A common myth is that Christianity and Islam are very similar, that our scriptures are very similar and that we worship the same God.
Let me put that last one to a quick end. The Qur’an teaches that Jesus was a prophet sent by God but not God, that His crucifixion was faked, and therefore He is not the Redeemer or the Messiah.
The Apostle Paul wrote very clearly in 1 Corinthians 15 that if Christ wasn’t raised from the dead then the Christian faith is empty and useless. The crucifixion and resurrection are the entire basis of Christianity, and Islam denies them. Game, set, match.
Denying the Divine and eternal nature of Jesus is creating a false god with whatever you replace Him with, even if nothing. There is no greater heresy in Christianity than to deny Who Jesus is and what He did. The Trinity, the crucifixion and resurrection, and God’s explicit and only plan for salvation is simply nothing like any other “religion”.
If you’ll allow me to put a final nail in the coffin of the ridiculous notion that Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament, God the Father of the New Testament is the same god as Allah, here it is.
The Qur’an describes Allah as having 99 names. One of these in Arabic is “Makr”, translated as “The Best Tricker”, or, the Deceiver. Qur’an 3:54, 7:99, and 8:30 agree and confirm that Allah is the best of deceivers. In their respective contexts these verses describe his deceit.
The Bible also describes the father of lies in John 8:44 where Jesus calls him the devil. Revelation 12:9, 13:13, 19:20 & 20:3 calls the devil and Satan the Deceiver.
No, the One True God most certainly doesn’t go by that name. Not the same god.
But today’s post is to more comprehensively clear up the myth that the Bible is comparable in any significant way to the Qur’an.
The Bible is substantially different and only superficially comparable to the Qur’an.
- For a start, the Bible is a collection of 66 books, not one like the Qur’an.
- The books of the Bible include a multitude of genres all needing to be read in the context of their genre, not like the Qur’an, a simple book of instructions. The Bible includes books of history, instruction / doctrine, poetry, allegory, prophecy, law and wisdom.
- The books of the Bible were written over 1,500 years. The Qur’an was written in one man’s lifetime.
- The books of the Bible were written by 40 authors under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Qur’an was dictated by Mohammed only.
- The books of the Bible were written in Ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine Greek. The Qur’an was written in Arabic.
- The books of the Bible were written in many locations across Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. The Qur’an was written in Mecca and Medina in the same region.
But you can approach both with the same academic discipline and very well interpret both for yourself.
The Bible interprets itself and contains no contradictions when read in context with basic rules of hermeneutics and exegesis. The Qur’an also clears up apparent contradictions with the included rule of abrogation: basically whichever was said last is what must be followed. Allah can clear things up with new communication.
Arabic is not any harder to interpret than any other language, and reliable translations are widely available despite the anti-intellectual claims of impenetrable mystery shrouding the language.
All things considered, Qur’anic verses without much context are exponentially easier to interpret than the Bible, as they all have the same context in history, geography, culture, language, genre and author. The only sophistication required is to give the later verses more weight than the earlier.
Both the New Testament and the Qur’an command followers to imitate the founders of their respective faiths and follow their teachings. Thus, an objective and intellectually honest understanding of fundamental (as opposed to nominal) followers is gained by how closely they match the life and teachings of the respective founders.
One of the most common confusions suffered by amateur theologians is thinking that anything that ever happened in the Bible is a prescription selectively and therefore hypocritically ignored by Christians. They cite examples like laws against wearing clothes made from blended fabrics, eating shellfish and stoning homosexuals as “cherry picking” when not actively advocated by modern priests and pastors.
They often go on to say that if Christians don’t do everything in their Bible, it’s unfair to claim Muslims are in danger of doing everything in their Scriptures. This is a logical equivalence fallacy. As described above, the two are not really comparable.
For a start, the Bible teaches that Christ fulfilled all the Law and the Prophets, and that God’s justice is entirely satisfied by Jesus’ death on Calvary. Anyone believing in Him and trusting His Lordship needs only obey two commands: love God with all your heart, soul and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself.
But more importantly, most of the Old Testament is history. God’s plan for this age is not to protect His people from the corrupting and destructive influence of utter depravity and evil by a bloody and total purge from the land, but by His Holy Spirit, which could only be made globally available after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. What the Old Testament describes is history, and history just as frequently serves as cautionary tales. So the Israeli kings having hundreds of wives and concubines was never God’s plan for us, let alone them.
Violent and corrupt deviations from Christian doctrine have been the result of nominal Christianity, not radical Christianity. Catholic versus Protestant terrorism in Ireland bears no resemblance whatsoever to Jesus’ example or teachings. Mother Theresa is an example of radical Christianity; Gerry Adams isn’t.
Contrast the Qur’an. There is no New Testament for its barbaric imperialism. It claims to be the New New Testament, replacing what Jesus taught – the final and unimprovable revelation from Allah.
The further Christians wander from Jesus’ and New Testament teachings, the more evil they behave. The more liberally Muslims interpret Muhammad’s example and Qur’anic teaching, the more peaceful and loving they behave.
The clear and ever present danger in Muslim populations is that they become fundamental, radical adherents to Muhammad’s example and the Qur’an – a la ISIS et al.
Don’t ever make the mistake of comparing authentic Christianity with authentic Islam, or their scriptures, or their God.