Failing interpretation and human errancy

There is a supposed video, or series of videos, shared throughout the social media networks. One of them is attached to an article written by contributor Tom McKay. His article is titled: Viral video shows what happens when you show people a Bible with a Quran’s cover on it.

But it turns out if you simply swap the covers of the Bible and the Quran, people can’t necessarily tell the difference between the passages of both that endorse violence.

The first problem within this video, and Mckay’s article is a logical fallacy of a strawman argument. Coupled with this  fallacy, there is a premise of deception utilized by the producers of the video. McKay explains:

Filmmakers Sacha Harland and Alexander Spoor … replaced the Bible with one of the Quran and highlighted some of the holy book’s most objectionable passages. … They then told random people on the street to read the highlighted sections of the Bible, telling them it was indeed a Quran.

The adversary’s number one tool is the art of deception and manipulation. This art is well-illustrated in the social experiment the filmmakers engaged in. Christ, speaking to the Pharisee’s, stated, “ye are of the devil, and the works he does, ye also do for he was a liar and a murder from the beginning (John 8:44-45, KJV). In Genesis, we read the account that led to the fall of humanity where Satan utilized deception in speaking with Eve about partaking of the fruit.

The second problem with this is the lack of understanding appropriate and right Biblical interpretation. The filmmakers failed to take into account the historical-cultural context of the Old Testament passages regarding these specific verses. In addition, the failure to understand the historical and social context of the Ancient Near East during the times the Old Testament was written in. Further, failure to understand the historical, social and cultural context of the specific Hebraic culture of Ancient Israel as compared to the other existing nations around her.

A third problem arises in comparing the Bible, specifically the Old Testament itself, with that of the Quran. In this context, the Bible, both Old and New Testament, were written over a period of approximately 1500 years. Each part of the “books,” were written by and through various individuals over this time period. They were written by prophets and kings. They also have various literary components within each book.

Unlike the Bible, the Quran is said to have been written by the Prophet Muhammad over 1400 years ago. Muhammad, under the inspiration and teaching of the Angel Gabriel, called upon scribes to pen the text (since he himself was not able to read or write). Much of the Quran was transmitted over time through memorization of the text and from the oral speech of the prophet.

The fourth problem that is inherently present is the lack of understanding of the difference between the Old Testament text and the New Testament text. In the Old Testament, we discover Israel as being Yahweh’s inheritance (Deuteronomy 32:8-9). The Hebrews were the chosen vessel of God because it came through the lineage of the Hebrew nation where thre will be a coming redeemer. Christ’s life, ministry, death and the culmination of Christ’s resurrection were prophesied throughout the Old Testament. In essence, the majority of the Old Testament points to the coming Messiah who will redeem and establish God’s everlasting Kingdom. The New Testament writers spoke on how this is fulfilled through Jesus Christ.

The fifth issue that is present in the video is the lack of understanding the core message of the Bible. There are five components to the core message of the Bible:

  1. Humanity is fallen and depraved through natural and moral evils and decay.
  2. Because of human depravity and natural condition, he/she engages in behavior that is anthropocentric – self-pleasing, subjective and for one’s own self-gratification and pleasure.
  3. Because of man’s spiritual and moral condition – as a result of the fall of Adam – we are spiritually dead and in need of redemption from our fallen nature. This is both spiritually and physically.
  4. Jesus Christ provided the necessary sacrifice needed to satisfy the conditions of human depravity – inherent nature to sin and walk in unrighteousness before a Holy and Sovereign God – where we are regenerated and justified through Christ, sanctified through Christ, and our eventual glorification with Christ that brings us back into a right relationship with a Sovereign God.
  5. All of humanity will face the judgment seat of Christ and will be judged and either deem worthy because of Christ and God’s sovereign Grace; or, individuals will be judged according to their own wickedness because of their allowance to continue in their own corrupt and immoral practices in their mortality.

The sixth problem with the video shows how foolishly ignorant the filmmakers are, McKay is, and those interviewed and questioned by reading the verses they thought were written in the Quran. This ignorance is the result of Biblical illiteracy.

And, finally, the comparison of the violent texts of the Bible are interpreted from a “presentism” assumption. Meaning, the filmmakers (and all individuals who attempt to compare the passages of the Old Testament with those violent texts of the Quran) reason that Christian’s today engage in, preach, and condone violent acts. A more objective and logical comparison reveals that there are no preachers within the Christian denominations who stand at the pulpit and call upon their congregants to engage in violence. On the contrary, many Imam’s of Islam, followers of Islam, organizations associated with Islam (and their leaders) utilize the Quran to not only justify Jihad against Christian and Jews, teach that it is every Muslim’s duty to engage in Jihad until Islam becomes the one true religion. For the Muslim, there is no concept of coexistence within society – you either convert to Islam or you face the punishment of death.

The filmmakers and Tom McKay are guilty of failing interpretation because of their own arrogant ignorance and human errancy.