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Monday, 19 January 2015

By The Book



"Don't seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God's wrath. For it is written, "Vengeance belongs to me;  
I will repay, says the Lord.Romans 12:19


I have lost count of the number times the Quran has been quoted after the Charlie Hebdo massacre to convince us that Islam is a Religion of Peace: 5.32. It is because of this that We ordained for (all humankind, but particularly for) the Children of Israel: He who kills a soul unless it be (in legal punishment) for murder or for causing disorder and corruption on the earth will be as if he had killed all humankind; and he who saves a life will be as if he had saved the lives of all humankind. Assuredly, there came to them Our Messengers (one after the other) with clear proofs of the truth (so that they might be revived both individually and as a people). Then (in spite of all this), many of them go on committing excesses on the earth.  

No mention is made of 5.33: The recompense of those who fight against God and His Messenger, and hasten about the earth causing disorder and corruption: they shall (according to the nature of their crime) either be executed, or crucified, or have their hands and feet cut off alternately, or be banished from the land. Such is their disgrace in the world, and for them is a mighty punishment in the Hereafter.

Of course the majority of Muslims want to live peaceful lives but that is not the point. Islamists such as IS and Boko Harem terrorize Muslims and non-Muslims alike for not adhering strictly to the book using "The Verse of the Sword" to justify their actions.  Questioning the basis of this ideology prompts outrage leading to even more deaths and burning of churches. From BBC Africa: At least three people have been killed and six churches attacked in Niger amid fresh protests against French magazine Charlie Hebdo's cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad. There are 114 chapters in the Quran giving ample scope for quoting peaceful passages  but WikiIslam lists 113 verses which are abrogated by the Verse of the Sword - full list here.

Excuses, half truths and outright dishonesty will not provide a solution to jihad. Islam should be explained openly, not misrepresented. Instead we have the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) complaining about a letter from Eric Pickles "sent to 1,000 Muslim leaders after the attacks in Paris".  He wrote "You, as faith leaders, are in a unique position in our society. You have a precious opportunity, and an important responsibility, in explaining and demonstrating how faith in Islam can be part of British identity. "We believe together we have an opportunity to demonstrate the true nature of British Islam today. There is a need to lay out more clearly than ever before what being a British Muslim means today: proud of your faith and proud of your country. We know that acts of extremism are not representative of Islam, but we need to show what is." 

The MCB said the letter appeared to suggest that, "like the far right", Muslims and Islam were "inherently apart from British society". MCB members need to get out more. Many people in Britain will recognise the situation outlined in this article where whole areas have been Islamised with Sharia law courts in place around the country while Muslim polygamists simply circumvent UK law by using unofficial Islamic ceremonies. That is not integration. Other critics of the letter are popping up in the media turning the problem around by suggesting that Imams and Mosques are powerless. Playing the victim card is similar to cries of Islamophobia - just shut up and let us get on with what we are doing without interference. That is not good enough.

Open examination of Islam is absent in Great Britain. More often it is promoted by politicians mouthing the usual mantra that Islam is a Religion of Peace despite all the evidence to the contrary from around the world. The basis of violence in the name of Islam needs to be confronted. Muslims who denounce violent jihadists as not being true Muslims need to be part of the debate. The life of their Prophet, the circumstances in which God is said to have delivered His message and its context in the 21st Century would be a useful starting point opening Islam to the same scrutiny as other faiths. 

Islam denies the very foundation of the Christian faith: that Christ died for us on the Cross "And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures1 Corinthians 15:4 but Christians do not take to the streets abducting the innocent, killing, burning and pillaging.

