I need to start this column with a disclaimer of sorts. I came across the phrase “dead things don’t grow” in a column written by Mike Adams on Townhall.com, Feb. 1, 2016. Mr. Adams is an author and professor of criminology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
In this particular column, Prof. Adams told about his experience as the pro-life proponent in a recent abortion debate. He used this phrase “dead things don’t grow” to drive home the point that the unborn have separate DNA along with cell division and metabolism from the moment of conception. The unborn, therefore, are not a “blob of cells” but are living well before the actual moment of birth. Growth equals life.
According to Prof. Adams, this phrase was brought to his attention by Jay Watts, and was also found in an episode of the video series Life Is Best, hosted by Scott Klusendorf.
Okay, that’s a long introduction, I know, but here is where I’m headed with this. What would be the basic, fundamental difference between Christianity and Islam?
As Christians, we are serving a living God. Beginning immediately in the Old Testament, we see that God has a desire for humans to be in a relationship with him that’s personal, consistent and growing over time.
Deuteronomy 5:26 says, “For who is there of all flesh who has heard the voice of the living God…” In Joshua 3:10, it says “You shall know that the living God is among you”, and further on in Jeremiah 10:10, “The Lord is the true God, He is the living God.” The move from just hearing God to actually knowing His presence is clear.
Christ made it plain that He and the Father are one, eternal and living (John 8:58, “Truly, truly I say unto you before Abraham was, I am”, and further on in John 10:30, the claim “I and the Father are one.” )
After the crucifixion and resurrection, Christians in the first church were very aware of their relationship with God, as stated in I Timothy 3:15: “…the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.”
Of course there are many other scripture references dealing with the living God in both Testaments. Here’s a good starter list:
Isaiah 57:15, Daniel 4:34, John 6:57, 2nd Corinthians 3:3, Hebrews 3:12 and 12:22, and Revelation 10:6.
Some theologians promote the concept of dispensations, which means at different periods of time throughout history, God dealt with humankind uniquely in each dispensation. Whether or not you subscribe to that concept, it’s apparent that the God of the Christian Bible consistently takes a personal interest in his people. God Himself never changes, but has always provided a way for people to have access to Him. He is a living God, who will meet our needs as we seek him. While our circumstances, both personal and collectively, change, He’s always there. That’s the type of spiritual life in which we can grow.
Islam By Comparison
So how does Islam measure up to this type of spiritual growth and life? Perhaps the most glaring point, yet the one most often ignored, is that Christianity and Islam do not worship the same God.
The God of the Christian Bible is consistent from Genesis to Revelation. The Allah of Islam predates the time of Mohammad, going back to ancient deities of various Arab tribes. There’s even some confusion as to who Allah actually is. Some scholars believe that Allah was the name of the ancient Arab moon god. Others find references to Allah being a sort of replacement deity for a lesser pagan god. Point is, the God of Christianity is consistent and growing. There’s dispute as to who is even the true Allah of Islam.
In the Quran, there are 109 versus that tell the devout Moslem to kill any non-Moslem he meets who won’t convert.
While it’s true that Christianity has had it’s dark chapters, we do not kill non-believers. We no longer burn witches and heretics, the Inquisition is long over, and even the Irish Catholics and Protestants are finally at peace. We have learned to outgrow our many divisions. There is an estimated 30,000 (world wide) Protestant denominations and hundreds of various sects within Catholicism. In spite of the occasional doctrinal argument, or unfortunate scandal, we’re getting along well and calling attention to the bad behavior of both leaders and lay persons when needed, without bloodshed.
For those who want to point to the Crusades as an example of “blood thirsty” Christian behavior, they are being completely ignorant of history. There’s not space here to go into detail regarding the Crusades, but the short version is that they were the Christian response to hundreds of years of Islam raping, murdering, beheading and burning churches in the Byzantine world and the larger Middle East area. In other words, no problems with Moslems being Moslems and there would have been no Crusades.
That is not the case with the two main divisions of Islam, Sunni and Shiah. Almost immediately upon the death of Mohammad in 632 AD, strife arose as to who would be his successor. This schism is still going strong today, still stuck in a 7th century factional hatred for each other so intense that disagreements turn into bloodshed.
Islam’s horrific treatment of women is perhaps the most widely known example of being stuck (i.e. dead) in a 7th century mindset. There are specific instruction found in Quran 4:34 and in Quran 38:44 as to the proper way to beat a woman. More verses to this affect can be found in the Hadith and Sira (collections of Islamic traditions and laws as attributed to Mohammad.)
Granted, western societies have been slow in granting all legal rights to women over the years but it’s been done because we know it’s the right thing to do…and we have laws against beating women.
Islam has not grown beyond it’s tradition of keeping slaves. While the practice of slavery varies among the many different Islamic nations, for a good example, read the chapter on the north African country of Mauritania found in the book Disposable People by Kevin Bales. And while Western civilization has banned traditional slavery, several Islamic states are still functioning within a 7th century perspective towards one human owning another.
Our very Bible is an example of the living God. The canon of scripture comprising 66 different “books” that is found within our Old and New Testaments was written by 40 different authors, from three different continents, over a period of more than 1600 years. There is a common thread from Genesis to Revelation regarding God and His relationship with humankind. The Bible explains the Bible and offers a continual means of having a personal relationship with the living God.
The Quran of Islam is the work of one man and is filled with more instruction on how to deal with non-Moslems than how to convert and therefore elevate an unbeliever to a better life. There will be no “better life” in Islam except through coercion.
Christianity has grown away from it’s mistakes and will continue to do so because we have the power and right to evaluate each other and our leaders, without resorting to bloodshed. That is the sign of a true, living thing that can continue to develop.
Islam is dead, being stuck in a 7th century mentality that uses violence as a means to an end. The only growth that Islam has shown in 1400 years is that now it can obtain weapons far more powerful than anything available during Mohammad’s day. One Moslem hell bent on obtaining his 72 virgins can kill hundreds in one incident. Other than that, the mindset is the same…the dead will only relate to the death of others. But dead things don’t grow. Growth only comes from life, and where life flourishes, growth will be sustained.