Don't they all lead to the same place in the end anyway?
If Islam says Jesus is "not" the Son of God but Christianity says He is - how can they both be true?
If Buddhism says there is no real "god" but Hinduism says there are many gods - how can they both be true?
If Judaism says Jesus is not the Messiah but Islam and Christianity says He is - How can all be true?
Pluralism (that all paths are true) or Relativism (that all truth is only relative) seem to be completely false - If I believe 2+2=8 it does not make it true it would seem? (Or if I "believed" that the earth was flat?)
Friend and colleague Dr. Subodh Pandit goes through all of these concepts below:
You should have gotten the complete DVD above by my friend Dr. Subodh Pandit but he goes through the major religions at a very high-level to show why/how Christianity is the only one that comes out on top.
*Again I find it (as a historian) quite reassuring that only the Bible is based within history itself whereas other religions are based on either one-man's writings or within myth, battling gods, etc. The Bible is holistic, based within history and written by at least 40 authors from kings to peasants over the span of over 1500 years but they all speak the same "truth" which would be expected "if" were indeed true. So please dive-into religious studies and don't be afraid to show your students/children why only Christian theism is logical and historically plausible across all spectrums of knowledge. (Let me know if you have any questions at all)
So what will you say the next time a person asks you: "Isn't one religion true for you but different for another?" Isn't Islam and Hinduism and Christianity basically the same? What are the differences?
In a Nutshell:
“Acoherentworldview must be able to satisfactorily answer four questions: that oforigin,meaning of life,morality, anddestiny; while every majorreligion makes exclusive claims abouttruth, the Christian faith is unique in its ability to answer all four of these questions.”
– Ravi Zacharias
Philosophy tell us that the universe can not be eternal, (because an infinite amount of "past" events would lead to us never reaching the present, (think about it)).
Discoveries by Einstein, Hubble, and others in the early 20th century have confirmed that the universe did indeed have a beginning.
98% of the world's top scientist, as well as common sense, tell us the Universe had a beginning.
The law of causality states that things that "come into being" have a cause. (they don't simply pop into being uncaused out of nothing)
So we can come to the basic conclusions on the origins of the universe:
Anything that began to exist has a cause.
The universe began to exist
Therefore, the universe had a cause
-God makes sense out of the origins of the universe-
This now basically gets us to the level of an agnostic or a deist. There had to be something that got everything going. Let's move to part 2, (remember - this is a very simple break down; simple yet effective, that even the most rigid atheist can not argue logically against).
Over the last 30+ years, science has made enormous discoveries in the fine tuning of the complexity of the universe.
In fact, numerous precise mathermatical relationships must exist in order for life to be possible. These include the strong nuclear force, the force of gravity, the rate of expansion of the universe, the masses of fundamental particles, and the speed of light. Indeed, the initial entropy of the universe must have been fine tuned to one part in 1010^123! (that is 1 chance to 10(with 1230 zeroes)) -
*Remember 1:1050 is considered scientific LAW, so this number is beyond science capabilities, so to believe in this is to put all mathmatical probabilities to the side and throw science as we know it out the window.
These numbers only give you the probability of life "permitting" so what you have is still an empty planet called Earth, with no life. *Now we have to go through another set of impossible probabilities for "life" to happen by chance.
When we put all of these together the odds are beyond comprehension. Some have estimated conservatively to 1:1031131 while some say it is closer to 1:10 to the billion power for life to somehow happen past the Law of Biogenesis which states "Life comes only from life."
Therefore we come to the following conclusions:
The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either law, chance, or design.
It is not due to law or chance.
Therefore, it is due to design
Is there really "right" and "wrong?"
Is a Hitler really any worse than Mother Teresa?
Is raping a child or killing someone wrong, or just a difference of opinion?
Most will admit that these are objectively wrong - even if one says raping a child and then torturing them is not really "wrong" their actions will betray their true feelings as they feel themselves sicking as they say: "there is nothing wrong with that!"
So where do these objective moral values come from? If we are here by accident, then there is no objective moral values, but there are true moral values of right and wrong, so they have to come from somewhere.
If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.
Objective moral values do exist.
