This is to open a discussion on the influence of humanity on religion:
"A man can no more diminish GOD's glory by refusing to worship Him
than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness'
on the walls of his cell."
C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
the beginning of humanity, people have sought understanding of the
universe around them. To explain the things that we could not
understand, we assign it to some great unknown entity. Everything from
the simple creation of crystals from a solution to the mysteries of
life, has been explained by some unknown force of will.
In day to
day life, we cannot seem to apply logic in matters of faith, politics,
or even humanity. I believe that the reason for this is humanity wishes
to make more of itself than it really needs to. Humanity suffers from
self important delusions. We tend to put ourselves above other life,
above other nations, and above our neighbors.
We strive to be
more, but more what? More loving, more financially secure, stronger,
better than those around us. When we apply this to religion, the
outcome is very grave. No longer do we see that we are all trying to
solve the same equation. We start to fight about whose equation is
superior. We start to fight about whose solution for the variable of
life is supreme, at the cost of truth.
Truth can speak for itself.
Truth has not evidence to the contrary. Once a truth is known, it is
irrefutable. The truth of the Universe, the fact that it exists cannot
be disputed. It seems the zealous hearts of men wish to exercise an
indomitable need to own the exclusivity of truth. To corrupt it, and to
manipulate others with it.
I would like to introduce back into society the definitions of the words that we use, but rarely understand.
Fact is a piece of information about circumstances that exist or events that have occurred.
is not only a fact that has been verified, but also has an
unconditional agreement with doctrine, with absolutely no contradiction
that could be disputed in regard to translation or evidence.
Belief is an impression: a vague idea in which some confidence is placed
Faith is loyalty or allegiance to a cause or a person
is a code of beliefs or "a body of teachings" or "instructions",
taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of
knowledge or belief system.
Dogma is the established belief or
doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization,
thought to be authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted or diverged
Everywhere I look, I see people claiming to have faith in a
truth. Truth does not need belief. Truth does not need faith. Truth
can defend itself, truth can be proven. There is no need for man to
fight wars, kill his fellow man over the context of truth. Truth is
In the three major Abrahamic religions, Muslim,
Christian, and Jewish, we have examples of three groups that believe in
the same exact higher power. In all three religions, they have worship
the same GOD in their own fashion. Jews and Muslims greatly stress the
oneness and unity of GOD. The affirmation of the oneness of GOD by
Christians is sometimes misunderstood, because Christians believe that
the one GOD is triune. This is not a denial of monotheism but an
affirmation of the complexity of the GOD's divinity.
there is the belief that GOD is the origin and source of all that
exists. GOD cares about the entire creation and desires the well-being
of all. GOD is just and has provided basic rules for our guidance so
that we may all be righteous, according to GOD's intention. GOD is also
merciful, by means of GOD's grace we are given strength to be more
like what we should be.
All three religions believe that human
beings are the highest creatures here on earth. We are the children of
Adam. GOD created us full of mystery, which means potential for
continuous growth, both as a species and as individuals. We are capable
of both good and evil. When we grow in goodness, righteousness, and
love we become more like what GOD had intended humanity to be in the
onset of creation. When we abuse our freedom and do harm to other
people, ourselves, and the environment it means that we are going
against GOD's plan for us. Each person is capable, with GOD's help, to
turn away from evil, repent, and do good. It is in GOD's forgiveness,
mercy, and strength do we have the chance to transform back towards the
goal of GOD's ideal for our lives.
No matter how difficult the
past and present may be, the three religions are hopeful about the
future. Evil and suffering will not ultimately prevail. GOD and man has
provided a condition for which the three religions have different
names, but agree on the ultimate goal. This future will bring about
GOD's unchallenged rule; unconditional happiness and purpose for all
who live with GOD.
