I appreciate that as you point out there is some hypocrisy in those who on the one hand declare Islam to have been spread by the sword, while at the same time history has shown many Christians willing to freely wield it as well.
However, beyond claiming that Muslims do not even believe these to represent the true sayings of Jesus, I think it is a stretch to make them into some sort of violence promoting advocacy -- Trumble (a Buddhist, not a Christian) showed why significantly well enough that I need not repeat his points a second time. Thus to declare hypocrisy based on these scriptual passages is disingenious.
However with respect to the most disturbing of these passages, Passage Three: “But now, he that hath a purse, let him take [it], and likewise [his] scrip: and he that hath no SWORD, let him sell his garment, and buy one” (Luke 22:36). I want to take exception to the particular interpretation given above:
Obviously, the reaction of the Jews in Jerusalem was not what Jesus had expected. Although he longed to rule over his people, God's plan was different and Jesus never ascended into a position of power. The Christian contends that Jesus is here referring to a "spiritual sword!" Well, I suppose the garments in which we must sell are also spiritual. If the disciples sold their spiritual garments for spiritual swords then that would make them spiritually naked!
Was it with a spiritual sword that Peter struck the servant of the High Priest’s ear off? When Jesus sees Peter do this, that is, when he sees Peter strike the servant with a sword that he (Jesus) told Peter to purchase in the first place, Jesus rebukes him (in Matthew).
Why now? Because, the strategy has changed. Jesus did not expect to face trained Roman legionaries -- The Gospel of John is unique in identifying the band of men who accompanied the Jewish officers who arrested Jesus as a “speira;” a word that has a Latin origin and means “military cohort” or “detachment of soldiers”). It would have been total suicide for him to follow through with his Jihad (struggle).
These events reportedly occurred on the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane, after the Last Supper. Why did Jesus decide to go there, and not to the Temple of Solomon if he was just planning on "praying?" After all, the Temple was only a "stone's throw" from the Upper Room where they had just finished eating and singing hymns.
Jesus goes to prepare for battle! He places eight disciples at the entrance of the Garden and then takes his three champion disciples, Peter the Rock, John, and James the "sons of Thunder" deeper inside to create an inner circle of defense.
First, it is NOT at all obvious that Jesus was surprised by the reaction of the Jews of Jerusalem. Indeed, my reading of the text and context shows that Jesus seems to fully anticipate his death, even before he sets out for Jerusalem, and as the anticipated time of it grows closer it weighs heavily on him.
Why go to the garden to pray? Jesus is reported frequently in scripture to go off by himself to pray. Going to the temple as the author suggests might have been closer, but it would not have been as private, not even early in the morning. Jerusalem was a beehive of activity in the days leading up to the passover.
Second, to suppose that Jesus, after rejecting the offering of all the kingdoms of the world at the beginning of his earthly ministry, would now seek power is ridiculous. Yes, Jesus did suggest to his disciples that they be prepared to buy a sword. And yes, perhaps even a real sword. But again, it is in the context of contrasting how they went forth on the last time that he sent them out. On that occassion when they went out they took nothing and yet lacked for nothing. Now Jesus wants them to be prepared for the struggle that awaits them. But the idea that he is planning to lead some sort of jihad against either Rome or the Jewish authorities can only come from the mind of those who think in terms of physical jihads, not just spiritual ones. It certainly is not on Jesus' mind. For when they left, the disciples said they had two swords, and Jesus said it was enough. Now, given the size of force easily massed by either the temple authorities or the Roman occupiers, two swords woud never have been considered sufficient for any sort of physical jihad.
And when his disciples use one of those swords, as is indicated, Jesus rebukes him. The article's author quoted Luke's account of the story. There is a little more insight gained from Matthew's account of the same incident:
52"Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?"
Here we see that not only does Jesus rebuke them for using the sword, but gives a reason why. That reason is indeed based on the principles of peace. Further, Jesus asserts that if his intent was some sort of jihad, that he certainly does not need the disciples' swords to accomplish it. But he has not come for that purpose.
Jesus says that he understands his life to be a fulfillment of the scriptures regrading the Messiah, which he has previously explained as one in which the Messiah gives up his life sacrificially. Others at the time did not understand this to be the Messiah's role. There are even still those today who reject that idea, but this was Jesus' understanding. That is what is important.
So, why did Jesus ever suggest the need for a sword? Truly I don't know. The best anyone can do today is speculate. The article's author has made one set of speculations that he rejects as ever being true of Jesus, and thus they must be the later invention of Christianity. Well, that interpretation lies outside the rest of Christianity's understanding of Jesus, which even he admits is the dominant understanding. And it is inconsistant with the facts of the case. But if we are speculating, might it be that since the disciples are going to be left on their own, at least for a time no longer lacking in nothing (as Jesus makes that the context in which he suggested getting a sword to begin with) that the disciples (not Jesus) will need a sword for self-protection. Perhaps from robbers as they travel through the night? Or as with many tools, a sword is just a tool we (because of our violent nature) assume to be used for fighting, but it may also have other uses that are completely non-violent in nature? I think of the many uses I have for a machete when camping, none of which are violent to anything other than fish. Hmmm? These fishermen might use a sword the way I use my machete for preparing fish to cook. With Jesus knowing that he was about to be arrested and the disciples would be left on their own for a time, wouldn't that make sense. Incidently, the typical sword of that day was about the size of a modern machete.
The author wrote with the intent of exposing the hypocrisy of the modern-day Christian Evangelical's claim that the Musim scripture advocates violence. Well, it is a shame the so many Christians, in their naivette, are convinced that the Muslim scripture advocates violence when it is not present. But to then be guilty of the same sort of behavior in "exposing" it and accusing Christians of hypocrisy when the Christians scriptures do not advocate it any more than the Muslim scriptures, that is just as big of a shame. And the hyprocrisy is in the fact that the author even admitted that he didn't believe Christ ever advocated violence to begin with.
Lastly, I ask you to take a closer look at the wording of this portion of the article:
Peter, James, and John were all Galileans, and Galileans were renowned for two things: fishing and zealotry.
They were the fighting Irishmen of their day!
I am sorry, but this smacks of namecalling at the least, and downright bigotry as a possiblity. It is a slur against both Galileans and Irishmen.
Against Galilean in that they would be "renowned for two things". Really? So that's it? They had no other talents? How about the business acuem as the commercial crossroads of the region? How about their devotion to the word of God as they established synagogues for the study of God's word throughout? But no, just two things, fishing and zealotry.
If anyone was to say similar things about a group of people today, I think it would be taken as an insult. Best not say it to an Irishman, because an Irishman would pick a fight with you. Afterall, according to the author, fighting is the character of Irishmen, or so he has labelled them.
How does such language show the respect that is the rules governing this forum: "10. Racist remarks will not be permitted since racism doesn't hold a place in Islam."?