Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bible difficulties Answered (Part 25)

By: Jay Smith, Alex Chowdhry, Toby Jepson, James Schaeffer

"The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him." (Proverbs 18:17)


In conclusion, once we have weighed the evidence, many if not all of the seeming contradictions posed by Shabbir Ally can be adequately explained.

When we look over the 101 supposed contradictions we find that they fall into 15 broad categories or genres of errors. Listed below are those categories, each explaining in one sentence the errors behind Shabbir's contradictions. Alongside each category is a number informing us how many times he could be blamed for each category. You will note that when you add up the totals they are larger than 101. The reason is that, as you may have already noticed, Shabbir many times makes more than one error in a given question.

Categories of the errors evidenced by Shabbir in his pamphlet:

-he misunderstood the historical context - 25 times
-he misread the text - 15 times
-he misunderstood the Hebrew usage - 13 times
-the texts are compatible with a little thought - 13 times
-he misunderstood the author's intent - 12 times
-these were merely copyist error - 9 times
-he misunderstood how God works in history - 6 times
-he misunderstood the Greek usage - 4 times
-he didn't read the entire text - 4 times
-he misquoted the text - 4 times
-he misunderstood the wording - 3 times
-he had too literalistic an interpretation - 3 times
-he imposed his own agenda - 3 times
-he confused an incident with another - 1 time
-we now have discovered an earlier manuscript - 1 time

It must be admitted that we have in certain places followed explanations or interpretations that are not specifically stated in the text. This is entirely permissible, as the explanations must merely be plausible. It is clear that the gospel authors are writing from different points of view, adding and leaving out different details. This is entirely to be expected when four authors write independently. Far from casting doubt on their accounts, it gives added credibility, as those details which at first appear to be in conflict can be resolved with some thought, yet are free from the hallmarks of obvious collusion, either by the original authors or any subsequent editors.

This testifies to the honesty and openness of the scribes and translators (both Jewish and Christian). Although it would be easy to change this recognized error, this has not been done in favour of remaining true to the manuscripts. Although it leaves the passage open to shallow criticism as Shabbir Ally has shown, it is criticism which we are not afraid of.

In Shabbir's booklet, he puts two verses on the bottom of each page. It would seem appropriate that we give an answer to these quotes, which are:

    "God is not the author of confusion..." (1 Corinthians 14:33)

    True, God is not the author of confusion. There is very little that is confusing in the Bible. When we understand all the original readings and the context behind them, the confusion virtually

    disappears. Of course we need scholarship to understand everything in there, as we are 2,000 - 3,500 years and a translation removed from the original hearers.

    But this is no different to the Qur'an. On first (and tenth) readings of the Qur'an there are many things which are not apparent. Take the mysterious letters at the beginning of the suras. It seems that after 1,400 years of scholarship, people can only take a good guess at what on earth they might be there for. Or take the many historical Biblical characters whose stories do not parallel the Bible but seem to originate in second century Talmudic apocryphal writings. This is indeed confusing. However, it is because we can go to the historical context of those writings that we now know that they could not have been authored by God, but were created by men, centuries after the authentic revelation of God had been canonized.

    "...A house divided against itself falls" (Luke 11:17)

    The Bible is not divided against itself. Jesus was talking about a major division, i.e. Satan destroying his own demons. This is far removed from the Bible. A book four times the size of the Qur'an, with the remaining problems able to be counted on your fingers and toes, a 99.999% agreement! That indeed is remarkable!


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