English blog

how Esther became a muslim

27-02-2015 - Posted by Andre Piet

images13 In “het Nederlands Dagblad” (a Dutch daily newspaper) of February 21, 2015, was published an interview with Esther Rill (1966), a Dutch woman of Dutch origin, raised in an unbelieving, Amsterdam family. Since 1987, she is a Muslim. The subject of religion in school did not appeal to her, because she was focussed on other issues. It were statements, during a class in physics, that put her on the trail of God.

The one lesson physics has taught me more religious consciousness than all the religion classes, together. Also because in that lesson about that one force, the oneness of God, came very strongly to the fore. The trinity of Christianity, I had always found to be very strange, just like the other idea, that forgiveness was made possible through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. After all, if you assume that God is super powerful and defines everything, why should someone have to die on a cross to redeem us from sin? As if there is another God, who is watching over God’s shoulder and checks Him. For me, it is this way: God can forgive and to do so, He does not need anything or anyone else. When I later on came into contact with islam, these pieces really fell into place, because there, God is one. Thinking about God as the one major force behind everything harmonized well with my love for exact subjects. You know, with me, there must be agreement between science and religion, otherwise something is flawed. I’m just too much beta for this. (…) So Esther arrived in Wageningen. There she met the Egyptian student who later on would become her husband. With him, she became intensively involved in conversations about his faith: Islam, and gradually she became convinced of its truth. That did not happen in a moment of infatuation and neither suddenly. It was a very gradual process. The fact that God, in islam, is one, played a very important role. That connected perfectly with the way I was perceiving God to be, the one force behind everything.

How very revealing an interview can be?! Esther could not cope with the “Christian” doctrine of the trinity. Did no one tell her that this doctrine is totally absent in the Bible? And that all statements in the Bible are monotheistic, as much as islam teaches it, also? Jesus Himself spoke to His Father as being “the only true God” (John 17:3). “One God, the Father” (1 Cor.8:6), was the traditional Jewish credo of Paul and of all the other apostles. Jesus Christ is not “God the Son” but “the Son of God.” A world of difference. The doctrine of the trinity and all associated formulas form a construction that only centuries later, was developed. It is completely foreign to Scripture and also contrary to all logic. Esther, intuitively, sensed that this doctrine cannot be correct. And then that other breaking point for Esther. That God alone can forgive through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. If “God is super powerful and defines everything, why should someone have to die on a cross to redeem us from sin?” This idea also alienated Esther of Christianity. But again we must conclude that it is not Scripture, but Christian theology that was the great obstacle. Jesus’ death on the cross was not because He had to bear God’s punishment for sin, as orthodoxy teaches. Nowhere do we read that in the Scriptures. Jesus bore our sins, that is true. He bore the injustice that the world inflicted on Him by nailing Him to the cross. But the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is not the cross, as such, on which He died, but His resurrection. The world killed Him, but it was God who raised Him from among the dead (Acts 3:15). Then He rose up as a pleasing sacrifice to God. In this, God proves His forgiveness. Even though the world killed His son, God is going to give Life to the world, through Him (1Cor.15:22). On the cross, the sins were not paid for, to God. On the contrary, He did not reckon their offenses to them (2Cor.5:19). God needs no sacrifice to be able to forgive, says Esther, quite correctly. It is precisely in the sacrifice of Christ, that God proves His forgiveness and so reconciles the entire world. For against such love, no enmity is able to maintain itself (Col.1:20). How sad really is the story of Esther. Christian theology drove her easily into the arms of Islam. How important, therefore, to tell what “is written”, instead of what people have made of it. That gives answers. That is a good news message!