Open Thread on Monotheism

Way_of_Worship_may_be_Different_-_but_God_is_One__NubraMax takes exception to a certain certainty I espouse, that Abraham and his God are at the root of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Why are you so certain this is true? why are you being so forceful about it?

I suppose I’m insisting Max is wrong in the same way I would argue against something patently false like the flat earth. If Max read the Bible and the Qur’an more carefully instead of using so much ctrl-v, it would seem obvious. But then again, if a person attended an astronomy convention and tried to argue for a young Earth, I suppose there would be a combination of laughter, insistence, and walking away with shaking heads on the part of various conventioners.

The more apt question is why a non-religionist like Max would insist on separate gods–like he cared.

If it were true, why wouldn’t these three religions have identical rituals and theologies?

Heck, the two Roman Catholic parishes in my new town don’t have identical rituals. And theology? I’m tempted to suggest that many aspects of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are human fabrications.

Why is the God of Abraham insisting on rivalry between them?

How do we know God insists on rivalry? What if it’s just the human condition? Wherever two or more are gathered, there is often inevitable contention. Why should people of faith be different? We aren’t perfect–that’s what the field hospital is for.

Why did God create these three religions to look designed by tribes of men – instead of by Him?

Easy. If religion were undeniably designed by God, faith would be out the window. It would be a matter not unlike astronomers versus flat earthers.

Image credit.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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19 Responses to Open Thread on Monotheism

  1. Atheist Max says:

    Okay. You said, “I suppose I’m insisting Max is wrong in the same way I would argue against something patently false like the flat earth.” But how is it the ‘same way’? As you inferred, there is evidence the earth is round. It can be measured and demonstrated in dozens of ways which are compelling and persuasive . We can even prove the earth rotates on its axis. By comparison, we have no evidence regarding any qualities of a God to compare to anything else – let alone his shape.

    “If Max read the Bible and the Qur’an more carefully….”
    What evidence have I missed which demonstrates Yahweh and Allah are the same?

    “why does Max care?”
    I care deeply about the truth. If I am missing something I would like it to be demonstrated by people who claim knowledge of these things (you and your guests).

  2. Todd says:

    “By comparison, we have no evidence regarding any qualities of a God to compare to anything else – let alone his shape.”

    You missed a key fact about human religious traditions. It is possible to determine facts about things such as history and culture. You have overlooked the very foundations of the world’s three monotheistic religions. If all three claim a common patriarch in Abraham, clearly the God of all three is one and the same. No informed person of faith denies this, and even educated people of no faith accept the commonality of Abraham. This is a fact so obvious that it’s on the level of the Earth having one moon. Different cultures see different things in the face of the moon: a face, a rabbit, etc.. But it’s the same celestial body.

    Give this one up, Max. Or move along to another web site whose proprietor you trust.

    • Atheist Max says:

      Why are you insisting Yahweh is the same God as Allah?
      I’m not asking what some history books say – I’m asking why YOU insist this claim to be true?

      Why won’t you tell me why you insisted Yahweh is Allah?
      Why won’t you explain why anyone else should believe this?

  3. Todd says:

    Well, Max, I’m not a Muslim nor a Jew. But I accept Muslim reverence for Abraham, and the roots of their faith in the patriarch. People don’t need my assurance to accept it. And I think I’ve answered your other question.

    • Atheist Max says:

      “I think I’ve answered…”

      No, you have not.
      Yahweh has completely different commands, an array of different prophets, different claims, different sorts of miracles than Allah. Allah (if he is a real god) is determined, according to all the claims, to deprive Yahweh of followers by insisting that the followers of Allah kill them off. Thankfully the vast majority of Muslims would never do any such thing.

      If the directives of Allah and Yahweh are in direct conflict, how can they be coming from the same God? And if you truly believe they are the same god, you are making a terrible choice in so breezily ignoring Allah’s (as Yahweh, by your account) command to obey his most recent (600 C.E.) final revelation through Mohammed who re-writes and dismisses the previous ‘good news gospel’ and dismisses Jesus Christ as a mere human.
      Jesus Christ is nothing to worship if he is not the way to God. Yet that is exactly what Allah says about JC after having reconsidered his entire ‘lamb of God’ attempts to save humanity!

      Would Yahweh so completely dismiss his entire plan to save humanity through the blood of his son, Jesus? Is that what you are saying?

      You made a forceful claim that Allah and Yahweh are the same God. but this is hollow if either one of these Gods is actually real. Because the final revelation of Allah is not offered for debate – Allah claims to be superior to Yahweh entirely. And what good is this? To defend some claims but not others?
      “People don’t need my assurance…”
      I am never interested in a person’s assurance – I am only looking at evidence and if you have none, you offer a dead end.

      You should never have claimed Allah and Yahweh are the same. You have made the error of breezily accepting claims of others. Let’s leave it at that.
      You can only be wrong.

  4. Todd says:

    I’m not convinced that second-hand sources–like the human authors of Scripture–have any more to go on than their own lenses. I’ve accepted the basic claim of Muslims that they worship the same God Abraham served. All of your other arguments fall down, Max. You are wrong. And additionally, as a self-styled atheist, you have no credibility on this point.

  5. Atheist Max says:


    “I’ve accepted the basic claim of Muslims that they worship the same God Abraham served.”

    And? Are you not understanding? I am asking you …..why do you accept this claim?

    • Atheist Max says:

      Why do you accept the claim?

      • Todd says:

        I have no reason to believe Muslims are misguided or misleading others. The Qur’an references Abraham and several figures of Judaism as well as Jesus. It’s a closed issue, like the Earth being round. Sure, sometimes the Earth doesn’t seem round when one sits in a valley. And it seems that even among Christians, there are competing viewpoints that make one wonder. I prefer to consider the imperfection of human beings–they have a track record to support it, after all.

      • Atheist Max says:

        So your assertion that Yahweh and Allah are the same comes from your acceptance of the Muslim assertion?

        I see no reason why you accept that assertion. And there is certainly no reason for anyone else to believe it.

        Instead of telling me Allah and Yahweh are the same, you should have just said “I follow the assertions of the Muslims.”

        With so much acceptance of Muslim positions, I’m surprised you are not a Muslim.

      • Todd says:

        “So much” equals one. Seems like a caricature masquerading as an argument.

        If Muslims say they believe in the God of Abraham, why would I doubt it? You see no reason to believe them, and why is that?

      • Atheist Max says:

        “If Muslims say… why would I doubt?”

        You claimed they are the same God based on what Muslims say? Your acceptance of a glib assertion is not a reason for me to accept the same assertion.

        What evidence is being offered to support the claim?

        On the face of it, it is obvious that Allah and Yahweh give different commands, insist on particular rituals (which are completely different) and sets of laws which are in direct conflict.

        It is your claim that I am *completely wrong* when I say these appear to be different gods.

        If we continued to accept assertions from people without insisting on evidence the Southern Baptist Church of 1860 would still be correct in their claim that black people are less valuable than white people.

        Why do you accept the assertions of Muslims? Why not go all the way and accept all their other assertions too and disown Jesus as the Messiah?

      • Todd says:

        Max, it is clear that you have arrived at a conclusion, and that you have little or no interest in real dialogue in the sense of exploring truth and finding answers. You present yourself as a know-it-all–in your own perspective. Your behavior is that of a contrarian, and the internet is emminently suitable for this.

        So here are another two questions: Why do you want to have a conversation with me here? What do you hope will happen?

      • Atheist Max says:

        Your engagement with me is completely optional. This open forum was initially addressed to me so I thought I would engage.
        If it is uncomfortable – sorry. From my years as a student in Catholic schools to I have been on the receiving end of assertions by Nuns and Priests. I no longer accept assertions from authority – but am happy to listen if those individuals care to elaborate.

        Why did you claim Yahweh and Allah are the same with such absolute conviction?
        Share the evidence you have which convinced you so strongly. I’m sure you agree that people who make claims should expect to have convincing answers for their claims. Instead of answering the question you seem bothered and insulted I am taking taking your claims so seriously.

        Why are you absolutely convinced Allah and Yahweh are the same God?
        If you are not absolutely convinced that is fine – but you should at least admit that I was not wrong to say “They appear to be completely different gods.”

        What is the evidence which convinced you Allah and Yahweh are absolutely the same God – and on what basis (other than someone’s assertion) should I accept that evidence?
        Why did Yahweh address himself as “Yahweh” only to have it changed to “Allah” later?

  6. charlesincenca says:

    “I have no reason to believe Muslims are misguided or misleading others.” Todd, I’m wholly unconcerned about the semantics and antics in your dialogue with Max. However, your above quote caused me to wonder about from what perspective can you make that admission? The podcast below should give anyone claiming that they are people of the Book, or of Father Abraham’s lineage great pause.

    [audio src="" /]

    • Todd says:

      It’s a long show. And I rarely find talk radio edifying. My comment has a specific context, namely: do the monotheistic religions share the same God? Probably worth a thread to itself.

  7. charlesincenca says:

    Well, I’m not Jesse Romero’s brand of RC, but the accounts shared by his guest speaker are devastating. I think it’s worth a listen.

    • Todd says:

      No doubt the accounts are worth a listen, but they were buried way past the six-minute mark in an hour-long program.

      If I take the implied meaning here, people who wrap themselves in the mantle of belief in the One God do horrific things. And many victims, people genuinely harmed, abused, and persecuted are out there waiting to tell the story. And sometimes the story is less about the wrongs done, and more about discrediting/insulting/dehumanizing the abusers. Max does this schtick all the time, as you know. Topping that off, the hosts and sponsors also have their own story to tell, (not right or left, but right or wrong, yada yada yada) and frankly, there’s not enough time in the day to wade through all that.

      I’m sure it’s moving, and possibly even convincing in its own way. But if Muslims embrace Abraham as an ancestor in faith and don’t explicitly disavow his God, like it or not, we are linked with Islam in worshiping the same deity.

      Now, if we want to talk instead about some other golden calf, I’m willing to ponder that no religion’s adherents get off scot-free in that regard.

      • Atheist Max says:

        “discrediting/insulting/dehumanizing the abusers. Max does this schtick all the time, as you know.”

        Simply not true. I have not dehumanized or insulted anyone. However, If your argument is discredited that is the fault of your argument not the one questioning it. If religion is a choice, each religion must be chosen very carefully with all the pros and cons presented. If you object to that, you are insulting the intelligence of every believer of every religion!
        Furthermore, If you think religion is not a choice but is, like skin color, something you have no control over then why would you support Christian proselytizing and Christian missions? If religion is not to be questioned, what is your argument in favor of destroying a native religion and replacing it with your own? And if pushing a religious opinion is ‘bigotry’ how do you escape Jesus’ angry admonition “believe in me or be condemned” (mark 16:16)

        Love, Compassion, Empathy and Human Dignity are not improved by claiming a magical god invented them – especially when the world is flooded with claims about thousands of magical gods!

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