Quotes from No God but One

As many readers already know, Muslim-to-Christian convert and apologist Nabeel Qureshi recently passed away. His death at a young age and with such an apparently promising future is one those all-to-regular occurrences that make us ask, “Why God?” But let us not forget that he has left behind many of his thoughts in writing.

Upon hearing of his death I decided to purchase his book No God but One: Allah or Jesus?: A Former Muslim Investigates the Evidence for Islam and Christianity. Before taking a deeper look at its contents, I’ll start by saying I recommend the book.

The purpose of the book is to argue “that the differences between Islam and Christianity have great implications, and that the evidence of history strongly supports the Christian claims” (p. 13). This is not the conclusion the Muslim Nabeel wanted to reach:

Leaving Islam meant sacrificing everything I knew and devastating the people I loved most. (p. 25)

I did not want to believe in Christianity at all. (p. 25)

I did not first become disillusioned with Islam, nor did I see the beauty of the gospel. As compelling as I find the Christian message now, I did not find it compelling at all as a Muslim. I believed that Allah was loving, that Muhammad was peaceful, that the Quran was beautiful, that tawhid was the perfect doctrine, and that truly following sharia made one righteous before Allah. I did not feel any need for the gospel, and I certainly did not see it as a superior message. (p. 150)

The first half of the book tries to clear away the relativism that causes people to claim Islam and Christianity are basically the same.

So when I hear people say that Islam and Christianity are basically the same, I have to try to restrain my incredulous response. Are Islam and Christianity the same? My parents certainly do not think so, nor do any of the dozens of friends I lost. This cliche is a slap in the face to the hundreds of thousands of converts who have left Islam for Christianity and vice versa.

Not only are these religions different, but the differences have far greater ramifications than I realized when I converted. I knew that the historical doctrines of the two religions were different, but doctrines do not exist in a vacuum. They work together to impact the way we see the world, which in turn changes who we are. (p. 25)

Islam diagnoses the world with ignorance and offers the remedy of sharia, a law to follow. Christianity diagnoses the world with brokenness and offers the remedy of God himself, a relationship with him that leads to heart transformation. (p. 45)

He makes this interesting comment about the Quran and the Trinity. I wonder if Muslims agree with assessment.

So the trinity that the Quran denies is actually tritheism, three gods: Allah, Jesus, and Mary. At this point, some Christians argue the Quran gets the Trinity wrong, and this disproves the Quran. Muslims often argue in response that there very well may have been Christians that worshiped Mary, Jesus, and God as a trinity, and that the verses of the Quran are directed toward them. I choose to avoid this discussion, emphasizing instead that the Quran effectively denies polytheism, three gods, not the concept of a triune God as Christianity has traditionally taught.

Throughout the rest of the Quran, Allah regularly says that there is only one God (e.g., 16.51; 47.19; 112.1), but always as a rejection of polytheism. The Quran never rejects the possibility of one God subsisting in three persons. The omission is noteworthy, as this had been the orthodox doctrine of Christianity for centuries before Muhammad and the advent of the Quran. (p. 60)

The second half of the book argues that Christianity, not Islam, is true. Nabeel summarizes his findings:

After thoroughly investigating the truth claims of Islam and Christianity, even while a Muslim, there was no avoiding the obvious truth: The evidence in favor of Christianity was far, far stronger than the evidence for Islam. (p. 290)

Examining the claims of Islam and Christianity over four years, I went from utter conviction in Islam to reluctantly embracing the gospel. The evidence in favor of Christianity was so strong I had no choice. What I discovered during my journey is what I will be sharing in the next five parts of this book. (pp. 151-152)

Studying the following main topics converted Nabeel: (1) Jesus’s death by crucifixion, (2) Jesus’s resurrection from the dead, (3) Jesus’s claim to be God, (4) the prophetic authority of Muhammad, and (5) the divine inspiration of the Quran (p. 155).

On Jesus’s death and resurrection he states:

The most salient point of the evening for me, the one that mattered most to a mind accustomed to thinking in terms of authority, is that virtually no non-Muslim scholar agrees with the Islamic position. For all intents and purposes, there is a unanimous opinion within academia that Jesus died by crucifixion. Although scholarly unanimity is not evidence per se, it was a jarring perspective check. (p. 162)

This last fact [not a single report denying Jesus’ death by crucifixion in the first 100 years after his death] is more compelling when we consider the report that some people were trying to explain why Jesus’ tomb was empty. Instead of arguing that Jesus did not die on the cross, they argued that his body was stolen. So even though there was a perfect opportunity to suggest that Jesus did not die by crucifixion, it appears that this argument did not occur to anyone. (p. 165)

The question that we must consider, given that the cross would elicit such derision and aversion, is, Why would Christians preach such a message? Why not preach an alternative, more attractive message, like Jesus’ survival of the cross, or that, despite appearances, Jesus was never placed on the cross to begin with? Better yet, why not leave the cross out of Christian preaching entirely, teaching that he died by some other means or perhaps never died at all but was raised directly to heaven? All of these would have made the Christian message much more appealing to everyone who heard it.

There is only one probable answer: Jesus actually did die by crucifixion, and the disciples were preaching what they had to preach if they wanted to proclaim the truth. (pp. 168-169)

[T]he Theistic Swoon Theory gives no account for the inception of the Christian church. What was it that drove the early Christians to preach Jesus crucified and resurrected if they had themselves colluded in saving him? Were they liars, or must we discard additional reams of evidence and argue that they did not preach a crucified and resurrected Messiah? Ultimately, this theory requires the investigator to disregard not only all the evidence about Jesus’ death but also our entire understanding of early Christianity, though it is formed from dozens of sources. (p. 176)

But, as far as my investigation on this issue was concerned, I recalled my commitment to objectivity and had to be honest with myself. Would an objective observer conclude that Jesus died by crucifixion? Of course, the atheist and agnostic scholars answered that question for us with a resounding voice: Yes, one certainly would. (p. 182)

Some Muslims try to take biblical verses out of context to argue that the gospels actually say Jesus survived the crucifixion (see A Refutation of Ahmed Deedat’s Crucifixion Or Cruci-fiction for an example). Nabeel responds:

Regarding the biblical verses cited as subtle traces of God’s divine plan, it needs to be pointed out that these verses occur in the context of four Gospels that repeatedly proclaim Jesus prophesied his death and that he did die. To extract verses from their context and say they assert the exact opposite of their context is a poor handling of texts, unless there is good reason to do so.

In this case, not only is there no good reason to do so, but also there is a good reason not to: The verses prophesying and proclaiming Jesus’ death are abundant and clear, whereas these “subtle traces” are often solitary and require an unlikely interpretation. One of the basic rules of proper hermeneutics, whether Quranic or biblical or secular, is to interpret unclear statements in light of clear ones, not the other way around. To ignore the clear statements of Jesus’ death, and to point to these verses as hints that God saved him, is a poor method of investigation. (p. 175)

Muslims often portray the apostle Paul as the corrupter of Jesus’s message. Once again, Nabeel points out the flaw in this reasoning:

So Paul does not rebel against Peter and James. Rather, he submits to their authority. When there is need to correct Peter, Paul does not dare invoke his own authority but reminds Peter of his own standards. Finally, Paul is not the one who absolves Gentiles of following the law; that is Peter, the very disciple who ushered in the era of evangelizing the Gentiles. (p. 202)

Paul could not have had the means because Allah promised to make the disciples insuperable; there is no viable motive for Paul to deceive the church as his efforts earned him only persecution and a death sentence; and there is no model suggested that clarifies how Paul might have had an opportunity to overcome all the disciples and hijack the church. (p. 206)

Note how Nabeel plays of the Quran’s claims about the disciples against the theory about Paul corrupting Jesus’s message. If Paul did corrupt Jesus’s message so thoroughly then the Quran is wrong about what it says about Jesus’s disciples. If Paul did not corrupt Jesus’s message then Jesus’s message is not what the Quran says it was. The Muslim has no way out of the dilemma.

