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Methods Muslims use

to attack Christianity
by Matt Slick
When dealing with Muslims, it is wise to understand some of the approaches
used by them to discredit Christianity. Much could be written on each of the
following subjects with numerous examples. But, instead, I will simply
expound on the areas common among Muslim approaches and point out what
to watch for.

No. 1 Attack the validity of the Bible.
This is expected. If the Muslim can undermine the strength and integrity of God's word, then it would be much
easier for him to win arguments, confound the Christian, and make converts of those who don't know the truth
and power of the Bible. This is what the devil did in the Garden of Eden. Satan said, " You truly will not die!"
(Gen. 3:4). I am not calling Muslims satanic. I am simply point ing out that that is how deception begins --by
bringing doubt upon God's word, and that this is e xactly what Muslims do. They try to get people to doubt the
Bible and then tell you how great Islam is. Various methods are used here to accomplish this:
1. Stating that the Bible has numerous contradictions.
A. Of course, I cannot go through all the alleged Bible contradictions here (See the Bible
Difficulties section for more explanation). But my observation has been that the
majority of "biblical contradictions" raised by Muslims are nothing more than
examples of their lack of understanding of biblical theology and context. Always read
the context of verses. Don't let a Muslim simply state that there are contradictions
and leave it at that. Ask him to give you one. If you cannot answer it, do research
and get back to him. Sure, there are some tough areas of Scripture, but there are
no contradictions in God's Word.1
2. Criticizing the lack of original manuscripts.
A. The point here is that because we do not have the original manuscripts of the Bible,
we cannot really know what the originals said and, therefore, the Bible could have
been corrupted. They then compare the Bible to the Koran and state that the Koran
is the guaranteed, preserved, direct word of Allah given by the angel Gabriel to
Muhammad. Of course, what they fail to mention is:
i. The Bible documents are well attested as being reliable and accurate. In fact, we
have around 24,000 ancient manuscripts of the New Testament. So much so, that
no major area of Christian doctrine is affected by possible variations among
manuscripts (click here for more details).2
ii. Regarding the Koran, Muhammad couldn't read or write; so he recited the Koran to
people who then wrote it down. There is no evidence at all that the Koran was
written down in its entirety in Muhammad's lifetime and compiled as a unit. So how
could he have verif ied its truth?
iii. Shortly after Muhammad's death, the Muslim Uthman ordered all sets of the Koran
manuscripts to be destroyed except the codex of Zaid. Why? Is it because Zaid's
copy was better? If so, how do we know? Did differences in the copies arise so
quickly that discrepancies were evident, and Uthman recognized the need for a
standardized copy lest Islam suffer division? It raises doubt on the Koran's
supposed incorruptibility.
iv. Muslims claim that Allah said the Koran would be preserved. But, the mere claim is
not enough. It is using the Koran to substantiate the Koran which is circular
reasoning.
3. Claiming that the Bible is false because it contradicts the Koran (Qur'an).
A. This is simply begging the question. That means that one assumes the validity of the
thing that he is trying to prove. The Muslim assumes the validity of the Qur'an; and
because it contradicts the Bible, the Bible is wrong. Well, the Christian can just as
easily state that the Koran is wrong because it contradicts the Bible. But the Muslims
would not accept that. Therefore, why should we accept their argument?

