[ by Charles Cameron — on soundbite mischaracterizations in a volatile and complex world ]
Isn’t it time we stopped maligning each others’ religions with third-rate “theological” speculations?
The upper panel here is taken from a WND piece by Joel Richardson in which he describes the conspiracy-laden “Muslim” video-tube series “The Arrival” depicting the Christian savior as a sun god, while the lower one is taken from one of the “Christian” Chick tracts describing Islam as worshipping a moon god.
The idea in each case is to score points preaching to one’s own “choir” — but any Muslim will tell you that the God they worship is in fact the One without a second, and any Christian will tell you that neither the Savior nor his Heavenly Father is the sun god Ra.
Speculating about the origins of religions is an interesting business, and David Fideler does just that in his book, Jesus Christ, Sun of God: Ancient Cosmology and Early Christian Symbolism. He’s not, however, the only person investigating the rich brew of religious ideas from which Christianity emerged — the Nag Hmmadi and Qumran documents between them have made this a fertile field of study and speculation, and the theories range as far afield as the distinguished linguist John Allegro‘s claim that Christ was a mushroom.
Islamic texts have not until very recently been subject to the same kind of scrutiny that Textual Criticism has brought to bear on Biblical studies since the time of Julius Wellhausen, but if time allowed me a second life in parallel with this one (and with less of an attention deficit?) I’d be very interested to read and compare Keith Small‘s Textual Criticism and Qur’an Manuscripts with Ahmad Ali Al-Imam‘s Variant Readings Of The Quran: A Critical Study Of Their Historical And Linguistic Origins.
For those of us who lack the linguistic and scholarly chops for post-doc level research, however, and particularly those of us inclined to polemic, it may be wise to avoid citing any particular version of Islamic or Christian origins as definitive, and concentrate on the actual theologies, extreme as well as mainstream, of our contemporaries, and of major historical thinkers on the order of St Augustine and Martin Luther, Ibn Arabi and Ibn Taymiyyah.
Telling Muslims they worship a moon god is as unlikely to dent their faith as telling Christians they worship the sun — it is more likely simply to hurt or anger them. It is falsehood — and as the saying goes:
the truth shall make you free.