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30.1.04

Which God Is Allah?

tacitus takes issue with this article arguing that the use of "Allah" in referring to the god worshipped by Muslims incorrectly perpetuates the idea that Christians and Jews worship a different god. I agree with tacitus that the sameness of the gods is an unprovable either way (indeed, I think it's nearly meaningless*), and that therefore there should be no opprobrium attached to believing that you worship a different god.

However, I agree that it would make sense to talk about Muslims worshipping God rather than worshipping Allah. For one, it's an issue of translation -- we wouldn't talk about monotheists in Latin American "worshipping Dios," or Finns "worshipping Jumala." Second, it reflects what the majority of people who use the word "Allah" for their god believe. The problem with saying "Allah" is that it's misleading about what Muslims believe and are saying by their use of the word, not that it's misleading about the actual facts of God.

*If I had to take a side I'd probably say they're the same, similar to the assertion that Copernicus and Ptolemy were talking about the same sun despite the "behavioral differences" it had in their respective astronomical systems.

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