When it comes to Jesus’s claims to be divine Muslims also take Bible verses out of context in an attempt to prove their point.

How could I use verses from John’s gospel to deny the deity of Jesus when that Gospel as a whole certainly proclaimed that Jesus was God? That would be disingenuous, extracting verses out of their context to suit my purposes rather than seeing what they actually say.

It was this realization that led me to change the way I approached the Bible. Instead of searching for verses from the text that I could use to support my Islamic position, I started reading each verse carefully for the meaning it intended to convey. This meant understanding verses in light of one another and having to put the puzzle pieces together. How could John’s gospel call Jesus Lord and God (John 20:28) and say that the universe was created through him (John 1:3), while also saying that “the Father is greater” than Jesus (John 14:28 NIV) and that Jesus can do nothing apart from the Father (John 5:19)? A proper understanding of John’s gospel must account for all these verses, not just some.

The way to account for them, the way that the Christians of Nicaea and Chalcedon accounted for them, is by understanding that Jesus is God, that the Father is God, that the two are not the same person, yet there is only one God. In other words, the only way to account for the teachings of John’s gospel is through a monotheistic model with multiple persons: a Trinitarian model. In this model, the Father is greater than Jesus and Jesus does not do anything apart from the will of the Father, but both the Father and Jesus are God. (pp. 227-228)

Nabeel makes another interesting about Jesus claiming to be God:

To repeat, the one time in the Gospels that Jesus publicly claimed to be the Messiah was the same time he publicly claimed to be God [at his trial]. Since Muslims believe Jesus was the Messiah even though he publicly proclaimed it only once, we cannot demand he proclaim his deity more often or more boldly. He was not in the business of proclaiming his identity over and over again. He chose to wait for the right moment. (pp. 230-231)

The Quran’s claims and the historical evidence clash:

Could I really conclude that the Messiah was so woefully incompetent? Of course not, but that is what Islam requires us to believe if we are to take the historical evidence seriously. The records of Jesus’ identity are not just slightly mismatched with Islamic teachings; the records of Jesus’ identity are categorically incompatible with Islam. If Jesus truly taught tawhid, he was an entirely incompetent Messiah, worse than an abject failure. (p. 237)

The only option that accounted for the historical evidence was that the disciples simply got the facts wrong; but upon consideration, this posed a serious problem for my Islamic belief. If Allah saved Jesus from the cross while making it look like Jesus died, as most Muslims believe, then Allah is responsible for the disciples’ proclamation of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Therefore, Allah started Christianity, a false religion that has kept billions away from Islam. Worse, Christians believe Jesus is God because of their faith in his resurrection, yet the Quran tells us that people who believe Jesus is God will go to hell (5.72). Could I really believe that, just to save Jesus from the cross, God deceived the disciples, letting them proclaim that Jesus is the risen Lord and thereby sending billions of people to hell? (p. 237)

The Islamic narratives of Christian origins, and even of Islamic origins, are incompatible with history. In other words, to believe the truth of Islam is to ignore the historical evidence. (p. 291)

Some Muslims claim the text of the New Testament has been corrupted. Nabeel notes it’s more likely that the text of the Quran was corrupted than the text of the New Testament:

Apart from ignorance or bias, I am not sure how anyone can continue to accuse the Bible of corruption when the Quran would stand condemned under consistent scrutiny. Indeed, the history of the Quran was one of the factors that stopped me from accusing the Bible of corruption when I was a Muslim. On account of Uthman’s control over the Quran, there simply is no basis to accuse the Bible of large-scale corruption without condemning the Quran. (pp. 119-120)

Do not take away from this that you should argue the text of the Quran has been corrupted, however. It’s more a matter of applying a consistent standard.

As a Muslim, Nabeel had three arguments in Islam’s favor: “that Muhammad’s life and character testified that he was a prophet; that Muhammad was prophesied in the Bible; and that Muhammad had God-given insight into science” (p. 243). These arguments crumbled upon deeper inspection.

Regarding Muhammad’s character Nabeel discovered:

As far as his conduct with enemies, at times Muhammad would invoke curses upon them and encourage his men to compose insults and abusive poetry. On one occasion, he asked Allah to fill peoples’ homes with flames simply because they delayed the Muslims in their daily prayers. At other times, Muhammad sent assassins to kill his enemies in their sleep, and even to deceive and abuse trust in order to assassinate. He punished some enemies by cutting off their hands and feet, branding their eyes with a heated iron, and causing them to lick the dust until they died. He led battles against unarmed cities. He allowed even women and children to be killed during nighttime raids. On more than one occasion, Muhammad decimated tribes by killing all their men and teenage boys while distributing their women and children as slaves. This is quite contrary to the image of a Muhammad who reluctantly fought only defensive battles.

It also does not appear that Muhammad fought only those who were attacking him. Muhammad said, “I have been ordered to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger . . . then they save their lives and property from me.” Muhammad clarifies in another hadith, “I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim.” (pp. 250-251)

While critically studying Jesus’ claim to be God, I had been willing to discard John’s gospel because it was written fifty-five or sixty years after Jesus’ death, even though eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life would still have been alive at that time and in that community. If I treated the accounts of Muhammad’s life the same way, I would have to throw out absolutely everything, and I would have no basis to consider him my prophet. (p. 265)

This is the dilemma I had as a Muslim: Either I could trust the historical sources of Muhammad’s life and find a man I would never want to follow as a prophet, or I could question the sources and have no reason to consider him a prophet. Either way I could not conclude, based on the evidence, that Muhammad was a prophet of God. (pp. 264-265)

I would add that even if Muhammad was a morally excellent man that alone does not make him a prophet of God.

Speaking of scientific miracles in the Quran:

As a Muslim, I believed there were dozens of examples of miraculous scientific knowledge in the Quran, but when I started investigating them carefully, I found that each and every one succumbed to at least one of three critiques: First, the verses were being made to say things they did not assert (much like the “Muhammad in the Bible” prophecies); second, the science was actually well-known before Muhammad’s day (such as embryological development in stages); or third, the science was false (such as the bones developing before muscles). (p. 256)

I would add that a “scientific miracle” would have to involve learning something it was impossible to learn by normal human means (to point to a divine origin) yet still verifiable by normal human means (so mankind can verify it). Suppose a great scientist like Isaac Newton claimed he was a prophet on the basis of his scientific discoveries. If Newton could have learned these things by normal means then that is not evidence he was a prophet; it is evidence he was a gifted scientist. Likewise, even if, for the sake of argument, Muhammad made many scientific discoveries that would only make him a great scientist, not a prophet.

Unlike the Bible, the Quran contains few prophecies we can test it against:

When we consider the prophecies of the Quran carefully, we conclude there are virtually none to even test. (p. 276)

Muslims often believe the Quran has been miraculously preserved. Remember, the Quran started out as the spoken words of Muhammad and was only written down later. This is why part of the oral Quran may not have made its way into the written Quran. Nabeel did not find miraculous preservation:

If, according to the most trustworthy traditions, parts of the Quran were known by only one person, and other parts were missed, and indeed Muslims forgot verses, could it not be that some parts of the Quran were left out altogether? Can we really say such a precarious text has been perfectly preserved?

