25 January 2010
I've noticed that there is a lot of F.U.S.S. out there. By F.U.S.S., I mean Flawed Universal
Spiritual Sentiment, primarily the idea that the three major world religions (Christianity,
Judaism, and Islam) aim for the same thing. This takes me back to an e-mail I received, which
seemed to capture this common and flawed sentiment. I will focus more on Christianity and Islam,
since the asinine idea of political correctness protects Islam while it is open season to attack
Christianity. In that e-mail, the writer wrote the following:
"The faith of Islam recognizes and honors its ties with Judaism and Christianity
through common prophets and One God. Corrupt teachers of Islam claim that Christianity
is polytheism and do not understand the Christian belief in One God. The fundamental
message in the three religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Worship, love, and
honor God with all your being and be equitable, charitable, and loving to your fellow man."
This seems to capture the deluded thinking of much of the politically correct world.
And it is errant in multiple ways. Not only do "corrupt teachers" of Islam claim Christianity is polytheistic,
but so do peaceful and day-to-day Muslims. Errant.
Does Islam really honor its ties with Judaism and Christianity?
In Florida in 2009, there were Muslims protesting - men, women, residents. What stood out to me from the footage I
saw of the protest were the signs that said, "Death to Jews" and people screaming, "Nuke Israel!"
Christians and Jews are often referred to as kuffar,
a derogatory term for those who do not believe in Islam. Even the Quran states such a stance for Muslims:
"O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and
whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust
people" (Quran 5:51). That does not sound like Islam honoring ties to Christianity and Judaism. I know this is not characteristic of all Muslims, but it is seen often
enough in many more places beyond Florida.
While Islam, Judaism and Christianity share a history,
Jesus is God Incarnate according to
the Bible (Isaiah 9:6, John 1:1, John 8:57-59, John 10:30, John 14:1-10, Romans 9:5, Revelation 1:8 along with Revelation 22:13, 16; and many others).
Even if He is mentioned as a prophet in Islam, based on
Muslim beliefs (not the beliefs per se of radicals who spread hate in the name of Islam, but
beliefs of well-meaning Muslims whom I know), the Quran and other sources, there is a
consideration: If Jesus is a prophet and we consider the claims of Jesus, either Islam has a
prophet in Jesus who is a liar (because His claims to be God -- His own words on multiple accounts
in the Bible -- are denied in Islam) or Islam is not telling the full truth about Him or even
lying about Him (claiming He is a minor prophet after Mohammed, claiming He did not die on the
cross while blaming
Jews for killing another man who looked like Jesus instead of accepting the historical fact of the crucifixion of
Jesus Christ, etc.). Judaism doesn't quite have that dilemma
as they only claim Jesus was a rabbi who was crucified for claiming He was God (even documented by the Roman
historian Josephus if one wants to consider extrabibilical sources), not a prophet.
It is true that all
3 religions have had acts of violence and hatred done in their name, but in recent times it does seem that
the majority of such talk (and acts) are done in the name of (radical) Islam. A typical modern example was
demonstrated when Islam's and Judaism's holiest holidays coincided for 10 days in 2007. During this time,
397 people were killed in 94 terror attacks across 10 countries in the name of Islam while Jews worked on
their 159th Nobel Prize.
Further, it is not difficult to remember the many acts of hatred perpetrated in the name of Islam: 9-11, the Madrid
train bombings, the Beslan school tragedy, the Shoe Bomber, and the failed Christmas 2009 underwear bombing of a
plane carrying nearly 300 persons over Detroit, and many, many other instances.
In contrast, worship, love, and honoring God with all one's being, and being equitable, charitable, and loving your
fellow man are all great things to strive for, but we all fail because of our sinfulness and they alone
will not get a person into Heaven. That's no excuse to not be or do those things. Jesus calls us to be as
such and only by His Spirit can we have any hope of demonstrating them. That is why it is error when persons argue that Jesus
being the Way to God (John 14:6) only means living like Jesus. Only Jesus was good enough to live like Jesus.
When Jesus said that He was the only way to the Father and that no one could come to the Father except through Him, He meant it.
None of us are good enough and none
of us can work our way out of the fallenness in and of ourselves (If we were/could, then there would be no
need for the cross). Whether we roll around in a mud puddle or just have a few splatters on the suit, we
are all dirty and need to be cleansed. And if we are to stand in the presence of a holy God, then who can
stand? In and of ourselves, not one of us can. The Bible says our good works are as "filthy rags"
to God (Refer to the sub-title "No Good" in the article Saved - faith or works?
for additional Biblical support). Only the great swap of resumés at the cross (ours for Jesus') will allow us to
stand in the presence of a Holy God. Jesus cleanses us and gives us
There are things to be said of the contributions of other belief systems. However, we also have to consider
the fact of humanity's fallenness and the truths of a holy God from the One who claimed to be God. If that is
ignorance, then may I be a fool for sake of Christ.
I think some key questions to consider are as follows: What about mankind's sin problem if our works (even
religious and good ones) are tainted (as also taught in the Bible)? If Jesus is not the only way to God, then
why did He claim to be? Was He a liar? Was He a lunatic? Or was He Lord? Also, if He is not the only way to God,
then why did He bother dying on the cross (and even predicting it)? And do you believe that the Bible is the
inspired Word of God?
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