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Looking for input on an Islam/Christianity discussion (don't be scared)

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T Roosevelt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 10:17 AM
Original message
Looking for input on an Islam/Christianity discussion (don't be scared)
This is a currently running email debate on the precepts of Islam - whether it is a peaceful or violent religion. It has diverged somewhat into the origins of Islam and Christianity, of which I am unfamiliar. Looking for comments/input on this.

Concerning Allah being the God of the Bible, lets first look to history for its testimony. Allah is not the God of the Old Testament, but is in fact an idol and false god- so we dare not mistake the two and engage in a horrible blasphemy! Allah was a pagan deity (the "moon god" in fact, hence the crescent moon symbol of Islam) LONG BEFORE Muhammad came along. Historian Will Durant wrote this in "The Story of Civilization":

"Within the Ka'aba, in PRE-MUSLIM DAYS, were SEVERAL idols representing gods. One was called ALLAH; three others were Allah's daughters, al-Uzza, al-Lat, and al-Manat. We may judge the antiquity of this Arab pantheon from the mention of Al-il-Lat (Al-Lat) by Herodotus as a major Arabian deity. The Quraish paved the way for monotheism by worshiping Allah as chief god."

Durant goes on elsewhere: "Evidence uncovered in Arabia is overwhelming in demonstrating that the dominant PRE-ISLAMIC RELIGION was the worship of the moon-god, Allah. Muhammad SIMPLY ELIMINATED the other 300-some deities, including Allah's daughters, making Allah supreme WHILE RETAINING many of the pagan rituals and symbols associated with him. For example, the crescent moon was the symbol of the moon-god from the time of the Sumerians and the Babylonians through the time of Christ and right up until Muhammad's arrival. It's hardly a coincidence that Ramadan, the Muslim time of fasting, begins and ends at the time of the crescent moon. Nearly all of the moon-god rituals and other idolatrous practices, including kissing the Black Stone, praying toward Mecca, running around the temple and between the two hills of Safa and Marwa, were PRE-ISLAMIC RITUALS."
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Qutzupalotl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 10:40 AM
Response to Original message
1. There was a crescent moon on the date of Islam's founding
Edited on Thu May-06-04 10:59 AM by NRK
and a beautiful conjunction with Venus that evening after sunset (July 15, 622 AD in Mecca, 39E49 21N27). Not sure if this has any bearing on the topic; just thought I'd throw it out there. (On edit: Personally, I always thought that Mohammad revered this configuration as a sign in the heavens, confirming his experience.)

However, I view with suspicion any purportedly authoritative view of Islam beginning with the observation that Allah is a false god and an idol. How objective is that?

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derby378 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 10:44 AM
Response to Original message
2. Hasn't the whole "moon-god" thing been debunked already?
There was a moon god worshipped in southern Arabia around the time that Islam rose, but I don't think there's any hard evidence for a link with Allah. Only fundamentalist Christians seem to buy into it.
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Snow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 10:46 AM
Response to Original message
3. And just for balance, you might want to fill in the similar story on Yhwh:
Unless I'm mistaken Durant covers that as well. I'd be willing to look it up later today, but I'm pretty sure it's right in there with the Allah discussion you quote. Yhwh also was once part of a pantheon. Finally, while Durant is interesting, he is no longer alive and wrote that particular book several decades ago - it might not represent the latest scholarship.
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Trillo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #3
13. If only current historical scholars
could learn the writing techniques that Durant used, then perhaps more students would not be turned off by lessons of historical importance. That might be too much to ask, given the politics that is said to permeate the educational publishing market.

I'm looking forward to progressing further in my reading of this eleven-volume set. I haven't yet gotten to Islam or Christ.
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 10:51 AM
Response to Original message
4. Um... he's full of shit
"Allah" is just the word for God in Arabic. The notion that there were several deities, one of whom was named "God", is just silly.

Allah is referred to as the God of Abraham... are we to believe that's a different Abraham? The Qu'ran is believed to be handed down by the angel Gabriel... are we to believe that's a different Gabriel?

Here are some links:
A week or so ago, President Bush scandalized some of his evangelical fans by innocently asserting, during his trip to England , that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. Evangelical theologian Richard Land, speaking for the scandalized, rebuked the President for what Land calls playing theologian-in-chief. In Land's view, When President Bush concludes that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, he is simply mistaken. In my view and that of some evangelicals as well, notably Fuller Theological Seminary's Glen Stassen, Bush is, at least on this point, a better theologian than his evangelical critics.
Muslims do not worship a different God. Allaah is simply the Arabic word for God. Allaah for Muslims is The Greatest and Most Encompassing of the Names of God, it is an Arabic word of rich meaning, denoting the one and only God and ascribing no partners to Him.

Allaah is exactly the same word that the Jews, in Hebrew, use for God (eloh), the word that Jesus Christ used in Aramaic when he prayed to God.

God has an identical name in Judaism, Christianity, and Islaam; Allaah is the same God worshipped by Muslims, Christians and Jews.

Muslims believe that Allaah's Sovereignty is to be acknowledged in worship and in the pledge to obey His teaching and commandments, conveyed through His messengers and prophets who were sent at various times and in many places throughout history.
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troublemaker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 10:55 AM
Response to Original message
5. Why defends Islam's origins?
What sort of knee-jerk reaction would lead anyone to want to defend the divine origins of Islam just to gainsay Christians? Islam is crap, just as Christianity is crap. There is nothing easier than debunking ANY religion.

The fundies ought to examine the pagan origins of their own delusions. To cite only one petty example; before Christ the cult of Mithras the sun god was very popular throughout the Roman empire, particularly in the military. Mithras' miraculous birth was witnessed by adoring shepherds. He was born on December 25.

