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My Take: It’s time for Islamophobic evangelicals to choose
September 15th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Take: It’s time for Islamophobic evangelicals to choose

Editor's Note: Brian D. McLaren  is author of "Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World" (Jericho Books/Hachette Book Group). 

By Brian McLaren, Special to CNN

I was raised as an evangelical Christian in America, and any discussion of Christian-Jewish-Muslim relations around the world must include the phenomenon of American Islamophobia, for which large sectors of evangelical Christianity in America serve as a greenhouse.

At a time when U.S. embassies are being attacked and when people are getting killed over an offensive, adolescent and puerile film targeting Islam - beyond pathetic in its tawdriness – we must begin to own up to the reality of evangelical Islamaphobia.

Many of my own relatives receive and forward pious-sounding and alarm-bell-ringing e-mails that trumpet (IN LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS!) the evils of Islam, that call their fellow evangelicals and charismatics to prayer and “spiritual warfare” against those alleged evils, and that often - truth be told - contain lots of downright lies.

For example, one recent e-mail claimed “Egyptian Christians in Grave Danger as Muslim Brotherhood Crucifies Opponents."  Of course, that claim has been thoroughly debunked, but the sender’s website still (as of Friday) claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has “crucified those opposing" Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy "naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Many sincere and good-hearted evangelicals have never yet had a real Muslim friend, and now they probably never will because their minds have been so prejudiced by Islamophobic broadcasts on so-called Christian television and radio.

Janet Parshall, for example, a popular talk show host on the Moody Radio Network, frequently hosts Walid Shoebat, a Muslim-evangelical convert whose anti-Muslim claims, along with claims about his own biography, are frequently questioned.  John Hagee, a popular televangelist, also hosts Shoebat as an expert on Islam, as does the 700 Club.

Many Christian bookstores that (used to) sell my books, still sell books such as Paul Sperry’s "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington" (Thomas Nelson, 2008). In so doing, they fuel conspiracy theories such as the ones U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, promoted earlier this year.

In recent days, we’ve seen how irresponsible Muslim media outlets used the tawdry 13-minute video created by a tiny handful of fringe Christian extremists to create a disgusting caricature of all Christians - and all Americans - in Muslim minds. But too few Americans realize how frequently American Christian media personalities in the U.S. similarly prejudice their hearers’ minds with mirror-image stereotypes of Muslims.

Ambassador's killing shines light on Muslim sensitivities around Prophet Mohammed

Meanwhile, many who are pastors and leaders in evangelicalism hide their heads in the current issue of Christianity Today or World Magazine, acting as if the kinds of people who host Islamophobic sentiments swim in a tiny sidestream, not in the mainstream, of our common heritage. I wish that were true.

The events of this past week, if we let them, could mark a turning point - a hitting bottom, if you will - in the complicity of evangelicalism in Islamophobia. If enough evangelicals watch or try to watch the film trailer that has sparked such outrage in the Middle East, they may move beyond the tipping point.

I tried to watch it, but I couldn’t make it halfway to the 13-minute mark. Everything about it was tawdry, pathetic, even pornographic. All but the most fundamentalist believers from my evangelical Christian tribe who watch that video will be appalled and ashamed to be associated with it.

It is hate speech. It is no different from the anti-Semitic garbage that has been all too common in Western Christian history. It is sub-Christian - beneath the dignity of anyone with a functioning moral compass.

Islamophobic evangelical Christians - and the neo-conservative Catholics and even some Jewish folks who are their unlikely political bedfellows of late - must choose.

Will they press on in their current path, letting Islamophobia spread even further amongst them? Or will they stop, rethink and seek to a more charitable approach to our Muslim neighbors? Will they realize that evangelical religious identity is under assault, not by Shariah law, not by the liberal media, not by secular humanism from the outside, but by forces within the evangelical community that infect that religious identity with hostility?

If I could get one message through to my evangelical friends, it would be this: The greatest threat to evangelicalism is evangelicals who tolerate hate and who promote hate camouflaged as piety.

No one can serve two masters. You can’t serve God and greed, nor can you serve God and fear, nor God and hate.

The broad highway of us-them thinking and the offense-outrage-revenge reaction cycle leads to self-destruction. There is a better way, the way of Christ who, when reviled, did not revile in return, who when insulted, did not insult in return, and who taught his followers to love even those who define themselves as enemies.

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Yes, “they” – the tiny minority of Muslims who turn piety into violence – have big problems of their own. But the way of Christ requires all who claim to be Christians to examine our own eyes for planks before trying to perform first aid on the eyes of others. We must admit that we have our own tiny minority whose message and methods we have not firmly, unitedly and publicly repudiated and rejected.

To choose the way of Christ is not appeasement. It is not being a “sympathizer.”

The way of Christ is a gentle strength that transcends the vicious cycles of offense-outrage-revenge.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Brian D. McLaren.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Islam • My Take • Opinion

soundoff (8,500 Responses)
  1. Charlie B

    All I have to say is read the Koran (Quran). I have and it absolutely throughout the book tells Muslims to kill those who do not believe as they do, and tells Muslims not to take Jew or Christian as their friends. It is the ONLY religion that tells people to kill those who do not believe as they do. I further learned about Islam when 9/11 occurred. Folks this is not rocket science and it is not hard. Whether you are a person of faith or not, you should be able to distinguish the big differences between Islam and everything else.

    September 16, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • Muslim

      I am not going to try to argue everyone in this room. However, I do have a request for all the people who hate muslims. Just once in your life time try to make a muslim friend and get to know them.

      September 16, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • I Read It

      I don't think you read it, in fact I would bet my life on it that you really didn't. Like so many other ignorant people that claim that they read it but really didn't, you read the "cliffsnotes" versions that you found on websites that you found that favored your predetermined point of view and takes all those phrases out of context. There is no more killing in the Quran than there is in the Bible, but you only hear the happy versus of the Bible from your pastors because you refuse to actually read your own Bible as well.

      September 16, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • jhubers

      So you've read the Qur'an in Arabic? And you are familiar with the long history of tafsir – the way Muslims have interpreted its teachings through the years? Apparently not as you are repeating a trope that only Muslim haters who don't actually understand the Qur'an repeat – that it teaches Muslims to kill their non Muslim neighbors.

      Imagine a person reading the Bible for the first time with no knowledge of the way Jews and Christians have interpreted it over the years. Imagine that they start their reading in the book of Joshua. They come to this verse: "Thus Joshua struck all the land, the hill country and the Negev and the lowland and the slopes and all their kings. He left no survivor, but he utterly destroyed all who breathed, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded." What conclusion will he draw? Obviously that God condones the killing of innocent people, with the assumption that he still does so today. So Christianity, he would assume, must be a violent religion, much more violent than any other, as the God of this religion regularly asks his people to enslave and murder groups of people in the name of their religion.

      We know, however, that this is not how Jews or Christians interpret their scripture. So why do you assume that what you read in an English translation of the Qur'an (which by Muslim standards is not the true Qur'an, which must be read in Arabic to capture its true spirit) is the way Muslims themselves interpret it.

      The only conclusion I can draw from this is that you want the Qur'an to say this so you can justify your hatred of your Muslim neighbors.

      September 16, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • mike lake

      u have read the Q'uran? get a muslim to read the bible and the result will be similar, he won't get it either. Read the old testament Exodus? maybe and the similarities are obvious, that happened because Mohammed plagiarized the old testament, but he and muslims are stuck, because they do not have an "upgrade" to their religion like christianity ie. no
      "saviour" Islam adopted Jew/Christian religions, they put it in a pot, stirred it and voila, Islam. Religion is the opiate of the sheep oops I meant people.

      September 16, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • ensense

      My deal Muslim apologists who are comparing bible to Qur'an. remember in Qur'an the latest verses take precedence over the old ones, so also in Christianity. but in Christianity the latest verses are all about peace and love and forgiveness ( if you dont agree show one line from Jesus which talks about violence) , but in the case of the Qur'an it is all kill kill kill.

      September 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • ensense

      The barometer of a good Muslim is not how he behaves among non Muslims, because the qua-ran tell you to behave nicely when in minority. It is how you think and talk in private about us non Muslims.

