Are non-Christian religions (such as Islam) preferable to atheism?

Rob Banks

Kingfisher
I recently got some news about an old friend I have not seen in years. He is from a Muslim immigrant family.

Previously, he had been an atheist and later got into Alan Watts and Eastern religions. I believe he was also into the occult and stuff like that.

I heard he recently started taking Islam more seriously, stopped smoking weed, and is doing a lot better in life.

I was wondering, if I were to meet someone in that position, would it be wrong for me, as a Christian, to encourage them to take Islam seriously and not fall back into atheism and liberalism?

Obviously, it would be best to encourage such people to embrace Christ. However, embracing Islam would bring someone like that closer to their family and native culture (while converting to Christianity would likely alienate them).
 
I would encourage him in the positive aspects of what he's doing, like getting off drugs. But I'd be loathe to encourage someone to thank Allah for what God is helping him with.

Getting in touch with his family and native culture can be good, but it takes second place to following Christ. Like he said in Luke 18:19-20, "There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

I think the best thing you can do is be a positive example for him, so that if he has eyes to see he'll become interested in following Christ. Like St. Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary use words."
 
I recently got some news about an old friend I have not seen in years. He is from a Muslim immigrant family.

Previously, he had been an atheist and later got into Alan Watts and Eastern religions. I believe he was also into the occult and stuff like that.

I heard he recently started taking Islam more seriously, stopped smoking weed,
and is doing a lot better in life.
This is typical behavior among a subset of Muslims. They are party animals in their 20s and when they are in their 30s they become religious cause they are jaded by the party lifestyle or just getting old and fear of mortality. The mastermind of the Bali bombing in 2002 was the playboy son of a millionaire. He became religious in his 30s and ended up being a fanatic and terrorist.

So either your friend was not an atheist but simply irreligious cause religion interfered with his party life or didn't have the guts to stick with atheism or "eastern" religions as you can them cause of family pressure.

Better keep an eye on him cause now he might really start hating Christianity and western society for "misleading" him and wasting his youth. As if every Christian/westerner does drugs.
 
Ignoring the politics and speaking from a purely spiritual perspective, the idea that being a non-Christian monotheist is better in God's eyes than being an atheist, polytheist, or Satanist does have some Biblical backing. I'm not sure I buy it, but I have heard people make logical arguments. Romans does say that worshipping the created rather than the Creator is especially bad for an individual and God will give such an individual up to the worst sins.
 

Max Roscoe

Sparrow
The Muslims I have known are living Godly lives, and many of them express a strong and passionate love for Jesus (they recognize him as the most important prophet, I suppose the way Christians view Moses, but not as the Son of God---but no, it is much stronger than that--they LOVE Jesus. I don't think Christians LOVE Moses in the same way).

My take on Muslims is that Islam is simply the religion developed for the mideastern people the way Christianity is the religion of the European peoples. Islam works well for them, and we worship the same God. Yes, there is the question whether one can truly be with God without going through the Son. The part that always troubles me is that there are some that die and never hear about Jesus, but may be God fearing and devout people. I have a hard time believing that they will be damned to hell. Jesus himself says that He is the only way to the Father. But Jesus came 2000 years ago and while the Bible and its stories are spread far, it just doesn't seem that God would damn those who don't hear the story about what His Son did 2,000 years ago, but are otherwise devout faithful followers, would be damned to hell. Keep in mind while the presence of God is in all places and times, and the Holy Spirit is amongst us, Jesus came to earth and then left it, to return in the future. He is not present now. There are many interpretations to Jesus words--perhaps he meant that while he was on earth he was the only conduit to the Father. Obviously before that time, Man had communion with God without Jesus. Perhaps we also can after Jesus left the earth. God's Grace is beyond limit and beyond our understanding.

