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Is the God of Islam the same God as is worshipped by Christians?


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#1 Michael Albert

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 07:24 PM

Does the Holy Orthodox Church take a stand regarding Islamic worship. In other words, I have heard the claim that they worship the same God, but there are misunderstanding of God's nature precipitated by mutiple errors and heresies. Others say that it is an entirely different god. A false god revealed to a nation by a false prophet. Does the Church speak to this?

#2 Evan

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 08:01 PM

Michael,

I feel fairly confident in saying that Christians are obliged by the basic structure of their faith to reject Mohammad's claims in their entirety.

According to Christian theology, it is impossible to deny Jesus as Son and somehow hang on to the Father: "Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also" (2:23).

And thus St. John admonishes his spiritual children:

"Dearly beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits if they be of God: because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this is the spirit of God known. Every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that dissolves Jesus is not of God." (1 John 4:1).


Confession of the true identity of Jesus Christ is the criterion by which we discern what sort of spirit spoke to Muhammad. Should you be inclined to visit the Dome of the Rock (and I would discourage that), you will find inscribed the testimony of that spirit: "God is One and He has No Son."


Given the nature of this testimony is such that those who receive it are denied of their only access to God, their only deliverance from sin and death, their only hope in the world, we must regard Mohammad as the victim of a demonic lie that has enslaved hundreds of millions and cast palls of darkness over entire epochs of history. His was a false god, and thus Islam is by definition idolatry. We are sternly warned to keep ourselves from idols.

In Christ,
Evan

#3 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 12:41 AM

St. John of Damascus, who was a regent of the Sultan of Damascus, as was his father, wrote extensively on Islam. He considered it a heretical version of Christianity.

#4 Kosta

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 12:42 AM

Those that claim muslims worship the same God, base it on being the same God Of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Unfortunately this does not mean it is the God of Ishmael. I used to think muslims worshipped the same God until i read the Koran. In the Koran its blasphemy to call God "Father' or 'Abbba'. There is no Father, no Son, nor an Eternal Holy Spirit in Islam. God does not beget anything only creates, thus any mention of God as Father is heresy in islam. This is at odds with judaism as well which views the hebrew race as being begotten by God as they passed thru the red sea.

In islam Christ is not a son of God and anyone who claims the title is blasphemous this would include OT prophets that have used it. In fact Christ in the Koran is not even a hebrew jew! The koran implys that Christ was a greek immigrant to Nazareth, He recieved the injil in his native greek for the greek race! Hence the modern muslim belief that Allah sends a prophet to every race fromhis own. This is also why the koran translated the term 'gospel' by the greek transliteration of injil and does not use the common semitic word of his time which is peshitta.

The entirety of this religion is false and one is better off being a pagan in hinduism

#5 Father David Moser

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 05:07 AM

Islam is strictly monotheistic - and it is a militantly anti-Trinitarian religion. It is also anti-incarnational , God never became man. For those of us who worship one God in three persons who became man and dwelt among us - I'm not sure I can say that it is the same God.

It is possible, however, to draw the conclusion that the Moslem's idea of who Jesus Christ was is related to the heretical teaching of Nestorius. To them Jesus the man was "overshadowed" by the Spirit of God and thus was a prophet ( a lesser prophet than Mohammad however) of the "one God". This is not too far off the Nestorian teaching that Jesus was born a man who was later "possessed" as it were by the Spirit of God.

Fr David Moser

#6 Jake A.

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 07:55 AM

"All the gods of the pagans are demons" - Psalms.
St. John of Damascus Says of Islam:

"....being a forerunner of the Antichrist. They are descended from Ishmael, who was born to Abraham of Agar, and for this reason they are called both Agarenes and Ishmaelites. They are also called Saracens, which is derived from Sarras kenoi, or destitute of Sara, because of what Agar said to the angel: ‘Sara hath sent me away destitute.’ These used to be idolaters and worshiped the morning star and Aphrodite, whom in their own language they called Khabár, which means great. And so down to the time of Heraclius they were very great idolaters. From that time to the present a false prophet named Mohammed has appeared in their midst. This man, after having chanced upon the Old and New Testaments and likewise, it seems, having conversed with an Arian monk, devised his own heresy. Then, having insinuated himself into the good graces of the people by a show of seeming piety, he gave out that a certain book had been sent down to him from heaven. He had set down some ridiculous compositions in this book of his and he gave it to them as an object of veneration."

