Category Archives: Other Debates

Jonathan McLatchie Flops in South Africa

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Embarrassing. This is the term being used by Christians in response to erratic, untruthful and dishonest claims made by Jonathan McLatchie about his South African events. Despite having the support of his close friend and teacher Sam Shamoun, Jonathan’s events in South Africa have had appallingly small crowds (?) attending those events. One South African speaker, Br. Yusuf Bux, decided to question Jonathan about the size of attendance at his events:

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Jonathan replied with a large figure, 200 people! However, Br. Yusuf Bux responded with a picture that clearly showed roughly 20 people in attendance or less. In questioning Jonathan’s integrity, Br. Yusuf Bux replied as follows:

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Jonathan insisted that the photos were taken at a bad time, however these are photos from two different debates, both showing less than 100 people at either event. Instead of responding with photographic evidence to the contrary, Jonathan insisted that “someone did a headcount”. Unfortunately for Jonathan, the pictures were taken by attendees who confirmed that such numbers from Jonathan are not only imagined, Jonathan was simply lying. Another person who attended the event also replied and confirmed that Jonathan’s numbers were simply made up:

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According to the above eyewitness, the testimonies of both Christians and Muslims, and the photographs of the events, Jonathan is simply making up attendance numbers at will. In fact, Br. Yusuf Ismail has mentioned that there were 40 people at the first event and 70 at the second. No where near the large figures that Jonathan claimed:

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Not only have the events themselves failed to draw in any crowds, attendees from both Islamic and Christian backgrounds have complained that Jonathan’s arguments were not only poor, but he was significantly repetitive, leading to crowds leaving while he was speaking. As seen in this photo below, the room is practically empty while Jonathan is speaking:

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In another event, there are 4-5 more people, but the seats are simply empty while Jonathan is speaking:

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There’s no need to make up numbers Jonathan, the pictures speak for themselves. If anyone would like to submit further pictures of the crowds, send us an email or post them to our Facebook Page.

and Allah knows best.

 

Missionary Mishap: Jonathan McLatchie Doesn’t Understand How Debates Work

Earlier today I watched a dialogue between Jonathan and someone named Inamullah on the topic of, “Is Jesus God?”. I found a statement of Jonathan’s to be quite peculiar and made a post about it. If you’re unfamiliar with Jonathan, he’s the guy that referred to immigrants in Europe as “cancers” and “viruses”. Also the guy that believes Br. Khalid Yasin, is a Caucasian man, despite being…..African American. So what was the problem?

Moderated debates follow formats. Typically, something along the lines of:

  1. Speaker 1’s Opening Statements.
  2. Speaker 2’s Opening Statements.
  3. Speaker 1’s 1st Rebuttal.
  4. Speaker 2’s 1st Rebuttal.
  5. Speaker 1’s 2nd Rebuttal.
  6. Speaker 2’s 2nd Rebuttal.
  7. Speaker 1’s Concluding Statements.
  8. Speaker 2’s Concluding Statements.

There’s an alternation between the speakers, as can be seen above. What should also be noticed is that there are Opening Statements and then Rebuttals. This is common sense, but Jonathan does not seem to understand this. In the Opening Statements, each speaker open’s….with….their…..statements! Shocking, I know! This is where each speaker presents their arguments, their research, their ideas. Following this, the speakers then rebut, that is, respond to the arguments and claims made in each others’ Opening Statements. That’s not difficult to understand, it’s pretty much common sense. Jonathan however, does not seem to understand this basic concept. In his dialogue with Inamullah, following Inamullah’s Opening Statements, Jonathan during his 1st Rebuttal asks Inamullah why he (Inamullah) did not rebut Jonathan during his (Inamullah’s) Opening Statement.

In other words, Jonathan gave his Opening Statement. Then Inamullah gave his Opening Statement. Then Jonathan gave his 1st Rebuttal. However, it is during this 1st Rebuttal that Jonathan asks why Inamullah did not respond to Jonathan’s Opening Statement. I made a post on Facebook asking Jonathan why he expected Inamullah to rebut him, when his (Inamullah’s) 1st Rebuttal had not yet occurred. He replied:

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You’d notice that Jonathan immediately falls into his Christian character and must find a need to insult me. I don’t mind this behaviour, after all, Jonathan did mention that Muslims were like cancer, so his hate is understandable. Follow what he says carefully though. While he acknowledges that his opponent’s rebuttal should have come during his rebuttal period, he still and amazingly so….argues that his opponent must also rebut him during their Opening Statement. I agree with Jonathan, your opponent does have a responsibility to engage with your material, that’s why there’s a Rebuttal period! There’s a solution for that Jonathan, it’s built into the format of the debate, it’s called Rebuttal periods.

The problem here is quite a good example of Jonathan’s inability to deal with criticism. There was no need for him to be condescending and rude during the debate, by speaking down to his opponent directly after his Opening Statement. You don’t demand things of people during a debate, you most certainly don’t order them around if you don’t like what they’re saying. If only there wasn’t a moderator, how much more uncouth would he have been?

and God knows best.

