Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Christian - Muslim Dialogue, part 6

This is part 6 of my critique of a "Christian - Muslim Dialogue by H.M. Baagil:

On page 15
the Muslim says “We believe in all Divine Scriptures, but in their original form.” Then, referring to the Old Testament and Gospels he says, “None of these Scriptures remain in their original form now.”

The skeptic might ask, if Allah did preserved the Qur'an perfectly, why he didn’t preserve the Law, Prophets and Gospels too since they—in their original form, of course—were also sacred to Muslims?

The fact is that what Muhammad says in the Qur’an is often in direct disagreement with what is written in the Old Testament and the Gospels. Either Muhammad was wrong…over and over and over again, OR the Gospels and Old Testament books were all corrupted in exactly those places which disagree with Muhammad.

Muslims, of course are forced to take the latter position. Even though there are thousands of biblical manuscripts, ancient translations and ancient quotations, and not one of them supports Muhammad when he disagrees with the Bible. According to Muslims, every one of those thousands and thousands of manuscripts must have been corrupted in precisely all of the places where Muhammad disagrees!

In 1948 the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered which date back a couple hundred years before the time of Jesus. If the Old Testament had originally supported Muhammad’s views, certainly here were some manuscripts that should demonstrate that—especially since they were hundreds of year older than any of the Hebrew manuscripts in existence and the Dead Sea Scrolls came from a group that opposed the ruling Jews in Jerusalem!

But alas for Muslims, the Dead Sea Scrolls support the message of the Jewish-Christian Bible. They do not support the Muslim mistakes in the Qur'an.

So where do the Muslims get the idea that the Bible’s teaching was corrupted when it supposedly originally agreed with the Qur’an? Can they find even one ancient Greek manuscript of the Gospels which supports Muhammad’s view of Jesus when Muhammad disagrees with the Christian view? For example, can they find even one ancient manuscript or ancient translation of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John that says Jesus was not crucified? No. Not a single one.

Can Muslims find even one ancient Hebrew manuscript that supports Muhammad’s views on the Old Testament when he disagrees with the Jewish-Christian Old Testament? For example, can they find even one ancient Hebrew manuscript saying that God’s covenant was passed down through Ishmael rather than Isaac and Jacob? Again, not a single one.

Let’s press this one step farther. Moses—whom Muhammad recognized as a prophet—clearly taught, not only in Exodus 20:15, Leviticus 19:11 but also in Deuteronomy 5:19—“Thou shalt not steal.” Yet according to Ibn Ishak, Muhammad got rich stealing from the innocent caravans that passed by Medina! So was Muhammad breaking the Law of Moses and the law of God? It would certainly seem so.

Muslims could argue that those wicked Jews and Christians just corrupted the text. Think about this. Is it really reasonable to conclude that every single reference to “Thou shalt not steal” in every single manuscript and every single ancient translation, not only of Exodus , Leviticus and Deuteronomy, but also Jeremiah 7:9; Matthew 6:19-20; 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20, John 10:10, Romans 2:21; 13:9, Ephesians 4:20 and 1 Peter 4:15 which also condemn stealing—was somehow corrupted by Christians and Jews?

This is thousands and thousands of ancient manuscripts! Are we supposed to believe that the evil Jews and Christians managed to corrupt every single one of these manuscripts? Is it really reasonable to think that not one of the alleged original Torah or Gospel readings survived?

Isn’t it much more likely that Muhammad the prophet was either not aware of the biblical commands against stealing, or just ignored the commands in his personal life? Even worse, although Muhammad got rich stealing other people's property, his penalty for other thieves was to cut off their hands (Surah 5:38).