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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Monday, May 08, 2006

White and Ally Debate Review

This last Sunday evening (May, 7) I had the privilege of traveling with two buddies down to BIOLA to sit in a stuffy gym and watch James White debate Shabir Ally on the transmission of the New Testament. It was my first time watching James debate live. I have listened to many of his other debates via MP3 and watched a couple on DVD, so I was a bit excited. Moreover, I knew I was going to expect a debate, not just a discussion between two guys nodding their heads in agreement and never really coming to any understanding as to what the truth really is. Additionally, I was looking forward to extensive cross examination, something often skipped in the dialog style debates.

The question discussed was: Is the New Testament as it exists today the inspired Word of God.

Shabir Ally went first with his opening statement. Overall, Ally seemed to be a nice guy. He had a gentle disposition about himself. He didn't come across as arrogant or cocky, and at one point during the cross examination, he even admitted his error to one of James's question. I appreciated his humility. However, that is not saying much for his fans who attended (more about that in a moment). I also thought he handled himself well during his talk. He stayed on topic and didn't go bounding down some odd ball rabbit trail.

Basically, his main thesis was that the NT as it exists today is partly inspired, but mostly a product of man. He appealed heavily to redaction criticism and apostate research by such men like media darling Bart Ehrman and the writings of the Jesus Seminary cranks to prove his point. For those not familiar with redaction criticism, it is the idea that the NT was a product of zealous Christians scribes exaggerating the stories of Christ over time so that the Jesus we see today is a product of later Christians embellishing the life of Christ, and in no fashion does the NT today reflect at all the real Jesus. Scribes have modified the text to such a degree, as Ally argues, that the true Jesus, the one presented in Islam as just a prophet from Allah, has been lost, or at least clouded over. Again, for those who have been following my sporadically posted KJV articles, I was reminded of how many KJV only advocates argue in a similar way by saying the biblical documents have been corrupted by heretical men and Christians need to depend upon one English translation that is alleged to have preserved God's Word accurately, but I digress.

Ally further appealed to the priority of Mark and the Q document theory. He believes Mark was written first before all the other gospels, and then Matthew and Luke wrote their gospels by depending upon Mark and a mythical (meaning it doesn't exist) document called "Q" to fill in the information found in Matthew and Luke, but not found in Mark. Ally assumes this theory as a presupposition because the bulk of liberal NT scholarship does. Sadly, he did point out how many conservative Christians are slowly adopting some of these higher critical beliefs, including some professors who teach at BIOLA.

James then got up and with his opening statement gave a direct and frank presentation as to why we can trust the NT and the higher critical claims used by Ally against the NT are both flawed and inconsistent. He began by establishing that Islam and Christianity are two monotheistic religions who teach God can and does reveal Himself with human language, so the issue of inspiration is not really a question under consideration. What is at stake is whether the NT as we know it today still contains that inspired Word from God.

James then moved into addressing how the Qur'an assumes the inspiration of the entire Christian Bible and cited how Mohammed directed people to the Bible to check if what he was saying was true. Thus, if the Muslim is going to claim the NT is corrupted, then at what point was it corrupted? Mohammed lived 600 years after Christ and all of the NT documents were written long before his time. Why then would Mohammed, an alleged inspired prophet, call Muslims to believe a corrupted book?

Then James addressed the inconsistent use of textual criticism by Muslim apologetics. On the one hand, Muslims use liberal scholarship like Ehrman to discredit the NT text, but will defend the Qur'an using conservative scholars. Why then is there a switch and why doesn't the Muslim use textual criticism consistently across all boundaries, both NT and Qur'anic? He also gave a fine overview of how the NT was preserved and transmitted down through the ages as compared to the Qur'an being standardized by Utman by finding all those Qur'ans agreeing with him and burning all rivals.

I truly appreciate how James sets a standard of excellence with his debates. He spends the work getting to know his opponents arguments. I think at one point during the debate he talked about reviewing nearly 100 hours of lectures and debates presented by Ally for preparation. Moreover, he has the ability to talk really fast and articulate his words at the same time allowing him to cram a lot of information into the 20 minutes of time he is given.

Those who are listeners to the Dividing Line (why isn't it podcasted so I can take it home on my ipod!?) may have heard how in his last debate with the KJV only anti-Calvinist, James was able to utilize some computer laptop gizmo (sorry Geeks, I don't have the exact name of the thing on me) that allowed him to write notes on the screen and then it would transpose those notes electronically into a word document for him to read. I managed to snag a picture of it during the intermission. It looks like some sort of thing Captain Picard would use.

I would probably say the one weak spot in his main presentation was that James did not spend a lot of time addressing why he knows the NT is inspired. Ally pointed this out during his first rebuttal. James did mention during his rebuttal time the self-authenticating nature of the NT scriptures in 2 Peter 1:20 and 2 Timothy 3:16. Perhaps it is a matter of preference, but I thought it would had been better to present his position about inspiration in his opening statement, instead of dealing with it later after his opponent chided him for ignoring it. James did a fine job of explaining why we can confidently know the NT we have today is the same one written by the apostles, but lacked in explaining why it is inspired in the first place.

During the intermission we had about 10 or 15 minutes to get up and walk around. As soon as the moderator announced the break, both Shabir Ally and James were surrounded by people. James had his hands full with a vocal (and loud) group of Muslims yelling at him about some of the things he had brought out in his opening statement and his first rebuttal. I didn't hear exactly what they were pestering him about, but they were emotional and animated in that Middle Eastern Arab way if you know what I mean: Voices were raising and hands were waving. It was as if we were all of the sudden at a bazaar in Damascus listening to a group of men haggle over the price of figs. As you can see by the picture, James did a good job holding his ground. The group was dismissed by a large staffer who muscled his way between James and the Muslims yelling at him. He hollers out, "Everybody back!" and the crowd was immediately dispersed. He stood by his table for the remainder of the intermission shooing away trouble makers. The picture is dark, but you can sort of make out the guy standing by James. That was one of the more amusing moments.

The cross examination came next. I thought Ally floated whiffle ball questions to James that only allowed him to clarify Christian orthodoxy even more. James asked questions of Ally that further exposed what one could call a consistent use of inconsistency with textual criticism.

