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Points of View (Bashir Ahmad Orchard) Christian: While it may be true that Muhammad was a good man he is dead while Jesus is alive and a living saviour. Muslim: You are correct in stating that Muhammad (peace be on him) is dead. He died in 632 A.D. and his tomb is in Medina, Arabia. However you are incorrect in stating that Jesus is alive for he died a natural death as is the way of all human beings. Christian: Jesus was different for he was God Himself manifested in the flesh. He ascended into heaven where he sits on the right hand of God. Muslim: The doctrine of divinity was invented by early Christians. Jesus never claimed to be God. He was a human being who ate, drank and slept like any other person. He constantly prayed to God. These facts are incompatible with your assertion that he was the Almighty Himself. Christian: Jesus had two natures being both human and Divine. He was God incarnate. God took upon Himself the form of man. Muslim: This is another invention of the early Christians. Nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus claim to have two natures. Was it the man Jesus or the God Jesus who you believe died on the cross? Christian: It was the human Jesus who died. Muslim: The Church teaches that God came down into the world for the express purpose of suffering crucifixion as an atonement for the sins of mankind. This doctrine is proved false if it was only the human Jesus who died on the cross. Christian: Jesus was the son of God. It was he who died for the sins of mankind. Muslim: According to you Jesus was God but now you say he was the son of God. Which do you mean? Christian: There is the doctrine of Trinity—God the Father, God the Son, POINTS OF VIEW 27 God the Holy Ghost. Three in one and one in three. I admit it is difficult to understand. Furthermore Jesus said “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30). Muslim: If you believe that the son Jesus and the Father are one and the same person then it means that the son is God and therefore God Himself died on the cross although you have already stated God did not die. Is it not a right old mix up? I would like to point out to you that Jesus also said “the Father is greater than I.” (John 14:38). Clearly Jesus never claimed to be God otherwise we are to understand that there are two gods one being greater than the other. Christian: That was the human Jesus speaking. Muslim: Of course it was the human Jesus speaking because that is just what he was—a human being. It was the human Jesus who prayed for deliverance in the garden of Gethsemane and it was the human Jesus who cried out on the cross “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me.” Human beings are always human beings irrespective of their close connection with God. Christian: If Jesus was only a human being then how do you account for his miracles and his resurrection? Muslim: The Bible is not infallible. It is not absolutely authentic. No doubt some portions may be more or less trustworthy but much of it is unreliable. It is a mixture of fact and fiction. It is for you to establish the authenticity of your references. Regarding miracles the Old Testament furnishes accounts of prophets performing miracles as great or even greater than those performed by Jesus. Elisha brought life back to a dead person (2 Kings 4:34) and Moses worked many wonders even turning a rod into a serpent. As to the resurrection it should first be noted that it is refuted in the Holy Quran. Jesus was mistaken for dead and it was his unconscious body showing the appearance of death which was laid in the tomb. He revived and left the tomb after which he travelled east in search of the Lost Tribes of Israel whom he found scattered mainly in Persia, Afghanistan and Kashmir. He died among them and his tomb may be seen today in Srinagar the capital of Kashmir. Christian: This is completely contrary to the teachings of the Bible—the Word of God. Muslim: I have already explained that the Bible is not a reliable guide. It has suffered many interpolations of various kinds. Whereas it may be a book about God it is no way the Word of God which is free from all defects. Christian: There are no errors and mistakes in the Bible. What you consider to be interpolations are only seeming errors which can be explained. Muslim: The compilers of the Revised Version of the Bible prove you to be mistaken. They have removed more than fifty verses from the New Testament 28 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS despite the fact that—they have appeared for centuries in all previous issues of the Bible. The last twelve verses of the sixteenth chapter of Mark have been deleted. Also the fourth and fifth verses of the fifth chapter of John. Many other verses have also been removed. This one illustration proves interference with the text of the Bible. Christian: I do not consider this to be a serious issue because the authors were only trying to produce a better translation nearer to the original Greek manuscripts. Muslim: It is not a matter of translation but one of deliberate deletion of Biblical passages. Furthermore Greek is not the original language of the New Testament. Jesus spoke Hebrew and Aramaic. The Greek manuscripts are not the originals but only translations from Aramaic. ‘ Christian: Even if your criticisim is correct the four Gospel writers all bear witness to the empty tomb. Muslim: The contradictions which exist in the Gospel accounts of the “resurrection” establish the unreliability of these records. Christian: It is natural that there may be some differences in the four Gospel narratives. Newspaper reporters do not describe an event exactly the same; but they all agree that the event occurred despite differences in details. Muslim: You are now comparing the Gospel writers with newspaper reporters who frequently err and contradict one another in their reports. This is true to a great extent. On the other hand you assert that the Gospel writers wrote under Divine inspiration in which case there can arise no question of errors. God does not err or contradict Himself. Christian: I am not aware of any contradictions. Muslim: Matthew states that after visiting the empty tomb Mary Magdalene met Jesus for the first time while on her way with other women to convey the news to the disciples. John, however, states that it was not until the disciples had visited and left the tomb that she met Jesus for the first time. She remained behind weeping because she did not know what had become of him whereas Matthew states she had met him earlier. The two stories contradict one another. Christian: Why do you think the disciples and early Christians preached the resurrection under severe persecution if Jesus had not arisen from the dead? Muslim: Being under the impression that Jesus had expired on the cross they may well have chosen to believe he had risen from the dead. They were under the impression that Jairus’s daughter was raised from the dead although Jesus had declared “The maid is not dead but sleepeth.” (Matthew 9:23) However they laughed him to scorn!. In those days people came to POINTS OF VIEW 29 incredulous conclusions. When King Herod came to hear about Jesus he exclaimed “It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.” (Mark 6:16). It is possible to hold a firm conviction in a wrong belief. Sincerity in faith does not necessarily testify to the truth of that belief. Best Weapon Prayer is the best weapon that opens the way of deliverance from hardship. (Promised Messiah) Outstrip One Another in Virtue Man desires to outstrip his contemporaries in the race for progress. This instinct is not confined to man, but is also to be found among other animals. A horse going at a leisurely pace begins to gallop as soon as it hears the sounds of hoofs behind it; and seeing this the one behind also begins to gallop in an effort to outrun the one in front. The proper use of this natural instinct produces many moral benefits, and a deficiency or excess of it results in many moral defects. A man can derive great moral advantage from it by using it as an aid in moral and spiritual development. For instance the Holy Quran says, “O believers, outstrip one another in virtue and good deeds.” (Quran 2:148). It is by virtue of this instinct that a student makes rapid progress in his studies. When used under proper restrictions and limitations, it develops into an excellent moral quality. (Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad)