Saturday, 10 July 2010

Review: Sami Zaatari - KabaneTheChristian Debate

Is Jesus God According To the Four Gospels?
Sami Zaatari Vs KabaneTheChristian (Thomas Seraphim Hamilton)


Sami Zaatari argued for the negative position whilst Kabane was arguing for the affirmative position

An Overall Feel

A real spirited encounter conducted in a partisan setting engendering an “us and them” attitude between the Muslims and Christians. The two debaters are not at fault for the rather distasteful atmosphere within the Pal Talk room and both should be commended for not playing into the hands of such partisan crowds.

Well Worth the Listen (see link at the end of the review)



***Introductions***

Despite being short they were telling

Kabane, within his introduction, succinctly explained the relevant Trinitarian beliefs regarding the Trinity and threw in pre-emptive ploys to counter Zaatari. It showed initiative and research on the part of Kabane albeit (looking retrospectively) serving as intimation to Kabane’s desire to “win” the debate, a desire which becomes more apparent throughout the course of the debate (and spill over in the aftermath)

Kabane’s introduction was clever and a plus point for the debate


Zaatari began with the Name of God, which was interesting to note, Kabane did not begin in the name of God. Zaatari used the introduction to introduce himself and outlined the guidelines he will be operating from throughout the debate.

Zaatari really scored points by asking the audience to drop their bias and listen to both sides before making a decision, perhaps Zaatari was trying to quell the partisan atmosphere, credit to Zaatari. Sami Zaatari further gained credibility by asking listeners to take notes, thus showing his recognition of the debate as a positive learning tool.

For the more observant Zaatari displayed an air of confidence and skill in his unscripted approach, this became more apparent throughout the debate; Zaatari is adaptable and the peril of the prepared speech was not going to be his downfall. Kabane showed signs of being scripted; this became more apparent as the debate churned through its phases.

Overall Kabane’s introduction was a clever use of time in order to prime the audience for what is about to ensue. Zaatari’s introduction was more of a personal affair.

Opening Statements of Sami Zaatari and Kabane

Kabane opted for a three-pronged approach, which he believed pointed to the divinity of Jesus:

1 The “I AM” statements
2 “Wisdom of God” title
3 “Son of Man” title

Kabane, Quick but Unwise

He built his arguments around this approach and unfortunately his presentation was rushed, he was doing an impression of Usain Bolt, this speed approach only served to compound the convoluted arguments adopted by Kabane. Kabane’s method was always going to be less than straightforward, thus Kabane was unwise in rushing through at a relative 100 miles per hour,; this only served to make his points appear more complex

Kabane, Explicit?

An interesting feature of Kabane’s presentation was the lack of explicitness within his points, they all required expanation; Kabane was appealing to implicit text rather than explicit (straight forward) material. This tell-tale sign was seized upon and even expected by Zaatari.

Kabane strayed away from the Gospel texts and began citing references from other portions of the Bible, in his defense he was using such references to support his definitions of terms within the Gospels but this was indicative of the implicit approach Kabane was forced to adopt throughout the debate.

Zaatari Slow, Wise and Challenging

Zaatari adopted a slow and analytical approach which was audience friendly unlike Kabane’s rush of statements. This serves to highlight the experience of Zaatari; he is a man who knows how to present his points in a fashion which aids audience understanding.

Zaatari opted for an explicit and simple approach. He was bent on avoiding convoluted or fancy approaches to prove his case. He pressed Kabane for an explicit verse from Jesus confirming divinity (such as “I am God”). This, in fact, was a challenge to Kabane which Kabane failed to meet. Was Zaatari simply setting up a red-herring in order to undermine Kabane’s implicit and convoluted approach?

Zaatari was consistent as he was arguing from the lines of a straight forward approach, thus I don’t believe Zaatari simply set the “explicit” challenge in an underhand fashion. There was a subtext to his challenges:

If Jesus is God then he would have said it many times in a straight forward fashion and would not be reliant on “fancy” explanations.

Zaatari: Jesus has a God

Zaatari points to Jesus having a God (i.e. Jesus praying to God) as well as highlighting traits of Jesus which prove Jesus is not God (such as eating, sleeping etc). In making such points Zaatari preemptively countered Kabane’s counter by discussing the Christian explanation for Jesus showing traits which are not of God.

Zaatari Questions the “god-man” Idea

After showing the illogical nature of the Christian explanation (i.e. the god-man) he sets another challenge to Kabane; that is for Kabane to bring explicit evidence from Jesus for the “god-man” idea.

