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The BBC’s groundbreaking series on Muhammad leaves open some startling incoherences

Can contemporary Muslims reconcile history with a model of revelation that claims to be ahistorical?

By on Thursday, 21 July 2011

Rageh Omaar at Mecca: he treats his subject fairly

Rageh Omaar at Mecca: he treats his subject fairly

If you are bored to distraction by the continuing scandal engulfing News International and its dominance of all media outlets everywhere, you might consider watching Rageh Omaar’s The Life of Muhammad. The first part is here and the second part is here.

Congratulations to the BBC for broadcasting a programme that tackles a serious subject and that is genuinely informative. Omaar is lots of people’s favourite presenter, and a few of the talking heads may represent the usual suspects, but the programme, perhaps in the interests of balance, does feature some surprising contributors: good to see Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali there, and also Robert Spencer. The bishop’s book Islam: A Christian Perspective (1983) is an excellent guide to what we, as Christians, are to make of the Islamic religion. As for Robert Spencer, he is someone who is pretty tough on Islam and Islamic issues, and must be heartily disliked by most Muslims. Also present is Karen Armstrong, who has written about Islamic history, and who, as the entire world knows, was once a nun.

The series describes itself as groundbreaking, and perhaps in a sense it is. It faces up to the issue of historicity. The question of historicity greatly troubled Christians in the 19th and 20th centuries. It all feels a bit dated now, and no one really cares much about whether the prophecy of Isaiah was the work of one person, or two (or indeed three, as contemporary scholarship claims).

But historicity is still a very sensitive subject for Muslims, and as far as I can see, largely untouched territory. There is, the first episode told us, an Armenian non-Muslim source for Muhammad, dating from about 30 years after his death: so he was a real person, about that there can be no doubt. The programme also raised the surely peripheral question of how important a place Mecca was in the time of Muhammad; far more central is the question of Muhammad’s supposed illiteracy – the programme acknowledged this, without coming down on one side or the other. Again, with the Night Journey – we were left free to choose whether Muhammad’s trip to Jerusalem and then up to heaven was in fact, as Rageh put it, “metaphysical” or not.

All of this was quite fair, but I remain convinced that Islamic claims rest on some startling incoherencies. The person who came nearest to exposing this was Karen Armstrong who (31 minutes into the first episode) compared Muhammad’s experience of divine revelation to that of the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah. I think she wished to point to similarities, but the truth of the matter is that there are startling differences. Jeremiah and Isaiah were not aiming to found a new religion; they were working inside a received tradition and they were producing words that were their own, and not supposed uncreated words from God. Muslims today claim that the era before Muhammad was “the Age of Ignorance”: I may not understand this correctly, but this surely indicates that they must believe that there is no revelation apart from the Koran. Now that is not the case with Isaiah and Jeremiah: their prophecies do not start from a tabula rasa.

This means that Islam has a different model of revelation and a different idea of prophecy to Christianity and Judaism; it makes more sense to us, surely, to think of Muhammad as the messenger of God rather than the prophet: the word nabi can be translated either way, I believe.

One thing that Rageh Omaar did say was that almost all physical traces of Muhammad’s era have been obliterated, in case they lead to idolatry. At the end of the first episode we saw a picture of Khadijah’s tomb as it had been in 1925, and then a picture of it today. The demolition of the tomb has upset and angered many Muslims – this is certainly conveyed by Ed Husain in his excellent book The Islamist. In fact the pictures in these programmes spoke louder than any words could do.

Modern Mecca and Medina, which no Catholic can visit, are hideous and drab, despite the millions the Saudi royal family have lavished on them. Their desert surroundings look like the surface of Mars. All the architectural gems we saw – the Great Mosque of Damascus, the Dome of the Rock, and the Hagia Sofia were the work of Byzantine builders.

Modern Mecca and Medina reveal a conflicted and paradoxical approach to history on the part of some contemporary Muslims, and that is something that we should watch: how can contemporary Muslims reconcile history with a model of revelation that claims to be ahistorical? Put another way: is the Koran direct from heaven, or is it a product of its time and its geographical setting?

So far the series on the life of Muhammad leaves this an open question – but is it? In the long run it is a question that may well divide Muslims themselves.

  • Siobhan

    I am sorry but no one will ever convince me that Islam is actually a religion. It is an ideology and a very frightening one, if the media spent half as much time chasing some of the cruelty inflicted on the world by this outfit as they do to issues of abuse in the Christian church then we might all breathe a sigh of relief at some balance being restored.

  • Mourad Fleming

    Somebody cannot have been paying much attention.   Muslims accept that all the prophets known to Judaism ad Christianity (peace be upon all of them) were Messengers (Prophets) of the Almighty.  That is why so may Muslims bear names like “Ibrahim” (Abraham), “Mussa” (“Moses”), “Yayha” (John).  They also revere Jesus as a prophet and again (“Issa”) is a common Muslim name.  The holy books of Islam include the Old and New Testaments which is why Jews and Christians are referred to as “Umm al Kitab” (People of the Book).  There are of course major differences:  for example, Muslims are unitarian and do not have the concept of original sin.

