Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Shabir Ally’s Contradictions and Inconsistencies Pt. 2

Sam Shamoun

We proceed with our exposition of some of the many blunders and contradictions that Ally has made in debates and supposed dialogues.

When Dr. Nabeel Qureshi asked Ally in the cross-examination section of their debate whether he would agree that the pre-Pauline hymns cited by Paul and Mark’s Gospel portray Jesus as Yahweh, Ally responded by saying, 

"I wouldn't agree that either Paul or Mark presents Jesus as Yahweh. Paul, despite what he says about Jesus and raising Jesus to a high status, which Muslims would not accept it, Paul stopped short of making Jesus Yahweh. For example, 1 Corinthians chapter 15 verse 24 shows that in the final end game, Jesus is going to return all power to God who gave it to him in the first place. And Christ will be subjected to God so that God will be all and all, which means that you do not have three co-equal and co-eternal beings. You have God who is greatest and Jesus who is under God; that’s why Paul could say in 1 Corinthians chapter 11 verse 3, that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God." (“What is God Really Like: Tawhid or Trinity?”)

Ally went on to further assert that,

“Mark as well does not present Jesus as Yahweh, even though there are some passages which as you mentioned about preparing the way of the Lord, which might tease the boundaries a little bit. But that’s different from Mark coming out and saying, ‘O, looks like Jesus is actually Yahweh.’ Mark is actually very clear, when he quotes Jesus in chapter 12 verse number 29, Jesus repeating the same Shema Yisrael, saying that there is only one God, the God of Israel. And then the man who asked Jesus about this says, ‘You are right teacher! There is only one God and besides him there is no other.’ So the ‘him’ is somebody else other than Jesus, and then Jesus praised the man for having such deep insight. So it’s clear from Mark’s Gospel, that Jesus is not Yahweh. Mark chapter 13 verse 32 shows that Jesus does not know where the hour will occur.”

And in his debate with Jonathan McLatchie, Ally reiterated his claim by arguing that Paul did not ascribe the word theos, i.e. “God”, to Jesus, or identify him as Yahweh:

“Some of our friends think that the NT somehow declares that Jesus is God; so now let’s look at the NT. And before I do, let’s say something about the development of ideas as an introduction to reading the NT. In the intertestamental period, that is the period between the Old and the New Testament [sic], people began to speculate, perhaps there is an intermediary between God and man. God – the philosophers said – is so unchangeable and so remote, that he does not deal with a changeable world directly. But he deals with the world through some kind of intermediary; that could be like the divine mind or the Logos of God, his reason, or his Sophia, his wisdom. Maybe he doesn't create the world directly, he creates through an intermediary. But that was an idea, but it did not lead the Jews to worship something other, or someone other than Yahweh.

“Now in the NT we have some developments. Some people now begin to think of Jesus as that intermediary. We have in one of St. Paul's writings that Jesus is that agent through which God created the world, so that here we have the agent idea. But Paul does not attribute to Jesus the title theos, which in Greek would mean God; Paul always distinguishes between God and Jesus. He’s granting Jesus a lofty status as Creator of the world, but still as an intermediary between the ultimate Creator God and the world. So he is an intermediary, BUT NOT YAHWEH HIMSELF. So this is why when Paul would speak of Jesus, he would speak of Jesus in a very exalted language, and some of our Christian friends would say, 'See, that means God!'” ("What is God Like -- Tawhid or Trinity?")

Ally then went on to make the following argument:

“Now when Paul and other writers are speaking about God, they sometimes take OT passages where Yahweh is mentioned, and they start, in a tantalizing way, putting it in such a manner that when our Christian friends read it now, they're thinking, 'Oh, it looks like Jesus is that Yahweh!' But what needs to be distinguished very clearly is the usage of 'the Lord'–which is ambiguous, and vague and more general–and a reference to ‘the Lord God,’ the ultimate God; and Paul does make that distinction. We have to be aware of this. So when we read Paul's writings, whose writings are the earliest that we have of the NT, we should keep that distinction in mind.”

“If we keep that distinction then when we go to John’s Gospel we understand what is happening. For John’s Gospel as well, there’s the ultimate God, the only true God according to John chapter 17, verse number 3. Jesus looks up into heaven, he’s praying, and he’s saying ‘this is eternal life that they may know you as the only true God, and Jesus your messenger as Christ.’ So he’s distinguishing between himself and the true God. It is true that John’s Gospel also uses the term God to refer to Jesus, but not the ultimate God. John’s Gospel begins, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was divine’… is the best translation because the word used there in Greek is theos, which means ‘God.’ But it can mean ‘a god,’ as opposed to ho theos, which means definitely ‘the God.’ Now one can argue it the other way and say that its grammatical necessary for John to put it in this way for what he wanted to say at this point. However, because the point is disputed and the grammarians are arguing it both ways, I want to ask you if John definitely wanted to say that Jesus is the ultimate God why would he put the matter in such a manner, that people would dispute over it and they would not be able to come to a definite and unified conclusion about this? He should state it somewhere very plainly. But what he is stating plainly is that Jesus has a God!

