Friday, August 6, 2010

For Muslims: Why Christians Do Not Believe

The following is a repost of something I had on my old blog.

I often cringe when I read attacks by Christians against Islam. They seem intent on insult rather than love, and ad hominems rather than reason. Simplified arguments or outright dismissal are often employed so much so that I begin to think the Christians writing are worse off than the Muslims. Sometime ago, while discussing this very subject on a forum, I created an explanation of the Christian point of view using both the Bible, the hadith sources, and the Koran to explain my point. I thought I would present it here for the benefit of both Muslims and Christians, and help explain just why so many Christians are quick to reject (and feel repulsed by) Islam.

First, let us review one important fact of Islam: it was begun when Mohammad was visited by a supposed angel.
Narrated 'Aisha:
He used to go in seclusion in the cave of Hira where he used to worship (Allah alone) continuously for many days before his desire to see his family...The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet replied, "I do not know how to read."

The Prophet added, "The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, 'I do not know how to read.' Thereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read but again I replied, 'I do not know how to read (or what shall I read)?' Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said, 'Read in the name of your Lord, who has created (all that exists) has created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous." Then Allah's Apostle returned with the Inspiration and with his heart beating severely. Then he went to Khadija bint Khuwailid and said, "Cover me! Cover me!" They covered him till his fear was over and after that he told her everything that had happened and said, "I fear that something may happen to me." [Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 1, Number 3]
An angel physically attacks Mohammad, barks orders, terrifies him - all of which no angel has ever done. One can only wonder if the Gabriel of the New Testament had been the Gabriel of Islam, would he have physically attacked the Virgin Mary after her exclamation, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" (Luke 1:34)

This supposed angel then gives Mohammad a revelation that, over time, becomes the Koran. What does this revelation teach? Many things, including the following:
  • Christ is not divine (S. 5:116)
  • Christ was not crucified, let alone died on the cross or was resurrected (S. 4:157)
  • The Trinity is a lie (S. 5:73)
All of these contradict the Gospels specifically and the New Testament in general. This presents several problems, as shown by Christian scripture:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made...And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. [John 1:1-3, 14]

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. [Galatians 1:6-8]

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. [2 Corinthians 11:13-14]

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. [2 John 1:7]
So Islam is begun by a message from a supposed angel that presents a new gospel that does not come from the Church, and one that preaches against what is taught in the New Testament. To Christians this is a major sign that the Koran is not of God. As Paul warns, even demons can appear as "angels of light" to deceive mankind.

One notable trait of the New Testament is that it continually quotes the Old Testament. For example, in Acts 2 alone you find Joel 2:28-32, Psalm 16:8-11, and Psalm 110:1 quoted. Move on to Acts 3 and you'll find Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-19 quoted along with Genesis 22:18 and 26:4. Moving away from Acts, Romans 9 has twelve Old Testament citations from five different books. It goes on and on from here. Find a copy of the UBS Greek New Testament, which has Old Testament citations in bold print, and you'll find an alarming number of pages lit up.

The point is the early apostles, right or wrong, knew their Old Testament scripture. Furthermore, they used that scripture to confirm the teachings of Christ. They did not argue that the Jews had corrupted their scripture, hid scripture, or tarnished it in any way. Rather, they argued with the scripture and kept it intact. The Old Testament confirmed the New Testament, rather than the New Testament confirming the Old Testament.

Now I recognize that it is common for Islamic apologetics to immediately jump to the argument that the Bible was tarnished. Nevertheless, the Koran itself states that the Torat and Injil were the books sent down to God's people.
It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong). [S. 3:3]
And yet we find something very different in the Koran than we do in the New Testament: no direct citations or quotes. Instead, what we have is the name-dropping of various Biblical prophets and vague references to certain events like the flood. Nowhere in the Koran is the Old Testament or the New Testament directly cited. The question is...if Allah did indeed send down the Torat and Injil, why couldn't He quote it at least once? If Mohammad really is foretold in the Old and New Testaments as the Koran claims (S. 7:157), why couldn't the Koran cite relevant passages to confirm Mohammad, like the apostles did in the New Testament to confirm Jesus Christ?

What we have here, then, is not only a revelation that contradicts what came before, but seems to completely ignore it. It mentions the Jewish and Christian scripture as books sent from God, but refuses to quote them. It states that the Jewish and Christian scriptures confirm Islam and Mohammad, but can't even quote one passage to prove their point. The question that every Christian must then ask is: why did God change His method of revelation? Why must we suddenly abandon what we knew and believed simply because a man 600 years later claims prophethood without engaging in meaningful exegesis? It is very ironic that the devil, when tempting Christ, quoted scripture more often than the Koran did.

This is a brief but I hope helpful explanation on the topic. Any questions or concerns, feel free to respond to the post.