Free Republic
Browse · Search
Bloggers & Personal
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

More Delusional Apologetics for Islam
Front Page Magazine ^ | February 2, 2015 | Bruce Thornton

Posted on 02/02/2015 8:41:04 AM PST by Reverend Saltine

It’s pretty embarrassing when the on-line comments about an article are more logical and knowledgeable than the article. Such is the case with a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week that argued Muslim violence does not reflect traditional Islamic doctrine, but is merely a case of arrested historical development. The whole argument is a tissue of logical fallacies and historical ignorance.

The author, a professor of history at Harvard, starts by explaining that Christianity was once violent and intolerant, but changed over time, and thus can provide an example for “modernizing Islam.” But most of his catalogue of Christian violence and persecution is little more than the tu quoque fallacy. It ignores the fact that Christian violence was typical of the whole pre-modern world, a sad banality of human existence like plagues, war, torture, and famine. The comparison of premodern Christian violence to today’s Islamic terror is as irrelevant as rationalizing modern torture and executions, like the mutilation and beheading regularly practiced in Saudi Arabia, by bringing up the hanging, disemboweling, beheading, and quartering the English used to punish traitors in the 14th century.

More important, such violence and cruelty were a violation and distortion of Christian doctrine, a reflection not of eternal theological imperatives, but of a fallen human nature prone to error and sin. That’s why even during bouts of cruelty and oppression, like the brutal treatment of the New World Indians, there were those who publicly based their opposition to such behavior on Christian belief. In 1511 the Dominican priest Antonio de Montesinos scolded his co-religionists, “You are in mortal sin and live and die in it because of the cruelty and tyranny that you use against these innocent peoples . . . Are these Indians not Men? Do they not have rational souls? Are you not obliged to love them as you love yourselves?”

Later, the anti-slavery movement was similarly grounded in Christian doctrine. In 1791, evangelical Christian William Wilberforce, the driving force behind the British abolition of slavery, preached to the House of Commons, “Never, never will we desist till we have wiped away this scandal from the Christian name, released ourselves from the load of guilt, under which we at present labor, and extinguished every trace of this bloody traffic.” No matter how often Christian ethics were violated over the centuries, they still provided the theological foundations for rejecting violence and intolerance, as happened during the Civil Rights movement in this country, which was led by a Christian minister. And today Christians know that their co-religionists who continue to act violently and intolerantly are being bad Christians.

This point makes the professor’s argument a false analogy, for there is nothing in traditional Islamic theology that provides a basis for making violence against heretics and non-believers un-Islamic. The professor wants to argue away these inconvenient truths about traditional Islam by arguing that the faith can evolve away from them, just as Christianity did. But again, whereas historical Christian violence could find no scriptural justification, and much to condemn it, Islamic violence and intolerance––and of course slavery and Jew-hatred––are not the result of fringe or extremist misinterpretations. Rather, they are validated in the Koran, the Hadith, and 14 centuries of Islamic theology and jurisprudence, all regularly and copiously cited by today’s jihadists and theologians.

Thus the doctrine of jihad against infidels––the notion that such aggression is a justified form of the defense of Islam and necessary for fulfilling Allah’s will that all people become Muslims––is the collective duty of those dwelling in the House of Islam. The Koran instructs, “Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth.” Nor can there be any “tolerance” or “mutual respect” for those who reject Islam, especially Jews and Christians: “O you who believe! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” The professor’s dream of a “broad-minded form” of Islam would require an extensive reinterpretation or rejection of some of Islam’s fundamental tenets.

That’s why one would be hard pressed to find a Muslim theologian in the 16th century scolding the jihadists rampaging through the Balkans, or seizing Christian slaves in the Mediterranean, the way Montesinos or Bartolome de las Casas criticized the brutalities of the conquistadors; or in the 18th century a Muslim arguing like Wilberforce that slavery, explicitly sanctioned by the Koran, was a “scandal” on Islam’s name. More typical are the words of the envoy representing the pasha of Tripoli, who in 1758 justified piracy and slaving in the Mediterranean by telling president John Adams that “it was written in the Koran that all Nations who should not have acknowledged [Muslims’] authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon whoever they could find.” So too today, many respected imams and theologians throughout the Muslim world sanction Islamic violence against non-believers, and textbooks in schools teach children the same beliefs.

The facts of Islamic theology and historical practice render delusional the professor’s statement that Muslims must learn “that religious texts arose in a particular context and must be reinterpreted in the new context of modernity.” But this reduction of spiritual truth and meaning to the material world of time and social change is a habit of modernity that finds no warrant in Islamic theology. Unlike the Christian Bible, which is the product of an ongoing spiritual inspiration of humans existing in time, the Koran is the pre-existing, uncreated, eternal word of Allah, dictated to Mohammed. It is perfect as written, just as the life and sayings of Mohammed provide the perfect, timeless guide for every dimension of life, including law, economics, politics, and family life. The role of interpretive exegesis or allegory in traditional Islam, then, is vastly less significant than it has been in Christianity. Any Muslim today who desires to reinterpret, say, jihad, or relations with non-Muslims, or illiberal shari’a law, will thus find it difficult, if not impossible, to change the plain meaning of the scriptures as understood consistently by Muslims for 14 centuries.

These problems leave the professor’s article an exercise in false historical analogy. Nor does it help that he makes misleading statements, like his claim that Islam can be reconciled with democracy, and that “such reformations have been institutionalized successfully in several countries with significant Muslim populations, such as Turkey and Tunisia.” Tunisia maybe, but this “reformation” is only a few years old, and has a long way to go before it can be called “institutionalized,” let alone “successful.”

As for Turkey, despite nearly a century of aggressive secularization and de-Islamizing of society, under Recep Tayyip Erdogan it has been moving away from reconciliation with modernity towards an Islamist state. Prime Minister of Turkey for 11 years, and now the new President, Erdogan has called democracy a “train” you “get off” once you reach your “destination,” has jailed more journalists than any other country, has said, “You cannot be both secular and a Muslim! You will either be a Muslim, or secular! When both are together, they create reverse magnetism. For them to exist together is not a possibility,” and was a follower of Necmettin Erbakan, the prime minister who founded the Turkish equivalent of the Muslim Brotherhood and began Turkey’s turn away from Western liberal democracy and back to a more traditional Islamic view of the social-political order. The example of Turkey makes exactly the opposite point the professor wants it to.

Ignoring the theological foundations that militate against a “reformation” of Islam or even its coexistence with modernity is a form of myopia akin to Obama’s refusal to say “Islamic extremism” or his claim that “no faith teaches people to massacre innocents.” Nor does it help those Muslims who sincerely want to find some way to reconcile their faith with a world that these days is more intimately interconnected than ever. The tenets of Islam make their job hard enough, but we don’t make it any easier by indulging our “willful blindness,” as Andrew McCarthy calls it, to truths that offend our ideological prejudices or do not serve our political interests.

TOPICS: Conspiracy; Education; Religion; Society
KEYWORDS: islam; islamconspiracy; jihadconspiracy; mediaconspiracy; radicalislam; shariaconspiracy

1 posted on 02/02/2015 8:41:04 AM PST by Reverend Saltine
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Reverend Saltine

2 posted on 02/02/2015 8:43:25 AM PST by Reverend Saltine (Saltines are dry and make you thirsty. And then you want more and you get thirsty-er....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Reverend Saltine
Sign of the times. False doctrine being forced upon us under threat of penalty/punishment for speaking against it.

Christian beliefs hold that any other teaching besides that of salvation through faith in the “Son of God, Jesus Christ” is worshiping false gods/idols.

Islam does not believe Jesus (Isa) is the Son of the living God. They instead believe he “was” a good teacher, a prophet.

If Jesus was a good teacher only....he'd also be a liar. Perhaps a stark raving lunatic, delusional.

The bible is a collection of first hand accounts of the prophecies leading to Jesus’s life, the accounts of His teachings and the miraculous events leading to our salvation through our Lord and Savior, Messiah Jesus.

We are not to embrace Islam as Christians. To elevate Mohammad and or Allah as deity above Jesus is to flirt with God's judgment/wrath.

Scripture is full of accounts of disciples, early church followers being slain in very cruel/evil ways by the government for denying the deity of idols, false gods.

This is of the father of lies...plain and simple.

3 posted on 02/02/2015 9:12:18 AM PST by servantboy777
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Reverend Saltine
The Mohammed Factor

If you condemn murder you condemn Mohammed.

If you condemn thievery you condemn Mohammed.

If you condemn rape you condemn Mohammed.

If you condemn pedophilia you condemn Mohammed.

If you condemn terrorism you condemn Mohammed.

If you condemn Mohammed you condemn Islam.

4 posted on 02/02/2015 9:36:42 AM PST by TigersEye (ISIS is the tip of the spear. The spear is Islam.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Reverend Saltine

What can you expect from a Harvard prof?

5 posted on 02/02/2015 9:51:02 AM PST by I want the USA back (Media: completely irresponsible. Complicit in the destruction of this country.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: I want the USA back

Harvard may be a fine school in some ways,but having one guy like this on the roster would be enough for me to permanently blacklist them. Paying good money to get indoctrinated from people like this makes no sense;you can get lied to for free with no effort or expense on your own part.

6 posted on 02/02/2015 10:20:44 AM PST by oldtech
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: servantboy777

The one issue I do have is it took Christians themselves, but not bible teaching to reverse slavery. I may sound black and white on this, but silence in my opinion is the same as approval. The bible is vocal about homosexuality, infidelity and false worship, but is silent at condemning slavery. I am a Christian, but have been thinking about this lately. Perhaps southerners were being totally biblical in their view of slavery because nowhere in the Bible does it ever condemn the practice.

7 posted on 02/02/2015 12:28:42 PM PST by Sam Gamgee (May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't. - Patton)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Sam Gamgee
>>..southerners were being totally biblical in their view of slavery because nowhere in the Bible does it ever condemn the practice.<<

In my family (both sides)there were plantations. One in Elora, TN and the other in LA, somewhere around Winfield.

Not once have I heard of cruelty or barbaric behaviors toward the negro. Quite the contrary. My grandmother used to tell me stories of black mammies take care of the children. Singing to them, bathing and putting them to bed. She spoke of this as endearing.

I heard stories of after the war, the negro servants did not want to leave the plantation. It was there home. Where they worked, raised their children, socialized.

I think it is the liberal progressives that attempt to alter history and endeavor to stain southern heritage with a dark cloud.

Was there cruelty? Yes. Was there cruelty in the North? Yes

Little know factoid that progressive attempt at all cost to hide, one of the first slave owners in America was a black man by the name of Anthony Johnson. This was in colonial days, way before the civil war. Shhhhh....don't tell anyone.

By 1830 there were 3,775 black families living in the South who owned black slaves. By 1860 there were about 3,000 slaves owned by black households in the city of New Orleans alone. This was in America.

Let's not get all up in Africa where slavery was the norm between warring tribes. In fact, it was originally blacks who sold blacks into slavery out of Africa and Caribbean.

Nother lil factoid folks love to push under the rug. As senator, Abraham Lincoln was part of a movement contemplating the colonization of blacks back to Africa and or the Caribbean. It was his belief that this would be better for he doubted the negro could effectually assimilate into American society.

It is a shame our history has been so perverted to fit a certain narrative.

8 posted on 02/02/2015 1:22:51 PM PST by servantboy777
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: servantboy777

I still struggle with the fact that the founders said all men are created equal while promoting slavery. Slavery in pure evil imho, even if the bible doesn’t seem to agree.

9 posted on 02/02/2015 1:43:26 PM PST by Sam Gamgee (May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't. - Patton)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Sam Gamgee

Absolutely. Although there was slavery in the bible, there also was servitude. Much different.

Scripture does not support slavery, cruelty, oppression against another. Quite the contrary.

10 posted on 02/03/2015 8:37:59 AM PST by servantboy777
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: servantboy777

By refusing to address slavery, the bible tacitly supports it, no? Shouldn’t one see these things as black and white? Either you are for slavery or you are against it. No middle ground.

11 posted on 02/03/2015 12:53:54 PM PST by Sam Gamgee (May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't. - Patton)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Sam Gamgee
>>By refusing to address slavery, the bible tacitly supports it, no? Shouldn’t one see these things as black and white? Either you are for slavery or you are against it. No middle ground.<<

Nope. The bible does address slavery...ever read it? Jesus is pretty clear on the mistreatment of others. Pretty clear in regards to humbleness, gentleness, reaching out to the oppressed and how we relate toward other folks.

Many instances in the old testament, God allowed the Israelites to be brought into captivity after ignoring repeated warnings to stop their idol worship, perversion and so forth. They turned from God, so God sent them into captivity......but HIS covenant with the decedents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did not change.

This is why, after a period of time, God lead the Israelites out of captivity and back to the covenant land.

Many cultures embrace servitude, some slavery even today. India is one fine example. Don't hear folks moanin and groanin bout them. Ghetto pimps and progressive liberals LOVE to beat up on America time and again. Makes’em feel good bout themselves.

Fact is, America is the only country in the world to address slavery with such boldness. The negro population will never move forward until they finally let it go.

Otherwise, they stereotype themselves and will remain in bondage (slavery) to their own vises/devices. This is of their own making. Now that my friend is or white.

12 posted on 02/03/2015 1:26:50 PM PST by servantboy777
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Bloggers & Personal
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson