Christianity and Islam-A Divergence: Part Three
Recently I have had the pleasure of debating a young man, via email, on the strength and validity of our respective religions, Christianity and Islam. Over the past few weeks, I have learned not only a lot about Islam, but more about my own faith as well. Beyond pure intellectual strivings though, I consider it a real blessing to have the opportunity to discuss such weighty matters in an arena of respect, interest, and friendliness. It is an honor to engage in discussion with someone and to discover that, despite glaring difference, we can both remain civil in our pursuit of the truth. What follows is my discussion thus far with a young man I will refer to simply as "Aslam," a name which means, appropriately, 'peace.' (Appropriate in the sense that it is in desperate need in the arena of religious divergence and debate). Enjoy.
Thanks for the reply my friend. Don't worry about it being too long, read every word =] - I just hope mine isn't longer haha...
Firstly, you brought up the idea that Satan would try and keep us away from our salvation. I totally agree with that idea, I think it's a very universal idea. You then linked it to Christianity, and used the idea against Islam. This could be done in the exact and opposite way, FOR Islam, and AGAINST Christianity. It is believed that Allah sent us around 124000 prophets, at least 1 to each nation. Each prophet brought along some guidance with him. It is also believed that all previously revealed guidance from Allah (Previous to Islam that is) is not complete, and was intended for a specific group of people, and for a specific time period. While Islam is for all of mankind, and for the rest of time.
Also it was never mentioned in the previous religions that Islam (Allah's Guidance) would end at their religion. Jesus never claimed he was the last to come – IN FACT He even prophesied the coming of another (But this is another topic - which I’m dying to get into btw, I’m even making a vid about this)..
Actually... I might have to delve into the topic of the Paraclete a little here... I believe Jesus, in the Bible, prophesied about the coming of Muhammad..
So Allah (THE God) sends us some guidance, and through Jesus - Allah tells us there will be another (paraclete) who will deliver us into the complete truth.
Now with those set of beliefs, lets look at the idea of Satan again..
Surely Satan would want to keep us away from becoming CLOSER to God. The Bible has already been modified many times, so it could be argued that the Bible has been compromised (although there may still remain truth). Satan could attempt to compromise the identity of the Paraclete - which Jesus said would come - and deliver us into the all truth - by reciting words revealed to him from God. Surely Satan would attack the identity of the Paraclete, and make him questionable??
If Satan actually compromised Islam, I believe we'd ALL be lost souls! Since the Torah was destroyed and re-written - allowing Satan a chance to intervene and compromise the Torah. The Bible has also been modified many times - allowing for Satan to compromise the Bible also. And the Quran is the final revelation form Allah. If Satan got to that as well, we'd possibly be screwed (I believe)...
So according to the idea that Satan would prefer to compromise any religion in any way - I propose we look at the actual message and guidance that the religions give.. If Islam is compromised - surely it would show in the guidance of the Quran. And if the Bible is compromised - it would show in the teachings of the Bible.
Lets look at this from a Christian point of view first (excuse me if I miss something)..
Islam would appear to be compromised because it teaches that Jesus is NOT God, and GOD can not be seen in his creation, and men can not be gods. Muhammad's 1st encounter with 'Gabriel' seemed to be a negative experience to Muhammad.
Now from an Islamic point of view.
Christianity would appear to be compromised because the Bible has been altered an unknown amount of times, at unknown places, by unknown people, and during unknown time periods - we simply know it has BEEN modified. Christianity says that a man is Allah, and Allah appeared in the flesh in order to take away everyone’s sin (since this would kind of defeat the purpose of Allah being all powerful, and also the idea that this lifetime is a TEST). Also the Bible contains many, many contradictions and inaccuracies.
Forgive me but, I believe that Christianity has been compromised considerably more. And the ONLY signs that Islam has been compromised by Satan (through a Christianity POV) could arguably only be put there by Satan in order to keep Christians away from Islam (ultimately keeping them form getting closer to God)..
