Dr. James D. Price has sent this short summary response to Bravo's "rebuttal." As time permits, we will be following this up with a more thorough exposition of Bravo's fallacies and errors, Lord Jesus willing.
A Response to Usman Sheikh's Attack on the Christian Scripture
By James D. Price, Ph.D.
In a response to Sam Shamoun's defense of the Christian Scripture, Usman Sheikh attacked the integrity of James D. Price, a defender of the Christian Scripture, as "another extremely biased, die-hard fundamentalist Christian apologist." Such an ad hominem attack is inadmissible in logical debate, and is a sign of a weak argument. Without investigating Price's academic credentials or his scholarly achievements, Sheikh cited an evaluation of Price given by Mr. Farrell Till, an avowed atheist who vehemently attacks anyone who believes in God or in a sacred scripture. Till would equally evaluate Sheikh, a believer in Allah and a defender of the divine origin of the Koran, as "another extremely biased die-hard Islamic Fundamentalist" together with all the underlying implications of that expression.
Sheikh seems to be unaware that under the broad umbrella of the term "Christianity" are several schools of scholarly thought. There are academically qualified Christian scholars that support the orthodox doctrines that have been held by Christians from the very beginning; then there are "Christian" scholars who base their thinking on a rationalistic philosophy that denies the possibility of supernatural events such as the divine origin of any sacred scripture, including the Koran. That kind of philosophical presupposition produces a bias that leads such scholars to deny any kind of divine interaction of God with man. To them, any ancient records of supernatural activity must of necessity be the result of myth and legend, not true history. To them, orthodox Christianity, with its supernatural claims, cannot be the result of genuine history, but of evolutionary human invention. They would say the same about Islam and the Koran. Scholars with that philosophical bias are not advocates of historic Biblical Christianity, but of an unorthodox form of Christianity that Biblical Christians, both ancient and modern, would classify as heretical. Their form of unbelief differs from that of an atheist like Farrell Till only as a matter of degree. They would be equally antagonistic of any supernatural claims regarding the origin of Islam and the Koran. Sheikh has chosen to view the evidence through the eyes of such unbelieving, heretical Christians and atheists. Sheikh has chosen to believe the word of an atheist who claims that orthodox Christianity "is no longer taught in responsible seminaries or believed by scholars who put academic integrity above religious bias."
Atheist Till and Sheikh have misrepresented the seminaries that still hold to historic Christianity as irresponsible, but most of these seminaries have the same academic accreditation as the schools Sheikh and atheist Till represent as responsible; but such accreditation is not granted to irresponsible institutions. They misrepresent these seminaries as lacking academic integrity because of religious bias; but they overlook the philosophical, anti-supernatural bias of the heretical institutions, as though that bias were not "religious." They infer that a religious person cannot honestly seek after objective truth. Sheikh seems to be unaware that atheist Till would also classify him and his Islamic educational institutions as irresponsible, lacking academic integrity because of their religious bias, and unable to seek after objective truth. Sheikh sleeps with his own enemies in a vain attempt to discredit historic Christianity. Sheikh repeatedly stated that the unorthodox, heretical Christian scholars (those he cites as authorities) and their institutions vastly outnumber the orthodox Christian scholars and institutions. This misrepresents the facts. There are dozens of academically accredited orthodox Christian seminaries and thousands of academically qualified orthodox Christian scholars. Such exaggeration is inexcusable.
Sheikh employed the invalid argument from silence in his attempt to refute Price's statement that the New Testament was regarded as the word of God from the beginning. He stated:
"Which literature is Dr. Price talking about? Post apostolic literature dated [to] the end of the 2nd century? Then yes, by the end of the 2nd century the New Testament books we[re] regarded as "scripture", however before that they were not. In other words they were regarded as "scripture" only after a certain amount of time had elapsed, but at the very moment they were written, they were not regarded as "scripture"."
In this statement Sheikh admitted that by the end of the 2nd century the New Testament was regarded as Scripture. However, his statement "before that they were not" is speculation based purely on silence. There is no evidence to support that statement. No quotations of the first or second century church fathers exist that deny the New Testament is Scripture except those of the heretic Tatian, and his denial infers that the consensus of the Christian community was that the New Testament was Scripture. In fact, the first and second century quotations of the New Testament by the church fathers indicate that they regarded it as authoritative Scripture. Later discussions of the canon also are evidence that the doctrine was of long standing. It was only when heresies arose that the doctrine needed defending. The New Testament itself indicates that the apostles regarded their writings as Scripture. It is insufficient for Sheikh to deny that the passages mean what they clearly state. Denial is not refutation, and quoting Christian heretics does not change the picture. There is no need to further discuss the matter of the integrity of the New Testament text. Sheikh obviously is no textual scholar, and he misinterprets and exaggerates the material he quotes from textual scholars.
Textual variants are a common problem for all ancient manuscripts, including those of the Koran. See Régis Blachère, Introduction au Coran, Paris, Maisonneuve et Larose, 1991 (2nd edition). This book contains actual photographs of ancient Koranic fragments that contain variant readings, some of which are significantly different from the current form of the Koran. Sheikh's heretical Christian textual scholars will take the text of the Koran to task with as much delight as they do the text of the New Testament. They have no respect for claims of divine origin, whether of the New Testament or the Koran. Let him praise their wisdom and textual skills when it comes to their treatment of the Koran. After all, the doctrine of divine inspiration of the New Testament applies only to the autographic text written by the apostles, not to later manuscripts.
The fact that thousands of manuscripts have survived, that they are in essential agreement, and that good scientific methods exists for identifying the original words in places of variation, is sufficient for Christianity. Let Sheikh believe what Mohammed and the Koran say about the Gospel (New Testament): "O ye people of the Book! Do not exceed in your religion, nor say against God aught save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, is but the apostle of God and His Word, which He cast into Mary and a spirit from Him; believe in God and His apostles." (Surah IV, 169) "And we followed up the footsteps of these (prophets) with Jesus the son of Mary, confirming that which was before him and the law, and we brought him the gospel, wherein is guidance and light, verifying what was before it of the law, and a guidance and an admonition unto those who fear. "Then let the people of the gospel judge by that which is revealed therein, for whoso will not judge by what God has revealed, these be the evildoers." (Surah V, 50-51) "Say, 'O people of the Book! Ye rest on naught until ye stand fast by the law and the gospel, and what is revealed to you from your Lord.'" (Surah V, 72) "Then we followed up their footsteps with our apostles; and we followed them up with Jesus the son of Mary; and we gave him the gospel; and we placed in the hearts of those who followed him kindness and compassion." (Surah LVII, 27)
Several additional comments are in order. Bravo had chided me for quoting "unbelievers" and "skeptics" against the Quran. Yet he now quotes Farrel Till, a die-hard atheist, in order to refute Dr. Price! Such hypocrisy is quite amazing to say the least. Sadly, this is a trademark of Bravo's shoddy rebuttals.
As Price noted, Till is equally skeptical against Islam. Note Till's following comments:
What Katz is arguing is that the expression "to know Yahweh" meant to understand his power, greatness, etc., or, in other words, to understand that he was the big fish in the little pond of gods that the primitive people of that time believed in. However, this is only a straw man that inerrantists set up to kick around and draw attention away from the real problem in Exodus 6:3. If Katz wants to claim that the story of the Egyptian plagues presents Yahweh as a huffing, puffing, blustering, bragging deity whose character was so petty that he was determined to show the Egyptians a thing or two, he will get no argument from me, because that is exactly what the story does. It's a very good reason why no rational person can believe that anything like this ever happened, that the depiction of Yahweh in this story was merely the result of petty, vindictive, barbaric people creating a god in their own image. But nothing that happened in the story of the plagues, nothing that the Big Y may have said during his reign of terror has anything to do with a simple, plain statement recorded in Exodus 6:3, ... [First paragraph of TILL]
... So Yahweh, Dagon, Chemosh, Bel, Osiris, Vishnu, Ahura Mazda, ALLAH--they are all just sounds that were INVENTED to represent superstitious concepts that humankind should have outgrown long ago. [third paragraph from the bottom] (Source)
Till's mockery of the Exodus also undermines the Quran since the latter refers to the plagues which God sent down upon the Egyptians.
Also note the following exchange between a Muslim and Stephen B, a member of Till's team:
Evidence to the authenticity of the Koran can be found at:
Start with parts 4,5, 9, and 10.
Just because you give up on the Bible does not mean the Wise creator has not left a clear guidance.
Internet Infidels' Response:
>Please review the Koran for something different.
>Evidence to the authenticity of the Koran can be found at:
>Start with parts 4,5, 9, and 10.
>Just because you give up on the Bible does not mean the Wise creator has not left a clear guidance.
This is true, and so I will do you justice by replying to each of parts 4, 5, 9, and 10.
#4. Written is, "So what is this evidence that Islam claims to present that is so convincing? The first issue is authenticity."
Let's suppose Mr. Green, the author of "Material on the Authenticity...," is correct, that is, the Quran of today is the same as that of fourteen or so centuries ago. The first thing that pops into my mind is, "Wow! That's pretty good." The second thing that pops in is, "Okay, but how does this show that the Quran is from God?"
Imagine, for a moment, that we have in hand a book written, say, fifteen hundred years ago. Moreover, the text is today as it was written all those centuries ago, i.e. all of it is verbatim. From this, should we conclude the book is from God? I can't imagine that merely because a book is old, and uncorrupted, i.e. "authentic", we must therefore think the book was written by God.
Now, you may claim that no book we know of has a record comparable to that of the Quran, is not as old nor is as uncorruputed. Whether this is true or not I do not know. I do suppose we have very old books that have remained uncorrupted, e.g. Shakespeare's plays and Milton's Paradise Lost, but we don't believe they were God-made. The point I'm driving at is that it is not impossible, and it's very probable, that humans can preserve and have preserved a text for centuries unlimited. I don't believe incorruptability is evidence of God, though it does speak volumes of man's ability to preserve objects of the past.
Of course, I've assumed that the Quran has remained uncorrupted. Is this really so? How much scholarship has been done in the area? I would refer you to a book titled Why I Am Not a Muslim by Ibn Warraq, who discusses this issue. I don't believe I can do justice to this topic, so I won't comment.
#5. Written is this challenge, "And if you are in doubt concerning that which we have sent down to our slave (Muhammad) then produce a chapter like it, and call your supporters and helpers besides Allah, if you are truthful!"
Actually, three different points were written in #5, and I'll address these in turn, this one first. I noticed that Mr. Green, to set aside possible refutations of the above challenge, wrote, "The challenge of the Quran for man to produce its like is not, as some suppose, merely like the uniqueness of Shakespeare, Shelly, Keats, or Homer." That is very unfair, because these works, like the Quran, are unique in their own ways. As Mr. Green, through the Quran, asks, "Is it possible for a person to create anything like the Quran?", it is indeed fair for me to ask, is it possible for a person to create anything like Hamlet? Why?
Again, like the Quran, Hamlet is unique in its own respects. The claim is the Quran is a book of law, and a history, and, some claim, is "sacred". Well, I won't dispute these, but I will mention that Hamlet is a play, that the actions and stage settings are to be interpreted by the players and audience, while the dialogue is to be kept as is: it is unique as plays go. Can you, or any man, produce its like? If not, must we then conclude it is the word of God?
You might reply, "The challenge was not made to us, but to the Arabs at the time. As Mr. Green said, 'Poetry in Arabic falls into sixteen different "Bihar" (rhythmic forms), and other than that they have the speech of soothsayers, rhyming prose, and normal speech. The Quran's form did not fall into any of these categories. It was this that made the Quran inimitable...'."
I would say, very good, the Arabs of the time did not know how to make up poetry as Muhammad did. I've never denied that Muhammad was a smart man, perhaps even brilliant, but this skill does not mean God was behind it all. Had Shakespeare with his wordy ways done the same, and told people his plays were from God and challenged them to produce their like, should we then believe him too? Not at all -- we know he was a man, a man with a gift, but a man nevertheless, a man who, as far as we know, did not receive revelation from God.
All in all, inability to reproduce a work does not necessarily imply God. At best it implies a certain amount of genius on the part of one (or a few), and a lack of ability on the part of many.
It was asked, "... how is it possible for an un-lettered and un-learned man, not versed in poetry, to be able to produce a work of eloquence and perfect rhetoric, so that even the assembled experts and masters of all forms poetry and the Arabic language were unable to produce its like?" You know, I often ask myself a similar question, "How can a man like Einstein, ignorant in so very many ways, come up with the General Theory of Relativity?" I'll say, the brains of human beings never cease to amaze me.
Being unlettered and unlearned (bookwise, anyway) is no indication of a lack of genius. Goodness, what makes Mr. Green suppose that the brilliant are something akin to PhDs in a field? Should we think that because Mozart didn't go to the University that his music is from God? Or that Edison's lightbulb was the kiss of an angel? Keats went to school, but his poetic ability was of substance no teacher could impart -- perhaps he was a prophet of God? Please tell me how lack of book-learning and genius put together is evidence of a higher power.
Written was, "If we examine analytically the claim of anyone to Prophethood then there are three possibilies concerning such a claim. The first is that the individual is a liar. The second possibility is that the individual ... is only suffering some form of delusion, and the third is that the individual is really receiving revelation, and is speaking the truth."
This, my friend, is what is called a "trilemma," where it is supposed that there could be only three possible explanations for an event or behavior. The Internet Infidels deal with this particular fallacy in Chapter 7 of The Jury Is In, which you may find at
Please read it.
#9. Green comments on the prophecies of the Quran. For example, "The Roman Empire has been defeated in a land close by; but they, even after this defeat, will gain victory in a few years."
Depending on the translation, we could say "Roman Empire," or we can say "Romans." Byzantium was no longer Roman but an empire unto itself, so the translation is a matter of controversy. But supposing it is not: given that the Prophet died after the said battles, what is to say he did not see both of these, then added this prophesy onto his already enormous number of sayings?
*Sigh* There are so many problems with prophesy, it's hard to know where to begin. I'd say the biggest problem, and the only one I'll mention here, is that there is little in the way of specificity, that is, revelations tend to be so general as to be able to interpret them as a person wants them to be interpreted. Disappearance of trustworthiness, increase in killing, decrease of religious knowledge -- these things are so mundane, and occur so often relative to the period and place, how can they possibly serve as revelation? Now, were the Prophet more specific, say, revealing that atomic bombs would be built by the United States during the Second World War -- now that's a revelation worthy of attention!
By the way, I'd like to see the references that support the claim that the Ark of Noah was found, as well as evidence to support that Jonah was swallowed by a fish and that Alexander died an old man -- two more events mentioned by the Quran.
#10. Written is, "The Quran is the last revelation, and a proof not only to the pagan Arabs one thousand four hundred years ago, but also to the scientists of today."
Let's look at these scientific wonders, shall we?
"1. The Accurate Description of Embryonic and Fetal
Interesting that the author mentions Aristotle's beliefs concerning female impregnation, but did not remark on the Philosopher's discussion of the formation of a chicken (a very good analysis of the fetal cycle which is found in Book VI, Chapter three, The History of Animals) or his discussion of semen found in On the Generation of Animals. To tell the truth, more is to be gotten out of Aristotle's work than from Sura 23:12-16, which is the quote Green uses to support his claim. Green adds, "The Prophet further explained the meaning of Nutfa as meaning both the male sperm and the female ovum." Uh, okay, so where is the relevant passage? Where exactly did the Prophet mention sperm and ovum?
Besides this, isn't it possible that the formation of the human animal would have been well-known by Muhammad's time? Even if he or other Arabs did not have access to the works of the Greeks and Romans (available centuries before he was alive,) I think we can safely assume that people knew women who had had miscarriages, possibly even abortions, knew of fetal animals, knew of sexual practices among men and women, and etc. It would not be hard for any person to guess that men and women were needed for procreation (why, didn't Adam and Eve know one another? Was she not a tilth unto him for which he was supposed to spread his seed?).
"2. Cosmology." There are a couple things mentioned in this passage, that of the origin of the universe, and that of the origin of life, "Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were joined together as one united pice, then We parted them. And We have made from water every living thing." Actually, supposing one starts from a state of nothing and goes to a state of something, one must also suppose that the something must come from a common origin. The Hebrews, the Egyptians, even a number of Greeks believed this very same thing, before the Quran was written. And some Greeks believed the universe to have always existed. Heck, even today such controversy abounds -- no one can claim for sure that the universe is closed or open, if it had a definable beginning, was always here in a form of steady state, fluctuates, or whatnot. Much of it is still theory, but we hope to have an answer soon. So, why not ask Mr. Green to go out on a limb and state specifically, using the Quran, what the ultimate fate and beginning of the universe is -- we want to leave little room for doubt, you know.
Then there's the reference to the origin of life. It's interesting to note that Green made the reference to man being formed out of clay in his first evidence, and then points out that "every living thing" was made from water in his second evidence. What gives? But I digress. The Greeks had pretty much figured out creatures were of water -- Aristotle, for example, makes mention in his History that without moisture, living things would die. I'm afraid I do not see a hint of the divine in revealing that creatures are made "from water."
"3. Geology." Written is, "Have we not made the earth an expanse; and the mountains stakes? ... And Allah has cast into the ground mountains standing firm so that it does not shake with you." As I see it, this passage refutes the Quran in its knowledge of geology: mountains, if I recall, are the result of land masses pushing against one another, resulting in an upward force of mass which we call mountains. Therefore, it is incorrect to say the mountains were "cast into the ground" like "stakes"; I'd say mountains are more like two globs of clay mushed together, squeezed so hard they squirt outward from the hands that press them together. Depending on the reference point, we would say the mountains are pushed "up", not thrust "in" (though it is possible we might say similar "mountains" grow "down", causing roots, eh?)