Unfortunately, we cannot. Sahih Bukhari puts the nail in the coffin by recording this hadith: “Umar said, ‘Ubay was the best of us in the recitation of the Qur’an yet we leave out some of what he recites.’ Ubay says, ‘I have taken it from the mouth of Allah’s Messenger and will not leave it out for anything whatever.'” So the very best reciter of the Quran was adamant that verses of the Quran have been left out. Muhammad himself chose Ubay as one of the best teachers of the Quran, and yet he disagreed with today’s Quran.

To summarize, not only is there no way to prove that the Quran has been perfectly preserved, but it appears to have been disproved: Portions are missing, and one of the greatest teachers of the Quran, hand selected by Muhammad, disagreed with today’s edition of the Quran. There is much, much more to be said against the argument from perfect preservation, but we have confined ourselves to just that evidence present in Sahih Bukhari, and not even all of that. (p. 282)

[F]ew Muslims realize that only one hundred years before, there were about eighty different readings of the Quran in the Muslim world, and that there are significant differences in Qurans even today. (p. 286)

Update: 2018-10-23: Quran’s Alleged Miraculous Preservation

At the request of commenter archivesislam, I’m adding this section to outline Nabeel Qureshi’s reasons for not believing the text of the Quran has been miraculously preserved. Qureshi explicitly states he is only presenting some of the evidence present in Sahih Bukhari. This is not a complete case. His argument can be found in chapter 38 under the heading “Perfect Preservation of the Quranic Text: In What Way Has It Been Perfectly Preserved?”

Qureshi starts by noting Caliph Uthman (r. 644-656) produced an official, edited copy of the Quran and ordered all other copies to be destroyed (Sahih Bukhari 6.61.510). Apparently at this time, a verse (33:23) was initially missed by Said bin Thabit during the copying of the Quran. Since we don’t have the pre-Uthmanic manuscripts it cannot be proven that Uthman’s edition of the Quran preserves the Quran perfectly.

Qureshi’s next point is that the Quran was originally transmitted orally instead of being written down. He cites Sahih Bukhari 6.61.509, where Umar is worried the heavy causalities among those who knew the Quran by heart could lead to a large part of the Quran being lost. Abu Bakr (r. 632-634) eventually had the fragmentary scripts and memories of the Quran collected and written down into one book. The last two verses of the Quran were remembered by a single man, Abi Khuzaima Al-Ansari (Sahih Bukhari 6.61.511). Muhammad used to say Muslims tended to forget verses from the Quran (Sahih Bukhari 6.61.550). Even Muhammad himself is said to have forgotten a verse of the Quran (Sahih Bukhari 6.61.558).

The above accounts of parts of the Quran nearly being forgotten forever raise questions about the perfect preservation of the Quran. Qureshi asks (p. 282): “If, according to the most trustworthy traditions, parts of the Quran were known by only one person, and other parts were missed, and indeed Muslims forgot verses, could it not be that some parts of the Quran were left out altogether? Can we really say such a precarious text has been perfectly preserved?”

Qureshi continues by noting Muhammad chose Ubay as one of the best teachers of the Quran (Sahih Bukhari 6.61.521). Sahih Bukhari 6.61.527 says that, despite Ubay being one of the best reciters of the Quran, some of what he recited was left out of the Quran. Ubay insisted what he said was taken from the mouth of Allah’s Apostle. If Ubay was right then today’s Quran is missing verses.

Finally, Qureshi mentions Quran 2:106 (“We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent?”) and 16:101 (“And when We substitute a verse in place of a verse – and Allah is most knowing of what He sends down – they say, “You, [O Muhammad], are but an inventor [of lies].” But most of them do not know.”). The Muslim may be okay with Allah abrogating the Quran but the non-Muslim notes the Quran itself says verses of the Quran are forgotten or replaced. This is in tension with the claim the Quran has been miraculously preserved. We may ask which version of the Quran has been miraculously preserved.

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26 thoughts on “Quotes from No God but One

  1. I need to read this book! I bought and read ‘Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus’ by Nabeel and then bought ‘No God But One’ but I gave it away to someone after I had barely started reading it :-) Also, I don’t know if you’re interested but you can watch Nabeel’s funeral online (https://youtu.be/jXy123Iqygg). It’s really moving. Blessings, Steven

  2. I know you Christians base your whole faith mostly on “spiritual experiences” and “miracles” .

    Take note of this, a young man dying of a rare form of cancer. How do you explain God’s plan on that?

  3. Nabeel appeals to evidence for Christianity and against Islam. The Christian does not claim to know God’s plan in such detail as to know why a man dies when he does. God doesn’t promise us long physical life.

  4. It’s right in the post: “Studying the following main topics converted Nabeel: (1) Jesus’s death by crucifixion, (2) Jesus’s resurrection from the dead, (3) Jesus’s claim to be God, (4) the prophetic authority of Muhammad, and (5) the divine inspiration of the Quran (p. 155).”

  5. Thanks for the summary, here is my reply:

    (1) I don’t deny the crucifixion, I deny that Jesus died on the cross. And their are many gospels that attest to this fact.

    (2) Since when is the Bible considered to be a historical document. The manuscripts you rely on are not radiocarbondated, and more than 90 percent come after the 9th Century. You have no manuscript in the first century, and all you have are scraps from the later half of the second century. Your whole corpus is highly questionably at best. So why should I believe on the resurrection of Christ and base it on faulty material.

    (3) Before we get into so-called verses of divnity, and we can argue that till the “cows come home” Let us agree on bigger topics. For example the doctrine of the trinity is not taught EXPLICITLY either in the Old Testament or on the lips of Jesus. This doctrine has to be derived and relies on “connect-the-dot theology”. If you can agree on that, then there is no reason to argue on the divinity of Christ, as the point becomes moot. Unless if you want to believe in a two person godhead, which you are welcome to do.

    (4) There are many miracles that God gave to Prophet Muhammad. But the greatest one, is the preserved verbatim word of God, the Qur’an.

    The Bible says in Isaiah 40: 8 “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”

    Who has a better claim to the above verse, the Bible or the Qur’an?

    (5) Can you elaborate on this?

    1. Any gospels that assert Jesus did not die on the cross are dated later than the first century and are influenced by Gnosticism and/or docetism. On the other hand, we have many first-century sources stating Jesus died on the cross. Historians prefer earlier writings over later writings. This is why historians who are neither Christians nor Muslims agree that Jesus of Nazareth died by crucifixion.

    2. The Bible has been considered an historical document since it was written. The dates of manuscripts are irrelevant. What is relevant is when the documents were written. The NT documents are first-century documents written within living memory of the events they describe. I think you should believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ because it’s the best hypothesis for historical facts such as: the death of Jesus, the empty tomb, the appearances to the disciples, and the rise of Christianity.

    3. That the doctrine of the Trinity is not explicitly taught in the Bible does not make the divinity of Christ a moot point. If Christ is divine then how can Islam be true?

    4. Are you claiming that the greatest miracle in support of Islam is the preservation of the text of the Quran? Is it better preserved than a religious text written after the invention of the printing press, such as the Book of Mormon? If this is the greatest miracle then it is no surprise that Nabeel converted to Christianity when he found the Quran had not been miraculously preserved.

    5. There seems to be a lack of positive reasons to believe the Quran is divinely inspired. Suppose we compare two hypotheses. First, the Quran was inspired by Allah. Second, the Quran was given by Muhammad without any divine inspiration. Why favor the first hypothesis over the second hypothesis?

  6. Thank you for your reply,

    You mentioned:
    “Any gospels that assert Jesus did not die on the cross are dated later than the first century”
    —————–Sir, I humbly suggest that you review the manuscript tradition of your religion. Let’s start off with a simple question and DO YOU HAVE ANY FRAGMENTS OR MANUSCRIPTS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT FROM THE 1st CENTURY CE? ( I put it in CAPS to make it easier to read for others)

    “On the other hand, we have many first-century sources stating Jesus died on the cross”
    ————evidence?

    “The Bible has been considered an historical document since it was written”
    —————————Again basing your belief off of a text which there is no evidence of by the manuscript tradition. Moreover the vast majority of your Christian history (more than 1000 years) you were either too illiterate or not allowed to read your Bible by your Priests. The first person to translate the Bible into English was burned at the stake. Even until the 70s some Christians were forbidden to read the bible. So you claim it is a “historical document”, to who? Definitely not to the majority of Christians in history.

    “That the doctrine of the Trinity is not explicitly taught in the Bible does not make the divinity of Christ a moot point.”
    —————-It does if you are ok with some sort of weird pantheon that is not composed of three. You could have a binity, or a quadrinity, or ……Hinduism, as they are a pantheistic religion which believes everything and everyone is part of God. Who limits the godhead is very important, and without that clearly stated you are left wondering. Moreover, do you feel comfortable with a doctrine which determines whether you go to heaven or hell, is not taught explicitly either in the Old Testament or on the lips of Jesus? You should rely on the words of your “god” as opposed to the words of men? Who is your Master, Jesus or someone else?

    “If Christ is divine then how can Islam be true?”
    ———————————Logic doesn’t follow. I am not saying the Bible is the word of God, I am saying you are saying the Bible is the word of God. I am using your standard to come to an understanding that the doctrines you follow can not be derived from your book. Whether I believe the Bible to be true or false is irrelevant to the discussion.

    “Is it better preserved than a religious text written after the invention of the printing press, such as the Book of Mormon?”
    ————————–Google “Lost 116 pages”.
    Moreover, there is no text on this planet which is preserved orally as the Qur’an. Nobody has memorized the Bible in Aramaic, or in Greek, or in Latin….or EVEN ENGLISH, which you read today. If every Bible were to be burned, you would be left with no tradition to rely on, and would go back to medieval ignorance of your scripture. While the Muslims from day 1, were memorizing their Holy Book, and teaching it to millions upon millions. Burn every Qur’an , give us half a day to a day, and we can produce one; Word for Word, Letter for Letter, Dot for Dot.

    “If this is the greatest miracle then it is no surprise that Nabeel converted to Christianity when he found the Quran had not been miraculously preserved.”
    ———————————-What is the greatest miracle you have observed? Now don’t tell me the resurrection of Jesus, as you were not there. You and I believe in the parting of the red sea for example , not because we were eye-witnesses but because of faith. Those were temporal miracles. The preservation of the Qur’an (among it’s many miracles) is a miracle that we can observe here and now.

    However , if what you consider to be a “miracle” is talking in tongues or seeing Jesus in your dream, or seeing the Virgin Mary on a piece of toast, then you got me. I have no way I can defeat you. (SARCASM)

    “Why favor the first hypothesis over the second hypothesis?”
    ——The same type of argument can be made by an atheist or agnostic or a Jew or any non-Christian about your scripture. At the end of the day , it does come down to approaching the subject matter with a clean and unbiased heart. And that goes for both of us.

    But one thing, which is not SUBJECTIVE but OBJECTIVE is your manuscript tradition. That does not require inner thought or contemplation. The fact is you do not have a New Testament, and to think otherwise is to base it off blind belief, and frankly arrogance of considering a Western Tradition to be superior to others. And dare I say, at the end of the day, a little touch of racism.

  7. I’m well aware of the manuscript evidence for the NT. The date an NT book was written is not determined by the date of the oldest extant manuscript we possess. The line of argument you are pursuing does not cast doubt on the first-century date of the NT writings. Nor does it provide a reason to believe the gospels that assert Jesus did not die on the cross were written before the gospels that assert Jesus did die on the cross.

    First-century sources mentioning Jesus’s death by crucifixion include Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, and Josephus. This can be contrasted with the zero first-century sources supporting the Islamic position.

    The historical reliability of the Bible is also not determined by when the earliest extant manuscripts can be dated to. We can compare biblical writings to archaeological finds and other ancient writings in order to determine its historical accuracy. When the Quran contradicts earlier historical sources we are justified in believing the Quran to be in error.

    The persons of the Godhead can be clearly delineated in the NT even if the doctrine of the Trinity is not made explicit. You err in thinking that just because something is not explicitly in the text means it is not implicitly in the text.

    The problem with claiming the preservation of the Quranic text is a miracle is two-fold. First, transmission of a text is a natural ability, not a supernatural ability. Second, as Nabeel found out, the text has not been preserved perfectly (last block quote of the post contains some of his words). If the greatest miracle for Islam isn’t real then what’s left?

    I asked you why we should believe the Quran is divinely inspired and you didn’t really answer the question. Regarding Christian Scripture, I can point to its historical accuracy and the argument from prophecy. You’ve provided no comparable reasons to believe in the Quran. Manuscripts only help us determine what the text says, not whether it is divinely inspired.

  8. The line of argument you are pursuing does not cast doubt on the first-century date of the NT writing”
    ——Prove me wrong, don’t say I am wrong, prove it.

    “First-century sources mentioning Jesus’s death by crucifixion include Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter,…|
    —————-Sorry, before we get to Josephus, you have a fragment or manuscript from the 1st century? Very simple question.

    ” and Josephus”
    —————So Josephus confirms all the accounts of the New Testament, it fully corroborates it. Say for example, does Josephus lines up historically with the Gospel of Luke?

    “The historical reliability of the Bible is also not determined by when the earliest extant manuscripts can be dated to. We can compare biblical writings to archaeological finds and other ancient writings in order to determine its historical accuracy.”
    ——Your scholars do a lot of hand holding for you. I know this is a sensitive topic, but instead of making blanket statements bring your evidence.

    “When the Qur’an contradicts earlier historical sources we are justified in believing the Qur’an to be in error.”
    —-The bible is not a historical document! The texts which say someone other than Jesus died on the cross is just as histrionically valid by that logic and reasoning The Qur’an is just stating that there is ambiguity as to what actually occurred and we have no idea what actually happened, but we can say with certainty that Jesus was not harmed or faced death. I personally believe( my unique opinion) that Simon of Cyrene died on the Cross, but this purely conjecture on my part, and I have no way to confirm. But my belief is just as valid as yours EXCEPT I have the preserved word of God, the Qur’an, confirming what might be more plausible than what you think to be true.

    “The persons of the Godhead can be clearly delineated in the NT even if the doctrine of the Trinity is not made explicit. ”
    ———————– Lets do this in chronological order. Before we get into NT, would you agree there is no explicit mention of the trinity in the OT? I apologize I like to be through, and start from A before going to Z. It makes the point more clear.

    “first, transmission of a text is a natural ability, not a supernatural ability. ”
    —-really, then why isn’t your NT preserved? The only religion to preserve its text both orally and in written form are the Muslims. Our corpus is second to none.

    “Few Muslims realize that only one hundred years before, there were about eighty different readings of the Quran in the Muslim world, and that there are significant differences in Qurans even today. (p. 286)”
    ———- This is another example of where, you have read an argument which criticizes Islam, but you have not even looked at the claim yourself. Nabeel could have written ” The Qur’an is blah, blah blah…..bad” therefore it must be right, because he is attacking another religion. I humbly suggest you look into his claim for yourself, before posting one sentence arguments on your blog post, and even worse making your whole argument off on one sentence. I can respond, but I prefer that you know what you are objecting to in the first place.

    “Regarding Christian Scripture, I can point to its historical accuracy and the argument from prophecy”
    ———so the resurrection is a historical fact? Then why isn’t every historian a Christian.

    |Manuscripts only help us determine what the text says, not whether it is divinely inspired.|
    ——I have a feeling you may be a KJV-only, correct?

