Archive for the ‘Unity of religion’ Category

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

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

Sharing Some Information on Religions of the World: The BAHAI Faith

December 22, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

durban dawn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article Title: Sharing Some Information on Religions of the World: The BAHAI Faith
Submitter: Craig Lock
Category (key words):

Web sites: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4http://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.comwww.buildbridgesofunity.wordpress.comwww.buildbridgesofunderstanding.wordpress.comwww.breakdownwalls.wordpress.comhttp://religiousunity.wordpress.comwww.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:
These writings (as with all my articles) may be freely published, electronically or in print.

“We share what we know, so that we all may grow.”

#

INTRODUCTION:
As he analyses his own “spirituality” and “finds and follows the spiritual path” (how airey-fairey now, craig!), 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). Hope this piece may be of interest to you too.

*

WHAT DO BAHAI BELIEVE?

Their main beliefs are as follows:

* Oneness of Religion: All the world’s religions represent stages in the revelation of God’s will and purpose for humanity.

Prophets are teachers – not saviours. God cannot incarnate himself and reveal himself to man. Therefore Jesus cannot be God. Jesus is seen as one of God’s manifestations sent to human beings to assist in our spiritual evolution. The raising of the body of Jesus was actually the coming to life of Christ’s teachings in the disciples, the restoration of their beliefs and convictions.

Some of the main principles of the Bahai faith:

* Oneness of God: There is only ONE God

“The peoples of the world, of whatever race or religion, derive their inspiration from one heavenly source, and are the subjects of one God.”
– Bahau’uallah

* Oneness of religion: All the world’s religions represent stages in the revelation of God’s will and purpose for mankind.
“Let your vision be world-embracing, rather than confined to your own self.”
– Bahau’llah

* Oneness of Mankind – there is only one human race and we are all connected.

“The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable, unless and until its unity is firmly established.”
– Bahau’llah

* Abolition of all prejudices

* The equality of men and women

* The elimination of the extremes of poverty and wealth

* The independent investigation of truth

* that religion and science agree.

The goal of the Bahai is a world governed by order, justice; love and peace: a world culture as the basis for spiritual advancement of all that live on earth, providing a way of life for all that is truly worthy of mankind. Bahai believe that the nature of God is completely unknowable – he/she/it is trancendant to the point of total inaccessibility. Prophets are teachers – not saviours! God cannot incarnate himself and reveal himself to man. Therefore Jesus cannot be God. Jesus is seen as one of God’s manifestations sent to human beings to assist in our spiritual evolution. The raising of the body of Jesus was actually the coming to life of Christ’s teachings in the disciples, the restoration of their beliefs and convictions.

BAHAI work for world peace and believe in freedom of expression.

*
A few personal thoughts to end off..

Everybody’s truth is different, because our experiences, our environments, our cultures, our life paths are different. So every person’s faith is different (even the state of having NO faith). Finally, perhaps no religion can ever represent the Absolute Truth (because ‘Absolute Truth’ has a degree of subjectivity – at least I believe so!). Rather, religions can be different paths to the same Truth, with God, Infinite Spirit, the Grand Designer, the Essence of Life at the centre. (Like spokes leading to the hub, the Ultimate Source of Life). It’s up to YOU to CHOOSE your set of beliefs, those which fit best with YOUR truth, your being.

I am motivated to share these sets of beliefs, these “eternal truths” with others, so people may benefit and enhance their lives in a meaningful way…if they so CHOOSE. I hope that this information may be of interest to you… and that’s my reason for sharing.

With UNDERSTANDING comes TOLERANCE
and
with TOLERANCE comes UNDERSTANDING.

Walk your OWN path to Highest Truth and be happy

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.”

“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.”
“Let each one of us build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Let us look at distant horizons together in a spirit of acceptance, helpfulness, co-operation and peace. Let our leaders look at the future with a vision – to see things not as they are, but what they could one day become.”
– craig

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

“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.”

– craig


About the submitter:
In his various writings Craig strives in some small way 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.

The various books that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available athttp://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4http://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.comwww.buildbridgesofunity.wordpress.comwww.buildbridgesofunderstanding.wordpress.comwww.breakdownwalls.wordpress.comhttp://religiousunity.wordpress.comwww.peacepursuit.wordpress.comhttp://craigsblogs.wordpress.com + so many others I can’t keep track (obsessive or WHAT!)

“Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tide and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love. Then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”
– Teilhard De Chardin

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

This piece may be freely published, electronically or in print

“God, The Essence of Life, the Ground of All Being, is leading us to the light. What we learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”
*

bridges

STOP EVANGELIZING: INSTEAD OF PUTTING UP WALLS START BUILDING BRIDGES

November 17, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STOP EVANGELIZING:  INSTEAD OF PUTTING UP WALLS  START BUILDING BRIDGES

Key words (tags):  Jesus, Jesus Christ, Muslims, Islam, Christianity, Carl Medearis, books, ‘Islam, Christianity and Jesus’, ‘Jesus Meets Muhammad’, evangelicals, evangelism, CNN, building bridges, breaking down barriers, religious unity

 

“An obsession with religious identity can and is often destructive…very. In my own life and through my words.  I  was constantly striving to break down walls between Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, men and women, sinners and saints.  And that’s why we have the parable of the Good Samaritan in the Holy Book.  Jews in my day thought of the Samaritans as the violent heretics, much the same way that so many Christians think of Muslims today. It’s just that they are misinformed… as Muslims are about Christians. The idea that a Samaritan could be good was scandalous to first century Jews.

