(ANSA) - Rome, March 30 - The Italian Supreme Court on Friday upheld a sentence for abuse and aggravated assault by a Moroccan father against his 12-year-old daughter.
Defense lawyers maintained that the father, who allegedly beat his daughter with a broom handle for "corrective" purposes after she could not properly recite the Koran, did so because of "cultural" reasons and should be given a lighter sentence accordingly.
The judge dismissed the defense's argument, calling the treatment "violent and unjustifiable" whether from Italian nationals or foreigners. (Source)
Saturday, March 31, 2012
In both the U.S. and the U.K., this man would have gotten a reduced sentence after explaining that his culture allows such beatings. Fortunately, the Italian court wasn't buying it.
Abu Imran, the leader of Shariah4Belgium, tells us that it's only a matter of time before Sharia rules the country. Meanwhile, CAIR assures us that Muslims have no intention of enforcing Sharia in Western countries. Whom should we believe?
Friday, March 30, 2012
After I wrote Misquoting Jesus, I started getting a lot of emails from all sorts of people. One common kind of email was from people who wanted me to know that even though the New Testament had textual problems, the books that they revered were absolutely perfect, with no mistakes & no textual errors. Most commonly these emails came from people who wanted me to convert to follow either the Book of Mormon or (on the other side of the religious spectrum!) the Koran.
My own view is that every piece of religious literature is produced by human hands, and that human hands are never perfect. Anyone who claims that a religious book is perfect is making a statement of faith, not a statement of fact. People believe that their own sacred texts are perfect, but very few of these people (including the kind-hearted ones who have sent me emails) have actually engaged in the kind of detailed textual study of their texts that I, and others like me, have engaged in with respect to the New Testament. If they did so - what would they find? My hunch is that they would find that all works of religious genius are produced by human hands, and that they all have the imprints of those hands still upon them. (Bart Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus, U.S.: Harper One, 2005, p. 255)
Over the past fourteen centuries, Islam has shown itself to be utterly incapable of preventing this sort of violence against women. Given their track record, Muslims have no right to lecture anyone about morality—ever.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani acid attack victim Fakhra Younus had endured more than three dozen surgeries over more than a decade to repair her severely damaged face and body when she finally decided life was no longer worth living.
The 33-year-old former dancing girl — who was allegedly attacked by her then-husband, an ex-lawmaker and son of a political powerhouse — jumped from the sixth floor of a building in Rome, where she had been living and receiving treatment.
Her March 17 suicide and the return of her body to Pakistan on Sunday reignited furor over the case, which received significant international attention at the time of the attack. Her death came less than a month after a Pakistani filmmaker won the country's first Oscar for a documentary about acid attack victims.
Younus' story highlights the horrible mistreatment many women face in Pakistan's conservative, male-dominated culture and is a reminder that the country's rich and powerful often appear to operate with impunity. Younus' ex-husband, Bilal Khar, was eventually acquitted, but many believe he used his connections to escape the law's grip — a common occurrence in Pakistan.
More than 8,500 acid attacks, forced marriages and other forms of violence against women were reported in Pakistan in 2011, according to The Aurat Foundation, a women's rights organization. Because the group relied mostly on media reports, the figure is likely an undercount.
"The saddest part is that she realized that the system in Pakistan was never going to provide her with relief or remedy," Nayyar Shabana Kiyani, an activist at The Aurat Foundation, said of Younus. "She was totally disappointed that there was no justice available to her." (Read more.)
But don't ever forget that all cultures are equal.
If you didn't catch our ABN special on honor killings, be sure to watch it:
ALGERIA--An Algerian man used a kitchen knife to slaughter his 16-year-old daughter after discovering pictures of American and Turkish actors in her mobile phone.
The man, identified as B. Majeed, sent his second wife and her children to her family so he could be left alone with his teen age daughter, Lidya.
“After finding photographs of some American and Turkish actors in her mobile phone, the father decided to kill his daughter and made plans for the murder,” the Algerian Arabic language daily Al Nahar said.
“When he was alone with her at home, he grabbed her and put the knife on her neck…he then slaughtered her like a sheep.”
The paper said the man, who had Lidya from his first wife, then phoned the police and surrendered to them. (Source)
If you didn't catch our ABN special on honor killings, be sure to watch it:
Hmmm. I wonder how these Muslims were radicalized. Perhaps they opened up the Qur'an and read:
One thing is certain. If we keep ignoring the source of Muslim violence, the problem will eventually go away all by itself. So let's pretend that the Qur'an's violent teachings don't exist.
