The debate is fun, factual, anecdotal (on the part of Kreeft), and, sadly, oblivious of the "elephant in the living room;" namely, the way that the gospel works in history as ostensibly thematized in Girard's mimetic theory and surreptitiously in Catholic faith and morals.In my opinion, both the Scimitar and what Kreeft deems "Enlightenment progressivism" (more accurately, neo-paganism) are expressions of Girard's "sacred" vs. the Christian faith's identification with and adoration of the Perfect Victim, Jesus Christ. The former sides with the victimizers, the latter with the victim.And, as Monsignor Ronald Knox points out, true repentance and contrition - conversion - is an interior conviction, not an external imposition by the mob/crowd. Here is where the Christian faith differs with both the Scimitar and western neo-paganism. As you well know, Gil. :O) Cheers
The student's question(regarding the divergent concepts of heaven)near the end of the debate, proved to be insightful to me. Islam's '14 year old boys'idea of heaven, fleshed out Islam's still primitive and carnal character. A character that still resits both Logos and Spirit, and therefore remains unpurified and trapped in Girard's primitive sacred. Christian engagement with the demonic and evil aspects of Islam will need to be negotiated just as Christ(and often the Church) did; not 'overcoming evil with evil, but overcoming evil with good'. A good that will on the one hand,not compromise truth, and on the other,will be willing to die, so this 'other' may by God's grace 'hear the cock crow'.
This debate is worth continued reflection. So far my view that radical secularism is the more dangerous of the two is unchanged. One is left to ponder what Peter Kreeft left unsaid to (or about) the Muslim fellow with whom he attended Mass. It seems that the Muslim observer could only credit Transubstantiation if it was experienced as the eternal beatific vision or as an overwhelming sense of the Sacred. Did Kreeft fail to explain that we Catholics are sinners who need to receive this grace in the appearance of the host because we are unsanctified? And what about our mission to go out an imitate Christ so that we may each see Christ in the lives of our faithful brothers and sisters. Does the Trinity open one up to understanding G-d as more than an awesome unapproachable singularity? I sense that Peter Kreeft is imagining idealized faithful Muslim believers because he imagines (or senses) that devote Muslims are closer to the Archaic Sacred. Perhaps Peter Kreeft might consider who would be a better guide for a Western Revival, an atheist who seeks to truly imitate Christ or a believer who seeks to truly imitate Muhammad?I don't know ... thoughts anyone?
Hello W. O'Brien,Few scholars today engage in true critical study of Islamic origins. Those who do so find that the story that Islam tells of its origins is most unlikely, even impossible. There is doubt whether Mohammad even existed, but there is certainty that much of the Hadithic story about Islam origins is fiction. One can even find an early 8th century Syrian warlord hiring traditional Arabs story tellers to fabricate stories about Mohammad in order to provide legitimacy for the warlord.Now a word of caution. The underlying Koranic text (Suras 55, 56 and 76)may actually be mistranslations from Arabic of text that are actually written in Aramaic/Syriac, but one may wonder about what sort of men would envision heaven as an eternal honkie-tonk, and to whom such a vision would appeal. Patricia Crone, author of "Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam" wrote an essay some years ago wherein she said that she found it pretty obvious that the original attraction and (spiritual call) motivating early Jihadists was opportunity for rape. I'll try to find the citation for you so you can read it yourself.I'm troubled by Peter Kreeft's contribution to this debate. It seems he has bought into the Enlightenment's whitewash and idealization of Islam as a rebuke to Christianity. Moreover, one wonders how he can compare Islam's "pious" sexual mores favorably to modern western liberal hedonism when Islam is built upon institutions of organized predatory rape, pillage, and mass murder? Does Kreeft argue that Islam is better than modern agnosticism because Islam has a deity?! One may recall that Nazism also had a deity in the person of an Aryan Messiah.
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