Does Islam worship the same God that Jews and Christians do, as they claim to?
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Debate Rounds (5)
Please, if you accept this open challenge debate, be a Muslim! To be otherwise makes this a pointless excercise in futility: -)
I'm not sure whether you want me to start my argument in the first Round or wait till next, so I'll just address the comments you made in your opening argument.
Muslims follow the same God of the Jews and the Christians. This is evidenced by the many Quranic verses which express very blatantly how they aLl follow the same God. The Quran also 'confirms what was sent down before it (meaning that it reiterates and expands upon the teachings of the bible and the Torah). There are no contradictions with this claim. The 'scholars' you talked about are incorrect. The Quran confirms everything that the bible has, except those meanings created and interpreted by men. The bible revealed by God is seen to be as different because people have added their own interpretations. This is where the discrepancies appear. Islam doesn't command people to follow a flawed religion, that's why It calls for Islam as opposed to another religion. The Quran acknowledges that the other scriptures were from God, but that they are misguided and misinterpreted by men.
Now, what seems to be needed is to find out whether there are in fact clear discrepancies, or if my opponent is correct by claiming they are merely conflicting interpretations. But, my problem with the idea that Islam follows the same deity as Jews and Christians goes well beyong all the blatant contradictions that I will list. It goes even further in to the very nature or the personification, or character traits that are reflected within the corresponding texts of these religions.
I happen to attending a class that is systematically (structured) examing Christian theology, so, it has motivated me to do this systematic examination here, and with that, I will be organizing woth numbers and letters, like in an outline...
1. General Comparisons:
A) General comparison of religuous texts.
For example, each book of the Holy Bible (included in both Old and New Testament) were written with the foregone conclusion that it was divinely revealed and clearly designated as "canonized Scripture". Whether the books were composed as songs unto the Lord as in Pslams, or Wisdom of the Lord as in Peoverbs, or historical accounts like Samuel, Kings and Chronicles, all of these books were written with the intent to be passed on for future generations to know how their Lord, God, Creator has dealt with them in the past, and what He expects from His people (what laws to obwy, how to reconcile their disobedience through sacrifices, etc.).
Not so, with the supposed revelations theough the "recitation" (aka Koran). In fact, over and over again, the Koran declares it was given "to the believers", and one passage even specifically declares it was given for Mecca and the surrounding area (Medina, and other close cities that commonly dealt with the Quarish and thw Kabbah).
B) the laws expressed with the text (again, generic overview not specifics)
Also, the evangelical Christian church (classified as Protestants and Christians, but not Jehovahs Witness or Mormons) is the only subsequent religion that followed Judaism that believes in the validity of the Old Testament. The Christian church does not hold the view that it's book superceds the Old Testament, or that it corrects it, that it fixes any supposed corruptions, or anything of the kind. (Just as a side note: the Jewish Scriptures has laws, such as those commonly referred to as "the Law of Moses", and these laws were given specifically addressed to the Jews. No non-Jew was ever expected to follow them - hese being the religious laws of sacrificial atonemebt, with the exception of converts, but there were also societal laws, and these were expected to be followed by any non Jew who happened to choose to live woth the Jews, and the non-Jew was expected to obey the same laws as the Jews. The Jews did not hold any special priviledges above the non-Jew, with one single exception... the non Jew who chose to live with Jews were not to practice their pagan religion.
Islam has a set up laws setup for the non Muslim, designating them as dhimis, and there is a clear blatant distinction between the two classes, one huge one being that only other monotheists are alowed the dhimi option, while any other (Budhist, Hindu, whatever) are to convert or die! As far as dhimis go, if a non Muslim killed a Muslim, even by accident, their life is forfeit with a "blood for blood" price, however, any Muslim that kills a dhimi, their life is not forfeit, because the life of a dirty khafir is not valued the same as the "best of creation" (aka a Muslim).
C) General comparisons of the House of Worships.
