Jews think Christians are wrong. Christians think Jews are wrong. Muslims think Jews are wrong. Jews think Muslims are wrong. Christians think Muslims are wrong. Muslims think Christians have been gravely misled, and their holy book, the Bible, has been “corrupted.” Not only that, but that Christians are wrong.
It’s a pretty tall order to take on all of the above. So let’s focus on the last one. Here’s a great discussion questionsfor friends who are Muslim and Christian to answer together:
Why don’t Muslims believe that Jesus is divine?
Muslims do not believe Jesus is God. They believe He is only a human prophet, a messenger from God, worthy to be loved and respected just like Abraham, Moses and Noah. This conflicts with the claims four times in the Book of Hebrews, Chapter 1, that Jesus is divine.
- Muslims do not believe Jesus should be worshipped. (“When God says, ‘Jesus, son of Mary, did you say to people, “Take me and my mother as two gods alongside God”?’ he will say, ‘May You be exalted! I would never say what I had no right to say . . . .” Surah 5:116) “”People of the Book, do not go to excess in your religion, and do not say anything about God except the truth: the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was nothing more than a messenger of God. . . .” Surah 4:171) Muslims teach that the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, three “faces” of the same divine Being) is actually God the Father, God the Son, and Mary — not the Holy Spirit — and three different gods instead of the three-in-one concept. They apparently mix up the Holy Spirit with the archangel Gabriel, who they believe dictated the Qur’an to the prophet Mohammed over the course of many years. In fact, Muslims teach their children that Jesus was a practicing Muslim and worshipped Allah. There is no mention of “Allah” in the Bible and no evidence whatsoever that Jesus ever worshipped any other God but the God of the Bible. But that’s what Muslims believe nonetheless.
- Muslims do not believe Jesus should be described as “the Son of God” — Surah 19:88-92; Muslims believe that God is so powerful and self-sufficient that He would never need to create a son to “help him” or any other partner. Somehow or another, they got the idea that Christians believe that God had sex with Mary and the result was Jesus.
- Muslims do not believe that Jesus died on the cross; some believe witnesses were deceived (Surah 4:157-158); others believe someone was made to look like Jesus and was crucified in His place (Al-Nasa’i, Al-Kubra, 6:489); still others believe He didn’t die but only “swooned”; and the Qur’an in Surah 19:33 quotes Jesus as speaking of “the day that I die,” which, in context, connotes that he would die a normal human death like everybody else. owever, Muslims have zero neutral historical evidence outside of the Qur’an that Jesus did not die on the Cross. The neutral historical data from disinterested observer scholars is completely on the side of the truth of the Incarnation and Resurrection.
- Some believe Allah loved Jesus and provided a substitute for Him to die on the cross in His place, confusing Jesus’ enemies, so that Jesus wouldn’t have to die.
- Muslims believe the “Comforter” that Jesus promised would come in John 14: was actually Mohammed, while Christians believe that refers to the Holy Spirit.
- Muslims believe that a person can keep God’s rules, while acknowledging sin is real that asking for forgiveness and re-submitting to Allah are necessary for salvation. Christians, on the other hand, believe that no one can possibly obey God’s rules perfectly or even near-perfectly and avoid sin; the only way to heaven is through faith in Jesus as Redeemer.
- Muslims believe that Jesus performed miracles by the will of God, such as healing lepers and the blind, but they do not believe it was by His own power.
- Since Jesus prayed to God, and Muslims do, too, they figure that Jesus couldn’t be God, because what kind of God would pray to Himself?
- In the Arabic language, the word for God is “Allah.” In a Bible written in Arabic, every time Jehovah God — the God of the Bible, not Allah of the Qur’an — is mentioned, the word used in that Arabic Bible for God is “Allah.” A lot of confusion between the two concepts of God stems from this. In Arabic, Jesus is called “Isa,” not his own name or “God,” and a lot of the confusion stems from that as well.
- Muslims point out that there are many, many translations of the Bible into English, and each one has different words and phrases for the same text, so that proves, in their minds, that the Bible has been “corrupted,” or “changed,” over the years. They say the story of Jesus was concocted and falsified. But there are many English translations of the Qur’an, also with different words and phrases. So if the Bible and what it teaches is “corrupt,” so is the Qur’an. It’s a difficulty for Muslims to point out that they boast that Isaiah 42 in the Bible is a prophecy of Mohammed, though Bible scholars don’t see it — but Isaiah 53, just a few chapters later, which prophesies the crucifixion of Christ, and Bible scholars DO see that as true — shouldn’t be believed because THAT chapter has been “corrupted.” It is also important to note that the Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in 1947, are dated at 100 B.C., containing 19 copies of Isaiah, 25 copies of Deuteronomy, and 30 copies of the Psalms that are virtually identical to what we have in the Bible today, leading Christians to call on Muslims to admit that there has been no further corruption of the Old Testament since at least 100 B.C.
- It is puzzling to note that Mohammed instructed Christians to follow the Bible that they possessed in 600 A.D. in Qur’an 2:89 and 7:157. Yet elsewhere in the Qur’an, he said the Bible is corrupt: Quran 2:40-42, 126,136,285; 3:3,71,93; 4:47,136; 5:47-51, 69, 71-72; 6:91; 10:37,94; 21:7; 29:45,46; 35:31; 46:11. This reflects the fact that Mohammed was fairly well-received by Christians in the early years of his ministry, and his earlier oral revelations were positive about Christians and the Bible. But then as he was rejected and more or less kicked out of Mecca, retreating to Medina and launching a more violent, warlike turn to his ministry, the newer Qur’anic verses about the Bible and Christianity were much more negative.