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View Full Version : A Discussion Between | Dennis [Christian] & George [ex-Christian]

04-30-2005, 10:36 AM
Simple dialoque between a Christian and an Ex-Christian:

Hi Dennis!

Actually Jesus death on the cross is one of the best attested events in ancient history.

GEORGE: That is not really true. The history you are talking about was written by Christians so of course "history" is going to reflect their beliefs (the fact that the calendar starts from his birth demonstrates this). From non-Christian historians we know that crucifixion was a common means of punishment in the Ancient World. At best, I have seen one Jewish historian mentioning that a man claiming to be the Messiah was crucified. The historicity of Jesus is tainted with religious bias, just it is for any religious figure. History is at time very selective.

I don't know how you can realistically maintain that Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God. Do you have a record of everything He said? Other than Muhammid's claims to the contrary what evidence is there to support your assertion? The disciples would be in a much better position to know what Jesus taught than either you or Muhammid. It is Muslims' denial of clearly stated facts in the Bible which delegitimizes Islamic exergesis of the Bible and prevents Muslims from benefiting from the truths found in the Bible.

GEORGE: - Which are what? - Edited truths found in any Bible? Or rewritten and reworded King James "truths" which were written to better support his position, and legitimize his own failing, and beliefs?

Some idioms and expressions are peculiar to a linguistic group. The term "son of God" was used many times for beings close to God, and not necessarily in exclusivity for Jesus. Most of the early literature on Jesus was written by people who have never met him and had a Hellenized past. Like anything, Jesus' words are subject to intepretation, and the people who lived in the Roman empire certainly interpreted Jesus' statements according to their context. Whether the Bible has been edited or not is not something only Muslims discuss, but it is part of the scholarly discourse amongst many Westerners as well.

>DENNIS: So far I have (seen) little connection between Islam and Judiasm or Christianity. From what I an reading it appears your beliefs are totally based on the writings of one man, Muhammid. For people to allow one individual to control their mind is a real problem for me.

GEORGE: Well that is your opinion. Most Orientalists would disagree with you, since they believe that Muhammad borrowed his ideas from Judaism and Christianity. Of course there are differences, just like there are between Christianity and Judaism, but the similarities are there nonetheless.

As for Muhammad and mind control, it seems that you are under some mind control yourself. Your defence of scripture stems from faith in not questioning the Bible as the word of God. The fact that obedience is often blind does not negate that the orders are reasonable and that trained minds can delve into the wisdom of why things are done. You can see this in all walks of life. For instance, let us say that Muslims are like soldiers: each person has his duty, yet there are people above others with greater authority and responsibility, but all of them have to follow their orders and believe in a system of evaluation and promotion. At times, soldiers have to do things that lack compassion, because they do not let emotions oversway their good judgment that orders must be followed. You can apply this to every human circumstance, whether it is a teacher or a worker.

Clearly, some times you might have to fire an individual or make him fail based on his incompetence, just like police men and judges have to do their job. Calling these people heartless and cruel only makes the caller like a drum: full of noise but hollow inside.

>DENNIS: The Bible does use the analogy of a slave at times but ultimately it teaches God is our Father, not a slave master. The only service which is acceptable is that love which is freely offered. Outward performance of "good" deeds don't qualify unless they are motivated by love.

GEORGE: The relationship between human beings and God in the Bible is that of servant and Lord. God owns every human being, but He also acts like a father in the sense that he cares, sustains, protects and watches humans grow (all these meanings are included in the Arabic "Rabb", often mistranslated as Lord)

That is a big difference between Christian theology and Islam. In Christian theology it is the motives which determine whether we are doing right or not, not just outward performance. This difference in understanding makes all the difference in how we approach and treat other people. Christians believe God wants truely good people not people who just perform some acts in order to get rewards.

Well slow down cowboy! faith without deeds is dead because actions are the proof of faith. God certainly wants action, and the basis for the acceptance is for them to be done with sincerity and done correctly (just like the priestly rituals of the Bible!). Now for your oft-repeated arguments of rewards and altruism: A reward manifest the value imbued to it by God, so that humans may know that some actions are more preferred to God than others Similarly is the case for punishment, because the more severe the penalty, the more severe the crime is for God. Everyone begins with selfish motives, and then moves on to higher levels. You cannot love your neighbor unless you love yourself first. Just like people who get introduced to Christianity because they want eternal life and salvation, and then move on to loving God. The rewards and punishment are meant to change a person's direction, so that he can prioritize his ambitions. However, once he passes that level, he begins to do things simply for God's face as the Qur'an mentions, meaning solely for God's pleasure. Yet, the Qur'an commands the Muslim to fear God's wrath and strive for His good pleasure, so even these actions are done for pleasing God.

Fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom as Solomon said. Thinking that one has a guaranteed place in Heaven or that God is pleased with him will undoubtedly result in a person not fearing God's displeasure, which means that actions can be done that are not pleasing to God while we think they are pleasing.

>DENNIS: There is strong evidence to support the Christian beliefs over Islam, but in religion there is never proof. Ultimately belief and obedience to God is not just a matter of logical persuasion but of spiritual insight. When people come to value God's overwhelming love and our freedom under Him they then will treasure the hristian teachings. I can point out serious flaws in Islam, but logical persuasion alone won't bring you the spiritual renewal necessary to be a Christian.

GEORGE: - Well hotdigidee, I certainly don't agree!
Your flaws so far have been emotional appeals and great generalizations. You take your opinion as absolute truths when certainly not even all Christians agree with you!

>DENNIS: History is partly based on an interpretation of facts,
>and in some places where the facts are not well
>documented, in questioning the facts themselves.
>There are some facts which are so well attested that
>few seriously question their historicity. Jesus'
>death on the cross is one of those facts. >Whether Muhammid calimed he received his teachings
>from an angel or not makes no difference to me. To
>accept that claim is an act of faith on your part of
>which I am very skeptical. Also faith that the angel
>he talked to was actually sent by God is another
>article of faith which would have to be established by
>evidence. I don't know of any objective reason to
>accept either proposition.

GEORGE: - OK! - So therefore, it is better to accept in blind faith and believe in things which no one can truly attest to because the documentation and proof of the genuine testament doesn't exist, but to not believe that what has been preserved for 1400 years, with true documentation.

>DENNIS: I find it difficult to think you really believe in the
>Bible since you maintain beliefs which directly
>contradict the Bible. Based on your posts, it appears
>what you actually believe is an altered version of the
>Bible which is sanctioned by Muhammid. You appear to
>believe what Muhammid claims are Jesus' teachings
>rather than those passed down to us from those who
>actually knew Him.

- What I believe is in the final revelation by Muhammad Sallallah wa-layhe a wassellan. And I would follow and teach of Qur'an for the foundation and calling of my life. But, Allah knows best of my testimony. If one does not believe in the Bible as a strong holy book of Allah, it is a great saddness. We know that some of the Bible still holds within it the revelation given to the great profits of the past.

Outword performance of good deed are accepted whether
>>from the love of Allah, or the fear of Allah. What is
>>not accepted are the "good deeds" done to gain in
>>favor of the people. One should not give charity, or
>>do deeds for other people to think you to be generous,
>>or think you to be good, etc. It is only for Allah,
>>that we do these deeds, not for the people.
>That is a big difference between Christian theology
>and Islam. In Christian theology it is the motives
>which determine whether we are doing right or not, not
>just outward performance. This difference in
>understanding makes all the difference in how we
>approach and treat other people. Christians believe
>God wants truely good people not people who just
>perform some acts in order to get rewards.

- Congradulations - twisting of the words of peoples is a tool often employed by Christian scholars, and you do it so well.

Sir, it is our intentions that are what we are judged on. I said one does good deeds for other people, but NOT so that we can gain the approval of the PEOPLE. We do them for the sake of ALLAH only.

If you give money to charity, it is for Allah, not so that other people will think that you are good because you gave charity. Other people are not even supposed to know that you did.

>DENNIS: There is strong evidence to support the Christian
>beliefs over Islam, but in religion there is never
>proof. Ultimately belief and obedience to God is not
>just a matter of logical persuasion but of spiritual
>insight. When people come to value God's
>overwhelming love and our freedom under Him they then
>will treasure the Christian teachings. I can point
>out serious flaws in Islam, but logical persuasion
>alone won't bring you the spiritual renewal necessary
>to be a Christian.

> In Islam there is both, faith and proof. Spiritual insight is given to those Allah would choose to guide. I have experienced more of a lift in my heart through Islam and in comming to Islam than in any other event in my life, including the birth of my son. And I will, Inshallah, live to serve Allah.
GEORGE: > More later!

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