Is Islam accurate to blame Christians for Priest-Worship?

 

 

Is Islam accurate to blame Christians for Priest-Worship?

Enquiring yet another problem in Christian “monotheism”

 

Question Mark

 

Introduction

 

Notwithstanding the complexities of “Trinity”, certain forms of Christianity (1.) have always assumed itself to be monotheistic! Islam disqualified the claims of Christianity as being strictly monotheistic. Deification of Jesus (peace be upon him) – one of the more obvious breach in monotheism for Islam – was not the only reason for Islam to reject Christianity as precisely monotheistic. Islam went beyond the boundaries of obvious acts of polytheism. It included much finer nuances. Precisely, Islam impeached Christianity for following their priests, anchorites and presbyters and claimed that by doing so the Christians worship them.

In this paper we intend to look at this issue in some detail. Was Islam accurate to claim that Christians worship their church orders? Or did Islam misrepresent an otherwise “monotheistic” religion?

“They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords”

 

Qur’an claimed that the Christians (not merely Roman Catholics) worship their priests and other presbyters:

They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of Allah, and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son of Mary; yet they were commanded to worship but One Allah: there is no god but He. Praise and glory to Him: (Far is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him). (Qur’an 9:31, Yusuf Ali’s Quran Translation)

 

When the above verse was read in to Adi Ibn Hatim, a newly convert from Christianity and a companion of the Prophet (peace be upon him) he exclaimed as if it was a misrepresentation of his former abandoned belief. He clarified that they did not used to worship their church elders: “Surely we did not worship them

Upon this remark the Prophet (peace be upon him) answered him that by overruling the commands of God to the words of Priests they used to worship them:

Did they not make forbidden (haram) what Allah had made allowable (halal) and you all made it haram, and did they not make halal what Allah made (haram) and you all made it halal?” He replied, “We certainly did.” The Prophet then said, “That was how you worshipped them.” (Collected by Tirmidhi, as cited in Fundamentals of Tawheed, Dr. Bilal Philips. p. 40)

 

On the foregoing, Dr. Bilal cites examples how Christian priests have overruled divine laws of God and instituted them for their laity:

Lawful made unlawful:

“Christian clergy made haram the marrying of more than one wife and the marrying of first cousins. Roman Catholicism forbade priests from marrying and forbade divorce in general.” (Dr. Bilal Philips, Fundamentals of Tawheed, Footnote no. 33, p. 40)

And, Unlawful made Lawful:

“The Christian Church made halal the consumption of pork, blood and alcohol. Some of them also made allowable painting and statues depicting God as a man. (Dr. Bilal Philips, Fundamentals of Tawheed, Footnote no. 34, p. 40)

 

It is not too perplex to understand the appeal of Islam. If mere mortals, the priests, had the privilege to overrule the divine laws instituted by God Himself then they rise to a status at par with Him. Now there voice becomes one with the voice of God; their rivaling injunctions become the divine rules for the laity. This phenomenon of distorted faith naturally ends up deifying priests.

Sadly, Christianity does not recognize it as a problem, let alone, most heinous one. On the contrary they profess this malpractice thereby bolstering Qur’an and its Prophet (peace be upon him) for their precise representation of their faith.  

Consider, for example, some of the writings of famous and one of the earliest (late first century), orthodox, Church Father Ignatius of Antioch:

“You should do nothing apart from the bishop” (Ign. Magn. 7.1)

“Be subject to the bishop as to the commandment” (Ign. Trall. 13.2)

We are clearly obliged to look upon the bishop as the Lord himself” (Ign. Eph. 6.1)

 

Notice that orthodox Christians (including Protestants) were not given any leeway for their own perspective; they just had no voice of their own unless they complied with the “Bishop” – the successors of the disciples themselves! They can “do nothing apart from the bishop(2.). This claim in itself has overtones of absolute sovereignty bestowed upon the “Bishop”. No wonder Ignatius goes on to assert that the utterances of the “Bishops” was just like – “as” – divine, holy and inspired as the Mosaic commandments themselves!

Logically, it does not come very appalling that Ignatius – the prototype of the “monotheist”, orthodox Christians – exhorted that the “Bishops”, the mere mortals that they were, were to be looked upon as “Lord himself”!

On the preceding, New Testament authority Bart Ehrman rightly asserts the following:

Each Christian community had a bishop, and this bishop’s word was LAW [Mosaic]. The bishop was to be followed as if he were God himself. (Bart Ehrman, Lost Christianities, p.141)

 

[Side Remark: At this point, we strongly recommend our earlier articles on the same topic,

What is even embarrassing, Ignatius believed that he was divinely inspired for his otherwise idolatrous comments:

For even if some people have wanted to deceive me according to the flesh, the Spirit is not deceived, since it comes from God. For it knows whence it comes and where it is going, and it exposes the things that are hidden. I cried out while among you, speaking in a great voice, the voice of God, “Pay attention to the bishop and the presbytery and the deacons!” But some suspected that I said these things because I knew in advance that there was a division among you. But the one in whom I am bound is my witness that I knew it from no human source; but the Spirit was preaching, saying: “Do nothing apart from the bishop; keep your flesh as the Temple of God; love unity; flee divisions; be imitators of Jesus Christ as he is of his Father.” (Ign. Phil., 7)

 

Ignatius, an Orthodox Church father, contemporary to the gospel(s) themselves, had no scruples in asserting that it was “God” – the Holy “Ghost” – himself who inspired him to preach Bishops at par with the Triune gods and their “preaching”.

This compels us to think: At best every ecclesiastical structure has at least one supreme Bishop. And there are numerous such church bodies around the world. We can only imagine how many Lord-Himselves and God-Himselves roam around us!! So much for orthodox Christianity being a “monotheistic” religion!

Once Christian “believers” were made to believe that the heads of their churches had divine authority, if not God “himself”, it was not hard that they blindly follow their “commandments” without questioning its otherwise negative theological and sociological implications. The presbyters were now easily at a position to enjoy the meek “services” of the complying laity and to impose on them “commandments” motivated with particular biases at times even contradicting the so-called “scriptures”. Now any “commandment” coming out of the very mouth of God-Themselves-Bishops had to be divine enough to be accepted by laity even though they might contradict the written “scriptures”. All of this was enough a ground for the strictest form of Monotheism – Islam – to question Christians for their Bishop worship (Bishopology?).

What Inspired Ignatius?

 

One pressing question still needs to be addressed: from where was Ignatius getting his teachings? What was the basis of his otherwise flagrantly idolatrous preaching? Well, it’s not too difficult to decipher! Ignatius postdated merely 60 odd years to Paul, around contemporary to the penning of gospel of John! As such he was drawing all of his teachings, but naturally, from Paul himself.

Moreover, being an “orthodox” Christian he had to derive his theological niceties from none other but Paul. Thus it would be interesting to note the perceptions Paul had about himself on one hand and the status and words of God – Almighty on the other:

The Old Testament Laws were directly breathed by God Himself:

Obey my laws and do what I command. I am the LORD your God. Follow the practices and the laws that I give you; you will save your life by doing so. I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 18: 4-5)

“And so I led them out of Egypt into the desert. I gave them my commands and taught them my laws, which brings life to anyone who obeys them.” (Ezekiel 20:11)

 

Being “God-breathed”, the Laws were very beneficial:

Happy are those whose lives are faultless, who live according to the law of the LORD. Happy are those who follow his commands, who obey him with all their heart. They never do wrong; they walk in the LORD’S ways. LORD, you have given us your laws and told us to obey them faithfully. How I hope that I shall be faithful in keeping your instructions! If I pay attention to all your command then I will not be put to shame. As I learn your righteous judgments, I will praise you with a pure heart. I will obey your laws; never abandon me!” (Psalms 119:1-8)

Such a man obeys my commands and carefully keeps my laws. He is righteous, and he will live,” Says the Sovereign LORD. (Ezekiel 18: 9)

 

As such they were held in high esteem by its observers:

“But your (God’s) people rebelled and disobeyed you; they turned their backs on your Law…In your great mercy you sent them leaders who rescued them from their foes. When peace returned, they sinned again, and again you let their enemies conquer them. Yet when they repented and asked to save them, in heaven you heard, and time after time you rescued them in your great mercy. You warned them to obey your teachings, but in pride they rejected your laws, although keeping your Law is the way of life. Obstinate and stubborn, they refused to obey.” (Nehemiah 9:26-29)

 

No wonder Jesus (peace be upon him) – the Jewish Rabbi – not just endorsed the blessed providences of the Laws but even stipulated its obedience until judgment day:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 5:17-19, King James Version)

 

Like the Old Testament prophets, Jesus (peace be upon him) also paved the path to success through the Laws:

“A teacher of the Law came up and tried to trap Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to receive eternal life?” Jesus answered him, “What do the Scriptures say? How do you interpret them?” The man answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’” You are right,” Jesus replied; “do this and you will live.” (Luke 10:25-28)   

   

Even after so much stress on the observance of the Laws, Paul had no qualms in liquidating it categorically after all the Old Testament prophets and Jesus (peace be upon him) had left this world.

He devised, contradicting Jesus (peace be upon him), that Laws were meant for a limited time period and with the alleged death of Jesus (peace be upon him), Laws must be rendered oblivion:

That is how it is with you, my friends. As far as the Law is concerned, you also have died because you are part of the body of Christ; and now you belong to him who was raised from death in order that we might be useful in the service of God. (Romans 7:4)

Now, however, we are free from the Law, because we died to that which once held us prisoners. No longer do we serve in the old way of a written law, but in the new way of the Spirit. (Romans 7:6)

If the Spirit leads you, then you are not subject to the Law. (Galatians 5:18)

 

Paul unequivocally falsified Jesus (peace be upon him) and even attributed a lie on him by claiming that he abolished the Laws:

 

He [Christ] abolished the Jewish Law with its commandments and rules, in order to create out of the two races one new people in union with himself, in this way making peace. (Ephesians 2:15)

 

We can see how what was ordained lawful (halal) by Old Testament God, was made unlawful (haram) by mere man – Paul and Christians follow him, by doing so they ought to worship him.

As if it was not merely enough to nullify the Laws, much to the disliking of all Jews including Jesus (peace be upon him), Paul portrayed it in utterly belittling light:

“Death gets its power to hurt from sin, and sin gets its power from the Law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Corinthians 15: 56-57)

“For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.” (Romans 4:14-15)

 

Paul even considered God-breathed Laws to be the very reason why his innocent self knew sin; apart from the Laws, sin was dead in him:

If the Law not said, “Do not desire what belongs to someone else,” I would not have known such a desire. But by means of that commandment sin found its chance to stir up all kinds of selfish desires in me. Apart from law, sin is a dead thing.” (Romans 7:7-8) 

 

By claiming what he claimed, Paul elevated himself to a station from where he could trump God of OT for his otherwise holy and beneficial Laws, let alone, sin provoking.

Conclusion

 

Thus we see how Paul, through the above writings (divine?), was laying a incredibly maverick path for his successors. He showed them how to trump the otherwise “divine” Laws revered by numerous prophets including their lord and savior Jesus (peace be upon him).

Thus, if Paul – the self claimed head (Bishop!) of the Gentile church, could defy the “inspired” Laws of the Old Testament, acting at par with God, then, by the same token, Ignatius, his immediate successor, had all the good grounds to claim that “Bishops” – the heads of Churches, should be considered as “Lord Himself” and his mere fleeting words as God’s commandments at odds with it! However, this exactly is associating partners with God in His divinity (Polytheism) and Islam for a millennium and more had been vehemently opposing it.

At this point, we would like to revisit the Qur’anic verse and the Prophetic (peace be upon him) explanation for one last time:

They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of Allah, and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son of Mary; yet they were commanded to worship but One Allah: there is no god but He. Praise and glory to Him: (Far is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him). (Qur’an 9:31, Yusuf Ali’s Quran Translation)

 

And Prophet (peace be upon him) explained the above Qur’anic verse as follows:

“Did they note make forbidden (haram) what Allah had made allowable (halal) and you all made it haram, and did they not make halal what Allah made (haram) and you all made it halal?” He replied, “We certainly did.” The Prophet then said, “That was how you worshipped them.” (Collected by Tirmidhi, as cited in Fundamentals of Tawheed, Dr. Bilal Philips. P. 40)

 

Notes:

  • All Qur’anic text unless otherwise mentioned taken from Yusuf Ali’s Translation.
  • All biblical text unless otherwise mentioned taken from Good News Edition.
  • Emphasize wherever not matching with original, is ours.

 

Footnotes:

(1.) There have been various forms of Christianity and not all of them were “monotheistic” per say. For example, the Marcionites, the second century Christian group, harbored the belief in two gods – the God of Jesus (peace be upon him) and the God of the Old Testament. Moreover, certain Gnostic Christian faiths harbored complex hierarchy of “divine” entities originating from God called aeons

(2.)  Contrary to the specific Christian tradition, Islam gave Muslims the right to even question the rightly guided caliphs – as early as second caliph:

One day Caliph Umar during the course of his sermon to the people, said: “If any one marries and fixes a mehr (dowry) for more than 400 dirhams for his wife, I will inflict the prescribed punishment on him and will deposit the excess amount in the Baitu’l-Mal (Public Treasury).”

