Bible Studies/Islam vs Christianity
QUESTION: Rev Murphy, I am hoping you can help me out as I would love advice from an experienced pastor. I have been dating a Muslim convert for the past year and at first i must admit i was a bit intrigued by him simply because I had not met any Muslims outside of my deployment in Afghanistan let alone a Hispanic raised as a Christian, convert. He has practiced Islam for the past 7 yrs and is very knowledgeable of the Quran as well as the Bible. I have never felt inferior for being a Christian but it seems when he speaks of Islam and the contradictions in the Bible i feel a bit inferior. What can I do to avoid this? I have felt myself over the past months actually feeling agitated with his religion and not respectful as I was in the beginning of the relationship. At first I felt that as long as we had strong faith in whatever we believed in and it made us a better person then thatís all that mattered. But now I catch myself feeling things would be so much better if he was a Christian. Is this wrong of me for having these feelings? Any advice you can give me will be helpful. I just need some spiritual guidance on this. Thank you
ANSWER: Hello Danielle. First I would like to thank you for writing and giving me the opportunity to help you in this dilemma.
Danielle there are many things, obvious and hidden that are very important in answering your question. Please understand that in order to get an accurate understanding of what is going on between you two, you must be willing to face some truths of your own.
So please examine very closely what I am about to write to you. I will address your question breaking it down into parts that are of concern:
You: "at first i must admit i was a bit intrigued by him simply because I had not met any Muslims outside of my deployment in Afghanistan let alone a Hispanic raised as a Christian, convert."
Reply:We are often intrigued with people that have strong beliefs, passionate arguments, extensive knowledge etc., etc. It is of no surprise that you would be intrigued by a Muslim especially seeing that they study very hard and are faithful to what they believe(in most cases). In this case, I would venture to say that one of the questions you had was ; What made you leave Christianity? Then: What is it about Islam that made you convert? Am I correct?
If I am correct, you will find those two questions is what had you in awe, for you were simply curious and looking for answers.
You: "He has practiced Islam for the past 7 yrs and is very knowledgeable of the Quran as well as the Bible. "I have never felt inferior for being a Christian but it seems when he speaks of Islam and the contradictions in the Bible i feel a bit inferior.
Reply: Danielle, I stated that there are truths you must face. Please take no offense to what I am about to state. First, ask yourself; Is he really knowledgeable of the Bible? Are you knowledgeable of the Bible? This is where the problem begins to unfold.
In Islam, although certain books of the Bible are recognized as divine; Tawrat(Torah or books of moses), Zabur (Psalms) and Injil (Gospel as revealed by Jesus);all books prior to the Quran are held as corrupt and not held as a source of guidance, all guidance is to come from the Quran.
So as you can see, the best he can offer you is a view of the Bible that is based on it being corrupt and then corrected by the Quaran. So his knowledge is not of the Bible, but of the Quran and misinterpretation of scriptures as taught to him.
Now we must ask this also. In the 6 years prior to you becoming involved with this man, and in the year of your companionship, how much have you studied your Bible? Went to Bible class? Church, Mass or Sunday School?
You must understand that you are dealing with a person well studied in his beliefs, if you are not well studied in yours, there is little you can do to defend what you say you believe. This is what causes a person to feel "inferior" and allows the other person to "seem" "superior". Notice I said "SEEM".
As for contradictions in the Bible, there are non. There are no corruption etc..etc. What is corrupted are the interpretations of the Scriptures throughout the centuries. The same way the Quran, existing in its original state since revelation to Muhammad is misinterpreted to support extremist beliefs.
You: "What can I do to avoid this?"
1. PRAY for wisdom and understanding.
2.Study your Bible and attend Church and Classes Regularly
3. Avoid religious debates with him. Listen to him, question him, but do not engage until you are on stable ground.
4. Do not seek to convert him back to Christianity and do not fight being converted to Islam. If you study and stick fast to your beliefs, God himself will guide the steps and provide what is needed.
