Christianity vs. Islam
October 26, 2008
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
11, 2001, Americans have learned a new vocabulary: Islam, Mohammad, Allah,
Jihad, Taliban, and al Qaeda. Well, we are not real sure about Al Qaeda, I have
seen that spelled two or three different ways, but the point is before 9/11 for
Americans those were irrelevant, if not totally unknown, words. The Terrorist attack on the WTC changed all that and made Islam front-page news.
The leaders of the USA have gone to great lengths to assure the world that our reaction after 9/11 was not against Islam—only against terrorism, and Islam and terrorism are not related, they say, but is that true? I remember very well video showing people in the Arab world celebrating in the streets after the attack on the World Trade Center.
Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, has been much maligned in the news media for his outspoken criticism of Islam. Graham outraged Muslims when he said that Islam "is a very evil and wicked religion." Later he said, "It's the teaching of Islam that is not tolerant of any other faith."
"It's world domination. When they dominate an area, they'll let other belief systems exist, but they'll persecute them so that (people) convert to Islam and there's total domination. Once you're in Islam you can't get out of it. If you leave Islam you have to be killed."
"As a minister," said Graham, "I love the Muslim people. I see what's done in the name of Islam and think it's my responsibility to speak out. I think God loves them as equally as he loves me. I think he wants them to know the truth."
[The International Herald Tribune | www.iht.com, The Associated Press TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2006]
The point is that Islam is being portrayed in the media as a wonderful, peaceful religion, but from its very beginning it has been a religion of conquest and domination, and the terrorists are just continuing that tradition.
It was not Baptists who flew planes into the world trade center or Catholics or Presbyterians, it was Muslims, and they did it because they believed in Islam. Today it is sometimes said that the terrorists have hijacked Islam. Not really. They just really believe it, and believe what it says about killing infidels.
They are out to destroy our civilization. They say that. They say that God has called them to destroy western civilization. They want to set the world back a thousand years to a time when Islamic nations were the dominant world powers.
I am an American citizen and I believe in the doctrine of separation of church and state. I do not believe anyone should be coerced by government toward any set of religious beliefs. If you want to be a Muslim, you should have that freedom. If you want to be a Presbyterian, you should have that freedom. If you want to be a witch or a clown, that is your business, that is not state business.
But you understand Islam does not believe in the separation of church and state. The function of government in Islamic society is to promote Islam. In fact, in conservative Islamic countries, like Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan, if you try to convert from Islam to Christianity, you will probably be killed.
Just this week a Christian aid worker in Afghanistan was shot dead in the street. Fundamentalist Moslems said that she was trying to convert Moslems. These are the same people that we are told are just good folks like you and me.
But you might say, well that is other countries, and this is the USA. We believe in the toleration of all religions.
Americans assume that all religions have nearly the same moral teachings and ideals. They might have different names for God, but it is the same God. That is what most people say about religion, but that is not true. Christianity and Islam have radically different ideas about God and God’s relationship to people, and thus they both cannot be true.
I often hear people say, many Muslims are sincere people. They memorize verses in their holy book, the Koran. They pray 5 times a day. They fast for one month every year (during Ramadan, from sunrise to sunset). And that is fine, but realize this. Every movement, cause, or religion in human history has had sincere people. There were idealistic and sincere Communists. Back in the OT, sincere worshippers of Baal sacrificed their children on the altars of their God. the point is just because a person is sincere does not make them right.
I remember that when I was in the AF, centuries ago, I had a conversation with a young airman who was convinced that he had seen a UFO on the way back to the base from town. He was absolutely sincere and he could not understand why I did not believe him. I was convinced that he believed what he said. I do not doubt he had seen something, but I never believed he had seen a spaceship—because sincerity is not proof.
But let us consider some facts about Islam. Most Moslems are not Arab. Although Islam had it origins in the Middle East, the four largest populations of Moslems are Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
Some say that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, but that depends upon how we do the statistics. If you count every baby born in a Moslem country as Moslem, then those countries have high birth rates and Islam is certainly the fastest growing religion in the world. But if you look at only conversions by adults, then Christianity is the fastest growing religion in the world by far. Worldwide there are about 1.5 billion Moslems, and over 2 billion Christians.
It is said that Muslims believe in God, and that is good. It is good, but it is not enough. This brings us to a misconception that I have heard all my life. Some folks think that anyone who believes in any kind of God is ok. I hear that even from Christians. Where do they get such a notion? That is not what the Bible says. For example, consider, James 2:19. “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” What James is saying is that the devil believes in God. The devil is not an atheist. He knows very well that God exists. Does that mean that the devil is going to go to heaven? Not a chance. Belief in God is the basis for the gospel, but it is not the gospel. Acknowledging the existence of god is not the same as living in communion with Father, Son, and HS.
As an aside, we might note that Islam is an overwhelming masculine religion. Even the Islamic view of heaven is almost exclusively male. Each suicide bomber is promised 70 virgins in the hereafter. You wonder if that is heaven for women also. In fact, when I look at how women are treated in most Islamic societies, I often think that a woman would have to be really dumb to convert to Islam. Conservative Islam says that when a woman goes outside the home she must be covered from head to toe in a garment known as the Burqah. Women are not to work outside the home. Women are not to be educated. In Afghanistan, when the Fundamentalist Taliban took over, they fired all the female teachers in the educational system. They had no male teachers to replace them with, so they shut down the whole educational system. In Saudi Arabia a woman cannot even have a driver’s license. Most Americans do not realize how badly Islam treats women.
Back in September 2006, the Pope created a real media storm when he said some bad things about Islam. He speaking at the German university where he formerly served as Professor of Theology and he said, “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” Now actually, Pope Benedict XVI was quoting a 14th century Byzantine emperor, and this was a lecture mostly intended for theology students, but it cause a storm of controversy, and the pope abjectly apologized.
Personally I think he was right, or rather the Byzantine emperor he quoted was right. Witness the widespread riots across the Islamic world when an obscure Danish newspaper published some cartoons of Mohammed. More than a hundred people were killed as police fired into crowds to restore order. Contrast that with what happened when we had an art exhibit in the USA which showed a cross dipped in urine. Sure we Christians were outraged about that blasphemy called art. We wrote letters to the editor, but we did not riot in the streets and no one was killed.
To me that really drives the message home. Islam is about hate and violence. Christianity is about love.
Christianity is about God’s love as shown to us in Jesus Christ. And here we come to the central issue between Christianity and Islam--Jesus. To Muslims, Jesus was a prophet, a lesser prophet than Muhammed. To Christians, Jesus is God incarnate, Savior and Lord, and the only way to heaven. Jesus said in John 14:6 about himself, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” How could he have spoken more plainly? If you want to come to the father, if you want to come to God, you come through Jesus.
Acts 4:12: "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Same principle: Jesus is the only Savior of humankind.
On the other hand, the founder of Islam was Mohammad, who was born in the Arabian city of Mecca in the 6th century A.D. He was a merchant and shepherd but he was unhappy with his life and he retreated to a cave for meditation and reflection. According to Islamic beliefs, it was here, at age 40, where he received his first revelation from God. These revelations, which Muhammad reported receiving until his death, form the Koran, the Muslim Bible.
Also, Mohammed was given special permission by Allah to have 13 wives. His last wife was six-years-old when she was betrothed to him, and the marriage was consummated when she was nine.
On June 11, 2002 Rev. Jerry Vines, pastor of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Fla, and former a SBC president, in told a gathering of SBC pastors, “Islam was founded by Muhammad, a demon-possessed pedophile who had 12 wives, and his last one was a 9-year-old girl.” [as quoted in World. (September/October 2002) p. 41]
It is true that some Muslims, like Christians, are willing to die for their faith. Some, unfortunately, are also willing to kill for it. In fact the one sure way of earning salvation as a Muslim is to die as a martyr for the faith. Those who attacked the Word Trade Center and engaged in other acts of terrorism were acting in full accord with the tenets of Islam and the teachings of the Koran. The West, the United States in particular, is seen as corrupting the entire world and worthy of death. The U. S. policy of befriending Israel is particularly seen as harmful to the Muslim people and their cause. The principle of Jihad, or “holy war” is taught in the Koran as a viable tool for the cause of Islam. Evangelism is not so much by the word as it is with the sword. The followers of Mohammad have been the most violent people in the history of the world, and continue to be so to this day.
So what are we to do in response to Islam. Should we become like them, a religion of violence, domination and discrimination? Christ is the way. Jesus is the only way and his way is love. Remember that the Muslim people are just people. Perhaps we should not speak of them as Muslim people. They are people like you and me who are caught in an evil satanic religion and they just do not know any better. So we should not hate people who happen to be Muslims, we should witness to them about how much better Jesus is, and our witness is by word and deed.
Jesus is a loving savior who forgives our sins and restores us to the family of God, so that we can live in his love and express his to all people. Jesus accepts everyone, rich and poor, male and female, white and black and red and yellow. We were all sinners. He forgives us all and loves us all. That is what Muslims need to hear. That is what we all need to hear.
If you have questions or comments, email Tony Grant
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