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04 April 2013

A MATTER OF TIME: The Jew, Christian, and Muslim in Conversation: by Paul Golomb

My primary interest in this paper has been in describing the three religious civ­ilizations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, both in terms of the firmly unify­ing features of their faith claims, and of the irreconcilable differences of their fundamental worldview. The similarities among the three faiths might be com­forting, but it is the differences that are critical.
I want to examine this feature further, specifically in the context of the problem of intercommunicability. When each religion articulates and defends what it believes to be the will of the One True God, it must logically also believe it is promulgating the One True Faith. Other religions, the believers will con­cede, certainly contain elements of the truth and have admirable characteristics and qualities, but there is one God, one divine will and one Truth. All other reli­gions ultimately must be false.
There are a few strategies that arise from this assertion. One is religious chauvinism, that fundamental acceptance of not only the superiority of one's own faith, but also the damnable nature of all others. The result of such an atti­tude has historically led to violence, bloodshed and repression. A second strate­gy is found in opposition, and usually in disgust, to chauvinism. Here, a person engages in a thoroughgoing critique of organized religion, declaring that because there is no objective standard by which to evaluate the truth claims of the religions, all of their claims must be deemed suspect. In other words, how can there be so many 'One True' religions?17 A third approach, perhaps the most common in civil society, is to engage in a form of moderation. We insist on being religious, avowing our faith in God and attending a synagogue, church or mosque. Yet, at the same time, for the sake of getting along in the world, we tend to suppress or lighten our sense of commitment to our faith. It is all right to be church-going, but one should not be too religious!
The specific issue I am raising is that of religious pluralism. As a faithful Jew, I believe in the God Who created the world and revealed the divine will through Torah. How can Christianity and Islam be anything but a distortion of God's truth? This is, at its roots, a logical question, and therefore deserves a logical answer. Thus, let me turn to the work of an analytic philosopher, William Alston. Keep reading >>>>

“Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6)
So you see that it is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham.”(Galatians;3:6-7
“If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham.” (Jesus,  John; 8:39)

"Say: "O people of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not from among ourselves Lords and patrons other than Allah." If then they turn back say: "Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah's will)." Ye people of the Book! why dispute ye about Abraham when the Law and the Gospel were not revealed till after him? Have ye no understanding? Ah! ye are those who fell to disputing (even) in matters of which ye had some knowledge! but why dispute ye in matters of which ye have no knowledge? It is Allah Who knows and ye who know not! Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian but he was true in faith and bowed his will to Allah's (which is Islam) and he joined not gods with Allah. Without doubt among men the nearest of kin to Abraham are those who follow him as are also this Apostle and those who believe; and Allah is the Protector of those who have faith. It is the wish of a section of the People of the Book to lead you astray. But they shall lead astray (not you) but themselves and they do not perceive! Ye People of the Book! Why reject ye the Signs of Allah of which ye are (yourselves) witnesses? Ye People of the Book! Why do ye clothe truth with falsehood and conceal the truth while ye have knowledge?[Qur'an 3:64-71   Surah Ale-'Imran (The Family of 'Imran)]

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