Muslim objections to the Bible

Some of the Christians on this board have been vocal about encouraging Muslims to convert to Christianity, it doesn’t bother me and I do not object to this, but I feel that many Christians don’t understand the reasons why we don’t embrace the Christian faith. It is not out of obstinacy or stubbornness that we don’t accept the Christian faith, rather it is because of the many unanswered questions, or implausible answers Christians put forward.

One of these objections we have is that the bible contains many contradictions. This is problematic for us because God is perfect, he doesn’t forget, or contradict himself. I’m sure the Christians on this board believe the same.

For us it is important to harmonize between these contradictions, otherwise they enforce our belief that it is not the true word of God but the word of God which had been distorted by the hand of man.

We’re not out to catch whoever distorted the word of God or the time of when it happened, this is not important, what is important is to show that it happened

Here are a few examples of the contradictions in the bible.

Both Matthew(21:18) and Mark (11:12) relate the story of Jesus’s cursing of a fig tree. However, there is a clear discrepancy between the two stories. Matthew says that Jesus
cursed the fig tree [after] cleaning the temple and turning away those who traded there.
Contrary to this, Mark says that Jesus cursed the fig tree [before] cleaning the temple and
turning away those who traded there.

The story of cleaning the temple, which is told by Matthew in [21:12] and by Mark in [11:15], is a story of the same event but told differently by Matthew and Mark. How can God’s words contradict each other?

According to the Gospel of Mark [11:12], Christ cursed the fig tree and his disciples, including Peter, knew [the day after] that it had dried up when they saw it dry up on their way
backtotown[11:20].

The opposite is to be found in the Gospel of Matthew. He tells that all the events took place in [the same day]; the tree dried up immediately and the disciples saw what happened and said: how did the fig tree dry up immediately? When? [21: 18-20].

Can this contradiction be called inspiration from the Lord?

According to the Gospel of Mark [14: 32-43], Jesus was caught in a place called Gethsemane. However, in Luca’s bible [22: 29-47], Jesus was caught on the Mount of Olives!

Gethsemane and Mount of Olives are geographically different areas, as shown in Mark 14:26-32, first Jesus and the disciples were at the mount of olives where he spoke to them about denying him, from there they went to Gethsemane. Therefore Gethsemane and Mount of Olives are not the same place!

How come there is such contradictory information concerning the place where Christ (Peace be upon him) was caught?

In Matthew [16:17-19] Jesus honours Peter by giving him absolute authority, but in Matthew [16:23] Jesus calls Peter Satan and an offense to him.

Why would Jesus make Peter his deputy if he had known Peter wasn’t deserving of the blessing? A likely explanation is the author(s) of the Matthew 16:17-23 forgot to harmonize between the two contradictions, one in which he has made Peter a deputy for Jesus, with all the powers and a devil and an obstacle in front of Jesus!

Just a quick one. I’ll just touch on this since it very straight forward. Jesus recognized the utterances by Peter as inspired by beings other than him. That’s why this chapter makes very powerful reference as to who Jesus really is and why he did what he did (died on the cross).

Peter was inspired by God in Matthew 16:17-23 but Satan spoke through him in 16:23. And Jesus replied accordingly. "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. …” in :17 but “Get behind me, ,Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” in :23.

I hope you are not the type of Muslims who will say, where does it say so (Satan spoke through Peter)? Maybe the Bible should have made it simpler but these verses certainly do not pose any problem and the context is very clear for Christians. The Bible is not complicated nor it is contradictory but you have to understand the message behind it, very much like how you should understand the Quran as a whole.

God bless you.

My dear brother. If I ask 4 different persons for their objective opinion about Muhammad, will I get 4 different opinions on some things, and 4 similar opinions on others? (Unless all those 4 are muslims, offcourse).

Are you insisting that Jesus couldnt have said both things? Peter was giving authority, but maybe sometime later He said something that our Lord didnt approve and thus said “get behind me satan!”.

I just have time to look into this and before I go I thought of making this entry.

Your objection to this which is understandable perhaps because you think the Gospels are written in strict chronological order. They are not necessarily so and sometimes the writer’s literary style can create the confusion. In this case it would be Matthew’s use of narrative. At times he can be seen to arrange his material in topical order rather than strict chronological sequence.

I went through the mentioned passages again and noted that in Mark’s narration the episode was described in three consecutive days while in Mathew it was only in two. It is rather likely Mathew was compressing the narrative and more focused in mentioning the events only.

If one is not too fussy about the chronological sequence of the event and considering the different style the two writers employed, I do not see very fatal contradiction there. Of course the writers’ intent – the triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the clearing of the temple and the cursing of the fig tree were all mentioned in both Gospels.

