(March 24, 2017) Dr Jim McClure, highly esteemed theologian, expounds an important matter …
I am hearing more frequently today that Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same God. It is often stated that there is a strong similarity between the Judaism, Christianity and Islam and that the all three religions, which are monotheistic, share the same religious and spiritual tradition and therefore have so much in common with each other. Some Jewish and Christian leaders are making the same claim. This syncretistic understanding of those three religions may resonate with the politically correct philosophy of today but is it true?
The argument is made that, if we were to accept each other’s religion as differing expressions of the same spiritual truths, much of the current hostility – some of which has been manifested in horrific violence – would be defused. Consequently, in the name of tolerance we are told that we should major on the things that the three religions have in common.
1. Are there things that those religions have in common?
At first glance one may conclude that there are significant similarities between the three religions but those similarities are more superficial than substantial. Let’s consider some of their commonality.
(i) Judaism, Christianity and Islam are Abrahamic religions
It is claimed that there is an intrinsic relationship between the three religions, especially as they all worship the god of Abraham. But do they? The validity of that assertion is highly questionable and the supposed relationship between the three religions is very superficial.
Consider the question of lineage. Both Judaism and Islam claim Abraham as their father on the basis of descendancy through two of Abraham’s sons – for Israel through Isaac and for Arabs through Ishmael.
- Judaism – There is no doubt as to Judaism’s qualifications in asserting its Abrahamic pedigree. Around 2000 BC God called Abraham (then named Abram) when he was living in the city of Ur in Babylonia and in faith Abraham responded to that call. Jews legitimately can claim their racial identity through the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph) of Israel.
- Islam – The Arabic claim that their association with Abraham is through Abraham’s son Ishmael is highly questionable. Islam teaches that Ishmael (the firstborn son) rather than Isaac was the foremost son through whom the divine promises applied. In fact, in the Koranic retelling of the events concerning Ismael and Isaac, Ishmael takes precedence over Isaac even in the switching of the name Ishmael for Isaac in the account of Abraham’s offering of his son to God (Genesis 22).
Muslims further believe that Mohammed is a descendant of Ishmael but such a belief is patently false. Ishmaelite tribes, per se, ceased to exist in the 7th century BC. The tribe to which Mohammed belonged could not have lived in the same regions as the Ishmaelites at any time in their history. Furthermore, not all Muslims are of Arab descent. The largest Islamic country in the world is Indonesia whose inhabitants are definitely not Arabs!
- Christianity – Christians make no descendancy claim to Abraham even though the first Christians were Jews. They do, however, ‘own’ their relationship with Abraham on the basis of a shared faith in God. As Paul has written, ‘Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring – not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham’ (Romans 4:16). And that faith is centred on Jesus Christ. Again as Paul wrote, ‘The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ’ (Galatians 3:16).
(ii) The scriptures of Judaism, Christianity and Islam
- Tanakh – This is the name given to the Jewish bible (the body of scriptures known also as the Hebrew Bible or by non-Jews as the ‘Old Testament’). It contains the text of all 39 books in ‘Protestant’ Bibles – Catholic translations of the Old Testament also include the intertestamental Apocrypha books. The Tanakh was written over a period of 1000 years by around 40 people under the inspiration of God. Although they lived in different periods in history, came from different areas and followed different occupations there is a consistency and a unifying theme in the overall message.
The Tanakh reveals God as the only God who exists. He is the Almighty Creator, the one who is in ultimate control of all things. God reveals his nature and his love for humankind. Through his covenantal relationship with Israel God also reveals his judgment, mercy and forgiveness of sin, his invitation to people to place their faith in him, to obedience to his moral codes, and to fair and compassionate social relationships with each other. It further reveals the presence and destructive nature of sin in the world. And it especially looks forward to the coming of the Messiah who would establish of the kingdom of God.
- Bible – The Old Testament was accepted by the early church (which was principally composed of Jewish converts to Jesus Christ) as its written and divinely inspired revelation. To this was added the writings of the New Testament which were regarded as sharing the same inspiration and having the same authority as the Old Testament.Together both Testaments uniquely disclose God’s nature and purpose for mankind and these alone establish the revelational authority of the church. The Old Testament is the foundation on which the New Testament rests. While the Old Testament points to the coming of the Messiah, the New Testament (which was written between around 50 AD and 100 AD by various authors) identifies that promised Messiah as Jesus whose universal message of love, grace, forgiveness and salvation reaches out to all people. Dr F F Bruce has written: ‘The Bible is not simply an anthology; there is a unity which binds the whole together.’
- Koran (or Qur’an) – The Koran, which is shorter than the New Testament, is a 7th century AD includes a retelling of parts of the Old and New Testaments by Mohammed who misrepresented the actual contents of both by putting his own slant on them. According to Muhammad, the words of Allah in the Old and New Testaments had been corrupted and the ‘revelations’ he claimed to have received via the angel Gabriel corrected the message! Muslims believe that Mohammad receive this ‘final revelation’ over 23 years, that it is the final and wholly truthful, infallible scripture revealed by God and that it corrects the many falsehoods and errors that are in the Bible. Mohammed recited his ‘revelation’ to his followers (Koran means ‘recitation’). When he died, disagreement concerning the different compilations of writings that made claim to represent what Mohammad had actually said often led to violence.
The Koran is supplemented by the Hadith which is a collection of comments supposedly made by Mohammed and written by those who personally knew him.
It is evident that, while there is a close relationship between the scriptures of the Tanakh (the Old Testament) and the New Testament (the New Testament does not disparage the Tanakh in any way but acknowledges it to be the authentic word of God) there is emphatically no similar relationship with the Koran which is a highly fictional retelling of portions of the Bible and which, we have noted, seeks to ‘correct’ the Old and New Testaments! In reality it does violence to the historical facts, the character of God and truth.
Any perceived relationship between the Bible and the Koran is entirely superficial.
The Koran states, ‘Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely, have found in it (that is the Koran) many contradictions.’ (4.82) An often quoted phrase in Islamic writings states: ‘The Qur’an is the only religious sacred text that has been in circulation for a lengthy period, and yet remains as pure as the day it was revealed. Nothing has been added, removed or modified from it, since its revelation over 1400 years ago.
Let’s consider the three points made in the above paragraph:
a) ‘Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely, have found in it (that is the Koran) many contradictions.’
Also, ‘… without any crookedness …’ (39.28), ‘Falsehood shall not come to it from before it nor from behind it …’ (41.42). The Koran thus adamantly self-testifies to its own infallibility – it has no contradictions, no crookedness, no falsehood! This grandiose claim, however, does not stand up to scrutiny!
There are, instead, many contradictions and errors of all kinds in the Koran. I shall mention just a few:
- The creation of man; the Koran gives three variations – dust (3.59), mud (15.26), sperm (16:4), nothing (19:67), congealed blood (96.2).
- The Pharaoh pursuing the Israelites was either allowed to live (10.92) or drowned (17.103).
- The soul passes the collar-bone on its way out of the body! (75:26)
- Muslims should seek peace with an enemy who wants reconciliation (8:61-63), or, if Muslims are dominant, they should not seek peace with unbelievers (47:35).
b) ‘The Qur’an is the only religious sacred text that has been in circulation for a lengthy period …’
This statement is totally false – the sacred texts of many religions have been in circulation much longer that the Koran. And certainly the Jewish and Christian scriptures have been in circulation significantly longer than the Koran.
- The Old Testament: The first written book of the Old Testament was about 3,500 years ago and its final book just over 2,400 years ago.
- The New Testament: The first book was written around 50 AD (about 30 years after Jesus’ resurrection) and the last was written just before the end of the 1st century AD, so that makes the New Testament almost 2000 years old.