The strict, dry monotheism of other religious teachings (Judaism and Mohammedanism), by not rising to the undisguised idea of Divine Trinity, cannot for this reason rise to the true understanding of love as the ruling characteristic of God. Love by its very essence is unthinkable without a union, association. If God were one Person, then in relation to whom would His Love be revealed? To the world? But the world is not eternal. How could the Godly love be expressed in the eternity before the world? In addition, the world is limited, and the love of God cannot reveal itself in all of its boundlessness. The highest love, for its fullest expression, demands as high an object. But where is it? Only the mystery of the Triune God provides the answer to these indicated difficulties. It reveals that the love of God has never been inactive, without expression: The Persons of the Most Holy Trinity from eternity live one with another in continuous contact of love. The Father loves the Son (John 5:20, 3:35), and calls Him beloved (Mt. 3:17, 17:5 et al). The Son says of Himself: "I love the Father" (John 14:31). Deeply true are the short, but expressive words of the blessed Augustine: "The mystery of the Christian Trinity is the mystery of Godly love. You see the Trinity, if you see love."

If one would read the Koran, one will find out that Allah wants Muslims to kill the infidels (unbelievers) wherever they are found (Koran 9:5), and that peace will come only to those who submit to him (Koran 8:17, 48:29, and 65). The Koran also has Allah saying that unbelievers should be killed (Koran 2:191, 3:141, 4:104, 4:89, 8:12-16, 9:5, 9:73-74, 9:123, 25:52…), that Muslim apostates should be killed or chastised (Koran 2:39, 2:85, 3:85, 3:106, 4:89, 16:106, and 47:25-28), that the heads and fingers of unbelievers should be cut off (Koran 5:33, 8:12, and 47:4), and that Muslims should fight and humiliate Jews and Christians (Koran 5:18 and 9:29).

Allah orders Muslims not to take Jews, Christians and other unbelievers as friends (Koran 3:28, 5:51 and 9:23), and will not forgive Christians (Koran 4:48 and 4:116). Muhammad taught to put the infidels to death wherever they were found (Koran 2:191, 2:244, 4:89, 5:36, 9:5, and 9:29), urged Muslims to fight the unbelievers who are close (Koran 9:123), mentioned that fighting is obligatory (Koran 2:216), and mandated the conquering of those relatives who opposed Muslims because loyalty to Islam overrode all other human bonds (Koran 9:23-24, and 58:22).

Jesus did miracles (Surah 3:49, 5:110) but Muhammad did not (Surah 13:8 “you are a warner of coming divine judgment only” also 6:37; 6:109; 17:59 and 17:90-93).
Jesus was sinless (Surah 3:46), but Muhammad sinned and needed forgiveness (Surah 40:55 “Ask forgiveness of you sin” 42:2 “that Alalh may forgive your sin”).
Jesus was called “the Messiah” by Allah in the Quran. Jesus was even born of a virgin (Surah 3:45-57)! Yet Muhammad who had 12 wives, 2 concubines, had sex with captured slave girls, and participated in many attacks on innocent caravans and villages, and insisted on 20% of all the booty from these raids --- is supposed to be the greatest of the prophets. History tells us that one of the major reasons the Jews in Arabia refused to believe Muhammad was a prophet at all – was because of Muhammad’s harem. No prophet of god ever had this same sort of sexual appetite that Muhammad had.

