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Understanding Islam - from early western roots to today's fundamentalism (my title)
ISLAMIC THOUGHT IN THE MIDDLE AGES ^ | 2000 | Forrest Baird, Philosophic Classics Vollume II

Posted on 09/18/2001 10:25:47 PM PDT by GOPcapitalist

I am posting the following excerpt off of a university website about the history of Islamic philosophical thought in hopes of providing anybody who is interested a better understanding of the cultural and religous development of the islamic world. It may surprise you, but in its early years, Islam was highly western in its thought. Literally, if it were not for Islam, much of Aristotle (perhaps the greatest and most well known western/european philosopher) would not have survived the fall of Rome and would have been lost to history all together! Yet an Aristotle immursed Islamic world with heavy western ties is hardly what we know today. How did such a drastic change come about? Here are few excerpts on the subject, plus a few of my comments at the end.

ISLAMIC THOUGHT IN THE MIDDLE AGES

When Emperor Justinian closed the schools in Athens in 529, many of the teachers moved east to Syria, taking their books with them. There the works of Aristotle and many of the Neoplatonists were translated into Syriac and, later, into Arabic. These works were to return to Western Europe centuries later in the hands of Islamic thinkers.

FOUNDATION OF ISLAM

The religion of Islam began with Muhammad (571-632), an Arab from the town of Mecca. Repelled by the polytheism of his day and believing himself to be called as a prophet, Muhammad taught that there is no God but Allah. According to Islam, over a period of twenty-three years Muhammad received messages from Allah, which he wrote down in the Qur'an (or Koran). These sacred writings taught an uncomplicated message of submission (which is what the word "Islam" means) to the will of Allah, expressed in a life of obedience and in deeds such as prayer, alms-giving, periods of fasting, and a once-in-a-lifetime Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca. Through the work of Muhammad and his immediate successors, Islam spread quickly throughout the Arabian peninsula. Within a century Islam was the dominant religion in the Middle East, Northern Africa, and even European Spain. Throughout this expansion, Islam was relatively tolerant of Christianity and Judaism, holding that the adherents of these monotheistic religions were also "people of the Book."

ISLAMIC THOUGHT IN THE MIDDLE AGES

The Islamic culture of this period was very sophisticated and cosmopolitan--especially when compared to that of Western Europe. When Western Europe was largely illiterate, the Muslims (adherents of Islam) were making advances in astronomy, mathematics, and medicine. There was also a group of Muslim thinkers known as falyasufs ("philosophers") who studied and applied the manuscripts of Aristotle and the Neoplatonists that had come through Syria. As Islamic thinkers worked with these texts, they encountered the problems their colleagues in the West knew well: how to reconcile philosophy with sacred texts; how to combine reason and faith. The falyasufs were centered in two different regions and times. An early group, around Baghdad, included al-Kindi (ca. 800-870), al-Farabi (870-950), al-Ghazali (1058-1111) and, most prominently, Ibn- Sina (or Avicenna, his Latin name, 980-1037). A later group in Spain included Ibn Bajjah (d. 1138), Ibn Tufayl (ca. 1100-1185), and, most prominently, Ibn Rushd (or Averroes, 1126-1198).

It was through Islamic philosophers that Aristotle was reintroduced to the West, an event that radically changed the course of medieval philosophy.

AVERROES (1126-1198)

BIOGRAPHY

Ab al-Wald Muhammad Ibn Ahmed Ibn Rushd, better known as Averroës, was born into a prominent family of jurists in Córdoba, Spain. Moving in high society, Averroës made the acquaintance of the sultan of Marrakesh and, through the sultan's favor, became a qadi, or judge, serving first in Seville and later in Córdoba. The sultan also expressed an interest in philosophy and commissioned Averroës to write three sets of commentaries (short, intermediate, and long) on each of Aristotle's writings. These commentaries were to become so influential in Western Europe that Averroës became known simply as "The Commentator."

In addition to the thirty-eight commentaries he produced on Aristotle, Averroës also wrote books on politics, religion, logic, astronomy, and medicine. His expertise in medicine led to his being called to Marrakesh to serve as the sultan's personal physician in 1182. He remained in that post until 1195 when he was forced to leave for religious reasons (apparently because of his glorification of Aristotle). He regained his standing and returned to Marrakesh shortly before his death in 1198. Soon after his death, Islamic culture in Spain virtually disappeared; and even though his thought continued to influence Latin Europe, Averroës had surprisingly little impact on the Muslim world.

BASIC THOUGHT

Through his writings, Averroës sought to counter two misconceptions. First, he wrote his commentaries to rid Aristotle of the misinterpretations of Avicenna and others. For example, Averroës rejected Avicenna's doctrine of the immortality of the soul. Instead he agreed with Aristotle that individual souls cannot exist apart from a body. But in agreement with the teachings of the Qur'an, Averroës also taught that there is a bodily resurrection. According to Averroës, after death we receive new bodies that "emanate from the heavenly bodies." In this way he denied Avicenna's immortality of the soul and managed to agree with both Aristotle and the Qur'an.

Averroës was opposed to several of Avicenna's teachings, but he was even more opposed to Avicenna's chief critic, al-Ghazali. Al-Ghazali (1058-1111) had opposed Avicenna's three controversial positions (see the previous introduction to Avicenna), claiming that Avicenna had put philosophy above the Qur'an. In his major work, The Incoherence of Philosophy, al-Ghazali had argued that philosophy led to disbelief in Allah. In his rejoinder, The Incoherence of the Incoherence, Averroës sought to refute al-Ghazali by dividing people into three classes. The majority of people can understand truth only in imaginative form. For them philosophy would, indeed, be dangerous and they must take the Qur'an literally. A smaller group of people, the theologians, can understand dialectical arguments and draw probable inferences from the Qur'an. But the elite, the philosophers, are capable of understanding truth in its pure, rational form. For them, the Qur'an can be read for its "deeper" allegorical meanings.

As Averroës' teachings reached Christendom, this last (allegorical) conviction was taken to mean he advocated a "double truth": Truth in philosophy might be entirely different--even opposite--from truth in religion. Averroës himself denied this, claiming that there is only one truth, but that there are many ways to access this truth. Unfortunately for Averroës' reputation, the work that made this clear, his Decisive Treatise Determining the Nature of the Connection Between Religion and Philosophy, was lost to the West until the Renaissance.


TOPICS: Front Page News; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: clashofcivilizatio; islamicviolence
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If you are starting to get the picture, you can probably guess what happened next. If not, pay attention to Al-Ghazali (also known as Algazel in European sources).

Al-Ghazali in a sense took an argument similar to the one David Hume is famous for (that knowledge is sensory) and ran with it, only in another direction. To Al-Ghazali, human reason is dependent upon human sensation, and therefore man needed something surer than his reasoning abilities upon which to depend as a guide for life. In The Incoherence of Philosophy Al-Ghazali argued that civilizations that rely upon reason to achieve knowledge fall into a state of moral collapse, intellectual bankruptcy, corruption, and uncertainty. He proposed, as an alternative to a reason-based philosophical society, an emphasis on Islamic fundamentalism and literalism. Out of Al-Ghazali came an ultra-literalist approach to reading the Koran, under which a concept of sacredness is the driving force behind how the Koran is read and treated, as opposed to the teachings of others in Al-Ghazali's time where the book was read from a viewpoint of reason. In some areas, the drive of sacredness as the principle consideration when reading the Koran superseded any attempts to engage in reasoning involving its passages, even those that are allegorical.

Averroes, as was noted above, attempted a staunch rebuttal which defended reason's place in society and the universe, and attempted in his own ways to reconcile its coexistance with religion (note that the coexistance of religion and philosophical thought thrived in the Christian world shortly after Averroes' lifetime). Agree or disagree with his 3 categories, far more significant about Averroes' is his approach to the Koran, which fundamentally conflicted with the ultra-literalism that stemmed from the followers of Al-Ghazali's movement.

In case you are wondering who won in the long run, consider the fact that Al-Ghazali is considered today in the Islamic world to be the religion's greatest theologian. And yes, that same fundamentalism dominates largely to this day in several parts of the Islamic world, including Al-Ghazali's home of Persia, or as it as now known, Iran.

As for the torch of Islam's great academic traditions up until the 12th century, shortly after the time of Averroes it passed via Spain into the hands of Europe, where it reignited Aristotelean concepts among Europe's learned community and marked the end of the dark ages. From the 12th century forward, a philosophical revolution occurred in Europe based largely around that which had been preserved from Rome's fall by way of Byzantium and then Islam. Sure enough, only a few centuries later it was Islam that came knocking on the doors of Constantinople in the mid 1400's. Constantinople, plagued with is own share of religious controversies from the Christian world via the schism, not to mention its own political troubles with lingering crusaders, saw a mass exodus as the armies advanced on its walls. It's share of knowledge, preserved as well through the dark ages, and its greatest thinkers fled to elsewhere in Europe, but in particular Italy. I need not remind anybody what began in Italy during the 15th century.