From a pragmatic view, I like Islam as it is probably the most anti-modern (anti-feminist, anti-homosexual, etc.) culture on earth today. From a spiritual view, I have a hard time seeing these faithful people be damned... I don't really know what to think about their souls. But if they do not go straight to heaven, that also doesn't mean they go straight to hell. Those leading Godly lives are good, and there are endless possibilities of what their fate could be (reincarnation, purgatory, they are given a chance to accept Jesus after death, or perhaps Jesus's words only applied while he was with us here on earth.). I would honor and support those who are leading Godly lives, and opposing evil and degeneracy. God is Good. To me, it's as simple as that!
 

RWIsrael

Woodpecker
Ignoring the politics and speaking from a purely spiritual perspective, the idea that being a non-Christian monotheist is better in God's eyes than being an atheist, polytheist, or Satanist does have some Biblical backing. I'm not sure I buy it, but I have heard people make logical arguments. Romans does say that worshipping the created rather than the Creator is especially bad for an individual and God will give such an individual up to the worst sins.
I'm not informed on the subject but would imagine a heathen who does not know better (imagine a primitive jungle tribe who worship alligator gods and have never been exposed to Christianity through no fault of his own) is considered "better" than a heretic - someone who knows but chooses to worship other gods or denounce religion altogether.
 

Aboulia

Sparrow
The Muslims I have known are living Godly lives, and many of them express a strong and passionate love for Jesus (they recognize him as the most important prophet, I suppose the way Christians view Moses, but not as the Son of God---but no, it is much stronger than that--they LOVE Jesus. I don't think Christians LOVE Moses in the same way).

My take on Muslims is that Islam is simply the religion developed for the mideastern people the way Christianity is the religion of the European peoples. Islam works well for them, and we worship the same God. Yes, there is the question whether one can truly be with God without going through the Son. The part that always troubles me is that there are some that die and never hear about Jesus, but may be God fearing and devout people. I have a hard time believing that they will be damned to hell. Jesus himself says that He is the only way to the Father. But Jesus came 2000 years ago and while the Bible and its stories are spread far, it just doesn't seem that God would damn those who don't hear the story about what His Son did 2,000 years ago, but are otherwise devout faithful followers, would be damned to hell. Keep in mind while the presence of God is in all places and times, and the Holy Spirit is amongst us, Jesus came to earth and then left it, to return in the future. He is not present now. There are many interpretations to Jesus words--perhaps he meant that while he was on earth he was the only conduit to the Father. Obviously before that time, Man had communion with God without Jesus. Perhaps we also can after Jesus left the earth. God's Grace is beyond limit and beyond our understanding.

From a pragmatic view, I like Islam as it is probably the most anti-modern (anti-feminist, anti-homosexual, etc.) culture on earth today. From a spiritual view, I have a hard time seeing these faithful people be damned... I don't really know what to think about their souls. But if they do not go straight to heaven, that also doesn't mean they go straight to hell. Those leading Godly lives are good, and there are endless possibilities of what their fate could be (reincarnation, purgatory, they are given a chance to accept Jesus after death, or perhaps Jesus's words only applied while he was with us here on earth.). I would honor and support those who are leading Godly lives, and opposing evil and degeneracy. God is Good. To me, it's as simple as that!
No. They don't "love" Jesus, because they deny his whole ministry by saying he's "just a prophet". It's a PR line. Either Christ was a lunatic, or he was telling the truth. He wasn't the "greatest prophet" in their eyes because they take Mohammed seriously. The two are not compatible. Many Orthodox became saints fighting Islam, the same with the Roman Catholics.

Jesus himself says that He is the only way to the Father
It's not about hearing the words of Christ as portrayed in the bible, since St Paul commends the people who followed the law yet not having the law because it was written on their hearts(Romans 2:14) Christian doctrine is the promotion of the good above all else. Did you love your neighbour? If you lived a life in the manner that is shown in the parable of the Good Samaritan, there is a very good chance God will deal kindly with you. We're not able to judge the end of anyone, that's God's role.

As it is written in Matthew 7:22, those that God will reject have not been honest with themselves, God, or others. God doesn't solely care what you do outwardly, he cares more about your intention behind the actions. This is why the whole RC/Protestant - Works/Faith debate is nonsense. Christians are to do what's right out of the goodness of their hearts for it's own sake, even if it means suffering unjustly for it as it says in 1 Peter 3:17. If you want to read a pre-Christian philosophical tract on this, Plato's Gorgias fleshes this idea out more fully, and Socrates comes to the prophetic conclusion that he will be silent before the judges, and will suffer and die for the sake of the Good (As Christ did before Pilate).

Gorgias by Plato

There are many interpretations to Jesus words--perhaps he meant that while he was on earth he was the only conduit to the Father. Obviously before that time, Man had communion with God without Jesus. Perhaps we also can after Jesus left the earth. God's Grace is beyond limit and beyond our understanding.
There is one sound interpretation, on which the Holy Scriptures were compiled, and then there is heresy which is always inconsistent and contradictory. John 1:1 doesn't refer to literal words on a page. It refers to the Logos. The path to God is through the person of Jesus Christ. Act in the same manner as Jesus Christ did on earth and you will receive grace, and be able to commune with God. If you do not consistently try to act like Jesus Christ, repenting when you fall and err, and rather decide to act on your various passions and desires like Mohammed, you will not commune with God. The basic concept is not that difficult, but it's incredibly difficult in practice, especially to perfect.
 
I'm not informed on the subject but would imagine a heathen who does not know better (imagine a primitive jungle tribe who worship alligator gods and have never been exposed to Christianity through no fault of his own) is considered "better" than a heretic - someone who knows but chooses to worship other gods or denounce religion altogether.
The Bible definitely says that monotheism for those who've never heard of Jesus is preferable to other types of religion. I was specifically commenting on whether it's also better in God's eyes for those who have heard of Jesus but reject him, like the Muslim in this example. The people who argue that it is better cite the verse I mentioned in Romans about worshipping the created rather than the Creator. I suppose that a monotheist considers himself to be worshipping the Creator. A polytheist, spirit/ancestor/nature worshipper, or something like that is worshipping the created. Paul says there is a specific punishment for those people. They will be handed over to their worst and most destructive desires.

Romans 1
20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
 

Max Roscoe

Sparrow
No. They don't "love" Jesus, because they deny his whole ministry by saying he's "just a prophet". It's a PR line. Either Christ was a lunatic, or he was telling the truth.
Well, I've heard several of them profess verbatim, "we LOVE Jesus" emphatically, with a strong passion that I've not seen in any non-Christians. I suppose one could get in their face and challenge them and say "NO YOU ARE LYING BECAUSE YOU DONT ACCEPT THAT HE IS THE SON OF GOD" but I just don't really see the point. And anyway when I heard that I felt happy and joyful.

I think the charge of proselytizing means that Christians should spread the word of God's message throughout the world, and to be a good example for others, who see one acting in a happy and Godly way and are inspired by his strong faith. In other words, not to argue with the believers of other faiths but to present the message and they are free to make their own choices. I'm not going to call someone else a liar or condemn them if they believe in God and are living Godly lives--their salvation and destiny is up to God at that point.

And that's where you get in to the issue of religious wars and people killing others for their beliefs--obviously not something good or Godly. And it gets taken to extremes like in Ireland where protestants and Catholics murdered each other. When Man starts insisting that he knows God's plan or that my way is the only way and everyone else's way is wrong, well that kind of prideful arrogance is antithetical to the piety and humility that Jesus set forth. Anyway, even taking that extreme position excluding most others from salvation, there is nothing one could do for those people except pray for them anyway. Pray for others salvation and happily be a beacon of light in your own life. But focus on God's good and not on hatred or animosity towards others.
 

Athanasius

Kingfisher
Isn't Allah simply the Arabic word for God?

As in, don't Arabic-speaking Christians also refer to God as "Allah"?
Yes, but the meaning poured into the word is completely different. Translators struggle with the word for that very reason-- the meaning poured into it means something different than what Christianity is conveying. Christianity- trinitarian (one God in three persons). Islam- unitarian (one God in one person).

