Answering Islam Email Dialogs
Topic: Many Questions about Christianity
Received: 28 December 2003
1.why do you celebrate christmas when jesus never said to do so?
2.is there a difference between catholic and roman catholic?
3. why would god allows muhhumad to spread his religion around the whole area where the biblical prophets lived?
4. do you beelive if you not chrisitan you go hell forever? if so how is this fair?
5. so we realise muhhumad was liar, then why you no think bible propehts are aswell?
6. you say no science in al quran, where is there in bible? people used to think earth flat and the were chrisitan, so obvuiusly got it from bible ye?
7. wh ere not the black americans slave because of the bible? where not people murdered because of crusades and inqusition?
thank you , i really need answer
Thanks for your email.
1) I will address your question about Christmas in two parts:
First I would define Christmas as a time that Christians remember when Jesus came to Earth (Matthew 1-2, Luke 1-2). This was prophesied throughout the Old Testament. For example, Isaiah 7:14 says, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: behold a virgin will bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel". Immanuel literally means "God with us." This is what a Christian observes if they celebrate Christmas (not the materialistic and commercial Christmas that you see on television or in the movies).
Secondly, I would like to point out that Jesus never made big long lists of rules. It could be argued that Jesus never said that someone couldn't celebrate Christmas. For example, some followers of Jesus believe that it is wrong to vote and others believe that it is wrong not to vote. Jesus never addressed this issue so it is left to the individual's conscience (See Romans 14).
2) Your question about Roman Catholic and Catholic is one that confuses many. If someone says they are Catholic they usually mean they are Roman Catholic. Roman Catholic is a particular denomination (a particular group of people). The term catholic (notice the little "c" in the front of the word) means universal. In the literal sense of the word, "a catholic Christian" means: a follower of Jesus regardless of denomination or grouping. However, that is not what this term normally conveys.
3) To your third question, I have to say I don't have all the answers as to why God allowed Muhammad to spread Islam in the land of the Biblical prophets. However, what is clear throughout Scripture (from Genesis 3 to Revelation 20) is that God has allowed the devil to deceive people and nations - via "prophets" who proclaim a message contrary to God's message - in order to test folks' love for God and His truth, and to separate false believers from those who really want to know the true and living God. The LORD God wants to fill heaven with those who have chosen to believe in HIM and HIS way of salvation - in the midst of a world filled with deception and lies. Consider these words written by the prophet Moses: "If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods' -- which you have not known -- 'and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him." (Torah, Deuteronomy 13:1-4)
Consider also this verse from the Bible: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1)
4) Every human on the planet deserves to be punished by God (including me). In the Bible, Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:10-12 says, "There is none righteous not even one; There is none who understands, there is none who seeks after God. All have turned aside, together they have become useless. There is none who does good, there is not even one". Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord". The Bible says that every one of us has failed to meet God's standard.
Second, God has provided a way to escape this punishment (see Romans 6:23 above). Consider this: Do you know the story of how Abraham was told by God to sacrifice his son? Only at the last moment was a substitute lamb provided. Abraham and his son did not earn this substitute, it was given freely (see Genesis 22:1-14). John the Baptist called Jesus "...the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29). Jesus is our substitute for our punishment that we deserve. Romans 5:6-9 says, "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him". We don't earn this, we either accept the free gift of God or we reject it. As to whether or not this is fair, I have to say that since we are all sinning against God and He has provided a way out then we have only ourselves to blame if we reject His rescue plan. God is righteous, just and fair-maybe not according to our concept of fairness, but according to His.
5) The primary reason I believe that the prophets of the Bible are not liars is that what they said would happen did happen. Some of their prophecies occurred in their lifetime and others occurred hundreds of years later. David and Isaiah described the crucifixion of Jesus before that mode of execution existed. Daniel prophesied to the year when Jesus would be killed. I encourage you to read the book of Matthew as he demonstrates throughout his book how Jesus was continually fulfilling the prophecies. So do the other Gospel writers. Everything fits together with perfect consistency.
6) I would answer that the Bible is not a science textbook. Its primary purpose is not to discuss science. I will say though that when the Bible says something, it is never contrary to true science (with the exception of miracles which sort of change the rules). Many people in the past used the Bible to support their wrong science views. I believe the Bible should be read to see what it says instead of trying to read what we want it to say. The Bible never taught the concept of a flat earth. Listen to what the prophet Job said some 4000 years ago, "He stretches out the north over empty space; [He] hangs the earth on nothing. ....He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters, at the boundary of light and darkness." (Job 26:7,10)
7) Nowhere in the Bible does it condone how some white Americans used black Americans as slaves. Some people who wanted slavery tried to take stuff from the Bible to justify their evil. The key is that they were not honestly reading the Bible to see what it had to say. The same can be said of the inquisition and the crusades. Jesus never told His followers to kill those of other religions. In fact he said the opposite, Jesus said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). Jesus even told his followers that they should expect to be persecuted and killed since He was.
Most of the questions you asked would be answered by reading the Bible in an honest way. You would also avoid the bias of others. You don't need anyone to tell you what the Bible says (including me). I recommend that you read the book of Luke first. Please stay in contact. I would like to know what you think.
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