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The New Testament, Islam and the Baha'i Faith

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by adrian009, May 19, 2019.

  1. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    The New Testament contains 27 books including the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John but also the epistles written or inspired by the Apostles along with the book of Revelation. The New Testament together with the Hebrew Bible makes up the sacred writings of Christianity and is argubaly the most influential and widely read book known.

    Islam emerged from the Arabian peninsula in 610 AD when Muhammad began experiencing visions from the angel Gabriel in the cave of Hira. Over the next 22 years the Quran was revealed with verses providing many references to both the New Testament and Hebrew Bible. Islam theology however has taken the view the Bible has been corrupted and superseded by the Quran.

    The Baha'i Faith emerged from Persia, an Islamic civilisation during the nineteenth century. Baha'is believe both the Bab and Baha'u'llah produced a Revelation from God analagous to the Gospels and Quran. There are however, important differences in theology between Islam and the Baha'i Faith when it comes to perspective about the New Testament.

    1/ Baha'is generally reject the Islamic view the New Testament is corrupted.

    2/ Baha'is see the New Testament as having many universal truths that are still relevant today.

    3/ Baha'is don't have a view that Paul corrupted Christianity and view him as being an apostle along with Peter, James, and John.

    Its worth mentioning Baha'is tend to view some passages in the Bible as being allegorical that some Christians would take literally. Baha'is have different views about the Bible just as Christians that would fall along a conservative/liberal spectrum. Modern biblical scholarship is valued but is not the beginning and end of knowledge.

    This is all somewhat of an oversimplification of course. I'm interested to further consider and compare the distinctive and differing worldviews between Christianity, Islam and the Baha'i Faith in regards the New Testament. I've put this in the religious debates section to allow anyone to discuss and explore perspectives about the New Testament, particularly those offered by the Abrahamic Faiths.
     
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  2. whirlingmerc

    whirlingmerc Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting. I rarely meet Bahai believers and don't know much about their beliefs.

    I take the New Testament in the original manuscripts to be true in the sense of the literature which I see as inspired even down to the choice of words being singular or plural or verbs past or present tense (which is what the New Testament claims). I also see it as sufficient for godliness and salvation, the teachings of the apostles being 'delivered once and for all"

    Some of the chief beliefs of the New Testament (in the literature itself) are
    - the world was made by and for Jesus
    - the death and resurrection of Jesus being for the glory of God
    - the redemption and adoption of believers
    - the Old Testament is inspired and fully trustworthy
    - God's chief end is God's glory and near the apex of His glory is showing mercy

    We don't have the original manuscripts literally, but we virtually have them to a high degree of confidence comparing the many manuscripts and sources.


    We do agree with Islam that Jesus is virgin born, sinless, Messiah, a prophet (and more than a prophet) and coming again. There are also points of disagreement

    I think Jesus in Christianity being from eternity and uncreated is more analogous to the Islamic view that the Koran was from eternity and uncreated.

    Christians expect to be insulted as Christ was. Islam doesn't have that same expectation and reacts harder to insults where Christians are told to turn the other cheek and show mercy and even love your enemies.
     
    #2 whirlingmerc, May 19, 2019
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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  3. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Thanks for your post.

    RF is an opportunity to meet people of other faiths and learn about their religion. When Jesus came along He not only reformed Judaism but brought a New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31) that had implications for the practice of the Old Covenant (Hebrews 8:13). This was such a radical departure from Judaism that it constituted not just a reform within Judaism but He brought a new religion independent of Judaism although clearly founded on it. One could do a comparison between Judaism and Christian. While there would be much in common there would be essential differences too. That does not mean one is founded on a revelation from God and the other isn't. Both Moses and Jesus brought New Teachings that profoundly transformed the spiritual life of their followers.

    God's revelation through Muhammad has important parallels to Christianity in how they relate to former religions. Muhammad taught His people who were pagans to be like the Jews and Christians, and worship the one True God. He taught about Moses, Jesus and the Prophets of old. An estimated quarter of the Quran refers to about 40 to 50 characters in the Bible.

    A major differences between Christ and Muhammad is the background of those they taught. Christ taught an almost exclusively Jewish audience, whose ancestors had had 1,500 years experience of the Torah and the Teachings of Moses. The pagans Muhammad taught had no such experience. For that reason, the Quran could better be compared to the revelation Moses had brought through the Torah, rather the Gospel Jesus brought. Another difference would be Muhammad had more of a political influence in uniting the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula, whereas Jesus recognised it was not pragmatic to take on the Romans (Matthew 5:38-40). So Muhammad in that respect was similar to King David whose rule over the united Hebrew Tribes represented the pinnacle of Jewish civilisation.
     
  4. Firemorphic

    Firemorphic Activist Membrane

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    This is a topic bound to ruffle up feathers (and I do have Jewish and Christian friends, so I treat lightly around it) but in Islam we view the notion of "scripture" very differently to the other Abrahamics (and most other religions, including Dharmics).
    We don't believe scripture is narratives or hymns, we believe scripture is divine revelation itself.
    The four synoptic gospels are not The Injeel revealed to Isa (Jesus) nor is the Torah ( aka 'Five books of Moses' or Pentateuch) the Taurat revealed to Musa (Moses). Come on, Jesus wasn't revealed his biography, neither was Moses :tearsofjoy:
    The major format difference between the Qur'an to most other scriptures, is the way which you can easily distinguish what the original notion of revelations where - being 1st hand recitations divinely transmitted to the prophets (as recorded in the Bible itself, ironically).

    Although for instance, passages from Exodus 20-24 for instance could be considered pieces of the Taurat strung together with bits of narrative. Or Jesus' Sermon on the Mount may have been an extrapolation of his Injeel, but this is speculation though regarding those Judeo-Christian texts as we take them only on a referential basis.

    Aside from this many books of the Bible are Visions (Ezekiel or Revelation) and Hymns/Poetry (like the Psalms), unique texts like Proverbs and of course letters, as the case for Paul's contributions to the NT.

    I do like the Judeo-Christian Bible though in and of itself, I enjoy reading many books from it, it's not a value judgement.
     
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  5. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Thanks for your post. I agree its a delicate issue and so good to have a Muslim perspective. I agree with much of what you say in that the Quran can be reasonably authenticated to be the words Muhammad Himself spoke. That is clearly not the case with the Gospels which include the words Jesus may have spoken along with the story of his life. I agree some of the story was most likely allegorical (the resurrection narrative for example). That being said, I would consider the Gospels as being reflective of what Jesus actually taught though we can't confirm it was His exact words. The Gospel writers were most likely second or third generation Christians who were no eye witnesses to the events they witnessed. Because of the nature of who Jesus was, I would consider the Gospel accounts under God's protection, though this is a matter of faith. Therefore I would not consider the Gospels corrupted, despite it not meeting the same standards of the Quran in regards reliability of transmission and authenticity. However, your post is helpful in that I see why Muslims might take that view. It probably does come down to faith and the authenticity of the Gospels would be hard to either definitively prove or disprove.
     
  6. Firemorphic

    Firemorphic Activist Membrane

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    Well transmitted from Jibreel to Muhammad, yes, of which Muhammad recited from throughout his prophethood. Yes, the historicity is there.

    True, this is a self-pleasure topic for Atheists but it is nonetheless a fruit of truth. What is Jesus' words and teachings within the early Christian context can be a maze, then there's factoring in all the Gnostic sects too (which I'm fond of) that have their own ideas about Jesus. It requires several different lenses to grapple with in a non-Islamic context.

