Apologies, this article has now moved to the new site. Click here
Thursday, 15 May 2008
Friday, 2 May 2008
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.
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
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.