Christianity’s influence on Islam

I personally used to reject Islam on the basis that it’s basically a “reworked” version of Christianity and thus not valid, however as I did more research into the Old Testament I found out about the outside influences on narratives like Genesis 1-2, The Flood, The Tower of Babel, etc. so it begged the question: if Christianity was influenced by other theological ideas but I still claim it true, then what’s stopping a muslim from claiming Islam true despite the heavy Christian influences?
After some consideration I think I arrived at an answer. Notice how I didn’t say Christianity (or rather Judaism for my purposes here) was influenced by other “religions”, because it doesn’t seem to be, at least in theological ways. The outside influences on Judaism regarding the Genesis narratives are strictly cultural in nature. Genesis adopts ancient cosmology (sky-dome, three-tiers, etc.) and well-known narratives (The Flood) but uses those things to communicate ideas that are theologically speaking radically different from those religions that share the cultural background. Whereas Islam doesn’t just take similar cultural concepts, stories, etc. and builds an almost entirely different theology on it, but it inherits a very large part of the theology itself. In this way, Christianity/Judaism’s outside influences are incidental and superficial, while Islam’s Christian influence is much more fundamental.
What do you think? If you disagree, on what basis do you reject Islam?(obviously talking to the Christians here)

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Nice try, but your answer doesn’t fly. And here’s why…

  • In spite of the diversity among Muslims, which is as great or almost as great as the diversity among Christians, The fact is that “true, devout Muslims” say that the Qur’an in Arabic is a direct revelation to Mohammad from Allah via the angel, Gabriel. Consequently, the Qur’an in Arabic has the status of sacred scripture and a gift from Allah himself.
    • In evidence whereof I speak, I offer the following Muslim witnesses:
      • The Miraculous Language of the Qur’an: Evidence of Divine Origin Paperback – June 1, 2015
        • “This study illustrates why the language of the Qur’an is miraculous, unique, and evidence of divine authority. The author compares the language of the Qur’an with the language of pre-Islamic poetry, the Prophet’s words (hadith), and the language of the Arabs both past and present, to demonstrate that although the Qur’an was revealed in Arabic it was at the same time an Arabic which was entirely new. Original and early Muslim audiences viewed this as miraculous and responded to the Qur’an’s words, sounds, rhythms, etc. in a manner consistent with a deeper appreciation of its beauty and majesty which modern ears, trained by familiarity, and despite being surrounded by all manner of dictionaries and studies, are at a loss to capture. The author attempts to remove this veil and present the Qur’an to readers as if hearing it for the first time, to bring to life some of this wonder. In doing so he guides readers to appreciate the beauty of the Qur’an, to become more immersed in it, and to have a clearer understanding of its structure and flow. Devoting special attention to Surah Al Muddaththir, to underpin his analysis, Saeh thus brings the Revelation to life, to demonstrate that each surah has distinct features and characteristics that make it stand out uniquely within the design and sweep of the whole.”
      • The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary Hardcover – November 17, 2015
      • General Introduction. Page 18.
        • “The Quran is for Muslims the verbatim Word of God, revealed during the twentythree-year period of the prophetic mission of the Prophet Muhammad through the agency of the Archangel Gabriel (Jibrīl or Jabraʾīl). The meaning, the language, and every word and letter in the Quran, its sound when recited, and its text written upon various physical surfaces are all considered sacred. The Quran was an oral revelation in Arabic first heard by the Prophet and later written down in the Arabic alphabet in a book consisting of 114 sūrahs (chapters) and over 6,200 verses (āyāt), arranged according to an order that was also revealed. Considered the Book (al-Kitāb) by all Muslims, it has many names, such as al-Furqān (“the Criterion”) and al-Hudā (“the Guide”), but its most commonly used name is al-Qurʾān, which means “the Recitation.” In the same way that Christians refer to their sacred scripture as the Holy Bible, Muslims usually refer to theirs as al-Qurʾān al-Majīd (“the Glorious Quran”; 50:1; 85:21) or al-Qurʾān al-Karīm (“the
          Noble Quran”; 56:77). Known in English as the Quran (also Koran), it is the central theophany of Islam and the basic source and root of all that is authentically Islamic, from metaphysics, angelology, and cosmology to law and ethics, from the various arts and sciences to social structures, economics, and even political thought.”
      • The History of the Qur’anic Text: From Revelation to Compilation (2nd Edition) a Comparative Study with the Old and New Testaments Paperback – January 1, 2011

The suggestion that Christianity had any influence on Islam is patently non-Muslim and anti-Muslim propaganda and contrary to the Qur’an and orthodox Islam. Good luck trying to impress any but the most naive and uninformed Muslim, if you can find one, although you may very well impress many non-Muslims. In the orthodox Muslim view, a direct written Arabic revelation from Allah trumps anything that Christians and/or Jews have to offer period.