Some of the highlights and overall good points made by James:

During his opening statement, James discussed the use of "telescoping" by biblical writers. In other words, where there are two accounts of one story, the example cited being Jairus's daughter in Matthew 9:18, 19 and Mark 5:21-24, one gospel writer may not go into as great of detail as another gospel writer. In the case of Matthew, he "telescoped" the events the girl being raised from the dead. Critics read all sorts of wild speculations into parallel passages like this one and view them as an example of inspiration being weakened. In reality, as James pointed out, it merely is the way a writer choose to convey the information he deems relevant for his audience and purpose. We do it all the time in daily life, argued James. Later, with Ally was speaking, he would summarize various gospel narratives and then caught himself by saying, "I guess I am telescoping the story." To which James replied, "My point exactly, and you don't have an agenda to modify the text." Ally did this untentionally at least 3 to 4 times, with each time catching himself and driving James's point further.

When asked about why people gravitate toward liberal scholarship and how do we distinguish between good scholarship as opposed to the bad, James spoke about the move in our society to pure skepticism due in part to postmodernist leanings. He made an excellent plea for a return to a biblically informed view of our world.

Then he closed out his debate by challenging the Muslims in the audience to consider their own claim that the Qur'an replaces the Bible as God's revelation. He said basically (and I am "telescoping" here) "Mohammed was a man who lived 600 years after Christ lived and the apostles wrote and who knew little to nothing about Christianity. He and his followers mis-represent the scriptures and Christian theology. For a Muslim to claim that Mohammed is God's final messenger and the message he revealed is to replace the Jewish and Christian scriptures, is like asking a Muslim to believe a man living in 1200 AD, who claimed to speak for Mohammed and Allah, but mis-represented Islam, should be followed and his teaching must replace the Qur'an." I truly loved the illustration.

I think the one thing my friends and I took away from the debate is the need for Christians to be informed about the transmission of our Bible and a general working knowledge of textual criticism. That may be asking a lot of Christians these days with the glut of pocket sized devotional thoughts being sold in Wal-mart. As a result, know one is giving any serious consideration to the importance of knowing not only the content of our Bible, but why we believe it is inspired, infallible and preserved. This debate motivated us all to shore up our minds in this area.

Update:

James finally gave his fuller report on the debate, along with sending me some love with a shout out to my blog. I appreciate that. He also has more pictures. His are much closer to the action and more personal; mine look more like stalker photos.

And Patrick Chan gave a good complimentary synopsis as well.

Labels:

28 Comments:

Blogger Calvinist Gadfly said...

Thanks for your debate review.

3:56 PM, May 08, 2006  
Blogger GeneMBridges said...

It's always amusing to watch Muslims and skeptics use higher criticism as if it is unquestionably good scholarship.

Let's take the dating scheme that Ally used. Mark is first. On this scheme John is last. Also, this scheme says that the first composed as the least "miraculous" material and the last has the most. Problem: John has the least such material of the four gospels. Ergo, we must conclude that these folks are accepting critical theory for their arguments without considering the merit of the theories.

5:25 PM, May 08, 2006  
Blogger Patrick Chan said...

Hi Fred,

I was in attendance at the debate as well. So I just wanted to utter an appreciative "thanks" for your comments! Very thorough, and, I gotta say, you sure do have a far better memory than I do! Not to mention a far better grasp of the actual debate! ;-)

(I posted my comments on the debate, too:

http://merbc.invigorated.org/archives/2006/05/07/aside-gone-awry/).

Anyway, I'll blame it on poor lack of attention due to my wasting considerable time and energy muddling around in fanboy mode, trying to get a closer glimpse of James! ;-)

All the best,

patrick

5:29 PM, May 08, 2006  
Blogger lee n. field said...

"Those who are listeners to the Dividing Line (why isn't it podcasted so I can take it home on my ipod!?)"

Actually you can. Not sure how you do it in RedmondOS, but I use a linux package called vsound to convert the output from Realplayer to a wav file (and from thence, to anything).

Sure would be nice to be podcast, though.

5:52 PM, May 08, 2006  
Blogger Carson Allen said...

Sound's like it was a great debate. I had the wonderful privlidge of watching James debate Gary Matitics in Salt Lake City. Imagine that, debating a Cathloic in a Mormon city. As you would expect the crowd was small, so I got to meet James and get a pic with him.

As usual James dismantled Mr.Matitics, and beter yet during the cross examination period when Gary tried to paint out harsh barbaric characters about John Calvin. James responce was " That's why I believe in the infalable exegesus of Holy Scripture and not the falible man John Calvin on a mater of doctrine. While he was at it, he should have asked Matitics if he wanted some dill sauce with his red hering.

What I would give to see James debate Dave Hunt or Norm Geisler live on the Docrines of Grace. Of course they continue to dodge James. Wonder Why!

I also am looking forward to James destryoing the weak arguments of the Liberal John Shelby Sponge(I know it's Spong, but he is a sponge, and James will cross examine his flawed argements: Can't wait.

7:45 PM, May 08, 2006  
Blogger RogerDodger said...

Can you suggest some titles that would be good for Christians to read re 'the transmission of the NT'? I've ordered FF Bruce's 'The Canon of Scripture'...what do you suggest?

10:00 PM, May 08, 2006  
Blogger Andy Dollahite said...

Carson,

How awesome that God was glorified by James' diligent preparation and gifted presentation, both in LA and Salt Lake City. We should honor God for using James to proclaim God's truth so passionately and consistently. I would only encourage us never to boast in anything but the cross.

To me, knowingly describing Spong as a "sponge" does little to edify the conversation.

10:02 PM, May 08, 2006  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Gene

Your right on about the collapseable nature of higher criticism. Ally presupposes the Q theory, which basically means, as I am sure you know, that he believes Mark wrote first, and then when Matthew and Luke wrote their gospels they followed Mark; however, where Matthew and Luke agree with each other, but not with Mark, then it is "believed" they pulled their sources from Quelle, or "Q." BUT, what happens when Matthew and Luke disagree with each other and Mark? Well then, higher critics make-up even other mythical texts like proto-Luke and proto-Matthew or what ever. The problem: With what we know about the textual criticism, there is no time for these "documents" to have been circulated and accepted by Christians as a source for the gospels.

It makes me wonder if guys like Ally and even Ehrman have even considered the plausibility of their beliefs.

Fred

5:45 AM, May 09, 2006  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Anyway, I'll blame it on poor lack of attention due to my wasting considerable time and energy muddling around in fanboy mode, trying to get a closer glimpse of James!

Patrick

You weren't the guy in the Army green camouflage kilt, were you?


Fred

5:47 AM, May 09, 2006  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Can you suggest some titles that would be good for Christians to read re 'the transmission of the NT'? I've ordered FF Bruce's 'The Canon of Scripture'...what do you suggest

Roger,

Bruce is a good one. Heavy reading, but worth the investment. Some others that may be helpful:

If you are going to read Bruce, Metzger's book The Text of the New Testament - Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration is good, but again, it is heavy going.

Some lighter, but excellent works:

White's King James Only Controversy

Two books from the Bob Jones crowd I particularly found helpful, especially providing help in understanding English translations:

From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man and God's Word in Our Hands - The Bible Preserved For Us Both are edited by Willams and Shaylor.

One Bible Only? edited by Beacham and Bauder

Just as a heads up: these books have as a primary subject the answering of KJV only apologetics. However, in the process of dealing with KJV onlyism, they lay out an excellent, orthodox and easy to grasp outline of how our Bible was written, copied, transmitted and eventually translated. The Beacham and Bauder book is especially helpful and I would recommend it first. Each book then has bibliographical information that can lead you into further study.

I hope that is helpful.

Fred

5:59 AM, May 09, 2006  
Blogger Patrick Chan said...

"You weren't the guy in the Army green camouflage kilt, were you?"

Hehe, that's too funny! ;-) Nah, that wasn't me cuz we Asians can't really get away with wearing a kilt, I don't think. I was instead the dude with the bright yellow Bruce Lee jump suit! (That's more in line with our fashion sensibilities! ;-) )

8:48 AM, May 09, 2006  
Blogger PhotoJoeAZ said...

I'm enjoying the comments, folks!

The interesting thing that I've always thought about the Q Theory is that for Jesus Seminar dudes and folks like Dan Barker, et al, where the Gospels are similar, they were copied from the same source (Q), and where they differ, they're hopelessly contradictory. It's either collusion or contradiction-- take your pick-- but inerrant inspiration isn't one of your choices.

There are several examples of explainable discrepancies, as many of your are probably familiar: the differing accounts of angel/young man/two men at the tomb, Judas dying by hanging or by falling headlong into the field (partially in Acts, I know not fully contained in the Gospels, but one of those classical objections critics bring up).

If the text is simply allowed to speak for itself, and we don't come to the text with presuppositions that don't even allow it to be God-breathed, when the dust clears, we can be intellectually honest and yet confident that the Scriptures have indeed been given by God and preserved by Him.

11:14 AM, May 09, 2006  
Blogger Rambo said...

Hello Fred,

I am still waiting to see the debate and then decide for myself. I am sure you will understand why I am doubtful of the rosy picture painted by James White fans such as yourself :) Nonetheless, let me respond to some of your points - the ones raised by James White - which display your (rather his?) lack of understanding of some issues.

The "apostate research" and the "media darling", Prof. Ehrman, is probably the leading scholar of NT textual criticism today, perhaps second only to Prof. Metzger (an Evangelical Christian). So you cannot just dismiss Ehrman as a "nobody" even though he is not a Christian any more. Interestingly, he left Christianity after studying the New Testament in Greek for many years. It was not a "fun" or "happy decision for him; he just couldn't close his eyes to the truth. In anycase, there is absolutely nothing wrong in referring to Ehrman, who is an expert in his field of study. And which "Jesus Seminary" scholar did Shabir Ally rely upon? I am just curious to know.

It appears that you are confused between redaction and textual criticism. Ehrman is an authority on textual criticism, not redaction criticism. So its most unlikely that Shabir quoted Ehrman regarding redactional issues. As I read your comments in more detail, I see that you are indeed confused between the differences of redaction and textual criticism. No, redaction criticism is not about the "scribes" "exagerrating" the story of Jesus. Scribes enter in the textual transmission stage, that is, once the texts have been composed, then they are transmitted by scribes who make copies. Redaction criticism would be, for instance, Matthew and Luke's use of Mark - how they altered the Marcan narratives. Or how the gospel authors adapted traditions etc. These types of issues fall under the heading of redaction criticism - how authors redact or edit stories and material (so, Matthew and Luke's redaction of Mark for instance).

I think in a couple of other places you may have very well misunderstood Shabir Ally's arguments, but I would need to listen to the debate first in order to make further comments.

A few more issues I will comment upon. No, Shabir Ally does not believe that scribes modified the New Testament texts to such an extant that Jesus being a prophet from Allah (God) is "lost". In all of his previous debates that I have seen, Shabir consistently argues, and rightfully so, that the image of Jesus as a Prophet of God is most prominent in the gospels. So I think it is most likely you misunderstood Shabir on this instance as well. In fact, most scholars, rather virtually all, involved in the historical Jesus studies, readily acknowledge the historicity of Jesus as a prophet in the gospels.

Moving on, I am surprised you appear to doubt the priority of Mark and present it as something only accepted by the evil "liberals". This scenario is entirely fictitious. Almost all conservative scholars also readily acknowledge the priority of Mark. This is one of those issues over which we have almost universal agreement among scholars of all leanings. There are some disagreement over Q, but most scholars, conservatives included, accept Q. True, it does not exist any more, but that does not make it "mythical". So there is absolutely nothing wrong for Shabir Ally to assume Marcan priority to put forth his arguments.

Coming to some of the claims you made were raised by James White, first, I am pleased to learn that White is one of a few brave Christians around today who openly acknowledges that Muslims are also monothiests and worship only one God. So, thats a good start. But the remainder of what you claim he said are problematic. The most serious, rather fatal, error on White's part is his baseless assumption that the Quran "assumes inspiration of the entire Christian Bible". There is no passage within the Quran that can be construed by any torturous exegesis to "assume" the "inspiration" of the "entire Christian Bible." In fact, I would love to see where in the Quran the "entire Christian Bible" is mentioned. Show me just one passage. Equally serious is White's grave factual error that "Mohammed directed people to the Bible to check if what he was saying was true." There is no such passage within the Quran.

