Monday, January 28, 2008

The Stumbling Block--Why some Christians can't embrace Islam (yet)

She believes there is only one god--Allah.
She believes that Muhammad was Allah's Messenger.
She believes the Qur'an is Allah's word, revealed to Muhammad.
She accepts the pillars of Islam as worship for Muslims.
She has started wearing hijaab even around non-Muslim friends and family.

And yet, she is not a Muslim. Why?

She cannot relinquish the idea that Jesus died for her sins.

Her story is not exceptional, and I think that many Muslims might not understand her position--in fact, I'm not sure I understand, though I might have been in her shoes myself. Until recently I didn't know how many women actually wear the hijaab before converting--in my case it was a while after, that I was ready to do so. But after talking to a number of women who have converted to Islam, I see that this belief of Christians, ingrained since birth, holds many back for a while before they overcome it.

Some of them can even logically refute it--but why does it hold such sway, such influence that it prevents them from embracing Islam? How does someone hold the idea that Muhammad is a Messenger of Allah (saws) and still believe that Jesus is their savior?

Allah says:
O Mankind! The Messenger hath come to you in truth from Allah: believe in him: It is best for you. But if ye reject Faith, to Allah belong all things in the heavens and on earth: And Allah is All-knowing, All-wise. (An-Nisaa 170)
O Mankind--Yaa Ayyuha An-Naas!! The Messenger has come to you. Not just to Arabs, not just to Muslims, not just to Gentiles, not just to non-Christians, but to all of mankind. He has come from Allah.

And then Allah says:
O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not "Three" - Cease! (it is) better for you! - Allah is only One Allah. Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender. (An-Nisaa 171)
To the "Christians" and the Jews, Allah says to avoid extremes, exaggerations, excesses in their religion, in their deen. And only say about Allah what is true. And then we see the extreme, the lie which has been uttered against Allah, and the correction of it. Christians are to say, we see here, what Jesus, Al-Maseeh, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was, and no more. Not divine, not a savior. And what about a Trinity? Allah says to not say it: laa taqooloo thalaathatun. Why? Because Allah is only one (waahid) ilaah. Why would Allah say that? Because saying "three" violates tawheed, doesn't it? Isn't this the most major sin in Islam?

So as long as Shaytaan can convince people that they should not reject this teaching regarding Jesus that his death saves them from sin, then he is keeping people from accepting the oneness of Allah. He makes them afraid to deny Jesus, but what does Allah say?
The Messiah does by no means disdain that he should be a servant of Allah, nor do the angels who are near to Him, and whoever disdains His service and is proud, He will gather them all together to Himself. (An-Nisaa 172)
I think it's fascinating to refer to Jesus in this ayah exclusively as Al-Maseeh, the Messiah, as Christ. This is his title of course, the words being similar in Arabic, Aramaic, and Hebrew (Maseeh, Messiah, Meshiach, respectively). Christians use this title thinking it means that Jesus is divine, or a redeemer, the son of God (which Allah corrects in the previous ayah), and other things--they use the title to afford Jesus a status higher than is fitting, so Allah bestows honor here on servitude, or maybe "honor" isn't the right word. We are all to be slaves of Allah, servants, and to do so we must obey. The righteous attributes here are submission and obedience, and humility. But pride and arrogance, as Allah explains in the following ayah, are deserving punishment. Anyway, Allah describes Jesus, the Messiah, as being a willing, submitting, obedient servant to Allah. And then Allah reminds:
But to those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, He will give their (due) rewards,- and more, out of His bounty: But those who are disdainful and arrogant, He will punish with a grievous penalty; Nor will they find, besides Allah, any to protect or help them. (An-Nisaa 173)
Allaah will forgive and reward those who believe (in Allah and His Messengers, as mentioned in the ayah 171: fa'aaminoo billaahi warusulihi) and work righteousness. The Christian believes that forgiveness is for those who believe in the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus washing away sins, which Allah corrects here. And in the last phrase of the ayah--other than Allah there is no protector, or defender--also refutes the idea entertained by Christians that their salvation depends on Jesus.

The passage here is concluded with two more ayaat:

O mankind! verily there hath come to you a convincing proof from your Lord: For We have sent unto you a light (that is) manifest. (An-Nisaaa 174)


Then those who believe in Allah, and hold fast to Him,- soon will He admit them to mercy and grace from Himself, and guide them to Himself by a straight way. (An-Nisaa 175)

We see here that all of mankind is again being addressed, right? That there is proof, a light sent down... the Qur'an. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir for more on that.) But more importantly, all proof has come from Allah so there is no excuse for not accepting what one reads in the previous ayaat. What more proof is needed that the Christian claims about Jesus are wrong? Holding fast to Allah here is also holding to the Qur'an.

So not only is the claim of Christians refuted here, and the belief about Jesus which tends to block people from fully embracing Islam. But also, Allah is saying how to overcome it--that's what the last ayah is saying, isn't it? That people should believe in Allah and His proofs, and hold on to that. And doing so will result in mercy and grace from Allah, and says that Allah will guide these people to Him on a straight path. That's what we pray for in salaat, in Surat al-Fatihah, Ihdinaa as-Siraat al-Mustaqeem. Guide us to the straight path. So guidance results from believing and "holding fast" and this is guidance from Allah, guidance on a straight path, one without deviation. A path of Islam, a path that can lead the person to Paradise.

Any (and all) mistakes are from myself--please correct any errors you might find.

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

By Allah, I love some of the posts I've read on your blog because of what I take away from it. the words are soft and sweet and pure.

may Allah bless you sister.
Your sister

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy,
I think the main confusion here from the Islamic perspective is that Christians DO believe in one God. The teachings of Jesus Christ in the New Testament are truth. No other prophet or divinely inspired person ever said anything close to what Jesus said. Can you find anything bad that Jesus said in Scriptures? I personally believe this truth can only come from God him/herself. The word was made flesh. Also Catholic women wore veils all the time when attending mass back in the day.......


God Bless,

Jon

Anonymous said...

Salams Amy,

That was a very nice/well-written/organized/correct grammer-ized (i know that's not a word, DO NOT CRITICIZE ME) essay you wrote there haha. Seriously though, these blogs look very interesting. I look forward to reading more of your stuff inshallah. Keep up the good work Amy!!!!

love ya

Mina

Amy said...

Anonymous: Thanks for the comment. :-)

Jon: I thought idly about what you might comment about this post. I didn't lose sleep or anything but I did kinda wonder. I'm going to give up on saying for certain what "the Islamic perspective" is regarding Christianity because sometimes there are varying and contradictory perspectives, and Christianity is far too broad to include all the possibilities for which different perspectives are required.

We can make a case that Christians believe in "one God" according to Islam. But more importantly, we can also make a very strong case that Christians commit shirk in their beliefs in the Trinity.

Now, you said, "No other prophet or divinely inspired person ever said anything close to what Jesus said." I don't know why you said that, it's patently not true. In fact, Jesus frequently (according to the Gospel writers) referenced the teachings of previous prophets, confirming, expounding, and correcting them. In addition, many of the teachings of Jesus have been said also by Muhammad, saws. And not vague generalities either, but sometimes word-for-word parallels. (Like giving in charity so that the left hand doesn't know what the right is giving!)

You said that 1) teachings in the NT are truth, 2) those teaching don't resemble anything else, and 3) rhetorically assuming there is nothing "bad" therein. I can't answer if there is anything "bad" because that's so vague. Suspicious, perhaps, yes I could find things that are suspicious. But it doesn't diminish my estimation of Jesus as a Prophet. In fact I believe, as the Qur'an says, that Allah swt taught him the Gospel--the Gospel being the message Jesus taught. So in essence it is coming from God. (Why did you say "herself?") But that doesn't mean that a word became flesh. Allah says "be" and flesh can be created but... anyway. The message coming from God doesn't mean that Jesus died for anyone's sins. Keedoke?

Amy said...

Minas!!!!!!!!!!

I'm so happy you managed to correctly use the word "your." Big hug. :-) Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting. See you soon inshaaAllah.

coolguymuslim said...

assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,
mashallah, i really like this post. jazakAllahkhair for sharing. Also check out: http://mustaqeem.wordpress.com/2008/01/30/how-to-answer-the-trinity/ on giving dawah to christians...

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy,
I am not trying to debate your post. I am just giving you an honest opinion from the Christian perspective on why Christians don't accept Islam. We could go back and forth on faith and beliefs and the oneness of God but Maybe I am different because I am a Catholic rather than a born again and don't subscribe to the same polemics.

All holy texts are "Suspicious" by nature. Conflicts of beliefs will always be there. But even the Bill Mahers of world can not really argue the morality of the teachings of Jesus that were recorded in the scriptures. It is a good message. As I said before though, unfortunately people use Jesus to define their own shortcomings just as Muslims do with an excuse for violence from The Quran and Ahadith.

