Sabc Tv Debate Islam Christianity South Africa
Channel: Ahmed Deedat
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Hello, it's cross questions again. On our panel today, Mr. Ahmed deedat Maulana AR Sufi, Mr. JOHN Gilchrist and father Bonaventure, hyndburn.
Judaism, Christianity and Islam are regarded as the three major monotheistic religions of the world. A while ago, we discussed Christianity and Judaism. Today we discuss Christianity and Islam. Let's begin by asking what we have in common. Mr. deedat.
I believe that Islam is the only non Christian faith, which makes it an article of faith for its followers to believe in Jesus, new Muslim is a Muslim, if he does not believe in Jesus
as one venture? Well, I would say that the really basic thing that we have in common is, they believe in one Creator God, who is merciful to all his creatures, who is the judge of all men at the end of their lives, and who rewards those who are faithful to him with good and who out of his goodness, to us as human beings, has not only given us His creation, but has also specially made his truth and his will known to us. For Nana. Yes, there are so many things that are in common between Christianity and Islam.
We believe in the unity of God, we believe in the prophethood of Jesus Christ, we believe that he has been revealed a divinely guided book, which is called ngl. In terms of the Holy Quran, we believe in life after that, it is believed by the Christians, we believe that there is such thing as the Day of Judgment, we have to face your Lord and given account, and so on and so forth. JOHN, is willing just to add to what you're saying, is a common belief between Christians and Muslims, and even the Jews as well. In the creation story, Adam and Eve, in the line of prophethood, that we have Abraham, Moses, David, the Quran and the Bible, both record roughly in similarity, the stories of
these various prophets, right up to the point of Jesus Christ. And I would particularly confirm that Mr. deedat says that the great similarity, I think, between Christianity and Islam is this common acceptance of Jesus Christ, as mentioned from God,
I wonder, could we say that there's common ground in the ethical teachings of all religions? Do we all believe, for instance, that you should do to your neighbor, as you would have him do to you, of course, I think this is the teaching of all religions, all religions.
And I think that, you know, particularly in the modern world, where
materialism and the affluent and permissive size society are eating away so badly at moral values, that sense of truth and justice, of purity of the fact to have in one's life based on something beyond merely the here and now success and enjoyment and possession of things. But this is where it's very important that the great monotheistic religions, and particularly Islam and Christianity pulled together to try and preserve what can be preserved of morality out of the general decay of society. You feel this about materialism, what the Muslim says is that in reality, these three religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, are not three different religions. But the Muslim says
is that is the same religion, on different levels, say according to the needs of a people, God Almighty has been sending his revelations, and whatever he gave through Moses was the fittest message for the needs. And in time, Jesus Christ, we believe, another spiritual physician, he came along to solve the problems of the Jews. And in that evolution of religion. We believe that Islam is the culmination is a final point is the fulfillment of all religions. Teaching of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad brought into one Mulana. Could I ask you this question. Religion, I think sets out. I think we probably all agree to answer the question, what should I do to be saved? I mean, man feels a need
to know that he is on the right side of ultimate reality. So how does Islam answer that basic question, what should I do to be saved?
It's very, very simple.
Almighty, Allah or God as is known, has guided divinely through the medium of various messages that he has sent from time to time. And he has pointed out that belief in God should just not be retained.
Maintain are confined
to mere lip service. But a practical way of life should be currently adopted. And this display of urge to be successful in the Hereafter, should be displayed in our daily life, every activity. The point of Islam is what you do inside the church or the mosque, and what you do outside in the street, both the business of God, meaning you are answerable to what you do inside and outside, in order to be successful in this world, and the year after divine teachings have been given by various messengers of Allah, and they have been completed by the Holy Prophet Muhammad Ali Salatu. Salam, may peace be on him. And these messages have been recorded in the Quran, and tradition of the Holy
Prophet. Would it be true to say that you have to attain a certain level of goodness, in order to be accepted by God? Yes, you have to be spiritually clean, interior and exterior. And this depends on your religious observances, and also on how you behave to your fellow man, of course, in a nutshell, what you would say, via God and keep His commandments. But these are the whole beauty of man. And if you can do that salvation is yours. So I would beg to differ with that. This is ultimately I think, where the major difference comes in between Islam and Christianity. I don't know to what extent it is true to say that the ethics of all religions in the world are the same. I feel that the ethics
between Judaism, Christianity and Islam have much in common, but there's some vital differences. But I'd say that from a Christian point of view, Christianity is quite unique in one sense, and in this sense, it differs from all religions. In that it seems to me that every other religion teaches that there is an obligation on men to attain to a certain standard, to follow the commandments of God. And the hope held out is that if a man holds these commandments of God and performs them to a certain extent, he'll be acceptable by God. Now, the Christian faith teaches precisely the opposite. In principle, it says that God has reached down to men, and that in His Son, Jesus Christ, God has
reached men in his weakness, in his sinfulness. The Bible does not allow for the possibility that a man unaided by the Holy Spirit of God can attain to a standard of righteousness or perfection. In fact, this is the teaching of the Apostle Paul, particularly in his letter to the Romans, where he says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but they are justified by His grace as a gift through the redemption, which is in Christ Jesus, and God put forward as a propitiation by his blood to be received by faith. And that sums up the Christian hope that the Christian does not work for salvation. He receives the salvation by his faith in what God has worked for him, and that
the good deeds that follow are an outworking of the grace of God, which now rests upon an adventure. Do you agree with john,
up to a point but not entirely, I wouldn't agree with the very end of what he said. Because the one thing that in Christianity insists upon,
at least in the brand, that I know. And that is that the acceptance of God's sharing of his life with us is something which we have to do actively. In other words, we are not just simply spongers into whom God pours a certain amount of divine water that we that is sucked up without any activity on our part, that we have to actively cooperate with God's intervention in our life.
In other words, that we have to make a response of love to God's approach of love to us, even though the ability to do this is something which God gives us but it's something which we have to actively receive. So that in point of fact, as
Central Gaston said, in a phrase, I think, which is very telling, that God comes to us in such a way that is very gifts on our merits, because he involves us in the process. And certainly from a Catholic point of view,
I would hope that
God comes to every single human being, with this offer of love, to respond to truth and love as the person who understands it, so that anyone have any faith or even if no faith at all, who lives an outgoing life, of love towards God, if he knows about God, but at least the truth and towards other people, is in a position to be saved. Forget Bonaventure. In the last analysis. I think you would probably say with john that salvation
is a gift to the unworthy a gift to those who cannot possibly deserve it true, because we can, in the first place, we never, as it were, earn God's coming to us in the first place. And secondly, anything that we do by cooperation with his grace, there's always
so imperfect that it could never, as it were, strictly give us a title in justice to him. Perhaps your view on that, here's what I would say is that, according to my reading of the Scriptures, the Christian scriptures, Jesus Christ seemed to contradict both john and father inward. You see, he says, as recorded in the gospels,
he says, Verily, verily, I say unto you, most certainly I'm telling you this, except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, he shall by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. There is no heaven for you, unless you are better than the Jew. And how can you be better than the Jew by not following the laws and commandments? He says, again, Jesus, he says, He is not of me, who does not take his cross and follow me. Take up your cross, and follow me. Now, when I read what the Master says, and we in Islam, we seem to confirm everything he tells us. But what we are getting is what Paul has to say, as better john, you know what he has said, he was
quoting Paul, I said, What about Jesus? When Jesus says these things? How can you be better than the Jew by not keeping the commandments? He says, Think not that I'm come to destroy the law of the prophets, and not to disturb it to fulfill, and how do you fulfill by taking out by not doing it? So by fulfilling we say that if you follow Jesus, you will be a Muslim? Because these are his teachings, believe in God and keep His commandments. In other words, you're saying that the righteousness of the good Muslim exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees? No, we wouldn't say that. But we are making an effort we are trying to be this is the standard, as Jesus
