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December 2014 eGazette – Islam and Christianity

– Concept of God of Islam and Christianity – Pope Francis’ Partial Response to Evolution, 150 Years Too Late – Pastors Ordained by God to Demystify Christianity – A Journey from Christianity to Islam: First Ecumenical Council to Vatican II (325 CE – 1965 CE) – Is There Coercion in Islam and Christianity? – How Islam Taught Medieval Christian Europe Religious and Political Tolerance

Al Islam eGazette

Concept of God of Islam and Christianity

Source: Review of Religions, September 2014

Collected from the writings of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad – The Promised Messiah and Mahdi (as)

The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. In 1891, he claimed on the basis of Divine revelation, that he was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by Muhammad, the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and by the scriptures of other faiths. His claim constitutes the basis of the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.

The Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani

The God of Islam is the same God Who is visible in the mirror of the law of nature and is discernible in the book of nature. Islam has not presented a new God but has presented the same God Who is presented by the light of man’s heart, by the conscience of man, and by heaven and earth.

The Being of God is transcendental and beyond the beyond and is most secret and cannot be discovered by the power of human reasoning alone. No argument can prove it conclusively, inasmuch as reason can travel only so far that contemplating the universe it feels the need of a Creator. But the feeling of a need is one thing and it is quite another to arrive at the certainty that the God, Whose need has been felt, does in fact exist. As the operation of reason is defective, incomplete and doubtful, a philosopher cannot recognise God purely through reason. Most people who try to determine the existence of God Almighty purely through the exercise of reason, in the end become atheists. Reflecting over the creation of the heavens and the earth does not avail them much and they begin to deride and laugh at the men of God. One of their arguments is that there are thousands of things in the world which have no use and the fashioning of which does not indicate the existence of a fashioner. They exist merely as vain and useless things. These people do not seem to realise that lack of knowledge of something does not necessarily negate its existence.

There are millions of people in the world who regard themselves as very wise philosophers and who utterly deny the existence of God. It is obvious that if they had discovered a strong reason for the existence of God, they would not have denied it. If they had discovered a conclusive argument in support of the existence of God, they would not have rejected it shamelessly and in derision. It is obvious, therefore, that no one boarding the ark of the philosophers can find deliverance from the storm of doubts, but is bound to be drowned, and such a one would never have access to the drinking of pure Unity.

Belief in the Unity of God Established through the Holy Prophet (saw)

It is a false and stinking notion that belief in the Unity of God can be achieved otherwise than through the Holy Prophet (saw); nor can man achieve salvation without it. How can there be faith in the Unity of God unless there is perfect certainty with regard to His existence? Be sure, therefore, that belief in the Unity of God can be achieved only through a Prophet, as our Holy Prophet (saw) convinced the atheists and pagans of Arabia of the existence of God Almighty by showing them thousands of heavenly signs. Up till today, the true and perfect followers of the Holy Prophet (saw) present those signs to the atheists.

The truth is that till a person observes the living powers of the Living God, Satan does not depart from his heart, nor does true Unity enter into it, nor can he believe with certainty in the existence of God. This holy and perfect Unity is appreciated only through the Holy Prophet (saw).

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Pope Francis’ Partial Response to Evolution, 150 Years Too Late

By Zia Shah

Epigraph:

“The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is Reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall.”

-Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers of USA


 

Charles Darwin published his On the origin of species by means of natural selection, on November 24, 1859. The first positive response from the Church came in 1996, when Pope John Paul II acknowledged that evidence from multiple disciplines was pointing to the truth of biological evolution.

The full title of Darwin’s book was On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. For the sixth edition of 1872, the title was changed to The Origin of Species.

More than 150 years after the original writing of Darwin, on Monday, October 27, 2014, Pope Francis told an audience at the Vatican, Big Bang theory and evolution in nature “do not contradict” the idea of creation, adding God was not “a magician with a magic wand.” The Pope’s remarks to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences appeared to be a theological break from his predecessor Benedict XVI, a strong exponent of creationism.

Here, Pope Francis is supporting a concept of Guided or Theistic evolution, which has been suggested by several Muslim and Christian philosophers and scientists already. But, he purposely or unconsciously evaded a more important and relevant question and its ramifications, how is the concept of Original Sin reconciled with the biological evolution? If biological evolution is true, how can we have an Adam and an Eve, who are the common ancestors of all of humanity? How can we have the mistake or sin of Eve be transmitted to the whole of humanity? What process transfers our sins to our genome to be transmitted to our off spring?

If Homo sapiens were gradually evolving from other apes, over thousands or millions of years, there is no such person or couple, as common ancestor of all human beings. If you have hard time conceptualizing this idea then read a book, by Prof. Richard Dawkins’, The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution.

The delay in embracing Charles Darwin is not accidental, there is a deep seated conflict separating him from Christianity. No wonder only two Popes have had the courage to touch the subject of evolution in any positive way. Despite Pope John Paul II’s acknowledgment, Pope Benedict did not have much to say in favor of theory of evolution.

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Pastors Ordained by God to Demystify Christianity

If scores of works of the following six writers, who are former pastors or nun are read, with due diligence, Christianity will pave way for Islam.

This briefly describes their lives and works and concludes with a video by Karen Armstrong about compassion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him.

