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Featured Can theological difference between the Gospels and the Qur'an be resolved?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by adrian009, Aug 12, 2018.

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  1. Yes

    8 vote(s)
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  2. No

    7 vote(s)
    41.2%
  3. Possibly

    1 vote(s)
    5.9%
  4. I don't know

    1 vote(s)
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  1. wizanda

    wizanda One Accepts All Religious Texts
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    There isn't a sign, the Son of Man comes secretly like a thief before the final hour (Revelation 3:3, Revelation 16:15, Matthew 25:1-13, Mark 13:35-37), and gives free explanation of the scriptures, to see if any are paying attention (Revelation 3:18).

    To resolve this matter we'd create a more universal understanding, that supersedes all these naive ancient religions...

    Yet all of this is purposefully done; time is an illusion; this is all a test to see if people actually pay attention to context.

    Since the Tanakh already stipulated who Yeshua was, and that this would be a Snare to remove the ungodly...

    Other than trying to convert a load of demons down near Hell; for what reasons would we want to resolve this matter? o_O

    In my opinion. :innocent:
     
  2. Thinking Homer

    Thinking Homer Understanding and challenging different worldviews

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    If you read the whole chapter, it becomes clear who the One Shepherd is. (But I think you already know the answer to this)

    I also struggled with my Christian faith for many years due to problems in my personal life. But as I came to read the Bible and really understand the words of Jesus Christ, I became convinced that this was the truth and the only path to salvation. I think the martyrdom of Jesus and his Apostles spoke volumes, that Christianity was not just another religion, but a truth worth dying for. Christianity stands above other faiths in terms of textual criticism, the moral teachings, archaeological evidence, fulfilled prophecies, and coherent worldview. I think you would agree with everything I mentioned, except the exclusive claims of the Christian faith.
     
  3. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    I too struggled with my Faith but that was when I was in my early 20s many years ago. I'm in my 50s now.

    What we share is a belief in the same God, Jesus, and Bible although we will have different understandings and perceptions.

    Christianity will always be close to my heart as its part of my culture and the religion I grew up with. I would not expect someone who has grown up with Islam, Buddhism, or Hinduism to feel the same way. Salvation is an Abrahamic term of faith more relevant to the theologies of Christianity and islam. If we have Faith and applying the highest Teachings of their Faith to their lives we are more likely to progress positively through this world and the next but it alos depends on God's Justice and Mercy.

    While acknowledging the Martyrdom of Christ and the apostles, one of our Manifestations of God (The Bab) died by execution and thousands of the early Baha'is (called Babis) were put to death as the Persian and Ottoman Empires did all they could to eradicate this new Faith over a period of 75 years, well aware of the claims of its Founders.

    When you mention textual criticism, you would need to elaborate what you mean being careful to avoid cultural bias. The scared writings of Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism would be studied much more in countries where these Faiths form the majority.

    One religion being more moral is a very relative term. We need to consider the historic context of each Faith. Christianity that emerged two thousand years ago is very weak on matters such as slavery, equality of women and the importance of democracy when governing human affairs. The Baha'i Faith emerged out of nineteenth century Persia and is much stronger in such areas. Our Teachings are much more suited to the modern age than than the ancient religions, including Christianity.

    Islam has stronger archaelogical evidence over Christianity where it counts. Regardless of whether or not you believe Muhammad to be a Messenger of God, the Qur'an can be proven as more authentic than the Gospels. The Baha'i Faith being a recent religion doesn't have many of the problems of the older religions with archaelogical evidence supporting its authenticity.

    In regards fulfilled prophecies, we would agree that Christ fulfilled many though not all of the prophecies in Judaism. However you may or may not know the Bab and Baha'u'llah fulfilled many prophecies in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.

    Coherence is a relative term. The Christian church is divided and its theology just appears more coherent to Christians because they have grown up with otn and have become accustomed to all the contradictions and inconsistencies. The insistence that some Christians have on literal interpretation of some biblical passages is anything but coherent. :)
     
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  4. wizanda

    wizanda One Accepts All Religious Texts
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    No it can't... Tho we can historically show we know more about the Islamic texts that exist; Muhammad could still be a made up character, who never really existed.

    The Quran is not validated by the Tanakh, which the New Testament is in precise details...

    The prophecies within the Gospels we can show as existing, and having happened; the Quran doesn't even understand these concepts, just like Rabbinic Judaism.

    In my opinion. :innocent:
     
  5. Thinking Homer

    Thinking Homer Understanding and challenging different worldviews

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    I haven’t gotten to studying the Baha’i faith yet, so I can’t really say much about it.. But I will get to it eventually and I will be sure to ask more questions then :)

    In terms of textual criticism, I am referring to how close the modern versions of the Holy Scriptures reflect on what was originally written (Has the Bible been corrupted or tampered with over the years like Muslims claim?) Correct me if I am wrong, but there is no other ancient religion with as many accurately copied manuscripts as the Bible. (25 000-30 000 handwritten copies of the New Testament, 5700 in original Greek). There is also the Dead Sea Scrolls which confirm that there has been very little change since the 1st century (minor changes in terms of spelling and grammar as one would expect).

    TEXTUAL CRITICISM OF THE BIBLE

    The problem I have with the Quran in terms of textual criticism is that Muslims claim that not a single letter or dot has been changed since the 6th century, and that it has been perfectly preserved. (Surah 15:9 prompts Muslims into saying this) As it stands, one would find minor variants in the Quran when purchased in Lebanon, as compared to Turkey (There are over 20 different Arabic versions of the Qur’an worldwide).



    As I mentioned before, such a variant would be expected in such an ancient text, so I do not have an issue with that. The problem comes in when people shy away from modern scholarship and the facts to protect their own worldview, and Muslims have imposed this ideal worldview unto other non-Muslims.

    In terms of morality, we can compare how the religions of Christianity and Islam were founded in the 1st and 6th century. Was it done peacefully without violence, or was it through violent subjugation of the opposition? It is also quite easy to compare the lives of our prophets: Jesus and Muhammad, and see who lived a more moral life. I can raise a few concerns with Muhammad in terms of raping war captives (Sunan Abu Dawud 2150, Surah 4:24), subjugating women (Surah 4:34), marrying a minor (Sahih al-Bukhari 3896), etc but that’s a discussion for another day.

    When you say that not all the prophecies regarding Jesus were fulfilled, which specific ones are you referring to? Even if I grant you that not all 300 prophecies were fulfilled, Jesus was the only prophet whose birth, life, death and resurrection have been predicted to that accuracy, centuries before his birth in the Hebrew Bible.

    When you refer to divisions in the Christian church, I am guessing you are referring to the denominations? But that is true for all religions. In Islam you have the Sunnis and Shias, which can be further subdivided. In Hinduism you have Shaktaism, Shaivism, Vaishnavasim and Smartism, which, again, be further subdivided. In Buddhism you also have the 3 major denominations: Mahayana, Theravada, and Vajrayana.

    I am not knowledgeable enough to talk about denominations in other religions, but in Christianity, the differences are over things like whether spiritual gifts and miracles still occur (Charismatics vs Evangelicals) and whether someone should be baptized at birth or later on in life. The core theological doctrines regarding original sin, the nature of Christ, salvation and eschatology are consistent. Organized groups like Jehovah’s witnesses and Mormonism are considered unorthodox, and their doctrines are rejected by mainstream Christianity.
     
    #45 Thinking Homer, Aug 17, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
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  6. johnsmithjohnsmith

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  7. Thinking Homer

    Thinking Homer Understanding and challenging different worldviews

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  8. viole

    viole Metaphysical Naturalist
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    And if I do, what are you going to say?

    Ciao

    - viole
     
  9. stvdv

    stvdv Well-Known Member

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    This question is mainly for adherents of a Theistic religion. Can theological difference between the Gospels and the Qur'an be resolved?
    This is my believe. I believe "ad hominem attack" is "not done" and I don't like it. So I avoid people who believe "ad hominem attack" is fine and who do this.
     
    #49 stvdv, Aug 17, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
  10. viole

    viole Metaphysical Naturalist
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    But judging and ad hominem attacks are not the same thing.

    Ciao

    - viole
     
  11. stvdv

    stvdv Well-Known Member

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    I avoid people who are attacking the person instead of his actions, like in discrimination.
     
  12. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    This is an interesting topic in its own right. Its slightly off topic for this OP, but important to consider.

    Hearing Christian and Islamic apologists is useful but I am a Baha'i and not a Muslim.

    To answer the question we simply need to appreciate the history of the Qur'an and the New Testament.

    The New Testament wasn't decided on until the 4th century AD. The version of the Qur'an currently in use was decided by the 3rd Caliphate Uthman within two decades of Muhammad's passing.

