Friday, April 24, 2009

A Critique of "We Love Jesus Too" (DiscoverIslamAustralia)

In an attempt to appeal to the Christian culture of Australia, Discover Islam Australia makes much use of Jesus. They attempt to propagate a similarity between the Jesus of the historical New Testament and the Jesus of Muhammad, the Qur'an and the spurious traditions.

They have taken the liberty to launch the blog "We Love Jesus Too". Here is a brief evaluation of some of the points:

His name is Esa in Arabic as well as in the Aramaic which is the language Jesus spoke.
This point is actually incorrect, and being such causes many problems for Islam.

Jesus' name in Aramaic was Yeshua from the Hebrew Yehoshua. Similarly, his Arabic name would not be Esa ('Isa) but Yasu.

With regard to the origins of Isa, scholars have this to say:

“The fact that Isa has no satisfactory derivation and no pre-Koranic history should have alerted scholars to the possibility that the word is a mistake”.
Professor James A. Bellamy, 'Textual Criticism of the Koran', Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol 121 No 1 (Jan-Mar).

Hence, there is no reason to suggest that Jesus' name was Isa. In fact, Professor Bellamy sees its origins in the Qur'an as a mistake.

"We do not believe that he was crucified but that God raised him to the heavens"
Regarding the claim that "We do not believe that he was crucified but that God raised him to the heavens" one is going against historical facts. Even the most anti-Christian historians agree that Jesus was crucified (which, ironically is in fulfilment of the scriptures). Some of these non-Christian scholars:

“One of the most certain facts of history is that Jesus was crucified on orders of the Roman prefect of Judea, Ponitus Pilate.”
-Bart D. Ehrman

“Jesus’ death as a consequence of crucifixion is indisputable.”
- Gert L├╝demann

“That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be.”
- John D. Crossan

“The passion of Jesus is part of history.”
- Geza Vermes

“The single most solid fact about Jesus’ life is his death: he was executed by the Roman prefect Pilate, on or around Passover, in the manner Rome reserved particularly for political insurrectionists, namely, crucifixion.”
- Paula Fredriksen

“The support for the mode of his death, its agents, and perhaps its co-agents, is overwhelming: Jesus faced a trial before his death, was condemned, and was executed by crucifixion”
-L.T. Johnson

(I thank the team of answeringmuslims.com for providing these references.)

Regarding the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus, see an earlier post, A three part video series by Dr John Dickson of the Centre for Public Christianity (CPX).

Conclusion


I do not understand how you can believe in Jesus but not believe what he had to say about himself. You state, "We do not believe that Jesus is God or the son of God."

Jesus identified himself as the only "Son of God" (John 3:18); he stated "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30); he was worshipped by his disciples and called Lord and God, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28); He claimed to exist in the beginning, "And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” (John 17:5); the list goes on.

See also:

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