The following is an online dialogue, concerning Islam and Christianity, with a gentleman who attacked the beliefs of a friend of mine, and was attempting to make the case for the popular belief that Islam and Christianity are essentially one and the same. For clarity, my opponent’s words appear bold and italicized. May God add His blessing to your reading.
“The Quran is as loving and vengeful as the Bible.”
This statement of yours is entirely simplistic or reductionistic. When I read such statements I can only conclude that the person making the assertion has studied neither the Qur'an nor the Bible in any depth whatsoever. It displays a total lack of understanding. (This is the kind of sophomoric analysis one finds in an introductory "comparative religions" class.)
Indeed, the Bible contains passages of horrific violence. However, such passages are descriptive, rather than prescriptive. That is, the Bible describes such things but it nowhere prescribes such behavior on the part of believers in Jesus Christ. (And do not fallaciously equate or confuse church history with biblical theology.)
The Qur'an on the other hand, does indeed prescribe such behavior. For example, the followers of Islam are exhorted: “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned...” (Surah V, 33). [Any attempt to parallel such teaching to the case law found in the Pentateuch is nothing more than contrivance.]
Further in Surah V we read: “O you who believe! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people” (51).
Passages such as these are found throughout the entire Qur’an. I know because I’ve read it from cover to cover. Jihad [often translated as “striving” for Islam/Allah] is a constant theme. Moderate Muslims attempt to soften the concept of Jihad to mean “internal struggling.” But this goes against the plain reading of the text itself. Jihad [understood and applied in a very broad context] is a central tenet to those who follow Islam.
I believe that your motives are pure. I’m sure you’re a very loving and peaceful man. Most people are. But the pluralistic philosophy that all religions are equally true and valid or that they’re essentially the same is little more than naiveté or wishful thinking.
“Whether you like it or not, it comes down to one's own interpretation of what one is reading.”
There you go again. You are making an authoritative statement. With magisterial authority you pronounce that everything “comes down” to private interpretation, whether I “like it or not.”
And yet again, you are mistaken. The Bible itself is clear: no scripture “is of any private interpretation” (2Peter 1:20). According to the Bible, God is the originator and interpreter of His word. That is, the Bible is self authenticating, authoritative, and perspicuous.
The Bible is not to be treated as a “wax nose” to be twisted or formed according to personal whim. Upon what logical or rational basis do you assume that the Bible means what the individual says it means or that the individual is the final arbiter of truth? You are making authoritative statements based upon nothing but personal opinion. With no ultimate authority other than yourself, what can you possibly offer us other than your own personal dogmatism?
“Why is it that many of us can't seem to remember both religions came from the same damn family?”
Well, friend, many of us find it difficult to remember things that never happened.
Christianity is a revealed religion. That is, it didn't come from man. Rather, God revealed Himself specifically in His Son and through His apostles and prophets in scripture. Now, you may reject this truth statement of Christianity. This is your prerogative. But please don't offer simplistic and ahistorical nonsense that Christianity and Islam come from the same source. You're entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.
“Both Christianity and Islam came from God, or Allah if one so chooses to use this name. However, you've made my point for elitist babble.”
No. Christianity and Islam did not both come from God. Christianity and Islam each make absolute truth claims concerning the nature of God and of Christ; truth claims which diametrically oppose each other. To claim that God has revealed Himself in contradictory truth claims, is tantamount to believing a = -a is a true mathematical statement. In other words, such a claim is illogical and absurd.
Islam vehemently denies the Trinity. Christianity is rooted in Trinitarian theology. Islam vehemently denies that God is the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. That God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Islam vehemently denies the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christianity affirms the full deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Islam denies that Christ died and resurrected for sinners. Christianity upholds this as the central tenet of the Faith. I could go on and on. (But I don't want to bore you with facts and "elitist babble.")
The "similarities" between Christianity and Islam are contrived by people who know next to nothing of either religion.
“Interesting, Steve, that u speak for god and that u know Christianity and Islam both don't come from god.....wow, do u know in advance winning lotto tickets as well.....???”
I don't presume to speak for God. God has authoritatively and sufficiently spoken for Himself in His Son and in scripture. “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds…” (Hebrews 1:1-2).
You may refuse to listen to God in His word and in His Son, but this doesn’t mean He hasn’t spoken. As for winning lottery tickets...why don't you try to argue with the state that truth is relative and that your ticket is every bit as true and valid as the winner's? Insist that it is narrow minded bigotry to assume there could be only one set of winning numbers. See how far this gets you.