Friday, December 16, 2011

Louis Ruggiero debate on Paltalk with Muslim25

My thoughts of the debate--what I sent to Lou Rugg in an email.

I believe that you had the more convincing argument hands down on the debate of did Jesus claim he was God (against Muslim25_15 on December 4, 2010). I believe the strict qualifications were to only utilize Jesus’ words in proving his deity claims. I do not think it was fair to disqualify all other NT or OT writings, but I guess that is where Muslim25 and I differ on collecting all evidence to make a case.
I was able to listen to most of the debate from the beginning. I hope I represent Muslim25 accurately in my reply. A few points that I noticed from Muslim25_15 were:
First, you posted Tawheed Al-Asma’ wa Sifaat - Belief in the Names and Attributes of Allah. Muslim25 stated that the significance of Jesus claiming to be first and last—as this having no real meaning. He went on to state that this only meant that Jesus first of his kind, but didn’t answer what the term “last” meant (prophet, messiah, etc). If he is saying the first profit, we know this is not true, and if he meant Jesus was the last profit, I think we would agree. If the term “the first and the last” is of no significance then Sura 57:3 “He is the First and the Last, the Outward and the Inward; He has knowledge of everything” would have disastrous implications for Allah as well. I believe Muslim25 failed to see the equivalence of Jesus making the same claim. I believe that this is due to his Islamic worldview, and of course the absence of the Holy Spirit on his part. Jesus is still alive when the book of Revelation was written even Muslims would agree that Jesus is still alive. Muslim25 stated the book of Revelation was written by man, to that I say all historical text was written by men (except for the 10 commandments in stone) and some inspired by God. All copies we have of the originals are written by man, and all copies of the Qur’an are also by man. I failed to see how Muslim25 has disproven the book of Revelation quote.
Second, Muslim25 agreed Jesus was the Messiah, but failed to explain why there was a need for a Messiah. What did the OT sacrifices mean; I believe Muslim25 failed to answer that question completely; in fact he resorted to mere hand waiving.  In Matthew 9:2 Just then some people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Have courage, son! Your sins are forgiven.” 9:3 Then some of the experts in the law said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming!”. I think we know the implication here about Jesus’ authoritative claims that he can forgive sin. I think Muslim25 failed to explain the need for blood sacrifices in Judaism. Why God would change from blood sacrifices as atonement for sin ending with Christ’s sacrifice then changing his (Allah) his mind to just use 5 prayers a day on a rug really baffles me. If Jesus is the only way to the Father, as he stated, then I would think we have no need for Muhammad.  Perhaps the Muslims think God does change his mind about sin and atonement and blood covenants. I don’t know.
Third, Muslim25 asked for explicit claims:
1.       Where in the bible did Jesus claim to be god?
2.       Where in the bible did Jesus ask to be worshipped?
3.       Where did Jesus say I am God Manifested in flesh?
4.       Where did Jesus mention the original sin?
5.       Where did Jesus say I am God the Son?
6.       Where did Jesus say that I am God the Word?
7.       Where did Jesus say I am the Second God in Trinity?
8.       Where did Jesus Mention word Trinity?
9.       Where did Jesus Say Father, Son and Holy Spirit Those three are one?
10.   Where Did Jesus Claim to have two natures?
11.   Where did Jesus claim that he is One in Essence With the Father ?
12.   Where Did Jesus claim that he Is YHWH ?
13.   Where Did Jesus claim that he is the Creator ?
14.    When Jesus Will be God ?

I believe that the doctrine of the Trinity is derived by the use of abductive (explanatory hypothesis) logic, much like the scientific method and also how we compile a murder trial case. I also believe that Jesus made implicit claims that were clear to Jews (claiming he and the Father were one and them wanting to stone him), but when speaking in parables I do believe it was for a specific reason, one of them being he had a ministry to perform during his short time. Jesus making explicit claims would have shortened his ministry time simply because if he came out directly on whom he was before the heavens were created early onset, the crucifixion would have taken place earlier.

Muslim25’s qualms for explicit (albeit, some of Jesus’ claims were) details about the Trinity are unwarranted in my opinion, simply because the concept of the Trinity would have most likely been new to Jews and would have most likely created a stumbling block during his ministry. While we believe the Trinity is the conclusion about God’s nature, we can also agree that there were problems within the early church when discussing the Trinity (gross misrepresentations from sects confusing pagan terminology and worldviews such as Mariamites). I do believe most of the 14 questions Muslim25 had asked you answered. We know that question #7 from Muslim25; Jesus is not the second God in the Trinity (which would be tritheism, a heretical claim), and we know that Jesus cannot become God as God has no beginning, that question #14 is moot. This only goes to show that Muslim25 has no working knowledge of the Trinity concept. Jesus’ claims were implicit, not explicit. Implicature is an aspect of meaning which is not stated, but one can reasonably take to be intended via the context of the writing.  I honestly believe and could easily prove that this was a rhetorical device that Jesus utilized within his ministry.
Fourth, Jesus stated in John 2:19 Jesus replied, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.”(cf. John 2:19 + Acts 10:40 + Romans 8:11 = Trinity) So how does one resurrect himself when he is dead? How is that possible for a mere man to have this capability when he is dead? How can Jesus make such claim? Sure, the Muslims will state he was not crucified, but Jesus still made this claim before the crucifixion and the Muslims tend to utilize pseudepigraphal writings to base their conclusions about the crucifixion not taking place despite those writings having clear errors internally within (historically). Apparently, Jesus has more power than Muhammad did, Muhammad could not raise himself, nor could Muhammad have made such a claim.
Fifth, Muslim25 (and other Muslims) speak about scribal errors incorrectly misrepresenting textual criticism methodologies. I noticed the utilization of NIV, and KJV in this debate. However, Muslim25 failed in his arguments because Muhammad was killed in or around 632AD. Neither the NIV or KJV was written before this time; in fact the earliest manuscript utilized for the KJV was around the 12th century if I am not mistaken. What Muslim25 should have done was concede simply because he needs to show corruption in great detail within the manuscript copies we now have (and continue to find) that pre-date 632AD. If the scribes have corrupted the scripture as Muhammad claimed, Muslims will need to document proof utilizing manuscript and patristic writings up until 632AD. The scribal errors that took place in the KJV manuscripts cannot be utilized to prove Muhammad’s claims, period. The Muslims have much work to be performed in this area, and they often do not tell the whole story about the scribal errors that took place before the Gutenberg printing press.
Sixth, Muslim25 claimed the writing occurred centuries later when speaking about the book of Revelation. To my knowledge no one has really contested the 95AD date of the writing. Besides, that would be decades, not centuries concerning when the writing occurred. This was an oral tradition culture during the period of Christ, yes; they did have writings however we must also know that their social-culture was much different than ours today. Jesus was alive in 95AD Muslims and Christians agree.

Conclusion, I doubt anyone had a conversion of faith to Islam/Muslim. Muslim25 really needs to learn how to create more sound, valid, and cogent arguments for his proofs. I respect the Muslims but often find their claims about their knowledge of logic not well grounded. I don’t mean that to sound harsh but quite a number of the arguments posited by Muslims are rather weak, not to say there are not strong arguments by some Muslims outside of Paltalk.
I think you did a fantastic job in answering the questions from Muslim25 and other within the room. I did take note that most of the questions were for you and not Muslim25, and that probably was for a good reason as you answered with more evidences not mere hand waving. My Christian faith is just as strong today as it was yesterday.
Thank you for conducting this debate.