Sami Zaatari also appealed to those who saw Jesus and lets the audience know that these individuals did not debate whether Jesus is god or not but used to debate whether he was the Messiah or “the Prophet” (from Dt18:18) (see John 7:40-41).


***The Rebuttals***

Kabane Being Unfair With Zaatari

Kabane accuses Zaatari of misunderstanding the doctrine of the Trinity, this was unfair as Zaatari is an experienced apologist (despite his young age) and it was transparent through Zaatari’s opening statement that he had more than a grasp of the Trinity. Perhaps this was a debate tactic coming into play by Kabane.

Zaatari was merely questioning the origin and the veracity of the doctrine of the Trinity, a doctrine which served Kabane as a foundation to rebuff Zaatari’s claims. Kabane failed to note this.

Kabane Claims he has met Zaatari’s Challenge

As for Zaatari’s challenge to Kabane of bringing froth an explicit claim to divinity from Jesus, Kabane responded by declaring he has already met this explicit challenge in his opening statement through Jesus claiming to be “the wisdom of God”. This simply illustrated Kabane as having a fertile imagination and was another indication of Kabane’s desire to appear as a victor in the debate.

As for Zaatari’s “god-man” challenge, i.e. show me a verse claiming Jesus taught this “god-man” idea. Kabane handled this by claiming Jesus claimed to be both hence the doctrine of the “god-man”. It was and interesting and clever answer by Kabane though it failed to meet the “explicit” requirement of Sami Zaatari’s challenge.

Kabane Answers “Death” Intelligently

Kabane answered the “death” (and the “eating”) argument intelligently as he split the two natures therefore it was acceptable for Jesus to die and maintain divinity according to the Trinitarian. Kabane handled this skillfully and then threw a missive at Zaatari by accusing him of misunderstanding the hypostatic union. He then goes on to defend his idea of Jesus possessing dual natures, he does so passionately albeit in a rushed manner which further compounds the convoluted feel about his defense.

Kabane: Bent on “Winning”

Kabane triumphantly claims to be “winning” the debate. This was a further illustration of Kabane’s desire to appear as the victor. This desire to appear as the “winner” was evident throughout the debate including the concluding remarks. A desire which has led Kabane down a less than gentlemanly approach in the aftermath of the debate. Kabane after the debate (in what appears to be a pre-emptive move to alleviate the impact of calls of SamiZaatari “winning” the debate) wrote:

“NOTE TO MUSLIM COMMENTATORS: I am not interested in your declarations of victory. Certain Muslims have admitted in private emails that they have lost debates which they have publicly claimed to have won”

Kabane also appends a link to a page from Sam Shamoun’s website which can only appear as an attempt to discredit the opponent (Zaatari).

This is a perplexing move from Kabane as I got the impression Zaatari and Kabane were on friendly terms and the spirit of the debate was one of mutual respect. I would ask Kabane to remove such material as it is irrelevant to the debate; it serves no function to the debate topic.

As it is Sam Shamoun’s site and Kabane appealed to Shamoun’s faulty argumentation (or even received advice from him) allow me to throw in a link of my own. This link is of Shamoun (only days before the Zaatari-Kabane debate) going off on a tirade of abuse leveled at a Muslim:
http://thefactsaboutislam.blogspot.com/2010/07/sam-shamouns-foul-mouth-continues-with.html


I would ask Kabane to reconsider his view of Sam Shamoun and reject any association with such an idividual. Kabane is a young apologist, whom I have followed for a good while on YouTube, who should shun sub-Christian behaviour, Shamoun is not a role-model for any youngster

Kabane: A Student of the Infamous Sam Shamoun?

Kabane shoots himself in the foot by running to the Sam Shamoun handbook of debate. Kabane claims Jesus as the Truth and conflates this with a title of God in the Quran (the Truth, al haqq) and audaciously presents it as proof of divinity. All this despite the two Books (Bible and Quran) having a separate terminology and definitions.

Kabane continually chases Zaatari on the “al Haqq, the Truth” point, clearly Shamoun had convinced Kabane he was onto a winner here. Zaatari eventually had enough and retorted by dismissing Kabane’s bizarre claims from the Quran as “rubbish”. Zaatari points to Paradise and Hell being the truth and reminds Kabane the claim of Jesus being the truth is within a Biblical context not a Quranic context.

A certain “anonymous” did suggest Kabane’s argument out to be the fallacy of the undistributed middle. . Note I have blogged about this here:
http://thefactsaboutislam.blogspot.com/2010/07/al-haqq-does-it-mean-jesus-is-god.html
Kabane in Knots

Kabane’s explanation of Jesus having a God (i.e. praying to God) was woeful, it really was. Zaatari’s position scored points in this area.