Feel free to prove me wrong, … if you can. I say: you won’t.
And no, I do not believe the Qur’an is a direct revelation from Allah to Mohammad, nor do I believe any Christian “influence” on Islam is worth commending.

Given the orthodox Muslim view of Jewish and Christian “Books” [i.e. that they are “corrupted” and unreliable], I would be amused to see what side of the disputes between YECs and Theistic Evolutionists, orthodox Muslims would stand on. Does anyone know, right off hand?

Not sure, but I recall the Turkish creationist Adnan Oktar was very much in favor of young models.

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C.S. Lewis believed that Islam was the biggest heresy of Christianity. I think he was right. It’s largely a low-Christology group with extremely divergent teachings, but with many of the same “characters.”

Not that I have seen lots, but what I have are definitely IDists.

Thank you Terry, I see your points. Can you elaborate on how orthodoy muslims view Christian and Jewish books, or recommend some good resources?

Also, can you tell me about why you reject Islam?

I read an article about the life of Mohammed some time ago. I don’t remember the details but the article described how Mohammed was in contact with Jewish and Christian people and was positively impressed by their teaching, especially monotheism. Because of this, he had a positive attitude to these groups in the beginning. The attitude changed later when Jews and Christians were not willing to accept his new revelation and teachings.

The main problem with Islam is that you have to earn your salvation. This is common in religions. The teachings of Christianity are something radically different. The teaching that you cannot earn your salvation, you can only receive it as a gift from God, deviates from other religions.

How the only God (Allah) is described is different in Islam and Christianity. Both are talking about the God of Abraham but the image drawn is different. This difference is so crucial that many think that the Allah of Islam is completely different than the God of judeo-christian teachings.

The teaching about Jesus Christ reveals much of this difference. According to Islam, Jesus did not die on the cross. It is unacceptable that a holy prophet of God would have suffered such a horrific death.
Muslims respect Jesus much but for them, Jesus was only a prophet. Great but not as great as Mohammed.

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

“Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12)

For starters, I reject Islam because:

  • Its theology assumes that Allah “revealed” the Qur’an through the angel Gabriel to Muhammad, which affirms that:
    • there is only one god; that that god’s name is Allah; and that Muhammad is that god’s last and best prophet;
    • the Islamic revelation confers unique, inviolable, and authoritative status on an Arabic Qur’an;
    • that the same Islamic revelation goes out of its way to deny any other scripture in the hands of Jews and Christians secondary status, much less “inspired” status;
    • that the Qur’an is the perfect gift (i.e. revelation) from Allah to Muhammad and has no errors and has never been changed, corrected, added to, or subtracted from;
      • which encourages bibliolatry;
    • that before Jesus was conceived or while he was in his mother’s womb, more than one angel appeared to the Virgin and told her that she would have a son and that his name would be: “Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary”;
    • that, when Jesus was a young boy, he made some clay birds and breathed on them, and the birds became real birds, and flew away;
    • that Jesus never died on a cross;
    • that Jesus was not resurrected in his tomb, and
    • that Allah does not have “sons” (i.e. children), not even metaphorical children,

I see. Am I correct in understanding these are all faith-issues? As in it’s not that you believe the Quran (and therefore Islam) is genuinely provably wrong on certain things and therefore unreliable (as things like flat-earthism or Jesus mythicism) but that you personally disagree with its theology and put your faith in different ideas? Sorry if I’m misunderstanding you, and I’m not asserting anything with these questions of course.

Can you elaborate on Islam being a heresy of Christianity? That sounds interesting.

I suppose that if I’m going to claim that Islam’s theology is false, I ought to be able to prove it, eh?

  • Before continuing to focus on theologies and “provably wrongs”, I’d like to make one thing clear, … or try to. I have a niece who’s married into a family, more or less, who are “diverse Muslims”: some of whom are more devout than others, and others who are as ambivalent about their faith-connection as humanly possible. So far, I’ve been able “to run the rapids” in interactions with them without getting killed or wanting harm to come to any of them. God willing, I hope to get out of this world without exchanging blows with or trying to convert any of them, and I have yet to meet any who want to convert me. On the other hand, I am fairly certain that it’ll be a cold day on the equator before I actively pursue an ecumenical, kum-by-yah relationship with a Muslim (or, for that matter, with any other adherent of an Abrahamic faith-community: e.g. Baha’i, Jews, a wide swath of self-proclaimed Christians, etc.) I’m picky about who I fellowship with in a religious setting, but that pick-ness does not prevent me from sitting down at the same table and breaking bread with a lot of people; notorious in-laws among my wife’s family excluded.
  • As for theological differences between me and others, I believe that the world’s “a mine field.” Among the things that matter to me are the crucifixion, entombment, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus of Nazareth. I believe in a cosmos in which those events were, are, and always will be possible. And I reject, upfront and “rat quick” any claim otherwise. If those are “faith-issues”, then “Yes”, irreconcilable differences in those issues are "deal breakers. And Islam’s claim that the Qur’an is perfect and disputes any of those claims is, IMO, false and contrary to what I stake my belief on. Is it conceivable that the Qur’an AND the canonical Bible are both true? In a cosmos that does not make sense, I suppose so. But I am convinced that the cosmos does make complete sense, and that there is no possible cosmos in which both the testimonies of the Qur’an and of the Bible are true.
  • Is there a cosmos which makes sense, in which both testimonies are false? I am skeptical but I can’t “prove” that the Bible is fundamentally and completely false. On the other hand, I say again, I am committed to the belief that the cosmos makes sense, and I am confident that there are claims in the Bible which are possible in a cosmos that makes sense. And I am equally confident that the testimonies of the Qur’an and of the Bible cannot both be true.
  • Bottom line: If both testimonies cannot be true, and there are claims in the Bible which are possible, I am forced to believe that the Qur’an is wrong and unreliable.
  • That’s about as far as my horse will take me today.

