German cardinal: Christians and Muslims worship different gods

German cardinal: Christians and Muslims worship different gods May 25, 2019

I HAVE learned over many decades of writing about religion that there are two types of baloney spouted by the members of the God squad.

One is that what is said makes sense in a purely theological context, but to non-believers is pure balderdash. The other is that their utterances are an incomprehensible mélange of words which I defy anyone to understand.

Today I came across the latter in a report about the different views Christians and Muslims have about the Almighty.

Image via YouTube

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, above, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, above, recently said that Christians:

Cannot pray like or with Muslims because their faith in God and his self-revelation is not only different from the Christian faith in God, but even denies its formula, claiming that God does not have a Son, who, as the eternal Word of the Father, is a divine person, and, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, is the One and Trinitarian God.

He went on to tell hundreds of listeners at some Catholic shindig in Verona that:

The faithful of Islam are not adopted children of God by the grace of Christ, but only his subjects.

Müller added that Muslims:

Can only pray to a distant God, submitting to his will as an unknown destiny. Their prayer expresses the blind subordination to the dominant will of God. The Christian instead prays that the will of God be done, a will that we do in liberty and that does not make us slaves, but free children of God.

Speaking at the Basilica of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus in the company of Bishop Giuseppe Zenti, Müller asserted that Christians, unlike the adherents of other religions:

Do not view their neighbors, who do not want or cannot believe in God, as opponents or victims of the Zeitgeist to be pitied, but as brothers whose Creator and Father is the only God, the One who seeks them out.

They [Christians] offer an honest dialogue regarding the question that determines the meaning of being in general and of human existence in particular, because they feel united to them in the search for a better world.

For Müller:

Even Islam has faith in the one God, but which is understood as a natural faith in the existence of God and not as faith as a virtue infused with hope and love, which makes us sharers in the life of God, ensuring that we remain in him and he in us.

The cardinal recalled that “even some atheists pray”, but:

Their turn to themselves is typical of the atheistic prayer.

He said this was “the opposite of Christian prayer”,  because:

If man himself is a god to man [homo homini Deus], then he prays turning to himself in the form of a meditation that always revolves around himself: man is both the subject and the object of prayer.

Will someone please explain in plain English what this windbag was blabbering on about?

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  • epeeist

    Invert Leibniz’s “Identity of Indiscernibles”, if two things have properties that are different then they cannot be the same object. Does the Christian god have different properties to the Muslim god? One obvious example would be the “trinity”, something the Christian god possesses but the Muslim and Jewish god does not.

  • barriejohn

    One obvious example would be the “trinity”, something the Christian god possesses but the Muslim and Jewish god does not.

    Not in the Bible, he doesn’t!

  • barriejohn

    The reason why Christians are unable to come up with simple, straightforward, unambiguous statements, rather than all the convoluted, meaningless baloney, is that their holy book can’t! The Bible will say in one place that we shouldn’t be worshipping “false gods”, yet in another that there is only one god and that all others are nothing. The book is absolutely full of these blatant contradictions, as I found to my horror as a young Christian, and as a believer you’re constantly attempting to square the circle without success. Sometimes, as we all know, the only solution is: “We’ll know the answer one day”. (Waves flag of surrender)

  • larry parker

    Translation: My delusion is slightly different than your delusion.

  • Think Light Blue

    Translation: I’m right and you’re wrong.

  • (((Hornèd Pontilibratificus)))

    German cardinal: Christians and Muslims worship different gods

    Hell, there are Christian denominations who insist other denominations’ adherents worship a different god. And of course, none of these bleatings are factually establishable—purely subjective claptrap. Whoever shouts the loudest wins! LOL
    “““
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6e1cfa8c44961d0cd52def79fe5354d63dd07e9593f9df42719f51f71e949a8a.jpg

  • (((Hornèd Pontilibratificus)))
  • (((Hornèd Pontilibratificus)))

    And of course, this applies to different Christian denominations as well, who vest their god with a slightly, or sometimes greatly, different set of properties from each other.

  • barriejohn

    Speaking at the Basilica of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus in the company of Bishop Giuseppe Zenti:

    Doesn’t it look as if the good Bishop has just given him a most pleasant surprise?

  • Bubblecar

    He’s basically saying, “I’m a nutcase, hear me gabble! Gibble gobble gabble, blibberblabber squoik.”

  • RainbowPhoenix

    We can start with the fact that Arabic-speaking Christians refer to God as Allah.

  • And yet Christians claim their deity is the Jewish god.

