Examining More of Abdullah Smiths Continuing Intellectual Suicide Mission
Abdullah Smith recently sent us an email where he quoted the writings of certain church fathers, specifically Justin Martyr, to prove that Christianity is nothing more than a rehashing of pagan mythologies.
One of the quotes he used is the following:
Be well assured, then, Trypho, that I am established in the knowledge of and faith in the Scriptures by those counterfeits which he who is called the devil is said to have performed among the Greeks; just as some were wrought by the Magi in Egypt, and others by the false prophets in Elijah's days. For when they tell that Bacchus, son of Jupiter, was begotten by intercourse with Semele, and that he was the discoverer of the vine; and when they relate, that being torn in pieces, AND HAVING DIED, HE ROSE AGAIN, AND ASCENDED TO HEAVEN; and when they introduce wine into his mysteries, do I not perceive that the devil has imitated the prophecy announced by the patriarch Jacob, and recorded by Moses? (Justin Martyr)
The first problem with Smiths position is that he falsely assumes that Justin Martyr provides evidence that these pagan fairytales predated the composition of the Gospels. In order to show why such reasoning is simply erroneous we need to keep in mind the date of Justins writings, specifically that of Trypho. Critical scholars date Justins "Dialogue" at around 161 AD:
In the manuscript the three works are found in the following order: second "Apology", first "Apology", the "Dialogue". Dom Maran (Paris, 1742) re-established the original order, and all other editors have followed him. There could not be as a matter of fact any doubt as to the proper order of the "Apologies", the first is quoted in the second (iv, 2; vi, 5; viii, 1). The form of these references shows that Justin is referring, not to a different work, but to that which he was then writing (II Apol., ix, 1, cf. vii, 7; I Apol., lxiii, 16, cf. xxxii, 14; lxiii, 4, cf. xxi,1;lxi, 6, cf. lxiv, 2). Moreover, the second "Apology" is evidently not a complete work independent of the first, but rather an appendix, owing to a new fact that came to the writer's knowledge, and which he wished to utilize without recasting both works. It has been remarked that Eusebius often alludes to the second "Apology" as the first (Hist. eccl., IV, viii, 5; IV, xvii, 1), but the quotations from Justin by Eusebius are too inexact for us to attach much value to this fact (cf. Hist. eccl., IV, xi, 8; Bardenhewer, op. cit., 201). Probably Eusebius also erred in making Justin write one apology under Antoninus (161) and another under Marcus Aurelius. The second "Apology", known to no other author, doubtless never existed (Bardenhewer, loc. cit.; Harnack, "Chronologie der christl. Litter.", I, Leipzig, 1897, 275). The date of the "Apology" cannot be determined by its dedication, which is not certain, but can be established with the aid of the following facts: it is 150 years since the birth of Christ (I, xlvi, 1); Marcion has already spread abroad his error (I, xxvi, 5); now, according to Epiphanius (Hæres., xlii, 1), he did not begin to teach until after the death of Hyginus (A.D. 140). The Prefect of Egypt, Felix (I, xxix, 2), occupied this charge in September, 151, probably from 150 to about 154 (Grenfell-Hunt, "Oxyrhinchus Papyri", II, London, 1899, 163, 175; cf. Harnack, "Theol. Literaturzeitung", XXII, 1897, 77). From all of this we may conclude that the "Apology" was written somewhere between 153 and 155. The second "Apology", as already said, is an appendix to the first and must have been written shortly afterwards. The Prefect Urbinus mentioned in it was in charge from 144 to 160. The "Dialogue" is certainly later than the "Apology" to which it refers ("Dial.", cxx, cf. "I Apol.", xxvi); it seems, moreover, from this same reference that the emperors to whom the "Apology" was addressed were still living when the "Dialogue" was written. This places it somewhere before A.D. 161, the date of the death of Antoninus. (Source)
With the foregoing in mind it should be clear that Justins statements provide absolutely no substantiation that these pagan mythologies were making similar claims to Christianity even before Christ was born. The most that Justins statements prove is that sometime during the second century the pagan religions started to adopt Christian terminology in order to compete with Christianity since by then it had spread all throughout Rome. Basically, the leaders and devotees of these religions felt it necessary to plagiarize biblical material, specifically the Gospel traditions on the life and work of Jesus, in order to prevent others from abandoning their pagan myths for Jesus Christ.
If Smith wants to prove that Christianity borrowed from these pagan religions, not the other way, then he must establish the following:
Moreover, Smith obviously failed to understand Justin Martyrs point. Martyr wasnt suggesting that these pagan myths influenced Christianity, but that Satan influenced the pagans to plagiarize and pervert the prophecies of Jesus found throughout the Hebrew Bible by applying them to their own gods:
CHAPTER LXIX -- THE DEVIL, SINCE HE EMULATES THE TRUTH, HAS INVENTED FABLES ABOUT BACCHUS, HERCULES, AND SCULAPIUS.
"Be well assured, then, Trypho," I continued, "that I am established in the knowledge of and faith in the Scriptures by those counterfeits which he who is called the devil is said to have performed among the Greeks; just as some were wrought by the Magi in Egypt, and others by the false prophets in Elijah's days. For when they tell that Bacchus, son of Jupiter, was begotten by[Jupiter's] intercourse with Semele, and that he was the discoverer of the vine; and when they relate, that being torn in pieces, and having died, he rose again, and ascended to heaven; and when they introduce wine into his mysteries, do I not perceive that[the devil] has imitated the prophecy announced by the patriarch Jacob, and recorded by Moses? And when they tell that Hercules was strong, and travelled over all the world, and was begotten by Jove of Alcmene, and ascended to heaven when he died, do I not perceive that the Scripture which speaks of Christ, 'strong as a giant to run his race,' has been in like manner imitated? And when he[the devil] brings forward sculapius as the raiser of the dead and healer of all diseases, may I not say that in this matter likewise he has imitated the prophecies about Christ? But since I have not quoted to you such Scripture as tells that Christ will do these things, I must necessarily remind you of one such: from which you can understand, how that to those destitute of a knowledge of God, I mean the Gentiles, who, 'having eyes, saw not, and having a heart, understood not,' worshipping the images of wood,[how even to them] Scripture prophesied that they would renounce these[vanities], and hope in this Christ. It is thus written: 'Rejoice, thirsty wilderness: let the wilderness be glad, and blossom as the lily: the deserts of the Jordan shall both blossom and be glad: and the glory of Lebanon was given to it, and the honour of Carmel. And my people shall see the exaltation of the Lord, and the glory of God. Be strong, ye careless hands and enfeebled knees. Be comforted, ye faint in soul: be strong, fear not. Behold, our God gives, and will give, retributive judgment. He shall come and save us. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall hear. Then the lame shall leap as an hart, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be distinct: for water has broken forth in the wilderness, and a valley in the thirsty land; and the parched ground shall become pools, and a spring of water shall[rise up] in the thirsty land.' The spring of living water which gushed forth from God in the land destitute of the knowledge of God, namely the land of the Gentiles, was this Christ, who also appeared in your nation, and healed those who were maimed, and deaf, and lame in body from their birth, causing them to leap, to hear, and to see, by His word. And having raised the dead, and causing them to live, by His deeds He compelled the men who lived at that time to recognise Him. But though they saw such works, they asserted it was magical art. For they dared to call Him a magician, and a deceiver of the people. Yet He wrought such works, and persuaded those who were[destined to] believe on Him; for even if any one be labouring under a defect of body, yet be an observer of the doctrines delivered by Him, He shall raise him up at His second advent perfectly sound, after He has made him immortal, and incorruptible, and free from grief.
CHAPTER LXX -- SO ALSO THE MYSTERIES OF MITHRAS ARE DISTORTED FROM THE PROPHECIES OF DANIEL AND ISAIAH.
"And when those who record the mysteries of Mithras say that he was begotten of a rock, and call the place where those who believe in him are initiated a cave, do I not perceive here that the utterance of Daniel, that a stone without hands was cut out of a great mountain, has been imitated by them, and that they have attempted likewise to imitate the whole of Isaiah's words? For they contrived that the words of righteousness be quoted also by them. But I must repeat to you the words of Isaiah referred to, in order that from them you may know that these things are so. They are these: 'Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; those that are near shall know my might. The sinners in Zion are removed; trembling shall seize the impious. Who shall announce to you the everlasting place? The man who walks in righteousness, speaks in the right way, hates sin and unrighteousness, and keeps his hands pure from bribes, stops the ears from hearing the unjust judgment of blood closes the eyes from seeing unrighteousness: he shall dwell in the lofty cave of the strong rock. Bread shall be given to him, and his water[shall be] sure. Ye shall see the King with glory, and your eyes shall look far off. Your soul shall pursue diligently the fear of the Lord. Where is the scribe? where are the counsellors? where is he that numbers those who are nourished,--the small and great people? with whom they did not take counsel, nor knew the depth of the voices, so that they heard not. The people who are become depreciated, and there is no understanding in him who hears.' Now it is evident, that in this prophecy[allusion is made] to the bread which our Christ gave us to eat, in remembrance of His being made flesh for the sake of His believers, for whom also He suffered; and to the cup which He gave us to drink, in remembrance of His own blood, with giving of thanks. And this prophecy proves that we shall behold this very King with glory; and the very terms of the prophecy declare loudly, that the people foreknown to believe in Him were fore-known to pursue diligently the fear of the Lord. Moreover, these Scriptures are equally explicit in saying, that those who are reputed to know the writings of the Scriptures, and who hear the prophecies, have no understanding. And when I hear, Trypho," said I, "that Perseus was begotten of a virgin, I understand that the deceiving serpent counterfeited also this.
