Friday, August 2, 2019

"If Abraham were your father..."

 Refuting the Lie of the 'Abrahamic Religions' Fallacy

by Ralph H. Sidway

1. Introduction

Muslim apologists — and their Christian enablers — claim that Abraham is the father of Islam just as he is of Judaism and Christianity, that all three religions worship the God of Abraham. The well-intentioned embrace this line of thought without exploring precisely what it means.

However, it is clear from the New Testament that neither biological lineage, nor simply saying “Abraham is our father” necessarily makes it so. Indeed, in John’s Gospel, Christ explicitly warned the Jews that they were not sons of Abraham, because they did not do the works that Abraham did. Rather they were sons of the devil, because they did as he showed them (cf. Jn 8:31-47). The Jewish leaders — biological sons of Abraham — rejected Christ, and eventually had him condemned by the Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate, and executed by crucifixion.

The same can even more easily be said of followers of Muhammad who reject the Divine Lordship of Jesus Christ, persecute and kill His followers, and follow a false prophet. Indeed, some have seen the violent, barbaric nature of Islam prophesied in the Old Testament, where Ishmael (and therefore symbolically, Islam) is foretold by the LORD to be violent and opposed to Isaac and all others: “He will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him” (Gen 16:12).

2. Isaac, the Child of Promise

Tellingly, the Koran never names the son whom Abraham was called to sacrifice to God, yet some Muslims have been quite zealous in their attempts to prove that it was Ishmael, not Isaac. But what is obscure in Islam is clear in the texts of the Old and New Testaments: Isaac is the son of the promise, and prefigures Christ, the Son of God, carrying on his back the wood for the burning of the sacrifice, just as Jesus carried the wood of the Cross. When Isaac asked his father Abraham why there was no lamb for the sacrifice, Abraham replied, "God himself will provide the lamb" (Gen. 22: 7, 8). And indeed, two millennia later God provided Jesus, "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29, 36), fulfilling all the prophecies about Abraham and Isaac. (For a full exposition of the Christian response to the Muslim claim that Abraham was willing to sacrifice Ishmael, see this article by Sam Shamoun.)

3. Why Islam claims Abraham

Importantly, Islam’s position on the “Abrahamic” question does not merely seek parity with Jews and Christians as three faiths born from the loins of one father which may peacefully coexist in a fraternal manner. This is not about mere nuances of monotheism. Rather, in an inverted “replacement theology,” Islam teaches that it predates all religions, is the only true religion, and that Abraham and Moses and all the Old Testament figures, and even Jesus Christ, were all true Muslims, as is evident in these verses from the Koran:

They say: ‘Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (to salvation).’ Say thou: ‘Nay! (I would rather) the Religion of Abraham the True [i.e. Islam], and he joined not gods with Allah.’ (Sura 2:135) 
Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian; but he was a Muslim, and bowed his will to Allah's, and he joined not gods with Allah. (Sura 3:67)

Thus Islamic apologists’ claim to have respect for Christians and Jews as “People of the Book” is a situational thing, conditional to a Jew or Christian becoming a Muslim. If Jews and Christians remain in their unbelief however, they are mere infidels (kuffar), and, as history from the seventh century up to the present day shows, are subject to forced dhimmitude as second-class peoples, suffering heavy taxation, institutionalized humiliation and severe limitations and curtailments of the practice of their faith. [1]

Further examination of Islam’s claim to sovereignty over the Abrahamic faiths reveals it to be an absurd argument which would have been forthrightly rejected by the early Christians, as James George Jatras plainly shows:

