Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
East London Mosque Debate, September 17, 2012
09/24/2012 - James WhiteWe hope to get our own version of this posted eventually, but here's the MDI version for your enjoyment and encouragement. Note to Ergun Caner: see? When you debate in a mosque, it really is not that difficult to get video recordings! (For those who don't get that, go back two years on the blog and you'll find all you could ever want to know about that issue).
This is the debate about which I wrote this article.
A Few Notes and Corrections on Last Night's Debate
09/18/2012 - James WhiteA few corrections and notes on last night's debate. First, having quoted John 1:1 in Greek a few thousand times in my life, I think I ended up trying out for a spot on the TBN team at one point last night, but without an interpreter. My apologies. Secondly, I am really slowing down in my old age. OK, maybe it has nothing to do with age. But I like using my LiveScribe pen to take notes and to record the debate (in fact, the audio we just posted came from my pen, so you will hear me writing during Zakir's presentation). Anyway, debates are about the only time I write anymore. I could probably type a lot faster, and may need to do that in the future, not sure. We will see. Anyway, Zakir was talking at the speed of sound in the rebuttal period (as my notes show) and it was next to impossible to keep up with the references as they flew by. At one point he raised the issue of the Matthean reference to the prophecy (2:23) about the Nazarene. I did a quick search on my computer looking for the right reference and...got the wrong one in my haste. Oh, I got "branch" alright, but I wrote down the reference below what I wanted in the search list, Isaiah 14:19. My apologies. I didn't have time to read but a single line, saw "rejected branch," and scribbled it down. I was looking for Isaiah 11:1, a fact that can be verified easily by reference to my sermon on the Messiah in Isaiah 7 through 12 from last year's Psalm 119 Conference in, as I recall, Ohio, where I followed the references to the Messiah through that vital portion of Scripture. The term נֵ֖צֶר appears in both texts. Here is a screen shot of the search list. I will set up a donation fund for some prescription mid-range reading glasses:
Ironically, Zakir then, in the next section, read what seemed, in passing anyway, to be a decent note from, if I recall correctly, the NRSV Study Bible, or something like that (Oxford, possibly?), that laid out the exact verbal parallel I was attempting to reference when I got the wrong text. So, please make note of that correction.
Finally, I did not get into the issue of the wavy hair and light skin because, as anyone can see, that kind of description could have been applied to any number of the Muslims attending the debate that night, and even some of the Christians. Even this source admits the physical description could be of any Semitic man, and that the only real issue is whether the term machamad is actually the name of Muhammad. I obviously argue that such a connection is absurd. Utilizing verbal roots in this fashion can be used to prove anything, as I have noted already by finding both Shabir Ally and Zakir Hussain in the Old Testament using the same methodology. But I did want to note two things for the sake of accuracy once again. First, at least two people have mentioned to me that I was in error on an ABN show regarding the root H M D in either Arabic or Hebrew, and I may have been, I haven't taken the time to go back and try to find the comments. I do recall doing a program on a particular video on YouTube (well, we quoted material from it anyway) and if I recall correctly it was making the claim that the Hebrew read ה specifically, which it does not. Given two different people (one was not Muslim) thought I was saying the the roots varied by a letter, I must have given that impression. I thought I was trying to dispute the assertion of the video, but if I made an error or was unclear, again, I apologize. Discussing which Arabic letters can map to multiple Hebrew letters phonetically while reviewing a YouTube video live can present some challenges.
But another item I had wanted to point out, but did not have time, was the poetry of this text, something Zakir did not touch upon. Look at the text in Hebrew:
It is hard to explain this without vocalizing the Hebrew, but the two terms are clearly being used for their sound value, that is, their rhyme. mamthakkim is the parallel to machamad'dim. Both are abstract nouns functioning as descriptive adjectives used by a woman of her love. The idea that these poetic terms are to be applied to an Arabic prophet---one who showed not the slightest knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures themselves---over a thousand years later, all based upon the similarity of tri-literal roots, truly shows how desperate the Muslim position is. Ironically, Zakir then said, at one point, it wasn't about the roots! But if it isn't, then that means the מ preformative indicating an abstract noun form is somehow what "makes the difference." But that מ is actually a grammatical formation letter, not a part of the root! It is added to come up with "a desirable thing." No matter which way you turn, the Muslim position is untenable on any fair grounds. Of course, all of that would have been pretty hard to get across in a high speed rebuttal period anyway, and I am glad I actually chose to emphasize elements of the gospel instead! But for the sake of the record, I wanted to note these items.
Is Muhammed Prophesied in the Bible Audio Now Available
09/18/2012 - Rich Pierce
Dr. White's audio recording from his debate with Zakir Hussain, (Is Muhammed Prophesied in the Bible), is now available. We have decided to make this publicly available to be distributed for free. Share it with your friends and relatives. We only ask that you not change it or sell it. All fair use rules apply for criticism too.
Please note the article posted above for one correction of a reference noted in the debate as Isaiah 14:19; intended reference was Isaiah 11:1.
You can click here and play it or right click here and download it. All that we ask is that if you are edified by it please consider supporting this work on a regular basis.
Is Muhammed Prophesied in the Bible? recorded by James White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.aomin.org.
A Quick Report from London
09/17/2012 - James WhiteJust wanted to post a quick "thank you" to everyone who was praying for tonight's debate at the East London Mosque. We were informed upon arriving that it is the "largest mosque in Europe." Whether that is the case or not, I don't know, but it is surely an impressive facility! Everyone was very kind to us, and I am very thankful for the opportunity of debating there. In this picture you see the front of the mosque, but the large building behind it is also a part of the facility. In fact, we debated in a conference room directly between the minarets in this picture on the top floor of windows. You can see the view from up there in the lower picture. Unfortunately, the lift was not working, so everyone had to prove their aerobic fitness by climbing many flights of stairs to get to the room!