    But if the Almighty is infinitely just and infinitely merciful, then it follows logically that a person who honestly seeks to lead his life in accordance with the revelation he has received has an equal possibility of entry into paradise.    

    So put it this way:  Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all monotheistic religions with more in common than that which divides us

  • Guest

    You are correct to think that you do not understand this correctly, Re. ‘ this surely indicates that they must believe that there is no revelation apart from the Koran….This means that Islam has a different model of revelation and a different idea of prophecy to Christianity and Judaism’

    Islam was not new, and the Age of Ignorance or ‘Jaliya’ was just prior to Islam as previous messages from Adam to Jesus were said to have been forgotten. The Quran refers back to those prophets to reminds Muslims of the prophets that have gone before.

  • Alexander Lucie-Smith

    “Islam was not new”, you say. Well, I can see that, but I do not think orthodox Muslims would accept that, for it contradicts the idea of the Age of Ignorance. When did the Age of Ignorance begin? And in what sense if any were the messages of Jesus and the prophets of the Old testament fogotten wehen there were flourishing Jewish and Christian communbities prior to the age of Muhammad? Do you see what I am getting at? I find it hard to reconcile the idea of an age of ignorance and the idea of valid prophecy predating Muhammad.

  • Alexander Lucie-Smith

    I do see your point, but there is another point that seems to be not quite expressed in the programme, and that is the point to do with Muhammad’s assumed illiteracy – in other words, he cannot have read the Jewish and Christian scriptures, or indeed any other books, and thus cannot have been influenced by his reading. But if he could read and did read – would that make any difference to your faith – presumably not. But it would give us an interesting historical insight into the genesis of Islam.

  • Alexander Lucie-Smith

    Siobhan, I think we need to get away from the idea of moral criticism of Islamic people, and look rather at the presuppositions on which their faith rests. That is also, I think, a much more interesting subject.

  • al

    mohammads uncle was a Christian who was doing the early translation of the bible into Arabic, Mohammed visited him often and had long discussions with him. So mohammads literacy does not really matter as he got his knowledge from speaking to his uncle. Just as he got some knowledge of Jewish tradition from the Jewish wife he took after having her husband beheaded at Medina.

  • Eccentricussy

    There are startling accuracies in your article and i advise you to read a good book on Muhammad or Islam before you say things.
    1) The Quran acknowledges whole heartedly that there were scripture that were revealed to Prophets such as jesus and Moses before the Quran was revealed to Muhammad. Although it gives high regard to these scripture, it says that these have been corrupted
    2) Muhammad (S) did not attempt to brong a new religion. he was shocked by the theological disputes among Christians and Jews, and tried to successfully bring back monotheism to Abraham’s time. and he did.
    3) the Quran’s message is everlasting yet it served the purpose of times before ours. Study it. it listens to the problems of today.

  • Usman

    Jahilliyah, ignorance, is a period of time, as well as an attitude. it means irascibility. See the Meccans at the time of Muhammad brought forth an unpresedented form of society, an aggressive capitalism which left the weaker members of Muhammad’s (s) tribe, as well as orphans and widows helpless. This period of transformation, from a society that atleast held brotherhood only within tribal boundaries to aggressive business men not caring for society is known as the Age of Ignorance. Muslim are to let go of such behaviour, not be rude, be angry to others and have compassion. So, ther are not jahil, irascible. So it does not necesarily indicate a timeline but rather a change in the attitude in the Meccans

  • Alexander Lucie-Smith

    The claim that the Christain scriptures have been corrupted is not historically sustainable. The oldest extant texts we have(The Vatican codex, the codex Siniaticus, and others)  accord with the Bible we use today exactly. This illustrates my point about the difficulty of reconciling certain claims with history.

  • carl

    mohammadism is not new it is a heretical corruption of Christianity and Judaism ( read the historian Hilaire Beloc ‘The great heresies)

  • Usarownow

    Tell us how are the differences between Sunni and Shia handled? Isn’t that an important question?

  • Anonymous

    “Just as he got some knowledge of Jewish tradition from the Jewish wife he took after having her husband beheaded at Medina.”

    Sounds like a pleasant chap.

  • Cmatt

    Maybe by numerical topics there is much in common, but by importance of topic, what divides is overwhelming.  It may be that muslims see Jesus as a prophet, but seeing Him as only a prophet completely misses the point from a Christian perspective.  Just that one difference make all the difference in the world.

  • Sceptic28

    Firstly everyone knows that Mohammad was taught or instructed by a Christian holy man or hermit for whom he had great respect. Second if one follows the work of Luxemburger, then the Koran has clear Syriac Christian roots — extending to many expressions some of which make no sense in Arabic but do in Syriac. So there are clear signs of reading directly and indirectly influencing him.

  • Sceptic28

    Didn’t arise until after his death with the Caliphate of Ali and then the civil war t the end of the seventh century in which his grandsons Hasan and Hussein were murdered.

  • Alexander Lucie-Smith

    That is interesting!

  • Strassavandrer

    Ok, we have to stop making this mistake because Muslims will get us every time. Islamic texts say that Muhammad wasn’t trying to start a new religion, but believed that he was restoring people back to the same monotheism religion of Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus with some new rules. And his book relates to several stories similar to our Bible. It’s definitely not a situation of “tabula rasa.” If you try to argue from wrong pretenses, it just makes the Muslims look stronger.

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    ” good to see Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali there” ???

    Should not this read: “good to  see “Bishop” Michael Mazir-Ali there”?

    After all, the Herald can’t mention the Society of Saint Piux X bishops without working in the word “schismatic” (despite the overthrowing of the excommunications) yet when it comes to the REAL schismatics, there is not the slightest problem with using titles for their clergy which do not apply. 

    Anglican Orders are invalid.  Let’s not forget that, even in an article devoted to promoting a false religion like Islam.

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    No, what we need to get away from, is treating, as true, religions which are false.  Breaking the First Commandment used to be a tad frowned upon in the Confessional. That changed, of course, at Vatican II (didn’t everything?) but  I still think we’d better be careful not to promote the idea that Christ is an optional extra – just in case God exists after all.

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    Not true. We have MUCH more that divides us, but to demonstrate the point I’d have to list every Catholic doctrine in the book and there is neither the space nor the time.  What we  have in common (and we have this in common with atheists and humanists, too)  is that we all ought to help other people, especially the most needy.  That’s basically all we have in common, although I’m aware that, in theory  at least, the non-Christian peoples abhor evils such as abortion and euthanasia. Again, however, so do some atheists and humanists.

    The fact is, Jesus was NOT merely a  prophet. He is God incarnate. God -made-man.  And it is  through Him alone that salvation is  achieved.  “I  am the Way, the Truth and the Life” Christ said: “No one can come to the Father except through Me.”

    Crystal clear, Mourad Fleming.  Come on in!

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    Absolutely spot on.

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    And I’ve always thought that surely someone would have told him of St Paul’s exhortation to ignore even an angel from heaven, if it brought a Gospel different from the one preached by St Paul.

  • Brian A Cook

    I want to give a warning.  Robert Spencer is known as an enemy of Muslims–not Islamic fundamentalism, but Muslims.  He is known as a promoter of European ultra-nationalists and even Neo-Nazis.  He is known as someone who lies to cover up his tracks.  I found plenty of evidence on a “left-wing” blog.  If even half those the entries that I read were completely true, that would still be damning evidence. 

    In response to Siobhan’s comment, let me add that there are some who insist that Catholicism is not a religion but rather an ideology.  Some insist that Catholicism inherently creates violence, silencing, and totalitarianism.  Some insist that Catholicism threatens human beings.   

  • Anonymous

    “And there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night, and said to him: Rabbi, we know that thou art come a teacher from God; for no man can do these signs which thou dost, unless God be with him. Jesus answered, and said to him: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith to him: How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born again? Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John: 3.3 BAPTISM

    “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.” John 6:51 THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

    “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 28:19 THE BLESSED TRINITY

    These are just three reasons that show Islam to be a false religion that cannot save souls. As for the claim that Islam shares a common Father in Abraham:

    “And seeing many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them: Ye brood of vipers, who hath shewed you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of penance. And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham for our father. For I tell you that God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham.” Matthew 3:9.

    Now concerning spiritual things, my brethren, I would not have you ignorant. You know that when you were heathens, you went to dumb idols, according as you were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man, speaking by the Spirit of God, saith Anathema to Jesus. And no man can say the Lord Jesus, but by the Holy Ghost.” Corinthians 12: 1-4. THOSE WHO DENY THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST SAY ANATHEMA TO JESUS!

    Still interested in Islam, anyone????

  • Anonymous

    Sorry about the bold text in my post of a few minutes ago. It seems this blog doesn’t format text properly.

  • Anonymous

    How many people have been killed by Catholic terrorists?

  • Anonymous

    Whatever God’s truth is, it can never be destroyed. It will always be the truth, available for any seeker to find. Heated arguments about it are pointless until we have all completed our search – and by that time we will all be dead anyway.

    But the Church’s attitude to Islam puzzles me. As I understand Christian teaching, God’s revelation to Mankind was completed by the time of the Ascension, or maybe by the time of the death of the last Apostle (by which I mean those who personally knew Jesus). There may be many new ways of interpreting and understanding God’s revelation, but He has given us no new information for nearly 2,000 years.

