By Ahmed Deedat
THE ONLY SALES-POINT
"MOST INFLUENTIAL MEN"
Recently, an American historical researcher and mathematician, Michael H. Hart, published a book : "THE 100, THE TOP HUNDRED OR THE GREATEST HUNDRED IN HISTORY."In his book he gives the names of the 100 "Most Influential Men in History" and his reasons for their positions in his list. Amazingly, he (most probably a Christian) puts Muhummed (peace be upon him) FIRST1 in his hundred, and with good reasons too. And with equally good reasons he places Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), the man accepted as "Lord" and "Saviour" by nearly all his fellow Americans, number THREE.
1.You can read this chapter here Muhammed (pbuh) No.1, A Chapter by Michael H. Hart. I have also placed the chapter on Jesus Christ along side it
REAL FOUNDER OF CHRISTIANITY
Though there are at the moment 200 million more nominal Christians in the world than the 1000 million Muslims, Mr. Hart divides the credit for founding Christianity between Paul and Jesus, and he gives the greater portion to Paul. Hence the 3rd position for Jesus. Every knowledgeable Christian concedes that the real founder of Christianity is St. Paul and not Jesus Christ (peace be upon him).
REASON FOR DIFFERENCE
In any event, if there is any division between a Muslim and a Christian on the grounds of dogma, belief, ethics or morality, then the cause of such conflict could be traced to an utterance of Paul found in his books of Corinthians, Phillipians, Galatians, Thessolanians, etc., in the Bible.
As against the teaching of the Master (Jesus) that salvation only comes through keeping of the commandments(Mathew 19:16-17), Paul nails the law and the commandments to the cross Paul nails the law and the commandments to the cross (Colossians 2:14) 1 and claims that salvation can only be obtained through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ:-
"If Christ be not risen from the dead, then our preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain."
(1 Corinthians 15:14)
1.One of the multifarious letters/correspondence of Paul among the 27 Books of the New Testament.
THE KING-PIN OF CHRISTIANITY
According to St. Paul, there is nothing that Christianity can offer mankind, other than the blood and gore of Jesus. If Jesus did NOT die, and he was NOT resurrected from the dead, then there can be NO salvation in Christianity! "For all your good deeds", says the Christian dogmatist, "are like filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6).
NO CRUCI-FICTION NO CHRISTIANITY
"THE DEATH OF JESUS ON THE CROSS IS THE CENTRE OF ALL CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY. . . ALL CHRISTIAN STATEMENTS ABOUT GOD, ABOUT CREATION, ABOUT SIN AND DEATH HAVE THEIR FOCAL POINT IN THE CRUCIFIED CHRIST. ALL CHRISTIAN STATEMENTS ABOUT HISTORY, ABOUT THE CHURCH, ABOUT FAITH AND SANCTIFICATION, ABOUT THE FUTURE AND ABOUT HOPE STEM FROM THE CRUCIFIED CHRIST", says Professor Jurgen Moltmann in his "The Crucified God".1
1."GOD": The bulk of Christendom accept Jesus Christ as God incarnate God in human flesh. According to the Christian dogma, Jesus must die as God, for a million human sacrifices cannot redeem mankind from their sin.
In a nutshell. No CrucifixionI No Christianity! This is the experience of us Muslims, in this ocean of Christianity, which is South Africa. A thousand sects and denominations of Christianity are vying with one another to redeem the "heathen" (as they say) from hell-fire. However, in this battle no Christian priest, parson or predikant, or hot-gospeller, local or imported, will ever endeavour to teach the Muslim something about hygiene; for we Muslims can claim to be the most hygienic people (I am talking about personal hygiene). Nor do they endeavour to teach us about hospitality; for we are the most hospitable of people. Nor about ethics or morality; for we are the most moral people (as a whole) i.e. we don't drink, we don't gamble, we dont date, court or dance; we pray 5 times a day, we fast for one whole month during the Muslim Holy month of Ramadaan; and we take pleasure in being a charitable people. Despite any of our shortcomings, we venture to suggest that there is not another group of people that can "show a candle" to us in brotherhood, in piety or in sobriety.
BLOOD FOR SALVATION
"Yes! Yes!" says the Christian missionary, "but you do not have salvation." Because salvation comes "only through the blood of the lord Jesus". "All your good works are like filthy rags", he says. "If only you Muslims would accept the redeeming blood of Jesus, and take Jesus as your 'Personal Saviour', you Muslims, then would be like angels walking the earth."
AN ANSWER SUPREME
What are we Muslims to say to this Christian claim? Nothing better than Allah's shattering reply to the Jewish boast!.
1.Allah: Allah is the name of God Almighty in the Semitic languages, i.e. in the language of Moses, Jesus and Muhummed (May the peace of God be upon them all). Read "What is His Name?" for elaboration.
2."Full of Doubts!" In a state of confusion.
3."Without Knowledge!" In ignorance.
4."Only follow Conjecture!" Guess workFiction!
Could anyone have been more EXPLICIT, more EMPHATIC, more DOGMATIC, more UN-COMPROMISING in rejecting the dogma of a faith than this? "IMPOSSIBLE!" is the answer. The only One Who could, would be the All-Knowing, the Omniscient, the Omnipotent Lord of the Universe GOD ALMIGHTY Himself!
The Muslim believes this categorical Quranic statement to be from God. Hence he asks no questions and seeks for no proof.
Had the Christians accepted the Holy Quran as the Word of God, the problem of the crucifixion would never have arisen. They vehemently oppose the Quranic teaching and attack everything Islamic. In the words of Thomas Carlyle "THEY (the Christians) HAVE BEEN TRAINED TO HATE THE MAN MOHAMED AND HIS RELIGION.
CALL YOUR WITNESSES
In trying to prove their dogmas1, they invent shocking statements and posers one of which has been used as the title of this book "CHRIST CRUCIFIED - Hoax or History?" 2 No doubt it sounds provocative; but it is a borrowed title from the Christian's own extravagances; from his own vocabulary.
Garner Ted Armstrong, the Executive Vice-President and Co-Publisher of the "PLAIN TRUTH" (a Christian Magazine from America, which boasts a current, FREE, world-wide circulation of 6 million copies a month)3, attempts to answer his own puzzle under the heading:
"WAS THE RESURRECTION A HOAX?" This is the typical American way of selling religion. He elucidates his poser -"HOAX?" - with the words, "THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH IS EITHER THE SUPREME FACT OF HISTORY OR A FLAGRANT. DELIBERATE FABRICATION FOISTED OFF ON THE FOLLOWERS OF CHRISTIANITY."
Another budding, young "Billy Graham" from America, Josh McDowell effuses in his book "THE RESURRECTION FACTOR", saying, "I WAS FORCED TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST IS EITHER ONE OF THE MOST WICKED, HEARTLESS, VICIOUS, HOAXES EVER FOISTED UPON THE MINDS OF MEN, OR IT IS THE MOST FANTASTIC FACT OF HISTORY." Since it is not possible for an Oriental to match American superlatives and extravagant verbiage, I do not have to apologise for humbly borrowing their words for the title of my book: "CHRIST CRUCIFIED -Hoax or History?"4
1.Dogma: "Principle, tenet, doctrinal system; arrogant declaration of opinion." Oxford Dictionary.
2.Original title of this book.
3.As claimed in their February 1984 issue.
4.Now changed to "CRUCIFIXION or CRUCI-FICTION?"
To the Muslim belief that Jesus Christ was "neither killed nor crucified", the Christian objects, "how can a man (Muhummed pbuh) a thousand miles away from the scene of a happening, and 600 years after an event, pronounce as to what had transpired?" The Muslim says that the words Muhummed (pbuh) uttered were not his own, but that the Words were "put into his mouth" by the All-Knowing, All-Seeing God. The Christian retorts that he is not prepared to accept the metaphysical aspect of Muhummed's revelation; moreso, in view of the written records by "eye-witnesses" (?) and "ear-witnesses" (?) as regards the happenings on that Easter week-end some two thousand years ago.
