I’m sick of hearing that Jews, Christians, and Muslims “all worship the same god.” It’s such a popular characterization amongst proponents of interfaith collaboration. It sounds so nice. But it just doesn’t make sense.
Suppose Alice says, “I believe in Zeus — he’s the god of the sky, and the king of all the gods.” And Bob says, “I believe in Zeus too — but you’re wrong, Alice, he’s the god of the underworld.” Then Carl says, “I believe in Zeus as well — but you’re both wrong, Zeus is the god of the oceans.” On a superficial level, they do all believe in some deity called Zeus … but at the point at which they disagree on major details about who Zeus actually is, it doesn’t mean very much to say that they all believe in “the same god.” They might as well have named these gods Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon; having different names wouldn’t make these three gods any more different in any meaningful sense.
Yes, I know that Christians include a version of the Jewish Tanakh as the Old Testament in their Bible. Yes, I realize that Muslims believe the Torah contains the teachings of Allah and that Jesus was a prophet. But that doesn’t mean that Jews, Christians, and Muslims believe in a god with fundamentally the same attributes and teachings. Jews and Muslims believe in God as one being, while Christians believe in a trinity. Christians and Muslims believe that Jesus’ teachings reflected the teachings of God, while Jews do not — and Christians believe that Jesus was actually divine, while Jews and Muslims do not. These are pretty basic details, and they don’t match up! And there are many more examples I could give.
Here is a generous characterization of what is going on — it is not quite true, but I’m trying to give the benefit of the doubt to people who make this silly claim about “all worshipping the same god.” The Jews have their understanding of God. Then, the Christians come along and say, “That’s pretty good, but we are going to make some modifications.” Then, the Muslims come along and are all right with most of the Jewish and Christian ideas about God, but they want to add their own stuff too. I guess I see the sense in which everybody is taking about the same god — I mean, everybody here is saying that they are describing the only god there is — but each group thinks that the other groups are deeply wrong in their understanding! I just don’t see any real sense in which Jews, Christians, and Muslims “worship the same god” in a way that would actually constitute theological or philosophical agreement.