Tuesday, June 3, 2008

James White: An Introduction to Islam

In this presentation, James introduces Islam, with special attention given to the fact that Islam defines itself in response to Christianity.

PART ONE:


PART TWO:


PART THREE:

19 comments:

Sunil said...

Having delinked from the legitimte line of OT/NT/Jesus, Islam has no ground/legs to stand on. It can only define itself only as a negation of the True prophets/Scriptures/God proclaimed by OT/NT/Jesus. There have no other option, due to the explicit violation of life/message/moral teachings/salvation as proclaimed by Scriptures/Jesus.

Jay said...

I grew up in a Muslim country where Deedat style apologetics were ubiquitous, and while I did familiarize myself with the arguments and create responses, I missed one fundamental assumption.

Having lived outside the Muslim context for a while I'm beginning to realize that in these societies there is already a shared assumption that the Bible and Christianity need to defend themselves against charges of corruption.

I realize now that it is in fact Muslims, with a scripture coming some 600 years after the life of Christ, that need to defend why they have a better source for the claims of Jesus Christ than the Bible which has the testimony of eye-witnesses.

In Muslim societies, Islamic apologists have been able to affect this curious reversal, that no historian could really take very seriously, with ease. However, this is the whole crux of their argument and something that I think James takes apart very well!

We Christians have the testimony of history on our side.

Yahya Hayder Seymour said...

LOL!

Give me a call when "Ex-Muslim Apologist" Nabeel Qureshi gives his detailed talk on Islam too! (I bet it will be slightly more detailed than White's Islam for Dummies class). However I'm not sure, I mean what kind of "Ex-Muslim Apologist" doesn't even know what Mut'ah is?

Back to the topic, James White would be better sticking to learning more arabic then reading more books from Classical Islamic Scholars than just regurgitating Kenneth Cragg's understanding of Islam.

I find it ironic that whilst "Muslim Apologists disgust and repulse" Dr. White from Islam, he finds the need to jump on the recent Evangelical Bandwagon of attacking Islam and doing studies in Islam.

David Wood said...

Yahya,

You'd be surprised at how many Muslims don't know about Mut'ah (or many other facts about Muhammad's teachings). Since you're a Shia Muslim, I'm sure you're much more familiar with the doctrine. (For those who don't know what we're talking about, Mut'ah is the practice of legal prostitution in Islam. If you'd like to have sex with a woman, you can marry her for a few hours, a few days, one weekend a month, etc.)

Nabeel, of course, was an Ahmadi Muslim. I've found that the Ahmadis tend to weed out embarrassing teachings and deeds of Muhammad. If you walk up to an educated Ahmadi, he will most likely have no clue that Muhammad delivered revelations from the devil (the "Satanic Verses" incident), that Muhammad was a victim of black magic, that Muhammad had sex with his slave girls, etc. Indeed, if you bring up things such as Muhammad hitting Aisha in her chest and hurting her, Ahmadis will often simply say that many ahadith are false and that any hadith depicting Muhammad in a negative light has been corrupted!

So do you approve of legalized prostitution (so long as the parties get married for a while)?

You make fun of James for learning about Islam. As a Muslim, wouldn't you want him to study Islam? Aren't you training to be an apologist? Aren't you "jumping on the bandwagon" by trying to refute Christianity?

You call James's talk "Islam for Dummies." Well, it's supposed to be a short introduction, so I don't see why you would complain that he's keeping it simple.

You say you find it ironic that James is studying Islam, even though certain tactics of Muslim apologists repulse him. There's no irony here. Many Muslim apologists use horrible tactics to try to score cheap debate points. What does this have to do with whether Islam should be refuted? Are you saying that if Christian apologists started using deceptive debate tactics, and that if you were subsequently repulsed by us, you would no longer want to learn about Christianity so that you could refute it? You're not making any sense here.

The fact that so many Muslim apologists can only support Islam by committing countless logical fallacies and abandoning all concern for careful scholarship isn't a reason to ignore Islam. On the contrary, it's more of a reason to confront and refute Islam. False teachings of false prophets must be addressed.

Yahya Hayder Seymour said...

David,

I do believe in Mut'ah but me discussing it with a fundamentalist christian who believes it equates to legal prostitution and has no idea regarding the legal concept or legal dimensions of it is a waste of time so lets not go there.

So David, pick what you're aiming to do,

a) refute Islam by using abstract irrelevant political events surrounding the muslim world.

b) refute Islam's theology.

c) Discuss Islamic Jurisprudence.

So far your blog has been mixed up and confused here.

