Which god?    God or god?

“Thou shalt have no other god before me.”  (Exodus 20:3 KJV)

Which God Saves Us home Who gets the credit home

Al-Qaida Claims Responsibility For Cargo Bombs

November 18, 2010

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

That's from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans - specifically Romans 1:18-23 (this is from the English Standard Version).

Before getting into the headline here - I have to say that I actually planned on the topic more than a week before this headline.

Partly because it's something I always find interesting. From Genesis to the New Testament to the present times to Revelation - it's a problem we all have - giving God His proper credit.

At the same time - when I do take the time to look at the world around me - even trying to start to fathom what God is about - it's mind blowing.

And when I take the time - I can see His hand all over the place.

I realize - and sometimes I even wonder - is that because He's really there - really controlling things - or is it just because I want to see Him so badly that I make things up to have Him appear to be in control? And that's what this whole series was planned to be about. Is God still here - does He still care about us - and should we give Him credit?

So - why this topic again? For one thing - it seems to be pretty popular on the site. For another, I'm reading Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis. And various other things, including - of course - music. A while back, there was this song that was available for free on iTunes - Life by Beckah Shae. One of the lines is "More, more, more, more, more - there's got to be so much more to this life". Then there's "more than I could explain anticipate or imagine" and "I'm willing to believe amazing things are still happening" and "I jump over doubt and dive into believe". If you want to get more out of life - give God credit for all of the things He's done.

So all of this got me into the mood to go back and pull some verses from the Bible and look at giving God credit.

But then I saw this headline -

Al-Qaida claims responsibility for cargo bombs

and read the story. By the end - the topic was still there - but not with the same material.

Now you're (hopefully) wondering - where is this going?

Allow me another little side trip first. Remember in school when we had to do word problems in math classes? They were always so hard and annoying. For instance -

One day in a little town in Idaho, there was a school bus picking up kids to take them to the 5th Street Elementary School. At the 1st stop - 4 kids got on the bus. At the 2nd stop - 2 more. At following stops - 2 kids - then 5 kids - then 3 kids. At the next stop, 2 more kids got on - but one had to get off because he wasn't feeling good, so the parent at that stop agreed to take the sick child back home. At the last stop - 5 more kids got on the bus.

You've probably been counting the kids on the bus - and know that 23 got on - 1 got off - and that means there were 22 left when it arrived at the school.

Some of you may be wondering if maybe there were other kids (maybe the driver's kids?) already on the bus before the first stop - so this is a trick question and can't be answered correctly.

Sorry - there were no kids on the bus already.

Not to say it wasn't a trick question though.

If you got 22 - very good!

Unfortunately, that wasn't the correct answer - because how many kids were on the bus wasn't the right question!

It wasn't even how many times did the bus stop.

The real question - what color was the bus?

In the U.S. - the bus was yellow. For those of you in other countries, hopefully there is a normal color - otherwise I've probably either gotten you upset or confused. If so - sorry, that wasn't my objective.

But the point here with this little word problem - somewhere along the line I learned that the key to solving word problems was to first (before doing anything else with it) figure out what the question actually is. After that - ignore any and all irrelevant information given in the question. The only reason that other stuff is there is to overload us, sidetrack us, and generally cause confusion and ultimately have us arrive at the wrong answer.

That gets my word problem down to having a school bus in the United States. Everything else was extra - meant to distract from the real question.

And life is the same way. All sorts of obstacles are thrown in our way. Some of them to cause us to want to give up - or to actually give up - because they are too much for us. But - if we get down to the issue of what's the real problem / question - maybe it's not so hard. Maybe the answers are right there - along with the question - after we remove all the extra stuff.

OK - side trip over - what's all this got to do with Al-Qaida claiming responsibility for sending two cargo bombs? Well - you can read the entire article here.

Remove all the extra information and get down to one statement from Al-Qaida that was quoted -

"And we say to Obama: We pointed three attacks to your planes within one year, and we will continue, Allah-willing, to direct our attacks on the American interests and the interests of America's allies,"

Allah-willing - they will attack again. Allah-willing. What does that mean?

Well - in the school bus question - remember there was too much information? There was also some assumed knowledge. Nowhere in the question does it actually say that the bus was yellow. It's implied - because it was a school bus and it was in the U.S.

What about this question? After removing the rest of the article except the statement that says attacks will continue as long as Allah is willing. What isn't said - is who exactly is Allah?

OK - he is the "God" of Islam.

Muslims - as well an any number of political and religious leaders of other faiths - will also tell us that Islam's Allah is the same as the Jewish and Christian God - the God of Abraham.

