Monday, November 14, 2011

Are We Even Speaking the Same Language?

Four years of high school Spanish and I can ask for the bathroom, identify a seahorse, and correctly name six of the seven days of the week.  So when Christine told me last year that she wanted to take French, I knew it was time for Rosetta Stone.  Six months later she was still screaming, "I HATE this stupid thing!" in English.  Apologetics it is, then.  Knowing her plans to go away to school next year, I figured it could only help. 

We are currently talking about some of the religions that have taken hold in America -- Islam being one of them -- and what appears on TLC, but "All-American Muslim," a new series which premiered last night!  In the first episode, an Irish Catholic man was converting to Islam in order to marry a Muslim woman; by admission, she does not adhere to Islam's strict practices, and based on the discussion with his mother, his conversion is more of an issue of tradition than eternal destiny.  In one scene, Jeff the groom-to-be is speaking with his future father-in-law about his conversion.  His fiancee's father says, "You are not renouncing anything, only adding to it."  One of the greatest lessons taught in the Garden of Eden is that the best lies are those closest to the truth.  Isn't this what any person making a difficult decision wants to hear?  "Relax, you can have your cake and eat it, too.  It's a minor adjustment."

First of all, the "shahada" offered by converts (and by Jeff in last night's episode) is "There is no God but Allah.  Muhammad is the messenger of Allah," or something very similar.  That in and of itself is exclusive -- "no other."  Stating there can be no other, forsaking and renouncing any that have had Allah's place before.  And The One True God?  What does He say?  Exodus 20:5: "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God..."  He's not looking for any competition, nor is there any worthy of competing with Him.  The act of claiming any other god to be God, or to share the throne of heaven with Him, is renouncing God Almighty -- Jehovah.  God will not, cannot share His throne.

Secondly, adding?  Is God the Creator one who is in need of supplement?  "And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good." (Gen. 1:31a)  Is God's grace or power insufficient?  "But he said to me,   'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'" (2 Cor. 2:19a)  Is God's Word out dated?  "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness," (2 Timothy 3:16)  Is God's Word not enough?  "You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you." (Deut. 4:2)

Lastly, and probably most importantly, Allah is not the God of the Bible; Allah is not Jehovah.  Without fumbling my way through a lesson on Islam, in which I am woefully inadequate, and taking up even more of your precious time, I know this much -- we are not speaking the same language.  Allah is not a trinity.  According to the Qur'an (sura 19:88-92) Allah has no son; it is a monstrous allegation and at it, the entire earth rises up in protest.  Allah "loveth not transgressors," (sura 2:190), but 1 John 4:8 tells us "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."  If Allah does not even know God -- Jehovah -- how can he be God?  In Islam, there is no substitute for the sacrifice that sin requires, just the hope that one's deeds will be enough to garner eternity in paradise; sin is not eradicated, ransom paid in full, but merely covered, forgiven by a completely sovereign deity who does not promise paradise beyond a shadow of a doubt to anyone -- Islamic teaching is always followed "with the hope" of entering paradise.  All is subject to the will of Allah.

When faced with the rhetoric of those who deny The One True God and preach syncretism as a politically correct way for us to "co-exist," I'll rely on the truth spoken by The Rock Eternal.  "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

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