Qur’an 9:29—Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
Qur’an 9:111—Surely Allah has bought of the believers their persons and their property for this, that they shall have the garden; they fight in Allah's way, so they slay and are slain.
Qur’an 9:123—O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness.
Qur’an 48:29—Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves.
One thing is certain. If we keep ignoring the source of Muslim violence, the problem will eventually go away all by itself. So let's pretend that the Qur'an's violent teachings don't exist.
PARIS – President Nicolas Sarkozy says police in cities around France have detained 19 people in a crackdown on suspected Islamist extremists.
Sarkozy said on Europe-1 radio Friday that weapons were seized in some of the raids, including AK-47 assault rifles.
He said more such operations are planned.
The raids come after a spate of killings in southern France. A Frenchman who espoused radical Islamist views and said he had links to al Qaida claimed responsibility for the killings. He was killed in a gunfight with police last week. (Source)
Thursday, March 29, 2012
It's always interesting to take note of the differences (both ethical and intellectual) between popular Christian apologists and popular Muslim apologists. MuslimByChoice never seems to be able to understand simple Christian arguments, and he apparently has no desire to understand them. And yet he keeps producing responses to people like James White. What's the purpose? The purpose can't be to shed light on any issues. If MuslimByChoice had any concern for truth, he would be much more careful in his videos. The only goal seems to be misrepresentation. Does Islam really need this kind of support? Does Islam need Muslims to constantly twist facts and arguments? What kind of god are we dealing with?
Take a look at MuslimByChoice's video:
And here's James's reply:
Take a look at MuslimByChoice's video:
And here's James's reply:
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Some Muslims who are naïve to or otherwise unconcerned about the inconsistency of relying upon the presuppositions and methodology of unbelieving, unorthodox critics and interpreters of the Bible – which the latter hold and employ out of a desire to naturalize and reduce Jesus to the level of a charismatic individual and his death to that of a mere martyr, a failed revolutionary, a disillusioned apocalypticist, or what not – argue that James’ epistle: 1) embodies a low Christology, one which does not countenance the idea that Jesus is the tabernacling of God among men in fulfillment of Old Testament promises and Jewish anticipation; 2) does not evince the importance of, and likely shows by its silence that James positively rejected the reality of, Christ’s atoning death, victorious resurrection, and glorious ascension to the right hand of God; and 3) teaches salvation by works (inclusive of keeping the dietary laws). Given that James was a pillar of the Jerusalem church and that his epistle was quite possibly the earliest epistle of the New Testament to have been written, this is supposed to constitute evidence against present day “Pauline Christianity.”
An example of one scholar who makes such claims is James D. Tabor. In the conclusion of his book, The Jesus Dynasty, Tabor states that a redrafting of the available evidence enables one to draw, as he claims to have done in the book, a straight line from Jerusalem to Mecca, James to Muhammad, one that completely bypasses Paul and Damascus:
If Christians can give James his rightful place as successor to Jesus’ movement, and begin to realize that his version of the faith represents a Christianity with claims to authenticity that override those of Paul, even more doors of understanding between Christians and Jews will be opened. But just as important, in terms of Christian mission and purpose in the world, the unfinished agenda of John [the Baptist – AR], Jesus, and James can find new life and relevance in modern times.
Muslims do not worship Jesus, who is known as Isa in Arabic, nor do they consider him divine, but they do believe that he was a prophet or messenger of God and he is called the Messiah in the Qu’ran [sic]. However, by affirming Jesus as Messiah they are attesting to his messianic message, not his mission as a heavenly Christ. There are some rather striking connections between the research I have presented in The Jesus Dynasty and the traditional beliefs of Islam. The Muslim emphasis on Jesus as messianic prophet and teacher is quite parallel to what we find in the Q source, in the book of James, and in the Didache. To be the Messiah is to proclaim a message, but it is the same message as that proclaimed by Abraham, Moses, and all the Prophets. Islam insists that neither Jesus nor Mohammed brought a new religion. Both sough to call people back to what might be called “Abrahamic faith.” This is precisely what we find emphasized in the book of James. Like Islam, the book of James, and the teaching of Jesus in Q, emphasize doing the will of God as a demonstration of one’s faith. Also, the dietary laws of Islam, as quoted in the Qu’ran [sic], echo the teachings of James in Acts 15 almost word for word: “Abstain from swineflesh, blood, things offered to idols, and carrion” (Qu’ran 2:172).
Since Muslims reject all of the Pauline affirmations about Jesus, and thus the central claims of orthodox Christianity, the gulf between Islam and Christianity on Jesus is a wide one. James D. Tabor, The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2007), p. 314-315.