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libhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. All religions are crap
Edited on Thu May-06-04 12:08 PM by tx.lib
and the root of all evil isn`t money, it`s religious superstition. It`s the frickin` religioners that are causing all the problems in the world now -the root of most trouble in the Middle East is the fighting between Jews/Muslims, with Christian fundamentalist morons egging it on, and encouraging the asshole Bush regime. The cause of the fighting in Northern Ireland over the last three decades has been the same thing- religious infighting between the Catholics and the Protestants, with Britain caught up in the middle trying to keep some semblance of order. The world will be a better place, if and when mankind ever outgrows the God worshipping phase. There is no God- get over it and get a damn life, all of you. Or take your bullshit squables to some other planet.(Wishfull thinking).
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DrWeird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 02:05 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. Who are you trying to fool?
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amber dog democrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:06 AM
Response to Original message
6. I see very little difference between either faith.
Having read the Koran and the Old and New Testaments, I am deeply respectful of both faiths. If one looks at the things done in the name of Christianity from the end of the Roman Empire, to the Medieval Ages, and on through the Wars of Religeon from the Reformation, Council of Trent, and maybe the European Witch Craze, I can hardly imagine calling Christianity a peaceful religeon - to the extent that it has been so abused and that so many horrors have been carried out in its name.

While the Ottoman Empire was Islamic, it was still an empire that had an economy based on military conquest. Things are done in the name of Allah that to this day do not reflect on the true nature of the teachings in the Koran.

I am not qualified to weigh in on the antecedents of Islam, but my sense is that if one were to live one's life in accord with the teachings of the Koran, you'd be a pretty responsible person and a humane one at that. Its really as peaceful a religion as Christianity, if it were pracitced in accordance with the teachings in the New Testament. But I am an agnostic. I appreciate in HIndu practice how one acknowledges the divinity within another person. I am deeply respectful of Buddhist doctirne.

I am not overly concerned with how Islam got started of if its more or less legitimate.
I don't mean to side step the question but I don't think its very important.
Look at the Church of England, ( created by merging parts of Catholic and Protestant theology into one state religeon by Queen Elizabeth the 1st ).
Religeon links back to something always. I do not suscribe to one true faith and certainly can not take the bible literelly. I think we owe a debt of gratitude to Martin Luther, and Erasmus - I am woefully ignorant of Islamic culture and history but it is what is done in the name of these religions I have issue with. Not the faiths themselves. Kind of reminds me of a line from a Joseph Conrad novel where a character is asked if this is a good ship and he responds, " Ships, ..the ships are alright, its the men in them !".

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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:16 AM
Response to Original message
7. The problem is
That most people do not sit down and research all the histories and oddities of the religion they belong to. Religions are living things. They change and evolve with pressures from society and the need to propogate. Thus even if there was some truth at the beginning of the story by the time it has passed through the centuries it has become the story which was best at propogating itself.

Even with a fixed doctrine, such as Islam prides itself on, it becomes altered over time. Intpretation and emphasis on various passages can make a world of difference. Thus from this looking to the history of a belief only tells you where it came from. Not necissarily what it is now.

To that extent there are examples of horrible individuals in both camps. Certain beliefs are emphasized in these sects. There are also wonderful sects that have wrung out the horrible aspects and embraced the caring tolerant aspects.

Instead of trying to define the religion in total as peaceful or violent, instead examine the current practitioners and ask them what they take from their beliefs. You will find as much diversity in that way as you would in examining nearly any other collection of beliefs.
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eissa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:22 AM
Response to Original message
8. Allah is simply the Arabic word for God
It may have referred to another diety prior to Islam, just as Christians in the region also referred to their pagan gods as "Ilahi" or "Alahi", which we still use today to refer to the Christian God.
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JCMach1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:38 AM
Response to Original message
9. Utter BS... One advantage Islam has is that it appeared relatively

Any Islamic religious scholar will tell you this.

It is the same God as the Christians and the Jews-- just with a new message.

Think the Mormons...

If you want to fully extend a historical analogy you might point out that Christianity and Judaism are REALLY just an extension of the monotheism first expressed by Akhenaton in Egypt... Then, watch your friends squirm.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. I can tell you this much from debating both Christians and Muslems
We can tear the literalist Christians apart all day long. The bible is riddled with scientific errors. The Quran has two advantages in this area. It was written 500 years later than the events preported in the bible. And it came from a society that embraced and supported sciece (or at least an early iteration of it).

There are flaws within the Quran (some are whoppers, don't get me started about where the sun sets). But they are far less intergral than the errors in the bible.

A fundimentalist Muslem has a far more stable ground to work from than does a fundimentalist christian. This gives them an advantage in a increasingly scientifically aware world.
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DoYouEverWonder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:46 AM
Response to Original message
10. According to the gnostics
The god of Abraham, is actually a fallen god, aka: the devil, who deceived Abraham into following him. This is the god that destroys whole towns in order to punish a people, sends plagues and pestilence, and other assorted forms of death and destruction. Historically, the god of Abraham is considered to be the same god Judaism, Christianity and Islam all follow. So if the gnostics are right, then that would go a long way to explain why the world in so screwed up 5000+ years after Abraham started this whole mess.

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DrWeird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 02:03 PM
Response to Original message
14. White supremacist bullshit.
I looked this "moon god" crap up once when some freeper posted it here. Oh course it's thoroughly debunked, and if this is the Durant I remember then he's a white supremacist nut job.

Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, are Abrahamic religions all worshiping the same God. Really, there's very little difference between Christianity and Islam. It's kind of like comparing Catholicism with Lutheranism. It's a big difference if you're on the inside, not so much if you're on the outside looking in.
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