Christianity

William Lane Craig and Islam – Is he getting it wrong on purpose?

Recently I was asked by Dr. James White to review the content of a lecture presented by Dr. William Lane Craig, a well-known Christian philosopher, which was subsequently broadcast on the Unbelievable radio programme on 29/12/2012. I was astounded by what I heard, to say the least. Therefore, I should probably emphasise now, before commencing my analysis, that I have no ill will towards Dr. Craig. I have not met him before or had any correspondence with him. I have previously listened to some of his audio presentations and think he should be congratulated for his work on presenting the rational arguments for the existence of God. Despite this, I believe his ability to discuss Islam must be found wanting, as I hope you, dear reader, will agree.

To commence his comments on Islam, Dr. Craig proposed that Islam is the only religion to have ‘arisen in conscious rejection of the Christian faith’. Assuming he means in ‘conscious rejection’ of the orthodox Christianity, I wonder what he has to say about Arianism, Gnostic Christianity, Mandaeism, etc.

This proposal, strangely enough, demonstrated best to me the amazingly limited views that Dr. Craig had to offer on the Islamic issues he attempted to discuss. Foremost in these was his analysis of salvation in Islam, which I shall attempt to correct, God willing. In addition, I will also point out a few other errors made by Dr. Craig in the broadcast lecture.

Dr. Craig suggested that Salvation in Islam is deeds based, in contrast to Christianity which is purely based upon the Grace of God. However, he could not possibly be more incorrect. Salvation in Islam is purely by the Grace of God Almighty – deeds are merely an indication of the reception of His Grace. Lets show this from a few simple Islamic sources.

I can only assume that Dr. Craig has missed a verse that must appear very perplexing to him:

وَاللَّهُ خَلَقَكُمْ وَمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

It is God who created you and all your actions (37:96)

The position of Orthodox Islam is that God Almighty is the Creator of all of our actions. This is clearly recognised by the rational mind when one considers the implication of the alternative, i.e. that human beings create their own actions and God, therefore, does not have full control over the affairs of His creation.

How could our deeds be the cause (sabab) of our salvation when we do not create them? Indeed, the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad illustrate this point further. In a hadith narrated by both Bukhari and Muslim through several chains, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is reported to have said:

The Prophet said, “The good deeds of any person will not make him enter Paradise.” (the Prophet’s companions) said, “Not even you, O Allah’s Apostle?” He said, “Not even myself, unless Allah bestows His favor and mercy on me.” So be moderate in your religious deeds and do the deeds that are within your ability: and none of you should wish for death, for if he is a good doer, he may increase his good deeds, and if he is an evil doer, he may repent to Allah.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 70, Number 577)


The Prophet said, “Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and receive good news because one’s good deeds will not make him enter Paradise.” They asked, “Even you, O Allah’s Apostle?” He said, “Even I, unless and until Allah bestows His pardon and Mercy on me.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 474)

Indeed, many a Christian apologist is well versed with both of these narrations, as they usually attempt to use them to illustrate that the Prophet was ‘uncertain’ of his own salvation or that Islam does not certainly offer salvation.

God Almighty creates all of our actions. When we acquire good deeds, they are ultimately caused by and belong to Him. Moreover, it is God allowing us to complete good deeds through His Providence (Tawfiq) that even presents us with the opportunity to acquire them.

As He says in the Blessed Qur’an:

وَمَا بِكُم مِّن نِّعْمَةٍ فَمِنَ اللّهِ

Every good thing that reaches you comes from God (16:53)

Orthodox Islam unambiguously holds that God rewards us purely through His Mercy and under no obligation or requirement to do so – and certainly not via our deeds.

Simply, the Islamic view is that belief and/or deeds are not the cause/s of salvation. Rather, God Almighty is the Cause of Salvation in Islam. God I is needed to be saved. Nothing else can suffice, assist or impact salvation in any way.

So, what is the purpose of our deeds, then? Orthodox Islam holds that there is much wisdom behind our deeds.

For example, Qadi Iyyad states that the purpose of saying that none will enter heaven except those whom God shows Mercy towards is not to reduce the purpose of deeds. Rather, it is to allow the servant reflect upon the reality that good deeds are only carried out and completed by God’s Providence. Good deeds are in fact a sign to the believer of God’s Mercy being upon him. Similar statements are made by many scholars of Orthodoxy.