1 posted on 09/18/2001 10:25:47 PM PDT by GOPcapitalist
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To: GOPcapitalist
Good read BUMP
2 posted on 09/18/2001 10:39:31 PM PDT by Storm Orphan
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To: GOPcapitalist
Here's the condensed timeline version for anybody who does not want to read through the lengthy article above...

1. ROME SPLITS IN TWO AND THE WEST FALLS. EUROPE DESCENDS INTO DARK AGES

2. JUSTINIAN, EMPORER OF THE EAST, CLOSES ATHENIAN SCHOOL - SCHOLARS GO TO SYRIA

3. ISLAM COMES TO DOMINATE ARABIA, HENCE ALSO SYRIA

4. ISLAMIC CULTURE TAKES ON WESTERN APPROACH, IMMERSED IN ARISTOTLE AND WESTERN SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, ASTRONOMY ETC.

5. AVICENNA MARKS FIRST ARISTOTELIAN PEAK IN ISLAMIC CULTURE

6. AL GHAZALI REACTS AGAINST PHILOSOPHERS, STARTS MOVEMENT THAT ABANDONS PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE THROUGH REASON, MOVEMENT INSTALLS LITERALIST THEOCRACY

7. AVERROES MARKS SECOND ARISTOTELIAN PEAK IN ISLAMIC CULTURE, DELIVERS IT TO SPAIN; REACTS AND COUNTERS AL GHAZALI, BUT THE WHEELS ARE ALREADY SET IN MOTION ON AL GHAZALI'S MOVEMENT.

8. ARISTOTLE REINTRODUCED TO EUROPE THROUGH SPAIN FROM AVERROES, ENDS DARK AGES, BRINGS IN NEW AGE OF REASON AND PHILOSOPHIC THOUGHT PEAKING UNDER AQUINAS.

9. EUROPEAN CHURCH AND POLITICS BESIEGE CONSTANTINOPLE FIGURATIVELY, ISLAMIC ARMIES BESIEGE IT LITERALLY. BY THIS TIME, ISLAM IS INCREASINGLY DOMINATED BY FUNDAMENTALIST MOVEMENT STARTED BY AL GHAZALI

10. BYZANTINE SCHOLARS FLEE INVADING ISLAMIC ARMIES AS CONSTANTINOPLE FALLS, SEEK REFUGE IN ITALY

11. RENAISSANCE BEGINS IN ITALY AS SPARKED BY INFLUX OF SCHOLARS.

12. WESTERN WORLD OF TODAY EMERGES OUT OF THE EVENTS OF THE RENNAISSANCE; ISLAMIC WORLD OF TODAY EMERGES OUT OF FUNDAMENTALIST LITERALISM SPARKED BY AL GHAZALI.

3 posted on 09/18/2001 10:52:16 PM PDT by GOPcapitalist
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To: Storm Orphan
And during all those boring philosophy classes, I thought all that stuff was essentially useless, yet along comes a practical situation in which it means something and has a real world application! Go figure.
4 posted on 09/18/2001 11:09:05 PM PDT by GOPcapitalist
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To: GOPcapitalist
"Within a century Islam was the dominant religion in the Middle East, Northern Africa, and even European Spain"

How did this happen? Were teams of two young muslims in ties and clean white shirts sent out on camels to various countries? Have you heard the word of Allah today?

Btw you should repost this it didn't get the play it deserved.

5 posted on 09/18/2001 11:59:56 PM PDT by FreedomSurge
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To: FreedomSurge
LOL! The point of the sword runs fast and furious...but never is it without it's ironies. The islamic sword that pushed out reasoned theological discourse in favor of blind literalist faith pushed Europe into a cultural reawakening. The same sword that crushed the walls of Constantinople gave Europe its famous rennaissance.

In more ways than one, the part of islamic culture that so often denounces the west is itself partially responsible through its actions for that same west's being what it is today, and that is the ultimate irony.

6 posted on 09/19/2001 12:05:19 AM PDT by GOPcapitalist
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To: GOPcapitalist
Most of the stuff presented in this capsule history and summary of doctrines is true, though it gets a bit weaker toward the end. But several critical parts of the story are lacking.

First, the article does notice the similarity between Ghazali's arguments and the later arguments of Humean skepticism. But this point deserves amplification. Although the cultural ramifications of Ghazali's arguments against the medieval Islamic philosophers were arguably disasterous, it is pretty clear that he won the argument at a purely intellectual level. He was no crabbed Cato in theological garb, just spouting prejudice or something. He fully understood the philosophy of his age and consciously rejected it based on reasoned arguments.

Second, there was another member of the medieval philosophy crowd who was rather important in the whole affair, including the transmission of doctrines on the reason-revelation question to the medieval west. Moses Maimonides, who was raised in Moorish Spain and later a doctor in Egypt, but Jewish. His arguments had a large indirect effect on those of men like Acquinas.

Third, what really happened with Averroism in the west is not recognizable in the picture presented here. Averroism was a leading philosophic doctrine at places like the University of Paris for a time. But was regarded as dangerously heretical. Those teaching it were regularly proscribed. This led to a great fight in medieval Christian theology and European philosophy, and it was here that Acquinas made his own mark.

Essentially, he tried to "tame" Averroism, and to free Aristotle from being the "property" of that philosophic outlook (whose real roots go back to neo-Platonism of the late Roman period, and also to some aspects of Gnosticism). He rejected the parts of its doctrines he found incompatible with Christian theology. But he defended Aristotle from the attacks of Christian theologians who basically agreed with Ghazali's conclusions, but advanced much less able reasoning in defense of their positions.

Did this end the issue, so that all lived happily ever after in the west? Hardly. Full blown Averroism did not disappear in the west after Acquinas. It went into opposition, and sided with the state against the church - e.g. in the case of Marsilius of Padua. It became an ideology calling for reform of the church and supremacy of the secular over the religious power. In terms of its particular doctrines, it largely passed from the scene, however, before the reformation.

And when the reformation came in the west, it broke with the hierarchy over the question of literalism. The issues involved in that controversy had been seen a long way off and sketched out, in the case of Islam, in the fight between the philosophers and Ghazali. Ghazali saw ahead of time that the principle of interpretation put reason in the driver's seat, that reason in such matters did not mean human certainties (which were, he maintained, unavailable on metaphysical subjects), but on plausibilities prompted by other motives advanced by failing men. Luther to a modest degree, and Calvin rigidly, saw this same problem as leading to corruption of religious doctrine. Indeed, Calvinism and Ghazali's idea of Islamic orthodoxy have many points in common.

It is not like fundamentalism never arose in the west. It did, in the reformation. Without an authoritative human institution to interpret traditions or received law, or adapt to the times, literalism is a natural refuge and expediant. Within Islam this lack was not a matter of theory but of practice. By the late middle ages, the Islamic world was not unified politically, and therefore the Caliphate (a single Islamic "king", joining the highest religious "office" to the highest secular one) could not provide a central authority to direct interpretation. Each province refused to recognize the supposed Caliph erected by the next one. That left the only practical options at diverse reasonings (tending to stray from anything like religious tradition) on the one hand, and literalism on the other. The same issue arose in Christian Protestantism.

And there are two additional wrinkles after that. In the west, the tradition of liberty and limited government arose from at least three sources. Everyone talks about the traditions of town government and such, but there were two other key influences more germaine to this discussion.

One was the tension between church and state in the medieval investiture contests. Both sides in that contest appealed to the people as a third party source of legitimacy to decide the contest. Marsilius, supporting the power of the German Emperor, taught that all legitimate power arises from consent. Acquinas, supporting the power of the Papacy, did likewise - although other, more "ultramontane" (to use a latter term in a way that is not misleading) supporters of the Papacy did not.

A second came from Protestantism, and particularly from opposition to the reformation era political idea called "confessional absolutism". Which was the idea that whatever ruler someone was subject to, they should follow that ruler in matters of religion, and that it was treason to disobey a king in such matters. Which was a doctrine still subscribed to by Thomas Hobbes (not exactly orthodox)in the mid 17th century. He also hated the devotion to Aristotle, incidentally, mocking medieval scholastic philosophy as "Aristotelity". (See part IV of Leviathan, "Of the Kingdom of Darkness"). Confessional absolutism was opposed by puritan Protestants, including of course those who founded this country.

