People Say, “They Call God ‘Allah’!”

Since I was told the other day that someone wants to discuss the beliefs of Muslims with me and it’s been awhile since I’ve read up on it, I decided it’s time to read a book that I picked up, probably at church, on Islam. The name of the book is “Answering Islam: The Crescent in the Light of the Cross” and it’s written by Norman Geisler and Abdul Saleeb. This book is not a defense of Islam; it’s a critique of the beliefs of Muslims, and offers a defense of the beliefs of Christians. If you want to discuss these things intelligently, it’d be best to educate yourself. I want to, so that is what I’m doing.

I am barely into it and already I’ve run into something that will answer the objection, “They call God ‘Allah’!” that some folks bring up. Ever wondered why they do that? It’s simple, really. It’s Arabic and it means “the Divinity.” They don’t speak English in Arabic countries. Even Christians who speak Arabic call God ‘Allah’.

The use of the word goes back to pre-Islamic times. It’s not something that Mohammed came up with. It’s not derogatory at all. And when an Islamic person speaks of God they are speaking of the same God the Christian is speaking of – the God of Moses and Jesus. We – Muslims and Christians – have a different concept of who God is, but we are speaking of the Creator of all things who is One God, not many gods.

Well, I think this is going to be a very interesting book. Norman Geisler is a Christian who has written many books on apologetics and Abdul Saleeb is a former Muslim who has studied the differences in Islam and Christianity. I’ll be reading this book with a highlighter and an ink pen in hand.

People Say “They all read the same book”

I am up early this morning and have slept only about four hours because I am astonished and frightened by the hatred I saw expressed in comments yesterday on Facebook regarding a news item. The link to the story said, “What should Texas students learn about Islam” and some of the reactions to that were awful. The Texas State Board of Education issued a resolution regarding Islam in textbooks. They said there are some history textbooks that devote more copy to Islam than to Christianity. The article didn’t say what was said about each religion. In comments some people said nothing should be taught about Islam and some said if anything was they would take their children out of public schools. People said Islam is a cult and not a religion and some even think all Muslims ought to be wiped out. People called each other names and yelled at one another over this. (In case you don’t know, to use all caps is yelling.) The article said none of the textbooks mentioned in the resolution are being used in Texas schools.

I find it odd that when I get into discussions over religious freedom and the lines are drawn, standing next to me so to speak, are a few Christians and a lot of agnostics, atheists and pagans. Across the line yelling at us and participating in the name-calling are a bunch of Christians.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life and no man comes to the Father except through me.” I believe this with all my heart. Having said that just to be clear, here are some of the things I’ve noticed.

People say, “They all read the same book.” Yes, Muslims all read the Koran. Christians all read the same Bible, too. And some wear white sheets with pointy hats and hate people who have a darker skin than they have or who follow a different religion. Some vote not to allow the sale of alcohol in their cities so that if they think it’s wrong to drink the stuff, no one else should be allowed to either. Some don’t believe it’s a sin for a man and a man or a woman and a woman to act like they are married to each other. I don’t agree with any of this and I am a Christian. We all read the same book.

This hatred toward Muslims reminds me of how it was in Germany before WWII, except the Jews were the ones who supposedly were going to destroy the country. I think some people don’t really look at history and current events with their eyes open. Can’t people see that the people in power who want more power create an enemy of the state and drum up hatred against that group? This is what happened to the Christians in the early days of Christianity in Rome. And if folks think that our military is willing to give their lives for only Christians to have First Amendment rights, they don’t understand the Constitution they claim we ought to follow. Some act as if every country doesn’t have Christianity as its civil religion, then God’s Kingdom is going to suffer. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again – God’s Kingdom does not have political boundaries, it doesn’t have a flag and I’ll add that it’s not cultural. Talking about God and praying in public doesn’t make one a Christian. It only means we have the freedom to do such things.

My husband said that sometimes ignorance prevails, and as an example he pointed out what happened to Jesus. I sure hope ignorance doesn’t prevail in our country over the issue of religious freedom. Would you hide a Muslim in your attic?