Tuesday, December 1, 2015

What Really Happened At The Council of Nicea?

For many years, the council of Nicea has been the subject of much confusion among laypeople. The misapprehensions which have come to be associated with the council of Nicea have, in part, been fuelled by popular fictional novels such as Dan Brown’s notorious The Da Vinci Code. No matter what group you are dealing with in your apologetic exploits (including atheists, Muslims, Jehovah’s witnesses and Unitarians), you are almost guaranteed to encounter some of these misconceptions. For this reason, it is important for Christians to study and learn church history, so that they might correct common myths and falsehoods.

George Christensen MP (Aust) speech regarding Islamic Terrorism 30-11-2015

I am impressed by the way this Australian politician has taken the time to learn about Islam and is trying to make sensible practical suggestions. Certainly more needs to be said, we need to listen to the grievances of Muslims, and I believe the West has it own apologies to give, but I am encouraged to see a politician learning about this area and being able to articulate it carefully.

Monday, November 30, 2015

How Do Apostolic Fathers Present A Problem For Islam?

In previous posts, I drew attention to the problems presented to Islam by the contents of the Torah and the gospels, and the letters of Paul. Here, I want to build a similar argument from the works of early church fathers. I have previously pointed out that the Qur'an maintains that Jesus' own disciples were Muslims (Surah 3:52 and 61:14). This is a problem for Islam because the historical evidence is quite strong that Jesus' disciples approved Paul's message -- and Paul's message was most certainly not Islamic. But are there any other individuals in the early church, whose writings are still extant, and who had the stamp of apostolic approval? There most certainly are. Here, I will consider a few of these.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

“Whoever Changed His Islamic Religion, Then Kill Him": The Penalty For Apostasy According to Islam

Tariq Ramadan, an Islamic scholar and writer, wants us to believe that Islam does not demand a death penalty for apostasy. Although he concedes that the ahadith reports Muhammad to have said  “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him,” (Sahih Al-Bukhari volume 9, book 84, no. 57) and other words to similar effect, Ramadan argues that such a penalty was to be applied only in cases of hostile or subversive attacks against the Muslim community, where perhaps an apostate would join the enemies of Islam, thereby committing treason. Ramadan concedes that his view that a Muslim is free to change his religion has been rejected by the vast majority of Muslim scholars throughout Islamic history.
Ramadan also issues a challenge to provide an example of Muhammad ordering a person’s death as a consequence of apostasy. Providing such an example is not difficult. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Eddie Redzovic Assures Us That The Islamic State Has Nothing To Do With Islam

The Deen show is a popular Muslim Dawah TV program, hosted by Eddie Redzovic. They frequently interview ex-Christian converts to Islam, who unfortunately often butcher their alleged former faith, showing little to no understanding of Christian theology. I and others have offered to come on the show and do a debate with Eddie or anyone of his choice, but unfortunately Eddie doesn't do debates, because he knows full well that his arguments (and the arguments of his interviewees) would not stand up to cross-examination.

From time to time, I visit the Deen show's YouTube Channel. This week, I wondered whether the Deen show had put out any commentary on the tragic events that unfolded in Paris just two weeks ago. Sure enough, three days ago a video was posted, featuring Eddie Redzovic condemning the Paris attacks that left 130 civilians dead. Of course, Eddie is to be commended for putting out this condemnation. I couldn't help but notice, however, that there was a conspicuous lack of any meaningful exegesis of the Quranic texts that I and others find troubling.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Having Conversations Full of Grace and Seasoned With Salt: Advice to the Christian Debater

In his letter to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul instructs his readers to “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person,” (Colossians 4:6). I have found this advice to be invaluable in the context of debate, an activity in which many of us in the apologetics community participate.

Recently, I have had the opportunity to be involved in several debates with both Muslims and atheists. So far, I have done two radio debates with Muslims and one formal public debate, with Dr. Shabir Ally. In addition, I have four or five debates scheduled for South Africa in late March / early April with Muslims.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

How Does Paul's Relationship with the Jerusalem Church Present a Problem for Islam?

In a previous article, I offered a simple reason why the Qur'an cannot possibly be the word of God, since the proposition that the Qur'an is the word of God entails a necessary contradiction. Here, I am going to present an equally compelling reason to reject the Qur'an as the word of God.

As I alluded to in my previous post, the Qur'an contends that the disciples of Jesus were Muslims. According to Surah 3:52,

“…when Isa [Jesus] sensed disbelief in them, he said: “Who are my helpers in the way of Allah?” The disciples said: “We are helpers of Allah. We believe in Allah; so be our witness that we are Muslims.”“

So according to the Qur’an, there is no question that the apostles were Muslims, under Jesus. But what if we could establish that the teaching of the apostles differed starkly from the teachings of Muhammad and the Qur'an? Here’s an argument to ponder:

Premise 1: If the original disciples of Jesus rejected core Islamic teachings, Islam is false.
Premise 2: The original disciples of Jesus rejected core Islamic teachings.
Conclusion: Therefore, Islam is false.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gary Habermas: Contemporary Muslim Apologetics and the Resurrection of Christ

Muhammad, the founder of Islam, said that Jesus never died on the cross, never rose from the dead, and never claimed to be Lord. Muslim apologists have made valiant attempts to defend Muhammad's assertions, but the facts of history simply can't be seriously disputed here. In this lecture, Dr. Gary Habermas, one of the world's leading experts on the historical facts surrounding Jesus' death and resurrection, evaluates some common arguments of Muslim apologists (such as Ahmed Deedat).

ISIS Poster Girl Samra Kesinovic Beaten to Death for Trying to Escape

Sad. If Samra Kesinovic had heard the truth about Islam when she was growing up, she'd still be alive right now. Instead, the world praises Islam, as young girls head off to join ISIS.
Samra Kesinovic before ISIS
Fox News—One of two Austrian teenagers dubbed "poster girls" for ISIS was beaten to death after she was caught trying to escape the terror group's de facto capital in Syria, according to published reports.

Two Austrian newspapers reported Tuesday that Samra Kesinovic, 18, was murdered. One of the newspaper reports cited a Tunisian woman who lived with Kesinovic and her friend, Sabina Selimovic, before managing to escape.

The Austrian government declined to comment on the reports, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Thomas Schnoll saying, "We cannot comment on individual cases."

Kesinovic and Selimovic have now both been reported killed since they left their home city of Vienna to join ISIS in April 2014. Late last year, David Scharia, an expert on the U.N. Security Council's counterterrorism committee, said he had been told that one of the girls was killed during fighting in Syria, while the other had disappeared.

The Osterreich tabloid reported that Selimovic was killed in December of last year.

At the time of their disappearance, they left a note for their families saying "Don’t look for us. We will serve Allah and we will die for him." The Daily Telegraph reported that Kesinovic confirmed in a phone call to her sister that she had joined up with the terror group.

In October, it was reported that both girls had grown weary of ISIS' strict enforcement of Islamic law and had written to their families saying that they wanted to return home. The girls' families have made no public comment on the latest report of their deaths.

Both girls' families settled in Vienna after fleeing Bosnia-Herzegovina to escape that country's war during the 1990s. (Continue Reading.)
To understand why certain people decide to wage jihad, watch this:

A Simple Reason Why The Qur'an Cannot Be The Word of God

The Islamic religion claims that the Qur’an, revealed allegedly by the angel Gabriel to the prophet Muhammad beginning in 610 A.D., is the inspired and inerrant word of God. Such an assertion, however, is highly problematic, and many, many arguments could be given to convincingly refute it. In this article, I am going to offer one of those reasons, which I perceive to be the most damning. My argument here can be summarized in syllogistic form as follows:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Ahmed Mohamed Demands $15 Million for Arrest over Hoax-Bomb

Ahmed Mohamed took the casing off a store-bought clock, put what remained into a pencil box, and took it to school. Ahmed's sister, Eyman Mohamed, had been suspended three years earlier for threatening to blow up the school. After being warned by teachers that his "clock" might be mistaken for a bomb, police were called in. Ahmed refused to explain himself, and was taken to the police station.

Oddly enough, the major news networks continue to misrepresent the facts of this story. CNN, for instance, reports that school authorities mistook the clock for a bomb. They didn't. They thought it might be a hoax-bomb (something meant to look like a bomb in order to scare students). CNN also reports that Ahmed "brought a handmade clock to school." He didn't. He brought a store-bought clock with the casing removed.

And now Ahmed's attorney is demanding $15 million in damages. What a dangerous precedent this story will set! Kids across the country will be building hoax-bombs, daring school officials to say something, knowing that a big payday awaits.
CNN—Fifteen million dollars and apologies from the mayor and police chief.

That's what an attorney says the family of Ahmed Mohamed is demanding from city and school officials in Irving, Texas, or they say they'll file a civil suit.

In September, 14-year-old Ahmed made international headlines when he brought a handmade clock to school to show his teachers.

One of them thought it was a bomb and notified school authorities, who then called police. Ahmed was detained, questioned and hauled off in handcuffs. At the time, the school said it reacted with caution because the contraption that had wires could have been an explosive device.

It wasn't. It was just a clock.

In a whirlwind of publicity about the case fueled by social media, #IStandWithAhmed became a trending topic on Twitter, President Barack Obama invited the teen to attend an event at the White House and a foundation offered him a scholarship to study in Qatar.

But despite the surge of support for Ahmed, the attorney representing his family says the teen suffered severe psychological trauma and that his "reputation in the global community is permanently scarred."

In two letters sent Monday to attorneys representing the school district and the city, attorney Kelly Hollingsworth says that Ahmed's civil rights were violated by the way the case was handled.

Irving city officials told CNN they were reviewing the letter and had no comment.

School district spokeswoman Lesley Weaver told CNN that the district is aware of the letter and also had no comment.

Hollingsworth, who says he was recently retained by the teen's father, alleges that the teenager was not read his Miranda rights during his arrest and that those involved with the incident tried to cover up mistakes "with a media campaign that further alienated the child at the center of this maelstrom."

Rather than calming the situation, Hollingsworth says in the letters, officials in Irving stoked the flames.

"They tried to push responsibility off on the victim -- Ahmed. They have even implied publicly that what has come of this has been good for Ahmed, as though the resilience of this fine boy and his fine family somehow excused what they did," the letters say. "It does not, for there is no excuse." (Continue Reading.)
For more on this story, watch this:

The Paris Attacks: A Response from Nabeel Qureshi

On November 13th, 2015, ISIS-linked jihadists carried out a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris, France. More than one hundred people were killed, and nearly four hundred were injured. Here's a brief response from Nabeel Qureshi.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015

Islam and the Siege of Paris

Following the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, millions of people are once again trying to understand the relationship between Islam and terrorism. Both peaceful Muslims and jihadists quote the Quran to justify their views. In this video, David Wood examines two verses of the Quran to determine the Quranic stance on terror.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Obama's Failed Syria Program Cost $2 Million Per Trainee

Western politicians and the media overwhelmingly supported the "Arab Spring," which, they thought, would lead to the flourishing of freedom and democracy in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Instead, the movement led to the empowerment of groups like ISIS and the extermination of Christians, Yazidis, and minority Muslim sects.

The Obama Administration, still convinced that a peace-loving population of Muslims would rise up against their violent co-religionists, spent loads of money funding moderate Muslim soldiers. The result? There are only 95 of the program's trainees remaining in Syria. Thus, the Pentagon spent millions of dollars per trainee to fund a force incapable of standing against the weakest of jihadist groups.
Washington (USA Today)—When the Pentagon pulled the plug last month on its plan to train and field a force of moderate Syrians to combat the Islamic State, it had spent $384 million, or $2 million per fighter, for a program that produced dismal results, according to interviews and spending figures obtained by USA TODAY.

The Pentagon had tabbed $500 million in 2015 for the effort and promised to graduate 3,000 trained and equipped New Syrian Forces fighters this year, and 5,000 annually thereafter to combat the Islamic State, also known as ISIL.

The program was suspended after $384 million had been spent. Of the 180 Syrians vetted, trained and equipped, 145 fighters remain in the program. Of those, 95 are in Syria today. Two of the four training camps the Pentagon designated for the program in the Middle East never hosted a recruit. (Continue Reading.)
To understand the leadership problem we face in the West, watch this video:

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Bad Spelling Meets Equally Bad Theology

****See Update Below****

I recently had a conversation in the comments section of a Youtube video with Ijaz Ahmad (aka "Calling Christians") about his egregious misrepresentation of orthodox Christology in his debate with Tony Costa, whom Ijaz erroneously accused of falling into the heresy of Nestorianism when defending Christ's deity. Since Ijaz shamelessly went on to misrepresent the contents of that conversation to others on another forum, even going as far as saying that I have branded Sam Shamoun and Matt Slick heretics, I am reproducing the entirety of it below for everyone's benefit. It should not require any further commentary from me to see that Ijaz is hopelessly ignorant about orthodox Christology and the position of those who hold to it.

