The Middle East: Trust Me
This is the fifth in a series of essays examining the Middle East situation from a Biblical perspective.
“Trust me,” says the liar.
“I’ll return it,” says the thief.
“I’ll not harm you,” says the murderer.
But invariably the liar lies, the thief steals, and the murderer kills. His words deceive, but his actions reveal his true character.
If someone has to keep repeating, “Trust me!” in order to convince a skeptic, alarm bells invariably go off.
“Something’s wrong,” we intuitively think, “he’s probably lying.”
For we have learned through experience truth in the saying, “Tell a man by his actions, not his words.”
We have also learned through experience that trust is earned. It is earned through consistent, predictable actions, good or bad. An inconsistent person is not trustworthy, for he is unpredictable and is likely to harm. An evil person is not trustworthy for he can be trusted to harm.
- One who is trustworthy is always true to his word and always follows through on his commitments.
- One who is trustworthy always respects and considers others, their needs, and desires.
- One who is trustworthy always demonstrates integrity and goodness, even if it requires great personal expense or sacrifice.
- If a person is truly trustworthy, all who have dealt with him will testify to his trustworthiness; not even one will testify otherwise.
Of course there is not a single human being who is always trustworthy, for by nature we are corrupt and untrustworthy: We all can be trusted to lie, steal, cheat, and much worse. Thus we have all experienced the results of untrustworthiness in other human beings and have been harmed as a result.
Consequently we naturally draw near to trustworthy people and stay far away from untrustworthy people. If we do otherwise, invariably we are harmed.
So it can be with a god, who may be trustworthy or untrustworthy. Granted one cannot see a god, for he is by definition supernatural and invisible, but his followers do his bidding. His followers emulate him as best as they can. A god sets the standards, the example, and the basic pattern of behavior that generations upon generations of human beings follow. If his followers strive to be trustworthy, if his teachings are trustworthy, then he is trustworthy. Otherwise he is not. Therefore it is possible to determine with a reasonable degree of confidence whether or not a god is trustworthy.
Furthermore, I would suggest that it’s not only possible to determine if a god is trustworthy, but absolutely critical to do so for everyone, because a god oftentimes makes claims with potentially far greater impact on us – good or bad – than any human can make. For example, a god can make a claim regarding the existence and nature of life after death, a claim with potentially eternal consequences. Who wants to spend eternity in torment? We all want to spend eternity in peace and joy! To be assured of that peace and joy, we must follow a trustworthy god.
Granted, whatever happens to all people after death will inevitably happen no matter what we believe today. But gods do claim that our actions today can and will affect our fate in eternity. Therefore
- Is it really prudent to leave something of that significance to chance or luck or whatever?
- Would it not be wiser to position ourselves for a successful future?
- After all, we routinely do that today for much less important matters in this world (e.g. a promotion), so why should we do any less with a matter of such import?
Hence it behooves us to pay attention to the claims of a trustworthy god and ignore the claims of an untrustworthy god. That way we are less likely to consign ourselves to eternal torment through foolishness.
The Middle East Conflict…
Which brings us back to the Middle East conflict, a conflict between two gods: The LORD God (YHWH) and Allah. The two make contradictory and incompatible claims about life after death and many other matters, including the outcome of the Middle East conflict.
Is either god trustworthy? If not, we can ignore both and go about our business as secular humanists. However, if we find one to be trustworthy, we need to pay attention to that one, learn more, and act accordingly. Because we can be certain that that god will not only shape future events in the Middle East, but more importantly that god will shape our personal futures as well. We must pay attention; our eternity could be at stake!