Freedom of conscience and popular government did not arise in the west because people didn't buy the arguments of Ghazali. It is not misleading to say they arose in part because they were still fighting over the matter (cause one above), and because those who -agreed- with him on the subject did not want those who -didn't- to dictate to them in matters of religious conscience (cause two). And then when a third wave of support for popular government, stemming from secular skepticism, arrived on the scene in the 18th century Enlightenment, the skeptics were advancing arguments -against- human reason (both in Hume and Kant), some of which are remarkably close to Ghazalian arguments.

Why did these arguments have such a different cultural tone in the Enlightenment than in medieval Islam? The paradox must be fully faced. The Islamic philosophy that thought relatively highly of the powers of human reason and opposed skepticism, and which relied heavily on Aristotle (and some Platonic notions), was in the west incorporated into -church- doctrine, into Acquinas. Which the later forces were reacting -against-.

The secularizing skeptics (like Hobbes and Hume) were -opposing- that doctrine in the Enlightenment, not endorsing it. They were effectively saying, scholastic philosophy cannot really know about such things, and its pretences that it does are vain. And the Protestants were also opposing it, though for somewhat different reasons. They argued that the church had put falliable human reasoning where it didn't belong and thus distorted scripture, and drew the conclusion that literalism was a safer policy to ensure orthodoxy.

Both points had been anticipated in Islamic history by one man, Ghazali. When he proposed them, though, he was not an outcast and rebel movement of opposition thinkers opposing the doctrine of a centralized religious hierarchy. He was opposing the private opinions of a few brilliant philosophers, and speaking on behalf of most of the theologians of his day. You have to imagine the intellectual power of the skepticism of the Enlightenment, the literalism and desire for purity of doctrine of the protestant reformation, and the authority and deferrence of an established body of learned theologians like the medieval church - all united into the hands of one man, and advanced to support one proposition. That being, that as far as human thinking is concerned, there are only three things - logic which is certain, revelation which is taken on faith, and -vanity-, which comprises everything else.

What is the point of all of the above, other than putting some additional meat on the bare bones of the historical sketch already provided by the article? Simple this: there is more here than a mere "road not taken", random forking of paths. And our own civilization is more involved in these arguments, and less settled about them, than that mere sketch would lead you to believe. And because of all that, it is a larger and harder task to engage and perhaps educate the contemporary Islamic world, than that sketch might lead one to believe. Telling them they just need to go back to Aristotle and they will have a renaissance is unlikely to do the trick.

I hope this is interesting.

7 posted on 09/19/2001 1:26:13 AM PDT by JasonC
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To: GOPcapitalist
Thanks for posting this. I am trying to understand this topic.

Can someone answer this question:
In the commentary of my KJV - Scofield study Bible, It says that Islam presents the biggest challenge to Christians because Islam is most like Christianity.

That statement both surprises and confuses me. I would have thought that Christianity was most closely linked to Judaism - the antithesis of Islam.

Wasn't it Abram's effort to fulfill God's promise in his own way the start of the Arab-Israeli conflict? This being God's promise that the descendents of Ishmael would be against the descendents of Isaac.

Thanks for any response.

Russ

8 posted on 09/19/2001 6:52:08 AM PDT by kinsman redeemer
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To: FreedomSurge
I don't want to understand - I want to carpet bomb!
9 posted on 09/19/2001 6:54:48 AM PDT by lodwick (Be a Patriot - donate to FreeRepubic monthly! You will feel Great!)
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To: GOPcapitalist
Now when are they going to stop and take the time to understand us and take our feeling in to account?
10 posted on 09/19/2001 6:57:23 AM PDT by DeckTheHallsHolly
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To: lodwick
Ah, willful ignorance combined with a strong urge to kill people and break things. Right, that is sure to help distinguish civilization from barbarism. That won't send any recruits flocking to the banner of our enemies, no siree bob. I'm sure you can find any number of other threads to pound your chest on. Why you need threads, or Free Republic, or the written word, or even articulate speech for the purpose remains a mystery. Any other place except where people who might actually be interested in what civilizations are made of can examine the real ground of their differences, in human thought. Which thoughts are merely what can lead them to change. "Why change thoughts when we can rearrange the furniture?" Go play outside, child, while the adults have their serious discussions.
11 posted on 09/19/2001 9:03:47 AM PDT by JasonC
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To: DeckTheHallsHolly
Of course some do, and the fact that many of their talented young people are attracted to western culture is a large part of the reason the angry ones in the Islamic world are hostile. And on the other hand, when their writers and thinkers learned things about the west, they do not always look at the more savory aspects of our civilization. They can study anti-westernism in Paris, after all.

Some of the ills of the contemporary Islamic world come from too easy importation of pernicious ideas, which they own culture is less guarded against internally. The jargon of authenticity is imported from 20s and 30s Europe. The Shia fundamentalists are ultramontanes. Syria and Iraq were made tyrannies with the aid of Marxist thought. Said's attacks on western analysis of Islamic history are based on Foucault.

But you may be asking about better reactions. There have been those as well - it is a question of the extent of their influence. Rahman was among the best of them, as a scholar and a farsighted and moderate man. He worked with Lerner on books on medieval philosophy and taught at the University of Chicago. He warned about the shallow tendency to turn Islam into a political slogan and pollute it with justifications of political crimes. Some did useful service in their criticism of wrong-headed ideas in Europe, as when Iqbal turned Nietzsche on his head, by replacing the will to power with love, reversing the many propositions that changes in the structure of Nietzche's thought, and calling the result a consistent idealism.

There are many threads of thought and influence between the two civilizations. But the issues in the article are the central ones. Ghazali's historical influence has been immense, especially on the Islamic mainstream of Sunni, orthodox thought. His skepticism largely crippled indigenous science, which previously had been flourishing. His emphasis on the authority of revelation and the uncertainty of interpretation undermines any settled authority for rational, non-religious law.

Chesterton once said the most vital freedom is the freedom of man to think, meaning by it not absence of repression but the belief that human thoughts matter. In philosophy, skepticism destroys this, where even pragmaticim preserves it sufficiently. In theology, literalism destroys this, where even the most centralised authority allowed interpretation preserves it sufficiently. These issues are still live ones in our own civilization. We usually overlook how much we owe to these arguments not being settled, and in favor of the less fruitful sides.

12 posted on 09/19/2001 9:39:02 AM PDT by JasonC
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To: JasonC
The Islamic philosophy that thought relatively highly of the powers of human reason and opposed skepticism, and which relied heavily on Aristotle (and some Platonic notions), was in the west incorporated into -church- doctrine, into Acquinas. Which the later forces were reacting -against-.

*Very* interesting interpretation. I've not seen the Enlightenment in this way before. Perhaps William of Ockham played a role similar to that of Al-Ghazali: the emphasis on the omnipotence of God swiftly led to an emphasis on the impotence of man.

13 posted on 09/19/2001 10:20:44 AM PDT by Dumb_Ox
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To: Dumb_Ox
The author leaves out the effect of the Mongol invasions which destroyed the infrastructure of Central Asia. Bridges, canals, roads, cities, etc. (Similar to what happened in the South after the Civil War.) The fundamentalists said that this was Allah's punishment for leaning towards reason rather than religion.
14 posted on 09/19/2001 10:36:49 AM PDT by Doctor Stochastic
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To: lodwick
"I don't want to understand..."

Public School education?

15 posted on 09/19/2001 10:37:53 AM PDT by Doctor Stochastic
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To: GOPcapitalist

Don't Be Confused!

Ben Cartwright

Bin Ladin

</shameless attempt>

I am seeking help on this topic.

Could someone look at my EARLIER POST and provide insight?

Thanks,
Russ

16 posted on 09/19/2001 1:05:36 PM PDT by kinsman redeemer
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Comment #17 Removed by Moderator

To: JasonC
The problem with Al Ghazali was not his philosophical understanding so long as you accept the premises of the Hume elements of it (though it is ironic that he used his own form of reasoning to debunk reason) but rather with what he posed forth as the "alternative." If reasoning to knowledge is fundamentally flawed for reasons X, Y, and Z, there must appear an alternative way to knowledge, in this particular case divine revelation. Al Ghazali basically looked out and saw the Koran and sure enough, there was all the divine revelation he needed! Please note that I'm not trying to establish whether or not the Koran is divine revelation, but rather simply making the point of it's place into Al Ghazali's scheme of things.

In other words, he reasoned that reason, being sensory, is fundamentally imprecise and flawed and therefore knowledge must be sought elsewhere, and that elsewhere must be divine revelation, so out of all the texts and religions out there from which to find that divine revelation, Al Ghazali simply pointed at the one that was closest to him and said "that's it," and so it was. Argue the Hume premise whatever way you want, I'm simply saying that for those two reasons Al Ghazali's "philosophy" runs into problems because it reasons to debunk reason (a contradiction) and leaps to the nearest religion as reason's replacement (an assumption). In itself, his scheme of things may not be all that bad...but when taken to its radical extremes as has occurred under Al Ghazali's successors, it produces an ultra-literalist viewpoint that is at many times incompatable with reality.

As for Averroes, nobody ever said he had it all straight. His system, when introduced in Europe, created a shockwave of philosophical problems in a largely Augustinian field of scholars. That's why it took years for philosophers to reconcile the two, as essentially reconciling the two meant reconciling the age old differences between Aristotle and Plato. As was noted, this reconciliation came largely in Aquinas and those following him. In many ways, he largely completed the riddle and European philosophy beyond him shifted a large ammoung of its focus elsewhere to reconciling Augustine's concept of signs - a topic that came to dominate the next few centuries up until the rennaissance. What does it all mean for today? Well, it doesn't mean we can go back to some prior place in human thought and ressurrect it. It simply shows how we got where we are now, and how the same occurred in the Islamic world.

18 posted on 09/19/2001 4:07:31 PM PDT by GOPcapitalist
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To: Buckhead
Hope you enjoyed it! It's an interesting subject at this time...I never thought all those boring hours of philosophy class could be used in commenting on Islamic terrorism!
19 posted on 09/19/2001 8:17:09 PM PDT by GOPcapitalist
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To: GOPcapitalist
Oh, I certainly do not accept Ghazali's Humean premises. I don't accept them from Hume either. I am not a skeptic, and I think Hume is just as wrong. That is a story for another time, perhaps (one some of us have discussed here previously, as a matter of fact).

But there is nothing ironic, let alone any "contradiction", in either of them using reason to attack the authority of reason. First, reason must be distinguished from reasoning, in the sense of logic - which neither of them question in the slightest. They simply both understand that logic alone - even with the addition of sense experience - doesn't get anyone to certain knowledge of the external world. Logic is contentless, and sense experience alone cannot fill it up. That much is quite true, and has been known since the time of Aristotle. It isn't equivalent to skepticism or questioning reason, however, because that turns on the issue, do we have any other means of knowledge besides logic and our senses? Which is the whole epistomological problem in the whole history of philosophy, with different people taking different positions on it.

Beside the distinction between reason and logic, though, it is an old and venerable philosophic tradition to reason about the limits of reason. The Eleatics did so, and Plato, medieval rationalism and theology, Humean skeptics, Kantean critical philosophy, modern positivism, and modern relativism. So do entire areas of mathematics, come to that, where proving that a given problem is insoluable is an everyday exercise. How sweeping the conclusions are varies from case to case. Most except logic from whatever conclusions they draw, and that is all they need to reason about the matter without putting the status of their premises into "play".

And even if any of them did arrive at a "contradiction" it would still be perfectly sound reasoning. Assume reason's authority is trustworthy, arrive at a conclusion that reason's authority is not trustworthy, contradiction, means only "therefore reject the initial premise, and conclude that reason's authority is not trustworthy". Not that I defend that conclusion, I merely point out there is no error in reasoning involved in drawing such a conclusion, if that is where the chain of reasoning led. The logic of the deduction is perfectly sound. That is only an aside, but meant to make clear that flip dismissals are not sufficient here.

Next you say "there must be an alternative way to knowledge" if reasoning does not arrive at knowledge. This is, to say the least, not obvious. Knowledge might simply be unavailable to us. I don't happen to think so, but again, it is not something that follows from the previous. I take it here you meant your statement as a sort of commentary and criticism of Ghazali, that he turned to revelation because reason wasn't useful. There is some truth to that. But he recognizes that revelation gives truths that are not certain as logic is certain, but instead only propositions accepted by faith. This seperates revelation from both certainty in logic on the one hand, and the vanity of pretended rational merely human knowledge on the other hand, to Ghazali.

In addition, there is an aspect of Ghazali's position I don't think you've quite noticed yet, that is an important part of its strength, as a practical argument I mean. He has removed an independent standard with which to challenge the positive law of one's community. His acceptance of Islamic revelation is not simply a "gee, here is something else" as you pretend. It is literally the law, when and where he was writing.

Without human rational knowledge (with content, beyond mere logic and mathematics), there is no place for an interpreter or legislator, let alone for a rebel, to challenge the established law of his community. The exception for revelation does allow a place for a "higher law" and appeals to it, but only a very narrow one, to the exact letter of the traditional (revealed) law - because of the prohibition against interpretation, as likely to introduce human distortions that have no defensible claim to truth.

(continued)

20 posted on 09/19/2001 10:17:26 PM PDT by JasonC
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To: GOPcapitalist
(continued)

If anyone thinks the same issue doesn't arise in our civilization, think about the controversy involved in "judicial activism" vs. "original intent". In the west, we regularly appeal to human reason to revise positive laws, although we fight about who is supposed to exercise that authority. We do not see any need for such appeals to be limited to formal logic on the one hand, or recitations of the text of the constitution on the other. We regard ourselves as having general powers, general commissions prior to all political institutions, to judge and decide all sorts of things.

Whether we recognize it our not, those general powers are based on a philosophical doctrine that our human reason is capable of arriving at true judgements about the world. Which does not mean all schools of thought within our civilization agree with that philosophical doctrine. Even though our practical liberties actually rest of particular doctrines, and make little sense without them, many of those doctrines are widely disbelieved. And here I must refer to a quotation by CK Chesterton about certain tendencies in modern western thought -

"...there is a great and possible peril to the human mind: a peril as practical as burglary... That peril is that the human intellect is free to destroy itself. Just as one generation could prevent the very existence of the next generation, by all entering a monastery or jumping into the sea, so one set of thinkers can in some degree prevent further thinking by teaching the next generation that there is no validity in any human thought... If you are merely a sceptic, you must sooner or later ask yourself the question, "Why should anything go right; even observation and deduction? Why should not good logic be as misleading as bad logic? They are both movements in the brain of a bewildered ape?" The young sceptic says, "I have a right to think for myself." But the old sceptic, the complete sceptic, says, "I have no right to think for myself. I have no right to think at all." There is a thought that stops thought. That is the only thought that ought to be stopped." - Chesterton

I quite agree with his practical conclusion at the end. But it is worth taking notice of how many do not agree with it, taken whole. Ghazali does not agree with it, obviously. But neither in important respects does Calvin. Or Hume. Or relativists - historical, cultural, or otherwise. Or the logical positivists, about most subjects. Or Kanteans, about almost as many. Or even pragmatists, who you might think would be free and easy about this one, when it comes to claims of objective truth. Or Hobbes, about anything political or religious. Or literalists in theology. Or for that matter an interdict on lists of unorthodox books. All are engaged in one way or another, for one reason or another, in telling mankind to stop thinking about many of the weightiest matters, allegedly because mere humans do not have the ability to know anything, either at all, or about the proscribed subjects, or enough to carry weight against the authorities established.

Incidentally, there were and are rebels against this Ghazali principle of orthodoxy in the Islamic world. The mystics, the Sufis, were not satisfied with logic plus the letter of the law, and a dismismal of everything else as vanity. They do assert their own authority to "think for themselves". But generally make no distinction between reason and the imagination. And they give a status even to their own thoughts as supposedly new revelation, rather than as human thinking. Somewhat like the "new age"rs and "neo-gnostics" here.

Where does Chesterton's strong certainty come from, there at the end, when he knows in his bones that man must be free to think, whatever it leads to, as long as it does not lead to man "telling himself" to "cut it out"? It is a moral certainty, that a man who cannot think is maimed. Call it the root of the idea of liberty, and we can all feel it is so. Can a mere moral certainty stand up to the reasoned eloquence of Humean skepticism? It is not a problem for Chesterton.

He is duly authorized to will anything whatsoever for others, as long as he wills the same for himself, by the higher law that he recognizes. He is solemnly advised to judge the results rather than the arguments, in sound pragmatic fashion: "by their fruits you shall know them". He has no doubts about his fitness to judge what is good for himself when applying the first, and for all in applying the second. And not because he listened to anyone in that list two paragraphs back.

Other traditions that avoid skepticism and trust human reason might arrive at the same conclusion by different routes. Ancient philosophy, scholasticism, humanism, natural right doctrine, modern idealism, the better forms of pragmaticism - all trust men to know things, sometimes important enough to challenge the law of their day and age. This is not as automatic as it may at first appear. It is not unchallenged. It can have its downside, in disorders, shattering of traditions, usurpations (see chapter 29 of Hobbes' Leviathan). But to me it is obvious that it is morally necessary. It wasn't to Ghazali, and it wasn't to many later forces in western history. Including many still with us now.

