Do Muslims Worship the Same God as Christians? Debate over Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium and the Catechism

Do Muslims worship the same God as Christians?

For Catholics, the issue is complicated because the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Second Vatican Council explicitly state that Muslims “together with us they adore the one, merciful God.” This text can be one of the must frustrating and confusing passages in the entire Catechism.

muslims worship

Catholic Confusion about Muslim Worship and Faith

I know Catholics who publicly say that the Catechism and the documents of Vatican II are not magisterial because of this so-called “blunder” about Muslims worshipping God. Moreover, I have met Protestants of good-will who will not become Catholic because of this Catholic teaching about Muslims supposedly already knowing God.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, I have also heard some people assert that “since Vatican 2 teaches that Muslims already adore God, we don’t have to evangelize them. They are already saved.”

I’ll address all these errors and show how “Muslim adoration” statements in Vatican II and the Catechism fit in to the orthodox tradition of Catholic magisterial teaching.

I’m going to outline a nuanced answer to this question based on how Thomas Aquinas understands human knowledge of God and how Thomas understood Muslims. I’ll also use an analogy of a bow, arrow, and blind archer to make it super clear.

This topic recently came up inside the New Saint Thomas Institute and I wanted to address it here as well.

But first, let’s look at the texts:

Muslim Worship in the Catechism

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (para. 841) quotes Lumen Gentium 16 stating that Muslims “together with us they adore the one, merciful God.”

The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 841

Muslim Worship in V2’s Lumen Gentium

Here’s the original quote from the Second Vatican Council’s Lumen Gentium:

But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Mohamedans, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. – Lumen Gentium 16 from the Second Vatican Council

Thomas Aquinas on Muslims, Worship, and the True God

Thomas Aquinas, representing the Catholic tradition, teaches that non-Christians can and do have some true knowledge of God. Non-Christians (eg, Muslims) can know and hold to philosophically true propositions about God, angels, the soul, etc. Thomas calls these the praeambulae fidei, which literally mean “walking around before faith.” A non-Christian can be a monotheist who believes in life after death, angels, and even the cardinal virtues.

So Socrates and Plato knew that there was life after death and that the soul lived without the body. They also affirmed and tried to live the four cardinal virtues. Confucius came close, too. Aristotle knew that there was a Prime Mover above all motion in the universe. Here we see men before Christ affirming some of the praeambulae fidei.

According to the First Vatican Council, a human can become a monotheist and discover the primary attributes of God (eg, eternality, simplicity, unity) by following human reason. The Catholic tradition following Saint Paul has always affirmed this.

Now Muslims are a bit tricky for two reasons:

  1. Muslims technically have a rational conclusion that God is one, simple, etc, but they also have pieces of divine revelation, albeit corrupted through the false witness of Mohamed. Through Mohamed’s corrupted knowledge of Judaism and Christianity, they know that God created Adam and Eve, that God revealed a covenant to Abraham, and they even believe that Jesus was born of the Virgin and that Jesus was a prophet of God.
  2. However, Muslims are not “pure pagans” like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. These three philosophers had never heard of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and they had never read the Bible. Peter Kreeft calls these kinds of philosophers “virgin pagans.” They were pagans who had never experienced Christian revelation through the prophets or Apostles. These philosophers were not technically rejecting any divine revelation made through the prophets because they didn’t have anything to reject.

Now Pagans living in the third millennium, however, are now “divorcee pagans” who once knew of Christ and the Gospel, rejected Him, and returned to paganism. There’s a big difference between Socrates before Christ and your local coven of pagans after Christ.

Muslims are more like “divorcees” because they explicitly reject the revealed doctrine of the Trinity and Jesus as the Son of God. A Muslim wouldn’t be caught dead reciting the Apostles’ Creed, to say nothing of the Nicene Creed. The Quran is aware of Catholic Christian claims and explicitly rejects them.

So Do Muslims really “adore the one, merciful God”?

Now we can tackle the question: Do Muslims “adore the one, merciful God,” and was Vatican II (and the Catechism) wrong? And, if the Catechism if correct, do we still need to evangelize Muslims?

Vatican II reads: “In the first place amongst these there are the Mohamedans, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God.”

Notice that it reads that Muslims “profess” to hold the faith of Abraham even though they do not. Saint Paul says the faith of Abraham was the faith of the Christian Gospel – something Muslims explicitly deny. Our Lord Jesus Christ also said that Abraham had faith in Him:

“Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it, and was glad.” (John 8:56)

So Abraham implicitly believed in the Christian Gospel proclaiming Jesus as the Son of God – not in the Muslim message that states that Isa (Jesus) was just a human prophet and less than a prophet than Mohamed.

The key is “profess.” That they profess this truth sets them above other non-Christians, such as Hindus or Buddhists who don’t recognize the Abrahamic tradition.

The Analogy of the Bow and Arrow

Muslims are also said to “adore the one true God.” Thomas Aquinas would agree with this by adding a clarification.

One can “adore” in two ways.

First, one can adore rightly be adoring the right object (Trinity) and adoring in the right manner (approved liturgy, sacraments, approved prayers and forumalas). This would be the adoration that Catholics offer to the glory of God.

Secondly, one can direct adoration in the right direction but not understand the target. For example, if you shot an arrow down range but your had poor eyesight and could not see the target, then you might shoot in the right direction without seeing the destination. You shot the arrow at the proper target but you don’t see, know, perceive, or understand the target. Moreover, in this case, the bow would be too weak to get the arrow to the destination. The arrow would fall short.

This “blind archer with a weak bow” is Islam. They shoot their arrow in the right direction (toward the “God of Abraham”), but they do not understand the target and their bow is too weak because their bow lacks the power of grace.

So the Muslim “adores the one true God,” just as a blind archer “shoots at the one true target.”

Yet the Catholic “adores the one true God,” as well-practiced archer who can see the target and has a powerful 70 pound bow stringed with grace! Through Christ, our adoration is carried to heart of God.

archer

Why Muslim adoration is insufficient

Through Christ, our adoration is made perfect and well-pleasing because Christ is the perfect and divine High Priest by virtue of hypostatic union that unites His divinity to His assumed humanity. Mohamed’s Quran explicitly denies this truth:

They do blaspheme who say: “God is Christ the son of Mary.” They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no God except one God Allah. If they do not desist from their word of blasphemy, verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them. Christ the son of Mary was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him.” Quran, Sura 5:72-73, 5:75

So Muslims should be recognized as “further along the path” than other non-Christians, but their rejection of the Trinity and their rejection of Christ as the Son of God means that their “arrow of adoration” cannot reach the intended target.

This is why Christians must be charitable witness of the Son of God, and we must continue to fund and send missionaries into Muslim nations. They profess to have the faith of Abraham, but they do not possess the fulness of God’s message for humanity.

Moreover, the greatest joy that a human person can experience this side of Heaven is the Holy Eucharist. Muslims also reject this great gift from Christ so we must prayerfully share the joy of the Gospel with Muslims so that through Baptism they might also partake of this supersubstantial Bread from Heaven.

Final Thoughts about Muslims

The statements in the Catechism and in Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium are 100% correct when read from within the tradition of the Catholic Church. Muslims have a greater share in the praeambulae fidei even though they do not have saving faith in the Holy Trinity or in Jesus as the Son of God.

