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Which god?    God or god?

“Thou shalt have no other god before me.”  (Exodus 20:3 KJV)

This is the question posed by Lauren Green of Fox News (who often covers Christian items for them) to Reza Aslan.

The full story is on msn.com.

Their subtitle is Never mind that he's a religious scholar ...

The first paragraph is -

That's how Fox News anchor Lauren Green kicked off an interview last week for "Spirited Debate" with religious scholar and bestselling author Reza Aslan. Aslan's new book,"Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth," posits that Jesus Christ was a political insurgent and looks at his affect on the unstable times in which he lived.Green, however, was not so interested in the content of the book. What she wanted to talk about was the bias and possible secret agenda that she implied had fueled Aslan's interest in the subject of Jesus.

No -
I’m unfortunately not shocked by the tone of the opening of the msn.com story.
I’m also not surprised.

It is - after all - a very liberal outlet.
And - after all - Fox News is more conservative.
And - for some reason - Christians and conservatives tend to be more aligned.
I say that seriously - because it seems like both parties take stands that Christians wouldn’t be happy with.

Anyway - back to the point.

Everyone has a bias -
they lean in one direction -
for various reasons -
but they do.

Msn.com does -
Fox news does -
liberals do -
conservatives do -
Lauren Green does -
and unless he’s not human - so does Ezra Aslan.

so do I -
and so do you.

To just blindly accept what Aslan says -
religious scholar or not -
just makes no sense.

Why would you not want to know his bias?
especially being a Christian -
as Lauren Green is.

You may be wondering -
as many people probably are -
what’s the big deal?
What wrong with writing a book about Jesus being a political insurgent?

If you don’t understand why there would be concern -
let’s go a little further.

Jesus - His death and resurrection - are the basis for Christian beliefs -
He is the basis for our hope of salvation and our own resurrection.

To label him as merely a political insurgent -
that is at least insulting - by any stretch of the imagination.
For someone who is a Christian - it would be much more than that -
or else based on total ignorance of the religion -
or a complete mis-understanding of what Christianity is all about.

But this person is supposed to be a religious scholar.

He doesn’t have the excuse of not understanding what he said.

He just insulted every Christian.
Why shouldn’t anyone and everyone be asking him the same question?
Why is Lauren Green taking heat -
for being the one to ask the question that everyone else should have asked?

See below for just a small (relatively speaking) sample of what Aslan’s book - the Qur’an has to say about Jesus - the subject of Aslan’s own book -

42. And (remember) when the angels said: "O Maryam (Mary)! Verily, Allaah has chosen you, purified you (from polytheism and disbelief), and chosen you above the women of the 'Alameen (mankind and jinns) (of her lifetime)."

43. O Mary! "Submit yourself with obedience to your Lord (Allaah, by worshipping none but Him Alone) and prostrate yourself, and Irkaa'i (bow down etc.) along with Ar-Raaki'oon (those who bow down etc.)."

44. This is a part of the news of the Ghaib (unseen, i.e. the news of the past nations of which you have no knowledge) which We inspire you with (O Muhammad). You were not with them, when they cast lots with their pens as to which of them should be charged with the care of Maryam (Mary); nor were you with them when they disputed.

45. (Remember) when the angels said: "O Maryam (Mary)! Verily, Allaah gives you the glad tidings of a Word ["Be!" -- and he was! i.e. 'Iesa (Jesus) the son of Maryam (Mary)] from Him, his name will be the Messiah 'Iesa (Jesus), the son of Maryam (Mary), held in honour in this world and in the Hereafter, and will be one of those who are near to Allaah."

46. "He will speak to the people in the cradle and in manhood, and he will be one of the righteous."

47. She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me." He said: "So (it will be) for Allaah creates what He wills. When He has decreed something, He says to it only: "Be!" and it is.

48. And He (Allaah) will teach him ['Iesa (Jesus)] the Book and Al-Hikmah (i.e. the Sunnah, the faultless speech of the Prophets, wisdom, etc.), (and) the Tauraat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel).

49. And will make him ['Iesa (Jesus)] a Messenger to the Children of Israel (saying): "I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, that I design for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allaah's Leave; and I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I bring the dead to life by Allaah's Leave. And I inform you of what you eat, and what you store in your houses. Surely, therein is a sign for you, if you believe.

50. And I have come confirming that which was before me of the Tauraat (Torah), and to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you, and I have come to you with a proof from your Lord. So fear Allaah and obey me.

51. Truly! Allaah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him (Alone). This is the Straight Path.

52. Then when 'Iesa (Jesus) came to know of their disbelief, he said: "Who will be my helpers in Allaah's Cause?" Al-Hawaarioon (the disciples) said: "We are the helpers of Allaah; we believe in Allaah, and bear witness that we are Muslims (i.e. we submit to Allaah)."

53. Our Lord! We believe in what You have sent down, and we follow the Messenger ['Iesa (Jesus)]; so write us down among those who bear witness (to the truth i.e. Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah - none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah).

54. And they (disbelievers) plotted [to kill 'Iesa (Jesus)], and Allaah planned too. And Allaah is the Best of the planners.

55. And (remember) when Allaah said: "O 'Iesa (Jesus)! I will take you and raise you to Myself and clear you [of the forged statement that 'Iesa (Jesus) is Allaah's son] of those who disbelieve, and I will make those who follow you (Monotheists, who worship none but Allaah) superior to those who disbelieve [in the Oneness of Allaah, or disbelieve in some of His Messengers, e.g. Muhammad , 'Iesa (Jesus), Moosa (Moses), etc., or in His Holy Books, e.g. the Tauraat (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel), the Qur'aan] till the Day of Resurrection. Then you will return to Me and I will judge between you in the matters in which you used to dispute."

56. "As to those who disbelieve, I will punish them with a severe torment in this world and in the Hereafter, and they will have no helpers."

57. And as for those who believe (in the Oneness of Allaah) and do righteous good deeds, Allaah will pay them their reward in full. And Allaah does not like the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrong-doers).

58. This is what We recite to you (O Muhammad) of the Verses and the Wise Reminder (i.e. the Qur'aan).

59. Verily, the likeness of 'Iesa (Jesus) before Allaah is the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: "Be!" -- and he was.

60. (This is) the truth from your Lord, so be not of those who doubt.

61. Then whoever disputes with you concerning him ['Iesa (Jesus)] after (all this) knowledge that has come to you, [i.e. 'Iesa (Jesus)] being a slave of Allaah, and having no share in Divinity) say: (O Muhammad) "Come, let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves -- then we pray and invoke (sincerely) the Curse of Allaah upon those who lie."

62. Verily! This is the true narrative [about the story of 'Iesa (Jesus)], and, Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah, the One and the Only True Allaah, Who has neither a wife nor a son). And indeed, Allaah is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.

63. And if they turn away (and do not accept these true proofs and evidences), then surely, Allaah is All-Aware of those who do mischief.

64. Say (O Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alayhy wa sallam)): "O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians): Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allaah, and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allaah. Then, if they turn away, say: "Bear witness that we are Muslims."

65. O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Why do you dispute about Ibraahim (Abraham), while the Tauraat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel) were not revealed till after him? Have you then no sense?

66. Verily, you are those who have disputed about that of which you have knowledge. Why do you then dispute concerning that which you have no knowledge? It is Allaah Who knows, and you know not.

67. Ibraahim (Abraham) was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a true Muslim Hanifa (Islaamic Monotheism -- to worship none but Allaah Alone) and he was not of Al-Mushrikoon (See V.2:105).

68. Verily, among mankind who have the best claim to Ibraahim (Abraham) are those who followed him, and this Prophet (Muhammad) and those who have believed (Muslims). And Allaah is the Walee (Protector and Helper) of the believers.

69. A party of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) wish to lead you astray. But they shall not lead astray anyone except themselves, and they perceive not.

70. O people of the Scripture! (Jews and Christians): "Why do you disbelieve in the Ayaat of Allaah, [the Verses about Prophet Muhammad present in the Tauraat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)] while you (yourselves) bear witness (to their truth)."

71. O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians): "Why do you mix truth with falsehood and conceal the truth while you know?"

72. And a party of the people of the Scripture say: "Believe in the morning in that which is revealed to the believers (Muslims), and reject it at the end of the day, so that they may turn back.

73. And believe no one except the one who follows your religion. Say (O Muhammad): "Verily! Right guidance is the Guidance of Allaah" and do not believe that anyone can receive like that which you have received (of Revelation) except when he follows your religion, otherwise they would engage you in argument before your Lord. Say (O Muhammad): "All the bounty is in the Hand of Allaah; He grants to whom He wills. And Allaah is All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs, the All-Knower."

74. He selects for His Mercy (Islaam and the Qur'aan with Prophethood) whom He wills and Allaah is the Owner of Great Bounty.

And then there’s -

150. Verily, those who disbelieve in Allaah and His Messengers and wish to make distinction between Allaah and His Messengers (by believing in Allaah and disbelieving in His Messengers) saying, "We believe in some but reject others," and wish to adopt a way in between.

151. They are in truth disbelievers. And We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating torment.

152. And those who believe in Allaah and His Messengers and make no distinction between any of them (Messengers), We shall give them their rewards, and Allaah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

153. The people of the Scripture (Jews) ask you to cause a book to descend upon them from heaven. Indeed they asked Moosa (Moses) for even greater than that, when they said: "Show us Allaah in public," but they were struck with thunder clap and lightning for their wickedness. Then they worshipped the calf even after clear proofs, evidences, and signs had come to them. (Even) so We forgave them. And We gave Moosa (Moses) a clear proof of authority.

154. And for their covenant, We raised over them the Mount and (on the other occasion) We said: "Enter the gate prostrating (or bowing) with humility;" and We commanded them: "Transgress not (by doing worldly works on) the Sabbath (Saturday)." And We took from them a firm covenant .

155. Because of their breaking the covenant, and of their rejecting the Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allaah, and of their killing the Prophets unjustly, and of their saying: "Our hearts are wrapped (with coverings, i.e. we do not understand what the Messengers say)" -- nay, Allaah has set a seal upon their hearts because of their disbelief, so they believe not but a little.

156. And because of their (Jews) disbelief and uttering against Maryam (Mary) a grave false charge (that she has committed illegal sexual intercourse);

157. And because of their saying (in boast), "We killed Messiah 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allaah," -- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but the resemblance of 'Iesa (Jesus) was put over another man (and they killed that man), and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not [i.e. 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary) ]:

158. But Allaah raised him ['Iesa (Jesus)] up (with his body and soul) unto Himself (and he is in the heavens). And Allaah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise.

159. And there is none of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), but must believe in him ['Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), as only a Messenger of Allaah and a human being], before his ['Iesa (Jesus) or a Jew's or a Christian's] death (at the time of the appearance of the angel of death). And on the Day of Resurrection, he ['Iesa (Jesus)] will be a witness against them.

160. For the wrong-doing of the Jews, We made unlawful to them certain good foods which has been lawful to them, and for their hindering many from Allaah's Way;

161. And their taking of Ribaa (usury) though they were forbidden from taking it and their devouring of men's substance wrongfully (bribery, etc.). And We have prepared for the disbelievers among them a painful torment.

162. But those among them who are well-grounded in knowledge, and the believers, believe in what has been sent down to you (Muhammad) and what was sent down before you, and those who perform As-Salaat (Iqaamat-as-Salaat), and give Zakaat and believe in Allaah and in the Last Day, it is they to whom We shall give a great reward.

163. Verily, We have inspired you (O Muhammad) as We inspired Nooh (Noah) and the Prophets after him; We (also) inspired Ibraahim (Abraham), Ismaa'il (Ishmael), Ishaaque (Isaac), Ya'qoob (Jacob), and Al-Asbaat [the twelve sons of Ya'qoob (Jacob)], 'Iesa (Jesus), Ayub (Job), Yoonus (Jonah), Haaroon (Aaron), and Sulaimaan (Solomon), and to Dawood (David) We gave the Zaboor (Psalms).

