I wrote about this at the end of January, when Craig Considine accused Christians who don’t accept Mohammed as a prophet of being “Islamophobes.”
Now Huffington Post has teed up a theologian, Ian Mevorach, to make the same accusation, based on the modern left’s psychosis about “Islamophobia” – which for all intents and purposes is considered to be at play whenever anyone disagrees with a Muslim about anything. (H/t – again: Robert Spencer)
I don’t have time to write at length on this today. But perhaps we can get a conversation started. I will point out to begin with that this is a dangerous theme. Establishing it as if it’s a mainstream argument, via online media, is a way of enabling it to creep into the general public consciousness, so that people become inured to it and react less and less.
Yet such made-up “phobias” are held to be actionable: the basis for identifying “hate crimes” and “discrimination,” and whatever other things leftists can think of to sue people over, and destroy their livelihoods and their right to freedom of thought and speech. So this is not a mere criticism being lodged here. HuffPo’s articles lay the groundwork for taking real action against Christians who simply hold their traditional, biblical beliefs about God and His prophets.
Here is Mevorach’s proposition:
Historically, most Christian theologians—including John of Damascus, Thomas Aquinas, Dante, Nicholas of Cusa, and Martin Luther—have seen Muhammad not as a “Spirit of Truth” but as a “Spirit of Error,” a false prophet or heretic. There are many Christians today who respect the Islamic tradition and would never make such an offensive statement about Muhammad.
However, the majority of Christians still maintain a fundamentally Islamophobic position on Muhammad. So I believe that the time has come for peacemaking Christians to contradict this position directly. Changing our view of Muhammad—so that we recognize him as a true prophet rather than discredit him as a false prophet—would effectively inoculate Christians against Islamophobia and would help to establish a new paradigm of cooperative Christian-Muslim relations.
Notice that Mevorach takes as his premise that it is “offensive” to consider Mohammed a false prophet (or a heretic — a different thing from a false prophet — although Christians rarely invoke that word today). This is to assume an Islamic point of view that cannot be established by any absolute standard. Westerners, in contrast to Islamic culture, don’t regard it as “offensive” in any actionable way to deem people heretics. To call someone a heretic is to express an opinion, which the subject may or may not find offensive – and if he does, the offense is at most a social solecism. Governments don’t take action against false prophets or heretics. The age of burning “heretics” at the stake is long behind us.
But for Islam, offending its view of Mohammed as a prophet is actionable. It doesn’t take calling Mohammed a heretic to offend Islam; all it takes is saying Mohammed wasn’t a true prophet of God.
And there is too real a prospect that Hillary Clinton’s 2011 promise to apply “peer pressure” to Americans, to stop them from “defaming” Islam, will be used against just such freedom of speech.
It can’t be said that no one thinks it’s Islamophobia for Christians to just believe and say Christian things. Ian Mevorach has just said it. It’s out there. Craig Considine wasn’t a one-off; this is going to keep coming up.
Just three more points. One, notice how Mevorach begins his argument: by asserting that there can never be any “peace” among the nations until Christians give in entirely on matters of faith. That’s what Christians have to do, after all, to accept Mohammed as a prophet. Accept the prophet – accept his “prophecies.” Accepting Mohammed means rejecting the Christian view of Jesus. The very faith itself, the gospel revelation that Jesus is Savior, Messiah, and Son of God, must be gutted.
Christians, in this line of argument, are the obstacle to peace. They stubbornly refuse to accept Mohammed as a prophet. (Sound like any apologists for anti-Israel terrorism you’ve heard from over the last 50 years?)
Two, Mevorach really might want to go back to school and discover who Christians think the “Spirit of Truth” is, as John the Disciple refers to Him. Mevorach labors to make Mohammed fit the Spirit of Truth, but nothing in the Bible would lead anyone to try to find an individual human person for that role. The Spirit of Truth is the Holy Spirit of God, in the view of Christianity. It may also describe the spirit of insight awakened in Christian believers who are “indwelt” by the Holy Spirit. The big thing it’s not is an individual human “prophet.”
Three, Mevorach conveniently ignores an overriding factor in all this: that the prophecies and prescriptions of Mohammed are irreconcilable with the character of God, as it is laid forth in the Bible. It’s not just that Islam has to change the asserted facts of biblical history to make Mohammed and Islam fit into them. It’s that Islam has to change the nature of God Himself, to the opposite of what the Bible says it is. To ask Christians to buy into that is to ask them to stop being Christians.
There are a lot more things to say, but they’ll have to wait. Read Robert Spencer’s post for a superb summary of the, well, downright offensive things the Quran has to say to and about Christians.