Thursday, April 2, 2009

Moslem musings...

These thoughts were born from the "Catholic & Muslim Dialogue on Faith and Reason" at the University of St. Thomas this past month.

Below are a chain of emails about the topic.

Bottom line:
-Islam wants theological dialogue to legitimize its claims
*Ismael line of descendency
*Christianity is in 'polytheistic' heresy
*Common ancestor = we are in heresy (see above)
*How can there be dialogue between Allah, god so far from creation (via negativa)
and Jesus, God incarnate? Nope, there cannot be theological dialogue
-Islam will not admit its wretched human rights record
-Islam will not recognize article 18 (freedom of conscience in faith) of UN human
rights declaration
-Islam oppresses women; Alquist: no chivalry in Islam
-Avicenna/Ibn Sibna: tried to appropriate Allah to Greco-Roman inquiry; did but
he fell into heresy. (no longer was Allah 'creator ex nihilo' as he was one step
removed from world after creating a sort of demi-urge) This results in a
'will to power' god, far removed from creation
-If God does not become incarnate, can there be Logos? A tradition of reason?
No! The Jews didn't even have this!
-Islam cannot exist outside of the 'state-religion' system; this is because
sharia (their religious law) is the state; cannot separate as a political entity.
This is different from Catholicism which spars with the state.
-The intellectuals play the blame game:
*your missionaries just want to proslytize
*your governments are the reason for violence (fair enough)
*your gvts support evil regimes
*we are suspicious of you!
-Islam calls everyone else 'Kafir' or infidel... even during this debate it was
-Sure, the intellectual arguments are good (flawed), but what about on the ground;
hardly any Imams denounce violence, in fact they foment it. The surveys are not
reassuring about violent, extreme attitudes.
-Islam blames west for split of faith and reason (it's Christianity & Greece!);
yet Islam has had no intellectual tradition since Averroes and Avicenna 12th c.
-Islam says Christ a 'prophet' in Koran... see CS Lewis (he's either God or insane)
-Islam is really a Judeo-Christian heresy that has ascended to great influence and
power via conquest - it is a sort of liberation theology, political will to power.


Last night the Murphy Institute hosted
Archbishop Migliore
and Dr. Kalim (moslem)
"Muslim and Catholic Dialogue: faith and reason"
It was in response the Regensburg and the developments since
then. It was fascinating.

Dr. Kalim was ice cold. He was articulate, clever, good accent,
very intellectual, nuanced, full of clever quotes, charming, and...
totally scary.

This guy was smooth, but anyone who understands the key questions
or who could navigate his clever rhetoric, could see his claims cleary:

1) We need theological dialogue for peace...
2) Christians need to get back to Monotheisitc Abraham faith
3) Islam is much more reasonable than Christianity
4) The West, via Christianity (and Hellenistic thought), ended in the split of faith and
reason... not Islam!
5) The reason why Islam is seen as violent is misconception... it's really the fault
of imperial/colonial Europe.
6) We cannot submit to clause #18 on the UN declaration of Universal Human Rights
because of the political climate... the west maintains oppressive regimes, hence
we won't allow 'freedom of conscience to choose one's faith' (clause 18).
7) pope is bullheaded... lots of Christians think so too

I left convinced there is no chance to reason with these people;
if the westernized intellectuals talk like this, imagine what the Imam in
Detroit or Baghdad says!

Islam always equates Christianity with the West. They never want to debate Catholicism itself, but only the deformations in the West. Protestantism fostered a split between faith and reason, of course, and that led to secularism, but Catholicism has always maintained that unity.

Fair enough on the imperialism point, but as our friend Fr. Samir notes in his book, the claim that Islam doesn't have a violent streak doesn't cut the mustard.

I think you're right that there really is no "dialogue" (logos) on a person to person level. It's like a cult. They have to be loved out of it. Serious Christians have to develop personal relationships with Muslims and show them a better path by their example. Unfortunately, the harvest is ready but the laborers are few.

St. Francis's preached the gospel to the Sultan, but he came in fellowship and proposed a more excellent way of being. Forget the theological arguments. Each person has to be the image of Christ to their Muslim friends.

there are a few that still take the medieval Islamic scholastic tradition seriously, but otherwise, formal "dialogue" is a waste of breath.

It's good to have formal dialogue at the institutional level, and the Regensburg speech was good coming from the pope, because maybe changing the minds of the leadership will trickle down to the faithful. The pope is trying to encourage them to recover their medieval roots, but that seems optimistic. The logical consequences of Islamic thought have worked themselves out, and I'm not sure it's possible to have any dialogue, as the fellow you heard shows. He sounds like Satan (he's probably a good guy), but has angelic like intelligence. He's crafty!

This guy was ice and totally hosed the audience.
Satanic is the word.

Process of dismantling the City of God:
1. Christians become unfaithful
2. Christians become heretics
3. Christians hand over patrimony to secularists
4. Secularists dismantle
5. Secularists persecute Christians
6. Secularists fall in love with Islam (b/c it hates Christianity)
7. Secularists allow Islam to set up sharia (for diversity)
8. Islam seduces liberal secular/ Christians and lulls into submission
9. Islam takes over Christendom!

The common enemy, if there is a starting point for dialogue, is anti-secularism
and positivism. There can be no theological dialogue.
Also, Islam needs to recognize Universal Human Rights/Natural Law.
No more obfuscation by whinning about political situations (although there is a point).

The whole theological dialogue angle is meant to get Christians to legitimize
Moslem claims. End of story. Why else do they insist on this, against the pope's
wishes? When weak-minded Christains, so desperate for dialogue/peace, assent
to these claims, we will essentially be setting ourselves up for a contradition
when the peace is 'realized'. What a scandal?! If Ishmael is the blessed line of
Islam, and Christians recognize this, then we are saying that God worked
2 unique revelations that are in opposition to one another doctrinally! That's why
the liberals like it... kills classic doctrine. All religions are the same...

Anyone who studies Ibn Sibna (Avicenna) for a few minutes will see the issue
of the 'will to power god' clearly. Avicenna tried to reconcile Allah with
reason of Aristotle, but fell into heresy. He disguised it with traditionalist piety.
Only later Averroes dismantled his claims. If you cannot make an account
of your theology with Greek reason, I say you are a heretic!

I think another angle of Islam/secularists/liberal Christians is to undermine
Hellenistic thought. What the Greeks accomplished is universal- that is fact.
It was received so in the ancient to medieval worlds. Islam wants us
to rewrite reason according to 'okal' - their word for 'reason/intellect'.
Dr. Kalim boasted that the Koran uses 'think/reason' a whole 50 times! uhhhhh,
wow that's impressive.... not!

The planet is in 'intellectual heresy' right now- denying the Greeks/medievals their due.

I am more and more, if not already completely, convinced that Greco-Roman thought
and philosphy as appropriated by Christians is the basis for all reason. I realize
this is sort of 'duh', but it is a radical claim nonetheless. It is wonderful to drop off the
shackles of confusion over modern thought and its origins etc.

This is the Regensburg address: to protestants, Islam, and secularists (modern philosophy).

It all comes down to the Logos: language, terms, systematic thinking, universal human dignity, the "Tao" as CS Lewis calls it, and development of truth claims (D.O.D)

VS. evolution, will to power, relativism (morally and culturally), scientism, industrialism,
nationalism, novelty, progressivism, and socialism (one could also add the legitimizing of 'hatred').

I don't know. Dr. Kalim talked a mile a minute and danced around all substantive questions. He was 'the gorgias' if you will, in my opinion. The archbishop, I thought, knew what he was up against- a more polished 'intellectual' (and admitted so), but I think he slam dunked Kalim on a huge point, and Kalim obfuscated completely: "You denial article 18 of the declaration of human rights... explain!" So, to me, Migliore knew the heart of the matter questions and didn't need to 'sound super smart' and quote everyone.

Dr. Kalim, instead of addressing the query, went into questioning Catholic charitable organizations and accusing them of 'forced proslytism' (didn't your hair stand up a little here?)and then said Islam is only violent because of western gvts supporting regimes. What about that guy in New York who beheaded his wife... because he felt like it? What about 'honor killings'? If I was a woman, I'd be offended by all of this, but most of these practical questions are never raised.

I think it's more than "he's Muslim as we are Catholic". Kalim - and apparently other Islamic intellecutals - wants a whole new definition of reason, based on Islamic "okol" (or whatever it's called). He accuses the west of creating the split of faith and reason, and desires 'the good ol' days' of Islamic Cosmopolitanism... meaning we rule over you with Sharia in our (notice how he called it) "pluralistic" society. That one gal, a Cath. Studies grad., hit it on the head: how can we have 'theological dialogue' when you cite the 'via negativa' (meaning that God cannot be too close to his creation); we Christians believe God became a man! Kalim danced around that one too.

Migliore may have been a sweet old Italian out of his league intellectually (but does one need to be an intellectual in this debate? I think not), but did you see the grin on Migliore's face? He knows the smoke and mirrors, as good as they looked in Kalim. The archbishop was realistic with what we can honestly do: work on human rights, religious freedom, natural law, and honoring the little we have in common (Abraham). Kalim wants the west to convert- he was preaching last night...

Agreed: the common enemy is secularism: modern philosophy, relativism, and scientific positivism.

My one beef with the 'diet coke bishop' (.... come on, it's lent!) is that he suggested that the Church "had come a long way from decrying 'rights' of man" (via Pope Pius IX and XI, I think) to how the Church thinks now about 'rights'.

I am not so sure on that. Vatican II needs to be seen in continuity. I think "human rights" in a sense is like "military intellegence"- two words combined that can't make (perfect) sense if one believes in God (I'm working off Dave Mustaine here a little...). We have dignity (Pius IX and XI would say), and the VII council agrees. Is "rights" and "dignity" just a semantical battle, or is there a big difference? This would be the most interesting conversation to have off the bishop's remarks: was he being sloppy with words (very possible), or is this really true?

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