Friday, October 31, 2014

The Muslim Feminist vs. Islam, Part One: Theresa Corbin Commits Shirk

Theresa Corbin read my response to her CNN article claiming to be a "Muslim feminist." She wrote a reply to the Qur'an verses that I quoted, but her interpretations show that she is no closer to actually studying an Islamic source than when she converted to Islam. Since she addressed nine Qur'an passages, let's take a look at one passage per day for the next nine days, to give her plenty of time to digest what her religion actually teaches. (When we're done, I'll put everything together into one long article.)

Corbin begins with Surah 5, verse 51, which commands Muslims not to be friends with Christians or Jews. Corbin writes:
1. Qur’an 5:51—O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.

In this verse, the words "Awliya"- plural- or "wali" - singular- has been (badly) translated as "friends" or "friend"; however, the more appropriate translation would be a "guardian, protector, or advocate". Muslims are to be advocates and protectors for each other. And friends with everyone.

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was kind to the pagans of Mecca and fought them only when they fought him. He made treaties with the Jews of Madinah and honored the treaties until they broke them. He received the Christians of Najran with kindness in Madinah. They argued with him about Islam, but he treated them with honor and respect.
Apparently, Corbin has never stopped blindly accepting what her Muslim instructors tell her to believe about Islam. (We saw this repeatedly in her CNN article.) When we actually examine this verse to see what it means, a few interesting things come to light.

First, for the sake of argument, suppose we go along with Corbin's translation. This verse, according to Corbin, commands Muslims not to take Christians or Jews as "guardians, protectors, or advocates." Interesting. So Muslims can't allow Christians or Jews to become police officers, government officials, doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc., in areas where Muslims are present, since doing so would violate the Qur'an. How moderate of our Muslim feminist!

Second, by saying that "awliya" and "wali" should not be translated as "friends" and "friend," respectively, Corbin just committed shirk. How so? Let's read another Qur'an verse in which the word "awliya" occurs:
Qur’an 10:62—Lo! verily the friends of Allah are (those) on whom fear (cometh) not, nor do they grieve!
This verse refers to the "awliya Allahi," which is translated as "friends of Allah." Corbin, however, says that "awliya" shouldn't be translated as "friends." Instead, she prefers "protectors." So the verse, according to Corbin, should be translated as:
Qur’an 5:51—Lo! verily the GUARDIANS OF ALLAH are (those) on whom fear (cometh) not, nor do they grieve!
So Corbin has just assured her readers that Allah has bodyguards! But surely these bodyguards must be more powerful than Allah if they're guarding Allah. This means that there are beings more powerful than Allah. Thus, Corbin has committed shirk.

Third, Corbin is correct that the word "awliya" can be translated as "guardians," "protectors," etc. Here are the possible translations according to Muhammad Mohar Ali's A Word for Word Meaning of the Qur'an:


Corbin seems to think that when a word has multiple meanings, you simply pick the one you like best and say that's the meaning. But that's not how Islam works. Allah claims that his commands are perfectly clear (see Qur'an 6:114, 11:1, 12:1, 16:89, 24:46, 27:1, 41:3, 57:9, etc.), so when he commands Muslims not to take Jews and Christians as "awliya," he's obviously aware of the fact that one of the most common meanings of the word is "friends." If he had meant something more specific, he could have clarified, but he didn't.

Thus, by claiming that she speaks more clearly than Allah speaks in his perfectly clear Word, Corbin is claiming to be a better communicator than Allah. This is yet another instance of shirk on her part.

Fourth, we know exactly how Muhammad's companions interpreted 5:51. Here's Ibn Kathir's commentary on the verse:
Tafsir Ibn Kathir on 5:51—Allah forbids His believing servants from having Jews and Christians as friends, because they are the enemies of Islam and its people, may Allah curse them. Allah then states that they are friends of each other and He gives a warning threat to those who do this (And if any among you befriends them, then surely he is one of them.)

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Umar ordered Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari to send him on one sheet of balance the count of what he took in and what he spent. Abu Musa then had a Christian scribe, and he was able to comply with Umar's demand. Umar liked what he saw and exclaimed, "This scribe is proficient. Would you read in the Masjid a letter that came to us from Ash-Sham?" Abu Musa said, "He cannot." Umar said, "Is he not pure?" Abu Musa said, "No, but he is Christian." Abu Musa said, "So Umar admonished me and poked my thigh (with his finger), saying, 'Drive him out (from Al-Madinah).' He then recited, (O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as friends...)"

Then he reported that Abdullah bin Utbah said, "Let one of you beware that he might be a Jew or a Christian, while unaware."
So we have Ibn Kathir, the most respected Qur'an commentator in history, saying that "Allah forbids His believing servants from having Jews and Christians as friends, because they are the enemies of Islam and its people, may Allah curse them." (I guess Ibn Kathir didn't get Corbin's memo that Muslims are to be "friends with everyone"!) Ibn Kathir then goes on to give an example of how this verse was interpreted by Umar (one of Muhammad's closest companions, the father of one of Muhammad's wives, and the second of the "rightly-guided" caliphs). When Umar heard that Abu Musa had a Christian scribe, he ordered Abu Musa to expel the Christian from Medina, and he quoted 5:51 to justify his command. This Christian wasn't a "guardian" or a "protector" of Abu Musa. He was simply close enough to work for Abu Musa, and this was unacceptable.