Justin Martyrs argument provides implicit support for what I said above. Justin realized that the biblical material influenced the pagan myths, not the other way around, even though he thought that they were taken from the OT prophecies since he seemed to have mistakenly assumed that these fables predated the Gospels.
Smith also sent me the following quote:
When we say that Jesus Christ was produced without sexual union, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended to heaven, we propound nothing new or different from what you believe regarding those whom you call the sons of Jupiter."
- Justin Martyr, church father.
It is obvious that Smith didnt bother reading either of the above quotes carefully, nor ponder their implications, since they dont merely discredit Christianity, but Muhammad as well. Note carefully what the last quote actually says:
When we say that Jesus Christ was produced WITHOUT SEXUAL UNION, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended to heaven, we propound nothing new or different from what you believe regarding those whom you call the sons of Jupiter."
Justin claims that the virgin birth of Jesus can also be found in the pagan mythologies. This isnt the only place where this is stated:
Chapter LXVII.-Trypho Compares Jesus with Perseus; And Would Prefer [to Say] that He Was Elected [to Be Christ] on Account of Observance of the Law. Justin Speaks of the Law as Formerly.
And Trypho answered, "The Scripture has not, `Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, 'but, `Behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son, 'and so on, as you quoted. But the whole prophecy refers to Hezekiah, and it is proved that it was fulfilled in him, according to the terms of this prophecy. Moreover, in the fables of those who are called Greeks, IT IS WRITTEN THAT PERSEUS WAS BEGOTTEN OF DANAE, WHO WAS A VIRGIN; he who was called among them Zeus having descended on her in the form of a golden shower. And you ought to feel ashamed when you make assertions similar to theirs, and rather [should] say that this Jesus was born man of men. And if you prove from the Scriptures that He is the Christ, and that on account of having led a life conformed to the law, and perfect, He deserved the honour of being elected to be Christ, [it is well]; but do not venture to tell monstrous phenomena, lest you be convicted of talking foolishly like the Greeks." (Source)
Justins opponent, Trypho, also claims that there is a pagan parallel to Jesus virgin birth!
Furthermore, Justin also mentioned that many of the pagan myths contained miracle stories similar to those performed by Christ, such as raising the dead, healing the sick etc.
Just recently, Smith produced a "rebuttal" (*) where he provides a link to a paper documenting alleged similarities between Krishna and Christ in order to show that the Gospel stories were adapted from this Hindu god.
What makes this so ironic is that some of the alleged parallels mentioned in the article are details that Muhammad also believed about Jesus! Compare, for instance, the following proposed similarities:
12. Chrishna, as well as Christ, was incarnated and born of a woman.
13. The mother in each case was a holy virgin.
14. The same peculiarities of a miraculous conception and birth are related of each.
18. A Spirit or Ghost was the author of the conception of each.
22. Their mothers were both reputedly pious women.
23. The names of two mothers are somewhat similar -- Mary and Maia.
24. Each had a special female friend -- Elizabeth in the one case, and the wife of Nanda in the other.
35. Each Savior had a forerunner -- John the Baptist in one case, Bali Rama in the other.
36. Both were preternaturally smart in childhood.
42. The religious rite of "fasting" was practiced by each Savior.
49. Each sustained the character of a Messiah.
83. Chrishna performed many miracles as well as did Christ.
84. One of the first miracles of each was the cure of a leper.
85. Each healed "all manner of diseases."
87. Each practically proved his power to raise the dead.
88. A miracle appertaining to a tree is related of both.
106. Each was an object of conspiracy by his enemies.
107. Humility and external poverty distinguished the life of each.
108. Each denounced riches and rich men, and loathed and detested wealth.
109. Both had a character for meekness.
Muhammad virtually affirmed all of the above in the Quran, i.e. that Jesus was born of a virgin, his mothers name was Mary who happened to be chaste, had a forerunner named John, performed miracles etc.:
And when she gave birth to her she said, 'Lord, I have given birth to her, a female.' (And God knew very well what she had given birth to; the male is not as the female.) 'And I have named her Mary, and commend her to Thee with her seed, to protect them from the accursed Satan.' Her Lord received the child with gracious favour, and by His goodness she grew up comely, Zachariah taking charge of her. Whenever Zachariah went in to her in the Sanctuary, he found her provisioned. 'Mary,' he said, 'how comes this to thee?' 'From God,' she said. Truly God provisions whomsoever He will without reckoning. Then Zachariah prayed to his Lord saying, 'Lord, give me of Thy goodness a goodly offspring. Yea, Thou hearest prayer.' And the angels called to him, standing in the Sanctuary at worship, 'Lo, God gives thee good tidings of John, who shall confirm a Word of God, a chief, and chaste, a Prophet, righteous.' 'Lord,' said Zachariah, 'how shall I have a son, seeing I am an old man and my wife is barren?' 'Even so,' God said, 'God does what He will.' 'Lord,' said Zachariah, 'appoint to me a sign.' 'Thy sign,' God said, 'is that thou shalt not speak, save by tokens, to men for three days. And mention thy Lord oft, and give glory at evening and dawn.' And when the angels said, 'Mary, God has chosen thee, and purified thee; He has chosen thee above all women. Mary; be obedient to thy Lord, prostrating and bowing before Him.' (That is of the tidings of the Unseen, that We reveal to thee; for thou wast not with them, when they were casting quills which of them should have charge of Mary; thou wast not with them, when they were disputing.) When the angels said, 'Mary, God gives thee good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary; high honoured shall he be in this world and the next, near stationed to God. He shall speak to men in the cradle, and of age, and righteous he shall be.' 'Lord,' said Mary, 'how shall I have a son seeing no mortal has touched me?' 'Even so,' God said, God creates what He will. When He decrees a thing He does but say to it "Be," and it is. And He will teach him the Book, the Wisdom, the Torah, the Gospel, to be a Messenger to the Children of Israel saying, "I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I will create for you out of clay as the likeness of a bird; then I will breathe into it, and it will be a bird, by the leave of God. I will also heal the blind and the leper, and bring to life the dead, by the leave of God. I will inform you too of what things you eat, and what you treasure up in your houses. Surely in that is a sign for you, if you are believers. Likewise confirming the truth of the Torah that is before me, and to make lawful to you certain things that before were forbidden unto you. I have come to you with a sign from your Lord; so fear you God, and obey you me. Surely God is my Lord and your Lord; so serve Him. This is a straight path".' And when Jesus perceived their unbelief, he said, 'Who will be my helpers unto God?' The Apostles said, 'We will be helpers of God; we believe in God; witness thou our submission. Lord, we believe in that Thou hast sent down, and we follow the Messenger. Inscribe us therefore with those who bear witness.' And they devised, and God devised, and God is the best of devisers. When God said, 'Jesus, I will take thee to Me and will raise thee to Me and I will purify thee of those who believe not. I will set thy followers above the unbelievers till the Resurrection Day. Then unto Me shall you return, and I will decide between you, as to what you were at variance on. S. 3:36-55 Arberry
And mention in the Book Mary when she withdrew from her people to an eastern place, and she took a veil apart from them; then We sent unto her Our Spirit that presented himself to her a man without fault. She said, 'I take refuge in the All-merciful from thee! If thou fearest God He said, 'I am but a messenger come from thy Lord, to give thee a boy most pure. She said, 'How shall I have a son whom no mortal has touched, neither have I been unchaste?' He said, 'Even so thy Lord has said: "Easy is that for Me; and that We may appoint him a sign unto men and a mercy from Us; it is a thing decreed."' So she conceived him, and withdrew with him to a distant place. And the birthpangs surprised her by the trunk of the palm-tree. She said, 'Would I had died ere this, and become a thing forgotten!' But the one that was below her called to her, 'Nay, do not sorrow; see, thy Lord has set below thee a rivulet. Shake also to thee the palm-trunk, and there shall come tumbling upon thee dates fresh and ripe. Eat therefore, and drink, and be comforted; and if thou shouldst see any mortal, say, "I have vowed to the All-merciful a fast, and today I will not speak to any man. Then she brought the child to her folk carrying him; and they said, 'Mary, thou hast surely committed a monstrous thing! Sister of Aaron, thy father was not a wicked man, nor was thy mother a woman unchaste.' Mary pointed to the child then; but they said, 'How shall we speak to one who is still in the cradle, a little child?' He said, 'Lo, I am God's servant; God has given me the Book, and made me a Prophet. Blessed He has made me, wherever I may be; and He has enjoined me to pray, and to give the alms, so long as I live, and likewise to cherish my mother; He has not made me arrogant, unprosperous. Peace be upon me, the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I am raised up alive!' That is Jesus, son of Mary, in word of truth, concerning which they are doubting. S. 19:16-35 Arberry
And Mary, Imran's daughter, who guarded her virginity, so We breathed into her of Our Spirit, and she confirmed the Words of her Lord and His Books, and became one of the obedient. S. 66:12 Arberry
Applying Smiths reasoning at this point inevitably leads to the conclusion that Muhammad was a false prophet since a true prophet would have known that the above data regarding Christ are not based on actual events but are derived from pagan mythology. In other words, if Muhammad was a true prophet then God would have prevented him from passing on information about Jesus which, according to Smith, was adapted from pre-Christian paganism.
Here is how Smith responded when I confronted him with the fact that Muhammad narrated some of the very points regarding Jesus, such as his virgin birth, that he claimed were taken from mythology:
God showed Virgin Births before Islam to reveal His power to the pagans, since the Greek philosophers believed in God; it was God who performed the miracle.
There is evidence to prove the ancient Greeks believed in God, the True God. The concept of heaven and hell was known LONG BEFORE Islam, Christianity, or Judaism existed. God revealed the knowledge to the Greeks, the Greeks never INVENTED the concept of Heaven and Hell, it was revealed to them. They also believed in Angels and Demons before Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. Who taught them? It was GOD, who showed the Virgin Birth miracle. I am talking about the Greek philosophers, Plato believed in ONE GOD, so the SAME GOD showed the Virgin Birth miracle.
Many scholars believe the Greek gods (born of virgins) were real personages, they were kings. The True God inspired the pagans, but they corrupted the concept of God. Similarly, the Hindus used to worship ONE GOD, but after thousands of years the concept of God was distorted. So today, Hindus worship many gods, yet the Hindu scriptures state there is ONE GOD. The Jewish God was inspiring them also.
I REPEAT: God revealed the knowledge of heaven and hell to the ancient pagans; they corrupted the concept of Gods Unity.
Read this book: THE HISTORY OF GOD, by Karen Armstrong
To summarize Smiths position, when the Quran narrates a story that is found within pagan sources this no longer means that Muhammad borrowed from these pagan myths and repackaged them to suit his purpose. It rather shows that God had revealed these truths to pagans who corrupted them. This is basically what he said to me in his next response:
Once again, IF the virgin birth is pagan, the Bible has borrowed this myth 600 years before the Quran. Yet the virgin birth is not pagan, BECAUSE THE HOLY QURAN SAYS ITS TRUE. (Capital emphasis ours)
It is astonishing that Smith has no problem with using such logic to defend Muhammad but fails to consistently apply this same type of reasoning to the Bible, namely that God revealed these biblical truths even to the pagans in order to prepare them for the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
To make matters worse, Smith had sent me a prior email where he presented the following quote from Justin Martyr:
"There exists not a people, whether Greek or barbarian, or any other race of men, by whatsoever appellation or manners they may be distinguished, however ignorant of arts or agriculture, whether they dwell under the tents, or wander about in crowed wagons, among whom prayers are not offered up in the name of a CRUCIFIED SAVIOR to the Father and creator of all things" (Justin Martyr, Dialog. With Typhoo, quoted in Gibbons' Rome, vol. i. p. 582).
I had informed Smith that this is a blatant distortion of this saints words, and that this is what happens when a person depends on secondary sources for his information. Here is what Justin actually wrote:
Chapter CXVII.-Malachi's Prophecy Concerning the Sacrifices of the Christians. It Cannot Be Taken as Referring to the Prayers of Jews of the Dispersion.
"Accordingly, God, anticipating all the sacrifices which we offer through this name, and which Jesus the Christ enjoined us to offer, i.e., in the Eucharist of the bread and the cup, and which are presented by Christians in all places throughout the world, bears witness that they are well-pleasing to Him. But He utterly rejects those presented by you and by those priests of yours, saying, `And I will not accept your sacrifices at your hands; for from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is glorified among the Gentiles (He says); but ye profane it.'442 Yet even now, in your love of contention, you assert that God does not accept the sacrifices of those who dwelt then in Jerusalem, and were called Israelites; but says that He is pleased with the prayers of the individuals of that nation then dispersed, and calls their prayers sacrifices. Now, that prayers and giving of thanks, when offered by worthy men, are the only perfect and well-pleasing sacrifices to God, I also admit. For such alone Christians have undertaken to offer, and in the remembrance effected by their solid and liquid food, whereby the suffering of the Son of God443 which He endured is brought to mind, whose name the high priests of your nation and your teachers have caused to be profaned and blasphemed over all the earth. But these filthy garments, which have been put by you on all who have become Christians by the name of Jesus, God shows shall be taken away from us, when He shall raise all men from the dead, and appoint some to be incorruptible, immortal, and free from sorrow in the everlasting and imperishable kingdom; but shall send others away to the everlasting punishment of fire. But as to you and your teachers deceiving yourselves when you interpret what the Scripture says as referring to those of your nation then in dispersion, and maintain that their prayers and sacrifices offered in every place are pure and well-pleasing, learn that you are speaking falsely, and trying by all means to cheat yourselves: for, first of all, not even now does your nation extend from the rising to the setting of the sun, but there are nations among which none of your race ever dwelt. FOR THERE IS NOT ONE SINGLE RACE OF MEN, WHETHER BARBARIANS, OR GREEKS, or whatever they may be called, nomads, or vagrants, or herdsmen living in tents, among whom prayers and giving of thanks ARE NOT OFFERED THROUGH THE NAME OF THE CRUCIFIED JESUS. And then, as the Scriptures show, at the time when Malachi wrote this, your dispersion over all the earth, which now exists, had not taken place. (Source)
Justin wasn't saying that the pagans had crucified saviors which they worshiped. Rather, he was speaking of pagans who converted to the truth and who were now offering sacrifices to God through the Lord Jesus. As the footnote states:
444 [Note this testimony to the catholicity of the Church in the second century. And see Kaye (compare with Gibbon), cap. vi. 112.] (Source)
Smith would have saved himself the embarrassment had he simply bothered to double-check his references.
Just when you think that Smiths points couldnt get any worse, in his most recent "response" he seeks to prove that Revelation plagiarized one of Krishnas titles and applied it to Christ:
"I am the goal of life, the LORD and support of all, the inner witness, the abode of all. I am the only refuge, the ONE true friend; I am the beginning, the staying, and the end of creation; I am the womb and the eternal seed. I am heat; I give and withhold the rain. I am immortality and I am death; I am what is and what is not" [Bhagavad Gita 9:18-19]
This statement was plagiarized by the New Testament and put into Jesus mouth:
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (Revelation 1:8)
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (Revelation 22:13)
To begin with, Smith assumes that similarities in titles automatically prove that one source is borrowing or plagiarizing from another. He can only arrive at this conclusion by ignoring the major differences between the Hindu and Christian views of God, i.e. Hinduism holds to an impersonal deity which manifests itself in various forms, with Krishna being one of these forms, and that is part of creation. This can be seen from Smiths own quote which says that Krishna is the womb, the rain, the heat etc., i.e. that Krishna is basically everything that exists since he is part of everything.
Christianity, on the other hand, teaches that God is an eternal personal Being who is completely distinct from creation.
Secondly, in Revelation the phrase "the Beginning and the End" is coupled with the titles "the First and the Last" and "the Alpha and the Omega," just as the above quotes from Smith show. The reason that they are grouped together throughout the book of Revelation is because they carry the same meaning, that God is the Originating Source and Sustainer of creation, that he created everything and is guiding all creation to a specific goal, namely to the end of this present age when God will then usher in a new age of eternal bliss and perfection:
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, Behold, I am making all things new. Also he said, Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. And he said to me, It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son." Revelation 21:1-7
The reason why the above point is so vital is because it helps to refute Smith since we will now see that Revelation didnt derive these titles from Hindu sources, but rather from Jewish sources, specifically the OT scriptures:
"Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god." Isaiah 44:6
"Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am he; I am the first, and I am the last." Isaiah 48:12
In fact, the book of Revelation is filled with allusions to OT books, as well as Jewish apocalyptic literature, so it shouldnt surprise us that John would adopt OT names of God and apply it to Christ.
More importantly, one of Allahs names is "the First and the Last":
He is the First and the Last, and the Outward and the Inward; and He is Knower of all things. S. 57:3 Pickthall
Since this phrase is identical to the title "the Beginning and the End", seeing that they both mean the same thing, this would once again show that the Quran has been influenced by pagan sources! At the very least, this shows that Muhammad was influenced by biblical teachings that were actually taken from pagan religions. Note, also, that Allah is even called the "Inward," one of the very titles of Krishna! More on this in the next section.
Finally, Smiths admission that the speaker in Revelation 1:8 and 22:13 is the Lord Jesus refutes and contradicts the position of his fellow colleague Sami Zaatari, who unsuccessfully tried to rebut this point both in his live debate with me (*) and in his written materials (1, 2, 3).
So we want to personally thank Smith for establishing our point regarding Jesus being the Divine speaker in Revelation 1:8 and 22:13, thereby refuting his own fellow writer!
For those who are interested, here are a host of articles that thoroughly refute the assertion that Christianity was adapted from preexisting pagan stories:
Muhammad a Pagan Prophet?
What makes Smiths attacks on Christianity all the more intriguing is that there are Muslims who unashamedly acknowledge that not only are there similarities between the pagan and Islamic conceptions of God, but that these pagan religions actually contain prophecies of Muhammad!
One such Muslim is Dr. Zakir Naik. In one of his articles he provides specific references from certain Zoroastrian religious texts regarding God to show how similar they are to the Quran:
I CONCEPT OF GOD IN ZOROASTRIANISM:
God in Zoroastrianism is known as Ahura Mazda. Ahura means the Lord or 'The Master' and Mazda means the Wise; hence Ahura Mazda means the Wise Lord or the Wise God. Ahura Mazda stands for God, in a strictly monotheistic sense.
Qualities of God according to the Dasatir:
According to the Dasatir, Ahura Mazda has the following qualities:
- He is One.
- He is without an origin or end.
- He has no father or mother, wife or son.
- He is without a body or form.
- Nothing resembles Him.
- Neither the eye can behold Him, nor the power of thinking can conceive Him.
- He is above all that you can imagine.
He is nearer to you than your own self.
Qualities of God according to Avesta
According to the Avesta, the Gathas and the Yasna give various characteristics to Ahura Mazda such as:
i. Creator Yasna 31:7 & 11
ii. Most Mighty the Greatest
iii. Beneficent Hudai.
iv. Bountiful Spenta;
Thus, in Zoroastrianism too, we find a concept of an eternal, omnipotent God. Several verses of Yasna praise the Lord as a Bountiful Creator.(Source)
He also points to some supposed prophecies of Muhammad that are found in the Hindu religious texts:
The Prophecy confirms:
- The name of the Prophet as Ahmed since Ahmed is an Arabic name. Many translators misunderstood it to be Ahm at hi and translated the mantra as "I alone have acquired the real wisdom of my father".
- Prophet was given eternal law, i.e. the Shariah.
- The Rishi was enlightened by the Shariah of Prophet Muhammad. The Quran says in Surah Saba Chapter 34 verse 28 (34:28):
"We have not sent thee but as a universal (Messenger) to men, giving them glad tidings and warning them (against sin), but most men understand not."(Source)
Naik further believes that Muhammad was predicted in the Buddhist scriptures!
V MUHAMMAD (PBUH) IN BUDDHIST SCRIPTURES:
1. Buddha prophesised the advent of a Maitreya:
A) Almost all Buddhist books contain this prophecy. It is in Chakkavatti Sinhnad Suttanta D. III, 76:
"There will arise in the world a Buddha named Maitreya (the benevolent one) a holy one, a supreme one, an enlightened one, endowed with wisdom in conduct, auspicious, knowing the universe:
"What he has realized by his own supernatural knowledge he will publish to this universe. He will preach his religion, glorious in its origin, glorious at its climax, glorious at the goal, in the spirit and the letter. He will proclaim a religious life, wholly perfect and thoroughly pure; even as I now preach my religion and a like life do proclaim. He will keep up the society of monks numbering many thousands, even as now I keep up a society of monks numbering many hundreds".
B) According to Sacred Books of the East volume 35 pg. 225:
"It is said that I am not an only Buddha upon whom the leadership and order is dependent. After me another Buddha maitreya of such and such virtues will come. I am now the leader of hundreds, he will be the leader of thousands."
C) According to the Gospel of Buddha by Carus pg. 217 and 218 (From Ceylon sources):
"Ananda said to the Blessed One, Who shall teach us when thou art gone?'
And the Blessed one replied, 'I am not the first Buddha who came upon the earth nor shall I be the last. In due time another Buddha will arise in the world, a holy one, a supremely enlightened one, endowed with wisdom in conduct, auspicious, knowing the universe, an incomparable leader of men, a master of angels and mortals. He will reveal to you the same eternal truths, which I have taught you. He will preach his religion, glorious in its origin, glorious at the climax and glorious at the goal. He will proclaim a religious life, wholly perfect and pure such as I now proclaim. His disciples will number many thousands while mine number many hundreds.'
Ananda said, 'How shall we know him?'
The Blessed one replied, 'He will be known as Maitreya'."
(i) The Sanskrit word Maitreya or its equivalent in Pali Metteyya means loving, compassionate, merciful and benevolent. It also means kindness and friendliness, sympathy, etc. One Arabic word which is equivalent to all these words is Rahmat. In Surah Al-Anbiya:
"We sent thee not, but as a mercy for all creatures."
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was called the merciful, which is Maitri.
(ii) The words Mercy and Merciful are mentioned in the Holy Quran no less than 409 times.
(iii) Every chapter of the Glorious Quran, except Chapter 9, i.e. Surah Taubah begins with the beautiful formula, 'Bismillah Hir-Rahman Nir-Rahim', which means 'In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful'.