I don't know anything about Muhammad allowing Meccans to worship a Godess, and naturally I have my doubts - I'll research this later. But if it is true, then the fact that Muhammad recanted this permission, and said he was deceived by Satan - i think - is evidence that Islam is NOT from Satan.
Worshipping anyone or anything but Allah, in Islam, is forbidden. And so this event of Muhammad's life may have been allowed by Allah to happen - in order to give us proof that Islam IS NOT from Satan. Muhammad is the best example of the Quran. And we should try to live our lives as he did, in terms of how well he obeyed Allah (Muslims at least). Muhammad is the MOST DOCUMENTED PERSON to have lived. And his lifetime is very open for us to see - supporting the idea that he is a role model and should be taken as an example by everyone.
Anyway, if Muhammad gave permission to a questionable act of wrship, then recanted it - and didn't include it in the Quran - this is proof that Islam isn't form Satan. If Islam WAS for Satan - then why did Muhammad call Satan out on deceiving him, and recant the worshiping of the Godess? And why wasn't this permission recorded into the Quran? If Muhammad realised he was decieved by Satan - then he would have corrected ALL the decieving info and teachings, but nothing else was changed other than the permission to worship a Godess. And the incident shows that Muhammad HAS the capacity to be a human, and also the capacity to fight of Satan and his whispers.
I believe, if the incident happened at all, it was to show Muslims that Muhammad wasn't a God - but was just a man, and men can get decieved by Satan, and when we feel we are decieved, we should ackknowlege it - and stick to Allah's guidance (Quran).
There is a teaching in Islam, and I've semi-touched on it.. The teaching concerns Satan's Whispers (Was Wasa). It is believed that the closer we are to Allah (The God), the stronger Satan's Whispers become. Basically, Satan's Whispers are thoughts that we have - you may or may not have experienced them. If you have - it is a clear sign of faith.
Anyway, the whispers are thoughts about God, and Islam, thoughts which people have said they'd rather fall out of Heaven, than to say out loud. They are from Satan - and Satan's goal is to create doubt in our hearts, and lead us to do something we shouldn't. Basicly their ultimately for taking us further away from Allah, or preventing us from getting any closer to Allah..
The closer we get to Allah, the stronger the whispers may become, and some Muslims have literally gone through manic depression - bipolar disorder and other things becasue of the severity of such 'whispers'. There was one account - which I think you would find interesting, the person suffering from the whispers thought he was possessed by a demon! These whispers try to lead you to do something, or stop you form doing something - but they can't force you to do anything.
Muhammad was indeed very close to Allah, I have no doubt that he experienced such whispers - and he was able to control the whispers, since the Quran was never compromised, and Muhammad recognised when he was decieved, and corrected the effects.
Regardless - at the end of the day, if Islam was true, then Satan would want to attack Muhammad - the completer of monotheistic religions, the Messenger of Islam. And Allah wouldn't allow him to - without a doubt - since Muhammad's message would be for the whole of mankind, for the rest of time, if Allah allowed Satan to screw it up, then the 'test' of this lifetime would be unfair.
So i think Muhammad definitely experienced Satan's attempts of decieving him, as i think EVERY good Muslim also suffers from that.. Personally, I don't question Muhammad's character, and example of the Quran.. But due to this argument, and your personal views, i realise that the reliability of Muhammad may be questionable.
Muhammad's words were kept seperate from the Quran, and were recorded in the Hadith. The Quran only contains Muhammad's recitation, which is from Allah.. Well Muhammad's recitation was actually from Gabriel, but you claim it was actually from Satan. I believe the only thing supporting your idea that Muhammad's Gabriel was actually Satan, is Muhammad 1st encounter with Gabriel, and possibly the incident where Muhammad allowed the worship of something other than Allah.