Sam Shamoun and Lying by Dr. Shabir Ally – Part 2

Shabir Ally

October 1, 2015

Now that I am back in Toronto, and have access to my books, I am able to write a more telling response to Sam and his accusation about lying. I also had a chance to review the recording of what I said during the debate, and Sam’s interaction with me during the Q&A.[1]

Two things (at least) will become evident below:

  • I correctly cited that book of Robert Gundry to which I was referring;[2]
  • In order to generate his proof that I misquoted Robert Gundry, Sam actually misquoted me!

This is a sad day for Muslim-Christian dialogue.

Having listened to the recording, I still have the question that I had put to Sam during that conversation. Sam had said that he had two books right in front of him: one book is Robert Gundry’s commentary on the New Testament; the other book is Gundry’s commentary on Matthew’s gospel in particular. Sam read a portion from the commentary on the New Testament which obviously includes a brief commentary on Matthew’s gospel.[3] That is not the book I had cited. I had studied and cited the other book: the commentary on Matthew’s gospel in particular.

So, I asked Sam for the page number of the relevant section of the commentary on Matthew’s gospel in particular. Instead of supplying this simple piece of information, Sam kept telling me pages 135-36 of the book which he had read from. I asked him why he could not simply tell me the page number of the relevant section of Robert Gundry’s commentary on Matthew’s gospel which he said he also had in his possession at the time. Sam admitted that the page numbers he was giving me were from Gundry’s commentary on the entire New Testament, But when I asked him again for the page number of the commentary dedicated to Matthew’s gospel, there was a definite silence. I thought he had hung up. But he was still on the call. Why the silence?

Moreover, in listening to the recording I realized all the more how bizarre was the conversation between me and Sam. I kept asking him for the page number of a book which he claimed to have with him. In response, he kept challenging me to read a book which I did not claim to have in my possession at the moment. Naturally, I could not read a book I did not have in my hands; I could only accurately quote the most relevant line from my head. But, for some reason, Sam was unable to give me the page number of the book he had in his hands even though the relevant page number is easy to find. The commentary progresses from the start to the end of Matthew’s gospel, and the page headers show the progression verse by verse. It would have been a snap for Sam to thumb through the commentary following the page headers to chapter 28 and then to its verse 19 and give me the page number.

Obviously, he later located the relevant page number of a commentary on Matthew’s Gospel, this being the first book Sam referred to in his article composed on that same date.[4] It would be interesting to trace the relationship between this commentary and the one I was citing. It seems that the one Sam is referring to is the second edition of the same book, now with a different subtitle.[5] The page numbers of the relevant sections are the same, and the wording is strikingly similar, though the subtitles are different.

Now, the book I was citing really said on p. 596 what I cited it to say. So too does the second edition, as is evident from Sam’s citation in his article. But both of these are dissimilar to the book which Sam was reading on air.

To understand what is going on here between me and Sam, one has to see the big picture, as follows. In debates between Muslims and Christians, Muslims argue that in the Old Testament Yahweh is the only God. Jews agree. Many Christians also agree. Consequently, for Jesus to be God, he would have to be Yahweh. But if he is Yahweh, then he is the only God, and therefore the Father and the Holy Spirit would not be God.

In response to this clear logic, some Christians cite Matthew 28:19 as proof that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each Yahweh, and yet altogether Yahweh. In that verse, Jesus directs his followers to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Christians point out that the name here is singular, though the named persons are three. Hence they insist that Jesus is Yahweh, the Holy Spirit is Yahweh, the Father is Yahweh; yet altogether the three are Yahweh.

This is the big picture, the context within which I am using the citation from Robert Gundry. I am saying that according to Robert Gundry the verse does not imply that the three persons bear the same name. According to him, the verse is not actually referring to their name; rather, the verse is saying that the baptism should be done with fundamental reference to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Here is an approximate transcript of what I said, as evidenced by the video recording:

In Matthew’s gospel towards the end where Jesus says, “Go and baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” some will take that as an expression of Trinitarian doctrine. But in fact, as Robert Gundry says in his commentary on Matthew’s Gospel, it does not actually mean that—it does not mean that the three of them have just one name—it means, ‘Go and baptize with fundamental reference to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.’ It does not mean that the three are one. In fact, there is no passage in the New Testament gospels or in any of the writings of the New Testament that says that the three—the Father Son, and Holy Spirit—are together as one God.[6]

This is what Sam needs to address. Instead, he changes the subject to me. But attacking me will not remove the problem. The problem, as the clear logic above indicates, is that there is only one God Yahweh, as Jews, Christians and Muslims agree.[7] According to Matthew 12:18, Jesus is the servant of Yahweh. This too Muslims and even Christians accept. But Christians insist that, in addition to being the servant of Yahweh, Jesus is also Yahweh himself. I have been refuting this latter claim with my clear logic. And now Sam wants to attack me. But my logic is not exclusively mine. Logic is universal. To get rid of this problem, Sam does not need to attack me, he needs to battle with the fundamental laws of nature, or the designing work of God who fashioned us to think logically. He needs to battle with his own thoughts which cannot escape the same logic.

