Salon: “No proof that Jesus even existed”; Muhammad’s existence “established beyond the shadow of a doubt”

In October, Jeffrey Tayler wrote in Salon that the Qur’an “backs up jihad, suicide attacks (“martyrdom”), beheadings, even taking captive women as sex slaves.” This was singular for Salon, which usually whitewashes the truth about Islam and jihad and excoriates those who expose it as “racists” and “bigots,” but now it is clear why Tayler was able to get away with it: he is supremely hostile to Christianity. Here, he gives a characteristic Salon Christmas greeting: Jesus likely never existed, but Muhammad’s existence is well established.

“Let’s make Bill O’Reilly’s head explode: We desperately need a war on Christmas lies,” by Jeffrey Tayler, Salon, December 22, 2014 (thanks to Scott):

Some 2,000 years after the alleged event, religious scholars, despite their best efforts, have still found no proof that Jesus even existed. Although it might seem reasonable to suppose such a one as he walked the earth in the Middle East, historical records kept by the Romans (then in charge of Judea and Samaria) and contemporary chroniclers make no mention of him. The Gospels are not historical records and don’t count; they were composed decades afterward. It has even been credibly proposed that Paul and his cohorts created the savior with strokes of their quills by mythologizing history. Footnote: If you’d still like to believe in a prophet whose existence has been established beyond the shadow of a doubt, try Muhammad.

I think Tayler is somewhat overstating his case, but I welcome investigation of the existence of Christ and the reliability of the New Testament narratives. I wonder, however, if Tayler has ever seriously investigated the existence of Muhammad, even as he takes it to be “established beyond the shadow of a doubt.” In my book Did Muhammad Exist?, I show that there is serious reason to doubt that he did. These include the facts that:

1. In the contemporary accounts written by the people the Arabs conquered, the writers describe the conquerors in detail, but make no mention of their having a new prophet, a new religion, or a new holy book. This is extraordinary, since the conquests themselves were supposed to have been inspired by that holy book and prophet.

2. Those early accounts call the conquerors “Ishmaelites,” “Saracens,” “Muhajirun,” and “Hagarians,” but never “Muslims.” They don’t seem to know this word, which is likewise extraordinary, since it is supposed to be the only word the conquerors called themselves.

3. No record of Muhammad’s words or deeds appears until more than 125 years after he is supposed to have died. No record of Muhammad’s reported death in 632 appears until more than a century after that date.

4. The Arab conquerors, in their coins and inscriptions, don’t mention Islam or the Qur’an for the first six decades of their conquests. Mentions of “Muhammad” are non-specific and on at least two occasions are accompanied by a cross. The word can be used not only as a proper name but also as an honorific.

5. The Qur’an, even by the canonical Muslim account, was not distributed in its present form until the 650s, over 20 years after Muhammad is supposed to have died. Yet no contemporary account even mentions the Qur’an until the early eighth century.

6. During the reign of the caliph Muawiya (661–680), the Arabs constructed at least one public building whose inscription was headed by a cross – a symbol abhorrent to Islam.

I await Salon’s investigation of these issues! But I won’t be holding my breath. For Salon, outside of Tayler’s October piece, Islam is non-white, non-Christian, and non-Western, and hence good, while anything associated with the heritage of most Salon writers is ipso facto evil and to be condemned.


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