It is my hope that we will find commonality in the way we believe rather than the differences that makes us be at odds with each other, and with good reason.
Recently I befriended a young man that is Muslim. At our first meeting I felt a sense of fear as well as excitement. I questioned why I felt excited because both of those emotions are, or shall I say, totally contrary to each other as being a weird combination.
While in deep conversation with this young man, and we will name him Tom, I began to see that we had a lot in common. I had this inner stirring in me and the peace-maker in me was being challenged because if I claim to be a “Truth Seeker” I need to be open to wisdom and knowledge based on other religions.
Did you know that Muslims believe in Jesus and in the Quran Jesus is mentioned twenty-five times. The disconnect to many Christians is that Jesus never tasted death. They believe that the Father took Him up unto Himself.
The purpose of writing this piece is not meant to persuade anyone into conversion. It is however, a way to bridge the two different cultures with some understanding. I still have no clue to how and why Islam has become so tainted by extremism. It certainly is not like a Christian fanatic in any sense of the word.
Let us begin in part to examine what Wikipedia says about Islam.
Isa ( Arabic: عيسى, Transliteration: ʿĪsā ), known as Jesus in the New Testament, is considered to be a Messenger of God and the Masih (Messiah) in Islam who was sent to guide the Children of Israel (banī isrā’īl) with a new scripture, the Injīl or Gospel. The belief in Jesus (and all other messengers of God) is required in Islam, and a requirement of being a Muslim. The Quran mentions Jesus by name twenty-five times, while it only mentions Muhammad by name four times as Muhammad and once as Ahmad; making it a total of five times. It states that Jesus was born to Mary (Arabic: Maryam) as the result of virginal conception, a miraculous event which occurred by the decree of God (Arabic: Allah). To aid in his ministry to the Jewish people, Jesus was given the ability to perform miracles (such as healing the blind, bringing dead people back to life, etc.), all by the permission of God rather than of his own power. According to the Quran, Jesus, although appearing to have been crucified, was not killed by crucifixion or by any other means, instead, “God raised him unto Himself”. Like all prophets in Islam, Jesus is considered a Muslim (i.e., one who submits to the will of God), as he preached that his followers should adopt the “straight path” as commanded by God. Islam rejects the Trinitarian Christian view that Jesus was God incarnate or the son of God, that he was ever crucified or resurrected, or that he ever atoned for the sins of mankind. The Quran says that Jesus himself never claimed any of these things, and it furthermore indicates that Jesus will deny having ever claimed divinity at the Last Judgment, and God will vindicate him. The Quran emphasizes that Jesus was a mortal human being who, like all other prophets, had been divinely chosen to spread God’s message. Islamic texts forbid the association of partners with God (shirk), emphasizing a strict notion of monotheism (tawhīd).
Numerous titles are given to Jesus in the Quran and in Islamic literature, the most common being al-Masīḥ (“the messiah”). Jesus is also, at times, called “Seal of the Israelite Prophets”, because, in general Muslim belief, Jesus was the last prophet sent by God to guide the Children of Israel. Jesus is seen in Islam as a precursor to Muhammad, and is believed by Muslims to have foretold the latter’s coming.
So as you can see, there are some similarities between Islam and Christianity, but very stark differences too. What I find to be interesting is the difference between Muhammad and Jesus’ proselyting. One would ask, why is it that Muhammad did not have any apostles like Jesus did? Jesus needed to have apostles to spread the good news to the Jews so that they would be updated, if you will, about superseding the Law of Moses.
Personally I think it is dangerous for anyone to follow one particular person and treat them like they are the Messiah without a following of followers. Perhaps that is exactly why Jesus had His apostles so that His teachings would not become corrupt. What do you think about this point?
I may take some heat for bringing this topic up because on one hand it is safe for people to keep Muslims in a box without taking the time to understand their beliefs. On the other hand we need to distance ourselves from fanatical extreme thinking that would cause harm to anyone.
We do need to look at similarities rather than differences because of arrogance and self righteousness that comes with being narrow minded as well as being self preserved. We are in dire need to work through these cultural differences seeing that we have terrorism on the rise.
I am sure that many people want to have one of the most important question answered. WHY? Why the absence of Muslims denounce the behavior of their follow believers? Why do they take their beliefs to the next level and become so fanatical that they bring in death to Americans or anyone that does not believe in the way they do? Why Sharia Law?
I can say this, the media has not reported the truth about Muslims and have managed to instil fear into the hearts of many Americans. For instance, the word Imam verses Iman. Imam is a religious leader like a Minister. Iman is the Arabic word for faith. They sound alike but have totally different meaning. Even the media is uneducated about the Muslims or they are mis-using their power to influence for the good by using Muslims to cause contention and division among people.
Whatever the case, we need to educate ourselves and we need to know how to resolve social problems for our own well being and safety. We need to have a major paradigm shift in the way we communicate with Mormons, Jews, Muslims, and other religions and beliefs including Atheists if we want to live more peacefully with each other. If we do not do our part to have peaceful solutions for complex problems we could very well become uncivilized to the point of no return.
We need to look at commonality and not differences between each other. I do have to make this point. sometimes we have to use violent means to establish peace like how war can defuse aggressive dictators that abuse their people.
In closing I want to express a sense of hope for all inhabitants of the earth in that we can hope for a better tomorrow, even if it seems like there is not a solution to the indifferences we have over religion and our beliefs. Muslims around the world have to do their part to hold extremist accountable for their aggressive behaviors. Remember that “terrorism” means bringing terror to those that do not understand. When we understand we are not as intimidated and so we are able to keep our own personal peace.
With Warm Regards,
Terrance W. Norton,
Humanitarian Mentor/Orator/ Writer
Since the beginning and man was created and since that time man has sinned, and so we can hope that we will take care of our stuff with man as well with God. Gabriel has been blowing his horn for us to be free and for us to get along with each other. We will need to forgive an old friend by giving an outpouring of love to them if the occasion fits the time.
A stone cold heart towards people is an indication that someone’s got some forgiving to do, it could be you or your past friend that needs to be forgiven. The non- forgiveness and pridefulness is what takes us captivates and puts us into bondage if we do not forgive one another. I believe that it creates mental illness when we do not forgive.
No matter how hard the pain is the more important it is to let it go. There are people that have been an example that all of us have heard from time to time. Perhaps it was a mother forgiving a drunk driver that killed her baby boy or baby girl, what about them as an example of what we should and could do for ourselves.
As for our time, it is important to forgive each other because when we get all clogged up inside we are not able to respond to hardship that is coming down the pike soon. We have to get our vessels clear so that we can be way showers to others that want to be set free. Many people will not be able to handle a global melt down. Food will be a very expensive commodity so it is wise to get your family food storage and medical emergency kit also.
Calamity and chaos will be world wide and so we need to learn peaceful solutions as well as communities world- wide taking part in the global effort to fight hunger and poverty, which is also a type of bondage. Even the United States of America will be tested and we will have our struggles as a nation trying to survive a threat against Democracy and our inalienable rights to be FREE, and was given to us from God.
Anger and verbal abuse is likely a problem in their relationships, just like it was for me for a good portion of my life. I do not believe a man should ever hit a woman, because anger fuels many arguments, especially when there is alcohol and/or drugs involved.
Other types of emotional bondage is gluttony and never being satisfied with what has been given. Without gratitude we should never ask for anything more when we pray to our God. Do you agree that the door that opens to abundance is because of our gratitude for what we have been given.
Some of you may strongly disagree with me but one of the biggest decay in our social climate is that we are too sexually active before marriage. Perhaps we did not know each other well enough before we made that commitment in marriage, one would end up saying to their mate.
Nobody really wants to be in bondage because, we were meant to enjoy the fruits of life so that we can be fruitful in our endeavors by contributing something positive back into life. This is a good way to live freely! There is nobody that can get you out of bondage but you and your God.
Have you ever wondered how much of the world has fallen into chaos, murder, and violence? This is another kind of a bondage. That is FEAR, which actually is the greatest stumbling block for most of us who have not quite mastered ourselves when it comes to responding to fear. It causes inertia. Which inertia makes us paralyzed, so to speak, with fear and we can not do anything to face that fear.
The bottom line is that we have to stay clear and not fall into bondage. Forgiveness is as important as fighting the demon of fear, as gluttony is important as gratitude. We we all be vigilant and not fall into emotional bondage!