Monday, December 28, 2015

Christians, Muslims, and the reference of “God”


The question of whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God has become the topic du jour in certain parts of the blogosphere.  Our friends Frank Beckwith, Bill Vallicella, Lydia McGrew, Fr. Al Kimel, and Dale Tuggy are among those who have commented.  (Dale has also posted a useful roundup of articles on the controversy.)  Frank, Fr. Kimel, and Dale are among the many commentators who have answered in the affirmative.  Lydia answers in the negative.  While not firmly answering in the negative, Bill argues that the question isn’t as easy to settle as the yea-sayers suppose, as does Peter Leithart at First Things.  However, with one qualification, I would say that the yea-sayers are right.

Referring to God

Let me start by rehearsing some points that should be obvious, and which others have already made, but which are crucial for properly framing the question at hand.  First, we need to keep in mind the Fregean point that a difference in sense does not entail a difference in reference.  To use Frege’s famous example, the sense of the expression “the morning star” is different from the sense of the expression “the evening star.”  But these two expressions refer to one and the same thing, viz. the planet Venus.  Similarly, expressions like “the God of the Christians” and “the God of the Muslims” differ in sense, but it doesn’t follow from that alone that they don’t refer to the same God.  By the same token, though the expression “God” is different from the expression “Allah,” it doesn’t follow that God is not Allah, any more than Stan Lee and Stanley Martin Lieber are different men. 

Second, even a speaker’s erroneous beliefs don’t entail that he is not referring to the same thing that speakers with correct beliefs are referring to.  Consider an example made famous by Keith Donnellan.  Suppose you’re at a party and see a man across the room drinking from a martini glass. You say something like “The guy drinking a martini is well-dressed.”  Suppose, however, that the man is not in fact drinking a martini, but only water.  It doesn’t follow that you haven’t really referred to him.  Furthermore, suppose there is a second man, somewhere in the room but unseen by you, who really is drinking a martini and that he is dressed shabbily.  It doesn’t follow that you were, after all, really referring to this second man and saying something false.  Rather, assuming that the first man really is well-dressed, you were referring to that first man and saying something true about him, even though you were wrong about what he is drinking.  And thus you are referring to the very same man as people who know that he is drinking water would be referring to if they said “The guy drinking water from a martini glass is well-dressed.”  Similarly, the fact that Muslims have what Christians regard as a number of erroneous beliefs about God does not by itself entail that Muslims and Christians are not referring to the same thing when they use the expression “God.”

Having said that, it is also true that not anything goes.  As I noted some time back in a post about Peter Geach’s essay “On Worshipping the Right God,” it is possible for someone’s body of beliefs about some thing to be so thoroughly disconnected from reality that he cannot plausibly be said successfully to refer to that thing. 

But exactly when do one’s theological errors cross this line, so that he fails to refer to the true God?  Lydia McGrew says that the reason Christians and Muslims cannot in her view be said to worship the same God is that the differences in the ways they conceive of God are “important” and “sufficiently crucial.”  But this is, I think, too vague to be helpful.  Suppose someone knows that Plato was the student of Socrates but believes the legend according to which Plato was the son of the god Apollo, and also, for whatever reason, thinks that Plato wrote none of the works attributed to him but instead sold gyros and baklava from a cart in Athens.  Such a person has obviously gotten “important” and indeed “crucial” things wrong, but he hasn’t plausibly thereby failed to refer to Plato.  On the contrary, we know he is wrong in part because we take him to be referring successfully to Plato.  We don’t think: “Oh, he’s really referring to some other guy named ‘Plato,’ not the one who was Socrates’ student.”  We think that he is referring to the very same Plato we do, and for that reason that many of the things he says are importantly wrong, since they aren’t actually true of Plato.

Similarly, it is perfectly coherent to say that Muslims are “importantly” and “crucially” wrong precisely because they are referring to the very same thing Christians are when they use the word “God,” and that they go on to make erroneous claims about this referent.  That the errors are “important” or “crucial” is not by itself sufficient to prevent successful reference.  And since Muslims worship the referent in question, it follows that it also is not by itself sufficient to prevent them from worshipping the same God as Christians.

Even errors concerning God’s Trinitarian nature are not per se sufficient to prevent successful reference.  Abraham and Moses were not Trinitarians, but no Christian can deny that they referred to, and worshiped, the same God Christians do.  It might be objected that though they were not Trinitarians, this is only because they did not even know about the doctrine of the Trinity, whereas Muslims do know about it and positively reject it.  But this is irrelevant.  From the beginning of the history of the Church, Christians did not accuse others of worshipping a false God merely because they rejected the doctrine of the Trinity.  For example, those Jews who rejected the claim that Jesus was the incarnation of the second Person of the Trinity were not accused by the early Church of worshipping a false God.  Nor were heretics generally accused of this.  For example, at least some Arian baptisms were considered valid because of the Arians’ use of the Trinitarian baptismal formula, despite the fact that Arians held to a heretical understanding of the divine Persons.  These baptisms could not have been considered valid had the Arian understanding been so radically deficient that “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy Spirit” failed to refer to the divine Persons at all, but instead referred to false deities.

Failure of reference

This brings me to an example which does involve error of a sort sufficient to make successful reference to the true God doubtful.  In the post on Geach linked to above, I cited the 2001 decision of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that Mormon baptisms are not valid even though they seem at first glance to make use of the correct Trinitarian formula.  The reason for the decision is that the Mormon conception of God is so radically different from the Catholic one that it is doubtful that the words truly invoke the Trinity.  It is not Trinitarianism per se that is the issue, though, but rather the radical anthropomorphism of the Mormon conception of God.  As an article in L'Osservatore Romano summarized the problem at the time:

[T]he Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, according to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are not the three persons in which subsists the one Godhead, but three gods who form one divinity. One is different from the other, even though they exist in perfect harmony… The very word divinity has only a functional, not a substantial content, because the divinity originates when the three gods decided to unite and form the divinity to bring about human salvation… This divinity and man share the same nature and they are substantially equal.  God the Father is an exalted man, native of another planet, who has acquired his divine status through a death similar to that of human beings, the necessary way to divinization… God the Father has relatives and this is explained by the doctrine of infinite regression of the gods who initially were mortal… God the Father has a wife, the Heavenly Mother, with whom he shares the responsibility of creation.  They procreate sons in the spiritual world.  Their firstborn is Jesus Christ, equal to all men, who has acquired his divinity in a pre-mortal existence.  Even the Holy Spirit is the son of heavenly parents.  The Son and the Holy Spirit were procreated after the beginning of the creation of the world known to us… Four gods are directly responsible for the universe, three of whom have established a covenant and thus form the divinity.

As is easily seen, to the similarity of titles there does not correspond in any way a doctrinal content which can lead to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. The words Father, Son and Holy Spirit, have for the Mormons a meaning totally different from the Christian meaning. The differences are so great that one cannot even consider that this doctrine is a heresy which emerged out of a false understanding of the Christian doctrine. The teaching of the Mormons has a completely different matrix. We do not find ourselves, therefore, before the case of the validity of Baptism administered by heretics, affirmed already from the first Christian centuries, nor of Baptism conferred in non-Catholic ecclesial communities…

End quote.  The Mormon conception of deity, then, makes of God something essentially creaturely and finite, something which lacks the absolute metaphysical ultimacy that is definitive of God in Catholic theology and in classical theism more generally.  Even Arianism does not do that, despite its grave Trinitarian errors.  To be sure, Arianism makes of the second Person of the Trinity a creature, but it does not confuse divinity as such with something creaturely.  On the contrary, because it affirms the full divinity and non-creaturely nature of the Father, it mistakenly supposes that it must deny the full divinity of the Son.  It gets the notion of divinity as such right, and merely applies it in a mistaken way.  Mormons, by contrast, get divinity as such fundamentally wrong.  Hence their usage of “God” is arguably merely verbally similar to that of Catholics, Protestants, Jews, et al.  They can plausibly be held not really to be referring to the same thing as the latter, and thus not worshipping the same God as the latter.

Now, say what you will about Islam, it does not make of God something essentially creaturely.  That God is absolutely metaphysically ultimate, is that from which all else derives, that which not only does not have but could not in principle have had a cause of his own, etc. is something Muslim theology understands clearly.  Hence from a Christian point of view Muslims clearly must be regarded as like Jews and Arians rather than like Mormons.  They are in error about the Trinity, but not in error about divinity as such

Now, being absolutely metaphysically ultimate, being that from which all else derives, being that which does not have and in principle could not have a cause of its own, etc. -- in short, being what classical theism says God essentially is -- is, I would say, what is key to determining whether someone’s use of “God” plausibly refers to the true God.  If someone affirms these things of God, then there is at least a strong presumption in favor of the conclusion that he is referring to, and thus worshipping, the true God, even if he also says some seriously mistaken things about God.  If someone does not affirm these things of God, then there is at least serious doubt about whether he is referring to and worshipping the true God.  And if someone positively denies these things, then there is a strong presumption that he is not referring to or worshipping the true God.  As Richard Gale once wrote:

The character played by Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront said that he could have been a contender, even the champion; but it would be a violation of the meaning of God for him to have said that he could have been God or for God to say that he might have been a two-bit enforcer for the mob.  (On the Nature and Existence of God, p. 5)

Anything that could have been a two-bit enforcer for the mob could not possibly be God.  And anything that is less than metaphysically ultimate, or which is not the source of all things other than himself, or which could have had a cause of his own, could not possibly be God.  If it turned out that what we’d been calling “God” was something which is less than metaphysically ultimate, had a cause of his own, etc., it wouldn’t follow that God really is all these things after all.  Rather, what would follow is that there really isn’t a God after all.

Trinitarianism and reference

But shouldn’t a Christian hold that some reference to the Trinity or to the divinity of Jesus is also at least necessary, even if not sufficient, for successful reference to the true God?  Doesn’t that follow from the fact that being Trinitarian is, from a Christian point of view, also essential to God?   No, that doesn’t follow at all, and any Christian who says otherwise will, if he stops and thinks carefully about it, see that he doesn’t really believe that it follows.  Again, Christians don’t deny that Abraham and Moses, or modern Jews, or Arians and other heretics, refer to and worship the same God as orthodox Christians, despite the fact that these people do not affirm the Trinity or the divinity of Jesus. 

Or consider the following scenario.  Suppose there is a cause of everything other than himself who is one, eternal, immaterial, necessary, omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good, etc.  But suppose also that it turned out that the Resurrection of Jesus never occurred, that the apostles perpetrated a hoax, etc.  Would this be a scenario in which atheism turns out to be true?  Of course not, and no Christian would say so.  It would be a scenario in which God exists but did not become incarnate in Jesus, did not cause the Church to be founded, etc.

Or consider another scenario.  Suppose it turned out that there is no such thing as a cause of everything other than himself who is one, eternal, immaterial, necessary, omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good, etc.  But suppose also that there really was a powerful being who sent Moses to deliver the Law to Israel, who sired Jesus and sent him as a prophet, who imparted preternatural powers to him and to the apostles so that they might found a Church, etc.  But suppose that this powerful being was an extraterrestrial and that the events recorded in the Bible were all caused in something like the way Erich von Däniken describes in Chariots of the Gods.  Suppose this extraterrestrial called himself “the Father” and that he had two lieutenants who called themselves “the Son” and “the Holy Spirit.”  Would this be a scenario in which Christian theism turns out to be true?  Of course not, and (I hope!) no Christian would say so.  It would be a scenario in which atheism is true. 

Notice that the first scenario is metaphysically possible even though God is necessarily a Trinity.  For even though God is a Trinity, he could have refrained from becoming incarnate in Jesus, could have refrained from causing the Church to be founded, could have refrained from revealing his Trinitarian nature to us, etc.  Even on the first scenario, God would (the Christian must affirm) be Trinitarian, but we would not know this about him.  Yet this would not prevent us from successfully referring to him or worshipping him.

Now, the (first, atheistic part of the) second scenario is. I would say, not in fact metaphysically possible (even if it is epistemically possible -- that is, we could find ourselves in a situation where we falsely believe that the scenario holds).  The reason it is not metaphysically possible is that it could not turn out (or so I would argue) that there is no such thing as a cause of everything other than himself who is one, eternal, immaterial, omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good, etc.  God, if he exists at all, exists necessarily rather than contingently.  Atheism, if false, is necessarily false rather than merely contingently false.  But this has nothing to do with Trinitarianism per se.  And that is true even though God is essentially Trinitarian.  For it is not by virtue of knowing that God is a Trinity that we know that, if he exists, then he exists necessarily rather than contingently.  Rather, it is by virtue of knowing that he is pure actuality, that he is subsistent being itself, that he is absolutely simple or non-composite, etc., that we know that, if he exists, then he exists necessarily rather than contingently. 

What all this shows is that we need to distinguish between how God has to be and how we have to conceptualize God.  What the doctrine of the Trinity entails is that God could not possibly be other than three divine Persons in one substance.  But it does not entail that we cannot conceptualize God other than as three divine Persons in one substance.  To suppose that, because the doctrine of the Trinity entails the former, it must also entail the latter, is to confuse metaphysics with epistemology.

None of this should be surprising given that, as Christianity itself traditionally teaches, the doctrine of the Trinity is not something which human reason could have arrived at on its own, but can be known only via special divine revelation.  We can know that God is Trinitarian only if we first know that he exists and has revealed certain truths (via a prophet, scripture, tradition, or the teachings of the Church).  Naturally, then, we must be able to conceptualize him in a non-Trinitarian way, otherwise we couldn’t ever get to knowledge of the Trinity.   (Note that this does not entail that he could have failed to be Trinitarian.  Again, to suppose otherwise is to confuse metaphysics and epistemology.)

Aquinas on referring to God

As always when looking for philosophical guidance on matters of theology, we cannot do better than to turn to Aquinas.  On reference in general, he writes:

In the significance of names, that from which the name is derived is different sometimes from what it is intended to signify, as for instance, this name "stone" [lapis] is imposed from the fact that it hurts the foot [laedit pedem], but it is not imposed to signify that which hurts the foot, but rather to signify a certain kind of body; otherwise everything that hurts the foot would be a stone… (Summa theologiae I.13.2)

and again:

Whence a name is imposed, and what the name signifies are not always the same thing.  For as we know substance from its properties and operations, so we name substance sometimes for its operation, or its property; e.g. we name the substance of a stone from its act, as for instance that it hurts the foot [laedit pedem]; but still this name is not meant to signify the particular action, but the stone's substance. The things, on the other hand, known to us in themselves, such as heat, cold, whiteness and the like, are not named from other things. Hence as regards such things the meaning of the name and its source are the same. (Summa theologiae I.13.8)

Aquinas’s example of the stone is, unfortunately, not as clear to modern readers of English as it would have been to his contemporaries.  The idea is that the etymology of lapis (“stone”) derived (so Aquinas wrongly supposed) from its hurting the foot (when it is dropped on the foot, say, or when the foot kicks it).  The literal meaning of lapis (again, so Aquinas supposed) is “that which hurts the foot,” but what we intend to signify thereby is not just any old thing which might hurt the foot -- dropped hammers, bear traps, clumsy dance partners, etc -- but rather stones, specifically.  A modern example might be “housefly.”  What we intend to signify by this expression is not any old thing which might fly around the house -- moths, escaped parakeets, the remote-controlled toy helicopter my youngest son got for Christmas, etc. -- but rather a certain specific kind of insect.

Now, what Aquinas is saying is that in some cases, we refer to things by way of some property they have, or some contingent characteristic they have, or some effect they cause, rather than by way of their essence.  To hurt the foot is not the essence of stone, even if we refer to stones as “that which hurts the foot,” and flying around the house is not the essence of houseflies, even if we call them “houseflies.”  What we intend to refer to by “that which hurts the foot” is whatever has the essence of stone, and what we intend to refer to by “housefly” is whatever has the essence of a housefly.  There is a distinction to be drawn in these cases between that by virtue of which we refer to something and that to which we refer.  (As Christopher Martin notes in the chapter on reference in his book Thomas Aquinas: God and Explanations, here Aquinas anticipated a distinction Saul Kripke makes in Naming and Necessity.) 

In other cases, though, we refer to a thing by virtue of its essence.  Aquinas gives heat, cold, and whiteness as examples, and (as Martin also notes) the use Kripke makes in Naming and Necessity of the example of “pain” might be similar to the point Aquinas is making.  Kripke’s idea is that “pain” refers to the sort of sensation we associate with pain, and that the essence of pain just is to be a sensation of that sort.  The sensation is not something that merely follows from pain or is contingently associated with pain.  Presumably Aquinas was saying something similar about heat, cold, and whiteness -- e.g. that being white not only involves having a visual appearance of a certain sort but that this is the essence of whiteness.  (Aquinas’s examples are bound to be controversial in light of the modern physics of temperature and color, but the specific examples are not essential to the point he is making, which is that sometimes we refer to something by virtue of its essence rather than by virtue of some characteristic or effect it has.)

Now, where God is concerned, in Aquinas’s view we refer to him in the first sort of way rather than the second:

Because therefore God is not known to us in His nature, but is made known to us from His operations or effects, we name Him from these… hence this name "God" is a name of operation so far as relates to the source of its meaning.  For this name is imposed from His universal providence over all things; since all who speak of God intend to name God as exercising providence over all… [T]aken from this operation, this name "God" is imposed to signify the divine nature. (Summa theologiae I.13.8)

The idea is that, in this life, we do not have the immediate knowledge of God, or beatific vision, that those in heaven enjoy.  Our knowledge of God is not like our knowledge of pain (if Kripke is right about that) but rather more like the layman’s knowledge of stone or of a housefly, insofar as the layman knows them only by their effects or contingent characteristics rather than (as a chemist or biologist might) by virtue of their essences.  In particular, we know God as that which has universal providence over all things -- that which creates them, sustains them in being at every moment, imparts to them at every moment their power to operate, and so forth. 

Of course, we also know that God’s nature is Trinitarian, because this fact has been specially revealed to us.  But that does not entail that we have immediate knowledge of that Trinitarian nature, the way we have immediate knowledge of the nature of pain (again, if Kripke is right).  We do not have such immediate knowledge.  To borrow a distinction made famous by Bertrand Russell, we might say that we know God’s Trinitarian nature only by description, not by acquaintance.  Hence, even given divine revelation, the Christian no less than the non-Christian has to refer to God by way of his effects rather by way of direct knowledge of his essence.  And where the most general of those effects are concerned (e.g. God’s creation and conservation of the world in being, as opposed to his causing of miracles), non-Christians can in principle know those as well as Christians can.  Hence non-Christians can refer to God just as well as Christians can.  As Aquinas writes:

Hence it is evident that a Catholic saying that an idol is not God contradicts the pagan asserting that it is God; because each of them uses this name GOD to signify the true God. For when the pagan says an idol is God, he does not use this name as meaning God in opinion, for he would then speak the truth, as also Catholics sometimes use the name in the sense, as in the Psalm, "All the gods of the Gentiles are demons" (Psalm 95:5)…

Neither a Catholic nor a pagan knows the very nature of God as it is in itself; but each one knows it according to some idea of causality, or excellence, or remotion... So a pagan can take this name "God" in the same way when he says an idol is God, as the Catholic does in saying an idol is not God.  But if anyone should be quite ignorant of God altogether, he could not even name Him... (Summa theologiae I.13.10)

The idea here is that it is precisely because the pagan in question, no less than the Catholic, can understand that “God” signifies that which is the cause of the world, etc. that the Catholic and pagan can genuinely disagree about whether a certain idol is God.  If the pagan meant by “God” nothing more than “this particular idol,” then there would be no disagreement.  That is to say, if the pagan were using the word in this idiosyncratic way (i.e. if, as Aquinas puts it, he were “us[ing] this name as meaning God in [merely the] opinion [of the pagan]”), then he would be speaking the truth if he said “This particular idol is God,” because that would amount to saying nothing more than “This particular idol is this particular idol.”  It is because the pagan means more than that by “God” that the Christian can say: “No, that idol can’t be God, given what you and I both know God to be.”

Now, if even an idolatrous pagan can successfully refer to the true God when he uses the name “God” -- that is to say, he really is talking about God even if he has gravely erroneous beliefs about God -- then obviously Muslims, who are as well aware as any Christian is that God cannot be identified with an idol, can successfully refer to the true God, despite their gravely erroneous rejection of Trinitarianism.  And since they worship that to which they refer, it follows that they worship the true God.

A qualification

As I said at the beginning, while I think it is correct to say that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, I would add a qualification to that claim.  The qualification is this.  What I have said in this post applies to Christianity and Islam in the abstract and to Christians and Muslims in general.  But it is nevertheless still possible that there are particular individual Christians and particular individual Muslims whose personal conceptions of God differ in such a way that they do not plausibly worship the same God.  To develop a possible example, let’s consider something else Lydia McGrew says in the post of hers linked to above.  She writes:

Christians believe… that the same Being caused the origins of Judaism -- the promises to Abraham, the Exodus, etc. -- and the origins of Christianity -- the resurrection of Jesus, etc.  In that sense, the Christian says that the God of Abraham is the same entity as the God we worship…  But no Christian should believe that the God whom Jesus represented is the same entity who caused the origins of Islam!  On the contrary, we as Christians should emphatically deny this…  [This] distinguishes what the Christian claims about the relationship of Christianity to Judaism from what the Christian believes about the relationship of Christianity to Islam. The point is not that only a Trinitarian can be in some sense worshiping the true God.  Abraham was not a Trinitarian but was worshiping the true God.  But Abraham, we believe, really was in touch with the true God.  The true God really was the source of Abraham's revelations.  The true God was not the source of Mohammad's.

End quote.  Now, I certainly agree with Lydia that a Christian should not regard Muhammad as having had a genuine revelation from God.  But this fact doesn’t do the work she thinks it does.  She is arguing that Christians and Jews worship the same God even if (she claims) Christians and Muslims do not.  Her argument seems to presuppose that by “God,” Jews mean “the source of Abraham’s revelations, etc.,” Christians mean “the one who raised Jesus from the dead, etc.,” and Muslims mean “the source of Muhammad’s revelations, etc.”  Now if that were all that Jews, Christians, and Muslims respectively meant by “God,” then her argument would have force.  For in that case, since Christians hold that the same God both revealed himself to Abraham, etc. and raised Jesus from the dead, etc., but think that God did not give any revelation to Muhammad, they could not regard their God as the same as what Muslims mean by “God.”  The problem is that that is simply not all that Jews, Christians, and Muslims mean by “God,” at least not most Jews, Christians, and Muslims.  For by “God” they also mean “the uncaused cause of everything other than himself, who is omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good, etc.”  And because there is this considerable overlap in their conceptions of God, it is possible for them to refer to, and worship, one and the same God despite their disagreements, for the reasons given earlier.

However, suppose that some particular Jew, Christian, or Muslim did use the word “God” in the very narrow way Lydia’s argument presupposes.  Suppose, for example, that some particular Muslim said: “No, actually, I don’t much care about all that other stuff.  What I mean by ‘God’ is ‘the source of Muhammad’s revelations,’ and that’s all I mean by the word, and I would still worship God so understood even if it turned out that this source was not the omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good uncaused cause of the world, but something else.”  In that case, I think you could say that that particular Muslim did not worship the same God that Christians do.

But I think you’d be very hard pressed to find a Muslim who would ever say such a thing, just as I think you’d be very hard pressed to find a Christian who would say that he would still believe the Bible even if it turned out to have been written by one of Erich von Däniken’s extraterrestrials.  But perhaps there are Muslims (and Christians and Jews, for that matter) who are so attached to certain contingent claims about God made by their religion that they would rather give up belief in some essential divine attribute than give up those contingent claims.  In that case there could be the sort of conceptual distance between believers that would entail that they are not worshipping the same God.  So to that extent I would qualify the claim defended in this post.  But the possibility does seem to me fairly remote and academic. 

579 comments:




  1. "Do Christians and Muslims refer to the same divine reality by the words 'God'/'Allah'?) with the question of theology (Do Christians and Muslims agree on the nature and character of God?). If I am reading Dr Feser correctly, he believes that the answer to the first question is yes and the answer to the second question is no. So what's all the hubbub? "


    Denotation and connotation. Once your terms no longer connote the same thing, the denotation functionally changes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Masked ChickenJanuary 4, 2016 at 7:01 AM

    As a Fr. Kimmel points out, reference and theology are two different things, regarding God in the minds of Christianity and Islam. Given that the reference is the same, but the theology is different, isn 't it possible to understand the confusion in these 400 comments, because, it seems to me that the word, worship, is an overlapping term in both domains. Could worship be the subject of a subsequent post?

    The Chicken

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear Anonymous @ Jan 4, 2016 12:54 AM

    You are misunderstanding me.

    I don't mean to imply Americans as such or Westerners as such are Islam-hating imperialists who intervene just to harm the people of the region.

    Actually according to my personal opinion and as a Muslim, I am happy that the greatest superpower of the world is America (of course I am happy about that since I am also an American).

    I think there would be more oppression if any other country was the superpower...thus I am happy that China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc was a superpower.

    I think that in terms peace and fairness in the world if peace loving countries like Iceland or Norway were the superpowers but USA is better than most countries.

    I love the American constitution and in general, I like the personality of many Americans.

    However, the adjectives you are using for us pumping millions of bullets and bombs into the bodies of Iraqis who did not kill even one American and in our policy of destroying their state is absolutely inappropriate.

    "Folly" Use that for a bad investment.

    "Self-serving" Use that if you decide to relocate you and your wife where you would be happy but where she might not be so happy.

    "reckless" Use that for driving above the speed limit.

    "low-level prejudice" Use that for making some foreign people we don't often the bad people in our movies.

    What adjectives would you use if the Chinese government does not listen to the UN Inspectors which say that we are not making weapons of mass destruction...the Chinese govt insist we are and they "intervene" by sending hundreds of thousands of Chinese to invade our country and that the combined explosive power of bombs they drop on Americans heads is way more than many, many Hiroshima bombs, and the Chinese end up killing hundreds of thousands of Americans directly or many more hundreds of thousands by dismantling the police forces and destroying the state which produces gangs calling themselves the Lord's Resistance Army (like that horrendous militia in Uganda) in America which terrorize the local population and spread havoc in Canada?

    If China's bullets and bombs led directly and indirectly to kill 600,000 Americans in absolute numbers (and 6 million Americans in relative numbers) would you and many other Conservatives describe that as folly, self-serving, reckless, low-level prejudice?

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Where on earth did I (or Benedict XVI for that matter) say anything remotely like the claim that the Christian and Muslim conceptions of divine judgment are "identical"?"

    Exactly. And I can imagine that beside divine judgement there is plenty of other conceptions Christian and Mohammedan hold about their respective gods that are not "identical" - even opposite.
    We believe in God our Father, they believe in Allah their owner. We are children of God - they are slaves of Allah. We believe God is Truth and they believe Allah owns truth just as he owns them and may do with it as he pleases. We believe we and God are bound together by the Covenant - they believe Allah will never bind himself to anything. We believe God loves Man and is man's friend. They believe that to be a horrible blasphemy. We believe God wants every man to be saved - even those who don't believe in Him. They believe Allah prepared for unbelievers eternity of most terrible torture and commands Mohammedans to fight and kill them if they don't convert.
    And so on and so on and so on...Now how high can one keep on piling up these differences and still maintain the persons of Allah and God are identical?
    Is there at all a limit? If yes, please, define it. If no, then your claim is absolutely incoherent and you are peddling an absurdity. Unfortunately, you have invested so much intellectual effort and energy in the thing that you can't abandon it now.

    You say I'm sitting on my high horse. If pointing out what I think is your error is sitting on my high horse then you are sitting on high horse much much higher than mine. It's called projection.

    ReplyDelete
  5. thomas_h:

    "If yes, please define it."

    This is getting tiresome. From the original post:

    Now, being absolutely metaphysically ultimate, being that from which all else derives, being that which does not have and in principle could not have a cause of its own, etc. -- in short, being what classical theism says God essentially is -- is, I would say, what is key to determining whether someone’s use of “God” plausibly refers to the true God. If someone affirms these things of God, then there is at least a strong presumption in favor of the conclusion that he is referring to, and thus worshipping, the true God, even if he also says some seriously mistaken things about God. If someone does not affirm these things of God, then there is at least serious doubt about whether he is referring to and worshipping the true God. And if someone positively denies these things, then there is a strong presumption that he is not referring to or worshipping the true God.

    Note also (again) that the question is about real referents, not about about "persons," whatever the latter might mean.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Omer, but America didn't kill the Iraqis. It was sectarian violence that did killed the vast majority of 100,000 to 600,000 (probably closer to the former than the latter) who died. So I do think reckless and foolish is appropriate. America went to overthrow a tyrant. They did that recklessly, and they didn't take the necessary action to stop Iraq descending into chaos. But Americans didn't target civilians (leaving aside a few tragic instances). Unless you're a pacifist, I don't see how you can say America's actions were worse than I described them. I don't think that painting the War in Iraq in the absolutist worst light helps American-Muslim relations. It does foster the kind of view of Americans as Islam-hating imperialists I spoke of, which is not correct, and the associated victimhood mentality.

    ReplyDelete
  7. @Scott,

    "Note also (again) that the question is about real referents, not about about "persons," whatever the latter might mean."

    Yes, I see I should have used referents rather than persons. Still God is a Person, although in much stronger sense than man, so it should not be too confusing.

    You have enumerated things classical theism says God essentially is and proceed to identify them as the key to determining whether someone’s use of “God” plausibly refers to the true God.

    First of all I’m glad to see you say “plausibly”, which implies “not necessarily”.

    I know little about “classical theism” or theology, but I think that the things about God that I’m listing in my previous post derive from, or complement the “key” you are mentioning. Very much like the host of Euclidan theorems derive necessarily from Euclide’s axioms.
    But just as there is no geometry if one refers to axioms only, referring to your “key” is not the same as worshipping God - as you claim saing that “…he is referring to and thus worshipping the true God”.

    I think nothing expresses the nature of the god of one’s religion more faithfully than the character of the worship prescribed by that religion. And the character of the Christian worship has been and is dramatically different from the character of Islam worship.
    You may of course maintain that Allah is God and vice versa and it's only the imperfect understanding of Islam that makes moslems butcher and enslave entire civilizations over the past 1400 years. But islamic worship of Allah is spelled out in the Koran and it is exactly the conquest of the world. They are true believers and are willing to die for their faith.
    Or perhaps you wish to say it is not so much that moslems misunderstand Islam, but that Islam misunderstand Allah?
    Or that Islam is false while the genuineness of Allah is for Christianity to approve?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I meant of course God is person not "a person" in my above comment.

    ReplyDelete
  9. @ Anonymous Jan 4, 2016 12:54 AM

    Typo of omission above....I meant to say I am happy that China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc are NOT the sole superpowers....although I think China and Russia can be considered superpowers to some extent.

    I like to charitable. I think Americans are some of the friendliest people in the world and I think many of them are kind and so on.

    So I don't want you to misunderstand.

    Another point I want to say is the BIG ELEPHANT in the room.

    Most Christians are Christians because they are born to Christian parents and most Muslims are Muslims because they are born to Muslim parents.

    And if all of us can understand this, then surely God knows this. So I don't assume that someone who is born a Muslim is better than a Christian or vice-versa.

    The powerful identities we absorb as children and as we grow up are very definitive in our outlook and the perspectives we take.

    Having said this though, as we become older into adulthood, we have less and less of an excuse to not seek the complete truth that is in accordance with reason and morality.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous,

    We are starting to go in circles...you have the complete freedom to think what you want.

    If you go back to the official reason we went to war in Iraq, it was over the lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

    At the infamous televised UN Security Council mtg, Hans Blix, the UN chief expert said according to the meticulous work of his international team there is no evidence of biological/chemical weapons of mass destruction and that if we give a tiny bit more time, his team can confirm that absolutely. El-Baradei said that there is no evidence of nuclear weapons or a nuclear weapons program. Full stop.

    Secretary Powell then talked about the (lies) he received from the CIA and off we went to killing Iraqis.

    According to the world experts, the number of people killed in Iraq is at least 242,000 but the greater experts is over 1 million.

    The Lancet medical journal, the top in the world, used the EXACT same methodology they used in assessing the deaths in the Congo. They looked at the death certificates and did a rigorous study which yielded 600,000 excess deaths from the time we invaded until 2006....many more died after that as well.

    The world experts say that 1/3 of those killed were by us....our bullets, our bombs.

    In addition to our firepower of killing the Iraqis, the pollution from our destroying Iraqi arms depots out in the open (which is against environmental regulations) and toxins such as the depleted uranium which has led to skyrocketing high rates of birth defects and cancers among Iraqis.

    I believe that God will forgive us for our massive crimes but those involved need to feel remorseful and repent to God and apologize to the Iraqis.

    Saying that our actions was reckless and foolish is not called repentance.

    ReplyDelete
  11. @thomas_h

    All you mentioned are massive distortions and lies...

    "We believe in God our Father, they believe in Allah their owner"

    There are many verses in the Qur'an that speak of God as being our creator...the most common relational term between us and God in the Qur'an is that of Rabb which means lord but which means one who nourishes, cherisher, sustainer from beginning and throughout.

    "We are children of God - they are slaves of Allah."

    What you are saying are just words from your mouth or strokes from your keyboard...it does not mean anything. The word slaves indicates that he is providing something to his master but God tells us in the Qur'an that God does not need any worship from us...this is said in MULTIPLE verses...God tells us in Chapter 11 that He created us to give us an opportunity for us to receive His mercy...God says in MANY places in the Qur'an that God will not only give good people what they deserve but will give them much more than they deserve. But God says in the Qur'an that He will punish evil people only to the extent they deserve.

    ReplyDelete

  12. @thomas_h

    Regarding your other comment..."We believe God is Truth and they believe Allah owns truth just as he owns them and may do with it as he pleases"

    First of all, God in the Qur'an does not say that He will do whatever regardless of whether it is in accordance with justice or not.

    God emphasizes that He has written mercy over His self and that He will NEVER be unjust in the least. [but (my bracketed addition) remind myself and all of us that his punishment is exacting, so we should not be complacent]

    There are many verses that say this...below are only a couple.

    Lo! God wrongeth not mankind in aught; but mankind wrong themselves. (10.44)

    God is never unjust in the least degree: If there is any good (done), He doubleth it, and giveth from His own presence a great reward. (4:40)

    There are a VERY large number of verses dealing with God's mercy...here is just one.

    And when those come to you who believe in Our verses, say, "Peace be upon you. Your Lord has decreed upon Himself mercy: that any of you who does wrong out of ignorance and then repents after that and corrects himself - indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful."

    This idea that God has written an attribute upon Himself is unique for mercy because God did not use that formulation for any other attribute. And later in the same chapter (Chapter 6), God repeats that He has written mercy upon himself.

    And the Qur'an says that God is the Truth explicitly and repetitively.

    That is because God is the Truth, and that which they call upon other than Him is falsehood, and because God is the Most High, the Great. (22, 62)

    On that Day Allah will pay them back (all) their just dues, and they will realize that Allah is the (very) Truth, that makes all things manifest. (24,25)

    That is because God is the Truth, and that what they call upon other than Him is falsehood, and because God is the Most High, the Great (31, 30).

    ReplyDelete
  13. It seems to me that if one hopes for any dialogue with followers of other faiths, declaring in advance that their god is not "God" is pointless. For example, a Muslim may say "Allah allows us to have 4 wives, and he also allows divorce" and I (as a Catholic) say "I believe that God wants men to have only one wife and He hates divorce". Apart from backing up my view with quotes from Jesus, I would point out that if any significant proportion of males had 4 wives, then many men would lose the possibility of ever finding a spouse, which seems unjust. And I assume that the Moslem would come back with considerations supporting the opposing view. But all the time this dialogue (or dispute) is only meaningful if we both think we are talking about God/Allah.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Excellent points Michael.

    I agree that it a conversation stopper.

    I have been told by my Christian brethren that they don't worship 3 Gods but 1 God who is perfect in all ways. Thus I want to be charitable and I want to believe that my Christian brethren are sincere when they are saying they really believe that they are worshipping the one and only perfect God.

    I am offended by the reasons that some have given for believing that Muslims are not worshipping God.

    If Christians who say that they are worshipping a different God want to say that the reason is the Trinity, then I have much less of a problem...but when I am reading comments about voluntarism, about God treating us as slaves, etc, etc. according to the Qur'an they are simply not true.

    I also think your point about 4 wives and divorce is excellent.

    There is much to say on that but I will just mention a few points.

    In Islam, divorce is not recommended. The divorce rate among in Muslim countries is very low when compared to Europeans and Americans.

    I take Qur'an as the primary source and thus I am not very keen on taking hadith as much as general Muslim scholars do (the Qur'an refers to itself as "explaining all things" and the Prophet never commissioned his companions to collect his scattered sayings.

    However, there is a hadith (considered sound by the hadith experts among Muslim scholars) where the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said: "Among lawful things, divorce is most hated by Allah." (hadith reported by Abu Dawud)

    The Qur'an stresses on a process to mend marital discord to prevent divorce...

    http://www.irfi.org/articles/articles_251_300/quranic_concept_of_divorce.htm

    Regarding 4 wives, God (so Muslims believe) said that

    And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hands possess. Thus it is more likely that ye will not do injustice. (4,3)

    [Notice also, that with respect to those who have slaves which was very common in Arabia, the verse encourages that if someone desires intimacy, then with regards to his slave, then marriage to her is appropriate, not anything imposed on her. On a side point, I would like to say that the Qur'an of all books (or at least books up it's time of revelation) is strongest and clearest in calling on people to free slaves].

    But God prefers monogamy as the verse says below...

    "Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women, even if it is your ardent desire" (4,129)

    Regarding another of your excellent concerns about allowing of 4 wives leading to less wives for other men. I appreciate you coming up with that concern. However, let's think of the issue further.

    Surely, in the vast number of cases, a lady who wants to get married will want to marry only one man (indeed Muslim law allows a woman to stipulate in her marriage contract that the husband cannot marry another wife).

    Thus, it is as easy for someone to marry more than one wife. Certainly, women who think that they will not have trouble finding a husband will be even less likely to enter into a relationship as a co-wife or to want her husband to have the option to marry another wife.

    But there are many women who are not married for various reasons...many are widows...and there were much more women per men many centuries ago when there was much more violence between men (I am sure such was the situation in WW1 and WW2 also).

    Allowing up to 4 wives allows many women who otherwise would never have a husband to live in a marital relationship.

    Also, in the literature, there is debate whether the New Testament allows polygamy or not.

    The Qur'an has limited polygamy both in number and in preference.

    Peace

    ReplyDelete
  15. There is much more I can say on this issue and I assume there may be much in which you would like to respond. And I assume there are many other issues why you believe the fully true faith is Catholicism (and not Islam).

    But I appreciate your spirit, your approach, and your common sense.

    May Christians and Muslims dialogue fully in great detail and but let us accept the truth wherever it takes us.

    Let us agree to disagree when we are going in circles.

    And may we collaborate together to make the world a better place for ourselves and especially our children and grandchildren.

    Omer

    ReplyDelete
  16. Part 1 of 4:

    An analysis by the Maverick Philosopher on the question of YHWH / Allah is interesting. Bill Vallicella's analysis is interesting overall although he lands on two fairly costly errors.

    Error 1:

    Bill posits that the following two cannot possibly referent the same “X”,

    D1: 'the unique x such that x is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, created the world ex nihilo and is unitarian'

    D2: 'the unique x such that x is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, created the world ex nihilo, and is triune.'

    By this criteria, which Bill seems to camp out on top of, the Jew who rejects Christ “because God is ONE” cannot (possibly, rationally) be referring to the Christian’s YHWH.

    Reason affirms that Monotheism displaces both Pantheism and Mormonism even as reason finds only three thoroughgoing Monotheisms on planet Earth – that of the Jew, the Muslim, and the Christian.

    C.S. Lewis touches on this aspect from a different point of, well, referent:

    “Now I go on to the next big division. People who all believe in God can be divided according to the sort of God they believe in. There are two very different ideas on this subject. One of them is the idea that He is beyond good and evil. We humans call one thing good and another thing bad. But according to some people that is merely our human point of view. These people would say that the wiser you become the less you would want to call anything good or bad, and the more clearly you would see that everything is good in one way and bad in another, and that nothing could have been different. Consequently, these people think that long before you got anywhere near the divine point of view the distinction would have disappeared altogether. We call a cancer bad, they would say, because it kills a man; but you might just as well call a successful surgeon bad because he kills a cancer. It all depends on the point of view. The other and opposite idea is that God is quite definitely ‘good’ or ‘righteous’, a God who takes sides, who loves love and hates hatred, who wants us to behave in one way and not in another. The first of these views— the one that thinks God beyond good and evil— is called Pantheism. It was held by the great Prussian philosopher Hegel and, as far as I can understand them, by the Hindus. The other view is held by Jews, Mohammedans and Christians.”

    Indeed, when it comes the specific referent which C.S. Lewis points to, and, also, when it comes to a different referent, to what David Bentley Hart terms “……the infinite wellspring of being, consciousness, and bliss that is the source, order, and end of all reality…..” we find (on planet Earth at least) only three thoroughgoing Monotheisms.


    Continued…….

    ReplyDelete
  17. Part 2 of 4:

    Continuing from “Error 1”,

    Error 2:

    Bill Vallicella states,

    “A dispute between me and Ed Feser, say, about whether our mutual acquaintance Tuggy has a son no doubt presupposes, and thus entails, that there is one and the same man whom we are talking about. It would be absurd to maintain that there are two Tuggys, my Tuggy and Ed's where mine has a son and Ed's does not. It would be absurd for me to say, "I'm talking about the true Tuggy while you, Ed, are talking about a different Tuggy, one that doesn't exist. You are referencing, if not worshipping, a false Tuggy." Why is this absurd? Because we are both acquainted with the man ('in the flesh,' by sense-perception) and we are arguing merely over the properties of the one and the same man with whom we are both acquainted. There is simply no question but that he exists and that we are both referring to him. The dispute concerns his attributes. But of course the situation is different with God. We are not acquainted with God: God, unlike Tuggy, is not given to the senses. Mystical intuition and revelation aside, we are thrown back upon our concepts of God.”

    That analysis by Bill ends up making very costly (and peculiar) commitments.

    On reference vs. sense, the “cognitive content” is where “sense” is housed – and such is not limited to physical senses where referent vs. sense are (properly) distinguished. Yet Vallicella tells us (or rather he implies) that we have no “senses” by which to “perceive” the “Divine” and “therefore” we are “thrown back” upon cognitive content. This presupposes a rather bold claim on what counts for valid knowledge and in fact, like D1 and D2 earlier, we are ushered into peculiar commitments which (in the end) severely weaken his case. Reason’s proper work vis-à-vis logic and necessity and abstraction quite often prove our senses (at times) wrong and, certainly (at times) incomplete. Just as we must “delve into the philosophy of language” (as Vallicella rightly points out) to rationally decide where reference carries us on the question at hand, so *also* must we delve into the philosophy of mind and knowledge given that what counts for the valid perception of reality within the corridors of cognitive content, reason, abstraction, and logic ultimately assumes a leading, even Oscar winning, role. The magnitude and the wherewithal of that Oscar winning role is a topic for another discussion – but let us be clear – the nomination for that particular player in that particular show is the most worthy candidate of all – even painfully so.


    Yet more troubles:

    Those who assert that planet Earth’s only three thoroughgoing Monotheisms cannot possibly reduce to the same ultimate explanatory terminus of Pure Actuality, of Being Itself (and so on….) come to the table (quite often it seems) with an unfortunate litany of equivocations and conflations amid the trio of,

    [1] similarity
    [2] overlap (sameness)
    [3] difference

    Similarity cannot (rationally) count for true sameness, and, just the same, overlap cannot (rationally) count for true difference. Not intellectually. Not ontologically. Not theologically.



    Continued…….

    ReplyDelete
  18. Part 3 of 4:


    Two earlier comments help pull us into some intellectual honesty where (real) similarity, (real) overlap (sameness), and (real) difference are concerned.

    Quote 1:

    “As a Fr. Kimmel points out, reference and theology are two different things, regarding God in the minds of Christianity and Islam. Given that the reference is the same, but the theology is different, isn't it possible to understand the confusion in these 400 comments, because, it seems to me that the word, worship, is an *overlapping term* in both domains. Could worship be the subject of a subsequent post?” (by “the Masked Chicken”, *bold* added for the intellectually indolent)

    Quote 2:

    Slightly paraphrased:

    “The discussion here has certainly degenerated in this thread. I'm confused why people continue to confuse:

    [1] The question of reference (Do Christians and Muslims refer to the same divine reality by the words 'God'/'Allah'?)

    [2] The question of theology (Do Christians and Muslims agree on the nature and character of God?).

    If I am reading Dr. Feser correctly, he believes that the answer to the first question is yes and the answer to the second question is no. So what's all the hubbub? It's not as if (unless one is a Barthian, and I'm not even sure about that) anything theologically significant is at stake in giving an affirmative answer to the first. Neither gospel nor dogmas are surrendered. The Church will continue to evangelize Muslims and the world as she has for the past 2,000 years.” (by “afkimel”)

    The intellectual and (yes) ontological and (yes) theological reality with planet Earth’s only three thoroughgoing Monotheisms is that we find in/among them the following: (real) similarity, (real) overlap, and (real) differences. That forces our hand to do the hard work of employing differentiating clauses such as If/Then, and, Given A / We get B, and But for X / We find Z, and so on. Such become unavoidable *if* our goal is to *distinguish* between (real) overlap vs. (real) similarity vs. (real) difference.



    Continued……

    ReplyDelete
  19. Part 4 of 4:

    If two real things, like, oh, say, Christianity and Islam, have ontological foci which house those three (real) things such that those three real things (really) exist in/among them, then the move to talk about them via making statement(s) which is/are *not* constituted of said qualifications and clarifications is to make a statement about some *non*-real something – which in fact sums to making a *referent* to something that doesn’t exist. One more time: To speak of Christianity and Islam “As-If” the “……the infinite wellspring of being, consciousness, and bliss that is the source, order, and end of all reality…..” does not house ontological (and therein theological) overlap (A = B) is to referent something which doesn’t exist. As already pointed out, it's better to speak of real things as they really are rather than as we wish they were. If that forces us to land in an ontological (and therein theological) topography that is "complicated", well, that feature, while demanding effort and precision, is irrelevant.

    Intellectually, ontologically, and theologically, we find similarity, overlap, and differences. On the pesky arena of overlap, Dr. Feser and those who agree with him have already stated that radical *differences* exist, without question, but that such do not (as if by magic) erase fundamental metaphysical stopping points which *overlap*. For example:

    [1] the content of worship from Man’s point of view

    [2] rationally defining a religion as true or false

    [3] the content of worship from God’s point of view

    [4] Islamic ethics and/or relations with the West (Etc.) in and by what sums to nothing more than passing (temporal) and non-permanent geopolitical contingencies within the pains of Man’s Privation

    Now, those four items are all important but the referent at hand in this discussion is not the “heart content of worship” (#1), nor is it “Of the three Monotheisms (which just happen to house factual ontic-overlap), which is ‘the true’?” (#2), nor is it “God’s view of worship” (#3), nor is it “Man’s many and varied fragmentations within the pains of his privation” (#4), but, rather, the referent at hand is what David Bentley Hart terms “……the infinite wellspring of being, consciousness, and bliss that is the source, order, and end of all reality…..” On that (ontological and theological) referent we find (on planet Earth at least) only three thoroughgoing Monotheisms.

    Such are the reasons why we can say that when it comes to, say, *worship*, or to other items of concern, the reality of difference and of overlap permits us to find areas that sum to (ontic/theological) identity even as we find areas which sum to (ontic/theological) difference (even though worship is *not* the *referent* in this thread’s discussion).

    William Lane Craig discusses points of radical divergence between Christianity and Islam and he also discusses the topic of why our decision sums to Christianity rather than Judaism or Islam. Regarding those conceptual constructs in Dr. Craig’s linked essays (on the one hand) and this entire project (or essay, etc.) here by Feser dealing with reference (on the other hand), all three essays (the two by Craig and this one by Feser) are all, at the end of the line, fully compatible.

    ReplyDelete
  20. @Omer

    I don't discuss religious matters with mohammedans. The main reason is that your Taqyiah permits, indeed encourages you to lie to the "infidel" if that advances interests of Islam.
    It cost me quite a few futile and frustrating discussions with mohammedans to suspect that you are inhabiting a completely different and hostile to us moral universe. Subsequent reading of the Koran (twice!) and the horrid Hadiths fully confirmed my suspicions. I could finally pinpoint the reason for the absolute incompatibility of Islam with not only Christianity or Judaism, but also Buddhism, Hinduism indeed any religion, culture/religion as demonstrated by History over the past 1400 years.
    Islam has been an enemy not because we falsely perceive it as enemy but because it defines itself as such. As I said, I read my Koran and it would be foolish of me to accept the crude Taqyiah of a Koran follower (you) rather than the testimony of “my lying eyes”. A testimony buttressed with every day’s news of Islamic butchery of the infidel.

    I know you are a good Moslem. But I also know that the better is a Moslem the more he hates my world. Therefore as far as I’m concerned the only good Moslem is a bad Moslem. Or, even better, an ex-Moslem.

    I was fortunate to meet some ex-moslems and read books by Wafa Sultan and Hirsi Ali - among others.
    Try reading "A God Who Hates". Not because I hope it may change your views, but because you might understand why someone who has read the book, beside the Koran, Hadiths, and who simply follows the daily news will never take your “Dawa” seriously. Really, don’t waste your time on me.

    ReplyDelete
  21. scbrownlhrm,

    "(#1), nor is it “Of the three Monotheisms (which just happen to house factual ontic-overlap),"

    Doesn't that just beg the question -- who are you to say they "house factual ontic-overlap"?

    Great summary otherwise -- I've enjoyed reading your comments.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Ed,

    Let's say I created my own religion and I wrote a "holy book" called the Ranqu. In the Ranqu I talk about the all-powerful Creator God who revealed himself to Abraham. But I explain that this God was evil and capricious, that he lied to Abraham and made promises he didn't keep. This God created evil angels but one of them rebelled and became good (Lucifer) and led other angels in the rebellion. This evil God destroyed Sodom because the city was full of goodness.

    Under your theory, is this God the same God as the God of the Bible and the God of the Quran? It has the same referent - the Creator of the universe - correct? If it isn't the same God, why not?"

    ReplyDelete
  23. Ed,I think your error (and possibly Francis J. Beckwith's) stems from your concept of classical theism. You seems to be assuming all Christians worship the "God of the philosophers." We don't. We worship the God of the Bible. So the question is not "Is the God of the Quran eternal, immaterial, necessary, omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good, etc.?" The question is this "Is the God of the Quran the same as the God of the Bible?" The answer to this is obviously "No." The source of the Bible and the source of the Quran are not the same. The God of the Bible has a Son. The God of the Quran does not. The God of the Bible loves unbelievers. The God of the Quran says unbelievers should be killed. The God of the Bible gives men free will. The God of the Quran says "convert or die." These two are not the same.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Ed, Just to be clear I think most Christians (at least most Protestants) would agree with Blaise Pascal who wrote in the Appendix to the Pensees:

    "God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob - not of the philosophers and scholars."

    Quote from Bruce Charlton:

    "Pascal's answer to the question of 'What is God' is therefore NOT to describe God in terms of a philosophical definition nor of His Properties; but to say God is He that is told-of in the Bible, He that is Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ - and also our Father - we being his children.

    "Pascal's answer is history, fact, story - explicitly not philosophy."

    http://charltonteaching.blogspot.com/2013/11/god-of-philosophers-versus-god-of.html

    Most Christians do not worship the God of the philosophers but the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible and the God of the Quran are completely incompatible. If you compare the God of the Bible to the God of the Quran, I think you will agree.

    ReplyDelete
  25. @Ron Cram

    "Ed,...You seems to be assuming all Christians worship the "God of the philosophers." We don't. We worship the God of the Bible."

    So short and so true. Perfectly said.
    Thank you, Ron Cram.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Part 1 of 2:

    Several detractors seem to be tying themselves up into incongruent knots.

    The Jewish God has no Son -- therefore the Jew does not referent the Christian God -- Because their God has no Son. Because Pascal. Because Bruce Charlton. Because the Christian God has a Son – and His Name is Jesus – and the Jewish man referents a different God. Because Trinity. Allah and the Jewish God lean on some large portion of Works/Obedience. The Christian God, not so much. YHWH cannot be (therefore) the referent of the Jew nor of the Muslim.

    Please.

    With logic and philosophizing like that no wonder the detractors want to claim that the Bible and Logic must disagree with one another.

    As for the evil God business -- there is no evil but for Goodness Itself. Because the word "mailbox" does not mean the same thing as the word "automobile". Because Philosophy. Because logic. Because linguistics. Thus welcome to the Philosopher's God -- which must be false -- because philosophy -- so an Evil-God must be logically possible (it isn't) then. And he must violate or contradict..... someone's.... standard or nature or final ontic-stopping-point... but *who* is he contradicting? Or is Man the measure of all things -- the metric of all semantic definition? Oh dear. More philosophy. More linguistics.

    Please.

    Referring to Christianity and Islam "as if" there is no theological, ontological, and intellectual overlap amid the two is to evade the real world as it actually is -- and it also makes one guilty of employing a referent to a non-real something because in fact there *is* overlap just as there *is* divergence. To deny such overlap is to deny the real world as we actually find it. And so too should we deny similarities (which are not sameness) and/or differences (of which there are many).

    [1] No-God (Buddhism, Atheism, Spinoza's Pantheism, any flavor of any kind of “contingent any-thing” as the end of the line or as the end of the metaphysical regress, and so on…..)

    [2] All-God (Hinduism)

    [3] One God (Judaism, Islam, Christianity)

    That is the real world in which we actually live. Those are the real things we are (really) talking about.