Therefore, God exists
Another way to look at this is as follows:
If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.
Therfore, objective moral values exist, (some things are truly evil).
Therfore, God exists.
God makes sense of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus
(This will be explained more throughout this site and only touched on here)
There are four established facts concerning the fate of Jesus of Nazareth: his honorable burial by Joseph of Arimathea, the discovery of his empty tomb, and his post-mortem appearances, and the origin of his disciples' belief in his resurrection.
The hypothesis "God raised Jesus from the dead" is the best explanation of these facts.
The hypothese "God raised Jesus from the dead" entails that God exists.
Therefore God exists.
The Mathematical Odds of Jesus Fulfilling all Prophecies
Isaiah Scrolls discovered in 1947, dated to approximately 100-150 BC, near 100% accuracy when compared to today's Bible translations. Many of Isaiah's prophecies pointed to a "Coming Messiah;" what are the chances of one individual in history, fulfilling all of these prophecies? Seriously...
The following probabilities are taken from Peter Stoner in Science Speaks (Moody Press, 1963) to show that coincidence is ruled out by the science of probability. Stoner says that by using the modern science of probability in reference to eight prophecies, 'we find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 10 to the 17 power." That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. In order to help us comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates it by supposing that "we take 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep.
Stoner considers 48 prophecies and says, "we find the chance that any one man fulfilled all 48 prophecies to be 1 in 10157, or 1 in
The estimated number of electrons in the universe is around 10 to 79th. It should be quite evident that Jesus did not fulfil the prophecies by accident."
God can be immediately known and experienced
This really isn't an argument for God's existence; rather it'st he claim that we can know that God exists wholly apart from arguments simply by immediately experiencing Him.
This was the basic way people described in the Bible knew God.
For these people God was not inferred to be the best explanation of their religious experience and so they believed in Him; rather in their religious experience they came to know God directly.
IF you're sincerely seeking God, God will make His existence evident to you.
The Bible promises, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (James 4:8)
We mustn't so concentrate on the proofs for God that we fail to hear the inner voice of God to our own heart. For those who listen, God becomes and immediate reality in their lives.
In summary, we've seen five good reasons to think that God exists:
God makes sense of the origin of the universe
God makes sense of the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life.
God makes sense of objective moral values in the world.
God makes sense of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
God can be immediately known and experienced
These are only a part of the evidence for God's existence of course. Alvin Plantinga, one of America's leading philosophers, has laid out two dozen or so arguments for God's existence. Together these constitute a powerful cumulative case for the existence of God.
Now if we are travelers and not merely balconeers, the conclusion that God exists is but the first step of our journey, albeit a crucial one. The Bible says, "He who would come to God must believe that he exists and that is a rewarder of thsoe who seek him" (Hebrews 11:6). If we have come to belive that he exists, we must now seek him, in the confidence that if we do so with our whole hear, he will reward us with the personal knowledge of himself.
Is there really anything more important than this?
Now let's take a quick look at other competing worldviews verses the points made above:
1) Atheism - I have yet to have any atheist give reason "for" atheism. They will set-up straw men, such as "religion is dumb, therefore atheism makes sense," but this is not a reason "for" atheism, but just a reason not for deism or theism. *Also - if we review what secular science teaches, atheist have always assumed the universe was eternal and uncaused; but since the 20th century Einstein, Hubble, and others have helped us to see that the universe, space, matter, and time itself all began at one moment called the "Big Bang." Regardless of what time you put on this event the athiest has to come to acknowledge that matter and time itself came into being at a snap. Point 2 - The atheist simply say somehow beyond all possibilities that we know within the confines of science, math, logic and reason; all of the contraints that have to be in order for life, consciousness, and being itself simply defied all odds and somehow happened by chance. "Chance" seems less than a scientific answer in my humble opinion. Point 3 - Atheist must admit that morals do not really exist, so there is ultimately no "right" or "wrong." While the athiest may not like rape, murder or the Jewish Holocaust; these things are not objectively evil, because evil doesn't exist. But most athiest live very morally lives; giving money to help fight pollution, starvation, etc; but why? They cannot adhere to their own worldview, and thus I find their arguments against moral objectives to be again, quite weak. Point 4 - Though most historians readily admit to the details outlined above, they say "miracles" are not very likely, so they dismiss the whole thing. (Again it is not the job of the historian to say they "don't like miralces," but their job is to say all things and personal feelings aside, this is where the evidence points. Taking that into consideration, most historians do acknowledge that "if" they accepted the possibility of miracles, then Christ's resurrection would make the most logical sense).
