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The Vatican and Islam

Question: Tell me very honestly, what does the Vatican think about Islam? (This question was asked by a Muslim).

Answer: The Vatican has been trying hard to befriend the Islamic world. I am convinced that this is only a political gimmick. Given the chance, the Vatican would dominate the whole world, including the Islamic world. The same is true from the Islamic point of view. It cannot be otherwise, since both Catholicism and Islam consider themselves to be the purest and ultimate revelation of God.

Several conciliatory statements towards Islam were made since the Second Vatican Council. Here are two examples:

  • But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place among whom are the Muslims: these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day (Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium 16, November 21, 1964).

  • The Church has also a high regard for the Muslims. They worship God, who is one, living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men. They strive to submit themselves without reserve to the hidden decrees of God, just as Abraham submitted himself to God's plan, to whose faith Muslims eagerly link their own. Although not acknowledging him as God, they venerate Jesus as a prophet... (Second Vatican Council, Nostra Aetate (3), October 28, 1965).

What can I say about all this? Frankly, I think that they are being dishonest – or else they are denying the faith of the Bible they profess to believe and defend. Let me show you why.

Firstly, the Bible teaches that the one true God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 1:3); and again, "Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love" (2 John 1:3). As a Muslim, do you believe that God is the Father of Jesus Christ? That Jesus is the Son of God? No, you don’t. Can’t you see therefore that Allah is not the God of the Scriptures? How can they say then that you adore the same God as Christians?

What about the statement that Muslims venerate Jesus as a prophet though they do not believe that He is God. You will realize that this is a very crucial point. If Jesus is not God, then Christians (who worship Him) are idolaters. If Jesus is indeed God, then Muslims are refusing to worship Him who deserves their total submission. There is no middle ground. See what Jesus Himself thought about this:

For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him (John 5:16-23).

The Jews understood Jesus’ claim to be equal with God the Father and they sought to kill Him. Jesus affirmed His Deity by stating that He does the same works that the Father does, including giving life and judging the whole world. Therefore, He concluded that every person should honour the Son “as they honour the Father”. Jesus is worthy of the same divine worship that God the Father deserves. Moreover, He insisted that those who do not honour the Son in this manner, do not honour the Father either. Muslims claim to worship God just as the Jews in His day claimed to worship God even though they refused to worship Jesus. Jesus corrected them: “He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” Elsewhere Jesus said to those who did not believe that He is the Son of God and yet claimed to know God: “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also” (John 8:19). No-one can know the Father except through Jesus Christ, His Son.

The Bible says: The Vatican says:
Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also (1 John 2:23).  Together with us (Catholics) they (Muslims) adore the one merciful God [even though the Qu'ran emphatically denies the Son: "Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son" (Sura 4:171)].

Do you see the emptiness and deception of the Catholic assertion that the Muslims worship God even though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God's Son?

The Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect image of the invisible God. He is God manifest in the flesh. To know Him, not merely as a prophet, but to know Him as Lord, is to know God Himself. But if one claims to know God but does not believe that Jesus is the Son of God, he does not really know God at all.

The chasm between Christianity and Islam is infinite, and I would not fool you by pointing out some superficial similarities between the two religions. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is the one and only Saviour. Once He asked his disciples what the people thought of Him. They answered that the people thought he was a prophet. Well, he was not content with that answer, and asked the disciples what they thought of Him. Peter spoke up and confessed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” And Jesus blessed Peter for making that confession. Indeed the Bible states that eternal life is dependent on this very thing - believing in Jesus, the Son of God.

“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).

© Dr Joseph Mizzi