From Abdul Saleeb <email@example.com> Newsgroups: soc.religion.islam Subject: Re: Geisler-Saleeb Anti-Islam Book, Part 1 (1/3) Date: Sun Sep 15 01:38:39 EDT 1996 Message-Id: <firstname.lastname@example.org> >The purpose of this book is to refute Islam and support Christianity. >Geisler is the dean of Southern Evangelical Seminary while >pseudonymous Abdul Saleeb is a "former Muslim". Please note, this >does NOT say that Saleeb is now a Christian. (on a humorous note, I don't think Jeremiah has missed his calling as a detective. If "the Servant of the Cross" is not an indication of one's Christian convictions, I don't know what is!). >There is something odd about the book in general. The first part-- >introducing Islam quite well actually-- seems strangely disconnected >from the second part supposedly refuting Islam in favor of >Evangelical Christianity. There is little, if any, correspondence >between the two. It is as if they were written separately. It is >impossible to tell how the co-authoring proceeded, but it seems as if >"Saleeb" wrote the "intro to Islam" part (which is really good) while >Geisler wrote the refutation-- though without any reference >whatsoever to what was actually written in the first part. Its like >two different books. (See my first note on the purpose of the book). Yes, the first part is an exposition of Islam, but the second part focuses on our different views concerning God, Christ (and Muhammad), Bible (and the Qur'an). To say that the 2nd part was written "without any reference whatsoever to what was actually written in the first part" is no doubt a gross exaggeration which any other reader besides Mr. Jeremiah will see without any problems. >However, we can identify the essence of Geisler's problem: he does >NOT refer to the Qur'an, nor to Muslim scholars, but to Medieval >Christian theology and Hellenistic philosophy. Islamic intellectual >history, we know, encountered, processed and rejected Hellenistic >philosophy as a basis for theology or Qur'anic hermeneutics. The >Hellenists in Islam are the Mu'tazilites-- the speculative >philosophers-- which has, at heart, been soundly rejected by us. (once again, on a little humorous note...) I am not sure who the BY US refers to at the end of the sentence. I am not sure that if Mr. Jeremiah has been told that no one in Islam can PONTIFICATE on what all Muslims believe. Unless of course, there is a new provision in Islam for ex-Catholics!!! Also next time some Muslim will come to boast about Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd and other such intellectual giants of their faith, I will inform them that according to contemporary Muslims those people have been soundly rejected! I wonder how other Muslims will react to such sweeping dismissals (of course, this is not the first time that Jeremiah has made such sweeping statements!). >Unfortunately for Evangelical Christians, Geisler does not seem to >know this, much less take it into account, and so immediately his >arguments are *completely* misplaced! Such a glaring error is why, >were I his teacher, he would get an "F". In addition, with all the >advances in Christian theology since Aquinas I simply cannot believe >that Geisler would argue from such outdated neo-Thomist concepts! I >mean, didn't he ever at least read Kant, or, God-forbid, some >contemporary philosophy or theology? Probably not. He IS an >Evangelical Christian after all-- not a group known for intellectual >rigor or consistency, but rather its fundamentalism in the negative >sense of that word. (I will have more comments later about whether Geisler's arguments are as misplaced as Jeremiah claims) but it seems to me that if the view under consideration is not Jeremiah's view of Islam, then any discussion is completely misplaced. Is this an ego thing or just an ignorance about the wide world of Islam and the many currents in Islamic theology and life? Furthermore, for those who want to see some of Geisler's interaction with contemporary philosophy, I highly recommend his "Philosophy of Religion." Jeremiah's fallacy is what is called chronological snobbery! The newer an idea the more truthful it must be? In fact, we are of the opinion that much philosophy after Kant has taken the wrong turn (some Catholics would begin with Descartes). But I don't want to get into a philosophical discussion with the readers... >Rather, he immediately changes the subject and presents as >standard the view of some uneducated Muslims that trinitarian >monotheism is the same as tritheism, and the equally uneducated view >among some Muslims that the Christian father-son description of God >and Jesus is an anthropomorphized relationship derived from >sexuality. > >Of course, any Muslim of minimal education and intelligence-- >knowledgeable of a minimum of Christian theology-- knows this is not >accurate. Geisler himself is either ignorant, or intellectually >dishonest, to present this as standard Islam. While he will go on to >refer to people such as Plotinus and Aquinas he is "dialoging" here >with extremely low-level understandings of Islam. Sort of like a >university professor arguing with a five-year old. So, he is going to >take high-level Christian theology and use it to argue against >uneducated Muslim opinions. I consider this dishonest and >manipulative. We are not trying to be dishonest or manipulative, but we are dealing with the simple fact that the vast majority of Muslims that we talk to (and Jeremiah I talk to many! In fact I was talking to one just the day before you wrote this article and we had the same problem of misunderstanding) and the books that we read have this "uneducated" view of Christian beliefs. Let me refer the readers to two of the footnotes in Yusuf Ali's translation of the Holy Qur'an (hopefully not your "Muslim of minimal education and intelligence"). In note 119, commenting on Sura 2:116, Yusuf Ali writes, "It is a derogation from the glory of God-- in fact it is a blasphemy-- to say that God begets sons, like a man or an animal. The Christian doctrine is here emphatically repudiated. If words have any meaning, it would mean an attribution to God of a material nature, and of the lower animal functions of sex...." And in note 2487, writing on Sura 19:35, we read, "Begetting a son is a physical act depending on the needs of men's animal nature. God Most High is independent of all needs, and it is derogatory to Him to attribute such an act to Him. It is merely a relic of pagan and anthropomorphic materialist superstitions." I am not even going to stoop to the level of people such as Deedat and his company about what their writings concerning the subject. But with all due respect, I see the root of this misunderstanding in the Qur'an itself (and thus the subsequent history of Islam). In Sura 6:101 we read, "To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth. How can He have a son when He hath no consort?..." It seems to me that even according to the Qur'an, God cannot have a son since that means He must have a consort or a wife. Do you see Jeremiah that we are not just dealing with some abberation or uneducated view in Islam? Now I am very happy that you do not misunderstand the Christian doctrine in this fashion. But I suspect that is because of your particular background. I hope that we could do away with this misunderstanding with all the Muslims that we deal with.
Continue with the next part, Part 1 (2/3), of Abdul's response to Jeremiah's book critique.
Overview on the debate between Jeremiah and Abdul
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