Ahmed Deedat and the Contradictions of Christianity
Deedatian theory of ‘Crucifiction’ against ‘Crucifixion’
Of the many debates in which Deedat participated, the one entitled ‘Crucifixion or Crucifiction?’ held between him and Jimmy Swaggart at Louisiana State University in USA has been widely discussed. In fact, it might not be far-fetched to say that this was the one debate which heightened further the popularity rating for which he is particularly known.
Apart from Deedat’s arguments which disproved the irrational statements and self deceiving narrations of the Bible, his elaborations on the different methods of crucifixion perhaps merits particular mention inasmuch as it explains the fact on which Deedat himself so poignantly insisted – that there had been more of a ‘crucifiction’ than a crucifixion of Christ.
Indeed, even in art, Deedat argued that the Christian masters appear confused in their paintings of the gruesome scene of the Crucifixion. They portray the two robbers who were simultaneously crucified with Jesus (his “cross-mates,”) as one hanging crucified at his right side and the other at his left. More importantly, they are shown to be undergoing the fast method of Crucifixion while Jesus is depicted as undergoing the slow method (even as mentioned in Mark 15:27). The Romans never combined these two different methods since they, unlike the Christian artists, were not confused in the least. The old masters among them painted hybrid crosses of the fast and slow methods in their drawings of Jesus’ bodily supports on the cross with Sadile (a horn used to fit in the middle of the upright piece of the cross, so that it projected between victim’s legs at the crotch to support his body weight) or without Sadile.
Deedat’s assertion was that, contrary to the common belief with regard to the gospel fabrication of the ‘Doubting Thomas episode’ [as portrayed in John 20:25 ‘putting fingers into the print of the nails’], even if Jesus has been mounted on the cross, he was not nailed to the cross, but bound, like the other two. Deedat said that the Romans had no special reason for being vindictive towards Jesus as compared to his two cross mates “to have the two tied with leather thongs and to have Jesus ‘nailed’.”
The fast method of Crucifixion was “Cruri-fragium” was the one in which the executioners resorted to a club like horror with which the legs of the victim were broken so as to suffocate him to death immediately. For escaping from the religious scruples that on the day of Sabbath ‘no person is to be on the cross waiting for death’, the Jews could have taken the advantage of the fast method. But this never happened at all for it is narrated in Psalm 34:20, “He keepth all his bones; not one of them is broken.” Deedat asked what all these showed: was the event more of a ‘Crucifiction’ than a ‘Crucifixion’?
Deedat said that, according to the proofs given by the Gospel writers, the Jews and the Romans managed to have Jesus on the cross by the 6th hour that is by 12 noon and by the 9th hour that is 3’o clock he had given up the ‘ghost’. But Deedat disagreed with their perception that Jesus had died, because they had been in a hurry to mount Jesus on the cross, as well as to bring him down due to the Sabbath factor. He quoted from the fifth book of Moses,Deuteronomy, in support of his claim “His body (any crucified person) shall not remain all-night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day,(for that is hanged is accursed of God) that thy land be not defiled, which the lord thy lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance”(D. 21:33).
Deedat assertively denied the ‘crucifixion to death’ with frequent proofs from the ‘Cruciplaying’ episodes from different parts of the world. For instance, he cited reports from Philippines, on a new craze of ‘getting crucified’, a ritual performed in spiritual fanaticism as a blind imitation or re-enactment of Christ’s suffering on the Cross. For only being tied up or nailed on the cross for three hours will never amount to death, especially for a young man.
Deedat with the rest of his major arguments against the theory of ‘Crucifixion to death’ along with the ‘Crucifiction story’, had ‘sealed the ghost in the bottle’ several times, but time and again a missionary would seek to open the bottle, causing Deedat to bottle the ghost yet again. These arguments of Deedat, impregnable in themselves, can be summarized as follows:
1. Jesus was in defense of the arrest and trial
Jesus was not a sitting duck for a clandestine arrest by the Jews and a trial before Pilate and Herod. He went out to hide in Ephraim, a desert away from the Jewish settlements with his disciples. Since he understood well before his arrest that a conspiracy had been worked out against him, and that somebody among his disciples would try to betray him, he warned his disciples so sternly (as mentioned in Matthew 26:24 and in Mark 14:21) and again turned to a more safe place at Gethsemane, an Olive yard beyond Ked Ron with his disciples on the same night of the Maundy Thursday feast celebration and prepared them for the forth coming emergency. Jesus advises them “And he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one”(Luke 22:35-36). While reaching there he places eight of the eleven disciples at the entrance to the court yard, commanding them “…Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.”(Matthew 26:36, and mentioned similarly in Mark 14:32, Luke 22:40). To make an inner line of defense he is taking Peter, John and James with him to the inner portion of the Garden (as mentioned in Mat. 26:37-38). Deedat asked for what all these preparations for? To be ready for a submissive death? Then Deedat pointed to Jesus’ prayer to God for his rescue: “…and began to be sorrowful and very depressed. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death…” “And he went a little further, and fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘O my father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt (Matthew 26:37-39). “And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling to the ground.” (Luke 22:44). And Deedat asked whether Jesus was crying like a women to save his body from physical harm? Not at all. He was crying for his people – the Jews – that if they succeeded in killing any would be Messiah (Christ), it would be a sure proof of his impostorship, but if they failed, (and surely they have failed) their mere insistence that he was to be killed (since they had rejected him as the prophet), it would cause them to be eternally damned.
2. Trinity questioned
Deedat now unfolds the folly of ‘Trinitarian theory of oneness in God’. Why did Jesus cry for his life? Was he not aware that he had to die for the sins of mankind to redeem them? It ought to be like that, if he would have a prior knowledge “for being prepared for this vicarious sacrifice before the foundation of the world”, since he be the one among the Trinity as the hot-gospellers claim. Deedat lamented if this was God’s plan for a vicarious atonement to redeem mankind, and then obviously he had chosen a wrong ‘substitute’ (‘since God himself being reluctant to die for mankind’).This candidate was most reluctant to die, since he was arming! Wailing! Sweating! Crying! Complaining!
3. Practical wisdom or policy change?
Then Deedat refuted the counter arguments of Bible thumpers that when “‘band of men’ (in the original Manuscript speira and Chillarchos, both are Roman military terms to eventually mean the ‘Roman soldiers’) and officers from the priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons” (as mentioned in John 18:3) to search Jesus and they found and caught him, Why Jesus refused to attack them especially when the impetuous Peter struck out with his sword and cut off the right ear of one of the enemy and said “…Put up again thy sword into its place; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” (Matthew 26:52). Deedat said that if the sword of Peter had prevailed against a huge army not only Jesus himself but 11 of his disciples too would have been killed there itself and not even one of his disciples will be left for the propagation of the real gospel, just like that it had happened to his ancestor Joshua who utterly destroyed all that was in Jericho (as mentioned in Joshua 6:21). Deedat described the cowardice of his disciples in support of his claim that the Jesus was practical in not defending himself against the Roman army at the 11th hour. When with heavy hands, the Roman soldiers dragged him from Gethsemane to Annas, and from Annas Caiphas, the high priest, and on to the Sanhedrin (a religious board of Jewish Deputies) as directed by the Jews, for trial and execution “And they all forsook him, and fled”(Mark 14:50) whereas the same disciples were given to stating earlier that, “Master, we are prepared to die for you, Master we are prepared to go to prison for you.”
4. Jesus himself against salvation theory
Deedat brought to light the baseless claim of the Christian dogma that ‘for the sins of men the only begotten son of God walked up to the Death in a cross’. At a very unjust trial in which no hearing was done and with only a prejudice of the high priest over him that “…It is expedient for us that one man die for the people, and the whole nation perish not.”(John11:50), Jesus, according to Deedat, denied their charges against him by pleading himself in his own defense “…I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, where the Jews always gather; and in secret have said nothing.” “…If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil. But if well, why smitest thou me?” (John 18:20,23). Further Deedat asked wasn’t Jesus aware of his bounded duty to hang to death for the rescue of mankind instead of defending him by denying charges against him? Unable to answer Jesus and since they could not legally incriminate Jesus, the Jews started leveling false charges against him.
