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Appearances Still Standing: (Quran 4:157)

Translation: "God himself has said the exact opposite to the experts"


As I was gathering a quote for a friend, I managed to stumble upon more intellectual turmoil from noted Muslim Apologist Paul Williams (PW), (shown in the picture to the right):

"Concerning Jesus’ death, scholars assume it happened because in their worldview (usually Christian or secular) THERE IS NO OBVIOUS REASON TO THINK OTHERWISE. BUT GOD himself has told mankind in his final Revelation that (appearances notwithstanding) he was NOT crucified."

Unfortunately for PW, he is actually right. There is truly no good reason to think otherwise, Jesus was certainly crucified. The problem for Muslims is that they have no certain knowledge of this event, they follow nothing but conjecture namely the Quran, they have an abundance of doubt in rationality, reason, history and God's word, this of course is due to Allah and his incompetent Messenger who left no coherent tafsir (exegesis) of these inexplicable passages until some uninspired Muslims fabricated such tafsir hundreds of years after the Qur'an was revealed in an attempt to salvage Muslims from disbelief in some of the absurdity contained in the Qur'an. If a revelation purportedly from God contradicts all known principles of rationality and revelation (supernatural and natural) and makes preposterously untenable assertions like: "Jesus was not crucified", the revelation immediately becomes suspect in the eyes of free thinkers who accept reason, theologians who accept revelation and historians who accept history and historical evidence.

Why would an all knowing God contradict all known sound evidence of a truly historical account? Why would an all knowing God violate established principles of reason, historiography and his own perfect and complete previously given revelation? The very mechanism that all historians use to understand all history is disapproved and shunned by God on this especially seldom occasion, which in logic is known as a logical fallacy called special pleading.

The Islamic God not only decides to contradict the only reliable evidence we have on this matter as deemed by all historians irrespective of religious beliefs but additionally requires us to believe his unproven word against the methodology that scholars and historians use to establish, well..any historical event! This is the Islamic equivalent to an infamous caricature of creationism namely the "Satan planted the fossils" theory, except in the case of Muslims, they are actually utterly and completely serious, while no qualified creationist accepts the former.

An even larger dilemma arises in employing such common Islamic fideism, this essentially means that all of history and the practice of historiography can only be accepted when it matches up with the Quran. This causes history to become a meaningless discipline, why have history in the first place? when your history is actually determined theologically even in opposition to sound reason and evidence? It also means no history is trustworthy, it all becomes certifiably contestable and (appearances notwithstanding) practically unreliable without theological approval, history only appears to be the way it is, but we can never understand the substance behind the specious appearance because Allah provides no rational tools for us to utilize other than fideism. This leads to a type of reluctant 'historical agnosticism' in which the only certainty we can have is salvaged by special 'divine revelation'. In this world view there is nothing we can know for certain except for the cherry picked Islamic history which in turn repeats the fallacy known as special pleading.

If Muslims are going to appeal to external authorities such as 'science' to confirm the Quran as a so called 'scientific miracle', then assuredly these same kind of external authorities could also be used as a sufficient disproof of the Quran as infamous Muslim Apologist Hamza Tzortzis recently observed and recanted this 'Science in the Quran polemic' for this and other reasons. But for those Muslims who refuse to be as consistent as Mr. Tzortzis this creates an untenable epistemological vacuum with the fabric of Islam itself.

Finally if there is no sound reason for any historian to deny the crucifixion, and God would require us to believe the opposite to sound reason and professional opinion and historical evidence, then God himself ought to be expected to provide such a reason in light of all prevalent existing knowledge. Alas the Quran offers no clear or defensible reason.

There is one possible reason one could extrapolate out of the Quran with the aid of allowing Muslims to gather external tafsir fabricated by later Muslims hundreds of years after the Qur'an was revealed. The idea is that God wished to rescue his prophet Jesus from a cruel and unjustifiable death and punish the disbelievers for there rebellion. Yet what kind of rebellion? For this we are dependent once again on actual history (the New Testament) as the ambiguous Qur'an does not provide any historical narrative. And of course such Islamic reasoning is (appearances still standing) purely theological in nature and unconvincing in rational substance.

The Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur'an have all confirmed that many Prophets were martyrs, hence there is no special reason to save Jesus from death. Fundamentally anyone could construct a theological narrative to explain away any situation, but God gives us rationality to prevent such misuse of his revelation.

The punishment given to the Jewish disbelievers in Christ is unspecified by the Qur'an but if we speculate we could say the punishment was two-fold. First God sent them delusion for their disbelief (he blinded them after they rejected Christ by deceiving them into thinking they did something which they did not) which secondly resulted in a lack of repentance providing them a one way ticket to the hell-fire. However God punishes all disbelievers in the hereafter hence this is not necessary nor useful.

The objection then is not that God doesn't have the power to save Jesus before death but rather that God has no desire to save Jesus before his death without good reason, or revealing that reasoning against the overwhelming evidence we indeed do have. God offers no historical or evidential clarification in the face of a multiple of good reasons to think he died. This argument could be expounded upon I am just offering the foundation. For those of you who think that Elijah or Enoch might be an exception to the rule, you would need to read this post again carefully to understand the differences in the case of God with Islamic Issa and Biblical Elijah and Enoch.

One last thought. If all the evidence points us to PW as a self professed Homosexual, I wonder if this kind of evidence and data is truly trustworthy in an Islamic world view? How can we really be sure (assuming Islamic Theology on Allah) that PW is simply not cast under Allah's spell? That he is not taking a rid on the Magic Camel Bus which gas is fueled by Tawheed smoke? Perhaps PW is more like Allah than is commonly thought ("there is none like him"), since in public PW is Muslim again, he certainly made it appear this way but the contrary is also true. A Muslim cannot know anything in their own world view which is why PW is so confused like his lord Allah, Christ Willing more posts about this in the future.

Good News: YouTube Restores Mohammed/Aisha Movie!

UPDATE:

Recently YouTube removed my video and restricted my account.

However thanks to my appeal the Mohammed/Aisha Movie depicting Mohammed's relationship with Aisha has been restored

Free Speech is alive!

YouTube Bans The Prophet of Islam

A week or more ago I had uploaded the Aisha and Mohammed Movie (PART I) for the sake of free speech:
Mark Bennett Shared on Google+ • Jul 11, 2014
This is the the most recent and full movie exposing what Muhammad did to Aisha. I recommend you be of age to watch (18 or 21+) as this will be offensive to many. There are certainly some grotesque moments in this film, meant to show the serious consequences of all future generations because of Mohammed's initial actions.Personally I don't agree with all the "content", because for example I doubt the Mohammed of tradition even existed, I have not researched my full conclusion here. But I think this is definitely a good case where true westerners and human rights supporters and activists can defend freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of the press. Unfortunately the Pakistani man who created this movie has a warrant out for his arrest so he may be deported back to Pakistan which will inevitably result in his death sentence. This is a cowardice act by the Spanish government who apparently wish to go back to the Al Andalusian period where they can live under a caliphate that suppresses free speech.
YouTube had a problem with this:

Click To Enlarge

It is still unclear to me exactly what problem YouTube actually had with this video, as you can see there is no reason provided, not even a vague attempt at an excuse of a reason for this unjustified removal.

So you know I went to the next step of the process and clicked on "yes"


And then I described the purpose and contents of the video and why I had age restricted it:

Click To Enlarge

What I said in my entirety was:

"The content narrates the history of a famous religious figure and cites all the authentic sources in which he engaged various sayings and acts. It is age restricted for content, but suitable for elders"

I hope YouTube end up taking the right course of action and sanctioning freedom of expression. However in the mean time the Movie is still available here

Aisha and Muhammad -- The Movie



This is the the most recent and full movie exposing what Muhammad did to Aisha. I recommend you be of age to watch (18 or 21+) as this will be offensive to many. There are certainly some grotesque moments in this film, meant to show the serious consequences of all future generations because of Mohammed's initial actions.

Personally I don't agree with all the "content", because for example I doubt the Mohammed of tradition even existed, I have not researched my full conclusion here. But I think this is definitely a good case where true westerners and human rights supporters and activists can defend freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of the press.

Unfortunately the Pakistani man who created this movie has a warrant out for his arrest so he may be deported back to Pakistan which will inevitably result in his death sentence. This is a cowardice act by the Spanish government who apparently wish to go back to the Al Andalusian period where they can live under a caliphate that suppresses free speech.

A Myth Dispelled: 33,000 Protestant Denominations

I don't typically involve myself in sectarian disputes, but every now and then one such dispute maybe utilized by disbelievers as a bullet against Christianity, so I would to add my two cents here. Many Roman Catholics frequently cite a "statistic" suppose to show that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is the underlying cause which results in an overwhelmingly significantly high proportion of protestant denominations. The vastly inflated numbers proclaimed by these Catholic apologists range anywhere between twenty thousand to "millions" of protestant denominations. [1]

Unfortunately Muslims have caught on to this poor polemic and extended the objection to Christianity in general. I have collated a few sources together to show us why this is not a sound argument to abandon a protestant denomination or join the Roman Catholic Church or leave Christianity altogether in order to enter Islam. Firstly as Dr. James White points out the argument is just logically speaking a non-sequitor:
"Before looking at the source of this argument and the problems associated with it, it should be made clear that the entire argument being presented here can only be identified as “bogus.” It fails scrutiny at every possible level. The leaps in logic and argumentation are vast. Let’s just focus upon two of the obvious problems.
First, how does the Roman Catholic apologist go about demonstrating that sola scriptura is the source of these divisions, specifically? For example, when we see division in the ranks of Rome, and see strong disagreements on key issues, does it follow that the Roman magisterium is to blame for the differences of viewpoint? If a Christian believes the Scriptures a sufficient rule of faith, how does it follow that an abuse of such a sufficient source is an argument against its sufficiency? Such simply does not follow. The Scriptures can be perfectly suited to their purpose, but men are still sinners. Men are still imperfect. Men are still ignorant. And, most importantly, men still have their traditions. So while these apologists pretend it is a “given” that sola scriptura is to blame for these divisions, that assumption is insufficient to prove the argument. 
Second, and related thereto, is the painfully obvious observation that only a small percentage of “Protestant” churches today self-consciously even seek to profess, let alone confess and practice, sola scriptura. In fact, a large number of non-Catholic churches embrace all sorts of concepts that violate sola scriptura, so how can the principle be blamed for the actions of those who do not even believe in it?Obviously, it can’t be. In reality, those churches that specifically seek to profess, confess, and apply sola scriptura are significantly more united in their theology than those churches that look to some external, inspired/guided source of either interpretation or revelation.  
So, while the “33,000 Protestant churches and it is all sola scriptura’s fault argument is common, that doesn't make it at all valid." [2]
Recently Reformed Christian Apologist Keith Thompson also addresses this in his latest documentary film: "Reformed Answers on the Roman Corruption of Christianity":

[3]

But there are even more problems with this argument presented by Catholics and Muslims:
"If these are mutually contradictory denominations, then in what sense are they all “Protestant”? You can’t very well classify them under the same rubric unless all “33,000” denominations share a core identity. 
So the very objection to Protestant diversity tacitly assumes that all Protestant denominations have a common denominator. They must have something essentially in common that makes all of them “Protestant.”

So the Catholic epologist needs to begin with his general definition of “Protestant.” If, however, there’s a general definition of “Protestant,” then whatever diversity there exists among Protestant denominations can only be measured against the benchmark of their fundamental unity as “Protestant” denominations." [4]
And:
"One of the problems with that sentiment is that it undermines Catholicism. Catholics often argue for the Roman Catholic Church by first arguing for Jesus. Supposedly, Jesus founded the Roman Catholic Church and taught, directly or by implication, that it has the authority it claims to have. But that sort of argument for Catholicism requires the Catholic to argue for, or depend on others who have argued for, Jesus' existence, His identity, what He taught, the meaning of what He taught, etc. And there are many differing and contradictory interpretations of Jesus and His historical context. Consider, for example, all of the views of Jesus you come across on the web and in modern scholarship, including Catholic scholarship. The Catholic appeal to the historical Jesus as an argument for Catholicism depends on our being able to sufficiently discern the historical Jesus. If we can do so, despite all of the disagreements that exist on the subject, why should we think the same isn't true with regard to the Bible and sola scriptura? Much the same can be said about all of the disagreements concerning the existence of God, the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, the apostle Paul, the church fathers, etc. 
Catholics should ask themselves what would happen if they were to apply their arguments against Protestantism to their own belief system. It seems that they often don't do that. 
One way to answer the Catholic who cites a large number of Protestant denominations is to cite the large number of views of Jesus. Or the large number of views of the origin of the universe. Or the authenticity of the writings of Ignatius of Antioch. Or the meaning of what Irenaeus wrote. Or the validity of particular claimants to the papacy. Etc." [5]
As James Swan points out drastically different figures are presented almost every time, but this is problematic for several reasons:
"Aside from the fact that his estimate of millions of Protestant denominations has no real evidence to back it up, there are a few other problems with his burning in the bosom apologetic conclusions. His subjective feelings have informed him that sola scriptura is the culprit. This reminds me of someone who blames a situation on one idea or a particular group of people at the expense of other factors that should figure into an equation. Secondly, his feelings don’t seem to be moved when it comes to evaluating divisions within Romanism. Is sola scriptura the culprit for that as well? The irony is that this very statement from Mr. Martignoni was not written in response to a Protestant, but to Roman Catholics stating the 33,000 denominations argument should be abandoned. That is, Martignoni’s is at odds with the conclusions of another Romanist. It’s one Romanist opinion against another. Perhaps sola scriptura is responsible for this as well? No, Romanists are allowed to disagree with each other simply because they say they say they are able to do so. 
Mr. Martignoni then gave his personal opinion of what constitutes a Protestant body. This also appears to be based on his burning in the bosom apologetic conclusions. Is this Rome’s official definition? No, it’s once again, John’s personal opinion." [6]
Finally Dr. James White solidifies all the above in summary when he points out:
GLOBAL CHRISTIANITY had 
(1) 26,350 (2) 33,820 denominations/paradenominations
with
(1),391,020 (2) 3,445,000 congregations/churches
composed of
(1) 1,130 (2) 1,888 million affiliated Christians
dichotomized intothe 2 global categories below
The first number is from 1970, the second from 2000. The two “global categorizations” offered are “denominationalism” and “postdenominationalism.” It is vital to realize that the 33,820 number, used by Ray and Staples and the other RC apologists, combines all the “denominations” included in both lists. But if these men would just do a small amount of reading on the very page they cite, they would realize that this is not a listing of “denominations” arising from the Protestant Reformation (though, again, for clarity I note, this is exactly the claim of Steve Rayas documented above). 21,990 of these denominations are in the “postdenominationalism” category, 11,830 in the denominational. And please realize, the denominational number includes Roman Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants! In fact, amazingly, this source lists 242 Roman Catholic denominations! If these ever-so-careful researchers had bothered to read on to page 16, they would have discovered: 
  • This source lists 781 “Orthodox” denominations (i.e., Eastern Orthodoxy), predicting 887 for 2025. 
  • This source lists 242 “Roman Catholic” denominations for 2000, predicting 245 for 2025. 
Do either of these groups arise from the Reformation? Of course not! Instead, continuing on page 16, the over-arching group “Protestant” is listed as having 8,973 denominations in 2000, predicting 9490 by 2025. If we stop just here, this means Steve Ray and Tim Staples are off by 24,000 denominations in their oft-repeated claims, i.e., the actual number in the source is only 27% of the number they give. They are inflating the number by more than 300%! Why? Are they simply going on second-hand references without ever even looking at the sources? Or are they being dishonest? Which is it?

