‘..Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves..’
– Matthew 7:15
by, William Kilpatrick | Crisis Magazine | h/t Glen Roberts @ Trop
Would “false prophets” include Muhammad? It’s an impolitic question to ask in these politically correct times, but, thanks to political correctness these are also highly dangerous times. Since a good deal of the danger emanates from the religion Muhammad founded, it seems reasonable to ask if he was a false prophet. And if he was, does that mean that Islam is a false religion? And if it is, why are Catholic leaders so keen on declaring their solidarity with Islam?
It’s a case of either/or. Either the New Testament account of Jesus is true or Muhammad’s account is true. Since they contradict each other, they both can’t be true.
In the gospel accounts, Jesus is rather insistent that he is the Son of God, and the Koran is rather insistent that he is not. Assuming that you know of the many instances in the gospels where Jesus asserts his divinity, here are some Koranic passages that say the opposite:
God is but one God. God forbid that he should have a son! (4: 173, trans Dawood).
The Messiah, the Son of Mary, was no more than an apostle (5:75, Dawood).
Christians call Christ the Son of Allah…. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the truth! (9:30, trans Yusuf Ali).
They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of the three in a Trinity (5:73, Yusuf Ali).
Ralph Sidway, the author of a recent piece on the “same God” question, puts the either/or nature of the choice in perspective:
Based on these brief examples alone, Christianity and Islam cannot both be from the same source which is what the Same God Question ultimately boils down to. If we treat each truth claim with respect, that each faith springs from a self-revelation of God, then it is clear the Allah of Islam is directly, and in a specific, vigorous manner, opposed to the revelation from the Christian God. And Jesus’ own emphatic testimony about himself excludes any alternate revelation concerning the nature of God.
So the author of the Koran unambiguously rejects the Christian belief in the Trinity. Moreover, he declares that a “grievous penalty will befall” those who persist in saying that “Allah is one of three” (5: 73). As Sidway puts it, “Allah is so vehement in these condemnations of Christian dogma that it amounts to what I term a ‘Theological Jihad’.”
Why the vehemence? I have my own theory about that. As I wrote a few years back:
Muhammad’s purpose in introducing Jesus into the Koran is to discredit the Christian claim that he is divine in order to enhance Muhammad’s claim to prophethood.
In other words:
If Christ is who Christians say he is, then there is absolutely no need for another prophet or another revelation.
So Muhammad created his own version of Jesus—one in which Jesus is cut down to size. In effect, Jesus is assigned the role of John the Baptist: he must decrease so that Muhammad can increase. In the Koran, Jesus is given a relatively minor role to play. He is occasionally brought on stage to make a point, and then is promptly ushered off. Muhammad succeeds in convincing his audience that this lackluster Jesus couldn’t possibly be God. The trouble is, his Jesus is so poorly drawn, so lacking in substance and individuality that it’s also difficult to believe in his humanity. He is more like a disembodied voice than a person.
But, whatever Muhammad’s motivation, the fact is that the Jesus of the gospels and the Jesus of the Koran are irreconcilable. How can both revelations possibly be from the same God? If Christ is God, then the Koranic account is a false account and Muhammad is a false prophet.
That may seem a harsh way to put it. And if you go around saying such things, you likely won’t be invited to your parish’s next interfaith outreach program. But there it is. The only alternative is to say that Muhammad is a true prophet. Do you really want to go there?
Well, I suppose one could conjure up another alternative. One could say that Muhammad was a so-so prophet: he got some things right and some things wrong, and he was part of the Abrahamic faith tradition, and so on and so forth. It’s true, of course, that Muhammad did get some things right. But, on the point of Christ’s divinity, the New Testament doesn’t seem to allow for any half-right/half-wrong compromise position.
Is the Allah who supposedly wrote the Koran the same God who revealed himself in the Incarnation? Sidway reminds us of two passages from the First Letter of John:
Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also (1 Jn 2:22-23).
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world (1 Jn 4:1-3).
According to John, the spirit of the Antichrist denies the Son. But Islam not only denies the Son, it brands belief in the Son as a sin. And not just any sin, but the worst of all possible sins—shirk (the sin of attributing partners to God). So the central belief of Christians is, from the Islamic point of view, the greatest sin conceivable.
It can be argued that other religions fail to acknowledge the Sonship of Christ, but there is a difference. For example, while Jews don’t believe in the divinity of Christ, that, for obvious chronological reasons, is not part of the revelation to the Jews. Nor is denial of Christ’s divinity a central tenet of Judaism. On the other hand, the “revelation” to Muhammad came six hundred years after the birth of Christ and one of its central messages is the denial of the Sonship of Jesus. As Joel Richardson puts it in his book The Islamic Antichrist:
While many religions and systems of belief exist that do not agree with the doctrines of Christianity … only Islam fulfills the role of a religion that exists to deny core Christian beliefs.
