To be clear: apologetically, Islam is much less satisfying than Christianity from a faith perspective.
Thesis Statement on Islam and Christianity
The religion of Islam demonstrates theological and societal governance strategic imperatives which render it incompatible with both a Christian theological worldview as well as Greco-Western cultural values, governance, and liberties.
Islam Has No Promises of Heaven
The religion of Islam is representative of a worldview which incorporates both religious and political goals into a cohesive and societal defining governance which is opposed to liberty and free will as the Greco Western world defines both. Islam is defined as ‘the religious act of declaring that there is no god, but god, and Muhammad is his messenger’1. Islam is a largely works based religion which requires adherents to show fidelity to Allah, the god of Islam, through the accomplishing of five core pillars throughout the lifetime of believers2.
However, when one’s life is over, and having performed the required pillars, and a life of faithfulness, does not guarantee Muhammadian disciples’ entry into an afterlife known as ‘paradise’. When compared to Christianity’s offer of eternal habitation, in Heaven, with the God of the Holy Bible, based solely on a simple belief in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Islamic struggle towards paradise seems to, first, present adherents to an entire life of uncertainty and next, little comfort3.
Judeo-Christianity and Islam as Worldviews
There are two opposing developmental ideologies which are conventional development, and Islamic-based development whose opposition to one another sets the stage for civilization wide tensions between a Greco Western, Judeo-Christian worldview, and Islam4. Such tensions are on full display online, as well on terrestrial television which chronicles violence between Islamic based societies and western civilizations. At the root of these tensions is the Muslims view of societal regulation, which is largely anti-liberty and thus, anti-freewill, which is contrary to more liberal based societies.
Islam is not just a religious system; it is a geo-political ideology permeating every area of society. Islamic thought formation is based on a religious worldview as understood from four sources: Quran, Hadith, Ijma, and Qiyas, the launch document, being the Quran, began with prophet, Muhammad who said ‘Allah’ spoke to him5. The initial spread of Islam, which began in the 7th century, was spread through wars and conquering civilizations in the name of their deity (Allah).
Unlike the Greco Western view whereas the world can be defined on philosophical speculation and observational data, the Islamic experience is based largely on societal defining, super-natural experiences only provided through the religious experience6. Islam, as a religious system, however, must be commended for the shunning of some philosophical views which tend to corrupt societies. Islamic Law, called Sharia, is based solely on the Islamic worldview which means all jurisprudence must, by definition, be cogent with the Quranic practices. This is contrary to Greco Western society which bases laws on factors such as the Bible’s ten commandments, majority consensus, reasoning, and philosophical logic7.
Although there are varying levels of ‘harshness’ by which Sharia Law is managed, Sharia is the foundation which all majority Muslim societies are founded upon and is absolute, irrevocable, and based on the good of the larger society’s morals and norms, irrespective of personal impact on individuals.
Further, the impact on the liberties of women under is harsh from a Greco-western view. Sharia Law relegates women to second class citizenship and, in some interpretations of Islamic texts, as nothing more than chattel property. In fairness to Islam, women within a Judeo-Christian view have been treated as such, in times past, and only over the last 100 years or so, have received the rights of male citizens such as voting, property rights, etc.
Islam Utterly Fails as a Free Will Based Religion
Islam, and its’ governing law, Sharia, fail to provide a livable system which is based on one of the most critical founding principles as presented by the God of the Holy Bible – free will8. As was stated earlier, Islam was spread through war, and thus, forced conversions of conquered populations. These conversions, often enforced at the point of a sword, carried through on the threat of “convert or else”. The history of Islam is replete with conquering, murder, and mistreatment of entire civilizations, all in the name of a deity (Allah), whom the Muslim refers to as ‘The most merciful and beneficient’9. This is not to suggest that such behavior has not been present within the ‘Christian’ faith. Nevertheless, these incidences are only outliers, largely Catholic driven, and not indicative of a Christian worldview as taught in scripture10.