  9. The date a manuscript was written merely provides the latest possible date that the autograph was written. Common sense dictates that a copy of a text was written after the autograph was written. To date the original document we need to look at its contents and how it fits with other sources of information. This allows us to posit a date for when the document was written. I’ve argued for specific dates of some NT documents on this site (look under the Bible Commentary link above). That we don’t have a first-century NT manuscript does not prevent NT scholars from dating the NT to the first-century.

    Josephus’s comments about the ministry of John the Baptist and the ministry of Jesus are compatible with the NT accounts. Josephus also tells us about the death of Jesus’s brother, James. The issue is not whether Josephus confirms the entire NT account but whether he confirms parts of it. One can also add the account of Tacitus as further early non-Christian evidence to Jesus’s death by crucifixion.

    This is the evidence you need to explain. Why do all the earliest sources contradict the Quran? Why would the first Christians invent Jesus’s death by crucifixion when it was embarrassing to them in their evangelism?

    The fact that the Bible agrees with other historical sources, both written and archaeological, is evidence of its historicity. Since the texts that say someone other than Jesus died on the cross are later than the sources that say Jesus died on the cross they are not good evidence. Historians prefer earlier sources over later sources (all else being equal). This is common sense historical methodology.

    In stating there is ambiguity in what occurred, the Quran is wrong once again. There’s no ambiguity. All the earliest sources concur that Jesus of Nazareth died on the cross.

    It’s interesting that you suggest Simon of Cyrene died on the cross. Mark 15:21 mentions that he was the father of Alexander and Rufus, as if the audience knew who these two men were. If Simon was executed in place of Jesus you’d think Mark of all people would mention it if he knew Simon’s sons personally. Yet he goes on to tell us it was Jesus who was killed.

    You suggest the NT has not been preserved. You’ll need to specify what counts as preservation.

    Anyway, since copying manuscripts is a natural activity it seems strange to claim the alleged preservation of the Quran is a miracle.

    I quoted more from Nabeel about the preservation of the Quran than what you quoted. You seem determined not to read what has already been written.

    And I’m not a KJV-onlyist.

  10. Apologizes for the late reply,
    You mentioned:
    “That we don’t have a first-century NT manuscript does not prevent NT scholars from dating the NT to the first-century.”
    ————— Who are these scholars you refer to? Have you looked at their methodology? I suggest you name some and research their rationale before making ambiguous and blanket statements.
    Now let’s look at the facts of your manuscript tradition, and let your reader’s decide. First off, I will begin by this quote which describes the nature of your manuscript tradition. No scholar would disagree with this:
    “This kind of realization coincided with the problems I was encountering the more closely I studied the surviving Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. It is one thing to say that the originals were inspired, but the reality is that we don’t have the originals—so saying they were inspired doesn’t help me much, unless I can reconstruct the originals. Moreover, the vast majority of Christians for the entire history of the church have not had access to the originals, making their inspiration something of a moot point. Not only do we not have the originals, we don’t have the first copies of the originals. We don’t even have copies of the copies of the originals, or copies of the copies of the copies of the originals. What we have are copies made later—much later. In most instances, they are copies made many centuries later. And these copies all differ from one another, in many thousands of places. As we will see later in this book, these copies differ from one another in so many places that we don’t even know how many differences there are. Possibly it is easiest to put it in comparative terms: there are more differences among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament” – Ehrman
    Moreover, here are some other points to consider:
    -None of your fragments or manuscripts have been radiocarbondated, and if they have they date to the middle ages. They rely on subjective science as opposed to REAL SCIENCE.
    -You have nothing from the 1st century
    -The earliest you have, P52, is the size of a credit card and dates from the later half of the second century
    -It takes you till the 4th Century to get a complete NT, and those manuscripts are highly questionable as well.
    -more than 94% of your surviving Greek manuscripts of the New Testament date from after the ninth Christian century. That is 800 years after the so-called originals.
    – And only 1% of Greek Manuscripts contain the whole New Testament
    ALL OF THE ABOVE ARE OBJECTIVE FACTS,DO NOT REQUIRE SUBJECTIVE INTERPRETATION.
    So the question is, are you comfortable with the rationale behind your scholars making these claims? Or perhaps blindly following them without reviewing their methodology is the name of the game?

    “The issue is not whether Josephus confirms the entire NT account but whether he confirms parts of it. One can also add the account of Tacitus as further early non-Christian evidence to Jesus’s death by crucifixion.”
    ———““Contrary to what Luke indicates, historians have long known from several ancient inscriptions, the Roman historian Tacitus, and the Jewish historian Josephus that Quirinius was not the governor of Syria until 6 C.E., fully ten years after Herod the Great died. If Jesus was born during the reign of Herod, then Quirinius was not the Syrian governor.”
    https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/josephus-and-tacitus-versus-luke-new-testament-contradiction-and-christian-hypocrisy/ (my blog)
    So tell me , who is right Josephus and Tacitus or Luke? OR are we going to pick and choose which parts confirm the NT? You can’t have your cake and eat it too!

    Moreover when bringing up Josephus and Tacitus, you should also bring up their statements for examination, instead of just “dropping names” (again!!) without looking at the evidence yourself. I have already made it clear that the Qur’an leaves the matter ambiguous, so it does not deny the crucifixion of some man. What it does deny is that man is Jesus. But what I find interesting is that you don’t mention whether the resurrection is a historical fact…..

    “Bible agrees with other historical sources, both written and archaeological, is evidence of its historicity.”
    ————-stating evidence, but not bringing evidence, is not evidence

    “Historians prefer earlier sources over later sources (all else being equal). This is common sense historical methodology.”
    ————-By that line of reasoning, Hinduism is more correct and valid than Christianity since the Bhagavad Gita comes way before the NT

    “All the earliest sources concur that Jesus of Nazareth died on the cross.”
    ——I have already dealt with the NT as not being a reliable source, and I have dealt with Josephus and Tacitus. Which sources do you have left?

    “Its interesting that you suggest Simon of Cyrene died on the cross. Mark 15:21 mentions that he was the father of Alexander and Rufus, as if the audience knew who these two men were. If Simon was executed in place of Jesus you’d think Mark of all people would mention it if he knew Simon’s sons personally. Yet he goes on to tell us it was Jesus who was killed.”
    —————-logic doesn’t follow.

    What is apparent is that it was Simon who carried the cross:
    +”A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross” (Mark)
    +” As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.” (Luke)
    +As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.(Matthew)
    So SIMON who was CARRYING THE CROSS, and not Jesus. Now let us look at the gospels you have rejected, and see their narrative:
    This second mimologue mounts another dramatic piece for us in his account of the cross of Christ; for he claims that not Jesus, but Simon of Cyrene, has suffered. For when the Lord was marched out of Jerusalem, as the Gospel passage says, one Simon of Cyrene was compelled to bear the cross. From this he finds his trickeries opportunity for composing his dramatic piece and says: Jesus changed Simon into his own form while he was bearing the cross, and changed himself into Simon, and delivered Simon to crucifixion in his place. During Simon’s crucifixion Jesus stood opposite him unseen, laughing at the persons who were crucifying Simon. But he himself flew off to the heavenly realms after delivering Simon to crucifixion, and returned to heaven without suffering. It was Simon himself who was crucified, not Jesus. Jesus, Basilides says, passed through all the powers on his flight to heaven, till he was restored to his own Father. (Panarion of Epiphanius: Against Basilides Part 24: 3.2-3.4)

    Wherefore he did not himself suffer death, but Simon, a certain man of Cyrene, being compelled, bore the cross in his stead; so that this latter being transfigured by him, that he might be thought to be Jesus, was crucified, through ignorance and error, while Jesus himself received the form of Simon, and, standing by, laughed at them. . (Irenaeus of Lyons: Against Heresies, Book 1 Ch 24: 4)

    Yes, they saw me; they punished me. It was another, their father, who drank the gall and the vinegar; it was not I. They struck me with the reed; it was another, Simon, who bore the cross on his shoulder. I was another upon Whom they placed the crown of thorns. But I was rejoicing in the height over all the wealth of the archons and the offspring of their error, of their empty glory. And I was laughing at their ignorance. (2nd Treatise of Great Seth: 9)

    Why should I give preference to your NT and not to these? These are both just as corrupt and just as preserved, depending on how you see the glass half-empty or full. You need the preserved and miraculous word of God, the Qur’an to clarify the matter for you.