- The Koran: The comments of Mohammed began in 609 AD and ended at his death in 632 AD. The complete Koran, therefore, has been in existence less than 1400
c) ‘… yet remains as pure as the day it was revealed. Nothing has been added, removed or modified from it.’
This clearly is untrue. Mohammed’s disorderly verses were eventually gathered into an intelligible text and shortly after his death a number of compilations of his ‘revelations’ were available. They lacked consistency and differed from each other in many ways, so much so, in fact, that Caliph Uthman (who died in 656 AD) decided to do something about it. The Hadith, ‘Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 61, Number 510’, recounts, ‘Uthman sent a message to Hafsa saying, “Send us the manuscripts of the Qur’an so that we may compile the Qur’anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you.” Hafsa sent it to ‘Uthman. Uthman then ordered Zaid bin Thabit, Abdullah bin AzZubair, Said bin Al-As and AbdurRahman bin Harith bin Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. … Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 61, Number 510).
Clearly it was the subjective opinion of Uthman that decided what was to be added, removed or modified!
Edward Gibbons (who wrote The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire) accurately described the Koran as an ‘incoherent rhapsody of fable and precept and declamation, which seldom excites a sentiment or an idea, which sometimes crawls in the dust, and is sometimes lost in the clouds.’
(iii) Monotheism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam
All three religions claim that they are monotheistic, that is, that they believe that only one God exists. Various attempts have been made to concoct a theory which blends together the three religions to suggest that they express the same fundamental idea of an Abrahamic monotheism. To group them together in this way however misrepresents the teaching all three religions and creates an argument that is patently false. We shall examine the monotheistic claim that the three religions make.
- Judaism – Monotheism has unreservedly been a major doctrinal tenet from Abraham, – and reinforced by Moses and the prophets – until today. Isaiah’s description of the seraphim calling out to each other in the temple, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord (Yahweh) Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory’ (Isaiah 6:3), Jeremiah’s statement, ‘The Lord (Yahweh) is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King’ (Jeremiah 10:10) and the hundreds of references to the God of heaven and earth establish Judaism’s conviction of monotheism.
The ethical character of Yahweh distinguished him from the idols and the nature gods that were worshipped in pagan religions. The supremacy, sovereignty and holiness of Israel’s God contrasted starkly with the multiple false gods worshipped in surrounding nations. ‘Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made.’ (Isaiah 2:8) The Hebrew word translated ‘idols’ in Hebrew is elilim which means, ‘good for nothing’ or ‘of no value.’ And Yahweh himself declares, ‘This is what the Lord says – Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God’ (Isaiah 44:6).
- Christianity – Christianity from its beginning steadfastly has declared its monotheistic belief. In this it continues the Old Testament affirmation that ‘The Lord our God, the Lord is one’ (Deuteronomy 4:6) which was repeated by Jesus Christ in Mark 12:29. That phrase, which lies at the heart of Judaism, is also a core belief in Christianity. God is one! It has been argued that the Old Testament, while not articulating the doctrine of the Trinity, nevertheless alludes to it in various places, such as, Genesis 1:26 where the plural pronoun is used by God of himself: ‘God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our’ Also it is noted that the Hebrew word, elohim, used in reference to God is a plural noun.
In view of its doctrine of the Trinity, the question as to whether or not Christianity is monotheistic has often been challenged. In answer it must be said that the nature of God’s oneness was differently understood with the coming of Jesus and his teaching. He taught that there is only one God, but three different persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – ‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ (Matthew 28:19). The New Testament does not teach that there are three gods but only One who exists as three persons who are co-equal and co-eternal, one in essence, nature, power and will. The work of creation and grace flows from all three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit; God’s holiness and love are revealed as aspects of a single divine nature.
