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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The problem with belief

Iraqi soldiers putting the Cross back to where it belongs in Baghdeda and Karemlesh
after retaking the cities from ISIS.                                                Source: @AliAjeena 

In my previous entry I included a video of an Imam who claims that saying 'Merry Christmas' is worse than murder. One cannot doubt his sincerity in believing that God could not have been born on Christmas Day. It is contrary to his faith. If he understood that God came down from heaven and was made man to share our misery he would be better informed but as a Muslim he regards Jesus as no more than one in a line of prophets.

For Christians Jesus is the Incarnate Word, the 'Son of God'. Hence the condemnation of saying 'Merry Christmas'. For Muslims Muhammad is the last in a line of prophets from Abraham. He is the model of the perfect man whose life should be emulated as far as possible. An unlikely example some 1400 years later for one who married a child bride of nine, had many wives, and who is said to have personally beheaded between 700 and 900 opponents. Nevertheless he is the model for devout Muslims resulting in the barbarism witnessed today.

A recent BBC report, 'An extremist in the family', illustrates the agony of a mother, a convert to Islam, whose son became a jihadist. She said "Islam's part of our daily life. We pray and fast but beyond that, not a huge amount". Her son Rasheed had somehow fallen for the idea of the caliphate, "if you don’t do this journey you are not a believer, not a good Muslim".

For Christians the mother is the good Muslim but for Islamists the real Muslim was her son. He was killed fighting for ISIS. This is the problem with belief. Blind obedience serves only the manipulators. Catholicism, particularly in Ireland, has learnt the hard way. Anglicanism, the middle way, has lost its way while Islam remains resolute against any other way. So much so that renouncing Islam is punishable by death.

In another video 'Wolves in Sheep's Clothing' the Imam who condemned people for saying Merry Christmas rails against the 'enemies of Islam'. He names Jews, Christians, Hindus and the secular, atheistic world at large who "disagree among themselves on everything except that Islam is a target and is to be removed from the world map". Finally he tells his audience that the real wolves in sheep's clothing are not Jews, Christians or Hindus but the Shia, a different Muslim sect.

Muslims believe that, unlike Moses and prophets who heard from God directly, Muhammad heard through an intermediary, Gabriel. In these revelations Allah changes his mind many times leaving followers with the problem of abrogation which results in taking the more recent (violent) verses in preference to earlier (peaceful) verses. Consequently the religion of peace in the Quran gives way to the sword:  "The later verses, known as the “Sword Verses” (9:5 and 9:29), were considered by Muslim scholars to have cancelled the previous verses mandating kindness and persuasion. Expansionist jihad became the explicit norm." 

By contrast with uncorroborated revelations received by Muhammad, Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of eight Old Testament prophesies. The probability of fulfilling all eight prophesies has been calculated as 1 x 1028 or 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. 

Jesus Christ came into the world not to abolish the Law or the Prophets but to fulfil them. He made another prophecy which has been fulfilled: "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." This prophecy could not be clearer but nevertheless, Muslims regard Muhammad as the last prophet without question. That is the problem. 

For years Islam has been treated as above criticism, validated for its pre-'Sword' verses about kindness and persuasion. But there is a glimmer of hope. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has come out and said "It's time to stop saying Isil has ‘nothing to do with Islam’".

It is ironic that people who have largely lost their Christian faith judge Islam from a traditional Christian perspective accepting what they are told about peaceful Islam while ignoring the evidence to the contrary which has been exhibited all around the world for hundreds of years. 'Christian Daily' explodes the peace loving myth in an article "Muslim migrants display 'pure hatred' of Christians". An Arabic translator who has been living in Germany for more than 20 years explains that Muslim migrants secretly despise Christians and believe that the country should be Islamised.

Muslims need to know about Christianity. They should be encouraged to question their own faith instead of attacking others and question the imposition of penalties for renouncing Islam contrary to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights that "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion".

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