Thursday, December 24, 2009

Deep down inside, you atheists really believe in God

According to a couple of Muslim fatwas. Have these guys been reading van Til and Bahnsen? Reformed Islamic apologetics?

24 comments:

Mark said...

This seems to be the sort of thinking that can only propagate within a religious community having little exposure to/contact with outsiders. As such, it may be the germ of a good argument why studying for years at a religious institution (be it seminary or madrassa) is a bad idea.

Steven said...

Ha ha ha, how many Muslims do you know at Westminster Seminary?

Anonymous said...

Victor,

Plenty of Christian apologists and philosophers, throughout history, have claimed that all men believe in God.

Furthermore, many, like C.S. Lewis, for example, have claimed that atheists replace their desire for God with other things. Many have claimed that there is a "longing" for God that all men have.

In popular thought, many claim that there are no atheists in foxholes.

Point is, whether you agree with them or not, your tradition has said things that atheists would laugh at just as you laugh at Bahnsen and Van Til.

Anonymous said...

Different anon here. I'd disagree with these fatwas of course. But as someone who has had plenty, plenty of contact with and exposure to "outsiders", atheists in particular.. I think there may well be some truth to the claim.

Sorry, can't laugh at that core.

Gregory said...

I have known for sometime that Islam and Reformed Theology share much in common. For instance, both place strong emphasis on the meticulous, micro-managing will and power of God.

What is more interesting are the parallels between Islamic Theocracy and Christian Theonomy.....both placing strong emphasis on the externalization of spirituality and faith.

The proposals that Rushdoony offers in his "Institutes of Biblical Law" are not that much different than what many Muslim Clerics have written about, and spoken on.

Islam, as a faith which is primarily focused on the external "Law", has always been a Political faith. It was not by preaching that Muhammed converted the Easter and Western Empire....but rather by sword. That is a matter of historical record. The Hagio Sophia, the crown jewel of Constantinople, was not willingly abandoned by Orthodox Christians. Instead, the Muslim invaders sacked Constantinople and refused to allow Christians to worship there. That is still true to this day.

However, Christian Reconstruction seeks the same sort of goal. Greg Bahnsen, for instance, in his tape lectures on Postmillenialism, boasts that the "postmillenial" hope is predicated upon the idea that the Gospel will transform all the major centers of political, economic and cultural power to Christianity---just before the Parousia. And I suppose that if God wields the kind of "sovereignty" that Bahnsen claims, then it would not be an unusual philosophical claim to make; although, he believes that the scriptures are, in fact, in favor of this interpretation. At any rate, it wouldn't be hard to imagine a worldly, Christianized Utopia before the second Advent, if God actually "controls whatsoever comes to pass."

But I'm going to make an even more poignant observation. The externalized, politicization of Christianity has been the norm for Calvinism since Calvin. That, also, is a matter of historical record. And when you look at the history of the persecution of non-Calvinists in Geneva, it's difficult to tell if the motivations were primarily political or ecclesiastic. In other words, were the problems of dissent in Geneva primarily over political disagreement or over heresy? The truth is, there is no clear line of demarcation here in the historical accounts. Remember: Calvin and his immediate successors were not living in Countries that had church/state "separation" clauses as a State policy. But that doesn't stop 21st Century scholars from reading their "church/state separation" concepts back into 16th Century Europe, as though 16th Century Europeans were "enlightened", 21st Century Postmodern skeptics.

Unfortunately, Caesaropapism has never gone away. The Evangelical "religious right" is the Protestant equivalent of Caesaropapism. The atheist/humanist special interest groups lobbying for "secularism", the elimination of prayer and I.D. in the Classroom and "church/state separation" dogma, also represents a particular form of Caesaropapism. Only, in this case, the State has become a surrogate religious institution. Recall Huxleys "Brave New World", Zemyatin's "We" or Lewis' "That Hideous Strength".

Steven said...

Deep down inside, you really do believe in Calvinism. After all, you pray like a Calvinist, anyway...

Mark said...

Anon, it's true that there are ways for secular governments to exhibit quasi-religious dogmatism, but that's hardly a fair description of institutional secularism in most developed countries. The point of institutional secularism in these places is to accommodate, not deny, religious pluralism. There's an obvious difference between government being neutral on matters of religion (so that no religious orientation is excluded or favored) and government being anti-religious. Although perhaps some Evangelicals wouldn't want you to think so.

Anonymous said...

"I have known for sometime that Islam and Reformed Theology share much in common. For instance, both place strong emphasis on the meticulous, micro-managing will and power of God."

Gregory, this misrepresentation has to stop. Muslims, most of them, and most commentators, believe that man has LFW, they chalk it all up to "mystery," much like lay Christian libertarians do.

Gregory said...

Anonymous:

That is simply not true. It's true that some Muslims believe in LFW, just as it is true that some Muslims favor non-Theocratic forms of Government.

It is also true that some people interpret the word Islam as "peace". Others claim that Islam means "submission".

Sunni Muslims, of which 75-85% of the world's population of Muslims happen to be, espouse an Augustinian-type view of Divine sovereignty; while the minority, Shi'a Muslims, espouse LFW.

But what does the Quran say? Read it for yourself here:

http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/quran/035.qmt.html#035.001

Surah 35:1-4

Let me state this categorically:

Sunni's reject libertarian freewill. The vast majority of Muslims are Sunni.

LFW was first introduced to Islam at least two hundred years after Muhammed had died, having arisen in the speculative thinking of the Mu'Tazilah school of Theology. Shi'a Muslims, of course, adopted many of the positions that came out of this school of thought. But it doesn't represent historic Islam....which is also why most Muslims, past and present, have rejected it!!!

Anonymous, you are clearly out of touch with the teachings of Islam. I say this a matter of fact, not as an insult. And it's nothing to be ashamed of. For instance, most people in the U.S. have very little understanding of local traffic laws, let alone religion. Frankly, I wouldn't place the study of Islam high on the list of academic priorities, either. But interest in Islam has skyrocketed since 9/11, so I've made some sort of attempt to understand it. But I'd prefer playing guitar or praying.

Anyway, my main point here is this:

Christ taught that His Kingdom is "not of this world". He commanded His disciples to "render unto Caesar what is Caesars and unto God what is God's"....meaning, that there is a fundamental difference between the kingdoms of this world and the Kingdom of God. To underscore this point, Christ also taught that we "cannot serve both God and money". Also, the Apostles taught us that we are to consider ourselves "aliens" and "strangers" and "sojourners" in the world, because our "citizenship is in heaven". We are also taught to "deny ourselves" and to "take up our Cross" and follow Christ.

In other words, as Christians, we ought to consider ourselves as like the Israelites wandering in the Sinai desert. We are to consider ourselves as vagrants and pilgrims who are looking for that Heavenly City, the New Jerusalem, which is from above. We are told "not to set our minds on earthly things". Our hope is not in this world, but in our "cross" (i.e. death) and in our "resurrection" (i.e. God's victory over death). Our hope is neither in the "political process" nor in civic/social "reform".

These are the teachings of the Christian Faith, taken right out of scripture. I'm not saying anything new here. But it will seem new to those who are accustomed to having mounds upon mounds of interpretations covering over the words of Holy Scripture.

What is our real duty...our only duty....in life? Our only duty in life is to love God, and to love our neighbor as our self. That's it. We are also taught that "the last shall be first, and the first last" and "whoever wants to be greatest among you must learn to be the servant of all". This is what "love" does. And we are also commanded to despise "worldly ambition", and to "clothe ourselves with humility". That is what true Christianity is all about. And, from the standpoint of the "world", it's a dangerous idea. But from the standpoint of our Faith, it is our life.

Robert said...

Who should I believe here???

A calvinist posting anonymously, who wrote:

“Gregory, this misrepresentation has to stop. Muslims, most of them, and most commentators, believe that man has LFW, they chalk it all up to "mystery," much like lay Christian libertarians do.”

Or Gregory who responded with:

“Sunni Muslims, of which 75-85% of the world's population of Muslims happen to be, espouse an Augustinian-type view of Divine sovereignty; while the minority, Shi'a Muslims, espouse LFW.

But what does the Quran say? Read it for yourself here:

http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/quran/035.qmt.html#035.001

Surah 35:1-4

Let me state this categorically:

Sunni's reject libertarian freewill. The vast majority of Muslims are Sunni.”

