“Is he, then, who knows that what has been revealed to thee (Muhammad) from thy Lord is the truth, like one who is blind? But only those gifted with understanding will reflect.” (Al Quran 13:20)
“When it is not in our power to determine what is true, we ought to follow what is most probable.” René Descartes
Prof. Richard Dawkins is facing Prof. Alister McGrath, who is in full view
Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD
This is my commentary on a debate or a dialogue between Prof. Richard Dawkins and Prof. Alister McGrath.
In this debate or interview, the parties did not invite a Muslim, as is often the case with the Western scholars, despite the fact that God of Islam was frequently hijacked by Prof. Alister McGrath and often point of criticism by Prof. Richard Dawkins.
Why do I say that Islam was frequently hijacked by McGrath?
Many of the current Christian concepts are borrowed from Islam, without due acknowledgement. I will give only two examples here.
Firstly, the pragmatic approach towards the offending party, punishing when the situation demands, rather than always turning the other cheek, has now become a hallmark of not only the Western civilization, but also Christianity, is an Islamic construct.
Secondly, when the Christian rationalists use the concept of Transcendent God, they are referring to the God of Islam, Judaism and Unitarian Christianity. The Triune God of Trinitarian Christianity is not Transcendent, as Jesus had two natures, he was perfect man and fully divine. His human nature was flesh and bones, born of virgin Mary and dwelled among us for more than thirty years. Nevertheless, the Trinitarian Christians employ, bait and switch unknowingly, as they talk about God. They mention God the Father and imply the Triune God of the Christian theology, a construction that took first 6 centuries of the Christian history to erect, through the different Ecumenical conferences and later coercion of Crusades and Inquisitions.
So, here I have taken the liberty to create a trilateral dialogue, between me, Dawkins and McGrath. They are welcome to participate and I promise that if any of them comments in this post, his comments will not be censored in any way. However, it is unlikely, at least for Dawkins that he will comment here, as I have exposed him before in the Muslim Times and have not heard from him.
In his refusal to debate Prof. William Lane Craig, he is on record saying that such a debate will look good on Craig’s CV but not on his. Dawkins is apparently more concerned about his CV than the search for the truth. He fails to realize that if salvation is at stake, CV does not matter. (Al Quran 3:92)
If they will not respond, it is likely that over time my dialogue will improve through different editions, but their will be frozen in time of the actual interview. It is not to rule out contributions from other apologists for atheism or Christianity.
In Youtube the debate is loaded in 15 parts and each part of the video will be followed by my commentary.
I will make my response as a weekly series of 15 parts.
I am calling it a David Versus Goliath story, as Dawkins and McGrath are well known and current or prior professors, in the prestigious Oxford University and I have no such bragging rights. But, I have been drinking from the fountain of the Holy Quran, as understood and taught by the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani and his followers. You be the judge if I play the role of David well or not!
Prof. Richard Dawkins will be spokesperson for atheism, Prof. Alister McGrath for Christianity and this humble one for Islam.
As a word of caution, let me say to the apologists of atheism and Christianity that I have saved the videos for the posterity, so it is no use taking them offline from Youtube.
Zia H Shah MD
First, something about the big picture, atheists are right in exposing the irrationality of the Christian dogma. However, the Christians are right in as far as their claim that there needs to be a Creator of this universe, Who employed natural means to do His work. However, both parties in their self-conceit are not listening to how Islam resolves their conflict; Islam as understood by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
Christian apologists want to make a case for Christianity based on laws of nature and science, by showing that there ought to be a Transcendent Creator, in one breath, and in the very next, deny all of science, by insisting on Eucharist, man-God of Jesus, who is not Transcendent, resurrection and miracles that violate laws of nature.
Alister Edgar McGrath (born 23 January 1953) is an Irish Anglican priest, theologian, and Christian apologist, currently Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at Kings College London and Head of the Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture. He was previously Professor of Historical Theology at theUniversity of Oxford, and was principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford until 2005.
Zia H Shah MD is a practicing physician in New York state and is the Chief Editor of the Muslim Times and the Alislam-eGazette, a monthly electronic journal with a subscription of more than 40,000. He wants to show the West that there is a third theological option, other than Christianity and atheism, namely Islam as understood by Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
Shah also aspires to establish separation of Church and State in all countries of the world and believes wars between ‘Science’ and ‘Religion’ can be avoided by defining a domain called ‘Metaphysics.’ He believes that Science and Metaphysics are a litmus test for the greater accuracy of the Holy Quran compared to the Bible. In these pursuits he has authored almost 400 articles, many have been published in peer reviewed journals and most are linked in the Muslim Times and Islam for the West.
I will now return to addressing myself in the first person. I have carefully read Dawkins’: The God Delusion and McGrath’s: The Dawkins Delusion?: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine. I believe a careful reading of these books and our collection of materials in Islam for the West, should incline open minded and rational people towards Islam.
Read on and in the words of Sir Francis Bacon, “Read not to contradict … but to weigh and consider.” But, first watch the part two of fifteen of the interview or the debate between Dawkins and McGrath. In the full video it would be minute seven to fifteen of the video:
In this or the second part, discussion shifts to the issue of, ‘Is there a God?’ I agree with both of them that as none of us have directly seen or met God, it becomes a matter of probabilities.
Looking at the universe, do we find that there is a Creator or not?
Here McGrath hijacks the Islamic concept of God for his Christian misunderstanding.
He makes a good argument that the most improbable presence of humans on our planet begs a Creator, but, in the same breath, by a Creator, he implies the most improbable understanding of a Triune God.
The Christian apologists make a case for God the Creator of Islam and Judaism and then imply the Triune God of their faith, which is most improbable.
A God of infinite wisdom, who could not think of a better way for human salvation than to offer His only son for a grudging suicide? The absurdity of suicidal mission of Jesus should be obvious to everyone in this age, when we all understand the futility and irrationality of suicidal bombers and the horror of their terrorism.
This is where rationality of McGrath goes into the blind alley of Christian faith and claims Trinity: three persons and one substance, as the Creator of mankind. Not to speak of elaborate rationality and philosophy, even the basic counting of persons in Trinity is simplistic.
If we consider the two natures of Jesus, fully man and perfect God, as is the Christian dogma, the count of persons changes:
1. God the Father.
2. Holy Ghost.
3. Jesus the man.
4. Jesus the God.
Shall we say it is a Tetrad God and not Triune?
It is true that it is most improbable that this universe could come into being from nothingness, but, at the same time Triune God, with a Father and a son, who are both eternal is simply an oxymoron and not only an improbability but an impossibility. I hope, McGrath’s wisdom is better than this!
Let me now link evidence for a Creator and exposure of Trinity:
The question of last resort, by the atheists, ‘who created God?’ will be examined in part III of the debate.