Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My review of the Islam debate can be found here. To get a perspective of Mr. Ahmed, you can visit his website.

16 comments:

usm said...

Just a few comments. I am a Muslim and I have heard from other Muslims who attended the debate. As you correctly noted, they all feel embarassed at Nadir Ahmed's performance.

I hope you readers do not draw a generalization based on Nadir's dismal performance, according to which "all" Muslims are similar to Nadir. I will give you one example which is in every manner far superior to Nadir Ahmed: Shabir Ally.

I have seen Shabir Ally's debates with James White and it is my opinion that in both his debates Shabir Ally outclassed White, particular in their second debate. Shabir is irenic and scholarly. He is a gentleman, something which James White had acknowledged in the past, and far, far more knowledgeable than Nadir by all means.

Having agreed with your assessment of Nadir's poor performance, I will disagree with you on one issue.

You, like so many other Christian apologists, distort the Muslim view and belief about the Bible when you write:

"Dr White also pointed out that Muslims are required to believe there were authoritative books sent down before [The New
Testament]. If this is so, Mr. Ahmed's argumentation refutes his own religion. If the books sent down before are completely unreliable as to give any information on Jesus, why are Muslims required to believe they existed?"

But the Quran does not say anything about a corpus of writings known as the NT. It means a revelation given specifically to Jesus, the injeel, and describes it as something which God taught to Jesus. There is no gospel "according to" Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Thomas, Barnabas, Judas etc mentioned within the Quran. The "injeel" the Quran describes is not an ancient type of biographical document about the life and teachings of Jesus.

Similarly, there are no epistles (be it of Paul, James, the petrine epistles etc) mentioned within the Quran.

At most, the Quran informs its readers what Jesus was (prophet, messiah, miracle worker) and what he was not (god, part of a Trinity, dying for the sins of others etc).

I am aware of the passages so many Christian apologists cite from the Quran to prove that the Quran "affirms" the "Bible"; but Muslims (generally) have never accepted such interpretations of those passages. According to the Muslim concensus, Christians are engaging in Christian esigesis of the Quran rather than proper informed and reasonable exegesis.

Further, historically, Muslims have tended to have a far more sceptical attitude towards the Christian writings than towards the Jewish writings.

The chief difference of opinion among Muslims has been the extent of reliability of the Jewish and Christian writings. According to some (a minority view), all Jewish and Christian writings (all of them, including non-canonical writings) are textually sound, though have been misinterpreted by the Jews and Christians. According to the second view, the writings are historically unsound and also contain textual corruptions and discrepancies. According to the third view, while there are discrepancies in all the Jewish and Christian writings and textual problems, nonetheless, they contain enough truth within them to make it clear to their readers that God is One (undivided) and that Jesus was no more than His prophet and messiah.

In all the times, the scholarly concensus amongst Muslims has been that there are textual corruptions and historical discrepancies within the Jewish and Christian writings, but with disagreement over its extent. Most scholars have tended to agree that despite textual and historical problems and discrepancies, the Jewish and Christian writings also contain historically reliable information within them. Thus both reliable and unreliable details are to be found therein. The first opinion highlighted above, however, according to which the writings are only misinterpreted, has always been a minority view among Muslims.

Sorry for the typos...

James Swan said...

I hope you readers do not draw a generalization based on Nadir's dismal performance, according to which "all" Muslims are similar to Nadir.

In my review, I noted that Nadir was an embarrassment to Islam. Based on those Muslims who asked questions at the debate, it was obvious that Nadir was not representative of all Muslims.

In regard to the Islam related issues you raise, I must confess I have a very limited understanding of the issues you've brought up. My review only covered what I saw at the debate.

I will though look into the points you raise. Nadir argued the New Testament was not corrupted, but not trustworthy. I thank you for taking the time to present the different views Muslims hold on the New Testament. I look forward to exploring this issue more.

------- Theo ------- said...

"I thank you for taking the time to present the different views Muslims hold on the New Testament. I look forward to exploring this issue more."

