Posts Tagged ‘Islam’

What are Some Key Similarities between Christianity and Islam?

August 18, 2013

bridges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


WHAT ARE SOME KEY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM?

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

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

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

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

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

ISLAM

The main beliefs:

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

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

* True believers are not to worship any other gods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* All people are equal before the law.

and finally

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

#
CHRISTIANITY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and

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

Craig Lock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– craig

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

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

– me

About the submitter:
Craig is “a passionate ‘extremist’ about respect for religious tolerance and moderation”. In his various writings little by little, one mind, one heart, one soul, one small step at a time, Craig hopes to promote better understanding across countries and cultures, striving in some small way to break down economic, social, cultural, religious and political barriers. He truly believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share in the form of our common humanity is way more important than what divides us.
http://www.craiglockbooks.comhttp://www.selfgrowth.com/experts/craig_lock.html

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

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

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

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

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

“The world’s smallest and most exclusive bookstores”

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

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

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

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

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

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

THESE THOUGHTS MAY BE FREELY PUBLISHED, electronically or in print

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

PPS

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

WAINUI beach sunrise

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

August 16, 2013

 

Image

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* *

So after those opening thoughts…

WHAT DO MUSLIMS BELIEVE?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*
SUMMARY

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

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

Dr Robert Winston

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

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

With UNDERSTANDING comes TOLERANCE
and
with TOLERANCE comes MORE UNDERSTANDING.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– me

About the submitter:
In his various writings little by little, one mind, one heart, one soul at a time, Craig hopes to promote better understanding across countries and cultures, striving in some small way to break down economic, social, cultural, religious and political barriers. He truly believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share in the form of our common humanity is way more important than what divides us.

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

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

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

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

www.breakdownwalls.wordpress.com

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

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

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

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

PPS

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

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

What are Some Key Similarities between Christianity and Islam?

April 23, 2013

WAINUI beach sunrise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


WHAT ARE SOME KEY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM?

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

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

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

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

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

ISLAM

The main beliefs:

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

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

* True believers are not to worship any other gods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* All people are equal before the law.

and finally

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

#
CHRISTIANITY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and

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

Craig Lock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– craig

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

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

– me

About the submitter:
Craig is “a passionate ‘extremist’ about respect for religious tolerance and moderation”. In his various writings little by little, one mind, one heart, one soul, one small step at a time, Craig hopes to promote better understanding across countries and cultures, striving in some small way to break down economic, social, cultural, religious and political barriers. He truly believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share in the form of our common humanity is way more important than what divides us.
http://www.craiglockbooks.comhttp://www.selfgrowth.com/experts/craig_lock.html

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

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

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

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

“The world’s smallest and most exclusive bookstore”

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

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

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

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

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

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

THESE THOUGHTS MAY BE FREELY PUBLISHED, electronically or in print

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

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

February 15, 2013

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

Jason Kennedy: An open letter to Richard Prosser

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

Submitter’s Note:

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

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

comments

By Jason Kennedy

5:30 AM Thursday Feb 14, 2013

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

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

Dear Mr Prosser,

Unbeknown to myself, I am your enemy.

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

Or so your column would lead me to believe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shared by craig

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

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

About the submitter:

In his various writings, little by little, one mind, one heart, one soul at a time, Craig strives to break down and economic, social, cultural and religious barriers. Craig believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share in the form of our common humanity is way more important than what divides us.

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

– me

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

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

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

PPS

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

“Instead of the limits of borders (of countries and of our minds) let us and our leaders expand our sense of possibility… and together let’s look at building bridges to distant horizons, far and great. Lord, help us all lift our eyes a little higher.”

