Should I convert to Islam?

doubtingthomas

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I understand this topic could get heated. I am merely aiming to discuss the merits I see in Christianity and Islam and the reason these things attract me.

I am choosing to discuss this in an Orthodox Christian forum in order to get a balance of pro-Christian input as I have many resources in terms of getting the Islamic side of the story.

Pros of Islam:

-Believers faithfulness to God
Living in the Middle East allowed me to observe a contrast between Christians and Muslims. The Christians I encountered and lived with were basically Christian by inheritance. Their ancestors were Christian, so they must remain Christian regardless of their actual religious beliefs. Many Christians were lukewarm religiously at best and atheists in other instances. Many Muslims I encountered were dead serious about their religion however, and I saw more "christian" actions from them than Christians. I understand I should not base a religious conversion off the actions of others, but the Muslims I saw and knew were inspiring in their dedication to worship God and help their neighbor.

-A legitimate claim to scriptural purity, and respect derived thereof
Most Christians believe the Bible and especially Gospels are the Word of God. If that is so, why do we not respect the Bible as much as Muslims the Quran? Our Bibles are ugly and poorly made. Every Quran I came across in the Arab world was a stunning work of art that looked like it should be respected. Additionally, the Quran has remained the same for countless years. I realize there are two sides to this story, but not even a Christian would deny the fact that the amount of change undergone by the Bible because of so much translation could have kept the message close to the original.

-Prayer, pilgrimage, fasting, and charity are obligatory
The hajj is monumental and inspiring. It offers us as humans a chance to visually and emotionally realize God being the center of our existence along with others performing the same ritual. Living in Jordan I was not expecting people to be that religious since it is a rather 'westernized' country. I was very wrong. Mosques always had people at prayer times. Why are churches empty, and why is there not this kind of fellowship and dedication to worshiping God in Christianity? (At least to me it's not evident. Efforts are so half-hearted and divided into many denominations)

Cons of Islam:

-Salvation seems placed on the individual
Aka, a lack of grace. In Islam, you basically are saved by your good deeds being weighed against your bad with your level of repentance factored in. Man seems responsible for earning salvation. Who is God that we should deserve anything from Him, much less salvation? No good act, no matter how great should 'impress' God enough for Him to save me.

-Pharasitic (sorry not a word) approach to religion
Islam is about laws governing every aspect of life as explained by God in the Quran and the example and comments of Muhammed. In laws we can lose focus of the big picture: God. However if you look at it as "God as mandated I do X" it's not as bad.

-Apparent mistakes in the Quran
The Quran at one point mentions that the Christian Trinity consists of Jesus, Mary, and God (the Father). This is a clear human misunderstanding of the doctrine as God would know our beliefs better than us and convey them as such in any subsequent revelation. Another mistake is when Mary, Jesus' Mother, is referred to as the 'Sister of Aaron' (confusing her with Miriam, but the names are the same in Arabic). The prophet attempts to explain this in a Hadith by saying "this is how people of old used to refer to people they honored", but Christians who heard this verse and Hadith didn't recognize that as a legit way of referring to respected people, and there is no other instance of this type of address in the Quran.


These verses keep coming back to my head:

"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves...Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." (Matt.)  ---> Islam was spread by war in its beginning.

". . . For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect – if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time" ---> There are cases of many Christians, even priests, converting to Islam
 
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You are absolutely mistaken if you think the Qur'an is any purer than the Christian scriptures in terms of accuracy in copying, transmission, &c. There is cogent and irrefutable evidence of textual/manuscript variation of the Qur'an, which is certainly not obviated by the fact that most Muslims read the Qur'an in its original Arabic (we Greeks read the Christian Scriptures in their original language, too, by the way).

As Christians, we are not troubled by variations in "ta mikra" (minutiae, the "little things") of scripture, as we know that the scripture are not the source of the faith but rather bear witness to it. Whether Moses parted the sea of reeds or the red sea matters not one iota. By contrast, for Muslims, textual inaccuracies are a big problem as it is fundamental to Islam that the Qur'an is the unadulterated word of God, entirely free from all forms of error.

This problem is clearly observable in the extreme lengths many Islamic scholars will go to in order to deny the clear facts of manuscript variation and copying error, just like so many "fundamentalist" Christians who understand the Christian scriptures in the same way Muslims understand the Qur'an. When the documents are the very source of the faith, one will go to any length to defend the uncompromised purity and accuracy of the documents.

