Its my understanding that, for all intent and purpose, the Qu’ran is just another Book, another Word, and yet another “denominational” offshoot of Christianity. Islam is as valid as, say, Judaism or Protestantism are; each have their place and association with Orthodox Catholicism.
Historically speaking, Islam came about several centuries after Christ and the birth of Catholicism.
I am not well versed in the Qu’ran, but after the September 11th disaster and all the anti-Islamic chain mail floating around the internet, I felt compelled to purchase a copy of the Qu’ran. I was a bit of an amateur theologian even then, but my immediate intention was to verify all of the atheist-writ, Christian-writ, and war-monger-writ quotes that supported the bitterness and resentment toward the Muslim people after the Sep. 11 attacks. I also have a copy of the prophesies of Nostradamus for the same reasons. I enjoy comparing religions, and if you are a reader of mine you would have already read some of what I have to say, and you will likely read a lot more to come.
Suffice it to say, however, that I have yet to see one shred of hate, war-mongering, or the like from the Qu’ran. It is as peace and loving of a religion as Christianity is. Though I haven’t read the entire book, I have discussed with many actual Islamic people about their religion and sought scriptural evidence.
The only criticisms I hear from anyone – usually Americans post-9/11, atheist, or hard core Christians – about Islam are all bogus. I have seen dozens of quoted passages from the Qu’ran that reinforce bigotries. And in cross-referencing them to the actual words of the Qu’ran, I have seen a few patterns arise. Namely, I see references to passages that are either grossly taken out of context of its neighboring passages, taken out of historical context. Further, I see passages that are misquoted either slightly, possibly due to translation error, or misquoted grossly probably due to maliciousness. Last but not least, I have even seen passages quoted from the Qu’ran which dont even exist – that line or phrase or paragraph or chapter simply does not exist and never has.
Its interesting to note that many are willing to believe the hate, and the reasons to hate, but few will take the time to verify them. None look for reasons to love or appreciate.
Again, in my readings, I have yet to find a passage that is heinous, evil by my own Westernized and Christian-influenced standards, or in direct contradiction to Biblical values.
I realize that Islam isn’t regarded as a denomination of Christianity. Both the Islamic and the Christian people essentially agree to that. However, I have found that in the Qu’ran there are many references to Christ, Christians, and the One True God – and they are spoken of in a positive light. For all intent and purpose, the Christian God and Allah are one and the same god. Its basically a proper pronoun, and we can expect some linguistic differences.
In countless passages the Qu’ran refers to Christianity as a valid basis theology, probably even the originating ideology to Islam. In countless passages the Qu’ran references Christianity as a foundational belief system. Though they may not read the Christian Bible, they still appreciate Christianity and respect it as an equal religion, as the same religion in fact, essentially. It purports that the works of Christ are true.
The Qu’ran literally does gives credit and credence to Christianity, but the Christian religion does not reciprocate. And there is no reason why Christianity would or should. Not because Islam is wrong, but because Islam came afterwords. If the Bible came before the Islamic Qu’ran, there would be no justification for the Bible mentioning it.
But the point is simple. The Qu’ran validates Christianity. It is not an opposing religion, not in the slightest, its not really even a separate religion. At least, not as the Islamic see it. And again, this is my interpretation based on my own first-hand observations. Anyone who wishes to contradict or disprove this, I welcome the evidence as I always do. I welcome theologically-based evidence, in this case, since historical accounts and fanaticism never count as proof to anything of a theological nature. What I mean is, anyone who is in a position to refute would have at least read the Qu’ran, or the necessary passages to support their claims, and therefore isn’t speaking from a bigoted heart.
There is no legitimate reason why Christians, in particular, should be afraid of Islam or see it as a separate entity. In many ways, as I see it, Islam should be adopted into Christianity as a denomination. In fact, I would even argue that the Qu’ran should be adopted as yet another Book, to be integrated into the Biblical scriptures in much the same way that the Apocrypha or Dead Sea Scrolls should be.
It seems to me that the largest factor separating Christians from the Islamic are not their religions, but their language and their culture, and is likely the cause of such distances being maintained and rationalized as a religious-based phenomenon.