As for Ahmedis, no one aside from Ahmadis considers them doctrinally Muslim.

lol actually yes that is what I'm saying, when I first encountered Jay Smith's deception and missionary underhanded tactics to decietfully lie about Islam and the teachings of the Bible, I really stopped caring about Apologetics, until I found that this was just giving Christians really naff false arguments and faith based on no solid ground.

Actually my interest in Christianity is from before I became Muslim, Theology and Religious Studies was always my home turf and focal point even from high school.

Jay said...

just giving Christians really naff false arguments and faith based on no solid ground

Which is more than I can say for the disservice done to Muslims by Messers Deedat, Badawi, Ally, Naik et. al.

Yahya Hayder Seymour said...

Hmmm well I acknowledge Deedat is guilty of this, as is Naik. However Shabir Ally is recognised by Several Christian Theologians in Britain as being an authority on Christian Doctrine.

Jay said...

recognised by Several Christian Theologians in Britain as being an authority on Christian Doctrine

Well I'm not going to argue with you about this but bro. Shabbir is quite far from what I would call an authority on Christian Doctrine. He did some training at Laurentian University, but he doesn't have a degree to the best of my knowledge. Do you know who in the UK recognized him as such?

Sunil said...

>> far from what I would call an authority on Christian Doctrine

What about Muhammad himself? What is the level of understanding he shows about the message/doctrine/facts/salvation/redemption/moral teachings etc of the Prophets/Scriptures/Jesus?

Jay said...

What about Muhammad himself?

Well absolutely none if the question is intended for me. In fact the qur'an is full of Muhammad's inaccurate perceptions about Christian beliefs and doctrine.

I think Wansborough and others tried to situate Muhammad historically in the context of 6th-7th century Arabian monotheist communities - as a participant in the discussoins that were going on. This explains his exposure to Jewish and Christian sources, although he appears to have been quite confused about them. Indeed even the qur'an calls him unlettered.

ChristianJR4 said...

Jay said:

"'just giving Christians really naff false arguments and faith based on no solid ground'

Which is more than I can say for the disservice done to Muslims by Messers Deedat, Badawi, Ally, Naik et. al."

Actually one should leave Shabir Ally out of that list I think. He is far ahead of any other Muslim apologist out there. He used to use more Deedat style type arguments before but has since come a long way. Also Shabir Ally does have a degree in religious studies from Laurentian University and is close to receiving his doctorate in Quranic exegesis at the University of Toronto. Shabir however, isn't an authority on Christian doctrine. His reputation is as an Islamic apologist and debater not someone who is qualified to discuss Christian doctrine.

Jay said...

close to receiving his doctorate in Quranic exegesis at the University of Toronto.

Then he should really know better than to waste his time splitting hairs over nonsensical arguments.

He used to use more Deedat style type arguments

I've been to one of Shabbir's "debates" in which he invited an unassuming Lutheran pastor to present the Christian case. The pastor thinking this was a dialogue proceeded as such but Shabbir came out swinging with "Muhammad in the Bible" and the "Scientific Miracles of the Qur'an", etc. I asked him a question during question period which he skillfully dodged. AS far as I can see he's not that far beyond Sheikh Deedat.

Jay said...

close to receiving his doctorate in Quranic exegesis at the University of Toronto.

Then he should really know better than to waste his time splitting hairs over nonsensical arguments.

He used to use more Deedat style type arguments

I've been to one of Shabbir's "debates" in which he invited an unassuming Lutheran pastor to present the Christian case. The pastor thinking this was a dialogue proceeded as such but Shabbir came out swinging with "Muhammad in the Bible" and the "Scientific Miracles of the Qur'an", etc. I asked him a question during question period which he skillfully dodged. AS far as I can see he's not that far beyond Sheikh Deedat.

Jay said...

close to receiving his doctorate in Quranic exegesis at the University of Toronto.

Then he should really know better than to waste his time splitting hairs over nonsensical arguments.

He used to use more Deedat style type arguments

I've been to one of Shabbir's "debates" in which he invited an unassuming Lutheran pastor to present the Christian case. The pastor thinking this was a dialogue proceeded as such but Shabbir came out swinging with "Muhammad in the Bible" and the "Scientific Miracles of the Qur'an", etc. I asked him a question during question period which he skillfully dodged. AS far as I can see he's not that far beyond Sheikh Deedat.

ChristianJR4 said...

"Then he should really know better than to waste his time splitting hairs over nonsensical arguments."

He does most of the time. Like I said, he used to use Deedat style type arguments but he has come a long way from that time and uses arguments more in line and in consideration with the scholarly literature out there.

"I've been to one of Shabbir's "debates" in which he invited an unassuming Lutheran pastor to present the Christian case."

How long ago was this if might ask?