They also profess to hold the faith of Abraham, but their knowledge of the target and their bow are too weak to deliver what Christ promised – to become the children of God. Although we grant a “higher status” to Muslims over polytheist pagans, we must still actively and prayerfully evangelize Muslims so that they can experience the joy of Christ and the great gift of the Eucharist.

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  • Excellent, Dr. Marshall.
    May I add what Dr. William Craig said on whether Allah is a “merciful God”. Craig denied that, I think he is right.
    Craig argue that Jesus taught God’s unconditional love for sinners, Allah does not love sinners. This fact is emphasized repeatedly and consistently throughout the pages of the Quran, saying that Allah loves not the unbelievers or Allah an enemy to unbelievers.

    • Agreed. Islam posits God as Master and believer as slave.

      Christianity uses the master/slave metaphor but emphasizes the idea of God as Father and the believer as child. Our faith is a familial religion!

      • Almario Javier

        I would make however one distinction. The Muslims do, at least, claim to profess that God is merciful (their Bismillah goes, after all, “in the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful;” however it is not the mercy of a father to his son, as a Catholic would conceive of it, but of a ruler towards his subjects only, it seems.

        • TrueIslam

          Muslims are anything but merciful.

        • Sally

          And only if you are Muslim. If you are the infidel you are to be converted or pay the jizyah. However if you don’t convert when they want, Muslims have an obligation to kill you, especially if you offend Allah or Mo.

      • Catholic pilgrim

        Our Lord Jesus wants us to call & know God as “Abba” (Daddy in Aramaic). To Muslims this would be a blashemy worthy of death. Dr. Marshall, enlightening article, I wish you would watch Dr. Scott Hahn’s 2 YouTube videos on Catholicism (as fulfilment of Judaism) vs Islam (titled “Abraham: Father or Master” & “Blasphemy with Breakfast”). Please Dr. Marshall let me know what you think of them. Also, while recognizing Jesus as a lesser prophet (compared to Mahommad), the Quran EXPLICITLY rejects the historical crucifixion of Jesus (the most non-violent, most loving event in human history) while ironically Islamic sources & systems of sharia promote & condone the use of crucifixion as a method of death penalty. In the Spirit of St. Francis of Assisi (who fearlessly & enthusiastically tried to convert Muslims- including a sultan), we Catholics must not be afraid nor shy away from evangelizing them (due to political correctness).

  • John Darrouzet

    Will you please provide us with similar analysis for our friends who profess to be Christian though they are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    • The Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) are perhaps further from the truth than Muslims because Mormons are not Monotheists but Henotheists.

      • John Darrouzet

        Thus when they profess faith in Jesus Christ, is their arrow aiming at the same target?

      • John Darrouzet

        I have recently come across the book “Joseph Smiths Tritheism: The Prophets Theology in Historical Context, Critiqued from a Nicene Perspective” and ask: does tritheism fall under henotheism?

        • Henotheism is the belief in many Gods but the worship of only one.

          The difficulty w Mormons is that they have many humans becoming many gods. But they only offer worship to the Father of our galaxy.

          • geekborj

            I think this concept comes after the mis-understanding of sainthood — becoming “like God”.

  • Carl

    Dr. Marshall,

    In the Summa (II-I, q. 109, a. 3, corpus), Aquinas argues that without grace it is impossible even to have a natural love of God above all things because of original sin: “And hence we must say that in the state of perfect nature man did not need the gift of grace added to his natural endowments, in order to love God above all things naturally, although he needed God’s help to move him to it; but in the state of corrupt nature man needs, even for this, the help of grace to heal his nature.”

    This would suggest that a Muslim, as Muslim (i.e., w/o consideration of any extraordinary, extra-sacramental graces) cannot even naturally love God above all things. This would also seem to be the definition of worship. If that were the case (and I’m not sure about that), it would follow that Muslims cannot worship God.

    I was wondering how this angle towards the question relates to your use of the archer analogy. More specifically, if a Muslim as Muslim cannot love God above all things in a natural manner, how would it be possible to even be “a blind archer with a weak bow” shooting at a target he cannot see?

    I would love to hear you thoughts.

    • Dear Carl,

      In STh I-II q. 109, a. 3, Thomas speaks of “naturalem dilectionem.” The article in particular is not about “love” per se, but loving God “above all things.”

      Adam did have a natural love for God “above all things” before original sin, but original sin makes it so that we cannot love God “above all things.”

      Certainly the supernatural virtue of charity (caritas) is not in the non-Christian since it requires faith in the articles of Christianity. However, I do believe that Thomas would grant that the philosophers and pagans of good will can have an “amor” (Latin for a lower love – usually associated with the passions) for the First Cause who we know as God.

      Amor is more of an attraction and not a “love above all things.” Duns Scotus does hold that humans have a natural love for God that becomes supernaturalized into caritas. Thomas disagrees.

      I’d be happy to be challenged or corrected on this.

      Godspeed,
      Taylor

      • Carl

        Thank you for the response! So, would you say that we are working with three different things?

        -Supernatural love of God above all things (i.e., grace, charity)
        -Natural love of God above all things (only possible in a state of pure nature or under grace)
        -Natural love of God that is not above all things.

        This third option, then, is how we should understand the magisterial use of the language of worship or adoration w/ regard to the Muslims? Do the terms worship or adoration not necessarily imply “above all things”? Perhaps the best way to ask this question is: Does latria require at least a natural love of God above all things (if not a supernatural love)? If so, this would suggest that worship (at least in its primary meaning) is not possible for those w/o grace. Moreover, if worship is not possible, then neither is adoration.

        So while I understand that it is possible for a non-Christian to love God naturally and not above all things, does this really suffice for the use of the words, “worship” or “adoration”?

        God bless,
        Carl

        • I’m not sure latria or adoration generally speaking entails love. The Greeks gave latria to Hades and Zeus but this does not mean they loved these gods.

          • geekborj

            Do you men latria does not necessarily mean to involve caritas but only *the other way around*? Caritas => Latria but not the other way around.

  • Keaton

    So as long as we fill in a bunch of missing and extremely ambiguous words, completely flip the implied sentiment of the passages (that Muslims, as followers of the Muslim faith, can be saved), and then admit that the statements say absolutely nothing worthwhile (who cares that Muslims are a little closer to Truth in what they believe if it is still wrong and not enough to save them), then we can rest easy because LG/CCC fit the Church’s Tradition?
    The intellectual backflips we do to avoid admitting that these are massively flawed documents (even if it can be argued the aren’t openly heretical) amazes me. Far more harm than good is done in these areas by these documents. The Church needs to abandon unclear and unhelpful jibberish like this and return to the clear and unequivocal statements of the past that actually told the faithful what they need to know (the Muslims are not saved and need to convert, period).

    • piercedheart

      AMEN!!

    • Cindy

      Go convert them.

    • Julian Barkin

      Keaton. I will agree to not denying the implication, that politics did play a role in Vatican II and its creation of the documents. This is verified by the eye-witness account of Fr. Francis Xavier Murphy (a.k.a. Xavier Rynne) in his well-noted Letters from the Vatican 4-volume series about the Council. Even reading the first book once can see what politics was happening and the pitting of the conservative and Liberal minorities and the swaying of direction to certain things. I also will not discard that some passages of the Vatican II documents are ambiguous or could have been more detailed/specific.

