I have much respect for Joseph Cumming, and I have learned a lot from him. He is great example of what it means to take Christ seriously and respect Muslims at the same time (that sentence, written in that way, makes it look like those two things–taking Christ seriously and respecting Muslims–don’t go together. But they do, and they must!).
Joseph Cumming and Nabeel Qureshi discuss the question in the title of this post on this podcast on the topic of Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?
Perhaps you are not familiar with this controversy and wonder if it makes any difference. And the picture I have posted complicates that question. It shows a store in Paterson, NJ that sells “spiritual paraphernalia”. The owners of that store have tried to appropriate Christianity, Islam and a number of other spiritual traditions into a non-secular narrative.
I am not advocating the approach taken by the Botanica shop owner. Still, without blending the traditions in that way, I think Christ matters, Muslims matter, Islam matters and Christianity matters. So you might not be surprised when I say that I think this debate makes a big difference, and not only on a “spiritual” or “philosophical level. It makes a practical difference. The debate itself affects the world we live in, and shapes relations between people.
It has made a big difference in the lives of a number of people over the last few months in the United States.
The different responses to the question in the title of this post has mattered in the lives of institutions like Wheaton College and CAIR (the Council on American Islamic Relations), in the lives of professors and other professors and students at Wheaton, particularly in the life of Professor Larycia Hawkins and in a unique way in the life of one Muslim leader. Another Muslim posted on her Facebook page that, even though she was “sacrificing her career still she is in support of humanity and solidarity . This is the true purpose and sense of religion which she has in her.”
So, this means that to take Christ seriously is consequential. It also means that such seriousness about Christ combined with trusting Muslims when they say they worship the same God is also consequential. It made a difference for Larycia Hawkins, and also for Muslims who have paid attention.
What difference does it make for you?