  • CoastalMaineBird

    Will someone please explain in plain English what this windbag was blabbering on about?

    On second thought, never mind.

  • (((Hornèd Pontilibratificus)))

    LOL And so is the silence that descends when you show a pontificating jeebus freak. ;-P

  • Michael Neville

    the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

    Previously called the Inquisition.

    Müller doesn’t think that Muslims believe in the same god that he does. I think he’s right. Among other things, Muslims are monotheists while Christians demonstrably are not.

  • WallofSleep

    “Will someone please explain in plain English what this windbag was blabbering on about?”

    I wouldn’t even know how to begin, but that homo homini deus gibberish bit made me think of a name for a restaurant and/or product line: God’s Gay Grits.

  • Georgia Sam

    Asking whether Xians & Muslims worship the same god is like asking whether the Mickey Mouse of “Steamboat Willy” and the Mickey Mouse of “Fantasia” are really the same mouse.

  • Michael Neville

    Certain Christian sects are not Trinitarians. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in two separate gods, the Father and Jesus and reject the Holy Spirit. Mormons have three gods with “Heavenly Father” being the literal father of JC and the Spook (who the mothers are isn’t given). Oneness Pentacostals hold that Jesus is the only god (it’s actually more complicated than that, but who cares?). Christian Scientists say that Jesus was a man, not a god.

  • (((Hornèd Pontilibratificus)))

    Indeed, and those are among the large departures, but the Leibniz litmus works with even slight differences in the precise characteristics of a denomination’s god as well.

    That said, though, we can also speak in terms of different Christian denominations all speaking of a “God-of-some-description,” where apologists accept there will always be some questions left unresolved but they are all speaking of the same “unknowable” god. Their god can be a very slippery beast. ;-P

  • barriejohn

    Hahaha – even the Oneness Pentecostals can’t agree amongst themselves!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations#Oneness_Pentecostalism

  • Erik1986

    Man, the nuns who taught at my Catholic H.S must have been heretical! (1959-1963). They always taught much of the O.T. was allegorical, evolution was the best explanation for the descent of man (along with the “God breathed a soul into man” at some point in that evolution.

  • epeeist

    Well that’s the thing isn’t it. If Christians want to push this idea of the trinity then it would seem that Jesus has to take responsibility for all the decisions that Yahweh takes in the OT. This would of course include booting Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden…

  • Phil Rimmer

    So Unitarians and Muslims are tight?

  • Broga

    “Will someone please explain in plain English what this windbag was blabbering on about?”

    Mission impossible there, Barry, and I can explain why. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, has himself no understanding of what he is talking about. He opens his mouth, does not engage whatever brain he has and lets the words stream out. For so long his flock have behaved as if there was some sense to it that he has stopped trying to make sense.

    The same thing happens with some academic articles even after peer review.

  • epeeist

    Well yes, and the idea is completely incoherent anyway. Take the Scutum Fidei

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b3/Shield-Trinity-Scutum-Fidei-English.svg/267px-Shield-Trinity-Scutum-Fidei-English.svg.png

    Take the top line:

    The Father is not the Son

    Given that the shield also contains The Father is God we can substitute in the top line and get God is not the Son which contradicts God is the Son and the whole thing explodes.

  • barriejohn

    The widespread adoption of the idea of “Biblical literalism” is a fairly recent thing. Many of the Early Church Fathers didn’t hold such views (“who is so silly as to believe that God … planted a paradise eastward in Eden, and set in it a visible and palpable tree of life … [and] anyone who tasted its fruit with his bodily teeth would gain life?” – Origen). Having been involved with Christian fundamentalists myself (and engaging in far too much navel gazing than is good for me at times), I often wonder whether obsessive compulsive tendencies in human nature power this drive towards fanaticism and extremism. It might also have something to do with an aversion to modern, industrial society, just as otherwise intelligent, rational people embrace “spirituality”, astrology, homeopathy, etc. It’s worrying to see that, in 2011, “Three in 10 Americans interpret the Bible literally, saying it is the actual word of God”, according to Gallup!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_literalism

  • Michael Neville

    They just agree on one specific aspect of their gods.

  • I feel the worst is to flat out negate scientific discoveries. Either that or, especially when it comes from people who are ignorant about even basic science, attepting to combine them with the stuff written millennia ago by people who know almost nothing of the lands beyond those they inhabited, not to mention the Universe.

  • You come too late. One Fundy I know of has already been there, claiming that Jesus was all over the OT. Meaning for example and especially all those massacres described there.

