The Alliance Between Islamic and Jewish Apologists

In my critique of Islamic apologetics, I normally point out that the Islamic critique of Christianity is indeed a critique of Christianity but not an Islamic one.  This often includes quoting secular scholars with anti-supernatutal presuppositions for their worldview.  Muslim apologists seem to ignore the fact that these same scholars would laugh at the Islamic view of the Quran, Jesus, and Muhammad.

In recent years, Muslim apologists have made a shaky alliance with Jewish apologists.  Most Muslim apologists don’t know Church history or Jewish history and therefore try to make it seem like there has always been a smooth relationship between both groups up until 1948.  If one simply reads the works of the great Orthodox Jewish scholar Moses Maimonides, we see that the relationship between Muslims and Jews has been anything but peaceful.  Maimonides writes:

Remember, my co-religionists, that on account of the vast number of our sins, God has hurled us in the midst of this people, the Arabs, who have persecuted us severely, and passed baneful and discriminatory legislation against us, as Scripture has forewarned us, “Our enemies themselves shall judge us”. Never did a nation molest, degrade, debase and hate us as much as they.

– Epistle to the Jews of Yemen

Obviously Maimonides is referring to the Muslims when he refers to Arabs.  Maimonides lived in Arab controlled Spain and he was writing to the Jews in Arab controlled Yemen.  The Arabs of Spain and Yemen were both Muslims.  The cozy relationship that both sides today pretend to have, doesn’t exist and never has.  Maimonides never said this about Christianity and that’s quite amazing since this letter was written in the middle of the crusades.

Many Muslim apologists try to say that Judaism is closer to Islam than Christianity.  Jewish apologists like Rabbi Tovia Singer scratch their back by saying the same thing.  Perhaps the rabbi is looking for a Shabbos goy?  Regardless, what do I do at this point as a Christian apologist?  I simply concede the point that Judaism is closer to Islam than Christianity.  At this point the Muslim apologist thinks that he has a victory but I then mention that Christian theology is closer to the Old Testament than Islam because Judaism is not the religion of the Old Testament.  This is a good tactic, because it will take us back to Scripture where the battleground should be.  Muslims will say that Judaism says that God can’t incarnate into a human, however the Old Testament in many places says that God can and did.  This shows that Christians acknowledge the Old Testament view of God while Jews and Muslims cannot reconcile this view.

As Christians, we don’t need to defend Rabbinic Judaism but we need to defend the Old Testament.  Muslim apologists also point out that their views on law are similar to Jews.  Most Muslims don’t understand the Christian view of the law so I won’t go into that here.  However, we should point out that Muslims have a far different view of God’s law than the Jews do.  They have different laws on food, alcohol, prayer, fasting, and many other things.  They both have laws, and a few of the laws even overlap, but they’re very different laws when examined carefully.  Modern Judaism may be closer to Islam but even modern Judaism isn’t as close to Islam as apologists from the two groups would like it to be.

Personally, I think Muslims make a mistake when they do this because if a Christian is smart, they’ll be able to trap the Muslim in his own logic and show that this alliance with modern Judaism is not a wise move.  I’m still waiting for a solid Islamic critique of Christianity.  I think the fact that Muslims can only make secular, Jewish or other non-Islamic critiques, shows that they’re arguing from a very weak position.

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