Thursday, December 31, 2015

Islam - A reset on religion - All religions are corrupt

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and you can read the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
Muhammad believed in one supreme God yet, as he understood the various religions around him, he saw that they had all become corrupt. Not just the pagan religions with their many gods but also the Jewish and Christian regions with their infighting and moral decay. It was in this atmosphere that Gabriel appeared to Muhammad bringing a new religion; one that would set all religions aright; one that was pure and not corrupted by the regions of the day. In many ways, Islam is a reset on religion; a kind of redo on religion. Proclaiming all religions to be corrupt, Islam offers a new religion; a new start for service and obedience to God.
"And they say, 'Be Jews or Christians and you shall be guided.' Say thou: 'Nay, rather the creed of Abraham, a man of pure faith; he was no idolater.'" (Koran 2:129)
"The true religion with God is Islam." (Koran 3:17)
Allah's answer to the corrupt religions of the day was Islam.
"Today I have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed My blessing upon you, and I have approved Islam for your religion." (Koran 5:5)
In may ways, Islam is similar to Mormonism. Both claim that all other religions had become corrupt, both were announced by a new prophet, both produced a new testament, and both claim to be the only true religion for mankind. Philip Scahff writes this concerning the similarities between Islam and Mormonism.
"The points of resemblance are numerous and striking: the claim to a supernatural revelation mediated by an angel; the abrogation of previous revelations by later and more convenient ones; the embodiment of the revelations in an inspired book; the eclectic character of the system, which is compounded of Jewish, heathenish, and all sorts of sectarian Christian elements... the union of religion with civil government... the institution of polygamy in defiance of the social order of Christian civilization. In sensuality and avarice Brigham Young surpassed Mohammed; for he left at his death in Salt Lake City seventeen wives, sixteen sons, and twenty-eight daughters (having had in all fifty six or more children), and property estimated at two millions of dollars." (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume IV, Section 47)
The Koran represents Islam as the culmination of all religions that went before it. It is the fulfillment and end point of the faith originating with Abraham and continuing down through the Jews and the Christians. It is the pinnacle of God's revelation to mankind and His final definition of religion for all who would serve Him.
"Thou seest them bowing, prostrating, seeking bounty [imploring favors] from God and good pleasure [His acceptance]. Their mark [tokens] is on their faces, the trace [marks] of prostration. That is their likeness [picture] in the Torah [Law], and their likeness [picture] in the Gospel [Evangel]: as a seed that puts forth its shoot [stalk], and strengthens it, and it grows stout and rises straight upon its stalk [stem], pleasing the sowers [husbandman], that through them He may enrage [make wrathful] the unbelievers [infidels]." (Koran 48:30)
In Muhammad's view of religion, Judaism was the root, Christianity the stalk, and Islam the flower. Now that the flower has appeared, there is no need for the former religions and all are now called to become Muslim.
"So if they dispute with thee, say: 'I have surrendered my will to God, and whosoever [they who] follows me. And say to those who have been given the Book and to the common folk: 'Have you surrendered [yourself unto God]?' If they have surrendered [become Muslims], they are right guided; but if they turn their backs [turn away], thine it is only to deliver the Message; and God sees His servants." (Koran 3:18-19)
However, the question must be asked, "Is there a need for another religion?" Muhammad's presupposition was that, in order for men to please and serve God, religion is required. However, the history of religion is that it has never made anyone holy, moral, or righteous. Religion as a whole has been a total failure; at least as it pertains to its effects on the human soul. Paul says this about the Law and about religion.
"nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified." (Galatians 2:16)
The truth is that religion can never make mankind righteousness. Righteousness is not found in a religion but in faith in Jesus Christ. "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." (Romans 10:4) Jesus came to free us from religion and to introduce us to faith; faith in God and faith in Jesus Christ. Righteousness is now available to all through faith rather than through obedience to law and religion. Seeing that forgiveness and righteous are now freely available to all, what need do we have further for religion? Paul warns us,
"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1)
Here the slavery he is talking about is a slavery to law and religion. If we have salvation in Christ, we no longer need religion, and this includes Islam. Jesus did away with the need for religion, and Islam is simply an old re-try at law, rules, and man-made religions. Let us not come into bondage once again, even the religious bondage of Islam.

More to come...
David Robison

Monday, December 28, 2015

Islam - A reset on religion - Descendant from Abraham

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
Islam believes itself to be a continuation of the grand revelation of God to mankind; beginning with Adam, Abraham, and Moses, then continuing through Jesus and the apostles, and finally ending with Muhammad. Muslims see themselves as the culmination of thousands of years of revelation and teaching climaxing in the person of Mohammad and the giving of the Koran. In fact, the Koran depicts the Islamic religion as the true and purer versions of both the Jewish and Christian religions.
"No; Abraham in truth was not a Jew, neither a Christian; but he was a Muslim and one Pure of [sound in] faith; certainly he was never of the idolaters. Surely the people standing closest to Abraham are those who followed him, and this Prophet [Mohammad], and those who believe [on him]; and God is the Protector of the believers." (Koran 3:60-61)
Judaism and Christianity were temporary interludes until a time of fulfillment; intermediate attempts by God to help His people "get it right" and to restore them as a true Muslim people. To properly understand Islam and those who claim the Muslim faith it is important to realize that they do not see themselves as separate from the faith and history of the Jews and the Christians rather they see themselves as the fulfillment and the representation of the true faith God always sought from mankind. Muslims believe that they are standing in the path blazed by the prophets of old.
"The people were one nation [mankind but was one people]; then God sent forth the Prophets, good tidings to bear and warning, and He sent down with them the Book with the truth, that He might decide between the people touching their differences [decide the disputes of men]; and only those who had been given it were at variance upon it [disputed], after the clear signs had come to them, being insolent one to another [full of mutual  jealousy]; then God guided those who believed to the truth, touching which they were at variance [had disputed], by His leave [permission]; and God guides whomsoever He will to a straight path." (Koran 2:209)
"and the believers; each one believes in God and His angels, and in His Books and His Messengers [Apostles]; we make no division between any one of His Messengers [Apostles]. They say, 'We hear, and obey." (Koran 2:285)
Furthermore, the Koran also claims possession of the words of Jesus and His disciples.
"Say you: 'We believe in God, and in that which has been sent down on us and sent down on Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac and Jacob, and the Tribes, and that which was given to Moses and Jesus and the Prophets, of their Lord; we make no division between any of them, and to Him we surrender.' And if they believe in the like of that you believe in, then they are truly guided; but if they turn away, then they are clearly in schism;" (Koran 2:130-131)
Muhammad, the Koran, and Muslims all claim to be following a faith that is built upon all that came before them. They claim all the prophets, the apostles, and even Jesus Himself. However, the very faith they claim to be following is the same faith that is often contradicted or abrogated in the Koran. Many of the teachings of Jesus are directly contradicted in the Koran and much of the history recorded in the Jewish scriptures is repeated with great historic error. For all their claims of continuing and confirming the past, they seem to have never actually read or learned from what went before them.

For example, from Abraham we learn of a great promise of one who's coming would bless the entire world. "By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice." (Genesis 22:16-18) This great blessing was to come through Issac and not Ishmael which is why later Abraham would send out Ishmael so that the inheritance might remain secure with Issac; God encouraging Abraham, "Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named." (Genesis 21:12) However Islam teaches that God's final revelation. this great blessing to mankind, came through the Arabs and not the Jews.

From Moses we learn of the importance of atonement. Moses gave us a law that was perfect yet no one could keep it. It taught us that even with God's perfect law we were still sinners and in need of salvation. In the Law, forgiveness was offered but only with the provision of atonement. The Koran speaks of the forgiveness of God but never tells us how that forgiveness of provided for. How can one be forgiven unless the penalty is atoned for? "And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." (Hebrews 9:22) This atonement finds its greatest fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

From Jesus we learn that there is only one way to God and is through Him. "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'" (John 14:6) Jesus was our atonement with God, our salvation from death, and the forgiveness of our sins. He was the final answer from God and the end of the prophets and apostles of old. "He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.'" (Mark 12:6)

From the Apostles we learned the message Jesus came to preach and teach and we understand that, once and for all, and for all time, the message of God had come unto mankind and that there was no need for another. "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power." (Hebrews 1:1-3) However, the Koran claims to be yet another revelation and testament from God.

All these things, while claiming the prophets and apostles, Islam has failed to hear and understand. They claim them but they do not hear them. It is one thing to claim to be following the path of the prophets of old but it is another to actually be walking in the message they brought us from God. There is very little in the religion of Islam that retains the image and revelations of the Christian or Jewish religions. It is a religion unto itself.

More to come...
David Robison

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Islam - A reset on religion - Religion not relationship

This is a continuation of my posts in the series "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
As you read the Koran, you come away with the understanding of the impersonal nature of Allah and the need for human works and ceremony to service and conciliate Him towards mankind. In this service, religion is central and any relationship with God is no where to be seen other than to be servants and slaves of His will and His compreciousnesses. Philip Schaff describes Allah and the religion He mandates as follows.
"But Allah is a God of infinite power and wisdom, not a God of redeeming love to all mankind; a despotic sovereign of trembling subjects and slaves, not a loving Father of trustful children. He is an object of reverence and fear rather than of love and gratitude. He is the God of fate who has unalterably foreordained all things evil as well as good; hence unconditional resignation to him (this is the meaning of Islâm) is true wisdom and piety. He is not a hidden, unknowable being, but a God who has revealed himself through chosen messengers, angelic and human. Adam, Noah, Abraham Moses, and Jesus are his chief prophets. But Mohammed is the last and the greatest." (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume IV, Section 45. The Mohammedan Religion)
Allah is impersonal and so is His religion that He has appointed to mankind. The Koran teaches us that, to each people group, God has appointed a religion; a set of ceremonies and acts to be performed in the service and worship of God.
"We have appointed for every nation [people] a holy rite, that they may mention [commemorate] God's Name over such [brute] beasts of the flocks as He has provided them." (Koran 22:35)
"We have appointed for every nation a holy rite [observances] that they shall perform [observe]. Let them not therefore wrangle [dispute] with thee upon the matter, and do thou summon unto thy Lord; surely thou art upon a straight guidance [on the right way]. And if they should dispute [debate] with thee, do thou say, 'God knows very well what you are doing. God shall judge between you on the Day of Resurrection touching that whereon you were at variance.'" (Koran 22:66-68)
However, despite man's best efforts, many of the nations had left the religion appointed to them by God and had departed from a true knowledge of God and His requirements upon their lives. To this end, Allah sent His revelation to Muhammad and established, for an Arab people, a new religion that they might be the light of the world and that the rest of the world might see and understand how God truly desires to be served and worshiped.
"Thus We appointed you a midmost nation [central people] that you might be witnesses to the people [mankind], and that the Messenger [apostle] might be a witness to you; and We did not appoint the direction thou wast facing [we appointed the kebla which you formerly hadst], except that [only that] We might know who followed the Messenger [apostle] from him who turned on his heels." (Koran 2:137)
This required a change in religion; the departure from some of the old rites and the adoption of some new ones. Previously, God had appointed a kebla, or a direction to face when worshiping God. This was done for no other reason than that God might know who was following His commands and who was not. Now, instead of facing a specific direction, everyone was to face Mecca.
"We have seen thee turning thy face about in the [to every part of] heaven; now We will surely turn thee to a direction [kebla] that shall satisfy [please] thee. Turn thy face towards the Holy Mosque; and wherever you are, turn your faces towards it." (Koran 2:139)
There are two things that are of interest here. First is the acknowledgment that all people have received from God their own religion and that Muslims were not to try and debate them of convert them except through the evidence of their own personal obedience to a religion that Muhammad believed was more pure and better guided by God. No where in these suras do you read any hint of a command from God to fight with the unbelievers or to attempt to convert them through conquest. These suras will come later and they stand in apparent contradiction to what Muhammad wrote here in the second sura. Either Islam is a peaceful religion earning converts through the peaceable means of persuasion and the peaceable example of Muslim religion, or it is a warring religion requiring conquest for conversion in the cases where persuasion alone does not serve to convert. We shall have more to say on this score later.

The second point of interest is that, in Muhammad's mind, what is of chief importance in our position with God is our religion and not our relationship. God's dealings with mankind is centered completely around the religion He has given them.
"And Abraham charged his sons with this and Jacob likewise: 'My sons, God has chosen for you the religion; see that you die not save in surrender.'" (Koran 2:126)
God has chosen for us a religion and not a relationship with Hmself. However, the scriptures tell us a different story. In the very beginning, God desired to be with His creation. He not only created this world, He also walked among it and had fellowship with the man and woman He had created. In the story of the fall of mankind we read,
"They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden." (Genesis 3:8)
We understand that prior to this point, they used to enjoy the presence of God as He would often walk among His creation and fellowship with Adam and Eve. We also know that Abraham was called "the friend of God." (James 2:23) a term of relationship and not religion. And we know that Jesus' greatest desire for His disciples was, "that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:3) God desiring our presence over our religion. Finally, up until the time of Jesus, all mankind had was religion, but Jesus came to bring something different; something that flowed out of a relationship with a personal God and not impersonal obedience to an external religion.
"For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ." (John 1:17)
Jesus came, not to bring a new religion or to encourage us to better adhere to an old one, but to bring us grace and truth that flows out of a personal relationship with God. It is time to be done with old religion. If we have Jesus, what need do we have for religion? What need have we for Islam? Let us rather be free than to be re-enslaved again to religion.

More to come...
David Robison

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Allah - The God of Islam - Retaliation and destruction

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and you can read the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
God is a God of justice. All men shall one day give account for all they have done. Those who have done well shall receive rewards while those who have done evil shall pay the penalty for their evil. Justice demands just and fair retribution for wrongs done and the rewards for good rendered. In this justice God is fair and complete. Nothing shall be left that shall not be properly adjudicated at the end of the age. However, God's justice is without passion and emotion; it is the expression of pure and undefiled justice. This is not so with the God of Muhammad. The Koran tells us,
"God is terrible in retribution." (Koran 3:9)
In reading the Koran you get the impression that, for God, punishment is about more than justice; it is personal, it is about achieving retribution against those who did not believe and who offended and wronged God by their disobedience. Allah wants more than justice, He wants to get even. This attitude is even taught to the faithful by Allah and the Koran.
"O believers, prescribed for you is retaliation, touching the slain; freeman for freeman, slave for slave, female for female... In retaliation there is life for you" (Koran 2:174, 175)
This is quite a departure from the words of Jesus,
"But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you." (Matthew 5:39-42)
Paul taught is to not pursue vengeance or retaliation against our enemies, rather to leave justice and vengeance to the Lord.
"Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. 'But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head'. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:19-21)
While God does take vengeance, it is vengeance for those whom have been wronged, not for Himself. God is beyond hurt and offense and therefore has no need of vengeance or retaliation. However, the God of the Koran almost seems to take pleasure in retaliation and in giving unbelievers their just deserts.
"Assuredly I shall fill Gehenna [hell] with jinn and men all together." (Koran 32:13)
Not only does Allah's retaliation wait for the end of the age, but He actively participates in wars and destruction against those who have wronged Him. Repeatedly, throughout the Koran, Allah boasts and reminds men of the many cities and nations He has destroyed in His retaliation towards men.
"[Of old, too,] We have destroyed the likes of you." (Koran  54:51)
"How many a city We have destroyed! Our might came upon it at night, or while they took their ease in the noontide [their midday slumber]" (Koran 7:3)
"Have We not established for them a sanctuary [sacred] secure [precinct], to which are collected the fruits of everything, as a provision [gift for their support] from Us? But most of them know not. How many a city We have destroyed that flourished in insolent [wanton] ease!" (Koran 28:57-58)
Such behavior seems more appropriate to men than to deity. The God of the Koran seems more in keeping with the nature of Muhammad than the nature of an all powerful and all knowing God. God's emotions are not petty and retaliatory and His justice is true and right and not tainted with emotions. Petty emotionalism may be true of Muhammad but it is not true of God.

David Robison

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Allah - The God of Islam - A lier and a deceiver

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and you can read the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
God is all powerful and there is nothing God cannot do! Well, except for one thing, God cannot lie. The scriptures clearly teach us this fact. "God is not a man, that He should lie." (Numbers 23:19) "God, who cannot lie" (Titus 1:2) "it is impossible for God to lie" (Hebrews 6:18) However, the God of Muhammad is not so adverse to lying and deceiving men.
"[Remember] When God showed thee them in thy dream as few; and had He shown them as many you would have lost heart, and quarrelled about the matter; but God saved; He knows the thoughts in the breasts." (Koran 8:45)
Here God shows them their advisory as few even though they were many, lest they should fear and fail to do what God wanted them to do. However, how can one trust in a God who lies, even for seemingly good reasons? Could it be that all His promises of Paradise are lies as well? All the virgins and the endless pleasures, could they too be lies from God to secure our obedience? Maybe all the promises God has made for this present life are lies as well. Lies to keep us hoping by which He secures our compliance to His will for our lives? If God readily admits that He lies, which Muhammad's God does, then how do we know when He is telling the truth and when He is lying? It is impossible to truly trust a God who lies, yet such a God is the God of Muhammad.

Perhaps no where does the God of Muhammad demonstrates His propensity for lying than He does towards those whom He deems as infidels and unbelievers. The Koran teaches that the God of Muhammad has created certain men and Jinn to be destined for Hell.
"Whomsoever God guides, he is rightly guided; and whom He leads astray [mislesdeth] -- they are the losers [shall be lost]. We have created for Gehenna [Hell] many jinn and men: they have hearts, but understand not with them; they have eyes, but perceive not with them; they have ears, but they hear not with them. They are like cattle; nay, rather they are further astray. Those -- they are the heedless." (Koran 7:177-178)
To Allah, these men and women are less than cattle and certainly not wroth His time and notice. Even here the Koran contradict the scriptures it clams to confirm and support. Jesus spoke of "the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matthew 25:41) Yes, men and women will find their destination there, but it was not initially created for them. All mankind was created and destined for heaven. Hell awaits only for those who choose a path towards that which was never meant to be theirs.

Furthermore, the Koran not only teaches that God appoints some men and women for hell, but that He actually participates in their deception; unknowingly leading them astray that their end might be assured.
"Whomsoever God desires to guide, He expands [opens] his breast to Islam; whomsoever He desires to lead astray [mislead], He makes his breast narrow, tight, as if he were climbing to heaven." (Koran 6:125)
"and God has led him astray [causeth willfully to err] out of a knowledge, and set a seal upon [sealed up] his hearing and his heart, and laid a covering [placed a veil] on his eyes?" (Koran 45:22)
"So God leads astray [misleads] whomsoever He will, and He guides whomsoever He will" (Koran 74:34)
"The hypocrites seek to trick [deceive] God, but God is tricking [deceiving] them." (Koran 4:141)
How can God be both good and deceiving? However, God not only actively participates in their deception but He has no care for them and bears no desire in His heart for their right guidance.
"God's it is to show [point out] the way; and some do swerve [turn aside] from it. If He willed, He would have guided you all together." (Koran 16:9)
Muhammad makes it very plain that the reason God misleads some is because He has no will or desire that they should be guided and that they find their home in Paradise. This blatant uncaring heart towards the life and plight of mankind is the same heart that Muhammad's God encourages in us as well.
"Though thou art ever so eager [anxious] to guide them, [know] God guides not those whom He leads astray; they have no helpers." (Koran 16:39)
"God leads astray [misleads] whomsoever He will, and whomsoever He will He guides; so let not thy soul be wasted in regrets for them [spend not thy soul in sighs for them]." (Koran 35:9)
The message is clear. God does not care for them so why should we waist our time caring and calling out to them? God has abandoned them to Hell so let us also abandon them in our heart to the end they were created for. However, this is so far from the Gospel that was preached to us by Jesus and His Apostles. Paul says that
"we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)
Jesus has made a way for all to be saved, for all to be forgiven, and for all to be guided and He has called all who believe to care for, and reach out to, those who do not believe that they too might find the salvation, forgiveness, and guidance that we have found in Christ. The God of the scriptures is a loving, caring, and ever hopeful God who desires us and wants us to return. Not so with the God of Muhammad. However, this is not the true nature of God but rather the perversion of His nature by one who sought to create Him in his own, that being Muhammad's, image.

More to come...
David Robison

Monday, December 21, 2015

Allah - The God of Islam - Provider of Satans

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and you can read the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
As I Christian I believe that God created everything good. When He had finished creation, He surveyed all His hands had made and "God saw all that He had  made, and behold, it was very  good." (Genesis 1:31). God only creates what is good and He is the author of all good things we enjoy. "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." (James 1:17) God is good and everything He does is good. However, there is that in this world that is not good; that comes from evil and is rooted in darkness. These things are not from God but from evil and many of them find their source in the Devil; from Satan in whom was found both darkness and evil. In our lives, we are called upon to live by that which is good, by that which comes down from our Father in heave, and to resist that which is evil, that which comes from the earth. This is the great challenge for mankind.

However, Muhammad seemed to view the world differently. For him, all things, good and evil, came from God. It seems that, to Muhammad, to allow for evil working in opposition to God would somehow lessen the omnipotence and total authority, rule, and power of God. How could God be all powerful and in control if evil still worked in this life in opposition to His will? To this end, Muhammad teaches us that God is the source of satans in our lives and in the world today.
"So We have appointed to every Prophet an enemy -- Satans of men and [among] jinn [Djinn], revealing tawdry speech to each other, all as a delusion; yet, had thy Lord willed, they would never have done it." (Koran 6:112)
"And even so We appointed [placed] in every city great ones [ringleaders] among its sinners, to devise [scheme] there; but they devised [scheme] only against themselves, and they were not aware." (Koran 6:123)
This is an amazing revelation! According to Muhammad, God actually willed that there be satans and that those born of evil would stand in opposition to all who desire to live righteously. God even wills that in every city there would be those who would stir up trouble, dissension, and disorder. It is as if God wants a strong and organized opposition to test and challenge the people of God. Why would God do this? Why would a God who "is not a God of confusion but of peace" (1 Corinthians 14:33) also insure that there is confusion and disorder by appointing ringleaders among the unrighteous in a city? This seems completely inconsistent with the nature of God has He has been revealed to both the Jews and the Christians.

Muhammad draws a picture of a God who is indifferent to mankind and actually could care less if mankind found salvation or not.
"Thus those associates of theirs have decked out fair to many idolaters to slay their children, to destroy them, and to confuse their religion for them. Had God willed, they would not have done so; so leave them to their forging." (Koran 6:138)
"And if thy Lord had willed, whoever is in the earth would have believed, all of them, all together." (Koran 10:99)
The God of Muhammad saw the sinfulness of Mankind and, tough He could have done something about it, He chose to do nothing but to leave them in their own deception. An all powerful, uncaring, and unwilling God! Even beyond this, Muhammad seems to indicate that God actually wanted some to error and sin so that His word might be proven right.
"If We had so willed [pleased], We could have given every soul its guidance; but now My Word is realized [but true shall be the word that has gone forth from me]" (Koran 32:13)
What a petty, petulant, and worthless God is the God of Muhammad! The truth is that God did see and He did care and He did do something.
"But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." (Galatians 4:4-5)
We need never to fear God. He is not the author of good and evil but only good. Everything He does is good and He does all things well. Yes there is evil, but God is greater than the evil.

More to come...
David Robison

Friday, December 18, 2015

Allah - The God of Islam - If Allah wills

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and you can read the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
"If Allah wills..." is a common sentiment among many Muslim believers. For many, it is at the heart of what it means to be Muslim; to be surrendered. It is a belief that God does what ever He does. How can we know and understand God? How can we know and comprehend His ways? He does what He does when He wants to and to whom every He wills. God is God and all His decisions are His own.

