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Jesus or Allah?

[COMMENT:   This was a family exchange of emails begun by xxxxx, to which a couple of us replied.    E. Fox]

Dear xxxxx, et al,

          I had seen that story a few years ago, so it is making the rounds again.  If you want to see a lot of info on Islam, to go http://theroadtoemmaus.org/RdLb/33Rlg/Islm/00Islam.htm on my website.

         I wish I could agree with YYY (and G Bush) that Islam is a noble religion, just like Judaism and Christianity.  But history does not bear that out.  Islam was spread by violence from the very start.   So far as I know, there has never been a society or people or country they have come to dominate by peaceful means.   There are significant quotations from the Koran which clearly justify violence against non-Muslims.    I do not know whether Muslims use the word 'infidel' regarding Jews or Christians, but I do know that they treat both as infidels.  Any conversion to Christianity or Judaism can result in the execution of the converter -- if the person lives in a Sharia-law land.   Their consistent horrendous hatred of the Jews is clearly pathological, certainly spiritually pathological, maybe psychologically also. 

         Technically, Islam is a "Biblical" religion, in that it believes in a personal creator of all things.  That sets the three religions apart from all pagan religions for which there is no Creator ex nihilo, only constructors out of material already lying around.  That sets up radically different conditions for life between the two kinds of views.

         But the similarity to Judaism and Christianity ends about there.  The kind of God they imagine is radically different.  Allah is personal in the technical sense, but very impersonal in his approach to his people.  Arbitrary and distant, not loving in any humanly recognizable way. 

         Both Judaism and Christianity see God as inviting us into a freewill covenant, with reason being fundamental to His approach to us.  God is not pictured as hating His enemies, and commands us to love ours -- because He already loves His, the world He means to redeem. 

         But the Muslim version of Allah (which, as zzz points out, is the Arabic word for 'God') is of someone you can never get to know.  Revelation in the Bible is about personal relationship.  In the Koran it is strictly about obedience to a law.  You never get to know the lawgiver so the Biblical understanding of grace never appears in Islam.  The Bible is all about getting to know the Lawgiver.  That is the point of revelation.  It is personal, not just legal.   

         So a "relationship" with Allah is like having a father whom you never meet, but who sends you epistles occasionally telling you your duties.  No hugs, no lap to sit in, no horsing around, etc.  It is the kind of father figure which breeds deep resentment and hostility in men especially, and subjugation of women.  And breeds men who will find it hard to  handle their sexual temptation, and resort to control and force.  'Islam' means 'I submit'.   Christians and Jews submit also, but God asks us to submit reasonably, not irrationally.  In Islam, submission is arbitrary and irrational. 

         So, despite the similarities between the Islam on one side and the two Biblical religions on the other, the differences are as great as with paganism. 

         All of this is not to say that there are no noble Muslims.  There clearly are.  There are noble folks in every nation, society, and religion.  We are able, sometimes, to live above our religion or philosophy (thanks be to God!).  But (like the public school system), when noble people try to work in a corrupt system, the system (almost always) wins.  

         Nobility is first and primarily identified, in my humble opinion, by a willingness to be a truth-seeker and a truth-speaker.  Am I, based on the available evidence debated in public, willing to find out that I might be wrong?  Christians fail often enough at that, but we are nevertheless commanded to that kind of openness and honesty (read about Elijah on Mount Carmel in I Kings 18:17-end, where God puts His case to an open honest contest).  It is called "living in the light".  

         God invites us to argue with Him if we think we have a case.  Job, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Habakkuk, etc, all argued with God.  There is a real give and take.   There is no such openness in the Muslim notion of Allah.  Just blind obedience.  And that, I think, is not noble.   It is terribly destructive. 

         If you compare the lives and teachings of Jesus and Mohammed, they are radically opposed on almost every point.  Mohammed started out being fairly gracious to his opposition -- until he got sufficient power to force his way.  And then Islam was off and running, overrunning by the scimitar what had already become an eroded Christian culture around the Mediterranean.  So far as I can see, nothing has changed.  Western Christendom is still eroded (intellectually, morally, spiritually), and Islam is still violently militant. 

