Thanks for the comment Royalson, thanks for remaining respectful. I'm pushed for time. Here is a quick response to your comment. For those who want to view the debate review, see here:
Here is Royalson's comment:
Ok Yahya, I see your comment has made its way back. Thank you for that. I look forward to your coming response when time permits.
On another note, in reading your review of the debate itself, I observed that you handed the victory to Osama purely on the basis of his argument for Deuteronomy 18:18. However, Anthony pointed out that the context demonstrates that the bretheren being spoken of are the bretheren of the Levites, which of course would refer to the remaining 11 tribes of Israel. In light of this you acknowledged that it was an interesting point that you would need to look into.
I draw attention to this Yahya, because if Anthony is correct regarding the interpretation based upon the context, then it would seem to me that the single point that you felt won Osama the debate is actually lost to Anthony. In fact, there is absolutely nothing in the text that would lead one to look beyond the 12 tribes of Israel to some foreign peoples. Such an interpretation breaks the flow and intention of the text.
I would like to point out a couple of other things as well. You mention that Muhammad did in fact see Allah face to face in the Night Journey. However, I do not see any Hadith which recount the Night Journey, ever mentioning Muhammad seeing Allah's face. Could you please direct me to the reference which mentions Allah's face?
With regards to what Radical Moderate is saying, the doctrine of the Divine Trinity is certainly compatible with the "prophet like Moses" seeing God face to face. God is often used as an appellation of any one of the three persons of the Divine Trinity, much like in Acts 20:28 which speaks of God's own blood. The understanding in that verse is not that the Father shed blood, nor the Holy Spirit, but specifically the Son. In like manner, Christ the Son saw God face to face. In other words, He beheld the Father. To back up this interpretation, we find Peter identifying Christ as the prophet like Moses in His sermon in Acts chapter 3 and Stephen's defense in Acts 7 likewise identify's Christ as that prophet like Moses. Would you not agree that these are the earliest interpretations of Deuteronomy 18:18 we have attributed to Christ's followers? I believe you would be hard pressed to find something to the contrary in the manuscript tradition that would lead you to original readings of these verses against the ones that we have in the New Testament.
1. With regards to Osama's points winning the debate - yes his points on Deut 18 won the debate. I say this based on an accumulative case he presented. Anthony was floundering and was in fact shifting the goal posts - that's not because he is an inferior debater than Osama (in fact he presentation-wise is much stronger than Osama). It's simply a case of what he had to appeal to was less convincing than that of which Osama had.
The point of brother or relative is the only one which Anthony could lay reasonable claim to being stronger than Osama's imo. That's all. Think about it, Deut 18 is always going to be about an accumulative argument, thus you can't just point to one reasoned contention Anthony presents and then dismiss all the other points which happened to be noticeably weaker than Osama's.
2. No, I did not mention in the debate review that the Prophet (p) saw Allah face to face. The Prophet (p) spoke directly with Him (he had direct communication with Him).
3. I don't understand why appeals from the NT claiming Jesus (p) is that Prophet (p) are that important - especially their earliness. Early in this regard does not matter as Prophet Muhammad (p) came roughly 600 years later. For all we know there could have been false claimants to being 'the Prophet' before the Common Era.
4. Aside from this, Osama did not point out that in John 1 (19-21) the Messiah and 'the Prophet' were in fact differentiated as two distinct beings, thus going by that reading Prophet Jesus (p) could not be 'the Prophet' as Prophet Jesus (p) is the Messiah.
5. The debate was a little one-dimensional. It's almost like these people who organise debates don't think about serving up something different. In my view, the debate would have been more interesting if the Christian side had to get off the fence and present a case for whom they thought Deut18:18 was referring to as well. As far as I know, this type of debate has not been done before; who does Deut 18:18 refer to, Prophets Jesus or Muhammad (pbut)? Now that is an idea. If there is any debate organiser reading, please ensure the debaters for this topic are of a higher standard.
6. Royalson, also keep in mind, Osama just accepted the debate at short notice - 11th hour stuff. He took up 4 debates too. Here you have a guy who just turns up unprepared and still manages to present more of a convincing argument on Deut 18 than Anthony who would have had weeks/months to prepare (?) whilst his opponent has 4 debates to do. Factor into this equation that Osama is not a comfortable debater. For me that is a testament to the strength of the argument that the Muslims have with regards to Deut 18.
7. Royalson, for me you have to also look at things holistically, you can't just look at arguments against Prophet Muhammad (p) in this case as you have to look at who else is being argued to be 'the Prophet' (p) - namely Prophet Jesus (p). For me the arguments Christians present here are messy and actually get even messier when factoring in the Trinitarian theology. Think about it, the Trinitarian whilst arguing for such a case (based on his/her Trinitarian beliefs) is effectively saying; Prophet Moses (p) is like God, God put His words into His Mouth, God is the brother of Jews, God will tell people what God commanded, God will raise up God
Here is the verse and just look how messy it would get for Trinitarian arguments for Prophet Jesus (p) to be such a person:
“I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.” (The Holy Bible, New International Version, Deuteronomy chapter 18, verse 18).
I know the Trinitarians have this belief of three persons but even if they attempt to reconcile based on the argument of 'persons' (and incarnation) they still have the issue of why the verse just doesn't say something such as 'I [God] will come...'
So for me, the Trinitarian understanding is deeply flawed and their arguments for Prophet Jesus to be 'the Prophet' (pbut) raises more confusion for the Trinitarian.
From a Unitarian point of view, the arguments for Prophet Muhammad (p) to be 'the Prophet' (p) are indeed still stronger - especially in light of John 1 where it's implied the Messiah is not 'the Prophet' (they are two distinct people).
PS Royalson, I may do a separate one on Deut 33:2 so in this comment section perhaps it's better to solely focus on Deut 18. You can always remind me about Deut 33:2 at a later date. Thanks
So for me, the question is, if not Prophet Muhammad (p) then who? There's nobody else who fits the criteria better. Muslim debaters need to start adding other aspects to debates rather then playing out the same debate with different personalities as it just becomes a personality contest where they all present the same arguments but in a different manner. So if you're a Muslim debater and are thinking of agreeing to a topic concerning Deut 18 then add this new aspect to the debate - it's more beneficial to the truth-seeker and actually benefits the MUSLIM ARGUMENT!
Dr Shabir Ally on Deuteronomy 18:18
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