I tried to be a… the ‘master’ of challenging religious prejudice and breaking down sectarian walls. So why do so many Christians want to rebuild those barriers, those walls?

Even the Apostle Paul insisted that it’s faith in me that matters, not converting to a new religion or a new socio-religious identity.

What if my followers today, instead of focusing on ‘evangelizing’ and ‘converting’ people, were to begin to think of me not as someone starting a new religion, but as the central figure of a movement that transcends religious distinctions and identities?

I’d much rather be viewed as a uniter of humanity, not ‘Jesus the divider’. If viewed in this way, how might that change the way humanity looks at others? That would truly be A NEW DAWN …for all humanity!

 

#

 

To elaborate (big word, eh!) further on this idea, this theme. I never said, “Go into the world and convert people to Christianity.” (That term came from my first totally devoted followers). What I said was, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations…’ (as it says in Matthew 28:19)

Encouraging (and perhaps ‘inviting in a friendly way’) anyone and everyone to become an apprentice (a follower) of me, without manipulation, is a more open, dynamic and relational way of helping people who want to become more like me, regardless of their religious identity.

So called ‘evangelicals’ should stop evangelizing; but this doesn’t mean that they should to stop speaking of me.

I’d love more of ‘my ordinary’ followers building relationships among Christian leaders in the West and among Muslim leaders in the Middle East. And that is my message to the world in these uncertain and volatile days (as they have been throughout humanity).

Many Christians may be surprised to learn that Muslims are generally open to studying my life, as a model for leadership and more importantly, for spiritual growth, because they revere me as a prophet, though a major one like Abraham and Moses. And that is in the Quran!

Because there are so many writings about the “real me”, it’s very confusing and complex for most people. So many views, so many misunderstandings which cause antagonism.  And Christianity , like Islam so frequently splitting off into sects, even cults. Sad… because strength lies in unity.  But it, my life and my message is really so SIMPLE! Even today in the years 2011 after my birth. So my followers,  the “thinking” ones at least may find that simply talking about me  will be much easier and far more compelling and effective in breaking down barriers through dispelling misunderstandings… between individuals, between nations, between cultures,  north and South and  especially between East and West.

Whilst the doctrine of the Christian faith is important, it’s not more important than simply following me. ‘Follow me and become a fisher of men’, as it says in Matthew 4:19.

#

HOW to do it?

Just meet people where they ARE. Simply invite people to follow me and God, The Father, The Ultimate Source (no matter what name we may give Him), the Father’s Infinite Power and Grace through the  Holy Spirit will do the rest in transforming people’s hearts and minds. As I said: “Just ASK and it will be given unto you.”

Because inviting people to love, trust, and follow me is something the world can live with in these tumultous times in  the early years of this 21st century… as it has been throughout history  (before and after my birth). This faith, this common ground  linking Islam and Christianity is not about religion, but rather a ‘personal relationship’ with me through a new mind, a new God-consciousness. It’s such a simple message, this new dawn, a possible era of reconciliation. Perhaps we, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and all the rest alike should ALL practice what we preach… in a word LOVE… then the world will be a far better and happier place for everyone, everywhere.”

 

 

Shared by spirit (as inspired by and adapted from a blog)

on the personal beliefs of Carl Medearis.

www.carlmedearis.com

As adapted from  CNN Belief Blog (Filed under: Christianity  Evangelical  Interfaith issues Opinion)

Carl Medearis is an international expert in Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations and is author of the book  ‘Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism’ and ‘Islam, Christianity and Jesus’.

Sourced from  religion.blogs.cnn.com/…/my-take-why-evangelicals-should-stop-…

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A passionately Jesus-centered approach to life

“Above all, we are followers of Jesus, on a journey with him, following where he leads us. We center our lives on him, not on the religion of Christianity, not on Western civilization, and not on patriotism. Jesus is the great peacemaker. We affirm a Jesus-centered approach to life, because this highlights the treasure of the good news. His life, his teaching,  his death, and his resurrection all describe and illustrate multi-dimensional reconciliation.”

From: http://ricklove.net/?p=917

 

#                    #

This is one of my favourite extracts/quotes (and in a nutshell, sums up some of my important beliefs – at the ‘core of my being’)…so thought I’d share

“I had a good chance to meet a yogi who was so spiritual and happy all the time. I wondered how he managed his thinking and I learned a lot from him. I saw him and I thought, ‘This is the way.’ You believe in a God, but not in a religious way. We human beings like to give him names, whether that is Jesus or whatever else. But my view is that God is ONE, whether it is Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, almost anything, and that he is everywhere. He has no colour, no religion, no race, nothing. It’s incredible how close he is to you and to everybody. You just call him and he’s there. That’s it, simple. This is the reality we so often forget.”

– Balbir Singh, former physio-therapist to Michael Schumacher (and student of psychology)

From ‘Overdrive: Formula One in the Zone by Clyde Brolin

Web site: www.overdrivef1.com

 

 

Shared by craig

“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.”

“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 each one of us build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Let us
look at distant horizons together in a spirit of acceptance, helpfulness, co-operation and peace. Let our leaders look at the future with a vision – to see things not as they are, but what they could one day become.”

