In my previous blog entitled Is Allah Responsible for the Rise of Christianity?, I offered a commentary on what I thought was a problem for Islam, namely, how it accounts for the claims of the earliest Christians if there was no resurrection (let alone a crucifixion). I argued that the Quran's account lacked explanatory power no matter how they explain the 'appearance of Jesus being crucified'. In this blog, however, I've taken to heart the Quran's challenge to unbelievers to find "much discrepancy". I've formulated a valid and, I will soon argue, sound deductive argument which reveals that Islam is self-refuting.
The argument is as follows:
1. The Quran claims that God's words can never be changed.
2. The Quran claims that the Gospel (Injil) is God's word.
3. If the Gospel (Injil) has not changed, then Islam is false.
4. If the Gospel (Injil) has changed, then Islam is false.
5. Consequently, Islam is false.
Premise 1 comes directly from the Quran:
"There is none that can change the Words of Allah. Already hast thou received some account of those Apostles" (Sura 6:34).
"No change can there be in the Words of Allah." (Sura 10:64)
Premise 2 also comes directly from the Quran:
"If only they had stood fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness." (Sura 5:69)
"Believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Scripture which He hath revealed unto his Messenger, and the scripture which He revealed aforetime. Whoso disbelieveth in Allah and His Angles and the Last Day, he verily hath wandered far astray." (Sura 4:136)
Premise 3 is true if there is at least one contradiction between the Gospel and the Quran. I will offer a devastating example:
"So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them." (John 19:17-18)
"And [for] their saying, "Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah ." And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain." (Sura 4:157)
So here we see a passage from the Quran contradicting the Gospel. It is a blatant contradiction in the form of 'P and not P'. It follows that the Quran contains a crippling error and consequently is false.
Premise 4 anticipates the common defense against premise 3, namely that the Gospel has in fact changed over time and has become a corrupt text. From my experience, Muslims always use this explanation to evade the blatant contradictions between the two texts. However, the Quran never claims that the Gospel (or Torah) has changed. Some take the view that the Gospel has not changed, but that Christians are misinterpreting the text. Fair enough. However, how does a Christian misinterpret such a simple and direct claim such as "and they crucified him"? This is not theological poetry or a parable which hangs directly on context. Moreover, there are various sayings in the New Testament that claim this simple and historically accepted truth, that Jesus was crucified by the Romans under Jewish pressure. Finally, another possible explanation that a Muslim could give is that the 'true' Gospel has been lost, and that the Gospel that we have today is simply false and arose as a competing text along side the 'true' Gospel. But not only does the Quran claim that the Gospel has not changed, but that the Gospel the Christians had at the time of Muhammed was accurate. Consider Sura 21:7, "Before thee (i.e. Mohammed), also, the Apostles we sent were but men ... If you realize this not, ask of those who possess the message." This would be a silly challenge if Christians had a corrupted text. Moreover, one would expect to find verses condemning these pseudo-Christians for creating a false Gospel along side the 'true' Gospel. Yet no such verses of condemnation exist. They are simply referred to as Christians. Therefore, it's reasonable to conclude that the Quran presupposes an accurate Gospel, otherwise its various challenges to believers and unbelievers are silly. Consequently, then, Islam is false.
Do they not ponder on the Qur'an?
Had it been from other than Allah,
they would surely have found therein much discrepancy. (Sura 4:82)
So how should Christians view the Quran? As beloved as the Quran is to millions of Muslims, Christians cannot maintain that it is inspired. It follows that we believe Muhammed was a false prophet. In fact, the Quran is at its weakest when it deals directly with Christians. It makes all sorts of false claims about Christian belief. For example, the Quran claims that the Trinity consists of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Mother (Mary). Yet no Christian, not even back then, not even with those that practice high adoration of Mary, believes this. It's assumed that God the Father needed God the Mother in order to have Jesus the Son. Again, no Christian views Jesus as the 'biological' son of God, or that God needed a female to make a son. There are many other examples of the Quran misrepresenting Christians.
I explain these discrepancies by pointing to the fact that Muhammed most likely conversed with both Jews and Christians on his caravan journeys. Since it's obvious that he had no first hand knowledge of the Scriptures, it's safe to assume that he received watered down versions of the story that he misunderstood. As for Muhammed's inspiration, here I can only appeal to delusion, Satanic powers, or both. I know this won't sit well with Muslims, but I can only follow the evidence where it leads. The Quran asks me directly, as a Christian, to check MY scriptures to confirm the truth of the Quran. I did so and found the Quran lacking. After all, when I read in the Bible, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed (Galations 1:8), then I get highly suspicious when it is claimed that Muhammed received this revelation from an angel, a revelation that is very different from what I received.
It is my sincerest prayer that Muslims read the Gospel for what it is. Many of them have been indoctrinated by intense religiosity, which makes it difficult for them to be objective. When you're taught that Christians are deceived liars, that you will go to hell for thinking Jesus is anything other than a prophet, then the likelihood of a young Muslim exploring alternatives is unlikely. Although indoctrination is unavoidable, Muslims, I feel, are given doses higher than any group of people. It also doesn't help that some form of harsh punishment is given to those who leave Islam, and in some cases that penalty is death. Again, it isn't hard to see that the incentive for conversion isn't very high. But truth should be sought no matter how uncomfortable it makes you feel. This is the philosopher's virtue, and I hope Muslims take it to heart.
May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. He is risen! Hallelujah!