It can be argued that Islam is demonic. The problem with that statement is that it is seen as ‘offensive’ by many both within the church and outside, and therefore tends not to be said. The result is a meal mouthed confusion in the minds of many Christians about what Islam is, and is not, and space for deceptions about what God’s truth is, to grow.
What is surprising is that Christians get upset by the allegation that Islam is demonic; the point is that so are a lot of other ideas according to the New Testament:
Jesus describes the devil as the father of his opponents. (Jn 8:44).
He says that it is the devil who sows the weeds in the world (Mt 13:39)
Peter is rebuked as ‘Satan’ for tempting Jesus with avoiding the cross (Mk 8:33)
Jesus describes some Jews as a ‘synagogue of Satan’ (Rev 2:9 and 3:9)
Paul states that pagans sacrifice to demons (1 Cor 10:20,21)
He warns against the ideas of demons that will lead some from the faith (1 Tim 4:1)
Ultimately the devil is ‘the father of lies’ (Jn 8:44) and wrong ideas are ‘earthly, unspiritual, devilish’. This means that all wrong ideas, deceptions – whether ‘spiritual’ or not – and lies are ultimately of Satan. In that context we can realise that whilst the lies of Islam (e.g. God has no Son, Jesus didn’t die on the cross) are demonic, they are not especially so; so are the deceptions of racists, Stalinists, proponents of sexual promiscuity or anyone else who in effect offers ‘salvation’ without God.
So what about Islam? It’s easy to see how the deception occurred: a demon passed itself off as Gabriel and the prophet of Islam fell for it. The fact that it is so blatant and ‘spiritual’, unlike most of the deceptions that fool us every day, isn’t significant; all deceptions have their origin in the demonic realm, and seem to have power way beyond any rational explanation whilst they are ‘in fashion’, until the bubble bursts and we look back and are amazed how we were deceived at the time. We need therefore to recognise that Muslims – along with believers in many other lies – are spiritually blind and will only respond to the truth when the Holy Spirit is at work. As ever we therefore must be sensitive to whether our words are getting through, or whether they are merely bouncing off; if the latter we must walk away from further debate as it will achieve nothing. ‘For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.’ Eph 6.
However ultimately as Christians, we need to recognise that all lies are demonic in origin. However the fact that Islam or racism is demonic doesn’t make any difference to our approach, and certainly making a big deal of the fact, as in this attack on a mosque or as Michael Curry, preacher at Harry and Meghan’s wedding believes (about racism!) doesn’t actually move the conversation forward. I suspect the only case where it might be of help is that the description of some of Mohammed’s encounters with ‘Gabriel’ may help some Christians to see how much of a deception Islam is – a very minority area.
Islam is a lie. Atheism is a lie. Racism is a lie. They, and many other ways of rejecting God, are all lies from the devil that we must clearly, openly and unambiguously reject. May God give us the wisdom to do so in ways that will release many from these deceptions.