What about … #49

This is a little book of an author called Ahmed Didat which died some 20 years ago. I found it funny and interesting, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. You may read what follows in the next post “who moved the stone”

Since  I  am  commanded  by  my  Prophet,  peace  be  upon  him,  to  seek  knowledge  I  wanted  to learn.  I  said:  “I  agree  with  all  that  you  have  read  to  me,  but  I  have  a  problem  with  your Bible.”  “What  problem  have  you  got?”  he  asked.  I  said:  “Please  open  the  Gospel  of  St.  Luke, chapter 3 verse 23.” This he did. I said: “Please read.” He read:”And  Jesus  himself  began  to  be  about  thirty  years  of  age,  being  (as  was  supposed)  the  son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,” (Luke 3:23) I  drew  the  Reverend’s  attention  to  the  words  –  “(As  was  supposed).”  I  said:  “Do  you  see that  the  words  ‘As  was  supposed’  are  written  within  brackets?”  He  said  that  he  saw  that.  I asked  him:  “Why  are  the  brackets  there?”  He  acknowledged,  “I  don’t  know,  but  I  could  find out  for  you  from  some  Bible  scholars.”  I  admired  his  humility.  Though  I  knew  that  all Supervisors  of  Bible  Houses  in  South  Africa  are  retired  reverends,  it  was  possible  that  this aspect  of  Bible  knowledge  was  beyond  their  sphere.  I  said:  “If  you  do  not  know,  then  let  me tell  you  what  the  brackets  are  doing  there  in  this  verse.  You  do  not  have  to  take  the  trouble of looking for a Bible scholar.” I  explained  that  in  the  “most  ancient”  manuscripts  of  Luke,  the  words  “As  was  supposed” are  not  there.  Your  translators  felt  that  without  this  interpolation  the,  ordinary  Christians, not  well  grounded  in  faith,  might  slip  and  fall  into  the  error  of  believing  that  Joseph  the Carpenter  was  the  actual  physical  father  of  Jesus.  So  they  took  the  precaution  of  adding their  own  comment  in  brackets  to  avoid  any  misunderstanding.  I  said:  “I  am  not  trying  to find  fault  with  your  system  of  adding  words  in  brackets  to  assist  the  reader,  but  what intrigues  me  is  that  in  all  translations  of  the  Bible  in  the  African  and  Eastern  languages  you have  retained  the  words  “as  was  supposed”  but  have  removed  the  brackets!  Couldn’t  the nations  of  the  Earth  besides  the  English  understand  the  meaning  and  purpose  of  the brackets? What  is  wrong  with  the  Afrikaner?  Why  have  you  eliminated  the  brackets  from  the  Afrikaans Bible?  The  Supervisor  protested:  “I  didn’t  do  it.”  I  said:  “I  know  that  you  personally  did  not do  it  but  why  have  the  Bible  Society  that  you  represent  and  your  Bible  scholars  been  playing with  the  ‘Word  of  God?’  If  God  Almighty  did  not  see  fit  to  preserve  Luke  from  error  what right  has  anybody  to  add  to  or  delete  from  words  in  the  ‘Book  of  God?’  What  right  have  you to manufacture ‘God’s Words?’ Interpolations The  translator’s  own  addition  of  words  in  brackets  can  easily  be  put  into  the  mouth  of  St. Luke  by  merely  removing  the  brackets,  and  by  implication,  if  Luke  was  inspired  by  God  to write  what  he  did,  then  the  interpolations  automatically  become  the  Word  of  God,  which really  is  not  the  case.  (More  will  be  said  on  this  subject  in  the  forthcoming  publication  Is  the Bible  God’s  Word?)  