Again one should not see the Bible as how you would the Quran. I’m saying this not exactly to compare but because you are a Muslim such reference may make more sense to you. The Bible is written on the inspiration of God. The message came from God but the writing is from the writer’s style and command of the language. On the other and the Quran is verbatim word of God. Any error in the Quran would be fatal while that is not so in the Bible if the message is still the same.

God bless.

Reuben

Fellow famdigy, you know that Quran and hadiths are full of contradictions :rolleyes:.

However, they might seem to be contradictions to you, but I’m sure if you post your questions in the “Ask an Apologist” forum, you would get a satisfactory answer.

Famdigy, going by your objections to converting to Christianity, if you’re genuine, you’ll have to leave Islam.

So, Christianity’s out because of your stated objections (I don’t agree they exist, but not the point here); Islam’s out because it has the same problems (and more) as you presented. So, will you convert to Judaism, become a Buddhist or Hindu…maybe agnostic or atheist?

In some of the cases, it is above. The issue is because some are too stubborn to try to understand Christianity for what it is. If they wish to evaluate it, they evaluate what they think to be Christianity than what it’s actual doctrines are. For example, there are times when some have failed to understand that we do not believe God beget Jesus in a biological sense, yet every once in a while it is brought up. Even though Christians do not have that belief, we are accused of believing it.If we explain what is doctrinal (it isn’t even a debated topic within Christianity), it still isn’t an acceptable answer. As I said, evaluate our faith based on its doctrines, and not what you think it is.

Yes, God is perfect. But remember, we do not believe that the Bible is written by God **literally **. The Quran is God’s narration, thus you can evaluate it using that method. But the Bible is written by man (inspired by God).

What does that mean? It means that when an author wrote down and recorded details, what they recorded was inspired by God. He made sure that the message he wants to get across, in clear and correct. Other historical information do not need to be accurate.

Thus for a certain event here would be historical information such as the place, time of day, number of people passing by etc and the actual essence of the story, example a prophet explaining that God is merciful and forgiving.

If two authors wish to record the story, they would be inspired by God to correctly record the message that God is merciful. The other details though are irrelevant. One would say that the prophet gave the speech before his lunch, and the other would say that he gave it after. Whether he gave it before of after is irrelevant and has no influence on the mercy of God. On the other hand, the message of the prophet is important and God will ensure that they have recorded that correctly.

The time of the cursing of the fig tree has no influence on the message that Jesus was trying to teach us. The cleaning of the temple was to show that God’s house should be treated with respect. The cursing of the fig tree is to show that we should bear fruit (i.e. do the will of God). If one happened before or after another, it is irrelevant to those messages.

Again, it’s irrelevant if they saw it immediately or while they were going somewhere else. The point was the Jesus’ words came true. It would have been a contradiction if in one case the tree withered, and in another it sprouted flowers.

Gethsemane is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives. They would have to go out of the Mount of Olives (Mark 14:26) and enter Gethsemane (Mark 14:32).

There is no reason to ‘harmonize’ those two, they aren’t even a contradiction!. Peter is Jesus’ deputy, but he was a flawed man (as with his denial of Jesus thrice). Unlike Islam, we don’t consider our prophets or holy men to be perfect, and we learn from their imperfections.

Peter is Jesus’s deputy. That passage did not remove that authority from him. Reuben gave a good explanation, so I won’t attempt to explain it.

Also, do not forget that each of the four Gospels was written for a different target audiance and focused on a different aspect of Jesus’s life. For example, Luke was written for Greek converts while John was written for those who already believed in order to flesh out the Divinity of Jesus. Matthew and Mark were written for Hebrew and non-Hebrew Christains respectively, and one was to establish Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, the other as the savior of the World.

That is one reason why the Sermon on the Mount in one Gospel is repeated on a plain in another.

Depending on whether each ‘author’ of the Gospels was physically present at each event, what ‘frame of mind’ they were in, how long after the event that they wrote the events down, what else was on their agenda at the time, etc., etc., would determine what they actually remembered and perceived to be the chronological order of the events they recorded in written form. They were people, just like us. Try to remember the exact chronological order of events in your own life (even of the previous day, in some cases).

I would be more worried about the question, “Was Mohammad a real prophet?” According to the O/T, Numbers 12:6 identifies a true prophet of God. The Qu’ran (very conveniently) does not contain the Hebrew O/T book of Numbers, even though Islam recognizes Moses as being a prophet of God. :slight_smile:

For those of us who don’t have a Bible handy, can you tell us what Numbers 12:6 says? I’m curious.