The meaning of "awliya," then, for the early Muslim community, included any sort of close relationship apart from marriage. Instead of picking and choosing which meaning of "awliya" he liked best, Umar realized that Allah means what he says, so he didn't allow Muslims to associate closely with non-Muslims.

Hence, if we read the Qur'an, the Hadith, and the Tafsir, the meaning of 5:51 is perfectly clear. Muslims aren't allowed to be friends with Christians and Jews, because Christians and Jews are enemies.

Corbin, of course, will have none of this. Rather than read the Muslim sources and conclude, based on a careful investigation of the matter, what a verse commands her to do, she prefers to believe that the verse means whatever she wants it to mean. She then vilifies and demonizes anyone who attempts to correct her.

The only possible influence of feminism on Corbin is that she seems to be convinced (despite a complete lack of studying on her part) that she understands Islam better than Allah, Muhammad, Umar, Abu Musa, and Ibn Kathir.

Tomorrow, we'll take a look at Corbin's next "misinterpreted verse" of the Qur'an: Chapter 8, verse 12. Until then, I invite everyone to watch my "Three Stages of Jihad" video again, since it clears up some of the silliness in Corbin's defense of 5:51. Corbin points out that Muhammad had non-Muslim friends, as if this somehow proves that 5:51 can't mean that Muslims aren't allowed to have non-Muslim friends. She ignores the fact that jihad proceeds in stages, and that the rules when Muslims are not in control are quite different from the rules when Muslims are in control. (Corbin's teachers, who filter her information for her, didn't tell her that. But I will.)

Despite U.S. Airstrikes, ISIS Is Growing

More than a thousand foreign Muslims are pouring into Syria every month to join ISIS. Where are these Muslims getting the idea that they should join a group like ISIS? Didn't they hear from President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron that ISIS is violating the teachings of Islam? It's as if these Muslims aren't getting their information about Islam from Western politicians and the media.
Washington Post—More than 1,000 foreign fighters are streaming into Syria each month, a rate that has so far been unchanged by airstrikes against the Islamic State and efforts by other countries to stem the flow of departures, according to U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials.

The magnitude of the ongoing migration suggests that the U.S.-led air campaign has neither deterred significant numbers of militants from traveling to the region nor triggered such outrage that even more are flocking to the fight because of American intervention.

“The flow of fighters making their way to Syria remains constant, so the overall number continues to rise,” a U.S. intelligence official said. U.S. officials cautioned, however, that there is a lag in the intelligence being examined by the CIA and other spy agencies, meaning it could be weeks before a change becomes apparent.

The trend line established over the past year would mean that the total number of foreign fighters in Syria exceeds 16,000, and the pace eclipses that of any comparable conflict in recent decades, including the 1980s war in Afghanistan.

U.S. officials have attributed the flows to a range of factors, including the sophisticated recruiting campaigns orchestrated by groups in Syria such as the Islamic State and the relative ease with which militants from the Middle East, North Africa and Europe can make their way to that country. (Continue Reading.)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Study: 19 of 20 Worst Countries for Women Are Muslim-Majority Countries

It's official. According to the latest data, 19 of the 20 worst places in the world to be a woman are Muslim-majority countries. That's too strong a correlation to be a coincidence. (Note: The only country in the top 20 that isn't a Muslim-majority country is Ethiopia, where more than a third of the population is Muslim.)

Meanwhile, Muslim organizations like CAIR continue to silence anyone who criticizes the treatment of women in Muslim lands, and gullible American "feminists" are converting to Islam.
(CNSNews.com) – Nineteen out of 20 countries with the lowest scores in an annual survey of gender equality around the world are Islamic, and 12 are Arab states.

As a bloc, the Muslim world’s showing in this year’s “Global Gender Gap” report, compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and released on Tuesday, is even worse than in previous recent years, when 17 of the bottom 20 were Islamic states.

The survey, covering a total of 142 countries this year, measures gaps between women and men in four key areas: political empowerment, economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, and health and survival.

The 20 countries at the bottom of the 2014 list, in order from the lowest-ranked, are Yemen, Pakistan, Chad, Syria, Mali, Iran, Cote d’Ivoire, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Guinea, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, Ethiopia, Algeria, Turkey, Bahrain and Tunisia.

With the exception of Ethiopia, all are Muslim-majority states.

The highest-ranking Islamic state in the WEF survey is Kazakhstan in 43rd place. (Mozambique, ranked 27th, is a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation bloc, but does not have a Muslim majority.)

The highest-placed Arab state is Kuwait, in 113th position.

At the other end of the WEF survey, as was the case in previous years, are the Nordic countries, with Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark taking the top five places. (Continue Reading.)
To see why there is such a massive problem in the Muslim world, watch this short video:

Paul Williams' Unknown and Unkowable "god"

“For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the Unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.” – The APOSTLE Paul

Paul Belial Williams has claimed that “The Qur’an is the perfect cure for this polytheism,” by which he means it is the cure for the Biblically based Christian confession that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are co-essential, co-equal, and co-eternal. On PW's view the persons of the Godhead cannot be numerically identical to the divine essence and yet numerically distinct from each other, which is just to say in PW's eyes God’s essential unity rules out any personal diversity. PW also doesn’t like the fact that it is impossible to find any perfect analogy for the Trinity in creation, and that the doctrine is in some regards mysterious and not fully penetrable by the human mind. But to be consistent with his underlying assumption that God cannot be both one and many, Paul would also have to deny that his deity has a multiplicity of attributes, and he would have to eschew all appeals to mystery in attempting to say otherwise. 

While PW may not have reflected on the assumption that underlies and drives his argument, it so happens that what his argument assumes was in point of fact the explicit position of many Muslims, then known as Mu‘tazilites, who were more or less dominant from the eight to tenth centuries. According to the Mu‘tazilites, Allah’s absolute oneness, transcendence, and dissimilarity from all created reality precluded the idea that he had distinguishable and knowable attributes. Indeed, for the Mu‘tazilites, not only was such an idea inconsistent with the teaching of the Qur’an and sound reason, but the very idea that Allah had a plurality of attributes was not in principle different from the Christian belief that God is tri-personal. As Hamza Yusuf points out:

The Mu‘tazilah synthesized a complex theology that, while grounded in the Qur’an, was heavily influenced by Hellenistic rationalism. At its simplest level, their creed involved five “fundamentals.” The first was “unity,” by which the Mu‘tazilah meant more than simply the tawhid that Sunni Muslims understood: One God as opposed to many. The Mu‘tazilah insisted that God’s attributes had no existence distinguishable from His essence, but rather they emanated from the essence of God: God willed from His essence, and He knew from His essence. Their negation of God’s attributes arose from their concern regarding the Sunni position. The Sunnis, in turn, responded to the Mu‘tazilah, arguing that the attributes were in addition to the essence in such a way as to be neither the essence nor other than the essence; this was a suprarational attempt at avoiding the polytheism of which the Mu‘tazilah accused them. For the Mu‘tazilah, this affirmation of “hypostatic” attributes approximated the Orthodox Christian argument of a triune God that was closer to polytheism than monotheism. It is arguable that the debate is not simply semantic, but, in the eyes of the more conservative Sunni scholars, it accomplished little more than an immense exchange of talk (kalam) about God that the pristine understanding of the early community would never have accommodated. (The Creed of Imam Al-Tahawi (al-Aqidah al-Tahawiyyah), Translated, Introduced, and Annotated by Hamza Yusuf [Zaytuna Institute, 2007], p. 20).

An example of a non-Muslim scholar who points this out is Harry Wolfson, who tells us that:

The belief in the reality of divine attributes was characterized by those who were opposed to it as being analogous to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. Abul-faraj, also known as Bar Hebraeus, speaking of the Mu'tazilites, who denied the reality of divine attributes, says that thereby they steered clear of "the persons (akanim) of the Christians,"3 the implication being that the belief in the reality of divine attributes indirectly steers one into the belief of the Christian Trinity. 'Adad al-DIn al-Iji similarly reports that the Mu'tazilites accused those who believed in the reality of divine attributes of having fallen into the error of the Christian belief in the Trinity.4 And prior to both of them, among the Jews, David al-Mukammas,5 Saadia,6 Joseph al-Basir,7 and Maimonides,8 evidently reflecting still earlier Muslim sources, whenever they happen to mention the [Sunni – AR] Muslim doctrine of the reality of divine attributes, compare it to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. (Harry Austryn Wolfson, The Philosophy of the Kalam [Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1976], p. 112f.)

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3 Cf. E. Pocock, Specimen Historiae Arabum sive Gregorii Abul Farajii Malatiensis de Origine et Moribus Arabum (1650), p. 19, 1. 12, referred to by Munk, Guide des Egares, I, p. 180, n. I. 

4 Ibid., quoted from al-Iji’s al-Marwakif fi ‘Ilm al-Kalam; referred to in Munk, Guide, p. 181, n. I.

5 Quoted from his ‘Ishrun Makalat in Judah b. Barzillai, Perush Sefer Yesirah, p. 79.

6 Emunot II, 5, p. 86, ll. 2 ff.

7 Cf. P. F. Frankl, Ein Mu’tazilitischen Kalama us dem ioten Jahrhundert (1872), pp. 15 and 28.

8 Moreh I, 50.

To give a Jewish example of this line of thinking, we may read such as the following from the famed medieval Rabbi Moses ben Maimonides:

If, however, you have a desire to rise to a higher state, viz., that of reflection, and truly to hold the conviction that God is One and possesses true unity, without admitting plurality or divisibility in any sense whatever, you must understand that God has no essential attribute in any form or in any sense whatever, and that the rejection of corporeality implies the rejection of essential attributes. Those who believe that God is One, and that He has many attributes, declare the unity with their lips, and assume plurality in their thoughts. This is like the doctrine of the Christians, who say that He is one and He is three, and that the three are one. Of the same character is the doctrine of those who say that God is One, but that He has many attributes; and that He with His attributes is One, although they deny corporeality and affirm His most absolute freedom from matter; as if our object were to seek forms of expression, not subjects of belief. For belief is only possible after the apprehension of a thing; it consists in the conviction that the thing apprehended has its existence beyond the mind [in reality] exactly as it is conceived in the mind. If in addition to this we are convinced that the thing cannot be different in any way from what we believe it to be, and that no reasonable argument can be found for the rejection of the belief or for the admission of any deviation from it, then the belief is true. Renounce desires and habits, follow your reason, and study what I am going to say in the chapters which follow on the rejection of the attributes; you will then be fully convinced of what we have said: you will be of those who truly conceive the Unity of God, not of those who utter it with their lips without thought, like men of whom it has been said, "Thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins" (Jer. xii. 2). (Moses Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed – Translated From the Original Arabic Text by M. FRIEDLÄNDER, PHḌ, 2ndedition [London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1904], Ch. L, pp. 67-68.)

