Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Thoughts on Paul Williams' Debate on Slavery With a Christian Lady

Paul Williams entered into a dialogue about slavery and had a mini-debate with a Westernised Christian lady who seemed reluctant to want to discuss the topic with Paul Williams. The discussion can be viewed on the SC Dawah YouTube page in a video entitled Biblical Problems: Paul vs Lizzie

Paul gave the Westernised Christian lady an equally difficult time to that which Hashim recently gave her on Numbers 31. I do feel it's noticeable that the Christian lady is being more mindful of allowing the other person to speak and thinking about how she's being perceived, it's a good thing. There has been a marked improvement. Well done!

Before discussing a couple of interesting Bible verses Paul Williams raised, I want to pull the lady up on what appears to be a low-level polemic which I corrected a while back. The Hadith of Prophet Muhammad rebuking somebody for hitting a slave whilst smiling is sadly being misused by Christian polemicists as an endorsement of beating slaves. This is intellectually dishonest.

I've addressed this subject previously in this video. Folks, honest reading of texts is more praise and respect worthy than manipulated readings geared towards low-level polemics and mud-slinging contests. Sincere Christians should think about this.

Do you believe cruel slave masters must be obeyed?

Paul Williams raised the following eye-opening reference from the New Testament. Quite often we expect this type of passage to be limited only to the Old Testament, it' a difficult passage.

18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God [1 Peter 2, NIV]

The lady did try and suggest this was referring to servants rather than slaves and also includes professionals in employment like doctors and lawyers. I don't think this cuts much mustard, look at verse 20, it's talking about receiving beatings. One would expect beatings to be meted out to slaves, not private contractors who you hire. Coupled with Exodus 21:20-21 where TCVO Jesus allows the severe beating of female (and male) slaves as long as they got up after a day or two this is a difficult subject, especially for Westernised "Christians" - the type who get their morals from Western liberal societal norms rather than the Bible.

The New Testament does not say slaves should be freed

Now, this was an interesting claim which Paul made. Food for thought.

I'd like to see this topic explored further. I'm not sure if there is a Christian at that park, with the necessary discipline to stay on the topic, who is willing and able to discuss this topic with somebody like Paul Williams. Perhaps there is and we will se a video of such a discussion emerge on the net in the next few months.

"Muhammad owned slaves"

A few points to consider here:

1. I don't get this point. I don't understand why this is a big deal as Prophet Muhammad's slaves weren't all owned at the same time, they were freed and he encouraged the freeing of slaves. Slavery was embedded in society at the time so for the Prophet of the community to be an example in freeing slaves would have had a positive pedagogical effect on others:

Al-Imaam An-Nawawi may Allaah have mercy upon him said that it should be known that these slaves were not in the possession of the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) at the same time. However, each one served him sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) at a particular time. Moreover, historical sources all agree that the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) set all of his men and women slaves free, setting an example for his Companions , may Allah be pleased with them. [Source]

2. Does this lady not actually believe Jesus got 32 virgin girls given to him as a tribute? In Numbers 31, thirty two virgin girls were given to the LORD (for this lady, the Lord is TCVO Jesus), were these not slaves or does the lady believe the Midianite girls chose to be given to TCVO Jesus

32 The plunder remaining from the spoils that the soldiers took was 675,000 sheep, 33 72,000 cattle, 34 61,000 donkeys 35 and 32,000 women who had never slept with a man. 36 The half share of those who fought in the battle was: 337,500 sheep, 37 of which the tribute for the Lord was 675; 38 36,000 cattle, of which the tribute for the Lord was 72; 39 30,500 donkeys, of which the tribute for the Lord was 61; 40 16,000 people, of whom the tribute for the Lord was 32.

3. I guess this is part of the mindless emotional fluff we see so often where evangelical "Christian" people selectively compare certain instances in the life of Prophet Muhammad who was running a state with the Jesus of the New Testament who was a citizen and never had any state leadership responsibilities.

On top of this, Trinitarian Christians believe Jesus is God, why are they trying to compare a man they believe to be god with a Prophet? Bizarre. It's not only us who have picked up on this, Christian authors like Thom Stark write about it, equally perplexed:

...since Christians believe that Jesus is God, and Muslims believe that Muhammad was a human prophet, it is patently unfair to try to measure Muhammad against Jesus. Much more appropriate would be to measure Muhammad against Moses, and if Copan were to do that, guess who would be the shining beacon of light? Well, it wouldn’t be the elder of the two states-men. For one thing, Muhammad condemned the slaughter of noncombatants, women and children. Second, he embraced religious tolerance and believed that Christians, despite some theological flaws, were God’s people too, only with imperfect revelation. Moses, on the other hand, ordered and engaged in the slaughter of noncombatants, women and children, on a routine basis, and advocated for anything but religious tolerance. [Thom Stark]

I can't imagine this lady making such arguments against Moses?


In fact, the lady believes Jesus allows slavery in both the Bible and as Paul Williams mentioned, nowhere in the Bible does it teach slaves should be freed. And let us not forget that the lady believes TCVO Jesus allowed the severe beating of female slaves in Exodus 21.

I guess it's just another example of what Paul Williams described as throwing the Bible under the bus and opting for secular Western liberalism. I always find it difficult to understand exactly where this lady is coming from, at times she sounds like a British culturalist, at times like a Westernised watered-down "Christian", at times like a secular liberal, at times like a Daily Mail reader and at times like a radical feminist. The  times she does sound like a Bible-believing Christian she shocks people with comments about her belief that Jesus will return with a SWORD for the "enemies of Christ" (all non Christians, including women I suppose)

The lady kept using a misleading term, "sex slaves"

“Sex slaves”? What is this loaded and utterly misleading term that so many people engaging in low-level polemics are using about Islam. Islam does not have a concept of “sex slaves”. “Sex slaves” are not allowed in Islam. I’ve got an important discussion on this subject here where Christians opt to use the word “concubine” when talking about their tradition but for Islam they, for some reason (anti-Islam propaganda) spin it to “sex slave” when talking about the Islamic tradition. Let’s be honest and fair with our terminology. It’s actually concubine for both religions. “Sex slave” is something completely different and it skews the audience’s understanding if they are not switched on.

Submission to ruling authorities

I think the Christian lady misunderstood Paul's reason for citing Romans 13:1

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

There are a few difficulties for the Christian which stem from thinking about this Bible verse.

A big issue here I notice arising from Paul of Tarsus' myopic vision and his inability to envision a church (not his church as he was not a Trinitarian and nor did he have the same Bible as the Christians of today) would still be in existence 2000 years after him and that church would have had governance of Rome as well as other lands (many of which he would not have known existed).
Due to his myopia, he never instructed Christians in governance and never instructed Christians in how to govern a land based on biblical principles and laws. Christians believe God gave laws on how to regulate a land (a theocracy) in the Old Testament yet for some reason there is nothing similar in the NT but instead we see an encouragement to subservience of (pagan?) rulers, no matter how cruel and unjust they are. State governance based on social justice does not seem to have been on Paul of Tarsus' mind. This is all because Paul of Tarsus did not envision his religion and community to last long. Little did he know that a church would have saved some of his letters (not all of his letters), designated them "inspired by God" and put them in a canon to add to the Hebrew Bible alongside some other written documents including four "gospels".

I really don't think Paul of Tarsus would recognise the Christian lady in the park to be a follower of his.

And I'm absolutely certain the historical Jesus would not consider her to be a follower of his.

Geza Vermes speaks of Jesus as a ‘lover and worshipper of his Father in heaven’ , whose transformation into an object of worship ‘would have filled this Galilean Hasid with stupefaction, anger and deepest grief’ (Vermes 1983:13) [Cambridge Companion to Jesus Edited by Markus Bockmuehl – Cambridge University Press – 2001]

Analysing Jay Smith's Student's Debate At Speakers Corner On Atonement

Christian Polemicists on Love, Quran 3:32, John 3:16 and Romans 5:8

Jay Smith, Did John Write Down What Jesus Said?

Jay Smith Is Confident He's Going to Paradise!

Missionaries Misusing the Hadith: Sins On Jews and Christians

Christian Uses 1 John 2:22 To Attack Prophet Muhammad (p)

Did Jay Smith Not Teach Hatun Tash About Hell in Christianity?

Advice For Muslims On Dealing With Christian Anti-Muslim Sentiment...

A Difficulty On the Christian Idea of Salvation and Forgiveness

Synoptic Gospels and the Idea of a Pre-Existant Jesus?

Tovia Singer: Does the New Testament Teach Jesus is God?


Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Dishonest Misisonaries Claiming Prophet Muhammad Allowed Beating Of Slaves

This is just another outright dishonest claim. They spin a hadith where the Prophet gently rebuked a companion for beating his slave as an allowance of beating slaves. Do you find that odd? Welcome to the world of dishonest anti-Islam Christian polemics.

It's discussed in this video from the 2.00 min timeframe onwards.

This video is also uploaded here and here

Book 10, Number 1814: Narrated Asma' bint AbuBakr: We came out for performing hajj along with the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him). When we reached al-Araj, the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) alighted and we also alighted. Aisha sat beside the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) and I sat beside my father (AbuBakr). The equipment and personal effects of AbuBakr and of the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) were placed with AbuBakr's slave on a camel. AbuBakr was sitting and waiting for his arrival. He arrived but he had no camel with him. He asked: Where is your camel? He replied: I lost it last night. AbuBakr said: There was only one camel, even that you have lost. He then began to beat him while the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) was smiling and saying: Look at this man who is in the sacred state (putting on ihram), what is he doing? Ibn AbuRizmah said: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) spoke nothing except the words: Look at this man who is in the sacred state (wearing ihram), what is he doing? He was smiling (when he uttered these words).

Bible: Exodus 21:20-21New International Version (NIV) 20 “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

Tovia Singer: Does the New Testament Teach Jesus is God?

Muslim-Christian Discussion on Numbers 31 - Analysis and Commentary

A discussion between a popular Muslim speaker at Speakers Corner and a Christian lady on Numbers 31 - Moses’ treatment of the Midianites.

For me this was an interesting discussion, perhaps the pick of the recent Speakers Corner discussions. You can find this discussion on the SC Dawah channel (a well respected and, perhaps, the most popular Speakers Corner YouTube channel).

There’s a short debate and then some powerful preaching (a recommended listen!) from Hashim jam-packed with good points.

Hitting Asiha? “Sex-slaves”.

Look, low-level polemics and spin need to stop if you want to communicate with integrity

Before getting on to the debate, I want to pick on two throw-away comments which really got my goat.

1. The lady effectively claimed Prophet Muhammad hit Asiha by referencing a Hadith we have covered more than once (her colleagues have been publicly corrected on this issue previously!). Sadly, people get corrected and have things explained to them but their pride or their agenda gets in the way and they just don’t take ownership of their mistakes and raise their hands to give up bad and misleading arguments publicly. If folks did this more often we would have a better environment to have meaningful and honest discussion (as I write, a few days a go, an Arabic-speaking secularist whom I corrected on social media concerning the Hadith in question actually did the right thing, he acknowledged it was a bad argument which he should not have raised, respect to him for that!). There’s a narration from Aisha where she says the Prophet never struck any of his wives, so to say he hit Aisha would not stack up with this narration, right? The hand imposition of the Prophet is not considered to be wife-beating as the intention was not to hit or beat Aisha, the Prophet used this to ward off evil thoughts and doubts in people. Let’s start seeing people be fair when they talk about this (and other) Hadith. What are folks afraid of, that they will have to be more fair-minded in discussion? Surely this is a good thing. I genuinely believe, if Christians actually circulated good Muslims responses (a plethora can be found online on various blogs and websites) to the low-level polemics doing the rounds in Christian circles, most reasonable Christians would reject the low-level polemics and opt for more sophisticated and reasonable dialogue with Muslims. Right now, it’s a free-for-all mud-slinging contest. The Hadith of causing Aisha pain is explained here. 

2. “Sex slaves”? What is this loaded and utterly misleading term that so many people engaging in low-level polemics are using about Islam. Islam does not have a concept of “sex slaves”. “Sex slaves” are not allowed in Islam. I’ve got an important discussion on this subject here where Christians opt to use the word “concubine” when talking about their tradition but for Islam they, for some reason (anti-Islam propaganda) spin it to “sex slave” when talking about the Islamic tradition. Let’s be honest and fair with our terminology. It’s actually concubine for both religions. “Sex slave” is something completely different and it skews the audience’s understanding if they are not switched on.

Hashim: Why did Moses order the killing of women [and children] in Numbers 31?

The Christian lady’s explanation was that the women "encouraged" the Israelites into idolatry. I would ask her, if *all* the women were encouraging the Israelites into idolatry or if it was only a few...

Based on the explanation she gave, the lady has no issue with contravening religious freedom and freedom to worship whatever/who one wants. If she’s got no issue here and considers this to be a rightful reason to kill the mature women (mothers) then she’s saying she does not believe in freedom of religion on all occasions at the very least. The same applies if she believes Jesus will return with a sword for anybody who does not believe in him upon his return. And, likewise with the order to stone to death people who preach the worship of different gods in the Bible, see Deuteronomy 13.
The UN Declaration of Human Rights kind of gets put to the side when thinking about all the above beliefs.

I’m not saying (and nor do I believe), this is an argument against Trinitarian Jesus, the Bible, Jews, Christians and Moses. It’s just an observation to keep in mind as many Westernised Christians give the impression they are not aware of these points and many of them fall into serious inconsistency (hypocrisy which is a sin) when talking about Islam.

Distancing TCVO Jesus from Numbers 31?

Note: TCVO Jesus = Trinitarian Church Version Of Jesus

15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people. 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

The Christian lady was doing something extremely telling in calling it the Mosaic law, name-dropping Moses and distancing “Christ” from this by going out of her way to state the number of centuries it allegedly took place before “Christ”.

She’s awfully uncomfortable, visibly so, and wants to distance Jesus from this consciously (she’s mindful it’s a public discussion) and subconsciously (cognitive dissonance: the Westernised idea that TCVO Jesus is all about love and peace does not mesh with Numbers 31, and other parts of the Bible). The problems in trying to distance Jesus from Numbers 31 and Moses for her are a few:

1. The order given to Moses to take vengeance on the Midianites, as Hashim rightly points out, is in the first verse of the chapter, it’s from Yahweh. This does not appear to be Moses acting on his own thoughts sinfully, is he not following a divine command according to the Bible here?

2. For her this order is from Jesus as she’s a Trinitarian so she believes Jesus is the 2nd person of the fourth century Trinity idea. In effect, she believes Jesus is God and thus the order given to Moses to take vengeance on the Midianites is from Jesus.

3. For her, Jesus would consider Moses to be a holy and righteous man; Acts 7:22 talks of Moses as mighty in his words and deeds and Numbers 12:3 describes Moses as the meekest man on earth.