      September 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  2. Oldeye

    This proves that, sometimes, too much knowledge or fixation, in any religion or even non-religion, is not good for the people of this earth. While it is true that the bulk of people who are religious believe in the goodness of heart and their ability to love one another, there are the few(mostly extremists) who believe theirs is the true path. No amount of self-psychoanalysis can cure anyone of us from this religious dilemma. Love and hate. The two most dangerous human trait.

    September 16, 2012 at 7:28 am |
  3. Jorge Sedano

    who the heck is this guy to tell anyone what to do.. those were terrorist acts and Americans were the victims... this guy has first amendment rights, but this site doesn't have to print such terrorist tactics...death to this site..

    September 16, 2012 at 7:27 am |
    • Tom MIddleton

      Mr. Mclaren,

      your article is not only unfair, but very lopsided. the truth of the matter is that Islam and Muslims have resorted to Violence so many times in the name of their religion, that any intelligent person with a sane brain and a backbone (you, sir, have neither) must acknowledge this and put muslims to the test of proving that they can disagree with peace.. do you not read the news? how dare you blame this on evangelists? today, in my city, a muslim American stands accused of wanting to blow up a bar/concern hall because it is full of Kuffar!.. how is this not the root of islam?? ironically, what you are misleading people and misrepresenting (which is that Evangelical christians are the cause of this) is exactly what is lacking in Islam.. a muslim who will come out and acknowledge that their religion is in trouble and it needs reforming.. i have no respect for you, or CNN for subverting the truth.. grow a brain cell, and a backbone sir.. otherwise, keep your thoughts to yourself and shut up.

      September 16, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  4. shewiz

    Good luck getting anyone to feel the love right now. We are all tired of trying to understand people who behead our citizens, riot over cartoons, and murder innocents.

    September 16, 2012 at 7:27 am |
    • Muslim

      Very quick to point out beheading and murders of your citizens. How about the daily drone strikes, millions killed, or displaced from there houses, occupation ? Then you complain when a few americans getting killed...

      September 16, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • ensense

      Muslim before the daily drone strikes set you back, there were daily suicide bombing by your followers of the peaceful religion in which a lot more innocents have died. You are obviously a regular color blind Muslim who regurgitates which his quazi tells him from the pulpit.

      September 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  5. Obama The Apologist

    Thanks you Brian McClaren and CNN for spreading my apoligize first, appease at any cost, America is wrong foriegn policies, I am looking forward to a second term where i can drop the facade and do real and long lasting damage to this country's global reach, and our security at home.

    September 16, 2012 at 7:27 am |
  6. Mike

    Christians are the problem?? Absolutely stupid article and conclusion. He's equating our Christian media (small following on cable) with the STATE RUN MAINSTREAM Muslim media that their populous is all subjected to. Seems to me one is WAY more irresponsible. And that's without even comparing content because I doubt the 700 Club, or whatever, is an inciting as state run media in those countries.

    September 16, 2012 at 7:25 am |
  7. G-D

    <>

    EVEN SOME JEWISH FOLKS MUST CHOOSE!! Cant you stop blaming them for everthing. "SOME" is a poor choice of words. How about a "very few" or "right wing" or some other modifier. Your right in there with those you profess need to change. Please dont lump all Jews in with you whackjob paranoid delusionists. SOME Jews actually think Palestine should be liberated and others think that Israel should be blown off the face of the earth just so you all come back to reality, Its a piece of dirt in the desert that I thoiught you all could share. I was terrribly wrong.

    G-D

    September 16, 2012 at 7:25 am |
  8. Lou Cypher

    It could be called a "phobia" if people were not actually being killed by zealot Muslims.

    But since it is actually happening, the word 'phobia' really doesn't apply.

    That said, the word 'denial' does seem to have a place here.

    September 16, 2012 at 7:25 am |
  9. joe

    exactly.

    September 16, 2012 at 7:25 am |
  10. jp

    I think we are at a point where its not a phobia...its real.....does anyone read the news...lol

    September 16, 2012 at 7:23 am |
  11. government cheese

    Islam isn't killing people?

    September 16, 2012 at 7:22 am |
    • Ashok

      No but the people killing are islamic.

