Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Bible Is the Word of God Debate - Saaib's Opening Statement

(Originally found here)

Time for another debate. Many of you might be knowing that I have debated the same topic for more than five times, why a need for another debate. Actually each time I debated on this topic I  used offensive approach, but this time I will be using a defensive one. I would love to see someone doing a good job. Vinod, James, Albel and Bappi left the debate in the middle and Antonio Santana never touched the topic. Its an amazing situation whosoever you debate you get one answer "SAME AGE OLD ARGUMENTS" but no one bothers to answer those arguments. I was expecting some change this time but "Rhoblogy" also used the same sentence in one of his comments on facebook.  When a Christian tells me "bible" is the word of God, believe me I feel like laughing. Not that he cracked a joke but the reason is that they themselves know that it is not. To start with we have a unique way in which the book is revealed, the truth is that I am still to understand how the scripture was revealed. Muhammad (saw) was clear with what he was saying. These are God's words and these are mine and God's words come into my knowledge through Archangel Gabriel and I pass them onto you. This is how Muhammad (saw) would have explained the situation, but what about the Bible authors. They where tickled by holy spirit. They wrote out of their own but Holy Spirit was tickling them to write so and so. Now whose words are they, are they the author's or God's. Luke 3:23 presents an amazing situation. "And Jesus himself was about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, who was the son of Heli," The problem I have with this verse is the phrase in the brackets. Holy Spirit went out of his way to inspire "Luke" to give a father to Jesus who didn't have any father (as is believed). And the translators added AS WAS SUPPOSED to tell us Holy Spirit was going out of his way. There are cases in Quran where we need to add such phrases and the simple explanation is that the Quran is like a dictation very unlike Bible. May be this also is an AGE OLD ARGUMENT but who cares. When we finish with this we are presented with other problem. How does it help us to say that the Bible is the inerrant word of God if in fact we don't have the words that God inerrantly inspired but only the words copied by the scribes—sometimes correctly but sometimes (many times!) incorrectly? What good is it to say that the autographs (i.e., the originals) were inspired? We don't have the originals! We have only error ridden copies, and the vast majority of these are centuries removed from the originals and different from them, evidently, in thousands of ways. (Bart Ehrman -Misquoting Jesus)

"Rhoblogy" has made an "amazing opening statement". "God's word is self affirming", true but when we have them but when we don't have them we can't say "God's" word. God swearing by his creation and God swearing by himself, I don't know what it proves but one thing is for sure if God in bible swore by his creation we Muslims would have to tackle another argument where Christians would say "see how much does God love his creation". Anyways this love is only important when it is shown by biblical god. Does he really show love? No, the truth is that the Old Testament violence is more than what you can find in any book and those Palestinians are there to be killed. Smashing Babies is his favorite (Rhoblogy will tell you the references and the context). Killing entire towns is his second favorite. The Bible presents us with a Horrible God which full of hate who will never swear by his creation, believe me he doesn't love his creation as much Allah (swt) does that Allah (swt) swears by his creation. "....the LORD commanded.  "Fill its courtyards with the bodies of those you kill!  Go!"......" Amazing command which the "loving" biblical God gives.  (Ezekiel 9:5-7 NLT) " Rhoblogy was actually trying to prove to us that the God of Bible and God of Quran are not the same. Anyways there isn't any need for this debate then, the reason is that the Biblical God commands "Rhoblogy" to do something else. Read Deuteronomy 13:13-19. "Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods.  In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully.  If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock.  Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it.  Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God.  That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt.  Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction.  Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you.  He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors.  "The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him.""  So if we follow the "word of god" we are left with 2.2 billion people on earth. Anyways who needs people, let them die. But we do need donkeys in rural areas. Ahem, donkey is so special that it was "Lord God's" personal drive. But not so special when we read 1 Samuel 15:3 which reads, “Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” Forget about the cattle, forget the sheep, forget the camels too but I want to know what the poor donkey has done. This is when you already have applied Deut 13:13-19. Where are the animal right activists. Believe me such a God will be sued if presented before a Qazi in a Shariah court. These donkeys are more than special creatures, not because Jesus chose a donkey to travel into Jerusalem when his mission was drawing towards its end but because Holy Ghost inspired all the Gospel writers to write it down in their Gospels.

“…and they sat him thereon.”(The Donkey) (Matt. 21:7)

 “…and he sat upon him.”(The Donkey) (Mark 11:7)

 “…and they set Jesus thereon.”(The Donkey) (Luke. 19:35)

 “…Jesus…sat thereon:”(The Donkey) (John 12:14)

Could God Almighty have been the author of this incongruous situation – going out of His Way to see that all the Gospel writers did not miss their recording of His “son’s” donkey-ride into the Holy City – and yet “inspiring” them to black out the news about His “son’s” heavenly flight on the wings of angels?

An Argument from Fulfilled Prophecy:

What has prophecy to do with the topic. For each fulfilled prophecy in the Bible I can bring two unfulfilled prophecies and believe me there are tons of them. If prophecy is the test then Nostadamus' book should be the best book to be called the word of God.

As a punishment for killing Abel, God says Cain will be "a fugitive and a vagabond." Yet in just a few verses (Genesis 4:16-17) Cain will settle down, marry, have a son, and build a city. This is not the activity one would expect from a fugitive and a vagabond. (Genisis 4:12). (These verses also tell us that "Cain knew his wife". That is good. But where the hell did he get his wife from).

Jeremiah 36:30 says no one will be able to sit on David's throne after Jehoiakim  but 2 Kings 21:6 it tells us Johiachin sat on the throne. Unfulfilled prophecy.

Ezekiel 26 tells us that Nebuchadrezzar will destroy Tyrus. But history tells us that Alexander destroyed Tyrus.

Isaiah 7:14 according to Christians refers to Jesus, but Jesus was never called Immaneul thus forcing an unfulfilled prophecy.

We often see the Old Testament prophecies getting fulfilled in the Gospels. John Dominic Crossan, a scholar, gives us a simple answer. He says that the Gospels are not history memorized but prophecy historicized, i.e. the NT writers took OT texts and wrote a historical setting whereby they made it seem that Jesus fulfilled prophecy. This can be illustrated by a simple fact. The LXX which the gospel writers tried to historicize reads in Isaiah 9:6, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." At first glance, to the untrained eye, this seems like a miracle of a verse. It is allegedly clearly stating that God will have a son who will also be God. Thus it is for that very reason, that Christendom flocks to this verse to prove the validity of their beliefs. But what does the Hebrew Old Testament actually say? Book of Yeshayahu (Isaiah), Chapter 9, Verse 6: "That the government may be increased, and of peace there be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it through justice and through righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts doth perform this." So where is Isaiah 9:6 of the Greek Septuagint located in the Hebrew Old Testament? Isaiah 9:5, one verse down. It is said that in the Book of Isaiah (Yeshayahu), Chapter 9, Verse 5:

For a child has been born to us, a son given to us, and the authority is upon his shoulder, and the wondrous adviser, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, called his name, "the prince of peace."

 Look at the vast difference.

The Christian Greek Septuagint says that God will have a son who will be called, "wonderful counselor", "mighty God", "everlasting Father" and "prince of peace".

 The Hebrew Masoretic Text says that a child will be born whom God, the wonderful counselor, might God, everlasting Father will call the son, a prince of peace.

An Argument from Jesus:

Argument of Jesus doesn't hold any weight because we don't know what Jesus said. We don't have eye witness accounts. When he confirms the Old Testament it is simply a case of historicizing what never happened. My learned opponent needs to prove to us that the New Testament is inspired then only can we use it to prove the inspiration of the old testament. "Rhoblogy" is just working on a false assumption that the NT is inspired and therefore when it copies from Old Testament it proves that the OT is also inspired. Anyways I would also like to know what exactly was Jesus copying from, The LXX or The Masoretic Text.

Quran on Bible:

Whenever a Muslim tries to debate a Christian the Christian will always appeal to Quran to help his case. What we are discussing is Bible not Quran or Islam. Therefore what Quran says about the Bible doesn't matter to us. But what exactly does the Quran then say.

