UI – Part 192 – Church vs. Mosque
Places of Worship are an interesting concept. What is implied or comes to mind when you contemplate a Place of Worship? Give this some thought. For me I see a gathering of like-minded people and seekers anxious to learn and improve their knowledge on that which they worship. By definition “worship’ is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. Deity implies God. But for some it may be the supernatural in an unknown form they call what they prefer, be it Allah, Nature, or a Meme of a personal choosing. It is holy, divine, or sacred to the worshipper.
God and Allah
The Muslims in addition to Allah as uncreated see the Quran as uncreated, and the self-proclaimed Prophet Muhammad as one to be idolized and used as a personal example. There is but one god, Allah, yet the others (Quran and Muhammad) carry much weight as idols for which they, Muslims, are willing to commit the most unrighteous of acts of destruction towards those that would persecute, or doubt, object, deny, discourage acceptance or even depict images that are contrary to the established belief of the Muslim. When they gather to worship they praise Allah and the Messenger, but also take the words written in the Quran to heart in displaying hatred towards those who would deny their ideology.
The Christian has but one God, even though that is not what the Islamic Scripture claims, whose saving Grace through his representative on earth provides forgiveness for all Believers in Christ. As a believer one is then filled with the Holy Spirit, and can feel God’s presence in his life. It becomes the light that shines on his soul that guides those accepting and thankful of the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of each of us to look ahead, living a life not for each day but for eternity. God, in all things, works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose. When Christians gather to worship they praise God, express thanks for the forgiveness provided those who believe in Christ and express love for all mankind. We are to welcome those into our church to receive the grace of the Lord and become companions joined in the effort to achieve peace on earth.
Teachers in the Mosque
The leaders of the Mosque, the ulema, Mullahs, the imams are dedicated to the Quran and provide interpretation for this difficult to translate document for those who believe in Allah. Not just Allah, also the Messenger. The Messenger, though not holy, is considered so to most observers. They remind worshippers of their requirements as Law, the 5 Pillars, and their obedience and devotion to the Quran, without question, yielding any independent thought to the revelations of Allah. Know that the Scripture of Islam was not readily obtained, it came about by way of the angel Gabriel to Muhammad to Companions, some lost before they could even recall what they heard or learned from Muhammad, to scribes and then the Caliph’s who blessed the final document called the Scripture of Islam – the Quran.
Teaching includes not just the Quran but an evolution of Laws, added requisites to be a true Muslim, that evolved over centuries of conquests by Caliphs and other conquerors, imperialists for an ideology credited to their god, Allah and Messenger, Muhammad. The Quran and subsequent documented history of Muhammad’s life and sayings, some produced hundreds of years after the Muslim’s Prophet’s death, became a composite of the Law of Islam, Sharia. It is not the love of Allah that compels, then, it is the Law of Islam. Follow the Law. That is the Education to be received as a Muslim. Also memorize that which you may not understand and earn respect from your fellow Muslims, the ulema and Allah. In Islam you worship Allah and the Law. It is a requirement. But man is often the judge, before Allah. Is that right?
The Bible (the Book) is the foundation for the Quran and when in doubt Muslims are instructed to look to the People of the Book, which is interesting in itself. Instruction includes corrections made to the Bible, including commentary on Jesus life and death 600 years after recorded history; a history witnessed by many hundreds and recorded by apostles who dedicated their lives to their conviction without ever a word of denial of the facts presented.
Fear is a factor for the followers of Islam and those that attempt to leave the faith are subject to the worst kind of punishment, thus love is not in the air. The ulema can act as executioner and judge, usurping Allah’s responsibility, and even call out in the form of a fatwa others of the faith, any Muslim who hears the call and feels compelled, to carry-out the order of the Khomeini, or other scholar of Islam.
Teachers in the Church
Teachers in the Church are called upon to be the most responsible in their actions when informing their constituency of the love of God. They will be held to a higher standard. God is the judge, but within the Church the elders can hold sway over the leaders, an internal discipline. An outcast is not subject to a death penalty only exclusion from the pulpit. They are forgiven, as is every Christian, but must repent and atone for their false teaching or indiscretion that impacts their credibility as a teacher and practitioner of God’s commands. If they cannot lead by example, they are relegated to being a student of the Word, a sinner as are we all, but one who fell from the pedestal upon which they attempted to sit as a spokesperson, a voice of wisdom, above and beyond that which most followers of Christ achieve. The purpose they serve for God can change; it is God’s will they must accept.