The resurrection of Christ is central to Christianity. If Christ has not been raised our faith is in vain but according to the Quran Jesus did not die on the Cross, thus wiping out the centrality of the Christian faith. "That they said (in boast), 'We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah'—but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not—nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself." Surah 4:157-158. Read "What does Islam teach about the crucifixion of Isa al Masih (Jesus)?" here

There are even Muslims who claim that Jesus was a Muslim! In fact, Islam demands the freedom to make any claim regardless of the sensibilities of others while demanding no right of reply for fear of offending their Prophet. Whereas the Bible is a collection of stories which can be held up to scrutiny, the Quran is a set of instructions which Muhammad said he had received from God to be followed without question. There lies the problem.

We owe it to Muslims and all God's people to spread the message while being aware of the dangers involved spreading the Good News today. There can be none other after Jesus Christ. He fulfilled the prophecies of Holy Scripture. Witnesses and historians testify to the Resurrection. Accordingly, Muslims who have lived by the Quran, taking vengeance in God's name are in for a nasty shock when they meet their maker: "Don't seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God's wrath. For it is written, "Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.Romans 12:19


This is the reality in Islamic states so, "Why Are Christian Cathedrals Opening the Door for Muslim Prayers to a Different God?" here. HT Anglican Mainstream.

3 comments:

  1. Llandaff Pelican20 January 2015 at 09:26

    When Rowan WIlliams was Archbishop of Canterbury, he resolutely refused to allow portions of the Qu'ran (or any other non-Christian/Jewish scriptures) to be read in Christian acts of worship. His evangelical predecessor, on the other hand, was more accommodating. +Rowan's rationale is that liturgy is not the context in which to do inter-faith dialogue or to engage in debate about the meaning of sacred texts of different traditions. I think that's a fair point because presenting texts is not the way to do dialogue.

    Given the Islamic texts you have cited in this post, there is a crying need for a Jewish - Christian - Islamic trialogue which is prepared to take a critical approach to the sources and cultural/contextual rooting of scripture. To say that there is no tradition of critical approaches to the Qu'ran is historically myopic and naïve. The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is full of similar sentiments to 5.33 in the Qu'ran (the Book of Judges springs to mind) and Revelation scores quite highly, too. Responding to Islamic fundamentalism with Christian fundamentalism is to simply encourage a dialogue of the deaf - and reinforces the views of the New Atheists, like Richard Dawkins, who like to caricature Christianity as a form of philosophical bigotry.

    In short, if a rational, civilised 'Christian' West is going to show that so-called radical Islamism is the 'emperor with no clothes', space needs to be created for a mutual and rigorous approach to our respective scriptures. Trading texts is not the way to do it - whatever our convictions - and there is a body of Muslim scholarly opinion out there which supports this approach.

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    Replies
    1. No kind of dialog with Islam is possible for the simple reason that it is no more an Abrahamic religion than the Book of Mormon. Scholars have indeed studied its texts, but are too afraid to publish the results - that it is an entirely concocted religion, founded by Mohammed and compiled by his followers into a text. Indeed it contains within it dire threats and warnings against any attempt to question it or to alter it.

      There is no comparison with the Jewish first Testament, which describes a period of history which came to an end two millennia ago. The violence seen in the various historical books is limited to that context. It is not a biblical adjunct that Israel (or Christians) should forever wage war - jihad against the entire world until it either converts or is put to the sword. Far from it: many Jewish scholars have always opposed the concept of proselytism.

      Jesus said, By their fruits shall you know them. This is true of the Christian faith in any of its historical manifestations and contexts. It is also true of Islam. Right across the world, people who describe themselves as muslims are committing daily atrocities in the name of their god (not ours) and the common factor is islam itself. However much secularised politicians protest that these are somehow not muslims, the reality is to be seen in the daily news reports.

      The entire world is at risk from this fossilised ideology of violence and fear. The world is entirely right to challenge institutional islam to reform itself and to clean up its act. An islamic Enlightenment is long overdue.

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  2. And yet the CiW spent much time and money in dialogue with Muslims but not Jews..............
    http://www.churchinwales.org.uk/resources/reference-documents/a-common-word/
    Danny Jones

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