Sunday, July 20, 2014
Friday, July 11, 2014
I wondered for some time the extent to which Islam excluded Christianity. I have no truck with Muhammad, but certainly there is much to like in a religion that worships only Allah (Syriac/Arabic for God)? Indeed the word "islam" means either wholeness and safety or voluntary submission to God and "muslim" is simply the participle of this word, someone who is whole through submission to God. Taking these words according to their origin, I could say with confidence that the worship of Allah, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, is the true islam and all who do so by grace are true muslims. As I looked through Islamic prayers, I was hoping to find a more general worship of the one God, but it is all surrounded by invocations of Muhammad as well as a ritual purity that reminds me of Judaism. In addition to these, there is praise of the Quran and the reading of the whole of it will occur as one continues to pray, and certain parts of the Quran are explicitly anti-Trinitarian, and therefore unable to touch the lips or heart of a Christian. lex orandi, lex credendi.
So now I want to learn more about Muhammad. Who is he? Why should so many in the world trust him and his ways? Is it out of fear or love? Conviction of his truth or simply habit? If he is false, and I think this is the case, is he at least in earnest? Did he think God really revealed the truth of islam to him? Or is evil and wicked, spreading a lie for his own advantage? Or perhaps, not so wickedly (but still wicked..), he exploits religious belief for the sake of his people and nation? Whatever his character, the most important question for the world is whether Muhammad is a true prophet or not. This is not a matter of "being right" and the other guy "being wrong". Almost one quarter of the world live their life as though this man is God's chief representative. If one has any care that truth reign in the hearts and minds of men, then this matter cannot be ignored. In so many of the conflicts in the Middle East, it is so difficult to pick a side: Ba'ath Syrian government or Al-Qaeda and their allies? Sunni Islamic State or Shia militant group? There never seems to be a very good option to pick. And what distinguishes all of these groups? How they understand and interpret Muhammad. So now I ask, why Muhammad?