Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God? (That He is vs. Who He is)

December 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

A_church_and_a_mosque_in_Beirut_Lebanon

From “Do Christians And Muslims Worship The Same God?” by NPR on December 20, 2015, this recent controversy is summarized:

“Larycia Hawkins, a professor at Wheaton College in Illinois, decided to wear a headscarf during the Advent season as a gesture of solidarity with Muslims. In doing so, Hawkins quoted Pope Francis, saying that Christians and Muslims ‘worship the same God.'”

A Christian response in the article:

“‘The question basically comes down to whether one can reject Jesus Christ as the Son and truly know God the Father,’ says Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. ‘And it’s Christ himself who answered that question, most classically in the Gospel of John, and he said that to reject the Son means that one does not know the Father.'” (John 6:46; 14:9; see also 1 John 2:22-23)

A Muslim response in the article:

“One theologian with knowledge of both Christian and Islamic doctrine is Hamza Yusuf, president of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, Calif., the first Muslim liberal arts college in the U.S. Born Mark Hanson, he was raised as a Christian and then converted to Islam. He quotes the Quran as saying that God is immeasurable, so to define God in some particular way is impossible. ‘God is much greater than anything we can imagine,’ Yusuf says. ‘The Muslims have a statement in our theology: Whatever you imagine God to be, God is other than that.‘”

Dr. Mohler’s response has to do with knowing God by identifying Jesus Christ the Son, which Islam denies. Yusuf explains that in Islam, one cannot really have a clear definition of God. And this I think is key to why the answer to the question as posed, “Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?”, has to be no. Christians, Muslims, and all human beings who are made in God’s image have an intuitive awareness of God. We all know He exists. We have an array of world religions because we’ve taken the general revelation of God and sought to define Him in various ways. But there’s a difference between recognizing God’s existence and worshipping Him.

Yusuf’s Muslim interpretation of the Qu’ran is not that God is “greater than” what we can imagine, but that He is “other than” what we imagine. There’s a distinction. We cannot fully comprehend the greatness of God, but the Bible assures us we can know Him (John 17:3). To say “to define God in some particular way is impossible” means knowing God is impossible, therefore worship is impossible. We cannot worship what we can’t know (though some have tried, like the Athenians in Acts 17).

Of course, Yusuf’s agnosticism about God (Allah) brings to light the Qur’an’s self-contradiction. The Qu’ran has 99 names for God, and you can’t name God 99 times without claiming to know perhaps 99 attributes of God. The description of God in the Bible differs greatly from the God of the Qur’an. They’re both Theistic in category, because we all recognize God exists, though some have suppressed this truth as Romans 1 explains. We know this without the Bible or the Qur’an. But in person, character and attributes, “God” is articulated very differently in both.

Miroslav Volf, professor of theology at Yale Divinity School, argues that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, but that “the description of God is partly different.” I would argue that it is fundamentally different. God cannot be both trinitarian and not trinitarian at the same time; God cannot both have a Son and not have a Son; He either sent Jesus to die in our place or He did not. These are basic logical absurdities and therefore cannot be descriptions of the same God.

And as Dr. Mohler explains, Jesus was God in the flesh, and a non-negotiable in the Christian identity of God. The Bible describes a triune God who sought to redeem us from our sins and reveal Himself by sending His Son to offer Himself on our behalf. A God who isn’t this or didn’t do this is not the same God. In 2002, Baptist theologian Timothy George noted, “Apart from the Incarnation and the Trinity, it is possible to know that God is, but not who God is.” (Emphasis George’s)

Another voice from the NPR article:

“Amy Plantinga Pauw, a professor of Christian theology at Louisville Seminary, says Christians can have their own definition of God while still seeing commonality with Muslims and Jews. ‘To say that we worship the same God is not the same as insisting that we have an agreed and shared understanding of God,’ Pauw says.”

Pauw touches on the crux of the debate but perhaps doesn’t see that true worship requires an accurate understanding of God. We can see “commonality” with many belief systems. Christians do share a common general knowledge of God and should share a mutual love and respect for our Muslim neighbors as fellow image-bearers of the Creator, even though we disagree over who He is. This means we can have solidarity where our common interests lie, even where they extend from our unique theologies. But when it comes to worship, something we can’t truly do without knowing the object of our worship, Christians share no altar with Muslims.

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Islam ABC: Aniconism, Blasphemy, and Confusion from the Quran’s Ambiguity

January 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

250px-Charliehebdo

“100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter!” says this French cartoon of Muhammed.

While we recover from the recent Charlie Hebdo shooting by Muslim extremists over pictures of Muhammed considered blasphemous, there’s a lot of talk about what Islam teaches about creating images of Allah or the prophet Muhammed. There are actually two Muslim laws that come to mind here, one that prohibits the creation of images of any person or animal and one made to protect the image of Allah, Muhammad or the Qur’an. Beyond this, there is enough ambiguity in the teachings of Islam that leaves a door wide open to Muslim violence like what we just saw in Paris.

ANICONISM 

Aniconism is the Muslim prohibition of drawing, painting, weaving, carving, etc., of pictures of any sentient (non-plant) life. This is not taught in the Qur’an, but comes form the Hadith, a collection of writings, sayings and deeds of Muhammad compiled a few hundred years after his death. While there is some disagreement over the role of the Hadith among Muslims, it carries high authority in Islam, below the Qur’an, but is often used to interpret the Qur’an, and provides the basis for Sharia Law (Sharia is how is Muslims live out Islamic law in society).

The Hadith states, “The painter of these pictures will be punished on the Day of Resurrection, and it will be said to them, Make alive what you have created.’” (Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, No. 646-647). The exception seems to be the making of dolls for children, most likely because Muhammed married a 7 year old girl who played with dolls. The prohibition of creating (not necessarily owning) images of people and animals is very general with no specific attention to the image of Muhammad, and according the the Hadith it is an offense punished by Allah at the later “Day of Judgment”, unless the creator can bring his artwork to life. Perhaps a puppeteer or videographer might get by with this, but I would guess that stipulation is intended to expose a fraudulent creator as only God can create life.

One interesting thing about this law is that it seems to be followed by only conservative Muslims. Most Muslims have TVs, photos and artwork displaying people or animals in their homes, and Muslim history is loaded with paintings and miniatures, even some depicting Muhammed. The impetus of this law seems to be an interest in avoiding something that could become an idol.

BLASPHEMY

Simply put by the well-known Muslim cleric Anjem Choundry in a recent USA Today article, “the Messenger Muhammad said, ‘Whoever insults a Prophet, kill him.'” The Qur’an states, “Who can be more wicked than one who inventeth a lie against Allah?” (Surah 6:93) and “Lo! those who malign Allah and His messenger, Allah hath cursed them in this world and the Hereafter, and hath prepared for them the doom of the disdained … Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter.” (Surah 33:57,61) The Hadith states: “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Who is willing to kill Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?’ Thereupon Muhammad bin Maslama got up saying, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?’ The Prophet said, ‘Yes’…” (Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, No. 369)

But moderate Muslims tend to disagree with a death-to-blasphemers interpretation of the Qur’an and the Hadith, despite the fact that many Muslim countries have very harsh penalties for insulting a prophet of Islam. Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, the fourth Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, paints a more gracious view in his book Islam’s Response to Contemporary Issues: “Islam goes one step further than any other religion in granting man the freedom of speech and expression. Blasphemy is condemned on moral and ethical grounds, no doubt, but no physical punishment is prescribed for blasphemy in Islam despite the commonly held view in the contemporary world.”

QAMBIGUITY LEADS TO CONFUSION

It is no secret that the Qur’an is a difficult book to read and understand, and it isn’t just a matter of reader presuppositions, but marked ambiguity. It’s literary style is fundamentally confusing. The Qur’an’s mystical, non-linear structure seems to have no beginning, middle, or end, with few breaks or markers to provide historical context. Some maintain that this literary rule-breaking amounts points to an underlying profound complexity that demonstrates its divine origin and amplifies the rewards of intense study. Many Muslims say that to truly understand the Qur’an, you must learn Arabic. One might conclude then that Allah only intended his message to be accepted by those proficient in Arabic. However, here is one testimony of a former Muslim with a university education and proficiency in Arabic who still abandoned Islam after he found the Qur’an to be nonsense.

It’s no wonder that such opposite interpretations (or Tafseer, the Arabic word for exegesis) of the Qur’an exist, i.e. “And kill [disbelievers] wherever you overtake them…”– (Surah 2:191-193). Some say these verses apply today and some say they don’t. The top tier of Muslim scholars known as the Ulama seek to provide Islamic jurisprudence, laying out the law under Sharia. But not all Muslim sects accept Ulama authority and interpretation of the Qur’an.

In any case, the Qur’an’s perplexing structure leaves NO ONE with a clear path to understanding whether these kill-the-unbeliever/blasphemer verses are description of history or prescription of behavior. I think this is a big part of the problem with Islam.

Of course there are varying interpretations of the Bible. But a straightforward reading of, for example, the wars God commanded of Israel against wicked nations in the Old Testament reveals a cultural setting and historical context that doesn’t signal believers to pattern their behavior after this. In the Qur’an, this message is muddled and confusing. And without a clear message, power-hungry or militant-minded followers are free to inject their own.

This botched restoration attempt by a well-intentioned Catholic parishioner of a century old fresco of Jesus may have earned the death penalty under Sharia if it were of Muhammed.

This botched restoration attempt by a well-intentioned Catholic parishioner of a century old fresco of Jesus may have earned the death penalty under Sharia.

Back to Islamic beliefs about Muhammad cartoons and other depictions of the prophet or Allah: Any image of Muhammad or any sentient being is prohibited, but this rule is seldom enforced in Islam, and the judgment belongs to Allah in the hereafter. Insult Muhammed, on the other hand, and under Sharia law it’s blasphemy with penalties that range from fines to beheading. And how do we define blasphemy? Is artwork offensive if it’s drawn poorly, or its meaning misunderstood? Serious or satire, it most certainly will offend someone, so in reality any depiction of Muhammed could be viewed as an insult to him and therefore blasphemy. You just never know.

Obviously the Islamic worldview regarding blasphemy and other out-workings of Sharia law present big problems for global society, and they have throughout the religion’s 1,400 year history. Moderate Muslims who don’t agree that capital punishment fits these crimes, or the crime of refusing to convert to Islam, are not the immediate problem. But the confusion and ambiguity of what relevant Quranic teaching means for Islam’s detractors leads to a lot of violence by many Muslims who do decide these texts call for Jihad. It isn’t a matter of just a few isolated acts by fringe groups, but by some estimates the Charlie Hebdo attack was the 24,823rd Islamic terrorist attack worldwide in the 13.3 years since 9/11. These adherents to the “honor religion” that is Islam feel duty-bound to protect their God from slander or misrepresentation. I don’t know of any other faith, including Christianity, that requires the defense of their God’s honor. (According to Psalm 18, God is OUR defender.)

