Sunday, July 29, 2018

Christianity debunked in 5 minutes!

Recently I ran across this video: 

It's a mighty impressive video that debunks Christianity in 5 minutes! Actually, the video clocks in at just over six minutes. Maybe that extra minute makes all the difference! 

I believe the speakers on the video are Zakir Naik, Shabir Ally, Abdur-Raheem Green. I've seen Shabir touted by Christian apologists as the world's best Muslim apologist. Debating him is a rite of passage for Christian apologists who engage Islam. Zakir has a huge audience. Green is a convert to Islam with a Catholic background. So these are prominent spokesmen for Islam. 

With that it mind, it's eye-rolling to see the level at which they reason. The problem is not in the first instance that they reject the Incarnation. That's to be expected. They're Muslims, after all. No, the problem is their simple-minded grasp of the doctrine they presume to critique. They lack a rudimentary understanding of what the Incarnation stands for. 

i) To begin with, they seem to think it means that by becoming Incarnate, God ceases to be divine. But the Incarnation doesn't mean God exchanged his divine attributes for human attributes. God Incarnate remains what he was apart from Incarnation. But God acquires a relation. A union between two natures. The Incarnation involves addition, not subtraction.  

The video asks: "Was Jesus God to begin with"? The Son was God to begin with. (More precisely, the Son was always fully divine.) But the Son didn't lose his divine attributes to become human. 

The question at issue is not whether they agree with the doctrine. Rather, their initial blunder is failure to even grasp and accurately represent the concept under review. It tells you something about the intellectual milieu of Islam that their first step is a major misstep. 

ii) Then we're treated to their bungled attempt to show that the Incarnation is contradictory. But according to the doctrine of the Incarnation, Jesus is a composite being. As such, there's nothing incoherent about ascribing contrary properties to a composite entity. 

Take Cartesian dualism. According to that theory, a human is both mortal and immortal, material and immaterial. But that's not contradictory. It means a human being is a composite being, with an immortal, immaterial soul in union with a mortal, material body. The point is not whether you agree with that. The point is to illustrate a concept. 

To take another example, consider a chess set. Imagine our Muslim apologists insisting that the chess pieces can't be both black and white. That's impossible! Black and white are opposites. It must be one or the other! 

But that's fallacious. Since a chess set is a composite object, something can be true of the chess set in one respect, but false in a different respect. Half the pieces can be black while the other half are white. 

iii) This goes to an elementary distinction between contrary properties and contradictory properties. The same object can't have contradictory properties, but it can have contrary properties–as I just illustrated. 


  1. In his hay days, Zakir Naik was quite a phenomenon in the Indian sub-continent. Now, he is merely basking in his former glory. Many Muslims are offended by the man, and his extremist messages made him wanted by the Indian police, because of which he has been (openly) in hiding (well, he is evading trips to his home, India - so hiding supplies the best connotation I want to supply) in Muslim countries sympathetic to his cause.

    Back then, Zakir Naik actually gave the common Muslim folks a voice of rationality - here was a no-nonsense man who proved that the only rational choice was accept Islam. This was powerful amidst ignorant people. In his hay days, his messages went virtually unchallenged by those well-versed in the topics he was engaging in. And his false aura of "speaking logically" without anyone exposing him made him invincible in the common Muslim perception.

    By the time the Western world started taking notice of him, the damage was already done, and Zakir Naik was seared into the Muslim minds as the ideal logical man who logically proved Islam to be true. This is the reason why folks like David Wood, etc, still get challenged to debate Naik even though Naik was never known to debate professional debaters.

    1. Back then, if you would ask Muslim people floored by Naik to describe Naik in just one word - that word would highly likely be "" logical "" - goes to show what a good showman he was.

  2. I was thinking about your last article on the incarnation where you and a notorious Unitarian. I wanted to ask about the view that a person is a center of consciousness. You pointed to the fact that Jesus qua incarnation has a human soul(mind) and body. Now, Jesus is 1 person with two natures but is the definition lacking in some aspect because a hasty Unitarian might try to push someone to the wall and argue that Jesus appears to be two persons. That he has two centers of consciousness: one in time and the one that is timeless. That is an objection that I was thinking about recently.

  3. The "one person" formula derives from Chalcedon. In that context it's a question of what "person" meant in post-Nicene patristic usage.

    "Two persons" is crude and misleading because there's an asymmetrical relationship between the mind of the Son and the human soul. The soul of Christ is dependent on and controlled by the Son. I prefer Berkhof's formulation that Jesus is a complex person. That, by itself, doesn't explain a lot, but I've used various analogies to illustrate the interrelationship.