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

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

“With passion and purpose in our individual lives we can touch others and in so doing illuminate the hearts and minds of humanity to make a better world (through helping raise the ‘collective consciousness’). Let us encourage our leaders towards an alternate vision for
the world to embrace: one that banishes the fanatical ideology of intolerance
and hatred to the darkness from which it emerged. Each one of us in our own
little ways can offer (and most importantly, LIVE) this compelling new horizon:
a bright future of justness and justice, tolerance, respect for other
traditions and values. Especially a vision of hope and thoughts of peace
fuelled by the eternal flame of love, which can light the darkest night… always.”
– me

“God, The Essence of Life, the Ground of All Being, is leading us to the light. What we
learn in the darkness, we are to share in the eternal light.”

“Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my
voice I can help the greatest of all cause – goodwill among men and peace on earth.”

– Albert Einstein

“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, 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 soul, one life at a time, Craig
strives to break down social, cultural, religious and economic barriers through
sharing information and “planting, then watering uplifting ideas and seeds of
hope”. He truly believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what
we share as ‘human beans’ is way more important than what divides us.

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.

The various books that craig “felt inspired to write” (including A New Dawn’ ) are
available at: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4c http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/craiglock (ebooks) www.creativekiwis.com/index.php/books/74-craigs-bookswww.lulu.com/craiglock and https://www.xinxii.com/asresults.php?s4=craig+lock&sid=1

Craig’s new book ‘Jesus Meets Muhammad’ is available at

http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Muhammad-Christianity-Spirit-ebook/dp/B0066QLVNC/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1321488683&sr=1-3

The submitter’s
blogs (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new
manuscripts) are at buildbridgesofunity.wordpress.com http://religiousunity.wordpress.com/ and http://craigsblogs.wordpress.com

This is my favourite and sums up my message, my life mission…in trying in some small way…one step, one mind, one heart at a time  to break down barriers, walls between people, nations: and cultures: social, cultural, economic and  religious..

“I had a good chance to meet a yogi who was so spiritual and happy all the time. I wondered how he managed his thinking and I learned a lot from him. I saw him and I thought, ‘This is the way.’ You believe in a God, but not in a religious way. We human beings like to give him names, whether that is Jesus

or whatever else. But my view is that God is ONE, whether it is Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, almost anything, and that he is everywhere. He (or she) has (no gender), colour, no religion, no race, nothing. It’s incredible how close he is to you and to everybody. You just call him (her/It) and he’s there. That’s it, simple. This is the reality we so often forget.”

– Balbir Singh, former physio-therapist to Michael Schumacher (and student of psychology). (With my little additional few words in brackets)

from a great book by Clyde Brolin ‘Overdrive: Formula One in the Zone’

www.overdrivef1.com

“Together, one mind, one heart, one life at a time, today let’s plant the seeds, the hope of a
better and brighter future (for tomorrow)”

 

 

 

 

Building Bridges: Christianity and Islam by Fouad Elias Accad (Book Summary)

December 30, 2010

 

 

 

Tags (key words): Building Bridges: Christianity and Islam ,

 

Sourced from:

Written on December 1, 2009 at 2:16 pm by Samuel

 Submitters Note

The submitter is NOT a “religious evangelist” (but is “a spiritual human being“), who wants to try to convert people to his brand of faith. But as he learns himself about different religions, he merely wants readers to think about these “rather heavy” matters, if that is their interest. In addition, the submitter strives to attempt in some small way to dispel major misunderstanding …and in sharing he too learns about these two (enough “toos”there) great religions..

And in so doing his own truths and beliefs are validated

I understand that many Muslims, not having access to, nor having read the Bible are fascinated by the figure of Jesus. Perhaps in sharing these words of Fouad Elias Accad , my wish, my fervent hope, is that both Christians and Muslims will have the authority and eternal presence of Jesus Christ elevated and perhaps even feel the living presence, the Spirit of Christ himself

*

 

Reaching Out to Muslims

There is a growing Muslim population in North American and many Christ followers may feel intimidated or ignorant in knowing how to engage with this population regarding matters of life and faith. Following is some advice and suggestions in beginning and maintaining this dialogue.

Much of this material is adapted from a excellent book by Fouad Elias Accad entitled Building Bridges: Christianity and Islam. When I first picked up this book I was apprehensive – wondering if it would stay true to a fundamental evangelical approach to missions and evangelism. In my opinion, there is no compromise in truth that salvation is through Christ alone by grace through faith. Mr. Accad merely gives us methods, reminders and cautions, so that this message may be received by Muslims. Remember their intimidation may be greater than yours.

Relationships, Relationships, Relationships.

If the Muslim has not had time to develop respect for a Christian friend and vice versa, most conversations are always futile. But if the Christian has worked on building a close relationship and understanding his Muslim friend for a good period of time, there will be an immensely different Response (Accad, pg. 31).

Learn from the person.

Towrah = Old Testament, Zabur = Psalms and Injeel = New Testament.

Koran consists of one book with a different title for each of its 114 chapters.

Establish common ground where there is.

Muslim means “surrendered to God”. As Christ followers we can agree with this – we are surrendered to God through the sacrifice of Messiah Isa (Christ).

Some of us conclude that other people have worthless religious practices. The fact is, we have failed to realize that those people only do these things in an effort to please God, whom they appreciate and revere about everything else. Think of sincere Muslims. They give to the poor. They fast from dawn to sundown for a whole month every year. They stop whatever they are doing five times a day to pray (Accad, pg. 21).

Of the four gospels Matthew seems to be the most appropriate for Muslims to being reading

(Accad, pg. 73).Using the Koran successfully, to help Muslims journey towards Christ, hinges on being able to show that its real intention was pro-Bible, pro-Christ and pro-Christian. Most translations of the Koran add traditional Muslim interpretations, injecting what Muslim scholars have taught over the years. A biased translation/interpretation of the Koran will only obscure this, be much less useless (Accad, pg. 61) and make this method difficult for the uninformed Christ follower.

Caution: Be wise as serpents – harmless as doves.

If we’re going to building bridges to Christ for the worldwide Muslim population, we desperately need to use a method that taps into their very real desire to please God

Saying “God’s Son” (eg. John 3:16) without explanation – when a Muslim hears that he assumes that you mean that God had intercourse with a woman who might happen to have Mary, Jesus’ mother (Accad, pg. 9).

Muslims believe there is one way – God’s way. So if someone comes saying “Islam is wrong. ‘Allah is not God’. You have to accept Jesus, God’s Son. He’s the only way to God.” A Muslim turns him off at once, because he is contradicting what the Muslim has been taught as God’s holy truth. (Accad, pg.

Do you believe that Mohammad was a prophet? Answer: If you mean ‘Do I believe that Muhammad is a prophet like ________ believe it? Then my answer is no. But if you mean, ‘Do I believe that his was a prophet like the verse in the Koran says he was?’ then my answer is yes. See Poets 26:194-195 – “It says he was a warner in a clear Arabic tongue”. This approach uses a Muslims immense respect for Koran to move them to the point of being willing to study the Bible and eventually present a more accurate and appealing profile of Jesus Christ. (Accad, pg. 38)

Isaac or Ishmael: The only passage in the Koran that talks of this is Rangers 37:101-109. Note that the son is not named.

Baptism

…. But unfortunately our methods of communicating these truths in the past have so offended the vast majority of Muslims that they totally close their minds and become hostile to us. (Accad, pg. 11). It is important not to violate their high regard for Islam or the Koran. Even though you may make it quite clear that you love God, if you state reservations about either Islam or the Koran you are automatically suspect, and others will probably not open themselves up to your friendship. (Accad, pg. 36).Follow the Seven Principles.

This is a radically different, scriptural means of telling Muslims who Christ actually is and why he occupies such a prominent place in their Koran – without alienating them from their native culture

Reminders in using the Exposure to all the information from the 7 principles at once could turn someone against the individual ideas contained in them. Go through them one at time – don’t move onto the next one until your Muslim has fully understand and agreed with you on the current one.

The 7 Principles

:. (Accad, pg. 11).i. God has a purpose for your life.
ii. Sin separates us from God.
iii. We can’t save ourselves
iv. The cross is the bridge to life
v. God’s provision is a person
vi. Making Him ours
vii. What to Expect when we accept God’s Gift.

* Accad, Fouad Elias. Building Bridges: Christianity and Islam. Nav Press, Colorado Springs, CO 1997.

Description:

*

Islam is a growing religion in America with 5-8 million adherents here. Some sources say that it is the second biggest religion in the United States behind Christianity. That is why I believe we need resources as Christians to help us understand Muslims and how to reach out to them. This is where Building Bridges comes in very useful.

Accad shows Christians how to use the Qur’an as a bridge to the Bible and to faith in Jesus Christ in a short and concise way. The book is less than 160 pages and most chapters are around 10-12 pages in length. One can easily read a chapter a day. .

Accad gives the reader seven principles to share with Muslims. These include: God has a purpose for our lives, sin separates us from God, we can’t save ourselves, and four other principles. Accad also includes a very important and useful chapter dealing with the question of whether the Qur’an supports the Crucifixion of Christ.

Just to let readers know, this is not an in depth look at Islamic theology or history. There are other places to go look for that., In fact, if you are interested, you can email me about places to find that information. Building Bridges is a great introduction on how to share ones faith with a Muslim.’

St Francis Magazine Nr. 1 Vol. II (June 2006)

St Francis Magazine is published by Interserve and Arab Vision

http://www.stfrancismagazine.infohttp://www.interserve.org

www.arabvision.org 

* *

The Gospel, the Quran and You

Khal

īl ‘Abd al-Nūr1Have you ever listened to a recitation of the Quran and been amazed at its beauty and

majesty, wondered at its abiding grip on the hearts and minds of Muslims? Have you

watched as those who love this book kiss its cover and touch it to their foreheads, carry it

elevated above other books and never dare set it on the floor? Maybe you have felt

yourself entranced by its poetry and absorbed by its fluidity.

Or maybe you fall on the other side of the Quranic divide. Perhaps you are one

who finds no intrinsic beauty in the book and certainly nothing that would merit being

called a miracle. Your emotions toward those who blindly adhere to its doctrines could

be better described as pity. You wonder how this book could have grown to such a lofty

level of influence in Islamic society and long for the day when the doctrines the Quran

espouses will be displaced by the doctrines of grace.

Whatever your perspective on the Quran, we cannot deny that it is a book that

commands the reverence and obedience of millions of Muslims. It is the single most

pervasive and influential piece of literature in the Muslim world. Its proverbs and

sayings are known to literate and illiterate alike. It commands a respect in Islamic

society.

So it is only natural that those who wish to commend Christ to Muslims would

look to the Quran in an attempt to discover there elements that buttress their

understanding of the gospel.