I've not addressed any of your other points because, for me, what I've said above is enough to cause Islam to unravel, just like the bones of Jesus Christ, if we discovered them in some tomb somewhere in Israel/Palestine, would cause Christianity to unravel.
 

doubtingthomas

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Mind providing said evidence? I'm honestly curious, not playing devil's advocate.

(And you don't have to be Muslim to read the Quran in Arabic....I read it in Arabic lol)
 
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doubtingthomas said:
Mind providing said evidence? I'm honestly curious, not playing devil's advocate.

(And you don't have to be Muslim to read the Quran in Arabic....I read it in Arabic lol)
For the moment, all I've got is google, but I can make it a bit of a project to retrieve something useful for you if you'd like. Certainly start with google though: it reveals a fair bit.
 

Babalon

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"Recite!" The angel said....



Perhaps you should consider Thelema? ;)


... Or perhaps you should just consider what it is that you actually believe in. What you feel when you wake up in the morning.
What you feel when you read scripture.
What you feel when you "speak to God".

Are you not sure?

Are you confused?

Good, you should be.

Life is a beautiful mystery incapable of explanation through common mediums of conveyance.
Anyone who says they have it all figured out is a liar.

An arrogant liar.

I'm not sure what a forum full of festering ego's is going to offer you in terms of "fair and balanced" spiritual advice.

Love is the law, love under will.
 

doubtingthomas

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You just advertised Thelema to someone considering conversion to Islam?
You're barking up the wrong tree  lol


And thanks for your help Akimori
 

doubtingthomas

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Although I do admit it's peculiar that Muhammed said the proper way to pray was to always include the phrase "...and Muhammed is his messenger".

Jesus never developed any prayers to Himself that we have...He didn't stop people from worshiping Him either...

Something to keep in my mind I guess
 

Achronos

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I'm going to post this link which should help alot:
http://www.answering-islam.org/

I can't wait for Isa to get in on this thread.
 

J.M.C

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doubtingthomas said:
Mind providing said evidence? I'm honestly curious, not playing devil's advocate.

(And you don't have to be Muslim to read the Quran in Arabic....I read it in Arabic lol)
This is an interesting interview, as it is the story of an Iranian (therefore Shi'ite) Muslim's conversion to Orthodoxy. This first part gives the details of the man's rejection of Islam, whereas the second part gives his story of conversion to Orthodoxy. The first part mentions the textual accuracy of the Qu'ran. Put simply, Mohammad died quite suddenly, and at the time no full text of the Qu'ran existed - the various suwar were remembered by numerous of Mohammad's disciples, and only upon his death was any attempt made to compile them. This led to more than one version of the Qu'ran existing. When Uthman became the caliph, just 12 years after Mohammad's death, there were at least three different versions in existence, centered in different communities. It was Uthman who standardized the text and then flooded the Muslim world with this standardized version, proscribing the other versions. 12 years is not long after Mohammad's death, and to have a standardized text so early on might seem like a strength, but as Akimori Makoto mentions, the Muslim claim is that the Qu'ran is the pure unadulterated word of Allah, and that Mohammad is Allah's prophet; no man-made standardization of the text should have been required.
 

chris

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Do you honestly mean to tell me that you believe there is no difference between the Triune Godhead of Christianity and Allah of Islam?

Worshipping is not about observing ethical behavior or determing the 'purity' (as you define it) of texts. Worship is about discovering Truth and standing in its light and fire.

Decide where Truth is first. The rest will then come.
 

bogdan

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doubtingthomas said:
-Believers faithfulness to God
Living in the Middle East allowed me to observe a contrast between Christians and Muslims. The Christians I encountered and lived with were basically Christian by inheritance. Their ancestors were Christian, so they must remain Christian regardless of their actual religious beliefs. Many Christians were lukewarm religiously at best and atheists in other instances. Many Muslims I encountered were dead serious about their religion however, and I saw more "christian" actions from them than Christians. I understand I should not base a religious conversion off the actions of others, but the Muslims I saw and knew were inspiring in their dedication to worship God and help their neighbor.
What you say is true in many cases, to Christianity's shame. But that is not what Christianity is, either.

Would you question a doctor's medical practice if most of his patients refused to take their disease seriously? If they refused to take their medicine? Of course not. You would judge him by his great successes.

