“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

September 14, 2014

BASIC CHRISTIANITY (even for "Dummies")

“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

Proverbs 29:18King James Version (KJV)

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“Don’t tell people so much about Jesus; but rather show Him… through His Spirit working in and through you.”

July 23, 2014

JESUS MEETS MUHAMMAD (PART ONE)

July 13, 2014

JESUS MEETS MUHAMMAD: The LOVE of God/(and) Allah

 

JESUS MEETS MUHAMAD (PART ONE)

CONVERSATIONS, A “FASCINATING” DISCUSSION BETWEEN JESUS AND MUHAMMAD

Islam, Christianity, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Muhammed, faiths, unity of religions, spiritual growth

Dedication

This “labour of love” is written especially for you, Sean and Gareth, but also for you, Glenda, Steve and family*, mom and dad… but also to everyone on the planet… and hopefully a better and more peaceful world.

* thanks for all the love, support and encouragement “doing what I feel I am meant to do and be.”

*

Jesus: “Shalom Muhammad

Isn’t it crazy the world today. Who would ever have thought the world has descended to what is is today. But then the people of my day 600 years ago did not heed my words… and it’s hardly surprizing the state of the planet.

Muhammad:

Yes, Jesus. You were (and a Great Prophet, along with Moses. Who would have ever…

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The Impossible Dream

May 26, 2014

The Impossible Dream

May 26, 2014

What are Some Key Similarities between Christianity and Islam?

August 18, 2013

bridges

Article Title: What are Some Key Similarities between Christianity and Islam?
Shared by: Craig Lock

Category (key words): Christianity, Islam, religion, faith, beliefs, peace, spiritual, spiritual unity, breaking down barriers, building bridges

Web sites: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4 http://www.creativekiwis.com/amazon.html and http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/craiglock

The submitter’s blogs (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) are at www.sharefaith.wordpress.com.wordpress.com

www.buildbridgesofunity.wordpress.comwww.buildbridgesofunderstanding.wordpress.com

www.breakdownwalls.wordpress.com http://religiousunity.wordpress.com

www.peacepursuit.wordpress.comhttp://craigsblogs.wordpress.com + so many others I can’t keep track (obsessive or WHAT!)

Other Articles are available at: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/user/15565 and http://www.ideamarketers.com/library/profile.cfm?writerid=981
(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, spiritual, ‘spiritual writings’ (how ‘airey-fairey’), words of inspiration and money management, how boring now, craig)

Publishing Guidelines:
All my writings may be freely published, electronically or in print.
# #


WHAT ARE SOME KEY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM?

Submitter’s Note:
Craig is studying the teachings of different religions (to find ‘common ground’/principles/ and as he learns from his research, is sharing these notes in an attempt to ‘enlighten’ (himself and perhaps others) regarding ‘eternal and universal truths.’ These notes form part of Craig’s new novel set in the Middle East, titled ‘A New Dawn: Let the Journey Begin’. Hope this piece may be of interest to you too.
*
INTRODUCTION

The issue of RELIGION throughout history of mankind and today evermore plays a vital part in many conflicts around the world. Religion is (and was) often blamed as the cause of the conflicts; whereas it is/was people misusing religion for their own ends (often taking particular and significant interpretations out of context) that have shaped societies and cultures. I truly believe it’s critically important to emphasize the common values shared by different religions to drastically reduce tensions around the globe. So that religion (and it’s beliefs) can be turned around from being part of the conflict to be part of the SOLUTION. Instead of focusing on the differences between people, in this ‘battle of ideas/ideologies” we should focus far more on what we have in common.

So what are the foundations, what is the frame-work of the respective beliefs?

Most religions of the world espouse (nice word, eh!) good moral values as a code of conduct: the virtues of passion for liberalism, tolerance, compassion, decency and generous ideals. However, there is a fundamental doctrinal incompatibility between the major faiths of Islam and Christianity (though together with the Jews, they worship the God of Abraham). These three major religions share the common truth of the Old Testament, having many prophets in common and consequently have many “shared values” that have shaped societies over the past two millennia.

Whilst there are some major differences between Islam and Christianity, from my research (fascinating and mainly online) some of the fundamental similarities in beliefs between these two main religions (as well as Judaism) are as follows:

ISLAM

The main beliefs:

* There is only One True God: the Sovereign Ruler of the universe…
and has full control over our lives (and will meet all of our needs)

* God (Allah) is the Creator of everything and central to Muslims lives. Allah is simply beyond human thought and understanding.

* True believers are not to worship any other gods

* Allah’s goodness and benevolence is seen everywhere, because He is compassionate and merciful.

* Many Old Testament prophets were from God (ie. were sent by God as messengers to the world)

* Jesus’s strong sense of mission, unity and sense of purpose.
He was sent by God to serve humanity and being divinely inspired was a great moral teacher and prophet.

* God gave the Torah, the prophets, the Koran and the Gospel to guide our lives. ( I don’t know enough about Mohamed and his “divine destiny” to pass comment on his “mission”).

* We are to obey God’s words (as in the first five books of the Old Testament, the ‘Pentitukes’- spelling?)

* We should surrender/sacrifice ourselves fully to God
(in fact, the word ‘Islam” means ‘full submission to God’s will’)

* Jesus will return to earth one day (though in which form is uncertain). Though Jews do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah…
and I’m not sure on that point with Islam.

