Christianity vs. Islam
In the year 610, a forty year old man by the name of Mohamed created a new religion. He claimed that this new religion was the continuation of Christianity just as Christianity is the continuation of Judaism. Many of his followers say that that Islam is a religion of peace, and that Christians and Jews are counted as brothers because we worship the same god. But do we? Is Allah really the same as Jehovah? Let us take a look. We'll start with the scriptures.
The Jewish scriptures contain 39 books by a wide variety of different human authors, including Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and many others. These scriptures comprise our Old Testament. The order of the books has changed, since the ancient Hebrews used scrolls rather than bound pages, and the order was largely just a matter of tradition. The book of Luke (11:51) affirms these as canon when Jesus refers to martyrs from the time of Abel to the time of Zechariah (then the last book.) This excludes the apocrypha, all of which existed at that time. The Old Testament is internally consistent. It does not contradict itself and contains no historical errors, no gramatical errors (in the original Hebrew) and no scientific fallacies, save those made under poetic license. (i.e., it's okay to refer to the Earth as a circle in a poem.) Every doctrine in the Old Testament is supposrted by some other part of the Old Testament.
The New Testament contains tewnty-nine books by at least eight human authors and a number of additional co-authors. It also contains no errors. We know because no one has found one in two millenia of loking VERY hard. It is historically, scientifically and gramarically acurate. The authors all write from different perspectives, but never contradict one another. Every doctrine in the New Testament is backed up not only elsewhere in the New Testament, but also in the Old testament.
Islam has one prophet. One man wrote the entire book, and that he did not do himself, nor in any traditional way. Mohamed would utter things while in a possessed state. Friends would write down the things which he uttered. Mohamed himself was barely literate and did not compile the koran himself. It was compiled after his death in a rather hodgepodge manner. It contains 114 books, all by the same author, each consisting of a single chapter. Even the identification of the spirit who spoke is inconsistent. In the book of The Cow, it is named as gabriel. In The Rock, unnamed angels. Elsewhere, it is the Holy Spirit and in still other books, it is Allah. While Mohamed acknowledges that the Old and New Testaments are the divine word of God, the koran regularly contradicts both. It is full of errors. It confuses Mary the mother of Jesus with Miriam, making Moses and Aaron Jesus' uncles. In The Cave 8-86, it has Alexander the Great following the setting sun to where it disappears into a muddy spring. It places the flood in the time of Moses and contains many stories which we know to be fairy tales. The Koran even contains six different time scales for creation. Clearly, the koran cannot be the word of God. If for no other reason, we must reject it because in claiming that the Old and New Testaments are the word of God, it negates itself.
Now let's take a look at the authors. The authors of the Old Testament were, by and large, a good bunch. They sinned, certainly. Moses and David committed murder. Jonah endangered a ship full of people with his recalcitrance. Solomon even fell into idolatry later in life. Yet all of them loved God and did their best to live upright lives, even decadent Solomon. Some of them even paid very dearly for their loyalty to God. The authors of the New Testament were people who dedicated their loves to doing good to others. Paul, author of most of the New Testament, spent his days preaching the good news of salvation to anyone who would hear, even though he knew full well he would die for it. Jesus, who never actually wrote any book, but is regarded as the founder of Christianity, lived a sinless life. He lived at peace with everyone as much as they would allow, and was submissive even until death. Mohamed, on the other hand, made his living as a pirate. He murdered entire towns full of people at a time. He was a pedophile, a rapist, a kidnapper and a liar. In one of the extra-koran holy books "Life of the prophet", Mohamed declares that Allah has three daughters who act as intercessors. When his very monotheistic followers objected to this, he backtracked by saying that satan made him utter this lie. Mohamed has declared the New Testament to be the word of God. The New testament says that if anyone advocates the worship of other gods or prophesies falsely, he is not a prophet of God and is not to be heeded. Thus, Mohamed torpedoes his own credibility.
Now let's take a look at some of the doctrines. If islam really is an extension of Judeo Christianity, then everything should line up. In Judaism, God is seen as just, but loving. In Christianity, He has little tolerance for evil, but he is the very definition of love. In Islam, Allah is capricious. He is not loving, and all he really wants is obedience. In Judaism, God hates sin, and demands sacrifice to atone for sin. In Christianity, God hates sin, but has given us the final sacrifice to atone for sin once and for all. In Islam, there is no concept of sin. There is only obedience or disobedience. Salvation is not through grace, but is earned by performing certain tasks, such as making a trip to mecca, fasting during Ramadan, praying toward Mecca several times a day and so on. In Judaism, the afterlife is often mentioned only fleetingly, but most believe in Heaven as a place full of upright, well-behaved people who Love God and one another. The Christian view of Heaven is the same. In Islam, Heaven is a place of gluttony and orgies where everything that was despised as decadent and evil in this life suddenly becomes okay.
Finally, let's take a look at real-world application. Followers of Judaism in the Old Testament era were to strive for peace. That frequently was not possible. When it was not, war was permissible. Very rarely did God every order his people to attack first. The conquest of Caanan was a unique period. God gave the caananites over a hundred years to change their ways lest they be wiped out, and even then, the Gibeonites made peace. Though it was done through deception, it was honored. In Christianity, we are commanded to love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us. The Jews were to live as an example to the unsaved. Christians are comissioned to preach the gospel to the unsaved and win them to Christ. In Islam, in the book of "The Immunity", all muslims, even those with passive leanings, are ordered to fight against non-muslims, and to kill those who will not submit to Allah. Even though the koran says elsewhere that Jews and Christians are to be respected as worshippers of the same god, it also calls Jews the descendants of apes and pigs and says that anyone who kills a Christian or jew does Allah a favor and is guaranteed salvation. Modern muslims have taken this to heart. If you watch Al Jezeera in English, you will hear a great deal about how Islam is a religion of peace. If you happen to speak arabic, the local broadcast is quite different, frequently calling for the murder of infedels and praising those who give their lives therein. While Judaism and Christianity are both completely voluntary, Islam is compulsory and imperialistic. It's three goals, as stated by many, many prominent muslims, are, in order: 1. To retake nominally muslim countries. 2. To destroy Israel. 3. To take over the world.
What can we conclude from all of this? Islam is not the continuation of Judeo-Christianity. Allah is not God. Islam is a completely false religion and has no merit in man's quest for truth. It is also inherently violent, contrary to the propaganda we have been handed. As Christians, it is our duty to love our fellow man. That means arabs too, and yes, it includes muslims. Islam itself, however, is not a person, and does not need to be loved. It is a death cult and needs to be treated as such.
There is no challenge for this week. This message was not meant to change you or to spur you into doing anything per se. What it IS meant to do is equip you with truth. Should someone come at you with half-truths or untruths about this cult, it is my desire that you be prepared, with ready answers on your belt.
Today's reading: 2 Timothy 2:15-19
15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.