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Basic Worldview:
104 Why Christianity?

Another Gospel and Explaining
the Success of Islam (Part 1)

Evidentiary Religions - Islam Introduction
Koran and Judeo-Christian Apostles
Koran and Judeo-Christian Scriptures
Koran Contradicts Judeo-Christianity (Part 1)
Koran Contradicts Judeo-Christianity (Part 2)
Koran Contradicts Judeo-Christianity (Part 3)
Koran Contradicts Judeo-Christianity (Part 4)
Another Gospel and Explaining the Success of Islam (P. 1)
Explaining the Success of Islam (Part 2)
Explaining the Success of Islam (Part 3)
Islam Conclusions

| Section 1 | Section 2 | Section 3

The Koran as Another Gospel

In this segment of our study, we will be considering the implication of specific words written by the Apostle Paul around five hundred years before Mohammed was even born. But first, we need to establish the fact that the Apostle Paul was known by and approved of by the Apostle Peter and the rest of Jesus' original disciples.

"Paul, Saint - The chronology of St. Paul's life is difficult, but there is general agreement (within a few years) on almost all details...He visited Jerusalem probably twice (A.D. 37, 44) and dwelt at Tarsus and Antioch for some time. (Acts 11.)" - The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001.

"Paul, the Apostle, Saint - After three years his work in Damascus came to an abrupt end. Somehow he had fallen foul of the ethnarch (governor) of the region of Nabataean Arabia. The ethnarch set a watch on the gates of Damascus, but Paul escaped over the wall in a basket and made his way to Jerusalem. There he met Peter, the Apostle , and James , the Lord's brother. This was an important meeting, for it established Paul as a recognized Apostle alongside the founders of the church at Jerusalem." - Britannica.com

Paul's association with the original disciples of Jesus and their approval of him is also attested to in the New Testament.

In Acts 14, Paul and Barnabas are referred to as "apostles."

Acs 14:14 Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,

In Acts 15, Paul goes to Jerusalem, meets with the Apostles, and they agree with him on the critical doctrinal decision that the Gentile Christians did not need to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses. Then they send the letter of this decision with Paul and Barnabas along with 2 representatives from among themselves.

Acts 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. 3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. 4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. 22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: 23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: 24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: 25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And again in Acts 21, the apostles at Jerusalem embrace Paul's work.

Acts 21:18 And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present. 19 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:

Paul himself recounts his visits to Jerusalem and the other apostles' acceptance of his ministry and preaching.

Galatians 1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. 19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.

Galatians 2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; 8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) 9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

And in his second epistle, Peter also speaks highly of Paul, including Paul's epistles and even equating Paul's epistles with "other scriptures."

2 Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

So, the fact that Paul was known and approved by the disciples of Jesus Christ is well established in history, which brings us to the point of this section. To a certain extent, we are given a choice between Paul and his epistles or Mohammed and the Koran. On the one hand, Paul lived during the first century alongside the apostles of Jesus Christ. Paul knew the apostles of Jesus Christ personally, worked with them, and was approved of them. On the other hand, Mohammed lives over five hundred years after the apostles and is neither knew them or was ever approved of by them.

This gives us ample reason to consider Paul's words in comparison to Islam, particularly since Paul's epistles were included in the canon of the Word of God by Christians since the second century (as we have shown above.) So, with the weight of the apostles' approval of Paul in view, we consider the following words from the Apostle Paul.

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul's concern is clearly that the Corinthians might be persuaded by someone who comes to them preaching a different view of Jesus, a different view of the Holy Spirit, and an altogether different Gospel to them. In Galatians, Paul is even more explicit.

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

In Galatians, Paul specifically states twice that if any man or angel preaches any different Gospel from the one that he preached to them, that such a man or angel should be accursed. Now, we have already seen in our two previous sections that Paul preached the following. Paul preached the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Paul preached that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. Paul preached that Jesus was crucified for men's sins and rose from the dead on the third day afterward. Likewise, we have shown in previous section that the Koran repeatedly denies all of these things, which Paul taught.

However, as we have demonstrated thoroughly in earlier portions of this article series, the Koran does affirm the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But, by denying Jesus' sacrificial death by crucifixion and his resurrection along with the doctrine of the Trinity, the Koran dramatically alters the Gospel message from what the Christians had believed from the earliest times after Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, and for over five hundred years before Mohammed. This means that the Koran's version of the Gospel of Jesus is a different version than the Gospel taught by Paul.

At this point, it is necessary for us to establish the mean of the word "Gospel." As the definitions below indicate, even the English word "Gospel" is a translation of a Greek Word "evangel," which means "good news."

"Gospel - [M.E.,= good news; evangel from Gr.,= good news]..." - The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001.

"Gospel - ETYMOLOGY: Middle English, from Old English gdspel (ultimately translation of Greek euangelion): gd, good; see good + spel, news." - The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

As the dictionary entry above states, the English word Gospel is "ultimately" a translation from the Greek word "euangelion." Consequently, this is the exact Greek word that occurs throughout the New Testament. The Strong's Concordance definition of this New Testament Greek word appears below.

2098 euaggelion {yoo-ang-ghel'-ee-on}
from the same as 2097; TDNT - 2:721,267; n n
1) a reward for good tidings
2) good tidings

As you can see from the definition above, euaggelion is derived from the verb form euaggelizo, which is defined below.

2097 euaggelizo {yoo-ang-ghel-id'-zo}
from 2095 and 32; TDNT - 2:707,*; v
1) to bring good news, to announce glad tidings

From these definitions above, we can see that in both English and New Testament Greek, the word "gospel" simply means "good news."

And here is where we arrive at the point of this segment. For, not only does the Koran teach a different version of the Gospel than what is recorded in the New Testament, but the Koran also claims itself to be a gospel from God for mankind. Consider the following quotes from the Koran.

Proclaim good tidings to those who have faith and do good works. They shall dwell in gardens watered by running streams: whenever they are given fruit to eat they will say: 'This is what we used to eat before,' for they shall be given the like. Wedded to chaste spouses, they shall abide therein for ever. (Koran, p. 12, 2:23, 2nd Para.)

People of the Book! Our apostle has come to you with revelations after an interval which saw no apostles, lest you say: 'No one has come to give us good news or to warn us.' Now someone has come to give you good news and to warn you. (Koran, p, 82, 5:19, 1st Para.)

A Book, whose verses are perfected and then made plain, from Him who is wise and all knowing: Serve none but God. I am sent to you from Him to warn you and to give good tidings. (Koran, p. 156, 11:1, 1st Para. - 2nd Para.)

When We change one verse for another (God knows best what He reveals), they say: 'You are an imposter.' Indeed most of them have no knowledge. Say: 'The Holy Spirit brought it down from your Lord in truth to reassure the faithful, and to give guidance and good news to those that submit.' (Koran, p. 194, 16:101 - p. 195, 16:102.)

We have revealed the Koran with Truth, and with the Truth it has come down. We have sent you forth only to proclaim good news and to give warning. We have divided the Koran into sections so that you may recite it to the people with deliberation. We have imparted it by gradual revelation. (Koran, p. 205, 17:103, 2nd Para. - 4th Para.)

We send Our apostle only to proclaim good news and to give warning. But with false arguments the unbelievers seek to confute the truth, deriding My revelations and My warning. (Koran, p. 210, 18:56.)

We have revealed to you the Koran in your own tongue that you may thereby proclaim good tidings to the upright and give warning to a contentious nation. (Koran, p. 219, 19:88, 3rd Para.)

We have sent you only to proclaim good news and to give warning. Say: 'I demand of you no recompense for this. Let him who will, take the right path to his Lord.' (Koran, p. 256, 25:48, 7th Para.)

Prophet, We have sent you forth as a witness, a bearer of good tiding, and a warner; one who shall call men to God by His leave and guide them like a shining light. (Koran, p. 297, 33:45.)

