At present we are basing our discussions on John Hick's book' Between Faith and Doubt' and this month were reflecting on a passage which says "Adonai, The Holy Trinity, Allah are not simply three different names for the same deity. They are names for describing different deities, each of whom is said to be the creator and ruler of heaven and earth". Of course this quotation doesn't say what John Hick means by deity but it does raise a question as to whether the different religions are worshipping the same God or different Gods. Some people are very clear about it and are so insistant that our different understandings of God are so different that we are in fact worshipping different Gods and are therefore very unhappy about praying together.
This is a bit of a puzzle for me. Surely if there is a God , there can only be one God. We may indeed have different experiences and understandings of that one God, different insights and different ways of expressing those insights, none of which are adequate or complete as God is the mystery at the heart of life. To insist that one's own tradition is the only way to speak of God or the only way to experience the divine seems to me to limit God. Of course God cannot be limited but too often religions try to do this and by closing themselves off to others are denying believers new insights and perspectives which could enrich their lives. They also seem to be suggesting that God can be contained in human thought and words - their particular thoughts and words. Entering into the world of another faith, trying to appreciate that faith's particular perspective on God helps me appreciate the mystery of God and realise the inadequacy of all concepts and words. In the end this leads to silence which in itself is a method of praying in which all faiths can participate.