Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Some Comments on the Rittenhouse/Badawi Debate in Southern California
04/16/2008 - James White
A Quick Correction
04/15/2008 - James WhiteYesterday I posted a very brief response to comments made by Jalal Abualrub on his blog. Unfortunately, he has responded by demonstrating that once again the context and intention of those with whom he disagrees does not seem to be his first concern, and this is quite troubling. I had pointed out that I had taken the time to ask a friend in Norway to transcribe the portion of Jalal's comments that I posted. I mentioned that a number of people had commented that they simply could not understand what he was saying. I played those clips for my class last night, and due both to Jalal's accent, and the fact that the clips were recorded on a small camera without the use of a microphone, it was, at times, quite difficult to follow him. This is a statement of fact. Sadly, Jalal has chosen to interpret this as "mockery" of his accent. I cannot begin to understand how, or why, he would make such an unkind and prejudicial assumption about what is obviously a simple statement of fact, and was, in reality, made in the context of seeking to make sure his comments were clearly communicated to my audience! And he did so in the context of personally attacking, once again, Sam Shamoun. I appeal to Jalal Abualrub to drop this kind of behavior and instead invest his time in a deeper study of the position that he so confidently denies. I believe I have suggested he consider the possibility of a debate on the historical and theological validity of Surah 4:157 and the meaning of the phrase شُبِّهَ لَهُمْ. David Wood has likewise offered some useful suggestions to further the dialogue. I exhort Jalal to consider a very different approach than the one he is currently using.
A Brief Response to Jalal Abualrub
04/14/2008 - James WhiteAs I got into my office this morning after the events of the weekend I found that Jalal Abualrub had posted this article on his website. I have a class to teach in a few hours, so I have little time, but I wanted to comment on his claims as quickly as possible:
Mr White said last night that the Holy Spirit is within him. I challenge him to post the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, not only segments that make him look good as he already did. The Holy Spirit is about Truth, let us not disappont (sic) him, especially since the Holy Spirit is not within any human. I will post the entire debates for free, whole and entire!I believe Jalal is confusing me with David Wood, but that doesn't matter much. What I posted was from my Casio camera, taken by my good friend Beau Boyd from the front row. I do not have the video tapes of the debate to post. I do not know what is meant by "not only segments that make him look good." YouTube videos are limited, at least for us small folks, to 10 minutes and 59 seconds. I posted a quick clip, along with a transcription, before I left California (the transcription was necessary because Jalal's accent is causing a number of folks to comment that they cannot understand what he is saying). Last evening I grabbed two more sections, one of Jalal alone (is posting him speaking alone supposed to make me look good?) and one of me alone. These are meant to be nothing more than representative portions to give folks an idea of what took place, and to excite them about obtaining the video when it becomes available. I resent the insinuation on his part that there is something dishonest in posting these clips and even transcribing his own words so that people can hear what he actually said!
Next, Jalal Abualrub's published claims in his own books were refuted in my opening statements. Amazingly, in a scholarly debate, my opponent admitted he could not back up his statements, but that he would in ten days on his website! I'm sorry, but since the claims I demolished were in his own published works, why on earth would he need ten days to gather some kind of support? Didn't he have that support when he put the claims in print? The fact is that 1) he put in print his ignorance of the Greek article and the proper translation of anarthrous pre-verbal predicate nominatives; 2) he put in print his ignorance of meaningful modern Greek lexical resources and the proper translation of the term monogenes; 3) he put in print his ignorance of history relating to Constantine and the Council of Nicea (please compare his comments with my article on the subject, found here). He did this before we ever corresponded for the first time, before we ever met. I did not force him to do these things, I simply exposed them for the errors they are. I invite Jalal Abualrub to remove these errors from the next printings of his books (with appropriate footnoting).
Jalal says he will post the "encyclopedia" references he used. Wonderful. He has missed the point. The Encyclopedia Britannica is not a proper scholarly source. When you are in a debate, you cite your sources so that they can be examined. He did not do so. If he had, I would have been able to point out that, for example, many of his citations are in reference to the creedal formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity, not to the biblical basis thereof. The fact is, Jalal Abualrub simply does not know what he is talking about on these matters, is very confused, and, evidently, intends to remain in his state of ignorance, for he has refused numerous attempts, not only by me, but by others, to correct his misapprehensions.
Finally, Jalal Abualrub points out that I did not promise to provide some kind of list of resources as he did. He is correct. I did not. I do not have to. I actually supported by points in appropriate scholarly fashion in the debate. I showed respect for the audience in so doing. I said in my opening statement that if my opponent wished to dispute any element of the text of the New Testament that I had cited, I had the critical editions of the Greek and Hebrew texts sitting on my desk. If he wishes to dispute the translations I provided, then his time to do so was Saturday evening during the debate. That's what scholarly debates are about. I brought my scholarship. I leave it to the viewer to decide if Jalal brought his.
Finally, I found this statement odd: "Next time, the topics will not be as general. Next time, I will have a bigger say what the topic and format is." I was not involved in setting up these debates. I would rather have cross examination myself, for example. But I was invited to participate in this debate only after problems developed in it. This came out frequently during Jalal's presentation, primarily in the debate with me, where he would make reference to "the man I was supposed to debate." Well, that man was Sam Shamoun. [It was hard not to chuckle, to be honest, each time he decided to go off after Sam instead of responding to the mountain of unrefuted facts I had presented in my opening statement, not only because it was painfully obvious he could not address my presentation in any meaningful fashion, but because Sam was sitting less than 60 feet from Jalal the entire time.] There would have been plenty of opportunity for Jalal Abualrub to narrow the focus, had he chosen to do so. I have no idea why "Was Muhammad a Prophet?" or "Does the Bible Teach the Deity of Christ?" are too broad.
I am happy Jalal believes things went well. At least, I assume that is what "I think that I can benefit Islam some more through more debates" means. I would be happy to debate Jalal Abualrub on Surah 4:157 and the Qur'an's denial of the crucifixion. I would really enjoy challenging his rather, shall I say, "extended" translation, or interpretation, of the Arabic phrase شُبِّهَ لَهُمْ. I just hope that in any future debates, he brings his evidence with him in the first place, rather than referring the audience to his website ten days in the future.
A Portion of My First Rebuttal Period in the Debate with Jalal Abualrub
04/13/2008 - James White
A Brief Example of the Argumentation of Jalal Abualrub Against the Deity of Christ
04/13/2008 - James White
"We Are Angry" Muslims Angry Over Central Christian Belief
04/13/2008 - James WhiteIn the video posted below you will hear Jalal Abualrub say the following:
You remember my point, he said that Christians don't consider Jesus the Father. Where then he does not know the last our, because he's not divine. Oh, but he is in complete harmony with the Father. Really? One then died. And the Holy Ghost and the God had no idea what was going on - one of them died! No, the one who died is an addition, not the subtraction. Come on people! Offer the creed the same way Abraham gave it to his people. Did he ever say anything like this? We're angry. I was insulted twice here. The stuff my opponent said about Mohammed (peace be upon him in arabic). Taking stuff out of context and put in [inaudible] fabricate afterwards. And secondly, calling a son to God is the greatest offense to us muslims. So don't think you can come here and act you're angry, because we are angry. Because Allah doesn't have a son. He told you so. Jesus never said I am Lord, I am divine, I am the God, the Creator, worship Me as you worship God, the Holy Ghost is God. Adam didn't say, Abraham didn't say, Noah didn't say. They must have known another god than the one you know. I ask Allah to open your hearts and mind. Because Jesus said it in so many ways that he is not God. You just want to stick it to him no matter what. [Allahu akhbar a couple of times from the crowd]What I hope you will note is his statement that the Muslims are "angry" over...what? A belief preached and taught by centuries of Christians before Muhammad ever preached a word! This is a wonderful illustration of my assertion that Islam's own self-identification in such passages as Surah 112 involves the denial of Christian truths. Islam cannot define itself without attacking the Christian faith. It has always been this way.
I might add that later in the debate Jalal Abualrub said that it was Christianity that invaded Iraq. I replied by stating that as long as people think that way, there is no possibility of peace in our world. It is simply ridiculous to say Christianity invaded Iraq in the form of coalition forces.
[Thanks to Ragnar in Norway for the quick transcription of Jalal Abualrub's remarks cited above].
Jalal Abualrub vs. James White, Fullerton, CA
04/13/2008 - James WhiteA quick post-debate clip from ye olde Casio Audience Cam...an interesting segment from the rebuttal periods. A tremendous day! David Wood did a great job, and all of the Muslims in attendance heard a clear and compelling presentation of the Christian faith, to be sure. More when I get a chance.
A Quiz on Christianity: Final
04/09/2008 - James White
Khalid Yasin and Inconsistent Islamic Arguments
04/05/2008 - James WhiteSince many Christians struggle to understand Deedat's accent, or find Naik too "foreign" to understand, you might find Khalid Yasin to be very clear and forthright.
The Entire Nadir Ahmed Debate: Playlist
04/03/2008 - James WhiteI have never tried embedding an entire playlist before, so here is my first shot at it. I am not going to extend out eleven videos of the Nadir Ahmed "debate." His behavior is so far below acceptable that it gets in the way of the subject. So here is the playlist so that those who do wish to observe the interaction can do so. You may also want to share this with anyone who gets caught up in Nadir's constant debate challenges. This debate provides all the necessary documentation for any rational and reasonable person to dismiss Mr. Ahmed as one utterly unqualified to engage in public disputation. Below the playlist I am also providing one other video I produced debunking Ahmed's "Acid Test" argument. I had prepared the slides before the debate, since Ahmed had said he would present the argument, but he did not. I did not wish to waste the effort.
And then Ahmed's "Acid Test" debunked and refuted: