Did Jesus Die On The Cross?

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by RJM Corbet, Oct 20, 2021.

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  1. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    The death on the cross is central to most Christian belief.

    Mark’s Gospel states:
    At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

    When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”

    Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

    With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

    The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

    Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.

    It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph.
    Mark 15:33-45


    John’s gospel states:
    Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

    Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

    Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.

    The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.
    John 19: 28-35

    Both Matthew and Luke basically repeat the account given in Mark’s gospel, which is believed to be the first of the three synoptic gospels:
    Matthew 27:45-61
    Luke 23:44-54


    The Quran states:
    “and as for their saying “we slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God” – yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them.

    Those who are at variance concerning him surely are in doubt regarding him: they have no knowledge of him, except the following of surmise; and they slew him not of a certainty – no indeed; God raised him up to Him; God is All-mighty, All-wise.”
    (4: 156 - The Quran Interpreted – Translated by Arthur J. Arberry)

    It would appear that a person has to choose between either the Gospels or the Quran on the issue? Is there a convincing reason to choose one account over the other? Is there a middle ground?
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2021
  2. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    If I HAD to choose between the Bible or Qur'an, I would choose the Qur'an any day !
    However, I don't have to choose. I can try to understand what happened, and why many people believed that he died, and so subsequently Christians believed that he died.

    It doesn't stop there though, does it. From that, people expanded on him dying .. being divine, and even worshipping him instead of the One G-d, in many cases.
     
  3. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Did Jesus die on the cross?

    God not hard and distant but God who takes upon himself the body of a sinless man, who suffers and dies as a man -- to take upon himself and share the suffering of man -- in order to be there for man in all his suffering. That's really what Christ is, imo ...
     
  4. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    That has never been a salient argument for me. 30 years? If G!d has existed for all eternity 30 years is a hundredth of a blink of an eye?

    "What do you mean you went to earth and lived as a man? When?"

    I know it is central to Christianity, but I don't even need him to have existed to enjoy and follow the amazing thought he is purported to have said.

    I have come to realize folks consider that heretical...but I believe the world would be an awesome place if non believers and (ALL) Christians chose to act like Jesus. Forget the 10 commandments...we cant even get the gratitude!
     
  5. Grandad

    Grandad Member

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    You cite the following Sūrah:

    ‘And so for breaking their pledge, for rejecting Allāh’s revelations, for unjustly killing their prophets, for saying: “Our minds are closed” – Nay! Allāh has sealed them in their disbelief, so they believe only a little – and because they disbelieved and uttered a terrible slander against Mary, and said “We have killed (‘qatalnā’) the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allāh.” They did not kill him (wamāqatalūhu), nor did they crucify him (wamā ṣalabūhu), though it was made to appear like that to them (wa-lākin shubbiha lahum); those that disagreed about him are full of doubt, with no knowledge to follow, only supposition: they certainly did not kill him – Nay! (‘bal’), Allāh raised him (‘rafaʿahu’) up to Himself. Allāh is almighty and wise.’ (Al-Nisa: 155-158; my emphasis).

    There are tafâsîr (interpretations of the Qur’an) by Wahb Ibn Munabbih; Ṭabarî; Makkî Ibn Abi Ṭâlib; Qurṭubî; Ibn Kathîr; Suyûṭî; Ṭabâṭabâ’î ; and Jazâ’irî. All of them (apart from Ṭabâṭabâ’î) claim that Yeshua was not crucified, but that another was made to resemble him – and to take his place. The text provides no justification for this claim.

    Muhammad Asad writes:

    ‘There exist, among Muslims, many fanciful legends telling us that at the last moment God substituted for Jesus a person closely resembling him (according to some accounts, that person was Judas), who was subsequently crucified in his place. However, none of these legends finds the slightest support in the Qur’ān or in authentic Traditions, and the stories produced in this connection by the classical commentators must be summarily rejected. They represent no more than confused attempts at “harmonizing” the Qur’anic statement that Jesus was not crucified with the graphic description, in the Gospels, of his crucifixion.

