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An Analytical Study

Guide Posts A FRIENDl V DISCUSSION (Bashir Ahmad Orchard) Christian: No doubt Muhammad may have been a good man, but he is dead while Jesus is alive in heaven. Muslim: It is true that Muhammad (peace be on him) is dead. He died in 632 A.D. and was buried in Medina, Arabia. However, you are wrong in thinking that Jesus is alive for he died as is the way of all human beings. Christian: Jesus was different from other human beings in-as-much as he was God Himself manifested in the flesh and was later taken up into heaven. Muslim: Jesus never claimed to be God. The doctrine of Divinity was an invention of the early Church. Jesus was solely a human being who has been called the son of man more than eighty times in the New Testament. He used to eat, drink and sleep as well as pray to God. These facts are incompatible with your assertion that he was God. Christian: Jesus had two natures – the Divine and human. He was the incarnation of God. Muslim: Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus claim that he has two natures. This is another fabricated doctrine of the early Church. Which Jesus do you believe died on the cross – the human Jesus or the God Jesus? Christian: The human Jesus. Muslim: The Church teaches that God Himself came into the world in human form for the express purpose of laying down His life for the remission of sins. If, as you say, it was the human Jesus who died then you are contradicting the teaching of the Church. Christian: Jesus was the son of God. God offered His son for sacrifice. It was God’s son who died. Muslim: You have just asserted that Jesus was God and now you are saying that he was God’s son. Which do you mean? 4 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Christian: Jesus said that he and his Father are one. It is part of the doctrine of Trinity which is hard to explain. Jesus declared “I and my father are one.” (John 10:30). Muslim: I would like to remind you that Jesus also said “The father is greater than I.” (John 14:38). It is obvious that Jesus never claimed to be God otherwise we are to understand from his words that there are two Gods, one greater than the other. Christian: If Jesus was an ordinary human being how do you account for the miracles he performed and also for his resurrection? Muslim: Let alone being the Word of God I do not regard the Bible as being an authentic record of history. Facts and fiction are intermixed. As far as miracles are concerned it should be remembered that in the Bible other persons have been reported to have performed miracles as great as those performed by Jesus. Elisha brought to life a dead person (2 Kings 4:34) and Moses worked many wonders even turning his rod into a serpent (Exodus 4:3). The Holy Quran confirms that Jesus did not expire on the cross therefore the question of his resurrection does not arise. He was mistaken for dead as even in modern times despite great medical advancement people are still sometimes wrongly certified dead and later revive to everyone’s astonishment. Such was the case with Jesus who after leaving the tomb migrated East in search of the lost tribes of Israel whom he found in Persia, Afghanistan and Kashmir. Today his tomb may be seen in Srinager, Kashmir. Christian: This is completely contrary to the teachings of God’s Word – the Bible. Muslim: As I have already stated the Bible is not a reliable guide. It contains interpolations of many kinds. Whereas it may be a book about God it is very far from being the Word of God. Christian: There are no mistakes or contradictions in the Bible. What you consider to be interpolations are only seeming errors which can be explained. Muslim: Let me give you an example. For hundreds of years the Authorised Version of the Bible has been accepted as the Word of God. Then came the Revised Version in which many verses of the New Testament have been deleted such as Mark 16:9-20, John 5:3, 4, Luke 24:12 etc. They appear in the Authorised Version but not in the Revised Version. This is textual corruption at its worst. Christian: I do not consider this to be anything serious as the translators ofthe GUIDE POSTS 5 Revised Version were only trying to produce a more accurate translation nearer to the original Greek manuscripts. Muslim: It is not a matter of translation but the deliberate deletion of whole passages from the text which up to that time had been proclaimed to be the very Word of God. Furthermore Greek is not the original language of the New Testament nor was it the language spoken by Jesus who spoke in Aramaic or Hebrew. There exist no original manuscripts in the language spoken by Jesus. Christian: Even supposing there are some interpolations the essence of the New Testament remains the same. All the Gospel writers bear witness to the empty tomb. Muslim: No doubt the four Gospel writers have written something about the events of Jesus’s crucifixion, entombment and “resurrection”. However, on account of the unreliability of the narratives, fact and fiction are interwoven. Contradictions in the different stories establish the truth of this irrefutable fact. Christian: No two newspaper reporters write exactly the same report on a road accident. Each journalist describes the scene or events in a different manner; but they all agree that the accident took place. Muslim: I agree with you that newspaper reports differ much in details. Your assertion is, however, that the authors of Gospels were writing under Divine inspiration in which case no contradictions should exist. Christian: I am not aware of any contradictions and I would be interested to know of one. Muslim: We are informed in the Gospel of Matthew that Mary Magdalene, after visiting the tomb, met Jesus for the first time while on her way with other women to inform the disciples of the empty tomb. On the other hand the Gospel of John tells us that Mary Magdalene met Jesus for the first time after the disciples had visited and gone from the tomb. We are told that she remained behind at the empty tomb weeping because she did not know what had happened to Jesus although according to Matthew she had already met him before she had even informed the disciples of the empty tomb. Christian: I will have to look into that. Anyhow, if Jesus had not risen from the dead how do you account for the fact that Christians believed in the resurrection for which they suffered severe persecution? Muslim: As the disciples of Jesus really did believe that Jesus had died on the cross it is not surprising that they might have assumed he had risen from the dead especially as during the ministry of Jesus other 6 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS persons such as Lazarus and Jairus’s daughter were supposed to have been raised from the dead. On the other hand the disciples may have considered the survival of Jesus so extraordinary that it seemed to them as miraculous as if he actually had arisen from the dead. Even up to this day Christians still believe that Jairus’s daughter was raised from the dead despite the assurance of Jesus that “The maid is not dead but sleepeth.” (Matthew 9:23). When Jesus made this announcement we are told that the people laughed him to scorn. Likewise it is perfectly possible that while the disciples felt convinced that Jesus died on the cross he was, in fact, no more dead than was the daughter of Jairus. Although medical science and knowledge has made tremendous strides forward since the time of Jesus, doctors, even in modern times, have mistakenly pronounced people to be dead whereas life still lingered on and they revived later sometimes in mortuaries and even in their coffins. It appears from the Bible that sometimes people came to incredulous conclusions. When King Herod came to hear about Jesus he said “It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.” (Mark 6:16). It must be kept in mind that people of different religions and persuasions have suffered severe persecution for their beliefs and convictions. During the early days of Islam, and in later times also, Muslims have been subjected to terrible atrocities by religious opponents but still they held on to their faith. Sincerity and devotion to one’s belief does not necessarily testify to its truth. Revelation and heavenly signs manifest true religion. This is a subject which we may discuss on another occasion. Patience Towards Others Endeavour to be patient in bearing with the defects and infirmities of others, of what sort so-ever they be; for thyself also hast many failings which must be borne with by others. (Thomas A. Kempis)