“So even if you can call Jesus God this is a kind of an intermediary God. It’s not something that Muslims will accept to be sure; we do not accept intermediary gods. But we should be clear what John is saying. What John is saying is neither acceptable to Muslims nor to Trinitarians, because John does not have this concept of the Trinity. The Trinity requires that there are three eternal Persons who are eternally co-equal, and according to John, Jesus is not coequal with the ultimate God. That is why John in chapter 20, verse 17 has Jesus saying to his disciple Miriam Magdalene, ‘Tell my brothers that I am ascending to my God and your God, My Father and your Father.’ So Jesus has a God according to this. This passage is important because some of our friends say that Jesus was not known to be God during his lifetime; it is the resurrection from the dead that proved that he conquered death, and therefore that he is God. But that now, we have Jesus saying this, according to the Christian narrative, after the resurrection from the dead, and he still has a God. So even though John’s Gospel is referring to Jesus as, in a way, as a theos, he is referring to Jesus as a begotten God; so there is an ultimate God and there is a begotten one according to this Gospel.”

As we saw in the first part of our series, Ally has no qualms with contradicting himself, even in the very same debate!

For instance, it must have slipped Ally’s mind what he previously stated to Qureshi in his opening statements:

“Two streams of teaching. On the one hand there is Paul, and hence we find in the NT statements about… Paul saying for example THAT GOD CAME DOWN, HUMBLED HIMSELF, BECAME JESUS – Philippians chapter 2, the Carmen Christi that Nabeel spoke about. 1 Corinthians chapter 8, verse number 6, Paul takes the Shema Yisrael AND HE MAKES TWO PERSONS OUT OF THAT ONE. In the Shema Yisrael there was only one Lord God. Now Paul makes it one Lord AND one God – one Lord Jesus, one God the Father; he splits them. So we know the hydrant collider has split the atom recently, now Paul did a splitting way back when. But Paul is representing one particular view here.” (Emphasis ours)

Notice how Ally admits that Paul identifies Christ as the Yahweh whom Deuteronomy 6:4 says is one, and also acknowledges that the Apostle taught that Jesus is God that came down and humbled himself.

Ally must have also forgotten the third question he had asked Dr. James R. White during the cross-examination period of their debate in Pretoria, South Africa:

“Now you cited the Carmen Christi from Philippians chapter 2 where Paul IS OBVIOUSLY REFERRING TO THE BOOK OF ISAIAH CHAPTER 45. Now are you aware that Paul HAS ACTUALLY TAKEN A REFERENCE TO YAHWEH AND THEN MADE THAT A REFERENCE TO JESUS, and so he has in fact here modified the original belief in one God Yahweh, AND NOW HE HAS MADE JESUS THIS YAHWEH. And if Jesus is this Yahweh then how could Yahweh be Father, Son and Holy Ghost, because in that case Jesus is not part of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost? You have Yahweh who is Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and then you have Jesus. Explain that.” (Did the Earliest Followers of Jesus Believe in His Deity?)

It must have further slipped Ally’s mind the answer he gave to Dr. White when the latter cross-examined him:

“Now in Paul using this hymn, and representing Jesus in this way, we can see that he has actually departed from the OT, because he has taken an OT passage that referred to Yahweh and he has made that refer to Jesus. He is now departing from that original commandment which says you shall have no other god but Yahweh. Clearly Jesus was a human being, and the book of Numbers chapter 23 verse 19, it says God is not a man and not the son of man. So if Jesus is a man to all appearances, well then, you cannot take him to be god, he cannot be Yahweh, he is not Yahweh. And by taking him to be somehow Yahweh, AS PAUL IS NOW DOING IN HIS LETTER, even in a tantalizing way, Paul is actually departing from the OT scripture.”

So according to Ally, the blessed Apostle of the risen Lord not only identifies Jesus as Yahweh, but also took the following monotheistic passage about Yahweh,

For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” Isaiah 45:18-23

And used it to affirm that every created being which exists must worship Christ in acknowledgment of his being the Lord whom God the Father exalted above all creation!

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

Now which Ally should we believe? The one who denies that the Apostles and the earliest disciples identified Jesus as Yahweh God, even when they applied OT texts about Yahweh to Christ? Or should we go with the Ally who candidly admits that Paul, and the early Christians that composed hymns which the blessed Apostle included in his inspired writings, such as the Carmen Christi, all believed and worshiped Jesus as Yahweh and as the God who came down and humbled himself to become a man?

More importantly, what does this say about Ally’s willingness to blatantly contradict himself, even within the same debate? Doesn’t this prove that Ally has no problem with being inconsistent, in fact deceptive, if and when it helps him win a debate? And yet what does this say about Islam itself when its very own faithful adherents and apologists have to resort to lying and trickery in order to convince people to become Muslims?  

Finally, should it really come as a shock that Ally would be so inconsistent when the Quran describes Allah as a conniver and trickster who changes his mind and contradicts himself, just as the following articles and rebuttals prove?

Contradictions in the Qur'an


Allah as a Deceiver

Allah – The Greatest Deceiver of them All

Who really is Muhammad’s Allah?

Allah and Satan: Who Misleads Whom?

After all, the kind of deity you worship and serve will often impact the kind of person you end up becoming.

Therefore, since Allah boasts about being the best of all deceivers who doesn’t mind or hesitate to use lies and schemes to get his way and/or to accomplish his purposes, then why should it surprise us that Ally would resort to employing the very same kind of tactics that his own deity uses in order to win debates?

It seems that in Islam the ends do justify the means.

Continue with the next part of this series.