The Christian plea is valid. Their logic is good. To entertain their plea we will call up their witnesses and cross examine them to discover the truth or falsity of the matter from their own authorities. Admittedly, the key witnesses in the case are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John the alleged authors of the Canonical Gospels. But they have all died and are in their graves. "Yes, that is true, but we have in our possession their sworn affidavits!" says the Christian.
DEMAND FOR PROOF
When confronted by the extravagant and conflicting claims of the Jews and the Christians to their exclusive rights to salvation, Allah subha nahu wa-ta aala1 commands us to demand for proof. He says:
(SURA BAQARA)Holy Quran 2:111
And they have produced the only proof they have; in over fifteen hundred different languages! Eleven different dialects of the Bible for the Arabs alone! Are we going to swallow them hook, line and sinker? No! It is presupposed that when Allah commands us to demand for proof, that we would be in a position to analyse the proof, once it is produced. Otherwise, it makes no sense to demand for proof; it would be nonsense!
1.subha nahu wa-ta aala meaning, Glory Be To Him!
ESTABLISHING GOD'S KINGDOM
THIRD-PARTY EVIDENCE "ACCORDING TO . . ."
The amazing thing about the Christians' sworn affidavits (writings attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) is that not a single one of them is duly attested. Not a single one bears the signature, mark or thumb-print of its author in the so-called originals. They now boast of being in possession of over 5000 "originals" of which no two "originals" are identical. Amazing! Little-wonder the Christians themselves label their Gospels as "The Gospel according to St. Matthew", "The Gospel according to St. Mark", "The Gospel according to St. Luke" and "The Gospel according to St. John".
When Christian scholars are asked why the words "according to"1 are repeated at the beginning of every Gospel, the obvious implication is that they are not autographed. It is only assumed that they are authored by the names the Gospels carry today. The translators of the "New International Version" have unceremoniously expunged the "According tos" from the four Gospels in their latest translation. Of the alleged Gospel writers, viz., Matthew, Mark, Luke and John it can be categorically stated that 50% were not even the elected Twelve Disciples of Jesus (pbuh).
1."According to"; This aspect is dealt with in detail in the book "Is the Bible God's Word?"
I dare humbly claim that such unattested documents would be thrown out of hand, in any Court-of-Law, in any civilised country, in just two minutes. Furthermore, one of the alleged witnesses, St. Mark, tells us that at the most critical juncture in the life of Jesus "All his disciples forsook him and fled"-(Mark 14:50). Please ask your Christian friend, "Does "all" mean all in your language, you Englishman?" (This applies to the North American as well) And he will no doubt say "Yes!"; "Does "almal" mean almal in your language, you Afrikaner?" And no doubt he will say "ja!" (pronounced Yaa); "And does "bonke" mean bonke in your language, you Zulu?" And he will say "Ahe!" This is true of every language. Why not memorise this verse from the Bible in your own dialect? Even in some additional languages?
So the so-called "eye-witnesses" were not really eyewitnesses to the happenings, unless St. Mark is not telling us the whole truth, the "gospel truth". Yet he is supposed to be speaking under oath! You will agree that a case based on such hearsay evidence would be thrown out of Court, TWICE in two minutes, in any Court-of-Law, in any civilised country; that is TWICE in just 120 seconds flat! But a ghost (dogma) of two thousand years standing, upon which hangs the salvation of 1200 million Christians, should not be summarily dismissed. It deserves a little more circumspection. We will therefore entertain the alleged testimonies of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as if they were duly attested.
WHERE DO WE BEGIN?
At the beginning of course! exactly as the Bible does ("In the beginning. . ." -Genesis 1:1) just 24 hours before the cataclysmic events of "a thunderstorm; an eclipse of the sun; an earthquake; rocks being rent; the veil of the temple being torn from the top to bottom; graves being opened and sleeping corpses marching through the streets of Jerusalem . . ." as narrated by the Christians' Witnesses. What a scenario for a billion dollar, record-breaking, film production!
We must not forget that the Jews are in the dock, alleged for the murder of Jesus Christ; and we as Muslims are constrained to defend them against the Christian charge, because justice must be done. Whatever their sins of commission and omission, Allah exonerates them from the charge of murder. He says:
FOR OF A SURETY
THEY KILLED HIM NOT.
