Why I Am Not Muslim

I’d like to begin a series of blogs that I’m calling, “Why I am not.” In this series, I’d like to take a look at various faith expressions and explain why I do not belong to that particular camp.    A number of months ago I did a video on why I am Christian and not Roman Catholic, and that made me think of doing a more complete series on this topic.      Let me begin with this word of caution: as I do this series, I am not talking about people. I’m not addressing the adherents of those faith expressions. I am not attacking or condemning any follower of these faiths. Rather, this will be an examination of ideologies, not people. Please keep that in mind.

Before I begin, let me just briefly introduce myself in case you’re new to this site. I’ve been a Christian since I was a small boy. I read the Bible through for the first time when I was a teenager and I’ve been reading it ever since. I served as a pastor for 11 years, then left the pastorate to do some missionary work with my wife. Currently, I serve as a chaplain at the county jail, leading several bible studies each week. I’ve never been formally trained in theology and I hold no degree. Professionally, I’ve worked as an investigator for over 35 years, and I tend to bring that mindset to my study of scripture and to my faith. Now, I say all of this to say that I am not a person who brings anything impressive to the table. I’m just a Christian who likes to think through his theology. You can take or leave what I have to say.

In this blog I want to talk about why I am not Muslim. Again, let me make it clear that I am not addressing Muslim people, rather I am talking about Islam. I’ve had Muslims come to my Bible studies in the jail and bring their Quran, and they’re always welcome to do so. I have two copies of the Quran in my office, and I do study it from time to time so that I can interact intelligently with Muslims that I meet.

Alright, so why am I not Muslim? Well, I suppose one could argue that as a young boy growing up in rural Pennsylvania that I had no exposure to Islam and therefore it was never offered to me. And, that would be correct. But, I’m my own man now. I do my own thinking. I have an insatiable desire for the truth, and will follow it wherever it is found. If Islam is truth, then I would follow it, regardless of my upbringing or geographical location. So, we would first have to discover whether Islam is objectively true.  In other words, can we test this faith without having to first embrace it? Can an outsider looking in make a reasonable determination of its truth claims?

Let’s begin with Muhammad. Islam claims he is Allah’s final and perfect prophet. Islam requires that one must not only believe in Allah, but also in Muhammad. He is to be revered and even praised whenever he is mentioned, and he is to be imitated by all Muslims.

Muhammad was born around the year 570. In or around 610 AD, Muhammad reportedly was visited by the angel Gabriel in a cave and was given revelations. About three years later he began to preach these revelations to others. He claimed to continue to receive these messages from God for about twenty years.   These revelations were passed on orally from Muhammad to his followers who passed them on to the next generation of followers and so on. They were finally put down in book form, which is called the Quran.

Now, if God had spoken to Muhammad, and had given him specific revelation – that involves me – then we would expect that there should be a way to verify those claims. Almost all faiths recognize true and false claims. There has to be a way to objectively know the difference. But that’s where we have our problem. Muhammad claimed that the angel Gabriel came only to him and that no one else saw him. This angel reportedly gave Muhammad instructions that he was to pass on, and these orders included the charge that everyone is to revere and obey Muhammad, yet without any documentation.

In other words, it’s like me coming out of a room, closing the door, and announcing that I had just talked to God in that room and God wanted me to tell everyone that I’m now in charge. God also said that no one else is allowed into that room to check for themselves.  The only proof that I offer is the instructions that put me in charge, which I wrote down. Now, it’s entirely possible that God could have spoken to me, but the question is: how are you to know? How can you verify that I’ve had an audience with God and He’s put me in charge of you?

And that’s my foremost problem with Islam: it doesn’t provide an objective way to verify its own claims. According to the Quran, Muhammad didn’t perform any miracles with the exception of the Quran itself. The Quran tells us that it’s the most wonderful book ever written and nothing could ever be written like it. But, that’s rather subjective. How can you test something to find out it is the ‘most wonderful?’

More than a hundred years after Muhammad died, his followers began to claim that Muhammad had indeed performed miracles. However, according to Islam’s oldest source, the Quran, Muhammad didn’t perform any miracles. For example, in Surah 6:37, we read, “And they say: Why has not a sign been sent down to him from his Lord?….”

Now, this request for miracles is posed again in Surah 10:20, Surah 13:7, Surah 13:27, and in other places.  It becomes apparent that, according to the Quran, Muhammad wasn’t performing any miraculous signs as proof of his ministry because people were asking for them. Now, why is this important? Well, when a prophet tells us that he’s had an encounter with God, and that encounter resulted in information pertaining to the way that everyone else is supposed to live, one would expect a reasonable person to want to know if that encounter with God really took place. We would want some type of evidence to support the claim. Yet, the only evidence given in support of Muhammad’s ministry is the uniqueness of the Quran. For example, in Surah 2:23 we read, “And if you all are in doubt about what I have revealed to My servant, bring a single chapter like it, and call your witnesses besides God if you are truthful.” What the Quran here is telling us is, if you want evidence that Muhammad had an encounter with God, and we do, just try to produce a single chapter as great as that which is found in the Quran.

Now, I hope that you can see what troubles me about this claim. Not only is it extremely subjective, but it’s also circular in reasoning. Muhammad claims that God made him the greatest prophet, and his proof is that the Quran states that he is the greatest prophet. But the Quran comes from Muhammad, who had this secret meeting with an angel from God who told him he was the greatest prophet. It’s little wonder that the Quran records people challenging Muhammad’s claims and wanting proof.

Now, Jesus was challenged as well. In John 2, the religious leaders demanded, “What sign do you show to us, since you do these things?” Jesus responded, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Now, John, who wrote the gospel, is quick to tell us that Jesus was referring to his body, not the actual temple. Later, in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus was again asked for a sign. He told the religious leaders, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

It’s not hard to see what Jesus meant. When asked for proof of his ministry, he pointed toward his death and resurrection. In essence what he was saying was kill me and in three days I’ll raise myself up from the dead. It’s the ultimate test. Who but God could raise themself up from the dead? If he’s able to do that, then he must be from God, and His claims must be true. Incidentally, the Quran denies both the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, again without proof. The Quran wants us to believe it, simply because it says so. But, for those of us who are careful with our trust, the Quran simply fails to deliver.

So, why am I not Muslim? Well, since there’s no objective evidence to support the claim that Muhammad had an encounter with the true God, then there’s no reason to follow his teaching and example. He may have been a prophet, but not one sent from God.

Dane Cramer is a backpacker, follower-of-Jesus blogger, jail chaplain, amateur filmmakerPodcast host, and author of two books: Romancing the Trail and The Nephilim: A Monster Among Us , and has worked as an investigator for over 35 years.



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