"Shabbir came out swinging with "Muhammad in the Bible" and the "Scientific Miracles of the Qur'an"

Well he still uses the scientific miracles in the Quran. I find the arguments weak personally but I don't mind it so much that he discusses them. I mean, what more can he do to support the Quran than bring science to bare on it. The Quran doesn't really have history on its side to back up any of its unique claims that might prove Islam true (like the resurrection of Jesus would prove Christianity).

As for the "Muhammad in the Bible" arguments, I have HUGE problems with those who argue that way. Islamic apologist who argue this way I think are just desperate and intellectually dishonest with the Bible here. I'm not sure if Ally still argues this way, but even if he does, he is still way ahead of the late apologist Deedat and his imitator Dr. Zakir Naik.

Jay said...

Islamic apologist who argue this way I think are just desperate and intellectually dishonest with the Bible here

Which pretty much sums up my pespective on all Muslim "apologists" - a choppy concatenation of Unitarian theology, radical New Testament scholarship and their own inflated readings of Christian scripture.

I used to be active in engaging them years ago but then I realized that the point it not dialogue but essentially to gather a crowd of Muslims around (who don't know any better) and make unbased but provocative statements which then elicit cheers from the muslim crowd - a pathetic exercise in mutual reinforcement.

Recently, however, I see a new crop of "apologisits" who are trying to take it one step beyond Deedat et. al. by reading up on their Dan Brown. This takes the nonsense to a higher level and to a whole new generation - which one would have hoped would be better informed. Hence, I feel the work of people like David is more important than ever.

ChristianJR4 said...

"Which pretty much sums up my pespective on all Muslim "apologists" - a choppy concatenation of Unitarian theology, radical New Testament scholarship and their own inflated readings of Christian scripture."

Well no doubt Islamic apologetics has a long way to go if it's ever going to receive serious attention in academia. This is why I'm not worried about Islamic arguments anymore as opposed to before when I was.

Let me however say something else though in defense of Shabir Ally that he deserves to have credit for. You mentioned radical NT scholarship. Well Shabir Ally does at least use NT scholarship, unlike all the other apologist(I would also point out that he does from time to time use conservative scholarship as well). Moreover he tries to incorporate the consensus views in NT scholarship with Islamic theology to his credit. For example he holds to the fantastic apparent death theory that Jesus wasn't dead when he came down from the cross. He holds that Jesus was then subsequently put in a tomb but then he came out of it, leaving an empty tomb behind. Allah then showed appearances of Jesus alive to his disciples thereafter (but that they interpreted wrongly). Now this might sound like an amazing position to take but nonetheless one would have to admit that hardly any other Muslim would take this view. They just deny that Jesus was even put on a cross at all or put in a tomb, or appeared to his disciples, despite the near universal consensus in NT scholarship concerning these. Again, it's a desperate position, but I'm glad he feels compelled intellectually to take it, whereas other Muslims, stuck in their intellectual arrogance, won't be honest about anything that goes against Islam, no matter how supported it is or how agreed upon it is by professional scholars.

Also I know what you mean about the "new crop" of Muslim apologist. It's unfortunate (not surprising in the least) but again it doesn't worry me (intellectually that is). All these Islamic apologists can do is deceive the uneducated ignorant masses that listen to them. They don't make any impact in the academic world. And it is there that they really need to make one if they are going to be respected and seen by educated people, such as those at our universities, as providing an intellectually viable option in Islam. To their detriment, it's the opposite. It's Christian apologist like William Lane Craig who are really making an impact here which will no doubt have a longer more effective impact in showing Christianity as an intellectually respectable option for thinking people.

Jay said...

Well Shabir Ally does at least use NT scholarship, unlike all the other apologist

Well to give just one example I thought that I saw shades of J.D. Crossan in the recently posted Shadid Lewis - David Wood debate (i.e. the use of the gnostic Gospel of Peter) so they do read up on their radical NT scholarship even though Shabbir does at least reference the authors.

from time to time use conservative scholarship as well

I've heard him quote Bruce Metzger out of context a number of times

he holds to the fantastic apparent death theory that Jesus wasn't dead when he came down from the cross

Which is classic Deedat (Deedat btw gets this from the Ahmaddiya Muslims).

And I agree it is a FANTASTIC theory - I mean imagine the gall in trying to "prove" that Christ didn't die from a document which was written in order to testify that Christ died and was raised from death. I might as well argue that the qur'an teaches polytheism!

Nargis Yahya said...

I'm glad that you guys are not Muslim because you don't know Islam. that means i can still keep my faith the way i know it ^_^

i don't why I'm a Muslim but i can't find a reason not to be one but i can find some reasons not to be others.

I'm a Muslim by birth, I love studying and I'm always looking for better things.

i need everyone to give me reasons not to be a Muslim because since born till now i can't find one. Thanks before.

Peace for all! ^_^