    However, Islam would have it that, more than 500 years after the Ascension, the very same angel who told Mary of her destiny appeared to a camel herder in Arabia and told him things about God and our relationship to God that nobody had ever been told before. Islam throws itself into a contradiction of Christianity from the outset, by denying the completion of Revelation as Christianity understands it. If Islam is right, then Jesus cannot be the truth, let alone the way and the life.

    Yet the Catholic church has never set out out any theology about Islam. Vatican II and the 1994 Catechism talk of respecting Muslims as people who worship the same God, but nowhere is there any official Catholic declaration of the compatibility or otherwise of the Islamic faith with Christianity in general and particularly in any detail. That troubles me, because fundamental questions have to be asked: Is there anything of God in Islam? Can we accept its adherents as travellers on another road but leading to the same place? If not, then who IS in Islam? Who inspired it? If the spiritual realm consists of Good and Evil in opposition to each other, should we assume that a religion not inspired by God is inspired by the Evil One? That would be a very unattractive conclusion to reach, and stating it publicly would put a lot of cats among many pigeons. But to me there seems to be an inescapable logic that takes us straight to it. I wish the Vatican would start to teach us definitively how we should view Islam.

  • Alexander Lucie-Smith

    Kevin, you make some excellent points. Ther eis a Catholic theology of Islam, though it is not much publicised. It starts with St John Damascene, wjho was the father of the Church who lived to see the Islamic invasion of Syria. I think several Jesuits at the Gregorian in Rome do work on Islam, but as I say above the best guide for us Christians is the one by Bishop Michael Nazir Ali. It does not shy away from the difficult task ahead. If you read Italian and like strong meat, try Fr Gianni Baget Bozzo as well. He raises sdome very good points.

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    It is a matter of the utmost concern that you, a Catholic priest, prefer the word of a schismatic “bishop” (Anglican Orders are not valid) over the teachings of the Popes on Islam and other false religions. Rather than point you to the available encyclicals, perhaps this short talk highlighting key points – which stand for all time – might help to clarify the matter of “a Catholic theology” of Islam.

  • Cjkeeffe

    It’d be nice is the BBC coudl produce a pro Christ propaganda series like this for Islam.
    Whilst muslims can be nice people, why do we call them a revealed relgion, especially as its so contradictory to the Gospels and the divine nature of the Incarnate Christ. If it is revealed then why is the incarnation defective as a revelation can only correct or improve on a previous one.. As far as i can see their is no continuity between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

  • Anonymous

    The only I noticed upon watching this series is just how much of it rests upon the Qur’an and the Hadith and how few of the supposed revalations are actually historically viable. People simply scoff when we point out that many of the Christian miracle, such as the resurrection, are atested historically and yet the Qur’an has no credible grounds other than those of blind Islamic faith. In other words Islam is allowed to comit every fallacy that Christianity is wrongly accused of.

  • Anonymous

    EditorCT, I’ve watched and listened to the clip you linked us to, but I’m afraid that I find it no more valuable than the proof-texting arguments put forward about so many issues by Evangelicals and Muslims themselves. Snippets don’t answer volumes. What we need is an up-to-date, detailed exposition of the Catholic Church’s response to Islam, taking the Qura’an and other Islamic scriptures point by point and dealing with them. Relying on what is really nothing more than extensions of the mantra “Extra ecclesia nullum salvum” just won’t do precisely because the “opposition” can answer it with detail. Remember that we aren’t trying to convince ourselves; we’re trying to address the unconverted. Some of our opponents are tireless: we must use the intelligence that God gave us and all the learning that His Church can muster, to exhaust them.

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

    KevinBeach,

    I understand your concern.  However, I disagree that the quotes from key papal documents on ecumenism / inter-religious dialogue are “no more valuable thant the arguments put forward by Evangelicals and Muslims themselves.”  When a Pope says “no ecumenism” – snippet or not – then that stands in a unique category.  That’s because “no ecumenism” is exactly what has been taught from the first century. 

    Your suggestion  that the Church takes the Qu’ran “point  by point” etc to answer key points is, at face value, a  good one, but entirely unnecessary. 

    If you bought a drink in a cafe  and were tipped off that it contained a single drop of cyanide, you wouldn’t argue for a detailed scientific examination of the whole stock or even of that drink – you’d perhaps want someone to prove that it contained cyanide but once that was demonstrated, you’d chuck the stuff down the sink.

    Off the top of any head, anyone can easily  discover what is commonly known about the Qu’ran - (1) that it teaches that Jesus was a human man, a mere prophet.  Not divine, not God.  (2) the Qu’ran denies the doctrine of the Trinity.

    So, there’s two key doctrines which deny Revelation. What else does any Catholic need to refute the Qu’ran?

    I watched the BBC2  documentary last night and  was amazed to see Karen Armstrong, Catholic ex-nun and biblical “Scripture scholar” who tears apart the entire New Testament in the spirit of  the “de-mythologising” which  was  started by the (now discredited) Protestant “expert” Butlmann.  Bultmann’s agenda was, of course, to remove the supernatural from the Scriptures and present Jesus as a mere man, miracles as anything  but  etc. .   Karen Armstrong ditto. But  not where the Qu’ran  is concerned.  She  spoke throughout the programe of the “revelations” to Muhammed as if these were factual.   No questioning the claim that God revealed Himself to Muhammed.  Nope. No question that the Qu’ran  is anything but a divinely inspired book. 

    I have a Qu’ran in front of me right now, KevinBeach. There’s no  need for a special Vatican document on the subject. Anyone  who has a penny Catechism in one hand and a Qu’ran in the other, can (in your words) “address the unconverted.” 

    That’s  how we  (again in your own words) “use the intelligence God gave us…”  God cannot contradict Himself.  He cannot send a message via the Angel Gabriel in the first century to tell Our Lady  that she is to become the Mother of the Saviour, and then send the same  angel six  centuries later to tell Muhammed that HE (not Christ) is “God’s messenger.” 

    The problem right now is that certain documents emanating from the Vatican are confusing people with statements encouraging the idea that non-Christian religions, because  they contain some truth, are “OK” – obviously I’m paraphrasing, but you’ll  get my drift. They’ve forgotten the effects of just one drop  of cyanide in that drink.

  • Anonymous

    Your concern seems to be with criticising the Vatican for what you consider it to be doing wrong, and with asserting that the few absolute dicta that have come from it about  Islam should be enough for anybody. I tend to agree with most of what you say because we are largely in the same camp. But the people we need help with will simply not accept absolutist assertions, whether because they contradict their own absolute beliefs or because they find doctrinal absolutism unacceptable wherever it comes from.

    There are probably more Muslims in the world than there are Catholics. Their figures are around 1.2 to 1.5 billion, whereas ours are about 0.9 to 1.2 billion. Muslims have been given a subtle, detailed, all-embracing religion that is just as rigid as ours at one extreme and as liberal at the other. It turns to the same God as ours, even if it teaches different things about Him and about our relationship to Him. A Martian could justifiably scratch his head at the conflict between people of the same God. That is because the Church has not publicly proclaimed the differences loud enough to be heard world-wide.

    But my point goes even further than the need for informed and vigorous polemics. The Vatican’s pronouncements are about respect for Muslims (nothing wrong with that; they are children of God and Temples of the Holy Spirit just as much as we are), but Rome says nothing about Islam’s moral and theological status. If it were left to me I’d start with the proposition that, being a spiritual philosophy that has not been derived from God/Christ, it must be derived from God’s opposite, i.e. the Evil One. Are all the Qura’an’s verses “satanic” after all? The Church has got a very prickly nettle to grasp, in an era when not only Islamic but secular wrath would be turned upon it if it tried. But is the Church not meant to be a sign of contradiction? If Islam is indeed the Devil’s work, shouldn’t the Church come out and say it clearly and forcefully?

  • Anonymous

    Surely there is a clear contradiction there? You say that the New Testament is a Holy book of Islam but the Qur’an contradicts it; it says clearly and unambiguously “they did not kill him, they did not crucify him” in reference to Jesus and historically that is demonstrably false and it contradicts the New Testament either way. I should stress that is not meant to be point-scoring – I genuinely am confused by that.

  • Anonymous

    I hope you don’t mind me butting in here, but I can’t permit the errors in your argument to stand.
     
    If I could begin with your last question: Yes, the Church, or more precisely Churchmen, should be coming out forcefully, not only against the teachings of Islam but against those of every religion that is not Catholic. Otherwise, the infallible dogma ‘extra ecclesiam nulla salus’ (outside the Church no salvation) is offended against. We cannot give the lie to God in order to please men, that is not the example of Our Lord and His Martyrs.

    Now, you are quite at odds with the teaching of the Catholic Church to state that Muslims are children of God and temples of the Holy Spirit. One only becomes a child of God and a temple of the Holy Spirit through baptism, this is quite clearly the teaching of Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium. “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” These were Our Lord’s own words.

    So, should we respect the teachings of false religions? Of course not, for that would be treachery against the true God and the divine truths He has revealed. We should certainly have charity towards those who hold false beliefs, but we can never respect their errors or remain silent about them. The mission of the Church is to convert those who are lost in false beliefs that they may save their souls for eternity, not give credence to said beliefs out of a distorted view of freedom of conscience. While it is wrong to force a person to enter the Catholic religion against his conscience, it is equally wrong to accord him the right to renounce Jesus Christ as his Saviour and to reject the truths He has revealed through His Church, without which no soul can be saved.
     
    Looking at it from this supernatural point of view, which is what the Church did for almost two thousand years up to Vatican II, even unto the death of many missionaries, we can see that this purely natural approach of today, this endeavour to be friends with the world at all costs, shows itself to be actually the opposite of true charity towards our neighbor. It’s a sinful human respect that is leading many souls to Hell in a hand cart.