I hope this is still interesting. I'll be gone for a few days but will bump this back up when I return, if others aren't still keeping it going. Perhaps someone should tag some of the philosophy regulars to weigh in (e.g. bettyboop, cornelius, etc).

21 posted on 09/19/2001 10:18:02 PM PDT by JasonC
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To: GOPcapitalist JasonC
Thanks for your intriguing posts.

Spengler compares Muhammad with Pythagoras and Cromwell.

He makes a compelling case for the parallelism of epochal events in the various historical cultures.

I compare the late barbarity with the atrocities against Roman civilians in Asia Minor by the popular forces of Mithridates, who was crushed by Pompei of Triumvirate fame.

God bless America, and protect her.

22 posted on 09/19/2001 10:49:11 PM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: JasonC
Just a few thoughts on reasoning to debunk reason: First off, I do think the case could be made that when taken to its ultimate end, the skeptic's argument must extend to include reason itself onto logical reasoning. In the case of ultimate skepticism, there exists an unavoidable necessity that if all that is known is achieved by strictly sensory means, any conceptual knowledge, be it premise, conclusion, argument, or entire philosophical worldview, is therefore also of sensory origin. Simply put, if all is sensory then all that we know and everything we do with that knowledge must also be sensory. In this argument's ultimate ends, all concepts reduce simply to sensory associations made by the mind based upon sensory impacts that bring about some sort of association. If inescapably all is sensory, then so too must be the conceptual associations of skeptics who reason that reasoning is fundamentally sensory and therefore imprecise. Basically, it gets to a point beyond the necessity of the distinctions you made as in the ultimate ends of the sensory argument, all including all concepts are of sensory origin, therefore making the sensory nature of reaching conclusions about the sensory nature of reasoning is inescapable (I just realized what a mouthful that last little bit is to say...sorry if it confuses anybody reading it!).

So basically it is in that sense that I call it ironic that Hume et al would reason the practice of logical reasoning to have it's vulnerability in it's sensory nature when the very concept of reason itself, not to mention a concept of what constitutes sensory, is under the ultimate ends of such an argument itself derived from sensory associations, which, for the sake of consistency, must also be inherent with their flaws, or more specifically the sensory defined concept of what constitutes a flaw. - It's simply taking a derived form of skepticism to its end, which is also beyond what most skeptics themselves are willing to admit but nevertheless may be arrived at. In that end exists an internally turned being with certitude in nothing - almost like a psychological reclusiveness for lack of a better phrasing.

As for the turn to revelation, indeed it was a criticism of Al Ghazali, but specifically moreso of what stemmed from him. Though Al Ghazali himself was not the fundamentalist literalism I criticize, he undeniably made the world a better place for those after him who propagated extreme literalism in the Koran. It's also a criticism of convenience in that he took his leap of faith to the revelation that was closest to him. Law or no law of the state at the time, it's a decision of convenience in more ways than one (including the convenience of not upsetting the authorities by contradicting their rule, which is understandable though still the element of choice exists). Needless to say, the presence of that element of choice on the whole as well as a preexisting societal dictate towards one choice over all others makes his choice a weaker one, in that he took the safe route. It's an unfortunate solution to any riddle, even though it may have been the most practical. It's kinda like putting an enormous effort into debunking and completely dismantling somebody else's viewpoint then proposing what is right in front of you as an alternative, for whatever reason be it legal, practical, or political. In that sense, Al Ghazali's alternative route was that which conveniently was in front of him, known to him, and heavily expected of him, meaning it was not an alternative chosen for any particular merit other than that it was there and it was what he knew. It was a convenient piece to complete his puzzle with, and any predetermined societal bias towards that piece just further shows the reasons why it was chosen.

As for our own brand of literalism in western society, sure we have our set of strains. In fact, being a strict constructionist I could arguably be said to subscribe to one of them. A distinction must be made in the extent of literalism. Literalism in reading brief rulebook for legislative government is a lot different than an absurdly literal reading of the Koran that digs itself so deeply behind the words that it finds itself at odds with reality. There are times to be literal, and other times where being literal is absurd. Literally reading a rulebook in a game is practical for society. Literally reading an allegorical abstract defeats the purpose all together, making it absurd.

This is indeed turning into a fun discussion! I look forward to your next set of thoughts on it.

23 posted on 09/19/2001 11:45:45 PM PDT by GOPcapitalist
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To: kinsman redeemer
In the commentary of my KJV - Scofield study Bible, It says that Islam presents the biggest challenge to Christians because Islam is most like Christianity. That statement both surprises and confuses me. I would have thought that Christianity was most closely linked to Judaism - the antithesis of Islam.
In case your question went unanswered, Islam is sort of like an older spinoff from Christianity than Protestant Christianity. It accepts everything that Christianity has to offer, except for the effects of polytheism evident in the theory of the trinity, which was a political trade off made by Paul who 'sold' Jesus as the unknown God. The Romans had an altar for the unknown God (in case they missed one) which was low hanging fruit for a man like Saul.

Islam also warns against Christian sentiments regarding being forgiven for all ones sins (this created fake Christians - you see them today). There is no blank check in Islam. Those are really all the noteworthy differences..

Judaism is not the antithesis of Islam. Arabs and Israelis are having trouble getting along because of land. Religion is used as a motivator for the ignorant. Islam is Judaism+recognition of the Messiah.
24 posted on 10/26/2001 3:07:49 PM PDT by a_Turk
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To: GOPcapitalist
9. EUROPEAN CHURCH AND POLITICS BESIEGE CONSTANTINOPLE FIGURATIVELY, ISLAMIC ARMIES BESIEGE IT LITERALLY. BY THIS TIME, ISLAM IS INCREASINGLY DOMINATED BY FUNDAMENTALIST MOVEMENT STARTED BY AL GHAZALI
It was the Turkish army that took Constantinople, just as it conquered Islam. Don't Constantly confuse creed, race, and religion, or mix them together. When we came, it was us. Not Islam, which we conquered too.. And to protect the artwork in the churches from fundamentalists, we painted over them. This is why you can marvel at countless golden mosaic depictions of biblical stories in Istanbul today. These would have been disposed of by fundamentalists back then, misinterpreted as depictions of idols.
25 posted on 10/26/2001 3:21:17 PM PDT by a_Turk
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To: a_Turk
"polytheism evident in the theory of the trinity"
"a political trade off made by Paul"
"Islam also warns against Christian sentiments regarding being forgiven for all ones sins"
Those are really all the noteworthy differences.."

Is is evident that you do not know God, you do not know His only Son- Jesus Christ, and you do not know His Word.

Russ

26 posted on 10/27/2001 7:47:26 PM PDT by kinsman redeemer
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To: a_Turk
..You COULD, however:

A commitment to a works-based hope of salvation is Satan's scheme to keep you away from a loving God.

Here is the GOSPEL TRUTH:

1. God loves you
2. You are a sinner and are separated from him - Because God is holy.
3. He sent his Son to pay the price for your sin (as well as the sin of the rest of the world.) He was the only blood sacrifice that could be sufficient - because He (Christ) is God and He is sinless!
4. Accept this FREE GIFT now and God will welcome you into his family. His Holy Spirit will dwell in you and guide you.
5. Once you accept Christ as your Savior, by faith, God will never go back on his promise. There is not possibility that he will change what he has already done. You will have eternal life!

You can do this right now. I hope you will.

Russ

27 posted on 10/27/2001 7:59:28 PM PDT by kinsman redeemer
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To: GOPcapitalist; JasonC
Just when you start feeling good about your own intelligence somebody shows up to demonstrate how you're playing Wheel of Fortune while they're playing Jeopardy. Ouch
28 posted on 10/27/2001 8:42:31 PM PDT by MattinNJ
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To: kinsman redeemer
Is is evident that you do not know God, you do not know His only Son- Jesus Christ, and you do not know His Word.
And with all that said, I still know a whole lot more than you. I thought I was answering a sincere question you had.
29 posted on 10/28/2001 3:44:15 PM PST by a_Turk
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To: kinsman redeemer
1. God loves you
Yes. And you too.
2. You are a sinner and are separated from him - Because God is holy.
Yes. And you are too. You will be held accountable for your sins. I don't care how many times you were reborn.
3. He sent his Son to pay the price for your sin (as well as the sin of the rest of the world.) He was the only blood sacrifice that could be sufficient - because He (Christ) is God and He is sinless!
God sent the Messiah who is all that, but did doubt - 'coz he's not God.
4. Accept this FREE GIFT now and God will welcome you into his family. His Holy Spirit will dwell in you and guide you.
But Russ, I am. Why do you think I am bothering with this?
5. Once you accept Christ as your Savior, by faith, God will never go back on his promise. There is not possibility that he will change what he has already done. You will have eternal life!
Add to that that I must be sincere, and not just pretend to have accepted Christ. From that would follow that I cease to sin.

