Now that I have attacked Christianity, it's only obvious I should be offensive toward the Muslim world as well. Islam was founded, as just about anyone can attest, by Mohammed. Or Muhammed. Or most accurately Muhammad ibn 'Abdullah. It's hard to be specific because of the difference in alphabets. But Mohammed was born in Mecca in the year 570. About five hundred years after the death of Christ give or take a few decades. Which means by this time the deceptions of Peter and Paul had allowed the Catholic and Orthodox faiths to spread fairly well.
Mohammed was a rich guy, born into a good family, but he wasn't a particularly good businessman. Think of him as a kind of George W. Bush of Ancient Arabia. By the time he hit 50, he hadn't done much but he decided around then what he really wanted to be was popular and powerful. Oddly enough, this is also kind of the way things worked out for Bush.
But the way that Mohammed decided he would gain power and popularity was not by holding political office (that kind of concept wasn't in full swing yet) but by being a holy man. And not just any holy man, but a Prophet. The problem was this: While he liked what many of the Jews told him of God, they claimed the time of the prophets was over...so he couldn't be a Jewish Prophet. And he really didn't like the Christian idea of three-gods-in-one. That just creeped him out a bit.
So what he did was make up his own religion, based on those two. And as a kind of in-your-face towards Christianity and Islam he declared the motto: There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.
And while there were also LOTS of other people doing the same sort of thing, for some reason Mohammed was more successful. Was it divine inspiration? Amazing oration? Maybe he just had his family's money to play with. Whatever the case, people tended to do for this new religion. Mohammed claimed that he was receiving the direct orders from the god of the Jews. The only true god. And they believed his prophecy which was given to him in the year 622. He gained enough followers that by the year 630 he had united several tribes (though successive Jihads) and then returned to his home town of Mecca to conquer it.
Only one problem. Two years later he died. Why that was a HUGE problem is because he was largely illiterate (also like Bush) and he had only ever delivered his prophecy as an oral tradition. Within a few years, many of his followers realized that if they didn't get all of this written down soon that within a few generations the prophecy could become corrupted and there could be lots of different versions out there. So there was a mad scramble to find people Mohammed had taught directly himself. They gathered all of the verses they could and after careful deliberation decided which ones were the word of Allah as spoken through Mohammed which (remember this...it's important) was supposed to be the same as YHWH, as they were the one true god...he just had many names.
Crisis averted. The Q'ran (or Koran, or many other spellings. Remember...alphabet) was written and the word of Mohammed was forever preserved. After all, who could alter a document while simply copying it and making duplicates? This is where the Easterner phrase it is written gains much of it's importance.
But a few years later, the most prominent and learned of the Islamic Imam (effectively meaning priests) got a copy of the Torah (in other words, the Old Testament) and they found out something important. The words in the Q'ran and those in the Torah didn't match.
How could this be? If they were both the word of the one true god and delivered by his prophets then how could there be such a discrepancy?The answer was simple. No...not the obvious answer of Mohammed just made shit up...I meant the OTHER obvious answer that was much more convoluted and difficult to establish. The Jews obviously lied and changed the words of YHWH in the Torah with the express intent of misleading the people. I mean, really...how COULD it be anything else?
So there you have it. Apparently, provided that you call yourself a prophet you can create your own religion and declare any prior beliefs to be false regardless of their actual history. So maybe the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has it right.
Incidentally, there's one more fascinating coincidence. When Mohammed stormed Mecca it is claimed that his followers numbered ten-thousand strong. Incidentally, that is the number that most modern census bureaus agree upon as being the minimum number of followers any group must have before they can legally declare themselves to be a religion.