James, brother in Christ and beloved of God:

I applaud your charity in thanking this Muslim visitor and welcoming further exploration of the issues. I'm sure that this spirit of Christian understanding would also preclude you from posting combox replies that lack substance aside from being insulting to Muslims or their motives and then shut down the combox, thereby preventing an in-context opportunity for cogent reply.

With sincere prayer for the fullness of Christ's blessing in your life and mine, I remain by God's kindness and grace...

Your servant and brother in Christ our Savior, our Advocate and our Judge,
--Theo

James Swan said...

I'm sure that this spirit of Christian understanding would also preclude you from posting combox replies that lack substance aside from being insulting to Muslims or their motives and then shut down the combox, thereby preventing an in-context opportunity for cogent reply.

Thank you so much for the helpful hints in blog etiquette. I used to keep all the comm boxes open, and rarely delete anything. But it became quite obvious that many people could not behave themselves, or follows the minor rules I have set up for this meager blog.

But, guess what? You can post whatever responses, pictures, blog entries, you want on your own blog. Say for instance (and this is merely hypothetical), you felt wild and carefree one day, and wanted to post an attempt at humor on someone's whose work I take very seriously...why you could do that on your own blog! Of course, I would be offended by it, and probably not take any hints in blog etiquette from you, seeing of course a blatant lack in moral judgment, while attempting to critique the way I run my blog.

Well, this all hypothetical. I'm sure, based on your usual overt kind words of encouragement and dialog, you would never do such a thing, like this blogger did here:

http://reluctantbloggerdiary.blogspot.com/2008/03/vatican-announces-on-line-cardinal.html

I'm sure that the spirit of Roman Catholic understanding and charity would preclude you from posting such an slanderous mockery on one of God's children- a man made in God's image. Let us both pray for the person above who put together such a mocking, non-God-pleasing, blog entry.

------- Theo ------- said...

James, dear brother in Christ and beloved of God:

I believe you misunderstand. The article there does not to slander or mock anyone. Indeed I would be ashamed were it so. If you take time to read it and think about it, it is poking fun at some particular Catholic attitudes and does not take a swipe at any Reformed theology or individuals at all.

I wrote that as humor and on a level that I intended should Dr. White happen across it he might also find amusing.


I assure you that there is absolutely no slander, mocking or insult intended; however, in the event that anyone should mistakenly take it as such, I offer my complete unreserved apologies--and I'll be very happy to post any and all objections along with my heartfelt apologies on my blog should Dr. White or any offended on his behalf desire. In fact I would do so with genuine joy at having opportunity to correct any ill whose cause is mine even if unintended.

As regarding your combox closure, Who among the posters in that case disobeyed the rules? I ask for information only.

With true prayer for your blessing in Christ, I remain by his grace,
Your servant and brother in Christ,
--Theo.

beowulf2k8 said...

usm,

Just as you do not want me to think that Nadir Ahmed is representative of Islam but hold up Shabir Ally instead, I would not want you to think that James White is representative of Christianity. His brand of Christianity (Calvinism) is false. I would send you here for a better presentation of Christianity.

Saint and Sinner said...

"His brand of Christianity (Calvinism) is false."

When Shabir debated William Lane Craig, it was obvious that he did not find Craig's attempts to get around the Biblical passages that clearly teach determinism to be at all impressive.

Shabir (and any Muslim) would probably only respect someone who admitted (or rather, gladly proclaimed!) that the Bible teaches a form of determinism.

beowulf2k8 said...

Its not determinism that I am referring to but the notion that Jesus only died for some. If you will say that Jesus died for all and that only some will be saved because only some were predestined to beleive, that is one thing. But to say that Jesus only died for some, is beyond any doubt heresy.

dtking said...

But to say that Jesus only died for some, is beyond any doubt heresy.

Then there were a number of Church Fathers who at times taught this heresy...

Jerome (347-420) on Matthew 20:28: He does not say that he gave his life for all, but for many, that is, for all those who would believe.
Latin text: Non dixit animam suam redemptionem dare pro omnibus, sed pro multis, id est, pro his qui credere voluerint. Commentariorum in Evangelium Matthaei, Liber Tertius, PL 26:144-145.