Although the Mu‘tazilite position was eventually displaced by the “suprarational” (i.e. mysterious, paradoxical, etc.) idea that God does have attributes “in addition to the essence in such a way as to be neither the essence nor other than the essence,” as pointed out in the quote from Hamza Yusuf above, a number of Muslims continue to hold that Allah has no knowable, definable, essential attributes. A case in point is the late Muhammad Asad (1900-1992), a man that PW often holds forth as a worthy source of Islamic doctrine, a fact that makes perfect sense given PW’s misguided attack on the revealed doctrine of the Trinity. According to Asad, Allah has no essential attributes that circumscribe, define, or describe him; rather, Allah is named from his actions, which, being rooted in his will rather than any definite nature, are necessarily arbitrary and fickle. Some choice examples of this kind of thinking from Muhammad Asad follow:

“…. The very concept of ‘definition’ implies the possibility of a comparison or correlation of an object with other objects; God, however, is UNIQUE, there being ‘nothing like unto Him’ (42:11) and, therefore, ‘nothing that could be compared with Him’ (112:4) – with the result that any attempt at defining Him or His ‘attributes’ is a LOGICAL IMPOSSIBILITY and, from the ethical point of view, A SIN. The fact that He is UNDEFINABLE makes it clear that the ‘attributes’ (sifat) of God mentioned in the Qur’an do not circumscribe His reality but, rather, THE PERCEPTIBLE EFFECT OF HIS ACTIVITY on and within the universe created by Him.” (The Message of the Qur’an – Translated and Explained by Muhammad Asad, Surah 6, fn.88. See also Surah 13, fn.21; Surah 76, fn.73.)

The preceding allusion to the God-willed function of sex and, hence, to the polarity and multiplicity evident in all animated nature – man and animal alike – is meant to stress the above statement of the ONENESS and ABSOLUTE UNIQUENESS of God. The phrase “there is nothing like unto Him” implies that He is fundamentally – and not merely in His attributes – “different” from anything that exists or could exist, or anything that man can conceive or imagine or DEFINE…; and since “there is nothing that could be compared with Him” (112:4), even the “how” of His being “different” from everything else is beyond the categories of human thought(ibid., Surah 42, fn. 10. See also: Surah 42, fn.21; Surah 43, fn.10.)

The fact that God is ONE and UNIQUE in EVERY respect, without beginning and without end, has its logical correlate in the statement that “there is nothing that could be compared with Him” – thus precluding any possibility of describing or defining Him… Consequently, the quality of His being is beyond the range of human comprehension or imagination: which also explains why any attempt at “depicting” God by means of figurative representations or even abstract symbols must be qualified as a blasphemous denial of the truth. (ibid., Surah 112, fn.2.)

Commenting on this idea, Geisler and Saleeb point out some of the many problems that follow in its wake:

At the very basis of the classical Islamic view of God is a radical form of voluntarism and nominalism. For traditional Islam, properly speaking, God does not have an essence, at least not a knowable one. Rather, he is Will. True enough, God is said to be just and loving, but he is not essentially just or loving. And he is merciful only because “He hath inscribed for Himself [the rule of] Mercy” (6:12). But it is important to remember that since God is Absolute Will, had he chosen to be otherwise he would not be merciful. There is no nature or essence in God according to which he must act. 

There are two basic problems with this radical form of nominalism: a metaphysical one and a moral one.

The orthodox Islamic view of God claims, as we have seen, that God is an absolutely necessary being. He is self-existent, and he cannot not exist. But if God is by nature a necessary kind of being, then it is of his nature to exist. In short, he must have a nature or else he could not be by nature a necessary kind of being. In this same regard, orthodox Islam believes that there are other essential attributes of God, such as self-existence, uncreatedness, and eternality. But if these are all essential characteristics of God, then God must have an essence, otherwise they would not be essential attributes. For this is precisely how essence is defined, namely, as the essential attributes or characteristics of a being. 

Furthermore, there is a serious moral problem with Islamic voluntarism. For if God is Will, without any real [i.e. definable – AR] essence, then he does not do things because they are right; rather, they are right because he does them. In short, God is arbitrary about what is right and wrong. He does not have to do good….

Since God has no essence, at least not one that the names (or attributes) of God really describe, the Islamic view of God involves a form of agnosticism. Indeed, the heart of Islam is not to know God but to obey him. It is not to meditate on his essence but to submit to his will. As Pfander correctly observed of Muslims, “If they think at all deeply, they find themselves absolutely unable to know God….Thus Islam leads to Agnosticism.”12

Islamic agnosticism about God is due to the fact that they believe God caused the world by extrinsic causality. Indeed, “the Divine will is an ultimate beyond which neither reason nor revelation go. In the Unity of the single Will, however, these descriptions co-exist with those that relate to mercy, compassion, and glory.” God is named from his effects, but he is not to be identified with any of them. The relation between the ultimate cause (God) and his creatures is extrinsic, not intrinsic. That is, God is called good because he causes good, but not because goodness is part of his essence.

….As we have seen, according to traditional Islamic teaching, God is not essentially good but only called good because he does good. He is named from his actions. If this is so, then why not also call God evil, since he causes evil? Why not call him faithless, since he cause people not to believe? It would seem consistent to do so, since God is named from his actions….

At the root of medieval views of God is an entrenched Neo-Platonism, springing from the second-century philosopher Plotinus. He believed that the Ultimate (God) was absolutely and indivisibly one, a position that heavily influenced Muslim monotheism. Further, Plotinus held that the One is so utterly transcendent (above and beyond all) that it cannot be known, except by mystical experience. This, too, heavily influenced not only orthodox Muslim agnosticism but Sufi mysticism. The fundamental reason there can be no similarity between the One (God) and what flows from it (the universe) is because God is beyond being and there is no similarity between being and what is beyond it. (Norman L. Geisler and Abdul Saleeb, Answering Islam: The Crescent In the Light of the Cross [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1993], pp. 136-137). (Emphasis original)

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12 C. G. Pfander, The Mizanu’l Haqq (Villach, Austria: Light of Life, 1986), 187. 

This is the grand cure for the Christian doctrine of the Trinity? Islam is rather a perfect example of what Calvin was getting at when pointing out that apart from the doctrine of the Trinity “only the bare and empty name of God flits about in our brains to the exclusion of the true God.” Muslims like PW worship a blank, unknowable, arbitrary and fickle deity, and yet they have the temerity to oppose in the name of their “unknown god” the blessed Trinity, the only God who is truly definable and knowable without at the same time being rendered correlative to his creation.

Paul Beliar Williams - Part 4

Paul Belial Williams originally (wrongly) claimed that Christians are tritheistic polytheists. He now (wrongly) claims we are modalistic unitarians. Notwithstanding his new error, since his present claim (i.e. Christians are unitarians) gives the lie to his original claim (Christians are polytheists), he now agrees with me that his original claim was a lie.

It would be nice if the above admission were an indication that PW is repentant. Instead, it is just an example of what happens to habitual liars: eventually they get caught in their own craftiness and wander into self-contradiction. PW seems to suffer from the same sickness as the author(s) of the Qur’an, who also could not seem to agree on whether or not Christians are monotheists (Q. 5:5 cf. 2:221) or polytheists (9:28-33).

In his invincible ignorance, PW thinks that his change of mind is an indication that I reject the Athanasian Creed. He seems to deduce this from the following syllogism:

P1: I (PW) believe the Athanasian Creed teaches Social Trinitarianism.
P2: Anthony rejects Social Trinitarianism in favor of Latin Trinitarianism (which PW thinks is modalism).
Therefore, Anthony rejects the Athanasian Creed.

However, PW gave no argument for his first premise. And since I have already rejected it, the onus is on PW to prove it. Moreover, I have shown that my interpretation is the historic interpretation of the church. I even referred to J. N. D. Kelly’s book on the history of Christian doctrine so PW would know where to begin his studies.

As for PW's new claim, i.e. historic Trinitarianism is modalism, he offered no argument for it. Instead, at precisely the point where an argument was needed, i.e. to prove his new claim, he simply asserted it to be true. Accordingly, there is no argument (yet) to respond to from PW. 

Laughably, PW concluded his screed by saying that I was going to fall back into the “it’s a mystery” defense. So far the only mystery apparent from our conversation is the mystery of wondering when PW will finally present an argument that he sticks by and that is cogent. So far he has only successfully shown us that he is a liar and doesn’t like being called one, and it is hardly a mystery why a liar would not want others to know he is a liar. 


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To further show PW contradicting himself and admitting that Christians are monotheists, here is a comment that Royalson left in the combox of a previous post:

A contradiction would be something like this:


Accusing Christians of polytheism and repeating that assertion even after being given a lot of opportunity to retract such statements even though you [PW] had THIS to say in a post titled "20 quick responses to common anti-religious arguments":


"The majority of the people in the world are actually monotheists (even if they do not always agree about doctrines and so forth), so even if ‘mankind has created thousands of Gods,’ numbers are still on the theist side."


Say WHAT Mr. Williams? The MAJORITY of the people in the world are MONOTHEISTS?


Wait wait wait......

Back up the truck for a second....

Majority?

REALLY?

Are you sure?

Ok let's do some number crunching.

Islam has a population of about 1.5 Billion

Judaism has a population of 14 million.

The world population is 7.125 billion people. You're short by about 2 Billion to get that majority you were talking about. Now what on Earth could you be referring to? A monotheistic religion that will make up the 2 billion shortfall....hmmmm

Oh yes, that's right - Christianity - you know, that faith you knowingly misrepresented? That one you accused of being polytheistic when you knew full well that they are not.

Obama Administration: We Must "Celebrate Islam" to Combat ISIS

Islam is an amazing thing. The more violence, torture, and rape it inspires, the more our leaders tell us to praise it.
(CNSNews.com) – A global effort to counter claims by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) that it is acting in the name of Islam must include a counter-narrative that highlights “our profound respect” for the religion, the administration’s point man in the anti-ISIS coalition said this week.