Indeed, such a reflection will lead the servant to realise that one has complete need of (faqr) and should therefore completely rely upon God Almighty (tawakul). This is the objective of Islam – to rely solely upon God. This is the path to salvation:

وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ

And he who relies entirely upon God will find Him fulfilling (65:3)

Dr. Craig went to pains to illustrate himself as an honest exegete of the Qur’an, but I think his Christian and philosophical biases may be affecting his ability to remain honest. I shall now look to more of his statements in the lecture that I believe any honest person would find problematic.

I found it interesting that Dr. Craig feels that ‘the Church’ has failed to speak clearly about Islam. It is difficult for me to respond to this accurately, as I am not sure what ‘church’ Dr. Craig belongs to (is there a Reformed Molinism Philosophical Church?). But, regardless, he must have a very narrow view of what ‘the Church’ is, because he has ignored the many statements the Catholic Church has made about Islam in the last 60 years (we’re ignoring the bulk of the last 1400 for now), as well as the statements made by the Anglican Church and the plethora churches that have and continue to make statements about Islam,  such as the ministries that host Dr. James White (including his own). From all of these statements I could glean a very clear and unified comment from ‘the Church’ if I needed to. What exactly does he mean here?

Dr. Craig suggested that Islam is false because it must rely upon ‘metaphysical explanations’ to refute the ‘fact of the crucifixion’. A ‘fact’ he supports with a statement from a Jesus Seminar affiliated scholar. Surprisingly for a philosopher, there are two key errors with this assertion. Firstly, Dr. Craig has committed the fallacy of appealing to authority. Beliefs held by scholars affiliated with the Jesus Seminar are not by virtue ‘facts’. Facts are established by evidence. Moreover, Dr. Craig has suggested that metaphysical explanations are inferior to natural ones. I wonder how he establishes the ‘truth’ of the resurrection without a metaphysical argument? Indeed, if he can establish the resurrection with independent and objective ‘natural’ evidence, then wouldn’t he be better served using that as a proof of God, as opposed to his borrowed Kalam Cosmological Argument (yes, borrowed from Muslims). I was very confused by these comments, given these inconsistencies.

Another major flaw with Dr. Craig’s understanding of Islam is his views on Dar ul Islam and Dar ul Harb. In fact, in a few short sentences he has done what no Orthodox Muslim scholar has done before him and declared every European nation part of Dar ul Harb  (The place of conflict).  He fails to acknowledge the Prophetic injunction to follow the laws of a leader as long as one is not forced to sin (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volum9, Book 89, Number 258). He also fails to acknowledge the distinctions of Dar ul Aman and Dar ul Khawf (The place of trust and The place of fear). Is he not aware that a Muslim is considered to be in The place of trust if he is made a citizen, allowed to pray and fulfil his religious duties and that in return for such rights he must follow the laws of the land and be an upright citizen? If so, he did not make it very clear in his presentation and he should apologise. If not, he should refrain from presenting himself as a Christian who understands Islam until he has completed sufficient study. Such an error is akin to a Muslim saying Jesus (peace be upon him) called for the death of non-believers in the Gospels.

The ‘honest exegete’ continued to link the verses of the Qur’an that refer to the expulsion of polytheists from the Arabian Peninsula with the verses that refer to the People of the Book paying the Jizyah. Perhaps this was not his intention, but in combination with much of what he had said prior, and with the purpose of this portion of his lecture to be to outline the threats posed by ‘mainstream, moderate Muslims’, I found much of these adjuncts to his analysis of Salvation in Islam to be fear mongering, albeit eloquent. This was even more apparent with his peculiar historical tidbits, such as the suggestion that it was the expansion of Islam (not the Roman Empire) that was responsible for the ‘fall of Assyria’ (an entity that ceased to exist as a nation and was subject to Roman authority prior to the Christian Era, about 750 years before a follower of the Prophet Muhammad stepped foot in the geographic region).

Ultimately, I found some satisfaction in the conclusions he drew with some of the final questions he was asked in the audience feedback session. Dr. Craig suggested that Christians set the bar really low when evangelising others, such that they should not comment on evolution, even though it directly contradicts the Christian stance on Adam (peace be upon him) and therefore compromises the doctrine of original sin. Of course, Dr. Craig went on to say that he is a firm believer in an ‘historical Adam’ (I’m not sure how one could be a Christian and not be) but that it is not essential for a Christian to believe it and that holding to evolution is fine as long as one believes in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. So we’re not all children of Adam, but he kicked it all off? Right… (I wonder why Paul bothered to write Romans 5 and Corinthians 15 if believing Christians can just ignore them? I wonder what else a Christian could ignore from their Scripture?)

This left me thanking God for Islam. Thanking God for the religion that presents the logical arguments Dr. Craig builds his upon. Thanking God that we are not permitted to hide essential belief to prospective converts.

Now, if only Dr. Craig could explain that ‘God is Love’ thing with a little more consistency… But that’s a blog for another day, inshaAllah.

38 replies »

      • I’m so glad that Dr Craig’s misconceptions have been addressed finally, what an excellent piece, dear Abdullah.

        The whole issue of the Dar al-Harb (which he seems to cling to…religiously) seems to be one of the major contentions that he has with Islam, given the theology that he prefers to state is one where Christianity is abundantly more peaceful. Unfortunately I find that with many proponents of various faith traditions – and I see this often with our Christian brothers of the Evangelical persuasion (but of course is applicable to Muslims too) their arguments seem to come from the belief in inherent superiority of their own creed; rather than discussing various tenets of Islam for what they actually are in essence and give them a thorough consideration…all this tends to compound the difficulties we have in communication. I often thought that educated people such as Dr. Craig would be the hope for having a meaningful conversation about Islam in essence, or at the very least, how it is understood by the scholars of Islam historically – but alas, Guidance can only come from Him, Glorified and Exalted.

        These are essentially hermeneutic problems that I imagine the scholars of Biblical criticism tried to overcome in the last few centuries; nonetheless one has to wonder why it is today that the ‘historical’ Islam as it was and is practised is being conflated with the Islam of the Qur’an, or of the Prophet, may His Peace and Blessings descend upon him – why are there so many misunderstandings about our theology?

        Are we the source of our own PR problems or is this more systemic rooted in a sort of Orientalist discourse? The form of Christianity that Dr Craig promulgates – that of the peaceful, loving nature of Jesus Christ (thus by extension the whole of the Essence of God) seems to in actual fact define itself in opposition to Islam.

        If only he could see past this in order to appreciate the manifestation of God’s Mercy to mankind – an inherently peaceful man to his core – that was his final messenger who continued the traditions of those who came before him.

        Nonetheless, I hope that our fellow brothers of the Book will read your discussion and hopefully see things more clearly, insofar as they can regarding Islam.

  1. Nice Article. However, you didn’t elaborate why Dr. James White asked you to review the content of Dr. Craig. I do know that from hearing tons of lectures by both Dr. James White and Dr. Craig is that James White does not respect Dr. Craig for various reasons. Dr. Craig, I have noticed has good arguments against Atheists but his arguments are very weak in favour of Christianity.

    What he normally does is that he mixes his strong argumetns (e.g Islamic discursive philosophy – Kalaam) with weak reasons for why Christianity is true etc and present all the arguments togather. A lot of his fans think he has put up a good defense for Christianity when he actually didn’t.

    Br. Shabir Ally has taken his arguments and general Kalaam and related arguments to another level in dealing with Agnostics/Atheists etc. The difference is that Br. Shabir ally arguments for Islam are actually very strong and can stand on their own. He doesn’t need reort to hiding the weak arguments with strong arguments.

    • Couldn’t agree more about the strong arguments coupled with weak Christian specific arguments.

      Basically Dr White asked me to have a listen as a few days ago I answered a question about salvation in Islam from one of his students in this way (ie deeds dont save us) yet a few days before Dr Craig was on unbelievable saying the opposite. I don’t think their Christian differences of opinion were a factor in suggesting I have a listen and comment.

  2. Another well thought out article brother Abdullah. I’ve watched Dr Craigs’ debates about salvation and he continually asserts that there is a deficiency in the Islamic concept of salvation because Islam requires the believer to ‘live up to the standard of God’ and goes on to assert that this is an impossible task because “who can live up to the standard of God”. Quite right, who can. But i don’t know of any Muslim who believes they can measure up to Gods standard. There is an infinite difference between living up to Gods standard (who could ever reach the standard of God???) and living to the standards that God sets for humans.

