A Refutation of Ahmed Deedat’s Crucifixion or Cruci-fiction: Part 1

The index to this series of posts can be found here.  This post is a refutation of “Chapter 1:  The Only Sales-Point” of Ahmed Deedat’s Crucifixion or Cruci-fiction.

Deedat begins the book by saying:

“MOST INFLUENTIAL MEN”

Recently, an American historical researcher and mathematician, Michael H. Hart, published a book: “THE 100, THE TOP HUNDRED OR THE GREATEST HUNDRED IN HISTORY.” In his book he gives the names of the 100 “Most Influential Men in History” and his reasons for their positions in his list. Amazingly, he (most probably a Christian) puts Muhummed (peace be upon him) FIRST in his hundred, and with good reasons too. And with equally good reasons he places Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), the man accepted as “Lord” and “Saviour” by nearly all his fellow Americans, number THREE.

REAL FOUNDER OF CHRISTIANITY

Though there are at the moment 200 million more nominal Christians in the world than the 1000 million Muslims, Mr. Hart divides the credit for founding Christianity between Paul and Jesus, and he gives the greater portion to Paul. Hence the 3rd position for Jesus. Every knowledgeable Christian concedes that the real founder of Christianity is St. Paul and not Jesus Christ (peace be upon him).

Jesus is considered a prophet in Islam but Paul is not.  This is why Deedat places a “peace be upon him” after Jesus’ name but not after Paul’s.  As a Muslim, Deedat cannot attack Jesus but he can attack Paul.  He implies that Hart ranked Paul ahead of Jesus but, in fact, Paul was ranked sixth behind Muhammad, Isaac Newton, Jesus Christ, Buddha, and Confucius.  It is blatantly false that every knowledgeable Christian concedes that Paul was the real founder of Christianity.

Deedat continues by saying:

REASON FOR DIFFERENCE

In any event, if there is any division between a Muslim and a Christian on the grounds of dogma, belief, ethics or morality, then the cause of such conflict could be traced to an utterance of Paul found in his books of Corinthians, Philippians, Galatians, Thessalonians, etc., in the Bible.

As against the teaching of the Master (Jesus) that salvation only comes through keeping of the commandments (Mathew 19:16-17), Paul nails the law and the commandments to the cross (Colossians 2:14) and claims that salvation can only be obtained through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ: “If Christ be not risen from the dead, then our preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14).

The divisions between Muslims and Christians cannot be blamed entirely on Paul.  Even if we ignore Paul’s letters we are still left with many other Christian writings that cannot be reconciled with Islamic theology.  Paul’s view of the Law is too large and complex a topic to cover here, but I will point out that he, like Jesus in Matthew 19:16-30, exhorts his followers not to murder (Romans 1:29; 13:9; 1 Timothy 1:9), not to commit adultery (Romans 2:22; 13:9), not to steal (Romans 2:21; 13:9; Ephesians 4:28; Titus 2:10), not to give false testimony (Colossians 3:9), to honor one’s parents (Ephesians 6:2), to love your neighbor as yourself (Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14), and to give to the poor (Romans 15:26; Galatians 2:10).  Regarding 1 Corinthians 15:14, if Paul was wrong then obviously his message was in vain.  The same could be said about anyone preaching a false message.

Moving on, Deedat says:

THE KING-PIN OF CHRISTIANITY

According to St. Paul, there is nothing that Christianity can offer mankind, other than the blood and gore of Jesus. If Jesus did NOT die, and he was NOT resurrected from the dead, then there can be NO salvation in Christianity! “For all your good deeds”, says the Christian dogmatist, “are like filthy rags” – (Isaiah 64:6).

It is doubtful that Paul would have said there is nothing Christianity can offer mankind except for the “blood and gore” of Jesus.  For example, as I cited above, Paul gives ethical teachings that offer something to mankind.  It would be more accurate to say that Paul believed Jesus’ death and resurrection to be of paramount importance in salvation history.  Deedat’s quotation of Isaiah 64:6 is out of context.  Isaiah is speaking of his people’s sins and is not equating all good deeds with filthy rags.

The next section of Deedat’s book reads:

NO CRUCI-FICTION – NO CHRISTIANITY

“THE DEATH OF JESUS ON THE CROSS IS THE CENTER OF ALL CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY. . . ALL CHRISTIAN STATEMENTS ABOUT GOD, ABOUT CREATION, ABOUT SIN AND DEATH HAVE THEIR FOCAL POINT IN THE CRUCIFIED CHRIST. ALL CHRISTIAN STATEMENTS ABOUT HISTORY, ABOUT THE CHURCH, ABOUT FAITH AND SANCTIFICATION, ABOUT THE FUTURE AND ABOUT HOPE STEM FROM THE CRUCIFIED CHRIST”, says Professor Jurgen Moltmann in his – “The Crucified God”.