Teachers in the church are not judges. They do not proclaim punishment. Their purpose is to assist in understanding, knowing and developing a relationship with God. They may share what they perceive as the punishment God will provide to those who do not believe, but only as a helper in making the Bible clearer to those who seek knowledge and truth. They stress that salvation is an individual matter. ‘Individual’ is the key term. The community that is the Church is there to help, nurture, provide guidance and instruction. As a community with knowledge it makes God’s Grace more available and open to greater numbers. As a community when praying together the strength of numbers can bring even greater results and make outcomes more as God’s plan warrants. That plan is for peace and not war on the secular, the non-Christians, the Muslims, or other persuasions. God never wants to shut his door to those that seek Truth. Even those who once loved God and left the Church will find the welcome-back sign hanging should they return. There will be a party.
The teachers of the Church are not ones to order members of their congregation to hunt for those who became apostates. Their role is only to pray for their souls that they may come home.
The Church, it was said recently, is not there to be God to the people, but to show the people who God is. The teachers must be true to the Word, truthful and faithful. Share knowledge and impart understanding so the love of God and a life for God will be led. God’s wrath is God’s alone, not intended for humans to demonstrate. Worshippers are to learn also who they are so they may live in faith towards God. His ways become our ways. It is the way of peace and prosperity, not without suffering but with acceptance, knowledge, loving devotion and thankfulness.
You can live without fear of God’s retribution on earth, but know that if the Holy Spirit is not in you, your life will be empty and a life eternal will be problematic. We allow our authorities to punish in an effort to maintain the common good, not by God’s standards necessarily, but by man’s standards established in a pluralistic society. Man must never claim their structured punishment was as God would have them execute. God alone is Judge – not man when it comes to matters of faith. Man’s punishment is that of a secular nature, intended, if proper and as advocates of equality and human rights for all, for the good of all of society. That is the all inclusive ‘ALL’. To maintain orden and safety, not to act on God’s behalf, is man’s charge.
Find Your Congregation
Where can you gather and find Truth, peace and love? The Church offers just that. But does the Mosque when they proclaim as in Sura 60:4, “We disbelieve in you and there has arisen enmity and hatred between us and you forever until you believe in Allah alone….”? That is hate, not love. And then you have Sura 9:29, “Fight those who believe not in Allah.” There is more than one passage, some claim over 100, that call for ‘war’ in the Quran. There is no call for ‘war’ against non-believers in the New Testament. Christ came to fulfill the Law. As a believer the laws apply, but are not as needed as they are for the non-believer. As Christ said, recorded in Matthew 23:37-40, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all or mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.” There is no such mention of loving your neighbor in the Quran. None at all.
Where, How and What you Worship
We all, it seems, believe in something. Even if that belief is a No God standard as would be the case for an atheist. Gathering places or forums for those of a similar mindset establish themselves to allow for a mutual meeting of the minds. There are thus worship centers of all kinds. How one group can claim offense at another and succeed in mitigating the other’s purpose is unfathomable. Yet there are schools that have abandoned prayer, the use of the word ‘God’, removed banners with Bible verses used as inspiration to achieve, and even excluded the Bible from being referenced in student essays or speeches, because of someone claiming to be offended. The ACLU is famous for attempting to erase any, so they claim, ‘religious’ element from public property. I am offended by their actions, but what is my status – or yours? Is the ACLU nothing other than another leading worship center for the religion of no-religion?
When it comes, though, to Church vs. Mosque, it is the message of the Bible vs. the Quran. It is the opportunity for seekers or followers to learn, explore, grow, and have their doubts erased, and their questions answered by knowledgeable, dedicated servants of their Lord. If one forum cannot provide clarity, then seek out the other, or even a third system of belief – as you prefer. You must know, however, that any avenue you pursue with dedication and conviction there will be persecution, suffering, to be overcome, thus perseverance is needed. To hear hatred spewed from the pulpit, however, is a warning that you are not in a House of God. By knowing the true God you will be able to achieve peace in understanding, able to overcome without violence the obstacles to your faith. You will discover JOY. Thanks be to God.
Grace and Peace.