The Leftovers – INTERMISSION

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A VERY LONG POST. 

I don’t really know if people who read this blog actually click on the links that I have uploaded. In case you don’t, you might want to know that the account of Jesus feeding the five thousand is over in Mark 6:44. If all I wanted to talk about was Jesus feeding a ton of people, it would be over. But it is far from over. If you go back to The Leftovers – Part 2, you can recall Jesus making the disciples get into a boat.

When you open a Bible in the Book of Mark 6:30-44, that section is called Jesus feeds the Five Thousand. But the account of what happens to them in that boat continues in the next section called Jesus walks on water (Mark 6:45-56). I am expanding here because if you are not familiar with Bible reading, you might think that these two sections are completely separated, and that one has nothing to do with the other.

These division of Chapters, Verses and Sections DO NOT exist in the oldest Hebrew Bible and New Testament Greek manuscripts. Actually, the examination of these texts reveals only upper-case letters, no spaces between words while writing, and no punctuation. Sometimes an occasional blank line was inserted to mark the end of a major section, but this was not always done. This constitutes the scripto continua fashion that is typical of non-Biblical manuscripts as well.

Why ancient Greek is written like this, I have no idea, but we have to consider that papyrus was greatly used back then. It was not very expensive so it was a top choice. However, papyrus was also very scarce outside Egypt due to climate destruction, so it makes sense that these manuscripts were written scripto continua to save on papyrus. You would like to squeeze as much text as you could. Manuscripts were copied, by hand, tens of thousands of times, long after the original manuscript had been destroyed. Imagine trying to do that when the words are written in all upper-case letters, with no spaces between words, and no punctuation. If that’s not enough, you’re writing on poor-quality paper with a scratchy reed pen, and using ink you made yourself.

As you can already realize, New Testament scribes DID NOT copy Bible verses, since there was no Bible to start with. What scribes copied were HUMONGOUS amounts of information. They copied strings of letters, one after another, one after another. After a few centuries of that, it’s easy to imagine that the text of the New Testament would no longer bear any relationship to the original. But the fact that copies were being made constantly, by intent scribes under the supervision of careful proofreaders, meant that the text remained fairly fixed. Welcome to the Science of Textual Criticism.

I applaud the division of the Bible into sections, chapters and verses, as it is very helpful for Bible Study and memorization of Scripture. It is definitely easier to ask someone to read John 3:16, than to ask him to open his Bible and find For God so agape-loved the world that

This New Testament division was developed around A.D. 1227 by Archbishop Stephen Langton, followed later by Jewish Rabbi Nathan in A.D. 1448 for the Hebrew Bible. Beginning with the Geneva Bible in 1555, the chapter and verse divisions have been accepted into nearly all the Bible versions. It is helpful, but it can be devastating, because sometimes you can focus on one single Bible verse without taking into account the whole context of the teaching.

The placement of the chapters and verses were done in a complete ARBITRARY manner. The divisions DO NOT follow any logical or consistent method, DO NOT represent literary units, and DO NOT define the author’s unit of thought. In a word, focusing ONLY in Bible verses rather than whole units within a context can mess up our understanding of the text. A single Bible verse can be manipulated into agreeing with what people want to believe.

 Context is everything.

One cannot single out one verse and discard the other.

Either take it all, or discard it all.  


Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors. And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.

– Quran 2:190-191


“Oh, no! You are taking it out of context”, say the Muslims. Of course. Because context is everything, you see.

Dr. Maher Hathout  explains that these verses were applicable to a particular situation. After the migration to Medina and the establishment of the Islamic state, Muslims were concerned with how to defend themselves against aggression from their enemies. The verses mentioned were revealed by Allah to enable them to protect the newly formed state by fighting in self-defense against those who fought them. And that’s it. That verse ONLY applied to that historical context, but unfortunately it is misused by the media when talking about jihad.

Why am I going to great lengths to study these divisions and contexts? Because it relates to the concept of Bible Corruption that Muslims love to bring about. I will focus on five Bible verses for now, but then I will expand from there. Let us take, for example, John 14, verses 13 and 14.


And I [Jesus] will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

– John 14:13-14


These verses, according to Muslim interpretation, are a good example of the corruption the real gospel of Jesus – the Injil – underwent. When was it corrupted? They don’t know. Who corrupted it? They don’t know. The Christians did it – in general. The logic behind the subject of corruption is that these verses contradict the Quran. Why are they in contradiction with the Quran? It you read carefully, it is clear that Jesus is telling His disciples that they can pray TO Him, and that He himself will answer those prayers.

In the original language of the manuscripts, Jesus is saying something like this:


Whatever you might ask in the name of ME, this I will do (verse 13). If anything you ask ME, in the name of ME, I [from greek EGO→First person pronoun] will do it (verse 14).

– Jesus (John 14:13-14)


Jewish Jesus is elevating himself  to God-like status. His disciples can actually pray TO Him and He will answer those prayers. But Muslim Jesus would never do such a thing. Muslims will never dare to pray TO anybody other than Allah. They definitely do not pray to Prophet Muhammad. Praying TO Jesus, TO Mary, TO an ancestor or TO an idol is considered shirk, the unforgivable sin in Islam. You are associating partners with Allah. Once we grasp this, it makes sense now why Muslims consider Christians to be polytheists. The Theology of The Trinity presents a challenge to the Theology of Tawhid (where God is ONLY One). The Theology of the Trinity basically explains how God is God, how Jesus is God, and how the Holy Spirit is God. But Muslims interpret that as 1 + 1 + 1 = 3 gods.

I personally worship One and Only One God. One day I will get to the Trinity – God willingYou might be surprised to know, though, that there are Muslims who are all about Jesus is God. That affirmation does not freak them out as much as saying God is Jesus. Believe me, it is not the same. But as far as verses 13 and 14, they cannot be accepted by a Muslim as authentic. Let’s explore the verses that follow after that.


If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

– John 14:15-17


I had already mentioned before that this Advocate, according to Muslims, is Prophet Mohammad. The world definitely saw and knew Prophet Muhammad. Muslims say he lives with them through Quran, Sunnah and hadith. I wonder if they will say Prophet Muhammad lives in them. Actually, the preposition for in, is ἐν, and it can be translated as on, in or among. So I guess I have to be fair to Prophet Muhammad as He could be that Messenger. But then, I also have to be fair to Jesus, as He can also live IN through the Holy Spirit.  Mostly, as of right now, I have to be fair to my God-given intelligence.

The Bible was not intended to be read in bits and pieces. You cannot pick and choose the verses you like. At least not if you want to be consistent. These five verses (John 14:13-17) are contained within the Upper Room Speech (John 14-John 17) – a series of instructions and comforting words Jesus spoke to His disciples before He gets arrested.

I have heard Zakir Naik agreeing with Jesus being the way, the truth and the life, and that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6). All within the same context of the Upper Room. And Zakir loves context. But then, he twists that context into saying that Moses was also the way, the truth, and the life in Moses’ time. Muslims not only agree, but also believe that Prophet Muhammad is the way, the truth and the life for this generation. Muslims believe that following Prophet Muhammad will grant them paradise.

What happened then to the scale of good deeds versus bad deeds? Why is it unfair of me to think that Jesus can give me salvation? Is it not unfair of them to think that Prophet Muhammad can give them salvation as well?


It is beyond question that the Christian Western societies thrive on sex. The Jews and Christians in the West have caused so much mischief and misled so many innocent and pure Believers into grave sins. Their life styles and core beliefs are far more dangerous than all of the porn sites combined out there.  The bikinis that their women wear in the summer on the beaches, the virginity that they lose at early teenage years, the open sex between “boy friends and girl friends” without marriage, the inappropriate cloths that both their men and women wear, the ridiculous daily songs and the foul words that they contain, the liquor and getting drunk that they thrive on, all combined build nothing but an evil satan-worshiping society. 

An angry Muslim


It is sad this is what the average Muslim on the web might think of me. But you see, I cannot pick and choose what Quran or Bible verses I like, or what hadiths I like, and discard the rest. If I become a Muslim, I take all that Quran says, and all that Prophet Muhammad said, or else, I’d better not become a Muslim.  

In John 15:1213, Jesus said, My command is this: [Agape] Love each other as I have [agape] loved you. Greater [agape] love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”. And how did Jesus love? He gave His life. But once again, this is corrupted. When it comes again to the Advocate in John 15:26, it is not corrupted. Prophet Muhammad actually has all the verses in John 16:7-15 talking about Him as the Advocate again. But John 16:2324, where Jesus tells the disciples AGAIN that they can pray in His name, is corrupted.

But you see, all these verses and divisions are ALL within the SAME CONTEXT: The Upper Room Speech.

I have to take either the whole speech as TRUE or the whole speech as FALSE – I cannot twist the speech to my satisfaction. If the whole speech is false, then I cannot pray TO Jesus, and Prophet Muhammad is NOT the messenger. If the whole speech is true, then I can pray TO Jesus, and the Spirit of Truth is Prophet Muhammad. But those are conflicting arguments. Either Jesus is encouraging me to commit shirk by praying to Him OR Prophet Muhammad is a false prophet/teacher like the ones Jesus warned about.

If I were a Muslim scholar, I would take the whole speech unit as false rather than coming up with conspiracy theories on scribes foreshadowing exactly what strings of letters they had to corrupt in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. Are Muslim scholars asking me to logically consider the possibility that all the scribes knew exactly what to corrupt? Are they seriously implying that after those scribes were dead, or replaced, the scribes who kept on producing more copies of the same manuscripts also knew exactly what to corrupt? They were the same manuscripts, but still, more people copying might mean more corruption. And what about the manuscripts in Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and other languages? Did the scribes get in touch with each other to organize the corruption of the same string of letters at the same time? What about the scribes in different cities? Did they travel for miles on foot in order to plot all this?

Almost all Biblical scholars agree that the New Testament documents were all written before the close of the First Century. If Jesus was crucified in A.D. 30. (let’s say He didn’t die, and Allah placed Judas on the cross as Muslims say) that means the entire New Testament was completed within 70 years. This is important because it means there were plenty of people around when the New Testament documents were written – people who could have objected the corruption. In other words, those who wrote the documents knew that if they were inaccurate, there were plenty of good Muslims who would have pointed out that these copies were in contradiction with the original Injil that God gave Jesus. They would have started a revolution because scribes were altering the actual message of Islam Jesus preached.

If I were a Muslim, how could I ever trust any Bible prophecy about Prophet Muhammad if I cannot even trust the whole paragraph? If I cannot trust a whole division, and the divisions that constitute whole teachings of Jesus, why would I trust a single Bible verse?

I am not buying the corruption conspiracy. As Zakir said, context is everything. One cannot single one verse out and discard the other. Either take it all, or discard it all. If Muslims want to read the New Testament, I would encourage them to do it. Start with the Book of Mark – the least corrupted, according to Shabir Ally. After all, I did open a Quran (which I am still reading) because I love my Muslims.

