Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Shabir Ally: In Defense of Double Standards
11/19/2008 - James WhiteHere is a clip from the Monday debate where I gave strong evidence of the inconsistency of Shabir Ally in his constant dependence upon the most radical, left-wing "Christian" scholarship for all of his assertions regarding the New Testament. He does not adopt the same scholarship when it comes to the Qur'an, of course, and it is this use of double standards that, for many clear-thinking believers, renders his arguments null and void. I quoted...Shabir Ally on the point. You see, back in 1996 when Shabir debated Robert Morey, he made a very strong and clear pronouncement that you can't wear two hats when arguing against the Qur'an, one the hat of a Christian, and one the hat of a "Western scholar." Listen:
The mythological consistent Muslim. Does such a thing exist? I am uncertain. I think if there is one, he will have to be one who never even talks about the New Testament, and hence, never engages in serious scholarly debate and dialogue. I say this because I believe there is a fundamental flaw in Islamic theology and history, and the modern Islamic apologist is forced to live within the parameters of that error. Specifically, his sacred text is ignorant of the contents of the Old and New Testaments (relying, it seems clear, upon an oral recitation of stories therefrom rather than from the text itself) while at the same time claiming consistency with them! As a result, the modern Muslim must find a way to attack the earlier texts when it is made clear that his own is inconsistent at this point, but, to do so, he must use the very same kind of argumentation that refutes his own scriptures. A part of me truly feels sorry for the Muslim who is trapped in this situation, but the only way out is to recognize that Muhammad was in error, the Qur'an is not a divine revelation, and to "come back" to the earlier divine revelations that reveal to us the divine Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Now, Shabir actually offered a defense of his use of double standards. I'm not sure anyone fully understood it. I surely did not. The audience didn't look like they were following him either. But in essence, here is what he said. Try to follow this reasoning. James is telling me that Muhammad and the Qur'an are wrong. But, I believe in God because I believe in Muhammad and the Qur'an. So, if James is right, then I must become an agnostic if I reject Muhammad and the Qur'an. So, it is fine for me to examine Christianity as an agnostic (i.e., assume the worldview behind naturalistic materialism and the most radical form and redaction critics) because to become a Christian I would have to first become an agnostic. Follow that?
Of course, the clear thinking person would realize that his argument would, if it is consistent, have to work this way. For me, James White, to become a Muslim, I would first have to reject the New Testament witness to Jesus. To do so, I would have to adopt the destructive criticisms of naturalistic materialism that assumes, from the start, that since most of what calls itself divine revelation is false, all that claims to be divinely inspired must be merely the thoughts and opinions of men, the result of natural processes, not supernatural ones. Therefore, I would have to apply the same standards to the Qur'an, and hence agree with Wansborough and Crone and Cook and Ibn Warraq, etc., in finding the Qur'an to be an edited, redacted piece of literature, filled with incoherent passages, without an over-arching organization or context. I would have to join Professor Muhammad Sven Kalisch from the University of Munster who recently noted that his own studies have led him to conclude he cannot be certain about the historical existence of Muhammad. There is surely less evidence for the Muslim to garner in defense of the life and history of Muhammad than for Jesus, and since I would have had to have rejected Jesus by these standards, I surely would have to reject Muhammad as well. Hence, Shabir's argument would force me to reject both Christianity and Islam, would it not?
So once again we are faced with the insoluble problem of the inherent double standard of Islamic epistemology and apologetics. By definition (Surah 112:3) Islam denies the central affirmations of the Christian faith. This cannot be changed. Therefore, Islam must attack the only foundation upon which its Scripture can actually stand, and in doing so, is self-refuting.