Saturday, May 29, 2010

Islam and Christianity A Common Word: Taking McElhaney To Task: Failed Christian Apologetic Part 1

Thegrandverbalizer has written a response to my response to his blog post alleging that the New Testament writers just engaged in quote mining rendering the Bible untrustworthy.  Of course I disagree. I'm going to respond to his post with my responses in red.

For those of you who would like to follow this exchange you would do well to read my initial post here:

Of course it demands a response because it shows the New Testament for what it is literary fiction. How could a person with any integrity just ignore that. However, McElhaney I am sure is a well intentioned person but his 'logic' and 'responses' really baffle the mind.

Let's take a look and see if you have a point.

His attempted response to my article 'Quote Mining: An Ancient Christian Art' can be seen here:

First off I am glad to see that McElhaney has agreed to the definition of what quote mining is as this gives him very little wiggle room as our exchange will show. Allah-willing.

I did agree to the definition. The New Testament does not quote mine - if this is the definition is the one we wanna use

McElhaney took exception to me saying that the "dual prophecy" dodge that Christian apologist like to use is non biblical. Well, I have not seen McElhaney give any due diligence to it all. Notice that his response is very weak.

"What Bible passage is he referring to that say that there is no such thing as dual prophecy? No example is given."

I did not know that McElhaney was a Roman Catholic. I do admit I assumed he was a Protestant Christian and evangelical at that. I thought he held to the doctrine of 'sola scriptura'. When I pointed out to McElhaney that this concept of 'dual prophecy' does not have biblical support he asked for a passage that says that.

I guess he  thinks that only Roman Catholics see one prophecy being fulfilled multiple times. I didn't see this post or the present one as the appropriate place to flesh out how Prophecy works. I'm preparing such a post to discuss this more fully. In the meantime, I merely was pointing out that thegrandverbalizer basically performed a drive-by without really hitting anything. It would be nice to see an example from the Bible saying that God cannot fulfill a prophecy more than once because God's word never returns to him void. 

Well lets see how consistent McElhaney apologetic really is. McElhaney would you kindly give Christians and Muslims the passage from the Bible that says there is such a thing as dual prophecy? Because no example was given from you to show that it exist.

Such examples will be put forth in a separate post because it deserves more space than I want to give here. Beside in this response, thegrandverbalizer didn't give an example where Christians invoke "dual prophecy" to explain anything. Therefore a fuller discussion doesn't need to be here in this response.

Taking the time to type of some words in text is appreciated but if your going to try your hand at apologetic you will need to do more than that.

When McElhaney saw my example of Matthew 2:15 quote mining Hosea 11:1-2 he was obviously taken a back by it. He looked at the passage and thought no this can't be. He than went for a walk hid by his couch jumped over it and grabbed the Bible off the shelf and quickly opened it back up to Hosea 11-1-2 and those verses were still there.

Attempted humor? Maybe. However, being acquainted with Hosea I know what the passage says.

McElhaney than pinched himself, "No I am not dreaming" he said quietly to himself. He than sat the Bible down and searched the internet. Maybe he just got some kind of faulty translation. Where other people seeing what he was seeing? Couldn't be could it? So he went and searched the internet and sure enough no matter what translation no matter what Bible the problem was still there.

As I stated in my response this is hardly a "problem".

So McElhaney not able to escape the fact that quote mining was before his very eyes decided that it wasn't him who was confused it was the world that was confused!

The world is not confused but I would say thegrandverbalizer is confused.

So than McElhaney feeling obliged to respond wrote,

"I see the confusion. Matthew was referring only to verse 1 not verse 2. Do you really think the "they" of verse 2 are the same as the Israel that was called out of Egypt? No they are not. The worship of the Baals came later - centuries after the Exodus."

This is the apologetic that Christians accept and than go to bed at night thinking to themselves that all is good and right in the world? Amazing! McElhaney sees the confusion when he looks in the mirror.

Therefore thegrandverbalizer is definitely wrong if he agrees that many Christians agree with me. It's not that the whole world that is wrong.

But in my article I defined quote mining as

Quoting out of context or "quote mining" is a logical fallacy and type of false attributionin which a passage is removed from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its intended meaning.

Here is where the confusion is. Did Matthew take Hosea 11:1 out of its context? No. As I stated the people who God called out of Egypt were not the same people who sacrificed to the Baals. There is no way you can equate the two Hosea is giving a retrospective issue of what God has done for Israel. Therefore the same individuals who were called out of Egypt  are not the same as those who obstinately worshiped the Baals centuries later. So did Matthew take a passage meant solely for Israel and misapplied it to Jesus. No. If Hosea 11:1 referred to just Israel  as a nation of people why  does it not say "...out of Egypt I called my sons." Hosea 11:1 is not a prophecy of the future. It's talking about a point in time prior to Hosea's and future to Hosea. Matthew only quoted the part regarding the future with respect to Hosea. Considering that Hosea's words are singular I think it is disingenuous to say that the intended meaning is not what Matthew said he was. I'm not saying that Hosea fully understood what he said, but since he was talking under the inspiration of God, God knew what was being said and it was his intention in Hebrews 11:1 and Matthew 2:15

Than McElhaney said clear as day

I agree with this definition.

Maybe McElhaney could tell us how Hosea 11-1 was NOT removed from it's surrounding mater. Is McElhaney also not aware that the concept of verses came much much latter.

For example is McElhaney not aware of the fact There are 1,189 chapters in the Protestant Bible?These chapter divisions were not in the original manuscripts- They are not Divinely inspired. They were inserted in the early 1200s. This was done for much the same reason your house and my house have numbers in front of them. These chapters are like ADDRESSES by which we can find the location of particular sections/ events/persons or truths. In the 1500s those 1,889 chapters were further divided into 31,173. So now there is not just the general address-of say, Romans 1 and 2 now there are sub-addresses Romans 1:16. So today we have 1,189 chapters in the Bible and we have 31,173 verses within those 1,189 chapters.

How  do you know I don't know that about chapters and verses? Putting chapters and verses  does not change the text. The older copies didn't have spaces or punctuations and all capital letters. So? I'm not saying that Matthew knew anything about  verses or cared. He quoted a piece of a text but not out of its context or from out of  what it was meant. If you conclude that he did think about what you are saying. This apologetic from Matthew has converted many Jews to Christianity. Are you really willing to say that  1st century Jews were not smart enough to be able to counter the arguments that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament? This is one of the proofs Paul, Peter, John, and many others used these same arguments and they held. Why is that?  Because they are true. Matthew didn't quote mine anything.

This is why McElhaney should have thought very carefully before venturing a 'response' if that is what he calls it. I very clearly stated about Hosea 11-1-2 the following,

"So much for a prophecy awaiting fulfillment. The original context of this verse does not speak about Jesus at all! The only way for Christians to say that Hosea 11:1 speaks about Jesus is to use quote mining. You have to completely ignore the context"

You, thegreatverbalizer, has  ignored the context of both Hosea and Matthew because you said you think that the son who was called out of Egypt sacrificed to Baals. There is quite a bit more context involved.

Remember that McElhaney agrees with the definition of quote mining.

So now McElhaney says that Matthew was only quoting Hosea 11:1. McElhaney is trying to sell Christians and Muslims a 1983 Gremlin with a flat tire and bad transmission. I'm sorry guy but were not buying it.

You don't have to buy it. Just read the text. Part 2 of my response is forthcoming.

Islam and Christianity A Common Word: Taking McElhaney To Task: Failed Christian Apologetic
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  1. With the name of God, Peace be unto those who follow the guidance from their Lord.

    McElhaney I just have a quick question in regards to this exchange. Do you really believe that the Septuagint is the inspired word of God?

  2. Um, who said that the Septuagint is the Inspired Word of God? It's a translation. No more inspired than the KJV. Let me be clear: No Translation is inspired. The autographs - the original texts - are inspired. Because we only have copies and translations that is why we need multiple translations and textual criticism to really get at what the original texts said.

  3. With the name of God, Peace be unto those who follow the guidance from their Lord.

    O.K You say that 'No translation is inspired'. So it is possible that I can make mistakes in my translation correct? Would you agree that a translator may make mistakes when he does a translation?

    I would sincerely also like to know why
    'no translation is inspired'. Why can't the translation be inspired?

    The other question in the back of my mind is say I decided to write a document in the future using a faulty translation (where the translator made an error in their initital understanding of a previous text) would my document be considered inspired? Even if I used a faulty translation?

    Thank you once again for your graciousness and taking the time.

  4. A Translator's job is to transfer the message of a document from one language to another. A better question is why would that need to be an inspired process? Suffice to say that some translators are better than others and that is why multiple translations are handy. It helps to see how different translators render the same passage to deepen your own understanding barring translating a text yourself. This is why God made sure we had so many textual variants and translations if you really want to know that the text says you can know.

  5. With the name of God, Peace be unto those who follow the guidance from their Lord.

    My apologies McElhaney as I feel my questions were not clear. Let me try again.

    I'm not looking for you to tell me what a better question would be. With all due respect. I'm asking a question why can't the translation be inspired? You could say to me 1) I don't know and will get back to you. 2) Because...and than lay out the reasons. 3) I don't wish to interact with that question.

    Again I am not trying to be mean spirited I think we all want to obtain to the truth.

    How you answer these question helps me to understand how you as a Christian interact with issues of textual transmission and inspiration. I admit my whole sale ignorance of your position on these matters. I am trying to learn from you to better engage your position.

    I'm wondering if this question could have a yes or no answer, "If I translate an inspired text and I make a mistkae in my translation is this mistake inspired" ? Yes or No?

    If it is difficult to simply say yes or no than why don't you take a position and say either Yes and than give the reasons or say no and than give the reasons.

    The last question I don't feel answerd is this.

    Say I have a faulty translation of a text. Some years latter a person who people claim is writting under inspiration uses that faulty translation as a basis for thier writtings.

    Would the use of that faulty translation follow under inspiration? Why or why not?

    Just like in our exchanges maybe you could highlight each of my questions and than give a direct response to them?

    Thank you for your time and efforts.

  6. "If I translate an inspired text and I make a mistake in my translation is this mistake inspired" ?


    This brings up my question...why would a translation be inspired? It's a more fundamental question that should be answered before you ask and answer yours. Before really interacting with the scenario you have set forth I think it's more of a fundamental question to ask why should a translation be inspired. As I stated, I'm not arguing that the Septuagint was inspired, but I think you are thinking that the Septuagint is a faulty Translation (as you have said in your blog posts). I disagree with you on that. And before you answer the question about inspired translations you should be asking are translations inspired in the first place and why you would even assume that.

    I agree that we are both after truth although you accused me of not being after truth. That being the case, in order to really find the truth we much consider things in this order:

    1. Are translations divinely inspired?
    2. Why or Why Not?
    3. And then ask if a person can be divinely inspired if using a faulty translation

    I suggest time be taken. I'd suggest we both prepare a post answering these questions to be published the same day at the same time, outlining our positions and why. Then we can interact from there.