Why Debate People of Other Faiths?

By Julie Roys
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Is anything really gained from debates between Christians and adherents of other religions? Some say no and that sparring intellectually simply alienates those who believe differently. But for Dr. Nabeel Qureshi, a Muslim convert to Christianity, a debate between a Christian and Muslim apologist actually accelerated his journey to Christ. And interestingly, today Nabeel will be debating that same Muslim apologist who participated in that formative debate about 11 years ago.

The Muslim apologist is Dr. Shabir Ally, president of the Islamic Information & Dawah Centre International in Toronto. And, the debate takes place today at 5 p.m. Central/6 p.m. Eastern on the Campus of Wayne State University and I will be moderating it. The debate will specifically focus on “What is God Really Like?” As you may know, Muslims believe in Jesus — but not like Christians do. They believe Jesus was a prophet of God, but He certainly was not God and He did not resurrect from the dead. Only Allah is God, they say. And, the Trinity is merely polytheism in disguise.

The debate will be fascinating, for sure, but I’m confident it will also be incredibly productive. Last Saturday, Nabeel joined me on Up for Debate and discussed why debates with people of other faiths are so important. He also explained how Christians can use these events to reach out to Muslims or religious skeptics they know.

I will be streaming video of the debate live here on JulieRoys.com. Moody Radio will also be rebroadcasting the debate at 8 p.m. Friday and again at 2 p.m. Saturday.

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2 thoughts on “Why Debate People of Other Faiths?”

  1. In general, I don’t think it’s a good idea to debate people of other faiths. Did the New Testament apostles ever do this? They may have participated in discussions, but I don’t think they ever participated in formal, organized debates.

    Why is this a bad idea? Well, Leanne Payne spells it out amazingly in one of her books. Here’s sort of a paraphrase of her ideas:

    1) It’s usually a major waste of time.

    2) It’s dialogue carried out on the plane of the mind alone, and we Christians cannot translate our language into theirs.

    3) It gives Satan a platform to spout his lies and deception.

    4) We Christians should never let Satan choose the battleground, and that’s usually what happens here.

    Also, here’s a little personal experience. I had a long dialogue with a well-meaning Muslim once at our university library. In a nutshell, his reasoning was very circular, and I simply could not penetrate it. Our discussion must have gone on for about a couple hours, but it basically went nowhere. I let myself be unwisely sucked into it.

    Looking back, I realize that I should have ended our discussion after about 5 minutes, when I realized it was going nowhere. Beyond that point, it was fruitless and actually counterproductive. I think Christians in general are blind about this kind of thing, and that was an important lesson that really opened my eyes.

  2. As christians, we are to share the Gospel. It is commanded by God so I don’t understand why we are debating this. Maybe we shouldn’t debate with about christianity, but we are required by God to share the Gospel with others.

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