The Arabs were in or adjacent the outermost reaches of the Byzantine empire. There was no Arabic bible (that I know of) at the time and so the Quran's author just picked up bits and pieces and basically confused things. Thus the Quran references gnostic writings like the Infancy Gospel of Thomas and shows little familiarity with the Biblical story. It implies Mary was part of the Trinity. This is also likely why the Isa (Jesus) of the Quran is far different than the vivid Jesus of the New Testament.
 

Aboulia

Sparrow
Well, I've heard several of them profess verbatim, "we LOVE Jesus" emphatically, with a strong passion that I've not seen in any non-Christians. I suppose one could get in their face and challenge them and say "NO YOU ARE LYING BECAUSE YOU DONT ACCEPT THAT HE IS THE SON OF GOD" but I just don't really see the point. And anyway when I heard that I felt happy and joyful.
They don't accept what he teaches and says, they reject his disciples and the teachings he handed to them, so the proper challenge to "we LOVE Jesus" is to ask them what exactly they mean by that (don't expect a straight answer). Don't be autistic, deception is part of Islam. Islamic slavery and domination doesn't stop because they come to the West, Rotherham and several other UK towns are glaring examples of this.

Volume 2, Book 26, Number 594:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet was asked, "Which is the best deed?" He said, "To believe in Allah and His Apostle." He was then asked, "Which is the next (in goodness)?" He said, "To participate in Jihad in Allah's Cause." He was then asked, "Which is the next?" He said, "To perform Hajj-Mabrur."
Jihad is more important than going to Mecca (Which is one of the five pillars of Islam), and lying (taqqiya) is permissible as long as they are waging war (And since I'm assuming you don't live in an Islamic country, they have a duty to wage war),

I think the charge of proselytizing means that Christians should spread the word of God's message throughout the world, and to be a good example for others, who see one acting in a happy and Godly way and are inspired by his strong faith. In other words, not to argue with the believers of other faiths but to present the message and they are free to make their own choices. I'm not going to call someone else a liar or condemn them if they believe in God and are living Godly lives--their salvation and destiny is up to God at that point.
What God? Mammon? Baal? Zues? or the uncreated Christian Triune God? What is a Godly life? Does a Christian "Godly" life and an Islamic "Godly" life not differ? Do you not care as long as they pretend they get along with everyone in society?

And that's where you get in to the issue of religious wars and people killing others for their beliefs--obviously not something good or Godly. And it gets taken to extremes like in Ireland where protestants and Catholics murdered each other. When Man starts insisting that he knows God's plan or that my way is the only way and everyone else's way is wrong, well that kind of prideful arrogance is antithetical to the piety and humility that Jesus set forth. Anyway, even taking that extreme position excluding most others from salvation, there is nothing one could do for those people except pray for them anyway. Pray for others salvation and happily be a beacon of light in your own life. But focus on God's good and not on hatred or animosity towards others.
The Old Testament disagrees with you, there are multiple instances of peoples being slaughtered, sometimes destroyed entirely, I can't comment on Ireland since I know little about modern Ireland. Despite what you say, Christ insisted exactly that he knew God's plan, and everyone else was wrong. Do you think the Pharisees and Saducees had him crucified because he was a nice pious guy? He was humble towards those that acknowledged their error, and humbly asked for help, and for the proud and arrogant he had harsh words and questions that exposed their hypocrisy.

You don't exclude others from salvation, they do that themselves, and you are not to have hatred or animosity towards people, you are to have it towards their ideas, and how they order their mind.
 
Isn't Allah simply the Arabic word for God?

As in, don't Arabic-speaking Christians also refer to God as "Allah"?
Same name in Arabic, but I don't think Muslims are worshipping our God. The Koran blasts us as being polytheist and claims we'll if we don't accept Allah. At first it says Christians and Jews are Allah's servants and can be saved, then it gets progressively more and more anti-Jew and anti-Christian after the first Surah. You don't have to get very far in before Allah starts to rail against Truth.
 

