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A delayed response to Siam

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  • A delayed response to Siam

    This is in response to a post found in a thread by JohnnyP, "Quran: Jesus crucified?" I didn't want to me to the thread and this seemed the most right way to respond.

    Several months ago we were in a discussion and I never noticed this because it was such a small post sandwiched between other lengthy ones and I was not directly quoted. I apologize for being so late, and understand if you are no longer interested. But I hope to at least hear from you, it was a pleasurable discourse before.

    Originally posted by siam View Post
    @ Pentecost

    If eschatology is the entire reason for history---then what is the reason for us (you and me...the individual) to live on earth today?
    Since you were asking me about my personal belief that the end times are the point of human history, and that seems to me like asking, "If you're in the US and want to be in Turkey, why take the time to travel there?" A non-sequitur.

    If you recall the little primer on my particular beliefs on the ends times (or you can go back to the thread, it's there), God's plan is for Him to be God of a people and those people to (willingly and perfectly) worship Him as their God. Without human free will there is no "willing" anything, BUT sin comes by necessity with free will, and so He is purifying a people to be holy who knew sin and have since rejected it. This takes time, certainly this is not the only Christian belief I have heard, but it is not uncommon, and it is mine.
    Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? -Galatians 3:5

  • #2
    Yes, I remember it was a pleasure to discuss with you...it was very informative for me and I look forward to exploring more issues and perspectives with you. I'm afraid I forgot the context of the question and will look into it...in the meantime perhaps you can expand on your thoughts...?....in particular the idea "He is purifying a people to be holy who knew sin and have since rejected it. " and its relation to eschatology....

    Comment


    • #3
      Yes, of course friend. That sentence was meant as a summation of human history starting from Adam and Eve being cast out from the garden of Eden, and ending with the creation of a New Heaven and New Earth, Genesis 3 to the end of a Revelation 20. The middle part where you and I are, the speculation is that you cannot create something with free will that will never sin, and so Jesus has cleansed and is making holy people throughout history, from Noah, to Abraham, to King David, to Elijah, to many other lovers of God, Israelite or not. And also people from the Christian scriptures, John, Paul, James, Simon, etc. all the way through to modern day, where currently, I as a Christian am counted among their number. Living saints such as myself are going through a process of sanctification where we learn to reject sin by the power of the Holy Spirit, but because of my sin, my body is... Perhaps the way to describe it is "infected" and so I will not be completely sinless until my body is remade just as my Spirit already was.

      Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. (*Revelation‬ *20‬:*4-6‬ ESV)

      But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.

      The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

      But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.

      For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

      But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual.

      When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (*1 Corinthians‬ *15‬:*20-24, 26, 35-36, 39-44, 46, 54-57‬ ESV)

      Please forgive the extensive citations, but the selected verses describe what I was trying to make simple.
      Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? -Galatians 3:5

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Pentecost View Post
        The middle part where you and I are, the speculation is that you cannot create something with free will that will never sin, and so Jesus has cleansed and is making holy people throughout history, from Noah, to Abraham, to King David, to Elijah, to many other lovers of God, Israelite or not. And also people from the Christian scriptures, John, Paul, James, Simon, etc. all the way through to modern day, where currently, I as a Christian am counted among their number. Living saints such as myself are going through a process of sanctification where we learn to reject sin by the power of the Holy Spirit, but because of my sin, my body is... Perhaps the way to describe it is "infected" and so I will not be completely sinless until my body is remade just as my Spirit already was.
        ......

        But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.
        And a summary from the discussion in the previous thread...
        1) Jesus will come back to rescue Christians from a 3 1/2 year long tribulation with natural disasters, and false prophets and other terrible things.
        2) Then Christ and His servants will come defeat and bind Satan and his minions.
        3) We will rule for one thousand years, then Satan will be released from from his prison and deceive the nations.
        4) Then the devil and his highest allies will be thrown into the Lake of Fire which is the second death.
        5) Non-Christians will be raised from the dead and all peoples will be judged.
        6) Death itself will be thrown into the Lake followed by non-Christians. Lastly, a new Heaven and new Earth will be created, and God will be with His people and we will be His people and He will be our God.

        It is very interesting and dramatic---I am not familiar with eschatology so I hope you will be patient with me.....but wasn't "saving" the whole purpose of Jesus Christ arriving the first time? it seems that the 2nd arrival is about eliminating death? so...new heaven and earth are timeless?
        Why is Satan captured then released? (point 3) then put into lake of fire"? (point 4) One would think it would be easier to put Satan in the lake of fire the first time around?
        Why wasn't this heaven and earth created "right"(good/timeless) the first time around?...that is, what is the purpose of (Prophet) Adam's "sin"(infection)?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by siam View Post
          And a summary from the discussion in the previous thread...
          1) Jesus will come back to rescue Christians from a 3 1/2 year long tribulation with natural disasters, and false prophets and other terrible things.
          2) Then Christ and His servants will come defeat and bind Satan and his minions.
          3) We will rule for one thousand years, then Satan will be released from from his prison and deceive the nations.
          4) Then the devil and his highest allies will be thrown into the Lake of Fire which is the second death.
          5) Non-Christians will be raised from the dead and all peoples will be judged.
          6) Death itself will be thrown into the Lake followed by non-Christians. Lastly, a new Heaven and new Earth will be created, and God will be with His people and we will be His people and He will be our God.
          I don't know if you copy pasted that or summed it yourself, but that appears correct to my beliefs.

          It is very interesting and dramatic---I am not familiar with eschatology so I hope you will be patient with me
          I have no idea about Islam's beliefs on the end times, as I share my own would you please share yours? I am really interested.

          .....but wasn't "saving" the whole purpose of Jesus Christ arriving the first time? it seems that the 2nd arrival is about eliminating death? so...new heaven and earth are timeless?
          Saving people was probably the most important part of his first arrival but not the only part, you quoted "saving" has anyone ever explained what that means in the context? Death is an anthropomoric power of evil, is my position, and a more general Christian position is that it is evil, but not person like either way, it and other evil things like sin and satan are not going to affect humanity the the New Creation. And the new heavens and earth seem to have time but go on in perpetuity.

          Why is Satan captured then released? (point 3) then put into lake of fire"? (point 4) One would think it would be easier to put Satan in the lake of fire the first time around?
          I had forgotten that you like to ask the hard questions, thank you for that, I have never noticed that.

          Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

          And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (*Revelation‬ *20‬:*1-3, 7-10‬ ESV)

          That is the relevant text and from a plain reading it appears that God won't throw Satan into the lake of fire yet because he still has use for him (as he currently does too), and that use in this case appears to be so that certain people will reveal their true character and will be indicted by those particular actions. But really, I am not sure. The autho of Revelation wrote what he saw in a vision and so it is not always clear.

