Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Bible Is the Word of God Debate - My Second Rebuttal

Saaib begins his rebuttal by disaffirming much reliance on Bart Ehrman's work on textual criticism, and then continues in the same paragraph to affirm that's precisely what he meant to say. Saaib may be a bit confused by Ehrman's contentions.

Saaib says:
I argued that we have copies which are separated from their sources by centuries, that for me means we don't know what exactly the words of God were

But what is the argument, if not Ehrman's? Saaib hasn't made any other argument really, so his denial makes little sense.

Saaib did not respond to the points I made about how Ehrman's argument, if true, destroys the foundations of any trust in the Qur'an as well as the Bible. What is Saaib's answer to Ehrman?

Saaib says:
The argument was on "canons" not what the content is.

A discussion of canon is precisely that - discussion about content.
Saaib needs to let us know why the fact that certain different religious groups accept different canons of Scripture leads necessarily to a conclusion that we don't know what the Bible should be.
After all, there are those who in the past accepted different versions of the Qur'an. Uthman destroyed the copies made by dissenters. So, since no ubiquitous biblical purge exists in Christian history, that's a black mark against the Bible's reliability? Doesn't that, rather, strengthen the Christian position, since we have wide competition and yet still have soberly-considered and scholarly reasons to accept the canon we do accept? No one person, not even one large organisation, has ever had even close-to-exclusive control over the biblical MSS. This independent dispersion of information into the world allows cross-examination of MSS one of another and precludes the possibility of collusion for altering all MSS copies.

I quoted 2 Peter to refute Saaib's tendentious characterisation of "tickled by Holy Spirit". I'm sorry he forgot what he originally said, but Saaib should remember that this is not merely Peter, but God Himself, speaking.

Saaib thinks that S2:75 refutes my point, but it does not. It says "while a **party of them** used to hear the words of Allah and then distort the Torah".
Yes, exactly, I'm happy to concede that A PARTY distorted the Torah. Where's the specific identification of this group? Why does aya 76 set this group apart from "the men of Faith"?
If a Bukhari hadith explains that this does refer to Christians/Jews, how are we to understand the way the context teaches otherwise? And what of the other ayat I quoted in which Allah says that none can alter his words?
Saaib attempts to say that the words of Allah and the scripture of Ahlul Kitab are two different things, but that's not what the Qur'an says. I cited numerous ayat in my opening statement in which the Qur'anic teaching is that the People of the Book were to check the Qur'an in light of the Taurat and Injeel, that the Qur'an is a confirmation thereof. How can Saaib resolve this contradiction?
His later point about the Qur'an's not confirming LXX or the "Pope Damascus Canon" is quite obscure; I don't see the relevance.
Finally on this point, note the deep and profound faith that one must have to accept the Islamic position here. Saaib appeals to something that "Az-Zuhri said that `Ubadydullah bin `Abdullah narrated that Ibn `Abbas said". And this is better and more reliable than the thousands of biblical MSS to which we have access?

I do not understand Saaib's "argument" regarding the donkey. However, he seems to think that my argument that God does not answer to human criticism is "busted". He did not say how so.

He neither provides sound exegetical reasons to expect not-yet-fulfilled prophecies to be already fulfilled, nor correctly understands those that I explained, nor overturns my contention that we must trust God over "history", but merely asserts my position is wrong.

Saaib provides no alternative for what Jesus might have thought He was quoting when He quoted from and alluded to the OT.

In his 1st statement, Saaib quoted some guy asserting Mohammed is found in the Bible. However, naked assertions from obscure Internet personalities are not necessarily sound arguments. Where is Saaib's exegetical argument?

It's unclear how my argument that no one can change God's words is "busted".

Now, a few items to clean up from his first rebuttal:
-Apparently if Saaib were God, he wouldn't have inspired all 4 Evangelists to mention the donkey on which Jesus rode, but he doesn't tell us why or why that matters.

-Cain got his wife from others of Adam and Eve's children - Genesis 5:4.

-Saaib gives us no evidence that Cain stayed in the city he built after building it.

-Jeremiah 36:30 refers to God's promise to end Jehoiakim's royal line. Jehoiachin sat on the throne three months and Jehoiakim's brother took his place after Jehoiachin was captured.

-I and many others call Jesus "Immanuel". Seems like the prophecy was fulfilled just fine.

-God could easily inspire Moses to write about his own death before it happened. God sees the future as easily as the past and present. Or the passage could have been written by later prophets. Why would we think God could not do that?

-The Torah’s existence is not known historically before King Josiah if you beg the question by preemptively rejecting the veracity of the OT. Yet the OT makes numerous references to OT Israelites consulting the Law, knowing the Law, etc.

-Saaib claims the Torah was burned by Antiochus but doesn't give any evidence.

(Word count: 969)
(Link to comment repository post)