Skip to comments.No offence, but Muslims love Jesus as much as Christians do
Posted on 12/18/2001 4:10:48 PM PST by Pokey78
SOME years ago, an agnostic friend of mine married a Jewish woman who practised her faith seriously. He took instruction in Judaism and seemed quite likely to convert - but eventually did not. His chief reason was that he remained agnostic. But there was another obstacle that surprised even himself: "I found that I just did not want to give up Jesus."
In European culture, there is no getting away from Jesus even if you are agnostic. True, Nietzsche tried to reject him with detestation and contempt, calling him an "idiot", a purveyor of a sick, decadent view of the world. Nietzsche thought that the only figure in the New Testament who commands respect is Pontius Pilate. Yet the very ferocity of Nietzsche's onslaught on Jesus showed how strong in his heart was the image he wanted to destroy.
Now, what if my friend had married a Muslim? The interesting thing is that he could have kept Jesus - not the Jesus who was the Son of God, admittedly, and who was crucified, but certainly the Jesus who was Messiah and miracle worker, who conversed regularly with God, who was born of a virgin and who ascended into heaven.
Jesus is referred to quite often in the Koran, six times under the title "Messiah". Yet I had long supposed that the importance of Jesus as prophet in Muslim tradition was not much more than a matter of lip-service, something to which Muslims gave (to use Cardinal Newman's distinction) "notional" rather than "real" assent.
This impression was strengthened when I went to Ur of the Chaldees in southern Iraq and visited the so-called house of Abraham. It is only a few piles of sun-baked mud bricks, but you would have expected hundreds of Muslim Arabs to be visiting the birth-place of their Patriarch. I saw none - whereas the shrines of Muslim martyrs in Najaf and Kerbala were thronged. I assumed, therefore, that Jesus must be a marginal figure in the Muslim world.
How wrong this assumption was I have learnt by reading a fascinating and instructive book, The Muslim Jesus, by the Cambridge academic Tarif Khalidi. Professor Khalidi has brought together, from a vast range of sources, most of the stories, sayings and traditions of Jesus that are to be found in Muslim piety from the earliest times.
The Muslim Jesus is an ascetic, a man of voluntary poverty, humility and long-suffering. He literally turns the other cheek, allowing his face to be slapped twice in order to protect two of his disciples. He teaches the return of good for evil: "Jesus used to say, 'Charity does not mean doing good to him who does good to you . . . Charity means that you should do good to him who does you harm.' " He loves the poor and embraces poverty: "The day Jesus was raised to heaven, he left behind nothing but a woollen garment, a slingshot and two sandals." He preaches against attachment to worldly things: "Jesus said, `He who seeks worldly things is like the man who drinks sea water: the more he drinks, the more thirsty he becomes, until it kills him.' "
Many of the sayings of the Muslim Jesus are clearly derived from Biblical sources - "Place your treasures in heaven, for the heart of man is where his treasure is"; "Look at the birds coming and going! They neither reap nor plough, and God provides for them." Sometimes there is a sort of gloss on words of Jesus from the Gospel: "Oh disciples, do not cast pearls before swine, for the swine can do nothing with them . . . wisdom is more precious than pearls and whoever rejects wisdom is worse than a swine."
He is certainly a wonder-worker. He often raises the dead, and gives his disciples power to do the same. More than once he comes across a skull and restores it to life, on one occasion granting salvation to a person who had been damned. The skulls, like everyone else in these stories, address Jesus as "Spirit of God". Once he is even addressed as "Word of God".
I once had a conversation with members of Hizbollah in Beirut. One of them said this: "The greatness of Islam is that we combine Judaism and Christianity. Jesus freed enslaved hearts, he was able to release human feeling, to reveal a kingdom of peace. Jesus's realm was the realm of soul. Jesus is soul; Moses is mind, the mind of the legislator. In Islam, we interweave both."
This is certainly the Jesus of these stories - the Jesus of the mystical Sufi tradition. The great Muslim philosopher Al-Ghazali actually called Jesus "Prophet of the heart".
The Muslim Jesus is not divine, but a humble servant of God. He was not crucified - Islam insists that the story of the killing of Jesus is false. He is, as it were, Jesus as he might have been without St Paul or St Augustine or the Council of Nicaea. He is not the cold figure of English Unitarianism, and he is less grand than the exalted human of the Arians. As you read these stories, what comes across most powerfully is that the Muslim Jesus is intensely loved. There is an element of St Francis of Assisi.
It is good to be reminded, especially now, of the intimate connections there have been between Islam and Christianity, and how close in spirit Muslim and Christian piety can come to each other. Curiously enough, the Muslim Jesus, shorn of all claims of divinity, could be more easily held on to by my agnostic friend than the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.
One other thing: since Muslims deny the Crucifixion, their emphasis has been on the wonders surrounding the birth of "Jesus Son of Mary", born as his mother sat under a palm tree, and miraculously speaking from within the womb. There really is no reason why schools that put on Nativity plays, or anyone who wants to insist on the Christian meaning of Christmas, should fear that they may offend Muslim sensibilities, for Jesus really is shared by both faiths.
I have worshipped the Sacred Cobra at the temple of the wife of Shiva in Hardiwar--and in the bardo state--and in past lives. I always will.
But Jesus Christ is the only Mediator and Advocate Whom I will ever accept and the only One to Whom I will entrust my soul.
He is my Guide. It is He Who took me to Varanasi and taught me. And to Hardiwar.
I am His. He is Mine. No matter what life brings, or death, He leads me to God. I will follow Him anywhere.
He will lead you too.
Nonsense. They don't love the "real" Jesus. They are only in love with their stunted idea of Him.
That kinda misses the point then don't it? I have conversed with quite a few Muslims, and they will proclaim that Jesus was a prophet, but not the Son of God. They often use lines like. "How can Jesus have been God when he asked God for help?"
Read the chapter of John and see who Jesus really is!
Islam could be viewed as a Christian heresy, except: I don't think the Prophet [TUB] claimed to be Christian to begin with, so Islam is not a heresy, not on this planet, anyway.
What utter nonsense; to claim that Mohammedans love Jesus as much as Christians do, and then to deny His saving death on the Cross. The crucifixion is the reason Jesus was born: it was through His death that our sins are forgiven and Heaven is opened to us. "Islam" can't save, Jesus does.
This fact establishes a contradiction that cannot be reconciled in theology or belief.
While it may be true that a pious and moral Muslim can live in harmony next to a pious and moral Christian and that they can maintain a secular peace (which is a very ood thing) ... particularly when the Muslim does not belong to a sect that literally believes and practices jihad and the Christian actually practices a true earthly walk in the footsteps of Christ ... it is not true that their theology or belief system with respect to Christ Jesus is close. In fact, as I have stated, from that perspective it is unreconcilable.
What can we or any man do by our own merits to enter the kingdom of heaven?
If this was true, why are the Christians being pursued and slaughtered by the thousands by Muslims in Indonesia?
I would say that in light of the claims Jesus made about himself, he never left anyone with the option of thinking of him as merely a good man. He claimed to be God, so either He is a raving lunatic, or He is exactly who He said He is. People must decide which, but the "good man" thing, really is not a viable choice.
O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of Allah anything but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was no more than a Messenger of Allah Do not say "Trinity": desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is One God: Glory be to Him: far exalted is He above having a son. 4:171
From those too, who call themselves Christians, We did take a covenant, but they forgot a good part of the Message that was sent to them: so We estranged them, with enmity and hatred between one and the other, to the Day of Judgment. And soon will Allah show them what they have done. 5:14
In blasphemy indeed are those that say that God is Christ the son of Mary. 5:17
O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: they are but friends and protectors to each other. And he among you that turns to them for friendship is of them. 5:51
They do blaspheme who say: "God is Christ the son of Mary." They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three in a trinity: for there is no God except one God Allah. If they do not desist from their word of blasphemy, verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them. Christ the son of Mary was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him. 5:72- 73, 5:75
According to Muslims? Proclaim that there is one God, and he is Allah, and that Mohammed is His prophet.
