At the outset we should like the reader, to attempt the all but impossible: To approach this book impartially and reach a conclusion unemotionally, on the basis of the facts presented. You have more likely than not already made a decision in your mind as to your religious convictions. This is generally affected by: one's environment; religious instruction received; rites and festivals observed; and the piety of parents, relatives and friends - in fact the whole context of life. The inherent intolerant and jealous attitude of religious groups and societies, which we are not out to criticise, has aggravated this situation.

That is the obvious reason why probably 99% of all those who are labelled "Christian" consider themselves to be such and, why those, labelled "Muslims" adhere to Islam. Those crossing the barriers of their religion are very few indeed, and the majority of these again have matrimonial motives and few indeed take this step after search and enquiries into and comparison between the content of truth in their former and adopted religions.

This rather blunt statement can easily be verified by posing the question: How many followers of a particular religion know other religions well enough to form a good and reasonably unbiased opinion of them? How many, without attaining their knowledge merely to find fault, know enough to be able to establish the truth to be found in such religions?

We believe that Truth is not negotiable or divisible, and as such it is absolute. Truth excludes "truths". If the latter do not agree with the former they are lies or at best errors. We refer to divine Truth - Truth from God and about God; about His purposes; and about mans destiny. It is obvious that two conflicting statements cannot both be Truth, nor can they have the same source. Consequently, the believer of established Truth can have no tolerance towards non-truth. The only aspect in question may be the mode applied to establish the truth.

Religious tolerance is lack of love for the Truth - and the Author of the Truth. It is also a total absence of love, care and compassion for the one groping in darkness - and dying in darkness! Religious intolerance is a sickening form of self-deception. Likewise, the fear of exposing one's own beliefs through the honest study of "another truth" is part of this self-deception. Truth must be evident! Truth must be evidenced too! It will not be the religious "consumer" who arrives at the Truth, but the honest seeker.

But sincerity alone is insufficient. It is the object that matters: God and His revelation.

The honest seeker after God must be ready and willing from the beginning to forsake, even at a high price, what has been established as untruth. That demands courage and character. It is much easier to remain undisturbed in one's religious ghetto - believing what all believe, doing what all do, and going where all go - even if this involves hypocrisy.

I have compiled these notes, because it took me 12 years to find the edge of Truth: We became real Christians. Twenty years have passed since then, involving a substantial degree of study of the Bible and of the faiths of my fellow pilgrims in this world of ours.

After having moved to Cape Town, we, i.e. my wife and myself, met a number of Muslims, some of whom became our friends. We were challenged anew, this time by Islam. We exposed ourselves to the criticism by Muslims of the Christian faith and of the Bible. We also exposed ourselves to what Muslims have to say about Islam. Determined to be conscientious about this matter, we were not satisfied merely hearing about Islam. We were determined to find out for ourselves. Several translations of the "Holy Qur'an", sets of Hadis, books on Islam and by Islamic scholars, and Islamic books on Christianity were acquired to study Islam first-hand from original, untainted and unsifted sources.

After devoting the necessary time to these studies - which were conducted with as little prejudices as one is capable of while holding firm convictions - we reached certain conclusions. To help all others who are dedicated to finding the Truth of God at all costs, our findings along the path we took have been outlined here. They can help a seeker find answers faster and with less distraction.

The seeker after God should not merely accept our conclusions, but is asked rather to look at the evidence to verify our conclusions and reach his own conclusions before the living God. Sentimental polemics about this subject are futile. They lead nowhere except to one's present beliefs - never mind how false they are.

A dear Muslim friend of ours once remarked about a certain book that "the facts are right, but the interpretation is wrong." We do not agree that facts should be interpreted to mean what we traditionally and expediently desire them to mean. This same friend actually challenged us to formulate our convictions in writing so as to help establish the Truth of God - and expose religious error or deception. The Danish philosopher S. Kirkegaard once complained that: "Evidence does not determine conviction any longer, but conviction selects its evidences". And it is true that people do back up their religious convictions with suitable and selected arguments, but by this means they will never arrive at an honest conclusion.

Dear reader, you have before you the (very condensed) findings of one who loves God and Truth more than anyone or anything else, but whose love is not blind.

We should like to urge you, the reader, not to set aside this reading before all the evidence has been recognized and verified, or else proved false. There will be statements that may seem monstrous to the Muslim reader, but he should be determined to establish in an honest, unemotional and levelheaded way the truth of such statements without looking for straws to keep him afloat on a cosy sea of familiar concepts.

Gerhard Nehls.

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