How would you respond?

A friend asked:

 Just curious, how would you guys respond to the comment below:


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. Continue reading

They have forsaken the Lord (Part 10) – James’ Reply

Robert, unfortunately you have committed a logical fallacy specifically called a semantic etymological fallacy. An etymological fallacy is a linguistical misconception based on the idea that the etymology of a word or phrase is its actual meaning. An apologist is someone who defends a belief; it is not someone who apologizes.

What I like is how you string together philosophical ideas and string them together to somehow make my points or ideas mute.  Like your consistent usage of the term fallacy and your addition of the term etymological.  Neat.  I tend to speak in more “common” terminology.  If I were to sum up my dialogue with you it’s more of a debate on epistemology.  I get where your going with “apologist”, however what you didn’t analyze is that specific term actually does have more than one perceived understanding in exactly the same context that you used.  An apologist can either make excuses like they are trying to cover something up (what I thought you implied), or they can defend a belief (what you clarified as your true implication).  Nevertheless, our “debate” isn’t completely about semantics…is it?

From Wikipedia:

Today the term “apologist” is colloquially applied in a general manner to include groups and individuals systematically promoting causes, justifying orthodoxies, (your implication) or denying certain events, even of crimes. Apologists have been characterized as being deceptive, or “ whitewashing” their cause, primarily through omission of negative facts (selective perception) and exaggeration of positive ones, techniques of classical rhetoric. (my initial understanding of what I thought you were impliying) When used in this context, the term often has a pejorative meaning. The neutralized substitution of “spokesperson” for “apologist” in conversation conveys much the same sense of “partisan presenter with a weighted agenda,” with less rhetorical freight.

Moving right along….

Before “moving right along”, perhaps you should learn how to take defeat constructively. You used the word “apologist” incorrectly (and in a logically fallacious way); when you play these semantic games with your audience you are indirectly insulting our intelligence as we all have dictionaries at our disposal. For the last time, the word “apologist” does not have the meaning you ascribe to it. The fact that you refused to acknowledge this transgression underscores the type of apologist you are (i.e. your characteristics as an apologist) and makes this “debate” all the more difficult for any opponent who argues according to the rules of diction, grammar, logic, etc.

I mean, without these rules of grammar and semantics, without structure, I can say anything I want in response to any claim you make and still walk away feeling justified and victorious because without rules there is no way to objectively evaluate or constrain any assertion. Welcome to intellectual anarchy. By the way, you asked if our debate was “completely about semantics” to which I must respond, of course! If we can’t agree on the meanings of the words we use then why are we even having this conversation?

There is in fact, no objective lexicon, dictionary, nor authoritative source that will help you justify the way you tried to misuse the word “apologist.” Normally, I would not be so pedantic about such a seemingly insignificant offense; in fact, I would have ignored it were these types of mistakes not so pervasive in your responses so far. The mere fact that you chose to quote Wikipedia as a proof text (which is not just unsubstantiated and unverified but demonstrably unreliable as anyone can add to or edit any Wikipedia entry) shows that you do not intend to seriously look at the objections brought before you. Now don’t get me wrong, Wikipedia has it’s uses, in fact, I too in the past have used Wikipedia as a means to an end; however, anyone quoting Wikipedia had better be sure that what ever information they reference can be corroborated by an authoritative source.

Everyone reading your response knows that if I was truly wrong about your careless misuse of the word “apologist,” you could have easily countered my claim by providing a “dictionary definition” and that would suffice. Instead, you chose to quote “Wikipedia” because you know that you are wrong and hoped that by finding a source that was deemed somewhat official (unfortunately only by the misinformed) you could introduce ambiguity to the definition of a word (apologist) whose meaning is not.

If you can misrepresent the meaning of the word “apologist” and even after objective correction you defiantly refuse to admit that you have done so, how can I have assurance that you will not misrepresent the rest of your arguments (as you have manifestly done so far) and (despite sound rebuttals) refuse to acknowledge your transgressions? Why should I spend anymore valuable time engaging in further dialogue when you do not respect the rules of logic or grammar? Wouldn’t any additional effort on my part truly be a waste of time? Any reasonable person would probably advise me to abandon this discourse as you have given no assurance that you have the aptitude for objectivity.

Now, for grins and giggles, let’s look at your Wikipedia reference.

Apologists have been characterized as being deceptive, or “ whitewashing” their cause, primarily through omission of negative facts (selective perception) and exaggeration of positive ones, techniques of classical rhetoric…”

Who cares that apologists have been characterized as being deceptive or “whitewashing” etc. Lawyers and preachers have also been characterized likewise; yet, their definitions do not change. Word definitions stand independent of any “characterizations” that may exist about the word. Hopefully, it is now evident that even this quasi-official source does not bolster your attempt to misuse the word “apologist.” Incidentally, you have misrepresented “apologist” at least twice now, as your first usage (someone who apologizes) differs from the one you wish to now embrace based on the Wikipedia excerpt (someone who is characterized by deception etc).

Robert, it is not my intention to embarrass you or to be petty; I simply would like to know that if I am to continue in this conversation I do so with a partner who is willing to yield when established authority (i.e. logic, dictionary, grammar …) demands so. Yet, judging by your responses, you seem to have a disdain for order and reason.

To go off on a related tangent, it is somewhat ironic that this misfortune (failure to acknowledge and adhere to structure and order) should befall you especially because this is primarily the reason why the Quran is not taken seriously.  As mentioned earlier, the Quran has no context, no chronology, it is not topical, and it is very disorderly. Yet, when these accusations are brought up, instead of addressing them with appropriate and relevant rebuttal, all you do is repeat the same counter attacks (against Christianity) you have said before and usually in a way that disobeys sound logic.

I would like to think that the main purpose of any debate is ultimately to learn how to better defend a position. The purpose of a debate is not to defend a position at any cost (i.e. even at the cost of losing one’s credibility to be objective) If you are willing to admit to your fault above, I will take that gesture as your intent to engage in discourse that is objectively verifiable and continue to dissect the remainder of your response. However, if you continue to defiantly refuse to admit that you used the word incorrectly, I will be compelled to spend my time more wisely.

In his grip,


They have forsaken the Lord (Part 9) – Robert’s Reply

James: Robert, unfortunately you have committed a logical fallacy specifically called a semantic etymological fallacy. An etymological fallacy is a linguistical misconception based on the idea that the etymology of a word or phrase is its actual meaning. An apologist is someone who defends a belief; it is not someone who apologizes.

Robert: What I like is how you string together philosophical ideas and string them together to somehow make my points or ideas mute. Like your consistent usage of the term fallacy and your addition of the term etymological. Neat. I tend to speak in more “common” terminology. If I were to sum up my dialogue with you it’s more of a debate on epistemology. I get where your going with “apologist”, however what you didn’t analyze is that specific term actually does have more than one perceived understanding in exactly the same context that you used. An apologist can either make excuses like they are trying to cover something up (what I thought you implied), or they can defend a belief (what you clarified as your true implication). Nevertheless, our “debate” isn’t completely about semantics…is it?

From Wikipedia:

Today the term “apologist” is colloquially applied in a general manner to include groups and individuals systematically promoting causes, justifying orthodoxies, (your implication) or denying certain events, even of crimes. Apologists have been characterized as being deceptive, or “ whitewashing” their cause, primarily through omission of negative facts (selective perception) and exaggeration of positive ones, techniques of classical rhetoric. (my initial understanding of what I thought you were impliying) When used in this context, the term often has a pejorative meaning. The neutralized substitution of “spokesperson” for “apologist” in conversation conveys much the same sense of “partisan presenter with a weighted agenda,” with less rhetorical freight.

Moving right along….

James (said in a previous post): It’s funny that you mention this. You do know that the Qu’ran actually puts biblical scripture on the same level with the Qu’ran (see Sura 6:115, Sura 6:34, Sura 10:64, Sura 3:3 and others). If Muslims believe the Qur’an is true in its statement that nobody can change the words of God then errors in the Bible prove that the Qur’an is not from God and / or Muhammad endorsed an erroneous book. Also, everything in the Qu’ran would have to be viewed in light of biblical scripture since obviously the revelation of biblical scripture predates that of the Qu’ran. This is a serious logical problem for Islam and the implications of the above are huge when you consider that the bible and the Qu’ran, substantially, are diametrically opposed to one another.

Robert: I can’t quite understand where your getting this from, so it’s best I just go Ayah by Ayah yet again in an attempt to clarify your understanding. Let me start by saying that the Quran in no shape or form puts Biblical scripture on the same level with the Quran. Furthermore, yes the Quran says that no one can change the words of God and no one can, but the Quran specifically says that the Bible isn’t the literal word of God but a production of man, hence man is only changing a man made document. The Quran only acknowledges that Prophets mentioned in the Bible received revelation i.e. Moses (Torah), Jesus (Gospel), may the peace and blessings of God be upon them all. Neither of these two had anything to do with writing either work as accepted by either Christian or Jew. So who wrote it? The Quran simply says that these two among others received revelation, but others interpreted it and wrote down what they wanted to having no direct knowledge yet claimed it came from God. While they may have gotten some of it right, it isn’t complete because God didn’t have a direct dealing in it, nor did the Messengers. That is why we have a Furqran or “Criterion” another name for the Quran to weed out what remains of the truth and to set right to borrow one of your words “fallacies” in what we have today as “Bible”.

6:115 for, truly and justly has thy Sustainer’s promise been fulfilled. [102] There is no power that could alter [the fulfilment of] His promises: and He alone is all-hearing, all-knowing.

Note 102 (Quran Ref: 6:115 )

When related to God, the term kalimah (lit., “word”) is often used in the Qur’an in the sense of “promise”. In this instance it obviously refers to the Biblical promise (Deuteronomy xviii, 15 and 18) that God would raise up a prophet “like unto Moses” among the Arabs (see surah 2, note 33).

6:34 And, indeed, [even] before thy time have apostles been given the lie, and they endured with patience all those charges of falsehood, and all the hurt done to them, till succour came unto them from Us: for there is no power that could alter [the outcome of] God’s promises. And some of the histories of those apostles have already come within thy ken. [23]

Note 23 (Quran Ref: 6:34 )

Lit., “some of the information concerning the apostles has already come to thee”: a reference to the fact that only a few of the earlier prophets and their histories have been specifically mentioned in the Qur’an (always in connection with a particular moral lesson), while the great majority of them are only alluded to in a general manner, in support of the divine statement that no community or civilization has been left without prophetic guidance.(Quran Ref: 6:34 )

10:64 For them there is the glad tiding [of happiness] in the life of this world [85] and in the life to come; [and since] nothing could ever alter [the outcome of] God’s promises, this, this is the triumph supreme!

Note 85 (Quran Ref: 10:64 )

Le., the happiness born of the feeling of closeness to God and, hence, of spiritual fulfilment.(Quran Ref: 10:64 )

For context:

10:63 they who have attained to faith and have always been conscious of Him.

10:64 For them there is the glad tiding [of happiness] in the life of this world and in the life to come; [and since] nothing could ever alter [the outcome of] God’s promises, this, this is the triumph supreme!

10:65 And be not grieved by the sayings of those [who deny the truth]. Behold, all might and glory belong to God alone: He alone is all-hearing, all-knowing.

3:3 Step by step has He bestowed upon thee from on high this divine writ, [2] setting forth the truth which confirms whatever there still remains [of earlier revelations]: [3] for it is He who has bestowed from on high the Torah and the Gospel

Note 2 (Quran Ref: 3:3 )

The gradualness of the Qur’anic revelation is stressed here by means of the grammatical form nazzala.(Quran Ref: 3:3 )

Note 3 (Quran Ref: 3:3 )

Most of the commentators are of the opinion that ma bayna yadayhi – lit., “that which is between its hands” – denotes here “the revelations which came before it”, i.e., before the Qur’an. This interpretation is not, however, entirely convincing. Although there is not the least doubt that in this context the pronominal ma refers to earlier revelations, and particularly the Bible (as is evident from the parallel use of the above expression in other Qur’anic passages), the idiomatic phrase ma bayna yadayhi does not, in itself, mean “that which came before it” – i.e., in time – but, rather (as pointed out by me in surah 2, note 247), “that which lies open before it”. Since, however, the pronoun “it” relates here to the Qur’an, the metaphorical expression “between its hands” or “before it” cannot possibly refer to “knowledge” (as it does in 2:255), but must obviously refer to an objective reality with which the Qur’an is “confronted”: that is, something that was coexistent in time with the revelation of the Qur’an. Now this, taken together (a) with the fact – frequently stressed in the Qur’an and since established by objective scholarship – that in the course of the millennia the Bible has been subjected to considerable and often arbitrary alteration, and (b) with the fact that many of the laws enunciated in the Qur’an differ from the laws of the Bible, brings us forcibly to the conclusion that the “confirmation” of the latter by the Qur’an can refer only to the basic truths still discernible in the Bible, and not to its time-bound legislation or to its present text – in other words, a confirmation of whatever was extant of its basic teachings at the time of the revelation of the Qur’an: and it is this that the phrase ma bayna yadayhi expresses in this context as well as in 5:46 and 48 or in 61:6 (where it refers to Jesus’ confirming the truth of “whatever there still remained [i.e., in his lifetime] of the Torah”).(Quran Ref: 3:3 )

Now I don’t know what translation you are using to justify your position regarding the Quran, but I use Muhammad Assad as opposed to Yusef Ali, Maulana Ali, or Pickhall because Assad unlike the former broadens his translation to capture more of the Arabic in context, whereas the former translated their works to suit the English speaking audience specifically by using English similar to the KJV version of the Bible, now I actually own all of them minus Pickhall and all are considered “good” translations by most Islamic scholars, my reasoning is simply that both Ali’s have their commentary in the actual books or in a concordance, not readily available online so it would require a lot of flipping back and forth, plus the English is a “little” archaic to me and not as clear, I don’t personally care for ancient English, however all translators agree that the central theme here in these verses is the Arabic word Furqran “criterion”. In it’s usage in the Quran it implies that the subject being called Furqran sets the standard between right and wrong. Both Moses and Aaron (saw) were called Furqran to explain that they were bringing the truth to Pharoah, Jesus (saw) was called Furqran to explain how he was clearing up the falsehood present in the teachings of his day, the Quran is called Furqran to explain it’s relevance compared to present books, and Muhammad is called Furqran to explain his relevance to the Pagan Arabs of his day and the world.

James: I am not trying to legitimize the Bible by using the Quran as you suggest. If you refer back to my original statement you will see that I’m actually demonstrating that the Quran is not true using propositional logic.

Consider the following:

Proposition: The Qur’an is true in its statement that nobody can change the words of God and that the Bible (Torah + Injil or gospel) is the word of God

Sura 6:115 The words of thy Lord are perfect in truth and in justice; NONE can change His words: For He is the one who heareth and knoweth all.

Sura 6:34 There is none that can alter the words of Allah. Already hast thou received some account of those messengers.

Sura 10:64 There is no changing the words of God; that is the supreme triumph.

Sura 3:3 Qur’an confirms that Torah, Zabur (Psalms) and Injil (gospel) are words of God. “It is He (God) who sent down to thee the Book in truth, attesting to (the truth of) what IS between its (his) hands (the Bible), and He sent down the Torah and the Gospel before this as a guide to mankind.” Or using Yusuf Ali: It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong).

Statement: Islam claims that the Bible has been corrupted.

Conclusion: Since purportedly according to Islam the bible has been corrupted, then the Quran is false in its claim that nobody can change the words of God.

Robert: Hopefully, I have clarified my position using the Quran in displaying that your logic is faulty not in intention, but in mistranslation and/or understanding of what the Quran is actually saying as it relates to the Bible. My major point I’m trying to stress is that the Quran in no shape or form is calling the Bible the word of God, in fact how could it, considering at the time of Muhammad (saw), we can only speculate as to whether or not there was a definitive collection called “Bible” during that time as the oldest remaining compilation of the Bible dates to the 8th century. While there were Bible’s in existence in the world during the time of Muhammad (saw) even then, there was no definitive authoritative text that we know as Bible today, there were only various codex’s in existence at the time none of which completely accepted until the 16th century at the council of Trent. Now it’s interesting to note that you mentioned the Dead Sea Scrolls at one point, as a side note the scrolls which were discovered during the mid 20th century only contains fragments of various writings many of which you will find in the “OT” but none are complete, furthermore, even the Jewish canon wasn’t adopted until around 100 AD/CE. But that’s another topic. My point is, the Quran couldn’t possibly legitimize or insinuate about a book as we understand it today, that wasn’t even in existence at that time, unless of course, God was referring to a future time and even still, the Quran says there is error in the man made collection called Bible.

Refuting your claim about the Quran being against propositional logic, you make several false assumptions even based off the translations of the Quran you used.

1: You say that the Quran states that nobody can change the words of God, which is a declaration of faith we both believe, using that logic, you follow through that the Bible is the word of God, which of course is your belief, not Muslims. The Bible according to Christians consists of roughly (depending on sect) 66 books. The Quran doesn’t mention anything about 66 books, the Quran specifically says Torah, Injeel (Gospel), and Zabur (Psalms) as previously revealed. Now depending on who you ask, the Torah consists of 5 books, Psalms 1 book, and the Gospels 4 books, no where near 66. So even if you insisted that the Quran says these exact books are the exact word of God, which it doesn’t say, your proposition already falls short by equating the entire Bible as equal to roughly 10 books, therefore saying the Quran is saying the other 56 are the word of God. Furthermore, I have been specific and the Quran has been specific in saying that it (Quran) only acknowledges that those revelations were given, so I ask again, did Moses, Jesus, or David (pbut) definitely write those books?

2. Then you make the statement that the Quran says the Bible has been corrupted, which it does, and I believe history bears witness to the fact that man has been involved with the Bible from the beginning for centuries and is far removed from anything directly descended from God, however you obviously disagree with that, because as an article of faith, you believe the Bible has never changed. My question to you is where is the original Bible to compare notes with? Who were the authors? Did Moses, Jesus, or David (pbut) write it themselves? Did any of their followers even write it? How can we be sure that the 3rd parties who never met any of them got the story right?

3. Based on the loopholes in your proposition in my statements 1 and 2 I truly see faulty logic or an “illogical fallacy” on your part when you arrived at your conclusion, as the Quran would say in an arbitrary manner.

“Conclusion: Since purportedly according to Islam the bible has been corrupted, then the Quran is false in its claim that nobody can change the words of God.”

So, 1+1 does not equal 2 in your proposition and there is no smoking gun. Since the Quran doesn’t in any fashion call the Bible the word(s) of God.

James: Since you can properly identify a corrupted bible then certainly you must have the original uncorrupted bible, otherwise you should not expect anyone to take your claim seriously. My question for you is: when exactly do you believe that the Bible was corrupted and by whom?

Robert: Obviously not, nor can you or anyone else because it simply doesn’t exist! Using the language of NT scholars, it’s probable based on the actual history of Biblical recording, the unknown authors, the lack of eyewitness to Biblical events, among other things.

There are over 5,600 Greek manuscripts containing all or part of the New Testament. Most of these manuscripts date to the Middle Ages. The first complete copy of the New Testament, the Codex Sinaiticus, dates to the 4th century. The earliest fragment of a New Testament book is the Rylands Library Papyrus P52 which dates to the mid 2nd century and is the size of a business card. Very early manuscripts are rare. No two manuscripts are identical, except in the smallest fragments and the many manuscripts which preserve New Testament texts differ among themselves in many respects, with some estimates of 200,000 to 300,000 differences among the various manuscripts. According to Bart Ehrman (NT Author and Scholar),

“Most changes are careless errors that are easily recognized and corrected. Christian scribes often made mistakes simply because they were tired or inattentive or, sometimes, inept. Indeed, the single most common mistake in our manuscripts involves “orthography,” significant for little more than showing that scribes in antiquity could spell no better than most of us can today. In addition, we have numerous manuscripts in which scribes have left out entire words, verses, or even pages of a book, presumably by accident. Sometimes scribes rearranged the words on the page, for example, by leaving out a word and then reinserting it later in the sentence.”

Some familiar examples of Gospel passages thought to have been added by later interpolators include the Pericope Adulteræ (John 7:53 – 8:11), the Comma Johanneum (1 John 5:7–8), and the longer ending in Mark 16 (Mark 16:9-20).

So for these and many other reasons, I can in no way believe that the hand of man and not God was involved in the creation of the Bible and if this were not true, there wouldn’t be so much history of changes, additions, textual criticism, etc. Especially, when viewing the Quran on the same basis, whether we agree about what is inspired or not, one thing is for certain, as just a book of text, the Quran remains unscathed by the various problems found when you textually criticize the Bible. The History of the Quran is a lot clearer, in my humble opinion because of many factors like no variance in texts, language still spoken by majority of adherents, complete early texts exists today and can be verified against copies in circulation. To me, the mere fact that I can do an Arabic word for word with any Quran in the world today no matter the age is a tremendous feat, and makes the argument that it’s more probable that the Quran is in it’s original form compared to the Bible in which you cannot compare a complete text against an ancient complete text, because in the case of the latter none exists, just thousands of manuscript fragments, scholarly assumptions, and textual criticism still occurring today. The Bible exhibits many qualities of a changing text unlike the Tanakh or the Quran which for the most part in the case of the former, but definitely in the case of the latter, exhibits the qualities of a static unchanging text. So, from a theological opinion if one was to be the word of God that is unchanging, it just makes sense, at least to me, to pick the text that is actually unchanging, for me that is hands down, the Quran.

James: This question is important because it is actually quite easy to demonstrate to a Muslim that when Muhammad recited the Qur’an, he made clear statements which show that he did not believe that the Bible was corrupt at that time.

Robert: Such as?

James: The Qur’an calls on Christians to adhere to the Scriptures that they possessed. There are also verses in the Qur’an which state that John the Baptist and Jesus were taught the Torah by Allah. If this is the case, then the Torah was still intact (according to the Qur’an) during the first century. Add to this the fact that we have in our possession the Dead Sea Scrolls which predate John and Jesus’ birth by some 200 years.

Robert: More “illogical fallacies” on your part. The Quran tells Christians to adhere to the truth of which was revealed to them. The Quran illustrates the theological principle that God judges based on niyyah (intention) and actual action. Therefore, the only way to arrive at truth is primarily through the furqran (criterion) which is the Quran, however the Quranic principle of justice dictates that God will judge according to what you have. That is why that Quran can make statements that suggest that Christians and Jews will also go to paradise, even if they don’t have the Quran, because a merciful God judges one based off what they have and know. That is why the Quran says on the day of Judgment, Moses, Jesus, etc. (pbut) will be present to bear witness of the truth of which they actually taught and whether or not their followers are in fact truly that.

By saying that John the Baptist and Jesus (saw) were taught the Torah by God, doesn’t imply anything other then the fact that those two knew it. That has nothing to do with whether or not it existed in print form or not and at what time in history, that is all conjecture. As far as the Dead Sea Scrolls, your making dogmatic conclusions based primarily on your faith.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of manuscripts found at Qumram that contain many fragments of works some of which are included in the current OT, some in the Tanakh, and others that are not. Even if the DSS contains scriptures which you obviously exegete fortell the coming of John or Jesus (saw), that is simply a statement of faith, I’m certain the Jews would obviously disagree. So, all your proving is that you have faith in the exegete that formulates the dogma you subscribe to about the “prophecy” concerning these two figures, and you back that faith up by saying the books from which you exegete have an ancient counterpart. So what’s your point?


“According to carbon dating, textual analysis, and handwriting analysis the documents were written at various times between the middle of the 2nd century BC and the 1st century AD. At least one document has a carbon date range of 21 BC–61 AD. ” source wikipedia

I find it funny that this blurb mentions “carbon date range” considering you told me in person, correct me if I’m wrong, that carbon dating is unreliable. Nevertheless, Important texts include the Isaiah Scroll (discovered in 1947), a Commentary on the Habakkuk (1947), the so-called Manual of Discipline (Community Rule), which gives much information on the structure and theology of a sect, and the earliest version of the Damascus Document. The so-called Copper Scroll (1952), which lists valuable hidden caches of gold, scrolls, and weapons, is probably the most notorious.

The fragments span at least 800 texts that represent many diverse viewpoints, ranging from beliefs resembling those of the Essenes to those of other sects. About 30% are fragments from the Hebrew Bible, from all the books except the Book of Esther and the Book of Nehemiah. About 25% are traditional Israelite religious texts that are not in the canonical Hebrew Bible, such as the Book of Enoch, the Book of Jubilees, and the Testament of Levi. Another 30% contain Biblical commentaries or other texts such as the Community Rule, also known as “Discipline Scroll” or “Manual of Discipline”), The Rule of the Congregation, The Rule of the Blessing and the War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness (also known as the “War Scroll”) related to the beliefs, regulations, and membership requirements of a Jewish sect, which some researchers continue to believe lived in the Qumran area. The rest of the fragments (about 15%) remain unidentified.

Frequency of books found:

Psalms 39, Deuteronomy 33, 1 Enoch 25, Genesis 24, Isaiah 22, Jubilees 21, Exodus 18, Leviticus 17, Numbers 11, Minor Prophets 10, Daniel 8, Jeremiah 6, Ezekiel 6, Job 6, 1 & 2 Samuel 4.

So, I don’t know what the DSS example is supposed to prove other than there were books currently in the OT and Tanakh in print form at that time. Does that make them the originals i.e. written by the original people described in the text? Are we certain we have exact copies of even these works, considering they are just fragments and not complete manuscripts? There’s still no solid evidence of scriptural consistency. All your showing is that many fragments exist of a so-called complete text. My consistent question is how do you know your text is complete when you have nothing complete to verify it against? I guess the reverse question would be how do I not know it’s complete and the answer to both would be faith. However, I would venture to say that my faith that it is not complete is based off of historical evidence, and so would you, but I believe the burden of proof is on you. Show me an ancient copy of 66 books exactly as you have it today, and I will shut up and then we can debate authorship later. But right now, all you can point to is the fact that thousands of pieces exist and using that to validate your assertion. If I were to assume that everytime I met a black person that they are from Africa based on the color of their skin, and the fact that the majority of black skinned persons originate from Africa, would that make my assumption fact? That’s what your doing. You have a book that you say is complete. While you maintain it’s complete, you have nothing complete in antiquity to compare it to. You have similar texual origins and histories, but they are two different texts, with different lengths, compositions, structure, etc. etc. while it’s likely that there are similar commonalities and origins, that doesn’t automatically make it the same. Every black person isn’t from Africa just because they may or may not, have a common anscestry. But, I’m losing myself, so I hope you get my overall point. If not, I’m certain we will revisit this issue.

James: Therefore, it is easy to demonstrate (for anyone willing to examine the facts) that according to the Islamic worldview and the manuscript evidence, it is impossible for the Bible to have been corrupted.

Robert: I beg to differ. With that type of history, I would love to see how you can illustrate “impossible” without the pre-resequite of faith. With so many hands involved, languages, historical evidence of additions, subtractions, revisions, etc. with no complete texts available only things like “the Lord……love…….forever” manuscripts, I find it truly fascinating your position. Someone had to fill in the blanks, piece together, translate, revise, etc. etc. who did it? How are you certain their motives were genuine? How are you certain they were “perfect” in there attempts at recollecting events they were not present at or histories they were not privy to belonging to? It’s all conjecture, mixed with faith, moreso in man than God Himself.

James: There are many more logical inferences one can arrive at based upon your assertion above. For instance, and adapting the summation from another site, the only possible conclusion from a thorough exegesis of the Qur’an is that “copies of the true Torah and the true gospel were present in Mecca and Medina at the time of Muhammad. Furthermore, since no Muslim has brought forth from one of the great Islamic libraries an ancient manuscript of a different Torah or a different Gospel, and since no archaeological discoveries have shown any carved quotations which differ from the Torah and Gospel present with us now; I am firmly convinced that the books which were available in Mecca during the lifetime of Muhammad were identical to the torah and the gospel which we read today.”

Robert: That’s almost hilarious! First, you quote who by the way, get beat up on every debate by the team. Which in both cases are extremely biased sources obviously. Second, once again you utilize what you accuse me of “illogical fallacies” in your attempts that saying because the Quran says Torah or Injeel, that if must be saying that both physically existed in Mecca and Medina. Now we can debate that all day, even though there is no physical evidence either way, then that also proves that there is no physical proof that what we have today that you call Torah and Gospel are exactly the same as what may or may not have existed in Mecca and Medina. It doesn’t add up yet again. Your conjecturing that what you have today is an exact replica of what “might” have been in Arabia, based off of what? Furthermore, your scholars from answering Islam neglected to mention in their weak argument, that even if physical “somethings” called Torah and Gospel, existed in Arabia, then the Quran says that even those were already corrupt! Lastly, no Muslim has to produce a different Torah or Gospel, to prove our point about corruption, we are the ones making the accusation that none exists in the first place! We firmly believe that since you guys can’t produce anything consistent and complete, that it’s obvious that it’s man-made! Prove us wrong, why don’t you produce or the answering islam team produce a complete text that is exactly the same as what you have today as 66 books, you can’t. Heck, you can’t even agree if there should be exactly 66 books or not more or less. Which is our point: How can you claim divine origin and perfection to a work that has changed ever century more or less since the 1st century, with nothing to go on put scraps of manuscripts some the size of a business card? I mean it is our position (Muslims) that if the Bible is what many of you say it is, then we should be able to go read for ourselves a complete copy of the 66 books exactly as you have them today. But we all know we cannot, not even if we added two more hundred years to the 1st century will we ever find a complete copy of 66 books that all Christians agree upon and all Bibles in existence today match. The only book that can make such claims is the Quran. Every Muslim agrees that there are 114 Surahs of the Quran in the Arabic text and language and there are complete copies on display right now from the 7th through 9th centuries that all Muslims can compare against. And there hasn’t been one council to date to dispute that fact, or to challenge any of the textual composition. Can you say the same?

James: What? How does the mention of the Quran first being revealed over a period of 23 years confirm what truth is or is not in the Bible? What specifically is false and what specifically is true?

