Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Definitive Reply to Islam

A casual reader of history will not fail to note the great and ferocious animosity of Islam to Christianity. One would ask why is this so, since both religions are supposed to worship the same God? The crux of the matter lies in focusing on the originators of these two religions, since followers of one or the other religion have a wide range of virtues or vices, resulting in complex and inscrutable historical developments.

Therefore let us concentrate on the two leaders, Jesus Christ and Muhammad. Let us look at their lives, what they both said and more importantly what they did. Which one of the two was forgiving, a peacemaker, kind, magnanimous? Which one would you trust more to be your friend? Which one was self-serving? Which one gave of himself and even his life for others? It is a relatively simple comparison, and the differences are obvious from their respective biographies. Which one of the two was interested in earthly power, a legalistic worldly empire, many wives and concubines? (in the Quran, Muhammad blesses the union of a man with four wives, except for himself, where he is blessed to have eight). Did Muhammad love his enemies or kill them?

We have many historically well documented witnesses who testify who Jesus is, who recorded His life, teachings, and deeds in the Gospels and Epistles, and who died martyrs' deaths for Him, without gaining any material benefits in return from a worldly point of view. There are also secular historians who are outsiders to the Christian tradition, such as the Jews Josephus and Philo, and the pagans Tacitus, Pliny, and Suetoneus, who have recorded corroborating facts about Jesus and his followers. In fact, during the first three centuries of the rise of Christianity, being a follower of Christ usually resulted in great hardship, persecution, and often martyrdom. All the apostles died as martyrs except St. John the Evangelist. A great many of the early Church leaders died as martyrs. Why would any of these intelligent and eloquent people, many highly educated, be ready to die for the cause of Christ if they were not convinced that He is True? 

On the other hand, we know that Islam from the outset was very militaristic and conquered by the sword, bestowing great earthly benefits on Muhammad himself and his entourage, granting power, wealth, and all the prestige that empire building reaps. His followers were ready to die for him, with a sword in hand, a very different situation than the early followers of Christ, who were peaceful subjects falsely accused and tortured by pagan Rome. Mohammad is the only source of the Quran. There is no other source of information to validate what he claims to be. He did not perform any miracles. His claim is that the beauty of the Quran is a sufficient miracle, but may I suggest that his cousin Ali's writings are sometimes equally or more eloquent? If Islam is true, why is it that Muslims are encouraged to kill other Muslims who leave Islam? Why is the Bible, a cross, or any Christian literature prohibited from entering Saudi Arabia? If Islam is true, it should welcome any fair challenge from other faiths, since the Truth always triumphs when compared to non-truths. Let us look at what Muhammad says in the Quran on his own terms. Since the Quran is allegedly verbatim the word of God, let us hereafter examine what God has to say about Jesus (called Issa in the Quran). We will demonstrate enormous inconsistencies in the Quran about who Jesus is.

[Maryam 19:20] She (Mary) said: How can I have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I been unchaste? [Maryam 19:21] He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of him a revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained. [Maryam 19:22] And she conceived him (Jesus), and she withdrew with him to a far place.

Muhammad here acknowledges that Jesus' birth was miraculously done without human seed and was announced to the Virgin Mary by an angel. [Maryam 19:27] Then she brought him to her own folk, carrying him. They said: O Mary! Thou hast come with an amazing thing. [Maryam 19:28] O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a wicked man nor was thy mother a harlot. [Maryam 19:29] Then she pointed to him. They said: How can we talk to one who is in the cradle, a young boy ? [Maryam 19:30] He (Jesus) spake: Lo! I am the slave of Allah. He hath given me the Scripture and hath appointed me a Prophet, [Maryam 19:31] And hath made me blessed wheresoever I may be, and hath enjoined upon me prayer and almsgiving so long as I remain alive, [Maryam 19:32] And (hath made me) dutiful toward her who bore me, and hath not made me arrogant, unblest. [Maryam 19:33] Peace on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive! [Maryam 19:34] Such was Jesus, son of Mary: (this is) a statement of the truth concerning which they doubt. Here Muhammad records the first miracle of Jesus, who being still a baby, spoke as an adult to the kins of Mary who were accusing her of unchastity, since she had a child without being married to a man. Jesus defends her innocence and declares that he is the slave of Allah, who blessed him and appointed him to be a prophet. Then he prophesied about his own life saying : " Peace on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!" Therefore, Jesus was to die and to be raised alive.

