The world would have us believe a lie; that the god of Islam is the same as the God of the Bible. It is true in only the most superficial sense. While such statements feed the warm and fuzzy urges inside us it denies the truth of the situation and does Yahweh God, the Deity of Holy Scripture a disservice. And emanating from that understanding we find inherent characteristics built into the nature of Islam that define the religion. Islam is prisoner to its defining character.
PART III – THE ‘SAME GOD’ FALLACY
In January of 2016, Pope Francis re-wrote Christian theology by tossing aside some proven truths of the Christian Faith. In a video meant to reach out to all peoples and all faiths of the world, the Pontiff said this. “Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways. In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only one certainty that we have for all: we are all children of God.” And therein was contained the lie that the world loves to tell. All religions are the same. We are all seeking God and God will honor our search.
That’s in direct contradiction to Scripture. “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:10-13) Now in all fairness, it’s not like the Pope was really going rogue here, in the Catholic sense. That type of squishy thinking is more prevalent than one might think in the Church of Rome. Father Tom Michel had some interesting things to say along those same lines in The Catholic News. “When Christians hear Muslims being called to prayer, they should be happy, for it is their God who is going to be worshipped and served.” Mmmm! Are they really worshiping the same God? “Islam and Christianity are two different religions and have different teachings, and God is able to save both Muslim and Christian if they faithfully follow their respective paths.”[i] The issue right here is really quite simple. Muslims do NOT recognize Jesus as the Son of God. And that’s a problem if one takes seriously the words of Scripture. Read the words of John 3:35-36. “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (ESV) So let’s unpack this ‘same god’ fallacy a little more.
Now one has to admit that there is an assertion in the Koran that identifies the God of the Bible with Allah. It is found in Sura 29:46, which is translated “our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender.” The Koran characterizes the Bible as inspired – if corrupted – scripture. Nabeel Qureshi, a Muslim turned Christian and best-selling author of Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, writes this. “I believe that the phrase ‘Muslims and Christians worship the same God”’is only true in a fairly uncontroversial sense: There is one Creator whom Muslims and Christians both attempt to worship. Apart from this banal observation, Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God…. Christians believe Jesus is God, but the Quran is so opposed to this belief that it condemns Jesus worshipers to Hell (5.72). For Christians, Jesus is certainly God, and for Muslims Jesus is certainly not God.”[ii] Here is the passage that Qureshi referred to from the Koran. “Surely, they have disbelieved who say: ‘Allah is the Messiah [‘Iesa (Jesus)], son of Maryam (Mary).’ But the Messiah [‘Iesa (Jesus)] said: ‘O Children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.’ Verily, whosoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, then Allah has forbidden Paradise for him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the Zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers) there are no helpers.”
In the inspired words of Paul’s letter to the Colossians, Paul puts the lie to that way of thinking. Verses 13 & 14 read thus. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” 1John 5:12 summarizes the argument nicely. “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” The sonship of Jesus the Christ is central to the Christian Faith. Islam, through the Koran denies that sonship in several places. “As it is, some assert ‘The Most Gracious has taken unto Himself a son!’ Indeed, [by this assertion] you have brought forth something monstrous.” (Sura 1988-89) And Sura 19:92 tells us “it is inconceivable that the Most Gracious should take unto Himself a son!” In contrast, the Bible most clearly teaches the opposite. “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:35-36) (ESV)
Another area of doctrinal divergence revolves around the Trinity. This is a concept clearly taught in Scripture. We have not the space to put forth all of the scriptures that teach this but here are just a couple. We see this principle put forth in the Great Commission. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19) (NASB) In his letter to the Romans, Paul shows us one way that all three persons of the Godhead work together. “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.” (Romans 14:17-18 (NIV)
Here is Qureshi on the Trinity and Islam. “Islam roundly condemns worship of the Trinity (5.73), establishing in contrast its own core principle: Tawhid, the absolute oneness of God. Tawhid specifically denies the Trinity, so much so that it is safe to say the doctrine of God in Christianity is antithetical to the doctrine of God in Islam. Not just different but completely opposed to one another.”
He goes on to sum up the differences between the religious beliefs. “Christians worship a Triune God: a Father who loves unconditionally, an incarnate Son who is willing to die for us so that we may be forgiven, and an immanent Holy Spirit who lives in us. This is not what the Muslim God is; it is not who the Muslim God is; and it is not what the Muslim God does. Truly, the Trinity is antithetical to Tawhid, fundamentally incompatible and only similar superficially and semantically. Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God.”
