Posted by Zia Shah
Every Christian and Muslim, who is knowledgeable about commentary or exegesis of the scriptures, knows that verses cannot be interpreted in isolation and are understood in the context of their neighboring verses and ultimately in the context of the whole of the scripture. This poses a very special problem for the Bible, if all of it is not literal word of God then how can you interpret some genuine verses in light of forgeries and hotch potch out there? Does the presence of forgeries in the Bible make the whole field of exegesis hocus-pocus? How can you understand word of God in light of fiction and make belief without making the whole affair a joke?
A similar confusion existed in the ninteenth century in the understanding of the Holy Quran, when Muslim scholars believed that 5-500 verses of the Holy Quran were abrogated. This created a hotch-potch situation for the Quran analogous to what has always existed for the Bible. However, fortunately for Islam, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad demonstrated that not even an iota of the Holy Quran is abrogated and each and every verse of this Arabic text is literal word of Omniscient God and as such throws light on other verses of the scripture.
With a tsunami of agnosticism and atheism sweeping across Europe and atrocities of terrorism sweeping through all the Muslim countries, the crying need for better Theism is being heard loud and clear through out the world!
All Christian apologists highlight the dangers of atheism in their writings and speeches, but most of them lack the sincerity of purpose to let the best theistic paradigm or tradition, stand against atheism. For example, Pope Benedict XVI had equated atheism to Nazism, in a recent trip to UK, but he seldom shows any openness to let Islam stand against this scourge. In the book, Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures, he highlights the crisis created by lack of faith in God, but continues to sell the outdated and rejected medicine of Christian dogma. Never conceding even once that Islam could be an alternative theistic paradigm. Alislam-eGazette aims at demonstrating to the Western world that Christianity and atheism are not the only two rational theological options. Islam as understood by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community needs to be considered with an open mind as a solution for the crisis of culture, enunciated by the Pope in his book. I believe that if we genuinely contrast agnosticism and atheism with Christianity, trying to follow arguments and counter-arguments by both sides, we would realize that the third option of Islam offers greater intellectual, emotional and spiritual satisfaction.
Pope is not the only Christian apologist guilty of this myopic vision. Almost all Christian apologists and theologians are guilty of this short sighted attempt of trying to maintain monopoly on truth. To remedy these state of affairs Alislam-eGazette in this volume has reviewed at least ten different epoch-making books about Christianity and Islam in this volume. This volume has been six months in preparation and several authors have participated in it. It has almost an Encyclopedic approach.
It starts off with a very insightful booklet, How to be free from Sin, comparing Islamic and Christain teachings about salvation, by none other than the holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. It has a Friday sermon by Khalifatul Masih V, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, on the same theme and a treasure of insightful information. Last but not the least it reviews a book by Pope Benedict XVI, Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures, and concludes with the following paragraphs:
We believe that in a trilateral discussion between the Christians, atheists or agnostics and the Ahmadi Muslims, we can find appropriate Faith and Reason and the right balance between the two. If Faith and Reason are based on good foundation, they do not have to be polar opposite. They can be synergistic, as Albert Einstein has said, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”
In the past several centuries in Europe, there have been only two parties to the debate for human civilization, Christianity and the Enlightenment scientific culture, with emphasis on agnosticism. Each party has denied the strengths of the other lest it self-annihilates herself. With the arrival of a third party in Europe, namely of Islam, as understood by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, an open, honest and rational discussion has begun. In this trilateral dialogue we can not only find solutions for the crisis of Europe, but also for Asia, Americas, Africa and Australia!