5

Then the LORD came down in the column of cloud, and standing at the entrance of the tent, called Aaron and Miriam. When both came forward,

6

he said, "Now listen to the words of the LORD: Should there be a prophet among you, in visions will I reveal myself to him, in dreams will I speak to him;

7

Not so with my servant Moses! Throughout my house he bears my trust:

8

face to face I speak to him, plainly and not in riddles. The presence of the LORD he beholds. Why, then, did you not fear to speak against my servant Moses?"

In the copy of the King James Bible that I have, it is written, as follows;

And hear now my words. If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord shall make myself known unto him in a vision, and speak unto him in a dream. :slight_smile:

There is no simple answer to this, but I’ll try.

Islam believes the Quran to be the complete, undisputed word of God. The hadiths were supplemental to the Quran, but did not introduce any new divine revelation. (someone correct me if I’m wrong) Islam has nothing new to reveal since all was revealed to Muhammad. It is simply up to Muslims to understand existing revelation in the Quran.

Christianity does not and has never claimed to work this way. The Gospel of Mark itself says that not everything Jesus said and did is contained in the book, and that same standard applies to all the other books in the New Testament. They were never meant to be all inclusive. They were only meant to be narratives to supplement the Traditions being passed on by the Apostles. Public revelation in Christianity ended with the death of John, but the books that comprise the bible were not combined until almost three centuries later. Oral tradition was the norm. Written Scripture was done primarily to define teachings, settle disputes, and clarify confusions among the different nations.

This Islamic understanding of Scripture is incompatible with the Catholic understanding. It is the equivalent to Sola Scriptura, and we all know what that did to Christianity. In Islam, it was defined and accepted from the beginning, thus one needs only the Quran to understand revelation. Sola Scriptura is the norm in Islam.

Muslims should realize that contradictions in the bible do not affect our revelation, morality, history, or understanding. Details as to which events occurred chronologically during the ministry of Christ are insignificant for the simple fact that it doesn’t matter which order most of the events occurred in, because the end result would have been the same. As for the writers, again, the Pope is the only one who was infallible. That would be Peter.

As for the earlier note (good one, too) of Jesus calling Peter, “Satan”, Peter was not yet Pope. Jesus said, “I will give you the Keys…”. Will meaning that it was yet to come. Only after the resurrection when Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” three times was Peter given his commission to “feed My lambs”.

I cannot address every issue. I’m just an ordinary man. I do love a sincere inquisitive mind. :thumbsup:

Famdigy…

Is this **YOUR **only objection to the Bible???:confused:

You have recieved many replies regarding your inquiry.

** edit ** to add

Do you have any concerns or questions regarding the answers? And do you have any other objections to the Bible?

Thank you for the responses, I feel that I’m understanding Christianity much better now, I didn’t know that Christians believe the bible to be “inspired by God” rather than the word of God.

from the responses I gather that not all of the bible in its entirety is “inspired by God”, rather, only the essence of the message is inspired, the rest may or may not be true according to the author’s ability to correctly remember the events he’s writing about, and we would never know for sure one way or another.

And how do we know for certain the author didn’t mix up the events or misinterpret the message, even if we believe the author transmitted the message correctly, there is no way to verify this as the original hebrew manuscript is no longer with us. What we have are copies of copies of copies, in Greek and Latin.

The problem for me (and I’m not the only one) with the belief that bible text is inspired by God is that we don’t have the originals of those texts today.

Bart Ehrman, Author of Misquoting Jesus makes the point in the followings words

"There are a lot of mistakes in the bible, contradictions, discrepancies, different points of view, different authors who have different things to say about fundamental issues. About who Jesus is, who God is, what salvation is.

The bible is not a unified monolith, it has lots of different points of view represented in it.

We don’t have the originals or any copies of the originals of the bible, what we have are copies that were made centuries later in most cases, by scribes some of whom weren’t very good, and these copies that we have all have changes in them. We have thousands of copies, and these copies have hundreds of thousands of differences in them. It no longer makes sense to say God inspired the words of this text, because we don’t have the words of this text, what would be the point of saying God inspired them when we don’t have them
"

If you read the O/T and N/T in the Bible, you will find that the N/T fulfills the prophesy of the O/T concerning the birth of our saviour, emphasizes the continuation of the adherence to the Ten Commandments, offers insight through the words ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ (which covers almost every possible action or thought in regards to how we treat each other), provides a detailed ‘symbolic’ view of things to come (c/w warning signs) and is solidly witnessed by others in the presence of our saviour, who has demonstrated the truth of The Word of God, and who our saviour and God, really is. Our saviour has provided us with the knowledge of the ‘path to heaven’ and the ‘path to hell’.

No contradictions anywhere in the scripture, negate the above.

Why are you questioning this? I thought Muslims believed that the original authors did transmit the message correctly but it was alegedly human hands who corrupted the original message. That was the whole point for Mohammed to restore the originial message in the Koran. But you are now question how do we know that the Original Authors had it right?:confused: I don`t even know what type of answer I should give you.

My guts tell me people are so eager to destroy Christianity they`ll do whatever it takes. Decieve, lie, kill ect . ect. ect.

I commend you for starting this thread but in order that you will truly learn something about the Bible you need to get out of your Islamic shell, it is difficult but not impossible. That may sound harsh, I am not reprimanding you, but it’s the only way you can get around to understand the explanation here. Otherwise we would be running in circle and emerge out none the better.

You cannot and should not see the Bible from the mentality of the Quran. They are not compatable. Someone has said that clearly and I thought he hit the nail on the head.

Now let get this straight:

The Bible IS the word of God. It is inspired in the sense that it is not written verbatim. There is no different in the two because both are word of God. Only that the Bible was not recorded as how the Quran was. The word of God is the word of God. One can’t really split hair on this otherwise we make God incapable and unable to transmit his word effectively. And that’s not the case as he said his word is like the snow and the rain that water the scorched dried earth and give life to the animals and the plants and that it will not return empty without achieving its purpose. The testimonies of believers throughout the ages confirmed this.

The author did not mix the message. I thought that was made clear. There really was no contradiction. The seemingly contradiction that you have issue with is due to the author’s literary style. Apparently our explanation confused you.

You can’t find the original script for a book of more than two thousand years. Time passed and writing materials couldn’t withstand the passage of time. You don’t even have one for the Quran which is much younger than the Bible. But this is not the problem. The copies are there and they are the same as the real original one.

Don’t believe Ehrman; that’s all I can say. There are thousands of commentators with thousands of comments. Some for and some against.

I am too tired to explain this to you and hopefully other Christians with better command of the knowledge will do it and able to communicate it to you clearly. The bottom line is we have the words of the text. You are making unreasonable expectation; something even the Quran cannot provide you with.

One and the same. However, the True Word of God is Jesus Christ

from the responses I gather that not all of the bible in its entirety is “inspired by God”, rather, only the essence of the message is inspired, the rest may or may not be true according to the author’s ability to correctly remember the events he’s writing about, and we would never know for sure one way or another.

Not exactly. Nothing in the Bible that is of God could be in error. In other words, sin is always sin, the path to salvation is always the same. The details may not be exactly alike (was the shirt red or maroon), but the important part of the message is.

And how do we know for certain the author didn’t mix up the events or misinterpret the message, even if we believe the author transmitted the message correctly, there is no way to verify this as the original hebrew manuscript is no longer with us. What we have are copies of copies of copies, in Greek and Latin.

First, because the Holy Spirit would not allow it. Either God can prevent man from messing up the words or he cannot. Second, because the way these things were copied, there were no real changes.

The problem for me (and I’m not the only one) with the belief that bible text is inspired by God is that we don’t have the originals of those texts today.

We don’t have the Original Qur’an either. We have the copies that Uthman ordered. I know that the story says they are identical, but that cannot be proven.

Bart Ehrman, Author of Misquoting Jesus makes the point in the followings words

"There are a lot of mistakes in the bible, contradictions, discrepancies, different points of view, different authors who have different things to say about fundamental issues. About who Jesus is, who God is, what salvation is.

This is a poor person to choose. He is not Christian and has an agenda against the faith. It is the same as using someone from the Nazi party to explain judaism.

The bible is not a unified monolith, it has lots of different points of view represented in it.

No, it is the unified story of God’s attempts to have a relationship with man.

We don’t have the originals or any copies of the originals of the bible, what we have are copies that were made centuries later in most cases, by scribes some of whom weren’t very good, and these copies that we have all have changes in them. We have thousands of copies, and these copies have hundreds of thousands of differences in them. It no longer makes sense to say God inspired the words of this text, because we don’t have the words of this text, what would be the point of saying God inspired them when we don’t have them
"

Wrong. When we compair the oldest copies with other ones, the vast majority of errors are in spelling and puncuation. These are called copying errors. They have nothing to do with the information contained. The other errors that some see are from translations being sloppy, wrong, or just plain difficult.

In order to understand how these words were copied, you must understand how they were transmitted. Before writting became the big deal, you had bards who memorized and told stories. IN the bardic system, there were almost no errors in transmission from one generation to the next. The reason is that to the teller of the tales, getting the story EXACTLY right was of prime importance. This understanding permiated these cultures. When the time came to write the story of Jesus, it had ot be transmitted EXACTLY as it was told to the person writting it. Likewise, the copier felt the need to copy it EXACTLY as it was written on the page.

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