(Holy Quran 4:157)
PLAYING THE "CRUCI-FICTION" CARD
The Christian world has been unjustly persecuting, and hounding and killing our Jewish cousins for nearly two thousand years for a murder they did not commit. Attempted murder? may be! But murder? NO! By absolving the Jew of a crime he did not commit, we are also taking the wind out of the hot-gospellers' and the Bible-thumpers' sail. In the battle for the hearts and minds of mankind, "cruci-FICTION" is the only card the Christian holds. Free him from his infatuation and you will have freed the Muslim world from missionary aggression and harrassment.
AROUND THE TABLE
On the eve of the Passover Feast, Jesus and his twelve disciples are seated around a huge Table with their host the "beloved disciple", whose name also happened to be JOHN. Johns' and Jesus'1 were names, common among the Jews in the year 30 A.C. as Toms, Dicks, Johns and Jimmys are with us in the twentieth century. There were at least 14 men at the table (count them if you wish) and not the unlucky thirteen of Western superstition. 2
1.Of the three candidates for the 3 crosses at Golgotha on the 1st Easter week-end, there were 2 Jesus'. The one released was Jesus Barabbas. See "Christ in Islam".
2.A country as advance as South Africa, like an adjunct of the U.S.A., has no Row 13 on any of its Aeroplanes!!
MARCH INTO JERUSALEM
Jesus (pbuh) made his triumphant royal entry into Jerusalem at the head of an excited and enthusiastic following, with high hopes of establishing the "Kingdom of God" any minute; riding a donkey to fulfill prophecy(Zechariah 9:9)
Tell ye the daughter of Zion, behold, thy KING cometh. . .
(HOLY BIBLE) Matthew 21:5-9
Let Luke the beloved physician, add his strokes to clarify the picture.
". . . because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the
kingdom of God should IMMEDIATELY appear"-
"But those mine enemies, who would not that I should REIGN over them, bring them hither, and SLAY them before me"-
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 19:27.
. . . Blessed be the KING who cometh in the name of the Lord. . .
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 19:38.
And John adds that the excited throng exclaimed
(HOLY BIBLE) John 12:13.
"The Pharisees said. . . Behold, the world is gone (mad) after him (Jesus)"-
(HOLY BIBLE) John 12:21.
"NOW is the judgement of this world; N-O-W shall the prince of this world be CAST OUT"-
(HOLY BIBLE) John 12:31.
Who would withstand such heady-wine of impending glory? Little wonder that Jesus was tempted physically to oust those that bought and sold within the temple precincts. He overthrew the money-changer's tables and drove them out with a "whip of cords"-(John 2:15).
AN ABORTED COUP
The overthrow of the Temple Authority was imminent, and a forerunner to the expulsion of the Romans, heralding the "Kingdom of God." But alas his high hopes did not materialise. The whole performance fizzled out like a damp squib, despite all the "Hosannas" and hoorays to the "Son of David" and the "King of Israel." All this ballyhoo was only forty years premature. Jesus had failed to heed the warning of the Pharisees to curb the over exuberance of his disciples (Luke 19:39). He had miscalculated. Now he must pay the price of failure. His nation was not ready for any sacrifice, in spite of all their infantile clamour.
The Jewish leaders reasoned that this one man had almost brought the nation to destruction. Therefore,
"It is expedient for one man to die for the nation
(HOLY BIBLE) John 11:50.
But with all the mass hysteria surrounding him, it was also NOT expedient to apprehend Jesus in public. They waited for the opportunity of a clandestine arrest. As luck would have it they found in Judas, an elected disciple of Jesus (pbuh), a traitor who would sell his Lord and Master for thirty miserable pieces of silver.
JUDAS WAS DISGRUNTLED
In the opinion of Christian divines it was the greed of gold which enticed Judas to do his dastardly deed. But he had more money-sense then the Christians gave him credit for. As a purser for the elect group of Jesus he had endless opportunities of pinching pennies permanently. Why jeopardise that for all times for 30 paltry pieces? There is more to that than meets the eye. Judas was disgruntled, after all those mass demonstrations on Jesus' regal entry into Jerusalem those hot out-pourings of: "The HOUR is come and NOW is the Prince of this World will be CAST OUT I should REIGN over them bring them HITHER and SLAY THEM before me." Jesus had now developed cold-feet. If only Jesus could be provoked, he might react with miracles, and bring down fire and brimstones from Heaven upon his enemies; and, of course, the legions of angels (which he boasted were at his disposal), which would enable him and his disciples to rule the world.
