this is mentioned several times in the article, criticizing the translation of "pagan idol". I think it is a bit disingenuous to think the Christians at the time misinterpreted reality, as they have a broader prohibition against "false prophets" not just deities. So if the Christians, by definition only follow the words of Jesus Christ, then the prophet Mohammad who does not and has his own belief system would accurately fit those definitions. The writings and thoughts and actions of Mohammad are core to Islam and inseparable from the worship of a deity.
That argument isn’t as clear cut since Muhammad himself was adamant that he was preaching the same message of Moses and Jesus. In many ways, Islam was, in its eyes, to Christianity what Christianity, in its eyes, was to Judaism.
You would be hard pressed to find a Muslim theologian (who understands Christian theology) that claims Christians and Muslims worship different gods while until today it remains controversial for Christian theologians to go on the record saying they’re one and the same.
Edit: more to the point, until Victorian times, Muslims were most commonly referred to as Mohammedans because the English-speaking world just assumed Islam is to Muhammad as Christianity is to Jesus Christ.
To say that these two are compatible is willful ignorance.
Christians branch off by following Jesus Christ. Nobody else follows that, to many people the whole story jumped the shark when one guy (Saul/Paul) decides to reform his life and go on a Eurotrip to talk about Christ and comes back with a story that has incorporated regional religions along the way. Now there are ghosts, and devotion due to fear has been replaced with devotion due to love. A lot of people just disregard that part because the "New Testament" is inseparable from that guy being the major contributor. The world has basically been splintered in three for the next two millenium because its a different story.
700 years into that, after two major councils that try to reconcile this, people are still like "yeah we're all in line with season 1 but season 2 eehhhhh we can agree the guy was inspirational but" and mostly ignoring it. New sects of Abrahamic religions continue to pop up and continue from older events and books because of the wide consensus that one branch was practically procedurally generated.
So the book of John is in the "New Testament", and if we are acknowledging the similarities of Abrahamic religions it means ignoring the New Testament just for the sake of comparison. When looking at the base material, which Christians also rely upon for inspiration or as rules on how to live life, they are very compatible. The primary distinction of all of the Abrahamic religions is the divinity of the prophets or lack thereof, and thats where the incompatibilities are. It isn't useful to make an example about who says Jesus is divine, when thats the primary distinction by definition. After you get past the prophets, there are more similarities than differences.
From the description:
"Directly proportionate to the rise of religious exclusivism, perhaps best epitomized by the attacks of 9/11 and the problems now plaguing the Middle East and Afghanistan, there has been a real desire both to find and map a set of commonalities between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This is often done, however, for the sake of interfaith dialogue, rather than scholarship."
"Like our understanding of Abraham, the category "Abrahamic religions" is vague and nebulous. Usually lost in contemporary discussions is a set of crucial questions: Whence does the term "Abrahamic religions" derive? Who created it and for what purposes? What sort of intellectual work is it perceived to perform? In order to answer these and related questions, Aaron Hughes examines the creation and dissemination of this category in Abrahamic Religions."
Quotes from the book:
"There is no historical precedent
for reading the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim myths that deal with the
figure of Abraham or Ibrahim together in the ways that many want to
align them today."
in reclaiming this Abraham for interfaith dialogue are not motivated by
historical study, even though they may try to make certain appeals to it.
Rather they imagine variously constructed romanticized and pristine
periods of interfaith interaction. They subsequently create a set of words
and categories based on their own contemporary concerns and desires,
and then read these into various historical and textual sources."
Being part of a family of religions that use the same source material does not suggest interfaith in any way.
