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The OLD Shell Game: ( new and improved)

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God?

Submitted by yonason (United States), Jun 28, 2005 at 23:21

First things first.

Defining terms:

 A relevant "common bond" requires at least some (and probably complete) shared acceptance of the "validity" of another's core "alternative approaches."
 Absent such an approach-dependent "common bond," their individual "alternative approaches" have no shared "validity" and are therefore irrelevant.

Consider both this corollary/antecedent:
(1) "The God=Allah equation means that, however hostile political relations may be, a common ... bond does exist and its exploration can one day provide [through a process of rediscovery] a basis for interfaith comity."

and its antecedent/corollary:
(2) "Before that can happen, however, Muslims must first recognize [rediscover] the validity of alternate approaches to the one God."

The existence of the requisite "common bond"(A) and a "validity of alternate approaches"(B) are the essential assumptions upon which the entire prescription outlined above is based.

An outline of a semblance of a "proof" of (A) is provided in the article , while the more essential component (B) is merely cursorily invoked as given and awaiting rediscovery (recognition) through an unspecified "exploration" of their putative "common bond," which exists because of the alleged "validity of alternate approaches," and simultaneously is proof of same.

(A=>B=>A=>B=>....) Houston, we may have a problem.

Unfortunately, the elusive "validity of alternate approaches" for which ( why only Muslims here?) are adjured to search, is clearly rejected by all three traditions. Therefore it is not a 'given', and so cannot be rediscovered. Hence, the required "common bond" engendered by the mutually rejected "validity of alternate approaches" doesn't exist, and so no "search" will ever produce it.

Also, if the commonality is ONLY due to a "children of Abraham bond" to which Dr. Pipes limits it, having no ideological components, that's insufficient to override ideological differences. This is especially true since most Muslims (including most Arabs) are not descended from Ishmael, and most Christians are not descended from Esau. We won't get very far by invoking the much weaker "children of people who heard of Abraham."

A more honest, and potentially more successful approach, might be to invoke "children of Noah," especially because all mankind are related through him and all are obligated in the commandments G-d gave us through him. But even that would be an uphill battle.

Houston, we'll be late. Don't wait up.

I don't understand why Dr. Pipes says, "Muslims must first recognize (can't do that without "rediscovering") the "validity of alternate approaches."" I hope he's not under any illusion that the rest of us agree with a "one-size-fits-all" approach? ..or that the other two would get on-board if Muslims would only lead the way? It isn't only Muslims who reject that kind of tampering with their core beliefs. Without discussing their relative merits, each tradition claims to have the exclusive truth. Consequently, advocacy of such an ad hoc emasculation of their theology is a dead-end.

As a Torah observant Jew, whose core traditions have remained unchanged for 3,300 years (despite claims to the contrary), I don't see why we should start now. And, since "perverting the truth" is allegedly unacceptable to Muslims, you certainly won't find them buying this product. And, if reports of the "widespread dismay among Evangelicals" at Bush's remarks are correct, then Christians aren't likely to endorse it, either , despite their religion's manifestation of the widest spectrum of variant forms.

Using the metaphor of the old "shell game:" (www.play.vg/games/16-Shell%20Game.html), the pea can only be under one of the three shells. What Dr. Pipes is asking is that all players agree, in the interest of getting along, to put a pea under each shell. Everybody (except the dealer) wins. Sorry, it "ain't gonna happen."

and, finally:
(3) "In Islamic doctrine, ..... Moses and Jesus introduced mistakes into the Word of God"

Where did you got that? It is not at the (Sura 3:67) ref., you gave. Are they really so foolish as to assert that Moses (I'll stick to the tradition I adhere to) was a prophet, then embrace him as their own, then tell us his prophecy is "false?" Such an obvious fatal flaw would mute any further discussion. That's too irrational, even for the Islamofascists who this approach seeks to accommodate. (Face it, if it weren't for the terrorists, we wouldn't be having this discussion).
Submitting....

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