He was a slave-owning (33:50), warlord (8:1, 33:27) who spread his religion with the sword (9:5). His “book from god” (4:82) contains many personal, often sexual and tailor-made advantages for himself (33:50-53) as well as scientific errors (16:15, 67:5, 86:7). He included his own narrow-minded, generalizations when talking about women (4:34, 2:228) and his personal enemies, the Jews (2:96, 5:82). Muhammad granted sexual rights to husbands (2:223) and allowed wife-beating (4:34) and polygamy (4:3). The Quran did not ban slavery, allowing Muslims to practice slavery (30:28), as well as sexual-slavery (23:6, 70:30), victimizing tens of millions of people, for over a thousand years (AD 610-1962 for Saudi Arabia). The Quran says that you are not forced to convert (2:256) but then it threatens you with the humiliating “infidel tax”, the “Jizya” (9:29), death, mutilation or expulsion (5:33) and an eternal hell (4:169) if you don’t.

Muhammad used fighters to spread his religion with the sword (9:5, 9:29) and enrich himself thought conquest (8:1, 8:41).

He gave himself access to the women who were captured or made widows by his advancing army (33:50, 70:30).

Others joined to avoid the humiliating “infidel tax” (9:29), death, mutilation or expulsion (5:33).

If you flee from battle you are condemned to hell. 8:16

Muhammad said to his men, “Enjoy what you have gained as the spoils of war”. 8:69

Fight the idol-worshipers, capture, besiege and ambush them until they convert to Islam. 9:5

Fight the non-believers, Allah will humiliate them and give you victory. 9:14

When you are at war with the unbelievers, chop at their necks until you win the battle and then chain them up. After the war, set the POWs free or ransom their lives. War is a test from Allah. 47:4

Non-Muslims must convert or be “subdued” until they pay a special tax (the jyzia). 9:29

Muhammad cut off the heads of more than 900 men of the Banu Tribe after they pleaded for mercy.
33:26-27.

Muhammad lead twenty-six battles of war. Here is a list of the battles he lead from a popular Islamic website:
http://www.islam.com/chronology.htm

1. WADDAN
2. SAFWAN
3. DUL-ASHIR
4. BADR
5. BANI SALIM
6. BANI QUAINUQA
7. SAWIQ
8. GHATFAN
9. BAHRAN
10. UHAD
11. HUMRA-UL-ASAD
12. BANU NUDAIR
13. DHATUR RIQA
14. BADRU-UKHRA
15. DUMATUL-JANDAL
16. BANU MUSTALEQ WITH HADRAT JAWRIYA
17. AHZAB
18. BANI QURAIZA
19. BANI LAHYAN
20. DHI QARD
21. KHAIBAR
22. WADIYUL-QURA AND TAIM
23. MECCA AND FALL OF MECCA
24. HUNAIN
25. GHAZWA
26. TABUK

#7 Christina M.

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 12:36 PM

Can someone please answer the following?

1) Does Islam have it's own self-professed "saints"? If yes, then are their "saints" considered to have spiritual powers, like healing, wonderworking, etc?

2) Do people ever willingly convert to Islam, or is it just that people are born into it, or they "convert" people by force?

#8 Owen Jones

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 01:29 PM

I am always puzzled by the way this question is phrased. On the one hand, yes, of course, we worship the same God because there is only one God. However, we have vastly different understandings of the nature and purpose of that one God. It seems relatively simple to me. I never understand the question as posed. Other than the fact that liberals love to say we all worship the same God as if to say that opinions about Him are just that and not really worthy of discussion. So if it is intended as a response to liberalism, it seems to me to be an awkward way of going about it.

#9 Evan

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 01:52 PM

My concern with accepting the proposition that we worship the same God is that we do not worship a generic "God." We worship the Father of Jesus Christ, in Whom the fullness of divinity dwelt bodily. It seems to me rather obvious that deny that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, to deny that He became man and for our sake died and was raised, that we might share in His divinity, is necessarily to affirm that whatever god one is worshipping is not His Father.

In Christ,
Evan

#10 Michael Albert

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 01:58 PM

I am always puzzled by the way this question is phrased. On the one hand, yes, of course, we worship the same God because there is only one God.