Christians are required, however, to give a defense of the truth that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and explain the hope He provides (1 Peter 3:15) that Allah does not. But we are to do this “with gentleness and respect”, not the sword. We can’t look to secular governments for the answer. The only thing that will stop the spread of militant Islam is a fundamental change of heart brought forth by the Spirit of God. To be sure, terrorism must be met with physical resistance, but the confusion and irrationality of Islam that fuels it should be met with fervent prayer and faithful witness for Christ, including sound Christian apologetics (Related posts: Three Challenges for Muslims and Sword or Peace? Debating Jesus’ Mission with a Muslim).

Did Jesus Really Claim To Be God?

October 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

It is sometimes the assertion of skeptics that Jesus never actually said He was God. A Muslim issued a similar challenge to offer Biblical evidence of Jesus’ claim to deity and that He ought to be worshipped. Below is dialog from that debate [updated 11.9.12], which may be ongoing.

Muslim:

I challenge you to find anything clear that Jesus is God and that people should worship him in your book for example, i bet you will come up with some twisting and interpolating to come to term with the theology.

Christian:

“For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:18)

“‘Very truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’” (John 8:58)

“‘I and the Father are one.’ Again the Jews picked up stones to stone Him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone Me?’ ‘We are not stoning You for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because You, a mere man, claim to be God’” (John 10:30-33)

“‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’ ‘I am,’ said Jesus. ‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven’” (Mark 14:61–62)

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio

“Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:28)

“Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.”(John 14:9)

Muslim:

““For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:18)”

On the contrary, this verse records that Jesus was saying that God was his father, not that he was himself God , it emphasis Jesus’ authority came from the fact that he was the Son of God (in Islam we read this as his messenger), not God Himself.

The concept of people being “equal” is found in several places in the Bible. For example, when Joseph was ruling Egypt under Pharaoh, Judah said to him, “You are equal to Pharaoh himself” (Gen. 44:18). Jesus was using God’s power and authority on earth, and was thus “equal” to God in the same way Joseph, who was using Pharaoh’s authority and power, was equal to Pharaoh.

““Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58)”

Saying “I am” does not make a person God. The man born blind that Jesus healed was not claiming to be God, and he said “I am the man,” and the Greek reads exactly like Jesus’ statement, i.e., “I am.” Ego eimi. It does not identify Jesus with God, but it does draw attention to him in the strongest possible terms. “I am the one—the one you must look at, and listen to, if you would know God.

Even Paul also used the same phrase of himself when he said that he wished all men were as “I am” (Acts 26:29). Still this did not make Paul, the man born blind or the Messiah into God.

“‘I and the Father are one.’ Again the Jews picked up stones to stone Him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone Me?’ ‘We are not stoning You for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because You, a mere man, claim to be God’” (John 10:30-33)”

The phrase was a common one, and even today if someone used it, people would know exactly what he meant—he and his father are very much alike. What prophet Jesus meant was he and God have “one purpose.” Hw uses the concept of “being one” in other places, and from them one can see that “one purpose” is what is meant. eg John 11:52 says Jesus was to die to make all God’s children “one.”

“‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’ ‘I am,’ said Jesus. ‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven’” (Mark 14:61–62)”

Inded, He is the son of man, He is NOT God, and muslims believe too he was taken up to God rescued from crucifixion when he was leading the armed rebellion

“Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:28)

It is an exclamation by Thomas, muslims do this often, Wallahi, Yaa Allah when shocked or astonished. The context of the verse shows that its subject is the fact that Jesus was alive. Only three verses earlier, Thomas had ignored the eyewitness testimony of the other apostles when they told him they had seen the Lord. The resurrection of Christ was such a disputed doctrine that Thomas did not believe it (the other apostles had not either), and thus Jesus’ death would have caused Thomas to doubt that Jesus was who he said he was—the Messiah. Thomas believed Jesus was dead. Thus, he was shocked and astonished when he saw—and was confronted by— Jesus Himself.

“Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)

This refers to a close communion, a tight fellowship. It was part of the covenant language of the day Christ and his followers. It needs to be understood the same way as in We are “in” Christ, and Christ is “in” us used in John 14:11, John 14:4-7; 17:21,23 and 26).

You see your foundation to prove that Jesus is God is weak. You are resorting on twisting vague and obscure verses in order to substantiate that Jesus is God. on the contrary I can list overwhelming number of VERY CLEAR VERSES about Jesus Christ’s identity and his distinction from God . This is in line with previous monotheism taught by earlier prophets.

Nowhere prophet Jesus said HE IS GOD and ask his follower to worship him. You failed this challenge

Christian:

“[John 5:18] records that Jesus was saying that God was his father, not that he was himself God.”

Actually, it SAYS that this declaration accomplished the task of “making Himself equal with God.” The aim of Judah in Gen. 18:44 was flattery of Joseph. That was not in the picture in John 5. If Jesus claimed God’s authority, it would certainly mean equality in deity. Can any human be “equal with God”?

“Saying “I am” does not make a person God. [John 8:58]”

Jesus wasn’t using “I am” in the traditional sense, or He would have said “Before Abraham was, I was.” At minimum, that would have made Jesus older than Abraham (which is what the ignorant Pharisees understood when Jesus spoke of knowing Abraham (vs. 56,57). The I AM Jesus spoke is the I AM of Exodus 3:14. This enraged the Pharisees so that “they picked up stones to stone Him,” not the typical Jewish response to someone merely claiming to be older than Abraham.

A claim to be God WOULD warrant such a response, as it in fact DOES in John 10:30. Jews would not pick up stones to kill Jesus if all He was claiming was that “he and God have one purpose.” Why would the Jews have a problem with Jesus aligning Himself with the purposes of God? Weren’t the Jews aligning themselves with what they thought was God’s purpose?

And do we really need to look any further than vs. 33 to prove Jesus claimed to be God? We have eye-witness testimony of the Jews: “We are not stoning You for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because You, a mere man, claim to be God’”

“Inded, He is the son of man, He is NOT God [re: Mark 14:61–62]”

The “Son of Man” is a Messianic term for God in the flesh, and Jesus would have no business “sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven’” if He were not equal with God.

“[“My Lord and my God!”] is an exclamation by Thomas, muslims do this often, Wallahi, Yaa Allah when shocked or astonished. … Jesus was dead. Thus, he was shocked and astonished when he saw—and was confronted by— Jesus Himself.”

Don’t Muslims exclaim “Wallahi, Yaa Allah” as a response of worship? That was Thomas’ response in John 20:28 also. “My God” means just what it says: Thomas recognized His risen Savior as God and responded appropriately. Only God could have defeated death. Thomas clearly understood that Jesus was God, and notice Jesus does not correct Him, but instead calls Thomas blessed for seeing the truth.

“Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)… refers to a close communion, a tight fellowship. It was part of the covenant language of the day Christ and his followers. It needs to be understood the same way as in We are “in” Christ…”

It needs to be understood that way on Islam, but that is not what it says. If you said the same thing Jesus says here and in the verses that immediately follow (10,11) with respect to Allah, what type of response would you get?: “Anyone who has seen me has seen [Allah]… How can you say, ‘Show us [Allah]’? Do you not believe that I am in [Allah] and [Allah] is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but [Allah] who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in [Allah] and [Allah] is in me…”. You would be asserting something much more than a close communion or tight fellowship.

In these verses Jesus claims deity as clearly as He needed to, a point that should have been obvious WITHOUT such declaration, since He also made this claim by performing miracles on God’s authority and raising from the dead. He did not plainly say “worship Me”, but after declaring Himself to be God, what would be the point in saying that? It was obvious to everyone that when you encounter God, you should worship Him (Ex. 23:25, Surah 3:64).

Muslim

“Actually, [John 5:18] SAYS that this declaration accomplished the task of ‘making Himself equal with God.'”

You just make an interpolation. God is not being identified as Jesus but as the Father. If Jesus was claiming to be equal with God, the passage says that claiming to be God’s son afforded Jesus equality with God. The Jews quite clearly are understanding that a son has equality with his Father in some sense.

“Jesus wasn’t using ‘I am’ in the traditional sense…”

Again you make an interpolation to associate this term a unique term with the God of the old testament.

In John 9:9 the phrase “I am” is again used by a blind man healed by Jesus. He use the exact same type of language in the third person. So it is quite plain that Jesus was most definitely not implementing a unique language convention to identify himself as Yahweh. This is just John’s vocabulary.

“[re: Mark 14:61–62] The “Son of Man” is a Messianic term for God in the flesh, and Jesus would have no business “sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven’” if He were not equal with God.”

All prophets of God (all of them are son of Man except Adam wich is the first man) are up in the heaven sitting in God throne. Muslims tradition record prophet Muhammad miraculous night journey when he met with previous prophets.

“Don’t Muslims exclaim “Wallahi, Yaa Allah” as a response of worship? That was Thomas’ response in John 20:28 also. “My God” means just what it says: Thomas recognized His risen Savior as God and responded appropriately. Only God could have defeated death. Thomas clearly understood that Jesus was God, and notice Jesus does not correct Him, but instead calls Thomas blessed for seeing the truth.”

Not a good argument.

Both the preceding and following context reveal that Thomas was shocked and Jesus let him to seeing and believing. It is not a sign of worship at all!

“And do we really need to look any further than [John 10:33] to prove Jesus claimed to be God? We have eye-witness testimony of the Jews: “We are not stoning You for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because You, a mere man, claim to be God’”

First when the Jews make a charge of blasphemy and Jesus responds to that charge by quoting from Psalm 82

The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy because you, being a man, make yourself a god.”

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, “I [YAHWEH] said, ‘you are gods’?” If he [YAHWEH] called them gods with whom the word of God came, and Scripture cannot be broken, do you say to the one the Father set apart and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,’ because I said, “I am a son of God’?

Notice how the Jews charge him with blasphemy and Jesus then responds by asking why they charge him with blasphemy for claiming to be the son of God when God calls others “gods.” also.

Jesus objected with the Jewish charge he himself a devout Jew. and taught them that Scriptures show us that God himself called other men “gods.” a title commonly used in the OT as not the same authority as God the Father.

Besides the Jews never ever understood Jesus to be claiming to be God, and therefore their God, is made abundantly clear in the following passage:

In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He trusts in God; Let God save him if he delights in him, for he said, ‘I am a Son of God.’” (Matthew 27:41-43).

Here the Jews clearly have no notion whatsoever that Jesus had claimed to be God.

They do not mock him and say, ‘Save yourself if you are God.’ They rather perceive that for Jesus, God is someone else who would need to save Jesus if indeed Jesus is truly a son of God. ie the man of God , the messenger of God in Islamic terminology.

All you did was trying to in inject your dogma into the passages.

Im thankful to God that I have faith in Islam, the guardian of the monotheism. Im amazed you just resort to some twisting and obscure passages to support your position.

Why is it the single most important element of (present-day) Christianity the fact that Jesus is God descended to earth in the human form to save humanity from sin never stated, clearly and unequivocally?

Christian

Re: John 5:18… “The Jews quite clearly are understanding that a son has equality with his Father in some sense.”

