10/8/16 Daniel late 20’s
The disheveled guy on the sidewalk carrying a large bag looked like he might be homeless, but after I initiated a gospel conversation with him I found out he had arrived from Berlin, Germany, the day before and was suffering from jet lag. His name is Daniel, and he is actually of Iranian descent, and although he had grown up in Germany he had gone to school in Iran where he was expected to study the Quran and follow Islam. But Daniel hated the religion being forced on him, and distrusted the Quran, feeling it was the cause behind much of the negativity he saw within Islam.
Criticism of one religion doesn’t automatically translate into a positive view of another, however. Daniel has a positive view of Christians but little trust for the Bible as God’s word, mainly because he negatively associates it with the Quran. What this means for him is that he has developed his own ideas of God loosely based on what he thinks Christians believe, but without the understanding that only the Bible can give.
I took some time to help him see that just as Muhammad as a religious leader is only a cheap imitation compared to Jesus, so the Quran as a holy scripture is only a cheap imitation of the Bible. The Quran, even though it was written by only one author in one period of time, is full of inconsistencies and contradictions from beginning to end. Much of it is actually based on distorted biblical writings and traditions that Muhammad had been exposed to. The Bible, however, has some 40 authors from a variety of backgrounds writing over hundreds of years, and its narrative of God’s relationship to man that stretches from Genesis to Revelation is complete with dozens of miraculous prophesies that interconnect all of its parts like a beautiful symphony.
When it comes to different religions, we as Christians might feel there is no comparison between Christianity and Islam, but for outsiders like Daniel it is easy to lump them all into the same negative category. We need to learn how to talk about the differences and defend our faith so that it doesn’t suffer guilt by association with other religions such as Islam.