Dear Muslim Friend,
In an age when most people do not believe that Truth exists or that it is worth their time and effort to seek it, the mere fact that you have sought us out on the internet reveals that you want to know the Truth about who and what God is and how to find acceptance before Him. The Truth is important because it sets us free from ignorance and superstition. And, once free from these things, Truth can then set us free from the fear of death and bondage to sin. We too share the same desire and love of the Truth that you have. Let us then search for the Truth together as fellow travelers on the road of life.
Religious Truth Claims
All religions make Truth claims, i.e. they all claim to tell us the Truth about God, man, salvation, and the universe. Yet, they do not make the same claims. One religion may claim that man is God or that the universe is God while another religion may claim that man and the universe were created by God and are not God or gods at all. One religion may claim that there is only one God while another religion may claim that there are millions or even billions of gods.
Obviously, the religions of this world make different Truth claims. In fact, they contradict each other on almost every point. This is a sad but true fact of life that we both already understand and believe. Yet, we all know people who claim: "All religions worship the same God." How foolish! How naive! The Hindu who worships millions of gods and goddesses is not worshipping the Allah of the Muslims. The Christian who worships one God in three Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, is not worshipping the Allah of Muslims either. Each religion makes its own claim about the nature of deity.
What Is A Religion?
By definition, a religion is a world view that tells us what to believe and how to live. It is composed of ideas, i.e. doctrines, and values, i.e. morals. A religion wants us to accept certain ideas as the True explanation of all that is. Intellectual assent to these ideas is what constitutes "faith." But a religion not only wants our intellectual assent that certain ideas or concepts are true, but it also wants us to obey a list of commands and prohibitions. In other words, a religion expects us to obey its law and observe its rites and rituals.
Is Islam A Religion?
Is Islam a religion? Of course it is. It puts forth various ideas which it claims to be the Truth and it demands that all men believe them. It also demands that all men obey its laws and observe its rituals.
Common GroundIn order for us to dialogue, we have to begin with ideas that we both accept as true. The common ground that we have is the truth that "Islam is religion." Do you accept that statement? We do. It seems self-evident to us that Islam is a religion. If you do not accept this first point, then the rest of this letter will be a waste of time. Question #1 Is Islam a religion?
Islam's Truth ClaimsSince we all agree that Islam is a religion, then we must also agree that it asks us to believe certain ideas or concepts as the truth. These ideas are its Truth claims. In other words, the teachings of Islam are either true or they are false. There is no middle ground. They are either one way or the other. Question #2 Does Islam put forth various teachings that it expects us to accept as the Truth?
Blind Faith Will Not DoTruth claims should not be accepted by blind faith. The issues are far too important for us to make a "leap into the dark" and just believe something because we were told to believe in it by our parents, some religious leader, the state or our culture. If we are all suppose to maintain whatever religion our parents taught us, then no one should convert from it to any other religion. But no one really believes this. Hindus accept converts from other religions just as Muslims do. As a matter of fact, people are changing religions all the time. We personally know Muslims who became Christians, Christians who became Jews, Hindus who became Buddhists, etc. Some people go from one religion to another as easily as they change cars. Question #3 Do you know of people who left the religion they were raised in and converted to a different religion?
Yes___ No___ People can and do change their religion. This is simply a fact of life that we must all deal with. Our own children may leave our religion and convert to another religion. It happens all the time. Only a fool would deny this. Why would someone convert to another religion? Some people change religions because of marriage. They fall in love with a person of a different religion and they give up their religion to marry that person. It happens all the time. Other people change religions due to coercion such as threats or violence or bribes of money, sex or political advantage. If you change your religion because someone threatens to kill you if you do not accept their religion, this is not good. If you convert to a religion in order to obtain money, sex or a job, this is not good either. The only moral reason to change your religion is on the basis of the Truth. If you find out that your former religion was not telling you the Truth, then you should leave it. To continue to believe in a religion that you know to be false is to live an intellectually dishonest life. If you find that another religion is telling you the Truth, then you should be willing to join it no matter the price or consequences. To find and follow the Truth is the only way to get to ultimate reality. The issue is thus reduced to whether you really care about the Truth. If you believe in a religion for any other reason than it is the Truth is to cheat yourself. Convenience, habit, upbringing, fear or greed do not constitute a sufficient basis for belief in any religion. Something is not true simply because you believe it. You should believe in something because it is true. Questions #4 Is your desire for Truth so strong that you would be willing to leave your present religion if the Truth led you to do so?
Yes___ No___ This is where the "rubber meets the road." This is the ultimate test of your character and love of the Truth. If you are not willing to follow the Truth if it leads you to leave your present religion, then you do not really care about the Truth. If your attitude is, "Don't confuse me with facts, my mind is already made up," then you do not really want the Truth at all. If you feel that you must blindly follow what your parents taught you until the day you die, then you will never know if what they taught you is really true or a lie. Why? For you it is irrelevant if it true or a lie. It doesn't really matter to you. You were born a Muslim and you will die a Muslim. That is all you care about. How sad to live your entire life without ever seeking the Truth. To have a closed mind that will not accept anything that contradicts what you believe. An unexamined faith is a worthless faith. It is no better than no faith at all for it comes from a prejudice and ignorance instead of the joyous search for and the acceptance of the Truth. Question #5 Could Islam be false in its teachings and rituals?
Yes___ No___ This question lays all the cards on the table. "All things are possible." This means that you must accept the fact that what you have believed all your life could be a lie. If this is not even a possibility to you, then why pretend that you want the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth? A deep commitment to finding and following the Truth regardless of where it takes you is the only attitude consistent with intellectual honesty and integrity. Face it, Islam could be a false religion. Two thirds of the people on this planet think so. Are you even open to the fact of logic. If not, then why are you reading this letter? It is addressed to open minded Muslims who are willing to examine the evidence against Islam with objectivity and intellectual honesty. Question #6 Are you willing to examine the Truth claims of Islam?
Yes___ No___ Question #7 Are you willing to entertain the possibility that Allah is a false god, Muhammad a false prophet and the Qur'an a false book?
If you react to these questions by getting angry, what does this reveal about you? Are you open or closed to the Truth? If Islam is false, why in the world would you want to continue to believe in it? If you are still with us at this point, hopefully you feel the same as we do: There is nothing more important in this life than the Truth. It is worth whatever price we have to pay. We will follow it wherever it leads us. How can we test the Truth claims of Islam to see if they are true or false? By honestly seeking the answers to crucial issues we can find out if Islam is true or false. Remember, the Truth is never afraid of the light of research. The following propositions require you to think objectively about Allah, Muhammad and the Qur'an. Don't just answer them off the top of your head without doing any research. Cheap answers will always cheat you out of the Truth. Instead, go to a library and look up the answers in encyclopedias and dictionaries. Find history books on Arabia and on Islam that answer these questions. We found them. So can you.