    Not self-negating and incongruent evil-god noise. Not dishonest equivocations and conflations about overlap which force one to declare that the Jew does not referent the Christian God if the same criteria is faithfully applied to said Jew. Not a world where God and Logic contradict one another. In short: Not a make-believe world.


    Continued…….

    ReplyDelete
  27. Part 2 of 2:

    A brief excerpt from Dr. Craig on one slice of Islamic theology:

    "My interest in Islam was quickened by my study of the history of the cosmological argument for a personal creator of the universe. Early Christian commentators on Aristotle living in Alexandria, Egypt, developed this argument in response to Aristotle’s doctrine of the eternity of the world. They sought to show that the universe had a beginning and was brought into being by a transcendent creator. When Islam swept across North Africa in the eighth century, this argument was taken up into Islamic theology and developed during the Middle Ages to a high degree of sophistication. Because of the contribution of Islamic thinkers to this argument, I dubbed it the kalam cosmological argument, the word “kalam” being the Arabic word for Islamic theology. I believe that this is a sound argument for God’s existence, and it has served me well in reaching out to Muslims with the gospel." (William Lane Craig)

    Feser, in another essay, (in the upcoming link) asks about worshiping the real God vs. a mistake and in doing so affirms Christ’s Own Words to the Jew that, although the Jew clearly *referents* YHWH, they did not know (vs. worship?) the Father for had they known (vs. worshipped?) the Father they would have known (vs. worshipped?) Jesus. In fact, we can even break apart “know” from “worship” there and those two then can make a threesome when added to “referent”. In the OT, to “worship” does not entail “all” that “know” entails, though there is……. w-a-i-t for it……. **overlap**. The referent that is [worhip] is a different referent than the referent that is [Will it be Christianity or will it be Judaism as The-True?] which are then different referents than [Will it be Christianity or will it be Islam as The-True?] all of which are then different referents than the referent that is the [infinite wellspring of being, consciousness, and bliss that is the source, order, and end of reality].

    Based on the linked essay here by Feser (“Geach on worshipping the right God”) it is (according to our detractor’s dis-logic) clearly the case that given the two theologically radical issues of [1] obedience/grace and of [2] Unitarian/Trinitarian – the Jew cannot truly appeal (in his own theology) to a *referent* of the One True God. “I serve a works orientated God and Jesus ought to have been crucified.” Can said Jew in said theology *referent* the One True God? Well of course he can! -Tis YHWH and no other! Jesus tells them they do not know ( vs. worship?) God for to know (vs. worship?) God is to know (vs. worship?) Christ. Yet, clearly, the Jew *referents* YHWH. He’s got a lot of his theology right – just as he’s got a lot of it wrong. But that is the point about facing the real world as it actually is, about talking about real things as they really are and not as we wish they were. That is why we embrace the trio of overlap, similarity, and difference. That is the point about dealing with the real world and not some make-believe world where evil-gods who can’t logically exist still exist and where the One True God and Logic contradict one another because the Bible and Logic contradict one another. It’s as if the Christian detractors could (in principle) actually believe that miracles just may contradict the natural laws of the created order – because Logic and God are at odds with one another (or something).

    A threesome: Overlap, Similarity, and Difference. Then another threesome: Know, Worship, Referent.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Christ's affirmation to the Jew that he does not *know* YHWH and in fact is at odds with YHWH establishes a clear and unmistakable reality of the Jew's obvious and coherent *referent* in the midst of critical and even caustic error, perhaps even landing as an enemy to YHWH -- and all while cogently, justifiably, and undeniably finding YHWH as one's (true) referent. The Christian loses nothing amid such (Biblical) vectors.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'm sorry, but you are in fact spreading the victimhood mentality of many on the left and in the Islamic world that Americans are Islam-hating imperialists who went into Iraq and other places in the Middle East for nefarious purposes and with no regard to the lives of the inhabitants.

    Except for isolated incidents, America committed no massive crimes in Iraq, nor did they outright lie to go into Iraq (though they did exaggerate and see what they wanted to see - just as you do yourself). In fact, you do not say what the crimes the Americans committed. You are not presumably a pacifist, and setting aside the highly colorful use of claims of lying, what actual crimes did the US commit in trying to overthrow a tyrant?

    The Iraq Body Count Project is the most respected and in depth treatment of the issue and puts death due to the war at 174,000. If you think about it, this is a much more sensible figure. A million is an absurd figure, given the nature of the conflict.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_Body_Count_project#Criticisms_and_counter-criticisms

    Americans killed about a third of civilians in the invasion and early years, as would be expected, but after that they killed a much lower proportion.

    Your stance, far too common amongst Muslims and the left, is no more helpful than the ignorance and bigotry demonstrated by the likes of Thomas_h and Jeffrey. In fact, the two views tend to reinforce each other.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Ron, either the God of Christians is the ultimate cause of existence, and therefore the philosophers' God, or here isn't, and then he isn't. But if he isn't the ultimate cause of existence then he isn't really God at all but, like the Moron God or Zeus, just a particularly powerful cosmic being. Which is it?

    ReplyDelete
  31. Part 1 of 2:

    Christ's affirmation to the Jew that he does not *know* YHWH and in fact is at odds with YHWH establishes a clear and unmistakable reality of the Jew's obvious and coherent *referent* in the midst of critical and even caustic error, perhaps even landing as an enemy to YHWH -- and all while cogently, justifiably, and undeniably finding YHWH as one's (true) referent. The Christian loses nothing amid such (Biblical) vectors.

    Scripture – the Bible – Christ Himself – all affirm the cognitive, linguistic, and theological topography in which both Feser (coherently *referents* YHWH) and William Lane Craig (do not *worship* / *know* YHWH) are fully compatible. The question emerges:

    [1] Such a cognitive, linguistic, and theological topography is possible, or,

    [2] Such a cognitive, linguistic, and theological topography is impossible.

    Clearly – unmistakably in Christ’s (real) treatment of it among (real) human beings – the answer is [1]. Not only is it possible – it in fact happens in the real world. None were more equipped to properly referent the One True God (YHWH) and in fact cogently succeeded in his referent landing (truly) on the One True God than the Israelites to whom Christ applied His treatment. Any other human being (the Gentile) thereby lives in a world in which such a cognitive, linguistic, and theological topography stands fully rational and coherent (in the sense that said topography is verifiably possible and verifiably happens).

    And it’s not just Men in said (verifiable) topography, after all who did Lucifer (successfully, truly) referent? We must allow Scripture to be our guide as we define reality.

    The fears of the Christian detractors in this thread that “true referent is the One True God” is going to somehow cancel out “do not know/worship the One True God” – or that the reverse *must* be true – that “do not know/worship the One True God” must, must, yes must somehow cancel out “true referent is the One True God” are unbiblical – and even contrary to Christ’s elucidation of such contours within Man’s painful privation. Lucifer/Satan too (successfully) referents YHWH. But so what? Who cares? All sorts of people in all sorts of settings cogently, coherently, and truly (successfully) referent the One True God and yet fail to embrace the express instantiation of the Triune God by which and in which reason herself is, as truth-finder, obligated to chase after love's categorical elements rather than after contours of some other, lesser, smaller reality (lest reason herself as truth-finder be factually and ontologically *un*-reasonable).

    Islam successfully *referents* the One True God and yet regarding the Muslim’s theological treatment of the One True God……

    Continued……

    ReplyDelete

  32. Part 2 of 2:

    The Muslim succeeds as does the Jew in his (true) *referent* of the One True God – and while they both fail in summing to *Know* (the Christian will say) they do so for different reasons. Moving our focus specifically to the Muslim, the ultimate (metaphysical) annihilation of love’s immutable contours finds the Muslim’s treatment of the One True God incomplete within his theological explanatory terminus and as such Allah emerges as insufficient given that love *is* the highest Ethic. Regarding the metaphysics of “….given that love *is* the highest Ethic….”, the Muslim’s ultimate explanatory stopping point fails there – and whatever fails *there* just fails as such leaves the eons of Mankind’s brutally repeatable moral experience unintelligible (and for other reasons too of course). In and by Christ – in and by the transposition of Logos – in and by love’s eternal sacrifice of Self – in and by “…… the God who is glorified by sacrificing Himself for creation and not by sacrificing creation for Himself…..” (Fischer) all that mutable and contingent creatures attempt to call sacrifice is subsumed into non-entity as we spy the fullness of the God Who is love. While it is true that the God Who is love is our First, is our Last, in Him we find all moral and relational vectors converging within the metaphysical landscape of Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self streaming seamlessly amid the Beloved within what we are told is Living Water void of what we call first, void of what we call last – without beginning, without end.

    The peculiar relational interfaces unique to the Christian’s Triune God carry us into the immutable love of the Necessary Being as Mankind’s true metanarrative streams from unicity’s singularity within love’s seamless simplicity summing to Trinity in Whom Being Itself houses three unavoidable vertices as all those same corridors constitute the Imago Dei. In all these lines we discover what just does sum to the infinitely worthy Self amid the infinitely worthy Other as such relational interfaces unendingly beget love’s infinitely worthy and singular Us. Such sums to love’s ceaseless reciprocity amid the relational interfaces housed within the unavoidably triune landscape of “Self / Other / Us” as the Triune God transposes Himself into time and physicality such that the Imago Dei obtains in and by being’s three unavoidable vertices as reason affirms that such, and no less, constitutes infinite love.

    All things are but means toward the Divine Perfections themselves wherein we find the triune corridors of love – Being’s inescapable vertices – constituting all such contours. M. Henry comments,

    “And faith, hope, and love, are the three principal graces, of which love is the chief, being the end to which the other two are but means. This is the divine nature, the soul’s felicity, or its complacential rest in God, and holy delight in all his saints. And it is everlasting work, when faith and hope shall be no more. Faith fixes on the divine revelation, and assents to that: hope fastens on future felicity, and waits for that: and in heaven faith will be swallowed up in vision, and hope in fruition. There is no room to believe and hope, when we see and enjoy. But love fastens on the divine perfections themselves, and the divine image on the creatures, and our mutual relation both to God and them.”

    ReplyDelete
  33. Continuing with M. Henry's comment, we travel into Man's final good – his true felicity – constituted of Man in God, of God in Man – fully actualized – the ontology of the only metanarrative there ever has been:

    “……..and there will love be made perfect; there we shall perfectly love God…..and there shall we perfectly love one another…… When faith and hope are at an end, love will burn forever with the brightest flame……. Those who border most upon the heavenly state and perfection are those whose hearts are fullest of this divine principle…… It is the surest offspring of God, and bears His fairest impression. For God is love. And where God is to be seen as He is, and face to face, there love is in its greatest height – there, and there only, will it be perfected.”

    ReplyDelete
  34. @thomas_h

    "I don't discuss religious matters with mohammedans."

    "Mohammedans" is a peculiar term you have dug up...it is used to be used even up until the 1960s as a term to refer to Muslims so in keeping with the topic at hand, it had that same reference....in this particular circumstance, it refers to Muslims.

    Muslims have not used that terms since it may imply that Muslims only take Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and all the Prophets) as that only prophet of God. And it may imply that Muslims worship him (which is an anathema to Muslims since worshiping anyone other than God is an anathema).

    Unlike other religions, Islam is not named after a person or place but to the practice of submitting to God...not in the form of submitting to someone just out of the difference in power which is a different word in Arabic (although I am not an Arab). Islam comes from salam which means peace and thus implies submission out of one'e own will...thus there is no conflict in the person submitting to God, he/she is doing so out of his/her own preference.

    ReplyDelete
  35. @thomas_h,

    "The main reason is that your Taqyiah permits, indeed encourages you to lie to the "infidel" if that advances interests of Islam."

    Another peculiar term you bring up....taqiyah is a religious term developed by Shia Muslims under the political domination of rulers nominally Sunni (but like much of Muslim and Christian and any other history, rulers were discriminatory towards other religions/sects).

    In Islam, honesty is a very core requirement. Because of that general absoluteness of honesty emphasized in the Qur'an, Shia Muslims (like all Muslims) felt uncomfortable to say anything that is dishonest. A long time ago, Shia scholars developed this term to tell Shia Muslims that they don't need to worry if they decide to conceal their sectarian affiliation. The scholars said that when there is threat to life or property, one is allowed to not be honest.

    I don't identify myself as a Shia or a Sunni but just as a Muslim. I do that because the sectarian affiliation is based on their different hadith collections. Although much of their hadiths overlap, there are differences which has led to the sectarian identities. I take a more Qur'an-centric approach.

    Having said that, there is no threat to life or property to me by saying the truth.

    So this term is not relevant nor appropriate.

    ReplyDelete
  36. @thomas_h

    "Really, don’t waste your time on me."

    I assumed you as not open-minded and thus my comments are not intended for you but for those who are open-minded but exposed to the false and crass understandings that you present publicly.

    But I appreciate you confirming my assumption.

    ReplyDelete
  37. "...either the God of Christians is the ultimate cause of existence, and therefore the philosophers' God,...

    "Therefore"?

    What a perfect non-sequitur!

    You could possibly have a point if the Bible said that God is NOT the ultimate cause of existence. Anyway, please refer us to the pertinent place in the Bible where it says so.
    Hint: don't look for it in the Genesis.

    ReplyDelete
  38. As I said being a good mohammedan implies you are a liar just as your "prophet" was a liar. AND a sadistic serial murderer, rapist and thief. I'm, of course, not saying you belong in the three latter categories - that I don't know. However at this very moment there are thousands upon thousands of Koran-thumping mohammedans joyfully murdering, raping, enslaving and robbing defenseless "kafir" with "AllahHuAkbar" on their lips. They can refer you to the text in the Koran that not only justify their savagery, but command it. Go discuss with them. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I think that after over 400 comments it has been generally conceded that despite the careful construction of the title as "Christians, Muslims, and the reference of “God”", the mooting of the topic "du jour" as " ... whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God ..." immediately introduces another matter which it takes a careful and sustained reading to get past.

    In fact, I believe the issue of 'worship' simply clouds the issue with potential considerations as to how subjective intentions, understandings, and motivations might affect the concept of "God".

    It would be I think a much easier task to determine whether the Allah of the Koran, is conceivably identical if not entirely coextensive conceptually with God the Father of the New Testament.

    This way of looking at it of course, does nothing in aid of establishing a conceptual inheritance and lineage which certain Christians are themselves avid to conserve, but makes the question easier.

    The Allah of the Koran, is obviously not the God of the Bible.

    What the hypothetical Muslim man in the street imagines he is abasing himself before, or what a Muslim Platonist dreamed up, is another matter.

    ReplyDelete
  40. scbrownlhrm,

    Your long comments, I think, beg the question (again.) But Bill V. explains it much better than I do in his latest post:

    http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2016/01/edward-feser-on-christians-muslims-and-the-reference-of-god.html#comments

    Also, note his response to Professor Beckwith in the comments.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Thomas_H, your response to me about the philosophers' God doesn't make a lot of sense (which of your ignorant, bigoted, mean-spirited ramblings do?). What I think you are saying is that your God is not that of the philosophers because you only accept knowledge about God from the Bible. This doesn't actually show it is a different God, or that the philosophers are wrong in their deductions. You are making an epistemic point, not an metaphysical one.

    It is interestingly an attitude reminiscent of the Muslim view of the Quran. You will struggle to find support for such bibliolatry in the early Church and amongst the Apostles and Fathers. They did not view the Bible as the sole means of knowledge of God and Jesus. You haven't given the slightest indication why we should abandon any philosophical understanding of God, or why this must conflict with the Biblical tradition.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Jeffrey, you are certainly a powerful intellect. I love how you parsed and refuted scbrownlhrm's points.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Oh and Thomas, I should add, if your point is you only go on what the Bible says and care not for any other speculations about the nature of God, even those based in the Bible, then you cannot say if Muslims are referring to the same God. Or at the very least you owe us a detailed and properly argued argument why they can't be referring to the same God.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Ed, I want to thank you for this and many other posts which I always find enlightening.

    My comment may seem somewhat remedial and is certainly not philosophical, and forgive me if it has been covered elsewhere since I did not have time to go through all 400+ comments on your post though I did go through many of them.

    I understood the original question to be whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God, not reference the same God. And isn't how God is to be worshiped fairly closely defined in their respective books? The notion of worship, it seems to me, hinges less on what we believe God's attributes to be and more on what He has revealed His relationship with us to be. And this is more of a doctrinal than a philosophical question.

    God revealed to the Jews certain basics of how they are to worship Him that are recorded in the Torah. Christ and the apostles revealed how God is to be worshiped in light of Christ's atonement and how this modifies earlier revelations, all of which is recorded in the New Testament. Though the practice of worship differs between Jews and Christians the difference is accounted for in the New Testament so that there is no doubt that it is the same God that is referenced. There is also no doubt that the practice of worship insofar as it is recorded in the bible is revealed by God. This is not to say that believers may not also worship God in their own way, or that the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant churches don't differ in their worship in many important ways. But it does say that in terms of what the Bible reveals Christian worship could not be confused with Jewish worship though they do worship the same God.

    How Muslims are to worship, on the other hand, as revealed in the Koran, substantially differs from Judeo-Christian revelation to the extent that Koranic worship could never be confused with Jewish or Christian worship, and there is no revelation common to Islam and Judaism/Christianity that would unite the two the way the old and new testaments are united. So on the basis of how we are to worship, unless we believe that the same God gave us two different sets of instructions on how to serve Him, I don't see how Jews/Christians and Muslims could be said to worship the same God.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Ed Farell, what justification do you have for suggesting Jews and Christians are closer in their worship than Jews and Muslims? It seems to me that Jews and Muslims share a central role for sacred law and ritual in their worship that is not explicit in Christian worship.

    Also, I just don't think your point makes sense. Unless you are saying that even in the broadest sense Muslims do not worship God in the same sense Christians do (ie., the very word worship is equivocal between them), how do the differences in worship, in belief and doctrine, mean they aren't worshipping the same God. To worship in this broad sense seems to mean to reference and devote oneself to.

    ReplyDelete

  46. God directly reveals Himself to the Muslim, referents successfully go through, Bill Vallicella’s case fails:

    [Part 1 of 4]

    The God of Romans 1, of Paul the Apostle, spoke to the Muslims -- and where others saw/see (in and by God's Creation) the Living God and refuse to worship Him as God, the Muslims, upon seeing (by the One True God's Creation) the One True God, considered Him, and considered their Quran, and in their heart the two clearly converged into unicity/singularity, and in their mind and cognitive content the two rationally converged into unicity/singularity, and in their own mouths the two are one.

    We have the proof of Natural Theology, we have the proof of the New Testament, and thus of Paul the Apostle, and we have historical proof in the following quote of the cognitive acquiescence and ascent to the actual, literal work of Romans 1 wherein God is directly revealing the One True God to a group of people, and, where others saw/see by that same direct revelation the same (True) God and refuse to worship Him as God, the Muslims saw the One True God in and by His Creation, and, in realizing that this God is the same God (proof of external referent) as they knew from their own prior experience, gave ascent, not only cognitively (proof of interior referent), but also in word, in heart, and in service (proof of singularity). Here's the quote:

    "My interest in Islam was quickened by my study of the history of the cosmological argument for a personal creator of the universe. Early Christian commentators on Aristotle living in Alexandria, Egypt, developed this argument in response to Aristotle’s doctrine of the eternity of the world. They sought to show that the universe had a beginning and was brought into being by a transcendent creator. When Islam swept across North Africa in the eighth century, this argument was taken up into Islamic theology and developed during the Middle Ages to a high degree of sophistication. Because of the contribution of Islamic thinkers to this argument, I dubbed it the kalam cosmological argument, the word “kalam” being the Arabic word for Islamic theology. I believe that this is a sound argument for God’s existence, and it has served me well in reaching out to Muslims with the gospel." (William Lane Craig)

    Now we find Christ's words to the Jew and the Muslim in identity with the following five lines of evidence in support of an argument as opposed to mere hand-waving and “Oh, you’re just begging question” which some detractors settle for:


    Continued…….

    ReplyDelete

  47. God directly reveals Himself to the Muslim, referents successfully go through, Bill Vallicella’s case fails:

    [Part 2 of 4]


    Those five lines of evidence:

    [1] They both without question referent the One True God as affirmed by the demonstrable work of Natural Theology. God directly reveals Himself to the Jew and to the Muslim (by Scripture’s standards) and they each respond properly with, “Thou are the One True God!”. In fact, the Christian today is using both God’s direct revelation to the Jew in several arenas and God’s direct revelation to the Muslim in the Kalam (Islamic Theology) argument for the One True God directly revealed by Nature vis-à-vis the Apostle Paul and Romans 1. All such lines are historically (evidence) and theologically (evidence) verifiable.

    [2] They both do not (fully) know the One True God for to know Him is to know Christ. They both refuse Christ because God is "One" in the Unitarian/Trinitarian arena.

    [3] Number 1 and 2 prove that Bill Vallicella's first key fails.

    [4] They both respond properly to direct revelation in and by heart ascent and also in and by their cognitive ascent and therein into the interior cognitive content (internal referent) of God matching something (external referent) in the “real” world that we “know” (the entire breadth of the Kalam Proof of God) which the Jew and the Muslim and Romans 1 and Paul the Apostle (as well as reason, history, and observation) all ascribe to the God Who is therein directly revealing Himself to them.

    [5] Numbers 1-4, especially 4, prove that Bill Vallicella's second and last key about linguistics and the external referent fails. To salvage his argument, Bill must ascribe [A] the clear work of the Living God [B] in and by Natural Theology, [C] affirmed by Romans 1, [D] historical verification, [E] cognitive content, [F] linguistic content, [G] theological content, [H] interior / exterior referents in seamless singularity, and [I] all which the Christian today borrows from the Muslim via Craig’s quote on the Kalam (“Islamic Theology) arena and submit all of them to equivocations of unintelligible self-negations and contradictions of Scripture, History, Science, Linguistics, and proper Theology if he means to deny the convergence of interior and exterior referents into the singularity that is the proper response to God’s direct revelation voiced in the Muslim’s, “Thou are my God”.

    So we see that, undeniably, it is the case that history, natural theology, science, cognitive content, interior referents, exterior referents (in the “real” world that we “know”), the direct revelation of God of Himself to Men, and linguistics all converge into a singularity where both the Jew and the Muslim are concerned. The entire case which appeals to the Unitarian/Trinitarian issue fails, just as, the entire case which appeals to the need for the cognitive and linguistic convergence of the internal referent with the external referent fails for it is fully satisfied by things in the mind and by things in the real world. In fact, the Christian still today springboards off of Islamic Theology (Kalam) vis-à-vis such internal/external referents (plural) sourcing to Romans 1 and God’s direct revelation in and by Natural Theology.


    Continued……..

    ReplyDelete

  48. God directly reveals Himself to the Muslim, referents successfully go through, Bill Vallicella’s case fails:

    [Part 3 of 4]


    Christ's affirmation to the Jew that he does not *know* YHWH and in fact is at odds with YHWH establishes a clear and unmistakable reality of the Jew's obvious and coherent *referent* in the midst of critical and even caustic error, perhaps even landing as an enemy to YHWH -- and all while cogently, justifiably, and undeniably finding YHWH as one's (true) referent. The Christian loses nothing amid such (Biblical) vectors. Not with the Jew, and not with the Muslim.

    The detractor is forced, here, to ascribe the obvious and clear and direct revelation of the One True God to the Muslim in and by His Creation as the work of a false god, a God Who is NOT the One True Creator and Sustainer worthy of worship – worthy of being equated by the Muslim to his God in his Quran – and therein worthy of praise – and of our his prayers and his lifelong service – and so on -- for the detractor must ascribe the creative work, God’s direct revelation, creation, cognitive ascent, interior referent, exterior referent, the proper response of worship vis-à-vis Romans 1, and the Muslim’s historical, verifiable, cognitive, linguistic, and theological motions of clear, unmistakable convergence within “That God there directly revealed is my God”, and far more, all to a false god.

    Many, many people see the God of Romans 1 and refuse Him, whereas, the Jew and the Muslim clearly saw, and properly responded.

    Scripture – the Bible – Christ Himself – all affirm the cognitive, linguistic, and theological topography in which both Feser (the Jew and the Muslim coherently *referent* YHWH) and William Lane Craig (yet do not *worship* / *know* YHWH) are fully compatible. The question emerges:

    [1] Such a cognitive, linguistic, and theological topography is possible, or,

    [2] Such a cognitive, linguistic, and theological topography is impossible.

    Clearly – unmistakably in Christ’s (real) treatment of it among (real) human beings – the answer is [1]. Not only is it possible – it in fact happens in the real world. None were more equipped to properly referent the One True God (YHWH) and in fact cogently succeeded in his referent landing (truly) on the One True God than the Israelites to whom Christ applied His treatment. Any other human being (the Gentile) thereby lives in a world in which such a cognitive, linguistic, and theological topography stands fully rational and coherent (in the sense that said topography is verifiably possible and verifiably happens).

    And it’s not just Men in said (verifiable) topography, after all who did Lucifer (successfully, truly) referent? We must allow Scripture to be our guide as we define reality.


    Continued…….

    ReplyDelete

  49. God directly reveals Himself to the Muslim, referents successfully go through, Bill Vallicella’s case fails:

    [Part 4 of 4]


    The fears of the Christian detractors in this thread that “The Muslim’s/Jew’s true referent is the One True God” is going to somehow cancel out “The Muslim/Jew does not know/worship the One True God” – or that the reverse *must* be true – that “The Muslim/Jew does not know/worship the One True God” must, must, yes must somehow cancel out “The Muslim’s/Jew’s true referent is the One True God” is unbiblical and unscientific for such fears deny the reality of Scripture, Natural Theology, and History – and such fears are even contrary to Christ’s elucidation of such contours within Man’s painful privation in telling those who clearly referent the One True God that they yet still do not (fully) know the Him. Lucifer/Satan too (successfully) referents the Living God. But so what? Who cares? All sorts of people in all sorts of settings cogently, coherently, and truly (successfully) referent the One True God and yet fail to embrace the express instantiation of the Triune God by which and in which reason herself is, as truth-finder, obligated to chase after love's categorical elements rather than after contours of some other, lesser, smaller reality (lest reason herself as truth-finder be factually and ontologically *un*-reasonable).

    There is no question begging here – for there is placed upon the table all the necessary and sufficient evidence in the following categories which the detractor must (if he wants his case to succeed) first engage and then prove false:

    [1] Natural Theology
    [2] Direct Revelation

    [3] Interior referents referent and content
    [4] Exterior referents and content

    [5] Cognitive content
    [6] Linguistic content

    [7] Theological content
    [8] Historical verification

    [9] Proper response of “Thou are my God!

    [10] Christ’s express affirmation that all such items are perfectly compatible with (on the one hand) one’s true referent to the One True God successfully going through and with (on the other hand) yet still not *knowing* the One True God for Christ is the full instantiation of the Imago Dei. Those other vectors are, while undeniably referring to the One True God, simply less complete pouring of His instantiation into time and physicality, into The Adamic, less complete revelations of His Face and (therefore) wherever those less complete sightlines diverge from Christ and the New Testament’s unique paradigmatic claims upon reality, said divergence sums to error.

    Replies to this post:

    “You’re just begging the question” will not be responded to.

