Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

What is Evil?

Part II

By Dallas M. Roark, Ph.D.

Continued from Part I.

We can now turn to evils caused by humans to other humans. There seems to be freedom in the world in which humans have the freedom to do evil things. If there is no freedom there can be no responsibility for evil actions.  If there is no freedom we are merely robots doing what the creator predestined.  If Allah is each moment creating the world anew and humans are merely carrying out his actions, there is no responsibility.  Man’s freedom is far more consequential than freedom expressed in the natural laws or cosmic laws of the universal.  Man’s freedom involves possible moral and spiritual rebellion against God’s moral and spiritual laws.  This freedom also involves positive responses to God’s moral and spiritual laws.

Freedom in the microcosmic world exists and this can bring death to lots of people.  The process can be increased by human activities such as AIDS and other socially transmitted diseases.   Diseases that are not sexually related can be spread through the air and water to bring death to victims.   If all events are caused by Allah, then the death of people by whatever means can be attributed to Allah.   However, the view of the Bible is that humans are free and are responsible for their actions.  Freedom is the foundation requirement for moral responsibility.

In affirming freedom of individuals, evils caused by humans are the worst. C. S.  Lewis has commented that four/fifths of the evils of mankind are caused by humans. (The Problem of Pain, p. 89)  Humans have invented torture, humans have created wars of destruction, they have invented assassination, they have invented weapons for murder and mass destruction, they have invented female mutilation, honor killings, and poisoning. The list could go on.

The nature of human beings becomes an important issue.  Are human beings sacred? Are all humans created in the image of God?  Why did Yahweh command that no murder was to be done?   What is the right way to treat people?  What is the right way to treat your enemies?   We have the examples of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao who are responsible for the death of hundreds of millions in modern times.  Here were horrendous evils perpetrated on innocent people.  Many of these people never knew why they were being killed.   The evil leaders led the way to the destruction of the masses.  These evil leaders were people who hated not only their enemies but any innocent people who got in the way of their own selfish ambitions.

Not only were these horrendous murders, but one is invited to look at the carnage that has taken place with the Muslim invasions shortly after Mohammed’s death.  In a very short time Arabia was unified, Jerusalem, Egypt, and north Africa were conquered.  Through the centuries it is estimated that upwards of 270 million people died due to Islamic conquest.  (Source)

In the case of Hitler, Stalin and Mao they were atheists.  In the case of Islam we have people who believe in a deity, Allah.

These were people who claimed to be religious and who did these massacres in the name of religion.  Pascal’s words come to mind:  “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious convictions.” (Pensees, 894)

Where does this evil impulse come from? Certainly there are people who want to impose their wills on others, but why?

Jesus dealt with the issue of the source of evil.

“Out of your heart come evil thoughts, vulgar deeds, stealing, murder, unfaithfulness in marriage, greed, meanness, deceit, indecency, envy, insults, pride, and foolishness. All of these come from your heart, and they are what make you unfit to worship God.”  (Mark 7:21-23)

In the world today we have the jihadists who hate everyone who is not a jihadist.  Jihadists hate the kafir, they hate the Jews. If they are Sunnis they hate the Shia, if they are Shia they hate the Sunnis.  All of them hate the atheists, the Hindus and other minorities in the Muslim world. Muslims have been killing Christians for centuries.

What kind of evil mind would encourage a 12 year old boy to blow himself up?

News item:  Thursday, February 10, 2011 “A 12-year-old boy in a school uniform blew himself up at a Pakistani army recruitment center Thursday, killing 31 cadets.”  (Source)

The week of January 25, 2011 saw the showing of an anti-Israel film calling for the killing of the Jews. A Hamas imam led the people in prayer with the following part of the prayer:

“Allah is the greatest. He who thanks Allah will be rewarded. Oh Allah, loosen your power and strength on the Jews. (Amen.)Please Allah, kill them all... And don't leave any of them alive. (Amen.) Oh Allah, with your great power. Allah!”  (Source, Jan 25, 2011)

In contrast to the Muslim hatred of the Jews, Yahweh said to the people of Israel:

“I am the LORD your God, the one who brought you out of Egypt where you were slaves.  Do not worship any god except me.   Do not make idols that look like anything in the sky or on earth or in the ocean under the earth.   Don't bow down and worship idols. I am the LORD your God, and I demand all your love. If you reject me, I will punish your families for three or four generations. But if you love me and obey my laws, I will be kind to your families for thousands of generations.” (Exodus 20:2-6)

“Do not take revenge on others or continue to hate them, but love your neighbors as you  love yourself. I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18)

Much later in the history of Israel, Jesus was asked, “who is my neighbor?”  His answer involved the story of the good Samaritan who helped a person in need.   The neighbor is anyone in need.

These are the people of the first covenant, the covenant Yahweh made with Abraham.  Praying to kill them is contrary to the Ten Commandments, contrary to reason, contrary to conscience, and contrary to the will of Yahweh who is the Creator, the One who revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Moses. Moreover praying to kill innocent people is contrary to the will of Yahweh.