4. Moses would have been a moral exemplar for the community he was sent to. This moral exemplar was sent by TCVO Jesus according to the lady. Jews believes Moses to be their teacher and his prophecy to have primacy (see Moses Maimonides' 13 Principles of Faith). One thing I'm curious about is whether Christians like this lady would preach to Jews by methods of character assassination of Moses and unjust comparisons with Jesus in order to get Jews to worship Jesus (a man!). This is the type of tactic they use with Muslims, why would they not use these tactics for Jews too?

5. There was a prophecy of a prophet to come who would be like Moses, Muslims argue this prophet is Prophet Muhammad, the description of Moses in Numbers 31 is not something that Muslims are obligated to accept but bible-believing Christians are obligated to believe Moses gave such orders to kill women and children. The Christian lady may argue the prophecy of one to come who is like Moses is Jesus. If that’s what she believes, she’s got the cognitive dissonance of Jesus being like somebody who ordered the killing of women and children. [Having said that, Trinitarians do believe Jesus ordered the killing of children and women in 1 Samuel 15:3 and even made women suspected of infidelity to take a test which would mean their unborn children of such unholy relationships would be killed]

What about the children, why were they killed?

The Christian lady tried to skirt away from having to try and explain why the children were killed. Hashim pulled her up on this and insisted she directs her concentration towards this matter – she seemed to want to talk about something else. Anything else but this?

To her credit she did say she does not know why the male children were killed and that she will look into it. This does lead us to the question, why does she not know? I mean, she’s obviously familiar with the reference of Numbers 31, her colleagues have been told about it before. Why has she never thought about this? Given the numerous weak and fabricated Hadith folks on the low-level polemics bandwagon cite to attack Prophet Muhammad and Islam, this is odd. How can they have invested so much time and so many memory banks in fabricated and weak hadith yet not given a few minutes thought and research into Numbers 31? Odd!

I truly hope this is a conversation that Hashim continues with this lady, she’s said (given her word) she will try and find out why Christians believe Moses (and TCVO Jesus?) ordered the killing of male children..

How many male children and married women were killed?

Thom Stark (in his book response to Paul Copan) does a rough calculation of the number of Midianite boys and non-virgin women killed based on the number of virgin girls left alive. He estimates a total of 44,000 (forty four thousand) male children and non-virgin women were killed.

Let’s use Tooting, an area in south London, to help understand 44,000 people look like. Tooting’s population as per a census in 2011 was about 16,000.

Imagine Sadiq Khan, London’s current mayor and a resident and former MP of Tooting, decides Tooting should be singularly used to house single mothers with male children. Everybody is heralding Sadiq Khan as a great guy for dedicating Tooting to single mothers with male children. The single mothers and the male children love the common, the tranquillity of Tooting, the travel connections, the lido, multi-cultural restaurants/shops and are so grateful to mayor Khan and the people of Tooting who left on mass to give the new inhabitants space to live in this district dedicated speicifically for them.

And then imagine the IRA or an Anders Brevijk type of terrorist massacred every inhabitant of Tooting, all the single mothers and male children.

Then imagine that happening 3 times over!

We’re talking about a lot of male children and non virgin women which the Christian lady believes TCVO Jesus and her prophet (Moses) wanted killed.

The more you think about it, the more amazed you are at the lady who clearly knows about this passage but yet has not asked why...

 “As a Christian I don’t follow Moses”

This was part of the Christian lady’s mechanism to distance her religion and Jesus from Moses. However, this lady believes Jesus, upon his return, will return with a sword for his enemies (people who don’t believe in him). This defence mechanism does not stand up to scrutiny because if she was to compare TCVO Jesus with Moses, she will conclude Moses uses less violence than TCVO Jesus. Moses is more peaceful than who the church believes to be “the prince of peace”?

She’s going to reject the idea of TCVO Jesus and reject the biblical version of Moses if she’s consistent with the line of argumentation which was given to her by older missionaries, namely pick out an event in the life of Prophet Muhammad which was in the context of war and/or state leadership and isolate it in order to portray Prophet Muhammad in the most negative light possible.

Will she say something like this, “Moses is a horrible example for mankind, he ordered the killing of so many young boys and women, as a feminist I reject Moses as a prophet as no prophet would ever do this”
Or “TCVO Jesus is considered to be a prophet but I’ve just learnt the Trinitarian church believe Jesus ordered the killing of mothers and children in 1 Samuel 15:3 so he’s clearly a false prophet who is a horrible example for mankind, he’s a sinful and evil person”
Or, “to be fair and honest, if we were to compare Prophet Muhammad with TCVO Jesus, Prophet Muhammad uses less violence and is gentler and kinder towards women. TCVO Jesus is not somebody to be followed based on his attitude towards women and children, this is without even considering TCVO Jesus is going to return with a sword for anybody who does not believe in him which means, if he returns tomorrow, he’s going to terrorise most of the world’s men and women for simply not believing in him”
If she’s not going to say and believe this type of stuff, then Hashim is quite right in calling her inconsistent. Food for thought, for her and others like he!

Sadly, I suspect seniors in Christian polemics against Islam know all this but they feel they have to cling on to old-refuted and inconsistent polemics against Islam because they’ve (mis)invested so much time, emotional energy and money into such arguments. Jay Smith’s career is pretty much defined by this line of inconsistent rhetoric.

You know certain hadith but you don’t know Numbers 31?

Great point!

Hashim calls into question how a Christian (the lady in this case but to be honest this lady is simply regurgitating the same script used by many [most?] Christians who argue against Islam) can know about certain hadith for polemical purposes (which, when they aren’t citing utterly fabricated hadith or others that are not accepted, they usually misrepresent or de-contectualise) but have never thought about Moses and Numbers 31. Ditto for 1 Samuel 15. Ditto for Exodus 21:20-21.

And, as highlighted above, she believes Moses was sanctioned by Jesus as she’s a Trinitarian. She still believes Moses is a prophet despite this and the Old Testament laws which Westernised Christians find difficult.

Can you imagine if there was a fabricated tradition which said Prophet Muhammad ordered the killing of ~40,000 male children. You can imagine Christians who so embroiled in low-level polemics against Islam would be yelling from the roof-tops, day and night about it. Yet, there’s a deafening silence about references such as Numbers 31. Why?

In fact, I'd bet all the estates the Church of England own on Christians having a field day if one of their polemical websites made up a "hadith" saying the Prophet ordered the killing of 40,000 Arabian pagan male children and kept the female ones alive.

Inconsistency, a stubborn stain

This ties back to the points made against the idea the Holy Spirit is guiding Christians, if there are Christians out there who are so inconsistent when talking about Islam, and they’ve followed the same modus operandi for decades, then how can a Christian truly accept that person is in-dwelt and sanctified by the Holy Spirit? We’re veering on to a different subject, it’s a subject I enjoy, I’ve posted about here:

Does The Holy Spirit Work Within Christians?

"Why are you comparing your god with my prophet"?

I liked this question.

It’s really odd to hear Christians compare Jesus with Muhammad. Hashim thinks the comparison is unfair and he’d rather compare Allah with the Trinitarian idea of God: Allah can forgive without the blood of an innocent person (Christians believe in blood atonement) and worshipping Allah is not considered idolatry by those who follow the same religion as the people who were responsible for the Old Testament and decided what should be its canon  (Jews consider worshipping Jesus to be idolatry).

However, if they want to compare TCVO Jesus to Muhammad, Hashim *could* indulge them.

If they were consistent with their thought-pattern, they'd believe Prophet Muhammad is more loving than TCVO Jesus!

Prophet Muhammad forbade the beating of slaves yet TCVO Jesus allowed the severe beating of slaves (including female slaves) in Exodus 21:20-21. Prophet Muhammad forbade the killing of women, children and innocent people in war whilst we’ve already established that Christians believe TCVO Jesus ordered the killing of children and women.

On this point, I’d recommend the reader would read some thoughts in this post which discuss the idea of comparing Prophet Muhammad with Jesus.

That said, Prophet Muhammad was a leader of a state whilst Prophet Jesus was not so the missionary tactic of isolating punitive state laws or wars concerning Prophet Muhammad and comparing them with Jesus (who led a civilian life and was never a leader of a state) would be intellectually dishonest.

This line of thinking, if consistent, would mean that you’d accept Ghandi is more moral than Jesus, Moses and Abraham as Ghandi was not involved in any physical struggle. Or you’d see arguments like Richard Dawkins is better than Churchill and Moses because Rchard Dawkins did not use violence.

And, even arguments like, Richard Dawkins is more peaceful and loving than Jesus of the church gospels as Richard Dawkins did not threaten to come with a sword for his enemies. What are Christians going to do now, give up on the bible and accept Dawkins' God Delusion book and give up on worshipping a Middle Eastern man for worshipping an Englishman in Dawkins?

Come on folks, let's think by using brains rather than hormones. Rationality > emotions.


Although the actual discussion was brief it raised the theme of consistency which is always important as inconsistency is a form of intellectual dishonesty if done deliberately. The discussion really helps break down what seems to be emotionally incontinent approaches where Christians try to unfairly and misleadingly compare Prophet Muhammad with Jesus in an attempt of one-upmanship.

In fact, Thom Stark, a Christian author, would probably agree with Hashim and consider his points to be valid:

since Christians believe that Jesus is God, and Muslims believe that Muhammad was a human prophet, it is patently unfair to try to measure Muhammad against Jesus. Much more appropriate would be to measure Muhammad against Moses, and if Copan were to do that, guess who would be the shining beacon of light? Well, it wouldn’t be the elder of the two states-men. For one thing, Muhammad condemned the slaughter of non-combatants, women and children. Second, he embraced religious tolerance and believed that Christians, despite some theological flaws, were God’s people too, only with imperfect revelation. Moses, on the other hand, ordered and engaged in the slaughter of noncombatants, women and children, on a routine basis, and advocated for anything but religious tolerance”

Anybody, including Christians, who is willing to apply a level-headed attitude and a desire for intellectual fairness would fundamentally agree with what Hashim said and what is written in this commentary. Why is this getting lost in debates between Muslims and evangelical types? It’s because many Christians have, by intellectual osmosis, imbibed low-level polemics against Islam due to them being more prone to emotionalism. Irresponsible Christian missionaries and Christian polemicists marshalled anti-intellectual arguments and polemics into the discussion.

Another problem here is that of pride, a Christian social media riposte directed at me suggested to me that there is an attitude amongst some Christians that those who “engage” “publicly” with Muslims at Speakers Corner are “brave”. It really does not matter if one dialogues over the internet or in person, both are dialogues involving real people and souls (in fact, a good dialogue over the net trumps a bad dialogue in person which generates more heat than light). Let’s do away with the machismo. Pride can lead one to be blinded to how poor in argumentation you actually are. Is pride the reason behind the obvious flaws in this lady’s argumentation in this debate/discussion, is she blinded to the flaws therein but the rest of us can see them?

At the end of the day, this is something for Christians to address, all too often a Christian turns up arguing like the lady in the video and they go home pulling fluff and lint out of their hair as they were in the pocket of the Muslim they were arguing. These are lop-sided dialogues, Muslims come off far more sophisticated, intellectually honest and reasoned. My concern here is for young Christians switched on to the idea of consistency, who upon seeing the Christian missionary arguments back-fire and argue against Christianity and TCVO Jesus much more so than they do against Islam, wo may begin to question God or become anti-religion. On this subject, I recommend reading this piece raising the concern that inconsistency Christians who argue against Islam are in fact contributing to Christians leaving the church.

It’s only going to get increasingly more common and more and more difficult for Christians as more people (thanks in part to the hardwork of people like Hashim who counter low level Christian polemics in popular videos online) are getting familiar with the difficult things Christians actually believe about TCVO Jesus. Numbers 31 and 1 Samuel 15 are not the extent of it, there’s more, much more. For Muslims, I recommend you watch this video to familiarise yourself with some of this stuff so you can use it wisely to help bring a Christian who is following the same trend as the lady to consistency. However, if you’re an immature Muslim who just wants to learn about these difficulties to accost, troll and abuse unsuspecting young Christians online then I would suggest you find something better to do, these are discussions which need to be conducted by fair-minded, mature and intellectually honest people. We are talking about matters of faith here. Offending Christians is not the name of the game here.

Arming people with low-level polemics, one-line slogans and crummy arguments never works in the eyes of smart people or in the long-term, just look at what’s happened to the Christians and the way many of them come across as anti-intellectual and led by emotions in their dialogues. Learn from their mistakes. There’s a rise in secularism and an anti-religion (mainly anti-Abrahamic religions) sentiment which is sweeping much of the world. Muslims need to be intellectually equipped to deal with this. Learning and studying is key, in order to do so you have to drop your pride and recognise your areas of development. It would be a tragedy to see a generation of Muslims being inconsistent and anti-intellectual because of laziness and pride. Again, learn from the mistakes of the Christians, let’s try not to make the same mistakes.

Analysing The Debate: Is Christianity Destroying the World (Between A Young Preacher Bob The Builder and a Young Muslim)

Analysing Jay Smith's Student's Debate At Speakers Corner On Atonement

Christian Polemicists on Love, Quran 3:32, John 3:16 and Romans 5:8

Jay Smith, Did John Write Down What Jesus Said?

Jay Smith Is Confident He's Going to Paradise!

Missionaries Misusing the Hadith: Sins On Jews and Christians

Christian Uses 1 John 2:22 To Attack Prophet Muhammad (p)

Did Jay Smith Not Teach Hatun Tash About Hell in Christianity?

Advice For Muslims On Dealing With Christian Anti-Muslim Sentiment...

A Difficulty On the Christian Idea of Salvation and Forgiveness

Synoptic Gospels and the Idea of a Pre-Existant Jesus?

Tovia Singer: Does the New Testament Teach Jesus is God?

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Does The Holy Spirit Work Within Christians?

Sadly, this is such an under-explored talking point.

It’s the notion that the Holy Spirit works continuous sanctification in the believer, causing him or her to grow in holiness and become, as the young preacher just said, more Christ like.

This video is also uploaded herehere and here

Many Christian preachers, like this young man (Godwin of Speakers Corner), make the claim of the Hoy Spirit indwelling them and working within them a sort of regeneration over time.

I want to explore the logical outworking here which I believe many preachers, really have not thought about in great depth.

The implication here, is essentially a falsification test. This belief can be demonstrated to be false. Practically demonstrated to be false by Christians themselves

Let me explain, what is essentially being said here is that a Christian who has been a Christian for a pretty lengthy amount of time should be able to be more morally upright than anybody else,

Let’s take somebody who has been a Christian for at least a decade,this person, in theory would have had the Holy Spirit working within them and making them more Christ-like for decade, 10 years.

But this is at loggerheads with what we observe within Christian communities. If this preacher truly believes the Holy Spirit works within Christians then how can he explain why Christians are often surpassed by other faith groups in self-discipline (avoiding sins) or the fact 75% of Christians are mired with struggle with pornography? Martin Saunders uses a straw poll he conducted in 2014 to show That’s 75% of Christian men engaging with pornography on, let’s say, a monthly basis.