* Humans have free will and exercise a choice between doing good or evil in their daily lives.

* Humans only live once on this earth, then face judgment:
One day there will be a day of Judgment for how we’ve lived our lives.

* Believers who die will go to ‘heaven’ and live forever (though the concept of heaven is not precisely defined).

* Disbelievers will go to ‘hell’ (or suffer torment, which is ‘separation from God’ forever). Heaven or hell are written about in the Qur’an in poetic terms, ie. symbolic rather than actual places.

* It is important to pray to God frequently (Muslims do it five times a day) and attend a congregation at least once a week (usually mid-day on Fridays)

* We should have a spirit of charity and help the poor and those in a less fortunate position to ourselves (with money and/or works)

* A person’s allotted time on earth is predestined.

* All people are equal before the law.

and finally

* We should respect our differences and Christians, Jews, and Muslims should never be killed purely on account of their faith.

#
CHRISTIANITY

Christianity and Islam are both missionary religions. Both faiths believe they have a monopoly over the truth. Both want to share their version of truth with others and both compete in seeking converts. I am motivated to share these “truths” with others, so people may benefit and enhance their lives in a meaningful way…if they so CHOOSE.

There IS a significant difference from Islam: Christianity exists solely on the basis that Jesus Christ is the ‘son of God’ (ie. the fact is taken literally); whereas the faith of Islam exists purely on the basis that God dictated his laws to Mohammed and that the Koran contains God’s actual words. Most “informed” Christians, however, do not believe the Koran is the un-intermediated word of God. Most followers of Christ know very little about Mohammed being perceived as a ‘messenger of God.’ They can, therefore, only think that Mohammed was deluded, if not a liar. (Of course, most Christians are far too polite to say such a thing!).

The Bible teaches that Jesus is the son of God/God incarnate (“the human face of God”) and that he dies on a cross to reconcile mankind and God. Then he was resurrected after three days and now lives in heaven. The gospel message teaches that reconciliation with God is to be found through the redemptive work of Jesus only.

Good works as “entry” to heaven count for nothing, in the absence of acceptance of Jesus.

And as regards Christianity, it’s the notion of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one), which rationalists find to be the most implausible aspect of Christianity. If Jesus was not the Son of God, then he too was deluded, crazy … or perhaps even a “liar”. And if he – as opposed to He – was either of those things, then the Resurrection is also a lie and Christianity, as a faith rather than as a philosophy is utterly null and void.

Christianity is based on the concept of FAITH and God’s Infinite Grace. We are “saved for eternity” (so our soul lives on) through our faith in Jesus and are not solely judged for the ‘hereafter’ by our good works during our lifetime. (And these good works are inspired by our faith and the ‘divine spirit’ at work through God’s Infinite Grace). This is a battle of ideas. Cardinal Ratzenberger: “Islam simply does not have the separation of the political and religious spheres which Christianity had from the very beginning. The Koran… insists that the whole order of life be Islamic (ie. no separation of religion/church and state). One must understand that Islam is not simply a denomination that can be included in the free realm of a pluralistic society.”

True Muslims cannot accept either the separation of powers or the freedom under the law (ie. “democracy”), which are the hallmarks of Western civilization.

* extracted from an article (excellent) in ‘The Independent’ by Dominic Lawson.

As we are what we believe yourself to be (You are what YOU believe), I believe that Jesus genuinely believed himself to be a ‘Son of God’, divinely ordained with a specific mission, a unique purpose which he CHOSE to fulfil in his short life. Christians say that the tradition of Jesus of Nazareth points us to a new life and new thoughts, as well as new possibilities… as a community and as a nation. Still you may or may not CHOOSE to believe in Jesus Christ and follow his teachings as YOUR pathway to connect to God, a Higher Power, ‘the Ground of all Being, the Essence of Existence’, your spiritual self.
#

Whilst we can celebrate our differences, we should love God (whatever we understand the concept to be) with all our hearts, minds and souls and our neighbour as we love ourselves (common teachings from both faiths of Islam and Christianity). Simple, eh!

It’s not such a matter of conflicting ideologies, the great ‘battle of civilizations’ is it?

So
Isn’t WHAT UNITES US IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT DIVIDES US!

and

God’s greatest gift to us is allowing us to find, then choose to follow our own truths.

Craig Lock

Former Archbishop in South Africa Desmond Tutu: “We have come to a time in the history of the world, where we need to rediscover the path to peace, and the path to peace can never be war. This pathway is lined with the concept of co-existence and co-inhabitance of the world.”

“A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long supressed, finds utterance.”
– J.Nehru, first Prime Minister of India

“It is time for people of good will from every faith, culture and nation to recognise that a terrible danger threatens humanity. We must set aside the partisan bickering between nations and join together to confront the danger that lies before us. Let us seek common ground between peoples around the globe…
because what unites us is far more important than what divides us.

In our own little ways in our individual lives we can touch so many others and share our common humanity. And in so doing we can illuminate the hearts and minds of humanity. We must offer a compelling alternate vision for the world: a bright future of justice, tolerance, respect for other traditions and values and especially a vision of goodness and hope fuelled by the flame of love – one that banishes the fanatical ideology of intolerance and hatred to the darkness from which it emerged.”
– craig (as inspired by and adapted from the words of Abdurahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia)

“What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”

“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. “

“Let us build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Rather than borders, let us look at distant horizons together…in the common spirit of the value and dignity of a shared personhood – our common humanity as citizens of planet earth.”