    Yes, I'd agree on a general basis. (and I do find some of the stuff attributed to him to be quite amazing in the synoptic Gospels)

    Eh, I beg to differ :D

    Well it goes back to my initial reply here for the Islamic perspective. The Qur'an isn't a biography of Muhammad or his Prophethood, it's a transmission to Muhammad that uses fragments of accounts of the previous Prophets as a kind of prompt or motivation for Muhammad in liberating Mecca from it's shackles of oppression, as well as a confirmation of prior Prophets (not nessasarily the way the Bible speaks of them) - among other things.
    It's kind of where Hadith plays it's role regarding Muhammad's life and his successorship etc and Hadith aren't the Qur'an....

    Yeah, and the areas that they contradict each other (although I'm a fan of Hinduism and Zen, so I enjoy contradiction in it's mysterious element :D) which make for all kinds of strange and interesting things in Christian theology.
     
  7. whirlingmerc

    whirlingmerc Well-Known Member

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    I would see more of an overarching connection between the Old (Moses) testament and the Gospels (Jesus).

    There are similarities and contrasts, however, I don't see the same alignment with Islamic views. What appears most important in the gospels are discarded such as Jesus as Son of God, his death and resurrection and the adoption of believers.
     
  8. CG Didymus

    CG Didymus Well-Known Member

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    Baha'is "tend" to take some passages as allegorical that Christians take literal? Lots of people would agree with you that the Bible and the literal Christian interpretation isn't right. But many of those people wouldn't be saying how the Bible is not corrupted by men. In fact, they'd probably say it was written by men and is not "God's" Word. But, Christians from the beginning had many of those "literal" beliefs, so my complaint about the Baha'i interpretation of some things being "allegorical", is that it makes the Christian view wrong from the start. They were teaching about Satan being real. Jesus being resurrected. And that he literally walked on water and literally healed people.

    Who, other that Christians believes those things really happened? Then to extend it to the Jewish Scriptures... who believes in a literal Creation and Flood and all those other things that supposedly "literally" happened? But, Baha'is say those writings are not corrupted? That is not exactly accurate Baha'is say the interpretation is wrong, or could you say... it is corrupted? I think you can. So Baha'is do say that Christians have "corrupted" the true meaning of their Scriptures, by, of all things, taken them as being literally true?

    And, also, what the Christian interpretation lead to, Baha'is believe got even more corrupted... like making Jesus God. And Protestants would agree with you. The "Church" got so corrupted that the Protestants had to make a break from the Universal Christian Church and go back to the New Testament teachings and try to start over, and try to get things right again... to get things back to what the Church was supposed to be.

    But, Baha'is don't believe they got it right either. They still took the Scriptures too literal, or, they had a corrupt interpretation of the Scriptures. So again, which Christian group ever had it right? Which Christians don't have a corrupt view of God's truth? All that believe the Jesus is God are wrong. All that believe in a literal Creation are wrong. All that believe that Jesus is the only way are wrong. So who is right? Who doesn't have a "corrupt" view of the NT and Bible? Only you, the Baha'is. But that view is not the view of traditional Christianity. So, in essence, you believe Christians have a corrupt message.

    Oh, and if Ishmael was the one taken to be sacrificed and not Isaac, then Baha'is do believe that somebody "corrupted" the "truth" of the Bible.
     
  9. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    A lot of Christians agree with allegorical rather than literal interpretations. Christianity is a diverse religion. When you say, Christians had it wrong from the start, you are assuming the gospel writers intended to convey literal historic rather than spiritual truth. The evidence is much stronger for allegory as opposed to literalism.

    Another assumption if you are equating corruption with allegory. You are simply playing the Christian fundamentalist hand. I know which argument is most compelling for me. You have to decide what makes the most sense for you.

    Interpretation can be wrong but it doesn't mean the original sacred text is corrupt.

    The Gospel writers were guided by God's unerring spirit as were the apostles.

    Its clear that both Ishmael and Isaac were sacrificed in different ways. The story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac is most likely allegorical as is much of Genesis.
     
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