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HowDoIRespondToMuslims wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am an Iraqi Catholic Christian and have studied Christianity for three years and know many things about other religions as well.

Every religion is made of two parts. The first one is between God and the human being and the second part is between the human being and the society. There is no question that Christianity is the best religion considering the relations between the human being and the society.

I have two important questions.

  • As Catholic Christians, do we only believe in the New Testament as a guide or the whole Bible?

I noticed that there are some things like slavery in the Old Testament. I wish to follow only Jesus Christ and his teachings. I don't want to follow the teachings of the others. That is why, in my opinion, while I look at the Old Testament as true history and see how it shows us the signs of the coming of Jesus Christ, I don't use it as a guide.

  • Am I correct?

The second question is about the relation between me and God.

  • Who is God?

I have tried so hard to believe that God is one "the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" but
I can't. When Jesus Christ was being crucified he was talking to God the Father, and he asked
Him to remove that glass of pain.

  • If God and Jesus are one, why is Jesus talking to God?
  • Why is he asking Him?

Jesus did not say that God is the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. He said that he is the Son of God and we are all the sons of God.

Please answer me because I have noticed that the Muslims are using this issue to convert Americans and Australian Christians into Islam, especially Sheikh Arefi. It is horrible if people convert to Islam because it is a religion of hate, where women are mistreated so badly.

My father is Catholic and my mother is Orthodox. I have asked two Orthodox priests about the second question and they did not give me a satisfying answer. I hope you can answer these questions because they might be the only weakness in my Christian discussions. I talk to Muslims and I try to convert them to Christianity and these are the only questions that I have a hard time answering. : )

HowDoIRespondToMuslims

  { Can you help me answer these questions for my Muslim friends? }

Mike replied:

Dear HowDoIRespondToMuslims —

Thanks for the very good questions!

The Web and Internet are an amazing new media through which we can communicate the Good New of Jesus and the Church.

Nevertheless, because you are half way around the world from where I live, if you want an in-depth study of Catholic Christianity that you can always go back to, I would read and re-read the on-line versions of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

If Iraq does not have a strong internet network, tell me and I can see what I can do.

These are my favorite resources:

When faith sharing with non-Christian it's very important to share what you say, in the proper context.

Article 3 of the Catechism deals with Sacred Scripture. The bottom of this web page addresses the first question you asked. I would read this and commit it to memory:

Article 1 in Section 2 of the Catechism deals with your second question:

  • the nature of the Trinity
  • What the Trinity is
  • How God the Father is related to God the Son and God, the Holy Spirit.

Again, I would read this and commit it to memory:


I would share these web addresses with Muslims who have an interest in what Catholic Christians believe.

There is a big different theology-wise.

  • Islam only believes in a Master-Slave relationship and does not respect each individual men OR women's free will.
  • Christian theology, on the other hand, believes in a "Loving Father-Loving Son" relationship for both men and women!
  • Christian theology also believes in individual free will. This means if a Catholic Christian decides he no longer wants to be a Catholic Christian, he is free to join another faith, without getting killed for changing their faith.

I would recommend you read portions of the on-line Catechism above in addition to the Compendium that I listed above. The Compendium will probably answer a lot of questions you have.

My answers are dependent on a strong Iraqi internet network. If you currently lack one, let me know, and we can figure something else out.

I hope this helps,

Mike

The Church and non-Christians

839 "Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways."

The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People, "the first to hear the Word of God." The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God's revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews "belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ", "for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable."

840 And when one considers the future, God's People of the Old Covenant and the new People of God tend towards similar goals: expectation of the coming (or the return) of the Messiah. But one awaits the return of the Messiah who died and rose from the dead and is recognized as Lord and Son of God; the other awaits the coming of a Messiah, whose features remain hidden till the end of time; and the latter waiting is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of misunderstanding Christ Jesus.

841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."

842 The Church's bond with non-Christian religions is in the first place the common origin and end of the human race:

All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city. . .

843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as "a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life."

844 In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them:

Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasonings, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair.

845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son's Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is "the world reconciled." She is that bark which "in the full sail of the Lord's cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world." According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah's ark, which alone saves from the flood.

 

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