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The relationship between Christianity and Islam

22-minute slide presentation plus Q&A session delivered to an ethnically and religiously mixed audience of school pupils in Stoke on Trent.


Delivered 29 November 2019. Posted 16 December 2019

There is a more recent version of this presentation "The relationship between Christianity and Islam" which I delivered in Poynton on 10 February 2020. I recommend watching that one instead as it has additional questions in the Q&A session.

I regularly speak to teenage school pupils, arranged by the charity Speakers for Schools. Last month The Co-operative Academy of Stoke-on-Trent asked me speak about the relationship between Christianity and Islam.

I recorded my 22-minute presentation, and it is below along with my responses in the question and answer session, along with some links for further reading.


Presentation outline

Other website pages mentioned during my talk

During my talk I mentioned a number of other pages on my website.

Triangulating the Abrahamic faiths – measuring the closeness of Judaism, Christianity and Islam

A brief introduction to Islam for non-Muslims in 10 pages

Why science ignores God

My count of mentions by name in the Quran is on my 2016 page "My reflection on Christmas." I have reproduced the relevant paragraph below.

As a free question for your next pub quiz, ask them “Which prophet is mentioned most often by name in the Quran?” I counted by searching the Tal Itani translation, chosen simply because I have a PDF copy and the counting is not affected by the existence of footnotes. The results were: Moses 136, Abraham 72, Jesus 25, and Muhammad only 12.

A guide to Quran translations into English

I have reviewed two of the books mentioned in the bibliography:

"In the Shadow of the Sword: The Battle for Global Empire and the End of the Ancient World" by Tom Holland

"Islam – Past Present and Future" by Hans Kung


How the presentation was recorded

My first presentation recording was done on the spur of the moment, just putting my iPhone 6 on the table and relying on its built in microphone. See my page Lecture: The Quran recognises religious freedom.

Once I found recording presentations worthwhile, I purchased a high quality Sennheiser digital lapel microphone which plugs into the lightning port of my iPhone. That produces a much better recording.

The slides

I am happy to share the original PowerPoint slide presentation.

A partial transcript of the question and answer session

The question and answer session was also recorded. However, I am not publishing the full audio recording for two main reasons:

  1. While the sound quality of my responses is very clear, the questioners were some distance from the microphone. Accordingly, in many cases their questions are almost inaudible.
  2. I respect the privacy of those asking the questions. I do not have their written consent to publish their recordings. In many cases, I do not even know who they were, so cannot seek permission.

Instead, I have listened to the Q&A session and, where I regard the questions as being worth sharing, have written down a condensed version of the questions. I have then published the audio of my answers.

1. Do Muslims think that Christians go to Heaven or Hell?

Recording of my 2-minute answer

In my reply, I loosely quote a verse of the Quran from memory. I have reproduced it precisely below.

Quran 2:62

VERILY, those who have attained to faith [in this divine writ], as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians - all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds - shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve.

Muhammad Asad translation

I also refer to my website page "Teaching Muslims religious intolerance".

2. What is your point of view on Christmas?

Recording of my 2-minute answer

In my answer, I mention the "Thought for the Week" broadcast I gave on BBC Radio Manchester on 25 December 2018. You can read it on my page "Jesus continues to inspire us today".

3. What would you say to a Christian who believes that Jesus was God?

Recording of my 2-minute answer

During my response, I make the comment “I’ve never met a Mormon who I didn’t think was a good person.”

You can read the background in the "My comments before starting the presentation" section of my page "Lecture: The Quran recognises religious freedom" which contains the religious freedom lecture I gave at Brigham Young University's London Campus.

4. What is your opinion on celebrating the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad?

Recording of my 2-minute answer

In my response, I mention my Thought for the Week broadcast which you can read on my website page "Reflections on the death of Svetlana Alliluyeva".

One of the slides of my presentation also contains the message from the Quran I mention in my answer.

Extract from Slide 21

AND NO BEARER of burdens shall be made to bear another's burden; and if one weighed down by his load calls upon [another] to help him carry it, nothing thereof may be carried [by that other], even if it he one's near of kin.

Part of Quran 35:18 Muhammad Asad translation

5. What is Islam’s view on war, and does it differ from the Christian viewpoint?

Recording of my 1-minute answer

My response mentions additional coverage on my website page Review of "Qur’anic Concepts of the Ethics of Warfare: Challenging the Claims of Islamic Aggressiveness" by Joel Hayward.

6. Do Christians think that Muslims go to Heaven?

Recording of my 1-minute answer

In my response I mention the Roman Catholic document "Nostra Aetate".

I also mentioned a particular Roman Catholic doctrine. For more on that I recommend reading the article "What “No Salvation Outside the Church” Means".

7. Do Christians and Muslims believe in the same God?

Recording of my 30-second answer

In my answer I did not recall the quote precisely enough. While the American general concerned was under the incorrect impression that Christians and Muslims pray to different gods, he did not use the term "Monkey god."

Full details are set out on the Wikipedia page for General William G. Boykin and the quote I recalled incorrectly was actually "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol."

8. You said that you don’t believe in the importance of the hereditary principle. How do you feel about the monarchy?

Recording of my 45-second answer

9. Can Muslims vote in democratic elections, or is democracy un-Islamic?

Recording of my 1-minute answer

10. Is smoking weed haram?

"Weed" is slang for cannabis or marijuana. "Haram" means religiously prohibited in Islam.

I used my answer to get over a wider educational message about how to think about religious questions, before answering the one posed by the pupil.

Recording of my 3-minute answer

11. Is it haram to have medical cannabis?

Recording of my 45-second answer


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