said, again, he says, be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect. Remember, you can be like, God, how many of us can get to heaven like this? Do you think that by being perfect, this is the relative perfection he's talking about? Is the sincere striving on your part that God needs, you can make an effort and you can find 1000 times. But if you get up, you repent and want to reach God, God will accept it, because he knows that you're weak. forgiveness from God, forgiveness from God, but not on the basis that somebody has to die for you. This is the question not on the basis that somebody else has to die for you. That's this is very crucial, I think, john, I don't think that
either Jesus Christ contradicts me or the Apostle Paul or anyone else. In fact, I think that I stand in the line of the Apostle Paul, in deriving this very concept from Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus said a lot of things, and everything that Jesus said, I believe, must be taken in its context. The same Jesus who said, except your righteousness exceed that, and the scribes and the Pharisees also says, He who believes in me has eternal life. He who comes to me out of his heart will flow rivers of living water, one finds constantly in his teaching this calling of people to believe specifically in him. And at the same time, one also finds, as you say, a teaching about righteousness. And that
really confirms what I said, because I pointed out that the righteousness of the Christian is something which God works out in him through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And I see that in complete consistency with that statement of Jesus about your righteousness exceeding that of the scribes and the Pharisees. The point he's making is this that for all their zealousness, for all their commitment to Judaism, their righteousness was not enough to gain them acceptance before God and a place into the kingdom of heaven. And to his own followers, he tells them that your righteousness has got to exceed that. And in the Sermon on the Mount that follows, he gives a very
broad description of what that righteousness is. And people have said to this day, and I've heard it often, that that kind of righteousness is beyond the capacity of the average man ever to work out in his life. It's just as Muslims have said, more often than not, it is contrary to human nature. But it might be I wouldn't say it is so much country it is superior to human nature. When a Christian believes in Jesus Christ and receives the Holy Spirit, the potential for that kind of righteousness is born in him. And it is only through the outworking of that kind of righteousness that one is shown to belong to Jesus Christ and to be worthy of replacing the kingdom of heaven. JOHN, I could
ask Bonaventure, come back to him and ask him Mulana here.
What does the Muslim believe about Jesus Christ, and Mr. Deer at the beginning indicated that a lot of what we believe about Jesus Christ is in fact part of Islam. Could you tell us what it is mainly that Islam believes of Jesus Christ, and where perhaps you stop and we carry on? We firmly believe that Jesus Christ is the messenger of God, and a divinely guided book. You may call it the Bible and
The Quran called it in gene has been revealed to him. But where we differ is this we, the Holy Quran based proof to this, that the changes, unfortunately have been made in the Bible. Jesus Christ is a beloved of God, we we differ, we do not use the term son because there is a chance of misleading the unwary message. And we believe that
he has not been crucified. Somebody else has been crucified in his place, and he has been raised up to the fourth heaven. And before the day of judgment, he is going to make his re appearance. This has been stated over and over by the Holy Prophet of Islam. And we believe that he is a human being, yes, not a divine not defined as such in the sense
that he is one of the mightiest messengers of God, He is the Messiah. Yes, we believe in his miraculous birth. We believe in the virgin virgin birth without any male intervention he was born, we believe that he gave rise to the dead by God's permission, he was born blind and the lepers by God's permission. The only way we really differ is that we say he is not God Almighty in human form, he is not God incarnate, and he's not the Son of God, and he was not crucified. And but all that would be secondary if on this main differences that he is not because if he was crucified, if it was not worth his crucifixion is useless. Suppose he was not divided. Any human being given his life, he
couldn't have redeemed mankind. So in the fundamental that he is not God, and He is not the Son of God. These are the main differences, the rest, we can easily accommodate and understand each other's points of views.
I'd like to take up on a couple of points. The one is that, you know, you were saying just now that, in a sense, Islam is more
faithful to Jesus than what we presented Christianity as because of the call to keep the commandments. But I think you might remember that Jesus himself and other New Testament writers explaining his message did sum up all the commandments in love. And if you were listening to me carefully, I did say several times, that the important thing about
the, or what one really needs in order to enter into God's salvation, is to get out of oneself in love towards God and towards other people. By doing this one necessarily keeps all the commandments because love does no harm to anyone and all the commandments are basically there to show us how to live to other with other people without doing any harm to them, as a matter of having positively to do good to them. If we come to the point of Jesus Himself there, I think there are two things we need to say. The first is that, as far as I understand, the reason why
Islam rejects the idea that Jesus died, is because of a theological principle, namely, that God does not allow his prophets to suffer at the hands of unrighteous men. If it was a prophet of God, he couldn't have suffered at the hands of unrighteous people. No, I beg to differ with you. The Holy Quran is very explicit on this, it describes in detail how various prophets of God have gone through hardship, and have been murdered by so many tribes and so on. Very good idea that he was not crucified, as such is from the Holy Quran itself, which we regard as a divine book, an image of God revealed to the Prophet. And this rejection is not meant meant as an insult, but as a correction of
attitude, because God says, I know better. May I carry on with that point? I think this brings us to two other things that are important. The one is that again, as I understand it, and as I think you've said several times marani, that for Islam, God's revelation is a book.