If you, as a Muslim, are really submitting to Allah’s will, then you have definitely nothing to lose and absolutely nothing to fear. But please, be consistent in your thinking. Allah will guide us all, In shaa Allah.

And Allah knows best.

The leftovers – Introduction

I think I have been investing so much of my time learning about Islam, that I have tossed Jesus out of the window. The Jesus I know. The One who offered me hope eight years ago. I miss Him. Sometimes I cry mourning for Him, like when someone you deeply love has passed away. Other times, though, I feel so strongly about my relationship with Him, that somehow I think that documenting my faith journey doesn’t really matter in the scope of time.

I have a very clumsy brain. For the most part, I have tried to change that part of me, as it gets me in a lot of trouble with my husband. I haven’t succeeded so far, at least not to his satisfaction. He is a very organized, almost OCD-like person. Sometimes I think he doesn’t share things with me, but he does. It is me who usually forgets about what he said. I guess that’s what got me into writing. So I need to write down some events that have happened in the last two weeks. I do not want to forget.

To start with, I want to talk about how Jesus fed the five thousand in the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 6:30-52. Before that, though, I need to make sure all of us – Christians and Muslims reading – are on the same page. In case you didn’t know, Muslims do agree with some teachings of Jesus as long as they don’t contradict the Quran. At least the Muslims I’ve watched on YouTube.

There is a lot of chit chat on the subject of how the gospels have evolved from Mark to John. According to Muslim apologist Shabir Ally, the Bible has changed over time. Here are a few examples:

  • In Mark 9:5, Peter addresses Jesus as Rabbi, but in Matthew 17:4, he addresses Him as Lord.
  • In Mark 13:35, Jesus describes the owner of a house, but in Matthew 24:42, the Lord will come.
  • In Mark, you have Jesus praying in the Garden so that God would take away the cup that awaited Him, but in John Jesus is even willing to die.

I love Shabir, by the way. It would be awesome to meet him one day. I guess you get to really like people by spending countless hours watching their YouTube videos. I have some sweet Muslim connections in Canada, but they are not in Toronto where Shabir is. Anyways, if you know Shabir, I would love if you could arrange a meeting. I am not kidding.

So the Gospel of Mark is the first one that was written (between A.D. 55-65) and the Gospel of John is the last one (between A.D. 85-90). One day I will talk about why the gospels are so different. People, however, need to know that Christians have never claimed the Gospels are THE WORDS of God. The Gospels were written by men, and were inspired by God. But I just need to say three things:

1. It is very double-minded of Muslims to refer to the Gospel of John as the most corrupted and the most unreliable one since John has made Jesus into God. Yet at the same time, it is EXACTLY the Gospel of John the one that Muslims LOVE to quote to find a prophecy for Prophet Muhammad from the own lips Jesus. The Counselor, the Helper, the Advocate who Jesus promised to send in John 14:26 is NOT the Holy Spirit. According to Muslims, it is Prophet Muhammad. If you are a Christian, your jaw must have dropped. Mine dropped for sure when I first heard of this.

I’ve got to ask… if Christians corrupted the Gospels so successfully (changing thousands of manuscripts in many different languages), isn’t it really dumb of them to leave Prophet Mohammad right there in the open in ALL the manuscripts? If they really wanted to corrupt the whole thing, you make sure to erase ANY prophecy of ANY other person after Jesus. That is the only way of making Christianity a sure hit. Muslims, though, seem to accuse God of not being able to protect His words as He said He would (Quran 18:27). Many Muslims will say that this verse refers to the Quran. I agree. But Quran 6:115 also says NONE can alter Allah’s WORDS. Sometimes the Quran refers as the Torah and the Gospel as Allah’s Words. So, did Allah or didn’t Allah protect His Words?

And If you are going to tell me that the original Gospel, the Injil, that Allah gave Jesus got lost or somehow Christians corrupted it, and that it was that Injil the one that the Quran talks about, then I still have the same question. Why couldn’t Allah protect it? Sure, I do not know what I am talking about because I do not understand Arabic. I am getting tired of listening to that. I want to get closer to God, but I refuse to embrace the idea that God would only be known in Arabic. People worldwide are hungry for God. If Islam is the religion for all mankind, I should be able to understand it in plain English, right? Or Spanish. I am also fluent in Spanish. I also read French. Still, it breaks my heart to ponder over the idea of Allah not loving me in French.


Dis: “Si vous aimez vraiment Allah, suivez-moi, Allah vous aimera alors et vous pardonnera vos péchés. Allah est Pardonneur et Miséricordieux. Dis: «Obéissez à Allah et au Messager. Et si vous tournez le dos… alors Allah n’aime pas les infidèles!

– Le Saint Quran 3:31-32


2. I could never live in limbo like some Muslims live. If I go for Islam, I will go full throttle. I will not put my foot in some parts of the gospels as revelations that Allah was able to protect. I just couldn’t live with the doubt, you know. Because if some parts are corrupted, who is to assure me which parts are not? If they are corrupted, then tell me who corrupted them, and when. My conscience would not let me live in peace having the best of both faiths as far as Jesus is concerned. Even my Muslim and I have had conversations about what Prophet Muhammad said, and most of the time I end up telling him, “Yep, that’s in the Bible” or “Yep, Jesus said that”. But how do I know those teachings have not been corrupted?

Oh! They are not corrupted, because they confirm the Quran!

