Thursday, October 9, 2008

Too Many Differences

This is a previoiusly written blog entry by me, which was posted in my AOL journal, No Apologies. It concerned a letter last year which was given by some Muslim groups to many Christian leaders around the world. I'd like to re post it here because it explains some of the differences between the Muslim faith and Bible believing Christianity. I will go into further details at a later time, but since AOL is closing down the journals, I felt the need to re post this. Here is Part 1.

There was a letter written by a large group of Muslims - addressed to Christians- mainly to leaders such as Pope Benedict, Archbishop Rowan Williams of the Church of England and others.
This letter is
seen by some as a beginning dialogue for beginning of peace between the world’s 2 largest religions- a gesture made by Muslims . They are asking Christians to come join with them- to find commonality between Islam and Christianity, in order to attain peace for the rest of the world.
Sounds good doesn’t it? To many people- even some in the Christian community, this sounds like the start of a real solution to ending so much of the world’s problems, to where we all can live in a peaceful world, free of terror and war, free of persecution- replaced by a harmonious utopia. Again- sounds pretty appealingto most people.
Now, I have always prayed for peace- always wanted peace, but I have to tell you, this letter really disturbs me. After reading it a few times, seeing many things that are written, and how they are written- points to something ominous. Something that many non Christians, and even many more liberal and social minded Christians would not understand, who see this letter as something so promising- that could really lead to world peace and unity.
What has been done here though- Muslim groups have put the onus on Christians to accept this “offer” or we will look like we are war mongering religious fanatics- who want nothing to do with peace.
For those who do
read it (and I suggest highly that you all do), you should be aware that it is written in a very tolerant manner, very benign, especially as it would appear to those who hold no particular religious views, or those who are not “Biblically” inclined. It will seem very sincere in it’s “why can’t we all just get along” message, but to those who have studied the Bible- who believe and know that it is God’s Perfect Word, to those who know even a little about the Islam religion, it does have dangerous and threatening undertones. Please let me explain:

The title itself seems harmless enough- “A Common Word between Us and You”.
The whole premise of the letter focuses on the fact that Islam and Christianity (and always in brackets including the Jews) have 2 main similarities, that if we focus on those, we can come to agreements and tolerance. These similarities being our love and devotion, worship and reverence for God, and the command to love our neighbors as ourselves. Again, this all seems very true and right- and I do agree that if we could all love our neighbors- and show love and respect, all would be well with the world.
The reference that the Muslims use in their recognition of God, taken from the Qur’an, includes the saying, “”We shall worship none but God, and that we ascribe no partner (or in other verses- He has no associate). They use this quote more than 14 times in 15 pages. They also use Biblical Scripture- mostly taken from the Gospel of Mark when Jesus says, “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One…” when talking about the greatest commandment to love God with all our hearts, all our soul and all our mind. The phrase “The Lord is One” is used more than 5 times.
To me, this way that Muslims are denying Jesus as the Son of God- God in the Flesh- the Second Person of the Godhead- Jesus the Christ- by denying the main message of the Christianfaith- that Jesus came to take on the sins of the world- and that all who believe in Him will be saved- that IS Christianity. Without Christ, without His redemption of the world- without His sacrifice, without the cross, without His resurrection from death and victory over evil- we have nothing. To continually mention these few verses over and over again is the Muslim way of saying they are right in their worship of god- because they are worshiping One god- Allah. They deny all scripture of
Jesus being the Lamb of God- they deny the Holy Spirit – they deny the triune nature of God- claiming that we worship Three (only they confuse things by thinking we worship God, Mary- the mother and Jesus the Son). So in this letter, the way that they say these same verses over and over again, they are mocking the core – the very essence of the Christian belief. The Qur’an states that Jesus is only a prophet- one of the great ones of course, but Muhammad is the greatest and last of all. That God would never have one of His prophets die in a humiliating way as on the cross, and that God being all powerful and mighty- would never have a son. This contradicts the very words of Jesus- and the words of the Holy Bible scriptures.

