by Dr. Mahmoud Braham, Algeria, for The Saker Blog

Introduction

Samuel Gregg who holds a doctorate in moral philosophy and political economy from Oxford University is the Director of Research at the Acton Institute based in Michigan. In 2016, he published “For God and Profit: How Banking and Finance Can Serve the Common Good”.

Making from the pope Benedict XVI’s Regensburg Lecture[1] and some of his controversial statements on the Prophet of Islam, a pivotal thesis and a starting point to define the West and its civilization main features, Gregg’s book offers no more than a tautological review of issues like idolatry and its aberration, and many highly contested if not fragile assumptions on the Islamic faith which, beside their lack of reliable academic and empirical backgrounds, would never resist any fair and rigorous investigation.

In short, Gregg wants us to believe that Western civilization trademark is its rational quest for truth, as an outcome of a conception of God as Logos, “God of Love and Divine Truth”, conferring the faculty of reason on humans in order to apprehend the world and themselves-, taught, he said, by Hebrew philosophers inter alia Philo of Alexandria. Accordingly, notions like freedom and justice gained strong meanings not found in the same magnitude in other cultures. The merit of giving a meaning and credibility to human reason, allowing it freewill, absent in Greek-Roman irrational paganistic legacies goes to Hebrew Prophets and the Christianity, he observed.

Gregg asserts that rivalry between faith and reason is absent in the intellectual Western tradition thanks to the Jewish heritage focus on the Logos. Instead, their synthesis favored a scientific and technological revolution in the Western sphere. Whatever the veracity of this narrative, it has surely skipped crucial historical stages of scientific evolution as if the modern scientific progress popped out of the blue.

Furthermore, after noting that, at present, much of the West rejects a freedom seemingly corrupted and technically invalidated by a democratic practice that is, in its turn, constrained by a tilt towards security, Gregg took up Pope Benedict XVI’s central theme on “the pathologies of faith and reason”.

On the Western Civilization and its Roots

Gregg’s opinion that the reason and faith union had produced scientific revolution and thriving arts that made the Western civilization is rather inaccurate if not wrong. Firstly, Greek and Roman civilizations did not emerge ex nihilo. Had there been no older great eastern civilizations, they had never seen the light of the day. To Chaldean, Phoenician and Egyptian civilizations, the Greeks and the Roman owe all their subsequent developments. Thanks to a non-Western invention, the alphabet, humanity became not only able of communicating and interacting but also of conveying inter-temporally experiences and cultures. The West owes to Arab and Muslim civilization valuable scientific and philosophical contributions. Definitely, no party could exclusively appropriate for itself the universal human progress.

Secondly, Gregg’s emphasis on the vileness of paganistic worldview and the centrality of Reason is rather a needless redundancy. Evidently, paganism is an insult to the human intelligence and Reason is for all the divine religions a tool to make choice and thereby to assume responsibility. He who is reasonless is neither able to make choice, nor accountable for any, if ever there is one.

On Gregg’s Jewish Origins of Monotheism

Gregg’s assertions on Jews’ opposition to idolatry not only lack accuracy but reflect a (fainted) ignorance of their history. Indeed, paganism was not absent in the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah.[2]The Golden Calf they had created after Moses, Peace Be upon Him (PBUH) went to talk with the Lord proved how deep idolatry was rooted in their behavior and mindset. This episode is recorded in The Torah (Exodus 31-18-32-4) “the people gathered against Aaron and said to him “Come make us a god who shall go before us, for that man Moses, who brought us from the land of Egypt.” The rest of the story is well-know and needless to engage in discussion about the attempts by Aaron (PBUH) as detailed in the Qur’an, to convince them to avoid such deviation. They ignored his advice and warning and were about to kill him. He complained to Moses: “Oh son of my mother do not seize me by my beard or by my head. Indeed, I feared that you would say ‘you caused division among the children of Israel and you did not observe my will’”.[3]

It is edifying to note that Freud affirmed that“if Moses was Egyptian and gave to the Jews his own religion, the latter was Akhenaton’s religion of Aton.[4]Around 1350 BC, he introduced a religion that enshrined an exclusive cult of one new and unique God.[5] This is the opinion of reputable historians like Breasted and Weigall.[6] In fact, to Old Egypt, the invention of one of those fundamental values of great modern civilizations that is monotheism must be attributed. No sovereign had ever caused a lot of ink to flow by historians, archeologists, and moralists, than Ikhnaton.[7]He has the advantage of being, unlike the other founders of religion, a personage of history and not of cultural memory.[8]

In reality, monotheism was professed by early the famous struggle between Moses (PBUH) and the Pharaoh of Egypt or the Sixth Egyptian king who was, unlike the monotheist Egyptian people, a paganistic of Hyksos lineage. The Pyramid Texts and the Books of Dead evoke this monotheism, preached earlier by the Prophet Idriss in the Muslim tradition (the studier) called in some references Hermes.[9] Ptah, Rã, Anubis, refer to angelical powers and the word Ntr means those who belong to the Arch, archangels Gabriel and Michael etc.

In sum, of a relatively recent occurrence (around 2000 BC), the Hebraic heritage with its ethnic language could pretend neither to be the origin of monotheism nor of the language and civilization as many opinions unwarrantedly and vainly attempt to prove.

On the Diagnosis of Faith and Reason Pathologies

In Gregg’s view on the pathologies of faith and Reason, the all-like religion Marxist ideology is an outgrowth of the breakdown in the relationship between reason and faith and relativism, which posits that “at the heart of liberty, there is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe…”, will make the truth unattainable and dilute everything.

The supposed partnership between faith and reason that is being endangered by a form of mutual rejection for each other should have spurred the two to look into its causes. In fact, we read that Enlightenment caused the Reason to be supplanted by sentimentality (the loss of God’s sense of Logos). Reason is either taken lightly or exaggerated. Sentimental humanitarianism surfaced after the Reason had lost its grasp on the feelings in the West, where terminology is polished and reliable arguments are qualified as “offensive” or “controversial”. Sentimentalism cannot help settling any contention. Decisions made on the basis of verified strong feelings could but afford a shaky foundation for freedom in western or non-western societies. Already evoked by the Pope, “the dictatorship of relativism” dilutes truths by a tolerance that promotes ideas like: no one can claim the truthfulness of any philosophical or theological position. Unless the West renews with a lucid dialogue, the western civilization will be heading to chaos, Gregg said.

In reality, the abovementioned pathologies are rooted in the western civilization inner contradictions. A serious look on the Judeo-Christian heritage will show that there had never been any reconciliation between faith and reason. Rather Christianity was at one stage of its history, among the most unreasonable of faith as confirmed by a double divide. Firstly, the Reformation when Martin Luther stood up against Church[10]’s immoral and criminal practices (indulgences, simony, and the human deification). Its advanced decomposition was well depicted by Pic de la Miranda at the Lateran Council in front of Pope Leo X:

Immersed into vices and abuse the church needed to be reformed in discipline and habit. It perished by vices as well as by the error. Hell prevails through the corruption of hearts and minds since a pagan, and slur will not look for God’s church, where impurities are prevailing. The Church has ceased to exist. It was no longer the city upon the hill. When there was no longer modesty in the church, piety was turned into superstition, vice was honored, and the virtue condemned, the convents of the nuns were turned into public places of debauchery where the most enormous of sins are committed shamelessly. When priests and bishops did not know what prayers to make before the sacrifice and were Simonists. If the corruption had not been universal, one might have said that a particular church had perished and the others subsisted. But that was a leprosy which bleached the whole body, a river whose overflows flooded all the church and whose estuary was in Rome.[11]

Second, the rupture between Christian faith and Reason was further deepened by the Enlightenment and its all-powerful Reason, both built on a radical criticism of religion and monarchic despotism. “On the death of God, they claimed they have established a kingdom of man and his rights”.[12] For if God is the God of divine Reason, his revealed religions will certainly give birth to a strong Faith that is not contradicted by Reason since the latter’s unique purpose will be that of emphasizing the wonders of God’s creature and the laws that He put to govern this universe which all are signs on His Greatness. This seems not to be the case of the Christian faith. In Islam for instance, God is the Omniscient, the best Creator and science will but confirm His greatness according to the degree of its flawlessness since men’s science is by nature limited.

This rejection of faith by Reason may be explained by the untruthfulness and deficiency of the first and its inability to resist the questioning of Reason. The encounter between the Church and science (the Reason) was one of confrontation. Formerly, the church appropriated the authority to tell the Christians what was credible and what was not. Copernicus, who invented heliocentrism, refuting the Bible’s teaching that the earth is flat, escaped the inquisition simply because his De Orbium Celestium Revolutionibus was published two years after his death. His works were burned by order of the Church. In 1600 Bruno was tortured then burned alive at the stake in Rome for defending the Copernicus system. Keppler, the continuator of Copernicus’s works, was accused of heresy and subject to church’s hatred throughout his life. His aunt was also accused of sorcery and burned at Weil and his mother was imprisoned at Stuttgart in 1615.

Later, in 1630, the Church banned Galilei from teaching copernicanism summoning him to posit it as a hypothesis and in a geocentrically-friendly form. After uttering his famous “eppure si muove” [and still its moves], he was sentenced to house arrest until his death. Outraged during the inquisition, he said, “I was not obliged to believe in the same god who endowed us with senses, Reason and intellect and has intended to forgo their use”. Even Francis Bacon, he had spent the whole of his life in jail for his interest in physics and astronomy and Descartes was throughout his life a wandering and exiled scientist.[13]So it is vain to justify the church conduct as some authors try to do.[14]

As for Gregg’s idea on the Christianity of the enlightened America’s Founding fathers, the faith of many of them, including John Adams who, according to Staloff, doubted the miracles recounted in scriptures and positively denied fundamental doctrines (the eternal damnation of the reprobate and the divinity and resurrection of Jesus Christ), was so broad as to almost lack any meaningful boundaries. It was this broad and diffuse religion that underlies the American founding.[15]

Gregg’s Theological Convictions and Their Wrong Implications

Gregg said Islam requires an absolute submission to a divine Will that can order us to act unreasonably that is not bound even by his own word. Jihadism and Islamism are the result of a conception of God as pure Will and the absence of the Logos in Islamic theology. “An imposed faith is not a faith at all”, he hinted.

First of all, in the Islamic tradition, Reason and Faith -which do not have the same meaning in other civilizations-, had never been antithetical but absolutely. Their nexus implies the considering of the very conception of man himself since faith is part of the structure of human consciousness. The primary nature of human essence or fitra say the innateness (the initial state of human creature with its initial predispositions to embrace faith and which could be altered only by rearing) induces the human to worship a god and incites him to aspire towards the Transcendent. This original impulse will be deep-rooted and develop into a vivid faith through the encounter between Reason and Revelation. The fitra will meet a double Revelation. The first is the Creation itself (all the existing beings are part of the Revelation to man) which suggest by itself that beyond the created there is a Creator. No creature is autonomous and the Creation is more than the elements which form the universe, it is the entirety of signs which appeal to the conscience, to the comprehension of the created and the Creator. The universe and the man himself are all signs “ayat” (in the Holy Qur’an, aya means verse and sign) an open book full of signs. There is then a fundamental concordance between the inner impulse the man bears in his heart and the world which calls to a conscious apprehension (both intellectual and spiritual) of the first revelation.

The second revelation refers to the transmitting of the Verb (the message) by the apostles starting from Adam to Muhammad, in the Islamic tradition. The world roots the faith in the hearts and each revelation further brings it to the consciousness in the history and for the societies.[16]

To be invigorated, this embryonic spark in innermost depth of the human Self will need the Reason mediation. This spark gives a light (a way to see the world). When thought progresses towards interiority, the being observes the world and sees nothing but signs. Their mediation helps reaching and intensified faith. The Qur’an invites humans to behold the nature to awaken what it hides in the immediacy. And while being present inside him, the spark must become a light (discernment). For, faith needs Reason which observes and analyses the world in which it sees but signs. To get intensified, faith must go through the rational faculty. No truly deep-rooted faith without a working Reason.