The worshipping of anything other than Allah was later corrected by Muhammad, and was never recorded in the Quran as a teaching (The Quran forbids worshipping anyone or anything other than Allah). So i think we shouldn't include this incident when deciding if the Quran is from Satan, since it apears to be a different matter..
Since you consider Muhammad's character suspicious, I suggest we look at the Quran. As I said before, if Muhammad's recitation was actually from Satan (And not from Allah), we'd see many inaccuracies and wrongful teachings in the Quran, also quite possibly many contradictions. If you want to genuinely make the claim that the Quran is a collection of words which Muhammad recited from Satan, rather than Gabriel, then please - show me some evidence from the Quran it'self, and we'll go from there.
You say Islam takes away the only means of salvation in Christianity. Well acording to Islam, there is no direct salvation in Christianity, since Jesus is not God, and Jesus himself will also be judged on Judgement day. Althought it is said that all prophets will be on the highest level of Paradise. It is also said that the Quran is our intercessor into Paradise. If we live by the Quran - Allah's guidance - we will surely reach Heaven!
In Christianity, you simply must believe in Jesus as your saviour, and you believe you will enter Paradise. It's sadly not that easy. Islam says that this lifetime is a test, to separate righteous souls from the transgressors. And staying within the limits of the Noble Quran will bring us closer to God almighty. If Allah came to us, and sacrificed himself in order to allow us to go to paradise - the test of life would be ruined.. And more obviously - if Allah didn't want to test us, and simply wanted to put us in Heaven, he simply would. And if he wanted to forgive us of our sins - I'm sure he could - being the almighty and all.. It makes no sense that Allah would need to sacrifice himself for our benefit, when he could just give us the benefit..
And the way we reach heaven in Islam makes a lot more sense - although it means we much be responsible of our own actions, and probably is harder than Christianity, it makes a lot more sense (I believe).
I believe that Allah wanted each and every single one of us alive, and that Satan trying to decieve us is all part of Allah's wisdom. The fact that Allah put the forbidden tree in Heaven, and sent Adam and Eve to Earth, and allowed Satan to decieve us, and gave us guidance - are all beutiful when you think about them.. Allah wanted us all created, and gave us life, and is prepared to give us eternal satisfaction if we simply obey him. And this world is a test - if we pass, we will enter Paradise with so much knowlege of our creator, and we will know how to live peacefully and how to please our creator (Which is a lot more than Adam and Eve had when in heaven)!
But considering that Allah sacrificed himself in order to take away our sin, takes away some of the logic and wisdom in Islamic Judgement Day/Heaven/Hell ect..
I have a few honest questions.. I know the answers to them in Islam, but I'm wondering what Christianity has to answer them..
1) Why are we on Earth? Is this lifetime a test?
2) If Allah is prepared to walk among us HIMSELF, wouldn't this kinda ruin the test? Since people would see him, and know without a doubt that he exists.. So our choice of following Allah or not will be influenced, and won't reflect our true intentions.
3) If Allah is prepared to show himself to us in this lifetime, why doesnt he do it more often?
4) Why doesn't Allah sned us many Miracles, which will show us all that he exist, and remove any doubt??
5) If Allah sacrificed himself in order to benefit us all, Why didn't he simply benefit us all by putting us in Heaven from the start?
6) Why did Allah have to sacrifice himself for us?
7) If Allah is prepared to intervene with us here on Earth - to bring us benefit - wouldn't it defeat the purpose of Allah putting us on Earth in the 1st place, considering a Paradise exists?
8) The people who died before Jesus came to us, Will they go to Heaven or Hell?
Ok, this is long, but I doubt you will be surprised by this. I am long-winded. I hope I have addressed everything.