Of course they do. And that is a very convenient, but not a very consistent way on how Muslims or any person regarding of his religious background should approach the Gospels. I have a brain, a very clumsy brain, but I dare not misuse my intelligence. My Muslimah told me once that Islam was a religion that made sense. Even the Quran promotes logical thinking and reasoning. Some websites even call Islam a religion for grownups. But it is impossible to have such a conspiracy to change or alter the Word of God in all of these Bible manuscripts without missing any copy. Such a conspiracy will not be logical or even attainable. It doesn’t make any sense.  And so my brain and my soul will have to forfeit the Jesus of the Bible, ALL of Him, if I embrace Islam. I just couldn’t live with myself to have it otherwise.

3. Muslims don’t like John, and they pick and choose from Luke and Matthew. Oh, well… I guess Mark will do for now. I will talk about my life and the feeding of the five thousand in the next post 🙂

TO BE CONTINUED…

Not fair...

Not fair – Part 3

While on vacation, several things happened regarding my faith journey. I was asked by a waiter if I was a Muslim. I couldn’t but laugh nervously. Apparently he saw my daughter eating enormous amounts of bacon with her pancakes.


No, I am not a Muslim. Why do you ask me that, Abdullah? [Points at the bacon] Oh, the bacon, of course. Nope. I am not a Muslim, but I know about the bacon. I’m reading your Quran. My best friends in Chennai are Muslims, and I always tell them how a terrible Muslim I would make because I like beer. Are you married, Abdullah?  


Abdullah is married, but he sees his daughter -who is 18 months old- only a few days every six months. He also told me that a lot of Muslims eat bacon because they don’t even know they are not supposed to eat it. This is in a country where alcohol and pork are banned from consumption (except at the resorts), and importing anti-Islamic materials (including idols for worship and Bibles) is an offence. Abdullah was nothing but nice to me. I did not take any offense in him asking me whether I was a Muslim or not. My husband, of course, thought that was none of his business.

But I actually thought it was really sweet that Abdullah would care for my daughter and for me not sinning in case we were Muslims. My daughter has a free pass on sins until she reaches puberty, but not me. He was not telling me it is wrong to eat pork. He was not holding me accountable to his beliefs. He was holding me accountable to my sin only if I was a Muslim. That is why he asked first. And I think that was a beautiful Muslim parallel example of the accountability I explained in my last post Christians – Part 2.

Another thing that happened is that I was asked by a young woman [Sherry] which religion I followed. She explained she was Catholic, but she did not understand why the priests were so controlling to the people in her native country, and why her Muslims friends at the resort were telling her that Jesus was not God. I seriously felt like hugging her and asking her, “Have they told you yet that the Bible is corrupted?” 

She asked me if I could explain the Trinity for her. I gave it a shot, and I explained it to her – as much as I grasp it. The Trinity belongs to another post, tough. I just want to make clear that The Trinity mentioned in the Quran is indeed a blatant blasphemy for me as a Christian.


They have certainly disbelieved who say, ” Allah is the third of three.” And there is no god except one God.

-Quran 5:73

And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, “‘O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?'” He will say, “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it.

– Quran 5:116


After reading these two verses together the question begs to be asked… Is it reasonable for me to think that Prophet Muhammad thought that the Trinity of Christianity consisted of Jesus, Mary and Allah? I say maybe. Many Muslims on the web wrongly assert this is what Christians believe. My own Muslim confronted me one morning on why I prayed TO Mary. Who told him that? Other Christians? I don’t think so. I will have to ask him, but he definitely read it in the Quran. Maybe Prophet Muhammad was referring to a smaller group of Christians who seemed to have a heretical emphasis on praying TO Mary.

But it is the official position of the Roman Catholic Church that Catholics do not pray TO saints or Mary, but rather that Catholics can ask saints or Mary to pray FOR them. Whether this practice is biblical or not, my Catholic Brothers and Sisters in Christ worship GOD ALONE. We may have differences in understanding, but Catholics will never tell you Mary is part of the Trinity. I was raised Catholic, FYI.

Anyway… Sherry was very sweet. There are people hungry for God. There are people who have questions about God. I knew there were people actively looking for God, and maybe this was God’s way to show me. This morning, on the other hand, my children and I were surrounded by five Muslim women all wearing black from top to bottom – abaya, hijab and all. They were all smiling and shaking my hand as my landlord introduced them as his wife and his four daughters. What is God trying to tell me? My Muslimah thinks Allah is trying to open my eyes to the truth of Islam. Sure. Why not?

BUT IT IS NOT FAIR.

It is not fair that I have to become a Muslim for God to love me. Being a Muslim is not as easy as believing in One and Only One God and submitting to Him. One cannot be a Muslim until one recites the Shahada, the First Pillar of Islam, with sincerity and conviction: I bear witness that there is no God worthy to be worshiped but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the  Messenger of Allah.


Say, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah , then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. Obey Allah and His messenger [Muhammad], but if they turn back, Allah does not love the unbelievers.

– Quran 3:31-32

Whoever disbelieves, he shall be responsible for his disbelief, and whoever does good, they prepare (good) for their own souls, that He may reward those who believe and do good out of His grace; surely He [Allah] does not love the unbelievers.