****Update - 11/5/15****

Ijaz Ahmad still doesn't get that he is the only person who doesn't get it (see his response below).

In response to the fact that I posted our entire conversation, Ijaz has now referred to me as "mentally inchoate" and has said that my response was a "rabid rant." But as may be seen from the above, my responses to Ijaz were not filled with any unnecessary ad hominem attacks. Indeed, even though Ijaz is demonstrably ill-informed when it comes to orthodox Christology (see the conversation above), I have yet to refer to him as mentally inchoate and rabid, though others might think his (intemperate?) response warrants such a conclusion.

Ijaz has also complained about the fact that I corrected his spelling of the the Latin phrase - "communicatio idiomatum." However, given the fact that I have been arguing that he does not understand the orthodox version of the doctrine in question, repeatedly confusing it with heretical versions that go under the same name, it is surely apropos that he can't even get the spelling right. Moreover, how are we expected to believe that his untutored understanding of a doctrine he can't spell is better than that of trained theologians and historians?

In an effort to downplay the above, Ijaz is still seeking refuge in the fact that I later referred to the "communication" of attributes instead of using the Latin communicatio, the former of which he actually thinks is a misspelling. But this only further demonstrates just how much he doesn't have any handle on this discussion. The Latin phrase, i.e. communicatio idiomatum, literally means the "communication" of idioms/names/attributes. So not only does Ijaz not know how to spell the doctrine in question, he also doesn't even appear to know what the phrase means. If he doesn't even know what the phrase means, are we still to assume that he is well versed in the doctrine that goes under that label?

The most important part of Ijaz's response, the one that is the most telling, is his (unargued) assertion that I have inadvertently outed Sam and Matt as heretics since I reject Ijaz's idea that orthodox Christology maintains that Christ's two natures are "mashed together like a sausage." According to Ijaz, this is an appropriate way of explaining the relationship between Christ's two natures, because in the incarnation there was supposedly a blending of some sort between Christ's two natures, anywhere from 1% to 100%. Or, to put it another way, Ijaz believes that, to one degree or another, the attributes of Christ's divine nature were transferred to his human nature, and vice versa. This is what Ijaz thinks is the orthodox doctrine of the communication of attributes. Since I rejected "this" errant version of the communication of attributes, and since this is what Ijaz thinks is taught by Sam and Matt when they refer to the communicatio idiomatum, Ijaz thinks I am branding them as heretics.

In contrast to the above, the orthodox doctrine, which was affirmed in the church from the beginning and later formally codified at the Council of Chalcedon, teaches that Christ is one person with two natures. The natures remain distinct from each other and derive their unity not by a transferral of attributes from one nature to the other but by virtue of concurring in one person, i.e. the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, the correct understanding of the communicatio idiomatum is that the attributes of both natures belong to the one person of Christ, not to each other. The Lord Jesus Christ is both God and man, but His deity is not His humanity, and His humanity is not His deity.

Since both Matt and Sam use the phrase communicatio idiomatum in some of their writings, Ijaz thinks my rejection of his understanding as heretical is a rejection of their understanding. But a simple glance at what both Matt and Sam have written reveals that they both affirm the orthodox version as I explained it above.

Here is what Matt has written:

"The communicatio idiomatum finds its source in the incarnation where the Divine Word became flesh in the person of Christ (John 1:114). This means that in the one person of Jesus are two distinct natures: divine and human. We call this the Hypostatic Union. Yet, we see in the Bible that the attributes of both natures are ascribed TO THE ONE PERSON OF CHRIST. In other words, the attributes of both divinity and humanity are ascribed TO THE ONE PERSON OF JESUS. Therefore, the communicatio idiomatum means "that the properties of both, the human and the divine natures, are now the properties of the person, and are therefore ascribed to the person."1Again, this means that the one person of Jesus can exhibit attributes of divinity (omnipresence, all-knowing, etc.,) and at the same time exhibit attributes of humanity (eating, walking, learning, growing, etc.). The communicatio idiomatum does not mean, however, that anything particular to the divine nature was communicated to the human nature. Likewise, it does not mean that anything particular to the human nature was communicated to the divine nature." (Source; upper case, bold, italics mine; the person cited here by Matt is Louis Berkhof, who goes on to reject a "peculiarity" of Lutheran theology on the communicatio idiomatum that is akin to the mistaken view under which Ijaz is laboring.)

And here is the phrase as it appears in a quote Sam approvingly cites:

"With regard to the communicatio idiomatum, the human actions of Christ should be predicated of the human nature, the divine of the deity, but both could be predicated of the Person." (Source; bold emphasis original)

It is painfully obvious from all the above that Ijaz has misunderstood everything from the spelling of the doctrine to the correct understanding of it and of those who hold to it.

Is it going too far to suggest that this might explain why Ijaz perceived the need to fill his response with ad hominem attacks? One could surely not be faulted for thinking so. 

Will Ijaz now accuse me of engaging in ad hominem attacks even though I have sought to be very gracious in answering him in spite of his insults? Quite likely.

Will Ijaz now deny that he has said the things documented above and accuse me of putting words in his mouth? Quite likely.

Will Ijaz now claim that he did not accuse me of "outing" Sam and Matt and pretend he was only asking if I agree with them? Quite likely.

Will Ijaz try to find other writings he can misrepresent since he has now lost the ability to appeal to Sam and Matt? Quite likely.

Will Ijaz take down his post now that he has been thoroughly refuted on orthodox Christology? Not likely. 

Will Ijaz repent of misrepresenting Sam and Matt? Not likely.

Will Ijaz repent of spreading the falsehood that I have outed Sam and Matt as heretics? Not likely.

Will I continue to spin my wheels discussing this matter with him further knowing just how far off base he is and just how unwilling he is to receive instruction and correction? Not likely.

[By the way, I have since spoken to both Sam and Matt, and both affirm that I have correctly understood them and Ijaz has not. What do you think the chances are that Ijaz will consider himself a better authority on their views than they are?]

------------Here is Ijaz's post that I am responding to------------

Zakir Naik Fan Asks if He Should Behead Me

"Erick Setiawan" goes from "I have a question" to "Should I kill them?" in the space of three comments.

First, after searching for Zakir Naik videos, he watches my video "Zakir Naik Proves That Jesus Is Muhammad's God!" He then proceeds to criticize the deity of Christ and to show by his objection that he has no clue what he's talking about.

Next, "Erick" sees my "Who Killed Muhammad?" video in the sidebar. He clicks on the video, and, in response to my careful argumentation, calls me a racist.

Finally, after watching this video, he sees my video about Caliph Uthman burning all known copies of the Qur'an ("The Original Burn the Qur'an Day"), and he asks if he should behead Nabeel and me.

Pretty impressive to go through all Three Stages of Islamic Denial (criticize, pull race card, threaten) so quickly. The shocking part is that Erick didn't learn peace and tolerance from his play list, which is filled with Zakir Naik videos.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Jihadist Threatens to Behead Me over My "Who Killed Muhammad?" Video

Several years ago, I posted a video about Muhammad's death, proving from Muslim sources that Muhammad died in precisely the way Allah said he would die if he fabricated revelations. Once again, a devout Muslim has threatened to murder me over the video:

In case you haven't seen the video yet, check out this slab of awesomeness:

Here's a shorter video making the same point:

Does Jesus Prophesy the Coming of Muhammad in John 14? Shabir Ally vs. David Wood

According to the Qur'an, both the Torah and the Gospel contain clear prophecies about Muhammad (see Qur'an 7:157). Muslims have had nearly fourteen centuries to find these prophecies, and the most commonly cited New Testament "prophecy" about Muhammad is found in John 14:16, where Jesus declares that the "Comforter" or "Helper" (Greek "paraclete") will come after him. Even though Jesus specifically identifies the Comforter as the "Spirit of Truth" in the very next verse, Muslims claim that the prophecy refers to Muhammad. But can this passage really be applied to Muhammad? In this video, Shabir Ally and David Wood discuss the evidence. (Clips are taken from "Does Muhammad Give Us the Truth about Jesus?")