The Nature of the Faith
Now let’s go on to take a look at the nature of the faith founded by Mohammed. “He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers. (Genesis 16:12) The Bible is speaking here about Ishmael, Abraham’s son through the servant girl, Hagar, – and in the process describing the origin of the Arab nation, the founding race and chief purveyors of Islam. In fact, Jew and Arab alike, both agree that Ishmael is the starting point for the Arab line. That may be where agreement stops. Both Arab and Islamic thought have set themselves up in opposition to both the Jewish people and the two great religions founded on the Bible. So this ancient Biblical passage remains somehow a very apt description of the current relations between “The Religion of Peace” and both its Semitic Jewish brothers as well as the rest of the world. In the comparison that follows we will show how Islam is both a reflection of and a catalyst for the character of its adherents as demonstrated in their devotion to the notion of ‘unending Jihad’.
According to Marvin Yakos, author of Jesus vs Jihad: Terror is the true nature of Islam. The ideology that pervades that faith “…stems from a deadly and fervent spiritual war with ancient roots and eternal implications”. To Yakov, Islam has one overriding purpose, “…to darken the world and remove any link to its Savior, Jesus Christ”. Any reading of the Koran reveals Islam’s true goal: The submission of the world to Allah. To that end, the literal adherents to the Koran may employ a rich panoply of theological tools including Dhimmitude (legal superiority), the Hudna (a false truce), and of course, the ever-popular Jihad.
This has led practitioners to jealously guard their religion against any perceived impurities; – against any who would dare to leave this Religion of Peace. Take this story that occurred not in the Middle Ages, – but in the Fall of 2008. Consider this horrifying account of the Somali Mansur Mohammed who converted from Islam to Christianity back in 2005. He was working as an aid worker for the World Food Program when he was captured by the al Shabab group of Muslim extremists back in September. Five masked men armed with guns and swords brought him to the square where they had gathered the villagers, telling them there would be a feast. Instead they proclaimed him an apostate, and a spy and recited from the Koran. Then with cries of “Allah Akbar” growing in volume they twisted his neck and sliced off his head, – showing it to the villagers once they had done so. A cell phone video documented the execution. Elsewhere in Somalia, reports were surfacing that anyone found with a Bible was being killed.[iii]
At around the same time in Mogadishu, Somalia a 13 year old girl named Aisha was raped. She was then charged with adultery and taken to a stadium and stoned to death by a mob of 50 in front of an audience of about 1,000 men.[iv] In Afghanistan a Christian aid worker was murdered by the Taliban in Kabul.[v] Seven Christians were murdered in Mosul, Iraq in just the first two weeks of October.[vi] So the beat goes on, with Islamic rage targeting the Christian faith. However persecution is not only an unofficial activity but often has the imprimatur of the government.
In Afghanistan a journalism student was convicted of “insulting Islam”, and sentenced to death. He purportedly questioned the tenets of Islam by downloading and distributing information that questioned the Islamic view of women’s rights. The student told an appeals court that he confessed only under torture. The appeals court reduced his sentence to 20 years. The lenience of this decision caused grumbling among observers, one of which said that the judge “should be hanged”, for his mercy.[vii]
The concept of Jihad is the driving force behind the terror that now afflicts the world. It is the theological justification for the murder and mayhem perpetrated against innocent populations. Referring to unbelievers Sura 4:89 reads, “Seize them and slay them wherever you find them”. The Koranic blessing for this can be found in the pronouncement of Sura 4:102. “For the unbelievers, Allah has prepared humiliating punishment.” And he has done so because, “Allah is an enemy of those who reject faith”. (Sura 2:98) This is the point of one of the great contrasts with the message delivered by Jesus. Paul tells us in Romans 5:8 that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Mr. Yakos points out that Islamic Jihadist terror is driven by “…wicked spiritual devices”. It plays upon the emptiness of souls without God, offering them spiritual status and importance in return for their all-sacrificing act of blood worship. It promises the would-be-martyr, rich carnal rewards, forbidden in this life, in exchange for the sacrifice of their own lives in service to this god which demands lethal satisfaction.[viii] It is interesting that Jihadist’ rewards promised in the Koran, are based almost entirely on the fulfillment of sexual desire. Christ promised the “peace that passes understanding”, for His followers. In contrast, Allah offers a smorgasboard of sensual delights: coveys of virgins and young boys, cohabitation with “demure virgins”, “carnal playmates”, and “full breasted maidens” are among the promised martyr’s rewards. The Islamic paradise resembles more playground of debauched Roman emperors rather than the Heaven described in Scripture.