[an-Nisa' 4:157] And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger - they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain. [an-Nisa' 4:158] But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise.

[Al-Imran 3:55] (And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering thee and causing thee to ascend unto Me, and am cleansing thee of those who disbelieve and am setting those who follow thee above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection.

Muhammad here contradicts what he said previously by denying that Jesus was crucified, died, and was raised alive from the dead! He alleges that Jesus was rather taken up to heaven, "but it appeared so unto them" (the disciples) that Jesus was crucified. [al-Baqarah 2:87] And verily We gave unto Moses the Scripture and We caused a train of messengers to follow after him, and We gave unto Jesus, son of Mary, clear proofs (of Allah's sovereignty), and We supported him with the Holy Spirit.

[al-Baqarah 2:253] Of those messengers, some of whom We have caused to excel others, and of whom there are some unto whom Allah spake, while some of them He exalted (above others) in degree; and We gave Jesus, son of Mary, clear proofs (of Allah's Sovereignty) and We supported him with the Holy Spirit.

[an-Nisa' 4:171] O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a Spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not "Three" - Cease! (it is) better for you! - Allah is only One God. Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a Son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender.

[al-Ma'idah 5:17] They indeed have disbelieved who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. [al-Ma'idah 5:72] They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah (himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Lo! whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden paradise. His abode is the Fire.

[Maryam 19:35] It befitteth not (the Majesty of) Allah that He should take unto Himself a son. Glory be to Him! When He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is.

[at-Taubah 9:30] And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they! Muhammad here says that God bestowed on Jesus the Holy Spirit, exalted him above other prophets in degrees, and gave him clear proofs of Allah's sovereignty (i.e. miracles), but Muhammad denies the Holy Trinity and denies that Jesus is the Son of God. [al-Baqarah 2:53] And when We gave unto Moses the Scripture and the criterion (of right and wrong), that ye might be led aright.

[an-Nisa' 4:163] Lo! We inspire thee as We inspired Noah and the prophets after him, as We inspired Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and as We imparted unto David the Psalms;

[al-Ma'idah 5:46] And We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow in their footsteps, confirming that which was (revealed) before him in the Torah, and We bestowed on him the Gospel wherein is guidance and a light, confirming that which was (revealed) before it in the Torah - a guidance and an admonition unto those who ward off (evil).

[al-Hadid 57:27] Then We caused Our messengers to follow in their footsteps; and We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow, and gave him the Gospel, and placed compassion and mercy in the hearts of those who followed him. Muhammad says that he follows the line of revelation of all the previous prophets, including Moses, Job, Jonah, David, Solomon, and Jesus. However, Islam rejects the authority of the Hebrew and Christian Holy Scriptures. This gratuitous debunking of the Bible is based on the allegations that it has been corrupted from the original and deviated from the truth. This is the reason why God finally sent his last and ceal of all prophets, Muhammad, to bring humanity back to the straight path. Islam, in a self-serving manner, totally ignores any archeological or historical scholarship that proves that the Bible is authentic and unaltered. [Al-Imran 3:45] (And remember) when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a word from him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, illustrious in the world and the hereafter, and one of those brought near (unto Allah). [Al-Imran 3:46] He will speak unto mankind in his cradle and in his manhood, and he is of the righteous. [Al-Imran 3:47] She said: My Lord! How can I have a child when no mortal hath touched me ? He said: So (it will be). Allah createth what He will. If He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is. [Al-Imran 3:48] And He will teach him the Scripture and wisdom, and the Torah and the Gospel, [Al-Imran 3:49] And will make him a messenger unto the Children of Israel, (saying): Lo! I come unto you with a sign from your Lord. Lo! I fashion for you out of clay the likeness of a bird, and I breathe into it and it is a bird, by Allah's leave. I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I raise the dead, by Allah's leave. And I announce unto you what ye eat and what ye store up in your houses. Lo! herein verily is a portent for you, if ye are to be believers.