      However, to make the argument of the documents being massively flawed, and dealing spiritual damage to the faithful by its own existence, implies a Traditionalist Behaving Badly mentality that gives one credence to reject the Catholic Church. Despite the political mismanagement of the liberals or how people write and/or speak non-specifically who are in charge of the “institutional” Church, (as has been leveled against Pope Francis), Christ will never let His true, O.H.C.A. Church be taken over the Devil, even despite the superior flaws of men. Don’t believe me? Reread Matthew 16:18-19. Also, Christ had mostly simple, (exception: Matthew was a tax collector,) flawed, average men be his Apostles and establish the Church. While we have Scripture that gives us multiple accounts and they did get the Holy Spirit in the upper room, can a man who is not Christ (or sinless, including Mary), be 100% perfect in their speech and what they say while proclaiming the Gospel? No. They would have made mistakes too that aren’t documented (and don’t forget this is 2000+ years ago before the blogosphere/Twitterverse/Internet occurred where out mistakes can be broadcast as easily as in minutes worldwide.) But nonetheless, they DID establish Christ’s Church on earth, and for average flawed humans to lead the Church is nothing new since Biblical times. Why even God in the Old Testament had flawed people, QUITE flawed people, be his main messengers or leaders, King David being a prime example.

      In addition, if you look around the Catholic Church in general, there is generally an air about returning to centrality or orthodoxy in faith, in light of these “massively flawed” documents still existing. For example, I just found that at a Lifeteen ministry camp in the USA on my Facebook feed, one week, featured in their profile pics a number of times, young teen girls wearing mantillas, with one picture featuring a mantilla wearer taking Communion on the tongue. And, oh yeah … that happened with the Vatican II documents still exist today. Also, while at a slow rate, more and more bishops and cardinals, with a prime example being mine, Thomas Cardinal Collins, are doing the following in light of the documents of Vatican II (or even, taking direction from them): 1) being clear on Catholic teaching such as communion NOT being given to the divorce and remarried, 2) Participating in, and/or being clergy in Pontifical/Solemn Latin Masses, 3) Not being afraid to the Catholic and secular media to say such comments and do things like that.

      Finally Keaton, Vatican II isn’t the only council where the faithful rejected the Church as it were. It is said generally, that it truly takes about 50-100 years for the Church to “digest fully” the effects of an Ecumenical Council. When Vatican I finished, there was an upheaval to the effect that splinter groups broke away from the Church, e.g. the “Old Catholics” at the upset of the Council, and rejection occurred. Yes, Vatican II seems to be on a more global scale, but the effect was more massive because external factors helped it gain power not on its own steam. In this past century, two world wars occurred since its early part (moral decay, pre-1962), and technology advanced so rapidly that worldwide communications and relatively fast travel became possible by the time of the Council, so unlike the time and geographical area that dissent from Vatican I could cover, Vatican II had a global and quicker impact because of these factors. And dissent also happened on the traditional Catholic side too by the way, not just the liberal side. E.g. Society of St Pius X and SSPV, whom hold NO canonical approval in the Church nor sacramental life. Their dissent is also worldwide too with a number of chapels and/or churches and schools too. So dissent spreading worldwide from “the Council” happened on both sides too. Your post does not take that into account and is one sided as to who dissented from the Council.

      So to summarize, while we cannot ignore politics that did occur in Vatican II, which has been documented by eye-witnessed accounts such as Fr. Murphy’s book series, to call the documents massively flawed is quite a disparaging remark to make, that ignores Scripture via Matthew 16:18-19, discounts other factors that occurred to the problems post-Vatican II, and is part of a TBB line of thinking that only can give way to further darkening spiritually, even so far as to be a step towards radical traditionalism and possible separation from Holy Mother Church.

      • pj_houston

        “In many places, [the Council Fathers] had to find compromise formulas, in which, often, the positions of the majority are located immediately next to those of the minority, designed to delimit them. Thus, the conciliar texts themselves have a huge potential for conflict, open the door to a selective reception in either direction.” (Cardinal Walter Kasper, L’Osservatore Romano, April 12, 2013). Sounds seriously flawed to me.

      • Keaton

        Julian,

        It would appear that my first attempt at a response got knocked down in moderation, so I’ll try this again. You certainly read WAY more into my comment than is there, but I’ll play along with you. My one and only point, as is clearly stated to anyone who reads my comment, is as follows: LG/CCC do not meet the historical and theological standard of a good Church document/catechism in this area (and others), so they should be improved. At best they say nothing worthwhile and only confuse the faithful. The existence of Dr. Marshall’s post is proof enough of this point.

        What I did not say, anywhere at all and in any way, was anything about dissent or Vatican II. Despite your catchy TBB phrase and witch hunt, this isn’t present in anything I said nor is it what I believe. I am not a sedevacantist nor SSPX, just smart enough and honest enough to point out flaws and failures in documents that clearly don’t correspond to the Tradition of the Faith with a plain text reading (which is all one should need from a council document or catechism to know it is orthodox). I don’t believe the Catholic Church has defected or been defeated. I obviously know that from Peter’s denial and Judas’ betrayal, the Church has been composed of and run by sinners.

        I agree, based on my own observations, that some traditions that have been lost or ignored the last 50 years are starting to be recovered. However, what has been lost still FAR outweighs any recent “gains”. Even though I said nothing in my post to warrant this next lecture, I’ll be happy to disagree with you since you put it out there: “Finally Keaton, Vatican II isn’t the only council where the faithful rejected the Church as it were. It is said generally, that it truly takes about 50-100 years for the Church to ‘digest fully’ the effects of an Ecumenical Council.” This is a post-Vatican II platitude tossed about without backing to try to make the chaos and destruction of the last 50 years appear normal. It is not historically nor theologically accurate, with the exception of it taking longer for previous councils’ teachings to be promulgated worldwide. At previous councils heretical ideas were identified and condemned and their believers were anathematized from the Church. Vatican II is the one and only council where members of the Church took non-dogmatic documents, used them to teach heresy and undermine Tradition, and still remained “Catholic,” attacking the Church from the inside.

        • Keaton

          “So dissent spreading worldwide from ‘the Council’ happened on both sides too. Your post does not take that into account and is one sided as to who dissented from the Council.” – No, it is “no sided” as to who dissented from the Council, because my post didn’t talk about dissent or Vatican II. Funny how that becomes clear when you read what I wrote without your own agenda to promote.

          • okramsey

            In your response to Julian you stated,

            ” My one and only point, as is clearly stated to anyone who reads my comment, is as follows: LG/CCC do not meet the historical and theological standard of a good Church document/catechism in this area (and others), so they should be improved.”

            This is not the “one and only point” I got out of your original post either. It also wasn’t the strongest. This is the point that I took away from your original post:

            “The intellectual back flips we do to avoid admitting that these are
            massively flawed documents (even if it can be argued the aren’t openly
            heretical) amazes me. Far more harm than good is done in these areas by these documents.”

            I read and reread your posts and I also had the belief that you think it is doing spiritual damage to the faithful. I can understand Julian why Julian responded as he did.

    • Michael S Clifford

      The Church never left the clear and unequivocal statements of the past that actually tell the faithful what they need to know (the Muslims are not saved and need to convert, period); the post-Vatican-II popes are just blinded by a false sense of charity.

