Tuesday, September 23, 2008

David Wood vs. Sami Zaatari: "Is Christianity a Religion of Peace?"

In our debate on whether Islam is a religion of peace, Sami had to radically reinterpret the Qur'an and the Hadith, cling to an abrogated verse, reject the claims of Abu Bakr, throw out the interpretations of Ibn Kathir and al-Qurtubi, and call Aisha and Ali "bad Muslims." In the following debate on whether Christianity is a religion of peace, Sami can't show a single situation where Christians would be called to violence. Yet he argues that Christianity is a religion of violence because God judged people in the past and will judge people in the future!!! (Notice the inconsistency, since Sami would never apply this reasoning to Islam.)

DAVID'S OPENING STATEMENT


SAMI'S OPENING STATEMENT


1ST REBUTTALS


2ND REBUTTALS/CONCLUSIONS

20 comments:

Martyr Maker said...

David
The First and Second rebuttle video are the same video's

Yahya Hayder Seymour said...

David,

Did Nadir debate Pastor Scott as well or was that cancelled?

David Wood said...

MM,

It should be fixed now.

Yahya,

Yes, Pastor Scot debated Nadir. I wasn't there to see it though. I hear Nadir pulled one of his "everyone is running from me/everyone is terrified of my arguments" stunts.

LouisJ-B said...

Actually David,

Up is left and down is green Jell-O.Good debates.;-)

David Wood said...

Oh yeah! I forgot about my "opposite world" comment. That was funny.

Dk said...

LOL @ "debating whether Christianity is a religion of PEACE is like debating whether a Zebra has stripes"

Ironically I used the exact same illustration but as an objection to Christianity. LOL I love it.

David Wood said...

Dk,

So your position would be that a zebra doesn't have stripes?

Dk said...

David I don't take the black/white approach to this complex topic/question, since Zebras can have WHITE and BLACK stripes, we can see Christianity could have some grey areas where confusing things occur.

Firstly. The topic name "Is Christianity a religion of peace?" pressuposes Christianity has something to say on the matter, but here are some other options 1) Christianity has nothing to say about peace (depending on the definition) 2) Christianity may not have a consistant message about peace.

Here are atleast two different propositions from the two argued for by the gentlemen.

The word "peace" in and of itself is insufficent to tell us whether "Christianity" is "Peace" and in WHAT sense it does this. Also a religion is not "peace" itself they are not synomomous, so the question is wrong, the question should be "Does Christianity (a religion) teach to its adherents (followers of the religion) to live in peace with all humankind (including those who are non-adherents)"?

I'm not giving the ideal topic question, but the topic does need to be coherent and specific.

Furthermore the debaters need to state what there methodology for coming to there own conclussions are.

For example why does David only quote the Bible the entire time to prove his contention that Christianity is a religion teaching peace? How can we know for a fact that the resources he relies on are the sole sources of "christian teachings on peacefulness"? And how do we know All Christians agree with Davids intepretation of the passages he cites? Obviously this is far from the case considering the earliest Christians had no such conception as sola scriptura, and there definiately was no unanimious intepretation of passages in the NT (thus the rise of what is deemed "heresy" and also differences on "non-essentials").

It is suprising that no common ground is shown and no terms are defined, this happened in the nadir/shamoun debate aswell, this is problematic where we just say "peace" however the audience and each particular person may have a different intepretation or understanding in mind other than the one the debater(s) intended.

There atleast seems to be three kinds of peace (I can currently think of):

1) Internal(Self) Peace:

"the absence of mental stress or anxiety, Inner contentment; serenity: peace of mind, tranquillity etc."

2) Social Peace:

"a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, esp. in personal relations: Try to live in peace with your neighbors."

or

"harmonious relations; freedom from disputes; "the roommates lived in peace together"

3) National Peace:

"an agreement or treaty between warring or antagonistic nations, groups, etc., to end hostilities and abstain from further fighting or antagonism"

Commenting on the first definition provided, Christianity does teach it's adherents will have inner-peace. Regarding the second definition I see the relevance of proposition two (internal confliction) emerging. The Third definition is highly irrelevant for atleast NT Christianity, since the NT encourages Christians to even suffer through the most horrible circumstances, so national securtiy and peace are not what the Christian are commanded to be concerned with, quite the opposite, long-sufering is recommended in the face of religious persecusion caused by governments and human authorities.

