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.