Chrislam and Religious Syncretism
I have written before about the new development known as Chrislam in which some misguided Christians believe they can somehow combine the two religions (Christianity and Islam) and still have something recognisable as the Christian faith. Sorry, but it can’t happen.
As I have demonstrated, such attempts are all one-way traffic. Muslims are happy to use such versions of religious syncretism to gain entry into Christian circles, but it just results in the creation of more dhimmitude – Christians becoming second-class citizens.
Islam always wins in such attempts, while Christianity always loses. The truth is, the two religions are fully incompatible. They may seem to be similar (both are world religions, both have Abrahamic origins, both are monotheistic, etc) but the differences are far greater.
By way of analogy, the uninformed motorists might think gas and oil are all rather similar, and can therefore be used interchangeably. After all, both are liquids, both are products from the ground, and both are used in cars. But just try using half gas and half oil in the fuel tank or oil tank, and disastrous results will follow.
Yet some quite foolish Christians think they can blend their faith with that of Islam and still remain intact, effective, and biblical. Sorry, but it just does not – indeed, cannot – happen. But increasingly Christians are going down this path. Some years ago now I saw a TV documentary about some churches in London sharing their premises with Muslims.
They seemed to think that a church and mosque could coexist in the same premises, and that Christianity and Islam could coexist as a faith system. But all that happens is the Christian faith gets watered down while Islam continues to thrive.
More recently in the US some churches have been sharing services with Muslims. Here is how a recent news outlet carried this story: “They see it as their Christian duty. But others disagree, saying it extends the hand of fellowship where it was never intended to go. Two Protestant churches are taking some heat from critics for opening their church buildings to Muslims needing places to worship because their own facilities were either too small, or under construction.
“Heartsong Church in Cordova, Tenn., let members of the Memphis Islamic Center hold Ramadan prayers there last September. And Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Va., allows the Islamic Circle of North America to hold regular Friday prayers in their building while their new mosque is being built. Diane Bechtol of Aldersgate says this is something Christians are called to do: Be neighborly and develop relationships – even those who don’t share your beliefs.”
Plenty of questions arise here. First and foremost is this: If Christians needed a place to worship in say, Saudi Arabia, would the local Muslim mosque be happy to open its doors to them? Of course not. Christians must either submit to Allah and renounce their false beliefs, or live as dhimmis there.
It is always one-way traffic in any Muslim-Christian interfaith venture. They gain while Christians lose. And if these churches are into “relationships” and open-door policies, will they allow a coven of witches to do their thing in the churches?
Will they allow cults free reign in their sanctuaries as they denounce the very core teachings of Christian faith? And if building bridges is the aim, why not allow atheists in to conduct their meetings, or secular humanists, or any other group for that matter? After all, we want to show just how tolerant and friendly we Christians are.
Melbourne-based expert on Islam Mark Durie offers some words of warning about all this: “A prominent element in Islamic daily prayers is the recitation of Al-Fatihah (the Opening), the first chapter of the Koran. Often described as a blessing, Al-Fatihah has a sting in its tail. After introductory praises, the final sentence of Al-Fatihah is a request for guidance ‘in the straight path’ of Allah’s blessed ones, not the path ‘of those against whom You are wrathful, nor of those who are astray.’
“Who are the ones who are said to be under Allah’s wrath or to have gone astray from his straight path? According to the revered commentator Ibn Kathir, Muhammad himself gave the answer: ‘Those who have earned the anger are the Jews, and those who are led astray are the Christians.’
“Al-Fatihah is as central to Islamic devotion as the Lord’s Prayer is to Christians: It is recited at least 17 times a day as part of daily Muslim prayers. Yet according to Muhammad himself, this prayer, which is on the lips of every pious Muslim day and night, castigates Christians as misguided and Jews as objects of Allah’s wrath.”
And while Muslims may look up to Jesus as a prophet, they regard it as blasphemous to view him as God’s son and the saviour of the world. As Durie remarks, “Certainly there are some similarities between Isa of the Koran and Jesus of the Gospels. The Koran calls Jesus ‘al-Masih’ – the Messiah – and both figures are said to have been born of a virgin, to have performed miracles of healing and to have raised the dead. Yet here the similarities end. Isa of the Koran was not crucified and did not die but was raised up by Allah (Sura 4:157-158).
“It is in Muhammad’s vision of the end times that the role of the Muslim Jesus comes into sharp focus. Muhammad taught that when Isa returns, he ‘will fight for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill pigs, and abolish the poll tax. Allah will destroy all religions except Islam’ (Sunan Abu Dawud 27:4310).
“What does this saying mean? The cross is a symbol of Christianity. Breaking the cross means abolishing Christianity. According to Islamic law, the poll tax, or jizya, buys protection of the lives and property of Christians (and Jews). Abolishing this tax will mean that jihad will be restarted against Christians and no more protection shall be afforded to those who do not submit to Islam.”
Bringing a false religion like Islam into the Christian churches is really the beginning of the end of those Christian houses of worship. Sure, Christians can invite a Muslim – or any other non-Christian – into a Christian service to point them to Jesus the saviour, and to expose them to the truth claims of the biblical gospel.
Effectively signing your own death warrant by foolishly seeking for some sort of theological equivalence here is not the way to go. We help no one with that approach. It simply undermines the Christian faith and does an injustice to our Muslim neighbour who desperately needs to be set free from the bondage of Islam and released into the freedom of the gospel of Christ.
As Durie concludes: “Churches should not welcome into their buildings the veneration of Isa the Islamic Jesus, who, as a true Muslim, is intended to bring about the final, violent destruction of Christianity. By all means, let Christians show kindness to their Muslim neighbors, but the sentiments embedded in Islamic daily prayers, which curse Jews as the target of Allah’s wrath and Christians for going astray, can have no place in a Christian church – even if recited in the cadences of classical Arabic.”
This unenlightened religious syncretism by some Christians may be just another sign of last days madness in which the church of Jesus Christ which is supposed to be heralding the great news of the gospel is instead becoming bound in false beliefs, false practices, and above all, a false understanding of what Christian compassion and tolerance is all about.