Do you believe in theScriptures? Do you believe that they are inspired by God? If you hold the Holy Bible in any kind of esteem, as so many other religious groups seem to do- for example, Muslims see the truthfulness of the Pentateuch, they believe in the Psalms and they obviously hold Jesus in some regard as to include him as a great prophet. Why then, would someone who believes some of it to be true- see the rest as corrupted? To me, if any religious scripture can be corrupted- it is Not truth. Period. The Holy Bible is not corrupted- it is the same as it was when it was first written. One of the greatest discoveries- the dead sea scrolls attested to the fact that the scriptures found in those caves were the same as what was written in the Bible of the time they were found. These same scriptures I might add, that were around before Muhammad was even born. SO, if the Bible was corrupted as Islam claims, then the scriptures would be changed or altered. They were not.
If Muslims accept Jesus as a great prophet- yet deny His own claims, then they have a pretty dim idea of who deserves to be a prophet- if Jesus was a liar or a nutcase for His claims- yet the Muslims still hold him in high esteem, one would also have to wonder about their greatest prophet Muhammad- who by his own admission, wondered if he was possessed by Jiins (demons) when he received “messages”.
The Bible is explicit in it’s revelation of the trinity, but one has to read and re read with guidance of the Holy Spirit to understand. There is evidence of the Persons of God in the very beginning in Genisis, where the Hebrew word Elohim which is singular, yet is used in plural form. The whole Old and New Testaments point to a unique Godhead, that is a unity of three Persons in One God. To many people, the whole idea of the
trinity is so confusing- as it was to me too. Just because it’s a bit confusing for our mortal minds ot get a handle on, does not mean that it’s a doctrine of demons as somany claim. This is a very poor example, but the closest thing I can think of to explain it. Take me for instance. I am one person. I am Carolyn. But- I am Carolyn the daughter, Carolyn the Wife and Carolyn the Mom. I have three main “personhoods” but am One person. Does that make sense? It is much the same, only way huge, in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. There is only One Almighty God, but there are three “personhoods” in Him.
If you read the account of Jesus when He is Baptized, you see the triune nature so beautifully illustrated. When John Baptizes Jesus, and Jesus rises out of the water, the Spirit of God came in the form of a dove and rested on His shoulder- then a voice came out of the clouds and said, “this is My Son, and with Him I am well pleased”. God the Spirit, God the Son and God the Father all in one scene if you will. There are many passages like this throughout the Bible.

OK. Now onto the next part of this letter. These Muslim men are claiming to want for us to come together, in our similarities of Loving God and loving our neighbors as commandments of God- and that it is through us that justice and freedom of religion are a crucial part of loving our neighbors.
Did you hear that? Freedom of religion. I have to wonder if these men can really say that with a straight face. The freest nations to practice any desired religion- any religion that someone wants to practice- is only found in Christian nations- that is The United States and somewhat in other western countries. The nations where
persecution is rampant, were people are tortured, put to death, murdered and imprisoned are …. Predominant Muslim nations! I ask you to name me 1 Muslim nation on the planet where Christians or other minority religious people are treated with respect, are allowed to worship freely and publicly, and are included as prominent members of the society. There isn’t any Muslim country that is this way. From Indonesia to the Philippines, from Saudi Arabia to Iran, Sudan, Eritrea, even the so called more liberal nations such as Qatar and Kuwait here is still laws of some form or another- banning open Christian religious practices.
From kidnapping and murders in the Gaza strip, to stoning and imprisonment in Iran. To the suicide bombings in Israel and Lebanon, to the quiet removal of Assyrian Christians in Iraq- there is no peace for any other than the Muslim. And just how well do some of these nations treat their fellow Muslims? I know that in many places, such as Syria and Afghanistan, it is against the law for women to work outside the home- even when she is a widow. If she is a widow, she must have her children go to work to earn money for the household. Maybe some of these laws are changing as the world progresses, but there is still much intolerance for many muslims of different sects and tribes.

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