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Christianity vs. Islam: Burleson-Shooter Debate
Posted: 20 June 2008 05:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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Likewise, explanations as to why Muslims don’t believe in that aspect of the Gospel, which you seem to believe is the essence of the Gospel (i.e. Jesus being God or the Son of God), apart from the reasons I have given (i.e. questions about the authenticity of this claim from various circles, including Christian scholars themselves), can be found in the links I posted earlier, which I think provide a reliable crtique of Christian belief from the Muslim perspective, without referring necessarily to arguments about the bible’s historocity, but rather rely on concerns about the implications of Christian doctrine.

Finally, regarding your questions about the textual integrity of the Qur’an, I would suggest that you refer to the link below rather then us go back and forth concerning the details here.  Now, normally I don’t refer readers to articles about religious subjects whose author’s qualifications are not known to me, but in the absence of such accessible material, I am refering you the link below for answers to your questions about the Qur’an:

http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/


Speaking of oxymorons here are some classics:

Christian scholars

textual integrity of the Qur’an

Now here is something that I am concerned about which really needs some discussion, even perhaps its own thread although I suspect it has been done many times before, either directly or indirectly.

but rather rely on concerns about the implications of Christian doctrine.

Now, this is a great idea but I would expand it to include all religion.

Just what are the implications, history, impacts and legacy of religious doctrine? What has it contributed to mankind and what is our position here in the 21st century as a result of religious doctrine? What a mess!

I find that religion fails to inspire any morality in the people and serves chiefly to make us unfriendly to one another

- Benjamin Franklin (I think)

Stay Well
Wot

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Posted: 20 June 2008 01:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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POST FOUR:

Hi Jack (oops, hope you have sense of humor -  grin:

Thanks for your last post.  I will respond briefly to it, and then move on to my next point.  Regarding your observation that no Muslim scholar has ever challenged the authenticity of the Qur’an’s transmission, I will note that for the first 1800 years of Christianity, there wasn’t a lot of that either among Christian scholars. There was a “textus receptus” (received text) that was generally considered to be authoritative, and there was general agreement about what constituted the New Testament (after the early councils, in any event). Biblical criticism really did not arise until the 1800’s, after the Christian West had undergone a Renaissance, a Reformation, an Enlightenment, and an Industrial Revolution. Islam is really not yet at the same stage of historical development, but may soon begin to experience an upheaval as it comes in contact with the modern world. So, look for Muslim scholars to begin asking more questions in the future.

Furthermore, the nature of the NT and the Qur’an are different, in that the NT is made up of 27 different writings of several authors. It would make sense that there would be more questions about transmission when you are dealing with this variety of texts.  Finally, you must ask yourself in today’s environment what would actually happen to a Muslim scholar who questioned the authenticity of the Qur’an’s transmission. I will let you answer that question for yourself.

With regard to Mark being written in Greek, we don’t know if Jesus spoke Greek or not. He was from Galilee, which had significant contact with Greek culture. His native language would have been Aramaic, but he probably also spoke Hebrew, and may very well have spoken Greek and Latin, as well. We don’t know. But Mark obviously spoke it, probably along with Aramaic like other Jews.  So he would have simply translated the Aramaic sayings of Jesus (either received from Peter or others) into Greek. So, for either Mark or the Qur’an, there has to some measure of faith that what we have now is an accurate reflection what was originally said or done. From a textual standpoint, I would hold them on equal footing, since I find no textual evidence that either one of them has been significantly corrupted since being first written.

With respect to the content of the Injil, from a moral standpoint, there is not much difference between the Qur’an and Mark. Both would advocate living a moral life, and both would advocate the worship of God. The main difference, again, is Jesus’ claim of being the Son of God. And Mark, being the earlier document historically, has the stronger claim to being true, in my opinion.

There are a few significant differences, however,  in the teachings of the Gospels and the Qur’an, and this leads me to my next point about the superior claim of Christianity to the truth. There is nothing in the Gospels or in all the New Testament that can be construed or interpreted as a commandment or directive from Jesus or his apostles for believers to kill anyone. Jesus never instructed his followers to kill, nor did he ever kill anyone himself. The only violent thing he ever did was drive out moneychangers from the temple. On one occasion, he instructed his disciples to carry a couple of swords for self-defense, but never instructed them to use them, and rebuked Peter when he used his sword to cut off one person’s ear.

In the Qur’an, however, there are instructions to kill, when taken at face value. For example, in “The Cow” (2:191) and “Repentance” (9:5), there are commandments to kill. Now, it may very well be that these are limited to certain circumstances. But they are always there, in Islam’s Holy Book, for angry young men to read. And all angry young men need to justify violence is to read such passages. Combined with this, we have Muhammad’s own life, and he did, in fact, engage in military action that resulted in people being killed. So, on the one hand, we have Jesus who did not kill and did not teach that we should kill, and on the other hand we have Muhammad, who did kill and who, at least under certain circumstances, taught others to kill. 

Granted, in the Old Testament, there are plenty of passages about killing, and that is where Christians go to justify violence, at times. But Jesus superseded the Old Testament and instituted a new covenant, in which killing is simply not a part. Islam is more likely to incite violence than Christianity because of 1) the Qur’an’s sanction of killing under certain circumstances, and 2) Muhammad’s own example. And, as we have seen, modern Islamic terrorists indeed rely on these Quranic passages to justify their violence, even though many scholars may disagree with their interpretation. There is simply less likelihood of the Gospels inciting violence than the Qur’an.  Therefore, Christianity has a superior claim to the truth.

