During his trip to Great Britain President Bush, as reported in the London Telegraph, said "I do say that freedom is the Almighty's gift to every person. I also condition it by saying freedom is not America's gift to the world," Bush replied. "It's much greater than that, of course. And I believe we worship the same god." (WorldNetDaily)
Because of this remark, Conservative Christians were outraged. And others in the country mock the Christian’s for their reaction.
First of all, I don’t think that “Are they the same God?” is even the question to be asking. This would only be a fair question if it was possible for the gods of Islam and Christianity to coexist, that is, for these two religions to be compatible. To show that this is not possible, first we must decide exactly what a religion is.
If you boil down religion to its very essence, it is a set of statements, or beliefs, about reality. I would say “God” instead of “reality”, but I want this definition to fit for both non-god believing religions (atheism) and multi-god believing religions (secular humanism). However, to come up with these sets of beliefs, we must whittle a group’s beliefs down to the essential beliefs. Two people can disagree about what they consider minor beliefs, but if they agree on everything they consider being in this set of essential beliefs, then they are said to be members of the same religion. So religion is a set of essential beliefs about reality. If we agree that truth exists (which, sadly, is debatable in this day and age), then we must say that if two sets of essential beliefs about reality are contradictory, then they cannot both be true. If, however, the two sets are not contradictory, then we can say they both can be true and both can be said to worship the same god.
We then must decide if Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are compatible religions. They all claim that there is only one true God and He is the one they worship. If they are compatible (all three can be true at the same time), then we can say that they all worship the same god and everyone can live happily ever after. However, if they are contradictory, it is impossible for them all to be true and the question “do they worship the same god” becomes ridiculous.
The central essential belief of Christianity is that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh – 100% man and 100% God. He came to this Earth, died on the cross for our sins, and rose again. And, in doing so, became the only way for us to be redeemed to God the Father and have eternal life. John 14:6 says “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Judaism and Islam both say that this is not true. Jesus was just a man – at the most, he was a prophet of God. Because of this one point, these religions are not complimentary and therefore cannot be all true. Therefore, it is fair to say, that they do not all worship the same god. It seems pretty harsh for Christianity to be so dividing; however Christ never claimed to be uniting. Matthew 11:34-35 says “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’;”.
My other point. President Bush is not a theologian. He claims to be a Christian, and he is President of the United States. As such, I don’t think that he should be answering questions of Theology. I think he would be best advised to not comment when such comes up. His job is to lead our country politically and militarily, and he was voted for by a good majority of people because of his religious base. I do believe that we should stand up for and proclaim to others what we believe. However, I’m not sure the presidential platform is the place to do it. If Bush says that both religions worship the same God, he separates himself from a large group of his supporters. However, he says that they are not the same God, he alienates another segment of our society. I believe that spiritual truth is best communicated from the pulpit and from individual testimony to those we meet, instead of politics and law.