I spend a lot of my free time reading about religion. Most of that time is on the features that make one religion different from another. That’s why G. Willow Wilson’s article on why intelligent design doesn’t work in Islam and Judaism riveted me.
“The God of the Bible is omniscient and all-powerful, but the God of the Torah and the Quran is omnipresent and omniparticipant. This essential difference has led some religious scholars to draw a distinction between monotheism, the belief in one God, and monism, the belief in One.”
The crux of her article is that Islam and Judaism are monistic (believe in One essence), and Christianity is monotheistic (believe in one God). That is the God of Islam and Judaism is an omnipresent essence of the universe. The God of Christianity is omniscient but limited to one all-powerful being. This is why iconography is forbidden in Islam and Judaism (because God is not part of our world) but very present in Christianity (because a local God interacts directly with people’s lives). These fundamental differences play a role in whether a religion endorses intelligent design (ID) or not.
I think Mormonism actually finesses this point a bit. They have a recursive notion of God that allows him to be one being that is a part of universe, but also omnipresent and apart from the universe. Perhaps that’s why Mormons don’t seem to be leading the charge for ID?
She goes into more detail about how these differences impact ID. There’s some really good stuff in there. G. Willow Wilson is a woman of many talents. She’s writing a new comic book series called Air that I really enjoyed.
Last modified on 2008-08-24