A friend asked:
Religious people are the ones making claims, and thus the burden of proof are on their shoulders.What I’m pointing out, or at least have been trying to point out is that we have very different understandings of the words “valid evidence”. The reason why I point out the similarities in the arguments between different religions, is that you can’t exactly go and say that XY and Z is proof that YOUR God exist when the other corner does exactly the same thing with the exact same ‘evidence’ to prove that THEIR God is real.
If we’re in court, and you’re trying to prove me guilty of breaking into a house, it’s going to be hard for me to prove that I’m not guilty with the exact same evidence you bring to the table to prove that I am. One of us must be mistaken about what the evidence actually points to, or we’re both wrong in even thinking that it’s evidence (for or against) to begin with.
This however brings us back to the debate of who’s wrong and who’s right. You claim you are right, but the Islamic group claims the same thing. So we dig deeper. You point to the Bible, and they point to the Quran. Still a deadlock…
You point to God’s greatness and the wonder of creation, they do the same, only they thank Allah. You mention miracles where people were healed by Christ, they say that you’re wrong, that it was Allah. Deadlock continues…
This will go on, and on, and on for as long as they have breath in their lungs. While this is going on however, neither of them will admit that the other party’s argument is just as good as theirs, and just as valid (relatively speaking).
So if they both have the same “valid” evidence, how exactly can either of them claim that they have found God if there can be only 1 (maximum)?
If you ask me, all of them have found God, just not in the way they think they have.
Brothers in Christ,
It seems to me that the correct response should be: how do we determine whether any claim (i.e. Christianity, Islam) is true or false? Is this done by examining the “evidence” for both sides and then reaching a conclusion or this accomplished by simply deciding whom to serve (Joshua 24:15) in light of the information (i.e. propositional revelation) that we have been innately given (Romans 1:19)? Further, are these two methods mutually exclusive or are they interrelated?
In the past, I would have answered the question as to whether the Quran was trustworthy (or not) by appealing to the logical problems in the Quran; problems such as the self-refuting nature of the Quran’s author and Islam’s god, Allah. See, Allah, the god of Islam addresses himself many times as “We” or “Us” (Surah 3:44, Surah 3:145, Surah 17:1) yet he also claims that he is not triune (Surah 5:73). He cannot have it both ways. Muslim apologists will try to soften this error by claiming that the Muslim god, Allah is using the “Majestic plural” or the “royal We” (the use of a plural pronoun to refer to a single person holding a high office). Of course, the most glaring problem with this line of defense is that even the “Majestic plural” makes no sense if the “majestic” individual using it does not eventually speak for more than one person. In this case however, Allah claims to speak for himself alone.
Another problem I would have pointed out in the past is the Quran’s mistake in admitting that the Scriptures (i.e. the Torah) existed in a pure form during Muhammad’s time (Surah 28:48-49) and then espousing things contrary to those scriptures such as the claim that Abraham was a Muslim (Surah 2:65-68) among other absurdities. After reading the Quran, if there is one thing that the reader walks away with it is that: the Quran is completely dependent upon the Bible in its attempt to put forward a worldview whereas the Bible specifically repudiates the validity of any other revelation (1 Co 13:10-12, Rev 22:18).
One would think that pointing out such logical errors would suffice in demonstrating that the Quran is false in origin and content. However, all I’ve done is appealed to the ideal that logic should govern thought. In fact, the primacy of logic is just one idea among many; who is to say that all persons must adhere to such a standard. Sure, the Bible provides the only worldview that can account for logic or its primacy, but the Quran (not having its own complete worldview) borrows from the biblical worldview when convenient, so trying to use this as a point of contrast may not have the desired outcome. Can the use of logic alone succeed as a method for discovering truth? Can truth even be discovered? Such confusion I have left behind in the past.
Nowadays, I know better than to appeal to my older lines of reasoning. The following proclamation may shock the reader but it is quite impossible for anyone to know whether Islam (or the Quran from which it emanates) is true or false—that is—without the scriptures telling us so. See, for Christians, our starting point is the Bible; for in the 66 books of the Bible alone (and all its necessary inferences) consists the Word of God, and the Word of God informs us that It (alone) is truth. Yes, truth is revealed and not discovered. Christians are told in Bible that truth is God (John 14:6) and is deliberately hidden by God (Colossians 2:3, 1 Co 1:21, 2:7-10, Romans 11:33) and that God is the ONLY Arbiter of truth (Isaiah 43:9). These proclamations rule out anyone else from being considered an arbiter of truth. It also rules out the idea that anyone can discover truth through empirical observation or any other mechanism that might be classified as the “wisdom of man.” Furthermore, we are admonished to embrace a mode of thinking in which God ALONE is true and EVERYONE else false (Romans 3:4). The reason why we are told to do this is so that whenever we are compelled to judge God (and His Word), He always comes out on top and His Words always prevail (Romans 3:4b). So, one need not waste time trying to demonstrate (without using the Bible) that the Quran is false (since we have already shown that this is impossible); all the Christian needs to do is show the unbeliever why it is impossible for them to arbitrate ANY truth claim whatsoever and then lead that soul to the One who knows all things, namely, the God of the Bible.
Any reader under the false impression that they are able to arbitrate truth (i.e. decide between two opposing truth claims) without an Infallible Guide, will have no rational answer when confronted with their own infallibility, the problems of empiricism (the belief that sense experience provides us with knowledge – see An Introduction to Gordon H. Clark) and the problems of induction (the exclusive method of reasoning for the empiricist that involves arguing from the particular to the general – see An Introduction to Gordon H. Clark). This ad hominem apagogic use of logic (proving indirectly, by showing the impossibility, or absurdity of the contrary) should suffice in silencing the critics of the Christian’s epistemology (how a person knows what they know); which is: because the Bible tells me so.
So, again how do we know whether the Quran is true or false? The scriptures inform us that the Quran is a falsehood. The Romans 3:4 mandate allows us to deduce that the Quran is a false book; after all, the axiom of scripture (i.e. the 66 books of the Bible alone are the words of God) is limited to the 66 books of the Bible, and the Christian axiom, like all other axioms (by definition) is not open to falsification.
So how do I convince the unbelieving follower of Islam that the God of the Bible is the One to be followed? I do that by unveiling to the skeptic the power of God which is in the Word of God (And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God – 1 Corinthians 2:4-5).