The One God in Islam and Christianity

The One God in Islam and Christianity

Christians and Muslims believe in a God who created the universe, who loves them, and guides them. Yet there are significant differences in their vision of God. Is it coherent, then, to say that they believe in the same God? What is distinct about each faith’s vision of God’s relationship to humanity? In week three of the “The Church and Islam” we explore these questions, and ask how the Church might carry out its mission to proclaim the Gospel while also embracing religious dialogue.

Is the God of Muhammad the God of the Church?

Presented by Gabriel Reynolds

In this video, we explore why some answer “no” to the question if Christians and Muslims worship the same God and ask why the Catholic Church answers “yes.”

Letter for Week 3

Presented by Gabriel Reynolds

This week marks the summit of our journey in Muslim-Christian Studies. We will discuss how the Church might fruitfully engage with Islam.  Still, don’t go anywhere after we’re done! The program “Church and Islam” includes a special additional session next week on the Holy Land, sponsored by the Tantur Ecumencial Institute and the Jerusalem Global Gateway of Notre Dame.

Nayla Tabbara

As for this week, our live session will feature a discussion with Dr. Nayla Tabbara, a distinguished scholar of Islam with a focus on the mystical tradition of Sufism. Together we will address the theme of the theological relationship between Christianity and Islam. In the videos for this week, I discuss the question of whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God principally from a Christian perspective. I will ask Dr. Tabbara for her insights on this question from an Islamic perspective. Does the belief in a Trinity, or in the divinity of Christ, render it impossible for Muslims to consider Christians monotheists?

This week we will also address the question of sin and salvation. At the heart of the Christian Gospel is the message that God, whose love for creation is overflowing, chose to be with humanity through the Incarnation, and to save us in the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ. Muslims generally reject the reality of Christ’s crucifixion, so how do they see the way in which God acts out his mercy and judgment?

Finally we will also think about what assessment the Church might make of the Qur’an and Muhammad, the central aspects of the Islamic faith. Muhammad comes after Jesus, and the Qur’an in places criticizes Christianity. How can the Church still find meaning in the Qur’an and still esteem Muhammad, whom the Qur’an describes as a “mercy for the worlds”? What assessment can the Church make of Muhammad’s ethical behavior?

In addition to the videos for this week, I would like to suggest a few resources: Turkish Muslim scholar Mustafa Akyol has an interesting TED talk on faith and practice in Islam. Consider too the Minding Scripture episode on the Qur’anic Jesus. Finally, as a future resource, you might consider my book on the Qur’anic God (Allah: God in the Qur’an).

Charles de Foucauld

As we conclude this section of the course we think about how the Church is called not only to be in dialogue with Muslims but also to proclaim the Gospel. Are dialogue and proclamation in conflict? How can Christians proclaim the truth of their faith while still respecting the faith of Muslims, and indeed learning from the faith of Muslims? We might find inspiration in the example of blessed Charles de Foucauld, who lived for decades among Muslims in the Algerian desert. He wrote: 

“The one thing we owe absolutely to God is never to be afraid of anything.”

Sin and Salvation in Islamand the Church

Presented by Gabriel Reynolds

Discover how Islam conceives of the human quest for salvation despite the Qur’an’s apparent denial of Christ’s crucifixion.

A Christian View of Islam

Presented by Gabriel Reynolds

The Catholic Church has largely been silent about the status of the Qur’an and Muhammad. In this video, discover why this question is complicated and explore how the Church can both proclaim the Gospel and enter into dialogue.

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Presented by Gabriel Reynolds

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Featured Speakers: 

  • Nayla Tabbara, President of Adyan Foundation for Diversity, Solidarity and Human Dignity
  • Gabriel Said Reynolds, Jerome J. Crowley and Rosaleen G. Crowley Professor of Islamic Studies and Theology, University of Notre Dame; Author of Qur’an and the Bible and Allah: God in the Qur’an

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Additional Resources

Presented by Gabriel Reynolds

Prepare for Next Week

Presented by Gabriel Reynolds

Watch the videos before the live discussion in week 4.

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