The calvinist says **most** Muslims hold to LFW (A), Gregory says that 75-85% (which **is** most) Muslims reject LFW (not-A). These are completely contradictory claims. As the calvinist posts anonymously that already gives me reason to trust Gregory more on this one. In addition, from past readings of Gregory’s posts, it seems that Gregory is the one that is correct here not the calvinist.

What is ironic is that both the calvinist and the Muslim hold to fatalism defined as: “Fatalism is the doctrine that it is a logical or conceptual truth that no person is ever free to do otherwise.” [Definition provided by John Martin Fischer] If you deny LFW as the anonymous calvinist does/and the “Sunni Muslims, of which 75-85% of the world's population of Muslims happen to be”, why then you would in fact believe that “no person is ever free to do otherwise.” My personal experience further confirms Gregory on this one: I have had some very hostile Muslims tell me that we can never do otherwise than what Allah has decreed! Which is about as clear a statement of fatalism as you can give. Come to think of it, I have had some calvinists (just switch God for Allah) tell me exactly the same thing! I guess “fatalists of a feather, flock together” :-)

Robert

Gregory said...

Thanks for your kindness Robert.

The evidence for what I say can easily be gathered at a local library....or, if you have access, a University library.

Christian apologists who have written on the subject of Islam have typically critiqued Islam from either a broadly historical analysis, focusing on Muhammed's life and on the general historical reliability of the Quran vs. the historical reliability of the Gospels and the veracity of Jesus' bodily resurrection; or they approach Islam from a Comparative Religion perspective, contrasting the overall teachings of Islam with Christianity (i.e. Unitarian vs. Trinitarian, Christian charity vs. Islamic polity, etc.).

But little has been written or discussed concerning Islamic predestination or the teachings concerning the total sovereignty of Allah. At least, I'm not aware of any publications that have focused on this. Geisler and Saleeb's "Answering Islam" may have mentioned it. I can't remember.

Looking back on my last post, I noticed that I hadn't connected as many dots as I would have liked to. For instance, think about this:

Imagine that you had come to believe that you were specially "chosen" by God, unlike other poor wretches of whom God had completely passed over for salvation. Would that not bolster one's pride and, consequently, one's ego? Absolutely. Nothing fuels mankind's sinful passions more, and of the wicked disease of pride, than ideas which flatter us. Right? But how much more flattery can you get than having been told that God has "chosen" you from among the billions of people that He has capriciously left to die in their sins?

That's bad enough. But here's where things get ugly. If you believe that you are chosen by God, and that you're "election" was irrevocable, then whatever you think, say and do has no impact upon your final destination. It is not so much that what you think, say and do cannot thwart God purpose in saving you. Instead, whatever you think, say and do perfectly expresses God's will!! Can you see the difference here and what it might lead to?

The Calvinist might erroneously appeal to this passage in Romans 9:

"Why does he still find fault with us? For who has resisted His will."

Ok, enough about Calvinism. Returning to the issue of Islam:

If Muhammed believed that Allah had predestined him [Muhammed] as His special messenger, and Muhammed's message to the world was "submit to Allah", then why would Muhammed have any doubts about the ethics and sanity of warfare piety/religious conquest? Think about it: Muhammed believes that even his intentions, his will and his emotions are wholly determined by Allah. How could he believe he was mistaken about anything, if his brand of predestination were actually true? For Muhammed to doubt himself would be tantamount to questioning the very will of Allah; a grave impiety!!

Exhaustive Divine sovereignty, whether Christian or Islamic, inflates human pride, unseats common sense, abolishes accountability and negates virtue.
Don't just take my word for it.

"By their fruits you shall know them."

Indeed, God possess the kind of power that can steer everything according to His will. But He has freely created a universe where creatures can freely "live, move and have their being", just as God Himself is free; thus allowing a mirror of the Divine Image to exist within creation. A dim mirror, but a mirror nonetheless. Christ is the true Image, of which all other mirrors imperfectly reflect His Image. If we are not free, then neither is Christ, Himself, free. If Christ is free, then so are we.

As for what I said concerning Christianity and Politics, it would pay to listen to Dr. Gregory Boyd's interview on Charlie Rose. I tried to express some of his thoughts here, but I think he more ably articulated what I've been poorly attempting to in this thread.

Anonymous said...

"Who should I believe here???"

