Will Zakir Naik Convert to Christianity?

On February 23, 2015, in Apologetics, Islam, by july

THE VIDEO:

 

CHALLENGE: If you can point out from any version of the Bible where Jesus Christ PBUH said,  ”I am God” or where He says “worship me”, I, Dr. Zakir Naik, am ready to accept Christianity today.

EVALUATING THE CHALLENGE

Zakir Naik frames his challenge as though it is enough to point out a verse where a person said he is God for him to be God. This is certainly a misstep. History is replete with people calling themselves god but fails to follow through with sound proofs that they are. In other words, one who claims to be God without leaving sufficient evidences to back his claims is no God at all.  Consider the event when the Jews were contending with Jesus about his divinity in John 5 and John 10.  There was no instance where they ever said, “where in the Jewish Scripture does it say you are God?”  This shows that while the Jews take offense of Jesus claim to be divine, they did not reduce themselves into absurd argumentations.  This underscores an important point. Any responsible person on a quest for truth will not base his judgment on statements without evidences to back them up. Consider John the Baptist, when he sent his disciples to ask if Jesus is the One, Jesus’ answer was not a yes or no. His answer was, in summary, “Check the evidences. Then you will know whether it is I or not.” (Matthew 11:1-6).

Jesus claimed to have the authority to forgive sins (Luke 5:20-24). One which in Islamic view, is an unforgivable sin. Even the Pharisees thought Jesus was blaspheming. To claim to be able to forgive sins is to claim divinity. In one of many events, Jesus claimed the ability to give eternal life (John 10:28). Again, an act of blasphemy if he is someone less than divine. Jesus commanded the storm to stop without invoking God the Father (Matthew 4:35-41).  This event is interesting because in the Bible, when a prophet would perform a miracle, it was always with God’s authorization. This is one of many events where Jesus showcases his authority over nature. So much so that the disciples began asking among themselves who is Jesus really. Jesus would further note that God the Father wants men to honor him like one honors the Father (John 5:22:23). No prophet would ever even have such thoughts pass through their minds. There are also verses where God the Father called Jesus God (Hebrews 1:8) and even told his angels to worship Jesus (Hebrews 1:6). Thomas considered Jesus to be God (John 20:28) and Jesus praised him instead of rebuking him. (John 20:29). Jamal Badawi once said that such expression is like someone saying “Oh my Lord! Oh my God!” While such reading proves absurd in the english language, the Greek is even less generous. In Greek it says, Ὁ Κύριός μου καὶ ὁ Θεός μου. Ho Kurios mou kai ho Theos mou. The Lord of me and the GOD of me.  This clearly dispells Jamal Badawi’s claim.

In the Bible, we have documented events of people who thinks Jesus is divine or claims to be divine. Consider this sampling. The Jews think Jesus claims to be God (John 5:18, 10:33). Paul, a former enemy of the church thinks he’s God (Philippians 2:6, Titus 2:13). The Pharisees think Jesus claims to be God (Mark 14:64). His disciples think he’s God (John 20:28, John 1:1, 1:18, 2 Peter 1:1). The prophet Isaiah prophesied, saying that he’s God (Isaiah 9:6). The protomartyr Stephen prayed to Jesus thereby putting him on equal footing with God (Acts 7:59). Demons thinks he’s divine (Luke 4:34) The angel Gabriel thinks he’s divine (Luke 1:26-35). The heavenly beings thinks he’s divine (Revelation 5:13). God the Father thinks He’s God (Hebrews 1:6,8, Matthew 3:17, Matthew 16:17), and Jesus thinks He Himself is God (John 10:30).

One who watches Zakir Naik’s video will easily find that he fails to consider much of these verses in light of his apparent challenge. There is an overwhelming amount of Biblical data that shows that Jesus has the divinity and the earliest and best witnesses of Jesus agreed to such representation.  Therefore, it is a terrible misstep to cherry pick verses and leave the rest as though they never existed. Zakir Naik is fond of doing such, failing to understand that to go to such lengths to prove one’s theories is nothing less than intellectual irresponsibility.

THE PARODY

If Zakir Naik truly thinks that his line of reasoning works, a parody may be the best way to respond to it. Consider this sampling.

Zakir Naik, to show me that Islam is peaceful, give me a verse in all of the Qur’an that has the exact words, “Islam is a religion of peace.” You can’t? Then Islam is a religion of war.

Give me a verse in all of the Qur’an that has the exact words, “Muhammad did not recite the Satanic verses.” Nothing? Then it means he did recite the satanic verses and inspired the Meccans to pray to al-lat al-Uzza and Manat.

These can get worse.  One quickly notices the failure in logic that Zakir Naik employs. If one follow his line of reasoning,  he may think he can prove anything but will end up proving nothing. To go into such line of reasoning is unscholarly and unprofessional. This is extremely interesting though. While such argumentation proves nothing, a vast majority of Muslims who knows how to engage Christians will use this challenge somewhere in the discussion. While this may work on those who are ill-equipped to respond, this will turn out to be an abject failure to those who know their stuff. A general advice would be not to use such arguments against either belief systems as doing such is counterproductive in any conversation. Certainly, neither my parodies nor Zakir Naik’s challenge prove anything when seen through reasonable eyes.

ANSWERING THE CHALLENGE

In Revelation 1:8 it reads, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the LORD GOD, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, THE ALMIGHTY.” Here, one clearly sees that it is the Almighty, Lord and God who just said that He is the Alpha and the Omega.

In Revelation 22:13 we read it again, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” In this event, it is interesting… because it isn’t God the Father speaking here. It is Jesus. Here are the verses in context:

Revelation 22:13-16
13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

The Bible couldn’t be more clear. One may be quick to quote John 10:30 which is a far more accurate answer to the challenge. But Muslim apologists have been known and have been shown to treat the verses with unreasonable amount of skepticism that to show the same verse to a Muslim would trigger a new set of discussion which, while is good to be addressed and is easily addressed, may well be reserved for another blog. It is also important to note that since Zakir Naik’s challenge is to show verses from the Bible, not just the Gospels, these verses are useful.  Since Muslims are less trained to obscure the context of Revelation as how they do with John 10:30, it is much easier recourse to present them with such verse. To an honest person seeking understanding, these verses show an unequivocal unambiguous instance where Jesus claims to be the almighty creator of the universe, the Παντοκράτωρ.

THE COUNTER CHALLENGE

This is where things get awkward.  Since the Bible has verses where Jesus clearly claimed to be the Almighty God, it is interesting to see how Zakir Naik would respond. I dare him to apostatize by converting to Christianity. An even more awkward moment is in the same lecture, he claimed to be extremely honest. It would be humorous to see if Zakir Naik would put his money where his mouth is. It would be a let down if he refuses to convert. Either way, he dug himself a hole where the only escape route is admitting his mistake… or the better option: convert to Christianity.

Credit goes to my proofreader and reviewer – Frederick Choo and Jonathan Ang.

 

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