We have sent you forth to all mankind, so that you may give them good news and forewarn them. But most men have no knowledge. They ask: 'When will this promise be fulfilled, if what you say be true?' (Koran, p. 302, 34:21, 2nd Para. - 34:26, 3rd Para.)

We have sent you with the Truth to proclaim good news and to give warning; for there is no community that has not had a warner. If they disbelieve you, know that those who have gone before them also disbelieved. Their apostles came to them with veritable signs, with scriptures, and with the light-giving Book. But in the end I smote the unbelievers: and how terrible was the way I disowned them! (Koran, p. 306, 35:19, 1st Para. - 2nd Para.)

Revealed by the Compassionate, the Merciful: a Book of revelations well expounded, an Arabic Koran for men of knowledge. It proclaims good news and a warning: yet most men turn their backs and pay no heed. (Koran, p. 334, 41:1 - p. 335: 41:8.)

Yet before it the Book of Moses was revealed: a guide and a blessing. The Book confirms it. It is revealed in the Arabic tongue, to forewarn the wrongdoers and to give good tidings to the righteous. (Koran, p. 354, 46:10, 3rd Para.)

We have sent you forth as a witness and as a bearer of good news and warnings, so that you may have faith in God and His apostle and that you may assist Him, honour Him, and praise Him morning and evening. (Koran, p. 360, 48:8.)

And it is also interesting to note that in addition to preaching a different version of Jesus' Gospel and asserting itself as a Gospel, the Koran is also believed to have been delivered to Mohammed through the angel Gabriel.

"Muhammad- About 610, as he reflected on such matters, Muhammad had a vision of a majestic being (later identified with the angel Gabriel) and heard a voice saying to him, "You are the Messenger of God." This marked the beginning of his career as messenger (or apostle) of God (rasul Alla H ), or Prophet (nabi )." - Britannica.com

"Islam- The Qur'an (literally, Reading, or Recitation) is regarded as the Word, or Speech, of God delivered to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel." - Britannica.com

And, the Koran itself makes this same declaration.

Say: 'Whoever is an enemy of Gabriel' (who has by God's grace revealed to you the Koran as a guide and joyful tiding for the faithful, confirming previous scriptures) 'whoever is an enemy of God, His angels, or His apostles, or of Gabriel or Michael, will surely find that God is the enemy of the unbelievers.' (Koran, p. 19, 2:93, 6th Para. - 2:98.)

So, while the Koran preaches a different version of Jesus' Gospel and itself claims to be a Gospel from God delivered to mankind by the angel Gabriel, the Apostle Paul, who was known and endorsed by the original disciples of Jesus Christ, pronounces a curse upon any man or angel that preaches any gospel that differs from the Gospel handed down by the apostles in the New Testament. Far from being joyful tidings confirming previous scriptures as claimed in the quote above, the Koran is actually a gospel forbidden by the previous Judeo-Christian scriptures and contradicting the words of Gabriel recorded in those very same previous scriptures (see Luke 1:26-35 above.)

The culmination of these facts is that not only does the Koran contradict the New Testament Judeo-Christian Gospel, but the New Testament words of Paul accepted by Christians since the earliest times and for five hundred years before Mohammed actually rule out the very possibility that the Koran's Gospel could ever be accepted in accordance with Christian teachings. The result is that the creation of the most direct and explicit contradiction between the Koran and Judeo-Christian scriptures. The Koran denies the fundamental teaching of the Judeo-Christian scriptures and the Judeo-Christian scriptures expressly discount any possibility that the Koran is correct.

Conclusion of Comparisons

At the start of this compounded series of segments, we thoroughly established the fact that in the Koran, Mohammed repeatedly affirms the divine origin and trueness of Judeo-Christian apostles and scriptures in order to confirm his own authenticity. We have also now thoroughly demonstrated the very clear extent to which the Koran itself contradicts the very apostles and scriptures it affirms as the true work of God. Consequently, since Mohammed's evidence for the Koran and Islam are based entirely upon appeals to these other scriptures combined with the assertion that the Koran is flawless, the entire supportive evidence for the Koran and Islam has been wiped out as a result of these contradictions with Judeo-Christian scripture. This is particularly the case since, as we have seen, Mohammed repeatedly and explicitly condemns any attempt to discriminate against or accept only portions of the previously revealed scriptures.

The conclusion to our comparative survey of the Koran and Judeo-Christianity is simply this. Mohammed has asserted himself as man sent from God to correct two religions that are established with their own scriptures and predate him by over five hundred and well over two thousand years respectively. Mohammed's teaching contradicts the fundamental teaching of both of these religions. And the result of Mohammed's revision of these existing religions is to make Mohammed himself the pinnacle and greatest figure of them both. The practical result is that Mohammed himself receives both a means of income through the spoils of war as well as unquestionable political authority among his followers. Mohammed performs no miracles and offers no evidence to substantiate his claim to have been sent with God's message. And Mohammed spreads his religion through obligatory military fighting and by providing financial benefits to both converts and combatants who fight to spread his religion.

In summary, there is no reason for any objective theist to believe that Mohammed's message is from God or that Mohammed is anything more than a man preaching a self-serving message that was spread by the normal, natural human efforts of war and financial benefit.

Explaining the Success of Islam

At this point we will leave aside for a moment, the fact that Mohammed and the Koran are self-contradictory and disproved by the very apostles and scriptures, which they uphold and appeal to as divine truth. Instead, we will move on to answer another pressing question. According to the Columbia Encyclopedia there are about 1 billion Muslims in the world today.

"Islam - There are more than 1 billion Muslims worldwide, fewer than one fifth of whom are Arab. Islam is the principal religion of much of Asia, including Indonesia (which has the world's largest Muslim population), Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, the Arabian Peninsula states, and Turkey." - The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001.

While certainly this number was not so large right away, Islam did grow rapidly to become the leading religion in Arabia during Mohammed's life and throughout the Middle East in the first few centuries that followed.

This successful spreading of Islam is yet another evidence that might be offered to substantiate the divine origin of Islam. As such, the successful spread of Islam provides additional grounds to categorize Islam within the group of Evidentiary religions. But does the successful spreading of Islam throughout the Arab world within such a short period of time provide evidence of God-given success?

Here the answer is a resounding "no." To put it simply, the rapid rise of Islam in the Arab world during the lifetime of Mohammed and shortly afterward resulted directly from the militant nature of Islam and the emphasis on acquiring territory, loyalty, spoils, and inevitably converts through armed conquest and forced conversion under threat of execution.

This section of our article will demonstrate both from common reference sources as well as from the Koran itself that Islam was inherently a militant religion from its very start. Therefore, this section will also demonstrate that it was not convincing evidence or divine backing that led to Islam's rapid spread throughout the Arab world. Instead, it was military conquest, which forced people into subjection under Muslim rule that led to the rise of the Islamic religion.

Below we have included some excerpts from standard encyclopedias to demonstrate the undisputable reality that Islam was advanced, not through convincing proofs or divine power, but through simple, human military conquest. And not only that, but these excerpts will demonstrate that even though Mohammed was able to greatly advance Islam in the relatively short span of his own life, his military efforts were a mixture of successes and failures.

Now, someone might very well point out that Judaism, too, has its share of militant conquest REQUIRED BY the teaching of Moses and carried out under Joshua as the Israelites took over the Promised Land. And furthermore, the Israelites also had quite a mixture of military successes as well as military failures. While this is true, it is necessary to point out that the authors of this website do not appeal to the Israelites conquering of the Promise Land as evidence validating the divine origin of Judaism. (Additionally, we believe that the New Testament forbids Christians from waging war, and so we do not appeal to military victory as proof of Christianity.) Since we do not appeal to Jewish military conquest as proof for the validity of Judaism, it is perfectly legitimate for us to argue that Islam's military success doesn't prove the validity of Islam.

At this point we will advance forward to establish the military history of Islam and how it is militant conquest, not a divine mandate, which is responsible from the very onset for the spread of Islam. Once again, please excuse the number of quotes below. We simply wanted to thoroughly establish this most significant and undeniable fact. And rather asking you to take our word for it, we'd rather spell out the facts of history in detail from more established sources than ourselves. Our format will be to establish the chronology of Islam's rise through militant conquest by using standard encyclopedia information. This will then be followed by quotes from the Koran itself regarding the same topic.

The first thing that we need to know as we learn about the militant conquest that brought Islam to prominence within Mohammed's lifetime, is how the military fighting got started. For us, the story begins with the number of people who followed Mohammed prior to his flight from his hometown of Mecca to Medina.

"Muhammad - By proclaiming this message publicly, Muhammad gained followers—39, it is said—before he entered the house of al-Arqam. The names of 70 followers are known prior to the appearance of opposition to the new religion, and there were probably more." - Britannica.com

"Muhammad - In the summer of 621, 12 men from Medina, visiting Mecca for the annual pilgrimage to the Ka'bah (still a pagan shrine), secretly professed themselves Muslims to Muhammad and went back to make propaganda for him at Medina. At the pilgrimage in June 622 a representative party of 75 persons from Medina, including two women, not merely professed Islam but also took an oath to defend Muhammad as they would their own kin...Muhammad now encouraged his faithful Meccan followers to make their way to Medina in small groups, and about 70 emigrated thus...With his chief lieutenant he slipped away unperceived, used unfrequented paths, and reached Medina safely on September 24, 622. This is the celebrated hijrah (Latin Hegira), which may be rendered "emigration," though the basic meaning is the severing of kinship ties. It is the traditional starting point of Islamic history." - Britannica.com

Before his historic and famous flight to Medina in 622 AD, Mohammed had managed to gather unto himself perhaps a two hundred or more followers from these 2 cities. The names of 70 Meccan Muslims were known prior to his flight to Medina. And by the time of Mohammed's flight to Medina, there were still only about 70 followers who immigrated to Medina with him. Likewise, the 12 men from Medina who had visited Mecca in 621 AD brought back a party of 75 Muslims from Medina on the same annual pilgrimage the following year. Numerically, this brings the total of documented Muslims to around 140-150 in the year 622 AD. If we assume that the 75 pilgrims from Medina were only representative of a larger number of Muslims in Medina, we might imagine that perhaps there were as many as a few hundred or more Muslims at that time.

The key here is the Muslim emigrants who followed Mohammed from Mecca to Medina, as we'll see in the next excerpt.

"Muhammad - The emigrants (muhajirun, the men from Mecca) were at first guests of brother Muslims in Medina, but Muhammad cannot have contemplated this situation continuing indefinitely. A few emigrants carried on trade in the local market run by a Jewish clan. Others, with the approval of Muhammad, set out in normal Arab fashion on razzias (ghazawat, "raids") in the hope of intercepting Meccan caravans passing near Medina on their way to Syria." - Britannica.com

From the quote above we should note the word "razzias," which means "raids." The Muslim emigrants started out as guests with the Muslims of Medina. But in no time they began to engage in raids against Meccan caravans traveling nearby to their new home city of Medina. This is significant for several reasons.

First, these raids or "razzias" not only mark the start of militant Islam, but they demonstrate that this military combat was there from the very beginning when Mohammed and his small group of followers first fled to Medina.

Second, these raid or "razzias" also demonstrate at the materialistic motive these emigrants had for following Mohammed and Islam. Consider the next quote, a portion of which we already included above.

"Muhammad - The names of 70 followers are known prior to the appearance of opposition to the new religion, and there were probably more. Most were young men under 30 when they joined Muhammad. They included sons and brothers of the richest men in Mecca, though they might be described as persons excluded from the most lucrative forms of commerce.- Britannica.com

These 70 Muslim emigrants who began the raids of Meccan caravans consisted mostly of young men under 30 who were related to wealthy businessmen in Mecca but were themselves personally excluded from the "most lucrative forms of commerce." And what do these "excluded" relatives of rich Meccan merchants do when they flee to Medina? They begin raiding the commercial caravans in order to provide for themselves.

(Continued in next section.)

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