|Same same God|
In an address to the Muslim community on 18 Feb 2011, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, warned of religious pluralism. He said that it is unIslamic to put Islam on equal footing with other faiths. Addressing 800 religious teachers, the Prime Minister said
"To say all religions are equal before Allah is against the Islamic belief" .
"We respect other religions, we must not insult other religions, but they cannot be said to be as similar to Islam", he said.
The Christian leaders in Malaysia did not challenge Najib's assertions, but complained that this results in favoritism of Islam. In particular, they highlighted in the Christian Post on Mar 12, 2011, that "30,000 bibles detained by Malaysian Gov't" in the on going legal wrangle over the use of the same term "Allah" or God in both religious text.
There are similar roots between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, in their common Patriach, Abraham. The nation of Israel descended from Isaac, the son of Abraham through Sarah, whilst many Arab Nations descended from Ishamel by the mistress, Hagar. Therefore, the similarily is based on family ties rather than worshipping the same God.
The creation of Israel as a nation and a religious entity came much later. Israel became a people of God when they escaped through the red sea, through the baptism of water. They had forgotten about God, apart from stories of old about Abraham and the Covenant God had with him. It was in the desert of Sinai, that God proclaimed Israel to be His chosen and special nation when they enter into the Mosaic Covenant to follow the ordained religious laws and practices.
It was a decision by Israel to enter into the Mosaic covenant with God, that resulted in being associated and called by God's name as His people and nation. The connection to Abraham avails much, but they had to enter into a Covenant relationship with God in order for their worship of God to be accepted and the promises of God to Abraham to avail in their nation. The Ishmaelites who became great Arabic nations did not enter into this religious covenant and worship.
Israel found it hard to worship an "unseen" God, and often lapsed into worshiping idols and the Egyptian Gods. When this happened, God would raised up judges to return the people to worship God. There was certainly no allowance for them to continue on the basis that they were worshiping the same God afterall!
In the sorroundings of the Promised Land filled with many other religions and deities, there was an emphasis that the God of Israel is One God, Hallelujah. This was not to imply a commonality with the other faiths, but the declaration of the uniqueness of God amongsts the many other deities. The Jews wanted their God to be like other gods, where they can make idols and bow down to, something tangible, but God would have nothing of it. The God of Israel is One encompassing the many characteristic of God, captured in the many names given to God including Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Rophe, Jehovah Nissi, Johovah M'Kaddesh, Jehovah Shalom, Jehovah Elohim, Jehovah Tsidkenu, Jehovah Rohi, Jehovah Shammah, and Jehovah Sabaoth.
(Mat 3:9 NKJV) "and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
The bible also makes it clear that the long awaited Messiah is Jesus Christ. Some Jews tried to make the assertions that they were righteous (ie "worshiping the same God") simply because they were descendents of Abraham. Jesus shifted the focus to Himself, and whether we worship the same God, is based on whether we worship Jesus and regard Him as Lord and Saviour.
(John 3:18 NKJV) "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Perhaps the question asked should be - whether God accepts our worship?. In John 3:18, the Jews were worshiping God and even following the Mosaic laws and worship, yet there was no assurance of Salvation that their worship be accepted by God, their sins forgiven. The issue here is a failure to comply 100% to the laws, all the time. Only one single transgression results in a default.
The similar roots between Islam and Christianity is the not the source of unity as hoped by many, but the source of conflict.
a) The Abrahamic Faith emphasised on a setting apart of a people for God's purpose and will. This translated in the 21st century in religious faiths having very little to do with each other in religious dialogue.
b) The Abrahamic Faith was set in a religious culture where the gods were very cruel and sex based. Human Sacrifices were demanded. In order to join and become one in spirit with the gods, the worshippers were having anal sex with the temple priests. In the 21st century, Because of our self righteousness, we coudn't see that these sins were committed by people of religious faith, and so we blame the Gay community for it.
c) The people were one with the gods they worshipped and through sex were poccessed by the demons within and behaving under the full control of the deities. Therefore, there was no qualms in annihilating an entire town or people under God's instruction. Translated literally to the 21st century, we have people of faith killing others in the name of religion which was totally out of the context three thousand years ago.
d) The Abrahamic Faith was set in a spiritual reality where the people had sex with the fallen angels resulting in sub-humans with supernatural powers. Therefore, the people of Sodom and Gommorah desired to have sex with the angels -- to return to that spiritual connection that the people on earth had lost at the Garden of Eden. The tower of Babel was man's attempt to connect with the heavenlies, and on-top of it were beds where the angels can have sex with the women. In the 21st century, again because of our self righteousness, we coudn't see that these sins were committed by people of religious faith, and so we blame the Gay community for it.
The GLBT Community has suffered so much from people of faith who used religion as a tool for harm. They blame gays for the religious sexual orgies and sexual encounters with demons, because they coudn't attribute these sins to themselves, or to their own tribe or nations.
If it was the same God they were worshipping, would the Abrahamic Faiths been in conflict for these 2,000 years. They knew that the promise by God to Abraham would cultimate in a Messiah to reveal the way back to God that was lost at the Garden of Eden. Each faith is seeking to be the bearer of the Messiah!
Yet, it was Jesus who proclaimed He is God, was there in the beginning of time, and is the Messiah leading people back to God. The claim by Jesus was undeniable - of God dying for our sins, His resurrection affirming the truth that the sacrifice has been accepted by God the Father, thus establishing the way back Home to heaven.
We are reminded of the question Jesus asked to Peter, 2,000 years - "Who do you say I am?". Jesus have been the stumbling stone even for Christians as they attempt to persecute Gays yet faced with the message of God's love, justice, grace and mercy in Christ Jesus instead of the hate and prejudice displayed.