When Sam called, he accused me of claiming that Robert Gundry in his commentary on Matthew’s gospel denies that Mt. 28:19 is a Trinitarian text.[8] But that is not what I claimed.

In the above transcript of the relevant portion of my speech, I started out with my own statement, cited Gundry, and then ended with my own statement. I can see where at first glance it may not be clear to others where I intended to end my citation of Gundry. But if that was not clear at first, during the call I explained to Sam:

In that commentary, Robert Gundry says very plainly that the idea that the mention of Father, Son and Holy Spirit should mean that they share the same name—that is not the idea. He is saying that the idea there is that the baptism should be done with fundamental reference to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I am not saying anything more than this.[9]

Notice that last sentence: ‘I am not saying anything more than this.’ Now it should be clear that I am only claiming as follows: in a particular book, Gundry denies that Mt 28:19 implies that the three persons bear the same one name.

Despite my taking pains to clarify the point on air, however, Sam charges in his writing composed after the debate:

Ally basically claimed that Gundry denies that this text supports the Triune nature of God.[10]

That is not what I claimed.

I am not saying that Gundry is not a Trinitarian, or that he denies that Mt. 28:19 can be put to Trinitarian use, etc. It should be clear to all students of logic that a statement of the form,

‘A does not imply B’

does not mean the same as,

‘A implies that B is not the case,’

and it does not mean the same as,

‘I deny B.’

In what follows, I will replace B with ‘the Father, Son and Spirit share the same name.’

Logically, therefore, when I cite Gundry to say,

‘Mt. 28:19 does not imply that the Father, Son and Spirit share the same name,’

that is not the same as citing him to say,

‘Mt. 28:19 implies that the Father, Son and Spirit do not share the same name.’

And it does not mean the same as citing him to say,

‘I deny that the Father, Son and Spirit share the same name.’

It is really sad to see Sam misquoting me to prove his charge that I misquoted someone else. Sam does not like my message. But does that justify shooting the messenger? Dialogue between Muslims and Christians need to move beyond such tactics. We need to listen to each other, learn, and pray to God asking him to guide us all.

Finally, the book I was citing was published in 1982 for an academic level of readership. It caused a stir in evangelical circles leading to Gundry’s resignation from the Evangelical Theological Society. The book Sam read on air was published 28 years later in the year 2010 for a more common readership.

This latter work, from which Sam’s read to me on air, and which he cited second in his article, clearly supports Sam’s contention that Gundry believes that the three divine persons are included in ‘the name.’ I am grateful for this information. I did not know it until Sam pointed it out. And I am glad that I did not overstate my case in citing Gundry. However, if I do cite him again, on this matter, it will be appropriate for me to add that Gundry apparently changed his mind about this as is evident from his later writing. Why he apparently changed his mind would be interesting to learn. Is it that the two books were meant for two different audiences, in which case he was willing to tease the academic community but not the masses? Did the negative response to his earlier book cause him to be more cautious? Or, did he find new evidence to convince him that his earlier statement was incorrect?

In short,

  • I correctly cited Gundry’s earlier statement,
  • I am willing to incorporate his later statement in future citations, and
  • I am grateful to Sam for alerting me to this, but
  • I find it at least ironic that Sam would misrepresent me to prove that I misrepresented Gundry.

[1] The recording can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idHxegbSunQ&feature=youtu.be. Sam’s call comes in at 2 hours and 14 minutes into the recording. My thanks to Brother Nazam for pinpointing this location.

[2] Robert H. Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary on His Literary and Theological Art (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982) p. 596.

[3] Sam was referring to Gundry, “Matthew,” Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic 2010) pp. 135-136.

[4] http://www.reformedapologeticsministries.com/2015/09/catching-shabir-ally-red-handed.html?m=1

[5] Robert Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary on His Handbook for a Mixed Church Under Persecution, 2nd edition (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995).

[6] This begins at approximately 19:55 and lasts for about 40 minutes.

[7] Though Muslims call him by another name Allah, which is also in the Bible in Arabic translations. See Genesis 1:1.

[8] At 2:14 in the recording.

[9] At 2:16:40.

[10] http://www.reformedapologeticsministries.com/2015/09/catching-shabir-ally-red-handed.html?m=1

Sam Shamoun and Lying by Dr. Shabir Ally – Part 1

Shabir Ally

September 30, 2015

During my debate with David Wood on ABNSAT, Sam Shamoun called in to challenge one of my statements. According to my statement, Robert Gundry said that the formula in Matthew 28 does not imply that the three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share the same name. Rather, the formula means that baptism should be done with fundamental reference to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Sam claimed that Gundry wrote no such thing, and he had Gundry’s books to prove it. I pointed out that I was referring to another book by Gundry. But Sam was not convinced by my plea. Rather, he was convinced that I was lying. Hence he wrote to that effect here:

http://www.reformedapologeticsministries.com/2015/09/catching-shabir-ally-red-handed.html?m=1

In that document, Sam cites two books of Gundry, and links to a third, all to prove that Gundry did not voice the view I attributed to him.