[ Edited: 20 June 2008 01:47 PM by Ecurb Noselrub]
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Posted: 21 June 2008 08:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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Bruce said:

Granted, in the Old Testament, there are plenty of passages about killing, and that is where Christians go to justify violence, at times. But Jesus superseded the Old Testament and instituted a new covenant, in which killing is simply not a part. Islam is more likely to incite violence than Christianity because of 1) the Qur’an’s sanction of killing under certain circumstances, and 2) Muhammad’s own example. And, as we have seen, modern Islamic terrorists indeed rely on these Quranic passages to justify their violence, even though many scholars may disagree with their interpretation. There is simply less likelihood of the Gospels inciting violence than the Qur’an.  Therefore, Christianity has a superior claim to the truth

.

This is the lame old Christian argument that Jesus superseded the Old Testament with a new covenant and thereby dismiss the killing and violence plus whatever else they choose to ignore and dismiss.

But hear the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount as recorded by Matthew:

5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 
 
5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

You would think that Jesus, who said much in the Sermon, would have taken the opportunity to set this straight.

Bruce then goes on to claim that:

There is simply less likelihood of the Gospels inciting violence than the Qur’an.  Therefore, Christianity has a superior claim to the truth

A lesser likelihood of inciting violence? Is this a legitimate claim for a “superior claim to the truth”?

Preposterous and ridiculous at best.

Stay Well
Wot

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Posted: 23 June 2008 08:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 20 June 2008 05:44 PM

POST FOUR:

Hi Jack (oops, hope you have sense of humor -  grin:

Thanks for your last post.  I will respond briefly to it, and then move on to my next point.  Regarding your observation that no Muslim scholar has ever challenged the authenticity of the Qur’an’s transmission, I will note that for the first 1800 years of Christianity, there wasn’t a lot of that either among Christian scholars. There was a “textus receptus” (received text) that was generally considered to be authoritative, and there was general agreement about what constituted the New Testament (after the early councils, in any event). Biblical criticism really did not arise until the 1800’s, after the Christian West had undergone a Renaissance, a Reformation, an Enlightenment, and an Industrial Revolution. Islam is really not yet at the same stage of historical development, but may soon begin to experience an upheaval as it comes in contact with the modern world. So, look for Muslim scholars to begin asking more questions in the future.

Furthermore, the nature of the NT and the Qur’an are different, in that the NT is made up of 27 different writings of several authors. It would make sense that there would be more questions about transmission when you are dealing with this variety of texts.  Finally, you must ask yourself in today’s environment what would actually happen to a Muslim scholar who questioned the authenticity of the Qur’an’s transmission. I will let you answer that question for yourself.

With regard to Mark being written in Greek, we don’t know if Jesus spoke Greek or not. He was from Galilee, which had significant contact with Greek culture. His native language would have been Aramaic, but he probably also spoke Hebrew, and may very well have spoken Greek and Latin, as well. We don’t know. But Mark obviously spoke it, probably along with Aramaic like other Jews.  So he would have simply translated the Aramaic sayings of Jesus (either received from Peter or others) into Greek. So, for either Mark or the Qur’an, there has to some measure of faith that what we have now is an accurate reflection what was originally said or done. From a textual standpoint, I would hold them on equal footing, since I find no textual evidence that either one of them has been significantly corrupted since being first written.

With respect to the content of the Injil, from a moral standpoint, there is not much difference between the Qur’an and Mark. Both would advocate living a moral life, and both would advocate the worship of God. The main difference, again, is Jesus’ claim of being the Son of God. And Mark, being the earlier document historically, has the stronger claim to being true, in my opinion.

There are a few significant differences, however,  in the teachings of the Gospels and the Qur’an, and this leads me to my next point about the superior claim of Christianity to the truth. There is nothing in the Gospels or in all the New Testament that can be construed or interpreted as a commandment or directive from Jesus or his apostles for believers to kill anyone. Jesus never instructed his followers to kill, nor did he ever kill anyone himself. The only violent thing he ever did was drive out moneychangers from the temple. On one occasion, he instructed his disciples to carry a couple of swords for self-defense, but never instructed them to use them, and rebuked Peter when he used his sword to cut off one person’s ear.

In the Qur’an, however, there are instructions to kill, when taken at face value. For example, in “The Cow” (2:191) and “Repentance” (9:5), there are commandments to kill. Now, it may very well be that these are limited to certain circumstances. But they are always there, in Islam’s Holy Book, for angry young men to read. And all angry young men need to justify violence is to read such passages. Combined with this, we have Muhammad’s own life, and he did, in fact, engage in military action that resulted in people being killed. So, on the one hand, we have Jesus who did not kill and did not teach that we should kill, and on the other hand we have Muhammad, who did kill and who, at least under certain circumstances, taught others to kill. 

Granted, in the Old Testament, there are plenty of passages about killing, and that is where Christians go to justify violence, at times. But Jesus superseded the Old Testament and instituted a new covenant, in which killing is simply not a part. Islam is more likely to incite violence than Christianity because of 1) the Qur’an’s sanction of killing under certain circumstances, and 2) Muhammad’s own example. And, as we have seen, modern Islamic terrorists indeed rely on these Quranic passages to justify their violence, even though many scholars may disagree with their interpretation. There is simply less likelihood of the Gospels inciting violence than the Qur’an.  Therefore, Christianity has a superior claim to the truth.

Bruce,

From my perspective, that we don’t know what Jesus (peace be upon him) spoke is a serious problem when the claim is made that the Gospel of Mark, or any other Gospel for that matter, accurately reflects Jesus’ (peace be upon him) words.  It is enough for me to speculate with good reasons that Jesus’ (peace be upon him) message was ‘lost in translation’ from Aramic or Hebrew to Greek.

Even if we were to assume that the Qur’an was written by Muhammad (peace be upon him) instead of being authored by God, at least we can still say that the Qur’an reflects the language of the person it is attributed to, unlike the Gospels.  Now, I presume that you, being a Christian, perhaps automatically assume that the Qur’an is not more ‘preserved’ then the Gospels, and on equal footing with the Gospels at best when it comes to its transmission.  I would strongly disagree with you.

