Siblings Fighting for Attention?

Jewish, Christian, and Muslim children at the YMCA Peace Preschool in Jerusalem make a banner that flew on a shuttle to the International Space Station. Photo: Tara Todras-Whitehill, AP

On our latest radio show, Jean spoke with Professor Suleiman Mourad about Jesus in Islam and Christianity. They discussed a number of topics, ranging from the importance Islam gives to Mary–the Qur’an dedicates an entire chapter to her, Sura 19, Maryam–to Islam’s take on prophethood. A number of callers’ comments during the show added other interesting perspectives, but what struck me most was the symbolism that Mourad used to describe the theological differences between Jews, Christians, and Muslims. He sees the theological disagreements among followers of  Abrahamic traditions as similar to siblings vying for parental attention. He sees the differing views on Jesus as

part of the terrain, competition over attention of the parent. Often we mistake this [as] anxiety; this [is] eagerness on the part of each member of this community of believers to receive the complete attention of their Father. … There is an excessive protectiveness of God. … We need to be more scholars and historians than religious defenders.

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