How can I have accepted Christ and be so judgmental? Maybe you can explain.
30 posted on 10/28/2001 4:05:49 PM PST by a_Turk
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To: a_Turk
When Emperor Justinian closed the schools in Athens in 529, many of the teachers moved east to Syria, taking their books with them. There the works of Aristotle and many of the Neoplatonists were translated into Syriac and, later, into Arabic. These works were to return to Western Europe centuries later in the hands of Islamic thinkers.

Good try Turk: "Turks spread Civilization," is it? Anywhere Islamic Armies rested for 15 minutes has been a hellhole for 500 years afterward. Why, oh why, my young Turk, do you think those marvelous Syriac scholars decamped?

It was because Muslims were slaughtering them in their thousands ... and anyone else in the formerly Christian Middle East and Egypt and Libya, and Tunisia and Morocco who wouldn't convert!

Islamic culture had 2 good academic centuries based on what they found in the ruins of the places they converted and in the libraries of those they had so enthusiastically slain for Allah. But Islam has never had an Awakening, a Renaissance, an Enlightenment, or what they need most right now, a religious Reformation. Where is Islamic literature; Islamic music; Islamic philosophy; Islamic Science; your personal freedoms in Islamic lands today?

Do Christendom some more favors, take yourself and your co-religionists East of the Euros River and remain forever in Islam. You are not going to be the great thinker that synthesizes Islam and Western thought, because Islam is a dead end in human mental development, which at the very most, can be rendered harmless to those who do not accept its theology. The founder of modern Turkey, Ataturk, knew this. He knew that the people of Turkey could not advance in civilization unless Islam were strictly controlled in Turkey and never allowed to dominate the government of political processes.

That is simply because Islam does not tolerate those who do not accept its theology, and in fact, clearly calls for their deaths. And please don't tell me your "Moderate" fantasy. (You will spare us the claptrap about Jihad being an "inner struggle, won't you? You see, people who belong to my church are being killed by the hundreds of thousands by people who belong to yours.) Go preach it in the streets of Mecca, Medina, Kabul and Khartoum.

31 posted on 10/28/2001 5:25:58 PM PST by Francohio
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To: MattinNJ
"Just when you start feeling good about your own intelligence somebody shows up to demonstrate how you're playing Wheel of Fortune while they're playing Jeopardy."

I was thinking the same thing. I'm finding myself re-reading these posts as many times as needed to absorb the gist of them. Good stuff...

32 posted on 10/28/2001 6:05:34 PM PST by AfghanAirShow
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To: Francohio
I have only belonged to this forum for a few days, but have already made the acquaintances of quite a number of folks who are just as foul and intransigent as the followers of Bin Laden.

I think we should put all you bigots (you know who you are) together with Osama's bigots into a stadium, give you all weapons and let you murder each other.

But you'd rather sit here on your fat duffs and cackle.
33 posted on 10/29/2001 1:54:40 PM PST by a_Turk
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To: a_Turk
It was the Turkish army that took Constantinople, just as it conquered Islam.

It WAS Islam and therefore could not have conquered itself. Perhaps other islamic persons, but not Islam itself.

Don't Constantly confuse creed, race, and religion, or mix them together.

I haven't. It was YOU, not me, who did so in the above sentence.

When we came, it was us.

?!?!?!? What's that supposed to mean. It's a self contradictory statement! And I suppose that when you rob a store, it is not you who robbed it?

Not Islam, which we conquered too

I would have to differ with you on that considering that (a) prior to Islam, what is now Turkey was NOT Islamic and (b) Turkey is now Islamic.

34 posted on 10/29/2001 3:19:08 PM PST by GOPcapitalist
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To: GOPcapitalist
It was the Turkish army that took Constantinople, just as it conquered Islam.
Please draw a distinction between the Turkish Armies, and the Armies of Islam. We did not set out to expand Islam, but our own empire. There is a distinction between us, and say a crusading army of Christianity made up of all kinds of nationalities. We were the Turks, not the "Armies of Islam."

Yours is the kind of thinking that Serbs used in Bosnia, and the Europeans kinda dug: namely to push Islam out of Europe. But that can't be done, and all they really succeeded in doing was kill a bunch of Bosnians.

I'm trying to tell you that our Armies did not belong to Islam, but to us Turks. There's a distinction to be made there, which you may be too brainwashed by now to make.
35 posted on 10/29/2001 9:53:19 PM PST by a_Turk
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To: a_Turk
Please draw a distinction between the Turkish Armies, and the Armies of Islam.

I only draw that distinction to the point that the Turkish Army and Turkey spread Islam. It's an undeniable fact of history. Live with it.

We did not set out to expand Islam, but our own empire.

I suppose that's why your army had a big islamic religious service before they prepared to do battle as Islam was advancing on Austria.

There is a distinction between us, and say a crusading army of Christianity made up of all kinds of nationalities.

Indeed there is. Your army set out to expand its territory into areas where it previously did not exist. The crusaders set out to reclaim what had been stolen from them by Islam a few centuries prior.

We were the Turks, not the "Armies of Islam."

And the Turks are an Islamic army with components of several different regions over which the ottoman turkish empire existed, including segments in of north africa, asia minor, the balkans, and elsewhere. So yes, your army was one of Islam that practiced Islam, promoted Islam, expanded Islam into the areas it conquered by the sword, and forced that Islam upon the people in those conquered regions.

Yours is the kind of thinking that Serbs used in Bosnia, and the Europeans kinda dug: namely to push Islam out of Europe.

Don't LIE about what I stand for (after all, isn't LYING sinful in your religion?). I have not advocated anything of the sort buddy. At worst, my only crime is posting historical facts that, in some cases, demonstrate major segments of Islam to be less than "enlightened" and in fact downright backwards in thinking. You obviously don't like those little facts so in order to propagate your Islam apologism, you lie and falsely accuse me of subscribing to a Serb viewpoint of expelling muslims from Europe, which in no way, shape, or form, have I advocated.

But that can't be done, and all they really succeeded in doing was kill a bunch of Bosnians.

Indeed they did, and at the same time they killed a bunch of Croats, who in turn killed serbs, just as the Bosnians also did. No side in the Balkans is a perfectly "innocent" victim. Among the various sides there are some leaders who are worse than others. But on the whole, all three sides took part in the bloodshedding.

I'm trying to tell you that our Armies did not belong to Islam, but to us Turks.

And I am responding by telling you that to suggest Islam was not a part of your armies is ABSURD because (1) historical evidence shows that Islam was a major part of those armies and (2) those armies undeniably and aggressively spread Islam with their conquests.

There's a distinction to be made there, which you may be too brainwashed by now to make.

You of all people have no business calling anybody else "brainwashed." Based on your posting, it is evident to me that you are so enthralled in your Islamic apologism that you will not even debate the valid points made by those who differ with you, and instead you lobby charges of "bigotry" and make false accusations (like the one you made at me) at all who disagree with your particular position. Though you may practice Islam, I would offer to say that you know not much about many aspects of your own religion and its histories, philosophies, and culture. I am no all knowing expert on Islam as a religion itself, but I do have an extensive background in Islamic philosophy and some of Islam's history, both of which I studied in college. In other words, I think it fair to say that the comments i have posted on Islam in this and other threads are educated, and not some garbage propaganda brainwashing that you purport them to be.

So why don't you drop the smug "only I can authoritatively talk about Islam" attitude you have been expressing here and elsewhere on this forum and realize that there just may be (1) other people out there in the world who know Islam as well as if not better than you and (2) other people out there in the world who have developed both different and fully educated viewpoints than yours about Islam?

Perhaps if you did that you might find yourself with a few more friends around here.