God Bless,

Jon

Anonymous said...

Oh Amy! PS: I said herself because I have no idea if God is a male or a female. Remember I am married and women rule the roost. :)

God Bless,

Jon

Amy said...

Jon,

Obviously there are LOTS of reasons why Christians don't accept Islam. MOST don't believe Muhammad is a Prophet so start with that. But I think you missed the point of the post--I was talking about a specific group of people who DO accept Islam, they believe Muhammad is a Prophet and they believe in the Qur'an but they can't embrace Islam for fear of 'leaving Jesus.' And maybe this group of people includes mostly Christians from the 'born again' denominations because the teaching I described in the post is emphasized for them, maybe not so much for Catholics.

And PS--God is neither male nor female and is above such constructs. And while the male pronoun is suitable for that, the female pronoun is not.

Anonymous said...

And PS--God is neither male nor female and is above such constructs. And while the male pronoun is suitable for that, the female pronoun is not.

Hi Amy,
I was trying to be funny. ;)And yes I have noticed there are a lot of Unitarians who accept Mohammed as a prophet but not "the main guy" so to speak. Good luck.


God Bless,

Jon

Amy said...

Jon,

I'm not talking about Unitarians, but people who have seriously studied Islam and really like Islam, and have even begun to practice parts of it, like the salaat, and fasting some days, and who want to embrace Islam and be a Muslim but are sort of "stuck." That's who I'm talking about.

Ibn Abd-el-Shafy said...

Jazaakillaahu khairan for an excellent post...

Mind a comment on a comment? After that I have a comment on your post.

"I think the main confusion here from the Islamic perspective is that Christians DO believe in one God."

No, absolutely not. Christians do not, absolutely do NOT "believe in one God." Monotheism on this earth is only practiced by one way: Islaam. No other way. This is defining things in very stark, black and white terms. And yes, this is exactly what we as Muslims should do on the core issue that makes Islaam... ISLAAM.

God is One. No son. No mother. No father. Nothing is similar to Him. Please note: not even similar. Catholics and all Christians do not accept these statements, so they do NOT accept One God. They accept multiple artificial constructs, and do not have any valid answer to questions that Allaah has thrown at them...

- is Allaah capable of anything, including forgiving whoever He wants?
- does Allaah need to have a son, need to have *anything*?

There is only one way for Christians to answer these questions. They must at some point use two words together. Two words.

Glory be to Him: you will find that Muslim scholars avoid those two words with tremendous fear in their books. What are they? "Allaah" and "cannot". They detested that those two words would come together as a single expression, and would disown themselves of anyone who said it. And yet, Christianity is built upon those two words taken together. Islaam is built upon "Allaah can, Allaah does, He says 'Be', and it is." Should Allaah decide to forgive whoever He wishes to forgive, that is His perogative.

...After going to Catholic high school, I am frankly stunned that anyone could claim that they are monotheists. Glory be to Him...

Secondly, one comment on your post.

I am positive that your post has actually only scratched the surface. Allaah has explained in the Qur'aan and Sunnah the various forms that shirk can take, as well as the motivation behind shirk. I believe that these issues of tawheed and shirk are covered in complete detail, but Shaytaan loves to present things under different names. If there are Christians who, as you say, are unable to remove the false idea from their heads that 'Jesus died for me', the Qur'aan covers their position in complete detail. After thinking about your post for a while, it seems to me that different Christians will have different reasons for sticking with that idea.

But all of the reasons are covered in the Qur'aan.

- perhaps that person is seeking safety, and is unaware that Islaam guarantees Paradise to whoever accepts Allaah as One
- perhaps that person is seeking the love of God, and Christianity presents that emotion in such a seductive package "...he died for *me*...", and they are unaware that God's love is available to anyone who accepts Him and follows the path of Islaam. And I really must reiterate, no one died for anyone's sins at the behest of God. Glory be to Him! What injustice would that be.
- perhaps that person is especially afflicted with the false guilt of Christianity, and Islaam addresses that too as a main driver in pushing people away from God... "Allaah does not forgive that He should be associated with anyone, and He forgives anything less than that to whomever He wills."
- perhaps that person is proud of being a Christian, or of the races that have typically been Christian, and being associated with Islaam would mean being associated with other races. "Allaah does not look to the color of your skins..."
- perhaps that person thinks that they are betraying Jesus by leaving off this false idea. And that too is covered in the Qur'aan; Shaytaan will mislead us by playing to our emotions - good emotions such as loyalty and love - and having us attach those emotions to what does not *deserve* them. Little do Christians know how venerated Jesus is in Islaam, how deeply beloved he is. But he is venerated as a Prophet and Messenger of Allaah, no more and no less. To accept him as that is the real loyalty, and to fall for the deception of him being the son of God is the betrayal.

I believe that these are all underlying reasons why a person might falter at giving up the false idea of Jesus dying for mankind's sins. There are other possible reasons too - but the number is limited. Shirk manifests itself in a finite number of forms, but it is painted in an infinite number of ways by the master of deception.

Anything good here is from Allaah, and anything which is evil is from me and/or Shaytaan.

yours.

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

No, absolutely not. Christians do not, absolutely do NOT "believe in one God." Monotheism on this earth is only practiced by one way: Islaam. No other way. This is defining things in very stark, black and white terms. And yes, this is exactly what we as Muslims should do on the core issue that makes Islaam... ISLAAM.

God is One. No son. No mother. No father. Nothing is similar to Him. Please note: not even similar. Catholics and all Christians do not accept these statements, so they do NOT accept One God. They accept multiple artificial constructs, and do not have any valid answer to questions that Allaah has thrown at them.

Hi,
Catholics do believe in One God. I am sorry you didn't get that at Catholic School. Once again I am not here to debate on Amy's blog. Amy and I have done that on numerous occasions and I believe neither Amy or I are going to change our belief systems. If I wanted to debate I could point to Islamic teachings that says God's spirit is everywhere. That doesn't make him two Gods. Anyway Amy who are these "Christians" who accept Mohammed as a prophet are you referring too?

God Bless,

Jonfan

Jerry said...

I think that they probably have a hard time leaving Jesus as a prophet because they KNOW that Jesus IS God. He isn't part of any triple header. He IS God just as the Holy Spirit IS God.

If you can show me where shirk is committed in the belief that God can do whatever he feels is necessary to get his message to the people (ie having himself be born into a human form - not the same as being 'BEGAT'- and going through human pain in the process). If you don't believe that God has the ability to do that then I would have to say you are not a Muslim since Muslims believe that God can do anything.

Amy said...

Well, Jerry, some people had a hard time accepting that the world was round because they just KNEW that it was flat.

The better way to categorize the Muslim belief is that God can do what God WILLS. That God has power over all things. God says he has no son. Another critical piece of the Muslim belief is that God is ABSOLUTELY NOT like the "creation" because God is the Creator.

To put the Creator inside the creation (which is what happens when you said He was "born into human form" may Allah protect us from such statements) is to violate the Muslim understanding of God.

So basically your comment didn't make any sense. Thanks for trying. Of the two of us, the one who isn't a Muslim is the one who says about Allah what Allah has rejected.

jerry said...

Amy, I wasn't trying to debate who's right, the Christian or the Muslim. I'm just stating what the Christian believes and why Muslims who insist that Christians believe in more than one God are wrong in saying that.

Again, they believe that Jesus is not the SON of God. He IS God to them. Again, God can do whatever he wills and he willed to come down the Earth in human form, via a VIRGIN which Muslims do not deny, to let the people know him. He can do that if he so wills and Christians believe that he so willed it, and did it, so that they could be saved by believing that he could do that and put himself through that human suffering for their sake, so they could better understand how he loves them and as an example of how he wanted them to live their lives. You know, WWJD?

"Another critical piece of the Muslim belief is that God is ABSOLUTELY NOT like the "creation" because God is the Creator."

And the Christian belief is that God can do whatever God wants to do. You can use the term 'wills' if you prefer but it means the same thing. The point is, they don't believe there is more than one.

How is a Christian supposed to accept Muhammed as a higher prophet than Jesus when they believe that Jesus was born of a virgin and performed miracles that only God can do such as raising the dead and healing lepers and blind people with just a touch just to name a few. That would be a hard thing to get around I'd guess. How do Muslims get around that. They believe that Jesus did all those things, right?

Amy said...

Jerry,

Again, they believe that Jesus is not the SON of God. He IS God to them.

That's just nonsense. Ask any Christian, seriously. They believe that God is a "father," "son," and "holy spirit," and Jesus is rather EXPLICITLY called "the son of God." Period. I mean you can't even argue that, no matter how much you want to. God has no son, because God says so.

