Friday, May 18, 2018

Initial thoughts on my debate with Shabir Ally at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater

I praise the true God that my recent debate with Shabir Ally went well, for the glory of His great name and in answer to the prayers of His people.  As you may recall if you read What is Truth, and are even more likely to recall if you prayed for the debate (for which I am very thankful), I debated Dr. Ally on the topic "The New Testament Picture of Jesus: Is it Accurate?"  The debate is not yet live--part of the delay has been that the person who is supposed to process the debate had his computer break, but that has been fixed, so, Lord willing, we will be getting it live in the relatively near future.

I believe that the debate went well, and am glad that it worked out.  It appears that unknown parties were taking down our posters about the debate, as I found out after the fact, but we still had a reasonable number of people in attendance, and having that happen was a learning experience that we can plan about for, Lord willing, debates in the future.  Furthermore, both Dr. Ally and I were interviewed by the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater newspaper, and after the debate there was a front-page article about the event in the paper, allowing information about the Mukwonago Baptist student organization, Set Free, and about both of the speakers and their websites, to be broadcast to all 12,000 or so students who attend Whitewater.

Here is the article from the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater newspaper on the debate:

and here is a link to their newspaper article on the Internet.  The article has some value, although it did not really deal too much with the specific content of the debate arguments. 

Shabir Ally is an intelligent defender of Islam, and, as I expected, it was pleasant to not have to deal with the sort of nasty vitriol and mere appeals to emotion that characterized too much of the argumentation of Dan Barker, President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, in my debates with him.  Furthermore, Dr. Ally denied the accuracy of the New Testament picture of Jesus in the manner in which a scholarly theological liberal would, instead of attacking the Bible by following the crazy mythicism of Dorothy Murdock with her dependence upon Wikipedia for her case, as Dan Barker did.

While Shabir Ally made a reasonable presentation of the theologically liberal argument, he suffered from the severe handicap that there simply is no ancient evidence of any kind for what modern theological liberalism affirms about the New Testament.  Not just the majority, but the totality of all ancient sources and ancient evidence supports the traditional authorship of the New Testament books, and the extant historical data also are strongly in favor of dates too early for the picture of Christ to be corrupted.  When one needs to make a historical case for something for which there is no historical evidence, things are going to be difficult, no matter how good of a debater or how good a scholar one is.

Of course, that is my take on what happened--you can read further about it in my brief summary of the debate on my website here.  I will plan to inform What is Truth readers when the debate goes live as well, Lord willing, and will post it both on my website and on YouTube.  Muslims or atheists who saw the debate, and Dr. Ally himself, might have a rather different take on events.  I suppose you will just have to watch the debate and make your own decision.  I have more on the archaeological and historical evidence for the New Testament here, as well as, for our Muslim friends, the work The Testimony of the Quran to the Bible here. 


Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks for the news, Thomas.

Unknown said...

I like what you said about the waldensian people I'm a church goer most people don't know about the waldensian thanks

Nazam said...

Hi, any news on when the recording of the debate will be out, in the public?

KJB1611 said...

Dear Nazam,

Thanks for asking. Not that long ago the person working on it sent me a partially completed file, so it is getting worked on. I am praying that it will get out sooner rather than later. I would love to give you a more specific answer, or, even better, would love to tell you "It's done and now live."

Nazam said...

Hi, I just wanted to find out the latest for when we can expect the video to be out? Thank you!

KJB1611 said...

I'll plan to ask the person working on it next time I see him, Lord willing.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Nazam,

I asked the person working on the video. He said that the software was getting slower and slower as he kept editing the video because of the size of the file. However, he is going to break it into two parts, which should allow the editing to be at a reasonable speed again. I think that is highly likely to solve that problem and enable the rest of the video to be completed, although I cannot predict the future. Thanks for asking.