- If a Christian saw Jesus, he would say: "there stands God."
- If a Moslem saw Jesus, he would say: "there stands a man."
In reality, of course, things are a bit more complicated. Even within Christianity different viewpoints describe God's attributes differently--for example his sovereignty. Given that the gods of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are all described as the "God of Abraham", then there is a case to be made that they are the same God. On the other hand, given that only the Christian god is a triune god, and given that the gods of all three have established vastly different and opposing redemptive histories and sovereign plans of salvation, I think the case is much stronger that they are not the same god.
Then I made a similar point about Mohammed:
- If a Moslem saw Mohammed, he would say: "there stands a true prophet."
- If a Christian saw Mohammed, he would say: "there stands a false prophet, a charlatan."
I'm guessing the word "charlatan" was deemed particularly offensive--but it seems to me that a false prophet is necessarily a charlatan--unless he is delusional--which I doubt is more pc. Nevertheless I admit that in this way of making my point I omitted a third possibility: Mohammed might have been a true prophet (a man of God), a false prophet (a charlatan) or an honest but delusional man (mentally ill).
Describing this as intolerant makes my head spin. I would think that a thinking Moslem reading my comment would not be offended, he would disagree. He would, I imagine, reason this way: "this guy is a Christian, so of course he thinks Mohammed was a false prophet, otherwise he'd be a Moslem for crying out loud."
He wouldn't be offended; he'd just think I was wrong.
Similarly, why would a Jew be offended by the Christian claim that the only way to salvation is through Christ? Wouldn't a thinking Jew expect Christians to hold to such a belief? Wouldn't he say to me "I understand why you, as a Christian, believe that--but I have to tell you it is just plain wrong."
And reversing the situation, should I be offended if a Jew or a Moslem or a Jehovah's Witness calls me a polytheist for affirming the Trinity? Of course not! That is exactly the charge (among others) that they should make, given what they believe.
I don't know if any Moslems were actually offended; I know only that at least one non-Moslem was offended on their behalf. Maybe he was right--maybe many would be offended, people do offend easily.
Anyway, I asked the person whose sensibilities were placed under extreme duress by my comment to tell me what his viewpoint regarding Mohammed was:
- Mohammed was a true prophet, and I am a Moslem (sensible).
- Mohammed was a false prophet (or delusional), and so I am not a Moslem (sensible).
- Mohammed was a true prophet, but I am not a Moslem (dumb).
- Mohammed was a false prophet (or delusional), but I choose to be a Moslem anyway (dumber).
He declined to answer my question, and instead just called me more names. That was apparently much more satisfying and is, after all, the Panda's Thumb way.