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Nur_Ilahi
 
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Quote Nur_Ilahi Replybullet Posted: 08 March 2009 at 7:15am
Originally posted by Apollos

 

I illustrate: Would you not agree that if God consists of three persons and if one of these persons became incarnate, it would be correct for that incarnated being to be both man and God? Would it not be correct for that being to pray to another person of the Godhead and call Him, my God?  I understand you don’t accept the plural personhood of God or the possibility that God could become incarnated but if you grant that notion as the backdrop for the Bible, I don’t think the example you present is a real contradiction – is it?

 

Apollos

 
We do have a Three in One in ourselves.
 
The Pure Spirit/Soul, The Ego and Satan.
 
The Pure Spirit belongs to God Almighty. The Ego and Satan will try their best to lead us astray from the True Path. Only our 'Aql or intellect (knowledge) will assist us to manage the Ego or suppress it. Once the Ego is able to be tamed, Insha Allah, God Willing, the Pure Spirit will find its way to God while Satan will just stand by frustrated.
Ilahi Anta Maksudi, Wa Redhaka Mathlubi - Oh Allah, You are my destination, Your Pleasure is my Intention.
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Quote believer Replybullet Posted: 08 March 2009 at 8:17am
I like that Nur.
 
It is GOD that manifests in to 3 persons.  Man has no control over it.
 
There is also body, mind and soul.
John 3
16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
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Quote Mansoor_ali Replybullet Posted: 09 March 2009 at 3:09pm
Originally posted by Apollos

Several here have posted comments about questionable verses in the Gospel of Mark. I think it may be more practical to address these objections in one combined post here. If you think I have missed something important in doing this please let me know and I will respond accordingly.

 

When followers of Jesus say we believe in Biblical inerrancy we refer to the inerrancy of the original writings that God has inspired to be written. We do not mean that every translation or copy of that original is inerrant. The related subject of Bible reliability and trustworthiness relates to the copies of the originals that we have and the confidence we have that they communicate what the original Scriptures did. Based on the consistency and agreement of thousands of manuscripts, and quotations from other sources, the accuracy of these copies is 99.7% accurate. This means that there are a handful of verses or words that do not have complete agreement and consistency and these variations cast doubt on .3% of the total content. While it may be technically correct to label these variations “corruptions”, it is misleading to use this label in a wholesale way. Here are some of the reasons why this is so:

 

  1. No other ancient writing including the Quran has a greater consistency and agreement in the existing written copies. If one wants to contend that 100% accuracy and consistency is the only acceptable standard for copies of a non-corrupted writing, then all Scriptures are invalidated as no such writing exists on the face of the earth. 
  2. The variations in some of the versions do not effect any essential doctrines. This is because the Bible is designed in such a way that no one section or book contains all of the information on a given topic and almost everything is repeated from slightly different perspectives. For example, there is no one book on Salvation, or Heaven or God’s nature. (Isaiah 28:13  - But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.) It appears that God foresaw the possibility of intentional corrupting and ensured this could not happen by using different authors, different eras, different languages, etc. – all saying the same thing.
  3. To say that variations like these are the same as wholesale Bible corruption is naïve and misleading. For example, the Quran has variations in some of its copies. (If you don’t agree with this statement, let me know and I will substantiate). Even if it didn’t have variant versions already, someone could create a variant version today. They could re-create everything except one letter or one word or a hundred words and call this a version of the Quran. Would the mere existence of this corrupted version invalidate the correct copies? Of course not. Because there are so many copies of the correct Quran that you would know when the corrupted version popped up. The only way that such a corrupted copy would matter is if it was accepted as the correct copy and lead people astray from what the correct copies taught. The same goes for the Bible and this is not happening. The fact that Bible commentators publish caveats next to these passages demonstrates that there is no deception or confusion going on.
  4. The reason we notice variations in certain versions of the Bible is because we have all the variations in hand. This means that one of them is undoubtedly the correct version. Even if humans couldn’t ascertain which version is the correct one, we have to admit that nothing has evaporated. We just have less confidence in a very few areas of the overall collection.
  5. By way of the intricate and supernatural word and letter patterns, we are able to detect if a passage has been changed.
  6. The small amount of variations we can find do not represent the tip of an iceberg that is lurking below the surface. They are the full extent of the problems. Far from supporting the theory that a massive corruption of the Bible has occurred, these minor variations argue for an incredibly reliable and consistent evidence of manuscripts and the original they derive from.
  7. The type of Bible corruption Muslims claim has to be a massive one that has deceived people from what the original Bible taught. These minor variations do nothing of the sort.