However, in each case he is referring to a book other than the one I was referring to. As I am away from my hometown at the moment, I cannot check the reference at the moment, but here is something I found on my laptop that I had written elsewhere complete with a reference to the book I was referring to.

As for the apparent Trinitarian formula of Matthew 28:19, Robert H. Gundry writes that “Matthew seems to be responsible for the present formula.”[1]

As will be immediately clear, this is not the same as any of the three books Sam cited or referred to in his above linked article. It should also be clear that Gundry is saying that Matthew is responsible for the saying whereas we would expect Christians to think that Jesus actually said this.

Sam apparently assumed that the books he came across are the only books that Gundry wrote on the subject. Instead of hastily composing an article claiming that I was lying, he should have asked me for the reference to the specific book I was citing, and then check the reference in that book. As it turns out, people these days are too quick to assume the worst about other people but the best about themselves.

Even if it turns out that the book I was referring to does not contain the material I cited, does this necessitate a charge of lying? Or, could it be a case of citing from memory and recalling incorrectly as humans sometimes do?

During the debate itself, I cited many other books, some of which I had on the desk before me. These too I cited from memory, as is my usual style in debates. I do not claim that my memory is impeccable. However, in how many cases did Sam find a significant discrepancy between my citations and my named sources? If it is just this one, does that require such a serious charge? Is Sam here exhibiting the usual charitableness of Christians? If we go about slinging such uncharitable accusations against each other will that lead to better dialogue and mutual understanding?

When I get back to Toronto, I will check again to see if my memory serves me correctly, and thus that Gundry said what I cited him to say. Otherwise, I will issue a public retraction. But if what I cited is correct, will Sam retract his article and issue an apology for his false accusation?

Meanwhile, it is interesting to know that after Gundry published this critical commentary in 1982, some evangelical scholars called for his resignation from the Evangelical Theological Society. He resigned in 1983.

Does that sound like Gundry was saying in this book what Sam wants to hear?

[1] Robert H. Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary on His Literary and Theological Art (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982) p. 596.

Dr. Shabir Ally’s Debate – Who Gives Us The Truth About Jesus

A peculiar incident occurred last night during the call-in section of the debate between Dr. Shabir Ally and David Wood. In a pre-planned call, Usama Dadok was allowed to scream and shout insults, while using obscene language in a stunt meant to provoke a response out of Dr. Shabir.

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In what can only be described as an abject failure by the moderator Chris Con-way to “moderate” the debate, what was a peaceful debate became a comedy of errors. Dakdok’s job was to bring the “demon” out of Dr. Shabir by insulting and using obscene language towards the religion of Islam. Dakdok is of the belief that Muslims are demons incarnate:

Yet, Dakdok failed in his objective. The plan by Shamoun and Wood, meant to discredit Dr. Shabir by provoking him into anger did not come into fruition. Rather, the only person who behaved in a “demonic” way was Dakdok himself. Frothing at the mouth during his rabid diatribe, the insults and abuses he hurled did not cause the desired effect. Rather, the Muslims watching the debate immediately became disinterested in the discussion and whatever audience that Shamoun and Wood had intended to reach out to with the message of Christianity, quickly disappeared.

Those viewing the debate, took note of Dr. Shabir’s response to Dakdok’s obscenities. Dr. Shabir demonstrated the Islamic Prophetic example of patience and professional decorum. It is ironic, in the sense that in trying to provoke Dr. Shabir by insulting the Prophet (ﷺ), Dakdok allowed Dr. Shabir to demonstrate the ideals of the Prophetic Sunnah:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

A man said to the Prophet (ﷺ) , “Advise me! “The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Do not become angry and furious.” The man asked (the same) again and again, and the Prophet (ﷺ) said in each case, “Do not become angry and furious.”

Thus, as a consequence of Wood and Shamoun’s planning, in trying to use Dakdok to defame Dr. Shabir, the opposite outcome occurred. Dr. Shabir’s calm and collected demeanour demonstrated to the audience that Islamic principles and teachings, had not made Dr. Shabir a spiteful and hateful person. Rather, the incident gave the audience a reason to sincerely listen to and pay attention to Dr. Shabir’s message about Islam.

Clearly then, Wood and company have demonstrated their inability to have an academic discourse without having to use childish tactics and games. The Muslim community’s perception of Wood and Shamoun have now fully been qualified, they are certainly an embarrassment to world Christianity. It is without a doubt that Wood knew he would not win a debate against Dr. Shabir and so he pandered to his audience.

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The type of Christians that watch the Trinity Channel, are those that enjoy seeing Muslims being demonized and brutalized. The point of the debate was not to win converts or to have a fruitful dialogue, it was to finally have their chance at getting revenge against Dr. Shabir due to the extensive work he has done in bringing Christians to Islam.

and God knows best.

