Have you ever had one of those REALLY awkward moments?
I had one last week. I was in the local coffee shop having coffee with a couple from the church. Our conversation turned to faith and religion – specifically difference between Christianity and other faiths. I talked about Islam and Christianity and some of the difference between them.
Then the awkward moment came.
Apparently the dude in the booth behind us was a Muslim.
He came up, said a couple words in Arabic, then sarcastically said, “Brother, it’s good to hear your views on Islam.” Then he walked away. He was clearly unhappy with me.
But that doesn’t change my mind. I have a problem with Islam. Islam has a problem with me. Please don’t turn this into a race or patriotic issue. This is a biblical issue.
It’s really quite simple and can be summed up in one word:
The distinction between Christianity and all other faith groups is the idea that our path to God is found through Christ. There is no other road walk.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26)
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
This is my problem with Islam – it’s an attempt to find God apart from Jesus. Some claim that everyone will find God in their own way as long as they are faithful to their beliefs. This is contrary to Christian belief. The idea that everyone will get there on their own is called Universalism.
I’ve been accused of being a Universalist.
In my post You’re Not Really Saved I talked about how Christian behavior is not as rigid as some would like to believe. There is a wide variety of behavior people engage in and can still be Christian.
People accused me of being a Universalist, of throwing Christian morality out the window. Not so. Universalism says that everyone will get to God on their own. My view is that there is only one way to God – through Jesus. We come to Jesus with all sorts of brokenness. It is when we begin our spiritual journey with Jesus that we start living out a new life. We don’t always come to the same conclusions about what is “proper Christian behavior” but we have the same foundation – Jesus Christ.
After reading my post about Christian behavior an atheist asked me if Hitler was then saved. In the sense described above (the exclusivity of Jesus) Hitler, who was not a believer in Jesus as the only way, will not spend eternity in the presence of God. The same is true for Muslims, Hindus, Jedi, or any other faith group.
This is the fundamental problem that authentic, biblical Christianity will always have with the world. And the world will have a problem with biblical Christianity. It’s that exclusivity that bugs people.
But I didn’t make it up.
27 Replies to “My Problem with Islam, Atheists, and Hitler”
In regards to influence of Christianity being the nature of politics, I agree. Except that religion holds a special place in our society and because of it is expected to stand apart from politics. You would be unhappy if Sharia law were to be written into state or federal law; why should the rest of us be happy if the law of Leviticus is written in the same way? Laws which prohibit same-sex marriage or promote religious teaching in schools are promoting religion in violation of the Constitution. Those who wrote the first amendment were still familiar with the effects of state religions in Europe. They realized the separation protected the religions as much as it protected everyone else.
Under this system, Christianity thrives. There are more than 300,000 churches in the US where you are free to teach your children that the world was created in 6 days just 6,000 years ago, if that is what you believe. And I also expect that you will promote your beliefs within politics. But you are expected to clear an extra hurdle by our legal system, that by promoting your belief you are not writing them into law for those who do not share them.
Many times I’ve heard Christians state that God’s great gift to man is free will. That God has written laws for us to follow, and to fail to do so amounts to sin for which we must answer. So I wonder why Christians so often try to declare that what is a sin is also a crime. To me, that would seem to put limits on free will.
“Exclusivity…I didn’t make it up. God did.”
To me this sounds a lot like, “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” This is the first pillar of Islam.
You and the Muslim are alike in that you’re both making the same type of claims. Just the names are different. Would you have been surprised to overhear him saying that Islam is correct and Christianity was false?
Nope, would not have been surprised at all. Most religions make a claim to exclusivity. For some reason people seem to pick on Christianity more than others. 😉
That’s no mystery. 75% of Americans are Christian while all other religions combined amount to only 5% of the population. If Christians were not a majority or if they didn’t try to use their influence to dictate how the rest of us live (see Arizona and their religions freedom bill) there would be far less picking.
I actually agree that the Arizona law is a bad idea.
However, don’t try to play the “influence to dictate how the rest of us live” card because that’s what politics is. Atheists do their best to use their influence how the rest of us live. Every group does this. Don’t knock Christians for doing the same. 🙂
Every religion claims exclusivity. Except the Baha’i, but the exclude the inclusivists. The problem is that Christianity gets criticized the most. Islam is replacement theology squared to me.
“In this sense Hitler, who was not a believer in Jesus”
Just curious, are you saying that Hitler was lying when he called himself a Christian and spoke of Jesus?
I don’t really care, but he did claim to be a Christian.
Also not sure what this post has to do with atheism.
Anyone can call themselves whatever they want. Biblical Christianity is exclusive to Christ, and Hitler dabbled in a little bit of everything. I wouldn’t say he was lying – I would say he didn’t know what he was talking about.
As for atheism, I see I didn’t make the connection clear. It was an atheist who asked about Hitler.
Umm, dafuq? Well, I don’t know you but I’m starting to hate you for three things.
I was browsing the tag Atheist and I just wasted my time
Second, you really are a total douchebag if you take the matter of who asked about hitler up for debate.
Finally, you say you hate islam. I wonder why you don’t hate cristianity? Oh, its the one true belief that noone can hate. Well, chuck it, I’m an atheist. 😀
And in the name of free speech, do not remove this comment. You’ll burn in hell if you do so.
Okay, I’ll bite. I enjoy conversation, even with people who don’t agree with me 🙂
Did you read the entire post? I don’t hate anyone. I don’t think I even used the word “hate” once. My blog is a Christian devotional blog to help people understand and live out the Bible. I’m not even sure why an atheist would read a blog titled “The Bible Blotter”
I did not call anyone names (like you called me). I merely pointed out that biblical Christianity makes claims to exclusivity (as do all major religions).
I do find it ironic that you claim to hate someone when you criticize me (wrongly) for saying I hate Islam. Why can’t we engage in civil debate without name calling and hatred?
At any rate, thanks for reading 🙂
If you would like to continue to dialogue politely I would be more than happy to converse! Any future comments that contain rudeness or name calling will be deleted.
It’s not about free speech. My blog – my rules. 🙂
Thanks a lot. I’m back on my normal talkative tone. And I tried to get all hateful I could in that comment trying to get a similar reaction from you. But it seems, evidently, that I failed. Thanks for your politeness, and expect the same from me.
I must say I became a bit biased towards those who were religious because of recent experiences with some people who called me names for my atheism. Good to find you out here talking politely.
Ouch your bite hurt.
1> I was browsing the tag Atheism on WordPress Reader and this post showed up. So I read it.
2> You said you have “problem” with all these groups and Hitler. Your views. Accepted you never used the word hate. But, your arguments are flawed. This post could easily be published in an Islam blog with minor title and content changes.
3> Mind if I say this? Its a bit off topic but, Biblic Christianity? Okay, most Christians out there prove that Bible is true because it is God’s word. And God? Bible defines God. Here, Bible means Bible + other religious books of that time.
4> Lets start the civil debate. 😀 Perhaps you’ll end up changing my mind about my religious views here. Also, every such conversation will ultimately head towards the ‘truth’ about the very existence of God. That is because, I might shun some points you may make merely by saying that it can’t be true. And you’ll counter that, and vice versa. Looking forward to it.
– I have conceded that you could change some titles and language and the post would fit with any other major religion. Exclusivity is an element of them all. As a Christian writer writing to Christians my concern is not apologetic concerning my faith as opposed to others. My concern is to help those with similar faith live it out as best as possible. There are some who don’t understand the claims of exclusivity within their faith (be it Christian, Islam, or any other).
– I’m not sure I understand your third point, but I’ll try to answer where I think you’re headed. The Bible can’t be proven to be the way God reveals himself. It’s a position of faith. As an Atheist you do not share that position of faith so the Bible is not authoritative (not trying to put words in your mouth – would this be fairly accurate?). Those who claim to be Christians place themselves under the authority of the Bible. That means trying (as best as possible) to live with it being the standard for faith, thought, and life.
– I don’t mind you rejecting some of my points. I’m sure to reject some of yours 😉 But I’ll still engage in conversation, even if I never sway you.
Okay. True. Totally. But I at times wonder, what if there was no faith. Would people have not been equally, if not more, developed as they today are?
I would like you to read my small post in this regard.
My point was exactly what you understood. There have been several instances of people trying to “cure” me back into a religious path. In my case the religion is Hinduism, but they usually end up in a chicken-egg paradox. What came first? Like, when I said I do not believe in Vedas(a sacred Hindu text, comparable to Bible), this person quoted from the Vedas itself trying to prove its authenticity.
God works in mysterious ways:
Okay, perhaps he does. A situation. I pray to God. My wish comes true- Thankyou God! My wish doesn’t come true- God works in mysterious ways. This is what I’ve faced many a times when I was religious.
Okay, why is God so hideous? Why does he not come out and reveal himself to all? Stage fear? Or because he doesn’t really exist? Or if he does then we are nothing for him? I mean, seriously, what are we? A small and young species confined to a single planet revolving around a small star in a far-off branch of a small minor spiral galaxy among the millions of galaxies around. The supreme creator has better things to do than care for us.
Okay, suppose he does care. That means he is a good person. You say he is omnipotent. That he knows all and sees all and is every where and loves all. So, why does he want us to beg for his attention and help when he is capable and willing to do it by himself?
According to me, the idea of God popped up to explain the unexplained, to find order in chaos. And religions built around the concept of trying to get his attention and save us all. To save us from what? Death. A very natural process that is merely ceasing of our existence. However, our fragile and emotional animal minds try to find continuity. Heaven and hell provide that. How to get into heaven? Live well. Do good on God’s kingdom on earth. Nice. Infact splendid. At last something to get people to act in good ways. Where simple manners and morals failed, the supernatural succeeded in getting the people in line. But soon, they got out of line again, this time because of the very things that was built to get them in line. In order to protect and spread their beliefs, many people took to the very means that they were told not to. Greed for power came. Then came conflict. And the world landed into chaos it now is. Suppose there was no religion but people.. well, read my blogpost on this. that’s it. Now I’m basically going to type the same stuff again.
Okay, I read your post. And you threw a lot into your last response. I’ll see what I can do.
– I won’t try to “cure” anyone into religion. As I said, it’s a position of faith. I can’t convince anyone to believe. Even the Bible admits to this (I know it’s not authoritative for you, but bear with me). Jesus says, “No one comes to me unless he is drawn by God.” You can’t logically argue someone to faith. It’s a heart issue between the individual and God. 🙂
– I agree that too many people think that getting what they want is the same as answered prayer. But Christianity is not opposed to understanding the law of causality – sometimes things happen because of a domino effect that started with someone else. Sometimes it’s random. Sometimes God is the one causing it.
– I do believe that God reveals himself to everyone. Even people who live in distant areas and have never heard about the Christian God can look at the universe and creation and get a sense that there is a Divine Creator behind life. This natural revelation is available to all. The Bible then becomes specific revelation that expands on natural revelation.
– The idea that we get to heaven based on living well and doing good is a Hollywood version of Christianity – it’s not the Bible. The Bible is clear that humanity is not capable of being good on our own. We’re broken and messed up. No amount of do-gooder behavior can ever overcome our brokenness. Jesus is the one who makes up the deficit in humanity. In our brokenness we cannot reach God, but through our faith in Jesus we are reconciled to God.
– Thus Christian morality and behavior is not about keeping people in line but about a loving response to what God has done through Jesus. It helps me to think about it like my relationship with my wife or kids. I want to do things to please them because I love them, not because I fear the consequences of their unhappiness. As we fall in love with God our natural response is to do the things that please him. So our behavior is motivated by love, not by fear.
Jesus says, “No one comes to me unless he is drawn by God.”
Well, take a child, and at the instant of his birth give him all education that he is ever going to get till highschool and give his mind a boost to the level of adolescence. Try and get him on a religious path. You’ll fail most likely. His knowledge, his rational thinking will get in his way. No one is born a believer, all are turned into one after birth.
Now suppose we have a normal infant, and while he grows up, you easily set him on a religious path. Well, it succeeds, doesn’t it? All over the world, all the time. Whatever you tell a child, he absorbs it and takes it for granted. But as he grows up, he sets up a gatekeeper to his mind. Access control. You have to first convince him and then only he’ll trust your facts. This gatekeeper has kept all religion and God away from me in the past 6 years of my 17 year existence. See, i’m even taking a firm stand here because of it?
I can bet you that I can raise a child to be a Jedi. He’ll not once question his beliefs in his childhood. However, when he will grow up, two things can happen. If many around him are like him, Jedis, he’ll continue to believe that the Force is real. But, if he questions his belief, he’ll find many flaws. And he’ll come to the conclusion hat he was in an illusion.
Here, I feel it will be right to quote a poem I once wrote. http://vagrantrohitt.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/freebird-in-the-night-sky/
ou just now said “You can’t logically argue someone to faith”. Thats true. Only a small child with a naive mind can be brought on this faith path. And once these values are set in, they are tough, almost impossible to root out. I am not willing to hurt your sentiments but your last point about relationship with Jesus is only this (in my view). And same goes for God revealing himself. To a kid who grows up in today’s world, this natural revelation you mentioned will not come. Ignorance is venomous. With ignorance gone partly due to development and advancement, these ideas cannot originate now.
Lastly, your and other people’s whole religion is based on the fact that God and Jesus exist. Okay, I cannot prove that they don’t exist, but it is in the same way as saying I can’t prove that Unicorns and Dragons don’t exist. You get my point, right? Maybe there is a unicorn somewhere on Earth, but what are the chances? You’d say none, they are fictional creatures. Now, I hope you read the other article I mentioned just now.
Thankyou for paving way for such flow of thought. 🙂
Jesus was an historical person accounted for by secular historians, not just Christians. It’s not a matter of unicorns and dragons.
If that is so, and you say it is, then I am totally flawed. But I’m interested in learning which historians and when have mentioned Jesus.
The major historian that comes to mind was a Roman employee named Josephus.
ok. Apparently, you have decided to stop this conversation. I wonder what the reason is. Well, okay then. Your wish.
Chill out, my man. I have to sleep sometime. I told you about the historian Josephus. I never stopped any conversation 🙂
I think you did not, then, read the comment I made above that comment to which you replied. Go scroll up.
I read it. As I said, receiving the Bible authoritatively is an act of faith. I don’t place any expectations on atheists to take the Bible authoritatively as I do.
While there are moral tales in the Bible, the story of Jesus is not a fictitious moral tale. There is secular corroboration from historians. Additionally, men don’t die for what they know to be a lie. The early Christians were all martyred for their beliefs. If you knew a story was fictitious wouldn’t you recant before being killed?
If you lacked the ability to challenge the story, that mindset to even consider that the story COULD be fictitious, then you would not challenge it. You would just believe it to be true and that is it. No changes, totally static.
I don’t lack the ability to challenge a story. I freely admit that some of the stories in the Bible are not “factual” but moral tales.
The Jesus narrative, however, is historically verifiable from eyewitness accounts and non-Christian historians. Jesus was not fantasy but was an historical person.
Okay. I suppose we have reached an impasse, kind of. I’ll keep your points in mind. Thanks for giving me a chance to dive into your mind and learn your thoughts. 😀
Food for thought.