What Allan Ruhl Can Learn From Muslims and Christine Ford

What Allan Ruhl Can Learn from Muslims and Christine Blasey Ford

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“Can ye (o ye men of Faith) entertain the hope that they will believe in you?  Seeing that a party of them heard the Word of Allah, and perverted it knowingly after they understood it.”

–  The Quran, Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:75

            Catholic apologist Allan Ruhl, who has been the subject of previous refutations on this blog,[1] recently published a short discussion of the debacle over Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for the United States Supreme Court, and used it to lecture Muslims about the importance of evidence when making claims for some reason.[2]  After reading Ruhl’s discussion, I thought it fitting to write a reply and poke holes in his faulty logic and (as usual) one-sided diatribe.

Background

            Before replying to Ruhl’s article, it is worthwhile to provide a brief summary of the controversy surrounding the US Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.   For those who were not following the news, Kavanaugh was Donald Trump’s pick for the vacant seat on the Supreme Court.  But before his confirmation hearing at the Senate could begin, allegations emerged of sexual misconduct allegedly committed by Kavanaugh in his teenage years.  The main accuser was Dr. Christine Ford, who claimed that a drunken Kavanaugh assaulted her during a party in the early 1980s.  After some time, Ford agreed to testify before the Senate committee, after which Kavanaugh gave his side of the story.  While Dr. Ford was calm and poignant, Kavanaugh came out swinging and often times became emotional to the point of crying.  Not only that, but when asked if he would support an FBI investigation, Kavanaugh tried to dance around the question.[3]  In any case, after the whole debacle and obvious attempts by Republican senators to obstruct a thorough investigation (several alleged witnesses were not even questioned by the FBI), Kavanaugh was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice of the United States.

Ruhl’s Argument

            Now that we have some background information on the controversy, let us see what this has to do with Muslims and Islam, according to Ruhl.  The first part of Ruhl’s article deals with what he sees as weaknesses in Ford’s allegations.  In Ruhl’s words:

“…she can’t remember when or where it happened.  It’s really hard to believe her story.  I’m not saying that it’s false but if she can’t remember the time or location I’m not that impressed.  How can one prove it?  Kavanaugh denies that this happened.”

He then compares Ford’s testimony to a certain “Archbishop Vigano”, who wrote a letter in August 2018 to the Vatican about the abuse of a minor by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and describing his meetings with him.[4]  According to Ruhl, in his letter Archbishop Vigano:

“…gives the specific date, the building, who he met and what they were wearing.  He remembers what McCarrick said, his attitude, and even what part of the building this all took place.  This is a credible testimony since numerous details can be verified.”[5]

            After criticizing the lack of details in Ford’s testimony (but still making a disclaimer that he is not saying her story isn’t “true”, even though it still “lacks credibility”),[6] Ruhl then made the jump to Islam.  He states:

“[a]s a Christian apologist who deals with Islam, I find Islamic claims about Jesus to be even more lacking.”

He then cites Surah As-Saf, 61:6, which states:

“[a]nd [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, “O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.” But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, “This is obvious magic.””

So how does this relate to Ford and her testimony?  According to Ruhl:

“[n]either the Quran or the Hadith give us any context to this saying, but it explicitly says that Jesus said it.  It’s not recorded in the Gospels, the Pauline epistles, other epistles, other NT documents, or early Church documents but the Quran goes against all of this evidence to say that Jesus said this.  The same thing can be said about the mythical Taurat and Injeel that were supposedly sent down to Jesus and Moses.  There is no proof that either of these documents existed and it doesn’t even fit the historical context.”

Finally, he makes the following conclusion:

“[d]oing a comparison, Christine Blasey Ford actually has a far better case than the Quran because at least her story fits within history if true.  The Quranic Jesus and the 1st century life of Jesus don’t seem to fit at all; they’re like oil and water.  Muslims who look at Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony should take this into consideration.”

So, according to Ruhl, the Ford-Kavanaugh incident draws attention to the importance of evidence, which of course no reasonable person would deny.  But does his diatribe about Islam hold any water?  Let us see.

Debunking Ruhl’s Case

            Using Surah 61:6 as his starting point, Ruhl alleges that there is no evidence that Jesus (peace be upon him) spoke of another messenger to come after him, who would be named “Ahmad” (a form of Muhammad).  But here we see Ruhl’s double standards and one-sided arguments.  He states that the alleged prophecy of another prophet to come is not found in Christian documents, whether the Gospels, the Pauline epistles and so forth.  But on what basis does he limit the evidence to these documents?  If something about Jesus (peace be upon him) is not mentioned in any of these documents, does that automatically mean it didn’t happen?  This non-sequitur is further compounded when we consider the following statement from the Gospel of John:

“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.”[7]

So, according to this gospel, Jesus (peace be upon him) may have performed many miracles which were not recorded.  He could have flown to the moon for all we know, but since the author could not be bothered to record such a miracle, we can never know.  The point is that just because there is no record of something being said or done, it does not necessarily mean that it never happened.  

            Now of course, I am not suggesting that we simply have to accept the possibility that Jesus (peace be upon him) could have prophesied the coming of another prophet.  There is, in fact, actual evidence to suggest that many people were expecting the arrival of another prophet.  This evidence is two-fold.  First, the Dead Sea Scrolls refer to “the Prophet”, as well as two (not one) Messiahs.  In the document known as “The Community Rule”, it is written:

“[t]hey shall depart from none of the counsels of the Law to walk in all the stubbornness of their hearts, but shall be ruled by the primitive precepts in which the mean of the Community were first instructed until there shall come the Prophet and the Messiahs of Aaron and Israel.”[8]    

This expectation is also alluded to in the Gospel of John, when John the Baptist was questioned by some Jews regarding his identity:

“[n]ow this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was.  He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”  They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.””[9]

Now since John the Baptist first denied being the “Messiah”, and then as “the Prophet”, it follows that the “Messiah” and the “Prophet” were two different individuals.  He denied that he was either one (like Kavanaugh denied that he assaulted Ford).  This differentiation between “the Prophet” and the “Messiah” is demonstrated again later in the Gospel of John.  Upon listening to Jesus’ teachings, some people wondered if he was “the Prophet” while others wondered if he was the “Messiah”.[10]  No one, it seems, wondered if he was both

            We already know that Jesus (peace be upon him) is referred to as the Messiah (on this, Muslims and Christians agree).  But Christians also believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) was also “the Prophet” as well, even though there is no evidence to suggest that they were supposed to be one and the same person.  To use Ruhl’s wording, the “history” does not confirm the Christian theory, because the historical documents show the expectation of two different people, one “Prophet” and one “Messiah” (although again, as shown above, the Dead Sea Scrolls allude to two Messiahs).  Even the Gospel of John shows this.  The point is that there was supposed to be another “Prophet” to come.  

            This is not to suggest that this immediately proves that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the promised Prophet.  It is merely to point out that Ruhl’s objection to Surah 61:6 is misplaced, since there is evidence that many people in that time were expecting the arrival of another prophet.  And since John the Baptist did not correct the Jews for thinking that the “Prophet” and the “Messiah” were two different people, then it follows that they were really supposed to be two different people, which contradicts the Christian claim that Jesus (peace be upon him) was both.  Indeed, the disciples are said to have referred to Jesus (peace be upon him) as the Messiah, but never as “the Prophet”, at least not until after Jesus was already gone![11]  As Elmer Fudd would say, “there’s something screwy going on around here”.  

            What all this demonstrates is that even though there is no written confirmation of Jesus (peace be upon him) prophesying the coming of Muhammad (peace be upon him), it is still plausible that such a prophecy was made, especially since the New Testament offers a confusing and contradictory explanation for who “the Prophet” actually was.   Christians like Ruhl simply don’t have a strong case either way.    

