Ethical Divergences of Islam

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Similarities End With Monotheism 

Islam and Christianity both practice a form of monotheism, although the maximal deity at the center of each religion bears little in common with that of the other.  Despite the impossibility that the capricious “Great Deceiver” of the Qur’an could be the same deity, the assumption by many scholars remains undeterred, as Muhammad was clear that his “Allah” of the Qur’an was also Elohim “Yahweh,” GOD of Abraham and Moses.  So, in other words, if Muhammad and the Qur’an represent something as factual, are we to accept it as authoritative or valid (Because Muslims believe he is the “perfect man”)?

It should come as little surprise, then, that the architects of these two religious systems–Jesus and Muhammad–are regularly juxtaposed and compared to make one socially motivated point or the other.  Competing and sometimes diametrically opposed narratives are heard, either attempting to promote peace and coexistence between the two or accepting outright the interminable and somewhat historically evidenced incompatibility thereof.

Not coincidentally, the clash of these cultures dominates current news in the wake of nearly uncountable terrorist attacks in Europe and North America–as well as amid a diaspora of displaced peoples from war-torn regions of the Middle East.  Subsequently, the admission and assimilation of (mostly) Syrian refugees migrating to Western, traditionally Christian nations is one of the hottest, most divisive debates in the public square and on social media today.  In the mostly secular camp—that recognizes no substantive difference between Christians and Muslims—there is simply no reason everyone cannot assimilate through diversity training, tolerance and multicultural awareness.  Conversely, anyone who studies either  religious system with any serious degree of critical thinking, understands the incredible challenge facing society when the balance is shifted—either at the local level or a more societal or national level.[1]

We are told that the atrocities evidenced only in Islam have nothing at all to do with Islam.  We are told that correlation is not causation.  We are told that Islam is a “religion of peace,” although, nowhere in the Muslim world is there EVER any modicum of peace and liberty in tandem for any sustained period of time.

There can be peace–as long as Islamic Law is dominant and intolerant of dissension in an autocratic or caliphate-rule.  There can be some aspects of liberty–as we occasionally see in Turkey, a “secular” democracy in name only. Turkey, the singular example of democracy in the Muslim world just witnessed hundreds of thousands of (many arbitrarily) stigmatized “Gulenists,” who in 2016 lost their jobs and livelihoods amid a relentless, “Stalinist” government round-up by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his operatives.  This witch hunt follows a staged coup (intended to give pretext to–in a designed crisis–justification for the abolition of all political opposition).    *President Erdoğan and his government continue to purge opposition in a “long-knife” wave of paranoia and propaganda against the imaginary forces of scapegoat, Fetullah Gulen, who actually lives in the U.S.  In addition to commandeering and suppressing news and free media, they use court action against the remaining free press in Turkey and are systematically stripping power from the constitutional court.  This is “democracy” in a 99% Muslim country (0.04% Christian).

In theory—as well as in accepted scholarship—the ethical/ moral bases for Judaism, Christianity and Islam are purported to derive from the same GOD, care of the same patriarch, Abraham, and the prophet, Moses.  It is widely accepted by historians and Christian apologists that Jesus, a Jew, studied and taught from the Holy Scriptures of Judaism (i.e., Torah).  Islam, conversely, has only arbitrary ties to the former faiths, and given by nebulous, questionable angelic revelation with surprising, if not fantastical, notions of Abraham’s arrival in a pre-extant Meccan civilization around 1500 BC.  Not only was Muhammed said to be illiterate, the circumstances under which this revelation came to him were dubious at best.  In addition, the chain of custody of this “perfect” and “final”(Qur’anic) set of decrees was by word-of-mouth only, and  it was only from a myriad of latter-written Qur’anic versions did an authoritative version arise—from dozens, if not hundreds of candidates—which is now regarded by Muslims as the sacrosanct, unchanged and identical words that were decreed by Allah, himself.  If Islam were to apply the same level of scrutiny to the obtainment of the Qur’an as they do the Bible and its authors, the Qur’an would be questioned for its veracity, and the Hadith would be written off entirely as an unsubstantiated and uncorroborated collection of stories written 250+ years after Muhammad died.

Whereas, defenders of Islam routinely undermine the integrity of authors and the timeliness of source materials in the Bible, the Qur’an and Hadith cannot be substantiated until centuries after the alleged life and time of Muhammad.  The earliest Qur’anic complete manuscript was from 800 AD, which is approximately 200 years after Muhammad would have received his “revelation.”  If Christians are not prepared to question alternative versions of history, then Muslims go unchallenged when they float myths, such as the assertion that there are complete copies of the Qur’an dating from the year Muhammad died.  It is not true.  Even the earliest fragmentary manuscripts of the Qur’an are all dated no earlier than 100 years after Muhammad died.   In 2015, however, it should be noted that fragments containing portions of Surah 18-20 found in a Birmingham, England museum were said to actually predate the years scholars believed Muhammad to have “received” them (which creates even greater problems to the modern Islamic historical narrative.[2]

Most academicians find it far easier (and safer) to just allow the Muslim scholars to believe what they wish, instead of risk life and limb to challenge them.  But, to be sure, egregious scientific errors exist in the Qur’an, and the following are only but a few:

“When he reached the setting place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring and found a people thereabout. We said: ‘O Dhul-Qumeyn! Either punish or show them kindness’” (Surah 18:86).

In referring to physiology, Surah 86:5-7 says that man is created from a gushing fluid that issues from between the loins and the ribs. Thusly, and according to this text, semen is created in the kidneys.

There are many historical errors in the Qur’an as well. The Qur’an says that the calf worshiped by the Israelites at Mount Horeb was molded by a Samaritan (Surah 20:85-87, 95-97). Yet the term “Samaritan” was not coined until 722 BC, which is several hundred years after the event in question. Thus, the Samaritan people could not have existed during the life of Moses, and therefore, could not have been responsible for molding the calf.[3]

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Surah 18:83-100 contains the story of Alexander the Great. According to the Qur’an, his power was given to him by Allah (84), which some Muslims contend is an assertion that he had the same prominence as a prophet. Yet, Alexander was a heathen whose drunkenness and carousing led to his death at age 33.  Additionally, this Surah credits him with building an enormous wall of iron and brass between two mountains, which was tall enough and wide enough to keep an entire army out. Alexander lived in the light of history, but nothing of this sort has ever been written.  In Surah 7:124, we find Pharaoh admonishing his sorcerers because they believe in the superiority of Moses’ power over theirs. Pharaoh threatens them with crucifixion. Yet, crucifixion was first practiced by the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians and then borrowed extensively by the Romans close to the time of Christ, 1700 years after Pharaoh!

There are many self-refuting contradictions in the Qur’an as well: The Qur’an states that the earth was created in six days (Surah 7:54; 25:59), but it also states that the world was created in eight days (Surah 41:9-12). In Surah 51:57 we find that Jinn (angelic-type beings) were created to worship Allah, yet in Surah 7:17 we find that the Jinn were created for Hell. In Surah 17:103 we are told that Pharaoh was drowned with his army, yet in Surah 10:90-92, upon admitting to the power of GOD, he is rescued as a sign to others. In Surah 4:157 we read that Jesus did not die, yet in Surah 19:33 we read that not only did he die, but he arose again! The interesting point in all of this is the reading of Surah 4:82 which reads, “Do they not consider the Qur’an? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancies.”[4]

We have strong evidence to refute a number of other claims in the Qur’an (such as Abraham’s link to Mecca or the Kaaba shrine[5], his confusion over the Jewish Patriarchal lineage[6], as well as his fundamental misunderstanding of the Trinity as a polytheistic form of human worship), but we simply will not have time to delve into all Islamic divergences from the true and living Word of GOD.  I will attempt to keep the evidentiary body contained and stay on-point with the fundamental  ethical and ideological disagreements between Muslims and Christians that threaten the peace and propose a prescription for aggressive apologetic dialogue.

Universalists would also have us believe that these religious and ethical frameworks are, indeed, nearly interchangeable and that  only “outbursts of  pugnacious particularism” driven by political agendas and “backed by forces of arms” can threaten the, otherwise, compatible systems.[7]

Given the aforementioned statements of commonality, there is much effort exerted by secularists, Muslim scholars, CAIR and some Christians to minimize differences and promote an ecumenical affirmation of (most of) each other’s foundational beliefs.  Some would say if this ecumenism were to successfully “blur” the lines between the religions, then there could be dialogue and peace.

Others completely reject this affront to their sacred teachings, in light of the bold and pronounced contradictions between Islam’s biblical revisionism and their wholesale rejection the preceding’s gospel message (sola fide, sola gratia, sola scriptura, etc.).

Islam isn’t just a “little bit” different from Christianity; it is inexorably incompatible—especially on a soteriological level—which is essentially the “sine quo non,” if you will, for most practicing Christians and Muslims.  If one takes the time to get beneath the topical, generalized similarities and down to salvific precepts, there is no denying the consequential ramifications of presuming there to be defensible agreement between the divine gospel message of biblical scripture with the Qur’an’s ideological and soteriological departures.

In short, salvation in Christianity requires redemptive grace by faith and denies works-righteousness to be sufficient on the presupposition that “ no one is holy, no, not one (Romans 3:10).”  Islam, conversely, believes that good Muslims are sufficiently holy.  Sharia is purely based upon works-righteousness and keeping the Sufi, by observing ritualistic cleansing and prayers  in a rigorous litany of atoning work.  In Islam judgment will be subject to  the “scales of justice” (i.e., as in, simply do more “good” deeds than “evil” deeds).  There is no concept of original sin, and each  person can please Allah through his own atonement, and if a (capricious) Allah feels like admitting one to paradise, then he is good-to-go.  Similarly, another way of tipping the “scales” under Islam would be to martyr oneself in an act of jihad.   There is no grace, no substitutionary atonement, no imputed righteousness; Each will stand before GOD in judgment, hoping that his works are sufficient.

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Ethical Derivations: Why Central Figures Matter

Similar to the narrative about the Muslim and Christian religious systems being similar, so too do we hear comparisons made between their central figures: Muhammad, the messenger of Allah (hence, Islam); and Jesus Christ, the Son of GOD, Messiah, and foundation of the Christian faith.

To say that Jesus and Muhammad are diametrically opposed is a colossal understatement.  In Muhammad’s sacred text, that he claims is from Allah himself, he commands death or dismemberment to unbelievers in no fewer than 109 Surah (verses).  Justin Imel:

Some ethical teachings of the Qur’an are quite different from those of the Bible. If a husband believes his wife may leave him, he is permitted to beat her (Surah 4:34); the Bible teaches that husbands should love and respect their wives (Ephesians 5:28-29). The Qur’an teaches that one call fight those who do not believe in Allah (Surah 9:29; 2:190-192; 4:74). The Bible teaches that we should love our enemies (Matthew 5:44), and Jesus was compassionate toward those who were lost (Matthew 9:36-38).

The Qur’an tells biblical stories differently than the Bible. When Moses wanted to see GOD, GOD showed himself to a mountain. The mountain crumbled and Moses fainted (Surah 7:143; cf. Exodus 38:17ff.). Mary gave birth to Jesus underneath a palm tree (Surah 19:23ff.), yet the Bible says nothing of a palm tree (Matthew 1:1 8ff.; Luke 2:lff.).[8]

We will begin with a synoptic glance at each central figure, touching only on their relevance and impacts—not on their numerous and well known biographical facts.

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Muhammad (570–632)

He is the prophet believed by Muslims to be the messenger of GOD’s final revelation to mankind. Muslims believe that the angel Gabriel, over a number of encounters, revealed the actual words of Allah himself.  Upon receiving enlightenment, began to teach in Mecca in 610, but persecution forced him to flee with his followers to Medina in 622. After several battles, he conquered Mecca (630), establishing the principles of Islam (embodied in the Qur’an) over all Arabia.[9][10]   Muhammad was a self-proclaimed prophet – a man capable of sinning and making mistakes, having both good and bad traits.  At times he was kind; at times he cursed and harmed many people.  The Muslim claim that he was the “perfect man” is not credible on any level, however.  Whereas Jesus was regarded by both faiths as pure and sinless, Muhammad acknowledged his sin and stated that he prayed for forgiveness up to 70,000 times a day.[11]  Muhammad was a man with a mixed record of heinous acts of violence and heroic acts of valor.  In addition to being a prophet, in his lifetime, he was also a camel herder, caravan raider, military leader, polygamist and pedophile (His fourth wife, Aisha, was six when Muhammad married her and nine or ten when the 53-year old consummated the relationship[12]).[13]

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Jesus Christ

(-AD 30), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, was a Jewish preacher and religious leader who is the central figure of Christianity, and is believed to be GOD in the flesh to most of  its adherents, who are called “Christians.” Jesus rapaciously studied scripture as a child and worked as a carpenter until beginning his ministry around the age of 30, when He taught thousands of followers from the Jewish Bible, including the Law of Moses, the oracles of the prophets and the majesty of GOD, the Father.[14]  Christians believe Him to be the literal Son of GOD, born of the virgin Mary and the awaited Messiah (Christ, the Anointed One) who was prophesied in the Old Testament.  He is, without equal, the most influential person in history, due in part to His unique birth, His astonishing power, His controversial teaching, His shocking death and His world-changing resurrection.[15]  Approximately 2.2 billion people claim the truths of the religion that bears His name.[16]

Islam, like Christianity, is not widely studied or well understood by its (~1.6 billion) followers.[17]  This might come as a shock to some, since Islam is heavily legalistic and focused on regimented prayer and recitation.  Most Muslims, however, get their “instructive” information from Imams and Clerics—who can mold the “truth” into any number of fashions that meet with their objectives.[18]  While most Muslims are required to recite surah (scriptures) from the Qur’an and litanies of prayers called “Salah[19],” few are either able or permitted to exegete the holy texts themselves.  If they did, they might be surprised with what they find.  And, like other cultic systems (i.e., Jehovah’s Witnesses), adherents of Islam are admonished to study the texts on their own, without “expert” assistance, lest they become “confused” and back-peddle in their faith.[20]

*In my study of heresies, I have found that no single cult can withstand critical academic scrutiny for this reason.  Subsequently, as a way for cults to attempt to thwart unwanted inquiry, they routinely engage in acts of intimidation or threats of retribution.  In the West, we now see any intellectually honest critique of Islam attacked by groups like CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) as “hate speech,” “racism” or the new catch-all epithet, “Islamophobia.”[21]

According to Nabeel Qureshi, a devout Muslim-turned-Christian, he was indoctrinated early-on in his family and Muslim community (“jamaat”) to recite Salah and apologetic evidence for the Muslim faith versus Christianity.  And, from my analysis of his book, “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus,”[22] I would conclude that Nabeel had been well bred and schooled in a subset of Islamic religious tenets; however, beyond a deep cultural understanding and a narrative put forth by his elders, he was relatively oblivious to the contents of the Qur’an and Hadith, of which, he carefully outlines his process of discovery in his book.

Also in his book, Qureshi points out a number of troubling discoveries he uncovered over a three and a half-year period.  He makes compelling cases for believing the Biblical New Testament record—which was written by eyewitness accounts to the ministry of Jesus within 70 years of his death and resurrection—as opposed to Islam, where no corroborating account of Muhammad’s life would be written until more than two centuries after his death.