Retired Marine Corps Gen. John Allen was speaking in Kuwait, where representatives of more than a dozen Islamic and Western met to discuss using public communications to combat ISIS (also known as Da’esh – an acronym for the Arabic rendering of the group’s name, ad-Dawlah al-Islamiyah fil-Iraq wa ash-Sham).

“As we seek to expose Da’esh’s true nature,” Allen told the gathering on Monday, “we must also tell a positive story, one that highlights our respect – our profound respect for Islam’s proud traditions, its rich history, and celebration of scholarship and family and community.”

“We must work with clerics and scholars and teachers and parents to tell the story of how we celebrate Islam, even as we show that Da’esh perverts it.” (Continue Reading.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

UC Berkeley Thwarts CAIR's Attempt to Block Bill Maher from Speaking

I'm no fan of Bill Maher, but I am a fan of his attempts to have an open, honest discussion of Islam. The Council on American-Islamic Relations threw its latest tantrum over UC Berkeley students selecting Maher as the speaker for the winter commencement ceremony. The students backed down and decided to cancel Maher's speech. The university, however, overruled the students in the name of free speech. Here's the official statement:
UC Berkeley News Center—For many years it has been the responsibility of UC Berkeley undergraduates, through a committee known as the “Californians,” to select speakers for the university’s commencement ceremonies. In August the “Californians” chose Bill Maher as the speaker for the December commencement ceremony. However, last night the “Californians” reconvened without administration participation and came to a decision that the invitation should be rescinded.

The UC Berkeley administration cannot and will not accept this decision, which appears to have been based solely on Mr. Maher’s opinions and beliefs, which he conveyed through constitutionally protected speech. For that reason Chancellor Dirks has decided that the invitation will stand, and he looks forward to welcoming Mr. Maher to the Berkeley campus. It should be noted that this decision does not constitute an endorsement of any of Mr. Maher’s prior statements: indeed, the administration’s position on Mr. Maher’s opinions and perspectives is irrelevant in this context, since we fully respect and support his right to express them. More broadly, this university has not in the past and will not in the future shy away from hosting speakers who some deem provocative.

Finally, the unfortunate events surrounding the selection of this year’s winter commencement speaker demonstrate the need to develop a new policy for managing commencement ceremonies. The new process will ensure that these events are handled in a manner commensurate with our values and enduring commitment to free speech. We will be announcing the new policy as soon as it is ready. (Source)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Paul Beliar Williams Does it Again - Part 3

PW’s basic ignorance and lack of theological and philosophical rigor is on full display in his recent replies (see here and here), which conveniently only respond to one of the recent posts I wrote in response to his attempt to cover up the following lie about what Christians believe:


And this is only the latest instance of PW lying and trying to deceive people. As far back as April, 2012, as well as several other times in between, PW was caught in another attempted cover up when he wrote an ill-informed post on Psalm 22, which I quickly exposed. After I did so, PW quietly took down the offending post from his website, refusing all the while to let his readers know that what they read from PW was not true. Rather than confess his error and help correct those he misled by the original post, PW decided to hold on to his pride and was happy to let his readership languor in ignorance (see here and here). These are the actions of a man with a seared conscience, in which case it is quite possible that he doesn’t even know anymore when he is lying or telling the truth.

Turning to his recent reply, let’s begin with some minor points and minor errors (with the exception of misplaced commas).   
Note: my name is Paul Bilal Williams, gratuitous insults are not appropriate for one who calls himself a Christian.
If our conversation has shown anything, it has shown that PW is either a brazen liar, in which case there is nothing gratuitous about associating him with his father (i.e. Belial or Beliar), or he doesn’t have a clue what a “Christian” is, in which case he has no idea what is appropriate behavior for one who bears that name, even though he falsely continues to parade his extensive knowledge of Christianity. I have it on good authority that someone who follows Christ is well within the range of appropriate, Christ-honoring behavior if he identifies implacable, impenitent, inveterate enemies of Christ who falsify the truth as liars or even as the sons of Belial or spawn of Satan, especially since such people refuse to understand or hear what they are being told and desire only to continue perpetuating their lies:
 43 Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. (John 8)
13 Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known; (Deuteronomy 13, KJV; see also Judges 19:22, 20:13, 1 Samuel 1:16, 2:12, 10:27, 25:17, 25, 30:22, 2 Samuel 16:7, 20:1, 23:6, 1 Kings 21:13, 2 Chronicles 13:7)
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever? (2 Corinthians 6)
PW claims that there are several Christians who agree with his sensibilities (against the above testimony of Holy Scripture, mind you), and who are so offended by how he and other Muslims are treated that they told him they don’t read this blog.