In a nutshell. No Crucifixion – No Christianity! This is the experience of us Muslims, in this ocean of Christianity, which is South Africa. A thousand sects and denominations of Christianity are vying with one another to redeem the “heathen” (as they say) from hell-fire. However, in this battle no Christian priest, parson or predikant, or hot-gospeller, local or imported, will ever endeavor to teach the Muslim something about hygiene; for we Muslims can claim to be the most hygienic people (I am talking about personal hygiene). Nor do they endeavor to teach us about hospitality; for we are the most hospitable of people. Nor about ethics or morality; for we are the most moral people – (as a whole) i.e. we don’t drink, we don’t gamble, we don’t date, court or dance; we pray 5 times a day, we fast for one whole month during the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan; and we take pleasure in being a charitable people. Despite any of our shortcomings, we venture to suggest that there is not another group of people that can “show a candle” to us in brotherhood, in piety or in sobriety.

BLOOD FOR SALVATION

“Yes! Yes!” says the Christian missionary, “but you do not have salvation.” Because salvation comes “only through the blood of the lord Jesus”. “All your good works are like filthy rags”, he says. “If only you Muslims would accept the redeeming blood of Jesus, and take Jesus as your ‘Personal Savior’, you Muslims, then would be like angels walking the earth.”

I grant that if there were no crucifixion then Christianity as we know it would not exist.  But this is not the same as saying some religion built around the person of Jesus Christ would not exist.  The validity of Ahmed Deedat’s boasts about Muslims are irrelevant to our concerns.  We shall move on to the next section, which reads:

AN ANSWER SUPREME

What are we Muslims to say to this Christian claim? Nothing better than Allah’s shattering reply to the Jewish boast!.

And they said (in boast), ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Apostle of God’; but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but it was made to appear to them so, and those who differ therein are full of doubts [in a state of confusion], with no (certain) knowledge [in ignorance], but they follow only conjecture [guess work – fiction!], for of a surety they killed him not

(SURA NISAA) Holy Qur’an 4:157

Could anyone have been more EXPLICIT, more EMPHATIC, more DOGMATIC, more UN-COMPROMISING in rejecting the dogma of a faith than this? “IMPOSSIBLE!” is the answer. The only One Who could, would be the All-Knowing, the Omniscient, the Omnipotent Lord of the Universe – GOD ALMIGHTY Himself!

The Muslim believes this categorical Quranic statement to be from God. Hence he asks no questions and seeks for no proof.

Had the Christians accepted the Holy Quran as the Word of God, the problem of the crucifixion would never have arisen. They vehemently oppose the Quranic teaching and attack everything Islamic. In the words of Thomas Carlyle – “THEY (the Christians) HAVE BEEN TRAINED TO HATE THE MAN MOHAMED AND HIS RELIGION.

First, anyone can make an explicit, emphatic, dogmatic, and uncompromising rejection of a dogma.  No matter how strong this rejection is it does not entail that the speaker is a deity.  Second, the very fact that Ahmed Deedat wrote a book about the crucifixion suggests that there are Muslims who are asking quesions and seeking proof.  Moreover, blind faith in the Quran is not something to boast about.  It stands in stark contrast to the historian who seeks and finds evidence for the crucifixion of Jesus.  Third, the problem of the crucifixion would not have disappeared had every Christian accepted Islam in the seventh century.  It would still exist because all the historical evidence points in the direction of Jesus dying by crucifixion while the Koran has no credible evidence to support its claim.  The opposition of non-Muslims (not just Christians) to Islam is due (in part) to the fact that Muhammad could not provide an accurate account of a public execution.  It has nothing to do with hatred and everything to do with the evidence.

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16 thoughts on “A Refutation of Ahmed Deedat’s Crucifixion or Cruci-fiction: Part 1

  1. But Dr.Zakir has proved from the bible ur histriocal fact, which u people consider? Now do you have any other excueses.

  2. i have watched dr. zakir’s proofs, and i concluded that he is insistingly speaking,and arguing. if he doesnt believe that Jesus Christ(glory be to him)did not die on the cross, then how come he said in the book of revelation”behold i was dead and have risen and i shall never die again”? and a lot of times Jesus himself told his disciples that he will die and rise again on the third day. if you believe jesus is a prophet then why dont you read his teachings instead of ignoring it,or just point out points that you think supports your ideas. if you read the bible,willingfully and not critically, there lays salvation.

