Muslim Questions on Christianity (Pt 3)
Q21: If Jesus is not a created being, how can He be begotten of God?
A: Begotten means "come from" without necessarily being created, a little like Muslims believe the Qur’an was from Allah yet uncreated. Before the beginning of time, Jesus, who is also called the Word of God, came from God the Father. So, in different ways, both Muslims and Christians say the Word of God came from God but was uncreated.
Q22: In Mt 5:17 and Acts 10:10-16, since Jesus said he would not abolish anything in the law, why don’t Christians follow the Old Testament dietary laws like Muslims allegedly do?
A: While neither Christians nor Muslims follow the dietary laws, Christians do not because they listen to Jesus. Five points to consider in the answer.
At this time, Jesus’ followers obeyed the Old Testament dietary laws. Jesus actually said that not one jot or tittle would pass away until all is accomplished.
The fact of Jesus’ resurrection, fundamentally changed the way God dealt with His children. An angel informed Peter, Jesus’ apostle, that God had made all food clean in Acts 10:9-16. Note it does not say these animals were always clean, but rather that God had made them clean.
Even Muslims who bring up this objection, themselves have to agree that some of the Old Testament dietary laws are not to be followed. Muslims feel they can eat camel meat (and Mohammed did so), yet Leviticus 11:3-8; Deuteronomy 14:6-8 prohibit eating it. Mohammed also said it was lawful to eat fat. Ibn-i-Majah 4:3274 p.437, yet Ibn-i-Majah 4:3383 p.495 says that Mohammed knew the Jews were not permitted to eat fat or blood (Lev. 3:17) Even in the Qur’an, Sura 3:50 said that Jesus made lawful some things that were not lawful.
Listen to Jesus in Matthew 15:10,17-20 and Mark 7:14-15. Jesus said it is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean, not what goes in. Mark 7:19 shows that by this Jesus declared all foods clean. If we call Jesus a prophet, we should listen to His words.
A voice from heaven commanded Peter to eat in Acts 10:10-16, showing him that the dietary laws were only in effect until Jesus’ sacrifice, not after. We should obey the voice of God’s angel and Jesus’ apostle.
In conclusion, we should not ignore what God’s prophets said, but listen to them.
Q23: In Lk 3:23-33, how could Mary be descended from Judah, since Elizabeth was from the daughters of Aaron in Lk 1:5, and Mary and Elizabeth were cousins in Lk 1:36?
A: The Bible does not specify the tribe of their mothers.
Therefore, Mary and Elizabeth could be cousins based on the following possibilities:
Two mothers were sisters: If their mothers being were from an unspecified tribe.
Mary mother and Elizabeth’s father siblings: If Mary’s mother were a sister of Elizabeth’s father, thus Mary’s mother would be from Aaron and Levi.
Mary’s father and Elizabeth’s mother siblings: Mary’s father being a brother of Elizabeth’s mother, thus Elizabeth’s mother would be from Judah.
A Muslim saw this as proving Mary was descended from Aaron. This is important to Muslims, because if Mary is not from Aaron, then the Qur’an is in error. Muslims generally believe that the Qur’an on earth is a word for word copy of a tablet of the Qur’an [in Heaven] Sura 85:20-22.
See When CriticsAsk p.381 for a similar answer.
Q24: In Jn 14:16-26; 15:26; 16:5-15, was Mohammed prophesied in the New Testament as the Paracletos, or Holy Spirit as some Muslims claim?
A: No. If this were true, then Muslims would believe these five things (which they generally do not)
(1) Mohammed glorified Jesus. (John 16:14)
(2) Allah sent Mohammed in Jesus’ name. (John 14:26)
(3) Mohammed was also sent by Jesus too. (John 16:7)
(4) Mohammed took Jesus’ wisdom and made it known to us. (John 16:15)
(5) Mohammed was "in" the apostles. (John 16:17)
Thus, no knowledgeable Muslim would believe these verses refer to Mohammed. These verses must refer to another, who was sent from God.
On the other hand, maybe Muslims should glorify Jesus, if they think that Mohammed did, based on these verses. One Muslim imam told me they should praise and glorify Jesus, though not worship him.
See When Cultists Ask p.182-183 and When Critics Ask p.419-420 for more info.
