Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Truth about Muhammad (Robert Spencer)


A readable book gathering together several themes in Muhammad's life. He doesn't come out of it too well, which isn't surprising considering who the author is. There were a few moments when I thought Spencer was lacking in generosity, but, frankly, I think his main point is incontestable: given that Muhammed is seen in Islam as the perfect man, and to be emulated, the fact that supported mass slaughter, had a questionable approach to women and became incredibly hostile to Jews and Christians leads to a rather problematic inheritance. Spencer makes the case that what we experience today has direct and clear antecedents in the life of Muhammad himself.

Byron and I have been having a conversation about three major crises - financial, resource limits and ecological (we differ on the severity of the third). I think the cultural clash with Islam - probably focussing on Iran, and possibly involving a revolution against the house of Saud - will be a fourth world-changing element over the next ten years.

Sam's thought for the day:
The problem with (some) Christians is that they don't imitate Jesus enough.
The problem with (some) Muslims is that they imitate Muhammed too closely.

4 comments:

  1. Semi-related question: The french assembly voted 335:1 in favour of banning the burka and Belgium and Spain are taking similar moves. Would you support a UK wide burka ban?

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  2. No, I wouldn't - but nor would I be against specific context-sensitive requirements for faces to be shown. Good relevant article here, by one of my favourite philosophers: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/veiled-threats/

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  3. Observer - something I've talked about before in sermons (not sure if I've blogged about it) is that there is all the difference in the world between criticising an institution and particular embodiments of that institution, and behaving atrociously towards people. I do worry that there will be (is?) scapegoating of the Muslim community and I think in that context Christians must be very clear as to their duty to defend and protect them. (On a related note I find what is happening in Arizona a little disturbing: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/18/hispanics-flee-arizona-immigration-law )

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  4. Interestingly Sam,

    (As with the "Bubble" post) the common denominators are very similar ... whether talking financial, resource, ecology, or faith vs science crises .... it's the same sustainable wisdom crisis. (Still puzzled by the amount of effort you spend on the evidence for or against the various individual crises.)

    Oh and by the way ...
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1296152/Syria-bans-burka-niqab-universities.html

    I wouldn't ban anything either, but I would "ban" the idea that any specific religious tradition is a fundamental right overriding other democratic social needs.

    (PS Good news on the family scare ...)

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