This response, to an individual who kept trying to throw questions at me while not responding in kind to what I posted for him, illustrates how to use wit to keep from getting sucked into a stupid challenge. (The challenger, as I later found, did not even come up with his own challenge, but had copied it out of a book by one of his religion's apologists! As you can see, original thinking always trumps those who think they can confront you with mere parrotings and plagiarism.)
J----, I must tell you that I had gotten awfully concerned after your recent posts. Before I figured it all out, that is. I thought, you see, that you were behaving discourteously toward me in insisting on your "challenge." I did not understand the true reason why you continued to flagrantly ignore the three detailed posts I placed here on 6-17 entitled "Re: J---------," while implying that I had not answered your subsequent post. ("I am still waiting for an intelligent reply for the challenge recently posted. . . . read ALL of the points.")
However, when I re-read "ALL of the points," I found that many of them had an even better fulfillment in a book that has been around for over a thousand years more than the Book of Mormon. This book has been "publish[ed] . . . to every nation, kindred, tongue and people declaring it to be the word of God." This book was attested by "an angel from heaven" according to the testimony of the prophet who revealed it. This book has had "Thousands of great men, intellectual giants, national and international personalities, and scholars" devoted to its teachings and laying down their lives for the God of whom it bears record. This book has had "Tens of millions of people" swear that "they know the record to be true, and pattern their lives after its teachings." And, as is quite untrue of the Book of Mormon, this book is universally acknowledged as the premier literary masterpiece of its language.
(continued in next post)
Quickly I opened this book, which happens to be on my bookshelf, and began to scan its pages. And when I compared the following challenge by J------
"Many have rejected the Book of Mormon, saying that it is nothing but a poorly imitated Bible written by an ignorant youth. Well, if this is the case, surely somebody could produce something better, if not at least equal to the book, especially you great Biblical scholars. The challenge of the Book of Mormon then, is one of duplication. So have at it! . . . If this sounds nearly impossible to do, you are right. There is only one explanation for the Book of Mormon. It is the work of God."
--with its ultimate source,--
"This Qur'an is not such (a writ) as could be composed by anyone but God. It confirms what has been revealed before, and is an exposition of (Heaven's) law. Without any doubt it's from the Lord of all the worlds.
"Do they say (of the Prophet) that: 'He has composed it?' Say to them: 'Bring a Surah like this, and call anyone apart from God you can (to help you), if what you say is true.'" (Al-Qur'an [The Koran], 10:38-39; trans. Ahmed Ali, Princeton UP, 1990.)
-- , I finally realized that the debate about the Book of Mormon was merely a ruse, ingeniously executed by J----, in order to prepare us for the "fuller revelation" of a book that meets all the most important of his criteria far better. That book is the Koran, or Al-Qur'an. Muslims worldwide revere it as the word of God. Scholars acclaim it as the cornerstone and chief masterwork of Arabic literature. Many more Muslims than Mormons have undergone torture and death bearing witness to the faith of which their book testifies. The Koran could even in a sense be considered "another testament of Jesus Christ," since it acknowledges Him as a prophet of God "illustrious in this world and in the next" (Koran, 3:45). I cannot admire J----'s ingenuity enough in using the ruse of arguing for the Book of Mormon as a "stepping stone" to convince us of the truth of a far greater book, one that fulfills his conditions for a word of God even more than Joseph Smith's record. It seems to me obvious that a learned Muslim must be among us incognito!
J----, let me say that I tip my hat to your strategy and am prepared to debate the issues around my religion, Christianity, and what is evidently your religion, Islam, with just as much spirit as we have been debating Mormonism. However, sir, might I suggest that you begin a new folder called "Islam" so that we may have a proper forum for our discussion? I insist that you take the initial post in this new folder, so that you may spotlight the excellence of Islam and set the tone for our debate; after you have opened the folder, I pledge myself to follow you there.
BTW, I believe it is usual for Islamic converts to receive a new Muslim name. Would it be inappropriate for me to ask yours?