I saw a British schoolgirl being interviewed on television. She spoke about lessons she had been having about Islam. She said:
Muslims worship a different God called Allah.
I have come across this idea before. David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, made this famous comment:
If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs.
I am a great admirer of the writings on peace by the conservative Christian, Lawrence Vance. Read this splendid diatribe against the support given by some Christians to militarism and war. But he did end one piece with this strange sentence:
U.S. foreign policy is an abomination in the sight of God, and I don’t mean Allah.
To say that Muslims worship a different God than do Jews and Christians is just plain wrong. It is wrong logically, wrong historically, and wrong theologically.
It is wrong logically. Since all three religions agree there is only one God, it is logically impossible for them to believe in different Gods.
It is wrong historically. Mohamed was born into a polytheistic society, but proclaimed the God of the Old and New Testaments, claiming to be the last in the line of prophets from Abraham through Jesus.
It is wrong theologically. The only possible meaning for the phrase ‘a different God’ would be that the Islamic concept of God is totally distinct from that of the Jews and Christians. But all three religions believe God is the creator of all things, and the source of moral authority. The Old Testament says ‘God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness’ (Nehemiah 9:17). The New Testament says ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8). Every Sura of the Qur’an begins with the phrase ‘In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful’. Not so different, are they?