Lord willing, this series of posts will labor to demonstrate that: 1) the first claim is certainly false, overlooking as it does certain salient features of how James points up the absolute deity of Christ, and that in a most powerful way; 2) the second claim does not follow, because it commits the notorious logical fallacy of arguing from silence, and because it entirely misses the basic nature of James’ epistle, which, being largely paranetical (practical) rather than catechetical (doctrinal) in its orientation, argues from rather than for the truth of Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God, a fact that shows not only that these things were most assuredly believed by James, but that they were so sure and certain that he largely takes them for granted; and 3) the third claim ignores much of what James says relevant to salvation, and what it doesn’t ignore is badly misinterpreted or insufficiently nuanced.
Some Preliminary Problems
Before coming to these three issues a word about the self-destructive appeal to James in a benighted effort to disconfirm “Pauline Christianity” and confirm Islam is in order. As said, the appeal to James is supposed to show that the early Jewish followers of Christ, whose teachings Paul would allegedly go on to traduce, actually taught something other than and contradictory to what is now considered orthodox Christianity and is more like what is taught in Islam. If Muslims who appeal to James do not believe he represents the true teachings of and about Christ, on which assumption what he teaches must be found to be consistent with Islam, then the entire appeal to James in the hopes of overturning the deity, death, and resurrection of Christ is itself overturned. Since, then, the very nature of the Muslim appeal to James necessarily rests on the assumption that James is an authentic, reliable witness to original Christianity, if it turns out that James taught things contrary to Islam, Islam would thereby be refuted by the very book being appealed to in an effort to show that “Pauline Christianity” is a departure from the truth taught by Jesus and His earliest disciples. If Muslims do not believe that James is a reliable witness to true Christianity, then he cannot be appealed to in any way to prove that Christianity as it is believed today is an innovation on the true teachings of Christ.
In light of this it is of no little consequence, before even looking at the three issues above, to point out that any cursory reading of the epistle of James will reveal a world of disparities between what James wrote and what is found in Islam. This shows not only that men like James Tabor have to pare down what James taught about Jesus, but they also have to scale up or gloss over what Muhammad taught about a whole host of things in order to pretend that his teachings were consistent with the teaching of James and the early Jewish Christians. For example,
(1) James identifies God as the Father of believers:
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. 1:17-18, NIV
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. 1:27, NASB
But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 3:8-10, NASB
In fact, this is also what we find in the so-called “Q sayings” of Jesus, i.e. the sayings that are common to the synoptic Gospels of Matthew and Luke that are not found in Mark. The prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray offers one of many examples:
This, then, is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (Matthew 6:9-13)
He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation. (Luke 11:2-4)
The Fatherhood of God is also taught in the Didache:
Give to everyone who asks you, and ask it not back; for the Father wills that to all should be given of our own blessings (free gifts). (1.14-15)
Do not pray like the hypocrites, but rather as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, like this: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name…” (8.3-4)
Now concerning the Eucharist, give thanks this way. First, concerning the cup: “We thank Thee, our Father, for the holy vine of David Thy servant….” (9.1-3
And concerning the broken bread: “We thank Thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant;….” (9.5-6)
But after you are filled, give thanks this way: “We thank Thee, holy Father, for Thy holy name which You didst cause to tabernacle in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality, which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant;….” (10.1-2)
By way of contrast, this teaching is abominated in the Quran:
(Both) the Jews and the Christians say: "We are sons of God, and his beloved." Say: "Why then doth He punish you for your sins? Nay, ye are but men, - of the men he hath created: He forgiveth whom He pleaseth, and He punisheth whom He pleaseth: and to God belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between: and unto Him is the final goal (of all)" S. 5:18, Yusuf Ali
He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth. How can He have children when He has no wife? He created all things and He is the All-Knower of everything. S. 6:101, Hilali-Khan
Paul would have anathematized Muhammad’s innovative and blasphemous denial of God’s fatherhood as it was emphatically taught by Jesus, James, and later in the Didache.
