we all struggle to understand the terror and tragedy of September 11th,
many are now asking questions about the religion of Islam. Clearly, the
evidence points to Islamic fundamentalists as the perpetrators of this
horrifying attack on America. A close look at the Koran, a book Muslims
believe to be the word of God, reveals some possible motivations for the
suicide mission of the hijackers. But first, we must clear up some common
misconceptions. Muslims, Jews and Christians do not worship the same God. "Whoever
denies the Son does not have the Father" (1 John 2:23).
"Islam" does not mean "peace." It means
"submission" to Allah. The word for peace in Arabic is "salam"
not "islam." Islam has been a religion of conversion by
force ever since its founder Muhammad rode into Mecca on a stallion with a
sword in the 7th century. The Koran calls Muslims to participate in a jihad
or a holy war against the enemies of Islam. Those who die for the cause of
Allah are the only Muslims who are guaranteed paradise. "Think not of
those who are slain in God’s way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their
sustenance in the presence of their Lord" (Surah 3:169). The Muslims
who crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were engaged in a
holy war against America. They gave up their lives believing they were
assured of paradise.
While the majority of Muslims may not
embrace terrorism, an estimated 15% are militant fundamentalists who are
bent on world dominion. Their world consists of two groups of
people—"true Islam" and "infidels." Infidels are
unbelievers of Islam, including those who profess Jesus is God (Surah
5:17). According to the Koran Muslims are to "make war on the
infidels who dwell around you" (Surah 9:122). "Kill them
wherever you find them...if they attack you put them to the sword...Fight
against them until idolatry is no more and Allah’s religion reigns
supreme...If any one attacks you, attack him as he attacked you" (Surah
2:190-4). "When the sacred months are over, slay the idolaters
wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush
everywhere for them" (Surah 9:5). Ever since the end of the Gulf War,
Muslims have been outraged with the presence of "infidel" troops
based in the "holy" land of Saudi Arabia. This explains their
anger toward America, which they call the "Great Satan."
Considering how Islam is so opposed to
Christianity, we find it fascinating that the Vatican has included the
Muslims in their plan of salvation (Catechism of the Catholic Church
[CCC], para. 84). Nearly 50 years ago, Roman Catholic Bishop Fulton Sheen
predicted that Islam would be converted to Catholicism "through a
summoning of the Moslems to a veneration of the Mother of God."
He reasoned, "The Koran...has many passages concerning the Blessed
Virgin. First of all, the Koran believes in her Immaculate Conception and
also in her Virgin Birth. Mary, then, is for the Moslems the true Sayyida,
or Lady." 1 More recently in a 1998 message to Islamic leaders,
Pope John Paul II declared a unity of spirit already exists. He said,
"There remains a spiritual bond which unites us and which we must
strive to recognize and develop." At first glance, unity between
Muslims and Catholics seems very unlikely but after a closer examination
of the two religions we find much in common. Like Islam, Roman Catholicism
has also offered spiritual inducements to those who put Christians to
death. The Vatican offered plenary indulgences (the remission of
punishment for sin) to those who killed "heretics." Those who
died in such battles were offered immediate entrance into heaven. Other
similarities between the two religions include the following:
The Bible is Insufficient and Corrupted
• Islam includes the Koran as the Word of
God and declares the Bible is corrupt because the words of Jesus have been
corrupted (Surah 2:75-79).
• Roman Catholicism includes its
tradition as the Word of God by pronouncing, "Sacred Tradition and
Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God"
(CCC, 97). Thus the Word of God becomes corrupted by the traditions of
Salvation by Works
• Muslims have five obligations: 1)
publicly recite the Shahadah—"There is no god but Allah
and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah"; 2) offer prayers fives
times a day while facing Mecca; 3) give alms; 4) fast during the month of
Ramadan to include abstaining from food, drink, smoking and sexual
relations during daylight; and 5) make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once
in a lifetime. Allah will judge the deeds of all Muslims on the scale of
absolute justice. The weight of their good deeds must exceed their
bad deeds to avoid hell and gain heaven. Every soul shall be paid in full
what it has earned.