Muslims, Robert, Muslims. For one, Huston Smith, in his book on world religions, writes that Muslims hold to LFW. Second, all the Muslim's I have interviewed have claimed Islam teaches LFW.

Of course, If Greg and Robert want to be consistent, then THEY HAVE TO believe that Islam teaches LFW. Why? Take one of many passages in the koran like this:

"We have shown man the path of truth and the path of falsehood; he may choose either the path of guidance and offer the thanks, or choose the path of ingratitude." (76:3)

When we see similar passages in the Bible, Greg and Robert thump their chests and say, "See, see, the Bible teaches LFW."

So, for them to be consistent, THEY MUST BELIEVE THAT THE KORAN TEACHES LFW!!!

Islam is even Arminian in their belief that determinism makes God the "author of sin"

"When they commit some abominable act, they say: 'We found our fore fathers doing this, and God has commanded us to do it.' Tell them, O Prophet, 'God never commands men to commit foul deeds, but you attribute to God every sinful and erroneous act you commit in your ignorance.'(7:28)

And again:

"Whoever does the smallest good deed shall experience the result of it, and whoever does the slightest evil deed shall experience the result of it." (99:7-8) "Certainly you are accountable for what you do." (16:93) "Those who assign partners to God say that their worship of idols and other deeds derive from God's will; had God not willed it, they and their forefathers would not have become polytheists, and theywould not practice the deeds of the Ageoflgnorance. Those who went astray in previous times also spoke such nonsense, denying the heavenly teachings and attributing their misguidance to God but they suffered the punishment for their lies and their slander. Say to them, O Prophet: 'Do you have a decisive proof for what you say? If you do not, your excuses are nothing but the result of erroneous ideas and fantasies; you speak vainly and Iyingly.'(6:148)

I could keep going, but having read Islamic scholars, and those sympathetic to Islam, the point isn't worth debating.

Anyway, worst case scenario for me is that islam is DIVIDED and so it isn't MONOLITHIC and so it is FALSE to say that Islam SIMPLICITER is deterministic (and let's put aside the fact that they are not like Calvinist determinists, who are by far more philosophically sophisticated).

Gregory said...

John Calvin believes in LFW too. Listen to his commentary on Hebrews 3:

"While it is called today. He now applies what David said more particularly to his own subjects; for he reminds us that the word today, mentioned in the Psalm, ought not to be confined to the age of David, but that it comprehends every time in which God may address us. As often, then, and as long as he opened his sacred mouth to teach us, let this sentence come to our minds, 'Today, if ye will hear his voice.' In the same way Paul teaches us that when the Gospel is preached to us, it is the accepted time in which God hears us, and the Day of salvation in which he helps us. (2 Corinthians 6:2.)

Now, of this opportunity we ought to avail ourselves; for if through our sloth we suffer it to pass by, we shall hereafter in vain deplore its loss. So Christ says,

'Walk while ye have the light; come shortly shall the night.' (John 12:35.)"

I have already explained that some Muslims believe in LFW; namely Shi'a Muslims.

I have already explained that Sunni Muslims reject freewill in favor of Absolute Divine Sovereignty.

Here's a quote from Milton Viorst's "In The Shadow of the Prophet: The Struggle For The Soul of Islam":

'In Islam, as in Christianity, the debate between free will and determinism that has raged through the centuries is more than a theologian’s quibble. A conviction that God scripts every move can only produce in mankind an impaired sense of personal responsibility. It breeds a gloomy judgment of human potential. It implies a hapless humanity, unable to mobilize its earthly resources to resolve its problems. It creates a willingness to accept, as God’s will, conditions as they are. Of what service is human initiative, of what relevance personal exertion, of what help human decency, if God makes the calls?

In Christianity, the contest between the two visions has, under the long influence of secular thought, tipped in favor of free will. In Islam, the signs suggest that it is tipped the other way.

Surely the sense that all is foreordained lies near the root of the problem that weighs so palpably on Islamic culture. Muslims acknowledge as much. It is hard to deny that determinism’s pervasiveness in the Muslim mind has placed shackles on the earthly development of Islamic civilization.'


That's the bottom line, my friends.

Gregory said...

Maybe Huston Smith was tripping on acid when he was studying the Quran. I don't know. Yet, it still surprises me that a reputed Relgious studies "scholar" would make an oversimplified generalization concerning the theology of Islam. I would be more inclined to listen to the opinions of Ninian Smart or Sir Norman Anderson.