Apollos



 To Apollos

 Topic: The Anonymous Four Gospels  Anonymous, Modified, Changed, Altered and Edited

Many avid Christians both professional and lay would have it that the books of the Bible and the four Canonical Gospels namely, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are totally infallible and inerrant containing no errors or mistakes of any kind. This is naturally quite a fundamental position to take should one intend to believe in Christianity as the truth which offers the only way to salvation since questioning the validity of the texts that make up the primary sources of the religion may undermine the credibility of the message therein. Nevertheless, there are honest and candid Christians out there who have meticulously studied the 5000 or so manuscripts that make up the New Testament ready and willing to concede that it is beyond the realm of foolhardiness to claim that the books of the New Testament have never been changed. Indeed, to make such a claim is to commit intellectual suicide in the world of academia. In this article we shall explore the degree of reliability of the four Canonical Gospels.

  When it comes to the New Testament no one will question the primacy of the words attributed to Jesus above all else. That is to say the “words of Jesus” are of greatest import. We read in Matthew 7:24,

“Every one therefore which heareth these words of mine, and doeth them, shall be likened unto a wise man, which built his house upon the rock:”

  For example, in the Red-Lettered version of the KJV we have the “words” of Jesus highlighted in red. Unfortunately, however, these words are not as reliable as some might want to make them out to be. They are filled with ambiguity, mystery, contradictions, discrepencies and numerous other problems. For starters we have no contemporary record about Jesus or by Jesus. We find the following admission most telling,

“However desirable it might be to have available records of Jesus’ words and deeds that were made during his lifeimte, we must acknowledge that we have none.” [1] (emphasis added)

No doubt the main source of information about Jesus are extracted from the four Gospels. Objective and unbiased scholars have deemed the texts to be subjective and are not honest to detail. We read the following testimony,

“The primary sources of our knowledge of Jesus, therefore, are the gospels: the Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But as the title “gospel” (good news), implies, and as the opening word of Mark makes explicit, they are not objective reports but propaganda.” [2] (emphasis added)

“Since Mark is the shortest of the three synoptic gospels, it has sometimes been assumed that it is an abbreviation of Matthew. Careful comparison among the synoptic Gospels(Matthew, Mark, and Luke) shows, however, that both Matthew and Luke presuppose the contents and the order of Mark, though each of the other writers modifies Mark in order to fulfill hiw own special aims… Passages in Mark that the church later found difficult are either omitted or basically modified.” [3] (emphasis added)

  An example for the above assertion is given from Mark 6:5 whereby we find that Jesus was not able to do many miracles due to people’s unbelief. Luke totally changes and edits the story and moved it to Luke 4:16-30 and deleted the piece about Jesus’ inability along with Matthew in Matthew 13:58.

  In the previous article The Oldest Text of the New Testament we saw that Christian missionaries/apologists may claim that the primary sources for Islam are untrustworthy due to the fact that they were compiled over 200 years after the fact i.e. the hadith. Of course this claim is baseless. We know very well that Imam Bukhari was not the first compiler of hadith. For example, we have the famous Muwatta’ of Imam Malik, the hadith compilations of Imam Al-Shafi’e, Imam ibn Hanbal and Imam Abu Hanifah etc. all of which predate Sahih Bukhari. Nonetheless, I find it amazing that Christian apologists have the gaul to debase Islam on that basis when it is the exact problem which their religion suffers from. Today, we know for a fact that there are no manuscript evidence for any of the Synoptic Gospels from the 1st or second century that may be deemed reliable. The scholar Helmut Koester readily admits this,

“Since there is no second-century manuscript evidence; the quest for the text of the Synoptic Gospels in the second century is identical with the question of the earliest usage of their text in other writings.”[4](emphasis added)

  When studying the Gospels and writings concerning them it is difficult to miss dates that are attributed to the Gospels by certain Christian writers. For example, one may commonly come across claims that the Gospel of Mark was written in 70 A.D. You will be able to notice that usually when such claims are made not a shred of evidence is offered as substantiation. In reality, there is just no proof for such dates and they are really made on the basis of nothing short of guess work and conjecture as Dr. Neil S. Fujita testifies,

“Scholars usually assume it to have been written shortly after A.D. 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans.”

The Christian predicament is compounded further by the fact that these four gospels are absolutely anonymous! Can you imagine your sibling bringing to court an anonymous document which states that he is to inherit more than half the family estate which posthumously came into existence after the death of your parent and the court takes the anonymous will and gives him the said inheritance? No, any reasonable man will eschew such a notion since no court of law in the world will consider such a faulty document that is untraceable to the alleged source as legitimate. This is precisely what we stumble upon when dealing with the Gospels.

 Diocesan Priest and professor of Biblical Theology and chairman of the department of theology at Barry University, Miami, John F. O’Grady says about Mark,

“The Gospel itself never states anything about its author, its origin, or the time of composition.” [5]

He continues later under the heading “Anonymous Evangelists“,

“Who wrote Mark? First, recall that nowhere does the author identify himself. The same is true for all the Gospels. Matthew does not identify himself, nor does Luke, and in the Gospel of John the author seems to identify himself with the beloved disciple, but this cannot be equated with the apostle John(Jn. 21:24).

In the past we have assumed that the authors were male - with emphasis on the word “assumed“.[6] (emphasis added)

The Gospels have been traditionally attributed to the respective names. For instance, Ignatius and Origen thought that the author of Matthew was indeed Matthew, one of the chosen 12 disciples of Jesus. Papias and Iranaeus thought that the author of John was John Mark etc. It would appear today that these early major Church fathers were mistaken in their belief. I wonder where the Holy Spirit was then? Does it not mention that “He will guide you into ALL truth”? Let us now carefully consider the words of Dr. Neil S. Fujita concerning the Gospels,

“Traditionally the writer of the Second Gospel has been identified with John Mark… This identification, however, is uncertain; there exists no evidence in the New Testament which bears out this assertion. For the sake of convenience, we call the author of this Gospel Mark.” [7] (emphasis added)

It is merely out of CONVENIENCE that the Gospel is called Mark instead of saying for example the second book of the New Testament, Chapter 5, verse 3. Out of convenicne one may say Mark 5:3. It is not based on grounded knowledge, but, only to facilitate easiness!

Concerning Matthew he writes,

“Traditionally this Gospel has been considered to have been written by Matthew, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus… there is nothing to suggest the personal identity of the writer. The very fact that the writer used Mark’s Gospel and the Q source well indicates that he was probably not a direct companion of Jesus.

“The use of Mark also points to the date of the composition of the Gospel after A.D. 70. It is a matter of conjecture how much later than 70;” [8] (emphasis added)

Concerning Luke he writes,

“In the opening statement (1:1-4), the author explains the aim and reason for writing the Gospels…for the sake of the “most excellent Theophilus”.”

“Since at least the second century A.D., the author has been identified as Luke, “a beloved physician”, and a companion of Paul(Col. 4:14). This identification, however, is by no means conclusive; there is no definitive evidence to support it.” [9]

So, Luke wrote the Gospel not for the sake of God or Jesus or anything like that. Rather, the “gospel” was written for some unknown guy “Theophilus”.

Concerning John he writes,

“At least since the latter part of the second century A.D., this Gospel has been traditionally ascribed to John, the son of Zebedee, but it must have been written after the apostle’s time, as it betrays rather clearly a later stage of the theological and historical development of the early Church.” [10] (emphasis added)

As we have seen early tradition ascribe Matthew Levi the tax collector, john Mark, Luke the physician and John of Zebedee to the four canonical Gospels, but, we know now that this is nothing more than mere conjecture devoid of proof. The total anonymity of these writings is further confirmed by the scholar Keith F. Nickle,

“It now appears unlikely that any of these identifications is accurate. At any rate the date to verify these ancient traditions sinply are not available.” [11]

“We must candidly acknowledge that all three of the Synoptic Gospels are anonymous documents.

All the Gospels in the New Nestament are anonymous works.” [12] (emphasis added)

The Toronto theologian F.W. Beare joins the ranks,

“second century guesses that gave the four canonical gospels the names by which we now know them; for they were originally anonymous documents of whose authors nothing is known.” [13] (emphasis added)

In fact, the names Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were really added later:

“The Gospels that came to be included in the New Testament were all written anonymously; only at a later time were they called by the names of their reputed authors, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.” [14]

The above statement is supported by R.T. France,

“the headings ‘According to Matthew’ ; ‘According to Mark’ etc., are not part of the text of the Gospels… are generally believed to have been added early in the second century.” [15]

Although his astute observation regarding the anonymity and later naming of the gospels is right on the mark, the latter is not so. His mentioning that it is believed that they were added “early in the second century” is yet another example of how the Christian world is awfully filled with GUESS WORK! The scholar G. A. Wells refutes R.T. France’s conjecture in claiming that saying,

“And so we find Iranaeus (bishop of Lyons about A.D. 180) naming all four as they are now named, and as the first to do so.” [16] (emphasis added)

Thus, we now know that it was only close to the end of the second century that the four Gospels were given the names that they today bear.

As if the matter is not bad enough as it is the problem is even further compounded by the fact that many changes, deletions, additions, editing, modification etc. have taken place in the Gospels. Strange as it may seem some of these changes that have been scholarly established as true to facts  are still counted as authentic by millions of Christians the world over. Some of these interpolations include the longer ending of Mark 16, the famous story of the adulteress in John 8, Luke 24:12 etc.(Refer to 265-266 of Misquoting Jesus for the top 10 list).

Further more, we now know that numerous other Gospels existed alongside the four chosen ones e.g. the Gospel of Peter. Many of you might be wondering as to what were the reasons behind choosing the four and discarding a whole lot of others. Fear not. Iraneus who was one of the early Church fathers tells us why,

“it is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For, since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the Church is scattered throughout the world, and the pillar and ground of the Church is the Gospel… it is fitting that she should have four pillars…”(Against Heresies 3.11.7) [17]

In other words, the Gospels are chosen because there are four winds and four zones. It is not because God decreed it so! In fact, none of the Gospels ever claimed inspiration and to have composed books meant for the entire world until judgment day. Keith F. Nickle says,

“The widespread popularity that each of he Gospels eeventually enjoyed far surpassed the modest goals for which the evangelists originally composed them… Much less could they have conceived in their most extreme fantasies, twenty centuries of continuous use of their documents by generations of Christians. They were simply writing their Gospels for their community.

  When Christians later did make a wider use of the Gospels, they were employing them for purposes and situations beyond the uses for which they were originally designed.” [18]

After considering all of the above information regarding the Gospels can one still honestly claim that they are absolutely reliable beyond any shadow of doubt? I believe it is safe to declare a resounding NO!

 

References:

[1] Howard Clark Kee, Eric M. Meyers, John Rogerson, Anthony J. Saldarini. The Cambridge Companion to the Bible(1997). Cambridge, U.K. : Cambridge University Press. p. 447

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Helmut Koester. the Text of the Synoptic Gospels in the Second Century, Gospel Traditions in the Second Century(1989). Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press. p. 19

[5] John F. O’Grady. The Four Gospels and the Jesus Tradition(1989). New Jersey: Paulist Press. p. 67

[6] Ibid. p. 68

[7] Neil S. Fujita. Introducing the Bible(1981). New Jersey: Paulist Press. p. 123

[8] Ibid. p. 129

[9] Ibid. p.134

[10] Ibid. p. 140

[11] Keith F. Nickle. The Synoptic Gospels(2001). Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press. p. 43

[12] Ibid. 84

[13] F.W. Beare. The Earliest Records of Jesus(1964). Oxford: Blackwell. p.13

[14] Bart D. Ehrman. Lost Christianities(2005). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 3

[15] R.T. France. The Evidence for Jesus(1986). London: Hodder and Stoughton. p. 122

[16] G.A. Wells. Who Was Jesus? A Critique of the New Testament Record(1989). Illinois, La Salle: Open Court. p. 1

[17] Bart D. Ehrman. Misquoting Jesus(2007). New York: HarperSanFrancisco. p. 35

[18] Keith F. Nickle. Op. Cit. p. 169

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Quote honeto Replybullet Posted: 09 March 2009 at 6:58pm
Originally posted by Apollos

Originally posted by honeto

Apollo,
Minor mistakes or human errors are understandable, but opposites on very important issues like the one I have mentioned above are unforgiveable.
I am sorry if I am not yet understood by you Apollo. In all simplicity what I am saying is that if I read my car loan application saying interest rate is fixed at 10%,  while signing I see the last paragrah saying it will be 13%. what I have just discoverd is a discripency. I would not, neither you will sign such a document until its corrected, until then it has discripency.
 
Similarly if the book says Jesus is God, and later on shows that Jesus in fact has a God, and refer to someone else as God and Lord for me that's a discripency. God does not has a God.
 
Similarly if the book says that with Jesus' blood sacrifice everyone's sins have been paid for!  Yet in the same book not too far I read that each one will be judged acording to their deeds, furhter I read that each one will give account on the day of Judgement. To me that is in contrast to "paying for sins of the whole world with a blood sacrifice."
Its as simple as it reads.
 
Hasan
 
Hasan,

I agree with you that a writing – especially God’s Word – should not have contradictions in it. Where we disagree is – you look at an apparent contradiction and conclude it is an actual one. I think if you gave the Bible the same benefit of the doubt that you give the Quran, you would consider how there might be a reconciliation between things that look like opposites but are in fact, not.