Regarding your quote about the Bible, I am assuming you were quoting a "Bible" scholar, not a Christian scholar, as there can be a fundamental difference. There are plenty of Bible scholars, such as Bart Ehrman or Robert Price, who do not believe the Bible to be consistent, reliable, or inspired. Simply put, they are agnostic secularists who do not believe any book to be inspired by God. It is the same for the Quran. Orientalists are the flip-side to the liberal Bible scholar of the West. In similar fashion, they deny the validity of the Quran, because generally speaking, they do not believe in God. I can also quote plenty of scholars of the Quran who will say exactly what men like Robert Price will say about the Bible, since their presuppositions will not allow them to believe in inspired revelation. My point is, just because a scholar says something about the Bible does not make it true. I specifically make it a point to refrain from reliance upon liberal scholars who disagree with Quran on secularist grounds because it would be an inconsistent argument on my part. If there is one thing we can definitely agree with, it is that liberal atheists and agnostics are wrong about a lot of things.
Now, after saying all that, let me give you some info on the compilation of the Bible:
Any belief in wholesale changes is theory, nothing more. Fortunately, because of the rich manuscript tradition of the Bible (we have in our possession thousands upon thousands of supporting documentation that lends an incredible amount of strength to the textual integrity of our scriptures), scholars can examine all of the evidence and compare tons of papyri, codexes, scrolls, and fragments to determine what the text originally said. What scholars have found is an amazing coincidence between the documentation. To give an example, invariably, a papyrus fragment found in Syria and copied in the 4th century will coincide nearly exactly with a scroll found in Egypt from the 8th century, and so on and so forth. No other book on the planet can boast of this sort of textual validity. Study Bibles, for instance, are packed with footnotes. These tell the reader lots of things, but one of the most important bits of info is the existence of textual differences. When Christians speak of "differences," (if they are educated that is) they are merely referring to, as you put it, changes that are very, very minor, while still preserving the meaning of the Bible.
I'm not sure what you are referring to by saying that you can find Bibles that differ in meaning, as this is just not true. I also don't understand the oft-repeated Muslim claim that there are "so many different versions of the Bible." Umm...why wouldn't there be? The Bible is the most translated book in the world, therefore there will exist many versions, but this does not mean for a second that they are all saying different things! I find this to be one of the most frustrating misconceptions coming from Muslims. Yes, there are different versions in a sense, but they all say the same thing. As a comparison, I own two Qurans. They are two different translations in English, and therefore, the translators have used different words to convey the same meanings. Obviously I realize that two translators will choose different words to translate, while retaining the original meaning. It is the same with the Bible.
You see, as time goes on, scholars continue to find more and more documentary evidence to support the Bible. Scholars continue to become better acquainted with the languages of Greek and Hebrew as well. Therefore, different versions are made, but why would this lead anyone to assume they are somehow different? Why would they be? It's just silly to think that thousands and thousands of scholars are all coming up with different versions of the Bible with different meanings. These Bibles are all translated from the same sources. Allow me to show you an example.
Here are three different versions of John 1:14, a verse about Jesus:
New International Version: The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only, who came from the father.
New King James Version: And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
New American Standard Version: And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
As you can see, the meaning is retained, only the words used in translation are different.
For your personal study, please refer to this article concerning the existence of different Bible versions at your leisure. It is quite interesting.
Now compare this with the Quran. There are few, if any footnotes; there are no critical editions, no critical scholarly reviews, and most importantly, no sources! Muslims can't even look back to compare any documentation prior to Uthman's burning. This is, whether you agree or not, a huge problem historically and textually speaking. And unknown to must Muslims, there did exist different versions prior to the 1924 standardization of the Quran in Cairo. And there is also hard evidence to indicate that before and after Uthamn's burning many textual discrepancies existed in the Quran. (why else would the burning have happened?) History shows the Bible to be amazingly preserved, with a ridiculously large amount of documentary evidence to back this up. At the same time, history also shows the existence of numerous versions of the Quran. Not only does manuscript evidence exist to indicate this, but the historical accounts of Ibn Ishaq, plus the actions of Uthman all attest to anything but a perfect preservation of Mohammed's words. A point I have to make is this: Uthman clearly feared the corruption of the Quran, hence his actions. And yes, various versions of the Quran were in circulation. So on one point, Alllah had failed to maintain the Quran's purity. And on a second point, Uthman decided to take matters into his own hands and ensure its purity. What I am saying is, Allah should not have to rely upon a burning party to preserve the Quran. Christians were being executed by the thousands during the first 250 years of Christianity, and yet the Bible has been preserved! I ask you, between the compilations of the Bible and the Quran, which one sounds like God intervened? Which one sounds miraculous? If Allah is all-powerful, why can he not preserve his revelation without relying upon the burning of rival texts? And since there were numerous rival texts in existence, how can we have any assurance that Uthman picked the right one? There are accounts of other Muslims (close friends to Mohammed even) who disagreed with the version Uthman decided upon. Who is right? Yet again, the god of Islam appears weak, and unable to preserve his revelations, and according to Muslims both the Bible and the Quran fall into this category.
