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This is a tricky topic. It’s not super popular right now to disagree with other religions. Tolerance is in, bigotry is out. But the thing is, there’s no way for religions to peacefully coexist with each other because at their core, they’re in conflict. Jesus and Muhammed can’t both be right.

Here are some of the core differences between Christianity and Islam:

  • Christians believe in the trinity (God is three in one), Muslims don’t.
  • Christians believe Jesus was crucified and rose again, Muslims don’t.
  • Christians believe you’re saved by faith, Muslims believe salvation comes through works.
  • Christians believe Satan is the ultimate deceiver, Muslims believe Allah is.
  • Christians believe Jesus is the Son of God, Muslims don’t.

Some people claim Christians and Muslims serve the same God, but there’s no way that’s possible. The nature of Allah and Yahweh contradict each other, and contradiction isn’t the character of an Almighty, All-Knowing, All-Good God.

The Bible says one thing and the Quran says another. There’s no way that these two texts can have been inspired by the same being. The Quran acknowledges the sinlessness of Jesus, his virgin birth, and his position as Messiah, yet denies his death and subsequent resurrection. For Muslims, Jesus is just a prophet, no more than a messenger of God. For Christians, though, Jesus is much more. He’s the Son of God, God in the flesh, a priest in the line of Melchizedek, the only perfect Lamb of God, the end of the Law and the beginning of grace.

“Don’t we all just believe the same thing?” I’d have to answer no. If Jesus is not the Savior, then I have to work to earn an eternity in paradise. If Jesus is not everything I need, then I have to be good enough. That’s the beauty of grace and the gospel, though. I literally can’t be good enough–there’s no way. I have to rest on the beautiful promise that He has purchased me with his blood so that nothing can separate me from His love: not my sin, not the deceiver, not death, nothing.

“What if it’s just the tale of the six blind men and the elephant? It’s all the same God.” While this tale seems legitimate, it doesn’t address the fact that religions all contradict each other in some way. In the story of the elephant, there is no one part of the elephant that contradicts another, the parts are just all described differently. In real life, however, Christianity and Islam are incompatible and contradictory. There is no way to peacefully coexist because one religion calls for the conversion or death of those who don’t believe while the other commands that believers declare loudly the truth of the gospel. Both sides are trying to convert the other. If I have cancer and then find an unorthodox cure, I’m not going to keep the cure to myself and not share it simply because it might be uncomfortable. If my friend is dying, I’m going to do everything I can to save them, even if it’s not comfortable for them in the moment. This is the ultimate source of conflict between religions: each sees their own way of doing things as the only way. And it’s a life or death matter. More than that, actually. It’s a matter of eternity. So, don’t be tolerant. Do love well and fiercely, but don’t let your friends spend an eternity separated from God just because you want to look seem a certain way. Speak truth, love well, and live in a manner worthy of the calling you’ve received.