When trying to validate Jesus Christ, I often hear Christians say that there must be something special about Him since a number of His disciples died horribly for Him many years after His death. Or, because Christianity has lasted all these years, must be something to it. But couldn’t the same be said for the Muslims,and other religions that are still around?
Yes, these have been true of Islam as well. I believe that the fact Christianity has lasted for two thousand years is an extremely weak argument. I certainly would not use this argument and believe that is is unwise for anyone to use this argument.
The fact that those who actually knew Jesus were all willing to die for their belief is evidence in support of belief that Jesus was a very special man. This is not the strongest evidence. It is probably not in the top ten pieces of evidence that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God, but I believe it is a relevant piece of evidence. The fact that Jesus is not the only religious leader who has inspired people to be willing to die is one reason I believe that this is a relatively weak argument. Nevertheless, the commitment of Jesus’ disciples is qualitatively different than that of Muhammad’s followers, and I believe that this is evidence that Jesus was a truly amazing man. Muhammad’s followers were willing to fight in war, but Jesus’ followers were willing to undergo extreme persecution, imprisonment and death. This is qualitatively different. It is just that this, alone, would not be particularly convincing that Jesus is the Son of God. I believe the evidence for the resurrection, the evidence for Jesus’ miracles and the fulfillment of prophecy are all MUCH more significant evidence for Jesus being what he claimed–the Messiah and the Son of God. Muhammad certainly does not have these kinds of evidence of his being a prophet. The fact that Muhammad was able to inspire great commitment in his inner core of believers is evidence that he, too, was an amazing man. It is NOT evidence that he is divine or the Son of God or the Messiah, of course, but it is evidence that he was not an ordinary man. I would concede that Muhammad had qualities which made many believe he was a special man, and would even concede that he was a special man. However, I would add to this the fact that he had at least fifteen wives, including young girls, that he attacked caravans and was involved in criminal activities, and that he oversaw the merciless execution of more than six hundred Jews for not supporting him takes away to some extent from claims for greatness of this man. In the case of Jesus, everything we know about him speaks to his true greatness in every way greatness can be defined. Such cannot be said of Muhammad.
So, if it were me, I would not use this as evidence for Jesus’ claims or, if I did, it would be mentioned in passing and not passed of as strong evidence.