A woman from the audience called out: “Umar! Is what you say more acceptable or Allah’s ordinance? Does not Allah Almighty say: ‘And if you wish to have (one) wife in place of another and you have given one of them a heap of gold, then take not from it anything.’” (4:20)

Having heard this verse and the retort of the woman, Umar said: “You have better knowledge of fiqh and problems than Umar, all of you, including even the women observing purdah sitting in their homes.

Then Umar again mounted the pulpit and said: “Although I have forbidden you to give more than 400 dirhams as dowry to your wives, I now permit you to give as much as you like beyond the appointed limit. There is no harm in it.” (Umar Ibn Khattab, May Allah (SWT) be pleased with him. Except for the citation we do not necessarily accept other theological interpretation of this website.)

 

 

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Comments

  • Oliver Elphick  On August 29, 2012 at 2:34 am

    In this article of yours, as often, we have some truth mixed with much error.

    First, the truth: the church has allowed a distinction to grow up between clergy and people which is alien to the scripture and is hateful to God. Your quotes from Ignatius are early examples of this, but Jesus says that he hates the practices of the nicolaitans (Revelation 2:6) — which means those who dominate the people. Similarly, the scripture says that the head of a man is Christ, not any human leader. We have leaders whom God gives the gifts necessary for that task, but they are to lead by serving, not to dominate and rule. This was one of the first and most fundamental errors of the institutional church and it must be rejected.

    Now for some of your many errors.

    You claim that Ignatius is contemporary with the gospels. That is misleading. They were written before 70 AD, while he was only a young man or boy, and before he became influential. He was a student of John.

    As usual you try to set Paul against the rest of scripture. This is wrong. All of the scripture, including Paul’s letters, is God-breathed. If you cannot understand how to resolve what you see as contradictions it is because you are not willing to obey the scripture, which God has given and which cannot be properly understood without his Holy Spirit’s aid.

    You speak of Gnostic Christians. If they are Gnostic, they aren’t Christian, and vice versa. Gnosticism is based on false ideas of Greek philosophy.

    You speak of priests’ overruling divine laws and claim that accepting this is worship. It isn’t. Worship is bowing down to someone (or something) in a way that is reserved for God. Not even Catholics do that, except perhaps to the pope.

    Lawful made unlawful:

    “Christian clergy made haram the marrying of more than one wife and the marrying of first cousins. Roman Catholicism forbade priests from marrying and forbade divorce in general.”

    The scripture says, And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
    “This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
    she shall be called Woman,
    because she was taken out of Man.”
    Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
    (Genesis 2:22-24)

    So God’s principle is one wife for one man, for marriage is a picture of the spiritual union that is to come between Christ and his church. Christian leaders are not to have more than one wife. (1 Timothy 3:2; 3:12; Titus 1:6) Although the scripture permits multiple wives, there is no example in scripture where good came of it; every example has evil consequences, which show the unwisdom of violating God’s foundation principles of creation. By the time of the New Testament, the Jews seem to have abandoned polygamy. The Christian church has always held monogamy to be an important principle. God does not like divorce (see Malachi 2:14-16) and Jesus declared that a man who divorces his wife in order to marry another is both an adulterer himself and also makes her commit adultery (because she has to marry again in order to get support). (Matt 5:31-32; 19:9)

    The bible does not forbid cousins from marrying, but it is a sensible prohibition in view of the many serious genetic diseases that can result from the practice. As the genetic heritage of the human race continues to deteriorate, close consanguinity in marriage becomes more and more undesirable. So Abraham was able to marry his half-sister, but 400 years later the law of Moses forbade such close relations to marry. Nowadays, Muslims who follow the tradition of first cousin marriage suffer a much higher proportion of birth defects than the rest of the population as a result.

    The Catholic church’s prohibition of priests’ marrying was partly due to a false view of sexuality but also largely imposed to protect the church’s financial resources. If priests could not marry, they could not have legitimate children and could not leave property away from the church. Greed is an evil characteristic of human organisations, the church included. The bible specifically says that forbidding to marry is a doctrine of devils. (1 Timothy 4:1-3)

    And, Unlawful made Lawful:

    “The Christian Church made halal the consumption of pork, blood and alcohol. Some of them also made allowable painting and statues depicting God as a man.”

    Jesus declared all foods clean (Mark 7:19), even for Jews (see also Acts 10:10-16), and no food restrictions were ever imposed on Gentiles except the prohibition on blood. (Genesis 9:4) That prohibition was continued for Gentiles in the church in Acts 15. The bible never forbids alcohol, except for the Israelite priests while doing their service and for those who take a Nazirite vow. We are told not to get drunk and leaders especially must be temperate. Alcohol is a gift of God to be enjoyed in moderation. Islam’s prohibition of it is not from God.

    Images and paintings are not allowed as objects of worship, even if they are supposed to represent God (Exodus 20:4-5; Deuteronomy 5:8-9) and the NT also warns us to flee idolatry (Acts 15:20,29; 17:16; 21:25; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 6:9; 10:14; 2 Corinthians 6:15; Galatians 5:19-20; 1 John 5:21; etc.) The church made a great error when it began to permit these images.

    Notice that orthodox Christians (including Protestants) were not given any leeway for their own perspective; they just had no voice of their own unless they complied with the “Bishop”

    This is quite anachronistic. Protestantism did not exist for 14 centuries after Ignatius, with whom you seem to couple it. Also, the slogan of Protestantism was “sola scriptura” – by the scripture alone – explicitly rejecting the accretion of the Roman church’s teachings. Many if not the majority of Protestants did not have bishops at all. However, you are right to imply that most of them did not get rid of the clergy/laity distinction as they should have done.

    To conclude, this particular article of yours has more validity than most. The history of the institutional church has been replete with disobedience to God, and Christians need to abandon these unbiblical doctrines and return to the teachings of the bible alone.

    • qmarkmark  On August 31, 2012 at 10:06 pm

      I am sorry but according to scholars majority of them have two opinions: either gospel of John was written in the 90 CE or around 110 CE. According to Wikipedia, the source which you have used for my other post, Ignatius was born in 35 CE and died 108 CE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignatius_of_Antioch). Thus, even if we take your dating, “70”CE we yet have Ignatius to be in his MID THIRTIES when the gospels were written. Does that sound like a “young man” or “boy”. You got to concede then that even Jesus (peace be upon him), the god himself, was a “young man” or “boy” when started in his ministry! Plus, if you reject Ignatius for his age then you will have to reject all his writings on the same ground. A person who was hitherto a eldest, genius theologian all of a sudden becomes a greenhorn. I do understand your predicament.

      “As usual you try to set Paul against the rest of scripture. This is wrong. All of the scripture, including Paul’s letters, is God-breathed. If you cannot understand how to resolve what you see as contradictions it is because you are not willing to obey the scripture, which God has given and which cannot be properly understood without his Holy Spirit’s aid.”

      Brother, seriously, am I the one who is setting Paul against the rest of the scripture? What would you say to a person who is defying multiple prophets of OT and Jesus (peace be upon him) too by his polemics against the Old Testament. I quoted several instances of it; I would like to bring your attention, for instance to the Ephesians quotation where he claimed that Jesus (peace be upon him) abolished the Laws! Of course, it is blatant lie in the pretext of Matthian verse I quoted.

      Let me ask another question, am I the ONLY ONE setting Paul against the scriptures? We know Paul had opponents in Galatia (and Corinthians) who opposed him for being a distorter of Jesus’ (peace be upon him) message by tearing down the OT Laws. It is easy to say they were heretics. But who knows if they would have won the battle of orthodoxy, Trinitarians would have been called official “heretics”. Furthermore, James the so-called “brother” of “Lord” opposed Paul: https://donotsaytrinity.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/high-octane-faceoff-in-jerusalem/ and https://donotsaytrinity.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/addendum-to-high-octane-faceoff-in-jerusalem/ . Scholars accept that Peter too had loggerheads with Paul. We have inklings about this when Peter was in Antioch and Paul met him there (Galatians 2). If Paul was not against the scriptures then why did so many earliest Christians, albeit, “apostles” themselves opposed him. I am sorry but you don’t allow your eyes to see?

      “You speak of Gnostic Christians. If they are Gnostic, they aren’t Christian, and vice versa. Gnosticism is based on false ideas of Greek philosophy.”

      You might be true, but the same can be said about Trinitarianism as well. The Gnostics can claim, on the contrary, that if you are Trinitarian then you cannot be Christian and vice-versa! Plus, you are misrepresenting Gnostic stand. Since they believe themselves to be true Christians, they went to attend the congregations of the “orthodox” and attended other “orthodox” sacraments as well. The only difference arose when they thought they had better and more insightful understanding of Jesus’ (peace be upon him) words. This does not necessarily mean they were not Christians.

      “You speak of priests’ overruling divine laws and claim that accepting this is worship. It isn’t. Worship is bowing down to someone (or something) in a way that is reserved for God. Not even Catholics do that, except perhaps to the pope.”

      Agreed that bowing down to somebody as reserved for God alone is an act of worship, however, that is not the ONLY act of worship. If you fear anybody the way God is to be feared, you worship that terrorizing entity. If by obeying God’s commandments you worship Him and by disobeying you earn sins then by rejecting His commands to somebody’s else’s commandment would be akin to raising him to God’s level. This simply demonstrates that people are yet to understand monotheism in its totality.

      “The scripture says, And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
      “This at last is bone of my bones
      and flesh of my flesh;
      she shall be called Woman,
      because she was taken out of Man.”
      Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:22-24)

      So God’s principle is one wife for one man,”

      I am sorry but your comments at and after this point is HIGHLY biased. Where does your own quoted verse even remotely imply that man must have only one wife? How did you read it there?

      “Although the scripture permits multiple wives, there is no example in scripture where good came of it; every example has evil consequences, which show the unwisdom of violating God’s foundation principles of creation.”

      Who was “permitting” through the scripture multiple wives! Of course God himself! Then why did “evil consequences” came out of it. Do you see how contradictory your statements are. Furthermore why would God “permit” something which ultimately contradicts his “foundation principle” (which we are yet to see) – what “wisdom” is this?

      “By the time of the New Testament, the Jews seem to have abandoned polygamy.”

      Yes true, the “Jews” SEEMED to have abandoned it. Note that “scripture permitted multiple wives”.

      “The Christian church has always held monogamy to be an important principle.”

      Similarly, you were very sincere to assert that it is the “Christian church”, not the scriptures, which opposed polygamy. So thank you very much.

      “The bible does not forbid cousins from marrying, but it is a sensible prohibition in view of the many serious genetic diseases that can result from the practice.”

      Who posed the “prohibition” and by what authority when bible did not forbid marrying cousins. You are only confirming my position that churches are worshipped. They manufacture divine rulings shift.

      “Jesus declared all foods clean (Mark 7:19), even for Jews (see also Acts 10:10-16), and no food restrictions were ever imposed on Gentiles except the prohibition on blood. (Genesis 9:4) That prohibition was continued for Gentiles in the church in Acts 15.”

      Thanks brother for bringing up Mark 7: 19. It is really disappointing to see the biased approach towards text. Let me know sincerely that even after Mark 7:19 do you think Jesus (peace be upon him) would have eaten pork? Plus, I would be soon out on Mark 7:19 to discuss whether it actually allowed every food for “Christians”.

      “The bible never forbids alcohol, except for the Israelite priests while doing their service and for those who take a Nazirite vow. We are told not to get drunk and leaders especially must be temperate. Alcohol is a gift of God to be enjoyed in moderation.”

      Thanks for expressing your double standards in all of the above including consumption of Alcohol and every other sort of Food (Mark 7:19). Were you the same person writing a few passages above expressing the health hazards by marrying cousins and then asserting that “all” foods are good? What happened to your “health” theory now? In fact I believe that, if at all, there would be any health issue by marrying cousin it would be very prolonged since changes at genetic level do not show up in days, contrary to this, consumption of bad food which is now deemed as “good food”, might show its malicious influences within hours if not minutes.

      And by the way, now I also find justification why the SAME author Mark in 16th chapter claimed that if believers would consume venom they would not be hurt by it; of course, “all foods” have now become “clean”. Thank you once again.

      “Islam’s prohibition of it is not from God.”

      Prove it! while also proving how Christianity’s consumption of venom is from God (Mark 16:18)

      “Images and paintings are not allowed as objects of worship, even if they are supposed to represent God (Exodus 20:4-5; Deuteronomy 5:8-9) and the NT also warns us to flee idolatry (Acts 15:20,29; 17:16; 21:25; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 6:9; 10:14; 2 Corinthians 6:15; Galatians 5:19-20; 1 John 5:21; etc.) The church made a great error when it began to permit these images.”

      Isn’t this really strange that there was not ONE person to have understood the above passages you cited to voice against imagery in churches.

      “Notice that orthodox Christians (including Protestants) were not given any leeway for their own perspective; they just had no voice of their own unless they complied with the “Bishop”
      This is quite anachronistic. Protestantism did not exist for 14 centuries after Ignatius, with whom you seem to couple it.”

      You missed my point when I appealed to Protestants. Ignatius is an accepted earliest church father of Antioch. He is as good and “orthodox” for Protestants as for Roman Catholics. Thus, the teachings of Ignatius applies as good with Protestants as with Roman Catholics. Thus, there is no issue of anachronism. You just needed to give it a little more time.