    • Couldn’t have said it better myself, brother.

      I suspect his motivation may come from the problem of affirming the existence of God via an Islamic argument while being a Christian…

  3. Hello mr(dr?) Kunde. Great article I really enjoyed reading it. I’m not here to jump to the defence of WLC but I do have a few questions and comments-though on the whole I agree with the main thesis of your argument.

    My first is your comment that dr Craig said that “Islam is the only religion to have ‘arisen in conscious rejection of the Christian faith’. Assuming he means in ‘conscious rejection’ of the orthodox Christianity, I wonder what he has to say about Arianism, Gnostic Christianity, Mandaeism, etc.””

    I think the issue is that dr Craig didn’t say “any religion” but “anyWORLD religion”. Last time I checked none of the above were. Therefore I’d hold his statement to be accurate.

    I’m not sure if you are familiar with the work of E.P sanders a new testament scholar from duke university. He argues that second temple judaism was not a works based religion but was a form of Covenantal nomism- which means (to horribly simplify the argument) that Grace gets you ‘ in’ but works keeps you in. I would personally see Islam in the same light. I’m not sure what you think? If viewed in this way then Craig makes sense. His perspective as a Wesleyan is that grace gets you in and keeps you in. Therefore any work in salvation makes it works based. Thats not to say that Craig is a libertine or that he doesn’t have a desire for holiness. This is the standard response to E.P sanders work on Covenantal nomism as well. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts about this.

    Also I’m not sure Dr Craig did make a appeal to authority in that an appeal to authority is false if “either 1)the authority is not a subject-matter expert, or 2)there is no consensus among experts in the subject matter, or both.” As the Jesus seminar are both then I fail to see how this is fallacious. After all a claim of “this statement is true and to show it’s true even the most liberal or conservative scholar accepts it” is different to “this statment is true because x scholar says it”.

    But Dr Craig didn’t comment that the resurrection is true because the jesus seminar say so. His claim was that so widely attested is the crucifixion of jesus that even the Seuss seminar believe it is historical. A very different claim.

    It’s akin to Shabir ally saying in a debate “even James white accepts this is the meaning if this phrase”. Or a Keynesian saying even Austrian school economists admit government spending affects GDP.

    Indeed when Shabir Ally cites people like F.F Bruce he is far more effective than in his citation of people like James D.G Dunn or Raymond Brown at least in terms of persuading Christians that what he’s saying is true.

    Im Interested in hearing your thoughts.

    • “Indeed when Shabir Ally cites people like F.F Bruce he is far more effective than in his citation of people like James D.G Dunn or Raymond Brown at least in terms of persuading Christians that what he’s saying is true.”

      ‘persuading Christians?’ I think you must mean persuading a certain kind of Christian, specifically the fundamentalist type. Christians of my acquaintance who have been university educated in Biblical studies and theology think very highly of Dunn and Brown – as do most other Biblical scholars. Besides, the only reason fundamentalists like FF Bruce is because they think Bruce is just like them – ie a fundamentalist. But he wasn’t. For example, on questions of authorship of books in the Bible he as quite content to defend the standard critical views (eg that the Book of Isaiah was not written by Isaiah) See the correspondence between Bruce and Barr in Escaping from Fundamentalism by James Barr.

    • Hi there alkitab

      Your comment shows you as a sincere and honest person combined with respect ,humbleness and will to learn about Islam.These qualities are hard to find in the evangelical and apologetic circle today . You truly represent Jesus Christ .

      Coming on to the Quran ‘ denying crucifixion ‘ claim , i with my own study on the topic and discussions with various scholars of Arabic language came to the conclusion that the Quran does not deny the crucifixion !

      You may find this surprising but a careful reading of Sura 4:157 will show that God in that verse is just negating the arrogant boasting of Jews that they killed Jesus Christ , instead God is saying that God caused him to die .

      The various traditions on the concerned verse are NOT from the Prophet .Though many Muslim scholars say Jesus Christ did not die their opinion is based on the various later traditions .

      But , whether Jesus Christ died or not , it makes no difference to us as there is no salvific ramifications in the death of Jesus Christ in Islam .

      alkitab , i want to ask you a question ,

      HOW CAN BE THE BELIEVE IN THE DEATH OF A MAN BE THE CAUSE OF SALVATION OR NEARNESS TO GOD ?

      I want you to answer this question with reason .

  4. Thanks. I think brown and Dunn do great work. There is no denying that. Ill look into the Barr book as I’ve not read it. It can join my very long list. I know Bruce had a relatively low view on the historicity of John and also held to markan priorty (not that he latter is particularly controversial)

    Still would you not agree that when discussing a point with a “fundamentalist” (big bad word) Christian that quoting a one who is perceived to be conservative scholar is more persuasive than quoting one who is perceived to be liberal.

    Still interested in hearing mr kundes comments.

    • Greetings the alkitab,

      I appreciate your thoughts but I do have a few issues with some of your ‘defence’ (even though you probably wouldn’t be happy with me calling it that, so please accept my apology🙂 )

      Dr. Craig may have said world religion, I honestly can’t recall and can’t relisten as I write this reply, however I think this is a semantics issue, at best and not reflective if what Dr. Craig wanted to say. There are few ‘world religions’, and one of them is Christianity, and only one is post Christian, so to single out Islam in this way is a little pointless and I think not what he meant.

      With regards to salvation in Islam, no, works don’t ‘keep you in’ it’s Grace alone, simple as that, but I probably need to labour this point a bit more. Overall, Dr. Craig has salvation in Islam completely wrong, not just from any particular Christian viewpoint r may be coming from.

      With regards to his appeal to authority, I disagree firstly that the Jesus seminar are subject matter experts (they deny many points that Christians would affirm, right?) and therefore affirm the fallacy. Moreover, if there is a consensus of scholars on the crucifixion, which I agree there effectively is, then appealing to a JS scholar serves no logical purpose outside of sensationalism. The objective, surely, is to appeal to a [secular] authority and thus make the opponent feel that their view is less valid. My point re: the resurrection was meant to emphasise this, one can’t have a standard of secular scholarship establishing fact in one hand and reject the metaphysical, but then reject the secular on the other and affirm the metaphysical. Do you agree this is inconsistent?

      With regards to who Shaykh Shabir quotes, if he commits the same fallacies than I would hold him to the same standard, but I’m not reviewing Shabir’s comments here🙂.

      Thanks for your thoughtful considerations and comments and I look forward to further discussion.

  5. Abdullah thank you for your reply.

    I do think the difference between religion and world religion is an important one. The turth is that islam is a religion started in response to christianty.it’s even been said that the phrase “he is neither begotten nor does he beget” is as a response to Christianity. I think the issue is a minor one but it is one which I feel is falsely attributed to Craig in how you phrased your objection. Iit must be noted that I disagree with Craig here. In my opinion judaism particulalyr later rabbinic forms is also a world religion which came about in response to Christianity.

    Secondly I am happy to concede that Craig may have misunderstood. I find the topic of salvation in islam very interesting as it seems to me as an outsider that EVERYONE has a different opinion in the mechanism, assurance and position of a person seeking to be saved. Perhaps we can discuss this more in the future.

    Finally I simply must continue to disagree that his position was an appeal to authority. Whilst I may disagree with the jesus seminars views on almost every topic there is no denying that Crossan, Funk and Borg are subject experts. I beleive it was one of those three who he quoted. As of a JS having no logical purpose. Again given that the jesus seminar say less that 25%(may be wrong about that figure) of the gospels are authentic that they affirm this detail is. Important. Again he didn’t claim this is true because the jesus seminar claim it is he said this is such a true fact that EVEN the jesus seminar beleive it is. Appeal to authority is a difficult issue to understand but getting it wrong means Wednesday never use another scholar ever again. I feel that that is the logical conclusion of your position.

    Having said that the apeal to authority point is a minor one and not massively worth perusing. .

    As for your point on seculer vs non secular scholarship. I do see your point. However I’m sure that if you’ve ever heard Craig give a presentation in the resurrection he does so from an historical basis. I think the issue is that Craig doesn’t feel that resurrection is a-historical. In regards to facts. Personly I have a few metaphysical issues with the argument “it only appeared to them” as from that basis it’s hard to argue that anything is true. Indeed the world may have began 10secomds ago and all of our memories could have been implanted. I think that that is Craig’s issue though I can appreciate your point. If god wants to do that that’s fine. But then there are historical facts to be reconciled.

