is Jesus the Word of God made flesh, and the purpose of the Scriptures (Old and New Testament) is to give us "the wisdom that leads to salvation through Christ Jesus." (2 Tim 3:15) The Scriptures then are only the Word of God in that they authoritatively witness to Jesus the true Word. For Christians the primary purpose of the Scriptures is to introduce us to God in Jesus Christ not to provide Law or instruction. At this point I think perhaps I resonate with Saltmeister's last post where he says that what Christianity believes is that all we really need is God. We need to see God and as Jesus says in the New Testament "He who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9

    Blessings
    Andrew
     
  15. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    Perhaps what I really wanted to say in all this is that regardless of what one's religion says about God, any religion that has a concept of God will inevitably have some model relating God to His creation and the universe he created. Models are collections of related objects and concepts that interact in some way.

    From what I've noticed, every religion has at least two theoretical spheres in its philosophy/belief system -- cosmology and theology. Cosmology is the structure of the universe. Theology is, perhaps the relationship between individual beings and this universe. There is sometimes a third sphere -- ideology. Ideology is a strategy, plan of action and systematic or structured approach to effecting and achieving the best or optimal state, configuration or condition of the objects, individuals and concepts in this universe. Ideology would draw from theology and cosmology its approach to this optimal state. Ideology is probably not always necessary if cosmology and theology are sufficient in leading us to the optimal state of the universe, in which case the optimal state is an implied notion that doesn't require an ideology.

    The crucial element is the abstract notion of purity, righteousness, inner peace, love or whatever other altruistic concepts one may have in their religion. Where does it fit in the universe and cosmic structure/hierarchy (the cosmology) of your religion? How does it relate to your concept of God? This abstract notion of purity, righteousness, love, etc., the best or optimal condition or state in which your universe can exist, has its own relationship (theology) with God. What is it? What relationship (theology) does this abstract altruistic notion have with you? How will you resolve the problems in the universe of your religion and what is your approach (ideology)?

    My view is that the three-way relationship (a triangle) between human beings, God and this abstract altruistic notion of the "Highest Good" or "Greater Good" is something that exists in all religions that have a concept of God. Each religion simply has a different arrangement of these three concepts -- human beings, God and the Greater Good. All religions, I suppose, are specific instances of this abstract cosmic universe consisting of these three essential elements.

    New Age teaches that "God is everything." In other words, human beings, God and the Greater Good are all one. Christianity says that God is separate from human beings (His creation) but one with the Greater Good. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not parts or compartmentalising of God, but merely manifestations of the same Oneness in the same form (God's personality) but through different media. The media doesn't affect the form it takes. Islam, I suppose, makes all three are separate. God is not one with the Greater Good, but I suppose, separate.

    If you're wondering why I said God is "one with the Greater Good" in Christianity, which may sound strange to you, here's a quote.

    The words "love" and "God" both depict abstract concepts. So why can't God simply be love? Of course, God and love are purely not the same concept, but are they not parallel in purpose? Love is a benevolent sentiment or force of good. God is the "Highest Being." Love is not a "systematic principle" but a natural inclination to do good to others. As well as being a force of good, it could well be a "living force." If God and love are living forces, love could well be part of God's natural tendencies. God and love could both be concepts of something natural. These two concepts could well be one entity, not because the concepts are the same, but because the entity they conceptualise is the same thing. The words "God" and "love" could simply be two words that give the same entity different connotations. Therefore, I don't think that God being "one with the Greater Good" is impossible.

    Basically, every religion is merely an arrangement of concepts relating human beings, God and the Greater Good with each other. I think it's a bit biased for someone to say that any religion alone believes in "one God" with "no partners." Considering what I've now said about a religion simply being an arrangement of concepts concerning these three elements, I think that would certainly be an unbalanced view of one's own religion.

    Nevertheless, I'm happy for people from other religions to tell us what they think of our faith. I'm happy even for them to be proud of their faith and to show it. I didn't say it's wrong to be proud and show it. I'm just presenting an opposing view to balance it out.:) So tell us if you're proud of what you believe, but also expect someone else to have a view that's equally valid with your's.

    The Christian books and literature I'm reading now say that we're now living in a "post-modern" world. The modern world believed in one truth. The post-modern world believes in many truths. It's an era where people are starting to chant, "all paths lead to God" and "all religions are equal." It's not that I agree entirely with that view, I am simply aware that times are changing. It's a multi-religious world that we live in now. People no longer have a problem with a belief in God. They simply don't believe in the same God. We can all be proud of our religions. The world now simply has a view that there simply isn't a magic bullet or one-size-fits-all religion.

    A Christian may not agree with the post-modern view that "all paths lead to God" or "what matters is that you are sincere" but I suppose it would enlighten us on how we view the world and its religions. The abstract cosmic universe I proposed where concepts can simply be re-arranged may also affect our views.

    Considering what I've seen and heard in the six to ten or so months during which I've been a member at CR, I'd like to say that I've noticed!!!!:D I suppose our beliefs are based more on our experiences than what we can actually write down on paper. For someone else to understand what we believe now they would have to go through the same or similar experiences. I don't think our position on Christ is really that complicated. I think it simply requires some divergent thinking. It's just a matter of finding out how we got there.
     
  16. didymus

    didymus New Member

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    I want to add to this discussion verses from Mark that are revealing of Jesus' real identity. I respect anyone's opinion that Jesus is God and only want to throw in my 2 cents.

    Mark 10:17-21
    As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell to his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
    "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraus, honor your father and mother.'
    "teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."
    Jesus looked at him and loved him. "one thing you lack," he said. "Go sell all your things and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me."

    This comes from Mark , the first gospel written about 20 -30 years after Jesus' death. Jesus clearly seperates himself from God stating that only God is good. What I find even more important is his answer to the man's inquiry of eternal life. "follow the commandments," he said. He didn't say, believe that I am God or profess with your lips that I am lord of the universe, the first and the last, come to judge mankind. He said follow the commandments. Jesus was offering something beyond the law. he was preaching a giving of self to others, a complete emptying of the spirit for mankind. The man already had his fate sealed according to Jesus, eternal life for practicing the 10 commandments. But he knew one could go even further than that, he broke all the taboos and the societal barriers, he wasn't afraid to go outside the box of the Pharisees and Saducees.
     
  17. didymus

    didymus New Member

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    Here is another example of Jesus' distinction between himself and God imo.

    Luke 12:13-14.

    Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."
    Jesus replied, "Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?"

    .
     
  18. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    The inherent problem with this Didymus is that to quote scripture that is not fundimental for another faith, is well, like whistling into the wind... or speaking a different language. If for example Thipps were to present "Surahs", from the Qu'ran, how would you accept them (let alone consider them)? You'd have no point of reference.

    Let's leave NT scripture out of this conversation, as it does not provoke thought, only provoke emotion...

    Consider working with scripture common to both faiths (parts of the OT)...

    my thoughts

    v/r

    Q
     
  19. Admiral_HangTuah

    Admiral_HangTuah New Member

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    There is only one God and whe must worship the same God.

    Thank you.
     
  20. mansio

    mansio New Member

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    Only one God but at least three different revelations.
     

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