Christianity: Should it evolve into Islam?

· Christianity, Religions
Authors

Prologue:

Every Christian and Muslim, who is knowledgeable about commentary or exegesis of the scriptures, knows that verses cannot be interpreted in isolation and are understood in the context of their neighboring verses and ultimately in the context of the whole of the scripture. This poses a very special problem for the Bible, if all of it is not literal or even inspired word of God then how can you interpret some genuine verses in light of forgeries and hotch-potch out there? Does the presence of forgeries in the Bible make the whole field of exegesis hocus-pocus? How can you understand word of God in light of fiction and make belief without making the whole affair a joke?

A similar confusion existed in the ninteenth century in the understanding of the Holy Quran, when Muslim scholars believed that 5-500 verses of the Holy Quran were abrogated. This created a hotch-potch situation for the Quran analogous to what has always existed for the Bible. However, fortunately for Islam, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad demonstrated that not even an iota of the Holy Quran is abrogated and each and every verse of this Arabic text is literal word of Omniscient God and as such throws light on other verses of the scripture.

If you are a Christian and this state of affairs about the Bible shocks you enough then keep reading, otherwise keep your head buried in the sand of Christian dogma or try Buddhism, you are not ready for Islam! Remember the famous saying, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear!”  In this post I have taken an encyclopedic approach about the issue and readers are encouraged to pace themselves.


With a tsunami of agnosticism and atheism sweeping across Europe and atrocities of terrorism sweeping through all the Muslim countries, the crying need for better Theism is being heard loud and clear through out the world!
All Christian apologists highlight the dangers of atheism in their writings and speeches, but most of them lack the sincerity of purpose to let the best theistic paradigm or tradition, stand against atheism. For example, Pope Benedict XVI had equated atheism to Nazism, in a recent trip to UK, but he seldom shows any openness to let Islam stand against this scourge. In the book, Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures,he highlights the crisis created by lack of faith in God, but continues to sell the outdated and rejected medicine of Christian dogma. Never conceding even once that Islam could be an alternative theistic paradigm. My purpose in life is to demonstrate to the Western world that Christianity and atheism are not the only two rational theological options. Islam as understood by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community needs to be considered with an open mind as a solution for the crisis of culture, enunciated by the Pope in his book. I believe that if we genuinely contrast agnosticism and atheism with Christianity, trying to follow arguments and counter-arguments by both sides, we would realize that the third option of Islam offers greater intellectual, emotional and spiritual satisfaction. Pope is not the only Christian apologist guilty of this myopic vision. Almost all Christian apologists and theologians are guilty of this short sighted attempt of trying to maintain monopoly on truth. Here let me mention another Christian apologist, who recently debated with three well known atheists, to show the limitations of atheist’s life view and how they would define the purpose of universe and life, namely Prof. William Lane Craig:
But, all his life Prof. Craig has kept his head buried in the sand of Christian dogma and never looked around to genuinely examine other theistic paradigms, Judaism, Unitarian Christianity and Islam. The tragedy created by this stubborn insistence on Trinitarian Christianity has been examined in a sister article by me.
Read on, and in the words of Sir Francis Bacon’s advice, “Read not to contradict … but to weigh and consider.”
Christianity should evolve into Islam as Trinity has no legs to stand on!  Read more:
Christianity should evolve into Islam as the rationalizations built against common lineage of all animals and plants by Christian apologists since the publication of On the Origin of Species, have been washed away with flood of new information: 1. Molecular Biology. 2. Bio-geography.

Christianity should evolve into Islam, because sola Gracia has no foundation in human nature and is counter-intuitive.  Read an article titled, As long as I can believe my wife is the most beautiful ….

Christianity should evolve into Islam, because the Bible has not been preserved over time and sola Scriptura, makes no sense at all in light of modern findings about the New Testament:
Christianity should evolve into Islam, because the two natures of Jesus make no biological, historical or theological sense.
Christianity should evolve into Islam as we no longer believe in demons that need to be cast out:
Christianity should evolve into Islam as true Islam only condones defensive war but the Bible and Christian history drips with blood:
In some of my knols I have also examined that fighting the myopic world view of the Christian apologists was precisely the struggle of the Founding Fathers of the USA also, which lead to their Deism and also separation of Church and State:
I am a self-appointed ambassador to all the Christians in the West and have a collection of 100 knols on different aspects of Christianity, for your benefit. Why to those only in the West? The short answer is that those in the East are not free to think for themselves, they will follow the lead from the West. Having lived in both the East and the West and for the last two decades in USA, I am rooted in both cultures. I want to have a bigger tent, which is not limited to the Muslims or the Christians, the Easterners or the Westerners, the white, the black, the brown or the yellow, rather starts off with people of all Abrahamic faiths and extends from there to all Homo sapiens, for genetically I am very close to all of them and love them all.
My knols that are critical of the Christian dogma should not make the readers think that a large gulf separates the religion of Christianity and Islam.  When it comes to ethical and moral teachings, there is more that joins them than separates them.  Prof. Mark W Muesse, beautifully explains in his lecture series, Confucius, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad, as he compares and contrasts the four sages making the title of his series:
Among those who first began to suggest that religions were ‘pretty much the same’ were the critics of religion, those who thought humanity would be better off without it. Today, many religious folks themselves advance this perspective, not to put an end to religion, of course, but to see the great divisions and rancor among religions, which has been the source of so much human anguish, diminished and perhaps eliminated.