164. And Messengers We have mentioned to you before, and Messengers We have not mentioned to you, -- and to Moosa (Moses) Allaah spoke directly.

165. Messengers as bearers of good news as well as of warning in order that mankind should have no plea against Allaah after the Messengers. And Allaah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise.

166. But Allaah bears witness to that which He has sent down (the Qur'aan) unto you (O Muhammad), He has sent it down with His Knowledge, and the angels bear witness. And Allaah is All-Sufficient as a Witness.

167. Verily, those who disbelieve [by concealing the truth about Prophet Muhammad and his message of true Islaamic Monotheism written with them in the Tauraat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)] and prevent (mankind) from the Path of Allaah (Islaamic Monotheism), they have certainly strayed far away. (Tafsir Al-Qurtubee). (See V.7:157)

168. Verily, those who disbelieve and did wrong [by concealing the truth about Prophet Muhammad and his message of true Islaamic Monotheism written with them in the Tauraat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)], Allaah will not forgive them, nor will He guide them to any way, -- (Tafsir Al-Qurtubee).

169. Except the way of Hell, to dwell therein forever, and this is ever easy for Allaah.

170. O mankind! Verily, there has come to you the Messenger (Muhammad) with the truth from your Lord, so believe in him, it is better for you. But if you disbelieve, then certainly to Allaah belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. And Allaah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.

171. O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allaah aught but the truth. The Messiah 'Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allaah and His Word, ("Be!" -- and he was) which He bestowed on Maryam (Mary) and a spirit (Rooh) created by Him; so believe in Allaah and His Messengers. Say not: "Three (trinity)!" Cease! (it is) better for you. For Allaah is (the only) One Ilaah (Allaah), Glory be to Him (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allaah is All-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs.

172. The Messiah will never be proud to reject to be a slave to Allaah, nor the angels who are near (to Allaah). And whosoever rejects His worship and is proud, then He will gather them all together unto Himself.

173. So, as for those who believed (in the Oneness of Allaah -- Islaamic Monotheism) and did deeds of righteousness, He will give their (due) rewards, and more out of His Bounty. But as for those who refuse His worship and were proud, He will punish them with a painful torment . And they will not find for themselves besides Allaah any protector or helper.

174. O mankind! Verily, there has come to you a convincing proof (Prophet Muhammad) from your Lord, and We sent down to you a manifest light (this Qur'aan).

As I said - these is just a small sample -
taken from a translation by Dr. Muhammad Mushin Khan.
There is much, much more - just like this.

If you’re a Christian -
or any open minded person -
why would you not want to know that this is where Aslan is coming from?

If you happen to want more -
this translation and others -
is available for $0.00 - yes free - from BarnesandNoble.com.

If you still operate under the belief that Christians, Jews and Muslims believe in the same God -
I highly encourage you to read this.
Not so that you’ll believe in it -
But so that you can plainly see that any claims that we believe in the same God are clearly false.
Maybe out of ignorance -
maybe intentionally -
many people say that we do believe in the same God -
but -
if you’ve read both the Bible and the Qur’an -
and understand what they’re saying -
you will immediately recognize that we most assuredly believe in different “gods”.

So -
let’s back up just a little but and repeat the last question -

If you’re a Christian -
or any open minded person -
why would you not want to know that this is where Aslan is coming from?

There was another news items this week that give some additional perspective on the Muslim side of things -

Editor gets 600 lashes, prison for liberal website

The founder of an Internet forum in Saudi Arabia will receive 600 lashes, a seven-year prison term and closure of his website for violating Islamic values.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The editor of a Saudi Arabian social website has been sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes for founding an Internet forum that violates Islamic values and propagates liberal thought, Saudi media reported Tuesday.

Raif Badawi, who started the "Free Saudi Liberals" website to discuss the role of religion in Saudi Arabia, has been held since June 2012 on charges of cybercrime and disobeying his father — a crime in the conservative kingdom and top U.S. ally.

