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Christian-Muslim-Jewish friendship thread

(229 Posts)
niminypiminy Mon 10-Jun-13 11:17:08

I've had a talk with Crescentmoon about starting a thread where Christians and Muslims can hold out our hands in friendship to one another. I feel like we have so much to offer one another, and I certainly would love to learn more about Islam, and to understand the ways in which my Muslim sisters live out their faith. Would anybody else like to join?

I'm niminypiminy, and I'm a member of the Church of England, and work, and have two children. I realise that I'd don't even know if there is an equivalent in Islam for the different denominations (aside from Sunni and Shia, which I'm not at all confident I correctly understand the difference between). I'm going to be offline for a couple of days, so can't get back to reply, but if anybody would like to use this thread to come together as Christians trying to live out our faith, and to prayerfully and open-heartedly welcome and understand each other... smile

ummefatima Sat 15-Jun-13 00:22:24

This is such a beautiful idea. I would love to be a part of this. Hi I've been a muslim for the last 35 years now. I know that there are so many similarities between Christianity and Islam. And having gone to school in the UK I had the privilege of celebrating both the Islamic celebrations and the Christian ones, but would absolutely love to learn so much more smile

Italiangreyhound Sat 15-Jun-13 01:31:49

Stressed that is excellent, well written, how lovely. Much better than me!

The only image I got was the one where the curtain in the temple is torn in two at the moment of Christ's death.

That this signifies the way is open between God and us. The law only showed how people could not keep the law! Because of what Christ did he is our sacrifice. It doesn't mean we can just do what we want to do all the time, we are still bound by the bigger picture of the law, which is all about living a better life, in my humble opinion. But the bits which have been called nit-pickey are about specific circumstances. For me that is the sense of banning certain foods etc. For health and safety at the time.

The bit about eating animals that were forbidden is in the book of Acts in the New Testament. I think it also has the meaning of the early Christians being called by God to go to mix with the gentiles.

Acts 10:9-22

New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
Peter’s vision

9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’

14 ‘Surely not, Lord!’ Peter replied. ‘I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.’

15 The voice spoke to him a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’

16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.

19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Simon, three[a] men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.’

21 Peter went down and said to the men, ‘I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?’

22 The men replied, ‘We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.’

fortyplus Sat 15-Jun-13 01:38:25

What a lovely thread smile I'm an atheist but have friends who are practising Muslims, CofE, Jehovah's Witnesses and happy-clappy Nigerian Christians. I think they have more of a problem understanding my lack of faith than I do respecting theirs!

nailak Sat 15-Jun-13 02:11:54

Hi everybody, I have been busy recently, but inshaAllah will join in too! marking my place

niminypiminy Sat 15-Jun-13 06:53:02

Hello everyone! It's so great to see people coming together!

Crescentmoon, my take on your question about the Mosaic law is that there is some difference in emphasis in the Gospels about how important Jesus thinks the Mosaic code is. Matthew is the most 'Jewish' of the four, and it's thought that it was written by/for early Jewish Christians, who would have been living according to the Law, and so it stresses that Jesus is the fulfilment of the Law. The Letter to the Hebrews, which again was written to early Jewish Christians goes to great lengths to show how Jesus was the fulfilment of the hopes of the Jews for a messiah, and how the prophecies of the Old Testament are fulfilled in him.

Luke and Acts (which were written by the same hand) were however written by/for Gentile Christians so there is much more emphasis on the idea that Christ's commandments (love God with all your heart, mind and strength and love your neighbours as yourself) supercede the Mosaic code.

There's a tension between these two which has marked the subsequent history of Christianity in various complicated ways. One way of seeing it is to say that the story of the Old Testament is the the way the Israelites came to see that there is only one God, and to give up the cultic practices of animal and food sacrifice in order to live as a holy people and give God the sacrifice of worship. Living as a holy people -- the emphasis on purity and cleanness, on having a divinely ordained code that governed your relationships with other people, marking their dedication to God through the physical mark of circumcision -- meant living in a way that turned the Israelites into a separate, holy people.

Christianity, with its emphasis on evangelism -- carrying the good news to the world -- couldn't sustain that separateness in ways of living and eating and circumcision. So it developed not into a religion of orthopraxy (having practices or ways of living at its centre) but orthodoxy (that is having beliefs and ideas at its centre). Although there are certain practices that are essential to Christianity -- baptism and the Eucharist -- but they are minimal compared to Judaism.