    Unless and until the argument which contains the evidence of 1-10 is proven false with some real level of sophisticated effort and argumentation which is logically heavy enough to overturn 1-10 (not mere hand-waving and “Oh you’re just begging the question….”), replies need not expect a response.

    ReplyDelete

  50. For the Muslim:


    On the metaphysical corridors of the immutable love of the Necessary Being, it is important to reiterate, first, that God directly reveals Himself to the Jew and to the Muslim (by Scripture’s standards) and they each respond properly with, “Thou are the One True God!”. Just as the Jew’s worship and content enters into error as it diverges from the contours of immutable love and yet successfully referents the One True God, so too does the Muslim diverge. Though each succeeds in referencing the One True God, each is still found not knowing (in the full sense of that word) the One True God for in and by Christ love’s eternal sacrifice of the Self obtains and such sums to the full instantiation of the Imago Dei. Those other vectors are, while undeniably referring to the One True God, simply a less complete pouring of His instantiation into time and physicality, into The Adamic, a less complete revelation of His Face and (therefore) wherever those less complete sightlines diverge from the many contours of immutable love, from Christ and the New Testament’s unique paradigmatic claims upon reality, said divergence sums to error. As for the paradigmatic explanatory terminus of the immutable love of the Necessary Being – the two comments in this thread time-stamped “January 6, 2016 at 3:09 AM” and “January 6, 2016 at 3:57 AM” touch (very briefly) on the unavoidably triune topography of Being’s there vertices as such sums to love’s metaphysical landscape. Also, Stand To Reason has a blog post with similar content on the Triune nature of God and therefore of Love should one be inclined to look further.

    ReplyDelete

  51. Ron Cram tries to contrast the God of the Bible and the God of the Qur'an but everything except God having a son in the New Testament is wrong in what he says.

    He says that "The God of the Bible loves unbelievers" and implies that the Qur'an does not love unbelievers. His comment about the Qur'an saying unbelievers should be killed is completely false. The fighting in the Qur'an is restricted to to those pagans who had driven the Prophet and his companions out of Makkah and who were trying to annihilate the monotheism community time and time again.

    But what does it mean that the God of the Bible loves unbelievers.

    If this is the case, do Christians believe that unbelievers go to paradise?

    According to Christianity, unbelievers go to hell, right?

    So what is the point?

    Is the point that in Christianity, God sacrificed Himself or His Son to die for our sins?

    Is this issue ethical? Is it ethical or moral for someone who is innocent to pay for someone who is guilty?

    First of all, is the concept of original sin ethical?

    And related to that, is it ethical that if someone is not PERFECT like God, then he or she deserves to be in Hell forever.

    Is this ALL or nothing approach moral and ethical?

    Would God want us to believe in any idea that is not moral or ethical?

    Moreover, just like one needs to understand act and potency and many other issues in the framework of the philosophy Aquinas holds to in order to understand the proofs of God he lists, likewise one needs to understands certain background to understand Islamic views on the Pauline Christian ideas on vicarious atonement of sin and so on.

    The Qur'an says in 5 verses La Taziru Waziru Wizra Uzra....which means that the No person should be burdened with the burden (of sins) of the other.

    In our criminal system, would we allow a mass murderer to be freed and someone innocent to suffer instead of him?

    ReplyDelete
  52. Love pours Himself out for, and into, the Beloved. The Beloved, filled, likewise pours. In the Triune such timeless Pouring amid such ceaseless Filling finds no beginning, no end, love's begotten eternally constituting Living Water.

    God calls Man His beloved. God Pours out. All-Sufficieny fills Insufficiency. The Necessary fills the Contingent. The Immutable fills the Mutable.

    To the bitter ends of time and physicality love's Eternally Sacrificed Self instantiates, quenching voids which the mutable and contingent can never fill. Literally. Actually.

    Should Man spy some other something, he has spied something other than his own painful frailty, something other than his own contingency, something other than God's breadth and width and height, something other than God's necessity.

    Some non-Christians handle Christianity's metaphysical landscape with the same unsophisticated and sloppy gloves which they ascribe to the Christian's handling of their own landscape.

    Shall love suffer for the beloved? Shall the immutable love of the Necessary Being quench Contingency's inescapable thirst? Like all faiths other than Christianity, like the Jew, the Muslim concludes that, at some ontological seam somewhere, he can find in himself that certain something by which he shall become love's eternally begotten amid God In Man / Man In God.

    God alone, and no other, constitutes Sufficient means by which such ends ever can hope to fully and finally actualize.

    When the Christian states that God is love, he is describing his metaphysical landscape.

    Literally.

    Actually.

    In all directions and at all levels and in all possible worlds.

    Amid Necessity / Contingency all such vectors fully comprise all of the Christian's Firsts, all of his Lasts. Being’s three vertices constituting the unavoidably triune landscape amid simplicity's "Self / Other / Us" there within the immutable love of the Necessary Being reveals the Christian's ultimate explanatory terminus. Man in obedience and Man in disobedience, or in some other possible world, cannot change the inescapable Need which Contingency necessarily houses.

    But there us something about a Wedding. Actual. Literal. Something about love's acquiescence amid Self/Other. Something about amalgamation. Something about Logos/Corporeal. Something about immutable love.... begetting..... love....ad .....infinitum.....

    As for the rest, which is much, given an obvious lack of understanding of even the most basic of Christianity’s truth predicates, such won't be tackled here, at least from this end. In some other thread on some other day perhaps.

    ReplyDelete
  53. @Omar
    But what does it mean that the God of the Bible loves unbelievers

    It means that God loves each and every individual on this planet equally. He loves the individual but because of sin in our hearts we cannot come to know him since He is Holy. Sin is like a debt that we owe so with Jesus dying on the cross that debt is paid in full with the exception that we believe in our hearts sincerely that he did so. At that point in time in history when Christ was crucified God's perfect Justice, Loving Nature and Holiness converged and made us free in the process to know Him fully and commune with Him. No amount of good works will ever make us holy enough to be even in God’s presence.

    ReplyDelete
  54. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  55. @Omar
    In our criminal system, would we allow a mass murderer to be freed and someone innocent to suffer instead of him?

    What would happen to the heart of the mass murderer if he knew that the one person (whom owed him nothing) loved him so much that he sacrificed his life for him so that the mass murderer could live?

    Plus in many countries the presidents / prime ministers have the right to pardon crimes.

    ReplyDelete
  56. " How Muslims are to worship, on the other hand, as revealed in the Koran, substantially differs from Judeo-Christian revelation to the extent that Koranic worship could never be confused with Jewish or Christian worship, and there is no revelation common to Islam and Judaism/Christianity that would unite the two the way the old and new testaments are united. So on the basis of how we are to worship, unless we believe that the same God gave us two different sets of instructions on how to serve Him, I don't see how Jews/Christians and Muslims could be said to worship the same God.
    January 6, 2016 at 9:02 PM "


    This is actually an important historically based conceptual point which leads us to ask the following in order to sort-out more accurately: To what extent was the faith of the Apostles a direct, contingent, and organic outgrowth of Judaism?

    Jesus and all of the first Apostles (placing aside certain qualified references to Gentiles in the Gospels, or in say, Eusebius) were Jews.

    The Apostolic faith was a direct outgrowth of practicing, native Jews, and their history.

    This, whatever the subsequent influence of Greek Philosophy on Christian theology, directly pegs the God of Jesus Christ and his Apostles to the God of Abraham in the most organic and literal manner possible.

    This is not the case with the product generated by Mohammad.

    Say what you apologetically will about "cultural influences" and inspirations and the like; the question as to whether Mohammad was on his own terms considered as a Jew or a Christian who then purportedly received a further private revelation from an ostensible He whom (if true) all within the circle of believers agreed was (or would be) God, is, "No".

    Mohammad had no more organic inside connection to the faith of Abraham or the Apostles, than I would have with the hierarchy of the old Prussian military class, on the basis of say, being married to a blond woman.

    Christianity developed from within Judaism. Islam was generated by the preaching of a man outside; who claimed to have had a final revelation from a "God" whom his followers assert, while using certain similar nomenclatures, to putatively be the same God as worshiped or referred to, by Christians and Jews.

    But Mohammad's "Allah" is merely a name which he asserts on the basis of the attributes he claims for this Allah, the same God as the God of Israel.

    But for this "Allah's" existence we have only Mohammad's word that he received a revelation.

    As others have more or less argued, the proper "outgrowth analogy" to Christianity's God connection to and relationship with Judaism, would be to reference Arianism, or Lutheranism as further inspirations or interpretations; not Islam.

    Islam's whole theological claim structure is based upon the assertion that a non-Christian and a non-Jew, had a private revelation by a "God" whom this "Prophet" goes on to claim happened to be the same God as the God worshiped by members of a religious faith to which he did not belong or adhere.

    An Iranian would have a more legitimate claim to worshiping the same Zeus as the Greeks via Dyeus Pater, had he chosen to do so, than Mohammad had justification in identifying his "Allah" with the Apostles' God the Father.

    Again, I am not addressing some subsequently developed notion of the God of the Philosophers, but merely the bases upon which the Islamic Koranic claim structure is built.

    The Allah of the Koran exists outside the pages of the Koran if and only if Mohammad was telling the truth about, and did in fact have, an actual supernatural revelation.

    If Mohammad did not, then there is nothing legitimately there on the Koran side to even compare. Just the phenomenon of some guy appropriating imagery.

    Mohammad did not. Therefore ...

    ReplyDelete
  57. @anonymous

    ”What I think you are saying is that your God is not that of the philosophers because you only accept knowledge about God from the Bible…

    And what I think is that you need to do something about this “thinking” of yours.

    Where the heck did you detect that I “only accept knowledge about God from the Bible”? You’re obviously very impatient to impute to me the nowhere expressed absurdity, so you may proceed dazzling us with the perfectly inapplicable “…this doesn't actually show it is a different God, or that the philosophers are wrong in their deductions.”
    Of course it doesn’t. But, again, who says so?

    The next paragraph of your screed is just as amazingly incongruous and even more out of place. Obviously, you so much love parading your two cent worth “philosophical know-how” that you can’t stop ranting once you start.

    Look, the only thing I said in my brief posting is that concluding that “God who is the ultimate cause of existence is the philosophers’ God” (as opposed to Bible’s God) is a non-sequitur.

    Suspecting that you may need help understanding (I had my reasons) I referred you to the Genesis hoping this will make you aware that also Bible, not only philosophers, speak of God the Creator and therefore your “either/or” disjunction doesn’t apply.

    Well, it may be true that I was hoping in vain, but how does it make it “ignorant, bigoted, mean-spirited ramblings”? I was only trying to be helpful.

    ReplyDelete

  58. Sourcing the Quran:

    Irrelevant.

    Because the Quran is not the *referent* housed within Natural Theology’s historically (verifiable) and theologically (verifiable) referent succeeding to go through.

    There is, obviously, a *different* referent than the Quran that is in play. Natural Theology finds verifiable historical and theological evidence of the Muslim asking the question about the God revealed in and by all the contours of Romans 1 (on the one hand) which the Christian still today borrows upon and the God of his Quran (on the other hand). Such was discussed with more detail earlier ("God directly reveals Himself to the Muslim, referents successfully go through, Bill Vallicella’s case fails" etc.). Note the Christian's borrowing upon Islamic Theology (Kalam). Such is stated that way to draw attention to the fact that the Muslim verifiably came to see *THAT* God, the Christian's God, despite not being an offshoot of the Jew nor of the Christian, because, well, Romans 1 and more.

    Unfortunately, like the Jew, the Muslim retains caustic error *while* retaining the successful referent to the One True God. As discussed earlier ("God directly reveals Himself to the Muslim, referents successfully go through, Bill Vallicella’s case fails" etc.), we see that, undeniably, it is the case that history, natural theology, science, cognitive content, interior referents, exterior referents (in the “real” world that we “know”), the direct revelation of God of Himself to Men, and linguistics all converge into a singularity where both the Jew and the Muslim are concerned.

    That is why the entire case which appeals to the Unitarian/Trinitarian issue fails both for the Jew and for the Muslim, just as, the entire case which appeals to the need for the cognitive and linguistic convergence of the internal referent with the external referent fails for it is fully satisfied by things in the mind and by things in the real world. In fact, the Christian still today springboards off of Islamic Theology (Kalam) vis-à-vis such internal/external referents (plural) sourcing to Romans 1 and God’s direct revelation in and by Natural Theology.

    One would think the Christian would welcome such compulsory evidence for Romans 1 vis-à-vis God at work within Mankind on such a large scale *despite* Man’s sins and errors. Such *is* a *real* thing in *real* Scripture as it comments on the *real* world after all.

    Upon such revelation, like the Jew, like the Christian, the Muslim properly responded with, "That God there revealed is the One True God!". Natural theology, reason, and logic carried them to the right *referent*. It's not the same as *knowing* God, of course, which was (also) discussed earlier, but it *does* referent the God of Romans 1 (discussed earlier) and Scripture affirms *that* as successful in getting through.

    To argue that such means and such ends are only valid if and when they emerge and transpire over generations of Jews or Christians contradicts Romans 1 and Natural Theology outright.

    Also, a *referent* of or to the Quran is *NOT* what matters, is *not* where the convergence occurs, and therefore the origins of the Quran are irrelevant to the point at hand.

    God's direct revelation leads us to a *different* referent which is historically and theologically verifiable, as discussed earlier ("God directly reveals Himself to the Muslim, referents successfully go through, Bill Vallicella’s case fails" etc.).

    For emphasis, the entire case which appeals to the need for the cognitive and linguistic convergence of the internal referent with the external referent fails for it is fully satisfied by things in the mind and by things in the real world. In fact, the Christian still today springboards off of Islamic Theology (Kalam) vis-à-vis such internal/external referents (plural) sourcing to Romans 1 and God’s direct revelation in and by Natural Theology.

    ReplyDelete
  59. thomas_h:

    The either/or disjunction is yours, not Anon's.

    It was Anon, after all, who said that if the God of Christians is the ultimate cause of existence, then that God is the philosophers' God—not "as opposed to" the God of the Bible, as though those were different Gods, but the very same God as the God of the Bible.

    Anon is asserting, not denying, that they're the same. You appear to be the one who disagrees.

    ReplyDelete
  60. A bit more nuance on the why and the how wherein Bill Vallicella, while doing precise and interesting work for the most part, still gets it, at the end of the line, somewhat wrong:


    First, as discussed in the last comment, sourcing the Quran is irrelevant.

    Further:

    The God revealed in and by all of the many contours of Romans 1 affirms Natural Theology and is, on Scripture's terms, a referent which successfully goes through. The Christian, borrowing from centuries of Islamic Theology, extricates all things Kalam vis-à-vis a personal creator of the universe/world. The Muslim, in coming to see *that* God, the Christian's God, finds both (verifiable) historicity and his own (verifiable) theology affirming the (verifiable) outcome of the Muslim's proper response of, "That God revealed therein is the One True God!" While the Muslim (like the Jew) misses the mark quite often where referents are concerned, Scripture affirms, for painfully obvious reasons, *that* particular monstrosity of a referent as one of many referents which successfully goes through.

    Of interest, upon inspection it becomes apparent that the Kalam arena (and other arenas about Good and Evil, which C.S. Lewis describes) reveals a different arena than Spinoza's "god". Fallacious identity claims need not waste our time there.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Yet Vallicella tells us (or rather he implies) that we have no “senses” by which to “perceive” the “Divine” and “therefore” we are “thrown back” upon cognitive content.

    Is it really true that the phrase "Mystical intuition and revelation aside" implies that there aren't any "senses" by which to "perceive" the "Divine"?

    ReplyDelete
  62. (Actually, the rhetorical question should be: "Is it really true that the phrase "Mystical intuition and revelation aside" implies that there aren't any "senses" by which to "perceive" (something of) the "Divine"?)

    ReplyDelete


  63. "Also, a *referent* of or to the Quran is *NOT* what matters, is *not* where the convergence occurs, and therefore the origins of the Quran are irrelevant to the point at hand. "


    This cannot be meant seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  64. "See, 'Justice Bringer' whom you know and revere as Robin Hood the great Anglo-Saxon noble who stood up against Norman tyranny, spoke to me the other day; and he told me how he wants the all Anglo-Saxon people to live. You just have to trust me on this. And no I don't live in England, am not English, and don't speak English, but did I mention that I have met some actual English people? Regardless, I have gotten the latest and last scoop first hand, and have dictated the results to my acolytes who will preserve it all in written form for your future reference.

    You all respect the name of Robin Hood, and trust he is real, so pay attention.

    What? You say I am all muddled? That I have taken legendary misunderstood material and references, and spun a bizarre set of commands based upon a "person" who had no actual existence?

    No matter. Because we are adaptable if nothing else. We will go on to argue that your scholars and internal traditions have shown that Hereward the Wake, who is actually someone else, did exist; and therefore "Justice Bringer" aka Robin Hood might as well be taken as the same reference; and furthermore because sociologists will eventually argue that this theme is common across human cultures, we all must be referring to the same person.

    Easy, no?"

    ReplyDelete
  65. If one means to assert that God is *not* the transcendent creator of the universe Whom we as Christians (today) still employ Islamic Theology (Kalam) in order that we may point to God, one has every right to do so. The reality of Romans 1, of God's revelation of Himself, and of Islam's proper response to that revelation, need not be discussed. The referent at hand is the referent at hand and not some other referent.

    ReplyDelete

  66. Christianity developed from within Judaism.

    I would still maintain that Islam and Judaism are closer in theology and manner of worship than Christianity is to either of these. Judeo-Islamic makes more sense than Judeo-Christian.


    Again, I am not addressing some subsequently developed notion of the God of the Philosophers, but merely the bases upon which the Islamic Koranic claim structure is built.

    The Allah of the Koran exists outside the pages of the Koran if and only if Mohammad was telling the truth about, and did in fact have, an actual supernatural revelation.


    Why would you think that the God of the philosophers is separate to the God of the Quran in a meaningful way to affect who the reference is for the God of the Quran? You seem to be attacking what Feser and others have said on reference without really giving your argument explicitly.

    Thomas_H, there is not a hint of grace or good will in all your posts. You are an ignorant bigot because you spout off against Islam and Muslims without knowing anything about them. You earlier said you don't discuss things with Mohammedeans.

    Anyway, if you admit that knowledge of God may be derived from other sources but the Bible, in what sense do you agree with Ron's claims against the God of the phiosophers? You seem to be saying the exact opposite in your latest post and affirming that the God of the Bible may well be the God of the philosophers.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Scott:

    With all respect I think you’re wrong.

    This is exactly what Anonymo wrote:

    ”Ron, either the God of Christians is the ultimate cause of existence, and therefore the philosophers' God, or here isn't, and then he isn't.

    Since the context introduced by Ron Cram to whom Anonymo responds is “Philosophers’ God v. the God of the Bible” it is clear that by “is or isn’t “ Anonymo means: “Either the God of Christians is the ultimate cause of existence, and therefore the philosopher’ God, or he isn’t (the ultimate cause of existence) and then he isn’t ( the philosophers’ God).
    But He is still the Bible’s God - regardless whether He also is, or not, philosophers’ God - because the Genesis tells He is “the ultimate Cause”. For Anonymo they seem to be mutually exclusive.
    That he later imputes to me bibliolatry and allegedly implying that “we should abandon any philosophical understanding of God”, and “why this must conflict with the Biblical tradition” shows only how confused he is.

    I just thought that to clarify my own position I should add that it’s difficult for me to understand what exactly is meant by “worshipping philosophers’ God”.
    I’d not be very wrong guessing that vast, vast majority of 1.2 billion Catholics don’t worship the "philosophers’ God" and very seldom if at all think about him. But majority of Catholics know, if not exactly all agree on, what is meant by worshipping the God of the Bible. The Lord’s Prayer – Jesus’ gift to us is explains it quite beautifully.
    Maybe there are some who believe Jesus worshipped the philosophers’ God, but told us to worship the God of the Bible. Well, Pascal and a roughly a billion Catholics don't think so.
    I also believe the term "philosopher's God" is a metaphor. While God of the Bible simply is.

    ReplyDelete


  68. "Why would you think that the God of the philosophers is separate to the God of the Quran in a meaningful way to affect who the reference is for the God of the Quran?"

    Because the possible independent existence of the God of the Philosophers is irrelevant to the time embedded historical claims made by Mohammad to an actual revelation.

    The God of the Philosophers only becomes supposedly "relevant", as people try to retrofit Mohammad's Koranic Allah through a process of abstraction in order to suit a compatibility or identity aim.

    ReplyDelete
  69. thomas_h:

    No, I'm pretty sure I'm reading Anon correctly—specifically, I'm right in saying that the disjunction between the God of the Bible and the God of the philosophers was Ron Cram's and Anon was denying that it was a genuine disjunction. But I'll let him correct me if I'm mistaken.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Scott is of course correct. It was Ron Cram who was trying to differentiate the God of the Bible and the God of the philosophers. This is all too familiar from a certain kind of evangelical Protestant, and it tends to mean the God of the Bible is not the God of the philosophers, or at least we should only say about God what is explicitly and plainly said about him in the scriptures. It tends to be associated with theistic personalism (the God of the Bible is said to be angry, therefore the classical theist insistence God does not suffer anger must be wrong, etc.), open theism, and other nonsense. The one using this distinction will usually be trying to separate the Christian God from the picture, and some of the attributes, given to him in classical theism. Or at least they will be saying they think any speculation on these attributes beyond what the Bible explicitly says is pointless.

    DNW, why is the same not true of Christianity? I think your argument only works if, like Ron Cram and some evangelicals, you try to eliminate anything but what is explicitly said in the Bible and Quran, as well as any speculation on what is said there or any attempt to give order to the attributes (such as how to interpret passages about his anger or his faith). In essence, your point only seems to work if you either turn your back on classical theism completely, or you arbitrarily say that we cannot abstract, to use your term, about the God of the Quran but can for the God of the Bible.

    ReplyDelete

  71. Early Christians, as revelation mounted, still clung to their old habit of works. Fortunately, revelation is real, and, proper responses to it are real. Hanging onto error is ubiquitous. We all are doing it right now. Some Christians had slaves not long ago because they too clung to error. Sight is a peculiar affair. Islam, in spying the One True God in and by His modes of revelation of Himself, clung (clings) to (caustic) error and other "things" even as their response to the One True God was intellectually, theologically, and emotively proper. There are referents which succeed in going through, just as there are those which fail. The Christian today springboards off of God's revelation of Himself to the Muslim as the Christian appeals to a swath of Islamic Theology in order to (successfully) point to the Christian God. Romans 1, Natural Theology, and God's revelation of Himself all sum to a referent which succeeds in going through. The Christian does not referent the Quran to point to the Christian God. For good reason. Rather, the Christian points to God's revelation of Himself to the Muslim encased within Islamic Theology (Kalam) in order to point to the Christian God. The referent at hand is the referent at hand, and not some other referent. Sin, error, and Man's nonsense (should they ever come into the equation) are, quite simply, irrelevant. Why? Because sin, error, and nonsense (should they ever be in-play) do not succeed in getting any referent to go through. Whereas, Romans 1, reason, logic, natural theology, and God's modes of revelation do successfully go through. Of course, Christ speaks to others with full and proper referent and tells them they do not know Him, for to know Him is to know “…… the God who is glorified by sacrificing Himself for creation and not by sacrificing creation for Himself…..” (Fischer)

    ReplyDelete
  72. @anonymous

    ”You are an ignorant bigot because you spout off against Islam and Muslims without knowing anything about them.

    I’m not spouting against Moslems. I pity them because I consider them the first and ultimate victims of Islam. But of course I detest Islam with all my heart.

    And what do you know about Islam to spout I don’t know anything about islam?
    Have you lived and work among muslims in the Middle East, North Africa? Have you studied Koran, Hadiths, Suna?
    If you did and still respect that monstrous religion and degenerate civilization then you are an imbecile. If you didn’t then you’d better be quiet instead of making a fool of yourself.

    ”You earlier said you don't discuss things with Mohammedeans.

    You are lying. I said "I don't discuss religious matters with mohammedans."
    Don’t put words in my mouth.

    “…, if you admit that knowledge of God may be derived from other sources but the Bible…”

    I never said a word on that subject. Where did you get that from?

    ”.. in what sense do you agree with Ron's claims against the God of the phiosophers?

    I haven’t seen him making “claims against the God of the philosophers” so how could I agree or disagree with him?

    ”You seem to be saying the exact opposite in your latest post and affirming that the God of the Bible may well be the God of the philosophers.

    Where the hell did I say that?
    I don’t believe there is a divine being called “God of the philosophers” any more than I believe there is a divine being called Allah. For me “God of the philosophers” is a figure of speech, a metaphor - sometimes useful often misapplied and confusing.
    It certainly has confused you.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Ah, I did not know religious matters where not things.

    Just what did you think Ron's comments meant? You showed earnest agreement with them. But if he wasn't differentiating the God of the Bible from that of the philosophers, what was he doing? After all, his point is far from unique amongst a particular kind of evangelical Protestant.

    You haven't given the slightest indication you know anything about Islam. At the moment you just appear to be a loud-mouth bigot. You are hardly doing the anti-Islam side any favours.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Have you lived and work among muslims in the Middle East, North Africa? Have you studied Koran, Hadiths, Suna?
    If you did and still respect that monstrous religion and degenerate civilization then you are an imbecile.


    I don't believe you have studied Islam, unless you mean reading a few sites run by bigots like you. You lie. Your ignorance is as palpable as your nastiness.

    I'd also love to know what you mean by degenerate civilization. Remember, you are supposed to be putting forward the (traditional)Christian viewpoint, not that of the mix of Christianity and enlightenment liberalism that makes up the modern West. I doubt you can support your calumnies against Islamic civilization and religion without relying as much upon liberal, modernist assumptions as (traditional) Christian ones.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Thomas: any more than I believe there is a divine being called Allah.

    Oh, so you're an atheist. I'd say that explains the ill-informed ill-mannered ill-begotten ranting — but that would be quite unfair to all the intelligent, considerate atheists out there.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Hi Omer,

    Thanks to you and the Anonymous for replying to me in this thread.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Anonymous,

    I said:
    "I don't discuss religious matters with Mohammedans"

    You said:
    ”You earlier said you don't discuss things with Mohammedeans.”

    I said:
    "You are lying. I said "I don't discuss religious matters with Mohammedans."

    You said:
    "Ah, I did not know religious matters where not things."

    As I don't believe you can spot the fallacy committed here I'll rewrite it for you below:

    Mr. X: I don’t like rats.
    Mr. Z: You don’t like animals, eh?
    Mr. X: I said rats, not animals
    Mr. Z: Rats are animals. Gotcha!!! Ha! Ha!

    Gosh, to think how much I have overestimated you by taking you for a dimwit.

    I’m done with you. Goodbye.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Mr. Green:
    "Oh, so you're an atheist."

    ???

    Oh, Mr. Green, Mr. Green...