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

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

December 24, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wainui sunrise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

http://www.creativekiwis.com/amazon.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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* *

So after those opening thoughts…

WHAT DO MUSLIMS BELIEVE?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*
SUMMARY

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

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

Dr Robert Winston

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

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

With UNDERSTANDING comes TOLERANCE
and
with TOLERANCE comes MORE UNDERSTANDING.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– me

About the submitter:
In his various writings little by little, one mind, one heart, one soul at a time, Craig hopes to promote better understanding across countries and cultures, striving in some small way to break down economic, social, cultural, religious and political barriers. He truly believes that whilst we should celebrate our differences, what we share in the form of our common humanity is way more important than what divides us.

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

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

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

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

www.breakdownwalls.wordpress.com

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

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

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

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

PPS

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

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

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!

 

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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)”

 

 

 

 

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

“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. ”

 

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 Beliefs About Islam (from A New Dawn)

March 26, 2010

Article Title: Sharing Some Beliefs About Islam (from A New Dawn)
Submitted by: Craig Lock
Category (key words/tags): Islam, The Everything Koran Book, religion, Duaa Anwar, faith, beliefs,  religious tolerance, spiritual unity, unity of religions
Web site: www.everything.com
The submitter’s new blog with thoughts and extracts from various writings is at

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 articles may be freely published (with acknowledgment to the source, please). As I share, I learn myself.

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

*

The following information was sourced from ‘The Everything Koran Book’ by Duaa Anwar
Adams Media Avon Masachusetts www.everything.com
It is included as an appendix to Craig’s manuscript ‘A New Dawn’.
*
ISLAM
The word “Islam” literally means submission (to the will of God) and is derived from the word “peace”.
“Prophetic personalities have always been particularly illuminated souls guided by God and whose lives stand as exemplars of the heights to which the human spirit may ascend. love and respect. Mohamed, like Jesus was a man sent to teach us how to draw even closer to God.
The words of the prophet Mohamed: “You will not enter Paradise until you believe. And you will not believe until you love one another.”
Prophets became more than mere spiritual guides – they became living proof of God’s continued love and mercy for humankind.
The message is in the teachings of Islam, rather than focussing on the messenger. “Muslims have no desire to turn their    prophets into gods and our worship remains for God alone.” All imparting the same essential teaching: a knowledge and love of God and a means by which we might live with one another in peace and justice.
Muslims strive to retain the beauty and purity of the divine message and the ‘sublime’ personalities that have sought to exemplify it. The life of the Prophet Mohammed emphasised the unity of humankind.
“Mohamed was entirely human, but saw that he had great spiritual, intellectual and social insight and was guided by God. We look to his example in ALL aspects of our lives – from religious observances through to the practical activities and realities of life: such as how we treat our families and friends, how we allocate our money and how we interact with our environment.”
Islam is a religion that espouses peace and teaches the importance of doing good work in the community.

