Thursday, 15 May 2008

The next stop - Muslim homosexuality

Apologies, this article has now moved to the new site. Click here

Friday, 2 May 2008

Is Allah at least partially responsible for the rise of Christianity?

Paul said... Is God at least partially responsible for the rise of Christianity?

A central Christian claim is that Jesus the Messiah died on the cross. Christians have varied in their understanding of this event - some like St Paul vested it with enormous soteriological significance, others like Peter (according to Acts) had no sense of Jesus' death as atonement for sin. But all were agreed that Jesus died on the cross. There is no historical evidence (despite what some ill-informed Muslims say) that any of Jesus' disciples thought the Romans did NOT crucify Jesus.

Now the Quran says that it was ‘made to appear that it was so’. So it follows that the Christian belief I have outlined above, a belief held by all the early church, is a direct result of God’s deceptive action. My dictionary defines deceptive thus: ‘likely or designed to deceive; misleading’.

I do not hold God responsible for what Paul made out of this crucifixion event, but the genesis of the development of the Christian understanding of Jesus’ death starts with God’s misleading Jesus’ disciples.

Adam said

Interesting question.

Yes, I agree that Muslims are ill-informed on this topic and there is much need for Muslim scholarly work on the matter.

I think your argument proceeds as follows

The disciple’s belief in Jesus’ death was due to Allah’s deception ‘made to appear that it was so’

Jesus’ death is central to the birth of Christianity

Therefore the birth of Christianity was due to Allah

I think it will be useful initially to address premise number two first. The single most important and fundamental claim of Christianity is that of the resurrection. As Paul wrote to his friends in Corinth “if Christ did not rise from the dead, their faith was in vain”. Even though it is believed that he came to die for the sin of man, Christianity is not defined by Jesus’ death per say, but rather defined by his resurrection, although his death is a necessary condition for his resurrection. The resurrection was the vindication of Jesus’ claim of being the messiah and the son of God. Had he just died and not been resurrected, then he would have died as a blasphemer. So what gave rise to Christianity is not that Jesus died but rather that he died and that he was resurrected.

With respect to premise number one, “made to appear that it was so”. The question here is, to whom? It would be consistent to suggest that deception was used for the people who wanted him crucified i.e. the Pharisees. For all we know, the disciples of Jesus were fully aware of what actually occurred and that this has been lost within the gospels due to erroneous transmission.

Is God responsible for Christianity? No, as I think we have good reasons to believe that what was responsible for Christianity was the perversion of the true Jesus by the likes of later followers.

Adam Deen

Reasonable Faith: Islam or Christianity ? 18th April 2008

Watch on youtube NOW

comments welcome.