to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our FATHER and the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:7
So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “ABBA! FATHER!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. (Romans 8:12-25)
Grace to you and peace from God our FATHER and the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:3)
Grace to you and peace from God our FATHER and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:2)
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
“I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. “Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you. And I will be a FATHER to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
Grace to you and peace from God our FATHER and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and FATHER, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen. Galatians 1:3-4
(See also Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:2, 4:6; Philippians 1:2, 4:20; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 3:11-13; 2 Thessalonians 1:1, 2:16; Philemon 1:3; Hebrews 12:7-9)
(2) Furthermore, James condemns swearing or taking oaths in the name of created things,
But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment. 5:12, NASB
This is also found in Jesus teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, something for which James and the Didache had a demonstrable familiarity, as many scholars recognize and anyone familiar with both can easily discern:
Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil. (Matthew 5:33-37)
We also see Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel acting consistently with His own teaching and further explicating by His example what He meant by the above words, testifying as He does only after being adjured in the name of God (precisely as the Law required over against the practice of many Jews at the time of Christ; see: Leviticus 5:1, 1 Kings 22:16, 2 Chronicles 18:15):
Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, and said, “This man stated, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it [s]in three days.’” The high priest stood up and said to Him, “Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?” But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.” (Matthew 26:59-64)
In a short synopsis of what the Bible teaches, one that draws much on Christ’s words as recorded in Matthew 5, the Didache says:
And the second commandment of the Teaching; You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is born. You shall not covet the things of your neighbor, you shall not swear, you shall not bear false witness, you shall not speak evil, you shall bear no grudge. You shall not be double-minded nor double-tongued, for to be double-tongued is a snare of death. Your speech shall not be false, nor empty, but fulfilled by deed. You shall not be covetous, nor rapacious, nor a hypocrite, nor evil disposed, nor haughty. You shall not take evil counsel against your neighbor. You shall not hate any man; but some you shall reprove, and concerning some you shall pray, and some you shall love more than your own life. (Ch. 2)
But Muhammad portrays his god doing the very opposite of what Jesus, James, and the Didache teach:
Verily, by thy life (O Prophet), in their wild intoxication, they wander in distraction, to and fro. S. 15:72, Yusuf Ali
I swear by the Qur’an which is full of Wisdom S. 36:2, Farook Malik
I swear by (the angels) who stand in ranks, S. 37:1, Muhammad Sarwar
Suad! (Allah swears) by the Qur´an, which is full of (divine) advice. S. 38:1, Dr. Munir Munshey
I swear by the Book that makes things clear: S. 43:2, Muhammad Habib Shakir
I (God) swear by this book which clearly answers man’s most difficult questions [about the purpose of life and Hereafter.] S. 44:2, Bijan Moeinian
Qaf. I swear by the glorious Quran (that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.) S. 50:1, Hamid S. Aziz
I swear by the wind that scatters far and wide, S. 51:1
I swear by the heaven full of ways. S. 51:7
I swear by the Mountain, S. 52:1
I swear by the star when it goes down. S. 53:1
But nay! I swear by the falling of stars; S. 56:75
Noon. I swear by the pen and what the angels write, S. 68:1
But nay! I swear by that which you see, S. 69:38
Nay; I swear by the moon, S. 74:32
Nay! I swear by the day of resurrection. S. 75:1
Nay, I swear by the self accusing soul, that the Day of Judgment is a certainty. S. 75:2
I swear by the emissary winds, sent one after another (for men's benefit), S. 77:1
Then I swear by the angels who bring down the revelation, S. 77:5
I swear by the angels who violently pull out the souls of the wicked, S. 79:1
But nay! I swear by the stars, S. 81:15
But nay! I swear by the sunset redness, S. 84:16
I swear by the mansions of the stars, S. 85:1
I swear by the heaven and the comer by night; S. 86:1
I swear by the rain-giving heavens, S. 86:11
I swear by the daybreak, S. 89:1
Nay! I swear by this city. S. 90:1
I swear by the sun and its brilliance, S. 91:1
I swear by the night when it draws a veil, S. 92:1
I swear by the fig and the olive, and mount Sinai, And this city made secure, S. 95:1-3
I swear by the runners breathing pantingly, S. 100:1
I swear by the time, S. 103:1
This is something Muhammad, following the example of his “god,” also found the occasion to violate according to a sahih hadith:
778. Abu Hurayra said, "A man came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, 'Messenger of Allah, which sadaqa has the best reward?' He said, 'By your father, you will learn of it. It is that you give sadaqa while you are healthy and avaricious, fearful of poverty and desirous of wealth. You should not delay it until you are at the point of death and then say, "This much is for so-and-so. This much is for so-and-so. This much is for so-and-so."'" (Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari, translated by Ustadha Aisha Bewley, ch. XXXII. Speech. Online source)
Paul on the other hand only testified or adjured others in the name of God or the individual persons of the Divine Trinity. Never once did Paul teach or say anything in his writings to contradict what Jesus or James said or did on these (or any other) matters:
For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you, always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you. Romans 1:9-10
I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. Romans 9:1-5
But I call God as witness to my soul, that to spare you I did not come again to Corinth. Not that we lord it over your faith, but are workers with you for your joy; for in your faith you are standing firm. 2 Corinthians 1:23
"(Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you before God that I am not lying.)" Galatians 1:20
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-27)
(3) James unambiguously identifies Isaac rather than Ishmael as the one Abraham offered as a sacrifice,
You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God. 2:19-23, NASB
Contrary to James definitive teaching on the matter Muslims, aided and abetted by the ambiguity of the Qur’an and conflicting traditions from their prophet, feel free among themselves to hold different opinions:
He said: “I will go to my Lord! He will surely guide me! O my Lord! Grant me a righteous (son)!” So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear. Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: “O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!” (The son) said: “O my father! Do as thou art commanded: thou will find me, if God so wills one practising Patience and Constancy!” So when they had both submitted their wills (to God), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice), We called out to him "O Abraham! Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!" - thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial – S. 37:99-106, Yusuf Ali
In a footnote (#4096) to these verses, Yusuf Ali acknowledges that Islamic tradition is not unanimous on whether they are talking about Isaac or Ishmael (YA opts for the latter), thus leaving it an open question for Muslims whether it is Isaac or Ishmael that is being spoken of in the above verses. This just isn’t what we would expect from a book that claims to be exhaustively detailed.
Say: "Shall I seek for judge other than God? - when He it is Who hath sent unto you the Book, explained in detail." They know full well, to whom We have given the Book, that it hath been sent down from thy Lord in truth. Never be then of those who doubt. S. 6:114, Yusuf Ali
There is, in their stories, instruction for men endued with understanding. It is not a tale invented, but a confirmation of what went before it, - a detailed exposition of all things, and a guide and a mercy to any such as believe. S. 12:111, Yusuf Ali
One day We shall raise from all Peoples a witness against them, from amongst themselves: and We shall bring thee as a witness against these (thy people): and We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things, a Guide, a Mercy, and Glad Tidings to Muslims. S. 16:89, Yusuf Ali
According to what we can glean from James pointed statement that it was Isaac that Abraham offered on the altar there are not two opinions of equal validity, but one truth that was clearly revealed, not subject to conjecture, and not at all in doubt. Hence, the oft repeated charge of following nothing but conjecture rings hollow when directed at the people of the book, but echoes down the corridor of Islamic history, a fact that ought to haunt those who have thrown in their lot with Muhammad.
Once again, nowhere in the Pauline corpus do we find Paul denying this; much less do we find Paul speaking with a forked-tongue and giving out conflicting traditions. Everything Paul says about Abraham and Isaac lead us to believe that he would have held the only position any Jew of his time held, which is just to say he held the only view that even existed at that time, which was long before the innovations introduced in the name of Muhammad by his followers.
For example, the apostle Paul clearly identified Isaac as the child of promise, the one through whom God was to fulfill His promises to Abraham:
For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. For this is the word of promise: “AT THIS TIME I WILL COME, AND SARAH SHALL HAVE A SON.” (Romans 9:6b-9)
Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother. For it is written,
“REJOICE, BARREN WOMAN WHO DOES NOT BEAR; BREAK FORTH AND SHOUT, YOU WHO ARE NOT IN LABOR; FOR MORE NUMEROUS ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE DESOLATE THAN OF THE ONE WHO HAS A HUSBAND.”
And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. But what does the Scripture say?
“CAST OUT THE BONDWOMAN AND HER SON, FOR THE SON OF THE BONDWOMAN SHALL NOT BE AN HEIR WITH THE SON OF THE FREE WOMAN.”
So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman. (Galatians 4:21-31)
Although Paul does not explicitly mention the binding of Isaac in these passages, his remarks about being the child of promise clearly show that his view would have been the standard Jewish view, which is just to say the only view that was held by Jews. As the author of the epistle to the Hebrews explicitly put it, citing one of the same Old Testament passages as Paul did in the process:
By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN IN NUMBER, AND INNUMERABLE AS THE SAND WHICH IS BY THE SEASHORE…. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, “IN ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE CALLED.” He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type. Hebrews 11:8-12, 17-19
As we have seen, while all of these things and others that could be mentioned from James (Q, and the Didache) contradict what is taught in the Islamic sources, none of them contradict what can be found in the writings of Paul, the one who supposedly spearheaded the transmutation of original Christianity away from its alleged Islamic character. If this was all that could be said, it would already be enough to completely pull the rug out from under those who attempt to pit James against Paul in an effort establish some kind of historical precedence for the historically disconnected and bankrupt claims of Muhammad. But as is typically the case, Christians find themselves with an embarrassment of riches here, as the following posts in this series will show.