Posts Tagged ‘books’

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!

 

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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.

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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

 

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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

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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:

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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)

“TWO CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD”:

December 16, 2010

CHRISTIANITY and ISLAM: “TWO CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD”:

A follower of Islam, Ishmail (I) and Christine (C) a “follower of the teachings of Jesus”

 

The following is a short extract from a new “work” titled ‘BEYOND THE RAINBOW’, that is “virtually writing itself”

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

*

“Faith is the light that guides you through the darkness“.

– Emmet Fox

Ishail:

“Bismillaah, Chris

* = “welcome in the name of Allah” in Arabic

 

So we agree on most of the above points, especially that there is only ONE God, the Creator of the Universe. “

C: “Sure! But where do we disagree?”

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

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

I: “However, Allah is merciful and will forgive those who deserve forgiveness.”

 

C: “The New Testament in the Bible also warns of hell, but proclaims Jesus as mankind’s sinless mediating redeemer – God incarnate who atoned for the sins of the world at Calvary. Jesus is the One who saves from judgment everyone who confesses his or her sinfulness through Him.

“Christianity consists, not in articles, creeds, or confessions: not in churches, memberships or fellowships: but in a Person.. Also there is the vital element of Grace in my faith.”

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

Chris:

“OK. Now let’s get onto the ‘heavy stuff’…With Christianity Jesus claims indirectly to forgive sins (“Your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more”. However, He also says that only God can forgive sins (See the Lord’s Prayer – Luke 11,2: “Our Father in Heaven forgive us our sins (or tresspasses).” However, mainstream Christianity believes Christ died for the sins of the world and His death atones for sin. One just has to ask for forgiveness in His name… and all sins are forgiven. I don’t think Jesus claims this directly; however his disciples (mainly John) do (“here comes the lamb of God, who forgives all sin”. Also the famous Scriptures from John 3:16 and 17.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

* New King James version

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

Chris:

” But where in the Bible does Jesus say directly that He is God. He doesn’t! Jesus refers to himself in many ways, mostly as “Son of Man” and uses great metaphors like “I am the bread of life”, “I am the vine, you are the branches” and so on. However, He sees Himself as a Son of God” in his close, rather intimate relationship with God, the Father. He has a unique relationship in his union with God, continually meditating and asking for God’s help to accomplish things he couldn’t do on his own (“without the Father, I can do nothing”). He uses these terms as a metaphor, I truly believe… just like all of us are “children of God.”

Jesus puts Himself well below God, as He (like us mere mortals is continually asking the Father for help and/or guidance.

And we ALL have access to that Ultimate Source. All we have to do is have FAITH and BELIEVE.

Jesus is a focus for our faith. Something, Someone on which to hand (pin) it on… then go THROUGH him (a channel, a conduit) to God, the Ultimate Source.

As it says ìn James: ”You receive not, because you ASK not.”Ishmail: So can Allah ever be the same as the Christian concept of God?”

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

THE RESURRECTION

I: “Aha. This will be interesting… and I was looking forward to learning about this area of your faith, Chris.

The story of Christ’s death reinforces Muslims belief that the Bible has been corrupted over the years.

Allah would never allow such a godly man and great Prophet as Jesus to die in such a dreadful manner on the cross.

The Prophet Mohammed was a perfect example of an honest, just and brave human being. Though he was a man, he was far removed from all evil characteristics and strove solely for the sake of God and his reward in the hereafter. Moreover, in all his actions and dealings, he was ever mindful and fearful of God.”

 

 

 

*

THE TRINITY

C: Yes, I thought you’d say that. This area creates a lot of misunderstanding even within the Christian world. There are so many strands among followers of Jesus and I suppose its similar within the fold of Islam. Sunnis, Shiites and all the other divisions.