First, I find it exceedingly doubtful that there are several “Christians” communicating such things to PW, especially since I only have PW’s word for it, which I don’t trust for a moment; second, my loyalty is to Christ and His word and to those who are faithful to it, so I have little concern for measuring up to the standards of professing Christians whose loyalties are so skewed that they are given to whispering flattering words in PW’s ear, even if these nameless people exist; third, PW is not simply a Muslim innocently seeking for the truth…he is a proud apostate who spends his time lying about the faith and attacking Christ and His people, which isn’t true of all Muslims; fourth, I find all of PW’s whining quite disingenuous. Just like the enemies of Christ in John 8 spoke evil words concerning Him, and thus had no legitimate grounds for complaining when Jesus traced their evil words back to their true source, so PW has no legitimate grounds for complaining when I look at what PW and his rabble say about Christ, the Bible, and other Christians, and accurately trace them back to their source in Satan, their spiritual father. Here are some gems for the nameless “many” that allegedly sympathize with PW:

When people refer to Jesus as the lamb of God, PW responds with comments like the following:


When PW is irritated or irked, he dismisses his interlocutors as mentally unstable.


Rather than bore people with an excessive amount of additional examples, note finally PW’s reply to a Muslim who thinks it is funny to call himself “Jesus” while blaspheming the real Jesus. (This was a “welcome back” note from “Jesus” to PW after PW went on a vacation with,…well, I will let PW tell you. He tends to be very open about it.)


The above is one of the worst displays of hatred for Christ and vitriol spewed towards Him, a vitriol and hatred that perfectly mirrors that of the wicked people who wagged their heads and mocked Him at the foot of His cross.

Since PW’s attacks on David and Sam, even posting a series of pictures making them looking like homosexual lovers (*), are frequent and well known, as are his attacks against other people who disagree with him, calling them “closet queens,” “closet homosexuals,” etc., very strange comments coming from PW of all people (*), I will gloss over many other instances that further prove PW’s duplicity and disingenuousness in pretending to have some kind of moral high ground in this discussion. (Ironically, in the very post where PW put up pictures of David and Sam, PW had several Muslims chide him for his disreputable behavior.)

Since PW likes issuing challenges, I challenge him to produce the names of Christians, i.e. members in good standing of Reformed and Evangelical churches, or any other catholic (see below for clarification), who gleefully read the above comments on his blog and then congratulated him for his good behavior and truthful words over and against my call for PW to repent of being an inveterate liar and exchange his status from being a Son of Belial to a son of God through Christ. I would love to see if anyone, let alone several Christians, really fell for PW’s crocodile tears, or if this is just another one of PW’s lies. (NB: pseudonyms that PW and his Muslim readership can make up do not count.)

The next item in PW’s catalogue of errors is his basic ignorance regarding the word “catholic.” Since I quoted the Athanasian Creed as an authoritative source defining orthodox Trinitarianism, which uses the “offending” word, PW asked,
So Rogers the fundamentalist evangelical is now a Catholic?
First, I have never called myself a “fundamentalist evangelical.” While that label is not entirely inappropriate, at least as long as PW is not supplying the meaning, for he hardly knows the difference between his own front and backside, my own theological convictions are more appropriately and fully described as “Reformed” or “Presbyterian.” In the Reformed tradition the Athanasian Creed, as well as the Apostle’s Creed, the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, and the Chalcedonian Creed are all accepted as accurate statements of the faith once for all entrusted unto the saints. Furthermore, in the Westminster Confession of Faith, which is one of the principal confessions of Reformed Christians, it defines the Church as catholic:
I. The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof; and the spouse, the body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all. 
II. The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation. 
III. Unto this catholic visible Church Christ has given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world: and does, by His own presence and Spirit, according to His promise, make them effectual thereunto. 
IV. This catholic Church has been sometimes more, sometimes less visible. And particular Churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the Gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them. (Ch. XXV)
Secondly, PW evidently thinks the word “catholic,” which is derived from katholikos, meaning “general” or “universal,” is the same thing as Roman Catholic, which is a later, and even contradictory (Roman = particular, local; catholic = universal), use of the term. Originally the term referred to all Christians who confessed the orthodox faith, whether they were Eastern or Western Christians. Somehow PW was a “Christian” and even studied Christianity at Birkbeck and Heythrop college at the University of London, or so we are told, and yet he doesn’t know what every freshman knows before the end of the first day of the first semester of Church History class. (It was at this same institution that PW was supposed to have become “competent in Greek,” and yet in our discussion of Mark 6:50, where Jesus identifies Himself as Yawheh, egw eimi, PW couldn’t get past English translations. Perhaps it is the schools fault, but I would rather not besmirch the name of an entire institution in order to absolve PW, a career deceiver.) Since he may have missed his Church History class that day or possibly even the entire semester, here is what it says about the word “catholic” in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church:
Catholic….It is first met with in Christian literature in St Ignatius of Antioch (Ep. Ad. Smyr. 8. 2). In Christian terminology it has come to have various uses: (1) Of the universal Church as distinct from local Christian communities. It is applied thus to the faith of the whole Church, i.e. the doctrine believed ‘everywhere, always, and by all’ (see VINCENTIAN CANON).….
So much for PW’s spectacular ignorance on something as basic as the meaning of the word “catholic.” Although not as major as the following error, where PW attempts to play philosopher and demonstrate the incoherence of the divinely revealed doctrine of the Trinity, it does illustrate the level of understanding that PW is working with, even on those occasions when he is not lying but just simply wrong.