– craig

“God’s greatest gift to us is allowing us to find, then choose to follow our own truths.”

“Let not our different beliefs set us apart as human beings, but rather let our shared humanity be what defines and unites us as common citizens of our planet.”

– me

About the submitter:
Craig is “a passionate ‘extremist’ about respect for religious tolerance and moderation”. In his various writings little by little, one mind, one heart, one soul, one small step at a time, Craig hopes to promote better understanding across countries and cultures, striving in some small way to break down economic, social, cultural, religious and political barriers. He truly 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.
http://www.craiglockbooks.comhttp://www.selfgrowth.com/experts/craig_lock.html

Craig’s new manuscript ‘A New Dawn’ is set in the Middle East: In it he attempts to find ‘common ground’/principles between different religions and cultures and to try to make some difference in building bridges in an ever more dangerous, turbulent and uncertain world. A passionate story of inspiration: hope, faith, peace and especially love.

Craig’s booklet ‘Jesus Meets Muhammad’ is available at http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Meets-Muhammad-Real-ebook/dp/B005H86TPU/

The various books* that Craig “felt inspired to write” (including his books on Jesus and his numerous e-books on “the spiritual journey”) are available at:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4www.creativekiwis.com/amazon.html

www.lulu.com/craiglock and http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/craiglock

“The world’s smallest and most exclusive bookstores”

“A good book should take you from your everyday life to another place entirely.”

The submitter’s blogs (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) are at www.sharefaith.wordpress.com.wordpress.com

www.buildbridgesofunity.wordpress.comwww.buildbridgesofunderstanding.wordpress.com

www.breakdownwalls.wordpress.com http://religiousunity.wordpress.com

www.peacepursuit.wordpress.comhttp://craigsblogs.wordpress.com + so many others I can’t keep track (obsessive or WHAT!)

Together, one mind, one heart, one life at a time, let’s plant the seeds, the hope of a better and brighter future.

THESE THOUGHTS MAY BE FREELY PUBLISHED, electronically or in print

Peace. it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
– author unknown

PPS

“Whilst we can celebrate our differences, let not our varying beliefs divide us, but let the Spirit of our shared humanity define and unite us.”

WAINUI beach sunrise

Sharing Some Information on Major Religions of the World: Muhammad and Islam (from ‘The Story of God’)

August 16, 2013

 

Image

Article Title: Sharing Some Information on Major Religions of the World: Muhammad and Islam (from ‘The Story of God’)
Submitted by: Craig Lock
Category (key words):
religion, religions, Islam, Muhammad, Robert Winston, religious tolerance, faith, beliefs, spirituality
Web site:
http://www.booksattransworld.co.uk/
Submitter’s web sites:http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4http://goo.gl/vTpjk

http://www.creativekiwis.com/amazon.htmland http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/craiglock

The submitter’s blogs (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) are atwww.sharefaith.wordpress.com.

www.buildbridgesofunity.wordpress.comwww.buildbridgesofunderstanding.wordpress.com

www.breakdownwalls.wordpress.comhttp://religiousunity.wordpress.comwww.peacepursuit.wordpress.com

http://craigsblogs.wordpress.com + so many others I can’t keep track (obsessive or WHAT!)

Other Articles by Craig are available at: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/user/15565 and http://www.ideamarketers.com/library/profile.cfm?writerid=981
(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, words of inspiration
, “spiritual, spiritual writings” (how “airey-fairey”), and money management – how boring now, Craig!)

Publishing Guidelines: These writings may be published (with acknowledgment to the source, thanks).
(Copyright Transworld publishers)

“We share what we know, so that we all may grow.”
*
SHARING SOME INFORMATION ON SOME OF THE MAJOR RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD: MUHAMMAD AND ISLAM

Submitter’s Note:
This article is sourced from an excellent and insightful book titled ‘THE STORY OF GOD’ by Robert Winston (Publisher Transworld Books, UK). A personal journey into the world of science and
religion (from the BBC television series).
Web site:
http://www.booksattransworld.co.uk/

I have taken what I feel to be the main points, directly as they appeared in Chapter Six of Dr Winston’s great book. and as I learn myself about other faiths, I am sharing what I’ve learnt about this “intriguing” subject of different religions. Like the author of ‘THE STORY OF GOD’, my motive, my aim in sharing this article is to try to contribute in some small way to a better understanding in the West of the Islamic world.
*
INTRODUCTION:

Craig is studying the teachings of different religions, as he researches and writes his latest novel ‘A New Dawn’, set in the Middle East: To attempt to find ‘common ground’/principles between different religions and cultures. And as he learns from his research, is sharing these notes in an attempt to ‘enlighten’ (himself and perhaps others) about different religious faiths. Hope this piece (including a few thoughts of my own) may be of interest to you too.
*

“Slowly and gradually, out of a rich experience of the world, one builds a faith.”

WHAT IS RELIGION? It’s a common system of beliefs, ‘divine law’.
Religions represent an attempt to harness innate spirituality for organisational purposes…and not always for good! Whilst spiritual contemplation is intuitive,
religion is dogmatic; however dogma in the wrong hands is always a risky thing. It’s one of the central tenets of religion that God’s Infinite Grace is available to everyone.

God, the Essence of Life, is the great mystery in the vast unknown; yet He is understandable.”

