Nadir Ahmed has accused Christians of forcing him to accept unfair debate terms in his recent debate with Sam Shamoun. As I showed here, the debate terms were entirely fair and reasonable, which means that Nadir was simply trying to justify his embarrassing performance by falsely accusing Christians of deception.
As I will show in this post, it was Nadir, not Sam, who resorted to “Dirty Tricks” (as Nadir calls them).
Prior to his debate with Sam Shamoun ("Is Islam a Religion of Peace?"), Nadir Ahmed agreed that he would not go off-topic by criticizing the Bible. However, when the debate started, he began attacking the Bible very quickly. Soon, the Bible became Nadir’s primary focus—in a debate about Islam!
It was obvious to everyone that Nadir was simply trying to draw attention away from Islam and to put Christians on the defensive. Yet if this was his goal, one wonders why he agreed to debate a Muslim topic in the first place.
Nadir’s tactic was a perfect example of the Tu Quoque fallacy. The Tu Quoque fallacy occurs when instead of answering an objection, a person points his finger back at his questioner and says, “Well, you’ve got problems too!”
This fallacy is quite common among Muslims. When a person asks a Muslim, “Aren’t you shocked by all the innocents killed in the name of Allah,” it is quite common for the Muslim to reply, “What about all of the innocents killed by the West?” As if this answers the question!
To give another example, suppose I were to tell you a vicious lie, and you realized that I had lied to you. “David, you just lied to me,” you respond. “Now explain yourself!” “Well,” I reply, “You’ve lied too.” As if this makes it okay for me to lie!
And that’s why this approach is fallacious. The question of whether you have lied is irrelevant to the question of whether I have lied. Whether innocents have been killed by the West is irrelevant to whether Muslims should be killing innocents.
Thus, in a debate titled “Is Islam a Religion of Peace?” it makes no sense for the Muslim debater to argue that Christianity is a religion of violence. Indeed, if the evidence proved conclusively that Christianity is the most violent, bloody religion in history (silly, isn’t it!), this would not help us answer the question “Is Islam a Religion of Peace?”
Hence, it was disturbing to see Nadir place so much emphasis on Christianity and the Bible in his debate about Islam. Indeed, on his webpage devoted to the debate, Nadir claims that there were five “Key Topics” of the debate: (1) “Islam condemns terrorism,” (2) “Bible accepts terrorism,” (3) “Challenge to Christianity,” (4) “The 4 arguments of why Islam is a religion of peace,” and (5) “Why Bible terror is relevant for this debate.”
Notice that, in Nadir’s mind, three out of five “Key Topics” in his debate about Islam revolve around Christianity!
However, Nadir has made an interesting (although horribly flawed) case for why the Bible was relevant in his debate with Sam. Nadir argues that since Muhammad came to confront the genocide and terrorism of Christianity (!!!), Islam must be a religion of peace.
Of course, it is obvious to every informed viewer that Muhammad didn’t come to confront the genocide and terrorism of Christianity (!!!), since Christianity doesn’t teach genocide and terrorism. In Christianity, we are commanded to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to never return evil for evil (ever heard of the “New Covenant?”). Hence, a person who looks at all of this and says, “Christianity teaches violence and bloodshed” is obviously biased against the truth.
It is also ridiculous to claim that Muhammad came to confront the genocide and terrorism of Christianity. When did Muhammad claim this? I challenge Nadir to show us that Muhammad claimed that this was his purpose. If Nadir cannot produce such proof, he is guilty of ascribing false motives to his prophet.
But let’s lay such issues aside and examine Nadir’s claim on logical grounds. The fact remains: Even if Christianity were the most violent religion on earth, this would have nothing to do with whether Islam is a religion of peace (even if it were true that Muhammad came to confront Christian violence).
To see why this is so, think about Nadir’s argument, which goes something like this: “Christianity teaches genocide. But Islam doesn’t allow Muslims to commit genocide. Thus, Muhammad was coming to confront Christian genocide. Therefore, Islam is a religion of peace.”
To see why this is completely flawed, let us consider two analogies. Suppose the debate topic had been “Was Muhammad Polygamous?” In the debate, Sam would have provided numerous sources, proving that Muhammad had at least nine wives at one time. Sam would have concluded, “Thus, Muhammad was polygamous.” Nadir would have argued differently. He would have argued thus: “In the Bible, Solomon is said to have had 700 wives! But Muhammad came to confront this Christian [!!!] polygamy! Muhammad made it very clear that no one can marry this many wives. Therefore, Muhammad was monogamous!”
The fallacy here should be obvious. Even if Solomon had far more wives than Muhammad, this wouldn’t mean that Muhammad was monogamous. And even if Muhammad had come to confront this “Christian” (!!!) polygamy, this still would have nothing to do with whether Muhammad was polygamous or not. Hence, Solomon and the Bible would be entirely irrelevant to such a debate!
Consider another analogy. Suppose there were two religions: Religion X and Religion Y. Religion X teaches its followers that it is right to violently torture all non-members as much as possible. Religion Y comes along and agrees that it is right to torture non-members, but with one exception. According to Religion Y, “It is wrong to torture old ladies, even if they are not members of our religion.” What would be the difference between these two religions? One tortures all non-members, while the other tortures all non-members except old ladies.
Now suppose there were a debate titled, “Is Religion Y a Religion of Peace?” If he gets his logical training from Nadir Ahmed, the defender of Religion Y would argue: “We don’t torture old ladies. Our prophet came to confront the practice of old lady torturing! Thus, Religion Y is a religion of peace!”
But would this have anything to do with whether Religion Y is a religion of peace? Nothing whatsoever! Indeed, it would be impossible for any rational person to look at a religion that advocates torturing all non-members except old ladies and conclude that it is a religion of peace.
The point here is that even if Religion Y were more peaceful (comparatively) than Religion X, this would not mean that Religion Y is peaceful. Similarly, even if Islam were more peaceful than Christianity (doesn’t that just sound silly!), this would not make Islam a religion of peace.
Therefore, Christianity was entirely irrelevant to the debate between Sam and Nadir. They both agreed to debate whether Islam is a religion of peace. Christianity, Mormonism, Judaism, Buddhism, atheism, etc., had absolutely nothing to do with the debate. The fact that Nadir kept pointing his finger at Christianity, then, was an admission that he could not defend his religion without resorting to fallacious debate tricks. And the fact that, after the debate, he has tried so desperately to defend his fallacious reasoning shows that he will do anything to justify his weak, flawed arguments.