Sunday, June 17, 2007

Can a Person Be Both a Christian and a Muslim?

Either Jesus died on the cross, or he didn't die on the cross. There is no in-between. Either Jesus is divine, or he is not. Either God is triune, or he is something else.

While some Christian teachings are compatible with Muslim teachings (since Muhammad borrowed extensively from Christian and Jewish traditions), there are some fundamental differences as well. Yet interestingly, an Episcopal priest named Ann Redding claims that she is both a Christian and a Muslim.

She says, "I am both Muslim and Christian, just like I'm both an American of African descent and a woman. I'm 100 percent both."

There is, however, a tremendous difference between being an African-American woman and being a Muslim Christian. The former entails no logical contradictions. The latter entails many. For instance, to be a Muslim Christian, one would have to hold both that Jesus died on the cross and that he didn't die on the cross. One would have to throw logic completely out the window.

Indeed, Redding admits that she's basing her position on feeling: "It wasn't about intellect," she said. "All I know is the calling of my heart to Islam was very much something about my identity and who I am supposed to be."

Although feelings have a purpose, God gave us our intellects for good reasons--one of which is to spot contradictions. Sincere Christians and sincere Muslims should therefore find this article shocking:

"I Am Both Muslim and Christian."


B said...

Dear David

I guess I would have to agree with you on this one. This lady is contradicting her self.

However, it is possible for someone to be Christian and Muslim at the same time depending on his intention.

The meaning of Christian is one who follows the teachings of Christ.

The meaning of Muslim is one who submits his will to the commands of God.

So from the Christian perspective, you might agree to say that you are a Muslim if you intend to say that you submit your will to God. But not a Muslim in the sense of believing in the Quran.

From the Muslim perspective, we believe we are following the true teachings of Jesus when he prophesised the coming of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. (I know you don't agree with that, but I am only explaining the perspective).

So if someone says he or she is a Muslim Christian, we would have to ask that person to clarify and not haste to condemn.

But i agree with David on this lady, she seems to contradict her self.

Also David, you claimed that Prophet Muhammad 'borrowed' from the Bible. Just because stuff that are found in the Bible are also found in the Qur'an doesn't mean someone plagiarised.

Also, how would you explain how the Qur'an avoided the errors in the Bible?...

Kind Regards,

GeneMBridges said...

Let's take the first one, regarding the use of the term "Pharaoh."

Who authored Genesis? The prevailing hypothesis among both Jews and Christians has been "Moses."

So, Moses wrote Genesis during the period in which "Pharaoh" was used to refer to the ruler of Egypt, by the admission of your own sources, so, why would we expect a term for the ruler of Egypt other than "Pharaoh" to be used, unless the assumption is that the text of Genesis antedates Moses. Where is the supporting argument for that? The self-referential article on the same site? Talking about affirming the consequent!

So, when discussing Joseph and Moses, Moses uses the terminology that the people to whom he was writing would be using and understand.

Let's apply this to real life. If I write about North Carolina during the period of colonization of America, does it invalidate what I write to state that people came to North Carolina, when there was no colony by that name before the two were split, or is that simply an accomodation of language to my audience? If I say, "They built Edenton in NE North Carolina" but there was only a "Carolina" at the time, is that an error, or an accomodation to my readers?

Further, the concept of Mosaic authorship incorporates editors into it from subsequent generations, who updated place names and terms to be current with those generations. How does this render the text "inaccurate?" Answer: It doesn't. See:

Peggy32 said...


Christians were submitting their will to God long before Muslims were. Submission is not an idea unique to Islam. And therefore, when people believe in submitting to God, this does not make them in part Muslim. When we submit our wills to God we are being Christians, not Muslims.

And I am sorry but I have to laugh at your argument that "Just because stuff that are found in the Bible are also found in the Qur'an doesn't mean someone plagiarised."

Ever heard of Occam's Razor? What is the simpler explaination? It is that mohammed borrowed the teachings of the older faiths around him and then tweaked it to suit himself.

You see as time goes on it naturally becomes easier to invent your own religion, especially if you are sharp enough to figure out to borrow enough of the good stuff from other faiths to make your own as successful as they.

What is really hard is originality. Judaism came out of nowhere. While there are traces of older ideas and while some older religions had moral concepts like Judaism, the bulk of Judaism's understanding of the nature of God was light years away from their neighbors. Chief among these revealtions was not just that God was one, but also that he keeps his promises alaways even when the Jews were unworthy of his faithfulness. The Jewish understanding is that God is faithful and his promises eternal.

Then Christianity comes along, and says that a crucfied preacher was God's only Son, King of God's new Kingdom, and the Cross not a defeat but a victory. This faith which was the conclusion of the work of God in the Jewish people, is still a wonder of originality. There still is no other faith even remotely like it. Much like Judaism, what it has in common with other faiths is little when compared to its major teachings. Again there was nothing else like it to be found in its neighbors.

But Islam is a derivative faith in the main. In its distinctives, it contradicts fundamental teachings of its elders because it is utterly dependent on doing so. Any salesman of a new religion (Mohammed was a good salesman was he not?) would have to knock down the ones before in order to sell the new system. Conveniently enough, he denied the same central tenets of the prior faiths which most stood in the way of any case for a new revealation. He denied that God's promises were eternal, when he taught that God had "enough" of the Jewish people and that they were no longer his chosen and Jerusalem was no longer the direction to pray. He denied that Jesus was the very Son of God because if he was then there would be no need for a new revealation.

Finally, Mohammed died a rich man with 9 wives and ruler of a vast kingdom. His new religion enriched him. He, ALONE, of all the major relgious figures made out like a bandit. Every other one died poor men having sacrificed EVERY benefit, for the sake of others and the truth of their messages. They did not gain. Even the disciples of Jesus did not benefit one gold coin from their so-called "changes" and earned themselves marytrdom instead.

As far as any errors in the Bible, I say again that it is easy to avoid mistakes in a book written by one man over the course of twenty or so years. It is hard to get the authors of some 60 books to agree on so much. In much the same way that it is easy to have law and order in a dictatorship and it is hard to have it in a democracy, so it is the greater feat to have so many authors across many centuries agree so much and to create a work of such beauty and truth together without ever meeting one another. The Bible is a true book in that it is an honest one. It reflects perfectly all of reality which is that God is perfectly and eternally good and loving and faithful and we are imperfect and we imperfectly respond to him as he reaches out to us. Everything that it is important to know about God and about ourselves is there and it is trustworthy in what it says. It is a mirror of the human soul in that God speaks to us and breaks through to us in our sins and imperfections. It is the soul of the Jewish people, in that it contains their history, their poetry and every other important thing to know and remember and throughout all of it is the yeast of the presence of God and his hand in their formation.

You assume that error free ( i am not conceding that point, only repeating your claims) is better and that is all that it is, an assumption. I say that honesty is better and that honesty is more reflective of truth than something polished to perfection and completely sanitary. In reality, God is always in the middle of all of our mess and imperfection. His message comes clearly to us when everything else is static.

To the extent then that the Bible honestly describes reality as it really is from the throats of many people in many times, it is therefore the perfect and the far greater book.