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Predestination in Christianity vs. Islam

Reader comment on item: Are Muslims Fatalists?
in response to reader comment: The Inescapable

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Sep 19, 2015 at 00:42

Hello, Pied Piper. You wrote, quoting Nawawi's Hadith,

رفعت الاقلام وجفت الصحف (The Pens have been Lifted and the Pages have Dried)

I thought it interesting, that you should write this during the Jewish Days of Awe, a time when the book of life is open until Yom Kippur, and the lives of Jews are being written anew for the next year.

If anyone literally believed the hadith you quoted, I can see that they would have little incentive to do anything worthwhile, other than meeting immediate needs. Either you are not presenting the whole story, or the god of Muslims is a strange sort of fellow -- pre-ordaining everything everyone will ever do, then holding them all accountable for their actions. This is very different from the sort of predestination taught in the Bible; and it goes against the often repeated refrain in Qur'an that Allah is "merciful". How can someone be merciful with a person who never had any choice to do good or evil? Mercy implies guilt.

Predestination in the Bible can be described, briefly, this way: God instructs us in the right way and the wrong way, and tells us the consequences of our actions. We then freely act, often choosing the wrong way. Then we suffer the consequences for our wrongdoig, and pray that God will be merciful. Where we go from there, depends largely on whether or not we believe God has forgiven us; because this will affect what we do in the future. In the end, we are all judged according to our works, both good and bad.

With Christians, being forgiven is manifested in the fact that Jesus wrongly suffered in our stead, that he forgave us, and that God received him -- and, in a figure, us in him. When we receive this as fact, we become new creations in Christ, free to put aside our old, sinful nature. By looking at the lives of Christians, one might wonder how often they're supposed to repeat the process, because the old nature seems to keep popping up again. It may look comical to an outsider, but it's deadly serious to the one involved. The process itself forces the Christian to develop a living, personal relationship with his Creator, which exactly the point of the matter. It's this relationship that leads him into eternal life; and those who do not have such a relationship are doomed to eternal damnation.

The Apostle Paul speaks about this struggle:

1 Corinthians 12:
[12] Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
[13] There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
[14] Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

Having said the above, God understands human nature, and knows what the outcome will be if man continues to resist God's mercy: It will be judgment, of the individual and also of humanity. In that sense, the course of history is pre-determined; and mankind follows the script almost as though he were being paid to do so.

That's the Christian way, so far as I understand it. I have no idea how Jews think on these matters. As for Muslims, it seems they live in dread all their lives, of the judgment of "Allah, the Merciful, the Comassionate". That's my impression. I'd be interested in your insights.


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (33) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
1Daniel Pipes is too optimistic about the possibility that a moderate Islam can evolve [755 words]traehOct 10, 2015 04:46225548
Israel should send troops to arrest Abbas for inciting violence. He is not above the law [396 words]YJ DraimanOct 9, 2015 02:42225525
Theological or sociological? [101 words]Jason POct 3, 2015 08:04225431
Muslims are fatalist [76 words]imdad AliOct 2, 2015 05:17225419
What about Islamic terrorists? [60 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
AnonSep 27, 2015 17:53225380
Allah,s wish [44 words]ashokSep 26, 2015 03:35225370
1Islam and Israel [17 words]PezDispenserSep 24, 2015 12:59225350
Islamic activism [77 words]VijaySep 22, 2015 10:07225324
A recommended article in the Times of India [139 words]PrashantSep 20, 2015 15:22225291
Saying 'It was willed by God' does not make you a fatalist [62 words]PrashantSep 19, 2015 00:38225112
Predestination is an idea. . . [22 words]Elisha benAbuyaSep 18, 2015 21:33225111
Fatalism and God's Will [34 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Michael E KatzSep 18, 2015 13:22225104
1الرافعات سقطت or The cranes crashed (fell) and 9/11 [87 words]dhimmi no moreSep 18, 2015 12:40225101
al-Qada' wa al-Qadr is not everybodys' business [84 words]Ibnu AbeehiOct 5, 2015 10:25225101
1Guiding the perplexed [243 words]dhimmi no moreOct 6, 2015 07:57225101
The Inescapable [197 words]Pied PiperSep 18, 2015 02:42225086
Predestination in Christianity vs. Islam [594 words]Michael SSep 19, 2015 00:42225086
2al-Qada' wa al-Qadr [102 words]dhimmi no moreSep 22, 2015 09:10225086
3SUBMIT, inshallah akhbar! [75 words]Uncle VladdiSep 18, 2015 01:26225085
2Islam is only the fatalistic idolatrous excuse of predetermined might-makes-right [1194 words]Uncle VladdiSep 18, 2015 01:13225084
Misinterpreted verse [44 words]DajjalSep 18, 2015 19:57225084
"Muslim fatalism" in Auschwitz [81 words]Peter SuedfeldSep 17, 2015 20:21225083
possible explanation [115 words]VijaySep 20, 2015 13:03225083
Are Muslims and Westerners really different from each other? [1850 words]Michael SSep 17, 2015 16:31225082
2Judeo-Christianity teaches self-reliant free-will and personal guilt, while islam only teaches alibi-excuses. [432 words]Uncle VladdiSep 18, 2015 17:43225082
different bible [245 words]Michael SSep 22, 2015 17:37225082
Can't say [59 words]MIchael SSep 24, 2015 05:17225082
Educational Update [110 words]Uncle VladdiSep 25, 2015 19:14225082
King Judah and Muslim v Westerner fatalistic attitudes [215 words]JoeRuOct 1, 2015 18:09225082
Fascinating Info, but Message not entirely clear [177 words]Ron ThompsonSep 17, 2015 15:57225081
A very different example [108 words]VijaySep 17, 2015 14:07225079
They Are Not The First [171 words]Barry BlackSep 17, 2015 14:05225078
Man is a devil. [30 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
steven LSep 17, 2015 13:50225077

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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