Searching for the Muslim Christ
Was Jesus Christ a Muslim?
Muslims and Christians share many common beliefs. Both agree that people should live moral lives and do good works. However, the major beliefs of Christians and Muslims are directly opposed to each other (three are discussed below
Did Jesus Die on the Cross?
The major Christian belief is that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. Instead, Muhammad claimed that Jesus never died. "they said, "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah"; but they killed him not, nor crucified him” (Surah 4:157). Muslims believe that God took Jesus to heaven and that someone else (Judas Iscariot) was nailed to the cross. That person on the cross was made to appear as Jesus.
Consider the Muslim belief. If someone replaced Jesus on the cross, then Jesus would not have risen from the dead. But biblical texts claim that skeptics became Christians only when they saw Jesus resurrected. For that reason, if Jesus did not die on the cross and rise from the dead, no skeptics of Jesus would have become Christians. Without evidence, skeptics go on. Is this true?
To begin, Saul of Tarsus as a skeptic arrested and killed Christians. Saul declared, “I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, . . . I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus” (Acts 22:4-5).
As Saul traveled to arrest Christians, something happened. "About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, `Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?' " `Who are you, Lord?' I asked. " `I am Jesus of Nazareth.” (Acts 22:6-8). As a result, Saul became the Apostle Paul, who worked to spread faith in Christ across the Roman Empire. Is Paul’s story true?
Luke recorded Paul’s travels in the book of Acts. Imagine going into a town with Paul and recording “unique details” such as their legal system, language, titles of local rulers, etc. And when you travel to the next town, unique details are again recorded for those people. Was Luke’s record true or fictional?
In the past 150 years, details related to Paul’s travels have been found, such as ancient papyri, burial tombs, and other items. Scholars have studied this evidence to conclude that Luke’s writing is accurate. Luke (and Paul) had to be there to write such unique details.1
Why the Evidence is Credible2
Classic scholar, Dr. Colin Hemer shows 162 of 165 items match up between the texts in Acts and archaeological discoveries. The graph on the backside shows this data. The parallel is certain at the 99.9% confidence level. [Dig deeper]
If the book of Acts is a myth, then we would expect to find no correlation between the ancient artifacts and what Luke wrote. Since the parallel is so good, the chance that it is myth is only 4 chances in 1037 (1 followed by 37 zeros).3 Saul’s testimony as skeptic/persecutor turned Christian appears to be true. Very little faith is needed to believe the details in the book of Acts. Let’s consider four other skeptics.
Jesus had four brothers (James, Jude, Simon and Joses) that were skeptics. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, they accepted Jesus as Messiah. Is this true?
Modern scholars use logical guidelines to arrive at realistic conclusions about ancient characters. Consider James, the brother of Jesus. The guideline of “independent attestation” requires us to have unique authors write about James. Since Josephus, a non-Christian, 6 biblical authors, and the James ossuary (below) identify James, the stories about James are credible.
Artifact #1 (released in 2002) Ossuary inscribed, “James, Son of Joseph, the Brother of Jesus”
Josephus refers to James as being martyred as a Christian about AD 62 in Antiquities 20:9:1 Search for "THE BROTHER OF JESUS" on the linked site" “…brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James. Recent tests and analysis by Professor Krumbein, a world-renowned expert on geology, geochemistry and microbiology supports the artifact is authentic. 4
Another guideline is called “dissimilarity.” If a person testifies against their interest, that testimony is more likely to be true. For example, Jesus dying on the cross meets the criteria since it is a harmful expectation for Messiah. Just as certain, Jesus’ brothers and sisters being skeptics fits this criteria.
A third guideline is called contextual credibility. Any tradition that does not fit into the early 1st century era would not be reliable. Luke is a credible 1st century author who wrote about Jesus’ brothers and refers to James 3 times as the early Christian leader.5
Based on ancient artifacts and the guidelines above, Jesus' skeptical brothers are credible. Probability supports that James' life story appears credible at the 99.996% confidence level (only 4 chances in 100,000 that we would be misled by the evidence). Jude is credible at 99.7% confidence level. Simon and Joses are credible at the 99.2% confidence level.2
If the Qur’an were true that Jesus did not die on the cross (or rise from the dead), then no skeptics would have accepted Jesus as the Son of God. For example, if Saul of Tarsus had not experienced the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus, Saul would not have become a Christian. As a result, the claim that Jesus did not die on the cross appears wrong at the 97.5% confidence level2.
Due to skeptics becoming Christians, other evidence is credible. Ancient artifacts dug up in the 20th century verify people existed who saw Jesus die on the cross. This evidence shown on the next page makes Jesus’ death on the cross certain.
People Who witnessed Jesus Die on the Cross
Artifact No. 2 (discovered in 1961):
The Pontius PilateInscription
Pontius Pilate sentenced Jesus to die on the cross as recorded by secular authors Josephus (37 – 100 AD), Tacitus (55 – 115 AD), and five New Testament authors.
Artifact No. 3 (discovered in 1990): The richly ornate ossuary is inscribed 2-times with the name “Joseph of the family of Caiaphas”6.
Josephus matched the inscribed name, “Joseph, who was also called Caiaphas, of the high priesthood” [Antiquities 18.4.3]. Caiaphas looked into Jesus’ eyes on the day he died on the cross.
Artifact No. 4 (discovered in 1941):
The ossuary of Alexander, son of Simon of Cyrene, found in a cave sealed up before AD 70. Simon of Cyrene carried Jesus’ cross (Mark 15:21). This artifact appears authentic due to probability calculations in the London Sunday Times, March 31, 1996. (Tom Powers essay entitled Treasures in the Storeroom provides in-depth analysis of this artifact).
Based on ancient artifacts and the 3 guidelines, laws of probability support that Jesus was nailed to the cross at the 99.9999998% confidence level. (2 chances in 1 billion of being wrong due to random error).
In contrast, Muhammad lived 600 years after Jesus (no contextual reliability) and is the only person to make a unique claim of Jesus not dying on the cross. Muhammad said the Christians based their belief in Jesus’ death on conjecture. However, artifacts dug up in the 20th century support the conjecture began with Muhammad (at the 99.99999998% confidence level). The decision to follow Muhammad requires blind faith since the probability of Muhammad being correct about Jesus is less than 2 chances in 1 billion (1.52 x 10-10).
On the graph below, the extensive archaeological data supporting Jesus' death on the cross is contrasted with the lone voice of Muhammad 600 years later (See Muhammad's claim on the bottom right of the chart). The display of this data supports that Muhammad has less than 2 chances in 1 billion of being correct that Jesus did NOT die on the cross.
Some Muslims will reply that the same study can be done to verify that Muhammad was a real person that had spiritual experiences. And I will agree that the study can be done to support the existence of Muhammad. In addition, I agree that Muhammad had spiritual experiences.
However, the "key" in comparing Christian faith to Islamic faith is that the Qur'an and the Bible have diametrical views of Jesus dying on the cross. Archaeological discoveries support that Jesus did in fact die on the cross. To date, no archaeological discovery has been uncovered that supports Muhammad's view of Jesus.
What about other Muslim beliefs?
What is the Greatest Sin?
In Islam, God is thought of as absolutely separate from the creation. For that reason, the greatest sin in Islam (called shirk) is to associate God with a human being. “They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three In a Trinity: for there is No god except One God” (Qur'an 5:75- 76).
In contrast, the Christian faith describes the greatest sin as denying that God became a divine human being in Jesus, the Son of God. “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son” (John 3:17-18).
Again, Islam and Christianity are directly opposite to each other. The belief related to God’s ability to take on human form depends on whether the Qur’an or the Bible is true. The artifacts related to Jesus’ death support the biblical texts are credible.
Even so, modern scholars hypothesize that the Christian view of Jesus as a divine person came about due to pagan influence. We can hypothecate: If the idea of Jesus as a divine person evolved due to pagan influence in the 1st century, then we would expect to find no Old Testament verses that foretell of Messiah as a divine personality.
Even so, modern scholars theorize that the Christian view of Jesus as a divine person came about due to pagan influence. If this view is correct, then we would expect to find no Old Testament verses supporting the Messiah as a divine personality. However, both the Old Testament and the Dead Sea Scrolls that predate Jesus' birth are the source of a divine Messiah belief. For example:
Isaiah writes of Messiah who “…will be called … Mighty God (deity), Everlasting (eternal) Father” (Isaiah 9:6).
Jeremiah links Messiah to the name Jehovah (YHWH), which religious Jews do not speak since it is God’s name. “This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD (YHWH) Our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).
Micah writes of Messiah, “…whose origins are from of old, from the days of Eternity” (Micah 5:2).
David writes of a YHWH – Son relationship for Messiah, “…Anointed One… ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father’ ” (Psalm 2:2, 7)
Some scholars claim the earliest Christian authors (Paul and Mark) did not write of Jesus as a divine human being. But Mark writes of Jesus accepting worship as well as Jesus using Psalm 110. “David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: " `The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet." ' David himself calls him [Messiah] `Lord.' How then can he [Messiah] be his son?" (Mark 12:36-37).
Paul writes of Jesus as a divine person. “…there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live ... though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (1 Corinthians. 8:9).
Since we would expect zero Old Testament verses (or Paul and Mark) to write of a divine Messiah, the hypothesis above appears to be false at the 99.9998% confidence level. 7
Can People Know God in a Personal Way?
Muslims believe that God is absolutely separate from the creation. For this reason, God does not speak directly to humans or have relationships with humans. (Muhammad claimed to hear only from the Archangel Gabriel, the messenger of Allah). As a result, Islam teaches that humans cannot have a personal relationship with God.
In contrast, the Bible teaches that Christians can have a deep, personal relationship with God. Paul wrote to Christians, “…the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Rom. 8:9). And in another verse, “…you are God's temple . . . God's Spirit lives in you” (1 Cor. 3:16).
Again, Islam and Christianity are shown to be directly opposite each other. Why?
Are Islam and Christianity diametrical opposites due to different sources? It appears certain Muhammad received spiritual guidance. But the guidance Muhammad received was from a spirit that came and went based on the following eyewitness account.
"Ayesha [Muhammad's favorite wife] reported "I saw him [Muhammad] while the revelation descended upon him on an intensely cold day; then it left him while his brow steamed with sweat" (Miskat IV).
Muhammad’s spiritual experience came from a being that claimed to be the Archangel Gabriel. This being is the source that claimed Jesus did not die on the cross, Jesus is not the Son of God, and people cannot know God personally. This leads to an insightful question, “Since you can't experience God, how do you know?”
Now consider that Jesus compared John the Baptist to Christians. “Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven (authentic Christian) is greater than he (John the Baptist)” (Matt 11:11).
Based on this verse, Christians who receive the Holy Spirit are greater than John the Baptist because the Spirit of God dwells with them (as compared to the spirit that took periodic control of Muhammad). And God’s presence brings “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23).
The verse above promises peace with God. I have experienced God's peace for many years. You can too. To begin this personal walk with God, take time to pray with your heart and mind using this verse as a guide. “…if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Romans 10:9-10). Repeat these words and believe them with all your heart and mind. Ask the Lord Jesus to come into your life and fill you with His Holy Spirit. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
If you have taken time to say this prayer and mean it, then please send an e-mail. I hope and pray that we will find another Christian brother or sister to guide you and gain true spiritual knowledge.
References for Research:
1: Hemer, Colin J., The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History; edited by Conrad H. Gempf, ©1989; data taken from "Specific Local Knowledge" pages 109 - 158.
1: Hemer, Colin J., The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History, data taken from "Specific Local Knowledge" pages 109 - 158. Dr. Hemer is a classic scholar, whose research led him to conclude a written date of AD 62 for the book of Acts.
1: White, Jefferson, Evidence and Paul's Journeys
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2: Go to muslim-christ for data and analysis.
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3: Only 4 chances in 10 billion, billion, billion, billion based on Chi-square test of Independence; muslim-christ
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4: Preliminary Report through the Biblical Archaeology Society, dated May 16, 2006, entitled, “External Expert Opinion on Three Stone Items” composed by Prof. Dr. Dr. hc. mult. Wolfgang E. Krumbein and Carl von Ossietzky, University of Oldenburg, Germany, dated September 2005. (Jerusalem Post Article on the trial and other issues related to the James ossuary)
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5: In the earliest gospel, Mark 6:3-5 (Matthew & John) also refers to these 4 brothers as skeptics.
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6: Shanks, Hershel, In the temple of Solomon and the Tomb of Caiaphas, p#44, © 1993 Biblical Archaeological Society. “Joseph of the family of Caiaphas” offers the best modern understanding of the inscription since there were no last names used at the time of Jesus. The inscription literally reads “Joseph son of Caiaphas,” but this does not mean “the son of biologically” since “son of...” is used in the sense of belonging to the same group or family.
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7: Based on the hypothesis that pagans developed the idea of Jesus as a divine human being as Christianity spread across the Roman Empire. Therefore, we expect to find 0 evidence in the Old Testament foretelling of Messiah as a divine human being. However, evidence from 8 scriptures with all being contextually reliable due to the Dead Sea Scrolls, gospel of Mark and Paul’s writing. However, does not meet dissimilarity since the OT supports the Christian concept of Messiah as a divine human being.
Search the Internet for "non-locality (recommended)" or "spooky action at a distance"
A scientific discovery (called non-locality) of the 20th century supports the Trinitarian concept of God. Two distinct subatomic particles separated by distance are somehow connected (non-local) since they influence each other instantly (instead of waiting for data transfer at the speed of light from point A to B). If we don't understand subatomic particles, why do some think they can logically debunk the Trinity, the Creator of the subatomic particles? (learn more about muslim-christ)
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