Secondly, it should come as no surprise that Muslims living in the U.S. are more Westernized and "liberal" than their brethren in Pakistan or Iran; especially third and fourth generation members of immigrant families. One would expect that their interpretation of Islam is going to be much different than Muslims living in the Middle East. Therefore, I would be highly cautious when taking their views as "official".

Robert said...

Hello Gregory,

Good comments, that one quote from Viorst especially is very clear about Muslims and exhaustive predeterminism of all events.

Gregory I still haven’t figured out why calvinists feel the need to post anonymously. I guess it is just a mystery. :-) Or an antinomy perhaps? :-) What do **you** think?

“Muslims, Robert, Muslims.”

Apparently you did not read my prior post, the Muslims that I have spoken to, do hold to fatalism and sound just like calvinist fatalists such as yourself (from my prior post: “My personal experience further confirms Gregory on this one: I have had some very hostile Muslims tell me that we can never do otherwise than what Allah has decreed! Which is about as clear a statement of fatalism as you can give. Come to think of it, I have had some calvinists (just switch God for Allah) tell me exactly the same thing!”).

You haven’t addressed Gregory’s point that most Muslims are Sunni Muslims and Sunni Muslims are fatalists (he suggested that: “Sunni Muslims, of which 75-85% of the world's population of Muslims happen to be, espouse an Augustinian-type view of Divine sovereignty; while the minority, Shi'a Muslims, espouse LFW”). If Gregory is correct, that means MOST Muslims hold to fatalism and beliefs remarkably similar to calvinist fatalists.

For a helpful article showing similarities between calvinist fatalists and Muslim fatalism see: http://www.freewill-predestination.com/islam.html

“Islam is even Arminian in their belief that determinism makes God the "author of sin"”

The Muslims that say and believe **that** are actually correct: exhaustive predeterminism which results in fatalism, would in fact make God the author of sin (the author of a particular play is author of all of the details of the play not just the “good” actions of the characters).

“I could keep going, but having read Islamic scholars, and those sympathetic to Islam, the point isn't worth debating.”

Nice try trying to minimize your mistake.

The debated point here has been simple: Gregory and I, take the position that MOST Muslims hold to beliefs that are fatalistic (and in this their beliefs are remarkably similar to what calvinist fatalists believe).

You seem to have forgotten your original claim: “Gregory, this misrepresentation has to stop. Muslims, MOST [my emphasis] of them, and MOST [my emphasis] commentators, believe that man has LFW,” (note you claimed that MOST Muslims hold to LFW).

“Anyway, worst case scenario for me is that islam is DIVIDED and so it isn't MONOLITHIC and so it is FALSE to say that Islam SIMPLICITER is deterministic”

We have not argued that Islam is “monolithic”, that ALL Muslims hold to fatalistic beliefs (our claim was that MOST Muslims hold to fatalistic beliefs). You argued that MOST Muslims hold to LFW. We believe that you are wrong about that.

“(and let's put aside the fact that they are not like Calvinist determinists, who are by far more philosophically sophisticated).”

How do you know that?

So you are foolish enough to believe that among the millions of Muslims out there, they have no scholars who are as “philosophically sophisticated” as “Calvinist determinists”?? The Muslims may be in error in their beliefs, but don’t sell them short, they have some smart people who are just as “philosophically sophisticated” as any “Calvinist determinists”. Your claim that they do not or could not have such people is pretty laughable naiveté on your part.

Robert

Glenn said...

"What is more interesting are the parallels between Islamic Theocracy and Christian Theonomy.....both placing strong emphasis on the externalization of spirituality and faith."

Indeed, these misrepresentations, as someone has already said, do have to stop. Advocating good works of a certain kind now counts as externalising faith? This would never wash in any other context, but because Theonomists are unpopular, evangelicals (and I do not know if Gregory is one or not) turn a blind eye to this outrageous sloppy thinking.

Victor Reppert said...

I would just make the note that similarities between Islamic thought and Calvinist thought don't make for an argument against either. The Kalam Cosmological Argument was certainly developed largely by Islamic thinkers in the early middle ages; surely no one thinks there is anything with Craig's adaptation of an argument that owes so much to Muslim thinkers.

Anonymous said...

I deny that "Sunnis are determinists." Again, some are, some are not. So, there is no "point" to address. In fact, I recently interviewed a Sunni Muslim scholar (PHD at Leeds) and he claimed that he believed in libertarian free will. That, in and of itself, falsifies the claim. So, there's nothing to "respond to" from Greg.

Muslim determinists, most of them, do not sound like Calvinists. Indeed, much of the determinist Muslims claim that **there is only one actor**, a flat out contradiction of Calvinist teaching on the matter.

Islam has its libertarians and its determinists, just like Christianity does. So, the claim that Islam SIMPLICITER is determinist like Calvinism is false for many reasons (two cited above).

Anyway, I stand by my claim that "most Muslims" are libertarians. They are just "common men", right Robert, and they have the common man belief in LFW. In fact, I used to work with about 20 and even went with them to their mosque. All of them were libertarian.

Sorry to burst your bubble. But hey, forget the calvinist link. You still have the "Calvinists are satanists" link going for you.

(BTW, I see you're the only one concerned about anonymity here. Give it a rest, psycho ;-)

Gregory said...

I want to clarify Viorst's comment that:

"In Christianity, the contest between the two visions has, under the long influence of secular thought, tipped in favor of free will."

It's actually the reverse. Under the momentum of Christian witness, the New Testament and the writings of the Fathers, Christianity nearly abolished the old pagan determinism, like Stoic fatalism.

It wasn't until Augustine that the concept was reintroduced under the pretense of Christian theology.

Also, I wasn't claiming that because Islam and Calvisnism are similar, therefore they are false. Nor is my argument that because Reconstructionism and Islam tend to radically externalize "faith" and "spirituality", therefore they are false.

I was merely making an observation.

But, the project of Christian Reconstructionism is for Christ to have "dominion" over the kingdoms of the world before He returns. That is precisely what distinguishes it from other brands of Calvinism.

It seems that Glenn and Anonymous have not understood the teachings of the the theonomists.

So, they....and anyone else who's interested....can read these titles for themselves and make up their own minds concerning the things I've said; whether they are true or false. Never, ever, simply take my word for it. Be a good Berean (Acts 17:10,11) and check it out for your self.

Rousas Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law and Christianity and the State

Greg Bahnsen, Theonomy in Christian Ethics, and No Other Standard: Theonomy and Its Critics

Gary North and Gary DeMar Christian Reconstruction

Gary North Backward Christian Soldiers, Dominion and Common Grace and Inherit the Earth: Biblical Principles for Economics

Gary DeMar Whoever Controls the Schools Rules the World and Ruler of the Nations: Biblical Blueprints for Government

Ken Gentry He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillenial Eschatology and God's Law in the Modern World: The Continuing Relevance of Old Testament Law

It is precisely the Reconstructionist political activism that separates them from Dispensational negativism, on the one hand, and "sphere sovereignty" advocates (i.e. Kuyper and Dooyeweerd), on the other.

The real differences between Calvinists and Muslims, aside from their divergent sources of revelation, are sociological. Calvinists are raised in an individualistic culture, whereas Muslims are raised in a communal culture (i.e. tribal). There is more political activism amongst Calvinists because they have the social freedom and economic incentives to pursue self-interests. Muslims, outside the U.S., do not. In the case of Muslims, political actions are decided by the "few" (i.e. ruling Clerics or Imams).

As a future note to Calvinists: if you are bothered by what I say, then I say "don't blame me...blame Sovereignty" and "who are you, O man, to talk back to God?"

Gregory said...

Anonymous says this:

"I deny that 'Sunnis are determinists.' Again, some are, some are not. So, there is no "point" to address. In fact, I recently interviewed a Sunni Muslim scholar (PHD at Leeds) and he claimed that he believed in libertarian free will. That, in and of itself, falsifies the claim."

I don't know whether you've talked to anybody or not. And, certainly, claiming that a single man's opinion has settled the matter for you....well, I guess the saying is true:

"A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still"

I chose Milton Viorst, not just because he's a distinguished journalist and historian, but, because he was an embedded journalist in the Middle East. His hand is closer to the pulse of traditional Islamic thinking than Western liberal Academics and Layman. His job did not center around studying the Quran in order to decide whether it taught "predestination/determinism" or not. Instead, he has spent time talking to traditional Muslims in non-Westernized parts of the world. What's more, he doesn't have a personal stake in whether Muslims believe in "freewill" or not. I doubt he even cares about that question. The only stake he does have is in correlating Muslim doctrine with Middle East politics and cultural development.