2) Other Religions - So if atheism is quite implausible, what about other religions?
ISLAM - Point 1 - Creation -The creation narrative of Islam is split among many verses in the Qur'an . This narrative is similar to the Judeo-Christian accounts of creation. According to the Qur'an, the skies and the earth were joined together as one "unit of creation", after which they were "cloved asunder". After the parting of both, they simultaneously came into their present shape after going through a phase when they were smoke-like. While obviously derived from Christian and Jewish sources, Islam just touches on the points of creation and most hold to an 8 day creation. Point 2 - The Koran is written in a style of more poetic verse in Arabic, but has neither prophecy nor traceable historic content. Point 3 - The Koran rests on the testimony of 1 person considered by Muslims to be the seal of the prophets. Mohammed did not know his calling or that he was a prophet until later in his life; he then discovered his calling and well after his death the Koran was produced. (the Koran was lost and the 3rd Caliph (Uthman - successor to Mohammed) destroyed the 2 he thought was corrupt and kept the 3rd, (Muslims state that God would not have allowed him to destroy the wrong one, so therefore the one that exists today is accurate even though it was re-established by Uthman well after Mohammed's death, and hinges strictly on the one witness of Mohammed to be factual). It is not historic in nature so cannot be tested. Point 3 - Mohammed (although a prophet in Islam is said to automatically be forgiven of all sins), did acknowledge his sins.
HINDUISM- Point 1 - Creation -Hindu philosophy contains a less literal response. One of the hymns in the Rigveda speculates on various cosmic forces which might have fashioned the universe. It concludes with a passage of scepticism, beginning: "But, after all, who knows, and who can say whence it all came, and how creation happened." Some Hindu writings point to an eternal universe which is not what we see with the Big Bang, where we can conclude that the universe did have a definite beginning. Point 2 - Hindu writings claim to cover millions of years and therefore cannot be tested; they must simply be accepted since they are not historic in nature. Point 3 - One of the main gods Krishna, was said to have had over 16,000 wives and 180,000 sons; but the Hindu Vedas record how sexual desires negate one's validity. So here Krishna too acknowledges "sin" of a human nature.
*What is interesting with Hinduism in which Buddha left from, is that it too could have been an offshoot of a monotheistic belief. For example, although most Hindus today revere many deities with diverse names and functions, the vedic sages had formed the idea that these various other deities were really different aspects of one supreme power. They called this power "Truth." (Which is exactly what Christ referred to Himself as, and gives the the Christian a wonderful bridge in which to cross to share the simple message of Christ as "Truth" to a Hindu.) This concept is expressed in book one of the Rig-veda:
“The One and the Many Truth is One; the sages call it by different names such as Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, Yama, Garuonan or Matarishvan.”
(Rig-Veda: 1-1 64.46)
BUDDHISM - Point 1 - Creation - Buddhism itself generally ignores the question regarding the origin of life. The Buddha regarding the origin of life has said "Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it." So Buddhism simply does not claim to know. Point 2 - The writing is not historic in nature so cannot be tested; the majority of recorded writings there is not much of the man Buddha left so the focus is on enlightenment. Point 3 - Buddha said sexual intercourse was prohibited, but did admit to have fallen into this trap himself during his journey. He describes having to go down "to the water thrice before nightfall to wash away the evil within." So Buddha who did not know his own calling either, but had to find it, also had problems with what we call "sin."
More could be said about many other creation and world views, but this should be enough for now. What we can conclude is:
No worldview or religious view makes more sense of our lives than that of Christ. (notice I make a distinction between Christ-ianity and Church-ianity) - Only the Bible has recorded that space and time itself had a definite beginning; the 20th century has found science now confirm this claim. (As agnostic hubble astronomer Dr. Rober Jastrow has summed up - "The Genesis account in the Bible does match well with what we observe in modern cosmology and astronomy; there are a few differences, but the main story line is the same."