Blended with a theologically based message of hate that is pounded into the heads of young Muslims by Koran- quoting holy men, and already cognizant of the material and cultural gap between Middle Eastern societies and those in the West, the addition of this sexual fuel makes for a toxically potent mix. Just as Hitler and the great dictators of the last century bred and harnessed the hate of the masses, so too, do the promoters of a literal and radically fundamentalist Islam. We see the contrast with Christianity when we consider Jesus’ message of radical peace: “But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also”, (Matthew 5:39) – “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:8) – and Christ’s words from the Cross, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”. (Luke 23:34) Instead, fundamental Islam offers encouragements to “slay the unbelievers” and the authoritative intoning of Imams calling on believers to act out on that hate. Grant Jeffrey, in his book War Against Terrorism, quotes an Official Palestinian Authority Broadcast that followed a bloody suicide bombing in 2001. “Blessed is he who fights in the name of Allah, ….who raids in the name of Allah, blessed is he who dons a vest of explosives on himself or on his children and goes in to the depths of the Jews”. But this is just typical fare for the regular Friday night sermons, broadcast from mosques throughout the region on official government radio and TV stations.[ix]
Driven by this repetitive message of hate, Islam has become genocidal in nature, calling for the complete eradication of Israel and the Jews. It is Homicidal in nature, in that it will openly justify murder in the name of Allah. Yet many Muslims will object to that characterization, saying they are called on by the Koran to strive for peace. But that peace is only deemed possible, if it is established under Islamic rule. On another level, Islam is a religion of intolerance, of unending Jihad. That is why one sees no tolerance in Islamic societies. Peace is only possible when Islam has triumphed. The Koran states in Sura 9:29, “Fight against those to whom the Scriptures were given…and do not embrace the true Faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued”. This is the nature of the Religion of Peace. – And it has led to something practiced in all Islamic Countries called Dhimmitude.
The concept of Dhimmitude is why we see Christians suppressed and persecuted in Islamic dominated countries. It is the institutional legal discrimination against non-believers. In some countries such as Saudi Arabia the penalties for practicing another religion are severe and can be fatal. It is not uncommon for apostates to be put to death. In others it manifests itself through legal inequality: Discrimination, no legal standing in the courts, permission needed to establish a business or take part in various religious activities. This is the nature of the faith. The mindset has led to the systematic maiming of Christians in the Sudan and the torture of Christian converts in Bangla Desh. In fact, throughout the Muslim world, whether coming from official or un-official channels, conversion to a belief in Christ as personal savior is met with beatings, torture and even death. Yet remember, those who practice Jihad, and the forceful conversion and submission of unbelievers are only following the expressed, literal commands of the Koran.
Islam is a religion born of violence, and spread by violence. This is reflected in the Muslim holy books, the Koran and the Hadith (commentaries), as well as in the nature of its’ founder, Mohammed. It would be helpful to look at some of the stark contrasts between Mohammed and Jesus, between Islam and Christianity. Islam tells us that Mohammed received the Koran through an other-earthly visitation that he at first believed was demonic in nature. Jesus was never uncertain of His relationship with the Father.
- Islam is militaristic in nature. Mohammed led 83 military expeditions, – about 83 more than Jesus.[x]
- In Islam the ends justify the means. Mohammed taught that it was permissible to set up a Hudna or ‘False Peace’. History records that he signed a treaty he had no intention of keeping. Later he broke the truce when he had become the stronger party, slaughtering his enemies in the process. Modern day Imams routinely interpret the Koran to justify hostage taking and the murder of civilians, – so long as it advances the cause of Islam.[xi]
- The rewards that Muslims will find in paradise are carnal in nature. Martyrs are promised 72 virgins and an unending supply of wine. Yet both practices are forbidden here on earth.
- Islam is not a religion of compassion. The Hadith tells us that Mohammed too, had a woman caught in adultery brought to him, much as Jesus did in the Gospels. She repented and much like Jesus, he forgave her. He sent her off until the baby was weaned, after which he ordered her buried and stoned to death. So says the Islamic holy book, the Hadith.[xii]
- Islam tells us that Allah hates the sinner. The Bible tells us that God sent His only Son Jesus to die for us while we were yet sinners.
- Islam teaches that separation from God is normal. The Bible tells us that God is seeking a relationship with us. He wants to be our Father. In Islam, there is no concept of God as Father.
In their respective scriptures and in practice, the two faiths reflect the characters of their founders. Their very natures are different. It should be no surprise then that the nature of Islam when practiced should reflect the nature of its founder and the circumstances of its founding.
[i] Father Tom Michel, Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?, The Catholic News, viewed November 14, 2017
[ii] Nabeel Qureshi, Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?, RZIM, December 27, 2015
[iii] Somalia: Christian Aid Worker Beheaded For Converting From Islam, Compass Direct News, October 27, 2008
[iv] Somalia Militants Stone Raped Girl To Death For “Adultery”, BOS News Life, November 3, 2008
[v] Afghanistan – Taliban Kills Christian Aid Worker, Persecution.com, VOM, November, 2008
[vi] Seven Christians Killed in Mosul, Iraq, Persecution.com, VOM, October 13, 2008
[vii] Afghan journalism student sentenced to 20 years for insulting Islam, London Times, November 3, 2008
[viii] Interview with Marvin Yakos, Islam: What You Need to Know About This Religion, Connection Magazine, March 2002
[ix] Grant Jeffrey, War Against Terrorism, 2002
[x] Les Kinsolving, Mohammed’s child wife, World Net Daily, June 18, 2002
[xi] Chechens: Islam justifies killing prisoners, World Net Daily, October 25, 2002
[xii] Hadith Abu Dawud, #4428