God’s love for me is contingent on whether or not I believe in Muhammad. As of right now, I am an unbeliever. I cannot recite the Shahada from the heart. And if I do not believe in God AND Muhammad:

  • As I enter hell and my skin is burned, it will be exchanged for other skin so that I taste the punishment (Quran 4:56).
  • The angels will smite my face and my back so that I taste the punishment of burning (Quran 8:50).
  • I am also the vilest of animals (Quran 8:55).
  • I have burning fire awaiting for me (Quran 48:13).
  • I will also have an entertainment of boiling water (Quran 56:91-93).
  • I will also burn in hell (Quran 56:94), but that I already knew.

There are more verses, but those are enough for me. After doing all this reading, not a single Muslim can sincerely tell me that Christianity is too narrow. No way. Islam is as narrow. I don’t have a problem with the doors being narrow, you see, because I do want to choose a door. My doors are either the Jesus of the Bible OR Muhammad [and the Jesus in the Quran]. I cannot have both. Christianity and Islam are mutually exclusive.

But I have experienced that God is loving. I know God is just. And I know God is fair. Our human understanding of His justice is what makes us question His love and His fairness. But God’s ways are not our ways, neither His thoughts are our thoughts. His ways and His thoughts are higher [Isaiah 55:8-9].

As I read my Quran, I constantly ask God with an open heart, IS THIS TRUE?

Not fair...

Not fair – Part 2

“Aren’t you afraid?”, I asked my husband. “I know you are sick of me with all this, but I need to hear from you. What do you think? Don’t you care about going to hell?”


Sweetheart, you are looking for something that you will NOT find. You are looking for proof that what you believe is true. You won’t find that. The only thing you will find is information that will enable you to make a decision – a sensible choice. I made a choice a long time ago to follow Jesus. I read and I chose. Can I prove it? No, but I still choose to believe it. That’s faith. Go running, it will help you clear your mind…


He is right, you know. I don’t know how it happened but I have committed so much of my time to find information about Islam and Christianity for the last six months. It probably started after the Bible-corruption talk I had with my Muslims. They are my Muslims and they will always be. But my husband is right. I will never be certain of anything. These things are not very likely to be settled scientifically. All I can do then is to make an informed decision. If I end up going to hell, I cannot blame anybody but me, I guess.


A Muslim is a person who submits to God. Any human can be a Muslim if he believes in one and only one God AND he leads a good life by submitting to that one God.

A non-Muslim, by definition, is a person who does not recognize God as a Sovereign Law giver Who rewards the good and punishes the bad.

OnIslam.net


The duty of Muslims is to do more good deeds and minimize evil deeds. That’s how they hope to attain salvation. Again, bear in mind, only in general terms. So on the Day of Judgment, Allah will judge them and ask them about each single deed that they did in this world. If the scale of good deeds exceeds the bad deeds, by Allah’s mercy they will enter Paradise.


Allah has written down the good deeds and the bad ones. He who has intended a good deed and has not done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as a full good deed, but if he has intended it and has done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as from ten good deeds to seven hundred times, or many times over. But if he has intended a bad deed and has not done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as a full good deed, but if he has intended it and has done it, Allah writes it down as one bad deed

– Prophet Muhammad

Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim


In Islam actions are judged on the basis of intentions. Bad actions are not necessarily bad. Actually, good intentions in themselves have become good because they are based on the right philosophy or the right belief. Personally, I don’t think that would fly with the Jesus of the Bible. They might fly with the Muslim Jesus in the Quran, but not with my Jewish Husband. I have been so angry with my children that I have felt like throwing them out of the window. That is murder according to the Jewish Jesus.

When Jesus walked on this earth, He elevated the standard of morality to a higher level than The Law of Moses. In Matthew 5:22, Jesus says that you shall be subjected to penalty (bound, guilty) if you get the kind of anger (irritation) that focuses on punishing your offender rather than punishing the moral content of the offense (that’s me with my children). Not only that, if in contempt you call someone a moron, a fool, a stupid idiot – anything that puts into question his “brains” – you are risking going to gehenna (hell). Keep in mind that Jesus is talking to his twelve closest men, and to a whole crowd of people.

I am telling you people, following Jesus is creeping me out. This is a Jesus I had never seen in these eight years. This man is NOT a pushover. But then He forgives, and says that there is no greater love but to give your life for your friends, and He dies willingly. So Jesus calls you out when you sin, but then He dies for it. I think trying to explain how He embodied grace AND truth is impossible for me as a human being.

According to Islam, though, even if I felt like killing and thought about it many times, it doesn’t count as a bad deed. It actually counts as a good one because I didn’t follow through with the murder. Of course I was confused, so I asked my friends. They told me to read the Quran first, and to stop messing with the hadiths. Haven’t they realized they got me into this to start with?

 So to make things clearer: Muslims follow the Quran, the Sunnah and the hadiths.

  1. The Quran is their Holy Book.
  2. The Sunnah are the religious practices that were established by the Prophet among his companions, and have passed to them by the consensus of generations.
  3. The hadiths are narrations that are attributed to the companions of the Prophet who narrate a statement or a story about Muhammad or related to him.

According to some Muslims, the Quran and the Sunnah remain as their primary sources to understand Islam. But there are other Muslims who only follow the Quran and disregard the Sunnah, so you see them arguing on the web about this. These arguments do not even include the hadiths. There is a whole process for determining if the hadith is authentic or not. But a good rule of thumb is to go with Sahih al-Bukhari since it is recognized by the overwhelming majority of the Muslim world to be the most authentic collection of sayings of Prophet Muhammad. After that, Sahih Muslim is the second best collection. So for now, I’m sticking to those.


