Religion—Force or Choice?

Marvin L. Weir

If you follow the news, you most likely heard about the “Christian pastor” who Iran said they would kill because he left Islam and converted to Christianity in 2012. The Bible is specific in describing who is a Christian (one who obeys the gospel) and who meets the qualifications to be a pastor (bishop or elder, 1 Tim. 3; Titus 1). In this article, however, we will use the term Christian as the religious world views it—one who professes to believe in God and Christ.

All the quotes that follow come from an article written by Lisa Daffri on February 22, 2012 for Fox News. A trial court in Iran has issued its final verdict, ordering a Christian pastor to be put to death for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity…Youcef Nadarkhani, a 34-year old father of two…was arrested over two years ago on charges of apostasy.”

This arrest and trial is a case in point where the Bible and the Koran (or Qur’an) are absolute opposites. One cannot be devoted to the Koran and devoted to the Bible! One cannot be a loyal follower of God and a loyal follower of Mohammed. God in His Word consistently teaches that a person has a choice (either right or wrong) of whom to worship and serve. The Koran teaches that there is no choice —it is Mohammed and Islam or death to the one who decides to worship contrary to Islam.

Let us note two verses from God’s Word that teaches Jehovah never forces one to worship or serve in a particular way. Joshua declared,

And if it seem evil unto you to serve Jehovah, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah (Josh. 24:15).

Later, Elijah, God’s mouthpiece, said to the people, “How long go ye limping between the two sides? if Jehovah be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word” (1 Kings 18:21). It is true that under the Law of Moses God’s people (Israel) were sometimes killed because of apostasy or defiance to Jehovah’s Word. God had, however, made a promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3) that must be kept, and the lineage through which the Messiah would come needed to remain pure. The coming of the Christ (Gal. 4:4) fulfilled prophecies and promises of old, and created one new man in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:14-18). All people now live in the New Testament age and are amenable to the gospel (Gal. 1:6-9)—not Old Testament Law. Paul made it clear all must obey and live by the gospel to be saved. He said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).

Nadarkhani was arrested in October 2009 and was tried and found guilty of apostasy by a lower court in Gilan, a province in Rasht. He was then given verbal notification of an impending death-by- hanging sentence. His lawyers appealed the decision under the premise that Nadarkhani was never a Muslim at the age of majority, and the case was sent to Iran’s Supreme Court, which upheld the lower court’s decision of execution, provided it could be proven that he had been a practicing Muslim from the age of adulthood, 15 in Islamic law, to age 19, which was when he converted. The lower court then ruled that Nadarkhani had not practiced Islam during his adult life but still upheld the apostasy charge because he was born into a Muslim family (so much for choice, MLW). The court then gave Nadarkhani the opportunity to recant, as the law requires a man to be given three chances to recant his beliefs and return to Islam (wake up, folks, it is either Islam or death, MLW). His first option was to convert back to Islam. When he refused, he was asked to declare Muhammad a prophet, and still he declined.

It may be that devotees to Islam are quiet about certain demands when in the obvious minority, but let them gain a foothold and they will wage a “Holy War” (Jihad) against those who do not believe as they believe. They believe they have the right to take whatever action is necessary to produce an Islamic rule and reign. Good people, are you listening? Devoted Muslims will never be content until they have conquered and destroyed every other religion and forced Islam upon all people!

Give careful consideration to these verses from their Holy Book (Koran):

Therefore when you meet the unbelievers (in fight), smite them at their necks; at length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are you commanded): but if it had been God’s will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others, but those who are slain in the way of God, He will never let their deeds be lost (Sura 47:4).

A declaration of immunity from God and His apostle, to those pagans with whom ye have contracted mutual alliances for four months. But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them (Sura 9:1-2; 5).

The punishment of those who wage war against God and His prophet is: execution or crucifixion, cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: That is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the hereafter” (Sura 5:36).

There is absolutely no freedom to choose who you will serve as far as Islam is concerned. You are not free to speak out against Mohammed or Islam, and you surely cannot burn the Koran. This should strike fear into the hearts of liberals who trash the Bible and burn the American flag! Those who denounce God and welcome Islam are asking for a forced religion—not a religion of choice!

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Author: Editor

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