 

I illustrate: Would you not agree that if God consists of three persons and if one of these persons became incarnate, it would be correct for that incarnated being to be both man and God? Would it not be correct for that being to pray to another person of the Godhead and call Him, my God?  I understand you don’t accept the plural personhood of God or the possibility that God could become incarnated but if you grant that notion as the backdrop for the Bible, I don’t think the example you present is a real contradiction – is it?

 

Apollos

 
Apollo,
would you not accept a Hindu's claim which is similar to yours that God can come incarnate as an elephant, or as a monkey? Why a Hindu's claim is invalid and yours is for you . Please explain?
Hasan
39:64 Proclaim: Is it some one other than God that you order me to worship, O you ignorant ones?"
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Quote Apollos Replybullet Posted: 09 March 2009 at 8:11pm

Mansoor Ali,

 

I mentioned earlier that I am not intimidated by Liberal “scholars” who claim such nonsense about the Bible. Did you notice that in the article you copied from, there is not one fact – only theories. When they say that Luke differs from Mark so that obviously means one of them was editing the other's work, that is their theory. When they say that John included more developed theology than could have existed in the first century, that is their theory. And these theories imenate from the premise that supernatural things don’t happen. According to them, Jesus couldn’t have made a prophecy that cam true because such things don’t happen. John couldn’t have wrote what is ascribed to him because it would require a supernatural revelation from God, etc.

 

The problem is with all this nonsense is – it is not supported by the facts. In fact most of these theories keep changing because the cold facts prove them wrong. These Liberals used to say it took 300 years to develop the New Testament because it was so developed, sophisticated, etc. Then manuscripts were found long before this. They s*****p for a little while and then said it took 200 years – like the article you found. Unfortunately we keep finding manuscripts and other ancient finds that push this back closer and closer to the first century. For example we have portions of John’s gospel dated within 10 years of John’s death. Oh Oh, that invalidates one of those theories doesn’t it?

 
These guys aren’t starting with history and evidence – they are starting with their Liberal bias against Jesus being from God. Will you accept their opinion on that? If not, please don’t be appeal to people who claim to be “Christians” and “scholars” but are neither. (Its like me quoting Bahai’s to criticize the Quran).

 

Apollos

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Quote Apollos Replybullet Posted: 09 March 2009 at 8:24pm

Hasan,

I agree with you that a writing – especially God’s Word – should not have contradictions in it. Where we disagree is – you look at an apparent contradiction and conclude it is an actual one. I think if you gave the Bible the same benefit of the doubt that you give the Quran, you would consider how there might be a reconciliation between things that look like opposites but are in fact, not.

I illustrate: Would you not agree that if God consists of three persons and if one of these persons became incarnate, it would be correct for that incarnated being to be both man and God? Would it not be correct for that being to pray to another person of the Godhead and call Him, my God?  I understand you don’t accept the plural personhood of God or the possibility that God could become incarnated but if you grant that notion as the backdrop for the Bible, I don’t think the example you present is a real contradiction – is it?

Apollos

 

 

Apollo,

would you not accept a Hindu's claim which is similar to yours that God can come incarnate as an elephant, or as a monkey? Why a Hindu's claim is invalid and yours is for you . Please explain?

Hasan

 

 

Hasan,

 

Hindu’s neither claim nor offer objective evidence that God has revealed anything to us. The Bible does. Yet, if I was reading Hindu writings I would not read into them Christian concepts but try to understand what they meant according to their own beliefs and definitions. I might think Brahman is illogical but if the word and concept are used coherently within Hindu writings, I would not claim Hindu writings were internally contradictory.

 

So, given the context I described, do you see that what you call contradictions in the Bible are not necessarily so?

 

Apollos

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Quote Nur_Ilahi Replybullet Posted: 10 March 2009 at 2:37am

So, given the context I described, do you see that what you call contradictions in the Bible are not necessarily so?

 

Apollos

 
It is such a pity that Christians have to struggle with their religion and their so called holy scripture. If the God that the Christians worship is most powerful most perfect, they would not have much to do in order to defend their faith. And the original Bible would still be around.
 
Ilahi Anta Maksudi, Wa Redhaka Mathlubi - Oh Allah, You are my destination, Your Pleasure is my Intention.
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Quote believer Replybullet Posted: 10 March 2009 at 7:31am
Nur there is no struggle when your heart is open to the truth. 
 
LOL!    Remember your Quran agrees that the Torah and Gospel was sent by GOD. 
 
The Bible we have today is the Bible that was available to Mohammad.
 
One thing though it had not yet been translated into Arabic.
John 3
16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
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