The Jewish Holy Scripture gives very distinct instructions on not just exactly how to worship (ceremonies) but also how to build the early Tabernacle and later the Temple. The Tabernacle being thw temporary tent that they disassembled and reassembled every time the Spirit of the Lord instructed them to move, when they were traveling theough the desert after leaving Egypt and before arriving at the Peomised Land. While, the Temple was a (somewhat) permanent building .
These clear instructions, in both ceremony and construction of the house of worship, is blatantly absent in the Koran. Any non believer who picks up a Koran can not even learn the most basic and founding pillar of Islam, how and when to pray. As mentioned before, the Koran declares it is written to the believer, but ironically enough, it uses the very same religious practices (ceremonies) that they were familiar with from all the pagan idols in the Kabbah.
One of the strongest arguments that I use to explain this is how ludicruous the notion is that Judaism and Christianity were corrupted so badly but al-ilah somehow preserved his proper ceremonies with pagans that were never given a clear revelation before Muhammad!
We are not talking about some generic concepts or interpretations here, but specific acts during specific ceremonies and even clearly given insteuctions on what ceremonial object goes where and what to do with it. In fact, there was clear insteuctions given on how to pack up the Tabernacle in order to be transported.
God gave clear and distinct instructions to follow, so that anyone not already familiar with these instructions could easily follow them not so with the Koran and the 5 daily prayers (what to say, when to pray, etc.) I will even go so far as to say that even the perscribed way of praying contradicts the previpus methods of prayer. Not to mention the fact that the fact that there is no sacrificial ceremony that Muslims must perform to atonemebt for their sins... in fact, the whole concept of atonemebt is absent from Islam, not so with Judeo-Christianity!
The plain and simple fact is that if Islam claims to "confirm" what came before, and the contradictions are greater then mere misinterpretation then we must conclude that Islam is false because of not agreeing with what it claims to confirm.
"As most skeptics and atheists (as well as a number of well-educated religious believers) know, the Bible is a work of humans. As such, just as any other book, it has been edited and revised quite a lot over the last couple of thousand years. Rather, I would like to address something which is easily verified by anyone: the fact that the Bible, contrary to the claims of many fundamentalists, is actually STILL being edited. And sometimes these edits have made quite significant deviations from the "original" text. Further, some of these edits have been made for what appear to be contemporary political purposes." (https://skepticalteacher.wordpress.com...)
This person provides the rationalization of the modification of the bible. The bible was written through many different people at many different times, so it is easy to see ample opportunity for modification of the text. There are quite a few contradictions in the bible, especially in those revealed through different time periods, on that site so a suggest you check it out. Your example would be more accurate, say, if you signed a checking account card, the signature is CHANGED, and then you sign your original signature somewhere else and state it to be correct and the other one false. To summarize my point, the Quran confirms EVERYTHING revealed before it, not anything that was added on or changed. (Sorry about the all-caps, there is no italics on this text format.)
If the bible has been changed, and the Quran is sent down to confirm the original parts and correct the false parts, it is obvious that there will be some discrepancies. That is why almost all Muslims today follow the Quran, as opposed to the Bible or the Torah. So the question then becomes, "how do we determine whether or not they both came from the source?" The answer is simple: look at the core of the texts, as well as the ideals that they promote. In most cases, except those in which the Bible/Torah was changed by man for personal or institutional gain, the texts teach the same ideals. You have said that the very nature or the personification, or character traits that are reflected within the corresponding texts of these religions presents a contradiction. I am not so sure what you mean by that, so I can only hope to assume that I am correct in saying that you believe the Quran has a different nature and different teachings of character traits. This is not the case as these religions all share the same nature (peace, rational thinking, and a devotion to the creator).
Here I will respond to your claims and contrasts of the religious texts.