Sorry, that's a bit of an essay (and is only one possible take on the question)!

Crescentmoon, your question about free will and predestination is a great one and also one of the most vexed in Christian theology! Do you mind if I come back to it later?

Also I have a question of my own. Thinking about the recent thread on praying, where some of us who are Christians posted about what we do when we pray, I would be really interested in how you think about this in Islam. I know prayer is one of the five pillars of Islam, and I'm always humbled when I think how I struggle to pray compared to the way that the day is structured around prayer for Muslims. I would really be interested in learning from what prayer is for you.

stressedHEmum Sat 15-Jun-13 10:59:35

Italian, I think, and it's only my opinion, that the ripping of the veil is one of the most important images in the Gospels. For me, it kind of sums up the whole thing. The barrier between us and God was removed by Christ's sacrifice and we can ALL meet with God face to face without the need for a High Priest or intercessor other than Jesus.

I think that a lot of the Levitical Law makes sense in the circumstances that the early Israelites found themselves in, particularly from a health and safety point of view. A lot of the law is concerned with cleanliness, both spiritual and physical, and following it would have protected the people from a lot of illness and risk.

I think, like you, that Peter's vision is as much about preaching to the gentiles as it is about being allowed to eat all sorts of food. (Noah was allowed to eat anything he liked after the flood, as I recall, there was nothing unclean for him either because that story predates the Abrahamic covenant.) There was massive tension within the early church and much disagreement about whether the gospel should be given to "outsiders". Jesus himself struggled with this before he realised that God had sent him to the world not just Israel.

Matthew 15, vv21ff.
21 Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.”23 But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.”24 But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”25 But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”26 And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”27 But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”28 Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.

Matthew 7 vv6 says
Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces

So, early in his ministry, Jesus did not wish to share the good new of the kingdom with Gentiles. Both these passages are from Matthew's Gospel, which is really a Gospel to the Jews and is very Jewish and reflects, I think, the tension in the early church about preaching to the gentiles and how far they were bound by the Torah. Thankfully, this was somewhat resolved with the council of Jerusalem

crescent, in my understanding, Mosaic Law means the whole lot of it. The 10 Commandments, Levitical Law, the lot. I see the 10 Commandments as being a kind of summary of the rest. I also see them as being part and parcel of Jesus 2 Commandments. If you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbour as yourself, all the things mentioned in the Decalogue are a natural consequence.

I think that the hardest thing about Jesus Commandments is always trying to put the needs and wants of others before your own and putting God before everything else. There are lots of circumstances where that is hard.

Putting God first can mean doing things that you really don't want to do are are even afraid to do, you also have to listen for and recognise the voice of God in your life. On a personal basis, I returned to what had been an abusive marriage to an alcoholic, drug addict because I felt that God was leading me to do so and because I felt that was what was required by Jesus teaching on marriage. I was afraid and uncertain but I did it anyway, and thank God, things worked out for the best. I've also brushed with death during pregnancy when my consultant advised abortion, but I knew that I couldn't just take a life. Thankfully, it all worked out for the best and I have my DS4 now.

Those stories have happy endings but that's not always the case. It takes a lot of faith ad trust to try to put God first in everything.

Always putting the needs of others first is hard as well, even in small things like giving someone else the biggest bit of chocolate or the nicest, sweetest tomato. That's hard enough but the big things are really challenging. It's why I do all the stuff I do with the Food Bank, WA, the BB etc. and why I give sacrificially to church and charities. it's a great ideal, though. If everyone put other people's needs before their own then the world would be a better place.

It's hard always to try to put yourself in someone else's shoes, to try to see the circumstances of their lives and to make no judgements but it's a central requirement of Christianity.

Freewill and predestination is something that has challenged and divided the Christian church for centuries. My particular take on it is that God has a plan for us but that we have choices to make within that plan. Give me a wee while to think about how to phrase things and I'll get back to yousmile

I think niminy's question is brilliant. I talk to God all the time in a kind of chatty way, but I am in awe of the self discipline of Muslim prayer and have often wondered about it. I know that you have your five daily prayers, but do you have other less formal prayer times as well. It must be lovely to have that routine where your day is built around prayer.

zulubump Sat 15-Jun-13 13:48:54

Just been reading through everyone's posts on here and finding them really interesting. I've only been going to church for a few years and really only a Christian within the last year. I have a lot to learn and it's interesting to read the posts about Mosaic law and the New Testament.

stressedHEmum I am in awe of you and your ability to trust God. Just read your post above and the bit about your marriage and pregnancy. That is truly amazing! I often wonder at how I would fair if life gets really tough, how good I would be at listening for God's voice and obeying.