  • Julian Barkin

    Thank you Dr. Marshall for this excellent, orthodox, and Catholic explanation (and apologetics) about the issue of Muslims and the Church. When the first bunch of bloggers started to comment on the issue and slap that sign of Nun on their social media, they were accompanied by either passive-aggressive screeds to fight them or other disparaging sentiments. One local blogger who has involvement in the Latin Mass, in my end of the woods, even went so far as to imply that the Islamic faith is demonically inspired. Furthermore, `quasi-schismatics` or my term, Traditionalists Behaving Badly (TBB), come close or use exactly these arguments to disparage Vatican II and the Muslim Faith, and is one of their excuses to reject the “Novus Ordo Church“ in favour of a pre-Vatican II Church.

    You have provided excellent argumentation in the true thought of Thomas Aquinas to refuting the TBB claims as well as the liberal non-evangelization claims, and shown how the thinking of Vatican II via Nostra Aetate is part of the hermetic of continutiy of Catholic teaching and tradition, blowing the TBB arguments out of the water. May Christ continue to bless you in your work and keep up the great stuff!

    • pj_madden

      All heresies, of which Islam is one, are demonically inspired. Who do you think is the father of all lies?

      John 8:44
      You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

    • Keaton

      “One local blogger who has involvement in the Latin Mass, in my end of the woods, even went so far as to imply that the Islamic faith is demonically inspired.”

      That crazy, clueless, mean-spirited, Vatican II hating, TBB blogger must have had a quote like this in mind: “I vow to… exalt the true Faith, and to extirpate the diabolical sect of the reprobate and faithless Mahomet [Islam] in the East.” – Pope Callixtus III

  • dmw

    “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh; such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist…Any one who goes ahead and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God; he who abides in the doctrine has both the Father and the Son” (2 Jn 7, 9).

    I recommend folks look at Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon’s article, “Sinai’s Height: On the Problem of Popular Monotheism” (Touchstone Magazine, March 2007).

  • Cindy

    Thank you for this explanation Dr. Marshall. I trust holy mother Church and have accepted what the Catechism and Lumen Gentium state about the Muslims within the plan of salvation, but it sure is nice to be able to understand it. I had the general idea of what you explained here but you put it into words better than I ever could.

  • Adam

    Living in Cairo among real, not stereotype Muslims, I see Islam as a glass half-full, not half-empty, or to use Eusebius term for the Greek philosophers – “Praeparatio Evangelica” – a preparation for the Gospel, as was the extreme anti-Catholic protestant sect from which I myself converted to Catholicism in Jerusalem 40 years ago. Moreover, I can assure you that here in Islamic Egypt, there is neither the dictatorship of rationalism nor the God-denying porno abortion culture of death of the once so-called “Christian West”.

    Saint John of Damascus, who witnessed the rise of Islam, is considered one of the great Doctors of the Church. His critique of Islam in a chapter on “Heresies” in his work “The Fount of Knowledge” is especially relevant for our times.

    Unlike Pharisaic or Talmudic Judaism as a new post-biblical religion which arose after the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70 with its anti-Christ doctrine in opposition to the Catholic Church, Islam arose, according to St John Damascene, not as a new religion, but as a Christian heresy from outside the Church, though sharing much Catholic teaching, which he proceeds to list: the Unity and Infinite Majesty of God, His Justice and Mercy, His Divine Providence, the immortality and equality of human souls, Jesus’ Virgin Birth as Messiah, Miracle worker and Prophet who will return on the Day of Judgment to destroy Antichrist as judge of the world, and the Immaculate Conception of His Mother whom they venerate. However, Islam did reject the priesthood and sacraments, though unlike Protestants and Cafeteria Catholics, from outside.

    Catholic historian Hilaire Belloc, Chesterton’s great friend, echoes this in his magisterial work “Heresies”, noting that Islam as a “movement was essentially a ‘Reformation,’ and we can discover numerous affinities between Islam and the Protestant Reformers on Images, on the Mass, on Celibacy, etc….and is no more fatalist than Calvinism. The two heresies resemble each other exactly in their exaggerated insistence upon the immutability of Divine decrees.”

    “Islam was a ‘heresy’: that is the essential point to grasp…. It began as a heresy, not as a new religion. It was not a pagan contrast with the Church; it was not an alien enemy. It was a perversion of Christian doctrine. It vitality and endurance soon gave it the appearance of a new religion, but those who were contemporary with its rise saw it for what it was not a denial, but an adaptation and a misuse, of the Christian thing. It differed from most heresies in this, that it did not arise within the bounds of the Christian Church.”

    • pj_madden

      “It differed from most heresies in this, that it did not arise within the bounds of the Christian Church.”
      That is why it has been, and will continue to be almost impossible to defeat. How often do you hear of Muslims converting to Christianity, much less Catholicism? Almost never. I believe it is the most destructive of heresies.

      • anneeasthartford

        There are those Muslims who do become Christians, but they have to keep it pretty much quiet so as to be safe.

        • Adam

          As head of the university Tour Guide Department in Bethlehem for many years, I taught a field trip course “Jesus’ Land” (later a film) to a class of Palestinian Muslims (50%) and Christians (50%). At the end of each year of guided visits to all the Holy Places connected to Jesus, I usually had two surprises: 1 – Muslims were my best students with an intense thirst to know more. 2 – Every time we visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the actual site of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, one or two Muslim students would take me aside: “We Palestinians are the unbroken chain linked to the first Christians, our ancestors, who never forgot these events or this place. So it must be true! But I’m a Muslim! What shall I do now?”

          • anneeasthartford

            Thank-you for your wonderful comment. God Bless!

    • John Fisher

      He also write “There is also the superstition of the Ishmaelites (Islam) which to this day prevails and keeps people in error, being a forerunner of the Antichrist. They are descended from Ishmael, [who] was born to Abraham of Agar, and for this reason they are called both Agarenes and Ishmaelites. They are also called Saracens, which is derived from Sarras kenoi, or destitute of Sara, because of what Agar said to the angel: ‘Sara hath sent me away destitute.’ [99] These used to be idolaters and worshiped the morning star and Aphrodite, whom in their own language they called Khabár, which means great. [100] And so down to the time of Heraclius they were very great idolaters. From that time to the present a false prophet named Mohammed has appeared in their midst. This man, after having chanced upon the Old and New Testaments and likewise, it seems, having conversed with an Arian monk, [101] devised his own heresy. Then, having insinuated himself into the good graces of the people by a show of seeming piety, he gave out that a certain book had been sent down to him from heaven. He had set down some ridiculous compositions in this book of his and he gave it to them as an object of veneration.”

      • Adam

        Again, looking at any heresy, still we must ask: is the glass half-full or half-empty? The old saying “Error rides on the back of truth” is axiomatic. Pascal’s penetrating analysis of all heresy as half-truth remains unsurpassed (my translation):
        “The Faith embraces many truths which seem to contradict each other. The source of this is the union of the two natures in Jesus Christ. There are then a great number of truths, both of faith and of morality, which seem contradictory and
        which all hold good together in a wonderful system. The source of all heresies is the exclusion of some of these truths; and the source of all the objections which heretics make against us is the ignorance of some of our truths.
        And it usually happens that, unable to conceive the connection of two opposite truths, and believing that the admission of one involves the exclusion of the other, they adhere to one, exclude the other, and think of us as opposed to them. Now EXCLUSION is the cause of their heresy; and IGNORANCE that we hold the other
        truth causes their objections.
        1st example: Jesus Christ is God and man. The Arians, unable to reconcile these things, which they believe incompatible, say that He is man; IN THIS THEY ARE CATHOLICS. But they deny that He is God; IN THIS THEY ARE HERETICS. They allege that we deny His humanity; in this they are IGNORANT.
        2nd example: On the subject of the Holy Sacrament. We believe that, the substance of the bread being changed, and transubstantiated into that of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ is there really present. This is one of the truths. Another is that this Sacrament is a figure of the cross and of glory, and a commemoration of the two. This is the Catholic faith, which comprehends these two truths which seem opposed.

        Today’s heresy, not conceiving that this Sacrament contains at the same time both the presence of Jesus Christ and a figure of him, and that it is both a sacrifice and a commemoration of a sacrifice, believes that we cannot admit one of these truths without excluding the other for this reason. They focus on this point alone,
        that this Sacrament is figurative; and IN THIS THEY ARE NOT HERETICS. They think that we exclude this truth. And because of this, they raise so many objections to us from passages in the Fathers which assert it. Finally, they deny the presence; and IN THIS THEY ARE HERETICS.”

        I have a final question: since Jesus’ descent from heaven does not culminate in the Incarnation, which Protestants hold, but in the Eucharist, in which they deny Jesus’ perpetual Incarnate presence, is Mohammed’s heresy so different from Luther’s?

  • kelso

    Keaton has a point. No “uncertain trumpet” will rally back the missionary life and the spirit of martyrdom. There is nothing binding the conscience of faithful from Vatican II except when the documents site what was already de fide. Canons and definitions were deliberately avoided, beginning with the admonition of John XXIII that the Council not define. He actually called for a pastoral council. It went beyond that, however, as LG and a few other other documents manifest. I have a question, Dr. Marshall. It has to do with the quote from the Summa. I do not understand this “state of nature.” Adam and Eve were created in supernature, sanctifying grace. After the Fall, all men are conceived with a “fallen nature” — Our Lady excepted. Baptism restores divine childhood and holy grace, but the fallen state remains, although the guilt (stain) is removed. There is natural reason and possible virtue for sure, but outside of grace there is no natural justice. There never was. So, I am confused as to what Saint Thomas means by a state of nature. Can you help me here?

  • Stephen

    Sorry, just don’t see it. As fishers of men they are either in the boat or they are not.
    Granting “higher status” is a discussion of the one that got away; a fishing story. With due respect to archery lets stick to the text. I’d love to see a discussion of the editors cleric in charge of the current catechism

    • Almario Javier

      It is the difference between those who tread water and those who are slipping below the waterline.

      • Stephen

        I’m a bit sick of this quasi-catholic Vatican 2 foolishness.
        We can play intellectual gymnastics all night.
        Is there any dogmatic teaching prior to The Council (the pastoral one)
        that would suggest somebody who lops heads off and crucifies
        children in the name of Allah worships God the Father; of the Christian Trinity?

        As for your treading VS slipping below: they have been tossed the life preserver of the Cross, they reject it, persecute it, mock it and seek to destroy it.

  • Theological gymnastics. I believe it would be more productive to call a spade a spade. What we should be asking is: Why are so many formulations from Vat2 docs dangerously ambiguous? The answer is clear for those wiling to see: It’s called Modernism! (gasp!!) Yes, that four letter word.

    When was the last time anyone from the Vatican dared to utter the word? Yet, it is as alive and well now as it was when St. Pius X defined it. The saintly pontiff prophetically warned of a rising heresy festering from within. A heresy that lacked solid form or definition. Characterized by an unholy blend of heterodoxy with orthodoxy, making it hard to pin down the perpetrator on any one concrete and clearly definable error. It’s like grappling with smoke, “the smoke of Satan”.

    Articles such as these add to the obfuscation. Ask your FSSP pastor. Their un-official official position is “the council” was non-dogmatic, and pastoral. I stand with them – I’m a Traditionalist.

    • Nagash

      Here here. I completely agree. It’s long past time for the Church to, pardon the crude pun, grow a pair of Catholic testicles and call ecumenism and “interfaith dialogue” exactly what it is…HERESY. There is no salvation outside the Catholic church: none, zero, nada, zilch. Never has been, never will be. Period. End of story.

  • Dawn Eden

    Well done and helpful. Thank you.

  • Eric

    This was very good. I often point people to the section on the communion of saints from the st pius x catechism, as certain people are sometimes helped by a pre v2 reference, and also because it emphasizes that Muslims are still excluded from the communion of saints. Q12 nails it. Belief in God is not adequate for salvation:

    “10 Q: Who are they who do not belong to the Communion of Saints?

    A: Those who are damned do not belong to the Communion of Saints in the other life; and in this life those who belong neither to the body nor to the soul of the Church, that is, those who are in mortal sin, and who are outside the true Church.

    11 Q: Who are they who are outside the true Church?

    A: Outside the true Church are: Infidels, Jews, heretics, apostates, schismatics, and the excommunicated.

    12 Q: Who are infidels?

    A: Infidels are those who have not been baptized and do not believe in Jesus Christ, because they either believe in and worship false gods as idolaters do, or though admitting one true God, they do not believe in the Messiah, neither as already come in the Person of Jesus Christ, nor as to come; for instance, Mohammedans and the like”

  • Carlos X.

    Forget Lumen Gentium, and ask yourself: how many Gods are there? To me, asking if Muslims worship the same God is like asking if they see the same sun every morning. You can legitimately argue that they misconstrue the nature of God or his commandments, but to suggest that it is a different God seems to me very silly.

    • pj_houston

      Not really true. Patrick Reardon writes: “Biblical monotheism is not simply an agreement about a quantitative proposition with respect to the divinity. It is not just a matter of confessing one god, as distinct from two or more….Monotheism, separated from the historical revelation of Exodus, is pretty often just another form of idolatry—the confession of a god who just happens to be one rather than several……The oneness of the true God is specific to the true God. Other folks may worship a single god, but he is not the Existing One.”

      • Carlos X.

        I understand the argument. But I reject it because of the historical development of the Islamic God in the Semitic tradition. If we were talking about the “one god” of some far flung South Pacific tribe it would be one thing, but we are talking about the concept of God developed by the descendants of Abraham. You tell Arab Christians who have been using the wod Allah to refer to God since pre-Islamic times that Allah is not God, or the Mizrahi Jews who use the word, or the Indonesian and Maltese Christians who use the word, etc.

    • John Fisher

      Ok let’s look at it from the others side. Moslems call Christians polytheists. They say Allah has a son and a wife. They say Jesus is a God but he isn’t’ He wasn’t crucified and his disciples made the whole story up. Do Christians worship the same God as Moslem…no

  • Michael Chan

    Thank you, Dr. Marshall, for making things clear.

    Yet I do agree to a large extend of many of the comments here (and probably also elsewhere) that the VII documents and CCC contain too much ambiguous texts which could lead to misunderstanding. I understand that the VII documents aimed to be more “pastoral” and “stressed more on the positive sides rather than condemning the negative sides”, yet it might actually be better to say that Muslims do not adore God, rather than how it is said now.

    Attempting to please everyone outside the Church too much might have brought harm to her own faithfuls.

    • Stephen

      “stressed more on the positive sides rather than condemning the negative sides”
      This a false dichotomy perpetuated by Modernist thought.
      There is truth and there is falsehood.