 

Debate Review: What is God Like – Tawhid or Trinity? – Dr. Shabir & Jonathan McLatchie (Part 1)

At the outset, it’s best to say that if you saw Dr. Shabir’s debate with Nabeel on this topic and if you saw Jonathan’s debate with AbdurRaheem Green, also on this topic, then there was no real need for this debate. Most of what each speaker presented was contained within those two previous debates. There were no new arguments from either debater. Although touted as a dialogue, Jonathan’s approach was more debate minded, whereas Dr. Shabir was laid back and more or less relaxed in his use of technical arguments (compared to his demeanor and approach in his debate with Nabeel).

Dr. Shabir’s Introduction

He began by repeating the same three points he articulated in the debate with Nabeel.

  • T – for the text of scripture.
  • H – for history.
  • R – for reason.

Dr. Ally argued that according to the Bible, God declared that He was not a man and that only He should be worshiped. This God whose name we do not know with certainty, but whom we refer to as Yahweh due to combining the consonants of the tetragrammaton with the name of Adonai (Lord), cannot be Jesus as Jesus is a man. To further his point of allowing scripture to interpret scripture, he mentioned that there can only be one Yahweh and according to Isaiah 42, Yahweh sends his servant, this servant is identified as Jesus in Matthew 12. Thus, Jesus cannot be Yahweh as the Bible identifies him as the servant which Yahweh sends. He further argues that according to the Christology of the New Testament, Jesus is an intermediary of God who the Jews came to identify as an agent of creation. The language of the New Testament is also vague regarding Jesus’s station. He is constantly referred to as Lord, which is a term used to describe humans of varying stations. The term Lord in and of itself cannot deify someone.

At this point, Dr. Shabir began to speak on the language used in regard to Jesus in the Gospel ascribed to John. John 1:1c is problematic as the attribution of total deity to the Word (later identified as Jesus), is uncertain due to Colwell’s rule. Grammarians do dispute about the definiteness of attributing deity to the Word in this verse due to the absence of a defining article which the original author purposely left out, this opened the wording and subsequent understanding of the verse to dispute. If the author wanted to ascribe total deity to the Word, then they would not have intentionally left out the defining article and thus, total deity cannot be ascribed to Jesus the Christ given the author’s grammatical intentions. In John 20:17, Jesus allegedly states to Mary Magdelene that he was ascending to “my God” and “your God”, thus denying that he was God himself. We also see where during the time of Paul, he himself was also deified, as within his historical milieu he was considered Zeus and sacrifices were offered to him as attested in Acts 14.

Dr. Shabir focused more on the text of scripture, than the other two points of history and reason. I do believe that he should have reduced the amount of time he spoke on the Bible, as logically, once he established that the scripture was both historically unreliable and not reasonable, he would have negated the authority of the scripture itself. While his three pronged argument of THR is intelligent and concise, I do disagree with the acronym he chose and the order in which he articulated those points. He would have known that Jonathan would have heavily depended upon quoting the Bible as a proof for his beliefs, and I expected that he would have pre-empted this appeal to authority by demonstrating the use of the Bible as an authoritative source as useless. Thus, leaving Jonathan without any credible options of arguing in favour of the Trinity, as he would not have any other arguments in store but for appealing to the Bible. I used this approach myself in my debate with Chessie Edwards, who admitted after the debate that the rug was pulled from under him, and he could not articulate his belief in Jesus as a God, beyond appealing to the Bible.

The reason for doing this, is that once one allows a Christian to appeal to the Bible, the debate becomes focused on interpreting the Bible. Which would mean that the debate would be about whose interpretation was more correct and not many people will be convinced of a Muslim interpreting their scripture for them. I adopted this reasoning from Professor Burton Mack who argued that we should not allow an appeal to the New Testament to count as an authoritative argument. I highly suspect that Dr. Shabir chose to ease the burden of Jonathan, by sticking to basic, common, popular arguments which would be simple. The reason for this is twofold, primarily because he may have felt the debate of the same topic with Nabeel would have been too technical and thus alienated his core audience, and secondly, he may have wanted to take it easy on Jonathan given this was his first stage debate. Dr. Shabir is quite a kind person and he does not argue to win, but more to build relationships and to open the floor to dialogue and understanding. This isn’t a fault, but some may misconstrue his kindness as being lax with missionaries. My only other complaint would be that he did not spend much time speaking on Tawhid, while he did qualify the Trinity as a problematic belief, he did not dedicate enough time to offering the belief of Tawhid as a superior doctrine.

Jonathan’s Introduction

He began by defining what the doctrine of the Trinity was. This is something I strongly agree with, opening a debate by delimiting the scope of the discussion. As a proponent of socratic thinking, this was a pleasant and welcomed feature of his presentation. As previously mentioned, it was expected that Jonathan would base his arguments about the nature of God by mainly appealing to the Bible. He opened by declaring that the Bible was a wholly Trinitarian text (timestamp in video, he says, “The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is thoroughly Trinitarian.”), which unfortunately for him, was pre-empted by Dr. Shabir who demonstrated it was not, thus Jonathan’s first argument was already weakened by Dr. Shabir. Jonathan then presented three other arguments which he felt negated the validity of the doctrine of Tawhid.

  • Tawhid has its own internal problems.
  • The disciples were Trinitarian.
  • The Injeel is Trinitarian.

