Most of the world’s conflicts stem from the differences in doctrine and unnecessary intolerance between Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Each of the three religions would wish the others did not exist. Muslims themselves have been killing each other – Sunni and Shia appear to be on a path of completely destroying one another. Muslims and Jews are unable to live side-by-side in peace and are constantly threatening to eliminate one another from the face of the earth. Some Muslim sects preach the annihilation of all people that do not subscribe to their faith. And count in about 200 years of Catholic Church “crusades” against Muslims – and, by some accounts – Jews.
What seems to be the problem? Don’t Christians, Muslims, and Jews worship the same deity, the same God? The fact is that Christians, Muslims, and Jews base their faiths on one and the same person – Abraham.
Judaism teaches that God selected a nomad, Abraham, to father a nation that God created and set up as an example to other nations; thus, to Jews, the Prophet Abraham is the father of all Jewish people. Christians believe that the Prophet Abraham is a descendant of God – and Jesus is a descendant of Abraham. To Muslims, Ibrahim (Abraham) is a friend of God, the father of prophets, and the ancestor of the Prophet Muhammad. All three religions have Abraham (or Ibrahim) – and all his relations – as their link to one and the same God.
While Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have different roles for Abraham in the scheme of things, they nevertheless hold themselves loyal to one and the same God and must naturally believe that God wants ALL his people to live in peace and harmony. Former President George W. Bush put it succinctly during a post-9/11 interview with Al Arabiya TV: “I believe there is a universal God. I believe the God that the Muslim prays to is the same God that I pray to. After all, we all came from Abraham. I believe in that universality.” And in a speech to Muslims in Morocco in 1985, Pope John Paul II said “We believe in the same God, the one God, the living God, the God who created the world and brings his creatures to their perfection.”
So why don’t Jews, Christians, and Muslims agree to live in peace with each other, tolerate each other’s differences, and leave the rest to God?
I honestly believe that God himself would want that question answered.