*  *
Islam allows Muslims to protect Holy land through Jihad and it is the duty of Muslims to protect their land.
Islamic fundamentalism is the strict adherance to the teachings of the Koran and Sunnah.
Some misguided terrorists think that they are committing an act for which Allah will reward them greatly. The suicide bomber, eg, blows himself up, thinking that he’ll go straight to Heaven as a martyr for killing members of the enemy with him. They perhaps take this verse from the Koran out of context: “Those who believe do battle for the cause of Allah; and those who disbelieve do battle for the cause of idols. So fight the minions of the devil” (4:76). Though there is no truth in this interpretation that this means killing leads to reward, as the rule regarding killing of the innocent is crystal clear in the Koran: “Whosoever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind” (5:32)
Jihad is not all about violence, as many believe. The concept reaches beyond fighting. Children are taught ‘jihad’ as part of their Islamic education – the true meaning of ‘jihad’ is exerting an effort for the cause of Allah. It literally means “striving” (for the cause of Allah) or “struggling”. This synonymn for “holy war” as used my the media is inaccurate and misleading. Although Jihad can take the form of physical struggle, in Islam the word is more commonly used to describe different, non-violent forms of Jihad.
It is within easy reach of any Muslim and they will be abundantly rewarded in Heaven.
Based on the KORAN and Sunnah, Jihad can basically be divided into 4 categories:
Jihad of the mind and heart
tongue
pen
and
Jihad in battle.
In Islam a person who performs any type of Jihad is called ‘Mujahid’ (or Mujahideen in plural). The term most applies to soldiers in a defensive battle to protect Islam. If a ‘Mujahid’ dies in confrontation, he becomes a ‘shaheed’, a martyr.
The Prophet Mohammed said: “He who is killed in defence of his belongings, or in self-defense, or for his religion is a martyr.”
‘Shaheed’ in Arabic: A martyr’s soul flies straight to Heaven according to the Koran. “Think not of those who are slain in the way of Allah, as dead.  Nay, they are living. With their Lord they have provision” (3:169). This promise by Allah    that all shaheeds go to Heaven strengthens the will of soldiers in battle. They know that if they die, Allah will take their soul right up to Heaven.
During wartime, many surviving Muslim soldiers report that they felt little fear, while they were combatting the enemy, because they had no fear of death. Because the Koran guarantees every martyr a place in Heaven.
It’s a defensive action only.
The Koran forbids Muslims from being aggressors in Surah 2, verse 190; but fully pushes them towards battle in verse 191; “And slay them wherever you find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter.”
Muslims are allowed to fight only under one of the following 3 conditions. There is a need for battle under certain occasions:
When
* Muslims are being opressed and are prevented from practicing their faith.
* There are efforts to eject Muslims from their property.
* A clear violent attack against Muslims is under way.
Information sourced from ‘The Everything Koran Book’ by Duaa Anwar
Adams Media Avon Masachusetts www.everything.com
*
I hope that this information may be of interest to you (as it is to me)…
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. God’s greatest gift to us is to find, then follow our own truths.
We can ALL nurture the real values common to ALL humanity: those highest ideals of tolerance, righteousness, justice, mercy and respect for all of life must surely triumph.
“Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.”
– John F. Kennedy
With UNDERSTANDING comes TOLERANCE
and
with TOLERANCE comes MORE UNDERSTANDING.
So
Let each one of us in our own ‘little ways’ attempt to build bridges rather than barriers, openness rather than walls. Let us look at distant horizons together in a spirit of openness, acceptance of our differences, helpfulness, co-operation, mutual tolerance, respect, trust, peace and especially in a spirit of love, the most powerful force in existence. Let our leaders and each ONE of us look at the future with a vision – to see things not as they are, but what they could one day become.
What divides us as fellow citizens on planet earth is not nearly as powerful as the force, the divine spirit that UNITES us: The Spirit of God, the Ultimate Source that let’s us accept and even celebrate our differences …
and let’s the Love of humanity within EACH one of us to conquer anything at all.
Shared by Craig Lock (“Information and Inspiration Distributer”)
“People fight and die for religion but they seldom LIVE for religion”.
– Jahrulal Nehru, former Prime Minister of India”
“The greatest good we can do for others is reveal the rich treasure inside themselves; so shine your own bright light on an often darkened world… with the highest level of humanity …and have great fun along the journey of life.”
About the submitter:
In his various writings 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.
“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.”
This Appendix is from Craig’s manuscript ‘A New Dawn’. He is currently writing true stories of life in the Middle East. And as he writes, is posting extracts on his new blog
at  http://en.search.wordpress.com/?q=22craig+lock%22&t=postwww.craiglock.wordpress.com
The various books that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at http://www.creativekiwis.com/books.html
“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.”
“When people’s hearts are filled with love, the world is full of hope”
– craig

To end off…

I love these inspiring words, so will share with you…
“It is time for people of good will from every faith and nation to recognise that a terrible danger threatens humanity. We must set aside our international and partisan bickering and join to confront the danger that lies before us.
Our goal must be to illuminate the hearts and minds of humanity, and offer a compelling alternate vision for the world: a bright future that banishes the fanatical ideology of intolerance and hatred to the darkness from which it emerged.”
– Abdurrahman Wahid, former President of Indonesia, in the ‘Wall Street Journal’

Former Archbishop 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 (1947)