|This was originally a letter
written to Mr. Emir and Ergun Caner who appeared on the John Ankerberg
show, of which of video can be seen on www.JohnAnkerberg.org where when
asked why they converted from Islam to Christianity, they replied that
they did not convert but rather that they went from worshipping a dead
idol to worshipping the AllMighty Lord who saved them. This was my
letter to them.
Dear Mr. Caner,
You said that you went from worshipping a dead idol (Allah) to worshipping the One True God. Could you please provide evidence that Allah is a different god than the God of the Bible? The evidence that you provide on your website (the John Ankerberg website) is that Muslims reject the trinity, and thusly Allah cannot be the same god as the God of the Bible. Do you mean to say than that Jews worship a different god than the God of the Bible also because they also reject the trinity? In the Qur’an, Islam is referred to as the religion of Abraham, so obviously Muslims are intending to worship the God of Abraham. One of the missions of Muhammad was to correct all the incorrect pagan beliefs that the Arabs held and reestablish the worship of the God of Abraham. If the Arabs did believe that Allah was a moon god, Muhammad made it very clear in the Qur’an that they were wrong. Also if you research it, Muhammad did not establish the crescent as the symbol for Islam. That was an invention of the Ottoman Turks who only used it as a symbol because Muslims follow a lunar calendar as opposed to the European Christians who use a solar calendar.
Another interesting note is that in the Hebrew Bible, God is called Eloh-im which is very similar linguistically to Allah. Also because Christians don’t call God, Elohim, does that mean that they are worshiping a different god than the God of the Bible? Also in Aramaic, the language of Jesus, the name for God is Alaha (which is obviously very close to Allah). These are all Semitic languages, so linguistically they are all variations of the same word. Also a lot of the arguments that you use against Islam could also be used against Judaism. For example, the God of the Bible commanded Prophet Joshua to slay the infidel/heathen (the 7 nations) in the land of Canaan. And also several times in the Old Testament the Jews were commanded to fight on behalf of God. Also, some of the teachings of Jesus contradict the teachings of Judaism (the Torah), such as loving your enemy. The Torah teaches an eye for an eye, the same as in Islam. Also in Islam, there are several requirements that have to be fulfilled in order to engage in Jihad (struggling for the sake of God). In the Qur’an 22:39-40 it says, “To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged;- and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid;- (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause) except that they say, "our Lord is Allah". Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause);- for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will).” In the Torah (Deuteronomy 13:17) it says to “burn a city that has turned to idol worship.” (Which also includes their inhabitants; In Deut. 13:16, “Then you must kill all the inhabitants of the city by the sword. Destroy it and everything in it as taboo, and kill all its animals by the sword.”). Also in the Torah (Deut. 13:9) it says not to love the missionary (an example would be one who calls to the worship of a triune god/man), not to cease hating him, not to save him, not to say anything in his defense, not to refrain from incriminating him. And in Deut. 13:10, “since you must be the one to put him to death. Your hand must be the first against him to kill him, followed by the hands of the other people. Pelt him to death with stones, since he has tried to make you abandon God your Lord…” This is interesting especially since Emir Caner described the penalty in a Muslim country for a Muslim who converts to Christianity as stoning to death. This would coincide with the teachings of the Torah (Hebrew Bible) seeing as though the Muslim who converts to Christianity is going from worshipping the One Supremely powerful awesome God of Abraham (with no partners: father, mother, son, daughter, etc..) to worshipping a god-man who has to eat, drink, go to the bathroom, and is able to be killed. For that is what Christians accused Jews of doing for 2,000 years, they said, “you are Christ-killers, you killed our god.” They were accused of deicide. The God that Jews and Muslims worship cannot be killed and does not have earthly needs.
Another point is that Jews are also judged by the scales, and their good deeds have to outweigh their bad deeds in order to go to Paradise. In Deuteronomy 10:20 it says that we should fear God. We fear his judgment but pray for his mercy. Also, Judaism believes that if a Jew converts to Christianity, he has committed idolatry by ascribing partners (a literal son) to God by going from the belief in the Unity of God to the Trinity of God (uni means 1 and tri means 3). But on the other hand if a Jew converts to Islam, Judaism does not believe that the Jew has committed idolatry because of the unwavering monotheism of Islam! (For proof of that you can read the works of Moses Maimonidies, one of the greatest scholars of Judaism). In the Torah (Exodus 20:20) it says not to make human forms even for decorative purposes. The Christians have images of Jesus that they worship. Islam prohibits the use of images, even for decoration, in order to follow the Torah and the Qur’an. Also according to Judaism, a Jew is allowed to pray in a mosque, but not in a church. One of the reasons for that is that churches often have images/pictures which is forbidden by the Torah. The second commandment says (Deut 5:7), “Do not have any other gods (intercessors) before Me. Do not represent such gods by a statue or picture of anything in the heaven above, on the earth below, or in the water below the land.” Another reason is that Islam requires circumcision to be a Muslim, whereas Christianity does not require it (even though it is a common practice now, it is not a requirement to be “saved”). Even though in Genesis 17:13-14 it says, “This shall be My covenant in your flesh, an eternal covenant. The uncircumcised male whose foreskin has not been circumcised, shall have his soul cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.” Another reason is defilement. One can be defiled by unclean foods such as swine, carrion, and blood. In Islam, these abominations are forbidden to Muslims, on the other hand Christians happily eat swine, meat that has not been properly slaughtered, and blood in the meat (because it has not been slaughtered in the kosher fashion, the blood seeps into the meat). Even though in the Bible (Leviticus 11:7) it says, “the pig shall be unclean to you although it has a true hoof which is cloven, since it does not chew its cud.” By these acts of trinity-worship, image worship, being uncircumcised, and swine-eating, Christians have become defiled and not part of the covenant of Abraham. Whereas Jews and Muslims share all these things in common, they can both worship the God of Abraham together.
