Monday, June 22, 2009

Do Roman Catholics and Muslims Worship the same God?

In this blog post I want to explore the topic of whether Roman Catholics are committed to the belief that they worship the same God as the Muslims worship. It seems that the Roman Catholic Catechism teaches this and if this is the case then one could devise a compelling argument against the Catholic position.

The Qur’an clearly states:

“[4:171] O people of the scripture, do not transgress the limits of your religion, and do not say about GOD except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was a messenger of GOD, and His word that He had sent to Mary, and a revelation from Him. Therefore, you shall believe in GOD and His messengers. You shall not say, "Trinity." You shall refrain from this for your own good. GOD is only one god. Be He glorified; He is much too glorious to have a son. To Him belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. GOD suffices as Lord and Master.”

What is clearly being taught in Sura 4:171 is that there is not a Trinity in the Divine Essence. That is to say: God is only a unity and has no tri-diversity as the Christian Doctrine of Trinity states. Well why might this be a problem for Roman Catholics? The reason why this seems to be a serious problem is because the Official Roman Catholic Catechism states in paragraph 841:

841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."


The Catholic Catechism is suggesting that Muslims and Catholics worship together the same object, namely the one, merciful, God. Catholics adore a God who is One but also three with respect to persons, but Muslims reject that God is three persons and just says he is one. So how could they have the same object of worship? To make it more evident I will lay out three propositions that draw out this contradiction further:

P1: Catholics believe and worship God as a Trinity

P2: Muslims believe and worship God as a Unity

P3: Catholics and Muslims together worship the same object

If the propositions are granted and laid out in this manner there is a clear contradiction between P3 in conjunction with P1 and P2. From this one could come up with this argument against the Catholic position:

P1: The Official Catholic Church teachings on Faith and Practice are true in total

P2: The Roman Catholic Catechism is a part of these true official teachings

P3: The Roman Catholic Catechism contains a falsehood on the object of worship in Islamic theology

C: Hence, the Official Catholic Church teachings on Faith and Practice are not true in total

This seems valid and sound to me. What do you think?


To see the official Catholic Teaching on this from The Roman Catholic Catechism on the Official Vatican site click here.




17 comments:

Catz206 said...

huh interesting. I might just use this with my Uncle.

David Cox said...

According to your logic:

P1: Orthodox believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father.

P2: Catholics believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.

Therefore, Catholics and Orthodix worship different Gods.



Is it really a "different" object of worship or just a different understanding of said object?

Nathanael Taylor said...

Hello David

Yeah, this is possibly true that East worships a different God than West, according to the argument. But I am not sure I am entirely convinced since the West and the east agree that God is three persons but disagree with how they relate metaphysically to the essence and with each other. That comparison seems rather vague and insufficient for saying that the east and west worship a different God, but what does not seems vague and insufficient is saying that Islam worships a different God than Catholicism. It is ultimately the difference between a Unitarian God and a trinitatian God. So with respect to Islam and Catholicism it seems to be a entirely different object of worship.

God Bless,

NPT

David Cox said...

You'd probably know better than I, but didn't Aquinas describe God as Unity as well?

Joel Gamache said...

I think the confusion ocures because the Catholics posess the fulness of Christian faith. Islam is not a Christian faith. What the Catholic Church teaches about Islam does not come to us with the same authority as what She teaches about Christianity. It would be rediculous to assume the Pope could give an authoritative statement regarding Shinto, Taoism, Paganism or Hinduism. Why is the same standard applied to Islam?

Nathanael Taylor said...

You'd probably know better than I, but didn't Aquinas describe God as Unity as well?

Response: God is unified and diverse. But the Muslim God is only a unity.

In Christ,

NPT

Nathanael Taylor said...

I think the confusion ocures because the Catholics posess the fulness of Christian faith. Islam is not a Christian faith. What the Catholic Church teaches about Islam does not come to us with the same authority as what She teaches about Christianity. It would be rediculous to assume the Pope could give an authoritative statement regarding Shinto, Taoism, Paganism or Hinduism. Why is the same standard applied to Islam?

Response: I would apply the same standard to other religions if the official catholic statements concerning faith and practice related themselves to those religions. The Roman Catholic statement presumes to know something about Islam because it says they are included in the plan of salvation which is undoubtedly a teaching about faith and practice. Any such statements are supposed to be infallible, but this one is not and therefore it would seem that the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are false.

In Christ Jesus,

NPT

Joel Gamache said...

NPT,
I would say that all of humanity is inncluded in some way or another in God's plan of salvation. This in no way dimishes the authority of Holy Mother Church or undermines what She teaches.

Nathanael Taylor said...

Joel,

You said: NPT,
I would say that all of humanity is inncluded in some way or another in God's plan of salvation. This in no way dimishes the authority of Holy Mother Church or undermines what She teaches.

Response: Well that fines if you think that, but that is not really relevant to our discussion here. Because it does not really address the errors that Rome has made concerning the relation of faith and pratice of the Islamic religion to their own religion.

God Bless,

NPT

Joel Gamache said...

NPT,
First let me clarify my own position with you. I do not think the statement you quoted in CCC841 is a correct statement. This in no way diminishes what the Church teaches about Chritianity because that statement is not about Christianity it is about Islam. Islam is not a Christian religion so what Holy Mother Church teaches regarding it does not come to us infallibly.

The statement I made in my last comment is relevant to our discussion. You say the Catholic Church must be infallible in Her teachings regarding Islam because She includes Islam in God's plan of salvation. My response is that all of humanity has a place in God's plan of salvation, so using your logic, what Holy Mother Church teaches about all world religions should come to us as infallible teachings. That is nonsense.

Nathanael Taylor said...

Joel,

With respect to point 1: I have already responded to your first point by saying that RCC841 does concern the Catholic Faith and practice in it's relation to Islam, so if one wants to be a Roman Catholic and hold that Rome is infallible on faith and practice then they ought to affirm this statement of error. You have not responded to this you just keep on reasserting your point.

With respect to point 2: The RCC does not infallibly say that all men are in the plan of salvation. So your fallible statements about Rome does not do anything to support your contention.

God Bless,

NPT

Joel Gamache said...

NPT,
Let me address point 2 first because it is foundational to my position. Chapter One of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) clearly states that all men are within the plan of salvation regardless of their disposition towards any religion.

Now onto point 1. I already affirmed that the Catholic Church does not have the authority to teach infallibly regarding Islam, therefore what is stated in CCC 841 is not infallibly proclaimed and is infact incorrect.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but I understand your position to be that because the Catholic Church is wrong regarding Her relationship to Islam that means She looses Her authority regarding Christianity. Just let me make clear that if that is what you believe then you have a logical disconnect.

Nathanael Taylor said...

Hey Joel,

You Said:Let me address point 2 first because it is foundational to my position. Chapter One of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) clearly states that all men are within the plan of salvation regardless of their disposition towards any religion.

Response: Okay, great! Could you please provide a quoted citation of that.

You said: Now onto point 1. I already affirmed that the Catholic Church does not have the authority to teach infallibly regarding Islam, therefore what is stated in CCC 841 is not infallibly proclaimed and is infact incorrect.

Response: Well it mentions that they worship the same God as Catholics and that they share in the plan of salvation, these are things about Catholicism and it's relationship to Islam. So it seems like a article on faith which is something that is always infallible in the Catholic tradition.

You said:Please correct me if I am wrong, but I understand your position to be that because the Catholic Church is wrong regarding Her relationship to Islam that means She looses Her authority regarding Christianity. Just let me make clear that if that is what you believe then you have a logical disconnect.

Response: Yes, that is right. There is no logical disconnect here. The problem as I see it is that how part of the way the Catholic church defines it christianity is by who is saved and who is not saved and whether or not Catholics worship the same God as the other world religions. These are all things about Christianity and it's various relation. So it does seem like a infallible article of faith that you have to hold to, even though it seems false.

