September 11, 2016 - Eid al-Adha
Today, Muslims celebrate the festival of Eid al-Adha, commemorating Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son in Moriah.
Perhaps the hero of the story is not Abraham but God. Perhaps this story commemorates not the moment Abraham demonstrated his willingness to sacrifice everything for God only to be prevented at the last minute, but rather the moment when God insisted that his relationship with humanity would not be characterized by sacrifice, reward and punishment. Perhaps at this moment, Abraham recognized that this God was unlike any previous conception of the divine. This God loves unconditionally, demands nothing, requires nothing.
Christianity, Judaism and Islam are called the Abrahamic religions because they each point to Abraham as a common ancestor. Biblical scholars believe the innovation of the Abrahamic religions is monotheism. Perhaps it is something more. Perhaps the real innovation is recognizing the existential nature of God.