However, "If Allah wills..." is more than a statement of surrender, it is also a confession of uncertainty. How can we know what Allah will do? How can we know what He will decide for our life? How can we know for sure if we will end up being among those who are the winners in life? Those chosen to be forgiven, sanctified, and granted a good life in the age to come? All these things are at the discretion of Allah and we are left unknowing.
"He will forgive whom He will [pleases], and chastise whom He will [pleases]; God is powerful over everything." (Koran 2:284)
Forgiveness is at the discretion of Allah and one never really knows if they have (or will) be forgiven or if they will be among those who are chastised. Similarly,
"not one of you would have been pure ever [cleansed for ever]; but God purifies [maketh] whom He will [to be clean]" (Koran 24:21)
Even if we should be among those whom Allah forgives, our purification and sanctification in this life is not a sure thing. Who knows if they will please Allah enough to become pure and holy in this life? Who knows if all our effort at righteousness, patience, and kindness will be rewarded or achieved? After all, it is up to Allah who wills.

This sense of uncertainty and fatalism is quite contrary to the God of the scriptures. While it is true that God does whatever He does, we are not left unknowing and uncertain of our future. Paul reminds us,
"For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:16)
Having the mind of Christ not only transforms the way we think but also reveals to us the heart, will, and mind of God. The will of God is not a closed book to us. We can know God and His will for our lives through the Spirit of Christ whom He has placed inside of us. Furthermore, we can know for certain regarding our salvation, forgiveness, and sanctification. John writes,
"These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." (1 John 5:13)
It is possible to hold our salvation as a certainty and not some fugue hope. For the Muslim, salvation is never sure. In fact, the Koran teaches that God has appointed some to disbelieve.
"And if thy Lord had willed, whoever is in the earth would have believed, all of them, all together." (Koran 10:99)
"Say: 'To God belongs the argument conclusive; for had He willed, He would have guided you all.'" (Koran 6:150)
If God has chosen not to guide us and not to place faith within us, then who can fight against God? How can one come to God except by the aid of God? However, the God of Muhammad leaves the disbelievers and unguided to their own devices; leaving them alone to search aimlessly and endlessly for a God whom they cannot and will not find.
"Thus those associates of theirs have decked out fair to many idolaters to slay their children, to destroy them, and to confuse their religion for them. Had God willed, they would not have done so; so leave them to their forging." (Koran 6:138)
If Allah had willed, they would have believed but Allah has not willed, so leave them alone for He has abandoned them as well.

However, the God of the scriptures has not left us to our own vain seeking of God. He has not left us to our own devices. If we are unbelieving it is not God who appointed us to disbelief but rather the result of our own sin and choices we've made in this life and, if we relent and do not persist in our unbelief, we can still find faith and belief in God leading us to salvation. God is calling all to repent, all to return, and He has made a way for all to respond to His grace with faith and trust. Jesus said of Himself, "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10) Not to dismiss them, not to leave them in their own lostness, but to seek for them and to save them. Furthermore, to this end He has given us His promises that we might make use of them as we grow in sanctification and the knowledge of God.
"For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust." (2 Peter 1:4)
However, unlike Allah, these promises are not "If Allah wills.." but as God said,
"For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silvanus and Timothy—was not yes and no, but is yes in Him. For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us." (2 Corinthians 1:19-20)
The promises of God are "Yes!" They are a certainty! They are sure! It is nice to believe in something and trust in someone who is certain and known. Praise be to God.

More to come...
David Robison

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Allah - The God of Islam - Unloving

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and you can read the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
The God if Islam is a God of hate. As much as we can hate, God hates even more; more  vehemently, more hatefully, and more eternally.
"Surely God's hatred is greater [more grievous] than your hatred one of another, when you were called unto [faith] belief, and disbelieved [remained unbelievers]." (Koran 40:10)
God's hatred is a hatred towards unbelievers and infidels. Rather than brimming with mercy and compassion, God feels nothing for them but hatred.
"God loves not the evildoers" (Koran 3:134)
"And do not dispute [plead not with us] on behalf of those who betray themselves [are self-deceivers]; surely God loves not the guilty traitor [deceitful, criminal]." (Koran 4:107)
"their unbelief [shall only increase] increases [for] the disbelievers only in hate in God's sight [hatred at the hands of God]" (Koran 35:37)
However, this stands in stark contrast to the nature of Christ who, rather than hatting unbelievers, loved them. One of the chief complaints of the religious elite towards Jesus was that He was not hard enough on sin. In fact, they accused Him of being, "a friend of tax collectors and sinners!" (Matthew 11:19) When sinners would come to Jesus, He was not repulsed by them but welcomed then, forgave them, and healed them of their diseases. When a notorious sinner barged into a dinner Jesus was having with some scribes and pharisees, it was the religious who judged and disdained her, not Jesus. "Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, 'If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.'" (Luke 7:39) Even when God saw the infant nation Israel, He did not look upon her sin but saw her with love and mercy.
“Your origin and your birth are from the land of the  Canaanite, your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. As for your birth, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water for cleansing; you were not  rubbed with  salt or even wrapped in cloths. No eye looked with pity on you to  do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you. Rather you were thrown out into the open field, for you were abhorred on the day you were born. When I  passed by you and saw you squirming in your blood, I said to you while you were in your blood, ‘ Live!’ Yes, I said to you while you were in your blood, ‘ Live!’" (Ezekiel 16:3-6)
While it is the nature of the God of Muhammad to hate, it is the nature of the God of the scriptures to love and show mercy. By contrast, the God of Islam not only hates unbelievers but assails them as His enemy.
"Whosoever is an enemy to God and His angels and His Messengers, and Gabriel, and Michael [shall have God as his enemy] -- surely God is an enemy to the unbelievers.'" (Koran 2:92)
"and if We will, We drown them, then none have they to cry to [to help them], neither are they delivered [rescued], save as a mercy from Us, and enjoyment [that they may enjoy themselves] for a while." (Koran 36:43-44)
To be an enemy of God is a dreadful and dangerous them. If God is your enemy, no manner of friend or benefactor will serve to deliver you from His hand. When God makes war, He always wins! However, while the God of Islam is waging war with the infidels, we find the God of the scriptures condescending towards them to save them and to redeem them; treating them as friends while they treat Him as an enemy.
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." (Romans 5:8-10)
God does not hate us, He does not want to make war with us, rather He loves us and wants to reconcile us back to Himself. Even while we were His enemies, God came to Earth and died a shameful death that we might know and understand His love for us and that we might have a way back to God; back to being sons and daughters of God. This is an irrefutable statement that forever defines the true nature of God: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." (John 3:16-17)

God, the true God, is love an He is loving. Any other characterization of God are but cheap imitations of Him. Oh, if only Muhammad had known the true and living God; the God who is love not hate!

More to come...
David Robison

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Allah - The God of Islam - Uncaring

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
The God if Islam is often depicted in the Koran as being aloof and disconnected from the lives and cares of men. In many ways, the God of Islam is an uncaring and unfriendly God. God sees the plight of men and knows that their end is destruction, yet He seems completely untouched by their pain and quite willing that they should find their way to hell. Their sins and the pain of their everyday life experiences appear to mean nothing to Him as He relishes in the thought of their chastisement.
"They shall say, 'Our Lord, our adversity [ill-fortune] prevailed over [against] us; we were an erring people. Our Lord, bring us forth out of it! Then, if we revert [go back again to our sins], we shall be evildoers indeed.''Slink you [be driven down] into it,' He shall say, 'and do not speak to Me [address Me not]." (Koran 23:98-110)
"And let not the unbelievers suppose that the indulgence [length of days] We grant them is better for them; We grant them indulgence [length of days] only that they may increase in sin; and there awaits them a humbling chastisement." (Koran 3:172)
While the God of Islam adds length of days to increase the pain of mankind's sins, the God of the Christians and Jews adds length of days in patience and in hope them men might return to Him.
"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
"and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation." (2 Peter 3:15)
The God of Islam is like that angry father or that yelling mother who uses threats and anger to motivate and coercer obedience from their children.
"Therefore remind [warn] by the Koran him who fears My threat [menace]." (Koran 50:45)
While the God of the scriptures does use threatening at times to warn and exhort His children, He also uses many other means to help them along the way as they learn to grow in Him.
"As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, 'Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?'... Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, 'One thing you lack...'" (Mark 10:17, 21)
God often uses love, kindness, and favor to lead and guide us, even while we are still lost in our sins. God does not desire our destruction but continually tries to lead us into life.

The God of Islam is also unforgiving. His forgiveness seems to be dolled out according to His own capriciousness. One never really knows if they are forgiven or if they will be forgiven the next time they sin.
"Equal it is for them, whether thou askest forgiveness for them or thou askest not forgiveness for them; God will never [by no means] forgive them. God guides not the people of the ungodly [a perverse people]." (Koran 63:6)
However, Jesus tells us that all sins may be forgiven save one.
"Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin" (Mark 3:28-29)
Finally, the God is Islam is a God that tiers of mankind and is willing to leave them to their own devices. God has better things to do them worry and fret over sinful mankind. If they want to sin, let them!
"And had We willed, We would have raised him up thereby; but he inclined towards the earth and followed his lust." (Koran 7:175)
"Whomsoever God leads astray [misleads], no guide he has; He leaves them [distraught] in their insolence blindly wandering." (Koran 7:185)
However, the God of the scriptures never grows tired and He never gets weary.
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the  Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives  strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He  increases power." (Isaiah 40:28-29)
God never leaves us alone but is always watching over us, looking out for us, and wooing us back to Him. God may not like everything we are doing but He will never leave us or forsake us.
"You, in Your  great compassion, did not  forsake them in the  wilderness; the pillar of cloud did not leave them by day, to guide them on their way, nor the pillar of fire by night, to light for them the way in which they were to go." (Nehemiah 9:19)
The God of Muhammad is an uncaring God. However, the God of the scriptures is a loving and caring God. He loves us and cares for us because He created us and He loves everything He has created. We are not perfect people yet, in our imperfections and our sins, we know that God will continue to love, guide, and care for us. This is a great hope and comfort in our lives.

More to come...
David Robison

Monday, December 14, 2015

Allah - The God of Islam - Petulant

This is a continuation of my posts in the series "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
Allah is the name by which Muslims refer to God. However, its use, especially historically, has not been limited to Muslims. Arab Christians in pre-Islamic times also refereed to God as Allah as do other religions stemming from that part of the world. In Arabic Allah simply means God or "the God."

The picture we get of God through the Koran is one that is full of emotions, especially human emotions. The Jewish and Christian religions have long shown God to be a God of emotion. For example we see God laughing, rejoicing, jealous, angry, grieved, sorry, and most importantly, and most thankfully for our sakes, loving.
"Jehovah thy God is in thy midst, a mighty one that will save: he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will exult over thee with singing." (Zepheniah 3:17 Darby)
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
"We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." (1 John 4:16)
However, in reading the Koran we come away with a different image of the emotional makeup of God, one that is more human than divine. In many ways, the God of the Koran seems to come across as petulant which means to be childish, peevish, or bad tempered. Here are some examples of God in His emotions as we find them in the Koran.
"they have forgotten God, and He has forgotten them" (Koran 9:68)
The God of the Koran is peevish and easily dismissive of the needs and frailties of mankind. However, the God of the scriptures is one who loves and cares for His creation; one who never forgets, never ceases to care, and always desire their well being.
"Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me." (Isaiah 49:15-16)
Jesus literally inscribed us on the palm of His hands when He allowed them to be nailed to the cross; wounds which He caries with Him even today as a reminder of all those He gave His life for. How could He ever forget us?
"God shall mock them, and shall lead them on blindly wandering [in their perplexity] in their insolence [keep them long in their rebellion]." (Koran 2:14)
God does not mock us. Even in our sin and brokenness He still calls out to us to return in repentance and reconciliation to our Father in heaven.
"Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as  white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool." (Isaiah 1:18)
Even as His enemies, God still desires our reconciliation and even sent His Son for our atonement and salvation.
"Upon the day the chastisement shall overwhelm [wrap] them from above them and from under their feet, and He shall say, 'Taste now what you were doing [your own doings]!'" (Koran 29:55)
"This is Gehenna [Hell], then, the same that you were promised [threatened]; roast well [endour its heat] in it today, for that you were unbelievers!'" (Koran 36:63-64)
The God of the Koran is vengeful, even seeming to enjoy and look forward to the punishment that awaits the unbelievers. When Muhammad's God is hurt, His anger is aroused and His heart turns, not to compassion and mercy, but towards wrath and a deep desire for vengeance. So deep does the Islamic God hold spite in His heart that he holds it over those who have slighted him, leading them gleefully on to destruction.
"So leave Me with him who cries lies to this discourse [charges this revelation with imposture]! We will draw [lead] them on little by little [by degrees] whence they know not; and I shall respite them -- assuredly My guile [plan] is sure." (Koran 68:44-45)
However, the God of the scriptures is one who desires mercy instead of judgment and one who never ceases to call us back to Himself.
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
The God of the Koran has been made in the emotional image of Muhammad rather than the other way around. His emotions are human based and often appear to be laced with darkness, moodiness, and offense. While God is a god of emotion, His emotions are not like our. Our emotions are often stained with darkness while His are always pure, loving, and full of light. Tertullian wrote of God and His use of emotion in contrast to man's use of the same:
"And this, therefore, is to be deemed the likeness of God in man, that the human soul have the same emotions and sensations as God, although they are not of the same kind; differing as they do both in their conditions and their issues according to their nature. Then, again, with respect to the opposite sensations,— I mean meekness, patience, mercy, and the very parent of them all, goodness,—why do you form your opinion of2893 the divine displays of these (from the human qualities)? For we indeed do not possess them in perfection, because it is God alone who is perfect. So also in regard to those others,—namely, anger and irritation, we are not affected by them in so happy a manner, because God alone is truly happy, by reason of His property of incorruptibility. Angry He will possibly be, but not irritated, nor dangerously tempted; He will be moved, but not subverted." (Tertullian, Against Marcion, Book 2, Chapter 16)
In other words, while God is a god of emotions, He holds them in perfection with no hint of corruption or darkness at all. Out emotions are impure and can often lead us into sin and degradation, but God's emotions are always pure and always good. The God of Muhammad seems to be more like Muhammad in His emotions than Muhammad like God. Such an emotional God cannot be counted on and, in my estimation, appears far less than divine.

More to come...
David Robison

Friday, December 11, 2015

Why did God have to come to Earth.? He could have just sent a prophet

Recently, a Muslim reader made this remark regarding one of my posts:
"also God does not have to come down on earth to solve the creation He has sent down one lakh twenty four thousand Prophets And Messengers on earth...and given some miracles to them people can recognize them as someone special not an ordinary person....Prophet Jesus (pbuh) is one of that miracle..."
For those like me who didn't know it before, a lakh is one hundred thousand! This is a very good question and one that gets at the heart of why Jesus came to Earth and why He chose to die in our place. For millennia, God has been sending apostles and prophets to Earth to teach and to warn men. However, most of these were mistreated, scorned, and disregarded. Jesus even told this parable to the Jews that not only shows the treatment that the previous prophets suffered, but also revealed something of who He really was.
"At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, in order to receive some of the produce of the vineyard from the vine-growers. They took him, and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and that one they killed; and so with many others, beating some and killing others. He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.'" (Mark 12:2-6)
However, at the end of the story, we know they too took and killed the son as well.

So why did God have to come to Earth and why not just send another prophet? The reason was because God was wanting to do something no mere prophet could do. God was coming not just to teach and warn mankind but to heal them and to free them from the bonds of sin. John says that Jesus came to, "destroy the works of the devil." (1 John 3:8) Such a mission would take more than a prophetic message. Jesus Himself said that He "did not come to judge the world, but to save the world." (John 12:47) and to "seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10) However, our lostness was more than a matter of not being properly guided, it was an issue that lay deep inside us, it was an issue of our heart that was dead and lost to God. Paul says that we were "dead in your trespasses and sins." (Ephesians 2:1) A spiritual death to be sure, but one that would also manifest itself as physical death and eternal separation from God; a life doubly dead.

It was for this death, for this lossness, that Jesus came to Earth; not only to live but also to die for us, to die in our place, that we might live towards God. "even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:5-7) This death that He was to die for us was prophesied at His birth. When He was eight days old, Simeon, a righteous man, saw Him in the temple and identified Him as the Salvation of mankind and said to Mary, "Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed —  and a sword will pierce even your own soul — to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed." (Luke 2:34-35) Speaking of His manor of death that the death that was necessary for the one whom would be the Salvation of the world.

Bringing forgiveness to the world, destroying the power of sin, giving new life to those who trust in God, and giving the assurance of everlasting life are things that no mere prophet could do. They are things only God can do and to do this meant that God had to come to Earth that we might enjoy His salvation. This is why Jesus had to come and this is why He had to Die. Thanks be to God!

David Robison

Monday, December 07, 2015

Koran - A new Testament - It's all about the book

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and you can read the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
From Muhammad's point of view, religion, and its justification and validation, is all about a book. Muhammad chides the Meccans saying,
"Or did We create the angels females, while they were witnesses? Is it not of their own calumny [a falsehood of their own devising] that they say, 'God has begotten?' They are truly liars. Has He chosen [preferred] daughters above sons? What ails you [what reason have you] then, how you judge? What, and will you not remember [not receive this warning]? Or have you a clear authority [proof]? Bring [produce] your Book, if you speak truly!" (Koran 37:150-155)
In challenging their religion, Muhammad commands them to bring for the authority of their religion and the clear proof that their religion is true and valid. However, the proof he asks for is a book. To Muhammad, religion boils down to a revelation, a warning, and an book. Similarly, according to Muhammad, mankind is judged not based upon the morality or behavior but on their loyalty and belief of the Koran. Mankind is judged or pardoned based on how they view his revelation as recorded in the Koran. Consider these warnings from Muhammad,
"And those who strive against Our signs to void [invalidate] them -- they shall be the inhabitants [inmates] of Hell." (Koran 22:50)
"'And those who strive against Our signs to void [invalidate] them -- theirs shall be a chastisement of painful wrath [torment]." (Koran 34:5)
However, this focus on a book is a departure from the faith handed down to us from Abraham. Consider what John the Baptist said when the crowds came to be baptized by him. He did not demand that they produce "a book" but rather that they produced fruit. "So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, 'You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance." (Luke 3:7-8) God has no concern regarding a persons recitations of a book or of which book they claim, but rather His concern is for the quality of life they live. In speaking of the false prophets and teachers to come Jesus said,
"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits." (Matthew 7:15-20) 
Muhammad sought to judge people by the book they claimed and the verses they recited but Jesus judged people by the reality of the fruit those words produced within their lives. It's not so much what you believe that matters but how that belief transforms your life that is at issue.

Similarly, the scriptures show that our judgement does not come from crying lies to this book or that book but rather judgment comes when we live lies in our daily life. Paul, speaking of the sinners in his day, wrote, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them." (Romans 1:18-19) We are all made in the image of God, but when we live our lives by the image of this world we lie against the truth. We were made for righteousness and holiness. Any vestige of sin and vice is a lie against our creator and the image which we all bear deep down inside. God does not care about those who "cry lies to their signs" but those who live lies against Him and themselves.

Muhammad was obsessed with his book and his need for everyone to believe it and to believe him a prophet, but this is not what concerns God. The book matters very little, only the life and the reality of the fruit produced in our lives by the God who lives inside us. This is what Paul meant when he said, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love." (Galatians 5:6)

David Robison

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Koran - A new testament - Fantastical stories

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and you can read the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
The Koran contains content of many different categories, from instructions on inheritance to descriptions of Paradise and Hell. However there are three types of content that are of interest to us here: fantastical stories, dubious stories, and secret histories.

Some of the stories related in the Koran seem too fantastical to believe. One such story is that of seven young men who hid in a cave to escape persecution. After awakening, they thought they had slept no more than a day. However, the Koran reports that,
"And they tarried in the Cave three hundred years, and to that they added nine more." (Koran 18:24)
However, it must be remembered that since the Flood, no one has ever lived that long, at least no as has been recorded in either the Jewish o Christian literature. Moreover, Rodwell also note that "They entered the cavern under Decius and awoke in the time of Theodosius according to tradition; which cannot be reconciled with the number of years given in the text." (The Koran, J.M. Rodwell) There is also the story of when Jesus was first born and spoke to those who beheld Him,
"Mary pointed to the child then; but they said, 'How shall we speak to one who is still in the cradle, a little child [infant]?' He said, 'Lo, I am God's servant; God has given me the Book, and made me a Prophet." (Koran 19:30-31)
A story that is not corroborated by any early Christian accounts or writing. The Koran also contains stories from apocryphal and forged gospels that have been rejected by the church and scholars alike. One such story if of a young Jesus forming a bird out of clay and giving it life.
"And He will teach him the Book, the Wisdom, the Torah, the Gospel, to be a Messenger to the Children of Israel saying, "I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I will create for you out of clay as the likeness of a bird; then I will breathe into it, and it will be a bird, by the leave of God." (Koran 3:43)
This story first appeared in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas which is of doubtful origin and of dubious nature. The Koran also includes what it describes as "secret histories."
"That is of the tiding's of the Unseen [one of the secret histories], that We reveal to thee; thou didst not know it, neither thy people, before this. So be patient; the issue ultimate is to the godfearing." (Koran 11:51)
What is striking about this claim is that never before, in either the Jewish or Christian scriptures, does God reveal former histories to a prophet. All the histories we have in these scriptures are written by those who lived in those times and who had either first hand knowledge of what they wrote or at least heard of them from reputable sources. So why would God change now? Why would He now start filling in ancient histories with new revelations? It seems inconsistent with the nature of God and His previous revelations to mankind.

More to come...
David Robison

Monday, November 30, 2015

Koran - A new testament - Could not have been forged

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and you can read the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
One of the oft repeated defenses for the Koran is that, even if men and Jinn tried, they could not reproduce the likes of the Koran.
"And if you are in doubt concerning that We have sent down on Our servant, then bring [produce] a sura like it,  and call your witnesses, apart from [besides] God, if you are truthful." (Koran 2:21)
"Or do they say, 'He has forged it [the Koran is his own device]'? Say: 'Then bring you ten suras the like of it, forged [of your devising]; and call upon whom you are able, apart from God, if you speak truly.'" (Koran 11:16)
"Say: 'If men and jinn banded together [assembled] to produce the like of this Koran, they would never produce its like, not though they backed [help] one another.'" (Koran 17:90)
It is interesting how the requirement went from one sura, to ten, and then to an entire Koran! Muhammad faced many distractors in his day who claimed that his work was just a work of a poet and not that of a prophet.
"Nay, but they say: 'A hotchpotch of nightmares [a medley of dreams]! Nay, he has forged it; nay, he is a poet! Now therefore let him bring us a sign, even as the ancient ones were sent as Messengers.'" (Koran 21:5)
"saying, 'What, shall we forsake our gods for a poet possessed [crazed poet]?'" (Koran 37:35)
But the Koran defends Mohammad in light of their retorts.
"We have not taught him [Muhammad] poetry; it is not seemly for him. It is only a Remembrance [warning] and a Clear Koran, that he may warn whosoever is living, and that the Word may be realized [sentence may be justly given] against the unbelievers [infidels]." (Koran 36:69-70)
So what is the nature of the Koran such that no one could produce the likes of it through mere human effort and apart form direct revelation from God? How are we to judge one book against another? Certainly, if I were to try and assign a place for the Koran among other works of classical literature I would have to place it far below these other great works of literature. To me, the Koran does not stand out as any great work of literature. 

One of the natures that the Koran claims for itself is that it is the best guidance for mankind.
"Say: 'Bring a Book from [before] God that gives better guidance than these, and [that I may] follow it, if you speak truly.'" (Koran 28:49)
However, I would readily place before the Koran the works of the early Christian Apostles and writers; works providing greater and better guidance for our daily lives than the Koran does. The Koran also claims for itself a better form of discourse; one that the person instinctively and viscerally recognizes and knows.
"God has sent down the fairest discourse [best of recitals] as a Book, consimilar in its oft-repeated [in unison with itself], whereat shiver [creep] the skins of those who fear their Lord; then their skins and their hearts soften to the remembrance of God. That is God's guidance, whereby." (Koran 39:24)
However, I must say that such is not true for me. My skin does not crawl nor does the Koran later bring a warm memory of God, yet when I read the Christian scriptures my heart is warmed by the love and mercy of God and the great sacrifice God gave for my redemption. Yes, the Koran is full of threatening and judgments that might cause some to react with fear and terror, but the Gospel is full of love and acceptance that woos the unbeliever back to God. Finally, the Koran puts forward this challenge,
"Woe that day unto those who cry it lies! 'Eat and take your joy a little; you are sinners!' Woe that day unto those who cry it lies! When it is said to them, 'Prostrate yourselves!' they prostrate not. Woe that day unto those who cry it lies! In what discourse after this will they believe?" (Koran 77:45-50)
But I would ask, "why was there a need for another discourse in the first place?" For me, the Jewish and Christian scriptures are sufficient for redemption, salvation, guidance, correction, reproof, training, and for all other matters that affect the human life. Therefore, why do we need another testament or another book from God? Certainly we do not need on of the character and nature of the Koran; one full of judgment and threatenings that make the skin crawl.

More to come...
David Robison

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Koran - A new testament - Abrogation

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and you can read the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
Muhammad, speaking in an attempt to bolster trust and faith in the Koran, said,
"What, do they not ponder the Koran? If it had been from other than God surely they would have found in it much inconsistency [many contradictions]." (Koran 4:84)
In other words, it is only because the Koran was given by direct word-for-word revelation to Muhammad that it is free from all contradictions and inconsistencies. However, is this a valid proof of its origin and divine nature? For there are any number of books that are consistent within themselves. For example, the Book of Mormon could be considered to be consistent within its own revelation. Are we to now accept it as being from God as well? Heretics through out the centuries have produced books describing their beliefs that are consistent and without contradictions when compared with themselves. Self-consistency is in no way a valid proof of divine origin but merely proof of a careful and articulate author. In fact, seeing that the Koran is the result of one author we should expect it to be consistent since Muhammad need only be consistent with himself.

That being said, the truth is that we do find inconsistencies and contradictions within the Koran itself. For example, consider this one example. early Muhammad writes,
"[Let there be] No compulsion is there in religion." (Koran 2:257)
And yet latter he writes,
"When you meet [encounter] the unbelievers [infidels], smite their necks [strike off their heads], then [till], when you have made wide [great] slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds [make fast the fetters]." (Koran 47:4)
"They wish that you should disbelieve [infidels] as they disbelieve [infidels], and then you would be equal [alike]; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate [fled their homes] in the way [for the cause] of God; then, if they turn their backs, take [seize] them, and slay them wherever you find them;." (Koran 4:91)
So which is it? Is it "No compulsion" or "slay them where you find them"? This contradiction and inconsistency exists multiple times within the Koran and to various degrees. Even Muhammad himself displayed this same inconsistency in his life. Philip Schaff describes his life in this manor.
"At first he proclaimed toleration: 'Let there be no compulsion in religion;' but afterwards he revealed the opposite principle that all unbelievers must be summoned to Islâm, tribute, or the sword. With an increasing army of his enthusiastic followers, he took the field against his enemies, gained in 624 his first victory over the Koreish with an army of 305 (mostly citizens of Medina) against a force twice as large, conquered several Jewish and Christian tribes, ordered and watched in person the massacre of six hundred Jews in one day, while their wives and children were sold into slavery (627), triumphantly entered Mecca (630), demolished the three hundred and sixty idols of the Kaaba, and became master of Arabia. (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume IV, Section 42. Life and Character of Mohammed)
To explain such contradictions and inconsistencies, the Koran invokes the idea of abrogation.
"And for whatever verse We abrogate [cancel] or cast into oblivion [cause to forget], We bring a better or the like of it; knowest thou not that God is powerful over everything?" (Koran 2:100)
To abrogate is to cancel, revoke, or rescind. Some have justified God's revoking or rescinding former verses in that, previously mankind was not able to receive the fullness of God's revelation; so He reveals a little at a time; revealing more as they are more mature and more able to receive what God has to say. So was it that man was too tolerant and compassionate for them to hear the message to kill the infidels where they find them? Did God need to wait until their hearts were hardened and they became more intolerant before He could teach them to hate and to kill? Or was it God who changed and became more intolerant and less merciful towards those who believed different from the Muslims that He turned to command the Muslims to kill the Jews and Christians? Such abrogation, such contradictions and inconsistencies, is not worthy of a book that claims to be divine and the literal word of God.

More to come...
David Robison

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Koran - A new testament - Confirming the past

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and you can read the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
The Koran claims to be a continuation of the scriptures previously delivered to mankind. Much like the Book of Mormon, the Koran believes itself to be a new revelation, a new testament, built upon the previous revelations and testaments, confirming what was said before and clarifying and unifying beliefs through its message. The Koran states that first there was the Law, then the Gospel, then the Koran; all from God and all part of one revelation.
"Surely We sent down the Torah [Law], wherein is guidance and light; thereby the Prophets who had surrendered themselves [professed Islam] gave judgment for those of Jewry, as did the masters [doctors] and the rabbis [teachers], following such portion of God's Book as they were given to keep [were the keepers] and were witnesses to." (Koran 5:48)
"And We sent, following in their [the prophets] footsteps, Jesus son of Mary, confirming the Torah [law] before him and We gave to him the Gospel [Evangel], wherein is guidance and light, and confirming the Torah [Law] before it, as a guidance and an admonition unto the godfearing." (Koran 5:50)
"He has sent down upon thee the Book with the truth, confirming what was before it, and He sent down the Torah [Law] and the Gospel [Evangel] aforetime, as guidance to the people, and He sent down the Salvation ['Illumination']." (Koran 3:2)
Muhammad believed that the Jews and Christians would instinctively see the truth of his message and would readily embrace the Koran as the truth from God. However, they did not. A fact which lead to latter wars initiated by Muslims in an attempt to convert the world to the message of the Koran. In the Koran, Muhammad exhorts both Jews and Christians to leave behind their objections and join him and other Muslims in following the Koran.
"Children of Israel, remember My blessing [favor] wherewith I blessed you, and fulfil My covenant and I shall fulfil your covenant; and have awe of Me. And believe in that I have sent down, confirming that which is with you [your Scriptures], and be not the first to disbelieve in it. And sell [barter] not My signs for a little price; and fear you Me." (Koran 2:38)
"There is a party [others] of the People of the Book say, 'Believe in what has been sent down upon those who believe at the beginning of the day, and disbelieve [deny it] at the end of it; haply they will then return [Thus do they go back]'" (Koran 3:65-66)
This idea, that the genuineness and authenticity of the Koran is demonstrated by its conformity with the previous Jewish and Christian scriptures, is repeated over and over within the Koran.
"Naught [nothing] is said to thee but what already was said to the Messengers [Apostles] before thee." (Koran 41:43)
However, is this, in fact, true? Later on, we will look in great detail at the historical inaccuracies of the Koran, but for now, these two examples will suffice.