    I never suspected you will make me laugh when, once in a blue, I’d skim through your ultimately bromidic prose. Well, you did succeed today. Not because you are witty, old plodder, but comical, or pathetically comical to be more precise.
    You obviously are dying to be noticed. Well, you have been noticed and you got your 15 minutes of sneer. So let’s not talk together again. OK?
    Well, goodbye Mr. Groan.

    ReplyDelete
  79. scbrownlhrm,

    I think it would be great if you head over to Bill V.'s blog directly and post some comments over there -- he has a new post directly responding to some (not all) of your points as they related to the Kalam argument (he is responding to a new Beckwith post.)

    I'm quite sure Bill would be happy to engage you in the comment section of his blog. He is very friendly.

    ReplyDelete
  80. thomas_h:

    Why not save some time and say goodbye to all of us—jointly rather than severally, as it were?

    It's not as though any of us think your one-by-one leave-taking is offered in a spirit of politeness or respect; that ship sailed days ago.

    And even if we were misreading your intentions, it would still be objectively less rude if you'd stop lingering over your departure and just haul your loutish ass out of here all at once.

    ReplyDelete
  81. Anonymous said...

    Scott is of course correct. It was Ron Cram who was trying to differentiate the God of the Bible and the God of the philosophers. This is all too familiar from a certain kind of evangelical Protestant, and it tends to mean the God of the Bible is not the God of the philosophers, or at least we should only say about God what is explicitly and plainly said about him in the scriptures. It tends to be associated with theistic personalism (the God of the Bible is said to be angry, therefore the classical theist insistence God does not suffer anger must be wrong, etc.), open theism, and other nonsense. The one using this distinction will usually be trying to separate the Christian God from the picture, and some of the attributes, given to him in classical theism. Or at least they will be saying they think any speculation on these attributes beyond what the Bible explicitly says is pointless."


    Granting for the sake of argument the scenario you outline, we still notice that whatever the personal motivations involved in making a distinction between the "God of the Philosophers" and the God of Israel understood as Jesus' God the Father, it is not the God of the Philosophers that compels humanity toward a psychological posture of worship. And, it was "worship" that was mooted as one of the two initial issues posed; one was reference, and the other was worship directed at the reference.

    Because the Allah of Mohammad's supposed Koranic revelation is a much less vague and fuzzy object of verbal reference(s) than the imagined sum of the speculative or deduced God of the Philosophers, and because the claim made for the existence of the Koranic Allah is of a qualitatively different kind than that made by Philosophers involved in deducing or speculating about the ultimate nature of reality and causation, there is no reason to even consider what "Allah" means phenomenally (let's say) to whatever set of ostensibly modern Muslim persons we might wish to advert.

    The only relevant questions are: 1, whether Mohammad actually had a communication with a supernatural agent which imparted certain commands and doctrines to him as he claimed, and whether if he did it was God or not; and 2, if he did not, whether there is any reason to imagine that Mohammad's mask should be taken as a pretense based on a coherent understanding of the God of Israel.

    My position is that Mohammad had no clear understanding of the Christian God, and whatever it was that he was purporting to be speaking through the voice tube, it was not the God of Israel or Jesus' God the Father; but rather some God cobbled together to suit.

    What else Modern Muslims have injected into the idea which they now carry around in their heads, is not the issue.

    The only issue is if Mohammad was making it up, in which case there is no Allah of the Koran in reality, or if he was making it up and there is no Allah of the Koran in reality, if the God material he cobbled together so truly incorporates the notion of the God of Israel, that while the actual Koranic referent does not exist, the sense or the sum of the connotations is functionally identical (if accidentally) with the denotation of the God of Israel.

    But it doesn't because it differs critically.




    DNW, why is the same not true of Christianity? "


    I have told you why. The Allah of the Koran is not the Apostolic God the Father; whether or not either of them exist. Apostolic Christianity is a direct development out of Judaism made by practicing Jews.

    And although the work of theologians and philosophers might assist us in trying to conceptualize what the idea of God the ground or fount of being intellectually entails, there is nothing there to inspire worship or even much appreciation, much less a trust (or hope) in Providence.

    The Allah of the Koran is neither the God of the Philosophers, nor the God of the Christians and Jews, whether or not any of them exist.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Scott:

    "Why not save some time and say goodbye to all of us—jointly rather than severally, as it were?"
    ...
    "...stop lingering over your departure and just haul your loutish ass out of here all at once."

    But dear Scott. What made you think I am departing? Have I indicated that in any way? Do show me where.

    Anyway, To "all of us"? “All at once”?

    When you’ll speak for all of you I’ll certainly bid all of you farewell. But until now it is only you and the two ridiculously bumptious sub-intellectuals with chip on the front lobe that wish me depart. Perhaps a vast minority, but hardly “all of us”. So, unless the owner of the website decides to bar me you’ll have to both endure and ignore my presence, or “loutish ass”, as long as I wish. I promise to ignore yours.

    Regards,

    ReplyDelete
  83. There's a great loon invasion happening at a federal bird sanctuary in Oregon that desperately needs thomas_h's presence.

    Preemptively, I very sincerely appreciate thomas_h's bluster which I will joyfully ridicule.

    ReplyDelete
  84. I wrote the following:

    "The only issue is if Mohammad was making it up, in which case there is no Allah of the Koran in reality, or if he was making it up and there is no Allah of the Koran in reality, if the God material he cobbled together so truly incorporates the notion of the God of Israel, that while the actual Koranic referent does not exist, the sense or the sum of the connotations is functionally identical (if accidentally) with the denotation of the God of Israel."

    I reread it three times and even I can't understand what it means as written.

    I have to find a job where no one bothers me. Not customers, not employees, not anyone, while I try to punctuate and piece together sentences of logical complexity which are barely within my capacity under the best of circumstances.

    Later ...

    ReplyDelete
  85. DNW:

    Heh.

    Here's how I parsed it:

    If Mohammad was making it up, then there's just no Allah-of-the-Koran in reality at all. And in that case the only question is whether he included enough suitable bits of borrowed material that he actually succeeded in referring to the God of Israel even if he didn't mean to.

    Does that sound close?

    ReplyDelete
  86. Thomas_H, does this mean I will be robbed of your stimulating conversation and sharp intellect? I notice you didn't answer my points. Too busy at your Klan meeting or something?

    DNW, I don't really see your point, unless you deal with the issues of reference brought up in the OP.

    I think some of your premises are questionable. For example, Orthodox Jews would likely object to the notion Christianity is a direct continuation of Judaism. Yes, in this sense Christianity is closer to Judaism, as Islam rejects the OT and NT, but in mode of worship and belief Islam seems closer to Judaism to me. And Islam does make use of the sacred world of Jewish (and Christian belief - the patriarchs and prophets, etc). I also don't see how this really answers the point about why the Bible shouldn't also be abstracted from, it just underscores that it would apply to Judaism as well.

    I don't think you are being fair to Muslims, when you talk about the different qualities of Allah and the role of modern Muslims abstractions. As far as I can see, Allah in the Quran shows quite similar attributes to the God in the Bible, and Islam has the same long history of philosophical and theological speculation as Christianity and Judaism.

    I'm not sure about the relevance of worship. Isn't it just being used in a very broad sense? This sense can include anything from true Christian worship to pagan worship of idols. No one (except Omer) is suggesting Muslims worship God in a full sense, but I don't see how they don't worship him at all. Unless you can explain why the issue of worship is important, I think the main issue is that of reference.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Scott said...

    DNW:

    Heh.

    Here's how I parsed it:

    If Mohammad was making it up, then there's just no Allah-of-the-Koran in reality at all. And in that case the only question is whether he included enough suitable bits of borrowed material that he actually succeeded in referring to the God of Israel even if he didn't mean to.

    Does that sound close?

    January 8, 2016 at 2:15 PM"


    Yes. You're hired.

    Have a good weekend all.

    ReplyDelete
  88. "Anonymous said...



    DNW, I don't really see your point, unless you deal with the issues of reference brought up in the OP...."



    I thought that I had as I saw it. I'm familiar with Frege's sense and reference notion, and also with the concepts of connotation/denotation, extension and intension, and existential import.

    But all that aside: If Mohammad had no real revelation from an Allah, then there is no real Mohammedan Allah. For if the Koran is true, then Mohammad had a real revelation. Mohammad did not.


    If he made up an Allah out of bits and pieces he picked up floating around on the trade routes in order to fabricate an impressive supernatural authority for his pronouncements, then his Allah is clearly neither real in fact nor the same entity in content as the Apostolic God the Father.

    In fact it is very strange to find Christians overlooking this, given certain scriptures which warn against and anathematize just such eventualities.

    You would think that that at least would give them pause before tacitly conceding either the fact, or shrugging at the fraud.



    "I think some of your premises are questionable. For example, Orthodox Jews would likely object to the notion Christianity is a direct continuation of Judaism. "

    They might if I had, but since I didn't actually say that, it's a moot point.


    "Yes, in this sense Christianity is closer to Judaism, as Islam rejects the OT and NT, but in mode of worship and belief Islam seems closer to Judaism to me ..."

    Yeah, well people might build church buildings that look for all the world like Catholic churches, and deck their "priests" out in fancy vestments, and mimic Catholicism in almost every outward respect, but that would not make them ... Well, you see where this is going.


    "I don't think you are being fair to Muslims, when you talk about the different qualities of Allah and the role of modern Muslims abstractions. "

    I'm not certain what you mean by "fair". I have excluded retrofitting exercises because I am not interested in unreal entities which have when mutated enough through literary exercises been accorded a supposed "socially constructed reality".

    If you mean however, "unfeeling" or "indifferent to Muslim sensibilities or intentions" well, then, I suppose you might, in this particular context, be right. I'm not trying to play nice or rough. I'm just looking at what I consider the relevant criteria.



    "As far as I can see, Allah in the Quran shows quite similar attributes to the God in the Bible, ..."

    Yeah well, some movie pirate somewhere could take screen grabs from John Wayne movies, mimic his voice to some degree, repeat bits of authentic dialog he has collected in order to turn a profit, and call himself The Son of John Wayne; but it doesn't mean that he knew John Wayne, speaks for John Wayne, or was in anyway related to him in reality. It just gets worse when the faker gets the screen grabs and dialog wrong. 'Well, but, but, XYZ and John Wayne are almost the same you know ... sort of ... and the people who've been sold tickets to the show are nice people and would be wounded by hurtful and odious comparisons made to the detriment of their sense of self-esteem, so what the hell's the difference anyway.'


    A nice image of my close personal friend John Wayne


    " ... and Islam has the same long history of philosophical and theological speculation as Christianity and Judaism. "


    Again I am only concerned with the made up character "Allah" as found in the Koran.

    The rest just merits a shrug.

    And now, I am really heading home.

    Have a good weekend all.

    ReplyDelete
  89. " 'I think some of your premises are questionable. For example, Orthodox Jews would likely object to the notion Christianity is a direct continuation of Judaism.'

    They might if I had, but since I didn't actually say that, it's a moot point."

    Just to head this one off at the pass: my point was Christianity was an outgrowth from within Judaism; not that it was a continuation in the sense of a replacement. That is not an argument I intend do be dragged into.

    I was concerned with the organic historical connection as viewed from the outside, not the notion of whether it met with approval from fellow Jews.

    Mohammad was not a fellow Jew or Christian, and demonstrably did not go around preaching the scriptures or reading in the synagogue as certain other well known persons did.

    ReplyDelete

  90. It's becoming clear why detractors are so strongly opposed to Scripture's affirmation of the historically and theologically verifiable events, in the real world, of Romans 1, of reason, of logic, of natural theology, and of God's affirmed modes of revelation.

    Across centuries we see it transpire right before our eyes within an entire mindset, and yet they suppose it just cannot be.

    Because (they seem to suppose) that the work cannot be God's, no, for it must come from the Jew or the Christian, else, well else nothing.

    Not even the God of Romans 1. That's just a story of sorts -- if we were to ever *see* it happen, well.....

    As if Man's sin and error and nonsense is all just too much for the God of Romans 1. So much so (it seems) that the detractors seem to define all their lines and referents by Man's sin and error and nonsense and, say, the Quran as they try to "figure out" if God "did something" rather than defining all their lines and referents by Scripture and the work of Romans 1 and reason and natural theology and logic and God's declared modes of revelation, and (verifiable) history and (verifiable) theological *motion* and (verifiable) proper responses to God's affirmed mode(s) of revelation.

    But the detractor must refute too much for Scripture and history and theology and proper responses to God's various modes of revelation all converge in correspondence and affirm the veracity of Scripture's meta-narrative.

    Perhaps the issue is that God isn't big enough.

    Perhaps it is that God wouldn't bother.

    But Scripture affirms otherwise on all points.

    And besides, it's all not only verifiable, but also seamlessly coherent with the God of the New Testament.

    Motion is a peculiar thing.

    ReplyDelete

  91. The reason our detractors fail is because they are looking for God's handiwork where it is not, they are defining their search terms not by God but by Man's sin and error and nonsense -- as if that is God's handiwork -- rather than looking for God's handiwork in His revealed modes and motions where Scripture expressly tells us to look for such. They thereby set themselves against the referents which Scripture defines and must, then, ultimately deny the undeniable.

    ReplyDelete

  92. Clarification:


    The reason our detractors fail is because they are looking for God's handiwork where it is not, they are defining their search terms not by God but by Man's sin and error and nonsense -- as if that is where we are to find referents for God's handiwork -- rather than looking for God's handiwork in His revealed modes and motions where Scripture expressly tells us to look for such. They thereby set themselves against the referents which Scripture defines and must, then, ultimately deny the undeniable.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Thomas: ???

    You said you don't believe in a divine being called God. Sounds a bit atheistic to me.

    You obviously are dying to be noticed. Well, you have been noticed and you got your 15 minutes of sneer.

    I don't know why you think anyone would try to get attention by commenting on an old article hundreds and hundreds of posts in, but I'm more concerned that that sneer took you fifteen minutes. I've been sneered at many times, and with better quality, that never once took even half that time. Did you by any chance suffer a 14½-minute seizure in the middle of it? I hope your nurse was standing by.

    ReplyDelete
  94. DNW: it is not the God of the Philosophers that compels humanity toward a psychological posture of worship.

    Not sure where you're going with that... as Ed points out in Thursday's post, God commands worship with or without revelation, so if Muslims are at all on the right track, then they can rightly be said to worship God.

    If Mohammad had no real revelation from an Allah, then there is no real Mohammedan Allah.

    But it doesn't matter whether Mohammed himself was talking about his shoe — if Muslims in general took him to be talking about God, then they are referring to God. Your points seem to be relevant to whether they have the right religion, but "worshipping God" per se doesn't require Judaism or Christianity, so we don't get into those details until we ask the further question.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Scott: Why not save some time and say goodbye to all of us

    I think it's a Groucho Marx routine: "Hello, I must be going! I cannot stay, I came to say I must be going..."


    Step2: There's a great loon invasion happening at a federal bird sanctuary in Oregon that desperately needs thomas_h's presence.

    Ha. Birds of a feather ought to flock together, eh? But as the saying goes: (wildlife) refuge is the last patriotism of a scoundrel.

    ReplyDelete
  96. Jeffrey,

    I enjoy Bill Vallicella as he's very adept.

    Not so much on the business of referent.

    As in:

    Romans 1 speaks of God's modes of revelation encompassing the Adamic's reason as such relates to the testimony of His Creation.

    Bill ascribes that interplay as void of God's affirmed modes of revelation. It's "just human reason".

    Denying Scripture.

    Then:

    The proper response to such revelation is theological and emotive *motion*.

    Bill denies any motion happened, as if the Muslim merely concluded "a god exists" -- full stop.

    Historical and theological *motion* unquestionably refute Bill.

    Denying both history and theological motion.

    Then:

    Bill returns again to telling us that the Jew, or anyone else, cannot possibly *referent* the same God as the Christian.... because.... triune...

    That's the criteria on *referent* (triune or else no referent). The Jew cannot possibly referent YHWH.

    Denying large swaths of reality.

    There's more.

    We witness the denial of the undeniable on far, far too many fronts.

    As discussed earlier.

    The reason the detractors fail is because they look for God's referent where we are told by Scripture such is not found, and so set themselves against Scripture's defined referent(s) and so, then, such denials must ensue.

    As discussed earlier.

    ReplyDelete

  97. Further,

    It's not clear, but Bill *may* (he may not) be equivocating, or conflating, when it comes to the term *referent* as compared to, say, worship or, say, know.

    ReplyDelete
  98. Mr. Green:

    "You said you don't believe in a divine being called God. Sounds a bit atheistic to me."

    Well, well, let's be charitable. Perhaps thomas_h—who is, after all, not exactly the sharpest bulb in the ocean (which isn't his fault) even though he behaves as if he thinks otherwise (which is)—isn't aware that Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews also use the Arabic word "Allah" to mean "God." What he probably meant, then, is just that he doesn't believe in the "God of Islam" even though he believes in the God of Christians/the Bible.

    In that case he's guilty only of begging the question for the umpty-eleventh time by assuming they're not the same. Oh, and of continuing to ignore the standing question about how two parties can disagree if they're not even referring to the same thing. ("Ostriches can't fly." "No, you're wrong; mustard is a condiment.")

    "But it doesn't matter whether Mohammed himself was talking about his shoe — if Muslims in general took him to be talking about God, then they are referring to God."

    Exactly. There's a sort of genetic fallacy involved here, and (as I mentioned long ago) there's not the slightest reason (or at least none has been given so far) to think that Mohammad's followers magically inherit his intentions. Indeed, on the hypothesis that he just deliberately made it all up to fool people, you'd think they pretty obviously wouldn't. (My thoughts about my raised-Catholic-and-now-Mormon friend are similar.)

    ReplyDelete
  99. DNW, Isn't the point that Muslims believe in the God of classical theism, or that they endow their God with the attributes of God in classical theism? Allah is the ultimate cause of existence, pure act, perfectly good, and so on.

    You seem to be making two responses to this, though I might be reading your wrongly. You deny that Muslims do affirm these attributes in God. The implication, if I'm reading you correctly, is that the Quran doesn't portray God as having many of the attributes of God in classical theism, and that those who claim Muslims do view God in this way are relying on comparatively recent abstractions. The problem is you don't really support this or show a real familiarity with the Islamic tradition. Also just the same claims can be made about Christianity. Both some modern atheists and some theists have claimed that the Bible's vision of God is that of classical theism. They have argued God doesn't have some of the attributes claimed for him by classical theism. They have seen the Christian tradition here out of step with what the Bible actually portrays. I think it unfair to dismiss such criticisms in the case of Christianity or Judaism but to accept without real argument or proof those made against Islam.

    You also seem to be suggesting that even if Islam does believe in the God of classical theism, the fact Muhammad made up his revelation and advocated worshipping God in incorrect ways still means he was referring to a different God. But doesn't this beg the question. Feser's whole point is one would still be referring the same God in such a circumstance, the God of classical theism. You don't really give a proper counterargument.

    I was concerned with the organic historical connection as viewed from the outside, not the notion of whether it met with approval from fellow Jews.


    Okay. I accept there is a certain connection here between Judaism and Christianity. I just don't accept it can be accepted, without a lot of argument, as the full picture or even to be more of a connection than Islam has with Judaism. For an Orthodox Jew, the early Christians may have been Jews, but they perverted the Jewish faith considerably. Some Jews and some atheists have accused early Christianity of being built on a hotch-potch of Jewish, Greek, and Oriental beliefs, much as you are saying of Islam. I don't see why the early Christians being Jewish should on it own prove the point you seem to be trying to make. At the very least this topic is very complex and requires a lot of more depth to properly address.

    ReplyDelete
  100. Errata - Both some modern atheists and some theists have claimed that the Bible's vision of God is not that of classical theism.

    ReplyDelete
  101. In my view, man knows God as a doer Who is a most unique doer, namely, He is the creator and operator of the universe and of everything with a beginning.

    So, any human who knows God to be the creator and operator of the universe and of everything with a beginning, he recognizes the same God, as do Christians and Muslims and Judaists.

    This same God, namely, the creator and operator of the universe and of everything with a beginning, is the same God of Christians, of Muslims, and of Judaists.

    If anyone has any other concept of God that is not founded on that concept of God, namely, the creator and operator of the universe and of everything with a beginning, or even in contradiction to that concept, then he cannot be recognizing the God of Christians, Muslims, and Judaists.

    And anyone not accepting God first and foremost as the creator and operator of the universe and of everything with a beginning, but recognizing something else but not the creator and operator of the universe and of everything with a beginning, then such a person is not recognizing anything at all that is deserving of worship by Christians, Muslims, and Judaists.

    No need to talk so far and wide and deep, just keep to the deeds of God, which deeds are first and foremost the creation and operation of the universe and of everything with a beginning.

    ReplyDelete
  102. This controversy involves a Wheaton College professor not only saying that Christians and Muslims "worship the same God", but also that they are both "people of the book".

    Now that happens to be a Muslim concept, (whether or not any Christian groups would ever use that expression for themselves). I would doubt that any Christian would be silly enough to want to endorse the concept exactly as Muslims understand it, but still, that statement could easily be taken as some sort of endorsement of the quran. That could quite reasonably be seen as heresy imo, or at the very least she spoke in an ambiguous way likely to create the impression of such.

    ReplyDelete

  103. As just discussed on Bill Vallicella's latest response to Beckwith in several of the more recent posts here, and as we also see to some extent with DNW, the decision is to look for God inside of modes and motions which Scripture affirms will not contain such proper sightlines and therefore they succeed in finding no proper *referent*. As if God's handiwork, and thus referent, will be found in Man's sin and error and nonsense.

    All the while, as discussed here recently, Scripture expressly defines the peculiar -- and unique -- modes of revelation in and by the definitions of Romans 1 as such vectors lay claim to reason and logic and God's declared modes of revelation and natural theology and His creation and -- also claimed -- proper and improper theological/emotive responses to those specific criteria.

    Verifiable history and verifiable theological and emotive motion seamlessly correspond with Scripture's definitions of referent -- to what Scripture lays claim to.

    As Christians, we confidently reject definitions which expressly contradict Scripture's definitions. Bill Vallicella's "It's just human reason" is bizarre and unintelligible given the specific claims and criteria of Scripture on all such eventualities. As Christians we are not bothered by Christ's affirmation that proper referent remains intact even as the rejection of Trinity ensues, despite Bill Vallicella's express contradiction of such definitions.

    It is very strange to find Christians overlooking -- even denying -- such unique claims upon such verifiable motions, given certain scriptures which affirm and lay claim to just such eventualities.

    ReplyDelete

  104. Anonymous,

    Your take on "People Of The Book" seems appropriate and correct.

    And besides that, the Quran is irrelevant to the terms and criteria which the Christian is to employ.

    The Quran may or may not survive that criteria. Either way -- whatever.

    We simply employ Scripture's criteria and where correspondence ensues we find, there, referent. Which is different than "knowing the Triune God", which is different than..... and so on. Despite the detractors in this topic who want to insist otherwise, nothing at all, not even the Quran, can trump God and Man, Man and God, for that is the only narrative there is. Where we find Scripture, history, theological motion, emotive motion, God, natural theology, God's created order, reason, logic, and Man all in seamless correspondence to Scripture's definitions and criteria we simply, as Christians, follow Scripture's metanarrative.

    Why?

    Because, should there be the proverbial "Y" in the road, well then our Christianity trumps our philosophy.

    ReplyDelete

  105. Regarding my last 5 or 10 comments, including those touching on Bill Vallicella and Beckwith, it seems that, in fact, some do put various components of their philosophy ahead of expressly Christian criteria and claims upon the real world and the real God.

    The more we unpack the only narrative that matters, and the more we remove all the *noise*, the more we see that the detractors here can only succeed if they deny the undeniable.

    Because we are Christians, and because we employ Scripture's criteria, and because our Christianity informs our philosophy, the more we see just why the detractor's insistence (their logically implied) that Man's sin or Man's error or Man's nonsense or the Quran or the origins of the Quran can somehow beat out the only True Narrative that there ever was amounts to the foist of a false narrative.

    Indeed, a *referent* of or to the Quran is *NOT* what matters, is *not* where (verifiable) correspondence occurs (on point after point after point), and therefore the origins of the Quran are irrelevant to the point at hand. Should the Quran survive or fail to survive Scripture's criteria has no impact on *other* referents which verifiably *do* satisfy Scripture's metanarrative.

    *While* Christ informs us that full and proper referents remain intact even as the rejection of Trinity (and with it, ultimate goodness) ensues, the detractors foist a different narrative.

    *While* Romans 1 expressly defines the Adamic's reason and natural theology and logic and the theological and emotive motion of "Thou are the One True God! We praise you!" to one of God's many modes of revelation, the detractors foist a different narrative.

    *While*......

    And *while*.....

    The list goes on....

    The metanarrative of God and Man, of Man and God, on Scripture's terms, is the only narrative there ever can be.

    ReplyDelete
  106. scbrownlhrm:

    I hope you won't mind if I mention that I find some of your statements confusing upon first reading them because you use the word "referent" in several different ways. Properly, the verb is refer, and an act of referring is a reference. A referent is the object of an act of reference.

    So, for example, when you talk about a "referent to or of the Quran," you presumably mean a reference to the Quran; that's easy enough to puzzle out. It's harder to tell what you mean, though, when you write e.g. that "Christ informs us that full and proper referents remain intact." I think you probably mean references rather than the objects of such references, but either one would make sense so it's not possible to be sure.

    I agree with what I take to be your essential point, namely that Christ Himself tells us it's possible to be referring to the true God even while rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity. I just think you'll make that point more clearly if you talk about (e.g.) references rather than "referents" remaining intact.

    ReplyDelete

  107. Scott,

    Fully agree. Referent (God) should be the receiver of our (a/the) reference. I only used it as a noun as in "the thing we are discussing" which is sloppy.

    How about this:

    Full and proper revelation of Goodness entails so many vectors within the Triune God that it's not feasible in this format to unpack it all.

    But it is apparent that to reject the revelation of the Christ just *is* to reject the fullness of Goodness.

    Hence Christ affirms that men have and can (and do) properly *reference* YHWH even as their theological movement (therein) runs into caustic error where Goodness and Trinity (and far more) are concerned.

    The referent (therein) *is* YHWH.

    Now, when it comes to Romans 1 and God, and so on, and the proper theological and emotive *motion* of "*That* God is the One True God! Praise Him!" we find that the Muslim's (Islam's) *reference* successfully goes through to the proper *referent* -- namely YHWH.

    That we as Christians springboard off of such Islamic Theology (which is what Kalam means) only adds layers atop an already successful reference to the proper referent -- namely the One True God.

    And so on.

    ReplyDelete
  108. Dennis,

    Thanks much. I will try to respond more with clarifications if I can soon.

    ReplyDelete
  109. In the attacks on Islam, there were several attacks on Prophet Muhammad.

    For example, he was attacked for being a tyrant and being a womanizer.

    One who commented a lot said,

    "Here is the problem -- we all know (at least I think we all know) that Muhammad made it all up. He was a liar and a tyrant and a fraud from soup to nuts. Who knows what he was worshiping or what the heck he is referring to in the Koran. It is all a lie.