“For this reason they tried all the more to kill him…” The jews tried to kill Jesus because He was claiming “equality with his Father in some sense”? That’s a non-sequiter. They wanted Him dead because He obviously called God His Father in a divine sense.

Re: John 8:58… ”Again you make an interpolation to associate this term a unique term with the God of the old testament. In John 9:9 the phrase “I am” is again used by a blind man healed by Jesus. He use the exact same type of language in the third person. So it is quite plain that Jesus was most definitely not implementing a unique language convention to identify himself as Yahweh. This is just John’s vocabulary.”

And again, “at this, they picked up stones to stone Him” over an issue of vocabulary? Of course not. 🙂

Re: Mark 14:61-62… “All prophets of God (all of them are son of Man except Adam wich is the first man) are up in the heaven sitting in God throne. Muslims tradition record prophet Muhammad miraculous night journey when he met with previous prophets.”

The right hand of the Mighty One is one seat, not many. And besides, before this, “the high priest asked Him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”, to which Jesus responds, “I am.”

Re: John 20:28… “Both the preceding and following context reveal that Thomas was shocked and Jesus let him to seeing and believing. It is not a sign of worship at all!”

So you’re saying Thomas was merely exclaiming something equivalent to “OMG!”, using God’s name in vain (and then being commended for it)? He says “My Lord and my God”… acknowledging Jesus’ authority by “Lord” and His deity by “God”, Thomas’ God (“my”), One worthy of worship. To see Thomas’ statement as merely a reaction of surprise is to assume something the text in no way calls for.

Re: John 10:33… “All you did was trying to in inject your dogma into the passages.”

Rather, you have altered the meaning of John 10:33, 36, and Matt 27:43 by adding the indefinite article “a” to “to be God” and “Son of God”. There’s no article in the Greek and no reason to interpret these clauses as “to be a god” or “a Son of God.” That’s what the JW’s tried to do with John 1:1, the unwarranted “the word was a god” instead of the correct translation, “the word was God.”

Besides, the idea of polytheism would have been pretty foreign to the Jews. In 10:34-36, Jesus was likely arguing from the lesser to the greater. In other words, if it is permissible to call men “gods” because those OT judges were the carriers of the word of God, how much more permissible is it to use the word “God” of him who is the Word of God?

Re: John 14:9… “Why is it the single most important element of (present-day) Christianity the fact that Jesus is God descended to earth in the human form to save humanity from sin never stated, clearly and unequivocally?”

Billions of Christians agree that Christ’s deity has been stated clearly and unequivocally. Without it, you don’t have Christianity. It isn’t clear to you because the teaching of Islam denies Christ’s deity. No doubt you and I have marveled at how hundreds of millions of Atheists can deny the existence of God, despite His obvious revelation in nature (Romans 1). Atheism is a worldview that requires that denial. In Luke 16, there is the rich man in hell who calls out to Abraham, begging him to warn the rich man’s brothers so they could avoid hell. His response was that “if they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'” (v.31) Some people won’t believe no matter what is presented. How much more clarity in Jesus’ claim to deity would you require before you would subvert your ultimate convictions? What we see and how we interpret the evidence is all influenced by our most basic convictions, Christians included. But as I’ve shown, Christianity stands to reason in the analysis of the presuppositions.

Quran: Read the Bible (Debating the Quran’s Reverence of the Torah, Psalms & Gospels)

October 23, 2012 § 2 Comments

This is part of a rather lengthy debate [updated 12.4.12], answering the charge that the ten books of Scripture that Muslims regard as originally true revelation from God are now corrupt in our modern Bibles. I argue that the Qur’an doesn’t record any of the corruption Muslim’s assert, but rather it favors the Torah, Psalms, and the Gospels. This discussion appeared on a Muslim site whose moderator stopped allowing my comments.

Muslim

You have to understand that [the] gospels are a cover up.

Christian

The Qur’an doesn’t speak of the Gospel of Jesus (Injil) as a cover up, but a true revelation from God sent for “guidance and light” (Sura 5:46). Likewise the Torah (Tawret) was sent for guidance and light, and God expects that the Scriptures would be protected and preserved (5:48). The scriptures were “granted inspiration”, and the people who possess them can attest to it (21:7). It’s actually under divine judgment that anyone who will “reject the Book” as the Qur’an warns in 40:70-72. Sura 10:94 bids us to ask those who read the Torah to confirm God’s revelation, and Sura 3:93 names the Torah as the book that “men of truth” study.

I understand that Islam teaches that the Torah, Psalms of David, and the Gospel were true in their original form but have been corrupted, at least where they contradict the Qur’an. My question for you is, when and how were these scriptures corrupted?

The Qur’an was “revealed” between 610 and 632 AD. Since the Qur’an regards these scriptures as true, and “guarded in safety” (5:48), they obviously weren’t corrupted BEFORE the Qur’an was written. The Scriptures could not have been corrupted AFTER the Qur’an either, since by 600 A.D., hundreds of thousands of copies were in circulation in Europe, Asia, Africa in many languages—Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Gothic, Ethiopic, Armenian, and others. The Bible we use now is translated from these early manuscripts, of which we have whole and portions of scripture numbering over 24,000, all of which agree more than 99.5%. How could ALL these manuscripts circulating by 600 A.D. have been CONSISTENTLY altered so they reflect the same corruption that Muslims claim must have occurred?

There simply is no opportunity for the Biblical scriptures to have been corrupted. The Qur’an is correct in its claim that the Bible is the true revelation of God, the same Bible we have today.

Muslim

But the Quran CLEARLY said that the Bible has been corrupted.

“Know they not Allah Knoweth what they conceal and what they reveal? And there are among them illiterates, who know not the Book but (see therein their own) desires, and they do nothing but conjecture. Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say: ‘This is from Allah,’ to traffic with it for a miserable price! Woe to them for what their hands do write, and for the gain they make thereby.”
(The Noble Qur’an, 2:77-79)

Can anything any clearer than that??

Christian

That’s clear? Your answer actually creates more questions and problems with your conclusion. Does it make sense to let this one unclear verse guide the interpretation of the other verses that clearly regard the Torah and Gospels (i.e. 2:121, 5:46-48, 10:94), rather than allowing the many to guide the interpretation of 2:77-79? That’s a backwards approach. If the Torah and Gospels were corrupt, what sort of value would they have for guidance and light, truthfulness, and verification? Wouldn’t the previous revelations had to have been known in order to determine that they had been altered? And, clearly, if “they” are “illiterate” and “know not the Book”, how on earth would they able to alter it anyway?

Muslim commentators on Q 2:75-79 say that it was the Jews who corrupted their own Torah (source) and not Christians and the Gospels, nor would they have been able to alter the Hebrew scriptures that would have been in possession of the Christians (source). In addition to New Testament copies, there would have been many copies of the Hebrew Bible in circulation by this time also, and uniform alterations would not even be remotely possible.

At any rate, 2:77-79 does not say anything about altering text; it says “woe to those who write the Book with their own hands.” It’s apparently speaking of a new book someone tried to pass off as inspired revelation (which Rev. 22:18 warns against).

Muslim

Let me make this one clear for you, as it seems you parroting anti-islam  missionary claims: Do not think that Islam teaches that there once was an original Bible and then the Bible got corrupted. This is not what Islam teaches.

Muslims don’t believe that there was an original book of Philippians or Corinthians etc, which then later on got corrupted. We don’t even believe that these books are divine in the first place.

What muslims believe is that parts of the original revelations sent down to Moses (Torah) and Jesus (Gospel) peace be upon them both still exist in the Bible today. We believe that people came and wrote things from their own and claimed that it was from God. They then went and mixed their own writings with the original revelations (Torah and Gospel) and removed and added to them thats what the Quran speaks about.

This claim of textual corruption is understood by the prophet himself as well as his companions so muslims dont just make up this claim later on as we have some evidences not only from the Qur’an   but also from the Statements of the Prophet Muhammad himself,  from the statements of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad  and from The Statements of The Muslim Scholars.

You can read more in detail here: http://bitly.com/T4y8Uc

The Quran is correct, no credible Biblical scholar today will claim that the collection of wrtings known as the Bible was written or authorized by Jesus himself. They all agree that the Bible was written centuries after the departure of Jesus by unknown writers and they made many mistakes and changed the text.

Christian

“Do not think that Islam teaches that there once was an original Bible and then the Bible got corrupted.”

Well, that’s what YOU said actually: “But the Quran CLEARLY said that the Bible has been corrupted.” I did assume, however, that by “Bible” you meant Torah, the Gospels and David’s Psalms, since that is what the Qur’an speaks of for the most part and regards as truth, guidance and light.

“What muslims believe is that parts of the original revelations sent down to Moses (Torah) and Jesus (Gospel) peace be upon them both still exist in the Bible today. We believe that people came and wrote things from their own and claimed that it was from God. They then went and mixed their own writings with the original revelations (Torah and Gospel) and removed and added to them thats what the Quran speaks about.”

Q 2:77 speaks of “illiterates, who know not the Book” that write this supposedly corrupted book. How do people who can’t read or write, who are ignorant of what they are writing about, write a book? Right off the bat, the passage seems nonsensical.

Secondly, how can “the Book” refer to more than one book, as you say?

Even if we grant that these unidentified illiterates could read and write corrupted versions of the Torah and the Gospels, and that “the Book” can somehow mean multiple books, who do you think “they” were? The source that you copied and pasted much of your argument from, then referred me to, says they were the Jews AND Christians: “Jews and Christians textually corrupted their scriptures.” Obviously the Jews wouldn’t have had either the access to or even the interest in the New testament scriptures, so it would have had to be an effort of both a select group from among the Jews to corrupt the Torah and a select group from among the Christians to corrupt the Gospels. And no doubt that the puritan majority of each group would have fought the effort with everything they had and probably won. Is this really feasible? (And who corrupted the Psalms?)

The incredibly oversimplified statement, “they then went and mixed their own writings with the original revelations (Torah and Gospel) and removed and added to them,” glosses over what kind of undertaking this would be in reality. Whenever this corruption took place, the Jews would have had to replace the “original revelations” of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy and somehow destroy all subsequent copies, or enough subsequent copies, so that the corrupt versions would have been the ones that proliferated. And there is no single point in history where you could access an original of one revelation and not have to destroy numerous circulated copies of another, since these revelations came at different times. Meanwhile, the Christians, not likely in a collaborative effort with the Jews, would have also sought out the “original revelations” of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, which were also penned at different times, and follow the same process, circulating the corrupt Gospels in place of the original versions. Realize that if this was done anywhere close to Muhammad’s time, the entire canonized Bible, including the Hebrew Scriptures and the Gospels, were circulating in 3 continents in at least 6 languages. That would be impossible. If it happened earlier, there is no feasible date to replace “original revelations” since they were all revealed at different times in history. Again, mind you, undertaken by “illiterates.” The whole idea is completely absurd.

Meanwhile, we still have numerous passages in the Qur’an that clearly regard the Torah and the Gospels and the Psalms as inspired, true, guidance and light for you, and so forth. Surah 2:75-77 does not adequately negate these passages.

According to the source you cited, “The greatest source of religious authority in Islam is the glorious Qur’an, the verbatim Word of God.” And regarding the hadith/reported sayings of Muhammad, it says “the Qur’an gives authority to the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him to teach (3:164) and make clear (16:44) the Qur’an to us.” The Qur’an is your utmost authority with credence given to the hadith for supplementing the Qur’an by clarifying and explaining it further. Is that accurate? Given that, how do you reconcile the fact that the hadith teaching that the Torah, Psalms and Gospels were corrupt (Al Baji commentary on Muwatta’ Maalik) stands in direct contradiction with numerous Qur’anic passages that say the opposite? This teaching does not supplement or clarify the Qur’an; it opposes it. Could the revelation from Allah to the Prophet Muhammad really say in the Qur’an to accept the scriptures, but then reports from Muhammad’s contemporaries say that the Prophet understood Allah’s revelation to mean these same scriptures are to be rejected? If the Qur’an is your ultimate authority, sound exegesis would require you to at minimum regard the Torah, Psalms and Gospels as true. Although the Qur’an contradicts its own content by imploring acceptance of the Gospels but then rejecting integral parts of the Gospels, such as the death and resurrection of Jesus. I’m not used to such internal inconsistency.

“no credible Biblical scholar today will claim that the collection of wrtings known as the Bible was written or authorized by Jesus himself. They all agree that the Bible was written centuries after the departure of Jesus by unknown writers and they made many mistakes and changed the text.”

Sorry, this is clearly false. There are many “credible Biblical scholars” today that would reject everything you stated, except that Jesus didn’t write the Gospels. It is the same reputable body of scholars that affirm that the New Testament is by far the best attested document in ancient history.

Respectfully, some advice in exegesis/homiletics: Allow context and the more obvious, consistent and prevalent teaching in a volume inform you on how to interpret the isolated passages that are harder to understand—certainly not the reverse. Also, pay attention to the blade of Occam’s Razor (the Law of Parsimony). You tend to multiply assumptions where common sense should point to the simpler and more obvious answer.

Muslim

Thanks God Im just back home safely from the Hajj pilgrimage.

What Muslims believe is that parts of the original revelations sent down to Moses (Torah) and Jesus (Gospel) peace be upon them both still exist in the Bible today. We believe that people came and wrote things from their own and claimed that it was from God. They then went and mixed their own writings with the original revelations (Torah and Gospel) and removed and added to them thats what the Quran speaks about.”

“Q 2:77 speaks of “illiterates, who know not the Book” that write this supposedly corrupted book. How do people who can’t read or write, who are ignorant of what they are writing about, write a book? Right off the bat, the passage seems nonsensical.”

Where in the passage which say that the illiterates “umiyyun” who actually write the corrupted book? Do you read and understand Arabic of the Quran like I do, or you just copy and paste information from anti Islam hate sites?

Those who deliberately corrupted the scriptures dont necessarily those who write it. In ancient world in the middle east many were illiterates and count in memorization of the scriptures to transmit the knowledge. Far from nonsensical the Quran is correct. Researchers estimate the literacy rate of Roman-era Palestine at only 3 percent and in rural areas, where most residents “would scarcely ever even see a written text,” it might have been as low as 1 percent.

Refering to 2:77 in broader context the book refer to the Torah.

If you can read arabic please refer to the following Exegesis:
– At-tabari vol2, 2001:144-151),
– Al-misbah al-munir fi tahzib tafsir ibn Katsir, 1999:58
– Hadith muslim, 3165

Despite your ramblings the New Testament and the Old Testament was not the original revelation given to Jesus and Moses. It is full of discrepancies, a typical human tampering. it contains untruths or accidental mistakes and lies in today scholarly word would call corruption.

Again the Quran is correct. that people lies and fabricates their own words and says this come from God. There are the composition of entire books by obscure authors who claimed to be the Apostles Peter and Paul and other spiritual celebrities, individuals falsely claiming to be Paul wrote Ephesians, 2 Thessalonians, and the Epistles to Timothy and Titus. The premise that the Apostle Peter wrote the Epistles of Peter or anything else in the Bible. Many more.

You may want to read The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament by Bart D. Ehrman

Bart Erhman is the best bible scholar and academic today, He is poring over each part of the New Testament in its original Koine Greek since he was young and got the educattion from reputable institution. Clearly he know what he is taking about.

” The Qur’an is your utmost authority with credence given to the hadith for supplementing the Qur’an by clarifying and explaining it further. Is that accurate?”

Thats correct.

No muslims see this as a contradiction. The Quran said people came and wrote things from their own and claimed that it was from God. (the elders who distorted it, the scribes then wrote it down) They then went and mixed their own writings with the original revelations (Torah and Gospel) and removed and added to them.

You know as I muslims I still treat the Bible (OT and NT) with Islamic manner of treating a holy book which partly contains original God word ie isnpired (not to place it in dirty place etc.) but the Quran specify in Q 3:3-4: “He sent down to you the Book with truth, confirming what was ‘bayna yadayhi’… [the verse next specifies the ‘previous texts’] …And He sent the Torah and the Injeel before as guidance for the people [the verse next clarifies the role of the Qur’an] And He revealed the Furqan. Indeed, those who disbelieve in the verses of Allah will have a severe punishment…”

‘Furqan’ is derived of the root f-r-q, meaning to separate, divide, differentiate; make a distinction between things; the derivative ‘furqan’ means to be a criterion or a proof. This verse is saying that the Qur’an is the criterion. The Qur’an is designated as al-Furqan not once, but several times (see also 2:185, 25:1). If there is any difficulty in understanding the wonderful expression of the role of the Qur’an in relation to the previous scriptures in like in Q5:48, then Q3:3-4 will assist.

So the Quran acts as a Divine quality control and it only confirms what remains of it in its original form.

Absurd theaching unheard from previous revealation like Jesus are made sacrifice in order to erase people sins…..or to believe that Jesus is God (Did Abraham or any of the prophets before Jesus or even Jesus himself ever mentioned to his followers to worship Jesus?? or Jesus himself claims to be God?? never) are rejected.

The Quran confirms and set the criterion anything what has been taught by all the prophets including Jesus :

– To worship only one God the eternal and everlasting.
– To worship only one God, not God which can die, not 3 Gods in One but only ONE God.

Christian

Ric, glad to see a response, and that you returned safely.

“Where in the passage which say that the illiterates “umiyyun” who actually write the corrupted book?”

The passage that you quoted Oct. 19 says this…

““Know they not Allah Knoweth what they conceal and what they reveal? And there are among them illiterates, who know not the Book but (see therein their own) desires, and they do nothing but conjecture. Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say: ‘This is from Allah,’ to traffic with it for a miserable price! Woe to them for what their hands do write, and for the gain they make thereby.” (The Noble Qur’an, 2:77-79)”

There’s little reason to think that the “illiterates, who know not the book” are not the same ones referred to as “those who write the Book” from a straightforward reading. But are you suggesting that the illiterates who didn’t know the scriptures, hired scribes to write corrupted versions? Who were the masterminds who made sure that the corrupted versions were close enough to the original revelations to be accepted as a substitute? The illiterates who didn’t even know what they said, or the scribes who had no vested interest in the content?

Besides, you still have a basic and unaddressed spacetime problem: There’s no opportune time in which the books of Moses and the Gospels (and presuming the Psalms) could have possibly been collected and replaced with fakes (See my comment dated Oct. 22.)

“So the Quran acts as a Divine quality control and it only confirms what remains of [the Torah/Gospel revelation] in its original form.”

Why was God unable or unwilling to protect and preserve the integrity of His original revelation through Moses and the Apostles, and how do we know that the Quranic revelation has not been corrupted? There is no vast body of ancient copies of the Quran to use for comparison. The opposite is true for the Bible, especially the New Testament.

“Despite your ramblings the New Testament and the Old Testament was not the original revelation given to Jesus and Moses. It is full of discrepancies, a typical human tampering. it contains untruths or accidental mistakes and lies in today scholarly word would call corruption.”

This is a baseless claim. As I’ve said, which can be confirmed, there are tens of thousands of extant manuscripts that stand as evidence for the integrity of the Bible, and the relatively few discrepancies that do exist in the manuscripts are easily reconciled without any change in doctrine or meaning of text. Calling that “ramblings” doesn’t make the evidence go away.

Muslim

“I think I’ve demonstrated that we can’t even know if the Qur’an we have now resembles the original…”

We know that we have the original Quran, why?

-The Quran was memorized during the lifetime of Muhammad (PBUH) and passed down to unbroken chain of memorizers to this generation.

The Quranic memorization is in itself a miracolous fact. People from all age and ethincity and language and every corner of the earth are able to memorize the Quran wholly or partially. I can bring you a kids memorizer who just turn ten and know the Quran by heart in its entirity.
The Holy Qur’an is the only book on earth, which was adopted to be preserved through humans chests and minds and hearts, not just preservation on papers and manuscripts, as God Almighty says:

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ

Behold, it is We Ourselves who have bestowed from on high, step by step, this reminder (Quran)? and, behold, it is We who shall truly guard it [from all corruption]. (Q 15:9)
A western scholar on Islam, John Burton writes:

“The method of transmitting the Qur’an from one generation to the next by having the young memorise the oral recitation of their elders had mitigated somewhat from the beginning the worst perils of relying solelyon written records . . . ” [John Burton, An Introduction to the Hadith, p.27. Edinburgh University Press: 1994]

The Christian Bible on the other hand did not have any such phenomenon and tradition.

You can watch a teaser of HBO Documentary Films covering this miracolous tradition

http://vimeo.com/30779573

-The Quran was written during the lifetime of Muhammad (PBUH).

-The Quran was collected into a complete book during the reign of Abu Bakr, the first caliph of Islam, and the right hand man of Muhammad (PBUH).

-The Quran was collected by the companions of the prophet Muhammad, those who knew, and lived with him during its revelation.

-The Quran was duplicated into official standardized copies for the new Muslim population; this task was ordered by the third caliph of Islam, Uthman, who was also a close companion of the Prophet Muhammad. The very manuscript that Uthman used to copy, was the one which Abu Bakr had collected into an official Quranic book.

All of the above was how the Quran was preserved, and this is all recorded in the Hadith literature.

My challenge fpr you get me a copy of Quran which is different to one another.In any bookstore in this world!

Now as for the Bible:

-The Gospels were written decades after Jesus.

-The Gospels were written by authors who did not know Jesus.

-The Gospels were written by authors who did not meet Jesus.

-The Gospels were written by anonymous authors, we don’t actually know they are, we are left but to guess.

-The actual Gospel manuscripts we do have are not even the originals, rather they are the copy’s of the copy’s of the copy’s of the books that were written decades after Jesus, by unknown authors, who did not know, or meet Jesus!

-It wasn’t until CENTURIES after Jesus that Christians finally established an orthodox cannon of scripture, yet even after this, there were still disputes, and some books were still rejected and accepted.

-Since there was no official Church orthodox cannon for centuries, you had several different Bible cannons for 400 years, different books claiming to be inspired, each Christian sect having their own Bible which they believed in.

-Up to this day we still see this problem or the Bible being revised, verses being expunged or modifed different VERSIONS not TRANSLATIONS, · The King James Version which are popular in the west, is probably the least accurate translation, being based on manuscripts that were inferior copies, The last twelve verses in Mark were not found in the most ancient examples, nor was the last chapter of John and many more…

I have been fortunate enough to travel around Europe, Mid-east and the far east , Im yet find other “version” of the quran which are different to one another.
It is a proof that we dont have corruption in the Quran as God himself has promised to guard it from corruption.

On the another hand I have in my bookshelf at least 4 “versions” of the Bibles which are different to one another.

No other book in the history of mankind has many vesions and has been revised so many times as the Bible.

KJV 1611- KJV 1769-RV- ASV-RSV-NASB-ESV-NKJV- HCSB-NIV-NET-NLT etc. etc..

And there are many controversy surrounding to each editions and revisions.

You Christians are basically “at war” with each other to which edition and revisions are the authentic Gods words some goes by saying they have The ‘older and better’ manuscripts. KJV vs NIV. etc.

“there are tens of thousands of extant manuscripts that stand as evidence for the integrity of the Bible, and the relatively few discrepancies that do exist in the manuscripts are easily reconciled without any change in doctrine or meaning of text.”

This is somewhat misleading as most of these supposedly ”few discrepancies that do exist in the manuscripts are easily reconciled without any change in doctrine or meaning of text” come only centuries later modern study says it is AFTER the 9th century!

Scholars agree we do not have a reliable text of the NT. It is a book which is reconstructed by scholars and is conjecture based. The parts of the originals have been lost partly due to scribal errors/forgeries within the flawed copying system and due to the absence of complete originals in the early manuscript tradition (never mind the autographs!) Scholars do not know whether the originals are within all the manuscripts currently found at all (around 5,700 manuscripts and 1100-1400 variations)

The differences in variations do matter for example the clear teaching of the doctrine of the Trinity is dependent upon which manuscripts you read – Bart Ehrman mentioned the scribal omission of Jesus not knowing the hour – obviously the scribe did this to push the idea of Jesus being God.

Christian

“On what ground you said the illiterates didnt knew what they they said? in fact oral transmission was the basis of knowledge dissemination in the ancient world…”

That is plausible, I’ll grant you that; I had not considered the possible role of oral tradition. In the larger context of the Qur’an, however, there is still a far greater number of passages exhorting readers to regard the writings of Moses and the Gospels without any hint of a warning about corrupted versions.

“Although the Quran did not elaborate but most modern scholar point to Paul as the mastermind who broke away from the Jewish context that prophet Jesus had begun, he then preached to early Jewish-follower of Jesus that Jesus had been a god, and that the way to win eternal salvation in heaven is to worship him as such. Paul here explicitly introduced, for the first time anywhere, the duality of the previously unitary God as in earlier revealation… the doctrine of the Trinity is dependent upon which manuscripts you read”

The Qur’an doesn’t say that and neither do most modern scholars. Paul didn’t introduce the deity of Jesus Christ, Jesus covered that, as well as salvation by faith in Christ alone (John 3:16, 14:6). The doctrine of a truine God didn’t come from Paul either, but it was revealed in Genesis (1:26 “Let Us make man in Our image”; 3:22 “the man has become like on of Us in knowing good and evil”; 11:7 “let Us go down and there confuse their language”), in Isaiah (6:8 “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’”; 48:16 “the Lord God has sent me, and his Spirit”; 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted”) and in the Psalms (2:7 “The Lord said to Me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you’”) Also, in the original Hebrew, Genesis 1:1 uses “Elohim” for “God”, which is the plural form of El or Eloah.

“history records the tortuous conflict Paul had had with this early follower of Jesus, Jesus’s brother James, a conflict which caused Paul, in about the year 50, to perpetrate his coup d’état against James, and to start his own brand of religion: Christianity.”

Eric Zuesse records that actually, as that is straight off of the description for his book Christ’s Ventriloquists. Haven’t read it or about Zuesse’s methodology, but it’s not a common or established view.

“…the modern-day versions of the Gospel of Luke. It contains a staggering 10,000 more words than the same Gospel in the Sinai Bible (the codex sinaiticus). Six of those words say of Jesus “and was carried up into heaven”, but this narrative does not appear in any of the oldest Gospels of Luke available today (“Three Early Doctrinal Modifications of the Text of the Gospels”, F. C. Conybeare, The Hibbert Journal, London, vol. 1, no. 1, Oct 1902, pp. 96-113).”

Even if the longer portions of Luke’s gospel were to prove unauthentic, we still aren’t missing any critical doctrine. Luke’s later volume states that Jesus “was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight” in Acts 1:9-11, and describes “the day when He was taken up from us” (Acts 1:22). John’s gospel talks about the ascension in 3:13, 6:62, 20:17, as do the other apostles: Eph. 4:10, Col. 3:1, 1 Tim. 3:16, Heb. 4:14, 1 Peter 3:22. As far as the resurrection, that isn’t isolated to Luke’s gospel either (Mark 8:31, 9:31, 10:33, 16:6, ! Cor. 15, lots of others). The differences if discounted don’t leave us without anything—certainly not the deity, death or resurrection of Christ—nor do they add any contradictory material. In other words, no corruption.

“Where is in the Quran said that the process of corrupting the original Injil, Tawrah and Zabur was done in a snap at the time of the prophet?? This is an odd argument really.”

I haven’t said that. My argument is that Qur’an says really nothing clear about corruption of the original Injil, Tawrah and Zabur at all, and that there simply is no possibility of the originals to be corrupted all at once or even piecemeal. What other options are there? As you say, the only possibility for corruption would have been later than Muhammad’s time; that isn’t at all tenable, since the uncorrupted documents were already in wide circulation across numerous countries and languages.

“Scholars agree we do not have a reliable text of the NT…”

Sorry, those are liberal scholars (i.e. Ehrman) who probably have already decided what they will find.

Muslim

“ there is still a far greater number of passages exhorting readers to regard the writings of Moses and the Gospels without any hint of a warning about corrupted versions.”

Yes, the Quran nowhere states that the original Taurat, Injeel, Zabur or Suhuf is in fact the modern day Bible on printing today.

On what basis in the Qur’an do Muslims have the right to examine, investigate and question the Bible? we can do this based upon the verses in the Qur’an that tell us to be on our guard.

‘There is among them a section who distort the Book with their tongues: (as they read) you would think it is a part of the Book, but it is no part of the Book; and they say, ‘That is from Allah,’ but it is not from Allah: It is they who tell a lie against Allah…’
(Holy Qur’an 3:78)

This of course is because most people during that time are illiterate any how (be they Jew, Christian, Zoroastrian, Pagan or Muslim). They obviously could not read a book for themselves, but were told to be on their guard because the fact that they were illiterate and couldn’t verify it.

‘But because of their breach of their Covenant, We cursed them, and made their hearts grow hard:They change the words from their (right) places and forget a good part of the Message that was sent…(Holy Qur’an 5:13)

Any truthful reader can see obviously that the Qur’an says that they forget a good portion of what was sent and they changed the words from their places. This can only happen if there is an oral tradition being passed along and some people willfully pervert this oral tradition.

Now you are very mischievous to say that the Qur’an confirms the current what you consider as the writing of Moses and the gospels

Here a passsage we found in Deutoronomy which clearly prove that the “five books of Moses” is not authentically the writing of Moses.

“So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD.
And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.
And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.” (Deuteronomy 34:5-7)

How can Moses write the day he died in 3rd person??

Also the Injeel does not mean the current Gospels. Let us look at the instances and mention of the Injeel in the Qur’an.

Then, in their wake, We followed them up with (others of) Our apostles: We sent after them Jesus the son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Injeel; and We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him Compassion and Mercy. But the Monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them: only the seeking for the Good Pleasure of Allah. but that they did not foster as they should have done. Yet We bestowed, on those among them who believed, their (due) reward, but many of them are rebellious transgressors. (Holy Qur’an 57:27)

We believe that Allah had given Jesus the Injeel (Gospel in singular) but we would repudiate the following attribution to Jesus based upon what the Qur’an says above that ‘the Monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them’.

His disciples said unto Him, “If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.”But He said unto them, “All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs who were so born from their mother’s womb, and there are some eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” (Matthew 19:10-12)

Now it seems Jesus recommending the practice, but Muslims would argue that this is an interpolation put in the mouth of Jesus based upon our belief that the Qur’an states this was not ordered upon people. So the Qur’an disregard the gospel of Matthew statement.

‘Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say:”This is from Allah,” to traffic with it for miserable price!- Woe to them for what their hands do write, and for the gain they make thereby.’ (Holy Qur’an 2:79)

This is the muslim belief that that there are people who are in the habit of writing books and than saying this is from God . It is on this basis that Muslims have the right to be skeptical of what people today call the Old and New testament writings .

“Paul didn’t introduce the deity of Jesus Christ, Jesus covered that, as well as salvation by faith in Christ alone (John 3:16, 14:6). The doctrine of a truine God didn’t come from Paul either, but it was revealed in Genesis… in Isaiah…and in the Psalms… Also, in the original Hebrew, Genesis 1:1 uses “Elohim” for “God”, which is the plural form of El or Eloah.”

Thats not how I see it, Jewish and modern scholars (except a few evangelicals) do think (as Islam does) that Jesus is a mere prophet for the Jewish people:

Professor Graham Stanton’s critically acclaimed book The Gospels and Jesus, Oxford University Press, 2002. writes:

“Jesus certainly did not intend to found a new religion. He did not repudiate Scripture, though on occasion he emphasized some Scriptural principles at the expense of others. With a few rare exceptions he did not call in question the law of Moses. But he did challenge established conventions and priorities. Jesus believed that he had been sent by God as a prophet to declare authoritatively the will of God for his people: acceptance or rejection of him and his message was equivalent to acceptance or rejection of God.’” (Graham Stanton, The Gospels and Jesus pp.269-270, Oxford University Press, 2002)

(Graham Stanton (1940 – 2009) was Lady Margaret’s Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University. Stanton’s special interests were in the Gospels, Paul’s letters, and second century Christian writings.

For the year 1996-97, Stanton was the President of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (Society for New Testament Studies – SNTS), a society of New Testament scholars. For nine years he was Editor of the journal New Testament Studies and of the associated monograph series, and was a General Editor of the International Critical Commentaries.)

Other respected scholars include: E.P. Sanders, Geza Vermes, James D.G.Dunn, John Hick, Maurice Casey and many more.

Of course for me as a Muslim I take the Qur’an as the last revelation given by God to Muslims. So anything that would stand contrary to the teachings in the Qur’an would be something that I would either not comment on or not trust as being authoratative.

“He [Jesus] said: ‘I am indeed a servant of God. He has given me revelation and made me a prophet; (19:30)

‘He [God] will send him as a messenger to the Children of Israel’ (3:49)

So for example as you say if the New Testament says that Jesus is the son of God and the Qur’an says that God does not have a son than I would go with the Qur’an.

I dont deny that some passages in the Gospel somewhat substantiate (although not unequivocally) Jesus “divinity” but since there are also an overwhelming number of very clear verses about Jesus Christ’s identity and his distinction from God.

For Instance Elohim and Adonim, Hebrew words for God, occur in the plural. If this literally meant a plurality of persons, it would be translated “Gods.”

But the Jews, being truly monotheistic and thoroughly familiar with the idioms of their own language, have never understood the use of the plural to indicate a plurality of persons within the one God. This use of the plural is for amplification, and is called a “plural of majesty” or a “plural of emphasis,” and is used for intensification

In Arabic we identify this use of plural of majesty or plural of emphasis, for example when two persons meet each other we greet:

السلام عليكم as-salāmu `alayk*um* (plural)

Instead of السلام عليك as-salāmu `alayk (singular)

“re: history records the tortuous conflict…which caused Paul…to start his own brand of religion: Christianity.” Eric Zuesse records that actually, as that is straight off of the description for his book Christ’s Ventriloquists. Haven’t read it or about Zuesse’s methodology, but it’s not a common or established view.

Spot on. Like Hyam Maccoby and , Dr. Robert Eisenman etc. Zuesse view is not uncommon to the understanding of Paul a pure orthodox corruptor of scripture — the original HEBREW changed when translated to the Greek Matthew by orthodox scribes. Paul made Jesus an eternal savior by preaching him as Lord AFTER HIS DEATH (Romans 10:9-10). There are numerous other alterations hiding other, living, Masters in the New Testament (James for one, hidden in the gospels/Acts as “Judas”), such as John 9:4, with the received “sent me” instead of “sent US” (Codex Sinaiticus) indicating the limited ministry of Jesus.

Im amazed how cant you admit it is a corruption in such a glaring evidences.

What about the most important doctrine trinity? John5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. This verse is undeniable an evidence of doctrinal corruption!

By the way you are deceiving people to say that Jesus ascension is mentioned John’s gospel and others. Where, when, and how did this happen is contradictory in the gospels. While the questioanable Luke 24:50-51 states Jesus ascends outisde, after dinner, and at Bethany and on the same day as the resurrection , Mark 16:14-19 – Jesus ascends while he and his disciples are seated at a table in or near Jerusalem , Matthew 28:16-20 – Jesus’ ascension isn’t mentioned at all, but Matthew ends at a mountain in Galilee and NOTHING about Jesus’ ascension is mentioned in John while in Acts 1:9-12 – Jesus ascends at least 40 days after his resurrection, at Mt. Olivet.

Muslims believe that the Qur’an, the Torah and the Gospel were all wahy. That means revelation that was sent down orally, and than latter was to become text. When the Qur’an is talking about Christians and the Injeel it does not meant: Christians = a calvinist. Injeel= New Testament canon inclusive of 27 books.
These Christians like Bahira and Waraqa had oral traditions go back to prophet Jesus, and/or some writings that differed with more established modern day Christians like Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic

What is this “uncorrupted documents were already in wide circulation”? do you believe all of Jesus sayings, and teachings and actions recorded in the present day New Testament?

If you are honest to urself Christian would say of course not!

Prophet Jesus is reported to have lived for 33 years. Only 3 years of his life is supposedly recorded in the New Testament. Obviously this left allot of very sincere and pious Christians wondering. What he was doing and saying for 30 years?

Keep in mind that the Gospel of John says,

“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (John 21:25)

So according to the Quran, the Torah and the Gospel were all revelation that was sent down orally, and than latter was to become text. The Qur’an does not tell us the contents of those revelations. That is not the objective of the Qur’an.

However, the position of the Muslims is that the wrtieen Torah, the Zabur or the Injeel is what the various Christian and Jewish sects have in their possession today but mixed with other thoughts and writings

The position of the Muslims is also not to say that the the Torah, the Zabur or the Injeel is absolutely corrupted.

The Christians themselves only have a presupposition, a belief in ‘original autographs’. Only by faith they can know with 100% confidence what the Injeel of Jesus was.

The Codex Sinaiticus contains the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Heremes which is not found in today’s New Testament. There are Christian groups that survive until this present day that does not accept Revelation, Jude, James 1st and 2nd Peter as canon.

Christians themselves have always disputed up until this present day what should be Biblical canon.

“Sorry, those are liberal scholars (i.e. Ehrman) who probably have already decided what they will find.”

Sorry you are being emotional. Bart D. Ehrman’s is undeniably an academic with impeccable credentials. His presentation and arguments are firmly rooted in mainstream scholarship.

Bart powerfully defends Jesus Christ historicity against Canadian author and historian, Earl J. Doherty, on the view that Jesus did not exist as an historical figure. Are you going to dismiss Bart Erhman as merely “already decided what they will find”?

Christian

“-The Gospels were written decades after Jesus.
-The Gospels were written by authors who did not know Jesus.
-The Gospels were written by authors who did not meet Jesus.
-The Gospels were written by anonymous authors, we don’t actually know they are, we are left but to guess.”

That the gospels were finally written decades after Christ (50-70 A.D.) is true but insignificant. There is little doubt of Matthew and John’s authorship, and they were Jesus’ disciples. Mark, his gospel being the earliest, was a disciple of Peter, who was Jesus disciple. Luke didn’t know Christ while He was on earth but no doubt knew the other disciples, was a fact junkie, and his account aligns well with the others, forming the Gospel that is “guidance and light and confirmation of the law” (Q 5:46)

“The method of transmitting the Qur’an from one generation to the next by having the young memorise the oral recitation of their elders had mitigated somewhat from the beginning the worst perils of relying solelyon written records . . . ” [John Burton, An Introduction to the Hadith, p.27. Edinburgh University Press: 1994] The Christian Bible on the other hand did not have any such phenomenon and tradition.”

Even though the Qur’an is roughly 1/5 the length of the Bible, it is still impressive that many Muslims have committed it to memory. That should serve as an example of devotion to others. Oral traditions were no doubt a part of the early church’s transmission of the Scriptures as well, but such a “miraculous tradition” doesn’t mean the text is accurate to the original. What drives the uncertainty of the Qur’an is the lack of abundant early manuscripts to verify it, particularly when compared to the Bible. If “God himself has promised to guard it from corruption”, then why do the earliest copies reveal very different readings? The method you offer for the collection by Muhammad’s contemporaries and duplication under the direction of Uthman is speculation.

“My challenge for you get me a copy of Quran which is different to one another.In any bookstore in this world!”

Well, I don’t have the frequent flyer miles for such a task, but I can refer you to such a comparison of two Qu’rans: The Qur’an According to Imam Hafs and The Qur’an According to Imam Warsh. Diacritical differences result in different words and therefore different meanings: (Hafs, 2:58 “we give mercy” vs. Warsh, 2:57 “he gives mercy”); and vowel differences with the same result (Hafs, 2:10 “they lied” vs. Warsh, 2:9 “they were lied to”, also Hafs, 3:146 “And many a prophet fought” vs. Warsh, 3:146 “And many a prophet was killed”, and Hafs, 28:48 “two works of magic” vs. Warsh, 28:48 “two magicians”). In fact, there is a version of the Qur’an that lists the variants from the Ten Accepted Readers, “Making Easy the Readings of What Has Been Sent Down,” Muhammad Fahd Khaaruun, the Collector of the 10 Readings from al-Shaatebeiah and al-Dorraah and al-Taiabah, which lists approximately 4,000 variants, many of which, as shown above, alter the meaning of the passages.

Your comparison of Bible versions and translations don’t reflect these type of differences. There are dozens of different ways to say, for example. “Jesus loved Paul” in Greek. Every language has multiple ways to say the exact same thing. That is the goal of various English translations of the Bible. Granted, there are instances where word choice is not the best and peripheral details are different. That’s not to say a corrupt version of the Bible has never been published. The New World Translation, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses truly does distort God’s word. Many take issue with the RSV/NRSV, the source text for the KJV, and “paraphrases” such as The Message, but fortunately we have such a vast body of manuscript sources that it’s possible to sort out those differences. We can still compare the vast majority of translations to our earliest copies and come out satisfied with the accuracy. Between the Qumram scrolls and the 12 oldest NT papyri alone, we can account for over 85% of the Bible.

“You Christians are basically “at war” with each other to which edition and revisions are the authentic Gods words…”

“War” is a pretty extreme exaggeration on the whole. “Revisions” is not an accurate term either, as the science of textual criticism vindicates the Bible from any claim that it has evolved over time. Genuine debate exists over the “best” translation and minor variations between them, because people care about the truth, but generally not over principal doctrines.

“…the Quran nowhere states that the original Taurat, Injeel, Zabur or Suhuf is in fact the modern day Bible on printing today.”

The Qur’an doesn’t have to state this, perhaps because it nowhere states that these revelations have changed and resulted in a corrupted modern Bible.

“‘There is among them a section who distort the Book with their tongues: (as they read) you would think it is a part of the Book, but it is no part of the Book; and they say, ‘That is from Allah,’ but it is not from Allah: It is they who tell a lie against Allah…’ (Holy Qur’an 3:78)”

This doesn’t say that there is a resulting corrupted Book. There will always be twisted interpretation (the Bible warns of people who do this as well), but this doesn’t show that the Bible we hold and read now is corrupt. The corruption is something “they say”…“with their tongues” not write with a pen. If these people “tell a lie against Allah, and (well) they know it,” that means they also know the truth, which means “the Book” is still a possible source of truth.

“‘But because of their breach of their Covenant, We cursed them, and made their hearts grow hard: They change the words from their (right) places and forget a good part of the Message that was sent… (Holy Qur’an 5:13)”

As in 3:78, it isn’t clear that this verse is talking about “written” words. Also, note that “they change the words from their (right) places” is the same phrase as 4:46, “displace words from their (right) places”, which is a passage that affirms the truthfulness of the Jewish scripture and says that some disobey it (“those who received a portion of the scripture, and how they choose to stray” 4:44, and “they say, ‘We hear, but we disobey’” 4:46). In the Sahih Translation 5:13 reads “they distort words from their [proper] usages,” which is something you’d say if something was misinterpreted. And, observe that this same Surah appeals to Jews and Christians to affirm their own scriptures, presupposing them to be God’s Word (Surah 5:65-69) AFTER 5:13 supposedly warns of the same people corrupting them. Finally, 5:13 has NOT been interpreted as a warning of corrupted scripture historically, according to the Tafsir… http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=776&Itemid=60

“Deuteronomy 34:5-7 … How can Moses write the day he died in 3rd person??”

That’s basically an obituary added by someone else at the very end of the book. A similar ending was added to Joshua (24:29-33). That’s not uncommon, and certainly doesn’t nullify the rest of the book.

“We sent after them Jesus the son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Injeel; and We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him Compassion and Mercy. But the Monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them… Holy Qur’an 57:27”

The Qur’an’s author obviously noticed the corrupt Byzantine form of Christianity practiced by some professing to be Christians in the Arabian peninsula at that time. The mention of monasticism here and saint worship in 17:56 is probably an observation of the beginnings of Roman Catholicism. Here and many other places in the Qur’an, Jesus is referred to as the “son of Mary” (22 times). This phrase appears only once in the Bible, in Mark 6:3, by unnamed town people who only knew of Jesus by his earthly family relationships. Biblical emphasis has always been on Jesus as the Son of God. There are important distinctions between orthodox Christianity and Catholicism. Catholics glorify Mary and the saints far more than the Bible warrants. Between the 5th and 7th centuries, new ideas within Catholicism began to form about Mary, calling her the “Mother of God” and offering her prayers. The Qur’an may have been noting the development of those ideas.

“Matthew 19:10-12… Now it seems Jesus recommending the practice, but Muslims would argue that this is an interpolation put in the mouth of Jesus based upon our belief that the Qur’an states this was not ordered upon people.”

I would actually agree with you on that. Celibacy for church leaders is a requirement according to Catholic doctrine, not in orthodox Christianity. Nowhere does the Bible require it. In this passage Jesus allows celibacy for some, and to a degree He encourages it—but requiring it is definitely an interpolation. 1 Cor. 7:32-34, 1 Tim. 3:1-13, Titus 1:6-9 further present the case that marriage will be good for some but perhaps not the best for others.

Sounds like the corruption you insist occurred is Roman Catholicism?

“… Jewish and modern scholars (except a few evangelicals) do think (as Islam does) that Jesus is a mere prophet… Graham Stanton…was Lady Margaret’s Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University. Stanton’s special interests were in the Gospels, Paul’s letters, and second century Christian writings…was the President of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas. … Bart D. Ehrman’s is undeniably an academic with impeccable credentials… currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.. received his PhD and M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary”

Richard Dawkins is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and was the University of Oxford’s Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 until 2008, and he thinks religion and God are a delusion. Osama bin Laden attended the élite secular Al-Thager Model School and devoted his time to studying the Qur’an, and we all got a taste of his worldview. Being an academic doesn’t make you right. There are plenty of evangelical scholars with advanced degrees and university positions and there are plenty of atheists there too. What matters is what the truth that they claim.

“Bart Erhman is the best bible scholar and academic today… Clearly he know what he is taking about.”

Bart also believes that Jesus died on a cross (The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, p. 197), that Jesus was buried and seen alive afterward (Jesus, Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, p. 229), that “the Gospel of John…goes a long way toward identifying Jesus Himself as divine” (Whose Word Is It? p. 161) and that Paul was a real apostle of Christ who knew Jesus’ disciples and early church leaders (Infidel Guy interview with Bart Ehrman 31:50—35:38). Your appeal to his “impeccable credentials” doesn’t fare well when Ehrman denies some of the principal claims of Islam. Does he still know what he’s talking about?

Others who have refuted Ehrman:
http://www.apologetics315.com/2011/05/bart-ehrmans-new-testament-forgery.html
http://risenjesus.com/articles/52-review-of-forged
http://www.christianpost.com/news/is-the-new-testament-forged-49605/
http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2011/07/book-review-of-bart-d-ehrman’s-forged-writing-in-the-name-of-god-why-the-bible’s-authors-are-not-who-we-think-they-are/

“…as a Muslim I take the Qur’an as the last revelation given by God to Muslims. So anything that would stand contrary to the teachings in the Qur’an would be something that I would either not comment on or not trust as being authoratative.”

This is the conviction that comes by worldview, not by evidence. What then would be the point of further debate?

“… Elohim and Adonim, Hebrew words for God, occur in the plural. If this literally meant a plurality of persons, it would be translated ‘Gods.’ But the Jews, being truly monotheistic and thoroughly familiar with the idioms of their own language, have never understood the use of the plural to indicate a plurality of persons within the one God. This use of the plural is for amplification, and is called a “plural of majesty” or a “plural of emphasis,” and is used for intensification.”

Plurality was never used for emphasis in Hebrew writings; this is actually a recent convention. Tayler Lewis, Emil Rodiger, Claus Westermann, Gerhard Hasel are Bible scholars who maintain that plurality of majesty was completely foreign to early Jewish culture and probably would have been insulting to frame God in such a way. The idea is also inconsistent with other uses of Us and Our in other Jewish scripture (ie. Gen. 3:22, Isaiah 6:8), particularly where the same “Us” is used for the triune God (“let Us go down and confuse their language” Gen. 11:7) and sinful people (“Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens” Gen.11:3) in the same chapter. Even if “plural of majesty” were in use when the Torah were written, there is no clue as to when we should assume its use. At any rate, the Qur’an apparently makes use of plural pronouns for God more often than the Bible does (http://bit.ly/eU9RJm)

The doctrine of the trinity was probably not clear at all to the inspired writers of the Old Testament, until Isaiah, the Psalms and Proverbs, where the specificity of three persons starts to come into view. The Messiah’s arrival as God’s Son further clarified the revelation, and even further when He left the Holy Spirit for believers after His ascension.

“What about the most important doctrine trinity? John5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. This verse is undeniable an evidence of doctrinal corruption!”

Actually, that’s 1st John 5:7, and it’s genuineness is disputed. The thing is, this verse isn’t necessary to uphold the doctrine of the trinity given the greater context of scripture that affirms it. It certainly isn’t a contradiction either. If it’s genuine revelation, then it further affirms it; if it’s a later addition, the trinity is still revealed elsewhere in scripture.

“By the way you are deceiving people to say that Jesus ascension is mentioned John’s gospel and others…”

I didn’t say the ascension is mentioned in John’s gospel.

“Where, when, and how did this happen is contradictory in the gospels. While the questioanable Luke 24:50-51 states Jesus ascends outisde, after dinner, and at Bethany and on the same day as the resurrection , Mark 16:14-19 – Jesus ascends while he and his disciples are seated at a table in or near Jerusalem , Matthew 28:16-20 – Jesus’ ascension isn’t mentioned at all, but Matthew ends at a mountain in Galilee and NOTHING about Jesus’ ascension is mentioned in John while in Acts 1:9-12 – Jesus ascends at least 40 days after his resurrection, at Mt. Olivet”

There is no contradiction between the post-resurrection gospel accounts. Where one writer leaves out details, another supplements with other details; the order of events and framework is all there. This is what you might expect from multiple perspectives of the same thing, as well as travel and time spans between events that aren’t always elaborated. Re: Luke and Acts, Bethany was not only the name of a town but the district of Mount Olivet adjoining the town. The ascension in Mark does not necessarily occur at a dinner table. That’s where Jesus appeared to the disciples. The ascension then occurred “after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them”. The journey to Mount Olivet near Bethany Luke mentions isn’t described in Mark, but that’s no reason to assume the trip didn’t happen. Jesus was no doubt with His disciples in BOTH Galilee and Jerusalem at different times after the resurrection. If Jesus was on earth 40 days after His resurrection, there was certainly enough time to visit all the locations mentioned. John and Matthew may not have described the ascension because their focus perhaps was purposely on the life of Jesus on earth (John doesn’t mention His birth either).

“What is this ‘uncorrupted documents were already in wide circulation’? do you believe all of Jesus sayings, and teachings and actions recorded in the present day New Testament? If you are honest to urself Christian would say of course not!”

That would actually be an un-Christian response to say that some or any of Jesus’ teaching in Scripture is false. This belief is adopted by faith and then affirmed by the evidence. Absent any evidence that God’s original revelation is corrupt, there’s no reason for a Christian to believe that any part of our internally consistent and widely-accepted Bible was somehow replaced from its beginnings based on Muslim interpretation of the Qur’an that doesn’t even seem to be supported by the Qur’an itself. Rather, it proclaims a regard for the Taurat, Injeel and Zabur.

“Prophet Jesus is reported to have lived for 33 years. Only 3 years of his life is supposedly recorded in the New Testament. Obviously this left allot of very sincere and pious Christians wondering. What he was doing and saying for 30 years?”

In Luke 2 Jesus was 12 years old and earning the respect of teachers in the temple courts of Jerusalem, and following that “Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and the people. (vs. 52)” Apparently He had begun a ministry at 12 or 13, but he had disciples for about 3 years when He was 30. “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (John 21:25) It’s certainly possible Jesus had a significant teaching ministry before the Gospel accounts, but that the last 3 years were the culmination and fulfillment of His coming.

“The Christians themselves only have a presupposition, a belief in ‘original autographs’. Only by faith they can know with 100% confidence what the Injeel of Jesus was.”

True, it is always a matter of faith that we can know anything, and the same applies to Muslims and the Qur’an. But the overwhelming agreements of tens of thousands of ancient Biblical manuscripts makes allegations of corruption bordering on absurd. There is very little reason to think that the original autographs and earliest generations of copies we don’t have don’t follow the same pattern of consistency all the way back to their source. And by original autographs I mean the first time these accounts were written down. Regardless of how long oral tradition carried a message, there would still be a first written testament. And there’s no reason to think the message was corrupted during oral transmission, or from oral to written, in which case you need to hold to the idea that individual efforts to change the message occurred in each account, but were coordinated so the message on the whole remained consistent.

“The Codex Sinaiticus contains the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Heremes which is not found in today’s New Testament. There are Christian groups that survive until this present day that does not accept Revelation, Jude, James 1st and 2nd Peter as canon. Christians themselves have always disputed up until this present day what should be Biblical canon.”

Again, there will always be those in any group who disagree over doctrine. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a right way to discern it.

Three Challenges for Muslims

October 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

Of the many challenges for Islam, here are three that I think effectively show the incoherency of the Muslim doctrines of the corruption of Biblical text, of salvation, and of forgiveness.

1. Integrity of the Scriptures

This challenge is similar to one that Paul Bramsen presents in his book One God, One Message (pg. 29-31). The Qur’an speaks of the Gospel of Jesus (Injil) as a true revelation from God sent for “guidance and light” (Sura 5:46), and so was the Torah (Tawret, Sura 5:48). The scriptures were “granted inspiration”, and the people who possess them can attest to it (Sura 21:7). It’s actually eternal judgment that anyone who will “reject the Book” faces as the Qur’an warns in 40:70-72. Also, Sura 10:94 bids us to “ask those who have been reading the Scripture before you” to confirm God’s revelation, and Sura 3:93 names the Torah as the book that “truthful,” or “men of truth,” study.

Islam teaches that the Torah, Psalms of David, and the Gospel were true in their original form but have been corrupted, at least where they contradict the Qur’an. But when and how were these scriptures supposedly corrupted? The Qur’an was “revealed” between 610 and 632 A.D. Since the Qur’an regards the Torah, Psalms and Gospels as true, they obviously weren’t corrupted BEFORE the Qur’an was written. The Scriptures could not have been corrupted AFTER the Qur’an either, since by 600 A.D., hundreds of thousands of copies were in circulation in Europe, Asia, Africa in many languages—Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Gothic, Ethiopic, Armenian, and others. The Bible we use now is translated from these early manuscripts, of which we have whole and portions of scripture numbering over 24,000, all of which agree more than 99.5%. How could ALL these manuscripts circulating by 600 A.D. have been CONSISTENTLY altered so they reflect the same corruption that Muslims claim must have occurred?