Please feel free to refer to this lecture by Sheikh Hamza Yusuf. There are seven parts in total.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYwvgXOU1e4&feature=related

If you still believe that Christianity has a superior claim to the truth based on the historical facts about Jesus (peace be upon him) as you see them, then we will just have to agree to disagree.

As to your second point, I would strongly disagree as well with your suggestion that truth depends on a non-violence philosophy.  Islam permits fighting in self-defence and in stoping oppression.  This is, in my mind, a far more superior philosophy to stubborn non-violence.  Likewise, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was superior as a prophet in the sense that he was able to implement the “Kingdom of Heaven” so to speak in his own life time by fighting and gaining victory over those who opposed the truth of his way by fighting against him.

As to your suggestion that Islam is more likely to incite violence, all I can say is, that people read into religion their own psychology is not the fault of religion, and I believe you know this.

Please read here for a lengthier response to your argument.

http://lamppostproductions.org/files/articles/TURN_CHEEK.pdf

Having said all that, I have a question for you.  Does your understanding of Christianity include the second coming of Jesus (peace be upon him) and if so, what do you predict will happen?  Will it involve violence?  Is hell a violent place?  Have you made non-violence your God?

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Posted: 24 June 2008 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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Jack said:

As to your second point, I would strongly disagree as well with your suggestion that truth depends on a non-violence philosophy.  Islam permits fighting in self-defence and in stoping oppression.  This is, in my mind, a far more superior philosophy to stubborn non-violence.  Likewise, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was superior as a prophet in the sense that he was able to implement the “Kingdom of Heaven” so to speak in his own life time by fighting and gaining victory over those who opposed the truth of his way by fighting against him.

As to your suggestion that Islam is more likely to incite violence, all I can say is, that people read into religion their own psychology is not the fault of religion, and I believe you know this.

Islam does more than permit it, it demands it and in numerous cases. Do you want me to quote the passage from the Koran so you can dismiss the translation? Stubborn non-violence? Surely you don’t mean Christianity. It’s just not true


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Wot

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Posted: 24 June 2008 06:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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POST FIVE:

Jack: I hope you are doing well. I enjoyed your last post - it had a number of interesting points.  I will attempt to respond to them briefly before introducing my next point.

With respect to the accuracy of Mark, yes, we will have to agree to disagree. Mark had access to eyewitnesses in writing his account about the life and teachings of Jesus, so even with the translation from Aramaic to Greek, Mark has a stronger claim to accuracy than the Qur’an, written 600 years later without any access to witnesses. Mark simply has a greater likelihood of being historically accurate than Muhammad.

Regarding violence, Jesus was not totally non-violent. He did drive the money-changers from the temple, and advised his disciples to carry limited armaments for purposes of self-defense. But he never killed anyone and never taught his followers to kill for any reason. Muhammad did both, even though his teachings about killing may be misinterpreted by the terrorists of today, who routinely cite passages from the Qur’an. So, the Qur’an is more likely to incite violence than the Gospels.

At the second coming of Jesus, Christ will establish his kingdom on earth and judge the world. To the extent that this involves violence, it will be administered by Jesus, so it will be perfectly just. Violence administered by men, whether by Muhammad, by Muslims or by Christians, is rarely perfectly just, and is often totally unjust. So Jesus did not give his followers authority to use violence in the exercise of their faith. Muhammad did. Therefore, there is a greater likelihood that someone following the Qur’an will use violence unjustly than someone following the Gospels. Jesus established his kingdom in the hearts of his followers by love. Muhammad partially resorted to violence. When I compare nations with a majority of Christians to Muslim nations, I certainly do not see any greater evidence of the kingdom of God in the Muslim nations. Give me the West any day, even with all its faults.

My next point regarding the superiority of Christianity over Islam is related to my observations above. Jesus taught that love (agape - sacrificial, spiritual love) was the highest ethical/moral standard. His teachings revolved around love. In the Qur’an, love takes a second chair to concepts of justice and judgment. Please read the following link:

http://www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Themes/love.htm

Even in the Old Testament, the greatest commandments of the Torah were to love God with all one’s heart and to love one’s neighbor as one’s self. The Qur’an, quite frankly, does not come across as a very “loving” book. Allah is more to be feared than loved, it seems. Love is the highest moral value, and Christianity’s emphasis on it demonstrates its superiority over Islam.

I look forward to your response. Blessings.

Bruce

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Posted: 30 June 2008 02:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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Is our debate over, Jack?

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Posted: 01 July 2008 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 30 June 2008 06:52 PM

Is our debate over, Jack?

Come on Jack. You are failing to answer the bell for the 5th round and are in danger of being declared the loser by default.

The rest of us are looking forward to this spectacle with comical anticipation as the two of you make utter fools and nincompoops of yourselves and each other.

I have you slightly behind on points on my scorecard but you still have a chance. Bruce may still say something even stupider than you. Go for it.

Wassail
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Posted: 03 July 2008 03:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 24 June 2008 10:23 PM

POST FIVE:

Jack: I hope you are doing well. I enjoyed your last post - it had a number of interesting points.  I will attempt to respond to them briefly before introducing my next point.

Bruce,

I apologize for the late response, it’s just that I am finding your arguments against Islam to be too familiar to warrant a response, and I have been more intrigued by other arguments against religion in general.  You and I are on the same side insofar as we believe in God, so your arguments are less interesting to me.  That said, the following is my response.

With respect to the accuracy of Mark, yes, we will have to agree to disagree. Mark had access to eyewitnesses in writing his account about the life and teachings of Jesus, so even with the translation from Aramaic to Greek, Mark has a stronger claim to accuracy than the Qur’an, written 600 years later without any access to witnesses. Mark simply has a greater likelihood of being historically accurate than Muhammad.

