Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Israel Shredded! Why?

Jesse Toler

This article is a response to a paper written by ‘Karim’ and posted at Answering Christianity1. Karim’s paper is yet another thundering attack against the Bible. Specifically, Karim is vilifying the Book which records God’s methods of disciplining Israel over the centuries. Karim curses Yahweh as appearing manifestly violent and merciless, yet he later makes extraordinary representations of compassion for the god of the Quran. In Part One of this paper, I am going to give the Biblical answer to Karim’s various protests and leave it to the reader make up his own mind. By giving the theological and historical context to the several Bible verses Karim abusively references, Scripture will bear witness as I address his diatribe. In Part Two, I’ll examine the claims of mercy and compassion he makes for the Quran. By the end of this article, I will have explained much and improved upon Karim’s ignorance by giving him a variety of topics to receive and digest. All the while, I thank God for the opportunity to patiently and methodically refute his attacks against the Infinite Wisdom found in the Tome of Sacred Scripture.

As is my writing style, my private thoughts and reflections will generally be added as footnotes. Please don’t overlook them when reading the body of the article.

Let’s begin.


In the early stage of his essay, the first thing we see is an ‘important note’ which reads as follows:

As Muslims, we do not embrace the pedophilia, rape, terrorism and all of the other forms of evil that exist in the Bible, nor do we believe that the Prophets of Allah Almighty, peace and blessings be upon all of them2, ever committed such cruel acts that are falsely attributed to them. We're only exposing the corrupted bible and the evil that exists in it.’

This took me by surprise as Muhammad was the lone prophet of Allah3, according to many commentators potentially a pedophile4, definitely a self-proclaimed terrorist5 and a rapist6. Not to mention evil7, and he committed the cumulative acts of lewdness and depravity of all the Prophets and Kings, including cruelty for pleasure, assassination for power and slavery for profit. Also, here again we see the charge of a ‘corrupted Bible’ which is ‘filled with evil’ while giving no facts or producing evidence, just more angry claims. Anyhow, lets move on to the matter at hand. Karim is shedding a sea of tears over Israel getting ‘walloped’ by Assyria, who’s king carted off much of the population to ‘Halah and by the Habor, the river in Gozan and in the cities of the Medes’ [Book of 2 Kings 17:5-6]8.

An objective reading of the relevant portions of Scripture opens for us a thorough and complete view into God’s plan for Israel9. In His long-suffering patience He sends out Prophets not to punish, but to ‘strengthen the diseased and heal the sick’ who must then conform to the Prophet’s call or risk being made ‘mere meat for the beasts of the fields’ [Book of Ezekiel 34:5-6]. Israel’s natural history is marked by breaks in remembering God’s promise of divine intervention. While this paper will primarily speak of the generations following the divided kingdom, least we forget, doubt and fear have always been ready emotions felt in Israel’s continuing and natural saga [Book of Numbers 14:1-12]. Over the course of her history, Israel has been both strong and weak, often diseased and as Scripture points out, at times meat for the beasts. By the time of Hosea’s calling, Israel had already been given ample and vociferous warning. Let’s take a look at a few examples from Karim ’s lunging attack. He cites the following verse, and calls God’s actions ‘sick’.

Samaria will be made waste, for she has gone against her God: they will be cut down by the sword, their little children will be broken on the rocks, their women who are with child will be cut open’ [Book of Hosea 13:16]10.

Let’s answer a few preliminary questions, [1] Who was Hosea and when did he live, [2] who was his audience, and [3] what was his message. We’ll also use the same general set of questions to take a deeper look at Isaiah, Nahum and a few selections from the Psalms, all in order to better gauge and understand what was taking place in the Levant +/- 2800 years ago. This paper is not a complete exegesis of every Biblical verse Karim cites. It is only intended to be a general answer to Karim’s significant errors and omissions in his selection of Biblical verses, and provide the context Karim likes to neglect.

Hosea lived in the 8th century B.C., and witnessed the Assyrian invasion of Israel and the deportation of its people, who had purposefully rejected heavenly wisdom and the Creator‘s sovereignty. Long before that, he was a religious reformer who denounced the erotic decadence of Israel’s people and that which its leaders had fallen into. Israel had lost her ordained definition as the People of Yahweh and began again to adopt attributes of the nations by committing harlotry and forsaking the Lord [Book of Hosea 1:2-3; Book of Psalms 95:8]11. Veneration of a fertility goddess was rampant and Israel’s rulers had become uncontrolled [Book of Hosea 9:15]. Images and poetry venerating the images of Baal captured the imagination of Israel and distressed Hosea [Book of Hosea 4:4-6; 9:10].

Israel had forgotten that possession of the Promised Land was not a right, but a privilege contingent upon the people’s obedience. The collective mind of the people had lapsed into rebellion. God had to act, condemn the intolerable and bring the senses of His people back into covenant harmony. Hosea was His Prophet, who, like Jeremiah12, would bring both trouble and comfort to Israel. Hosea denounced the sins which had become so common in Israel, and put in mind the judgments God stated in the covenant13. Hosea became the channel by which God would announce both judgment and redemption through the sign and symbolism of marriage, adultery and divorce [Book of Hosea 1:2-9]14. Israel, the bride of Yahweh, had fallen into adultery and been cast aside by her God. Death could be the only outcome. However, the Prophet promises that life will be restored after purifying judgment, the covenant would be reinstated and that the deportation and humiliation soon to come would not be the end of God’s unique nation [Book of Hosea 1:10-2:1]15. Israel had a future ‘scattered among the gentiles’ and dominated by gentile powers [Book of Deut. 4:27]. With God’s authority alone did he expose and convert His people, preparing them for the bitter curse of dispossession for sin [Book of Lev. 26:21-25].

Now we'll take a look at the Prophet Isaiah. Karim also makes an irrational effort to give us a reading of Isaiah which is deprived of meaning and incomplete [Book of Isaiah 7:8, 9,20; 8:4; 13:6; 17:3]. Karim is correct that the Assyrians were to be the agents of God, even though, like Muslims, they did not recognize the God of Israel. The four calamities of verses 18-25 of the Book of Isaiah [Ch. 7] need to be read together. In these oracles, Assyria and Egypt are swarming like bees and flies who are going to possess even the thorns and holes of the rocks [Book of Isaiah 7:18,19]. Ahaz is responsible for this distress and misery by striking a defensive alliance with Assyria in opposition to Israel and Aram, against Isaiah’s multiple warnings to ‘calm down’ and be ‘tough minded’ [Book of Isaiah 7:1-9]. Isaiah oracles that Israel will be humiliated and defeated, but that a remnant will remain with a gleam of hope and a promise of restoration [cf. Book of Ezekiel 37:1-14; Book of Amos 9:9,11,14]. The other verses Karim superficially squeezes from Isaiah only reiterate or confirm these oracles, so a discussion of them is immaterial in this article.

Karim’s furious proffer of evidence against the Bible also includes an unlearned excerpt taken from the Book of Psalms [Book of Psalms 137:8,9]. Rather than take two verses out of context, let’s do the homework and see what kind of picture takes shape. This psalm is obviously troubling for Christians, who see the horror taking place in this lamentation as brutal and difficult to identify with. Nevertheless, let’s look at the condition of Israel in the psalm, and save our judgments until all nine verses are critically and carefully examined.

Israel had been taken into captivity, and the Babylonians were demanding to hear songs of the joy of Zion, which the Babylonians had destroyed. The Babylonians mocked the players, who hung their harps upon poplars near the rivers of Babylon [vv. 1-3]. The writer of the psalm is so deeply grieved and angry by the Babylonian subjugation of Jerusalem that he engages in a self curse [vv. 5,6]. It is not surprising that a people in such pain would long for similar cruelty to be paid to their conquerors. After all, the cities of Judah had suffered a great deal during Nebuchadnezzar’s siege [Book of II Kings 25:8-21] and Judah’s king was not only forced to witness the execution of his sons, but was himself blinded and enslaved [Book of II Kings 25:7]. The writer of the psalm may have been aware of these facts and in these verses is venting his feelings of anguish, though he may not have the theological legitimacy of divine endorsement16. Many commentators such as Craig Broyles remind us that psalm 137 comes from the ‘mouths of powerless victims, not powerful executioners’ and points out that this lamentation, like others, ‘does not reflect God’s relationship to the speaker, but rather records impassioned pleas for help and divine retribution’. Karim needs to be reminded that God is not promising anything to the psalmist, but rather the psalmist is in great grief and wailing to God.


Karim closes his article with several verses from the Quran and a number of sayings from the Hadiths under the heading, ‘The Difference Between Islam and Christianity Regarding the Rules of War’17.  In a tiresome manner, Karim urges us to accept that Islam is far more just towards women and children than Christianity, and provides several reasons he insists are honest reflections of Islamic philosophy. He claims that in Islam women and children are innocent in the eyes of Allah and should not be punished with death when conquered, while in the Bible there is no gender or age based reduction in the scope of personal guilt for violence against God [cf. Gen 6; Rev 14:7]. But, what he does not discuss is why women and children should be spared from suffering and painful treatment18. Women are to be kept as sex-slaves [Q. 23:5,6] and can be forced into prostitution [Q. 24:33], while children are sold as chattel property and the money is used to finance jihad. Also, slaves who have converted to Islam can be freed as a way of paying fines and penalties and gaining reward with Allah19. So, for Karim to proclaim from these verses that his Allah is more merciful to women and children is pure fiction, or at least weak propaganda. In the Islamic design, an ongoing and active principle still in practice is that women and children are nothing more than pieces of chattel to be bartered and sold.

Let’s survey the verses in the Quran which Karim doesn’t mention, in order to see if Allah is capable of the same violence Karim despises in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In Surah 53:50-54 and in 69:9-10 we find that Allah is capable of destroying entire cities and cultures. Allah also destroyed the people of Pharaoh [Q. 3:11; 7:130-135; cf. Book of Exodus Chp 12 and 13] and in fact Allah afflicts entire nations with calamity in order to humble them into submission [Q. 6:42]. Just what to the tafsirs say about these verses? Well, Allah has previously inflicted ‘illness, pain and hardship in order to humble and abase people’ [Tafsir al-Jalalayn Q. 6:42]. In fact, Allah has ‘seized and destroyed whole communities’ who have denied Allah’s signs [Tafsir al-Jalalayn Q 3:11]. Allah has used ‘mighty winds’ to tear at people until there was no remnant left. In fact, the people of the Plains disobeyed Lot, and for that they were ‘seized with a devastating blow’ [Tafsir al-Jalalayn Q.69:6-10]. Lastly, when Allah destroyed the people of Thamud, he ‘spared not a single one of them’ [Tafsir al-Jalalayn Q. 53:50-54]. None of these Ayat or the associated commentaries free either women or children from the same punishment visited upon the men. Whether Karin is willing to admit it or not, his Allah has been modeled very similarly to the God of the Bible, and retribution for disobedience isn’t beneath either of them.

Now let’s turn to a discussion of Karim’s closing sermon regarding the Quran and his high valuation of its ‘message of love’. He cites several verses to contrast his book with the Bible. The verses Karim cites do indeed exhort Muslims to [1] avert evil with good, [2] be charitable and [3] persevere20. But, how are Muslims to avert evil with good, and to whom are Muslims to be generous, and from where are these monies to be found? Lastly, what is meant by ‘persevere’?

Let’s move to the topic of charity before the others. In the first place, any useful discussion on these topics has to begin with the recognition that Muslims are not to befriend or be kind to those whom ‘Allah is wrathful’ [Q. 60:13]. Since before the prophet’s death that has included Jews and Christians, so we shouldn’t expect to be the recipients of good deeds from either individual Muslims or an Islamic state, without us becoming severely suspicious of the goal and agenda [Q.56:9; 56:41]. Also well established is that, for Muslims, paying their prophet for his advice was also considered an act of charity [Q. 58:12]21 as is paying the compulsory charity [zakat] or ‘poor-rate’. But lest we forget, 1/5th of these monies were paid to Muhammad, used to finance jihad [Q. 4:76], and bribe new converts whose ‘hearts were to be reconciled’ [Bukhari Volume 4, Book 53, Number 374; Tafsir al-Jalalayn 9:60]. It will continue to be used as such until Islam is defeated, or all other religions are destroyed [Q. 9:33]. And just exactly where are Muslims to find the funds for much of this charity? From the spoils of war, of course. They are to be taken by force or taxation from infidels like Christians, Jews and other non-Muslims. Just six of the many examples of Islamic extortion at the point of a sword can be found in al-Tabari [Vol. XIII]. Islamic armies were sweeping into Iraq, Persia and Egypt. Native people were given the choice of conversion or war. Most were either unarmed or lightly armed communities and just surrendered.

