Whenever Christians start arguing about Islam, it always seems to come down to assertions as to whether or not Christians and Muslims “worship the same God.” Broadly speaking, liberals will assert that we do, and conservatives will assert that we don’t, with the sides pointing to different Scripture passages and historical facts to make their case.Every time this happens, I have the same question: what on earth does that statement mean, anyway? From the typical Christian point of view, there only is one God, and the question is how truly or faithfully or properly one worships this God; there simply aren’t any other deities out there. With that in mind, granted that Muslims are seeking to worship the one true God rather than something of this world, we might say that the real question is whether they’re doing so in a way which God finds acceptable.That said, one might say that the Muslim and Christian conceptions of God are so different as to be mutually exclusive, which seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable conclusion. All that proves, however, is that they’re different religions—which is to say, it doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know (since I don’t think anyone’s under the illusion that Islam is merely one among many Christian denominations). For the statement that “Muslims and Christians worship the same God” (or “don’t worship the same God”) to be in any way meaningful, it has to say more than that; it has to be a statement about the relationship between the two religions. Maybe it’s intended to be; but if so, what is it intended to mean? I’ve honestly never been able to figure that out. As far as I can tell, it’s just an unhelpful bit of rhetoric deployed not to convey real meaning, but merely for emotional effect; and if that’s all it is, it would be better to drop it from the conversation.