- Paperback: 258 pages
- Publisher: Eerdmans (December 30, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802863809
- ISBN-13: 978-0802863805
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,058,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Common Word: Muslims and Christians on Loving God and Neighbor Paperback – December 30, 2009
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The book asks difficult questions in light of the original letter and the Christian response. A challenge is where to start and what to include when considering Muslim-Christian dialogue in the ongoing climate of violence and distrust. The Muslim writers chose to start with what Muslims and Christians believe about loving God and loving neighbor and areas of agreement and disagreement regarding these beliefs. An underlying concern of many readers is whether Muslims and Christians understand God and love in the same way. An additional question likely in the minds of many readers is whether the Muslims (and Christians) are telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The section "Muslim and Christian Perspectives" looks at these issues quite closely while "Frequently Asked Questions" further probes these issues.
Because the issues are so complex, an underling attitude to promote dialogue is this: "In the end, it is perhaps best to answer the question of whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God in terms more like 'Well, I'm not sure. We both desire to worship the one true God and we both claim to be doing so. But our worship and our beliefs about God differ in significant ways, and this leaves us a lot to discuss. Let's start talking. " (pp. 184-185).
This book is not easy reading and may require some theological background, but for those who persevere, it is sure to stimulate thought and answer questions (perhaps not fully) and give some indication of the need for further reading and reflection. Topics as challenging as those considered in this book can't be fully understood in 200 pages, but this book is a good and satisfying start.
The book itself examines a document released by several prominent Muslim scholars, later answered by prominent Christian scholars, attempting to find common ground in the command to love God and our neighbor. It is certainly NOT written to argue that Christianity and Islam are the same religion, rather it is saying, "We are so different, but when we over-emphasize our differences, we are prone to hatred. Let us rather emphasize our similarities to discover a place and plan for peace." I found it not only encouraging and edifying but also helpful to my own Christian walk with God.