Karim also points out that Muslims are also to persevere in the ways of Allah, but just how is that to be done? When we look to the Quran we quickly see the answer is to, ‘struggle in Allah’s way with your property and your lives and cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers with your own hands’ [Q. 59:2] which seems to contradict Karim’s confident claim that Allah wants his followers to respond with love and kindness. Additionally, Q. 9:80 reminds Muslims that Allah is not the least bit interested in the prayers for the forgiveness of Non-Muslims [cf. Book of Genesis 50:17; Gospel of Mt. 6:14; II Peter 3:9].

Repelling evil with good is another theme Karim brings up within his bitter speech, and which deserves discussion. He cites Q. 42:40 to support the claim he puts forward. In the tafsir of al-Jalalyn , we see that evil deeds are to be responded to with deeds of the same sort [i.e. evil], though the option to forgo retaliation rests with the wronged party22. There is no obligation to forgive the wrongdoer [cf. Gospel of Matt. 6:12,14,15; 18:35; Gospel of Mk. 11:25,26; Letter to the Romans 12:17-21, et al]. It is also noteworthy to point out that Q. 2:178 proscribes retaliation in some cases and in Q. 2:194 Muhammad abolished the prohibition against fighting in the sacred months in order to retaliate against his enemies23. In fact, a plain reading of these verses gives no real hint of any command to show restraint or acts of love and kindness towards non-Muslims.

Obviously, Karim not only demonstrates a great deal of ignorance of The Scriptures, but his own ‘scriptures’ as well. For example, he quotes surah 23:96 as evidence that his god desires peace, yet Karim doesn’t bother to mention that surah 23 is a Meccan verse ‘revealed’ before Muhammad’s rise to power in Medina. The same is true for surahs 28,41, and 42, which he also uses as evidence of Allah’s generosity. All of these surahs were made public before Muhammad had an army and the military power necessary to impose his religion by force. Also bear in mind what was written earlier in this rebuttal, which is that verses suggesting restraint or mercy from the Muslims in no way apply to those who are outside the House of Islam. While I could go on a great deal longer with this article, I think my reader has gotten the point. We must agree that Karim’s effort to malign the Bible was very characteristic of the popular Islamic method and widely accepted polemic custom. However, bellicose enthusiasm couched in rage is always unconvincing, as is Karim’s hysterical presentation.



1 Source

2 Christians should not be fooled by the apparent demonstration of respect for all the Prophets. In fact, no such respect exists because ultimately Islam is ignoring and undoing all prophetic utterances not approved by the lone prophet of Islam [cf. Mormonism].

3 The Shahada of the Muslims reads that Muhammad is ‘the messenger of Allah’, only later did Islam appropriate the Biblical Prophets as part of the Islamic legacy. Even a casual examination of the chronology of the alleged revelation will bear this out. It wasn’t until Surah #87 [8th chronologically] that attention is given to the legitimate Biblical Prophets. That’s about 150+ verses before such a references is made. That seems like a very long time to make the connection between the Old, New and ‘Final’ Testaments.

4 Source

5 Muhammad wanted those who reject his message to be killed by beheading, then maimed to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah [Q. 8:12-14; 3:151; 59:2; cf. Bukhari Vol 4, Book 56, No.808]. In contrast, Christians are to love even those who hate us [Gospel of Matt. 5:44]. Obviously, it is much easier to be a Muslim.

6 Islamic literature is replete with examples of Muhammad allowing his men take by force, sell and rape captive women. The OT, on the other hand, orders that captive women taken in war are only to be taken into the house with the full status as wives, and not to be sold or used as merchandise in any way. Also, there is no Biblical command that the practice should be continued today [Book of Deut 21:10-14; cf.

7 Muhammad allowed his followers to use sorcery to overcome the ‘evil eye’. Apparently, the Evil Eye was more powerful even than the Divine Will of Allah [Muhammad was a believer in the baneful influence of an evil eye. 'Asthma bint 'Umais related that she said, "O Prophet, the family of Ja'far are affected by the baneful influence of an evil eye; may I use spells for them or not?" The Prophet said, "Yes, for if there were anything in the world which would overcome fate, it would be an evil eye." (Mishkat, book xxic I, part 2.).

8 Shalamenser captured Samaria in 722 B.C. Even after striking Israel with the rod, God will not ‘take away His mercy, or be false to His faith’ [Book of Psalms 89:31-33]. God chases after those whom he loves, and his punishment of Israel was far from a final judgment.

