Between Allah & Jesus, Part 2

See how the story unfolds between a Christian and a Muslim as they debate Jesus and Muhammad; the Bible and the Qu'ran; and theology and religion, in part two of this book excerpt from "Between Allah and Jesus" by Peter Kreeft.

Isa did not leave Evan much time to think about it. He pressed on: “And if you say that we worship a false God because we deny that Jesus is God’s Son, then you must say the same thing about the Jews. They must be worshiping a different God than you worship for the same reason: they too deny that Jesus is the Son of God. Is that what you say about them too, then?”

“I don’t know. I think that that must logically follow, and yet I do not want to say that.”

“Why not?”

“I’m not sure.”

At this point, Evan turned to Fr. Heerema, who had sat down with them and had been listening to the last few minutes of their conversation. Most of the Jesuits ate with each other, but Fr. Heerema preferred to eat with the students.

“What do you think, Father?” Evan asked. “Can you tell me why I don’t want to say that about the Jews?”

“I think I can,” Fr. Heerema answered. “It is because Jesus was a Jew! Jesus didn’t say that the Jewish leaders worshiped the wrong God. When he argued with the Jews who refused to believe in him, he appealed to their knowledge of the one true God. So according to Jesus, Jews worship the true God.”

Evan was not satisfied. “But Jesus and the Jews contradicted each other about God, about whether God had a Son. And Christians and Jews still contradict each other today about that.” “Yes, they do. But that doesn’t mean that they worship two different Gods. In fact, it means exactly the opposite: that they worship the same God. Because if the two of them didn’t mean the same God when they used the word, then they weren’t really contradicting each other at all, just talking past each other.”

“Logically, that seems to follow,” Evan admitted.

‘Isa then intervened: “But if the God of the Christians is the God of the Jews, then the God of Muslims is the God of the Christians because he is also the God of the Jews. If two things are both equal to a common third thing, they are equal to each other. That is a basic rule of logic.”

“And not just abstract logic but concrete history,” added Fr. Heerema. “Because both Christians and Muslims learned who God was from the Jews, from the people of Abraham. Both received the truth about God from the same source. Even though they disagreed about many things later, they still have that common source. If a river forks into two or three streams downstream, it’s still the same water.”

Evan was now confused. He was better at attacking ‘Isa’s beliefs than he was at defending his own, even though he knew his own better than he knew ‘Isa’s. So he went on the attack, with Fr. Heerema listening. “ ‘Isa, I have to admit your logic. Now I ask you to admit mine. You say that God never contradicts himself, do you not?”

“I do.”

“And the Qur’an says that the one God sent all three scriptures.”

“Yes.”

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