Can you trust Paul? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
If you’ve spent any time here, you know I don’t really take fundamentalist atheist arguments seriously. They’re notoriously bad. Bottom of the barrel. Hard to get any worse.
With one exception.
Muslim apologetics is far worse.
So yesterday, I’m browsing through Facebook and what do I see but this?
It really hurts how bad this is. I think I’m even more embarrassed some organization wanted to put their name at the bottom of this. Yes. Someone actually wants to claim ownership and let people know that they made this.
Where do I start?
Okay. Well first off, I do question that Romans 7 is autobiographical. You can see also here. That being said, even if it was about Paul, what is the worst we get here? We get a man who is obvious about the spiritual struggles that he is going through and speaks in the hyperbolic terminology that is normal for Jewish thinkers at the time.
Keep in mind, when Muhammad started having his experiences, he was convinced for a time that he was demonically possessed or was going crazy or something similar to that. If I am to reject Paul on these grounds, should I not do the same with Muhammad? Again, I don’t think Romans 7 is about Paul, but even if I did think that, I would not see this as a problem.
So let’s look at this second one. Ah yes, look at that trickster Paul there. He’s quite the sly one isn’t he? He caught his opponents by trickery!
Unless you do something strange and actually go and read the whole passage. Go take a look. You can find it right here.
Our Muslim friends don’t seem to know it, but there’s a thing in the world called sarcasm. Paul is employing it here. Yes. He tricked those Corinthians. He tricked them so much by…..not taking anything from them and having others cover the bill.
Yep! Crafty fellow he is! He gave the Corinthians his ministry and didn’t charge them anything for it!
Keep in mind, this is something that should be easy to understand, but it is not apparently to the Muslim mind.
So let’s look at the last one. Again, Paul is a trickster. He becomes all things to all people. How sneaky he is!
Let’s suppose you love hamburgers. Let’s now suppose you want to go and do ministry in India. At this point, I don’t care if you’re Muslim or Christian. Question. If you are wanting to reach the people in India, do you think it would benefit you to go to the Indian people, tell them about your God, and then start eating a hamburger in front of them?
Absolutely not. The cow is a sacred animal to them. They would not want to have anything to do with your message at that point.
I love my tea, but when I have Mormons over to visit me, I don’t drink tea in front of them. For Mormons, that violates the Word of Wisdom. If I was to visit Muslims and do ministry, even though I don’t eat pork products, I would definitely make sure to not eat them in front of Muslims.
This is what Paul is talking about. He doesn’t want to needlessly offend his Jewish audience he wants to convert, so in front of them, he follows Jewish dietary practices and other observances. In front of Gentiles, he lives much more freely. It’s all about being culturally appropriate. That’s not being deceitful. That’s being respectful.
And really, no one has to do a lot of thinking to see what’s going on in these passages. Sadly, I have seen internet atheists use this argument. Will Muslims stop using this one if they read this blog?
We can hope, but color me skeptical.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)