Thursday, 7 January 2010

Reply to Abdullah Kunde on Various Issues

I noticed a number of arguments being brought up by Kunde as a reply to Sunil.

Again as usual when we read Muslim argumentation for Islam or against the Christian faith, we quickly discover the high number of inconsistencies, and I intend to assess some of these here; not because I intend to attack Kunde personally or single him out to expose him publically but rather because these lines of arguments are so frequently used in modern islamic apologetics:

Kunde wrote:

1) Muslims/Qur'an does not attempt to follow earlier revelations or prophets.
a) This is absolutely false. The Qur'an, in multiple instances, asks Christians and Jews to look to what is still contained within their books for guidance towards the Qur'an and Islam.

Hogan replies:

I assume you are referring to the Gospel in Muhammad’s time! But can you then explain what the Gospel was in Muhammad’s time and what did it still contain? Could you please elaborate on this?

In the sixth and seventh century we know that Christians utilized the ‘Four Gospels’, hence based upon your wording here, the book of the Christians or the Gospel would be the ‘Four Gospels’, which Christians commonly referred to as ‘the Gospel’ and which would contained doctrines and narratives such as Jesus’ death and resurrection, which clearly contradict the Qur’an.

But now comes the real puzzle, because later in your replay to Sunil you state that the Gospels are not reliable. I find your view of these matters highly inconsistent; firstly your phrase ‘what is still contained within their books’ and secondly that these books are unreliable, and thirdly that Jews and Christians are still to seek their guidance.

This third claim (that Jews and Christians are to look to what is still contained) is indeed confirmed by the Qur’an:

Say, O people of the book! You are not founded on anything until you PERFORM the TORAH and the GOSPEL, and what was revealed to you from your Lord(Sura 5:68-71)

But you forgot to mention the third faction, the Qur’an encourages even Muslims and Muhammad to believe in and to consult the content of these previous writings:

Be courteous when you argue with People of the Book except with those among them who do evil. Say: “ We believe in that which is revealed to us and which was revealed to you. Our God and your God is one”. (Sura 29:46)

If you Muhammad are in doubt regarding that which we have revealed to thee, ask THOSE who READ the BOOK from BEFORE YOU(Sura 10:94).

“O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and his Messenger, and the SCRIPTURE WHICH HE SENT TO HIS MESSENGER, AND the SCRIPTURE WHICH HE SENT TO THOSE BEFORE (HIM). Any who denieth Allah, His angels, His BOOKS, His messengers, and the day of judgement, hath gone fare astray” (Sura 4:136)

I would assume if the author of the Qur’an believed the Gospel to be corrupted, he would have worded these passages quite differently and have revealed passages that explicitly confirmed the corruption of the Gospel (Injeel), yet such passages are no where to be found in the Qur’an.

The author of the Qur’an was either a deceiver or just plain ignorant!

If as you assume that these previous revelations are no longer reliable, why are the Christians, the Jews and the muslims asked to seek guidance from these books, and if it only refers to specific passages in these books which are devoid of corruption, where does the Qur’an differentiate explicitely between these corrupted passages and the intact passages?

I ask this question in particular since I would assume that this matter would demand explicit reference in the Qur’an, if this indeed was the author’s view.

Kunde continues:

In fact, we see in the Gospels a clear and progressive steering away from the earlier message. In Mark (12:29) we find Jesus saying the greatest commandment is "Hear, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.", yet in the parallel passage in Matthew (23:36) states: "Love God with all your heart, soul and mind." Why? Possibly developing Christian theology?

Hogan replies:

No this is not developing Christian theology, the phrase of Jesus in Matthew 22: 36-37 (not 23: 36) is taken from Deuteronomy 6: 5 which records the phrase of Jesus in Matthew 22 and that of Jesus in Mark 12: 29-30; in fact both phrases are from Deuteronomy 6: 5, which makes it likely that Jesus quoted both of them, but Matthew simply omits the first part. It puzzles me how this is steering away from an earlier message, could you please elaborate on this?

Kunde seems to think that this is Matthew removing the focus of worshipping one God. All I can do is, is to encourage Kunde to read through Matthew, is this really the context of Matthew? Can you elaborate on, based upon the enterity of Matthew’s Gospel that Matthew’s omission of one single phrase reveals that Matthew is attempting to change the theology?

Furthermore, if this was the case then you would have to admit that the Qur’an is also steering away from the previous revelations and a development in theology. The Qur’an indeed claims to be united with the previous revelation, but a comparison of the contents of these writings reveals that the Qur’an is the book that deviates.

Kunde continues:

2)All the disciples/followers of Jesus were also mislead by the fake crucifixion.
a) This is only if you assume the Gospel accounts are accurate, which I do not, and as I argue, it is completely reasonable to question the validity of them (at the very least).

Hogan replies:

Again I find your conclusion highly inconsistent

Firstly, the Gospels are according to the Gospels not revelations they are the transmitted testimony of the eyewitnesses. The disciples are commanded to transmit Jesus sayings (Matthew 28: 20) and the narrative (Luke 24: 45-48) (Acts 1: 8).

Luke 24: 48 and Acts 1: 8 confirms that the disciples were commanded to be witnesses.

In the Gospel of John 15: 26-27 Jesus says:

‘When the Counsellor comes, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning’.

Having been with Jesus from the beginning and be elected was to be a fundamental and authoritative witness, and this was indeed vital as we see from the selection of Matthias to join the category of the twelve (Acts 1: 23-26).

What am I saying here: I am saying that the Gospels are eyewitness testimony of the apostles and their transmission of the Gospel account and the sayings of Jesus, not revelation. Hence the Gospel is a witness of those who were commanded by Jesus to transmit this information.

Indeed the Qur’an seems to confirm this

When Jesus found unbelief on their part, he said: ‘who will be my helpers to (the work of ) Allah?’ Said the disciples: ‘We are Allah’s helpers: we believe in Allah and do you bear witness that we are Muslims. Our Lord! We believe in what you have revealed, and we follow the messenger, then write us down among those who bear witness’ (3: 53-4)

If the disciples of Jesus failed, and they must have if the Gospel suffered the corruption you are proposing, then the Qur’an is conveying a false picture of these followers of Jesus as being superior and victorious and doing the work of Allah:

O you who believe! Be you helpers of Allah: as said Jesus the son of Mary to his disciples, “who will be my helpers (to the work) Allah?” Said the disiciples, “We are Allah’s helpers!” Then a portion of the children of Israel believed, and a portion disbelieved: but we gave power to those who believed, against their enemies, and they became the ones that prevailed (Sura 6: 14)

I will make those who follow you superior to those who reject the faith to the day of resurrection (Sura 3: 55)

Kunde continuous:

3)What Paul did isn't deception.
a)I'm pretty sure I didn't say, "Paul lied", but I did say something along the lines of deception. I was asked a similar question on the night to which I replied: "If it were modern times, would Paul come into a mosque and pray as we pray, etc, in order to present Christianity? Thats what it seems he did.

Hogan replies:

This is exaggerating the matter, I doubt Paul would have recognised any resemblance between Islam and first century Judaism! Paul would not have bowed toward a Gentile city like Mecca and a pagan shrine with a black stone kissed by its followers, I guess Paul would have recognised such practice as paganism. Paul at least realised that parts of Judaism and the religion of Israel was part of the progressive revelation of Yahweh, which Islam is not. This is why Paul and early Christians did not view it problematic to enter the temple or a synagogue; I don’t think they would have been equally sympatetic with a mosque.

Kunde continues:

You do realise that by being a 'Gentile to the Gentiles' that means he possibly worshiped their gods while with them? Do you think God needs to be presented in this way?"

Hogan replies:

You are in fact misrepresenting the passage here, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9: 20-22:

‘To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the Law I became like one under the Law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the Law. To those not having the Law I became like one not having the Law (though I am not free from God’s Law but under the Law of Christ), so as to win those not having the Law’.

It never says Paul became like a Gentile or that he adopted Gentile pagan practice. All the passage points is that Paul did not practice the Mosaic while in the presence of those not having this Law. Yet he emphasises that he is not free from the Law; meaning the Law of Christ, e.g. the Sermon on the Mountain and the Gospel information.

I am amazed how you even read the possibility of pagan worship into this context.

Kunde continues:

If you say 'yes', thats a very interesting belief system.

Hogan replies:

I also find it interesting that the Qur’an refers to the previous revelations as intact despite the rejection of its doctrine; is that misleading or was the author of the Qur’an so human that he failed to consider the content of these previous revelations?

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A response and challenge to those who oppose the Christian faith.