I think the key point here is whether you take the scriptures literally or figuratively. Factual or symbolic? I suppose I’d call myself a “thinking, questioning follower of Jesus”, who interprets the stories and teachings figuratively, rather than literally…with an “open mind” (hopefully) to convey a a simple message (or truth). In short, I’d describe my faith as a “spiritual liberal follower of the teachings of Jesus”. In contrast, many Christian fundamentalists take every single word literally… as “pure Gospel”.

 

I: I think it’s great that we have free will in what we choose to believe …like choosing different flavours of an ice-cream.

Thank goodness for free will (of choice)… and no matter, the Bible and the Koran are both excellent guides for living fruitful and good lives… and the Koran is my “moral compass“ for life.”

*

C: “However, I think Jesus would be greatly saddened by the divisions within the church today. Churches bickering about minor differences (“don’t major in minors”) and getting away from the core message of Jesus.

You are probably right, when you say that the Bible has been corrupted over the years. Apparently many writings were omitted through various decrees by rulers… and that is the unfortunate thing about religion being used as a means to control the masses.

(my mother often used to say that to me).

Incidentally, Jesus was not religious… but an extremely spiritual “person”… living in perfect union with God, the Father. He was continually asking the Father for help to accomplish what he could not do Himself. (So on earth he lived as no more than a ‘mere man’. (I think you can relate to that can’t you, Ishmail?).”

Ishmail:

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

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

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

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

I: “Now to the Trinity, the area of greatest controversy within Islam and I suppose, even Christianity itself…

We Muslims, me especially can’t get around this idea of worshipping three Gods. It’s just like ancient beliefs (and Hindus).

Chris, what do you say to this? There is great variance about this within Christendom itself.”

C: “I think the key here is belief in the divinity of Jesus. Because with belief, you get filled with the Holy Spirit. We just have to ASK and its available to ALL people.

For me, its like seeing you, Ishmail. You are a man with a physical body; then you have a mind; but also a spirit (or a soul). Like the sum total of your persona. So you are three-in-one, made up of different parts, just like water, ice and steam are three manifestations of water (H20).

We humans exist in different dimensions: body, mind and spirit.

We are spiritual beings on an earthly journey

… or something like that. 

Most followers of Jesus believe that His Spirit dwells with us. We just have to have faith and ASK to be filled (I ask for a “triple helping” every day… greedy and hungry!). Doing this keeps me sane and helps me overcome the trials and tribulations of daily life.

So we are not worshipping three Gods, but there is only ONE God, the Ultimate Source of Life… with an Infinite Spirit.”

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

C: “That’s true, which is why I have to go through Jesus as a channel to God, The Father. As Jesus said: ‘No one comes to the Father, except by me.” and “I am the way, the truth and the light.’As ordinary humans we need a conduit to get in touch with our Heavenly Father, as God is inconceivable to us humans.

For me Jesus is a model to aspire to, a hope to pin on, even to cling to, someone on which to pin our highest (supreme) characteristics, the loftiest goals, values and aspirations. In short, the very best in life…the name and spirit of Jesus symbolizes endless possibilities… and each one of us is invited to partake in and share His Infinite Spirit.

 

 

I: “After all this, I see that we have quite a bit in common – far more than I thought. Both our great faiths, religions can co-exist peacefully. What we share is not nearly as great as what we think divides us… Muslims and Christians.

Thanks for sharing and I can now understand a lot more about your faith, Chris.

“Allah -Akbar” (Allah is great)”

C: “And same here. And God IS blessing you too, Ishmail”

 

*

“My belief is in the God who gives us responsibility for our own actions, who I see in Jesus Christ, who stated and showed in his own life that His purpose was to give quality of life.”- Michael Templer, Te Pahu (in a letter to the New Zealand Herald)

 

 

“What we believe is not nearly as important as how we relate, interact with each other… and how we live. Only when we can say, ‘I am first and foremost a human being, and second a Jew, Muslim, Shi’ite, a Sunni, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu ,or a Sikh…’ will we progress and break down barriers between peoples, nations and cultures, both east and west. Let not our beliefs , but our shared humanity (ALL of us) define who we really are. ”