          Why wasn't this heaven and earth created "right"(good/timeless) the first time around?...that is, what is the purpose of (Prophet) Adam's "sin"(infection)?
          That's the big question, it seems to be for the same reason you can't make a square circle, a rock too heavy for God to lift, or a purple yellow, it is logically impossible. It is inevitable that when something has free will like God, but is not God, then it will inevitably act contrary to God, which is a definition of sin. However, God can take something that was once sinful and make it pure and like Him, if it chooses to accept. Why doesn't he force it? Because that would be a removal of the free will he wants humans to have. Does that make sense? I might have take for granted a concept you are unfamiliar with, or brushed over something that needs explaining, so please tell me because at the very least it is self consistent.
          Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? -Galatians 3:5

          Comment


          • #6
            The premise is that eschatology (end times) is the main theme of history/religion....and in some Christianities this means the end of sin/death which I have understood to mean no free-will and eternal life...?...would that be correct?
            If the inevitable end is removal of death/sin---then what was the purpose of having them there in the first place? (I understand what you mean by free-will, sin and force...but if these concepts are primary---then having the eschatology you described seems contradictory---on the other hand, if they are not of importance, why have them?...unless there is a purpose....)

            My understanding from our (previous) conversation is that-- "to save"---means removal of death/sin?

            Islamic eschatology---I can only give a general outline as it is not a necessary part of belief/religion. The main characters are the Dajjal (Anti-Christ/Pretender), Jesus Christ (pbuh), Mahdi, the "helper" who paves the way for Jesus Christ...and the external enemy the Gog, Magog (Yajuj and Majuj). The purpose of the end times is to bring peace to the world through Islam (a sort of Jewish Olam Haba type of thing---messianic age--see maimonides)

            Day of Judgement/Afterlife---is a necessary part of belief/religion. In the Islamic paradigm---our purpose here on earth is for a test, the day of judgement is the "grading" (of pass/fail), and heaven/hell the next destination. Justice tempered with compassion and mercy is the main theme upon which these concepts are built.

            This is somewhat rambling video...but it might give an intro to Islamic eschatology......

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by siam View Post
              The premise is that eschatology (end times) is the main theme of history/religion....
              It is to me but neither my eschatology nor my views on its importance are representative of the whole faith. In fact I'm sure the majority on TWeb disagrees with me in multiple places, but it is a secondary belief I think my views are true and explain several questionable things I've noticed both in Scripture, and in living my life.
              and in some Christianities this means the end of sin/death which I have understood to mean no free-will and eternal life...?...would that be correct?
              In all forms of Christianity the end of sin and death are expected, eternal life is expected and we all expect to be at least as free as we are now.
              If the inevitable end is removal of death/sin---then what was the purpose of having them there in the first place? (I understand what you mean by free-will, sin and force...but if these concepts are primary---then having the eschatology you described seems contradictory---on the other hand, if they are not of importance, why have them?...unless there is a purpose....)
              I am not sure I made sense to you then. Maybe if I said it like this, sin and death are not good, and are facts of life and without them the world would be perfect. Christian Scripture teaches about being freed from both of those things and their eventual end. So the question becomes what kind of God would let such things be in the world if He doesn't like them? It can't simply be a test, because we all fail. It can't be a weak God unable to destroy them, because the. It's not a God. It can't be an Evil God, because He wouldn't want to end it. I find it is resolved by adding free will to the equation and saying that currently we have free will and we sin and we die. The goal is to have free will, no sin, and no death. Death is a result of sin, and sin is a rejection of God, and so if you excuse the crude way I say this, God is collecting those who freely seek Him (and therefore resist sin) and takes away their deserved death. So these people will have free will and have chosen Him, will have no sin because they will have a new sinless body and sinless Spirit, and will not die a second time because of a lack of sin.

              My understanding from our (previous) conversation is that-- "to save"---means removal of death/sin?
              I'm not sure I would say that's the only thing entailed, that is certainly a result, the main part is what is often called a "personal relationship with Jesus." But I don't think that's helpful terminology to non-Christians. It's personal in the sense that you communicate to each other every day, but He is both king and friend in an indescribable way.

              Islamic eschatology---I can only give a general outline as it is not a necessary part of belief/religion.
              In truth, I and most Christians I know spend very little time on the subject, I am fascinated by it but very little time is spent teaching it and I know what I do from my own independent study.
              The main characters are the Dajjal (Anti-Christ/Pretender), Jesus Christ (pbuh), Mahdi, the "helper" who paves the way for Jesus Christ...and the external enemy the Gog, Magog (Yajuj and Majuj). The purpose of the end times is to bring peace to the world through Islam (a sort of Jewish Olam Haba type of thing---messianic age--see maimonides)
              We have aspects of all of those things, though "helper" that "pages the way for Jesus Christ" sounds very much like John the Baptist, and only a very little like the two witnesses who would be the closest approximation in Christian teachings.

              Day of Judgement/Afterlife---is a necessary part of belief/religion. In the Islamic paradigm---our purpose here on earth is for a test, the day of judgement is the "grading" (of pass/fail), and heaven/hell the next destination. Justice tempered with compassion and mercy is the main theme upon which these concepts are built.
              Perhaps I've been talking about the wrong parts of Christian end times because I can agree with these points.

              This is somewhat rambling video...but it might give an intro to Islamic eschatology......
              I listened to the first five minutes and I think I will listen to the rest later, but I do not have a spare hour for listening right now.
              Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? -Galatians 3:5

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Pentecost View Post
                It is to me but neither my eschatology nor my views on its importance are representative of the whole faith. In fact I'm sure the majority on TWeb disagrees with me in multiple places, but it is a secondary belief I think my views are true and explain several questionable things I've noticed both in Scripture, and in living my life.

                In all forms of Christianity the end of sin and death are expected, eternal life is expected and we all expect to be at least as free as we are now.
                I am not sure I made sense to you then. Maybe if I said it like this, sin and death are not good, and are facts of life and without them the world would be perfect. Christian Scripture teaches about being freed from both of those things and their eventual end. So the question becomes what kind of God would let such things be in the world if He doesn't like them? It can't simply be a test, because we all fail. It can't be a weak God unable to destroy them, because the. It's not a God. It can't be an Evil God, because He wouldn't want to end it. I find it is resolved by adding free will to the equation and saying that currently we have free will and we sin and we die. The goal is to have free will, no sin, and no death. Death is a result of sin, and sin is a rejection of God, and so if you excuse the crude way I say this, God is collecting those who freely seek Him (and therefore resist sin) and takes away their deserved death. So these people will have free will and have chosen Him, will have no sin because they will have a new sinless body and sinless Spirit, and will not die a second time because of a lack of sin.
                Questionable things---I agree....it (eschatological views) also fills in for a question/puzzle the Muslims have----which is, why is Prophet Jesus called the Masih (Messiah) in the Quran. There are two levels(titles) of Prophet (one who brings God's message)---Rasul and Nabi. Since Jesus Christ is a Prophet in Islam, either one of those titles could have been used, but the Quran uses Masih (annointed with oil).

                How do your views of eschatology influence your life?

                If I could summarize my understanding so far---God creates in perfection (no sin, no death), but Adam's actions bring sin and consequently death, (imperfection) and God sends his son as sacrifice to clean/purify?....and after this event those that accept the premise, will become perfect...at some future point?...and when the end times near, God accelerates the program (of separating good/bad)---eschatology---and eventually because there is no Satan and death---things return to perfection?........
                ...and the point of it all is to allow humanity (after the crucifixion) the choice to accept or reject God's event/gift?

