Tag Archives: bob siegel

Debate Review: Bob Siegel vs Ijaz Ahmad, “Which is more reliable – NT or Qur’aan?”

In keeping with my promise to post reviews of debates submitted by Christians, I have received a debate review from a Concerned Reformed Christian in Canada, this is his review posted verbatim, no edits, no changes. Any Christian can submit their review of any of my debates for publishing [callingchristians@gmail.com]. If you’d like to ask the Christian brother questions on his review, please post them on the comments section and he’d gladly respond. Here’s his review:

I have listened to the debate between Ijaz Ahmad and Bob Siegel on the reliability of the Qur’an, and I must say that from the perspective of this detail-oriented Christian listener, the result of the debate could best be described as a stalemate. I do not find Ijaz’s arguments for the authenticity of the Qur’an (such as the claim that its message spread like wildfire throughout the known world and changed the course of history—a claim that almost any other religion could make, including Christian) to be convincing at all.

That being said, however, I cannot agree with my friend Anthony Rogers in his claim that Siegel “was dealing it to him so handily.” I found Siegel’s arguments for the reliability of the Bible to be rather unimpressive. He lacks knowledge on the discipline of textual criticism (e.g. He does not know what an “eclectic text” is, even though he was clearly attempting to articulate the concept).

Also, I had the distinct feeling that Siegel was relying entirely on secondary and tertiary sources for his arguments. This was made painfully clear when he attempted to address the contents of the Qur’an. Even when I might otherwise have been inclined to agree with his assertions, he never once backed up his assertions by citing chapter and verse from the Qur’an, and his failure to do so seriously hurt his ability to speak to the Islamic holy text’s claims.

I was also disappointed by the way Siegel and his moderator bounced from topic to topic. I was expecting a debate on the reliability of the respective holy texts, but there were issues being thrown around that had nothing to do with that topic. The discussion on heaven and hell comes to mind, as well as the one on whose holy text is the most violent. It has been my experience that when someone resorts to jumping from topic to topic, that is a sign that they have given up on attempting to argue for the central thesis of their debate.

As for Ijaz Ahmad’s debate performance, I have to give kudos to him for restraining himself from making any kind of snide comments or below the belt attacks in this latest performance (though I cannot speak to any of his past debates in that regard). The one thing that I respect about him is that he attempts to step up the game from previous Islamic apologists who have done little but parrot the claims of old-style polemicists such as Zakir Naik. He does attempt to critique Christianity at a scholarly level by looking into academic sources (including primary sources) on textual criticism and early Christian history. Whatever else one wishes to say about Ijaz, he is certainly no slouch when it comes to doing research in producing his arguments.

Finally, I must speak on the issue of Christians leveling ad hominem attacks against Ijaz in their reviews of his debates. I totally understand how in the heat of the moment, we can become very adversarial in our treatment of those we are in opposition to. However, some of the statements that are being made against him are simply unwarranted and—from a Gospel-centered perspective—un-Christlike. No, do not excuse your attacks by saying “well, he does it too”. The tu quoque fallacy was and still remains a logical fallacy, so resorting to it will do no good here. I would like to remind my Christian brothers of the words of the apostle Paul: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:6, ESV). Perhaps once we all—Christian  and Muslim—rise above these petty personal squabbles, we can accomplish something genuinely constructive in our intellectual debates and exchanges with each other.

End of review.

As for why the Christian decided to respond to my request of reviews, he says and I quote:

As for why I said yes to your request for a review, my desire is to help my fellow Christians as much as it is to help you. This is my way of telling them: “Come on guys, I know you can do better than that.”

Debate with Bob Siegel: My After Thoughts

I’m not sure whether to call this a debate or not. It was horribly short, which we anticipated, but for the time we did spend, I do felt as if Bob missed the mark.

Bob’s Opening:

Bob opens with the same argument that he used against Br. Shadid, the Qur’aan claims to validate the Bible and authenticates the Bible. Then he went on to mention Isaiah 53 and Daniel 9 as evidences that it is reliable. That was about it.

Br. Ijaz’s Opening:

I had a little trouble with feedback for 2 minutes, but then I got started. I let them know the Qur’aan at its inception was seen as scripture, the Bible developed into a scripture. The Qur’aan has two strains of independent transmission going back to its primary source. The New Testament has atleast a 90 year gap between its primary sources and its empirical testimony. I demonstrated that in Islam we have CAR, Control + Authorization = Reliability. Our text is reliable because we control what was transmitted and we authorized specific persons with the requisite skill to transmit it, therefore making it reliable.

Question and Answer by the Moderator:

Again, Bob referred to Isaiah 53 and that the Qur’aan qualifies the Bible. Told him to read chapter 52 and that the suffering servant is the entire nation of Israel, I pointed to Devarim 28 to 31 and Yirmiyahu 44. As for the Qur’aan, I pointed to Surah 2, Verse 79.

I mentioned the Jews don’t believe in substitution atonement, he mentioned that Leviticus talks about this, I refuted him and mentioned that Leviticus mentions the Korban Pesach in which an animal is sacrificed, not a human, he did not respond.

The moderator asked about our concepts of heaven (I found this to be a pretty silly question, irrelevant to the topic), Bob mentioned we needed Christ to go to heaven. I mentioned that Christiainity doesn’t speak about heaven, the Apocalypses do and they’re an addition to the Christian faith, a late addition. Only Islam promotes an inclusive heaven, as our God is willing to forgive all sin, even blasphemy. I went on to say that the Christian God is a God which excludes mercy because if I as a Muslim disbelieve in the Holy Spirit (that’s blasphemy) I would then never go to heaven, thus our concept of God is more complete.

Bob was asked when did the NT get written, he said 90 CE, said 2 Peter called the NT scripture and that Christ claimed to be God. For my turn, I mentioned the story of ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) to demonstrate the Qur’aan was written during its inception in Makkah and we do have a C-1 text from within the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) – see Arabica 57, 2010. In response to Bob, I mentioned the first empirical evidence we have is from 125 CE and  anyone can make a hypothesis to claim any time earlier, but we need evidence to support our claims. Mentioned that 2 Peter is a Pastorial and is dated to be from sometime in the second century by most critics. Lastly, I let him know, he can’t know what Christ said or didn’t say from the NT because it was not first person verbatim.

20 Minute Back and Forth/ Free Discussion:

I asked Bob a simple question: Given Psalm 119:89, which canon or codex of the OT and NT do you say is from God. Took Bob around 15 minutes to answer. He went off on translations, at one point he said,”when Muslims read the Qur’aan in any other language beside Arabic, they are reading the Qur’aan”, I kindly let him know that they’re reading an interpretation, a translation, but not the primary text. The primary text is important, which is why us Muslims are like your scholars, your scholars read the primary text in its original languages for understanding and study, the lay Muslim learns how to recite the Qur’aan in its primary language because we value and appreciate our text, something you leave for your scholars to do.

In answering my questions, which I had to insist on, he finally said he accepted all canons and codices, but before I could pose a question to him, he decided to ask me an off topic question. What makes the Qur’aan true? I pointed to the Pythagoreans and the Essenes who settled in Northern Arabia and who later accepted Islam. I pointed to the mass conversion of educated Arian Christians and Jews in Iberia when the message of Islam reached them. The geopolitical success of Islam in conquering the Roman and Persian empires , all from a book that Bob says was written by one man.

Lastly, Bob decided to talk about how violent the Qur’aan is by quoting Surah 9, I responded with Qur’aan 2:190-194. I then furthered my response with mentioning the return of Jesus being vastly more violent, see Zechariah 14, in which Bob agreed Christ would return as a warrior. I began to laugh because Bob found it offensive that the Qur’aan may command violence, but was completely okay knowing that Christ would mass murder non-believers when he returned and this was not a problem for him.

My Thoughts:

The time was too short, the radio signal was horrid – this is consensus by a Christian ally from Canada, a Muslim friend from London. I got a ton of feedback during the show. Bob was unable to answer my questions, on the text of the NT being reliably transmitted. I provided examples and literature which verified the Islamic perspective and the best he could muster up was an argument that someone said the original Qur’aan could not be found, which is when I then referred to the C-1 text.

All in all, this was not worth my time. Bob really isn’t a debater and he seems more interested in polemics than actually discussing the topic. This is a common problem that I faced in all of my debates so far, I tend to speak over the heads of my opponents. I’m more of a reader, an academic, they are more inclined to preaching and so asking technical questions, historical questions is a significant problem on my behalf because I’m unable to get proper answers simply because my opponents cannot make sense of the questions being asked.

