Robert T. Miller in First Things writes:
Tiny Muskens, the Roman Catholic bishop of Breda in the Netherlands, says that Dutch Catholics ought to pray using the word Allah rather than God or its synonyms in Dutch. Muskens argues that it makes no inherent theological difference in which language one prays, and he notes that in countries where the word Allah is in common usage as a name for God, Christians already often use the word in their prayers. Adopting the word Allah, Muskens thinks, will eliminate “discussions and bickerings” between Muslims and Christians and so improve relations between the religions.
Muskens is right that, from a Catholic point of view, there is nothing inherently wrong in saying “Allah” for “God,” just as there would be nothing inherently wrong in saying “Miny Tuskens” or “Tuny Miskens” for “Tiny Muskens.” The problem, of course, is Tiny Muskens’ name is Tiny Muskens, and anyone who called Tiny Tuny or Muskens Miskens would be making fun of him. So, too, in theology; despite the conventionality by which strings of phonemes get their meaning, once names have been established, people who change them are doing so for a reason, and the nature of that reason counts in determining whether the change is reasonable or unreasonable, advisable or inadvisable.
In this case, even from a Catholic point of view, the name of God is not a pure triviality. When at the burning bush Moses asked God for his name, the Lord gave a very particular answer. “God said to Moses, I am who am. This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations” (Exod. 3:14–15). Many devout Jews treat this name, especially in Hebrew, with such reverence that they will not speak it aloud. And when Christ appropriated this name to himself (John 8:58), everyone understood that he was proclaiming his own divinity.
…Our blessed Lord told his disciples that he was sending them “out as sheep in the midst of wolves” and so they “should be as wise as serpents but as innocent as doves” (Matt. 10: 16). I am happy to acknowledge the innocence of Tiny Muskens, but he is exactly the kind of sheep who, if he ever met a wolf, would likely get eaten by it.
I haven’t commented on Bishop Muskens calling for the use of Allah by Dutch Catholics mainly because I think it hasn’t quite deserved the acrimony it has received. I believe his request is not very prudent and rather naive as a way to eliminate “discussions and bickerings” between Muslims and Christians. Besides considering what has come from Dutch bishops over the years since the infamous Dutch catechism, the use of Allah is rather tame by comparison. At least this time he isn’t calling for the use of condoms.
But debating the merits of Muskens’ suggestion misses the larger point here. Muskens makes it sound as if the problems in Muslim–Catholic relations were merely silly arguments about semantics that distract from the truly important things on which we all agree. In fact, there is a serious, substantive problem dominating Christian–Muslim relations at the moment, the same problem that dominates Muslim–Jewish, Muslim–Buddhist, Muslim–Hindu, and Muslim–Orthodox relations, and that problem is that Muslim fanatics keep murdering innocents of all faiths, including their own, in terror attacks.
Christians using the Arabic word Allah for God is not going to help change things for the better and I think in fact can just be seen as just more capitulations and weakness. Using Allah instead would not have kept a Muslim fanatic from killing filmmaker Theo van Gogh in Holland or even improve dialogue among saner Muslims. The problem is not the use of the word Allah, but the naivety in display in the reasoning for its call to usage.
In another story:
There was no manger, Christ is not the Messiah, and the crucifixion never happened. A forthcoming ITV documentary will portray Jesus as Muslims see him.
With the Koran as a main source and drawing on interviews with scholars and historians, the Muslim Jesus explores how Islam honours Christ as a prophet but not as the son of God. According to the Koran the crucifixion was a divine illusion. Instead of dying on the cross, Jesus was rescued by angels and raised to heaven.
The one-hour special, commissioned and narrated by Melvyn Bragg, is thought to be the first time the subject has been dealt with on British television. Lord Bragg said: "I was fascinated by the idea … Jesus was such a prominent figure in Islam but most people don’t know that."
…However, Patrick Sookhdeo, an Anglican canon and spokesman for the Barnabas Fund, which works with persecuted Christians, accused broadcasters of double standards. Mr Sookhdeo, who was born a Muslim and converted to Christianity in 1969, said: "How would the Muslim community respond if ITV made a programme challenging Muhammad as the last prophet?"
I am shocked I tell you that such a documentary is to be made. I mean it isn’t even Christmas or Easter the traditional time for such shows.
Though it is interesting to see the Muslim perspective on Jesus, but of course there is not one Muslim perspective since some claim that it was Judas who was crucified in a last minute switcheroo. Since Islam is cobbled together from Catholic sources such as early heresies and other religious ideas at the time of Mohammed you can expect a lot of inconsistencies in the Islamic view of Jesus. Hilaire Belloc writes about Islam in The Great Heresies as being a great and enduring Christian heresy.
Islam views Jesus as one of God’s most beloved messengers and the Koran has stories of Jesus performing miracles when he was still a child (which was probably taken from Gnostic gospels).Once inconsistency I have been curious about is the Muslim respect for Jesus’s mother Mary and their belief in the Virgin birth of Jesus. In Islam there are miracles associated with both the birth of Jesus and his early childhood and then his death. Yet Mohammed who is suppose to be the greatest thing since toast bread prophet-wise was orphaned at a young age with no miraculous birth, no miracles as a child, and then dies after falling ill and suffering for several days with head pain and weakness. Just from an Islamic view Mohammed seems to be sort of a let down after Jesus. You would think for the "last messenger and prophet of God" that God could have come up with a finale to at least equal the Islamic view of Jesus.