No. 2 Attempt to set Paul against Jesus.
Muslims often make the claim that Paul never met Jesus and was not a disciple or apostle of Jesus. Of course,
this is not true. Paul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus in Acts 9--after Jesus' resurrection. Jesus
spoke to him and commissioned him. So, Paul met Jesus. Furthermore, Paul visited the Jerusalem apostles
Peter, James, and John who affirmed Paul's mission and message (See Gal. 2:9. Also, see the context of
Galat ians 1:18--2:10.) Peter, who was a disciple of Jesus, personally authenticated Paul's writings by calling
them scripture in 2 Pet. 3:15-16. If they are inspired, then they cannot contradict Jesus' words.
In addition, many Muslims claim that Jesus never claimed to be God, and that Paul is the one who wrote that
Jesus was God. First of all, if they admit that Paul wrote that Jesus was God, then remind them of 2 Pet. 3:15-
16 where Peter calls Paul's writings Scripture and affirms Paul's message in Gal. 2:9. Nevertheless, they
sometimes assert that Paul hijacked Christianity and took it over and made Jesus into something He was not.
This claim is false.
Perhaps the primary area where Muslims think Paul and Jesus contradict is in the area of who Jesus is. Paul
states that Jesus is God in flesh: Col. 2:9 says, "For in Him the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form," (cf.
Rom. 9:5). Muslims assert that nowhere in the Gospels did Jesus claim to be God. Therefore, they claim, Paul's
words are not true; and the Bible is not trustworthy.
This attack by Muslims is an attack based out of opinion. Jesus did claim to be God. In John 8:56-59, Jesus
says, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad."
57
The Jews therefore said to
Him, " You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?"
58
Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to
you, before Abraham was born, I am."
59
Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid
Himself, and went out of the temple."3 Why did the Pharisees want to kill Jesus? They explain their reason in
John 10:33 when they say, "For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being
a man, makest thyself God." (KJV). Whether or not the Muslim will accept this, let alone agree that this is
correct, matters little because his presupposition will not allow him to accept, no matter what. Nevertheless, the
text clearly states that the Pharisees understood that Jesus was claiming to be God. Also, consider John 5:18
where the Apostle John says, "Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken
the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God." (KJV). In this verse Jesus
healed on the Sabbath, and the Pharisees thought He was breaking the Sabbath law. John the Apostle also states
that when Jesus claimed that God was His Father, that it was "making himself equal with God." The Muslim
will always find a way to argue out of these texts. But, t wo facts remain. First, Jesus claimed to be God.
Second, the Pharisees denied that Jesus was God, and the Muslims agree with them.
There are other areas that the Muslims will say are where Jesus and Paul do not agree; but when they bring it up,
always ask for an example. Each time I've done this, I've discovered that the Muslim did not have a sufficient
understanding of what the text is saying. Remember, always read the context.

No. 3 Misrepresentation of Christian doctrine.
Sadly, this is a very common error of the Muslims. The single greatest instance of this is in the doctrine of the
Trinity. Muslims so often attack a false understanding of the Trinity by stating that it is three gods. That is not
the correct Christian definit ion of the Trinity doctrine. Christianity does not teach there are three gods. It never
has, and it never will. The doctrine of the Trinity is that there is only one God who exists in three persons:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Trinitarianis m is monotheistic. If a Muslim continues to proclaim that the Trinity
is three gods, then I simply stop discussing the issue with him because he is not willing to accept what the
definit ion is; and it isn't possible to have a meaningful dialogue.
Another Christian doctrine they fail to understand is the Hypostatic Union. This is the teaching that Jesus is one
person with two natures. He is both God and man as is declared in Col. 2:9, "For in Him [Jesus] dwells the
fullness of the Godhead bodily." Because Jesus was also a man, we have verses such as John 14:28 where Jesus
says "the Father is greater than I." Muslims will say that if Jesus is God, how could He be greater than Himself?
Of course, they fail to understand the Trinity (three persons); and they fail to understand that Jesus, as a man
(Phil. 2:5-8), cooperated with the limitations of being a man and was in a lower position than the Father (Heb.
2:9) for a while (See: "The Ontological and Economic Trinity." for more explanation).
Somet imes Muslims refuse to accept Christian explanations for things because it doesn't fit their agenda nor
their preconceived ideas of what they think Christianity is. Oddly enough, Christians often contribute to this
problem by offering inadequate and sometimes erring explanations of Christian doctrine. Thus, many Muslims
are led into error regarding what Christianity really teaches. Christians need to know their doctrine, and
Muslims need to understand the proper explanations for those doctrines.

No. 4 Misinterpreting various Scripture passages.
A very good example of misrepresentation of biblical passages can be found in a dialogue I had with a Muslim
regarding John 1:1, 14. These verses say, "In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the
word was God." Verse 14 says "and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . " The Muslim I was
speaking to reasoned thus:
If the word is God then we can insert the word "god" into the verse each time it says "word." Therefore, we
would have it say 'In the beginning was the God and the God was with God and God was God.' As you can see,
this makes no sense. Therefore, when you go to verse 14 where it says the word became flesh, it cannot mean
that God became flesh because John 1:1 makes no sense."
As you can see, this kind of logic is very bad. First of all, John 1:1 does not say what he said it does. It does not
speak in contradictory terms the way he tried to make it sound. Instead, it uses both the word "word" and the
word "god" in the sentence. I told him that he needed to go with what the text does say and not with what it
does not say. In other words, he reconstructed it in such a way as to purposely not make sense, and then he
attacked that.
Another verse, or verses, that they misinterpret is when Jesus says that He is the Son of God. To the Muslim,
this means that God literally had a wife and produced a literal son. Of course, this is not what is meant by the
biblical account. Sonship is in relat ion to the Fatherhood of God in a spiritual and metaphoric sense. After all,
Jesus says that God is spirit (John 4:24). Of course, God would not have a body of flesh and bones with which
to procreate children. What the Muslims are guilty of doing is imposing Islamic understandings upon biblical
texts and then complaining about the biblical texts in light of how they interpret them. This is not how one
should go about "refuting the opposition." Rather, the Muslim should seek to understand the biblical/cultural
context and deal with the issue from that perspective not a fabricated one as this example shows.

