Choosing my religion: why I am not a Muslim

I’ve decided to spend some time writing extremely short explanations about why I am an evangelical Protestant Christian instead of anything else.

I have two aims.

First, I want show how an honest person can evaluate rival religions using the laws of logic, scientific evidence and historical evidence. Second, I want people who are not religious to understand that religions are either true or it is false. Religions should not be chosen based where you were born, what your parents believed, or what resonates with you. A religion should be embraced for the same reason as the theory of gravity is embraced: because it reflects the way the world really is.

Why I am not a Muslim

  1. To be a Muslim, you must believe that the Koran is without error.
  2. The Koran claims that Jesus did not die on a cross. (Qur’an, 4: 157-158)
  3. The crucifixion of Jesus is virtually undisputed among non-Muslim historians, including atheist historians.
  4. Therefore, it is not rational for me to become a Muslim.

The data

Consider some quotes from the (mostly) non-Christian scholars below:

Jesus’ death as a consequence of crucifixion is indisputable.” Gert Lüdemann

“That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be.”  J.D. Crossan

“The passion of Jesus is part of history.” Geza Vermes

Jesus’ death by crucifixion is “historically certain”. Pinchas Lapide

“The single most solid fact about Jesus’ life is his death: he was executed by the Roman prefect Pilate, on or around Passover, in the manner Rome reserved particularly for political insurrectionists, namely, crucifixion.” Paula Fredriksen

“The support for the mode of his death, its agents, and perhaps its co-agents, is overwhelming: Jesus faced a trial before his death, was condemned, and was executed by crucifixion.” L.T. Johnson

“One of the most certain facts of history is that Jesus was crucified on orders of the Roman prefect of Judea, Ponitus Pilate.” Bart Ehrman

That’s 7 famous historians: 3 atheists, 3 Jews and 1 moderate Catholic. Ludemann, Crossan and Ehrman have all debated against the resurrection of Jesus with William Lane Craig. The Koran was written in the 7th century. That is why no professional historian accepts the Koran as more authoritative than the many earlier Christian and non-Christian sources for the crucifixion story. Many of the sources for the crucifixion are dated to the 1st century.

So that’s one reason why I am not a Muslim.

8 thoughts on “Choosing my religion: why I am not a Muslim”

  1. (If anyone with direct knowledge to refute this would be so inclined, I’d appreciate it. My information is from a Muslim convert to Christianity, so therefore should have requisite knowledge of Islam, but could be motivated to paint Islam in a negative light and Christianity in the positive… Also, please forgive my English spelling of arabic words, I have this information orally… that said…)

    My understanding is that the Koran has some internal inconsistency with regards to Jesus, whom they call Isa:

    The first and important claim, is that Isa is a prophet. Because Isa is a prophet, he never claimed to be God. This would be the sin, shirk, and it is punishable by death. That Isa is a prophet and commited a sin punishable by death is a contradiction, and the Koran affirms Isa as a prophet, therefore he did not claim to be God. (No higher authority should be necessary than “the Koran say,” because it is the most perfect book ever written.)

    Further, Isa did not die on the cross. Another took his place, so this whole nonsense about his resurrection is a lark. Never happened. He fainted and the person who took up the cross was nailed to it while Isa fled. Not very prophet like…

    Which leads us into a circular problem: What crime did Isa commit that he did not die for?

    It’s unanswered in the Koran or the Hadith (the recorded traditions of the words and deeds of Muhammad).

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  2. I think the existence of the Satanic Verses (acknowledged by Muslim scholars) is also an excellent argument for not being Muslim. On its own internal criteria it is self-contradictory.

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    1. Yes, but where is the historical evidence of this from the 1st or 2nd century? The first report of this scenario is 600 years later in the Quran. I need to see something earlier than that!

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    2. I was thinking more about this issue today, and I’ve decided that your critique is correct. Even if God miraculously deluded the minds of the Romans to make them kill Judas in Jesus’s place, we still should have heard something about it before Muhammed. The idea that twelve apostles and other followers would go around preaching Christ’s crucifixion while he was actually still living peacefully on earth is simply ridiculous. This silly doctrine really does pretty definitively debunk the Quran.

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  3. LCB, one thing to consider, at least in terms of their own rules on how to interpret the Koran, is the rule of Abrogation.

    In the most perfect book ever written, somethings came later that were even MORE perfect. So if it says a thing, and then later contradicts it, then the later thing is right and the earlier thing has been *replaced*, but they see no contradiction. I don’t want to beg the question. I think there’s a clear problem with saying that every word is perfect, but that something else could be MORE perfect. It makes me want to quote Andre the Giant re: Inconcievable…. But that’s their book by their rules.

    Of particular import from that, is that Sura (book) 9, commonly called the Sura of the Sword, which clearly calls for violence against non-believers is a late sura, and the ones often quoted to support the idea that Islam is peace and there is no compulsion in Islam are earlier suras.

    So by their own rules, it’s true that Islam is peace and there is no compulsion in Islam, it’s just MORE true that you should kill the unbeliever.

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