Saturday, August 3, 2013

Religious Tests?

It's not that long ago that I repeated, for the uncountableth time, that all knowledge propositions fall into one of three categories:

  • Mathematics: In principle provable or disprovable.
  • Science: Only disprovable.
  • Religion: Neither provable nor disprovable.

Anyone who takes a serious interest in religion, or in propositions about religion, or in the history of religions and religious affiliation, must accept ab initio that he's dealing with propositions for which neither proof nor disproof is available -- ever. That postulate imposes some strict rules upon his undertaking:

  • He is forbidden ever to advance a religious proposition as a matter of incontestable fact.
  • He is forbidden to characterize a religious proposition as "unreasonable" or "debunked."
  • He is forbidden to exalt himself over others, by word or deed, whose religious convictions differ with his.

(Of course, in enumerating those rules, I've leaned heavily upon my partition of the categories, which some persons would reject. That doesn't trouble me; all such objectors are either idiots or aspiring tyrants. Bear with me; we'll get to that.)

Consider, for example, a test proposition about the death of a religious figure. If that death was witnessed, and the witnesses can be certified as both honest and not deluded, the contention about the death is a statement of fact. It is not a proposition about knowledge; a knowledge proposition is a statement of implication, most commonly about cause and effect. But the manner of that death and what it implies might qualify: for example, the proposition that since Jesus of Nazareth was returned to life three days after His Crucifixion, He therefore possessed the authority to proclaim His New Covenant for Mankind.

Note well: Christ's death and His Resurrection could have been closely and unimpeachably witnessed, beyond all possibility of doubt, yet the proposition that He is therefore the Son of God with Divine Authority would remain neither provable nor disprovable. There is no clear chain of reasoning from the fact to the implication that can be either established as logically and empirically sound, or refuted on the basis of bad logic or faulty evidence.

Therefore, no matter how passionately we Christians believe in the Divinity of Christ, our convictions fail to provide a basis for demanding that those who dissent must admit to error, or to submit to us in any other way. Similar proclamations about the Authority of this or that figure -- Moses, Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius -- being neither provable nor disprovable, are equally incapable of compelling agreement or submission from those who disagree.

Keep all that in mind while I fetch some decaf.

Some of the most brutal events in Mankind's long and bloody history were propelled by religious propositions advanced as if they were incontestably factual. The usual citations begin with the Spanish Inquisition, beyond all question a terrible, criminal undertaking. But far more blood has been shed by Muslims' military sallies at compelling the whole world to submit to Islam. Those slaughters continue today; indeed, they might have reached their apex in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Century.

Islam, alone among the world's major religions, teaches that it is Muslims' right and duty to spread their faith "by the sword." Don't bother to cite me the superseded "Meccan" Koran verses about tolerance of others' beliefs; all of them, under the Islamic doctrine of naskh (abrogation) have been nullified by the later, Medinan verses that exhort the believer to use any and all means, including force and fraud, to impose Islam upon the whole world. This proposition makes Islam a totalitarian scheme founded upon a religious proposition -- i.e., the proposition that Muhammad, the Prophet of Allah, possessed divine authority to promulgate Islam and its dictates, and that that authority included the sanctification of deeds by Muslims that would be condemned as criminal if performed by a member of any other faith.

That religious proposition, like all others, can neither be proved nor disproved. Yet in Islamic theology it is considered impermissible for anyone to question the divine origin of the Koran or the absoluteness of any of its decrees. Those things are advanced as incontestable facts, along with all their moral and ethical implications.

Which should help to explain the following.

Recently, Fox News's Lauren Green interviewed Reza Azlan about his recent book on Christianity:

Lauren Green is probably the last of the religion correspondents in the news media. Religion is now taboo unless you are a Muslim.

After Green interviewed Azlan, the liberal media went on a Green-bashing tirade that is growing legs. It should prove another worthless distraction from the Obama scandals and the economy.

One of the obvious and harmless questions she asked of the author [Azlan] was:

“Now, I want to clarify: You are a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?”

Azlan’s response was condescending and obnoxious but that seems to have escaped the left’s notice....

Among the accusations made by Azlan in his book are that Jesus Christ is not the son of God and the Crucifixion was the result of Jesus Christ’s attempts to foment violence. Azlan said ‘what a trouble maker he [Christ] must have been’ to have been crucified; crucifixion was reserved for insurrectionists, he said.

Azlan also wrote that the historical Christ and the Catholic Church’s mythical Christ are nothing alike.

No one cares that those statements by Azlan are very insulting to Christians. They only care that he was asked questions about the book.

Azlan also claimed his research was based on 1,000 books. Really? Seriously? I want the bibliography.

This issue brings up serious First Amendment issues. Does a journalist have the First Amendment right to free speech any longer? Green’s real crime was asking a Muslim why he wrote a Christ-bashing book which Azlan condescendingly claimed is not what it obviously is.

We can omit consideration of the left-wing media's attacks on Miss Green. They seize on every pretext, however flimsy, to mount such attacks. What's more significant here is that Azlan claimed to have been insulted -- at close to a mortal level of offense -- for Green's having challenged his authority, however indirectly, to make the Christ-denigrating statements in his book.

Azlan is merely adhering to one of the ethical precepts of Islam: No matter who does so, to question Islam or any of its dictates is blasphemy against Islam, which is a crime deserving of the severest imaginable punishment.

Naturally Azlan and Islam refrain from granting Christianity and Judaism the same degree of authority; as all the execrable "Highlander" movies say, "there can be only one."

We're not talking about something that happened centuries ago. We're talking about the present-day contentions of Islam's imams, its mullahs, its ayatollahs, and its muftis. Every last authority in the Islamic world maintains that Islam is incontestably true, suffused with Divine Authority, and entirely within its rights to subjugate the whole world by force, fraud, or whatever other means come to hand. Azlan is merely conducting himself in accordance with those preachments. No one who accepts Islam can publicly argue otherwise without fearing for his life.

What other scheme of thought or belief claims such latitude...such altitude above the ethical precepts that bind the rest of us?

It is true, and well verified historically, that various powers and populations of self-nominated Christians have also used force against unbelievers and "blasphemers." The last of those crimes occurred in the Sixteenth Century. Note that I call the perpetrators "self-nominated Christians:" Every last one of them violated the explicit teachings of Christ himself:

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. [The Gospel According to Matthew, 5:43-48]

To use force to impose the Gospels upon anyone, for whatever reason, is the most blatant violation of that teaching anyone could possibly devise.

Christians have learned better, but then, it's one of our precepts that Man is "fallen," and therefore must rise above his natural, sinful state. Muslims, clearly, have not: They persist in maintaining that it is their right and duty to put "the black flag of Islam" over every nation on Earth, by whatever means come to hand. Not all take an active hand in that effort, to be sure, but rare is the professing Muslim who willingly says that he believes otherwise. Indeed, it is Islam's "religious test" for authority of any sort, from the lowest degree to the highest, that the wielder must be a Muslim.

That representation is so clearly vile, so clearly premised upon a religious conjecture about the will of God, that it can only be maintained by force -- including the heaping of denunciations and vilifications upon anyone, of any faith whatsoever, who dares to question it.

Which is why I advocate the swift expulsion of all professing Muslims from these United States, and the immediate closure of our borders to any others, including the ambassadors of Islamic states. We Christians might be enjoined to love them, but for the sake of our societies we must contrive to do so at a distance -- and the greater that distance, the better.

1 comment:

Guy S said...

I am afraid, unless I have seriously misread my fellow travelers here, that you are preaching to the choir.

It would a much harder task to find a legitimate "moderate muslim" than it would to find the preverbal needle in a haystack. They do not exist...I wrote them "letters", three times, and never received a reply.

Seriously, as you have stated, to attempt any honest form of interaction with the civilized world, or to a lesser extent, even their neighbors or fellow workers, would require, at some point, the practicing (moderate) muslim to be at direct odds with the "teachings" of their faith.

Sadly, because I see no other real alternative, your solution would appear to be the only morally viable one out there.

Now what do you do about all the folks in this country who for whatever reasons, have converted to Islam? (This wold include the various strains of "Black Muslim" aka "Nation of Islam".) Do we force them to renounce their citizenship? Or do we do much the same as was done with the various home grown members of the "Communist Party", back in the 40's-60's, monitor them and act accordingly to whatever transgressions they happen to become a part of.