No. 5 Failing to differentiate between Protestant and Catholic
doctrines.
Sadly, Christianity is not in complete unity in all things --which is why we have denominations. I am dismayed
at the fragmentation within Christianity and think it is a poor witness to the world. But, the fact is that
differences of opinions among Christians do occur. In fact, we are allowed to have differences of opinion
according to God's word found in Rom. 14: 1-13. True Christians are all united in the essentials of the faith and
are often divided on the non-essentials. This does not mean we are not all Christians, but that we have
differences of opinions on some things.
However, in the 1500s, there was a major split in the Catholic church. It was called the Reformation. As a
Protestant, I believe the Reformation was necessary because the Catholic church had adopted some dangerous
and erroneous doctrines that extend far beyond mere differences of opinion, namely, prayer to Mary, purgatory,
indulgences, etc.
Muslims often fail to differentiate between Catholicism and Protestantism in their arguments. I've heard and
read that Muslims attack, for example, the Catholic teaching of the Eucharist where the bread and wine of the
Lord's Supper are claimed by the Catholics to actually become the body and blood of Christ during the
communion service. Of course, we Protestants strongly disagree with this. But this disagreement is rarely, if
ever, brought up when attacking Christian doctrine. So, when Muslims say "Christians believe . . . ," be careful
that they do not make too broad a generalization as they continue their at tack.

No. 6 Claim their thinking is correct and Christian thinking is
incorrect.
Many Muslims have told me that what I am saying about God, Salvation, the Bible, etc., isn't logical. Now,
perhaps some things I say are not logical. But, I've not heard any convincing arguments yet demonstrating what
is and is not logical regarding Christian doctrine. Usually, the Muslim will simply say that Jesus having two
natures is not logical, or that the Trinity being three persons doesn't make sense. But saying so doesn't make it
so. There is nothing illogical about a part of God being able to become a person and add human nature to
Himself. It may not be the easiest thing in the world to understand, but it is not illogical. Neither does saying
that the Trinity is three persons is illogical make it so. Surely anyone would agree that when we encounter God
and His self-revelation, there will be things that are difficult to understand. The Trinity certainly falls under that
category. But, the Trinity doctrine is not against logic. It would be illogical to say that one God is three gods,
or that one person is three persons. But that is not what Christianity teaches.
I've found that when dialoguing with Muslims and when reading their material against Christianity, that their
claim to know real logic is really an extension of their Muslim thought and not a mastery of logic at all.

No. 7 Switching topics when challenged.
Somet imes when discussing subjects that Muslims find difficult to answer, they will quic kly change the subject.
Very often this change involves attacking the Bible. Other t imes they will testify that they know Islam is true,
or they will simply say that you do not know what you are talking about. But when they change the subject, you
must be patient. Lovingly bring them back to the subject at hand. I have had to do this many times when
discussing Islam with Muslims.
This is a small but very important point. Too many Christians fall into the trap of allowing themselves to be
diverted from the subject at hand. Do not let a Muslim simply ignore a question and start a new subject when it
gets tough. Likewise, Christians should not simply change the subject when it gets difficult for them either.
Instead, if you do not know the answer to a question, simply admit it. Go do some research and then get back
with them.
Always remember to be gracious. You will not win the Muslim to the Lord with cruelty and rudeness. And
remember that we are in the spiritual battle. Love and truth in the name of Jesus is more powerful than any
perfect answer.
When dialoguing with Muslims, please remember to be respectful and patient. But, check everything they say
and listen to them. They do not have the market cornered on truth even though they think they do.

1. There is an except ion due to a t ext ual copyist error. In 2 Chr. 36:9, it st at es t hat "Jehoiachin was eight years old when he
became king," and 2 Kings 24:8, stat es that "Jehoiachin was eight een years old when he became king . . . " This is not an error in
the original manuscript s. Most likely, one of the small horizontal st rokes used in recording numbers during the t ime of
Chronicles writ ing was eit her smudged out or faded (Gleason Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, Grand Rapids:
Zondervan Publishing, 1982, p. 215).
2. See the book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell.
3. Note: In Exodus 3:14 God says, "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt t hou say unt o t he
children of Israel, I AM hat h sent me unto you," (KJV).