2

Muslims say Jesus didn't claim to be God.

My question is Twofold:

1) When a Muslim objects to the teaching that Christ was crucified, what is their given reason that anyone ever attempted to crucify Jesus?

2) What proof does the Catholic Church present to refute or nullify those reasons Muslims give that anyone tried to crucify Jesus?

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    IMO, why he was crucified is a separate topic and it's an excellent one. – Daisy Apr 28 '16 at 17:07
  • Right. My question is not so much how to answer whether he was or not Crucified- but how to we answer their reason as to why they attempted to Crucify Jesus. So my question is really about just that topic. – shiningcartoonist Apr 28 '16 at 17:13
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    You did a good job making it clearer but... IMO, #1 doesn't need to be about Sunni Muslims; the question is strong enough on its own: Why do [Christians] say that Christ was crucified? ...Onto the second question: "nullify those reasons Muslims give." We don't know the reasons Muslims give; you need to provide those. Lastly, regarding the Catholic position, why does it have to be Catholic? I have no idea what the Catholic position is; I know what the Christian position is. – Daisy Apr 28 '16 at 18:31
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    White flag. I surrender. I can't answer it the way you've got it written. Sorry. – Daisy Apr 28 '16 at 18:42
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    I believe your first question / first part of your question is better asked on Islam.SE. – The Freemason Apr 29 '16 at 12:14
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1. When a Muslim objects to the teaching that Christ was crucified, what is their given reason that anyone ever attempted to crucify Jesus?

I interpret this question to mean "What does Islam teach about why the Jews wanted to crucify Jesus?" and I will attempt to address that. If I have misinterpreted OP's intent then please let me know.

In short, the Qur'an says that the Jews wanted to kill Jesus for the same reasons they abused the prophets who preceded Him: for exposing the wickedness of the Jews and calling them to repentance. In this, at least, the Qur'an is somewhat in agreement with the Bible.

Surah 3 (Ali 'Imran) ayah 112 says (emphasis mine):

ضُرِبَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الذِّلَّةُ أَيْنَ مَا ثُقِفُوا إِلَّا بِحَبْلٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَحَبْلٍ مِّنَ النَّاسِ وَبَاءُوا بِغَضَبٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَضُرِبَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَسْكَنَةُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا يَكْفُرُونَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَيَقْتُلُونَ الْأَنبِيَاءَ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِمَا عَصَوا وَّكَانُوا يَعْتَدُونَ

"They have been put under humiliation [by Allah ] wherever they are overtaken, except for a covenant from Allah and a rope from the Muslims. And they have drawn upon themselves anger from Allah and have been put under destitution. That is because they disbelieved in the verses of Allah and killed the prophets without right. That is because they disobeyed and [habitually] transgressed."

Surah 4 (An-Nisa) ayah 155 says (emphasis mine):

فَبِمَا نَقْضِهِم مِّيثَاقَهُمْ وَكُفْرِهِم بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَقَتْلِهِمُ الْأَنبِيَاءَ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ وَقَوْلِهِمْ قُلُوبُنَا غُلْفٌ ۚ بَلْ طَبَعَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهَا بِكُفْرِهِمْ فَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا

And [We cursed them] for their breaking of the covenant and their disbelief in the signs of Allah and their killing of the prophets without right and their saying, "Our hearts are wrapped". Rather, Allah has sealed them because of their disbelief, so they believe not, except for a few.

2. What proof does the Catholic Church present to refute or nullify those reasons Muslims give that anyone tried to crucify Jesus?

I interpret this question to mean "What approach does the Catholic Church recommend employing to refute Islamic views of the Passion, namely that Christ was not crucified?" and I will attempt to address that. If I have misinterpreted OP's intent then please let me know.

Paul's answer is correct in that Muslims believe that the Gospel, as it exists now, has been distorted and/or corrupted by early Christians removing important passages and adding in things that weren't true. For this reason alone, a Muslim is highly unlikely to accept any argument based in scripture or in the Church's teaching (which is based on scripture). Conversely, they believe that the Qur'an has been kept free of any such corruptions since it was first revealed to Muhammad. Thus, in order for a Muslim to consider it "valid", a direct refutation of the claim that Christ did not die on the cross would need to have its basis in the Qur'an itself. This presents a formidable task for any apologist because not only does it require them to have at least some understanding of the Qur'an -- which most Christians have probably never read -- but also functionally requires a Muslim to accept at least one of the following statements as true:

  1. The Qur'an is subject to the same inaccuracies and distortions that the Bible and Torah are accused of having.

  2. The Qur'an is unclear, incomplete, or self-contradictory (even after accounting for the belief that verses in the Qur'an can be "abrogated" by other verses, which is another very deep and complicated topic).

  3. Muhammad did not faithfully convey the Qur'an as it was revealed to him by God; he added or omitted things as he saw fit.

  4. Muhammad never received any divine revelation: the Qur'an and Islam are lies.

But their rejection of Jesus' death and resurrection goes deeper than the belief that the Bible is not an accurate record of the life and teachings of Christ.

The Qur'an explicitly denies that Jesus died on the cross in surah 4 (An-Nisa), ayat 157-158, claiming that someone else (usually believed to be one of the Disciples) was somehow made to resemble Jesus and was crucified in Christ's place:

وَقَوْلِهِمْ إِنَّا قَتَلْنَا الْمَسِيحَ عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ وَمَا صَلَبُوهُ وَلَٰكِن شُبِّهَ لَهُمْ ۚ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ لَفِي شَكٍّ مِّنْهُ ۚ مَا لَهُم بِهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِلَّا اتِّبَاعَ الظَّنِّ ۚ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ يَقِينًا

بَل رَّفَعَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَيْهِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا

"And [for] their saying, "Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah ." And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain."

"Rather, Allah raised him to Himself. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise."

(Emphasis mine)

On a deeper level, Muslims believe that God would never allow one of His chosen messengers to be humiliated in such a way; crucifying Jesus would have been tantamount to sinful men triumphing over God (see this Wikipedia page for a more detailed explanation).

How do we refute the Qur'anic narrative that Jesus was never crucified?

A good starting point is this:

The Qur'an says, in surah 61 (As-Saf) ayah 14 that God supported "those who believed" (i.e. as the Apostles believed) and made their belief the predominant mode of Christianity. There is a wealth of historical evidence that belief in the Trinity and the Resurrection (in the form that we know those doctrines today) originated as early as 110 AD, and were formally adopted in the first Council of Nicaea in 325 AD and the First Council of Constantinople in 381 AD -- more than two centuries before the first verses of the Qur'an were (allegedly) revealed to Muhammad. This is indisputable historical fact.

If we accept Surah 61:14, then God explicitly claims responsibility for the dominance of Trinitarianism, which is decried throughout the Qur'an as "shirk" ("polytheism"), which God abhors! Does this mean that God Himself intentionally and deliberately led believers astray?!

  • Do they ever explain why someone tried to Crucify him? Or do they just assume its not important? – shiningcartoonist May 17 '16 at 13:15
  • @shiningcartoonist My apologies for not addressing this in my answer. According to surah 3 (Ali 'Imran) ayah 112 and surah 4 (An-Nisa) ayah 155, the Jews "slew the Prophets in defiance of right". Essentially, the Qur'an says that the Jews wanted to kill Jesus for the same reasons that they abused the preceding prophets: for exposing the wickedness of the Jews and calling them to repentance. In this, at least, the Qur'an is somewhat in agreement with the Bible. – JCopernicus May 17 '16 at 13:28
  • Ok. I think that is the real seed of info I was looking for. Could you maybe add that to the Answer, so its there? Thank you! – shiningcartoonist May 17 '16 at 13:32
  • @shiningcartoonist Sure, I will update it with the appropriate citations soon. If you are looking for Islam-focused apologetics in general, then Answering-Islam.org is the best resource I have found thus far. One specific counterargument to the Islamic view of Jesus' crucifixion can be found at answering-islam.org/Why-not/10history.html – JCopernicus May 17 '16 at 13:38
  • I have updated my answer to include the aforementioned information. If OP wishes I can also include some thoughts on specific arguments to use, although they won't be particular to Catholic doctrine. – JCopernicus May 17 '16 at 16:56
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Muslims say that Christians changed the words of Jesus over time, hence inserted false statements into the Bible where Jesus claimed to be God. (See http://www.answering-islam.org/Morin/changed.html) This claim was made long ago, before the discoveries of ancient Bible manuscripts, hymnals, fragments, the Dead Sea Scrolls and other strong evidence that no changes have been made except minor typos and a few passages that may or may not have been in the originals, none of which change any doctrines of Christianity, especially the divinity of Christ and the reality of the crucifixion and resurrection.

Some Muslims hold to the swoon theory (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swoon_hypothesis) - that Jesus was still alive when taken down from the Cross, but had passed out and looked dead. The flow of water from Jesus' side described in the Gospel of John when he was stabbed with a spear indicates that he had suffered pericardial effusion (see http://www.compellingtruth.org/blood-water-Jesus.html). You can't survive that. Such a telling detail is strong evidence of eyewitness testimony, not a later invention by someone who had never witnessed a real crucifixion.

As for why people were crucified, the Romans executed thousands of people using this method, including common criminals. Claiming to be a God might upset the Romans, who maintained that Caesar was a God.

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    I see. Their claim is especially confusing when i think about all the explicit and implicit things Jesus does in the personage of God. Plus the Crucifixion and the Resurrection; if you removed all those references you'd have almost nothing left- except maybe a few parables and the annunciation... which then makes no sense with what would remain. – shiningcartoonist Apr 28 '16 at 17:41
  • I don't. I'm just trying to figure out why they ever came to believe that it does have standing; because it doesn't make any sense to me. – shiningcartoonist Apr 28 '16 at 18:08
  • Can you supply some links to support your claims? – Ken Graham Apr 28 '16 at 23:40
  • Links added as requested. – Paul Chernoch Apr 29 '16 at 11:54
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    ... Analysis of ancient manuscripts and fragments is capable of refuting that Muslim claim (which assumes the originals correct), while not capable of refuting the claim that the Apostles wrote it down wrong. – Paul Chernoch Apr 29 '16 at 14:48
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For (1), you'll have to ask a question at Islam.SE.

For (2), consider these paragraphs from the Catechism of the Catholic Church,

104 In Sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it not as a human word, "but as what it really is, the word of God". "In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children, and talks with them."

134 All sacred Scripture is but one book, and this one book is Christ, "because all divine Scripture speaks of Christ, and all divine Scripture is fulfilled in Christ"

These Sacred scriptures include the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, which all testify that Jesus was crucified, that he died, was buried, and rose on the third day according to what he said. Numerous other passages in the New Testament echo these testimonies. Because of the principle authority of the Sacred Scriptures, that is, "the word of God", from the Catholic position no further proof is required beyond the inspired testimonies of the authors of the New Testament.

  • The interesting part of 134 is that it says Christ and not specifically Jesus. The Pope being the Vicar of Christ therefore is more authoritative than the Bible. Even if there is an apparent contradiction. – The Freemason Apr 29 '16 at 13:18
  • @TheFreemason I don't see how your second sentence follows from your first. – Andrew Apr 29 '16 at 17:43
  • Christ being a title and not a person makes it ambiguous - especially considering that the pope is the vicar of the Christ. – The Freemason Apr 29 '16 at 17:47
  • @Freemason what do you mean by "it"? Do you mean to clarify doctrine or are you simply musing? – Andrew Apr 29 '16 at 19:35
  • I am not sure how I can make this more plainly for you. I was pointing out a concern of the Catechism. – The Freemason Apr 29 '16 at 19:42

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