      September 16, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • Think

      You ever hear of this ? Guns don't kill people, people do. Same applies to religion.

      September 16, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Name*redd

      Islamic terrorist are no more muslim than the ku klux klan is christian. True muslims don't terrorize

      September 16, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • David

      "It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims.”

      September 17, 2012 at 12:53 am |
  12. Nancy

    Thank you for your editorial. I'm sure there must be some reasonable people who read this Belief section, though you'd have doubts from reading the comments.

    September 16, 2012 at 7:21 am |
    • Mark Yelka

      By reasonable, you must mean people who aren't aware of the crimes that Muslims are doing in the name of Islam.

      September 16, 2012 at 7:27 am |
    • Jill

      I agree with you Nancy

      September 17, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  13. Ala

    11. Bible prophecy

    One is not mentioned or prophesied in the Bible. The other fulfills Messianic prophecy.

    Muhammad

    In a verse in the Quran, two scholars insert some parenthetical comments that are not found in the original Arabic.

    7:157 Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write (i.e. Muhammad) whom they find written in the Taurat (Torah) (Deut, xviii 15 [18:15]) and the Injil (Gospel) (John, xiv 16 [14:16]) with them . . . (Hilali and Khan, my insertions in brackets) (cf. Suras 2:129, 159; 3:81, 164; 61:6)

    Though Muhammad’s claim that he is found in the Bible is farfetched to begin with, the two translators take it for granted that the Biblical references from Deuteronomy and the Gospel of John mention or prophesy their prophet. This belief has circulated around the Muslim world for many years and has become "gospel truth." Further, Muslim propagandists have searched for clear references to Muhammad in the Torah and the Gospels (and the entire Bible). But have they been successful? Does this belief have any foundation in the Biblical texts?

    Researchers have already easily demonstrated that Muhammad does not fit the profile of a Biblical prophet or any other saint mentioned or predicted in the Bible.

    This mid-length chapter lists the basic arguments by Muslims and answers them point by point. It then lists the similarities between Moses and Christ. This means that Christ is the prophet predicted by Moses.

    This mid-length article also lists the characteristics of Moses and Christ and demonstrates the match between the two. The similarities and the length of the list are remarkable. Muhammad is excluded.

    The most thorough refutation of the claim that Muhammad is the Comforter in John 14 is found in this chapter. It even has an image of a Greek papyrus containing John 14:9-26 that shows the New Testament was not tampered with and that paraclêtos is the right word in the chapter, not periclytos ("much praise"; cf. Sura 61:6).

    This article is a thorough refutation of a Muslim polemicist’s claim (and this polemicist is not alone) that Sura 61:6 says that Jesus prophesies the appearance of a certain "Ahmad" (meaning "Praise"). Islamic research on this issue is terribly confused and substandard.

    These articles together consist of a thorough exegesis of Biblical texts, taking them in historical and literary contexts. Thus, the absence of any clear reference in the Bible to Muhammad as some sort of future spokesman for God is not surprising. Culturally and chronologically, he was too far removed from the Bible—he was not a Jew. He was also much too inaccurate about the Bible in matters of verifiable, textual facts.

    The result of this quick study: Muhammad is absent from Bible prophecy and all other areas of the Bible.

    Jesus

    Old Testament prophecy about himself as the Messiah was very important to Jesus.

    After he was resurrected bodily, he appeared to many disciples. Two of them were walking down a road that led to a village called Emmaus. They recounted the recent events and their disappointment that Jesus had not redeemed Israel. But they were amazed that several of the disciples said that the tomb was empty and that Jesus had appeared to some of them. It was a surprise when a seeming stranger joined them in their journey. He asked them what they were talking about. They told him about their disappointment that Jesus was not everything that they had hoped for. Then Jesus (the seeming stranger) revealed himself and gave them a Bible lesson.

    And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he [Jesus] explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)

    It is quite possible that Jesus discussed at least some of these verses listed in the Table of Messianic Prophecies. It cites nearly ninety prophecies that follow Jesus from his birth and infancy, to his death, resurrection, and ascension—and his reign in heaven.

    12. The Spirit

    One restricts and confuses the doctrine of the Spirit. The other freely offers the Spirit as a full Person.

    Muhammad

    He severely restricts the role and nature of the Spirit. The references to the Islamic spirit in the Quran are far, far fewer than those to the Spirit in the New Testament. In fact, the Quranic references, below, are complete (or nearly so).

    The spirit in the Quran has similar functions as those in the Bible, but the Quranic spirit’s role is weaker and less defined. Examples follow. This spirit seems to be involved in creation (Suras 15:98; 32:7-9; 38:71-72). He helped Mary conceive Jesus (Suras 19:18-19; 21:91; 66:12). The spirit appeared in the form of a man to Mary (Sura 19:18-19). He strengthened Jesus (Suras 2:87; 2:253; 5:110), and the believers (Sura 58:22). Jesus is called a "spirit from God" (Sura 4:171; cf. 2:253). The spirit inspired and revealed the Quran (Sura 16:102; 17:85; 26:192-193; 97:4). Finally, he is a witness or participates in some way in the Last Day (Suras 70:4; 78:38), warning of impending judgment (Sura 40:15).

    Thus, the Quran’s view of the Spirit overlaps somewhat with the Bible’s (creation, conception of Jesus, and inspiration), but in other ways the Quran is confused and deficient (Jesus is a spirit; the spirit appears as a man; his helping believers is mentioned only once). But none of this confusion and deficiency matters, because traditional Islam erroneously reduces the Spirit to the archangel Gabriel. Why? A fully developed pneumatology (doctrine of the Spirit) wreaks havoc on a strict unitarian doctrine of God.

    Jesus

    Just before his resurrection and ascension, Jesus promises to send the Spirit to every believer who asks in his name (John 14:15-18; 16:5-15). He fulfills this promise in Acts 2:1-4. The Spirit fills the believers, and the church is formally created.

    In an exhaustive concordance in which every word in the Bible is listed, the word "Spirit" or "spirit" of God or the Lord in the Old Testament takes up almost two columns. In the New Testament, the same words take over three columns. This gives us an idea of the importance of the Spirit in the New Testament. This is especially remarkable, since the Old Testament is much, much longer than the New. In the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit, as a full Person, lives in every believer to help him follow God and receive his love.

    This long article (the readers may scroll down to "Who is the Spirit?") argues convincingly that the Spirit cannot be Gabriel without damaging other aspects of Islamic theology.

    This article briefly discusses the Spirit in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Quran (scroll down to "Holy Spirit").

    This one replies to Muslim polemics.

    September 16, 2012 at 7:21 am |
  14. SI

    Mr. McLaren is either a clueless or a deceiver christ-phobic (Christians hater) as some one who grew up in the muslim middle east (Egypt) evangelical and all Americans have to be very worried about the rise of islam. So here are some questions for the author. Mr. Mclaren, do you think evangelicals are worried about of islam because the muslims said they will conquer America from within and save it from it’s miserable existence? ( muslim brotherhood manifesto published and widely distributed here in America in 1987). Do you think they are worried because they see daily murders of Christian around the muslim world with no retribution? Do you think they are worried because churches and other places of worship are routinely attacked and burnt in the muslim world? Do you think they are worried because the muslim leadership never condemns atrocities against Christians and other monitories in the muslim word? Do you think they are worried because muslims want to put shariah laws her in America (there are over 50 cases the sited with shariah already).
    This worry comes not from an unfounded fear as McLaren suggests. The muslims have made it clear through the written word, action about their intent for America. If the author spent just a short amount of time in research before spewing hate against evangelical maybe he can be a bit more objective. So Mr. Mclren, go ahead and continue your deep hate against evangelical, after all you have a great venue for doing so, however the rest of us will continue to be vigilant and active against this REAL threat

    September 16, 2012 at 7:21 am |
    • Teresita H. Gebhard

      And the hate and war amongst men will go on! Fear and Ignorance amongst Christians, Muslims, and Jews fuel this HUGE fire, which will cost us more innocent lives!

