The Pokey Finger of God

meditations on religion and culture

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Good God Essay

December 21st, 2003 · No Comments · culture, media

Here is a good essay that does a pretty good job of untangling some of the theological issues surrounding 43’s simplified fundamentalist world view. It seems that our selected president recently said that he believed Christians and Muslims “worshipped the same God” as a means to counter accusations that the US government is anti-Muslim. Such a view indicates a lack of understanding about both his own and that of others.

With their extreme form of monotheism, Christians cannot acknowledge that other gods even exist. Among most forms of Christianity that assert some form of creed and dogma, when sects diverge significantly in creed or dogma, they will frequently characterize the other as worshipping a “false” god. Baptists think Catholics worship the Pope, while Catholics think Baptists worship hubris, while the Orthodox think everyone in the West worships mammon. If the particular fundamentalist branch of Christianity ascribed to by the president doesn’t accept that certain Christian denominations worship the same god, how can he pretend that Muslims worship the same god?

Muslims certainly recognize this distinction, and I wouldn’t be surprised if any who heard this would take it to mean that the president had announced to the world that Muslims worshipped the Christian god recognized by the American president, not Allah — certainly a crude insult of the gravest kind.