Moreover, Jesus was born of Mary, with no father. Adam and Eve both had no mother or father. So by your logic Adam is greater than Jesus, no?

Jesus was born. Therefore Jesus was not God. God has no son, no partners, no distractions in the worship we devote to Him. He is our only Lord, Lord of all. And He is the only One providing for us and nourishing us, giving us life and death, and He alone deserves our love and worship. If you are worshiping a creation instead, as Jesus was created, then you've admitted a partner in the worship of Allah.

Ibn Abd-el-Shafy summed it up immediately when he said: God is One. No son. No mother. No father. Nothing is similar to Him. Please note: not even similar.

jerry said...

Amy, Do you like to be told (by non-Muslims)what Muslims believe? Then why do you tell Christans what they believe? Obviously, when you were a Christian you didn't 'get it' and you have bought into that story that Muslims tell about those shirk-y Christians and their three Gods. But, it is not true and you will never be able to convince a Christian that they believe in more than one God anymore than you can convince anyone that knows me that I am more than one man just because I am a father, husband, son, teacher and an employee.

Amy said...

Jerry,

To say that Christians do not believe Jesus is "the son of God" is really silly on your part. You can whine to the contrary and I'm sorry if it is inconvenient for you because it demonstrates the shirk... but consider this. You say I didn't "get it" as a Christian--that's not true. I know Christians definitely THINK that they are monotheistic.

But that's not enough, to think you are monotheistic and not act accordingly. This means that you don't "get" what is actually tawheed and what is actually shirk.

Every prophet prior to Jesus has of course preached the same message--the same message. They warned the people to stop their bad actions, to repent to Allah, to worship Allah alone without any partners.

The shirk comes in when Jesus is made to be such a "partner." When instead of reserving all one's love for Allah, the Christian splits love with Jesus. And the reason it is shirk is that the Christians are wrong--that is obvious to people with reflection and guidance.

I depend only on Allah for provision, and know that my status in the Hereafter demands that I acknowledge that only Allah has the power to forgive and have mercy on me, and so I ask Him for that, and Him alone.

But there's no way I can convince you or anyone, and in truth I'm not trying to. Allah is the one who changes the hearts, not me.

jerry said...

Amy: "Any (and all) mistakes are from myself--please correct any errors you might find."

LOL, but you won't accept the corrections. Good luck with that as you go through life.

Anonymous said...

Many people were called sons of God in the Old Testament. This title usually applied to Kings, princes, and judges. But when scripture speaks of Jesus they refer to him as the 'Son of the Living God' which was understood as the messiah. "God is with us".



"At that time Jesus answered and said: I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones. Yea, Father; for so hath it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered to me by my Father. And no one knoweth the Son, but the Father: neither doth any one know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal HIM. Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you" (Matthew 11:25-30; Luke 10:21, 22).

"Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me you, that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:21-23).

"Going therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost... and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world" (Matthew 28:19, 20).

John 10
27 My sheep hear my voice. And I know them: and they follow me. 28 And I give them life everlasting: and they shall not perish for ever. And no man shall pluck them out of my hand. 29 That which my Father hath given me is greater than all: and no one can snatch them out of the hand of my Father. 30 I and the Father are one.


I am not going to make any comments on the above scripture. I just thought it might help add to Jerry and Amy's discussion.

God Bless,

Jon

Amy said...

I'm sorry I had to hide the comments for a while. I had a personal reason for doing so and... and now I think I can respond to them better inshaaAllah. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Amy said...

Jon said Many people were called sons of God in the Old Testament. This title usually applied to Kings, princes, and judges. But when scripture speaks of Jesus they refer to him as the 'Son of the Living God' which was understood as the messiah. "God is with us".

You are correct, that many people were called "sons of God" in the "Old Testament." Jesus, likewise, is called the "son of God." However, that is not the meaning of "Messiah." This is just a point of note which you can look up, hopefully, in a Bible dictionary. The word Messiah is Hebrew for "anointed." Recall the anointing of David by Samuel, indicating that he was next to be king. I myself am not sure what role this plays in my deen, but I do know that it does not mean "God" nor "Son of God" nor "Redeemer" or "Savior." It means anointed. It might just mean that Jesus will rule the world when he returns, and that is why he is called Messiah, because he has been anointed to do that. And I don't know that for sure, it's something I've given only a little thought to, but I do know that linguistically "Messiah" doesn't mean "son of God" or "God with us" (which is actually "Immanuel," something Jesus, incidentally, is never called.)

:-)

Amy said...

Amy, Do you like to be told (by non-Muslims)what Muslims believe? Then why do you tell Christans what they believe? Obviously, when you were a Christian you didn't 'get it' and you have bought into that story that Muslims tell about those shirk-y Christians and their three Gods. But, it is not true and you will never be able to convince a Christian that they believe in more than one God anymore than you can convince anyone that knows me that I am more than one man just because I am a father, husband, son, teacher and an employee.

Jerry, when I requested corrections, I meant from Muslims. No offense or anything, but what I was afraid of was being wrong about Islam, and if I said something incorrect about Islam or the Qur'an, that's what I wanted pointed out to me.

You told me that Christians don't believe that Jesus is the son of God. But they do believe that. You also told me that they believe Jesus IS God. That's true, they believe that too. I believe Jon has posted some verses illustrating this idea as well.

One interesting thing though is that I never said Christians worship three gods. I don't recall every saying that. Shirk? Yes, I believe the Muslims that Christians are committing shirk, and I base that assessment on an ayah from the Qur'an which I quoted in my post--4:75.

But let me explore something with you: I am more than one man just because I am a father, husband, son, teacher and an employee.
Father, Husband, Son, Teacher, Employee. Is this your analogy to God? That God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the same way that you are Father, Son, Husband and so on?

If so, then I wonder, who is God's father? And who is God's son? Because the way I've always understood Christianity is thus: The Father is God, the Holy Spirit is God, and Jesus (the Son) is God. Jesus is also the son of God. So is Jesus the son of God, and the Father at the same time? Why not call Jesus the Father? You are not your own son, and you are not your own father. But in your analogy, Jesus is God's son, and God is God's Father because Jesus is God and so is the Father without any difference.

You define yourself based on externals--you are a husband to your wife, a son to your father, and a father to your son. Not a son to yourself and a father to yourself and so on--and that is how you describe God, without externals (because that is the nature of monotheism.)

To be quite honest with you though, the Trinity does not hold up to my personal understanding of God. It is, for me, incompatible. :-)

aj said...

Great insight amy =D

Anonymous said...

HI Amy,
I should have been clearer. When Peter acknowledges Christ as the Messiah Christ is referred to as the Son of the Living God. Matthew 16:16. He is also referred to as the "Son of David" and the "Son of Man"! Now what does all that mean? hmmmmmmm. ;)

God Bless,
Jon

Anonymous said...

Just to add you are correct. Messiah means anointed. Christos is greek for Messiah. Also in reference to Christ never being literally named Immanuel Isaiah 9:6 states he will also be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

God Bless,

Jon

Amy said...

Thanks AJ, and thanks for stopping by.

Jon, "Now what does all that mean? hmmmmmmm. ;)" If I were a Christian I'd be confused too. Come be Muslim. :-)

"Also in reference to Christ never being literally named Immanuel Isaiah 9:6 states he will also be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
It just makes me question Matthew's choice of using that passage as a prophecy because, oddly enough, it isn't actually fulfilled. ;-)

But that's ok. Come be Muslim and you won't have to worry about it.

Anonymous said...

Amy,
Thanks for the invite but I will have to decline. :) You are however welcome to come to The Catholic Church or as some wacky fundies call it: Satan's Synagogue! muahhhhh. Honestly the biggest problem I have with Islam is the judging of people's hearts. Nobody knows what a person's true intentions are and to base judgment of souls from The Quran doesn't sit well with me. It is the same as the born agains telling me I am going to burn in hell. When I am told this by these folks I say, "you don't know one thing about me". It's insulting and I am sure you don't appreciate thinking all Muslims are out to kill people. The thing is I am strong in my beliefs and the big bad world doesn't scare me anymore. I went through that when I was your age and a few years after that. So my personal confidence isn't shook up by remarks, 9/11, Global Warming, and other fear factors. It's enough to make your head spin. My own belief is praying to God however and practicing the golden rule can free you and help you make clear decisions. I will tell you the biggest fear out there though, for me at least, is if someone puts laws (religious or otherwise) that take away that right to decide. Ok rant done! :)

God Bless,

Jon

Amy said...

Jon,

I know "born agains" as you put it tend to not be afraid of telling people that they're going to hell. Like, we have this "preacher" on campus that will tell people that (especially the Muslim sisters in hijab) that they're going to hell.

But Muslims can't do that. We don't know and judgment is reserved for Allah. A person could live his whole life like the people of Paradise and then do one act which lands him in hellfire. And a person could live his whole life like the people of hellfire, and then at the end of the life become a believer and enter Paradise. Only Allah can see what is in people's hearts.