5. Jewish conspiracy legalized by Christians
According to Deedat, in their first allegation of blasphemy, Christians also part with them. To him it appeared that both groups were contending each other to put Jesus to death. One for ‘good riddance’ and the other for ‘good redemption.’ The high priest asked Jesus “Art thou the Christ, the son of the blessed? And Jesus said, I am” (Mark 14:61-62) Since the word ‘Christ’ is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word ‘Messiah’ which mean ‘appointed one’ or ‘anointed one’ and in no way means God and also because the Jewish expectation of a Messiah did not identify the Messiah with God, the Christian notion borrowed from the pagan doctrine of incarnation, wherein God becomes man, is wholly unacceptable. Furthermore, the nature of Jewish monotheism totally excludes such pagan connotations, and so the term ‘son of God’ is a harmless expression that appears on several occasions throughout the Jewish bible.
6. Jesus’ Kingdom is not the Christians Kingdom.
Since Pilate found Jesus not guilty, he passed the responsibility of condemning Jesus to Herod, the King. Now they fine-tuned their allegations from blasphemy to treason. “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ, a King” (Luke 23:2). Jesus replied on the matter of taxation “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God, the things that are God’s.”(Matthew 21:21) and when Jesus was asked “Art thou the King of the Jews?” …Jesus answered him. “My Kingdom is not of this world” (as mentioned in John 18:33-36). Again these are quite opposite to the verdict of the gospellers that he went “to the slaughter like a lamb, like a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). These ambiguities and contradictions which Deedat discovered in his studies on the subject, he eagerly shared with the audiences at his debates. Did Jesus speak all these with his mouth closed: he wondered?
Resurrection – A fabricated story on which ‘Christianity’ is founded
1. The theory of ‘No Crucifiction – No Christianity’
The birth of Christianity and the developmental history of its dogma against the real Gospel of Christ were well explained by Deedat who effectively used it in all of his debates to show the illogical assumption of Trinity, the irony of Crucifixion of Christ and the self deceiving theory of resurrection.
Deedat referred to an American historical researcher and mathematician, Michael H. Hart who put Prophet Muhammad as the first and St. Paul as the second and Jesus, the Christ, as third and only after St.Paul in his book named “The 100, a ranking of the 100 most influential persons in history.” Mr. Hart also explained the reasons for everybody’s position in the list. He gave preference to St. Paul over Jesus, the Christ, since he was the real founder of modern day Christianity.
Deedat asserted that wherever any differences persist between a Muslim and a Christian on the grounds of dogma, belief, ethics or morality, then the cause of such conflict could be traced to an utterance of Paul found in his books of Corinthians, Philippians, Galatians, Thessalonians, etc in the Bible.
As against the teaching of the Master (Jesus) that salvation only comes through keeping of the commandments (as mentioned Matthew 19:16-17) Paul uttered “If Christ be not risen from the dead, then our preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain” (1Chorinthians 15:14). Deedat explained that according to this Pauline philosophy, if Jesus did not die, and he was not resurrected from the dead, then there can be no salvation in Christianity! Moreover it also implied that then “all your good deeds” as per the Christian dogmatist, “are like filthy rags.” Deedat challenged several times the missionaries at their dialogue tables that whether they were ready to denounce their ‘vain faith and vain preaching’ if the folly of resurrection be unveiled from the proofs within the Bible. The challenge still remains unanswered.
2. ‘Like’ means ‘Unlike’?
Deedat maintained that the hot gospellers always fabricated words and sayings, and put them into the mouth of Jesus, and would make it appear that he had foretold happenings of the future. In this, they never accepted any Christian scholar’s word which goes against their pet prejudice and they will brand them as ‘external source’ and ‘minority 20th century speculations. Deedat tried to take the proverbial “Bull by the horn and take him to the drinking trough” even as it was his practice throughout life.
This was exactly what happened when they interpret a sign or a miracle wanted by the Jews from Jesus, which the scribes and Pharisees could not duplicate. By understanding the Jews’ sick mentality which craves for “tricks”, Jesus reacted “…An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the Prophet Jonah”(Matthew 12:39). This statement was rather an indication of the deep disappointment of Jesus with regard to the Jews who always tried to put the prophets in trouble.
The prophet Jonah felt despondent, fearing that the wicked and adulterous generation of ‘Nineveh,’ where God commanded him to warn the people there, would not listen him. So instead of going to Nineveh, he went to Joppa to board a vessel to go to Tarshish. Henceforth the sea started roaring, the storms raged to blow. The mariners believed that whoever runs away from his Master’s commands creates such turmoil at Sea and began an enquiry. The prophet Jonah realized that he is that guilty and requested the mariners to through him overboard and thus avert the disaster from affecting the innocent people on board. But the mariners only accepted his proposal after ensuring the real guilty through their pagan way of casting lots. Since three lots were consecutively fell on the turn of Jonah they became convinced and threw him overboard.
Deedat arose a question on this issue, when they threw Jonah overboard, Was he alive or not? All the missionaries were agreed him that he was alive. Then what happened to Jonah? Since Jonah did not die even after he had been thrown into sea and did not die after he had been gobbled by a fish as well as even after being three days and three nights in the belly of fish, he did not die. What do all this mean? Surely all these are miracles! That is whenever Jonah was expected to die, he did not die. Deedatian logic switched on from this point on the matter of Prophecy implied in the verse “…For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the Whale’s belly; so shall the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”(Matthew 12:40).
Let be the ‘Son of Man’ was Jesus as per the Missionary claim, if so, according to Deedat the following questions must have answered normally. (1) If all these comparisons between Jonah and Jesus are regarding this miracle it involve, whether the comparisons show Jesus and Jonah was similar in this particular miracle? The answer from the audience and from the Diocese was Jesus was ‘Like’ Jonah in the miracle. (2) If so, Was Jonah ‘Alive’ all the way from the moment he had been thrown out from the vessel and when in the belly of fish for three days and three nights (He prayed to God from inside the fish)? Answer was ‘Alive’. (3) If both are ‘Alike’ in Miracle and ‘Alive’ all the way, Deedat asked missionaries Why they mean to say Jesus is ‘Unlike’ Jonah instead of ‘Alike’ and Jesus ‘Died’ instead of ‘Alive’ (4) Even if the Jesus was supposed to have been in the tomb on the night of ‘Good Friday’ and he was supposed to have been there on the day and night of Saturday as well as he was supposed to have not been there in the Sunday morning, since Mary Magdalene had not found him in the tomb on Sunday morning, How the prophecy will be fulfilled that Jesus was in the tomb (heart of the Earth) for Three days and Three nights. Instead, would he have spent only One day and two nights there? This is surely bringing “Bull by the horn and take him to the drinking trough” in a Deedatian way.
3. The limited references and Un-limited contradictions.
The Christian missionaries are always highlighted the 4 Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in support of their claim for resurrection even though these four are contradicting much each other. (Matthew: Chapter 28, Mark C.16, Luke C.24 and John C.20). The difference in opinions of these 4 authors on different issues can be exemplified from some of them. (1) The number and names of the women who visited the so called tomb of Jesus was 1 (Mary Magdalene) as per John, 2 (Mary Magdalene and other Mary) as per Matthew, 3 (Mary Magdalene, Salome, Mary the mother of Jacob) as per Mark and more than three (Mary Magdalene, John, Mary the mother of Jacob and other women) as per Luke (2) Whether they have entered tomb? No, as per Matthew; Yes, as per Mark and Luke; No, But Magdalene alone looked into it and not entered as per John. (3) To whom Jesus appeared first? To Mary alone as per Mark and John, to Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jacob as per Matthew, to two of Jesus’ disciple as per Luke.
Let us watch the movements of Mary Magdalene alone as Deedat did since his logic was true to its spirit that all are agreed to the presence of Mary Magdalene in all of the instances mentioned above. (1) Why Magdalene Visited the Tomb on Sunday morning? “To anoint him” (To Rub his Body) as recorded in Mark 16:1. Is it sensible to anoint a dead body after three days? No! If he were dead, would this rubbing make sense in this context? No. However, it makes sense if she were going to rub a living person. (2) Magdalene was amazed to find out on arrival of the tomb that somebody had already removed the stone and peeping into the tomb, she found the winding sheets were folded up inside as well as the tomb was empty and nobody inside. Do any resurrected body finds any difficulty in being covered in the tomb with a stone? Was it necessary for the winding sheets to be unwound? No! Because they were necessary for a physically resuscitated body, not resurrected body! (3) When Magdalene started weeping since she did not find Jesus in the Tomb, Jesus who heavily disguised, called her from her behind and asked “Woman why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?”(John 20:15), Not recognizing Jesus since he was disguised, “She, supposing him (Jesus) to be the gardener, said unto him; Sir, if you have taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him I will take him away”(John 20:15). Deedat asked: Do the Resurrected need to be in disguise? Do Resurrected persons look like gardeners? Why Jesus disguised as a gardener? Was not he in the fear that the Jews might capture him again? Do all these show that Jesus was alive? Yes, because she was searching for a live Jesus not a corpus. Similarly Jesus who disguised as gardener called her Mary!, in a consoling gesture so as to reveal that he is Jesus. In a state of boundless joy, she leaned forward to grab him. Thus Jesus said: Touch me not; For I am not yet ascended Unto my father (John 20:17), why it is so? According to Deedat he might have sustained injuries due to the reason of being in the cross for three hours! This is Deedatian style of taking example from their own proofs.
