According to the Church, that refers to a choice not to believe even though your conscience is telling you that Jesus is the Son of God. It doesn’t refer to error in good faith.
However, if I am not required to believe that Jesus is God incarnated, then perhaps I should play it safe and just accept the Muslim view of Jesus. Right?
Of course not. That would not be acting in good faith. Playing it safe is the surest path to hell.
I don’t find one side more convincing than the other. That’s why it is a dilemma. I was hoping that God would just zap me with some faith to believe one way or the other and end my torment.
But why are you in limbo between the two in the first place? Do you have no religious background at all? Why not practice whatever religion you are already practicing until you are clearly convinced to do something different. Very rarely is any real person actually poised in exact equidistance from two traditions, but our culture has this silly and impossible idea that people are supposed to examine all religions impartially, and when combined with a conservative understanding of the consequences of making the wrong choice I can see how you would get into this state.
Well, the Muslim makes the same argument concerning the Qur’an.
I don’t follow that. What same argument? That they believe in the Qur’an because of Jesus? I think not. For Muslims, the Qur’an is fundamental. For Christians, Jesus is.
There is some question as to whether the Qur’an itself actually denies the crucifixion. So, let’s not start there.
Yes, let’s:). If we don’t start there, we aren’t giving Christianity a fair shake, since the crucifixion and resurrection are where Christianity starts, in every sense. I noted in my previous post that indeed the Qur’an can be interpreted as acknowledging the crucifixion and teaching the resurrection. But that isn’t how it’s been traditionally interpreted. I don’t know what local Islamic community, if any, you’re in contact with–perhaps you have found one that is OK with the view that Jesus was crucified. (I presume, by the way, that you know about the role of the hadith in traditional Islam, and that “Quran-only” Muslims are a fairly small minority and often regarded as heretical by others. I know of some in Louisville.)
However, that’s not really my point. My point is about historical credibility. The NT was written within a century (probably most of it within about 50 years) of Jesus’ death. While many scholars are skeptical about large parts of the Gospel accounts (perhaps partially bearing out Islamic claims about “corruption”), they are agreed on certain things about Jesus. These things don’t bear much resemblance to the “Islamic picture of Jesus.” The Islamic picture of Jesus, on the other hand, bears a lot more resemblance to later legends about Jesus, with of course Jesus’ divinity subtracted. We don’t have a clear reference to the crucifixion, and we don’t have (as far as I can remember) any of the miracles or sayings of Jesus found in the Gospels (I could be wrong about that). What we do have are Jesus turning clay birds into live ones; the early Christian legend of the Seven Sleepers; an account of hell that is strikingly similar to that of the non-canonical Gospel of Peter (which was certainly written quite a while after the canonical Gospels and is much more likely to have been “corrupted”); and so on. And then there’s the “Maryam sister of Aaron” issue. Sure, there are explanations, and there are similar difficulties in the Bible (more on that in a minute). But the simplest explanation is that the author of the Qur’an got genuinely mixed up between two Biblical women with the same name, separated by more than a millennium. . . .
Overall, then, the Qur’an looks to me exactly like what I’d expect from a brilliant, spiritually intense seventh-century Arab with a garbled view of Christianity. I see no reason to regard it as anything else. I can’t imagine being genuinely torn between its completely unhistorical picture of Jesus and the much more grounded picture (with multiple sources agreeing on key points) found in the NT.
The only reason to believe the Qur’an’s picture of Jesus is if you have put faith in the Qur’an as the verbally dictated Word of God. It doesn’t stand up historically at all. It requires blind faith.
Well, I don’t find the arguments for the Bible’s inspiration to be anymore convincing.
If you mean “arguments purporting to show why the Bible is what Muslims believe the Qur’an to be,” then I agree–in fact I think they are less convincing, if anything. Obviously the Bible isn’t what Muslims believe the Qur’an to be. I believe it is inspired, but I mean something different by that–something, in my opinion, much richer and more interesting. The Bible is obviously written by a lot of human authors over a long period of time, reflecting various perspectives.
The question is not between the Bible and the Qur’an, or fundamentally between two rival portraits of Jesus, but between a view of revelation in which God becomes incarnate, and one in which God becomes “inlibrate”–reveals Himself primarily through a book.
The “perennialists” would argue that both are true, in a way that surpasses language and logic. that may be the case, but if so we can’t know it or talk about it, so I will leave that truth, if truth it be, for the Beatific Vision where (if anywhere) it belongs.