Chrysostom (349-407) on Hebrews 9:28: “So Christ was once offered.”: By whom offered? evidently by Himself. Here he says that He is not Priest only, but Victim also, and what is sacrificed. On this account are [the words] “was offered.” “Was once offered” (he says) “to bear the sins of many.” Why “of many,” and not “of all”? Because not all believed, For He died indeed for all, that is His part: for that death was a counterbalance against the destruction of all men. But He did not bear the sins of all men, because they were not willing. NPNF1: Vol. XIV, Epistle to the Hebrews, Homly 17.

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393-466) commenting on Hebrews 9:27-28: As it is appointed for each human being to die once, and the one who accepts death’s decree no longer sins but awaits the examination of what was done in life, so Christ the Lord, after being offered once for us and taking up our sins, will come to us again, with sin no longer in force, that is, with sin no longer occupying a place as far as human beings are concerned. He said himself, remember, when he still had a mortal body, “He committed no sin, nor was guile found in his mouth.” It should be noted, of course, that he bore the sins of many, not of all: not all came to faith, so he removed the sins of the believers only. Robert Charles Hill, Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, Vol. 2 (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2001), p. 175.

Augustine (354-430): But alongside of this love we ought also patiently to endure the hatred of the world. For it must of necessity hate those whom it perceives recoiling from that which is loved by itself. But the Lord supplies us with special consolation from His own case, when, after saying, “These things I command you, that ye love one another,” He added, “If the world hate you, know that it hated me before [it hated] you.” Why then should the member exalt itself above the head? Thou refusest to be in the body if thou art unwilling to endure the hatred of the world along with the Head. “If ye were of the world,” He says, “the world would love its own.” He says this, of course, of the whole Church, which, by itself, He frequently also calls by the name of the world: as when it is said, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” And this also: “The Son of man came not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” And John says in his epistle: “We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also [for those] of the whole world.” The whole world then is the Church, and yet the whole world hateth the Church. The world therefore hateth the world, the hostile that which is reconciled, the condemned that which is saved, the polluted that which is cleansed.
But that world which God is in Christ reconciling unto Himself, which is saved by Christ, and has all its sins freely pardoned by Christ, has been chosen out of the world that is hostile, condemned, and defiled. NPNF1: Vol. VII, Tractates on John, Tractate LXXXVII, §2-3, John 15:17-19.

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dtking said...

Thanks for sharing your private judgment! Oops, I guess they disappeared.

DTK

beowulf2k8 said...

You misapply Chrysostom's quote "Because not all believed, For He died indeed for all, that is His part: for that death was a counterbalance against the destruction of all men. But He did not bear the sins of all men, because they were not willing." (NPNF1: Vol. XIV, Epistle to the Hebrews, Homly 17.)

All he means is that although Jesus died for all, yet the forgiveness is only applied to true believers.

But you say "Then there were a number of Church Fathers who at times taught this heresy..." I have no problem with that fact, for the "Church Fathers" were by and large heretics, and all the ones you quote here were heretics already for teaching infant baptism. The Bible alone is the test of Orthodoxy, not your furrowed fathers--they are not my fathers to be sure.

Augustin in good Manichee style sophiststrsates "The whole world then is the Church, and yet the whole world hateth the Church." But the Scripture never speaks of the church as the world, but Christ says "I have chosen you out of the world" and "yet are not of the world, if ye were of the world the world would love its own." Jesus died for all, but all are not saved because all do not beleive. Jesus' blood is not a specific quantity where 2 drops apply to each sin, etc. as ignorant men suppose, but his one sacrifice is enough to save all men. Yet God will only save true believers, and there is the only limiter on the atonement--unbelief. Jesus did not say "I'm only dying for Ken, Mark, and John but not for George and Charlie." That's just plain blasphemy.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

James,

I have to agree with Theo here. The thrust of his parody article was to poke a little light-hearted fun at RCC administrative practices and approaches to dealing with new technologies and such. It was not intended to slander anyone. I sent a link to the article to Dr. White because I thought he would get a kick out of it.

Blessings in Christ,

Pilgrimsarbour

------- Theo ------- said...

Thanks PA, and may God bless you too.

Your bro,
--Theo