    Muhammad was living in Arabia and absorbing all sorts of interesting ideas at that time -- we know the Kaaba has a black meteor inside -- maybe they are worshiping the meteor for all me know. Most of them are crazy (or I should say the ones who take Islam seriously.)"

    Someone annonymous mentioned

    "Neither method can Islam claim. Mohammed's personal life - marrying many women including a 9-year old girl - cannot be held objectively up as that of a holy, pure man."

    Let's examine if these attacks on the personal character of Prophet Muhammad hold up.

    ReplyDelete

  110. According to the sources that attackers on Islam use are sources that say the Prophet first married when he was 25 years old. He married a noble woman who was 40 years of age and who was a widow.

    He was married monogomously with her for about 25 years when she died from the boycott on the Prophet's clan by the pagan Quraish tribe which led to the Prophet's clan of being deprived of adequate nutrition.

    After that the Prophet was a bachelor for about a couple of years.

    The sources later say that through an intermediary, the Prophet proposed marriage to Sawda.

    The sources go on to say that

    "Sawda bint Zam'a, had been the first woman to immigrate to Abyssinia in the way of Allah. Her husband had died and she was now living with her aged father. She was a tall and large woman, with a jolly, kindly disposition, and just the right person to take care of the Prophet's household and family."

    "Sawda went to live in Muhammad's house and immediately took over the care of his daughters and household, while Aisha bint Abu Bakr became betrothed to him and remained in her father's house. There was great surprise in Mecca that Muhammad would choose to marry a widow who was neither young nor beautiful. Muhammad, however, remembered the trials she had undergone when she had immigrated to Abyssinia, leaving her house and property, and crossed the desert and then the sea for an unknown land out of the desire to preserve her religion."

    Then we are told in hadiths that the Prophet married Aisha and then over the course of the next 10 years, several more women.

    Now let us use our reason...I will reflect on all this in the next post...

    ReplyDelete

  111. Does this sound like a man who has a problem with womanizing?

    Physiologically and psychologically it is very odd for someone to be accused of developing a problem with womanizing when he was over 50 years old when the same person lived chastely and monogomously before he was 50 years old.

    The Arabs were very promiscuous, they treated their women like chattel, pre-Islamic poetry is basically filled with stories of woman and alcohol.

    In such a climate, the Prophet did not have any relations until he was 25 years of age...it was he who was proposed for marriage through an intermediary from Khadija (who as his wife was the first Muslim). He was monogomously married to her for 25 years.

    This does not sound at all with someone with a womanizing problem.

    If someone has such an issue, then because of hormones and so on, the problem shows up in the youth and much before an older age...certainly it does not show up after age 50.

    The many marriages of Prophet Muhammad helped to bring tribes into Islam.

    Another huge issue that people don't realize is the substantial poverty of life that the Prophet chose to live in and thus his wives lived in as well throughout his 23 years of Prophethood before he died (peace be upon him).

    The Prophet was ruling territory as a Prophet but living in such a way so he can give all his wealth to the most needy people.

    It is clear that his wives in general did not like to live like that because the Qur'an itself talks about it clearly.

    The Prophet was told to tell his wives that if they did not want to live like that, then they can leave him and they could even leave with some of his wealth and they would always be treated well afterwards.

    "O Prophet, say to your wives, "If you should desire the worldly life and its adornment, then come, I will provide for you and give you a gracious release.

    But if you should desire God and His Messenger and the home of the Hereafter - then indeed, God has prepared for the doers of good among you a great reward." (33, 28-29)

    But none left the Prophet and all chose God and His messenger and the hereafter over the worldly life.

    My point is that it is not very romantic to live a life where you and your wife has one meal a day or are only eating and drinking dates and water and sleeping on the dusty floor on a thin animal cloth.

    Living like this does not at all bring about sensual feelings in men or women.

    Thus, accusing the Prophet of such a behavior does not hold up to rational and fair scrutiny.

    Moreover, God, in the same chapter, tells the Prophet in verse 52 that he cannot marry any more woman.

    If someone was not a real Prophet and had a womanizing problem, would he make up a verse where he is forbidden of ever in the future being able to marry any other woman even though he can easily do in the society and as ruler of a large and growing territory?

    It makes no sense.

    I will respond to the other false attacks on the Prophet being a "tyrant" when I get time.



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am very impressive that you are following your faith and defending it without resorting to bad language and anger, appreciate it. As rational human beings we need to debate and discuss issues without being aggressive.

      Having said that however I would respectfully disagree with you. During his early years Muhammad did not enjoy as much power or authority as he did after “absolute power corrupts absolutely”. His influence over people had increased significantly as time went by, I am sure you would agree to that. Also after a while his own family life was in trouble where his wives were not getting along, could that be the reason he stopped getting married? I also do not understand the way he would get his relevations. None of the prophets in the Bible received relevations like he did. He himself thought that he might be possessed and even contemplated suicide. Again I am just trying to be rational with utmost respect and not pointing fingers.

      Delete

  112. An nice analysis by Peter Lupu is in The Maverick Philosopher’s look at the Kalam arena as such relates to the topic of the Muslim’s reference to what David Bentley Hart aptly terms, “……the infinite wellspring of being, consciousness, and bliss that is the source, order, and end of all reality…..

    Here’s the quote:

    The Bill-Lydia thesis about "worshiping the same God" or "referring to the same God" expounded here and elsewhere maintains that

    (i) the reference of names is fixed via descriptions;
    (ii) the reference-fixing descriptions encode the true essential properties of God;
    (iii) Christian revelation uniquely reveals the truth that the one and only true God is triune and incarnate.

    The Bill-Lydia theses (i)-(iii) above incorporate several critical meta-themes:

    (a) There is no distinction between a theory of reference-fixing of names (i., the semantics of names) and a theory of the world (read here theory of the deity);

    (b) Christianity is the standard bearer of the nature of the deity.

    The combination of (a) and (b) is audacious, far reaching, and embody some quite unpalatable consequences. I also believe that both are questionable.

    Consider the term 'gold' and substitute it systematically in the above theses and meta-themes for 'God'. What do you get? Our current theory about metals is the standard bearer of what is the essence of metals. The essence of gold (according to current theory) is that it has the atomic number 79. The reference of the term 'gold' is determined via a reference-fixing description that must include the atomic number of gold. Any use of the term 'gold'; past, present, and future, not associated with such a description fails to refer to gold (refers to nothing). This conclusion of the Bill-Lydia thesis about gold is absurd. So what went wrong? I suggest that meta-theme (a) is certainly false as well as thesis (i) (and, therefore, most likely thesis (ii) as well).

    Assume Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (the historical order of emergence) are three theories about the monotheistic deity. The three theories agree on some essential characteristics of God and differ on others. According to the Bill-Lydia thesis [(i)-(iii) plus (a) and (b)] above we get the following consequence:

    (1) Christian Perspective: Only those who believe that God is triune and incarnate (plus some other characteristics) succeed to refer to God by the term 'God' and other cognate names.

    Everyone else, including: Modern Jews, Muslims, Deists, Christians who find these two theses as a misguided historical invention by the Church Fathers without any Scriptural foundation, and Atheists refer to nothing with the word 'God' or cognate terms and many from the above list worship nothing.

    (2) Jewish Perspective: God is essentially non-triune and non-incarnate. Therefore, only those who believe in a non-triune and non-incarnate God can refer to God using the term 'God', or cognate terms. In particular, all Christians who believe in a trinitarian and incarnate God refer to nothing and worship nothing.

    (3) Muslim Perspective: God is essentially non-triune, non-incarnate, and Muhammad is God's messenger (prophet). Anyone who fails to believe these (plus some other essential characteristics) refers to nothing by the word 'God', and cognate words, and worships nothing.

    Who worships God? Who refers to God? According to the Bill-Lydia conception, these question depend on the perspective one takes. Of course, since both believe that they know that Christianity is true, they both endorse (1). But, then, the Modern Jew and Muslim, etc., endorse their own perspective (2) or (3) or some other. Is there a way of avoiding this, and many other, unpalatable consequences? Short of giving up meta-theme (a) or (b) or both, I do not think so.

    End quote.

    ReplyDelete

  113. Part 1 of X parts:

    With my previous sloppy use of referent vs. reference, perhaps a bit of a more properly worded summary of some of the more interesting points:

    The quoted analysis from Peter was both interesting and helpful. For the Christian of course the solution is to allow Scripture to define his criteria for what counts for proper reference.

    A few rough sketches on “a reference which successfully goes through” as such relates to the fullness of Goodness and to the Triune reality that is the fullness of God and to the affairs within the Quran including its origins and to the fullness of love’s perfection transposed in and by those Divine contours which obtain within time and physicality in and by Christ:

    Full and proper revelation of Goodness entails so many vectors within the Triune God that it's not feasible in this format to unpack it all.

    But it is apparent that to reject the revelation of the Christ just *is* to reject the fullness of Goodness. Christ informs Judaism that they do not know the fullness of God for they reject the fullness of God, and in said rejection they do not know the fullness of Goodness, nor the….. nor the…. And so on. He speaks as Prophet and as Messiah to Israel wherein the mind of man properly references YHWH.

    Hence Christ affirms that men have and can (and do) properly *reference* YHWH even as their theological movement (therein) runs into caustic error where Goodness and Trinity (and far more) are concerned.

    The referent (therein) *is* YHWH. Despite Goodness and its fullness. Despite Trinity and its fullness.

    To borrow from P. Lupu, we arrive here: Does Gold have the atomic number 79? What is its melting point? What’s that you say? You don’t know? All you’ve got is “….that shiny stuff…”? Seriously? Well clearly you’ve never perceived any (actual) contour of (actual) gold.

    Scripture's criteria about the mind of man, the created order, God, and God’s modes (plural) of revelation must inform our philosophical pontification.

    That is why (to borrow from Peter Lupu) the Bill-Lydia thesis in using as one of its criteria for proper reference the statement that the affairs of Romans 1 reduces to "…it's just human reason…" (god-less non-revelation) when diving into the arena of Romans 1 and the God of Romans 1 and Man and revelation, and the many modes (plural) of revelation there affirmed, the thesis (Bill-Lydia thesis) there (as in the Triune / Goodness arenas) chooses criteria which contradict Scripture's criteria. In fact "it's just human reason" expressly negates the various modes (plural) of God's movement within and/or towards the consciousness of Man affirmed in Romans 1 as such relates to all those peculiar affairs of natural theology and perceiving truths.

    Scripture does not reduce Romans 1 to a God-less void of non-revelation wherein "it's just human reason". The word "antithesis" comes to mind.


    Continued......

    ReplyDelete

  114. Part 2 of X parts:

    Now, when it comes to Romans 1 and God, and reason, and logic, and natural theology, and God's declared modes (plural) of revelation, and so on, we come to the proper (and verifiable) theological and emotive motion of "THAT God is the One True God! Praise Him!" wherein we find that the Muslim's (Islam's) *reference* successfully goes through to the proper *referent* -- namely YHWH.

    That we as Christians today springboard off of such Islamic Theology (which is what Kalam means) only adds layers of affirmation atop an already successful reference to the proper referent -- namely the One True God.

    Where our philosophy expressly contradicts Scripture's definitions and Scripture's claims upon Man and Man's motions, well we must allow our Christianity to inform our philosophy (at such a "Y" in the road).

    The appeal to God's revelation of Himself to the Muslim comes in and by all those vectors just (briefly) discussed (and more coming up) which in summation carry us into Scripture's claims upon Man and Man's motions rather than into the business of sacrificing Scripture's claims upon reality in order to satisfy other concerns.

    How odd. Even Satan/Lucifer has a proper reference upon the One True God.

    So what?

    All kinds of people and persons successfully house reference which successfully goes through to the proper referent – the One True God and yet, as Christ affirms, as Romans 1 affirms, and as verifiable historical and verifiable theological motion affirm, some get it right and some don't. But "not getting it right" on Goodness and its fullness or on Trinity and its fullness simply fails to discount the fact that the reference still successfully goes through.

    Hence Scripture, Christ, and observational reality all affirm that men have and can (and do) properly *reference* YHWH even as their theological movement (therein) runs into caustic error where Goodness and Trinity (and far more) are concerned.

    Another area where Scripture’s criteria for God’s revelation of Himself is contradicted by those who affirm “Different God” is the various comments in which they completely (because of false criteria) miss the fact that the Quran is irrelevant to the terms and criteria which the Christian is to employ.

    The Quran may or may not survive that criteria. Either way – whatever. More on that later, but first……


    Continued.....

    ReplyDelete

  115. Part 3 of X parts:

    We simply employ Scripture's criteria and where correspondence ensues we find, by correspondence, reference which goes through even if such rejects the fullness of Goodness, the fullness of Trinity, and the fullness of some other X. Why? Because proper reference/referent is (according to Christ and many other vectors within Scripture) different than "knowing the Triune God", which is then different than..... and so on.

    Despite the detractors in this topic who want to insist otherwise, nothing at all, not Man’s sins, not Man’s error, not Man’s trickery and nonsense, not even the Quran (more later), can trump the narrative of God and Man, Man and God.

    Why?

    Because that is Scripture’s narrative and that is the only narrative there is.

    As in Islam, so too in any other arena it is the case that where we find Scripture, and (verifiable) historical motion, and (verifiable) theological motion, and (verifiable) emotive motion, and the God of Romans 1, and vectors of natural theology, and God's created order, and God’s affirmed array of modes (plural) of revelation, and Man’s reason, and logic, and Man – all in seamless correspondence to Scripture's definitions and criteria, well, that is the foci/locus where we, simply, as Christians, follow Scripture's metanarrative.

    That is why the Muslim’s reference successfully goes through to the referent that *is* the One True God even as he enters into caustic error within the arenas of Goodness and its fullness, the Triune God and His fullness (and thereby love and love’s fullness), and….. and…. and so on.

    Quran:

    It is apparent that some real part of the thinking within those of the “Different God” camp has put components of their philosophy ahead of expressly Christian criteria and expressly Scriptural claims upon the real world and the real God. The more we unpack the only narrative that matters, and the more we remove all the *noise*, the more we see that the detractors here can only succeed if they deny the undeniable. We see this antithesis of scriptural criteria in that slice of their thinking which appeals to the Quran as the reference in question by those who affirm “Same God”.

    But that’s not the reference affirmed by those who affirm “Same God”.

    As if the Christian is to look for God’s revelation of Himself to an entire mindset of mankind over inside of the claims and affairs of books which deny Christ’s All Sufficiency and thereby deny the timeless self-sacrifice of Immutable Love wherein and whereby All Sufficiency pours – and by pouring fills – Insufficiency to the bitter ends of time and physicality.

    If the Quran is not valid, the God of Romans 1 is (still) bigger than the Quran. That is to say, the God of many modes (plural) of revelation found in the New Testament (an Old) is bigger than Man’s sin or error or trickery or nonsense. He doesn’t just “stop talking” because of such things. Please. How tedious. Sometimes we must ask if the God of the detractors is SO SMALL then perhaps THEIR reference fails to go through (tongue in cheek of course). Across centuries we see it transpire right before our eyes within an entire mindset from which we as Christians still appeal to and borrow from today in *our* proofs of the One True God and yet they suppose it just cannot be. Because (they seem to suppose) that the work cannot be God's, no, for it must come from the Jew or else from the Christian, else, well else nothing. Not even God and His many modes expressly affirmed in Romans 1. That's (surely) just a story of sorts (the thinking seems to go) – if we were to ever *see* it happen, well.......


    Continued.....

    ReplyDelete

  116. Part 4 of X parts:

    Whereas:

    Because we are Christians, and because we employ Scripture's criteria, and because our Christianity informs our philosophy, the more we see just why the detractor's insistence (their logically implied statement) that Man's sin or Man's (possible) error or Man's (possible) trickery or Man’s (possible) nonsense or the Quran or the origins of the Quran can somehow beat out the only True Narrative that there ever was is a series of moves on their part which all amount to the foist of a False Narrative.

    Indeed, a *reference* of or to the Quran is *not* what matters, is *not* where (verifiable) correspondence (verifiably) occurs (on point after point after point), and therefore the Quran and/or its origins are irrelevant to the point at hand. Should the Quran survive or fail to survive Scripture's criteria is a consideration we must all weigh, however, the results of that inquiry have no impact on *other* references which verifiably *do* go through and satisfy Scripture's metanarrative and Scripture’s criteria. Indeed, those *other* references can and do function in and by Scripture’s criteria and, therefore, our final decision on the Quran will either buttress them (if the Quran is deemed “from God”), or else our final decision will debunk the Quran as a proper reference which goes through (if the Quran is deemed “not from God”) – but such leaves *other* references and their array of (verifiable) historical, theological, intellectual, end emotive motions untouched.

    Even though Scripture and Christ inform us that full and proper references remain intact (successfully go through to the One True God) even as the rejection of Trinity (and the fullness of Goodness, and the fullness of……) painfully ensues, the detractors (those who insist “Different Gods”) diverge and foist a different narrative:

    “No Triune, no successful reference. No fullness of Goodness, no successful reference. Praising God vis-à-vis His revelation of Himself in and by the many modes of Romans 1? NOPE – it’s all JUST human reason. No reference. Sin and Trickery in people’s mindsets? Nope. THOSE mindsets cannot have valid references because God and His Creation never effervesce into actual perception of the Divine’s Immutable Contours in the mindsets which have sin and trickery in them. Never.” Or, to borrow from P. Lupu – a sort of – “It’s the atomic number 79 and none of this “….that shiny gold colored stuff…..” or else no reference.


    Continued.....

    ReplyDelete

  117. Part 5 of 5 Parts:


    Of course that’s all over-amped and tongue-in-cheek – and tedious – but it’s to make a point about contradicting Scripture’s claims upon reality when it comes to this unscriptural obsession with the Quran by Christians. Christians ought to apply Scriptural criteria atop the narrative of God and Man, Man and God upon the world stage. The fact that Islamic Theology affirms the God of Romans 1 on point after point after point as it effervesces into Islam’s motions (plural) of “THAT God is the One True God! Praise Him!” is just fine and takes nothing away from the Christian – in fact we as Christian’s still today borrow from those very slices of theological, intellectual, and emotive motions.

    Even though Romans 1 expressly defines the Adamic's reason amid natural theology amid logic amid the theological motion amid emotive motion which sums to, “Thou are the One True God! We praise you!" to vectors constituted of God's many modes (plural) of revelation, the detractors insist on foisting a different narrative with different criteria.

    Whereas:

    The metanarrative of God and Man, of Man and God, on Scripture's terms, is the only narrative there ever can be.

    That is also why Spinoza fails as such pulls up short of intention and freedom and Person there in the Quran, there in the Kalam arena, there in Judaism, and there in Christianity. As such "causality" is lost as a possible reference for the Kalam reveals intention - else Spinoza must, with his eternally necessary and sufficient cause of all effects, never affirm the Kalam arena. Similar in part to the arena of Mormonism, the overlap on the end of regression (ultimate causality) never happens. Causality fails. As such others have the right to reject Spinoza's materialism in disguise. Regardless of Bill Vallicella's appeal to others who disagree. Mr. Vallicella will have to make his own case that Spinoza successfully goes through and he will have to do it on Scripture's terms and criteria. Otherwise, on Spinoza, Mr. Vallicella agrees with Feser and with many of us commenting here. It is Scripture’s accounting of reality, and not Beckwith, nor the Quran, nor the Bill-Lydia thesis, which defines the criteria of the proper reference.

    ReplyDelete

  118. Spinoza again:

    Having just said this:

    That is also why Spinoza fails as such pulls up short of intention and freedom and Person there in the Quran, there in the Kalam arena, there in Judaism, and there in Christianity. As such "causality" is lost as a possible reference for the Kalam reveals intention - else Spinoza must, with his eternally necessary and sufficient cause of all effects, never affirm the Kalam arena. Similar in part to the arena of Mormonism, the overlap on the end of regression (ultimate causality) never happens. Causality fails. As such others have the right to reject Spinoza's materialism in disguise. Regardless of Bill Vallicella's appeal to others who disagree. Mr. Vallicella will have to make his own case that Spinoza successfully goes through and he will have to do it on Scripture's terms and criteria. Otherwise, on Spinoza, Mr. Vallicella agrees with Feser and with many of us commenting here. It is Scripture’s accounting of reality, and not Beckwith, nor the Quran, nor the Bill-Lydia thesis, which defines the criteria of the proper reference.

    There is also this which we must add:

    Since it is Scripture's criteria which we must apply, we find that the Muslim affirms Romans 1 and praises/worships the God revealed to them over inside of the Kalam arena (and so on as discussed), with his "That God is the One True God! Praise Him!" (and more, as already discussed).

    Therefore, not only does Spinoza fail on ultimate causality and the eternal and necessary and sufficient cause of all effects, therein failing to ever achieve overlap on ultimate causality, Spinoza also violates scripture as the motion of praise and worship which Romans 1 affirms (vs. "You are not god" vs. "There is no god") and which the Muslim also affirms, and the Jew, and the Christian, there within the Intention and Freedom of the necessary and sufficient cause of all effects, is found nowhere in Spinoza's arena for Romans 1 tells us that the response will be worship or else no-god or else yes-god-but-no-worship.

    Therefore, Spinoza either fails on his reference (which he does on and in causality) or, on Scripture's terms he gets it right on the referent (the real God) but gets the response wrong (fails to praise/worship) and therefore we need not listen to Spinoza just as we need not listen to any other Non-Christian truth predicate.

    But, of course, the reference fails to go through anyway, so the point about the proper response to perceiving God, which (big surprise) the Jew, the Christian, and the Muslim all share, can simply be tucked away for another day on another topic. Spinoza's causality is nothing more than materialism's causality, and his response to his god is nothing more than the materialist's response to material. It is, therefore, Non-Theism.

    ReplyDelete

  119. Interesting developments come about with Spinoza’s supposed god – self-sufficient nature – and such actually ties directly into The Maverick Philospher’s question if Mind and Identity is a possible route to claim “Different God” amid the Christian/Muslim reference to God.

    Before going further, the key background information from “The Experience of God” by David Bentley Hart:

    Quote:

    “The most egregious of naturalism’s deficiencies, however, is the impossibility of isolating its supposed foundation – that strange abstraction, self-sufficient nature – as a genuinely independent reality, of which we have some cognizance or in which we have some good cause to believe. We may be tempted to imagine that a materialist approach to reality is the soundest default position we have, because supposedly it can be grounded in empirical experience: of the material order, after all, we assume we have an immediate knowledge, while of any more transcendental reality we can form only conjectures or fantasies; and what is nature except matter in motion? But this is wrong, both in fact and in principle. For one thing, we do not actually have an immediate knowledge of the material order in itself but know only its phenomenal aspects, by which our minds organize our sensory experiences. Even “matter” is only a general concept and must be imposed upon the data of the senses in order for us to interpret them as experiences of any particular kind of reality (that is, material rather than, say, mental).

    More to the point, any logical connection we might imagine to exist between empirical experiences of the material order and the ideology of scientific naturalism is entirely illusory. Between our sensory impressions and the abstract concept of a causally closed and autonomous order called “nature” there is no necessary correlation whatsoever. Such a concept may determine how we think about our sensory impressions, but those impressions cannot in turn provide any evidence in favor of that concept. Neither can anything else. We have no immediate experience of pure nature as such, nor any coherent notion of what such a thing might be. The object has never appeared. No such phenomenon has ever been observed or experienced or cogently imagined.

    Once again: we cannot encounter the world without encountering at the same time the being of the world, which is a mystery that can never be dispelled by any physical explanation of reality, inasmuch as it is a mystery logically prior to and in excess of the physical order. We cannot encounter the world, furthermore, except in the luminous medium of intentional and unified consciousness, which defies every reduction to purely physiological causes, but which also clearly corresponds to an essential intelligibility in being itself. We cannot encounter the world, finally, except through our conscious and intentional orientation toward the absolute, in pursuit of a final bliss that beckons to us from within those transcendental desires that constitute the very structure of rational thought, and that open all of reality to us precisely by bearing us on toward ends that lie beyond the totality of physical things. The whole of nature is something prepared for us, composed for us, given to us, delivered into our care by a “supernatural” dispensation. All this being so one might plausibly say that God – the infinite wellspring of being, consciousness, and bliss that is the source, order, and end of all reality – is evident everywhere, inescapably present to us, while autonomous “nature” is something that has never, even for a moment, come into view. Pure nature is an unnatural concept.”

    End quote.

    Continued....

    ReplyDelete
  120. Continued....

    On Spinoza’s self-sufficient nature, well, such has never been seen before, nor even conceived of vis-à-vis mind. One can tell us that “Nature is God” all day long – but the problem is that we’ve never actually perceived nor conceived of this supposed self-sufficient nature. The reasons are not what one may initially suspect for it does not land in the problem of a Gap to fill in our knowledge but rather the whole show lands in an unavoidable reductio ad absurdum as such moves us into the philosophy of mind.

    The philosophy of mind shatters the sky above our heads yet again. Such transforms Spinoza’s supposed self-sufficient nature into we-know-not-what – or else materialism’s unavoidable absurdity amid its own reductio ad absurdum awaits us. But that is expected – for Spinoza’s god just does reduce to materialism – pure Non-Theism. Christ affirms that even as the Jew rejects the Triune Contours of the Divine Mind, the Jew of course successfully references the Divine Mind of YHWH. Within such seamless simplicity The Maverick Philospher wonders if Mind and the essence and identity of the Divine Mind changes within YHWH as in Polytheism such that, again, Trinity amid the Divine Mind can affirm that the Muslim and the Christian do not reference the same God. Of course, there are no brain states in the Divine Mind, nor are there parts, nor seams, nor lines. Nor is there Polytheism. The analogy breaks down. Logos, void of First, void of Last, eternally pours even as Logos eternally fills as Pure Actuality’s ceaseless stream of living water endlessly constituting love’s singularity amid the Knower and the Known timelessly begets Unicity. In and by love’s ceaseless reciprocity we come upon that same immutable unicity wherein we can find no such thing as the Non-YHWH vector. Polytheism might work for the Maverick Philosopher if he had one to critique.

    On the Divine Mind: Like the Jew, like the Muslim, so too the Christian rises above Spinoza’s imaginary inconceivable which one can only conceive of by freeing oneself of those pesky impressions amid aboutness, by freeing oneself from one’s own mind. Such is where we will find the ultimate explanatory terminus of, not the Divine Mind, but of Spinoza’s utterly Non-Theistic and supposedly Self-Sufficient Nature. Indeed, we “….have no immediate experience of pure nature as such, nor any coherent notion of what such a thing might be. The object has never appeared. No such phenomenon has ever been observed or experienced or cogently imagined……” While such carries Spinoza/Materialism into absurdity, we simply carry on into the ultimate explanatory terminus of the Divine Mind as we find the coherent and the tenable there in what is the “…..infinite wellspring of being, consciousness, and bliss that is the source, order, and end of all reality – [which is] evident everywhere, inescapably present to us, while autonomous “nature” is something that has never, even for a moment, come into view. Pure nature is an unnatural concept.”