Genesis records the account of Noah. It states that, "Now Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of water came upon the earth." (Genesis 7:6) However, the Koran states,
"Indeed, We sent Noah to his people, and he tarried among them a thousand years, all but fifty; so the Flood seized them, while they were evildoers." (Koran 29:13)
In one account Noah lived six hundred years before the flood. In the other account, nine hundred and fifty years.

Samuel records the account of David defeating Goliath. "Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine... Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David's hand... When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. The men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued the Philistines as far as the valley." (1 Sam 17:48, 50-52) However, the Koran records,
"So, when they went forth against Goliath And his hosts, they said, 'Our Lord, pour out upon us patience [steadfastness], and make firm our feet, and give us aid against the people of the unbelievers [infidels]!' And they routed them, by the leave of God, and David slew Goliath." (Koran 2:251-252)
In one account, David slew Goliath while the other Israelites cowered. Only after David killed Goliath did the Israelites engage them in battle. However, in the Koran, they all rushed to the battle together and, during the battle, David kills Goliath.

One may say that these are small differences. However, the claim of the Koran is that it is a word-for-word translation of the Mother Book in heaven. How can a book that claims to be a word-for-word recitation from God and, at the same time claims to conform and confirm to what was written previously, have so many discrepancies and historical inaccuracies, especially when compared with the previous scriptures? The Koran does not conform and confirm and, in may places, actually differs and contradicts the scriptures. This is another key reason why I cannot and do not believe in the Koran.

More to come...
David Robison

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Koran - A new testament - Unambiguous

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and you can read the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
The Koran claims to be a book that is easily understood; one that presents the commands of God in a way that all can understand, believe, and follow. In this since, it claims to be unlike former revelations from God that left people at variance as to what to believe and left them fighting and wrangling over their differing views of what God had really said.
"And We have not sent down upon thee the Book except that thou mayest make clear to them that whereon they were at variance [the subject of their wranglings], and as a guidance and as a mercy to a people who believe." (Koran 16:66)
"and We shall bring thee as a witness against those [these Meccans]. And We have sent down on thee the Book making clear [clearing up] everything, and as a guidance and a mercy, and as good tidings to those who surrender." (Koran 16:91)
"an Arabic Koran, wherein there is no crookedness [free from torturous wording]; haply [to the intent that] they will be godfearing" (Koran 39:29)
However, history has shown that there is much in the Koran that is ambiguous and difficult to understand. Even today we see a wide disparity of beliefs in Islam with doctrinal and religious wranglings between many of the competing factions. For example, here is but one example from the Koran of a verse that is far from clear.
"And say to the believing women, that they cast down [refrain] their eyes and guard their private parts [observe continuance], and reveal not their adornment [ornaments] save such as is outward [external]; and let them cast their veils over their bosoms, and not reveal their adornment [ornaments] save to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husbands' fathers, or their sons, or their husbands' sons, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons..." (Koran 24:31)
This verse is far from clear as to what and how a woman should cover herself. Some have taken it to mean modest dress, some a covering of the hair, others covering the entire face, and still others covering the entire body including the hands. For a revelations that is supposed to be clear and free from ambiguity, there is much that still remains uncertain within.

The Koran also claims that it clears up and settles every matter of disagreement between various Jews, Christians, and each other.
"This Koran could not have been forged [devised] apart from God; but it is a confirmation of what is [revealed] before it, and a distinguishing [clearing up] of the Book [of the Scriptures], wherein is no doubt, from the Lord of all Being." (Koran 10:38)
"And not a thing is there hidden [no secret thing] in heaven and earth but it is in a Manifest Book [the clear Book]. Surely this Koran relates [declareth] to the Children of Israel most of that concerning which they are at variance [most things wherein they disagree]; it is a guidance, and a mercy unto the believers [faithful]." (Koran 27:78-80)
However, history has again shown that the Koran has offered little in the way to clear up the differences and disputes regarding their scriptures by either the Jews or the Christians. In fact, the Koran stands at odds against much of what was previously written in the Jewish and Christian scriptures. In my opinion, the Koran offers little light as to the message and the revelation of God other than what had already been revealed in the scriptures prior to the coming of Muhammad.

Finally, it appears that Muhammad himself, later in life, understood that the Koran was not as clear and direct as had been previously claimed in the Koran itself. In a later revelation, he adds this caveat.
"It is He who sent down upon thee the Book, wherein are verses clear [Some of its signs are of themselves perspicuous] that are the Essence [basis] of the Book, and others ambiguous [are figurative]. As for those in whose hearts is swerving [given to err], they follow the ambiguous part [follow its figures], desiring dissension [discord], and desiring its interpretation; and none knows its interpretation, save only God. And those firmly rooted in knowledge say, 'We believe in it; all is from our Lord'; yet none remembers, but men possessed of minds [endued with understanding]." (Koran 3:5)
If the Koran were really as clear as it claims to be then there would be no need to warn its readers that parts of it are figurative and, in fact, not clear. Even more so, while admitting that parts are figurative and parts clear, it fails to identify what is figurative and what is clear. Leaving us once again without guidance and direction; left to our own opinion as to what the book really means; left again with a book uncertain.

More to come...
David Robison

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Koran - A new testament - Clear signs

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and you can read the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
The Koran repeatedly refers to the "clear signs" that were "sent down" to warn and instruct the people. These Clear Signs did not originate with Muhammad, but were a pattern established by God long ago.
"Ask the Children of Israel how many a clear sign We gave them." (Koran  2:207)
In some cases, the Koran makes references to the "clear signs" that were the attesting miracles done by the prophets to prove their message was genuine and that they were sent from God. The Koran says of Moses,
"And We gave Moses nine signs, clear signs. Ask the Children of Israel when he came to them, and Pharaoh said to him, 'Moses, I think thou art bewitched [enchanted].'" (Koran 17:103)
However, in most cases, these signs have nothing to do with sings as we normally think of, that being supernatural signs, miracles, and wonders. In most cases, these "clear signs" that the Koran speaks of are the very verses of the Koran and of other sacred books sent down to Mankind from God above. The Koran says of Jesus,
"And when Jesus came with the clear signs [manifest proofs] he said, 'I have come to you with wisdom, and that I may make clear to you some of that whereon you are at variance; so fear you God and obey you me." (Koran 43:63)
Notice that the Koran claims that Jesus understood that the clear signs He came with was the wisdom which was able to correct all misunderstandings and false doctrine that left the Jews debating among themselves. Here, the clear sign is not that He rose from the dead but rather that He brought the wisdom to make clear what God had always intended.

This is something unique in regard to the Koran and Muhammad. Neither offer anything in the way of miracles or supernatural proofs of their genuineness or their appointment by God. The only proof, or clear sign, that they offer is the Koran itself.
"the Koran was sent down to be a guidance to the people, and as clear signs [explanation] of the Guidance and the Salvation [of that illumination]." (Koran 2:181)
"A sura that We have sent down and appointed; and We have sent down in it signs, clear signs, that haply you will remember." (Koran 24:1)
The Koran claims for itself that the proof of its genuineness is that its verses are direct, clear, and compelling to our understanding. Its proof is that, once hearing the Koran, we are, or ought to be, compelled to follow it because its verses will resonate within us.
"It is He who sends down upon His servant signs, clear signs [clear tokens], that He may bring you forth from the shadows [of darkness] into the light. Surely God is to you All-gentle, All-compassionate." (Koran 57:9)
"A Book whose verses are set clear [stablished in wisdom], and then distinguished [set forth with clearness], from One All-wise, Allaware [All-informed]" (Koran 11:1)
But is this truly the case? Is the Koran really self-evident? Are its verses and signs clear enough to convince all that it is truly God's word sent down from above? Is the Koran so compelling that neither it nor Muhammad need any signs and wonders to give proof of their mission and genuineness?

In my opinion, no! While it may have a resonance when recited in Arabic, I find its message in English to be less than compelling. Such a claim of self-evidence based on "clear signs" depends so much on the opinion and estimation of the one hearing those signs. In my estimation, they are left lacking.

More to come...
David Robison