Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR): Jihad in the Media
03/30/2005 - James WhiteToday on the Little Green Footballs blog we read:
According to Robert Spencer, National Review decided to cave in to pressure from the Council on American Islamic Relations because they were “choosing their battles.”This is just another of the many odd examples of Western self-destruction that I have noted of late. When in England I was informed that they passed a law last year that prohibits the display of the British flag! It might "offend" someone! It is one thing to point out the forces that wish to make everyone living in Western society ashamed of the good that their nations have done in the past. That's bad enough. But when people willingly bow their heads and submit to such pressures, well, that's simply judgment, the removal of the spine, the fortitude, the simple heart, of a people. Since 9/11 doesn't it strike you as terribly odd that Islam has become the protected militant religion? You dare not question the Qur'an or Mohammed, or the Mainstream Media will be all over you! But, "Islam means peace" is an almost daily slogan, despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary. It is truly amazing. CAIR is intent not upon defending Islam through rigorous debate and truthful interaction: that isn't the Islamic way. Look at the Islamic world today. What happens if someone speaks out, no matter the truthfulness of their words, in an Islamic country. Prison. Beatings. Execution. That can't happen on a governmental basis in the West yet. But don't be naive: that is the goal. And till then, intimidation will be the rule. Here is more on the books they are seeking to suppress. Oh, and get ready for the incessant repetition of the new politically-correct phrase: "Islamophobia." Evidently, since the homosexual lobby has found "homophobia" so wonderfully useful, this will be the next usage of "place group you wish to promote to the position of having super-rights here + phobia" ploy. Think the proper description of "Christophobia" in describing the activities of the MSM and the Judicial Oligarchy would catch on? Nah, probably not.
While it’s definitely true that National Review has done a great deal to expose the agenda of radical Islam, and I’m not going to stop reading them, I disagree strongly with their decision to remove advertisements for books critical of Islam and I’m very disappointed at their lack of resolve. This is anything but an insignificant battle; it’s a pivotal part of CAIR’s anti-democratic jihad to have all criticism of Mohammed or of Islam declared “hate speech,” and National Review has now set a dangerous precedent that will certainly embolden CAIR to intensify their efforts.
Islamic Apologetics and New Testament Transmission (#20)
03/27/2005 - James WhiteIn their attack upon the Christian scriptures, Saifullah and Azmy began their lengthy citation of Bentley's work on Sinaiticus by mocking William Campbell's emotional response upon seeing a in person when it was, at that time (1983) located in the British Museum. I, too, had the opportunity of seeing a, which is now housed in the British Library, and unlike Campbell, I didn't avoid the reflection, but it doesn't matter. It was simply incredible to stand that close to both Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus ("A" in the critical Greek texts, a being 01, and Alexandrinus 02), which sits immediately next to Sinaiticus. I was surrounded by incredible treasures: behind me was a 1611 KJV (ironic, no?), a Wycliffe Bible, and a Tyndale NT. I would truly enjoy spending a good deal more time in that room, but given that a project is pending to digitize a, I probably won't have that chance anytime soon (which is not, please note, a complaint: better to have a available to all in digitized form, to be sure). To the right you see first Codex Sinaiticus, open to the end of the Gospel of John; and below it Codex Alexandrinus, open to the end of Luke and the beginning of John.
In any case, I was drawn back to the impudent sub-title offered by our Muslim antagonists, "William Campbell Has Good Reasons To Cry (Or A Sob Story That Will Break Your Heart!)". Given the responses we have already provided, documenting not only errors in the material they were citing, but providing reasoned discussion of each of the variants cited, the boisterous and arrogant sub-title stands very much without foundation, reflecting not upon the biblical text, but upon Saifullah and Azmy themselves.
Islamic Apologetics and New Testament Transmission (#19)
03/15/2005 - James WhiteBy this point we truly have grounds for questioning the accuracy and purpose of Bentley's review, and we surely understand why it is found useful by Saifullah and Azmy! The bias goes on,
In Matthew's Gospel Codex Sinaiticus contains another suggestion about Jesus which conflicted with the theological views of later Christians and was therefore suppressed. Speaking (in Matthew chapter 24) of the day of judgment, Jesus, according to Codex Sinaiticus, observes that 'of that day and hour knoweth no-one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.'Once again we have the very easy, very casual assertion of "suppression," which fits so well with the purposes of our Muslim writers (or in this case, quoters). Surely later scribes in some instances struggled with the passage, but, as normal, Bentley ignores a rather striking fact that undermines any apologetic benefit our Muslim writers may think this portion conveys to them: specifically, that the disputed phrase found in Matthew 24:36 in a but not in the later Majority text is found in Mark 13:32, not only in a, but in the Majority text as well. If this is simply a matter of "suppression," why not "suppress" Mark 13:32 in the same fashion? So given the presence of the phrase in Mark, the point is rather moot either direction.
Other ancient manuscripts also contain the words 'neither the Son'. But the suggestion here that Jesus might not be on the same level of knowledge as God was unacceptable to later generations of Christians, and the phrase was suppressed.
At this point even Hort was momentarily tempted to suspect a theologically motivated suppression, admitting that the omission of these words 'neither the Son' can indeed be explained 'by the doctrinal difficulty which they seem to contain'.
Islamic Apologetics and New Testament Transmission (#18)
03/04/2005 - James WhiteImmediately after misrepresenting Sinaiticus through misrepresenting the textual variant, Bentley then simply misrepresents it by gross and unexplainable error. He begins a section where he is alleging purposeful editing of the text of a by scribes for theological reasons. He rightly notes that Westcott and Hort and Tischendorf continued to hold a high view of Scripture, and quotes W&H as saying, "It will not be out of place to add here a distinct expression of our belief that even among the numerous unquestionably spurious readings of the New Testament there are no signs of deliberate falsifications of the text for dogmatic purposes." But when he turns to a to actually refute their own views, he blunders on his first attempt. We read,
For example, in the first chapter of Mark's Gospel we are told of a leper who says to Jesus, 'If you will, you can make me clean'. Codex Sinaiticus continues, Jesus, 'angry, stretched out his hand and touched him, and said, "I will; be clean"'. Later manuscripts, perceiving that to attribute anger to Jesus at this point made him appear, perhaps, too human, alter the word 'angry' to 'moved with compassion'.The text referred to is Mark 1:41, which reads in a, "Moved with compassion, he stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, 'I am willing; be cleansed.'" I have a photo-mechanical reprint of a in my library, prepared by Tischendorf himself, and I checked it as well: it reads splagcqeis, "moved with compassion." Bentley is simply in error. There is a textual variant here that reads "angered," but it is found in D and a very small number of other less important witnesses. I suppose it is possible Bentley simply misread a textual source somewhere, but to start out your demonstration of purposeful emendation with the scholarly equivalent of a face-plant in figure skating is ominous. And, of course, our Muslim writers, quoting extensively from Bentley, do not catch his error.
Islamic Apologetics and New Testament Transmission (#17)
03/03/2005 - James WhiteMy apologies for the time since I last continued the examination of Saifullah & Azmy's article on the transmission of the text of the New Testament, and in particular, at this point, seventeen articles in, their lengthy citation of Bentley's Secrets of Mount Sinai regarding Codex Sinaiticus (a). Life, at times, is so very distracting!
Once again we encounter a section of the citation of Bentley that, while useful for the creation of a false impression, is hardly relevant to truth nor compelling to those who know it. Here is the next portion that is cited:
As if this were not enough to shock those schooled on older versions of the gospels, Codex Sinaiticus even minimizes some of the punishments in store for the wicked, according to the traditional texts. St Mark's Gospel, chapter 9, for instance, describes hell as a place 'where the worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched' (a description taken from the last verse of the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah). Codex Sinaiticus omits the words.Now, Bentley may be a better writer than most textual critics (who can't seem to come up with a title for their books more creative than New Testament Textual Criticism) but comments like this explain why it is textual critics who should write on the subject of textual criticism. Here is what a contains at Mark 9:48: "where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched." So, we see that Sinaiticus contains the very words that Bentley says it does not. So why did he write what he did? Because of the fact that the same phrase is repeated in the Majority Text at Mark 9:44 and 9:46, but is not found in those places by such sources as a, B, C, L, W, D Y f1 and other early translations of the text into Latin, Syriac, and Coptic. Ironically, the sentence in question comes from the very end of the book of Isaiah, 66:24, and since Sinaiticus contains the Greek Old Testament, yes, the sentence exists even there (meaning it actually appears in a twice). It seems that we have here a scribal expansion based upon attaching this fearful description to the term hell (another variant, found in verse 45, repeats the description "into the unquenchable fire" from v. 43). One can see, from the flow of the text, why a scribe would be tempted to repeat or expand the phrases that come at the end of 43, 45, and 47 due to their parallelism. In any case, Bentley's statement is simply untrue, and is an excellent example of the same kind of exaggerated assertion that fills the many volumes of King James Only writings even to this day.