Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? Catholics, liberals, and some evangelicals are saying, yes. When Wheaton College professor Larycia Hawkins made that claim, it blew up into a controversy that ended with her leaving the institution. But the favored position, to show our sensitivity to Muslims, is to say that both religions, for all of their differences, worship the same God.
But what do Muslims say? A council of Islamic authorities agrees with Wheaton College at least in this: Muslims do not worship the same God as Christians.
Some Muslims believe otherwise, just as Christians disagree on the issue. But doesn’t it show more sensitivity to Muslims to allow them their own religion, rather than to say that we are fundamentally the same? Isn’t the “we all worship the same God” talk actually patronizing and disrespectful?
From Peter Berger, What Is God’s Name? – The American Interest:
On February 8, 2016, in a joint statement Hawkins and Wheaton’s President Philip Ryken said that they had reached a confidential agreement that Hawkins would voluntarily resign from her position. At least for the moment this is the end of the story.But, curiously, a panel of Muslim judges in southeast Asia recently agreed with some Evangelicals in Illinois that Muslims and Christians don’t worship the same God. On June 23, 2014 the highest court of Malaysia upheld a ban that a Catholic publication may not use the name “Allah” when applying it to the Christian God.
The reasoning behind the ruling was that this usage would confuse innocent Muslims and make them vulnerable to “proselytism” (which is illegal). The ruling allowed the naming of “Allah” in worship or other intra-Christian settings, with no confused Muslims being dragged into baptism. But lower-level authorities have nevertheless used the ruling to confiscate Bibles and other Christian publications: Thus, broadly speaking, only Muslims are to be allowed to pray to “Allah” by that name. Already in the Quran a major offence is shirk, idolatry or polytheism—a concept coined specifically to reject Christianity, which denies the central Quranic affirmation that God has neither offspring nor associates.