The three Abrahamic religions believe that GOD
and human beings communicate with each other. By revelation GOD
communicates to people, among which the most important are revelation
through prophets. These revelations are recorded in the Scriptures of
each religion. While the Holy Scriptures of the three religions are not
the very same, nevertheless the younger two religions acknowledge
GOD's truth as found in the previous religions, and encourage respect
to their Holy Books. While each of the three religions does not merely
focus on one set of writings, the key Scripture of Judaism is the
Torah, the key Scripture of Christianity is the Bible, which consists
of the Old Testament (TANAKH ) and the New Testament, and the key
Scripture of Islam is the Holy Quran.
The duty of people is to
read or listen to GOD's Holy Writings and to respond with prayer,
praise, and with an appropriate acceptance of GOD's commandments in
GOD left us guidelines for our behavior. GOD provided
us with sound basic rules to live by as well as an intelligent mind to
learn how and when to apply those rules to our everyday life. Let us
look at the concept of murder for an example. All three religions abhor
the arbitrary murdering of innocent people.
Murder is the
unlawful killing of a human person with malicious premeditation, as
defined in Common Law countries. Murder is generally distinguished from
other forms of homicide by the elements of malice aforethought, the
lack of lawful oversight, and the concept of religious, social, or
moral "good" as justification
In the Quran:
Surah al-Ma'ida ayah 32 says:
of that We have ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone
killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread
mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if
anyone saves a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all
The Quran commands Muslims to defend themselves. If an
enemy attacks, then Muslims are to fight against the attackers until
they stop their aggression. All of the verses that speak about
fighting/war in the Quran are in this context. There are some specific
verses that are very often taken out of context, either by those trying
to corrupt the faith of the believers, or by misguided Muslims
themselves who wish to justify their aggressiveness.
For example, one verse taken out of context reads:
"slay them wherever you catch them" Quran 2:191
But who is this referring to? Who are "they" that this verse discusses? In the correct context the passage reads:
in the cause of GOD those who fight you, but do not transgress limits;
for GOD loves not transgressors. And slay them wherever ye catch them,
and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and
oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred
Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you,
slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith. But if they
cease, GOD is Often forgiving, Most Merciful. And fight them on until
there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevails justice and
faith in GOD; but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to
those who practice oppression" Quran 2:190-193.
It is clear from
the context that these verses are discussing a defense, when a Muslim
community is attacked without reason. In these circumstances,
permission is given to fight back, to turn out from where themselves
were turned out, regardless if it is in their home, property, or Holy
Place. Muslims are then instructed not to go past certain limits, and
to cease fighting as soon as the attacker gives up. In these
circumstances, Muslim are only to fight directly against those who are
attacking them, not innocent bystanders or non-combatants.
brings into question for many about how are Muslims suppose to look at
the other faiths. From the Quranic point of view, the Jews are
descendants of Prophet Abraham, through his son Isaac and grandson
Jacob. They were chosen by GOD for a mission:
"And We chose them afore time above the nations, knowingly, "Quran 44:32
Moses said to his people: "O my people! Call in remembrance the favor
of Allah unto you, when He produced prophets among you, made you kings,
and gave you what He had not given to any other among the peoples. "
"Children of Israel! call to mind the (special) favor
which I bestowed upon you, and that I preferred you to all other (for
My Message)." Quran 2:47
"O Children of Israel! call to mind the
special favor which I bestowed upon you, and that I preferred you to
all others (for My Message)." Quran 2:122
He exalted them over other nations of the earth and granted them his favor.
The Quran also says that good people are assured of their reward with GOD:
Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book are a portion
that stand (For the right): They rehearse the Signs of Allah all night
long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration." Quran 3: 113-115
"Of the people of Moses there is a section who guide and do justice in the light of truth." Quran 7:159
broke them up into sections on this earth. There are among them some
that are the righteous, and some that are the opposite. We have tried
them with both prosperity and adversity: In order that they might turn
After them succeeded an (evil) generation: They inherited
the Book, but they chose (for themselves) the vanities of this world,
saying (for excuse): "(Everything) will be forgiven us." (Even so), if
similar vanities came their way, they would (again) seize them. Was not
the covenant of the Book taken from them, that they would not ascribe
to Allah anything but the truth? and they study what is in the Book.