                Islamic Paradigm....
                In Islam, the concept of perfection is unimportant---our starting point is Tawheed(Unity)=One God.
                If there is only One God in existence, then all humanity---irrespective of religion, race, gender...etc----pray to the same One God. (Even if the labels and concepts of God may differ.) It is the One God (and only God) that receives all our prayers and bestows blessings on all humanity both good or bad. Therefore, the criteria of Justice on Judgement day must be such that Justice tempered with compassion and mercy would be applicable equally to all humanity.

                All humanity are Bani Adam/Children of Adam and were put on earth with the responsibility as Trustees (Khalifa) of God. (God's will=Right belief that promotes right intentions that lead to right actions for the benefit of all of God's creations.) All were given Guidance (law=ethico-moral principles of justice) by the One God. God has also created humanity with inherent goodness (Fitra). Thus, those who follow the Guidance given them and inherent inclination to goodness...are "muslims" (one who submits to God/God's law). Those who, after knowing Guidance, reject it out of arrogance and self interest, are Kaffir. (Gratititude is the hallmark of the believer (shakir), as arrogance is that of the rejector (kaffir)).

                Sin=error/mistake, and all human beings make mistakes but God is most Compassionate, most Forgiving. God forgives those who ask for forgiveness. Our life on earth is a test and blessings and trials are neither good or bad---they are both tests (for our souls/nafs). Guidance (law) provides for Justice on earth, but human justice is inadequate because we cannot know the unseen---only the seen---so we can judge by actions but cannot know intentions. God sees and knows all so God's Justice is better/more Just. Therefore, on Judgement day, Divine Justice prevails.

                Divine Justice---Our souls are judged. The Angels and the Spirit (Ruh) stand as witnesses. We are given an account (books) of our good deeds and bad deeds and our resurrected body gives testimony. Our souls will already know the judgement before it is given because it will be just and self-evident. (there are many details and nuances...but this should serve as somewhat of an intro....)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by siam View Post
                  Questionable things---I agree....it (eschatological views) also fills in for a question/puzzle the Muslims have----which is, why is Prophet Jesus called the Masih (Messiah) in the Quran. There are two levels(titles) of Prophet (one who brings God's message)---Rasul and Nabi. Since Jesus Christ is a Prophet in Islam, either one of those titles could have been used, but the Quran uses Masih (annointed with oil).

                  How do your views of eschatology influence your life?
                  By that I meant that it answered observations about life such as the Question of Evil, and why people act the way they do, and what God intends to do about it. The Question of Evil in particular bothered me very much when I became a Christian.

                  If I could summarize my understanding so far---God creates in perfection (no sin, no death), but Adam's actions bring sin and consequently death, (imperfection) and God sends his son as sacrifice to clean/purify?....and after this event those that accept the premise, will become perfect...at some future point?...and when the end times near, God accelerates the program (of separating good/bad)---eschatology---and eventually because there is no Satan and death---things return to perfection?........
                  ...and the point of it all is to allow humanity (after the crucifixion) the choice to accept or reject God's event/gift?
                  Living out the premise is the proof of belief, and the premise is specifically identifying Jesus with YHWH.

                  Islamic Paradigm....
                  In Islam, the concept of perfection is unimportant---our starting point is Tawheed(Unity)=One God.
                  If there is only One God in existence, then all humanity---irrespective of religion, race, gender...etc----pray to the same One God. (Even if the labels and concepts of God may differ.) It is the One God (and only God) that receives all our prayers and bestows blessings on all humanity both good or bad. Therefore, the criteria of Justice on Judgement day must be such that Justice tempered with compassion and mercy would be applicable equally to all humanity.
                  So then it is not an exclusivist faith? I ask because if the same god worshipped by Hindus is the same god worshipped by aboriginal peoples who is the same god worshipped by Christians who is the same god worshipped by Jews is the same god worshipped by Muslims then... If I do good enough I'll be rewarded as much as you? Or are you still better off because you knew how to better live? You also imply that the Christian concept of salvation is unjust because it is not equally applicable to all humanity, right? Christianity is very exclusivist, you may worship our God without knowing His name (St. Paul when in ancient Athens said their worshipping of an "Unknown God" is the God of Abraham, but makes it very clear that Zeus for example is not the God of Abraham, they are different. Those who know more are held to a higher standard than those who know less.

                  All humanity are Bani Adam/Children of Adam and were put on earth with the responsibility as Trustees (Khalifa) of God. (God's will=Right belief that promotes right intentions that lead to right actions for the benefit of all of God's creations.) All were given Guidance (law=ethico-moral principles of justice) by the One God. God has also created humanity with inherent goodness (Fitra). Thus, those who follow the Guidance given them and inherent inclination to goodness...are "muslims" (one who submits to God/God's law). Those who, after knowing Guidance, reject it out of arrogance and self interest, are Kaffir. (Gratititude is the hallmark of the believer (shakir), as arrogance is that of the rejector (kaffir)).
                  I can agree with much of this aside from the particular word difference due to language, but would say that everyone is "kaffir" and can only submit to God's law by Him performing a miracle changing you.

                  Sin=error/mistake, and all human beings make mistakes but God is most Compassionate, most Forgiving. God forgives those who ask for forgiveness. Our life on earth is a test and blessings and trials are neither good or bad---they are both tests (for our souls/nafs). Guidance (law) provides for Justice on earth, but human justice is inadequate because we cannot know the unseen---only the seen---so we can judge by actions but cannot know intentions. God sees and knows all so God's Justice is better/more Just. Therefore, on Judgement day, Divine Justice prevails.
                  Agreed.

                  Divine Justice---Our souls are judged. The Angels and the Spirit (Ruh) stand as witnesses. We are given an account (books) of our good deeds and bad deeds and our resurrected body gives testimony. Our souls will already know the judgement before it is given because it will be just and self-evident. (there are many details and nuances...but this should serve as somewhat of an intro....)
                  Agreed.
                  Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? -Galatians 3:5

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Pentecost View Post
                    By that I meant that it answered observations about life such as the Question of Evil, and why people act the way they do, and what God intends to do about it. The Question of Evil in particular bothered me very much when I became a Christian.

                    Living out the premise is the proof of belief, and the premise is specifically identifying Jesus with YHWH.

                    So then it is not an exclusivist faith? I ask because if the same god worshipped by Hindus is the same god worshipped by aboriginal peoples who is the same god worshipped by Christians who is the same god worshipped by Jews is the same god worshipped by Muslims then... If I do good enough I'll be rewarded as much as you? Or are you still better off because you knew how to better live? You also imply that the Christian concept of salvation is unjust because it is not equally applicable to all humanity, right? Christianity is very exclusivist, you may worship our God without knowing His name (St. Paul when in ancient Athens said their worshipping of an "Unknown God" is the God of Abraham, but makes it very clear that Zeus for example is not the God of Abraham, they are different. Those who know more are held to a higher standard than those who know less.
                    You are very smart to have noticed that our definitions differ---it took a while for me to figure out that conversations with Christians sometimes ended with misunderstanding and frustration because the words we used were the same, but the concepts behind them were different.

                    Justice---is probably one such concept. In the Islamic context, God is most Compassionate, most Merciful, and the purpose of Justice is to heal the soul. Sin (mistakes/error) injure the souls and repentance is the way to heal the soul. The system of Justice prevalent in the West, is Retributive Justice, in which punishment is commensurate with the crime. In the Islamic context, punishment is also commensurate with the crime, but its purpose is to inspire repentance in the criminal and mercy in the victim(or victim's family)---thereby encouraging the healing of injured souls. Likewise, there is also Restorative Justice which promotes reconciliation and thereby also promotes healing of souls. The third aspect of Justice is Deterrent Justice---one that aims to prevent injury to the souls from happening in the first place.

                    What is evil?---another term that might be understood differently. For example, according to our conversations above, one might assume that death is evil for you/Christian? In the Islamic context---"life" is not a reward/good and death is not a punishment/bad. Our time on earth is a limited period of testing. That a particular life is long or short is neither good nor bad. To be tested is not good/bad---it is a duty/responsibility of all humanity. Under God, all humanity is of equivalent value/worth---none superior or inferior to the other. God created all humanity, Hindu, Jew, Shinto, Christian...etc for a purpose---to be God's trustee on earth---this is a responsibility and a duty---to facilitate this, he gave us the right to use the earth and God's creation for our ease/benefit (within reason). The Tao te Ching (Chinese) puts this concept succinctly---
                    "They way to heaven,
                    benefit all
                    harm none."
                    The fulfillment of our purpose is the way to worship God---that is why in Islam, the highest form of worship (Ibadah) is called Ihsan---or beautiful actions FOR God/excellence of intentions and actions.
                    In the process of living, human beings will sin (mistakes/error) but as Surah 39 verse 53 (and others) point out, God is forgiving....
                    "Say: "O my servants who have transgressed against their souls, despair not of the mercy of God: for God forgives all sins; for he is most forgiving, most merciful."
                    Therefore sin or mistakes/error are forgivable "evil" if there is repentance and reform in the heart. The evil/sin that is problematic is one that occurs from---Wrong belief (Shirk) that promotes wrong intentions (malice, arrogance) that leads to wrong actions (evil). Nevertheless, God is most Compassionate, most Merciful and willing to forgive all those who genuinely ask him for repentance and reform by embracing right belief (Taweed).

                    Grace (unmerited mercy)---After death, those who have caused harm or injury to their own souls and/or others must pay recompense (punishment), however, God most compassionate, most merciful, will look at their good intentions and actions and recompense them 10 times their worth.
                    (One might say that God intended Paradise for humanity, but those that refuse to go there will be put in hell.)

                    muslim---All humanity is born "muslim" (spiritual state of submission to God). All creation without free-will such as planets, stars, etc are also "muslim"...because they automatically submit to God's laws. (...what in the West is called natural laws). God is the creator of ALL creation. If there is only ONE God in existence---then to presume that a Christian is worshiping a different God than a Muslim is to create 2 Gods, (a true God and a false God). This is called Shirk(division) in Islam. (Shirk(Division) = many Gods) In other words, the One God, the Creator, is a God FOR all his creation---not just a select group of people. (...and probably why some Christians refer to Islam as radical monotheism)

                    Exclusivity---That is a very good question. Yes there is exclusivity in Islam, but it is not in terms of theology(concept of God) rather, orthopraxy (practice) or what in Islamic terms is called the Sunnah. In a previous conversation I mentioned the various types of Islam as well as the types of Sharia......?....

                    Who is better---an interesting question---and we Muslims have our ego and pride just as anybody else and would prefer to say being Muslim is "better"---But being a Muslim or Jew has more responsibility---higher standard of accountability---than those of other faiths. This is because according to Islam, all must follow the "law" given to them---so, for example, a Buddhist/Hindu must follow their "law" which is called Dharma in their language--yet, all previous religions have been corrupted. The Quran is the most recent revelation and has not been corrupted so its followers are held to a higher standard of accountability. (So are the Jews, because they have been sent more Guidance (Prophets and Wisdom Teachers) than others....) Personally, I find Islam to be better as a spiritual path because its practice aligns with human nature and its philosophy/premise aligns with human intellect and reason.

                    What is your definition of evil and how has your understanding of soteriology/eschatology answered/influenced you?
                    How do you understand (Divine) Justice?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      what is your definition of human being? (in the context of your religion)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by siam View Post
                        You are very smart to have noticed that our definitions differ---it took a while for me to figure out that conversations with Christians sometimes ended with misunderstanding and frustration because the words we used were the same, but the concepts behind them were different.
                        Thank you for your compliment Siam, you are kind.

                        Justice---is probably one such concept. In the Islamic context, God is most Compassionate, most Merciful, and the purpose of Justice is to heal the soul. Sin (mistakes/error) injure the souls and repentance is the way to heal the soul. The system of Justice prevalent in the West, is Retributive Justice, in which punishment is commensurate with the crime. In the Islamic context, punishment is also commensurate with the crime, but its purpose is to inspire repentance in the criminal and mercy in the victim(or victim's family)---thereby encouraging the healing of injured souls. Likewise, there is also Restorative Justice which promotes reconciliation and thereby also promotes healing of souls. The third aspect of Justice is Deterrent Justice---one that aims to prevent injury to the souls from happening in the first place.
                        Justice in Christian theology is always understood in a retributive manner. The commensurate punishment for trespassing against an infinite being is infinite condemnation, that is why we consider our God so merciful, because He forgives absolutely our crimes against Him. The justice itself isn't restorative because while all receive it; not all are restored. Restoration is by means of mercy. Deterrent Justice is exactly how I would describe the Oral Torah that Jesus taught so strongly against because it helped individuals either ignore of turn away from God's actual laws.

