Your opinion on the endurance of islam

This passage comes to mind when considering islam:

Acts 5:34-39

34 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamali-el, a teacher of the law, held in honor by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a while.
35 And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you do with these men.
36 For before these days Theudas arose, giving himself out to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him; but he was slain and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing.
37 After him Judas the Galilean arose in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered.
38 So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail;
39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!”

It makes me wonder why islam has lasted so long. What came to me is that the men spoken of in the passage were Jewish and claiming to be great or the messiah or some such, whereas islam was invented by someone totally unrelated to the people of the Old or New Covenants. It is a different religion altogether. A number of Far Eastern religions began B.C. and still exist. Again, they are totally unrelated to God’s covenants. Do you think we will always be stuck with islam and its violence? Do you think the number of muslims will dwindle and no longer be a great threat to the safety of Christians or no longer be a threat to peace?

I think here in Europe it will thrive for a long time but will eventually dwindle over a similarly long period the same way that Christianity seems to be. People here will continue to butter it up in the name of equality and diversity until it gets so big that one day the penny will drop and they will decide they no longer want it, at which point it will not easily go away. It’s appeal lays in its simplicity and the commitment of its followers. I do see it set to become the world’s largest religion.

It seems to have a strange resilience. The tighter it squeezes it’s followers, to more it seems to grow.

First of all, I don’t think the quote from the Pharisee in Acts really applies. That is what was said at a point in time by a non-Christian, I do not believe it lends itself to being a universal truth.
Belloc addressed this issue quite sometime ago. He considered that Islam started out as a Christian heresy, not a new religion. Like many heresies, it removes from the Christian faith anything that makes it difficult to understand. Islam did this in spades, and went all out to a very simple religion as its core. That helped its spread. In this day and age, it still helps it a great deal in many countries to spread and gain new members. Secondly, Islam has traditionally instituted drastic punishment for apostasy, ie death. It made the Islam people very hard to convert. IIRC, Belloc referred to the muslims as the one group who it was impossible to convert to Christianity.
Finally, we need to look at all the world religions and we will see that most of them have great staying power, certainly after they spread beyond one country or culture.

Longevity alone is not underpinning Gamaliel’s logic.

Rather, Gamaliel’s approach to this was rooted in an important assumption: that the one, true God was already working in His people Israel. The question was whether the form of that work involved Jesus being the Christ. Is this the Messiah God promised us? His attitude towards this question was “wait and see,” because, since He is in our midst, God will show us. If Jesus is the Christ, then He will not be stifled.

That same assumption cannot be extended to other religions, because God was not working directly with the cultures that produced them.

I believe you are mistaken. Muslims are ‘People of the Book,’ as are Jews and Christians. We are cousins, all children of Abraham. They are from the line of Hagar.

Mohammed borrowed many aspects of Judaism and Christianity while he was making up his religion, Islam, giving it a strong appeal to people already familiar with those religions.

Also: Islam is not merely a religion. It is a religion, a civil law, a governmental system. It completely locks its members into place, threatening them with horrible things should they leave.

And when Islam is in a position of power or military might, it wages constant, bloody Jihad on other peoples, to break down their culture and convert them to Islam.

So Islam is enduring because it is a very effective, very aggressive ideological, religious, governmental, and militaristic system, which constantly attacks other peoples and brings them to itself.

It’s like a virus.

There are a lot of ways to think about this. Islam came about 600 years after Christianity. Where was Christianity 600 years ago? It was flourishing and spreading…permeating every area of each culture it touched. Perhaps that’s where Islam is at now. Who knows.

There is truth in Islam…and people are drawn to the truth. Catholic teaching says that there is truth in all the major religions, though not the fullness of truth we enjoy. If someone in a faraway land lives and breaths an Islamic culture that professes the truth that it does, they will grab on to it and pass it down to their children. Until all lands are sufficiently exposed to the gospel, it will always be this way. The truth (any truth) will not be so easily discarded until it is met on equal terms with a greater truth. By “equal terms” I mean it will take more than a few missionaries to counteract an entire culture. It’s quite an undertaking!

In the end, we can’t know God’s full plan. Perhaps the first few “messiahs” and false leaders that you spoke of that sprouted up right after Jesus’s time were like the first few weeds that pop up in your garden bed after you have planted something. God saw it in his wisdom to pluck these weeds for us while Christianity was still young and tender…still vulnerable. Now that it has matured more, we must contend with (and are able to contend with, with God’s grace) what has grown up around us.

Then again, perhaps Christianity is still in it’s infantile stage. In 10,000 years we may refer to the time from 0 AD-2017 AD as the ‘early church.’ Islam, being a religion of the same root and having much in common with Christianity, may be a part of the larger plan – to prepare a people to be able to more readily accept Christ and his Gospel. Those who already know of God, Abraham, Mary, and Jesus himself may – in time – become the most ready converts. Who knows.