The probability that Mark has a stronger claim to accuracy about Jesus (peace be upon him) than the Qur’an only exists if we accept that Mark was transmitted reliably, and this is where we obviously disagree.  Even if we accept that Mark has a stronger claim to truth, which I don’t given that we can’t even reliably say if Jesus (peace be upon him) spoke Greek, we still have to deal with the view put forth by Christian scholars themselves which suggest that Jesus (peace be upon him) never claimed divinity for himself.  In my estimation, that the findings of not just a few Christian scholars corroborates the data in the Qur’an (i.e. that Jesus was not God) sufficiently demonstrates the superior knowledge of the Qur’an over the Gospel of Mark, in at least the subject of Jesus’ (peace be upon him) status.

Regarding violence, Jesus was not totally non-violent. He did drive the money-changers from the temple, and advised his disciples to carry limited armaments for purposes of self-defense. But he never killed anyone and never taught his followers to kill for any reason. Muhammad did both, even though his teachings about killing may be misinterpreted by the terrorists of today, who routinely cite passages from the Qur’an. So, the Qur’an is more likely to incite violence than the Gospels.

Actually, Muhammad (peace be upon him) never killed anyone.  He was fought and he fought back, and he was known to be a ferrocious warrior, but at the same time he was known for his mercy and gentleness.  It is hard to interpret Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a violent man when you examine his life in totality, just as it is hard to say Jesus (peace be upon him) stood for uncomprimising non-violence.  In fact, Muhammad (peace be upon him) is overwhelmingly understood as “a mercy to the worlds” as the Qur’an says.  Indeed, even his fighting for God was a mercy to the oppressed and the oppressor insofar as the latter was prevented from continuing in their injustice.  I refer you back to the article I posted earlier about Islam and ‘turning the other cheek’.

Importantly, there is no evidence to suggest that Jesus (peace be upon him) if having given authority over his people would not have fought as Muhammad (peace be upon him) did to eliminate oppression.  Likewise, insofar as Jesus (peace be upon him) confirmed previous scripture which is clear about the use of violence against those who would spread corruption, there is no reason to suggest that he was opposed to violence altogether.  Even his saying which clearly shows his preference to turn the other cheek instead of taking an eye for an eye cannot be said to abrogate the use of force in dealing with oppressors.

Having said that, I find it surprising that you would actually suggest that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is more easily misinterpreted by those who wish to inflict violence as being a violent man, whereas historically Christian’s have more blood on their hands than Muslims.  Even today, most of American support for war and occupation in Muslim lands is directly fuelled by Christian belief.  Considering these facts, it would seem that Jesus (peace be upon him) is actually more easily misinterpreted, on many levels - the color of his skin, his attitude towards violence, and his very identity in relation to God are key examples.

At the second coming of Jesus, Christ will establish his kingdom on earth and judge the world. To the extent that this involves violence, it will be administered by Jesus, so it will be perfectly just. Violence administered by men, whether by Muhammad, by Muslims or by Christians, is rarely perfectly just, and is often totally unjust.

Certainly, I agree with you that absolute justice is something we humans cannot achieve, but when did either of our scriptures say not for us to try?  While patience and forgiveness are the greater virtues when wronged, is it not perfectly just in the context of our human limitations to defend yourself against those who would do you harm?  Furthermore, is it not perfectly just to fight those who would oppress others?  In fact, I would argue that to show forgiveness to those who would not show good will in return is immoral due to the likelihood that people with malicious intentions will cause more harm if not dealt with appropriately.  Likewise, I would argue that it is immoral to not fight against those who would oppress others.  This is not too different from Christianity’s Just War theory.

So Jesus did not give his followers authority to use violence in the exercise of their faith. Muhammad did. Therefore, there is a greater likelihood that someone following the Qur’an will use violence unjustly than someone following the Gospels. Jesus established his kingdom in the hearts of his followers by love. Muhammad partially resorted to violence. When I compare nations with a majority of Christians to Muslim nations, I certainly do not see any greater evidence of the kingdom of God in the Muslim nations. Give me the West any day, even with all its faults.

Again, you say all this, yet the historical record of Christianity in the world says otherwise.  Conflict and violence is a reality of the human condition, and it serves many purposes.  Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us when and how to best deal with these.  As such, he remains the most complete and perfect example for mankind.

As I’ve said before, the West is in many ways, more “Islamic” than Muslim countries but this is because of Muslims’ adopting of non-religious ideology such as racism, sexism, etc.

My next point regarding the superiority of Christianity over Islam is related to my observations above. Jesus taught that love (agape - sacrificial, spiritual love) was the highest ethical/moral standard. His teachings revolved around love. In the Qur’an, love takes a second chair to concepts of justice and judgment. Please read the following link:

http://www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Themes/love.htm

Even in the Old Testament, the greatest commandments of the Torah were to love God with all one’s heart and to love one’s neighbor as one’s self. The Qur’an, quite frankly, does not come across as a very “loving” book. Allah is more to be feared than loved, it seems. Love is the highest moral value, and Christianity’s emphasis on it demonstrates its superiority over Islam.

I look forward to your response. Blessings.

Bruce

This appeal to emotions is another classical Christian argument against Islam, and frankly, it is not true.  Love is just as much central to Islam as it is to Christianity.  Where it ranks among other virtues is a pointless exercise in my opinion since love without justice is not true love.  Likewise, one’s fear of God is based on love itself, since you fear the displeasure of the one you love.

I am sure the rebuttal to the link you provided is on the answering-christianity or islamic-awareness website, but I don’t feel the need to look it up because I already know the false nature of the claim you put forward.  Such sites are well known and there for people to examine.

In case you weren’t aware, the following website I think provides enough evidence to show that love is a central part of Islamic teaching, and a proof of Muslim good will towards Christians today, which is not too different from their attitude towards them throughout history: http://www.acommonword.com

The document has been signed by 250 or so Muslim leaders throughout the world.
http://www.acommonword.com/index.php?lang=en&page=option1

Take care and God bless.

