The End of Faith Review: Chapter 4

To begin with, let me address the comment from yesterday which I do appreciate. First off, the argument about the Hebrew in Isaiah 7:14 is quite complex in Reymond. I recommended it as the best resource. The word does mean young girl, but the context does show something rather miraculous about it. For a look at an online resource, I recommend going here to the Christian-Thinktank.

As for the question of a theocracy, I believe that is best saved for when the review is done and I hope my friend will send me a message to remind me to address that question.

Tonight though in Harris’s book, we’re going to be looking at Harris’s chapter on the problem of Islam. This is a chapter I agreed with much in. As a Christian, I do believe Islam is a threat. I also don’t believe that it has the evidence backing it that Christianity does. Nevertheless, as I write this, 9-11 is just around the corner and that is an example of what Islam can do and that is entirely within the tenets of Islam.

It will be noted that Harris says Muslims have learned to ignore most of their canon as most Christians have learned to do. The issue of life in the Ancient Near East in a theocracy will be dealt with later and that might be its own series as well. However, part of this I can understand. A lot of Christians do write off the Old Testament in almost a Marcionite way.

The Old Testament though is just as much God’s Word as the New Testament is. Now it was not written to us, but it was written FOR us. The same applies to Paul’s epistles. Too often, we go to the Bible and try to find personal messages for us in there. They’re not there. There are general messages for all believers, but not something personally for you. Every part of Scripture though has something we can learn from it.

Also, as he argues, Harris says in a hundred years, we will have some scientifically astute things to say about ethics. When we get to the chapter where morality is discussed, I plan to address this more, but I want to bring it out now so that my readers will know that I am aware of the statement and I do intend to not leave it unanswered.

I do think Harris says much in this chapter that is politically interesting and I doubt anyone Christian could read it and not think “Yes. There is some truth in here as to how much of a threat Islam is.” I do believe that we need to keep an eye on the Muslim world and I do think it would behoove us to learn about Islam. Not so we can practice tolerance as so many liberals in America seem to think, but so that we can know our opponents and what they believe.

A major criticism I have of this chapter though and it seems to ring true throughout the book. Aside from the Qu’ran, Harris cites NO Muslim sources I know of. In fact, the one time I see a Muslim saying something, it is cited in another source. From reading Harris’s book, you’d think Christians and Muslims both have no intellectual arguments. They do. Naturally, I think arguments in support of Islam specifically are flawed, though I do acknowledge good arguments for theism did come from Islam in the medieval period. The point is that even if they are flawed, Harris needs to realize they exist and even if he thinks they are flawed, which he obviously does, he needs to let his readers know he knows of them. He is not giving an honest picture of Islam or Christianity in that regards.

Of course, it is for the Muslims to defend themselves. I have no desire to do such. I urge the reader to check the bibliography though and try to find names like “Geisler, Craig, Habermas (There is one cited, but it is not Gary Habermas), Moreland, or Zacharias. They’re not there.

And for me, that is a HUGE problem.

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