Within those stats there are some interesting details, 42% said they would describe their behaviour as ‘compulsive or an addiction’

Are you trying to tell me 4/10 Christians have the Holy spirit in them yet can’t beat a serious addiction/compulsion to porn?

If, as the preacher believes, the Holy Spirit is working on these people and leading them to become holier then why can’t they break free from their struggles with pornography?

Are you not indirectly insulting the Holy spirit here in vocally declaring you have the Spiri indwelling within you whilst you, yourself, struggle with this issue of lust.

Just so we are clear, I’m not railing against men for having issues with lust, we all struggle with this, My concern here, is this religious claim of the Holy Spirit indwelling people

Now, other men of other faiths, non Christians, can manage to resist the temptation of pornography, the preacher, presumably believes this is done without the Holy Spirit. So is this not proof enough to suggest preacher’s argument for the Holy Spirit being within Christians is spurious at the very least. Surely, the preacher as a Christian, would not want to suggest non-Christians are capable of greater moral feats than those led by the Holy Spirit?

To throw another problem at preacher’s reasoning, what of those Christians who have been in the church for decades promoting and defending church doctrines and then leave the church because they apostatize? Does that not throw a spanner in the works for preacher’s claims of the Holy Spirit working within Christians and causing them to grow in [Christian] holiness. If this is the case why are we seeing older Christians leaving Christianity, surely if this was the case no decades-old Christian would leave the faith

Paul of Tarsus in Galatians 5 lists what he believes is the fruit of the Spirit:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Notice, this is all stuff (aside from Paul’s version of faith) you can observe in a Buddhist, Muslim, Sikh, Jew or even dare I say an Atheist. But also notice the words peace, gentleness and meekness — our Christian friends may be a little surprised to see a couple of rabbis suggesting Christians are arguably the most violent people in history. How is this if Christians have the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit leads to peace and gentleness? How can other groups (Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims etc.) be seen as more peaceful and gentle than Christians?

So what exactly do Christians believe the Holy Spirit gives them that others cannot achieve in character and moral standing? Should Christians not rethink their beliefs about the Holy Spirit?

Is this belief not ultimately a practical insult to the Holy Spirit? That’s a rhetorical question for Christians to wrestle with.

Analysing The Debate: Is Christianity Destroying the World (Between A Young Preacher Bob The Builder and a Young Muslim)

I skimmed through the first part of a video from Speakers Corner featuring a young Christian and a young Muslim entitled IS CHRISTIANITY DESTROYING THE WORLD? BR QASIM & BOB THE BUILDER.

I did not watch the second part, personally I’m not in favour of debate titles and topics like this as all religions have fine teachings, Christianity is very similar to Islam in many aspects thus has much good in it.

What does this debate achieve? Does it advance Muslim-Christian dialogue? Does it achieve more heat rather than light? Does it bring the Christian closer to pure Abrahamic monotheism? These are questions for the debaters to think about.

Having said that, let’s go through some of the debate points

Interest based economics

Qasim claims Christianity encourages the exploiting of the poor through the economic system - interest based economics. He puts forward Deut 23:20 to contend the Bible allows the exploitation of foreigners. I guess, this was a bridge for him to talk about how the colonialists in the West treated the Africans and Asians they conquered.

Qasim also believes all the wars of the last two centuries are all related to the (Christian) West.

I don't think Bob the Builder directly addressed these claims in the part I watched (part 1), Bob spoke about Christian charities and a separation of the West and Christianity.

20 You may charge a foreigner interest, but not a fellow Israelite, so that the Lord your God may bless you in everything you put your hand to in the land you are entering to possess. [Deut 23]

Qasim basically railed against a rampant capitalism which he links to Christianity. This idea of modern capitalism being related to Protestant Christianity goes back to Max Werber's theory around the Reformation. His work is a complicated read, you can find it online. Many people reference to it. I don't really think it has much value in Muslim-Christian apologetics.

 Qasim  highlighted the weakness in the teaching of separating religion from the state, the idea of give to Caesar what is his. He believes this is part of the reason why an  immoral capitalism and consumerism is plaguing the West. Qasim says the same applies to pornography production. I suspect a great number of ills in society could be linked to the teaching of giving to Caesar what is his.

I do believe this is a major problem in Christianity, Paul of Tarsus did not envisage his religion spreading and existing as a global religion which would have influence on various lands and countries hence why he nor other writers of the New Testament taught about Christian governance, There was near-sightedness on the part of Paul and the other NT authors, they could never envisage being the dominant culture and religious movement in the Roman Empire and thus taught a subservience to Roman (non Christian) rule. If you truly believe you have a message from God, then why would you not want the teachings of that message to be foremost in the governing of a country?

Bible and alcohol

For Qasim, alcolol is a legalised Christian drug. He feels Christianity encourages poor people to drink alcohol. He suggests the problems of alcohol dependency in aboriginal Australian communities go back to the Bible.

Let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more. [Proverbs 31:7]

Bob's response was to talk about how alcohol existed prior to Christianity and that it's permissible to drink alcohol but not abuse alcohol. Drinking in moderation is allowed according to Bob the Builder.

The problem here for Bob is that even in moderation, alcohol has been shown to be a risk factor to certain cancers. And if one knows anything about alcohol, you'll know that it's difficult to moderate one's drinking as alcohol by its very nature makes one lose their inhibitions incrementally.

Surely a better teaching would be to forbid alcohol outright.

Lip service or sincerely held beliefs?

In Qasim's mind, the principle of "love your neighbour" is just rhetoric, political lip-service. I don’t reckon this is the case given that many Christians are charitable and many Christians consider helping poor people a Christian teaching. Muslims and Christians are perhaps the most charitable people in the world. For Muslims, we would say this stems back to the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah, Islam has a big emphasis on charity and looking after the poor. I think, likewise, for Christians who involve themselves in efforts of charity, they will say this originates from their Church traditions. Bob the Builder, iirc, listed some Christian charities in the video.

A racist ideology of white supremacy?

Qasim finds the practice of Christians depicting Jesus as a white man problematic to a healthy society. He believes Christianity is a racist ideology which teaches people to worship a white man.

Bob does not really dispute the claim that many Christians (in the West) have made Jesus into a white man but his argument here is that other Christians of other cultures make Jesus into their images; Christians in Japan and Ethiopia make Jesus into a Japanese or East African respectively.

The problem here, for Bob, is that this does not fully counter the various offshoots of Qasim’s claim. If Christianity allows people to make Jesus into their own racial image does this not leave the door open for the most economically and geo-politically advanced Christian group (at this time, Western European Christians) to promote supremacy of their race subconsciously?

It’s an interesting thought. An interesting discussion could spring from what Qasim said as long as it is done in a mature and thoughtful way.

The other problem here, for Bob, is that he’s openly admitted Christians make Jesus (that’s God for Trinitarians) into their own image. So what are these Japanese, East African and Western European Christians doing here? Could it be argued that they are involved in a form of pride and self-worship in portraying God in their own phenotypes?

This seemed to be a touchy subject and Bob lost his sense of respect, charity and decorum (again). Bob the Builder was wildly out of order in accusing the young Muslim, Qasim, of hating “White European” people. This is a hefty allegation and it’s reckless to make such public assertions based on what is no evidence at all. Qasim should seek a public apology from Bob the Builder for slander (perhaps even seek legal counsel if such a retraction is not made as claims like those can lead to one losing standing in society, be it social or economic). Make no bones about it, this was a serious a case of slander, it should not be taken lightly and brushed off as normal behaviour at Speakers Corner, Hyde Park.