Lastly on this subject, if you like, please take time to read this article on Muslim misconceptions about the Bible. It too, is a compelling read:
Moving on, I apologize, as I hate doing this, but I feel I have to address a certain paragraph of yours line by line, because there is a lot here to dissect. Bear with me. You stated:
"ALL of the prophet's messages were NOT meant to last forever - appart from ONE - Muhammad's message (PBUH)."
This is not what the bible teaches, nor does it make any sense. God's revelations have been preserved in the bible and yes, they are meant to last forever, or else God would not have bothered to say them. The continuity of the Bible is amazing. From genesis to Revelation we see God's plan for humanity unfolding, and it is ALL relevant to today's Christian.
"Allah sent many prophets, with many messages of guidance - but past revelations from Allah were only meant for a specific group of people - and for a specific period of time. The Torah was only meant for the Isrealites, and wasn't meant to last. The Bible, or atleast Jesus's teachings, were only truely meant for the Isrealites also, and were not meant to last forever."
Ok, this is so extremely incorrect I don't really know where to begin. Yes, the Torah was revealed specifically to the Jews, but the Jews were chosen to reveal God's son to the world...Jesus Christ. Christ referred to the church as his bride, and commanded his disciples to start it and spread it! Christ said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." And how can you possibly state that he didn't want his words to last forever? That makes zero sense, plus you have no supporting evidence whatsoever to back up this claim. Christ and his disciples say the exact opposite over and over again. (I have to admit, the more we debate the more I suspect you don't know much about the Bible. This is fine, of course, but I think it may be good for you to start studying it. Fortunately, you now have access to everything Multnomah Bible Seminary teaches me! ;) )
I mean, your assertions don't even make sense. God sent prophets with messages that were not meant to last? May I remind you that God's words and messages are universal and not bound by time? This belief of yours is not rooted in the Old Testament nor the New. Neither the Christians nor do the Jews accept it. Additionally, I have never heard one Muslim state this either.
"ONLY Muhammad's revelation and guidance from Allah was meant for the entire world, for the rest of time."
Again, given the very nature of Islam, this is crazy. Compare to Christianity: Jesus teaches his disciples, and they write the gospel in Greek (the language spoken by the most people in the world at that time). Despite great persecution, the Bible survives, and is now the most available book in nearly every language known to mankind. Then comes Mohammed, with a different message, a message of violence, warfare, empire, and cultural superiority. The Quran is eventually translated into other languages, but can only truly be read in Arabic. How is this even remotely a good idea for a global religion? Not everyone will learn Arabic, nor will they want to. And the Quran, unlike the New Testament, cannot be applied universally without a suspension of freedom. Can you imagine a world under the law of the Quran? Under Sharia law? What a frightening concept! While the New Testament leaves it up to humanity to determine their own political systems, means of punishment, etc. etc. the Quran is rigid and inflexible, and completely inapplicable to the modern world. Plus, I don't think the Quran even supports your statement here, Does it? Mohammed wanted to bring the world back under the Law of Moses, not start something new. I'm not sure where you are getting all these ideas.
