The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Whose god is it anyway, II

In the previous post, I got as far as showing that Christianity and sura 4 were incompatible. This left open the question: if religion A and religion B are intrinsically incompatible, does that mean their respective adherents must worship different gods?

In a case like, say, Hinduism and African animism, the answer would be an emphatic yes, they DO worship different gods - there never have been attempts at syncretism, so the question hasn't come up. Rome and Greece, by contrast, did share contact and followed religions (really, pantheons) so compatible that the syncretism was almost automatic.

The way to understand a case like Islam is to consider Judaism and Christianity. Rabbinic Judaism has defined God in such a way that Christianity becomes impossible, more so than is Islam. Christianity for its part insists on the Jewish Scriptures (Marcion aside), and generally asserts its theological union with Judaism. The Jews don't accept that - the "Marcionite" position with respect to Christian Scripture is orthodox in Judaism.

Jews very well could say outright that Christians are worshipping the wrong god. If they don't, it's because they see something in their own scriptures and tradition (generally in the Messianic and Qabbala traditions) that might allow for something close to Christianity to arise.

I would appreciate similar understanding from Christians: that they go back to the Hebrew Bible(s), and check out where that text might allow for something like Islam. This would mainly circle around the Deuteronomic, Prophetic and Apocalyptic books - Isaiah, 1 Enoch 1-36, the Exodus and so on. It doesn't do Christianity any favours to pretend that Islam just came out of nowhere, with the (barely attested) Arab paganism standing in for "nowhere".

posted by Zimri on 19:10 | link | 0 comments

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