What about the all-important issue of the Trinity? PW pretends on the one hand that the premise I supplied, and even gave four variations of, is not an additional premise, and then turns around and confuses it with the view of WLC, even referring to his “Cerberus analogy” as a “celebrated” analogy. I can only wonder whom PW thinks he is referring to when he speaks of those who “celebrate” this analogy. I personally can’t think of anyone who thinks it is a good analogy, not even those who hold to a Social Trinitarian model of the Trinity, which I do not. In any event, the very fact that PW thought my view was no different than that articulated by WLC shows how much of a sophomore he is and that he has no business pretending like he is offering anything of substance against my view. In fact, not only is WLC’s view not my view, but also it has not been the majority report in church history. The vast majority of Christian theologians, at least in the West, have held to and taught what is called the Latin Trinitarian view (q.v. J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrine, p. 234). 

According to the ST model, each person of the Trinity is simply an instantiation of divinity, such that when it is said that each person “shares” the divine nature and divine attributes, it is akin to the way in which separate human beings “share” human nature. In other words, each person of the Trinity on this view is thought of as sharing the same kind of nature, but not a single nature, essence, being, etc. This view has often been charged with tritheism. Adherents of this view repudiate this charge, but since I do not hold to this model, I will let those who do so defend themselves on that point, as indeed many have tried. As much as I dissent from WLC’s view, I don’t think anyone doubts that he would easily handle PW and make child’s play of his “arguments”.

In stark contrast to this, however, according to the LT model, the one I hold to, each person of the Trinity does not possess merely the same kind of being, essence, or nature; rather, each person is numerically identical to the divine nature. That is, by definition, this view holds that there is only one being, not three beings, and the Father, Son, and Spirit, though personally distinct from one another, are essentially and absolutely one. Numerical identity is sometimes charged with being a form of modalism, a charge I do not believe actually sticks, but no one who is conversant in these matters thinks the view amounts to tritheism. In fact, at this point I will issue another challenge to PW: cite for me one theologian/philosopher who charges LT with being a form of tritheism.

The bottom line is this: all Christians would agree that each person of the Trinity is completely God and that each person possesses every divine attribute. The difference enters in when it is asked what this means. At this point, two different premises emerge: 1) the generic view; and 2) the numerical identity view. The former is the view PW is attacking, and is the only view he seems to be aware of. The latter is the view I hold, and it is the historic view. So PW doesn’t even know the difference between the view he is attacking and the historic view of the church, and yet he pompously enters into the fray expecting to make sport of Christians, all the while only playing the fool and parading his folly before all.

At a number of points PW accused me of making mere assertions when defining the doctrine of the Trinity, showing that he doesn’t know the basic difference between defining something and arguing for it. When it comes to saying what the doctrine of the Trinity is, the Church asserts that it is the doctrine that there is one God; that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is each fully God, i.e. they are numerically identical in their being and essence; and that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is each a distinct person; and since we are talking definition here, it is silly for PW to respond to this as mere assertions rather than an argument. Definitions aren’t intended to be arguments. This is what the doctrine is by definition, and this is what PW needs to show by way of argument to actually entail polytheism. So far he has not done so. So far, and at best, he has only attacked a view I don’t hold, although even at that I don’t think he has done much of anything. No advocate of ST will have lost any sleep after reading PW. And if they would not lose any sleep over his “arguments” against their view, you can be sure I haven’t lost any sleep over his failure to even so much as mention my view.

At this point the reader should be reminded what this whole discussion has been about. First, PW lied about Christians and said we hold to the concept that one God is actually three gods. Second, when called out on this lie, he tried to justify it, saying, in effect, that it was justifiable to misrepresent our view because, even if that isn’t our concept, it is entailed by what we believe. Third, I have now shown that tritheism isn’t entailed by what we believe, and so his later excuse for lying isn’t even a good cover-up.

For being a habitual and unrepentant liar PW isn’t very good at it. I hope he doesn’t take that as an indication that he needs more practice, but I would hardly be surprised if he does. After all, that is what any self-respecting son of Belial would do.


Monday, October 27, 2014

ISIS Suicide Bomber Kills 27, Injures 60

ISIS rapidly replenishes its forces through an influx of volunteers from around the world, while the local opposition struggles to survive.
BAGHDAD - A suicide bomber killed at least 27 Shi'ite militiamen on the outskirts of the Iraqi town of Jurf al-Sakhar on Monday after security forces pushed Islamic State militants out of the area over the weekend, army and police sources said.

The attacker, driving a Humvee vehicle packed with explosives and likely stolen from defeated government troops, also wounded 60 Shi'ite militiamen, who had helped government forces retake the town just south of the capital.

Holding Jurf al-Sakhar is critical for Iraqi security forces who finally managed to drive out the Sunni insurgents after months of fighting.

It could allow Iraqi forces to prevent the Sunni insurgents from edging closer to the capital Baghdad, sever connections to their strongholds in western Anbar province, and stop them infiltrating the mainly Shi'ite Muslim south.

The group has threatened to march on Baghdad, home to special forces and thousands of Shi'ite militias expected to put up fierce resistance if the capital comes under threat.

Gains against Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot made up of Arab and foreign fighters, are often fragile even with the support of U.S. airstrikes on militant targets in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

As Iraqi government soldiers and militias savored their victory and were taking photographs of Islamic State corpses on Sunday, mortar rounds fired by Islamic State fighters who had fled to orchards to the west rained down on Jurf al-Sakhar.

The blast hit the militiamen, killing dozens and scattering body parts, according to a Reuters witness. (Continue Reading.)