    What commends it (Quran) so powerfully to the historian is its authenticity, not as the Word of God, of course, as the Muslims believe but as the secular historian cannot and should not, but rather as a document attesting to what Muhammad said at that time and place, early seventh-century Mecca. It is not a transcript, however; our present Quran is the result of an edition prepared under the orders of Uthman... but the search for significant variants in the partial versions extant before Uthman's standard edition, what can be called the sources behind our text, has not yielded any differences of great significance. Those Uthmanic clues are fragmentary, however, and large 'invented' portions might well have been added to our Quran or authentic material deleted. So it has been charged in fact by some Muslims who failed to find in the present Quran any explicit reference to the designation of a successor to the Prophet and so have alleged tampering with the original texts. But the argument is so patently tendentious and the evidence adduced for the fact so exiguous that few have failed to be convinced that what is in our copy of the Quran is in fact what Muhammad taught, and is expressed in his own words.

    Criticism of the Quran - Wikipedia

    The authenticity of the Quran as opposed to a criticism of what it teaches looks solid to me.

    Criticism of the Quran - Wikipedia

    However Islamic scholars are going through a period of more honestly critiquing the history of the Quran just as Christians have done with the Bible. Conservative and fanatical Islamic clergy have been a great barrier for Muslim scholars and consequently there is somewhat of a division between scholars and clergy. Christians have a history of conservative scholars treating their more progressive scholars badly of course so I take any claims of the so called progressive attitude of Christian scholars with some skepticism.

    The earliest version of the Quran is the Sana'a Manuscript. We have that lower text where radiocarbon dating places it between 578 and 669 based on 95%confidence intervals with radiocarbon dating. 669 is only 37 years after the prophet Muhammad passed away in 632!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sana'a_manuscript

    Compare that to the earliest fragment of the New Testament:

    The earliest manuscript of a New Testament text is a business-card-sized fragment from the Gospel of John, Rylands Library Papyrus P52, which may be as early as the first half of the 2nd century.

    Biblical manuscript - Wikipedia

    A tiny fragment in the second century compared to all we have available in the first century of the Islamic calendar. The Bible is never going to beat the Quran for authenticity regardless of the existence of God.

    The lower case of the Sana'a manuscript was almost certainly an early version of the Quran before Uthman's version. He ordered the destruction of all other variants for good reason. The variation does raise interesting questions though and that is a good thing. However I don't think any scholar is seriously saying the Qur'an is not reliable in portraying what Muhammad said. Its just not as reliable as the conservative Islamic apologists have been claiming.

    In regards the Birmingham manuscript of the Qur'an:

    Birmingham Quran manuscript - Wikipedia

    In December 2015 Professor François Déroche of the Collège de France confirmed the identification of the two Birmingham leaves with those of the Paris Qur'an BnF Arabe 328(c), as had been proposed by Dr Alba Fedeli. Prof. Deroche expressed reservations about the reliability of the radiocarbon dates proposed for the Birmingham leaves, noting instances elsewhere in which radiocarbon dating had proved inaccurate in testing Qur'ans with an explicit endowment date; and also that none of the counterpart Paris leaves had yet been carbon-dated.

    Criticism of the Quran - Wikipedia

    I've started a new OP to cover this topic as I haven't seen it discussed on RF in recent times.

    The Qur'an or the Gospels: Which is more authentic?

    Feel free to contribue.:)
     
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  13. Thinking Homer

    Thinking Homer Understanding and challenging different worldviews

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    Yeah this is indeed an interesting topic, a whole ton of research to go through to be sure haha... However one thing that I am glad about is that Muslim scholarship is catching up to Christian scholarship, and both texts are being held in the same degree of criticism. Many Muslim scholars are admitting that there are slight variants in the Arabic Quran which would have been unfathomable a few decades before.

    Yeah this is true. None of the original text survived (save for small fragments). However the handwritten manuscripts from the original number in the thousands, with a 99% consistency, so we can be quite sure it's close to the original.
     
  14. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Yes, but the original of what, written by whom and when?

    Historical reliability of the Gospels - Wikipedia

    We can not establish with any certainty that any of the gospel writers were eye witnesses to the events of which they wrote. They were most likely written 30 - 80 years after Christ was crucified and as a result of the passing down of oral traditions. The authors were most likely second or third generation Christians.

    In contrast, the Quran's finalised version had been authorised by Uthman who was a contemporary of Muhammad and the Caliph after that was Ali, Muhammad's son-in-law.

    Once again, in terms of textural criticism, the Qur'an is clearly superior.

    On the other hand I reject the Muslim belief that the gospels are corrupted and obsolete.
     
