Second, there are certain non-issues that cannot be treated as though they were issues.
Where the Christian and Muslim agree, there is no argument. For example: the Qur'an states that
in spite of appearances the crucifixion of Jesus was unsuccessful, that God saved Jesus. The
Christian says that Jesus died and three days later showed himself to be alive. Where the Christian
exceeds his authority disagreement begins. He does not have proof that Jesus died. He has some
anonymous writings (the Gospels) which say so. However, it was common belief in the first
century among Christians that Jesus was not even crucified. But this was only one school of
thought. Another is represented in the Bible and it has become the only Christian school of
thought on the matter. The only facts that bear up well under historical examination are simply
these: Jesus appeared to be crucified but was seen alive a few days later. Insisting that his death
is proven is actually ludicrous. On the one hand we are told that this man healed cripples, lepers,
the blind, and raised the dead. On the other hand, beating him,, stabbing him and nailing him to a
cross is said to be quite sufficient to kill him. While portrayals of the crucifixion today tell of a
great civic event, there are Bible references that indicate otherwise. A small gathering in a garden,
where his followers were forced to stand at a distance is indicated in Luke 23:49 and John 19:41.
The Bible describes his post-crucifixion appearances as an attempt to tell his disciples that in spite
of what they had seen he was alive, not a ghost. If the Christian does not try to prove the death of
Jesus and the Muslim does not try to prove his own theory of how Jesus avoided death, there is
nothing left to disagree upon. This is precisely the point made in the Qur'an at 4:157.
Third, let us not be led into believing that certain issues can be treated as non-issues. More
than one missionary has asked Muslims: "What do you gain by denying the divinity of Jesus?" The
questioner hopes to evade an issue by treating it as unimportant. The answer to his question was
given by Jesus who said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
Spelling out the precise disadvantages of belief in any particular falsehood is a worthwhile
exercise, but the general principle of Jesus' words is sufficient motivation for rejection. The truth
is, claiming divinity for Jesus is based on what people said about Jesus not on what Jesus himself
said. Here is a place to explain the Muslim view of world religions. Islam is not a competitor
among religions. The Qur'an states that in ancient times every nation had its messengers of God.
Many peoples possessed the truth, but have to varying degrees added to this knowledge with
unsupported claims. So the Muslim believes that virtually any of the old religions stripped of its
excessive points any thoughtful person towards Islam.
Fourth, the missionary must be consistent. If he admits that Jesus' words were expanded into
Trinitarian doctrine by later generations, then he is either claiming that Jesus taught his disciples
more than is actually recorded in the Bible, or he is saying that God brought us knowledge of the
Trinity gradually. The first case cannot be reconciled with Jesus' words at John 18:20, " . . . I
spoke nothing in secret." As for the second case, if the Trinity became known only to later
generations, then one must not insist that Jesus preached the doctrine.
Fifth, deduction cannot increase content. Deduction is a process of seeing more clearly that
which was already indicated by the evidence. We cannot deduce more than the evidence contains.
This is why we say that the Trinity cannot be deduced from scripture. The definition of the Trinity
requires a vocabulary not found on the lips of Jesus. At best, the Christian can point to a verse and
say that it is in agreement with his ideas, but no verse is conclusive evidence of the divinity of
Jesus. The so-called "fallacy of the converse" is the logical mistake most often made. This means
turning the "arrow of implication" backward, e.g. rain means wet streets but wet streets do not
mean rain. Another example: the appearance of the horizon on the ocean might be cited as being
in harmony with the idea of a flat; earth, but it certainly does not prove the earth to be flat.
Similarly, some Bible statements might harmonize with the idea of a divine Jesus but no verse
proves the claim.
THE NATURE OF PROOF