From Abdul Saleeb <email@example.com> Newsgroups: soc.religion.islam Subject: Re: Geisler-Saleeb Anti-Islam Book Part 1 (3/3) Date: Sun Sep 15 01:38:54 EDT 1996 Message-Id: <firstname.lastname@example.org> We continue our discussion about "knowing God"... >He writes that in Islam God is not essentially just or loving. Odd. >Two of God's names in the Qur'an are "The Just" (Al-Adl) and "The >Loving" (Al-Wudud). Geisler's ignorance? Or his dishonesty? Or a third possibility of Jeremiah being clueless about what Geisler is getting at by saying ESSENTIALLY! (More on this under the last parag.) >He continues to judge God by a human set of standards: "...he does >not do things because they are right; rather, they are right because >he does them. In short, God is arbitrary about what is right and >wrong." (Why doesn't Geisler capitalize personal pronouns for God? >Real strange for an Evangelical.) Y'see, it is *Geisler* who is >deciding the definition for "right", not God. How he gets to the idea >that a Muslim conception of God is that God is arbitrary in morality >(man! what a blasphemous statement) is beyond me. (First the very insignificant point. Pronouns for God are not capitalized in Arabic, Hebrew, or Greek, so why such a fuss for English, Jeremiah?) >From your last statement in the above paragraph, it seems to me that much of what Geisler has been saying has gone beyond you (I am sorry, what did you do your Ph.D. in?). The issue that you are referring to in your paragraph is what is called Voluntarism. It is getting late and I don't want to get into deep philosophical discussions (by the way, this is not just an issue between Christian and Muslim views, but in the history of Christianity, we encountered this debate at the time of Ockham and his nominalism). Briefly stated, the problem is as Geisler says in his first line in the above paragraph. For those readers who don't know what on earth we are talking about here, let me put it in a simpler form. If something is right because God says so, then would it be right if in a different world God said we could commit adultery and murder? (the use of "possible universes" is a common philosophical tool for discssuing problems) The way one would answer this (whether Christian or Muslim) determines whether one is a voluntarist or not. Think about it! >Geisler.... writes: "...the Islamic view >of God involves a form of agnosticism... the heart of Islam is not to >*know* God but to obey him. It is not to *meditate* on his essence, >but to *submit* to his will." Quoting someone named Phander he >continues: "...they find themselves absolutely unable to know God... >Thus Islam leads to Agnosticism." Do we find ourselves "absolutely >unable to know God"? First I heard of it. But even then, note how he >has twisted the meaning of agnosticism. Agnosticism is the state of >not knowing whether or not God exists. At the very least, Muslims >know that God exists because of the miracle of the Qur'an. See the >(rather crass) manipulation? And of course, from the Qur'an, our >agnosticism evaporates in view of God's signs in creation, in history >and in ourselves which we are directed to meditate upon. There is no crass manipulation here Jeremiah!!! (You sound like a very suspicious and paranoid person to me). I thought you had a lot more sophistication than this! As you mention it yourself, Geisler is talking about the fact that "the Islamic view of God involves a FORM of agnosticism..." but you go ahead and talk about agnosticism as the "state of not knowing whether or not God exists." For those readers (by the way, does anyone know how many people are reading this debate between the two of us?) who have been paying attention, this is a form of equivocation on the term agnosticism. (Don't you yourself insist that for example, the term "reason" can be used in different senses. The same thing can apply to agnosticism or almost any other term for that matter). Now let us get to the heart of this whole issue. Jeremiah, constantly charges us that we make no reference to Muslim sources or authors in this discussion. Now allow me to make my reference to a Muslim authority (admittedly not in the book, since I did not find the reference in time for the publication, but our chapter is still very much a faithful reflection and critique of the same attitude). For those of you who are in various MSA's around the country, you should be familiar with the late al-Faruqi (I believe the founder of MSA in North America and also an Islamic prof. at Columbia University). PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO THE FOLLOWING QUOTE FROM AL-FARUQI: He [God] does not reveal Himself to anyone in any way. God reveals only His will. Remember one of the prophets asked God to reveal Himself and God told him, "No, it is not possible for Me to reveal Myself to anyone." ... This is God's will and that is all we have, and we have it in perfection in the Qur'an. But Islam does not equate the Qur'an with the nature or essence of God. It is the Word of God, the Commandment of God, the Will of God. But God does not reveal Himself to anyone. Christians talk about the revelation of God Himself -- by God of God -- but that is the great difference between Christianity and Islam. God is transcendent, and once you talk about self-revelation you have hierophancy and immanence, and then the transcendence of God is compromised. You may not have complete transcendence and self-revelation at the same time. [Kenneth Cragg, "Christian Mission and Islamic Da'wah: Proceedings of the Chambesy Dialogue Consultation" (Leicester: The Islamic Foundation, 1982), pp. 45-46]. If you really grasp what al-Faruqi is saying that God does not reveal Himself to anyone in any way, then you know what we are saying when we talk about the Islamic view involving a form of agnosticism. Thus if there is no self-revelation, we cannot predicate any thing of God Himself, such as the biblical verse that says "God IS Love" and we are left only with certain ways that God has decided to act in accordance to His "Will". But this Will does not tell us anything ultimately about What God is Like in Himself, since according to al-Faruqi Islam does not allow for the self-revelation of God. It is interesting that Jeremiah had earlier used the phrase "the self-revelation of God" and yet this orthodox Muslim theologian tells me that Islam does not allow for that and that is in fact "the great difference between Christianity and Islam"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Jeremiah, if you are an orthodox Sunni Muslim, I want to say as sincerely as I can that I believe that even in your faith in Islam, you are living on borrowed Christian capital in your ideas and terminology). >Whew! I'm tired, So am I !!! >Allahu akbar! >Allahu akbar! >Allahu akbar! Indeed, indeed, indeed!!! Sincerely, to all seekers of Truth, Abdul Saleeb p.s. I do not spend any time in the Muslim newsgroup. Jochen Katz is the one who keeps me updated about what is going on. But if anyone is interested in the further pursuit of these discussions in a gentle and objective manner (and if time allows me), I welcome all one on one discussions through my e-mail account: email@example.com"
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