            But it gets worse for Ruhl.  We will now see how his own objection backfires, and his double standards are exposed.  Are there any alleged prophecies mentioned in the New Testament that simply do not exist anywhere in the historical record, as Ruhl contends is the case with Surah 61:6?  As a matter of fact, there is!  Referring to the young Jesus’ stay in Nazareth, the Gospel of Matthew makes the following claim:

“[h]aving been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.”[12]     

The problem is that this prophecy does not exist anywhere in the Bible!  As I explained in another article:

“…in none of the 21 books of the Prophets, the 5 books of the Torah and the 13 books of the K’tuvim (Scriptures) is such a prophecy found.  If such a prophecy did exist at one time, perhaps passed by word of mouth, then it has been lost to history.  Hence, it is an unprovable prophecy.”[13]

So will Ruhl acknowledge that his own standards deflate the Bible?  Based on my previous experience with him, I would not hold my breath.[14] 

            This example is enough to debunk Ruhl’s chest-thumping, and we have not even considered the poor historical credibility of the New Testament yet (for example, what historical evidence is there for Matthew’s version of “The Walking Dead”?)!  In contrast to the above non-existent prophecy in the Gospel of Matthew, the evidence for the Quran’s claim about Jesus prophesying Muhammad (peace be upon them both) is at least historically plausible, though one can say that the “Nazarene” prophesy is simply lost to history.  Similarly, Dr. Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh are plausible since even Kavanaugh acknowledged that he was prone to getting drunk, and there is some corroboration from other witnesses that Ford’s story has remained consistent for years.  Indeed, people who have known Dr. Ford have stated that she told them about the assault years before Kavanaugh was even nominated for the Supreme Court.[15]  This lends credibility to her allegations, which is more than we can say about the Bible’s credibility.  Perhaps Ruhl should take this into consideration.  There is much he can learn from Muslims and Dr. Ford!       

And Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) knows best!


[1] https://quranandbibleblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/20/muhammad-in-the-song-of-songs/

https://quranandbibleblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/01/allan-ruhl-and-the-song-of-songs/

[2] http://allanruhl.com/what-muslims-and-christine-blasey-ford-can-learn-from-archbishop-vigano/

[3] This is probably the best evidence that Kavanaugh was lying, for if you are truly innocent of any of the allegations, then wouldn’t you be the first person to call for an actual investigation?  What would you be afraid of? 

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlo_Maria_Vigan%C3%B2#August_2018_letter

I do not normally condone the use of Wikipedia, but being unfamiliar with the McCarrick case, I needed a quick update on the case.

[5] Vigano’s letter is dealing with events in 2013, whereas Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh are regarding events that occurred 35 years ago, when they were teenagers.  Therefore, it is understandable that Dr. Ford would not remember every single detail.  We will come back to this when discussing the unreliability of the Gospels and Ruhl’s usual double standards.

[6] This is yet another example of Christians having their cake and eating it too.  Somehow, Ford’s testimony “lacks credibility” but that does not mean it is necessarily “false”.  Ruhl seems to be aware of the obvious dangers in rejecting the claims of an assault victim, in case those claims turn out to be true.  But that just goes to show his bias.  An objective person would refrain from making such contradictory disclaimers.  An objective observation would be something like “Ford’s testimony may be true, but there is no clear evidence to back it up…”  That happens to be my view on this issue.  I think Ford is sincere and is certain that Kavanaugh assaulted her, but when you are dealing with an event that occurred 35 years ago, you need strong corroborating evidence to prove those allegations.  It is unfortunate that such evidence did not turn up, although it is possible that other witnesses could have corroborated the story had they been called to the hearing or questioned by the FBI. 

[7] John 20:30.

[8] 1QS:9:10.  See Geza Vermes, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (New York: The Penguin Press, 1997), p. 110.

[9] John 1:19-21.

[10] John 7:40-41.

[11] In Acts 3, Peter refers to the prophecy in Deuteronomy 18 and asserts that the “prophet” was none other than Jesus (peace be upon him), but in Luke 9, this same Peter refers to Jesus (peace be upon him) as “God’s Messiah” rather than the “prophet”:

“[o]nce when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “God’s Messiah”” (Luke 9:18-20).

If Jesus (peace be upon him) was the prophet of Deuteronomy 18, then why did he not make that clear during his ministry?  Why do we only get this confirmation by a self-contradictory Peter?

[12] Matthew 2:22-23.

[13] https://quranandbibleblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/the-gospel-of-matthew-and-tanakhic-prophecies-of-the-messiah/

[14] Similarly, Ruhl shows his double standards regarding the Taurat and Injeel as well.  He claims that these books are “mythical”, stating that:

“[t]here is no proof that either of these documents existed…”

But doesn’t even the New Testament state that Jesus was preaching “the good news”?  According to Luke, Jesus (peace be upon him) taught the gospel in the temple courts (Luke 20:1).  What was he teaching?  Can Ruhl reproduce his exact words or show us a written version of this “good news”?  

And what about the numerous books that are mentioned in the Bible, and yet for which there exists no evidence?  Let us see if Ruhl can provide the evidence for these books:

  1. The Book of the Wars of the Lord
  2. The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel
  3. The Annals of King David
  4. The Book of Nathan the Prophet
  5. The Sayings of the Seers

For more lost books, see stewjo004’s article “Missing Books in the Bible”: https://quranandbibleblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/21/missing-books-in-the-bible/

[15] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/christine-blasey-ford-attorneys-keith-koegler_us_5bb82805e4b0876eda9e3d85

 

12 thoughts on “What Allan Ruhl Can Learn From Muslims and Christine Ford

  1. stewjo004

    Uhh.. did he follow the case? She did remember details. The issue was the statue of limitations and the “limited investigation”. Kavanaugh simply got in because this was the first time in 40 years that 5 conservatives served on the Supreme Court. This was a horrible example of justice, they knew the “limited investigation” wasn’t going to make a difference and would finally get the sway votes. If someone isn’t guilt they don’t mind if a full investigation takes place.

    Moving on, okay then what was Paul’s evidence for his “visions” of Jesus(as)?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Here is his reply, along with my response:

    “I may do a post regarding your statements on John the Baptist as I hear it quite often. I’ll let you know when I post it. Let’s just say that you put a lot of stock in the Temple authorities.”

    So you are saying that the “Temple authorities” don’t have any say in this matter? We will come back to this, because it is just another example of your inconsistencies and double standards. It seems you put a lot of stock in certain Jewish opinions, but reject those which undermine your position. I have presented evidence which precedes Christianity by at least 100 years (the Community Rule document is dated to around 100 BCE), but quite unsurprisingly, I now find you ignoring this evidence. Why is that?

    “I should also point out that in response to the prophet/messiah distinction, Surah 61 doesn’t refer to a prophet, but a messenger named Ahmad. Hence the prophet/messiah distinction or supposed distinction is irrelevant to Surah 61. “

    Irrelevant, because a messenger is also a prophet in Islam, and this is true of the Bible as well. For example, Malachi 3:1 is used as a prophecy about John the Baptist, and yet the prophecy uses the word “messenger”, even though John the Baptist is referred to as a prophet in the New Testament.

    “Also, when Jesus said this was he performing a sign? Surah 61 doesn’t say that.”

    You missed the point. I referred to it to show that just because something is not recorded, it does not mean it didn’t happen. In other words, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. If I were to say that Jesus could have gone to the moon, I can easily refer to the Gospel of John to say that even though it is not recorded, it still could have happened. It is not supposed to be a substitute for actual evidence. I am simply pointing out the inconsistency in your approach.

    “Also, the Dead Sea scrolls are completely irrelevant as this is a statement of Jesus according to Surah 61.”

    This is a straw-man. I referred to the DSS to show that there was an expectation of a prophet and a Messiah (in fact, two messiahs). This expectation predates Christianity. I often hear Christians trying to make the argument that since the Bible came before the Quran, the former is more credible. Why can’t Christians be consistent?

    “No words of Jesus are recorded in the Dead Sea scrolls.”

    Well of course not. The DSS were written decades or centuries before Jesus (peace be upon him).

    “Nazar is the Hebrew word branch so that is where Nazarene comes from. Jesus is the branch of Isaiah 11:1. Any first century Jew would have recognized that. Now show me anything like that for Surah 61:6.”

    This is what I was referring to at the beginning. You reject the “Temple authorities” but then simultaneously appeal to “first century Jews”. Why the inconsistency? Don’t you think that the majority of the “first century Jews” would have based their views on the Temple authorities? I showed you evidence from 1st century BCE Jews and 1st century CE Jews to back up the view that a prophet was expected to come, and he was NOT the messiah.

    As it stands, your desperate attempt to appeal to Isaiah 11:1 fails miserably. The word “Nazarene” does not come from “Nazar”. The word you are referring to is actually “neser” or “nezer” but it has a completely different context. According to the 19th century scholar William Benjamin Smith:

    “The use of the segholate nezer in the sense of sprout, shoot, branch, is only occasional, thrice in Isaiah, once in
    Daniel, and may here be left out of account, since it could not yield the plural nozrym and has naught to do with the matter in hand.” (https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/27899560.pdf)

    Matthew was clearly referring to the locality of Nazareth, and used that as the context for the so-called “prophecy”, which doesn’t exist anywhere. So I ask again: will you be consistent and acknowledge that your Bible refers to a prophecy for which there exists no evidence? And as I said before, in contrast to the above non-existent prophecy in the Gospel of Matthew, the evidence for the Quran’s claim about Jesus prophesying Muhammad (peace be upon them both) is at least historically plausible, though one can say that the “Nazarene” prophesy is simply lost to history.

    Like

    1. “Matthew was clearly referring to the locality of Nazareth, and used that as the context for the so-called “prophecy”, which doesn’t exist anywhere. ”

      isn’t it the same with the pharisees ? in john they say “look into it” a prophet is not meant to come out from locality x ?

      Liked by 2 people

  3. stewjo004

    @ QB
    Two things

    1. His post was really classless and I forgot to mention 2
    2. There’s a difference of opinion regarding this ayat, Isa(as) could just be saying the meaning of Ahmad. So translated: “There will be a messenger after me whose name is highly praised (Ahmad).
    3, Even if that was the case Jesus(as) corrects the Disciples understanding regarding John and Elijah. He never corrects their understanding regarding “the Prophet”.

    11Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subject to violence,c and the violent lay claim to it. 13For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.
    https://biblehub.com/bsb/matthew/11.htm

    So either the temple authorities AND Jesus(as) are right or Jesus(as) is a false prophet. Final note this is actually an insult to Yahya and implies he won’t be in the kingdom. (The least in the kingdom is greater than he) Christians were salty that Jesus(as) was baptized by John(as)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. stewjo004

    @ QB

    Forgot also what is the book of Revelations proof of Jesus(as)’s speech? He’s talking up a storm in something they believe to be a dream.

    Like

  5. “I should also point out that in response to the prophet/messiah distinction, Surah 61 doesn’t refer to a prophet, but a messenger named Ahmad. Hence the prophet/messiah distinction or supposed distinction is irrelevant to Surah 61. “

    Been months i’ve been reading his articles, looked up to him as someone who actually has a fair knowledge about Islam and good lord he says this?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Refuting Faiz on Surah 61:6 | Allan Ruhl

  7. Pingback: Allan Ruhl Has Still Much to Learn from Muslims and Christine Ford – The Quran and Bible Blog

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  9. Pingback: Refuting Allan Ruhl on the Missing Books in the Bible – The Quran and Bible Blog

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