    “You suggest the NT has not been preserved. You’ll need to specify what counts as preservation.”
    – ———Please see first point.

    “I quoted more from Nabeel about the preservation of the Quran than what you quoted. You seem determined not to read what has already been written.”
    ————I humble ask that you bring up a specific point/points within the discussion. Asking me to debunk the WHOLE article gives a muddle response, and it is preferable to have structure in a debate/discussion. Moreover, by bringing up a specific point, it ensures me that you know the argument he is making, as opposed to blindly throwing points which are not fully understood and thrown into discussion in a lame attempt to attack another religion. . To be blunt, I want to make sure you know and understand the objection is before quoting randomly from a book which bashes Islam. Understand the point he is making, and please articulate it back to me IN YOUR OWN WORDS, please. Thanks for your time.

  11. Nearly any scholarly introduction to the NT writings covers how the writings are dated. My claim that the NT writings date to the first century is not controversial. Perhaps you’ll find some scholars date a few writings to the early second century but that doesn’t change the fact that the NT gospels pre-date the non-canonical gospels (e.g., Basilides and The Second Treatise of Seth, which you mention, are both later). Again, you’re free to peruse the site for posts where I argue for the date of some NT writings and provide a bibliography for you to reference.

    That we don’t have the autographs of the NT writings is not surprising. We don’t have the autographs for nearly any ancient writings. That doesn’t prevent textual critics from reconstructing the original text. There are at least three up-to-date critical editions of the Greek NT: NA, UBS, and SBL. With the help of Bruce Metzger’s commentary on the UBS text we can see that the committee responsible for the UBS text believes over 98% of the Greek words in the NT are known with certainty. Even the layman can study the variants and see no major Christian doctrines are affected by the variants. Your suggestion I’m blindly following scholars is far from the mark.

    The issue of Quirinius is brought up frequently. I won’t go down that alley. Instead, let’s assume for the sake of argument that Luke has made an historical error. So what? Ancient historians (like modern historians) make mistakes. That doesn’t mean Luke is not intending to write history nor does it mean he did not get many things right. For instance, Colin Hemer’s book on Acts (which was also written by Luke) notes hundreds of things Luke got right.

    Evidence for the historicity of the Bible can be found under my Recommended Readings link at the top of the page. I feel no obligation to list the evidence in this comment thread. You can easily access the writings of Josephus and Tacitus if you so desire. You’re still stuck with the Quran saying who was crucified was ambiguous while all the best sources are not ambiguous on this point. You haven’t even offered an hypothesis for how the statements in the NT, in Josephus, and in Tacitus came about if Jesus was not killed on the cross. Nor have you provided a reason for the earliest Christians to make up the story of Jesus’s death in light of its embarrassing nature.

    You claim that, “By that line of reasoning, Hinduism is more correct and valid than Christianity since the Bhagavad Gita comes way before the NT”. This shows you don’t understand the reasoning of historians. When we are speaking of earlier sources, we are speaking of sources relative to an event. The Bhagavad Gita is not an early source on the life of Jesus and so is irrelevant to our discussion. As another example, the Quran is not an early source for the life of Jesus but it is an early source for the life of Muhammad.

    Suppose someone decided to write a biography of Muhammad and preferred sources written 600 years after his life to sources written much earlier. Would this not strike you as the wrong approach? But if it’s the wrong approach for Muhammad then a similar approach towards Jesus is also wrong.

    You simply assert the “logic doesn’t follow” in noting Mark and his audience knew the sons of Simon of Cyrene. Please explain why you object to my reasoning. Why does Mark mention Alexander and Rufus as if they were known to his audience?

    You ask why you should prefer the NT gospels to Basilides or The Second Treatise of Seth. There are at least four reasons. First, the NT gospels were written earlier. Second, the NT gospels include the embarrassing detail that Jesus died by crucifixion and that’s not something that would be made up. Third, the NT gospels are shown to be more reliable where they can be tested against other sources of information. Fourth, Basilides and The Second Treatise of Seth are deriving ideas from gnostic or docetist thought, not historical inquiry. You claim the works of Basilides are as well preserved as the NT but I don’t believe we actually have any extant writings from Basilides. You quoted church fathers describing Basilides, not Basilides’s work itself. I suggest you read The Second Treatise of Seth. Is it the kind of book compatible with Islam?

    You say I need the Quran to clarify matters. But there’s no lack of clarity over Jesus’s death on the cross. The Quran may as well claim there is a lack of clarity over who shot Abraham Lincoln. And you haven’t given me a reason to believe what the Quran says is divinely inspired. Even if the Quran is perfectly preserved that doesn’t tell me what it says is true. Suppose a completely fictional book was perfectly preserved. Does that make it true? No. Isn’t there something in what the Quran says that we can test against reality and which cannot have been created by man?

    I’ll save Nabeel’s arguments concerning the preservation of the Quran for a later comment.

  12. I’ve added a section to the post under the heading “Update: 2018-10-23: Quran’s Alleged Miraculous Preservation”. This summarizes Nabeel’s thoughts about the preservation of the Quran.

  13. “Nearly any scholarly introduction to the NT writings covers how the writings are dated. My claim that the NT writings date to the first century is not controversial.”
    ——Yes, and I am asking YOU which is superior a science like radiocarbon dating or paleography? Muslims can carbondate their stuff, why can’t Christians? Let’s not blindly follow scholars and try think outside of the constraints of our religious institutions. As a Christian I am sure you would request that of me, so I humbly request that of you.

    “NT gospels pre-date the non-canonical gospels (e.g., Basilides and The Second Treatise of Seth, which you mention, are both later).”
    -Again If your argument is that a previous account is more valid because it comes earlier in chronological order, then by that argument, narratives from a pagan religion like Hinduism must be accepted as being true. And if your talking about a “single event” , now I am not going to spend time combing through the Bhagavad Gita, but I am sure you would not agree that their narratives of how the world is formed of the concept of god/gods. Let’s not be inconsistent in using the standards you have setup.

    Moreover, the manuscripts of second treatise of Great Seth date to around the same time as Codex Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. So by manuscript tradition, against the opposing narrative is on the same level as.

    “. We don’t have the autographs for nearly any ancient writings. ”
    -Who’s asking for autographs? But at the same time the majority of your manuscript tradition comes after the 9th Century. The only difference between you and and a KJV-onlyist is a couple of centuries.

    “. That doesn’t prevent textual critics from reconstructing the original text. ”
    —- one third of my previous post dealt with specific points about your manuscript tradition. Could I get an affirmative that you accept the points I have brought forth? I kinda feel you have lightly brushed them aside, and I want to make sure you agree with these objections.

    “committee responsible for the UBS text believes over 98% of the Greek words in the NT are known with certainty”
    -blindly believing and following your authorities, without giving it a second thought. Like I mention as a Christian you would wish that I question my authorities and get out of the constraints of the intellectual box that prevents me from converting. I ask the same of you.

    “Even the layman can study the variants and see no major Christian doctrines are affected by the variants.”
    Incorrect: https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2017/06/25/do-any-of-the-textual-variants-affect-christian-doctrine/
    Moreover are you comfortable with Christians spreading lies about Jesus: https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2016/09/07/let-him-who-is-without-sin-cast-the-first-stone-not-in-the-bible/

    ” Your suggestion I’m blindly following scholars is far from the mark.”
    — You contradict yourself sir, in the same paragraph. : “that the committee responsible for the UBS text believes over 98% of the Greek words in the NT are known with certainty.”

    “The issue of Quirinius is brought up frequently. I won’t go down that alley. Instead, let’s assume for the sake of argument that Luke has made an historical error. So what? ”
    -My point, and I will articulate ir again is that if you bring up Tacitus and Josephus as evidence for the crucifixion and reject them for other historical inaccuracies, you are being inconsistent in your reasoning.

    ” Ancient historians (like modern historians) make mistakes. That doesn’t mean Luke is not intending to write history nor does it mean he did not get many things right. t.”
    —————the word of God has mistakes? Luke isn’t any historian according to you he is inspired by GOD therefore the criterion you are setting does not work.

    “Evidence for the historicity of the Bible can be found under my Recommended Readings link at the top of the page. I feel no obligation to list the evidence in this comment thread.”
    —-if your going to make an argument the onus is to bring up the source, as opposed to referring me to it. The same goes this and the objections you bring up from Nabeel Qureshi.

    “You haven’t even offered an hypothesis for how the statements in the NT, in Josephus, and in Tacitus came about if Jesus was not killed on the cross.”
    —-I have already told you, the narrative we hold is that it wasn’t Jesus, PERIOD. Now if you are saying that it was Jesus for sure based on this evidence it still could NOT contradict the Qurans narrative because it says ” he was not killed nor was he crucified but it was made to appear so” therefore if people thought he died and they chose to write about him than it’s no surprise that they claimed he was crucified and killed on the cross.

    “The Bhagavad Gita is not an early source on the life of Jesus and so is irrelevant to our discussion.

    “Suppose someone decided to write a biography of Muhammad and preferred sources written 600 years after his life to sources written much earlier. Would this not strike you as the wrong approach? But if it’s the wrong approach for Muhammad then a similar approach towards Jesus is also wrong.”

    —-Addressed above.

    Although it is already addressed I would like to add one thing If they had a strong chain (ISNAD) I would accept it. For more info please check this out:
    https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/hadith-collection-and-criticism/
    “…Hadith science is an amazing accomplishment, that stands as one of the most impressive intellectual feats and edifices in human history…”- Prof. Jonathan Brown

    “noting Mark and his audience knew the sons of Simon of Cyrene”
    —–your going to have to elaborate your argument more, as I don’t understand the point you are making.

    “You ask why you should prefer the NT gospels to Basilides or The Second Treatise of Seth. There are at least four reasons. First, the NT gospels were written earlier. ”
    —–Evidence? In fact from the manuscript tradition Codex VII of the Nag Hammadi codices dates to around the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus

    “Second, the NT gospels include the embarrassing detail that Jesus died by crucifixion and that’s not something that would be made up”
    ———–This is a weak and subjective argument because what may be embarrassing to you could very well be the contrary to someone else not to mention you guys love preaching this so there is no embarrassment. Now for the sake argument if we accept this criterion you are going to be consistent when you bring up evidence that shows uthman burned the quran why dont you apply the criterion there? I could say well if he really changed the quran as you ASSUME (because that’s all it is nothing more) than why would they write about it?

    ” Third, the NT gospels are shown to be more reliable where they can be tested against other sources of information. ”
    ????

    ” I suggest you read The Second Treatise of Seth. Is it the kind of book compatible with Islam?”
    In my previous comment I mentioned that you need the Qur’an to sort through the inconsistencies and half-stories which the Bible is composed off. Whether the whole of it agrees with the Qur’an is inconsequential. The argument being posed is that there are narratives that do exist which show Jesus didn’t die, but it was someone else.

    “The Quran may as well claim there is a lack of clarity over who shot Abraham Lincoln. ”
    -???? that is the future

    “And you haven’t given me a reason to believe what the Quran says is divinely inspired”
    What is your criteria, and perhaps you can provide an example with your Bible so that I know what you are asking per.

    “Even if the Quran is perfectly preserved that doesn’t tell me what it says is true. ”
    No other book on this planet is preserved both orally and in written form like the Qur’an and generally

    “Isn’t there something in what the Quran says that we can test against reality and which cannot have been created by man?”
    Perhaps you can tell me in relation to the Bible so that I can know exactly what you are looking for.
    “I’ve added a section to the post under the heading “Update: 2018-10-23: Quran’s Alleged Miraculous Preservation”. This summarizes Nabeel’s thoughts about the preservation of the Quran.”
    ———I was asking you to bring up the arguments on your own, as opposed to copying and pasting. Out of curiosity, have you read the references yourself? I ask again before blindly “machine gunning” quotes from a book, that you bring up a point in your own words with the quoted hadith.

  14. You don’t seem to understand how the date of a writing is determined. Carbon dating and paleography are only helpful in dating extant manuscripts, not in dating no longer extant autographs.

    You’re also making a false statement when you say NT manuscripts have not been carbon dated. In this post NT scholar Larry Hurtado states that several papyri from the Green Collection were carbon dated. His post contains a number of statements you should pay careful attention to.

    First, he says “the tests reported on in Oklahoma City, the results from the three labs were basically/broadly in agreement, which gives some assurance about the reliability of the process.” Carbon dating is not a fool proof process. It is at least conceivable the three labs would come back with diverging results. This indicates carbon dating is not as highly reliable as your tone might suggest.

    Second, he says “these results were broadly in agreement with the prior/independent palaeographical dating of these items. And this (as I see it) is the really larger import. It means (contrary to the reported comment by a distinguished papyrologist, who is not himself a palaeographer, that palaeographical dating is ‘bullshit’), that palaeographical dating (using today’s standards and practices) by competent palaeographers can be treated as broadly reliable. And that means that collections that don’t allow Carbon-dating can take some further basis for confidence in the practice of palaeographical dating of their items as well.” This should make you cautious in trying to pit carbon dating against paleographical dating. It is not Christians who oppose carbon dating (the Green Collection is owned by Christians), rather, it’s that many major libraries (e.g., the British Library) have policies that do not permit destruction of an item in any measure. Since carbon dating involves destroying a small part of the manuscript it is against the policy of said libraries.

    Third, he says “you must understand that Carbon-dating can, at best, offer a date-span of X plus/minus 50 years or so, e.g., X dated ca. 150-250 CE. That’s no more narrow than responsible palaeographers would date an item.” This is another reason not to pit carbon dating against paleographical dating.

    You proceed to make the absurd statement, “if your talking about a ‘single event’, now I am not going to spend time combing through the Bhagavad Gita, but I am sure you would not agree that their narratives of how the world is formed of the concept of god/gods.” I don’t accept the Bhagavad Gita as an historical source for the creation of the world because it was written 4.5 billion years after the creation of the world. In contrast, the NT, the writings of Josephus, and the works of Tacitus, were written within living memory of the events they describe.

    You continue to demonstrate your ignorance as to how writings are dated when you state, “the manuscripts of second treatise of Great Seth date to around the same time as Codex Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. So by manuscript tradition, against the opposing narrative is on the same level as.” Of course, historians are interested when a writing was originally written, not when a given manuscript is dated. When we examine that question we see they are not on the same level.

    You ask, “one third of my previous post dealt with specific points about your manuscript tradition. Could I get an affirmative that you accept the points I have brought forth? I kinda feel you have lightly brushed them aside, and I want to make sure you agree with these objections.” I have brushed them off because they’re irrelevant to dating the NT documents. Therefore, it’s not worth the time or effort to fact check your statements.

    You claim I blindly follow authorities when I note the UBS committee found 98% of the Greek words in the NT are known with certainty. In fact, I have Bruce Metzger’s textual commentary on their work and can weigh the arguments for myself.

    Regarding textual variants and important Christian doctrines your links miss the mark. Note how I claim “no major Christian doctrines are affected by the variants” and Bart Ehrman changes that to “it simply isn’t true that important doctrines are not involved”. What I’m saying is that doctrinal beliefs would not change depending on which variant is deemed original in this or that passage. The examples you cite don’t change my mind. Also, notice how at the end of your first link Ehrman shifts from discussing whether variants affect major Christian doctrines to whether Christians think textual criticism is important. He’s attacking a strawman in (d).

    You state, “My point . . . is that if you bring up Tacitus and Josephus as evidence for the crucifixion and reject them for other historical inaccuracies, you are being inconsistent in your reasoning.” But that’s not what I’m doing. I’m noting that our sources conflict over Quirinius (at first glance at least). A long argument, outside the scope of this post, would need to be made about which statement regarding Quirinius is more likely to be accurate. Whether the Gospel of Luke is inerrant or inspired by God is irrelevant to my argument here.

    I asked you for an hypothesis for how the statements in the NT, in Josephus, and in Tacitus came about if Jesus was not killed on the cross. You appear to offer the hypothesis that Allah (?) deceived the onlookers and Jesus was not killed. The problem is that there’s no evidence in favor of this hypothesis written within living memory of the event. Furthermore, it is a more ad hoc and complex hypothesis than the hypothesis that it was Jesus who died on the cross. I’ll note some further difficulties below.

    Returning to Mark 15:21, we read that the “soldiers forced a passerby to carry his cross, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country (he was the father of Alexander and Rufus).” Why does Mark, and Mark alone among the Synoptics, mention that Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus? They don’t appear anywhere else in the narrative. A plausible suggestion is that they were known to both Mark and his readers. Paul mentions a Rufus in Rome (Rom 16:13). A burial cave in Israel used for Cyrenian Jews was found to contain an ossuary of an Alexander son of Simon. We also know there were early Christians in Cyrene (Acts 11:20). If we put these pieces together it is rather inexplicable how Simon of Cyrene could have been crucified in Jesus’s place and no one, not even his sons or people from his village, knew it. This is in addition to the absurdity of none of Jesus’s own disciples being aware their teacher was not crucified.

    You claim noting the embarrassment of the crucifixion is a subjective judgment. On the contrary, it’s what the ancients say. For example, the apostle Paul says “but we preach about a crucified Christ, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” You would have us believe that Paul, a missionary trying to make converts, would not make sure the death of Jesus happened despite it being a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles he was trying to convert.

    You ask for an example of why we might believe a text is divinely inspired. A biblical example can be taken from Daniel 9:24-27. We read that an anointed one will be cut off after 69 weeks of years. This appears to be a prediction of Jesus’s death in the first century. Whether you agree with my interpretation, the point is that accurately predicting the future centuries in advance is something God can do that man can’t do. On the other hand, remembering words and writing manuscripts is something men can do.

    Finally, I have read Nabeel’s references about the alleged miraculous preservation of the Quran. His argument was put into my own words and references to the hadith (which anyone can look up online) were included. The ball is in your court to address the argument or not.

  15. You’re also making a false statement when you say NT manuscripts have not been carbon dated. ”
    —Straw-man, please scroll up: “None of your fragments or manuscripts have been radiocarbondated, and if they have they date to the middle ages. ”

    “In this post NT scholar Larry Hurtado states that several papyri from the Green Collection were carbon dated.”
    ————Wow, I commend your googling skills, kudos on finding an obscure site on the internet .(SARCASM) . Please provide a reference for either an Academic Book, Paper or Papyrus numbers. I would like to see the data for my own.

    Now if you respond, “Well I trust him, he’s an expert…blah blah blah”. Then this is Wallace and ‘First-Century Mark’, all over again. And we know how that ended…..

    Provide the above as I have stated, then we talk. If not, then no need to copy and paste his entire site to defend your shady manuscript tradition.

    ” I don’t accept the Bhagavad Gita as an historical source for the creation of the world because it was written 4.5 billion years after the creation of the world”
    —-You want the ORIGINAL AUTOGRAPHS? You must be crazy.

    “you continue to demonstrate your ignorance as to how writings are dated when you state”
    ——–Let’s take it easy there buddy with the personal attacks. I understand sometimes when sensitive topics like these are discussed, it may shake the pillars and foundations of one’s faith. But we should arise from the these self-imposed shackles of ignorance and maintain our composure and openness to the truth. I humbly advice you in this matter.

    “I have brushed them off because they’re irrelevant to dating the NT documents. Therefore, it’s not worth the time or effort to fact check your statements.”
    —-Ignorance is Bliss. I have endeavored to answer everyone of your objections, while you have “tactfully” picked and chosen your arguments. And keeping that aside……you have kinda of hurt my feelings, I spent so much time typing that out for you :'(

    Before I continue you my critique , I want an admission on your part regarding these facts. And if they are incorrect, why? . I anxiously await your reply, as your following arguments are sorely in need of correction and I really want to get into the hadith which has been misinterpreted by Nabeel Qureshi and you.

  16. Larry Hurtado is a well-known NT scholar, not an obscure source. Unfortunately, he was under a confidentiality agreement so could not say more about the conference other than the results will be published some time in the future.

    For reasons unknown, you thought I wanted autographs of the Bhagavad Gita. I never said that. From what little I know, it is dated to somewhere around 500-200 BC. That means it is not a writing from near the creation of the world. It is not comparable to first-century writings describing first-century events.

    I’m sorry you think NT textual criticism somehow damages the truth of Christianity. You’re simply mistaken. As you can see from the site, I go through the Bible verse-by-verse and read through scholarly commentaries. Textual variants are discussed in these commentaries when they are relevant. Not one of them has shaken my faith. I have Bruce Metzger’s commentary on NT textual criticism. It contains every NT passage with noteworthy textual variants. None of them shake my faith.

    Perhaps because your faith is based (in part) on the miraculous preservation of the Quran you think Christians expect the Bible to be miraculously preserved. That’s not the case. If the biggest miracle in support of Islam is the miraculous preservation of the Quran then it makes sense a Muslim’s faith might be shaken by textual variants in the Quran manuscripts. But it can’t be assumed that people of other religions believe their holy books have been miraculously preserved.

    Statements of fact are not personal attacks. You simply do not seem to grasp the difference between dating a manuscript and dating the original document. When I make a statement about when a document was originally written you counter with the date of manuscripts. That does not address my points.

    As I said earlier, I don’t think it’s worth the time to verify your alleged facts about NT manuscripts. Off the top of my head I will say: (1) we do not have NT autographs, just as we don’t have the autographs of most ancient writings; (2) paleography is a real science because writing style does change over time; (3) there are no first-century NT manuscripts; (4) P52 might date to the first half of the second-century (a date range is usually given) but this doesn’t make a large difference; and (5) the first complete NT manuscripts dating to the fourth century sounds plausible.

    If you really want to get to the hadith then get to it already.

  17. ” Unfortunately, he was under a confidentiality agreement so could not say more about the conference other than the results will be published some time in the future.”
    Doesn’t this remind you of someone, his name starts with a W :)

    Also you forgot to address:

    “-more than 94% of your surviving Greek manuscripts of the New Testament date from after the ninth Christian century. That is 800 years after the so-called originals.
    – And only 1% of Greek Manuscripts contain the whole New Testament”

    I am eager to continue my critique, I await your reply.

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