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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

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Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Thursday, July 22, 2010

How Great is Allah?

"Islam may remain an irritation to the West for centuries yet, but not a fundamental danger. The real danger is our own apostasy... which has already done so much more harm than Islam ever could."

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by Joseph Sobran

DUNN LORING, VA —Robert R. Reilly’s The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis (ISI Books, May 2010) will, I am sure, fascinate other readers as it did me. I could hardly put it down until I’d read it twice.

Reilly (a dear friend of mine, by the way) contends that Islam suffers from a flawed metaphysic that deforms its theology. It rejects reason and exalts will. It has no room for natural law: Murder is not wrong by definition but only because Allah chooses to forbid it. If he’d decided to enjoin it, it would have become our duty.

Islam understands his omnipotence to mean that he is superior to reason itself (thus, if he said that two and two make five, so it would be). Allah’s will is the direct cause of everything; no need to look for secondary causes. No wonder, given this primitive conception of nature, Islam rejects Western science. Allah’s will accounts for everything that happens. The world continues to exist because he recreates it continuously from moment to moment. He could decide to annihilate it at any time.

One noted atheist, the Marxist Christopher Hitchens, ridicules the very conception of God as that of a “celestial dictator” — a Stalin in the sky, as it were. But Christians address God as “Our Father.” Far from being a cruel deity who inflicts suffering on his creatures, he is a God who chooses to suffer himself. This is why G.K. Chesterton remarked that Christianity is unique among religions in ascribing courage to God. The Creator became a creature. Why would the omnipotent, impassive Allah need courage? Nobody could nail HIM to a cross. To Muslims, the Christian concept of a triune, incarnate God, insulted, tortured, and murdered by his own creatures seems blasphemous.

The primal Muslim error about God’s nature has led, Reilly argues, to a deep stultification of Arab culture for roughly the last millennium. He cites Hilaire Belloc’s 1938 prediction that the Muslim world would once more surpass Christendom, if only it... Read more>>>>

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