He who obeys the Messenger [Mohammad] has obeyed Allah

– Quran 4:80


Were am I going with all this? Well, it has actually crossed my mind the idea that if Islam is the true religion, I have to dump Jesus as my Savior, acknowledge Him only as a prophet, and embrace the Seal of the Prophets: Muhammad. If I am going to be a Muslimah, I’m gonna have to give it my best shot because No Savior means it all depends on me. My salvation rests on my shoulders, and of course, Allah’s mercy.

As I’ve seen, though, there is no consistency in how Allah punishes sin. Sometimes He wipes it all away, sometimes He does keep track of your wrong doings. This, of course, has me all confused because Allah in the Quran does not display the same character that Allah in the Bible displays (which has given me headaches for the last 6+ months). Seriously, it is hard to keep track of my children on an everyday basis, how am I supposed to keep track of my deeds with God?


Whoever says, ‘Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi,’ one hundred times a day, will be forgiven all his sins even if they were as much as the foam of the sea.

Sahih al-Bukhari

Whoever says, ‘La ilaha illal-lah wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahu-l-mulk wa lahul- hamd wa huwa ‘ala kulli shai’in qadir,’ one hundred times will get the same reward as given for manumitting ten slaves; and one hundred good deeds will be written in his accounts, and one hundred sins will be deducted from his accounts

Sahih al-Bukhari


Allah can do whatever He wants because He is God. God is God. The One and Only True God that Muslims, Christians and Jews worship according to Quran 29:46. So I think I owe it to myself to learn from Prophet Muhammad. It only makes sense that if he is a beautiful pattern of conduct (Quran 33:21) then I have to evaluate whether or not I want to sign up for Islam.

I am questioning things. I have to dissect the Jewish Jesus, the Muslim Jesus, Christianity, Islam, Muhammad, even Judaism and reincarnation. Anything goes in my search for truth, and I am telling you, it is NOT fair.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Not fair...

Not fair – Part 1

Now that my life is spinning around the internet researching for stuff, I have stumbled over the subject of Jesus as the ONLY way to heaven. Most people think it is unfair. Let’s say it is. I agree. It is unfair. It is very narrow. What I would like to know is exactly what fairness is. I cannot speak for everybody because I cannot know the heart of every single person in the world, so I will just speak for myself.

The very fist time I heard about a guy named Jesus had died for my sins, and that He loved me so much He wanted to help me with my life was when I was 12. I vaguely remember a friend of mine inviting me to this Protestant church in Mexico. Mostly I was hanging out with him, and then his parents took us with them to church. I don’t know how I ended up there, but I did. After the message, a gentleman asked us if we wanted to know more about Jesus. I raised my hand, but when someone came to talk to me, they saw that my parents were not there. They said they could not talk to me about Jesus because I was not with a responsible adult. Apparently, I needed my parent’s permission to hear the gospel [sarcasm].

Then, at age 20, a friend from high school invited me to church again. He told me about a guy named Jesus being amazing. My friend told me how he was a new person, and how this Jesus had rescued him from his sins and whatnot. Keep in mind I was Catholic, alright? I had been baptized as a baby. I was Christian. Is that what being a Christian means? Anyway… my friend stopped inviting me after I said no many times. It was wonderful that he had seen the light, I was just not interested.

My point is this. Of all the people who say Christianity is too narrow, that it is unfair that a loving God would only choose a person – Jesus – as the ONLY way to come to Him… Of all the people who refuse to come because the gate is too narrow… How many of those people really want to enter?  I ask because the narrow door was just an excuse in my case. The truth is I did not want to enter. I was very comfortable sleeping around. I might have known deep down inside me that God knew better and that having sex like I had candy was not good for me.  But who the heck cared? I liked it!

If you told me back then that the gate was too narrow and that the ONLY way to come to the Father was through Jesus, I would have objected. Of course. I would have made plenty of excuses. I’m happy Jesus works for you, but it’s not for me. I don’t think it’s a sin to have sex with my boyfriend, you know. After all, if we love each other, then it’s okay. It is not a sin if it’s done with love. I need to clean up my act before coming to God. Besides, it is unfair to other people. The way to the Father is too narrow. Why ONLY Jesus? 

You name my excuse, I would have given it to you. I knew there were things that might have been wrong with my life, but it was okay. I was happy. I never felt broken. Not all the time anyway. Sometimes I did feel lonely, but then I would just sleep around some more, and my loneliness went away. But my burden, my load, began feeling really heavy. I don’t know how it became heavy or when, I just felt really tired.

Being a disciple, a follower of Jesus, requires sacrifice. I wish I could tell you I am a disciple. For the most part, I am  trying to follow Him. But now that I am reading all this, and even doing a little bit of Greek here and there to understand the New Testament in its original language, I am scared of Jesus. I had always been like Jesus, Jesus, lovely Jesus, softy Jesus, but you don’t mess with Jesus. He said that if you wanted to be his disciple (to go after Him) you would have to deny (to disown, to repudiate, to ignore) yourself, to take up your cross, and follow Him. He doesn’t sound like a pushover. If the guy really died out of love for you, it is only fair He would demand obedience from His followers. The gift of salvation is free for anybody who wants to take it. But free doesn’t mean cheap. 

So I rejected the offer many times, mainly because I had no idea what the offer was. Tell you what, tough, unconditional love… you don’t walk away from that. I just couldn’t. So one day, I decided to walk through the narrow gate. I wish I could tell you I had objection for the door being too narrow, but I didn’t have excuses anymore. I had tried many things, but nothing seemed to change. So why not? I gave Jesus a shot. In faith, I asked God to help me change my ways, and my heart. I was ready for Him to do whatever He needed to do, I was done trying to figure out life on my own. And He kept His word. He helped.