[ Edited: 03 July 2008 03:36 PM by Jack Shooter]
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Posted: 03 July 2008 04:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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POST SIX:

Hello Jack: Thanks for your response. I still have not received a satisfactory answer from you regarding Islam’s view of the content of the injil or gospel.  What exactly does Islam say that the gospel was?  Since it did not involve the death and resurrection of the Son of God, of what did it consist?  The Qur’an says positive things about the gospel, but doesn’t seem to tell us what the good news was.

Islam, like Mormonism, seems to be based on the idea that God’s previous word has been corrupted. So it has to change Isaac to Ishmael in the OT, and it has to change the story of the crucifixion/resurrection in the NT.  It seems that Islam is saying that God just can’t get it right as far as the transmission of his message to mankind is concerned.  If that is so, maybe Islam didn’t get it right, either (or was corrupted by Muhammad’s disciples), and we should look to Joseph Smith.  And maybe he didn’t get it right, either. Islam seems to imply that God just can’t get his message across in the right way. If you go down that road, where does it end?

Christianity, doesn’t see the need to change the content of the OT story. It simply says that Jesus fulfilled that old covenant and instituted a new covenant through his death and resurrection.  That having been done, there is no further need for paradigm-shifting revelation. Neither the moral nor the revelatory content of Christianity is improved by Islam in any way.  If people followed the example of Jesus in loving God, loving and helping others, and living a good life, what need would they have of the teachings of Islam?  I just don’t see what Islam adds - it appears totally unnecessary in light of the life, work and teachings of Jesus.  If I follow Jesus, why do I need Muhammad? The Qur’an seems superfluous.

Christianity says that Jesus was the ultimate revelation of God, that he is express image of the invisible God, and that if we see him, we have seen the Father. There is no need for anything else. Islam seems to be a throwback to the rigid laws of the Torah, which applied when mankind was in a much more primitive state. With Jesus (according to Christianity), God gives his best revelation of himself and his will. To follow Islam (with its food restrictions and harsher treatment of women) would seem to be analogous to requiring an adult to start following the rules of adolescence after he has already tasted the freedom and maturity of adulthood. I simply do not see why it is needed.

Christianity says that God revealed himself to Israel, and then, in the fullness of time, God appeared in the flesh in the person of Jesus. It is a continuous flow from Abraham to Christ. Then Islam comes 600 years later and says that the OT and the NT are partially wrong. It just doesn’t fit. We both believe that God exists - it should appear obvious to us that the God of Abraham is capable of both giving and preserving his revelation.

Furthermore, if Ishmael was the son who was actually offered by Abraham, why is it that the Jews (who trace themselves back to Abraham through Isaac) were the ones who preserved the revelation and not the Arabs (who trace themselves back through Ishmael)?  The Arabic peoples seem basically excluded from the revelatory picture until Muhammad appears on the scene.  This smacks more of tribal/cultural/racial jealousy than anything else.

In short, Christianity is superior because, with Jesus, nothing else is needed as far as religion is concerned. Humanity could have done just fine it treated others like Jesus treated people. And Islam has certainly done no better job of treating people well than Christianity has, so it appears that it is simply unnecessary.

I look forward to your response.

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Posted: 16 July 2008 04:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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Where is Jack?? He has failed to answer the bell for round 6 for more than two weeks now. Has he thrown in the towel and conceded defeat? Can it be that he has conceded that Christianity has a superior claim to the truth over Islam?


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Posted: 18 July 2008 08:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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Wotansson - 16 July 2008 08:59 AM

Where is Jack?? He has failed to answer the bell for round 6 for more than two weeks now. Has he thrown in the towel and conceded defeat? Can it be that he has conceded that Christianity has a superior claim to the truth over Islam?


Wassail
Wot

I sense a little reaction formation on your part Wot.  That is, I don’t think that you believe that Christianity as has been presented here so far by Bruce has proved to be a superior claim to the truth than Islam, not even for a second.  In fact, I bet in your heart of hearts you know that what I have presented to you about Islam in general so far just makes sense to you, and that my responses to Bruce have been adequate to say the least.  But you can’t admit this because there is too much at stake (whatever that may be, perceivably your very sense of self).

From my perspective anyway, I don’t think Bruce has successfully argued the superiority of Christianity on any count.  Again, I think you know this too.

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Posted: 18 July 2008 09:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 03 July 2008 08:10 PM

POST SIX:

Hello Jack: Thanks for your response. I still have not received a satisfactory answer from you regarding Islam’s view of the content of the injil or gospel.  What exactly does Islam say that the gospel was?  Since it did not involve the death and resurrection of the Son of God, of what did it consist?  The Qur’an says positive things about the gospel, but doesn’t seem to tell us what the good news was.

Islam says the gospel was the message before its corruption.  In other words, the gospel according to Islam was the teaching about God, way of life, moral code, even Jesus’ second coming, and so forth minus the doctrine about the divinity of Christ (peace be upon him) which was later introduced.  As I’ve said too many times already, legitimate claims that Jesus (peace be upon him) ever attributed divinity for himself are nowhere to be found in the minds of a significant number of biblical scholars.  The good news the Qur’an tells is to all those Christians who were never quite able to square their beliefs (i.e. the divinity of Jesus) with historical facts, that the way to God, the way of Jesus, is the way of Islam, submission to God.

Islam, like Mormonism, seems to be based on the idea that God’s previous word has been corrupted. So it has to change Isaac to Ishmael in the OT, and it has to change the story of the crucifixion/resurrection in the NT.  It seems that Islam is saying that God just can’t get it right as far as the transmission of his message to mankind is concerned.  If that is so, maybe Islam didn’t get it right, either (or was corrupted by Muhammad’s disciples), and we should look to Joseph Smith.  And maybe he didn’t get it right, either. Islam seems to imply that God just can’t get his message across in the right way. If you go down that road, where does it end?