    Skeptics arrive somewhere and think they’re the first, just to find others have been there before.

  • rationalobservations?

    It is sad that these centres of indoctrination and antI-knowledge and non-logic (called churches) are turning out citizens so completely brainwashed that they do not see the fallacy and logical fallacies within that with which they are brainwashed and the nonsense they recycle.

    Of course the christians undetected and undetectable (originally Canaanite) god “Yahweh”and fictional Roman god-man “Jesus”, and the Muslims god “Allah” are similarly undetected and undetectable since both/all are non-existent Until proved too exist.

    The most annoying thing for religionists is that we ask such difficult questions like:
    What do you believe and why do you believe it?
    and:
    Do you have any actual tangible evidence of your god(s)?
    and to christians:
    Why don’t you follow the original / first 4th century written bibles and why are they so very different from bibles in circulation today?

    and the words that annoy them most:
    I don’t believe you – PROVE IT!

    It also must be pretty annoying when we point out their non-argument that there is an option between accepting the existence of a god (singular) or not accepting the existence of a god ( as in “Pascal’s wager”) is rendered nonsensical by the mythological “existence” of many millions of undetected and undetectable gods, goddesses and god-men among which the originally Canaanite god “Yahweh” and the Roman’s god-man “Jesus” appear unremarkable and of which no evidence of existence has ever been discovered.

    Fewer than 18% of Americans can be found within a church on any given Sunday according to the actual figures published by the American Church Leaders organisation – in spite of the lies told in polls and surveys.

    https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/139575-7-startling-facts-an-up-close-look-at-church-attendance-in-america.html

    The figure of Americans active in religion is far higher than with the rest of the developed world and in many European educated, free, secular democracies the number is below 2% or nearly off the scale and the villages towns and cities of the developed world pay silent testimony to the ongoing death of ignorance and superstition by the growing number of empty rotting redundant churches that have not currently been demolished or redeveloped into something more useful to mankind.

    It is worth also noting that the most peaceful nations in the history of our recently evolved species of ape are also the least religious nations in the world today. Every day growing billions of citizens demonstrate that we do not need belief in terrible, ridiculous, undetected and undetectable gods, goddesses or god-men to be good and without enthrallment to any dishonest human entirely self serving institution of religion – we are much, much better.

    http://visionofhumanity.org/indexes/global-peace-index/

    We look with sympathy (laced with contempt?) on those who claim that evidence of entirely natural things within the entirely natural universe or mere coincidences somehow “prove” magic and ancient superstition based mythology. Even worse are those who claim they abstain from evil only because they fear punishment and hope for reward after death actually consigns them to the eternal nonexistence that is the ultimate outcome for all living things. The rapidly growing demographic of the godless/nonreligious need no such threats because we all own the evolved things we call “empathy”, “sympathy” and an evolved “human conscience”. Not that most religionists lack these things since we all evolved in the same way at the same time – but it must be observed that evil is never done so gleefully as when done in the name of religion.

  • rationalobservations?

    Yahweh was originally a Canaanite god that was part of a larger pantheon of gods and goddesses and Yahweh originally had a wife/consort Ashera.

    http://northernway.org/hgoddess.html

  • Supposedly even Yahweh was imported there, the chief deity -married to Asherah- being El, who was assimilated by the former.

    Both El and Asherah were also described as living in a tent in the summit of a mountain, from where all the fresh water of the world originated.

  • zenlike

    “something the Christian god possesses but the Muslim and Jewish god does not.”
    Well, according to a majority of christians, but a minority of christians disagree. So they apparentmly also worship a different (christian) god.

  • barriejohn

    Absolutely. Muslims, too, engage in this ridiculous game (which I well remember from my days as an impressionable young Christian): “It’s all there in our holy book – the water cycle, genetics, bacteriology, quantum mechanics, astronomy, and so on. All you have to do is ‘interpret’ a few obscure references and you can see it!”. Then, when you point out an obvious scientific inaccuracy: “Well, you can’t expect people who lived four thousand years ago to know all about physics”!!!

    https://youtu.be/JVhxL9AoF_w

  • rubaxter

    Gotta admire that Brand Loyalty.

    Sounds like a good burgermeister standing next to his Benz and taking the piss out of the luxury Audi next to it.

    Sounds like a teenager listing the superiority of Marvel Heroes vs. DC Heroes.

    Rearrange these words: wankers, all, You’re

  • rubaxter

    I don’t think you can get the Christer gawd in Avocado, while the Muslim gawd has no British Leyland Green option.

