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It depends on definition

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God? - Continued

Submitted by Shepard (United States), Sep 27, 2006 at 13:10

Is Allah G-d? It depends on what you mean, and this criteria has never been defined. Presumably, judging by the context of this updated article, the question is - can a dialogue be pursued with the belief that Christians and Jews and Muslims recognize the same diety? Not at all. But even the rejection of this possibility is flawed. It labors under the assumption of the concept of Judeo-Christian, i.e. that Judaism and Christianity observe the same deity.

I don't think it's a coincidence that Islam lists Magis (Zoroastrians) and Sabeans alongside Judaism and Nazarenes though the religions are vastly different and individually don't even claim to be connected. Islam was an attempt like others to reconcile all regional belief system into one. Christianity tried something similiar by adopting and adapting provincial pagan rites. But at the end of the day, the character of the central deity is too different. It's not a matter of interpretation, it's a matter of complete revision. And having conceptual montheism in common is not enough to over-rule Allah's command to kill the infidels until they submit, or Christianity's proclaimation that G-d has a son and the Torah is a curse. Or Judaism's law against following foreign deities, deities by other names, or adding innovation to the practices laid down in the tradition.

Between Christianity and Judaism there has been the capacity to agree on peace. Nowhere in the 'New Testament' is there an explicit order to violently proselytize, but even then the implicit libel against Jews is troublesome. However in Islam there is no escape from the verse of the sword, or the many suras condemning any who wish to 'befriend the infidel' or 'make peace with the ifidel' or 'question the basic tenets of Islam' etc.

A rose by any other name is still a rose, but you can't make a titan arum smell better by calling it a rose. Nor does the fact that a titan arum is larger than a rose and can drown out the scent of a garden make it better than any other flower.

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

"Presumably, judging by the context of this updated article, the question is - can a dialogue be pursued with the belief that Christians and Jews and Muslims recognize the same diety?"

The question is actually much simpler: is "Allah" Arabic for the English word "God" or something quite different?

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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