24 May, 2017

A Cold-Case Comparison of Christianity and Islam

As a detective working cold cases, 2016 reTHINK conference speaker J. Warner Wallace, author of a trilogy of Christian apologetics-related books — Cold Case Christianity, God's Crime Scene, and, most recently, Forensic Faith — had certainly seen an eyeful before his conversion to Christianity back in 1996. One of the first things that he noticed, however, was that all — not just most, but all — of the eyewitnesses who have a motive to lie have the following three motives: pride (a search for power), lust (a search for sexual satisfaction), and greed (a search for wealth). Those are the motives that people always have for lying. How exactly do Christianity and Islam compare on these three fronts?

The people who founded Christianity definitely did not have a pursuit of power — in Matthew 23, Jesus is recorded as having sternly rebuked the Pharisees for seeking power by acting religious. He also is recorded as having rebuked Peter (John 18:11) for attempting to fight in the name of Christianity. Was Muhammad on a pursuit of power? Absolutely. That's why he encouraged Muslims to "fight" and kill anyone who isn't a Muslim or dhimmi (Quran 9:29). Dhimmitude is one of the most basic, classic, blatant examples of a thirst for power in existence — and a thirst for power is one of these three motives that are capable of compelling people to lie.

Jesus also had very strong things to say about lust. In the Sermon on the Mount, He is quoted as saying that "anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28) — essentially equating sinful thoughts with the actual sins themselves. Muhammad and his followers, meanwhile, not only permitted tetragyny (the ability to have up to four wives), but also encouraged female genital mutilation, permitted marriages between adult men and girls as young as 9, and reduced women to the mere property of men, why? To bring sadistic pleasure to men at the expense of horrible pain that the women had to endure through sex with their genitals cut. Like power, lust is another motive that compels people to make up stories, and Muslims are just as full of it today as they were when Islam was in its infancy.

Jesus is also recorded as having some extremely strong things to say about greed. He is portrayed as so angry at the money-changers in the Temple who made big $$ off of the exchange of shekels with Roman denarii that He was compelled to vandalize the temple-turned marketplace by turning the tables over. He also is recorded as saying to an attempted rich follower to "sell off his possessions and give them to the poor" in order to follow Him. What, meanwhile, did Muhammad and his followers (like Abu Bakr, who founded the Rashidun Caliphate) do to those who were conquered and under their jurisdiction? If people under the jurisdiction of political Islam wanted to keep practicing their native religions (among them, Christianity and Judaism), they had to pay jizya — a tax on religion. Muslims did have to pay zakat as well, but whereas zakat is proportional (a flat 10% regardless of income), jizya is a regressive tax; therefore, jizya, being a tax that falls hardest of the poorest of the poor, is the more evil of the two. What did all this jizya money go into, initially? Making the Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid, and Ottoman Caliphates stronger. That is greed — a third motive that is capable of compelling people to make something up.

So, while Christianity passes the power test, passes the sex test, and passes the money test, Islam, at the same time, fails all of the above While the earliest Christians had nothing to gain from lying, the earliest Muslims had everything to gain from lying. Granted, this doesn't prove absolutely that Muhammad made Islam up, but it definitely proves that he had all of the motives that people who make things up have. Aside from being a tu quoque argument and therefore a fallacy to begin with, the left-wing accusation that it is hypocritical for the right wing to give Christianity a free pass is completely debunked by basic forensics, and it is for this reason also that Christians must have the same kind of evidential faith that people like Wallace and myself have.