                        What is evil?---another term that might be understood differently. For example, according to our conversations above, one might assume that death is evil for you/Christian? In the Islamic context---"life" is not a reward/good and death is not a punishment/bad.
                        Death is evil because it is trying to prevent anyone from being with God forever, we are flesh and blood beings, and bodies are as important to God as spirit. That is why He heals both. If life doesn't matter in Islam, is murder permissible?
                        Our time on earth is a limited period of testing. That a particular life is long or short is neither good nor bad. To be tested is not good/bad---it is a duty/responsibility of all humanity. Under God, all humanity is of equivalent value/worth---none superior or inferior to the other. God created all humanity, Hindu, Jew, Shinto, Christian...etc for a purpose---to be God's trustee on earth---this is a responsibility and a duty---
                        I agree up to this point being tempered by what I said above about why we will be raised from the dead.
                        to facilitate this, he gave us the right to use the earth and God's creation for our ease/benefit (within reason). The Tao te Ching (Chinese) puts this concept succinctly---
                        "They way to heaven,
                        benefit all
                        harm none."
                        Again, I am not sure if we're using the same meanings here, but I can agree with this.
                        The fulfillment of our purpose is the way to worship God---that is why in Islam, the highest form of worship (Ibadah) is called Ihsan---or beautiful actions FOR God/excellence of intentions and actions.
                        In the process of living, human beings will sin (mistakes/error) but as Surah 39 verse 53 (and others) point out, God is forgiving....
                        "Say: "O my servants who have transgressed against their souls, despair not of the mercy of God: for God forgives all sins; for he is most forgiving, most merciful."
                        Therefore sin or mistakes/error are forgivable "evil" if there is repentance and reform in the heart. The evil/sin that is problematic is one that occurs from---Wrong belief (Shirk) that promotes wrong intentions (malice, arrogance) that leads to wrong actions (evil). Nevertheless, God is most Compassionate, most Merciful and willing to forgive all those who genuinely ask him for repentance and reform by embracing right belief (Taweed).
                        You are saying a lot here, and I've reread it several times to make sure I understand, I think that the main difference in comparison at this point between us is your focus on orthopraxy. I will restate this in Christian terms, and perhaps you will gain more insight than my reading you:
                        The fulfillment of our purpose is to worship God---that is why in Christianity, the only form of worship involves beautiful actions FOR God/excellence of intentions and actions.
                        In the process of living, human beings will sin (mistakes/error) but as Ephesians 2 verses 8 and 9 (and others) point out, God is forgiving....
                        "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
                        Therefore sin or mistakes/error are forgivable "evil" if you have faith in God and repentance/reform in the heart comes as a result. The evil/sin that is problematic is one that occurs from---Wrong belief (Shirk) that promotes wrong intentions (malice, arrogance) that leads to wrong actions (evil). *Nevertheless, God is most Compassionate, most Merciful and willing to forgive all those who genuinely ask him for repentance and *reform by embracing right belief (Jesus).
                        Grace (unmerited mercy)---After death, those who have caused harm or injury to their own souls and/or others must pay recompense (punishment), however, God most compassionate, most merciful, will look at their good intentions and actions and recompense them 10 times their worth.
                        (One might say that God intended Paradise for humanity, but those that refuse to go there will be put in hell.)
                        It is certainly kind that your God would count right actions 10 times, but justice is still being served, you are still punished for your wrong actions. My God wipes away the debt owed, and ignores the wrong actions of those who love Him and so when they are judged only their righteous actions count. Yours is a kindness to all, but mine is a mercy extended to all and accepted by some.

                        muslim---All humanity is born "muslim" (spiritual state of submission to God). All creation without free-will such as planets, stars, etc are also "muslim"...because they automatically submit to God's laws. (...what in the West is called natural laws). God is the creator of ALL creation. If there is only ONE God in existence---then to presume that a Christian is worshiping a different God than a Muslim is to create 2 Gods, (a true God and a false God). This is called Shirk(division) in Islam. (Shirk(Division) = many Gods) In other words, the One God, the Creator, is a God FOR all his creation---not just a select group of people. (...and probably why some Christians refer to Islam as radical monotheism)
                        Now I see that my above use of "my God" and "your God" are likely offensive to you. I apologize if that is the case. But I truly do not understand how you can say we worship the same God when He is described very differently in our two faiths. He is not an elephant being touched by blind men saying, "Oh! It's like a snake" because of the trunk or "Oh it is like a tree" because of the leg. There is a true God, that is real, and if someone worships anything that isn't Him, the worship doesn't automatically go to Him because He's the real God, instead the person committed idolatry.

                        Exclusivity---That is a very good question. Yes there is exclusivity in Islam, but it is not in terms of theology(concept of God) rather, orthopraxy (practice) or what in Islamic terms is called the Sunnah. In a previous conversation I mentioned the various types of Islam as well as the types of Sharia......?....
                        I have trouble imagining your idea of exclusivity because it sounds the same to me as a moralistic Deist saying, "God just wants you to be good."

                        Who is better---an interesting question---and we Muslims have our ego and pride just as anybody else and would prefer to say being Muslim is "better"---But being a Muslim or Jew has more responsibility---higher standard of accountability---than those of other faiths. This is because according to Islam, all must follow the "law" given to them---so, for example, a Buddhist/Hindu must follow their "law" which is called Dharma in their language--yet, all previous religions have been corrupted. The Quran is the most recent revelation and has not been corrupted so its followers are held to a higher standard of accountability. (So are the Jews, because they have been sent more Guidance (Prophets and Wisdom Teachers) than others....) Personally, I find Islam to be better as a spiritual path because its practice aligns with human nature and its philosophy/premise aligns with human intellect and reason.
                        If all must follow the law given to them, do you then mean you don't think Hindus should become Muslim? That I shouldn't become Muslim? I am not judging you based upon who I am sure a radicals, but history records many times when those who claim Islam have spread by the sword, and you are presenting it as a free choice that is beneficial but not necessary. Or am I completely misunderstanding?

                        What is your definition of evil
                        "Anything against God" is the simplest definition, I know various things from the OT and NT (please recall Christians consider both completely authoritative) and from there classical Christian morality is derived.
                        ...and how has your understanding of soteriology... Answered/influenced you?
                        I live confident in my salvation, and often pray for or engage with people in need of salvation. As a young man who works and attends college, I also know that I have been "called" into the ministry, and will work professionally to bring them to Christ, and will go over seas to do so.
                        eschatology answered/influenced you?
                        I find joy in my future rewards and remind suffering Christians of our Blessed Hope.[/quote]
                        How do you understand (Divine) Justice?
                        I think I answered sufficiently above.
                        what is your definition of human being? (in the context of your religion)
                        That seems to me to be an odd question. A human is a member of the species Homo Sapiens, or do you mean what makes up a human? If that is the question, the body is is as important as the intellect, meaning I am a dualist. I would then venture that those are connected by a spirit, though that is considered speculation as far as dualism goes from what I know.
                        Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? -Galatians 3:5

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          That was very informative post. I particularly enjoyed the Christian-centric changes you made using Ephesians. As always, the similarities and differences between us is fascinating.

                          Sin---You said sin is trespassing against God. In Islam it is an injury to the soul (nafs)---that is, our bad intentions and actions injure us, because what human beings do or not do, has no effect on God. God is independent of his creation.

                          Deterrence---The principles in Islam often form a "trinity" or grouping of 3, with Tawheed usually at the top (of a triangle) and the other 2 principles balancing each other on the bottom. So, right deeds are understood in terms of action AND inaction or to do good (action) and restrain from bad.(inaction). For example, if God has given strength to a person, then using that strength to help another is good...but restraining from abusing the strength to harm another is also good.

                          God-given---as indicated above, Tawheed(Unity)=One God, is the main principle from which other principles are formed. In the above example of action/inaction trinity, the inclusion of Tawheed is to indicate that all our blessings (such as strength, wealth, health, life, etc) are given to us by God and rightfully belong, not to us, but to God. Our life (time on earth) is also God-given. One could think of it as a temporary loan/trust given to us for a purpose. Just as birth is the beginning of our period on earth, death is simply the end of our earthly time. The Quran says we came from God and will return to God---so being born is a separation from God. If "life" belongs to God,(because it is God-given) then only God has the right to take it. Therefore, it is wrong for human beings to decide their own (suicide) or another's death.(murder/homicide). But it is not wrong for God to determine death---the end of the period for earthly life---because that is his right.

