Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Aquinas on Islam

Here is Thomas Aquinas' take on Islam in a nutshell.  What do you think?

The point is clear in the case of Mohammed. He seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh goads us. His teachings also contain precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure. 
In all this, as is not unexpected, he was obeyed by carnal men. As for proofs of the truth of his doctrine, he brought forward only such as could be grasped by the natural ability of anyone with a very modest wisdom. Indeed, the truths that he taught he mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity. He did not bring forth any signs produced in a supernatural way, which alone fittingly gives witness to divine inspiration; for a visible action that can be only divine reveals an invisibly inspired teacher of truth. On the contrary, Mohammed said that he was sent in the power of his arms—which are signs not lacking even to robbers and tyrants. 
What is more, no wise man, men trained in things divine and human, believed in him from the beginning. Those who believed in him were brutal men and desert wanderers, utterly ignorant of all divine teaching, through whose numbers Mohammed forced others to become his followers by the violence of his arms. . . . he perverts almost all the testimonies of the Old and New Testaments by making them into fabrications of his own, as can be seen by anyone who examines his law. It was, therefore, a shrewd decision on his part to forbid his followers to read the Old and New Testaments, lest these books convict him of falsity. 
It is thus clear that those who place any faith in his words believe foolishly. 
Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 1, Chapter 6 (trans. Anton C Pegis, University of Notre Dame Press, 1975, pp. 73-75)
I have long said that the best way to know that Islam is a man-made religion is to ask any man to sit down and dream up his perfect system/religion - the result would look a lot like Islam.  This hypothesis is helped even more when picturing men in 7th century Arabia.  Think al-wecht al-Jahaliyya "the times of Ignorance" (i.e. before the coming of Islam supposedly brought knowledge to heretofore uneducated desert tribes).  A similar argument could be made for Mormonism and Joseph Smith - another good deal  if you are a man.

Related Post: Islam and Mormonism

1 comment:

Abu Daoud said...

As I like to say,

Islam: by men, for men.

Aquinas did not have the best historical resources at his disposal, and his approach is a bit more polemical than I would like, but on the whole he is correct.

Incidentally, one of the posts at my blog that has received more hits than any other is on Islam and Mormonism:

Have you read Aquinas' letter response to objections of Muslims? A good, recent translation was published at SFM. Just search for Aquinas there if you have not read it.