Also problematic are White's claim of Muslims allegedly using "doublestandards". He claims that Muslims use "liberal" scholars to discredit the New Testament text while rely upon "conservative" scholars to defend the Quran. I would love to know who these "conservative" scholars are. I have never come across any. Instead, Christians usually rely upon NON-MUSLIM scholars, known as Orientalists, to discredit the Quran (even though they often misuse Orientalist scholarship as well) whereas Muslims use CHRISTIAN scholarship against the Bible. Now you may label some scholars "liberals", nonetheless it remains that they emerge from within the Christian tradition and are almost always believing Christians themselves. So this is the scenario: Christians depend on those coming from outside of Islam to attack the Quran where Muslims reply upon scholars coming from within the Christian tradition to critically analyse the Bible. Thus the doublestandard is ON THE CHRISTIAN SIDE. You rely on outsiders whereas we rely on your insiders, even if you label them "liberals".

White is also grossly inaccurate when he asserts that Uthman "burned" the "rivals" and "standardized" the Quran. There are no historical reports mentioning such a scene. Instead, Uthman only reproduced the Quran in multiple copies - in a COMMUNITY EFFORT - and, later, with the SUPPORT OF THE COMMUNITY, the fragments and partial copies of this SAME QURAN were burnt in the open since proper copies were now available for all to read. That's why Uthman was always praised by the Muslims and supported by them.

Well, these are all the comments I can make for now. Am waiting for the debate and then I will post a full review, offering a detailed critical analysis of the main Christian reviews. I just wanted to say that contrary to the impression you gave, it does not appear that Muslims, during the break time, were "pestering" White and "yelling" at him. I see the pictures and it seems like a lively and cheerful atmosphere, people surrounding both Shabir Ally and White, asking questions etc. I don't find tasteful your streotypical comment against the Arabs "they were emotional and animated in that Middle eastern Arab way if you know what I mean..." No I don't know what you mean by this one, but I am sure you haven't met many Arabs in your life apart from watching some on Fox news and CNN.

Much more later once I get hold of the tape :)

12:48 PM, May 09, 2006  
Blogger Pete said...

Rambo said, "Equally serious is White's grave factual error that "Mohammed directed people to the Bible to check if what he was saying was true." There is no such passage within the Quran."

Surah 10:94 states, "If thou wert in doubt as to what We have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee..." Those reading the Book are Christians.

Moreover, Surah 5:68 states, "Say: 'O People of the Book! Ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord...'" If the Gospel was corrupted by 600 AD when Mohammad preached his message, why would he direct Christians (People of the Book) to stand fast by it?

I would humbly submit that perhaps Dr. White did not commit a grave factual error after all. God bless, all.

5:26 PM, May 09, 2006  
Blogger Andrew C said...

Fred,

good review!

Rambo,

You kept saying we have misrepresented Shabbir but you have not heard the debate. Do everyone a favor, listen to the debate before you comment any further.

Ehrman does believe in redaction criticism. You will know it too if you have read any of his books.

White is right that Uthman ordered the copies of the Quran to be burned, here is the reference from the Hadith,

Hudhaifa was afraid of their (the people of Sha'm and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur'an, so he said to Uthman, 'O Chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Qur'an) as Jews and the Christians did before'. So Uthman sent a message to Hafsa, saying, 'Send us the manuscripts of the Qur'an so that we may compile the Qur'anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you'. Hafsa sent It to Uthman. Uthman then ordered Zaid ibn Thabit, Abdullah bin az-Zubair, Sa'id bin al-As, and Abdur-Rahman bin Harith bin Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. Uthman said to the three Quraishi men, 'In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the Qur'an, then write it in the dialect of the Quraish as the Qur'an was revealed in their tongue'. They did so, and when they had written many copies, Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa. Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur'anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, p.479).

I did not watch CNN or FOX but the reaction of the Muslims on the night of the debate.

The Muslims that came up to challenge James White were indeed emotional and rude, raising their tone is an uncivilized manner. I am sure you are not that type of Muslim =)

We spoke to a few Muslims that night and ALL of them were emotional!

6:27 PM, May 09, 2006  
Blogger Nazam said...

Hi, Here is an interesting article on the Quranic integrity I found and 'variant readings'.

http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Bible/Text/textcriticism.html

Look forward to seeing the debate

6:27 AM, May 10, 2006  
Blogger Rambo said...

Hello Pete, you wrote:

"Surah 10:94 states, "If thou wert in doubt as to what We have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee..." Those reading the Book are Christians."

I wonder why you did not bother quote the next sentence of the passage: “THE TRUTH HAS INDEED COME TO THEE FROM THEY LORD; SO BE IN NO WISE OF THOSE WHO DOUBT.” So there you go! In another blog I responded to another Christian who misused this passage, here is my reply:

"If you read the verses prior to 10:94, stories are told about the prophets of the old and their struggles and after the narration of those stories God makes a statement: “If you were in doubt as to what we have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the book…”, so as to say that what was just told within the Quran about certain events of the past is so well-known that even the People of the Book - the Jews and Christians - would never be able to deny it since they also know it is the truth. Yet immediately after this hypothetical statement, which is like a challenge to anyone who doubts, God concludes: “THE TRUTH HAS INDEED COME TO THEE FROM THEY LORD; SO BE IN NO WISE OF THOSE WHO DOUBT”, thus readers are told not to doubt nor to consult them. So, I hope you can now see that there is no “endorsement” of any Biblical canon or any particular Biblical writing in this passage. It does not “encourage” readers to consult the Bible. Moreover, if you look at the Tafsir literature - Tafsir = interpretation/exegesis - produced by Muslim scholars, many of them quote a statement of Muhammed where he said that he neither doubted nor asked. Finally, there are passages within the Quran where the people are accused of corrupting their scriptures (2:79) and the role of the Quran is laid out in 5:48 viz a viz the earlier writings. In short, Muslims believe that there is both truth as well as falsehood in the earlier writings. This is also the view of the immediate followers of Muhammed such as Ibn Abbas, Uthman (Muhammed’s son in law), Umar, Muawiya and many others. And one more thing, the Quran mainly denies the validity of the doctrines upheld by Christians, such as the belief in the Trinity for instance. Thus, if any person believes in the Trinity, according to the Quran he is in error. Similarly, if a book endorses the Trinity, then that book is also logically wrong."

You then quoted and said:

"Moreover, Surah 5:68 states, "Say: 'O People of the Book! Ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord...'" If the Gospel was corrupted by 600 AD when Mohammad preached his message, why would he direct Christians (People of the Book) to stand fast by it?"

The phrase "and the revelation that has come to you from your Lord" refers to the Quran, this was stated by Mujahid (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Volume 2, page 96), An-Nasafi (Tafsir-un-Nasafi, Volume 1, page 333) and Ash-Shawkani (Fath-ul-Qadir, Volume 2, page 88). So, the passage actually tells People of the Book that they have no ground to stand upon unless they observe the Torah, the Gospel and the Qur'an.

