Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy Earth Day

So much beauty.
So much wisdom.
So much to embrace.


Anonymous said...

Northern California is getting dumped on with precipitation this year, but one wishes some of that had fallen over the previous five years. Some climatologists claim global warming increases the severity of BOTH drought and flooding.


I saw this brief page on prayer by a former Christian, and wondered how believers might rebut it:

Anonymous said...

I have family in northern California (San Francisco and McKinleyville, way up north and formerly in Eureka. Lots of snow and rain this year for sure.


Anonymous said...

Today Stan blocked some comment about Jehovah's Witnesses. Care to fill us in?

Anonymous said...

1. Stan said, "you know I don't post your comments. Indeed, if I know it's you, I don't read them."

As a point of fact, Stan often writes posts that I have questions about.

On such instances, occasionally (pretty rarely, but occasionally) I will ask the question(s). I do so respectfully because I honestly am curious to the answers.

As a point of fact, Stan often answers these questions in later posts, usually within the week. He doesn't usually mention my name, but they are direct answers to my questions.

Thus, it appears that Stan does read and answer my questions, even if he doesn't cite me. That's fine. I'm interested in his answer, not in "credit" for asking the question.

In this case, Stan had written about how Jews and Christians worship the same God (he referred to the "Judeo-Christian God," but Muslims don't. He said,

"God and Allah are not the same. (One of the absolutely unique things about Christianity is the doctrine of the Trinity, the "three-in-one", which Islam denies and, therefore, which sets their "Allah" as radically different than our God..."

Given his reason (one reason) for why Muslims don't worship the same God, I asked for clarification. I asked something along the lines of, "It appears that you think that Jews worship the same God as Christians, but Muslims don't... but your reasoning for that thinking is that Muslims don't believe in a Triune God. But Jews don't believe in a Triune God, so if that is the case, why do you think that Jews worship the same God as Christians?"

That led to his post today, where he appears to be arguing that it's because the Muslims have additional scripture that, according to Stan, specifically says "The Quran specifically denies that Allah is a Trinity."

So, today, I pointed out that the Jehovah Witness tradition does not have extra scripture, so does that mean that he thinks that they worship the "same God" as Christians (knowing that Stan does not consider JWs to be Christian.)? That resulted in his response to me, which didn't deal with the question I was asking.

My further/deeper question about his line of thinking (and many like him) and the apparent lack of internal consistency was this:

Islam, Christianity and Judaism all trace their roots to the monotheistic Creator God discussed in Genesis. From there, Christians tend to disagree with both Jewish folk and Muslim folk in notions about God's nature and Jesus. I asked, Isn't it more reasonable to say that we're talking about traditions that have a common starting point/set of stories/understanding of God INITIALLY, but from there, you think they have mistaken understandings about God's nature.

That is, it's the same God, but they're mistaken in correctly understanding God's nature (according to Stan), thus, they ultimately worship the "wrong God," or have a fatally flawed understanding of that same God (again, according to Stan)?

This, in contrast with the gods of Roman or Norse mythology, who are clearly not coming from the same initial set of stories about a Monotheistic Creator God?

This line of questions, he did not answer.

I'm glad he made an effort to answer the question, I just wish he'd deal with my actual questions, not go off on things I haven't said.


Anonymous said...

Obliged. :-]

Marshal Art said...

If I may be so bold....

For anyone to truly answer the question of why one religion is not truly worshiping the same deity as another requires more space than has been allotted by Stan thus far. I'm sure, if Dan's suspicion is correct, Stan may soon have a more in depth response in the not too distant future.

For the JW question, the answer would go further than merely pointing out that they have no "extra" Scripture. But at the same time, one needn't have a whole new book, chapter or page for that to be true. Simply distorting what the original has is enough to qualify as "extra". Case in point, I offer this one short description of why JW isn't Christian, which also illustrates why they don't actually worship the same God:

I would point out that the bullet points from that piece:

-Taking verses out of their immediate context.
-Refusing to read verses in the entire biblical context.
-Inserting their theological presuppositions into the text.
-Altering the Biblical text to suit their needs.
-Latching onto one verse to interpret a host of others.
-Changing the meanings of words.
-Proclaiming some passages to be figurative when they contradict their doctrines.
-Adding to the Word of God. for showing Dan's interpretive shortcomings as well. But I digress...

As regards Judaism, Christianity and islam, the difference is far more than merely which deals with a Triune God. Neither Jesus, nor his apostles, regarded what He taught as a "new" religion at all. The distinction was actually made by the Jews who rejected Him as the Messiah. Indeed, it was Paul's defense that what he preached was not a new religion at all when he was arrested by the Romans. (I once heard an interesting interview with an Christian lawyer who wrote a book on this point after a discussion with other Christian lawyers. They felt that the Gospel of Luke, together with the Book of Acts read like a legal brief in defense of Paul)

In any case, Muhammad regarded Jews and Christians as those who distorted Scripture and by such a suggestion he, like others I know, created his own god with no more than superficial similarities to God. It's not the same God simply because he acknowledges certain characters of the Bible. And don't forget Galatians 1:8-9. Not the same God at all.

Anonymous said...

Marshall, the Jews do not recognize a Triune God. Does that mean that they don't worship the same God?

Put another way: Can one believe in a NON-Triune God and still worship the same God?

Put yet another way: Is believing in the Trinity an essential component of Christianity and, if you don't believe in the Trinity but claim to worship God, you're not worship the same God?