I invite Bob to Paltalk, where we can have an discussion unrestricted by time and in which we can talk to the audience. I’m not earnest for it because as I said, Bob is different to me, he’s satisfied with the non-technical questions, I tend to read academic texts synoptically and so my reading and study is different from Bob, but if he’s willing to bite the bullet, I suppose I am to.

wa Allaahu ‘alam.

Debate Tomorrow: Ijaz Ahmad vs Bob Siegel -Which is more reliable, the New Testament or the Qur’aan?

Looking forward to this debate, it’ll be a short one, 1 hour or so long, 5 minute opening statement and moderated by Bob’s friend, Fred. There will be no question and answer call in session, but the first half hour of the debate will focus on the moderator posing certain questions to each debater, whereas the other 30 mins would be a discussion between Bob and I, the details are as seen below:

Tomorrow (24th November, 2013) at:

  • 6 PM PST (US).;
  • 10 PM (AST) Trinidad Time.
  • 2 AM (London) Time.


  • Which is more reliable? the New Testament or the Qur’aan?

Live stream:


wa Allaahu ‘alam.

Who is Bob Siegel and Why am I Debating him?

The information about Bob Siegel is provided through his website here:

A graduate of Denver Seminary and San Jose State University, Bob Siegel is a radio talk show host and popular guest speaker at churches and college campuses across the country, using a variety of media including, seminars, formal debates, outdoor open forums and one man drama presentations.

Bob grew up in a strong Jewish home, but was led to Christ while in college, through the ministry of Campus Ambassadors. cc-2013-bobsiegelkayaf(Mission To The Americas).

Bob has debated many outspoken atheists, including, Dan Barker (Freedom From Religion Foundation), Phil Paulson, (Fundamentalists Anonymous) and Dr. Robert Price (The Jesus Seminar).

Bob is listed in Marquis’ Who’s Who in the West. In addition to his own weekly radio show (KCBQ 1170, San Diego) Bob has been a guest on many other programs, including The 700 Club, The Dr. Gina Show, Andy Parks, Live from the Washington Times, The Rick Amato Show, KUSI Television’s Good Morning San Diego, The Way TV, an outreach satellite network that broadcasts all over North and South America, Europe and the Middle East, and the world popular Jonathan Park radio drama series, for which Bob guest starred in two episodes and wrote one episode, The Clue From Ninevah.

Bob is a regular contributor for Communities @ Washington Times, San Diego Newsroom and San Diego Rostra. Between 2007 and 2010 his daily blog was frequently found in the National Top Ten on Townhall.com. Bob does a good deal of playwriting as well (14 plays & 5 collaborations), including the award winning, Eternal Reach. Bob has also published two books. A Call To Radical Discipleship, and I’d Like to Believe In Jesus, But…

Bob recently had an interesting debate with Br. Shadid Lewis (colleague at MDI) and I found his debate to be very poor. He did not present any strong arguments, his reasoning was weak and as I stated previously (in other articles) he simply embarrassed himself. Having heard my remarks, Bob Siegel has taken offense to them and has offered me a debate challenge, which I have accepted (and he’s confirmed my reception via e-mail). I will be challenging Bob on the same topic, the reliability of the New Testament. Now he thinks I was unfair in my assessment of his performance, which he is entitled to disagree with.

I’ll appear on his radio programme and the debate will be moderated. Details such as the time and date would be published soon. I’m excited to debate Bob and I am more excited to reach out to him and demonstrate to him, that the New Testament was not, is not and can never be considered reliable.

and Allaah knows best.

Debate Video Pulled! Br. Shadid Lewis vs Bob Siegel

The now infamous and controversial debate video between MDI’s Br. Shadid Lewis and CRD’s Bob Siegel on the Reliability of the New Testament, has been mysteriously pulled from the YouTube Channel of the Church where the series of debates were held. A few days ago, I posted that the videos were uploaded for public viewing, however, earlier yesterday afternoon – the video was pulled without reason.