    Just a final point, if I may. You say that Islam has the same God as Catholics, even if it treats of him differently. This is also false. St. Paul tells us that “no one speaking by the Spirit of God saith anathema to Jesus.” This clearly includes the rejection of Jesus as the true Son of God, only Saviour of the world and second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Since Muslims reject all three truths, how can anyone claim Islam worships the same God as Christians? Does God the Father accept for His children those who reject His Divine Son? To answer yes to such a ludicrous proposition would be to say that the Redemption of Christ was unnecessary since belief in the Father alone suffices for salvation.

    God is not divided! If it suffices for salvation to believe in God the Father alone, then why didn’t Our Lord do a respectful deal with the Pharisees of His time, respecting their rejection of Him, and save Himself the death of the Cross? Instead, He insisted unto death that all would perish who reject Him.

    By the way, the Church’s very forceful teaching on false religions can be found in many Councils and Papal Encyclicals down through the ages. Also, the Catholic religion is based on absolute truths from God. It is, therefore, an absolutist religion (called the Church Militant). That’s why it has so many Martyrs.

  • Oualidos8o

    Hi,
    If you read books you will find that you are not the first one that didn’t believe that this journey happened, but his tribe which was looking for any mistake he does to ridiculed him found that his claim was a big opportunity to show people that he gone crazy.
     
    Because his tribe knew that he never travelled there they challenged him to describe Almakdis (Jerusalem temple), But as always Allah never left him alone, He stood up in a stone and Allah displayed Jerusalem in front of him, and he began describing it to them while he was looking at it, and he described the almakdis, corner by corner, gate by gate.
     
    But As always, it’s not the eyes that gets blind but it’s the hearts in the chests, they told him may be someone described it for you and you just memorised it.
     
    And then he told them that in his way back he saw this caravan heading toward Them and he described the caravan and how many camels was there and that at the moment he saw them, they were looking for one of the camels which got lost which had a red garment in her back.
     
    And for some days the only subject every one of his tribe was talking about is that for the first time ever it will be proven that he is laying, and at their surprise, the caravan arrived as he described it, and they asked them if they lost anything in the way, and they informed them that they lost one camel with a red garment on her back (no mobile phone at the time).
     
    And as usual, the believers had more believes after this, and the deniers closed their brain and heart and said to him that he is just a magician. 
     
    May Allah open the heart of anyone really looking for the truth.

  • Oualidos80

    For the guy saying “Islam is allowed to comit every fallacy that Christianity is wrongly accused of”
    the difference is that when Jesus gone, only handful people was with him, which loved him so much that they wouldnt change the bible, but they were hidden as they were prosecuted by the romans, and the bible was hidden for centuries by generations that didn’t met Jesus (peace be upon him) and found it easy to alter things as suits them, and the big destruction of the bible was by the hands of king Constantine which found that the only way to reunite his kingdom is by following the bible, but so many bible existed that he start an election on  the council of Nicea where unfortunately the truthful people as usual was a minority, and the majority won making the one god into three and after that Constantine made a law that it’s the only Christianity people will know.
     
    For Quraan, at the death of prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), thousands of companions had memorised it, and his successor was his right hand which was with him in every step of the way making sure that religion stays pure.
     
    and the miracle is that until today you find thousands from Muslims which do not understand Arabic memorise the full Quran, and if you alter just one word, they would stop you and correct it, and that include, Chinese, Pakistanis, Indonesians, Malaysians…….

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps but there is another difference rather less flattering to Islam. In Islam the very moments on which the entire faith hinges (such as Allah’s first revalation to Muhammed) rather conveniently happen when Muhammed is alone; in other words the entire relgion hangs on one man’s word and other Islamic beliefs, such as the denial of Jesus’ crucifixion, contradict established history as well as previous religious doctrine. In other words Islam is simply less credible historically than Christianity, which always has more than one witness to attest to it (usually the twelve apostles) and these men were all willing to die for their faith at the hands of the Romans; if history is true then it seems plausible that early Muslims may die for Muhammed’s word, not knowing it to be false (assuming that it was) but it seems incredible that the early disciples would die for a belief that they knew to be a lie.

    Also you say that Muhammed’s successor was his right had man forgetting that Jesus’ successors were all people who had spent years with him and had been taught by him (the eleven faithful apostles among others) and alternative beliefs that deviated from Christianity (such as Aryan Christianity and monothelitism) were removed and dismissed as heresies; in other words men from St. Peter to Emperor Constantine the Great worked just as hard as Muslims to ensure that the faith survived.

    Two more points: firstly please get your titles right. It may be pedantic but I admit I do get annoyed by mistakes; Constantine the Great was an emperor not a king. Secondly, and vastly more importantly the Nicene creed does not make Christianity Tritheistic; the very first words are “we believe in one God.” The Trinity is one God in three persons not three gods.

  • Oualidos80

    Quran Don’t deny Jesus’ crucifixion, but he says that the one in the cross was not him. and here is the verse
     
    [4:158] And their saying, ‘We did kill the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah;’ whereas they slew him not, nor crucified him, but he was made to appear to them like one crucified; and those who differ therein are certainly in a state of doubt about it; they have no definite knowledge thereof, but only follow a conjecture; and they did not convert this conjecture into a certainty;

    158] And their saying, ‘We did kill the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah;’ whereas they slew him not, nor crucified him, but he was made to appear to them like one crucified; and those who differ therein are certainly in a state of doubt about it; they have no definite knowledge thereof, but only follow a conjecture; and they did not convert this conjecture into a certainty;
     
    [4:159] On the contrary, Allah exalted him to Himself. And Allah is Mighty, Wise.
     
    [4:160] And there is none among the People of the Book but will believe in it before his death; and on the Day of Resurrection, he (Jesus) shall be a witness against them —
     Now you will ASK if it was not Jesus in the cross, then who was in the cross?
     When you visit this Christian website http://www.tektonics.org/gk/judasdeath.html you will find that there is a contradictions concerning Judas’ death in the bible, where Matthew has Judas hanging himself, while Acts says he fell over and busted his guts open, and Matthew does not even describe Judas’ death at all.
    And all this contradictions is because none of them witness the end of Judas.
     THE WASHINGTON TIMES reported in its number dated April 6th, 2006 an article entitled Judas stars as ‘anti-hero’ in gospel By Julia Duin . The National Geographic Society (NGS) unveiled ancient codex of the Bible that were found in AL-Menya in Egypt ,this codex dates back to the begging of the third century after Christ and that this bible named “The Gospel of Judas,”
    Judas was considered among thedisciples of Jesus and the Coptic history says that he was the man who betrayed Jesus and that Moslems say that God changed the face of Judas to be like that of Jesus , that is , gave him the countenance of Jesus , that is to be crucified instead of him. disciples of Jesus and the Coptic history says that he was the man who betrayed Jesus and that Moslems say that God changed the face of Judas to be like that of Jesus , that is , gave him the countenance of Jesus , that is to be crucified instead of him.
    The newly found Bible was mended after being found ten years ago and it was translated from the Coptic language into English in 2005 and this translation was released on April 6th this year . It is now sold in bookshops .Before the end of the Jesus’message this Bible recorded the following text as the news paper states ” Near the end of the Judas gospel, Jesus tells Judas he will “exceed” the rest of the disciples “for you will sacrifice the man that clothes me.”  Yes Muslims Believes that the one that Was in the cross was Judas and not Jesus, the big scholar Ibnou kather in the thirteen century explaining the verse above said “When the king’s deputy in Jerusalem received these orders (to arrest Jesus), he went with some Jews to the house that `Isawas residing in, and he was then with twelve, thirteen or seventeen of his companions.  They surrounded `Isa in the house, and when he felt that they would soon enter the house or that he would sooner or later have to leave it, he said to his companions, “Who volunteers to be made to look like me, for which he will be my companion in Paradise?” A young man volunteered, but `Isa thought that he was too young. He asked the question a second and third time, each time the young man volunteering, prompting `Isa to say, “Well then, you will be that man.” Allah made the young man look exactly like `Isa, while a hole opened in the roof of the house, and `Isa was made to sleep and ascended to heaven while asleep”Jesus Students said that we believed, But talking is easy and this is why Allah test the believers.Allah says in the Quran “29:3] Do men think that they will be left alone because they say, ‘We believe,’ and that they will not be tested?[29:4] And We did test those who were before them. So Allah will surely distinguish those who are truthful and He will surely distinguish the liars from the truthful.May Allah reward Judas good for his sacrifice and make him close to Jesus in Paradise, and Make us Meet him, and witness that Jesus did the best in teaching people that Allah (which you call the father and never saw one Christians giving any book about Him) is the only one worthy of worship and it’s not his responsibility that people changed after him, dividing the one god into three.[5:117] And when Allah will say, “O Jesus, son of Mary, didst thou say to men, ‘Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah?’”, he will answer, “Holy art Thou. I could never say that to which I had no right. If I had said it, Thou wouldst have surely known it. Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I know not what is in Thy mind. It is only Thou Who art the Knower of hidden things.  5:118] “I said nothing to them except that which Thou didst command me — ‘Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.’ And I was a witness over them as long as I remained among them, but since Thou didst cause me to die, Thou hast been the Watcher over them; and Thou art Witness over all things. [5:119] “If Thou punish them, they are Thy servants; and if Thou forgive them, Thou surely art the Mighty, the Wise.”  [5:120] Allah will say, ‘This is a day when only the truthful shall profit by their truthfulness. For them are Gardens beneath which streams flow; therein shall they abide for ever. Allah is well pleased with them, and they are well pleased with Him; that indeed is the great triumph.’  Yes Muslims Believes that the one that Was in the cross was Judas and not Jesus, the big scholar Ibnou kather in the thirteen century explaining the verse above said “When the king’s deputy in Jerusalem received these orders (to arrest Jesus), he went with some Jews to the house that `Isawas residing in, and he was then with twelve, thirteen or seventeen of his companions.  They surrounded `Isa in the house, and when he felt that they would soon enter the house or that he would sooner or later have to leave it, he said to his companions, “Who volunteers to be made to look like me, for which he will be my companion in Paradise?” A young man volunteered, but `Isa thought that he was too young. He asked the question a second and third time, each time the young man volunteering, prompting `Isa to say, “Well then, you will be that man.” Allah made the young man look exactly like `Isa, while a hole opened in the roof of the house, and `Isa was made to sleep and ascended to heaven while asleep”Jesus Students said that we believed, But talking is easy and this is why Allah test the believers.Allah says in the Quran “29:3] Do men think that they will be left alone because they say, ‘We believe,’ and that they will not be tested?[29:4] And We did test those who were before them. So Allah will surely distinguish those who are truthful and He will surely distinguish the liars from the truthful.May Allah reward Judas good for his sacrifice and make him close to Jesus in Paradise, and Make us Meet him, and witness that Jesus did the best in teaching people that Allah (which you call the father and never saw one Christians giving any book about Him) is the only one worthy of worship and it’s not his responsibility that people changed after him, dividing the one god into three.[5:117] And when Allah will say, “O Jesus, son of Mary, didst thou say to men, ‘Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah?’”, he will answer, “Holy art Thou. I could never say that to which I had no right. If I had said it, Thou wouldst have surely known it. Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I know not what is in Thy mind. It is only Thou Who art the Knower of hidden things.  5:118] “I said nothing to them except that which Thou didst command me — ‘Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.’ And I was a witness over them as long as I remained among them, but since Thou didst cause me to die, Thou hast been the Watcher over them; and Thou art Witness over all things. [5:119] “If Thou punish them, they are Thy servants; and if Thou forgive them, Thou surely art the Mighty, the Wise.”  [5:120] Allah will say, ‘This is a day when only the truthful shall profit by their truthfulness. For them are Gardens beneath which streams flow; therein shall they abide for ever. Allah is well pleased with them, and they are well pleased with Him; that indeed is the great triumph.’