Additionally,  he forcefully lays out what he refers to as the “Islamic dilemma.”  Muslims who look at their faith honestly, with the same academic rigors with which they scrutinize Christianity, will find the following dilemma:  1) There is no historical foundation in Muhammad for a “real faith” commitment.  Intellectually honest scholars must either concede that the sources of their beliefs in Muhammad were written by people who did not witness the events,  hundreds of years following the events for any of it to be historically reliable; or  2) The historical foundation is accurate.  If they accept the Hadith’s account and  insist that the writings were reliable in depicting the life of Muhammad, then they are left accepting the unconscionable accounts of violence, sex slavery, and dehumanizing brutality—thereby, rejecting the notion that he was a prophet of GOD.[23]

In short, Islam contains just enough grains of veracity so that it appears to many as true.  The author(s) and scribes of the Qur’an coopted shreds of knowledge from the Torah, Talmud and reputable 7th-century sources, passing it off as their own.  Platonic and Hebrew thought, i.e., in the form of manuscripts, were now in wide circulation and regarded by the learned in Meccan culture as laudable, if not authoritative.  Similarly, Christianity was already 600+ years along by the time Muhammad was born, so the missionary message of the gospel was gaining in popularity and would have been accessible for easy plagiarism.

Because Muhammad was bent on conquest (despite insistence that it was peace he sought), we see evidence throughout the Hadith of his attempt to gain adherents by conforming aspects of his ideological treatise to those of local conventions (i.e., number of wives one could take)[24].  Although the maximally all-powerful deity, Allah, bears some isolated similarities to the GOD of Moses, the aggregate picture is not of the same being.  This will be covered in some detail in the next section, exposing the inexplicable disparity between GOD of the Bible and Allah.

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Expansion of the caliphate, 622–750 CE

One of the greatest challenges that Christians have is to sift through the warring factions of  rhetorical flourishing to get to the truth about the prophet of Islam.  Non-believers are attacked for even attempting a dialogue about Muhammad, and the majority of Westerners are contented knowing nothing—for fear of saying the wrong thing.  The truth is, we must know the truth, because Islam is here on our soil and in our classrooms, and we collectively don’t have the will as a society to say that it is harmful and antithetical to our way of life.  Best-selling author and critic of Islam, Robert Spencer, addresses the challenge of adequately  learning about Muhammad and Islam, lest the non-Muslim is chastised for stating facts about the man’s record.  He stated:

“For many in the West, Muhammad remains more mysterious than other major religious figures. Most people know, for example, that Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, that Jesu dies on a cross at Calvary and was raised from the dead, and maybe even that Buddha sat under a tree and received enlightenment. But less is known about Muhammad, and even that much is disputed. Hence, what follows will be taken solely from Islamic texts.  First basic fact: Muhammad ibn Abdallah ibn Abd al-Muttalib (570-632), the prophet of Islam, was a man of war. He taught his followers to fight for his new religion. He said that their GOD, Allah, had commanded them to take up arms. And Muhammad, no armchair general, fought numerous battles. These facts are crucial to anyone who really wants to understand what caused the Crusades centuries ago or, in our own time, what has led to the rise of the global jihad movement.  In the course of these battles, Muhammad articulated numerous principles that have been followed by Muslims to this day. Therefore, it is important to record some features of Muhammad’s battles, which can provide insight into today’s newspaper headlines – insights that continue sadly, to elude many analysts and experts.”[25]

Because entire books are devoted to the subject of Qur’anic contradiction, I am only going to focus on my favorite example  in this essay: Muhammad tells his followers that Jesus is just a prophet and simply a messenger, no more nor less than an apostle as we find in Surah 5:75 of the Qur’an:

The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a supporter of truth. They both used to eat food. Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded.[26]

Now, Muhammad also had many interactions (and conflicts with Jews), and he seemed to have adopted a rather strong aversion to what was being taught in the triune doctrine—i.e., as in the Nicene Creed.  He might have backed himself into a corner trying to strike a coherent chord with his Jewish and Christian audiences.  On one hand, Jesus was presented in the Qur’an as a credible and revered witness of GOD’s revelation.  According to Islam, he was said to be the  holy Messiah born of a virgin, but he was never crucified on the cross, nor raised from the dead.  But, he did ascend into heaven .  The Qur’an says to believe what he says and to read “the book” (Bible).  Muslims will tell you that everything in the Qur’an is to be observed and practiced, unless it is later “abrogated” by more recent revelation.[27]  Muhammad also said that Christians (oft-called “People of the Book.”)  have to judge by what they read in the Gospel, as stated in Surah 5:47:

“And let the People of the Gospel judge by what Allah has revealed therein. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed – then it is those who are the defiantly disobedient.”

James White has written extensively on this particular verse, because it clearly prescribes reading and trusting the revelation contained in the Gospel.  This is problematic for the Qur’an, because it then goes on to contradict the Bible in a number of places.  From this verse James argues the following points[28]:

  1. This verse approves of the Gospels as they are;
  2. Muhammad who authored the Qur’an did not know the contents of the Gospels to realize that his own teachings contradict the Gospels; and
  3. Muslims now seeing the contradiction between the Qur’an and the Gospels defend their faith by inventing the doctrine of biblical corruption

Here we are looking at only one example of  Qur’anic contradiction:  So, if one reads the Bible (as the Qur’an commands), and read the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:27 (ESV), Jesus says:

“All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Jesus refers to GOD as his father but Islam teaches that Allah is a father to no one.   In addition, Jesus regularly refers to himself throughout the gospels as the son, but Islam declares that Allah has no son.  Jesus claims that all things have been “handed over to me by my father,” and because the father has handed everything over to Jesus that belongs to the Father, then it follows that Muhammad, Muslims and everyone and everything else in life also belongs to Jesus.  This is not characteristic of  a mere prophet.

If there’s any doubt to what Jesus means here, then we can compare this first with another writer in the gospel, where Jesus says it again, according to John in 16:15 (ESV):

“All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

This is where Islam self-destructs because it presents a self-refuting dilemma.  Muslims are forced to either a)  reject the clear teachings of their own religion and believe the gospel message; or b) reject the gospel message and disobey their own religion.  Either way, the gospel is infallible and able to withstand every test that Islam can cast upon it.

Moreover, if Jesus owns everything, then Islam is false, because Islam teaches that Jesus was just a prophet, and a prophet could never claim to own everything that GOD owns.  Alternatively, if Muslims tell us that Jesus was wrong or that he was lying when he said that everything that belongs to GOD belongs to him, then Islam is false, because according to the Qur’an, Jesus was a prophet of GOD and spoke the truth.[29]

Certainly, the only way Muslims can answer the question of Jesus “holding and owning everything belonging to the Father” is  to claim that the gospel has been corrupted.  Jesus never said those words for if the gospel has been corrupted, then Islam is false because we’ve already seen the  Qur’an commands Christians to judge by the gospel I should also point out that according to the Qur’an no one can corrupt GOD’s word what does Surah 18:27 say?

Expansion of the caliphate, 622–750 CE

“And recite what has been revealed to you of the book of your Lord there is none who can alter his words.”

So, who can correct the word of GOD according to the Qur’an?  Can Christians corrupt it?  Can Jews corrupt it?  There is none who can alter his words. So if the gospel has been corrupted, then Islam is false, because the Qur’an claims that no one can alter Allah’s words.  So, when we analyze this dilemma in depth,  it destroys the credibility of Islam :  either the gospel is the inspired, preserved authoritative word of GOD and Islam is false, because it contradicts the gospel or  b) the gospel is not the inspired preserved authoritative word of GOD and Islam is false because the Qur’an claims that the gospel is the inspired preserved authoritative Word of GOD.

As David Wood, one of the web’s leading Christian debaters and polemicist for taking on Islam, so aptly summed it up with a priori, deductive reasoning:

“So if this (Bible) is the word of GOD, then Islam is false. If this (Bible) isn’t the word of GOD, then Islam is false. Either way, Islam is false. Therefore, Islam is false.”[30]

Another quote from David Wood expounds this point even further:

“…we see that Islam accuses GOD of one of the greatest religious deceptions ever. This should cause us to pause and think for a moment. Why would a religion that prides itself on its view of GOD proclaim that GOD starts false religions? Why would people who claim to respect Jesus suggest that he was a tremendous failure? It appears that Islam is so incredibly desperate to destroy Christianity, that it doesn’t mind destroying itself. In other words, Islam can only explain away Jesus’ death and resurrection by making GOD out to be a deceiver, which destroys the Islamic conception of GOD. This desperation only makes sense if Christianity is true, and if Islam was designed by Satan to keep people from being saved.”[31]

Same GOD?: Yahweh & Allah

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Allah is acknowledged by most Muslim scholars to simply be a variant of “Elohim,” which was a name for GOD, commonly used in the Hebrew Bible.  The etymological differences in modern parlance aside, the two names—Yahweh & Allah—are intended to refer to the same maximal deity, the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent originator of space and time.  However, the character and nature of GOD is depicted in highly disparate manners in the Christian Bible and Qur’an, respectively.  This will be addressed later  in this section.

First, we must acknowledge that all three so-called “Abrahamic” faiths share the common adherence to a monotheistic philosophy that drives their respective ethics.  Certainly, the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament is acknowledged by all three faiths.  Similarly, Hellenistic influences and Zoroastrianism were later infusions into the development of the societies that evolved with the foundational underpinnings of these respective religious systems.  But, is Allah really Yaweh?  First, we will start where we have unanimous agreement and undoubtedly, common ground: monotheism and resultant ethical systems.

Monotheism and ethics require each other, neither can be reduced to the other, nor is the one hostile to the other.  Their relationship is best characterized by the Platonic concept of the unity of virtues—the virtues reinforce each other, but each remains distinct and rests on the idea of GOD as paramount value concept.  Monotheism is not just the belief in a single GOD, but rather the decision to see “in GOD’s unity the unity of all that is affirmative—beauty and truth, life and creativity.”[32] The ethical imperative of monotheism is thus the boundless command to pursue GOD’s perfection, to bring out in ourselves all the good, and all the holiness, that we can.[33]

William J. Wainwright, distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, uses two arguments to rationalize the pertinence of our Christian monotheism: the first begins with the recognition of GOD’s absolute sovereignty, and proceeds to show that there are good reasons for “ identifying moral facts with divine Commands.”[34]

Many objections have been raised throughout history to “divine command theory” and Wainwright responds with a philosophical case that leads to the assertion that anyone who believes that moral facts are objective has good reason to be a theist. Here Wainwright, much like Goodman and others find that the connection between monotheism and ethics is also compatible with a Platonist view of the world.

Philosophers both past and present have sought to defend theories of ethics that are grounded in a theistic framework. Roughly, Divine Command Theory is the view that morality is somehow dependent upon GOD, and that moral obligation consists in obedience to GOD’s commands.  This school of thought is foundational to all three Abrahamic faith traditions, although, Islam’s legalism varies from the legalism of the former’s, which we will explore in the next section.

Divine Command Theory includes the claim that morality is ultimately based on the commands or character of GOD, and that the morally right action is the one that GOD commands or requires. The specific content of these divine commands varies according to the particular religion and the particular views of the individual divine command theorist, but all versions of the theory hold in common the claim that morality and moral obligations ultimately depend on GOD.[35]  Here we do have some similarities between Islam and Christianity, such as: an all-powerful GOD, “absolute truth,” creationism” (Adam and Eve, but not original sin), “linear time,” eschatological significance,  and  all resulting in similar notions of “final judgment” and heaven/ paradise.

Divine Command Theory has been and continues to be highly controversial, which is what places Islam and Christianity on the same plane against its critics. It has been criticized by numerous philosophers, including Plato, Kai Nielsen, and J. L. Mackie. The theory also has many defenders, both classic and contemporary, such as Thomas Aquinas, Robert Adams, and Philip Quinn. The question of the possible connections between religion and ethics is of interest to moral philosophers as well as philosophers of religion, but it also leads us to consider the role of religion in society as well as the nature of moral deliberation. Given this, the arguments offered for and against Divine Command Theory have both theoretical and practical importance.[36]

In her essay, “Modern Moral Philosophy,” Elizabeth Anscombe (1958), the originator of the philosophical theories known as “Consequentialism,”[37] argues that moral terms such as “should” and “ought” acquired a legalistic sense (that is, being bound by law) because of Christianity’s far-reaching historical influence and its legalistic conception of ethics. For example, use of the term “ought” seems to suggest a verdict on an action, and this in turn suggests a judge. On a law conception of ethics, conformity with the virtues requires obeying the divine law. A divine law requires the existence of GOD, as the divine lawgiver.[38]

So, monotheism provides us a strong common thread between Islam, Christianity and Judaism.  But, where the aforementioned diverge is where significant problems occur, lest we as Christians do a better job at proclaiming the only objective truth—the exclusive “Sola Christa” path to salvation.

Accordingly, we have to be willing to avow that the nature and characteristics ascribed to Allah in Islamic teachings bear little resemblance to GOD of the Bible.  The following is excerpted from Daniel Janosik, Adjunct Faculty (Apologetics), Columbia International University, who perfectly states the dilemma:

“Some scholars want to emphasize the similarities between Yahweh and Allah, and point to a common belief in a monotheistic God who is Creator of all things, omnipotent and merciful. Both religions also claim that God has sent prophets to reveal His will and produce scriptures to guide our lives. However, Allah and Yahweh cannot refer to the same person for the following reasons. First of all, their attributes are different. In Allah’s monadic oneness his attributes stem from his powerful Will which, because it provides no basis for relationship, often promotes capriciousness. Also, since his power is more important than his other attributes, there is an unequal emphasis on power over his other attributes. In the end, a follower cannot know God or even be sure of the consistency of his attributes. On the other hand, because Yahweh is by nature a triune unity his attributes stem from his nature. The eternal relationship within the Trinity promotes love within the Godhead and extends to his creation. Also, since his attributes are based on his unchanging nature rather than his powerful will, all his attributes are equal and promote trustworthiness rather than capriciousness. This means that believers can know God and be sure of his attributes. Second, Christians understand the nature of God to be triune (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), which is the only way that Jesus Christ, as the second person of the Trinity, could die on the cross to pay for our sins. If Jesus were not God himself, then his death on the cross would be meaningless. However, Muslims deny that Jesus died on the cross and they reject the belief in his resurrection from the dead. Only a triune God, defined as one essence and three persons, could become incarnate and still remain God of the universe, and yet this is the God that Muslims reject. For them, Jesus cannot be God nor can God be a Father, for he cannot have a son. Therefore, if Muslims reject God as the Father of Jesus, then Allah cannot be the same as the God of the Bible.”[39]

Jurisprudence: East vs West

In his book, “Seeking Allah; Finding Jesus,” Nabeel Quereshi outlines an interesting, if not surprising dichotomy of ethical interpretations and learning styles across Eastern and Western cultures.  He sums it up as cultural challenges between East (honor-shame cultures) and West (innocence-guilt cultures).[40]  I had never looked at it as such a stark contrast between cultures, but it makes complete sense and  rings true: there are aspects to the culture that, in some respect, transcend the respective religious treatment of ethical situations.