If - and it's a big if - that's true - then we are being told that our Christian God was willing to have them attack us - and is hopefully (from their point of view) willing to have them attack us again.

Allah is the same as the God of Christianity? Really?

Are they really one and the same - Allah and the Father of Jesus?

Or is there more mis-information here?

Is credit being given where credit is due?

Are those among us who believe they are devout Christians really willing to say that the Christian God is the same as the Allah of Islam - and that He wants us attacked in order to convert us to Islam?

Is that what we are giving our God credit for?

I'm certainly not. But if we remove all the extra information - all the rhetoric around these stories - take it down to what it really means - and there's no other conclusion possible.

To bring in one more math issue - remember learning that if A = B, and if B = C, then A must equal C?

Let’s say that A is the Christian God.

Let’s say the B is Allah.

From the Muslim point of view (at least what they tell us) the two are the same (A=B).

Let's further say that C is a belief that everyone should be Muslim - which is the claim from Islam.

Obviously - from the Muslim point of view - Allah wants everyone to convert to be Muslim (B=C).

Then - following from (A=C) that would mean that the Christian God wants Christians to convert to Islam - which is also from Islam (see Sura 4:159, which says that Jesus will be a witness against the Jews and Christians on the day of Resurrection. The Muslim view of the day of Resurrection isn't the same as ours. For more on this, see a previous article on this site.)

So for Muslims - A=B, B=C, and A=C. It's all logical. It's all written. So it must be all true. Mustn't it?

No - it must not - and is not - all true.

Why not?

To answer that - more information - more knowledge that's assumed on the part of the reader - is required.

And that's maybe the last of the issues with word problems. It's one that is often debated - pointing out the unfairness of word problems on school tests. People without the proper background can't possibly answer the questions correctly.

For instance - a child living in a very small town - who has never left that town - may very well not know that school buses are yellow - because everyone walks to school. Someone from another country where school buses aren't yellow at all - would give the correct answer (from their point of view) but still be wrong, because I was asking about school buses in the U.S.

The same thing happens with the word problems of life. Maybe it's Islam. Maybe it's science. Maybe it's world history. Maybe it's an election campaign. Could be any subject at all. None of us knows everything. At the same time - it's just not possible to give all of the information required to solve the problem. Nor is one likely to get unbiased information.

Fortunately, God gave us a mind. He gave us the ability to look at things and try to learn the truth.

And - as Paul said in Romans -

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.

So God has also given us the information - the assumed knowledge - to know the truth about Him.

So let's go back to A=B, B=C, and A=C.

If A is not equal to C - then either A isn't equal to B -- or B isn't equal to C.

As far as B=C - Muslims are clearly told in the Qu' ran that non-Muslims are evil - and can either convert to Islam or go to Hell (Sura 5:86).

Then A must not be equal to B. Is there anything in the Qu’ ran that would lead us to believe that Allah is not the God of Christians? How about Sura 4:171?

O people of the scripture, do not transgress the limits of your religion, and do not say about GOD except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was a messenger of GOD, and His word that He had sent to Mary, and a revelation from Him. Therefore, you shall believe in GOD and His messengers. You shall not say, "Trinity." You shall refrain from this for your own good. GOD is only one god. Be He glorified; He is much too glorious to have a son. To Him belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. GOD suffices as Lord and Master.

Clearly - Christians cannot agree that God has no Son - and still be Christians. That makes absolutely no sense at all.

And there goes the part about A=B=C.

If the Christian God is not the same as Allah - then by paying attention to the (false) extra information and ignoring the assumed knowledge that would have brought to light the falsehoods of the extra information - we are answering the wrong question.

The question isn't whether or not Al-Qaida planted the bombs.

The question is a two-parter.

First part - is Allah willing for them to attack us?

Second part - is Allah the same as the Christian God?

We've already answered part 2. He most assuredly is not.

As for part one - that's for you to think about. I'll probably go there later. But don't assume you know the answer - because this question also involves assumed knowledge that we may not have (yet).

In the mean time give credit to God where it is due.

At the same time - don't give credit - or blame - without understanding the question.

And - don't just take my word for this. As I said - unbiased information is hard to come by. I'm not God. I don't know everything.

Like the words from the song Life - I have also taken the jump over doubt and have dived into belief. Whether you have or not - I don't know. I pray that reading this will make you think - will open up your mind - will also open up your heart - and will allow God to do what I cannot - enter your heart and reveal Himself to you.

And then you too can look around and give Him credit for all of the wonderful things He has done.