Monday, May 28, 2012

Al-Ghazali isn't a real Muslim!

I’ll comment on this:

Well, if Steve grants the interpretation of Christians, which I appeal to then that doesn’t mean that it is counter productive. I only appealed to Paul’s statement to show that there is some idea of universal principles. That is all. I know that Paul taught PTS. The whole point I am trying to make is that people such as Paul contradict the universal principle of “anti-PTS” to begin with!.

i) Zawadi ignores the fact that his interpretation of Rom 2:14-15 is disputed.

ii) And even if we grant his interpretation, his appeal is self-defeating. By his own admission, Paul taught penal substitution. So Paul doesn’t think penal substitution is intuitively wrong.

And Paul is hardly alone. Other OT and NT writers teach penal substitution. So they don’t think penal substitution is intuitively wrong.

Even if Paul taught that human beings are endowed with an innate grasp of certain moral truths, the (alleged) injustice of penal substitution doesn’t count as one of those moral truths.

Zawadi is making a claim about moral intuition in general, then applying that to penal substitution in particular. But that’s a fallacious inference inasmuch as Zawadi’s inference is not implicit in the general claim. He’s assuming what he needs to prove.

Unfortunately, Steve is passing off false analogies. Why is that? It’s true that there are certain laws such as bans on alcohol or principles (such as in the case of the PTS) exclusive to particular faiths, however in this particular context I was raising the point that the moral principle of the guilty needing to be held accountable for their crimes and not the innocent IS A UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLE SHARED BY EVERYONE INCLUDING CHRISTIANS. The idea is that EVEN CHRISTIANS recognize that fairness denotes that the guilty pay for their own criminal actions and not the innocent. However, Christians for some odd reason only see this to be okay with Jesus supposedly dying for their sins. For this particular situation, they make it okay. They suddenly make an exception to this metaphysical moral intuition.
You see the difference now? This isn’t a typical case of where a religion differs with others regarding certain morals. Rather, this is a case where all human beings (including Christians) recognize a certain moral principle, yet Christians violate this principle when it comes to the alleged death of the Son of God for their sins.

i) There is no universal moral intuition against penal substitution or vicarious atonement. Many religions practice animal sacrifice or human sacrifice to appease their god or gods. The victim dies in place of those on whose behalf he is sacrificed. So that belies Zawadi’s facile appeal to a universal moral intuition to the contrary.

What’s his evidence for a universal moral intuition to the contrary? Clearly he lacks universal empirical evidence, for there’s extensive, cross-cultural empirical evidence for vicarious sacrifice. Not only does he lack evidence commensurate with the scope of his claim, but he ignores evidence to the contrary.

ii) Even if (ex hypothesi) Jesus were the exception to the rule, Jesus is inherently exceptional. So that wouldn’t be an ad hoc exception–even if we grant, for the sake of argument, that it is, indeed, an exception to the rule. Rather, that would another point of principle–given the exceptional metaphysical nature of the Redeemer.

I’m going to have to let an Asha’rite Muslim (which I am not) defend that notion, since I personally believe that this contrary to Islam (as I have publicly stated before over here

So Al-Ghazali and Ibn Khaldun weren’t real Muslims. Zawadi discredits himself by such a preposterous claim.

Keeping aside the fact that not all Christians would agree with this interpretation (the most amusing counter interpretation being that Satan gave up his possession of us because of our sins for the “purchase money of Christ’s blood”) this doesn’t change the fact that there is an internal contradiction between PTS and the concept of forgiveness as illustrated in the other passages, which I pointed to. To merely brush them aside as “certain aspects of Biblical forgiveness” doesn’t make the problem go away I’m afraid.

i) There is no internal contradiction. Zawadi is arguing from silence. The fact that some passages don’t mention redemption as a condition of forgiveness hardly contradicts the necessity of redemption as a condition of forgiveness. The passages he quotes don’t say redemption and remission are antithetical. Rather, they don’t speak to that connection one way or the other.

ii) There is also a difference between divine and human forgiveness. To say God requires atonement to pardon sinners don’t entail the same requirement when men forgive their fellow man. Our duties to God and man are not interchangeable.