  • Churchill4President

    All we need to know about Islam is what St. Thomas Aquinas the Angelic Doctor of the Church had to say in this quote:

    “On the other hand, those who founded sects committed to erroneous doctrines proceeded in a way that is opposite to this, The point is clear in the case of Muhammad. He seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh goads us. His teaching also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure. In all this, as is not unexpected, he was obeyed by carnal men. As for proofs of the truth of his doctrine, he brought forward only such as could be grasped by the natural ability of anyone with a very modest wisdom. Indeed, the truths that he taught he mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity. He did not bring forth any signs produced in a supernatural way, which alone fittingly gives witness to divine inspiration; for a visible action that can be only divine reveals an invisibly inspired teacher of truth.

    On the contrary, Muhammad said that he was sent in the power of his arms—which are signs not lacking even to robbers and tyrants. What is more, no wise men, men trained in things divine and human, believed in him from the beginning, Those who believed in him were brutal men and desert wanderers, utterly ignorant of all divine teaching, through whose numbers Muhammad forced others to become his followers by the violence of his arms.”

    • anneeasthartford

      In other words, both Islam and Allah are simply are from one source, SATAN.

    • Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 1, Chapter 6, Section 4. Dr. Marshall, try and twist that passage to conform to Lumen Gentium. Good luck!

  • kelso

    The Moslems “worship” one God. Granted. But this one god is not the true God. God has revealed by His Son that He must be One God in Three Persons. The prophets and leaders of the Old Testament Jews knew there was a plurality of Persons in God, thus the Hebrews always used Elohim (God) which is plural. Adonai (Lord) I believe is also plural. The God Abraham believed in was Elohim. The holiest prayer of the Jews: “Hear O Israel, the Lord thy God is one Lord,” is Trinitarian in the three-ness of the doxology and the actual Hebrew words, which, as I noted, are in the plural. God cannot be One God without a Son and a Holy Spirit. Without the Trinity what is LIFE in God who is Infinite Self-existing Spirit. If He knows Himself then that Knowing generates an Eternal Known. If the Knower and the Known love each other then LOVE proceeds as a Person. One God, Three Persons. The Trinity is necessary for God to be God. All of creation reflects this threeness. We are made in the image of God in our soul which has two operations, knowing and loving. The thinker, the thought, and the thinking. The lover, the beloved, and the loving. Every angel has this threeness of operation in their inner life. Material things have length, breadth, and width. Even time reflects it with past, present, and future. Every star has fire, light, and heat. So, how can it be said that we worship the same God as the Moslems? Or, the unbelieving Jews, for that matter, if they deny the Trinity. There is no God who is not Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

  • Victor

    ((( They also profess to hold the faith of Abraham, but their knowledge of the target and their bow are too weak to deliver what Christ promised – to become the children of God. )))
    Long story short and for what it’s worth, as a Doctor of the Catholic Faith, you’ve done a pretty good job here of saying in so many words that we are all children of GOD (Good Old Dad) but we still have a long way to go until all of our spiritual reality cells get to meat, “I” mean meet Him. Right? LOL 🙂
    God Bless Peace

  • Noel Alquiza

    As I read the Quran ,it shows that the Allah of Islam is NOT the God of Christians for Allah ordered all angels to commit idolatry and only satan (Iblis) did not bow down to Adam.

    28 Behold! thy Lord said to the angels: “I am about to create man, from sounding clay from mud moulded into shape;
    29 “When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him.”
    30 So the angels prostrated themselves, all of them together:
    31 Not so Iblis: he refused to be among those who prostrated themselves. Sura 15:28-31

    Allah ,I think,is just an invention of Muhammad!!!

    • Michael Petek

      Is Allah the same as the one true God? It is impossible to say “no” to this question. However, Sunni Muslims are idolaters because they affirm the Qur’an to be uncreated. All Muslims are idolaters for the additional reason that they practise ritual prostration. This act is reserved for public worship in the Holy Sanctuary and is forbidden unless commanded by liturgical prescription.

      • q

        “This act is reserved for public worship in the Holy Sanctuary and is forbidden unless commanded by liturgical prescription.”

        Seriously? Are you saying a Catholic can’t go into his room and prostrate himself in prayer without it being idolatrous?

        • m parker

          A Catholic prays to the One True God of the Bible,YHWH through His Son, Jesus, the second Person of the Trinity.
          A Muslim prays to Allah, the god of Mohammed, who was an idolater, turned deceiver, who rejects the Trinity.

  • Marija G.

    Theologians come up with very elaborate and interesting arguments. I am a Roman Catholic mother and homemaker and I believe Muslims worship the same God as I do. Why? Because there is only one God, Creator of Heaven and Earth. What we believe about Him creates the different theologies and keeps us apart, each religion insisting it has the correct understanding of the One True God.

  • Francis Feingold

    Hmm. For the most part, I think I agree. But I’m a little confused what it means to distinguish sharply between Christian belief as an arrow that “reaches” its target vs. Muslim belief as an arrow that “falls short.” After all, it’s not as though our own Christian understanding of God is complete! We too worship what we do not understand, and will continue to do so until God grants us the Beatific Vision.

    Now, because we accept important pieces of the Revelation God has given humanity which the Muslims reject, our understanding is without question much fuller than theirs. But, as far as the extent of the knowledge goes, this appears to be a matter of degree rather than of kind.

    Should we not say, then, that (1) both Christian and Muslim knowledge are arrows that fall short (one far shorter than the other), but that (2) both Christian and Muslim worship and love for God (assuming both are genuine, and rooted in the state of grace, which for the Muslim would require invincible ignorance of the falsity of his religion) are arrows that reach their target (inasmuch as what it means for worship/love to “reach its target” is simply to give glory to the being who is God)?

    After all, when two people (X and Y) have knowledge of a third person (Z), it may be that X will have more accurate knowledge of Z than Y does: X may know that Z is 40 years old and from New York, while Y may mistakenly think that Z is 50 years old and from New Hampshire. Nonetheless, if both harbor goodwill to Z, and write to Z offering him hospitality, would we not say that both of their acts of love equally reach their target?

  • Douglas Pearson

    I give you an “A” for the effort! I like the bow and arrow analogy… I look forward to the day when the Church returns to using plain language to communicate simple truths.

    Nice work!

  • John Fisher

    I am not sure the catechism is good starting point. The attributes of the god Of Islam is not the same as that of Judaism or Christianity. God is merciful… merciless, violent, capricious and subjugating but he is not a father, he is inconsistent, utterly transcendent and can command a Moslem to worship idols and one would have to do it. Heaven is carnal and debauched
    The Moslem view of God is distorted and I personally think not the same God at all. I will use an Analogy. Mormons believe in god. god the father god the son god the holy ghost: 3 gods and the universe had many and believers can become gods. There god is not really god at all.
    Islam is similar but it is the god of Mohamed’s imagination stitched together from his delusions and what bits he picked up from others. Many Arabs were polytheists with tribal gods, some were Jews, some were Christians both Orthodox and Aryan.