Look to the saints. No religion can hold a candle to them. Any one of us can become like them, because the same grace is available to us, if only we take the same serious approach to our faith. They prove the doctor is good and right.


doubtingthomas said:
-A legitimate claim to scriptural purity, and respect derived thereof
Most Christians believe the Bible and especially Gospels are the Word of God. If that is so, why do we not respect the Bible as much as Muslims the Quran? Our Bibles are ugly and poorly made. Every Quran I came across in the Arab world was a stunning work of art that looked like it should be respected. Additionally, the Quran has remained the same for countless years. I realize there are two sides to this story, but not even a Christian would deny the fact that the amount of change undergone by the Bible because of so much translation could have kept the message close to the original.
Muslims view the Quran more like we view Christ — the Truth incarnate. They believe it is a direct dictation of commandments from God, meant to be taken literally in all cases. That is not the Bible. The Bible points us to Christ, it backs up the Truth, but it is not what the Quran is to Muslim.

As for beautiful Bibles, look what's on the Altar of any given Orthodox church — a gold-plated book of the Gospels.

doubtingthomas said:
-Prayer, pilgrimage, fasting, and charity are obligatory
The hajj is monumental and inspiring. It offers us as humans a chance to visually and emotionally realize God being the center of our existence along with others performing the same ritual. Living in Jordan I was not expecting people to be that religious since it is a rather 'westernized' country. I was very wrong. Mosques always had people at prayer times. Why are churches empty, and why is there not this kind of fellowship and dedication to worshiping God in Christianity? (At least to me it's not evident. Efforts are so half-hearted and divided into many denominations)
These things are obligatory for Christians as well. Orthodox Christians are expected to pray at least in the morning and at night and before meals. If you desire more, you can pray the Hours. If you were to pray the 1st, 3rd, 6th, 9th hours and Compline, you would have prayed five times a day, just like Muslims. This frequency is not a requirement for salvation, because we recognize that people need to grow in their faith and quality is better than quantity.

We don't have an equivalent of the Hajj, but pilgrimage to monasteries and holy sites is still recognized as a very valuable exercise. Here's a massive pilgrimage in Russia to venerate the Kursk Root icon:



And again, not all Christians (or Orthodox Christians) do these things. Returning to my first point, this does not reflect the Church's established spiritual regimen. We are free in Christ to come to Him or reject Him. We can be faithful or not. The actions of individual Christians tells something about them, not about the Church, because all the Saints prove Christianity is true and leads to salvation.

 

ialmisry

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doubtingthomas said:
I understand this topic could get heated. I am merely aiming to discuss the merits I see in Christianity and Islam and the reason these things attract me.

I am choosing to discuss this in an Orthodox Christian forum in order to get a balance of pro-Christian input as I have many resources in terms of getting the Islamic side of the story.

Pros of Islam:

-Believers faithfulness to God
Living in the Middle East allowed me to observe a contrast between Christians and Muslims. The Christians I encountered and lived with were basically Christian by inheritance. Their ancestors were Christian, so they must remain Christian regardless of their actual religious beliefs. Many Christians were lukewarm religiously at best and atheists in other instances. Many Muslims I encountered were dead serious about their religion however, and I saw more "christian" actions from them than Christians. I understand I should not base a religious conversion off the actions of others, but the Muslims I saw and knew were inspiring in their dedication to worship God and help their neighbor.
Don't know where you were, but I saw the opposite (though in full disclosure, I haven't been in over a decade).  In fact, many Muslims would ask us Christians for favors because we could be trusted, while their fellow Muslims could not.  There was a socialogical study of the south-east suburbs of Cairo as an example of urbanization, which on the side commented that such beliefs were common among those being studied (nearly all Muslim), that Christians take care of their own, and in addition we take care of Muslims, whereas Muslims cannot be counted own to lend a hand to their fellow Muslims. The study was done in the '80s IIRC.  I know religious tensions increased during the '90s.  I could literally feel it.

I've also noticed that Middle Eastern Christians, coming to the decadent west, will pretty much keep to their old habits, whereas Muslims have a tendency to take advantage of their new found freedom to alcohol, women (or men), etc.

doubtingthomas said:
-A legitimate claim to scriptural purity, and respect derived thereof
Most Christians believe the Bible and especially Gospels are the Word of God. If that is so, why do we not respect the Bible as much as Muslims the Quran? Our Bibles are ugly and poorly made. Every Quran I came across in the Arab world was a stunning work of art that looked like it should be respected. Additionally, the Quran has remained the same for countless years. I realize there are two sides to this story, but not even a Christian would deny the fact that the amount of change undergone by the Bible because of so much translation could have kept the message close to the original.
The majority of Muslims can't read the Quran in the original, so it has to look good, as they have no other use for it.  And it has changed, or rather Arabic has changed, that even Arabic speaking Muslims have difficulty understanding parts.  Indeed, even in Islam's heyday there were parts that the most learned Muslims had to guess at the meaning.

And there was never one text, despite the Umayyads burning all copies and insisting only copies be made from their four exemplars (in contrast, the Romans destroyed any Biblical manuscript they could find, and yet the Bible text we have is comparible to the end result of the Umayyads censorship of the Quran).  There is a 7, 10 or 14 officially received "qira'ah" of the text, something most Muslims are not even aware about, and their scholars do not like to talk about.

doubtingthomas said:
-Prayer, pilgrimage, fasting, and charity are obligatory
The hajj is monumental and inspiring. It offers us as humans a chance to visually and emotionally realize God being the center of our existence along with others performing the same ritual. Living in Jordan I was not expecting people to be that religious since it is a rather 'westernized' country. I was very wrong. Mosques always had people at prayer times. Why are churches empty, and why is there not this kind of fellowship and dedication to worshiping God in Christianity? (At least to me it's not evident. Efforts are so half-hearted and divided into many denominations)
Ask the Shi'ites in Jordan (yes, they do exist) about divisions of many denominations.  The Sunni majority in Jordan keeps that under a lid, but go to Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, where they bomb each other's mosques.

doubtingthomas said:
Cons of Islam:

-Salvation seems placed on the individual
Aka, a lack of grace. In Islam, you basically are saved by your good deeds being weighed against your bad with your level of repentance factored in. Man seems responsible for earning salvation. Who is God that we should deserve anything from Him, much less salvation? No good act, no matter how great should 'impress' God enough for Him to save me.

-Pharasitic (sorry not a word) approach to religion
Islam is about laws governing every aspect of life as explained by God in the Quran and the example and comments of Muhammed. In laws we can lose focus of the big picture: God. However if you look at it as "God as mandated I do X" it's not as bad.

-Apparent mistakes in the Quran
The Quran at one point mentions that the Christian Trinity consists of Jesus, Mary, and God (the Father). This is a clear human misunderstanding of the doctrine as God would know our beliefs better than us and convey them as such in any subsequent revelation. Another mistake is when Mary, Jesus' Mother, is referred to as the 'Sister of Aaron' (confusing her with Miriam, but the names are the same in Arabic). The prophet attempts to explain this in a Hadith by saying "this is how people of old used to refer to people they honored", but Christians who heard this verse and Hadith didn't recognize that as a legit way of referring to respected people, and there is no other instance of this type of address in the Quran.


These verses keep coming back to my head:

"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves...Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." (Matt.)  ---> Islam was spread by war in its beginning.

". . . For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect – if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time" ---> There are cases of many Christians, even priests, converting to Islam
hold those last two thoughts.

Despite what Muslims claim, Muslims do convert to Christ.  The descendants of Jinnah, Father of Pakistan, cannot go to Pakinstan, as they have received baptism.
 

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To answer your question, no you should not convert to Islam.
 

LizaSymonenko

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I agree with Melodist. 

It would be the greatest mistake of your life.

I cannot understand why anyone would wish to join such a cult.

Do some deep research in to that "faith" and you will get your answers.....because if you are searching for God, you will NOT find Him there.

 

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hello ...

i am a Coptic Christian ..

are you sure you want to join this Hatred Cult ??

Compare between Jesus and Muhammad .. these Two are not Equivalent
 

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mikeyseky said:
Compare between Jesus and Muhammad .. these Two are not Equivalent
Agreed. Theoretically and dogmatically and aesthetically speaking Islam is rather sympathetic religion. But Muhammed and Quran ruin everything.
 

mikeyseky

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Muhammad is a Great Military Leader ... he can be Compared To Hitler or Genghis Khan ... but a prophet .. No
 

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Mohammed was a warlord. Jesus was not.

This alone tells you something.
 

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No one can tell you what to be or what is right for you. Pray and Pray some more an ask God to lead you to His truth an when you do this you will find it. If you want some great info an a place to learn more about Islam ran by Muslims send me a message  an I'll send you a link to there web classes. If you want a great place to hear more on Orthodoxy there is AFR http://ancientfaith.com/
 
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