The Qur’an says:

 “But woe to them who fake the Scriptures and say: "This is from God," so that they might earn some profit thereby; and woe to them for what they fake, and woe to them for what they earn from it!” - Ahmed Ali’s Translation Surah 2, Ayah 79.

We confirm that this refers to Ahlul Kitab from Tafsir ibn Kathir:

“Az-Zuhri said that `Ubadydullah bin `Abdullah narrated that Ibn `Abbas said, "O Muslims! How could you ask the People of the Book about anything, while the Book of Allah (Qur'an) that He revealed to His Prophet is the most recent Book from Him and you still read it fresh and young Allah told you that the People of the Book altered the Book of Allah, changed it and wrote another book with their own hands. They then said, `This book is from Allah,' so that they acquired a small profit by it. Hasn't the knowledge that came to you prohibited you from asking them By Allah! We have not seen any of them asking you about what was revealed to you.'' This Hadith was also collected by Al-Bukhari.”

Though I need not clarify the Islamic position on the topic but I feel like seeing someone win an argument that is why I will like to comment on the biggest paragraph which "Rhoblogy" wrote. He keeps on begging the Quran in his "Option 2 – The External Critique from Islam ".

So, Is the Bible in our hands the same as what Muhammad's contemporaries where having. I don't know which one was it, The Protestant Bible or the Catholic. Bible just refers to a set of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of Bible, as the individual books (Biblical Canon), their contents and their order vary among denominations. Main stream Judaism divided the Tanakh into 24 Books while the Samaritans accept only five. 19 are thrown out. Ba boom. These 24 books are divided into 39 books by the Christian Old Testament, and complete Christian Bibles range from 66 Books of the Protestant canon to 81 books of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Bible. I request my fellow Christians to tell us what actually did Muhammad confirm. Perhaps, "Rhoblogy" thinks that it is his scripture, i.e., the Protestant Bible which Muhammad allegedly confirmed. The Protestant Bible has a rather colourful history. This Bible came into being during the Reformation, nearly 900 years after the advent of Islam. One wonders how the Qur'an or the hadith literature can endorse a Bible that came some 900 years after them. Sounds silly... well it is! The truth is that no one had defined the limits of the Bible until the (Catholic) Council of Trent, 1546. So, even 900 years after the advent of Islam, the Christians were bickering about which books should go into the canon. Eldon J. Epp (a scholar) raises an important point - which manuscript is canonical?

"Finally, to raise the question to its highest level and broadest range, what can "canonical" mean when each of our 5,300 Greek New Testament manuscripts and perhaps 9,000 versional manuscripts, as well as every one now lost, was considered authoritative - and therefore canonical - in worship and instruction in one or more of the thousands upon thousands of individual churches when no two manuscripts are exactly alike? A corollary heightens the force of the question: If no two manuscripts are alike, then no two collections of Gospels or Epistles are alike, and no two canons – no two "New Testaments" – are alike; therefore, are all canonical, or some, or only one? And if some or one, which?"

So, What Did The Bible Look Like In Arabia During The Advent Of Islam? No one can answer this question, and the fact remains that no one has ever. The non-Islamic sources suggest the presence of the Syriac Church (and its various sectarian off-shoots such as Jacobite, Nestorian, Monophysite Churches, etc.) in certain areas of Arabia and that the Church service used to be in Syriac. The Syriac Churches used the Diatessaron, the four-in-one Gospel, introduced by Tatian, and was read in the Syriac. As for the Islamic sources, some interesting snap-shots of the contents of the Christian Bible are also seen in Ibn Hisham's Al-Sirah Al-Nabawiyyah. He mentions some of the beliefs of the Christians who talked to Prophet Muhammad (saw):

"[Those who talked to Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, were Abu Haritha Ibn `Alqama, Al-`Aqib `Abdul-Masih and Al-Ayham al-Sa`id.] They were Christians according to the faith of the king with differences between them; they say: He is Allah, and say: He is Son of Allah, and say: He is the third of three[i.e., part of Trinity] and these are the claims of Christianity. [They use as evidence for their claim that He is Allah the argument that] he used to raise the dead, cure the sick, create from clay bird-like structure then breathe into it to make it a [living] bird. All this was by the leave of Allah, the Praiseworthy the Exalted {to appoint him as a sign for men} (Maryam:21).

