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November 07, 2012

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The Quran affirms God sent the Book to Israel, the Law to Moses and the Gospel to Jesus by the Holy Spirit (Surah 2:87, 2:136, 3:3). The Quran affirms this Gospel given to Jesus is trustworthy and has not been changed or corrupted (Surah 6:34). Whomever rejects these Signs from God will suffer Judgement from God (Surah 3:4). The Muslim, then, must not reject these Signs but rather seek understanding in their plain meaning (Surah 3:7).

Mark, you are of course right. Yet, the Muslims in large numbers insist that those texts were corrupted over the centuries and use that as an excuse for rejecting them. The problem is that we have manuscript copies going back to the time of Mohammad, which stand in clear contradiction to their claims and to the claims of their own prophet. Which, I think is the same thing as calling Mohammad a liar. Yet, you see no one calling for a fatwa against those who engage in this practice and demanding their execution for expressing their disrespect for the Prophet. I think it shows that it isn't only some Christians that need more clear thinking on the matters they claim to believe, but so do the Muslims.

Yep, that last sentence is my main point and the preceding just the framework for it. Deal with the painting as I painted it. :)

Guys,

Suppose your patient seeks and finds the plain meaning of those 'Signs'.

Suppose you convince him those texts have not been 'corrupted over the centuries'.

Why should he think that what's in the texts is true?

RonH

RonH,

In the same way one concludes the truth of any thing in question, by looking at the peripheral and related evidence that supports the claims in question. If the patient asked the question you ask, one would (hopefully) give an apologetic specific to the questions it is asking.

Siyah Bihaddazura,

I have heard Mark's line before and I think the Muslim is supposed to be convinced that it means 'Gospel given to Jesus is trustworthy', etc. because the Quoran says so.

In other words, the apologist using Mark's line is using what he believes to be a bad argument simply because he thinks his quarry will accept it.

RonH

RonH -- what I laid out is the Quran's argument for the veracity of the Gospel, not mine, and is pertinent for the Muslim who believes the Quran is God's revelation. This Muslim must deal with what the Quran affirms: God's revelation cannot be corrupted; the Gospel given to Jesus is God's revelation; therefore the Gospel of Jesus is not corrupted. This Muslim's duty, then, is to seek the truth of the Gospel of Jesus. That Gospel exists today in the form that Mohammed would have had access to.

Your question is for one who would be asking for reasons to believe the Quran is God's revelation. Different topic.

Mark,

the Quran is God's revelation

This is a premise in what you present.

You neither say it nor believe it.

But you know your quarry hears and believes it.

An example of the difference between apologetics and philosophy/argument.

RonH

RonH -- "Patient" and "quarry". I wouldn't agree to either characterization. How about "fellow person of faith"? I'd start there in a conversation. I doubt anyone wants to be thought of as a patient or as a quarry. I live in a smallish University town - lots of Muslims happy to have a conversation about faith.

In that conversation with a Muslim, I'd ask the question, "Do you believe the Quran is God's revelation?" Presuming an answer in the affirmative, I'd aks "What do you do, then, as a Muslim, with what the Quran affirms?"

It's not unreasonable in a conversation about world views to "accept for arguments sake" one side of a position and then inquire about the implications of that position.

I think the idea of this approach is to get the Muslim to believe the above things regarding the Bible because the Quran says he should.

That is how I read the words you wrote.

I don't think you actually believe the Quran is a reliable source.

If I am right about these things, then 'quarry' fills the bill as far as I'm concerned because you are trying to get him to believe the Bible because the Quran says to and that is not a good reason as far as you are concerned. Your priority is what he believes not giving him good reason to believe it; apologetics not argument.

Simply disclose to him that you don't believe that 'because the Quoran says so' is a good reason and I will switch from 'quarry' to 'interlocutor'. No problem.


RonH

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RonH -- I understand now how we are on different pages. You don't think that in the course of a conversation that a Muslim would know I don't believe the Quran is a reliable source? Disclose? I'll admit, I chuckled. I gather you are envisioning a hostile argument or an attempt by me to persuade?

I doubt you've had many conversations with the average American Muslim or you wouldn't think they are so gullible. Believe me - they are more than willing to have an open and engaging conversation with non-Muslims and they have good questions for the follower of Christ that helps one think critically about beliefs.