9 To understand and fully grasp the significance of the cause of Israel’s downfall, the honest skeptic takes the cultural and theological context into consideration before citing Scripture out of context. Muslims claim that Christians make this error when examining the Quran, but as the Quran’s exhortations to kill and conquer are for all time, taking them out of context as timeless is impossible. Also important to note, one major difference between the Jewish Scriptures and the Qur'an is that Yahweh never gave the nation of Israel an unlimited license to wage war until Judaism prevailed over all faiths.

10 Please note that in Karim’s article, he admits that God’s promise was indeed fulfilled and recorded in the Bible, yet we read from him yet again that the Bible is corrupted and evil. Karim needs to answer the question: if the events in Hosea were indeed prophesied and fulfilled by God, how could he characterize the outcome as ‘evil’? After all, God merely used Assyria’s natural tendencies towards evil to punish His own people. While God is mighty, he does not despise men, but nor will he keep the wicked alive.

11 Baalism was a frequent sin of Israel, and was not only assailed with bitter words by Hosea before the fall of Israel, but repeated a century later by Jeremiah before the Babylonian Exile of Judah. The Prophet Micah [Book of Micah 6:16] participated in a prophetic revolt, along with Elijah, against the counterfeit religion of the House of Omri and Ahab. Many counterfeits have come since, and more than a few still remain.

12 Jeremiah was also mentioned in Karim’s fevered attack [51:23] yet Karim ignores the very heart of the Prophet’s theology from the Book of Comfort [Book of Jeremiah 30-33] which promises an end to the great time of trouble [30:7], the gathering of His firstborn and soothing to the weeping of Rachel [31:15ff].

13 [Book of Deut. 28:15-68; Heb [בּרית] bereth’; Latin Vulgate ‘pactum‘; Grk [διαθήκη] ‘diatheke‘].

14 While such sign and symbolism may seem bizarre, the legitimate Prophets of God were often commanded to perform symbolic acts rather than simply speaking. For example, Jeremiah was ordered to wear a wooden yoke to symbolize the subjugation of Judah [Jeremiah 27]. Ezekiel drew a picture of Jerusalem under siege [Book of Ezekiel 4:1-2]. Hosea was commanded to marry a harlot who would bear the ’children of harlotry’.

15 In Karim’s article, he was careless enough to leave the 1948 return of Israel out of his analysis. I am happy to bring it up in this response.

16 Broyles, Craig. New International Biblical Commentary: Psalms p.480. Henrickson Publishing 1999

17 I am not sure how Karim included this heading, as Christianity is not a war-making cult. Karim ignores the New Covenant entirely in his analysis. Conquering by force isn’t how Rome was converted, and it isn’t how the Gospel is spread. On the other hand, war is so essential to Islamic history that Tabari devotes sixty pages to the battle of Badr, which is fives times more attention than Abraham gets in his pilgrimage to Mecca. In contrast, to the Jews the Exodus from slavery is the foundational experience, and to the Christians it is the Resurrection of Christ which receives the greatest reverence, to the Muslim it seems to be battle which is the centerpiece of their religion and influences the greatest command over their souls. While I agree that the Hajj is an important historical event for Muslims, warfare and booty tend to get the most attention.

18 See, 'Top ten rules in the Quran that oppress and insult women', by James Arlandson. Another thing Karim ignores is that in Allah’s final judgment on mankind, there is no special treatment of women or children.

19 It would appear that kindness towards slaves is secondary. The main benefit is in gaining points.

20 the Tafsir al-Jalalayn for Q. 28:54 also reminds Muslims to ‘believe in both Scriptures’, yet a cornerstone of Islamic polemics is that the Bible is corrupted. Also, Tafsir al-Jalalylan informs us that the order to repay evil with good was revealed in Mecca before the command to fight the unbelievers, so Q. 28:54 may indeed have been abrogated [cf. . Abrogated Verses Of the Quran Evidence from Islamic Sources Collected by Sam Shamoun].

21 How lovely. Paying taxes to the state leader is an act of charity which will cause prosperity [Q. 2:276].

22 For a more lengthy discussion of ‘qisas’, please follow the link.

23 The sacred month of Ramadhan was a carry over from an earlier period of Arab paganism, so how it is that Muslims feel they can claim a pure monotheism based on the religion of Abraham is a mystery [Q. 2:185].