“TWO CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD”:
CHRISTIANITY and ISLAM: “TWO CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD”:

Tags (key words):"Beyond the Rainbow", New books, books, Christianity, faiths, Islam, spiritual growth, unity of religions

A follower of Islam, Ishmail (I) and Christine (C) a “follower of the teachings of Jesus”
 
The following is a short extract from a new “work” titled ‘BEYOND THE RAINBOW’, that is “virtually writing itself”

December 16, 2010

*
Faith is the light that guides you through the darkness“.
- Emmet Fox

Ishail:
“Bismillaah, Chris
* = “welcome in the name of Allah” in Arabic
 
So we agree on most of the above points, especially that there is only ONE God, the Creator of the Universe. “

C: “Sure! But where do we disagree?”

I: “Under Islam every human being must one day face God’s ultimate judgement for how they’ve lived their lives.

C: “So under Islam every human defendant in God’s court must face the ultimate judgement without the help of an advocate.

I: “However, Allah is merciful and will forgive those who deserve forgiveness.”
 
C: “The New Testament in the Bible also warns of hell, but proclaims Jesus as mankind’s sinless mediating redeemer – God incarnate who atoned for the sins of the world at Calvary. Jesus is the One who saves from judgment everyone who confesses his or her sinfulness through Him.
Christianity consists, not in articles, creeds, or confessions: not in churches, memberships or fellowships: but in a Person.. Also there is the vital element of Grace in my faith.”

Ishmail: “Interesting, but Islam also talks a lot about the Infinite Grace of Allah. I’ll have to ponder that a bit more!”

Chris:
“OK. Now let’s get onto the ‘heavy stuff’…With Christianity Jesus claims indirectly to forgive sins (“Your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more”. However, He also says that only God can forgive sins (See the Lord’s Prayer – Luke 11,2: “Our Father in Heaven forgive us our sins (or tresspasses).” However, mainstream Christianity believes Christ died for the sins of the world and His death atones for sin. One just has to ask for forgiveness in His name… and all sins are forgiven. I don’t think Jesus claims this directly; however his disciples (mainly John) do (“here comes the lamb of God, who forgives all sin”. Also the famous Scriptures from John 3:16 and 17.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
* New King James version

Ishmail: “The Koran says that God is not a man. Therefore he cannot have a son. Allah would never stoop to enter our world.”

Chris:
” But where in the Bible does Jesus say directly that He is God. He doesn’t! Jesus refers to himself in many ways, mostly as “Son of Man” and uses great metaphors like “I am the bread of life”, “I am the vine, you are the branches” and so on. However, He sees Himself as a Son of God” in his close, rather intimate relationship with God, the Father. He has a unique relationship in his union with God, continually meditating and asking for God’s help to accomplish things he couldn’t do on his own (“without the Father, I can do nothing”). He uses these terms as a metaphor, I truly believe… just like all of us are “children of God.”
Jesus puts Himself well below God, as He (like us mere mortals is continually asking the Father for help and/or guidance.
And we ALL have access to that Ultimate Source. All we have to do is have FAITH and BELIEVE.
Jesus is a focus for our faith. Something, Someone on which to hand (pin) it on… then go THROUGH him (a channel, a conduit) to God, the Ultimate Source.
As it says ìn James: ”You receive not, because you ASK not.”Ishmail: So can Allah ever be the same as the Christian concept of God?”

Chris: I suppose it’s different concepts and how you see the Creator of the Universe, different paths up the mountain… or perhaps they are different mountains?”

THE RESURRECTION

I: “Aha. This will be interesting… and I was looking forward to learning about this area of your faith, Chris.
The story of Christ’s death reinforces Muslims belief that the Bible has been corrupted over the years.
Allah would never allow such a godly man and great Prophet as Jesus to die in such a dreadful manner on the cross.
The Prophet Mohammed was a perfect example of an honest, just and brave human being. Though he was a man, he was far removed from all evil characteristics and strove solely for the sake of God and his reward in the hereafter. Moreover, in all his actions and dealings, he was ever mindful and fearful of God.”
 
 
*
THE TRINITY

C: Yes, I thought you’d say that. This area creates a lot of misunderstanding even within the Christian world. There are so many strands among followers of Jesus and I suppose its similar within the fold of Islam. Sunnis, Shiites and all the other divisions.
I think the key point here is whether you take the scriptures literally or figuratively. Factual or symbolic? I suppose I’d call myself a “thinking, questioning follower of Jesus”, who interprets the stories and teachings figuratively, rather than literally…with an “open mind” (hopefully) to convey a a simple message (or truth). In short, I’d describe my faith as a “spiritual liberal follower of the teachings of Jesus”. In contrast, many Christian fundamentalists take every single word literally… as “pure Gospel”.
 
