A response to 1.2.1

"Blind faith" or "Prove all things"?

Several responses can be given to Mr. Al-Kadhi.

First response: All your quotes are wonderful Biblical commands. And observe, Paul and Jesus agree in these verses you cited that we should use our mind and (critically) examine everything.

Which Christian would want to disagree with God's holy Word as quoted correctly by Misha'al Al-Kadhi directly from the Bible?

But since Mr. Al-Kadhi does emphasize the careful examination of all claims, let us follow this exhortation and carefully examine some more subtle point in his few paragraphs in this section. This is our

Second response: We observe that Mr. Al-Kadhi again prefers the often obscure and nearly 400 year old KJV translation to a clearer modern translation.

To understand these quoted passages better, let me give them in the NIV translation:

Test everything. Hold on to the good.
1 Thessalonians 5:21

The word "prove" has made a shift of meaning, and today means to give conclusive evidence for a claim or hypothesis. We do prove a mathematical theorem. But we are not called to prove everything in this sense. The Greek word means "to examine" or "to test" just as the NIV translates it. There are many things in faith with cannot be proven, but they can be examined and tested if they hold true to the authoritative word of God or even just to the observable reality. And that is what this verse means.

Also the verse "For God is not [the author] of confusion" in 1 Corinthians 14:33 seems to be regularly misunderstood by Muslims who claim that because they are confused by some Christian teachings therefore these teachings are against the true Word of God. But Paul does not talk at all about the confusion the might be in the mind of an individual. Let me quote some of the verses before this one so that we can better understand them in their context.

1 Corinthians 14:23,29-33 reads in the NIV:

So if the whole church comes together ...
Two or three prophets should speak,
and the others should weigh carefully what is said.
And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down,
the first speaker should stop.
For you can all prophesy in turn
so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.
The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.

From the context it is absolutely clear that this is about orderly behavior in the meeting of believers for fellowship, worship and sharing of God's word. Note that again Paul puts an emphasis on evaluating carefully that which has been spoken (whether this is truly from God or not). And God is not condoning disorder but his peace which we have received personally should also express itself in our relationships with each other and the outwardly observable behavior of our worship.

Mr. Al-Kadhi cannot legitimately claim this verse as excuse for disbelief just because he is confused about the Christian teachings.

Third response: This said, I want to make some observations on his formulations. He introduces his quote from Mark 12:29-30 with "All Bibles in existence today tell us that ..." which is a very clever way to imply (without actually saying it) that there are different Bibles and they often disagree, but in this particular passage we have found one where these different Bibles are in agreement. Such formulations cannot be called other than deliberately deceptive. They try to subtly induce a certain perception in the reader without actually making it clear since most people will read past this without recognizing it. But the multiplicity of statements like this will lead the reader who does not test all things to a subconscious attitude and opinion for which there is actually not any evidence presented in the place where this attitude is formed. It is very interesting to observe this strategy in the very section where Mr. Al-Kadhi on the surface of the text tries to stress clear thinking and not to accept anything by blind faith, but then he tries to create subconscious impressions which he hopes the reader will take in by blind faith. Blind faith, because the reader is not made aware of this. Mr. Al-Kadhi is what I call a skilled demagoge.

He concludes his section with the words "So, contrary to the teachings of many, Jesus (pbuh) did not want his followers to believe everything they were told on `blind faith' ..." This again is implying that a substantial number of Christian teachers demand that we believe them blindly. I agree that there are some sectarians who do this, but I have never been in a church where anything the like is taught. I have been to many churches as a member or only for a short time in attendence, but always is there the emphasis that we should test by the word of God all that is said from the pulpit. Here again, Mr. Al-Kadhi hopes that we take his opinion by faith since he does not give any evidence for it. He tries to give in a hidden way a lot of bad impressions about Christianity.

He continues with "Rather, he wanted his followers to believe `with all thy mind.' He wanted us to THINK in order to protect his words from corruption."

I would respond that Mr. Al-Kadhi should worry less about the issue if some men could outsmart God and actually corrupt his word, but he should be really careful that his own thinking isn't corrupted by his bias and prejudice. We will make every effort in this rebuttal to make sure that his approach is not also corrupting God's message in the mind of readers which are searching for the truth with upright heart and want to know both sides of the debate. God has promised to protect his word. It is our heart that we need to guard against corruption.

Fourth response: (by a different reader of his book)

Al-Khadi says that Christians are told to think things through in matters of faith, referring to Paul's admonition to "Test all things, hold fast to what is good."

His implication is that blind faith is contrary to Jesus' teaching. As a preface to this, he quotes the greatest commandment, to love the Lord with all your strength, soul and mind.

This quotation seems out of place, although it is a wonderful command. Does he intend to pit it against his quotation from Paul, above? If so, he does not understand the command.

As to the blindness of faith, Jesus said to the legalists,

"If you were blind you would have no sin, but since you claim that you can see, your sin remains."

He meant their lives didn't match up to their knowledge of God's Word.

Where does the term "blind faith" come from? God says of the Messiah, "He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor by what His ears hear, but with equity He will give justice to the poor of the earth." Jesus saw past people's circumstances to fill the poverty in their lives. Faith then, is the assurance of things unseen, the conviction of things hoped for. For Al-Khadi to even accept that Jesus exists is blind, because surely he has never laid eyes on Him, yet he believes He exists. The exhortation to walk by faith and not by sight is necessary in a sinful environment.

Partaking of the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life has left us insensitive, or blind to God. To be blind to the world, with its temptations is necessary. Only a heart knowledge of God's forgiveness through trust in the sacrifice of His Son can restore our spiritual eyes. Should we trust our own thoughts to lead us into truth, as al-Khadi suggests, rather than accepting His revealed Word? Or should we accept God's thoughts as superior to ours in the knowledge of God?

"As the heavens are above the earth," says the Lord, "So are My thoughts higher than yours." Paul says "No one knows the thoughts of a man save the spirit of the man. So too with God."

Jesus said, "I will send you the comforter, the Holy Spirit, and He will guide you into all truth." So while God frustrated the wisdom of the world by the foolishness of preaching, the world knew Him not. "Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light, lest his deeds be exposed."

The Rebuttal to "What Did Jesus Really Say?"
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