procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Allah and Yhwh

I've just finished reading 'Revelation?' by Mark Durie (2006), which asks the question, do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?

it's a really interesting book - well written, easy to read. the main thing it is asking, is whether it is right to engage Muslims (or for Muslims to engage Christians) with the premise, 'we all are talking about the same basic thing - let me show you how our understanding is different/better/correspondent.'

this is basically the approach suggested by Colin Chapman (Cross and Crescent), where you talk about Isa in the Qur'an and say 'see, don't you want to know more about him? read his biography with me (in the Injeel)' (hopefully this isn't too simplistic a summary)

Durie wants us rather to look at the characters of Isa, Allah, the Ruh Al-Qudus, and see what similarities and differences exist (between, respectively, Jesus, Yhwh, and the Holy Spirit). now, whilst this approach isn't as conciliatory as Chapman's, it's also not as polemic as Sam Green's (he works for AFES in Tassie i think), who attempts to show how wrong Islam is - the unreliability of the Qur'an, the questionable character of Muhammad etc - pulling no punches.

again, i found it an engaging book (there are bargain bin copies for $6 at Moore Books!), especially in countering Islamic claims that they're all the same - even the names of Jesus and Yhwh are corrupted when taken up by Islam - having no linguistic links at all (supporting the understanding of Muhammad's syncretism of the religions around without fully grasping them). however it does this linguistically, and based on the characters of the characters - trying to enter into the conversation in a way that distances the two religions - they are not, nor ever were, the same religion. Neither Adam, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Moses, David, Solomon nor Jesus were Muslims - which is not to say the characters of the Qur'an - Sulemann, Isa, Lut et al weren't - but they aren't the same bunch of guys.

i still need to think about the relative merits of the approaches - what do we lose by Chapman's approach? what do we gain by Durie's?

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