From close contact with the Master, he had learned that Jesus was kind, tender and loving. But, he was not a mealy-mouthed man; he was no milk-and-water Messiah. But Judas could not understand the "hot and cold" blowings of Jesus. Perhaps if Jesus was accosted, he would yet deliver the goods. To this end Judas schemed.
THE TRAITOR KNOWN
The furtive looks and the suspicious behaviour of Judas had revealed everything to Jesus (pbuh). He did not need the Holy Ghost to interpret the misgivings in Judass mind. At the Table in the Upper-room where Jesus and his disciples were having that "Last Supper", Jesus dismissed Judas with the words:
". . . What thou doest, do quickly."
(HOLY BIBLE) John 13:27
And Judas took off to put the seal on the deal to the stab-in-the-back.
PREPARATION FOR JIHAAD
Jesus will not be a sitting-duck for a clandestine arrest by the Jews. He prepares his disciples for the impending showdown. Discreetly, so as not to frighten his disciples, he introduces the subject of defence. Gently he begins:
"When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything?" And they said, "Nothing" Then said he unto them, "But now, he that hath no purse, let him take it, and likewise his bag; and he that hath no SWORD, let him sell his garment and buy one!"
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 22:35-36
This is a preparation for Jihaad, a Holy War Jews against Jews! Why! Why this somersault? Did he not advise them to "turn the other cheek"; "to forgive seventy times seven" (70 x 7 = 490)? Did he not send his chosen Twelve with the advice:
"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye, therefore,
as wise as serpents, (?) and as
(HOLY BIBLE) Matthew 10:16
TO ARMS! TO ARMS!
The situation and the circumstance have changed and as with any wise and able general, the strategy must also change. The disciples were already armed. They had some foresight. They had not left Galilee with bare knuckles. They responded:
". . . Lord, behold, here are two SWORDS." And he said unto them, "It is enough".
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 22:38
The missionary, so as to retain the impression of the "meek and gentle Jesus", "the Prince of Peace", pleads that the SWORDS were spiritual! If the swords were spiritual, then the "garments" must also be spiritual. If the disciples of Jesus were to sell their SPIRITUAL garments to buy SPIRITUAL swords, in that case they would all become SPIRITUALLY naked! Furthermore, one does not lop off peoples physical ears with spiritual swords
"And, behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and
drew his SWORD, and
(HOLY BIBLE) Matthew 26:51
The only purpose of swords or guns is to maim and to kill. People did not carry swords to pare apples and bananas in the time of Christ.
WHY COUPLE OF SWORDS ENOUGH?
If this was a preparation for war, then why should two swords be "enough"? The reason is that Jesus was not contemplating a battle against the legions of Rome. Since his "friend" Judas was in league with the Temple authorities, he was expecting a clandestine, underhand attempt by the Jewish oligarchy to seize him. It would be a question of Jews against Jews. In such a battle against the Jewish temple servants and the riff-raff of the town, he would prevail. Of that he was sure. He had with him Peter (the Rock) and John and James (the sons of Thunder) together with the other eight, each vying with one another to go to prison for him; to die for him.1 These were all Galilians. They had a reputation of Zealotism, terrorism and repeated insurrections against the Romans.
Armed with sticks and stones, and the swords, and fortified with the spirit of self-sacrifice which they had avowed for their Master, he was sure to knock hells into any Jewish rabble that dare confront him.
1."Likewise also said all the disciples."- (Mathew 26:35)
A MASTER TACTICIAN
He had proved himself a skilful strategist and planner, alert and resourceful. This was not the time to sit and twiddle thumbs; to be a sitting-duck, cooped up with his disciples in the upper-room! No, not for him. He leads his platoon, in the middle of the night, to Gethsemane-Gethsemane an olive press a courtyard built of stone walls some 5 miles out of town.
On the way, he unburdens to them the seriousness of the situation. The implications and the explosive nature of the coup that failed. Now he must bear the wrath of the powers that be. The price of failure!
You do not have to be a military genius to appreciate that, Jesus (pbuh) deploys his forces as a master tactician, in a manner that would bring credit to any Officer out of "Sandhurst"1. He places eight of the eleven disciples at the entrance to the courtyard, commanding them:
"... Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder."
(HOLY BIBLE) Matthew 26:36
1.A leading military academy in England.
The question that would bug any thinker is: "Why did they all go to Gethsemane? To pray? Could they not have prayed in the upper-room? Could they not have gone to the Temple of Solomon, a stone's throw from where they were, if prayer is all that they wanted to do? No! They went to the Garden so that they might be in a better position to defend themselves!
Observe, Jesus does not take the eight with him to pray. He positions them strategically at the entrance to the courtyard; armed to the hilt, as the circumstances would allow:
"And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee. . .
(HOLY BIBLE) Matthew 26:37-38
Where is he taking Peter and John and James now? Further into the Garden! To pray? No! To make an inner line of defence he had put eight at the Gate, and, now these zealous Zealots (the fighting Irishmen of their day), armed with SWORDS, to "wait and watch " TO KEEP GUARD! The picture is very vivid; Jesus leaves nothing to our imagination. A-n-d HE (alone) prayed!
JESUS PRAYS FOR RESCUE
". . . and began to be sorrowful and very depressed. Then saith he unto them, my soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death' . . ."
"And he went a little further, and fell on his
face (Exactly as the Muslim does in Salaat), and prayed, saying,
"O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as
I will, but as thou wilt."
(HOLY BIBLE) Matthew 26: 37-39
"And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly;
and his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling down to the ground
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 22:44
MESSIAH SOBS FOR HIS PEOPLE
Why all this bewailing and lamentation? Is he crying to save his skin? It would be highly cynical on his part to do that! Did he not advise others:
"And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out . . . And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell."
(HOLY BIBLE) Matthew 5:29-30
We would be doing Jesus a grave injustice if we thought that he was crying like a woman to save his body from physical harm. He was crying for his people the Jews. They held a queer logic, that if they succeeded in killing any would-be Messiah (Christ), it would be a sure proof of his imposture. For God Almighty will never allow His truly "anointed one" (Christ) 1 to be killed (Deuteronomy 18:20). Hence the insistence of the Jews as a people, as a whole, in rejecting Jesus, the son of Mary, as their promised Messiah "The eternal rejection."
1.Messiah. "Anointed," Christos, "Christ." For full explanation, see "Christ in Islam."
This harrowing sob-story, the blood-curdling cries and lamentations would evoke sympathy in the hardest of hearts. And the hot-gospeller and the Bible-thumper is not averse to its effective exploitation. We are told that Jesus was destined to die for the sins of mankind. That he was "being prepared for this vicarious sacrifice before the foundation of the world". That even before the material universe came into being, there was a contract between "Father and son," and that in the year 4000 A.A. (After Adam) 1, God himself in the form of Jesus, as the second person from the enigmatic Trinity2, was to get himself hanged to redeem mankind from the Original Sin and their actual sins.
1.According to Christian calculations the world and everything in it is 6000 years old.
2."Trinity": The closest approximation to the Christian dogma of the trinity as found in the Bible "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one" - (1st Epistle of John 5:7) has now been unceremoniously thrown out as fabrication in the R.S.V., the most up-to-date translation of the Bible. See "Is the Bible God's Word?" for further Biblical interpolations.
JESUS UNAWARE OF HEAVENLY CONTRACT
From the "call to arms" in the upper-room, and the masterful deployment of forces at Gethsemane, and the blood-sweating prayer to the God of Mercy for help, it appears that Jesus knew nothing about the contract for his crucifixion. It reminds one of the Biblical Abraham, leading his son to the slaughter with the bluff that the Lord will provide a 'scape-goat.'
AN UN-WILLING VICTIM
If this was God's plan for a vicarious atonement to redeem mankind, then obviously He had chosen a wrong substitute. This candidate was most reluctant to die. Arming! Wailingi Sweating! Crying! Complaining! 1 Contrast these responses with those of Lord Nelson, a war-hero, who gave up the ghost with these undying words:
"THANK GOD, I HAVE DONE MY DUTY!". There are millions today, who would happily immolate themselves for king and country, with smiles on their faces, with shouts of "Amandhia!" or "Allahu-akbar!" or "God save the Queen!" Jesus was an un-willing victim. If this was God's scheme of salvation, then it was a heartless plot. It was murder in the first degree, and not redeeming self-sacrifice.
Major Yeats-Brown, in his "Life of a Bengal Lancer", summarises the Christian Doctrine of the Atonement in just a single sentence:
"NO HEATHEN TRIBE HAS CONCEIVED SO GROTESQUE AN IDEA, INVOLVING AS IT DOES THE ASSUMPTION, THAT MAN WAS BORN WITH A HEREDITARY STAIN UPON HIM: AND THAT THIS STAIN (FOR WHICH HE WAS NOT PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE) WAS TO BE ATONED FOR: AND THAT THE CREATOR OF ALL THINGS HAD TO SACRIFICE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON TO NEUTRALISE THIS MYSTERIOUS CURSE."
3."Eli, Bi, La'ma sabach'thani? ... Why hast thou foresaken me?" For fuller explanation of this cry, see "What is His Name?"
GOOD FOR EXPORT
"No heathen tribe!" proclaims this Britisher. But the mighty nations of the West, live and die by this "Fiction". If it is no longer fit for home consumption, then it is still good for export! More than 62,000 full-time missionaries (Modern-day Crusaders) are raising the dust throughout the world. Harassing the "heathen" as they call them. Over 40% of these cultists are "born-again" Americans! 1
Strange as it may sound, after every outpouring of prayer, Jesus Christ found his disciples lulled to sleep at their post. Again and again he bewailed:
"What could ye not watch with me for one hour?" (HOLY BIBLE) Matthew 26:40.
"And again he (Jesus) went away, and prayed, and spoke the same words. And when he returned, he found them sleep again " (HOLY BIBLE) Mark 14:39-40.
Poor St. Mark bemoans that the disciples could give no excuse for their lassitude, their somnambulism. He records:
"neither knew they what to answer him", (HOLY BIBLE) Mark 14:40
However, the most lucid, the most coherent and systematic of all Gospel writers, St. Luke, hazards a guess for this anomaly. He says:
"And when he (Jesus) rose from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for SORROW."
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 22:45
1."Born-Again:" The latest cult among the Christians. Billy Graham claims that there are 70 million such cultists in America. Immaculate people, veritable angels! Yet in that nation over a quarter million "gays" gathered in San Fransisco last June on a pilgrimage, led by 50 lesbians on motorbikes. In New York, there are only one million more women than men and of the "men" it is said that one third are sodomites! Overall there are 10 million "problem drinkers" (meaning DRUNKARDS), in the U.S.A. If all this is true with 70 million veritable angels ("Born-Again") in their midst, then it gives a lie to Paul's : " a little leaven leaveneth the whole ..." (1 Cor. 5:6). Here in the Christian West not even one third can ferment the loaf. Strange!
St. Luke, though he was never one of the elected Twelve disciples of Christ, holds numerous distinctions according to Christians. Among them, the "most historical", the beloved "physician", etc. As a Physician, his theory of men "SLEEPING FOR SORROW" is unique. Cries and waitings, sobs and sorrows were in abundance from Jerusalem to Gethsemane on the lips of Jesus (pbuh) which would shock and alert to wakefulness any un-ebriated1 person. Why were the "lullabies" of woe, lulling the disciples to slumber? Was their psychological make-up any different from that of twentieth century man? Professors of physiology opine that under shock, stress and fear the adrenal gland secretes a hormone into the bloodstream nature's own injection which chases away all sleep. Is it not possible that the disciples of Jesus had eaten too much and drunk too much: remembering that food and drink was all "on the house," 2, i.e. FREE!
1."Un-ebriated": a sober person, not drunk.
2.Note to translators: please do not attempt a literal translation of English idiom and figures of speech.