Does Islam worship the one God of Abraham, like Jews and Christians, or some other god? Many strident voices insist Allah is a different god. Inconveniently, though, the three great monotheistic faiths claim Abraham as their patriarch and resulting from that, each claim Abraham’s one God as their own. Regardless, I am told, we can’t possibly be worshiping the same God as Muslims.
Challenged by Islam, numerous Christians adopt this “my god’s bigger than your god” thing. That’s a really poor way of initiating a Christian–Muslim conversation with, say, the food court clerk at my local grocery. (Under my questioning, she’s reading her Qu’ran more, she tells me.)
One of the problems Christianity has had with Islam is deciding whether Islam represents an independent revelation, or whether it is only a derivative religion. Early Christian reaction to Islam treated the Qur’an as a subtext—a mix of Judaism and Christianity spiced with Gnosticism. Certainly the low Christology of the Qur’an matches well with some forms of Gnostic teaching: Jesus was not crucified (a substitute was found) and therefore was not resurrected; God instead snatched him up to immediate ascension.