I'm not trying to fool anyone or chase anyone or even convince anyone. Not my job.

Good grief.

It doesn't matter at all but I have known enough Muslims, American and foreign, and known them well enough, to know that they (like all groups) have varying levels of gullibility and that those levels depend very much upon the topic at hand.

Don't let 'disclose' be a stumbling block (or a means of self-delusion).

You spoke of assuming for the sake of argument. You gave the things you are assuming for the sake of argument.

Now: For the sake of WHAT argument are you assuming these things?

In other words, what do you anticipate the Muslim will conclude from these assumptions you propose to grant?

If you are not persuading or convincing anyone what are you doing and why do you bring it up here?

RonH

RonH -- when in conversation about faith with a Muslim, it's not deceptive to say something like "for the sake of argument, let's stipulate the Quran is revelation from God; what then do we do with what the Quran says about Jesus?"

You don't think it's possible to have a conversation with a Muslim without attempting to persuade or convince? I do. I anticipate and conclude that if the Muslim reads these passages with serious intent to understand that he'll have serious questions about what he thought he knew the Quran says.

The original blog entry is about a documentary film that looks at Muslims who have read what the Quran says about Jesus, discerned its plain meaning, and come to believe that Jesus is who he says he is. So I thought I'd comment.

I'll admit - I am now confused -- I took your original comments as disparaging when you used words like "patient" and "quarry". Very possible I was mistaken.

'Patient' and 'quarry' mean I think you don't mind if you succeed in convincing the Muslim to switch to Christianity by way of carefully reading Suras which he thinks are revaluation while you do not.

A salesman or an apologist will say any sale is a good sale. A philosopher will not.

RonH

RonH,

I agree that motive for dialogue can be corrupt. It often is.

I am addressing here, not that reality, but your use of a wide brush that is so wide you have thus far painted all *dialogue* of these sorts as corrupt, and, you have painted all *friendships* which so many of us have with our Muslim friends as nothing more than a fraud set up to make a sale.

You are saying, I can, in myself, never wonder about what my Muslim friend really does with those comments (all the one’s described in this thread), and, in wondering, ask him? Or, I can never, in myself, actually believe that he, also, actually believing his text, and I mine, and, then, where there seems to be overlap (on Jesus, etc) ask him about that overlap and how he navigates that?

It seems you are saying I cannot. And, if I do, you are saying my motive is corrupt by default. Nothing you have said thus far allows anyone to “give a reason for” (and that in a two-way dialogue) one another’s method of navigating those (and the others) texts without being corrupt, for, if each is explaining their “reasoning for” (which is apologetic) then, that is just trying to make a sale, and cannot, does not, house quite another effort, one motivated by something called “love” which breeds real friendships.


Now, *if* my motive is *not* corrupt by default, and yet I am interesting in opening up windows between our two faiths, then I am neither a philosopher nor a salesmen, but am still engaging in what we could call, first, an open and frank conversation (which you seem to think is an impossibility between a Christian and a Muslim without salesmen motives), and also “giving a reason for” my own view of the matter (the area of overlap between our two texts) and, he too, “giving a reason for” his own navigations, and thus each is doing that thing called apology, and each without “dying to make a sale, oh!, just wait till I tally up my total for the month!” And, it’s no secret that we each know, in that conversation, that the other holds his own view is coherent, while the other party holds that the other’s view is somehow flawed. That’s a given. But, to open the door and dive in together, is, first an act within me pushed by some motives (which you imply are corrupt and for sales only) and then it is a conversation, and, as we are each “giving a reason for” our own navigations in those texts, we are, both of us, neither salesmen, nor philosophers, but are “apologetic-izing” by *definition*. You then say (you hint) that there is some sort of difference between philosophy and apology in technical sophistication or in discipline of thought or in the ability to *already* have one’s conclusion to the matter in hand. I have seen you, RonH, philosophize (quite well) yet have your own particular conclusion already settled, despite your (adept) diving into all the subtle nuances of both sides, and even “sides” that are not yet well defined by either. Are you not a philosopher then because you have your mind made up? If you then “give a reason for” this or that nuance are you now a dishonest fraud because you are “giving reasons for” (apology)?


As one with several Muslim associates, I find your whole labeling of our interactions with one another as some sort of sub-human mode of interacting amongst real folks as rather odd and without excuse. Either you just haven’t had a real Muslim friend and thus fail to see that such interactions are nothing more than real, actual human interactions, or, you just think that any Christian or any Muslim who wonders about such things, and yet maintains friendships with, and thus *dialogues* with, other Christians or other Muslims, simply must be corrupt in both motive and in the use of the word “friendship”.


Some are dishonest. Most are not. Any of us who have real, breathing, laughing, crying, marrying, child-bearing, joyful, mourning, harsh, gentle Muslim friends with whom we co-witness and co-live and co-sin together through all the joys and hurts of everyday life in this world we call home find your brush stroke to be way, way to wide and without excuse.


Regarding motive: You and I (all of us) can be charged with having quarry, or, simply, we are corrupt and motive-ize in some selfish arena outside of love. I often am. Quite often. And in more ways than just this.


God, Who is Love, does not have quarry nor is He corrupt. We fish to eat our prey, perhaps sometimes, whether Christian, Atheist, Muslim, or, well, you name it. But of God we can say this: He fishes to set free, and that always.


Regarding all of mankind, every single person, He opens His arms wide, and He pours Himself out for them, and that in delight, for mankind, who He calls His beloved.


That is just what Love does; and, well, God just is Love.


RonH,

I may have not been clear, or, I may have overstated. The point addressed is not the brush. The brush you used has merrit. It is merely the width of the brush stroke which was addressed by me (the width that seemed implied).

scbrownlhrm: This was the clearest, spot-on response you've ever posted, IMHO! Very well-written and explained and a joy to read! I am most interested in how Ron will respond to it.

RonH

"A salesman or an apologist will say any sale is a good sale. A philosopher will not."

If a philosopher is not trying to make a sale, then why have philosophies been written down or even shared with anyone? If not to persuade that their philosophy is sound and trustworthy and useful, why bother to even share it? Not much point if you ask me.

Louis Kuhelj,

If a philosopher is not trying to make a sale

I did not say that a philosopher can't try to make a sale now did I?

A philosopher won't (intentionally) sell a falsehood or a bad argument.

scbrownlhrm,

TLDR

Carolyn,

Sorry to disappoint.

RonH

RonH,

Yeah...... am still working on the economical word-smithing thing. Miles to go.....

RonH

" If a philosopher is not trying to make a sale

I did not say that a philosopher can't try to make a sale now did I?"

I seem to have misread your statement. I took it to mean that a philosopher will not say that any particular sale is a good sale. You were talking in generalities rather than the specifics. Your assertion "A salesman or an apologist will say any sale is a good sale. A philosopher will not." can be taken either way as your second sentence could be taken to mean that a philosopher will not say that any sale is actually a good sale. The combination of the two sentences together muddy the water just a bit as it leaves a bit of wiggle room for meaning to be taken the wrong way.
I wold have put it along this line. "A salesman or an apologist will say all sales are good sales. A philosopher will not."

I think that makes it a lot more clear as to what your actual meaning was in what you said. You see how a simple change in a choice of words can prevent all kinds of misunderstandings?

Now, to your claim.
You have made an accusation regarding motives of an apologist. That is a very murky territory that is difficult to prove one way or another, yet you seem to land on one side of the argument and that is intentional manipulation and distortion on the part of the apologist(and you have to examine this on a case by case basis one apologist at a time). On what grounds do you make such a bold assertion? What evidence do you present that proves distortion, manipulation and a total disregard for the truth on the part of an apologist and that it applies to the whole apologist category?


A philosopher won't (intentionally) sell a falsehood or a bad argument.

RonH

Disregard that last sentence as it somehow lipped through my cut and paste and as an addendum....
What makes you say that a philosopher will never intentionally sell a falsehood or a bad argument? It is like saying that a philosopher cannot intentionally lie, for whatever reason and to say that a philosopher cannot be mistaken in an argument and simultaneously try to sell the mistake or the lie. How do you come to that conclusion?

RonH

Just one more point, if there is sufficient incentive, a philosopher is no more free of temptation to try to sell something that will result in personal gain than any other human being, but you seem to go against this notion. Why?

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