The eminent Spanish theologian Ibn Hazm explains:

"As for His saying, "O People of the Book! Ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Law, the Gospel and the revelation that has come to you from your Lord." This is indisputable truth and this is what we state. There is no way to observe them due to removal (raf') of what they have omitted (asqatu) from them, so they have no ground to stand upon unless they believe in Muhammad (peace be upon him). Then, they will observe the Torah and the Gospel in entirety, believe in what God revealed in them, present or absent, and disbelieve what was altered (buddela) therein which God did not reveal. This is indeed how to observe them."

[Ibn Hazm, Al-Fisal fe Al-Milal wa Al-Ahwaa wa Al-Nihal, Volume 1, page 159]

7:22 AM, May 10, 2006  
Blogger Rambo said...

Hello Andrew and thanks for your reply. A few comments. You wrote:

"You kept saying we have misrepresented Shabbir but you have not heard the debate. Do everyone a favor, listen to the debate before you comment any further."

I was referring to the comments made by Fred, who is one person. I did not know you were also responsible for that review. In anycase, yes, I need to watch the debate for sure to offer detailed comments, but I could note the confusion in your review between the differences of redaction and textual criticism and, more importantly, on Shabir's viewpoint. I have seen his past debates, have met him in person as well, and so am familiar with his views and can therefore easily note when people are misunderstanding his statements even if I have not seen the debate. Also, I did not mean to suggest that you guys deliberately misrepresented his views, my guess was that you unintentionally misunderstood some of his arguments. That's all. Anyway, hope to get the debate soon.

You also write:

"Ehrman does believe in redaction criticism. You will know it too if you have read any of his books."

Now here to misread what I said. I did not "deny" that Ehrman "believed" in redaction criticism. All scholars, as far as I know, accept redaction criticism. I merely stated that Ehrman is an authority on TEXTUAL criticism and not redaction criticism, though he obviously accepts its. I think the confusion may have arisen probably when Shabir Ally referred to the practises of scribes of altering the New Testament texts at times and later comparing that with the redactional activities of Matthew and Luke (their use of Mark). That is to say, the later scribes who copied the texts were acting the same way as Matthew and Luke, who used Mark and altered its stories at times to suit their theologies.

You then wrote about Uthman:

"White is right that Uthman ordered the copies of the Quran to be burned, here is the reference from the Hadith,

Hudhaifa was afraid of their (the people of Sha'm and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur'an, so he said to Uthman, 'O Chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Qur'an) as Jews and the Christians did before'. So Uthman sent a message to Hafsa, saying, 'Send us the manuscripts of the Qur'an so that we may compile the Qur'anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you'. Hafsa sent It to Uthman. Uthman then ordered Zaid ibn Thabit, Abdullah bin az-Zubair, Sa'id bin al-As, and Abdur-Rahman bin Harith bin Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. Uthman said to the three Quraishi men, 'In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the Qur'an, then write it in the dialect of the Quraish as the Qur'an was revealed in their tongue'. They did so, and when they had written many copies, Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa. Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur'anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, p.479)."

Please note again that I did NOT "deny" that Uthman, with community support, ordered the burning of material in the open once multiple copies of the Quran, containing the same Quran, were reproduced. This is what I said:

"White is also grossly inaccurate
when he asserts that Uthman "burned" the "rivals" and "standardized" the Quran. There are no historical reports mentioning such a scene. Instead, Uthman only reproduced the Quran in multiple copies - in a COMMUNITY EFFORT - and, later, with the SUPPORT OF THE COMMUNITY, the fragments and partial copies of this SAME QURAN were burnt in the open since proper copies were
now available for all to read. That's why Uthman was always praised by the Muslims and supported by them."

So note that I only denied White's unsubstantiated assertion of buring "rivals" and "standardizing" the Quran. No historical reports make mention of any "rivals."

You write:

"I did not watch CNN or FOX but the reaction of the Muslims on the night of the debate."

Fine...I didn't see White complaining about it, or has he said something about it? I will ask Shabir Ally.

You wrote:

"The Muslims that came up to challenge James White were indeed emotional and rude, raising their tone is an uncivilized manner. I am sure you are not that type of Muslim =)"

Of course not :)

Finally, you state:

"We spoke to a few Muslims that night and ALL of them were emotional! "

hmmm...well, no idea what to make of it. By the way, I came across another Christian blog writing a debate review and according to that reviewer:

http://bloggingishard.blogspot.com/2006/05/debates.html

"Over all, a good debate. Good moderator, good speakers, good dialogue. Although it seemed like they were speaking past each other a good portion of the time, **and James White wasn't really adressing the topic,** it was much better than i hoped."

Hope they send me the debate soon!

Regards and best wishes.

7:39 AM, May 10, 2006  
Blogger Rambo said...

I wanted to inform all the readers of this blog that I finally managed to get the input of some other debate attendees...ones who were quite close to the stage and spent most of their time nearby. No one recalls coming across crowds of "rowdy" Muslims "screaming" and "shouting" and being allegedly "rude" to James White, so that he had to get assistance from bodyguards.
I am making more enquiries in this regard and hope to receive the debate soon.

Regards

9:09 AM, May 10, 2006  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

No one recalls coming across crowds of "rowdy" Muslims "screaming" and "shouting" and being allegedly "rude" to James White, so that he had to get assistance from bodyguards.

Rambo,
I never said the Muslims were rowdy, screaming or shouting. I said they were loud talking (maybe "yelling" is a tad overstated) and waving their hands, meaning they were expressing themselves with their hands. One fellow in particular had his hands in James's face. I witnessed it.

Additionally, I never stated that it was "crowds" but a group; at least 3 men that I could see from my vantage point. All of them were loud talking contrary to what your contacts have said. In fact, when I returned to my seat in the bleachers a good ways from the stage as any one can see from my pictures, my two friends even asked me what was going on because they could hear them and see them from that far away. They were also interested in the staffer guy had come up to shoo away everyone including the fanboys, not just those guys.

Moreover, I never said he had to have assistance from "bodyguards." James is a big enough guy physically that I am sure he could take care of himself. None the less, what I did say is that one of the staffers (not security) simply pushed his way between the crowd and James and hollered out, "Everyone get back, give him some room," or something along those lines.

Now, I realize you think I am some sort of arm chair bigot who forms his opinions about Islam from watching edited images on cable news of Muslims rioting over some ridiculous cartoons. However, just so you know, I have had extensive, intimate contact and relationships with many Muslims from all over the world, primarily the Middle East for the last 15 years or more. That intimacy includes having some eat at my house. I have even had a lenghty discussion with many of the religious leaders from the local mosques. I have known Muslim friends and acquaintances from Jordan, Pakistan, Kuwait, Turkey, Saudia Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Egypt and even some Asian countries from Malasyia to the Philippines. Furthermore, I know many converts from Islam who presently attend my Church from those same countries.

Perhaps I would have been more accurate to have written "Middle Eastern" culture, but let me assure you that when I wrote they were emotional and animated, I was not only speaking accurately as to what I saw, I was writing out of much experience I have with folks from those cultures who are legendary for being animated and emotional about some hobby horse they may have.

I know in our P.C. world, to comment about the oddities of a person's cultural background isn't kosher (to borrow a Hebraism), but it helps set the context for what they know to be true.

By the way, James mentions this same incident on his webcast. You can access it at his website. I recommend that you do.

I will try to respond to your other points later today when I have a spare moment during work.

Fred

10:04 AM, May 10, 2006  
Blogger Pete said...

Rambo, thanks for such a detailed and complete explanation. Perhaps this blog is not the ideal forum to continue this discussion, as I’m pretty sure the topic is supposed to be the debate at BIOLA. However, I’ll attempt one more reply, just to clarify some points:

Regarding Surah 10:94, you wrote:

“If you were in doubt as to what we have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the book…”, so as to say that what was just told within the Quran about certain events of the past is so well-known that even the People of the Book - the Jews and Christians - would never be able to deny it since they also know it is the truth.

The only problem with this explanation is that the Qur’an, when relating historical narrative found in the Bible, at times blatantly contradicts the Bible. For example, stories about Adam, Noah, Solomon, and even Jesus are presented quite differently (sometimes bearing no resemblance whatsoever to the Biblical account) in the Qur’an. The above argument would only be convincing if the historical accounts presented in the Qur’an would be recognized and accepted by Jews and Christians in Muhammad’s day.

Regarding Surah 5:68, you wrote:
"So, the passage actually tells People of the Book that they have no ground to stand upon unless they observe the Torah, the Gospel and the Qur'an."

The Gospel and the Qur'an are obviously contradictory and mutually exclusive. The Gospel proclaims that Jesus is the Son of God. The Qur'an declares this blasphemous heresy. The Gospel's central tenet is that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of his people, and rose from the dead on the third day. The Qur'an denies both the crucifixion and the resurrection, the very heart of the Gospel message.

So, I fail to understand how one can stand upon both the Gospel and the Qur'an. Standing upon the Gospel necessitates a firm denial of many important Quranic teachings, including the work and person of Jesus Christ, the nature of sin, the nature of God, and how to obtain salvation and right standing before our Almighty Creator.

By claiming that only parts of the Gospel are inspired by God, and at the same time calling the Christian to stand firm upon this very same Gospel, the Muslim attempts to redefine the “true” Gospel through a Quranic lens. The problem, of course, is that by 600 AD the Gospel was already well-defined and had been proclaimed by Christians for hundreds of years. I can’t get around the fact that standing upon the Qur’an means denying the Gospel, or redefining the Gospel. Neither choice is possible for the true Christian. God bless, all.

10:25 AM, May 10, 2006  
Blogger jer said...

Hello sir,

I dont' know if this was already addressed, but Dr. White doesn't podcast because MP3 sales is keeping AOMIN going at this point. He says the only way he'd podcast is if he were to charge some kind of subscription fee..These two are the only options for him because he doesn't want to waste airtime asking for financial support.

Dr White did brilliantly..

Blessings to you

11:11 AM, May 10, 2006  
Blogger Rambo said...

Hello Pete

Thank you very much for your reply. In response to my clarification of the meaning of 10:94 you said:

"The only problem with this explanation is that the Qur’an, when relating historical narrative found in the Bible, at times

blatantly contradicts the Bible. For example, stories about Adam, Noah, Solomon, and even Jesus are presented quite

differently (sometimes bearing no resemblance whatsoever to the Biblical account) in the Qur’an. The above argument would

only be convincing if the historical accounts presented in the Qur’an would be recognized and accepted by Jews and Christians

in Muhammad’s day."

I do not deny the differences between certain Quranic stories and the similar accounts found in the Bible - both major and

minor differences. Even the Quran acknowledges the differences but maintains that its accounts are to be trusted (5:48 -

where the Quran is referred to as a "muhaymin" over earlier writings, which means a quality controller over them, a checker,

a guardian over them etc.) But there are also some similarities. In anycase, I was referring to the immediate context of

10:94, which is related to a particular issue. In the context of 10:94, the Quran narrates certain stories and then makes a

rhetorical statement, or a challenge to the doubters, that if they are in doubt then they can even go and ask the Jews

and the Christians of Muhammed's time, living in the Hijaz region, since even they wont be able to offer denials. But

immediately after that statement, the passage goes on to state: “THE TRUTH HAS INDEED COME TO THEE FROM THEY LORD; SO BE IN

NO WISE OF THOSE WHO DOUBT.” Also note that the passage does not command Muslims to go and read the contents of any particular book. Here are the details of the context briefly:

The main theme of the passage is that God sends His messengers to people and so the fate of the people is dependent upon their acceptance or rejection of the messenger. If the message of the messenger of God is accepted then the people will be blessed with success. The immediate target audience are the pagans of the tribe of Quraish and idol worshippers in general. And so they are now invited to accept the messengership of Muhammed and to accept monothiesm, else they would meet the fate met by many rejecters of the past. Thus the main message is invitation to monothiesm - the acceptance of only One God, else God will punish the rejectors. Subsequently, reference is made to the people of Prophet Noah and of Moses, where the fate of those who rejected God's message conveyed via these two prophets is stressed. For instance, in both cases the ones who opposed God were destroyed whereas those who believed in God attained success. It is after presenting such examples that we come to the rhetorical statement, or the challenge directed towards the doubters, namely, to ask the people of the book (Jews and Christians), so as to say that what has just been mentioned is accepted as such by all. Yet immediately after that we read: “THE TRUTH HAS INDEED COME TO THEE FROM THEY LORD; SO BE IN NO WISE OF THOSE WHO DOUBT.” Moreover, I also mentioned to the statement of Muhammed where he said that he did not doubt and would not ask. This is simply a rhetorical manner to challenging people. So I hope this clears the issue and you can see that no where is the textual integrity of any biblical writing "endorsed" in this passage.


Coming to 5:68, you write:

"The Gospel and the Qur'an are obviously contradictory and mutually exclusive. The Gospel proclaims that Jesus is the Son of God. The Qur'an declares this blasphemous heresy. The Gospel's central tenet is that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of his people, and rose from the dead on the third day. The Qur'an denies both the crucifixion and the resurrection, the very heart of the Gospel message."

Notice that the Quran never uses the term "gospels". The Gospel - singular - is the message that was revealed to Jesus, not sort of an ancient biography about him. Basically, according to Muslim scholars, the exegesis of 5:68 is that since the scriptures now in the hands of the Jews and Christians are obviously not the same as the original revelations of God, that means that the Law (Torah) and the Gospel cannot be fully followed by the Jews and Christians. The only way they can abide by the original revelations is through their acceptance of the Quran, since the Quran embodies these earlier revelations, their message.

Regarding your specific comments above, yes, the Quran does disagree with some of the doctrines and statements within the current Gospels. But their are some agreements as well of course. It is true that the Quran denies the sonship of Jesus, the idea that Jesus was literally the son of God as a biological son, or in someway "God-man". In this sense, the term son of God is denied by the Quran. But if you take "son of God" to mean a prophet of God, someone who is very close to God - this is the way most critical scholars explain this term - then such a meaning of "son of God" is quite acceptable within Islam, although we refrain from using terminology such as "son of God" since it can easily lead to misunderstandings. Nonetheless, the meaning I just referred to would not by itself be contradictory to any Quranic message. Also, you might be interested to learn that in the Gospel of Luke, the notion that Jesus died for the sins of mankind is quite questionable, and rests upon a passage whose authenticity is hotly disputed. It is my view that Luke, who also wrote the book of Acts, did not believe that Jesus died for the sins of mankind and was instead killed only as a righteous martyr. Likewise the crucifixion, that is indeed denied by the Quran. According to the Quran, those who accept the crucifixion are following nothing more than conjecture. So, if you accept the crucifixion, then you are wrong according to the Quran and, similarly, if a book proclaims the crucifixion, then that book is also logically wrong ACCORDING TO THE QURAN. Now, I am not here to debate whether the crucifixion happened or not, my point is only that according to the Quran - IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER IT IS RIGHT OR WRONG - the present gospels cannot be correct since they state that Jesus was crucified. Therefore, I hope you can see why the "the Quran endorses the textual integrity of the Bible" argument is quite problematic, full of holes, and does not quite work.

You also wrote:


"So, I fail to understand how one can stand upon both the Gospel and the Qur'an. Standing upon the Gospel necessitates a firm denial of many important Quranic teachings, including the work and person of Jesus Christ, the nature of sin, the nature of God, and how to obtain salvation and right standing before our Almighty Creator."

I think the problem here is your mixing of Gospel with GOSPELS. For me, the Gospel is not the same as our 4 canonical gospels - which are basically a collection of stories about Jesus from the different theological perspective of four particular authors - but the message that was revealed to Jesus. I think part of this message, the original revelation, can still be found in some of the words which are attributed to Jesus within the synoptic gospels. These would include Jesus's invitation to people to devout their lives to the worship of only One God and the acceptance of Jesus as a prophet of God. Read the first three gospels with an open mind, putting aside your presuppositions such as the Trinity, and I am sure you will never end up with the Trinity in your mind. Instead, you will come across the voice of a devout monothiest Jew of the first century, who considered himself to be a servant and Prophet of God, no more. This is the gospel I accept.

I believe thats all I have to say for now, your last paragraph is addressed in my response anyway.

Regards and Best wishes.

Rambo.

12:16 PM, May 10, 2006  
Blogger Rambo said...

Hello Fred and thanks for your reply.

After reading your post I feel that you exagerrated in your review regarding Muslim reaction towards James White. Now you claim that there were three individuals who were acting in a less than civil fashion, yet in your review you wrote:

"James had his hands full with a vocal (and loud) group of Muslims yelling at him about some of the things he had brought out in his opening statement and his first rebuttal. I didn't hear exactly what they were pestering him about, but they were emotional and animated in that Middle Eastern Arab way if you know what I mean: Voices were raising and hands were waving. It was as if we were all of the sudden at a bazaar in Damascus listening to a group of men haggle over the price of figs. As you can see by the picture, James did a good job holding his ground. The group was dismissed by a large staffer who muscled his way between James and the Muslims yelling at him. He hollers out, "Everybody back!" and the crowd was immediately dispersed. He stood by his table for the remainder of the intermission shooing away trouble makers. The picture is dark, but you can sort of make out the guy standing by James. That was one of the more amusing moments."

So, according to the above, there was a "group" of Muslims who were "yelling" at James, a "crowd" was surrounding him and the Muslims were "emotional" in the "Middle Eastern Arab way" - whatever that means - and then this "group" was dismissed by a large bodyguard - oh I am sorry, "staffer", who then shot away "trouble makers" Well, if this behaviour isn't "rowdy", "rude", and if "yelling" and "loud taking" isn't "screaming, then I don't know what it. I think most of us can see what type of impression you were trying to give of Muslims. In your recent post, you write:

"Additionally, I never stated that it was "crowds" but a group; at least 3 men that I could see from my vantage point. "

Fine, so there were, at most, a few individuals, perhaps 3, who were behaving in a different way. It was not a large "group" of Muslims, nor a "crowd" who were behaving in this manner - almost all of the Muslim attendees, with the exception of less than handful of individuals, were civil and sober. I don't think it was such a heck of a good idea to exagerrate in this way. I have now been able to talk to a few more people who attended that debate and they informed me that during break time, both White and Shabir Ally were surrounded by some people, all acting in a civil manner. It is possible that later on, for a few minutes at most, a few inviduals (you saw 3) got into a heated exchange with James White over whatever issue. That's all. This incident was then witnessed by you, and obviously James White, but it largely went by unnoticed. I have spoken with more people who were close to both the debators and they do not recall any "loud voices" during the breaktime etc. Moreover, I am informed that after the debate, both James Whtie and Shabir were left free to mingle with the crowds. You also write:

"Moreover, I never said he had to have assistance from "bodyguards." James is a big enough guy physically that I am sure he could take care of himself. None the less, what I did say is that one of the staffers (not security) simply pushed his way between the crowd and James and hollered out, "Everyone get back, give him some room," or something along those lines."

This gives the impression that James White, who is afterall quite popular, was surrounded by his fans and questioners and near the end of the break the staffer requested people to move back in order to give White some space. Nothing here suggests that White was being heckled by Muslims etc.

As for White's own comments regarding this saga, the realplayer file is not opening at my end for some reason. But I will ask a friend to check it out and report back the findings...or perhaps one of you guys can briefly summarise what White says. The bottom line is basically this: at most, 3-4 individuals might have entered into an heated exchange with White during the beak time, a minor matter that largely went by unnoticed. Period.

Finally, regarding your alleged "intimate" contact with Muslims, then that's not my concern. I was only a little taken back by your stereotypical comments directed towards the Arabs. I think someone such as yourself, who is so friendly with Muslims and people of different cultures and background, needs to be more careful in the statements he directs towards other people.

I hope You will understand why I am now inclined to seriously doubt at least some of your claims of regarding some of the Muslims being "emotional" and "animated". I am attempting to get more input from others who attended this debate and what I have heard so far contradicts many of your descriptions.

Regards

Rambo.

12:58 PM, May 10, 2006  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

So, according to the above, there was a "group" of Muslims who were "yelling" at James, a "crowd" was surrounding him and the Muslims were "emotional" in the "Middle Eastern Arab way" - whatever that means - and then this "group" was dismissed by a large bodyguard - oh I am sorry, "staffer", who then shot away "trouble makers" Well, if this behaviour isn't "rowdy", "rude", and if "yelling" and "loud taking" isn't "screaming, then I don't know what it. I think most of us can see what type of impression you were trying to give of Muslims.

(Fred) If you wish to sniggle about extreme detail, so be it.

Let me review so that we are on the same page:

The crowd was comprised of both Christians and Muslims

The main group in the crowd surrounding James were Muslims emotionally reacting to his comments, and after listening to the Dividing line earlier today, it was over the Uthmans Qur'an comments.

It was a staffer, because on his red shirt was the word "Staffer" or perhaps "Event Staff." He was not security.

Yes, He did stand at James's table for the remainder of the intermission and shooed way troublemakers, troublemakers being defined by those attendees, again, Muslims, who wanted to be argumentative about his comments.

No, loud talking is not screaming. I realize we may have a cross cultural issue we are dealing with here. What any person from Middle Eastern cultures may think is just "talking" is perceived by us Americans as hostility, that is just a fact of life. Is it ignorant? Sure, but people of all stripes have hang ups with other cultures. Knowing a lot of the Muslims like I have encountered throughout my life, I figured they were not being specifically hostile in the sense of threating James's life (what I believe you are attempting to imply I am saying), but they were talking loudly; loud enough to be heard by my friends and others around us in the bleachers several feet away. This is just the way the communicate.

As for your contacts here who attended the debate, they must have a different definition of "sober" and "civil mannered." From their cultural stand point, it may be they think loud talking and finger wagging is "sober" and "civil." We take that as what it is: loud talking and finger wagging.

This gives the impression that James White, who is afterall quite popular, was surrounded by his fans and questioners and near the end of the break the staffer requested people to move back in order to give White some space. Nothing here suggests that White was being heckled by Muslims etc.

I never stated White was heckled. He was very much confronted by a group of Muslims bothered by what he had said during his opening statment and first rebuttal. The reason why the staffer moved in to push back the crowd was on account of the guys getting into James's face.

Obviously, there is some sort of honor thing for you with my comments. You feel you have been slighted, or what ever. But I am telling you what I saw, what many other witnesses saw, and what one commenter up above confirms.

1:29 PM, May 10, 2006  
Blogger Rambo said...

Fred, it's not working despite your desperate attempts of transforming 3 individuals into a "crowd" and "group." And now your comments are beginning to reveal your true colors. Your exagerrations are exposed and your wiggle-duck-n-dive maneauvers aren't impressing me much. As I said, if at all, 3 individuals during the break time might have entered into a heated exchage with White, something which didn't catch the attention of that many people anyway, and you blew that entirely out of proportion. And with your recent barrage of racist comments, I have even little reason to trust you. I will keep this reply short and later, once I view the debate for myself, I will then write a detailed review of it together with a detailed point by point critique of your review and challenge you to defend your claims in the open.

No, my contacts and I do not have a "different definition" of what is sober and civil. So let's get that straight. Loud talking and finger wagging are most certainly not considered "sober" and "civil" in my culture, so, with all due respect, I suggest you stop giving me this racist bull about my culture as if you are some sort of an "expert" on it or else I have pretty much to say about you "Christian" and "American" culture I see on the Jerry Springer show :) You clearly know next no nothing about other cultures, particularly the Arab, Pak-Indo cultures, and thus your comments are just laughable and border on the absurd. So much for your "intimacy" with Muslims. In my culture, "finger wagging" on someone's face and "talking loudly" are deemed as rude and offensive behavioural traits and quite disliked, as in all other cultures. Muslims, who come from diverse cultures and backgrounds, are also humans you know and the vast majority are very polite. And please, stop with your ridiculous racist demonisation of Arabs and their culture. I just can't believe you spent any time with them after reading your stereotypical, anti-semetic and highly offensive descriptions of their "culture."

And no it is no "honor" thing with me regarding this matter, so I can't see how you conculuded "obviously" in this regard. You don't even know my race, my nationality, my culture, and yet you are convinced you are an Einstein on my culture and know its inner workings! Arrogance or something much worse? The later I think. I simply contacted other debate attendees who contradicted much of what you said, which then lead me to logically conclude that you were exagerrating - overstating what was, at most, a minor incident, which was not reflective of the behaviour of the Muslim audience.

Nonetheless, I will get back to you in a while with a very detailed paper to your polemics so prepare yourself for that :)

Rambo

3:36 PM, May 10, 2006  
Blogger The Hedonese said...

Hi Fred,

u have a blog! Think we have met before :)

8:21 AM, May 15, 2007  
Blogger Julio César Fernández said...

No doubt James is a great debatidor.Había already had the chance to read this discussion in another blog this more comprehensive here. I appreciate

7:58 AM, January 17, 2010  

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