Al-Watan newspaper said the judge had also ordered the closure of the website.

France was concerned by the sentence and remained committed to "freedom of opinion and of expression," the foreign ministry said in a statement. Officials from the Saudi National Society for Human Rights could not be reached for comment.

Badawi's website included articles that were critical of senior religious figures such as the Grand Mufti, according to Human Rights Watch.

The watchdog said in December that Badawi faced a possible death sentence after a judge cited him for apostasy, but Al-Watan said the judge dropped the apostasy charges.

Apostasy, the act of changing religious affiliation, carries an automatic death sentence in Saudi Arabia, along with other crimes including blasphemy.

And all of this was after the following exchange took place, according to Badawi’s wife -

"The judge asked Raif 'Are you a Muslim?' and he said 'Yes, and I don't accept anyone to cast doubt on (my belief),'" she wrote on Twitter.

Wow - so that’s what happens to someone who doesn’t go along with the party line.


That incident is not atypical -
it’s the way it works.

So - I repeat -

If you’re a Christian -
or any open minded person -
why would you not want to know that this is where Aslan is coming from?

So -
don’t just accept anyone’s bias -
my own included.

At least I have no problem saying up front where I’m coming from.

Some won’t say.

Some don’t want to be questioned.

Some attack when questioned.

I dare say -
the more someone doesn’t want to talk about it -
the more one should question.
The more one says something different from your understanding and belief -
the more one should question.

In this case -
or any other with the claims about Islam and Christianity -
I think the best path is to follow God’s own suggestion in Isaiah 1:16-20 -

Isa 1:16 wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight!

Stop doing wrong,

Isa 1:17 learn to do right!Seek justice,encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless,plead the case of the widow.

Isa 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together,”says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

Isa 1:19 If you are willing and obedient,you will eat the best from the land;

Isa 1:20 but if you resist and rebel,you will be devoured by the sword.”For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

“Come now, let us reason together,”says the LORD.

Yes -

Investigate -

Study -

Reason with God -

It is His invitation to all of us -

Not to blindly accept anyone word for everything -

But to reason with Him -
with God Himself -

What happens when we do that?

Isa 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together,”says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

Isa 1:19 If you are willing and obedient,you will eat the best from the land;

Isa 1:20 but if you resist and rebel,you will be devoured by the sword.”For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

If you’re a Christian -
or any open minded person -
why would you not want to know that this is where Aslan is coming from?

If we take God’s suggestion -
we’ll take that question to Him -
reason together with Him.

Really -
we can do this?

In the Book of Acts - we see four times where Paul reasoned with people -

Ac 17:2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,  
Ac 17:3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,’” he said.

Ac 17:17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.

Ac 18:4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

Ac 18:19 They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.

That’s a lot of reasoning.
The key is in the first one -

he reasoned with them from the Scriptures

You may remember that Paul had an encounter with Jesus -
and maybe you’re thinking that’s why Paul can reason with God.

But -
The Father left someone else for us - The Holy Spirit -

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

Jn 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command.  16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—  17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.  21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”

Jn 14:22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

Jn 14:23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.  24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

Jn 14:25 “All this I have spoken while still with you.  26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Jn 14:28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.  29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.  30 I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me,  31 but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

“Come now; let us leave.

If you’re a Christian -
or any open minded person -
why would you not want to know that this is where Aslan is coming from?

Indeed - why not?

Take what you’ve read here -
study more based on what you see here -
then search for more - inviting the Holy Spirit to join you -
and see what you find.

Then -
take the ultimate step -
reason with God -
and see where He takes you.

You will find that Aslan can not take you to Jesus - the Son of God.
He can only take you away from there -
and along with that take away your hope of salvation.

When you’re done with your reasoning -

Ask yourself -

Is this where I want to go?

Which God will save you?

Which God will you follow?

Should We Care If A Book About Jesus Is Written By A Muslim?

August 3, 2013

"You're a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?"