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Big News: Is The Father Of Jesus The God Of Islam?

BIG NEWS with Dave Crampton

Is The Father Of Jesus The God Of Islam?


Since September 11 it has been interesting seeing how the Christian Church and the Islam community are trying to build bridges based on common ground – yet in the US some Christian denominations don’t want anything to do with each other, let alone other faiths. Some conservatives wont talk to liberals (liberals meaning supporters of women’s ordination and gay ordination) within their own denomination, yet their leaders are quite happy to talk to other religions who share less common ground than their fellow congregants.

But others, namely leaders of the Christian right, have criticised Islam as an evil and wicked religion, and are against any promotion of Islam in schools. Although Christianity and Islam have differences, many may be surprised at the many similarities shared by both faiths.

Adherents to both religions worship the God of Abraham, and believe God created a host of angels. They honour Jesus as a prophet and a servant of God, honour Mary as his virgin mother and believe that this monotheistic God created the universe. Both follow the 10 commandments, except the Koran gives an additional two commandments. Both faiths believe that prayer is communicating with God, who hears these prayers and sometimes grants requests. The Lords Prayer and the Fateha, the opening prayer of the Koran, have no differences whatever in meaning. In addition, both Christians and Muslims believe Jesus will come again at the end of the world, and both faiths embrace the concept of hell. Now that is quite a lot of similarities.

Some of the most beautiful names in the human language are given to the God of the Koran, but He is ultimately a God outside of the world, a God who is only Majesty, never Emmanuel, God-with-us. Islam is not a religion of redemption. There is no room for the Cross and the Resurrection. Jesus is mentioned, but only as a prophet who prepares for the last prophet, Muhammad. There is also mention of Mary, His Virgin Mother, but the tragedy of redemption is completely absent. For this reason not only the theology but also the anthropology of Islam is very distant from Christianity.

Nevertheless, the religiosity of Muslims deserves respect. It is impossible not to admire, for example, their fidelity to prayer. The image of believers in Allah who, without caring about time or place, fall to their knees and immerse themselves in prayer remains a model for all those who invoke the true God

The main difference between the two faiths is the views on God, Jesus, sin and the role of prophets. These differences are significant. Muslims do not accept the divinity of God or the concept of the trinity.

Muslims believe Allah is the author of evil and a God who loves only those who do his will. Christians, on the other hand, believe God loves and seeks a personal relationship with every human, while abhorring and punishing evil.

Christians believe Jesus was the sinless son of God who was crucified, died and came to life and ascended into heaven. Muslims see Jesus not as the son of God, but a sinless prophet on the same level as Muhammad. Muslims consider all prophets without sin, much the same as Christians see Jesus Christ. Christians, however consider Jesus Christ as the only sinless human, and that is why he was crucified. So it makes sense to discover that Muslims see no need for the crucifixion. Muslims see no need to believe in vicarious atonement as Christians do – that another person can extinguish the guilt incurred by another person’s sins – and why should they? Their view of sin is not the same as the Christian view. For a Muslim sin is a private matter and of no bearing on the afterlife. Muslims believe salvation is obtained by works, not as an atonement for wrongdoing and rather than Jesus being crucified, he was taken up by God.

Islam is also seen as a more tolerant religion than Christianity. There is more opposition to Islam by Christians than opposition to the Christian faith by Muslims, especially in the United States. However only 0.5 percent of Americans are Muslims whereas the Christian population is approaching 85 percent, so the opposition is greater.

While leaders in some Christian denominations doubt that the father of Jesus is the God of Christianity, others are discussing whether the father of Jesus is the God of Islam. Both are wrong.

- Dave Crampton is a Wellington-based freelance journalist. He can be contacted at davec@globe.net.nz

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