Monday, 26 September 2016

Yusuf Ismail on Christian Apologetics

We had the privilege and honour in getting Yusuf Ismail's thoughts on various apologetics approaches that are prevalent amongst Christian evangelicals today. Yes, the hot potato of Christian minimalists was covered! Yusuf is a true gentleman, a really well-read individual and a brilliant orator. See the timeline below the video for rough time frames and discussion topics.

0.55 - Yusuf Ismail discusses his journey into apologetics; how and why he got into apologetics and dawah to Christians including how Shk. Ahmed Deedat influenced him in his formative years.

8.45 - Christian apologists using South Africa as a place to kick-start their careers in Muslim-Christian dialogue. The pioneering role of South Africa in Christian-Muslim dialogue in the English speaking world.

11.00 - Yusuf discusses the religious and apologetics landscape of South Africa and whether the secular ascendancy which has decimated Christian communities in Western Europe has taken hold in SA.

17.00 - Yusuf speaks about the South African Christian apologist John Gilchrist and contrasts him with some of the superficial and crude Christian polemicists operating in American fundamentalist Christian circles.

22.00 - Yusuf touches on the approaches of some of his past opponents in debate: James White (presuppositionalist), Mike Licona and William Lane Craig (pragmatic minimalists) and Jay Smith (revisionism and emotionalism). In this segment there's a broad and balanced discussion on James White leaving the door open for further debates between Yusuf Ismail and James White.

38.00 Yusuf Ismail recollects his debate with Mike Licona on the Resurrection belief

46.00 Yusuf tackles the question of why the minimalist movement amongst Christian evangelicals is becoming so widespread and how Muslims can interact with this Christian approach. Biblical inerrancy and its history is discussed in this segment too

100.00 Yusuf critiques the gutter-form of engagement that arises from the Sam Shamoun, Usama Dakdok and David Wood polemical approach. He elaborates on why this approach is popular amongst American evangelicals and how one can oppose such an approach.

Muslim Helps James White out: Why Bart Erhman Finds James White Offensive

The Lying Hand of the New Testament Scribe

Christian Ex Muslim Al Fadi Challenged by a Muslim

Evangelical Christians oppose gay marriage as "madness" that is totally alien to Christianity yet when it comes to terrorist attacks on innocent people such as the Orlando shootings, 9/11 and  7/7; it's not called madness. It's called Islam by many American conservative Christians.

All this despite there being more support from Christian authorities for gay marriage than support from Muslim authorities for terrorism!

It seems the word consistency is just not in the dictionary of the Islamophobic Christian propagandist.

You have the modern phenomena of indiscriminate killings of civilians which all Muslim scholastic bodies have condemned to be against the spirit of Islam. Dr Timothy Winter of Cambridge University states "terrorism is the arbitrary targeting of the innocent in order to place pressure on governments, which is something which doesn't have origins in Islamic culture or ethics and comes out of the French revolution and certain 19th century anarchist movements that used terrorism. As a doctrine in the Muslim world it's very recent and it's an expression of Westernisation. Terrorism, 9/11 for instance, according to classical Islamic Law is classified as hiraba which carried the death penalty"

An excellent quote from Muhammad Asad's book rebuking evangelical Christians (Jeremiah Johnston and Craig Evans) who parse terrorist attacks in a similar manner to Islamophobic evangelical Christian propagandists "Simply put, every Muslim scholar - whether Sunni, Shia, Salafi, Deobandi - has condemned and spoken out against Daesh. Their arguments against Daesh and its acts are derived from traditional Islamic religious texts and  based firmly in Islamic jurisprudence".

Contrast that with the modern phenomena of gay marriage. Although there is a growing number of churches, Christian leaders and lay Christians accepting gay marriage as being within the spirit of Christianity, those Christians would dismiss gay marriage as having no place in Christianity.

More Christians who are involved in the Church of England believe gay marriage is right rather than wrong. A recent survey by YouGov suggested 45% of Church of England followers felt same-sex marriage was right, against 37% who believed it wrong [stats sourced from Huffington Post]. According to the Huff Post, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ and now the Presbytarian Church (USA) sanctify the marriage of two men or two women.

Rev. Dr. Mark Achtemeier, who has served the Presbyterian Church (USA) since 1984 as a minister, theology professor, and writer states there's an overwhelmingly positive case for gay marriage in the Bible: Fortunately, the church across the centuries has developed guidelines for interpreting Scripture that help keep our use of particular passages in touch with the true portrait of God’s love in Christ. When we apply these guidelines, the Bible’s teaching about gay people and their relationships appears in a whole new light. In my book I show how the application of these time-tested principles of biblical interpretation produces an overwhelmingly positive biblical case in favor of gay marriage. I came to realize how my former reliance on fragmentary, out-of-context quotes from Scripture had led me to lose touch with the “big picture” of God’s love that lies at the heart of the Bible’s witness.

All this in the eyes of the Islamophobic evangelical Christian polemicist is not Christian. Yet if they would just step back for a few moments, they would observe the huge inconsistency they operate on.

There's actually much more support for gay marriage from Christian authorities, churches and lay Christians alike than there is for terrorist acts such as Orlando.

I'd imagine for them, Christian proponents of gay marriage decontextualize and rely on fragmentary readings of the Bible. BUT they are not even cognisant to this being the case for Muslim terrorists and Islam despite: In 2008, a classified briefing note on radicalisation, prepared by MI5’s behavioural science unit, was leaked to the Guardian. It revealed that, “far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could . . . be regarded as religious novices.” The analysts concluded that “a well-established religious identity actually protects against violent radicalisation”, the newspaper said. [Mehdi Hasan]

I recently heard rabbi Tovia Singer, a man who has no horse in this race, say terrorists abuse texts from the Quran and Hadith. Ask yourself why a Jewish rabbi can be more scholarly, consistent and fair than these evangelical Christians - a crowd who claim to be guided by the Holy Spirit? Smart and fair-minded people are not impressed.