We have in historical times two different commands on how to deal with people.  On the one hand we have the words of Jesus, and on the other hand, we have the words of Mohammed.

Jesus said:

“You have heard that it was said, 'Love your friends, hate your enemies.'   But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil.  Why should God reward you if you love only the people who love you? Even the tax collectors do that!  And if you speak only to your friends, have you done anything out of the ordinary? Even the pagans do that!  You must be perfect---just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”  (Matthew 5:43-48)

Jesus did not say you must like your enemies, but you must love them.  The word is agapao in the Greek language.  It involves bestowing value and worth on others. People are made in the image of God and they are of value.  Murdering innocent people is an attack upon the image of God, it is an insult to the Creator. This means that they are human like yourself and must be treated as you would like to be treated.  Jesus said:  “Do for others just what you want them to do for you.” (Luke 6:31)   Important conclusion:  jihad is against the will of Yahweh!!

Jesus does not give a command to force the enemy to conversion. He did not give a command to make a difference in his status as a citizen such as paying extra taxes for protection. He did not give a command to kill the unbelievers.  There is no demeaning attitude on the part of Jesus regarding the enemy.  There is not a word from Jesus about going to war to kill non-believers or any another group of people.

What did Mohammed say?

“Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.” (Qur’an 9:29)

“O you who believe! What (excuse) have you that when it is said to you: Go forth in Allah's way [to Jihad], you should incline heavily to earth; are you contented with this world's life instead of the hereafter? But the provision of this world's life compared with the hereafter is but little.  If you do not go forth [to go on Jihad], He will chastise you with a painful chastisement and bring in your place a people other than you [to go on Jihad], and you will do Him no harm; and Allah has power over all things.” (Qur’an 9:38-39)

"Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war... When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them.... If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them." -- Muhammad (Sahih Muslim, No. 4294)

The practice of Islam is to invite people to submit, and if they do submit, fine.  If they do not convert, they must pay the jizya, or face death.  The history of Islam is unknown to many Muslims. If they were to research it they would find that hundreds of millions of people have been killed in the invasions, conquests, and rule over people.  The evil of killing innocent people cannot be removed from the shoulders of Islam.  It is continuing in the path of taking the lives of people. The Shia are killing the Sunnis, Sunnis are killing the Shia.  Both of them are killing the Christians, both of them hate the Jews, and the pagans.  In one day when Muslims invaded India 300,000 Indian soldiers were put to death because they did not know what to do with the captives.  It is reckoned that since the time of Mohammed Islam has been responsible for the deaths of 270 million people.  That surpasses the deaths caused by the atheists Stalin, Hitler, and Mao. (Source)

And today, they are still slaughtering Christians.  Under Saddam Hussein, there were about 1.5 million Christians in Iraq, today there are about 334,000 left. They are hunted, murdered, driven out of the country. (Source one, Source two)

Muslims are either ignorant about the past, or in denial, or in rejection of the facts.  There are many people leaving Islam because they have become aware of the evils inherent in Islam.

Jesus said, “Watch out for false prophets! They dress up like sheep, but inside they are wolves who have come to attack you.   You can tell what they are by what they do. No one picks grapes or figs from thorn bushes.  A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit.   Every tree that produces bad fruit will be chopped down and burned. You can tell who the false prophets are by their deeds.”  (Matthew 7:15-20)

How can one deal with the differences between Jesus and Mohammed?

First, one can ignore the fact that Jesus killed no one and Mohammed or Allah is responsible for the killing of millions. If Mohammed is not to be blamed, then one has to blame Allah who is said to have commanded Mohammed to jihad.   When one compares the life of Jesus with the life of Mohammed it is impossible to conclude that Mohammed was the model of godliness.  Jesus was sinless.  Only by ignoring the life and character of Mohammed can one conclude he was a godly person.

Second, if one does not make a choice to ignore the issues, then one must ask certain questions.   If Jesus did not kill and taught the fact of forgiveness even to enemies, did God change his mind when Mohammed appeared on the scene?  Over and over the Christian Scriptures affirm Yahweh’s unchanging law and covenant.  One must not forget that the Qur’an affirms the reliability of the Bible as the Word of God.  But in the Qur’an Allah changes his mind about what Allah has revealed to Mohammed.  Many verses have been abrogated by Allah in the claim that a “better” sura or verse is being revealed.   One might well raise the question, if so many verses have been abrogated, how can a Muslim be sure that any of the verses still hold true?   Is Allah still thinking about it all?   Obviously Allah is not consistent, nor rational.  If Allah were rational would he have changed his revelations so many times?  If Allah is all-knowing, did he not know he was making a mistake?  Did he not know that he was giving poor advice to be followed by “better” advice?

Third, one may well raise the question: did Allah really speak to Mohammed?   Would Allah contradict himself?  Did Mohammed make his claims for self-serving purposes as Aisha seemed to imply in the case when Mohammed married Zainab.