This is why the sacred Text dialogues and challenges the intelligence. But, be it revealed, the text does not absolve the man who receives it, of the responsibility to apply his Reason to feed his faith in his daily life and practice. Reason is a compulsory step: “He has made subject to you the Night and the Day; the Sun and the Moon; and the Stars are in subjection by His command: verily in this, are signs for those who reason”.[17]

In sum, the attempt to depict Islam as a religion lacking Reason is baseless. Reason is mentioned 34 times in the Qur’an and is, contrary to what Greek-Roman legacy suggests, delinked neither from its Creator nor from the imperatives of life established by God. But Reason is not an absolute essence that could judge even its Creator. In the Islamic tradition, it is rather by Reason that God is well-known, worshipped, and thanked. By Reason He gives and by Reason He punishes. Islam is par excellence the religion of Reason since good reasoning in Islam is a duty and part of knowledge channels together with senses and Revelation but primacy goes to the latter for the sake of pushing men to believe in the unseen world. For, due to its limits, Reason alone could not apprehend all the knowledge and the truth when they are not entirely rational. Briefly, Reason without Revelation guidance led the men to worship idols, heavenly bodies and planets then humans. The Revelation came to tell them not to worship those but their Creator.

In the Islamic tradition, Reason should not cut humans from the faith which guides him nor submit the order of Reason to that of faith whose light must guide the use of Reason without interfering in the methods proper to each field of application. Leading doesn’t mean restricting the search but determining an orientation in its application. This is the supplement of sense to the temptation of the “all technical”. It is the ethical aspiration at the heart of the mastery of knowledge and know-how. In fact, faith needs Reason and the two dimensions of the Revelation (The Universe and the prophetic Text) take part to their mediation to allow the growth of these two faculties not only within the autonomy but also within the complementarity.

If some authors consider Mu’tazilites, Averroes and other Muslims scholars to be the rationalist of Islam, they purposefully reduce their fields of reflection. This is a reading of the extent of a philosophy or a position of a school of thought in the light of dynamics and stakes of another civilization, Western in this case. The fact that those scholars gave a primary place to the Revelation and to the law founded upon the scriptural sources (fiqh) while being clearly rationalist (with regard to the criteria of the European history of mentalities), must be apprehended in the light of the articulation of religious sciences, philosophy and internal logic of the Muslim thought and its evolution. Disregarding this would lead to an ideological reading of their contribution and to presenting them as “modern thinkers”, the “Descartes of Islam”, which is scientifically baseless. This rip-off of those authors aims at legitimizing historically and islamically “an intellectual tradition qualified by modern because in line with references and concepts known as belonging to the Western thought. It is a mere western reading of the history of Islamic thought.

Philosophical discourses of Averroes and others are not analyzed within the internal logic of the Muslim civilization but through the prism of the debates which took place in the Catholic tradition. This conceals their contribution to the Muslim orthodoxy as theologians and jurists (like Al-Ghazali) in matter of understanding legislation and the relation Revelation-Reason. Methodologically speaking, the works of western scholars (from Descartes, to Lock and Rousseau) are derived from Muslim schools and their ways of extrapolation (investigation), observation and experiment.[18]

To the strange and dubious statements that God in Islam “is not bound even by His own word” and “is not just”, one could but confront them with the following verses: “It is the promise of Allah. Allah does not fail in his promise, but most of the people do not know”,[19]Whoever works righteousness, benefits his own soul; whoever works evil, it is against his soul: Nor is thy Lord ever Unjust (in the least) to his servants[20], and “Who receiveth gaudiness, receiveth it for his own benefit; Who goeth astray, Doth so to his own loss; No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another: nor would We visit (with our Wrath) Until We had sent an apostle (to give warning).[21]

As far as those hasty conclusions on Islam are concerned, especially on the Logos and djihadism, perhaps as a theologian, Gregg could be excused because he knows little if anything about geopolitics. Terrorism is a relative and highly politicized issue. Tackling it, requires a deep and updated knowledge about such topics like geopolitics, empires and human and imperial greed. We are not living in a realm of innocent monks (even if many of them proved sinful) but in a world of geopolitics governed by ruthless Western norms and paradigms laid-down by people like Thucydides : “the strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must” or Machiavelli’s : “the end justifies the means”. In this jungle morals, if of any guide, are not only fought but loathed by greedy politics. In the Western logic, we invade people, kill millions of humans, when they resist, their resistance become insurgency and terrorism while multifaceted Western terrorism (military, financial and economic) is forgotten. It is aggravated and fueled by a double standard and western-centrism. The Jihadism which the West fights now is the same Jihadism which was not only appreciated but financially and technically supported by the West when it served its objectives in fighting communism. But for the concept of jihad in the Islamic tradition (literally effort), it is nothing but the resistance against the human ignoble characters or any foreign aggressor.

For the rest, Gregg is right about Reason and Faith sickness. With trans-humanism, techno-humanism and the artificial intelligence by-products, human beings will be alienated from their humanity. The latter is, due to negative outcomes of Western civilization and its savage capitalism (extensive natural resource exploitation, unbridled economic growth and excessive industrialization), heading towards uncertainty.

But if Gregg is also right that scientific analysis should never supplant religious faith, it is likely that the origins of this dissonance reside in the innumerable aberrations and enormities of the so-called Judeo-Christian spiritual legacy, sustained as sacred despite being strange to the real religion of God. In fact, the Church whose sacred texts are full with irrational assumptions and countless contradictions and whose leaders conduct was tarnished by many oddities, to say the least, had but a poor historical record. Consequently, the intellectual history of the West through the prism of the link between Reason and Faith lacks objectivity and is far from being credible.

The Logos per se

Theology does not refer to the same thing in the Islamic and Christian traditions and the discourse of each one on God, is not founded in the same way. In Islam, we say about God but what He says about himself. He never gives definitions on His being but He says to the Spark buried in our heart what He says to our Reason since He guides the latter to better understand of what He is. The Creator is known by his attributes, His self could not be known. Any attempt in this direction will be but an endless wandering: Reason has its limits and truths are sometimes beyond its grasp. In the Qur’an we read about Him: “To Him is due the primal origin of the havens and the earth: when He decreeth a matter, He saith to it “Be” and “It is”.[22]

The concept of the Logos was borrowed from the Greek philosophy by the early authors of the New Testament Gospel John to help make Jesus (PBUH) understood in the Hellenistic world.[23] : In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God and the Word was God. All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that was made. (John I: 3)

In fact, this Greek version of Gospel was not unfamiliar with the Greek Philosophy for which the word Logos was not unknown for more than 500 years BC. This concept became a nexus of common ground between Jewish-Christian and Greek Hellenistic thought in the 1st century AD. The Greeks, Philo and John used it as a reference to God himself and none of them would have conceived that the Bible would be called the Word of God. For the latter, the Logos referred to the Creator of the universe himself, and not to the pages of their books which merely talk about the Creator. But today, the Logos is used commonly to designate the Bible itself, while being a book written by men, with all its misconceptions and cultural prejudices, is elevated to a god itself, rather than just one culture’s attempt to understand the world and inspire man to have a relationship with God. [24]

Instead of extrapolating about Greek word of Logos, which entered the human-written biblical text, the idea of God as the Creator of the Universe whose power has no limit is quite satisfactory. For a wisdom He only knows, He created Angels, each with a mission, and like Humans they are created for the purpose of worshipping Him and living according to his guidelines. Among His attributes there is The Just, who endowed men with Reason which entails freewill and responsibility. Without the letter, impunity is possible for tyrants and perpetrators of genocide. The Logos is a human vision about God and how He acts, it is not a holy truth and the Almighty can act the way it pleases Him.

Human freedom is limited in his choice to believe or not, to do the Good or the Evil and here it ends. He cannot choose the color of his eyes neither the manner his body is shaped nor he could rebel against the divine laws that governs the universe. He turns with earth and cannot order his heart to stop beating. In Islamic faith, human weakness and dysfunction must not be attributed to God and both science and nature cannot say louder than the authentic Holy Scriptures. If Reason ruled over faith, it would lead human astray.

On Pope’s Judgment on the Prophet of Islam

As to the Pope’s quoting Pelagius II: “Show me just what Mohamed had brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman…”, this trash-talking might have been a closed matter especially after the Pope’s apology to the Muslims. Now that Gregg stirred up this relatively old leaven, his wrong extrapolations to justify it need to be debated. In fact, the style of this quotation is of the type of negative assertion. A way to affirm a negative judgment by interrogation that is to confer on a given statement some sort of evidence to be taken as granted. Far from any objectivity, this is a superficial, hasty and tendentious way to depict the conduct of the prophet of Islam. Worse, the passage suggests that violence is rooted in the Islamic theology. Before, these trash-talks on the part of the most emblematic figure of Christianity, a brief rejoinder and a clarification on the conduct of his own predecessors pontiffs become necessary unless Gregg expects only listening and acquiescing.

Firstly, Muhammad had liberated men from idolatry to the true faith of monotheism, from tribal strives to the brotherhood in faith, and from the worshiping of men to that of the Creator of men. He suppressed oppression by suppressing old oppressive empires and tyrannies (Persia and Byzantium) while displaying unprecedented toleration towards non-Muslims and allowed peace and freedom in favor of oppressed peoples including the Christians themselves he freed from the yoke of their fellow co-religionist. Weak peoples (Al-Moustadafin fi-al-arth) had been supported and protected by Islam as once affirmed by Michael the Great, the patriarch Antioch who saw Muslims as saviors:

He “God of avenges the sole Almighty who changes the empires of men as He will, gives them to whom he will, beholding the wickedness of the Romans (i.e., the Christian emperors at Byzantium)- who throughout their dominions cruelly plundered our churches and our monasteries and mercilessly condemned us- brought us from the southern regions the sons of Ishmael (Moslems) to deliver us from the hands of the Romans”.[25]

Undeniably, Muhammad was the first man who put into practice his belief of peace and toleration. Under Islam, large swathes of Christians and Jews enjoyed protection in times where they were being not only oppressed and excommunicated as heretic, but massacred by their owns Christian co-religionists. In this field of toleration, Mohamed is second to none.

But what the Pope predecessors had brought? Here is a bloody page extracted of the infamous record of the Crusades. After the destruction of the totality of the inhabitants of Jerusalem; Mohammedans, Jews or schismatic Christians (about 60000 persons) an operation that lasted eight days in spite of the zeal brought by the pious knights, where women, children, old men, nothing escaped. To recover from fatigues occasioned by this massacre of a whole population, the Crusaders engaged in the most disgusting orgies. The Christian chroniclers themselves were outraged at the conduct of the defenders of the faith: Bernard the Treasurer treats them of fools. Baudri, archbishop of Dol, compared them to mares that wallow in the garbage “computruerant illi, tanquam jumenta in stercoribus”.[26]

Crusades were financed by robbing fellow Christians, first in Hungary and Greece, and then Jews who did not escape murder and torture and finally the booty of Muslims and the ransom of those who had the misfortune to dwell in the path of the Soldiers of the Christ. Many of the latter accumulate huge amounts of gold and silver as did Stephen of Blois whose quantities exceeded what he had before he left France for the sacred campaign.[27] Mass killing, climax of cruelty and even cannibalism are the sins the teachings of Popes had brought to humanity. In the modern times, the West’s responsibility is obvious in the endless wars that drenched the world in blood. The toll is imaginable: Millions of people were killed by guns, mass destruction weapons and orchestrated famines. Thus, Mohamed cannot not be blamed for these tragedies since neither Napoleon, nor Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini and Leopold II were Muslim. One should remind.

On the historical misdeeds of the Guardians of the Christian faith, one had to refer to the most learned and devout catholic theologian, John of Salisbury: Pope John XXII, a son of a cobbler, left at his death a personal property of 18,000,000 ducats and 17,000,000 ducats worth in valuable jewels, vases etc.[28] John XIII who was notorious for his debauchery, lies, and deceit was regarded as “the foe of every virtue, the sink of every iniquity, a scandal of scandals, and incarnate devil”; the incestuous Alexander VI exceeded all who had gone before him in infamy and his name still remains a very epitome of every iniquity that can degrade human nature.[29]