I  concluded  my  explanation  with  the  words  –  ‘Your  theologians  of  the day  have  succeeded  where  the  alchemists  of  yore  failed  –  of  turning  baser  metal  into  shining gold.'” The English Language At  this  stage  the  Reverend  introduced  irrelevancies  into  the  discussion  and  the  subject changed.  He  made  some  claims  which  made  me  say:  “You  see,  sir,  you  English  people  do not  know  your  own  language.”  (With  apologies  to  my  readers  whose  mother  tongue  is English).  He  quickly  retorted:  “You  mean  to  say  that  you  know  my  language  better  than  I do?”  I  said:  “It  would  be  presumptuous  on  my  part  to  tell  –  an  Englishman  –  that  I understand  your  language  better  than  you  do.”  “Then  what  do  you  mean  that  we  English people  do  not  know  our  own  language?”  he  demanded.  I  said  again:  “You  see,  sir,  you  read your  Holy  Scripture  in  your  mother  tongue,  like  every  Christian  belonging  to  a  thousand different  language  groups,  and  yet  each  and  every  Christian  language  group  understands the facts,  opposite  to what he is reading.” “What are you referring to?” he asked. A Ghost I  continued:  “Do  you  remember  the  occasion  when  Jesus  returned  to  that  upper  room  after his  alleged  crucifixion:  ‘And  saith  unto  them,  (his  disciples),  ‘Peace  be  unto  you”  (Luke 24:36),  and  his  disciples  were  terrified  on  recognizing  him?”  He  answered  that  he remembered  that  incident.  I  inquired:  “Why  should  they  be  terrified?”  When  one  recognizes one’s  long-lost  friend  or  one’s  beloved,  the  natural  reaction  is  to  feel  overjoyed,  elated  and one  wants  to  embrace  and  kiss  the  hands  and  feet  of  the  beloved.  Why  did  they  get terrified?”  The  Reverend  replied  that  they  (the  disciples)  thought  that  they  were  seeing  a ghost.”  I  asked:  “Did  Jesus  look  like  a  ghost?”  He  said:  “No.”  “Then  why  did  they  think  that they  were  seeing  a  ghost  when  he  did  not  look  like  a  ghost?”  I  queried.  The  Reverend  was clearly puzzled. I said: “Please allow me to explain.” Disciples Not Eye Witnesses “You  see,  sir,  the  disciples  of  Jesus  were  not  eye-witnesses  or  ear-witnesses  to  the  actual happenings  of  the  previous  three  days,  as  vouched  for  by  St.  Mark  who  says  that  at  the most  critical  juncture  in  the  life  of  Jesus:  “they  all  forsook  him  and  fled.”  (Mark  14:50).  All the  knowledge  of  the  disciples  regarding  their  Master  was  from  hearsay.  They  had  heard that  their  master  was  hanged  on  the  Cross;  they  had  heard  that  he  had  given  up  the  Ghost; they  had  heard  that  he  was  dead  and  buried  for  three  days.  If  one  is  confronted  by  a  person with  such  a  reputation  then  the  conclusion  is  inescapable;  they  must  be  seeing  a  ghost. Little wonder these ten brave men were petrified.” “To  disabuse  their  minds  from  the  fear  that  gripped  them,  Jesus  reasoned  with  them.  He said:  ‘Behold  my  hands  and  my  feet,  that  it  is  I  myself’  To  put  it  in  colloquial  English,  this  is how  he  told  them:  ‘What  is  wrong  with  you  fellows,  can’t  you  see  that  I  am  the  same person  –  who  walked  and  talked  with  you,  broke  bread  with  you  –  flesh  and  blood  in  all respects.’ Why  do  doubts  enter  your  minds?  ‘Handle  me  and  see,  for  a  spirit  has  no  flesh  and  bones  as you  see  me  have.’  (Luke  24:39).  In  other  words  he  is  telling  them:  ‘If  I  have  flesh  and bones,  then  I  am  not  a  ghost,  not  a  spook  and  not  a  spirit!'”  “Is  that  right?”  I  asked.  “Yes,” he  replied.  