I too am confused by the idea of our free will and God's will. I would appreciate any insight from Christian or Muslim perspective.

Hope you are all enjoying the weekend!

infamouspoo Sat 15-Jun-13 19:28:17

Hi all, may I join? I'm jewish. I have lots of muslim friends but no Christian friends and apart from what was taught in schools know very little about Christianity outside of that blush. I'm not uber-frum or I wouldnt be online during shabat wink but nice to 'meet' you all.

niminypiminy Sat 15-Jun-13 19:38:07

infamouspoo:welcome! lovely to see you!

(I'm going to see if I can get the thread title changed to 'Christian-Muslim-Jewish friendship thread)

crescentmoon Sat 15-Jun-13 23:48:11

very happy with the name change dear OP!

shalom aleichem infamous. i had a feeling from reading your posts on other threads but wasnt sure. can i ask, is there anything like different schools of practise in Judaism as there are different schools of orthodoxy in Islam? following a thread recently i started to look up 'Ask the Rabbi' on JC website and i found it fascinating for the similiarities in questions and dilemmas as on muslim websites.

niminy your post at 06:53:02 was really great and informative. especially the differences between Matthew and Luke Acts and their intended audiences. as for "So it developed not into a religion of orthopraxy (having practices or ways of living at its centre) but orthodoxy (that is having beliefs and ideas at its centre)" this is often what i have read about the differences between Judaism, Islam and Christianity: that Judaism and then Islam became both religions of orthopraxy (correct practise) whilst Christianity is a religion of orthodoxy (correct belief). certainly in Islam the theory on belief is perhaps the easiest and shortest part, but the concept that humans are justified by works not faith alone is very important and very resonant in the Quran - it is repeated many times in different ways. 'believe and do good works'

i admire Christians like you stressed who still push themselves to good works even though the belief is that salvation has been attained already. whereas for me, any effort i expend is because in Islam salvation is something to be won by each person and any good acts are for one's own standing with God. i dont think i would bother too much otherwise. the motivations to spread God's love (christianity) and to earn God's love (islam) are different, I wonder what the motivation behind altruism in Judaism is!

as for praying. ah well i havent been keeping the correct timings that much its an ongoing jihad - struggle - to align my day to day affairs with the prayer times.

but why do i pray? well the ritual 5 daily prayers are the second pillar of Islam, we believe in 5, and is about trying to centre one's daily life around the remembrance and worship of God. Eugenes post about prayer being about ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication resonated with me. When i pray I hope that God hears me and my praise and thanks and supplication. i read this once from a Jewish prayer and realized how similar our reasons are...

"My Divine Lord, open my lips and My Mouth shall declare your praise" (Psalm 51:17)

as for free will and determinism will post tomorrow, im bushed. but yeah stressed its a topic of endless debate, certainly THE most vexed in Islamic theology. im not one for philosophy books either but i found my answer and peace with it through reading mainly non religious takes on the question. good night ladies!

Italiangreyhound Sun 16-Jun-13 01:03:42

Greetings infamouspoo welcome. Can I ask what 'frum' is?

Did you watch the Jewish mother programme where the winner got to be an agony aunt? It was amazing. A really wide variety of different types of women.

Italiangreyhound Sun 16-Jun-13 01:05:30

Please do tell us more about prayer in Islam. I find prayer very hard. I do find it very rewarding when I do it. I also like praying out loud in prayer meetings etc but find it hard when alone. If alone and with eyes shut am prone to fall asleep!

nailak Sun 16-Jun-13 01:08:57

crescent do you remember that video I posted of Jewish prayer, the movements and recitation in Hebrew seem so familiar and similar, it is very moving!

superbagpuss Sun 16-Jun-13 08:00:35

wow what great posts and insight

with christian prayer it should be about praise and not just a shopping list of requests

Christians are encouraged to read the bible daily, is this the same for Jews and Muslims?

