Sunday, January 8, 2017

Did Jesus want to kill Balaam, the prophet ?

In the bible, we read in Numbers 22:
22. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him.

23 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand, the donkey turned off from the way and went into the field; but Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back into the way.…
Many Christ-worshippers believe that the angel is actually Jesus 'preincarnate'. This is a grave accusation against Jesus.  For example, here, we read:
 The angel of the Lord stood in the path.  The angel of the Lord was a preincarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ, who appeared in the form of an angel in front of Balaam's donkey.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Is mormonism the true religion ?

Just watch:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0a3eJC3qAFU

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Matthew 19:29: 100 wives for Christians in Heaven !

And every one that has forsaken houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife (ἤ γυναῖκα), or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive a hundred times more, and shall inherit everlasting life.


Verse 29. - ....." Some manuscripts, followed by some modern editors, omit or wife, the omission being probably first made by some critical scribe, who deemed that a wife should never be left. The Lord enumerates the persons and objects upon which men's hearts are most commonly and firmly fixed. He begins and ends the list with material possessions - houses and lands, and between them introduces in gradation the most cherished members of the family circle. "Forsaking wife and children" may be understood as abstaining from marriage in order the better to serve God. For my Name's sake. In consequence of belief in Christ, rather than do despite to his grace, or in order to confess and follow him more completely........ An hundredfold. Some read "manifold," as in Luke 18:30. The spiritual relationship into which religion would introduce him largely compensates for the loss of earthly connections. He shall have brothers and sisters in the faith - hundreds who will show him the affection of father and mother, hundreds who will love him as well as wife and children. .......... The hope of future happiness is in itself sufficient to lighten and dissipate all earthly troubles, and to stimulate severest sacrifices."

This verse is a proof that the bible is altered according to scribes' own desires.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Reasons to Believe in the corruption of the Gospels

Asalamualaykum,

In a previous post three reasons to believe in the corruption of the Torah were offered. In this post the same will be done for the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.


1- Christological Evolution

There’s disagreement surrounding exactly when the four gospels were written, but if we were to be generous with the dates:

Mark, written ~60 CE
Matthew and Luke, written ~75 CE
John, written ~90 CE

For reference, 'Isa (عليه السلام) is believed to have died sometime after the year 30 CE.

If one were to compare earlier gospels with later ones, one will find that there is a general trend of embellishing Jesus’ character over time, from Mark, to Matthew and Luke, to John. I.e. Jesus is evolving with every passing account to become more and more god-like. Three examples will be given:

1.1 “God” or “Father”?

We read in Mark 3:35 that Jesus says:
Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.

The same statement is reported in Matthew 12:50, but with an important twist:
For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.

The earlier gospel (Mark) has Jesus saying “God” where the later gospel (Matthew) has this changed to Jesus calling God “Father”. Such an embellishment serves to portray Jesus as more than just a human who is subservient to his Lord.

1.2 Peter’s Response

In the gospels of Mark and Matthew, Jesus is reported to have asked his disciples: “Who do you say I am?”

In Mark 8:29 Peter’s response was:
“You are the Messiah.”

In Matthew 16:16 Peter’s response is recorded as:
“You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Notice how the later gospel (Matthew) adds the phrase “the Son of the living God”, which is lacking from the earlier gospel (Mark). Ask yourselves, which is more likely: Mark simply choosing not to record this very significant phrase? Or Matthew coming along and deliberately adding it onto the text to make a point?

1.3 Judas’ Betrayal

The gospels record the moment when Judas betrays Jesus, and calls for the soldiers to come and arrest him. Let us take the accounts of Mark, Luke and John for comparison:

According to Mark 14:44-46:
Now the betrayer [Judas] had arranged a signal with them [the guards]: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him.

According to Luke 22:47-48:
While he [Jesus] was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

According to John 18:3-6:
So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.


Again a huge difference between the three accounts, where Jesus is portrayed as more powerful according to the later gospels when compared to the earlier ones.

According to the earliest account found in Mark: The soldiers did not know who Jesus was, so Judas had to single him out for them by kissing Jesus’ hand. Judas approaches Jesus, kisses his hand, and immediately afterwards the guards seize Jesus. That's it for Mark's version of the story.

