A few weeks ago, letters to the editor regarding Islam and Christian faith were shared. In this discussion, it was too short to share all the information that is needed to understand the difference between the two.

First we have to understand the difference between Muslim and Islam. According to the definition as found on the Internet, the word Islam is used to denote a religion or acts done in the name of that religion. It should not be used to describe a person who practices that religion. The word Muslim should be used to describe all the people of the Islamic faith, but not the faith itself.

The meaning of Islam comes from the Arabic verbal noun, which contains three letters s-l-m. As in Hebrew and evidently some other languages, there are no vowels used. Vowels have to be substituted but are understood by those using the language. For example, in Hebrew, the name used for God is YHWH. When vowels are added, it becomes Yahweh. There are some other names used for God but for this discussion, let’s consider just the one. When this name is transliterated into German, the Y assumes the j sound and W assumes the “v” sound in the English language. The name becomes Jehovah and the Jehovah’s Witness group insists this is the true name for God.

According to Wikipedia, the three letters used in Islam mean the words, submit, accept, or surrender. From this comes Islam’s conventional definition of surrender to God. The word Muslim has its roots in the s-l-m verb. It refers to a person who engages in the act of submission, acceptance, or surrender. Therefore a Muslim is a person who submits to the will of God or is a follower of Islam. An example of the proper use of Islam is, “Islam is based on the sayings of the prophet Mohammed that have been written down the in the Quran.”

It might be interesting to compare the three words listed above in terms of the Christian faith. Would it be fair or accurate to say that a person who engages in the acts of submission, acceptance or surrender to God is a Christian? That gets to the heart of the question, “why do some Christians have trouble accepting those who are a part of the faith of Islam who use the name, Allah, for their supreme being.

One of the points of contention seems to be that Muslims believe that one must submit, surrender and accept Allah and must be killed unless they use the proper name. It is my understanding the situation was reversed during the Crusades. In that case, Christians were demanding the Arab people, Muslims, profess their belief in Christ as the Savior God sent, then killed, immediately, in order to assure that they would be accepted in Paradise.

Some Christians insist on a certain formula to the question whether one is Christian. The question is often asked, “Are you saved?” If someone asks for explanation, a further statement is made. You must believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ to be saved.

How much difference is there in the question asked by the Muslim? If it is a question of the name used for the Creative Power we worship because we appreciate his gifts to us, we should use the name he asks us to use. My family uses several names to designate me and I allow them to choose. There is one problem; I do not seek their worship. It should be kept for God. My only hope is they respect me and return the love that I have for them. Many, in God’s family, have used different names for him. Some of these names are listed in the Bible.

My question for all of us, or each of us, is what does it mean to worship and commit our life to God or be in his service? My own conviction is that when we say we believe in God or in his son Jesus, the Christ, we should do what he asks. I would suggest that we use the word believe but be sure we have the correct meaning. It seems to me it would be better if we defined the word belief as trust. In this word, I assume that trusting God, as I call him, including the address of Father, Son and Holy Spirit means that we trust our life into his hands and seek to live according to his will. For me and, for many others, that can be summed up in the “Great Commandment” “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and your neighbor as yourself.”

The founders of our nation insisted that it include certain freedoms. One of those freedoms is that of worshiping as we choose. They were also explicit in agreeing there should be no established religion (determined by government). There is a danger when we assume that our religion is better than that of another person or group and that we can insist on a certain behavior for those in our nation.

The question always before us, “are we giving them the freedom our Constitution guarantees and more than that, what God wants us to have?”

May I suggest that God wants what is best for all his family, which includes all the world.

Read full article: Nevada Daily

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