In 2003 I wrote a post denouncing the idea that Christians and Muslims worship the "same" God, and at the time I wasn't even aware that it's apparently the Catholic Church's official position that the opposite is true. In 1965, Pope Paul IV issued Declaration Nostra Aetate in which he taught:

3. The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,(5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

Fascinating, and terribly misguided. As I wrote two years ago,

It's true that as a monotheist I believe there is only one God, but it doesn't follow that anyone else who is also a monotheist worships the same God I do; the alternative is that they don't worship God at all, but rather a construct of their own imagination. For example, someone who woships a rock or a tree and claims it is the one and only "god" may also be a monotheist, but the characteristics of their "god" are entirely different from the characteristics of mine; we may both be monotheists, but at least one of us is wrong in believing that our god is the one and only.

Similarly with Muslims and Christians. Both are monotheists, but the two concepts of "god" are so completely divergent that they cannot both be true, and both "gods" cannot exist as conceived. At least one of the religions is wrong (and both think it's the other guys', whereas unbelievers think it's both).

Typically, only unbelievers (and functional unbelievers) are willing to make the claim that Jehovah and Allah are "the same". Why? Because they don't believe in either, and it's convenient and "enlightened" to lump everyone together. Why quibble about differences between two imaginary beings?

I've got a lot of Catholic readers, what say you? Am I missing something?

(HT: Belmont Club.)

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