      “Also, the slogan of Protestantism was “sola scriptura” – by the scripture alone – explicitly rejecting the accretion of the Roman church’s teachings.”

      Its was not about “sola scriptura” and “Roman Church’s” teachings. But it was about scripture and Ignatius. As I said, Ignatius’ teachings are acceptable in Protestant circles. In fact, Ignatius himself based all his teachings on nothing else but the “Sola Scriptura” so when he says – he says. Plus, you seem to conveniently ignore what Ignatius asserted: He claimed that he is INSPIRED for his statements! So your “sola scriptura” argument does not really seem to help you.

      “To conclude, this particular article of yours has more validity than most. The history of the institutional church has been replete with disobedience to God, and Christians need to abandon these unbiblical doctrines and return to the teachings of the bible alone.”

      What is “unbibilical doctrine”? Are you referring to Ignatius’ statement that Bishops are to be seen as “lord” himself! So if the earliest of all “orthodox” church father had “unbiblical doctrine”, then I think I am doing good not being a Christian. Plus, I have more reason to believe in Ignatius who was taught by “apostle”, claimed he receives revelations, and laid his life for Christianity than believe you that his doctrines were unbiblical.

      On the contrary, believe me if I would have been in your shoes I would have also imputed Ignatius with “unbiblical doctrine” but then here you have the student of “apostle” himself!

  • Oliver Elphick  On September 1, 2012 at 3:11 am

    It is the opinion of a number of liberal “scholars” that the gospels were written late. That does not make it true. In view of their general unbelief I see no reson to place any confidence in them or their opinions.

    The WIkipedia article says that Ignatius was born between 35 and 50. Even if it is the earliest of those dates, he would only have been 30 or so by the time John had written his gospel. He was a pupil of John and one would think he would certainly have mentioned it if John had written the gospel near the end of his life.

    Whatever Ignatius’ age when he wrote, his writings are not scripture and have no more authority than those of any other believer.

    You don’t understand the relationship between the law and God’s grace. This is not for want of explanation, but you refuse to accept the grace of God. This is a major part of Islamic false doctrine. No one can be saved by keeping the law, because no one has ever kept the law perfectly. We are all guilty before God and can only be saved by his grace, given through Jesus Christ.

    One of the ways in which you fail to understand the scripture is that you do not seem able to distinguish between what applies to Israel and what applies to the church. The law of Moses was given to Israel, not the whole world. Until Jesus came, the only way to be reconciled to God was to join yourself to Israel by being circumcised and keeping (trying to keep) the law of Moses. Once Israel rejected the Messiah, Jesus, the church was created and it operates on different principles. We are not under law but under grace. Even for Jewish Christians it is more important to maintain the fellowship of the community of the church, which includes Gentiles as well as Jews, than it is to keep the law of Moses, should they still wish to do that. When Jesus was speaking during his ministry before the cross, he was speaking to Israel which still had the obligation to keep the law of Moses. But by his death, he freed us from the law and its demands. You do like to pick verse out of their context. Here is Ephesians 2:25 in context:

    11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

    This is about removing the divide between Jews and Gentiles, which existed because God had only given the law to the Jews, leaving the Gentiles out of his mercy. (But see Acts 17:30) Now all men are able to come to God because his grace is poured out through Jesus Christ and is freely available to anyone who will repent and trust in him.

    About marriage, you ask, ‘…why would God “permit” something which ultimately contradicts his “foundation principle”…’. The Jews asked Jesus a similar question about why Moses (speaking for God) permitted divorce. His answer was, “for the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” (Matthew 19:8) God clearly permitted other things that are less than good because of the evil of men’s hearts. His law is made for the real world. It is better that men should marry multiple wives than that they should give way to their lusts and take women without the obligations of marriage; but better still that each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. (1 Corinthians 7:2)

    …you were very sincere [frank?] to assert that it is the “Christian church”, not the scriptures, which opposed polygamy.

    The NT clearly shows that monogamy is the norm, unless an unbelieving partner wants to separate from the believer. However, one might expect existing polygamists to be converted; what would become of their extra wives if they were required to discard them? Nevertheless, polygamists are not allowed to become elders in the church. It is evident that their situation is not desirable. Similarly it is also clear that divorce is not supposed to happen. Jesus permits it only on the grounds of adultery – which destroys the foundation of a marriage – and a believer is not supposed to divorce even an unbelieving partner, unless that partner wants to leave. The reason for the difference is evidently that believers in the church have the Holy Spirit and should therefore have the ability to live a more holy life than those in Israel before the cross.

    When Jesus declared all foods clean, this refers to ritual cleanness, not anything to do with health. It does not mean that rotten food becomes safe to eat. After the flood, God permitted Noah (and all of us his descendants, through him) to eat any animal. (Genesis 9:2-4) The law of Moses set Israel apart by making a restricted list of animals that could be used for food. That never applied to anyone but Jews, and even for them the restriction is now lifted. This has nothing at all to do with making sure that food is properly cooked so as to be safe to eat. Similarly, marrying first cousins is a recipe for genetic defects among the children and should be avoided. “British Pakistanis, half of whom marry a first cousin (a figure that is universally agreed), are 13 times more likely to produce children with genetic disorders than the general population, according to Government-sponsored research.” — http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1394119/Its-time-confront-taboo-First-cousin-marriages-Muslim-communities-putting-hundreds-children-risk.html

    “Islam’s prohibition of it [alcohol] is not from God.”
    Prove it! while also proving how Christianity’s consumption of venom is from God (Mark 16:18)

    The fact that the scripture not only does not forbid but even suggests the use of alcohol (always in moderation) is enough to demonstrate that the Koran, which contradicts this, is not from God, quite apart from the Koran’s many other errors and false doctrines. I presume that this prohibition grew out of the undisciplined nature of the first Muslims, who seem to have needed a lot of external restraint to keep them in order. The nineteenth century British temperance movement, which similarly strayed into unbiblical complete prohibition, similarly grew out of reaction against the total abuse of alcohol in the 18th century. But the scripture says to Timothy, “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.” (1 Timothy 5:23)

    As for Mark 16:18, it is part of this passage: “17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” This is about the protection of believers as they go about the work of the gospel, and even then it is not a universal promise. Rather, it is a declaration that these things will happen; it does not say, always. Certainly no one should go deliberately picking up poisonous snakes or drinking poison, for the scripture also says, “You shall not test the Lord your God.” (Luke 4:12)

    Isn’t this really strange that there was not ONE person to have understood the above passages you cited to voice against imagery in churches.

    It would be strange, but I strongly doubt that it was so. Rather this will have come in very gradually, until the emperor made Christianity the state religion and brought a number of unbelieving pagans, with their pagan practices, into the church.

    You missed my point when I appealed to Protestants. Ignatius is an accepted earliest church father of Antioch. He is as good and “orthodox” for Protestants as for Roman Catholics. Thus, the teachings of Ignatius applies as good with Protestants as with Roman Catholics.

    No. Ignatius’ writings are not scripture. He is not authoritative. In fact, I think you will not find one church member in 100 who has ever read Ignatius or the other early church fathers. Ignatius may have claimed inspiration, but that does not make it so. Only the scripture is inspired in that way.

    I understand that, with the many Gnostic heresies springing up, the heirs of the apostles wanted to assert a similar authority to theirs. That enabled them the more easily to reject those heresies. Nevertheless it was not true and the scripture gives no support to the idea of anyone’s inheriting apostolic authority. Our authority is the bible only.

    • qmarkmark  On September 7, 2012 at 12:10 pm

      @ brother Oliver.

      I decided to hold myself back seeing “alms” interlocuting with you. In any case your last comment at me again elicited your desparation. For example, consider the following note you made:

      “The WIkipedia article says that Ignatius was born between 35 and 50. Even if it is the earliest of those dates, he would only have been 30 or so by the time John had written his gospel.”

      Is being 30 years of age meant “only” 30 years specially when (i) Jesus (peace be upon him) biblically ministered exactly around that age and (ii) back them the average life span was less because of numerous obvious reasons. 30 even today is good enough a mature age so by imposing it as mere-thirty you are only being desparate.

      “Whatever Ignatius’ age when he wrote, his writings are not scripture and have no more authority than those of any other believer”

      This is a very important note you made that Ignatius’ writings are not authoritative. But how do you know that his writings are not authoritative? What is the yardstick? Note that he has asserted as one of the earliest and loyal Christian that he receives “inspirations” for his words and this is partially supported through NT too since sincere believers would be driven by Holy Spirit. Please enlighten us why he is not authoritative!

      “You don’t understand the relationship between the law and God’s grace. This is not for want of explanation, but you refuse to accept the grace of God. This is a major part of Islamic false doctrine. No one can be saved by keeping the law, because no one has ever kept the law perfectly. We are all guilty before God and can only be saved by his grace, given through Jesus Christ.”

      Let me accede for the sake of argument that Islam has false doctrine but how does it prove that Pauline Christianity has “true doctrine” especially when numerous Bible figures (OT and NT together) have stressed for the observation of OT laws. If salvation cannot be achieved through OT laws then why did James taught his audience to observe it even after the alleged death of Jesus (peace be upon him). And why did God of OT demand that Laws should be “tried” to be kept implying that errors are but natural to creep in which would be forgiven and neglected. Let me know if you want quotes for these notions.

      “Until Jesus came, the only way to be reconciled to God was to join yourself to Israel by being circumcised and keeping (trying to keep) the law of Moses.”

      It was not “until” Jesus (peace be upon him) came that OT Laws were in place even for Gentiles since Jesus (peace be upon him) asserted that Laws have to be followed until the earth passes away. So even during the lifetime of Jesus (peace be upon him) and thereafter OT Laws applied for Gentile converts into Judeo-“Christianity”; no wonder earliest, contemporary “Christians” in Galatia wanted Gentile converts to be circumcised.

      “Once Israel rejected the Messiah, Jesus, the church was created and it operates on different principles.”

      Israel might have rejected Messiah (peace be upon him) but not all of them what about James and other “Israelite” apostles? They did not reject Messiah (peace be upon him) yet they stressed on strict observation of Laws so no “church” operating on “different principles” was ever created until Paul created it not in Jerusalem but in Macedonia and elsewhere per say. Yet again, no “different principle” was laid by Jesus (peace be upon him) himself during his entire ministry.

      “Even for Jewish Christians it is more important to maintain the fellowship of the community of the church, which includes Gentiles as well as Jews, than it is to keep the law of Moses, should they still wish to do that.”

      That cannot be supported through texts. Since “Christians” in Galatia were very strict upon observation of OT Laws to the point that they wanted Gentiles to be circumcised.

      “When Jesus was speaking during his ministry before the cross, he was speaking to Israel which still had the obligation to keep the law of Moses. But by his death, he freed us from the law and its demands.”

      By what authority could it be claimed that by his alleged death, Law was brought to an end; Jesus (peace be upon him) never claimed this! Even the context does not necessarily support your case. Since it says that OT Laws were abolished which stood in between Jews and Gentiles dividing them negatively; implying, that now the Laws for Jews were also done away with. This is not true to the teachings of Jesus (peace be upon him) and OT books since Laws were perpetuated infinitely.

      “About marriage, you ask, ‘…why would God “permit” something which ultimately contradicts his “foundation principle”…’. The Jews asked Jesus a similar question about why Moses (speaking for God) permitted divorce. His answer was, “for the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” (Matthew 19:8)”

      You used the principle of “divorce” on polygyny. They both are not the same. No part of the Bible stated that initially there was one wife rule.

      “God clearly permitted other things that are less than good because of the evil of men’s hearts. His law is made for the real world. It is better that men should marry multiple wives than that they should give way to their lusts and take women without the obligations of marriage;”

      Let us assume that the wisdom behind God allowing multiple wives was to circumvent sins yet it remains that God ALLOWED it did not prohibit it later. Furthermore, if God allowed it to obviate lusts then His wisdom has to be respected since who would take responsibility if after following Paul’s one marraige ordinance one falls prey to lust! Or do you want to say that people today have become more upright or God then was less or foresight.

      “…you were very sincere [frank?] to assert that it is the “Christian church”, not the scriptures, which opposed polygamy.”

      I enquired that God never opposed polygamy it was man-made Christian church which opposed it.

      “When Jesus declared all foods clean, this refers to ritual cleanness, not anything to do with health. It does not mean that rotten food becomes safe to eat.”

      Bro. Oliver, I never implied “rotten” food. There can still be food item which of course would be ritually clean as ALL food is ok now yet they might be very harmful, Pork, for example.

      “Ignatius may have claimed inspiration, but that does not make it so. Only the scripture is inspired in that way.”

      Why when Ignatius claims inspiration it is discarded and yet when Paul claims the same it becomes “scripture”! On what basis do you work brother.

      “I understand that, with the many Gnostic heresies springing up, the heirs of the apostles wanted to assert a similar authority to theirs. That enabled them the more easily to reject those heresies.”

      Do you see what you are writing. In other words, you are claiming that the “heirs” of “apostles” themselves used plain lies and deceit to impress inspired authority on “heretics”. If this can be true for “heirs” why can’t it be true with “apostle(s)” themselves? Note that it especially becomes a more valid ground for Paul since he had most vociferous opponents or as you say “heretics” opposing him.

