Christianity and Islam-A Divergence: Part Two
Recently I have had the pleasure of debating a young man, via email, on the strength and validity of our respective religions, Christianity and Islam. Over the past few weeks, I have learned not only a lot about Islam, but more about my own faith as well. Beyond pure intellectual strivings though, I consider it a real blessing to have the opportunity to discuss such weighty matters in an arena of respect, interest, and friendliness. It is an honor to engage in discussion with someone and to discover that, despite glaring difference, we can both remain civil in our pursuit of the truth. What follows is my discussion thus far with a young man I will refer to simply as "Aslam," a name which means, appropriately, 'peace,' appropriate in the sense that it is in desperate need in the arena of religious divergence and debate.
Thanks for the reply, and sorry for the delay regarding mine.
I understand perfectly well what point you are trying to make. But you are wrong about the re-interpretation of the Quran. The Quranic words have NEVER been changed. The ONLY aspect that has been changed is the TRANSLATIONS of the actual Quranic words.
Arabic is a semantic language, each words contains many meanings, specially when combined with other words in a sentance. When translating Arabic to English, much semantic depth is lost, since the best representing english word usually only has a single meaning - while the arabic words has a few.
Alaqa ALWAYS meant leach-like substance, sometihng that clings. The Bloodclot translation refers to the blood's ability to 'attach' (form clots). Alaqa has ALWAYS had a few meaning. The possible meanings of Alaqa have NEVER changed semanticly!
The Quran uses the word ALAQA. Therefore, the word Alaqa can be translated as Bloodclot, OR leach-like substance/something which clings, whilst being correctly translated to some degree.
However, an increase in scientific knowlege has shown that the Bloodclot translation is a mistranslation regarding the context of the verse. And therefore the translation fo Alqa in the verse should be changed from "bloodclot" to "leach-like substance" or "something which clings".
This change does NOT affect the Quran in any way, infact it better represents the meaning of the Quran. The Quran remaines unchanged.
The point im trying to get at is, Muslims didn't quickly invent the translation of Alaqa to be Leach-like substance - when they heard that humans are never a blood clot. The translation of "leachlike substance" always existed, and is simply a more accurate and correct translation of the word Alaqa, from Arabic to English..
And the Quran doesn't even hint any similarities between a plant and an embryo, not even in the depth loss which occurs due translation.
Also, i understand you may not find Quranic Embryology to be miraculous, but in the 7th century - it WAS the most accurate theory that existed - by FAR, and it STILL is accurate - with NO conflictions with modern science! Also, you brought up the Nutfah - the Ovum. The Quran NEVER directly mentions the ovum, but the Nutfah stage is quite clearly the fertilzed ovum.
The Nutfah is a drop of mingled fluids. The Quran also says we are created by "the best part" of the semen - this refers to the single sperm cell which penetrates the ovum, and fertilizes it - thus forming the Nutfah.
The Quran's absence of directly mentioning the ovum is NOT an error, and is NOT a confliction with science.
I think we should explore something else haha. The Crusifiction of Jesus Christ sounds like an interesting topic. I'll need to do my research - but it's all good =]. This reply is getting pretty long, so i'd request if you start of the new topic. Also - if the decision isn't final - i'd also like to discus the concept of Trinity - since it also seems a pivotal topic regarding our faiths. Although i really don't mind the what the next topic is.
May peace be with you.
Hope all is well with you. Just to get the proverbial ball rolling, I've given you a link to a debate between Shabir Ally and James White on the crucifixion of Jesus. It's long, but really interesting stuff from two of the most popular apologists in their respective religions. Please watch it, and then give me your feedback.
Oh, and in regards to the Koran, the notion that it has never been changed is just simply not reinforced by history. But first, please allow this quick synopsis:
Mohammed seeks solace in a cave. A spiritual being professing to be an angel physically hurts him, and commands him to read. Mohammed leaves the cave, believing he is demon-possessed. He falls into depression, and considers and attempts suicide. What is imperative for you to understand here, Aslam, is that this scenario is NOTHING like previous revelations or experiences by Old or New Testament prophets. Angels never physically assaulted the prophets. The prophets never thought they were demon-possessed, nor had suicidal thoughts after an experience with such angel.
This experience, quite simply, reeks of demonic activity. Paul warned of false prophets, and warned that if any testimony differed from that of the gospel (Christ's divinity, death and resurrection), it must be denied. If Satan wanted to start a false religion, wouldn't he do it exactly like this? Giving a revelation that denied the very means to salvation as laid out by Jesus Christ? Please, at least, consider this possibility. Now about the Koran, an excerpt from the words of Nabeel Qureshi, a former Muslim:
"Between the time of Mohammed and Uthman was when the Koran was collected. During Mohammed's lifetime itself, there was no collection of the Koran. Shortly after Mohammed's death, there were a series of battles between Muslims and people who wanted to leave Islam now that Mohammed was dead. During those apostate wars, Abu Bakr, the next in charge after Mohammed, sent out warriors who knew the Koran very well, believing that God would preserve their lives. Well, he was wrong, and many of those men died. Abu Bakr became concerned, naturally, regarding the preservation of the Koran, and he called in Zayb Ibn Thabit, a scribe, to collect the Koran into one book. Zayd's response, when given the task of collecting the Koran, was "if you asked me to move a mountain, it would be easier for me." This of course, implies the obvious idea that numerous versions of the Koran were in existence, because, let's face it, writing down the words of one book is not harder than moving a mountain for a professional scribe.
Regardless, he went ahead and collected the book, and put it away. That first book was never copied, never published, and was never sanctioned as the official book of the Koran. Eighteen years later people were citing the Koran, and they approached Uthman and said that they were reciting the Koran differently from one another. Uthman then ordered Zayd and other scribes to come to him, and then ordered Zayd and three other men to revise the Koran and to make copies. After this was completed, Uthman ordered all other manuscripts and copies of the Koran TO BE DESTROYED BY FIRE. All evidence of rival versions was erased.
There are many telling things about this history. Zayd's reaction, the multiple versions, and subsequent destruction, are all symptomatic of a human process and creation. Not a holy book."
Here is the link. Please watch it at your leisure, and take your time. I am in no hurry, so no worries. Take care, and I look forward to your response.
Thank you for the reply. And thanks for the crucifiction debate link. It's just under 3 and a half hours, so i won't watch it right now.. Its the early morning, and i need to be at college in 4 hours. I'll download it now, and watch it later on today - probably before i sleep.
I'd like to reply to your post though. You haven't touched on crucifiction, so i hope you won't mind if i reply before watching the debate.
I am aware about Muhammad's confrontation with "Gabriel the Arch Angel", which took place in a cave, at the Hira mountains. For the sake of argument, i'll consider every word you have said. Although i believe Muhammad never attempted suicide.
Muhammad's confrontation with Gabriel does seem a little strange. Infact i've only researched Islam for a relativelt short amount of time, barely a year, im learning lots of new things - and to tell you the truth, each new thing learned makes Islam seem more beutiful. However when i first heard about Muhammad's 1st interaction with Gabriel in the cave, i was shocked. But there's no way Satan, or an angent of Satan, was involved with the event.
Firstly, when Muhammad ran out of the cave in panic, he SAW Gabriel - a collossal being that filled the sky, from horizon to horizon. Allah cearted Humans out of clay/soil, Allah also created Jinn out of (smokeless)fire, and Angels out of light. Allah created Angels with NO freedom of choice, nor free will. Where as Humans and Jinn both DO have freedom of choice and will. Angels cannot disobey Allah's will, whilst Humans/Jinns can. Satan is a Jinn. Jinn live alongside us, the best way to describe them is that they live in a parralel dimension to us. We cannot see Jinn, however the Jinn can see us, and just like us - there are good Jinn, and bad Jinn - jinn that obey Allah, and jinn that disobey Allah.
The point i'm trying to get at, is: The only way we could see Jinn - is if Allah allowed us to. The only way Muhammad was confronted by Satan - or a worker of Satan, in the cave - was if the Jinn had Allah's permission to be seen and to touch/talk to Muhammad, and Muhammad had Allah's permission to see, feel, and hear the Jinn. Therefore the events of the cave couldn't possibly be from Satan - since the event was completely controlled by Allah, and Allah doesn't decieve people - Allah wouldn't decieve Muhammad into following Satan - absolutely no way.
Allah has complete power over all his creations, be it Humans, Jinn, Angels, or whatever else. There is no way that Muhammad was confronted by Satan in the caves of Hira. The only way that would be possible, is if Allah allowed Satan to do so, but Allah guides us AWAY from Satan, not to him.
Anyway, im well aware that the explanation i gave only stands in the eyes of people who believe in Islam - and maybe a few others who don't.. So i'll aproach this form a different angle....
The teachings of Islam simply don't coincide with the teachings that Satan would offer. Infact - hey apear to be the exact opposite of what Satan would want to following..
I admit, the Quran DOES contains some nasty sounding verses, but they ONLY apear to be non-peaceful through the eyes of someone who hasn't done their research.
There are MANY teachings in Islam - which Satan would never be caught dead preaching to humanity! Such as: [Quran 2:102, 16:90, 24:38, 67:1-2, 18:29, 17:15, 42:25-26, 25:63, 31:18-19, 5:8, 42:40, 41:34-35, 17:23-24, 2:111-112, 10:109, 5:49, 4:110, 8:33, 10:9-10]
Please understand that i could go on. The Quran contains MANY MANY more peaceful and beutiful verses, which could not possibly originate form Satan - who wishes to make all mankind disobeyers of Allah (Our Creator/The God). AND There are MANY truely beutiful things in the Hadith aswell.
The Quran provides us more than whats needed to show that it canot be the word of Satan, since Satan's interests are to distract humanity from it's origins, and lead people astray from pursuing self awareness and a sin free life.
If you have evidence from the Quran itself that suggest the Quran is from Satan, please bring it up.
And about the Quran being changed. I've done a bit of research on this subject, but not enough. I'll do some more later, but for now, ill leave you with this link:
The relevent text in the link, are the 6 paragraphs at the bottom of the page, under the title:
"(IV) Did the collection of Quran throw any doubt upon the authenticity of its text?"
I'll definately watch the debate you linked.
May peace be with you.
Thanks for your reply again. Sorry that debate is so ridiculously long, but it's really interesting stuff, and seems to go by quickly. Anyways I hope you enjoyed it, and hope things are well with you. So...onto my response!
Ok, I apologize, but I am forced to disregard the first portion of your argument due to the fact that it is based upon the nature or God and demons from a solely Koranic perspective. If, as I am asserting, the Koran was a revelation from Satan, then it logically follows that any verses from the Koran in regards to spiritual beings are patently false. The Bible does not hold the same perspective on demonic influence. Unfortunately, demons DO possess the ability to deceive humans. Bear in mind that Satan was once an angel, THE principal angel of all others. He possessed the ability to defy God, and was hence thrown out of heaven, along with one-third of the angels.
Throughout much of the New Testament, we see individuals who are both possessed and influenced by demonic powers. To say that only by God allowing Mohammed to be deceived would he be deceived is at odds with the testimony of scripture. Of course, yes, God being all-powerful, nothing occurs without his permission, but does not God also allow every manner of abhorrent actions, such as murder and rape? Furthermore, if you read in the Old Testament, you will see that some demons have equal or surpassing power than some angels, as in the book of Daniel we read of a demon named "Prince of Persia" who holds an angel against his will until Michael the Arch Angel intervenes. Demons do possess a fair amount of power, and do exercise that power against mankind.