    As for shabir I wasn’t criticising him so there is not a constancy issue on your part there.

    Look forward to hearing back
    Alkitab

    • I would disagree that Islam began as a response to Christianity.—unless one is reading the Quran from a western/christian-centric perspective. The primary audience that the Quran was concerned with, particularly in the early revelations, was the Pagan Arabs (though the Quran also addresses all humanity). Their worship of “Allah” was polytheistic and they claimed Allah had daughters—therefore the “..neither begotten nor begets” (surah 112) addresses such erroneous concepts of God. However, if Christians feel that they are the principle audience of the Quran, then this is a good thing, as it may offer them an opportunity for reflection of their beliefs….in particular, claims of “Allah” having a son……

      I would agree that “salvation” in Islam is a complex concept and perhaps we Muslims do a disservice when we try to simplify too much. For example the Christian concept of “Grace” (mercy) is linked to the Christian idea of original sin (and salvation by belief in Jesus). These links do not apply to Islam as there is no original sin—all human beings are created inherently good. “Grace”(mercy) in Islam, therefore, refers to the “majesty/authority” of God.
      The criteria for reward/Judgement is solely God’s will and we human beings do not have a right to decide how God chooses to judge. This is because Divine Justice is wholistic taking into account various factors such as right belief, right intentions, right actions as well as the degree of accountability (degree of free-will) assigned to that individual lifetime.

  6. I noticed other blunders WLC made on Islam. For example, in his debate with Bart Ehrman, he said:

    “On the contrary, I am completely open to the idea that God has done miracles apart from Jesus. But with respect, for example, to Muhammad, there isn’t any evidence for such things. There’s no claim in the Qur’an that Muhammad performed miracles. The first biography we have of Muhammad comes from at least 150 years after his death, and I am not sure that even there, there are miracle claims.” (http://commonsenseatheism.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/craig-ehrman.pdf)

    Notice he makes a claim to knowledge by saying there’s no evidence that Muhammad did miracles. He then says he’s not sure if the first biography of Muhammad has miracles mentioned there. So WLC, if your not sure if the first biography of Muhammad mentions that he performed miracles, how can you say there is no evidence that he did miracles? He’s surely hasn’t gone through all the biographies and books of hadith to come to that conclusion. Clearly, he’s appealing to ignorance.

    The biography Craig was referring to (Ibn Ishaq’s biography) does have miracles of the Prophet mentioned (i.e. the breastfeeding miracle: http://shamela.ws/browse.php/book-9862/page-43#page-44 , the night journey: http://shamela.ws/browse.php/book-9862/page-285, and so on).

    Also, the 150 year gap isn’t necessarily a problem in hadith methodology. He seems to be ignorant of that to, he should read: http://www.call-to-monotheism.com/christian_missionaries_on_the_historical_method_and_hadith_science

  7. I noticed other blunders WLC made on Islam. For example, in his debate with Bart Ehrman near the end of the q/a session, he said:

    “On the contrary, I am completely open to the idea that God has done miracles apart from Jesus. But with respect, for example, to Muhammad, there isn’t any evidence for such things. There’s no claim in the Qur’an that Muhammad performed miracles. The first biography we have of Muhammad comes from at least 150 years after his death, and I am not sure that even there, there are miracle claims.”

    Notice he makes a claim to knowledge by saying there’s no evidence that Muhammad did miracles. He then says he’s not sure if the first biography of Muhammad has miracles mentioned there. So WLC, if your not sure if the first biography of Muhammad mentions that he performed miracles, how can you say there is no evidence that he did miracles? He surely hasn’t gone through all the biographies and books of hadith to come to that conclusion. Clearly, he’s appealing to ignorance.

    The biography Craig was referring to (Ibn Ishaq’s biography) does have miracles of the Prophet mentioned (i.e. the breastfeeding miracle, the night journey, the tree miracle, and so on).

    Also, the 150 year gap isn’t necessarily a problem in hadith methodology. He seems to be ignorant of that to, he should read Bassam’s article: “Christian Missionaries on the Historical Method and Science of Hadith”. (I can’t seem to post the link for some reason).