gimmeanaxe Sun 16-Jun-13 12:40:55

sorry, name changed (still IP)
Yeah, there's different strands of Judaism, Ultra-orthodox (usualy seen wearing the black hats, long black coats etc around Stamford Hill), orthodox, masorti, reform, liberal. They generally differ in strictness of practice. I'm liberal so use electrcity on shabbat but my masorti friend puts all lights on a timer (use of electrcity comes under the command not to kindle a light on shabbat) while ultra-orthodox might sit in the dark. But each person would differ in strictness obviously like with any religion. Prayers are generally the same although the liberal/reform movement have altered the words slightly to reflect that G-d is neither male nor female.
So the difference is mostly in practice and lifestyle, not theology or scripture. We al use the same Torah.

Frum is a yiddish word and used for the errr, more practising among us, generally in a jokey way, but sometimes a bit unkindly. Yeah, I did watch that prog. Kind of horrifying and fascinating at the same time like any reality show.

nailak - hebrew and Arab are very closely related as they are both semitic languages from the same root. The greetings salam alaikum/shalom alaichum. Many many words. Truth emet/emel. My brain has stopped working but there's loads of others Its fascinating.

crescentmoon Sun 16-Jun-13 12:47:27

salaam naila actually i was listening to that youtube recording as i was typing my post last night and copied that quote which is said at the beginning directly from it!

i really wanted to ask about the different takes on free will and determinism in other religions as in Islam this is one of the themes of the Quran. so all 3 religions state that man has free will, in Islam there is no concept of original sin, humans are born sinless (some muslim theologians say 'born good) but it is the environment that affects their susceptibility to 'sin'. thats why Islam has more of a group orientation and is more about the individual's duties to others not the rights of the individual from others. humans have free will and its purpose is to choose to worship God and follow God's Laws, God's Will by your own volition, not by compulsion.

""There is no compulsion in Faith. The correct way has become distinct from the erroneous. Whosoever rejects satan and believes in God has a firm grasp on the strongest ring that never breaks. God is All-Hearing, All-Knowing." (2:256)

""Had your Lord willed, all those on earth would have believed altogether. Would you then (O Muhammad), compel people, so that they become believers?" (10:99)

""Whosoever does a good deed, it is for his ownself, and whosoever does evil, it is against (his ownself). Then to your Lord you will be made to return." (45:15)

"Say: it is the truth from the Lord of you (all). Then whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve" (18:29)

"Verily, this is an admonition, therefore whosoever will, let him take a Path to His Lord" (73:19)

"Say: I ask of you no reward for this, save that whosoever will may choose a way unto his Lord." (25:57)

"Nay, but verily it (the Quran) is an Admonishment, So let whosoever will pay heed to it," (80:11-12)

and iv only posted a few verses, but this idea is oft repeated in the Quran.

YET, and yet, there is also the obligation in Islam to believe in Determinism - in fact belief in determinism is one of the 6 articles of faith in Islam which are....

1. To believe in God,
2. to believe in the Angels,
3. to believe in the books (plural) of revelation: the Torah of Moses, The Psalms of David, the Gospel of Jesus and the Quran of Muhammad 4. to believe in the Messengers (plural) (a Muslim cannot say I believe in Muhammad (pbuh) but do not believe in Jesus, Abraham, Adam etc), 5. to believe in the day of Resurrection and
6. Qadr: to believe in Divine fate and destiny

so as Muslims we cannot say something has happened outside of God's knowledge and outside of God's Will. so how to then reconcile free will and determinism together because there are as many verses in the Quran on qadr - God's Will over all - as on man's free will.

soooo, it went round and round in my head.

so Islamic theology it is thought man's free will is to have freedom from compulsion - this is the bitter part of humanity's free will that we have to accept OTHER peoples free will as part of God's will - but not freedom from causation, and not freedom from the natural physical laws and consequences. we have the concept in Islam of God's Will vs God's Will. whatever we say/ choose/ do it is already known and with God - wherever you turn - there is God.

as man has the capacity to do good he has the capacity to do evil. and as We are created by God therefore why should any human at all be held to account on the Judgement Day - which is also a core belief in Islam and one of the 6 articles of faith - because God is the Originator of all?

there is so much written on this subject in religious texts - not as ivory tower as other theological subjects because it has real implications for law and order and social behaviour. and i was therefore surprised this isnt only a dilemma for people of faith. and weirdly i actually found a peace from it reading the works of staunch atheist biologists and neuroscientists on this subject. because alot of them also increasingly believe in determinism. not based on God as the cause of our actions but on our genes and brain chemistry. so they take God out of the picture completely and STILL say that humans have no free will at all and that all actions are determined.

