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Burden of Proof

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Apollos View Drop Down
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    Posted: 07 March 2009 at 1:30pm

In the religious realm, there is a long succession of people who while appealing to a previous belief system, announce that they have new and better knowledge that improves or replaces its predecessor. Starting with Jews and the Bible, one can follow this road from Christians to Gnostics to Islam, Mormonism, Bahai, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science and others.

 

One distinction in this succession is that Jesus recognized the burden of proof that was required to justify the new “truths” He was revealing. Others have simply claimed that they had a new revelation without accepting the burden of proof. Another distinction with Jesus is that He did not challenge what the Bible said. He claimed to fulfill it in fact and said that God’s Word (the Tanach or Old Testament) would not pass away until all be fulfilled. He only had two areas where His teaching actually differed from what the average Jew believed at that time and He told His disciples to listen to what the Priests and Scribes said – but not follow their hypocritical practices. (The two differences Jesus had with the Jewish leadership were – the idea that the Law could not be accomplished by human efforts and, the Messiah would be God’s Son who would suffer and die for their failure to satisfy the Law.)

 

It is interesting that in the Bible the first one to challenge God’s Word was Satan and he claimed the same thing that many others have echoed since then: “Has God really said such and such? No he hasn’t, just listen to me. You won’t die if you do!” He offered no reason to Eve that he should be trusted rather than God. It seems that humans since that time still don’t need much reason to abandon God’s Word for the word of someone else. But there should be a reason to trust someone new - especially when that person wants us to reject what we believe God has said in the past. On the one hand they want us to grant them the respect that belongs to a fellow believer but on the other hand, they want us to reject our beliefs. Why would we grant them the status they want?

 

If this isn’t sinking in, let me illustrate: Someone comes up with a unique belief that was never believed before and they claim the Bible substantiates their authority to have this unique belief. If that is true, it would give them some credibility, right? On the other hand, part of their unique belief is that the Bible can’t be trusted! This is not just a circular argument, it is a self-stultifying one. The picture it conveys is someone sitting on a tree limb while they are sawing that limb off.

 

There are lots of variations on this presumptive illogical claim. Maybe you have heard some yourself:

 

"Christianity started out right, but then - according to my standards – it failed to do what it was supposed to do. Since the very things I'm asserting were wrong are evident, and since these are the things my group does right, it's obvious that my group is the restoration or replacement of true Christianity."

 

"Don't trust anyone but us."

 

"If you let us interpret the Bible for you, we'll show you that we alone are right."  

 

I stated that Jesus accepted the burden of proof when He came. He performed miracles, fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophecies and then – after being killed – rose from the dead. Moses demonstrated some credentials with the signs God provided but Jesus performed greater miracles and He said Moses foretold His coming. Other Old Testament prophets exhibited credentials from God and Jesus exceeded their works as He fulfilled the prophecies they gave.

 

So - when Jesus presumes to tell people what Moses really meant, we should listen. When a mere human with lesser credentials (e.g.- Mohammed) presumes to tell us what Jesus really said or meant, why should we listen to them?

 

Apollos

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semar View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote semar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 March 2009 at 6:03pm

Salam/Peace,

For Muslims it's very simple. The Quran is beyond any existing book. The beauty of the rhyme (the arabic) in conjunction that with the content that there is any doubt or contradiction, is not comparable with anything else on earth.

That's why Umar ibn Khattab one of the earliest Prophet companioning, was accept Islam just after he listened her sister recite the Quran, on that time he came to her house to kill her, because he as the Qurays leader was shame her sister become Prophet Muhammad PBUH follower.

So we as muslim anything is not in-line with the Quran is not correct, this the ultimate requirement for Muslim to judge other books.

Here one of the surah/chapter in the Quran that said that God doesn't have son or daughter, listen yourselves how the beauty of the verses:

Mohammad Asad Translation:
 
112:1 SAY: "He is the One God:
112:2 "God the Eternal, the Uncaused Cause of All Being.
112:3 "He begets not, and neither is He begotten;
112:4 "and there is nothing that could be compared with Him.


Edited by semar - 07 March 2009 at 6:05pm
Salam/Peace,
Semar
The Prophet said: "Do not eat before you are hungry, and stop eating before you are full"
"1/3 of your stomach for food 1/3 for water, 1/3 for air"
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Apollos View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Apollos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 March 2009 at 8:22pm

Semar,

 

Thank you for your post. Unfortunately I do not share your feeling about these verses. Independent of the teaching it proclaims, the words and style do not seem beautiful to me. They are in fact lacking of any beauty, poetry or interesting literary style to me. I will admit that I do not read Arabic and even if I did, it would be a second language so I might be missing something in this English translation. Because of this I offer two responses:

 

One – this type of subjective response is exactly what I was referring to in my initial post. Instead of accepting the burden of proving that the Quran is a revelation from God, you provide a “proof’ that anyone can say about any writing. Literary beauty is too subjective to be a proof of divine inspiration.