No worldview or religious view makes more sense than the historicity of the Bible. Dr. William Ramsay set out to disprove the Bible through archaeology a century ago and after verifying fact after fact labeled in the Bible and confirming Luke and John as first-class historians, the atheist Ramsay shocked the world with his acceptance of Christianity.
No world or religious leader has ever had a spotless enough record to be able to say "Follow Me" other than Jesus Christ. World and religious writings acknowledge that their own leaders have sinned and fallen short time and time again. Only Christ through both the Bible and Koran has been accepted as sinless and without fault. Moreover, only Jesus knew his calling from his birth; all other leaders had to discover their callings. (No other leader is supported by miracles and prophecy other than Jesus the Christ)
No worldview/religion can make sense why an infinite God would need anything from a finite human other than us being saved by the grace of God; no human can give anything to a God, but all religions claim you must "do something" other than true Christ-ianity. We must simply repent, accept, and Follow Christ.
Finally - A random person (you might think) Jesus of Nazereth was foretold by over 40 authors from all walks of life in 66 books of the Bible as the Son of God; the Koran recongnizes Him as the Messiah and Savior; many sects of Hinduism recognize Him as a "God" (though one of many); Buddhism recognizes Him as having reached Enlightenment or Karma; and even atheists and agnostics recognize Him as a great moral teacher well ahead of His day.
While these facts are not 100% concrete, we have MORE than enough to make a cumulative case argument that the only hope mankind has is in that of Jesus Christ. (not church-ianity) You can reject this is you would like but it is yours for free if you do not reject it. Like a person falling off of a ship and waking up in a rescue boat, all you have to do is accept the boat and don't jump out. We all must make that decision though; to jump out or simply say "Thank you Christ; I will stay in the boat."
Good luck on your journey. Whether you be Hindu, Muslim, Zoastrian, Judaic, atheist/agnostic; please request a Free package of DVDs, books, and more all sent to you out of my own pocket. Please understand that there are no catches; I truly do believe Christ is who He claimed to be, so I must feel obligated to at least offer you what I can. Not to push my "world view" on anyone else, but to present it to you as I wish it would have been to me. Thank you
Do Muslims, Jews, and Christians worship the same God? Dr. Craig explains the essential differences between the Islamic and Christian conceptions of God.
My interest in Islam was quickened by my study of the history of the cosmological argument for a personal creator of the universe. Early Christian commentators on Aristotle living in Alexandria, Egypt, developed this argument in response to Aristotle’s doctrine of the eternity of the world. They sought to show that the universe had a beginning and was brought into being by a transcendent creator.
When Islam swept across North Africa in the eighth century, this argument was taken up into Islamic theology and developed during the Middle Ages to a high degree of sophistication. Because of the contribution of Islamic thinkers to this argument, I dubbed it the kalam cosmological argument, the word “kalam” being the Arabic word for Islamic theology. I believe that this is a sound argument for God’s existence, and it has served me well in reaching out to Muslims with the gospel.
My interest in Islamic theology thus quickened, when I did my doctorate in theology at the University of Munich in Germany, I chose Islam as one of my side areas of specialization. I never dreamt at that time that this might someday become a topic of interest to popular audiences.
With the attacks of 9/11, Islam suddenly burst into public consciousness in the West, and its profile has risen with each passing year, as Islamic terrorism has spread across the world. This heightened awareness of Islam has piqued people’s interest in Islam and given me the opportunity to speak about the commonalities and contrasts between Islam and Christianity. Today I’ve been asked to speak about the concept of God in Islam and Christianity.
The question which drives our inquiry is not merely one of comparative religion; rather it is whether the Christian or Muslim concept of God is true. In our day of religious relativism, such a question is incredibly politically incorrect. All religions are supposed to be equally true, right? So what’s the fuss all about?
