Just a quick report, as I will not be able to do a DL while down here. Was going to try to do so tomorrow morning my time, but the hotel wireless and my MacBook Pro simply refuse to communicate no matter what I do, so that won’t be possible. Technology is not yet fully perfected, to be sure.
In any case, I wanted to comment on a few items of interest to our readers. First, I was forwarded this clip by Canadian apologist Tony Costa (OK, let me explain that: Tony is Canadian, he is not an apologist for Canada!).
Anyway, it is about Bart Ehrman and it is quite relevant to the debate we did in 2009. You will recall I attempted to get Ehrman to be consistent and apply his destructive methodologies and presuppositions to the text of the Qur’an just as he does the New Testament. He not only refused to do so, he claimed he knew nothing about the Qur’an (I didn’t believe it then, either), and he even went so far as to say I was accusing him of being a Muslim (a truly odd misapprehension of what I actually said). In any case, here is Ehrman’s real reason, albeit is humorous stated: he’s afraid. He’s afraid of the possible political consequences of applying his methodology to the Qur’an (it is politically correct to attack Christian beliefs in the West, it is not politically correct to attack Islamic beliefs), and he is afraid of the possible fall out personally as well. We all knew that was the case, but now we have Ehrman confirming it with a smile and a wink. We all know he could write a book, “Misquoting Muhammad,” but he won’t, because he knows Christians will not harm him for writing against them, and he can make loads of money in so doing—but he would not make loads of money for writing “Misquoting Muhammad,” but he would incur the wrath of all sorts of folks, liberals and Muslims alike. So much for the unbiased eye of the great scholar!
Speaking of taking on Islam directly, that is what I did Monday night at UNSW here in Sydney. I posted a few pictures the night of the debate, and we hope to have the mp3s soon. The debate with Abdullah Kunde was very enjoyable, and we had a great turn out as well. I asked Abdullah toward the end of my opening statement, “Does God as Creator have the power/ability/capacity to join a human nature to Himself if He pleases to do so? Upon what basis could anyone say this is beyond God’s power?” In his opening statement he likened my question (which was really the very essence of the debate topic) to asking “Can God make another God?” So in my first portion of cross-examination I really pressed on this question, seeking to understand how he could see my question as equivalent to the other. This allowed us to get into the equivocation and category errors that, I believe, clearly came to light in Abdullah’s position. Specifically, anything that is not God is not “perfect” in his thinking, and hence, to take on a human nature would require God to become imperfect. But clearly this is in error, for that would mean God could not create anything perfect! Can God create a circle that is perfectly circular? Of course, but, from his viewpoint, if it was truly perfectly circular, it would have to be God! This clear confusion of categories leads to the assertion that a human nature, even if a perfect human nature is still…imperfect, because it is not divine. No matter how many different ways I attempted to go at this error, Abdullah kept falling back upon it in his responses. It did, however, help those who were following to really see where the problem lies. Christians believe the Son of God joined to Himself a perfect human nature, and that He had the power, ability, and (in light of Monday night’s interaction), freedom to do so without altering or making “imperfect” His divine nature. This Islam denies, but, I believe, we saw that the reasons for this denial (even as expressed with intelligence and force by Abdullah Kunde) are insufficient and in fact erroneous at their source.
I believe that Mr. Kunde and I did, however, once again set a great standard for these kinds of interactions, for no one left that room that evening without a firm conviction that both sides had engaged the topic forthrightly, openly, and yet with great respect for the other. I truly hope to have the opportunity to engage Abdullah Kunde again in the future, perhaps on a specifically historical and theological issue, such as the crucifixion of Jesus.
I was just made aware of this semi-transcript or outline of the debate that you might find useful.