During the rise of Islam several Christian leaders, such as John of Damascus, regarded it as a Christian heresy. That is, instead of seeing it as an independent religion, these leaders regarded it as a perversion of true Christianity. Perhaps this is because Islam has a place for Jesus as a prophet leading up to the ultimate prophet Mohammad, though not recognizing Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God. Also, Mohammad and early Islam did have contact with Arabian Christians, and rejected Christianity as the one true religion.

Do I “respect” Islam? In a way, but not in the same sense I respect Buddhism or animistic religions. And certainly not in the way I respect Judaism, which I believe to be a God-revealed religion (though I pray that Jews will acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah). cont.

In the Book of Acts in the New Testament the Apostle Paul is recorded as preaching in Athens (Acts 17:22-34). While there he noticed an altar reading “To an unknown god.” He then went on to preach “What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.” (RSV) In the course of the sermon he stated that in times past God had allotted various peoples their places in the world “that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him.” But, now since the coming of Jesus the Messiah and the subsequent preaching of the gospel a new situation has emerged: “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent.”

If I understand Paul correctly, in times past prior to Jesus, pagan religions could serve providentially to bring limited knowledge of God. (Although, as Paul pointed out in 1 Corinthians 10:14-22, pagan religions also could be used by demonic forces to enslave people.) But now those times are past, and all are summoned to Jesus alone, to the Christian faith.

The various animistic religions, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc., I look upon with respect since they predate Jesus Christ. They originated in the “times of ignorance” and may have had a providential role in God’s plan. Though today I would pray and long for the conversion of all these to Christianity. Islam, on the other hand, arose after Christ. And, it arose in part as a rejection of Christianity. On the spiritual level, I must see the rise of Islam as demonic.

Is there truth in Islam? Sure. I suspect that it is impossible for anyone or any system to be wrong about everything. Is there any beauty in Islam? Perhaps. God may even now be working. But, any working by God’s Spirit will lead people out from Islam and into Christianity. Do I respect Islam? Only in the sense that I will not be rude intentionally. Problem is, Muslims tend to view any sort of disagreement with Islam as rude provocation.