#402

December 28, 2014

Why Does God Leave Muslims Deluded?

Hello dr. Craig and sorry for my bad English.

I have been watching your debates and lectures and I find them very good and useful

There is a question that I thought of the classical theism (specifically Christian theism ) that has something to do with the good people who are followers of other religions , people who love god and worship him and do many good deeds for him but they die without knowing the true god ( who you believe him to be the Christian god ).

For example in my Muslim society there are people who all they know about Christianity is that it is another false religions like all non-Islamic religions and they never think in the possibility that it is the true religion because they have no reason to do so, hence they go on with Islam and with a pure heart they do whatever possible to be good Muslims so how can god leave them deluded? Don't they deserve to not be deluded and guide their whole life on the basis of this delusion?

Sorry again for my English and thank you

Raef


Jordan

Your question, Raef, is one that faces every religious particularist, whether Muslim or Christian. I could just as easily have put the question to you:

In my Christian society there are people who all they know about Islam is that it is another false religions like all non-Christian religions and they never think in the possibility that it is the true religion because they have no reason to do so, hence they go on with Christianity and with a pure heart they do whatever possible to be good Christians so how can Allah leave them deluded?

Although some people have disingenuously tried to cast Islam as an inclusivistic religion, the Qur’an is quite clear that persons who believe what Christians believe about Jesus are blasphemers whose destiny is hell. So the Muslim, like the Christian, must face the difficult question of how God can overlook people who are suffering from a religious delusion.

It seems to me that there is no injustice on God’s part in leaving some people deluded, since that delusion is the result of their own sin and rejection of God’s general revelation in nature and conscience. (Read the first chapter of Paul’s Letter to the Romans in the Bible.) Hence, it is false to say that they “deserve to not be deluded.” On the contrary, all of us deserve condemnation, not mercy.

But here the problem is worse for the Christian than for the Muslim. For the Bible affirms that God loves these people and wills their salvation. By contrast the Qur’an states repeatedly that Allah does not love sinners or unbelievers. His love is given only to those who first love him. So there’s no problem if Allah simply writes such people off. Of course, I think this only serves to expose the moral deficiency of the Islamic concept of God. As a person whose love is partial, conditional, and has to be earned, Allah is not the greatest conceivable being and therefore not God. The problem is not that God would be unjust to leave people in their delusion but that He would be unloving.

This is a question with which I have sincerely wrestled. There is a whole section of this website devoted to my publications on this topic, and I’d commend it to you.

In a nutshell, I argue, first, that no one has been able to show a contradiction between

1. God is all-loving and all-powerful.

and

2. Some people never hear the Gospel of Christ and are lost.

Second, I argue that we can show that (1) and (2) are consistent by adding a third proposition, namely,

3. The world has an optimal balance between saved and lost, and those who never hear the Gospel and are lost would not have believed it even if they had heard it.

The idea here is that due to human freedom the balance between saved and lost in the actual world (which includes, remember, the future as well as the past and present) is as good as God can get; and He has so providentially arranged the world that anyone who would believe in the Gospel if he heard it, is born at a time and place in history at which he does hear it. So anyone who wants or even would want to be saved will be saved. So long as (3) is even possibly true, it shows that there is no inconsistency between (1) and (2).

God is not indifferent to the plight of those in Muslim societies. A person in a Muslim society who never hears an accurate presentation of the Gospel of Christ will not be judged on the basis of whether he believed in Christ, which would be manifestly unfair, but rather on the basis of his response to God’s general revelation in nature and conscience. If he responds in faith to that revelation, then he will be saved while in Islam though not through Islam. If he does not respond and so is lost, neither would he have responded to the Gospel had he heard it. Someone who is responsive to that general revelation will be drawn by God’s fuller revelation of Himself in Christ. Perhaps he will follow Muhammad’s advice, if he can, to go to the people of the Book (Jews or Christians) and ask them to explain things to him. Perhaps God will bring to him knowledge of the Gospel through a dream or vision, as is happening in Muslim countries across the world. A person who is truly seeking God will respond to Christ when the Gospel is accurately presented.