Sunday, August 26, 2007

Allah's Place In The Theological Cosmos



Some interesting, and I believe, profound ruminations on the philosophical and theological implications of the Koran. From Rebecca Bynum, at the New English Review (with thanks to Najistani):


"Allah does not respect the free will of man, in fact, human free will is illusory at best.By this logic, all three thousand people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 as a result of jihad action would have died at that hour regardless.

And furthermore, because Allah did not intervene, it was Allah’s will that it happened. The jihadis who perpetrated this act, were only puppets on a stage, obeying the will of Allah according to a pre-written script. They did not cause all those deaths and all that destruction; rather, according to Islamic logic, Allah caused it as punishment for our sins, the sins of America as a collective entity.

This further reduces to: everything that occurs in the reality of the material world we live in is a direct result of Allahâ's will. Human will is but an instrument of the will of Allah and therefore does not have an independent existence in the overall trend of Islamic thought. "

.....

"I contend this is the equivalent to asserting not that everything is God's will, but rather that nothing is God's will, or even that there is no God, because there is no distinction between what is and what is not God's will in the reality of the material world: the good and the evil deeds of man are both equally and ultimately the result of the will of God.

In this view, as the Pope pointed out, God's purpose is so transcendent as to be unknowable, which is to say, God is unknowable to the individual. And again there is no practical difference between that and the assertion that God does not exist, for His will, and therefore God himself, according to Islam, cannot be known.

This is equivalent to saying that the difference between good and evil cannot be known, and this is so regardless of the existence of a list of accepted and prohibited actions put forth as God's will by Islam on the basis of Muhammad's example as the ultimate arbiter between truth and error.

Goodness and Truth do not have an independent existence in Islam; they are entirely dependent on the Islamic creed.""Furthermore, according to Winston Churchill, the Muslim belief in predestination engenders a fearful, fatalistic apathy which paralyses the social development of those who follow it, for Allahs will is fixed in a one-size-fits-all pattern and is not unique to the individual believer.

The individual's relationship to Allah is bound completely by the believer's obedience to Islam.

Therefore, believers in Islam are actually barred from the greatest adventure known to man, that of finding God (goodness, truth and beauty) as an individual experiential reality.

This is so because Allah's will is so transcendent as to be incomprehensible. Thus the testing of the believer is reduced to a test of conformity to the creed rather than a testing of the ability to discover what is right and true uniquely for himself.

This is equivalent to Allah is Dead.

The most heinous acts, collective and individual, can be rationalized as Allah's will and this of course is a prescription for social chaos."

...

"Indeed, if morality is not conceived and actuated as being an individual matter, must it not at some point become coercive and cruel? And what could be conceived of as more cruel than the removal of an individual's God-given freedom? Under Islam, the removal of that freedom is so complete as to deny it exists at all."

"The unspoken assertion here is that the divine will can be known, that good and evil can be distinguished by reason, and that God can be approached through the mind by our decisions first to know good and to then be good.

In Islam, on the contrary, the bridge to God through the reasoning mind is cut. Allah demands unquestioning obedience and total sacrifice, including the sacrifice of the ability to know good from evil as an individual, private matter, for the will of Allah is not a personal experience.

The Islamic system has totally usurped the place of the living God for the believer: worship and obedience are one."

"And reason cannot compromise with unreason without destroying the basis for its existence. By the same token, unreason cannot become reasonable without destroying itself as well. There is simply no way the hoped-for reform of Islam by way of reason would not end in Islam's ultimate destruction, but this is not an outcome to be feared. It should be welcomed"


Read the whole thing.

I don't know that I agree with that last paragraph. It seems clear to me, but then I do not know Hebrew, that the Bible calls for the stoning of apostates, adulterers, and homosexuals (and yet, Christians and Jews have moved past that barbaristic idea).

There are three basic things I object to in Islam:

1) the death sentence for apostates, adulterers, and homosexuals,

2) the subjugation of women (women are worth half that of men, they must wear the burqa, or the hijab,

and

3) the waging of violent Jihad against Infidels and Jews.

If Muslims could find their way past these ideas, then I would have no problem with Islam.

Problem is, I agree with Rebecca Bynum that this will require the intervention of human will and intelligence.

The reality is, there is a mechanism within Islam for such human will and intelligence to intervene. It is called itJihad. This is a process of reasoning through the Koran, and understanding how it applies in the individual, and daily cirumstances with which we are faced.

This is very similar to the Talmudic process, which I believe, cleansed Judaism of its earlier barbarism.

Believe it or not, those words were just written by a person who is actually a believer in, not only, God, but in the Bible as the Word of God.

Here's how I think of it:

When God speaks Truth to mankind, He must necessarily speak in Words which mankind can understand. God may want mankind to come to a new understanding, but that will not happen without human decision (will).

When humans come to a realization, it is a matter of their will. They make a decision to follow a new course of thought or action.

When human beings make a decision to follow a new course of thought or action, they have created a paradigm shift, which ripples out across the waters of the world.

In other words, new ideas, quite literally, change the world.

When the world is changed, then God can speak to the world in a new way, in a new language, in a new paradigm.

And then, mankind must go through the process, all over again, of coming to assimilate and understand the new paradigm to which God is leading us.

But, it must be by our will, not His; because He has granted us Free Will.

There you go, my friends. Those are the thoughts of Pastorius the Profound.

:)