Of his first argument, he stated:

P1 – If Tawhid is true, it must be consistent.
P2 – Tawhid is not consistent.
C  – Therefore Tawhid must not be true.

Technically, this (form of argument) is referred to as Modus Tollens. The problem here, is that you have to prove the premises before you can qualify and validate your conclusion which is expected to be a tautology. In attempting to do this, Jonathan disappointed me greatly. All he did was refer (timestamp in video, he says “Those who saw Shabir’s debate with Nabeel Qureishi would’ve been exposed to the problems with reconciling the eternality of the Qur’an with the doctrine of Tawhid.”) to the argument that Nabeel used regarding the Qur’an being the eternal word of Allah, yet physical and created. I was disappointed because this is an argument copied from Jay Smith, which Samuel Green tried to use on me in my debate with him, which Nabeel later picked up and tried to use against Dr. Shabir. The problem here is that Dr. Shabir already addressed this argument, and so have I. Jonathan merely repeated Nabeel’s poor argument. He did not try to revamp the argument, he did not add anything to the argument, he did not articulate it differently, he did not try to incorporate Dr. Shabir’s response to Nabeel into the argument. He quite literally just repeated the argument, which was already responded to. Naturally, I would expect, that if he did his homework and decided to use an argument which was already refuted, that he’d adjust the argument in some way. He didn’t do that. He presented nothing new. It was at that point I wondered why he even offered to debate the same topic if he was merely going to repeat the same points from the previous debate of the same topic by offering nothing new.

At this point, he presented another argument, namely that there are other creators other than Allah. He did not seem to understand that what he presented was the fallacy of false equivalency, wherein the Qur’an mentioned numerous times that there were agents of God who had abilities attained by the “leave/ permission of Allah”, which are temporal and not absolute. Logically, this would mean their abilities are not inherent and eternal, but appropriated by God, thus his argument was non-sequitur from the get go. I firmly believe that he did not critically consider this argument beyond a cursory copy and paste from Answering Islam’s website. Ironically, he attempted to present this argument in syllogistic form, but the argument was inherently non-sequitur due to its format including the fallacy of false equivalency. How he did not realise this, was impossible to understand, if he is using logic, he should know what fallacies are and how they inhibit his premises. What’s troubling is that in the same sentence he declares that Allah has no partners, then states in the same breath that the Holy Spirit shares in the divinity of God. That’s a contradiction, so either it is his argument and conclusions were wrong, or he forced a false conclusion which he himself did not notice.

His second argument was that the disciples of Jesus were Trinitarian. Interestingly, I had a debate on this topic earlier in the year and demonstrated that according to the proto-orthodox Christian tradition, the disciples were definitely not Trinitarian. At this point he introduced a very strange argument.

P1 – If the Disciples of Jesus were Trinitarian then the Islamic concept of God is false.
P2 – The Disciples of Christ were Trinitarian.
C   – Therefore the Islamic concept of God is false.

Jonathan cannot make such an argument and believe that he is arguing logically. This is known as the fallacy of circular reasoning. What is worse was his attempt at drawing out the logical routes. He presumed that Dr. Shabir could refute his argument in one of two ways, firstly that the disciples were later misled or secondly, that the disciples were overcome (by other groups). Jonathan posited that the second option was impossible as the Qur’an says they were victors. The problem therein with his reasoning is that the Qur’an does not say in what way they were victors. He assumes that it has to be in the promulgation of their beliefs, which the Qur’an does not state itself. It is alleged that the early Christians were persecuted and the religion did not become “accepted” until Constantine’s conversion. According to Jonathan’s appeal to the Qur’an, he alleged that the Qur’an mentioned the disciples of Christ were victorious. Yet the Church was not accepted or mainstream until 300 years after them, so in what way were the disciples victorious according to his reading of the Qur’an? It would then mean that his interpretation was wrong, given that victory was not achieved as he understood it to be during the time of the disciples and so the victory being referred to here is not what he is asserting. The victory may have very well been that they themselves held on to their true faith despite persecution and in this way they were victorious in the sight of God. I do not believe that Jonathan spent more than a minute thinking of this argument, for if he did so, he’d realise instantly that the disparity between his idea of the normative proto-orthodox Church’s “victory” and that of the disciples exceeded the bounds of the Qur’an’s teaching.

At this point, he began to appeal to the New Testament as a historical witness, but for those of you familiar with Dr. Shabir’s works and my own, we already know that the New Testament en toto is not historically viable nor accurate. I have explicitly explained this in great detail in my debate with Steven on the very topic of the beliefs of the disciples using palaeography, papyrology, form criticism, textual criticism and historical criticism. The following links should be sufficient to refute his appeal to the New Testament as a historical witness, especially in his appeal to the Patristics:

He began to close his argument by referring to hadith criticism’s use of the isnad or chain of transmission. Unfortunately, he merely referred to the use of the chain of transmission by Islamic scholarship, what he utterly failed to do was qualify the authority of these alleged chains of transmission by applying the methods of hadith criticism to the chains themselves. I myself did this in my debate with Steven, in fact this was one of the arguments I researched in great detail and whose historicity the early Church itself disputed. Thus, by both Christian historical traditions and the methodology of hadith criticism, the chains of transmission in regard to John used by Jonathan are known to have been falsified and are historically inaccurate. I do not believe that Jonathan spent more than a few minutes constructing this argument, nor do I believe he consulted any major works of Patristic criticism, especially due to the reason his sole academic source seemed to be Richard Bauckham, whom I also referenced in my debate. I do believe he rushed through this portion of his opening statement, and I do not believe he himself knew in any great detail the methodologies of hadith criticism, and so his appeal to this Christian isnad was mere buzz word dropping.