"It is the ONLY monotheistic religion that actually says it is the final revelation. The Torah prophecises Jesus, the Bible prophecises Jesus also,"
(The Torah IS the Bible, the first five books) To be precise, there was definitely a sort of finality to the message of Jesus. He did, after all, say "it is finished" right before he died on the cross. Besides, Mohammed said lots of things, that doesn't mean they are true. If Islam is the final revelation, why so much contradiction between it and everything that came before? Why doesn't Mohammed quote the Bible, or show an intimate knowledge of it such as Christ and all of the apostles?
"and arguably prophecises Muhammad too. My point is that the Bible definately does prophecise the coming of another Prophet,"
NO! It doesn't! Jesus said another helper would come to the disciples. And if you read the New Testament, you will see that during Pentacost, the helper came! This is when the disciples were speaking in different languages with tongues of fire hovering above them. It is the Holy SPIRIT! And no one has ever, ever, ever refuted this! The disciples believed it, Jesus stated it, and every Christian, scholar, theologian, pastor, minister, pope, and etc. believes this to be true as well! It almost makes me angry that someone would try to replace such a simple reference to the Holy Spirit with Mohammed. No evidence is no evidence. Even liberal scholars would laugh at this assertion.
"and therefore by it's nature isn't meant to be followed for the rest of time."
Huh? There have been lots of prophets. And guess what? They all spoke the same message. And again, the paraclete was not a prophet. It is the holy spirit.
"Past revelations from Allah are abrogated my the Quran."
No, they are completely contradicted by the Quran because Mohammed didn't know the Bible as well as he thought he did. He made huge mistakes concerning both Judaism and Christianity, which is why he was unable to gain hardly any converts from these religions. Shouldn't Allah know better than to send a prophet with a completely different message that contradicts all prior messages? What sort of god is Allah, if He teaches Jews and Christians to obey the Bible forever and yet then send Mohammed to change all the rules? How could Christians or Jews ever know the truth, given the utterly confusing nature of revelation? How is it that we can find perfect harmony between the Old and New testaments, whereas the Quran says something completely different? Does this make any logical sense? And how could anyone accept a man who never even performed any miracles? God specifically told Moses that he would allow him to perform miracles so that the Egyptians would know that he was speaking for God. But then there is Mohammed. A man who went into a cave, and then told everyone that an angel gave him a revelation. No witnesses. No miracles. Just the words of one man. This has never happened throughout the entire Bible, and it lacks any sort of compelling evidence whatsoever. God has never acted so secretive for things of such importance. How could anyone accept it?
"A reason that Allah didn't simply reveal Islam at the earliest point, is told to us by Jesus - Jesus couldn't tell us all truth since we couldn't previously bare it."
Jesus didn't give us some sort of Islam that wasn't complete. He preached a completely different message! He turned water into wine, he gave people permission to eat pork, and he stated his own divinity and allowed himself to be worshiped. That, my friend, is not watered-down Islam, it is Christianity.
"And if we look at the situation today - Jesus's words hold true. IF Jesus prophecised Muhammad's coming, and IF Islam truely is the final and complete monotheistic religion, then we should all be able to understand that Islam couldn't have been revealed earlier. Even today many people can't bare some doctrines of Islam (Although i truely think it's due to misconceptions and misinterpretations)."
I'm not following you at all. There is absolutely no reason why Islam could not have been followed earlier. Mosaic Law was far more harsh and demanding than Islam, and the Jews followed that for thousands of years. What you need to realize is that Jesus and Mohammed did not agree on doctrine or law or relationships, and did not even remotely resemble each other in regards to their actions. Christ was a man of humility and grace, who never laid a finger on anyone, and preached that the Law was soon to be fulfilled through his death and resurrection. Mohammed spent his life in warfare, and preached a combination of Christianity, Judaism, and polytheistic practices of his day, all due to his own ignorance.