Q25: In Acts 4:36, why did the Christian church [allegedly] take the Gospel of Barnabas out of the Bible
A: It was never taken out; God did not intend for books with false teaching, written over 1,000 years later, to slip in. The Gospel of Barnabas contradicts a key point of both the Bible and the Qur’an, by saying Jesus was NOT the Messiah. The Gospel of Barnabas was a 15th century forgery in Italian with historical anachronisms.
Basic facts show that is not an ancient work. The Gospel of Barnabas is known only in Italian, and no ancient writer ever referred to it. It mentions things that were not used until centuries later. Furthermore, other gospel forgeries written in Arabic were also found in Granada. They were discovered after 1588, and the forgers were Moors. Though one Muslim writer, Ata ur-Rahman, has confused this with another writing called the Letter/Epistle of Barnabas, there is no similarity except for the name.
Who wrote it? Handwriting analysis suggest the gospel of Barnabas might have been written by Fra Marino, a vengeful, disillusioned former father inquisitor of Venice from 1542 to 1550. On the other hand, a Spaniard Anselmo Turmeda (later called Abd-Allah ibn Adb Allah after he converted to Islam) said he was a former priest and studied in Bologna, Italy for ten years. His teacher at Bologna was a secret Muslim. Mention of Spanish coins in the Gospel of Barnabas supports this.
Contradicts both the Bible and Qur’an: Jesus is not the Messiah. ch.83 p.181 ch.97 p.223 ch.42 p.97
The Messiah is Mohammed. ch.97 p.225-227
God created all things for the Messiah. ch.191 p.427
God created everything for Mohammed ch.39 p.91 "[Mohammed] shall be my messenger, for whom I have created all things; who shall give light to the world when he shall come; whose soul was set in a celestial splendour sixty thousand years before I made anything."
"The messenger of God [Mohammed] shall answer: ‘O Lord, I remember that when though didst create me, thou saidst that thou hadst willed to make for love of me the world and paradise, and angels and men, that they might glorify thee by me thy servant.’"ch.55 p.131. Also ch.56. p.133
Some Other Differences with the Qur’an should make Muslims wary of wanting to appeal to this "Gospel". According to the Bukhari Hadith volume 4 no.712 Mohammed said that one of the three worst lies is "to attribute to me what I have not said."
Faithful Muslims who do not have works will be in Hell for 70,000 years. ch.137 p.319
Mohammed will go to Hell and be terrified as he beholds the punishment of others ch.135 p.315
God is a father. ch.133 p.307
God is our Father. (-no sons, though) ch.17 p.31,33
General Errors - Sailing to Inland Cities: These are not just small mistakes, but demonstrate that the author knew very little about the geography and history of Palestine.
Jesus went to the Sea of Galilee, and having embarked in a ship sailed to his city of Nazareth. ch.20 p.41 (Nazareth is inland.)
Pharisees in Jesus’ time were very strange in their ascetism. ch.145 p.337-339
God gave Jesus bad consequences because others called Jesus God. ch.112 p.257
Historical Anachronisms: The point here is not that the Gospel of Barnabas has a few historical oddities. The point is that the numerous errors prove that the book was written during the Middle Ages in Europe.
Coins in chapter 54 (golden denarius divided into sixty minuti) were Spanish.
Abraham’s father claimed there were an infinite number of gods. (The Sumerians did not have the concept of infinity) ch.26 p.57
"Whereupon, as the food was going down [Adam’s throat], he remembered the words of God; wherefore, wishing to stop the food, he put his hand into this throat, where every man has the mark." (The phrase "Adam’s apple" was first a Medieval European phrase) ch.40 p.93
Pilate was governor of Judea, when Jesus was born. ch.3 p.7
Jubilee is now every 100 years. ch.83 p.191-193
Kings’ barons. (Barons were Medieval) ch.131 p.301
You desire horses like knights. (They had no knights in Jesus’ time.) ch.69 p.159
The burden of the republic. ch.69 p.161
Pinnacle where the scribes used to preach. ch.127 p.291 & ch.129 p.297 & ch.12 p.19
Prodigal son, new [leg] hose. ch.147 p.241
Lazarus and his two sisters were proprietors in other towns of Magdala and Bethany, just like in the Middle Ages! ch.194 p.433
Jesus (really Judas) was dressed as a juggler. ch.217 p.475
Pine-cones (There were no pine cones where Jesus lived.) ch.113 p.259
Fistula. (A medical term not used until the Middle Ages for an opening in the body for the purpose of drainage.) ch.120 p.275
Jesus could not read at age 12. ch.9 p.15
Jesus made prayer in union with the messenger of God, and Jesus heard Mohammed’s voice, [Did Mohammed live before he was born?] ch.84 p.195
These "more than a few" errors prove this book was written during the Middle Ages in Europe.