God always gets it right.  It’s man that errs.  But God promises the preservation of Islam within the Qur’an itself, and if you only studied the transmission and preservation of the Qur’an and hadith, the truth of His promise would become clear to you, as it has to countless Christians and others.

Anyway, I don’t see why you should have a problem with the idea that God should continually send ‘new’ messages to mankind, seeing that you ought to believe in the existence of numerous prophets if you claim to be Christian.

Christianity, doesn’t see the need to change the content of the OT story. It simply says that Jesus fulfilled that old covenant and instituted a new covenant through his death and resurrection.  That having been done, there is no further need for paradigm-shifting revelation. Neither the moral nor the revelatory content of Christianity is improved by Islam in any way.  If people followed the example of Jesus in loving God, loving and helping others, and living a good life, what need would they have of the teachings of Islam?  I just don’t see what Islam adds - it appears totally unnecessary in light of the life, work and teachings of Jesus.  If I follow Jesus, why do I need Muhammad? The Qur’an seems superfluous.

“Christianity, doesn’t see the need to change the content of the OT story.”???  That is precisely the opposite of what I have been arguing.  In making Jesus amount to God, Christians DID change the content of the OT story.  This is something that was introduced not by Jesus (peace be upon him) himself, but by later followers, as is attested to by biblical scholars themselves.

Now, Islam is not a ‘paradigm-shifting’ religion.  Since when did belief in one God become paradigm shifting according to those who follow the Abrahamic tradition?

As to your last few statements, it seems as though you are asking me to give you a reason to convert to Islam.  Why Muhammad when we have Jesus (peace be upon them both) you ask?  Well, simply because we don’t have the latter.  We hardly know enough about Jesus (peace be upon him) and the message he taught, hence the debate and effective demise of Christianity in the modern world.  On the other hand, Islam, it’s sources, are certainly more comprehensive and reliable than Christianity’s as a guiding way of life, hence Islam’s continued force in the world.

Christianity says that Jesus was the ultimate revelation of God, that he is express image of the invisible God, and that if we see him, we have seen the Father. There is no need for anything else. Islam seems to be a throwback to the rigid laws of the Torah, which applied when mankind was in a much more primitive state. With Jesus (according to Christianity), God gives his best revelation of himself and his will. To follow Islam (with its food restrictions and harsher treatment of women) would seem to be analogous to requiring an adult to start following the rules of adolescence after he has already tasted the freedom and maturity of adulthood. I simply do not see why it is needed.

That you find dietary laws and gender related prescriptions to be rigid is based on your own values, biases, wishes and desires, whereas people follow these laws because they believe them to be from God, and in the end they prove beneficial and not so rigid.  In any case, Christianity is not the ‘way of the future’ if that is what you are trying to suggest by saying that older religious traditions were for more primative peoples.  In fact, Christianity is often cited as the reason for the lack of progress in the world, that is the dark and middle ages were the product of Christianity according to many observers.  I will reserve my thoughts on this.  What I would say, however, is that Christianity has given religion a bad wrap in general in the eyes of many Westerner’s given it’s historical influence, so people tend to approach Islam with the same suspicion, ignorance, and downright hostility.  Regrettably, the actions of some Muslims don’t help the situation either.

Christianity says that God revealed himself to Israel, and then, in the fullness of time, God appeared in the flesh in the person of Jesus. It is a continuous flow from Abraham to Christ. Then Islam comes 600 years later and says that the OT and the NT are partially wrong. It just doesn’t fit. We both believe that God exists - it should appear obvious to us that the God of Abraham is capable of both giving and preserving his revelation.

Not just Islam says that the OT and NT are partially wrong, but Christians themselves admit that we don’t have the full picture.  And yes, God is capable of giving and preserving his revelation, but where ever does God say that Christianity is the final revelation?  In fact, Deutoronomy 18:18 is a more fitting description of Muhammad than Jesus (peace be upon them both).

Furthermore, if Ishmael was the son who was actually offered by Abraham, why is it that the Jews (who trace themselves back to Abraham through Isaac) were the ones who preserved the revelation and not the Arabs (who trace themselves back through Ishmael)?  The Arabic peoples seem basically excluded from the revelatory picture until Muhammad appears on the scene.  This smacks more of tribal/cultural/racial jealousy than anything else.

The suggestion you make smacks of someone wanting to believe any alternative explanation of what is apparent so as long as it proves comfortable.  But to your question, why does it matter if the Jews were initially given revelation and not the Arabs?  Isaac was a prophet and so was Ishmael (peace be upon them) and both were blessed.  Why is it a problem that the blessing of Ishmael was realized much later in the deserts of Arabia?  I don’t see your point in asking the question.

In short, Christianity is superior because, with Jesus, nothing else is needed as far as religion is concerned. Humanity could have done just fine it treated others like Jesus treated people. And Islam has certainly done no better job of treating people well than Christianity has, so it appears that it is simply unnecessary.

I look forward to your response.

What you say above is no different than one saying, In short, Buddhism is superior because, with Buddha, nothing else is needed as far as religion is concerned.  Humanity could have done just fine if it treated others like Buddha treated people.  And Christianity has certainly done no better job of treating people well than Buddhism has, so it appears that it is simply unnecessary.

I hope you see the problem with the logic above.  Likewise, one could have substituted Buddha with Abraham or Moses (peace be upon them) if one were a follower of either at that time.

Now, the difference when it comes to Islam, as I keep pointing out, is that Islam is a preserved way of life, unlike Christianity or Buddhism, and unlike these, Islam provides comprehensive guidance on every important matter; just compare Islamic legal thought to other legal systems.  Islam’s sources can be traced with great accuracy, unlike the sources of other religions.  This is a fact, and you can go and study it for yourself if you don’t believe me.

