Answering Missionaries

June 16, 2006

Shabir Ally Vs James White debate: critical review and summarisation of arguments

“Is the New Testament as it exists today the inspired word of God?”

Debate summarisation and critical review

Shabir Ally and James White had a debate at the Biola University on 7th May, 2006. As is rather obvious from the topic, the purpose of the debate was to determine whether or not the New Testament, as it exists today, is the inspired word of God.

I will say a few words about the speakers. Shabir Ally is a very eloquent speaker, a fine debater, and highly knowledgeable when it comes to comparative religion. Shabir Ally is currently completing his Phd in Quranic interpretation. In the past he has debated people ranging from Robert Morey, Joseph Smith, to the well-known Christian philosopher, scholar and debater, Dr William Lane Craig. Moreover, Shabir Ally is an exceedingly polite and gentle speaker. Having watched over a dozen of his talks and debates, I can’t recall an instance where he was harsh or rude towards an opponent. James White, on the other hand, is also a fine debater and a rather fast speaker, having recently debated New Testament scholars such as Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg. Dr. White has also authored a number of books on the Bible.

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June 4, 2006

UNDERSTANDING THE RULES REGARDING THE USE OF SCHOLARLY CITATIONS

Filed under: Addressing James White polemics,General,James White,Shabir Ally vs James White — answeringmissionaries @ 1:10 am

UNDERSTANDING THE RULES REGARDING THE USE OF SCHOLARLY CITATIONS

Shabir Ally

May 29, 2006

Much of the discussion between James White and I during and after our recent debate seems to be on the question of who is a worthwhile scholar to cite. I have noticed over the years, and now again with this debate, that this issue has been much misunderstood. It seems that if I cite a scholar in favour of my view the other side dismisses the scholar as being unworthy. On the other hand, the other side would naturally cite scholars who disagree with my view. Moreover, my fellow debater may insist that I support my position with reference to only those scholars whom the fellow debater deems admissible. This can be frustrating, for, if I did not hold a position at odds with that of my opponent there would be no debate to begin with. And, the position I hold, which is the point of contention in the debate, would naturally be opposed by the scholars from the other debater’s camp. Equally frustrating is the fact that one of my fellow debaters would recommend a source which another rejects. More frustrating is the fact that a debater may not budge from his positions even when I am citing the very scholar whom he otherwise recommends.

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A RESPONSE TO JAMES WHITE ON THE VALIDITY OF HIS CLAIM REGARDING THE MANNER OF IBN MASUD’S DEATH

A RESPONSE TO JAMES WHITE ON THE VALIDITY OF HIS CLAIM REGARDING THE MANNER OF IBN MASUD’S DEATH

Shabir Ally

May 30, 2006

On James’ kind invitation, I have listened to his Dividing Line1 broadcast of May 23 in which he responds to two issues I have written about recently. First, I have pointed out that his reference to Yasir Qadhi’s An Introduction to the Sciences of the Quran2 was incorrect, since the material simply does not exist in the cited book.3 Second, I had attempted to reclaim a point I had surrendered during the debate on the grounds that the information I had received from James, and to whose authority on the Greek language I naturally deferred, was incomplete.4 I will here attempt to evaluate James’ response to the first of these two issues. I will deal with the second issue, on the matter of Matthew’s modification of Mark, in another paper.

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May 25, 2006

WHAT YASIR QADHI’S BOOK ACTUALLY SAYS ON THE INITIAL HESITATION OF IBN MASUD

WHAT YASIR QADHI’S BOOK ACTUALLY SAYS ON THE INITIAL HESITATION OF IBN MASUD

Shabir Ally

May 21, 2006

Dr. James White in his opening presentation during his recent debate with me said that Ibn Masud had refused to hand over his copy of the Quran as demanded by the caliph Uthman, and that on this account he was beaten, as a result of which he died. During the Q & A I remarked that James was wrong about this. I explained that according to the traditional reports Ibn Masud had overcome his initial hesitation after some reflection. Contradicting me, James read the following citation:

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THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN AN INCONSISTENT PERSON AND AN INCONSISTENT ARGUMENT

Filed under: Addressing James White polemics,James White,Shabir Ally vs James White — answeringmissionaries @ 6:56 pm

THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN

AN INCONSISTENT PERSON AND

AN INCONSISTENT ARGUMENT

Shabir Ally

May 24, 2006

During our debate, and ever since, James White has repeated several times a motto which on its own seems quite logical but which was nevertheless used in our debate in a sense that is quite flawed. He said, “Inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument.” This statement could be interpreted as meaning: “An inconsistent argument fails to be convincing.” In this sense the statement is logical. But this is not the sense in which James used it in the context of our debate.

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THE AFTERMATH OF DEBATE

Filed under: Debate reviews,James White,Shabir Ally vs James White — answeringmissionaries @ 6:44 pm

THE AFTERMATH OF DEBATE

Shabir Ally

May 24, 2006

Recently James White has expressed some concern as to whether or not I am still in “debate mode.” I can appreciate the concern. I myself would much prefer to leave the debate alone for others to analyze, and move on to other matters which I have had to leave aside for the moment while I deal with questions arising out of this debate. Actually, I had the impression that it was James who intended to add to the debate. Soon after the debate he had posted a blog giving his views on it. Following that, he discussed the matter more extensively on Dividing Line a couple of days after the debate. I indicated to him that I had listened to that broadcast. Then, in the next edition of Dividing Line he continued his discussion of the contents of our debate. In that episode he greeted me directly in case I was listening.

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A REASSERTION THAT MATTHEW 24:42 IMPROVES THE IMAGE OF JESUS OVER THAT OF MARK 13:35

Filed under: James White,Jesus in gospels,Shabir Ally vs James White — answeringmissionaries @ 5:38 pm

A REASSERTION THAT MATTHEW 24:42 IMPROVES THE IMAGE OF JESUS OVER THAT OF MARK 13:35

A COMMENTARY ON A POINT DISCUSSED DURING THE BIOLA DEBATE

Shabir Ally

Revised1

May 21, 2006

In my recent debate with Dr. James White at Biola University James reminded me of a point I had made elsewhere. I had made much of a difference I noticed between a verse in Mark and a parallel verse in Matthew. James explained, however, that if I had looked at a Greek parallel of the Gospels I would have noticed that the same word is used in both. I understood him to be saying that the impression I had received from the Bible translation I relied on for that point is not sustained by the underlying Greek text. Due to my ignorance of the Greek language, I conceded the point, deferring to James’ unquestionable knowledge of Greek. Subsequent to the debate, however, I checked the relevant verses in the New American Standard Bible, the very Bible which James gave me, which he recommended that I use, and for the translation of which he has served as a consultant. I found that in the NASB the verses allow for the original point. After reviewing some of my scholarly sources, I feel that I should restate and reclaim the original point.

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Tackling the Butler and White team

Filed under: Addressing James White polemics,Dialogue/Debates,Shabir Ally vs James White — answeringmissionaries @ 3:07 am

Some time ago I had some exchanges with a few friends of Mr. James White, chief among them Mr. Fred Butler, and a few others, which are to be found here. Later, Mr Fred sought the help of Mr James White and posted a short reply to me.

Here I will attempt to deal with both Fred Butler and Mr. James White.

Before, I begin, I don’t have a very good opinion of Fred Butler and you can see the reason for it by going to the comments section of his debate review. Nonetheless, I will ignore those exchanges for now and just focus on Butler’s latest comments and offer a polite reply. On a positive note, I like the picture of mine Butler added to his blog (remember, me Rambo).

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May 24, 2006

Nazam Iqbal’s review of Shabir Ally and James White debate entitled: “Is the New Testament as it is today the inspired word of God?”

Filed under: Debate reviews,James White,Shabir Ally vs James White — answeringmissionaries @ 6:54 pm

Nazam Iqbal

After listening to the Debate between Dr James White and Shabir Ally, I was disappointed that Dr White could not give one reason as to why anyone should take the New Testament in the first place to be the inspired word of God especially when it does not make such a claim (the exception being the book of Revelation). Dr White, despite being given the platform to do so, came instead with an agenda to give his rebuttals to debates which Ally had done in the past with other Christians even though the topic of the debate was ‘Is the New Testament as it is today the Word of God?’

Dr White thought he could shift the burden of proof upon Ally by making him prove why we should believe in the prophethood of prophet Muhammed or the Quran to be the Word of God but obviously this was not the nights topic even though Ally did briefly address it.

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Dissecting James White’s mother of all arguments

Filed under: Addressing James White polemics,Shabir Ally vs James White — answeringmissionaries @ 6:52 pm

After listening to his Dividing Line address, I think there is no doubt that James White is particularly fond and proud of a specific argument he raised during his debate with Shabir Ally. Why, not even the great Shabir Ally was able to deal with it (allegedly, read below), so proclaims James White. It’s one of those arguments which is supposed to make a Muslim “think” real hard and aims to jolt Muslims right down to the core.

But after hearing James White’s mother of all arguments, I found myself saying “huh?” It really didn’t impress me at all and I will try to shortly explain why. First, let me present what James White said in his Dividing Line talk:1

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Addressing some of Tony Costa’s erroneous comments

Filed under: Anti-Islamic/Muslim Polemics,James White,Shabir Ally vs James White — answeringmissionaries @ 6:51 pm

Hello folks

James White on the Dividing line 9/05/06 gave a talk in which he gave his view of his debate with Shabir Ally. The Christian apologist Tony Costa – who has also debated Shabir Ally in the past – called in and offered some of his comments on the debate as well. I am concerned with a particular statement Costa made about Shabir Ally’s debate with the notorious Christian polemicist Robert Morey. Costa tried to give the impression as if Shabir Ally did poorly and refused to have further debates with Robert Morey. This is what Costa said:

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May 11, 2006

Rambo strikes back – a reply to Patrick Chan

Filed under: Debate reviews,Dialogue/Debates,Shabir Ally vs James White — answeringmissionaries @ 1:57 am

Me

In response to my comments in his blog, Mr. Patrick Chan later decided to write a detailed and a very polite response to my questions in a blog entry entitled: A little rumba with Rambo. As you will see, Patrick mostly raised irrelevant issues, but I like him due to his decent and friendly behaviour, which is difficult to find in Christian apologists these days. So, later I also decided to write a friendly reply to Patrick as well. Below is my response:

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