  • Adam

    Looking at the Islamic heresy, we still must ask: is the glass half-empty or half-full? The old saying “Error rides on the back of truth” is axiomatic. Pascal’s penetrating analysis of all heresy as half-truth remains unsurpassed (frag. 614 my translation):

    “The Faith embraces many truths which seem to contradict each other. The source of this is the union of the two natures in Jesus Christ. There are then a great number of truths, both of faith and of morality, which seem contradictory and which all are balanced together in a wonderful system. The source of all heresies is the exclusion of some of these truths; and the source of all the objections which heretics make against us is the ignorance of some of our truths.

    “What usually happens is that, unable to conceive the connection of two opposite truths, and believing that the admission of one involves the exclusion of the other, they adhere to one, exclude the other, and think of us as opposed to them. Now EXCLUSION is the cause of their heresy; and IGNORANCE that we hold the other
    truth causes their objections.

    “1st example: Jesus Christ is God and man. The Arians, unable to reconcile these things, which they believe incompatible, say that He is man; IN THIS THEY ARE CATHOLICS. But they deny that He is God; IN THIS THEY ARE HERETICS. They allege that we deny His humanity; in this they are IGNORANT.

    “2nd example: On the subject of the Holy Sacrament. We believe that, the substance of the bread being changed, and transubstantiated into that of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ is there really present. This is one of the truths. Another is that this Sacrament is a figure of the cross and of glory, and a commemoration of the two. This is the Catholic faith, which comprehends these two truths which seem opposed.

    “Today’s heresy, not conceiving that this Sacrament contains at the same time both the presence of Jesus Christ and a figure of him, and that it is both a sacrifice and a commemoration of a sacrifice, believes that we cannot admit one of these truths without excluding the other for this reason. They focus on this point alone, that this Sacrament is figurative; and IN THIS THEY ARE NOT HERETICS. They think that we exclude this truth. And because of this, they raise so many objections to us from passages in the Fathers which assert it. Finally, they deny the presence; and IN THIS THEY ARE HERETICS.”

    A final bold question – since Jesus’ descent from heaven does not culminate in the Incarnation, as Protestants hold, but in the Eucharist, in which Protestants deny the Incarnate Presence, is Mohammed’s heresy so very different from those of Luther or Calvin?

  • m parker

    Do Muslims worship the same God as Christians?
    No they don’t.
    The god of the Quran is the god of Mohammed, and he was a false prophet, who worshipped a false god.
    Mohammed did not meet the criteria for being a true Bible prophet, he was not Hebrew, he came with a different message, did not perform miracles, and he did not speak in the name of the God of the Bible. The Quran rejects Jesus’s divinity, His death by crucifixion, and His resurrection, all of which are central to the Gospel.
    On further inspection, the origins of the Islamic faith lie within Arabian paganism. Mohammed’s tribal god was Hubal,the(greatest) moon god of the Kaaba,given the title Allah meaning “the god).Mohammed just encompassed everything which was familiar to him,including all present day Islamic religious rituals known as Ramadan, aligned his already familiar god with the Bible God, giving his new faith more authenticity as a religion. Muslims and Christians have been deceived ever since that the god of the Quran is the same God of the Bible, when even the Bible, Christian doctrine as well as historical facts,all clearly cannot accept.
    As a ps.
    It is said that that the word Allah means god in Arabic, This is not true, the word Allah is a contraction of the two words Al Ilah, meaning “the god”. The word for god in Arabic is Ilah,which should have been used in the Quran to indicate the universal God.
    But Ilah wasn’t used,the word Allah was used instead, indicating the already familiar name known to Mohammed. Even the Islamic creed known as the Shahada indicates this clearly when it says, “There is no god but Allah”….Giving the Islamic god the name of Allah, when it should be either Ilah or YHWH,to prove it was from same divine source as the Bible, which Mohammed says he represents.
    Even if as it is said, Arabic Christians use this name for God, this does not mean in itself that it is the same as the Islamic god, for all the above reasons.

  • Adam

    With the archaeological discoveries of the past century, the origins of Islam are today less shrouded in mystery than ever before. The manuscript evidence is compelling, that Islam is an extant remnant of an ancient Christian Jewish sect called EBIONITES, who fled to the Arabian Peninsula seeking refuge after Constantine outlawed them, having declared the BYZANTINE CHURCH the only official religion of the empire in the 4th century. It is a well-known fact that Mohammed’s father-in-law was a preacher in the Christian Jewish sect. Cut off from the main body of the Church, Muslims developed many peculiar beliefs of their own, much like today’s Jehovah’s Witnesses or diverse Messianic Jewish groups with their heterodox teachings, who began as evangelical protestants.

  • m parker

    ADAM
    I am afraid Islamic history does not agree with your claims.

    The founder of Islam was a man called Mohammed,whose words and example,together with the words in the Quran form part of Islamic Law.There is no mention of any sect called Ebionites in the Quran,but the Sabians who are, worshipped the moon as their deity. The cousin (not father) of Mohammed’s wife Khadija, named as Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin ‘Abdul ‘Uzza who was a Christian,believed Mohammed was a “prophet” only because Mohammed told him he had a vision of an angel who called itself Gabriel, which was erroneously equated with the Gabriel of the Bible.
    Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 87, Number 111)

    Islam grew as a faith because of the actions of Mohammed, who plagiarised existing faiths which were familiar to him, and encompassed certain aspects of them, including all Pre Islamic pagan rituals known then and now as Ramadan to form the new faith he called Islam.

    • ADAM

      I refer you to the seminal scholarly articles by missionary Father J. M. Magnin (Pères blancs): Proche-Orient Chrétien Jérusalem: “Notes sur l’Ebionisme”. See POC23 (1973) 233-265 | 24 (1974) 225-250 | 25 (1975) 245-273 | 26 (1976) 293-318 | 27 (1977) 250-276. Thesis: “Islam must have been, originally, only a variety of Christian Ebionism, whose supporters were called hanifs or Muslimin.” (my translation)

      And the more recent ground-breaking doctoral dissertation by the Catholic historian at l’Université de Strasbourg: Edouard-Marie Gallez, Le Messie et son Prophète, Aux Origines de l’Islam, Editions de Paris, 2005, Versailles, 2 vols.

      Unfortunately, such resources are available only in French. At the end of the day, French scholarship, largely Catholic, following in the footsteps of the great pioneer orientalist,
      Louis Massignon is miles and years ahead of the English-speaking world on Islamic origins.

  • ADAM

    (CAIRO) – Please see the seminal scholarly articles by Père J. M. Magnin (Pères blancs):
    PROCHE-ORIENT CHRETIEN JERUSALEM: “Notes sur l’Ebionisme”. Cf. POC23 (1973) 233-265 | 24 (1974) 225-250 | 25 (1975) 245-273 | 26 (1976) 293-318 | 27 (1977) 250-276. Résumé: “Islam originally was most likely only a variety of Ebionism, whose supporters were called hanifs or Muslimin.”

    And the more recent ground-breaking doctoral dissertation by Catholic historical theologian Edouard-Marie Gallez (Communauté Saint-Jean) at l’Université de Strasbourg: LE MESSIE ET SON PROPHETE, AUX ORIGINES DE L’ISLAM, Editions de Paris, 2005, Versailles, 2 vols.
    “In the 7th century, what was not yet called « Islam » was deeply rooted in Judaism and Christianity, though indirectly, through 2nd generation Judeo-Christian sects, which transformed biblical messianism into a millennialist political ideology of salvation – awaiting the second coming of Messiah, who would dominate the earth, submitting it to the power of God (i.e. to the Islamic state, or later, caliphate).”
    [Conquering Jerusalem and the Holy Land, Islam was ironically, a type of proto-Zionism.]

