>> Wednesday, April 13, 2011
(And here's Part 1: How do we know that there is a God?)
Islam Versus Christianity
First of all, how are Islam and Christianity different?
Because Islam and Christianity come from the same source (God), they share many of the same morals. Both religions preach the sacredness of human life, stress the importance of loving for others what we love for ourselves, emphasize helping the vulnerable in society, forbid injustice, and so on….However, morals and values aside, Christianity and Islam are very different in terms of creed.
Islam is the most monotheistic religion- the essence of Islam is the belief that there is One Creator, who is Unique….He is One in His Attributes, His Names, and His right to be worshipped. There is nothing like Him and He did not beget nor was He begotten. Instead, God has always existed and will always exist- independent of us. Muslims believe God has never been a part of his creation and that the purpose of this life is for us to voluntarily submit to Him wholeheartedly. This life, then, is a test- to see who put God’s Commands above their desires. Every moment is an opportunity for people to become more God- conscious.
It should be noted that Islam is not a new religion or something founded by Prophet Mohamed. We believe it is the same message that every prophet called to, including Abraham, Noah, Moses, Joseph, Jesus, Mohammed, etc (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon all of them) Every single one of these messengers preached the Oneness of God and the concept of submitting to Him.
What about Christianity?
To understand Christianity, one has to understand the concept of original sin. Christians believe that when Adam and Eve sinned, humans became tainted. Thus, God came down himself, in the form of Jesus, and was crucified in order to atone for “our sins”. To Christians, God is One but He has 3 aspects: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Each one of these differs in terms of their roles but all are united as God.
Does that make sense to you? How could 1 be 3? Or 3 be 1?
In all honesty, the concept of the trinity, the fundamental part of Christian belief, is baffling- even to many Christians, themselves. How can God be Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Ghost all at once? Most like to shrug it off by claiming that God is beyond human understanding.
But perhaps, what's even more strange, is that the Bible, itself, does not mention the concept of the trinity clearly. Surely, if the trinity is the most fundamental part of the religion, it should be mentioned clearly for anyone to understand….Think about it this way: as a Holy book, the Bible was sent for everyone to understand- women, men, young children…the layman, scholar, professional….wouldn’t God, knowing how we differ in terms of mental abilities, have taken that into account when explaining the essence of Christianity? And yet, there are no clear verses in the Bible- instead, we are somehow supposed to understand/ interpret the trinity from vague verses….it almost becomes like a riddle. Personally, I find this surprising- especially since one of the verses in the Bible, itself, clearly states that “God is not the Author of Confusion”.
Secondly, Jesus says many things that mark a clear distinction between him and God. Yes, we're talking about the Bible!
“Why do you call me good: No one is good but One, that is, God.” (Matthew 19:17, Mark 10-18, and Luke 18:19)
“My Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28)
“I do nothing of myself, but as the Father taught me, I speak these things.” (John 8:28)
“Most assuredly, I say to you, the son can do nothing of himself …” (John 5:19)
“But now I go away to Him who sent me …” (John 16:5)
“Jesus answered them and said, ‘My doctrine is not mine, but His who sent me.’” (John 7:16)
“For I have not spoken on my own authority; but the Father who sent me gave me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.” (John 12:49)
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” (Luke 4:8)
“My food is to do the will of Him who sent me …” (John 4:34)
“I can of myself do nothing … I do not seek my own will but the will of the Father who sent me.” (John 5:30)
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me.” (John 6:38)
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son but only the Father. (Matthew 24: 36)(As a Muslim, the above verse reminds me this verse in the Quran, 7:187: "They ask thee about the (final) Hour - when will be its appointed time? Say: 'The knowledge thereof is with my Lord (alone): none but He can reveal as to when it will occur….7:187)
“My doctrine is not mine, but His who sent me.” (John 7:16)
“I am ascending to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.” (John 20:17)
Think about it.
I mean, seriously ask yourself these questions (taken from: Here)
If Jesus was GOD, then why in John 8:28 Jesus said "I do nothing of myself"? Can't GOD do anything he wills?