God bless.

[ Edited: 18 July 2008 09:29 PM by Jack Shooter]
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Posted: 19 July 2008 02:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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POST SEVEN: Thank you for your reply, Jack.  I was beginning to worry that you had abandoned the debate.  I will respond briefly to a few points that you made, and then present my next argument for the superior truth claims of Christianity. 

So the Torah was Islam, the OT prophets were Islam, and the Gospel was Islam, but they were corrupted? If God has such a difficult time keeping His message uncorrupted, how can we be sure if the Qur’an finally accomplishes that? In fact, the following link demonstrates that there are numerous textual variants in Qur’an manuscripts.

http://www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Text/

So, we have the same old problem - corruption. In spite of that, I think we have a pretty good idea what Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad actually said and did. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God in Mark 14:62, and there is no earlier version of Mark in which this claim is not present, so I accept it as original. I have no problem with prophets continuing to come to show us how to apply the revelation of Christ to our current lives. Martin Luther King was a prophet for the USA, and reminded us that we had abandoned the teachings of Jesus and the Bible. But the Qur’an changes the revelation, changes the message. The Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and work represent the natural progression of the Old Testament revelation as it is fulfilled in the coming of the Messiah, the Son of God. Islam undermines that natural progression.

As for Deuteronomy 18:18 fitting Muhammad better than Jesus, was Muhammad a Jew? I don’t believe that he was. That verse could only apply to a son of Israel, not an Arab or an Armenian or an American. Jesus, the greatest miracle worker of all time, and the founder of the nation of Christianity, fits the description found there, and was considered by his followers to have been “the Prophet.”

The problem with your Buddhism analogy is that Buddhism (if it can even be called a religion) is not in the revelatory tradition that you and I both basically accept. We both accept God’s revelation as coming through Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Buddhism, Hinduism and other non-Abrahamic religions are not in this tradition. My point is simply that, with Jesus, there is no need for further revelation, and Islam adds nothing to his teachings. So, if I follow the Jesus that is presented in the Gospels, I see no need whatsoever for Muhammad.

With respect to Islamic legal thought, I am not so concerned about its source.  I simply know that one result of it was the recent case that you and I discussed regarding the child bride in Yemen. She was 10 years old, and was married against her will to a much older man who raped her and otherwise mistreated her. She was granted a divorce from him when she pleaded for justice, so the judge did not think she was lying. But then, BEYOND ALL COMPREHENSION, the abuser was not punished, BUT WAS AWARDED DAMAGES FOR LOSING HIS WIFE!!!  This is Sharia law. Jack, this is all I need to know about Islamic law - this is absolutely unjust and despicable by any true standard of decency. This would NEVER happen if someone followed the teachings of Jesus, who blessed children and treated women with respect.

My next argument for the superior claim to truth of Christianity over Islam relates to tolerance. While there is no true “Christian nation” other than the Vatican, there are many nations in which Christianity is the predominant religion. Compare the tolerance for other faiths in the modern world between nations where Christianity is dominant, and nations where Islam is dominant. Tolerance is a good measure of the relative truth of a religion, since a faith that is comfortable and secure in its own beliefs is not going to be threatened by religions that have different views. In the marketplace of ideas, if one faith has a superior value, it will do fine without adopting an intolerant stance.

Now, all religions have, from time to time, exhibited intolerance. But right now, today, what faith - Christianity or Islam - is more tolerant of competition? Clearly it is Christianity. I live in central Texas, where the predominant faith is Christianity, beyond any question - easily over 85%. In my county, there is a Hindu temple, a Buddhist temple, at least two Mosques, and representatives of many other religions. They live and worship in our midst, and nobody is bombing their buildings. I don’t know where you are from, but if tomorrow you became a legal resident of the USA, you could buy property in Belton, Texas, and, subject to the zoning laws for that property, build you a mosque and start worshiping in the Islamic tradition. I would not kill you or burn your building, nor would anyone I know.

What do you seriously think would happen, Jack, if I became a  
legal resident of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, or Iran tomorrow, and decided to purchase property to build a Christian church dedicated to the worship of Jesus as the Son of God?  I cannot wait to see your answer to this question.

God bless you, and as our friend Wot says - stay well.

Bruce

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Posted: 19 July 2008 02:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
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Jack Shooter - 19 July 2008 01:19 AM
Bruce Burleson - 03 July 2008 08:10 PM

POST SIX:

Hello Jack: Thanks for your response. I still have not received a satisfactory answer from you regarding Islam’s view of the content of the injil or gospel.  What exactly does Islam say that the gospel was?  Since it did not involve the death and resurrection of the Son of God, of what did it consist?  The Qur’an says positive things about the gospel, but doesn’t seem to tell us what the good news was.

Islam says the gospel was the message before its corruption.  In other words, the gospel according to Islam was the teaching about God, way of life, moral code, even Jesus’ second coming, and so forth minus the doctrine about the divinity of Christ (peace be upon him) which was later introduced.  As I’ve said too many times already, legitimate claims that Jesus (peace be upon him) ever attributed divinity for himself are nowhere to be found in the minds of a significant number of biblical scholars.  The good news the Qur’an tells is to all those Christians who were never quite able to square their beliefs (i.e. the divinity of Jesus) with historical facts, that the way to God, the way of Jesus, is the way of Islam, submission to God.

Islam, like Mormonism, seems to be based on the idea that God’s previous word has been corrupted. So it has to change Isaac to Ishmael in the OT, and it has to change the story of the crucifixion/resurrection in the NT.  It seems that Islam is saying that God just can’t get it right as far as the transmission of his message to mankind is concerned.  If that is so, maybe Islam didn’t get it right, either (or was corrupted by Muhammad’s disciples), and we should look to Joseph Smith.  And maybe he didn’t get it right, either. Islam seems to imply that God just can’t get his message across in the right way. If you go down that road, where does it end?

