It’s Personal
(Christianity and Islam in Contrast)

Both Christianity and Islam believe sin is real and deadly, incurring the wrath of a deity who punishes it. Both demand repentance and look to a merciful deity for forgiveness.

Murder, theft, adultery, apostasy, and witchcraft are considered pernicious sins in Islam, but the worst sin is idolatry. Thus, “idolater” is the worst name you could call a Muslim. All the above are sins for Christians too, but considering Jesus’ teaching on love as God’s greatest commandment, the worst thing you could call a Christian is: “hater.” That’s why non-Christians with a sinful agenda often pull the label, “hater,” as a trump card to discredit serious Christians.

In his book, What Went Wrong?, Bernard Lewis wrote, “In the Muslim perception, there is no human legislative power, and there is only one law for believers—the Holy Law of God.” While various Islamic laws are subject to the interpretations of religious lawyers, the Muslim mindset remains theocratic. All legitimate laws are Allah’s laws. There are no separate standards of practice for the mosque and the state. In contrast, Jesus made a distinction between the things we render to God and to Caesar. Thus, Christians can distinguish between our eternal devotion to God (which comes first) and our temporal obligations to the state.

Polygamy and slavery are not against Islamic law, so they are not seen as sins. In contrast, Jesus negated polygamy with His definition of marriage in Matthew 19:4-6 as two (male and female) becoming one. Of course, slavery violates Jesus’ golden rule in Matthew 7:12 and has been abolished in all major Christian cultures.

The Muslim Solution:

For Muslims, redemption comes to believers who wise up and follow Allah’s guidance in the Qur’an to distinguish good from evil. There is no blood sacrifice for sin in Islam. Rather, sincerity and good works bring salvation. The Qur’an says; “We shall set up just scales on the Day of Resurrection… Actions as small as a grain of mustard seed shall be weighed out. Our reckoning shall suffice.” (Sura 21:47). The idea of priestly mediation between Allah and man is foreign to Muslims.

According to one tradition, Muhammad personally took part in the stoning of Ghamdiyah, a confessed adulterer. He ordered that a waist-deep hole be dug in which she was buried to preserve decency during the stoning. Then he threw the first stone and she soon perished. (Source, Paul Fregosi, Jihad, 1998). Jesus had a similar opportunity to rule on an adulterous woman (John 8:1ff). His response sums up a big difference between Christianity and Islam. Jesus forgave her and let her live. He told her to go and “sin no more.” (John 8:11).

The Christian Solution:

cross and nail
Christians believe the only solution for sin is found in Jesus who laid down his life accepting the punishment for sin that we, like the adulterous woman, personally deserved. Muslims respect Jesus as one of 25 prophets of Allah, but they do not believe he really died at the crucifixion nor was He God’s son, much less God in the flesh.

Both Islam and Christianity call for repentance (a 180 turn) and obedience. But for Christians, all the repenting and obeying in our power is insufficient to gain forgiveness and salvation. For this, we needed Jesus to personally lay down His life as a sacrificial lamb once and for all on behalf of repentant sinners.

Adoption into God’s Family!

Christian salvation involves adoption into God’s family, beginning now and extending into eternity. Like Jesus, we call God our Father. It’s personal. In Islam, believers can be Allah’s servants–but not his children. A Qur’anic inscription at the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem reads, “Praise be to God, who begets no son… He does not beget, He is not begotten, and He has no peer.” The idea of God as a Father is denounced severely in Islam as the principle Christian error. Muslims cannot relate to a God with a son who suffers and is pierced for our transgressions.

So, Christians find salvation not in the “scales” of judgment but in the nails driven into the hands and feet of God’s Son who willingly died to reconcile us to His heavenly Father. The Qur’an often refers to Allah as merciful but the Bible speaks of God Himself demonstrating His mercy in the flesh, in our midst, and on our behalf to welcome us into His family. The difference is quite personal.

Freedom is Frightening!

“In the end, they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us:
‘Make us your slaves, but feed us.’”

Fydor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamozov (1880), book V, chapter 5.

A Brief Visitation:

According to the story-teller, the Lord appeared to a “tortured, suffering people, sunk in iniquity, but loving Him like children.” He arrived the day after a hundred heretics, for the glory of God, had been burned at the stake by the Grand Inquisitor (GI).

They flocked to Him as he silently radiated gentleness and compassion, blessing and healing people along the way. Some threw flowers. Others sang hosannas. He encountered a funeral procession and raised a little girl back to life. Amid the weeping and confusion, the old cardinal himself (the GI) approached this intruder and had Him arrested. The crowd watched in submissive silence.

I am describing a parable within a novel. The Brothers Karamozov (1880), by Russian author Fydor Dostoyevsky, is the greatest novel I have ever read. I just want to focus here on one chapter, titled: “The Grand Inquisitor” (book V, chapter 5). It’s a stand-alone parable about Jesus returning to Seville, Spain, in the 16th century during the Spanish Inquisition.

Ilya Repin

Back to the story: The GI visits Jesus in his cell to explain why the Church no longer needs Him. The GI said, “For fifteen centuries we have been wrestling with Thy freedom, but now it is ended and over for good… [The people] have brought their freedom to us and laid it humbly at our feet.”

The GI frames his comments around the three temptations Jesus faced in the wilderness (see Matthew 4:1-11), namely, to turn stones into bread, to leap from the Temple and be saved by angels, and to rule the kingdoms of the world. Bottom line, the GI thinks Jesus was wrong to turn Satan down on each count.

Stones Into Bread!

The GI’s advice to Jesus matched the first temptation of Satan. He said, “Turn [stones] into bread and mankind will run after Thee like a flock of sheep, grateful and obedient, though forever trembling, lest Thou withdraw Thy hand and deny them Thy bread.” In other words, if only Jesus had altered His mission from providing heavenly bread to primarily giving out bread for bellies, far more men would have followed Him. After all, “Obedience is bought with bread. Power is purchased with bread. Every man has his price.” The GI added, “Feed men, and then ask of them virtue!”

But Jesus replied, man shall not live by bread alone.

Take a Flying Leap!

As for the second temptation, if Jesus had jumped off the high temple wall and been saved by angels, then the question of His divine sonship would have been an easy sell. Years later, He could have come down from the cross to victoriously prove Himself! After all, “man seeks not so much God, as the miraculous.”

But Jesus did not want faith that is purchased with spectacular miracles. He wants our faith to be our decision, freely made—not purchased with proof. Again, the GI scolds Jesus for promoting freedom rather than exerting greater control over the minds of men.

Rule the Kingdoms of the World!

In the third temptation, Jesus was offered earthly power as a tool for providing universal happiness and unity. Think of the good Jesus could have done with great political authority. With such potential at stake, what harm could it do to toss Satan a bone?

The GI rebuked Jesus: “Hast Thou taken the world and Caesar’s purple, Thou wouldst have founded the universal state and have given universal peace. For who can rule men if not he who holds their conscience and their bread in his hands?” He added, “Had Thou accepted that last offer of the mighty spirit, Thou wouldst have accomplished all that man seeks on earth—that is, someone to worship, someone to keep his conscience.” The GI believed that planning the universal happiness of man is “real” love and Jesus should have known that. He thought that it is through compulsion, not freedom, that the people can be provided the tools to end human suffering and unite humanity under one banner. Isn’t it more loving to reduce the cost of discipleship and lighten the burden that comes with genuine freedom?

But Jesus had no bones for Satan and He resolved to serve the Lord God only. This would mean enduring severe rejection and humiliation from those in power, for a higher purpose than temporal happiness and peace.

Finally finished, the GI waited for the Prisoner to respond. Jesus silently approached the old man and kissed him on the forehead. The cardinal shuttered and told the Prisoner; “Go and come no more… never, never!”


To increase freedom is to increase both struggle and personal responsibility. Satan wanted Jesus to veer off of God’s plan and protect humanity from the hunger, guilt, and the pain that comes with true freedom. According to the GI, people prefer rules and bread over freedom and painful choices. We would rather worship those who provide us with bread, miracles and power than the One who came to set us free.

The Bible Vs Abortion

The creative hand of God was at work when you were formed in your mother’s womb. He was creating your inmost being as well as your body. Listen to the Psalmist:

    For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:13-14).

This not only affirms the sanctity of human life; it also declares high praise for our Creator! And the pronouns are personal!

According to the Bible, God “hates” hands that shed innocent blood (Proverbs 6:17). Certainly, no human is more innocent than a baby in the womb. The equal value of pre-born life is affirmed in Exodus where the rule is set forth that if a fighting man hits a pregnant woman and the baby is harmed, “…you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.” (Exodus 21:22-24).

God actually knew us before our formation in the womb. Speaking for God, the prophet Jeremiah wrote; “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” (Jeremiah 1:5). The gospel of Luke tells us that John the Baptist was “filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15). God didn’t just “know” us, He “chose” us before creation itself. Listen to the apostle Paul: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. (Ephesians 1:4).

So God is “pro-choice” but not in the popular lethal sense. He is the chooser and the creator of human life and He made us “in His own image” (Genesis 1:27). This means we are not accidents of nature and we are more significant than amoebas.

Can I say that?

Reversing God’s choices is enormously popular in America. In 1973, the legalization of abortion on demand was enforced upon every single state in the USA. Instead of a crime, exterminating the unborn is a “right.” The death toll since then totals some 60 million babies, many of whom were aborted at taxpayer expense.

How uncreative!

Infanticide was also common in the ancient world. When Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan into Canaan, the worship of an Ammonite god named Molech was common. Molech demanded human sacrifice. This practice persisted in Israel despite the strict law stipulating, “You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 18:21).

The fatal exposure of newborns was also common in ancient Greece and Rome. Unwanted babies were simply left in a trash heap or an isolated place and it was not considered murder if the child died naturally. Slave traders and early Christians were known to rescue exposed babies, but for very different reasons.

Today, the Democrat Party platform aggressively and unequivocally promotes legal abortion at any time, including babies partially born or born alive. Adding insult to injury, it calls for the availability of abortion “regardless of ability to pay.” In other words, taxpayers should get the bill.

As a Christian, I oppose the Democrat platform. I refuse to conform to popular brutality. Extremely rare medical emergencies putting a mother’s life on the line may constitute an exception but the fact remains that the most vulnerable human beings—babies being knitted together by God in the mother’s womb—desperately need our protection.