Whereas for Christianity, God's revelation is a person Jesus Christ. And our New Testament is merely a description inspired to enough of Jesus Christ, his life, his work and his teaching. I think, too, if I may just finish off that. The reason why again, you find it necessary to reject the idea that Jesus is divine and we find it acceptable, is because of a difference of the concept of oneness. That in the
Islamic view of oneness as I understand it, it is a mathematical oneness. In other words, just a single, if I might call it this way, gray circle, undifferentiated, whereas the Christian concept of oneness is essentially the oneness of community. In other words, that oneness of persons so utterly and totally given to each other and open to receive each other, they only form one single life unit. In other words, if you like a social rather than a mathematical concept of unity, and I think this is important, the to see the the underlying ideas that are at work, I think the time has come.
Could we could we not just change direction now and talk about the Prophet, the prophet Mohammed, we've talked a lot about Jesus. And let's not talk about him, which I think is only fair. Yes. You see Jesus as a prophet, God, one of the mightiest messengers, explain to us how you see Muhammad himself? Yes. We believe that Muhammad is the fulfillment of the prophecies of Jesus, that Jesus Christ himself had foretold the coming of Muhammad, we know that we read this in the Gospel of St. JOHN, Chapter 16, verse seven, could you quote, Yes, I will. With Jesus says, I have yet many things to say unto you, but he cannot bear them now. In other words, you haven't got the capacity is
telling this to His disciples, how? When he the spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth. For he shall not speak from himself, but what things we shall hear that shall he speak and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come, he shall glorify Me. Now we Muslims, we say that that spirit of truth is, and if we read this verse, with a little emphasis on the pronouns, you will see very clearly that Jesus is not speaking about a ghost, some intangible substance, he says, I have yet many things to say unto you, but he cannot bear them now. How big when He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all truth for he shall not speak from himself. But what thing
so shall hear that shall he speak and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come, he shall glorify me as masculine pronoun, in one verse.
Not another word in the whole Bible, I have been treated with eight masculine pronouns, or eight feminine pronouns are new, the genders are used for anybody else. It's a unique verse, or a unique occasion. Mohammed, john, your comment in response to that, that the new Jesus makes it quite plain in the Gospel of St. JOHN, in the four quotes, which relate to the coming of the Comforter, firstly, that the Comforter would be the Holy Spirit, he says to His disciples, He says, when the Comforter comes, the Holy Spirit whom I will send to you from the Father, and much of what Jesus says about the Comforter, in my view, rules out any possibility that it could be the prophet of Islam, Jesus
promised His disciples that it was going to be there to the immediate advantage, that he should go away. Because he said, If I go away, it will be better for you. Because the implication is the Holy Spirit will come to you. Up to that point, Jesus said, the Comforter has been with you. He says, The Holy Spirit is with you. But now he will be in you. And that in his teaching is clearly an implication that we're as they were weak men, and they showed it at that very night, when they deserted him when he was arrested. He said, Now you will become men of power as he is a man of power, you will receive the Holy Spirit the spirit is with you. He said, the Comforter is with you
and He will be in you. He didn't promise this comfort to Arabs of Mecca or Medina, Rabia, and some six 700 years afterwards, he promised it to his immediate disciples. And we read that the moment Jesus ascended to heaven, He said,
I will not leave you desolate, I will come to you. And again, in the book of Acts, white in the city of Jerusalem, for after many days you will receive the Holy Spirit. And the book of Acts is quite plenty that the Spirit of God came down on the disciples. And from that day, they began to teach and preach. So I don't think that that verse can glean the interpretation you putting on it. Bonaventure? asked you as a Roman Catholic priest, how do you view the Prophet Muhammad?
I would say myself that the Prophet Muhammad, as the Second Vatican Council said, is
part of God's historical plan of salvation, coming with a message about the one Creator God and bringing God's law and a message of morality to people who were at that time, a pagan people who didn't know God who worshipped idols, who were spiritually underdeveloped, and that Muhammad has a part in God's plan of salvation for mankind.
But I think it can be said from this discussion that there is at present, somewhat more accommodation on the Islamic side for the founder of Christianity
Then there is on the Christian side for the founder of Islam, what the significance of that is, we leave it to you, the viewer to determine, but I do hope you will agree with us that it's a good thing that we are talking together. Goodbye.