There simply is no opportunity for the Biblical scriptures to have been corrupted. The Qur’an is correct in its claim that the Bible is the true revelation of God, the same Bible we have today.

[You can see how this argument works practically in a debate I posted on the topic: Quran:Read the Bible…]

2. Sincere Repentance (Really Sincere)

The Qur’an requires, in addition to righteous deeds, “sincere repentance” for the forgiveness of your sins (Sura 25:72 and 66:8). Ibn Hajar maintains that the most important definitions of sincere repentance (al-tawba al-nasuh) according to al-Qurtubi in his tafsir (exegesis), include “to sin and then never return to it (Umar)”, to hate sin and seek forgiveness for it every time it occurs to one (Hasan al-Basri), “to be genuine and true in one’s repentance (Qatada)” and to have sincerity in one’s repentance, all of which seem to affirm what the Qur’an says.

How do you know your repentance is sincere enough to earn forgiveness? What if we sin and return to it? What if we repent but don’t truly hate the sin? Or we miss a sin? And when we rely on our own sincerity in repentence, how do we repent of the sin of pride that comes from relying on our own sincerity to merit forgiveness, especially when the sincerity of the repentance is what is supposed to grant Allah’s forgiveness? We are then stuck in a never-ending circle of needing to repent of the sin we committed during repentance.

3. Forgive Me Maybe

What’s more, Sura 66:8 says “O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance. Perhaps your Lord will remove from you your misdeeds…”. Allah doesn’t actually promise to forgive, but “perhaps” he will. Sura 2:105 says, “But Allah selects for His mercy whom He wills…”, so he doesn’t promise he will apply his grace fully to all who repent, assuming he wills that you are one whom he will forgive, and further assuming that they meet the undefined standard of “enough” in their level of sincerity.

On the “righteous deeds” that the Qur’an requires in addition to sincere repentance (Sura 2:277, 5:9, 8:29, 25:70,71, 28:67, 42:26, etc.), how do you know your deeds are righteous enough in Allah’s sight? Sura 23:102-103 seems clear: “Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy, they will be successful. But those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls; in hell will they abide…” How “heavy” must our balance of good deeds be? If “Allah will choose for his special mercy whom he will,” how can any Muslim know if his deeds, his adherence to the six pillars, etc. have warranted God’s mercy, even if the good deeds meet the target “weight” required by Allah?

Breakdown

In these ways, Islam is internally inconsistent. The Muslim’s reasons to reject the Bible are unfounded and contrary to the evidence, the Qur’an’s requirements for reconciliation with God are insufficient, and Allah’s capacity to forgive seems hopelessly limited.

Before a holy and righteous God, we are all in trouble. When God sent His Son Jesus to die in our place, it was the only perfect sacrifice that could be made for the sin of ALL mankind. “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7) comes from the hope and promise of God that “by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:8,9) Sinful man will always come up short before a holy and perfect God, but Christ’s payment is enough.

There is no rational basis for rejecting the Gospel of Christ—for Muslims, or anyone of us.

Sword or Peace? Debating Jesus’ Mission with a Muslim

October 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Amidst a larger discussion comparing violence in the Bible to violence in the Qur’an, the following debate emerged centering on Matthew 10:34.

Muslim

Mat 10:34… “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword”

Christians will interpret this verse saying that sword doesn’t actually mean a physical sword, rather it is metaphorical language referring to the tongue, that by the tongue Christians shall spread the truth and crush the lies that have been propagated by satan. Therefore I must ask why don’t Christians leave this interpretation open to the Quran as well? Why do they immediately assume that Surah 9:29 must ONLY refer to physical altercation? If a Christian objects to my claim that Surah 9:29 can also mean fighting unbelievers by the tongue, then it also throws out their own interpretation of Matthew 10:34 which means they no longer have any argument! So it is up to the Christian, if they want to argue honestly, or if they want to argue deceptively using double standards in interpretation

Christian

I don’t see why anyone would take the “sword” in Matt. 10:34 to be “metaphorical language referring to the tongue, that by the tongue Christians shall spread the truth and crush the lies that have been propagated by satan.” It simply doesn’t say that, although it is metaphorical as the context shows. This verse leads into the next five (35-39) that talk about division within families that is sometimes inevitable: “Man against his father, a daughter against her mother.” The Gospel can be divisive and cause a “split”, as a sword does. Any ideology clash can do that. Reaction to the Gospel may come in the form of violent opposition, but that isn’t what is taught here.

Of course, Jesus’ teaching on swordplay is not all metaphorical. He does have something to say about the literal sword that Peter drew in His defense in the face of armed Roman soldiers in Matt. 26:52-53: “Put your sword back in its place…for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”

Muslim

“I did not come to bring peace.” That means what it says: he is not preaching peace. Hence in the parallel passage in Luke (12:49-53) he says: “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! … Thus, the passage pertains to something he wishes to happen, not anything that saddens him or that he wants to stop

we can understand that jesus and satan agree that to make ones house fall one MUST DIVIDE and conquer and jesus says in the FIRST PERSON that he WANTS TO divide and plunder peoples house.

“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two > against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.

(diamerizo), which means divide, distribute, create disunity, and in context, where the word is explicitly contrasted with peace (eirene), and the word epi + accusative (“against”) follows, the meaning is obviously intrafamily war.

“Jesus’ teaching on swordplay is not all metaphorical. He does have something to say about the literal sword that Peter drew in His defense in the face of armed Roman soldiers in Matt. 26:52-53: “Put your sword back in its place…for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?””

first he tells them thAT 2 SWORDS WERE ENOUGH , but when he realised that he and his collegues would get FLOORED by the opposition he changed his mind.

“Do you think I cannot call on My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels”

no you cannot because if you could you wouldn’t have said “2 swords were enough”

“Jesus says to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matt. 5:44)”

Unlike the cowardly christian love cult response of praying for those who persecute you while one’s community is being persecuted and oppressed, muslims are obligated to fight to stop it, not to submit to it.

jesus’ mission was 3 years, and in this 3 years amount in time, not only did the Rabbis and Pharisees try and stone him, they tried to have him executed. Why would they do this if all he was doing was saying “turn the other cheek”? If all he was doing was pleading with them not to revolt from Roman authority? if all he was doing was “pray for those who persecute you”

Christian

“I did not come to bring peace.” That means what it says: he is not preaching peace.”

Jesus communicated a message of peace many too times in scripture for this statement to be His defining position on the subject (Matt. 5:9, 34, Mark 9:50, Luke 1:79, 2:24, 7:50, 8:48, 10:6, 14:32, 19:42, John 14:27, 16:33, 20:19,21,26, Acts 10:36, and more). His statement was obviously about the oft necessary turmoil that comes from one accepting the message of peace while another refuses it. Truth will inevitably divide, as any debate reveals.

“first he tells them thAT 2 SWORDS WERE ENOUGH , but when he realised that he and his collegues would get FLOORED by the opposition he changed his mind.”

I think that the reason for Jesus’ instruction for His disciples to carry 2 swords but no more in Luke 22:36-38 is right there in the same passage: “For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered among the lawless’; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.” (vs.37) Criminals carried swords, and two was the minimum needed to fulfill this prophesy. The disciples were not criminals, but the sword symbolized their status in the eyes of Jewish authorities. Jesus often used physical objects to teach universal truths, but He never taught the use of swords in violence. Clearly, His intent in the Garden of Gethsemane was NOT to resist arrest in any way, as Jesus knew the reason He came was to die for sinners. That’s why Jesus told Peter to put his sword away when things got ugly. There is in fact no record at all of any disciple enacting violence.

“jesus’ mission was 3 years, and in this 3 years amount in time, not only did the Rabbis and Pharisees try and stone him, they tried to have him executed. Why would they do this if all he was doing was saying “turn the other cheek”? If all he was doing was pleading with them not to revolt from Roman authority? if all he was doing was “pray for those who persecute you””

That isn’t all He was doing. Jesus was preaching something much more upsetting than a message of peace. He taught that the Law the Jewish authorities held to was not enough to earn a presence with a holy God. He showed them that they were sinners. He was the Son of God, and they also considered this blasphemy. As I said, the truth can cause division.

Muslim

“I think that the reason for Jesus’ instruction for His disciples to carry 2 swords in but no more in Luke 22:36-38 is right there in the same passage:”

i think he said 2 were enough because he thought only a few were going to arrest him

“For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered among the lawless’; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.”

jesus used a whip in the temple and before he was murdered on the cross he was whipped. those who live by the whip shall get whipped before they die. jesus was numbered among the lawless because he commanded physical violence against the people who came to arrest him. you don’t request swords and carry them with you for no reason.they carried swords just to SELF FULLFILL a claim in the ot?

“That’s why Jesus told Peter to put his sword away when things got ugly. There is in fact no record at all of any disciple enacting violence.”

we don’t find jesus SAYING anything about putting SWORDS away in marks version and neither do we see a healing of the ear in marks version. what is worse is that matthew doesn’t even include the healing of the ear. the gospel writers are simply covering jesus’ VIOLENT acts . no one requests the purchase of swords if they were not going to be used. just for SELF FULFILing “prophecy” you ask to buy swords?

jesus and SATAN agree that to DIVIDE and make a house FALL , you first cause problems between family members. this is exactly what jesus’ message of division and fire intented to do.

Christian

“i think [Jesus] said 2 [swords] were enough because he thought only a few were going to arrest him”

A Jesus who knew He would be arrested in the garden that night but didn’t know how many would show up? An omniscient God who didn’t know the future is not the Jesus the Bible describes.

“they carried swords just to SELF FULLFILL a claim in the ot?”

Yes. Jesus fulfilled around 300 Old Testament prophesies.

“we don’t find jesus SAYING anything about putting SWORDS away in marks version and neither do we see a healing of the ear in marks version.”

Absence of details in one account doesn’t qualify as a contradiction or a false claim. If one account said that it was Mark who drew the sword, or that Peter wasn’t present in the garden, or the arrest took place in Capernaum, you might have something.

“jesus and SATAN agree that to DIVIDE and make a house FALL , you first cause problems between family members.”

Jesus and Satan agreed on a lot of things: that God is real, the Bible is true, that Jesus was Lord, that the cross would be Satan’s defeat, that Satan is destined for hell, that bread fills the stomach, that gravity works, that the sky is blue… When a person follows Christ and his family refuses to, inevitably there is division. You can’t shine a light without creating shadows; it’s a logically necessary state of affairs.

“he didn’t say his message was a message of peace”

Actually, the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) came “to guide our feet into the way of Peace.” (Luke 1:79) In fact, “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.” (Eph. 2:17)

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