Friday, August 20, 2010

L 3.4

In a standard attempt to undermine Christian claims, Loftus notes that "Muslims claim that we will go to hell if we don't convert to Islam too.” There is a problem with Loftus' methodology in comparing worldviews. Putting all beliefs on the table at once is not an appropriate starting point for the discussion. The issue of theism vs non-theism should be decided first. There definitely is a logical order to making any progress in this kind of discussion despite the fact that non-theists will try to obfuscate this process as Loftus does here. Once non-theism has been shown to be inadequate and, in some ways, evidentially false, then there can be a discussion about the merits of various religions.

The apparent force to Loftus’ equivocation is that there are allegedly one billion Muslims. How can that many people be wrong? Since there are so many of them, there must be some truth to their claims and since many of their claims are mutually exclusive to Christian claims, the non-theist is then justified in rejecting all religions. Citing the force of Islam for the purposes of achieving his ultimate goal commits the fallacy of appeal to numbers. The majority, or the largest group, can be wrong and indeed has been several times in history. In addition to this problem, the statement that "If you were born in Saudi Arabia, you would be a Sunni Muslim right now" (P. 68) underscores a further problem. It has been stated by several experts on the topic that most Muslims are not Muslim by free choice. In most Muslim countries, the scriptures of other religions, most notably the Bible, are not allowed. Worship of anything but Allah is not allowed. People are not allowed to explore other faiths freely, much less encouraged to do so. These facts totally undermine any citation of Islamic doctrines and praxes as exemplary of theist trends or religious verisimilitude. On these grounds, it is not justifiable to use Islam as a measuring stick for the truth of Christianity or any other religion for that matter. The non-theist certainly can object that the core beliefs of Islam are open for use in debate but, this still misses the point. There is no way to know what would happen to Islam if all Muslims were suddenly free from theocratic coercion. The problem for Islam would become magnified if it were to remain open for centuries.

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