I  continued  that,  Jesus  is  telling  them,  as  recorded  in  this  verse,  in  basic  English, that  what  the  disciples  were  asked  to  “handle  and  see”  was  not  a  translated  body,  not  a metamorphosed  body  and  not  a  resurrected  body,  because  a  resurrected  body  is  a spiritualised  body.  He  is  telling  them  in  the  clearest  language  humanly  possible  that  he  is not  what  they  were  thinking.  They  were  thinking  that  he  was  a  spirit,  a  resurrected  body, one having been brought back from the dead. He is most emphatic that  he is not!” Spiritualization “But  how  can  you  be  so  sure  that  the  resurrected  body  cannot  materialize  physically  as Jesus  had  obviously  done?”  murmured  the  Reverend.  I  replied:  “Because  Jesus  had  himself pronounced  that  the  resurrected  bodies  get  spiritualised.”  When  did  he  say  any  such  thing?”inquired  the  Reverend.  I  answered:  “Do  you  remember  the  incident  as  recorded  in  the Gospel  of  St.  Luke,  chapter  20,  where  the  learned  men  of  the  Jews-  “the  chief  priests  and the  scribes  with  the  elders”-  had  come  to  him  with  a  number  of  posers,  and  among  them was  one  about  a  Jewess  who  had  seven  husbands  in  turn,  one  after  another  according  to  a Jewish  custom,  and  in  time  all  seven  husbands  and  the  woman  too  died?”  The  Reverend said  that  he  did  remember  the  occasion.  I  continued:  “The  trap  that  the  religious  hierarchy was  trying  to  spring  on  him  was;  which  one  of  the  seven  husbands  was  going  to  possess  the woman  on  the  ‘Other  side’-  at  the  resurrection?-  since  they  reasoned  with  Jesus  that  the seven brothers  had her. There  was  no  problem  while  they  fulfilled  their  obligation  of  trying  to  give  her  a  child, because  they  had  possessed  her  one  by  one  in  turn,  and  it  was  after  the  death  of  one  that the  other  had  taken  her  to  wife.  But  since  at  the  resurrection  all  seven  will  be  brought  to  life simultaneously,  there  will  be  strife  in  heaven  because  all  seven  would  want  to  get  at  her  at the same time, specially if they had pleasure with her.” “Jesus  debunked  their  false  notion  of  the  resurrection,  by  saying  that  at  the  resurrection: ‘neither  shall  they  die  any  more’  (Luke  20:36)  meaning  that  the  resurrected  persons  will  be Immortalised.  They  will  not  be  subject  to  death  any  more,  no  more  hanger  or  thirst,  no more  fatigue.  In  short,  all  the  instruments  of  death  will  be  powerless  against  the resurrected  body.  Jesus  continues  to  explain:  ‘for  they  (the  resurrected  bodies)  are  equal unto  the  angles,’  that  is,  that  they  will  be  Angelised  –  spiritualised,  that  they  will  become spirit-creatures,  i.e.  Spirits;’and  the  children  of  God,  for  such  are  the  children  of  the resurrection.” (Luke 20:36). Jesus Not Spiritualised I  was  taken  off  from  the  theme  I  was  expounding  two  paragraphs  above  by  the  Reverend with  the  challenge:  “But  how  can  you  be  so  sure..?”  To  continue  from  where  I  had  deviated above  –  He  is  Not  what  they  were  thinking,  that  he  was  not  a  Spirit,  not  a  Ghost,  not  a Spook.  To  assure  them  further  after  having  offered  his  hands  and  feet  for  inspection  and verification  that  his  was  a  material,  physical  body,  and  that  all  their  bewilderment  and disbelief  was  unjustified,  he  asked  his  disciples:  “Have  you  here  any  meat?”  (Meaning something  to  eat).  “And  they  gave  him  a  piece  of  broiled  fish  and  of  a  honeycomb,  and  he took it, and did eat before them.” (Luke 24:41-43) A Drama? What  was  Jesus  trying  to  prove  by  all  his  demonstrations  of  wanting  his  hands  and  feet  to be  handled  and  chewing  and  masticating  broiled  fish  and  honeycomb?  Was  all  this  a pretense,  make-belief,  an  act  or  drama?  “No!”  Said  Schleliermacher  in  1819,  a  hundred years  before  I  was  born.  Albert  Schweizer  records  him  saying:  “If  Christ  had  only  eaten  to show  that  he  could  eat,  while  he  really  had  no  need  of  nourishment,  if  would  have  been  a pretense, something docetic.”(  In Quest of the Historical Jesus,  page 64). I  had  not  know  of  Schleliermacher  and  other  Christian  scholars  who  over  a  hundred  years ago  doubted  the  death  of  Jesus  on  the  cross  as  recorded  by  Albert  Schweizer,  when  I  was discussing this subject with the head of the Bible Society. No Resurrection “What  is  wrong  with  you  (Christian)  folk?”  Jesus  is  telling  you  in  the  most  unambiguous language  that  he  is  not  a  spirit  –  not  spiritualised,  not  a  resurrected  person,  and  yet  the whole  Christian  world  believes  that  he  was  resurrected,  i.e.  spiritualised.  Who  is  lying,  you or  him?  How  is  it  possible  that  you,  each  and  every  Christian,  are  reading  your  Bible  in  your own  mother  tongue  and  yet  each  and  every  groups  is  made  to  understand  the  exact opposite  of  what  they  are  reading?  If  you  read  the  Bible,  say,  in  Hebrew,  and  pleaded  that you  did  not  understand  what  you  were  reading,  I  can  appreciate  this  fact.  If  you  read  it  in Greek  and  pleaded  that  you  did  not  really  understand  the  implications  of  what  was  written; I  can  appreciate  this  fact  also.  But  the  anomaly  is  that  you  are  reading  the  Book,  each  and every  one,  in  his  own  mother  tongue,  and  are  trained  to  understand  the  opposite  of  what  is written.  How  have  you  been  brainwashed,  or  rather,  how  have  you  been  “Programmed,”  as the Americans would put it? “Please  tell  me  as  to  who  is  lying?  Is  it  Jesus  or  a  thousand  million  Christians  of  the  world? Jesus  says:  “No!”  to  his  being  resurrected,  and  all  of  you  say:  “Yes!”  Whom  are  we  Muslims to  believe,  Jesus  or  his  so  called  disciples?  We  Muslims  would  rather  believe  the  Master.  Did he not say: “The disciple is not greater than the Master.”? (Matthew 10:24) This  was  more  than  the  Reverend  had  bargained  for.  He  politely  excused  himself  by  saying that  as  he  had  to  get  ready  to  close  his  office,  he  would  look  forward  to  meeting  me  again. This was sheer evasive politeness! With  the  Bible  Society,  I  won  the  debate  but  lost  the  discount!  No  more  discount  for  me from  the  Bible  Society.  But  let  my  loss  be  your  gain.  If  you  dear  reader,  can  remove  a  few cobwebs from your thinking on the subject of the  Crucifixion, I will be amply rewarded. Now here are the verses discussed put together : “..Jesus  himself  stood  in  their  midst,  and  said  unto  them,  Peace  be  unto  you…But  they  were terrified,  and  supposing  that  they  were  seeing  a  spirit…  And  he  said  unto  them,..  ‘Behold my  hands  and  my  feet,  that  it  is  I  myself:  handle  me  and  see;  for  a  spirit  has  no  flesh  and bones,  as  you  see  me  have’…  And  showed  them  his  hands  and  feet…  And  while  they  yet believed  not  for  joy  and  wondered,  he  said  unto  them,  ‘Have  ye  here  any  meat?’..  And  they gave  him  a  piece  of  broiled  fish,  and  of  a  honeycomb…  And  he  took  it,  and  did  eat  before them.” (Luke 24:36-43)