No way, Christianity is the biggest heresy of Christianity.

Apostate imperial Christianity created the power vacuum in which Islam arose by mutual exhaustion in war with Sasanian Persia. Islam learned from that heretical Christianity.

It’s an EXTREME heresy of Christianity, with a unique theology and scriptures. Islam is one of the three Abrahamic faiths; they worship the God of Abraham. The Qur’an has garbled Christian Scripture with detectable influences from Gnosticism and Christian apocryphal writing, plus some unique teachings. It’s quite the tin of mixed nuts.

The Qur’an has many of the same characters as the Bible–Adam, Moses, Abraham, the prophets, etc. Muslims are more interested in Ishmael than Isaac, and believe that God ordered Abraham to sacrifice Ishmael. Their supreme prophet is, of course, Mohamed. The don’t see God as triune, so their Jesus is not regarded as divine. But he’s still regarded as one of the 5 most important prophets and the son of the virgin Mary. When Muslims mention Jesus in writing they also write (pbuh) after his name, which stands for “peace be unto him.” They don’t believe that Jesus was crucified because they think God would never allow a prophet to be treated like that.

At the end of the day, Islam is a different religion and I’m sticking with Christianity.

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You have some great questions. I grew up in a Muslim part of West Africa (though Christians outnumber Muslims in Sub Saharan Africa), and counted many Muslims in the area as friends. My parents were Christian missionaries. My dad said his favorite place to work was in the operating room, with a mix of Muslims and Christians.

This is a great website for browsing. Answering Islam, A Christian-Muslim Dialog and Apologetic (answering-islam.org), with a ton of good information

Phil Parshall has also written many books about the nature of Islam from a respectful point of view, though he is a Christian missionary.
The Cross and the Crescent: Understanding the Muslim Heart and Mind: Parshall, Phil: 9780830856305: Books - Amazon

I am happy to discuss my understandings of Islam. However, I am no expert. It’s even something to note that there are many different versions, and many Muslims don’t know their own faith (much as many Christians don’t know their own). very well. It just shows we’re all human.

Thanks.

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Thank you, Randy. One of the things I was beaten over the head with growing up in an evangelical household is the idea of hell as a place of eternal punishment God sends you to. All my life I believed that was the only valid interpretation (for some reason), and only recently have I realized that other interpretations can be equally, if not more plausible (I haven’t done that much research so far though). I know that muslims generally believe in the eternal punishment version of afterlife for non-believers, or at least it seems that way, so I wonder how Christians and Muslims can be so friendly often (as I see online and hear from acquiantances). I can see bow a buddhist might be very friendly and open with a Christian, as Buddhism doesn’t believe in punishment for people of different faiths. And sure, the Christian may subscribe to universalism or a similar idea, but afaik the muslim for sure believes the Christian is rightfully going to hell, so it just seems really weird to me. Can you shed some light on this?

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Although your question isn’t directed to me, nevertheless I’ll offer my own heretical opinion here, again, without intention or hope of “putting words in Randy’s mouth” or “stealing his fire”.

Muslim authorities generally classify Christians (and Jews and a varying list of others) as peoples of the book and as worshiping the right God even if they have a mistaken understanding. In their view as long as Christians and Jews live in a moral way, they will likely be in paradise. Hindus are a trickier case (and given Muslim/Hindu interaction in south Asia a pressing one) as are atheists. Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country, classifies Hinduism as monotheistic and so they are considered an acceptable religion (along with Buddhism, Christianity [Catholic/Protestant], and Confucianism, search on Pancasila).

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And that’s why Muslims are permitted to marry Christians and Jews.

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Well, yes, but only men Muslims marrying female of the other type, right? It’s an interesting dynamic, and made likely to perpetuate Muslims in the children in a patriarchal society.
Interfaith marriage in Islam - Wikipedia

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