It’s difficult to square the scriptural evidence with the currently fashionable notion that Christianity and Islam are close cousins. It’s harder still to reconcile it with the assertion that we believe in the same God and revere the same Jesus.
But is it really necessary to open old wounds? Isn’t it better to emphasize the things that unite us rather than the things that divide us? In commenting on the Church’s relationship with Muslims in Nostra Aetate, the Synod fathers urged all to forget the “quarrels and hostilities” of the past. Shouldn’t we heed their advice?
But just how far in the past are the “quarrels and hostilities” mentioned in Nostra Aetate? They are still with us today. And what is the source of those hostilities, except that Christians refused and still refuse to accept the revelations given to Muhammad. From the Islamic point of view, Christians who persist in unbelief merit the “grievous penalty” that follows.
“Beware of false prophets who … inwardly are ravenous wolves.” “Ravenous” certainly seems an apt description of Muhammad. While it’s not know exactly how many people he killed in the course of spreading Islam, it is known that on one occasionhe presided over the beheading of between 600 and 900 captured men. “Ravenous” also seems to fit most of his successors. Islam’s’ 1400 year history is largely a record of conquest and subjugation. By one estimate, approximately 170 million people have been killed in the name of Allah, making Islam the greatest killing force in history by far.
So there is good reason to beware of false prophets. There is also good reason for Catholics to revisit the simplistic and dangerously misleading notion that Muslims and Christians share the same beliefs and values.
It’s understandable, of course, that many Catholics might think that Christianity and Islam are more closely aligned than they really are. It’s uncontestable that Islam does bear a superficial resemblance to Catholicism. Muslims pray daily, they emphasize modesty, their clerics wear long robes, they go on pilgrimage to shrines, and their mosques are often beautiful structures which convey an atmosphere of deep spirituality. Moreover, Islam even finds room for Jesus in its pantheon of prophets.
None of that, however, negates the reality that Islam is based on a false revelation. When warning of false prophets, Christ said “you will know them by their fruits”—not by their appearances. After all, the warning would not be necessary except that the wolf is disguised in sheep’s clothing. Unfortunately, too many Catholics and too many of their shepherds seem to live in a bucolic dream world where thoughts of wolves and false prophets are never entertained.
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Islam and the Anti-Christ: John MacArthur
by, Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu | The Jewish Press | h/t Glen Roberts @ Trop
Masked Arab rioters had prepared pipe bombs to be filled with explosives in a planned pogrom against Jews and non-Jewish tourists on the Temple Mount Sunday.
Advanced intelligence helped police foil the attack, and law enforcement officers startled the Arabs shortly after dawn, as reported here.
Police spokesmen stated:
Masked protesters who were inside the mosque threw stones and fireworks at police. Suspect pipes that could be filled with homemade explosives were also found at the entry to the [Al Aqsa] mosque.
Police later removed any doubts that the objects were not pipe bombs.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the presence of pipe bombs at the on the Temple Mount “requires all of us to think again about arrangements” at the holy site.
Almost exactly a year ago, violence on the Temple Mount appeared to be on the verge of an all-out religious war, but a secret meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah resulted in a mutual understanding that Jews would continue to be prohibited from praying on the Temple Mount and Arabs Muslims would put a stop to violence.
The understanding lasted for several months, but a new round of escalation began several months ago.
Jordan’s reaction to today’s clash was not encouraging, and the Kingdom blamed Israel for “raiding” the mosque.
The Palestinian Authority-based Ma’an News Agency reported,:
An AFP journalist saw a number of people being detained and heavy police deployments in the Old City.
A Palestinian boy identified as Anas Siyam was evacuated to hospital after he was hit with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the chest. His condition is unknown….
A spokesman of the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah movement in Jerusalem, Raafat Ulayyan, urged the Palestinians in the West Bank and in Israel to ‘hurry to defend’ the holy Muslim place from which ‘our prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.’
Here is another recent example of violent Arab Muslims Attacking Police on Judaism’s/Judeo-Christianity’s Holiest Site:
Iranian Christians at a service in Tehran, Iran. Photo courtesy of: World Magazine
by, Warren Cole Smith | World Magazine
If you spend any time keeping up with the news, you know that radical Islam is a significant and destructive force in the world. David Garrison, does not disagree with that assessment, but he says it’s only part of the story. There is also a revival in the Muslim world, Garrison says. He believes between 2 and 7 million former Muslims have converted to Christianity in the past two decades, and he has impressive research to back up his claim. He documents his findings in his book A Wind in the House of Islam.