    ReplyDelete
  121. @Scott: (from thomas_h)

    I’d rather be not the sharpest bulb in the ocean then the sharpest bulb in a puddle populated by bulbs like Anonymo, who suggests I am a clansman for expressing my loathing of Islam and dismissing his authority, Mr Green, who after misquoting me proceeds to wallop his forgery and finally Stoop2, who recently plunged in with his hilariously idiotic attempt at witticism. BTW, the latter sporadically posts on “What’s Wrong With the World” where he is patiently tolerated as the website’s village idiot.
    Ah, I just noticed Mr. Green can’t contain himself and makes an herculean effort to be entertaining, even at the cost of coherence by, once again, demolishing what he would very much have loved me to say rather than what I have said. This time by quoting the Groucho Marx routine: "Hello, I must be going! I cannot stay, I came to say I must be going...".
    The objective fact that I responded to your invitation to say goodbye with an unequivocal: “What made you think I am departing? Have I indicated that in any way?” couldn’t compete with his urge to relieve himself. The gentleman is clearly incontinent. Oh well..enough about your bulb chums.

    continued below...

    ReplyDelete
  122. continued...

    And now about you:
    To appeal to charity while practically endorsing obvious falsity is deeply dishonest. You know very well that never and nowhere did I say, or in the least imply, that “I don’t believe in divine being called God”. I have read your posts in the past - we even had a short and civil exchange – and from the impression I got about you it’s hard for me to believe you can’t see Mr. Green must be a shameless liar when he implies that my saying “ I don’t believe there is a divine being called “God of the philosophers” any more than I believe there is a divine being called Allah. … “God of the philosophers” is a figure of speech, a metaphor - sometimes useful often misapplied and confusing.” preceded by a line in an earlier post ”I also believe the term "philosopher's God" is a metaphor. While God of the Bible simply is.” - is a declaration of atheism.

    That you could say “let’s be charitable to thomas”, but not “let’s be honest and correct” to Mr. Green is employing a crude lie for the purpose of putting an act being of charitable and magnanimous. It's shocking hypocrisy.

    I’ll be brief on the other subject as it is not very important to me.

    "...isn't aware that Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews also use the Arabic word "Allah" to mean "God."

    Well, first of all I’m quite aware of it, who isn’t? In fact I would be surprised to hear that Jews and Christians wouldn’t use the Arabic name for God, or Allah while speaking Arabic. What is special about it or what is it indicative of? Wouldn’t you use Dios, Gott, Jumala, Elohim or Bog when conversing on the subject of God in, respectively,: Spanish, German, Finnish, Hebrew, Russian?
    And BTW, in Malaysia court recently ruled that non-Muslims cannot use 'Allah'. Obviously it is meant that Allah is a proper name of God and mustn’t be used generically as it may suggest identity of Allah with Christian, Jewish, Hindu god(s). No, I'm not deriving far reaching conclusions from that fact.

    "... he's guilty only of begging the question for the umpty-eleventh time by assuming they're not the same. "

    I am not assuming anything (speaking of begging the question). I’m only deducing. I'm deducing from the fact that Christian God and Allah demand a completely different worship, in fact diametrically opposed form of worship. That this worship lies at the fundamentals of Christian and Islamic civilization and created historically inimical and in principle incompatible entities is a fact no one can dismiss. And finally, not to make it too long, - it is 1:30 am here, I have met and talked with a multitude of moslem converts to Christianity. They all emphatically insist that the god they have worshipped before embracing Christianity was a false god, many insist he is the Devil. You don’t seriously think they have embraced Christianity, often at life’s risk, to land with the same god they rejected.
    It would be very interesting to see you trying to convince them that Allah and God are the same.
    Anyway, I know I went back on my promise to ignore you, I couldn’t resist pointing out not so much you being wrong about the subject, we all can err, but that you have been unfair and unjust. Something I’d never thought about you. I will not respond to your possible reply unless you will ask me to. I solemnly promise

    thomas_h

    ReplyDelete
  123. Hi Ed,

    I am a Muslim myself and I have read much of your TLS and I sometimes read your blogs and enjoy your philosophical musings and argumentation. I agree with what you have stated in this blog post.

    The God of Thomas Aquinas described and philosophically argued for in his works is The God without which nothing in the Universe could exist at any instant in time unless it was constantly being maintained by Him, is exactly the conception described by the term Rububiyya in Arabic from which the name Al-Rabb of God is derived, so I would affirm that they are indeed the same God. While Judaism and Islam are strictly monotheistic, and Christianity has the concept of the Trinity, the God of the first two corresponds to "the Father" of the latter. It is still the single Divine Object - there can only be one Absolute - that is served or worshiped in some manner, but there is a discrepancy in how God's Essence is understood.

    The term "Muslim" in common parlance has come to be known as a follower of the religion of Islam. However, in Qur'anic usage, i.e. at the time of asserted revelation, it referred to anyone who submitted their being to the will of God. So, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and others before Muhammad are considered Muslims in this sense. The Qur'an uses another term - "Mumins" to refer to "Muslims" who believe specifically in the Revelation of Muhammad, i.e. the Qur'an (Muslims also believe in all prior revelations of God like those received by the Jews and Christians). It is true that Muslims believe that the Trinitity is erroneous, but only because it is seen as an overreaching interpretation of the nature of the Godhood. Muslims don't believe that Jesus was God "incarnate", or the literal "son" of God, but only a prophet. This doesn't entail that Muslims don't believe humans cannot be in some sense "divine" because they also believe that God "breathed" into Adam something of His spirit [Qur'an 32:9], i.e., an immortal and immaterial essence, something that is "uncreated" and with God, the individual "I" that human beings can either purify or corrupt. It only entails that they don't believe in the concept of "incarnation". Figures like Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, etc. who are called messengers of God, are considered the highest examples of this purification, i.e., the conformance to the Good. Also, the "Holy Spirit" in Islam is not a third divine person in a single Godhood, but what appears to be something analogous is the "Ruh", the Spirit of Revelation, or better known as - at least among Muslims - as the Archangel Gabriel, who is responsible for transmission of what reason cannot provide, i.e., eschatological premises and the like. So, there is a sort of theosophy of "pseudo-trinity" in Islam, but it is not as extreme as the Christian conception where Muslims believe there are three "persons" in the Godhood. At least, this is my understanding.

    And God knows best!

    ReplyDelete
  124. thomas_h:

    Mr. Green did not lie about you.

    Mr. Green merely noted that in denying the existence of the being called "Allah" you were, in effect, denying the existence of God, because that is what the word means.

    Mr. Green is well aware that you didn't intend any such consequence.

    Mr. Green is well aware, as apparently you are not, that my own remark about being charitable was as tongue in cheek as his own about your atheism.

    Mr. Green is also well aware, as apparently you also are not, that you have persistently misunderstood the basic question at issue in Ed's original post and have offered only responses that are not only irrelevant but churlish.

    Mr. Green is also now aware, as am I, that you see nothing wrong with knowingly breaking your promises while accusing others of hypocrisy.

    ReplyDelete
  125. Grand Wizard Thomas,your a nasty ignorant bigot who has flaunted all these qualities proudly. It seems strange your now offended. But the Klan reference was a playful yanking of the chain - and quite effective. Now your a whiney nasty ignorant bigot.

    ReplyDelete
  126. @scbrownlhrm: "...Part 5 of 5..."

    Oh, sweet Jesus... Man, I profit from your posts, I do. (↑I even quoted you, above.) But could you please be more... pithy? Soul of wit and all that. How 'bout no more than three 4,096-character continued posts at a time? Three seems to be the number beyond which we lose each other on this blog.

    @Anonymous January 10, 2016 at 6:07 PM: "Grand Wizard Thomas,your a nasty ignorant bigot who has flaunted all these qualities proudly. It seems strange your now offended. But the Klan reference was a playful yanking of the chain - and quite effective. Now your a whiney nasty ignorant bigot."

    You're not making the best showing for yourself. To be sure, Thomas said some bigoted things. But that's not all he said. And "Nyah nyah [raspberry]" (my paraphrase of your comment) is boring.

    I do hope your use of "your" is your continuing to yank his chain by other, grammatical means.

    Thomas is clearly not ignorant. He has mentioned his reading and his experience in the Muslim world. And so unless you presume that knowledge of Islam as such must lead to certain opinions, you had best explain just where you think his knowledge falls short, and just what difference that makes.

    (Failing that, if you're gonna insult his manner, work with something interesting. Maybe, "But dear Scott. What made you think I am departing? Have I indicated that in any way? Do show me where." January 8, 2016 at 12:14 PM. That is what is called being "precious." Try starting there.)

    ReplyDelete
  127. @thomas_h:

    People keep accusing you of missing the point of what Dr. Feser said. They're right. The missing link--no pun intended--seems to be what Brandon alluded to, when December 29, 2015 at 9:17 PM he replied to someone else, "...all of your four [qualities] mutually imply each other under standard scholastic assumptions, which Ed, of course, being a scholastic regards as demonstrable or self-evident under adequate analysis."

    That reply was addressing especially the convertibility of the transcendentals, and a few other now somewhat recondite notions; but more broadly, there are of course good reasons, mentioned previously on this blog, to believe that the God of the Bible *is* the God of the philosophers, and so merely to say, e.g., that "[the] Christian God and Allah demand a completely different worship, in fact diametrically opposed form of worship," and *therefore* that they are not one and the same, is to beg the question. It begs the question because it assumes that *demanding a diametrically opposed form of worship* (granting for the moment that that is true) entails being different, when of course what had before been argued (for reasons which you did not address) was that they are the same.

    (Which has been pointed out already. Third time's the charm. [Fourth? Fifth? Shit...])

    ReplyDelete
  128. @Omer:

    (BTW, some other people, it's not "Omar." Sigh.)

    It has been a pleasure to read your posts. (Really. I am not being sarcastic.) You are evidently well-read, and you make some excellent points. I applaud you, and hope you keep posting. Also, bold of you to defend Islam here, while not being a dick. Admirable. (Still not being sarcastic.)

    Before I proceed: "1. To those attacking Islam, how many of you have read the entire Qur'an? / [...] When other religions point to their proof or evidence for the divine origin, they point to what others in the past have said were miracles. / With Islam, the Muslims will walk up to their bookcase and hand their miracle for you to examine. [...] 2. And to those same people attacking the Qur'an, how many of you know in a personal close way even one Muslim? / Pew Survey research and other studies show that the level of misunderstanding of Islam drops off greatly if the person knows Muslims in a close way."

    1. I have not read the *entire* Qur'an. But I have read quite a bit of it. More importantly, why should reading the *entire* thing be needful? After all, you would no doubt agree that one could reject (e.g.) the Bible, or *Mein Kampf*, or *Das Kapital*, without reading *the whole thing*. What explains the unique accord given to the Qur'an?

    (No? Really? You need *the whole thing*? *All of it*? *Every letter*? Really?)

    2. I know "in a close personal way" a number of Muslims. My best friend in high school was a Muslim, as was my best friend in college. I grew up in Muslim countries.

    ...but you seem to presume that knowing Muslims "in a close way" ("according to Pew survey research and other studies") would result in agreement with you. Why this should be so is not evident.

    Notably, you seem to employ a lot of what Dr. Feser called “argument by proof-text.” (I was going to point this out, and then he pointed it out first. Quick-drawing sunnavabitch.) As he said, "[T]aken in isolation, these do seem to provide materials by which a Muslim thinker might develop a justification for some kind of religious toleration. / The problems come when we do not take them in isolation but instead look at them in the context of Islamic teaching as a whole."

    Which is to say, you quote passages a, b, and c. But you give no reason whatsoever why they should outweigh passages x, y, and z, or doctrines α, β, and γ. These things fit into a greater structure, after all, and some parts take precedence over others.

    "With Islam, the Muslims will walk up to their bookcase and hand their miracle for you to examine."

    Please. I'm (metaphorically) diabetic. Give me insulin before you ply me with treacle like that.

    ReplyDelete
  129. thomas_h,

    You said that you have had a "short and civil exchange" with Scott in the past. Assuming that that exchange occurred on this blog, and that you had used "thomas_h" during the exchange, I went to Google, and searched for: "thomas_h" Feser. Following one of the results returned by Google, I came across the following (which isn't an exchange with Scott, and is not from this blog, but does seem potentially relevant):


    - - - - -
    Thomas_h says

    May 24, 2010 at 5:24 am

    As a skeptic, I want to announce to all that, sadly, most skeptics are as closed minded as the worst of religionists. In short, and deeply ironically, most skeptics have raised skepticism to a religion of its own. In fact, I have found religious Jews and Christians, as a whole, to be far more open minded than most skeptics.

    Wellington, how very true!
    It has been precisely my experience since the very early days of my, now happily ditched, atheism. In fact, it was one of the things that prompted me to look for a solid philosophical ground which would offer support and affirmation to both my reason, common sense and metaphysical intuition. I had to wait very long until I could see that my young and triumphant atheism has absolutely no ground for claiming the mantle of the only possible result of intellectually honest look at reality. It was both a shock and a great relief to discover that the concept of God is no less reasonable than the belief in self-sustaining, but quite dead machine called Universe. But it took years of wandering in the limbo of agnosticism before I ripened to fully understand the intellectual power, clarity and beauty of Aristotle’s proof of the necessity for the “first mover” who, himself, is unmovable. How intellectually puny, limited and comically supercilious are are the peddlers of atheism next to this and following him giants of the Western thought like Augustinus, Aquinas, Anselm, Leibnitz, Kant, Descartes, Pascal, Newton…

    But as I said before, had not been disgusted by belonging to the same “church” with the bunch of crude, jealous and dogmatically stifled bunch of unquestioning followers of atheism it would have taken me much longer to start questioning my own acceptance of atheism and eventually apostatize and break free. They did have a role in speeding up the process. So, I was quite fortunate.

    And Wellington, if you have chance to read “The Last Superstition” by Edward Feser you must do it. Agnosticism may be good for a short time, but you are a deep thinking fellow. Don’t stop there. See and have fun with how Feser wipes the floor with “new Atheists”: sundry Dennetts, Dawkinses, Harrises, shows their appalling ignorance of basic philosophical thought and inability to realize the metaphysical foundation of reason, logic and eventually science. It may help you to make the next step toward theism. And even if it doesn’t you will have lots of fun.

    Cheers,

    Thomas
    - - - - -


    Was that someone else using a like moniker? Or was that indeed you?

    The style of speech suggests that it might be you, but I thought I'd do you the courtesy of asking whether it is, rather than assume flat-out that it is.

    (cont)

    ReplyDelete
  130. Anticipating an affirmative response... what the heck happened between then and now?

    My reason for asking is that -- if that indeed was you -- the content of the largest paragraph above is such as to lead one to think you are quite capable of seeing and understanding just what the level is at which the question in the OP is addressed.

    Pascal is mentioned in that largest paragraph, and you indicated in a response to Ron Cram anything but a dislike for at least one quotation from Pascal; so, here's another quotation from Pascal (likewise from his Pensées):

    415. The nature of man may be viewed in two ways: the one according to its end, and then he is great and incomparable; the other according to the multitude, just as we judge of the nature of the horse and the dog, popularly, by seeing its fleetness, et animum arcendi; and then man is abject and vile. These are the two ways which make us judge of him differently and which occasion such disputes among philosophers. For one denies the assumption of the other. One says, "He is not born for this end, for all his actions are repugnant to it." The other says, "He forsakes his end, when he does these base actions."

    If the distinction Pascal is getting at there can be seen, then, surely, it can be seen, in an analogous way, that the question in the OP is not addressed with a lower level in mind, but with a much higher level in mind -- a level unsullied by anything which might be found at a lower level.

    What might be found in a basement isn't necessarily a reliable indicator of what might be found in an attic. And one may not agree with -- or may even vehemently disagree with -- what some people say may be found in the attic. But for that one to (attempt to) counter their claims about what may be found in the attic by pointing to what might be found below in the basement, either is not the mark of a man with an interest in reason or common sense, or is the mark of a man whose reason and common sense has temporarily abandoned him.

    ReplyDelete
  131. laubadetriste, Thomas has claimed knowledge of Islam and experience in the Arab world, but he has shown little of this. He has made the same sort of ignorant claims as others here - Muslims hate women, their God despises unbelievers, is not good, and so on. He described Islamic civilisation as utterly degenerate, or something along those lines. He has done nothing to back this up. When you start throwing around such remarks, and refer to Islam in its entirely as evil, I think you should show more than passing of it. Where does he show anything but superficial knowledge of Islam? I do not believe his claims of knowledge about Islam.

    Apart from the bigoted things he said, and the whiney things, I have only see him repeat similar, tired points that those like Jeffrey and SolCal made.

    Also, if you want the best look yourself, don't point out typos.

    ReplyDelete

  132. Which is to say, you quote passages a, b, and c. But you give no reason whatsoever why they should outweigh passages x, y, and z, or doctrines α, β, and γ. These things fit into a greater structure, after all, and some parts take precedence over others.

    It is generally Sūrat at-Tawbah, 9,5, that is claimed as the proof of Quranic intolerance to unbelievers. It is those like Thomas who need to show this one verse should stand against all those preaching at least some toleration. This is doubly true as the context of that verse, as supported by many Quranic scholars, like Al-Badyawi, not to mention the plain text of the Surah itself, is about a particular group of pagan Arabs who have broken a treaty with the Muslims.

    ReplyDelete

  133. Thomas is clearly not ignorant. He has mentioned his reading and his experience in the Muslim world.

    By the way, this is very strange reasoning. If I mention I'm the King of Spain, does it make me so?

    I mean, really. That would be great.

    ReplyDelete
  134. @Laubadertriste and Glenn

    Thank you for your thoughtful, straight and friendly comments. It will take me time to respond as I'm down with the nastiest flu and quite high fever peventing me to think not onl read and write.
    cheers,
    thomas

    ReplyDelete
  135. This is probably going way off topic, but as it's been mentioned, here is an argument relevant to the quran:

    "Of course, when evaluating a prophet, the most important character trait to consider is honesty. Did Muhammad really receive a revelation from the angel Gabriel, or did he make the whole thing up? We have only his word for it. There is no other corroborating evidence. Here is where the historical-critical method comes in handy. Exhibit A is the Koran. It’s supposed to be the eternal word of God. Muslims say that Muhammad couldn’t possibly have invented it because he was (supposedly) illiterate. The proof that God wrote it, they say, lies in its inimitable style: who else but God could write so well? This is a little hard to swallow because, although there are beautiful passages in the Koran, much of it does look as though it were written by a semi-literate merchant. Well, that’s a little harsh. It’s more accurate to say that it seems to have been written by someone with a flair for poetic language, but with little sense of composition and with limited storytelling ability. Here are a couple of scholarly assessments:

    His characters are all alike, and they utter the same platitudes. He is fond of dramatic dialogue, but has very little sense of dramatic scene or action. The logical connections between successive episodes is often loose, sometimes wanting; and points of importance, necessary for the clear understanding of the story, are likely to be left out. (C.C. Torrey, The Jewish Foundation of Islam, New York, 1933, p. 108)

    The book aesthetically considered is by no means a first-rate performance…indispensable links, both in expression and in the sequence of events, are often omitted … and nowhere do we find a steady advance in the narration … and even the syntax betrays great awkwardness…. (Theodor Noldeke in Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., Vol. 15, pp. 898-906)

    The Muslim comeback to such quibbling is that people who can’t read classical Arabic can’t possibly appreciate the Koran. The soaring style and lilting language of it are simply lost on the Arabic-challenged. In short, if you don’t speak Arabic, then who are you to judge?

    When I first came across this argument, it seemed to make sense—for a few minutes, anyway. Then I remembered that I don’t read Greek either, but when I read Homer in translation I can usually distinguish the parts where he is telling a ripping good story from the parts where he is merely nodding. For that matter, I don’t read Russian, but when I read Tolstoy in translation I can appreciate the beauty of his descriptions while noticing at the same time that he occasionally goes on too long about peasants cutting hay in the fields. You don’t have to read French to appreciate Balzac or Italian to appreciate Manzoni. Why is Arabic the only language that doesn’t translate?



    http://www.crisismagazine.com/2015/needed-new-church-policy-toward-islam-pt-3

    ReplyDelete
  136. With regard to this controversy, the line actually taken by Wheaton College...


    Quote:

    "As a Christian liberal arts institution, we value a robust exchange of ideas on the critical issues of the day. Faculty and student expressions of concern about the treatment of Muslims have been grounded in a desire to live peaceably and respectfully with all people, including our neighbors of Islamic and other religious faith traditions. While these commitments are consistent with our Statement of Faith and Community Covenant, overtures of Christian friendship must be enacted with theological clarity as well as compassion.


    We celebrate our religious liberty as American citizens under the Constitution, and fervently defend the free exercise of that liberty by those of other faiths in the same way that we desire respect of and protection for our own religious liberty.


    Some recent faculty statements have generated confusion about complex theological matters, and could be interpreted as failing to reflect the distinctively Christian theological identity of Wheaton College. We will be in dialogue with our faculty, staff and students in the days ahead to ensure that we articulate our love for our Muslim neighbors in ways that are consistent with our distinctive theological convictions."

    http://www.wheaton.edu/Media-Center/Media-Relations/Statements/Wheaton-College-Statement-Regarding-Christian-Engagement-with-Muslim-Neighbors

    ReplyDelete
  137. The 2010 Thomas seems like a quite different fellow. I'd like to see more of him and less of the newer version.

    ReplyDelete
  138. "Which is to say, you quote passages a, b, and c. But you give no reason whatsoever why they should outweigh passages x, y, and z, or doctrines α, β, and γ. These things fit into a greater structure, after all, and some parts take precedence over others."


    I have seen even apologists for Islam like John Esposito admit that Islamic law requires aggressive warfare against the unbelievers. So Muslims themeselves have created a doctrine out of the aggressive material rather than the more peaceful sounding material. Although obviously this isn't a universal belief of all Muslims, it is a part of mainstream traditional forms of Islam.

    So yes, Islam is indeed a rather evil religion, with much blood directly connected to its mainstream teachings down the centuries.

    ReplyDelete
  139. @Anonymous January 11, 2016 at 3:19 AM: "'Thomas is clearly not ignorant. He has mentioned his reading and his experience in the Muslim world.' / By the way, this is very strange reasoning. If I mention I'm the King of Spain, does it make me so? / I mean, really. That would be great."

    Ah yes, I phrased that less than clearly. That was not an example of reasoning, it was an implied conjunction. Here, let me try again:

    Thomas is clearly not ignorant. [And] he has mentioned his reading and his experience in the Muslim world.

    It is not useful broadly to accuse Thomas of being ignorant. While he is very likely ignorant about at least some parts of Islam, if not many parts of Islam, one must do the work to show specifically how that is relevant. As I said above, "[U]nless you presume that knowledge of Islam as such must lead to certain opinions, you had best explain just where you think his knowledge falls short, and just what difference that makes."

    ReplyDelete
  140. thomas_h, I do hope you recover soon from your nasty flu and fever, and I say that without my tongue in my cheek.

    For whatever it's worth, the posters to this forum are already included in my rosary intentions but I'm specifically adding you to my "sick list" until you're better. You have my permission to let me know when that happens. ;-)

    ReplyDelete

  141. Dear laubadedriste,

    Thank you for reading and engaging with my comments and I appreciate the compliment.

    1. I agree that generally it is not necessary to read the entire text before making some preliminary conclusions on the text.

    Please note that there are verses in the Qur'an that instruct the reader as the hermeneutics that help to interpret it correctly.

    I will try to look a few up.

    2. Although, it is not necessary in a logical deductive way to need to know people of a given religion before making an assessment of that respective religion, it helps in mitigating against the vast amount of misunderstandings and at times downright lies that are being constantly circulated on Islam and Muslims. It also helps to control the paranoia against Islam and Muslims. For example, it is unlikely that terrorists like Al Qaeda, etc, can occupy, let alone control a simple block...forget about a town, a city, a region, etc....and we constantly hear of the national security threat posed by them. It is simply hyperbolic lies.

    This issue on geopolitics is not necessarily relevant to religious questions but my point is that a lot of hot air and misunderstandings can yank up emotions and cloud discernment and an informed understanding. This of course cuts both ways....many Muslims around the world have misunderstandings of certain Western countries if they did not live abroad.

    Anyway, back to your post...regarding the "miracle" of the Qur'an comment and your reaction to it, I will try to mention a few points when I get time, but until then, please check out the following brief article written by a mathematician:

    http://www.themodernreligion.com/essays_Gary_Miller.htm

    Peace and best wishes to all

    ReplyDelete
  142. @Anonymous January 11, 2016 at 2:36 AM:

    "When you start throwing around such remarks, and refer to Islam in its entirely as evil, I think you should show more than passing of it."

    Agreed.

    "He has made the same sort of ignorant claims as others here - Muslims hate women, their God despises unbelievers, is not good, and so on. He described Islamic civilisation as utterly degenerate, or something along those lines. He has done nothing to back this up."

    Of course, you have done little or nothing to back up claims contrary to his (that Allah is good, that Muslims love women, etc.) Should I therefore presume that you are also ignorant? I hope you don't mean that it is only when someone disagrees with you, or says something you, Anonymous, do not like, that that person is ignorant.

    No, you couldn't mean something so obviously false...

    "Also, if you want the best look yourself, don't point out typos."

    "The shame of speaking unskilfully were small if the tongue onely thereby were disgrac'd: But as the Image of a King in his Seale ill-represented is not so much a blemish to the waxe, or the Signet that seal'd it, as to the Prince it representeth, so disordered speech is not so much injury to the lips that give it forth, as to the disproportion and incoherence of things in themselves, so negligently expressed. Neither can his Mind be thought to be in Tune, whose words do jarre; nor his reason in frame, whose sentence is preposterous; nor his Elocution clear and perfect, whose utterance breaks itself into fragments and uncertainties. Negligent speech doth not onely discredit the person of the Speaker, but it discrediteth the opinion of his reason and judgement; it discrediteth the force and uniformity of the matter and substance. If it be so then in words, which fly and ‘scape censure, and where one good Phrase asks pardon for many incongruities and faults, how then shall he be thought wise whose penning is thin and shallow? How shall you look for wit from him whose leasure and head, assisted with the examination of his eyes, yeeld you no life or sharpnesse in his writing?"--Ben Jonson, *Timber*

    ReplyDelete
  143. "Why is Arabic the only language that doesn’t translate?"

    It probably does. It is just that it is painful for the believers to admit to naturally wary or unsympathetic others, with whom they wish to associate, exactly what it translates to.

    Hence the desire to hitch a legitimacy a ride on Judaism or Christianity in an attempt to demonstrate that they are not moral aliens ... at least from a doctrinal point of view.

    The only relevant historical question, the only one, is whether Mohammad had an actual revelation of some kind - apart from that which might be characterized as a result of some psychic split or epilepsy. And if so, just who or what it was that was providing the "revelation" exhibited in the Koranic product.

    It was certainly not identical with Jesus' God the Father, whether or not the God the Father of Jesus actually exists.

    People are going through extraordinary contortions in order to try and turn sometimes dubious commonalities, into identities.

    In any event, whether you are a believing Christian or not, you cannot grant - on the terms of the Apostolic faith itself - that Christianity can be true if Islam is also true. Nor, the Koran, if Christianity.