Quereshi provides a lengthy explanation that I will quote verbatim from the book, as any paraphrase would potentially damage his first-person experience and witness:

“When my parents taught me to examine my beliefs, I was essentially expected to build a defense for what they had taught me. In [my high school “Theory of Knowledge” class], we were ostensibly doing the same thing — examining our beliefs — but in practice, it was the exact opposite. We were critically probing our beliefs, challenging them, testing them for weak points, pliability, and boundaries. Some students were even replacing them.

This difference between Eastern and Western education can be traced to the disparity that divides Muslim immigrants from their children: Islamic cultures tend to establish people of high status as authorities, whereas the authority in Western culture is reason itself. These alternative seats of authority permeate the mind, determining the moral outlook of whole societies.

When authority is derived by position rather than reason, the act of questioning leadership is dangerous because it has the potential to upset the system. Dissension is reprimanded, and obedience is rewarded. Correct and incorrect courses of action are assessed socially, not individually. A person’s virtue is thus determined by how well he meets social expectations, not by an individual determination of right and wrong.

Thus, positional authority yields a society that determines right and wrong based on honor and shame.

On the other hand, when authority is derived from reason, questions are welcome because critical examination sharpens the very basis of authority. Each person is expected to critically examine his own course of action. Correct and incorrect courses of action are assessed individually. A person’s virtue is determined by whether he does what he knows to be right or wrong.

Rational authority creates a society that determines right and wrong based on innocence and guilt.

Much of the West’s inability to understand the East stems from the paradigmatic schism between honor-shame cultures and innocence-guilt cultures. Of course, the matter is quite complex, and elements of both paradigms are present in the East and the West, but the honor-shame spectrum is the operative paradigm that drives the East, and it is hard for Westerners to understand.

This reliance on positional authority explains some characteristics in parts of the Muslim world that confound many Westerners, such as the continued practices of honor killings, child brides of six or younger, and blood feuds. For one reason or another, the prevailing sources of social authority in the regions deem these customs acceptable, perhaps even preferable. No amount of sheer reason is going to change these practices, nor will externally imposed prohibitions. The change will have to be social, internal, and organic.

But honor killings and blood feuds are generally not struggles for children raised as second-generation Western Muslims. We wrestle with the honor-shame principle that tells us, ‘It’s okay as long as you don’t get caught.’ If there is no dishonor, it is not wrong.”[41]

Clearly, there are significant ethical, sociological and behavioral paradigms that widen the chasm between the faiths.  Quereshi does lend some credence to the popular notion that “if we allow these foreign cultures to assimilate into Western societies, they will conform to our traditions, system of laws and generalized sensibilities.  This, of course, remains up for debate, as we see continuously the hardliner Muslims who refuse assimilation and insist on maintaining rigid observance of Sharia law, for example.  Whether we are a melting pot, a stew or a salad, depends upon whom you ask.  Quereshi continues his analysis by contrasting how second-generation Muslim Westerners are far more likely to assimilate and adapt to the local pro-democratic and free-speech paradigm:

“Of course, there is a highly developed notion of morality in Islam, so we must take care not to oversimplify the matter and assume that Muslims do whatever they wish if they believe they will not be caught. All the same, it is safe to say that guilt is less of a determining factor in the East than is shame.

Coming back to second-generation Muslim Westerners, it might now be easier to see just how difficult it can be to straddle these two cultures. When engaged in something less than socially acceptable, the young Muslim will be tempted to hide it and will begin to struggle with internal guilt. The natural Eastern tendency to hide shameful truths exacerbates the Western tendency to feel guilty.”

More broadly, the honor-shame paradigm is seen and felt in other ways, too, of course. For example, when Qureshi first started to seriously consider leaving Islam behind and becoming a Christian, he knew it would be devastating to his familial relationships. It would be viewed by family and the local Muslim community as betrayal of them and of Allah, bringing shame and dishonor upon them, not just him. However, “[T]hese costs are not considered consciously. They form part of the knee-jerk reaction against the gospel. I never said, ‘I choose to remain Muslim because it would cost my family if I were to follow Jesus.’ Far from it, I subconsciously found ways and means to go on rejecting the gospel so I would not be faced with what I would have to pay….”[42]

So, even if the cultural “honor/shame” vs “guilt/innocence” differences can be resolved or summarily “smoothed out,” we would still be left with the dichotomous religious underpinnings that do not dissolve away so easily. For example, we would need to look at each issue, one-by-one and determine how the respective faiths would respond to a specific ethical situation or dilemma.  Obviously, that would require vast time and research—to probably include polling and comparative , statistical analysis of outcomes and regression to determine probabilistic forecasting of future behavior.  Because, that depth of understanding is not prescribed at this stage of my research, I will just draw from pre-published works.

Accordingly, if we were to estimate just how close the Abrahamic faiths are in their approaches to ethics is to look at their responses to new issues. In fact, advances in medicine have produced a slew of situations, unheard of until recently and carrying with them great moral questions that call for solution—i.e., decoding DNA, gene repair, in-utero surgery, stem-cell research, genetic testing, euthanasia, and, of course, then never-ending debates over capital punishment and abortion.

Interestingly, the more significant division is likely to be between liberals and conservatives—across faiths, such that Muslim conservatives are more likely to agree with Christian conservatives, for instance, than their more liberal Muslim counterparts.  Each category of liberal/ conservative seems to define more times than not, a fairly consistent approach to a whole range of social and political issues. In other words, “liberals” belonging of different faiths are found to be more in tune with each other than with “conservatives” of their own faith in their response to the new ethical challenges.[43]

Aaron L. Mackler, Associate Professor of Theology at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is an ordained Conservative Rabbi, a prolific author and a regarded expert in both the fields of Bioethics and Jewish law. Mackler finds significant common ground, particularly between Judaism and Catholicism. The two traditions are very different, and the challenges require responses that are not found ready-made in either. The moral deliberation in response is often a matter of judgment, in which practical reasoning must concretize the demands of general principles; and these principles, most notably, the stress upon the value and dignity of each patient, are shared by the two faiths in question.

Cynthia Cohen is Director of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts, and Acting Director of the Ethics Center at Brandeis University, where she leads action/reflection research projects, and writes and teaches about work at the nexus of the arts, culture, justice and peace.[44]  In her writing, Cohen furnishes a close look at the response to one particular set of challenges, those posed by reproductive technologies, within the Protestant denominations. Protestant response must be viewed in the context of the function of marriage and the emphasis placed on procreation, areas where Protestantism differs from Catholicism, and from Judaism and Islam as well. While by and large, the use of the new technologies is not opposed, Protestant leaders are wary of the possibility that the new methods may be exploited to produce “designer babies”, and that is something that they will not accept. As Paul Ramsey put it, “Men ought not to play GOD before they learn to be men, and after they have learned to be men they will not play GOD.”[45]

Many on both sides of the world (like Immanuel Kant and  Nazeeh Abu Afash) have been dissatisfied with an ethics that is grounded in religion, and have suggested instead (with little success) an atheistic alternative.  History has proven this to be misguided idealism, as in the absence of absolute truth, we only have our individual consciences as the arbiter of good/ evil.

Subjective truths are unique to each and every individual and simply do not have the power to persuade the crafty and manipulative  human mind to comply with arbitrary laws and principles.  There will always be deep disagreement in an arbitrary morality.  Only pursuit of the singular objective truth can govern a free society, lest it be ruled by the iron fist (a la Communism).  Because of the incoherence we have described in Islam’s version of the “truth,” it does not hold together, and results in war and strife.  Societies that have followed the one truth set forth in biblical scripture permits free society to thrive.

Abu Afash, a  self-styled “Syrian Arab and Christian atheist” and former communist activist, considers the deity to be “an idea conceived by man when he came to realize the extent of his utter moral impotence, his total pain, and his total fear.”  He calls upon humanity to draw up its own account of moral and immoral behavior, and to devise its own solutions.[46]

Still, there are many who believe that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share significant moral ground and that common agreement should be able to be achieved, perhaps, without any real requirement to reconcile doctrinal disagreements.  Hamdani is well aware that the “foundational principles” of each of the Abrahamic faiths can be interpreted in an exclusivist, intolerant vein.  However, these scholars sharing the progressive worldview, believe that a liberal, tolerant reading of the tradition is no less valid, and it is the one that ought to prevail.

“There is in Islam a paradox which is perhaps a permanent menace. The great creed born in the desert creates a kind of ecstasy out of the very emptiness of its own land, and even, one may say, out of the emptiness of its own theology. […] A void is made in the heart of Islam which has to be filled up again and again by a mere repetition of the revolution that founded it. There are no sacraments ; the only thing that can happen is a sort of apocalypse, as unique as the end of the world ; so the apocalypse can only be repeated and the world end again and again. There are no priests ; and yet this equality can only breed a multitude of lawless prophets almost as numerous as priests. The very dogma that there is only one Mahomet (Muhammad) produces an endless procession of Mahomets.”

-G.K. Chesterton

Conclusion: What to Do About It?

In researching this vast and voluminous subject, I have discovered some interesting contrasts.  As surely as Christianity has its share of tepid, dilutionists, I was a bit surprised that anyone with a straight face could seriously approach Muslims with the type of progressive extra-Biblical bile that we see on our side of the fence and not expect assurances of futility.  But, not to be outdone, I found exactly that!  The following list of idealistic absurdities is, but, and outline of chapters for an upcoming book by Adis Duderija, “The Imperatives of Progressive Islam”  (Routledge, 2017), which alone is sufficient to prove my point about futility:

Chapter 1: The Poiesis/Creativity  Imperative

Chapter 2: The Epistemological Imperative

Chapter 3: The Imperative of Ethics of Pluralism

Chapter 4 : The Imperative of Islamic Liberation Theology

Chapter 5: The Human Rights Imperative

Chapter 6: The Search for the Ethical Imperative in Islamic Jurisprudence/Law

Chapter 7: The Gender-Justice Imperative

Chapter 8: The Imperative of non-Patriarchal Islamic hermeneutics

Don’t get me wrong, I hail them for trying; really I do.  You may call me cynical, however, because we have been trying to figure this out for 1,400+ years.  The book’s aspirational abstract is as follows:

This book brings together the scholarship of leading progressive Muslim scholars, incorporating issues pertaining to politics, jurisprudence, ethics, theology, epistemology, gender and hermeneutics in the Islamic tradition. It provides a comprehensive discussion of the normative imperatives behind a progressive Muslim thought, as well as outlining its various values and aims.

Presenting this emerging and distinctive school of Islamic thought in an engaging and scholarly manner, this is essential reading for any academic interested in contemporary religious thought and the development of modern Islam.

Islam will never go through a “reformation,” so you can set the popcorn aside and stop hoping.  Islam is also not going to tone itself down, nor is it going to pass through a progressive filter and come out the other side a smoother, softer and more tolerable version of Muhammad’s war ethic.  Sure, some Muslims—especially those who don’t know the Islamic texts—may concede a lighter fare.  However, it is nothing more than a symbolic gesture to try and assuage the frustrations of  global jihad and ISIS terrorism; ergo, it is time for Christians to unite in the ONLY viable approach we have for dealing with heresies:  Fight for the truth intellectually in the court of higher learning and academic inquiry.   Debate.  Write.  Witness.  Love.

IN HOC SIGNO VINCES.

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[1] Footnote: See refugee problem in Sweden: http://bit.ly/1Pn93r9

[2] By Jennifer Newton for MailOnline, “Koran Thought to Be the Oldest in the World Could Predate Muhammad,” Mail Online, August 31, 2015, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3216627/Koran-Birmingham-thought-oldest-world-predate-Prophet-Muhammad-scholars-say.html.

[3] “The Damnable Lie of Islam | Dr. Justin Imel, Sr.”

[4] Ibid.

[5] Hans Koenraad I.H.S.V, “Islamic Revisionism: Neither Abraham nor Ishmael Ever Went to Mecca,” THE DAWN AWAITS, June 16, 2016, https://thedawnawaits.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/did-abraham-or-ishmael-ever-go-to-mecca-2/.

[6] Hans Koenraad I.H.S.V, “THE QUR’AN DISQUALIFIES MUHAMMAD AS A PROPHET OF THE TRUE GOD,” THE DAWN AWAITS, June 16, 2016, https://thedawnawaits.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/the-Qur’an-disqualifies-muhammad-as-a-prophet-of-the-true-god/.

[7] Langermann, “Introduction to Monotheism and Ethics.”

[8] “The Damnable Lie of Islam | Dr. Justin Imel, Sr.”

[9] Elizabeth. Goldman, Believers : Spiritual Leaders of the World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995).

[10] “Muhammad | Define Muhammad at Dictionary.com,” accessed October 29, 2016, http://www.dictionary.com/browse/muhammad.

[11] Silas, “Jesus or Muhammad,” accessed October 29, 2016, http://www.answering-islam.org/Silas/founders.htm.

[12] Goldman, Believers : Spiritual Leaders of the World.

[13] Footnote:  The majority of traditional hadith sources state that Aisha was married to Muhammad at the age of six or seven, but she stayed in her parents’ home until the age of nine, or ten, according to Ibn Hisham, when the marriage was consummated with Muhammad, then 53, in Medina. This timeline has been challenged by a number of scholars in modern times.

[14] Charles R. Swindoll, Jesus : The Greatest Life of All (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008).

[15] Ibid.

[16] “World’s Muslim Population Will Surpass Christians This Century, Pew Says,” NPR.org, accessed October 30, 2016, http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/04/02/397042004/muslim-population-will-surpass-christians-this-century-pew-says.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Nabeel. Quereshi, A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity : A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity. ([Place of publication not identified]: Zondervan, 2014).

[19] Footnote: Salaat (also: “Salah”)  is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.  It is an Islamic ritual prayer.  There are five daily calls to prayer at which Salah are recited.

[20] Nabeel. Quereshi, A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity : A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity. (Zondervan, 2014).

[21] Catrin Nye, “Islamophobic Tweets ‘Peaked in July,’” BBC News, August 18, 2016, sec. Europe, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37098643.

[22] Quereshi, A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity : A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Footnote:  In the Hadith, Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 5, Number 268, Muhammed was reputed to have as many as 11 wives, despite teaching in the Qur’an that four was the limit—and only when taking in orphans. Narrated by Qatada: Anas bin Malik said, “The Prophet used to have sexual intercourse with all his wives one after the other during the day and night and they were eleven in number.” I asked Anas, “Had the Prophet the strength for it?” Anas replied, “We used to say that the Prophet was given the strength of thirty (men).” And Sa’id said on the authority of Qatada that Anas had told him about nine wives only (not eleven).

[25]  Robert Spencer, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) (Washington, DC; Lanham, MD: Regnery Pub. ; Distributed to the Book trade by National Book Network, 2005).

[26] “Surah Al-Ma’idah [5:75],” Surah Al-Ma’idah [5:75], accessed October 29, 2016, https://Qur’an.com.

[27] A. F. L. Beeston, “The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Isḥāq’s [Sic] Sīrat Rasūl Allah by Ibn Hishām, A. Guillaume,” ed. Ibn Hishām and A. Guillaume, The Journal of Theological Studies 8, no. 1 (1957): p218.