It is interesting to ponder, though!

The difference between the Catholic Church and Islam is that the Catholic Church was started by Jesus Christ who began a ‘teaching church’… Islam lacks that teaching so there are many who don’t understand the faith as it was intended to be, as a more caring religion. The Islamic faith then is a more primitive and difficult religion to understand because it is lacking that teaching so the Islamic faith is subject to much misinterpretation even though it rose out of the same basic biblical beliefs found in the Torah… In addition, as the previous poster mentioned, the Islamic countries are centuries behind in culture the rest of the world but is emerging in todays world though still their old world ways conflicts and causes the radicals to clash with todays modern culture. The radicals are young and know no different than what they are brought up with, kind of like what’s seen in Chicago with their young. They kill senselessly because they lack good adult mentoring and so this is what they know… :shrug:

The differences of Islam is also at the heart of their faith, they don’t believe Our Father as a loving merciful God rather as Allah who they are servants to Islam means ‘submission’ to Allah often taken as they are ‘slaves’ to Allah so do anything to fight for Allah, including killing in the name of Allah… That doesn’t sound like a loving God to me and more like people interpreted the wrathful God of the OT… To the opposite we view God as a Loving and Merciful “Father” (our relation) who knows how to forgive our faults and doesn’t force Himself on us rather leads us to the truth and the way to Him through His Son Jesus Christ who revealed the true nature of God to us which enlightens our soul and makes us desire to be like Him. If Jesus never stepped into our world who knows how people would be right now… Thank God for Jesus! Whoo I just had a dejavu moment…

You hit the nail on the head.


Well, to be fair, the same could be said of Roman Catholicism.

It is a religion, but it also contains a civil law code derived from Roman Law that is fully functional as a legal system. (Canon Law)

Many governments in the past were officially Roman Catholic, acting as enforcers of religious law upon their populations. Harshly enforced sometimes. And scapegoating and suppressing the minority religions among them. Just as in some Islamic societies.

And I would argue that the mass forced conversions and various bloody atrocities committed by Roman Catholic missionaries and Conquistadors in the Western Hemisphere are an example of deliberate “breaking of their culture and forcible converting them to [Christianity].”

And it completely locks its members into place and threatens them with horrible things if you consider brainwashing children before they can think for themselves, and assuring them that if they leave, they will be punished for eternity in the afterlife. That’s not my opinion, but it definitely could be said of Roman Catholicism and is.

Cherry picking atrocities from history goes both ways.

So what is your point?

Just because Christians have done atrocities in the past does not excuse atrocities done by Muslims in the present.

If there was a Catholic country today with laws as brutal as that of Saudi Arabia we can criticize that too.

Canon Law is not a civil law. The Catholic Church is not a theocracy. Canon Law is only intended for defining the application of Church disciplines, and the Church does not press criminal charges on someone for crimes against Canon Law.

Again, incorrect: although there are and have been governments that recognize Catholicism as the official religion, this is not intrinsic to the religion (Catholicism) itself.

In the case of Islam, it is. Islam is incomplete if Sharia Law is not enforced in a society, both on Muslims and non-Muslims. Catholicism is not incomplete if its precepts are not enforced on both Catholics and non-Catholics.

Forced conversions. OK, I see you’ve completely fallen for all of the false history books about Catholics in the New World.

Any evil actions committed by Catholics are contrary to the Catholic faith. Full stop. Forced conversions (if they occur, which is rarer than you think) are CONTRARY to the Catholic faith.

On the other hand, forced conversion to Islam is encouraged, and in fact, prescribed.

See the difference?

Catholicism is the true faith, so if one were to commit apostasy while knowing they were departing from the true faith, that would damn them to Hell.

However, Catholicism does not exert the iron fist of the law upon those who leave it in this world. It does not have a system in place for executing unbelievers, but on the contrary, is very merciful. And guess what religion does, in fact, have a system in place for executing unbelievers?

Yes, Islam.

Agreed. Not excusing either. Atrocities are wrong. To state the obvious.

If there was a Catholic country today with laws as brutal as that of Saudi Arabia we can criticize that too.


That is how you want to phrase it. “Christians” have committed atrocities. “Muslims” have committed atrocities. By that logic, Russian soldiers have committed atrocities, but the Red Army didn’t rape anyone.

Saudi Arabia is a horrible country, but could anyone provide evidence that what it does in ten years was equivalent to Pinochet’s Chile. Tell me if the Saudis flogged more people in ten years than the number of people tortured from September 11th 1973-1974. Tell me if the Saudis executed more people.

Pinochet and the junta were devout Catholics. He wasn’t even excommunicated by the Vatican. He received communion in 1987. He was a traditional Catholic.

El Salvador, a Christian country, has the highest rate of femicide.