Let the contest begin. On one side stands YHWH (the LORD God), with His representative Jesus. On the other side stands Allah, with his representative Muhammad. Let us subject the teachings and commands of the each god and the actions and teachings of his representative to our criteria of trustworthiness as outlined above. The table below presents some typical characteristic examples that either support or question each god’s trustworthiness.
|Characteristic||Test||YHWH (and Jesus)||Allah (and Muhammad)|
|Actions consistent with claims||Claims to be creator||Yes (gives life, foretells future, controls elements)||No (no miracles in public)|
|Foretell future||Yes (Cyrus prophecy, Jerusalem prophecy)||No (changing revelations)|
|Tell the truth||Yes (Historical accuracy)||No (False statements about Jerusalem, Bible, and Jesus)|
|Actions predictable and good||Full of mercy and grace||Yes (Sins forgiven, mercy on adulterous woman)||No (Use of violence and force encouraged; punishment preferred to compassion)|
|True and unchanging in his word and commitments||Always tells the truth||Yes (Enemies unable to trap him in a lie)||No (Lies and deceit are acceptable to non-believers and in war)|
|Concern for the poor, widows, and orphans||Yes (Parable of poor woman’s tithes)||No (Rapes wives in front of husbands before killing the men)|
|Respectful of others and considerate of their needs and desires||Compassion on the suffering||Yes (Weep for Jerusalem and others)||No (Women and slaves are property to be treated accordingly)|
|How to treat enemies||Yes (All come to me, love your enemies)||No (Kill all infidels, especially Jews and Christians)|
|Demonstrate integrity and goodness at great personal sacrifice||Sacrificed for others||Yes (The Cross)||No (Focus on personal self- gratification)|
|Everyone testifies to his trustworthiness||Everything done in public||Yes (Many witnesses)||No (Revelations alone in a cave)|
|Enemies testify to his truthfulness||Yes (even Pharisees, and Paul)||No (Jews and people of Medina were double-crossed and brutally killed)|
One might argue based on the one-sided results that this comparison is biased due to my Christian beliefs. I disagree. Though one might find some fault or explanation to contradict any particular example above, there are many more in a similar vein. The body of evidence clearly supports the conclusion that YHWH and Jesus are trustworthy and that Allah and Muhammad are not.
The “clincher” claim
But let us examine in detail one particular “clincher” claim both make, a claim that irrefutably supports the conclusion that YHWH is trustworthy, and Allah is not:
- Both gods claim to be the trustworthy Creator of the Universe, but only YHWH and Jesus are able to substantiate that claim:
The Creator of the Universe created everything, including time. Therefore the true Creator must be outside the dimension of time and must be able to “see” all of time all the time. Furthermore, being the Creator, he must be powerful enough to ensure that his will is always accomplished. Therefore only the true Creator can foretell the future accurately and with certainty.
YHWH did that on multiple occasions; for example, He named Cyrus by name and described Cyrus’s career 200 years in advance through Isaiah (Isa 45). Jesus made a comparable prediction regarding the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. (Mar 13:2)
In fact, YHWH challenges and mocks any who claim to be gods:
“Present your case,” says the LORD. “Bring forth your strong reasons,” says the King of Jacob.
“Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; Let them show the former things, what they were, That we may consider them, And know the latter end of them; Or declare to us things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, That we may know that you are gods; Yes, do good or do evil, That we may be dismayed and see it together. Indeed you are nothing, And your work is nothing; He who chooses you is an abomination. (Isa 41:21-24)
And in apparent anticipation of Muhammad’s future cave visions and dreams over 1,000 years later, He reiterates the challenge:
I have not spoken in secret, In a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in vain’; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.
“Assemble yourselves and come; Draw near together, You who have escaped from the nations. They have no knowledge, Who carry the wood of their carved image, And pray to a god that cannot save.
Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me. (Isa 45:19-21)
In contrast, Allah gave Muhammad a number of revelations that had to be changed due to unforeseen circumstances; the principle of abrogation was invented as justification:
Whatever a Verse (revelation) do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring a better one or similar to it. Know you not that Allah is able to do all things? (Sur 2:106)
Therefore Allah clearly cannot foretell the future.
But not only is Allah unable to foretell the future, he promises in that same revelation to unpredictably change his mind at any moment without cause! Therefore anything Allah says cannot possibly be reliable and trustworthy; consequently Allah cannot possibly be the trustworthy Creator of the Universe he claims to be.