    ‘The story of the crucifixion as such has been succinctly explained in the Qur’anic phrase wa-lākin shubbiha lahum – implying that in the course of time, long after the time of Jesus, a legend had somehow grown up (possibly under the then-powerful influence of Mithraistic beliefs) to the effect that he had died on the cross in order to atone for the “original sin” with which mankind is allegedly burdened; among the latter-day followers of Jesus that even his enemies, the Jews, began to believe it – albeit in a derogatory sense (for crucifixion was, in those times, a heinous form of death-penalty reserved for the lowest of criminals). (‘The Message of the Qur'an).

    I opine that these ʾāyāt are a rejection of narratives found in the ‘Talmud Bavli’ (‘Babylonian Talmud’), rather than those of the Gospels.

    Here’s why:

    Allāh (subḥānahu ūta'āla) does not identify those Jews who ‘uttered a terrible slander against Mary’; nor the period in which they lived. However, there are clues to their identity in the writings of Origen, and in the Talmud.

    Celsus, a polemic writer against Christians, produced his ‘Logos Alēthēs’ (‘The True Word’) between the years 175 and 180 CE. Around 240 CE, a copy was given to Origen of Alexandria, one of the most influential scholars in the early Church.

    The original text of ‘Logos Alēthēs’ has been lost, but scholars have been able to reconstruct much of it, thanks to Origen’s many citations.

    Origen writes:

    ‘He (Celsus) also introduces an imaginary character (a Jew) who addresses childish remarks to Jesus and says nothing worthy of a philosopher’s grey hairs…..After this he represents the Jew as having a conversation with Jesus himself and refuting him on many charges, as he thinks: first, because he (Jesus) fabricated the story of his birth from a virgin; and he reproaches him because he came from a Jewish village and from a poor country woman who earned her living by spinning. He (Celsus) says that she was driven out by her husband, who was a carpenter by trade, as she was convicted of adultery.’ (‘Contra Celsus – Book 1; Chapter 28’).

    In Chapter 32 of his work, Origen writes:

    ‘Let us return, however, to the words put into the mouth of the Jew, where the mother of Jesus is described as having been turned out by the carpenter who was betrothed to her, "as she had been convicted of adultery and had a child by a certain soldier named Panthera”’.

    Henry Chadwick, in his translation of the ‘Contra Celsus, writes:

    ‘The title Jesus ben Panthera is not uncommon in the Talmud……. Eusebius, commenting on Hos. v. 14 (‘Return, Israel, to the Lordyour God. Your sins have been your downfall!’) says: ‘The text may be quoted against those of the circumcision who slanderously and abusively assert that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was born of Panthera Epiphanius’

    When preparing his book ‘Jesus in the Talmud, Peter Schäfer – a noted scholar in the field of ancient Judaism and early Christianity, and one-time Ronald O. Perelman Professor of Judaic Studies at Princeton University – drew on fourteen Talmud manuscripts (both censored and uncensored); along with two printed versions; the Soncino (1484-1519) and the Vilna (1880-1886).

    For our purposes, the uncensored tracts are of particular relevance. The oldest used by Schäfer are the Firenze II-I-7-9; an Ashkenazi manuscript of 1177 CE; and the Herzog 1; a Yemeni manuscript of c1565 CE.

    He writes:

    ‘The (Babylonian) Talmud seems to be convinced that (Yeshua’s) true father was Pandera, his mother’s lover, and that he was a ******* in the full sense of the word.’ (‘Jesus in the Talmud’).

    Could this be the ‘terrible slander against Mary’ that Allāh (subḥānahu ūta'āla) refers to? I know of no other.

    Referring to the tractate ‘Sanhedrin 43’, Schäfer continues:

    ‘With the sixth chapter (“Jesus’ Execution”) we return to the fate of Jesus himself. Here, a quite elaborate story – again only in the Babylonian Talmud – details the halakhic procedure of Jesus’ trial and execution: Jesus was not crucified but, according to Jewish law, stoned to death and then, as the ultimate postmortem punishment reserved for the worst criminals, hanged on a tree. This took place on the eve of Passover, which happened to be Sabbath eve (Friday). The reason for his execution was because he was convicted of sorcery and of enticing Israel into idolatry.’ (‘Jesus in the Talmud’; my emphasis).