But best for the righteous is the home in the Hereafter. Will ye not
As to those who hold fast by the Book and establish
regular prayer,- never shall We suffer the reward of the righteous to
perish. " Quran 7: 168–170,
Muslims believe that among the people
of Moses, there are those who guide and do justice in the light of
truth. Among them, there are some who are righteous and some who are
the opposite. The verses also state that the Creator has tried them
with both prosperity and adversity in order that they might turn back
to Him. As to those who hold fast by the Book and establish regular
prayer, the verses clarify that they never shall suffer.
very clear that Muslims have no authority to oppose Jewish people or
Christians, as such. In fact, Muslims must give special respect to them
as People of the Book. Originally, the prophets whom they consider as
theirs are equally revered by Muslims.
This brings up a term that some people in western culture may have heard, but not understand:
People Of The Book are is the term used in the Quran to refer to the
Jews and Christians. It is also sometimes translated as "People of the
Scripture" . It also refers to anyone who receives genuine revelation
Both Jews and Arabs are the Children of Abraham. Jews
descended from his son Isaac and Arabs from the son Ishmael. Jews and
Arabs are brothers, though the racism that has crept into the
perception of some Jews and Muslims would deny this brotherhood. To
Moses, GOD Almighty revealed the divine scripture known as the Torah as
He revealed to Jesus, the divine scripture which is his Gospel.
the Islamic point of view, the Quran completes a progressive
revelation of divine guidance to man, GOD revealed the Quran to the
Prophet, Muhammad (May peace be upon him). All these prophets were the
prophets of GOD and the religion they taught was basically the same
religion from GOD.
It is important to recognize that Islam means
"Peaceful Submission To GOD" and the word Muslim means "On Who Is In
Submission TO God." These are not the names of some unGODly false
religion, but a title for those who wish to be worshipful to the
creator of the world.
The Islamic teachings on this can be summed up in the following verses:
may be that GOD will grant love (and friendship) between you and those
whom ye (now) hold as enemies. For GOD has power (over all things),
and GOD is Often Forgiving, Most Merciful.
GOD does not forbid you,
with regard to those who fight you not for (your) faith nor drive you
out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for GOD
loves those who are just." Quran 60:7-8
In the New Testament Jesus says:
not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am not come
to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till Heaven and
Earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law,
till all be fulfilled" Matthew 5:17-18
In other words, until the
Eternity begins, not even the smallest punctuation mark changes in the
Law! What Law? I bring this question up because all to often, I have
seen my Christians justify the things they do by not only saying that
Jesus has caused the old law to pass away, but also relying on the
forgiveness by Jesus's death to continue in their sin. I say to you
this, to be a Christian means we are supposed to strive daily to be
"LIKE" Jesus. Jesus is the example to try and live by, not an end to be
used as an excuse to sin not only in the flesh, but also within our
hearts, as well.
In Matthew 5:21 Jesus says:
"Ye have heard
that it was said by them of old time, Thou Shalt Not Kill; and
whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the Judgment".
found problems amongst the various translations of the Bible. The
Greek word translated 'Kill' here is "Phoneuo", which means: To be a
Murderer, to Murder - 'Phoneuo' a form of 'Phoneus' which means: A
Murderer; Always a Criminal or at least intentional homicide.