I believe the reason for much of this has to do with the concept of free will. We are free to sin, and we are also free to be deceived. No where in the Bible does it state that Satan can only deceive us with God's permission, but Satan does have limitations imposed upon him by God. (Of course, bear in mind that I hold to other possibilities for Mohammed's revelations, such as mental illness, but can only speculate on this theory)
But it is the next portion of your argument that I am more interested in, but that also relates to my argument. I too, admit that the Koran contains some wise, morally positive statements, but that does not in any way convince me of a lack of demonic influence. Even atheists argue for ethical and moral laws, but that in no way affirms their beliefs or denies the possibility that their entire world view is inspired by Satan. Judging by biblical standards, Satan is the "father of lies," and deceives people by masquerading as an "angel of light."
You see, the suspicion lies in what, exactly, is required for salvation by the standards of Christ, his apostles, and the writers of the New Testament, and what, exactly, is denied by the Koran. The bible makes it clear that good works alone do not gain us salvation, rather the acceptance of Christ as our Lord and Savior. Take a look at this article excerpt from apologist David Wood:
"If Christianity is true, then the following statements are also true:
(1) People can only come to God through Jesus Christ.
(2) Satan is a real spirit being who wants to keep people from God.
With these statements in mind, let's see if we can figure out a little something about Satan. Now, if Satan wants to keep people from God, and if the way to God is through Jesus Christ, what would Satan's highest priority be? His main goal wouldn't be to get people to lead immoral lives (though he would prefer that we do, since this corrupts God's created order); instead, his primary aim would be to incite people to reject Christ, for this rejection is what keeps them separated from God.
But how would Satan convince people to reject Christ? We should note here that there are plenty of people in the world who simply don't care about God. Satan doesn't have to worry about them, because they aren't interested in salvation anyway. Since his goal is to keep as many people from God as possible, we would expect Satan to be more focused on people who are to some extent concerned with religious matters. There are two ways to keep such people from God. Satan would either have to convince them that all "religious talk" is nonsense (i.e. by spreading secularism, which we see around the world) or he would have to offer them a substitute for the truth (i.e. a religion that rejects what is necessary for salvation).
Thus, if Christianity is true, we would expect Satan to inspire religions that reject Christ's sacrificial death and resurrection, even though these religions may be similar to Christianity in other (non-essential) respects."
The problem therefore, lies in the fact that Islam accepts EVERY aspect of Christ's life (virgin birth, miraculous nature) EXCEPT those necessary for salvation (the divinity of Christ, his death upon a cross, and his resurrection from the dead). Surely, you must admit this looks very suspicious to a Christian as myself. The apostle Paul, writing on the subject of deception, has some very clear, and coincidental words on this very subject (which incidentally also show us that demons are capable of appearing and deceiving humans)
"But even if we or an ANGEL FROM HEAVEN should preach a gospel different than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned." Galatians 1:18
This too, comes to mind:
"...false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect.." Matthew 24:24
Isn't it possible then, judging by biblical standards, that Mohammed was deceived by a demon posing as an angel? The Bible states this to be possible, and again, I cannot stress the fact enough that Mohammed believed he was demon-possessed! This should never happen when one has an experience with a divine being. And as I have already stressed, it is at complete odds with the experiences of all previous prophets.
Now, concerning evidence, instead of just theories, the so-called Satanic Verses are of extreme interest. Although I hear some Muslims denying this event, it seems that the evidence is very strong that Mohammed temporarily allowed the polytheists of Mecca permission to worship supplementary goddesses to Allah. He, of course, soon recanted this permission, and claimed he had been deceived by Satan, BUT...Deuteronomy 18:20 is very clear on the seriousness of this:
"A prophet...who speaks in the name of other gods must be put to death."
And this does not include an amendment for accidental deception, as in Mohammed's case. Yet again, this action is at complete odds with what we see of biblical prophets. Why so much discrepancy? And why does Mohammed, unlike ALL of Jesus' followers, have such a limited knowledge of the Holy scriptures passed down before him? Not once can Mohammed quote an accurate passage from either the Old or New Testament, and yet we see the men of the New Testament constantly referring to the O.T. to strengthen their case and to confirm the many prophecies written concerning the Christ.
Ok, it's late, I'm tired, and this is getting long. I look forward to your response, and as always, will pray for your health and happiness. Be well...
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