Are there historical inaccuracies in the Koran?
One of our guest speakers was Kerby Anderson. Mr. Anderson is the National Director of Probe Ministries International. He holds masters degrees from Yale University (science) and from Georgetown University (government). He is the author of several books. He serves as the host of a radio program called "Point of View" which is broadcast nationally. Mr. Anderson's topic at our conference was "The Challenge of Islam" (watch).
The Koran Versus the Bible on History
Let's talk just for a minute about how to deal with Muslim ideas, what the differences between Islam and Christianity are, and how you can witness to your Muslim friends, neighbors and co-workers.
Firstly, it's important I think that you point out the differences between the Bible and the Koran. There's a fundamental principle that you learn if you've ever taken a class in philosophy, and it's the Law of Non-Contradiction. If "A" is true, the opposite of "A" cannot be true at the same time and the same way. So, if the Bible says one thing and the Koran says something completely different from it, they both can't be true. Does that make sense? They both could be false, but they both cannot be true. I think this point is very helpful in witnessing to Muslims, because Muslims very early on after Mohammed died began to realize that some of the things he taught were actually contradictory to the Koran.
Very early on Muslims came up with the idea that the Bible had been corrupted by the Jews and Christians. Of course, the problem with that claim is that there's absolutely no evidence of that. As a matter of fact, there are places where Mohammad actually endorses the Bible, and the Bible he endorses in the Seventh Century is the same Bible exactly we've had since the First Century, so when could that corruption have actually taken place?
It's important to recognize that just from an apologetics point of view (defending the Christian faith), that the Bible is confirmed by history and archaeology. Archaeology, the archaeologist's spade, and the historical tools ever show that the Bible is true.
By contrast, history can show that the Koran is false. For example, one of the classics is that the Koran teaches that Jesus did not die on the cross. That's a pretty big difference from what the Bible teaches, isn't it? Muslims will say that Jesus didn't actually die on the cross, but an imposter died on the cross instead. Jesus eventually died, of course they'll say, but He's going to return again. Islam believes in the return of Christ, but they believe that He's going to come and destroy all churches, all crosses, and all pigs. He'll eventually die and be buried next to Mohammad. That's certainly a little different than what the Bible teaches, isn't it?
You can see right off the bat that there are differences in the two accounts. They both can't be true. One of them by definition has to be false.
Another historical event that Islam gets wrong is its claim that the Samaritans tricked the Israelites at the Exodus. That's kind of a problem in terms of just basic interpretation, as the Samaritans didn't even exist until post-Exile.
They also claim that Alexander the Great was a Muslim who worshipped Allah.
Well, we could go and on with all sorts of different examples of historical inaccuracies that I think illustrate again how the Bible and the Koran cannot both be correct at the same time. One of the points that I love to use with a Muslim student is to ask, "Do you not understand that your Koran and our Bible disagree? They both can't be true." Then I go to with, "Let's now see what history and archaeology say about the truthfulness of the Bible." After that I'll ask, "What does that say about your Koran?" Now, I wouldn't say that overseas, as you could get killed asking that, but over here student sometimes are much more open to that kind of discussion.
In the last segment on the challenge of Islam, Kerby Anderson compares and contrasts Islam and Christianity's claims to the character of God, Jesus, sin and salvation.