Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Partial Transcript of the Dialogue Between James White and Yasir Qadhi

Below is a partial transcript  of James White's dialogue with Yasir Qadhi that I made.

Emphasis of course is mine. I've included time stamps in parenthesis within the dialogue when the dialogue was long and one wanted to get to the particular sentence. On the rare occasion when a word was unclear, I noted in it in brackets.


:15 It has been my desire to engage in a dialogue like this…

:36 I want you to understand what our motivations are this evening in coming together. This is not a debate.

:49 We are going to of necessity discuss differences that we have. Um the thing that makes this wonderful and the reason I sought out Dr. Qadhi, aside from the fact that I have learned so much from him over the years, uh that he’s been a primary influence in my study of Islam—I am a student of Islam and I’ve learned much from him—but the reason I specifically sought him out (1:13) is because I sense in him such a kindred spirit on the other side of the casm that divides us in regards to our theology and our beliefs. (1:22) He is a consistent Muslim. He is believes what he says. He wants to seek for consistency amongst his people and his own practice. And so when you have two believing people, one Christian, one Muslim, come together and say (1:37) we need to discuss not only what divides us but also where do we have similarities.(1:43) How can we live in the same community? And the most important thing is this: if we do what we—if we do what I hope happens this evening, we’re going to do something absolutely unique. It hardly ever happens. And that is, two communities where unfortunately there is a lot of fear on both sides. There’s a lot of misunderstanding on both sides. And as a Christian I want to see doors open. As a Christian I want you as—if you are a Christian here this evening—to not have fear of the Muslim people but to have love for the Muslim people. I want the Muslim people to understand that we care and that we want to have dialogue and that we’re not seeking this evening to sweep our differences under the rug and say they don’t matter.Dr. Qadhi cannot present an Islam that is simply one view amongst many. (2:24) I believe in divine revelation, he believes in divine revelation. So how do we get along?  How do our communities talk one another.

2:58 If you’re a praying person pray that we will have understanding. That as—if you’re a Christian I want you to hear what this man has to say. I want you to understand why he believes the things he does. What his life is like here in the States as a Muslim.

17:57 "And yet people will hold me accountable for the Westboro Baptist church people and things like that. And I’m like wait a minute. That’s not my life. That’s not how I approach people. That’s not my perspective. I do not want to be painted with that brush. I demand the right of self definition of what my faith is. We all demand that right. And yet for many Christians we refuse that right to Muslims."


White: Speaking of complicated, um,our worldviews—you, you mentioned to me that, that one of your frustrations is that, um, our worldviews share much more in common in regards to how they impact social issues, governmental issues, things like that, then many of the Christians that are willing to talk with you and yet they have a liberal, almost secular worldview when it comes to those things. And the very people that you should have the most in common with, there tends to be, the, the greatest amount of distrust.(1:11:08) Where do our worldviews intersect? I mean, for example, one of the things I mentioned to you and I just mentioned moments ago is, I’ve done a fair amount of written books, called “The Same Sex Controversy”, I’ve done a number of debates on the subject of homosexuality. I understand that homosexuality is considered to be a grave sin , uh within, uh, Islamic uh, theology. And from a Christian perspective, it is particularly grave because it is based on upon, uh, a, a rebellion against God’s right to define what is appropriate sexual behavior, what is a male, what is a female. The whole transgender movement is, uh, a rejection of God’s right to say this is male, this is female, this is what is good for male and female, etcetera. (1:11:57) So we have, where, where are the areas of intersection and does that mean there’s grounds for cooperation when people are trying to shove a particular worldview down our children’s throats basically?


Very good question. And this is really one of my main reasons for wanting to dialogue with uh, uh,uh Christians who are committed to the values of classical, mainstream Christianity. Because the fact of the matter is that yes, we have a lot of disagreements, but we have a lot in common with one another; in terms of morality, in terms of decency, in terms of family values. Committed Muslims and committed Christians really are seeing eye to eye. We both decry the, the, the liberalism, the secularization, the sexualization of our society; we both mourn over the loss of the family structure; we both want the man to be the man, the woman to be the woman, and one of the verses of the quran [unintelligible] God says, uh, the man is not like the woman, and yet in another verse, uh it mentions that, you know, uh you know, uh, God who created you from a man and a woman and from the two of them, he created multitudes of men and women. There is no third gender or [unintelligible] or transgender for us as Muslim and as many committed Christians, a man is a man, a woman is a woman, and there is no competition between the two genders. It’s not as if there’s any type of wrestling match going on and one has to prove the identity of other. God honors men and God honors women and for a man to be a man, and a woman to be a woman, is their honor. There is no competition in, against each other. A family unit is building block of society and when family is preserved, society is preserved. So in Islam, yes marriages are supposed to flourish and you’re supposed to have uh, a man and a woman, you know, have children together. We don’t uh, espouse or agree with these alternative ideologies and we do feel that, uh, they are simply not the norm that God created mankind upon. Uh, we also are very, you know, uh, sad at these changes that have taken place; the Supreme Court ruling, the what-not. I gave a sermon and lecture about this on line, I don’t know if you listened to it or not. In it we clearly said that even if it’s politically incorrect to say, as a Muslim I have to say this, that I don’t view this as being healthy for society; that these types of changes going on and are becoming normative and, and legal, and you know, (1:14:26) IF committed Christians and Muslims come had together; IF we had joined hands and forces, maybe we could have affected a stronger change?

