Black Market Love
The question of whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God has been an age-old one in theological circles and debates. The same experienced a resurgence In December of 2015 when Larycia Hawkins, an associate professor of political science at Wheaton College, suggested that believers in the two faiths do indeed follow the same God. According to the Atlantic, the female professor wore a hijab-the headscarf worn by Muslim women-in “embodied solidarity” with Muslims.
On December 10 2015, she wrote on her Facebook page, “I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.” Even the Pope.
Last year, 2017, traditional head of Yorubaland and Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, stated that he had discovered all religions to be one.
According to him, “I am not a Christian alone, I can be called a Muslim too. I practice all the religion very well. I go to the mosque to pray, I attend church services. Yes I am a traditionalist as well. I have been able to see the light that there’s nothing demonic about our ancient religion.”
This debate has since taken a new turn with the popular on-air personality, Daddy Freeze, insinuating that Allah of the Quran is Yahweh of the Bible.
In a recent video, Freeze suggested that we have to play down the differences between the two faiths, acknowledge that Allah is the Arabic word for God, hence he must be Yahweh of the Bible. He suggests this is the only way to put a stop the incessant wars between Christians and Muslims.
In his words, “I respect the fact that they [Muslims] worship the same God that I worship because I respect the fact that they came from the same Abraham.”
He, however, does not deal with the fundamentals of the Christian faith – the deity of Christ, His death on the cross, and His resurrection, and how the Islamic faith denies these head-on.
According to him, “Some people say Allah is not Yahweh. Yahweh is the translation of God in Hebrews.” (1)
For him, we must force ourselves to love one another, and this must begin by acknowledging we worship one God.
What Daddy Freeze desires from us runs in direct opposition to what Scripture demands of us: to love at the expense of the truth. He wants you to love the Muslims at the expense of the truth, which is akin to hating them.
There is a fundamental difference in the character of Allah in the Quran and the God revealed in the Bible (Yahweh). If truth and love matters, then we must not sacrifice one for the other.
I call this black market love because it is unsustainable.
Truth and Love
A proper definition of love and truth could help us realize how inseparable the two are. Truth of course is that which conforms to reality. When we say a statement is true or false, we mean it is in line with facts.
Love is one of those words that is better acted out than defined. It is more shown in deeds than in words. Unfortunately, we regularly choose to respond to our emotions rather than train our wills to love even when our feelings say otherwise.
On love, C. S. Lewis wrote, “Love in the Christian sense, does not mean an emotion. It is a state not of feelings but of the will; that state of the will which we have naturally about ourselves, and must learn to have about other people.”
However, acting out truth and love leaves most of us either fleeing or fighting. When we elevate love over truth, the result is avoiding disagreements and taking a flight from such disagreements, totally avoiding such.
As author Vince Vitale notes, “You flee from the dangers of truth and adopt a pluralism that assures us “All truths are equally valid.” Does that include the claim that all truth claims are not equally valid? One college student recently told my colleague, Abdu Murray, that he doesn’t believe it is his place to disagree with anyone.” (2)
On the other hand, truth over love leads to fighting, where might is right. Vitale goes on to say, “If truth is greater than love, then you fight—then the end goal of truth justifies whatever means necessary, whether the means of haughty academics or the means of ISIS. If truth is greater than love, then love is a temptation—a distraction threatening to avert our attention from what is truly important; then those who disagree with us are enemies, and warmth toward our enemies must be extinguished in favor of the cold, hard facts. “
In light of these, Daddy Freeze’s antidote to the supposed fights (elevation of truth over love) between Christians and Muslims, is to flee from discussions involving our differences (elevating love over truth) by denying reality.
Maybe there is another way.
As an avid lover of the TV series, Gotham, I recall a particular scene which featured a conversation between Don Falcone and the protagonist, James Gordon. Falcone made a statement that stuck with me. He said to Gordon, “I imagine when you find out the truth, it would destroy you. That’s a comfort.”
According to Jesus, knowing the truth is freedom, not bondage. “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free,” He says.
He reminds us that truth is not greater than love and love is not greater than truth. God is both love (1 John 4:8) and truth (John 14:6). Hence, love is truth.
Vitale writes, “Only in Jesus does truth equal love, and therefore, only Jesus can get us out of the cultural ultimatum we are stuck in: fight or flee. Every other worldview makes a choice between Love and Truth. Jesus refused to because in Him, and only in Him, Love and Truth are one and the same.
“…next time we have a choice between Love and Truth, let’s refuse to choose. Instead, let’s remember when the Truth—Jesus Himself—was stretched. Let’s remember when the Truth was twisted and bent, when the Truth was naked. Let’s remember when the Truth hurt, and when the Truth was buried.”
At the root of the gospel lies truth and love. Therefore, for Daddy Freeze to suggest we sacrifice one over the other is to deny the gospel. That is a black market love and it is unsustainable.
(1) That is actually a wrong statement. Yahweh is not the Hebrew word for God, but rather the sacred personal name of the true God as revealed in Scripture. Elohim is the Hebrew word for God.
(2) Vince Vitae in Truth or Love:What’s Your Choice? Accessed from rzim.org on January 23, 2018
Manuel Chukwudi serves as content manager for Naija Gospel Radio.