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"Not so, Dr Whaley"

Reader comment on item: When Conservatives Argue about Islam
in response to reader comment: The nature of religion including Christianity and Islam

Submitted by Lactantius Jr. (United Kingdom), Jul 12, 2007 at 16:04

To Ralph C.Whaley

My previous posting " Life In All Its Fullness" http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/90056 concentrated on your self-defeating argument that human reason and rationality is the ultimate arbiter and authority, and I'll be pleased to have your comments about my critique of David Hume and A.J.Ayer, believing my previous posting to have undercut faith in human reason and rationality. I will say little further about them, except to ask you whether it is reasonable to trust reason? What 'reason' can you give for accepting 'reason?' In other words, to use what you are trying to justify (reason) to PROVE it, is 'begging the question'. By definition, to justify a position ('reason only') you have to use something OUTSIDE the position, or it is a circular argument.

You say that "The essence of religion is Faith. All serious scholars of religion agree on this point. Faith is a belief in the absence of evidence and/or in controversion of evidence." Not so Dr Whaley, Christianity is very much evidence-based, and doesn't require "a belief in the absence of evidence and/or in controversion of evidence." I write as a deeply committed follower of Jesus Christ, about Whom, the primary source of reliable information is contained in the New Testament Scriptures, my ultimate authority, in all matters of belief, doctrine and conduct, and which have the following to say about "faith" (‘confident trust'):-

"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." Romans 10:17

"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." Hebrews 11:1

the Apostle Paul saying:-

"My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power. We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing."

1 Corinthians 2:4-6

Christianity absolutely stakes its claim to validity on Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead, following His death by crucifixion. Paul saying this of Jesus Christ's resurrection:-

"Now, let me ask you something profound yet troubling. If you became believers because you trusted the proclamation that Christ is alive, risen from the dead, how can you let people say that there is no such thing as a resurrection? If there's no resurrection, there's no living Christ. And face it—if there's no resurrection for Christ, everything we've told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you've staked your life on is smoke and mirrors. Not only that, but we would be guilty of telling a string of barefaced lies about God, all these affidavits we passed on to you verifying that God raised up Christ—sheer fabrications, if there's no resurrection."

1 Corinthians 15:12-15

Writing "the only way for them to interact peacefully is by using reason, facts and making a case to persuade the other that he is wrong," may well be your only option, committed as you are to your own reason and rationality, but as a follower of Jesus Christ, "The Prince of Peace," His words and His example is my paradigm. He not only condemned the use of violence, recorded in Matthew 26:52, stating categorically that "He who lives by the sword must die by the sword," but exemplified it in His own life, by neither advocating it nor practising it, and then gave us our best model concerning how we are to act towards our enemies:-

"You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.'But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow.

"You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbour' and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies!Pray for those who persecute you!

Matthew 5:38-44

Some of my previous postings on Dr Pipes' website have dealt with the Islamic paradigm, documented in Islam's most authoritative writings, and displayed in the life of Muhammad, who was in fact, the archetypal Islamic terrorist, demonstrating that violence was foundational to, and remains deeply embedded in Islam. Compare and contrast that with how the follower of Jesus Christ is called to live:-

"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

I Corinthians 10:3-5

In concluding your posting by saying "This is a war of ideas, essentially faith vs. reason. Faith and force go together. Reason and persuasion are the only means of making life as humans in society possible. It is either/or!" but no Dr Whaley, following Jesus Christ doesn't comport with force and violence, although, as we are increasingly seeing, in the attempted mass-murder in London and Glasgow by Islamic terrorists recently for example, Islam and its prophet, mandate and sanction violence and murder to extend and impose Islam, and I have dealt with this at some length in my previous postings, such as:-

Response to commentator Jaan

http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/23179

(in response to http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/23089)

Peace and violence in Christianity and Islam

http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/71013

(in response to http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/70500)

Muhammad's Islam sure aint moderate!!

http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/69505

(in response to http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/69387)

"The Islam of Muhammad"

http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/68503

(in response to http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/68349)

You assert that "Reason and persuasion" are the only means of "making life as humans in society possible," not so Dr Whaley, they are not, and they are most certainly not always benign, secular states having repeatedly deployed mass warfare to assert their power and authority, at the expense of autonomous religious (and ethnic) communities. Secular history is not peaceful, and I conclude this response, as I did my previous one to you, by saying, you're going to live forever Dr Whaley, please choose life.

"Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!"

Deuteronomy 30:19

"As God's partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God's kindness and then ignore it. For God says, 'At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.' Indeed, the ‘right time' is now. Today is the day of salvation."

2 Corinthians 6:1-2

With kind regards and best wishes

Lactantius Jr.

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