I have cited a credible scholar who disagrees with you Anonymous. I have cited a scholar who has gone on record as saying that Muslims, by and large, accept determinism. I doubt that Viorst is going to jeopardize his scholarly credentials with an irresponsible Journalistic claims. Heads would roll. CBS dropped Dan Rather for much less.

Now for Glenn's claim:

"Advocating good works of a certain kind now counts as externalising faith? This would never wash in any other context, but because Theonomists are unpopular, evangelicals (and I do not know if Gregory is one or not) turn a blind eye to this outrageous sloppy thinking.

"Advocating good works of a certain kind...."

You mean full blown Conservative Political activism, as opposed to the "deny yourself", "love your enemies", "pray for those that persecute you", "judge not, lest ye be judged" doctrines of Orthodox Christianity?

You know...it is no wonder that people hate Christianity today. Reconstructionism is 1rst Century Sanhedrinism redux. And if I thought Christianity looked anything like the "American Vision" of the Reconstructionist and Calvinist, then I would probably hate it too.

The governance of "Law" is to be within your own hearts. Remember that, the next time you read Psalm 119 and Romans 2:4-24.

Gregory said...

And to Robert:

Your comments were duly noted :)

Glenn said...

Gregory, those are not even serious criticisms, and there's literally nothing to analyze or respond to, unless I merely respond in kind by sayin "yeah? And your theology wears army boots!"

Gregory said...

Glenn you're right. I was saying "your theology wears Army boots". So did Muhammeds. And that was kinda my point.

Still, all you've managed to do is say "Nope, Gregory. I don't agree with you." That's not a criticism. That's certainly not insightful...except that it does reveal certain features of your own psychological disposition. Secondly, I don't pretend to be able to cure laziness or ignorance in the "unwilling". So, it would be fair to say that my posts are directed at the "willing"; namely, individuals who are willing to look at evidence that runs counter to their own deeply held convictions and prejudices. It is for them that I write this....and not for you, Glenn.

Concerning the Islamic view of God's "qadar" (i.e. the sovereignty of Allah), I would recommend reading Majid Fakhry's "A History of Islamic Philosophy". He believes that the Islamic view of God's will and human freedom is best expressed in the Medieval doctrine of "Occasionalism". Also, you can read entries in the Encyclopedia Britannica on this topic. I believe that Geisler's "Answering Islam: Crescent in the Light of the Cross" affirms what I've been saying.

And, I've already provided an adequate bibliography of "Christian Reconstructionism". Perhaps we can leave it up to the readers to decide whether I'm right or not. At least Robert and I provided documentation, rather than simply say "nope...we don't agree with your position. I just talked to Muslim scholar at UCLA who said Sunni's are determinists.

Also, a friend of mines family was friends with the Bahnsens, and former OPC members. And her dad went to Westminster with Dr. Bahnsen when Van Til was still there in the 1970's...and he even let me borrow some of his Van Tillian collection of textbooks and syllabi that he acquired while studying there...and I also heard about what a great husband and father Dr. Bahnsen was. I'm sure it was because he was so educated!! A rigorous application of Theonomic principles truly makes for a happy home!!! And about my friends Dad...well, I'm sure that those long years of A.W.O.L. faith and complete spiritual dropout were because he only seemed to be 'elect' when he was in Seminary, but really wasn't. I guess I can chalk that all up to 'mystery' or something, yeah?!? So...I know what I'm talking about here."

Actually, the part about "a friend of mines family...etc.," is actually, believe it or not, true.

Gregory said...

Actually, let me rephrase that last part:

"It was to God's glory that His sovereignty should determine my friends Dad to appear as a zealous Christian and prospective Minister in his youth....a really high selling point for his future wife....when God had really planned a callous subterfuge that resulted in his complete 'falling away' from the faith, to the utter chagrin and puzzlement of his ever pious, Calvinist wife. Actually, he returned to Christianity decades later...but he's still not comfortable with theological debates. And even though he's a Seminary graduate, having studied under Cornelius Van Til, yet, he remains a persistent spiritual wallflower around family and friends."