I: I think it’s great that we have free will in what we choose to believe …like choosing different flavours of an ice-cream.
Thank goodness for free will (of choice)… and no matter, the Bible and the Koran are both excellent guides for living fruitful and good lives… and the Koran is my “moral compass“ for life.”
*
C: “However, I think Jesus would be greatly saddened by the divisions within the church today. Churches bickering about minor differences (“don’t major in minors”) and getting away from the core message of Jesus.
You are probably right, when you say that the Bible has been corrupted over the years. Apparently many writings were omitted through various decrees by rulers… and that is the unfortunate thing about religion being used as a means to control the masses.
(my mother often used to say that to me).
Incidentally, Jesus was not religious… but an extremely spiritual “person”… living in perfect union with God, the Father. He was continually asking the Father for help to accomplish what he could not do Himself. (So on earth he lived as no more than a ‘mere man’. (I think you can relate to that can’t you, Ishmail?).”

Ishmail:
“Like Jesus, Mohammed challenged the religious practices, the rituals and dogmas of the day. Both these ‘prophets’, I don’t think intended to start new religions; but were God’s messengers in history. However, their followers took up their messages and tried to convert the masses.”

C: “Incidentally, the concept of God as Father and having a personal relationship with God is unique to Christianity.”

I: “So this “God” of yours is different to our Allah?”

C: “I guess it’s what you personally conceive and choose HOW you see the Almighty… what the Grand Creator of the Universe, Infinite Spirit, the Ultimate Source means to you…personally! Make God as big, as Infinite as you wish?”

I: “Now to the Trinity, the area of greatest controversy within Islam and I suppose, even Christianity itself…
We Muslims, me especially can’t get around this idea of worshipping three Gods. It’s just like ancient beliefs (and Hindus).
Chris, what do you say to this? There is great variance about this within Christendom itself.”

C: “I think the key here is belief in the divinity of Jesus. Because with belief, you get filled with the Holy Spirit. We just have to ASK and its available to ALL people.
For me, its like seeing you, Ishmail. You are a man with a physical body; then you have a mind; but also a spirit (or a soul). Like the sum total of your persona. So you are three-in-one, made up of different parts, just like water, ice and steam are three manifestations of water (H20).
We humans exist in different dimensions: body, mind and spirit.
We are spiritual beings on an earthly journey
… or something like that.
Most followers of Jesus believe that His Spirit dwells with us. We just have to have faith and ASK to be filled (I ask for a “triple helping” every day… greedy and hungry!). Doing this keeps me sane and helps me overcome the trials and tribulations of daily life.
So we are not worshipping three Gods, but there is only ONE God, the Ultimate Source of Life… with an Infinite Spirit.”

I: “So you can’t conceive of God, as God is unlimited, then Chris?”

C: “That’s true, which is why I have to go through Jesus as a channel to God, The Father. As Jesus said: ‘No one comes to the Father, except by me.” and “I am the way, the truth and the light.’As ordinary humans we need a conduit to get in touch with our Heavenly Father, as God is inconceivable to us humans.
For me Jesus is a model to aspire to, a hope to pin on, even to cling to, someone on which to pin our highest (supreme) characteristics, the loftiest goals, values and aspirations. In short, the very best in life…the name and spirit of Jesus symbolizes endless possibilities… and each one of us is invited to partake in and share His Infinite Spirit.
 
 
I: “After all this, I see that we have quite a bit in common – far more than I thought. Both our great faiths, religions can co-exist peacefully. What we share is not nearly as great as what we think divides us… Muslims and Christians.
Thanks for sharing and I can now understand a lot more about your faith, Chris.
“Allah -Akbar” (Allah is great)”

C: “And same here. And God IS blessing you too, Ishmail”
 
*
“My belief is in the God who gives us responsibility for our own actions, who I see in Jesus Christ, who stated and showed in his own life that His purpose was to give quality of life.”- Michael Templer, Te Pahu (in a letter to the New Zealand Herald)
 
“What we believe is not nearly as important as how we relate, interact with each other… and how we live. Only when we can say, ‘I am first and foremost a human being, and second a Jew, Muslim, Shi’ite, a Sunni, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu ,or a Sikh…’ will we progress and break down barriers between peoples, nations and cultures, both east and west. Let not our beliefs , but our shared humanity (ALL of us) define who we really are. “

“When (or perhaps rather if) you arrive in heaven, let faith, hope and love be the wings that carried you there.”
"Instead of the limits of borders (of countries and of our minds) let us and our leaders expand our sense of possibility... and together let's look at building bridges to distant horizons, far and great.

These writings ("whether inspired or crazy") may be freely published

Author's Bio: 

In his various writings, little by little, one mind, one heart, one soul at a time, Craig strives to break down and economic, social, cultural and religious barriers. Craig believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share in the form of our common humanity is way more important than what divides us.
He is currently "writing" 'Jesus Meets Muhammad'. http://jesusmeetsmuhammad.wordpress.com/ and www.buildbridgesofunity.wordpress.com

The submitter's blog (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is at www.wordpress.com