Conclusion: Imagine you were a Muslim who was told that someone found a lost "book" from God. Among other things, this "Sura" mentioned that Mohammed sailed on a boat to Mecca, and this Sura contradicted the teaching of the Bible and contradicted the Qur’an on ten points. The oldest manuscript of the alleged Sura was written in Italian, which is not only not a Mideastern language, but Italian did not exist in the time of Mohammed. Finally, this supposed Sura had some historical customs, which did not occur until 1,000 years later in Europe.
Q26: Has the Bible been corrupted?
A: No. Both the Qur’an and the Bible teach that God preserves His word. According to the Qur’an, in Mohammed’s time the Christians still had the Gospel. We have many copies of the New Testament from 100 to 200 A.D., and the Old Testament Dead Sea scrolls from prior to Mohammed’s time. See the first answer for more on the Old Testament.
Q27: Why is there uncertainty in some Bible
A: God promised to preserve His word, and it has been preserved such that there is no uncertainty that affects God’s teaching. God did allow insignificant transmission errors, though. Apparently God is more concerned with what we believe and do than the individual syllables. Likewise, there are changes in Qur’an due to abrogated verses and ‘Uthman’s editing.
Even today, there are differences in Arabic versions of the Qur’an. For example, Geisler and Saleeb in Answering Islam p.193 point out some Arabic discrepancies: Sura 28:48 [sahirani/sihrani], Sura 32:6 [ummahatuhum/ummahatuhum wa hyua abun lahum] Sura 34:18 [rabbana ba’id/rabuna ba’ada], Sura 38:22 [tis’un/tis’atun]. Sura 19:35 [tantaruna/yamtaruna]. See W. St. Clair-Tisdell A Manual of the Leading Muhammedan Objections to Christianity (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1904 p.60.). There are also significant differences between the ‘Uthman’s Qur’an and the Qur’an used today. Why the changes, and why do they not change it back?
Q28: Why did Christians have the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, Serbs (Greek Orthodox) against Croats (Roman Catholic), and Bosnian Muslims?
Jesus was the Prince of peace, and He never said to kill someone because they had a different religion. The "Christian" Crusades were not a part of the Christianity of the Bible. The Crusades (or Christian Jihads) were an evil thing Europeans learned from Islamic Jihads.
Q29: Can I get to heaven without accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior?
No, you cannot get to Heaven if you refuse to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Four points to consider in the answer.
Fairness: God is good, Holy, fair, and just to all (Hebrews 6:10) God’s judges people based on the knowledge they have (Romans 4:15; 5:13). Abraham did not know the name of Jesus, yet He followed God and He was still saved through Jesus. (John 8:56, Hebrews 9)
Only One Way: We cannot get to heaven on our own righteousness; we need God’s mercy and grace through Jesus. Jesus is not just a way to God, but the one and only way to God. (Jn 14:6; 15:5; Acts 4:12)
Reject Jesus as the Son of God and you reject Heaven: Even to a very religious people, the Jewish Pharisees, Jesus said that if you reject Him, you will indeed die in your sins. (John 8:24)
God seeks: God does not want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9), but as Jeremiah wept over his people (Jeremiah 13:17; 14:17) and as Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44) and as Peter pleaded with his listeners (Acts 2:40), God, with no less desire, seeks out His own.
Q30. How do Christians pray?
A: The Bible has many prayers we can use as examples, but Jesus specifically taught His disciples how to pray in Matt 6:9-13. Christians view prayer as talking with God; hence few Christian prayers are memorized. Christian prayers often end with phrases such as "in Jesus’ name", because it is by Jesus’ sacrifice that we have access to pray to the Father. (John 16:26)
Christians are to pray to God continuously, as commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Eph 6:18; Phil 4:4;6; Heb 13:15; and by the example in Rom 1:9-10 and Col 1:9, 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3; 3:10. This is unlike Islam, where there are specific times prayer is forbidden in Bukhari 2:283. Fiqh us-Sunnah vol.2 p.11 says "‘Umar saw him and told him: ‘Sit, the People of the Book were destroyed because they did not differentiate between their prayers.’ The Prophet said: ‘Well said, Ibn al-Khattab.’"
