Thursday, December 13, 2007

just one question for Dr. Jasser

A great deal of Islamic scripture discourages war and encourages peace. Some argue that the peaceful verses are abrogated. Many Muslims however believe that unless a verse is specifically identified as abrogated and since God left it in the Koran it is still valid and His word and instruction cannot be abrogated but rather just put into the context of the time of its revelation. Thus, almost every Muslim I have ever known would not subscribe to the abrogation of peaceful verses.

from M. Zuhdi Jasser: NRO Q&A: Dr. J CAIRs [my emphasis]

If you won't subscribe to this abrogation, why not go one step further and reject Islam's purported abrogation of Christianity? If you want to remain a devoted man of god, what's wrong with the Christian way of doing it? Tell us plain and clear so we understand where you're coming from.

And by the way, you might brush up on your Freud given that you also stated [my emphasis]:

The question of the central nature of Islam rests on two issues. First, the values and morality of Islam are not derived de novo from the text itself, which can be twisted by any deviant who chooses to become God on earth. But rather, the individual morality comes from the superego or conscience of the individual reading the text. Thus the nature of Islam is measured more by the values which Muslim families teach their children, than by the radical published interpretations of passages, which can be more of a reflection of the thugs and theocrats in power over publishing houses, rather than the religion itself as it is practiced by the Muslim masses. Thus, while ultimately, all morality comes from God, the faithful are moral from within themselves and not from a text.

In Freudian theory, the division of the unconscious that is formed through the internalization of moral standards of parents and society, and that censors and restrains the ego.


You see, Dr, Jasser, the superego is not a natural capacity for seeing right from wrong but a set of standards derived from one's early learning environment. Sure, you're a nice bloke and you were no doubt raised by gentle people from whom you derived many of your standards of morality. However, to the extent that your moral code - or superego - derives from Islamic and specifically Koranic influences - then your superego resembles Allah and/or Mohammad. So, it isn't some sort of independent capacity that can constrain your understanding of the Koran. There are not a hundred ways of interpreting passages like: "slay them wherever ye find them". Most Muslim children will understand that "them" refers to all those non-Muslims "out there", all those "others". You can't expect "them" to be suddenly understood as referring to super-pious Muslims like Osama bin Laden who scrupulously observes all the Islamic devotional duties. As an observer, standing outside of Islam, I would say that bin Laden's interpretation of a passage like that is forthright and not in the least bit deviant or twisted. You are the one who needs to get into weird logical contortions in order to uphold your distinction between a morally exalted spiritual Islam and the real thing as bin Laden understands it.

You also said [my emphasis]:

Second, the morality of the messenger of Islam, the Prophet Mohammed, is central to the believability of the question of the violent or non-violent nature of Islam. Ultimately, what matters the most is not whether I can come to an agreement with Osama bin Laden over how violently aggressive, or humbly nonviolent the Prophet Mohammed was. What matters most to the world today is that my interpretation of my faith, its messenger, and its scripture today is based upon a moral code which is consistent with the moral code of the vast majority of other Americans, and our rule of law in the 21st century. What matters most is that my construct of citizenship and belief in American exceptionalism is not at conflict with any aspect of being Muslim.

Leaving violence and war aside for a moment, what does your superego or moral code have to say about theft? It's pretty simple really: Was Mohammad "moral" when he used theft or brigandage as his supposed means of survival after his expulsion from Mecca? Did he not set a moral standard - of ends justifying means - here? Did not Jesus set precisely the opposite moral standard by submitting to His death by crucifixion? You decide which moral code to go by.

Perhaps, in the end and as the Sufis seem to have realized, there is merit in both moral codes and the surest way to achieve any goal - including that of reaching God - is to make use of both. A good place to start, though, is by clearing the fog of confusion between what is true and what you merely want to believe. It also helps to untie as many of those troublesome knots as possible instead of making more and more of them.

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