Outraged at Alexander VI’s crimes, wickedness and enormities, at Jules II unbridled ambition, at Leo X’s banditry and at the horrendous scandals which stained the chair called of Apostles (cathedra), at the auction of indulgences, at abusive taxes, shameful superstitions, brazen knaveries, and at the vermin of cloisters, the 16th century Europe shacked off this horrible and ridiculous yoke, heavily laid on the head of the degraded nations for too long.[30]

The Dangers of Relativism

On the dangers of relativism, Gregg is right. Which value to accord to a self-contradicting doctrine? If everything is relative, relativism itself will be relative! Thus, it will be, either absolute, confirming the existence of absolute principles or relative and then unable to deny the existence of any absolute concept. Surprisingly, it is the preponderant western culture that enthusiastically promotes cultural relativism (values and ideals change according to environment, cultures and societies) while insisting, as did Fukuyama on an absolute western culture. It is being imposed by globalization on the non-western cultures deemed immature and unable to attain absolute ideals and authentic values. Democracy, he said, will be the final form of governance (the absolute phase) sought by humanity. Worse yet, relativism is plagued by a western double standard as for the supposed absolute concept of freedom of expression: the West defends it fiercely when its media machine attack other nations faith (Islam) and observe a quasi-dogmatic stance against any call for any impartial investigation to probe issues like (the holocaust, 9/11 terrorist attacks).

In reality, ascribing Einstein’s theory to relativism, is a pure denigrating charlatanism that is best refuted by the title of Einstein works: Invariance theory which recognizes the invariance of light’s speed and the validity of physics laws regardless changing time and place and despite their interaction.

In sum, if any good moral view is worth any other ones, thinking about all moral issues becomes useless. Any drawn conclusion will not be better than the initial one. An undue validity of relativism will deny any absolute truth. Humanity will be heading towards nihilism and despise of all what can help human civilization to go forward.[31] However, fear from absolutism is not an error and relativism is sometimes necessary to open-mindedness. This is its only virtue. It is a moral crisis where judging evil as evil has been overtaken by a new psychology of moral equivocation. It is imperative, thus to establish a foundation for validating knowledge. Hirsh noted, “Without a proper theory of correct interpretation, we cannot avoid subjectivism and relativism”. In social field, relativism will entail but chaos and incapacity in terms of judging relating to responsibilities, rights and duties.

Nevertheless, is it not the Church itself, which promoted relativism especially when dealing with its cumbersome past? On judging this past, John Paul II had emphasized, “The cultural conditioning of the times and other historical factors had to be taken into account. This is, in itself an invitation to a kind of relativism, which in this case tends to minimize committed sins.[32]

Conclusion

If in all the revealed religions the all-pervading divine intelligence permeates the universe, and all share a belief in a Supreme Being who created the universe, God is not the property of once particular ethnic group, philosophy or faith.[33] In addition, if the Bible is not the inerrant infallible ‘word of God’, it will be but one among many cultural attempts at understanding God.[34]

Incidentally, the best message deriving from the Islamic tradition concerning Christianity is what the Qur’an teaches: “And thou shalt assuredly find who saith ‘We are Christians’ to be the nearest of them in love to the believers [Muslims]. That is because amongst them are savants and because they are not arrogant”.[35] Men with their emotions, illusions and limited knowledge pervert things and distort their nature. Christianity began as the Holy Qur’an affirms, as an easy pure and natural monotheist faith to be later perverted by the complexities of oriental philosophies and pagan mythical humanism. As much as this was made as a defensive theology, it had introduced strange things in this religion metamorphosing it into something different from what Jesus (PBUH) has preached.

In general, Gregg’s approach on the issues considered is rather simplistic. For example, he had to dig deep in original and first hand works and references on Islamic philosophy and theology for the sake of a serious and credible study on Islam with relation to the West and its civilization.

“Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization”. Gateway Editions 2019

Mahmoud Braham Dr. in Defense economics,

Algeria

  1. – Benedict XVI, “Lecture of the Holy Father: Reason, faith and the University-Memories and Reflections”, Regensburg, September 12, 2006. Vatican VA.
  2. – Cf. Haim Ben-Asher (2010). The Zionist Illusion. Leicester: Matador Publishing, p., 195.
  3. – Qur’an, XX: 94.
  4. – Sigmund Freud (1939). Der Mann Moses und die Monotheistisch Religion: Drei Abhandlungen. Amsterdam: Verlag Albert de Lange.
  5. – Erik Hornung (1995). Echnaton, die Religion des Lichts. Zurich: Artemis.
  6. – James Henry Breasted (1972). Development of Religion and Thought in Ancient Egypt. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, p., 312; Arthur Weigall (1910). The Life and Time of Akhanton, Pharaoh of Egypt. London: William Blackwood and Sons.
  7. – Dimitri Laboury (2001). L’Egypte pharaonique. Paris : Editions Cavalier Bleu., p., 73.
  8. – See for example: Jan Assmann (2009). Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism. London: Harvard University Press., p., 2.
  9. – Phyllis G. Jestice (2004). Holy People of the World: A Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia. California: ABC Clio, p., 388.
  10. – By Church we mean the Papacy whose historical responsibility in the Crusades was well-established and whose conduct led to the Reformation.
  11. – Jacques Basnage (1690). Histoire de la religion des églises réformées. Rotterdam : Acher., pp., 377-8.
  12. – Edouard Valdman (2003). Dieu n’est pas mort : le malentendu des Lumières. Paris : L’Harmattan, p., 9.
  13. – Louis Guillaume Figuier (1869). Vie des Savant illustres. Paris: A. Lacroix.
  14. – See for example: Benjamin Wiker (2001). The Catholic Church & Science: Answering the Questions, Exposing the Myths. North Carolina: Tan Books.
  15. – Daniel L. Dreisbach, Mark David Hall (2014). Faith and the Founders of the American Republic. New York: Oxford University Press., p., 29.
  16. -See for example: Tariq Ramadan, Paul Valadier, Oliver Abel and Michel Morineau, “Foi et Raison”, AutresTemps, 2000, pp., 61-79.
  17. – Qur’an, XVI: 12
  18. – Robert Loqueneux (2016). L’électricité au siècle des Lumières : Nollet, Franklin & les autres. Paris: L’Harmattan, p., 19.
  19. – Qur’an, XXX: 6.
  20. – Qur’an,XXXXI: 46.
  21. – Qur’an, XV: 15.
  22. – Qur’an, II: 117.
  23. – Daniel Joseph Malane (2007). The Bible: ”Word of God” or Words of Men? Truth Versus the Myths of Christian Fundamentalism. Xlibris Corporation, p., 16.
  24. – Malane, ibid, p., 17.
  25. – For more details on the Muslim justice and fairness in the same reference: Michel Le Syrien (1901). Chroniques de Michel Le Syrien, Patriarche Jacobite d’Antioche (traduction de Chabot. Paris : Ernest le Roux . This English translation of the French translation from the Armenian original text, Tome II, Livre IX, § II, pp., 412-413.
  26. – Marius Fontane (1838). Histoire universelle…. Les Croisades (de 1096 à 1327 ap. J.-C.). Paris : A. Lemerre., p., 199 ; Baldrici Archiepiscopi Dolensis (1854). Hierosolymitanae Historiae, Libri Quatuor. Paris : Garnier et Migne, pp., 1071-72.
  27. – Kenneth M. Setton (1989). A History of the Crusades: The Impact of the Crusades on Europe. London: The University of Wisconsin Press, pp., 117-8.
  28. – Theodor Griesinger (1864). The Mysteries of Vatican or Crimes of the Papacy. London: Wm. H. Allan and Co, p., 90.
  29. – Ibid, Griesinger, pp.328-33.
  30. – Louis de la Viconterie de Saint-Samson (1792). Les crimes des Papes depuis St Pierre jusqu’a Pie VI. Paris: Bureau de la Révolution., p., v.
  31. – For more details on this issue: Richard Haggard (1995). The Tyranny of Relativism: Culture and Politics in Contemporary English Society. London: Transaction Publishers, pp., 187.
  32. – John Paul II, (1999). An Invitation to Joy. New York: Simon & Schuster, p., 115.
  33. – Malane, p.18.
  34. – Malane, p., 133.
  35. – Qur’an, V: 82

 

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