• Catholics have eight obligations: 1)
baptism; 2) love God and neighbor; 3) obey God’s commandments; 4)
receive the sacraments; 5) pray; 6) do good works; 7) preserve God’s
friendship until death; and 8) have faith. 2 Catholics "obtain the
joy of heaven, as God’s eternal reward for the good works
accomplished with the grace of Christ" (CCC, 1821). Catholics are
taught, "We can merit for ourselves and for others all the
graces needed to attain eternal life" (CCC, 2027).
Purification is Necessary
• Muslims who purify themselves receive
paradise as a reward. "Gardens of Eternity... such is the reward of
those who purify themselves" (Surah 20:76).
• Catholics "who die...imperfectly
purified... undergo a purification after death, so as to achieve the
holiness necessary to enter the joy of God" (CCC, 1054).
No Savior or Assurance of Salvation
• Islam has no savior, no grace and no
means of divine forgiveness. Muslims can never know if their works will be
• Roman Catholicism has no savior that is
sufficient to save sinners completely. Catholic salvation is
conditional and is based on what each Catholic does for God
instead of what God has done. Purgatory and indulgences are
necessary because the "Catholic Jesus" is unable to save completely.
Christ’s Atoning Sacrifice Rejected
• Islam teaches that Jesus Christ was
neither crucified nor resurrected. Therefore, salvation is not possible
• Catholicism denies that the crucifixion
of Jesus was sufficient to pay the complete punishment for sin. Rome also
denies His atoning sacrifice was finished. Because of this erroneous
teaching, Catholics are obligated to participate in the work of their
redemption, which continues daily as "another Jesus" is
presented on Catholic altars, as a sacrificial victim for sin (CCC, 1367,
Converts to Other Faiths Are Condemned
• The Koran teaches: "If anyone
desires a religion other than Islam... in the Hereafter, he will be in the
ranks of those who have lost" (Surah 3:85).
• Catholics "could not be
saved" if they do not remain in the Catholic Church (CCC, 846).
Jews and Christians are Cursed
• Muslims are taught: "O ye who
believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and
protectors: God’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the
Truth!" (Surah 5:51; 9:30).
• The Vatican refused to recognize Israel
as a sovereign nation for nearly 46 years after its rebirth in 1948. Adolf
Hitler, who boasted, "I am now as before a Catholic and will always
remain so," believed he was doing God’s will by exterminating six
million Jews. He said, "By fighting the Jews I do battle for the
Lord." The Roman Catholic Church has also put to death hundreds of
thousands of Christians and continues to curse them with over 100
Wide Road to Destruction
Islam and Roman Catholicism represent the two largest
religions in the world. There are a reported 1.2 billion Muslims and 1
billion Roman Catholics who have been blinded by the god of this world (2
Cor. 4:4). Many are on the wide road that leads to destruction and are
unaware of the horror that awaits them. Unacquainted with the only
trustworthy source for truth, they are unaware they have been deceived.
Their only hope in finding the small gate and the narrow road that leads
to eternal life is to call upon the Lord Jesus. For there is no
distinction between Jew and Greek (or Muslim and Catholic); for the same
Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him; for
"Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved."
How then shall they call upon Him in whom they
have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not
heard? (Rom. 10:12-14).
Christians must recognize the great
responsibility our Lord has entrusted to us—to tell the world of His
redeeming grace. He has called us to be His ambassadors, to take His
Gospel to a lost and dying world. We need to do this with a sense of
urgency for God does not promise anyone tomorrow (Jas. 4:14).
As the rescue workers searched through the collapsed
buildings in New York and Washington, nothing hindered their efforts to
save those who were perishing. Nothing impeded their efforts to save
lives—not fear, danger, heat, smoke, rain, hunger, fatigue, lack of
sleep or the allurements of the world. What an example these heroes have
been for Christians who are surrounded by people who are perishing in a
fallen world. We do not know when the next tragedy will occur or when our
loved ones and neighbors will live their last day. Let us take our
responsibility and privilege as seriously as the rescue workers and the
apostle Paul took theirs. "For this reason I
endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, that they also may
obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal
glory" (2 Tim. 2:10).
1 Dave Hunt, A Woman Rides the Beast (Harvest
House Publishers, 1994), p. 458.
2 Priest William J. Cogan, A Catechism for Adults (Cogan
Productions, Inc. 1990), p. 50.
Mr. Mike Gendron
Mr. Greg Durel
Carlos Tomas Knott