"What i'm trying to say is, The Creator of this Universe is all capable of preserving his guidance. Yet there are many versions of the Bible. And the Bible also never says that the guidance ends with Jesus - but infact teaches us that there will be another to come. Why would Allah preserve the Bible to be followed for eternity, if Allah has given us a more complete revelation? Surely Allah would preserve the more complete guidance."
Once again, I have never heard any Muslim argue this point. It makes no sense to me at all. God gave us the Bible, and commanded his followers to obey it FOREVER. There is not a shred of evidence to support the idea that God somehow wanted us all to ditch the Bible and move on to the Quran, and really, why would he? This sort of reasoning lacks any logic or even compassion for that matter. Even if He did want us to move on to the Quran, wouldn't the two at least agree with each other? But the point is, they don't. The Bible and the Quran are in complete disagreement on the most fundamental points of our respective faiths.
Ask yourself, what if someone 600 years after Mohammed said that the Quran was no longer meant to be followed, and that he now had a new book that you should all obey? A book that contradicted the most basic truths of Islam? Would you believe him? Probably not. I would assume you would want some sort of evidence that what he was saying was true. And yet, this is exactly what Islam asks Christians to do! Mohammed performed no miracles, misquoted the Bible, showed a gross ignorance of Judaism and Christianity, and yet Christians are somehow expected to accept Islam on this basis? It just doesn't add up.
The Bible has not been changed, because God has preserved it. Yet it contradicts the Quran. So where does this leave us? It's simple really. Mohammed was deceived by an evil spirit, and inadvertently created a false religion that contradicts the core elements of Christianity. This is really the only scenario that makes any sense. And about your assertion that the Quran cannot be satanic. Again I say to you, if Satan wanted to deceive people, how do you think he would do it? Wouldn't a book inspired by him be full of good sounding commands for life? Satan is the best of all liars, and he will do anything to deceive us. I would fully expect a book inspired by Satan to glorify a supposedly good god, and to insult Satan. It is a far more effective approach than to insult God and to glorify Satan, don't you agree? What the Quran does not do, however, is admit to the divinity of Christ, or use the title used for god in the Bible, Yahweh. I find that very interesting, and very suspicious. As I have said before, the life of Mohammed completely contradicts every other prophet's life that we can read about in the Bible. He is physically assaulted by a spirit (angels had never hurt prophets in the Bible), he feels he is demon-possessed (again, never happens in the Bible), he is suicidal (nope, not in the Bible), he is the only witness to his revelation (the New Testament gospels include four witnesses of the life of Christ), he receives revelations that are specifically beneficial for him, such as more than four wives (not in the Bible). Now, I would like to wrap this up and quickly address your reference to slavery in the Bible.
I'm always slightly amazed when Muslims bring up the issue of slavery, as if Christianity approves of it while Islam does not. The reality could not be further from the truth. Have you read the New Testament? First off, the majority of Islamic rules against slavery apply only to Muslims! Mohammed himself owned slaves, and even dictates rules for concubines obtained in battle as is shown here:
"It is prohibited for Muslims to marry women who are already married, unless they are their slaves which they have possessed by force of battle (4:24). Muslims are those who abstain from sexual relations beyond their wives and slave girls they have captured in battle. Such relationships with prisoners are blameless (23:5-6). Slaves do not share equally the riches Allah gives their owners. Their owners do not fear their slaves as they do their fellow Muslims (30:28)."
Compare this with the New Testament, where no laws are given even concerning warfare because Christians are not to engage in it in only the rarest of circumstances! (I really have no idea what you are referring yo when you say slaves are sub-human in the bible. In the future, I suggest you cite the verses that support your assertions so I can better address them.)
Beyond this, nearly the entire history of Islamic empires shows governments allowing, approving, and operating under the institution of slavery. The Ottoman Empire is a great example. Up until the 20th century Ottoman sultans were still abiding by the Quranic law of obtaining female slaves in war, hence the hundreds of harem slaves that were liberated after the dissolution of Ottoman Turkey under the watch of England (a Christian nation by the way). Is it moral, I ask, to take a woman from her village and imprison her to have sex with her? According to Mohammed it is!
Let's also think about the abolition of slavery in the 19th and 20th centuries. Who in the West began this movement? And who ultimately carried it out? Christians did.
It is amazing to me when Muslims use Paul's words to somehow imply that Paul approved of slavery ( I am assuming this is what you are referring to). Especially when compared with the Quran. Consider this: Jesus did not own slaves. Paul did not own slaves. Not one of the disciples or apostles owned slaves. Mohammed owned slaves! How can you even begin to compare Christianity unfavorably with Islam given this reality? Furthermore, Paul was wise enough to know that the abolition of slavery would not happen under the Christian movement of his day, as the Christians were under persecution by the Romans. They were surely not going to be gaining any political ground. Besides, that defeats the whole point. Christianity is a movement of the heart, not of the state. Paul was wisely instructing the slave to not revolt and get himself killed, advice that I wholeheartedly agree with.
I suppose what it all comes down to is to examine the fruit produced by these respective religions. You claim the Quran somehow teaches equality for all mankind, and yet a simple comparison with Islamic countries and Western countries shows a fundamental difference. If Islam is so liberating and freeing, why are Muslim countries some of the most intolerant, repressive, and barbaric countries on the earth? Shouldn't the opposite be found? Now, I am certainly not saying the West is perfect, but at least in America, for example, couples can hold hands without getting 100 lashes, people can criticize Christianity and Jesus without being deemed apostates, and women share equal rights with men. (I am using Saudi Arabia as my comparison, a country under Sharia Law that is anything but free and equal). Examine the fruit, my friend. That is all I ask.
Lastly, concerning the paraclete, as I've said before, there is not one shred of evidence to indicate this meant Mohammed. Given that the Old Testament prophesies the coming of Christ over and over again, with specific information on his place of birth, his genealogy, his life and the way he would die, it is beyond a stretch to say that Mohammed, the supposed final seal of the prophets, is in the Bible. He is not. End of story. And the only reason we are even having this debate is because of a few words in the Quran. Sadly, those few words have forced Muslims to pore over the bible with a fine toothed comb, trying to find anyplace where they can stick Mohammed in, no matter how absurd or ridiculous. And it is absurd, I'm sorry to say. The paraclete already came! It is the Holy Spirit, and the New Testament clearly states this! I am amazed that this is even an issue.
My friend, I implore you, be honest with yourself. Does Islam really make sense? Was Mohammed really a more moral man than Jesus? The inherent contradictions and historical problems are rife within Islam, and yet young Muslims are being raised to believe inaccuracies and flat-out deceptions. Why does a so-called religion of truth raises its young people to believe untruths about Christianity? Why do I see so many Youtube videos showing such widespread ignorance on the religion that Muslims criticize the most? None of it adds up. Unless, of course, Islam is wrong. Then it all makes perfect sense, wouldn't you agree?
Oh, and just one last point. About your assertion that since mankind is engaged in war, there should be rules for warfare. I disagree. You know who else disagreed? Jesus Christ. For the first 300 years of Christianity not one church engaged in warfare, and yet Christianity is the largest religion on the planet. So how does this coincide with your claim? The rules Jesus gave were more than enough for Christians to know how to conduct warfare. Seeing as how Christianity has been so resoundingly successful, your point is inconsistent, and not reflective of reality. I hardly find the need for specifics on the treatment of female slaves gained in battle for example, or how to divide booty. I can't imagine Jesus attacking towns and then ordering his men to give him a majority share of the plunder. How very convenient for Mohammed, don't you think?
Be well friend, I hope this finds you in good health and happiness. And by all means, take your time with your reply. I start Seminary back up again tomorrow, so once again, time will be limited. Yikes. Talk to you soon...