Tag Archives: dr. tony costa

Debate: Was Jesus the Son of God or Only the Prophet of God – Audience’s Review #1

This is the first of several audience reviews from the debate between Dr. Tony Costa and myself. The following review is from Abu Ilias (USA):


As a student of comparative theology, I am addicted to watching Christian/Muslim interfaith dialogues and debates. Different speakers have different oratory attributes, skills, knowledge, and of course deficiencies as well, and present their information in various ways. There are some who, to the discerning minds, seem to merely want to spout hate and animosity at the interlocutor’s person and faith conviction, not seriously interested in genuine dialogue or hoping to reach a fair and objective conclusion. And there are those that , bless them, seem to be very sincere and earnest but do not posses adequate knowledge in the scope of their debate endeavors and consequently end up creating straw men arguments, misrepresentations and false conclusions, albeit not intentionally.

This debate between Tony Costa and Ijaz Ahmed encapsulated the best of both worlds in my humble opinion. Ijaz was lucid, intelligent, respectful and up to date on the current landscape of Christian theological doctrine and textual criticism. He did not allow his Quranic or Islamic preconceptions to muddy the merit of his arguments nor did he allow the fever of religious debate to infiltrate and ruin the civility of the event (contrary to what others such as David Wood and Sam Shamoun frequently do on ABN). Tony Costa, is also one of the more respectable Christian personalities and apologists. He displayed a very professional level of dialogue and did not resort to some of the oft repeated bigoted slogans that ubiquitously occupy the lips of others who use the ABN platform. And while I believe some of Costa’s arguments to be weak or unfounded, I never found myself grinding my teeth or face palming at any time during his debate, which is a first for me as a listener of ABN’s material.

Ijaz (as well as some very intelligent Muslim questioners during the Q and A) did a terrific job using only christian and general biblical scholarship to support his claims on various topics and I learned much from his presentations as well as his style of delivery, in fact, I am shocked at his level of knowledge and wisdom at such a young age. I will definitely watch this debate numerous times in order to study the material he so eloquently presented and utilize it in the future! By my humble estimation, Ijaz clearly provided the more objective and faith-neutral arguments while Costa, although being respectful and polite, countered with little more than cliches that have long been discarded by modern studies in textual criticism and Christology. Examples include his continued claim that the Gospels were 1st century documents despite Ijaz’s elucidation of the fact that the oldest known manuscripts like P52 are dated by biblical scholars no earlier than the early second century and as late as the third century (even though Prof Dan Wallace claims to have been a part of the dating and discovery of a small late first century fragment of Mark back in 2012, it is now almost 2016 with still no verification.)

There are many more points, paramount ones, that can be expounded upon to show how Ijaz demonstrated the problematic nature of reconciling unitiarian passages in the NT with the trinity and the dual nature of Jesus peace be upon him, as well as how he academically clarified the dubious nature of the NT text as a whole, which in essence trumped anything Costa could have had to refute!


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and Allah knows best.

Debate Video: Was Jesus the Son of God or Only the Prophet of God – Br. Ijaz Ahmad & Dr. Tony Costa

Alhamdulillah!

The debate video has been added to our ‘Debates page‘, and is available on YouTube:

I’ve received a ton of positive feedback about the debate. There are a number of reviews expected to be published soon. The following review is from a Muslim YouTube user who watched all of the debates from the Trinity Channel’s Debate Marathon, featuring Dr. Shabir Ally, David Wood, Dr Costa and myself, he says:

I just found this channel, and during the past week or so watched all these debates against Muslims.

As a Muslim convert from Christianity, I must say that the Christians on here are good at debating but they do it in a slick way. That is that they always take the Qur’an and twist it back onto the Muslim by saying things like “According to your book, blah blah blah.”

This debate was the best one so far because Ijaz went into it know this was going to happen and in his initial statement didn’t even mention the Qur’an and used just Christian ideology to make his point. I was thinking that we would finally get a good discussion going.

Unfortunately, right in the first rebuttal, the Christian side went right into the same tactics as in all the previous debates. This is what made this one feel like a big rehash of the previous week.

Another popular Muslim author, and convert from Christianity, Br. Abu Zakariya of Many Prophets One Message posted on Facebook:

A big congratulations to our brother Ijaz Ahmad on last night’s debate with Dr. Tony Costa. It was a resounding victory for Ijaz, despite lacking the academic credentials and decades of experience that his opponent possesses.

May Allah increase Ijaz in goodness. Ameen.

One other mini-review which took place directly after the debate, is as follows by our esteemed and scholastic, Br. Mansur:

Dr. Costa misunderstood your arguments. He misunderstood the topic of the debate. Perhaps he had not given enough thought on the subject. It is strange indeed to see his logic at play here. Suppose the debate title was: ‘ Is the Qur’an the word of God’ or ‘is Muhammad a Prophet of God?’ Merely quoting the Qur’an or the early followers of Islam, or even contemporary non-Muslims who stated this belief of Muslims does not prove any of these propositions. Dr. Costa presumed wrongly that the debate was ‘ Does the Bible claim that Jesus is the son of God or …’. I can accept that the laity can be a victim of poor comprehension on this but I don’t expect that from learned individuals.

The approach I took in this debate has piqued the interest of the inter-faith dialogue community. I chose not to use the historical/ Biblical interpretation route (Son of God has many meanings). Rather, I accepted that my opponent believes that Jesus was God/ the Son of God. From that, I argued based on the philosophy of religion and on the ontology (nature of his God), that Jesus did not meet or fulfill the criteria of God (defined in the debate as a maximally perfect being).

In other words, I asked very important questions. If Jesus is God, does he demonstrate the qualities of a deity? Do the beliefs of Christians regarding the Son of God’s place in the Trinity, make any sense? Are those beliefs consistent, are they rational? Do they contain heretical teachings? Do Christians appeal to heresies to defend the Trinity?

P1: If the beliefs about the Son of God by Christians are inconsistent and irrational, then Jesus is not the Son of God.

P2: The beliefs about the Son of God by Christians are inconsistent and irrational.

C: Therefore Jesus is not the Son of God.

The debate was absolutely wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed engaging with Dr. Costa, and I was very much pleased with the outcome. Quite a lot of Muslims thanked me for introducing these arguments, and for not repeating the same arguments that have traditionally been used for debates about this topic since time immemorial. I always try to introduce new information, new arguments, new research when I debate. The goals are to raise and advance the level of intellectual discourse, to discuss the fundamental and essential beliefs about our respective faiths, and finally to educate the public.

May Allah reward all those who take their time to watch the debate, Ameen.

And Allah knows best.

Upcoming Debate: Was Jesus the Son of God or Only the Prophet of God? – Dr. Tony Costa and Br. Ijaz

Quick Information:
Topic: Was Jesus the Son of God or Only the Prophet of God?
Debaters: Br. Ijaz Ahmad of Calling Christians/ MDI and Dr. Tony Costa of the Toronto Baptist Seminary.
Date: Friday 9th of October, 2015.
Time: 7 PM EST.
Location: ABN TV, Trinity TV and YouTube.
Moderator: TBA.
cc-2015-debatewithcosta
Note: Br. Ijaz is not an Imam, the error has been made aware to the channel.
and God knows best.