Whose Religion Teaches An Incompetent Messiah, Group of Disciples And God? A Response to Nabeel Qureshi
On June 22nd, 2009 Nabeel Qureshi debated Osama Abdullah on the topic "Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?" The debate maybe viewed here and here.
In his first rebuttal, Nabeel said the following:
If Jesus did not die on the cross then what did happen to him? What did happen to him? Did we get any alternative explanation? No we did not. We don't get any defense. We don't get any idea about what actually happened to him. Because I tell you, if Jesus Christ was raised to God as the Qur'an says he was and he was not killed or crucified on the cross then we have huge problems. We have number one: an incompetent Messiah who was not able to tell his disciples that he was not killed on the cross. They all came away believing he was killed on the cross. We have number 2: an incompetent God who chose the incompetent Messiah and number 3: we have incompetent disciples who were preaching an Islamic message and all of a sudden change the message for no reason whatsoever. This is what is required by the Islamic position. An incompetent set of believers, an incompetent Messiah and an incompetent God. I will not believe this. I will not believe that God is incompetent, that he can't pick a Messiah whose disciples would follow his message for no less than a few years. I will not believe that. That is what the Qur'an is telling me to believe. I will not believe that God would deceive people into thinking that Jesus Christ died on the cross, thereby creating Christianity because no one would have believed Christianity were true if it were not made to appear that Jesus Christ died on the cross. So its God's fault that Christianity was started according to Islam. (Time Slice: 12:54- 14:13)
Let's tackle these three issues.
Incompetent Messiah: According to Islam or Christianity?
Nabeel states that Islam's Messiah is incompetent because he wasn't able to tell his disciples that he was not killed on the cross. As a matter of fact, it is not clear at all that Islam teaches this. I would also contend that history does not clearly illustrate this either due to the fact that the books attributed to the disciples who say Jesus was killed are disputed by scholars and the early sources mentioning that the disciples believed in this are disputed as well. However, in order to not greatly sidetrack from the discussion just in case Nabeel decides to respond to this article I will assume for the sake of argument that Islam does teach that Jesus didn't inform his disciples that he didn't actually die on the cross.
What is so incompetent about that? Why would such a thing be necessary for Jesus to disclose anyways with his disciples? Religion only informs us about that which we need to know for our salvation. It is not the belief that Jesus died on the cross that needs to be corrected as a matter of utmost priority. What needs to be corrected is the use of this belief to further the Christian belief that he is God, or that he died for our sins. These were not issues that the disciples believed. These issues arose in the minds of others. Jesus surviving the cross was not such an essential part of doctrine for the disciples to have believed. What was essential was that they believed that Jesus was a Messenger sent from God with the Gospel as the revelation that God sent down to him.
Now how about the Messiah according to Christianity? This Messiah was supposedly God, yet no where did he explicitly and unambiguously claim to be God. This has resulted in the formation of several Biblical Unitarian "cults". If anything, Nabeel's false "godman" was so incompetent that he couldn't even express himself clearly that he was God, which makes this incompetent god of his responsible for all these Biblical Unitarians we have today. It also makes him responsible for Muslim apologists continuously launching arguments against Christians regarding Jesus' divinity.
So I ask the honest question: Is the Islamic Messiah or the Christian Messiah the incompetent Messiah? The latter is the obvious answer.
Incompetent Disciples: According to Islam or Christianity?
Nabeel states that Islam portrays the disciples as incompetent because the disciples preached Islam first and then all of a sudden changed the message. Islam doesn't state this, but Nabeel is obviously implying that the historical evidence favors his position that the disciples preached Christianity. Brother Shabir Ally discusses this.
Now how about the disciples according to Christianity? According to the New Testament, Jesus supposedly clearly predicted his death and resurrection, yet the New Testaments portrays the disciples as having appeared to have completely forgotten about these statements. The New Testament also portrays the disciples as being unable to understand several of Jesus' statements and teachings. This shows a great level of incompetence on the part of the disciples.
So I ask the honest question: Is the Islamic group of disciples or the Christian group of disciples the incompetent set of disciples? The latter is the obvious answer.
Incompetent God: According to Islam or Christianity?