“God, the ‘Fountain of all Goodness’, is beyond the realm of our own understanding.”

* *

So after those opening thoughts…

WHAT DO MUSLIMS BELIEVE?

“Islam is a worldly religion, which cares first for the worldly affairs of humanity. The core message of the Qur’an is similar to that of Jesus:
Muhammad’s message had placed personal wealth and worldly success at the centre of their world. The people had forgotten that, Allah, God was the Creator of everything. The Qur’an does not see itself as inventing a new religion, but as reminding the Arabs of a truth to which they had become blind (the centrality of God to everything in life). Like Jesus, Muhammad (‘
Peace be upon him’) in no way sought to overthrow the traditions of the past; but said that his people had forgotten the meaning of these traditions. The signs of God’s goodness and benevolence were everywhere to be seen. Islam is voluntary surrendering to the will of Allah, of recognising his supremacy and importance.

(For Christians, Paul’s attempts to make Jesus into a God resulted in considerable confusion. How could God be present as an ominoptent Creator, and also be present everywhere, any time in the Holy Spirit? Did that mean in effect that there were three gods? If so, WHO was the greatest?).

Allah is given 99 names, all of which emphasize His superiority to the created world: ‘The Supreme, the One, Eternal and Absolute. Rich and Infinite, Giver of Life, Knower of All Things, Creator’. He is thought more as a Creator of mankind, than as a ‘Father’. However, there are sometimes contrasts, like ‘ Giver and Taker of Life’. The Muslim God knows everything. Predestined – with no random or chance event in human life.
Allah is compassionate and merciful. Humanity is the highest physical creation of Allah. Each of us has a soul and each person’s alotted time on earth is predestined. Muslims also believe that humans have free will and
exercise a choice between good and evil in their daily lives. In Islam life itself is a form of test, in which all humans are given choices.

The God Muslims worship is simply beyond human thought and language.

The Jews had expected a messiah; but had seen Jesus and others fail to deliver them from the Roman occupiers (and “opressors”) of the day. Muslims also believe in resurrection: At some point in time God will resurrect all people, irrespective of how they died.

When someone converts to Islam, God forgives all their previous sins and evil deeds!

The vast universe of God’s creation contains mystical unseen beings – angels. Each person on this earth has two guardian angels, who record that person’s actions and and are there to “prick their conscience”.

One important Muslim teaching is that humans live only once on this earth; after death, each individual faces judgement and eventually is committed to heaven or to hell. (The Qur’an describes heaven and hell in poetic, symbolic terms, rather than suggesting they are actual places where physical pleasure or physical torment will be experienced).

. *
THE FIVE PILLARS OF FAITH (a number of signs of commitment):

1. Bear witness to the faith. Once a person has sincerely taken the decision to become a Muslim, his first act is to declare his belief in Allah as the sole God and Muhammad as His Prophet, in front of two witnesses. Orthodox Muslims are expected tp pray in a congregation at least once a week, at midday on Fridays, when all work ceases.

Like the tithe given by both Jews and Christians, alm-giving or ‘zakat’ is a key pillar of Islam and should be given anonymously.

4. ‘Sawm’ or fasting. Most Muslims read through the whole of the Qur’an during Ramadan, in sessions of around two hours each night.
*

ISLAM AND MODERNITY ( ‘jihad’ and ‘sharia’)

Though the religion had very war-like beginnings, the term ‘jihad’ is often misunderstood and accordingly does not reflect the nature of the Islamic idea. ‘Jihad’ is certainly not ‘holy war’ to convert non-believers, but literally means ‘struggle’: usually that of the soul attempting to overcome the obstacles, which prevent an individual from getting closer to God. Indeed, Islam has a proud history of being tolerant towards other monotheistic faiths, and defends individual liberties. Faith is a matter of choice of the individual.

Islam (through the Koran/Hadith) teaches that Jesus was a prophet only and never died. Salvation is attained through works alone after reciting allegiance to Allah

In the Qur’an, believers are required to be patient with non-believers, as Allah requested: “Bear with patience what they say, and when they leave, give a courteous farewell.”(sura 73:10)
“Deal gently with unbelievers; give them enough time (to change their minds)” (sura 86:17).
Jihad may be declared only in defence of Allah, and not for conversion or conquest.
“Fight in the way of God those who fight you, but do not begin hostilities; God does not like the agressor.” (sura 2:190)

‘If they seek peace, then you seek peace. And trust in God – for He is the one that hears and knows all things.’ (sura 8:61)

In Islam all people are equal before the eyes of the law. Islam makes no discrimination on the base of race, colour or language.

Muhammad was intent on changing the status of women and gave them a level of independence and a degree of equality largely unprecedented in that region of the world; so like early Christianity, Islam had a distinct appeal to women!

*
SUMMARY

There are around a billion Muslims in the world. Though the religion was born out of conflict with its early history frequently turbulent and violent, Islam was founded with peaceful values and is centred on a deep respect for human life. It has also been tolerant of other viewpoints, supporting the notion of religious pluralism in a way that few other monotheistic religions have. The Qur’an firmly asserts that: “There can be no compulsion in religion”, recognising the nature of human diversity, and perhaps the diversity of Islam itself.

Though we might not know much about or believe in the teachings of Muhammad, we can ALL nurture the real values common to ALL humanity: those highest ideals of tolerance, mercy and respect for all of life must surely triumph. “

Dr Robert Winston

*
I hope that this information from Dr Winston’s excellent book may be of interest to you… and that’s my reason for sharing.

