Monday, November 06, 2006
Monotheism in a Small Nutshell
To counter the extremist beliefs of today’s “religious terrorists,” we need the wisdom and courage to improve our own religious understanding. To accomplish that, we first need to recall some elementary historical facts.
The Hebrew Prophets delivered messages to their tribesmen, which they tell us came from the One and Only unseen but omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent “Lord God,” introduced by a man named Abraham. But the Hebrews were never instructed to seek converts to their faith among their heathen neighbors, who avidly worshipped more than 2,000 “visible” gods. So, Abraham’s unseen God was scarcely noticed by anyone outside the tiny Hebrew nation of Israel.
Around 1400 years after Moses delivered the laws that still govern the Hebrews, the Christians emerged from among Israel’s small population. Unlike the Hebrews, the Christians were distinctly told to “spread the word,” and, ever since, they have never ceased to reveal God to an attentive worldwide audience. The early Christians not only succeeded in converting uncountable heathens to a belief in One God, they also introduced mankind’s Messiah, a “visible Being,” to whom the heathens, accustomed to worshiping visible gods, could readily relate.
About six hundred years later, Muhammad did for his tribesmen in Arabia, what the Christian missionaries could not accomplish there. He persuaded numberless heathens, who had completely rejected Christianity’s messages, to believe in Abraham’s “Lord God.” But, while delivering the messages that became the Koran, Muhammad chastised both the Jews and the Christians for their erroneous interpretations of their own Sacred Writings. In short, he unequivocally refuted the divisive teachings that still incite Jews and Christians to scorn and hate each other.
Specifically, Muhammad’s messages established the absolute validity of the “Messiah Jesus.” And he clearly rebuked Judaism’s clergy for rejecting Jesus as the fulfillment of the Hebrew’s traditional belief in a coming Messiah. But, Muhammad also rebuked Christianity’s clergy, which, by Muhammad’s time, had long since officially identified Jesus as the Second Member of a Holy Trinity,“God, the Son.” That “title” still disgusts Jews and Muslims, who remain solely dedicated to the One and Only, invisible “Lord God” of Abraham. In reality, throughout Christianity’s history onto today, some people who identify themselves as “Christians” reject the concept of Jesus as “God Incarnate” and acknowledge him solely as the world’s promised Messiah, recognized by the first Christians, before their clergy “enlarged” his identity, centuries later.
In those few paragraphs, we have the most essential messages of the three religions. So, everyone who believes in Abraham’s Lord God, and believes that Jesus is mankind’s Messiah, and believes that “the Messiah does not disdain to be a servant of God” (Women 4:172), as Muhammad described Jesus, is essentially a Jew, Christian and Muslim, though they might not acknowledge it! But, their religions “practices” can differentiate them from their fellow believers, if that’s important to them! We’ll discuss some of those religious practices next time.
>rel="tag">Jews Christians Muslims
>rel="tag">God the Son