But this isn’t the entire picture. As you begin to work through the list of “Protestant” denominations, you discover that they include non-Trinitarian groups such as the Oneness denominations, as well as other groups like the Seventh-Day Adventists! Some of the other denominations listed openly embrace “revelation” in the modern period, hence meaning that they would hardly hold to any meaningful doctrine of sola scriptura to begin with.

After the Protestant groups you have “Independent” groups, followed by “Marginal Christian” groups. But all of these are added into the 33,820 number! Please realize, this includes “Gnostics” (!), Mormons (122 denominations worth!) and Jehovah’s Witnesses (228 denominations)!

So the serious-minded reader is left with one conclusion: Steve Ray, Tim Staples, and the rest of the Roman Catholic apologetics community that throws the 33,000 number around like a football are embarrassing themselves to no end every time they repeat this myth. Not only is it painfully obvious that sola scriptura is not to blame for this 33,000 number, but in this source, read in its own context, the large portion of those listed in the 33,000 number do not even confess the doctrine, let alone practice it in their theological enunciations and development! Even amongst the Protestant groups listed, how many seriously know the issues surrounding the doctrine, let alone make a conscious effort to apply the truth? So no honest person could possibly, in light of this information, continue to make use of this number the way Ray and Staples and others do with regularity.

Ironically, on the page after that cited by Ray (p. 11), we find a chart relating to martyrs during the history of Christendom. It claims 11,000,000 martyrs have died as Roman Catholics since AD 1000 (are they including the Crusades?–we are not told). It likewise lists 3,170,000 Protestant martyrs, and 838,000 “Catholics prior to AD 1000.”

But, in the next section it lists who was responsible for killing these martyrs. Secular governments and atheists score big, with 55,597,000 and 31,519,000 respectively. The Muslims are high-performers on the martyr-production scale as well with 9,101,000 to their credit. Animists come in fourth with 7,469,000, and guess who is #5 on the martyr-producing hit parade? Yes, Roman Catholicism, with 4,951,000! I wonder if Ray and Staples will be quoting that statistic anytime soon? And if not, why not? [7] [8]


End notes:


[1] John Martignoni, Tyler McNabb, Patrick Madrid, Tim Staples, Steve Ray etc (http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/?s=33%2C000+denominations)

[2] http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2007/08/22/the-33000-denominations-myth/

[3] Can be purchased on DVD at www.reformedapologeticsministries.com

[4] http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2010/09/33000-protestant-denominations.html

[5] http://triablogue.blogspot.co.m/2010/09/roman-catholic-suicide.html

[6] http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2010/09/18/its-not-33000-protestant-denominations-but-millions/

[7] Written: http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2007/08/22/the-33000-denominations-myth/

[8] Video: http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2009/01/08/the-33000-protestant-denominations-lie/

Adnan Rashid Proven IslamoPhobiaPhobe!

Guest Post: Radical Moderate


A few days ago a horrible murder was committed in England. A Saudi woman had her life tragically ended by as of yet an unknown and unnamed offender [1]. I hope whoever committed this heinous crime, is swiftly brought to justice and repentance. 

One notorious Muslim speaker Adnan Rashid made the following outrageous comment on his FB page.


"One of our Saudi sisters has been brutally murdered in what appears to be an Islamophobic attack. I hold the British political establishment and media responsible for this atrocity. Our sister's blood is on their hands. All Islamophobes in the government and the fascist media must take full responsibility for this brutal murder caused by their active hate mongering against the peaceful Muslim community. I ask the Saudi government to take heed and cut ties with the British political establishment until Islamophobia is eradicated from the media as well as all political circles. Our lives are not any less important than the rest of the British population." [2]

What makes Adnad think it's an Islamophobic attack? The article he posted gave the following information:


“DS Tracy Hawkings said officers were keeping an open mind on the motive for the attack. "We are conscious that the dress of the victim will have identified her as likely being a Muslim and this is one of the main lines of the investigation but again there is no firm evidence at this time that she was targeted because of her religion," she said."

The police have not established a motive keeping an “open mind” and there is “no firm evidence” that she was murdered because of her religion other than the way she was wearing an abya Islamic dress. So a Muslimah is stabbed to death wearing an abya and this means she was murdered by an Islamophobe? Talk about Islamophobe-a-phobic bigotry!

Now does this sound all too familiar? Remember Shaima Alwadi? The California woman who was found bludgeoned to death by her daughter. Remember her daughter wearing a hijab, and to much make up, and shedding crocodile tears behind over sized sunglasses to news cameras.

“We found a note that said “go home you terrorists” she cried to the delight of CAIR. Who immediately issued a press conference condemning this Islamophobic attack. Muslim author Reza Aslan personally blamed Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller for the murder. Even though the El Cajon police said they were investigating other leads and theories. The story brought national and international outrage, a Facebook page titled “Hoodies and Hijabis” was started getting hundreds of thousands if not millions of likes.

Only one small problem with this tale, the woman's husband was just convicted of her murder a few weeks ago.[3] His defense team even trying to blame the daughter for the murder. Muslims it seems even turn on their own families. 
Could this be another "Honor Killing" as was the case with Shaima Alawadi? Plenty of Muslimahs have been murdered around the world, including England that have nothing to do with Islamophobia. 

As a matter of fact I can not think of a single Muslimah who has been murdered in England due to "Islamophobia". On the other hand I can name a few Muslimahs who have been murdered in England at the hands of their own family members. So if this woman was murdered because of Islamophobia she would be the first. It is well documented that so-called "Islamophobia" criminal cases have been either made up or greatly exaggerated. Can you say TELL MAMMA?

Adnan Rashid made another assertion:

Lee Rigby's murder received 5 star coverage from the media. The Saudi woman doesn't deserve it because she wasn't "British" enough. Justice?

What is interesting is that police are investigating whether this murder is related to another murder that happened a few months ago in the same area. Jim Attfield a mentally challenged white man was stabbed over a 100 times. This horrific murder received barely any media coverage, but no one is saying that it is because of retard-a-phobia, or "WhiteManoPhobia".

And oddly enough police are also investigating retaliation threats from Muslims! Even Muslims on Adnan Rashid’s own Facebook page have called for Jihad against the British government and worse:





And:





So in a real sense the as of yet unproven speculation that this woman was murdered because of Islamophobia, something utterly unheard of and something that has never happened before is leading Muslims to make violent threats against innocent British citizens! Without any evidence, Adnan Rashid and his goons blame this poor woman's murder on Islamphobes, the media and politicians. We have heard this before. Now I'm not saying this is a case of Honor Killings that has plagued Islamic families, something Muslims foolishly deny even existing. But I would not be surprised or even shocked if that  does turn out to be the case. However this may be a case of a sexual assault or robbery gone bad, or even a case of a serial killer targeting random people in English parks. But either way just because a Muslim woman is murdered while wearing a hijab does not mean that she was killed by Islamophobes. 

I hope Muslims will denounce and condemn Mr Rashid’s reckless attack on innocent Islamophobes, condemning his bigoted remarks for the hate speech he is promoting.I hope that if this horrific murder turns out to be anything other than a hate crime that Mr Rashid will apologize to the innocent Islamophobes he has unwarrantably slandered.


UPDATE


The BBC is reporting that a 19 year old man has been arrested after he grabbed another woman in the same area. No word on if the other woman was a Muslim or what the motives were for his attack. [4]

Notes:


Paul Williams, 1 Samuel 15:2-3 and God's Justice

[Nota Bene: the webmaster of the Answering Abraham blog has been kind enough to include this guest post, by Denis Giron.]

In November of 2012, Paul Bilal Williams posted a video to YouTube, titled "David Wood and Jay Smith refuse to answer any questions on the Bible" (no link is available, as the video has since been taken down). In that video, Mr. Williams repeatedly tried to interrupt Mr. Wood's speech, at Speaker's Corner, in London, by yelling variations of the same single question, over and over again: "why does [your] God kill babies?" Mr. Williams would go on to explain that he had in mind specifically 1 Samuel 15:2-3.