“Those of us who long for (and are passionate about) the ideals of moderation and religious tolerance will continue to hope for a better understanding of complex issues between people of different cultures and faiths through reasoned and ‘informed’ dialogue in a spirit of mutual tolerance and respect.”

With UNDERSTANDING comes TOLERANCE
and
with TOLERANCE comes MORE UNDERSTANDING.

“There is neither east nor west, tribe nor ethnicity, male or female,
Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist. Christian nor Jew. There is only a God-filled humanity.”

So
Let each one of us in our own ‘little ways’ attempt to build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Let us look at distant horizons together in a spirit of openess, acceptance of our differences, helpfulness, co-operation, mutual tolerance, respect, trust,
peace and especially in a spirit of love, the most powerful force in existence. Let our leaders and each ONE of us look at the future with a vision – to see things not as they are, but what they could one day become.

What divides us as fellow citizens on planet earth is not nearly as powerful as the force, the divine spirit that UNITES us: The Spirit of God, the Ultimate Source that let’s us accept and even celebrate our differences …
and let’s the Love of humanity within EACH one of us to conquer anything at all.

May the Grace of our loving Creator care for and watch over you all… always

Shared by “not so serious, airey-fairey spiritual” Craig Lock (“Information and Inspiration Distributer”)

“People fight and die for religion but they seldom LIVE for religion.”
– J. Nehru, former Prime Minister of India”

“The greatest good we can do for others is reveal the rich treasure inside themselves; so shine your own bright light on an often darkened world… with the highest level of humanity …and have great fun along the journey of life.”

“There is neither east nor west, tribe nor ethnicity, male or female, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist. Christian nor Jew. There is only a God-filled humanity.”

“Let not our different beliefs set us apart as human beings, but rather let our shared humanity be what defines and unites us as common citizens of our planet.”

– me

About the submitter:
In his various writings little by little, one mind, one heart, one soul at a time, Craig hopes to promote better understanding across countries and cultures, striving in some small way to break down economic, social, cultural, religious and political barriers. He truly 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.

www.craiglockbooks.com http://www.selfgrowth.com/experts/craig_lock.html

The various books* that Craig “felt inspired to write” (including his books on Jesus and his numerous e-books on “the spiritual journey”) are available at:

The submitter’s blogs (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) are at www.sharefaith.wordpress.com.wordpress.com

www.buildbridgesofunity.wordpress.comwww.buildbridgesofunderstanding.wordpress.com

www.breakdownwalls.wordpress.com

http://religiousunity.wordpress.comwww.peacepursuit.wordpress.comhttp://craigsblogs.wordpress.com + so many others I can’t keep track (obsessive or WHAT!)

“When people’s hearts are full of love, the world is filled with hope.”

“Together, one mind, one life at a time, let’s see how many people we can impact, encourage, empower, uplift and perhaps even inspire to reach their fullest potentials.”

These writings may be published (with acknowledgment to the source, thanks).

PPS

“God is a mystery, a Creative Presence, the mystery, the Ultimate Source of Life, the Fountain of all Goodness, Who/That allows me to be who I really want to be and become.”

“God is leading us to the light. What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”

What are Some Key Similarities between Christianity and Islam?

April 23, 2013

WAINUI beach sunrise

Article Title: What are Some Key Similarities between Christianity and Islam?
Shared by: Craig Lock

Category (key words): Christianity, Islam, religion, faith, beliefs, peace, spiritual, spiritual unity, breaking down barriers, building bridges

Web sites: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4 http://goo.gl/vTpjk http://www.creativekiwis.com/amazon.htmland http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/craiglock

The submitter’s blogs (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) are at www.sharefaith.wordpress.com.wordpress.com

www.buildbridgesofunity.wordpress.comwww.buildbridgesofunderstanding.wordpress.com

www.breakdownwalls.wordpress.com http://religiousunity.wordpress.com

www.peacepursuit.wordpress.comhttp://craigsblogs.wordpress.com + so many others I can’t keep track (obsessive or WHAT!)

Other Articles are available at: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/user/15565 and http://www.ideamarketers.com/library/profile.cfm?writerid=981
(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, spiritual, ‘spiritual writings’ (how ‘airey-fairey’), words of inspiration and money management, how boring now, craig)

Publishing Guidelines:
All my writings may be freely published, electronically or in print.
# #


WHAT ARE SOME KEY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM?

Submitter’s Note:
Craig is studying the teachings of different religions (to find ‘common ground’/principles/ and as he learns from his research, is sharing these notes in an attempt to ‘enlighten’ (himself and perhaps others) regarding ‘eternal and universal truths.’ These notes form part of Craig’s new novel set in the Middle East, titled ‘A New Dawn: Let the Journey Begin’. Hope this piece may be of interest to you too.
*
INTRODUCTION

The issue of RELIGION throughout history of mankind and today evermore plays a vital part in many conflicts around the world. Religion is (and was) often blamed as the cause of the conflicts; whereas it is/was people misusing religion for their own ends (often taking particular and significant interpretations out of context) that have shaped societies and cultures. I truly believe it’s critically important to emphasize the common values shared by different religions to drastically reduce tensions around the globe. So that religion (and it’s beliefs) can be turned around from being part of the conflict to be part of the SOLUTION. Instead of focusing on the differences between people, in this ‘battle of ideas/ideologies” we should focus far more on what we have in common.

So what are the foundations, what is the frame-work of the respective beliefs?

Most religions of the world espouse (nice word, eh!) good moral values as a code of conduct: the virtues of passion for liberalism, tolerance, compassion, decency and generous ideals. However, there is a fundamental doctrinal incompatibility between the major faiths of Islam and Christianity (though together with the Jews, they worship the God of Abraham). These three major religions share the common truth of the Old Testament, having many prophets in common and consequently have many “shared values” that have shaped societies over the past two millennia.

Whilst there are some major differences between Islam and Christianity, from my research (fascinating and mainly online) some of the fundamental similarities in beliefs between these two main religions (as well as Judaism) are as follows:

ISLAM

The main beliefs:

* There is only One True God: the Sovereign Ruler of the universe…
and has full control over our lives (and will meet all of our needs)

* God (Allah) is the Creator of everything and central to Muslims lives. Allah is simply beyond human thought and understanding.

* True believers are not to worship any other gods

* Allah’s goodness and benevolence is seen everywhere, because He is compassionate and merciful.

* Many Old Testament prophets were from God (ie. were sent by God as messengers to the world)

* Jesus’s strong sense of mission, unity and sense of purpose.
He was sent by God to serve humanity and being divinely inspired was a great moral teacher and prophet.

* God gave the Torah, the prophets, the Koran and the Gospel to guide our lives. ( I don’t know enough about Mohamed and his “divine destiny” to pass comment on his “mission”).

* We are to obey God’s words (as in the first five books of the Old Testament, the ‘Pentitukes’- spelling?)

* We should surrender/sacrifice ourselves fully to God
(in fact, the word ‘Islam” means ‘full submission to God’s will’)

* Jesus will return to earth one day (though in which form is uncertain). Though Jews do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah…
and I’m not sure on that point with Islam.

* Humans have free will and exercise a choice between doing good or evil in their daily lives.

* Humans only live once on this earth, then face judgment:
One day there will be a day of Judgment for how we’ve lived our lives.

* Believers who die will go to ‘heaven’ and live forever (though the concept of heaven is not precisely defined).

* Disbelievers will go to ‘hell’ (or suffer torment, which is ‘separation from God’ forever). Heaven or hell are written about in the Qur’an in poetic terms, ie. symbolic rather than actual places.

* It is important to pray to God frequently (Muslims do it five times a day) and attend a congregation at least once a week (usually mid-day on Fridays)

* We should have a spirit of charity and help the poor and those in a less fortunate position to ourselves (with money and/or works)

* A person’s allotted time on earth is predestined.

* All people are equal before the law.

and finally

* We should respect our differences and Christians, Jews, and Muslims should never be killed purely on account of their faith.

#
CHRISTIANITY

Christianity and Islam are both missionary religions. Both faiths believe they have a monopoly over the truth. Both want to share their version of truth with others and both compete in seeking converts. I am motivated to share these “truths” with others, so people may benefit and enhance their lives in a meaningful way…if they so CHOOSE.

There IS a significant difference from Islam: Christianity exists solely on the basis that Jesus Christ is the ‘son of God’ (ie. the fact is taken literally); whereas the faith of Islam exists purely on the basis that God dictated his laws to Mohammed and that the Koran contains God’s actual words. Most “informed” Christians, however, do not believe the Koran is the un-intermediated word of God. Most followers of Christ know very little about Mohammed being perceived as a ‘messenger of God.’ They can, therefore, only think that Mohammed was deluded, if not a liar. (Of course, most Christians are far too polite to say such a thing!).

The Bible teaches that Jesus is the son of God/God incarnate (“the human face of God”) and that he dies on a cross to reconcile mankind and God. Then he was resurrected after three days and now lives in heaven. The gospel message teaches that reconciliation with God is to be found through the redemptive work of Jesus only.

Good works as “entry” to heaven count for nothing, in the absence of acceptance of Jesus.

And as regards Christianity, it’s the notion of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one), which rationalists find to be the most implausible aspect of Christianity. If Jesus was not the Son of God, then he too was deluded, crazy … or perhaps even a “liar”. And if he – as opposed to He – was either of those things, then the Resurrection is also a lie and Christianity, as a faith rather than as a philosophy is utterly null and void.

Christianity is based on the concept of FAITH and God’s Infinite Grace. We are “saved for eternity” (so our soul lives on) through our faith in Jesus and are not solely judged for the ‘hereafter’ by our good works during our lifetime. (And these good works are inspired by our faith and the ‘divine spirit’ at work through God’s Infinite Grace). This is a battle of ideas. Cardinal Ratzenberger: “Islam simply does not have the separation of the political and religious spheres which Christianity had from the very beginning. The Koran… insists that the whole order of life be Islamic (ie. no separation of religion/church and state). One must understand that Islam is not simply a denomination that can be included in the free realm of a pluralistic society.”

True Muslims cannot accept either the separation of powers or the freedom under the law (ie. “democracy”), which are the hallmarks of Western civilization.

* extracted from an article (excellent) in ‘The Independent’ by Dominic Lawson.