[28] James R. White, What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Qur’an, 2013.

[29] “Articles by David Wood,” accessed November 1, 2016, http://answeringislam.org/Authors/Wood/index.htm.

[30] David Wood, Jesus Owns Muhammad, YouTube (Acts17 Apologetics), accessed October 31, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFo1JesYylQ.

[31] “Deceptive God, Incompetent Messiah: What Islam Really Teaches About Allah and Jesus,” accessed November 1, 2016, http://answeringislam.org/Authors/Wood/deceptive_god.htm.

[32] Langermann, “Introduction to Monotheism and Ethics.”

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ibid.

[35] “Divine Command Theory | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy,” accessed October 30, 2016, http://www.iep.utm.edu/divine-c/.

[36] Ibid.

[37] “Anscombe, G. E. M. | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy,” accessed October 30, 2016, http://www.iep.utm.edu/anscombe/#H6.

[38] “Divine Command Theory | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.”

[39] Daniel Janosik, “Is Allah of Islam the same as Yahweh of Christianity?,” Text, Columbia International University, (December 13, 2010), http://www.ciu.edu/content/allah-islam-same-yahweh-christianity.

[40] Quereshi, A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity : A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Langermann, “Introduction to Monotheism and Ethics.”

[44] “Cynthia Cohen | Brandeis University,” accessed November 1, 2016, https://www.brandeis.edu/ethics/about/bios/ccohen.html.

[45] Langermann, “Introduction to Monotheism and Ethics.”

[46] Ibid.

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Being in the dark

Deacon Rick brings focus to the very challenge I am facing now–uncertainty. I am praying for discernment as I feel my way in the dark. My best option is to leave all cares at His feet and trust Him completely. The Lord is in charge of our destiny. I can’t. He can. I think I’ll let him!

“Sometimes the only way we can enter the deeper dimensions of the journey is by being unable to see where we’re going.”

Deacon Rick

Hebrews 11:13  All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.

Today I wrote a short devotional about this Bible verse for the Good News Daily published by the Bible Reading Fellowship. The devotional will not appear in print until after New Year’s Day of 2019.

(By the way, I recommend this little leaflet publication that fits inside a standard church bulletin. It provides a one-minute devotional for each day of the week along with the daily scripture references from theRevised Common Lectionary. It’s a great tool to share with your congregation each week.)

Right before I wrote out the devotional meditation to go with verse in Hebrews, I had posted an old blog entry on Facebook. It was one I had included in my collection published as On…

View original post 520 more words

Islam and Christianity in the West

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Introduction: Opening Recitals

We know that Sharia is not an optional “module” under the umbrella of Islam.  Sharia law is the law of Islam. The Sharia (also spelled Shariah or Shari’a) law is cast from the actions and words of Muhammad, which are called “Sunnah,” and the Quran, which he dictated. Sharia law itself cannot be altered.  In the West, we act as if moderate Muslims have a choice whether or not to practice Sharia–which is false.  Any honest evaluation concludes that the precepts of Sharia are antithetical to our governance in the West–and more specifically, the libertarian principles set forth in our United States Constitution and so inspired by Judeo-Christian heritage.  How, then, can the West absorb massive numbers of Sharia-practicing immigrants and not expect a philosophical shift to occur?

This article examines the inherent dilemma that exists between two of  the “world’s great religions,” Islam and Christianity.  In their highest, distilled forms–which is where most people approach the subject—Islam and Christianity appear strikingly similar and  merely nuanced in their particulars.  In a 6th-grade humanities class, they could be made to appear almost indistinguishable at the topical levels of divinity, prophethood, prophecy, prayers, traditions, moral sensibilities and rituals.

And, to be sure, secularists in academia  prefer to juxtapose and assimilate Islam with Christianity, in order to cast them in the same light—as merely cultural “divergences” from the same arcane and  “illogical” theistic premise.  We hear this continually in the media too, often accompanied by assertions that Christian and Islamic morality/ ethics are both outcroppings of (equally) retributive legal systems derived from ancient creeds and notions, penned by unenlightened men who were inclined to mythology and the comfort of divine providence.

The academic elite—mostly agnostic—standard bearers of the secular culture seek to minimize disagreement and summarily, trivialize points of contention as unsubstantial, fundamentalist (sectarian) excuses for bigotry and strife.  In other words, if presented with recent atrocities committed by ISIS against Christians (for instance), we would now expect to see any secular progressive-type invoke talking points about an 11th-century crusade in an attempt to draw moral equivalence, and so as to paint the latter with the same homicidal absurdities as the former.  They seem to believe that mediation between the “crazies” may tamp down some of the conflict, sectarian violence and terror.


Unitarian Universalists and other liberal branches of theology are not much different from the secular and agnostic voices, in that they believe that our respective theological and doctrinal differences bear little—if any—eternal consequence.  As we will posit herein, this kind of crude oversimplification and generalization are unequivocally fallacious and  actually serve to frustrate more than they attenuate tensions.  Scholars inclined to harmonize the world religions (i.e., Perennialists and “John Hicks” Religious Pluralists[1]) would also have us believe that these religious and ethical frameworks are, indeed, nearly interchangeable and that  only “outbursts of  pugnacious particularism” driven by political agendas and “backed by forces of arms” can threaten the, otherwise, compatible systems.[2]

So, what about dispassionate peacemaking?  Even in progressive Christian and Islamic circles, we find attempts to minimize differences and promote an ecumenical affirmation of (most of) each other’s foundational beliefs.  Some would say if this ecumenism were to successfully “blur” the lines between the religions, then there could be dialogue and peace.  Religious pluralism has invaded the collective conscience to the extent that secularists would be satisfied to lump all religions into a singular rubbish bin—where no theological chauvinism or favoritism is shown toward other equally valid (or invalid) belief systems.

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Devout Muslims and Christians can agree on one thing, however: these folks are all wrong.  This is the most essential point of agreement that will drive the thesis herein:  devout Muslims and Christians aspire to know GOD’s singular truth.  Both camps find it wholly unacceptable and apostate to delineate some muddy middle that we call half-truth or compromise.  Compromise is impossible to the truly devout.  Only one faith can be true.  So, if there is to be peace, we will have to come at it from this premise—and not from the presupposition that dogmatic “dilution” and universalism is ever in the cards.

Another point of agreement is that the secular culture is hostile to any form of theistic morality and would prefer to discredit all with the same broad brush and cohere the token absurdity of any one of them with the collective whole.  In social media, I see this incessantly.  If Islam is ever cast as illogical, radical, barbaric or extreme, then, ipso facto, Christianity is as well.   Well, why not, they are basically the same!  If a Christian (i.e., apologist) embarks to decouple and disintermediate one from the other, you can rest assured that any antitheist in the vicinity will oblige to again conflate and homogenize all as “religious nonsense.”

To be fair, there are distinct similarities that need to first be acknowledged… Islam and Christianity share similar beliefs in: 1) monotheism; 2) absolute truth; 3) final judgment; 4) heaven/ paradise; 5) Old Testament figures, such as prophets, kings and Jewish patriarchs; and 6) Jesus, the prophet born of a virgin, messiah and teacher of GOD’s truth.

However, there are consequential differences that we will briefly touch on herein, as we take a look at the dilemma created with regard to culture clash and the question of feasibility surrounding mutual coexistence and peace.. Accordingly, the goals of this exposition are as follows:

  1. Dilemma: The collision of two disparate “divine” messages and religious ideologies;
  2. Culture Clash: Understand how we got to this point;
  3. Implications: Strife, Coexistence or Engagement ; and
  4. Conclusion: Begin to speculate about the basis for possible solutions.

The central goal in this essay will be to look critically at the Christian—Islamic dilemma and the side effects created by increasing cultural convergence when Muslims migrate Westward.  The paper will outline some basic reasons for disharmony en route to a proposed solution on the grounds of resoluteness—not concession.

Obviously, this is a much larger topic than the essay format can hold, so it will also serve as an abstract for the volume set to follow.  However, we can surely begin the analysis of the systematic ethical differences between Islam and Christianity and seek to posit why the resultant behavior of Islamists and Christian fundamentalists, respectively, manifests in alarmingly disparate ways.

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Islam is the second largest religion on the planet, with some 1.3—1.6 billion adherents, by some recent estimates.  If present birthrate and migration trends persist, Europe’s religious majority will be Muslim by the middle of this century.  Not only is Islam the fastest-growing religion in the history of the world, but it is further aided by higher-than-average birth rates, a vision of Caliphate-rule, a core doctrine of conquest,  a current global diaspora, state-sponsors of terrorism,  and an increasing numbers of country-states that sanction Sharia Law and institute religious intolerance and apostasy laws.  It is a perfect storm, and it is heading West.

  1. The Dilemma

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Why is only Islam and its adherents mired in seemingly continuous war and in the commission of unspeakable atrocities upon non-combatants?  How can another so-called “Abrahamic” faith, Islam, generate the types of radicals and the horrendous acts of savagery that we see almost daily on the global newswires—when Judaism and Christianity do not?  Every day, there is some atrocity du jour that makes us rethink what is truly impossible horror for GOD-fearing men to commit. On October 31. 2016, global newswires reported: “ISIS targets children in Mosul with teddy bear bombs.” [3] What kind of religion inspires this type of unspeakable evil?

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Now that Muslims are pouring into the West, must we accommodate their cultural demands, and is Sharia even compatible with civil liberties and democratic freedoms?  Are Westerners simply xenophobic, Islamophobic or generally uncaring, inhospitable or, for some, unchristian if they say “enough is enough?”  This is, no doubt, a timely topic now, as refugees are fleeing utter chaos, decimation and despair in Syria into Europe and North America, while the democratic systems of the “welcoming” countries are strained, peace is threatened and public services sectors are pushed to the brink.

What are the implications of a culture clash of civilizations that are so dissimilar in terms of styles of governance, ethics, jurisprudence,  and religious, geopolitical, and tribal customs?  Will superficial “similarities,” aspirational harmony, mutual goodwill, solidarity and common goals carry the day, or will the intrinsic differences threaten the very fabric of Western Civilization?  These questions will not all be answered in this essay, but we can begin to develop  a strategy to attenuate conflict–before a tipping point is reached.

In case you are approaching this essay with a presupposition that both Islam and Christianity are equally “true” to their respective adherents and that peaceful ecumenism and coexistence should be “attainable,” then I invite you to consider the examples provided by Pastor Justin Imel in his article called the “Damnable Lie of Islam”:

The Qur’an completely retells the story of Jesus Christ. “O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one GOD. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.” (Surah 4:171).

Mohammad believed the Christian Trinity consisted of the Father, Christ, and Mary. “And when Allah will say: O Isa Jesus son of Marium! Did you say to men, ‘Take me and my mother as two gods besides Allah” (Surah 5:116). The text goes on to say that Jesus will tell Allah that he said no such thing. Mohammad taught that Christians believed in three gods. The Qur’an clearly says that Jesus was not the Son of GOD. “He [Jesus] was naught but a servant on whom We bestowed favor” (Surah 43:59). “The Christians say: the Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!” (Surah 9:30). “It beseems not Allah that he should take to Himself a son, glory be to Him, when he has decreed matter He only says to it ‘Be,’ and it is” (Surah 19:35).[4]

So, why is the Islamic world always embroiled in strife, war, instability, and death?  Is it merely tribal disagreements with each other and philosophical conflicts with other religions that drives this inexplicable homicidal obsession?  To be sure, the modus operandi of Muslim terror operators is indiscriminate bloodshed of innocents–NOT warfare. Muslim leaders attempt to portray this behavior as aberrant and non-Islamic. However, these leaders also do little to condemn their own, while secretly funding their jihadist activity.

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Further, are Christianity and Judaism simply natural rivals over the rightful disposition of Palestine–as the mainstream media and academia have suggested for years?  No.  If Islam’s conflict were only with Christians and Jews, it might be dismissed accordingly, however, Islam’s conflict is with everyone—fellow Muslims, Buddhists, secularists, and otherwise.  The carnage has been inconceivable.  According to TROP, a jihadist watch group, there have been 29,879 deadly terror attacks since 9/11.[5]


According to its own holy texts—so, by definition—Islam disfavors Jews and Christians (“Dhimmis”) far less than it detests every other apostate, pagan or pantheistic religion. Jews and Christians have the provisional status as “People of the Book,” hence,  merely second-class citizens.  But,  non-Zionists—i.e., the rest of the world—are “kaafir”  and treated as idolaters and polytheists called “mushrikiyn.”  This constitutes apostasy, where infidels are commonly punished by death.  How is it that we can live peaceably with people who hold to these beliefs?  Can we find common ground?  Can we appease them, or attempt to accommodate them?  Herein lies the dilemma.


  1. How Did We Get Here: Culture Clash?

Christianity and Islam are similar, if not virtually the same, according to many secular, non-theologians.  It should, then, come as little surprise that the architects of these two religious systems–Jesus and Muhammad–are regularly juxtaposed and compared to make one socially motivated point or the other.  Competing and sometimes diametrically opposed narratives are heard, either attempting to promote peace and coexistence between the two or accepting outright the interminable and somewhat historically evidenced incompatibility thereof.

Christianity and Islam have been at odds, literally since the beginning of the initial spread of Islam after the death of Muhammad in the 7th Century and taken to a new level with the decree by Pope Urban II to launch the First Crusade to retake Jerusalem (1095-1099) .  Muslim hostility toward Christians and Jews is not a recent phenomenon.  Despite CAIR talking points to the contrary, Islam has been at war with us in the Christian faith for most of the millennium that preceded  the modern State of Israel and American foreign policy. Muslims have warred with Christians and Jews as minorities and persecuted them as majorities.[6] From the Barbary corsairs to the Ottomans, the facts are the facts, despite continued attempts at systematic historical revisionism.

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Academic apologists claim that Muslim hostility toward Christians derived  recently (i.e., 20th Century) from the ongoing Palestine conflict, but at no time during the history of Islam until the twentieth century did the Jews have a functioning state, yet, there have only been brief interludes of peace.  Israel has conveniently become the scapegoat for contemporary Muslim hostilities, but that fails to explain over a thousand years of Muslim atrocities, religious hatred, persecution and genocide.

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Why did Muslims persecute and kill Jews as far back as Muhammad, when he slaughtered adolescent male Jews of the tribe, Banu Qurayza? For the same reason that they killed Christians then an now.  Islam hated Judaism and Christianity from the start, where adherents of the preceding faiths were called “Dhimmis.”  The Qur’an urges Muslims not to befriend Jews or Christians (Qur’an 5:51) speaks of “enmity and hatred” with Christians (Qur’an 5:15) and the Jews (Qur’an 5:65) who are also to be cursed. The Jews are accused of “creating disorder” (Qur’an 5:65) and Christians are accused of worshiping their priests (Qur’an 9:31). The Jews and Christians believe in evil things (Qur’an 4:52) and Allah’s curse will be upon them (Qur’an 9:30).

Muslims don’t hate and kill Jews because of (the State of) Israel. They hate Israel because it is Jewish..  Christians have been systematically eradicated from the Middle East in the last hundred years, going from one fourth of the population to only a tenth.[7] The Christian demographic now comprises a mere .04% of the population of Turkey–vestiges of which are Ephesus (First-Century mission) and Constantinople, Christianity’s capitol in Asia Minor during the Roman Empire!

