Bush Faces Criticism Over Statement that Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God

December 4, 2003

Source: Beliefnet


On December 4, 2003 Beliefnet published an editorial by Jack Miles on the current controversies concerning Pres. Bush's comments that Muslims and Christians worship the "same god." Miles puts forward the opinion that Bush was quite correct in asserting that Muslims and Christians worship the same god, adding that Jews should be added to the list. The difference between religions is not about the identity of God, but his character. Miles writes that "in the seventh century, the first Muslims were using the same kind of word in Arabic that the Jews were using theologically in Hebrew and using it in the same way. Much the same could be said of seventh-century Christians speaking of God in Syriac or Coptic, Semitic languages then still widely used. That Jews, Christians, and Muslims have always assumed their differences to be about the character rather than the identity of God is abundantly witnessed centuries later in late medieval Spain where the three religions mingled freely and the best scholars were bi- or even trilingual in Latin, Arabic, and Hebrew. During that era, a number of famous theological debates took place in which all participants transparently assumed that all other participants were speaking of-—and, of course, disagreeing about—-the same divine subject."