    Alas, such resources are only available in French. (rootsofislamtruehistory dot com has a few articles in English, German, and Russian). French Catholic scholarship, following in the footsteps of the great pioneer orientalist Louis Massignon, Melkite Greek Catholic priest and friend of Lawrence of Arabia, is miles and years ahead of the English-speaking world on the origins of Islam.

    • m parker

      I am afraid Louis Massignon and others, had a much distorted and fundamentally wrong view of the Islamic faith, which has in turn greatly misinformed and mis lead countless millions. They mistakenly equated (as so many have) the Islamic god Allah with the Bible God YHWH, which on further inspection they cannot possibly be one and the same, as their natures, attributes and teachings are so vastly different, and contradict each other.

      It has also been assumed wrongly, that because the Quran happens to mention Jesus, Mary and previous Bible prophets, as well as an angel calling itself Gabriel, giving an alleged revelation to a pagan Arabian, must all mean that Islam derives its authority from Biblical sources. Nothing could be further from the truth, as a modicum of research would uncover.

      A major flaw in previous Islamic study also failed to recognise Mohammed was a false prophet, whose words and actions proves this to be the case. False prophets, as Jesus warned us, would be deceivers, and are known by their fruits.
      Mohammed came with a different message to the Bible prophets, plus the Quran rejects all central principles of the Christian faith. These two accusations alone condemn Islam to be the falsehood it truly is.

      • ADAM

        (CAIRO) Weren’t Luther and Calvin false prophets and deceivers? And Pharisaic Talmudic Judaism too, which blasphemes the holy names of Jesus and Mary?
        Why a different yardstick for Mohammed, who loved, respected and reverenced our Lord and his Mother, holding them in highest esteem, as Muslims still do today?
        Do those who attack Islam actually personally know any Muslims? What we’re not up on, we’re down on. Isn’t Islamophobia the new anti-Semitism?

        As a convert myself from extreme anti-Catholicism, or St Paul from persecutor to Apostle, I never give up HOPE for Muslims. “Every saint has a past; every sinner has a future.”

  • ADAM

    (CAIRO) Weren’t Luther and Calvin false prophets and deceivers? And Pharisaic Talmudic Judaism even more so, which blasphemes the holy names of Jesus and Mary? Why a different yardstick for Mohammed who loved, respected and revered Jesus and his Mother, holding them in highest esteem, as Muslims still do today? How many who condemn Muslims actually know any personally? What we’re not up on, we’re down on. Is Islamophobia the new anti-Semitism?

    As a convert myself from extreme anti-Catholicism (or St Paul from persecutor to Apostle), I never give up HOPE for Muslims. “Every saint has a past; every sinner has a future.”

  • ADAM

    (CAIRO) – Taylor, I was disappointed that my most recent comment was deleted. As an educator,
    I hold to the bent fork effect. To correct a bent fork, one must strongly ply in the opposite direction
    to make it straight. As a guide in the Holy Land for over 20 years (as well as university prof),
    I witnessed two increasingly alarming tendencies in pilgrimage groups, even among Catholics:

    1. a self-proclaimed Christian Zionist influence in tandem with the “Jewish roots movement”
    (the anachronistic “Judeo-Christian” myth that Christianity is the offspring of Judaism, which today is Talmudic and antichristian, not biblical). Ergo, many view the Jewish state through rose-colored glasses as somehow the fulfillment of biblical prophecy (“Israel right or wrong”), and any criticism as antisemitism. (As a Catholic Jewish convert friend quips: “An antisemite is anyone Jews don’t like!”)

    2. a media-inspired, often racist anti-Islam, anti-Muslim bias.

    My deleted comment was aimed at demystifying Israel and modern Judaism in order to expose the dangerously lopsided unjust presentation of Islam and Muslims (as obvious in the American media and Israel firsters’ anti-Palestinian foreign policy) often by those who have never met a Muslim.

    In all fairness, is it not our duty to warn the faithful of the apocalyptic dangers of both anti-Christian pro-Israel hegemony, as well as fringe Islamic extremists?

  • geekborj

    Thanks Dr. Taylor of your exposition of the Muslim faith. However, I have noticed that the tone of exposition seem to imply that Moslems are hopeless along the line that they will never have the right “spot-on” aim and strength to shoot the arrow (at least) within the mark. What do you think is the hope for them? We Christians should always offer the way back.

  • JET55118

    Your post is a noble attempt to reform-the-documents-through-interpretation. Sadly, it fails. Your post ignores Nostra Aetate’s statement on the Muslims:

    “The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God.”

    The plain and unambiguous language of the Catechism and Vatican II documents assert that Catholics and Muslims actually believe in the same God. The Vatican II documents are badly flawed and theologically unsound (which is possible, since V2 was a pastoral Council and its teachings were not infallible, unless they were repetitions of prior infallible statements).

    • @jet55118:disqus Dead. On. Modernism is everywhere, stronger than ever.

  • papagrune123

    If I follow this train of thought, there was no reason to convert to Catholicism from my Baptist up bring.. I know I did not have to be baptized again, so some can see my point… Other things are part of becoming a Catholic, I already believed in the Holy Trinity.

  • papagrune123

    Most of up say “peace be with you” to each other during Mass

  • Richardson McPhillips

    I’ve never known anyone who says “Muslims adore the one true God, therefore they don’t need to be evangelized.” Anyways, where on earth did you find an English translation of “Musulmanos” (the original Latin) as Mohamedans? Andy why would you choose that one?

  • Jose Cantu

    Sounds like something you would hear in a Masonic lodge imo

  • Gerald

    Paul VI, Ecclesiam Suam 107, August 6, 1964
    “Then [we refer] to the adorers of God according to the conception of monotheism, the Muslim religion especially, deserving of our admiration for all that is true and good in their worship of God.” Antipope Paul VI contradicts the blog author’s opinion that the Vatican 2 document says that muslims profess to worship God, but that it doesn’t say that they actually worship God. Or, at least his statement here does. Thoughts?

    • Aasiyah Sattar

      Who do you think we worship then ?

      • O. Locke

        the shataan.

  • E.J.

    Thanks for the clarification Dr. Marshall. I have often scratched my head trying to understand what this part of the Catechism means.
    They also do not believe that Jesus was crucified, nor resurrected.
    I have also noticed that they are very much against Saint Paul.

  • Nagash

    “For Catholics, the issue is complicated because the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Second Vatican Council explicitly state that Muslims “together with us they adore the one, merciful God.””

    That is complete, utter, total and absolute heresy. The issue is not complicated, in fact it is quite simple:

    Pope Pius II – “Turn the anger of the Almighty against the godless Turks and Barbarians who despise Christ the Lord…..In the royal city of the east, they have slain the successor of Constantine and his people, desecrated the temples of the Lord, defiled the noble church of Justinian with their Mohometan abominations. Each success, will only be a stepping stone until he has mastered all the Western Monarchs, overthrow the Christian Faith, and imposed the law of his false prophet on the whole world”
    It really is just that simple. There is only one path to salvation: the Catholic Church.
    Extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

  • Michael S Clifford

    Wow! I’ve heard of Protestants twisting Scripture, but I’ve never heard of Christians twisting Tradition!