                          Human rights---similar to the above, the principles of "rights" is also a trinity. Tawheed is at the top and the bottom is balanced by the concepts---rights and obligations/responsibility. Human rights do not stand on their own but must be balanced by human obligations. Both are God-given. For example, the Quran says human beings have the right to Profit (in western economic terms it is called wealth creation) but with this right comes the responsibility of using excess wealth for the benefit of the disadvantaged, the ill, handicapped, orphaned and widowed....etc. In other words---wealth is God-given and it is a trust and a test. Those who have been given wealth by God---have more responsibility to use it for good and restrain its use for harm.

                          God's law---In this way, the ethico-moral principles form a comprehensive, intermingled, web to create a wholistic way of life. Theology(Concept of God) is very simple...One God---is the beginning and end of Islamic theology---but the ramifications of this concept are huge. Tawheed(Unity) is the basis of "the way of life"/Deen because it is the foundation upon which ethico-moral principles are based and all other aspects of life such as jurisprudence, economic justice, social justice, family relations, marital relations,....etc are based on the concepts and principles generated from the principle of the ONE God. "To live"---can be understood as a series of intentions and actions---that is why orthopraxy is an important aspect of religion.(religion=way of life)

                          One God---no offense taken, I understand your confusion---when I first heard of the Christian concept of God, I was also confused and doubted we prayed to the same God because the Trinity seems so different from the Shema/Tawheed. But the Quran says we do...so this had to be reconciled with reality.
                          Consider, if there is a true God and a false God---and we presume a person from religion X prays to a false God---suppose the person prays for his sick child in a hospital to get well....and the Child gets well---Did the false God answer the prayers of this person from religion X? -----If we said YES, then we have given the false God powers that only the ONE God should have and thereby created 2 Gods of equal power. This is Shirk (Division).
                          In the Universe, there is only ONE Creator of Supreme power---there is no other power besides him. All creation worships him alone---none other. This means that the person of religion X may have had an incorrect concept of God---but that is a matter between person X and ONE God (and will be resolved on the day of judgement)---here on earth, ONE God will grant the wishes of whom he pleases---because that is his right.

                          history of Islam---your understanding of Islamic history is outdated---you should look at more recent scholarship. In Islam, all humanity is of equivalent value/worth under God so not only is Islam a guidance for all humanity, but God and his mercy and compassion extends to all humanity as well (God is the God of all humanity). However, this was too radical a concept for some people/Arabs and they wanted to keep Islam for Arabs only. The Ummayads (who were not particularly religious themselves) tried to discourage conversion to Islam by "non-Arabs". (some reasons were prejudice, financial gain, politics....) To put obstacles to prevent someone from conversion to Islam or to coerce someone to convert to Islam are both wrong actions. Religion must be freely chosen.
                          According to the Quran---the Abrahamic line of Prophets are not the only Prophets of God....there were many others. God sent guidance to all humanity---this was a promise to Prophet Adam (Adamic covenant)and all humanity are the children of Adam. However, all previous Guidance has become corrupted over time....So, if people were to be convinced by the excellence of the Quranic Guidance then they should become Muslim. However, as the Quran itself says, diversity is part of God's plan---had he wanted, he could have all made us the same----Diversity can promote compassion and tolerance and the different ways of knowing God can offer different approaches to solving human problems. There is a purpose and wisdom to all that God does and in the end---God knows best.

                          from reading your posts---it seems that your beliefs provide you with a measure of peace and comfort. I think that is a good thing and a blessing from God--Our God.

                          Human being---This is another "trinity"---body, soul/conscious(nafs), and Spirit (the force that animates/force of goodness). The body "dies" when the Spirit (force that animates) leaves the body. The soul(nafs) does not "die"---it experiences the death of the body. The soul is with the body only during times of consciousness and is not with the body during times of unconsciousness. It is the soul (nafs) that is held accountable and judged at Judgement day.
                          From what you say---the term human being---mainly refers to the material/biological aspects and intellect to a non-material aspect?
                          (I asked because if religion is supposed to be guidance for the human being---then we need to define what we mean by "human being"........)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Ah, before I begin my response, I must apologize because we were replying about once a day and I let that slip, on Sunday I was unexpectedly asked to help supervise some children for about three hours when normally I would have had the time to speak with you and last night I was unexpectedly invited to a "church conference" which if you are interested I will explain what that means.

                            Originally posted by siam View Post
                            That was very informative post. I particularly enjoyed the Christian-centric changes you made using Ephesians. As always, the similarities and differences between us is fascinating.
                            Certainly, I am always more surprised at where we agree but speaking with you is a pleasant exchange.

                            [quote{Sin---You said sin is trespassing against God. In Islam it is an injury to the soul (nafs)---that is, our bad intentions and actions injure us, because what human beings do or not do, has no effect on God. God is independent of his creation.[/quote] For us God is a being if relationships, being that He is three people of one essence He had always been in community with Himself and His desire in making humans was to make more relationships and so while we cannot make Him less than He is, there are many places in the Old and New Testaments which mention His emotions regarding Humans, often wrath and compassion, but all motivated by His love for us. And that is the important part, it is true that we hurt ourselves when we sin, and sometimes we under emphasize that fact but our affront to God is usually considered more important.

                            Deterrence---The principles in Islam often form a "trinity" or grouping of 3, with Tawheed usually at the top (of a triangle) and the other 2 principles balancing each other on the bottom. So, right deeds are understood in terms of action AND inaction or to do good (action) and restrain from bad.(inaction). For example, if God has given strength to a person, then using that strength to help another is good...but restraining from abusing the strength to harm another is also good.
                            I agree it is both right to act and inact in particular situations, but I cannot see how that is related to deterrent justice. Nor is that a trinity that you are describing, you are speaking of balancing two things for the purpose of the One above both right? That is completely different from an actual trinity which is generally three things united as one and the Christian conception of God known as the Trinity is three people united as one, so that praying to one is the same as praying to another, but prayer to "the Trinity" isn't to the supposed being higher than the Father, Son, or Spirit, but rather a prayer addressed to all three.

                            God-given---as indicated above, Tawheed(Unity)=One God, is the main principle from which other principles are formed. In the above example of action/inaction trinity, the inclusion of Tawheed is to indicate that all our blessings (such as strength, wealth, health, life, etc) are given to us by God and rightfully belong, not to us, but to God. Our life (time on earth) is also God-given. One could think of it as a temporary loan/trust given to us for a purpose. Just as birth is the beginning of our period on earth, death is simply the end of our earthly time. The Quran says we came from God and will return to God---so being born is a separation from God. If "life" belongs to God,(because it is God-given) then only God has the right to take it. Therefore, it is wrong for human beings to decide their own (suicide) or another's death.(murder/homicide). But it is not wrong for God to determine death---the end of the period for earthly life---because that is his right.
                            "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." James 1:17 ESV I disagree with how you use the word trinity although I understand the concept you are meaning to convey. Death is used by God as nothing may frustrate his purposes but I see an intrinsic negative to Death, I do not fear it fore Jesus conquered the grave but I still hate it as a former slave hates it's former master.