  3. zakir said that Jesus Chirst(glory be to Him),said “my father is greater than all”. Then why do you not believe that he is the begotten son of God,when he explicitly said “my father”. no prophet ever says “my father the God is saying this or that” instead the prophets said,”God is saying this…or that”….but Christ showed that he has a unque relationship with the Father. Thats why the jews wanted to kill him, they accused him of blasphemy. and Jesus said” I AM THE TRUTH AND THE WAY,NO ONE COULD COME TO THE FATHER,BUT BY ME”. So check your hearts,and try to open your eyes……

  4. You Muslims.You know that our God is a God of LOVE and MERCY.So,stop fooling your selves and accept Jesus Christ as Your saver,before it is too late.

  5. christ(glory be to him) asked his desciples who do they think He is, and peter answered him” you are the son of the living God”. Jesus accepting his answer warned him not to tell this to anyone until the right time comes. So even Christ accepted his unque relationship with God. So brothers(muslems) your scholars are deceiving you….. Repent,accept Jesus Christ,and be saved.

  6. In the Middle East, in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Kuwait, the video of Ahmad Deedat is being used in their attempt to convert non-Muslims. These videos are shown in big gatherings such as government hospitals, government agencies for Residence permit applications where you have no choice but to listen.

    In supermarkets and stores, there are free publicized books and booklets in different languages that uses Deedat’s argument.

    No refutation is available in their bookstores so chances are, there are numbers of converts to Islam who never knew why they were Christians (who never read their Bibles) in the first place.

    Sad to say, they were Catholics!

  7. A few simple questions for the Christian brothers:
    Did Jesus speak English, Greek or Latin? Nope!
    Jesus spoke Aramiac and Hebrew; today the confusion fellow Christians have it because they looked at a mid eastern man who spoke mid-eastern language with a Greek prism and a European Context of language and comprehension.

    When Jesus said ” My Father” did he really imply literally as in My Literal Father. Lets examine; in the idiom of the Jew – God is the father of everybody and every righteous person is a Godly person. The title “Son of God” was so excessively used for different people in the OT that by this logic Jesus would end-up with at least half a dozen siblings.

    Take the following Biblical References & explicit statements for instances:

    Genesis 6: 2-4 ” When SONS of God….,

    Exodus 4: 22 ” Israel is my SON even my first BORN”,

    Jeremiah 31:9 “…… For I am a father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn.”

    And NT Romans 8:14 ” As many are led by the spirit of God are SONS OF GOD”

    So the claim that Jesus said “My Father” or that I am “Son of God” can be laid to rest or should be accepted along with Israel and Jeremiah and Genesis 6:2-4 as Jesus’s older and more accomplished siblings.

    Funny you should ask a Christian for the name of Jesus Christ when he walked the earth; they couldn’t tell you. If you saw Jesus Christ today and called out to him, he would probably walk right past you. Jesus was called Esus or Esaa and the word Christ comes from the word Messiah meaning the “Anointed One”. Which translated into Greek became Christos which became Christ. As for the “J” in Jesus; its like every other Hebrew name that Greeks and the Westerners “J-walked” into. For instance; Yacob became Jacob, Yusuf became Joseph, Yehowah became Jehowah, Benyamin became Benjamin.

    The point is friends; religion is such a thing that a minor mistake could lead to unforgivable sins; whether Christians or Muslims; you owe to YOURSELF to investigate and let your fool hardiness get in the way of your salvation. If you as a Christian did not even know what Jesus was called when he walked the earth; then maybe alot more was also lost in Translation.

    One more thing; When Jesus was put on cross and when he calls out to God for him, notice he does not say “Abba Abba (Hebrew for Father) Why have you forsaken me?” Instead he cries:

    Mathew 27:46 “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?”
    Ask a Jew to Translate it : Ala Ala Lama Sabachthani?
    Ask a Muslim to Translate it: Alla Alla le ma tarakthani?

    So at the end, the only point I am trying to make is that at the end of the Day regardless of who you think God is; you will be standing before the REAL God and he may ask you, what prove did you have that what your Forefathers taught you was right? Did I not give you a brain to think and did you not look for me? I hope we all have answer to that question!

  8. Lets Reason Not Argue:

    When Jesus said ”My Father” did he really imply literally as in My Literal Father.

    What do you mean by “literal Father”? It’s not as if Christians believe a father god had sexual intercourse with a mother god and had a literal son god, Jesus.

    So the claim that Jesus said “My Father” or that I am “Son of God” can be laid to rest or should be accepted along with Israel and Jeremiah and Genesis 6:2-4 as Jesus’s older and more accomplished siblings.

    That doesn’t follow at all. The sense in which Jesus is the Son of God can differ from the sense in which other individuals are sons of God.

    Jesus was called Esus or Esaa

    Actually I believe the name in Hebrew would have been Yeshua.

    what prove did you have that what your Forefathers taught you was right?

