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Switch to Forum Live View Did Muhammad Exist?
4 years ago  ::  Apr 15, 2011 - 8:36PM #1
Kinky.christian
Posts: 262

I think most Christians accept that there is scant extra-biblical evidence for the existence of people like Abraham or Isaiah. Therefore, if you do not regard the Bible as a reliable source you might doubt that these characters existed.

There are some extra-biblical references to Jesus but they are of the “I heard that…” variety. In modern parlance we would call them hearsay.

So if you’re a Christian like me you really have to take the Bible on faith.

I had however thought that evidence for the existence of Muhammad was more solid.


To my surprise this turns out not to be the case. If, like me, you do not regard the Quran and ahadith as reliable sources then there is little if any contemporaneous evidence for the existence of Muhammad.

Even more surprising, Mecca may not be Mecca. For example, the Quran seems to indicate that Muhammad’s “polytheist” opponents grew “herbage, and the olives, and the palm trees, and the grapes, and of all the fruits; most surely there is a sign in this for a people who reflect.” [16.11] Yet Mecca is not suitable for that kind of agriculture.

Again, there seems to be very little contemporaneous evidence for the existence of a city called Mecca in the Arabian Peninsula. And if there was we cannot be sure that is the city in which Muhammad, assuming he existed, lived.


Unfortunately researching this question dispassionately may be impossible because of the ever present threat of violence. Given the reaction to the Muhammad cartoons and the Quran burning I shudder to think what would happen if a group of reputable academics at a leading European or North American university publicly expressed doubts about the existence of Muhammad.


Added later:


Apparently threads in the Hot Topics Zone require a link.


I hope this one will do.


www.opendemocracy.net/faith-europe_islam...


Thanks Mountain_Man, Ebon


Costrel


I did not know about the Spencer book. Actually I did not know about Spencer.


However here is a link to a news item about the book:


www.favstocks.com/new-spencer-book-comin...


LOL


Hopefully these links will make the thread "kosher".


 


 


 


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4 years ago  ::  Apr 15, 2011 - 8:45PM #2
Ebon
Posts: 10,148

Muhammad probably did exist although that doesn't mean anything else about him can be taken as read.


That said, you're supposed to have a current affairs link for a thread on this board.

He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. ~ Proverbs 14:31

Fiat justitia, ruat caelum

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 15, 2011 - 9:05PM #3
mountain_man
Posts: 39,665

Just so you'll know.... any thread started in Hot Topics Zone has to have a link to a news item in it. Find one and stick it in or your threat will be moved by a moderator.


Apr 15, 2011 -- 8:36PM, Kinky.christian wrote:

I think most Christians accept that there is scant extra-biblical evidence for the existence of people like Abraham or Isaiah. Therefore, if you do not regard the Bible as a reliable source you might doubt that these characters existed.


There is no extrabiblical evidence that most of the characters in the bible existed.


I had however thought that evidence for the existence of Muhammad was more solid.


If you accept the bible on face value, then you have to do the same for Mohammed. The sources are of the same low quality.


Even more surprising, Mecca may not be Mecca. For example, the Quran seems to indicate that Muhammad’s “polytheist” opponents grew “herbage, and the olives, and the palm trees, and the grapes, and of all the fruits; most surely there is a sign in this for a people who reflect.” [16.11] Yet Mecca is not suitable for that kind of agriculture.


They most certainly are. Saudi Arabia produces about 100,000 metric tons of grapes per year. Dates; over 500,000 metric tons.

Again, there seems to be very little contemporaneous evidence for the existence of a city called Mecca in the Arabian Peninsula. And if there was we cannot be sure that is the city in which Muhammad, assuming he existed, lived.


Ptolemy mentions Mecca. I think you need to do a bit more research. While you're researching, do a bit of looking into on Bethlehem. It did not exist 2000 years ago, so someone could not have been born there.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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4 years ago  ::  Apr 15, 2011 - 9:16PM #4
costrel
Posts: 6,226

The opening post appears to have some connection to Robert Spencer's upcoming book, Did Muhammad Exist?

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 15, 2011 - 9:35PM #5
Kinky.christian
Posts: 262

Apr 15, 2011 -- 9:05PM, mountain_man wrote:


They most certainly are. Saudi Arabia produces about 100,000 metric tons of grapes per year. Dates; over 500,000 metric tons.




I did not say Saudi Arabia cannot cannot produce grapes or dates. I said Mecca couldn't.


In Australia there are regions where large quantities of wheat are grown for export. There are also areas where you'd struggle to grow anything of value.


Ptolemy mentions Mecca.



I am aware that there was a city called Mecca or some approximation thereof. My point is that it is probably not the site of the present day city called Mecca.


While you're researching, do a bit of looking into on Bethlehem. It did not exist 2000 years ago



Interesting. Are you able to provide a reference? The pages of Biblical Archeological Review are filled with pieces by authors debating the time and place of Jesus' birth with some contributors denying he was born at all. But I've never seen an article stating that Bethlehem (House of Bread) did not exist.


 


 


 


 


 


 

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2011 - 12:35AM #6
mountain_man
Posts: 39,665

Apr 15, 2011 -- 9:35PM, Kinky.christian wrote:

I did not say Saudi Arabia cannot cannot produce grapes or dates. I said Mecca couldn't.


They can and do.


I am aware that there was a city called Mecca or some approximation thereof. My point is that it is probably not the site of the present day city called Mecca.


My point is that it most likely was.


Interesting. Are you able to provide a reference? The pages of Biblical Archeological Review ...


That's a biblical apologist group, not an archeological journal.


But I've never seen an article stating that Bethlehem (House of Bread) did not exist.


The "house of bread," or a flour mill, existed in many places back then, but not at the modern site until well after the biblical story.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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4 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2011 - 1:09AM #7
Kinky.christian
Posts: 262

Apr 16, 2011 -- 12:35AM, mountain_man wrote:

The "house of bread," or a flour mill, existed in many places back then, but not at the modern site until well after the biblical story.



That's quite possibe. In fact it would not surprise me.


 


 


 



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4 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2011 - 1:35AM #8
Kinky.christian
Posts: 262

Mountain_man:


Are there olive groves in present day Mecca, Saudi Arabia?


I have never been to Mecca and am unlikely ever to go. I do know people who have done the Hadj. They describe Mecca and its environs as “desert-like” but are unable to say whether olive groves exist.


Patricia Crone, professor of Islamic history at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton writes:

The suspicion that the location [of Mecca] is doctrinally inspired is reinforced by the fact that the Qur'an describes the polytheist opponents as agriculturalists who cultivated wheat, grapes, olives, and date palms. Wheat, grapes and olives are the three staples of the Mediterranean; date palms take us southwards, but Mecca was not suitable for any kind of agriculture, and one could not possibly have produced olives there.



(Emphasis added)


See: What do we actually know about Mohammed?


I do not think Prof. Crone could be called an apologist for Christianity. She, BTW, is of the view that Muhammad probably did exist. 


When I Googled  images using the words: olive groves mecca saudi arabia I got lots of images but on the first few pages at any rate none were of  olive groves in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.


As a control I tried Googling images with the words: olive groves victoria australia. This produced multiple images of olive groves in Victoria, Australia. 


 



 

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2011 - 9:50AM #9
mytmouse57
Posts: 9,782

Despite the attempts of some fringe detractors to attempt to argue otherwise, it's been firmly established and is widely accpeted that both Jesus and Muhammad existed.

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2011 - 11:10AM #10
mountain_man
Posts: 39,665

Apr 16, 2011 -- 9:50AM, mytmouse57 wrote:

Despite the attempts of some fringe detractors to attempt to argue otherwise, it's been firmly established and is widely accpeted that both Jesus and Muhammad existed.


I understand your need to believe that, but there is no evidence the biblical Jesus ever existed. The evidence for Muhammad is not much better. I think the one with the best evidence is the Buddha, and that's pretty scant. None of them wrote anything and what was written came long after their deaths. Those writings were meant for proselytizing, to support believers, NOT as historical, or accurate, documents.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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