But there is more:
- The Creator of the Universe created everything, including life. No one has ever been able to heal and give life to the dead, except Jesus Christ. And no one has ever resurrected from the dead and walked among people, except Jesus Christ. (Luk 24, Act 1:1-9) Muhammad took many lives but never healed anyone nor gave life to the dead. And Muhammad himself died and is still dead. Since Muhammad is Allah’s special representative, one can only conclude that Allah is unable or unwilling to heal or to give life. Therefore Allah cannot be the Creator as he claims.
- Allah claims that Jesus’ Crucifixion never happened, though no evidence is provided to support such a theory which contradicts a considerable body of extant historical evidence. (Sur 4:157) Hence Allah’s claim is a false claim. Thus Allah does not meet the test of truthfulness required to be considered trustworthy!
- The Creator of the Universe created everything, including all of nature. Therefore the Creator can control the elements. No one has ever been able to do this, except Jesus Christ. Even with all our science we can’t even predict tomorrow’s weather! But Jesus Christ was able to calm the storm and walk on water. (Joh 6:16-21) Neither Allah nor Muhammad even dared to make such an outlandish claim. Perhaps because Allah is not the Creator as he claims to be and thus cannot control the elements?
- The Creator of the Universe created everything, both seen and unseen. Therefore the Creator commands both the natural and supernatural world, including supernatural beings in the world. Jesus Christ was able to cast out demons (supernatural beings) from people. He was recognized as the Son of God by these demons. (Luk 4:41) And Jesus Christ alone has the authority to delegate similar powers to his representatives through the Holy Spirit. (Luk 9:1) There are many documented instances of such events. Neither Allah nor Muhammad made such claims. Most likely because Allah is not the Creator as he claims to be.
One can only conclude from a preponderance of the evidence – especially the ability to foretell the future with certainty – that the LORD God is indeed the Creator of the Universe as He claims to be, but Allah is not what he claims to be. Furthermore, one can logically conclude that the LORD God is trustworthy and Allah is the untrustworthy deceiver described in the Bible.
Synonyms and antonyms for trustworthiness and integrity follow. The words typically used to describe The LORD (YHWH) and Jesus Christ are presented in bold
Synonyms: abidingness, adherence, allegiance, ardor, attachment, certainty, decision, dependability, determination, devotedness, devotion, doggedness, eagerness, earnestness, endurance, faith, fealty, fidelity, firmness, honesty, honor, integrity, love, loyalty, permanence, perseverance, principle, regularity, resolution, stability, staunchness, steadfastness, steadiness, surety, tenacity, trustiness, trustworthiness , truthfulness, unchangeableness, unfailingness, uniformity, zeal
Antonyms: change, changeableness, fluctuation, inconstancy, instability, irregularity, unsteadiness
Definition: honor, uprightness
Synonyms: candor, forthrightness, goodness, honestness, honesty, honorableness, incorruptibility, incorruption, principle, probity, purity, rectitude, righteousness, sincerity, straightforwardness, virtue
Antonyms: corruption, disgrace, dishonesty, dishonor
So let us continue to examine Middle East developments from a trustworthy perspective: That of Christ Jesus, the LORD of all Creation, the standard for trustworthiness and truthfulness – lest our words and actions cause unnecessary pain, suffering and death in the region and the world.
More importantly, let us examine our personal lives from a trustworthy perspective: That of Christ Jesus, the LORD of all creation, the standard for trustworthiness and truthfulness – lest we unnecessarily consign ourselves to eternal torment through foolishness.
Let us be extremely careful. Let us be like the Bereans and sift everything through the lens of Scripture to discern the truth:
Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. (Act 17:10-11)
All is not as it looks – especially in the Middle East!
 For purposes of this essay, consider a god to be a supernatural being or intelligent force.
 Being human, a god’s followers oftentimes depart from his instructions and example, but those cases should be the exception and not the rule, and they should clearly violate given instructions, teaching, and example.
 An exhaustive and complete list of such examples is beyond the scope of this essay, but the reader is invited to conduct further personal research to verify the conclusions herein. (See next footnote.)
 Additional information provided in Battlefield of the gods.
The book “Islam & Christianity: A Revealing Contrast” by Dr. James F. Gauss provides an in-depth study of this subject.
A more concise synopsis is also available on the web at Islam vs. Christianity