[al-Ma'idah 5:110] When Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary! Remember My favour unto thee and unto thy mother; how I strengthened thee with the Holy Spirit, so that thou spakest unto mankind in the cradle as in maturity; and how I taught thee the Scripture and Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and how thou didst shape of clay as it were the likeness of a bird by My permission, and didst blow upon it and it was a bird by My permission, and thou didst heal him who was born blind and the leper by My permission; and how thou didst raise the dead by My permission; and how I restrained the Children of Israel from (harming) thee when thou camest unto them with clear proofs, and those of them who disbelieved exclaimed: This is naught else than mere magic;

[al-Ma'idah 5:114] Jesus, son of Mary, said: O Allah, Lord of us! Send down for us a table spread with food from heaven, that it may be a feast for us, for the first of us and for the last of us, and a sign from Thee. Give us sustenance, for Thou art the Best of Sustainers. [al-Ma'idah 5:115] Allah said: Lo! I send it down for you. And whoso disbelieveth of you afterward, him surely will I punish with a punishment wherewith I have not punished any of (My) creatures.

[az-Zukhruf 43:63] When Jesus came with clear proofs (of Allah's Sovereignty), he said: I have come unto you with wisdom, and to make plain some of that concerning which ye differ. So keep your duty to Allah, and obey me. Here Muhammad describes the miraculous virgin birth of Jesus, how he spoke from his cradle as in maturity, fashioned a bird of clay and breathed on it to give it life (this is reminiscent of the Genesis account of the creation of Adam! Is not Jesus the Word of God by whom all things were made?), brought food down from heaven to feed the multitudes, healed the blind and the lepers, and raised the dead! Who can do these things other than God Incarnate? No other prophet before or after Jesus has done anything close to this. [Al-Imran 3:37] And her Lord accepted her (Mary) with full acceptance and vouchsafed to her a goodly growth; and made Zachariah her guardian. Whenever Zachariah went into the sanctuary where she was, he found that she had food. He said: O Mary! Whence cometh unto thee this (food) ? She answered: It is from Allah. Allah giveth without stint to whom He will.

[Al-Imran 3:42] And when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah hath chosen thee and made thee pure, and hath preferred thee above (all) the women of creation.

[at-Tahrim 66:12] And Mary, daughter of 'Imran, whose body was chaste, therefore We breathed therein something of Our Spirit. And she put faith in the words of her Lord and His scriptures, and was of the obedient. Muhammad here believes that Mary, as a child, was sent angels from God to feed her in the temple's sanctuary, that she was pure and chaste, and that God has preferred her above all the women of creation and has given her of "Our Spirit" (meaning the Holy Spirit). Muhammad never claims anything remotely close to Mary's virtues for his mother. [as-Saff 61:6] And when Jesus son of Mary said: O Children of Israel! Lo! I am the messenger of Allah unto you, confirming that which was (revealed) before me in the Torah, and bringing good tidings of a messenger who cometh after me, whose name is the Praised One. Yet when he hath come unto them with clear proofs, they say: This is mere magic. The Holy Scriptures and Sacred Tradition of the Christian Church has never even remotely taught that Jesus predicted the coming of a prophet after Him. On the contrary, Jesus taught that false prophets and wolves will come after Him to tear apart the flock of His sheep. These contradictions, taken verbatim from the Quran, are very dramatic. They point to conflicting accounts about who Jesus is and what He did. The most overwhelming inconsistency is the affirmation that Jesus was to die and to be raised alive in one verse, and the denial that he ever was crucified in another remote verse, but was rather taken up to heaven. Could the word of God, which was dictated to Muhammad directly by the angel Gabriel, be in error? Would God make mistakes and change His mind? On the other hand, all four Gospels, written by four different witnesses, concur on the events of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. Could it be that Muhammad started out earlier in his public life by accepting part of the Christian Gospel, when he himself had few followers, was persecuted, and fled to Medinah, but later reversed his opinions when he sensed an opportunity for establishing his own religion and kingdom, after his first successful battles at defeating his enemies and returning as victor to Mecca? Is it unthinkable or impossible for the All-Mighty God to enter His creation and become incarnate, the Maker of this vast universe? God can do all things and is absolutely sovereign, even according to Islam. Muhammad, as a mortal man like many others before and after him, was interested in all the usual enticements that appeal to ambitious leaders: power, fame, authority, women, wealth. 

