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Ad Hominem attack withers under Applied Religious Literacy

April 28, 2007

 

Spencer vs. Armstrong

Western apologists for Islam invariably resort to ad hominem attacks and obscure deceptions when they attempt to confront a knowledgeable critic like Robert Spencer; at Jihad Watch Spencer replies to a review by Karen Armstrong of his biography of Mohammed: Karen Armstrong reviews Spencer’s The Truth About Muhammad.

The conclusion of Spencer’s rebuttal contains a perfect example of the deception mentioned above. In her review, Armstrong says the Koran condemns “all warfare as an awesome evil.”

In the comments field below, Jihad Watch reader “Great Comet of 1577” has found the Qur’an verse to which Armstrong was referring. It’s Qur’an 2:217:

“They question thee (O Muhammad) with regard to warfare in the sacred month. Say: Warfare therein is a great (transgression) [or an ”awesome evil“], but to turn (men) from the way of Allah, and to disbelieve in Him and in the Inviolable Place of Worship, and to expel His people thence, is a greater with Allah; for persecution is worse than killing. And they will not cease from fighting against you till they have made you renegades from your religion, if they can. And whoso becometh a renegade and dieth in his disbelief: such are they whose works have fallen both in the world and the Hereafter. Such are rightful owners of the Fire: they will abide therein.”

Thus, contrary to Armstrong’s statement that this verse refers to “all warfare” as “an ‘awesome evil,’ in fact the verse refers only to warfare during the sacred month as evil at all, and then goes on to say that ”persecution is worse than killing.“

In context, this verse was revealed to justify a Muslim raid on a Quraysh caravan: the raid took place during a sacred month, during which war was forbidden. But the Quraysh were allegedly persecuting the Muslims, so this verse absolves the Muslims of guilt for the raid — since ”persecution is worse than killing.“

So in fact, the verse that Armstrong is using to argue that the Qur’an teaches that war is an ”awesome evil” actually teaches that moral precepts, such as the prohibition on fighting during the sacred month, may be set aside to benefit the Muslims.


Sat, Apr 28, 2007 at 3:19:24 pm


Source: lgf: Spencer vs. Armstrong

This and many like it are taking place. Religious Literacy is essential.  When one emotionally assumes “Religion of Peace” out of context they are also prone to emotionally draw on phrases that seem to support their heart felt hopes. Robert Spencer admirably explains AND EDUCATES in his defense of Armstrong’s misapplied understanding and defense of a very active, willful, major religion: Islam.  Note: this is not a wholesale judgment of all Muslims.  It is an earnest effort to get at the truth of our daily events.  Any respectful debate is welcome.  What do you think?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 10, 2009 4:42 pm

    Really interesting! Armstrong’s particular theory comes through in her introduction to A Case for God. In my view, she comes very close to reducing religion to ethics, which is something liberal Protestantism has been criticized for doing. Take, for example, “God is love.” I interpret this as teaching that love is the source or basis of existence. Even though our acts of love (and feelings!…which Armstrong also discounts relative to conduct) involve “God is love” being actualized, there is also the sense irrespective of one’s conduct that existence itself is love. I take the transcendent wisdom of the latter to be just as important as conduct in religious terms. I’ve just posted a critique (http://deligentia.wordpress.com/2009/10/10/a-case-for-god/).

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