Robert: You and I both know this is a foolish question. It’s one based on faith. We believe our book trumphs yours in consitency, accuracy, and truth based on many things like textual consitency standing up to time, proof that the Bible exists in fragments with men arbitrarily piecing it together and using conjecture to decide what really happened. One can never assertain faith in something, one can only debate it. We both believe Jesus (saw) walked on the water, can either of us truly prove it with physical evidence? As far as what is true or not in the Bible is also a declaration of faith, that’s the whole point of all this writing, to show why we believe what we believe. I believe the Quran is true about what it says about the Bible based on physical, historical fact. Naturally, if I believe the Quran is the literal, untouched, perfect word of God, then if it says that the truth of the Quran clears the falsehood of the Bible, then I believe. If the Quran says that Jesus (saw) didn’t die on the cross, then I obviously disagree with the parts of the Bible that suggest otherwise. The Quranic argument is that if either opinion is in doubt, produce your proof if you are truthful? Can either of us truly prove whether or not Jesus (saw) died on the cross physically? Of course not, that is why the Quran calls it vain conjecture and then asks why put the central theme of your faith based on events that you can’t prove actually happened? The Quran follows with belief in One God Alone is sufficient vice debating for centuries the events of something that may or may have not happened, relying on zero eyewitness. So the Quran calls us (Muslims) to agree on at least this much concerning Jesus (saw) that he lived, was raised up (exhalted), and will come again. Which to us doesn’t carry much weight since he was a creation of the Creator whom we should all submit to in the first place. This is just one example.

James: How did man fail? Which verse(s) got corrupted? What were they originally? To use an analogy, it is unreasonable for one to claim that a dollar bill is corrupt or fake unless the person can actually and specifically demonstrate why the dollar bill is in fact not valid.

Robert: Likewise, it is unreasonable for one to believe that the dollar bill is not corrupt and real unless the person can actually and specifically demonstrate why the dollar bill is in fact valid.

I think I have provided sufficient evidence that there exists no original “dollar” to compare to the current “dollar”, to not to mention the actual history and evidence of changes in the paper materials used, the color of the ink, the value, the size, and exchange rate, which is fluctuating even today from person to person.

James: Where does the Quran say this? Keep in mind that such alleged verses have been addressed in the link I provided above (What the Qur’an Says about the Bible).

Robert: You and the author are guilty of “illogical fallacies”. So the Quran says that the Torah was known by Mary, Jesus, John, etc. etc. peace and blessings of God be upon them all, how exactly does that prove that what you have today is the same as what they had? The Quran makes no such statements, it actually makes the opposite. You guys are looking for contradictions that are not there. The Quran is very clear that Jesus (saw) came to clear the falsehood of those at the time, then the Quran is very clear that those after Jesus (saw) corrupted even his message. In the case of the former, Jesus (saw) got the revelation directly from God and was able to guide people, when he left, the people corrupted his guidance, so now we have the Quran to clear the falsehood of those people and guide mankind aright. By making declarations that Jesus and others were true in their day (pbut), that has absolutely nothing to do with those whom we accuse of being of those who corrupted the message. Unless of course you can provide a copy of the Good News that either Jesus (saw) or his actual disciples wrote and compare it to what you have today. The same goes for Moses and David (saw). None of them actually wrote the texts they are mentioned in the Bible, and no one even knows who wrote those texts in the first place. So it’s nothing more than conjecture and a lot of faith to say you know for a fact that Jesus, Moses, or David (saw) for example, said any of those things. So our position is either true or false, take it or leave it. Not much to debate really.

James: If you are conceding the Quran contradicts itself then we are in agreement, otherwise you must explain why the Quran gives the bible credence and then supposedly takes this credence away in a book that is non-chronological.

Robert: illogical fallacy, illogical fallacy, etc.etc. etc. why is that so hard to see? If I said Donald Trump drives a car and said but we don’t know what kind or color he drives, does that mean I’m agreeing that he drives a silver Bently? The problem is your position is you are saying that you know for a fact that he drives a silver Bently, even though neither of us can physically prove it. When I say that neither of us can physically prove it unless we were to go his home, you say you don’t need to go to his home because your cousin who knows about cars told you, even though even he hasn’t been to his home but heard it from somebody else and therefore told you.

Likewise, The Quran says there was a Torah and an Injeel that was known and taught by Moses and Jesus (saw), however what evidence we have of such today can’t be compared to what was then, because the originals don’t exist nor is there any writings from the prophets themselves. However, you say that well what others have said concerning the events even though they were not there themselves is just as credible against things that don’t exist.

You say well I know whats in the Torah and Injeel because I have a copy, I say you have a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy, etc. with no original insight. You say prove it, I say show me the original. Neither of us can, and there’s the dilemma… The difference being that all your faith is in the copy that has no original and mine is not. Can either of us prove that Trump drives a silver Bently? Not really, I will just be content in saying that he drives a car, you can rely and believe in your cousin who has never been to Trumps house who says that it is.

Kind of like this:

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. (Luke 1-4)

James: It would be foolish for one who is truly Muslim to not accept the Bible as true especially because the Quran say that the words of God cannot be tampered with. If the Quran also said that the bible was tampered with then this would obviously be a contradiction. Besides, the Quranic verses you presumably refer to never imply that the bible was ever changed, altered or corrupted (See sections E,F,G and H). But even if the opposite were true, it would only underscore what many scholars have concluded, namely, that the Quran is riddled with unmistakable contradictions.

Robert: Same article, same faulty logic.

James: A couple of things; first, I’m afraid that you are using the words allude and allusion incorrectly. Traditionally, an allusion is really a literary device and therefore would commonly only refer to a piece of literature, a film, a piece of art, or even a real event; my point is, the referent should be tangible and not vague like “constant chain of revisions.” In addition, when you allude or make an allusion, you reference something indirectly but the expectation is that the reader has enough information to be able to understand the allusion. For instance, if I say Robert don’t tell anyone that Islam is full of contradictions and you replied “mum’s the word” you would be alluding to a certain scene in the Shakespeare play called 2 Henry VI.

Sometimes, writers don’t understand that an overt or direct “allusion” is really a misnomer for what is simply a reference. In your case, even in the most liberal sense of the word(s), “modern context” does not “overtly” or “covertly” refer to a “constant chain of revisions” (at least without making an unwarranted presupposition). Therefore, based on the denotative (and connotative) definition of allusion, I do not see a way that “modern context” could ever truly allude to a “constant chain of revisions.”  Incidentally, the same criticism applies to your other uses of the word “allusion.”

Secondly, your statement above (“If it was correct the first time, there would be no reason for new versions”) is a logical fallacy. There is at least one other reason why new versions would exist apart from the first version being incorrect. For instance, if version one of a book used archaic words and version two used contemporary equivalents of the archaic words in version one. Incidentally, your logical fallacy assumes that the bible was incorrect the first time, this contradicts the claim you made earlier that the bible was originally correct and then later corrupted; just something for you to think about.

Thirdly, your statements above regarding “constant chain[s] of revisions” betray a severe lack of knowledge in regards to the history of the bible. There have been several editions but no revisions. You are confusing changes based on the printing conditions of 1611 and the maturation of the print press for actual changes in the meaning of words or their substance. The bible has never changed (at least in the way you mean) and we have the manuscripts to prove it. If you would still like to claim that the bible has been revised please provide one example. Incidentally, You should really consider dropping this particular line of argument from your arsenal. It does more to hurt your cause than help it.