One of the ways we can begin to assess the validity of this claim is to compare the teachings of our four sages. Comparing religious teachers is not the same thing as comparing religions, which are far more complex realities than the philosophies of individuals. As I emphasized earlier, we cannot simply equate the teachings of Confucius with Confucianism or the teachings of Jesus with Christianity. But it is much easier to compare specific teachings than to compare whole religions and doing so might offer some insight on the problems facing a religiously plural world. So let us turn now to reviewing the perspectives of our sages in relationship to each other. I think it will be apparent that the four teachers did in fact view the world in ways different from one another, and in many cases these differences were substantial. Nonetheless, in some important areas, particularly on matters of spiritual and ethical practice, they are not that far apart.[1]

Read on and in the words of Sir Francis Bacon, “Read not to contradict … but to weigh and consider.”  It is important for me to highlight the differences as well as the similarities, between Christianity and Islam in my articles, the differences underscore the need for evolution in our thoughts and beliefs and the similarities give us optimism that the journey is not very long and tiring.
Now, if you are ready for the journey, put your seat belts on, for I want to prepare your mind for this theological roller coaster ride with a little shock and awe, from the writing of one of the Founding Fathers of our beloved USA, Thomas Paine, as he hits the nail squarely on the head:

From the time I was capable of conceiving an idea, and acting upon it by reflection, I either doubted the truth of the Christian system, or thought it to be a strange affair; I scarcely knew which it was: but I well remember, when about seven or eight years of age, hearing a sermon read by a relation of mine, who was a great devotee of the church, upon the subject of what is called Redemption by the death of the Son of God. After the sermon was ended, I went into the garden, and as I was going down the garden steps (for I perfectly recollect the spot) I revolted at the recollection of what I had heard, and thought to myself that it was making God Almighty act like a passionate man, that killed his son, when he could not revenge himself any other way; and as I was sure a man would be hanged that did such a thing, I could not see for what purpose they preached such sermons. This was not one of those kind of thoughts that had anything in it of childish levity; it was to me a serious reflection, arising from the idea I had that God was too good to do such an action, and also too almighty to be under any necessity of doing it. I believe in the same manner to this moment; and I moreover believe, that any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be a true system.  (Thomas Paine)

For the reference of the above quote see my articles about Thomas Paine.[2]  He has in a short paragraph powerfully shown us what is fundamentally wrong with the Christian dogma, if we care to hear.  As alluded to before one would have to give up the dogma of Christianity but the moral teachings of Christianity and Islam are very similar.  Here is an example which illustrates both these points, first a quote from the Gospel of Matthew:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” (Matthew 25:34-45)

First of all this detailed parable or metaphor illustrates that our works count and the Christian emphasis ‘on Faith alone,’ in Protestantism more than in Catholicism is one more paradox that needs to be replaced with the Islamic teachings.
There are numerous verses in the Holy Quran emphasizing kindness and the teaching of being service minded and the teachings are illustrated with different metaphors.  Here I would like to reproduce a Hadith which is very similar to the presentation of the Gospel of Matthew:

Indeed, Allah will say to his servant when He will be taking account of him on the Day of Judgment, ‘O’ son of Adam, I was hungry and you did not feed me.’ He will answer: ‘How could I feed you? You are the Lord of the worlds!’ He will say: ‘Did you not know that my servant so and so who is the son of so and so felt hunger, and you did not feed him. Alas, had you fed him you would have found that (i.e. reward) with Me.’ ‘O’ son of Adam, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink.’ He will reply: ‘How could I give You drink? You are the Lord of the worlds!’ He will say: ‘Did you not know that my servant so and so, the son of so and so was thirsty and you did not give him drink. Alas, if you had given him, you would have found that (i.e. reward) with me.’ ‘O’ son of Adam, I became sick and you did not visit Me.’ He will answer: ‘How could I visit You? You are the Lord of the worlds!’ He will say: ‘Did you not know that my servant so and so, the son of so and so became sick and you did not visit him. Alas, had you visited him, you would have found Me with him.’

Now, the moral teaching is exactly the same but if we read the next verse in the Gospel of Matthew another theological difference pops up.  Matthew reads, “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”  (Matthew 25:46)  Here, the New Testament is suggesting the standard Christian version of eternal punishment for the finite crimes of the wicked.  Infinite punishment for finite crime does not reflect well on the Just God and the Holy Quran takes exception to this vulnerability of Christian theology.  There is actually a Hadith that says that there will come a time on hell when it will have no inhabitants and all the sinners would have been forgiven after fulfilling their term.
Have a safe trip through the rest of this knol and if you have any questions pertaining to any of my knols, feel free to ask in the comment section, please.  And do not shoot the messenger.  Here is a quote for the road:

It is not the business of any Christian writer or preacher to dilute Christianity to suit the general educated public. The doctrine of the incarnation was to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, and so will it always be, for the doctrine not only transcends reason; it the paradox par excellence; and it can be affirmed only by faith, with passionate inwardness and interest. The substitution of reason for faith means the death of Christianity. (Soren Kierkgaard)

If you take Kierkgaard’s suggestion seriously and you are a Christian apologist, then you should stay quiet till eternity and let the Muslims like myself do the talking!  Because as soon as you defend Christianity you violate his passionate advice.
Some video clips of converts to Islam from Christianity
Thirty eight famous people who converted to islam:

References

  1. Prof. Mark W Muesse. Confucius, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad. The Great Courses transcript book, 2010. Page 461.
  2. http://knol.google.com/k/zia-shah/age-of-reason-by-thomas-paine-in-the/1qhnnhcumbuyp/323#

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