We could learn from President Carter – ‘Who is a Muslim?’


President Jimmy Carter teaching in a Sunday school in 2000. How he defines a Christian has bearing on ‘Who is a Muslim?’

President Carter, Am I a Christian?

Source: The New York Times

By Nicholas Kristof, New York Times’ columnist on human rights, women’s rights, health, global affairs

Christians celebrate Easter on Sunday. But wait — do we really think Jesus literally rose from the dead?

I asked questions like that in a Christmas Day column, interviewing the Rev. Tim Keller, a prominent evangelical pastor. In this, the second of an occasional series, I decided to quiz former President Jimmy Carter. He’s a longtime Sunday school teacher and born-again evangelical but of a more liberal bent than Keller. Here’s our email conversation, edited for clarity.

ME How literally do you take the Bible, including miracles like the Resurrection?

PRESIDENT CARTER Having a scientific background, I do not believe in a six-day creation of the world that occurred in 4004 B.C., stars falling on the earth, that kind of thing. I accept the overall message of the Bible as true, and also accept miracles described in the New Testament, including the virgin birth and the Resurrection.

With Easter approaching, let me push you on the Resurrection. If you heard a report today from the Middle East of a man brought back to life after an execution, I doubt you’d believe it even if there were eyewitnesses. So why believe ancient accounts written years after the events?

I would be skeptical of a report like you describe. My belief in the resurrection of Jesus comes from my Christian faith, and not from any need for scientific proof. I derive a great personal benefit from the totality of this belief, which comes naturally to me.

What about someone like me whose faith is in the Sermon on the Mount, who aspires to follow Jesus’ teachings, but is skeptical that he was born of a virgin, walked on water, multiplied loaves and fishes or had a physical resurrection? Am I a Christian, President Carter?

I do not judge whether someone else is a Christian. Jesus said, “Judge not, …” I try to apply the teachings of Jesus in my own life, often without success.

How can I reconcile my admiration for the message of Jesus, all about inclusion, with a church history that is often about exclusion?

Read more

Suggested Reading

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Are Ahmadi Muslims: A Collection of Articles?

Collection of Ideas to Overcome Sectarian Divide Among the Muslims

Categories: Islam, The Muslim Times

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6 replies

    • @P4rv3zkh4n
      First of All our Uolama are nut Mullah at all, We call them Morabbees, Yes they are as they recite the Kalma Tayyab, but not in real sense as they reject a prophet of Allah as per Holy Quran laa nofarreqo baina aha-dim mirrabeh. We do not exclude anyone of his Messengers. Zarif Ahmad

      • To claim that they are not in real sense contradicts your first answer. Your answer makes no sense!

        Either you accept us as Muslims or not. Stop sugar coating or being a moral coward

  1. ٰ In reality , there is no contradiction in my Statement. The Holy Prophet Muhamad ﷺ has not permitted us to call a person as non Muslim, who recite Kalma Tayyab/Shehadah, nor he himself called such a person as kafir or non-Muslim. But what you would think about me if I do not believe in a or some prophets of Allah, while I recite Kalma, will I be a real Muslim as per Holy Quran? Zarif Ahmad

  2. A Muslim will believe in all Prophets mentioned in the Quran.

    Hence main body of Muslims are Muslims as per the Quran. They believe in all of the main articles of faith including all quranic prophets.

    We reject Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as he is not a prophet mentioned in the Quran. It is on the ahmadis to prove from the Quran about a future prophet after Prophet Muhammad (sallahu alaihi wasallam) and in which verse he is explicilty prophecised

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