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

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