What can we take away from Jonathan’s presentation? We need to take into consideration that this was his first stage debate and this was a debate with Dr. Shabir of all people. With that in mind, his preparation was not up to standard and he seemed to rely on previously used arguments from Nabeel’s debate and his debate of the same topic with AbdurRaheem Green. If we were to identify his main arguments, they would be easily recognizable by anyone who is familiar with Islamic and Christian inter-faith discourse, namely that the Qur’an validates the New Testament, that the disciples believed Jesus was God and that the Bible is historically accurate. He did not present any new arguments, nor any new research, nor did he seek to upgrade any of the arguments he copied from other Christian debaters. Most of his presentation seemed to comprise of quickly assembled syllogistic arguments that were not critically assessed or put together with much thought and research behind them. He did not seem to put a lot of effort into his opening presentation, it almost seems rushed and half done, with most of his content directly sourced from his debate of the same topic with AbdurRaheem Green. I really wonder if he thought AbdurRaheem Green and Dr. Shabir were on the same level of study about the Christian religion. That is the impression he gave me. I strongly believe that he did not prepare his debate statement with Dr. Shabir’s education in mind.

One major difference between this debate and the one with AbdurRaheem Green was Jonathan’s comfort level. He certainly seemed uneasy and nervous, and at times he just appeared to be uncomfortable with addressing the crowd. His nerves may have gotten the better of him. Most notably, he rushed through his presentation, he spoke quite quickly and I fear that coupled with his accent, most of the audience would not have followed what he said. In contrast, Dr. Shabir almost seemed to be too relaxed and at times engaged with persons in the audience. As a Muslim though, I do not believe that Jonathan stuck to the topic. Although he began with defining the Trinity, he never really explained or spoke about the teachings of the Trinity, how they made sense, what the value of the Trinity was, why God would or could be a Trinity, how the Trinity was superior to Tawhid. Rather, what I got from Jonathan’s presentation is everything but the Trinity itself. His entire focus seemed to be on establishing that the Trinity was historically viable through the teachings of the Qur’an, and in doing so, he never dealt with the Trinity itself. I did not gain any new knowledge about the Trinity, I didn’t hear him speak on the reasoning of why God had to be a Trinity of persons or how it was possible for an immutable and impassible God to become a man and suffer. Jonathan just seemed to miss the mark spectacularly. As a Muslim, Jonathan’s opening simply did not present the Trinity to me and that is perhaps his greatest failure in this debate.

In Part 2, I’ll cover the Rebuttals.

and God knows best.

Debate Event: What is God Like – Tawhid or Trinity? – Dr. Shabir and Jonathan McLatchie

Tonight features a follow up debate to Qadiani Nabeel Qureishi’s debate with the erudite, Dr. Shabir Ally, on the topic of Tawhid and the Trinity.

cc-2015-shabirdebatejonathan

See the Facebook Event’s page here. The event will be livestreamed on YouTube, via this link. At present, I intend to do a live review of the debate as it happens, as I did with the previous debate between Dr. Shabir and Nabeel.

and Allah knows best.

Debate Review: Jay Smith and Yusuf Ismail – The Biblical and Quranic Approach to Peace & Violence

You can view this debate for yourself to see Jay Smith’s arguments get pulled apart by Yusuf Ismail. Jay does not only get branded as inconsistent by Yusuf but also as dishonest. I’ve made a few points on this debate below to serve as a review and rebuke of some sort. There’s nothing positive to be said about Jay Smith’s scholarship, that’s for sure. This man seems determined to lead Christians down an unpleasant road.

Listen to Yusuf Ismail’s opening statement, his arguments and  his comments towards Jay Smith. If that makes you want to expose your ears to the yapping of Jay Smith then here’s the full debate. Yusuf’s OS is quite lively – definitely will get a few pulses racing so if you’re of a disposition where you really could do without an increased heart beat this one just is not for you. However, read the points below.

The Biblical and Quranic approach to Peace and Violence – Yusuf’s Opening Statement

Jay Smith is disingenuous and inconsistent in this debate. What’s new? This is not new for Jay Smith. It’s this type of inconsistency and disingenuous argumentation that drives away the more thoughtful and astute Christians away from Christian apologists.

Read more

Nabeel Qureishi’s Mistakes in Debate with Dr. Shabir

Live debate here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWpqqqZn7Kg

Nabeel said:

The term tawheed is not found anywhere in the hadith (source):

دَّثَنَا هَنَّادٌ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو مُعَاوِيَةَ، عَنِ الأَعْمَشِ، عَنْ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ، عَنْ جَابِرٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ يُعَذَّبُ نَاسٌ مِنْ أَهْلِ التَّوْحِيدِ فِي النَّارِ حَتَّى يَكُونُوا فِيهَا حُمَمًا ثُمَّ تُدْرِكُهُمُ الرَّحْمَةُ فَيُخْرَجُونَ وَيُطْرَحُونَ عَلَى أَبْوَابِ الْجَنَّةِ ‏.‏ قَالَ فَيَرُشُّ عَلَيْهِمْ أَهْلُ الْجَنَّةِ الْمَاءَ فَيَنْبُتُونَ كَمَا يَنْبُتُ الْغُثَاءُ فِي حِمَالَةِ السَّيْلِ ثُمَّ يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ وَقَدْ رُوِيَ مِنْ غَيْرِ وَجْهٍ عَنْ جَابِرٍ ‏.‏

 

 

Jabir narrated that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said:
“Some of the people of Tawhid will be punished in the Fire until they are coals. Then the Mercy (of Allah) will reach them, they will be taken out and tossed at the doors of Paradise.” He said: ” The people of Paradise will pour water over them, and they will sprout as the debris carried by the flood sprouts, then they will enter Paradise.”
On the Qur’an being eternal, being settled in the 9th century, here’s Imam Abu Hanifah who lived during the 1st century of Islam:
Abu Ĥaniifah, said in his book Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar:

والقرآن كلام الله تعالى في المصاحف مكتوب, وفي القلوب محفوظ وعلى الألسن مقروء, وعلى النبي عليه الصلاة والسلام منزّل, ولفظنا بالقرآن مخلوق وكتابتنا له مخلوقة وقرائتنا له مخلوقة والقرآن غير مخلوق.

The Qur’aan is the Speech of Aļļaah Taˆaalaa, written on pages (muşĥafs), preserved in hearts, recited on tongues, and revealed to the Prophet (sall-Aļļaahu ˆalayhi wa sallam). Our utterance of the Qur’aan is created, and our recitation of the Qur’aan is created, but the Qur’aan is not created.He means by “the Qur’aan is the Speech of Aļļaah” that the word “Qur’aan” refers to Aļļaah’s eternal speech that is not letters (thus not language or sounds – as letters are symbols that represent sounds.) I.e. there is no difference between saying “Aļļaah’s attribute of Speech” and “the Qur’aan;” they are synonyms. He makes this clear when he says a few paragraphs later:

ويتكلم لا ككلامنا ونحن نتكلم بالآلات والحروف والله تعالى يتكلم بلا آلة ولاحروف.

Aļļaah speaks, but not like our speech; we speak by means of instruments (vocal cords, limbs, etc.) and letters, but Aļļaah speaks without instruments or letters.

والحروف مخلوقة وكلام الله تعالى غير مخلوق.

Letters are a creation, and Aļļaah’s Speech is not created.So Abuu Ĥaniifah says that “the Qur’aan is the Speech of Aļļaah,” and then that “Aļļaah speaks without instruments or letters.” Then he emphasizes this further by saying “Letters are a creation, and Aļļaah’s Speech is not created.

Qur’an gets the Trinity wrong, see this response.

The Trinity is not 3 different Gods, see this response.

Islam has laws to punish people for heresy, see this response, some Christian sects are calling for the return of the Mosaic law to govern their nations, referred to as Theonomy.

YHWH coming or being on earth, see the Law of Agency, a theological construct in the Hebraic Testament in which someone acts on behalf of God but is referred to in the 1st person, known as “Sha’liah.”

In Islam, God could not have the attribute of love (al Wadud), before creation because there was nothing to love, see response.

—-

It’s blasphemy to burn the Qur’an, no it isn’t, where is he making this up from (source):

If there are no such cases where it is necessary to preserve old copies, then there is nothing wrong with disposing of them in respectful ways which achieve the desired purpose. The scholars have mentioned three ways of doing that:

1-

Burning, i.e., burning old copies of the Mus-haf in a careful and respectable manner, in a clean and safe place, whilst ensuring that the words are consumed by the fire and the pages are changed.

Nabeel says that the Jews had, “at least Binitarian view of God”. There goes Hebraic monotheism out the window.

Nabeel says the Schema Yisrael does not say God cannot be like a man, to correct him, it says God is not of any likeness on earth, does he think earth does not contain men?

Already trying to compensate for his disastrous performance, Nabeel has informed the crowd that he will pen a post debate write up as well as a 2 hour video.

Nabeel says that the Bible states that there are, “three persons in the Godhead”, unfortunately this simply does not exist.

Nabeel says that the Nicaean creeds and Chalcedonian creeds are not found in the Bible, and says this is the same problem in the Qur’an, that the statement of Tawheed is not found in the Qur’an, however this is wrong, it is found (Qur’an 47:19):

لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا اللَّـهُ

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