Greek word translated 'Judgment' here is "Krisis", which means: (When
referring to the Divine Law) Damnation, Condemnation; Justice –
Taking this into Matthew 5:21 actually reads:
have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou Shalt Not Murder;
and whosoever shall Murder shall be in danger of Eternal Damnation".
other words, no Murderer can have eternal life abiding in him; and it
might even mean Jesus Christ can not change this fact. If you look at
the strict literal translation, he states so himself. Why is Murder so
serious a crime? You not only Murder that person, but any Children the
person might have had, thus destroying a whole lineage; not just that
In 1John 3:15:
" πᾶς ὁ μισέω ὁ ἀδελφός αὐτός
ἀνθρωποκτόνος εἰμί καί εἴδω ὅτι πᾶς ἀνθρωποκτόνος οὐ ἔχω ζωή αἰώνιος ἐν
ἑαυτοῦ μένω " Greek New Testament Tischendorf 8th Edition
"Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him"
This word translated from the Greek word "miseo" so 'Hateth' actually means: to detest (especially to persecute).
Thus, 1John 3:15 actually reads:
detest their brother (to the point of persecution), is a murderer: and
ye know that no Murderer hath eternal life abiding in him".
definition of brother is a male person who is a fellow member (of a
fraternity or religion or other group). In this passage, it uses the
Greek word "αδελφον" or "adephos", meaning a brother near or remote.
I believe, calls into question as to the nature of the relationship.
We are all brothers, from a human perspective. In fact, I would even
say that all who believe in the singular concept of who GOD in the
Abrahamic sense can be considered brothers, as well. Despite doctrinal
differences, we can still find a type of brotherhood, if we only strive
to see it. Instead of looking for the reason for discord, maybe we
should strive for the harmony all should have who believe in the one,
In the Torah
In Exodus 20:13,
"You shall not murder."
have the Fifth Commandment, Christians translated this to "Thou Shalt
Not Kill". Take a good look at that word "Kill". In the Hebrew
Manuscript the word is "Ratsach" which means: Murder; to Murder, a
Murderer; to dash to pieces. Exodus 20:13 Actually reads "Thou Shalt Not
In Exodus 21:12
"He that smiteth a man so that he die, shall be surely put to death".
the Hebrew word translated 'Smiteth' is "Nakah", which means: Murder,
To Slay, to make slaughter. Exodus 21:12 Actually reads "He that
Murders a man so that he die, shall be surely put to death".
if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbor to slay him with guile;
thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die". Exodus 21:14
Hebrew word translated 'Slay' here is "Harag", which means: To Smite
with Deadly Intent; To Murder. The Hebrew word translated 'Guile' here
is "Ormah", which means: Trickery, Craftiness; Deceitful Strategy.
Exodus 21:14 Actually "But if a man come presumptuously upon his
neighbor to Murder him with a Deceitful Strategy; thou shalt take him
from mine altar, that he may die".
There are many more
similarities. All three religions closely link religion and morality.
Religion is to be manifested by showing concern for the well-being and
dignity of others, in a life of service to others, and in personal and
social ethical behavior.
GOD wants us to tell the truth and not to
take from others what rightfully belongs to them. We are to respect
the dignity of every person and help especially those who are not
capable of helping themselves, such as widows, orphans, and the poor.
All three religions foster modesty, moderation, and honest work. All
three religions believe in Golden Rule:
On the authority of Anas bin Malik, the servant of the messenger of Allah, that the prophet said :
"None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself."
related by Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim
"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 7:12
"Do to others as you would have them do to you." Luke 6:31
shalt not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of
thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the
LORD." Leviticus 19:18
"What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary." Talmud, Shabbat 31a.
that to no man which thou hatest: drink not wine to make thee drunken:
neither let drunkenness go with thee in thy journey." The Book of
Our religions share common ancestry, a belief in
divinely given written scriptures, and such practices, as regular
prayer and charity; valuing pilgrimage and sharing many common holy
places. GOD promises that behavior will receive its proper rewards and
punishments in the future, on earth and in an afterlife. Judaism,
Christianity, and Islam appears to be naturally suited to co-existence
and mutual reinforcement. At times, for example in Spain, during much
of the period from about 750 to about 1250, all three faiths coexisted
and gladly learned from one another.
