Tuesday, May 05, 2015

The "Jesus" of the Koran Exists In a Neverland

No serious biblical scholar looks to the Muslim Koran for information about the real, historical Jesus. The Koranic account of Jesus is sheer fabrication to justify its own belief that Jesus is but a "prophet." 

After 9-1-1 I was invited to the University of Toledo to dialgue with the imam of northern Ohio. We spoke in Rocket Hall, to a group of U-T students. At one point the imam told the people, "John and I really believe the same thing."

This statement, which is false, was something I could not let pass.

"No," I responded, "the imam and I do not really believe the same thing."

The imam shook his head, and insisted that we do.

At this point I looked at the students and said, "The imam is wrong about this. For his book, the Koran, presents Jesus as a mere prophet, and denies that Christ died on the cross as an atonement for the sins of humanity. But the beliefs that Jesus is more than a prophet, indeed, he is God the Son, and that in Christ's death and resurrection we are brought into God's kingdom, are the heart of true Christianity."

I said this with eyes wide open, wanting the people in the auditorium to at least acknowledge that, in its major claims, Christianity and Islam are worlds apart. Indeed, Islamic teaching contradicts Christian teaching at essential points. Whether or not one is a Christian, at least they should be able to see through such syncretistic fallacies.

William Kilpatrick has it right when he states "the whole point of the Koran's treatment of Christ is to whittle him down in size - to turn him into a messenger instead of a Messiah." (Kilpatrick, Christianity, Islam and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West, K2429)

"Muhammad’s purpose in introducing Jesus into the Koran is to discredit the Christian claim that he is divine in order to enhance Muhammad’s claim to prophethood. Beyond that, Muhammad seemed to have little interest in Jesus. Here, for example, is the entirety of what the Koran has to say about the Crucifixion: “They declared: ‘We have put to death the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the apostle of God.’ They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but they thought they did” (Surah 4:157). Muhammad brings up the most important action of Christ—his redemptive death and resurrection—only to deny that it happened." (Ib.)

Correct. The Koran is mistaken about Christ. "The Jesus of the Koran," writes Kilpatrick, "exists in a neverland."

(Note: Kilpatrick's account of the differences between the Koran and the Bible is well done. Irregardless of one's religious beliefs, the differences are there and they are irreconcilable. So Christians and Muslims don't really all "believe the same thing.")