Last week FoxNews reported about a Catholic priest who wanted everyone to refer to God as Allah irregardless of their faith.
Tiny Muskens, an outgoing bishop who is retiring in a few weeks from the southern diocese of Breda, said God doesn’t care what he is called.
“Allah is a very beautiful word for God. Shouldn’t we all say that from now on we will name God Allah? … What does God care what we call him? It is our problem,” Muskens told Dutch television.
In some respects I agree with Mr. Muskens. I don’t think that God cares how you refer to him as long as it is done with respect and reverence. I think that Allah is a perfectly fine and perhaps beautiful term for God. But that’s as far as I will take my agreement.
Mr. Muskens has failed to take into account the differences between the denotative meaning and the connotative meanings for the word “Allah.” If you don’t remember connotative and denotative from school then this quick example may jar you memory. Let’s say I were to refer to a salesman as a snake. The denotative meaning is that I really think the man is a reptile, no legs, cold blooded 2 chambered heart, scales, literally a snake. The connotative meaning that the man was self-serving and difficult to pin down is more likely why I would refer to him as a snake. Denotative is the dictionary definition while connotative is what the word commonly means to those hearing it.
And while the denotative meaning is fairly rigid, the connotative meaning varies from culture to culture and mutates with each passing generation and may in itself become a new denotative definition. “Gay” is a great example of this. A hundred years or so ago, it meant happy and as time passed the word gay took on the new connotative meaning of a homosexual person. Now the word no longer denotes happiness, it has taken on a new denotative meaning. Yesterday’s connotative meaning for gay is today’s denotative meaning. The definition has been hijacked.
So while the denotative meanings for Allah and God may be the same, the connotative meanings are quite different. When an Arabic Christian refers to Allah, he is referring to a god as defined by the Bible. But, when an Arabic Muslim refers to Allah he is referring to a god as defined by the set of characteristics presented in the Koran. So while the denotative meaning is the same, the connotative meaning is entirely different. In fact in Islamic nations the difference could be enough to have you killed. Christian Allah is not interchangeable with Muslim Allah.
The article points out that Christians and Jews oppose calling God by Allah, while not surprising, the Council on Islamic American Relations likes the idea.
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington, D.C.-based Islamic civil liberties and advocacy group, backs the idea as a way to help interfaith understanding.
“It reinforces the fact that Muslims, Christians and Jews all worship the same God,” Hooper told FOXNews.com. “I don’t think the name is as important as the belief in God and following God’s moral principles. I think that’s true for all faiths.”
I too believe that there is but one God. All 3 religions believe a different set of characteristics about God, but our beliefs don’t will more than one god into existence, they just mean that at least 2 out of the 3 religions are wrong. It is the religion, not God that is the problem.
Muslim’s are commanded to subjugate or slay non-Muslims, while Jews and Christians live under no such edict. In fact, Christians are under an edict to try and save rather than kill the Muslims.
The big problem with the Allah for all is that it puts the Muslim wolf into the Judeo-Christian sheep’s clothing giving the predator free run of the flock.