Each week, we read from a book chosen by one of the staff members and share our thoughts on it during our Wednesday staff meeting. The last book we read was the Koran, the most sacred book for Muslims, in an attempt to understand their religion better. We read 30 pages and discussed it each week. After reading through it with the staff, I learned a few new things about the Koran.
The Koran is not a collection of many books like the Old and New Testaments; it is a collection of sayings by a single person, Mohammed, the founder of Islam. He could not read or write, so one of his disciples wrote down what he said. Mohammed claimed that his words were spoken to him directly by an angel from God (“Allah” in Arabic). Since it is believed to be the exact words from God, when the Koran is read in mosques, it must be read in its original Arabic. So the general public does not understand what is being read, except for the few who understand the original Arabic.
The Koran contains many characters and events that also appear in the Old and New Testaments, including Noah’s flood, Abraham and his attempted sacrifice of his son, and the story of Joseph being sold by his brothers and later becoming governor of Egypt. But the stories are slightly different from the Biblical accounts. For example, in the Koran, the son Abraham offers as a sacrifice to God is not Isaac, the ancestor of the Jews, but Ishmael, the ancestor of the Arabs. Also, while the Koran acknowledges Jesus as a prophet of God, born of a virgin, it denies that he was the son of God.
A while ago I watched a movie “Conversations With God,” based on a book by Neal Walsh. He was a successful executive for a big company, when a series of events caused him to lose everything: his job, money, social status, and family. Eventually he ended up homeless. Then one night he heard a voice. The voice encouraged him and taught him wisdom about life. He wrote down what that voice said and published it, and that book became a bestseller.
What the book teaches is identical to New Age teaching: there is no God except for what lives inside every human being. All human problems would disappear if everybody just loved each other.
Various people have claimed to hear God’s audible voice. Neal Walsh, Mohammed, and Joseph Smith (who started Mormonism) are among them. Personally, it is hard for me to believe that they are complete frauds. I’m even willing to say that they did, in fact, heard voices. But whoever spoke to them it was not the God who is revealed in the Old and New Testaments, because what they heard was contrary to Biblical truth. I can’t help but wonder who or what really spoke to these people.
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