Friday, August 26, 2016

Feser, True God, Mohammed, "Religion of Peace", Spencer, and Mgr. Swetland

More, (and a very important "more"), on the Mgr. Swetland/Robert Spencer disagreement, this from Ed Feser, a prominent Thomist and philosopher.

But first, a word from your humble(d) blogger.  Feser maintains, successfully to my mind, that in fact, Allah and the God of Israel and Christianity are, in fact, the same God. is perfectly coherent to say that Muslims are “importantly” and “crucially” wrong precisely because they are referring to the very same thing Christians are when they use the word “God,” and that they go on to make erroneous claims about this referent.  That the errors are “important” or “crucial” is not by itself sufficient to prevent successful reference.  And since Muslims worship the referent in question, it follows that it also is not by itself sufficient to prevent them from worshipping the same God as Christians....

There is a lot more on that question in Feser's post linked here.

That said, let's move to Feser's thoughts on Mgr. Swetland and Robert Spencer.

Catholic writer Robert Spencer’s vigorous criticisms of Islam have recently earned him the ire of a cleric who has accused him of heterodoxy....

That cleric is Mgr. Swetland.

...Swetland cites a number of positive remarks about Islam to be found in Vatican II’s Nostra Aetate and in the statements of several recent popes.  These include remarks by Pope Francis to the effect that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.” ...[In fact], it is na├»ve and dishonest to insist a priori that a fair-minded and dispassionate evaluation of Islam simply must result in the conclusion that on any “authentic” interpretation, Islam is peaceful and compatible with the modern Western political order.

[Swetland] is right to reject the erroneous minimalist view that holds that as long as a teaching is not proposed infallibly, Catholics are free to dissent from it.  However, there is also an opposite extreme error of a maximalist sort, according to which Catholics are bound to assent to virtually anything a pope says that is even remotely connected with matters of faith and morals.  That is simply not the case. ...

The heart of the matter is here:

...Catholics are obliged to assent, specifically, to teaching concerning “matters of faith and morals” (emphasis added).  The Code of Canon Law, which Swetland also quotes, makes exactly the same qualification. ...Questions about the nature of Islam and the content of its doctrines simply do not fall into either one of these categories.  Islam is not only a religion distinct from Catholicism, but arose six centuries after what Catholicism regards as the close of public revelation at the time of the apostles.  In no way, then, from the point of view of Catholicism, can Islam represent a genuine revelation from God.  Hence determining what counts as “authentic Islam” is in no way a part of the Church’s task of handing on or interpreting the deposit of faith....[Emphasis in the original]

(The above also refutes a drive-by commenter in my first post about the affair.)

There is a lot more.  Feser is an excellent teacher, logician, and Catholic, and his post demonstrates all of that very well indeed.  Read it all!



Grim said...

"...what Catholicism regards as the close of public revelation..."

Is that right? There are a lot of saints who came after this point who are thought to have had revelations of one kind or another. Is the distinction that these were private, which is odd given that we know about them and celebrate them publicly? Is it a doctrine that there can be no more 'public' ones, given that we look forward to an eschatology in which many things will be revealed?

Dad29 said...

The end of revelation came at the death of the last Apostle (John). There are no other dogmatic ("must believe") revelations after that (c.100 AD).

Naturally, the end of the world will produce revelations--but at that time, the Church will not be proclaiming on them.

Anonymous said...


Despair is a sin. I know this. Hope is a virtue. I know this too.

It really helped me to read these two blog posts that attacked the issue of Roman Catholic Despair.

This one.
DESPONDENCY – The ZombieBishop’s Weapon Of Choice

and this one.
A Bit of Cardinal Burke Disputing Contemporary Religious Relativism

By all means, let me know if you think them good news.
- Mississippi

Anonymous said...

more reasons for hope.

Anonymous said...

But Dad29, Allah and the God of Israel and Christianity are not the same God. - Mississippi

Read Cardinal Raymond Burke: Muslims and Christians Don’t Worship ‘the Same God’

According to the former head of the Vatican’s highest court, Cardinal Raymond Burke (pictured), Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God, since Allah is a “governor,” whereas Christianity was “founded on love.”
The modern belief that Islam and Christianity are fundamentally the same “is very much influenced by a relativism of a religious order,” the Cardinal said at a recent press conference.

“I hear people saying to me, well, we’re all worshipping the same God. We all believe in love. But I say stop a minute, and let’s examine carefully what Islam is, and what our Christian faith teaches us.”

“I don’t believe it’s true that we’re all worshipping the same God, because the God of Islam is a governor,” Burke said. “Sharia is their law, and that law, which comes from Allah, must dominate every man eventually.”

The Cardinal said that unlike Christianity, sharia is “not a law that’s founded on love. To say that we all believe in love is simply not correct.”

Not only do Christianity and Islam differ in the nature of their laws, Burke proposed, but also in their approach to proselytism and winning over converts.

In the end, he said, we have to understand that “what they believe most deeply, that to which they ascribe in their hearts, demands that they govern the world.”

The Cardinal’s words echoed recent remarks by a senior Catholic prelate in Hungary, who warned that the enormous waves of migrants rolling into Europe are due in no small part to a Muslim “will to conquer.”

“Jihad is a principle for Muslims that means they must expand,” said Archbishop Gyula Marfi in an August interview. “The earth must become dar al-Islam, that is, Islamic territory, by introducing Sharia—Islamic law.”

Both prelates’ words, in fact, find confirmation in recent assertions by the Islamic State itself in the latest issue of its propaganda magazine, Dabiq.

“Indeed, waging jihad – spreading the rule of Allah by the sword – is an obligation found in the Quran, the word of our Lord,” the text reads.

The Islamic State was specifically reacting to Pope Francis’ claims that the war being waged by Islamic terrorists is not religious in nature, assuring the pontiff that their sole motivation is religious and sanctioned by Allah in the Qur’an.

“This is a divinely-warranted war between the Muslim nation and the nations of disbelief,” the authors state in an article titled “By the Sword.”

ISIS attacked Francis for his claim that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Quran are opposed to every form of violence.”

Pope Francis “has struggled against reality” in his efforts to portray Islam as a religion of peace, the article insists, before going on to urge all Muslims to take up the sword of jihad, the “greatest obligation” of a true Muslim.

In a July press conference, Pope Francis told journalists that the world is at war, but that is not a religious war.

“Every religion wants peace,” he said.

In his press conference, Cardinal Burke insisted that “what’s most important for us today is to understand Islam from its own documents and not to presume that we know already what we’re talking about.”

Dad29 said...

Saw the article earlier. +Burke and Feser may hash this out themselves.

Blogging is not the same as writing analytical treatises.