God always gets it right.  It’s man that errs.  But God promises the preservation of Islam within the Qur’an itself, and if you only studied the transmission and preservation of the Qur’an and hadith, the truth of His promise would become clear to you, as it has to countless Christians and others.

Anyway, I don’t see why you should have a problem with the idea that God should continually send ‘new’ messages to mankind, seeing that you ought to believe in the existence of numerous prophets if you claim to be Christian.

Christianity, doesn’t see the need to change the content of the OT story. It simply says that Jesus fulfilled that old covenant and instituted a new covenant through his death and resurrection.  That having been done, there is no further need for paradigm-shifting revelation. Neither the moral nor the revelatory content of Christianity is improved by Islam in any way.  If people followed the example of Jesus in loving God, loving and helping others, and living a good life, what need would they have of the teachings of Islam?  I just don’t see what Islam adds - it appears totally unnecessary in light of the life, work and teachings of Jesus.  If I follow Jesus, why do I need Muhammad? The Qur’an seems superfluous.

“Christianity, doesn’t see the need to change the content of the OT story.”???  That is precisely the opposite of what I have been arguing.  In making Jesus amount to God, Christians DID change the content of the OT story.  This is something that was introduced not by Jesus (peace be upon him) himself, but by later followers, as is attested to by biblical scholars themselves.

Now, Islam is not a ‘paradigm-shifting’ religion.  Since when did belief in one God become paradigm shifting according to those who follow the Abrahamic tradition?

As to your last few statements, it seems as though you are asking me to give you a reason to convert to Islam.  Why Muhammad when we have Jesus (peace be upon them both) you ask?  Well, simply because we don’t have the latter.  We hardly know enough about Jesus (peace be upon him) and the message he taught, hence the debate and effective demise of Christianity in the modern world.  On the other hand, Islam, it’s sources, are certainly more comprehensive and reliable than Christianity’s as a guiding way of life, hence Islam’s continued force in the world.

Christianity says that Jesus was the ultimate revelation of God, that he is express image of the invisible God, and that if we see him, we have seen the Father. There is no need for anything else. Islam seems to be a throwback to the rigid laws of the Torah, which applied when mankind was in a much more primitive state. With Jesus (according to Christianity), God gives his best revelation of himself and his will. To follow Islam (with its food restrictions and harsher treatment of women) would seem to be analogous to requiring an adult to start following the rules of adolescence after he has already tasted the freedom and maturity of adulthood. I simply do not see why it is needed.

That you find dietary laws and gender related prescriptions to be rigid is based on your own values, biases, wishes and desires, whereas people follow these laws because they believe them to be from God, and in the end they prove beneficial and not so rigid.  In any case, Christianity is not the ‘way of the future’ if that is what you are trying to suggest by saying that older religious traditions were for more primative peoples.  In fact, Christianity is often cited as the reason for the lack of progress in the world, that is the dark and middle ages were the product of Christianity according to many observers.  I will reserve my thoughts on this.  What I would say, however, is that Christianity has given religion a bad wrap in general in the eyes of many Westerner’s given it’s historical influence, so people tend to approach Islam with the same suspicion, ignorance, and downright hostility.  Regrettably, the actions of some Muslims don’t help the situation either.

Christianity says that God revealed himself to Israel, and then, in the fullness of time, God appeared in the flesh in the person of Jesus. It is a continuous flow from Abraham to Christ. Then Islam comes 600 years later and says that the OT and the NT are partially wrong. It just doesn’t fit. We both believe that God exists - it should appear obvious to us that the God of Abraham is capable of both giving and preserving his revelation.

Not just Islam says that the OT and NT are partially wrong, but Christians themselves admit that we don’t have the full picture.  And yes, God is capable of giving and preserving his revelation, but where ever does God say that Christianity is the final revelation?  In fact, Deutoronomy 18:18 is a more fitting description of Muhammad than Jesus (peace be upon them both).

Furthermore, if Ishmael was the son who was actually offered by Abraham, why is it that the Jews (who trace themselves back to Abraham through Isaac) were the ones who preserved the revelation and not the Arabs (who trace themselves back through Ishmael)?  The Arabic peoples seem basically excluded from the revelatory picture until Muhammad appears on the scene.  This smacks more of tribal/cultural/racial jealousy than anything else.

The suggestion you make smacks of someone wanting to believe any alternative explanation of what is apparent so as long as it proves comfortable.  But to your question, why does it matter if the Jews were initially given revelation and not the Arabs?  Isaac was a prophet and so was Ishmael (peace be upon them) and both were blessed.  Why is it a problem that the blessing of Ishmael was realized much later in the deserts of Arabia?  I don’t see your point in asking the question.

In short, Christianity is superior because, with Jesus, nothing else is needed as far as religion is concerned. Humanity could have done just fine it treated others like Jesus treated people. And Islam has certainly done no better job of treating people well than Christianity has, so it appears that it is simply unnecessary.

I look forward to your response.

What you say above is no different than one saying, In short, Buddhism is superior because, with Buddha, nothing else is needed as far as religion is concerned.  Humanity could have done just fine if it treated others like Buddha treated people.  And Christianity has certainly done no better job of treating people well than Buddhism has, so it appears that it is simply unnecessary.

I hope you see the problem with the logic above.  Likewise, one could have substituted Buddha with Abraham or Moses (peace be upon them) if one were a follower of either at that time.

Now, the difference when it comes to Islam, as I keep pointing out, is that Islam is a preserved way of life, unlike Christianity or Buddhism, and unlike these, Islam provides comprehensive guidance on every important matter; just compare Islamic legal thought to other legal systems.  Islam’s sources can be traced with great accuracy, unlike the sources of other religions.  This is a fact, and you can go and study it for yourself if you don’t believe me.

God bless.

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