That is the point. Is it the same God? Muhammed was a false prophet who took bits and pieces of the Old and New Testament in a mutilated form, mixed it with some Christian heresies (Nestorianism and Arianism), and added some personal "revelation". Can we still say that what he invented and revealed to a nation is the one God? I am thinking that the answer is no. But then I have been questioned regarding Judaism and non-Orthodox Christianity. Since Judaism does not accept Christ (Trinity) and Roman Catholics (and most protestants) have a different understanding of the Trinity (Filioque), do way say that they also do not worship the one God?

#11 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 02:10 PM

Can someone please answer the following?

1) Does Islam have it's own self-professed "saints"? If yes, then are their "saints" considered to have spiritual powers, like healing, wonderworking, etc?


No. There are certain people who are held in esteem, like we esteem Abraham Lincoln or George Washington, but they are not prayed to asked for prayers. Although there may be some small sects that do such things, Islam is not really monolithic, there several different traditions.

2) Do people ever willingly convert to Islam, or is it just that people are born into it, or they "convert" people by force?


It may seem surprising to some but, yes, people do willingly convert. After all, it is so very easy to do, simply repeat the formula, "There is no God but God …" and you are in. And if you try to leave, the Quran says you should be killed.

There is STRUCTURE to Islam, and many people crave that. There are relatively easy answers in Islam, and some people crave that. What is expected of you is very clear-cut. So few grey areas, everything is well laid out. Not sure what women get out of the whole deal other than not having to spend a lot of time getting made up, but of course good Moslem men get to spend eternity doing all those things they weren't allowed to do in this life, fornication, getting drunk without hangovers, an eternal frat party. Some people find THAT appealing, especially if such things are denied to you by your circumstances regardless.

Islam is growing tremendously in many place—mostly by immigration and birthrates—but people do convert as well.

#12 Christina M.

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 02:15 PM

That is the point. Is it the same God? Muhammed was a false prophet who took bits and pieces of the Old and New Testament in a mutilated form, mixed it with some Christian heresies (Nestorianism and Arianism), and added some personal "revelation". Can we still say that what he invented and revealed to a nation is the one God? I am thinking that the answer is no. But then I have been questioned regarding Judaism and non-Orthodox Christianity. Since Judaism does not accept Christ (Trinity) and Roman Catholics (and most protestants) have a different understanding of the Trinity (Filioque), do way say that they also do not worship the one God?


I would also like to hear some answers to this question.

In particular, many Protestants reject the Trinity, while many others reject the divinity of Christ. How different are they from a non-Christian religion?

#13 Christina M.

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 02:19 PM

Herman - thanks a lot for the answers.

I can understand a little why some might find Islam attractive. I have an Orthodox friend who insists that all of her Muslim friends have better moral values and are more virtuous than her Christian friends. That's very sad for those of us Orthodox who give a bad impression publicly.

#14 Father David Moser

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 02:40 PM

In particular, many Protestants reject the Trinity, while many others reject the divinity of Christ. How different are they from a non-Christian religion?


First - I would suggest that the phrases "many Protestants" and "many others" used above are misleading. At best one might say that "some Protestants" and "some others" hold those beliefs - they are certainly not widespread at all among protestant groups.

Second - in answer to the question: They aren't

Fr David Moser

#15 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 03:10 PM

In the the admittedly small brain of this particular pooh, the question seems a bit pointless. Does it matter? Really? Islam, and many other created religions, worship something created in the mind of man, an idol. Anything that is not the One True God is an idol. Orthodox Christians can worship an idol if they choose to worship something other than the One True God as well, if we try to create a God we want rather than accept the God who IS, if we create a god that meet our terms rather than meeting God on His terms.

You either worship the One True God, or something else, a false god, an idol, a football team, a rock star, a hobby, or your car, or money, or whatever is really truly most important in your life. Most created religions point us to a created god, an idea. Orthodoxy (true belief, right worship) points us towards encounter with God. Anything else is, sadly, going to be something less.

Why waste time on the specifics of the "less"? Less is less. Should we not concentrate on the "more" more? Rather than talk about what others "lack", should we not hold up what we have? We HAVE SEEN the True Light, we HAVE RECEIVED the Heavenly Spirit! We have found the True Faith! We adore the Holy undivided Trinity, Who has saved us! We have ENCOUNTERED Christ the Lord, not an idea, not a concept, not a book, but a Person, who dwells among us! Let us live this truth, let our light shine before men in such a way that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father who is in heaven. Let them see something in our lives that they do not have, and desire, that they might seek it out. And if we don't have it for ourselves, well, then worry about us rather than them ….

Forgive my blustering, it is a rather blustery day today. Time for my nap.
Herman the Pooh

#16 Lourens

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 03:54 PM

There is another approach in thinking about this.

For me, it developed after seeing the beauty of holiness in the countenances of (some) Muslims (ones submitted to God); seeing the fruit of the Spirit present in their relationships, and way of being in the world.

Please, do not tell me about Satan appearing as an angel of light.

Love and Truth has but one ultimate Source, the One God. Wherever it is present with men, it is from the Divine Good of Love, and the Divine Truth of Wisdom. Men are mere receptacles, and receive from the same Source the same divine stuff , but variously contained, according to the vessels' genius or mentality.

In the light of the shekinah glory, or nur, matters of doctrine fall silent, for the glory of God is the glory of God, and it cannot usually be obtained by sound doctrine, quoting chapter and verse, but right living and pure devotion, for it is the testimony of a (being) cleansed spirit.

That is why the simple and innocent are often like angels, while the learned laity heatedly contend with one another in a spirit of one-upmanship in social networks and media. :-)

One of the most damning sentences I ever read was written by a Muslim lady: "In the (Christian) West, even the children walk around with adulterous eyes."

Let us be slow to judge God, and His Divine Providence at work amongst the nations of the world. After all, through Islam a multitude of peoples of many nations, over many centuries, were brought out of the darkness and bondage of superstition and worship of a multitude of false gods and idols, into monotheism, that is, the belief in the One God, the Creator of the universe, and Giver of Life.

#17 Evan

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 04:09 PM

In all charity, we are told quite explicitly that one who has not the Son has not the Father. Forgive me, but I do not see "monotheism" as such as any significant improvement over polytheism or atheism. We are not saved by the existence of God. We are saved by the deliverance of fallen man from sin and death through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the God-Man. Islam militantly proclaims that Our Lord and Savior is not in fact Our Lord and Savior, that God's eternal Word was not begotten before all ages, that He did not become flesh without being circumscribed by it, that He did not die as Man while yet remaining impassible as God, that He did not rise bodily, that He is not enthroned in human flesh at the right hand of the Father, and that we cannot share in His divinity by grace. It does not leave open the possibility that such a thing could have been taken place. It cannot be anything but demonic.

Thus Father Patrick Henry Reardon, who I think articulates quite well the problem with regarding Muhammad as anything more than, at best, a seriously deceived man:

"If we chose the strongest negative terms to describe the mission and significance of Muhammad, it would be difficult to exceed the harsh judgment of the Apostle John: "Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son." (1 John 2:22; cf. 4:3). In short, simple fidelity to the clear teaching of the New Testament exacts of us a very negative assessment of the mission and claims of Muhammad."

In Christ,
Evan

Edited by Evan, 04 February 2011 - 04:30 PM.


#18 Michael Albert

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 04:16 PM

In the the admittedly small brain of this particular pooh, the question seems a bit pointless. Does it matter? Really? Islam, and many other created religions, worship something created in the mind of man, an idol. Anything that is not the One True God is an idol. Orthodox Christians can worship an idol if they choose to worship something other than the One True God as well, if we try to create a God we want rather than accept the God who IS, if we create a god that meet our terms rather than meeting God on His terms.

You either worship the One True God, or something else, a false god, an idol, a football team, a rock star, a hobby, or your car, or money, or whatever is really truly most important in your life. Most created religions point us to a created god, an idea. Orthodoxy (true belief, right worship) points us towards encounter with God. Anything else is, sadly, going to be something less.