Another point I wanted to address is that you say that “Muslims are mistakenly taught that Christians worship three gods: the Father, the Mother (Mary) and the Son (Jesus).” By that in the Qur’an 5.116 it says, “And behold! Allah will say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah.?" He will say: "Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden.” The reason for that is that in the time of Muhammad, he dealt with the Byzantine Church which was Catholic, and they do worship/pray to Mary as an intercessor before God.
You say, “The Qur’an makes it very clear that Allah does not "love sinners." Rather, he loves good people.” Well guess what? Judaism teaches the same thing. The Torah teaches that God only loves those who worship the One True God of Abraham (Read Deut. 7:1-11, “But He pays back His enemies to their face to destroy them. He does not delay the payment that He gives His enemies to their face.”). (or read Deut. 7:16 or 7:23-24) Or read the second commandment (Deut 5:9), “Where my enemies are concerned, I keep in mind the sin of the fathers for their descendants for three and four generations.” God did not love the Canaanites or the Philistines or the Amalekites, He told them to destroy those nations (man, woman, child, and beast), that their name should not be remembered under heaven (read Exodus 17:14-15 and Deut. 25:17-18). In Exodus 23:22, “But if you obey him and do all that I say, then I will hate your enemies and attack your foes. My angel will go before you and bring you among the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and Yebusites, and I will then annihilate them.” The Torah also teaches Jews not to love sinners, for in Deut. 7:2, it says, “not to make a covenant with idolaters and not to show favor to them.” Also in Exodus 23:33, it says “not to let them dwell in the Land (of Israel).” And in Leviticus 20:23, “not to imitate them in customs and clothing.”
For the issue of polygamy, there is nothing in the Hebrew Bible that prohibits it. Let us remember that Abraham had 2 wives (Genesis 16:3 says, “his wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian her slave, and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife.”), Jacob had 4 wives, David had many wives, and Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines! (In order to make peace with neighboring tribes and nations, exactly the same as Muhammad did). European Jews only outlawed it because they were living with Christians, while Middle Eastern Jews never outlawed it and still to this day some Jews have multiple wives.
As pertaining to the issue of “The Crusades were, at least in part, a defensive reaction to Islamic invasion of Jerusalem.” Let us remember that the Muslims captured Jerusalem peacefully in 638 AD, whereas the Crusades did not happen until 1099! (They were only 400 years late in “defending” themselves). And let us also remember that while the Christians ruled Jerusalem from 135 AD to 638 AD, they did not allow any Jews to live in Jerusalem or even visit the Temple Mount! In fact they even used the Temple Mount as a dung hill. When the Caliph Omar visited Jerusalem in 638, he cleaned off the Temple Mount with his own bare hands and rededicated it to the worship of the One True God of Abraham (because he recognized that the Temple of Solomon once stood there, which they call in Arabic, Bait-ul-Maqdis and in Hebrew is called Beit HaMikdash, which means the House of the Holy Temple), and again allowed the Jews to resettle there and visit their holy places.
As far as, “The mistreatment of women in Islamic countries is contrary to the teachings in the Qur’an.” If we read the book of Corinthians, it says that a woman should not pray without her head covered. As in Judaism, a woman is required to cover her whole body except for her face and hands. In some countries like Afghanistan, where they did require women to cover their faces or did not allow them to get an education, they are clearly going against the teachings of the Qur’an. You will not find it anywhere in the Qur’an that ALL women must cover their faces or that they cannot receive an education. Just because Muslims do things, does not mean it is condoned by Islam. We cannot generalize a whole religion by the acts of some whacko’s who like to blow themselves and others up with the misguided belief that they are going to have an orgy with 70 virgins. I am against suicide bombings (in NY or Israel) as much as you are, but that does not mean that I can condemn a whole religion because some people who do it claim to be Muslims. Just as it would be unfair to generalize all of Christianity based on the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the KKK, the Pogroms, the Holocaust, Timothy McVey, the slavery of African-Americans, the genocide of Native Americans, the identity church, the Aryan nation, and countless other atrocities committed in the name of Christendom. Just read the book “Constantine’s sword” for a good picture of what Christians have done to Jews in the name of Christ! From 325 AD to 1945 AD, Christians have been the worst enemies of the Jews. Let us remember that it has only been since the 1920’s that Muslims and Jews have not been able to get along. That is 1600 years as compared to 80 years. You do the math!
In conclusion, most of the arguments that you make against Islam could also be made against Judaism. But the reason that you would never attack Judaism is that Jesus was a Jew and these are all teachings of the Old Testament. And you can’t attack the Old Testament, or you would be attacking your own Bible. If you really study the teachings of the three religions, you will find that Judaism is a lot more similar to Islam than Christianity, in terms of the absolute oneness and unity of God and in the belief that we have to live by His laws to be saved.