Response to Chapter 2

Contradictions in the Bible


Greetings. My name is Peter Ballard (, and I am doing the response to section 2 of Al-Kadhi's book "What Did Jesus Really Say?". I have not seen the responses to the other parts of the book, so forgive me if there is overlap with other sections.

But before I begin, I must make some general comments:

Al-Kadhi's Use of Quotes

Al-Kadhi extensively quotes Christian sources. But there are two fallacies to be aware of:

(1) Just because one particular Christian scholar makes a claim, this does not mean it is true. See section 2.1.3 for a detailed discussion on this.

(2) Just because Al-Kadhi uses a lot of Christian quotes, it does NOT follow that all his claims are documented. For instance, the claims in section 2.3 are well documented - because they are widely accepted. However, this only serves to highlight the scant (or non-existent) evidence for some of his other claims. This is particularly true in sections 2.1.8 and 2.1.12, where Al-Kadhi makes a number of claims with no supporting evidence at all. Notice also how in section 2.1.8 he makes some extravagant claims, then provides a quote which is UNRELATED to his claims!

(3) Many of the quotes are not properly documented. Therefore it is impossible to trace them, verify them, or check their context. (I am particularly suspicious of the quote attributed to Augustine in section 2.1.8, because all Augustine's writings are freely available on the World Wide Web, yet I cannot find the quote Al-Kadhi attributes to him). Al-Kadhi's quotation problems are not only in chapter 2

Al-Kadhi's Factual Errors

Al-Kadhi often gets his facts wrong. Often the rebuttals are slightly complex and you'll have to read the full response to get them. But one error was just so blatant I had to highlight it:

In section 2.1.6 he says: Prior to 1952 all versions of the Bible made mention of one of the most miraculous events associated with the prophet Jesus peace be upon him, that of his ascension into heaven. This great event is mentioned in only two places in the NT. They are: ... Mark 16:19 and once again in ... Luke 24:51-52

Then he says it a second time in section 2.1.10: Please notice that there are only two places in the whole New Testament that mention the ascension of Jesus into heaven. They are Mark 16:19 and Luke 24:51.

However Al-Kadhi is wrong. Very, very, wrong. The ascension of Jesus is mentioned A FURTHER TEN times in the New Testament: Acts 1:9-11, John 6:62, Acts 2:33-34, Acts 3:21, Eph 4:8-10, 1 Thess 1:10, Heb 4:14, Heb 9:24, 1 Peter 3:22, Rev 5:6.

What does this mean? I'm afraid the only conclusion I can draw is that Al-Kadhi has not done his research very well, and has never bothered to actually read very much of the New Testament.

The Qur'an contains Textual Errors Too!

And let us not forget that the Qur'an, like the Bible, contains textual errors.

Click here for evidence of textual evidence in the Qur'an.

This not to put down the Qur'an, but only to put all documents on an equal footing. Christians are open and honest about the fact that the Bible contains textual errors. Many Muslims, unfortunately, are not.

Verse-by-verse Response to Al-Kadhi

In my opinion, Al-Kadhi's argument is sometimes a bit haphazard. Since I am replying to him point by point, my response may seem haphazard too! Therefore, after posting this response, I will be working on a more ordered defence, proving that the Bible has not been corrupted.

The first stage of this is a catalog of all the 'dubious' Bible verses Al-Kadhi gives, with reasons why none affect doctrine.

Point-by-point Response to Al-Kadhi

2.1 Christian scholars recognize tampering  
2.1.1 Did Jesus (pbuh) himself write the Bible? Section 2.1.1 concerns the human-divine authorship of the Bible (in contrast to the Qur'an, which claims to be solely by God, with no human input).
2.1.2 Who were the authors of the books of the Bible? Section 2.1.2 deals with the human authors of the Biblical books.
2.1.3 Is the Bible 100% faultless and untampered-with by the Church? Section 2.1.3 has some quotes by Christian scholars. Here I make some comments about the validity of doing this.
2.1.4 So are all Christians evil and deceitful? Section 2.1.4 is very brief.
2.1.5 Where then did our modern Bibles come from? Section 2.1.5 Here Al-Kadhi introduces the point that the older Bible translations were based on faulty Greek manuscripts, quoting the introduction to the Revised Standard Version. No argument here.
2.1.6 Show me some examples of these 'grave defects' Section 2.1.6 gives examples of some of these defects. I agree that these defects (in the older Bible translations) are real (just as the Qur'an has suffered textual errors also), but in every case I show that differences are minor and that no doctrine is affected. The same subject matter continues in sections 2.1.10 and 2.1.14.
2.1.7 Well, the RSV is just one Bible Section 2.1.7 is very brief.
2.1.8 So, where did these discarded verses come from in the first place? In Section 2.1.8 Al-Kadhi alleges that the church systematically altered the Bible. His evidence for the claim is very poor, and in some cases non-existent. A very disappointing section by Al-Kadhi.
2.1.9 How many books of the Bible are 'truly inspired'? Section 2.1.9 is very brief.
2.1.10 But the "ancient copies" are exact copies of one-another, right? Section 2.1.10 is really a continuation of the same subject matter of 2.1.6.
2.1.11 How, then, did the Church handle this problem? In Section 2.1.11, Al-Kadhi alleges that the modern church covered up the discovery of errors in the prevailing Greek manuscripts. On the contrary, it is easily shown that the church has been open and honest about the text of the Bible.
2.1.12 Where Did the King James Bible come from? Section 2.1.12 begins by continuing from section 2.1.8, alleging that the church deliberately altered the Bible. Interestingly, Al-Kadhi does not offer a single piece of evidence to back up his claims. He then describes the process by which modern scholars determine the correct text. This second part is reasonably accurate, but Al-Kadhi draws some unwarranted conclusions.
2.1.13 How do they explain all of these centuries of tampering? Section 2.1.13 attempts, by way of analogy, to THEORETICALLY refute the Christian claim that no doctrine is affected by defects in the text. This is answered by a counter-analogy.
2.1.14 So all forteen thousand errors do not affect 'doctrine'? Section 2.1.14 attempts to PRACTICALLY refute the Christian claim that no doctrine is affected by defects in the text, by giving examples. In each case I show that the uncertainties do not affect doctrine. (This is really a continuation of the subject matter of sections 2.1.6 and 2.1.10). (Remember, there are uncertainties in the text of the Qur'an also.)
2.1.15 82% of the words of Jesus not his? Section 2.1.15 claims that much of the reported words of Jesus were not spoken by him. This uses the results of the much-criticised Jesus Seminar. The reply points to a set of articles critiquing the Jesus Seminar.
2.2 A small sampling of these contradictions Having demonstrated that the Biblical text has been altered (a point that I accept, as long as we realise that we are talking about inadvertant copying errors, just as the Qur'an has had copying errors also), Section 2.2 attempts to prove that the alterations have been deliberate (a point I most certainly deny). Several reasons are offered, and these are answered point-by-point in the response.
2.3 Did mankind tamper with the Old Testament? Section 2.3 documents the scholarly consensus that the Old Testament authors often used earlier sources. This point is not disputed. What is disputed is the conclusions Al-Kadhi tries to draw from this.
2.4 When is a book an 'inspired' book? Section 2.4 examines the process by which the New Testament (in the Bible) was formed. This article contains a great many inaccuracies, but also raises a couple of important points which deserve a serious response.

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