"4. Animal and Plant life." Feminine bees? C'mon, that seems to be stretching a point: the passage Green refers to (Sura 16:68) does not state that bees are girls. The passage appears to be along the lines of that quirk of Romance languages: genderizing sentences and words. What, because the Spanish for "day" is "dia", a feminine word, must we conclude that the day is a woman (this might be good for poetry, but as for fact...)?
Then there's the passage, "We send forth winds that fecundate." Who's to say what this passage means? There's no mention of pollen or of the reproductive cycles of plants: it seems Green is putting more into the passage than is there.
"5. Atomism." It's good seeing Green mentioning Democritus. However, he equates the "atom" of Democritus to that of modern science, then implies Democritus as wrong. As far as Green knows, Democritus could as well have been describing quarks and other particles smaller than what we refer to as the atom: merely because we take the word "atom" from the Greek does not make the atom Democritus described the same as that of modern science. Democritus used the term "atom" to mean "tiny, indivisible particle," not "particle made of protons, neutrons, electrons, etc."
Also, Green does a disservice to the reader by stating that the Quran makes mention of particles smaller than what we coin the "atom". Green wrote the passage (34:3) as, "He is aware of an atom's weight in the heavens and on the earth, and even anything smaller than that ...." This translation is more satisfactory:
"... not the weight of an atom becomes absent from Him, in the heavens or in the earth, and neither less than that nor greater, but (all) is in a clear book ..."
This passage is a far cry from the translation Green proposes. Could Green be fitting the evidence to the theory?
"6. Dermatology." I do not know how the passage even relates to science.
"7. The Water Cycle." Yep, the Greeks did not get everything right. And it's awesome the Arabs were correct. Still, nothing but good human observation need account for this (I mean, goodness, they lived in an arid region and all -- where else would the water come from?)
There appears to be a running assumption throughout all of these arguments, friend: that illiteracy means ignorance. Green writes this passage towards the end of #10, "Muhammad was a very ordinary man, he couldn't read, didn't know how to write, in fact was an illiterate ... we're talking about 1400 years ago you have some illiterate person making profound pronouncements and statements that are accurate of a scientific nature." Okay, so what? Is Green implying that a person cannot learn from experience, that an illiterate man is doomed to a state of ignorance and stupidity? I don't know that it follows.
These are my initial thoughts concerning the aforementioned chapters, 4, 5, 9, and 10, of 'Abdur-Raheem Green's Material on the Authenticity of the Quran and Proofs that it is a Revelation of Almighty God. In time I'll look at the other chapters, and I may express my thoughts concerning these as well. May your days always be happy.
(Quoted from this Source)
Here are some additional articles and links by members of Till's team or other atheists attacking Islam and the authenticity of the Quran: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
Thirdly, not only has Dr. Price refuted Till in their written debates, Till has also been soundly refuted and exposed for his pseudo-scholarship by Christian Apologist J.P. Holding of the Tektonics website:
http://www.tektonics.org/TK-T.html, see also http://tektonics.org/index2.html.
Finally, for a more in-depth examination of the true Quranic position regarding the authority and accuracy of the Holy Bible, as well as a rebuttal of some of Bravo's erroneous claims, we recommend the following articles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
These links present an insurmountable obstacle before Bravo. The Quran affirms that the Holy Bible in its present form is the preserved Word of God, obligating Bravo to believe in its message. Yet to believe in the Holy Bible is to reject both Muhammad and the Quran, since the latter's message is diametrically opposed to the teachings of God's true Word the Holy Bible. Bravo has opted to attack the Holy Bible. But in so doing he is only going against the directives of his prophet who affirmed the purity and authenticity of the biblical record.
Hence, Bravo is in a no win situation since to accept the Quran is to accept the Holy Bible. Yet, accepting the Holy Bible is to reject the Quran. On the other hand, to attack the Holy Bible is to falsify the Quran which acknowledges the authority of God's true Word.
In light of this, Bravo's appeal to atheists and unbelievers to attack the Holy Bible only demonstrates just how desperate and weak Bravo's arguments truly are. It shows that he has no sound case against God's true word, the Holy Bible, and therefore needs to side with the enemies of the true God, as well as that of his false prophet, in order to undermine the truth. Yet, thus far his attempts to refute the truth have failed by God's grace.
This concludes this part. More responses to follow soon, Lord Jesus willing.
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