Mr. Williams also posted the video on his (now defunct) blog, as well as on FaceBook (exempli gratia: this thread). Since then, he has written about the subject on his second blog (cf. his entry titled The character of God in the Bible), and has challenged others to grapple with the subject on Twitter. For example, consider the following tweets:


From all that, one would think that Mr. Williams wants to engage others on the subject. Sadly, however, it has been my experience that when people try to discuss the subject deeply with him, he quickly develops a desire to avoid the topic. Interested readers can see some of the correspondences I have tried to have with Mr. Williams at the links to the relevant FaceBook post and blog entry, above. Here I will attempt to deal with some of the salient points, with the hope that this blog entry might suffice as a reply to Mr. Williams, should he raise the subject again (exempli gratia, if, in the future, he challenges someone to discuss the relevant Biblical passage, the person so challenged can simply direct Mr. Williams here). I confess, however, that much of what will be found here, will overlap with the discussion found in the aforementioned correspondences.

God's Justice vs. One Man's Cognitive Dissonance

When Mr. Williams first posted the relevant video, back in November of 2012, and I made my first attempt to correspond with him on the subject, I attempted to press two questions on him, which might be stated as follows:
  1. Do you agree that God causes natural disasters which kill women and children?

  2. If you do, is it your position that whether or not it is just for God to bring about their death depends on what sort of creation was employed to do so?
These questions are quite relevant, as they get to the heart of the matter. If God does cause natural disasters to kill women and children, then it would seem that we can infer from creation that God can and sometimes will bring about the death of women and children. This would mean that the Biblical depiction of God, as directing creation in such away as to cause the death of women and children, however difficult it may be for some to accept, would not be contrary to reality (unless one wishes to deny the divine foreknowledge, or even existence, of God).

In our correspondences, in late 2012, Mr. Williams assured me that there is a world of difference between God causing a natural disaster to kill children, on the one hand, and God directing a human to kill children, on the other. However, despite such insistence, Mr. Williams has not yet, to date, articulated what that difference might be. It seems to me that if we take the proposition...
    "God caused X to kill children."
...what it says about God's justice does not change based on whether we instantiate "a tsunami" or "a human" in place of 'X'. Unfortunately, Mr. Williams refused to grapple with this point.

However, if I may make a bit of a relevant segue, in a correspondence with Ijaz Ahmed (in a thread on a FaceBook page of Kaleef Karim which has since been deactivated, and thus cannot be linked to, at this time), Mr. Ahmed asked me if I understood the difference between one of my loved ones dying in a natural disaster, on the one hand, and the same person being murdered by another human, on the other. It seems to me prudent to address this idea, here.

My objection is that such a question grinds close to removing God from the equation. For example, if a mere human being developed technology which could cause tsunamis, and deliberately employed said technology to kill a group of women and children, we would consider him guilty of mass murder. However, if God caused a tsunami to kill women and children, most theists would not attempt to impugn God's justice. So too, if a human acted on his own in killing a child, we can consider that murder, but if we consider murder to be specifically an illicit form of homicide, then a human carrying out God's order to kill a child would arguably be licit rather than illicit, and thus would not constitute murder. For an analogy, Jews, Christians and Muslims do not consider Abraham's intention to kill his son to be an attempted murder, though if an ordinary man, today, attempted to kill his child, we could all consider him guilty of such. In short, the question seems to side step the central subject of God's justice in employing creation to bring about the death of women and children.

Interestingly, in December of 2012, Mr. Williams had a bit of praise for Sadat bin Anwar's piece, Killing babies for who? Allah or Yah___/Jesus? Mr. Williams has more recently shared the piece via a tweet. In that piece, Mr. Bin Anwar makes the following rather interesting statement:
    God is the Sovereign Creator, the Giver of Life. He can take that life away, either directly or through the use of His agents (the wind, water, angels, etc). That is a point that I am ready to concede. On a theological and philosophical level, were God to actually command the Jews to kill all the Amalekite children and animals, their fulfilling this command would be seen as a meritorious and virtuous act, much as we consider Abraham’s near-sacrifice of his innocent (but willing) son to be a virtuous act.
Feeling that this agreed in large part with the position I had staked out, I asked Mr. Williams if he agreed with Mr. Bin Anwar on such points. Rather than answer the question directly, Mr. Williams responded, on 15 December, 2012, "I'm not here to be cross-examined by you Mr Denis." Being that this saga began with Mr. Williams triumphantly proclaiming David Wood's unwillingness to answer questions about 1 Samuel 15:2-3, I could not help but find such a response to be humorously ironic.

Mr. Williams' apparent inability to appreciate the very sources he recommends to others did not stop there. On 31 December, 2012, he posted to his [first] blog a video titled, Islamic Theology vs. the Problem of Evil, in which Abdal Hakim Murad (A.K.A. Timothy Winter) discussed God's will and human suffering. At slightly over a minute into the video, the man, who is among Mr. Williams' favorite scholars, states that "it's an impugning and compromising of our tawHeed to suggest that what's happening in today's world is not the direct will of Allah". Such a point is highly relevant to this discussion, but it would not be easy to get Mr. Williams to grapple with its implications.

Another example, in which Mr. Williams seems to wave off or shut out anything which is inconvenient, came up on Twitter. He feigned being scandalized by the fact that there exist Christians who admit that, if they believed God wanted them to kill a child, they might attempt to do so. While I can certainly understand an atheist having a problem with such, it seems improper for a Muslim to take such a stance. Consider the following exchange:


The reason why it is awkward for a professed Muslim to express shock that someone might be willing to do the unthinkable if they believed God commanded them to do so is precisely because the Qur'an depicts Abraham, one of the most celebrated figures in the Islamic faith, as precisely that sort of a person. Mr. Williams, however, tried to deny that such was the case, and invitations for him to explain a relevant passage in the Qur'an were met with silence. Further attempts to get him to grapple with the subject he himself raised were met with personal insults.

Such unfortunate behavior reflects a sadly typical trend with Mr. Williams. He prefers to end discussions and/or employ personal attacks to ever conceding a point to "the other side". One is tempted to speculate that such tendencies are rooted in hatred (an authentic "Christophobia"), as they are not motivated by a sincere desire to come to the truth.

A Brief Comment on the Text

Anyone who has grappled with the subject of theodicy will almost certainly find Mr. Willaims' polemic less than persuasive. This is because the solution to the problem of suffering will often provide an indirect answer to the relevant charge. For example, one could easily argue that, just because we cannot understand why God would employ creation (whether it be a tsunami or a person) to kill a child, that does not mean God therefore did not have morally sufficient reason for doing so.

Relevant to this, Mr. Williams has felt that 1 Samuel 15:2 lists the precise reason why God ordered the relevant slaughter. Admitting that he does not know Hebrew, Mr. Williams sided with the NRSV, which opens with "I will punish the Amalekites for what they did...".

However, the NRSV offers a slightly less than literal translation. The PaQaD root (פקד) can give rise to verbs which mean to punish, but it can also mean to note, examine, recall, remember, et cetera, and in the relevant Biblical verse, the verb is paqadtee (פקדתי), which is perfect/completed tense (roughly "past tense"). Ergo, if we were to see it as "punish," the punishment would have already been complete ("I punished"). Therefore, it should be noted that the ESV is closer to the intention of the text being translated, in reading "I have noted..."

Even though the verse makes note of that past event, that does not mean that event suffices as all the reason God had for giving all of the precise commands that were given. For an analogy, in a war, a general might tell his troops that a coming battle is related to a specific past event, but that does not mean every detail in the battle plan is therefore just a mechanical reaction to the event which was mentioned. On the contrary, there can be all sorts of other motivations or lines of reasoning behind the various details of the attack, which are not shared with the troops carrying out the orders. Hence, 1 Samuel 15:2 does not prevent us from thinking God may have had morally sufficient reasons which we are presently unaware of.

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