Robert: Now I know that somehow you thought that a diatribe about the words “allude” or “allusion” would throw me off and mix in a couple of philosophical terms and “walla” you have stumped the Muslim! Let’s be clearer, there is no original Bible. There are thousands of fragments of varying degrees that have been complied in various ways over a millinium and is now called Bible. We have no complete text to compare today with yesteryear, at best all we can do is conjucture that our pieces match other pieces. But those pieces once belonged to something, we can only make educated guesses as to what that something was. My point is that it’s unreasonable to call an educated guess no matter how educated that guess perfect. The Quran says the same that the Bible of today and that which existed among the Christian and Jews of Muhammad’s (saw) time, was nothing more than conjecture. The Quran merely states that “something” existed called Torah and Gospel, Moses and Jesus (saw) had it, but what was present then and now, while it goes by the same name only resembles some of the original “something” but also contains “something” else, and since no one can produce the original “something” it’s safe to assume that no one can assertain what parts are the original “something” and which parts are the “something else”, therefore the Quran says it is the criterion to distinguish the difference, nothing else, and wherein there is dispute, produce your proof. Show us the original “something”. But bear witness that what you have today is a collection of somethings but there really is no way to know how much of those somethings is equal to the original somethings and how much is something else. Which is why to this day, NT/OT scholars are combing the pieces of somethings, trying to arrive at and piece together a “more accurate” version of they hypothesized original something that doesn’t exist anymore in the first place, but must have existed, hence the evidence of pieces of somethings.

Having a tire from a car doesn’t mean you can with 100% certainty say that you know the year, make, model, or color of the car is. You can make educated guesses based on the size of the tire, the thread, and rim. You may find a piece of a spoiler, or headlight, taillight, etc. which will help you out more, but to me, it seems illogical to claim you know the car is a 1998 Red Chevy Corvette.

That’s the difference. Muslims say based on the tire we know it belongs to a car that it’s original owners and drivers knew the make/model/year/color, many Christians including yourself say based on the tire you know it was a 1998 red chevy corvette, even though you don’t have the car. Muslims say that’s ridiculous, come to terms with us, let’s at least agree that the tire belongs to a car and the manufacturer of the car knows best, so let’s be content in his wisdom. Christians say no, we know what the car is, believe what the car is, and can tell you where the owner used to go in that car, because there is dirt on the tire and we believe that color dirt is only found in the desert, so we must believe it has to be that the owner drove this 1998 red chevy corvette in the desert, because this tire came from that car!

I know, I know, I kid, I kid….

James: Finally, the strength of Christianity does not lie in dogmas or denominations; it lies in the word of God which is defensible using manuscript evidence, archaeological evidence, predictive prophecy, and the statistical improbability of fraudulent authorship. The Quran, unfortunately, falls short in every one of these areas.

Robert: Watch this: Finally the strength of Islam does not lie in dogmas or denominations; it lies in the word of God which is defensible using manuscript evidence, archaelogical evidence, predictive prophecy, and the statistical improbability of fraudulent Authorship. The Bible, unfortunately, falls short in every one of these areas.

See how this epistemological argument remains circular as a dog who chases his tail? Is it not better to say “Lakum deenukum waliya deen” To you be your way (religion) and to me my way (religion)?

Now I can and have attempted at explaining my perspective in this epistemological round table. Using the last statement you made and I copied I would say:

The manuscript evidence, linguistical consitency, textual consitency, present in every Quran in existence is congruent and differs not depending on sect, location, or even interpretation. I could also add, that archaelogical evidence shows that the oldest complete Qurans are exactly the same as the one in my briefcase which is the same as the one in my house even if they are different translations, because the Arabic is exactly the same, I can go to Africa, Asia, Iran, Japan, and match word for word, character for character every Alif, Ba, tau, etc. we all in turn can go to Istanbul, Turkey and compare ours to centuries old Uthmani Qurans. I could also say that the prophecy in the Quran that says that God will personally ensure that the text of the Quran stays the same as it was revealed to Muhammad (saw) 1400 plus years ago and it is in fact that way today, proof of predictive prophecy that has been fulfilled, I could also say that using the same methods, that the statistical improbability of fraudulent authorship is so low that there is not ONE religious text that can compare. The Quran was memorized word for word in that day and even today. The first memorizers and transcribers were actual companions (sahabbah) of Muhammad (saw) as well as his wives and family members, may God reward them, every Quran since then is an exact replica of those first Qurans, minus the translations (which aren’t called Quran btw). So show me a similar example concerning the Bible.

Is your 66 book Bible exactly the same as the one they use in Russia or Ethiopia?

Can you match that text of those 66 books exactly the same with the above?

Can any of you speak today the original language of the 66 books?

Can you even learn it?

Is there a complete 66 book Bible on display maybe at the Vatican that is exactly the same as yours from the 1st, 2nd , or even 3rd century to compare against?

What predictive prophecy can you indicate has been fulfilled that’s not a statement of faith?

Are the authors of the 66 book Bible the same people mentioned in the text?

Are they even related or at least eyewitnesses?

Can you prove it?

On and On and On, I’m certain you get my point.

How then are you so sure, outside of faith?

James: I am not putting the Hadiths on the same level as the Quran, but I see that you are still trying to marginalize their importance. If the Hadiths are truly on for “clarification” why even acknowledge them over any other book written regarding Islam? I’m not sure but aren’t the hadith collections the most important source for the Sunnah?

Robert: I can see where your going with this and it’s almost sad. Hadith collections are accepted or rejected based on probability and likelihood of having actually happened, kinda like how NT scholars examine the texts in reference to “Q”. As far as Sunnah, the most important source is the Quran itself, those Hadith that are accepted vary from fiqh to fiqh and are only important to the adherents of said fiqh. However, the difference is that all Muslims agree that they are man made and capable of error, so why they are used for guidance in some things, they are not definitive guidance for all things, especially in matters of faith primarily in God.

James: Your claim that the Hadith is not considered holy in any regard and that no scholar disputes this appears to be false. For example, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah Ph.D., D. Litt., a world-renowned scholar of Islam and International Law from Pakistan states: “the Quran and the Hadiths … both are based on divine inspiration.” (Introduction to Islam, pg 23)

Robert: OK, so you found one, find another if you want. He’s world renowned yet I have never heard of him, nor does he have any influence on my or my specific community. BTW, I have some real estate to sell you in Florida.

James: To my recollection, no ever stated that there was a ‘bible’ during Jesus time. Robert, what you are doing here is called building a straw man. Straw man is a ‘red herring’ type of logical fallacy. As the “straw man” metaphor suggests, the counterfeit position (in this case, the argument that there was a bible in Jesus day) attacked in a Straw Man argument is typically weaker than the opponent’s actual position (actual examples of the “white washing” phenomenon you refer to), just as a straw man is easier to defeat than a flesh-and-blood one. Of course, this is no accident, but is part of what makes the fallacy tempting to commit, especially to a desperate debater who is losing an argument.

If you would like to shine the light on Christianity, I’m happy to respond just as long as you admit that you have made concessions in regard to my initial assertions regarding Islam and would like to move on to Christianity. J Meanwhile, everything else you’ve said above amounts to utterly confused ramblings and lies without making an effort to substantiate anything.

Robert: a lot of vanity in that there post, I will let God decide who is who, and let the readers perceive what they will as you obviously have and decided the matter for all of us already.

James: Before I answer you question, you must answer my prerequisites. Do you know the difference between the Alexandrian line of codecs and the Antioch line? Secondly, if even the most loosely “translated” or “interpreted” bible condemns you as a sinner without the blood of Jesus Christ as your covering what is the significance of more conservative “interpretations” or “translations” in existence? I get a funny feeling that you may even be confusing interpretations of the bible with revisions of the bible; I can’t put this blunder past you based on your previous conjecture. Keep in mind that there is nothing barring me from coming out with my own interpretation of the Quran tomorrow and if I decided to do so, certainly this would not be considered a revision of the Quran. Robert, you need to be more careful with the logic of your assertions.

Robert: Of course I do. What’s your point? Now you are saying that because they say something similar it must be the same. I’m saying why is it that it isn’t the same period and how can you call something perfect if it varies in any form? Perfect and Vary no matter the severity, is not the same.