  15. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    We need to consider that audiences taught by both Muhammad and Jesus were very different from each other. Jesus taught almost an exclusively Jewish audience whom had nearly 1500 experience with Mosaic law as well as their experiences with the Assyrian, Babylonian, Person, Greek and then Roman Empires. Muhammad on the other hand taught Nomadic Arabic tribes people who had little education and were pagans. These peoples were most likely barbaric by todays standards. Muhammad taught them to worship Allah, the One true God of the Jews and Christians and not to worship all the other gods. Despite fierce resistance and efforts from the Quraysh tribe to annihilate the Muslims, Muhammad enabled the Muslims to defend themselves and eventually to unite all the tribes of the Arabian Penisula.

    What Christians overlook in their comparison of Christianity and Islam is that throughout the Old and New Testaments we have the same God. Yahweh in the Hebrew bible is exactly the same God as in the New Testament but we have a more developed understanding of Him through Christ. Therefore the book of Joshua details some harrowing accounts of the massacre of Caananites, ordered by God Himself.

    I'm familiar with both Christian and Islamic apologetists who try to denigrate each others religion but its just a race to the bottom of the heap for both religions if we look at their history of violence and the theological justifications used.
     
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  16. Thinking Homer

    Thinking Homer Understanding and challenging different worldviews

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    I think the problem I have with Muslim scholarship is that they have been dishonest for decades, saying that the Quran is IDENTICAL to the original autograph, and that there were no variants. It is thanks to Western scholarship that much of what we know about the Quran has been disclosed.

    Yes I will grant you the fact that the time interval between the autograph and the written copy is shorter with the Quran as compared to the Gospels. But studies in textual criticism is way more advanced in Christianity compared to Islam. I feel like until the Quran has been properly scrutinized and studied under the same standards, it is still early to make such a claim.

    Some more sites on this topic:
    https://bible-quran.com/quran-manuscripts-copyist-errors/
    https://bible-quran.com/sana-quran/
    Textual Criticism of Bible and Qur'an

    Daniel Wallace, one of the leading scholars in NT textual criticism
     
  17. Thinking Homer

    Thinking Homer Understanding and challenging different worldviews

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    God often used the Israelites to destroy other pagan nations, and like you mentioned, we see a similar story in the book of Joshua. In fact when the Israelites themselves turned to idol worship, God used other pagan nations like the Babylonian and the Assyrian Empires to punish them and take them into exile. We see a striking similarity in what Muhammad did with the pagan worshipers in Mecca. So is Yahweh and Allah the same God? No, they cannot be, for the following reason:

    The coming of Jesus introduced an era where Yahweh would no longer violently punish idolaters as He had done in the past, simply because Jesus would carry their sins. Jesus condemned violence of any kind by saying "Put your sword in place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword" (Matthew 26:52) and "Let the one who is without sin be the first to cast a stone" (John 8:7) Paul and the other Apostles heeded to this command, and were martyred by their violent Roman oppressors. The coming of Christ put an end to the old covenant based on the oppressive Mosaic Law, and established a new covenant of grace and forgiveness.

    'By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.' - Hebrews 8:13

    'In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. ' - Luke 22:20

    'For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. ' Hebrews 9:15


    Now if Yahweh had gotten rid of the old covenant of Moses, why would Allah then tell Muhammad to kill and subjugate all the polytheists, which is clearly a Mosaic Law? (Deuteronomy 13:9, Quran 9:5) If Muhammad was born before the establishment of the new covenant, this command would make sense, but not after. The coming of the new covenant was prophesized by Yahweh Himself in Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Ezekiel 36:24-28. If Yahweh and Yeshua established the new covenant, why would Allah tell Muhammad to follow the obsolete Mosaic Law?

    Yahweh = Yeshua = Allah?

    Some more interesting reading on this topic:
    Why did God condone such terrible violence in the Old Testament?
    The new covenant – What is it?
     
  18. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    It sounds remarkably similar to ‘Christian’ scholarship then.

    We have more than enough information to determine the matter. The Quran in regards textural criticism is simply eclipses the Gospels from whatever objective standard applied.

    The more scholarship done, the more tenuous the conservative Christians position. I’ll always believe in Jesus though.
     
  19. Thinking Homer

    Thinking Homer Understanding and challenging different worldviews

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    Can you refer me to an article so I know exactly what you are referring to?
     
  20. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    I think the young earth movement that ignores science and creates its own pseudoscience best exemplifies the problem.
     
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