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Not coincidentally, the clash of these cultures dominates current news in the wake of numerous terrorist attacks in Europe and North America–as well as amid a diaspora of displaced peoples from war-torn regions of the Middle East.  Subsequently, the admission and assimilation of (mostly) Syrian refugees migrating to Western, traditionally Christian nations is one of the hottest, most divisive debates in the public square and on social media today.  In the mostly secular camp—that recognizes no substantive difference between Christians and Muslims—there is simply no reason everyone cannot assimilate through diversity training, tolerance and multicultural awareness.  Conversely, anyone who studies either  religious system with any serious degree of critical thinking, understands the incredible challenge facing society when the balance is shifted—either at the local level or a more societal or national level.[8]

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In theory—as well as in accepted scholarship—the ethical/ moral bases for Judaism, Christianity and Islam are purported to derive from the same GOD, care of the same patriarch, Abraham, and the prophet, Moses.  It is widely accepted by historians and Christian apologists that Jesus, a Jew, studied and taught from the Holy Scriptures of Judaism (i.e., Torah).  Islam, conversely, has only arbitrary ties to the former faiths, and given by nebulous, questionable angelic revelation with surprising, if not fantastical, notions of Abraham’s arrival in a pre-extant Meccan civilization around 1500 BC.

Not only was Muhammed said to be illiterate, the circumstances under which this revelation came to him were dubious at best.  In addition, the chain of custody of this “perfect” and “final”(Qur’anic) set of decrees was by word-of-mouth only, and  it was only from a myriad of latter-written Qur’anic versions did an authoritative version arise—from dozens, if not hundreds of candidates—which is now regarded by Muslims as the sacrosanct, unchanged and identical words that were decreed by Allah, himself.  If Islam were to apply the same level of scrutiny to the obtainment of the Qur’an as they do the Bible and its authors, the Qur’an would be questioned for its veracity, and the Hadith would be written off entirely as an unsubstantiated and uncorroborated collection of stories written 250+ years after Muhammad died.

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Whereas, defenders of Islam routinely undermine the integrity of authors and the timeliness of source materials in the Bible, the Qur’an and Hadith cannot be substantiated until centuries after the alleged life and time of Muhammad.  The earliest Qur’anic complete manuscript was from 800 AD, which is approximately 200 years after Muhammad would have received his “revelation.”  If Christians are not prepared to question alternative versions of history, then Muslims go unchallenged when they float myths, such as the assertion that there are complete copies of the Qur’an dating from the year Muhammad died.  It is not true.  Even the earliest fragmentary manuscripts of the Qur’an are all dated no earlier than 100 years after Muhammad died.   In 2015, however, it should be noted that fragments containing portions of Surah 18-20 found in a Birmingham, England museum were said to actually predate the years scholars believed Muhammad to have “received” them (which creates even greater problems to the modern Islamic historical narrative).[9]  Could some of the tenets of Islamic faith have preceded the revelations Muhammad claimed to have received from the Angel Gabriel?

Most academicians find it far easier (and safer) to just allow the Muslim scholars to believe what they wish, instead of risk life and limb to challenge them.  But, to be sure, egregious scientific errors exist in the Qur’an, and the following is one such example:

“When he reached the setting place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring and found a people thereabout. We said: ‘O Dhul-Qumeyn! Either punish or show them kindness’” (Surah 18:86).

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There are many self-refuting contradictions in the Qur’an as well: The Qur’an states that the earth was created in six days (Surah 7:54; 25:59), but it also states that the world was created in eight days (Surah 41:9-12). In Surah 51:57 we find that Jinn (angelic-type beings) were created to worship Allah, yet in Surah 7:17 we find that the Jinn were created for Hell. In Surah 17:103 we are told that Pharaoh was drowned with his army, yet in Surah 10:90-92, upon admitting to the power of GOD, he is rescued as a sign to others. In Surah 4:157 we read that Jesus did not die, yet in Surah 19:33 we read that not only did he die, but he arose again! The interesting point in all of this is the reading of Surah 4:82 which reads, “Do they not consider the Qur’an? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancies.”[10]


We have strong evidence to refute a number of other claims in the Qur’an (such as Abraham’s link to Mecca or the Kaaba shrine), Muhammad’s apparent confusion over the Jewish Patriarchal lineage, as well as his fundamental misunderstanding of the Trinity as a polytheistic form of human worship).  We simply will not have time to delve into all Islamic divergences from the true and living Word of GOD, however,  in order to understand the nature of the dilemma, we also need to have an appreciation for the depth of the textual disagreement and subsequent ideological diversions.

Similar to the narrative about the Muslim and Christian religious systems being similar, so too do we hear comparisons made between their central figures: Muhammad, the messenger of Allah (hence, Islam); and Jesus Christ, the Son of GOD, Messiah, and foundation of the Christian faith.  To say that Jesus and Muhammad are diametrically opposed is a colossal understatement.  In Muhammad’s sacred text, that he claims is from Allah himself, he commands death or dismemberment to unbelievers in no fewer than 109 Surah (verses).  Islam, like Christianity, is not widely studied or well understood by its (~1.6 billion) followers.[11]  This might come as a shock to some, since Islam is heavily legalistic and focused on regimented prayer and recitation.  Most Muslims, however, get their “instructive” information from Imams and Clerics—who can mold the “truth” into any number of fashions that meet with their objectives.

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While most Muslims are required to recite surah (scriptures) from the Qur’an and litanies of prayers called “Salah[12],” few are either able or permitted to exegete the holy texts themselves.  If they did, they might be surprised with what they find.  And, like other cultic systems (i.e., Jehovah’s Witnesses), adherents of Islam are admonished to study the texts on their own, without “expert” assistance, lest they become “confused” and back-peddle in their faith.  Cultic religious movements rarely withstand thorough academic scrutiny, and Islam is case-in-point.  As a way for cults to attempt to thwart unwanted inquiry, they routinely engage in acts of intimidation or threats of retribution.  In the West, we now see any intellectually honest critique of Islam attacked by groups like CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) as “hate speech,” “racism” or the new catch-all epithet, “Islamophobia.”[13]

According to Nabeel Qureshi, in his book, “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus,”[14]  the devout Muslim-turned-Christian convert makes compelling cases for believing the Biblical New Testament record, which was written by eyewitness accounts to the ministry of Jesus within 70 years of his death and resurrection—as opposed to Islam, where no corroborating account of Muhammad’s life would be written until more than two centuries after his death.
Additionally,  he forcefully lays out what he refers to as the “Islamic dilemma.”  Muslims who look at their faith honestly, with the same academic rigors with which they scrutinize Christianity, will find the following dilemma:  1) There is no historical foundation in Muhammad for a “real faith” commitment.  Intellectually honest scholars must either concede that the sources of their beliefs in Muhammad were written by people who did not witness the events,  hundreds of years following the events for any of it to be historically reliable; or  2) The historical foundation is accurate.  If they accept the Hadith’s account and  insist that the writings were reliable in depicting the life of Muhammad, then they are left accepting the unconscionable accounts of violence, sex slavery, and dehumanizing brutality—thereby, rejecting the notion that he was a prophet of GOD.[15]

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Although the maximally all-powerful deity, Allah, bears some isolated similarities to the GOD of Moses, the aggregate picture is not of the same being.  This will be covered in some detail in a future installment, exposing the inexplicable disparity between GOD of the Bible and Allah.

One of the greatest challenges that Christians have is to sift through the warring factions of  rhetorical flourishing to get to the truth about the prophet of Islam.  Non-believers are attacked for even attempting a dialogue about Muhammad, and the majority of Westerners are contented knowing nothing—for fear of saying the wrong thing.  The truth is, we must know the truth, because Islam is here on our soil and in our classrooms, and we collectively don’t have the will as a society to say that it is harmful and antithetical to our way of life.  Allah is acknowledged by most Muslim scholars to simply be a variant of “Elohim,” which was a name for GOD, commonly used in the Hebrew Bible.  The etymological differences in modern parlance aside, the two names—Yahweh & Allah—are intended to refer to the same maximal deity, the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent originator of space and time.  However, the character and nature of GOD is depicted in highly disparate manners in the Christian Bible and Qur’an, respectively.

First, we must acknowledge that all three so-called “Abrahamic” faiths share the common adherence to a monotheistic philosophy that drives their respective ethics.  Certainly, the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament is acknowledged by all three faiths.  Similarly, Hellenistic influences and Zoroastrianism were later infusions into the development of the societies that evolved with the foundational underpinnings of these respective religious systems.  But, is Allah really Yaweh?  We may start where we have unanimous agreement and undoubtedly, common ground: monotheism and resultant ethical systems.

Monotheism and ethics require each other, neither can be reduced to the other, nor is the one hostile to the other.  Their relationship is best characterized by the Platonic concept of the unity of virtues—the virtues reinforce each other, but each remains distinct and rests on the idea of GOD as paramount value concept.  Monotheism is not just the belief in a single GOD, but rather the decision to see “in GOD’s unity the unity of all that is affirmative—beauty and truth, life and creativity.”[16] The ethical imperative of monotheism is thus the boundless command to pursue GOD’s perfection, to bring out in ourselves all the good, and all the holiness, that we can.[17]

So, monotheism provides us a strong common thread between Islam, Christianity and Judaism.  But, where the aforementioned diverge is where significant problems occur, lest we as Christians do a better job at proclaiming the only objective truth—the exclusive “Sola Christa” path to salvation.  Accordingly, we have to be willing to avow that the nature and characteristics ascribed to Allah in Islamic teachings bear little resemblance to GOD of the Bible.  The following is excerpted from Daniel Janosik, Adjunct Faculty (Apologetics), Columbia International University, who perfectly states the dilemma:

“Some scholars want to emphasize the similarities between Yahweh and Allah, and point to a common belief in a monotheistic God who is Creator of all things, omnipotent and merciful. Both religions also claim that God has sent prophets to reveal His will and produce scriptures to guide our lives. However, Allah and Yahweh cannot refer to the same person for the following reasons. First of all, their attributes are different. In Allah’s monadic oneness his attributes stem from his powerful Will which, because it provides no basis for relationship, often promotes capriciousness. Also, since his power is more important than his other attributes, there is an unequal emphasis on power over his other attributes. In the end, a follower cannot know God or even be sure of the consistency of his attributes. On the other hand, because Yahweh is by nature a triune unity his attributes stem from his nature. The eternal relationship within the Trinity promotes love within the Godhead and extends to his creation. Also, since his attributes are based on his unchanging nature rather than his powerful will, all his attributes are equal and promote trustworthiness rather than capriciousness. This means that believers can know God and be sure of his attributes. Second, Christians understand the nature of God to be triune (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), which is the only way that Jesus Christ, as the second person of the Trinity, could die on the cross to pay for our sins. If Jesus were not God himself, then his death on the cross would be meaningless. However, Muslims deny that Jesus died on the cross and they reject the belief in his resurrection from the dead. Only a triune God, defined as one essence and three persons, could become incarnate and still remain God of the universe, and yet this is the God that Muslims reject. For them, Jesus cannot be God nor can God be a Father, for he cannot have a son. Therefore, if Muslims reject God as the Father of Jesus, then Allah cannot be the same as the God of the Bible.”[18]

  1. Implications: Strife, Coexistence or Engagement

In his book, “Seeking Allah; Finding Jesus,” Nabeel Quereshi outlines an interesting, if not surprising dichotomy of ethical interpretations and learning styles across Eastern and Western cultures.  He sums it up as cultural challenges between East (honor-shame cultures) and West (innocence-guilt cultures).[19]

Clearly, there are significant ethical, sociological and behavioral paradigms that widen the chasm between the faiths.  Quereshi does lend some credence to the popular notion that “if we allow these foreign cultures to assimilate into Western societies, they will conform to our traditions, system of laws and generalized sensibilities.  This, of course, remains up for debate, as we see continuously the hardliner Muslims who refuse assimilation and insist on maintaining rigid observance of Sharia law, for example.  Whether we are a melting pot, a stew or a salad, depends upon whom you ask.  So, even if the cultural “honor/shame” vs “guilt/innocence” differences can be resolved or summarily “smoothed out,” we would still be left with the dichotomous religious underpinnings that do not dissolve away so easily.

Others completely reject this affront to their sacred teachings, in light of the bold and pronounced contradictions in Islam’s biblical revisionism and their wholesale rejection of the gospel message (sola fide, sola gratia, sola scriptura, etc.).   In short, Islam contains just enough grains of veracity so that it appears to many as true.  The author(s) and scribes of the Qur’an coopted shreds of knowledge from the Torah, Talmud and reputable 7th-century sources, passing it off as their own.  Platonic and Hebrew thought, i.e., in the form of manuscripts, were now in wide circulation and regarded by the learned in Meccan culture as laudable, if not authoritative.  Similarly, Christianity was already 600+ years along by the time Muhammad was born, so the missionary message of the gospel was gaining in popularity and would have been accessible for easy plagiarism.

Muhammad sought ecumenism with Christians and Jews before his message was rejected.  Then, he was bent on subjugation and conquest (despite insistence by CAIR and others that it was peace he sought), we see evidence throughout the Hadith of his attempt to gain adherents by conforming aspects of his ideological treatise to those of local conventions (i.e., number of wives one could take), thereby, eliminating any credible claim that these decrees were given by divine revelation[20].  Further undermining the Qur’an, countless contradictory passages in the Qur’an are abrogated and replaced by “later” proclamations.  However, the Qur’an is NOT in chronological order, so these claims are not easily substantiated by those without a degree in Islamic Studies and a mastery of cross-references to the Hadiths.   If nothing else, these complexities provide Islamic apologists “cover” when challenged on contradictions:  they can simply obfuscate inconsistencies with artful sophistry and diversion.

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Islam isn’t just a “little bit” different from Christianity; it is inexorably incompatible—especially on a soteriological level—which is essentially the “sine quo non,” if you will, for most practicing Christians and Muslims.  If one takes the time to get beneath the topical, generalized similarities and down to salvific precepts, there is no denying the consequential ramifications of presuming there to be defensible agreement between the divine gospel message of biblical scripture with the Qur’an’s ideological and soteriological departures.

In short, salvation in Christianity requires redemptive grace by faith and denies works-righteousness to be sufficient on the presupposition that “ no one is holy, no, not one (Romans 3:10).”  Islam, conversely, believes that good Muslims are sufficiently holy.  Sharia is purely based upon works-righteousness and keeping the Sufi, by observing ritualistic cleansing and prayers  in a rigorous litany of atoning work.  In Islam judgment will be subject to  the “scales of justice” (i.e., as in, simply do more “good” deeds than “evil” deeds).  There is no concept of original sin, and each  person can please Allah through his own atonement, and if a (capricious) Allah feels like admitting one to paradise, then he is good-to-go.  Similarly, another way of tipping the “scales” under Islam would be to martyr oneself in an act of jihad.   There is no grace, no substitutionary atonement, no imputed righteousness; Each will stand before GOD in judgment, hoping that his works are sufficient..

With these stark differences that exist between Islam and Christianity, it becomes close to inconceivable to find a version of Christianity that is acceptable to Muslim ears or a version of Islam that Christians can accept.  By the very nature of the dilemma, the two faiths are mutually exclusive.  Both can be wrong, but only one can be right.  So, where do we go from here?

  1. Conclusion: What to Do About It?

Christians and Muslims can agree on this:  there is only one truth.  Both can be wrong, but only one can be right.  If interfaith prayer breakfasts and invocations were going to mend fences, they would have had some effect by now toward better relations.

Further, there is no Islamic reformation on the horizon.  As surely as Christianity has its share of tepid humanists and gospel-diluting ear-ticklers among its ranks, it is less likely that enough such “progressive” Muslims will have any effect on reforming oppressive aspects of Sharia justice or softening positions on women’s rights—such that we may find ecumenical common ground.  You simply cannot dilute either faith to a point where there is mutual satisfaction, while still preserving the integrity of the respective orthodoxies.  Islam still denies the deity of Christ, and Christianity still asserts a triune Godhead.  Islam will always proclaim the Holy Trinity as polytheistic and Christians as idolaters who worship a man.  Islam denies the singular tenet of the Christian faith that we hold dear and on which, we shall never compromise—the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior!

Christians should, therefore, NOT look to resolve differences through polite ecumenism and appeasement; but rather, by respectful and resolute rejection of the Qur’an and Islam through engaged dialogue, apologetic debate and ministry.  Christians have to be resolutely convinced: Islam is not true.  The Qur’an is a syncretic stew of incomplete thoughts and randomly assembled religious concepts and statutes.  It ignores the entire ministry of Jesus and salvation by grace, yet claims to uphold Jesus as a prophet?  There is no mention of grace in the Qur’an, and there is no concept of man’s fallen nature, nor faith in Christ’s atonement for our sins and his righteousness imputed to us for our justification and redemption.  Yet, Jesus is a principal prophet of Islam?  It would be nonsensical if it weren’t so serious an error.


Islam is a dangerous religion; it is a damnable lie. It is dangerous because it teaches that hate comes from a capricious and unpredictable GOD.  It is disrespectful to the Lord, our savior, as it withholds deserved praise and glory to Him, thus, depriving humanity the Light of the World.  These “nuances” that secularists would choose to minimize actually amount to an eternal consequence, lest  anyone should speak to the contrary.  Christianity teaches that love comes from GOD, and we can have a relationship with him.  The Bible glorifies the Son of GOD, as we are commanded to do.  Christianity gives mankind the assurance of eternal life—not some vague notion of paradise if we are able to satisfy the creator through legalism and works.[21]

Neither side is ever going to be satisfied with the secularist and universalist line that all Abrahamic lineages share a path to salvation and  GOD’s pleasure and satisfaction.  This is the good news, as it applies to Islamic-Christian relations, if we are willing to start there.  But, we haven’t yet, as Christians fulfilling the Great Commission.  We must not merely agree to disagree.  That is simply not acceptable to either camp, and it is surely NOT acceptable to GOD Almighty.  There is only one truth, and we are both in search of that truth.

Pursuit of a singular truth is a starting point for dialogue—if apologists in both schools can participate in a highly visible forum and accept the consequences when received by the masses.  Through intellectual inquiry and by acknowledging a singular truth, alone, we share far more in common with intellectual Muslims, than either secularists or universalists, who push for dilution in order to achieve a mutual acceptance of each other’s salvific path.  Their Pollyanna view of the simplicity of our mutual or “shared” theology is a non-starter for any serious theologically minded Muslim or Christian.

As a Christian, I can state unequivocally that I have virtually no shared theology of any serious consequence with the  Muslim faith—outside of the “one GOD” presupposition.  We agree on monotheism, but other than that, their version of Christology is not only flawed, it is damnable, in no uncertain terms.  Therefore, it is incumbent upon me as a disciple of Christ to confront Islam head-on with a rebuttal and alternative.  The gospel’s message of freedom through Christ alone—instead of in the law and legalistic ritual—is one of hope for the lost.  The message of mercy instead of retribution is one that converts skeptics.  The message of hope instead of fear can change the world.

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As we know, love and tolerance are not the same.  If we are “tolerant” of Islam, then we are to consign the lost to damnation.  That kind of apathy is antithetical to love.  Muslims want to please GOD; they are just on the wrong path.   They have been led astray, and their entire culture is built around perpetuating the myth of Islam.  It is an oppressive and dysfunctional industrial and military complex that does not permit intellectual inquiry or discussion beyond its self-imposed boundaries.  If there is one benefit to having Muslims here in the West, it is that we can reach them.

The answer is given by the testimony of Paul, in Galatians 2:20:

“The life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of GOD, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”[22]

Muslims know absolutely nothing of the good news—unless we are to tell them.  We must say to our Muslim brothers and sisters that this is what the apostle and the Lord himself are calling you to do: to see the depths of the love of Christ for you. To believe the love that he has for you. And to send the roots of your life down, down, down into this bottomless love.

Remember, Muslims revere Jesus; they are just loathe to what they perceive as a blasphemous, weak and tepid version of Christianity in the apostate Western culture.  And, despite, perhaps, a general sense that they are hostile to Christians, they generally enter an encounter with us with the exact same enthusiastic mindset—to convert and save the lost.  The ethical imperative is, therefore, not to get lost in frustrating or futile interfaith efforts to find common ground.  We must trust in the inerrant, infallible Word of GOD and share the full, unadulterated truth of the gospel with the lost followers of Islam.

“6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!  10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  (Galatians 1:6-8, NIV)[23]


 Bibliography

 Ajaj, Azar. “Is the God of the Bible the Same as the God of the Quran?” Philos Project, January 20, 2016. https://philosproject.org/is-the-god-of-the-bible-the-same-as-the-god-of-the-quran/.

“Anscombe, G. E. M. | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.” Accessed October 30, 2016. http://www.iep.utm.edu/anscombe/#H6.

“Articles by David Wood.” Accessed November 1, 2016. http://answeringislam.org/Authors/Wood/index.htm.

Baggett, David, and Jerry L Walls. Good God: The Theistic Foundations of Morality. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Beeston, A. F. L. “The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Isḥāq’s [Sic] Sīrat Rasūl Allah by Ibn Hishām, A. Guillaume.” Edited by Ibn Hishām and A. Guillaume. The Journal of Theological Studies 8, no. 1 (1957): 218–218.

“Bible Gateway Passage: Galatians 1 – New International Version.” Bible Gateway. Accessed December 7, 2016. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+1&version=NIV.

“Bible Gateway Passage: Galatians 2 – New International Version.” Bible Gateway. Accessed December 7, 2016. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+2&version=NIV.

“Binghamton University – History Department: Resources: Journal of History.” Accessed December 7, 2016. https://www.binghamton.edu/history/resources/journal-of-history/david-levine.html.

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Ethics. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2015. http://public.eblib.com/choice/PublicFullRecord.aspx?p=4396247.

“Comparing the Best Arguments for Islam and Christanity.” Accessed November 1, 2016. http://answeringislam.org/Authors/Wood/best_argument.htm.

“Cynthia Cohen | Brandeis University.” Accessed November 1, 2016. https://www.brandeis.edu/ethics/about/bios/ccohen.html.

“Deceptive God, Incompetent Messiah: What Islam Really Teaches About Allah and Jesus.” Accessed November 1, 2016. http://answeringislam.org/Authors/Wood/deceptive_god.htm.

“Divine Command Theory | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.” Accessed October 30, 2016. http://www.iep.utm.edu/divine-c/.

Duderija, Adis. “Progressive Muslims,” n.d.

———. “Progressive Muslims—Defining and Delineating Identities and Ways of Being a Muslim.” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 30, no. 1 (March 2010): 127–36.

———. “The Imperatives of Progressive Islam (Synopsis),” n.d.

Ehrman, Bart D. Did Jesus Exist? : The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth. New York: HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2013.

Garrison, V. David. A Wind in the House of Islam : How God Is Drawing Muslims around the World to Faith in Jesus Christ. Monument, CO: WIGTake Resources, 2014.

Geisler, Norman L. Christian Ethics. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1989.

Goldman, Elizabeth. Believers : Spiritual Leaders of the World. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Groothuis, Douglas R. Christian Apologetics : A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith. Downers Grove, Ill.; Nottingham, England: IVP Academic ; Apollos, 2011.

Koenraad, Hans. “THE QUR’AN DISQUALIFIES MUHAMMAD AS A PROPHET OF THE TRUE GOD.” THE DAWN AWAITS, June 16, 2016. https://thedawnawaits.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/the-quran-disqualifies-muhammad-as-a-prophet-of-the-true-god/.

———. “Hubal: The Pagan Progenitor of Muhammad’s Allah.” THE DAWN AWAITS, August 24, 2016. https://thedawnawaits.wordpress.com/2016/08/24/hubal-the-pagan-progenitor-of-muhammads-allah/.

———. “Islam Is False.” THE DAWN AWAITS, March 22, 2016. https://thedawnawaits.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/islam-is-false/.

———. “Islamic Revisionism: Neither Abraham nor Ishmael Ever Went to Mecca.” THE DAWN AWAITS, June 16, 2016. https://thedawnawaits.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/did-abraham-or-ishmael-ever-go-to-mecca-2/.

———. “THE QUR’AN DISQUALIFIES MUHAMMAD AS A PROPHET OF THE TRUE GOD.” THE DAWN AWAITS, June 16, 2016. https://thedawnawaits.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/the-quran-disqualifies-muhammad-as-a-prophet-of-the-true-god/.

“ISIS Targets Children in Mosul with Teddy Bear Bombs.” Text.Article. The Sun, October 31, 2016. http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/10/31/isis-targets-children-in-mosul-with-teddy-bear-bombs.html.

“Islam | Dr. Justin Imel, Sr.” Accessed October 31, 2016. http://drjustinimelsr.com/category/islam/.

“Islam: The Politically Incorrect Truth.” Accessed December 8, 2016. http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/.

“Islam’s Religious War with Everyone.” Frontpage Mag, April 21, 2014. http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/223841/islams-religious-war-everyone-daniel-greenfield.

“Islam’s Religious War with Everyone.” Frontpage Mag, April 21, 2014. http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/223841/islams-religious-war-everyone-daniel-greenfield.

Janosik, Daniel. “Is Allah of Islam the same as Yahweh of Christianity?” Text. Columbia International University, December 13, 2010. http://www.ciu.edu/content/allah-islam-same-yahweh-christianity.

“Khan Academy.” Khan Academy. Accessed November 1, 2016. http://www.khanacademy.org.

Langermann, Y. Tzvi. “Introduction to Monotheism and Ethics,” 2008.

MailOnline, By Jennifer Newton for. “Koran Thought to Be the Oldest in the World Could Predate Muhammad.” Mail Online, August 31, 2015. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3216627/Koran-Birmingham-thought-oldest-world-predate-Prophet-Muhammad-scholars-say.html.

Maranville, Cecil. “The Kingdom of God: The Heart of Christ’s Message.” Text. United Church of God, December 6, 1997. https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/the-kingdom-of-god-the-heart-of-christs-message.

“Muhammad.” Wikipedia, October 29, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Muhammad&oldid=746808440.

“Muhammad | Define Muhammad at Dictionary.com.” Accessed October 29, 2016. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/muhammad.

Nye, Catrin. “Islamophobic Tweets ‘Peaked in July.’” BBC News, August 18, 2016, sec. Europe. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37098643.

Philpott, Kent. “ISLAM–THE WORLD’S LARGEST CULT.” Accessed October 31, 2016. http://www.w3church.org/ISLAM1.html.

“Preview of Ethics [Steelman Library].” Accessed October 29, 2016. https://seu.worldcat.org/title/ethics/oclc/925497168/viewport.

Prosor, Ron. “The Middle East War on Christians.” Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2014, sec. Opinion. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303630904579417482632439814.

Quereshi, Nabeel. A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity : A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity. Zondervan, 2014.

———. Answering Jihad. Zondervan Pub. House, 2016.

———. No God but One : Allah or Jesus? Zondervan Pub. House, 2016.

“Questioning Islam.” Goodreads. Accessed October 31, 2016. http://www.goodreads.com/work/best_book/42190025-questioning-islam-tough-questions-honest-answers-about-the-muslim-rel.

Rae, Scott B. Moral Choices: An Introduction to Ethics. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House, 2000.

Right, A. View from the. “Insight into Eastern vs. Western Thinking.” A View from the Right, January 12, 2015. http://aviewfromtheright.com/2015/01/11/insight-into-eastern-vs-western-thinking/.

Silas. “Jesus or Muhammad.” Accessed October 29, 2016. http://www.answering-islam.org/Silas/founders.htm.

Smith, Jane. “Muslim-Christian Relations: Historical and Contemporary Realities,” April 2, 2015. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780199340378.013.11.

Spencer, Robert. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). Washington, DC; Lanham, MD: Regnery Pub. ; Distributed to the Book trade by National Book Network, 2005.

Street, 1615 L., NW, Suite 800 Washington, and DC 20036 202 419 4300 | Main 202 419 4349 | Fax 202 419 4372 | Media Inquiries. “Appendix A: U.S. Muslims: Beliefs and Practices in a Global Context.” Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project, August 9, 2012. http://www.pewforum.org/2012/08/09/the-worlds-muslims-unity-and-diversity-appendix-a/.

“Surah Al-Ma’idah [5:75].” Surah Al-Ma’idah [5:75]. Accessed October 29, 2016. https://quran.com.

Swindoll, Charles R. Jesus : The Greatest Life of All. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008.

“The Articles of Faith.” Islamweb. Accessed November 1, 2016. http://www.islamweb.net/en/article/134429/the-articles-of-faith.

“The Damnable Lie of Islam | Dr. Justin Imel, Sr.” Accessed October 31, 2016. http://drjustinimelsr.com/2016/07/13/the-damnable-lie-of-islam/.

“The Depth of Christ’s Love: Its Cost.” Desiring God, March 26, 1995. http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/the-depth-of-christs-love-its-cost.

“The Earliest Complete Koran Manuscript in Existence in Museums Today Are Hundreds of Years after Muhammad Died:” Accessed November 14, 2016. http://www.bible.ca/islam/islam-myths-koran-manuscripts.htm.

Wainwright, William J. Philosophy of Religion. Routledge, 2009.

Wells, Samuel, and Ben Quash. Introducing Christian Ethics. John Wiley & Sons, 2010.

White, James R. What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Qur’an, 2013.

Wood, David. Jesus Owns Muhammad. YouTube. Acts17 Apologetics. Accessed October 31, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFo1JesYylQ.

“World’s Muslim Population Will Surpass Christians This Century, Pew Says.” NPR.org. Accessed October 30, 2016. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/04/02/397042004/muslim-population-will-surpass-christians-this-century-pew-says.

[1] Douglas R. Groothuis, Christian Apologetics : A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Downers Grove, Ill.; Nottingham, England: IVP Academic ; Apollos, 2011).  Pgs. 577-578

[2] Y. Tzvi Langermann, “Introduction to Monotheism and Ethics,” 2008.

[3] “ISIS Targets Children in Mosul with Teddy Bear Bombs,” Text.Article, The Sun, (October 31, 2016), http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/10/31/isis-targets-children-in-mosul-with-teddy-bear-bombs.html.

