In response to older debate topics and those to come, I would invite my Christian readers to consider a filter for all their responses. Let’s call it the WWAD (What Would Allah Do?) Razor. To define it, I’d say the WWAD Razor is “eliminating a response that a Muslim could give (replacing God with Allah or Bible with Qur’an) that would not convince you.” To summarize, I’d rather not hear responses that, if coming from a Muslim, would not be compelling to you.
For instance, let’s say that I argue that natural disasters should not occur, because they are incompatible with God as we know Him. The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami killed nearly 228,000 people and displaced half a million from their homes. It is reasonable to assume that at least one of these people was innocent and didn’t deserve death. If this happened under the watch of an omniscient, benevolent, and omnipotent God then it couldn’t have happened – He’d have seen it, wanted to prevent it, and been able to prevent it. But in reality it was not prevented and caused lots of damage to human lives and unmeasurable suffering.
A logical, unbiased, reasoned response may follow like so: Your assumptions are false. The bible doesn’t state that God is omnipotent. This is merely assumed by Christians to make sense of ideas like Creation… or… Disasters like this follow the pattern shown in Noah’s Flood and the future destruction of the Earth in end times, so it’s natural to assume that this pattern will continue. You’d have to study and understand the motivations behind these disasters to understand the Tsunami… or… Maybe God prevented a larger disaster from happening by allowing this one. After all, it did slow down the year by a little bit. This could add up to something in the larger scheme.
A biased response follows like this: God is mysterious, and we can’t even begin to figure out His ways. There may be a greater good in things like the Tsunami, and we assume there is because God is much smarter than you. What do you think you know about suffering? God loves these people much more than you do.
The biased response is one that I wish never to hear, and should never be put forward because even the ones writing it don’t believe it. If it read “Allah is mysterious, and we can’t… etc.” then the writer wouldn’t find it a good point anymore. If he or she read such a statement, that person would dismiss it offhand immediately and think something like “Well, of course that’s what you believe” without a single moment of even considering its validity. And it is what Muslims believe. They are as convinced that their doctrine is true as Christians are of theirs. They believe that their God exists and is in control just as much as Christians do. But the strength of their conviction doesn’t move you to believe in Allah, nor do quotes from their holy text suggest that they have a better grasp of the facts than you do.
This is a good point to remember whenever you debate about religion with anyone. You have to be able to see it from your opponent’s point of view, and this is the best way to do that. If your opponent were to make the same point that you are making, and substituted the name of a God that you don’t believe in, would his argument win you over? If not, then you can see from his point of view why it isn’t winning him over. Use the WWAD Razor to refine your arguments and get rid of the ones that will have no effect.