Garrison has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and spent more than 25 years as a missionary with the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Missions Board. I had this conversation with Garrison in Atlanta at the recent International Christian Retail Show.
Many people, when they think of the Muslim world, feel discouraged by radical Islam. Your book has kind of a more hopeful message. What is it? Someone asked me the other day, “How do you interpret what’s going on in the world today in light of the Word of God?” I think Romans 8:22 is a good key for us to see, when Paul says that we know that all of creation groans as in the travail of childbirth. That painful upheaval, all the trials, the violence that we see in the Muslim world hopefully are forbearers of new life that is taking place. That’s what my book focuses on, not on the things we see in the news every day, which are all very true and very valid. I wouldn’t want to sugarcoat any of that. It’s horrific, the things that are happening. But I also want to give testimony to the fact that God is at work in the Muslim world, and, frankly, in ways that we’ve never seen before. [There is] more turning of Muslims to Christ than at any time in history.
Can you give us some specific examples of that happening? The striking thing about what we discovered was that there are movements of Muslims to Christ, and by that I mean not just individuals, but movements of at least 1,000 within a community who have been baptized or 100 churches planted over the last two decades. We’re seeing, currently, 69 of these movements that have just been formed in the last two decades that are moving … from one end of the Muslim world to the other, so from West Africa to Indonesia and everywhere in between.
I suppose one of the most striking examples is what’s happening in Iran today. We’re seeing that the Ayatollah Khomeini’s proving to be the greatest evangelist in the history of Iran because so many people are voting with their feet and they’re turning away from Islam and they’re walking toward really, all sorts of things. It’s not exclusively to Christianity, but certainly tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Iranians in the last few decades have come to faith in Jesus Christ and followed him in baptism.
You said, “We are seeing.” Who’s “we,” and how do we know that what you’re saying is true? This was very important to me. Certainly, no one can know everything that’s going on, and the wonderful blessing I’ve had is a blessing of a great host of collaborators. Everywhere I went, I found I was able to work with missionaries who then introduced me to national partners, and so in my opening pages I talk about this great network. I think I’ve got about 150 people that I list that helped me in every region of the world. … I made it a point to document not only everything that I did in writing, but also to record, as much as possible, these actual interviews, to tuck them away, before I—what we call—sanitized them. I changed the names so that no one would be hurt and [for] security concerns.
How did you start down the path of documenting this phenomenon? I’ve had a long and twisting path. I’ve had 29 years with the International Missions Board and lived in places and studied languages like Japanese and Chinese, and then three different kinds of Arabic. In 1992, my wife and two kids and I at the time were assigned to work with Libyan Arabs. And over the next few years, we learned, probably, I don’t know, 100, 200 ways not to win Libyans to Christ. In the course of that, we realized this is a tough nut. This is not one that’s easily solved.
by, Rebecca Bynum | New English Review
Many people in our post-Christian society (especially journalists) are afraid of it, misinformed about it and ignorant of the most basic theological concepts. And our theologians are often too specialized in their work to be able to discuss religion in its broadest outlines or our Churchmen are often soo concerned with finding common ground that they gloss over and ignore the theology of Islam.
Our greatest Islam critics confine their attack to the non-religious aspects of Islam, either its political side or its judicial side. But when we discuss political Islam or Sharia law alone, we imply that there is a religious Islam that is perfectly fine, that we don’t have to worry about. And we leave the major problems of Islamization – Muslim immigration, mosque building, the proselytizing in our prisons and military and the infiltration of our governmental institutions completely untouched and indeed untouchable.
So I think we need to take a few steps back to examine Islam as a whole and to broadly define the outlines of Islam – what it is and what it isn’t.
One thing we can definitely say about Islam is that is it not solely confined to a belief system. If it is a religion it is not a religion only. Islam is a total system of life and contains within itself a particular social system, judicial system, and political system which includes geo-political aspirations – the conquest and administration of territory.
I often liken Islam to a duck-billed platypus which superficially resembles an otter. Upon closer examination, one finds this animal has a duck-like bill, lays eggs, and has many other characteristics which are not otter-like. So it cannot therefore remain in the biological category containing otters. It is simply too different and has to have its own category. I believe the same thing is true of Islam. It is much too different from the other religions to remain in the religion category, it should be uniquely classified in its own category.