James: Why are those not in the modern Bible, you ask? For the same reason why my 9th grade essay on bumble bees is not included in the modern bible, namely, because it is not inspired. The irony is that many of the “lost books” advocates make the point that “these books” that were “rediscovered”, books like the so-called Gospel of Thomas or Philip, were missing because the church fathers “suppressed” them, which is another way of saying the early Christians threw them out or trashed them. This accusation is actually true. They did. Skeptics think this strengthens their case. It doesn’t; it destroys it, because it proves that these books were simply not accepted by the church fathers as authentic because they failed the prerequisites for inspiration.

Perhaps, I should extend you an invitation to our couples bible study; there you can learn all the answers to your questions regarding the composition of our manuscript evidence and biblical history. Then again, if you aren’t going to do the research but instead spew banal arguments that have been refuted ad naseum then the invitation may not really do you any good.

Robert: Ahhh, but that’s my point. Back to epistemology. Who says it is not inspired? Who says it is? What makes either right? Can we truly know? Yes, some were accepted and some were not, that’s my point! Why is that? Who’s to say what was thrown out is actually right and what remained isn’t. My point in context is your faith is wrapped up in the idea that these guys whomever they were got it right without error. My faith doesn’t rely on the things man creates or the choices man makes, but only from God. Big difference.

James: That there is no difference in any Quran on the globe is false. See Textual Variants of the Qur’an for more details.

Robert: Same source as the others, I can’t only say it in about three languages that I don’t agree with their “scholarship”.

James: Your questions demonstrate that you need a serious lesson in biblical studies (and preferably from a non-biased source). Also, I’m not sure what memorization has to do with scripture authenticity.

Robert: Your probably right, you know these colleges and authors these days are too biased in their historical presentations. Memorization…..well I will save that for later….

James: Actually no one gets the point because you are guilty of a logical fallacy called “One Sidedness” or “Card Stacking” where one side distorts, suppresses or oversimplifies facts and evidence. There were eyewitnesses; there are definitive texts to compare; and the lack of known authors is insignificant especially because you do not provide the authorless books in question.

Robert: Who were the eyewitnesses? Surely not the author of Luke, whomever that is for example. Therefore, just as easy as you say it is to believe in a text simply because you have it, it’s just as easy for me to question authenticity when the author tells of events he heard about from an unverifiable source. Insignificance, is obviously in the eye of the beholder, but let me state again for the record. To me it makes more sense to believe a “story” from an eyewitness than a “story” from one who informs me upfront they are not.

James: If you are trying to make a point, I missed it. You should familiarize yourself with our codecs if you wish to start matching books from the KJV with their corresponding manuscripts; although, if you were familiar with Desiderius Erasmus and his work you would not have to do so. The books that comprise the true words of God have always been definitive. You would know this if you really cared to understand the derivation of the bible. Why do all Christians around the world need to accept a certain bible? Would this give that bible more credence? Of course, not!

Robert: I perceive more vanity in your post yet again, I will let God decide. I could also say are you familiar with the works of Bart Ehrman or Paula Fredricksen? Would that make me more credible? “True words” of God being always definitive? That’s the crux of my entire argument. If that were the case, then why are you Christian and I’m a Muslim? Unity of faith/religion does give credence to the religion. Otherwise, how can I take you any more serious compared to say a Catholic or Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox, etc. when you can’t even agree on central things like how many books are actually in the perfect true word of God Bible?

James: The “history” you refer to is unknown to serious scholarship. I fear that your musings regarding biblical history juxtaposed with Quranic history are truly absurd. It is a historical fact that an exponentially larger amount of scholarship has been exhausted on the bible. Now I know that this doesn’t necessarily prove anything about the bible but it does demonstrate that the bible is the most scrutinized book in history, and it has stood up to the test time and time again. No serious scholarship effort can be directed toward the Quran for obvious reasons (lack of chronology and context). Unfortunately, your claims concerning Christianity are so trite and outdated they can only be meet with laughter. J

Robert: I fear that vanity is overriding dialogue that God would actually approve of when you begin to look down your nose as dismissively are you are appearing to do so. I ask you, what is the measure of “true” scholarship? What makes your research any better than mine accept with the addendum that yours you use to support your arguments and mine is use to support mine?

James: You are just full of logical fallacies tonight aren’t you? 😉 This informal logical fallacy is called is a Faulty Analogy. Look it up playa! These unlearned assumptions you continue to make regarding Christians and Christianity are baffling. Baptists do not believe in the concept of “Mass” (i.e. Transubstantiation) so why would they ever attend Mass, especially on the regular?

By the way, it is rather pretentious of you to appeal to the “mixed congregations” of the Sunni and Shia especially when they keep killing one another in large numbers.

Robert: Ahhh! Using big philosophical terminology again to dismiss the dumb unread Muslim yet again are we? There’s a point in there, had you not let arrogance get in the way, you would have seen it. The point is that religious text for the most part has an effect on the adherent(s), the more uniform the action of the adherent(s) the more probable the understanding, unity, and consistency of the text. Hence, because Muslims the world over agree on central themes and practice, it is statistically safe to say that at least to them, the text is consitent. However, in the case of Christians, this is not the case as various practices by individual denominations can often conflict with another denomination’s acceptance of “true” practice based on the text. For those that believe in cause and effect, the argument makes much sense.

Speaking of which, when it comes to Sunni/Shia who are the “they” that keep killing one another and what’s “large numbers”?

James: Regardless of the language, the rules of reading and comprehension are the same, after all, at the end of the day we are just talking about literature. The meaning of any sentence in literature is determined or influenced by its context or lack thereof. Furthermore, any form of communication loses its power if the words used to communicate can not be expected to convey an unchanging meaning based upon the rules of the language. I also don’t buy the whole “you must know Arabic to truly understand the Quran.” There are an abundance of Arabic scholars and lexicons that make that requirement pointless.

Robert: False.


1. the parts of a written or spoken statement that precede or follow a specific word or passage, usually influencing its meaning or effect: You have misinterpreted my remark because you took it out of context.

2. the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc.

In order to properly contextualize anything, one must understand the nature of that anything, whether it be words, events, situations, etc. To not pay attention to that original nature would be to in fact ignore context. The rules of comprehension state that in order to comprehend you must at least attempt at understanding the subject. If you don’t’ understand or comprehend the subject, how can you seriously contexualize anything regarding the subject?

Hence the terms exegesis or tasfir in the case of the Quran. There are rules in place to govern such. There is a difference in the rules of exegesis of the Bible, verses tasfir of the Quran. Without going into detail, that is because the books in of itself are different. You can’t apply the same rules and logic to everything. That is why in religious studies in general linguistics are so important, because the rules change. Look up tasfir for more information. My point is you can’t assume that contextual analysis and comprehension rules are the same when describing two entirely different things. Is an apple and orange the same, because they are both fruit?

James: Your faulty analogy is logically fallacious. I do not compare apples to oranges as you claim. The Quran must adhere to the rules of comprehension for the language in which it is rendered, just like any other book. You are told to interpret the Quran differently only because it lacks the prerequisites that all reasonable literature should have chronology and context. Since you did not care to answer my previous statement concerning the difficulties of interpreting the Quran, I will include it here again: Anyone reading the Quran without any outside influences (with the exception of the social context of that day) would arrive at the same conclusions that I and number of people have. This is the reason why your explanations of the controversial verses are not that evident. It’s not that we don’t understand to selectively apply historical context; it’s that the text does not necessitate that type of exegesis. For example, there is nothing in scripture that tells us we must understand or limit the rules concerning the role of women in the church in terms of the historical context. Therefore, if I were to say that it only applies to the women of Paul’s day, this would be called eisegesis, since the text does not call for that. So, while I admire the fact that you have an answer for the controversial verses, the fact that your interpretation is not the most obvious for someone of my educational background is slightly worrisome.