    Continued:
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021
  6. Grandad

    Grandad Member

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    Dr. David Instone-Brewer, of the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge, writes:

    ‘The Talmud is an edited and severely abbreviated record of discussions by rabbis over a period of 300 years, starting in about AD 200 when the document they were discussing was edited.

    ‘The traditions about the trials of Jesus and his disciples which were censored from b.San.43a were brought into the Talmudic discussions early in the Third Century and removed in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries.

    ‘External evidence gives independent witness that the earliest core in this tradition was: ‘On the Eve of Passover, they hung Jesus of Nazareth for sorcery and enticing Israel (to idolatry).’ (‘Jesus of Nazareth’s Trial in the Uncensored Talmud’).

    The Qur’an denies the Talmud Bavli narratives:

    They did not kill him (wamāqatalūhu), nor did they crucify him (wamā ṣalabūhu), though it was made to appear like that to them (wa-lākin shubbiha lahum); those that disagreed about him are full of doubt, with no knowledge to follow, only supposition: they certainly did not kill him – Nay! (‘bal’), Allāh raised him (‘rafaʿahu’) up to Himself. Allāh is almighty and wise.’

    There was no deception of the part of Allāh (subḥānahu ūta'āla) – no ‘substitution’. The Bavli narrative is a lie; one that gained the appearance of truth through a process of repetition over time.

    According to the Qur’an, Yeshua was not executed. The language of the Text reveals, beyond doubt, that he did not die:

    ‘Allāh raised him (‘rafaʿahu’) up to Himself.’

    The word ‘raise’ renders ‘rafa‘a’ (‘to raise’) rather than ‘ba‘atha’, which is used elsewhere in the Qur’an to mean ‘to resurrect’ after death.

    Commenting on this, Abu Musa al-Ash'ari writes:

    ‘There is a consensus among the community of the faithful that the Prophet Jesus (as) was raised alive to the heavens.’ (‘al-Ibana 'an Usul al-Diyana’).

    Hasan Basri Cantay writes: ‘Allah raised and lifted up the Prophet Jesus (as) in both body and soul.’ (‘Tafsir of the Qur'an’).

    Imam ibn Taymiyya writes: ‘The verse "He raised him to His Presence" … explains that the Prophet Jesus (as) was raised in both body and soul.’ (‘Majmu' Fatawa’).

    Zahid al-Kawthari affirms that the ascension of Yeshua is beyond doubt:

    ‘That is because the basic meaning of the word rafa'a in the verses is transportation from below to above. There is no element here that could be used to interpret the verses metaphorically. Therefore, there is no evidence for seeking to produce a meaning in the sense of ascension in honour and station.’ (Nazra 'Abira fi Maza'im’).

    The argument that Yeshua was not killed is strengthen by the use of the word ‘bal’ in ʾāyah 158.

    ‘they certainly did not kill him – Nay! (‘bal’),

    By way of explanation, Sheikh al-Islam Mustafa Sabri writes that if the term ‘bal’:

    ‘Comes after a sentence expressing a negativity, then, according to the rules of Arabic linguistics, the sentence following it must mean the exact opposite of the one preceding it. The opposite of death is life. This is a requirement of the rules of linguistics.’ (‘Position of Reason’).

    Referring to this same verse, Said Ramadan al-Buti writes:

    ‘The mutual compatibility between the verses’ previous and later sections necessarily reveals a fact. For example, if an Arab says: "I am not hungry; on the contrary, I am lying on my side," this is not a correct sentence. In the same way, there is a discrepancy between the components in the sentence: "Khalid did not die; on the contrary, he is a good man." What would be correct is to say: "Khalid did not die; on the contrary, he is alive." …… The term bal expresses a contradiction between the preceding and the following words. In other words, bal cancels out a previous statement. (Islamic Catechism: page 338).