Secondly, I think it is obvious to Christians that Islam is its polar opposite and I believe nihilism lies between Christianity and Islam and that the morality of Islam is inverted.
Let me explain: religion supplies our basic world-view concerning the nature of reality. If we were to plot belief systems on a graph – on one side are religions which view God as good and the universe as a benevolent place – in the middle we have the view that there is no God and the universe is a pitiless and indifferent place, the view of material determinism which is the direction toward which our society is tending. On the other side of the view of God as malevolent and the universe is a vicious and unpredictable place – that God enjoys our suffering. This is where Islam lies.
The reason we can assert that the morality of Islam is inverted is that Islam consistently elevates material over spiritual considerations. That is, it elevates the material obedience to the dictates of the Islamic doctrine above all consideration of Truth or Goodness. Morality, conformity and even legality are all one and the same in Islam. Let me give you an example: The following are the words of the father of a failed female suicide bomber:
“’If I had known what [my daughter] was planning I would have told the Jews. I would have stopped her.”
“In our religion it is forbidden for a girl’s body to be uncovered even at home. How could a girl allow her body to be smashed to pieces and then collected up by Jews? This is absolutely forbidden.”
Though this is an extreme circumstance, we see this pattern play out over and over again. Women are treated as if they were property because that is how they are defined by Islam.
For example, if a young girl runs away from home to marry her true love, she has in effect stolen the property that is herself from her family and the family will often try to kill her to negate the theft and to assuage the shame and humiliation suffered by the family for not to being in full control of their daughter’s body as is required by Islam. In this way, Islam is utterly materialistic – control of the body is everything. And the Muslim mind is focused fully on the material world.
I further contend that Islam has become a substitute God for Muslims. Worship is defined as obedience to Islam and Islam represents the entire will of God for all men through all time. God’s will is also every single thing that happens. So even if one disobeys Islam, it is still God’s will that he did so.
If there is no difference between man’s will and God’s will, there is no God to seek. In Islam God is unknowable – he is completely transcendent and his will is all things. Theologically this is the equivalent to saying there is no God.
Furthermore, when a religion becomes completely reduced to a doctrine and only a doctrine, it is no longer a living faith. It is dead. Islam may be complex and it maybe logical, but it is logic in the absence of living truth.
Religion in its broadest sense must be about the pursuit of higher value – of Truth Beauty and Goodness. As we learned in philosophy class, the thinking used to be that these values stand apart from the world and evaluate the world. Truth is the measure of man, man is not the measure of truth. That is the essence of religious thought. And the interesting thing is that when we pursue value, as all true religions encourage, we incorporate those values into our selves – as we pursue goodness, we become good, as we pursue truth we reflect truth in ourselves and we appreciate the beauty of God’s creation more and more – this is commonly called spiritual growth. All religion as we have known it facilitates this process – its goal is to lead men to God and lead them to experience God’s love.
Islam on the other hand, subordinates everything to itself. Islam is the highest value and the spiritual values we just mentioned are thought to be entirely contained within Islam, even to be entirely contained within the Koran. Which is why after a rumor about Korans being flushed down the toilet at Guantanamo was started by Newsweek in May 2005, scores were killed and hundreds injured in rioting all over the Muslim world. Lives were sacrificed over paper and ink. We saw the same pattern play out with the Muhammad cartoons over a supposed religious principle which concerns only the material world.
There is no higher truth than Islam, no higher good than Islam and nothing more beautiful than Islam. Islam has replaced God, you see, and its ultimate goal is not to lead men to seek those higher values. Islam exists simply to perpetuate itself.
Let’s take three simple religious concepts and look at how they are subordinated under Islam.
The first one is Faith. When we use the word faith, we mean a growing trust in a loving, fatherly God – a God who can be known, a God who can be approached. In Islam, God cannot be known, there is no bridge to him. What Muslims mean by faith is faith in the truth and rightness of Islam itself. Intellectual assent to a doctrine has replaced living faith – man’s relationship with a higher reality.
The second is prayer. When we pray we open our inner life to God – it is an intimate and personal communication and is often a petition for God to strengthen us in virtue so we will be better prepared to meet the problems of our lives.
There is nothing personal or intimate about Muslim prayer. It is communal and a rote formula. Everyone prays the same prayers at the same time facing the same direction, while performing the same muscular movements. Just like military drills, these so called prayers have the effect of cementing communal solidarity, but not of increasing intimate contact with God. Personal petitions must be addressed correctly to one of the 99 names of God, otherwise the prayer is lost as though God were some kind of giant post office. There is no intimacy between man and God in Islamic prayer because there cannot be.
