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Faisal al-Turki is credible only to the ignorant

Reader comment on item: Turki al-Faisal, Leading Saudi Prince, Opines

Submitted by Peter Herz (United States), Jul 22, 2011 at 21:56

With all due respect, Your Highness, your proposal does not work.

Islam does NOT accept the Old and New Testaments in their entirety. They claim that the Jews and Christians corrupted the original Tawrat, Zubar, and Injil ; hence Muslims are not encouraged to read the Bible, and, indeed, may be punished for owning one in some Muslim countries. The Prince's own country bans the Bible's import.

The New Testament makes much of Christ's death as the atonement for our sins, understands Old Testament passages such as Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 as prophetic of the event, and understands the Old Testament sacrificial ritual described in the Torah as foreshadowing the Messiah's sacrifice. Yet the Qur'an categorically states that Jesus did not die on the cross. Further, the New Testament presents Jesus Christ as fully God and fully man in one person; the Qur'an says he was merely man. The Qur'an charges the Jews with making Ezra the son of God analogous to Jesus Christ in Christianity, but no Muslim has ever presented extra-Qur'anic corroboration of such a belief (I have discussed and argued theology and religion with many Jews, read something of Talmud and Midrash, and know of no Jewish tradition that deifies Ezra)

Perhaps His Highness will pull off the mask and explain that the "original" Tawrat and Injil were corrupted, and that Islam honors the "original" ones rather than the extant ones. This is a commonplace of Islamic polemics. Yet I doubt that the Prince could come up with the "original Old and New Testaments"; nor could he explain how the Jews and Christians, who were always mutually suspicious and never cooperated, could come up with the same Old Testament that the other side recognized, while the competing Christian sects came up with the same New Testament. And as for the Jewish and Christian scribes being conniving, careless, corrupting, or some combination of the three, how could that be when both allowed witnesses against their own practices to remain in the Biblical text? The Rabbinical conservators of the Hebrew Old Testament did not change Abraham's serving both milk and meat to his mysterious visitors in Genesis 18, when it violated their own tradition; nor did theysmuggle into the biblical text the beloved tale of Abram arguing with Terah about idolatry in from the Genesis Rabbah. How could the hierarchical churches of East and West, which were long the stewards of the Greek New Testament, have allowed Philippians 1:1 to stand when it clearly mentions a plurality of bishops in one city? It seems that there is not a single Greek manuscript of the Pauline letters that "corrects" this by the clear tradition of the medieval churches. All this suggests to me that these ancient conservators of the text, both Jewish and Christian, were highly scrupulous in handling texts they saw as sacred rather than conniving and jealous of their own prerogatives and man-made traditions.

I will happily accept Muslim neighbors who wish to live in peace with me; and I'll be the first to call the police if I see a suspicious figure lurking around the mosque when I am feeling insomniac and take a late night stroll. But for some of the reasons listed above, I cannot recognize Islam as a continuance or inheritor of the biblical traditions.

Perhaps His Highness wants to say that he wants our respect for his religion; and I feel I can respect a belief that commands the allegiance of hundreds of millions, even if I disagree with it. But I cannot say I recognize the biblical Jesus Christ when I read the Qur'an. Further, reflection on the implications of the Messiah's coming, his being God in the flesh as well as the promised man of David's line, his eternally valid atonement for our sins, and his victory over death in the resurrection make it all but impossible for me to think that God has a later "word" to "correct" this.

And if Islam so respects Moses so much, how come it mandates the amputation of the thief's hand when Exodus 22 mandates that the thief pay restitution to the victim? Indeed, it is my understanding that the Prince's own country practices these hudd punishments and is proud of doing so.

The Prince's comments are credible only to people who know neither the Bible nor the Qur'an.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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