Sunday, October 18, 2009
Does the Bible use language not fitting for God?
Deedat acuses the Bible of being a pornographic book because of such passages as Ezekiel 23.
It is only ignorance of the inspired scriptures that results in such outrageous claim.
The whole chapter is describing the sin of idolatry of the two nations Samaria and Israel. The two nations became senseless and apathetic so that no amount of decent admonition would work with them. There was no amount of nice words that would cause them to recognise the gravity of their sin, the sin of idolatry. So the prophet had to use this language to make his point. Such strong language needed to be used to burn into their hearts and minds like acid the message of the prophet. Since the beginning of the nation of Israel they have been unfaithful to the God who delivered them out of the land of Egypt. At that "time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and held a celebration in honour of what their hands had made. ... This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets: 'Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? You have lifted up the shrine of Moloch and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship." (Acts 7:41-43) The children of Israel were violating the first and the most important commandment, which says, "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them." (Exodus 20:2-4)
Had Deedat taken the time to read the whole chapter he would have recognised the main message of the prophet Ezekiel.
Here is the summary of that chapter:
"You shall pay the penality for your lewd conduct and be punished for your idolatry, and you will know that I am the Lord God." (Ezek. 23:49)
Had the prophet gone to them and preached against idol worship in more ordinary tones that would have had less effect. But he used the image of a harlot and sexual acts to portray the sordidness of the sin of worshipping idols. It is a language that makes people take note.
Strong imagery is not strange to the Qur'an either.
"And do not spy, neither backbite one another; would any of you like to eat the flesh of his brother dead?" (Q. 49:12)
This is an image of cannibalism which is just as disgusting as harlotry or immoral sexual acts. If the Qur'an simply commanded people not to backbite, the message would not be nearly as powerful. But the revolting image of cannibalising one's brother had to be used to communicate the vileness of backbiting.
"God forgives not that aught should be with him associated; less than that He forgives." (Q. 4:48)
And the Bible says about the sin of idolatery:
"Long ago you broke off your yolk and tore off your bonds; you said, 'I will not serve you!' Indeed, on every high hill and under every spreading tree you lay down as a prostitute. I have planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine? Although you wash yourself with soda and use an abundance of soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me,' declares the Sovereign Lord. How can you say, 'I am not defiled; I have not run after the Baals? See how you behaved in the valley; consider what you have done. You have a swift she-camel running here and there, a wild donkey accostomed to the desert, sniffing the wind in her craving - in her heat who can restrain her? Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves; at mating time they will find her. Do not run until your feet are bare and your throat is dry. But you said, it's no use I love foreign gods and I must go after them. As a thief is disgraced when he is caught, so the house of Israel is disgraced - they, their kings and their officials, their priests and their prophets. They say to wood, 'You are my father', and to stone, 'You gave me birth.' They have turned their backs to me and not their faces; yet when they are in trouble, they say, 'Come and save us!' Where then are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble! For you have as many gods as you have towns, O Judah. 'Why do you bring charges against me? You have rebelled against me,' declares the Lord. In vain I punished your people; they did not respond to correction. Your sword has devoured your prophets like a ravening lion." (Jeremiah 2:20-30)
We can see that this was a method of communication to the childern of Israel the sordidness of their sin of idol worship.
Deedat should have heeded the advise of the prophet of Islam when he said, "do not believe the people of the Book and do not disbelieve them" - "Why?" he was asked. "Because if you believe them and they were found to be wrong, you blaspheme. And if you disbelieve them and they were right, you blaspheme."
According to the above Deedat by attacking the Bible has thus blasphemed.