But last night I couldn’t sleep at all. I was afraid. I was afraid I am going to hell for believing in Jesus as my Savior. I have been reading my Quran too much, you see, trying to make sense of all this. My Muslim friends told me to read it if I wanted to understand their religion. All this time, though, my husband has probably gotten the worst part. I talk constantly about all these things, about all I am finding out, about all the debates I’ve watched, and the latest news on Jewish and Islamic websites.

I know my husband loves me, but this definitely is not something he enjoys talking about – at least not for hours, like me. Hence, the blog. This morning I asked him, crying, if he was not afraid of going to hell for having confessed Jesus as His Lord and Savior eight years ago.


Seriously? We are going on vacation tomorrow. I am taking you to the beach for the first time in eight years. WE HAVE NEVER GONE TO THE BEACH. Do we have to talk about hell right now? Can you just disconnect your brain from all this until we come back?

– Dear Husband


Yep… that’s my husband right there. All our closest friends know this is him. He kept on talking.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Fear of death

Fear

I have only been VERY afraid three times in my life. You know, that kind of fear that overtakes you and you cannot sleep. The first time it was when I thought I had cervical cancer. I had been diagnosed with HPV, and the possibility of developing cancer was there. My mind is a very powerful mind. It takes me places where I know I shouldn’t go. It was fear what made me think I might have cancer. I went through a cryosurgery, and the lesions were taken care of. Ever since then, I have a very healthy cervix. I am not afraid anymore. But if I have to be honest with myself, when the time for my yearly pap-smear comes, I always grow anxious until I see it’s negative.

The second time I was very scared was when I didn’t feel my first child moving anymore around 30 weeks into the pregnancy. We rushed to the hospital and I was given steroids in case the baby had to be taken out. My amniotic fluid was at a very low-level, and I remember feeling alone. We decided not to tell our parents mostly because they were a thousand miles away from Houston. Literally. They were in Mexico City.  But I remember a sweet woman who came to the hospital to pray for me. At that time, we were doing a 30 week study of the Book of Isaiah. I was so afraid lying down in my hospital bed when she began praying over me. She did not pray for my baby to be healthy. She did not pray for my baby to stay inside my uterus. She did not pray for everything to be the way I wanted it. She prayed for God’s will to be done. Up to this day, that prayer has been the most difficult – and the most beautiful – I had been prayed over.

That day I realized that if I was going to follow the God of Israel, I had to agree with Him in many things, whether I understood them or not, whether I liked them or not. It made sense to me that sometimes bad things happened to good people, but there was nothing in this world that would happen to me if God had not allowed that to come my way. The problem with this statement, of course, arises with the different views people have of God. But I believed God was good all the time. I trusted Him. I knew Him. I knew He was for me and with me. So I was not worried anymore about the outcome. Of course, it was pretty sweet when they released me from the hospital with a big baby that I had to carry for ten more weeks.

The third time I was afraid happened just recently. A sudden pain in my back got me by surprise. I ended up with the gastroenterologist who suggested some lab work, an ultrasound, and an endoscopy. I was afraid of eating anything with fat, and guess what? Yes. I was afraid I had stomach cancer. My grandma died of stomach cancer so it was possible. My mind took me to scary places and I lost about 10 lb. in about two weeks. Even after the endoscopy showed only a mild gastritis – that I think everyone has- I kept on losing weight. I was eating even more than before, but kept on losing weight. I was afraid of dying.

I wanted God to help me. I just did’t know how He would do that. I remembered the two years that I went for counseling every single week. The lady mostly just let me talk forever, and she would just lead the questions, but I often ended finding my own answers. So I figured God had to be the best counselor. So every morning, before my children got up, or when they were napping, I made myself a cup of coffee and talked to God for hours. I asked Him to show me something, to tell me, to guide me to the root of my fear. If only I knew the root of my fear, then I would know how to stop being afraid. The Lord guided me through some Scriptures…


Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you;

He will never let the righteous be shaken.

– Psalm 55:22 of David


I was afraid for my children. I did not want to die because I feared they wouldn’t remember me. I would be such a distant memory. My oldest one was not even two years old, and my youngest was not even six months old. They would not remember the words I had spoken to them everyday. They would not remember about how beautifully they had been created in God’s image. They would not remember how infinitely they had been loved by God. As much as I tried, I couldn’t remember my parents at their age. The freshest memories of my parents that I was able to really remember (without looking at photos) were when I was about four or five years old. But I wanted to be remembered. How did I want to be remembered? That was the kind of mom I needed to be.

“I know one day this will be over. I will conquer it because you are helping me”, I wrote down. Yes, I keep logs of every single thing I have prayed. I need to remember God’s faithfulness to me. I often forget.

I argued with God – as if I could bargain – that maybe if my children were fifteen years old I wouldn’t be afraid anymore. I just wanted them to be saved. You know, I just wanted them to accept the Lord Jesus as their Savior. Then it would be okay for me to die. But somehow, in my Christian psyche or whatever (we call it the Holy Spirit) I knew that was not right. Even if they were fifteen and they had decided on their own to follow Jesus as Savior, I knew I would still be afraid. My fear was that I wouldn’t be there to help them choose right all the time. It hurt to realize that this children were not my own as much as I wanted them to be. It became obvious to me that I had to teach them to follow God on their own. God showed me that even if they were thirty and, I was still alive, they could reject my faith. They could say they were Christians, but only God could see their hearts.