Well, the answer to that question, it seems to me, is that religious relativism, which is almost unthinkingly accepted by many people today, is simply not true. In fact, religious relativism is logically incoherent and so cannot be true. For the world’s religions conceive of God, or gods, in so many contradictory ways that they cannot all be true. In particular, the concept of God in Islam and Christianity is so different that both religions cannot be right. Islam and Christianity have different doctrines or teachings concerning what God is like. For example, Christians believe that God is tri-personal, that there are in the one God three persons whom we call the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Muslims deny this doctrine or teaching. They believe that God is a single person. We cannot both be right. We could both be wrong—maybe it’s the Buddhists who are right and God is impersonal—but we cannot both be correct. Therefore, part of the job of evaluating the competing claims of Islam and Christianity will be assessing their differing concepts of God.
Accordingly, in this morning’s talk I want, first, to look at the principal Islamic critique of the Christian conception of God, and then, second, to examine critically the Muslim concept of God, with a view toward determining its adequacy.
So let’s look first at the Christian concept of God and ask why Muslims find it rationally unobjectionable. Christians believe that God is an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-holy, eternal, spiritual Being who created the universe. Muslims agree with all these attributes (or properties) of God. This isn't surprising, since Islam, historically speaking, is an off-shoot of the Judaeo-Christian religious tradition. So our understanding of what God is like is in many respects the same.
But the major objection lodged by Islam against the Christian concept of God concerns the doctrine of the Trinity. In particular Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and shares the same divine nature with God the Father. Muslims reject this doctrine because they believe that it commits the sin they call shirk, which is the sin of associating anything with God. Since God is thought to be incomparable or without peer, He cannot have a Son, as Christians claim. Thus, the Qu’ran denounces anyone who holds that God has a Son as “an unbeliever” and consigns him to hellfire for such a blasphemous assertion. The Qur’an states: “They are unbelievers who say, ‘God is the Messiah, Mary’s son . . . .’ Surely, whoever associates anything with God, God shall prohibit him entrance to Paradise and his home shall be the Fire. None shall help the evil-doers” (5.73).
Unfortunately the Qur’an’s denunciation of the doctrine of the Trinity seems to be based on a gross misunderstanding of that doctrine. First, a bit of history here: Early Christian creeds had adopted the language of speaking of Mary as “the Mother of God” because she bore Jesus Christ. Now to someone not familiar with the theology of the early Church Fathers, such an expression as “the Mother of God” is almost guaranteed to be misleading. What the Church Fathers meant is that the person whose human nature Mary bore is a divine person. Mary did not give birth to the divine nature of Christ; nevertheless, Mary could be called the Mother of God, since Christ, whose human nature she bore, was a divine person.
But Mohammed evidently thought that Christians believed in a Trinity composed of God the Father, Mary, and their offspring Jesus. It’s no wonder that he regarded such a ridiculous doctrine as blasphemous! Mohammed’s misunderstanding of the Trinity is evident in passages such as the following found in the Qur’an:
God will say: ‘Jesus Son of Mary, did you ever say to mankind: “Worship me and my mother as gods besides God?”’
‘Glory be to you,’ he will answer, ‘I could never have claimed what I have no right to.’ (5.117)
The Creator of the heavens and the earth—how should he have a son, seeing that He has no consort, and He created all things . . . ? (6.102)
The doctrine that Mohammed rejected, namely, that God the Father should consort with a human female to sire a son and these three should then be worshiped as gods, would be rejected by any Christian.
According to the Bible, Jesus is called God’s Son because he had no human father, but was miraculously conceived of a virgin. In the Gospel according to Luke, the angel says to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and God’s power will rest upon you. For this reason the holy child will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1.35 TEV). What makes this ironic is that the Qur’an affirms the virgin birth of Jesus! In the Qur’anic account the angel says, “I am but a messenger of your Lord and have come to give you a holy son.” Mary answers, “How shall I bear a son when I have neither been touched by any man nor ever been unchaste?” The angel replies, “Thus did your Lord speak. That is easy enough for me . . . . Our decree shall come to pass.” (19.20-22). Whereupon Mary conceives Jesus. Thus, no Muslim should object to calling Jesus God’s Son in the sense of his being miraculously conceived.
