The Holy Quran says, “And the Jews say, ‘The Christians stand on nothing;’ and the Christians say, ‘The Jews stand on nothing;’ while they both read the same Book. Even thus said those who had no knowledge, like what they say. But Allah shall judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they disagree.” (Al Quran 2:114)
This verse gave me the idea that reading or watching a debate helps one develop new insights about the topic or the parties under discussion. So, not only the debates between the Jews and the Christians are a gold mine but the present day debates between the Christians and the atheists can serve the same purpose, not to mention the debates between the Protestants and the Catholics from the sixteenth century. All the debates available in this information age on the YouTube, should lead the wise to truth even without my assistance and just the suggestion to consider Islam as a distinct theistic possibility may suffice. However, some may need a little hand holding and that I will try to provide in this knol.
If you watch all the good debates between Christian apologists and the proponents of atheism and if you are insightful, you will begin to see the fundamental vulnerabilities of both. As you are disillusioned by both camps you want to understand Islam, not as practiced by the Taliban or preached by CNN but how the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community understands it.
This knol is to collect the debates between Christians and atheists and to catalogue the limitations of both in different debates. Here I will cover Islam briefly but to understand Islam more fully in its proper context, you have to review my different collections of knols, on host of issues:
In the very beginning let me present to you a debate that wonderfully exposes the Christian dilemma, to the insightful, of a Triune God and Jesus being a perfect hybrid, perfect man and fully divine!
D’Souza / Loftus Debate: Does the Christian God Exist
Even though the debate was supposed to be about the Christian God, D’Souza focused mostly on the Transcendent God, more befitting Islamic and Jewish theology and offered very little for the Christian God, who incarnated Himself in the human history and also Resurrected Himself after offering Himself on the cross. In other words bait with the Jewish or the Islamic God and switch to the Christian God:
William Lane Craig makes false claims about swoon hypothesis
Let me also include one of my other knols that perfectly fits the portfolio of this knol, William Lane Craig makes false claims about swoon hypothesis:
Debate: Does the Universe has a purpose?
Three well known atheists, Prof. Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer and Matt Ridley debated two Christian and a Jewish apologist, including William Lane Craig, recently in Mexico, regarding the purpose of human life:
The purpose of life was well summarized by William Lane Craig in a line, which resonates with the Quranic description, “The purpose of life is to be found in personal relationship with a Holy and Loving God! to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” Allah says in the Holy Quran, “I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship Me.” (Al Quran 51:57)
Now let me present a collection of excerpts from the writings of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community about the purpose of human life:
Going back to the debate, it seemed, at least to me that the theists carried the day, the atheists were superficial, contradictory and adamant. They seemed to agree that the universe and life do not have an objective purpose, there is no overall purpose for human life but in the mean while each individual can assign his or her own purpose for his or her own life, on the basis of his or her desires. The theists built their case on the hypothesis that there is a Creator, Who has made the Universe, made it biophyllic, He has a purpose in His mind, He has made the Natural Law that has done His work since the Big Bang, including the creation of life, suggesting theistic evolution. What was not said, however, as there was no Muslim theist there, that an Omniscient and Omnipotent God, after having created such harmonious Natural Laws had no need to then quickly violate them with phenomena like resurrection or Christian style miracles, which are alleged to be supernatural and suspend the laws of nature. If an Omniscient God has created the universe, then one can be certain that in keeping with His infinite entity, He would have left innumerable ways to influence the universe. So that His divinity is not suspended in any way at any time. Science is possible only because the Law Giver honors the Law, otherwise there will be total chaos and anarchy.
If Muslim speakers from Ahmadiyya Muslim Community had been included then the atheists would have at least gotten rid of theology with resurrection of dead and miracles that are in violation of the natural order and harmony and would have been left with a much more sublime theology!
Nevertheless, here let me introduce a short ten minute clip from a different debate by Prof. Richard Dawkins, where in while conceding that a reasonable case could be made for a Deist God, he very nicely articulates what is terribly wrong with the Christian understanding of God:
I have explained at length the issues of resurrection and Christian style miracles in my following knols and will eventually summarize them here:
Can we have objective or absolute moral values without God?
Recently I saw this debate between William Lane Craig and Sam Harris on this issue:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rq1QjXe3IYQ
Now, see I am being very candid here, I am a Muslim, belonging to Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, but I have no problem applauding a lead Christian apologist, when I think he is right. William Craig nicely presented that there cannot be any objective moral values without God!
I thought Sam Harris was creamed, he was wasting his time in the 12 minute rebuttal off the topic, on why there is suffering. I think the issue of suffering had been resolved by Charles Darwin. However, when the atheists feel cornered in their defense of atheism, they invariably try to seek refuge in this issue and then muddle the waters enough, so that naive are then unable to understand what is going on. Let me quote here the concluding pargagraph, in the later editions of the legendary book of Sir Charles Darwin, on the Origin of Species that can make one quickly conceptualize the role of suffering in the grand scheme of things:
“From the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been breathed, by the Creator, into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
To give credit to Sam Harris’ presentation and refutation, all the information that he offered off the topic may be worthwhile for considering that Christianity is a bad form of theology and there may be good reasons for an honest comparison of Chrstian theology to the Muslim theology.To change gears now, let me refute accusations that Sam Harris made in his closing statement against Islam, without any Muslim speaker defending it was not moral at all and here is the refutation for it. Islam does not believe in eternal hell and does not condemn all non-believers, but Sam Harris found it convenient to assign the vulnerabilities of Christianity to Islam also:Surely, the Believers, and the Jews, and the Christians and the Sabians — whichever party from among these truly believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good deeds — shall have their reward with their Lord, and no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve. (Al Quran 2:63)
Surely, those who have believed, and the Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians — whoso believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good deeds, on them shall come no fear, nor shall they grieve. (Al Quran 5:70)
As to those who believe, and the Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians, and the Magians and the idolaters, verily, Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection; surely Allah is Witness over all things. (Al Quran 22:18)
The following post has a video describing Islamic understanding of heaven and hell:
Richard Dawkins & Alister McGrath Debate
Prof. William Lane Craig’s lecture: the absurdity of life without God:
He makes a very forceful case for the topic but in the end suggests Biblical Christianity as the solution. But, if you trust Bart Ehrman’s scholarship then half of the New Testament is forgery. Taking the advice from William Lane Craig one needs to have a consistent and logical approach to life. So, it may be that all of us need to search for the best and most reliable scripture to lead us to God. First listen to Prof. Craigs’ lecture:
To try to understand the historical Jesus we have to believe in the stories collected by the writers of the four canonical Gospels, whose authors we do not know with certainty and there is ample evidence to suggest that at least some of them were not eye witnesses of what happened to Jesus and may be reporting merely hearsay, stories written about events that happened forty to sixty years before. Additionally, the two thousand years old Biblical accounts are not well preserved and to appreciate that one needs to read only one author and his varioius books, Prof. Bart Ehrman.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad on the other hand created an unprecedented revolution in Arabia, which within a century or two spread to most of the known world. In other words, he is deeply inscripted in the human history, coming from all nations, and his influece cannot be denied. The Holy Quran was being written in the time of the Prophet and completely compiled within 2 years of his demise. Additionally, there is enough evidence to suggest that the Holy Quran has been preserved in the exact text as the Prophet Muhammad gave it to the world. This contrast between Islam and Chrsitainity is very dramatic!
To learn more about the Bible and the Quran, to compare and contrast, see my collections on the Bible and the Quran: