July 14, 2012

Counterfeit Religions IV: Islam

Hopefully no Islamic Fundamentalists live too closely to me because this post is bound to not go over well and very well may irritate a few. Regardless, it is my duty as a Christian to educate my fellow Christians properly so they know better how to evangelize and engage the Muslims they cross paths with. If this post in any way aids them in understanding their intended audience, I have succeeded in my task of educating my brothers and sisters. If we do not see Muslims as an unreached people group or evangelistic target and view them as enemies (as they often do us) we will never be able to convert them thereby giving them a fighting chance at salvation. If they do not know Christ as deity and part of the Triune Godhead that died for our sins, not just a messenger of Allah, they will be doomed to condemnation and judgment.

It is easy to not like Islam as it is most often a confrontational and antagonistic religion. Without going into explicit detail there are core tenants within Islam that are often self-contradictory and therefore self-defeating. It is because the Qur'an is supposed to have been written by the same man over 23 years and of varying degrees of sanity within this time. This will usually be vehemently denied (sometimes hostilely) by not only adherents of Islam but also by the PC crowd bent on getting us to accept this intrinsically violent religion in place of things like Biblical Christianity. Both of these groups fail to understand that when a worldview or religion like Islam contradicts itself internally or is internally inconsistent it therefore fails to validate an omniscient God. It therefore excludes itself as a valid worldview that is acceptable for validating and explaining reality. Why? Because an all-knowing God would not contradict Himself in a holy text that is a reflection of His will as the Muslims claim the Qur’an is. An omniscient God would not contradict himself. The fact that the Qur'an says Allah not only condones peace in the earlier portions and then violence in its latter portions (within the same contexts) makes it hard to stomach as truth. The Qur’an also says it is okay to lie to perpetuate the faith or the truth of their all-powerful god. This tenant called al-Taqiyya makes its logic inherently flawed. It basically says that concealing or disguising one's beliefs, convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions, and/or strategies at a time of eminent danger, whether now or later in time, to save oneself from physical and/or mental injury is acceptable. In English we call it: Dissimulation or deception in which one conceals the truth. A righteous, holy, truthful and omniscient God would not have flawed logic like this. This therefore puts everything in the Qur’an in a dark light and subject to question in terms of its truth and integrity. These same attacks are made on the Bible but the Bible through reasoning and sound logic withstands the very same test. Go ahead, ask me, I'll explain it.

Furthermore, the reason westernized Muslims can claim that Islam is a religion of peace while radical Islamic fundamentalists can justify violent behavior and still be reading the exact same Qur’an is because the Qur’an says both depending of what part of the Qur’an you read. This is because it was supposedly written by Muhammad over a period of time, approximately 23 years beginning in 610 AD, starting when Muhammad was 40, and concluding in 632 AD. The Quran is composed of verses (Ayah) that make up 114 chapters (sura(h)s) of unequal length which are classified either as Meccan or Medinan depending upon the place and time of their claimed revelation. The interesting thing about Muhammad is that during the time that these portions of the Qur'an were written, they appear to change in tone from somewhat benevolent to outright hostile, murderous and violent (sorry Oprah, it is not the sister religion of Christianity). It seems that in Muhammad’s movement (The Hijra, fleeing) through the desert from Mecca to Medina something changed him drastically. I suggest that he may very well have had supernatural encounters but they clearly do not appear to be righteous or holy encounters, if anything just the opposite. His actions and words become quite demonic and violent during this time as the tone of the Qur’an during this time changes concurrently with this migration between Mecca and Medina.

Having been harshly rejected by his own town and tribe, Muhammad being quite human (and possibly possessed) changed quite dramatically and for the worse. It is at Medina that Muhammad's message becomes more sinister and ruthless. This was especially true the more he gained power. The Qur’an reflects this change in its malcontented and malevolent source. Originally the Qur'an of Mecca threatened eternal damnation for not believing in Muhammad and left the punishment to god or Allah, but by the time of Medina, the Qur'an of Medina promised that a violent and earthly defeat for unbelievers at the hands of Muslims was the modus operandi. Muhammad was no longer content to wait for his god Allah to inflict eternal punishment, it would now be up to him and his misled followers to do it in murderous rampages.

In addition most Muslims agree that the Qur'an we see today was canonized by Uthman Ibn Affan (653-656). Upon the canonization of the Qur'an, Uthman had the other codices that existed at the time destroyed and burnt. I suggest this is to standardize all text to make a claim to perfect divine inspiration while simultaneously destroying all manuscripts and copies that were obvious evidences of contradiction and discrepancies. This is why we now have no extant copies of the Qur’an and no disputes because all evidence to the contrary were destroyed centuries ago to cover Islam’s tracks so to speak. The “so-called” divinely inspired accuracy of the Qur’an is not evidence of divine inspiration but rather evidence of duplicity and deceptive use of corroborating evidences.

Date of Origin of Islam:  In short 622. The long description: In 610 AD the Prophet Muhammad (while in Mecca) began to receive revelations from God that ended up in the Qur’an. In 622 AD, he left Mecca with his followers (due to persecution [supposed]) and went to a city named Yathrib (Medina). The date of this travel is therefore the beginning year for the Muslim calendar.

Founder(s):  Depends who you ask. Conservative Muslims will say Allah, less conservative say Muhammad 570-632. If Muhammad the date of origin is 622 AD. This is the date Muhammad  fled north to the city of Medina to avoid persecution. This event is celebrated by the Hajj and begins the Islamic calendar.

