I believe that in my previous three posts in this series I have adequately refuted the main point from a piece from the Huffington Post titled “Did Jesus Predict Muhammad?” This post is a “mop up” of some of the other fallacies the author committed in his attempt to argue that the Jesus prophecied about Muhammad.
One of the interesting argument that the writer gave is based upon 1 John 4:2. I will quote 1 John 4:1-3 for context:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.
The quotation comes from the NASB.
Here’s the guy’s argument:
The author of 1 John is especially worried about Docetic versions of Christianity that had developed denying that Jesus “came in the flesh”; in these versions of Christianity Jesus was not an actual human being but rather an angelic being that only appeared to be human. Such a version of Christianity, obviously, would have been quite disconnected from the actual teachings and values of Jesus of Nazareth and his earliest followers, who knew him as a real human being. It is worth noting that Muhammad meets these criteria insofar as the Qur’an affirms that Jesus is the Messiah and that he “came in the flesh.”
He thinks Muhammad meets the requirement of 1 John 4:2 that therefore makes Muhammad a true prophet. Hm.
- It is true the point that the writer makes that “1 John is especially worried about Docetic versions of Christianity that had developed denying that Jesus ‘came in the flesh.'”
- It is also true that Muhammad believes Jesus came in the flesh.
- But the problem begins when the writer leaps from 1 John 4:2 to say that Muhammad meet the requirement of a true prophet based upon 1 John 4:2 alone.
- We must realize that given 1 John’s focuses on the heresy of Doceticism at the moment of his epistle, that does not mean there are not other heresies and wrong views about Jesus out there such as denying Jesus Christ is God.
- It is telling that the writer does not deal with Muhammad’s denial that Jesus is also God the Son, the second person of the Trinity.
- Don’t forget that the writer of 1 John also wrote the Gospel of John which among the four Gospels has the strongest presentation of a Divine Jesus. The Divinity of Jesus is part of a biblical Christology.
- To use the writer’s own words against himself: Muhammad’s “version of Christianity, obviously, would have been quite disconnected from the actual teachings and values of Jesus of Nazareth and his earliest followers, who knew him as” God.
- To use 1 John 4:2 as proof that Muhammad is a prophet in light of other biblical disqualification of Muhammad is fallacious. If I could illustrate, that is like saying someone is a suspect because he matches the suspect’s description of a white male. Meanwhile there’s other descriptions that doesn’t match such as hair colors, age, weight, height, etc. No detective would ignore the clues that doesn’t match. Saying someone is the suspect because he’s white is too general. Similarly saying that someone is a prophet merely because he admits Jesus Christ is a man is too general in of itself because many other heretics have claimed this fact about Jesus. Essentially that’s what the Huffington writer is doing when he claimed Muhammad is prophet because he believes Jesus is a man.
The writer for Huff Po religion also goes on to say the following:
In the history of Christianity, all of the negative terms in 1 John 4:1-6 have been used against Muhammad. He has been identified with “the Spirit of Anti-Christ” and the “Spirit of Error.” However, the time has come for Christians to recognize how wrong we have been in these assessments and to correct the record by affirmatively identifying Muhammad with “the Spirit of Truth.”
This also is not without its problem.
- Essentially the writer’s argument is that 1 John 4:1-6 description of one with “the spirit of the Anti-Christ” is one denies the humanity of Christ. But Muhammad does believe Jesus came in the flesh. Therefore this description of Muhammad as one with the spirit of the Anti-Christ is inaccurate.
- Don’t forget to consider the relevant arguments made earlier about the writer’s terrible handling of 1 John 4.
- I think Muhammad is still the anti-Christ but the basis of this charge is not from 1 John 4:1-6 but elsewhere in 1 John that talks about the characteristic of the anti-Christ.
- It’s interesting to see how often the writer fail to account for other portion of Scripture in his argument for Muhammad. He’s rather one sided. Falling again and again for reductionistic fallacies.
- 1 John 2 also talks about the antichrist.
- 1 John 2:22 gives a bigger picture of the description of the Anti-Christ: “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the [g]Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.” We see here two more descriptions of the antichrist: Denying Jesus is the Christ and also one who denies the Father and Son.
- There’s a chain of argument following 1 John 2:22. The second description of 1 John 2:22 is more general: Deny the Son and its the antichrist. What does that mean? Verse 24 states “As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.” In contrast to denying the Son, one must instead abide in Christ and that is only possible by abiding in the biblical truths already given by John earlier. Think of not just 1 John as the beginning but we must go back earlier and consider the Gospel of John which already presents Jesus as God. Does Muhammad abide by that teaching? Of course not. Muhammad rejects the divinity of Jesus. Muhammad might not be the antichrist but certainly as a false prophet he is led by the spirit of the antichrist.
The writer also gave this argument:
However, it is absurd for us to continue to see Muhammad as a heretical Christian or false prophet given that Islam has lasted for nearly 1,400 years, has supported monumental cultural, spiritual, artistic, political, moral, and intellectual achievements, and has a tremendous and vibrant global following.
Many fallacies here.
- So Muhammad is not a false prophet because…”Islam has lasted for nearly 1,400 years?”
- This statement commits the logical fallacy of appeal to tradition, which is the opposite of the logical fallacy of appeal to novelty. That is becuase how long Islam is around is not relevant to the subject at hand of whether Muhammad is a true prophet or predicted in the Bible. (Note: Something can be wrong for a long time, being wrong and existing for a long time are not mutually exclusive).
- Think how stupid this argment is: How about religion older than 1,400 years? Does that make those religion more true than Islam?
- If this is really the way the writer reason, I would like to see him to write an article appealing to Muslims that Christianity is true because it has lasted nearly 2,000 years. But I’m not holding my breath that it would be featured on Huffington Post because it’s not politically correct.
- So Muhammad is not a false prophet because Islam “has supported monumental cultural, spiritual, artistic, political, moral, and intellectual achievements?”
- No examples are given.
- The writer says nothing about those moments in history where Islam is invoked to stop spiritual, cultural, artistic, political and moral achievements.
- Let’s grant that Islam has supported some achievements. Again our writer seems to be unaware of accounting this in light of a biblical view of common grace.
- Finally, let’s not miss the fact that this is logically fallacious. Islam might provide the framework for some achievements but it is irrevelant to the question at hand of whether or not Muhammad is a false prophet and is unbiblical.
- So Muhammad is not a false prophet because he “has a tremendous and vibrant global following?” The commits the bandwagon fallacy in which the proposition about Muhammad as prophet is claimed to be true solely because many people believe it to be so.
It’s ironic that the writer ends his piece saying “I invite Christians everywhere to look carefully at our scriptures, search our souls, consider our history, and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in answering this question: “Has the time come for Christians to see Muhammad as Spirit of Truth?”” Over four posts we’ve shown so many problems with his arguments and position.