I'd like to start off by saying that I like Ehteshaam. He seems to be a sincere young man who is defending Islam from a true desire to honor God. Kind of like me a few years ago. The problem he seems to be having is the same problem I had: trying to defend Islam forces you to espouse horrid arguments, logically fallacious conclusions, and turn to poor scholarship.
For example, Gulam has two strong influences: Richard Carrier and Nadir Ahmed. I'm not saying this as a slight, this is what Gulam has admitted and it's apparent in his arguments. Because of these influences, his arguments suffered tremendously. Carrier advances the idea that Paul believed in a spiritual resurrection as opposed to a bodily resurrection, and this fallacious understanding permeated Gulam's position like a cancer. Even when David provided direct quotations from Paul to the contrary (e.g Romans 8:11), Gulam would not attempt to respond to David, preferring to instead reiterate his point. He ended up reiterating this exact point, without addressing David's response, at least 4 times.
This is where a debater can lose serious points with the audience. If he does not engage his opponent's argument, but simply repeats himself again and again, it does a few things:
1 - It makes him appear like he doesn't understand the argument
2 - It makes him look insincere
3 - It strongly implies that his argument is weak
4 - It gives the impression that the argument is being made from an emotional basis, or some other non-intellectual grounding
Other than this flaw, it appeared that Gulam simply wasn't aware of what David was going to say. A debater should really attempt to read his opponent's work, especially if it's as easily accessible as website blog posts. This was Gulam's first debate, so this faux pas is understandable. I look forward to seeing him improve in this regard before his next debate.
Overall, I think David won this debate handily, but this is hardly a surprise considering the topic. In addition, I think Ehteshaam should reconsider writing his book for now - I think he saw today that he needs to do more research and he has a lot to learn before becoming an expert. I pray that God will work in his heart, leading him to consistently applied criteria with Islam and Christianity. I also pray that he will be honest in his investigations, allowing Christianity to defend itself before closing himself off to it.
That's all I got for now. I'll try to post the debate soon. Cheers,
Rebuttals and Crossfire
Conclusions and Questions