If Jesus was GOD, then why in John 14:28 Jesus said "My Father (GOD) is greater than I"?
If Jesus was GOD, then why in John 5:32 Jesus told his followers that they have never seen GOD at anytime nor ever heard his voice?
If Jesus was GOD, then why did he pray to his GOD in Luke 5:16?
If Jesus was GOD, then why in Matthew 26:39 Jesus fell on his face and prayed to his GOD?
Don’t they sound like the Qur’an version of Jesus? Don't they sound like the words of a a prophet of God?
In fact,the people around Jesus called him that- a prophet:
“This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee” (Matthew 21:11), and
“A great prophet has risen up among us …” (Luke 7:16).
The disciples recognized Jesus as “a prophet mighty in deed …” (Luke 24:19. Also see Matthew 14:5, 21:46, and John 6:14).
If these statements were inaccurate, why didn’t Jesus correct them? Why didn’t he define his divinity if, that is, he truly was divine? When the woman at the well stated, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet’” (John 4:19), why didn’t he thank her for her lowly impression, but explain to her that he was god? (Taken from: http://www.leveltruth.com/articles.html)
Third of all, Jesus is not the only ‘son’ of God mentioned in the Bible. There are other prophets called “Sons”. Why are these prophets, then, not considered God? Could it be that the word “son” has a different meaning than “offspring”? And if so, doesn’t that mean that Jesus could actually be equal to David….
In Matthew 5:9 Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Later in Matthew 5:45, Jesus prescribed to his followers the attainment of noble attributes, “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” Not exclusively his Father, but their Father …
In fact, not only are prophets called sons but ‘normal people’ as well! Again, this indicates that the word “son” was never meant to be taken literally.
Deuteronomy 14:1, “Ye are the children of the Lord your God.”
Job 1:6, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD…”
Perhaps equally important if not more important, why do some translations of the Bible translate “Son” as “servant”? Let’s go to a Bible site together and see the translation of this verse: http://bible.cc/acts/3-13.htm (Mind you- this is a Christian website that shows different authentic translations of the Bible…so it’s a pretty good source)
American King James Version
The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his Son Jesus ; whom you delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.
New International Version (©1984)
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus . You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go.
You see? One translated it as “Son” and the other as ‘servant”. (In fact, the majority of the translations translated it as “servant”)
Don’t you think there’s a very big difference? And don’t you think that the servant translation is completely in line with Islamic thinking? This is what we believe..
The reality is that “Son” was never meant to be taken literally.
Moreover, why would God suddenly change his religion dramatically? I mean….what did the people before Jesus believe? For example, Moses's people? And why was that enough to save them? Why would God suddenly decide that this wasn’t enough to save people? Hear O Israel the LORD our God is one LORD. Doesn't the Old Testament clearly say that? Why did God’s message change?
Finally, why would God need to atone for our sins? Or punish someone else for our sins? How, then, is God just? Isn't God more powerful than a 'sin'? Isn't He the most Forgiving?
Before I go, though, I do want to address two things that I often hear:
1- If Islam is right, why are all terrorists Muslims? As we pointed out before, Islam is actually a very peaceful religion. We don’t judge a car by its driver- similarly, we cannot judge a religion by the people who follow it….
2- Why, then, does Christianity have the highest number of followers? The truth is, the reason so many people remain Christian is because people often just follow what their parents’ and families’ embrace. Very few people take the time to really think about their religion, themselves, or to question what it teaches them. When you think about it, when it comes to Christianity, how many people have actually read the entire Bible? Unfortunately, most Christians have only read a few passages- and therefore, are unaware of the contradictions that exist. Secondly, Christianity offers a “feel good” solution without really requiring work. Instead of adhering to commands, it only requires that you believe that a sacrifice was already made for you.
Well, this is a very quick reply- but I urge you to check these websites which do a much more thorough analysis (I also got many of the verses and questions from there).
Also, you might want to see the youtube video called "How the Bible Led Me to Islam".