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A Critical Review of Sayed Modarresi's Book

 

Recently I read a short book called The Lost Testament: What Christians Don’t Know About Christ, by Sayed Mahdi Modarresi. It’s a provocative title. It was loaned to me by a dear Muslim neighbor who wanted me to read it, so I did.  Out of respect for her, and from a desire to compile my reactions to the author’s main argument and sub-points, I decided to write this review. In general, I love the idea of a book esteeming the words of Jesus, which is captured so beautifully by these words on the back cover.

“The Words of Christ are so exquisite they make Aristotle seem sophomoric. His proclamations against corruption and injustice are so zealous, a million Ghandis would kneel down before him. His erudition is so profound, it is divinely inspired verses, not mere creations of the mind of a man that he was.” (p. 20)

As a Christian, I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, my agreement doesn't go much further.  Despite Modarresi's apparent reverence for Jesus, he is the Jesus of Islam, not of Christianity.  This book is actually a polemic against the Bible. 

  • 21 January 2020
  • Author: Scott Cherry
  • Number of views: 609
  • Comments: 0

How and Where it Shows up in Philosophy, Culture and Religion

by Scott Cherry—

Society craves icons, or heroes. And why is that? Russell Brand can mock this craving all he wants, but I doubt he is above it. Could it be that we actually need great people and exemplars in the world? Could it be that a kind of hero-recognition code has been ‘pre-installed’ into our collective psyche that even spawns some of them? I mean, not that it would be unjustified—there are an awful lot of disturbing maladies and crises in the world. Who does not (openly or secretly) yearn for a Superman or a Wonder Woman, or a whole team of heroes like the Avengers? And isn’t that why the Marvel Avengers series and other superhero movies have been so wildly successful and seem never to stop being popular? The glaring thing, of course, is that the world’s problems are too big and too numerous even for them. We are desperate for great Humanitarians and lots of ordinary ones too. We rightly crave them and we should all want to become one. Humanity is in no position to disparage people who want to do great good for the world and have the means to do it. On the other hand, an actualized “messiah complex’ can produce a dangerous kind of person if not tempered by love, humility, and compassion, etc. Not everybody is qualified to be a “messiah”.  Actually very few.

      

   

  • 14 October 2019
  • Author: Scott Cherry
  • Number of views: 936
  • Comments: 0

How and Where it Shows up in Philosophy, Culture and Religion

by Scott Cherry—

Society craves icons, or heroes. And why is that? Russell Brand can mock this craving all he wants, but I doubt he is above it. Could it be that we actually need great people and exemplars in the world? Could it be that a kind of hero-recognition code has been ‘pre-installed’ into our collective psyche that even spawns some of them? I mean, not that it would be unjustified—there are an awful lot of disturbing maladies and crises in the world. Who does not (openly or secretly) yearn for a Superman or a Wonder Woman, or a whole team of heroes like the Avengers? And isn’t that why the Marvel Avengers series and other superhero movies have been so wildly successful and seem never to stop being popular? The glaring thing, of course, is that the world’s problems are too big and too numerous even for them. We are desperate for great Humanitarians and lots of ordinary ones too. We rightly crave them and we should all want to become one. Humanity is in no position to disparage people who want to do great good for the world and have the means to do it. On the other hand, an actualized “messiah complex’ can produce a dangerous kind of person if not tempered by love, humility, and compassion, etc. Not everybody is qualified to be a “messiah”.  Actually very few.

  • 1 August 2019
  • Author: Scott Cherry
  • Number of views: 1208
  • Comments: 2

An academic understanding of scripture falls short with this and other important doctrines.

by Marty Smithhart

When I became a Christian in my 30s, one of the questions I used to ask myself was, "Is the Bible really that confusing? There is no doubt that there are all kinds of views on Christianity, who God is, Islam’s view of God (Allah) and Judaism’s view of Hashem, etc. One thing that really captivated me when I first began to compare and contrast Christianity (the scriptures) with modern Judaism is this point: The scriptures, both Old and New Testament, were written before the Talmudic sages wrote. The Christian texts were written before Talmudic Judaism began codification. Therefore, if you want to know what the Bible says from its earliest point of view, before Talmudic Judaism and its sages, you must use the Christian New Testament. 

  • 15 July 2019
  • Author: Guest Blogger
  • Number of views: 1213
  • Comments: 1

How variants in the canonical gospels prove they were not redacted.

The Bible’s four canonical gospels are the world’s best information for the person and work of Jesus, bar none. That is my position that is shared by a great many scholars, past and present. And yet there is an apparent problem with several facets: 1) Why are there four?  2) Why are the first three gospels—so called the synoptics (Matthew, Mark, Luke)—so similar to each other yet so different from the fourth (John)?  3) Why do even they have so many differences among them, some of which look like contradictions? And 4) Why do they have so many similarities among them, including even identical material? ...If the early church community had been predisposed to redaction ('super-editing') they could have thoroughly redacted the gospels to edit out all the discrepancies, especially any bonafide contradictions. Almost certainly, if there had been a Master Editor or, say, a Master Board of Redaction for the New Testament, they would have done so.  It would have been in their better interests because the presence of variants and apparent discrepancies is inconvenient at best. But they did not. That they did not strongly suggests that their primary interests were authenticity and truth.



  • 5 June 2019
  • Author: Scott Cherry
  • Number of views: 1266
  • Comments: 2
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