      “Nevertheless it was not true and the scripture gives no support to the idea of anyone’s inheriting apostolic authority. Our authority is the bible only.”

      Until reading you, I was under the impression that the “orthodox” Christianity which has come to us had a foundation in apostolic succession. Apostolic succession was one of the strongest reason why the “orthodox” Christianity won over the “heretical” ones.

      • Oliver Elphick  On September 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm

        This is a very important note you made that Ignatius’ writings are not authoritative. But how do you know that his writings are not authoritative? What is the yardstick?

        The yardstick for inspired writing is that it must have been apostolic; that is, written by an apostle of Jesus: “…one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” (Acts 1:21-22) In the case of Paul, he was directly commissioned by Jesus Christ, who revealed himself to him after the resurrection and ascension and taught him directly (and his teaching was approved by the other apostles). In addition to the 12 and Paul, there are the brothers of Jesus, James, who became a prominent leader of the church in Jerusalem, and Jude. Mark and Luke come under the heading of apostleship because they wrote under the guidance of Apostles; Peter in Mark’s case and Paul in Luke’s.

        Ignatius was not an apostle and was given no authority to write scripture. Therefore his opinions are no more authoritative than those of any other Christian. They must always be validated by the scripture.

      • Oliver Elphick  On September 8, 2012 at 2:07 am

        Let me accede [concede] for the sake of argument that Islam has false doctrine but how does it prove that Pauline Christianity has “true doctrine…”

        That’s the wrong way round. It is not “Islam is false therefore the bible is true” but “the bible is true therefore Islam must be false”, because Islam contradicts the bible.

        …especially when numerous Bible figures (OT and NT together) have stressed for the observation of OT laws. If salvation cannot be achieved through OT laws then why did James taught his audience to observe it even after the alleged death of Jesus (peace be upon him).

        As I already said, the OT laws (with the exception of those given to Noah) are for the Jews only. They are not and never were binding on Gentiles. In fact, James does not say people should keep the law of Moses. What he does say is:

        James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

        So James, like Paul, is not speaking of the law of Moses but “the law of liberty”, which Paul calls “the law of Christ”. There is no question that there are standards of behaviour that we must strive to keep to. BUT, we are saved because of what Jesus has done for us, not because of how well we keep the law, because none of us keep it well enough to satisfy God, that is, perfectly Nevertheless, we try to walk in the Spirit and keep God’s word, because we love him and “if you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15)..

        And why did God of OT demand that Laws should be “tried” to be kept implying that errors are but natural to creep in which would be forgiven and neglected. Let me know if you want quotes for these notions.

      • Oliver Elphick  On September 8, 2012 at 2:08 am

        And why did God of OT demand that Laws should be “tried” to be kept implying that errors are but natural to creep in which would be forgiven and neglected.

        I didn’t understand this question. What passage are you thinking of?

      • Oliver Elphick  On September 8, 2012 at 2:22 am

        It was not “until” Jesus (peace be upon him) came that OT Laws were in place even for Gentiles since Jesus (peace be upon him) asserted that Laws have to be followed until the earth passes away.

        Wrong.

        Matthew 5:17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

        Now the scribes and Pharisees were those who were meticulous about keeping the smallest details of the Torah, and despised the mass of people whose knowledge o the Torah was far less than theirs. Jesus says that if people are not more righteous about keeping the law than these ultra-religionists, they can never enter the kingdom of heaven. So don’t think that this gives any support to the Muslim idea of doing the best you can (in your opinion) and relying on God to pass over your failings!

        The Torah is part of God’s word, and that endures for ever. That is not the same as saying that men must keep the provisions of the law given to Israel for ever (and Muslims don’t in any case, so where does that get you?) Jesus came to fulfil the law. He alone of all men was the only one ever to keep it perfectly and thus he fulfilled it because in the end it is all about him. And because he fulfilled it perfectly he was qualified to be the sinless sacrifice that saves us from the penalty of our sins.

        So even during the lifetime of Jesus (peace be upon him) and thereafter OT Laws applied for Gentile converts into Judeo-”Christianity”;

        No, it never applied. When the question was raised, the decision of the church was that it did not. (Acts 15)

        no wonder earliest, contemporary “Christians” in Galatia wanted Gentile converts to be circumcised.

        The Judaisers wanted this, because they did not accept that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was sufficient. The church did not support or approve them, and neither does God.

      • Oliver Elphick  On September 8, 2012 at 2:49 am

        “Once Israel rejected the Messiah, Jesus, the church was created and it operates on different principles.”

        Israel might have rejected Messiah (peace be upon him) but not all of them what about James and other “Israelite” apostles? They did not reject Messiah (peace be upon him) yet they stressed on strict observation of Laws so no “church” operating on “different principles” was ever created until Paul created it not in Jerusalem but in Macedonia and elsewhere per say. Yet again, no “different principle” was laid by Jesus (peace be upon him) himself during his entire ministry.

        Acts 10:24 …on the following day [Peter and some of the brothers from Joppa] entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.” 27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. 28 And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.”

        So you can see that already, at this very early stage, God is showing the apostles that they must not make keeping the law the number one aim. When the controversy arose over the Judaisers’ attempts to make Gentiles keep the law of Moses, Peter and James both accepted and supported Paul’s argument that it should not apply to them, and so did the whole church at Jerusalem. It is not open to you, as an unbeliever, to tell the church how to interpret the word of God and to contradict the apostles! The apostolic teaching, from those who themselves were taught directly by Christ, shows how the word is to be interpreted.

        “Even for Jewish Christians it is more important to maintain the fellowship of the community of the church, which includes Gentiles as well as Jews, than it is to keep the law of Moses, should they still wish to do that.”

        That cannot be supported through texts. Since “Christians” in Galatia were very strict upon observation of OT Laws to the point that they wanted Gentiles to be circumcised.

        It can indeed be supported:

        Galatians 2:11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

        Here Paul rebuked Peter for going back on the principle of the unity of the church in order to satisfy the Judaisers.

        “When Jesus was speaking during his ministry before the cross, he was speaking to Israel which still had the obligation to keep the law of Moses. But by his death, he freed us from the law and its demands.”

        By what authority could it be claimed that by his alleged death, Law was brought to an end; Jesus (peace be upon him) never claimed this!

        Almost all of Jesus’ recorded speech is from before the cross. After his resurrection, he taught them over 40 days until his ascension, but the content of that teaching is not recorded in the gospels. He also promised them that the Holy Spirit would bring them into all truth. That is the source of the teaching that they brought after the church was created.

        Even the context does not necessarily support your case. Since it says that OT Laws were abolished which stood in between Jews and Gentiles dividing them negatively; implying, that now the Laws for Jews were also done away with. This is not true to the teachings of Jesus (peace be upon him) and OT books since Laws were perpetuated infinitely.

        Your last statement seems to be a repetition of your misinterpretation of Matthew 5:18. Jesus fulfilled the law. It is open to Jews to decide to keep the law; some Jewish Christians argue that they are obliged to keep the law, and I certainly do not want to dispute with them about it — I am not a Jew, so it is not my business. What was abolished by the cross was the obligation to keep the law in order to earn God’s favour, a burden that t=was impossible to bear, and also one that imposed a division between Israel and the Gentiles, since the law had been given to Israel alone.

        Ephesians 2:12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

        Now you who reject Christ are still those “having no hope and without God in the world.”

      • Oliver Elphick  On September 8, 2012 at 3:08 am

        Do you see what you are writing. In other words, you are claiming that the “heirs” of “apostles” themselves used plain lies and deceit to impress inspired authority on “heretics”.

        I think it would be unfair to call this lies and deceit; no doubt they believed it and would have argued that the heirs of the apostles must inherit their authority. However, the scripture does not support that either in the church or in Israel. (Joshua did not inherit all of Moses’ authority; still less did his successors.)

        If this can be true for “heirs” why can’t it be true with “apostle(s)” themselves? Note that it especially becomes a more valid ground for Paul since he had most vociferous opponents or as you say “heretics” opposing him.

        The apostles, including Paul, were commissioned directly by Jesus Christ and guided in their doctrine by the Holy Spirit, according to Jesus’ promise: When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (John 16:13-15)

        The apostles are in a different category from later writers. Even so, not everything that even they wrote was scripture, for only certain parts of their writings have been preserved. We know of other letters of Paul which we do not have. No doubt these contained valid teaching, but God did not preserve them to be part of the scripture.

        “Nevertheless it was not true and the scripture gives no support to the idea of anyone’s inheriting apostolic authority. Our authority is the bible only.”

        Until reading you, I was under the impression that the “orthodox” Christianity which has come to us had a foundation in apostolic succession. Apostolic succession was one of the strongest reason why the “orthodox” Christianity won over the “heretical” ones.

        The doctrine of the apostolic succession claims that validly ordained bishops inherit the validity of their office from older bishops in an unbroken chain back to the apostles. The Roman Church at least seems to rely on this to claim that the church and the Pope have the authority to make new doctrine. The bible contains no such idea. Indeed, the closing verses of Revelation, which is the closing book of the bible, contain a warning about either adding to or taking away from the word (which Islam does, of course):

        Revelation 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

        However, those, who inherit the apostles’ doctrine and keep it, have the Holy Spirit, who has certainly acted through them to preserve the word of God.

      • Oliver Elphick  On September 8, 2012 at 4:36 am

        “When Jesus declared all foods clean, this refers to ritual cleanness, not anything to do with health. It does not mean that rotten food becomes safe to eat.”

        Bro. Oliver, I never implied “rotten” food. There can still be food item which of course would be ritually clean as ALL food is ok now yet they might be very harmful, Pork, for example.

        You talked about “bad food”. In normal English, that means food that has become inedible through decay. I realise now that in fact you seem to think that certain foods are unhealthy in themselves. Pork is your particular example. There is nothing unhealthy about pork, provided that it is thoroughly cooked. Certainly I have eaten it for nearly 60 years with no problems. It is a common part of the diet, both in England where I was brought up and here in France. I accept that it may be dangerous in hotter countries, particularly if hygiene is poor or people are not accustomed to cooking it thoroughly.

        The bible has this to say:

        Genesis 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. 2 The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. 4 But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.

        So everything that moves is food for us (though I hope I never become so hungry that I have to act on that literally!).

        In the NT:

        Acts 10:9 …Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. 10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance 11 and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.

        The point of the vision was to prepare Peter to go to a Gentile house, but the fact that God chose such an example shows what he thinks about what we may eat.

  • Alms  On September 3, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    @Mr. Oliver wrote: This is a major part of Islamic false doctrine. No one can be saved by keeping the law, because no one has ever kept the law perfectly.
    This is indeed an embarrassing ignorance of the Islamic concept of salvation. Suffice it to say that Islam never taught that salvation depends on perfect keeping of the law. In Islam, God requires Muslims to have right faith and ensuing good works while taking into consideration inherent human limitations. These God will consider to grant the Muslim the mercy of forgiving his errors and then admitting him into the paradise of eternity.
    You wrote: Similarly, marrying first cousins is a recipe for genetic defects among the children and should be avoided.
    You ought to be informed that not all cases of first cousin marriages stand the risk of possible genetic defects to children, and that first cousin marriage is not something required but only permitted in Islam. This obviously means that Muslims have the choice of engaging in it or not. Further, Islam permits marriage couples to undergo medical investigations to know their status for inheritable genetic problems and for transmittable diseases and ailments before consenting to marriage contract (See ‘Sahih Fiqhus Sunnah”, by Abu Malik Kamal Sayyid Salim). Therefore, as far as Islam is concerned, there is no real health reason to warrant total ban of first cousin marriage.
    You wrote: The fact that the scripture not only does not forbid but even suggests the use of alcohol (always in moderation) is enough to demonstrate that the Koran, which contradicts this, is not from God, quite apart from the Koran’s many other errors and false doctrines.
    You should have done yourself the favor of studying the holy Qur’an and Islam well to avoid writing such a crap.
    First, you should know why the holy Qur’an forbids “Intoxicants” (Arabic: Al Kamr) for the requirement of temperance for God’s remembrance almost at all times by all believers. Allah the Most High says:
    “O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination of Satan’s handwork: eschew such (abomination) that ye may prosper.”[Qur’ân 5:90]
    You should note that Islam requires all Muslims to observe five daily prayers which are meant to keep the Muslim spiritually in touch with God all the time. Thus, intoxicants, even in the so-called moderation (about two cups a day, in the case of wine), are not suitable for the practicing Muslim.
    When a man is intoxicated, his senses are dulled and thus unable to adequately observe his prayers that are meant to always keep him spiritually in touch with his God-creator. An intoxicated person, in the condition of dulled senses, is more prone to be tempted by Satan. Hence, many scientific studies highlight the problem of increasing evil deeds by intoxicated persons. Hence Allah says in the next verse:
    “Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain?” (Qur’an 5: 91).
    To be continued in the next post.

    • Oliver Elphick  On September 3, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      @Mr. Oliver wrote: This is a major part of Islamic false doctrine. No one can be saved by keeping the law, because no one has ever kept the law perfectly.
      This is indeed an embarrassing ignorance of the Islamic concept of salvation. Suffice it to say that Islam never taught that salvation depends on perfect keeping of the law.

      In fact I do understand the Islamic concept of salvation (which is false). You started your quote of what I said in such a way as to distort it. What I wrote was, “You don’t understand the relationship between the law and God’s grace. This is not for want of explanation, but you refuse to accept the grace of God. This is a major part of Islamic false doctrine.” It is your failure to understand the grace of God, which largely comes from how little you understand the horror of sin, that is the major source of your false doctrine. You think that God makes allowances for men’s weakness. In fact, that very weakness is sin and deserves condemnation. God requires perfection. “Sort of quite good” is no good at all. His grace is shown in that he sent his own Son to provide a way for us to be reconciled to him in spite of our sin. Without that, the slightest imperfection would render us for ever unfit for his company, but now we who trust in Jesus are made members of God’s own family through Christ.

      In Islam, God requires Muslims to have right faith and ensuing good works while taking into consideration inherent human limitations. These God will consider to grant the Muslim the mercy of forgiving his errors and then admitting him into the paradise of eternity.

      I suspect that the Muslim vision of paradise does not pay much attention to God himself. From what Muslims say, they seem to regard heaven as being a place of luxury and free sex! That seems to go along with the character of their prophet! In fact, heaven is being in the presence of God and hell is being expelled from his presence. No one who is not already in communion with God before he dies will be able to enter that communion after he dies; it will be too late: “…it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment…” (Hebrews 9:27) The only way to be in communion with God is through Jesus, who said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

      First cousin marriage: if genetic testing is carried out first, it becomes a lot safer, but a simple knowledge of genetics shows that it increases risk, because relying on testing requires faith that the scientists have identified all the genetic risks, which seems a very dubious proposition to me. Since a large number of such marriages are arranged by families rather than arising from the couple’s own wishes, it means that those risks are being imposed on them and even worse on their children. Finally, the communities where these practices are most common are those that are least educated and least likely to use such testing.

      It isn’t clear why the popes imposed a ban on first cousins’ marrying, and later extended it to more remote degrees of relationship. It is suggested that the aim was to prevent excessive accumulations of wealth in a single family’s hands; certainly they did not know the genetics. Indeed it is likely that the genetic problem was nowhere near so bad when the prohibition was first imposed; continuing genetic deterioration makes it much more of a problem now, The Protestant churches abandoned the restriction at the reformation and went back to the biblical prohibitions from the law of Moses.

  • Alms  On September 3, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    The second thing to bear in mind for Islam’s prohibition of intoxicants is that, as modern medical investigations proved, wine and strong drinks, like all other intoxicants, harbor serious life-threatening health problems and some socio-economic disadvantages much more than any advantages they may have. Allah the Most High has already pointed this out when he says:
    “They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit….” [Qur’ân 2:219].
    For the safety of all people, Islam usually prohibits any food or drink of this nature.
    For the issue of taking wine in moderation for health reasons, medical people caution that science is yet to prove a definite cause and effect relations and thus wine is not recommended for any health reason. A Physician reveals:
    “On a visceral level and as a wine lover, I hope these claims are true. On an intellectual level, I know there are no magic bullets. And drinking comes with inherent risks. A doctor might precede a recommendation to exercise with a stress test to make sure you’re in proper health. But there are no tests to ensure healthy drinking. So What is the problem?
    Scientists do not know the exact relevance of antioxidants in preventing heart disease. If they play only a minor role, increasing them even a thousand-fold would be of no clinical importance. Same with any wine-related factor.
    That’s why I – like other physicians – am reluctant to recommend drinking for health reasons, despite the plausible health impacts and overwhelming observational evidence.
    I am reminded of the certainty with which physicians recommended that women take estrogen supplements to reduce the risk of heart disease after menopause. Ample observational studies suggested a link: Women had less heart disease than men and this discrepancy disappeared after menopause. As with wine, there were plausible scientific explanations as to why….Without such studies, we are left with nagging possibilities. Maybe wine drinkers have less heart disease because they are more affluent, eat better, control their blood pressure better, exercise and do other things to take care of themselves. Perhaps we are not smart enough to know what these “other things” are.
    To me, wine is not a health beverage. It’s to be enjoyed because it tastes good, and makes a meal and life more enjoyable. If moderate consumption turns out to be good for us, so much the better. If it doesn’t, I’ll still have some with dinner.”( http://www.sfgate.com/food/article/Does-wine-really-prevent-heart-problems-3289289.php#ixzz142qsfI7f)
    Therefore, the advice of Paul or whatever is the actual writer) to Timothy could well be scientifically an error when he says: “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments” (1 Timothy 5:23). Such an open prescription to the general public for people’s frequent illnesses, even in this modern era of medical advancement, is quite risky. Common sense will tell you that even if wine has any real medicinal value to be taken in place of our modern well-developed medicaments, requires physicians’ prescription and control. I can see this as a clear example of an ancient unscientific thinking devoid of any real divine inspiration.
    Another serious issue is that of the actual authorship of the Epistles to Timothy. As you know, many liberal and indeed conservative Christian scholars make a compelling case against Pauline authorship for these Epistles. They simply concluded that these Epistles are forgeries in the name of Paul of Tarsus. And even if it were Paul that actually wrote them, how could you rationally prove that he wrote out of divine inspiration? Concerning St. Ignatius’ claim of divine inspiration, you rightly pointed out: “Ignatius may have claimed inspiration, but that does not make it so”. If we could be sincere, the same holds true for Paul. And, a book or epistle being in an official canon is not enough to prove its being really inspired, as many now non-canonical books and epistles made it into official canons as divinely inspired.

  • Oliver Elphick  On September 3, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    Yes, lots of rationalising about alcohol, but you are still contradicting the bible. Alcohol is a blessing from God to be used as he intended.

    It doesn’t matter what liberal commentators or any others think about the scripture. The church has accepted all the New Testament as from God for nearly 2000 years. It is hardly likely that people who come to the enquiry 1900 years after the letters were written should be able to judge better than the contemporaries who accepted them in the first place. In any case, even Jesus himself used alcohol, since it was prescribed for the Passover ceremony. Indeed, his first miracle was making about 120 gallons of very high quality wine for a wedding.

  • Alms  On September 4, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    You wrote: “In fact I do understand the Islamic concept of salvation (which is false).”
    You know, claiming something to be false does not necessarily make it so, and vice versa.
    You wrote: “You started your quote of what I said in such a way as to distort it. What I wrote was, “You don’t understand the relationship between the law and God’s grace. This is not for want of explanation, but you refuse to accept the grace of God. This is a major part of Islamic false doctrine.”
    You know that you originally made this statement of yours against Question Mark. I just quoted from the statement what concerns Islam only and left out what concerns brother Question Mark simply because I intended to write for Islam only. Thus, I never intended to distort your statement, and the context which you provided does not negate what you claimed of Islamic salvation thus: “This is a major part of Islamic false doctrine. No one can be saved by keeping the law, because no one has ever kept the law perfectly.” I just pointed out your ignorance to claim this as Islamic concept of salvation and then judged Islam to be false for your misconception.
    You wrote: “I suspect that the Muslim vision of paradise does not pay much attention to God himself. From what Muslims say, they seem to regard heaven as being a place of luxury and free sex! That seems to go along with the character of their prophet!”
    You should have saved yourself all this embarrassing misinformation (…I suspect…from what Muslims say….etc) by seriously studying Islam itself from its own sources with objective mind which, I am sure, will certainly proved to you the quite opposite of what you preconceived.
    You wrote: “First cousin marriage: if genetic testing is carried out first, it becomes a lot safer, but a simple knowledge of genetics shows that it increases risk, because relying on testing requires faith that the scientists have identified all the genetic risks, which seems a very dubious proposition to me. Since a large number of such marriages are arranged by families rather than arising from the couple’s own wishes, it means that those risks are being imposed on them and even worse on their children. Finally, the communities where these practices are most common are those that are least educated and least likely to use such testing.”
    I hope you have the eyes to see that your fault-finding effort against adequate safety in the modern scientific genetic testing is ridiculously unscientific. And lack of allowing couples to undergo tests before marriage or lack of education to conduct such tests by a couple have no least bearing against the Islamic allowance for couples to have these tests before marriage.
    On the issue of Islam’s prohibition of intoxicants to safeguard peoples’ health in general and to make believers always sober for due observance of daily prayers meant to keep them more in touch with their Creator-God at all times, you wrote: “Yes, lots of rationalising about alcohol, but you are still contradicting the bible. Alcohol is a blessing from God to be used as he intended.”
    In the face of the proven fact that intoxicants have very serious life-threatening health risks and serious socio-economic and spiritual disadvantages much more than any possible advantages they may have, one could judge for himself whether an all-knowing and all-caring God will actually intend these ‘poisonous substances’ to be consumed by the people and whether they are a blessing or a curse (as consumables).
    Concerning the authority of the Bible, let me point out the established fact of Bible scholarship that it is unfortunately just a collection of ‘unattested’ testimonies without the actual identities of the testifiers (with the possible exception of the Pauline letters whose authorities also depend on blind faith in Paul’s self-claimed inspiration) which have also been significantly textually altered. For any informed person, I need not be pouring links or listing books to prove my statement. It is this very problem of the Bible that constantly made many seriously hitherto fundamentalists Christian evangelists renounce the blind belief of God’s inspiration for the Bible after serious and objective study the Bible. Instead of seriously considering the problems cited out by these seriously hitherto Christian fundamentalists and evangelists scholars of the Bible, you unfortunately go about committing the fallacy of ad hominem against them. World-leading Bible scholar, Professor Bart D. Ehrman, could not mince words concerning this problem:
    “Apart from the most rabid fundamentalists among us, nearly everyone admits that the Bible might contain errors — a faulty creation story here, a historical mistake there, a contradiction or two in some other place. But is it possible that the problem is worse than that — that the Bible actually contains lies?
    Most people wouldn’t put it that way, since the Bible is, after all, sacred Scripture for millions on our planet. But good Christian scholars of the Bible, including the top Protestant and Catholic scholars of America, will tell you that the Bible is full of lies, even if they refuse to use the term. And here is the truth: Many of the books of the New Testament were written by people who lied about their identity, claiming to be a famous apostle — Peter, Paul or James — knowing full well they were someone else. In modern parlance, that is a lie, and a book written by someone who lies about his identity is a forgery.
    Most modern scholars of the Bible shy away from these terms, and for understandable reasons, some having to do with their clientele. Teaching in Christian seminaries, or to largely Christian undergraduate populations, who wants to denigrate the cherished texts of Scripture by calling them forgeries built on lies? And so scholars use a different term for this phenomenon and call such books “pseudepigrapha.”
    You will find this antiseptic term throughout the writings of modern scholars of the Bible. It’s the term used in university classes on the New Testament, and in seminary courses, and in Ph.D. seminars. What the people who use the term do not tell you is that it literally means “writing that is inscribed with a lie.”
    And that’s what such writings are. Whoever wrote the New Testament book of 2 Peter claimed to be Peter. But scholars everywhere — except for our friends among the fundamentalists — will tell you that there is no way on God’s green earth that Peter wrote the book. Someone else wrote it claiming to be Peter. Scholars may also tell you that it was an acceptable practice in the ancient world for someone to write a book in the name of someone else. But that is where they are wrong. If you look at what ancient people actually said about the practice, you’ll see that they invariably called it lying and condemned it as a deceitful practice, even in Christian circles. 2 Peter was finally accepted into the New Testament because the church fathers, centuries later, were convinced that Peter wrote it. But he didn’t. Someone else did. And that someone else lied about his identity.
    The same is true of many of the letters allegedly written by Paul. Most scholars will tell you that whereas seven of the 13 letters that go under Paul’s name are his, the other six are not. Their authors merely claimed to be Paul. In the ancient world, books like that were labeled as pseudoi — lies.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bart-d-ehrman/the-bible-telling-lies-to_b_840301.html ).
    As you are a dogmatic follower of traditional assumptions, I know you will deny (but never prove against) this fact. I will love to critically discuss this topic with you in an appropriate thread. But, on a serious note, I hail you for adamantly sticking to the blind belief in Bible’s inspiration as this at least will prevent you from becoming an atheist or even an agnostic like all others that know and acknowledge the problem of the Bible! Note that I made these statements never intending disrespect towards you or any Christian believer. If I offend you in any way, please forgive me.

  • Oliver Elphick  On September 4, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    You are quite right that I will not accept the atheists’ and humanists’ claims about the bible. They are merely exhibiting unbelief (which is sin). Naturally you like to quote them, especially the ones who masquerade as Christians. But the true test of a believer is whether he obeys God, which necessarily involves accepting his word, rather than finding reasons why he need not believe it.

    The so-called scholars who make the claims against the bible are starting 1900 years after the event and with no more evidence than was available to people of the first and second centuries. Their claims to be able to make such determinations are rubbish.

    Those, who obey Christ and have received the Holy Spirit, know what is his word, according to what he promised.