Surely there is a Biblical precedent for this. The apostlePaul felt at liberty to quote the Greek poets. He had no qualms about using lines from

poetry and then radically interpreting them making application to the gospel. Even John

the apostle utilized the Greek “logos” in order to present Christ. It was a concept that

would have been familiar to some Jews of his time as Philo of Alexandria had

incorporated it in his writings in some detail.2 So, why should we not find in the Quran

anything that would further our ends of making Christ known and then use it liberally?

The argument makes sense.

Two works which advocate a liberal use of the Quran in evangelism are CAMEL

(an evangelistic methodology based on a few verses from Sura Al Imraan) and Building

Bridges written by Fouad Elias Accad. Both pieces have much to commend them and

this writer does not wish to dispute the fact that a multiplicity of approaches can be

effective in evangelism. However, I would like to sound a warning that while the Quran

can be a great friend in communicating the truth, it can also be an immense stumbling

block. Those who use the Quran masterfully (and they are few) will reap the rewards

while those who use it in ignorance may be shooting themselves in the foot!

This is the pseudonym for a North American missionary who served in the Arab World for two decades.

“The Word of God [logos theou] is above all the world; and it is the oldest and most original [genitatatos] of what has been made.” (Philo, Allegorical Interpretation 3.175)

St Francis Magazine is published by Interserve and Arab Vision

http://www.stfrancismagazine.infohttp://www.interserve.org

www.arabvision.org 

*

Shared by 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.

He is currently “writing” ‘Jesus Meets Muhammad’.

The submitter’s blog (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is at http://en.search.wordpress.com/?q=%22craig+lock%22&t=post and http://craiglock.wordpress.com

“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

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

 

Building Bridges provides personal experiences based on a lifetime of understanding the Arab world as well as research and analysis of the texts of the Qur’an and the Bible to show the similarities between the two.

This book supplies the information, concrete examples, and insights necessary when dialoguing with Muslims. http://wisdomafrica.com/building-bridges-christianity-and-islam-book-summaryFouad Elias Accad , books, religion, faithBuilding Bridges: Christianity and Islam by Fouad Elias Accad  (Book Summary)

A Book “Review“: Building Bridges: Christianity and Islam by Fouad Elias Accad

December 30, 2010

 

A Book “Review“: Building Bridges: Christianity and Islam by

Fouad Elias Accad

(Paperback)

http://www.amazon.com/Building-Bridges-Fouad-Elias-Accad/dp/0891097953

 

Shared by 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.

He is currently “writing” ‘Jesus Meets Muhammad’.

The submitter’s blog (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is at

http://en.search.wordpress.com/?q=%22craig+lock%22&t=post and http://craiglock.wordpress.com

Islam and Muhammad: Sharing Some Information on ‘The Qur’aan’

December 19, 2010
Article Title: Islam and Muhammad: Sharing Some Information on ‘The Qur’aan’
Submitted by: Craig Lock
Category (key words):

religion, religions, Islam, Qur’aan, Muhammad, Jesus, Jesus Christ, religious tolerance, faith

, beliefs, spirituality, unity of religion

 

 

 

http://en.search.wordpress.com/?q=%22craig+lock%22&t=post and http://craiglock.wordpress.com

Other Articles are available at:

 

http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/user/15565

http://www.ideamarketers.com/library/profile.cfm?writerid=981

 

 

 

 

 

 

Publishing

Guidelines:

 

 

faith

.”

 

 

 

“Muslims and Christians both worship one God. In fact, they have much in

“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.”

– Dr Robert Winston

SUBMITTER’S NOTE:

Craig is studying the teachings of different religions (to attempt to find more common ground, than what we probably perceive), as he researches and writes his latest novel ‘A New Dawn’, set in the tinder-box, that is Middle East today: 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. 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.

These are some notes (in point form) that I’ve taken from an interesting book.‘ The Holy Qur’aan’ by Muhammad Abdul Haleem Eliasi (and English translation by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall) (My copy of the Qur’aan was published by Idara Isha’at-E-Diniyat (P( Ltd in New DelhiI

It was “lent”* to my by my good friend Lindsay, “the Prophet”.

* that’s yet another story, which may perhaps be told…one day!

I hope, I trust that these notes may stimulate discussion about the Qur’aan and Islam (in a spirit of tolerance with mutual respect) and may even challenge you (and perhaps even your deepest-held beliefs)… as it does mine in my research and study of different religions. Just to let you know that I am a “thinking” follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ (open-minded hopefully!) and my aim is not to attempt to disturb your faith in any way, but merely to think deeply about these central issues and discuss various viewpoints with tolerance (no cutting of my head or other sensitive parts of my anatomy, please extremists!)

 

Islam is the message of the Qur’aan

and it’s philosophy touches on the widest spectrum of life. The values of compassion, mercy and justice are fundamental to Islam. Islam is based on knowledge + action, to know the Supreme Being and His Laws. It involves the integration of thought and action. Also intuition + inspiration.

‘Fikr’

or self-thinking is highly commended, even urged by the Qur’aan. Ignorance is the source of all pain and misery according to ‘Fikr’.

Revelation

is the purest form of knowledge.

He is with you, wherever you may be: and Allah sees what you do.”

“If you love Allah and follow me, Allah will love you…and forgive your sins (faults).”

(31:3)

The whole universe is based upon truth and there is purpose behind it everywhere.

Our fears and hopes should be centred in the Supreme Being to keep us steady and well-balanced in the temptations of this world, and to encourage us to be benevolent (Vide 85:7,56:7)

*

WARFARE

“Fight in the name of Allah, with those that fight with you, and do not exceed the limits…drive them out from where they drove you out.”

 

(Vide 190-193:2, 8:60)

In social relations, Islam is for amicability, charity and forgiveness. (However, only Allah can forgive our sins). Islam persuades man to be generous and forgiving, exercizing full control and keeping revenge within proper limits.

GIFTS AND CHARITY: Islam is a religion of beneficiance… which begins at home.. Give donations to the poor and the needy, without any regard to religion or creed (Vide 215,273,272:2)

Islam calls upon man to make his life worth living well. Islam is openly opposed to the regime of capitalism. So it forbids usury and dis-favours interest. However, Islam fully permits business partnerships and approves profits.

“”he Grace is from Allah, and Sufficient is Allah as the Knower.”

(69:4)

So the first and last truth of Islam is:

There is no God, but Allah. Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah.

 

True relationship with God cannot be obtained without ‘Risaalat’ (the Belief in the Apostleship of Muhammad and His Love and Obedience).

*

Muhammad is the Final Prophet.

However, no special sign marked his birth, which was to change the course of history. Muhammad radiated all that was noblest in human nature: courage, unfailing courtesy and gentleness. His life was characterised by a continual search for truth, inner illumination and enlightenment. Muhammad was a mortal man (like you and I); but he was a Messenger of God. What is vital is to emulate the example of Muhammad, which basically is this: if faith in God and human effort move in unison, Man’s progress can be limitless.

NOTE:

Jesus Christ is also called ‘kalima’ (or the “Word”) in the Qur’aan.

THE DEATH OF CHRIST IN THE QUR’AAN

“”And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying ’Eli, Eli Iama sabachthani?’, that is, ‘’My God, My God Why hast thou forsaken me?’ And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.”

 

(Matthew 27:45-50 NIV)

But the Qur’aan says that Christ was altogether saved from the indignity of the Cross, and as if by a miracle of likeness, someone else of the same features was crucified by the Jews under illusion. Says the Qur’aan:

(Verse 157) “And they (Jews) said, we killed Christ Jesus, the son of Marv, the Apostle of God (in the Knowledge of God. But they killed him not, nor crucified him; but it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts with no (certain) knowledge; but only conjectures to follow, for a surety they killed him not” (Verse 158) “Nay, God raised him up unto Himself, and God is Mighty, Wise.” (Verse 159) “And there is none, of the People of the Book; but must believe in him (Christ), before his death. And on the Day of Judgment, he (Christ) will be a witness.”

(Vide 157 – 159:4)

“The ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of the martyr.”

 

– a saying of the Prophet

“Read: In the name of thy Lord, who createth,

Createth man from a clot

Read: And thy Lord is the most bounteous,

Who teacheth by the pen,

Teacheth man that which he knew not.”

(S.XC VI)

“Man can have nothing, but what he strives for.”

 

Mir Moazam Husain

*

While the Jews claim to have killed Christ on the cross, it is also a Cardinal point of Faith to the Orthodox Christian Churches, that:

(a) Jesus Christ gave up his life on the cross

(b) he was buried after Crucifixation

(c) on the third day he rose in body with his wounds fresh

(d) he met his disciples

and

(f) was afterwards taken up bodily to heaven.

In fact, this is the Belief which forms the basis of the theological doctrine of blood sacrifice and Vicarious Atonement for sins, which is, however, losing its force with the Modern Age, an Age of Action and Retribution.

Let us now ponder the passages quoted above (157-159)…

Three points emerge from them:

1. It would appear from (157) that contrary to the belief of Jews and Christians, Jesus Christ was NOT killed on the cross:

2. From (V 158) that Christ was raised up to God

and

3. From (159) that People of the Book must believe in him till the time of his death.

(I’ll do some more study and research on these points and will let you know my findings).

God is indignant if Christ is believed to be God himself

(Vide 19:5, 75-78:5. He is only an apostle, like several others.

It is to be accepted that Islam is the Religion of Truth, and Muhammad is the Apostle of God, says the ‘Qur’aan’ (Vide 171:4, 30-34:9, 27, 28:57,113:5)

Finally, the Oneness of God is the bedrock of Islam, called ‘Tauheed’ or Monotheism, and the reverse called ‘Shirk’ or Polytheism is the greatest sin never to be forgiven. (Vide 48.116:4, 119-121:5)

A FINAL WORD

After all this research into the Qur’aan, I have found that there are so many common eternal truths in both the Bible (both Old and New Testaments, as well as the Qur’aan). My own faith in Jesus, who he was (and IS), his mission and what he stood for is undimmed; yet now His stature in my heart and my personal faith in Him is even stronger. I find that I hold Him even higher in my “own little heart and in my spirit”, in spite of “minor” controversies regarding his death, the discrepancies between Islam and Christianity, which are turned into a mountain by so many adherants of both great religions. My personal faith is greatly enhanced as I learn that the Spirit of Christ shines throughout the Qu’raan too… and so into the hearts and minds of many many Muslims.

The Basic Books of All the Major Religions of the World claim authority, truths (eternal) in all spheres of human life. Exclusive?? A final word…simply let each One speak for themselves…and stand on it‘s own merits. Then, after comparative study and contemplation, each one of us has the freedom to believe what we want to, to choose to find and follow our own truths (God‘s, Allah‘s greatest gift to us). And this is perhaps the only way to settle the future of religion…

for all mankind.

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

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.”

 

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.

 

 

The submitter’s blog (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is at

http://en.search.wordpress.com/?q=%22craig+lock%22&t=post and http://craiglock.wordpress.com

Can Muslims Follow the Biblical Christ and Still Be Muslim?

December 6, 2010

 

Can Muslims Follow the Biblical Christ and Still Be Muslim?

by

Aaron Taylor08-10-2010

http://blog.sojo.net/2010/08/10/can-muslims-follow-the-biblical-christ-and-still-be-muslim/]

Theology

biblical, biblical faith, blood of jesus, Christ, Christianity, Christians, evangelist, followers of jesus, forgiveness of sins, Gospel, heretics, holy war, Islam, Jesus, koran, Matthew, Messiah, Ministry, missionary, Movement, Muslim, muslim followers, muslims, New Testament, old testament, Peter, prophet, prophets, reform, reformation, Religion, religions, Sojourners, Stories, synoptic gospels, Theology, tradition, what it means to be a christian, what it means to be a muslim, word of god

Sharing Some Information on Some Major Religions of the World

July 30, 2010

Article Title: Sharing Some Information on Some Major Religions of the World

Submitted by: Craig Lock

Category (key words): religion, religions, religious tolerance, faith, beliefs, spirituality, religious unity, unity of religions, spiritual unity

The submitter’s blog (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is at http://en.search.wordpress.com/?q=%22craig+lock%22&t=post and http://craiglock.wordpress.com

Other Articles by the submitter 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:

These writings may be freely published, electronically or in print.

*

SHARING SOME INFORMATION ON SOME OF THE MAJOR RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD

INTRODUCTION: 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 others).

Because … with understanding comes tolerance.

*

HINDUISM

The Four Holy Truths: There is pain and suffering in the world – like birth, death, sickness, old age. Root cause of suffering is DESIRE. Karma is conscious action that has spiritual results. Karma consists of a persons acts and their ethical consequences + universal justice, a kind of natural moral law, rather than through a system of divine judgement. The struggle and suffering decreases as the individual acquires merit and wisdom during their life. Release from suffering. Nirvana is a complete detachment from desires and final nirvana is attained at death. Hindus renounce worldly desires. (Release = ‘moksha’)

8-fold path: right · views · resolve · speech · behaviour · occupation · effort · contemplation and · meditation. People attain a state of perfection. Through self effort one can attain the state of peace and eternal peace called Nirvana. Buddha ignored the worship of Gods, but did not deny their existence. What was important to Buddha was not the worship of Gods or of himself, but the following of his teachings. Nirvana is not a place like heaven, but a state of being. It’s eternal – the end of suffering – no desires and individual consciousness comes to an end. It’s more of a moral philosophy, an ethical way of life.

*

BAHAI The nature of God is completely unknowable – he/she/it is transcendant to the point of total inaccessibility. Prophets are teachers – not saviours. God cannot incarnate himself and reveal himself to man. Therefore Jesus cannot be God. Jesus is seen as one of God’s manifestations sent to human beings to assist in our spiritual evolution. The raising of the body of Jesus was actually the coming to life of Christ’s teachings in the disciples, the restoration of their beliefs and conviction.

BAHAI work for world peace and believe in freedom of expression.

*

MORMONS: Definition of the Trinity as 3 seperate individuals, God the Father and Jesus Christ being physical persons united in purpose; also a belief that human beings, can, if they live the commandments of God to the full, attain the status of godhood in future aeons.

*

JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES

The main purpose of Jesus coming to earth was to let it be known that he is supreme and exercises sovereignity over the universe. Salvation is only for those who believe in Jesus.

*

MUSLIMS (ISLAM)

Muslims regard the Koran as the speech of God to Mohammed, mediated by Gabriel, the Angel of Revelation. They believe that God himself, not Mohammed, is the author and therefore that the Koran is infallible. Collection of passages revealed in his prophetic life – 610-632. 114 chapters. Earliest teachings – one transcendant and personal God. Last Judgement and social and personal justice. God, he asserted, had sent prophets to other nations throughout history; but having failed to reform, these nations had been destroyed. Mohamed was the last prophet. Monotheistic. Well ordered, harmonious whole – everything has its proper place and limitations. God presides over and governs the universe, which with its orderly functioning, is the primary sign and proof of God and His unity. Mohammed’s miracle is the Koran, the like of which no human can produce. Last Judgement:

The “successful ones” will go to the Garden (heaven) and the “losers” (the evil) will go to hell; although God is merciful and will forgive those who deserve forgiveness. Besides the last judgment, which will be on individuals, the Koran recognizes another kind of divine judgement, which is meted out in history to nations, peoples and communities. Nations, like individuals, may be corrupted by wealth, power and pride, and, unless they reform, these nations are punished by being destroyed or subjugated by more virtuous nations. Islamic Beliefs: ONE God. Thus it’s a monotheistic religion. Muhammed proclaimed that Allah alone is God and that other idols were not to be worshipped. Muslims reject the Christian concept of the Trinity. Angels, who are sinless. God’s messages were brought directly to Muhammed by Gabriel. God is believed to be too exalted to speak directly with men. Belief in God’s prohets: Adam, Noah, Abraham, etc. The Koran is believed to be the exact revelation of God to humanity. Koran is believed to have taken the place of all previous revelations of God’s will – only the Koran is considered binding. A trumpet sounds – the dead will be raised and judged for their deeds – going to paradise or hell. Only those who die as martyrs slain in the battle for Islam are considered to be granted immediate access to paradise. Prosperous and evil nations will ultimately be destroyed by God. “Islam” means surrender or submission to the will of God. Muhammed was closest to God, so his example is to be followed. Muslims believe in and honour many of the prophets of the Old Testament. But they also say that the Bible must have been corrupted; because it points out the errant behaviour of these prophets, and since no prophet of God would ever err, the Bible must be wrong. Muslims have high respect for Jesus, but the view that Jesus is divine or the son of God is, to them, the highest blasphemy. The Koran says that God is not a man, therefore he cannot have a son. He would never stoop to enter our world. Story of Christ’s death reinforces their belief that the Bible has been corrupted over the years.

Basic tenets – the 5 pillars of Islam: · Confession of faith · Ritual prayer * Obligatory alms – ‘zakat’ to help those less fortune · The holy fast of Ramadan: a time where there is no smoking, drinking, swearing, anger, sex – use month of fasting to draw closer to God and renew their spiritual strength. · Pilgrimage to Mecca, the “Hajj”. Every Muslim who is not sick and can afford must complete. It is a time when all are deemed equal before God, regardless of social or financial position. As part of their purification process, participation heightens their social status.

* *

Sharing a few personal thoughts to end off..

Finally, perhaps no religion can ever represent the Absolute Truth (because ‘Absolute Truth’ has a degree of subjectivity – at least I believe so). Rather, religions can be different paths to the same Truth, with God, Infinite Spirit, the Grand Designer of Life at the centre. (Like spokes leading to the centre of the wheel!

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

It’s not so much what we believe, but HOW, the ways we live

Shared by Craig Lock (“just änother arm-chair warrior for a better and more peaceful world”)

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

“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.”
– Jahrulal 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 Lock (inspired by and adapted from the words of Abdurahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia)

About the submitter:
Craig loves to share information and insights to encourage others to be all they are capable of being. He’d love to try to ‘build bridges’ (not metal or wooden ones, thank goodness!) between people, firmly believing that what we share is way more important than what divides us.
The submitter’s blog (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is at

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

“Until there is peace among the religions, there will be no peace in the world.”

– The Dali Lama

These thoughts may be freely published, electronically or in print

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

May you see God’s bright light on the road up ahead

 

THE BOOK OF ISAIAH (or as the Jews call the prophet Yeshayah ) *

June 7, 2010

THE BOOK OF ISAIAH (or as the Jews call the prophet Yeshayah ) *

* The so-called Old Testament is known to Jews as the Written Torah or the Tanakh.

Key words: Old Testament, Isaiah, Prophets, RH Schuller,
Possibiliity Thinkers Bible

“Hope is the anchor of the soul.”

The Book of Isaiah is a beautiful example of God’s strength and the promises He gave to the people, when they needed them most.
God sent the Prophet Isaiah to forewarn and prepare the people of Israel for the problems that were to beset them. Like a novelist foretelling his readers of future tragedies and events, God sent the prophet to announce the coming captivity by warring nations and the destruction of Jerusalem.
Throughout the historical narrative of these happenings is interwoven the thread of hope – the coming of the Messiah.

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
– Isaiah 7:14 (New King James version)

Isaiah promises the people that the coming Messiah will bring them into a loving relationship with God (see Chapter 53)

In comparing their lives to the desolate wilderness area, the Prophet Isaiah promises that:
“Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight,
And the rough places smooth.”
– Is 40:4

God promises that even the most desolate and unfortunate life will become successful and productive with His power. God responds to our desperation. We can look to God for strength, for we know that the ultimate outcome is in His hands.

“Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21:5)

Key word: “Salvation Is of the Lord”

“All we like sheep have gone astray.”

Key Chapter: Isaiah 53

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying:
‘Whom shall I send.
And who will go for Us?’

Then I said: Here am I! Send me.'”
6:8

THE DESERT – A GARDEN
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”
– Is 40:8

God will make the deserts in our lives bloom with new growth… with perseverance and patience on our parts.

FACE REALITY WITH HOPE

Whether your problem is big or small, don’t run from it. Instead, face it and give it back to God. Today face reality with hope, and begin to turn your life around. Remember, with God all things are possible!

Light in a Land of Darkness
“The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light:
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.”

“Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid.”
12:2

“Now go, write it before them on a tablet,
And note it on a scroll,
That it may be for time to come,
Forever and ever.”
30:8

*                     *

ON WINGS OF EAGLES

The psalmist compares God’s care for His people to the eagle’s wings. “Hide me me under the shadow of your wings.”
Ps 17:8

Attempt to do something great for God, even though you might fail, rather than do nothing and succeed.

“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength.
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”
40:31

“Behold My Servant whom I uphold
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon him.
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.”
42:1

“He will bring forth justice for truth.
He will not fail nor be discouraged
Till He has established justice in the earth.”
42:3,4

“I will bring the blind by a way they did not know;
I will lead them in paths they have not known.
I will make darkness light before them.
And crooked places straight.
These things I will do for them,
And not forsake them.”
42:16

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name:
You are Mine.”
43:1

“I will go before you
and make the crooked places straight.”
45:2

“All we like sheep have gone astray.”
53:6

“And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.”
53:12

“Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say,
‘Here I am.'”
58:8

Shared by craig from the New Possibilities Thinkers Bible
by Paul D Dunn and Robert H Schuller (published by Thomas Nelson)*
All quotations New King James version

”The time of the singing of the birds has come.”

“Hope is the anchor of the soul.”

“ I don’t believe in God.”
I know God.”
– David Rosen, Jungian psycho-analyst