  8. Quote “It is God who created you and all your actions (37:96)

    The position of Orthodox Islam is that God Almighty is the Creator of all of our actions. This is clearly recognised by the rational mind when one considers the implication of the alternative, i.e. that human beings create their own actions and God, therefore, does not have full control over the affairs of His creation.

    How could our deeds be the cause (sabab) of our salvation when we do not create them?”

    The verse as translated could just be a clumsy way of rolling the doctrines of predestination and creation together in to one sentence. The actions as referred to in the verse could just be as they exist in the mind of God before they actually occur in time. Does the writer interpret the verse to say that our actions are “created” by God in the moment that we actually do them?

    God creates the agent who performs the actions is how I understand the normal context of the verb to create.

    If God creates the action at the time it is performed by the human agent then this makes both God and man together the doers of the action. The human and the divine nature both combine to perform the same action. I think this inevitably leads to pantheism. The human nature is just reduced to a mode of the divine nature and God is no more transcendent. He has control over his creation by being one with it.

  9. The author wrote:

    “Ultimately, I found some satisfaction in the conclusions he drew with some of the final questions he was asked in the audience feedback session. Dr. Craig suggested that Christians set the bar really low when evangelising others, such that they should not comment on evolution, even though it directly contradicts the Christian stance on Adam (peace be upon him) and therefore compromises the doctrine of original sin. Of course, Dr. Craig went on to say that he is a firm believer in an ‘historical Adam’ (I’m not sure how one could be a Christian and not be) but that it is not essential for a Christian to believe it and that holding to evolution is fine as long as one believes in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. So we’re not all children of Adam, but he kicked it all off? Right… (I wonder why Paul bothered to write Romans 5 and Corinthians 15 if believing Christians can just ignore them? I wonder what else a Christian could ignore from their Scripture?)

    This left me thanking God for Islam. Thanking God for the religion that presents the logical arguments Dr. Craig builds his upon. Thanking God that we are not permitted to hide essential belief to prospective converts.”

    The word Adam is Hebrew for “,man” and Eve is Hebrew for “life”.

    Many see the Adam and Eve story as metaphorical,like the famous Dinesh D’Souza,who accepts evolution.I thought the author knew that about the words Adam and Eve.

    Now how can the author thank God for Islam where in the very same sura 5 Allah in sura 5:8 says to act justly with those one hates and a few verses later curses Christians with “enmity and hatred” and “until the Day of Resurrection”?Where is the justice in cursing future generations for hundreds of years?Is that to be thanked?
    And the same for Jews,in the very same sura,sura 5:64 they are cursed with “hatred and enmity” and “until the Day of Resurrection”..

    Mr.Kunde,I remeber,correct me if I am wrong,that you said you have Jewish ancestry,and non-Jewish ancestry.So some of your relatives are Jews and some are Christian believers.They are both cursed by sura 5.

    • Greetings Fer,

      Thanks for taking the time to listen to my personal history. However, the position of my relatives is not relevant to the topic of this particular discussion, nor do I understand what relevance it could have to any point about Islam or Christianity.

      I don’t really understand your objection to 5:64. If anything, its established fact. Catholics and Protestants have had emnity and hatred for each other for over 500 years. Christians generally don’t like Jews too much (just read a few tidbits from Luther’s von der Juden on ihren lugen… etc.

      All the best,

  10. The Prophet said, “The good deeds of any person will not make him enter Paradise.” (the Prophet’s companions) said, “Not even you, O Allah’s Apostle?” He said, “Not even myself, unless Allah bestows His favor and mercy on me.”

    If Allah forgives the sins and creates all the actions, to include all the good ones as well as the bad ones, of the Muslim how can he not fail to attain Paradise? In what additional way does Allah still have to show mercy in order for the Muslim to obtain Paradise? What favor and mercy is still lacking that has not been given by Allah to the believer?

    From the text it woud appear that Mohammed believes that good deeds and forgiveness are only sufficient to make one eligible for the final mercy of being allowed entry in to paradise.

  11. Mr. Kunde said: “Is he not aware that a Muslim is considered to be in The place of trust if he is made a citizen, allowed to pray and fulfil his religious duties and that in return for such rights he must follow the laws of the land and be an upright citizen? If so, he did not make it very clear in his presentation and he should apologise.”

