Why Zeinab got it wrong in her critical post of June 1
*This intro part of the article was posted verbatim in my Facebook page on the same day that this was posted here.
I am a 24-year resident of East Dearborn and have frequented Hemlock Park many times for many reasons. On June 1st a young woman named Zeinab Chami posted in Facebook the following criticisms about our exceptionally civil open-air event at Hemlock Park the night before, Memorial Day. I was present among several dozen Christians from probably 10-12 churches. That event featured a main speaker, Georges Houssney, who spoke for about 30 minutes, followed by Q&A. We also had a book table set up on the lawn stocked with religious books. Both the event and the books were intended for adults, but at the very start four children approached the book table and were observed by Zeinab. One of our partners also observed this and explained to them that there were no items for kids and that the entire event was intended for adults only. The children asked repeatedly but were told no unless they had a parent with them. When Zeinab approached, they left. However, Zeinab either did not observe that exchange or did not believe it because she immediately began making a scene that attracted a sizable crowd. In short, Zeinab accused us of 'preying on children' in the park by attracting them to our event, which was false. The next day she made the following post reiterating her false narrative. Since she and I are not Facebook friends, I only became aware of it because one of her friends tagged me. I would like to have responded in order to provide clarity and perspective, but I was not enabled to make comments, and so I was voiceless. When I became aware of Zeinab’s false and unflattering words, I immediately private-messaged her with these short messages:
You sent June 1 at 12:38 PM
Zeinab, please activate my ability to comment so I can add clarity to this.
Main Point: Contrary to the spin, we do not want children at Hemlock. We have nothing for them. If they come we send them away. We wish they would stay away.
To her credit, Zeinab attempted to allow me to comment, as some of her friends suggested she do, but that never became possible because we did not become FB friends. In one comment she said she was patiently waiting for a comment from me, but I could not. There were many comments from her friends, most were very critical of me, but some were favorable.
On Divine Unity and Diversity (Plural-Unity)
Now that Ramadan is over, it is time to reply again to Ozair's comments to my first piece on this subject from April 14th, two posts down. In that I accused Ozair of changing the subject, all the while accusing Ted of trying to. Again, for their debate Ozair insisted on the topic—it could only be the trinity, nothing else. But Ozair does not even understand it himself, which is apparently why he changed it to the incarnation of God. The doctrine of the trinity is really that simple—There is one God who has one Essence with three persons. Period. It entails nothing necessarily about the nature of the man that was Jesus. Again, the way that the debate question was framed excludes any discussion about incarnation, so it does not concern the Arians, the Apollonians, or the Nestorians whose heresies were unrelated to the trinity. The matter of the trinity is confined to questions about Yahweh's nature, his plural-unity, not Jesus. (Also, since Allah has plural attributes in what sense is he 'absolute one' in the Islamic sense?) See Appendix 1 of my book, The Reason of Reason.
Francis Schaeffer provides an eloquent discussion of divine plurality-within-unity in his excellent book, He is There And He Is Not Silent, although he uses the word “diversity” instead of plurality. Here I want to offer a summary of his thinking on this subject starting with an overview of this short book should you like to read it (only 80 pages plus appendices). I highly recommend it. The main argument we are concerned with is Schaeffer’s conviction that only the existence of a tri-personal God, i.e. the trinity, can make sense of both diversity and unity in reality. This is also my conviction for which I will offer my own commentary. But allow me to come back to this specific point in the fifth paragraph after a bit more overview of the whole book should you like to read it. Or you can skim down.
«.لَو كانَتْ مَملَكتِي تَنتَمِي إلَى هَذا العالَمِ، لَكانَ أتباعِي يُحارِبُونَ لِيَمنَعُوا تَسلِيْمِي إلَى اليَهُودِ. لَكِنَّ مَملَكَتِي لَيْسَتْ مِنْ هُنا »
by Scott Cherry—
On the night of his last Passover meal Jesus performed one of the strangest and most uncommon acts for a figure of such epic prominence and power as the Messiah: He washed his disciples' feet. Yet it was entirely consistent with his M.O. which makes it believable. He lived it out thoroughly. It was yet one more demonstration that he came "not to be served but to serve...and to GIVE his life [not take]...as a ransom for many." That is mind-blowing to me.
« مَملَكَتِي لا تَنتَمِي إلَى هَذا العالَمِ.» "My kingdom is not of this world." It would seem that only an alien like Thor or Kal El "Superman" would say something like this. But it wasn't them. Besides, they are fictional. But the man who said this was real and had very strange ideas about himself. "What kind of a outrageous claim is that?" his audience wondered in disbelief. But there's more: «.لَو كانَتْ مَملَكتِي تَنتَمِي إلَى هَذا العالَمِ، لَكانَ أتباعِي يُحارِبُونَ لِيَمنَعُ »
Scott Cherry's Assessment of the 4/9 Debate Between Ted Barham and Ozair Tahir
Last Friday I attended an informal debate between Ted Barham and Ozair Tahir on the question, "Is the trinity logical, rational?" This is my assessment of that debate and my personal rebuttal of Ozair’s argument including a summary of the doctrine of the trinity. Ozair assumed the standard Muslim position that the trinity is non-rational/illogical. But although he is a Muslim, he did not overtly argue his position on the basis of the Qur'an, rather on the pretense of logic and reason. But what he thought was good logic and sound reasoning was, in fact, fallacious. Throughout the course of the debate Ozair repeatedly demanded of Ted, "If the Bible said there were squared circles, would you believe it?" It was a trap that Ted would not fall into. Although Ted could have been much more assertive in putting forth biblical examples of the trinity, Ozair seemed generally disinterested in such evidence anyway. Instead his mind was made up that the trinity was a "squared circle" as he repeatedly resorted to this pet question.
Is God Consistent in His Moral Standards? Does He Have to Be?
The God of the Torah is consistent, it is one of his divine attributes. God is not arbitrary or random. He is consistent in both his attributes and His moral standards. That's why passages about his love for foreigners matter, and why they are not irrelevant. Nothing about God is irrelevant. The LORD is consistent in his love. We Christians don't just ascribe love to God because we want him to be loving. It's because HE said he is loving. God gave Moses his divine truth in the Tawrat, or Torah. In it God revealed much about His nature. He revealed his essential attributes to Moses who penned them for the Jews, the Muslims, and the world: Power, Holiness, Compassion, Righteousness, Mercy, and Love, for example. Who are we to question what God says about Himself in His own words?