Columnist reaches out for some answers on Christianity
Originally Published in Daily Bulletin
My column last month entitled “Focus on God should not be split” generated a few letters in response. You can read my Dec. column here.
One letter came from Mr. George C. in Ontario and another from Mr. Tom V. in Chino Hills. Thank you both for your letters — I always welcome them. And while Tom wrote a polite two-page letter quoting many Bible verses to make his point that Jesus was God in the flesh and also pre-existent with God from the beginning of creation, neither he nor George actually addressed any of the points I raised or the Bible verses I quoted. George, in his half-page letter, listed no Bible verses at all but instead wrote that he feels I “may be guilty of some misinterpretations” of the verses I quoted. He did not elaborate further.
Tom’s letter said I was “audacious … challenging the tenets of Christianity” during Christmas time. But I humbly submit that nearly every quote I used came from either God or Jesus, so I figured anyone who read my column would have recognized that fact and regarded such quotes as being true and authoritative and not subject to such easy dismissal.
Tom did urge me to “truly have a humble heart” as if all it takes to perceive “truth” is a humble heart — even when that “truth” doesn’t make sense in one way or another. And while it is true that perceiving truth requires humility, accepting truth requires that one’s rational and inquisitive mind be satisfied as well. I suppose this is where I need help understanding Christianity, because I have never been able to reconcile its core doctrines with the contradictory pronouncements to them by God and Jesus. Nor can I reconcile the belief in original sin and the death of Jesus as atonement for sin with our God-given capacity and desire for reason, justice and the true deliverance of God’s mercy and salvation to mankind. By comparison, for me at least, Islam has answers that satisfy the heart, mind and soul.
Tom gave many Bible citations in his letter but due to space, I cannot address them all here. Most of the verses were used to show that Jesus had indicated, either by word, action or inaction, that he was God in the flesh. Yet there is not a single statement by Jesus where he clearly tells his disciples: “Yes, I am God in the flesh as his son who has come to be put to death for your sins, so when you see me again after they crucify me, don’t be afraid — I’m not a ghost — I’ve been resurrected.” How difficult would it have been for Jesus to tell his followers this beforehand, if he was, in fact, God incarnate? And it would have been an even better proof that Jesus was God if he had written down everything exactly as he wanted it to be remembered and given this to his disciples directly. But that didn’t happen.
I will now comment on Gen. 22:6-13, where God commands Abraham to sacrifice his son, and from which Tom cites verse 8 as a foreshadowing of God’s future plan to sacrifice Jesus as payment for our sins. The problem is, Gen. 22:6-13 isn’t about sacrificing someone as a payment for sins, it’s about testing Abraham’s love for God by asking him to make the ultimate sacrifice of his son. In the end, God stops Abraham from killing his son, replacing him with a ram as a sacrifice instead. Why would God stop a human sacrifice to himself in the time of Abraham, but allow it to take place — require it, in fact — in the time of Jesus?
To my dear Christian readers, please know that, from the bottom of my heart, the purpose of my December column was not to offend you. Honestly, I only wanted to examine how most of what Christianity teaches about God and Jesus runs contrary to the majesty, omnipotence and pure oneness of God, as well as to the honor and self-described mission of Jesus Christ as he states conclusively in Matthew 9:13 and 15:24.
I humbly invite Tom and George and any other Christian to come to the Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino or write to us and provide what answers you have to my questions and points. I make this appeal for answers not just for myself, but for the benefit of anyone with similar (or the same) questions about Christianity and Jesus.
Islam teaches that the truth of God should and does satisfy both the heart and the mind so that firm faith can be established in both. If anyone says this is impossible, I invite them to investigate Islam and its revival in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Call me at 909-627-2252 or 909-636-8332 or email me at: [email protected] or go online toAlislam.org to learn more. If you are not satisfied with what you were taught to believe is the truth, then you owe it to your soul to seek a better truth.
I believe that truth is found in Ahmadiyya Islam. Discover this truth for yourself — I know it can set you free.