Sami Zaatari Presses Kabane

Kabane nails his colours to the mast and hangs his whole debate on the idea of the title “wisdom of God” is a title denoting divinity.


Sami Zaatari points to Kabane failing all the challenges and pints to the wisdom of God not being God through Jewish theology and Jewish understanding. Zaatari summed up Kabane’s approach by accusing Kabane of bringing up points and then adding Trinitarian interpretations to the said points.

Sami Zaatari Impressive and in the Ascendency

Zaatari was clear and concise and adopted an appeal to simplicity as Kabane was becoming more and more convoluted. Zaatari was impressive throughout his refutation as he stuck with his challenges as a guideline for the debate, this aided Zaatari’s structure and clarity in point making.

A pattern of the debate was Zaatari’s careful probing yielding more and more complex and convoluted explanations from Kabane, this would have rendered Kabane difficult to follow for the audience members, and all the while Kabane compounds this with his quick fire approach.

As for the “son of man” title, Zaatari challenges Kabane to bring forward a verse from the Bible which shows it to be an explicit claim to divinity

Sami Zaatari is Not in Doubt on John 20

The statement of Doubting Thomas was dealt with adroitly by Sami Zaatari as he appealed to context. He shows “Theos” and “Kurios” can refer to somebody of higher rank and Zaatari utilizes context to portray it as a reference of respect to a higher ranked individual.

Kabane Trapped

Zaatari astutely picks deconstructs Kabane’s argument and traps Kabane (via Daniel 7) on his claim related to the worship “son of man”. Kabane was found floundering here. Zaatari delivers further blows from Isaiah 7 related to the prophecy of the Messiah being a small boy who will not know between right and wrong; this was labeled as a “slam-dunk”. It was a heavy blow which Kabane rather weakly claimed it was not a reference to the Messiah despite Zaatari pointing it out to be an obvious reference to the Messiah

“I AM”?

Sami Zaatari skillfully deals with the “I AM” comment via context and disproves this statement as being as reference to divinity. Zaatari dismissed Kabane’s interpretation as “silly” and Zaatari had a right to do so as he was backed by contextual evidence

Is Elvis Still Alive?

Kabane appeals to a conspiracy in order to counter Zaatari’s appeal to Jewish understandings related to the “wisdom of God” title. This was indicative of Kabane being on the ropes. Kabane suggests the Jews changed their beliefs/interpretations in order to counter Christian theology!

It Takes Two to Tango

For some odd reason there were TWO debate moderators in active duty

Unfortunately there was an interruption as the moderators began to argue in the middle of the rebuttal period. This was a real shame as it disrupted the flow

First Impressions Count

In terms of presentation Zaatari was clear whilst Kabane was performing a rushed job and seemed to forget that he was speaking to an audience.

Kabane’s presentation style was noticeably inferior to that of Sami Zaatari. Zaatari’s presentation and ability to coherently construct points was that of an experienced debater and presenter. Kabane was always going to be struggling to keep up with Zaatari on such a front.

Who had Substance?

Listen to the debate and decide for yourselves. In my personal view Zaatari presented the piercing arguments and Kabane was on the back foot and appealing to flimsy arguments supported by “fancy” interpretations. Sami Zaatari opted for simplicity because simplicity supported his case; judging by the actions and speech of Jesus it would be unwise to call him God.

As a non-Trinitarian I found Kabane unconvincing, his arguments were far from straightforward and required a great deal of interpretation in order to prop them up. Under Sami Zaatari’s scrutiny (or any careful scrutiny) Kabane’s interpretations are found wanting and thus his arguments collapse.

The big question still stands: Why did Jesus never claim to be God?


NOTE: Kabane makes a claim about Allah which is discussed here:

http://www.call-to-monotheism.com/rebuttal_to_sam_shamoun_s_article__allah_as_the_inheritor_of_creation_

The debate is here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD1bmLct-oo
Review written by Yahya Snow



Any lengthy articles/comments or material to pass on to the reviewer:
YahyaSnow@hotmail.com

8 comments:

Yahya Snow said...

Note: The review is solely MY opinion

If you want to have the right to a valid opinion then listen to the debate...I did :)

Anthony Rogers said...

Yahya,

That's an important proviso as your review seems incredibly biased.

In fact, even though I have not listened to it yet, I can already tell that there are some serious problems with what you have said.

For example, you said: "Kabane accuses Zaatari of misunderstanding the doctrine of the Trinity, this was unfair as Zaatari is an experienced apologist (despite his young age) and it was transparent through Zaatari’s opening statement that he had more than a grasp of the Trinity. Perhaps this was a debate tactic coming into play by Kabane."

The problem with this is that Zaatari is experienced only in presenting blasphemous caricatures of the Trinity that orthodox Christians do not hold. I wrote about that here and here and here. To date, Zaatari has never done anything more than assert in a sentence or two that he does not misunderstand or misrepresent the Trinity.

In any event, I look forward to listening to the debate, especially since your review makes it look like you are bending over backwards to prejudice the case in advance against Kabane. It would appear that you are aware that others would recognize this as well - hence, the perceived need to add your little proviso.

Semper Paratus,

Anthony Rogers

Yahya Snow said...

Anthony

Conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory. You are suggesting I'm attempting to prejudice the debate via my review...are you for real?

I specifically stipulated to the readers that in order to have an opinion concerning the debate they must listen to the debate - thus implicitly saying my review should not be taken as a basis for an opinion

Talkng of poisoning the well or prejudicing the debate; Is Kabane not doing this by appending an irrelevant link related to Zaatari? Why would he do this?

As for Zaatari not understanding the Tirnity, Trinitarian apologists discredit themselves when constantly claiming the opposition do not understand the Trinity. It ain't so tough to comprehend your teachings concerning the Trinity (non-Trinitarians do have brains)

Listen to the debate Anthony...

Peace

Anthony Rogers said...

Conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory. You are suggesting I'm attempting to prejudice the debate via my review...are you for real?

It was your proviso. You told on yourself.

I specifically stipulated to the readers that in order to have an opinion concerning the debate they must listen to the debate - thus implicitly saying my review should not be taken as a basis for an opinion

In other words, after poisoning the well you told others not to let the poison affect their system. This is like someone saying, "Don't listen to that man. Everything he says is a lie. But don't take my word for it. Ask him yourself (and when you hear his response, try not to remember that I told you he can't be trusted to tell the truth)."

Talkng of poisoning the well or prejudicing the debate; Is Kabane not doing this by appending an irrelevant link related to Zaatari? Why would he do this?

If Kabane is doing this, then you have once again told on yourself. After all, you go on to say:

As it is Sam Shamoun’s site and Kabane appealed to Shamoun’s faulty argumentation (or even received advice from him) allow me to throw in a link of my own. This link is of Shamoun (only days before the Zaatari-Kabane debate) going off on a tirade of abuse leveled at a Muslim:
http://thefactsaboutislam.blogspot.com/2010/07/sam-shamouns-foul-mouth-continues-with.html


In other words, if Kabane is prejudicing the debate by doing this, then so are you. And so once again you have made my point that your review is one long exercise in poisoning the well.

As for Zaatari not understanding the Tirnity, Trinitarian apologists discredit themselves when constantly claiming the opposition do not understand the Trinity. It ain't so tough to comprehend your teachings concerning the Trinity (non-Trinitarians do have brains)

I agree that some anti-Trinitarians have brains, but that doesn't mean they all do. And among those who have brains, there are those who have no shame in misrepresenting others. And among those who have brains and who are interested in being honest, they can still be mistaken in their understanding at times. Having brains doesn't mean being infallible. When you consider that the Qur'an and Sirah literature get the Trinity wrong, it is not hard to see why Muslims by and large labor under such confusion. And I don't have to speculate which category Sami falls into because I have documented the fact that he has not accurately communicated the doctrine in his written work. And so whatever accounts for it, the fact is Sami does not consistently represent the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. And if you insist that he does, then we have to ask if you have brains or if you are being dishonest or are simply mistaken (either owable to the Qur'an or to a blindspot).

In Christ's Name,

Tony

吳婷婷 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
minoria said...

Well, when in JOHN Jesus says "I am THE TRUTH"(Al-Haq)
he is saying he is Allah,from a Muslim perspective,Al-Haq being one of the 99 names of Allah.

Anonymous said...

Jesus also calls himself the "morning star" in Revelation, which is Lucifer according to Isaiah so I guess Jesus is the devil too ..

That kid went outside the parameters of the debate

Anonymous said...

The futility of "Kabane"'s argument is further elucidated by the fact that prophet Yusuf (as) is called "al azeez", another "name" of Allah (swt), by his brothers in Surah Yusuf ayah 88 but does that make him divine? No astagfirullah ...