    "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."

    ReplyDelete


  144. Has anyone noticed a keyboard "stickiness" in these comment windows recently?

    Or is it just that my computer probably has hidden background programs running ... LOL

    NSA: I'm sorry. I worship THE ONE ... really ...

    ReplyDelete
  145. @Omer:

    "Please note that there are verses in the Qur'an that instruct the reader as the hermeneutics that help to interpret it correctly. / I will try to look a few up."

    That would be a helpful start.

    (Confer: Suppose someone quotes as a purported counterexample some hippie-sounding passage of the Bible. To what *sort* of claim could such a passage serve as a genuine counterexample? Only to a universal claim like "Every passage of the Bible is martial!" But of course, no one makes such universal claims unless they're merely being sloppy.

    Likewise with the Qur'an. But saccharine passages from it just keep on being launched like candied chaff across the page...)

    "It also helps to control the paranoia against Islam and Muslims. For example, it is unlikely that terrorists like Al Qaeda, etc, can occupy, let alone control a simple block...forget about a town, a city, a region, etc....and we constantly hear of the national security threat posed by them. It is simply hyperbolic lies."

    True (I presume you mean, "a town, a city, a region [of the U.S.]" For of course, some terrorists already control some regions elsewhere.) It is an interesting question to ask, about the persistence in America of paranoia about terrorism, *cui bono*?

    "Anyway, back to your post...regarding the 'miracle' of the Qur'an comment and your reaction to it, I will try to mention a few points when I get time..."

    I look forward to reading them. However, I should point out that I was referring not to your matter, but rather to your manner. Bring up the Qur'an and suddenly Muslims everywhere start sounding like Maurice Maeterlinck--or like Laurence Olivier's version of the Mahdi in *Khartoum.*

    ReplyDelete
  146. The Quran:

    As discussed in more detail earlier in this thread, those of the "Different God" camp tend to look for the only True Narrative and the interface of God and the Adamic vis-à-vis the only True Criteria in books which deny Christ's All Sufficiency.

    What an Un-Scriptural move.

    That is the problem of allowing one's philosophical commitments to trump one's commitment to Scripture's criteria and terms.

    It is apparent that some real part of the thinking within those of the “Different God” camp has put components of their philosophy ahead of expressly Christian criteria and expressly Scriptural claims upon the real world and the real God. The more we unpack the only narrative that matters, and the more we remove all the *noise*, the more we see that the detractors here can only succeed if they deny the undeniable in (verifiable) historical and (verifiable) theological and (verifiable) intellectual and (verifiable) emotive motions as well as (verifiable) Scriptural claims upon God's modes of interfacing with the Adamic, including Christ's words relating to those who deny the fullness of Goodness and the fullness of God.

    We see this antithesis of scriptural criteria in that slice of their thinking which appeals to the Quran as the reference in question by those who affirm “Same God”.

    But that’s not the reference affirmed by those who affirm “Same God”.

    As if the Christian is to look for God’s revelation of Himself to an entire mindset of mankind over inside of the claims and affairs of books which deny Christ’s All Sufficiency and thereby deny the timeless self-sacrifice of Immutable Love wherein and whereby All Sufficiency pours – and by pouring fills – Insufficiency to the bitter ends of time and physicality.

    Because we are Christians, and because we employ Scripture's criteria, and because our Christianity informs our philosophy, the more we see just why the detractor's insistence (their logically implied statement) that Man's sin or Man's (possible) error or Man's (possible) trickery or Man’s (possible) nonsense or the Quran or the origins of the Quran can somehow beat out the only True Narrative that there ever was is a series of moves on their part which all amount to the foist of a False Narrative.

    Indeed, a *reference* of or to the Quran is *not* what matters, is *not* where (verifiable) correspondence (verifiably) occurs (on point after point after point), and therefore the Quran and/or its origins are irrelevant to the point at hand. Should the Quran survive or fail to survive Scripture's criteria is a consideration we must all weigh, however, the results of that inquiry have no impact on *other* references which verifiably *do* go through and satisfy Scripture's metanarrative and Scripture’s criteria. Indeed, those *other* references can and do function in and by Scripture’s criteria and, therefore, our final decision on the Quran will either buttress them (if the Quran is deemed “from God”), or else our final decision will debunk the Quran as a proper reference which goes through (if the Quran is deemed “not from God”) – but such leaves *other* references and their array of (verifiable) historical, theological, intellectual, end emotive motions untouched.

    As discussed in more detail earlier in this thread.

    People are going through extraordinary contortions in order to try and turn obvious and verifiable satisfaction of Scripture's criteria and terms into a False Narrative.

    Christ Himself, the God of Romans 1, the many modes (plural) of revelation claimed by Scripture, and Scripture's many claims upon the narrative of God and Man, Man and God, fortunately inform us of where to look for God and His many avenues of interfacing with the Adamic.

    ReplyDelete
  147. @Omer
    My apology for spelling your name incorrectly. @laubadetriste thanks for pointing that out.

    ReplyDelete
  148. @DNW: "The only relevant historical question..."

    Emphasis on *historical.*

    "NSA: I'm sorry. I worship THE ONE ... really ..."

    Heh. :)

    (I never noticed how much neoplatonism can sound like bad dialogue in a dystopian YA movie.)

    @scbrownlhrm:

    What does "verifiable" mean in this context? I suspect you do not mean Popper's criterion of demarcation.

    @Jason:

    No worries. I guess I'm just sensitive to such things, because my name is unusual. People keep calling me "pompous prick," and I keep on having to correct their spelling...

    @Scott: "For whatever it's worth, the posters to this forum are already included in my rosary intentions but I'm specifically adding you to my 'sick list' until you're better. You have my permission to let me know when that happens. ;-)"

    I had a brief reverie that your prayers were extra efficacious, and you accidentally prayed me into heaven. (This being the contrary of that guardian angel in Anatole France, who read himself out of heaven by exploring in the Bishop's theological library...)

    ReplyDelete
  149. @Felipe VI
    The 2010 Thomas seems like a quite different fellow. I'd like to see more of him and less of the newer version.

    The pathetic thing is that I think his general argumentative strategy is okay but his invective obscures and derails his argument. The argument boils down to what the essence of worship is, whether or not it requires accurate understanding between metaphysically ultimate and worshiper, or if "seeing through a glass, darkly" is sufficient.

    @laubadetriste
    How 'bout no more than three 4,096-character continued posts at a time?
    Please. I'm (metaphorically) diabetic. Give me insulin before you ply me with treacle like that.

    This is your notification that I'm shamelessly stealing these.

    ReplyDelete

  150. Of course, you have done little or nothing to back up claims contrary to his (that Allah is good, that Muslims love women, etc.) Should I therefore presume that you are also ignorant? I hope you don't mean that it is only when someone disagrees with you, or says something you, Anonymous, do not like, that that person is ignorant.

    Probably it is just an oversight because there are many Anoni, but I did do this, as have others. I quoted the names of God from the Quran. Others quoted passages from the Quran, and so on. I talked earlier about the traditional Islamic perspective on women and unbelievers. This debate has raged throughout the thread.

    But I don't agree the situation is the same. I think someone who alleges Islamic civilization is simply degenerate and its religion utterly evil has a greater onus on him to back them up than those of us who reject such caricatures.


    It is not useful broadly to accuse Thomas of being ignorant. While he is very likely ignorant about at least some parts of Islam, if not many parts of Islam, one must do the work to show specifically how that is relevant. As I said above, "[U]nless you presume that knowledge of Islam as such must lead to certain opinions, you had best explain just where you think his knowledge falls short, and just what difference that makes."

    I don't presume that if he wasn't ignorant he would agree with Islam. I do presume he that he wouldn't see Islam and the Islamic world as an evil caricature. It might be different if Thomas were a secular humanist, and attacking Islam from a very modern and liberal perspective, but he is a conservative Christian. Someone earlier brought up C. S. Lewis's Tao. They tried to separate Islam from this. My point is basically that someone who is not ignorant would not try this.

    ReplyDelete
  151. The issue about the literary value of the Quran is very interesting. I'd like to see the standards used to judge the Quran's literary value though. What sort of literary value is the Quran meant to display? In earlier twentieth century literary criticism, the secondary status of religious literature is commonplace. That a poet is mostly devotional is sometimes enough to damn him as second-rate. I have even seen the Bible attacked as a bad piece of literature.

    ReplyDelete
  152. @Felipe VI: "I think someone who alleges Islamic civilization is simply degenerate and its religion utterly evil has a greater onus on him to back them up than those of us who reject such caricatures."

    That his view is a caricature is of course just what Thomas would deny, and putting it so is begging the question against him.

    But that the onus on him is *greater* seems a fair point.

    "I do presume he that he wouldn't see Islam and the Islamic world as an evil caricature."

    Why?

    (There are few more vicious opponents, sometimes, than those one is closest to. This is infamously so in divorces, of course. But more to the point, think of the fighting between Trotskyist groups in New York before WWII... or between proliferating Protestant sects...

    What I mean is, you seem to be relying implicitly upon something like "Tout comprendre, c’est tout pardonner". Of course, there is at least a great deal of truth to that...)

    "It might be different if Thomas were a secular humanist, and attacking Islam from a very modern and liberal perspective, but he is a conservative Christian. Someone earlier brought up C. S. Lewis's Tao. They tried to separate Islam from this. My point is basically that someone who is not ignorant would not try this."

    This seems to imply that the adoption of a "very modern and liberal perspective" widens the license of caricature. But why should a change in *perspective* do such a thing, if you say Thomas *would* caricature *because he is ignorant*? (See, this muddles knowledge, will, perspective...

    ...and now the *Tao* [in the *Abolition of Man* sense]. Note that a *caricature* recognizably looks like what it caricatures. All Thomas need do is say that Islam is one of those "fragments from the Tao itself, arbitrarily wrenched from their context in the whole and then swollen to madness in their isolation" [Lewis], and retain his criticism.)

    Far better to review *about what specifically* Thomas is ignorant, and what difference it makes...

    "Probably it is just an oversight because there are many Anoni, but I did do this, as have others. I quoted the names of God from the Quran. Others quoted passages from the Quran, and so on. I talked earlier about the traditional Islamic perspective on women and unbelievers. This debate has raged throughout the thread."

    ...↑like so. :) Let's say that was my mistake.

    (Yes, the profusion of Anonymice is confusing.)

    ReplyDelete
  153. Britain and Saudi Arabia: Collusion in Barbarism
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/britain-and-saudi-arabia-collusion-in-barbarism/5500661



    Clinton Email Shows that Oil and Gold Were Behind Regime Change In Libya
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article43914.htm

    ReplyDelete
  154. @Step2: "This is your notification that I'm shamelessly stealing these."

    Thanks. :) You're welcome to 'em. "Bad poets imitate. Good poets steal."

    "I'll be here all week, people!" as Gottfried once said. Being funny is the next best thing to telling the truth...

    ReplyDelete
  155. Is there anything to be gleaned from how God instructs and speaks about the Israelites in the desert?

    Ten Commandments:

    And God spoke all these words, saying,
    “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
    “You shall have no other gods before me."
    “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God..."


    Or later in Exodus 32:

    "When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us...And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.

    And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’”


    The first commandment is not, "You shall not mischaracterize me." But rather, "You shall have no other gods before me."

    After creating the golden calf, "Aaron built an alter before it" and made a proclamation that the next day would be "a feast to the Lord."

    In other words, they professed to be worshiping the Lord, but were doing so by means of the calf.

    It would seem that the god they had in mind had the characteristics of being "...absolutely metaphysically ultimate, that from which all else derives, that which not only does not have but could not in principle have had a cause of his own..."

    Nevertheless, God's response to Moses is, "...your people have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!'"

    The alter and feast to the Lord notwithstanding, God didn't declare that the Israelites were worshiping Him in a merely incorrect or misguided way, but rather that they were worshiping something else altogether.

    This caused God's wrath to "burn hot against them" and left Him wanting to "consume them."

    ReplyDelete
  156. Joe:

    It was Aaron who declared that the day was a feast to the LORD. It was the Israelites en masse whom God declared to be worshipping the golden calf itself. So far as I can see, not only does nothing in the text indicate that the Israelites were worshipping the one true God "by means of the calf," but God explicitly says they weren't even though that was what Aaron himself intended them to do.

    If I'm right about that, then the lesson is just about the opposite of the one you suggest—namely, that for a tribe whose leaders have just been introduced to the one true God but who don't know much of anything about Him yet themselves, there's a real danger that the use of images in worship will lead them away from the worship of that God. Their intent was directed toward something else.

    ReplyDelete
  157. To put it another way (because, as I've stated the case, you already agree with parts of it): as I read it, the text implies that it's a mistake to think Aaron's own intent is somehow inherited by the Israelites just because of what he personally says about the feast. You're right that God says they're worshipping someone/something else entirely, but not because they're using a golden calf to worship the God Aaron intends; quite the opposite. So it seems to me, anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  158. Scott: Thanks. Frankly, I was caught off guard to see Thomas explain the error he had made... and then repeat the error again! Oh, well.
    (And I agree abut the Golden Calf. It sounds to me as though Aaron was afraid to stand up to the Israelites who said "make us a god" and tried to come up with a rationalisation.)


    Pompou— er, Laubadetriste: Which has been pointed out already. Third time's the charm.

    Charm wasn't the first personality-trait that came to mind, but if we can't have truth and beauty….

    ReplyDelete
  159. Scott:

    You may be right. For better or worse, Spurgeon reads it as though they were all worshiping the Lord by means of, or "under the form of a bull.":

    Exodus 32:4. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a gravinq tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

    No doubt they copied the Egyptian God, which was in the form of a bull, which the Holy Spirit, by the pen of Moses, here calls a calf. The psalmist probably also alludes to it when he speaks of “an ox or a bullock that hath horns and hoofs.” It seems strange that these people should have thought of worshiping the living God under such a symbol as that.

    Exodus 32:5. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD.

    “To Jehovah.” They intended to worship Jehovah under the form of a bull — the image of strength. Other idolaters go further, and worship Baal and various false gods, but, between the worship of a golden calf and the worship of false gods, there is very little choice; and, between the idolatry of the heathen and Popery, there is about as much difference as there is between six and half a dozen.


    http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/view.cgi?bk=1&ch=32

    Mathew Henry also seems to read it in a similar way:

    Having made the calf in Horeb, they worshiped the graven image, Ps. 106:19 . Aaron, seeing the people fond of their calf, was willing yet further to humour them, and he built an altar before it, and proclaimed a feast to the honour of it (v. 5), a feast of dedication. Yet he calls it a feast to Jehovah; for, brutish as they were, they did not imagine that this image was itself a god, nor did they design to terminate their adoration in the image, but they made it for a representation of the true God, whom they intended to worship in and through this image; and yet this did not excuse them from gross idolatry, any more than it will excuse the papists, whose plea it is that they do not worship the image, but God by the image, so making themselves just such idolaters as the worshipers of the golden calf, whose feast was a feast to Jehovah, and proclaimed to be so, that the most ignorant and unthinking might not mistake it. The people are forward enough to celebrate this feast (v. 6): They rose up early on the morrow, to show how well pleased they were with the solemnity, and, according to the ancient rites of worship, they offered sacrifice to this new-made deity, and then feasted upon the sacrifice; thus having, at the expense of their ear-rings, made their god, they endeavour, at the expense of their beasts, to make this god propitious. Had they offered these sacrifices immediately to Jehovah, without the intervention of an image, they might (for aught I know) have been accepted ch. 20:24 ); but having set up an image before them as a symbol of God’s presence, and so changed the truth of God into a lie, these sacrifices were an abomination, nothing could be more so.

    http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/exodus/32.html

    Feser's point in this blog seems to hinge largely on this statement:

    "Now, being absolutely metaphysically ultimate, being that from which all else derives, being that which does not have and in principle could not have a cause of its own, etc. -- in short, being what classical theism says God essentially is -- is, I would say, what is key to determining whether someone’s use of “God” plausibly refers to the true God."

    In Exodus 32, the Israelites seem to be recognizing God in that way. By Feser's standard, they are worshiping God. But God Himself says they are worshiping something else.

    Muslims are also worshiping something else.

    ReplyDelete
  160. "It basically boils down to: “Christians affirm X about God and Muslims deny X, therefore they aren’t worshipping the same God.”"

    This isn't the way I think of it. It's like this: God is objectively a Trinity. The Muslim God (call him "Allah") isn't a Trinity. Therefore, Allah isn't God. I see now that that's a different question than whether Muslims and Christians (and anybody else in the world) worship the same God. If the question is whether the God of Islam is the God of Christianity, the answer is "no." If the question is whether Muslims and Christians (and anyone else in the world) "worship the same God," the answer might be "yes."

    ReplyDelete
  161. Joe:

    "In Exodus 32, the Israelites seem to be recognizing God in that way."

    I think not. The passage itself says (as I see Mr. Green has noted) that the Israelites demanded that Aaron make us gods [or a god] who will go before us and that it was in response to this demand that Aaron made the molten calf. (One of my Catholic commentaries even suggests that he expected them to drop their demand when he asked them for their gold.)

    As I read it, Aaron tried unsuccessfully to get the recently librated Israelites to redirect their worship to the God of Whom Moses had told them, but they didn't know much about Moses (let alone God) yet and they weren't having any of it.

    ReplyDelete
  162. Oops, "librated" = "liberated."

    ReplyDelete
  163. (As for the commentaries, I'm familiar with Spurgeon and Henry and I have nothing much against either one of them personally, but in considering whether to trust them on questions about idolatry, you'll want to keep in mind that they think Catholics are idolaters too. Whether or not you agree, you'll at least understand why Catholics are unlikely to regard them as in any way authoritative on the subject.)

    ReplyDelete
  164. @Mr.Green: "Pompou— er, Laubadetriste: 'Which has been pointed out already. Third time's the charm.' / Charm wasn't the first personality-trait that came to mind, but if we can't have truth and beauty…."

    :)

    Can't tell if you're referring to Thomas, or to me. If the first, I won't pretend to defend also his *charm*. Why, I feel like "Attorney for the Damned" just pointing out the reasonable doubt left after the case against his knowlegeableness.

    As for me, "charm" is a bridge too far. "Peppery in a parliamentary loyal-opposition kinda way," at best, and that's me caked with every pound of pig-lipstick on backorder from Maybelline...

    ReplyDelete
  165. Scott:

    "but they didn't know much about Moses (let alone God)"

    The Israelites would certainly learn much more about God after the episode with the golden calf. However, through witnessing among other things the 10 plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the pillar of fire by night and cloud by day, the manna and the water from the rock, the Israelites were not without substantial knowledge of God.

    In Exodus 15, Moses and the Israelites sing to God,

    "“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
    Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
    awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?"


    Nevertheless if we suppose for a moment that, as you say, "their intent was directed toward something else," as they worshiped before the golden calf, it would have been strange if they conceptualized or understood that new god to be inferior to the God they experienced and sang to in the desert. What would be the benefit of switching to a lesser god?

    Accordingly, this new god would have also fit Feser's criteria of "being absolutely metaphysically ultimate, being that from which all else derives, being that which does not have and in principle could not have a cause of its own, etc. -- in short, being what classical theism says God essentially is."

    God said they "worshiped it."

    In dong so, they rejected the closing line of their own Exodus song:

    "The LORD will reign forever and ever.” (Exodus 15:18)

    ReplyDelete
  166. Scott/Joe,

    Joe makes a good point and, perhaps unknowingly, affirms that some, vis-a-vis Romans 1-2, spy the One True God, and then reduce Him to a created thing, or don't worship at all. Whereas, to gaze into the Heavens and spy, on the other side of the created order, the One True God Who transcends all, vis-a-vis Romans 1-2, affirms that one's reference (which differs from knowing etc.) successfully goes through. The Jew who spies the Singularity Who transcends all (etc.), before any laws or rules, before Sinai has said successful reference as does the Jew who spies the Uncreated God and yet rejects Christ (has that sort of reference) as does the Muslim who rejects Christ. On that clear and singular reference the Christian today borrows both Jewish theology and Islamic theology as they both obviously succeed in going through, and, then, leaves them both behind for a fuller, more complete horizon.

    Rejecting the fulness of Goodness and the fullness of Trinity and the fullness of God in rejecting Christ fails to deconstruct Christ's affirmation of the Jew nor the many modes of revelation encompassing the Adamic's interfaces with the Divine affirmed in Romans 1-2. For obvious reasons. Caustic errors amid such proper and successful reference are perfectly compatible with said success of said reference, as discussed earlier, and as won't be rehashed in another part 1 through part 5, etc. For obvious reasons.

    ReplyDelete
  167. Joe:

    "What would be the benefit of switching to a lesser god?"

    Indeed. But this question cuts both ways. If they really did understand the God of Moses to be the metaphysically ultimate being from which all else derives, then why "trade down"? Doesn't that strongly suggest that many of them did not so understand Him?

    Moreover, as far as I can see, the essential point remains unchanged if some individual Israelites did "exchange the truth of God for a lie." In that case it's still the lie they were worshiping, not the true God.

    Either way, I don't see that the passage makes a great deal of sense if the Israelites were merely worshiping the true God "through" the idol. It seems clear that they were, for whatever reason, worshiping the idol itself—whether out of ignorance, or out of deliberate rejection, of the true God.

    ReplyDelete
  168. Scripture's definitions and criteria are clear when it comes to carved images of created, contingent forms. Both in the OT and in the NT.

    Scripture's definitions and criteria are the only true definitions and criteria.

    Scripture's meta-narrative of God and the Adamic is the only possible narrative.

    Even if an Angel should preach a different metanarrative........

    ReplyDelete
  169. To point at a tree, or any other mutable and contingent form, and ascribe to it all the proper properties of Pure Actually, is to embark on the delusional. It is no accident that Pure Actuality requires the mind of the Adamic to land on The I AM That I AM and specifically remarks about the dangers of shifting towards mutable and contingent vectors and forms, not only in the Law, but also once the Law is superceded by Christ (in the definitions of Romans 1-2 etc.).

    Scripture's definitions and criteria sum to the only narrative there *is*.

    There is not more than one reality, one metanarrative.

    ReplyDelete
  170. Laubadetriste, the peppery pound-plastered porcine parliamentarian: As for me, "charm" is a bridge too far.

    I must've meant "chasm", but you know me, can't tell my R's from my... S's. Next time I'd better mind my P's and Q's. But now it's getting late, I should catch some Z's.


    P.S.: I think the Golden Calf does not provide a counter-example, but Joe raises a good question, and one more worthy than most of the other 500+ attempted objections.

    ReplyDelete
  171. @Mr. Groan: "I must've meant 'chasm', but you know me, can't tell my R's from my... S's."

    :) Yes, do mind that elbow.

    "P.S.: I think the Golden Calf does not provide a counter-example, but Joe raises a good question, and one more worthy than most of the other 500+ attempted objections."

    Yup.

    ReplyDelete
  172. Lydia rejoins the debate:

    http://whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2016/01/islam_and_the_same_god_questio.html

    ReplyDelete
  173. THICK or too THIN?

    E. Feser, in the thread for the Islam, Christianity, and Liberalism Again OP, in his comment time-stamped January 16, 2016 at 10:07 AM, stated the following:

    “……..It is nowhere near a correct reading.”

    Fallaciously equating *reference* to all sorts of *other* claims and sightlines may cause both Feser and other “Same God Reference” folks to be *mis*interpreted.

    Therefore:

    Theses and theories which claim the “Different God Reference” take what Scripture affirms to be ontologically thick and absolute and foist it as ontologically thin and irrelevant.

    While such was discussed in more detail in the Christians, Muslims, and the Reference of God thread, the “Different God Reference” folks often appeal to this notion of “Too Thin”. Given that Scripture defines such as Ontologically Thick, such deserves a few comments.

    The Bill-Lydia Thesis (borrowed term) and others go beyond reference and into “People of the Book” into the Quran and into what is intended to count as the fullness of genuine worship which successfully goes through as all such lines are fallaciously equated to the degree which *reference* claims to reach. It is unclear if the College Professor in question intended any of “that”, or if she intended, instead, something along the lines of:

    [1] E. Feser
    [2] Romans 1
    [3] Kalam 101
    [4] Genesis 1
    [5] Reference amid Referent (the only concept this comment is concerned with)
    [6] Christ amid the Jewish reference as the Jew rejects the fullness of countless Divine Contours

    The college Professor will have to clarify and quantify her own intended reach. No further comment on her intentions – proximal, distal, or otherwise – are of any relevance to *reference* as such relates to items 1 through 6.

    Continued……

    ReplyDelete

  174. THICK or too THIN?

    It is crystal clear that the college Professor’s respondents (not the Professor herself for she will have to clarify her own intended reach) over in the “Different God Reference” *do* fallaciously equate *reference* and the reach thereof to all those other claims (Trinity, fullness of goodness, Quran’s origins, Quran period, fullness of Christ, fullness of worship which successfully goes through, Triune, fullness of love, fullness of Moral Ontology vis-à-vis Christ and Trinity, and so on).

    Given those fallacious and false identity claims of the “Different God Reference”, let’s clarify:

    [1] *None* of this is about any other some-thing outside of or distal to “reference which goes through” – which is different than “Know” and different than “accompany” and different than “worship which goes through”, and so on.

    [2] *None* of this is about what happens *after* that actualization of that reference as all things Genesis 1 and as all things Kalam 101 and as all things Romans 1 converge upon the One True God according to Scripture’s terms and definitions. What happens *after* said actualization of said successful reference is a *different* topic.

    [3] *None* of this is about some non-existent “reference that is the Quran”, for no such reference is claimed by the “Same God Reference” folks. Rather, this is about Scripture’s terms and criteria as to what counts as a “reference which goes through”. If the Quran happens to meet or happens to fail to meet said criteria has *no* impact on *other* references which *do* cohere with Scripture’s terms and criteria as we unpack the Adamic’s various intellectual and emotive motions amid all things Genesis 1 and hence amid all things Kalam 101 and hence amid all things Romans 1

    [4] *None* of this (reference) is about what counts as Knowing God nor about what counts as the fullness of genuine worship nor about the metaphysical fullness of moral goodness nor about the instantiation of All Sufficiency as we discover in and by Christ the transposition of timeless self-sacrifice within the immutable love of the Necessary Being as All Sufficiency (literally) pours and by pouring (literally) fills mutable and contingent insufficiency to the bitter ends of (literal) time and (literal) physicality.


    ....... the remainder of comments for this theme (three more) are in the other linked Essay by Feser, "Islam, Christianity, and Liberalism Again" in comment #'s 17 - 21 or something like that.

    It's enough to say here that the "Different God" folks assert that Scripture gets it wrong, that Romans 1 gets it wrong, while their theses gets it right when it comes to Ontologically Thick or too THIN?

    ReplyDelete
  175. From a non-committed (ie. anti-theist) persective, this would only be a valid question if God (or Allah, or whatever) actually exists. It might make for interesting conversation around the fireplace, but has little use for serious philosophers.

    ReplyDelete
  176. Matthew 11:25-30English Standard Version (ESV)

    At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

    English Standard Version (ESV)
    The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

    ReplyDelete