Thursday, December 17, 2015
Following on Tom's post about the matter at Wheaton College and the question of whether Christians and Muslims "worship the same God," it is worth pointing out that the question is a settled one in Catholic doctrine. Nostra Aetate (Vatican II's Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions) states:
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, 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.
Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom. (emphasis added)
That still leaves, of course, various and important questions to be explored about this doctrinal claim and its political-theological significance. I commend a recent article in Theological Studies (here for those with institutional subscriptions) by Anna Bonta Moreland (my wife).