 

Two – If literary beauty were the evidence of divine inspiration I would argue that the Old Testament Bible is superior to all other books. Even when translated from the original Hebrew it captures profound thoughts and feelings. Do you not agree that the below example is beautiful?

 

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

 

Apollos

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nur_Ilahi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 March 2009 at 7:25am
Surah Arrahman - The Beneficient-Most Merciful
 
1. ((Allah)) Most Gracious!

2. It is He Who has taught the Qur'an.

3. He has created man:

4. He has taught him speech (and intelligence).

5. The sun and the moon follow courses (exactly) computed;

6. And the herbs and the trees - both (alike) bow in adoration.

7. And the Firmament has He raised high, and He has set up the Balance (of Justice),

8. In order that ye may not transgress (due) balance.

9. So establish weight with justice and fall not short in the balance.

10. It is He Who has spread out the earth for (His) creatures:

11. Therein is fruit and date-palms, producing spathes (enclosing dates);

12. Also corn, with (its) leaves and stalk for fodder, and sweet-smelling plants.

13. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?

14. He created man from sounding clay like unto pottery,

15. And He created Jinns from fire free of smoke:

16. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?

17. (He is) Lord of the two Easts and Lord of the two Wests:

18. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?

19. He has let free the two bodies of flowing water, meeting together:

20. Between them is a Barrier which they do not transgress:

21. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?

22. Out of them come Pearls and Coral:

23. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?

24. And His are the Ships sailing smoothly through the seas, lofty as mountains:

25. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?

26. All that is on earth will perish:

27. But will abide (for ever) the Face of thy Lord,- full of Majesty, Bounty and Honour.

28. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?

29. Of Him seeks (its need) every creature in the heavens and on earth: every day in (new) Splendour doth He (shine)!

30. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?

Ilahi Anta Maksudi, Wa Redhaka Mathlubi - Oh Allah, You are my destination, Your Pleasure is my Intention.
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Hayfa View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hayfa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 March 2009 at 1:04pm
Apollo, i would suspect that it won't get very far.. like here ismy proof' here is 'my proof' from someone else.Smile

it would be interesting for you or any person of religion to sit with my brother who believes in none of it..

i read many posts with Christians and Muslims argue back and forth. Each saying why there's is the 'true' way.

As a Muslim believe it or not, hearing the reciting of the Quran is not lyrical for me either.. then again i have  tin ear...lol.. some are quite beautiful.

we as people if we could just try to do good and treat each other with kindness, dignity and respect the world would be okay.  No matter the faith,if we could all treat each other, the creatures and the earth as sacred we;d be doing pretty good!

peace

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rumi
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ron Webb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 March 2009 at 4:01pm

"Truth is beautiful, without doubt; but so are lies." -Ralph W. Emerson

Addeenul ‘Aql – Religion is intellect.
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Apollos View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Apollos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 March 2009 at 4:33pm
Originally posted by Hayfa Hayfa wrote:

Apollo, i would suspect that it won't get very far.. like here ismy proof' here is 'my proof' from someone else.Smile

it would be interesting for you or any person of religion to sit with my brother who believes in none of it..

i read many posts with Christians and Muslims argue back and forth. Each saying why there's is the 'true' way.

As a Muslim believe it or not, hearing the reciting of the Quran is not lyrical for me either.. then again i have  tin ear...lol.. some are quite beautiful.

we as people if we could just try to do good and treat each other with kindness, dignity and respect the world would be okay.  No matter the faith,if we could all treat each other, the creatures and the earth as sacred we;d be doing pretty good!

peace

 
Hayfa,
 

I agree that one’s opinion about literary beauty in a particular writing isn’t productive and it is not an acceptable response to a “burden of proof”. That’s what I said in my second post when I illustrated this with an example from the Bible. So let’s return to the initial topic. Do Muslims agree that there is such a thing as “burden of proof” concerning the claims of Islam?

 

Apollos

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nur_Ilahi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 March 2009 at 2:58am
Apollo wrote - Do Muslims agree that there is such a thing as “burden of proof” concerning the claims of Islam?
 
What does Islam claim?
 
That there is no other Power, no other Supreme Being, no other God who is worthy of worship than Allah - God the Creator of the whole universe.
 
Meaning what one sees in this world or in this vast universe, whether big or small, near or far, are just creations of the Creator. If one worship a creation of the Creator, one has no faith in a God who has the Power, the Will, The Knowledge, The Ever Living, The Hearing, The Sight, The Loving, The Majestic God who is the Creator of the Whole Universe.
 
If one worship a creation of the Creator, one is being ungrateful for the necessities of life that God The Creator had given us, especially the intellect or the brain that each and everyone of us possess.
 
Lailaha il Allah - There is no other God worthy of worship except Allah.
Ilahi Anta Maksudi, Wa Redhaka Mathlubi - Oh Allah, You are my destination, Your Pleasure is my Intention.
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