On the other hand Jesus is unparalleled in all humanity on account of his birth, life, death, and resurrection, being disinterested in common pursuits, keeping His eyes on the eternal kingdom which He promised to establish and which He is capable of delivering, having shown clear proofs in His life on earth of His sovereignty over the elements of nature, sickness, life, and death. His life and deeds were prophesied with great accuracy centuries before His birth. Is it not plausible that He is the author and fulfillment of all these prophesies? As for me, I confess, after many careful years of learning from life and books, and after continuous and honest soul-searching, that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Only-Begotten of the Father before all ages, eternally reigning and co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, the God-man, the Incarnate Word of God, uniting divine nature and human nature in one Person, the Logos, the Second Person of the All-Holy, Consubstantial, Tri-Personal, Triune, and Undivided Trinity. He took on human flesh and made it His own, without change, confusion, or separation of the divine and human natures, both operating simultaneously without diminution or alteration in the One Person, the Logos (this is the Orthodox Christian Faith of the Apostles, confirmed and defined at the fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, Asia Minor, 451 A.D).

As for Muhammad, he is a false prophet, whose coming was predicted by Christ. Jesus foretold in the Gospels the apparition of many false prophets after Him, one of the most successful of which turned out to be Muhammad. If you study carefully Muhammad's life, you will realize that he is of great religious, political, and military genius. He composed his own scriptures (the Quran) based on the Torah, the canonical Gospels, gnostic gospels (also called pseudepigrapha), and Arabian pagan customs. I, as a follower of Christ, do love Muslims, some of whom have great piety and love for God, surpassing the nominalism of many modern Christian peoples born under Islam are victims of their environment and have great difficulties breaking away from Islam because of many social pressures and the threat of being killed for the supposed crime of apostasy from Islam, even if they lose faith in their native inherited religion. The light they have received is a small fractional glimpse of the revealed full brightness of the True God, and their vision of God is shadowy and blurred. Their responsibility in front of God may not be as great as many Christians who are born in a free society and apostatize from Christ. 

Loving all Muslims, I, however, reject the teachings of Muhammad and Islam because they are misleading, discriminating, and often cruel, contradicting divine revelation in Christ, and mixing some of the revealed truths of Christianity (the fulfillment of Judaism) with falsehood and lies. Both can of course be considered false by non-believers, but both cannot be true. Orthodox Christianity teaches that God, the All-Merciful and Compassionate, will judge everyone according to what they have received and according to their deeds. Those who have received more will be accountable for more. Every human being is created and loved by God, and is given free will to chose good from evil, truth from falsehood, abundant Life from perdition, some according to the Truth revealed by the Son of God in Christianity, and others, who have not yet received Christ's illumination, according to the natural law inscribed in their heart and conscience by their Creator. The more one receives from God, the more one is accountable for on the Last Day. 

Ultimately, some non-Christians will be saved, and, on the other hand, some Christians will not be saved. God is All-Loving, Just, and Compassionate, and does not wish the death of a sinner, but patiently awaits his return. The height and breadth of His love was shown to us by the birth, death, and resurrection of His Only-Begotten Son. Make no mistake about it: Islam is not compatible with Christianity and is not another path to God revealed by a late-coming prophet. What prophet does God need to send after He Himself came to show us the Royal Path to salvation in His Church, the Ark of salvation? The God depicted by Muhammad is very different than the God revealed in Christ, although the name of the deity and few of His attributes might be held in common. If one of these two religions is true, the other is false by simple deduction.

[John 3:16] For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [John 8:57] Then said the Jews unto Him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? [John 8:58] Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am. [1Timothy 2:4] (God our Saviour) will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [1Timothy 3:15] ...the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. [1John 5:7] For there are Three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and these Three are One. Peace be unto all.

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