There seems to be two factors can explain the hostility that characterize the relationship amongst these religions.
all three have been proselytizing religions. Judaism abandoned this
practice early in the Christian era. Each has had some feeling that it
has come the closest to the essential truths of God and the world, and
that the others have somehow failed to recognize this.
Christianity and Islam accuse Judaism of stubbornly refusing to accept
later revelations that modify and update its original truths.
Judaism and Islam accuse Christianity of a kind of idolatry in
claiming that God begat a son who as actually a form of God and who
walked the earth in human form.
Both Judaism and Christianity argue that God did not give a special, final revelation to Muhammad.
each case these religions have looked at one another and said that,
despite elements of deep commonality, there exist also fundamental
heresies. Indeed within each of these religions, splits have turned one
group against another amidst cries of heresy and calls to armed
opposition. Truth was to be maintained, asserted, and defended through
the force of arms.
Secondly, as each religion developed, it sought
the support of government. It often sought to be the government. Truth
was to be reinforced by power. Basic competition over spiritual and
philosophical truths spilled over into competition also for tax money,
office, land, and public acceptance of specific ritual and
architectural symbols, and suppression of opposition.
could, these religions marched through the world armed. These
governments and religion are intimately bound up with one another. The
religion of the leader of the country was expected to be accepted as
the religion of his subjects, or at least to be given preferred
treatment over others. More importantly, the virtuous guidelines that
their religion asks of the common practitioner do not seem to really
apply to those that are in power. We have multiple examples of religious
or governmental leadership on all sides committing atrocious acts, in
the name of GOD. It seems though that these acts are more suited to
satiate their sense of pride, their need to expand their borders,
increase their affluence, or fill their coffers with more wealth.
are to submit ourselves to the will of GOD. I believe it is time for
the practitioners of all 3 faiths to start realizing that the
conflicts, wars, and killing are not really caused by the belief in the
one true GOD, but is a result of vaporous dogma and political
You, who are a Jew, put aside you prejudice, yours is a religion of History.
You, who are Christian, put aside your bigotry, yours is a religion of Faith.
Islam-Judaism = Christianity
You, who are Muslim, put aside you narrow-mindedness, yours is a religion of Knowledge. Judaism+Christianity=Islam
And maybe, just maybe:
Judaism+Christianity+Islam=A Better Understanding Of The Nature Of Humanity And Of GOD.
the worship of Jesus really important as worship to GOD the father? In
the TANAKH there is 144 names for GOD. In Christianity, we recognize
those 144 names, and include another 52 others that reflect on GOD, the
father, Jesus, and his divinity, and the Holy Spirit. In Islam, there
is 99 names for GOD.
These expressions of identity are for the
same creator. As Christians, there are problems with Muslims, who
honestly strive to recognize the same creator that is worshiped also?
choose not to recognize the divinity of Jesus, but they do pray to GOD
the creator, just as Judaism does. Is it not for GOD to judge if their
efforts and prayers are acceptable to his ear? Could it be though, not
praying to Jesus, and Jesus being the physical expression of GOD, that
they are failing only to recognize a single facet of the wholeness
that is him? Can the same also be said of the Jews as well? Since
believing that Jesus is GOD, and they pray to GOD, what exactly is it
that we say they do not recognize? One of GOD's many names? One of
GOD's voices? Or is it just our personal doctrine about GOD that they
are not agreeing with us about?
Most importantly, as a Christian,
one must remember who Jesus said will judge men. He even said it was
not his place to proceed in judging men, judging us, for our iniquity.
He expressly says that is reserved for the Father exclusively:
As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not
judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There
is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words;
that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I
did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me
what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to
eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to
say." John 12:47-50
These religions already agree that there is
only on true GOD, he is the one who judges us. We should strive to
follow that path that all of our holy books outline. You do not need to
accept the contradictions, beware the insertion of dogma that is told
to be fact, and be mindful of the similarities. Then we may see a great
"We all believe in one GOD... We are meeting here
today to say that religions should be a means to iron out differences
and not to lead to disputes," Saudi King Abdullah