  • Alms  On September 6, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Mr. Oliver, I almost never responded to this last post of yours but for some worthwhile observations:
    You wrote: “You are quite right that I will not accept the atheists’ and humanists’ claims about the bible. They are merely exhibiting unbelief (which is sin).”
    Yes, I had anticipated and ‘pre-addressed’ this argument of yours as follows: “As you are a dogmatic follower of traditional assumptions, I know you will deny (but never prove against) this fact.”
    Your brushing aside the scholarly arguments of the Bible scholars I referred to by attacking their very personalities is nothing but the fallacy of argumentum ad hominem: “Ad hominem” is Latin for “against the man”. The ad hominem fallacy is the fallacy of attacking the person offering an argument rather than the argument itself.” (http://www.criticalthinking.org.uk/unit2/fundamentals/logicalfallacies/adhominem/).
    In the above quoted argument of yours, you stated that whatever these Bible scholars established or pointed out is subjective and thus “they are merely exhibiting unbelief (which is useless)”. This is another logical fallacy called subjectivist fallacy: “The subjectivist fallacy is committed when someone resists the conclusion of an argument not by questioning whether the argument’s premises support its conclusion, but by treating the conclusion as subjective when it is in fact objective. Typically this is done by labelling the arguer’s conclusion as just an “opinion”, a “perspective”, a “point of view”, or similar.”( http://www.logicalfallacies.info/presumption/subjectivist/).
    You wrote: “Naturally you like to quote them, especially the ones who masquerade as Christians”
    This seems to be in response to my pointing out that many notable Bible scholars were previously fundamentalists Christians (like Prof. Bart D. Ehrman) but recanted belief in the Bible and Christianity after thier serious and objective study of the bible proved that the Bible is a forgery. Unfortunately this response of yours is nothing but another logical fallacy no true Scotsman fallacy: “This fallacy is a form of circular argument, with an existing belief being assumed to be true in order to dismiss any apparent counter-examples to it… In some Christian groups, for example, there is an idea that faith is permanent, that once one becomes a Christian one cannot fall away. Apparent counter-examples to this idea, people who appear to have faith but subsequently lose it, are written off using the ‘No True Scotsman’ fallacy: they didn’t really have faith, they weren’t true Christians. The claim that faith cannot be lost is thus preserved from refutation.” (http://www.logicalfallacies.info/presumption/no-true-scotsman/).
    You wrote: “But the true test of a believer is whether he obeys God, which necessarily involves accepting his word, rather than finding reasons why he need not believe it.”
    Rather, the true test of the believer is to be critically sure of the source of his beliefs. Blind faith leads none to the true God let alone to obey Him however much he believes he does so. Even the Bible in question says axiomatically: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1Thessalonians 5: 21). Evangelists Josh McDowell and John Gilchrist admitted: “Christians should be willing to subject their scriptures to the closest scrutiny to verify their authenticity. They are not to believe blindly that the Bible is the word of God but are to seek to be sure.” (“The Islam Debate”, p. 33).
    You wrote: “The so-called scholars who make the claims against the bible are starting 1900 years after the event and with no more evidence than was available to people of the first and second centuries. Their claims to be able to make such determinations are rubbish.”
    This is yet another logical fallacy known as appeal to antiquity(which is rubbish): “An appeal to antiquity is the opposite of an appeal to novelty. Appeals to antiquity assume that older ideas are better, that the fact that an idea has been around for a while implies that it is true. This, of course, is not the case; old ideas can be bad ideas, and new ideas can be good ideas. We therefore can’t learn anything about the truth of an idea just by considering how old it is.”( http://www.logicalfallacies.info/relevance/appeals/appeal-to-tradition/).
    It is quite unfortunate to observe that the whole of your argument in your last post is a repertoire of logical fallacies and indeed misguidance. So, please, take note.

  • Oliver Elphick  On September 8, 2012 at 3:42 am

    Naturally, I disagree with you. You won’t be surprised to hear that, I am sure!

    You don’t seem to understand the nature of some of the fallacies which you accuse me of perpetrating. The fallacy of argumentum ad hominem is arguing against what a man says because of an irrelevant fact about him. For instance, “Don’t believe a word he says; he is a [xxx] foreigner.” But what I said was that their statements exhibit unbelief, which is extremely relevant and is not so much a fact about them as about what they say. And what they say is precisely what is being discussed.

    Subjectivist fallacy: I don’t consider it subjective to say that those who claim that the bible, or part of it, is not God’s word are expressing unbelief. It seems to me an absolutely obvious objective fact!

    No true Scotsman fallacy: I don’t think that those who disbelieve Jesus’ own words are entitled to redefine what is a Christian so as to include themselves. If people lose their faith, they, by definition, cease to be Christians — if they ever were Christians in the first place, and a lot of these critics clearly never were.

    I don’t agree that study, that results in rejecting the bible, is “objective”, because those who are not in the church are in the world, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19), so their thinking is distorted by their sin. The devil always wants to turn people away from believing the bible and does so first by trying to prevent them from ever reading it and secondly by undermining their belief in what it says.

    Appeal to antiquity: no, this is not a fallacy. The conclusion of the early church that the scriptural writings were truly apostolic is to be accepted not merely because it is old (which would be fallacious), but because those who made those determinations were much closer to the evidence than we are, and must also have had available to them evidence that has since perished. Therefore they were better qualified to make the judgement than are the modern critics.

    Now evidently, the authority and infallibility of scripture are almost axiomatic with me. If you object to that, presumably you will say that the scripture has to be subject to human reason. In that case, not only can it not be regarded as authoritative scripture, because reason becomes a higher authority, but also the same has got to apply to the Koran, which is certainly ill-equipped to deal with the threat! Do you really want to go there?

  • Alms  On September 8, 2012 at 8:42 am

    You wrote: “The fallacy of argumentum ad hominem is arguing against what a man says because of an irrelevant fact about him. For instance, “Don’t believe a word he says; he is a [xxx] foreigner.” But what I said was that their statements exhibit unbelief, which is extremely relevant and is not so much a fact about them as about what they say. And what they say is precisely what is being discussed.” I did not see you attempting to deal with thier ACTUAL scholarly arguments (which soundly prove the infallibity and worthlessness of the Bible). You instead simply accused them of “exhibiting unbelief” when they are obviously actually exhibiting scholarly evidences exposing the true nature of the Bible. Name-calling is no refutation, just confront thier actual arguments (to avoid committing the fallacy of ad hominem). The source I quoted says: “The ad hominem fallacy is the fallacy of attacking the person offering an argument rather than the argument itself.” ( http://www.criticalthinking.org.uk/unit2/fundamentals/logicalfallacies/adhominem/ ). You wrote: “Subjectivist fallacy: I don’t consider it subjective to say that those who claim that the bible, or part of it, is not God’s word are expressing unbelief.” They are obviously not merely claiming but actually scholarly proving the true nature of the Bible. Without soundly refuting their scholarly arguments, you clearly commit the Subjectivist Fallacy by claiming that they merely express unbelief. Also, you unfortunately denied the well-known fact that serious objective Bible studies left many fundamentalist Christian Bible scholars with the only inevitable choice of recanting their belief in the Bible. You stated that they were not Chritians in the first place. You referred to them as masquerading as Christians. Your recent post: “If people lose their faith, they, by definition, cease to be Christians — if they ever were Christians in the first place, and a lot of these critics clearly never were.” This exactly is No True Scotsman Fallacy, which you dislike to be accused of! And the fact that you merely BLINDLY believe in the so-called divine inspiration of the Bible is quite evident in your statement:”…but because those who made those determinations were much closer to the evidence than we are, and must also have had available to them evidence that has since perished.” So, you thought that those who made the determinations for the alleged divine inspiration of the Bible were much closer to the ‘evidence’ and that they “must also have had available to them evidence THAT HAS SINCE PERISHED”! But an unavailable (perished) evidence is no evidence at all! What a blind faith!! Sir, I hope you won’t take offence, I mean no disrespect to you or any other.

  • Alms  On September 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Sorry for my typing mistakes: “(which soundly prove the infallibity and worthlessness of the Bible)” should be “(which soundly prove the fallibility and worthlessness of the Bible)”. Sorry for other language mistakes; such mistakes are naturally expected from non-native speaking learners as I am.

  • mansubzero  On September 14, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    “But by his death, he freed us from the law and its demands”

    your god gives up created flesh for you and now you are freed? what kind of pagan nonsense is this? how does the DEATH of flesh /death of animal flesh free you? free you from what? from god HIMSELF? free you from his OWN created punishment because he let pagans drill his flesh on planks of wood? HOW DOES THE TERMINATION OF FLESH/DEATH OF FLESH help your spiritual WORLD? god died for himself to COOL AND APPEASE himself because his act AFFECTED him, NOT YOU! what is WRONG with you ppl? WHERE IN THE OT does it say that the suffering SERVANT WAS FREE OF SIN? WHERE DOES IT SAY THAT by his DEATH the people were FREED/SAVED? u still have not read this article because u are SCARED

    http://religionatthemargins.com/2012/06/it-is-finished-for-richard-carriers-dying-messiah-part-2/
    the article proves that it is BY THE ACTING OUT OF THE LAWS that the hebrews were freed/saved, but u still want to hang on a dead gods DEATH/DEEDS?

    • Oliver Elphick  On September 15, 2012 at 4:32 am

      Isaiah 52:13 Behold, my servant shall act wisely;
      he shall be high and lifted up,
      and shall be exalted.
      14 As many were astonished at you—
      his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
      and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
      15 so shall he sprinkle many nations;
      kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
      for that which has not been told them they see,
      and that which they have not heard they understand.
      53:1 Who has believed what they heard from us?
      And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
      2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
      and like a root out of dry ground;
      he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
      and no beauty that we should desire him.
      3 He was despised and rejected by men;
      a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
      and as one from whom men hide their faces
      he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
      4 Surely he has borne our griefs
      and carried our sorrows;
      yet we esteemed him stricken,
      smitten by God, and afflicted.
      5 But he was wounded for our transgressions;
      he was crushed for our iniquities;
      upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
      and with his stripes we are healed.
      6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
      we have turned every one to his own way;
      and the LORD has laid on him
      the iniquity of us all.
      7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
      yet he opened not his mouth;
      like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
      and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
      so he opened not his mouth.
      8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
      and as for his generation, who considered
      that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
      stricken for the transgression of my people?
      9 And they made his grave with the wicked
      and with a rich man in his death,
      although he had done no violence,
      and there was no deceit in his mouth.
      10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
      he has put him to grief;
      when his soul makes an offering for sin,
      he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
      the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
      11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
      by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
      make many to be accounted righteous,
      and he shall bear their iniquities.
      12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
      and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
      because he poured out his soul to death
      and was numbered with the transgressors;
      yet he bore the sin of many,
      and makes intercession for the transgressors.

      • mansubzero  On September 15, 2012 at 4:43 pm

        quote:

        The text says nothing about an anointed one’s death being a sacrificial offering for the forgiveness of sins. (Carrier is probably now thinking: “But that’s where Isaiah 52-53 comes in.” As we’ll see in due time: No. No it isn’t.) In fact, the text is clear in its conclusion whose sins will be forgiven: “those who uphold the Covenant, who turn from walking in the way of the people.” As in Targum Jonathan’s reading of Isaiah 52-53, forgiveness is effected through obedience to the law

        Some would argue that the servant is not Israel because the servant is said to suffer for the transgressions of many. After all, Israel is not guiltless, as the servant is portrayed. Rather, Israel is being punished in exile for its sins. But this would be wrong. What is presented here is an idealized portrait of Israel. Remember that just above in Psalm 44, Israel proclaims its innocence to Yahweh and its faithfulness to the covenant. And in fact, this is what the author of Second Isaiah says, in the voice of Yahweh, about Israel expressly, just prior to the beginning of the song of the suffering servant:

        Long ago, my people went down into Egypt to reside there as aliens; the Assyrian, too, has oppressed them without cause. Now therefore, what am I doing here, says Yahweh, seeing that my people are taken away without cause? Their rulers howl, says Yahweh, and continually, all day long, my name is despised. Therefore my people shall know my name; therefore on that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here am I. (Isa 52:3-6)
        Here the author has Yahweh proclaiming Israel’s innocence. He says that Israel was innocent when they were captive in Egypt, that they were innocent when oppressed by the Assyrians, and are innocent now too while in bondage in Babylon. Yahweh’s “name is despised” because his innocent servant, Israel, is suffering.

        So whose sins, then, are forgiven on account of the Servant’s suffering? If Israel is, according to Isaiah 52-53, innocent, for whose guilt is Israel atoning? The answer is obvious: remember that the speaker in Isa 53:1-10 is the nations and kings, the ones who taunted Israel, the ones who afflicted Israel, the ones who saw nothing of value in Israel that they should step in to save them. It is for these sins that Israel’s suffering atones. Israel’s suffering and subsequent exaltation effects the very purposes of Yahweh: to make the nations take notice so that they will recognize Yahweh’s power and come to worship him. Israel’s suffering and exaltation makes Israel a light to the Gentiles. This is a pervasive theme throughout Second Isaiah, and is shown in a number of ways.

        It doesn’t get much clearer than this. Israel is identified as the Servant, who suffers, is “deeply despised, abhorred by the nations, the slave of rulers.” When Israel is speaking, he says that Yahweh’s purpose was to restore Jacob back to Yahweh. But Yahweh responds that this is not enough—that’s a myopic vision. The purpose of Israel’s suffering was so that, when Yahweh liberated and vindicated his Servant, the nations would see. His Servant Israel would be a “light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” In the same way, in Isaiah 53, the Servant suffers for the sins of the ones who scoffed and oppressed him, but went on, in his exaltation, “to make many righteous.” “Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities” (Isa 53:11).