Bob the Builder, if he’s a Bible-believing Trinitarian church traditionalist then he may well believe Jesus is calling him (Bob) a “fool”:

“...and whoever utters slander is a fool” [Proverbs 10:18]

Again, this is a shocking statement, one in which fair-minded Christians and Muslims should rebuke Bob for and politely ask Bob to retract this. It sets a very worrying precedent where young people could feel making false charges of racism (and other things) is an unchallenged norm.

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour” [Exodus 20:16]

This ties in with a recent discussion featuring a young Christian preacher (Godwin) at Speakers Corner on whether the Holy Spirit sanctifies and guides Christians in holiness. I think this type of behaviour by evangelicals is a practical demonstration they do not have the Holy Spirit regenerating them.

Drug use and a shame culture?

Bob states prohibition of drugs in Islamic countries has not stopped drug use in Muslim countries such as Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. This seems quite a vacuous statement. Prohibition of drink driving, rape, drugs and theft has not prevented such crimes miring societies the world over - there will always be outliers in every society.

He argues that Muslim countries cannot tackle opium abuse problems because Islam creates a shame culture. Every culture has taboo and shame around drugs and other immoral behaviour - including Christian cultures. Bob's polemic is myopic and poorly thought out.  It's not Islam that creates  shame culture, in fact, if somebody is struggling with an addiction then it would be meritorious for other Muslims to help that person battle his/her addiction. Part of helping people against addictions to alcohol or drugs is to ban alcohol and drugs so it is less widely available.

As Qasim rightly pointed out, Afghanistan’s drug production is linked to the West. I thought the young Muslim did well to outline the politico-historical circumstances around the opium production in Afghanistan (Afghanistan shares borders with Iran and Pakistan so it’s hardly surprising that those neighbouring countries are effected by the lucrative drugs trade leaving many victims of drug abuse and addicts in its wake).

Being superficial on slavery - old polemics

Slavery, Bob’s argument is the usual superficial argument that Christian countries banned slavery before Muslim countries did. When I was researching this subject a while back I noticed the prohibition of slavery coincided with the industrial revolution. It does not take Einstein to figure out that there may well be a correlation here; the Muslim countries were not in a position to dispense with man-power (a large bulk of it was from slaves) whilst Western (Christian) were in that position due to the Industrial Revolution.

We must never downplay, the role the slaves in the Caribbean played in gaining their own freedom, they rebelled. These rebellions were costly, making it less cost-effective to continue slavery. The concern here is to avoid the idea of African slaves being wholly dependent upon the Christian's/West's love for their freedom. Slaves were very much part of helping the push for abolition.

Quite often, Christian apologists/evangelists seemingly make out Christianity was the chief driving force in the abolition movement. This is not true, common sense dictates it is not true as Christianity was around when the slave trade was flourishing (by the efforts of Christians)!

Furthermore, I recall seeing pamphlets from the pro-slavery lobby in the UK which opposed the anti-slavery lobby. Both sides actually used the Bible to support their stances!

Let’s see Christian move beyond simplistic polemics. Smart and informed people can see through them. Christians often complain about an anti-intellectualism amongst their fellow Christians, when you have so many preachers and apologists serving up old, tired and simplistic rhetoric (effectively propaganda harrumphs) which have little academic value, is there any surprise anti-intellectualism is so wide-spread in Christian communities?

“Prophet Muhammad and his followers had slaves"

This was one of Bob’s unfair talking points.

Slavery existed before Islam and it was embedded in the community whilst Islam was being Revealed.

For Bob, the 2nd person of the Trinity idea (later to become Jesus) gave Moses laws on buying and selling slaves in Exodus 21.

Prophet Muhammad promoted the freeing of slaves, so much so that if people, over the years, followed his instructions diligently the slaves of every community would have been freed, thus effectively ending slavery aside from new war captives. In Islam, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade would be considered immoral as going out to kidnap and enslave them is against the ethics Islam. Why not mention that at Speakers Corner, Bob the Builder?

This is one of the basic principles of Islam. When the question is asked: why does Islam permit slavery? We reply emphatically and without shame that slavery is permitted in Islam, but we should examine the matter with fairness and with the aim of seeking the truth, and we should examine the details of the rulings on slavery in Islam, with regard to the sources and reasons for it, and how to deal with the slave and how his rights and duties are equal to those of the free man, and the ways in which he may earn his freedom, of which there are many in sharee’ah, whilst also taking into consideration the new types of slavery in this world which is pretending to be civilized, modern and progressive.

When Islam came, there were many causes of slavery, such as warfare, debt (where if the debtor could not pay off his debt, he became a slave), kidnapping and raids, and poverty and need.

Slavery did not spread in this appalling manner throughout all continents except by means of kidnapping; rather the main source of slaves in Europe and America in later centuries was this method.

The texts of Islam took a strong stance against this. It says in a hadeeth qudsi: “Allaah, may He be exalted, said: ‘There are three whose opponent I will be on the Day of Resurrection, and whomever I oppose, I will defeat … A man who sold a free man and consumed his price.’” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (2227).

It is worth pointing out that you do not find any text in the Qur’aan or Sunnah which enjoins taking others as slaves, whereas there are dozens of texts in the Qur’aan and the ahaadeeth of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) which call for manumitting slaves and freeing them.

There were many sources of slaves at the time of the advent of Islam, whereas the means of manumitting them were virtually nil. Islam changed the way in which slavery was dealt with; it created many new ways of liberating slaves, blocked many ways of enslaving people, and established guidelines which blocked these means [Source]

Paul of Tarsus, purported to be inspired by God, encouraged slaves to obey their masters in Ephesians 6, Paul did not have an issue with slavery...

Bob the Builder’s Trinitarian Church Version of Jesus, not only allowed slaves in the Old and New Testament, but TCVO Jesus also allowed the severe beating of slaves in Exodus 21, both females (yes female slaves could be beaten severely too!) and males. The Prophet of Islam forbade beating slaves.

20 “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property. [Exodus 21 – Bible]

I’ve noticed this mudslinging around slavery seems to be a common practice amongst anti-Islam evangelicals. I would encourage them to start thinking deeper on the topic and read what Muslim scholars are saying about it.

Again, let’s see Christian folks move away from low level polemic be it in parks or online.


The young Muslim involved in the dialogue is clearly an intelligent person who is learned in history, current affairs and global politics but I can’t help to wonder how much better he’d come off if he planned the topics of the debate a week in advance and consulted under the tutelage of more experienced Muslims on possible topics to discuss as well as talking points.

I do believe debates on such topics can potentially be unhelpfully divisive (especially when done in a confrontational and prideful way) and ultimately end up pitting Muslims and Christians against each other, offline and online, in mudslinging echo chambers. Perhaps this debate served to ratchet up antagonism against Muslims hence Bob’s slander and some of the racist and threatening anti-Muslim comments on the Christian channel which also uploaded the debate. I would encourage serious minded Christians to make a public condemnation of this type of rhetoric as we have seen it before from online folks who were following Jay Smith's videos. Let's see this toxic element marginalised and rebuked publicly by our Christian friends.

Let’s try our utmost to ensure discussion brings about understanding and good fruit.

Analysing Jay Smith's Student's Debate At Speakers Corner On Atonement

Christian Polemicists on Love, Quran 3:32, John 3:16 and Romans 5:8

Jay Smith, Did John Write Down What Jesus Said?

