Islam & Christianty

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  • Islam & Christianty

  • The Blood Atonement.

    The third part of the Christian dogma of the Atonement is that Jesus paid the penalty for the original and other sins of men by his death on the cross of Calvary, and that salvation cannot

    be obtained without belief in the saving power of his blood. This is what we read in the First Epistle of St. Peter:


    "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."[1]


    And this is what two modern Christian apologists (a Protestant and a Roman Catholic ) have written,:


    "We pass on now to the doctrine of the Atonement, which is that Christ's death was in some sense a sacrifice for sin, and thus reconciled (or made 'at - one') God the Father and sinful man. And though not actually stated in the Creeds, it is implied in the words, was crucified also for us, and who suffered for our salvation"[2]


    "Since Christ, God and man, had taken upon Himself our sins (by His death on the cross) in order to atone for them by giving satisfaction to God's outraged justice, he is the mediator between God and man. "[3]


    This dogma is not only a denial of the Mercy of God but also of His Justice. To demand the price of blood in order to forgive the sins of men is to show a complete lack of mercy, and to punish a man who is not guilty for the sins of others, whether the former is willing or not, is the height of injustice.


    Christian apologists try to defend this by saying that Jesus Christ willingly suffered death to pay the price for the sins of men. To this our reply is:


    Firstly, it is not historically correct to say that Jesus had come to die willingly and deliberately for the sins of men. We read in the Bible that he did not wish to die on the cross. For, when he knew that his enemies were plotting against his life, he declared that his "soul was exceedingly sorrowful unto death", he asked his disciples to keep watch over him to protect him from his enemies and he prayed to God,


    "Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee; take away this cup from me; nevertheless not what I will, but what Thou wilt."

    (Mark 14:36)


    Secondly, we fail to see how the suffering and death of one man can wipe out the sins of others. It sounds something like the physician breaking his own head to cure the headache of his patients. The idea of substitutionary or vicarious sacrifice is illogical, meaningless and unjust.


    Thirdly, the idea that shedding of blood is necessary to appease the Wrath of God has come into Christianity from the primitive man's image of God as an all-powerful demon. We see no connection at all between sin and blood. What is necessary to wash away sin is not blood but repentance, remorse, persistent struggle against evil inclinations, development of greater sympathy for mankind and determination to carry out the Will of God as revealed to us through

    the prophets. The Qur'an says:


    (To God does not reach the flesh or the blood (of animals they sacrifice), but unto Him is acceptable righteousness on your port.)



    The doctrine of the Atonement makes the First Person of Godhead into a blood-thirsty tyrant in order to demonstrate the self-sacrificing love of the Second Person. To a dispassionate critic, the sacrifice of the Second Person appears as much misplaced and meaningless as the demand of the First Person is cruel and sadistic.


    Arthur Weigall makes the following significant comment on the doctrine of the Atonement:


    "We can no longer accept the appalling theological doctrine that for some mystic reason a propitiatory sacrifice was necessary. It outrages either our conception of God as Almighty or else our conception of Him as All-Loving. The famous Dr. Cruden believed that for the purpose of this sacrifice `Christ suffered dreadful pains inflicted by God', and this of course, is a standpoint

    which nauseates the modern mind and which may well be termed a hideous doctrine, not unconnected with the sadistic tendencies of primitive human nature. Actually, it is of pagan origin, being, indeed, perhaps the most obvious relic of heathendom in the Faith."[4]


    The Christian scheme of salvation is not only morally and rationally unsound, but also has no support of the words of Jesus. Jesus may be said to have suffered for the sins of men in the sense that, in order to take them out of darkness into light, he incurred the wrath of the evildoers and was tortured by them; but that does not mean that his death was an atonement for the sins of others and that only those who believe in his blood would be forgiven. Je-sus had come to rescue men from sin by his teaching and the example of his godly life, and not by deliberately dying for them on the cross and offering his blood as a propitiation for their sins. When a young man came and asked him "Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" he mentioned nothing about his atoning sacrifice and the redeeming power of his blood. His reply was the same as that of every other prophet. For he said:


    "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God; but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments."

    (Matthew 19:17)


    "Keep the commandments" that, according to Jesus, was the way to eternal life. Salvation could be gained by believing in God, eschewing evil and doing good, and not by accepting Jesus as the redeemer and believing in his blood atonement.


    The dogma of the Atonement is unsound, for (1) man is not born in sin, (2) God does not require a price to forgive the sinners, and (3) the idea of substitutionary or vicarious sacrifice is unjust and cruel. By sinning we do not harm God, but ourselves. The stain of sin on our souls can be removed, not by the suffering or death of any other person, whether the latter be willing or unwilling, but by our own repentance, turning away from evil and doing good. And so, when Adam, after the act of disobedience, repented and submitted himself completely to God, his sin was forgiven. Neither is the sin of Adam inherited by the children of Adam, nor did it require the suffering and death of Jesus Christ to be forgiven. The truth is that Jesus did not die on the cross at all. The doctrine of the Atonement is a denial of the Justice and Mercy of God.


    Islam rejects this dogma. It declares that the forgiveness of sins cannot be obtained by the suffering and sacrifice of any other person, human or divine, but by the Grace of God and our

    own sincere and persistent efforts to fight against evil and do good:


    (That no laden one shall bear an0ther's load, and that man hath only that for which he maketh effort, and that his effort will be seen.)

    (The Glorious Qur'an 53:38, 40)


    (Whosoever goeth right, it is only for the good of his own soul that he goeth right, and whosoever erreth, erreth only to its hart. No laden soul can bear another's load.)


    Islam promises salvation (which in the religion of the Qur'an means the achievement of nearness to God and the development of all the goodness in man) to all those who believe in God and do good deeds:


    (Nay, but whosever surrendereth his purpose to God while doing good, his reward is with his Lord; and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. )




    [1] The Bible, l Peter, 1:18, 19.


    [2] W.H. Turton, the Truth of Christianity, P. 289.


    [3] J.F. De Grool, Catholic Teaching, p. 162.


    [4] Arthur Weigall, The Paganism in Our Christianity.


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