        There is, after all, a very good reason that the dominant reading of Isaiah 52-53 among Jewish interpreters has always been the collective reading: the reason is, it’s correct. “In the context of Second Isaiah,” John Collins writes, “the Servant must be identified as Israel.”11

        First of all, “Jehovah?” Seriously? What is he, living in the nineteenth century? Secondly, as we’ve seen, it was most certainly not an actual death, and it wasn’t for Israel’s sins that it atoned. Isaiah 52:4-6 clearly says that Israel was being punished unjustly, just as Psalm 44 says. As Second Isaiah makes clear, it was for the sins of Israel’s enemies, the nations, that the Servant’s suffering atoned. And what this means is that in their suffering and subsequent exaltation, it gave the nations reason to recognize Yahweh’s true sovereignty and abandon their false gods. And thus, third, just because Carrier hasn’t read all of Second Isaiah doesn’t mean the Qumranites hadn’t done so. Carrier is trying to have it both ways. On the one hand, he insists against all scrolls scholars that “pesher didn’t take quotes out of context,” and says that pesher intended their readers to be aware of the context and original meaning of the texts quoted to fill in the blanks of the new composition. On the other hand, he’s now arguing that because the Qumranites believed in resurrection, they would have automatically interpreted this text in a way that does violence to its context and original meaning.

        First, and again, the servant is not the messenger.
        Second, as we have seen much earlier, it is not the death of Onias III that Daniel was portraying as a “special atonement,” much less a “final atonement” that puts an “end to sin.” That’s an impossible reading of the text, and Carrier I think really knows this. Onias died seven years before the 490 years were up, and the text expressly bemoans the fact that after his death, the sacrificial system in the Jerusalem temple was interrupted and desolated by Antiochus IV. If there is to be a “special” atonement that effects “everlasting righteousness” in Daniel 9, it would be after 490 years, when Michael emerged as Israel’s redeemer, to liberate them from their enemies, inaugurating the post-eschatological age.

        Isaiah 52 (actually 53) does not speak of an “end to sin.” It says his life was given as an offering for sin, but it makes no mention at all of anything like an “end to sin.” Carrier is projecting a false parallel. In the context of Second Isaiah, what this all means is that it will create an opportunity for the nations to put aside their idols and follow Yahweh. There is never any indication that individual sins would be permanently done away with. Moreover, the concept of a vicarious atonement is not something “new” or “special.” Here in Isaiah 52-53, as elsewhere, it is a model for others to follow. It is a symbolic act that is meant to produce real world consequences. By showing the nations how to be righteous, Israel has shown them what it means to belong to Yahweh. Ezekiel did the same thing for Israel in Ezek 4:1-8. Yahweh says to Ezekiel:

  • mansubzero  On September 14, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    IGNORE YOUR OLD TESTAMENT

    “This is a major part of Islamic false doctrine. No one can be saved by keeping the law, because no one has ever kept the law perfectly.”

    imagine you KNOW nothing about the pagan religion of christianity

    imagine you don’t know about the claim that before the christian god could forgive/have mercy he had to create 100 % flesh and get it beaten the hell out of before he could do those things.

    imagine you don’t know that the christian god had to create his meat PUPPET , punish it and then give his forgiveness.

    now lets look @ this verse from the torah

    I will take you from the nations, and gather you
    from all the countries, and bring you into your own
    land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you
    shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and
    from all your idols I will cleanse you. A NEW HEART I
    will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you;
    and I will remove from your body the heart of
    stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my
    spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes
    and be careful to observe my ordinances. Then you
    shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors;
    and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
    (Ezek 36:24-28)

    DO YOU ALL SEE THAT? according to the verse, god said he would GIVE A NEW HEART? no mention of having himself murdered before he gives a new HEART , he said he WILL replace the old heart with a new one and the new one would do his commands in mouth and action.

    just imagine u don’t know anything about the christian bs about ” holy spirit” and “god had to murder himself before he could release from punishment” imagine u don’t know this, how much can u DERIVE the christian PAGAN meaningless “sacrifice” from ezek 36-24-28?

    ignore your ot all day mate!

    • Oliver Elphick  On September 15, 2012 at 4:47 am

      Biblical revelation is progressive. Earlier revelation may be expanded or explained by later revelation. (This is not the same as Islam’s abrogation, where Allah contradicts himself, because he couldn’t get it right the first time.)

      The OT promises God’s mercy to Israel (and through Israel to the Gentiles too). Ultimately, that will mean the replacement of the heart of stone of the remnant of the nation with a heart of flesh, which is to say, a will that wants to obey God rather than to sin. The OT does not really reveal how God may do this and still be perfectly just, since all men have sinned and justice demands that they be punished for their sin. Furthermore, any sin renders a man unfit to be in the presence of God, who is perfect, and who demands perfection in his creatures. Yet further, no sinner can stand to be in the presence of God, because he is too holy for us to endure him. We must be changed to make us holy, but it is impossible for us to change ourselves, and even if we could, we cannot change the past, and all the sins we committed before which await punishment.

      The New Testament reveals the mystery of the gospel (in NT terms, a mystery is something that was previously hidden but is now revealed). This is that God has himself provided a sufficient sacrifice for our sin, just as he provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice instead of his son Isaac. He himself is the sacrifice that satisfies his own justice, in the person of Jesus the Messiah, who will also come back soon to judge the world.

      The mystery of the church is that Jew and Gentile are joined in one body through the Holy Spirit who makes everyone who believes in Jesus one body and united with him. As you amply demonstrate, this is incomprehensible to those who do not have the Holy Spirit and who make themselves enemies of God.

      • mansubzero  On September 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm

        “Biblical revelation is progressive. Earlier revelation may be expanded or explained by later revelation. (This is not the same as Islam’s abrogation, where Allah contradicts himself, because he couldn’t get it right the first time.)”

        yhwh told the jews

        1. no pig consumption and no blood consumption
        2.no meat sacrificed to pagan gods is allowed to be eaten
        3. DO YOU take yhwhs name before you slaughter PIG lol?

        why did he change his mind and ALLOW you europeans to eat pig/piglets but NOT ALLOW u blood? it is not what COMES from the outside that defiles a man , but from the inside, so why DON’T YOU , use your gods reasoning and drink blood and eat meat sacrificed to greek gods like attis? CONTINUED….

      • mansubzero  On September 15, 2012 at 4:27 pm

        “We must be changed to make us holy, but it is impossible for us to change ourselves, and even if we could, we cannot change the past, and all the sins we committed before which await punishment.”

        “Come, please, let’s discuss this rationally,” Adonai says – “even if your sins are like bright crimson, I will bleach them as white as snow: even if they are as red as tola I will make them like [the colour of] wool!” (Y’shayahu 1:11-18).

        LOL YOU GO AGAINST YOUR GODS ABILITIES, I AM SURE YOUR GOD ISN’T SLAVE OF YOUR PATHETIC THINKING YOU ATTRIBUTE TO YOUR GOD. IF A GOD PUTS A NEW HEART IN THE SINNER THAN HE HAS CREATED A NEW PERSON AND THE NEW PERSON WILL PROCEED FROM THAT POINT ,MEANING HE WOULDN’T SIN AGAIN. NOW YOU WANT TO WEIGH PERSONS SINFUL PAST AGAINST HIS BRAND NEW PERSON?

        A NEW HEART I
        will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you;
        and I will remove from your body the heart of
        stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my
        spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes
        and be careful to observe my ordinances. Then you
        shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors;
        and you shall be my people, and I will be your God

        THE TEXT SAYS THAT GOD WOULD PLACE A NEW HEART WITHIN HIS PEOPLE AND THEY WOULD FOLLOW HIS LAWS. GOD IS CHANGING THE HEART . NO MENTION ABOUT screweing, blueing and tattooing his flesh on EARTH before he places a NEW HEART. such a thought to the hebrew writer would have been disGUSTING blasphemy.

        “The OT does not really reveal how God may do this and still be perfectly just, since all men have sinned and justice demands that they be punished for their sin”

        u guys make it to HEAVEN because you believe god MURDERED himself to save you FROM himself

        you believe that he did his ACTS /deeds on planet earth

        he gave up his flesh to himself to make himself happy

        you BELIEVE this , but you are STAINED with past, present and future sins, but you will still get a pass and get dumped into heaven , but you will STILL HAVE your DIRTY sinfull menstrual blood like chrisian PAST .

        but because you believed in gods suicidal act , god is happy that you , with SINFUL human NATURE, believed in his act.

        iS BELIEF GREATER THAN A NEW HEART WHICH NEVER DOUBTS/SINS ? if your god can pack away your sinful past because you “believed” he SURELY WOULDN’T USE THE PAST ON A BRAND NEW HEART, WOULD he? LOL LOL

  • mansubzero  On September 14, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    WHERE DOES IT SAY THAT by his DEATH the people were FREED/SAVED?

    i meant, WHERE DOES IT SAY DEATH = ATONEMENT FOR ALL SINS ?

    • Oliver Elphick  On September 15, 2012 at 4:56 am

      Death is the punishment for any sin. Ultimately, death means separation. Physical death is separation of the soul from the body. For Christians, this is immediately followed by our entering the presence of our Lord. The rest of the dead go down to Sheol and are apparently undergoing punishment there for deeds done in the body (Luke 16:23).

      There is a second death, which follows Christ’s thousand year reign on earth before he gives the kingdom back tot he Father. Believers will have been resurrected at the start of his reign, but the rest will not be resurrected until the end, and they will be cast in their new, indestructible physical bodies, into the lake of fire forever. (Revelation 20:11-15) This death is complete and unending separation form God, who is the only source of life. It will be the fate of anyone who rejects Jesus and the work that he has done to rescue all men from sin and its punishment.

      Atonement is literally “covering”. It is the means by which sins are covered over so as to put them out of God’s sight. Blood is the only means of doing this, and the only blood that is sufficient is that shed by Jesus on the cross. The OT sacrifices provided a picture of this until the reality should come.

  • mansubzero  On September 14, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    “This is a major part of Islamic false doctrine. No one can be saved by keeping the law, because no one has ever kept the law perfectly.”

    you people can’t keep the moral laws let alone the ritual, purification and dietry laws. but why was your god concerned with what went into jewish bellies and not concerned with what went in european stomachs? do you enjoy EATING blood? christians, on christmas DAY eat black pudding MIXED WITH BLOOD! WHY DID yhwh , the cananite god, JUDGE the canaanites WITH the laws/covenant he gave to the hebrews? the hebrews did a hand shake with god, not the CANAANITES, so why did yhwh IMPOSE hebrews PUNISHMENT laws unto the PAGAN canaanites who did not have ONE MESSENGER sent out to them? IS IT BECAUSE THE LAW WAS IMPORTANT TO GOD?

    • Oliver Elphick  On September 15, 2012 at 5:06 am

      Nobody can keep God’s law. Even if they do not know God and have only the conscience that God has put in every man, there is no one alive who has even kept to that.

      The law of Moses was designed for two things, first to make Israel separate from the nations. Second, it was to show them that they could not keep the law; indeed it was designed to stimulate sin, so as to reveal sin for the terrible thing that it is.

      “christians, on christmas DAY eat black pudding”

      Some may. It’s not a custom where I come from. I think that the prohibition against blood is universal, since it goes back to Noah, not Moses, and was reiterated for the Gentiles in Acts 15.

      .”yhwh , the cananite god”

      YHWH was never the god of the Canaanites, who worshipped appalling idols with appalling practices. They were judged for their crimes against conscience, just like the whole world apart from Noah and his family at the time of the flood, and their sentence was pronounced to Abraham before ever the law was given to Moses, but it was delayed 400 years because, in the time of Abraham, “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete”. God knew that they would get worse and worse and would eventually have to be destroyed.

      • mansubzero  On September 15, 2012 at 4:59 pm

        ” who worshipped appalling idols with appalling practices.”

        book of kings says that the HEBREWS DONE WORSE THAN THEM.

        ” They were judged for their crimes against conscience, just like the whole world apart from Noah and his family at the time of the flood, ”

        “and their sentence was pronounced to Abraham before ever the law was given to Moses, but it was delayed 400 years because, in the time of Abraham, “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete”. God knew that they would get worse and worse and would eventually have to be destroyed.”

