Yahya has condemned Christian missionaries who produce, as he puts it, "rice Christians." The obvious problem with his criticism is that Muhammad produced many "camel Muslims" (i.e. people who became Muslims simply because Muhammad kept giving them camels), "gold Muslims" (people who converted for Muhammad's gifts of gold), "family Muslims" (people who became Muslims so that Muhammad would give them their families back), and, while we're at it, "survival Muslims" (people who converted so that Muhammad wouldn't kill them).
Yahya has offered two main defenses. First, he says that when he criticized Christianity, he was only referring to people who are in a psychologically weakened state because of their hunger. Now it is obvious that Muhammad also relied on psychologically weakened states--for instance, Muhammad told Malik that he would get his family back if he became a Muslim. Malik promptly converted. And we can't forget about all of the people who converted to avoid war with Muhammad. There was certainly a psychological factor at work there. So however Yahya wants to define his criticism, he certainly condemns the Muhammad we read about in the early Muslim sources. But let's focus on history and sources in the next post.
For now, let's pretend that Muhammad never relied on people's psychological distress to convert them. Let's simply go with the passages in which Muhammad gave many gifts to greedy people in an effort to convert them. It seems that Yahya is now saying that he's perfectly fine with this. That is, it's wrong to convert hungry people by feeding them, because they're psychologically unstable. But it's perfectly acceptable to convert greedy people by feeding their greed.
So I just want to ask Yahya: Is this your claim now? You've implied it every time you respond by saying, "No, I only meant people who weren't in the right frame of mind . . ." or something along those lines. So would you say that it's okay for Muhammad to convert people by giving them camels and gold? (Here we're laying the issue of historical sources aside for the moment. I simply want you to clarify your claim for now.)
To put it differently, consider the following. Here in the West, people love money. Would it be acceptable for rich Christians to go around giving people money in an effort to make them more favorable to Christianity, and ultimately to convert them? If, in a desperate effort to rescue Muhammad, you say it's okay, I would like to know why there's such a difference between the "sickening," "deceptive" practice of feeding people while preaching the Gospel, and the perfectly acceptable practice of giving people gifts and money while preaching the Gospel. I know you're going to say something about psychology. But I'm talking about morality. Why is one immoral and the other moral?
If, on the other hand, you say that both practices are immoral, you're stuck with rejecting the many narratives I've quoted, and with showing that no such narrations exist in Shia sources. But at the very least, you would have to admit that the Muhammad we read about in Sunni sources is guily of spiritual bribery, which you now seem quite comfortable with, provided the person isn't psychologically unstable. So according to your position, it would seem to be perfectly okay to win converts through all kinds of manipulative and deceptive methods, so long as people are psychologically healthy. Please clarify, so that I know whether you're condemning the Sunni Muhammad or not.
And please don't complain about sources right now. Again, I'm simply asking you to clarify what qualifies as a moral method of conversion and an immoral method of conversion. So tell me whether or not you find the things attributed to Muhammad in the passages I quoted moral or immoral. Then we can move on to a discussion of the sources--Sunni and Shia.