Copyright © By Dr. Adel Elsaie, Book Title: "History of Truth, The Truth about God and Religions"
10.1 The Religion Criteria
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The Holy Book
Humanity searches for truth and freedom. Chaos and turmoil will result if everyone is practicing freedom without limits. However, when it comes to freedom of religion, one has to be prudent and objective. Humans can make choices, but no one can guarantee the consequences. That is what I attempted to achieve throughout this work. In Chapter 4, I established criteria for a religion and for a Holy Book. Since, I am only addressing monotheistic religions, I will confine the following analysis to Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Since we know that God is One, and we are all His people, it follows that there must be one religion. This is because God does not change His rules to suit different nations at different times. Also, because we all came from a single father and mother, He measures all humanity with only One Standard. Therefore, religion should be universal regardless of race, color, time, place, wealth, or gender.
This condition automatically excludes Judaism unless we accept the notion that God prefers the Jews and only the Jews to the rest of humanity. In this case, this contradicts one of Godís attributes: Justice. Jews do not have missionaries, and they do not invite any one to join them. Moreover, if someone wants to convert to Judaism, which is supposed to be a religion of God, he will encounter difficulties with that conversion. It is a fact that the Jews in Israel do not accept offspring from a Jewish father. According to the Jewish law in Israel, only the mother determines religion. Therefore, if someone manages to be converted by a Jewish organization outside Israel, the Jewish establishment in Israel will not recognize the conversion.
Therefore, this criterion of universality applies only to Christianity and Islam.
A religion by definition should be understood and practiced by all people regardless of their intellectual and educational capability. A religion should be for illiterate as well as those with the highest degree. There should not be any confusion or ambiguity in the explanation of the religion.
The doctrine of the trinity has never been understood for two thousand years, since the beginning of the Byzantine arguments until the present time. The Christian creed that Jesus and the Holy Ghost are made from the "same substance" as that of God is an eternal puzzle. Tyler Roberts, lecturer at Harvard University, said: "A lot of my students express questions about the troubled Jesus near the end of his life, when he felt he was being forsaken by God. To some this means he couldnít be the Son of God, because why would he, God, do that?" Life, December 1994.
On the other hand, as we have seen, Islam is an extremely simple religion, that advocates Truly One God for all Creations.
Therefore, the criterion of simplicity applies only to Islam.
The Holy Scriptures should be unique and only the original version should be used. There should not be multiple versions that are revised and revised again by humans and if a translation of the original version exists, it should be accompanied by the original text as a protection against incorrect human translation. The basic Christian doctrines of the son of god and trinity exist only in the King James Version, and these doctrines are deleted from later versions. This represents a serious problem to the Christian faith.
In the present time, the category of niche Bibles, as the publishing industry calls them is exploding. These are Bibles in well-known translations, such as King James or the New International versions, tailored and marketed to a personís interests. Of those on the market today, The Promise (by Nelson) features pastel heavenly skies. The Womenís Devotional Bible (by Zondervan) is pink with flower illustrations. The Eager Reader Bible (by Tyndale) for the kids bears a cartoon of Noah on the front. The language has turned contemporary as well. Because the Bible is a best seller, the "Word of God" is now a marketing item.
Then there is The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version (Oxford University Press). In this latest revision of the Scriptures, the editorsí "politically correct" purposes and processes are outlined in the front: "replace or rephrase all gender-specific language not referring to particular historical individuals, all pejorative references to race, color or religions" through the use of acceptable means of conforming the language of the work to an inclusive idea. Inclusive mainly means ridding the text, as much as possible, of masculinity, both in syntax and in metaphor. Since the Bible refers to God as He or Himself, and the Almighty has no gender, the editors replaced all reference of "He" by "The Great One" or "The Mighty One."
This is what is happening to the Word of God in Christianity. Some people believe that they can write a revision of the Bible better than God Himself. God only knows the number of versions and revisions of the Bible. But with the Quran, there is only one unique Arabic text for all times in all places.
Therefore, the criterion of uniqueness applies only to Islam.
Following the above condition of simplicity, a religion should be opened with all its aspects. The exact history should be presented. The evolution of doctrine, if any, should be known and accessible to the public. The honest preachers should not attempt to keep their congregations in the dark about any subject relating to religion. It is nice for a religion to emphasize good morals, but should this be the only criterion of accepting a religion? Many times when a Muslim discusses religion with a Christian and presents him with historical facts, the Christianís usual answer is: I did not know that.
The average Christian is not aware of the evolution of Christianity as a religion in four phases as demonstrated earlier in Chapter 6. The average Christian is not aware of any contradictions in the Bible. Christian preachers do not volunteer most of what is presented in this book. They only emphasize good morals in Christianity and avoid any controversial subject in the Scriptures. The whole truth is not presented, and only the positive side is preached.
With the Quran or Islamic preaching, everything is in the open for anyone. Allah said in the Quran:
Surah 22, Ayah 78 "...and (He) has imposed no difficulties on you in religion.."
Islam gives freedom and full play to manís faculty of every kind. Islam imposes no restrictions on knowledge or acquiring any information from the highest to the lowest level. Anything can be discussed in Islam, except, of course, the nature of God, which is beyond human comprehension.
Therefore, the criterion of openness applies only to Islam.
The scriptures of a religion should be authentic and traceable to its origin. Also, all the records should not be adulterated or tainted with any Human ideas or perception. The original writer, or writers of the scriptures should be known, and there should be sufficient evidences for the trustworthiness of the writers. The subject of authenticity should be very clear and definite without any confusion about who actually wrote the scriptures.
As was demonstrated, the Bible is a collection of the Word of God, the sayings of the prophets, and the human perception of events. All intertwined to the extent that it is impossible to separate them. It was also shown that the human input to the Bible lead to many contradictions. If there are few contradictions in the New Testament, one might attempt to find a reasonable interpretation, or blame it on our human limitation. But the contradictions are so many and they exist in serious events. As such, one should question any event in the New Testament that does not conform to the previous religious history.
It should by now be very clear, that the authors of the Gospels are actually not confirmed as the true writers of the Gospels. Also the dates and places of writing the Bible are unknown.
With the Quran, all the information about the Revelation and its authenticity is documented in the Islamic library. The entire Quran has been memorized from the time of the Prophet until our present time by millions of Muslims. Not even a comma or full stop was added or deleted from the original Arabic text of the Quran. Even the way of reciting the Quran by hundreds of millions of Muslims is traceable with a chain of narrations to the exact recitation of the Prophet himself. This is the promise of Allah to guard the Quran, not only in writing but also in recitation. Islamic scholars record the sayings of the Prophet. Each saying is associated with a chain of narration, with the level of trustworthiness of each narrator. This makes the Hadith better reserved than the entire Bible.
The Christian and Jewish libraries are full of books with titles like "Who wrote the Old Testament," "Who wrote the New Testament," and "Who wrote the Bible", etc. that raise serious questions about the authenticity of the entire Bible. The Islamic or non-Islamic libraries do not include books with titles like "Who wrote the Quran." No serious scholar ever questions the authenticity of the Quran.
Therefore, the criterion of authenticity applies only to Islam.
Because a Holy Book is revealed from God, then one should not find inconsistency or contradictions in the scriptures. There should not be any error or even a claim of error associated with the Holy Books.
We have seen how the Bible was written; the Old Testament by J, P, E and D, and the New Testament by A, B, C, and Q. We have seen many inconsistencies in the Bible because authors based their material on their political background and tribal feud.
With the Quran, there is not a single inconsistency in the whole text. Even the Ayat that describe the scientific miracles of the Quran were shown to be accurate, and explain the known facts of our present day precisely.
Therefore, the criterion of consistency applies only to Islam.
The character of the Prophet on whom the revelation was revealed should be impeccable before the revelation. His life should be documented before and after the revelation to confirm that he was honest and truthful. He should not have bowed to anyone else before God.
However, the Biblical views of the Jewish Prophets are extremely distorted. These Prophets are described as committing adultery, incest, and worshipping idols. On the other hand, Islam holds high moral views for all the messengers of God.
Therefore, the criterion of the Prophet applies to Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.
The Holy Book
The Holy Book should have the following characteristics:
It should identify God in names and attributes.
It should show Humans the proper way of communicating with God.
It should convey a message that does not contradict human intuition and accepted morals.
It should guide humans to the right path for salvation that leads to paradise.
It should warn Humans against evil acts that lead to hellfire.
It should project a sense of purity and holiness.
It should outline the divine standard that humans should follow.
It should include overwhelming prophecies and scientific miracle as a continuous challenge to the unbelievers.
Only the Quran satisfies all of the above and more! The beauty and eloquence of the Quran resonates with the deepest aspirations of man to change his whole way of life. One feels that Allah authors every Ayah as it touches the heart and inspires the mind. The sensation of listening to the Quran is quite overwhelming. It feels that each Ayah descends from heaven with all the blessing of Allah to mankind, and recitation of the Quran in the original recitation style of the Prophet himself adds reverence to this sensation.
Therefore, the criterion of The Holy Book applies only to the Quran.
After examining all the above religious criteria, the conclusion is:
Islam is the True and Perfect religion. And that is what Allah states precisely about Islam:
Surah 12, Ayah 40 "..That is the true religion, but most among mankind know not."
Surah 30, Ayah 30 "..That is the true religion, but most among mankind know not."