Logic and Islam
Being an incomparably fair-minded person, I listen frequently to speeches, interviews, arguments and debates featuring people whose views are different from mine: eg Atheists, Socialists and Muslims. Atheists and Socialists, to be sure, use bad arguments; indeed, Christians sometimes do. But Muslims use arguments which are simply baffling.
[Digression on Socialism…
Socialist states do not work. Venezuela is a basket case. They have vast resources of oil – but they can’t provide toilet paper for Venezuelans. They refuse to admit that human beings, human creativity and human energy are the most valuable resource of all. China, despite the horrendous history of Chinese Communism, now allows entrepreneurs to flourish. Some have become billionaires and every Chinese can now wipe his bum.
Thomas Sowell says that there are no solutions, only trade-offs. I say that the communist trade-off amounts to this: on the one hand, poverty, famines, prison camps and forced abortions; on the other hand, the dictatorship of the proletariat. Not much of a deal, I think.]
Take the “miracle of the Koran”. There are hours of this stuff on YouTube. It’s a sort of numerology. So-called scholars pore over the text, counting words, letters, verses and what not. They uncover what they claim to be numerical patterns: for example, multiples of the number 19 are alleged to proliferate. So what? I dare say that I could, if I were stupid enough to waste my time, find the number 37 over and over in the Gospel of St John – and if I did, so what?
Ta-dah! John’s gospel is a miracle.
The astonishing thing about this rubbish is that they somehow think that it is convincing. The Koran is also said to contain “scientific” facts undiscovered by scientists until 1400 years after The Angel Gabriel’s revelations to Mohammed. A tedious Google search will find scads of this stuff. Every so-called fact apparently manifests (and proves) the truth of Islam. Patent nonsense, for example, that the sun sets in a muddy puddle or that water cannot be contaminated, is never taken to cast doubt on either the Koran or Mohammed’s pronouncements.
Isaac Newton, one of the greatest scientific minds in history, was obsessed with numerology. Christian theologians have never taken this obsession seriously.
My fear is that by attacking Islam I undermine “religion” and thereby Christianity. Christopher Hitchens went after God and religion after 9/11. He and I blame Islam for 9/11 – how could you not? For me, bad religion is as bad as no religion (or indeed materialism). I refuse to be categorised as “religious” if it puts me in the same category as Islam.
As you may have realised, I do not accord Islam the status of religion. Islam is essentially Shari’ah. It is a political system. My position is that Islam makes people do bad things. It is a bad system. The arguments made in its defence are characteristically very poor. Its dismal history is the result of dismal theology.
It bears saying, again, that many Muslims are good people. Many Muslims are better people than many who call themselves Christians. Many Muslims are better people than they would be but for their belief in an all-seeing God.