Since I get most of my news from the Internet these days, I missed this opinion piece in the local St. Louis Post-Dispatch when it was published just before Christmas:
What is little understood, particularly in this holiday season, is that Muslims love and revere Jesus as one of God’s greatest messengers to mankind. Other verses in the Quran – which is regarded by Muslims as the direct word of God – state that Jesus was strengthened with the “Holy Spirit” (2:87) and is a “sign for the whole world.” (21:91) His virgin birth was confirmed when Mary is quoted as asking: “How can I have a son when no man has ever touched me?” (3:47)
The essay, by Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, was clearly intended to show Christians how much we have in common with our Islamic brothers.
The Prophet Muhammad himself sought to erase any distinctions between the message he taught and that taught by Jesus, who he called God’s “spirit and word.” Prophet Muhammad said: “Both in this world and in the Hereafter, I am the nearest of all people to Jesus, the son of Mary. The prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one.”
No. Not even close.
Jesus is God, a claim He clearly made and proved by His resurrection. Muslims deny the divinity of Christ and His death on the cross, claiming that the New Testament has been corrupted by Christians and is therefore not an accurate record of Jesus’ life. (That claim, by the way, is destroyed by a scholarly examination of the evidence for the accuracy of the texts. The New Testament is so well documented that if it is rejected as history, then, using the same criteria, we have to forget everything we think we know about history before about A.D. 1000.)
Hooper’s column was a nifty PR piece, reducing the question of Jesus’ divinity to “differing perspectives”. I’m sorry, Mr. Hooper, but until you accept that Yeshua HaMashiach is in fact God, there is a very fundamental division between us that no amount of “shared religious heritage” can bridge.