Q & A with Dr. Craig: Why Christianity rather than Judaism or Islam?
Q: Hello Dr. Craig,
I have always wondered about your claim that Christianity is the only true religion (based on historical evidence as you say). But how can you be so sure when Islamic and Jewish scholars claim the same claim?
As a former atheist and now an agnostic, the question of which religion to choose is essential. I’m very well acquainted with Islamic Theology and unlike your claim. Islam affirms that Christians, Jews and Muslims worship the same god (“Allah” is not a special god for Muslims rather it’s the term for god in Arabic).
So what is your position on Islam? (And I would really like to know from who do you get your information on Islamic theology).
I also would to invest some time in Christian theology, would kindly recommend some introductory books?
Dr. Craig’s Answer: The short answer to your question of why Christianity rather than Islam or Judaism, Sultan, is Jesus of Nazareth. While Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are the world’s three great monotheistic faiths, genetically related and so having much in common, what divides them is their account of Jesus. I think that neither Judaism nor Islam gives a satisfactory historical account of the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth.
My interest in Islamic thought was sparked by my study of the history of the so-called kalam cosmological argument, especially its development by medieval Muslim theologians like al-Ghazali. In fact, it was due to their contribution to the development of the argument that I dubbed this version of the argument, which goes back to the pre-Islamic Christian era, the kalam cosmological argument (“kalam” being, as perhaps you know, the Arabic term for Islamic doctrine). You can read about their contribution to this and other forms of the cosmological argument in my The Cosmological Argument from Plato to Leibniz (London: Macmillan, 1980).
My interest in Islam thus awakened, I chose Islam as one of my two side areas of specialization on which I was examined for my doctorate in theology at the University of Munich. Both the teachings of the Qur’an and the dogmatic history of Islamic theology became subjects of fascination for me. I never dreamt at that time that some day I would have the privilege of debating Muslim apologists in the U.S., Canada, and South Africa and lecturing on Islam and Christianity, not only in North America and Europe, but even at Muslim universities in Turkey and Tunisia.
While you’re certainly correct that “Allah” is just the Arabic word for God, being used even in the Arabic New Testament, it doesn’t follow, Sultan, from common vocabulary or words that Muslims and Christians have the same concept of God. No Muslim would concede that God is a Trinity of persons, as Christians believe, and, as you must know, the Qur’an condemns to hell those who claim that Jesus is God’s Son…
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