God Bless,

NPT

Joel Gamache said...

NPT,
Please see CCC Paragraphs 26-49 for the Catholic position on God's plan of salvation for all of humanity as it relates to our discussion.

CCC 841 is not about the Catholic Faith. All it says has no bearing of Catholic faith or practice. If you go to a Catholic worship service you will never ever hear any referance to Islam or God's inclusion of Islam in the liturgical worship. The only place you might find it occationally is during the prayers of petition. The above mentioned paragraph is solely a statement regarding Islam.

The Catholics never have and never will define Christianity on anything other than Christ. Islam is not defined by Christ, therefore Islam has no bearing on the Catholic definition of Christianty, to use your words.

Nathanael Taylor said...

Hello Joel,

Please see CCC Paragraphs 26-49 for the Catholic position on God's plan of salvation for all of humanity as it relates to our discussion.

Response: I read through them. Nowhere in these paragraphs does it say that all religions are included in the Plan of salvation. Which is why I asked you to provide a citation concerning this because if it were true it would be to be good to be true for a protestant like myself because the CCC does teach that outside the church there is no salvation.

CCC 841 is not about the Catholic Faith. All it says has no bearing of Catholic faith or practice. If you go to a Catholic worship service you will never ever hear any referance to Islam or God's inclusion of Islam in the liturgical worship. The only place you might find it occationally is during the prayers of petition. The above mentioned paragraph is solely a statement regarding Islam.

Response: Yes, it is bearing to Catholic faith and Practice because it says that Catholics and Muslims worship the same God. Whether you worship something and whether a religious view point is going to be included in salvation is an article of faith that ought to be believed by Catholics. And last time I check the CCC is about faith and practice and not about anything else (if the distinction even makes sense, which I doubt that it does). Well if you go to a liturgical worship you will never hear progressive justification discussed but that does not mean that Roman Catholic Church does not teach progressive justification.

The Catholics never have and never will define Christianity on anything other than Christ. Islam is not defined by Christ, therefore Islam has no bearing on the Catholic definition of Christianty, to use your words.

Response: Christ’s Death in Catholic theology includes those who are not of Christ and says that those who are of Christ, Protestants or X-Catholics that follow bible, that reject the Pope and think he is the anti-Christ are going to hell. So it seems like the Catholics do define things apart from Christ and they make that an article of faith and practice.

God Bless,

NPT

Joel Gamache said...

Your understanding of Catholicism is flawed, as is your understanding of the CCC and my statement. I said all of humanity is in Gods Plan and CCC 26-49 is clear on that, all of humanity includes people of religions other than Catholicism, therefore people who belong to other religions are in Gods Plan. If you can not see that the Catholic Church teaches God's love for humanity extends to every individual as explained in CCC 26-49 then you need to reread it with more of an open mind. I have made my point and we will have to agree to disagree.

Nathanael Taylor said...

Joel,

You Said: Your understanding of Catholicism is flawed, as is your understanding of the CCC and my statement. I said all of humanity is in Gods Plan and CCC 26-49 is clear on that, all of humanity includes people of religions other than Catholicism, therefore people who belong to other religions are in Gods Plan. If you can not see that the Catholic Church teaches God's love for humanity extends to every individual as explained in CCC 26-49 then you need to reread it with more of an open mind. I have made my point and we will have to agree to disagree.

Response: First off saying I am wrong and my understanding is flawed does not prove anything. Saying so does not make it so. There is no where in the CCC that says that the Plan of salvation is for all religions or all people. God does love everybody in RCC but that does not mean that just because God loves them that they will be included in the plan of salvation because freely cooperate with grace first. So it order to make this inference of yours legitimate you need a official RCC document supporting you on it and you have not provided this. This is why I asked you to provide quotes because I knew no quotes that actually said all people of all religions are included in the plan of salvation. Since you have not provided that and answered my arguments then I will conclude that the Catholic position is irrational because it requires you to believe something as infallibly true that is in fact false.

God Bless,

NPT