The idea that Islam shares with Christianity and Judaism an Abrahamic pedigree, that we are all, in the Islamic phrase, “peoples of the book,” is now almost universally accepted. 
To see how flimsy this idea is, suppose that during the early Christian era a pagan philosopher from Athens had claimed to have received a vision from a divine messenger (angelos) to the effect that Zeus/Jupiter (diu pater), the Greco-Roman “father god,” was the one and only God and in fact was the same God the Father preached by the Christians; that the Christians had corrupted their own Scriptures to hide the fact that Jupiter had been worshiped by Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, while only the self-proclaimed prophet’s recitation of his own vision was authoritative; that the rites and sacred places of the Olympian gods (the Eleusinian Mysteries, the Delphic Oracle) had always pertained to Jupiter alone and indeed had been established by earlier Abrahamic prophets; and that those who had surrendered their will to Jupiter were commanded to wage holy war under his thunderbolt symbol on “infidels” who resisted the divine will. 
Is there any doubt that Christians then would have rejected the supposed kinship of the new teaching to their own faith as unanimously as today's Christians rush to accommodate Islam? [2]

4. Abraham is key to Muslim Proselytizing of Christians

"The Christian who affirms Islam because of Abraham is only one small step away from also affirming Muhammad as a true prophet of God."

The tendency of many Christians to uncritically affirm Islam as a "sister religion" is at the heart of Anglican writer Mark Durie’s warning that the “many ‘Abrahamic Faith’ conferences throughout the world is but one expression of the Islamicisation (sic) of Christian understandings of interfaith dialogue.” [3]

Indeed, Mark Durie sees the "Abrahamic Religions" teaching as an essential component of Muslim preaching, concisely expressed in this quote from Shamim A. Siddiqi, author of the Muslim proselytizing guide, Methodology of Dawah:

Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad were all prophets of Islam. Islam is the common heritage of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim community of America, and establishing the kingdom of God on earth is the joint responsibility of all three Abrahamic faiths. Islam was the din (faith, way of life) of both Jews and Christians, who later lost it through human innovations. Now the Muslims want to remind their Jewish and Christian brothers and sisters of their original din. These are the facts of history. [4]

Dr. Durie goes on to warn of the implications of this Muslim doctrine for Christians:

This historical negationism—appearing to affirm Christianity and Judaism whilst in fact rejecting and supplanting them—is a lynchpin of Muslim apologetics. What is being affirmed is in fact neither Christianity nor Judaism, but Jesus as a prophet of Islam, Abraham as a Muslim, Moses as a Muslim, etc. This is intended to lead to ‘reversion’ of Christians and Jews to Islam, which is what Siddiqi refers to when he speaks of ‘the joint responsibility’ of Jews and Christians to establish ‘the Kingdom of God’. By this he is asserting that American Christians and Jews should embrace Islam and work together to establish Sharia law and the dominance of Islam in the United States. 
A Different Gospel 
Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, warns believers of the danger of abandoning the Gospel of Jesus Christ: 
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the Gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be anathema!” (Gal 1:6-8).70 
It is quite clear that the Injil, as described by the Koran, is nothing but a ‘different gospel’. The prophet Isa (Jesus) of the Koran is a product of fable, imagination and ignorance. When Muslims venerate this Isa, they are far removed from Yeshua, the Jesus of the Bible and of history... For most faithful Muslims Isa is the only Jesus they know. But if you accept this Muslim ‘Jesus’, and his ‘gospel’, then you also accept the Koran, and you accept Islam... 
By Islamicising [the true Jesus of the Gospels, the Jesus of history] and making of him a Muslim prophet who preached the Koran, Islamic orthodoxy would destroy Christianity and take over its history. It does the same to Judaism... 
The traditional Islamic view is that if you want to know what the God of the Bible is like, then read the Koran. Not only must Muslims believe that ‘we worship the same God’, but this message is always a central component of the presentation of Islam to Christians and Jews. 
[This message] provides the lynchpin of Muslims’ efforts to convert the ‘People of the Book’ to the faith of Muhammad. In addition, this belief, once accepted, can lead Christians to support Islamic perspectives in ways other than conversion. For example, embracing this Islamic doctrine wins a measure of respect and even support for Islam from Christians. [5]

There are many well-intentioned Christian writers who spread the "Abrahamic Religions" fallacy without ever pausing to examine what it implies. It is offered up as a truism, a fact beyond dispute, and as such, the term wields enormous influence as a cultural and religious leaven in forming the mindset and spiritual worldview of millions of people.

One such writer, who has a huge and growing platform, is Rod Dreher of The American Conservative. I saw a blog post of his back in April which used the "Abrahamic religions" term in a final, solidifying conclusion to the case he had been making, falling prey to the very pitfall Mark Durie warns against above (emphasis added):

It’s critical that we know each other, respect each other, and stand with each other. We Christians are going to find ourselves on the front lines with Muslims whether we want to be or not... 
In a time in which the tide of faith is swiftly receding, the greatest public policy challenge for all three Abrahamic religions... is going to be maintaining spaces for us believers to live, and practice our faith, and pass it on to our children, within a broader culture that is indifferent at best, and hostile at worst...
On religious liberty, we believers — especially we whose faith commitments run counter to the secularizing mainstream — stand together, or we fall together. 

Dreher's political rallying cry to conservative Christians based on an alliance of "the three Abrahamic religions" ignores the legitimate Orthodox Christian response to the spirit of antichrist of this age (best witnessed in modern times by the Russian Catacomb Church during the Soviet regime), and by urging alliance with a false religion he inadvertently contributes to that same deceiving spirit himself, fomenting confusion and affirming an avowed enemy of the Christian faith.

Put another way, the Enemy would like nothing better than to keep Christians living and functioning on the surface, reacting to external stimuli just like the faithless, forming political alliances as if we were of this world and not pilgrims passing through it.

The appeal to Abraham as the common father of Islam and Christianity and Judaism serves to infuse Christian theology with Islamic dogma, a sour leaven permeating a false Christianity which leads to full blown apostasy. The Christian who affirms Islam because of Abraham is only one small step away from also affirming Muhammad as a true prophet of God, and the Christian who allies with Muslims out of political expediency to try to save their place in this culture will inevitably lose everything. For, as the Lord warns:

"Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and for the Gospel will save it unto eternal life." (Matthew 16:25)

5. False Shepherds and Agents of Islam

Indeed, there have been such blasphemous pronouncements made by Orthodox Christian clergy and teachers over the past several decades, this being among the worst:

The Prophet Muhammad is an apostle, He is a man of God, who worked for the Kingdom of God... When I speak against Islam, then I am not found in agreement with God.  — Patriarch Parthenius of Alexandria (Orthodoxos Typos 854, May 1982)

Similarly, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople has written of a “dialogue of loving truth” with Islam, and of Orthodoxy having for centuries “coexisted peacefully” with Islam [4].  In the same book he projects the chimera of an “interfaith commitment... still felt and lived by Greeks [and] Turks” as an example for all to follow [5].

One wonders what alternate reality Bartholomew lives in where Islam and Christianity have "coexisted peacefully in loving truth" for centuries now!  Such false assurances are no doubt designed to pacify the sea of hostile Muslims who surround his tiny enclave in Istanbul, and they serve as valuable propaganda for a Turkish government seeking to gain greater influence in European and Middle East affairs. Sounding a falsely serene tone is too often the path chosen by Orthodox bishops oppressed under Islamic rule.

Then there are the deeply misleading writings of Metropolitan George Khodr of Lebanon and others who promulgate the "Same God Heresy". Met. George Khodr has written:

I am completely sure that if you are a Christian and you know a lot about Islam and love what you know, your heart will embrace the Muslims around you and if you are educated, you will hold in esteem much from their religion and openly recognize the truth that is in their religion.

Alas, there is not much truth in Islam, the Muslim religion, because Allah himself and Muhammad explicitly reject the Way, the Truth and the Life, Jesus Christ, rejecting the Divinity of Christ, denying that he was even crucified and resurrected, even claiming the New Testament was corrupted to obscure the true teachings of Islam which Jesus supposedly set down in his book, the Injil  (thus proving Islam does not know or present the true Jesus, as Jesus never handed down a book). The Koran repeatedly calls for jihad against Christians who do not convert to Islam or at least submit to its rule. To take but one example:

Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth [i.e. Islam] among the people of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (Koran 9:29)

Met. George Khodr has reversed everything with his confused theology, by extolling the supposed "truth" of Islam as the reason for Christians to love their Muslim neighbor. This is the complete opposite of the Gospel message, and is a form of "soft apostasy."

Jesus Christ does not tell us to "Go into all the world and esteem the false beliefs of others." He sends us out to bear witness to Him, and to "make disciples of all nations." And He prepares us honestly for what faces those who are faithful to Him, for when we bear witness to Jesus, many will hate us and persecute us:

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me... 
"He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason’ ” (Jn 15:18-25).

The Orthodox bishops, clergy and teachers who get this wrong and preach that we should affirm Islam are false shepherds and should not be followed. Some of them will even tell you that it is un-Christian to preach Christ to Muslims.  Jesus had strong words concerning them: 

“Leave them; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)

The fearful and timid spirit which promotes Islam as a "Religion of Peace ™" and a "sister religion" is no longer authentically Christian, and such an alloyed, defective understanding of the Abrahamic question conveys an unclear message to both Christians and Muslims. Christians are led to apostasy, Muslims are deprived of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ, and Satan rejoices twice.

Manifestation of the Trinity in the Old Testament
(The Hospitality of Abraham)

6. Who are the posterity of Abraham?

The following paragraphs by Fr. Basile Stakkas conclude our arguments against the “Children of Abraham” line of reasoning:

Thus it is a very widespread opinion that since we all lay claim to the posterity of Abraham (the Jews and Moslems according to the flesh and Christians spiritually), we all have as God the God of Abraham and all three of us worship (each in his own way, naturally) the same God! And, this same God constitutes in some fashion our point of unity and of “mutual understanding,” and this invites us to a “fraternal relation,” as the Grand Rabbi Dr. Safran emphasized... 
Others might say: “But all the same, Abraham worshipped the true God; and the Jews through Isaac and the Moslems through Hagar are the descendants of this true worship- per of God.” Here one will have to make several things clear: Abraham worshipped God not at all in the form of the unipersonal monotheism of the others, but in the form of the Holy Trinity. We read in the Holy Scripture: 
“And the LORD appeared unto him at the Oaks of Mamre... Three men were standing by him, and he bowed himself toward the ground” (Gen. 18:1-2). 
Under what form did Abraham worship God? Under the unipersonal form, or under the form of the Divine Tri-unity? We Orthodox Christians venerate this Old Testament manifestation of the Holy Trinity on the Day of Pentecost, when we adorn our churches with boughs representing the ancient oaks, and when we venerate in their midst the icon of the Three Angels, just as our father Abraham venerated it! 
Carnal descent from Abraham can be of no use to us if we are not regenerated by the waters of Baptism in the Faith of Abraham. And the Faith of Abraham was the Faith in Jesus Christ, as the Lord Himself has said: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day; and he saw it and was glad” (Jn 8:56). 
Such also was the Faith of the Prophet-King David, who heard the heavenly Father speaking to His Consubstantial Son: “The Lord said unto my Lord” (Ps. 109:1; Acts 2:34). Such was the Faith of the Three Youths in the fiery furnace when they were saved by the Son of God (Dan. 3:25); and of the holy Prophet Daniel, who had the Vision of the two natures of Jesus Christ in the Mystery of the Incarnation when the Son of Man came to the Ancient of Days (Dan. 7:13). 
This is why the Lord, addressing the (biologically incontestable) posterity of Abraham, said: “If ye were the children of Abraham, ye would do the works of Abraham” (Jn 8:39), and these “works” are to “believe on Him Whom God hath sent” (Jn 6:29).
Who then are the posterity of Abraham? The sons of Isaac according to the flesh, or the sons of Hagar the Egyptian? Is Isaac or Ishmael the posterity of Abraham? What does the Holy Scripture teach by the mouth of the divine Apostle? 
“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed: which is Christ” (Gal. 3:16). 
“And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). 
It is then in Jesus Christ that Abraham became a father of many nations (Gen. 17:5; Rom. 4:17). After such promises and such certainties, what meaning does carnal descent from Abraham have? 
According to Holy Scripture, Isaac is considered as the seed or posterity, but only as the image of Jesus Christ. As opposed to Ishmael (the son of Hagar; Gen. 16:1ff), Isaac was born in the miraculous “freedom” of a sterile mother, in old age and against the laws of nature, similar to our Saviour, Who was miraculously born of a Virgin. He climbed the hill of Moriah just as Jesus climbed Calvary, bearing on his shoulders the wood of sacrifice. An angel delivered Isaac from death, just as an angel rolled away the stone to show us that the tomb was empty, that the Risen One was no longer there. At the hour of prayer, Isaac met Rebecca in the plain and led her into the tent of his mother Sarah, just as Jesus shall meet His Church on the clouds in order to bring Her into the heavenly mansions, the New Jerusalem, the much-desired homeland.

