I wanted to write an article outlining my plans for a new book and share a little testimony related to why I am undertaking this project and doing so in a particular way.
Reading the Qur’an at the start of this year had a huge impact on me. I truly believe it is a revelation from God because of the way its contents resonated with my personal understanding of God in a deep and powerful way. Having read it in its entirety, I do not think the Qur’an could be anything other than divine revelation.
My background is as a Christian, and a very evangelical one at that. I was baptized in a Baptist church in London in 2015, and I have also been an active member of evangelical, Anglican, and Catholic churches. I studied Philosophy and Religion at university in a college in London founded and run by Jesuits, which I will have more to say about below.
Since reading the Qur’an, the issue of justification has been at the forefront of my mind. This is because there is an apparent discrepancy between the way justification is understood in Christianity and Islam. While for many Chrisitians (especially Protestant Christians) we are made right with God by simply accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, in Islam we are justified by our good deeds outweighing our bad deeds, which are recorded by God and will be revealed to us on the day of judgement.
Because of the apparent divergence of beliefs between Christians and Muslims described above, I have made it my mission to embark on research into the issues surrounding justification, with the aim of getting to the truth of the matter and resolving it in my mind once and for all. I can think of nothing more important to do with my time, because I take the warnings of hellfire in all the major Abrahamic religions very seriously.
I was considering returning to university to study a PhD in order to undertake this research, but I have fortunately been granted access to a library of 213,000 philosophy and theology books in London, which is in fact one of the best libraries for theological research in the UK, if not the world. The library is associated with Heythrop College where I studied for a postgraduate certificate, and due to being an alumnus of the university associated with that college I have the privilege of accessing the library and borrowing books for free.
In the coming months, I will be blogging about interesting things I discover during my research. The blog posts that I plan to write will eventually form the basis for a book about justification in the Abrahamic religions. The book may take a few months or even a few years to write, I don’t know, but it’s of such importance to me personally that I hope I will have the motivation, health, and resources, to see it through.
Your comments in response to my research-related posts will be an important part of the book writing process, so if you read any of my upcoming posts and have thoughts you’d like to share, please don’t be afraid to share them (in a polite way!) in the comments. I will certainly take all thoughtful and informed comments seriously.
I’m beginning my research by reading a book entitled ‘The Abrahamic Faiths’ by Jerald Dirks, who is an American who converted from Christianity to Islam and writes about the way Islam is misunderstood and misrepresented by the mainstream American media. I plan to write a review of the book; that will probably be my next post.
The area of study I intend to engage with as I begin this project is the Hadith literature of Islam, which is literature containing records of the life and sayings of Prophet Muhammad. These sayings are revered in Islam, although they are of course secondary to the Qur’an itself which is considered by Muslims to be the word of God, kept by Him on a preserved tablet in heaven.
Finally, a reminder that I currently have six short-read books available for free via my Books page. My book God Willing has been downloaded over 1200 times recently and my book Discovering the Qur’an over 700 times. If you read any of my books and enjoy them, a positive review on Amazon would be much appreciated. God bless you and thank you for reading.