Jay Smith Is Confident He's Going to Paradise!

Missionaries Misusing the Hadith: Sins On Jews and Christians

Christian Uses 1 John 2:22 To Attack Prophet Muhammad (p)

Did Jay Smith Not Teach Hatun Tash About Hell in Christianity?

Advice For Muslims On Dealing With Christian Anti-Muslim Sentiment...

A Difficulty On the Christian Idea of Salvation and Forgiveness

Synoptic Gospels and the Idea of a Pre-Existant Jesus?

Tovia Singer: Does the New Testament Teach Jesus is God?


Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Analysing Jay Smith's Student's Debate At Speakers Corner On Atonement

This is a review and commentary on a Muslim –Christian dialogue video which I saw online. The Muslim is Hashim (a popular speaker for Islam at Speakers Corner) and the Christian, Elizabeth Schofield of St Nicholas Church, Tooting.

Dusters and uneven scales

Lizzie Schofield begins by throwing dust in the air. She makes a big deal about nothing. In her view it’s a contradiction if one believes in works/good deeds alongside the belief that you’ll only go into Paradise through Allah’s (God’s) mercy.

This is one of the traits I don’t like about Lizzie. She goes into simplistic and shallow thinking when talking about Islam just to make room for a polemic to attack Islam

Good deeds are the product of sincere faith. Sincere faith and good deeds are due to the mercy of God. It is due to God’s mercy that He rewards good deeds. Ultimately, every blessing is due to the mercy of God; the decision to forgive somebody and permit them in heaven is due to God’s mercy when all things are said and done.

There is no contradiction.

Lizzie will jump through hoops to support ideas such as the god-man dying or the trinity in an effort to justify these church beliefs as non-contradictory yet she will not even go beyond surface level thought when talking about Islam. There’s a reason for this, she will not have any polemics left (and will ultimately have to consider Islam seriously).

A Catholic would understand this so perhaps Lizzie’s limitation in this regard is just simply born out of her denomination and the crowd she’s involved with.
Paul (not Williams, of Tarsus) talks about God giving eternal life as a reward in some sense in Romans 2:

6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”[a] 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.
Would Lizzie says this contradicts Romans 3:24 which talks about justification by grace

24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

Catholics would say our good works are a product of God’s grace and mercy. Catholics would argue the “reward” for the good works in Romans 2 is ultimately due to God’s grace.

Is this a contradiction the Bible? I don’t think so.

You’ve heard of James the Just, meet Hashim the Just

Hashim then argues against the Christian view of blood atonement. Is this not unjust?

This is a good argument: a moral issue of an innocent person suffering for somebody else.

Hashim mentions the wrath of God being poured out on Jesus in the Church’s beliefs.

God’s anger toward sin has been satisfied in Christ because His wrath was poured out on Him, at Calvary.[Robert L Deffinbaugh]

24 eHe himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we fmight die to sin and glive to righteousness. hBy his wounds you have been healed. [1 Peter 2:24]

Lizzie does try to address this point by appealing to John 10:18, discussed later in this commentary.

Penal Substitutionary Atonement

We’re talking about a penal substitutionary atonement. If Lizzie and her church believe their sins were put on/in Jesus on the tree then are they saying Jesus suffered for every sin they do/did?

Are they saying the sin of a Christian bloke viewing porn was put on Jesus? How about the sin of lying? Every time Lizzie Schofield (or any Christian lie) or behave rudely, does that mean this sin was put on Jesus for him to suffer more pain?

If you truly believe this, the idea that every one of your sins (including being intellectually dishonest, lying about Islam, lying about Muslims, heckling Muslims, being rude and abusive towards Muslims, misrepresenting Islam etc.) means/meant Jesus felt more pain then; then why do we continually see so much sin in the church and amongst Christians?

How about the sin of a rapist? Are you saying the sin of rape was put on Jesus and he suffered for it? The sin of every rapist who became Christian and/or was a Christian?

Is that fair? Why should Jesus be punished for rape, bestiality, murder, racism, hypocrisy and other sins he did not commit?

This is a splinter of what Hashim is driving at here. Is this just?


Hashim also mentioned a verse in Ezekiel which seems to contradict the idea of somebody else suffering for your sins

I think he was referring to Ezekiel 18:20

The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.

Lizzie was willing to consider Islam and doubted Christianity? [#3.40]
Lizzie, now goes on to talk about how she had some doubts in faith after her last debate with Hashim. Apparently, if she’s not bending truth for effect (and having made Jesus feel even more pain according to her beliefs?), Lizzie was moved to think about what Hashim said in the last debate and began to think she could be wrong about her beliefs and Islam may be right. If the plain meaning of what she said is taken as true, then I applaud Lizzie for thinking about what the Muslim said. That is very, very encouraging.

However, I don’t agree with Lizzie Schofield’s thinking here. She says Hashim said to her if she comes to Islam she will be saved (this is of course is true - saved from being cut off from the presence of God, saved from the wrath of God, saved from Hell). What I don’t agree with is Lizzie being moved by a promise of salvation. A bloke could turn up at the park next week and make up a religion, Selfianity, and promise everybody Heaven as long as they believed and done what they wanted.

Would you consider that faith?

We should not be moved like this based on fluffy promises, regardless of how satisfied and good they could potentially make us feel. This is emotionalism. I always get the feeling, when listening to Lizzie, and to be honest, many Christians, that they are involved in the church because of this type of emotionalism, and/or support network that the church offers.

It’s clear that every faith offers salvation and promises salvation. But we must look into the theology of that faith rather than being moved by promises which may make us feel good.

Is the Bible clear on Faith/Works Salvation?

At 5 mins Lizzie says the Bible teaches, “clearly”, our works will not lead us to salvation and it’s the grace of God which will save us.

This statement is not true for Lizzie (if Lizzie is consistent).The Bible is not clear on this issue, why else are evangelicals arguing with the biggest and the older church (Catholics) on this very topic? There’s a grey area here which should give us pause. The verse I showed above mentions a reward for works (Romans 2)

IF Lizzie is consistent, she would say the Bible is contradictory. But of course, she’s adopted a hermeneutic of friendship for her church tradition but for Islam it’s a polemical hermeneutical approach; if she’s doing it knowingly, that is intellectual dishonesty (which is a sin, something which Jesus suffers further pain for on her behalf according to her faith?)

Would Martin Luther agree with Lizzie Schofield?

I’d like to quickly show that even for Martin Luther, this idea was not terribly clear. Bart Erhman summarises this:

Since the Reformation, but especially since the 19th century, scholars of the Bible have noted that there are theological differences, sometimes big differences, among the books that made it into the New Testament. Martin Luther himself recognized this. When he made his famous German translation of the New Testament – which in German Protestantism carried the same kind of reverential awe and respect as the King James Version did in English-speaking Protestantism – he, as is well known, did indeed (of course) translate all 27 books. But rather than following their traditional, canonical order, he put four of the books in an “appendix” at the end: Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation.

The reason: he wasn’t really sure about the revelatory character of these books. His best known complaints were about James. The letter of James is quite explicit that a person is NOT “justified” (that is, put into a restored relationship with God) “by faith alone” but “by works.” For James, “faith without works is dead. Indeed, Scripture itself teaches that a person is justified by works through the example of Abraham. James quotes Genesis 15:6 to prove it. “And Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” For James, this faith in God justified Abraham because of what he did: he willingly offered up his son Isaac on the altar to God as a sacrifice. And so it was not simply by believing God that he was justified, it was by doing something about it. (See James 2:14-26)

Luther considered this view to stand in flat contradiction to the gospel proclaimed by Paul, who was equally explicit. For Paul, a person is “justified by faith, not by the works of the law, for by works of the law will no one be justified” (See Romans 3 and Galatians 2). Paul backs up this view by appealing to Scripture – specifically to Abraham, precisely also the person named by James! What is more striking, he quotes exactly the same verse, Genesis 15:6, to prove it. For Paul, Abraham was justified (in Gen. 15) BEFORE he “did” anything (e.g., before he circumcised his son Isaac in Gen.17). And so justification comes before, not because of, works.

Personally, I don’t really care for this topic right now, it’s drifting away from the debate but it’s certainly something which I’d encourage Christians to think about – including Lizzie Schofield.

Hashim: Christians are not certain of their salvation

Hashim goes on to tackle this idea amongst certain Christians that they will certainly go to Heaven. The bulk of this is captured in this video. I would recommend you watch this short video and learn that in reality,Christians who have imbibed emotionalism, and strut about claiming they will certainly go to paradise. are not consistent with their texts. Hashim does a good job in bringing up important and relevant verses which are overlooked by this type of Christian in their dopamine fuelled proclamations.

Lizzie was deceived by an anti-Islam missionary website/missionary about a Hadith?

Lizzie tries to nullifies Hashim’s philosophical criticism of vicarious atonement as being unjust with a tu quoque fallacy. The idea that you have this concept as well...

She tries to build this on old refuted internet polemics from the usual websites by misrespresenting a Hadith and stating that in Islam, Muslims will go to Paradise and be saved from Hell because a Jew/Christian will suffer in their place.

No. No. No. This Hadith has already been explained. I don’t understand why nobody in the anti-Islam Christian camp is relaying this response to other Christians so they don’t end up further propagating distortions of somebody’ else’s faith (which would be a sin, if done knowingly - meaning Jesus suffered more pain on the cross according to the church?).

The Hadith in question does not teach penal substititutionary atonement. Muslims don’t view it literally. It’s explained here.

You’ve got to represent our beliefs accurately, folks. Even if it means you have drop the polemics some older missionary/polemicist handed to you.

So, will somebody get the message across to those polemicists because I’ve seen this misleading polemic bandied about before.

The idea that God dies by his own creation...

The Muslim speaker, Hashim brought up the issue around the blood atonement: God dying by his own creation. Lizzie did not pick up on this point and expand this talking point. That may just be because she was pushed for time or forgot. This is a very important discussion as the set Christian response based on orthodox Christian theology leads Christians, in my view, into a few different theological conundrums which I would like to see explored – this topic is of paramount importance. I think a properly conducted dialogue on this topic will help a Christian to see Christian beliefs to be contradictory and unravelled upon deeper thought.

Lizzie’s admission on hell implicates her in double standards (sin?)

Hashim got Lizzie Schofield to admit she believes the Bible teaches that non Christians (unbelievers) will be put in Hell forever. This was an notable admission because, previously, Lizzie (and Hatun Tash) had been attacking Islam for the belief that unbelievers go to Hell.

This video highlights this inconsistency on their part:

Like I say, if this was deliberate, it means Lizzie and Hatun were sinning (and having caused Jesus to suffer more pain according to their faith?) when attacking Islam because they were being intellectually dishonest. If it was not deliberate, then it begs the question, why are they preaching “Christianity” and what did Jay Smith, CJ Davis and Beth Grove teach them if they did not know this about their own faith a few months ago?

It’s a valid point for consideration.

Lizzie partially quotes John 10:18

Lizie (~13 mins) did try and address the issue of injustice (an innocent person suffering for somebody else) by arguing Jesus laid down his life willingly. Lizzie appealed to John 10:18 selectively. Crucially she did not cite the full verse, she omitted the last sentence of the verse – a sentence which could conflict with her interpretation. This issue was addressed here in more detail alongside Matthew 26:39 where Jesus is said to be praying to the Father to save him (Jesus) from death (Lizzie, if consistent, would claim this verse contradicts her interpretation of John 10:18)

She quickly moved on in an effort to use this verse to support the idea that he was God. Unconvincing.

Two points of consideration on this:

1. I’d imagine Unitarians would simply argue that Jesus was given power by the Father thus the ability to raise yourself from death is not a proof of divinity – think about the proclamation in Acts 2:22 where it says miracles were worked by God through Jesus. I *think* this is how Hashim would have responded if he had had time to pick this up.

2. For me, folks should be awfully wary when somebody quotes anything from John purported to be from the mouth of Jesus. We know scholars believe John changes things for theological reasons (for instance the day of the crucifixion) and we know scholars believe the sayings such as the I AM sayings are untrustworthy. Let’s be mindful of these things so we can have a healthier approach to John’s gospel. Remember, it’s John who introduced the spear thrust into the narrative. Let’s be wary, if one or more of the authors of John lie (or introduce spurious material into the story about Jesus unknowingly), then what’s there to say other parts of this gospel are not of the same spurious nature?

For more on John see here for the following two videos Craig Evans: Some Sayings in John Weren’t Said By Jesus and the video Is John’s Gospel Reliable;

Lizzie’s mistake on 1 John 2 Corrected by Hashim

Lizzie was teaching the idea that Jews and anybody else who does not believe Jesus is the messiah (christ) is an antichrist. I think this verse would not fit in with today’s society I point this out as many anti-Islam Christians use today’s societal norms as judge, jury and executioner on what is true and what is not true religion.

Lizzie’s mistake was to assert this verse refers to Prophet Muhammad. She was unaware that the Quran teaches Muslims that Jesus is indeed the messiah. Hashim, did a splendid job in recalling this and bringing it to the attention of the audience – Lizzie included. A very important intervention by Hashim, a much needed one. The last thing we need is more misconceptions about Islam and Muslims. This debate was well worth the listen just for this part.

You catch this bit here

Final thoughts

Overall, this was one of the more coherent and cordial Muslim-Christian dialogues at Speakers Corner. To give Lizzie Schofield her due, her behaviour has improved markedly since a concerted effort online to highlight unbecoming and unloving behaviour from Christians at SC. Hashim praised her for more controlled behaviour in this dialogue at the end of the debate; opening up the possibility for further dialogue. I’ve always believed this, even back when Lizzie was behaving erratic in videos, she’s the more reasonable out of the Jay Smith/DCCI Ministries crew. This is actually one of the reasons why she receives more opprobrium than the others – deep down she knows and is better than many of the things she’s said/done.

I would personally advise her to ditch the young guys who flank her and heckle for her. You’re a grown-up person, you really don’t need immature cheerleaders or supporters yelling and heckling for you from the margins whilst serious discussion is trying to take place – those young guys look uncontrolled and unsophisticated. There’s a bit of that in this discussion with Hashim – thankfully Hashim was experienced enough to not allow it to detract from the dialogue.

The fact remains, the paranoia and the “us vs them” mentality that Beth Grove and Smith injected into Speakers Corner is being overcome, slowly but surely. I also applaud Lizzie for thinking about what Hashim said, if she indeed did think Islam may be the truth. Hashim should try to engage with her more at the park, perhaps off camera as pride and cheerleaders should not influence important discussions and decisions concerning God.

Christian Polemicists on Love, Quran 3:32, John 3:16 and Romans 5:8

Grooming Crimes Which Tommy Robinson and Britain First Will Not Publicise As Much

Queen James Bible and the Islamophobes

Tovia Singer: Does the New Testament Teach Jesus is God?