Friday, 7 May 2010

Where is The Truth, in Christianity or Islam?

”Paradise as an XXX-rated Movie”

Both, Christianity and Islam, are expressions of the theistic world view. In order to judge between the different tuth claims of these two world religions we need to formulate a different test for truth:

What is the purpose of life in Christianity and Islam?

God created mankind for a purpose. The Qur’an quotes Allah as saying in Surah 51, Al Dhariyat, verse 56:

"I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve me."

The word "serve", is a translation of the Arabic 'Ibadah," commonly rendered as, "worship." In this verse it means total obedience to Allah's commands. Muslims find their purpose in life by pleasing Allah through obeying his commands.

According to the Westminster Catechism the purpose of life for Christians is, "to glorify God and to enjoy him forever." This statement is based on verses such as: Isaiah 43:7: "... every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." Psalm 37:4: "Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart."

Whereas Christianity agrees with Islam in so far that one should obey God and in so doing one brings glory, honour to him, the aspect of fellowship with the Almighty is unique only to the God of the Bible! What a wonderful prospect Christians find expressed in the last book of the Bible describing their state in eternity:

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.". And he who sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the fountain of the water of life without payment. He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son." (Revelation 21:1-7)

These comforting words are contrasted sharply in the picture the Qur’an conveys about paradise in Surah 55, Al Rahman. There it is a place overflowing with sensual delights, material riches but where Allah is not there:

The Qur’anic view of paradise is already met here on earth by the rich and famous. However, experience shows that they are still not satisfied. The richest man in the world was once asked, "You have got everything one could wish for, is there still something you desire?" "Yes, I want more," was his sad reply.

The greatest need human beings have to live deeply fulfilling lives is never found in sensual delights and materialism alone but in love that expresses itself in caring fellowship. To a certain extent this heart felt need can be met in marriage, family and other relationships. However, since human beings are inclined to selfishness our ultimate need is only met in an imperfect way. Only a personal relationship with God in heaven, as offered in the Bible, can truly satisfy our hearts desire. In this most fundamental of all issues, the quest for the purpose of life, Christianity is far more systematically consistent then Islam. According to the former, the meaning of life is not only reflected in men's deepest need but also met eventually by God himself in heaven. Christianity as taught in the Bible explains these facts in the best way, not contradicting itself and in a manner that fits with the overall system. It therefore must be true. This does not mean that there is no truth in the Qur’an. After all, about 75% of it has originated from the Bible even though many of the facts have changed quite considerably. The point is that the Bible alone contains all truth necessary for our salvation and it alone gives the reader instruction on how to live his life in a way pleasing to God.

The test for truth established and applied above will be applied to further areas of disagreement between Muslims and Christians on the following web page: we pray that the attentive reader will be able to come to the right conclusion.



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