Anonymous said...

Only Allah can see what is in people's hearts.

Hi Amy,
I am glad you said that and you believe that but many times I have been called "the infidel Jonfan" without instigation.

Amy said...

I believe it because it's what I've been taught. And in fact, I paraphrased an actual hadith in that post (see: Hadith 4 http://fortyhadith.iiu.edu.my/hadith04.htm")

Are you a believer, or not? And by believer, I mean, do you believe there is no god except for Allah, and that Muhammad is His final messenger? Because if you say no... that's why someone might call you an "infidel" or "kaafir" in Arabic. But even so, that still might not be correct.

More importantly, they don't know if you are going to hell; to say that you don't believe is not judgment, nor a sentence, just a statement of fact. Would you agree with it?

Anonymous said...

HI Amy,
I understand the belief of the Muslim but YOU know people use the word kuffar as a discriminatory term. On the reverse side I could say since you reject Jesus you are going to hell as Scripture clearly states from this exegesis but I can't make that judgment call. For example I don't believe a tribesman in the bushes of Africa who follows a different spiritual path but yet leads a decent life is going to the pangs of hell because he doesn't know of Islam or Christianity and the people who have the audacity to proclaim that are not my type of people. But for me the teachings of Catholicism is the way to go and the clear truth but I am not going to tear anyone down because of my beliefs. In my experience people usually tear themselves down and then God puts you in the right moment to say something that clicks to those in pain.

God Bless,

Jon

Amy said...

Maybe if other people are calling you mean names, you should remind them that it's not very nice.

Am I correct to say that, in your opinion, I need to be a Catholic to be guided?

Anonymous said...

Maybe if other people are calling you mean names, you should remind them that it's not very nice.

Hi Amy,
Good one. lol.


Am I correct to say that, in your opinion, I need to be a Catholic to be guided?

I didn't say that. Many people who aren't Catholic have success in life. Spiritually though my belief is the teachings of Christ that were given to the Catholic Church benefit people the most if understood properly.

God Bless,

Jon

Amy said...

Then can I ask you this: is the purpose of religion for success in life? Maybe success in the next life? Or something else?

Anonymous said...

Then can I ask you this: is the purpose of religion for success in life? Maybe success in the next life? Or something else?

Hi Amy,
I believe spiritual success starts on Earth and carries into the next life. People can be monetarily successful but their life is in shambles. See Britney. I don't consider Catholicism a 'religion' in the traditional sense. I see it as a way reach a spiritual self who does good through the teachings of God.

Amy said...

Can you tell me what you mean by spiritual success?

Anonymous said...

Can you tell me what you mean by spiritual success?

Hi Amy,
To grow in and to have a relationship with God. How do you do this? I guess this is where we differ. It is a constant journey though. We are human after all and we all do suffer to one extent or another. I myself am not a "perfect" Catholic but I can tell you from my experiences that once a person recognizes their own mistakes they are opened to a whole other world.
Ego, selfishness, anger and fear are all things that can stunt one's spiritual growth. But recognition of our own faults and asking for forgiveness will in turn make you a more loving person (even if you don't recognize it) towards others and that is just one aspect that helps you do God's will and in turn you are growing spiritually as person.

God Bless,

Jon

Amy said...

So spiritual success is to grow in a relationship with God? Why?

Anonymous said...

Why?

Because God is the creator. He is the foundation of all that is good. He is who guides us spiritually when we ask and even when we don't. All things spiritual are dependent on God in my belief.

God Bless,

Jon

Amy said...

What about things that aren't spiritual? Like how much money we make--does that depend on God, in your view?

Anonymous said...

What about things that aren't spiritual? Like how much money we make--does that depend on God, in your view?

That's a loaded question because of course you want to make enough money to support your family and do that ethically as possible. It all depends on how you handle yourself while earing your money. Only you know at the end of the day if that is in accordance with your God. So in connecting the teachings I believe with my career I would say yes God has a part of me earning my money as well as other successes and failures of my life. He is everywhere! I am very thankful for the blessings I receive. I don't have anything against the rich or the poor. I don't believe in belittling Class status but hey at the end of the day give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is his and be careful who you thank for that. I hope that isn't too confusing.


God Bless,

Jon

Amy said...

That's not quite what I was asking, but perhaps I didn't understand what you said before. In fact, I really didn't understand your definition of spiritual success, it seemed more like you were describing a spiritual *process* rather than success.