Then comes the account in Luke. According to Luke, when Jesus sees Judas approaching he immediately realizes that Judas was betraying him. Before Judas could even kiss his hand, Jesus asks him: “are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” A clear embellishment from Mark’s depiction, implying that Jesus is more knowledgeable.

Finally we have the latest account in John. According to John, Judas doesn’t even get to approach Jesus, let alone kiss him. As soon as Jesus sees Judas he immediately knows of his treachery. In fact, John explicitly states that Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen to him. The gospel of John then takes this story one step further- according to John the soldiers don’t arrest Jesus, rather it is implied that he gives himself up to them. Jesus is the one who asks the approaching soldiers “Who is it you want?” and when he proclaims that he is indeed Jesus of Nazareth, they all fall to the ground in awe of his power. According to John, Jesus is completely in control of the entire situation.

1.4 Jesus being called “Lord” by his disciples

In Mark 4:38 we read:
Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

The same event is reported in Matthew 8:25, but again with a twist:
The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

The wording of the earlier gospel of Mark has the disciples calling Jesus “Teacher”. The later gospel of Matthew has the disciples calling Jesus “Lord”.

1.5 God as the “Father in Heaven”

As we move away from the time of Jesus, the number of times God is referred to as “Father” by him increases in each account.

In the earliest gospel, Mark, Jesus refers to God as “Father” only 5 times.

Between Matthew and Luke, Jesus refers to God as “Father” a total of 41 times (14 times in Luke, 27 in Matthew)

In the latest gospel of John, Jesus refers to God as “Father” 117 times- more times than the other three gospels combined.

Implying a theological agenda on the part of the later gospel authors to depict Jesus as the Son of God, the emphasis for this increasing over time. Source for the count.

1.6 Prayer of Gethsemane

Before his arrest, Jesus is reported to have entered the garden of Gethsemane, and prayed to God to save him.

In Mark 14:35-36 we read:
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

A similar prayer is found in Matthew (26:39) and Luke (22:42).

However, this prayer- which depicts Jesus as weak and helpless before God, and most importantly unwilling to be crucified- is missing from the latest Gospel of John. Again, an embellishment which serves to portray Jesus as more able than he is. Instead what we have in the gospel of John, is Jesus entering the garden and then the episode of his arrest begins immediately after. The only mention of the Garden goes by very quickly:

In John 18:1 we read:

When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.

1.7 Matthew’s Donkey Mess-up

In the earliest Gospel of Mark, we read of Jesus asking his disciples to bring him a colt (young donkey) so that he could ride into Jerusalem on its back. Mark 11:2 reads:
[Jesus] saying to them [the disciples], “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.”

In Matthew however this is changed to TWO donkeys. We read in Matthew 21:2:
[Jesus] saying to them [the disciples], “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me.”

Later on in verse 7 of the same chapter, Matthew has Jesus riding into Jerusalem on top of both animals:
They [the disciples] brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on.

Two donkeys are better than one, right? Well things get even funnier. This is actually a serious attempt at an embellishment on the part of Matthew’s author. Matthew evidently was skimming through the Old Testament, trying to see what in there he can squeeze into his story about Jesus (so that he can then turn around and say: “Aha! See? The Old Testament hundreds of years ago prophesied about Jesus here!”). Matthew comes across a passage from the book of Zechariah (9:9) which reads:
Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Matthew (being someone who obviously doesn’t understand the Old Testament very well) thought Zechariah 9:9 depicted the King of Jerusalem riding on a donkey AND a colt. In an attempt to project this image from Zechariah 9:9 onto Jesus, Matthew in his Gospel then has Jesus riding on both an adult donkey and a colt.

Obviously Matthew misunderstood Zechariah 9:9. For example, if I said: “Billy is a good Christian, an honest man” the intended meaning is that there is a single person named Billy, and that this single person is both a good Christian, and an honest man. I do not mean that there are two people, the first being a Christian named Billy, and the second being an honest man. Likewise with Zechariah 9:9. When the author of Zechariah says the King of Jerusalem will be “riding on a donkey, on a colt” he does not mean the King of Jerusalem will be riding on both an adult donkey AND a colt. Rather on a single animal, who is both a donkey and a colt (i.e. a young donkey).

What does Matthew’s terrible mess-up tell us? It tells us that the gospels were written in retrospect of the Old Testament- that the gospel authors did not mind perverting the story of Jesus’ life for theological reasons. In other words, that the authors of the Gospels were more interested in selling the reader Christian theology, than they were in relaying historical events accurately.


