A week or so ago, Wheaton College, an Evangelical institution, put a professor on administrative leave because she, A) decided to wear a hijab during Advent in order to show solidarity with Muslim students as anti-Muslim rhetoric explodes…all over, and B) because she wrote that as a Christian, she worships the same God as Muslims do. She has been punished by the school for daring to show interfaith solidarity, and for speaking a basic fact–the God of Abraham is the same God that Christians, Jews, and Muslims the world over believe in, worship, and seek to understand.
Benjamin Corey, often cited here, wrote in support of the professor on his blog at Patheos (link below). He asserts that the professor was right: we do worship the same God, even if we have different interpretations on the attributes of that God. At the most basic level, he asserts, Christians and Muslims (and Jews, which, as he points out, Evangelicals don’t seem to have a problem with anymore) all worship the God of Abraham. It’s an overview of the facts that is worth reading, in case you were uninformed on the subject.
However, I would go further than Corey does (and this is what I am asking you to reflect on) and say that actually we don’t all worship the same God, only the lines are not drawn so clearly between Christian and Muslim as Wheaton College would like us to believe. Many Christians in this country do not seem to worship the God that stands with the stranger, the oppressed, the outcasts–they do not worship a God of Love at all. At best they worship the god of America and Tradition, which, though deeply flawed, at least can stem from a genuine love of country and society. At worst, they worship a god of not of peace, but of war: a god that does not bring light to the dark places of the world but seeks to bring only more and more fear. A god not of universal enlightenment and salvation, but of “whatever is necessary.” They have the audacity to claim that this dark, twisted idol of Empire is the same as Emmanuel, the God that is with us and within us and brings Love and Hope. No, we do not worship the same God at all.
God is not a Christian. Nor is S/He a Muslim. And yet, God is both and infinitely more. This is not a statement of universalism–I’m all for discussing and arguing civilly about the various attributes and mysteries of God. Rather, it is an acknowledgment that God is bigger than any one of us, yet his spark lives within each of us.
Follow the God that is Love the best way you know how, in the tradition that makes the most sense to you, but do not be surprised to find enemies within your own faith, or the face of Christ shining out from underneath a hijab.