UI – Part 388 – What About Islam Don’t You Like?
What do you have against Islam? This question has been asked. I have been blogging for 5 years on this topic – Understand Islam. The goal was to understand Islam and discover the same convictions as I have as a Christian. There are over 1.5 billion followers, not all devout; mostly cultural, and an understanding of what and why they believe as they do seems more than justified. Christians and Muslims believe there is a life eternal. As a result salvation is important. What’s required in this life is to be on the path to the afterlife, or bound with God? The outcome regarding Islam could have been positive or negative. Unfortunately, admittedly, the outcome, from my studies and perspective, has been more negative.
The approach taken towards Islam was the same as I took to study Christianity. I did not become a convicted Christian till later in life. Cultural yes, but not devout. I read the Bible. I did research. When sections of the Bible led to further questions, answers were sought, outside texts were explored. In doing so I became more and more convicted as a follower of Christ. This came about as doubts raised were erased. The reason had to do with the reality of everything related to the life of Christ, his death and the resurrection. In addition all of the advanced notices that were provided in the Old Testament, prophesies, pointing to the advent of Christ were fulfilled. That is amazing in itself. Events that took place from Christ’s birth to death had been foretold. The aspect of dying for our sins was difficult to grasp. We are sinners. However the resurrection made Christ’s purpose a reality. He was God, divine and made man so that people could know God. As it was a man who brought sin into this world, via Adam, so a man, Christ, God incarnate, was needed to take the punishment and die to sin, and through the resurrection be made new, alive, again. Dying for you and me enabled God to make mankind, those who believe in Christ, right with God, justified by their faith in Christ. Thus salvation was made possible.
Man, I realized, could not be made righteous on his own. If that were possible there would be laws that if followed would make that so. There are none. It is up to God alone. He gave us a free gift; one we need to accept and acknowledge, making us right anew spiritually and eternally with God. It was nothing we could do ourselves. Believing in Christ, having faith in Christ, having died with Christ we are also raised and given newness of life, a life as purposed by and for Christ, and thus justified by what we believe and thus saved.
We cannot earn our way into heaven. This has been discussed in the past – Faith versus Works. God was and is the only means by which man could be made right with God. Providing the ultimate sacrifice with Christ was an incomprehensible measure of love. The idea of someone who would die for the crimes of another, offering up a son, is difficult to comprehend, but in this case it happened. There is a bounty of evidence supporting claims and history. Books, testimony, architecture, tangibles as well as intangibles that can fill libraries with truth that makes the Bible the most important and most credible document in the world.
There are no doubts that Christ lived. Muslims believe Jesus, called Isa, lived, was born of a virgin, and will come again. Not even the Quran suggests otherwise. The Quran accepts the virgin birth of Christ, even referring to Isa as Messiah. The witness testimony to Christ’s life, death and appearances in the resurrected state is sufficient to make believers of all, but there are those that simply refuse to accept the truth. That is the case for the Muslim. The Quran denies the death of Christ on the cross. They claim it was faked. Christ was taken up to heaven just as Elijah. That is their prerogative, and the Bible even makes comments as to the nature of those people who “suppress the truth”, as in Romans 1:18-22. The comments were made 2000 years ago and apply today too.
There were 12 apostles, as there were 12 defenders of Nixon during the Watergate crisis. But the 12 apostles never broke ranks in terms of their belief in Christ’s truth. Filled with the Spirit of the Lord they led their lives for Christ and died spreading the word and making disciples of others. Whereas one of those in the Nixon Camp within two weeks broke ranks and denied claims made. All the apostles for Christ died as martyrs, except for John, because of what they believed – the truth of Jesus Christ. They carried out their mission to make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of Jesus Christ. They were very successful. The growth of Christianity was and has been exponential.
The suggestion in the Quran is that Christ’s death on the cross was faked. Sura 4.157 reads, “That they said [in boast], ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah,’ but they killed him not, nor crucified him. Only a likeness of that was shown to them. And those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no [certain] knowledge. But only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, “Leave out the cross and you have killed the religion of Jesus. Atonement by the blood of Jesus is not an arm of Christian truth; it is the heart of it.” Muhammad’s means to elevate himself was to have Jesus as mortal as him, and thus the cross and subsequent resurrection could not be.
Muhammad could not accept Christ was divine. It had to be a lie and thus the idea that Christ was God, god-incarnate, both man while on earth and God in heaven, was problematic. The resurrection is what caused people to follow Christ, evidence of the truth of his words and life. The Quran makes it clear to its adherents that they can never doubt what this Scripture says. This introduces some confusion. At the same time it also makes frequent reference to the Bible, as the Book of the People. Independent thought, exploring on one’s own their heart, their mind and their soul for God, is precluded from taking place for a Muslim. It challenges freedom from the onset.
In January 2013 I posted a Blog entitled, Which Came First, The Bible or the Quran. From that came the following, “In reading the Qur’an as early as Sura 3 it affirms Allah is all knowing, the best at knowing even, and upon whom all Muslim’s depend. Then it states, “He,” referring to Allah, “has revealed to thee the Book,” referring to the Bible, “with truth, verifying that which is before it,” reaffirming the truth in Biblical history, “and He revealed the Torah and the Gospel.” That says much about the Bible. So why then, after this, does the Qur’an go on to suggest Allah speaking through the Messenger (Muhammad) makes alterations to the Bible, especially with reference to Christ and Ishmael, suggesting the Qur’an is the corrected copy, the final word?” (read the whole blog)
Muslim history is incomplete. I don’t know whether or not the efforts to destroy artifacts of history is a means to suggest that the absence of history makes the myth or anything to do with it the truth. It certainly introduces great difficulty confirming the truth and history of Islam. It suggests a reliance on conjecture. Without hard evidence it is easier to claim myth, versus reality. Consider Gabriel as the intermediary between Muhammad and Allah. Muhammad sought respite in caves around Mecca and Medina. He had dreams, or revelations. Allah never spoke to him. It was Gabriel who spoke sharing Allah’s words. Thus there is no actual relationship with Allah, or god. It is distant; Allah remains a mystery.
Muhammad lived. He was a mortal. He was a military man. He was charismatic. But he had a goal, a program which benefitted him greatly. He developed followers, however if his followers decided to go in a different direction, not necessarily in opposition, just not in support, he would have them eliminated. He was a leader, but he was an authoritarian. He was very self-serving. He became the example, but what kind of example? Become a follower, have doubts or prefer another pathway, leave Muhammad’s side and be subject to extermination. What is the thinking, the logic, behind that? Control was his desire, and submission his requirement. Allah was his defense mechanism; the use of the supernatural as a force greater than this mortal’s claim itself. Is that the standard a loving god would impose? There is no freedom of thought. Once you are Muslim you cannot leave because it has the potential to influence the thinking of other Muslims in that they too can leave Islam if it is their choice. But we learn that it is not. No choice. No doubts. No compromise. Once a Muslim forever a Muslim, or you die! By leaving it discredits the ideology, masked as a religion, as if Allah is cloaked in a black Burka. Followers are being reminded every day of their superiority as a Muslim, as a coach would cheerlead his team to believe they are the best and to fight with all their strength in the game at hand. If persuaded it provides validity to their actions, be they barbaric or deceptive, to continue the holy war (jihad) until all the world is under the banner of Allah.
I had doubts about Christ. When I was in college I was not devout. I vacillated attending Church. Never an atheist, I just went through the motions. When I expressed concerns I was never condemned. A minister once told me to have patience. If at the time I was not a believer he told me that was all right. But he made me aware that God would never give-up on me. His door would always be open. The same could not be said about Allah.
There are depictions of Muhammad. Of late, however, Muslims have been provoked at any drawing or resemblance of the prophet that may be put forth, especially cartoons or personal renderings, no matter how artful. Those critical have been put to death in Muslim countries. Even with laws against such actions many Muslim country authorities look askance and do little to persecute the criminal.
In pursuing Christianity doubts that arose were explored and erased. In pursuing Islam doubts that arose remain.
For example: Why is Allah considered the best at deception? Why are there exceptions, a double standard, for the way Muhammad led his life, versus the common man? Today authorities in Muslim theocracies have special exemptions, too, as to wives and other prohibitions, and hold Muhammad up as the example. Is it God’s, and if Allah is God, Allah’s, role to punish and not man’s, on matters purely theocratic, such as prayer rituals, Mosque attendance, dress, beards, head-coverings, treatment of a physical Quran, marriage (if out of the faith), dating, public displays of affection, a woman appearing in public without an escort, or going to school, or driving, and expressions, in an art form or verbal, that may question or reflect humorously on Islam? The only means to erase the doubt appears to be to eliminate the doubter. There is no abounding love. This makes sense as the banner of Islam has crossing swords; it is the verse of the Sword, Sura 9.5, that drives the Islamist, the devout, to seek whatever means, not conventional methods that debate issues, but unconventional methods that kill those who resist Islam, referring to them as the aggressor. The aggressor is simply any person or group that does not openly permit Islam’s forward advance and the taking of new territory for Allah.
Conflict of Interest
Being a Christian before exploring Islam may have impacted the outcome of my research, which continues. Had I been without faith and first studied Islam it may have resulted in having a bias towards Islam. But I feel it would have been out of fear that if I then explored the Christian faith I would be an apostate subject to the wrath of Islam. That is not right.
So to answer the question – What about Islam don’t you like? Simply put is the lack of freedom and independent thought, which are God’s gift to humanity. God created us in his image and likeness and gave us the ability to learn and discern. If we do not use his gifts we are denying the outcome of this world that we are purposed to serve. Also it is not a religion of peace, but one that wants followers to be in constant battle. The whole idea of a continuous holy war to kill the infidel to purify the world is without logic and realistically impossible. Anyone should be able to figure that out. Even among Muslims they have historically been treated, one versus another, as heretics and killed by other Muslims who are not in accord with their interpretation of the Quran and associated texts. The hatred for the Jew is without merit and an obtuse position to take towards any human being or religious group. Such stupidity is not godlike nor do I believe it would be welcomed into the eternal kingdom. If searching for the anti-Christ it can be debated whether or not he appears, or it may be Satan himself, in the pages and directives of the Scripture and leaders of Islam, to include those most religious and devout.
For a more in-depth understanding of my thoughts review the scope of coverage offered over the years on this blog. There is a search mechanism that will lead you to analysis and opinion I have put forward.
Grace and Peace