1.8 Jesus Stabbed

In the first three Gospels (Mark, Matthew and Luke) Jesus is allegedly put on the cross on a Friday. The following day being the Sabbath, the Jews had to take him down on Friday’s eve. This meant Jesus was put on the cross for only a few hours. This is very strange, because crucifixion is supposed to be a long and agonizing death. The person being crucified is supposed to suffer on the cross for several days before dying from exhaustion/starvation. But Jesus was only up there for a few hours. In fact this was so strange, that even Pontius Pilate (the governor who had sentenced Jesus to death) was surprised at Jesus’ early death. In Mark 15:44 we read:
Pilate was surprised to hear that he [Jesus] was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died.

This is very problematic for Christian theology. Jesus had to have died on the cross for the entire religion to make sense, and there can be no doubts about this pivotal event. So what does the author of the last Gospel (John) do? He has a guard stab Jesus with a spear for good measure. And to not leave readers with any doubts about Jesus’ death on the cross, John describes how blood and water flowed out of Jesus’ stabbed body. In John 19:34:
Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.

John's gospel is the only one that mentions this stab.

Of course, this is amongst the many other examples one can give to highlight this evolutionary trend, from the earlier gospels to the later ones. The main point is however, if one extrapolates this trend of embellishing Jesus backwards, to even before Mark was complied, you'd probably get a very human Jesus. A Jesus that’s even more human than Mark’s depiction. And a Jesus that fits perfectly with how Islam sees him.


2- The New Testament says there were earlier Gospels

The New Testament reports that Paul had heated debates against ‘false’ apostles who were teaching ‘false’ gospels.

We read in Galatians 1:6-7:
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel, which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.

And in 2 Corinthians 11:13:
For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ

This is significant for obvious reasons. It suggests there were alternative, competing, Christian traditions to the Pauline narrative. Moreover, those alternative traditions were contemporaneous with Paul himself. What’s even more significant, is that Paul’s material predates the four Gospels. This means those ‘false apostles’, preaching the ‘false gospel’ (according to Paul) predate the four canonical Gospels!

So how can the Christian today prove that the Pauline narrative is the theologically correct one amongst the other early traditions that were competing against it? Why does the Christian trust the Pauline narrative at all? What if one of those - now lost - gospels preached by those who Paul called ‘false apostles’ is actually the true gospel of Christ?

Obviously the modern Christian cannot appeal to the four Gospels to support Paul’s narrative. This is because the four Gospels were written after Paul's work (possibly deliberately crafted to conform with his teachings). All the Christian today has to appeal to, is the Old Testament. And this problematic for two reasons:
-A- Because the Old Testament itself is not reliable (as discussed in another post found here).
-B- There is a huge difference between how Jews have traditionally interpreted the Old Testament, and how Christians interpret it.


3- Fabricated Verses

Modern scholarship had already detected (and removed) many fabricated verses from the New Testament.

Those include, but are not limited to:

3.1 The Pericope de Adultera

The story, where Jesus refuses to stone a woman for committing adultery. Where Jesus famously declares: “Let those without sin cast the first stone”… turns out this story is a fabrication.

The story is found in John 8. Most modern English translations of the Bible will now warn you about this fabrication.

3.2 The Ending of Mark
Verses 16:9-20 of the gospel of Mark, are now considered fabrications by most New Testament scholars. Once again, you will find a warning about this in most modern English translations of the Bible.

What this means is that the Gospel of Mark (or what we have left of it) ends at Mark 16:8:
Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

So according to Mark, no one is informed of Jesus’ resurrection… he doesn’t appear to his disciples after his alleged death… nothing. The greatest pillar of Christianity, the resurrection, is not supported by the earliest Gospel.

3.3 The verse of the Trinity

Not part of the gospels per se, but significant nonetheless. The only verse in the entire New Testament which explicitly mentions the trinity is a fabrication.

1 John 5:7 used to read:
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

But this verse has now been taken out from the translations that utilize the earliest manuscripts.

The implications are huge. Not only are those fabrications of great theological importance to the Christian, but the fact fabrications even exist also casts doubt on the veracity of the New Testament’s preservation. If one knows fabrications have crept into their scriptures, how can one be certain that nothing else is a fabrication?


Conclusion:

There are many other reasons to doubt in the preservation of the New Testament (anonymous authorship, contradictions between the gospel accounts, the fact none of the authors even claim to have been inspired…etc.) but those were just the three most interesting ones in my opinion.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Reasons to believe in the corruption of the Torah

Asalamualaykum,

Many arguments have been offered against the authenticity of the Gospels, but there has been- comparatively- less discussion on the authenticity of the Torah. In this topic I will be highlighting some of my reasons for doubting the preservation of the Torah specifically.

For the purposes of this discussion, the Torah here refers to the first five books of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.


1- Lack of Evidence for Preservation

Unlike the Quran which depended mainly on oral mass-transmission (Tawatur) for preservation, believers in the Bible claim that it has been mainly preserved via manuscripts. Likewise with the Torah, which is claimed to be supported by reliable manuscript evidence. But is this true?

In the case of the Torah, the manuscript evidence is scant. The Torah is attributed to Musa (عليه السلام), who is said to have died sometime before 1 Millennia BC. The earliest manuscripts for the Torah are the recently discovered Dead-Sea Scrolls. At the earliest (being very generous here) the Dead-Sea Scrolls date to around 400 BC. So even if the Dead Sea Scrolls were complete (which they aren't), and perfectly matched the Torah as we have it today (which they don't), there's still over a 600 year difference between them and the life of the alleged author.

This is absolutely, not good evidence to believe that the Torah is preserved.

PS: I also believe exclusive dependency on manuscripts for preservation is not very reliable, but for reasons beyond the scope of this topic. Those may be discussed upon request.


2- Discrepancies Between Codices

There are several Codices for the Torah, but there are discrepancies between the different Codices. So how do the various Jewish and Christian sects determine which codex to base their scripture on?

Let us demonstrate this using an example:

One of the key differences between the Torah and the Quran is each book's position on Ismail (عليه السلام). In the Quran he is a blessed Prophet from Allah, whose lineage will eventually lead to the Prophet Muhammed ﷺ. Modern Bibles however, close the door on this lineage and belittle Ismail (عليه السلام) compared to Isaac (عليه السلام). For the average Jew/Christian, Prophethood is exclusive to the descendants of Isaac (عليه السلام). There is a clear bias towards Isaac (عليه السلام) throughout the Bible, which Jews and Christians claim to be because God favored him over his brother.

In several instances in the Torah, Ismail (عليه السلام) is denounced as lesser than Isaac (عليه السلام). One such instance is Genesis 16:12, where the Torah explicitly insults Ismail (عليه السلام). In most Bibles today, if one were to open Genesis 16:12 one would read (referring to Ismail عليه السلام):

And he will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be upon all, and everyone's hand upon him, and before all his brothers he will dwell.

However, what those Bible translations don't tell you, is that this text is based on the Masoretic Script. The Samaritan Pentateuch on the other hand, reads:

And he will be a fruitful man; his hand will be with all, and everyone's hand with him, and before all his brothers he will dwell.

As you can see, huge difference and of a theological significance. Given the context of Genesis 16, the Samaritan Pentateuch also makes more sense.

And do not be fooled into thinking that there are only two variant Codices. There are at least five; we have the Masoretic Text, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Latin Vulgate, the Septuagint, and the Peshitta. Many differences between them all.

What's more, the Dead-Sea Scrolls do not consistently confirm one Codex over the others. They confirm a few passages from each. So if the Dead-Sea Scrolls are used as the standard for truth, not a single one of the Codices can be said to be completely true. They would all, only be partially true, and partially fabrications. But of course, we have no good reason to believe that the Dead-Sea scrolls match that which was revealed to Musa (عليه السلام) either.


3- The Bible says the Torah was lost

Some Jews have claimed that the Torah, like the Quran, was preserved by Tawatur. They claim that there is an unbroken chain of narrators, consisting of faithful Jews over the generations, continuously memorizing the text and passing this knowledge down- from the days of Musa (عليه السلام) until present time. But this claim is inconsistent with what the Bible says. That is because the Bible tells us that there were periods in history when the Torah was lost (if there is a break in transmission, Tawatur cannot be claimed).