The third is worship by which we mean love, adoration, awe and gratitude all being expressed to God. Often this is done in the form of song. In Islam, worship is defined as obedience to Islam and since God is transcendent and we cannot know him, loving him is beside the point and is certainly not essential. Obedience is everything.
This concept is also a major stumbling block to democracy because to obey man’s law in Islamic thought is equivalent to the worship of man. Now, while I would agree that the worship of man is broadly a characteristic of the modern world, especially if we look at the rise of science and its promise of omniscience and even omnipotence – that all things can be known and done through the agency of science. I vehemently disagree that the Islamic total belief system and total regulation of life is the answer to anything. It is certainly not a way to grow closer to God. It leads men away from God and focuses the mind on the material world alone from morning till night, day in and day out..
Islam is not the answer – Islam is the problem.
Now for those who still insist that Islam remain in the religion category, they will eventually have to concede that Islam is either a false religion or an evil religion because it leads men to evil action, even toward their own families. Of course there is no rule stating all religions must be good or lead to good actions.
Islam is false because it is built on the fundamental lie that Muhammad was a real prophet, rather than a man simply pretending to be a prophet in order to gain power over people. Of course one can make the same claim about Joseph Smith or L Ron Hubbard or any number of other founders of man-made religions which have been created from time to time throughout history. A religion which venerates an evil man and raises him to the level of the perfect model for human conduct, cannot help but lead men to evil action – even jihad.
This brings us back to the crux of our problem. Should an evil religion, which functions in exactly the opposite way from religion as we have known it, receive the same benefits and consideration as religion which is beneficial to society?
Essentially our secular society has a contract with religion. It says, the state will not interfere with religious practice so long as it is within the law and the state will extend benefits in the form of tax breaks and other considerations so that religious institutions can flourish freely with our boundaries. In exchange, religion has strengthened the family, produced honest hard working citizens with a high degree of personal self-control so that people behave ethically and charitably toward each other and can function with a minimum of external social control.
Religion as we have known it has been good for society. It has nurtured morality, strengthened the family, fostered public service and encouraged social harmony. Islam, on the other hand, is self-segregating and fosters ideas of Muslim supremacy and thereby sows seeds of social discord. Even its tradition of charitable giving is solely for the benefit of fellow Muslims and it utterly destroys the nuclear family through its adoption of polygamy. Polygamous marriage is not marriage. It reduces women to the status of property. Even Mormon polygamy eventually does this.
With the Arab spring we can clearly see that when the governing police state is suddenly removed, Muslim societies across the board descend into violence and chaos – religious sects fight other sects, tribes fight other tribes, looting is rampant and men are reduced to defending their families against their neighbors. Needless to say, this is not what we expect from religion. We expect religion to uphold morality and civilizational standards. It is clear Islam doesn’t do that.
Now despite all the evidence that Islam is an immoral religion, there is a current of modern thought seeking to elevate a laudable personal virtue, that of tolerance, over the greater social principle of justice.
But is it just to tolerate polygamy in the name of religious freedom? The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in 1878 that it is not. Is it just to tolerate the unequal right to inheritance for women? Is it just to tolerate forced marriage? Is it just to tolerate antisemitism? Is it just to tolerate the preaching of hatred toward non-Muslims? Is it just to tolerate the teaching that Muslims are superior to non-Muslims or that men are superior to women? Is it just to tolerate a parallel legal system based on inequality?
There are things that our society cannot tolerate and expect to survive. Justice must take its rightful place above tolerance.
So to reiterate – Islam is not a religion because:
It is an amalgam of social, political and judicial systems as well as a belief system. It is neither one thing nor the other – Islam is unique
Philosophically it is as far from other religions as it is possible to be. It lies beyond nihilism and its morality is inverted.
In society Islam functions in the opposite manner from all other religions. Rather than producing peace and social harmony, it sows violence and social disruption.
Therefore, I believe it would be wise to reconsider Islam’s inclusion as a religion at least as far as the First Amendment is concerned. I understand the difficulties with this approach, and I know many have and will reject it, but I also think it is necessary to raise the question about what Islam really is and what it isn’t.
When you consider the effort that went into arguing whether Pluto should be considered a planet or not, or how a newly discovered insect should be classified, or what constitutes organic produce, I really don’t think the ability to classify belief systems is beyond us. At the very least we must call into question this Islam-is-a-religion trump card that its defenders have been playing so successfully. And I think it could help remove the confusion in our own ranks and allow Islam to be criticized in its entirety, not just as a political or judicial system.
We cannot fight a lie of this magnitude with half the truth.