Christianity & Islam their claims of sole copyright of God
The grievous issue of religious conversion has always loomed over India since centuries and unfortunately still hovers over the psyche of the common mass. It is confidently claimed that there is only one and solitary path which leads to salvation or the Kingdom of God or heaven. The subject of this paper is to know and be educated about the source of such beliefs which have constantly been used by motivated people to bestow exclusive qualities to some religions while discard the others as false. We will try to understand here the claims of the worlds two major and most organized so called religions namely Christianity and Islam.
Lets begin with the religion built around the personality of Jesus by his disciples and subsequently by the Roman Empire. First I quote below a few verses taken from various books of the New Testament of The Bible and the claims made on them by the proselytizers and preachers of gospel to the non Christians:
John 14:6 (New International Version)
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
The claim: Jesus claimed to be the exclusive means of truth and salvation. People who reject him are also rejecting God. People who claim that there are other ways to salvation are wrong.
Acts 4:12 (New International Version)
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
The claim: Here the disciple Peter warned the Jewish leaders that salvation cannot be found in any other name but that of Jesus.
Ephesians 2:1-2 (New International Version)
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
1 Timothy 2:5 - 6(New International Version)
For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all menthe testimony given in its proper time.
The claim: The disciple Paul clearly said that people who did not know Christ were "dead in your transgressions and sins." They had no hope, and despite their religious beliefs, they did not have God. Further he stressed that there is only one Mediator and only one way to get to God.
In a nutshell, the overall argument of Christianity to make everyone embrace solely the personality of Jesus as the only path is the following:
Jesus earliest disciples tell us that he claimed to be the one and only path to God. He said, If you dont follow me, you will not be in the kingdom of God (Matthew 7:26-27). If you reject me, you will not be with me in eternity (Matthew 10:32-33). The Christian teaching of exclusive salvation is based on what Jesus himself said, and what the Scriptures teach. And this is tightly linked to who Jesus is, and our need for grace. If there were any other law, or any other path that offered salvation, then God would have done it. Christ is not just better than other pathshe is effective whereas they are not. It is an all-or-nothing difference, not one of relative benefit.
Now let us examine the Islamic claim to be the one and only true religion in the eyes of God. Islam claims to be the most perfect and ultimate religion in the line of Abrahamic religions starting from Judaism and followed by Christianity. It calls for the complete abolition of the above two faiths and all other forms and paths of worship followed by mankind. Following are some of the core verses from The Quran along with their classical interpretation by the foremost interpreter Ibn Kathir to establish the claim:
Chapter 3, Surah Al-'Imran, Verse 19
Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam. Those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) did not differ except, out of mutual jealousy, after knowledge had come to them. And whoever disbelieves in the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah, then surely, Allah is Swift in calling to account.
Chapter 3, Surah Al-'Imran, Verse 83
Do they seek other than the religion of Allah (the true Islamic Monotheism worshipping none but Allah Alone), while to Him submitted all creatures in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly. And to Him shall they all be returned.
Chapter 3, Surah Al-'Imran, Verse 84
Say (O Muhammad): "We believe in Allah and in what has been sent down to us, and what was sent down to Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma'il (Ishmael), Ishaque (Isaac), Ya'qub (Jacob) and Al-Asbat [the twelve sons of Ya'qub (Jacob)] and what was given to Musa (Moses), 'Iesa (Jesus) and the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between one another among them and to Him (Allah) we have submitted (in Islam)."
Chapter 3, Surah Al-'Imran, Verse 85
And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.
The Interpretation by Ibn Kathir of the above verses which is accepted, believed and claimed worldwide by Muslims is as follows:(without the Arabic text)
The Only Valid Religion to Allah is Islam
Allah rebukes those who prefer a religion other than the religion that He sent His Books and Messengers with, which is the worship of Allah Alone without partners.
(Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam.) Allah states that there is no religion accepted with Him from any person, except Islam. Islam includes obeying all of the Messengers until Muhammad who finalized their commission, thus closing all paths to Allah except through Muhammad. Therefore, after Allah sent Muhammad, whoever meets Allah following a path other than Muhammad's, it will not be accepted of him. In another Ayah, Allah said,
(And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him) [3:85].
In this Ayah [3:19], Allah said, asserting that the only religion accepted with Him is Islam,
(Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam.)
Allah then states that those who were given the Scripture beforehand divided in the religion after Allah sent the Messengers and revealed the Books to them providing them the necessary proofs not do so. Allah said,
(Those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) did not differ except out of rivalry, after knowledge had come to them) meaning, some of them wronged others. Therefore, they differed over the truth, out of envy, hatred and enmity for each other. This hatred made some of them defy those whom they hated even if they were correct. Allah then said,
(And whoever disbelieves in the Ayat of Allah) meaning, whoever rejects what Allah sent down in His Book,
(then surely, Allah is Swift in reckoning.) Allah will punish him for his rejection, reckon him for his denial, and torment him for defying His Book
In a nutshell, Islam claims that since Muhammad was the last and final one in the line of the semitic so called prophets sent to mankind, everyone must adhere only to his message, the Quran and follow only his path and traditions commonly known as the Sunnah. This whole way of belief and worship is Islam which is the only means to be redeemed and be rewarded by Allah (Islamic God).
Thus the fight for dominance of the world between these two organized supposedly belief systems goes on. In other words, it is a fight for political power and control which has nothing to do with any god or worship or salvation.
CONCLUSION : Dear friends, do not be disturbed. We still have hope. Let us remind ourselves a verse from Bhagvad Gita to have some solace.
Bhagvad Gita, Chapter 9, Verse 23:
Lord Krishna said:
" THOSE WHO WORSHIP OTHER GODS AND THOSE WHO WORSHIP THEM WITH FAITH, ARE ACTUALLY WORSHIPING ME. I AM THE RECEIVER OF ALL DEVOTION.
Hindus believe that no particular religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine religious paths are facets of God's pure love and light, deserving tolerance and understanding. Is it any wonder that Bharat has ever welcomed heartily so many faiths and practices from all around the world without any prejudice and intolerance? Ironically these people never respected and regarded as equal the principles and values of the Bharatiya Sanatan Dharma which is based upon Sarva Dharam Sambhava (equality of religions) and Ekam Sat Viprah Bahudha Vadanti ( Truth is One, Sages Call it by Many Names). This is the greatness and unfathomable essence of Sanatan Dharma.