According to several insiders, the Church disliked the content of the video, given Bob’s antics which were seen as an embarrassment by the wider Christian community, therefore the Church’s technician who uploaded the videos, was told to take them down as the content was inappropriate for the Church’s Ministerial purposes. Luckily for us, my Brother in Islam, MuslimByChoice, had downloaded and re-uploaded the entire debate!

and Allaah knows best.

Bob Siegel and the Center for Religious Debate

Bob Siegel is a Muslim hero. After his debate with Br. Shadid Lewis, there can be no doubt that Bob secretly works for Muslims. I say this because Bob seemed to offend, almost insult and argue against Christianity in last night’s debate. Not only did he not defend the reliability of the New Testament (as was the topic of focus), but he successfully argued against it, while embarrassing himself in one of the most absurd displays of immaturity I have ever been privy to witness.

Unfortunately for Bob, I have a very strong feeling that he would now be the focus of many Muslim-Christian debates, because of his self refuting nature, it’s impossible that anyone debating him could actually lose. In a debate where Bob had to defend the reliability of the Christian New Testament, Bob said, in no uncertain terms:

one scribe writes something stupid and another scribe crosses it out

According to Bob Siegel, the hero of Muslims everywhere (Calling Christians is probably going to consider forwarding him a proposal to make him our spokesperson), during the writing of his scripture, people wrote stupid things in it, or a scribe copied stupid things that God said and other scribes crossed out what they felt was stupid. Now isn’t that funny, in a book that he’s supposed to be defending as reliable – he argues that arbitrary editing on the count of something being apparently stupid – was done. If that isn’t arguing against his own point, then I don’t know what to call it.

This however, wasn’t the worse thing that Bob did, at one point Bob decided to break out into song and dance – yes, singing and dancing during an academic discourse because he felt like it. Flailing arms, animated speaking, voice impersonations and more, Bob is a man of many talents, but what he is not is a professional debater, nor an academic. To be quite honest, I’d pay money to have Bob entertain me, he’s good at it, he’s very theatrical, a great singer, amazing dancer, his voice impersonations would make you laugh – it was a blast! Yet, this was neither the place nor the occasion for Bob to showcase his dramatic talents.

This was a debate, on behalf of the Center for Religious Debate. His arguments were poor, so poor that during his opening statement I successfully only counted one argument about the reliability of the New Testament. One, just a single stand alone argument. Other than that, Bob was largely a dud, nothing intelligent came out of his mouth and with each passing moment he seemed to slowly poison the well of Christian thought and belief. Besides negating the reliability of the New Testament and declaring the Bible to contain stupid man made writings, he happened to use awful analogies and at the very worse, emotional ranting.

Emotional Bob, this should be his stage name, and this is not meant to be insulting. Bob started his defense of the reliability of the New Testament by declaring that he spoke to God, he knows God and therefore nothing can be said to change his mind about the reliability of the New Testament. Isn’t that funny? For an academic discussion, you’d like to assume that one would provide evidences, maybe discuss or mention a theory or two, perhaps reference some famous scholarly works, but not Bob, he decided to throw thousands of years of Christian scholarship into a liberal trash can and figured his best plan of defending the reliability of the Bible is to declare that God literally, told him it was reliable.

Now, Bob wasn’t all that horrible, he did have some good, hard hitting points. His discussion on the cayaf (?, cayaph, kayaf, kayaph) was very insightful. Bob, what in the heck is a kayaf and what did it have to do with your debate last night? Apparently ‘kayaf’ is something Islamic that no Muslim knows about…


Sorry Bob, but I just had to make you into a meme, did God also tell you I was going to do that? If not, maybe you should try to figure out what that voice in your head was, I’m thinking that it wasn’t God.

Now, Bob spoke largely about the Qur’aan and Islam, perhaps for 75% of the time he was speaking. This was a debate about the reliability of the New Testament, but I don’t think Bob got the memo that this was a debate or what the topic of the debate was. At one point, he asked the moderator how much time he had left and decided to forego 2 and 1/2 minutes of speaking time during his rebuttal period. Funnily enough, he later complained that he was not given enough time to speak.

Bob, you are the hero of Muslims everywhere. I pray that one day I do get to debate you, because you’d be the easiest person to debate. I’m hoping that you do more debates with Muslims, especially focusing on the topic of Christianity, perhaps you’d bring more Christians to Islam than is possible – you’re a great spokesperson for Islam and we wouldn’t have it any other way.