I keep coming back to that every time I'm trying to have one of these conversations with people, especially when the question is deeper than whether a salad is a vehicle(as if that were possible).
or discussed in audio form
I hadn't seen that article before and didn't mean to refer to it. In fact the author is making an exceedingly simple mistake confusing two totally different things. The first is that a word that has a fuzzy meaning, and you notice that by looking at the edges of its meaning (e.g. is something still a vehicle if it doesn't transport people?). As I said, that is expected and not worth dwelling on. The second is using it as an analogy: is a salad a vehicle for dressing? Is a film a vehicle for an actor? Getting mixed up with the first question is a pretty basic mistake. When Forrest Gump says "life is like a box of chocolates" (technically a simile because of use of the word "like" but similar idea) you might think it's silly but not because the box of chocolates doesn't satisfy the literal meaning of "life". As with salads and films, that's not the edge of the meaning of the word; it's the very core meaning of the word used in a different context.
> this is a social game of negotiating meaning, and of noticing that language which seems so precise is often not that at all.
Nestorianism had already been denounced as a heresy by the core of the Christian world and consigned to the margins like Central Asia. The Byzantine Christian world especially was very insistent on christological formulations as a way of distinguishing the God that one worshiped. Groups like the Nestorians which held a different christological formulation were seen as worshipping a different god. No surprise this attitude also extended to Islam with its history of contact with Nestorianism and then a drastically different view of Christ.
You are incorrect. That is not controversial. In a sermon delivered by Apostle Paul in Athens, he even tells the pagans they may be worshiping the same God but not know it.  Paul was probably the least flexible or accommodating of the first Christian teachers.
What is controversial is the details. While Muhammad was inspired by Christian teachings, specifically Nestorianism , later Islamic scholars declared that Christian teachings were corrupted  thereby nullifying any contradictions between Jewish, Christian and Islamic teachings.
So yes, a Muslim theologian might truthfully say Islam is a superset of Christianity and Judaism, but they are not referring to any known version of Christianity or Judaism.
Christians on the other hand consider themselves a superset of Judaism. For the most part they don't dispute Judaism (as it existed before 0AD) and think of Christianity are an updated/evolved version.
Can you clarify? Because the Gospels are largely the accounts of a man who spent the most impactful years of His life disputing Judaism as it existed at the time.
Also Christianity cannot be an offshoot of the religion now called Judaism, because the former precedes the latter chronologically. Rabbinic Judaism is significantly newer than Christianity. The old Hebrew religion died with the Second Temple.
He disputed current practices of certain groups/sects, and his law superseded the "old" law. The key point is that Jesus did not "back date" his laws. He did not claim they applied to the ancient Hebrews and that they should be judged according to them.
> Also Christianity cannot be an offshoot of the religion now called Judaism
I make a point of noting that I was talking about Judaism as it was at 0 BC/AD.
That's kind of been the Catholic official theological position forever (popular libels, especially associated with the crusades, notwithstanding.) Islam has always been considered a heretical set of beliefs about God (and particularly so in regard to its Christological views), not a religion about a different God, and that’s pretty much an unbroken chain of theology going back to the 7th Century.
To come full circle, this almost lends credence to the belief called out (as false) in the article, that the Muslims worship Mohammed; because it seems as though the line between the worship of Allah and the worship of his prophets is somewhat blurred. But presumably this does not at all follow the lines of actual contemporary Muslim theology :).
I come from the rural area of a developing Muslim country (Bangladesh), most people around me didn't have much secular or religious education, and yet I think absolutely everyone around me knew Islam is a continuation of Christianity.
The idea is that current generation of Christians have lost their way (and one of their greatest sins is worshipping Jesus), that's why God had to reveal Islam, but the "true Christians" of past were righteous and worshipped the same God as ours.
I think you're not aware of how big a deal is shirk- the idea of attributing God-like power to humans- is in (Sunni-) Islam.
It is important to note that Islam was created as a very administrative religion rather than a philosophical one, partly because Muhammad wanted to see it being adopted in 3 key regions. He sent emissaries to Heraclius the Elder (at Constantinople), who briefly considered the proposal, to the Patriarch of the Copts (at Alexandria), who amicably received it, preserved it (till today) and sent back his own friendly missive of rejection , and to Khusrau of the Sassanid Empire, who tore up the letter. So I doubt that Muhammad actually gave much effort to philosophical aspects such as Jesus or Ahura Mazda, and simply chose to borrow the history from nearby religions while reconciling them with the core that is Islamic monotheism. In fact, Muslims actually have four books they consider holy - the Torah, the Zabur (Psalms), the Injeel (Gospel of Christ) and the Quran (Revelations to Muhammad).