White: I’ve never asked this question of Muslims before, so I never even thought of it, so here it goes. It could be dangerous, but from my perspective, I believe that God’s wrath abides upon a nation that flouts his law; that literally knowing what his law is, rejects that law and in essence spits in his face, from a Christian perspective, I think there’s plenty of evidence in the Old Testament that God’s wrath will come upon a people who consistently reject his way. What’s the Muslim perspective? Uh, your, your understanding?

1:21:37 Muslims do not speak in terms of specifics, therefore I do not believe you are going to hell. That’s not my prerogative to say.

1:22:27 There may be people who will be saved who are not Muslim.

White  1:22:53 And of course from our perspective, un one of the things I think is probably ringing in people’s ears is the term “chances”, because, see, from, from the Christian perspective, the only reason that I can ever have peace with God or any confidence of entering into his presence is because I’m in possession of the of righteousness of Jesus Christ given to me.

1:23:36 The Christian understanding of why that only Christians go to heaven is because it’s not, we don’t view ourselves as a group that some, somehow is better than anybody else. We believe that a Christian is a person who has fled to God for his mercy and that, that recognize that he is the only that God has given to where his righteousness is perfect in God’s sight. That’s why it’s not just a chance, I’m not taking a chance, I have a rightness that is perfect in God’s sight and that’s why I can have peace with him, so…

Qadhi: And again this is one of the fundamental disagreements  that we agree to disagree (White: it is) from our perspective, from our perspective, it’s an element of arrogance to say I am going to enter heaven and I’m certain about it. Rather, I’m very hopeful that I’m optimistic…

 1:24:58 Qadhi:  Suppose you think I’m going to hell, that’s your perogotive and legal right to think, uh by the way I don’t think you’re going to hell unconditionally, as I said that’s not the way we talk. But suppose I say the path that you have chosen is a path that is not leading to heaven. Let’s put it that way, ok? Or ok, it’s a path leading to hell.  The question is very simple: do we have to make this world a living hell because of that? That’s the question. Let god judge on judgment day. I, I honestly am not insulted when you say this to me. I’m not. Because I’m so confident in my faith and god that your confidence doesn’t negate my confidence. I am not insulted. Quite the contrary. A part of me admires you for your faithfulness to your tradition and I hope you feel the same about me. So the question is then, if you feel this way about me and I feel that you are not correctly on guidance,  but I feel that there’s hope of forgiveness for you and I hope that god guides you in this world or forgives you in the next, I don’t have a problem saying that theologically,  (1:26:00)but suppose even that uh, you know, uh that I believe that your path is incorrect, can’t we be good neighbors together? Can’t we work together to better schools, to minimize crime, to fight against pornography and drugs, to, to, affirm family values? Why must we hate one another in a civil society where coming together will bring about so much potential good? Why can’t we look at what we have in common even as we understand and appreciate and are honest about our differences? That is my goal for conversations with you [unintelligible].

White: And obviously from a Christian perspective, any Christian in the room recognizes that when you have a relationship with someone based upon respect, recognizing  in them, we use the term “image of God”, I , I realize that’s not a, a Muslim concept, but it’s that we’re created by God, when you recognize in someone else a fellow image bearer, uh, obviously it is, it is far easier uh, to model the love of Jesus Christ and have the opportunity to modeling the gospel in front of someone, when you have a relationship with them that’s based upon respect and kindness and, and everything else rather than. I, I think the greatest barrier for Christians in reaching out to the Muslim people is fear. We have fear in our hearts that’s based upon ignorance, it’s bas upon other things, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to do this and so the final question before we go to questions …(1:27:35) um the last question we had on our, our little list what we want for each other and we sort of  just talked about that just a little bit but we’ll conclude with this. (1:27:51)Um, from a Christian perspective obviously and this is, this is why we can have these conversations, I would be very uncomfortable just talking about our similarities  if we weren’t honest about what we, what we really believe. That’s, that’s the kind of dialogue that, that I think a lot of people think we’re doing and it’s not. Obviously the greatest thing that I can hope for any person—if the greatest thing I can hope for my children, is that they have, is that they bow the knee in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and they receive a new heart, and they have eternal life, they have his righteousness and they’re going to have eternal life because of what Christ has done—if that’s the greatest thing I can hope for my children then it’s the greatest thing I can hope for, for anybody else. And so I can have friendships with Muslim people as long as we’ve had that conversation, they know where I stand, they what I’m praying for, but I know what I’m going to be doing and have been doing for years and that is I pray for Yasir Qadhi. If I pray for Yasir Qadhi, I’m not changing God’s heart, God’s changing my heart. He is making me to be the type of person that is going to be concerned about  your welfare, concerned about your health, concerned about your safety, concerned about your family, he’s changing me.  That’s, you know, we’re not trying to convince God to be better; God’s already good. He’s changing us. (1:29:14) And so, what would it mean if the Muslim people in your neighborhood knew that you loved them, cared for them, prayed for them, and are willing to do anything for them? It would change everything.  But unfortunately that’s now how they view us. And so my desire, what I want, the final question was, what is our greatest desire for the other, and I know, that, that, obviously I want your health, and your, your happiness, and all these things , but the greatest thing a Christian wants for anyone is that they come to know Jesus Christ personally and bow the knee to Him and from a, and I would imagine from your perspective you would love to see nothing more than for me to embrace Islam and say the Shahada and the whole nine yards (Qadhi: That would make me very happy yes. I will not deny that.) And, and, I’m glad that you wouldn’t because there are some who would be afraid to say that, thinking that as long as that’s at the back of the mind, (1:30:15) then we can never truly  have a good relationship and that’s what we’ve got to get past.

1:30:16 Qadhi: But see let me just say this as well from an Islamic perspective. My desire to see you guided doesn’t at all infringe on my genuine, my genuine love and care and concern for you regardless of whether you’re guided or not, I am commanded with my Sharia, with my faith tradition to treat you with the utmost dignity and kindness and compassion and care. And I would say that faithful Christians should view me in the same way. What I found unfortunately was that one segment of them don’t do that. They have nothing but mistrust and fear and hatred and to me that’s not the image of Jesus Christ that I have amongst what it should be, you know, what should be happening. So let’s be honest with one another and let’s you know what, we have some serious theological disagreements. That’s fine. In the meantime until we meet our lord and our lord will decide between us, one of the verses of the quran literally says “you do your deeds, we will do our deeds and on judgment day god will judge between the both of us”. That is the attitude of the Muslim.

White: As I understand it one of the primary differences in the term that you all use is katir [spelling?], right? (Qadhi: yes) And uh, one of the primary differences between us as to the mechanism of predestination is that in the Christian perspective that includes the very thing that is the fundamental difference between us and that is the incarnation. That that is part of God’s decree and so God becomes—enters into his own creation in the person of his son and that would be something would not be contemplated whatsoever in the Islamic  (unintelligible). (Qadhi: yes).  
1:49:37  Qadhi: So religious and conservative Christians need to realize, and you all know this, you and us are both minorities in this land. If you’re going to give the government power to go after one minority you’re going to give them power to go after every minority. And that’s not what this country was founded on. That’s not the vision of our founding fathers. Our founding fathers, whatever you want to believe about their personal lives and their versions of Christianity, it’s very clear they understood the dangers of giving any one sect power over others. These days it’s not even Christian sects. It is people that don’t believe in any religion. You’re gonna give them powers.

56:11 Michael Brown, a friend of mine

56:37 From my perspective, this [homosexuality] is a hill to die on. It’s a hill to die on because in Matthew chapter 19 uh, the Lord Jesus Christ specifically taught God created—he quoted from Genesis 1—he quoted from what you and I would both agree—in the beginning God created man, uh, he made them male and female; it was good; uh, this was his creative purpose and from my perspective what we’re being, what Christians are being asked to do in our culture today is to deny the authority of Christ in his teaching and to adopt a different authority. And this is what the early church faced with the Caesars.

1:04:30 I don’t have a—I li…I don’t have a problem with it (hijab). Modesty happens to be a wonderful and great thing.

 Both in the first and second talk (mostly second) but in the first 1:47:36 for example, very anti-Trump. Very political. Very anti-Fox News.

1:48:14 to restrict religious liberty, as some Christians are advocating will end up restricting religious liberty on us.

I found that:

Perspective – 15x just in the ones I transcribed. There’s more but I didn’t have time or energy to write them all down.

Absolutely – 1x

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