Steve says this as if us human beings don’t already understand what forgiveness means!

There is no uniform concept of forgiveness. For instance, some people think forgiveness is unconditional while others think it’s conditional.

Well then…… what does it mean (would be nice to quote some scripture here)???

Since Scripture doesn’t say the Father and the Son were “separated” at Calvary, I don’t have to quote a Scripture to the contrary. Zawadi is the one who framed the issue in terms of separation, not me. The onus lies on him to justify his usage.

How do I understand that the “wage of sin is death” and apply it to the case of Jesus?

What is there not to understand?

I’m curious to know where the New Testament teaches that Jesus was propitiated, for I only see the Father being mentioned as having his wrath appeased in Romans 3:25. Where does it mention the same for the Son and Spirit?

i) To begin with, Zawadi is committing the word-concept fallacy. The concept of propitiation can be present where the word is absent.

ii) He is also confusing exegetical theology with systematic theology. To say Jesus was propitiated would be an inference from Trinitarian theology.

Granting that Jesus was both the subject and object of propitiation…. Why would God PUNISH HIMSELF in order to APPEASE HIMSELF?

i) To say that God punished himself is equivocal. God qua God didn’t “punish” himself. Rather, the Son of God Incarnate endured divine punishment.

ii) To say God “appeases” himself is a colorful, rather anthropomorphic way of saying that God exacts justice.

Can Steve explain why several Christian preachers keep telling us Muslims that one reason why Christianity teaches that God is closer to human beings than in Islam is because Jesus came down to earth and lived amongst us and related to us, etc. etc. etc. Muslims keep hearing from Christians that God loved us sooo much that he came down to earth and died for us and to be close to us, etc. etc. etc. Does Steve disagree with this approach of Christians? If not, then can’t the Muslim rightly point out that the Father didn’t do all this, hence it’s expected that we feel differently towards the Father?

Several issues:

i) Religious exponents vary in their sophistication. Ibn Rushd and Seyyed Hossein Nasr are more sophisticated than the average Imam. If you’re going to attack Christian theology, you need to do better than pick on Christian preachers.

ii) It isn’t a question of physical distance. What makes Allah more remote than the Trinity isn’t because there is literally more space between Allah and his creatures.

iii) Rather, the difference is due, in part, to how much or little God has in common with his creatures. In Christian theology, God has both communicable and incommunicable attributes. God is like us in some respects.

By contrast, Islam stresses the absolute transcendence of Allah. The sin of shirk. Apophaticism. Allah is ineffable and inaccessible.

iv) On a related note is what God does or doesn’t do for his people. The Christian God is loving, in part, because he shows his love for sinners through his redemptive deeds.

v) We also need to distinguish between picture language and reality. God doesn’t literally reside in the sky, or live on a mountaintop (e.g. Mt. Olympus, Mt. Zaphon). It’s not like an astronaut can see God or rocket to heaven if he reaches a certain altitude. God isn’t actually “up there.”

God doesn’t literally come down from the sky, like Greek gods coming down to the plains of Troy in the Iliad.

That’s anthropomorphic. Descending from heaven is picturesque.

vi) There’s a difference between the figurative depiction of God coming down to us and the literal depiction of God becoming one of us and dwelling among us in the person of the incarnate Son.

God can come to us in Christ without leaving heaven. He doesn’t have to “go” anywhere to be accessible in the person of his Son.

The Christian God is, indeed, far more accessible than Allah.

In a nut shell, did the Son suffer for us or not?

That’s equivocal. The Son qua Son doesn’t suffer, but the Son qua incarnate does suffer. 

1 comment:

  1. Another great reply, to which I will be linking in my rebuttal to Zawadi's assertions concerning the nature of true forgiveness somehow excluding any need for payment or atonement, a position which ends up condemning his own prophet and deity. The problem with Zawadi is that he arrogantly thinks he has the intellectual capacity to deal with such issues, when in reality it only results in major embarrassment for him. This can be easily verified by checking out our rebuttal section to his gross distortions and misrepresentations of facts and arguments: It seems that he is a glutton for pain and humiliation.