Apart from the human motivation element, you're getting there as to what the Islamic view is. The Quran does talk of Jews as the chosen people of God whom he will gather back in Israel, but also mentions that their misfortune (at being thinly spread out and not collected in their homeland) is because of divine punishment for their waywardliness (which the Quran does not cease to stress upon a lot). Islam is considered to be Judaism v2 and out of closed beta, within the Quranic text itself. Obviously some of the strongly worded verses calling Jews misguided heretics is misinterpreted and largely the "divine proof" for a lot of animosity from the Muslim community towards Jews in general. The influence of Jews on Islam cannot be underestimated. Some Jewish kings, apart from the usual prophets in Islam, such as Shamir Yuharish of Himyar (modern Yemen) are still fairly popular in the Arabian peninsula among Arabic Muslims. In fact, we had to learn about them as expat students in an Arabic country as part of the regional history lessons.
But ultimately people are more allergic to the word polytheism as they'll spend more energy interpreting why it isn't because it is crucial to their identity. Basically "only false idols are polytheistic", groups of people that were punished specifically for worshipping and exalting multiple deities. So although there are three supreme supernatural beings that all have to be pleased in different ways, the word polytheism would cause a greater reaction than simply brushing off how the venn diagram between polytheism and the trinity is a circle.
For what it's worth, your comment is entirely consistent with and reminiscent of my experience of GCSE 'Theology & Ethics' (a compulsory subject, not something I know that much about or took out of interest) in the UK.
Not that my teacher was some eminent theologian, though certainly great and knew his stuff, just some anecdata, and what I assume was - in broad strokes - on the national curriculum at least at the time (er, gosh, a decade or more ago).
People might have thought that way about Muslims (I'm actually quite sure that they did), but the term alone doesn't support that at all: Christian reformation movements that wouldn't dare to consider their namesake a prophet, much less something more deic (is that even a word?) are routinely referred to by the name of some person who is connected with the theological delta from where they split off. Lutherans surely didn't extend the trinity into a quad for example.
But thats not my point. My point is that this article and sources are misinterpreting an old english translation and misinterpeting what Christians do. Its not an argument about whether he was a supernatural deity himself nor about whether the deity is the same entity the Christians worship, its about Christians including non-supernatural prophets in their prohibitions. I think this article (and source book) has mistranslated and extrapolated way to much from that mistranslation.
Given the rather high volume of exchange between Christian, Jewish, and Islamic theologians historically, it's implausible that there was genuine misunderstanding on this point; OTOH, there were outright libels that were largely wartime propaganda for the Crusades.
> So if the Christians, by definition only follow the words of Jesus Christ
That's...definitely not how Christians (either generally now, nor specifically in the Middle Ages, defined themselves.)
I did notice recently in one of the supplements to Mencken's The American Language that the canons of the Roman Catholic church prohibit baptizing a child with the name Mohammed--as also, if I recall correctly, Calvin or Wesley.
But in the chapter of Song of Solomon (5:16) someone has incorrectly translated an official name of Muhammad (alias Ahmad) from Hebrew into English with "Altogether Lovely". If you ever translated anything in your life you know that it is wrong and it is not allowable to translate a name, because a name is a name.
The irony is that this is one of the Bibles' (Old Testament's) prophesies that had come to pass that any Christian (or Jewish) scholars will not dare to admit or celebrate.
Fun facts, there is an entire chapter in the Quran that was named after Mary, and Quran praised her (a Jewish woman not an Arab) as the best of women in the entire history of mankind. Quran also relieved her from the Jews accusation of her adultery and confirmed the miracle of the virgin birth of Jesus as claimed by the Christian.