The most obvious evidence for a gap in transmission is from Second Kings, Chapter 22. In this Chapter of the Bible, we are told that the Priest Hilkiah 're-discoveres' the Torah during the reign of King Josiah. Upon hearing about this discovery, the King rips his clothes and begins reforming his policies to fit the commands of the Torah. In the following chapter, 2 Kings 23:4, we also read about how King Josiah destroys the idols in the temple upon reading the newly discovered Torah. The implication is of course, that the Jews had fallen so far away from the Torah, that they started to worship idols in the temple of God!

How can the Jews have ignored the most pivotal commandment of the Torah (monotheism), if it had been preserved with them all this time? And if the Jews had been faithfully memorizing the Torah, one generation after the other, how could they allow their most precious scripture to become forgotten? Why did the Torah need to be re-discovered for the Jews to finally realize that what they were doing was wrong? Most significantly, how can we know that this Torah that Priest Hilkiah found, matches that which was revealed to Musa (عليه السلام)?


Conclusion

There are many further reasons for doubting the preservation of the Torah, and the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament more generally. Those include: explicit passages talking about corruption (Jeremiah 8:8), anonymity of authorship, and canonization differences between the various Jewish and Christian sects. Nevertheless, the above are the main reasons that I think many Muslims may not be aware of. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Genesis 16:7, Hagar, Abraham, And Ishmael – Zam Zam

In the story about the wife of patriach Abraham, Hagar, and his firstbon son, Ishmael, in  the Torah  in Genesis/Bereishit 16:7 it was mentioned about a place named Shur שֽׁוּר.

וַֽיִּמְצָאָ֞הּ מַלְאַ֧ךְ יְהוָ֛ה עַל־עֵ֥ין הַמַּ֖יִם בַּמִּדְבָּ֑ר עַל־הָעַ֖יִן בְּדֶ֥רֶךְ שֽׁוּר

An angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the road to Shur  (JPS 1985)
According to Jewish and christian interpretation Shur was the desert between the south of Canaan, where Hebron was situated, and Egypt.
Interestingly, Rabbi Saadia Gaon ben Yosef (882-942)  or  Saʻīd bin Yūsuf al-Fayyūmi in Arabic also known by the acronym “Rasag” (who is considered one of the greatest Jewish sage from the geonic era. An intellectual tower in the field of biblical exegesis, Jewish philosophy, Hebrew language, prayer, and Halakha)  in his magnus opus arabic translation of the Torah Attarjamah Al’arabiyyah Attawrah الترجمة العربية للتوراة rendered Genesis 16:7 as follows:
genesis-16-7

فو جدها مالك اللّٰه على عين ماء في البرية على على التي في طريق الحجاز

My literal translation : “The Angel of Allah found her on a spring of water in the wilderness on the way in the Hijaz (Al Hijaz)”
To me this is remarkable discovery. Rasag did not mention Shur but Al Hijaz, he seemed to confirm the origin of the zamzam well, a miraculously generated source of water from God, which according to traditional Islamic report began when Hagar and her infant son Ishmael was wandering in the wilderness thirsty and desperately need for water. It was then God sending his angel, Gabriel to help Hagar. Later then Ishmael and his father Abraham rebuilt the Bayt Allah (“House of God”) called the Kaaba, a landmark building which Muslims around the world visit and face in prayer.  The place which Rasag mention as  Al-Hijaz  is the region in the west of present-day Saudi Arabia where  the holy city of Mecca in which the Kaaba is situated.
Hejaz-English.jpg
Rasag originally wrote his original Torah translation using Hebrew scripts not Arabic (Judeo-arabic scripts). This also has been bolstered by the fact that no texts of the Arabic script have been found in any of the Genizah collections. As Muslims at his time could not read Hebrew or Hebrew characters this clearly indicates that Rasag wrote his translation of the Torah with a Jewish audience in mind, an assumption supported by Rasag own description of his work. So There is little possibility that Rasag deliberately choose the wording in order to fit Islamic audience as later  jewish commentator such as 12th century  Abraham Ibn Ezra had been speculating.
More support that Rasag himself chose to refer to the Al -Hijaz region in his Torah translation can be found in his rendering of Genesis/Bereishit 10:30, in which he translates the locations Mesha  מֵשָׁ֑א  and Sephar סְפָ֖רָ as Mecca مكة and Medina المدينة.
Please refer to Rasag tarjamah text below:
genesis-10-30-saadia