4. Crystal clear evidences
Deedat presented some more clear evidences from the Bible itself proving that the Resurrection was a later innovation bearing no authority whatsoever. (1) Why did the ten disciples fail to recognize Jesus in the upper guest chamber of John? Deedat presented the reason that they were terrified, and the woman was not afraid. Because she was an eye witness to all the happenings whereas the men were nowhere in the sight at the time of those happenings (as mentioned in the Luke 24:37) (2) Even though Christians brand Thomas as ‘doubting Thomas’, Deedat portray him as intelligent Thomas, since he was not with other disciples in the chamber (as mentioned in the John 20:27) (3) After the due greetings of “Shalom” Jesus begins calming the disciples fear for taking him to be a ghost. He says: “Behold my hands and my feets, that it is I myself handle me and see; for a Spirit has no flesh and bones, as you see me have….And he showed them his hands and his feet.”(Luke 24: 39-40), Deedat asked What the Jesus was trying to prove? Had he been died and then resurrected? Not at all! Once if he died and resurrected he must have spiritualized. As Jesus says, a spirit has no flesh and bones as he posses. (4) For what purpose Jesus had eaten again and again in his post-crucifixion appearances? If he had died and resurrected, then a spirit is neither need nourishment nor to feel hunger. Jesus asked his disciples: “Have you here any meat,” “And they gave him a piece of broiled fish and honey comb, and he took it, and did eat before them.”(Luke 24:41-43) Deedat asked; was all this an act, a pretence, a make-believe, another “Leela” as the Hindus might say? “No”! But to assure his disciples further that he is alive and in need of all physical requirements.
Loyal to Christian brethren against salesmanship of Christianity
Deedat absolved the Christian brethren of the guilt of having created the cheap salvation theory of Christianity. They had, in fact, been brain washed or “programmed”, (as the Americans would have it) for two thousand years to believe so. The real culprits are the dogmatic apostles of their vain faith. Either they have been brainwashed or blackmailed by their priests and missionaries with the cheapest of tactics similar to that involved in salesmanship in a competitive market.
The Christian missionary apparatus has least concerned itself with the historical Jesus, but at the same time has spared no effort to terrify and terrorize the innocent sheep among the Christian brethren. The Christians were given only two options: either to believe in their Pauline doctrine or to brand Jesus an impostor! Deedat has shown us as much through several examples. In order to answer their own puzzles while yet attempting to sell their religion, they have gone to an extreme of stating that the“resurrection of Jesus Christ is either the supreme fact of history or a fabrication foisted on the followers of Christianity and a wicked, heartless, vicious, hoax ever foisted upon the minds of men.” In such a way they black mail the sensitive religious emotions of ordinary Christian believers.
Here is the merit of Deedat. He highlighted their scriptures for all his purposes and not acknowledged the authority of the Church upon its all illogical interpretations of their scriptures and control over the opinions of ordinary believers which have prevailed since its inception by St.Paul.
Deedat wholeheartedly acknowledged the hundreds of ordinary Christians who indirectly encouraged him to heart and studied and researched using their own sources, even though his belief was as categorically explained in Qura’n in its chapter IV verse 157. (…But they killed him not, nor crucified him. Only a likeness of that was shown to them). This resulted in a perfect alliance between Deedat and his mission; a mission always tried to bring a better communication between faiths to displace all sort of misunderstanding that lead to every extremist developments and thereby terrorism.