    In short: There was no Crucifixion.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021
  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Well heck!

    This thread woke @Grandad who has been lurking for almost 3 years... Introduce yourself and welcome to the exchange.
     
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  8. Grandad

    Grandad Member

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  9. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    @Grandad
    What are your thoughts on the passage by Tacitus?

    Tacitus on Christ

    The Roman historian and senator Tacitus referred to Christ, his execution by Pontius Pilate, and the existence of early Christians in Rome in his final work, Annals (written ca. AD 116), book 15, chapter 44.

    The context of the passage is the six-day Great Fire of Rome that burned much of the city in AD 64 during the reign of Roman Emperor Nero. The passage is one of the earliest non-Christian references to the origins of Christianity, the execution of Christ described in the canonical gospels, and the presence and persecution of Christians in 1st-century Rome.

    The scholarly consensus is that Tacitus' reference to the execution of Jesus by Pontius Pilate is both authentic, and of historical value as an independent Roman source. Paul Eddy and Gregory Boyd argue that it is "firmly established" that Tacitus provides a non-Christian confirmation of the crucifixion of Jesus. Scholars view it as establishing three separate facts about Rome around AD 60:

    (i) that there were a sizable number of Christians in Rome at the time,
    (ii) that it was possible to distinguish between Christians and Jews in Rome, and
    (iii) that at the time pagans made a connection between Christianity in Rome and its origin in Roman Judea

    ... Paul Eddy has stated that as Rome's preeminent historian, Tacitus was generally known for checking his sources and was not in the habit of reporting gossip. Tacitus was a member of the Quindecimviri sacris faciundis, a council of priests whose duty it was to supervise foreign religious cults in Rome, which as Van Voorst points out, makes it reasonable to suppose that he would have acquired knowledge of Christian origins through his work with that body.

    ... The next known reference to Christianity was written by Pliny the Younger, who was the Roman governor of Bithynia and Pontus during the reign of emperor Trajan. Around 111 AD, Pliny wrote a letter to emperor Trajan, requesting guidance on how to deal with suspected Christians who appeared before him in trials he was holding at that time. Tacitus' references to Nero's persecution of Christians in the Annals were written around 115 AD, a few years after Pliny's letter but also during the reign of emperor Trajan.

    Another notable early author was Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, who wrote the Lives of the Twelve Caesars around 122 AD, during the reign of emperor Hadrian. In this work, Suetonius described why Jewish Christians were expelled from Rome by emperor Claudius, and also the persecution of Christians by Nero, who was the heir and successor of Claudius.

    etc …
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021
  10. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Am not saying these references directly confirm the death on the cross, however that it was accepted as a fact by the earliest Christians?
     
  11. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    St Paul said it succinctly:
    "Now if Christ be preached, that he arose again from the dead, how do some among you say, that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen again. And if Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain"
    1 Corinthians 15:12-14.

    The Letter is reckoned to be written 53-54, and in it Paul refers to a general and fundamental teaching of the church, so any suggestion that it was a later interpolation really doesn't hold water. It's also clear that the Resurrection was – understandably – a stumbling block for many.

    Scholars are pretty sure that Muhammed (pbuh) received much of his information referring to Jesus from apocryphal sources. The Protoevangelium of James, written in the 2nd century, seems a significant source – the Quran's stories of the Virgin Mary and the birth of Jesus, of Mary fed by angels, the choice of Joseph, an older widower, through the casting of lots, and her occupation making a curtain for the Temple immediately before the Annunciation. Likewise the stories of the newborn infant Jesus speaking out in her defence, the turning of the clay birds into living creatures, are also there.

    I have also read islamic scholars defending the Christian belief, on the basis that the Quran can mean that God did not die on the cross – which is not the doctrine anyway – it's all down to interpretation and conviction.
     
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  12. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I always liked the idea that Pilate crucified a local revolutionary hero, someone who scared the bejeebers (if that's not an anachronism) out of compliant Jewish authorities, and then allowed him to be taken down alive, spirited away and given medical attention.

    Not saying it's not possible, but I do wonder if, when the word began to spread that "He is risen!", Pilate or someone in his admin did not carpet the guys who were on duty at the cross, and who were tasked with making sure that the crucified were not rescued or, for the love of mike, taken down unconscious and spirited away! I mean, the Romans were pretty good at this sort of thing!

    Josephus, Philo of Alexandria and the Gospel of Luke all mention tension and violence between the Jews and Pilate's administration. Pilate acted in ways that offended Jewish sensibilities. According to Josephus, Pilate was removed from office because of his brutal suppression of Samaritans at Mount Gerizim. He was sent back to Rome by the legate of Syria to answer for this before Tiberius, but the emperor died before Pilate arrived and the outcome is unknown. Most historians believe Pilate retired after his dismissal. His assessment differs among scholars; some see an effective ruler, others a particularly brutal and ineffective governor, although his long time in office suggests a reasonable competence.

    I find it unlikely he would have made such a cockup, and then not addressed it.

    And, of course, if Jesus survived, why did He not say so? Where did He go? Was he feet up in some resort while his followers were perpetuating a pack of lies, and getting killed for it, one by one?
     
  13. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Exactly. Historical evidence shows it was accepted by Christians from earliest time. The only recource is to dispute the authenticity of the sources.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Exam: If Jesus survived the cross:

    Q1: Offer an explanation for what He might have done next.

    Q2: Justify His actions for so doing – including 'nothing' if you think He did 'nothing'.

    Q3: If Jesus survived, He was a hypocrite of galactic proportion. Discuss.
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Quick note – by 'compliant Jewish authorities' I have treated the Sanhedrin unfairly. The NT suggestion is that the Jewish authorities thought it better that one man – Jesus – should die, than allow the possibility of a hopelessly romantic populist revolt that would inevitably lead to the massacre of many.

    Govts all through history have taken similar decisions.
     
  16. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    Clearly, not Muslim scholars :)

    It is interesting that the Qur'an is in agreement with some of the apocrypha.

    It is obvious why Christians in general, particularly staunch Catholics/Orthodox would object to Jesus not actually dying.
    i.e. The whole faith evolved to making Jesus' death/resurrection into the most significant pillar of faith, that provides
    a 'get out of jail free card' [ died for sins and so on ]

    Is Jesus' resurrection more important than The Oneness of G-d ?
    It would seem so, to Unitarians, for example.
     
  17. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    I totally agree. It doesn't have to be "a cockup" though .. Pilate could have purposely made it look as if he died on the cross, by instructing his men to do so, but not to actually kill him. This would not contradict the Qur'an, and might also account for why Jesus would not want to publicly broadcast what exactly happened, in order to protect a righteous man.
    i.e. he had respect for Pilate's authority
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021
  18. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    No, I think not. They objected to his professed authority from G-d. He wouldn't be the first [ or last ] prophet to have been
    opposed by "the elders".
    eg. Jesus objected strongly to the financial corruption that was taking place in Jerusalem's sacred temple

    Jesus was absolved by both Pilate and Herod of any attempt to challenge the authority of The Romans.
     
  19. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Could have. But the only reason for presenting such a scenario is to try to cook-up a justification for the Quran passage. It also fails to address the fact that it would mean Jesus directly deceived his followers. He told them he was going to die.

    Would the sinless man of virgin birth -- who ascended alive to heaven -- not have had the honesty later to explain: "Well, I really did believe I was going to die -- but you see, Pilate had me taken down alive" etc ...?
    Perhaps. But would it be possible to address the points raised in this thread, including the historical evidence presented?
     
  20. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    Assalamuwa'alaikum my brother.
    I can imagine how hard it has been for you.
    I was in my twenties when I became a Muslim, and found it very hard socially.
    I was living in Birmigham UK at the time [ the early 80's ], and became a Muslim alongside many Rastas from Jamaica.
    My English friends "fizzled out", as we were treading different paths. [ I am an English convert who was raised in Bournemouth ]
    Must be even harder for you.

    Are you living in Rhonda valley these days?
     
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