        I DON’T GET THE BS U UTTER. the HEBREWS MURDERED UNBORN , INFANTS AND CHILDREN. IN THE TIME OF ABRAHAM THERE WAS INIQUITY
        OF THE AMORITES, BUT CHILDREN, UNBORN INFANTS DO NOT HAVE ANY
        INIQUITY. IF INNOCENT CHILDREN, UNBORN AND INFANTS WERE DESTROYED FOR NO INIQUITY THEN YOUR GOD SHOULD HAVE DESTROYED AMORITES FOR HAVING INIQUITY BUT NOT COMPLETE INIQUITY. DO YOU SEE? OR ARE YOU BLIND? WHEN THERE INIQUITY WAS NOT COMPLETE, WHY DIDN’T GOD DO A COVENANT DEAL WITH THEM? THEIR INIQUITY WASN’T COMPLETE, SO WHY WAS HE ONLY INTERESTED IN LAND GRABBING AND WASN’T INTERESTED IN GUIDING THE AMORITES WITH LAWS HE SENT TO THE HEBREWS? BUT THE MAIN POINT, WHY DID GOD IMPOSE LAWS ON A PEOPLE WHO DID NOT HAVE COVENANT WITH HIM? PEOPLE WHO DID NOT SHAKE HIS HANDS? WHY DIDN’T HE SEND ONE MESSENGER TO THESE PEOPLE , BUT STIFF KNECKED AND REBELLIOUS JEWS WHO WOULD PRACTICE FORNICATION WITH ANIMALS AND PROSTITUTE THEMSELVES TO PAGAN
        SPIRITUAL DIETIES?

      • mansubzero  On September 15, 2012 at 5:14 pm

        YOUR GOD IMPOSED LAWS ON A PEOPLE HE DID NOT REVEAL ANYTHING TO. THERE ARE chRISTIANS WHO ARE HOMOSEXUALS, HAVE DISOBEDIANT CHILDREN, EAT BLOOD, WORSHIP jESUS’ MOTHER, CALL OUT TO saints, FORNICATE, ADULTERY ECT YET THEY have the OT AND DO NOT KILL THE christian CRIMINAL USING THE OT. BUT GOD KILLED A PEOPLE HE REVEALED ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO AND IMPOSED A LAW HE REVEALED ONLY TO THE HEBREWS.

  • mansubzero  On September 14, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    “In any case, even Jesus himself used alcohol, since it was prescribed for the Passover ceremony. ”

    and who is jesus on the POSITION of alchohol? you want to get ADVICE from a diety who told his deciples that it is OKAY TO EAT WITH UNWASHED HANDS?

    Mark 7:1 The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and 2saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were “unclean,” that is, UNWASHED. 3(The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. 4When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.) 5So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with ‘unclean’ hands?”

    Mark 7:18″Are you so dull?” [Jesus] asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the OUTSIDE can make him ‘unclean’? 19For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”)

    6 And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

    ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS,
    BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.
    7 BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME,
    TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’

    8 “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”

    1. do you like being “christlike”?

    2. lets assume that jesus’ deciples went for the call of nature BEFORE the pharisees had surrounded jesus

    3. the pharisees SEE that the deciples hands were UNWASHED

    4. obviously in those days there would be bits of excrements mixed with other mess on hands. in those days it would be very easy to contract diseases.

    5.because of jesus’ “resoning” in mark 7:18 one would ASSUME that his deciples CONTINUED TO eat with UNWASHED hands because jesus GAVE them “resoning” to do so.

    6.according to jesus and his interpretation of the passage in isaiah , jc thought that the pharisees coverted man made traditions into doctrines. we would assume that the writer of mark 7:18 thought that the pharisees also thought that the hand washing traditions are actually from God.

    7. jesus thinks its ALL spiritual and one can SEE that in mark 7:18
    there is not even one suggestion on why cleaning germs from your hands would benefit but the focus is completely SHIFTED to the spiritual and
    with that focus in mind the deciples hands REMAIN UNCLEAN AND UNWASHED, SO they were doing a christlike thing when they kept their hands UNWASHED

    8. jesus is IGNORANT of germs and because of his ignorance of germs christians don’t wash their backsides and enjoyed the plague because of focusing on the SPIRITUAL MORE than the physical LOL LOL.

    9. so you bull, worship an INCAPACITATED diety who didn’t know that the tree was NOT in season and he WENT to it TO FIND figs on it even though THE SEASON WAS NOT FOR figs,

    you worship a god who helped u pagans remain unclean and have enjoyed the many european PLAGUES which YOU’re people received LOL.

    like people have said, jc thinks that there is ONLY a RELIGIOUS issue AT STAKE with washing hands. his IGNORANCE and not all knowing about germs ,his DECIPLES continued to eat with UNWASHED and unclean hands.

    18 And He *said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and [a]is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) 20 And He was saying, “ That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, [b]fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, [c] envy, slander, [d]pride and foolishness. 23 All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

    jesus is saying the excrement and all other crap on your hand cannot defile you and it is this logic which would keep the deciples away from washing thier hands. the focus is completely shifted to THOUGHTS and jesus’ ignorance about germs are not important because THOUGHTS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED THAN HAND WASHING . HAND WASHING IS CLEARLY not IMPORTANT according to jesus, it is the thoughts which are. this is just proof that the religion issue was thE ONLY issue on his mind and he was completely IGNORANT of the biological side.

    even a little line like the following:

    “washing is GOOD for the body , but doesn’t help the heart”

    anyone christian who tries to act christlike will obviously NOT wash thier hands just like the DECIPLES didn’t , becuase the deciples were told to focus on thought MORE THAN handwashing and by this logic hand washing would not be required.

    jesus is saying to the deciples that eating from your unwashed hands which probably had excrement in the nails wasn’t a problem , because that which is OUTSIDE cannot defile you. so excrement on the hands and in the NAILS cannot DEFILE YOU and this is the REASON WHY THE deciples KEEP THERE HANDS UNWASHED.

    now come on, no matter what the pharisees thought about HAND washing , if there was a law which would come from GOD it would BE HAND WASHING .

    more reasons to consider what an IGNORANT and incapcitated diety jesus was.

    when the pharisees WASHED thier hands did they know the biological side of cleaning thier hands? what the jews and historians say is that the jews weren’t practicing hand washing in jc’s time, but when they did start to practice hand washing did they know the biological side or were they trying to SPIRITUALIZE an EXTERNAL practice?

    many times people may do things being IGNORANT of other good reasons for doing things.

    jesus’ seems to be DESPIRITUALIZING an EXTERNAL practice and @ the same time IGNORANT of other GOOD REASONS for doing external practice

    and the ONLY aspect of it he can see is the jewish spirtualizing of it ,which means that he like the pharisees was IGNORANT of the biological side.

    the jews , in ancient times, washed their hands before they touched the torah. now washing could be symbolic for clean mind/heart and God is clean ect, but that doesn’t mean the jews knew the biological side of washing.

    it would have been a perfect time for the incapacitated diety to help the jews see that cleaning and washing unwashed hands would be good for the body , but the spiritual side of it is missing.

    what is funny is that the christian god needs to spiritualize his own EXTERNAL murder of his meat and make eating ritual out of it LOL LOL

    • Oliver Elphick  On September 15, 2012 at 5:22 am

      Actually, the Pharisees had invented a system of ritual washing, that had nothing to do with cleanliness and everything to do with ritual that God had never commanded. Furthermore they had made their own invented system more important than the scripture.

      The point of Jesus’ teaching is that hand washing does not clean the heart or make you acceptable to God, nor does what you eat make you spiritually unclean. Rather it is the evil that lives in the heart that makes you unclean and unacceptable to God. Application of just a tiny bit of intelligence would have told you that this is not about physical dirt at all, nor is it meant to be.

      This teaching has no implications at all for ordinary cleanliness. That is taken for granted.

      • mansubzero  On September 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm

        drinking jesus’ cheap blood and eating his flesh and carrying a stupid cross does not make you acceptable to god. thinking about how god got his flesh screwed, blued and tatooed and then covering yourself with this cheap self abusing act does not get you acceptable to god. your god, jesus krist, WAS IGNORANT, the deciples ACTED christ like when they KEPT thier hands UNWASHED .

        if munching on a god and drinking his blood and thinking about his EXTERNAL acts in flesh is CLEARLY RITUALISTIC in act and mind, then washing the body to THINK TO yourself that you should ALIGN with God with CLEAN MIND /thought because GOD IS CLEAN and one should have EXTERNAL RITUAL TO REPRESENT CLEAN HEART, THEN WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT?

        U USE ritual to think about how your god MURDERED himself, then what is wrong for jew/muslim to think ABOUT cleaning himself before he SURRENDERS TO THE ONE WHO IS NOT IMPURE? why cannot an external RITUAL HELP THOUGH/MIND/SPIRIT?

        CONTINUED…

      • Oliver Elphick  On September 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm

        Anyone who treats the communion as only a ritual does not at all understand what it is about.

        Ritual is useless. It is the heart that matters, and “the heart is deceitful above all things and incurably wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). We need the Holy Spirit in us to enable us to please God at all.

        That is why biblical Christianity does not have any holy places. Holiness is in the heart, not in externals. Catholics, with their pilgrimages and processions, and Muslims with their daily ritual prayers and haj to Mecca and their crowds shuffling round an old meteorite, and Hindus with their idols and joss sticks are none of them any closer to God as a result of all their rituals. It is all completely useless.

  • mansubzero  On September 15, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    ” Application of just a tiny bit of intelligence would have told you that this is not about physical dirt at all, nor is it meant to be.”

    u did not even BOTHER reading my reply.

    Mark 7:1 The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and 2saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were “unclean,” that is, UNWASHED.

    “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with ‘unclean’ hands?”

    jesus’ REPLY:
    Mark 7:18″Are you so dull?” [Jesus] asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the OUTSIDE can make him ‘unclean’? 19For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.”

    That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, [b]fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, [c] envy, slander, [d]pride and foolishness. 23 All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

    1. NOTICE that IGNORANT AND UNSCIENTIFIC man god THINKS THAT ONLY RELIGIOUS ISSUE IS AT STAKE? DO YOU NOTICE in his WORDS THAT THE FOCUS IS ONLY ON THOUGHTS ?

    2. NOTICE THAT THE PHARISEES SAW UNWASHED HANDS ?

    3. DO YOU SEE THAT THE DECIPLES WERE EATING WITH UNWASHED HANDS AND THE PHARISEES SAW THIS?

    4. it would be obvious that in order for the deciples to be christlike they WOULD CONTINUE TO EAT with UNWASHED HANDS when jesus UTTERED his reply to the pharisees, because the deciples would see that what COMES INTO thier MOUTH from OUTSIDE cannot defile them.

    5. the HANDS WOULD HAVE BEEN KEPT UNWASHED

    CONTINUED..

    • Oliver Elphick  On September 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm

      It is quite evident that this is about spiritual things, not about cleanliness. However, like every Muslim debater, you fix on one little point and hang on to it without caring about context.

      • mansubzero  On September 15, 2012 at 5:20 pm

        IT IS YOUR god who FIXED on one little thing and IGNORED the benefit of the other. jesus could see NOTHING but RITUAL , do you NOT SEE ?

  • mansubzero  On September 15, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    “That is why biblical Christianity does not have any holy places. Holiness is in the heart, not in externals. Catholics, with their pilgrimages and processions, and Muslims with their daily ritual prayers and haj to Mecca and their crowds shuffling round an old meteorite, and Hindus with their idols and joss sticks are none of them any closer to God as a result of all their rituals. It is all completely useless.”

    why are you absolutely IGNORANT of what the torah says?

    And Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat; when they go into the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to cause an offering made by fire to smoke unto the LORD.

    “And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet threat; when they went into the tent of the congregation they washed as the Lord commanded Moses.” – (Exodus 40:31-32)

    Jew to pray 3 times-a-day (Daniel 6:3-13), and that same passage also has him facing Jerusalem (i.e., where the Temple stood) when praying¬
    Mary did a pathetic and useless ritual when she sacrificed 2 pigeons to yhwh.

    Jews are dreaming of 2nd temple and going to resume all the uselss and pathetic ritualist acts mentioned in the torah, they do NOT BELIEVE THAT the animal offerings were a “covering” and they do not believe that they will be a “covering “ in the 2nd temple.
    The Messiah will make this sacrificial sin-offering on behalf of himself and his people
    Ezekiel 45:22(JPT) – And the prince shall make on that day for himself and for all the people of Israel a bull for a sin-offering.

    If christian women have holy spirit in them , why don’t they walk around naked? Why do they need to do the ritual of covering when its all about the heart? Why the ritual of covering?

  • mansubzero  On September 15, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    I will now answer your claims about hajj
    Going to mecca for the moslim is like making a journey to the God
    It reminds the moslim that there is going to be a DOJ DAY and that on that day one will STAND before his maker.
    The pilgrimage reminds the moslim of the EFFORTS OF abraham
    It tells them to IMITATE abraham in action and thought
    “One who performs Hajj in God’s way and does not speak obscene language, and does not commit sins, will come back as he was at the time of his birth.” (Bukhari No. 1421)

    I do not REPRESENT ISLAM

    MOSLIM puts on white clothing
    White clothing like all the other moslims around him
    This is symbolic for
    Setting asside the pomp of worldliness and reminds the moslim that the dead will be clothed with simple clothes
    All races unite in one clothing

  • mansubzero  On September 15, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Islamic prayer one reads that intoxicants and gambling = sins and one is reminded/guided in his prayer
    One prays @ dawm when the world is begins to wake up
    One prays zuhr and leaves his business to bow before the GOD
    One prays asr when at this time of prayer business deailings are the busiest
    Magrib is the time when dark is about to approach
    One prays the isha before he sleeps to remind him he will DIE ONE DAY
    This is one of the necessities of revelation, otehrwise man will become imbalanced with respect to life and may pray all the time, like mystics forgetting the rights to society, or one may become neglectful and not pray at all.

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