Did you mean that the result of being spiritual is being a good person? In other words, if you are spiritual, then you will have a relationship with God and be a good person?

Anonymous said...

Did you mean that the result of being spiritual is being a good person? In other words, if you are spiritual, then you will have a relationship with God and be a good person?

Amy,
Spiritual success comes from God and yes I believe it is a multi level process in our Earthly life. For example in Catholicism you don't become an altar boy and have the spiritual awareness of the Pope. You become more spiritually aware as you learn and pray though for that moment while you are an altar boy your spirit might be spiritually successful until you graduate to the next level. I was responding to your question about spiritual success in this life and the next. Specifically I was speaking about this life. I believe In the next life we reach the pinnacle of that success.

As far as being a good person God's teachings and treating others well is one in the same.

God Bless,

Jon

Amy said...

Do you believe in any kind of success that does not come from God?

Anonymous said...

Do you believe in any kind of success that does not come from God?

Complete success? No. People lie, cheat, and sleep their way to the top all the time. That is not in accordance with my definition of Godly success.

God Bless,

Jon

Amy said...

Here's a question, then. Do you think anyone can achieve money, recognition, a home, a spouse, children... can anyone have any of this without God? In other words, without God allowing them to have it?

Anonymous said...

Here's a question, then. Do you think anyone can achieve money, recognition, a home, a spouse, children... can anyone have any of this without God? In other words, without God allowing them to have it?


Ahhhh Predestination vs: Free will. The crux of all our faiths! God giveth and God taketh away. ;)

Amy said...

I wasn't really getting at predestination vs. free will. My point was more specifically that everything comes from God. Someone might sleep with the boss to get a promotion, and we can agree that it is wrong. However, could she have gotten promoted if God did not let her succeed in her intentions?

So you say "God giveth and God taketh away," but what I meant to clarify was that "ONLY God..." yet I'm afraid I'm out of time for today, lol

Anonymous said...

However, could she have gotten promoted if God did not let her succeed in her intentions?

How do you know I was speaking about a female? :)

Anyway, your question is kind of what I was getting at with predestination because God wrote the laws of mankind and the universe. We have the free will to sin to get ahead if we choose but that doesn't mean it is following God's law. But also on the other end it could be because of sinning that a person finds God. It's all so heady.

Amy said...

About the "female." I made a decision... hardly makes a difference.

What I want to ask you is, why should anyone follow God's law?

Anonymous said...

What I want to ask you is, why should anyone follow God's law?

Hi Amy,
The world we live in can benefit from following God's law. Now of course there are different versions of "God's Law" so that leads to problems. I do believe however if one avoids:

* 1.1 Lust (Latin, luxuria)
* 1.2 Gluttony (Latin, gula)
* 1.3 Greed (Latin, avaritia)
* 1.4 Sloth (Latin, acedia)
* 1.5 Wrath (Latin, ira)
* 1.6 Envy (Latin, invidia)
* 1.7 Pride (Latin, superbia)

and replaces it with:

* Chastity (Latin, Castitas) (purity, opposes Lust, Latin Luxuria) —

Embracing of moral wholesomeness and achieving purity of body and thought through education and betterment.

* Temperance (Latin, Temperare) (self-control, opposes Gluttony, Latin Gula) —

Practicing self-control, abstention, and moderation.

* Charity (Latin, Liberalitas) (will, generosity, opposes Greed, Latin Avaritia) —

Generosity. Willingness to give. A nobility of thought or actions.

* Diligence (Latin, Industria) (ethics, opposes Sloth, Latin Acedia) —

A zealous and careful nature in one's actions and work. Decisive work ethic. Budgeting one's time; monitoring one's own activities to guard against laziness.

* Patience (Latin, Patientia) (peace, opposes Wrath, Latin Ira) —

Forbearance and endurance through moderation. Resolving conflicts peacefully, as opposed to resorting to violence. The ability to forgive; to show mercy to sinners.

* Kindness (Latin, Humanitas) (satisfaction, opposes Envy, Latin Invidia) —

Charity, compassion, friendship, and sympathy without prejudice and for its own sake.

* Humility (Latin, Humilitas) (modesty, opposes Pride, Latin Superbia) —

Modest behavior, selflessness, and the giving of respect. Giving credit where credit is due; not unfairly glorifying one's own self.


things can be different.


God Bless,

Jon

Steve France said...
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Steve France said...
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