Blogging through the Worst Book Ever (Part III)

Here is the next installment of crazy things to be found in Jesus – Prophet of Islam by Muhammad Ata Ur-Rahim.

The fifth chapter is where the author attempts to portray Barnabas as the best pal of Jesus who faithfully transmitted Jesus’ teachings and beliefs in the Gospel named after him (even though the Gospel of Barnabas is a very late Gospel that dates to about the 14th century at the earliest).

Perhaps my favorite part of this chapter was the lengths the author went to in order to find references to Barnabas in an attempt to depict him as the most important figure after Jesus’ ascension. Heck, he even went so far as to take two passages in the New Testament which are not about Barnabas, and claim that they originally were about Barnabas and had been corrupted. The author says:

When the apostles decided to elect an apostle in the place of Judas from among those who had constantly been with Jesus “beginning from the baptism of John,” they selected two people to choose from: “Joseph, called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Mathias.” (Acts 1:22-23) There is no other Joseph who accompanied Jesus during his life referred to in the New Testament except the one who was popularly known as Barnabas. Thus in all probability Barsabas – who Goodspeed tells us, once drank a deadly poison but experienced nothing unpleasant – was none other than Barnabas. (52)

It might be asked why no mention of Barnabas is made in the descriptions of the Last Supper in the four accepted Gospels, since clearly he would have been the host to any gathering of men in his sister’s house. Either mention of him was made, but has been removed, or else he simply was not present. It is possible that he was unable to be there because he was in prison. It is recorded that a man named Barabbas, with a company of men, attacked a group of pro-Roman Jews in the fighting which took place shortly before the feast of the Passover. Although the leader of these Jews was killed, Barabbas was captured and put in jail. …. Only a band of Zealots could have been capable of such an organised attack on the pro-Roman Jews at that time, and thus it may well be that Barabbas and Barnabas were one and the same person. (54)

The author then proposes quite a unique reason as to why Paul resented Jews and Romans:

Not long before all these events took place, it is recorded that Paul had desired to marry a woman called Popea, who was the attractive but ambitious daughter of the high priest of the Jews. She possessed haunting beauty and an intriguing mind. She liked Paul, but she rejected his offers of marriage and went to Rome as an actress. Starting on the stage, she climbed step by step until she reached Nero’s bed. Ultimately she married him and so became the Empress of the Roman Empire. Paul therefore had good reason to resent both the Jews and the Romans. Paul’s conversion coincided with his being rejected by Popea. (57)

Has anyone heard of this story about Popea? I can’t say I remember ever reading anything vaguely resembling this story before, which makes me thinks the author just pulled it out of thin air (which wouldn’t be surprising considering everything else he just makes up in this book). Though it looks like Popea is actually a historical figure herself.

After misspelling Apollos as “Appolos” multiple times (pg 68), we find this wonderful display of the author absolutely wrenching Paul completely out of context:

Paul not only rejected both Moses and Jesus, but asserted that he was a law unto himself. Many people, obviously, could not accept this. Paul responded by saying:

For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto His Glory; why yet I am also judged a sinner? (Romans 4:7-8)

It would seem from this statement that, although he knew he was lying, Paul felt that the means justified the end, but it is not understood how truth would abound through a lie. According to this reasoning, if the man Jesus was equated with God, what objections could a follower of Jesus have? (71)

I am no expert on languages and their relationships to one another, but something tells me that Aramaic isn’t a dialect of Arabic:

Jesus had spoken in Aramaic, a dialect of Arabic, which was not commonly written. (73)

And here is one final nugget from this chapter:

This theory of redemption was the child of Paul’s brain, a belief entirely unknown to Jesus and his disciples. It was based on the belief in “original sin”, the “crucifixion”, and the “resurrection”, none of which have any validity. Thus a synthetic religion was produced: Christianity – mathematically absurd, historically false, yet psychologically impressive.  (72)

Stay tuned for more from the world of Muslim apologetics…

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