    So what proof do you have that Jesus was not executed by crucifixion? Even non-Christian historians believe Jesus was killed on the cross. We have multiple early sources that attest this and it was not the kind of thing the first Christians would have made up.

  9. Actually;historian believe that he was PUT on the cross they don’t believe he DIED on the cross. There is a difference buddy and I invite you to look into it. Now on the topic of Crucifixion from the biblical standpoint. This is an argument that can be proven right from Bible. But if you are willing to have this INTELLECTUAL debate then the only thing I request with utmost respect is that we should leave our biases aside and examine things very logically in this mutual educational exercise.

    Unlike most Christians and Muslims; I always try to approach any religious discussion with mutual respect. After all neither I nor YOU have seen the GOD so how can I tell the other that they are wrong, the only thing we can do is look for HIM together whether it means be a Christian or be a Muslim.

    With this understanding, If you are willing then we can share some thoughts.

  10. Lets Reason Not Argue:

    Actually;historian believe that he was PUT on the cross they don’t believe he DIED on the cross.

    This is simply untrue. For example, in discussing Jesus’ death E. P. Sanders writes (Jesus and Judaism, p. 317): “We should return to our standard attempt to distinguish what is certain from what is not. First, we recall the surest facts: Jesus was executed by the Romans; his disciples were not rounded up and executed.”

    With this understanding, If you are willing then we can share some thoughts.

    Go ahead.

  11. Thanks buddy for the Reference. I have analyzed Sander’s work to expand my knowledge on the subject matter. Anyhow, for every one reference I can give you two that argue against it.
    Simply because it has been a debate for centuries so I suppose we can both appreciate that finding people to support one view point against the other is no big task.

    BTW, while we are on Sanders; might I add that Sanders also strongly asserts in “Historical Figure of Jesus” that Jesus was merely a flesh-and blood man who had NO DIVINE pedigree

    Sanders argues on p. 244 that the declaration “You are my beloved son” in Mark 1:11//Luke 3:22 is a “statement of adoption” borrowed by Mark from Psalm 2:7, where “son of man” referred to the King of Israel, a human being. And on many other occasions where Sanders asserts that the writers of the NT had a theological base and they authored Bibles to support that, which fail to provide infallible evidence of DIVINE origin.

    Now if we both used Sanders as an authority our entire discussion would be over at this point. You would walk away triumphed that Jesus was crucified and I would go home victorious that he was JUST A MAN (Mighty Messenger of God) and nothing more.

    If you are content with that then I am too, we both would change our viewpoints as a result. I would never doubt that Jesus did not die on the cross and you would have to never think of him any more than a man.

    I am sure while I might be able to change my views you might not be able to on his Divinity. Anyhow, I suggest that why don’t we discuss what OT and NT has to say on the matter and analyze that logically while not being blinded by blind faith.

  12. Lets Reason Not Argue:

    By quoting Sanders I’m not making an argument from authority. I am correcting your erroneous claim that historians believe Jesus was crucified but not killed.

    The actual evidence concerning Jesus’ death consists of the primary sources (e.g., NT documents, Josephus, Tacitus) which all agree that Jesus died by crucifixion.

    Jesus’ divine nature is irrelevant to this series of posts on Deedat’s book.

    You can attempt to use the OT and NT to argue that Jesus was crucified but not killed.

  13. Great!!
    Have you read Deedat’s Book BTW. If yes, then lets start by analyzing his arguments and I would be very interested to know your INTELLECTUAL response… let me correct myself, INTELLECTUAL and LOGICAL response. Not the response that is usually given, which is we believe because Paul said so or Josephus said so.

  14. Lets Reason Not Argue:

    Have you read Deedat’s Book BTW. If yes, then lets start by analyzing his arguments…

    Obviously I have since you’re commenting on my rebuttal to it (though it’s been over 6 years so it is not fresh in my memory). See here. Please read my responses before just re-stating Deedat’s words.

    Not the response that is usually given, which is we believe because Paul said so or Josephus said so.

    How do you propose doing history without referring to sources? Martha Howell and Walter Prevenier state that the “historian’s basic task is to choose reliable sources, to read them reliably, and to put them together in ways that provide reliable narratives about the past” (From Reliable Sources: An Introduction to Historical Methods, p. 2). If you aren’t willing to interact with Paul, Josephus, and others then you aren’t doing history.

  15. Please allow me some time to carefully study your rebuttal to avoid duplication of arguments and your time. I will try to build on those.

    As for the historical work, I like what you said. While we’ll be handicapped without the historical references to your point; but we must be vigilant of the credibility of the sources as well.

    What I truly meant was that Deedat raises some logical questions that are usually refuted by a quotation from the Bible that reiterates the very statement that is being contested.
    E.g, Why was Jesus disguised as a Gardener after just having been resurrected. So I would like to explore these subtleties with you.

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