  • Alex

    From what point? Catholicism has its fair share of atrocities from Charlemagne to sectarian violence in the UK. People in glass houses, and all that…

  • Anonymous

    Let’s say the past 300 years. I don’t think it’s fair to count the IRA, since they were primarily concerned with Irish nationalism — Catholic emancipation had already happened some time before. As for Charlemagne, he was a great leader and champion of European civilization. Perhaps a bit heavy-handed at times, by today’s standards. The world was a more violent place back then, in general. But a terrorist? Hardly. In any case, were there any terrorists in the past 300 years who identified themselves primarily as Catholics, engaging in violence for specifically Catholic reasons? I do not believe there were any at all. Not even one.

    Meanwhile, the Muslim jihadists have claimed over 50 lives in this month alone. In this one month. Since 9/11 there have been something on the order of 16,000 Muslim terrorist attacks worldwide. ( http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/ ) It doesn’t take a PhD in statistics to draw the obvious conclusions there — yet few in Europe seem willing to draw them. Why do you suppose that is? (An honest question.)

    It is my belief that Islam itself, the text of the Koran itself and its attendant culture, is responsible. Many times in the Koran we read of “war against the unbelievers” and calls of no mercy for non-Muslims. In the New Testament, we read of turning the other cheek, and Christians worship a savior who was the victim, not the perpetrator, of violence.

    I do not deny that Islam has made contributions to civilization, or that there are many individual Muslims who are decent, sincerely pious people who share many of the same values of Jews and Christians, despite the corrupted nature of their religion. Having said that, it is nevertheless highly naive to believe there is not a very strong current of violent, imperialistic fascism in Islam, a current which, it is arguable, may not be integral to Islam, but is nevertheless quite real. I view this particular aspect of Islam to be on the same level as Nazism. All the components are there — imperialist aggression, anti-Semitism, lack of concern for human life.

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com EditorCT

     Excuse me?  I said you would not find a single “fully believing”  Catholic in history who carried out any terrorist attack. The IRA is not a “Catholic” group.  Indeed,even their political wing, Sinn Fein hold political positions which are contrary to Catholic teaching, e.g. on abortion.  I haven’t studied their manifesto, but I’m told by pro-life friends that this is the case.

    But does anyone notice how easy it is to throw out falsehoods about Catholicism while anyone who dares to even question the numbers who died in the holocaust, risk jail.  Just a thought. 

    Any perceived criticism, however measured and however academic, of either Islam or Judaism, brings with it the label of “racist” and “bigot”. Just another thought.

  • Amina

    The Muslim Jihaadists are like the Zionists of Judaism and the IRA of Catholics.  Every religion has among it’s followers all kinds of people that fall into all these social and political categories…