A counter to Abdu Murray

Hey guys,

In both Abdu Murray’s talks and writings he makes the argument that if Allah allowed the Qu’ran to be corrupted he is either unloving or impotent. His book Grand Central Question covers this in detail, but a brief overview of his argument is sketched out in his talk “A Som from a Stone.”

My question is this: can we make the same claim because he allowed so many to be deceived by Islam? Or, similarly, could a Muslim say that because there are so many translations of the Bible that the lack of clarity calls into question God’s power or love?

I wasn’t asked this directly, however it is a point I am anticipating in a discussion about the rich young ruler a Muslim friend of mine is asking.

Thanks guys!

6 Likes

I would bring up that the original documents in their native language are still known in the world today (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek). Further, our understanding of these languages improves over time and the different translations tend to reflect the working vocabulary people have as the culture changes. Then you might want to bring up that the culture of Islam doesn’t change as rapidly as some other cultures. Asking that question depends on how oppositional he is though. When in doubt, lead with love.

1 Like

Thanks for your quick response Jesse!

In your view, how would you explain that knowing the original languages and the rapidly changing culture surrounding language vindicates the clarity of Scripture? I’m anticipating my Muslim friends seeing this as a weakness, not a strength because the Qu’ran has “perfected” their culture or kept it stable.

Leading with love is always a good idea, and in this case it is a little tough- we go to lectures together but rarely, if ever, get coffee or hang out. There’s not much of a relationship so my words won’t have a lot of weight. Does that make sense?
Looking forward to hearing your response!

Yes, that would be a logical question for him to ask you. But you can point out that there are many different dialects of Islam’s languages. So while the Qu’ran remains the same in its context, it is also not keeping up with all the different dialects that Islam has. He will probably say something along the lines that he would view the culture staying the same as a good thing, but if the culture of Islam is based on the Qu’ran, then why are there different dialects of Islam in the first place. That might make him think.

Hi, Jason!
Very interesting question, and this is my initial reaction to thinking through this…

First off, I don’t this this is Abdu’s personal argument, but instead Abdu articulating what Muslims believe in general. (I could be wrong, so please correct me if I am!)

I think a fundamental difference is what (very generally) Muslims and Christians believe about their holy book. As I understand it, a tenet of Islam is that the Quran is a direct transmission of Allah’s word to Mohammed, while the Bible is the ‘inspired’ word of Jawheh…though, of course, in the prophets, we have the direct transmission of, ‘thus says the LORD’. So maybe decide about how you would articulate the Christian tenet of ‘inspiration’?

It has also struck me that Islam is a religion that greatly values power and strength, so what interests me is what they consider ‘weakness’. What does the Judeo-Christian God value that Allah does not? It seems that clarity of message is what comes up in this instance. But is that an actual weakness? I mean, numerous Christians throughout the centuries have called into question God’s seeming lack of clarity, but what does God’s ‘hiddenness’ mean? (There’s a massive rabbit trail of philosophy and theology for you to enter there!)

I always end up with more questions that answers these days, but I think that’s the exciting part about you having the conversation with your Muslim friend. You guys generate and explore these questions together and that’s what grows us! Praying for you and your friend. :slight_smile:

7 Likes

@Jason_Jones Hi Jason, I would agree with KMac about Abdu’s position. Speaking to the clarity aspect of the scripture, the books of Moses, Psalms of David and the Gospel of Jesus (which the Koran itself validates) are VERY clear in there claims. An objection to biblical clarity is often an underlying predjuce coming to the surface in the form of an objection. An example of this is that Jesus was a real person born in a real town who lived and died and rose again…
Or that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth, he may say that’s impossible but the claim is very clear. It is precisely because the claims of scripture are very clear that the objection to clarity is raised, if the Bible were truly ambiguous there would be no conviction of sin and no need to relieve the guilt it produces.
The claims in Scripture about the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit and their plan of redemption for a sinful world and our individual accountability for our own rebellion are very clear. The issue is as Romans 1:18-20 says “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness. For what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse.”) and ultimately of belief.
Understanding the issue is just the beginning continued friendship and unconditional love with the truth of scripture will be key. Hope this helps.

3 Likes

On second thought, I would ask him if he could get a copy of an Islamic written Bible and for him to read it. IDK what the actual language is for Islam, but that might be where you want to go eventually.

I also way to give you encouragement for taking this brave step to discuss your faith with someone with a completely different worldview. I know how hard that can be.

1 Like

Hi there! Good question!
I think that it may be apples and oranges. The Word of God versus humans. The preservation of the Bible with insurmountable evidence is the reason this point is a sound and reasonable direction to go in a discussion. Especially because the Qu’ran tells them to judge Jews and Christians “people of the Book,” by that, the current and present tense Bible. It’s in chapter 5, as Abdu explains. It goes on, as you’ve likely read about which is awesome, but the point I’m honing in on is that charge given to the Islamic people in their time which was after the life and death of Jesus. So the timeline in the eyes of a Muslim is Jesus, Bible, corruption, and lastly the Qu’ran to supposedly fix the corruption and set the record straight. So the argument is something like “wait a minute, back up, where is the evidence for this corruption? Could this possibly be hear say and maybe you’ve never really considered that it wasn’t true?” Then they may change it up and say, well I mean translations, it’s been translated too many times like the telephone game. Which, then you can explain that we have the originals still, we have the means to verify that the Bible then is what we have now. Plus it helps to explain like the RZIM team does, maybe Amy Orr-Ewing, that the telephone game is purposely designed to corrupt the words because it’s for entertainment purposes. The Bible, however, was treated in the most delicate reverent ways thereby preserving the Word of God. I can go more into detail, but I don’t want to overdo it. :slight_smile: I get so excited!! If you’d like me to elaborate further I’m happy to!! Thanks for the question!! I love it!! God Bless!!!

3 Likes

@Jason_Jones

I don’t think translations are analogous to manuscripts. I’m not familiar with Abdu’s argument here, but original or early manuscripts that were corrupted through miscopying, or intentional additions or omissions, would be in a different category than translations of uncorrupted manuscripts that were all transmitted (i.e. copied) without error.

The more accurate analogy would be comparing Koranic textual criticism with Biblical textual criticism. I think this is one reason why Muslim apologist like to reference biblical scholars like Bart Ehrman, whose work in textual criticism has defended the claim that we cannot access the original words of Scripture because we have only later manuscripts.

in Christ,
Anthony

3 Likes

I sorry to mis the point. What is the “Good question” refer to? . And what does the reference to the people of the Book mean? Thanks

Jason,
Thank you for your question. I find this discussion quite interesting. I have a Muslim friend who is asking me similar questions. A little thought that was shared with me by my pastor is this: we need to remember that Christianity is about following a person, not just a book. This may sound like an obvious statement, but I think it may be something to consider when having these discussions with a Muslim. I think it helps to remember that we may view the role that “our book” plays in the Christian life much differently than the Muslims view the role that “their book” plays in the life of a Muslim. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not indicating that answering these difficult questions without using a historical background is the way to go. But rather, remembering that the Bible, coupled with our relationship with Christ, is our foundation. I hope that remembering this perspective will prevent me from running into so many circular arguments with my friend. :slight_smile:

Blessings to you as you minister,
Julia Whitt

3 Likes

Hi, @Trusel! ‘People of the Book’ is just a term of respect used in the Quran to refer to Jews, Christians, and ‘Sabians’…monotheistic people groups who share some common Scriptures.

Thank you all for your posts. I look forward to seeing how many of you interact with similar ideas in the future.

1 Like