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No, Michael Moore, We Are Not All Muslim

Tue, Dec. 22, 2015 Posted: 08:23 AM


In response to Donald Trump’s request to ban all Muslims from entering the United States, Michael Moore has started a campaign asking everyone to sign a statement to Trump and take a picture of themselves with a sign saying “We are all Muslim”.

While I get Moore’s intent, I’d like to respectfully explain why I won’t be participating in Moore’s crusade. I’d also like to provide my thoughts on a sister issue currently making the rounds that asserts Christians and Muslims worship the same god.

Where Differences Don’t Matter

On his webpage, Moore states his position in the following way: “I was raised to believe that we are all each other's brother and sister, regardless of race, creed or color. That means if you want to ban Muslims, you are first going to have to ban me. And everyone else. We are all Muslim. Just as we are all Mexican, we are all Catholic and Jewish and white and black and every shade in between. We are all children of God (or nature or whatever you believe in), part of the human family, and nothing you say or do can change that fact one iota.”

I understand the stance Moore is taking – we are all human, albeit different in various ways. If we actually believe in tolerance and respect (not the false kind practiced today by many who preach ‘tolerance’), then we extend the same courtesy and opportunities to everyone where morally possible regardless of characteristics like skin color or a religious position they hold.[1]

Scripture teaches us the same thing in the mandate to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18). Although the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) is principally told by Jesus to highlight the need for salvation and demonstrate to his detractors how far they fell short from entering God’s kingdom, an application of the parable is to show love to those who are different than ourselves.

One thing often overlooked in the story is that it was not just ethnic differences that divided the wounded Jewish traveler and his Samaritan helper, but religious belief as well. Samaritans were Israelites who had intermarried with non-Jews during the Assyrian exile (2 Kings 17) and had mixed various cultic religious practices together with Old Testament worship. The end result was their own temple, set of priests, and religious beliefs; in essence much like various cults today that take parts of Christianity and blend them with various heretical teachings.

But that worldview divide didn’t stop the Samaritan from lavishly helping the fallen Jew. As Christians, we should indeed love our neighbors and understand that, if Jesus told that same parable to us today, He might very well substitute a Muslim for the Samaritan and a Christian for the Jewish man.

Where Differences Do Matter

While loving our neighbors is something Christians should do, equating the God of the Bible with any other deity and identifying with that false faith is something we need to avoid at all costs. Why?

Because both the Old and New Testaments make it clear that false gods are kind of a big deal to the one true God.

Whether you look at the Ten Commandments, the many statements made throughout the Old Testament Psalms and prophetic books that showcase God condemning the worship of false gods, or the New Testament that warns against false gods and false teaching in every book except Philemon, you walk away with the understanding that there is to be clear separation between God and any false challengers. Again, why?

From a practical life standpoint, A. W. Tozer gives us the answer: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. . . .We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.”[2]

This is exactly what we see being played out where ISIS and others like them are concerned. Even normally liberal news outlets like CNN are finally admitting that it is ISIS’ religious foundation and the Islamic eschatological revelations Allah has supposedly delivered to them that are driving their actions.

There is no getting around the fact that the law of identity and the true “thing” behind a word or name is critically important. For example, those wishing to equate the Biblical God with Allah via simplistic arguments that contend the word “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for “God” would do well to remember that the word “Baal” means “Lord”, however no one familiar with the Bible would try and say that Baal and God are one and the same.

It is depressing to see even educated Christian thinkers like Francis Beckwith try and argue that just because Muslims don’t believe God is a Trinity, it doesn’t mean they aren’t worshipping the real God. To argue his point, Beckwith uses an analogy that employs two people who disagree over whether Thomas Jefferson fathered children via Sally Hemings, but each have the real third president in mind.

I would respectfully counter his analogy with another that is not so surface-level oriented: There exists a man name Bob Smith. Two people are discussing Bob. One believes Bob to be completely faithful to his wife, honest on the job, and an abstainer from alcohol. The other believes Bob to be a serial adulterer, an embezzler at work, and an alcoholic.

Clearly the law of identity states both perceptions cannot be true, and reason dictates that after each belief about Bob is put forward, those involved in the discussion would conclude, “We cannot be talking about the same man!”

Why the truth about Bob matters is also not hard to understand. To which “Bob” would you trust your heart, your business, your children in his car?

This is the point missed by commentators like Beckwith and others such as Miroslav Volf, theology professor at Yale, when he aims the tiresome big guns of “bigotry” and “discrimination” at Wheaton College for disciplining a professor who asserts that the beliefs of Muslims and Christian are the same.

Theologically and soteriologically speaking, Volf doesn’t seem to understand that there is a big difference in a God who justifies by faith (Eph. 2:8-9) and a god who weighs a person’s good works on a scale to determine their eternal destination (Sura 23:102-103).

Volf also doesn’t seem aware of other Biblical concepts when he argues the following: “Why is the Christian response to Muslim denial of the Trinity and the incarnation not the same as the response to similar Jewish denial? Why are many Christians today unable to say that Christians and Muslims worship the same God but understand God in partly different ways?” Volf appears to conveniently forget the concept of progressive revelation, that the Trinity is indeed present in the Old Testament, and that the Old and New Testaments agree on the ontology of God whereas the same cannot be said of the god found in the Koran.

Conclusions

For the reasons I’ve outlined, I won’t be joining Michael Moore and identify as Muslim, even though I understand the spirit behind the position he takes. While I’ll do everything in my power to love my neighbor as myself, I cannot wear the label “Muslim” as a Christian because words have meaning even in our postmodern culture.

Sadly, in our extreme politically correct environment, people are forgetting that differences in a “thing” can matter quite a bit and consequences exist for being wrong. They should hear Tozer once again who says: “So skilled is error at imitating truth that the two are constantly being mistaken for each other. It takes a sharp eye these days to know which brother is Cain and which Abel.”[3]

Indeed, not knowing the truth can kill you, both in this life and the next.



[1] Naturally this assumes that wisdom and care are interjected into the process. Of course, security precautions should be taken to ensure terrorists are not exploiting a process meant for others and using it to gain access to a country in order to carry out evil acts.

[2] A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (San Francisco: Harper, 1961), pg. 1.

[3] A. W. Tozer, “How to Avoid Serious Error” in That Incredible Christian (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1964), pg. 50.

Robin Schumacher