Islam’s incompatibility with Judeo-Christian values is further demonstrated in the declaration that Muhammad is god’s messenger, to the exclusion of all others before Islam’s founding in the 7th century A.D.11. The Quran does share similarities with the Holy Bible. For instance, it acknowledges Abraham, as its founder, yet fails to mention the written corroborative source it had as proof of Abraham’s existence was the Holy Bible, written by adherents of Judaism. This means that Islam, as a religion, acknowledges a source that, in general, it believes heretical. If then, Judaism, on which Islam is based is heretical, how is it possible for Islam, at least in part, to not be? Islam, having found Judaism and thereby Christianity heretical, must then be heretical by its own measure of foundation truthfulness.
The questionable credibility of the Quran is also founded on the reality that the claimed revelation, to Muhammad, from Allah, was not witnessed by anyone other than Muhammad. Revelations provided in the Holy Bible was given to 40 different writers over a millennium. While there are many single person revelatory instances in the pages of scripture, such as the Apostle John’s writings in the Book of Revelations, the Judeo-Christian faith was not founded upon single person revelation. The totality of scripture is composed of a series of single revelations, by multiple people, making up a cohesive whole. Islam is further questionable, as a system for living, because it imposes harsh penalties for violation of religious laws while making little room for the Judeo-Christian values of grace and mercy.
As a religious system, its rejection of philosophical debate, in a religious context, limits its reach into demographic population which base societal structures on cognitive advancement. This, then, must be why the earlier mentioned method of ‘forced conversion’ is necessary, even today. In a Greco-Western, Judeo-Christian worldview, women are more readily accepted as equals, which stands in stark contrast to Sharia Law, and this creates a cross societal tension resulting in civilization wide incompatibility between the two worldviews.
Christianity Must be Defended as More Satisfying
Islam, through Sharia Law practices, and commitment to spread the religion by the sword, demonstrates Allah has a personal nature which stands in stark contrast to Yahweh, the God of the Holy Bible. Yahweh is an intensely personal deity and dwells with us, through His Holy Spirit. For instance, Adam and Eve, the first created human beings, were offered a choice on whether to obey God (or not). In fairness to Islam, there are death penalties for sin in the Bible as well. There is a difference with respect to death sentences imposed on the disobedient in the Bible however – grace, and the opportunity to reconcile with the much more personal Yahweh before such a sentence is carried out.
The biblical concept of grace is first demonstrated in the story of Adam and Eve. Both were commanded not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, yet they disobeyed God’s command. Once their eyes were opened, a result of disobedience, Adam and Even knew, for the first time, they were naked12. Further, God told them the day they from this tree, they would surely die. Adam and Eve would eventually, through the process of time, meet an unintended death, however, this was not before God showed grace. They were clothed, by God, to cover their newly discovered nakedness immediately after eating fruit from the forbidden tree. Yet, they lived hundreds of years more, post sin, and did not experience immediate, physical death. God’s grace did not end there either as they were blessed with children to continue human existence13.
It is through this grace, manifested through allowance of lineage that Yahweh sent Prophets, Kings and eventually the Son of God, to reconcile the entire world to Himself14. This becomes critical because, and as was pointed out previously, the sufficiency of Christianity, in part, is tied to the multiple witnesses, having written the Bible, over a millennium. If God’s grace would not have manifest in the garden, after Adam and Eve’s sin, multiple witness revelation could not have happened. It can, therefore, be argued that ‘grace’ is the foundation on which human existence is even possible.
A Christian teacher framed the challenges with the one witness of Islam, versus the multiple Judeo-Christian witnesses in the biblical narrative like this:
“Imagine there was a trial, and both the judge and jury were trying to understand if the evidence was indeed true. The prosecutor presented one witness, who identified the defendant as the perpetrator of the crime, while the defense presented forty witnesses, all attesting to the innocence of the defendant. Is the prosecution or defense case more believable”15?
This is no small matter either. A livable social system must provide a just and equitable basis in law. These laws cannot favor one segment of society, or gender, over another. In Islamic Sharia Law, a father has complete control over whom his daughter marries and should that father disapprove, a daughter has very little legal recourse to resist. Should that daughter run away, and marry an unapproved partner, her male relatives have the right to murder her in what is known as ‘honor killings’. Christianity has a superior system with respect to personal liberty because our daughters can choose their own husbands, without fear of such life altering consequences, as are present in Islam.