Francis Crick the molecular biologist and neuroscientist who wrote alot against religious belief and was a forerunner of the New Atheist Movement was really big on Determinism in that there is no will but just physical or chemical or physiological processes going on in human body....

''You' your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules".

Patrick Haggard the British brain scientist says 'As a neuroscientist you've got to be a determinist. Under identical circumstances you couldn't have done otherwise. There is no 'I' which can say "I want to do otherwise". so everything about the molecular and physical activities of the brain are in principle predictable in that they come from neurological occurences. you cannot do or choose something outside of the physics and chemistry of your brain - but can that stand up at the magistrates court or at the Old Bailey?

i found it fascinating that the worlds experts on the human brain all believe actions are determined by genes and there is no other 'control' - how long before that be used as a defence by a criminal with the police or in court?

so i got to wondering why should any wrongdoing be punished in a secular sense then? and how instead of pleading insanity or diminished responsibility any criminal - not just mentally ill people - will come up in court and say they have no responsibility for rape/ murder/ genocide etc because it was down to their brain chemistry not 'them'. not even 'i was trying to resist that brain impulse' but that 'there is nothing to resist that brain impulse'. i realised it would not be a defence in a court of law nor on the Judgement Day in front of God.

crescentmoon Sun 16-Jun-13 12:58:59

the bitterness of free will is that as we have freedom to do good or bad for our ownselves or for others, as do others have free will to do the same. there is an islamic expression 'tie your camel then leave it to God's Will'. iv always taken it to be an example of God's Will vs God's Will. it is also about the free will of others whether they will hold to the moral values of protection of property or, untie it and take it away. leaving it to God's Will - will others obey the commandment 'do not steal' (God's Will) or will they act - free of compulsion - and not steal (the choice that God has also given man whether to do the right thing or not).

anyway its just some ideas, would like to know how you would compare that to Christian and Jewish theology.

gimmeanaxe Sun 16-Jun-13 13:03:00

There's no original sin in Judaism either.
I dont know enough about the free will/determinism debate to comment.

IAgreeCompletely Sun 16-Jun-13 13:12:00

I am an atheist but I like this thread smile

stressedHEmum Mon 17-Jun-13 09:40:32

Sorry I didn't get back yesterday, crescent, I had really bad day. Bit better today, so I shall attempt to give my take on predestination.

it's something which has caused untold strife in the Christian faith for centuries and is still really divisive. There are several different strands of though on how predestination works. I am probably a different branch of Christianity from most folk on here, but the statement of faith in my brand is that "we can choose God because He first chose us". There, is , however a lot of interpretation of that.

My church has Calvinist roots and their take on determinism v. freewill was that there was really no such thing as free will and that God controlled and predetermined every single last thing that ever happened. They also had the evil doctrine of double predestination - the belief that God decides before people are even born whether they will go to heaven or hell and that there is nothing that they can do to change that.

It all comes, really, from Augustine and his struggles with the idea of Grace and that it all seems so fickle.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:29–30)

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus…who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ…. (1 Peter 1:1–2,)

These verses and others in the NT, especially the letters, talk about predestination and lots of people take that to mean that God controls everything and that He picks us to be his people (therefore condemning everyone elseangry) But, my personal belief is that you have to take verses like that in conjunction with verses like

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3–4)

The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

God chooses us because He knows which of us will choose him, iyswim, he doesn't pick us at random. He wants everyone to come to knowledge of Him and to faith but there is no compulsion. We have to choose to believe.

Away from the hideous belief in double predestination, I don't believe that God controls our every move and I, personally, don't think that there is any grounds for that belief in Christianity. I think that God is outside time and we are inside time - so He can see everything that ever happens and knows all our possible choices and outcomes but it is still up to us to make those choices. Believing completely in Determinism would mean that I had to believe that God chose millions of children to be born just to die of hunger and disease, that He chose people to suffer from illness and disability, that he chose me and millions of others to sexual abuse and violence.....