So if the doctrine of the Trinity is not the caricature rightly rejected by Mohammed, what is it? It is the doctrine that God is tri-personal. It is not the self-contradictory assertion that three Gods are one God, nor again that three persons are one person. That’s just illogical nonsense. Rather it is the claim that the one entity we call God comprises three persons. That is no more illogical than saying that one geometrical figure we call a triangle is comprised of three angles. Three angles in one figure; three persons in one being!
Perhaps the best way to think of this is to say that in God there are three centers of self-consciousness. I am a being with a single center of self-consciousness. God is a being with three centers of self-consciousness. Each of these three persons is equal in glory and divinity; but we call them “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy Spirit” because of the different roles they place in relation to us. The Father is the person who sends the Son to Earth; the Son is the person who takes a human nature and becomes incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth; the Holy Spirit is the person who stands in Christ’s place until Christ returns.
Although this doctrine may seem strange to Muslims, once it's properly stated, there's nothing rationally objectionable about it. It is a logically consistent doctrine and seems rationally unobjectionable.
In fact, I’d like to finish out my first point by offering an argument for why it's plausible to think that God is a Trinity. To begin with, God is by definition the greatest conceivable being. If you could conceive of anything greater than God, then that would be God! Every Muslim who dies with the cry “Allahu akbar!” on his lips agrees with this point: God is the greatest being conceivable.
Now as the greatest conceivable being, God must be perfect. If there were any imperfection in God, then He would not be the greatest conceivable being. Now a perfect being must be a loving being. For love is a moral perfection; it is better for a person to be loving rather than unloving. God therefore must be a perfectly loving being.
Now it is of the very nature of love to give oneself away. Love reaches out to another person rather than centering wholly in oneself. So if God is perfectly loving by His very nature, He must be giving Himself in love to another. But who is that other? It cannot be any created person, since creation is a result of God’s free will, not a result of His nature. It belongs to God's very essence to love, but it does not belong to His essence to create anything. God is necessarily loving, but He is not necessarily creating. So we can imagine a possible world in which God is perfectly loving and yet no created persons exist. So created persons cannot be the sufficient explanation of whom God loves. Moreover, science tells us that created persons have not always existed. But God is eternally loving. So again created persons alone are insufficient to account for God's being perfectly loving. It therefore follows that the other to whom God’s love is necessarily directed must be internal to God Himself.
In other words, God is not a single, isolated person, as Islam holds; rather God is a plurality of persons, as the Christian doctrine of the Trinity holds. On the Islamic view God is a person who does not give Himself away essentially in love for another; He is focused essentially only on Himself. Hence, He cannot be the most perfect being. But on the Christian view, God is a triad of persons in eternal, self-giving love relationships. Thus, since God is essentially loving, the doctrine of the Trinity is more plausible than any unitarian doctrine of God such as Islam. Why? Because God is by nature a perfect Being of self-giving love.
In summary of my first point, then, we’ve seen that the classic Muslim rejection of the Christian concept of God is based on a drastic misunderstanding of the doctrine of the Trinity, and that once that doctrine is properly understood, it is not only rationally unobjectionable, but quite plausible as well. Therefore, the Christian concept of God is rationally unobjectionable.
That brings us to my second point, that the Muslim concept of God is rationally objectionable. Now in claiming this, I’m not trying to put anybody down or attack someone personally. I’m just saying that it seems to me that the Islamic conception of God has real problems which render it rationally objectionable. Let me share just one of those deficits, namely:
Islam has a morally deficient concept of God.
We've seen that Muslims and Christians agree that God by definition is the greatest conceivable being and that besides being all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present, and so forth, the greatest conceivable being must also be morally perfect. That means that God must be a loving and gracious being. Therefore, God, as the perfect being, must be all-loving.
And this is exactly what the Bible affirms. The Bible says,
God is love, . . . In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His son to be the sacrifice for our sins (I John 4.8, 10).
Or again it says,
God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5.8).
Jesus taught God’s unconditional love for sinners. We see this in his parables about the prodigal son and the lost sheep, in his practice of table fellowship with the immoral and unclean, and in his sayings like those of the Sermon on the Mount. He said, for example,
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends his rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, . . . what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5.43-48)
The love of the Heavenly Father is impartial, universal, and unconditional.