         But I see little green shoots of healthy Christianity sprouting up here and there.  Especially the recovery of our intellectual credibility.  And that will change the nature of the public debate on all these issues considerably.   Hope for the world comes, not from a peaceful Islam, but from Jesus Christ and faithful Christians -- willing to lay down their lives for one another, and for the world (violent Muslims included). 

 Love, Earle


----- Original Message -----

Subject: Fw: Re: Fw: Allah or Jesus?


i don't know where the prison people dug this imam up from, but he's nuts.  jihad actually means any effort to extend or propagate islam, and although it's obviously been taken at many times and places by some muslims to mean holy war, it's also been taken by many others to just mean the same kinds of things that christians do--talking and writing about their religion, or giving witness to their faith.  secondly, infidels are people who don't believe in one god--jews and christians are not infidels (something every real muslim knows--they believe allah and god, or jehovah, or whatever you want to call him, are the exact same).  and thirdly, most imams around the world have never said any such thing--there's a famous tradition about mohammed, when his followers told him one time that the people in this certain city were all infidels, he said, "just remember you yourselves were infidels just a short while ago."  most muslims (not the ones who make the papers, obviously) are actually peace-loving people.
wanted to pass this along because, quite frankly, if what this guy said were true, i wouldn't see any hope for the world.  but as desperate as things sometimes seem, i don't think it's quite hopeless yet!  there's actually a lot of sanity out there--i just wish the sane ones would be a little more vocal, and not give the nutsos all the press!
lots of love--

At 12:12 AM 8/31/06, you wrote:

  Rec'd this from my friend in Arizona...XXXXX
-------Original Message-------

Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2006 5:50 PM
Subject: Allah or Jesus?

The Muslim religion in the fastest growing religion per capita  in the United States, especially in the minority races!!!
Allah or Jesus?
by Rick Mathes
Last  month I attended my annual training session that's  required for  maintaining my state prison security clearance. During the training session there was a presentation by three speakers representing the  Roman Catholic, Protestant and Muslim faiths, who explained each of  their beliefs.
I was particularly interested in what the  Islamic Imam had to say. The Imam gave a great presentation of the  basics of Islam, complete with a video.
After the presentations, time was provided for questions and answers.
When  it was my turn, I directed my question to the Imam and asked: "Please,  correct me if I'm wrong but I understand that most Imams and clerics of  Islam have declared a holy jihad [Holy war] against the infidels of the  world and, that by killing an infidel, (which is a  command to all  Muslims) they are assured of a place in heaven. If that's the case, can  you give me the definition of an infidel?"
There was no disagreement with my statements and, without hesitation, he replied, "Non-believers!"
I  responded, "So, let me make </BLOCKQUOTE></DIV>sure I have this straight. All followers of  Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is  not of your  faith so they can have a place in Heaven. Is that correct?"
The  _____expression on his face changed from one of authority and command  to that of "a little boy who had just been caught with his hand in the  cookie jar." He sheepishly replied, "Yes"
I then stated,  "Well, sir, I have a real problem trying to imagine Pope John Paul  commanding all Catholics to kill those of your faith or Dr. Stanley  ordering all Protestants to do the same in order to guarantee them a  place in Heaven!"
The Imam was speechless.
I  continued, "I also have a problem with being your 'friend' when you and  your brother clerics are telling your followers to kill me! Let me ask  you a question. Would you rather have your Allah, who tells you to kill  me in order for you to go to Heaven, or my Jesus who tells me to love  you because I am going to Heaven and He wants you to be there with me?"
You could have heard a pin drop as the Imam hung his head in shame.
Needless  to say, the organizers and/or promoters of the 'Diversification'  training seminar were not happy with Rick's way of dealing with the  Islamic Imam and exposing the truth about the Muslims' beliefs. In  twenty years there will be enough Muslim voters in the U.Sto elect the  President!  I think everyone in the US should be required to read this  but with the liberal justice system, liberal media, and the ACLU, there  is no way this will be widely publicized. Please pass  this on to  all your e-mail contacts.
This is a true story and the author, Rick Mathes, is a well known leader in prison ministry. 

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