Major text(s): The Qur’an (Muslims believe that the intent of Allah through Muhammad can only be understood properly through the original Arabic)

Major variations:  Unlike Christianity, Islam appears to no universal doctrinal requirements. In terms of variations it should be noted that if one asks a Muslim what variations there are a Muslim will tell you that there is only one, all others are not Muslim. Observations from the outside clearly divide Islam into two major divisions: The Sunni (85-90%)  and Shia (10-15%) sects. They differ primarily upon how the life of the faithful should be governed, and the role of the Imam (worship leader of a mosque or Muslim community). These two main differences stem from the understanding of which Hadith (true sayings of Muhammad) are to interpret the Quran. To a lesser or more nominal extent there is also Ahmadiyya, Sufism.

Current number of adherents: 1.6 Billion (approx.) Makes Islam the second largest religion in the world

Beliefs about major holidays and practices:  The main holidays are: Muharram (The Islamic New Year), Mawlid al-Nabi (Muhammad's Birthday), Eid al-Fitr (a celebration concluding Ramadan [month of fasting]), Eid al-Adha (celebration concluding the Hajj [pilgrimage to Mecca]).

Islam believes in the “5 Pillars of Islam” or what amounts to nothing more than works/ duties expected of every Muslim. Within a few decades of Muhammad's death, the five practices were singled out to serve as mooring points or "pillars" for their faith. Fulfillment of the 5  Pillars is believed to bring rewards both in this life and in the afterlife. They are (1) Shahada or daily confessions of faith (2) Salat or Daily ritual prayer (3) Zakat or paying the alms tax (4) Sawm or fasting during the month of Ramadan (5) Hajj or pilgrimmage to Mecca which is expected of believers at least once in their lifetime.

Beliefs about God:  There is one god in Islam: Allah, and he is central. When I say one I mean, non-triune also. He is unique and indivisible and utterly unique to himself. This is unlike Christianity and Judaism. Islam believes that god is omnipotent and is emphasized as such. Allah has revealed his will through his prophets but his nature is unknowable. Unlike Christianity, Islam does not equate the Qur'an with the nature or essence of God. It is only the word of god. They believe god does not reveal himself to anyone. This is one of the things that helps distinguish Islam from the other monotheistic religions Judaism and Christianity. Islam’s god is quite impersonal. He is distant and unloving and appears to be wholly “other” and mysterious. I suppose this may be part of the reason salvation for a Muslim remains so unpredictable. If your god is mysterious and your holy writ is sparse on the details. Your salvation is going to be a matter of what you can do to earn it. This should not be confused with the idea that the Islamic god is aloof and does not know man. He is actually quite near to man. It just seems he has not revealed himself thoroughly. There is impenetrable mystery around him that directly relates to man.

Muslims appear to adhere to six articles of faith. (1) There is one God (1) There are angels of God (3) There is one books of God: the Qur'an (4) There are prophets of God: Muhammad, Jesus, etc. (5) There is a day of judgment (and/or an afterlife) (5) God is totally sovereign or supreme as is his will (i.e.: predestination).

Beliefs about humanity:  The very name "Islam" means "submission," reflecting the religion's central tenet of submitting to the will of God. We begin to get an idea of the position of man in relation to God in this religion. Strangely this is also outwardly reflective of the way Muslims most often treat others that are non-believers. They are very much like the God they believe in. There is an expectation of others submitting to their will. People either convert, are forcefully made to or they are punished (often times by death). Islam acknowledges man comes from two origins: The first creation from mud when Allah made him (far), and his creation in the womb of his mother (close). The concept of the man coming from worthless fluid of the woman/mother paints a picture to remove arrogance and make man humble in his life. Having said this man is an honored creature made so by Allah. Islam believes man has the faculty of being able to distinguish and choose between good and evil. This is only possible because Allah gave man this ability. Man has the potential to learn and acquire knowledge. Although many modern Muslims are viewed as backwards because of their current economic conditions, at one time they were at the forefront of Science and Philosophy. They also believe that man is accountable and will reap the results of his deeds.

Beliefs About the Supernatural (Angels, Messages from God):  As seen in the 6 articles of faith, Islam believes in prophets. They also believe in angels and what are called Jinn which can be both evil or good (neutral). Islam also appears to believe in miracles.

Beliefs about the Afterlife: Like Christianity, Islam teaches the immorality of the soul immutability after death. Islam also believes in a changed physical existence in the afterlife (resurrection). Muslims believe in a day of judgment when all humans will be divided between the eternal destinations of Paradise and Hell. Integral to the Qur’an is the idea of the Last Day, on which the world will be destroyed. Allah will raise all people and jinn from the dead to be judged. Those deceased souls will remain in internment in graces until the resurrection. No one is exactly sure how this aspect of the grave works but there is also a belief that those already dead will begin to sense their destiny to come. Those going to hell will suffer in their graves and those good will be in peace. Dead people are dead. These people will neither be alive or resurrected at this point so I am having trouble understanding how dead people feel anything.

One's destination depends solely on a balance of good / bad deeds in life. They are either granted admission to Paradise in a 51%/49% split, where they will enjoy pleasures (both spiritual and physical) forever or condemned to Hell to suffer (both spiritual and physical) for eternity. The only exceptions of this rule are (1) Combatants who die fighting in the cause of Allah are ushered immediately to God's presence hence the importance and prolific use of suicide bombers (jihad, martyrdom); and enemies of Islam are sentenced immediately to Hell. As Islam is a religion based primarily on intimidation and fear it is not surprising to see Hell, or Gehenna mentioned quite often in the Qur'an. It has seven entrances/doors leading to a fiery hole at various levels. The lowest contains the tree of Zaqqum and boiling pitch. The level of hell depends on the degree of wrongdoings. Duration of Hell for Muslims is not clear whereas non-believers reside there for eternity


artwerx said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11x9V1OyKpg (You get a Spanish lesson as well...sort of...) :D

artwerx said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11x9V1OyKpg (You get a Spanish lesson as well...sort of...) :D

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...