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Critiquing Unveiling Christianity Pt. 1 January 31, 2010

Posted by theconfessors in Apologetics, Bible, Biblical Studies, Christianity, God, Islam, Muhammad, Religion, Textual Criticism.
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Over the past several months, although there was a long break in between due to personal engagements on both ends, a member of The Confessors (under the pseudo name Polycarp) and Ibn Anwar of Unveiling Christianity, engaged in a series of web-debates over several articles found on the Unveiling Christianity website. The articles were entitled “Matthew 28:19,” “Did Paul really meet Jesus,” and “Unveiling Polycarp.” The discussions that occured under “Did Paul really meet Jesus” and “Unveiling Polycarp” were a continuing dialogue on the subject of Paul meeting Jesus. Before we proceed further with the critique, we do want to express an appreciation towards Ibn Anwar and his work; as he is probably the first amateur Muslim da’i that we’ve ran across that puts forth some meaningful material. On the flip side of this, there is a heavy appeal to authority in Ibn Anwar’s work; where names are thrown out as arguments, rather than an examination of the arguments; where cherry picking is the method of choice for quotations; and where minority positions are exploited when it’s the Christian, but when it’s the Muslim, well…, it’s because the Muslim has the correct position there. Unfortunately, appeals to authority, cherry picking, and assumption based arguments, don’t win the day. Over the next few posts we’ll examine these articles and the debates they created, sort of give our critique of everything, and hopefully bring clarity to the various statements and arguments.



Is John 16:7-14 Referencing the Holy Spirit or Muhammad Part Two? January 23, 2010

Posted by theconfessors in Apologetics, Bible, Biblical Studies, Christianity, God, Islam, Muhammad, Religion.
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Anyone who’s been on the page in the last few weeks has probably read the ongoing debate between Shajahan and us. Shajahan has written a new post that sort of counters our position in this debate process; expounding on what he believes to be the problem with our logic. However, anyone looking at this from a neutral and logical perspective should see that the logical error does indeed fall with Shajahan. An outline of his argument appears as so: (1) The Comforter is more fitting if it were Muhammad (2) 1 John shows that spirits are the same as prophets (3) The Holy Spirit is already here by quoting Luke 1, so it makes no sense to send him (4) The Holy Spirit does not fit as a “guide” as John says The Comforter will be (5) Muhammad is clearly a more affective guide by receiving and teaching the Qur’an and its rules for living (6) Therefore Muhammad is The Comforter.

Right off the bat one should be able to spot the fallacy of “begging the question” in his argument, by assuming that Muhammad is the only one fitting of the title of The Comforter and guide. In premise (5) he states that, “the Qur’an is enough evidence to support this statement,” well no it’s not for two reasons: (i) If one doesn’t believe in the Qur’an, they don’t just accept it because Shajahan says so and (ii) this begs the question and would require support to back up the claim as to why we should take the Qur’an at its word; option (ii) obviously turns this deliberation into an even longer one. (iii) Since others can fit a title of guide there’s no reason to jump to the conclusion that its Muhammad, i.e. Martin L. King Jr. guided the civil rights movement and inspired millions, Billy Graham has inspired millions to turn to God, the Dali Lama guides millions of his followers, and the list of “guides” could go on and on. For obvious reasons one needs to turn to the text to determine the characteristics of the guide. So to assume Muhammad here simply commits fallacy that needs to be resolved.

Premise (2), under his interpretation, indicates that prophets and spirits are one in the same. Well certainly in some ways because under Christian thought, prophets get their powers by one of two sources: if they’re false prophets, they’re saturated by a false spirit(s) and if they’re a true prophet of God, they get their revelations by the Spirit of God (as seen in the prophets of God in the Old Testament). We’re willing to grant him this because it’s a matter of Christian theology and semantics; it also doesn’t do much towards the conclusion, but raise the possibility that when it says “Spirit of Truth” in John, it could possibly be a prophet.

Premise (3) falls apart once the text is examined. For in John 14:17 it is already acknowledged that The Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, which is later identified as the Holy Spirit in John 14:26, is present and known by the disciples. It seems clear that in John 14:17b, that the Holy Spirit will have a change of presence.

On his latest blog, which this is mostly a response to, he makes the point that he shouldn’t have to prove the Scriptures because The Confessors are Christian and thus should accept this, Amen brother! So we do accept this, which is why to counter all his points, we quote John 14: 26; this identifies The Comforter as the Holy Spirit. This would also mean the Spirit of Truth (which is a term only used by John as so) is the Holy Spirit as well. Now here’s where the logic problem comes in, if he continues to assume, for the sake of the argument, that he does not have to prove the Bible because it is accepted as is by Christians, he must abandon his position, as John 14:26 identifies The Comforter as the Holy Spirit. With this verse so specific he has only three positions he can take, (i) he cannot maintain his position that The Comforter = Muhammad because we see clearly that it isn’t as the author states. (ii) The only honest conclusion he could make is that John (or the Bible) is too untrustworthy to make any sort of conclusions, in which this isn’t the debate, although we could debate on the Bibles cohesion later. (iii) He no longer for the sake of the argument assumes we can take the Bible as so, but then needs to prove why we should take the verses he uses to quote to back up his position, yet why we should not take those that hinder his position, like John 14.

So to summarize, first some of his premises beg the question to start with, and thus are enough to drop the argument. Second, he only has three possible conclusions that can be drawn from this: (i) The Bible declares who The Comforter is, thus his position is false from the start. (ii) The Bible is corrupt, thus there’s no reason to take any conclusions from the Bible; thus his original position is also false. (iii) His original assumption that the Bible is uncorrupted is dropped, and then he must prove why we can take what he quotes as trustworthy and what he rejects (John 14) as false. Until he identifies which route he chooses to go, there is no reason to consider his argument as it is invalid.

How Old is the Old Testament? January 9, 2010

Posted by theconfessors in Apologetics, Atheism, Bible, Biblical Studies, Christianity, God, Islam, Religion.
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One of our members was surfing the world wide web and stumbled across an interesting read. Professor Gershon Galil, from the University of Haifa, dated and translated a piece of pottery that seems to contain an inscription from the Bible. This would push back the commonly held belief that the Bible was written in the 6th century B.C., to around the reign of King David in the 10th century B.C.. Hopefully they’ll continue to update the findings as the research progresses.

In Christ,

The Confessors

Read First Before Using Bart Ehrman January 2, 2010

Posted by theconfessors in Apologetics, Atheism, Bible, Christianity, God, Islam, Religion, Textual Criticism.
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We recommend reading this interview with Bart Ehrman from the Evangelical Textual Criticism blogspot. This will benefit all who are remotely interested in textual criticism; but it’ll especially benefit those who mostly use Bart Erhman’s works against the Bible. Although it doesn’t deal specifically with Bart Ehrman’s claims found in his book “Misquoting Jesus,” it does provide his take on how his book should be taken and used.