My friend Sally has written an interesting post on the subject of whether the followers of other world religions worship a different God from the Christian God. I have a lot of respect for Sally and her views even when I disagree with her; and this is one of the rare times we disagree! Anyway what she said, as well as some of the other comments on the post, got me thinking.
The most intriguing comment was by my blog-friend Tim Chesterton who suggested that when people say that other religions worship 'different Gods', that they are saying that they believe different things about the God they worship than people of other religions.
The problem I have with Tim's suggestion is that I often feel I'm worshipping a 'different God' from many people who call themselves Christians. And I sometimes feel that my concept of God has more similarity with people of other religions - particularly progressive Jews, Sikhs and Baha'i.
What I specifically mean is that there are many Christians who seem to worship a hard God who is eagerly waiting for human beings to slip up so that he can punish them. These individuals wouldn't say that this is their official doctrine, but they act that way. They also voice objections to my brand of 'soft and fluffy' Christianity that really believes that Jesus meant 'forgive your enemies' when he uttered these words. On the other hand, many progressive Jews, Sikhs and Baha'i would say that a merciful God who calls us to forgiveness is at the centre of their beliefs. I often feel that I have more in common with some of these individuals than with other Christians, yet I feel it is my duty not to reject my Christian brothers and sisters.
As Sally noted, this is a very complicated question and I'm not claiming to have all the answers to it. I thought it was an interesting discussion, though.