Q31. Christianity is not the religion of my culture or my parents.
A: If you go back far enough in time, perhaps everyone has ancestors who were an idol-worshipper, murderer, cannibal, burned widows, or did similar horrible things. Should you follow their example? No! In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus speaks of a man in Hell who wishes someone would warn his brothers not to do what he did. Perhaps some of your ancestors, in Hell right now, are hoping that you will turn and not do what they did.
Even if it was the religion of your culture, you still have to choose between following traditional culture and following God. In Jesus’ time they had so many extra traditions and legalism, that Jesus said they had no room for His word (John 8:37). That is why they wanted to crucify Jesus.
Belief in the in the true God was not the religion of Abraham’s parents either. Abraham had to make a choice: either follow God or follow tradition. Even if a tradition is not wrong, if you love and follow your tradition more than God, then your tradition is a stumbling block for you. In 2 Corinthians 11:1-4 Paul wrote of his concern about anything that would lead us away from our devotion to Christ.
Q32: Why are you so negative about Islam?
A: We love Muslim people and wish the best for them - that they would live in joy in Heaven forever. Since Islam has led people away from God, we are critical of Islam for their benefit. However, we are not nearly as negative about Islam as Muslims themselves. When worshippers at a mosque in Pakistan are gunned down, simply because they are Shi’ites, that is negative. When Tamerlane, who built a mosque, made a mound of 70,000 skulls of the Muslims people living in Isfahan, that is monstrous.
Christians should not be negative toward Muslims (or anyone else) is three ways.
1. We never curse Muslims like Mohammed cursed us. At the end of Mohammed’s life he said, "May Allah curse the Jews and Christians for they built the places of worship at the graves of their Prophets." (Bukhari 1:427 p.255). Notice that he did not differentiate between true and hypocritical Christians; he just cursed all of them.
2. We do not want to say anything that "slanderous" (= false + negative). For example, that the Jews were wicked because they called Ezra (‘Uzair) son of Allah, as the Qur’an in Sura 9:30 says. Jews worshipped Ezra according to Bukhari 6:105 p.86.
3. Mohammed said to "lampoon the pagans in verse" according to Bukhari 8:174 p.113.
So at least we can agree with modern Muslims (I hope) that being negative like this is not what a person of God should do.
As for us, Jesus spent over 1/3 of all His recorded words either rebuking, warning specific people, warning in general, or correcting false things. He was encouraging also, and we are too. Not only do we ask, "What would Jesus do?", but we also should ask, "What would Jesus want us to say?" Yes we are "warners" like Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Paul, and even Jesus, but we want you to know that we also love you. We would never want to hurt you, even though Muslims hurt Christians, and we want only the best for you.
Q33: Why do you Christians [allegedly] attack Muslims?
A: We care for Muslims people; we do not attack them. Three words answer this question: Bosnians, Jesus, and villagers.
Bosnians: When Serbs were ruthlessly slaughtering Bosnian Muslims, Americans stood against that. Serbs might have perceived America as being against them, but we were not against Serbian people. We were for protecting the oppressed, and we were against the atrocities that some (but not all) Serbs did. Likewise we have nothing against the Afghans, as our aid shipments to them show, but when our own civilians were attacked, we responded to try to protect ourselves from this happening again.
Jesus said we were to turn the other cheek, and we do that as individuals. However, on a government level Romans 13:4 says it does not bear the sword in vain. Western culture is not Christian, though Christianity has heavily influenced it. Western culture is not always right, but we have a duty to stand against what is wrong. There are things wrong besides murdering people. Treating women as second class citizens, forbidding them to work outside the home, counting their witness in court as only half that of a man, and who should rarely be outside the home, are all wrong ideas. God is mocked when it is done in His name.
Villagers in Indonesia and Sudan are being slaughtered today simply because they are not Muslims. Would you tell me why many Muslims across the world feel they should be doing this, and yet Muslims think any peaceful, rational criticism of Islamic practices is an "attack" on them?