They also argue for saying that he is Son of Allah by saying he had no known father and spoke in infancy which is something never done by any human being.They use as evidence for their claim that He is the third of three [i.e., part of Trinity] the argument that Allah says: We did, We commanded, We created and We judged [i.e., by using the plural for Himself], and whereas if He was one, He would say: I did, I judged, I commanded and I created; but it is He, Jesus and Maryam. The Qur'an was revealed addressing all these arguments." (Al-Sirah Al-Nabawiyyah, 1998, Volume II, Dar al-Hadith: Cairo (Egypt), pp. 181-182.)

The miracles of Jesus speaking in infancy and giving life to birds made out of clay are usually dismissed by the missionaries as "apocryphal" but these were perfectly acceptable to Christians in Arabia during the advent of Islam. This only provides us a snap-shot of the kind of "scripture" the Christians were using during the advent of Islam. Moreover, the disagreement of Jews and Christians among themselves about their own scriptures was well-known during the advent of Islam and that also gave an impetus for `Uthman to collect the Qur'an.

Hudhaifa bin al-Yaman came to `Uthman at the time when the people of Sham and the people of Iraq were Waging war to conquer Armenia and Azerbaijan. Hudhaifa was afraid of their (the people of Sham and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur'an, so he said to `Uthman, "O Chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Qur'an) as Jews and the Christians did before."

So what about Surah 2:86 where Allah (swt) says that he gave Moses The Book. Yes he gave Moses the book and we Muslims accept it as an article of fact but we don't have those books.  Was Deut. 34:5-10 also revealed to Moses, "So Moses . . . DIED . . . And he (God Almighty) BURIED HIM (Moses) ... he was 120 years old when he DIED ... And there arose not a prophet SINCE in Israel like unto Moses …" The internal evidence of the first five books of the Bible clearly proves that neither God nor Moses could have been the author. Actually it is a third person narrative. No wonder we find statements like ‘’God said unto Moses’’ and ‘’Moses said unto God’’ not less than 700 times in the bible. Tradition credits Moses as the author of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, but the books are in fact anonymous and look back on Moses as a figure from the distant past. The existence of the Torah, Pentateuch, is not historically known before King Josiah, the son of Amon. The script of the Pentateuch which was found by a priest called Hilkiah 18 years after Josiah`s ascension to throne is not believable solely on the grounds that it was found by a priest Apart from this obvious fact, this book had again disappeared before the invasion of Jerusalem by Nebuchdnezzar Not only the Pentateuch, but also all the books of the Old Testament were destroyed in this historical calamity. History does not evince any evidence of the existence of these books after this invasion. According to the Christians the Pentateuch might have been rewritten by the Prophet Ezra. This book along with its copies were again destroyed and burnt by Antiochus at the time of his invasion of Jerusalem.

What about Surah 2:89, which confirms the previous scriptures? Yes, only because it confirms the previous scriptures do we Muslims believe that there were scriptures revealed to other prophets. It is not that what you have presented to us is what Quran confirms. Same is the case with Surah 2:91, Surah 3:84, Surah 4:136, Surah 5:45.

"The Qur'an also incorrectly asserts in Surah 7:157 that the Bible mentions Mohammed."

No the Quran is correct. This was confirmed by Rabbi Ben Abrahamson, that Muhammad {saw} can indeed be found in their scriptures:

 “An exploration of the Jewish prophecies and expectations concerning the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as "Ish Hammudot", the man greatly valued, beloved, referred to in the book of Daniel. According to some Islamic, as well as Jewish tradition, the original meeting of "Maseeh" and "Madhi" was the meeting of the Jewish Exilarch Salmaan Farsi with the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The close relationship between the descendant of King David and the Prophet (pbuh) or his replacement (Caliph) was a prototype of events that would only reach their consummation at the end of days.” - Rabbi Ben Abrahamson, “The Weeks of Daniel and the Jewish Mahdi”.

(Saaib's Word count: 3499.
My own word count comes out to 3564, but I'm not inclined to quibble.Saaib stopped by to clarify the disparity in word counts. I have no argument.)

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