The Lord is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation.

– 2 Peter 3:9,15


Every person has the free will whether to choose to put their faith in Jesus as Savior or not. Once I realized I was not in control anymore, and that it was their choice and not mine, the fear disappeared. I had found the root of my fear: I did not trust God with my children.  The only solution possible was to trust God. I had to trust God to make Himself known to my children. God had been patient with me. What made me think He wouldn’t be patient with them?

Fear and doubt is something that you don’t make an appointment with, if you know what I mean. Nobody says, “Today, I’m gonna fear and doubt my salvation at 3 pm”. But I am afraid. Fear and doubt are gripping my heart like never before. I believe hell is real, and I used to believe I wouldn’t go there. But I am reading things and hearing things that have made me put into question every single thing I felt so sure about.

Jesus’ death and resurrection has been my hope. Without His resurrection every single Christian’s hope is futile. There’s the slight possibility that my faith is all a lie. But if not Jesus, then who?

Christians – Part 2

I think the definition of Christian I gave in the last post struck a cord with many of my friends, and I am glad. Here’s the unfortunate truth. As Christians, we need to understand that when people outside the church (people who are non-religious, people who have never called themselves Christians) look at us, sometimes they expect more of us than we expect of ourselves. We can hide behind the word Christian. We say, I am a Christian. But they say, Yes, but you don’t look like Jesus. 

Andy Stanley never defined Christian as such, but somehow it is true, isn’t it? I know not all Christians are like that, and that’s awesome. Unfortunately, outsiders see one Christian acting like this, and the tendency is to ditch the whole thing based on that. The relationship with my sister suffered because of this. And I had to ask her to forgive me. Now we don’t even talk about Jesus on a regular basis. Our relationship has improved. A LOT. It improved once I realized my sister is not accountable to me for what I believe. Her life and how she deals with her life; the decisions she makes and the reasons behind those decisions are NONE of my business. 


A Christian is about what a person believes. A disciple is about what a person actually does.

– Andy Stanley


When the whole Jesus’ movement began, the apostles began scattering throughout the whole region preaching what they have seen and heard. They did not had any Bible. The New Testament as we know it hadn’t even been put together yet. All they had was the apostles stories of Jesus, the eyewitnesses accounts of all the people who saw Jesus resurrected, and some letters that the apostle Paul had written to different churches – the letters to the Romans, the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Philippians, etc.

In the First Letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul writes to the followers of Jesus living in Corinth. In the apostle Paul’s day, Corinth had several nicknames.  It was known as Carnal Corinth, Sin City, or Vanity Fair.  What happened in Corinth stayed in Corinth. Come sin here.  Come indulge hereThat was my kind of city back in college. There was commercialized gambling, debauchery, drinking, and prostitution. Sex was practically considered a religion in itself. The apostle Paul had to instruct them on how to live their faith in a city like this.

Sexual immorality, however, had found their way into the Jesus’ followers community. A man was sleeping with his father’s wife. Probably not his mother, maybe his ex-wife, but it might have been an ongoing relationship. The Christian community, however, was not addressing this issue. They all knew about it, but nobody was speaking up against it. It was so bad that not even the non-followers of Jesus in Corinth sinned like this.


It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife.  And you are proud!

1 Corinthians 5:1-2


The apostle Paul continues to tell them that they are not supposed to dissociate from the people who do this kind of things because in that case, they would have to leave the world – let alone Corinth. But Paul makes sure that they understand that this is a behavior they cannot tolerate in the Jesus community. In other words, there are standards. The man can do whatever the heck he wants, but if he has signed up to be a disciple, there are rules to follow. The Believers in Corinth have to disassociate from this man until he repents and stops that behavior.  Then of course, he can come back to the Jesus community.


As one who is present with you in this way [in spirit], I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this

1 Corinthans 5:3


I thought the Bible said you are not supposed to judge, you might say. Well, according to the Bible, Paul judged this man in the name of Jesus. Sure, Jesus said, “Do not judge or you will be judged”. Every time we judge the heart of people based on their behavior, we are stepping over God’a arena. That kind of judgement belongs ONLY to God. But Paul is talking about accountability within the church. We, Christians, are supposed to hold other Christians accountable for their actions.

Paul continues in verse 12, What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?  God will judge those outside“.

You see, Andy believes – and I agree – that we have found something amazing. We believe you can have peace with God. We believe broken marriages can be restored. Bad relationships can be healed. Your children can come back. We believe God can land in the area of your money, your profession, your whole life. Addictions can be broken. We believe you can have peace with God. We believe God loves you, and we feel compelled to tell you. But unfortunately, our approach has not always been the best.

We have to understand that in the first century, Jesus’ followers never expected non-Jesus’ followers to behave like them. Our mistake as Christians is that we expect everybody who has never signed up to follow Jesus to behave as if they have signed up to follow him. We were doing great for the first three centuries. The disciples won people to Christ by loving them. People felt drawn to this type of community, they never felt coerced. People may have felt guilty, but they never felt condemned. But when the Roman Empire made Christianity its official religion, everything went bad. Once the church had the power, we went from God is love to God will getcha

I want to tell you, my friends – you know who you are- that Jesus does not condemn you. He loves you. He died for you. And whether one day you will sign up to be His disciples or not, my Jesus community wronged you. They sinned against you. I am deeply sorry that they did not show you what it is to be His disciple. I am sorry they were not able to love you like Jesus has loved them.

As an insider, I am holding them accountable for that.