Charges of firing politics Professor Dr Larycia Hawkins have been withdrawn. So says Wheaton College provost Stan Jones, although the “place of resolution and reconciliation” they’ve come to, has resulted in Dr Hawkins moving on.
This follows her controversial suspension for her posting on Facebook where, whilst wearing the Hijab, she claimed Muslims and Christians worship the same God.
I stand in 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.
Wheaton College suspended the professor because her comment doesn’t conform to their Statement of Faith. Wheaton’s response was described as “religious bigotry” by the Chicago Tribune, and as “anti-Muslim bigotry” by Theology professor at Yale, Miroslav Volf, whose book Allah: A Christian Response, makes the argument that Jews, Christian and Muslims all worship the same God.
Consider for a moment how facile this debate is. Grown men and women attempting to decipher whether their religion’s unseen thing is actually the same unseen thing worshipped by others.
This provides an interesting parallel to the religious project in general, in which competing sects insist with utter certainty their own version of the unknowable is true and that all others are certainly false. So much certainty aimed at what is always erstwhile admitted as unknowable.
After leaping into the unknowable, theologians return claiming ultimate knowledge, blithely claiming to have achieved the impossible.
As he was about to burned at the stake, Protestant reformer, Jan Hus exclaimed “Sanctus Simplicitus!” referring to an elderly woman who threw a comically small amount of brushwood onto his pyre.
Meaning “Holy simplicity”, this phrase, in this context, reminds us of how disputes over unverifiable dogma have perennially stoked the fires of division and hatred.
We’re reminded of the aftermath of his execution when the Hussite Bohemians began to reject to teachings of the Papacy resulting in Pope Martin V’s Crusade against them. Where there is no answer, or where the answer is unverifiable, certainty somehow becomes absolute and an oppressive force.
Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?
Let’s consider some equally pointless questions.
Imagine hillbillies arguing about whether the correct name of the mythological hairy monster is Sasquatch or Bigfoot.
They are soon to be joined by a Himalayan who insists what they are really talking about is the Yeti. But his friend violently disagrees. It’s actually the abominable snowman on vacation.
Is the invisible fire-breathing dragon in my garage the same as Carl Sagan’s one?
Which brand of invisible new clothes does the Emperor wear?
Such questions are plainly absurd as they speak of undiscovered, abstract concepts.
Gods are defined by the various characteristics assigned by the religion and the mythology.
The claim that both Christianity and Islam worship the same God is unverifiable, and arguably, nonsensical. An entity is defined by its nature, and simply cannot be regarded as the same entity as another entity which has different qualities.
Unless one wants to argue that God is protean and relativistic, and can simultaneously exist as whatever everyone wants him to be.
No-one knows if they’re worshiping the same God as another religion because there’s nothing to know. It’s a vapid, meaningless question.
Stan Jones apologized to Dr Hawkins for his “lack of wisdom and collegiality”. But even that’s a bit rich, considering that before wisdom one must first acquire common sense.