3.08.2006

War of Faiths: Islam vs. Christianity



In the seventh century an Arabian named Mohammed claimed to have special revelations from God. This birthed the Quran or Koran and the faith of Islam. Mohammed claimed that this faith was the final revelation of God in a succession of prophets that includes Jesus Christ. He enforced this new faith by the sword, and eventually conquered many of the lands that had been largely Christian.

Currently the Islamic faith is in view in our society. Hopefully we can make some small contribution here for truth. Here our hope is to exalt the supremacy of a personal, loving God who became a man to restore and redeem humanity.


Fallacy of Force:

One of Islam’s foundational problems is the fallacy of force. The Quran commands Muslims to wage war against non-Muslims and apostates (Surah 5:33; 9:5, 29). The Koran is riddled throughout its pages with commands and innuendos to do violence to non-believers and the un-faithful.

A classic example for Holy War theology, for Jew and Christian alike, begins in the book of Joshua. For the Muslim, who is often participant in this type war, may be found in Sura 2, Al-Baqara verses 190-193 or 214-217. The book of Joshua, however, is YHWH’s victory account. In fact, the Hebrew word (kherem) which refers to “utterly destroy” occurs frequently throughout the book (e.g. 6:17; 8:26).

The significant distinction between an Islamic jihad (holy war) and a Christian holy war is that the believer in Christ is mitigated and controlled by love and an awareness of spiritual forces. Being controlled by love however does not mean we are also exempt or inoculated from God’s justice. The Christian believer has a new covenant that introduces revelation about God and His love whereas the Quran has seemingly no ethical progression.

In the introduction to the J.M. Rodwell translation of The Koran it concedes by admitting that in literary terms the Koran is very young. It speaks of a “new phase of human thought” and a “fresh type of character” that the Koran has contributed to humanity. The introduction goes on to posit that the “Mohammedan world” has become one of the greatest forces “with which Europe and the East have to reckon to-day”.

The introduction seemingly pits the faith of Islam against Christianity and Eastern religions in war like tones. It’s as if Islam has taken up the sword and is ready to conquer all its opposition. Should we be surprised by this? Some indeed will be, but should not. It is thefoundational building blocks of Islamic faith.

Some Quran defender might say yes, the Koran has war verses or extremely violent texts, but they are few. This is of course—false. Of the 114 Surahs, 109 are identifiably war verses. One out of every 55 verses in the Koran is a war verse. Surah 2 and ayes 178 says, “Believers! Retaliation is decreed for you in bloodshed!”

In many passages Muhammad declares war without bothering to mention self-defense as a prerequisite. War to decimate infidel populations by genocide is condoned. If Islam is a peaceful religion, then why did Mohammed engage in 47 battles? Why, in every campaign the Muslim armies have fought throughout history, have they slaughtered men, women, and children who did not bow their knees to the lordship of Islam?

The argument is made by some that the Christian Bible is also filled with violence, and this is true to an extent in the Old Testament in relationship to the emerging Israelites. Yet in the New Testament Jesus declares in Matthew 5:39 to turn the other cheek, and in Luke 6:27-28 Jesus says, “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”



The Christian believer has a new covenant that introduces revelation about God and His love whereas the Quran has seemingly no ethical progression.

Thus we have a new law given by Jesus in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

These texts reveal the new covenant of love, grace and peace that Jesus—God “manifest in flesh”—revealed to humanity. The Koran encourages its followers to wage war against the “infidel” but the Bible encourages us to “turn the other cheek” and “blessed are ye when ye are persecuted for my names sake”. As we will mention later the Quran bestows nothing more than Apostleship upon Muhammad. However, this pales in the Biblical comparison of Jesus where John 14:6 says, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

The Bible does cannot be called “young” among literary works; rather it is paramount to all works of literature. It excels among many history texts that are presently taught in universities in textual evidence. Recent discoveries in Qumran—The Dead Sea Scrolls—have contributed largely to the authenticity of scripture. The harmony and balance of over 5,000 manuscripts for the New Testament is astounding in stark contrast to the miniscule number of parchments found with Quranic texts.

The Bible teaches in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” The Bible attempts to unite all men. It sends out a clarion call to all humanity to join at one meeting place to begin a new life’s journey, that place is the Cross of Calvary.

Mohammedan References Absent:

No references to Mohammad as a prophet have been found in contemporary literature, rock inscriptions or coins. In addition, no manuscripts of the Quran exist before 150-200 years after Muhammad. This certainly allows opportunity for myths and legends to arise.

Another surprising element of Islam is that in the 39th surah Allah declares Muhammad is nothing more than an apostle. This is in stark contrast to what present day Muslims herald him as.


Allah: The god of Mohammed

Another virtue that transcends the god represented in the Quran, who seems impersonal, at the very least. Muslim defenders might reply with Sura 50, Qaf vs. 16 however this verse only suggest that God knows us very well. Consider these two Quranic translations:

“We created man: and We know what his soul whispereth to him, and We are closer to him than his neck-vein.” Sura 50, Qaf. vs. 16 (J.M. Rodwell)

“It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein.” Sura 50, Qaf. vs. 16 (Yusif Ali)

It says nothing about Allah desiring to have a personal or loving relationship with creation. God knows every man since He knows all actual and even potential knowledge. It is what God has decreed or chosen to do with man that is significant in Christianity.

Even while knowing our human frailties and flaws the Christian God extends His love towards us. He desires a personal relationship with him. God’s entrance into time and space has indeed made history significant. By the Incarnation He has set into motion the means of reconciling and restoring fallen man to Himself by Jesus Christ and powered by the Holy Spirit.





J.N. Anderson






Notes:

Rodwell, J.M. The Koran. Ivy Books. Published by Ballantine Books (Edition April 1993)

Ali, Yusif, The Quran http://www.harunyahya.com/Quran_translation/Quran_translation_index.php






9 comments:

Tim McNeily said...

Great expository article, you don't find these details in most media articles concerning Islam. God bless

Todd Hudspeth said...

Nice "Jimbo" .... I was especially interested in the topic because I have 3 classes (at LSU)with an American girl who recently converted from the Baptist faith to Islam. She has been real open with me about current issues.

James Anderson said...

Tim,

Thanks for the compliment. Check back, I'll be posting more stuff. I found your blog too, very nice bro.

http://onward-and-upward.blogspot.com/

James Anderson said...

Todd,

Wow, from baptist to Islam! What a change that must be for her. Let me know if I can help you in witnessing to her. Since Allah is primarily viewed as impersonal she may find herself longing for the personal Savior, i.e. Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

What an interesting and informative article. Thank you for sharing.
- Newman

James Anderson said...

Newman:

Thanks for posting and welcome to the blog. Check back soon.

Anonymous said...

James,

I enjoyed the article. Thanks for the invite.

I have often felt that we need to have a clearer voice on the issue of Islam and this certainly meets that requirement.

Thanks,
Phil Jones

Paul Luman said...

Hello friend! Great to see your face and get a very informative read. Hope things are well.

Paul

James Anderson said...

Paul:

Good to see from you again! It has been some time! You should email me and give me an update on yourself. Where are you now?

Adversus Trinitas

"...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 ESV)