Update: Sent this debate review to Anthony himself. If he responds or comments, I’ll post it here, if not, then his silence will speak volumes.
Update #2: As of 7:20 pm both his and my time, he viewed my message, no response as yet.
I’m not sure Anthony knew what debate he was showing up to, I sat with Sami Zataari and we took in Anthony’s opening together, our impressions were the same. Anthony most likely misunderstood the topic of the debate, this doesn’t mean that his contribution wasn’t meaningful, nor does it mean that he didn’t argue well, but what he did argue was largely irrelevant to the debate’s topic. I mean, if the debate topic was perhaps one of the few below, his points and evidences would have been relevant:
- Is the Trinity in the Bible?
- Are Christians Polytheists According to the Qur’aan?
- Does the Islamic View of the Trinity Reconcile with that of the Bible’s?
Unfortunately for Mr. Rogers, the topic was not centered on what either the Qur’aan says, or what the Bible says, and this is key to both debaters’ arguments. I’ve debated Anthony before, and he suffers from the same weaknesses that he’s been unable to grow out of. He’s largely very verbose and his comments are usually irrelevant, it’s as if he’s puffing up his statements to get a few jabs in, but they’re largely not contributing to the topic. He also has a intellectual disability whereas, he’s unable to mature or think outside of his articles, for the greater portion of his opening sermon, you’d have bet he was reading from his, “The Trinity in the Old Testament” article which I cited in my recent article, here.
Positives for Anthony would be that he spoke with a lot of confidence, there’s no denying that he’s a talented orator, Shadid on the other hand not so much, but this doesn’t count for much beyond appearances, we’re looking at the arguments, the content and the logic presented.
Br. Shadid did something quite surprising, he didn’t take Anthony’s bait. In my recent debate review between him and Robert Spencer, I criticised him for furthering Spencer’s irrelevant arguments, arguing away from the topic. Not sure if he took my criticism to heart, or if he upped the ante in his debate with Anthony, but both Sami and I were quite pleased to see him stick to the topic, define the topic and to attack the topic from the get go. Whereas Anthony spent a lot of time focusing on what the Qur’aan considers the Christians to be, he spent almost 3/4 of his opening statement’s time on this, Br. Shadid went straight to the philosophical and rational theological reasons for why the Trinity is polytheistic in nature. He did mention a few Bible verses to support his claims, but for the better part of his opening statement, he focused on the logical and philosophical nature of the Trinity in light of general monotheism.
As mentioned previously, his speaking style leaves a lot to be desired, but that did not detract from his arguments. To my surprise, he stood his ground and waited for the rebuttal period to criticise his opponent’s deceits. He did not give in to Anthony’s emotional jabs and he kept his statements quite professional. I’d like to think that Anthony tried to get a rise out of Br. Shadid by mentioning that at the end of the debate he’d have to surrender his Qur’aan, kudos to Br. Shadid for disarming Anthony’s ridiculous emotional jab.
Anthony replied to all of Br. Shadid’s points, but it seems he still didn’t understand the topic well, or seem to realise this was the rebuttal period as he continued to speak on what the Qur’aan considers Christians to be. I hope that for the other debates he has with Shadid that he can atleast improve on sticking to the format of the debate, if I were supporting him, I’d be quite embarrassed to see a so-called Christian Apologist, lack any sense of relevance to the debate topic, while seeing him make crass and unprofessional statements about his opponent’s scripture. He did provide a lot of solid points against Br. Shadid’s arguments, but during this period, he still never actually conveyed how the Trinity is monotheistic, to be quite honest, I don’t think he spent any time at all discussing this point – which should have been his mainstay.
As for Br. Shadid, he did provide convincing rebuttals to Anthony’s filibustering, their counter-arguments seemed to be on par, but Br. Shadid did seem to have the stronger outcome here, as he stuck to the topic and focused on his premises, how can Jesus Christ have a God, how can Jesus pray to God, how can Paul claim to see Jesus sitting to the right hand of God – then who is Jesus in this case, etc. Anthony did not provide a response to these points, but focused on Br. Shadid’s quotes, largely ignoring the theological/ Christological components of Shadid’s points and instead focused on their exegetical applications – showing once again that Anthony clearly missed the mark and that he failed to grasp the topic of the debate fully.
I was quite insulted by Anthony’s closing statements, as it failed to be relevant at all to the debate topic and I must congratulate Br. Shadid on labeling it as an unwanted sermon. It seemed more like preaching, than a discussion on Br. Shadid’s points. Closing statements are not meant to be sermons, it is not meant to be a time to preach to the audience, and I was greatly turned off by his indecency, to me it felt as if Anthony was not prepared for, or he did not care about this debate and used it as a stage to stroke his ego and to preach to Christians, as opposed to have an academic discussion on the theological implications of the Trinity.
For me, this is where Br. Shadid clearly won, he didn’t give us a Khutbah – Islamic sermon, he honed in his points, qualified his premises and criticised Anthony’s improper, indecent and unqualified sermon, as opposed to doing a closing statement, as should have been given. He capped off his arguments and asked the audience to decide for themselves what the truth about the Trinity was. This debate by Br. Shadid was much better, much more classier and professional than his debate with Spencer. As for Anthony on the other hand, he did not seem prepared, and he chose to ignore the topic, I actually feel quite sorry for him given the mess that he caused – perhaps in this way he’s enlightened many Christians and drove them to doubt the Trinity, atleast that is what I conclude from his behaviour on that night.
and Allaah knows best.