Blackadder’s Lair

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We’re Number Two

Islam has overtaken Roman Catholicism as the biggest single religious denomination in the world, the Vatican said on Sunday.

Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, who compiled the Vatican’s newly-released 2008 yearbook of statistics, said Muslims made up 19.2 percent of the world’s population and Catholics 17.4 percent.

“For the first time in history we are no longer at the top: the Muslims have overtaken us,” Formenti told Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano in an interview, saying the data referred to 2006.

He said that if all Christian groups were considered, including Orthodox churches, Anglicans and Protestants, then Christians made up 33 percent of the world’s population — or about 2 billion people.

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March 30, 2008 Posted by | Catholicism, Islam | Leave a comment

No God But God

Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? The answer to the question is controversial. Most Muslims answer yes, following a passage in the Koran that appears to say that both groups do worship the same God. Many Christians, on the other hand, vigorously dispute this claim. Yet it is not clear what exactly this denial is based on. After all, Christians do not dispute that Muslims worship God, after all, and since there is, in fact, only one God, it would seem to follow that Christians (who worship God) and Muslims (who worship God) must be worshiping the same entity, no matter how different their conceptions of Him may be.

I used to think that the above argument was sufficient to show that Muslims and Christians did worship the same God. Since then, however, I have come to think the matter a bit more complicated. As I now see it, whether the claim “Muslims and Christians worship the same God” is true will depend on two things: 1) whether the statement is being made de dicto or de re, and 2) whether the word “God” is taken to be a name or a description. Continue reading

February 20, 2008 Posted by | Islam, Philosophy, Theology | Leave a comment