While general violence levels and domestic abuse are considered to be the main contributors to high femicide rates, organized crime also plays a huge yet overlooked role in the victimization of women in Latin America. As Guatemala’s Attorney General Thelma Aldana told InSight Crime, 50 percent of the 854 women killed in Guatemala in 2015 were murdered as a direct result of organized crime.
But those signs of torture are more anomalies in the pattern than the rule. Of the 400 cases documented in Juárez, all but 100 were resolved, and most of those cases involved domestic partners or people that the victim knew.

And that happens despite the country prosecuting women that were suspected of having an abortion.

On the other hand, forced conversion to Islam is encouraged, and in fact, prescribed.

You dismiss the notion of force conversion to Catholicism glibly. But where is your evidence that forced conversion to Islam is prevalent?

It was a Pharisee who was stating, “So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail;
39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God”,
It’s not Jesus talking.

It probably bought the early church members a little time. It doesn’t speak about other religions such as Buddhism or Islam. To state another way, it’s not proving a case for any religion, it’s just the opinion of a leader in the Pharisee tradition which gave a little peace from persecution for the early church.

So, in our faith, there is talk about one day maybe just a ‘remnant’ of believers who will be left. That means if 98% of the world believes that they are tea pots, those who still believe in Christ will be Believers.
Even if it appears the church is dying out and failing.

Islam endures because the penalty for leaving, and most are now born into it, is too great. Many ‘secular’ Muslims in the west aren’t advertising such when they visit the ‘old country’ of their grandparents. Who’s going to when in many of those countries you can suffer physical punishment up to and including death for ‘blasphemy’. Today as a poster pointed out already.

That is a HUGE difference between Christian countries today and Islamic majority countries today. People tolerate blasphemy today in Christian/Secular countries.

Also, Catholicism actually was the first to implement a separation between Church and State. I can hear the laughter but check and understand it wasn’t like we know ‘separation of church and state’ as the Civil Liberties Union promotes it. Oh, it wasn’t perfect because imperfect power hungry people were involved but it was separate. It nodded to God appointing/anointing a monarchy and nations. But, it didn’t want kings running the church either. People often would appeal to a church hearing over a state hearing if given a choice during trials throughout history.

Well, I think my point here is merely that I am uncomfortable making general statements about Islam, because I don’t know enough about either history or Islamic studies to do so.

I respect that you may be more knowledgeable than me and so I appreciate you taking the time to respond and point out my errors. Thank you.

I know that Canon Law is not a civil law at this time. In that past, in some places, it functioned more as civil law in my understanding, but at this time it only applies to Catholics who wish to voluntarily be in good standing with the Church.

It is intrinsic to Islam that it be officially recognized as the state religion? Islam is “incomplete” if Sharia law is not enforced? Forced conversion is encouraged and indeed required? Really? “Islam” has a system in place to execute unbelievers? See this is the kind of generalization that makes me uncomfortable. But I am not going to play Islamic scholar and attempt to refute your broad statements. It would be a waste of our time, since I do not have that expertise.

I don’t think I’ve “fallen” for anything with my understanding of history. There have been organized attempts to evangelize the aboriginal populations that did not respect their cultures, to put it very mildly indeed.

Of course the atrocities that Catholics committed in the past are inimical to the faith. Can we not say the same for historical atrocities committed by Muslims? Or does that only go one way.

Muhammad (S) was sent by Allah, and he was the last of all Prophets. That there were Jews and Christians who lived at the time of Prophet Muhammad (S), does not prove that he plagiarised anything from them, rather Allah sustained the people of the book so that the pagans would not and could not accuse Muhammad (S) of inventing the very concept of prophethood.

The rest of what you wrote is a caricature of the Sharia Law, and is something a conventional minded modernist would typically say. You should know that even non Muslim historians, such as Richard Fletcher (author of The Conversion of Europe: From Paganism to Christianity) have pointed out that the conversion rate to Islam was very low within the first couple of centuries of the Arab conquests, and that it was from the third century after the conquests onwards, that the conversion rate grew fast (although he only uses Spain as an example).

You should also know, that the peak of the Roman Church and Western Christendom was in the High Middle ages, when governments were a mirror image of the caricature you made. This was even encouraged by the Church theologians of the time, especially the Dominicans, and including Thomas Aquinas.

But I wonder, if your Christianity started in the 20th century…

The Catholic Church has always been a church which is not the same as government… as you said it’s a ‘religion’… And Roman law isn’t enforceable as a legal system with regards to the government… You take government out of the picture throughout history and you’ll have what you have now. separation of Church and State the way religion was meant to be…(give to Ceasar what is Ceasars, give to God what is Gods) That’s why Catholicism flourishes in the United States today, because the Government doesn’t get their hands on religion… for the most part… but now that’s in jeopardy as the government wants to control even religion…

Thanks for chiming in, SalamKhan. Good to get your insights.

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