I would say the crowd was about 50/50 Muslim/Christian, which, given the location and the part of London the mosque is located in, very much surprised me. Good groups of fired-up young Christian men from the Met Tab and from Trinity Road Chapel and other churches made the trek to be there, for which I am very grateful. Peter Ould, David Ould's brother (David has been my big contact down in Sydney, and arranged the last debate I did with Abdullah Kunde) was there as well, and he and Douglas, aka, "LondonTruth" in our chat channel, "live tweeted" the debate.
Since I have to get up in the morning to catch a train to do the Unbelievable Radio program (we will be doing a show with some Muslim representatives on Muslim sensitivities regarding Muhammad, a timely topic!), and I still have work to do to be ready for the debate Wednesday night with Sami Zaatari, I will forego a full report on the arguments and the debate itself. I will simply say Zakir Hussain did a lot of preparation and defended his position to the best of his ability. But he is young, and inexperienced, and fell into the trap of doing the "fast talking machine gun/shot gun approach." Even he admitted he was "all over the place," and he was. He forgot that if the audience does not follow you, and does not think that you are attempting to bring them along, you will accomplish nothing. It is a lesson I learned myself only after doing a number of debates. He became quite aggressive in the rebuttal periods, and that is always a bad move. I am not good at many things in this life, but turning aggression from my opponent around and using it to the advantage of the truth is one skill I do possess, by grace. Ever since my first debate, when my opponent gets angry, I get all the more focused. It's just the way the Lord made me. And that came out tonight, to be sure.
We had some great conversations afterward, and again, everyone at the East London Mosque was gracious and kind to us. I hope to have the opportunity of debating there again in the future, to be sure!
Please continue to pray for the work here in London, and this weekend in Germany, as it has just begun. Pray I remain healthy and focused! One down, three more to go!
Tomorrow Evening's Debate Time Change
09/16/2012 - James White
In the Homestretch...Update
09/08/2012 - James WhiteLast major chapter (not including conclusion)...six days left to get done and to do a read through before London, Berlin, and possibly Dublin (pray that works out). Busiest schedule I've ever planned for myself while away, too. But I have found I need the hard copy of a source I have in my notes for this last chapter. I have placed Suyuti's work on the Ministry Resource List. Always appreciate those who make this kind of research and writing possible!
Update Less than Five Minutes After Posting: Thank you! :-)
One of the Most Amazingly Absurd Examples of "Don't Confuse Me with the Truth" Mindset Found Amongst the Worst Islamic Apologists
09/05/2012 - James WhiteIt is truly hard not to laugh out loud at this one. Someone on Twitter sent me this link this morning. I have become accustomed to the "we can't argue with you, we are clueless about history and logic, but we can make outrageous claims and get our fellow jihadis to think we are brave" attitude of certain Muslims on YouTube. I pointed out yesterday on the Dividing Line an example posted by MuslimByChoice where he claims I "ADMIT" that Mark 16:9-20 is "A FORGERY!!!" This is all these folks can do---they cannot deal with the issues themselves, and, sadly, probably do not even understand the issues, but truthfulness and accuracy is not a part of their game plan. They have an audience that, likewise, is not concerned about such things. Frustrated by their inability to engage meaningful apologetic argumentation from the Christian perspective, they are looking only for symbolic victories, no matter how shallow or empty they may be in reality. Their audience is made up of people who are already deeply prejudiced, who have no interest or time to invest in actually thinking about the real issues at hand. While MuslimByChoice's materials are bad, the video I saw this morning currently stands as "the worst example of absurdity by a Muslim apologist" I've seen to date. At least when it comes to their attempts to provide a response to me.
On March 21, 2008 I tried, anyway, to debate Nadir Ahmed. Nadir had shown up at my church to challenge me to debate him. Here is the full debate:
Now, let me simply state that the Muslims in the audience were clearly angry with Nadir Ahmed's infantile behavior and performance. He used only seven minutes of his twenty minute opening statement since, quite simply, he had nothing of meaning to say. He behaved like a child, and everyone in the audience knew it. It was embarrassing to even be on the same stage with a man who is so clearly disabled in his reasoning and behavior. Nadir would have been disqualified in any formal debate setting for any number of violations of the rules. In fact, if there had been a panel of judges, the encounter would have been called after the opening statements. I, and every other honest adult in the room, Christian, Muslim, or other, was simply disgusted by the time we got to the portion of the debate that has now been posted on the Internet.
So what happens when you put in such an embarrassing performance, one so bad that even the Muslims are yelling at you by the end of the evening? Well, you let a few years pass, then you post a video where the other guy isn't even speaking, where Nadir, ignoring the topic of the debate, is now throwing out a challenge to debate some other topic, a sad and pathetic means of propping up his own standing as an apologist. No one in that room, and I mean no one, would have expected me to debate Nadir ever again after his childish behavior that evening. If the Muslims had any control over their apologists they would have retired Nadir that night. But clearly, no such control exists, and Nadir just keeps soldiering on. So, here's the video I was directed to this morning:
So there you go. Clear evidence that I "RAN AWAY" from "clear" evidence for Islam! In the context of the actual debate, this is one of the most pathetic attempts at face-saving I've ever seen. But Nadir will get away with it for a particular group, the only group he cares about: those who have no interest in truthfulness, no interest in facts, no interest in logic. Just, "give me a reason to keep believing!" An amazing example of how many, many Muslims simply do not really believe the Qur'an itself:
Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided. (Surah 16:125)