Nabeel argues that Islam's God is incompetent for deceiving people into thinking that Jesus died on the cross, which in turn resulted in the creation of Christianity.
Nabeel should bear in mind and try to remember that Christianity essentially requires one to believe in the following points:
1) Jesus didn't simply die on the cross, but his death had a meaning and that was that he died for our sins.
2) Jesus rose from the dead.
3) Jesus claimed to be God.
4) Jesus taught that God is Triune, consisting of the three persons 1) Father 2) Son and 3) Holy Spirit
5) Jesus taught that belief in his divinity and death replaces the Old Testament law as a means to salvation.
Now I could understand how Allah making it appear that Jesus died and then had Jesus to later appear to people could lead to the belief in point number 2, BUT HOW ON EARTH does Allah making it appear that Jesus died on the cross lead to points number 1, 3, 4 & 5!?
The claim that Allah started Christianity for making it appear that Jesus died IS ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS BEYOND IMAGINATION. To illustrate how silly this is, allow me to provide an example:
Mark plays a prank on his friend Kevin and makes him think that he won the lottery. Kevin is greatly overjoyed. Kevin then begins to lose control and the next day at work he spits as his bosses face and says "I quit!" Kevin then marches back home and say to his wife "I am divorcing you, why on earth would I spend another minute with you when I could get all the women I want with the money I have just won. By the way, you could keep the kids!" Kevin, then looks at his car and says "My God! I drive this stupid car, while I could afford to buy a Ferrari now?" and then starts bashing his car until it became suitable to be sent to the junk yard. Kevin then calls his friends and says to them "Haha, I'm a millionaire now. I shouldn't be hanging around you poor losers!" and then cuts off communication with his friends. He does all this and then discovers that Mark played a prank on him. So Kevin ends up getting no money and lost his family, friends, car and job. Kevin blames Mark for all what has happened to him.
Now here the question arises: was Kevin's destructive behavior Mark's fault? One might answer this question in one of two ways:
1) Yes it was Mark's fault, for if it wasn't for Mark's prank Kevin would never have done what he has done.
2) Yes it is true that Mark's prank resulted in what has occurred but in no way whatsoever is Mark to be blamed for Kevin's destructive behavior. The fact that Kevin thought he won the lottery in no way whatsoever justifies his actions. As a matter of fact, this only reveals the hidden evil bottled up in Kevin. Kevin's evil didn't come from the lottery prank; rather it was only displayed because of the lottery prank. The extent that the prank should have had was getting Kevin temporarily overjoyed and then disappointed. It was Kevin's fault for going way beyond the line and displaying such evil character.
I believe any rational and moral person would agree with me that point number 2 is the correct way to respond back.
Now let us apply the above example to the case of Allah making it appear that Jesus died. The question is: to what extent should the repercussions of this belief lead to? Well if you were a disciple, the utmost extent would be to believe that Jesus was a prophet just like other prophets in the past that died as a martyr at the hands of his enemies. That is all. That is the utmost extent. Those who went much beyond the line and started claiming that Jesus taught the Trinity, his divinity and his dying for our sins are the ones to be blamed and not Allah.
However, Christians would reply back just like point number 1 above. They would say:
"Yes it was Allah's fault, for if it wasn't for Allah's making it appear that Jesus died then Christianity would never have occurred."
But notice how self defeating this response could be for the Christian who says this. That would also mean that one could say:
"It's the Triune God's fault for not having Jesus making the claim to his divinity obvious to everyone, since that ended up giving Biblical Unitarians and Muslims an excuse to reject the belief in the Triune God"
Christians would argue back that its still the fault of Biblical Unitarians and Muslims for not recognizing that the New Testament teaches the Trinity, despite the fact that their God could have easily done something that would have eliminated any chance of Biblical Unitarians and Muslims from ever even trying to put forth the argument that the New Testament doesn't show Jesus claiming to be God. This only goes to show the kind of double standards that Christian polemicists such as Nabeel Qureshi employ.
So I ask the honest question: Is the Islamic God or the Christian God the incompetent God? The latter is the obvious answer.
In conclusion, it has not been shown that Islam teaches an incompetent Messiah, group of disciples or God, while good reasons have been provided for thinking that Christianity does.
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