You: "I have felt myself over the past months actually feeling agitated with his religion and not respectful as I was in the beginning of the relationship."
Reply: Danielle, why are you bothered by his religion? Is it because you don't understand it, you do not agree with it, or both? You must remain respectful of his beliefs although you may disagree. Remember, he does not agree with your Christian beliefs. If you are going to remain in this relationship, or continue to be friends, respect of the paths that are chosen is key. You don't have to agree, just respect his choice as you would like for him to respect yours.
You:" At first I felt that as long as we had strong faith in whatever we believed in and it made us a better person then thatís all that mattered. But now I catch myself feeling things would be so much better if he was a Christian. Is this wrong of me for having these feelings?"
Reply: Danielle, would you have felt the same way if he were an atheist? There are many people we would consider good that are atheist. They are respectful, some are humble, and most believe that all they have to do is be respectful and treat others with love. Atheists belive that those principles make them a better person. I would say with certainty that the problem would be that this person doesn't believe in God.
So no, it isn't wrong for you feeling the way you do. It would be easier if he were a Christian. For him, it would be easier if you were Muslim. The common ground would be your beliefs. At some point, when people of different beliefs have joined together, someone has to make a decision to change or there will always be a division between them.
Now you asked me for spiritual advice and at the end of this writing I will share scripture and explanation. I tried to answer this in a way that would make you question and review yourself. One of the hardest things in answering you was knowing at the core of your writing is the "hidden" question of can the relationship work. It is obvious that you care for this person. If this were just a friendship, I would immediately say yes if the respect of each others beliefs is present.
Danielle, actually there is a blessing in you meeting and dating this man. He has challenged your beliefs. In doing so, it has made you feel as you say "inferior" and unknowledgeable about the Bible which is the rule and guide of your claiming "Christianity".
One of the things that is happening to you is a call to get closer to your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and come into an "Accurate" knowledge of him and the Holy Word. This can only be done by Study:
2 Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Please allow me now to share and explain relevant scripture:
2 Corinthians 6:14
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Please do not take this the wrong way. I am not judging Islam and saying it is dark and Satanic, nor am I calling him unrighteous. I am sharing this with you to give you insight:
Here the Bible is telling us not to bind ourselves with people of different belief. People who do not believe. This applies to people with no belief in God, as well as those who are of a Religion that does not believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. If we do so, then we are on unequal ground, unstable and subject to constant division. So much so, that we face the risk of giving up all we believe to adopt the belief of the other.
At this point, you two are unequally yoked. So as far as your relationship with this man and spiritual advice is concerned...Pray, Study, let your beliefs show in your actions. God himself will place the answers to all else in your heart and will guide you through whatever is to be.
I hope this helps you, if there is anything that needs to be clarified or if I can help further, please do not hesitate to follow up.
God Bless and Keep You
Rev. Darryl Murphy
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Rev Murphy,
First I want to say thank you so much for your answer. Being in the military and having to jump around it has been difficult for me to find someone that I can look to for spiritual advice. Your response has clarified a lot for me and is what I really need at this time. In your reply you stated " Do not seek to convert him back to Christianity..." This is something that only lately I am struggling with. My feelings have been so strong these past couple of months in feeling that in order for our relationship to grow and flourish our difference in faiths will hold us back. A God fearing man is a quality I respect and love I just never thought about well what if yes he's a God fearing man but we don't share the same God.
Hello Danielle, I hope all is well with you. First please forgive me for taking so long to respond, I actually just saw that you had followed up.
I am very glad that I was able to help and you are correct, the difference in Faiths will hold you back. Actually it could destroy the relationship all together.
If you will allow, I have only one more thing that I could offer you to help along the way:
5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
It has been a while since we communicated so I am not sure where you are at this time with your relationship. Emotions and desire can be a very hard thing to overcome and can cause us to make wrong decisions and use human logic to justify them making them seem to be ok.
Since this is a matter of the heart turn to the creator for your answers and he will direct you and give you the answers you seek.
God Bless and Keep You: