Professor Alan Lurie writes about his beliefs on What God is. He is from a Jewish faith and this could be useful when asked in an exam or assignment about beliefs about God.
As a rabbi, I am often asked to define the word “God.” And as a person whose life is centred on knowing God, I’ve attempted to give thoughtful responses. But I’ve discovered that my attempts, which are given with the intention of reducing misunderstandings, usually produce the opposite results, and create more misunderstandings. This is because whatever one’s position — from atheistic to fundamentalist and all points in between — we all, as products of a culture steeped in religion, necessarily carry ideas about God, and many of these ideas can be held so stubbornly that any meaningful conversation is immediately derailed.
For many people, the word “God” just seems to ring badly. It feels stuffy, old-fashioned and self-righteousness — a relic from a less enlightened age. For others, the answer has already been given by the doctrine of their religion, and so the issue is closed. For others, the very notion of God is absurd, and so the issue is also closed.
This is a summary of what Muslims believe about God. The Arabic word for God is Allah, that is what many Muslims call him as most of islamic texts and words are written in Arabic.
Muslims believe in Tawhid – this is the belief that there is one supreme god. Muslims are Monotheistic, this means they only have one god. They believe that God is eternal, he has always existed and always will. Allah has no gender, no partners and no equals. His nature is beyond our human understanding.
Importance of Tawhid
Tawhid is very important to Muslims. Allah should always be the forefront of Muslims minds. It is the first part of the Shahadah. This is the first thing whispered into a baby’s ear and should be the last thing a dying muslim says. It should also be the first and last thing Muslim says each and everyday. This highlights that Allah is the only one god. He has complete creative power.
Allah is the creator of the Universe and has the power to do anything and everything Muslims believe he is all loving and all knowing. Although Allah has created the whole world and is beyond the universe. he is close at hand. He is immanent. This is the belief that he is close at hand, he is here with us. He knows our unspoken thoughts, he is even closer to us than us than our own heartbeats.
Shirk is seen as the one unforgivable sin in Islam. It means associating other beings with Allah. It is idolatry. If your try to compare Allah to anything in creation, or suggest they have the same abilities , this would be shirk.
Is he a old man with a white beard living on a cloud? Is god a woman? Does God have a physical form? There are many interpretations of what God is like.
Christians believe that God is every where, knows everything and you are able to have a personal relationship with him.Hindus believe that God takes many different forms, each of these forms represents a different attribute of God.
Most religions have their own interpretations of what God is, but they do have some ideas in common. Here are some words that are used to describe God.
For your National 5 exam it would be good to know at least four of these definitions.