Robert: Read the parts in bold: bold 1 = opinion, bold 2 = opinion, a translation isn’t called the Quran that is why the rules of comprehension are only seriously considered in Arabic following static rules of the original text. Bold 3 = opinion, who says what is or isn’t “reasonable” literature? Bold 4 = that’s my whole point: it’s not evident, the Quran says so itself 3:7, exegesis won’t work in the Christian or non-Muslim understanding, only through the understanding of Tasfir can one arrive at clear explanations, which is why it’s best to not pick up the text and try to figure out meanings in an arbitrary fashion or the way one is used to, also in 3:7. It just makes more sense to actually ask a Muslim. Bold 5 = hint of vanity, we don’t know your educational background and should it matter in this discourse other then to throw around titles and implications? What’s worrisome is the notion that one can tell another what they believe regardless of their refutation to what they actually believe, dismiss it, and then in the end tell them they are wrong either way. I started this dialogue just explaining the Quran from and actual Muslim perspective, then was told in essence that non-Muslims know better than the actual Muslim, seems pretty vain to me.

James: I’m sure you wrote this sentence to prove a point but I’m afraid it does not convey anything to me or our audience. Your tangents are severely out of order. If in fact a group of Jews maintain that Christians don’t understand their text, what has that to do with the problems in ascertaining the message of a book (the Quran) that does not really mean what is says? This is a logically fallacious way of arguing. By the way, just because some Jews use the same excuse as Islam (i.e. I know what it says but it doesn’t really mean that) doesn’t make them right. At least, one can challenge those Jews based on the context in the literature; I can not say the same for Islam.

Robert: But your doing the exact same thing. The difference is I’m not arguing apples and oranges. Im acknowledging that most eat apples one way and oranges another and treat each as such.

James: I’m sorry but this is just an excuse to explain to the world why the Quran does not really mean what it so clearly says. There are many Arabic writings that have clarity and context, just not the Quran. There is almost no context in the Quran. I mean, the book has no semblance of chronology. It is very disorderly. The reason that controversy swirls about the Qur’an is because it’s so poorly written. It may be the only book in existence that is jumbled without contextual or chronological ordering. As such, it must be read in conjunction with the other sources just to make sense. And as such, it could never have been divinely inspired. The God who created the ordered universe has to be able to express Himself more clearly and orderly than does the Qur’an.

Robert: Your continuous opinions, don’t make them true.

James: This is a damning weakness on the part of the Quran. Why is the Quran written in a way where only “scholars” can truly understand? Was Mohammed bias toward non-scholars? Even in elementary schools this is called poor communication. When you write in such a way where only scholars can decipher the meaning how can you expect anyone to take the book seriously. No one wants to laboriously search through commentaries just to find the true meaning of a verse that claims:

“O People of the Book! ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Torah, the Gospel, and all the revelation that has come to you from Your Lord.(Surah 5:69)”

If that’s what it says then that is what it should mean (baring the presence of literary devices or archaic words)

Robert: If it were that easy, then why did God make us all different? I mean why not make us all black or white, why not make us practice the same religion and speak the same language? In other words, as Muslims oft say, God Alone is the best knower! It appears to me that soon your going to say you know the meaning of life.

James: The fact that you think it is necessary to do so underscore several severe deficiencies in the subject of biblical provenance. The biblical text in most cases is very clear when understood in context and the context is provided in the text. It’s called the perspicuity of scripture. Look it up Holmes.

Robert: Very clear to whom? Then why are there different Christian denominations? I ignored the rest, pretty much the same accusations, opinions, and vain diatribe.


Fodder for refutation:

  1. How can one believe in the Quranic God of Abraham who in Sura 29:27 states that all prophets came from Abraham’s seed. But 16:36 claims that Allah raised messengers from among every people. Maybe there are two gods; one god of who raised all prophets from Abraham and one god who raised messengers from among every people?

Robert: Notice the key difference in those verses; even in the English one says “prophets” and the other “messengers” now I know you don’t believe Arabic is relevant in this case, but the word for prophet in Arabic is Naboo and Messenger is Rasul. So in 29:27 God is saying that the Prophethood was established through Abrahams seed Issaac and Ishmael (pbut), but His mercy extends to all mankind by giving them guidance in the form of messengers big difference. That is why in the Quran Muhammad (saw) is called both a Prophet and a Messenger oftimes in the same verse. Prophet distinguishes lineage, messenger distinguishes purpose. i.e. He was a Prophet in the line of those that came before him, and a messenger to the people of his time….nevermind…

  1. How can one believe in Muhammad as his messenger when we don’t know if it’s the Muhammad who should get paid or the one who shouldn’t?

Robert: This is comical. Without even disputing the Hadith they put forward, or even the Quran, one can easily see the old bait and switch tactic as they read along. The verses he presented at first show that no profit was to be made off of declaring the word of God, which is true and makes sense as even he noted. Then he quotes hadith and Quran that supposedly show that Muhammad (saw) accepted money. Ahhhh! But the difference is in the details. One talks about accepting money for the message, the other talks about accepting money from conquest. Two different topics indeed. The rest is just more diversion tactics. James you should know better.

  1. How can one believe in Islamic prayer when the Quran says that all Muslims will go to hell?

Robert: For one, he uses a translation I surely never heard of, I wonder why. Rather than refute it, here are the actual verses and notes, which should clear up this falsehood on its own.

19:71 And every one of you will come within sight of it: [55] this is, with thy Sustainer, a decree that must be fulfilled.

Note 55 (Quran Ref: 19:71 )

Lit., “none of you but will reach it”. According to some of the classical authorities, the pronoun “you” relates to the sinners spoken of in the preceding passages, and particularly to those who refuse to believe in resurrection; the majority of the commentators, however, are of the opinion that all human beings, sinners and righteous alike, are comprised within this address in the sense that all “will come within sight of it”: hence my rendering.(Quran Ref: 19:71 )

19:72 And once again: We shall save [from hell] those who have been conscious of Us; but We shall leave in it the evildoers, on their knees. [57]

Note 57 (Quran Ref: 19:72 )

I.e., utterly humbled and crushed by their belated realization of God’s judgment and of the ethical truths which they had arrogantly neglected in life.(Quran Ref: 19:72 )

  1. How can one believe in fasting when Muhammad fasted because he saw Jews fasted and someone explained it to him. He didn’t know about it before this incident, and there is no indication that Allah had sanctioned it.

Robert: James, this is concerning the fast of Ashura a specific holiday, not the Islamic pillar of swam during the month of Ramadan.

Volume 4, Book 55, Number 609:

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:

When the Prophet came to Medina, he found (the Jews) fasting on the day of ‘Ashura’ (i.e. 10th of Muharram). They used to say: “This is a great day on which Allah saved Moses and drowned the folk of Pharaoh. Moses observed the fast on this day, as a sign of gratitude to Allah.” The Prophet said, “I am closer to Moses than they.” So, he observed the fast (on that day) and ordered the Muslims to fast on it.

Fasting during Ashura is an added blessing because the Prophet (saw) did, but it is not a pillar of our faith.

  1. How can one believe in pilgrimage when according to Sahih Bukhari 2.596, the Prophet said, “Whoever performs Hajj for Allah’s pleasure and does not have sexual relations with his wife, and does not do evil or sins then he will return (after Hajj free from all sins) as if he were born anew.” Yet in the book of Psalms 51:5 we are told that we are born sinners.

Robert: That’s a silly question. What does Psalms 51:5 have to do with the Quran? Oh that’s right you believe Muslims are supposed to believe in the book of Psalms, hence original sin, hence Jesus (saw) as attonement for such right?

I almost feel embarraced to even refute your claims of proof! Talk about illogical fallacies. It would be best to leave this debate alone. Believe what you will and I will do the same.