                            Human rights---similar to the above, the principles of "rights" is also a trinity. Tawheed is at the top and the bottom is balanced by the concepts---rights and obligations/responsibility. Human rights do not stand on their own but must be balanced by human obligations. Both are God-given. For example, the Quran says human beings have the right to Profit (in western economic terms it is called wealth creation) but with this right comes the responsibility of using excess wealth for the benefit of the disadvantaged, the ill, handicapped, orphaned and widowed....etc. In other words---wealth is God-given and it is a trust and a test. Those who have been given wealth by God---have more responsibility to use it for good and restrain its use for harm.
                            Ironically your beliefs seem to be closer to the Western economic ideal than my own because you mention "excess wealth" but to me all wealth is excess. It belongs to God and whenever God speaks to spirit to give, you give what He says even if it's your last penny. Is it possible for Him to make you rich and desire you be rich? Certainly, because He wants to take care of you but also because He will use your wealth to grow the Kingdom. Neither extreme wealth nor poverty are indicators of holiness not is the lack of either, but rather ones willingness to give as they were given and serve as they were served by Jesus's redemptive works.

                            God's law---In this way, the ethico-moral principles form a comprehensive, intermingled, web to create a wholistic way of life. Theology(Concept of God) is very simple...One God---is the beginning and end of Islamic theology---but the ramifications of this concept are huge. Tawheed(Unity) is the basis of "the way of life"/Deen because it is the foundation upon which ethico-moral principles are based and all other aspects of life such as jurisprudence, economic justice, social justice, family relations, marital relations,....etc are based on the concepts and principles generated from the principle of the ONE God. "To live"---can be understood as a series of intentions and actions---that is why orthopraxy is an important aspect of religion.(religion=way of life)
                            Jesus is our beginning and ending point. We take the Bible seriously because He did. We love people because He did. We serve each other because He did, and I can go on ad nauseam the Gospels do not record every single thing He did or approved of or disapproved of, but from Him we have the Scriptures which are God's own words to the peoples. Every Christian difference derives either from how they treat Scripture or how they express it. Jesus taught about acting right but above that He placed our intentions.

                            One God---no offense taken, I understand your confusion---when I first heard of the Christian concept of God, I was also confused and doubted we prayed to the same God because the Trinity seems so different from the Shema/Tawheed. But the Quran says we do...so this had to be reconciled with reality.
                            Reconciling Holy Truth with obvious worldly truth is... Something that happens quite often in my tradition; and not always for the better, but I understand what you mean.
                            Consider, if there is a true God and a false God---and we presume a person from religion X prays to a false God---suppose the person prays for his sick child in a hospital to get well....and the Child gets well---Did the false God answer the prayers of this person from religion X? -----If we said YES, then we have given the false God powers that only the ONE God should have and thereby created 2 Gods of equal power. This is Shirk (Division).
                            But why would you say yes? The answer any other monotheist would give is no. And why should it matter if a human said yes? The answer is obviously no to the one true God, He did it, not the misconception they prayed to. Idols have no power. Please forgive the long excerpt but I feel it demonstrates my point.
                            "And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it. And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.” Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention. Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down. Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name,” and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two seahs of seed. And he put the wood in order and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” And he said, “Do it a second time.” And they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time.” And they did it a third time. And the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water. And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.” (*1 Kings‬ *18‬:*21-39‬ ESV) If Baal was real he would have answered the prayer, if both the prophets and Elijah were praying to the same God then both would have been answered. But only YHWH answered. He is the true God not the idols we make.

                            In the Universe, there is only ONE Creator of Supreme power---there is no other power besides him. All creation worships him alone---none other. This means that the person of religion X may have had an incorrect concept of God---but that is a matter between person X and ONE God (and will be resolved on the day of judgement)---here on earth, ONE God will grant the wishes of whom he pleases---because that is his right.
                            I think you can worship a figment of your imagination, or you can worship the moon and stars, or the trees around you, or even yourself. It's called idolatry, as a Young Earth Creationist I would say it goes back about 6,000 years all the way to Adam and Eve putting the words of a serpent above the word of God.

                            history of Islam---your understanding of Islamic history is outdated---you should look at more recent scholarship. In Islam, all humanity is of equivalent value/worth under God so not only is Islam a guidance for all humanity, but God and his mercy and compassion extends to all humanity as well (God is the God of all humanity). However, this was too radical a concept for some people/Arabs and they wanted to keep Islam for Arabs only. The Ummayads (who were not particularly religious themselves) tried to discourage conversion to Islam by "non-Arabs". (some reasons were prejudice, financial gain, politics....) To put obstacles to prevent someone from conversion to Islam or to coerce someone to convert to Islam are both wrong actions. Religion must be freely chosen.
                            I have looked back at what I wrote and I perceive I was not speaking clearly enough. I was not referring to governments in power enforcing a single religion because that applies equally to Christianity. Rather I was speaking of the actions of your Prophet attacking cities and caravans until People of the Book paid Jizya, or converted (pagans also could convert). At the very least "When the Moon Split" was published in 2009.
                            According to the Quran---the Abrahamic line of Prophets are not the only Prophets of God....there were many others. God sent guidance to all humanity---this was a promise to Prophet Adam (Adamic covenant)and all humanity are the children of Adam. However, all previous Guidance has become corrupted over time....So, if people were to be convinced by the excellence of the Quranic Guidance then they should become Muslim. However, as the Quran itself says, diversity is part of God's plan---had he wanted, he could have all made us the same----Diversity can promote compassion and tolerance and the different ways of knowing God can offer different approaches to solving human problems. There is a purpose and wisdom to all that God does and in the end---God knows best.
                            I believe that the sons of Adam had all the knowledge their father had about God and that certainly it corrupted over time and many were deceived by demons, and even the Jewish tradition was corrupted but their Scriptures were always maintained at some point by a righteous believer and we still have perfect if not original manuscripts and that Jesus corrected many who were corrupted and converted all who knew the Biblical truth because they were expecting Him. The teachings of the Apostles have been kept for nearly two thousand years now, and Islam from our perspective is an odd mix of the Rabbinic tradition, some sort of Christian heresy that was local to the Arabian Peninsula, the moon worshiping pagans, and you prophet was fooled by a demon pretending to be an angel. I am not trying to attack Islam here, merely state out response to the idea of "the truth" being long and corrupted over time. I can even point to a few "Christian" groups that make the same claim as you, and I can see no one backing it up.

                            from reading your posts---it seems that your beliefs provide you with a measure of peace and comfort. I think that is a good thing and a blessing from God--Our God.
                            Thank you for saying so friend. I know you are content with your faith, but I worry that while you are satisfied because you've eaten, the issue is that you've eaten rocks.

