Rolfing Unshelved

Books, news, and events from TIU's Rolfing Library

Book Display: The Qur’an in Light of the Gospel


Image of Qur'anIn the summer of 2010 I spent a few weeks in Indonesia. I went with friends who were fellow Christians and we met up with a group of Muslim students and walked across the island of Java together. We spent ten days with our new friends, getting to know them, trying to learn Indonesian, enjoying the beautiful island, and trying not to look like ignorant Americans.

As we got to know each other better, the juxtaposition of our faiths became very clear. In some ways, our faiths seemed quite similar. We both believed in a higher being and we shared many of the same stories of the patriarchs of our faiths. We were all trying to live morally upright lives and sought the will of our creator in our decisions. We both prayed daily and looked to our scriptures for insight. There were moments when our similarities seemed to outweigh our differences.

At the same time, I found myself curious about what made my faith different from their faith. For me, the question came down to this: Are we worshiping the same God?

Theologian Miroslav Volf argues for harmony between Muslims and Christians in his book Allah: A Christian Response. Check out his interview with Christianity Today.

Volf joins with fellow theologians and religious leaders in the book Do We Worship the Same God? to provide a resource outlining different views of this difficult question.

In the month of March, Rolfing is featuring a display entitled “The Qur’an in Light of the Gospel,” highlighting materials about the differences and similarities between Islam and Christianity. The display highlights topics covered in the modular class by the same title held March 11-19.

Check out the books mentioned above on our display as well as these other resources on the same topic:

Understanding Christian-Muslim Relations   Christian View of Islam   Allah: A Christian Response   Christian Doctrines in Islamic Theology   Jesus and Muhammad

We want to hear your thoughts on this subject.  Please comment and share some insights!

What has been your experience with the similarities and differences between Islam and Christianity?

How can we use our similarities to engage with our Muslim friends?

Author: Sara Pogue

TIU Alumni, Minnesota transplant, currently pursuing Master of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago

2 thoughts on “Book Display: The Qur’an in Light of the Gospel

  1. Hello Sarah! It’s great to see that you are writing now. As you know I have always had an interest in religious topics and my experiences as a secular activist have given me quite a unique perspective on this topic in particular. I’ve planned and led events that call attention to the faults in both religions, especially Christianity. On the Muslim side, we engaged some of the more controversial issues surrounding Islam by hosting a very controversial event called “Draw Muhammad Day”. We also increased our mutual understanding and friendship with Muslim students by co-hosting a discussion event with the Muslim Student Association called “Perspectives on Faith”.

    One of the interesting things about the question “Are we worshiping the same God” is that the answer is always technically “no”. Every theist on the planet has slightly different ideas about what God is like. Obviously some conceptions of God are more similar than others – but the more useful question, “How similar is my conception of God to yours” is a matter of degrees.

    Generally speaking, the similarity between “Godceptions” within Christianity is greater than between Christianity and Islam. However, the point of asking the question “Are we worshiping the same God” isn’t usually academic – it’s a substitute for the question “Will people in their religion be saved by my God”.

    Lets look at the Muslim religion first – will Christians be saved by Allah? This is a matter of interpretation, but many Muslims – especially the less conservative Muslims we find in America believe that those who believe in one God and act in a moral fashion will be rewarded on the last day. On the other hand many other Muslims see Christianity as worshiping 3 Gods (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) which disqualifies them. Muslims view Jesus as one of their prophets, but one who has had his teachings corrupted.

    Christianity is similar in that its more liberal denominations (think Rob Bell) allow room for the salvation of nonbelievers. However, as someone who grew up in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and came to a literal interpretation of the bible I would say that it is painfully obvious that the actual bible only leaves room for Muslims in hell . Actually if I were to put the two religions side by side I would say that Islam is the more open religion when it comes to matters of salvation.

    I think that there is a great deal of mutual understanding to be had between Muslims and Christians, but friendship will always be just out of reach for people who take their holy books and religious leaders too seriously. Literalism and blind adherence to authority are the true enemies of mutual cooperation, tolerance, and respect.

    Of course it would be much easier if we all just stopped believing in things that we don’t have sufficient evidence to verify. That’s probably too much to ask though. I can only hope.

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