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Archive for Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bush is wrong about Islam

October 10, 2007

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Whatever else his critics say of him, no one can fault President Bush for failing to go the extra mile in his efforts to show that neither he, nor the United States, is opposed to the Islamic faith, or to Muslim nations.

Last week, the president and Mrs. Bush hosted their seventh Iftaar Dinner, the celebration that breaks the Muslim fast during Ramadan. Immediately after 9/11, the president visited a Washington, D.C., mosque and proclaimed Islam a "religion of peace." He has frequently said that terrorists are not real Muslims, anymore than people who proclaim to be Christian and engage in violence are genuine Christians.

The president is the most openly evangelical Christian and faithful churchgoer since Jimmy Carter. And the evangelical community has mostly embraced him and twice voted for him in overwhelming numbers. But that constituency is likely to be troubled over something the president said in an interview with Al Arabiya television. In an official transcript released by the White House, the president said, "I believe in an almighty God, and I believe that all the world, whether they be Muslim, Christian, or any other religion, prays to the same God."

Later in the interview, the president repeated his statement: "I believe there is a universal God. I believe the God that the Muslim prays to is the same God that I pray to. After all, we all came from Abraham. I believe in that universality."

To paraphrase a remark often attributed to the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, everyone is entitled to his or her own faith, but everyone is not entitled to define the central doctrines of that faith. The doctrines of what is called Christianity not only stand in stark contrast to Islam, they also teach something contrary to what the president says he believes.

It is one thing to try to reach out to moderate and sincerely peaceful Muslims. It is quite another to say the claims of your own faith are of no greater importance than the often contradictory claims of another faith. If we all worship the same God, the president should answer the call of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Osama bin Laden, convert to Islam and no longer be a target of their wrath. What difference would it make if we all worship the same God?

Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (carm.org) has created a useful chart that shows the conflicting claims of classic Christian belief and Muslim doctrines. It is worth studying, whatever one's faith.

The central doctrine of the Christian faith is that God sent his don, Jesus Christ, to die for sinners and by repenting of sin and accepting Christ as savior, one is "saved" and is guaranteed a home in heaven. Muslims do not believe God had a son and, therefore, no atonement for sin is necessary. Muslims believe simply telling God one is sorry and repenting of sin is enough, if one also lives up to the five "pillars" of Islam. Furthermore, according to Muslims, Jesus did not die on a cross (as Christians believe); instead, God allowed Judas to look like Jesus and it was Judas who was crucified.

Evangelical Christians believe the Bible is God's word and is without error in the original manuscripts. Muslims respect the word of the prophets, but claim the Bible has been corrupted (mostly by Jews) and is only correct insofar as it agrees with the Koran.

God calls himself "I Am" and says he is one, but with three personalities. Muslims believe God's name is Allah and reject the trinity.

How can the president say that we all worship the same God when Muslims deny the divinity of Jesus, whom the president accepts as the one through whom all must pass for salvation? Do both political parties have the same beliefs? Are all baseball teams equal (clearly not, because only two will go to the World Series)?

The president can be commended for sincerely reaching out to Muslims, but he should not be commended for watering down his beliefs and the doctrines of his professed faith in order to do so. That's universalism. There are "churches" that believe in universalism, his Methodist church does not. No Christian who believes the Bible believes in universalism. And no Muslim who believes the Koran does either.

President Bush is wrong - dangerously wrong - in proclaiming that all religions worship the same God.

- Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.

Comments

Oracle_of_Rhode 7 years, 2 months ago

Sorry Cal, you hack. A dinner or two doesn't make up for invading and bombing Muslim countries and killing hundreds of thousands of Muslims. Get real.

And your comparison of religions with baseball teams has to be one of the stupidest things I've ever read. Do you really think Christianity is like the Yankees? Or Islam the Phillies? That's downright blasphemous.

Is God like Joe Torre now, in your book? Is Jeter Jesus?

As for God, Cal, I hope she forgives you.

Ragingbear 7 years, 2 months ago

Why must I always be surrounded by friggin idiots?

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 7 years, 2 months ago

"President Bush is wrong - dangerously wrong...."

hmm... in this, his second term, apparently two "wrongs" still do make the "Right."

Frederic Gutknecht IV 7 years, 2 months ago

"God sent his don, Jesus Christ" to make us an offer we couldn't refuse?~) Thou shalt love typos.

jonas 7 years, 2 months ago

Oooh ooh, how about we DON'T conduct foreign policy in regards to countries we have strained relationships about in regards to our shared and differing mythologies, Cal?

chet_larock 7 years, 2 months ago

Yet another idiotic column from this hack journalist.

Next.

chet_larock 7 years, 2 months ago

Of all the things to whine about Bush being "dangerously wrong" about, this is what he comes up with?

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 2 months ago

Bush is wrong by default. All belief in any god is hogwash and horse hockey. It's like stating that Tinkerbell and the tooth fairy are really the same fairy. Cal is saying that they are not. So the f*** what?

Janet Lowther 7 years, 2 months ago

Well, you know, saying that there is only one God is easy.

Getting everyone to agree on exactly what the properties of God are is the hard part. Nearly, if not entirely impossible.