A) The first sentence of your claim is what I agree with. Each book was written with the intent to be passed down to other generations and the conclusion that it was divinely revealed. The structure of the information revealed is not as important nor as relevant to this debate the actual content, so the differences here present no real contradiction in my argument. The Quran is obviously made with the intent to be passed on and it clearly is not meant to be given only to those who already believe. This is a very weak argument because it is evident in historical account that this has never been the case. If the Quran's information had never been given to those who did not already believe in it's message, there would be no religion today! Obviously Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) needed to spread the message, so he targeted people outside of the religion to bring them in. The Quran was revealed for all people so that they would become believers, not so that a targeted group of people can thrive on a secret message. This is evident because Muhammad (PBUH) worked throughout the latter part of his life to give people the message of the Quran, especially the non believers. Nowhere in the Quran will you find a verse saying that the Quran should be limited to one area.
The Quran was also given to benefit people from further generations. The Prophet Muhammad himself said this in his last sermon: "Therefore listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and TAKE THESE WORDS TO THOSE WHO COULD NOT BE PRESENT HERE TODAY. O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners." (Iqrasense.com) These principles were meant to be applied to every person who walked the face of the earth, not just the current generation of muslims in Arabia.
B) You have to be careful when throwing around terms such as "Islam has set up laws ..." because statements beginning with clauses such as these are often wildly misinformed. Islam does not set up laws, it sets up guidelines and the appropriate system for carrying out laws. The so-called "Islamic Law" (Shariah) is a reflection upon those individuals who deliberately choose to twist the meanings of the Quran and/or rush into understanding of the text and misinterpret it. Your claim about the price for killing a muslim being different for muslims and non muslims is a myth. A Muslim scholar and author said: "I have looked for a distinction in Islamic law between killing a Muslim and killing a non-Muslim. I cannot find proof that there is one. Islam defines murder as the unjust killing of an innocent person. Criminal homicide is murder in Islam."
(Jaleel, Asad. https://www.quora.com...).
C) The forms and exact methods of worship were not revealed in the Quran because God wished to highlight how the specifics of how one prays are not as important than the rational purpose behind the prayers. In this way, God allows more common ground between Christians, Jews, and Muslims because he shows that there differences in prayer styles were not important. The fact that the instructions on how to worship are less detailed shows no contradictions in the text, just differentiation. This could be due to the fact that there was now an imperfect religion in place of a pure one, and the prayer styles are a reflection of the differences in issues that were to be concentrated on. In this case, the distinct instructions for worship and ceremony were no longer as important as the other issues that are emphasized in the Quran.
The instructions to follow in Islam are quite evident. Simply follow the Quran and the accounts of Prophet Muhammad's life. However, you must use your rational mind to understand the Quran. You cannot just sloppily go out and apply every single action that you find in the Quran in your life because not every situation turns out the same way. You must analyze the content of the Quran to grasp principles, which in turn you may apply to everyday life. Only then are you a follower of Islam. You keep emphasizing the 'proper ceremonies' and the differences in the physical aspect of the religion, but the differences in this subject clearly brings to light a new message; move past the physical aspect of religion (don't abandon it altogether, as that could lead to negligence and other problems), and transcend into a more intellectual and spiritual aspect of it. By not citing the specifics of the new ceremonies, God makes it clear that although the ceremonies and rituals have some effect on one's belief (This is why he mentions prayer at all), the mental and spiritual part of the Quran is to be more highly emphasized.
"God gave clear and distinct instructions to follow, so that anyone not already familiar with these instructions could easily follow them not so with the Koran and the 5 daily prayers (what to say, when to pray, etc.) I will even go so far as to say that even the perscribed way of praying contradicts the previpus methods of prayer. " (Note: You might want to start using the spellcheck so the voters don't take off points for 'previpus'.)
You can still easily follow the instructions on what to say and how to pray, just google it or find a book on the life and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad. Even widespread tradition is in consensus when it comes to the steps of prayer and Whudu.