Serie A1

Sparrow
Same name in Arabic, but I don't think Muslims are worshipping our God. The Koran blasts us as being polytheist and claims we'll if we don't accept Allah. At first it says Christians and Jews are Allah's servants and can be saved, then it gets progressively more and more anti-Jew and anti-Christian after the first Surah. You don't have to get very far in before Allah starts to rail against Truth.
This is simply incorrect. The Koran defines Christians, Jews and Sabians as 'People of the Book' – monotheists who worship the same God as Muslims. This category was later interpreted to include even the technically polytheistic Hindus.

 

y2k

Sparrow
Pre-Islamic Arab Christians and Jews referred to God as "Allah".

Embracing Islam and taking it seriously leads to:
  1. Biblical Monotheism
  2. Letting go of worshiping anything/anyone other than God (of the Old Testament)
  3. Biblical morals and ethics
No doubt, these three would bring one closer to God.

Is this preferable to Atheism?

There is some more information on Islam in my signature and the About page of my profile:
 
Last edited:
This is simply incorrect. The Koran defines Christians, Jews and Sabians as 'People of the Book' – monotheists who worship the same God as Muslims. This category was later interpreted to include even the technically polytheistic Hindus.
You’re correct that it’s wrong, but it is what the Qur’an accuses nonetheless:

"They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them." 5:73

"Say not 'Trinity': desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah" 4:17

"They say: 'Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (To salvation).' Say thou: 'Nay! (I would rather) the Religion of Abraham the True, and he joined not gods with Allah.'" 2:135

These are taken from Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translation, and I linked so you can read them in context. And it's just a drop in the bucket of the Qur'an's anti-Christianity. While Allah is willing to let us count as people of the Book, in context that gesture doesn’t seem to mean what modern Christians would like it to mean. The Christians spoken highly of towards the beginning, like Waraqah, were Nestorians. They didn’t believe Christ was fully divine in the first place, and this is probably why it says when they hear Allah’s message they’ll be easily swayed to turn aside from their Christianity and follow Islam. But on the subject of orthodox Christians -Trinitarians- Allah routinely paints a quite different picture. We're fuel for the fire.
 

Athanasius

Kingfisher
This is simply incorrect. The Koran defines Christians, Jews and Sabians as 'People of the Book' – monotheists who worship the same God as Muslims. This category was later interpreted to include even the technically polytheistic Hindus.

And this is a major reason why Christians who know their history and theology don't believe the Quran: It appeals to earlier writings that flatly contradict it. You simply cannot leap from the Jesus of the Scriptures to the Isa of the Quran.
 

Athanasius

Kingfisher
Pre-Islamic Arab Christians and Jews referred to God as "Allah".

Embracing Islam and taking it seriously leads to:
  1. Biblical Monotheism
  2. Letting go of worshiping anything/anyone other than God (of the Old Testament)
  3. Biblical morals and ethics
No doubt, these three would bring one closer to God.

Is this preferable to Atheism?
4. Persecute Christians

It's not preferable, it's just bad in a different way. You're positing a theological unity that isn't there. It doesn't exist between Christians and (non-Christian) Jews either. If those seem like hard words, the Scripture is harder: "Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son."
 

ilostabet

Kingfisher
No one knows God's judgement, so on a personal level it probably depends on conduct.

However, on a theological level, I actually think the other Abrahamic faiths are, in a way, the worse ones to convert to if one is not a Christian. Pagans have not had contact or recognize the Gospel so they are covered under the mercy of God, and having the law imprinted in their hearts can suffice. Both Judaism and Islam however know in detail about Jesus and the Gospel, and they are open, clear rejections of it. Unlike all kinds of paganism, which are merely agnostic to Christ as they don't know Him, Jews and Muslims are atheistic to Christ - they know and they distort, or reject, the revelation.

This might also explain why pagans were and are converted easily to Christ, and we can incorporate their traditions into the unified multiplicity of Christianity, whereas Islam/Judaism and Christianity are mutually exclusive, always.
 
Top