    ‘Trinity’ only matters if your Christer franchise officially believes in it, or, even more telling, if the Sheeple can actually tell you what the feck it means. The reason shite like the Apostles’ Creed exist is because unless the congregation drones the preposterous magical-mystery-powers every week, there’s too much ‘WTF laughter’ when you spring it on them by surprise in a sermon.

    The most important fact, that overwhelms all the pissant “How many toes on Gawd’s feet” kind of magical qualities, is Does This Gawd Exist.

    Bring in all the religious folk in the World, and nobody’s god exists but theirs. Bring in and Atheist as the tie breaker, and you end up with the fact that NO gods exist is the one quality that unites them all, and it’s a BIG one.

    Now, that may only be one quality amongst a myriad of qualities, but I think is is such a BIG quality that it really over-rides the others.

    Like Kryten explaining to Cat why he considers “Dropping the Defensive Shields” to be worth duplicate mention as two separate faults: They DON’T EXIST!

    In this case, these gawds ARE all the same cuz FRAUDS.

  • SecMilChap

    This word salad includes an “explanation” of the occasionally encountered blather about atheists/agnostics “who worship themselves”. It’s apparently an illogical construction of words that “defines” self-worship as any mental exercise that is not compliant with what this theologian thinks we ought to be thinking when we meditate. In Dr Herbert Benson’s books on meditation, he simply defines meditation as something that might be done as a non-religious exercise, or as a religious one. If you use a short prayer (e.g., one PT used “Jesu Cristi Ayuda Me!”[sp?]), or if you use a short phrase with no special meaning, the results are the same. In either case, the mental focus is not on oneself, but allowing the mind to focus elsewhere consistently so that emotions “bubble up” and can be set aside, strengthening one’s mind in its ability to analyze and cope. That’s what we have these big brains for. Seems to me that the process is about as far from “self-worship” as one can get.

  • The greatest hits in that regard I know of include to mix black holes with the very first verses of John, and “a portal to a dark Universe discovered with the help of the “heavy quark” (sic)”, mixing that with Genesis. It does not help either to know most people who are Evangelicals here are inmigrants who are even more clueless of science than the preachers themselves and will take their words as the truth.

  • barriejohn
  • barriejohn

    Prayer, meditation, “quietness”, hymn singing, chanting, “speaking in tongues”, etc, have nothing to do with connecting to any “god”, but go far deeper than that. Look also at the “Whirling Dervishes” and swaying Jews. To those with eyes to see, it’s obvious what’s really going on here.

  • Raymond Metcalfe

    the best load of gibberish I have seen for years

  • Worse than that, simply mixing the doctrine of the Trinity with the OT.

  • Mike De Fleuriot

    //The Christian instead prays that the will of God be done//

    ʾIn shāʾ Allāh (Arabic: إن شاء الله‎, ʾin shāʾa llāhu; pronounced [ʔɪn ʃaːʔɑ ɫˈɫɑːh]), also inshallah, in sha Allah or insha’Allah, is the Arabic language expression for “God willing” or “if God wills”…. It expresses the belief that nothing happens unless God wills it and that his will supersedes all human will.

    So not the same, right?

  • Freodin

    Short summary: “We have it all worked out, do it the right way and are better than the rest.”

  • Neko

    You wrote:

    I often wonder whether obsessive compulsive tendencies in human nature power this drive towards fanaticism and extremism.

    I think it’s just tribalism.

  • Neko

    So I posted a reply to the Q “Will someone please explain in plain English what this windbag was blabbering on about?” and it it immediately got marked as spam. That is ridiculous.

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    Deepity, all is deepity.

  • Neko

    Uh, No. You explain nothing but your own profound lack of interest in understanding what Müller is talking about.

    Müller knows what he means. I’m an atheist with a Catholic background, so I know a little (not a lot) about what he means, as well. But some zealous anti-intellectual marked my reply to this Q as spam before I even got to edit it.

    The censoriousness is pretty pathetic for “freethinkers.”

  • rubaxter

    A meaningless distinction.

    The underlying quality that unites them all, as ONLY-DNA unites all living things on Earth, is the fact THEY’RE ALL FICTION.

  • rubaxter

    Yeah, we should all follow the old “Looks like dog shite, feels like dog shite, smells like dog shite, tastes like dog shite” methodology to the bitter end before declaring “Glad I didn’t step in that dog shite!”.

    It’s not like we have anything we’d rather be doing.

  • Neko

    Apparently you have nothing better to do.

  • Oh, I know that; too bad Christians don’t. The old polytheism is still rather obvious in parts of the Bible (in Samuel-Kings, for example), which they would know if they cared enough to learn.

  • Matt Cavanaugh

    Will someone please explain in plain English what this windbag was blabbering on about?

    What part of ‘Trinity’ don’t you get?

  • LLCisyouandme

    They don’t understand anything outside the context of their own elaborate fantasy. This is the same context at play when they try to explain away athesm as a belief in a god of reason, rather than the simple refusal to believe a fantasy without evidence. Everything in their lives reduces to an aspect of their faith. When you challenge that aspect of them you challenge their whole existence at a fundamental level, that is why they react so violently to it. It is no different than when you tear off the mask of a narcissist and expose them for the fraud that they are. You either have to accept wholeheartedly every lie that they proffer, or they believe you are condemning everything, good bad or indifferent, that cascades out of those lies. When an astrologer declares that you had a good day because the sun is in Mercury and then I subsequently deny astrology I’m not saying you didn’t have a good day I’m just saying there’s no freaking connection.

  • Jim Jones

    > Will someone please explain in plain English what this windbag was blabbering on about?
    I’m sure it sounded OK in his head. Like Trump’s rambling nonsense.

  • Jim Jones

    It is sad that these centres of indoctrination and antI-knowledge and non-logic (called churches) are turning out citizens so completely brainwashed that they do not see the fallacy and logical fallacies within that with which they are brainwashed and the nonsense they recycle.

    And then they wind up on juries.

  • Georgia Sam

    Right. If A = B & B = C, then A = C. Duh.

  • rationalobservations?

    The men who wrote bibles had their petulant and infantile god acknowledge the existence of other gods. It just claimed to be able to punish those who worshipped other gods.

    It’s amazing that folk remain ignorant and gullible enough to buy into such nonsense.

  • rationalobservations?

    They also end up as dictator (“president”) of the USA.

  • epeeist

    If A = B & B = C, then A = C

    Well yes. You can make the shield work if you use a partial Boolean algebra, one that discards transitivity. However I don’t recall this being put forward by any theist.

  • Arthur F. Meincke

    All religions are based on myth & faith. Faith is a denial if the truth. No gods wrote any bibles, they were all written by mortal men…

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

    So, one-time head of the friggin’ INQUISITION!!

    🙁

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    Yeah, pretty black and white thinking, no nuance.

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    Remember that the big schism between the Orthodox church and catholicism is whether to make the sign of the cross with 2 fingers or 3…and, I think, if the crossbar of the symbol is stroked from right to left or vice-versa.

    Soooo…any way to be special, I guess.

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    So?

    It’s like arguing about any fandom…it may be intensely interesting, but utterly irrelevant to anybody except the fans.

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    I don’t think either group is *supposed* to drink alcohol 😉

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    But remember, this is the same crowd that will claim their ‘god’ gave us the laws of logic.

    So either this ‘god’ gave us a flawed tool, or that’s just more hot air.

  • Robert Baden

    UU here (as much as anything). What?

  • Robert Baden

    Actually he seems to be a trinitarian.

  • Robert Baden

    Former UU here. I’ve seen similar arguments from Trinitarians before.
    He probably makes the same claims about Jews.

  • Robert Baden

    Even granting that, Christians add two beings to Yahweh as God.

  • rationalobservations?

    None of it makes any sense and none of it is supported by a single shred of evidence.

  • Robert McLean

    There are certainly lots and lots of gods to choose from. Punters unhappy with their current choice have other delightful options other than the regular Abrahamic versions. Why not live interestingly with a nice Indian god? They come with as many as eleven arms. Some of the other Eastern gods are quite are entertaining too, like song? Choose one that does, like Bollywood, there’s one for that too. Punters should be happy with their preferred deity, if not, choose wisely but not too carefully as buyers will have finding one that actually works, that may explain the total lack of available warranties on any of them.

  • Sophotroph

    All hail barriejohn, the man with special magical senses we don’t have!

    You doubt these wondrous powers, you say? Why, how could a man infused with such smugness not also be infused with mystical potential?

    You peons might not be able to tell, but my voodoo doll and I are having a grand old time laughing about it.

  • se habla espol

    Sh&iexc;t! The christianist gods have different properties from the christianist gods. That’s part of why there sare over 45,000 christianisms in the wild.

  • se habla espol

    In Mormonism, women don’t matter, so the identity of any mother is moot.