As we are what we believe yourself to be (You are what YOU believe), I believe that Jesus genuinely believed himself to be a ‘Son of God’, divinely ordained with a specific mission, a unique purpose which he CHOSE to fulfil in his short life. Christians say that the tradition of Jesus of Nazareth points us to a new life and new thoughts, as well as new possibilities… as a community and as a nation. Still you may or may not CHOOSE to believe in Jesus Christ and follow his teachings as YOUR pathway to connect to God, a Higher Power, ‘the Ground of all Being, the Essence of Existence’, your spiritual self.
#

Whilst we can celebrate our differences, we should love God (whatever we understand the concept to be) with all our hearts, minds and souls and our neighbour as we love ourselves (common teachings from both faiths of Islam and Christianity). Simple, eh!

It’s not such a matter of conflicting ideologies, the great ‘battle of civilizations’ is it?

So
Isn’t WHAT UNITES US IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT DIVIDES US!

and

God’s greatest gift to us is allowing us to find, then choose to follow our own truths.

Craig Lock

Former Archbishop in South Africa Desmond Tutu: “We have come to a time in the history of the world, where we need to rediscover the path to peace, and the path to peace can never be war. This pathway is lined with the concept of co-existence and co-inhabitance of the world.”

“A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of a nation, long supressed, finds utterance.”
– J.Nehru, first Prime Minister of India

“It is time for people of good will from every faith, culture and nation to recognise that a terrible danger threatens humanity. We must set aside the partisan bickering between nations and join together to confront the danger that lies before us. Let us seek common ground between peoples around the globe…
because what unites us is far more important than what divides us.

In our own little ways in our individual lives we can touch so many others and share our common humanity. And in so doing we can illuminate the hearts and minds of humanity. We must offer a compelling alternate vision for the world: a bright future of justice, tolerance, respect for other traditions and values and especially a vision of goodness and hope fuelled by the flame of love – one that banishes the fanatical ideology of intolerance and hatred to the darkness from which it emerged.”
– craig (as inspired by and adapted from the words of Abdurahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia)

“What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”

“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. “

“Let us build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Rather than borders, let us look at distant horizons together…in the common spirit of the value and dignity of a shared personhood – our common humanity as citizens of planet earth.”

– craig

“God’s greatest gift to us is allowing us to find, then choose to follow our own truths.”

“Let not our different beliefs set us apart as human beings, but rather let our shared humanity be what defines and unites us as common citizens of our planet.”

– me

About the submitter:
Craig is “a passionate ‘extremist’ about respect for religious tolerance and moderation”. In his various writings little by little, one mind, one heart, one soul, one small step at a time, Craig hopes to promote better understanding across countries and cultures, striving in some small way to break down economic, social, cultural, religious and political barriers. He truly 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.
http://www.craiglockbooks.comhttp://www.selfgrowth.com/experts/craig_lock.html

Craig’s new manuscript ‘A New Dawn’ is set in the Middle East: In it he attempts to find ‘common ground’/principles between different religions and cultures and to try to make some difference in building bridges in an ever more dangerous, turbulent and uncertain world. A passionate story of inspiration: hope, faith, peace and especially love.

Craig’s booklet ‘Jesus Meets Muhammad’ is available at http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Meets-Muhammad-Real-ebook/dp/B005H86TPU/

The various books* that Craig “felt inspired to write” (including his books on Jesus and his numerous e-books on “the spiritual journey”) are available at:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4http://goo.gl/vTpjkhttp://www.creativekiwis.com/amazon.htmlandhttp://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/craiglock

“The world’s smallest and most exclusive bookstore”

“A good book should take you from your everyday life to another place entirely.”

The submitter’s blogs (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) are at www.sharefaith.wordpress.com.wordpress.com

www.buildbridgesofunity.wordpress.comwww.buildbridgesofunderstanding.wordpress.com

www.breakdownwalls.wordpress.com http://religiousunity.wordpress.com

www.peacepursuit.wordpress.comhttp://craigsblogs.wordpress.com + so many others I can’t keep track (obsessive or WHAT!)

Together, one mind, one heart, one life at a time, let’s plant the seeds, the hope of a better and brighter future.

THESE THOUGHTS MAY BE FREELY PUBLISHED, electronically or in print

Peace. it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
– author unknown

Auckland Muslim Jason Kennedy penned this open letter to New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser.

February 15, 2013

Auckland Muslim Jason Kennedy penned this open letter to New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser.

Jason Kennedy: An open letter to Richard Prosser

 From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10865255

Submitter’s Note:

New Zealand MP Richard Prosser recently made some controversial (and “rather ridiculous and ignorant”!) statements about Muslims (and travel) in a column in the Investigate magazine, a “conservative” New Zealand Christian-based publication (one which seems to thrive on getting attention…welcome or otherwise!).

Here is an excellent, warm-spirited and rational response from a New Zealand Muslim, that I thought I’d share with you “out there”. Enjoy…

comments

By Jason Kennedy

5:30 AM Thursday Feb 14, 2013

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Auckland Muslim Jason Kennedy penned this open letter to New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser.

Khayreyah Wahaab and Jason (Naveed) Kennedy have invited the MP to have dinner with them at their Auckland home to discuss his statements. Photo / Natalie Slade

Dear Mr Prosser,

Unbeknown to myself, I am your enemy.

I consider this strange as I have never met you and harbour no ill will toward you. I am certain that if I walked past you on the street your suspicions would not be raised. If you were a customer in my shop I am certain you would not suspect that I pose your family any risk. For you see, I am Muslim, I am 30, and I am also white. Throw in the fact that I am an American expatriate – accent and all – and I possess quite the subterfuge. After all, I could sit next to you on a flight, our arms negotiating the armrest for space, and you would think nothing of it. And yet if between us the subject of religion arose, my reply would disable you with fear.

Or so your column would lead me to believe.

I am writing an open letter to you out of sympathy, respect, and the desire for understanding. I do not write this so publicly in order to give your opinions greater status than they deserve. Instead, I hope to circumvent your vitriol from tainting the views of other people who, through lack of personal experience with the Muslim community, may be susceptible to your very limited and ignorant view of our religion and families.

I will start by, ironically, providing you with some defence. It is absolutely your right to speak your mind freely with whatever opinions you so wish. That is one of the great liberties of this nation.

But let me be clear: speaking your mind is your right as a private citizen. As a Member of Parliament, you are a public servant, and your public opinions need to be more carefully delivered. You must be aware that the words of MPs are granted greater political legitimacy than those of private citizens.

It is frightening when someone with so much power to sway the opinions of others is so cavalier in his delivery. We entrust MPs to make defensible, rational, and sympathetic judgments in pursuit of the common good. Counter to this, your words seek to generate divisiveness by fostering an indefensible ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality.

Do you actually believe Muslims are so different to you that we should be trusted less than any other human being? Wherefore this presumption that those who commit terrible crimes in the name of Islam are actually considered heroes or true Muslims by the rest of us? Are we really so homologous to you? Woe to the Sikh or Hindu who you might accidentally not recognise for a Muslim in your eagerness to incite fear, all the while I, the unrecognisable white Muslim, sits next to you.

For you see, if the subject of religion is never broached between us, you will feel safer the entire trip knowing you sit next to a safe and reliable Pakeha. Let me assure you, I want that plane to land safely just as much as you do. I have family and friends who I want to be around for a good long time, and so do they.

The only reason I can think that you would harbour such ill-sentiment is that you have very little first-hand experience with Muslims. I can relate. I was not born into a Muslim family. However, with age I came to recognise my beliefs were congruent with Islam. That seemed a bit of a scary prospect, as I am sure you can appreciate that there is a great deal of Islamophobia in the United States, as well.

Once I actually met some Kiwi Muslims, I quickly realised my presumptions were entirely inaccurate. Muslim culture is not some monolithic fiction. Muslims are just like the majority of Kiwis: we love our summer barbecues, we avidly follow the All Blacks’ domination of rugby, we wear jandals, we buy fush n’ chups down the road. You see, Muslims come from all different backgrounds. I was born in the US and descend from Irish stock. My wife was born in Fiji, and her Indian ancestors were relocated during the British slave trade. Many Kiwi Muslims are from India, the Middle East, east Africa, Indonesia, and Malaysia. We have all come here to share in what it means to be Kiwi. Between us we have a similar pathway to God, but we also respect that every non-Muslim is on their own pathway to God.

Your family and my family, we are each equally Kiwi, despite the fact that we may worship differently. We are equal to you in many other ways: my wife and I both happily pay the highest tax rate, our business creates revenue and employment for many New Zealanders, and our education benefits the New Zealand economy. We are even socially and politically active (gasp!).

If you think supporting terror is somehow intrinsic to Islam, or is somehow an inevitability of our religion, ask anyone in the Muslim community here: no one supports any act of violence or terror against any other living being, human or animal. That is what we call haram in Islam, which means “forbidden by God”. We have no support for terrorists who do such horrible things, and we cannot understand how they can call themselves Muslims. Their actions are entirely incompatible with Islam.

In order to establish better communication on this issue, my wife and I would like to invite you to dinner at our place the next time you are in Auckland. We would like to hear your story, and we would like to share ours. I believe that if you would grant us the pleasure of your company, it will give you a much more enlightened perspective on Muslims and Islam in general. I will leave my contact details with the editor if you wish to make good on our offer.

Two enemies who wish
to be your friends,
Jason (Naveed) Kennedy and
Khayreyah Wahaab

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10865255

Shared by craig

“There is neither east nor west, tribe nor ethnicity, male or female, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist. Christian nor Jew. There is only a God-filled humanity.”

“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. ” – craig

About the submitter:

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.

“Let not our different beliefs set us apart as human beings, but rather let the Spirit of our shared humanity be what defines and unites us as common citizens of our planet.”

– me

Together, one mind, one heart, one life at a time, let’s plant the seeds, the hope of a better and brighter future.

These writings may be freely published (with acknowledgment to the source, thanks).

“God is leading us to the light. What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”

PPS

God is a mystery, a Creative Presence, the mystery, the Ultimate Source of Life, the Fountain of all Goodness, Who/That allows me to be who I really want to be and become.”

“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. Lord, help us all lift our eyes a little higher.”

May YOU all find and experience the richness of God’s Mercy, Infinite Love and Grace

“Whilst we can (and should) celebrate our differences *, let not our beliefs divide us, but rather let our shared humanity define and unite us… as citizens on and sharing planet earth.” * after all, it’s what makes us unique, as individuals, nations and cultures!

January 13, 2013

images_012

“Whilst we can (and should) celebrate our differences *, let not our beliefs divide us, but rather let our shared humanity define and unite us… as citizens on and sharing planet earth.”

* after all, it’s what makes us unique, as individuals, nations and cultures!