One of the most unusual situations occurred when Mohammed went to see Zeid and he was not home. However, his wife was there and appeared at the door in a light garment Arab women wore in the house. Mohammed was overwhelmed by her beauty and exclaimed, "Praise be Allah who changeth the hearts of men!" Zainab heard these words, told her husband who came to divorce her so that Mohammed could marry her. The possibility of scandal arose in the situation but Mohammed had a revelation from Allah affirming his action. Sura 33:37 declares, "When thou saidst to him whom God had blessed and thou hadst favoured, ‘Keep thy wife to thyself, and fear God’ and thou wast concealing within thyself what God should reveal, fearing other men; and God has better right for thee to fear Him. So when Zaid had accomplished what he would of her, then We gave her in marriage to thee, so that there should not be any fault in the believers, touching the wives of their adopted sons, when they have accomplished what they would of them, and God’s commandment must be performed." The response of Ayesha was "Truly thy Lord makes haste to do thy pleasure."  (Tor Andrae, Mohammed, the man and his faith, New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1960, p. 154)

There is little doubt that Mohammed benefitted from his claims of revelation.

There is a further problem in that many Muslims are inclined to believe Mohammed regardless of the questions.  Is it reasonable to suspend all judgments about the character of Mohammed just because he claimed that he was a prophet?  Why should the words of Jesus be rejected and Mohammed’s words accepted when Mohammed did nothing to prove that he was a prophet?

If Mohammed is to be accepted over Jesus because he came later claiming to be a prophet, why not accept Joseph Smith as a prophet since he was later than Mohammed? The issue is not when the prophet came, but did he speak the truth and did he do anything to prove that he was a prophet.  The history of some self-acclaimed prophets after the New Testament times seem to have a propensity to claim that polygamy is the way of life for the prophet.  Therefore, it is obvious that anyone who claims to be a prophet can claim the right to do whatever evil he chooses.

Jesus did miracles, healed the sick, raised the dead, gave sight to the blind, healed the lame, and was raised from death himself.   Mohammed did nothing like this, neither did Joseph Smith.  Moreover, Mohammed called men to do something contrary to their best interests and their rationality – to murder or enslave innocent people, men, women, and children.

There is another issue in raising these questions. What happened to the Muslim conscience?1

The conscience is that part of man’s moral nature that evaluates issues concerning right and wrong.  Conscience seems to have been squelched by the Qur’anic command to obey, to submit.   Submission has no place for questioning, reasoning, and compassion. A Muslim father in Arizona used his car to run down and kill his daughter because he did not approve of her “western” ways.  A Muslim father in Texas kills his two daughters because they are not obedient to Islamic culture.   Did these Muslim fathers ever raised the question of conscience – whether this is right or not?  Submission does not allow for discussion. However, if one is guided by conscience or reason, submission has to be questioned.

If one stops to question the whole issue of blind submission, one has to raise the question of Jesus concerning whether Mohammed was a false prophet or not?

If Jesus was a godly holy person without sin what must one conclude about Mohammed and his teaching?  If Jesus raised the dead, forgave sins, promised everlasting life, and is coming again, why would one want to forsake or ignore Jesus and follow Mohammed?  What did Mohammed ever do for you?   When Jesus declared,   “I am the way, the truth, and the life! ... Without me, no one can go to the Father.” (John 14:6) he did not leave any loop-holes for questionable prophets after Him. Why would one reject the words of Jesus and accept the words of Mohammed?

Jesus declared that the evil comes out of the heart.  What do you do about that?  How can your heart be changed?   Is there any hope in the world?  The only hope is found in the words of Jesus:

“I am telling you the truth,” replied Jesus, “that no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.” (John 3:5) The words of Jesus continue in the Gospel of John:

“And no one has ever gone up to heaven except the Son of Man, who came down from heaven."  As Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the desert, in the same way the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.   For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.   For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its savior.   Those who believe in the Son are not judged; but those who do not believe have already been judged, because they have not believed in God's only Son.   This is how the judgment works: the light has come into the world, but people love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil.  Those who do evil things hate the light and will not come to the light, because they do not want their evil deeds to be shown up.  But those who do what is true come to the light in order that the light may show that what they did was in obedience to God.” (John 3:13-21)

To be born again is to become a new being in Christ. Being born again means that you have given your heart to Jesus. Being born again involves a profound change of the heart, to become a new creation, to change from hating to loving.  Being born anew means you follow Yahweh’s laws,  not Mohammed’s.  Being born anew means your conscience becomes sensitive to the evils inone’s culture.  Being born again means you have accepted the gift that Jesus gives you —everlasting life.  Being born again means you have no doubt about your future when you depart this life,  you know you are going to be in the presence of God.  You have escaped hell.  Being born again means you are living in the light, not in darkness.   Being born again means you are not facing judgment.  Being born again in Jesus means you have a whole new outlook on the world around you.  Jesus came to give us new hearts.



1 The word “conscience” appears only once in Pickthall’s translation of the Qur’an.  Others, like Yusuf Ali, do not use the word “conscience” but translate “And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right;” while Arberry translates the verse in 91:8 as “and inspired it to lewdness and godfearing-”.

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