Last but not least, I will debate your atonement claim. The concept of atonement is not missing from Islam, in the normal sense of the world. Islam prescribes various methods of obtaining redemption for one's sins. The Christian concept of atonement is not in Islam because the religion does not endorse the death of Jesus for mankind's sins. The belief in Islam is that every baby is born anew, sinless and pure. Corruption only begins after they begin to mature and sin because of their environment or bad choices/mistakes. This stance makes more sense because it supports the doctrine of individual accountability meaning that what you get in the afterlife is determined by what you do here, not what Jesus did 2000 years ago. The reason for this apparent contradiction is, as I said earlier in this argument, due to the modification of the bible by men for personal, institutional, racial, or materialistic gain.
Thank you and I look forward to round 3!
The question of Original Sin -which the Christians gets from the Jewish texts, is one of what happened when Adam and Eve ate of the foebidden fruit. Many people, especially Muslims believe the "forbidden" ruit was nothing special, that God's restriction was one of merely providing a "don't do this" rule. However, that is not what the text supports. The fruit is actually from the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil". What this ends up meaning is that when Satan tempted Eve by claiming God is holding something (knowledge) back from her, this wad in fact *partially* true (and everyone knows that a good lie is based in part on truth). The lie that Satan told wasn't that God was withholding something - He was (the Knowledge of Good\Evil), the lie was that this knowledge wad beneficial to her and to Adam and that God was withholding something good.
How does this fit in with young children, you may be asking? Well, it is every good parents job to teach our children right from wrong, or good from evil, and every parent inevitably knows that we actually don't have to necessarily teach our children what not to do, that comes naturally (just ask any parent who has ever asked their child if they broke a lamp or whatever, knowing full welk that the child did it, and the child, fearing punishment tells a lie). Christians do have a concept of Priginal Sin, but it does not come in to play until a child reaches an age of "accountibility". We aren't given what that age is, and certainly, it may actually be different for each child, and there are actually exceptions to this "age of accountibility", specialky when it comes to the mentally retarded and other handicaps that prevent a person from understanding the full implications from right and wrong (such as Autism, which is different from retardation, and has a wide range of limitations and various degrees). We Cheistians believe we will see these people in Heaven and they will be fully "glorified" along with everybody else (meaning no deficiency whatsoever),just like we believe this of the young children who die wothout ever reaching the age of accountibility. (The Jewish faith believes this is, I believe 12 or 13, whichever one is when they have their bar mitzvah)
However, back to the original point of atonement. The Jews, as I have mentioned, have a very distinct and clear religipus ceremony that was explicitly perscribed to them for atoning for their sins. They were to bring a flawless lamb, or a turtledove, to the priests in order to be sacrificed (killed) on the alter for their sins. This was clearly and explicitly instructed to them, once again, in their divine revelation, the Torah (often called the Law of Moses, eventhough it was God who gave the laws, written by His finger on stone tablets when Moses climbed alone to a mountaintop). There is even, actually a "communal" sacrifice, where the chief priest actually lays their hand on a lamb, and confesses the sins of the people (confessing sins is a big part of the Christian doctrine, not so with Islam where you are perscribed 5 daily "vain repetition" prayers, which again, God explicitly warns against in the Bible!). Also, along woth the lamb that the sins are confessed onto, there is another lamb which is sacrificed.... there is two lambs in one ceremony and quiet coincidentally these two lambs are given very specific names, and when Jesus goes in to the wilderness and is baptised by John the Baptist, John calls Jesus by these names... the Lamb of God, and He who takes away the sins of the world. The second lamb that I previously mebtioned, that is sacrificed, was called the Lamb of God, because it was sacrificed on God's altar. The other lamb, the one where the chief priest lays his hands on and cobfesses the sins of the people, it is released in to the wildrness and represents the fact that God is the One who removes peoples sins from their record and "remembers them no more".
The idea of atoning for our sins (and Jesus's sacrifice being that atonement) is not just found in the Jewish books of Law. In the book of Isaiah, we find one of the most prominent of Messianic prophecies that says "by His stripes we are healed". But it's not just Messianic prophecies like Isaiah, or even Jeremiah, but all the way back in Genesis, after Adam and Eve sinned, God curses the ground (not so in the Koranic renditions of these same stories) and He causes thorns and thistles to grow up from the ground, so that man has to toil for his sustanence (food). It is no coincidence that when Jesus was crucified He was given a crown of thorns! That were placed on His head. The only way this could have been made any clearer was if the above mentioned two lambs, one or both of them were given a crown of thorns as well.
