I have always loved science: when most boys said they wanted to be policemen, I wanted to be a paleontologist and study dinosaurs. Now as a priest, I still enjoy looking at science as a sign of God’s beautiful work in the world. Looking for an Islamic understanding of natural science, I came across a few lines from Al-Ghazali, possibly the most influential Muslim after Mohammed:
“Natural sciences, some of which go against sharee’ah, Islam and truth, so it is ignorance, not knowledge that may be mentioned alongside the other branches of knowledge… there is no need for the study of nature.”
These divergent views on science illustrate one difference in how Muslims and Christians view God. We worship the same God but that doesn’t mean we understand him the same way. Obviously, Muslims and Jews believe in a monotheistic but not a Trinitarian God. Since God is the source of all meaning, how we understand God affects how we understand everything. Recent news stories have compared the two faiths with regard to terrorism, Syrian refugees, and obeying American laws, so I think it appropriate to explain the fundamental difference in how the two religions understand God.