Verses like -

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future Jer29:11

show us that God's plans for us are good and beneficial, not dire and horrendous. What kind of God would determine the kind of life for His children that some people have. (The root of Augustine's problem, really). Bad things happen, often to good people. That doesn't mean, for me, that God has somehow chosen for that person to suffer. Most of the bad things are a consequence of millennia of bad choices by people throughout the ages.

No, I believe that "God's plan" for us is that we come to know Him and have faith in Him, thereby making our lives better and more bearable in the short term and giving us the confidence in His salvation in the long term. Our decisions are our own as are the consequences of those decisions, nor are the circumstances of our lives dictated by God. However, I realise that this is just my opinion and probably not all that valid theologically.

I hope that makes some kind of sense, my brain is still not functioning to clearly.

I didn't know that neither Judaism or Islam have a concept of original sin. How do you view the Fall of Adam? We believe, in the main, that Adam and Eve were created perfect but with free will. They exercised their free will and choose to disobey God, thereby bringing sin into the world and causing the world to lose it's perfection and people to lose the eternal life that they had in Adam - the wages of sin is death.

crescent - the thing with works is that without them faith is pretty empty. We gain salvation Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solo Christo - by faith alone, by grace alone, through Christ alone. There is nothing we can do to earn God's grace or salvation but by doing good works motivated by our faith, we are showing that we have said faith and we are trying to spread God's love. Nothing we can do can earn us God's love because we have that anyway (God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son...) but we can show God's love to others. I think that that's a fundamental difference between Christianity and Islam. I also think that it ties in quite well with the predestination thing.

What's the point in doing good works if God has already decided that your going to Heaven, or worse, hell - nothing you could do would make any difference.

I would like to know what the Jewish take on works is, as well. It's embarassing how ignorant I am about other people's faith. Comes from living in the dark heart of proddy land.

gimmeanaxe Mon 17-Jun-13 09:53:05

For jews works are pretty important. We call it 'tikkun olam' -repairing the world. Its the aim of this life, to leave the world a better place than when you arrived.

stressedHEmum Mon 17-Jun-13 10:07:20

That is such a lovely thing, gimme. I think we should all try to leave the world a better place when we pass over. Think how much nicer the world would be to live in, if we all tried to do that.

crescentmoon Mon 17-Jun-13 21:29:43

stressed your last few posts have been pretty deep! Alot of it was familiar and some introduced me to other types of thinking. Will think on it till abit more tomorrow!

Hope another Muslimah picks up the question that is explaining the Sunni/ Shia division objectively! sparklingsea I think you have some knowledge of it right? Italian i only resd that comment aout sometimes falling asleep now- with the 5daily prayers in winter they're close together because dawn,midday, mid afternoon, sunset and nightfall are close together. Now in the summer i one might have to really fight sleep either for the dawn prayer Fajr early in the morning or the isha prayer late at night!

spent some time yday looking up original sin in Judaism after your post axe all along I thought that it was held by Judaism and Christianity but read a rabbis explanation of why Jews don't believe in original sin. And the faith and works was a large part of it as you wrote learning!

Italiangreyhound Mon 17-Jun-13 22:51:37

Stressed my dear, lovely to read your post. We think alike. My boss (who is a lovely Christian lady, says we are predestined because God chose us, all of us. I think it is whether or not we choose to accept it.

Thinking of you all Crescent, * sparklingsea*, * ummefatima*, nailak, niminypiminy, zulu, superbagpuss, IAgreeCompletely, gimmeanaxe and all.

stressedHEmum Tue 18-Jun-13 08:27:04

Glad I've given you something to think about, crescent. Things like predestination are what divides the Christian church with, sometimes, irreconcilable differences. if only people were more accepting of each other's beliefs and ideas (like on this thread and the gratitudes one.)

Italian, that's exactly how I see it. God has chosen each and every one of us, but we still have to choose Him. All the rest is just detail and, imho, manipulation and interpretation of what the Bible actually says. CoS, thankfully, doesn't believe in double predestination any more, but I do know people who do and many more who believe that everything that happens in our lives is controlled/dictated by God. I can't fathom the reasoning , I really can't, because they seem to turn a blind eye to all the horrible things in the world.

It's a great thing to learn about what others believe. I am very grateful for this thread.

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