There are similarities and significant differences when comparing the major Western monotheistic religions: Christians, Jews and Muslims. With these similarities and differences comes a strong argument by some believers that they are worshipping the same God, while others say they are not.
Even among mainline faith groups, there are different beliefs and practices. There is no one universal theology, and there is no one universal language that explains and expresses theology.
For some Christians, it is our belief in God that allows us to fashion our own understanding of who God is in our lives, based on our own interpretation and understanding of the biblical text. The poor don’t worship God for the same reason as the rich, nor do oppressed people worship God for the same reason as the oppressor. Worshipping God cannot be separated from the social, economic, political and cultural context of the believer.
The one belief that Christians, Jews and Muslims hold is a belief in one God, but that one God is based on their different religious texts. No religion or faith group can say with certainty that they are, or that they are not worshipping the same God without taking on the task of bringing to the table all of the theological presuppositions, assumptions and views that undergird their beliefs.
Alberta McCrory, Gaines Chapel AME Church, Anniston
Relativism won’t work
Housebuilding is an art and a science. The beauty of exterior things is held up and together by firm foundations and lasting frames. In our housebuilding, we want specifics. In matters of faith, our society seems to settle for, “Just get me in the ballpark.”
It makes for a very big ballpark. It’s called relativism.
Relativism is the idea that points of view have zero absolute truth. There’s plenty of room for different opinions on faith, but no room for specifics when all truth claims are equally valid.
The truth claims of Jesus fly in the face of relativism. They were provocative to the religious leaders of his day and he was crucified for making them. Certainly his most offensive claim was, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
If the claims of Jesus are true, then beautiful lives are held up and together by one firm Cornerstone. Paul, the notorious persecutor of Christians turned radical Christ follower, said, “No one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Sand won’t work. Relativism won’t work.
The latest song from Hillsong Church would be well worth a listen. It’s called “Cornerstone” and the lyrics revisit a classic hymn that claims, “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus’ name.”
Brock Stamps, Harvest Church of God, Anniston