“Christianity Explained” – A Lecture by Shabir Ally
This is a pretty slick lecture on the evolution of Christology as seen in the New Testament. The lecture is given by the eminent lecturer/debater/da ‘eeShabir Ally. The lecture doesn’t start until 10 minutes into the video because there is some trouble with finding a Christian speaker. The original Christian debater had to cancel the debate when he learned of is opponent being Shabir Ally, and the replacement speaker apparently belonged to a church that most mainstream Christians would not have representing their faith. In the end, what was planned to be a debate ended up becoming an informative lecture on the evolution of the Christian depiction of Jesus Christ (AS). It was so good that I decided to take notes and post them here, just so that if anyone doesn’t have 1 hour and 20 minutes to spare, they can just breeze over my notes. The debate took place at the University of Birmingham, UK, in March 2000.
By the way, the lecture wasn’t named “Christianity Explained” by Shabir Ally, but rather the YouTube account on which I found this video and uploaded it under that name.
“Christianity Explained” – A Lecture by Shabir Ally
– Muslims and Christians tend to disagree on the interpretation of certain biblical verses on the nature of Jesus Christ (AS)
– 4 Gospels on the life and teaches of Jesus Christ (AS)
– Initially the Gospels were written each on a separate scroll and that each was circulated in various areas, so that those who might have reading the Gospel of Mark might not have been reading the Gospel of Matthew, and that those reading the Gospel of Luke might not have been reading the Gospel of John, etc.
– The Gospel of Matthew was written in Antioch.
– The Gospel of Mark was written in Rome.
– The Gospel of Luke was written in Caesarea.
– The Gospel of John was written in Ephesus.
– The Gospels were not written simultaneously.
– The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are so similar that they are thought to have evolved from one another.
– Mark was written first, and Matthew and Luke derived their material from Mark. All 3 are collectively known as the Synoptic Gospels.
– Matthew and Luke also derived materials from a lost gospel dubbed Gospel Q.
– Matthew and Luke derived chronology and major events from Mark, and derived the sayings of Jesus Christ (AS) from the document Q.
– Matthew adopted material from Mark and altered the material to meet his purposes. This means that the Jesus portrayed in the Bible today is not the same person as the historical Jesus, and that anyone who wants to know the true historical Jesus will have to go back to the earliest documents.
– Matthew changed it so that people would call Jesus as “Lord” instead of “Rabbi.” (Mark 9:5 vs. Matthew 17:4)
– Matthew changed it so that Jesus called himself “Lord” instead of “Master.” (Mark 13:35 vs. Matthew 24:32)
– Matthew changed it so that Jesus called himself the “Messiah, Son of the Living God” instead of “Messiah.” (Mark 8:29 vs. Matthew 16:16)
– Matthew changed it so that Jesus referred to God as his “Father” instead of “God.” (Mark 3:31 vs. Matthew 12:46)
– Matthew changed it so that people pray to Jesus rather than rebuking him. (Mark 4:38 vs. Matthew 8:25)
– Matthew changed it so that there is a reduction in Christ’s emphasis on the One God. (Mark 12:29-30 vs. Matthew 22:37-38)
– Matthew changed it so that there is a reduction in the distinction between Jesus Christ and God. (Mark 19:17-18 vs. Matthew 19:16-17; who/what is being called good)
– Matthew changed it so that to cover up the human limitations of Jesus, such as fallibility and lack of knowledge. (Mark 11:12-14 vs. Matthew 21:18-19; knowledge of the season for figs)
– Christians, instead of recognizing these alterations for what they are, have (unsuccessfully) tried to reconcile these contradictions by attributing them to the “dual-nature” of Jesus Christ as being both man and God.
– The Gospel of John is a very different Gospel than the Synoptic Gospel. John changed the story even further than Matthew, so that Jesus seems even bigger, sort of like a snowball effect from Mark to Matthew to John.
– How many times did Jesus refer to the advent of the Kingdom of God? (Mark – 18 times vs. John – 5 times)
– How many times did Jesus refer to himself using “I am…” statements? (Mark – 9 times vs. John – 118 times)
– How many times did Jesus speak about God as his father? (Mark – 1 time as God being “the” Father, and 3 times as his own Father vs. John – 73 times as “the” Father, and 100 times as his own Father)
– It seems as if John tried to steer the message away from God and His Kingdom and more towards Jesus becoming synonymous with God.
– Paul of Tarsus wrote his writings first (50-60 CE), and it is believed that his theology later contributed to the later understanding of Christianity and would even contribute to the Gospels (Mark, 75 CE; Matthew, 85 CE; Luke & John, 90 CE; rest of the New Testament was written after that), not to mention the selection of the canon and canonical doctrines.
– The real Jesus was the Messiah, a worshipper and servant of the One True God.
– Paul calls Jesus “God’s agent.” He says that God created Jesus, and then Jesus created the rest of the world.
– Mark raised the status only a little higher than that of the real Jesus, calling him the “Son of God.”
– Matthew raises the status of Jesus from Mark just a little higher, having others call Jesus the “Son of God” and having Jesus call God his father.
– John brings the stature of Jesus right back to where Paul had began, as if Paul pulled the Gospels towards his views.
– Jesus wasn’t made God in any of the New Testament writings, but rather in the Council of Nicea in 325 CE.
– The Qur’an came much later at 610, but you believe its depiction of Jesus because it’s author is God, and God is a witness to everything. The Qur’an is a primary source. It brings the understanding of Jesus back to the historical Jesus.
– In Islam, Jesus, aka Isa (AS), was both a prophet/messenger AND the Messiah.
– In Islam, Muslims believe in a Torah, a Psalms, and a Gospel, but these 3 books don’t necessarily refer to the current set of books with the same name found in the Holy Bible.
– Scholars agree that Moses, at the very least, did not write all 5 books of the current Torah.
– Scholars agree that current Holy Bible contains on 4 of the 66 gospels that once existed. Which one was the correct one, if any at all? Jesus (AS) only preached one, after all.
– Since it is obvious that the biblical writers spun their writings to meet their purposes, we cannot really accept their word to be historically accurate. However, we can at least attempt to retrace and reconstruct the evolution of the message taught by Jesus (AS).
– We know that God isn’t just a higher impersonal power because he sends us guidance and revelations, of which the Qur’an is the only unaltered one left.
– After the alleged crucifixion of Jesus (AS), his followers divided into 2 groups – one comprised that of his relatives and direct disciples, and the other comprised of Paul of Tarsus and his follwers, whose writings eventually became adopted into the New Testament.
– The New Testament seems to portray Mary (AS) and the disciples as people who did not understand Jesus (AS) properly. This way, they could divert Christians away from the first group and bolster/add credibility to Paul’s teachings as being the only authentic understanding of Jesus (AS).
– Farhan R.