    Mr. Kunde could you please tell me which texts in Islam support this concept of the “place of trust” ?

    It is the first time I have seen this.

    Best Regards!

    • Greetings alzon,

      The texts that form the foundation of the rulings pertaining to/concept of Dar ul Aman are the ahadith of the Prophet (asws) that state: It is essential for a Muslim to obey a ruler unless ordered to commit a sin. (Narrated in several chains in the collections of Bukhari and Muslim).

      From this we derive the basic rules of Dar ul Aman, given that with only a literal analysis, it is clear that a Muslim must obey a leader of a state, (and therefore the laws that are instituted by/for the state) regardless of their religion, unless they require a Muslim to sin.

      As for your question above this, I don’t really understand it and perhaps I didn’t illustrate the points clearly:

      1) Only Grace saves. Not deeds. Deeds don’t get us to Grace…etc.

      2) God Almighty creates the deeds [be we ‘acquire’ them through our intentions].

      There is no contradiction between free choice and God creating the deeds.

  12. Greetings Mr. Kunde,

    I am somewhat confused as to what the relationship is between the Grace and the deeds, if there is any.

    Does the Grace cause the deeds by causing our intentions? Or do our intentions cause (acquire) the deeds independently of Grace?

    Are the deeds rewarded? If the Muslim is not saved by them of what benefit are they to him?

    Is there any way for the Muslim to ensure that God will give him the grace of entry in to paradise when the time comes?

    Thanks for your time.

  13. There might be a straw man argument here. There is forgiveness in both Christianity and Islam. So there must be some grace in both. The old testament moral law is certainly not abolished in Christianity so there must be both law and grace in Christianity. Works are also required in Christianity to enter in to the kingdom of heaven as Jesus said: “Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees you shall in no wise enter in to the kingdom of heaven”, “by their fruits ye shall know them”.

    So I think to reduce salvation to either grace or works won’t fit the scriptures for either religion. The ultimate cause of salvation can be said to be grace for both, certainly for Christianity. I think Mr. Kunde has made a good case for that in the case of Islam too. Having said that the gracious acts of God are worlds apart in Islam and Christianity. I don’t think anyone would argue with that.

    • ‘Having said that the gracious acts of God are worlds apart in Islam and Christianity. I don’t think anyone would argue with that.’

      I would if I had a clear understanding of what you meant!

  14. The believers 23.102-103:

    Then as for him whose good deeds are preponderant, these are the successful. And has for him whose good deeds are light, these are they who shall have lost their souls, abiding in hell.

    If Allah has created those good deeds he didn’t create enough for some. Did he create enough for you Paul?

      • In your religion, if evolution is true, your Allah commanded the angels to worship a creature descended from apes. I find that more than a little amusing.

        [2.34] And when We said to the angels: Make obeisance to Adam they did obeisance, but Iblis (did it not). He refused and he was proud, and he was one of the unbelievers.

        As far as my own experience as a fundamental evangelical christian goes I knew only one or two persons who actually believed in evolution. I would estijmate that only a tiny minority of evangelical Christians do not believe in a literal Adam or a six-day creation.

      • So you are still left with the roll of the dice, which is the summum bonum of your god’s mercy, for all your talk about whether Mohammed was certain of his salvation or not. A “certain offer of salvation” as Mr. Kunde put it is not an offer of certain salvation.

        Was Mohammed sinless?

  15. “Dr. Craig went on to say that he is a firm believer in an ‘historical Adam’ (I’m not sure how one could be a Christian and not be) but that it is not essential for a Christian to believe it and that holding to evolution is fine as long as one believes in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.”

    He is just giving his opionion. Let’s put this in context.

  16. If Craig did say that is not essential to believe in an “historical Adam” of any kind then I think he is sticking his head too far out of the window. A Christianity without any Adam to start the original sin existing within mankind is not Christianity as the Bible teaches it. Mr. Kunde’s analysis is correct here.

    It is also possible for an historical Adam to arise through the process of “theistic evolution”. So it is not that difficult to reconcile the concepts of evolution and an historical Adam in that belief system. In that case I don’t understand why Lane Craig would see the necessity to give so much slack to any prospective believer. Whether this belief system is still Christian is debatable. I don’t believe so myself.

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