                            Human being---This is another "trinity"---body, soul/conscious(nafs), and Spirit (the force that animates/force of goodness). The body "dies" when the Spirit (force that animates) leaves the body. The soul(nafs) does not "die"---it experiences the death of the body. The soul is with the body only during times of consciousness and is not with the body during times of unconsciousness. It is the soul (nafs) that is held accountable and judged at Judgement day.
                            From what you say---the term human being---mainly refers to the material/biological aspects and intellect to a non-material aspect?
                            (I asked because if religion is supposed to be guidance for the human being---then we need to define what we mean by "human being"........)
                            Okay, now I understand on what ground this question was based. For us it is never really said what is ultimately judged, but I think I can put it like this. If it do not have a body mind and sprit it cannot be human. A person without a spirit is trapped inside the body unable to control it. A person without a mind could perhaps describe a lunatic and is almost an animal. A person without a body is simply not human. The spirit is made in the image of God. You need all three to be a human. And a wise man will take care of all three. While alive and after we are resurrected we will have all three, I am not sure what we are like between times, and while I was speculating on what makes up a human (there is no dogmatic teaching, I simply extrapolated from what I know) I would not speculate about between life and resurrection because it is neither important nor is it theologically safe.
                            Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? -Galatians 3:5

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                            • #15
                              Thankyou for such an in-depth reply...again, it was very informative.

                              Divine Relationship---Muslims have a personal and private relationship with God, in that, the Quran is considered a letter/message to the individual Muslim from God. God's approach to humanity is one characterized by Compassion and Mercy that is balanced by Justice. The human's approach to God is characterized by Taqwa (love of God/God awareness)---together they form the concept of Reciprocity. Reciprocity balances a relationship and balance creates harmony which generates Peace.

                              Deterrence---In order to not commit bad action, deterrence is helpful.

                              "Jesus is our beginning and ending point." ---That was very well put---I think it captures Christian spirituality well. (...what of the Holy Spirit?...could one say it a substitute/representative of Jesus Christ?)

                              ONE God--Which God answers prayers the False God or the True God?---If we say the "True" God answers all prayers...and God is only One (There are not more than One "True" God), then ALL prayers go to that ONE God....because he is the only one that exists. In other words...whatever images or materials or concepts any person holds, All prayers are granted ONLY by the one God that exists. So, a demon or Satan or False God cannot send Prophets/Messengers, books of Guidance, answer prayers, etc. Humans can (choose to) deceive themselves---and that is why Humans are responsible for their actions---at Judgement day they cannot blame someone else for deception in order to escape accountability. That is why the etymology of the word "Kaffir" means--one who covers truth with falsehood (self-deception)....and comes from "farmer"---one who covers a seed with dirt. (In order to cover "truth" one must know it first---so Kaffir can only apply to someone who knows truth but covers it up---not to someone who does not know truth---which is why not all polytheists (mushrikeen) are kaffir, because some are simply ignorant....)

                              This means that Satan is a weak force---Satan can only tempt---to fall into his temptation (or not,) is a human choice. Pride, arrogance, ingratitude, are some characteristics of persons who may be prone to rejecting good and accepting bad. So what is so bad about idolatry, polytheism...etc? Division....or what in Islamic context is called Shirk---a world-view based on Shirk, Divides---it places a false barrier (division) between ONE God and his creations. It places divisions between his creations by promoting hierarchies. Divisions and hierarchies lead to arrogance, tensions, aggression which lead to wars. Wars harm and destroy what God has created. Unity (Tawheed) promotes a worldview of balance and harmony based on Equality (equivalent value of human worth) and Justice. Such a paradigm is more constructive towards fulfilling the Human obligation/responsibility of being God's Trustees on earth and managing and caring for all his creations. God is Most Compassionate, Most Merciful, Most Just and so he gives us Guidance and forgives our errors when we repent.

                              Truth---Truth cannot be corrupted---it can only be covered with deception---when the deception is removed---the Truth is seen. The Quran does not deny that Truth exists in all previous scriptures. (...because Truth does not perish.) For example---In Judaism, there are two Talmuds, the Yerushalmi and the Barelvi---one of them is correctly based on the Universality of God (God for all), the other is based on the concept of "My God"/God of Israel and therefore implies---"your God"/the "other" God. Can you see which one has been corrupted? (and...if one uses ones intellect and reason---one can see the buried truth)

                              Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 37a
                              "Whoever destroys a soul from Israel, the Scripture considers it as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life from Israel, the Scripture considers it as if he saved an entire world."

                              Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:1 (22a)
                              "Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world."

                              If Islam/Quran says previous scriptures have been corrupted---then ofcourse any Muslim must also take into consideration if the Quran (also a scripture) has been corrupted or not---to not consider such an option is to have blind belief which is understood as "superstition" and is against the advise of the Quran. Faith(Iman) = the use of ones intellect and reason to arrive at conviction. In order to arrive at conviction (Iman), all possibilities have to be considered---even the idea that a demon/evil spirit deceived the Prophet(pbuh)---and the Prophet himself considered this possibility---and we must use our intellect and reason to arrive at truth.

                              The Prophet(pbuh)---I am not familiar with "When the Moon Split". But if you have read His Biography, then You are probably aware that When the Prophet received revelations, he first recited these revelations to those closest to him, later he recited them in public. The duty of a Prophet is to bring the Message of Shema/Tawheed to the people of his community. He needed to fulfill this responsibility/obligation to God. Doing so created a lot of hardship for himself, his family, and his followers. They were persecuted, their lives threatened, and they were forced to leave their homes and tribes. However, God also opened a way for them. Initially the Christian King of Abyssinia gave some Muslims asylum. Later, the community of Yathrib invited the Prophet as Mediator and Teacher (of Islam) in order to bring peace to a community torn apart and nearly destroyed by tribal tensions and aggression. When the Prophet left for Yathrib, his followers followed---and this could have created a lot of scial tension and problems in Yathrib, because the immigrants were destitute---they had to leave everything behind. The Prophet solved this problem by instituting a system of mentorship, where the immigrants would be the teachers (of Islam) and the residents/families of Yathrib would be the mentors/host and teach them the customs of Yathrib. (The name was changed to Medina). The people of Medina voluntarily converted to Islam (some did not convert). The Constitution of Medina established the rights and responsibilities of all Muslim and Non-Muslim members of the "Ummah"/community. Both Muslims and Non-Muslims had a tax---the Non-Muslim tax was called the Jizya---in return, the Non-Muslims were exempt from protecting the "Ummah"/community in case of battle. Initially the Non-Muslims were required to honor their peace treaties---which required them to remain neutral....some did not, and the Jizya was implemented.

                              Wealth---As I explained, in Islam, a human being not only has rights, but also responsibilities---the first duty of a person/man is to care for his family---that is a responsibility/obligation that God has placed. To give away all one's wealth at the expense of one's family is not pleasing to God---it is irresponsible. That is why only excess wealth must be given away. Even if one is not married, a person still has responsibility for one's Parents who are family. The extended members of our family who are in ill health, widowed, orphaned, handicapped...etc also have a right to our wealth before it is used to help the larger community. Responsibility is an important concept in Islam. We were given the responsibility of trusteeship and this obligation must be fulfilled. God's will = Right belief that promotes right intentions that lead to right actions for the benefit of all of God's creations---and our family, our community, and humanity ARE God's creations.

                              So how is morality arrived at in Christianity?---I know the Catholic Church has Catechism which seems to list some of their ethico-moral stand---what about your Christianity?---is there any methodology to arrive at ethico-moral principles?

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