If Muslims want to aim to believe in the same God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, (and Jesus) then they need to explain why they do not perform these sacrifices that all other previous prophets performed! Not to mention the non atoning ceremonies that all previous prophets observed, like remembering when the Jews were saved from Egypt - they still to this day observe this rememberence ceremony, which acknowledges that God delivered them from slavery, and not any man, no matter how much they respect and revere Moses, they acknowledge it was God that did this.
This actually brings me to another point that is a clear and distinct difference between Yahweh God and al-ilah.
Whenever Yahweh performs a miracle (especially in the Old Testament), He does so in a way that His people can not possibly explain in any other way, except His divone intervention. I already mentioned Egypt, and how it was God, not Moses, who performed the miracle\curses of locust, turning blood into water, pestilence, frogs, and last but certainly not least, taking revenge on Pharoah by the killing of every first born whose house was not protected by the (once again) sacrificing of a lamb, and spreading that blood over the houses doorpost.
It is made abundantly clear throughout every book in the Old Testament, what it declares in Genesis when God told Adam and Eve that their homespun garments that they made from leaves, was not sufficient covering, and He sacrificed an animal and made clothing out of animal skin, and then told Adam and Eve "There is no remition\atonment for sin, without the shedding of blood"
But, back to God's miracles and how the Koran is disproven because of them. When God directed Gideon to go and attack a certain enemy, God told Gideon that there were too many soldiers in the army of God for the victory to be determined to be a miracle of God, but rather could be mistaken for an accomplishmebt of man. So, the Army was reduced (I forget all the details), but it wasn't reduced enough, so Gideon is told to go to a stream and have everyone drink and those who bend their heads down to drink directly from the stream, release them from the attack (because they were not paying attention to their surroundings), those who cupped their hands and drank from their hand, instead of directly out of the stream, were attentive warriors and therefore keep them for the attack. God's army ended up being heavily outnumbered, but God is not concerned with how many troops are in His army, nor of the armies "might", He knows that victory comes from Him and His might, and He is more concerned witg people who are not self-confident, but rather God confident. His tiny force that was extremely outnumbered, ended up with the victory and they did so without incurring any fatalaties or injuries.
On the other hand, we have the Korans version of victory, where we even have al-ilah DECEIVING Muhammad! (And keep in mind, the Bible says that Yahweh DOES NOT LIE, but if He did lie, do you think He would lie to the "best example of man", Muhammad himself?!?!)
When Allah showed them to you in your dream as few; and if He had shown them to you as many you would certainly have become weak-hearted and you would have disputed about the matter, but Allah saved (you); surely He is the Knower of what is in the breasts. And when He showed them to you, when you met, as few in your eyes and He made you to appear little in their eyes, in order that Allah might bring about a matter which was to be done, and to Allah are all affairs returned.
So, while Yahweh God wants His followers to see their lack of sufficiency in battle, al-ilah uses deception to make his greatest example of man feel self-confident in his ability and his armies sufficiency.
In fact, Muhammad was himself, afraid of al-ilahs deceptions being leveled against him (no wonder he "didn't know what al-ilah will do with me"
3551. Ibn Abbas said: "The Prophet used to supplicate, saying: "My Lord, aid me and do not aid against me, and grant me victory and do not grant victory over me, plot (scheme/connive/deceive) for me and do not plot (scheme/connive/deceive) against me,
Even Abu Bakr, Muhammads closest companion was afraid of al-ilahs deceipt!
"Although he had such a faith, which was too great to suffice all the inhabitants of the earth, he was afraid that his heart might go astray. ... he would say: "By Allah" I would not rest assured and feel safe from the deception of Allah (la amanu limakr Allah), even if I had one foot in paradise"
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