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What makes Jesus the Son of God? How do we know that Mansoor Hallaj is not also the Truth?

Mansoor Hallaj also claimed to be the Truth, so according to Christianity, what makes Jesus differ from Al Hallaj? Why do the Christians who claim Jesus is divine accept that claim, but not the claim that Mansoor Hallaj is "the Abrar of truth"?

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Sorry, but this has nothing to do with Catholicism per se, and it is entirely to do with Islam (and its relationship with Christianity in general). –  Andrew Leach Jun 7 '13 at 10:51
    
Waqar this question has nothing at all to do with Catholicism. Please do not tag it that again. If you have a question that is specific to that tradition, please ask it in a way that identifies what you are asking. In the mean time tags are for organizing content on the site and you need to let the community (that knows the organization system) handle that. Thanks for understanding. –  Caleb Jun 7 '13 at 10:58
    
It has nothing to do with Islam as well because Al Hallaj was not a Muhammadan. While the Son of God is a literal doctrine of Catholicism. I am removing islam tag. –  Waqar Ahmad Jun 7 '13 at 11:16
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Muhammadan or not is not the issue. He could be orthodox Sunni Muslim or a complete heretic and it wouldn't matter. Sufism -- which Al Hallaj was connected with -- is broadly categorized as having ties to Islam, making this question of interest to those experts in Christian teaching around here that also have some exposure to Islam and would be able to identify the difference in beliefs. That is what the tag is for, it is not a judgement on whether the guy was or wasn't a real Muslim. It's about getting your question into the hands of people who's area of interest might allow them to answer. –  Caleb Jun 7 '13 at 11:24
    
okay, historically. –  Waqar Ahmad Jun 7 '13 at 11:31

2 Answers 2

Preface: As asked, this is a Truth question - asking whether Jesus' claim to be "The Son " is "True". Per site guidelines, that's not allowed. See What Christianity.StackExchange is (and more importantly, what it isn't) for more.

However, what is allowed is to answer how various Christians defend the idea that Jesus is "The Son" and therefore divine. That's how my answer will approach this.


Various Christian apologists have given answers to variants of this question. Essentially this question boils down to "What makes Jesus' claim to divinity any more valid than other religious figures. The following are arguments given:

In short, the answer given by Apologists is that Jesus has enough impressive credentials to back up His claims, where others (including Mansur Al-Hallaj) have nowhere near the evidence to back up their claims.

From http://probingthebible.com/Questions/Book/Chapter_12/01/

I am just learning about Christianity, why should I believe in Jesus Christ more than Buddha or Mohammed?

...Several evidences similar to the ones I gave above...

So the answer to your question is there is much evidence to support that Jesus is the Son of God and your believing and accepting Him is not only a matter of faith but also of fact. All others are a poor substitute to place the trust of your future upon.

Similar answers abound and can be found with a simple Bing search. http://www.bing.com/search?q=what+makes+Jesus+differentt+than+Buddah+or+MOhammed&pc=MOZI&form=MOZSBR

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tl;dr> While it is true that Jesus never used the words "I am the Son of God"1 , many people around him did exactly as such. Thus, the difference between Jesus and Mansoor Hallaj is this - Hallaj claimed to be the Son of God on his own authority. Jesus was pro-claimed to be the Son of God by others.


1. Christians proclaim Jesus to be the Son of God as a matter of faith

Fundamentally, the difference between Jesus Christ and Mansoor Hallaj is that Christians believe Jesus of Nazerth to be the actual "only begotten Son" of God (John 3:16), and that as his son, he was the propitiation for our sins. As God, when He claimed to be "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6) and that "no one comes to the Father, but by me," we believe him to be accurate.

Fundamentally, this is a matter of faith. It is not subject to external scrutiny, for the Gospel is "foolishness to those who are perishing."

It is by definition not objective - for in the same way that if I told my wife "You are the most beautiful woman in the world," I could not "prove" that outside of my relationship with her. But, to those who are already, in faith, of the mind to believe that, the proof is self-evident.

It is simply a the claim, as expressed in Hebrews 1, that Jesus is in fact the Son, and is unique in that appelation. As Hebrews says of Jesus:

... in these last days [God] has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”? And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

2. Contemporary witnesses proclaimed Jesus to be the Son of God

That said, Christians make this claim, not because "someone decided they should" but rather based on the evidences they read in Scripture. For example, Peter famously confesses in Matthew 16:

"You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God."

Likewise, a Roman (i.e. - nono-Jewish non-"Christian") Centurion, upon witnessing the actual death of Jesus on the cross (and I know Muslims do not accept that he actually died before rising again), said almost the exact same thing:

When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54)

Even Jesus' enemies, the Pharisees, take account of these claims, and in effect, accuse Jesus of being God's son. Jesus, in reply says:

Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'? Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father. (John 10:36-38)

3. External Authority is greater than a self-made claim

The difference between Jesus and Hallaj is thus a simple one: Hallaj claimed to be the Son of God, Jesus was claimed to be the Son of God by others.

It is similar to the story Jesus tells in Luke 5 - after Jesus had told a man his sins were forgiven, the Pharisees wondered under what authority he said this. The story continues:

...Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

In short, while Hallaj may have suffered a death similar to Christ, and while he may have made claims similar to those of Christ, he was not in a position to do so. In Hebrews, we have God the Father (who is of one being with the Son), rhetorically saying of his Son, "Who else do I call my Son?" Rehetorically the answer is obvious - there is no else like Him. Others can say similar things, but ontologically He simply is the One who is God's Son, and he ontollogically is the Truth, because he God. In Matthew and Luke, we have Peter claiming that Jesus is God. And, in the Gospels, Jesus continually shows that he the authority of God, in the same manner a Son would have it. These form the basis on which Christians reject all other claims to being "the Son," "the Way," or "the Truth."

Any other claim is just words, not matter how compelling the narrative.


1 That said, Jesus did say "I and the Father are One," and when asked (Luke 22:70), "Are you the Son of God?" He replied, "You say that I am"

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Related article: delveintojesus.com/Articles/20/… –  Affable Geek Jun 7 '13 at 16:04
    
that was not convincing because once you choosed to love someone then you can make him god and idol, a psychological and emotional behaviour of human. –  Waqar Ahmad Jun 7 '13 at 16:43
    
Not trying to convince anyone of anything. I'm trying to explain why Christians call Jesus the one true Son of God. That said, remember, we love Him because he first loved us- also something that Hallaj couldn't do. –  Affable Geek Jun 7 '13 at 18:07
    
If you want find God on Rational basis then faith is not compatible. If you want find God on faith basis then ''Spiritual Fanaticism''(don't take Fanaticism offensive) then Hallaj seems a better candidate for Truthship. –  Waqar Ahmad Jun 7 '13 at 18:38
    
Hebrews 11:6 Without faith, it is impossible to please God. For those who would please God must believe that he exists and rewards those who love him. –  Affable Geek Jun 7 '13 at 18:44

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