In which case, Satan must be a godly as God. </barf>
I love liberty. I hate statism. Therefore, statism must
run very strong in me. Why is it that religious illogic
goes unquestioned, while we would laugh in the face
of anyone trying to pull this stunt in politics? Talk
Wow. Imagine how many theological debates this could be said of - between Muslims and Christians or Christians of varying denominations. :)
And humble. And handsome. And smart.
Why the very grassblades grow to reach higher to your glory.
You are catching on.
Islam wants all that is not Islam to be Islam. Or else. You are either with them or against them. Nothing else really matters.
Ponder a bit and think about the "either you are with us or against us" concept. Sounds like the Bush doctrine, eh?
History will look back on this time and see that serious men and women fought against evil. And won.
It is not anything man does - it is what he chooses to receive.
Why, you may be the sharpest tack....--
(Anyone know how to unstick the SARCASM LOCK key?)
The clever either hide away or become one with the craftsman, either way he remains apart from his creator since he depends on estrangement or membership.
If God exists for the many He exists for the one - as long as there are salesmen and tyrants there will be gluttons and despots; I pray, but I do not congregate, for in numbers there is danger.
Well, maybe you are not catching on after all.
Then tell me some of them. You never did that.
Strange behavior for those who "love Jesus as much as Christians do."
They don't speak badly about Jesus, in the sense that they respect him as a prophet, but, as you say, they don't love the "real" Jesus, but only their stunted idea of Him.
My Arab Muslim friends in college are very insistent on the point that Jesus was not the Son of God (God has no son! they insist), they are very insistent on their assertion that Jesus was not crucified or resurrected (He was assumed into Heaven, according to them).
But, oddly enough, they told me that they believe Jesus will be the Judge on Judgement Day.
They are very respectful of Mary (Miriam) and her mother, who isn't mentioned by name in the Bible, but who Catholics and Muslims both know as Anne.
Others attributed claims of divinity to him for reasons ranging from it being better PR to the natural growth of myths and legends we see even in modern times about modern figures (Remember George Washington and the cherry tree story? Or how Christian missionaries incorporated local pagan beliefs into their doctrine when converting locals?)
He was a great philosopher and truly believed in his own divinity - but then a great many men believed some true things and some false. (Newton, for instance, believed in alchemy, but was still a great scientist.)
He started believing his own PR.
He was a great thinker given to occasional bouts of delusions of grandeur.
The fact is it is possible for someone to be right about some things, wrong about others. And it's possible for others to embellish your life story to make it a better sell.
I would reserve the #1 Christian heresy position for Catholicism. The #2 position would go to Protestantism. Perhaps Islam is a distant third.
not the Jesus who was the Son of God...the Muslim Jesus is not divine...he was not crucified - Islam insists that the story of the killing of Jesus is false...Muslims deny the Crucifixion
The above is what MAN says. What follows is what GOD says. Who are you going to believe?
1 Corinthians 1
22For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness. (NKJV)
1 John 2
22Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. (NKJV)
16For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (NKJV)
Clearly, Muslims do not have THE CHRIST - they have a moralistic teacher. They have damnation.
Well, I can see where Newton was still a good scientist, even if he was wrong on alchemy. Believing in alchemy, however, is a whole lot different that claiming to be God. One can be a good scientist, and be wrong on a few ideas, but I do not see how one can be called a good man, if he claims to be God, and is knowingly lying about it. Now, why didn't you just say all that in your first post? It would have made things a little more interesting. BTW, there is a story about Jesus on the History Channel right now, so I am going to watch it, and see what they have to say about it.
The question was whether the old "Liar, Lunatic or Lord" proposition is false. Clearly it is.
That's not to say that one of the other possibilities are right - it just shows the logical error in the proposition.