Why waste time on the specifics of the "less"? Less is less. Should we not concentrate on the "more" more? Rather than talk about what others "lack", should we not hold up what we have? We HAVE SEEN the True Light, we HAVE RECEIVED the Heavenly Spirit! We have found the True Faith! We adore the Holy undivided Trinity, Who has saved us! We have ENCOUNTERED Christ the Lord, not an idea, not a concept, not a book, but a Person, who dwells among us! Let us live this truth, let our light shine before men in such a way that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father who is in heaven. Let them see something in our lives that they do not have, and desire, that they might seek it out. And if we don't have it for ourselves, well, then worry about us rather than them ….

Forgive my blustering, it is a rather blustery day today. Time for my nap.
Herman the Pooh


Another superb post Herman...as usual. I am now somewhat embarrassed to have asked the question. Your brain is not small at all...and neither is your heart.

#19 Christina M.

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 04:44 PM

In the the admittedly small brain of this particular pooh, the question seems a bit pointless. Does it matter? Really? Islam, and many other created religions, worship something created in the mind of man, an idol. Anything that is not the One True God is an idol. Orthodox Christians can worship an idol if they choose to worship something other than the One True God as well, if we try to create a God we want rather than accept the God who IS, if we create a god that meet our terms rather than meeting God on His terms.

You either worship the One True God, or something else, a false god, an idol, a football team, a rock star, a hobby, or your car, or money, or whatever is really truly most important in your life. Most created religions point us to a created god, an idea. Orthodoxy (true belief, right worship) points us towards encounter with God. Anything else is, sadly, going to be something less.

Why waste time on the specifics of the "less"? Less is less. Should we not concentrate on the "more" more? Rather than talk about what others "lack", should we not hold up what we have? We HAVE SEEN the True Light, we HAVE RECEIVED the Heavenly Spirit! We have found the True Faith! We adore the Holy undivided Trinity, Who has saved us! We have ENCOUNTERED Christ the Lord, not an idea, not a concept, not a book, but a Person, who dwells among us! Let us live this truth, let our light shine before men in such a way that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father who is in heaven. Let them see something in our lives that they do not have, and desire, that they might seek it out. And if we don't have it for ourselves, well, then worry about us rather than them ….

Forgive my blustering, it is a rather blustery day today. Time for my nap.
Herman the Pooh


Although I very much enjoyed this post, I believe it does matter to know who we are dealing with. I believe the post following Herman's was proof of this. If no-one cared what the other religions believed in, then someone might have read the post after Herman's and said: "That all sounds like good stuff. That Muslim is talking about the Glory of God, about Divine Providence, etc, so it sounds like we have the same God. That man would be no better off if he converted to Orthodoxy."

Also, by learning what others believe, and how close they are to the truth of God, then we know better how we can confront them, especially in cases where they are asking us questions. For much of my life I hadn't been able to answer any of the questions that non-Orthodox would ask me. Now I'm able to answer maybe a few here and there. That's one of the reasons why I read this forum - I'm learning how to confront the non-Orthodox around me. For most of us, over 90% of the people we are around all day are non-Orthodox. Doesn't it look foolish to them if they ask us about the details of our religion, and we are not able to give them any details because we don't know them ourselves?

So basically the present question is one of the things a Christian or a Muslim might ask us: Do we have the same God? And a thread like this attempts to answer that question. Ideally, we would all be surrounded by only Orthodox people, in which case we wouldn't care at all about any other religions in the world. Then we could spend more time praying, and less time reading, and we'd all be better off. But unfortunately we are not in such an ideal situation.

#20 Christina M.

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 04:49 PM

In addition, this reminds me of a story of Fr Arseny. Once a bishop came to visit him, and when the bishop saw all of the secular books in Fr Arseny's library, he told him: "These books aren't necessary." Fr Arseny replied: "Your Emminence, things are different today, because the non-Orthodox are constantly asking us questions, and we have to know how to answer them."
I paraphrased from memory, so someone please correct me if I am wrong.




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