[And, we must insert, just as Sarah saw Ishmael mocking Isaac when he was but an infant, and therefore had Abraham expel and send away Hagar and Ishmael (”For in Isaac shall thy seed be called.” cf. Gen. 21:9-12), so to this day the posterity of Ishmael—the followers of Muhammad—mock Jesus Christ and Christianity. For in every way, Islam is revealed to be a distortion, a mockery, and the very antithesis of Christianity. From its founder, to its texts, to its teachings and practices, to the violent, bloody manner in which it has spread throughout the world, Islam is seen to be explicitly anti-Christian.]

No! We do not in the least have the same God that non-Christians have. The sine qua non for knowing the Father, is the Son: “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (Jn 14:6, 9). Our God is a God Incarnate, Whom we have seen with our eyes, and our hands have touched (1 John 1:1). The immaterial became material for our salvation, as St. John Damascene says, and He has revealed Himself in us. [6]

6. Conclusion

The "Abrahamic Religions" fallacy is one of the main corollaries of the Same God Heresy, and should be refuted by Christians at every opportunity. Convincing Christians that Abraham is the father of Islam is key to Islam's ongoing theological jihad to co-opt key figures in both the Old and the New Testaments, and thus corrupt and usurp Christianity (and Judaism).  Christians who fall for this ruse are denying key dogmas concerning Jesus Christ,  and are allowing their faith in Christ to be subverted. They lose their sonship and become agents for Islam, promoting a false prophet of blood and spreading their apostasy like cancer throughout the Church. They are like salt which has lost its savor, and is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

Let us flee their wicked example and be faithful in confessing Jesus Christ as Lord, God, and Saviour,  regardless of the cost, and let us bear witness to Him until the end! Amen.



[1] cf. Bat Yeor, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude, Fair- leigh Dickinson University Press, 1996. Also, Andrew Bostom, The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims, Prometheus Books, Amherst NY, 2005.

[2]  James George Jatras, The Muslim Advance and American Collaboration,

[3] Mark Durie, Revelation, Do We Worship the Same God?, p 76.

[4] Shamim A. Siddiqi, Letter to the Editor, Daniel Pipes, February 2002,

[5] Durie, Revelation, pp 50-51, 75-76.

[6] Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Encountering the Mystery, Doubleday, 2008, p xxxvii, p 196.

[7] Ibid, p 174.

[8] As quoted in Fr. Seraphim Rose, Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future, 5th Ed, St Herman Press, Platina CA, pp 3-5.