Taking that example, a step further, it also provides an example of ‘grace’ which exists in the Judeo-Christian worldview which is absent is Islam. Should a daughter marry an unapproved partner, she may be condemned to death under Sharia Law. Should a Christian father not approve of the partner selected by his daughter, not only will the wedding go ahead without such harsh consequences, but these broken relationships must also be reconciled, under grace, according to a Judeo-Christian worldview16.
A livable social system seeks to reconcile broken relationship and reform those who are chronic rule breakers and should only impose a death sentence because of the harshest, most repugnant crimes (if at all). The superior society must not be based on a religious ruling class who impose harsh laws and provide no recourse with grace. At the very heart of a superior, livable social system is the liberty one experiences through grace as taught in the Holy Bible. It is through this grace that we come to know God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The greatest sign with respect to the sufficiency of Christianity, is in the ‘knowability of God’, through His love for us17.
Finally, and as was mentioned previously, Islam was spread, from its’ beginnings, by the sword, nation conquering, and forced conversion(s). This practice exists to this day. Forced conversion stands in stark contrast to the evangelistic practices of Christianity for several reasons. First, and as a livable religious system, Christianity ‘offers’ the hearer of the gospel of Jesus Christ, a relationship with God without forceful threat or punishment for refusal. This aligns perfectly with our view of free will yet stands in stark contrast to Islam. Next, with the absence of applied force, and the entering relationship with Yahweh freely, the convert experiences God’s love and forgiveness in a way not possible with anything less than willing, unforced surrender.
Last, while Christianity may involve itself in politics, it cannot be described as a geo-political movement seeking to impose its’ religious practices on nations through the threat of force. Any nation, including the United States, which espoused such doctrine as Christian, could be readily discredited through even the briefest scriptural efforts. This does not, however, exclude our desire to present Christianity as the most satisfying way of societal oversight.
Islam is not only an unlivable societal governing system because of its utter rejection of God ordained free will, but becomes further credibility challenged because of its declaration that Allah is ‘beneficent and merciful’ despite withholding mercy for anyone who refuses conversion. Further, if Yahweh shows mercy and grace to those who reject Him, at least while they live, and Allah shows neither, but commands adherents to force conversion, absent of either grace or mercy, it must lead to one logical conclusion: Yahweh and Allah are not the same being. If this is true; Islam, as a sustainable, societal faith must be rejected as false.
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1 Patel, Youshaa (2018). What is Islam? The Journal of Religion; Vol. 98, Number 1. The University of Chicago Press Journals. Retrieved from journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/694593
2 [Ibid] The Journal of Religion (Youshaa)
3 The Gospel of John. Chapter 3 verses 15-17. Holy Bible. King James Version.
4 Mohd Shukri Hanapi (2013). The Conceptual Elements of the Development Worldview in the Qur’an: A Study of Thematic Exegesis. American Journal of Social Science. Vol. 2 #3. Retrieved from https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.1048.6964&rep=rep1&type=pdf
5 [Ibid] American Journal of Social Science (Hanapi)
6 Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas (2005). Islamic Philosophy: An Introduction. Journal of Islamic Philosophy. Vol. 1. Issue 1. Retrieved from https://www.pdcnet.org/islamicphil/content/islamicphil_2005_0001_0001_0011_0043
7 Youssef Belal (2018). Islamic Law, Truth, and Ethic. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Duke University Press. Vol. 38 #1. Retrieved from https://muse-jhu-edu.ezproxy.liberty.edu/article/696623
8 Book of Genesis. Chapter 2 verses 16-17. Holy Bible. King James Version.
9 Fani, A., Hayes, J (2017). Basmala: Translating an Iconic Phrase. Pg. 255. Retrieved from https://nelc.washington.edu/file/337/download?token=vRedhYTm
10 Gospel of Mark. Chapter 8 verse 34. Holy Bible. King James Version.
11 Quran. Sura 2 verse 136. Online Edition. Retrieved from https://quran.com/2/136?translations=20,49,84,17,85,101,18,95,38,19,22,31,27
12 Book of Genesis. Chapter 3 verses 5-7. Holy Bible. King James Version.
13 [Ibd] Book of Genesis
14 [Ibd] Gospel of John
15 Preacher Unknown
16 Gospel of Matthew. Chapter 6 verse 14. Holy Bible. King James Version.
17 Book of 1st John. Chapter 4 verse 19. Holy Bible. King James Version