Some cults such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons do not acknowledge Jesus or the Holy Spirit as being part of the Godhead. Some other cults maintain that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are different ways in which the one God reveals himself. But historic Christianity wholly rejects these arguments. The bottom line is that the divine revelation of God’s triune nature cannot be solved by a mathematical formula but is a mystery which is beyond our understanding. The Almighty God whom we have come to know and love, cannot, nevertheless, be confined within the boundaries of human logic.
- Islam – Islam is a monotheistic religion in that it teaches that there is only one God, (‘And worship Allah and associate none with him’ Koran 4.36). but that does not inevitably mean that they worship the same God as Christians and Jews! The claim that they do is false at many levels. For example, Christians and Jews worship Yahweh as the One God but there are others who worship Satan and claim that Satan is the true God, however that does not mean that Yahweh and Satan therefore must be the same God! Such a conclusion would be ridiculous. In the same way, because Christianity, Judaism and Islam claim to worship one God, one cannot therefore conclude that they worship the same God!
While Christians and Jews claim that the God they worship is the one who revealed himself in the Bible, the identity of Islam’s God is somewhat different despite Islam’s claim in the Koran that Allah and the God of the Bible are the same – ‘… our Allah and your Allah is one…’ (Surah 29:46). This claim was made at a time when Mohammed sought to find personal acceptance and credibility for his writings among the Jews and Christians in Mecca. Mohammed referred to Jews and Christians at that time as ‘People of the Book’, that is, the Bible, and he hoped that his ‘writings’ would be likewise recognised as divinely inspired. When that did not happen, Mohammed’s response was hostile to Jews and Christians.
Are we just playing with semantics when we maintain that Yahweh and Allah refer to different persons? Certainly not! Yahweh was the name by which God revealed himself to Moses, ‘Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. [Note: In Hebrew this reveals the divine name ‘Yahweh’] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you'” (Exodus 3:13-14).
But who is Allah? Mohammed was born in 570 AD and for centuries before his birth ‘Allah’, along with 360 other gods, was worshipped in Mecca. Allah was the name of the principal god worshipped in the tribe to which the family of Mohammed belonged. When Mohammed started to pursue the idea of monotheism, he elevated Allah to the position of the only god. According to Islam ‘Allah’ is God’s proper name in contradistinction to the name ‘Yahweh’ which God gave to Moses and by which he is known throughout the Old Testament.
Just as a counterfeit $10 note may resemble an authentic one in many ways, the counterfeit note will always be a counterfeit. In the same way, despite some superficial resemblances to the God of the Bible, Allah will always be a counterfeit!
(iv) The ‘God’ of Judaism, Christianity and Islam
- Judaism – Throughout the Old Testament we are often reminded of the majestic theme of the transcendence of the Lord God Almighty, the maker of all things. Transcendence is a theological term that expresses the concept that God is outside of the universe and is independent of it. The psalmist gave expression to this when he declared, ‘Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth’ (Psalm 57:5). God is infinitely greater than us and beyond us in all things, in majesty, power, holiness and moral excellence. ‘“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”’ (Isaiah 55:8-9).
At the same time the Old Testament never lets us forget God’s immanence, that is, God is not at a distance from us. God is actively present with us and involved in our world and he seeks to interact with his people. The God of Judaism is one who pursues relationship with humankind. This is seen in the various covenants God has made, but also we are introduced to that characteristic of a loving, caring God in the opening chapters of Genesis where we see him in relationship with Adam and Eve. The appeal of the loving God to dialogue is seen in such verses as Isaiah 1:18, ‘Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’ The Father heart of God is clearly revealed throughout the Old Testament.
We also see God’s immanence in the Old Testament in the five covenants he initiated. The religion of the people of Israel traces its origins to the covenant God made with Abraham and his descendants, as we have previously noted. When God called Abraham, he was living in the polytheistic culture of Mesopotamia. ‘The Lord (Yahweh) had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram left, as the Lord (Yahweh) had told him’ (Genesis 12:1-4). ‘I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you’ (Genesis 17:7). Further, in Job 38:1-40:2 we find a series of fascinating questions addressed to Job by God about his role as transcendent creator which stands in stark contrast to Job’s human limitations and ignorance.
- Christianity – The transcendence of God as revealed in the Old Testament is also declared in the New Testament. Paul writes, ‘Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counsellor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever!’ (Romans 11:33-36).
John, graphically portrays the transcendence of Almighty God throughout the book of Revelation and in the first chapter draws our attention to it: ‘”I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty”’ (1:8).
In reference to God’s transcendence, John Stott has written, ‘[God’s] infinite greatness is veiled from our eyes. We cannot discover him by ourselves. If we are ever to know him, he must make himself known’ (Understanding the Bible).
The wonderful thing about the New Testament is that it tells us that God did precisely that in Jesus’ incarnation, life, death and resurrection. John 1:1 reveals to us that the transcendent God became man! ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. … The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth’ (John 1:1-4, 14).
In Jesus we see God’s transcendence and immanence come together. Because he knew himself to be the Son of God is a unique way, Jesus was able to introduce men and women to the living God. In his birth we see the incarnation of the transcendent Creator – ‘God became man! And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh’ (1 Timothy 3:16 NKJV).
As much as God may often seem transcendent in our personal experience, he knows what it means to be one of us:
+ In Jesus, God has lived among us
+ In Jesus, God has shared our humanity
+ In Jesus, God has tasted our sorrows, joys and temptations
+ In Jesus, God has endured the awfulness of human suffering and death
+ In Jesus, God rose again from death to offer us life
+ In Jesus, God promises to be with us always (Matthew 28:20).
C S Lewis has expressed God’s transcendence and immanency in this way: ‘God is both further from us, and nearer to us than any other being’ (The Problem of Pain). And we know empirically that this is true because of Jesus! In Jesus, God, the Creator of the universe, The Almighty, the Lord over all, the King of Kings, has lovingly revealed his imminence, his presence, his nearness. And he reminds us ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5).
- Islam – The emphasis and essence of mainstream Islam has always been the unconditional transcendence of Allah. Its worldview is really quite simplistic – first there is Allah, and secondly there is everything that is not Allah! Allah is always in the realm of transcendence, everything else is not transcendent and therefore ‘never the twain shall meet’! Allah, the Creator, never has, nor ever will, personally step into his creation and meet and interact with his creatures. Nor should any anthropomorphic images, physical or linguistic, ever be used to express the person of Allah.
For this reason the word ‘Father’, in reference to Allah, is never be used. ‘Father’ is a beautiful word of intimacy for God and it is used often throughout the Old and New Testaments, but it not to be found in the Koran for Allah. Mohammed never knew Allah as Father. Mohammad’s relationship with Allah was one of a slave to a master who insists upon obedience and the only ‘love’ that Allah offered was for those who obeyed him. The God of love and grace, who is revealed in the Bible as one who seeks relationship with people, is vastly different from Allah who demands submission from all. (The word ‘Islam’ is from an Arabic word that means ‘submission’).
2. Comparing Deities
Compare the Allah of the Koran with the God of the Old Testament in which we read of his Fatherly characteristic in such verses as: ‘You, O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name,’ (Isaiah 63:16). ‘As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him’ (Psalm 103:13). And in the New Testament we see that Jesus took this to an even more profound level when he said to his followers, ‘When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. … your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name … if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins’ (Matthew 6:6, 8, 14-15).
What dissimilarities there are between the God of the Bible and the Allah of the Koran! Because Allah is presented only as a transcendent god who does not seek a loving relationship with people, Mohammad‘s view of the incarnation of Jesus was that it was as absurd to consider the possibility that Almighty God personally would step into human history. But this central belief of Christianity. is adamantly dismissed in the Koran, ‘They are unbelievers who say, ‘God is the Messiah, Mary’s Son.’ (5:17) To assert the deity of Christ is, according to Islam, to commit the unforgivable sin!
