Do Christians and Muslims and Jews, all members of the same supposed ‘Abrahamic’ lineage of belief, worship the same God? (The Mormons form a special case, since they insist they belong to this lineage, but are in fact polytheists.) At any rate, as most of us may already know by now, apparently Christians at Wheaton College don’t think so. ( http://www.npr.org/2015/12/20/460480698/do-christians-and-muslims-worship-the-same-god ) (The ‘liberally’ minded professor of the article, suspended for suggesting to students that all the Abrahamic religious believe in one god, was finally fired for not recanting.)
Interestingly, the NPR article makes a spectacular theological mis-statement: “Christians, however, believe in a triune God: God the father, God the son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit.” No; that should read “SOME Christians, however, believe in a triune God: God the father, God the son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit.” (I would settle for ‘most;’ Unitarians are known as such because they don’t believe this.) Indeed, hundreds of ‘heretics’ have been slaughtered over the centuries for not accepting this ‘triune’ nature of the divine, while still claiming to be Christian. And of course differing interpretations of this triune nature have kept the Catholics and Orthodox at schism for almost as many centuries. (Is god three persons blended into one? or three manifestations of the same? Remember, people have died over this seeming splitting of hairs.)
Conservative believers of any religion generally have a very narrow understanding of the kind of god that they allow; and unfortunately these believers belong to competing sects (even if supposedly within a single religion), leading to interminable debate always threatening to break out into open violence.
Of course we should all know by now that Al-Bhagdadi of Daesh doesn’t even think all Muslims worship the same god (and would execute those not worshiping his. But that’s the fundamentalist way – utter paranoia that someone somewhere believes differently than they. What narrow minds these faithful have! And, how little faith – because of course, one can’t have faith in god, and fear that others might not not believe. If god is so powerful, what challenge could non-believers ever threaten him with? Obviously they are fearful for themselves – and on some level doubt the power of the god they keep threatening others with.
Probable psychological diagnosis: religious conservatism is born of guilt – the fear that one’s self does not truly believe in the manner expected by the mysterious ur-father (who, after all, reads all our deepest thoughts – so any doubt, he will know). Religious conservatives thus must constrain – punish – or destroy any who openly doubt without evident divine retribution (suggesting that doubt is beyond the power of the divine), in order to re-affirm their own faith (and thus deny doubts that subconsciously haunt them). Religious conservatism is thus an extreme form of projectively indirect (and vicariously masochistic) self control.
‘I’ll have to constrain – punish – or destroy you; otherwise I must punish or destroy myself (since leaving you be shows lack of self-constraint.)’
Does this make sense? No, of course not. But pathology never needs to make sense; it must only follow a lock-step of ‘reasoning’ – if B follows A, then C must be done – whether B actually does follow A or not. Basically, the conclusion is reached, then premises are decided to support it. Conservative religionists are paranoiacs who find sanction for their fears – and (often violent) reactions – in texts written in ancient tribes the historicity of which they cannot grasp and will not allow.
Liberal religionists have learned to prioritize their trust in god’s mercy and justice above their private fears and guilt. They are not threatened by differences nor by the thought or practices of non-believers, nor by those of believers in competing sects. But, though they frequently try, they can find no reconciliation with conservatives of the same religion, let alone those of other religions. Because conservative religionists will brook no reconciliation of differences. It is the very existence of difference that threatens them – and against which they act, through stridency of doctrine, segregation – or open violence.
I’m afraid the stridency of the conservatively religious makes rapprochement between them and others only enforceable by legislation. Once the law is established, for the safety and security of society as a whole, we can then tell the strident, ‘keep your god in your own damn house of worship, and leave the rest of us alone!’ (I know that also sounds somewhat strident; but really, one gets tired of getting preached at by every fanatic with a god.)
At any rate, the notion that religions, left to their own devices, can come to some equitable understanding, is frankly a little naive. It has happened, on occasion, in certain cosmopolitan centers in different cultures; but such peace is fragile unless enforced by law. Conservative believers have a difficult time accepting that others might not only believe differently than they, but might also live decent, meaningful, even happy lives believing differently. (That’s what really pisses them off.)