      September 16, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • Ssloancoop

      1 QUESTION – WHY DO WE CONTINUE TO SEND THESE COUNTRIES MONEY?????? You want to kill us. You want to kill me because I'm not Islamic. You want to kill me and my daughters because we don't cover our hair and I leave my house without a male escort???.?.? BUT YOU'LL CERTAINLY TAKE MY MY COUNTRIES MONEY THAT THEY RECEIVE VIA MY TAX DOLLARS?????? Someone help me understand this??. This was a rediculous article. The postings were more informative.

      September 16, 2012 at 8:16 am |
  15. Mark in Atlanta

    Judging from the comments, doesn't look like Islamaphobia among Evangelicals is going anywhere any time soon.

    September 16, 2012 at 7:21 am |
    • mike lake

      i had to scroll for miles to find a reasonable post, here's another There is no God or Allah or any deity watching over us, so because there is no god or allah the powers that be had to create one and boy did they

      September 16, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  16. bn

    Go figure they'd shift the blame yet again. We know that ALL people have a prejudice of some sort BUT in THIS day and age only one religion is currently murdering others including their own kind which happens to be a sin (Muslims are not allowed to kill other Muslims). Christianity has been ostracized and made fun of more than any other religion and you don't see them running around murder innocent people (and for those of you who are about to say "That's what America is doing!"...America is not a christian nation...far from it).

    September 16, 2012 at 7:21 am |
  17. Ala

    9. Miracles

    One worked no miracles. The other works many of them, even today.

    Muhammad

    He can perform no miracles, according to Allah’s own account of him in the Quran. However, in the hadith, his admirers have a strong motive to puff up their beloved prophet with miracle stories. But the Quran contradicts their accounts.

    In the following Meccan verse in Sura 17, Muhammad answers the charge that he cannot work miracles. Allah commands his messenger to "say" the following to his critics.

    17:93 . . . Say, "Glory to my Lord. Am I anything but a mortal, a messenger?" . . . (Haleem)

    In this next Meccan verse, people again question Muhammad about this inability to work miracles.

    13:7 The disbelievers say: "Why has no miracle been sent down to him from his Lord?" But you [Muhammad] are only there to give warning . . . (Haleem, my insertion)

    It is an ironical fact that the Quran is clearer about Jesus’ miracles than it is about Muhammad’s (non)miracles: "And I [Jesus] heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I bring to life by Allah’s leave [permission]" (Sura 3:49, Hilali and Khan). Why did not the Quran explicitly and loudly and unambiguously declare Muhammad’s miracles, as it does about the miracles of Jesus?

    Jesus

    After his death, two discouraged disciples matter-of-factly recount what they observed to a seeming stranger (the resurrected Jesus):

    19 About Jesus of Nazareth, they replied: "He was a prophet powerful in word and deed before God and all the people." (Luke 24:19)

    This one summary verse in Luke represents many that tell of his miracles. A very short list follows:

    Healing lepers (Matthew 8:2-4; Mark 1:40-42; Luke 5:12-13, 17:11-19);
    Healing the blind (Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 8:22-26, 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43);
    Calming the storm (Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:37-41; Luke 8:22-25);
    Walking on water (Matthew 14:25 and Mark 6:48-51);
    Feeding 4,000 and 5,000 (Matthew 14:15-21; Mark 6:35-55, 8:1-9; Luke 9:12-17; John 6:6-13)
    These two articles explain Muhammad’s inability to work miracles: here and here. They reply to Islamic polemics and cite more verses in the Quran.

    September 16, 2012 at 7:21 am |
    • Mark Yelka

      Clutter

      September 16, 2012 at 7:22 am |
    • mike lake

      read Josephus "the jewish wars" and see how many "messiahs" there was at the time,of christ but as any religious zealot muslim or otherwise u got your book and your narrow scope on reality

      September 16, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  18. PBCousineau

    The Abrahamic religions are a huge stain and strain on humanity and its evolution. When will tribalism ever cease ? Christ's command: Love one another as I have loved you. Bottom line give up the hate and bigotry, every one of you Christians, Muslims, Jews. Let's get on with it, please.

    September 16, 2012 at 7:20 am |
    • dew

      Shut up

      September 16, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Name*redd

      You people are idiots

      September 16, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Religion is our Hell

      Regressive are all three monotheistic religions. Fear they monger. Fear turns to hate and hate turns to great suffering.