36 posted on 10/30/2001 6:54:40 PM PST by GOPcapitalist
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To: GOPcapitalist
Alright, there's not much either one of us can do here but agree to disagree. I remember fighting with one of my American history teachers when he called Turkey and Islamic state. No, I said, Turkey is a Secular state with a population of 98% muslims. Neither of us would budge, I got a bad grade. All in all I apreciated your post, and respect you for it. My beef was quite minor in the scheme of things, yet in advanced stages of civilization small wrinkles become meaningful, so I commented.
Please draw a distinction between the Turkish Armies, and the Armies of Islam.
I only draw that distinction to the point that the Turkish Army and Turkey spread Islam. It's an undeniable fact of history. Live with it.
So we did, but it was not our primary concern. Thus we did not force folks to convert. Those who did not convert kept living under their customary local laws, which in many cases such as land ownership and heredity were favorable to those under which muslim subjects had to live.
We did not set out to expand Islam, but our own empire.
I suppose that's why your army had a big islamic religious service before they prepared to do battle as Islam was advancing on Austria.
Everybody has religious service before going to war. So do the US armed forces. Does that mean that the US is in Afghanistan to spread Christianity? No, but Pax Americana.
There is a distinction between us, and say a crusading army of Christianity made up of all kinds of nationalities.
Indeed there is. Your army set out to expand its territory into areas where it previously did not exist. The crusaders set out to reclaim what had been stolen from them by Islam a few centuries prior.
Oh, Ok. Stolen. So were the Americas stolen? I call it conquered.
We were the Turks, not the "Armies of Islam."
And the Turks are an Islamic army with components of several different regions over which the ottoman turkish empire existed, including segments in of north africa, asia minor, the balkans, and elsewhere. So yes, your army was one of Islam that practiced Islam, promoted Islam, expanded Islam into the areas it conquered by the sword, and forced that Islam upon the people in those conquered regions.
Yeah conquered by the sword. What did you conquer by? By the rifle? Sorry, we were backward. Also, we never forced them to convert, and most did not convert.
Yours is the kind of thinking that Serbs used in Bosnia, and the Europeans kinda dug: namely to push Islam out of Europe.
Don't LIE about what I stand for (after all, isn't LYING sinful in your religion?).....
You misunderstand, I am not accusing you of endorsing those atrocities in Bosnia. I am merely pointing out that Just as the Bosnians do not embody or represent Islam, neither really does Turkey.
I'm trying to tell you that our Armies did not belong to Islam, but to us Turks.
And I am responding by telling you that to suggest Islam was not a part of your armies is ABSURD because (1) historical evidence shows that Islam was a major part of those armies and (2) those armies undeniably and aggressively spread Islam with their conquests.
Good! Islam was and is part of us, but we are not Islam (jeeez!). And again, the conquered had a choice. If they did not convert, that was ok. Most did not convert.
There's a distinction to be made there, which you may be too brainwashed by now to make.
You of all people have no business calling anybody else "brainwashed." Based on your posting, it is evident to me that you are so enthralled in your Islamic apologism that you will not even debate the valid points made by those who differ with you, and instead you lobby charges of "bigotry" and make false accusations (like the one you made at me) at all who disagree with your particular position. etc. etc.
Brainwashed are always the last to know. I may be, I suppose.. But I know a bigot when I see one. I can't say you are one, but I can say that there are quite a few on this forum. Religion has always been an effective means by which populations could be motivated for war. You can see it happen right here right now. And I am not apologizing, even though I do sympathize, for Islam itself.. And I cannot apologize for the terrorists, since I am not one of them. But if you call them the forces of islam, and you call my army the force of islam too, then I have an issue with that.
So why don't you drop the smug "only I can authoritatively talk about Islam" attitude you have been expressing here and elsewhere on this forum and realize that there just may be (1) other people out there in the world who know Islam as well as if not better than you and (2) other people out there in the world who have developed both different and fully educated viewpoints than yours about Islam? Perhaps if you did that you might find yourself with a few more friends around here.
You should have realized by now, my good man, that I am way too old to still be kissing ass for people to like me. Who cares.

God bless.
37 posted on 10/30/2001 8:25:09 PM PST by a_Turk
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To: a_Turk
Alright, there's not much either one of us can do here but agree to disagree.

Agree to disagree all you want, it still doesn't make you historically correct.

I remember fighting with one of my American history teachers when he called Turkey and Islamic state. No, I said, Turkey is a Secular state with a population of 98% muslims.

...which would mean that it is a predominantly Islamic state, just as any state with 98% of its population being of religion X would classify as predominantly religion X.

Neither of us would budge, I got a bad grade.

Not to be rude or anything, but it appears that grade was deserved as to deny Turkey's heavily islamic population, culture, and history is to deny reality. All three of these things make it an islamic country just like Italy's heavily roman catholic populace, background, and culture qualify it as a predominantly roman catholic country.

All in all I apreciated your post, and respect you for it. My beef was quite minor in the scheme of things, yet in advanced stages of civilization small wrinkles become meaningful, so I commented.

That's what FR is all about - commenting on things other people post.

Please draw a distinction between the Turkish Armies, and the Armies of Islam.

There is no need to draw such a distinction as that distinction would deny reality. The Turkish armies consisted almost entirely of muslims. They were historically influenced heavily and driven by Islam. They converted what they conquered to Islam. That makes them an Islamic army. No, I do not mean that in the sense that they are the same islamic army as, say, the army of Jordan. Jordan is another islamic army from a predominently islamic nation. Pakistan has another islamic army from an islamic nation. The same applies to Turkey, no matter how much you issue blanket denials of that fact.

I only draw that distinction to the point that the Turkish Army and Turkey spread Islam. It's an undeniable fact of history. Live with it.

That the Turks spread Islam is EXACTLY my point. And again, you lie as I am not denying that fact. Rather I have been asserting it from day one since you got here and randomly declared, in the face of common sense, that an army of muslims who fight and conquer in the name of islam and then convert that which they conquer to islam is somehow "not islamic."

So we did, but it was not our primary concern. Thus we did not force folks to convert.

Tell that to the eastern orthodox peasants who lived in the regions of Walachia, Kosovo, Byzantium, and Albania between 400 and 700 years ago.

Those who did not convert kept living under their customary local laws

Tell that to the parishoners in Hagia Sophia who found their beautiful church seized and turned into a mosque by the conquering Ottoman sultan right around the time he declared "I give it [Constantinople] over to you to pillage, to seize its incalculable treasure of men, women, and boys, and everything that adorns it. You will henceforward live in great happiness and leave great wealth to your children" and just shortly before he made the city his capital and decided to decree that only muslims could live there. Oh, and yes. Sultan Mehmed II was very clear in his belief that he, and the turkish armies that followed him, had participated in a religious war by sacking Constantinople. Now live with that!

which in many cases such as land ownership and heredity were favorable to those under which muslim subjects had to live

Evidently those "many cases" weren't anywhere near the great cities the Turks conquered, considering that all the non-muslims were made victim of 3 days of rape and pillage before their holiest church was desecrated and converted into a mosque and they were expelled from the new muslim-only capital.

We did not set out to expand Islam,

Yes you did. The conquerer of Constantinople himself was very clear in the assertion that he was fighting a holy war and made it a point to credit allah for his conquest of the city while he was in that city's greatest christian church, the same one he converted to a mosque shortly thereafter.

Everybody has religious service before going to war.

Only some go to war as part of what they consider their religious activity, as was the case of the Turks conquering constantinople. There's a BIG difference between saying a prayer before battle and going through a drawn out islamic spiritual "cleansing" ritual to prepare for "martyrdom" in a holy war against the infidels, who you also get to rape and pillage for three days and expell them from the city in the name of islam after you conquer them.

Oh, Ok. Stolen. So were the Americas stolen?

In certain degrees, yes. In others, no. Either way, your analogy is unworkable as it does not provide for an accurate comparison. The Americas were largely uninhabited and undeveloped when the Europeans arrived. Native populations were sparse in number, low in societal advancement, and without a state of clear nationhood beyond tribal affiliations (this was even true of the aztecs and mayas, the supposed "empires" of the americas). You cannot compare the settling of an uncivilized and sparsely inhabited continent with the militaristic conquest of one nation or city by the armies of another. It's apples to oranges.

Yeah conquered by the sword. What did you conquer by?

You mean the Americas? Shere population numbers. Sure, there were battles here and there and things got violent. But the natives were sparse in number, and were basically displaced by larger numbers of migrating civilians from more advanced societies. But again, European displacement of a sparsely populated tribal system in north america does not compare to the conquest of an established non-islamic nation by an established islamic nation via military campaign warfare.

Sorry, we were backward.

And in many respects, still are to this day.

Also, we never forced them to convert,

Yes you did. History records that those who were not islamic and did not become islamic in constantinople were subjected to 3 days of pillaging by the islamic conquerers before having their holiest church desecrated and being expelled from the city, or worse, killed outright during the pillaging.

and most did not convert.

1. Would those be the ones that were raped, the ones that were pillaged, the ones that were thrown out of their city, or all three?

2. I would have to differ with your assessment considering that the populations of many parts of Asia Minor and almost all of the Balkans are indigenous to those regions at least back to the pre-islamic conquest era, yet they are muslims now. That means that somewhere along the line, somebody converted.

You misunderstand, I am not accusing you of endorsing those atrocities in Bosnia. I am merely pointing out that Just as the Bosnians do not embody or represent Islam, neither really does Turkey.

Don't try to change the subject. You said specifically that I subscribed to a way of Serb thinking that believes muslims should be expelled from Europe. You lied. Admit it.

Good!

So you agree with me then?

Islam was and is part of us, but we are not Islam

No, but you are representatives of Islam as a religion and culture. You are one of many Islamic societies and countries in this world, each of them unique in their own ways, but all of them islamic. And yes, Turkey plays a significant part in the history of Islam's existence.

And again, the conquered had a choice. If they did not convert, that was ok. ...so long as they were willing to subject themselves to rape, pillage, and expulsion from their homes as historically happened when the turks invaded Constantinople.

Most did not convert.

Then why are so many pre-Islamic indigenous persons in the Balkans muslims today? They must've converted some time!

And I cannot apologize for the terrorists, since I am not one of them.

Good. I am happy to hear that.

But if you call them the forces of islam, and you call my army the force of islam too, then I have an issue with that.

Then what am I supposed to call your army (as in the army of the Turks over the last millenium), especially considering that in its day it committed its own fair share of unspeakable atrocities on the persons it conquered (deny it all you want, but this is documented history - the ottoman invaders conquered and subjugated innocent nations for the cause of islam).

Nobody's asking you to kiss ass. I'm simply asking you to drop your arrogant smugness regarding the subject of Islam and recognize the fact that there are other people here who have educated opinions about Islam that do differ with yours.

38 posted on 10/30/2001 9:31:36 PM PST by GOPcapitalist
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To: GOPcapitalist
your arrogant smugness regarding the subject of Islam and recognize the fact that there are other people here who have educated opinions
Well, that's it for me.

Just know this: My knowledge is first hand, where yours is second hand. You have learned what you know from material interpreted by this group, and I have from that group. The truth must lie somewhere in between. Please re-examine and doubt those pieces of information you have that demonize me and my heritage. Much of that is in fact propaganda.

Adios.
39 posted on 10/31/2001 7:24:06 AM PST by a_Turk
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To: GOPcapitalist
Then what am I supposed to call your army (as in the army of the Turks over the last millenium), especially considering that in its day it committed its own fair share of unspeakable atrocities on the persons it conquered (deny it all you want, but this is documented history - the ottoman invaders conquered and subjugated innocent nations for the cause of islam).
Exactly. You're supposed to call it the Army of the Turks. We were engaged in conquest to add to our treasure. Religion boils down to a tool - unfortunately.
40 posted on 10/31/2001 10:27:53 AM PST by a_Turk
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To: a_Turk
Just know this: My knowledge is first hand

It may be first hand, but there's nothing preventing first hand knowledge from being narrow in scope.

where yours is second hand.

Not entirely. In fact, I studied several islamic philosophers first hand in college. That's more than you've ever done. And more recently, i've been taking some time to read passages from islamic texts like the koran in hopes of learning more about them.

You have learned what you know from material interpreted by this group

BZZZT! WRONG! I have not learned what I know about islam here - i learned it in university studies. If anything, I have shared what I know about Islam and taught several readers of this group, and several of them have written me and thanked me.

The truth must lie somewhere in between.

Potentially it could, but _must_? Nope. It does not necessarily lie anywhere in between. There's an equal possibility that one of us could be flat out wrong. And based on who has posted documented fact and who has posted vague rhetoric between us, I think we both know who that wrong person is.

Please re-examine and doubt those pieces of information you have that demonize me and my heritage.

The only ones that demonize your heritage are the ones your heritage invites demonization over, as they are areas where your heritage has screwed up and acted like a tyranny.

Much of that is in fact propaganda.

Care to specify any particular examples? Didn't think so - you prefer vague generalizations. That's all you ever post.

41 posted on 10/31/2001 3:23:54 PM PST by GOPcapitalist
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To: a_Turk
1. God loves you
Yes. And you too.
You are correct.

2. You are a sinner and are separated from him - Because God is holy.
Yes. And you are too. You will be held accountable for your sins. I don't care how many times you were reborn.
You are incorrect. I am not held accountable for my sins. The penalty was already paid (see #3) and they are not held to my account.

3. He sent his Son to pay the price for your sin (as well as the sin of the rest of the world.) He was the only blood sacrifice that could be sufficient - because He (Christ) is God and He is sinless!
God sent the Messiah who is all that, but did doubt - 'coz he's not God.
You're dead wrong.

4. Accept this FREE GIFT now and God will welcome you into his family. His Holy Spirit will dwell in you and guide you.
But Russ, I am. Why do you think I am bothering with this?
Wrong again. You are not bothering me.

5. Once you accept Christ as your Savior, by faith, God will never go back on his promise. There is not possibility that he will change what he has already done. You will have eternal life! Add to that that I must be sincere, and not just pretend to have accepted Christ.
You are correct
From that would follow that I cease to sin.
You are wrong. No man in the flesh has "ceased from sin." The difference is that a Son of God has power to turn away from sin. I am not perfect in the flesh. I am made perfect before the Holy God because He did what I could not do.

How can I have accepted Christ and be so judgmental? Maybe you can explain.
I am sure I could, if only your question made sense.

... finally - here is the important point: Jesus' grave is empty!

Russ

42 posted on 11/01/2001 5:19:58 AM PST by kinsman redeemer
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To: *Clash of Civilizatio
Indexing this one that I missed before.
43 posted on 03/24/2002 8:59:20 PM PST by denydenydeny
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To: denydenydeny;Islamic_Violence
I think I want to add this to the Islamic_Violence list also!

To find all articles tagged or indexed using Islamic_Violence

Click here: Islamic_Violence

44 posted on 04/14/2002 12:11:07 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To find all articles tagged or indexed using above index words

Go here: OFFICIAL BUMP(TOPIC)LIST

and then click the topic to initiate the search! !

45 posted on 04/14/2002 12:13:02 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: GOPcapitalist
When Emperor Justinian closed the schools in Athens in 529, many of the teachers moved east to Syria, taking their books with them. There the works of Aristotle and many of the Neoplatonists were translated into Syriac and, later, into Arabic. These works were to return to Western Europe centuries later in the hands of Islamic thinkers.

This is very misleading piece of propaganda:
1.
At that time Syria was part of the Roman/Byzantine Empire and the eastern neighbour was Persian/Sassanid Empire.
2.
Some offended scholars moved to the Persian court invited by Persian king who was interested in philosophy. But later , not being able adjust to Persian way of life they returned.
3.
Muslims conquered Syria and Persia more than hundred years later.
4.
Some Muslim conquerors got acquainted with Greek learning from conquered Christian Greeks over the later centuries. Indeed part of the classic knowledge was transfered to Western Europe through Spain but other parts were brought either directly from Constantinople or was never lost (in Italy or Ireland). After the decrease and impoverishment of non-Muslims the remnants of Greek culture were lost to the Muslim.
5.
BTW, the closure of pagan Academy did not signify the decline of learning in Eastern Christian Empire - the Athens were at at this time increasingly provincial and University of Constantinople founded in a previous century by Theodosius was becoming the leading center of scholarship.

46 posted on 11/01/2002 4:38:16 AM PST by A. Pole
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To: GOPcapitalist

"(a) prior to Islam, what is now Turkey was NOT Islamic"

if abyone cares, I find this to be an adequate example of a tautology.


47 posted on 02/21/2005 3:02:38 AM PST by MoogMarphy
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To: MoogMarphy

by the way, If I was intending to imply that GOPCapitalist was hiding behind a plain and simple truism, I just did that, and didn't bring anything else of relevance to the discussion.

TWICE now!

"c'mon baby the laugh's on me" - Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen


48 posted on 02/21/2005 3:20:07 AM PST by MoogMarphy
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To: a_Turk
There is no blank check in Islam.

REALLY??

Then all that stuff about a free pass to Paradise, and virgins waiting to serve, and victims being available as slaves for someone who kills infidels is just a bunch of hooey?

I realize there are different approaches to Islam, just as there are different approaches to Christianity, but I've yet to encounter any modern Christian thought that says you can go out and sacrifice innocent people and be immediately welcomed into Heaven.

49 posted on 02/21/2005 3:37:22 AM PST by Quiller
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To: MoogMarphy

Any particular reason you are replying to posts made four years ago?


50 posted on 02/21/2005 9:52:00 AM PST by GOPcapitalist ("Marxism finds it easy to ally with Islamic zealotism" - Ludwig von Mises)
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