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Muslims and their use of Dr. Bart D. Ehrman

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It’s well known that Muslims enjoy employing the academic works of Dr. Bart D. Erhman in their discussions-debates with Christian apologists, or even if they’re having a casual dialog with your average day Christian. The use of Erhman and his scholarly works has vexed a lot of Christian missionaries and apologists, particularly those of the evangelical-conservative type.

Due to their displeasure of Muslims using Erhman’s work, Christian apologists have been coming up with a lot of illogical claims as to why Muslims are being inconsistent for using Erhamn’s arguments, and why Muslims as well should not be using Erhman’s arguments.

The first thing you’ll hear a lot of these conservative apologists say is that Erhman’s beliefs would also contradict Islam, as he is an agnostic/atheist, and his methodology wouldn’t favor Islam. To begin with, I doubt any Muslims refer to Erhman as a source or proof for Islam, what Muslims do look to Ehrman for, are his scholarly works on the textual integrity of the New Testament, not his supposed proofs or evidences to prove Islam as the correct religion. So while Erhman may not agree with Islam, that has no bearing on his scholarly works on the textual integrity of the Bible, if Erhman has an argument against Islam, as Muslims we would look to respond to it, obviously not agreeing with it, but that has nothing to do with his scholarly works on the NT which Muslims use.

Another point Christian apologists will raise is how on some issues, Erhman disagrees with Muslims, for example Ehrman affirms the crucifixion of Jesus, he believes that Jesus did indeed die on the cross, and this would contradict Islam and the Muslim belief of Jesus being saved from the cross. It’s at this point you realize how desperate Christian apologists are getting, just because you reference a scholar, or utilize a scholar on some of his scholarly works, does not mean you have to agree, or are bound to every single opinion or work of his. In fact since when was this ever a criteria, that if someone uses scholar A, that he must therefore always agree to what scholar A says. No such criteria exists, at the end of the day, people are more than free to agree/disagree with an academic on their works. In fact in the world of academia, this would be known as the fallacy of ‘appealing to authority’, and this is what Christian apologists are expecting of Muslims.

One can even turn the argument back on these Christian apologists, whom we all know are big fans of Ibn Kathir, one of the best known Islamic commentators of the Quran. Christian apologists love quoting him, and many other Islamic scholars when they feel the writings of these Islamic scholars help their case, but do these apologists now apply their own criteria to themselves, that because they quote and use Ibn Kathir, that they must therefore agree with everything he says? They’d say no, but when it comes to Muslims using Ehrman, all of a sudden Muslims are bound (by their own made up criteria) to accept everything Ehrman says, and have no right at all to disagree with some of his opinions-arguments.

The fact is, Christian apologists simply don’t like Muslims using Ehrman because his scholarly arguments against the textual integrity of the NT are strong, and it hurts their case on the supposed inerrancy of the Bible, and this is why they don’t want Muslims utilizing his works. And that’s what it comes down to, the merits of his scholarly arguments on the textual integrity of the NT, whether he disagrees with Islam, or whether he believes in pink unicorns, none of that has any bearing whatsoever on his area of research and expertise, which is the NT and it’s history-compilation.

In conclusion, we would advice Muslims to get well acquainted with the works and writings of Dr. Bart D. Ehrman on the New Testament and it’s history, as much as it may offend or displease some Christian apologists out there. 

 

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