      September 16, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  19. attimes war is the answer

    Sounds like its time for cowboys vs muslims. America is waking up and its just in time.

    September 16, 2012 at 7:20 am |
  20. Ala

    6. Martyrdom

    One promises earthly and heavenly rewards for dying in a holy war. The other says his martyrdom promises his followers heaven.

    Muhammad

    Sura 4 was revealed over a three year period in the middle of Muhammad’s career (AD 625-627). He is not quite as secure as he will be when he conquers Mecca in AD 630. For now, he needs to recruit jihadists for his raids, conflicts, and wars. One way to get them to join up is to promise earthly or heavenly rewards.

    4:74 Let those fight in the cause of God Who sell the life of this world for the hereafter. To him who fighteth in the cause of God, – whether he is slain or gets victory – Soon shall We give him a reward of great (value) . . . . (Yusuf Ali)

    Next, these two verses in Sura 4 teach that Allah has created at least a two-tier system in his Muslim ummah or community: (1) Those who "strive hard and fight with their wealth and their lives"; (2) those who sit at home. The disabled are in a separate category.

    4:95-96 Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame, etc.), and those who strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred in grades those who strive hard and fight with their wealth and their lives above those who sit (at home). Unto each, Allah has promised good (Paradise), but Allah has preferred those who strive hard and fight, above those who sit (at home) by a huge reward; 96 Degrees of (higher) grades from Him, and Forgiveness and Mercy. . . . (Hilali and Khan)

    At the end of Muhammad’s life, Muhammad reinforces this two-caste system: see Sura 9:38-39, 41, 44, 86, 87.

    Finally, as seen in 4:74, an economic bargain is offered to jihadists in this next verse. Allah purchases their lives in exchange for Islamic paradise. Sura 9 is the last sura to be revealed in its entirety.

    9:111 Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties; for the price that theirs shall be the Paradise. They fight in Allah's Cause, so they kill (others) and are killed. It is a promise in truth which is binding on Him in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel) and the Qur'an. . . Then rejoice in the bargain which you have concluded . . . . (Hilali and Khan)

    Allah and Muhammad are completely wrong about the Bible’s command to fight in bloody wars in order to bring heavenly rewards. Moses ordered wars that were time-specific (more than 3,000 years ago), location-specific (holy land), and purpose-specific. But Moses or Joshua or the judges did not promise heaven, automatically, for the express act of dying in wars.

    All of these passages use win-win-win logic from Muhammad’s point of view. If a jihadist dies fighting, then he gets Islamic paradise. If he wins and lives, then he gets material spoils. If he is defeated but escapes with his life, then he gets to fight another day.

    Jesus

    Matthew 5:10 10:39, 19:29 speak of an uncompromising commitment to follow Jesus, laying down one’s life mainly in a spiritual way, and possibly in a physical death under severe and fatal persecution, but the verses are not found in the context of a bloody religious war. Rather, Jesus calls his disciples to pick up their cross and follow him (Matt. 10:38, 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23, 14:27), but he also says that they should do this daily (Luke 9:23). The image of the cross means that they must follow Jesus no matter what, on a daily basis, which precludes an earthly martyrdom, which is done only once; per contra, a "daily martyrdom" is continuous. A twisted love of physical death is not in view in those New Testament passages in the context of holy wars.

    The following cannot be repeated too often because it diametrically opposes the Islamic doctrine of salvation, or how to get into heaven: only Christ’s "Martyrdom" guarantees a believer’s place in heaven; only Christ’s Ultimate Good Work on the cross paves the way to God. Thus, the Christian does not (or should not) have a psychological inducement to kill himself or to be killed in battle to achieve heaven. He needs only trust in Christ.

    For more information on the Quran’s economic bargain of death for jihadists in holy wars and how it differs from the Old and New Testaments, see this article.

    September 16, 2012 at 7:20 am |
    • One born again

      Amen brother.

      Long story short, the bible states that denying Jesus is the Son of God is the antichrist spirt.

      Islam does this, and thus leads lost souls astray. We, as evangelical Christians, have to help those who are lost, even if they hate us.

      September 16, 2012 at 10:35 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.