(iv) The Word Muhammad is also spelt as Mahamet or Mahomet and in various other ways in different languages. The word Maho or Maha in Pali and Sanskrit mean Great and Illustrious and Metta means mercy. Therefore Mahomet means Great Mercy. (Source)
For more of these alleged predictions of Muhammad in pagan religions please read the following articles from Naik:
The reader can also listen to his lecture titled, Similarities between Hinduism and Islam:
Dr. Naik is not alone. Christian writer and apologist John Gilchrist mentions one specific Muslim who listed no less than sixty similarities between the Egyptian god Horus and Muhammad!
He is the Sun and he is the man indicate that he is the man who took colour from Allah, by worshipping Him most ardently. As the sun is the mirror, so was he coloured with the attributes of God to the greatest human extent. Therefore in the whole kingdom of God there is only one Prophet that has been addressed by God Himself as the sun: "O Prophet, We have sent thee as a witness and a bringer of good tidings and a warner and as an invitor unto Allah by His permission as a light-giving sun". (Abdul Haque, Muhammad in World Scriptures, Vol. 1, p. 395)
So there are sixty attributes of that sun which is prophesied in 'The Book of the Dead', which clearly indicates the coming of the Prophet of Islam. (Abdul Haque, Muhammad in World Scriptures, Vol. 1, p. 400)
The pole-star is a symbol of 'Horus' or our Holy Prophet. (Abdul Haque, Muhammad in World Scriptures, Vol. 1, p. 418)
The Maulana even believes that the Egyptian triad of Osiris, Isis and Horus are,
"three attributes of God set out in the Suratul-Fatihah, namely Rabb (the Evolver), ar-Rahman (the Beneficent) and ar-Rahim (the Merciful), and concludes: these three attributes are the sole cause/of creation." (Abdul Haque, Muhammad in World Scriptures, Vol. 1, p. 423)
He doesnt stop there, but goes on to show that Buddha also predicted the coming of Muhammad!
The Buddha had foretold the advent of a Buddha like him, it has, therefore, been deemed fit to show some similarities between the Buddha and the Prophet Muhammad. (Abdul Haque, Muhammad in World Scriptures, Vol. 3, p. 1019)
He then addresses the assertion that Buddha foretold the coming of Christ:
As regards the claim of our Christian friends, it will be noted that the attributes of Maitreya could not be found in the person of Christ. (Abdul Haque, Muhammad in World Scriptures, Vol. 3, p. 1069)
Note that these are Allah-fearing and Muhammad-loving Muslims who are making such claims. They are not liberal Muslims who reject the authenticity of the Quran, unlike the scholars that Smith quotes who are either liberals masquerading as Christians or God-hating and Christ-rejecting agnostics and atheists.
Now Smith may try to brush aside the comments of these devout Muslims by simply ignoring them. Yet he will not be able to do that with the pagan origins of Islams pillars and practices.
The Muslim fast of Ramadan and the rites of the greater and lesser pilgrimages (Hajj and Umra), such as running around the Kabah and between the hills of Safa and Marwah seven times, were already being observed by the pagans of Mecca long before Muhammad was ever born, a fact which Muslims normally do not contest. Instead, they seek to justify such pagan practices by claiming that these observances were actually implemented by Abraham and Ishmael since the Quran suggests that they were the ones who built the Kabah. It was subsequent generations after them which perverted these rites by introducing pagan beliefs, or so it is asserted.
The problem with this expedient explanation is that it is completely devoid of any historical and archaeological basis. There is absolutely no pre-Islamic evidence which Muslims can produce to substantiate the claim that Ishmael ever personally settled in Mecca, let alone that he and Abraham built the Kabah.
The fact is that Muhammad simply adopted specific pagan rites and observances as part of his religion, which means that Islam is nothing more than rehashed paganism masquerading itself in the guise of Abrahamic monotheism.
For more on Muhammads pagan roots we recommend the following links:
In light of the foregoing, one would think that Smith would be just as irate and just as adamantly opposed to Muhammad and Islam as he is with Christianity, especially when the evidence for the pagan origins of Islam is so overwhelming in contrast to the utterly flimsy evidence that Smith has mustered for Christianitys alleged pagan roots. That Smith doesnt raise any objections against Muhammad but continues to remain a Muslim demonstrates that he isnt really concerned with truth and doesnt care whether he is consistent in his argumentation. Smith is only concerned with trying to discredit Gods true religion, Christianity, and will therefore resort to anything, even using arguments that can be applied more forcefully against Muhammad, showing that he was nothing more than a pagan who pretended to be a monotheist prophet.
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