A German Catholic bishop is seriously advocating that henceforth Christians and Jews should call God Allah. He says there is no theological argument against it and he argues that it would be a significant step towards a rapprochment with Muslims.

I don’t doubt that there is no theological prohibition against Christians and Jews calling God Allah. But it seems to me this is carrying « reasonable accomodation » to a ridiculous extreme. Besides I rather doubt that it would make all that much difference with the Muslim world.

What do you think?



  1. 1
    SUZANNE Says:

    I think it would send the wrong message: we’re trying to submit.

    Bad PR all the way.

  2. 2

    I agree. By the way, Suzanne, I heard a little bird saying you plan to run in the Ontario election this fall. Is that true?

  3. 3
    bernie12 Says:

    I don’t think that calling God Allah will accomplish what the bishop claims it will . Besides, the recent statement by the Pope on the supremacy of the Church negates what the bishop hopes to accomplish by such a change .

  4. 4
    Barbara Says:

    I believe it was a Dutch bishop, Neil. In any case, I doubt it will do any good and may even been considered insulting.
    Can’t we all just get along, Insh’allah!

  5. 5
    Stéphanie Pagano Says:

    Je ne suis pas extrèment croyante en un seul Dieu. Je ne crois pas que le fait de changer le nom qu’on lui donne puisse atténuer les différences et conflits. Il y a tout un contexte historique dernière le nom du Dieu que l’on choisi. Cela reste toujours très personnel. C’est un lien intime que chacun devrait avoir le droit de choisir.

  6. 6
    Cate McB Says:

    I think we need to spend less time naming God and thus pinning down God into our human categories, and more time practising God-like love for our fellow human beings.

  7. 7

    Tim – I agree. Since, according to the Pope, Muslims are second class citizens anyway, our changing the name of God won’t accomplish much.

    Barbara – You are probably correct that it was a Dutch bishops. Indeed the Muslim world might see it as patronizing.

    Stephanie – delighted you commented and I agree our relationaship with God is a very personal one.

    Cate – As John Main used to say, if we say we have an idea of God, we are ipso facto incorrect. Didn’t we learn somewhere that He or She could only be referred to analogously?

  8. 8

    Hi Neil – The Dutch are a wonderful people – and they want to learn from history and not repeat past mistakes.

    They are also an enlightened people who warmly welcome refugees and immigrants into their country, most of them Islamic, even though these same immigrants hold their hosts in the highest of contempt for their « unclean » ways and remain separate from them.

    Imagine a young Dutch woman wearing a pretty sun dress with arms and legs glistening in full view, choosing her own partner or freely living her homosexual orientation, purchasing her own preperty and lastly, but not least, not having her labia cut off, nor her clitoris shaved off, nor having her urethra sewn shut so that urination is always a trickle? This Dutch woman is clearly a slut – impure – in the eyes of Islam….but of course for the priest,well, an Islamic woman probably looks like the Virgin Mary to him anyway, and since he’s not about to be cut, nor suffer the violence of or be subject to specific laws of Islam, (yet) then hey, it really is all the same to him anyway.

    And so the good Dutch welcome people who despise hard-won Dutch values – especially those values protecting women and children from physical and emotional harm – and I am afraid that soon, with Islamic separate schools, mosques (kindly paid for by the Dutch) and laws that subject women to terrible, violent submission – or vile punishment – the Dutch may live to regret their magnificent, enlightened and evolutionary kindness.

    I hope they learn that while kind, love must also be intelligent.

    I recommend we all read ‘Infidel’ by Ayaan Hirsi Ali – and let a Muslim woman tell her own story.

  9. 9
    Joanne Nicholls Says:


  10. 10

    Eleanor – delighted you have dropped in. I agree with you interesting piece that there is a difficult line between « accomodating immigrants » and protecting one’s own religion and culture.

    Joanne – Um. No. Um. Right.

  11. 11
    jim Says:

    Christians and Jews with Arab leanings call God Allah. Allah is not another name for God, it’s a translation as is Dieu a translation for God. Most of the USer’s think that the millions of Arabs in the USA are Muslims, they’re not, they’re Eastern Rite Catholics.The remainder are Black Muslims. Now let’s remind the Bishop that the Arabs he wishes to cater to are the nasty Muslims, which represent about 2% of the Muslim population just as the Communists in the USSR were only 2% of the population.Both made a lot of noise whist the fourth estate lapped it up.Jim

  12. 12

    Jim – one of your points is indeed compelling. All of us calling God Allah would at best appeal to a very small minority of radical Muslims. Hardly worth the trouble.

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