But Jesus, God’s Son, did step into history and lived among us as a man! Christianity teaches that in Jesus the fulness of all Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament were fulfilled and that he come to us as God incarnate, lived among us, died, rose again and ascended to the ‘highest place.’ ‘[He] gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good’ (Titus 2:14).
Jesus Christ’s divinity, sacrificial death and glorious resurrection were all dismissed by Mohammed who believed that Jesus was his (that is, Mohammed’s) forerunner. But Jesus is the one who was exalted to ‘the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father’ (Philippians 2:9-11). And he is the one whose return we are looking forward to ‘… while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ’ (Titus 2:13).
The fundamental beliefs of Islam and Christianity and the God’s they represent are in complete opposition to each other.
3. Comparing some of the beliefs of the ‘Abrahamic’ religions
|The Bible is the authoritative ord of God||YES – Old and New Testaments||YES – Old Testament only||NO|
|God is knowable||YES||YES||NO|
|God is our Father||YES||YES||NO|
|Yahweh is God||YES||YES||NO|
|Jesus is the Son of God||YES||NO||NO|
|Jesus is the Messiah||YES||NO||NO|
|Jesus died on the cross||YES||YES||NO|
|Jesus was resurrected from death||YES||NO||NO|
4. Should we take the path of political correctness?
There are those today who will argue a ‘politically correct’ view that Islam is a religion of peace despite the fact that Islamic groups worldwide in Allah’s name daily create fear, carnage and destruction. This indeed has been the history of Islam since its beginning as Mohammed sought to spread his message through aggressive warfare. In ‘Sahih al-Bukhari Book 46 Hadith 717’ we read, ‘I wrote a letter to Nafi and Nafi wrote in reply to my letter that the Prophet had suddenly attacked Bani Mustaliq without warning while they were heedless and their cattle were being watered at the places of water. Their fighting men were killed and their women and children were taken as captives; the Prophet got Juwairiya on that day.’ With Mohammed’s consent, his men raped the women after they had slaughtered the men.
Mohammed was the first Islamic terrorist and Islamic domination through military campaigns was his method of propagating his message of subjection which was polar opposite to that commissioned by Jesus and practised by the early church in the spread of his message of love and forgiveness.
An orange tree and a strychnine tree show some similarities – both produce an orange coloured fruit – but the fruit of the orange tree nourishes the body while the fruit of the strychnine tree causes convulsions, paralysis and death. The root is revealed in the fruit!
An orange tree and a strychnine tree show some similarities – both produce an orange coloured fruit – but the fruit of the orange tree nourishes the body while the fruit of the strychnine tree causes convulsions, paralysis and death. The root is revealed in the fruit! That is not to say that all Muslims are evil people and potential terrorists. Clearly there are Muslims who distance themselves from such actions and do not defend them, who are genuinely sociable, friendly and willing to integrate in non-Muslim society but they show such characteristics not because of Islam but despite it.
Islam is not comparable to Christianity (or Judaism) and Muslims are not people who just worship the same God as Christians but in a different way. The founders of Christianity and Islam are different, their Gods are different, their scriptures are different, their core messages are different, their ethical teachings are different and their goals are different. Truth cannot be compromised in the name of tolerance. And love demands that Christians love those who oppose them and pray for them that they may be led from lies to the truth, from darkness to light and from death to life.
Dr Jim McClure, author of several books and Bible study series, welcomes questions from Christians seeking enlightenment on biblical perspectives.
His new book, Looking for Answers in a Confusing World, has just been released and is available in electronic version in EPUB, Kindle and PDF formats with hyperlinks and offered free.
Link for orders and questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim you are great! A great word. Can I use it with our students? Of course, Ian…go for it!
Great article Dr Jim.
Very informative and thought provoking.