A Christian Minister, Who Converted to Islam: Dr. Jerald F. Dirks


Jerald Dirks

“There is some irony in the fact that the supposedly best, brightest, and most idealistic of ministers-to-be are selected for the very best of seminary education, e.g. that offered at that time at the Harvard Divinity School. The irony is that, given such an education, the seminarian is exposed to … much … historical truth. …As such, it is no real wonder that almost a majority of such seminary graduates leave seminary, not to ‘fill pulpits,’ where they would be asked to preach that which they know is not true, but to enter the various counseling professions. Such was also the case for me, as I went on to earn a master’s and doctorate in clinical psychology.

Dr. Dirks is a former minister (deacon) of the United Methodist Church. He holds a Master’s degree in Divinity from Harvard University and a Doctorate in Psychology from the University of Denver. Author of “The Cross and the Crescent: An Interfaith Dialogue between Christianity and Islam” (2001), and “Abraham: The Friend of God” (2002). He has published over 60 articles in the field of clinical psychology, and over 150 articles on Arabian horses.

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A Journey from Christianity to Islam: First Ecumenical Council to Vatican II (325 CE – 1965 CE)


Vatican City: Where the First and the Second Vatican Councils were held

Every tragedy has a silver lining. The catastrophe of September 11, 2001, has put Islam under the microscope and constant scrutiny by the media. Thanks to this examination, every Muslim and every well informed non-Muslim, has become aware of the key verse of the Holy Quran about freedom of religion:

Every tragedy has a silver lining. The catastrophe of September 11, 2001, has put Islam under the microscope and constant scrutiny by the media. Thanks to this examination, every Muslim and every well informed non-Muslim, has become aware of the key verse of the Holy Quran about freedom of religion:

Many Christians and almost all non-Christians have little familiarity with the two thousand year theological history of the Catholic Church, which is married to the political history and this lack of information, impairs their understanding of the present. Every time Pope Francis makes headlines, by making some liberal remarks about Jews, Muslims or atheists, they cannot appreciate these in the fullest context. This article aims at remedying this situation to a small degree.

An Ecumenical Council is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice in which those entitled to vote are convoked from the whole world (oikoumene) and which secures the approbation of the whole Church.

The first seven Ecumenical Councils, recognized by both the eastern and western branches of Chalcedonian Christianity, were convoked by Christian Roman Emperors, who also enforced the decisions of those councils within the state church of the Roman Empire.

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Is There Coercion in Islam and Christianity?


Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom & no such thing as publick liberty without freedom of speech, Benjamin Franklin, 1722.

A silver lining from the gravely tragic event of September 11, 2001, is that a verse of the Holy Quran, “There is no coercion in religion,” has been quoted time and again, in national and international media, all over the world.

The full verse is:

There should be no compulsion in religion. Surely, right has become distinct from wrong; so whosoever refuses to be led by those who transgress, and believes in Allah, has surely grasped a strong handle which knows no breaking. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (Al Quran 2:257)

But, what does this verse exactly mean?

Can a heretic be brought back to ‘true faith?’ Can an apostate and a blasphemer be killed? Can a thief be coerced into not stealing, in future? Can someone who delivered vigilante justice to a heretic be brought to justice? Case in point the killer of Governor Salman Taseer, who is celebrated by many as a hero in Pakistan, is so far escaping justice, thanks to the lack of wisdom of Pakistani judiciary. These and many other related questions are answered by understanding this and related verses of the Holy Quran.

Not only the non-Muslims do not understand this verse, the Muslims themselves have limited understanding of this profound verse.

Some of the popular scholars from 18th century or before, believed that this verse has been abrogated as a result of verses about Jihad with sword. So they saw no problem in converting people to Islam by force or killing the apostates.

Thanks to the teachings of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, no Muslim now talks about abrogation in this day and age.

But, even the contemporary Muslim scholars, who are not well aware of Muslim as well as non-Muslim history alike, are not fully able to appreciate this verse.

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How Islam Taught Medieval Christian Europe Religious and Political Tolerance

By Abdul Haq Compier

Epigraph:

Allah forbids you not, respecting those who have not fought against you on account of your religion, and who have not driven you forth from your homes, that you be kind to them and act equitably towards them; surely Allah loves those who are equitable. (Al Quran 60:9)

Religious tolerance may seem very self-evident to the modern reader, who is educated to believe that tolerance is one of the fundamental values upon which Europe was built. However, up until the 16th century, religious tolerance was not seen anywhere in Europe. Ever since the Roman Empire, Christian rulers governed by the phrase ‘One Empire, One Law, One Faith.’ Christian theology regarded Christ as the only way to salvation, and the Church as the only way to Christ. Disbelievers were regarded to be exempted from salvation, and hence criminals, ‘children of Satan.’ The Church argued that it was the responsibility of the ruler to cleanse the community of corruption, or he would be held responsible. When persecutions became unbearable, Christians looked to Islam for help.

To read more click here


December 2014


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Alislam-eGazette Archives about Christianity

May 2014 eGazette – How Jesus Became God?

December 2010 eGazette: A Cordial Invitation to the Pope Benedict XVI to Islam

June 2010 eGazette – Islam and Christianity

November 2008 Alislam-eGazette: Evolution and Biology: A cross for Christianity

October 2009 Alislam-eGazette: Jesus Christ and Atonement

July 2009 Alislam-eGazette: The Bible, The Quran and Science


 

 

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