However the returning of Jesus will result in the eradication of all human governments and of course Jesus will punish and burn those who refused to "hear the truth/believe the Gospel" leaving the earth in the state of only believing Christians, so while it maybe peaceful for these Christians this definition of peace can certainly not include for example:

"the harmonious co-existance of atleast two different groups of people the differences may include beliefs, race, gender, religion, philosphy etc"

Atleast eventually Jesus is not interested in dialogue and peaceful co-existance with those who disagree with him, Jesus will destroy those who oppose his authority and message, an Ideal theocracy could be internally peaceful but really the third definition of "peace" is no longer required because there is no longer a different form of government existing.

David Wood said...

dk,

You said that the topic presupposes that Christianity has something to say on the matter. Well, as I showed in my opening statement, Christianity has a lot to say on the matter, so I'm not sure where the presupposition lies.

You said it's possible that Christianity has an inconsistent message. But my opponent had ample opportunity to show us a place where Christians are called to be violent. He couldn't show any such thing. So the passages I quoted are the rule, and they are perfectly consistent.

You ask why I only quoted the Bible, when some Christians may look to additional sources for their views. But surely all Christians would agree that the Bible is the primary source when it comes to the teachings of Christianity. And since I showed that Christianity calls us to live in peace with everyone, I don't see how you could propose that any other authority might overrule this.

You ask how I know that all Christians would agree with my interpretation of these passages. Well, if you'd like to propose an alternative interpretation of these passages that accounts for all of them, be my guest. But if you were listening, you know that the only plausible interpretation of passages that call us to love everyone and to live in peace with everyone is that we're supposed to love everyone and live in peace with everyone.

Hence, I think that most of your comments are out of place.

More relevant here is your discussion of different types of peace. It is clear that Christianity promotes peace in manners (1) and (2). (3) would be left to governments. But if those governments have been influenced by Christianity, they should promote peace as well.

It seems that, like Sami, the only way you can criticize Christianity as non-peaceful is by pointing to the coming judgment. But at least you can be consistent when making this objection. Sami calls Islam a religion of peace (and has to massacre his early sources in order to do so), and then attacks Christianity because of God's judgment!

If all we mean by the question "Is Christianity a religion of peace?" is "Will God allow everyone to continue in rebellion against Him forever?" then I agree that it's not a religion of peace in this sense. But you know as well as I do what we mean when we ask whether Islam or Christianity is a religion of peace. We're asking whether these religions promote violence or peace towards others. Islam clearly calls for violence. Christianity clearly calls for peace.

Dk said...

David said:

"You said it's possible that Christianity has an inconsistent message. But my opponent had ample opportunity to show us a place where Christians are called to be violent. He couldn't show any such thing."

I believe I already pointed out Sami was not arguing my offered propositions. He was arguing Christianity is not a peaceful religion, you are arguing it is, i'm arguing you are both wrong since it could be internally inconsistant, and therefore people depending on there circumstances can use it for either intepretation.

David said:

"But if you were listening, you know that the only plausible interpretation of passages that call us to love everyone and to live in peace with everyone is that we're supposed to love everyone and live in peace with everyone."

And:

"More relevant here is your discussion of different types of peace. It is clear that Christianity promotes peace in manners (1) and (2)."

This is fallacious reasoning, specifically an anachronistic fallacy, eqivocating our understanding of love and peace with the NTs conception, also this assumes that the NT conception of Love and Peace must also be given to non-believers (and thus the silly argument that goes with it "everyone means everyone"). The NT's (collectively speaking) conception of love and peace (if we assume the second sense) however is different from todays standards in the following passages:

James 4

1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with "wrong motives", "that you may spend what you get on your pleasures".
4You adulterous people!, don't you know that FRIENDSHIP WITH THE WORLD IS HATRED TOWARD GOD? ANYONE WHO CHOOSES TO BE A FRIEND OF THE WORLD BECOMES AN ENEMY OF GOD. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the Humble."

Here we have clear evidence that those who have selfish desires and who want to obtain profit and assets for their own pleasure are not to be befriended, James go far as to call those who in the Church who do this "adulterous people", and he likens his brethren to the people of the world who hate God and are his enemies who do exact the same actions.

Also contrast this with the rest of James 4 which tells the brothers how to treat one another, which is completely different when we see Christians are not to associate with these "self-seeking" kinds.

These passages also seems to agree with Jesus approach to certain situations where aslong as people do not accept the faith of Christ they are to be ignored, dismissed and the Christians are to move on:

Matthew 10

11"Whatever town or village you enter, search for some WORTHY PERSON there and stay at his house UNTIL YOU LEAVE. 12As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14If anyone will not welcome you OR LISTEN TO YOUR WORDS, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment THAN FOR THAT TOWN.

Several notable observations here: The disciples must stay with a "worthy" person, not just anyone, similar to James, Jesus clearly has religious/moral standards of "what" people to live and associate yourself with. The residents (and consequently the entire town/village) who reject the message of Christ are not to be befriended, but Christians are to avoid these people until judgement where God will handle them.

Thus the Bible clearly teaches christians are not to have and make friends with all sorts of non-believers! This is atleast according to Jesus and James. What about John?:

2 John 1

7Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, DO NOT TAKE HIM INTO YOUR HOUSE OR WELCOME HIM. 11Anyone who welcomes him SHARES IN HIS WICKED WORK.

Again those who have a different teaching/faith you are not to even temporarily allow them in your house or even be polite and greet them!

Contrast this with the internal relationships of the Christians, where the brethren friends are greeting one another, something perfectly acceptable:

3 John 1:14 Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings.
Greet the friends there by name.

Thus the supposed "Love and Peace" in the context of social relationships in the NT period is vastly different from the application of "Love and Peace" that many of todays Christians adhere to. The believers are an isolated group staying away from sin, the unbelievers are sinners!

These kinds of unpeaceful, unfriendly practises can create unwarranted hostitlies between groups of people, this combined with the constant disparagement that is made against non-believers is hardly peaceful in the second sense defined:

1 John 2:22 WHO IS THE LIAR but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? This is the ANTICHRIST, even he that denieth the Father and the Son.

2 John 1: 7 Many DECEIVERS, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person IS THE DECEIVER AND THE ANTICHRIST.

1 Thessolians 2: 14For you, brothers, became imitators of God's churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, 15who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They DISPLEASE GOD and are HOSTILE TO ALL MEN. 16in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way THEY ALWAYS HEAP UP THEIR SINS TO THE LIMIT. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.

Here Paul thought of all the dirt he had on the Jews and threw it out reminding his brethren as his way of saying "don't be like those evil Judeans".

David:

"It seems that, like Sami, the only way you can criticize Christianity as non-peaceful is by pointing to the coming judgment."

Again Sami is arguing Christianity is violent, i'm arguing that it is just inconsistant and thus followers of the Religion can use it to whatever the need there circumstances require at the time.

"If all we mean by the question "Is Christianity a religion of peace?" is "Will God allow everyone to continue in rebellion against Him forever?" then I agree that it's not a religion of peace in this sense."

I agree, the tolerance and co-operation on God's part is lacking. What Christians have here is a "temporal peace", but the intention of course is Christians must surrender vengance unto the big guy himself so he can wipe the floor with the supposed bad guys. Thus it is not really peaceful at all when we look at it through the eyes of "intention" wise it is a pseudo-peace.

David said:

"We're asking whether these religions promote violence or peace towards others. Islam clearly calls for violence. Christianity clearly calls for peace."

These are not monolithic religions the body of believers in each are various and dynamic, the religions can be used for many purposes.

However essentially it seems to me you are arguing Salafi Islam is the correct and only true form of Islam and your peaceful intepretation of the NT is the only true form of Christianity.

Furthermore to some degree it seems you are comparing apples and oranges.

If Christianity is not a theocracy and a complete system of living (contrary to Islam) then atleast in Islam we would expect to see (in the state of theocracy) the implementation of Sharia Law and the barbaric savagery that goes with it.

Contrast this with the NT which simply gives no restrictions on the age of marriage or the number of wives and husbands, no punishment for rape and homosexuality, beastiality or pedophila nor orgies is prescribed, in fact God has been said to "give up" on such sexually disgusting people.

Jesus also teaches divorce is only acceptable in unfaithful circumstances which shows how naive he may have been, not understanding the wives potentially can be beaten by there husbands, raped, abused etc, the NT doesn't even touch upon many of these issues because it is not designed to, where as Islam began political and will no doubt keep striving to be political.

So why compare the two?

If you want to be consistant compare the Israelite Theocracy with Islam, then we will see some interesting observations.

Cheers David,

Dk

MoMo said...

After watching that, I don't see any way I could EVER take anything Sami has to say seriously.

Not one substantive argument he raised fails to condemn Islam. Not one.

The fact that he based the bulk of his argument on God instructing violence (in light of the many appearances of the command to 'Qatiloo' [kill] in the Quran), or on disbelievers being punished on judgement day (which exists in Islam, and people drink boiling water, have ever-replacing skin roasted off them, etc) shows that Sami has no integrity at all.

Rockford said...

Answer to Sami - THE ENTIRE BOOK OF GALATIONS says WE LOSE OUR SALVATION if we FOLLOW THE OLD TESTAMENT LAWS. Paul calls those old laws comparatively weak miserable and useless compared to the grace found in Christ. Christ nailed the old law to the cross and we died to the law. Even a baby Christian could make mince meat of Sami's assertion.

Galatians 5:1-4 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. 2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Love! FireLightChurch . c o m

Rockford said...

THE ENTIRE BOOK OF PHILEMON IS A TREATISE AGAINST SLAVERY. 1 Corinthians 7:21 Were you a slave when you were called? Don't let it trouble you-- although if you can gain your freedom, do so. 22 For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord's freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ's slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. NO WAY IN HELL God used Moses to free millions of slaves but then starts advocating it in the NT? Don't let the world lie to you! 1Tim6.1 describes slavery as a yoke - not of God but of Man!!! As it says, it is for FREEDOM that Christ SET US FREE.

Jabari said...

DK said....
"More relevant here is your discussion of different types of peace. It is clear that Christianity promotes peace in manners (1) and (2)."

This is fallacious reasoning, specifically an anachronistic fallacy, eqivocating our understanding of love and peace with the NTs conception, also this assumes that the NT conception of Love and Peace must also be given to non-believers (and thus the silly argument that goes with it "everyone means everyone"). The NT's (collectively speaking) conception of love and peace (if we assume the second sense) however is different from todays standards in the following passages:

James 4

1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with "wrong motives", "that you may spend what you get on your pleasures".
4You adulterous people!, don't you know that FRIENDSHIP WITH THE WORLD IS HATRED TOWARD GOD? ANYONE WHO CHOOSES TO BE A FRIEND OF THE WORLD BECOMES AN ENEMY OF GOD. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the Humble."

Here we have clear evidence that those who have selfish desires and who want to obtain profit and assets for their own pleasure are not to be befriended, James go far as to call those who in the Church who do this "adulterous people", and he likens his brethren to the people of the world who hate God and are his enemies who do exact the same actions.

Also contrast this with the rest of James 4 which tells the brothers how to treat one another, which is completely different when we see Christians are not to associate with these "self-seeking" kinds.

To which I say....
It's your reasoning here which is fallacious DK. Yes we are called to love unbelievers, there is a difference between making friends with people who will cause you to compromise your faith and loving unbelievers. James is clearly warning us against compromising with the world. He isn't telling us to not show love to unbelievers.

Jabari said...

Contrast this with the NT which simply gives no restrictions on the age of marriage or the number of wives and husbands, no punishment for rape and homosexuality, beastiality or pedophila nor orgies is prescribed, in fact God has been said to "give up" on such sexually disgusting people.

DK you're seriously making me sick. Jesus clearly says that And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck (Mark 9:42). Meaning that Jesus is condemning pedophilia and underage marriage. When my Savior gave the Great Commission, he didn't envision a unity of church and state (Luke 20.25), which is why he didn't give punishments for bestiality, homosexuality, etc. It doesn't mean he condones it, but He wasn't out to make a religious-political system like Islam. I also should refer you to John 8:1-11 for more.

BackInTime77 said...

I really had a hard time listening to sami, he was extremly immoral, his new nick name should be "double standard".
serioulsy it is sickening to hear Sami's lies and his lies remind me at Isaiah 5:20-23
"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! 22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: 23 Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!"
I seriously wonder about ppl like sami, or basam if they may get paid by some petro dollar from saudi arabia to try to twist the truth in order to spread the decease called islam. I can't wait till my lord jesus come back and end all that wickedness. God bless.
Peter from Berlin.

Benjamin said...

I just finished watching this debate and the debate between Nadir and Sham. (sorry can't remember how to pronounce his name). I see a reoccurring theme in both these debates. Christians and Muslims both will use similar or the same arguments to attack each other’s faiths. If I was hearing correctly Sami's main argument was that because the God of the Bible has show to use violence then wouldn't that stand to reason that those who follow him would also at times use violence, and then David's response was that's another debate.

To SAMI: Why is it completely out of line of an Omnipotent God to exercise his sovereignty over his creation, this would also hold true for Allah. If Allah is an Omnipotent God why is he out of line for exercising his sovereignty over his creation?

For DAVID: You mentioned very briefly that God reserves the right to judge, but you kept saying that the old testament is a topic of another debate, to some degree I would agree, but by trying to say that the God of the OT is different from the God of the NT is wrong, so I think it should have been addressed more than it was. I don't think it would have been off topic to rebuttal with the fact that a sovereign being reserves the right to exact judgment when and where and how he sees fit. This would have answered his point but still stayed on topic, I don't think that it was made clear enough, but just an observation.

Benjamin said...

SAMI: When you kept referring to Revelation and how Jesus will return and destroy those who rejected him, I think you are trying to play the double standard. Your correct when you say that what occurs in Revelation is violent, I think that is an understatement, I think it’s more of worst nightmare scenario for any person that must endure it. However in the Quran Jesus returns in the day of judgment and those who reject Allah are also judged and thrown into hell. So in revelation/the day of Judgment when these things are occurring to individuals who reject God/Allah does he not have the authority as the creator to punish how he wishes? I think you brought up some very important points throughout your debate, some of which David defended against, some that were not addressed, and some where time ran out and wasn't capable of being addressed properly. I also think though that a few of the verses you used where pulled out of context, for example: the passages of hypocrites, Jesus address the political and religious leaders of the time that where using their status to elevate themselves. As the religious leaders of the time, they above all others should know what was right and what was wrong, however their hearts where filled with self love and hypocrisy, so why would he not call them out on it. When someone points out discrepancies with an issue, that doesn't make it violent it makes it fact. When I failed my test the other day because I didn't study and the teacher wrote my grade in big red numbers on the front, that doesn't make her violent; she is giving me the facts, nothing more. Another example: With the verses dealing with the rod of correction, I’ve seen both sides bring up this point to violence in both Islam and Christianity, so if I was debating for either one, I know I couldn't use this argument because it is a double standard. We discipline our children because we know what’s best for them, not because we enjoy beating them, so I don't see either side using this argument. I remember getting spanked as a child, I didn't like it at the time, but looking back I understand and am grateful to my father for loving me enough to ensure I stayed out of trouble. One last thing Sami, I'm a little confused as to your analogy and point on the crucifixion as being violent. I understand that what happened to Jesus was extremely violent, but can you elaborate more on how that makes the religion violent. If I’m convicted of stealing, and as I stand before the judge in court, he looks at the police record and says: "yep you were caught stealing, that’s illegal you have to now spend time in prison for your crime. " and another individual says: "hey judge, I have a perfect record, in fact I’ve never even had a parking ticket in my life, let me spend the time in prison for him." how is that violent. Isn't the innocent showing compassion and mercy on the convicted by serving his sentence for him? I'm just trying to understand a little better how you view it. Thanks

DAVID and SAMI: Thank you both for the debate. I know it’s been a few years now, but when most people "debate" anymore it’s all yelling and name calling. We see that a lot with politicians so thank you both again for taking the time to challenge the listeners to explore things for themselves and not always take the easy road of ignorance.

Respectfully to both,
باسم/Basam

Yankie007 said...

Thank you David for this awesome debate which you won easy because we, Christians all know that Jesus was and still is today and forever the prince of peace. I pray that all the Muslims wake up one day and have the truth being reveal to them of who the reel Jesus Christ is, not the one from the koran but the Jesus from the bible.

Trinity325 said...

I remember Keith and Sami had a debate once on paltalk. I think Keith did well personally.