Christianity and Islam: What American Christians need to know about Muslims
A few months ago I wrote about historic Christian views of Muhammad. In that post I presented my theory that, largely due to the words and writings of Christians, Muhammad is the most hated person in history. Yes, the most hated person today is probably Adolf Hitler. But if we think about who has been hated continuously over the past 1,000 years or more, Muhammad takes the top spot.
If Christians have shown so much loathing toward Muhammad, what can we say about Islamic views of Jesus?
I found this chart about Jesus in the Qur’an. (While I do not endorse CARM generally, they do have some useful pieces).
There are a few things here that are especially important. First, we need to keep in mind always that Muslims believe that God and humankind are, by definition, entirely separate, so that Jesus cannot be God. This is one of the fundamental issues which separates Islam from Christianity. My regular readers know that I look for ways in which Muslims and Christians can serve and worship God together, but we should never get the idea that Islam might someday be open to the possibility that Jesus is God.
Yet once we come to grips with the fact that Muslims insist that Jesus was human only, the picture we get of Jesus in the Qur’an is amazingly positive. The Qur’an teaches that Jesus was born of a virgin (in fact, the Qur’an says more about the Virgin Birth than does the Bible!), and that he performed real miracles. Perhaps more important, the Qur’an teaches that God genuinely gave a message to Jesus. Muslims may not believe that Jesus was God, but they think of him as a great prophet.
Is the teaching of the Qur’an about Jesus “correct?” As a Christian, my answer is “no.”
But Christians need to admit that the Qur’an treats Jesus with great respect. So even when Muslims have bad relations with Christians, they at least speak well of our Lord and Savior.
If Muslims can say nice things about Jesus, then I hope that we can be kind about Muhammad. Christians are not required to acknowledge Muhammad as a prophet, but it shouldn’t be too much to recognize Muhammad as a decent man who encouraged people to follow God and love others.
A Christian blog and podcast by Ray Burns.
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