Most main-stream Christians would agree with Mr. Bush: Christians, Moslems and Jews all worship YHWH (AKA Yahweh, Jehovah, etc) whom we commonly refer to as God. Mr. Thomas is confusing the specifics of the cult with the deity behind it.

Now, they do have radically different interpretations as to how God functions and should be respected and worshiped. . . But then, even amongst Christians the diversity of practice is amazing: I can't think of anything in common between a Catholic high mass and a traditional silent Quaker meeting, but both consider themselves as worshiping the same God, though they consider each other as woefully misunderstanding how to practice Christianity.

ndmoderate 7 years, 2 months ago

Wow R_T, you're such a Bush-hater. You're suffering from BDS and it's pathetic.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 7 years, 2 months ago

right_thinker says: "... you mean 'Bush is wrong'? Bush 'was necessary'::.OK?"

Well, if you're going to improvise on the existing title...

"Bush Unnecessarily Wrong"

(On the other hand, maybe Bush was a necessary evil. Just look how much insight this "presidency" has provided into the [RuPaul] Right.)

guesswho 7 years, 2 months ago

All Christians are alike?


Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, "Don't do it!" He said, "Nobody loves me." I said, "God loves you. Do you believe in God?"

He said, "Yes." I said, "Are you a Christian or a Jew?" He said, "A Christian." I said, "Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?" He said, "Protestant." I said, "Me, too! What franchise?" He said, "Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?" He said, "Northern Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?"

He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region." I said, "Me, too!" Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912." I said, "Die, heretic!" And I pushed him over


badger 7 years, 2 months ago

I read the headline and thought, "So Bush is wrong about Islam. He's wrong about a lot of things. In fact, "Bush is wrong about..." stopped being newsworthy a couple years ago. Now I would think it'd make headlines if people thought he was right about something.

Myself, I'm starting a pool to name the next Bush insider to leave. Who's left besides him and Cheney, anyway?

Godot 7 years, 2 months ago

Now I am thoroughly confused. I thought Christians believed that there is only one God. Now, Cal thinks there are several?

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 2 months ago

Cal says, President Bush is wrong - dangerously wrong - in proclaiming that all religions worship the same God.


And what's so dangerous about this?

Speakout 7 years, 2 months ago

I agree that Bush is wrong on many issues, but Cal is wrong on almost all issues! Even this one!

gogoplata 7 years, 2 months ago

Bush is dead wrong about Jesus Christ being the same as the god the Muslims worship. There is only one real God. I am certainly not claiming to be perfect but you should be able to look at a Christian and see the love of God in them. George Bush has sent 3000+ young men and women to die in an unjustified war of aggression. Not to mention the tens of thousands of Iraqis killed. Don't blame Jesus Christ, Christianity is not the problem. The problem is when Christians don't follow the Word of God and when people claim to be Christians for conveinience but are not. If Bush is truly a Christian he should repent of the sins of murder, confess that he has been wrong, and allow God to move him in a new Christlike direction.

Godot 7 years, 2 months ago

Contrary to Gogoplata's rant, it is Cal Thomas who is criticising Bush for believing that there is only one God. But, then, why should we let the facts interfere with our prejudices?

thusspokezarathustra 7 years, 2 months ago

"Muslims believe simply telling God one is sorry and repenting of sin is enough,"

For Christians simply saying they believe in Christ is enough.

Neither hollow declaration proves anything.

thusspokezarathustra 7 years, 2 months ago

"it is Cal Thomas who is criticising Bush for believing that there is only one God."

so Cal is a polytheist?

waydownsouth 7 years, 2 months ago

You would think a reporter would do the research before sending out an artical like this. He has no idea about God or christians. I don't know much about the Islam faith so i'm wondering about his "facts" on that as well.

thusspokezarathustra 7 years, 2 months ago

Afghanistan. "The War in Afghanistan (2001present) began on October 7, 2001, having been launched in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States of America. This marked the beginning of the Bush Administration's campaign known as the War on Terrorism. The stated purpose of the invasion was to capture Osama bin Laden, destroy al-Qaeda, and remove the Taliban regime which had provided support and safe harbor to al-Qaeda."

The U.S. and the U.K. led the aerial bombing campaign, with ground forces supplied primarily by the Afghan Northern Alliance. In 2002, US and British infantry joined the attack. Later NATO troops were added. The U.S. military's name of the conflict was Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

gogoplata 7 years, 2 months ago

I am prejudiced to the truth. It makes life more simple.

thusspokezarathustra 7 years, 2 months ago

With a 30% approval rating what city in America does like Pres. Bush?

kugrad 7 years, 2 months ago

Cal Thomas is an idiot. It is a historical fact, and one widely known among religious scholars, that "Yaweh" of the Christian bible is, in fact, the same God that is worshipped by Islam and Judiaism. These three religions worship the same God. Now, it is not necessarily true that other major religions (Tao, Hinduism, Buddhism, various other sects and tribal religions) worship the same God. Still, Thomas is claiming Bush is wrong about Islam. In the case of Islam, Bush is correct and Thomas is wrong. Thomas only wrote this to stir up ill will among Evangelicals towards Muslims, because in his old age his bigotry is becoming ever too clear.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 7 years, 2 months ago

May I suggest a news article Title revision... three words, instead of five.

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