What a contrast with the God of the Quran! What I'm going to tell you now is something that you will never hear in the media or from our public officials, for they dare not say such things. They cannot risk alienating hundreds of millions of Muslims by saying anything critical of Islam. But honesty compels me to say candidly and without rancor that the God of the Qur'an is not the loving God revealed by Jesus. According to the Quran, God does not love sinners. This fact is emphasized repeatedly and consistently like a drumbeat throughout the pages of the Qur'an. Just listen to the following passages:
“God loves not the unbelievers” (III.33)
"God loves not the impious and sinners" (II.277)
“God loves not evildoers” (III. 58)
“God loves not the proud” (IV. 37)
“God loves not transgressors” (V. 88)
“God loves not the prodigal” (VI. 142)
“God loves not the treacherous” (VIII.59)
“God is an enemy to unbelievers” (II. 99)
Over and over again the Qur'an declares that God does not love the very people whom the Bible says God loves so much that He sent His Son to die for them!
Now this may seem paradoxical in light of the Qur'an’s calling God “al-Rahman al-Rahim”--the All-Merciful--until you realize that according to the Qur'an what God’s mercy really cashes out to is that if you believe and do righteous deeds, then God can be counted on to give you what you have earned, plus a bonus. Thus, the Quran promises,
Work and God will surely see your work. (9. 105)
Every soul shall be paid in full for what it has earned. (2. 282)
Those who believe and do deeds of righteousness and perform the prayer and pay the alms--their wage awaits them with the Lord. (2. 278)
According to the Qur'an God’s love is thus reserved only for those who earn it. It says,
To those who believe and do righteousness, God will assign love. (19. 97).
So the Qur'an assures us of God’s love for the God-fearing and the good-doers; but He has no love for sinners and unbelievers. Thus, in the Islamic conception, God is not all-loving. His love is partial and has to be earned. The Muslim God only loves those who first love Him. His love thus rises no higher than the love which Jesus said even tax-collectors and unbelievers exhibit.
Now don’t you think this is an inadequate conception of God? What would you think of a parent who said to his children, "If you measure up to my standards and do as I say, then I will love you"? Some of you have had parents like that, who didn't love you unconditionally, and you know the emotional scars you bear as a result. As the greatest conceivable being, the most perfect being, the source of all goodness and love, God’s love must be unconditional and impartial. Therefore, the Islamic conception of God seems to me to be morally deficient. I therefore cannot rationally accept it.
Undoubtedly, this difference between Jesus’ Heavenly Father and the God of Mohammed is most clearly exhibited in the attitude we're commanded to have toward non-believers. Jesus said that we should love unbelievers, just as God does, even if they are our enemies. Mohammed’s attitude and teaching were quite different. Early on in his career, when he himself was in the persecuted minority, Mohammed had a very positive attitude toward Jews and Christians, whom he called the “People of the Book” because of their adherence to the Bible. He believed that once the Jews understood his message, they would willingly convert to Islam. Passages in the Quran from this early period of Mohammed’s life are quite positive toward Jews and Christians.
But when the Jews did not convert, but opposed Mohammed, he became increasingly embittered against them. As Mohammed acquired political and military strength, the persecuted prophet changed to the ruthless politician. He began to have the Jews in Medina, where his base of operations was, either killed or dispossessed. In the year 627, after an unsuccessful attack on Medina by the Arab army from Mecca, Mohammad rounded up hundreds of Jewish families in Medina. 700 Jewish men were put to the sword, and Mohammad had their wives and children sold into slavery.
Mohammad realized that in order to unify the fractious Arab tribes, outward expansion was necessary. So he turned his eyes toward Syria and Iraq as obvious targets. At this time he lifted all protection from pagans. Unless they submitted to Islam, they were to be exterminated. The ninth chapter of the Quran comes from this period of Mohammad’s life. It states that for four months pagan idolaters shall be left alone unmolested. Then comes this chilling command: “When the sacred months are past, kill the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. [But] If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way . . . . they are your brothers in the Faith” (9.5, 11). Not only pagans, but even Jews and Christians, the once respected People of the Book, now also came under Mohammad’s ban. Unless they submitted, they were likewise to be eliminated. Chapter 9 goes on to command Muslims: “Fight those from among the People of the Book who . . . do not embrace the true Faith until they pay tribute out of their own hand and are utterly subdued” (9.29). This chapter goes on to rebuke in the harshest terms any Muslim who refuses to go forth to fight: God will punish him and replace him with others (9.38-39). Muslims who refuse to fight will be smitten by God, either directly or — ominously—at the hands of faithful Muslims who do fight (9.52) “Wait if you will,” the hesitant are told, “We too are waiting.” But those who go forth in God's holy war are promised either victory or martyrdom (9.52). Those who die in God’s cause are promised a Paradise of sensual delights: green gardens with flowing waters, silk couches, abundant wine, and voluptuous, dark-eyed virgins for their pleasure ( ).
These are the last commands in the Qur’an with respect to unbelievers. Mohammad died shortly thereafter in 632 with plans before him for the attacks on neighboring nations. His successors carried out those attacks. In 633 the armies of Islam took Persia; in 635 Damascus fell; in 638 Jerusalem succumbed; in 640 Egypt was taken, and so on, right across North Africa to the Atlantic Coast.
We in the West with our democratic, liberal values tend to think that every religion surely shares our values. American officials have repeatedly said that we should not refer to the terrorists as “Islamic fundamentalists” because they are murderers, and no major religion advocates murder. I wonder if these officlas have ever read the ninth chapter of the Qur’an. The truth of the matter is Islam is a religion which enjoins violence and which, historically, has been propagated by violence.
Contrary to what you hear tirelessly repeated in the media, the word “Islam” does not mean “peace.” That claim is simply linguistically false. “Islam” is the Arabic word for submission or surrender. That is what Muslims are called upon to do: to surrender everything to God. Thus, contrary to Western ways of thinking, Islam is not a church. It is crucial that we understand this. Islam is a total way of life: everything is to be submitted to God: the government, the economy, social mores, every aspect of society is submitted to God. Islam is thus all-consuming. The Western idea of separation of church and state is meaningless in Islam. For everything is to be submitted to God.
What this means is that it is really the so-called moderate Arab states like Egypt and Turkey, where you have a secular government distinct from Islamic law, in effect a separation of church and state, which are the ones who acting inconsistently with Islam. They have adopted a Western model of governance, a separation of church and state, which is fundamentally incompatible with Islam. And that’s why Islamic fundamentalists hate these moderate Arab regimes and want to overthrow them. The fundamentalists understand more accurately the true nature of Islam.
But of course our public officials dare not say such a thing. We need the support of these moderate Arab states if our war against terrorism is to succeed. Therefore, moderate Muslims must be courted and reassured. And thus we get all these politically correct, revisionist statements in the media that Islam means peace, that Muslims only fight in self-defense not aggression, that Islam condemns violence, and so forth. All of this is politically motivated revisionism which betrays the true character of Islam.
This is not to say that Islam sanctions all of the atrocities perpetrated by group like ISIL. I am not aware of anything in the Qur’an or in Sharia law that would sanction the rape of women or the execution of children in the name of Allah. Nor am I saying that Muslims are violent people. I’m talking about theology, not people. We can be thankful that the vast majority of Muslims are not fundamentalists, but are nominal Muslims, whose lives are far better than their theology. Indeed, they may know very little about Islamic theology. Asking a nominal Muslim what Islam teaches is rather like asking a nominal Catholic or Episcopalian what Christianity teaches!
So I trust you can see how absurd is the claim that the God of Mohammed is the Father of Jesus Christ. The Father of Jesus Christ loves sinners and commands us to love even our enemies, not to mention our neighbor. The God of Mohammad loves only those who love him, and he is an enemy to unbelievers. His followers are commanded to hunt down and kill unbelievers unless and until they submit. The God of the Qur’an is a defamation of the Heavenly Father proclaimed and revealed by Jesus.
To wrap up, then, we've seen, first, that the Christian concept of God as a Trinity is rationally unobjectionable and, second, that the Muslim concept of God is, by contrast, rationally objectionable because the God of Islam is morally deficient and therefore not the greatest conceivable being. As one theologian has rightly exclaimed, “Thank God for God!”