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Friday, 5 December 2014

Islam vs Muslims

When I am finally invited by The House of Lords or The Oxford Union to explain what is wrong with Islam, I am going to have a PowerPoint presentation running behind me. This will feature (among other things) images of beautiful, happy Muslim families, of Muslims carrying out charitable works, of Muslims going out of their way to help non-Muslims and of Muslim contributions to Art, Culture and the Sciences. The purpose of this presentation (which will also feature bad Christians, such as the Medici popes and Catholic supporters of Hitler) will be to deflect from me accusations that I hate Muslims and that I think all Christians are good. It won’t work. Their Lordships and the undergraduates will assume that I hate Muslims. Some will call me a racist (and probably a ‘homophobe’).

Some will think that I am undermining my own case against Islam. Who said, ‘against such stupidity even the gods are helpless’?

St Paul said in Romans 2:14:
…for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law (who) will be justified. For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them…

This is an example of the doctrine of Natural Law, accessible to all. Does St Paul mean ‘saved’ when he says ‘justified’? I hope so.

St Paul is as high an authority as there is (excepting Our Lord) and he is echoed by St Thomas Aquinas.

My animus is not against Muslims, but against Islam as taught in the central texts: The Koran, the Hadiths (the traditions of the Prophet and his Companions) and the Sira (the biography of Mohammed). These contain little theology and much hatred of unbelievers. ALL the ghastly acts of ISIS, Hamas, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hezbollah and Boko Haram are justified by these texts, not to mention the rape of prepubescent girls.

For sure, the Christian texts contain hard passages; but virtually nobody uses (for example) the destruction of the Amalekites as a justification for genocide. It’s a story – maybe a true one. The Sermon on the Mount is Our Lord’s prescription for Christian behaviour. St Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
And now abide faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Mohammed’s example is dismal. No need to go into specifics here. But he is held up as the example for all to follow.

Many Muslims (as people like me get sore throats from repeating) are fine, honest and peaceful people. Many Muslims are probably better people than they would be without a belief in an all-knowing God (as taught by the Koran). Many Muslims are better people than many who call themselves Christians. Every Muslim is made in the image of God. Islam is God’s religion? I don’t think so.

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