[4] “The Damnable Lie of Islam | Dr. Justin Imel, Sr.,” accessed October 31, 2016, http://drjustinimelsr.com/2016/07/13/the-damnable-lie-of-islam/.

[5] “Islam: The Politically Incorrect Truth,” accessed December 8, 2016, http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/.

[6] “Islam’s Religious War with Everyone,” Frontpage Mag, April 21, 2014, http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/223841/islams-religious-war-everyone-daniel-greenfield.

[7] Ron Prosor, “The Middle East War on Christians,” Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2014, sec. Opinion, http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303630904579417482632439814.

[8] Footnote: See refugee problem in Sweden: http://bit.ly/1Pn93r9

[9] By Jennifer Newton for MailOnline, “Qur’an Thought to Be the Oldest in the World Could Predate Muhammad,” Mail Online, August 31, 2015, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3216627/Qur’an-Birmingham-thought-oldest-world-predate-Prophet-Muhammad-scholars-say.html.

[10]“The Damnable Lie of Islam | Dr. Justin Imel, Sr.”

[11] Ibid.

[12] Footnote: Salaat (also: “Salah”)  is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.  It is an Islamic ritual prayer.  There are five daily calls to prayer at which Salah are recited.

[13] Catrin Nye, “Islamophobic Tweets ‘Peaked in July,’” BBC News, August 18, 2016, sec. Europe, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37098643.

[14] Nabeel. Quereshi, A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity : A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity. (Zondervan, 2014).  Pgs.  280-284

[15] Ibid.

[16] Langermann, “Introduction to Monotheism and Ethics.”

[17] Ibid.

[18] Daniel Janosik, “Is Allah of Islam the same as Yahweh of Christianity?,” Text, Columbia International University, (December 13, 2010), http://www.ciu.edu/content/allah-islam-same-yahweh-christianity.

[19] Quereshi, A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity : A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity.  Pg. 238

[20] Footnote:  In the Hadith, Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 5, Number 268, Muhammed was reputed to have as many as 11 wives, despite teaching in the Qur’an that four was the limit—and only when taking in orphans. Narrated by Qatada: Anas bin Malik said, “The Prophet used to have sexual intercourse with all his wives one after the other during the day and night and they were eleven in number.” I asked Anas, “Had the Prophet the strength for it?” Anas replied, “We used to say that the Prophet was given the strength of thirty (men).” And Sa’id said on the authority of Qatada that Anas had told him about nine wives only (not eleven).

[21] “The Damnable Lie of Islam | Dr. Justin Imel, Sr.”

[22] “Bible Gateway Passage: Galatians 2 – New International Version,” Bible Gateway, accessed December 7, 2016, https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+2&version=NIV.

[23] “Bible Gateway Passage: Galatians 1 – New International Version,” Bible Gateway, accessed December 7, 2016, https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+1&version=NIV.

Suffer For My Name Sake: Liberation Theology is NOT Christian

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INTRODUCTION

Social justice is the new prescription in academia for all societal ills. If we could just force everyone to acknowledge the institutionalized privilege and oppression that exists and then build an impenetrable wall of safe spaces and echo chambers around it, then we could begin a new path to racial harmony. If this were true, then Obama would have been more successful in promoting racial harmony and peace. To the contrary, and despite regressive ideological fascism suppressing opposing viewpoints, trigger warnings and “anti-racist” virtue signaling, the country is a toxic sludge that has never been more of a dystopic mess.

This aside, I truly made an effort to glean (any) redeeming value from this week’s assigned reading in my academic course of choice. However, my critique of Mark Lau Branson’s & Juan F. Martinez’s book, “Churches, Cultures & Leadership,” must necessarily be “critical,” for I disagreed with most of its pages, replete with the blood tinge of revolutions lost and tears of fitful liberation dreams. Supposedly a handbook for navigating the practical theology of interethnic and multicultural church missions, the authors use their platform for a commentary on societal history and culture in America.

Aside from the somewhat useful (prologue) chapters on the applied theories of practical theology, I only found the occasional Biblical reference or missiology anecdote helpful. In short, I fundamentally disagreed with the two authors’ seemingly aligned, but mutually  obstructed  worldviews with mischaracterizations.  This reader bristled throughout at the authors’ overly simplistic and even offensive depictions of “dominant” and “minority” cultures in order to frame cheap arguments for social justice. Presumably, I am of the terribly objectified former “dominant” class, and I grew weary of reading lines like:
“For many in the dominant culture, in which one element of the lifeworld is entitlement, this (ability to listen and “walk” under the worldview of others) can be a stressful experience.”

On page, 108, Branson’s segment dedicated to “Time and Progress” is so ridiculous, that I could devote the entire paper to dismantling his premise that Hebrew “linear time,” became the basis of a “social time” that is asynchronous “with nature and human beings.” This is absurd on so many levels. It’s about daylight; humans work in the light of day, and it does not conflict with our “human rhythms” not serve as the basis of “predictability” or for seizing “control.” He conflates the nature of temporal linearity with the West’s adaption of it under the so-called “Enlightenment’s framework of scientific rationalism.” Seriously? If the reader is able to parse that, the incoherence of Branson’s argument is on full display. After absorbing such facile and indulgent twaddle from that single page (p. 108), I continued reading ONLY for the satisfaction of the class assignment.

COMMENTARY
The clashes of civilizations throughout history are not simply racial nor ethnic as much as they are cultural and ideological . Cultures who adopted Christianity early are typically societies that have experienced greater degrees of societal achievement. This, in my opinion, is ostensible and empirical, hence, requiring no further citation. I got the sense throughout the book by Branson & Martinez, “Churches, Cultures & Leadership,” that European dominant culture was the object of derision and causation for many ethno-cultural dilemmas faced by the church body in Christ today.

Nations committed to a Christian ethic have been more likely to educate the masses, function economically, implement successful infrastructure for sustainable governmental constructs, educational systems and offer individual freedoms, religious liberties and ethical oversight. I am not a sociologist, but just on the surface, it would appear to be reasonable to assert that Judeo-Christian societies during the last two-thousand years have been more successful than non-Judeo-Christian societies. Okay, is that evidence that something is working, or on the contrary, evidence or greed, global conquest and colonialism? I suppose it depends on whom you ask?

To hear Branson and Martinez tell it—yet, never coming right out and admitting it—one would have to conclude the latter. There is an unmistakable suggestion throughout their book, “Churches, Cultures & Leadership,” that the multicultural divide in our communities and places of worship could be bridged if clergy was just able to accede to and adopt their premise of social justice and what I would define as “liberation theology.” The book also attempts to portray Western capitalism as the bane of the Christian ethic as selfish fulfillment and greed, at the expense of the poor and needy. For example, we see the passive aggression Martinez applies to American consumerism:
“Purchases are not driven by need or larger social goods…Politically, this means a constant push toward individual rights over the value of family, minority groups or other social structures.”

While I found their Biblical references to be contextual and their handbook-like instruction on practical theology valid, I could not escape their incessant, if not nagging, assertions about Euro-American privilege. If I had more room in this literary critique, I would make a full case for how liberation theology is the root of perpetual strife in the body of Christ—not some noble reconciliation of our collective differences. Liberation theology is born out of Marxism, resistance, revolution and, frankly, everything else unchristian about South American Communist political movements. Thanks to the popular apostasy of Pope Francis, liberation theology is making quite the comeback. Francis rails against “triumphalism” and “fundamentalism,” in favor of modeling ourselves after Christ—which is laudable. However, the pope also encourages the church’s bishops to embrace a sort of religious populism by way of “a mystagogical catechesis that treasures the popular religiosity of the people.” This is fancy speak for accepting—if not adopting—the syncretic pagan cultural practices of indigenous peoples, along with sundry Marxist symbols that Francis himself has used.

Giving credence to institutional victimization and justified aggression against authority, as we see in social justice contexts, is actually antithetical to the example Christ set while his people were under strict Roman occupation and oppression. Liberation theology rhetoric does not help promote the message of Christ, which is crystal clear in its exhortation of us to “suffer for Christ’s sake.” While this is going to take up space in the paper, I am going to insert some verses to make this point: Acts 5:41
“So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.”

Acts 9:16
“for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

Romans 8:17
“and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”

Romans 8:36
“Just as it is written, “For your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

2 Corinthians 1:7
“and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.”

2 Corinthians 11:23
“Are they servants of Christ?–I speak as if insane–I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death.”

Philippians 3:10
that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;”

2 Timothy 2:12
“If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us;”

Hebrews 11:25
“choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,”

James 5:10
“As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.”

1 Peter 2:20
“For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.”

1 Peter 3:14
“But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED,”

1 Peter 4:16
“but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.”

1 Peter 5:10
“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”

Matthew 5:11
“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.”

Matthew 10:22
“You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.”

Matthew 10:39
“He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”

Matthew 19:29
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.”

1 Corinthians 4:10
“We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.”

2 Corinthians 4:5
For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.”

2 Corinthians 4:11
“For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

2 Corinthians 12:10
“Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Philippians 1:29
“For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake…”

Further, rebuking individuals today for the past wrongs of “groups,” to which they may or may not have any discernible tie or link, is not a place where healing can begin. Nor is it even sensible to begin conversations of “reconciliation” from a presupposition that arbitrary aspersions need be cast or where racial or ethnic boundaries need be drawn. It is far preferable to get past tribal divisions and on with our shared freedom in Christ. In Christ, we already have everything in common, so we should be focused on Christ alone and not splitting hairs about past imperialism or colonialism. Human migration out of Africa thousands of years ago is complex, and rife with stories of conquest with unfair treatment of the vanquished and the subsequent commandeering of their lands and treasure. It is no more helpful to refight the Indian-American wars than it is to contemplate the justification or criminality of the Roman sacking and pillaging of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Christ prophesied about it; he didn’t try to prevent it. Nor did he try and construe justification or reparations for the peoples trampled and/ or displaced by the Jewish territorial conquest of Palestine. Neither did Christ ever rail against the unfair treatment of Israel by its Roman oppressors. To the contrary, he taught people to accept their lot with humility and thanksgiving. Egalitarianism is not taught anywhere in the Bible. Consider the Parable of the Talents or even the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. The former is a complete repudiation of the notion that we are all given the same lot in life—or should feel entitled to same.

The book chooses to oversimplify Western culture as one where we naively presuppose egalitarianism to be a “given” and a forgone conclusion. Branson and Martinez both fail to distinguish between “equality of opportunity” and “equality of outcome.” The former is, indeed, the aspiration of the United States of America, however, realistically, it is impossible to ensure for every individual, across 50 States and 16 territories spanning the globe. If we are “egalitarian”, then the authors characterize the rest of the world as “hierarchal.” And, while I get their gist, I believe it can be better characterized as East ( honor-shame cultures) versus West ( innocence-guilt cultures). Democracy and individualism in the form of individual liberty is no longer the exclusive domain of America. Much of the world has been inspired to embrace democratic liberty. However, few Americans are deluded into thinking that our democratic way of life translates into “equality of outcome” in all aspects of society—whether in level of education, socioeconomic status, etc.—is ever going to be achieved. Moreover, it will not be enabled by social justice warriors sowing resentment either. The goal must be love and charity, to help our less fortunate neighbors, in the name of Christ!

Few would argue that people have not been endowed by their Creator with highly unequal gifts–whether innate talents, material wealth, genetic predispositions, academic, physical or spiritual in nature. Nothing is equitable, and nothing is fair. Further, it is fallacious and divisive to keep trying to ascribe racial explanations for everything. For starters, few of us have any “pure” racial or ethnic composition about which anyone should presume to stereotype or generalize. I am some mix of mostly unknown Northern European ethnicities, and I resent being labeled “white” or categorized into a bucket so that some PhD somewhere can draw obtuse and overly simplistic inferences about my “privilege,” when they have no idea what struggles or injustice I have endured
The very foundation of liberation theology is anathema to the ethic of “judge not, that ye not be judged!” (Matthew 7:1-3). The generalizations about societies of oppressors and the oppressed make no provision for the charitable actions of the church and its people within those broad groups.

Branson and Martinez do correctly identify the West’s tendency to value individualism. This is no accident nor coincidence, because valuing individualism is Christian, I would argue. We are each going to be judged—not on our association with a group—but on our own fruits. Christ tried to teach valuing each person–regardless of tribe or creed.
Branson & Martinez pay lip service to multicultural love and respect, while simultaneously perpetuating feelings of hurt and resentment for past cultural wrongs, calling continuous attention to perceived injustices committed by people none of us knew, nor to whom most of us bear any relation. For example, only 4.8% of Southerners ever owned slaves, and most of the country are predominately descendants of immigrants who came to America post-slavery. In fact, most whites by a large margin are descendants of people who immigrated here since Westward migration and since slavery was abolished.
I tried to empathize and appreciate the authors’ perspectives, but as soon as I was nodding in the affirmative, there came my visceral aversion to the undercurrent of racial and ethnic injustice and the false notion that justice must be achieved in order to bridge divides in our churches. Christ never taught that worldly justice was a prerequisite to loving one another, nor worshipping together. If people choose to worship GOD in ways that celebrate their own culture and traditions, then let them. Similarly, if I choose to do that, it doesn’t make me racist. Martinez feels the need to reference the South’s racism and incapacity to treat everyone as equals.

I was always taught that we should appreciate and learn about other cultures, but not necessarily feel obligated to assimilate to them, nor to graft them into our own culture. Society is now almost unanimous in popular culture that “Americanism” is wrong. Colonialism was wrong. Missiology and evangelism to indigenous people was wrong. Columbus coming to America was wrong. And, most importantly, patriotism today is wrong, if not racist. It is now in vogue to promote guilt and shame for people of lighter complexions with allegations of “white privilege.” It is nauseating and it sounds awesome to some minority groups, like Black Lives Matter, who clang the noisy liberation gong together in solidarity. The underclasses seem to unite in their opposition to what they perceive as “white culture.” For one, it is American culture, not “white” culture. Of course, Martinez was careful to avoid being that overt in his characterization, instead, defaulting to a more euphemistic code word, “Euro-American.”

Mr. Martinez admits his own indignation and refusal to fully assimilate into mainstream America, yet, he then also reserves the contradictory right to complain that non-assimilating groups do not share in the equal fruits available to those who do assimilate. The same generally could be said for many of the (usually) second-generation immigrants to the West, who sometimes seem to lose their parent’s passion and appreciation for being in America.

Like I used to tell my grandmother who loved to complain about her aches and pains, while refusing to take her medicine: “Grandma, you forfeit your right to complain when you refuse to do what your doctor has prescribed of you.” Earlier, I made reference to the Roman siege of Jerusalem. Had I been alive and wanted to participate in the Roman economy under Titus, I would have assimilated as best as possible–not whined about their pillaging and plundering and expected good things to come of it?

If the point is that if missiologists from other ethnicities feel compelled to reach the disenfranchised or the ethnically dissimilar, then a realistic expectation is required to explain the misfortune disparities with mainstream culture.

It is fantastic to imagine a multicultural world, where anyone can choose to remain within his/her cultural community and succeed on par with the mainstream. However, it is not that way here–or anywhere. If I were to move to China with no effort to learn the language nor assimilate into Chinese society, would it not be slightly disingenuous to then cry about the plight of expat Americans who didn’t speak Chinese and lived beneath the median standard of living?

Martinez echoes the all-too-common refrain of Latinos who like to take issue with the United States “moving its border over the Latino people,” thereby, shutting them out of lands that were rightly theirs. The narrative is shared by the social justice set who would like to reserve the right to complain about Euro-American imperialism until time immemorial. The only reason our National border seemingly divides the “haves from the have-nots” is not due to the intrinsic value of the real estate on our side, nor the ethnic composition thereof. The disparity is a result of what used to be our Christian-European culture on our side of the fence–the same culture , I again remind you, that is constantly assaulted for being unjust. Ironically, these charges are leveled by the same people whose parents risked possibly everything they had to get here.

I would not say that there have been no inequity, nor that certain atrocities were not committed by European settlers. However, the same refrain of sad dirges are sung around the world, amid the dual fallacy of the non-Euro ethnicities: 1) Europeans brought wealth and trade that other groups wanted to participate in (and still do); and 2) Europeans brought Christianity to the far reaches of the world–to peoples who might never have, otherwise, received the good news of the gospel. I was raised in a public school system that taught us to be grateful and proud to be American. Now, that exact same school system teaches my children to be ashamed of it.

So, where does Christianity and mission-mindedness come into play? Well, for starters, there is no egalitarianism taught in the gospel; there is no expectation of “justice” in the fallen world. To the contrary, the author of our faith was treated savagely and punished mercilessly for crimes he didn’t commit. Eleven of the 12 apostles were also executed for their faith—at the end of tireless, thankless perseverance in the evangelism and ministry of Jesus Christ. And, Christians today want to whine about injustice? If anything, the New Testament is an unequivocal rejection of social justice. Our job as Christians and ministers is to teach one another to focus on the Kingdom of GOD and to cast aside our worldly lot. We should make sure that our neighbors are helped up if they stumble, but nowhere is it taught that people who tend to the fields should fight for a seat at their master’s table or collect welfare and expect to have a large home in a gated community.

All of the trappings of modern society are irrelevant to what Christians are called to do for the good of GOD’s kingdom. Martinez and Branson would have been well-advised to focus on this spirit of perseverance in the face of great trial and tribulation, and their book would have spoken with greater credibility to at least this reader and engendered more reconciliation and harmony for our common cause in Christ.

Faux-Conservatism Alive and Well at Sydney University

This is my new favorite blog. Brilliant writing here. Luke Torrisi, bravo mate!

S y d n e y T r a d s

button - quote - flemming - new right papersEvery so often I am provided with a piece of writing, where the author purports to be a “conservative”, so that I may offer comment as to its bona fides. The state of popular conservatism being what it is, particularly among the student population, I have become accustomed to being presented with confused pieces where the authors produce a milieu of neo-conservatism and classic liberalism, spiced up with a few libertarian impulses for good measure. However, this time I have been asked to comment upon one of the most nauseatingly misguided pieces of writing I have ever had to comment upon, so-much-so that it serves as a useful example of what young conservatives on campus should use as a guiding example of what to avoid.

The piece entitled “Islam and Islamophobia in Australia”, published in Sydney University’s Conservative Club journal The Sydney Tory1 is wonderfully instructive in exposing everything…

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Hubal: The Pagan Progenitor of Allah

DO NOT BE DECEIVED, CHRISTIANS & MUSLIMS!

Most Muslims are completely unaware of the dark secrets of Islam, such as the egregious one on which we will concentrate here.

As we have shared previously, Islam is verily a syncretic stew of religious concepts derived from Judaism, Gnostic Christian tales, Greek philosophy, and other texts found in 7th-Century Arabia. The Qur’an is an incoherent rant of legalistic mandates and professions of glory centering around a supreme deity, “Allah.” In this text, we will attempt to prove that the basis for Allah in the Qur’an was fashioned out of the pagan god of Muhammad’s father, “Hubal,” which was also the principal idol of pre-Islamic times in Mecca (for some, aka. Makkah). *And, Hubal was the only idol in the Kaaba shrine that Muhammad did not destroy.

This is preposterous, say the Muslims. Muhammad was “Abrahamic;” he worships the same GOD as the Jews and Christians!  Well, that was exactly what he needed you to believe, else, his story would have ended 1400 years ago. In order to confer some legitimacy to this “Allah,” he conflated the story of Mecca and the Kaaba with the Jewish Patriarchs and the GOD of Abraham and Moses. As discussed in our previous essay, “Did Abraham or Ishmael Ever Go to Mecca?, we offered renunciation to the myth that ties “Ibrahim” to the Kaaba. In ~1500 BC, at the approximate time of Abraham, Mecca didn’t exist. Two millennia later, Muhammad would rewrite history and attempt to convince listeners that (at ~175 years-old) Abraham somehow crossed the hostile, barren desert with his then-banished bastard son, Ishmael, to establish the Kaaba on a sand dune in the middle of nowhere, and then cross back over the desert in time to die with his people in Canaan.  Ridiculous.  Case closed.

*Other reading on this subject: AnsweringIslam.org documented why we Christians reject the claim that the Meccan Arabs are descendents of Ishmael.In keeping with our assertions, we would also like to point out that the Holy Bible contradicts the Muslim assertion that the Ishmaelites were worshiping the true God Yahweh.  Click Here for Part 1 and Here for Part 2.

Most Muslims know nothing of the fatal errors in the Qur’an or the extra-Quranic ties to Hubal. The others who do know are not talking. The cultural cost of acknowledging Islam’s many falsities–including its pagan origin–is too great. Similar in many respects to Mormonism (another Biblically derived cult given by mysterious angelic revelation), Islam is a massive industrial and societal complex that spans the globe. Adherents are quick to counter any intellectual inquiry that disagrees with orthodoxy with retaliation and harm, as we see daily in the news. The fruits of this fanatical and fantastical religion are plain for all to see. Despite its countless flaws and demonstrable historical errors (i.e., denial of death, burial and resurrection of Christ), Muslims still maintain a position that “its verses are true and have remained intact since their original revelation by God (care of a frightening angel, no less, that seemingly possessed Muhammad to consider suicide).” Western Islamophiles in academia like Craig Considine of Rice University provide Islam the cover it needs to perpetuate these myths for its compulsive indoctrination.

Clearly, the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, was monotheistic in his outward zealotry and violence against all forms of paganism and polytheism. So, admittedly, at first blush, the notion of pagan origins seems ludicrous. However, it begins to make perfect sense when considering Muhammad’s interaction with Jews and Christians of his day, who would have naturally sought to discredit the pagan–if not polytheistic–practices by him, his family and friends through observation of Hubal at the Meccan pagan shrine, Kaaba, with the idolatrous Black Stone of Mecca–to which, all Muslims now face in prayer.

After being introduced to the Jewish GOD during his work as an illiterate camel herder turned caravan raider in Mecca, he realized that, surely, this “Elohim” of Jewish history must be the same deity to whom his father and grandfather prayed and worshipped. Certainly, Muhammad, a very proud man, could not be associated with the other villainous pagans! From this watershed moment, he set out on a mission to cohere his Arabian statue god with the almighty Elohim of the Torah in order to win converts. This would prove difficult among Christians and Jews, who were not as gullible as the less-informed Arab peasants, who would join his murderous spree and slaughter of children (See: Slaughter of the Banu Qurayza).

Until this time, Hubal was merely one of many pagan statues in the (now, most revered) shrine in Mecca, the Kaaba (also “Ka’bah). Muhammad famously sacked the Kaaba and destroyed all of the pagan idolatrous graven images, except for one, the god of his father’s tribe, “Hubal,” which is most commonly associated with the crescent moon.

In 1905, David Samuel Margoliouth wrote that “Between Hubal, the god whose image was inside the Ka’bah, and Allah (“the God”), of whom much will be heard, there was perhaps some connection.” Most Muslims are completely unaware of this alleged attribution of Allah to Hubal, because Imams and Sunni Clerics have spent centuries attempting to discredit and disavow any overt connection, for failure to acknowledge the Abrahamic lineage would blow Islam out of the water. The cultural cost of conceding pagan roots would be utter devastation. Similarly, anyone who dares to challenge Islam in such a manner, surely subjects himself to drastic measures of retribution. The cost to one’s credibility (and, assuredly, to one’s safety) for the intellectual war that would ensue deters many scholastic cowards in their craven silence.

Some of these (mostly secular progressives like Craig Considine of Rice University’s Islamic Studies) who take the path of least resistance, claim that Hubal as a moon (or rain) god only derives from the speculation of the German scholar Hugo Winckler in the early twentieth century. Flouting the lunar connection, writers like David Leeming and Mircea Eliade have also described him as a warrior and rain god, in an attempt to put some distance between Hubal and the lunar imagery.

Other recent Islamophiles and sympathetic secular historians accede to the Islamic narrative by not identifying Hubal as a god of the moon nor rain, nor progenitor to the concept of Allah. These voices prefer to promote Hubal as “Baal of the Moabites,” or simply another golden idol in the Kaaba with which Muhammad quickly and correctly dispatched to the unspeakable annals of pagan history.

Islamic sources make no mention of the moon in connection with Hubal, to no surprise, as the Quranic message is wholly based on a (purely fictitious) tie to Jewish patriarchal lineage and, thereby, a sound Biblical legacy that would fundamentally reject idolatry, polytheism and refute Muhammad’s previous pagan worship. It follows, so say Islamists, that the blatant moon association shared by both (contrived) “deities” should be shunted aside and disregarded as mere coincident. After all, the crescent moon and star of Islam corresponds “only to the lunar calendar” used since pre-Islamic times, thus, having nothing at all to do with the statue that also coincidentally bears a crescent moon inscription, (just exactly like the ones that bedeck the minarets of all mosques).

But, as honest historians acknowledge, it wasn’t coincidence at all, if Muhammad was raised in a tribe that revered Hubal–whether adorned with a crescent moon or without. The moon imagery is not the singular accessory that links Hubal to Muhammad, nor is it inextricably essential to the theory Hubal was originally conflated with Yaweh to lend some vague credence, so as to bolster Muhammad’s, otherwise, fanciful story.

Hisham Ibn Al-Kalbi’s Book of Idols describes the Hubal idol as a human figure with a gold hand (replacing the original hand that had broken off the statue). He had seven arrows that were used (for who knows what). More recent authors emphasize the Nabataean origins of Hubal as a figure imported into the shrine, which may have already been associated with Allah–which is, likewise, our position.

Farzana Hassan sees these views as an extension of longstanding Christian Evangelical claims that Islam is “pagan” and that Muhamamad was an impostor and deceiver, when he stated:

“Literature circulated by the Christian Coalition perpetuates the popular Christian belief about Islam being a pagan religion, borrowing aspects of Judeo-Christian monotheism by elevating the moon god Hubal to the rank of Supreme God, or Allah. Muhammad, for fundamentalist Christians, remains an impostor who commissioned his companions to copy words of the Bible as they sat in dark inaccessible places, far removed from public gaze.”

Christian missionaries have argued over many years that “Allah” of the Qur’an was in fact a pagan Arab “Moon god” of pre-Islamic times, so what we are putting forth herein is not original, neither is it late-breaking news for CAIR and its operatives to disavow. The primary proponent of this view early on was Robert Morey, and, along with his missionary brethren, he propagated these views extensively. So, why are you just now hearing about this? Simple: few have the brazen mettle to speak of such things.

So, we unequivocally affirm Morey’s assertion that Allah and Hubal are one and the same entity.

According to some Christian writers, Hubal is actually Baal (notoriously referenced in the Bible). By these accounts, “Hubal being the Arabic for the Hebrew HaBaal, hence,”the Baal.”” Some, like Timothy Dunkin, an ardent supporter of Morey, have even summoned ancient Arabic, as well as European, literature to show Hubal has been the basis for Allah all along. This is why defenders of Islam anxiously analyze Allah and Hubal from historical, lexical and archaeological points of view, in order to confound people with data dump paralysis. Conversely, we suggest that the merging of Allah from Hubal is not a complex science at all (it’s obvious), despite attempts to the contrary (like desperate attempts to question secular research and the authenticity of pagan archaeological discoveries, etc.).

Islamic apologists contend that fancy lexical and epigraphic studies have confirmed that Hubal and “Ha-Baal” are different deities, so therefore, Hubal also can’t be Allah. However, we are neither claiming nor disavowing the Baal—Hubal connection. It is unnecessary to cohere another pagan deity, Baal, with Hubal, for it is irrelevant to our claim, albeit a very interesting aside project.

Moreover, Islamic scholars and scribes in academia contend that essays like ours represent continuation of “defective academic trends observed in previous lunar reconstructions such as fabricating evidence, misquoting sources and inability to consistently cite the correct bibliographic references, etc. etc.” and should be disregarded.

Bringing these claims to bear is a bold action for some. As another Christian writer has written in defense of his research, for fear of reprisals:

“It is very unfortunate that the Qur’an contains many expressions that seem to indicate that an ‘in good faith’ rejection of Islam is impossible and that those who reject Islam are either ignorant or know its truth and reject it for their own spiteful reasons. Because of this ingrained belief, many Muslims immediately view a questioning of their faith as an aggressive personal attack by someone with a hidden agenda…It is hard to challenge this kind of deeply rooted notion.”

In closing, no amount of discredit, humiliation, threats of death nor libel shall deter us from sharing the Biblical truth, saving souls from the suffering and scourge of Islam, and illuminating the blatantly false books upon which it is all based.

…………………………………..

MYTHS: Jesus Never Existed

Skeptics and antitheists often like to jab about Christians believing in “mythology” with “imaginary friends.” I have been looking to curate historical evidence for the blog that goes beyond scripture and offers a rebuttal to the nonsense like, “Jesus didn’t even exist.”

Thankfully, I found Mr. Comfort’s research below that I believe we all will find helpful.

Ray Comfort's Daily Evidence

Surprisingly, some skeptics claim that Jesus didn’t exist, though to do so they have to reject the entire New Testament historical record. The New Testament contains hundreds of references to Jesus Christ, and in terms of ancient manuscript evidence, this is extraordinarily strong proof of the existence of a man named Jesus of Nazareth in the early first century A.D.

While skeptics may choose to reject the Bible’s moral message, they cannot deny its historical accuracy. Over 25,000 archaeological finds demonstrate that the people, places, and events mentioned in the Bible are real and are accurately described. No archaeological finding has ever refuted the Bible. In fact, the descriptions in the Bible have often led archaeologists to amazing discoveries. Non-Christian journalist Jeffery Sheler, author of the book Is the Bible True?, concluded, “In extraordinary ways, modern archeology is affirming the historical core of the Old and New Testaments, supporting…

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Woe to the Posers?

We need to mean what we say and say what we mean.

“‘Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. ‘So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. ‘And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:1-8‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬
http://bible.com/113/mat.6.1-8.nivuk

Jesus Will Judge the World!

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 The people of every nation will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right but the goats on his left.

34 “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, my Father has blessed you! Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me into your home. 36 I needed clothes, and you gave me something to wear. I was sick, and you took care of me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

Matthew 25:31-36