Monday, July 05, 2010

Some Things that Dr. Geisler Overlooked

Dr. Geisler provided a number of items of response in his "defense" of Dr. Ergun Caner. I'd like to highlight a few additional items that Dr. Geisler seems to have overlooked. These are some troubling issues in addition to the many that Dr. Geisler identified. I don't know whether Dr. Geisler's "defense" of Dr. Caner intentionally omitted these, or he dealt with them and I missed it, or whether he accidentally omitted them. I suspect that the latter is the case.

I wonder whether Dr. Geisler would care to let us know how Dr. Caner is innocent of wrong-doing with respect to the following issues. Please note that I'm not trying to say that these are things that have been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt. I'm saying that these are concerns that have been raised, and I haven't seen a clear answer that vindicates Dr. Caner from himself or any of his supporters with respect to any of these.

For ease of reference for those who are replying, I've avoided restarting the number of the troubling issues within each of the major sections.

I. Birth, Place, and Manner in which He Grew Up

1. Claimed to have been Born in Istanbul?

As documented here (link to documentation), Dr. Caner claimed to have been born in Istanbul. Most of the rest of the evidence that anyone has brought forward shows that Dr. Caner was born in (or around) Stockholm, Sweden. How is the statement regarding Istanbul a true statement or an honest mistake?

2. Lived in Ankara and Along Iraqi Border?

As documented here (link to documentation), Dr. Caner has claimed that he lived in Ankara and along the Iraqi border. Are those an honest mistake for some other place that Dr. Caner lived? If so, which place was he thinking of?

3. Watched Dukes of Hazzard and longed to marry Daisy Duke while growing up in Turkey?

As documented here (link to documentation) (second instance), Dr. Caner has claimed that while he was living in Turkey he got misconceptions about America by watching the Dukes of Hazzard. How is that somehow an honest mistake or simple misstatement? Please bear in mind that it is not possible that he watched the show, "The Dukes of Hazzard" before it began to show in 1979 (link to documentation).

4. Citizenship in 1978?

Dr. Geisler claims (he does not identify the source of his data) that Dr. Caner became a citizen in 1978. Why is it that at least one seemingly official biography of Caner indicates he became a citizen in 1984 - link to bio with colorful photo of Caner and Dr. Caner himself has claimed to have gained his citizenship in 1982 - see his article "Hatriotism." Which of the three stories, if any, is the truth?

Or is the citizenship-in-1978 claim just an excuse for apparently untrue comments like this one: "In 1978, his family moved to the United States so his father, an architect, could build a Mosque in Columbus, Ohio." (which STILL appears on Dr. Caner's blog as of 5 July 2010 - note that this comment appears to be an English translation of an article originally written in Korean, thus it has some really bizarre comments like: "His father was somewhat similar to an Islamic priest, a scholar of an Islamic sect called Ulima.")

5. Claims to have worn "a keffiyeh"

As documented here (first example)(second example), Dr. Caner has claimed that before his conversion he wore a "keffiyeh." The photo evidence we have of him, however, almost always shows him bareheaded (link to an amusing exception). Did he hide the keffiyeh when photos were being taken? (this example does not count)

II. Date of Conversion and Connection to Brothers' Conversions

6. November 4, 1982?

Dr. Ergun Caner has identified the date of his conversion as November 4, 1982 (example). However, his book, Unveiling Islam, gives that as the date for Emir Caner's conversion and indicates that Emir was saved "the following year" after Ergun. (Unveiling Islam, p. 19) How is this possible?

7. Relationship to Brothers' Conversions

Dr. Caner seems to have stated several accounts regarding the relationship of his conversion to that of his brothers. One account is: "that day my father disowned me, but both of my brothers accepted Christ" another is that Erdem was saved in the basement of "their home" and that "the following year" Ergun invited Emir to a revival service at which Emir was saved. Another account is that "a year later" than his own conversion, his brothers came to Christ. (link to documentation of these) In another account, his brothers get saved when Caner preaches his first sermon (see documentation here) How are these honest mistakes or somehow all reconcilable truths?

III. Claims About His Family

8. "Many Wives" of his father vs. Two Wives of his father

As documented here (link to documentation) Dr. Caner has claimed that his father had "many wives" when the evidence suggests that his father had two wives, one at a time.

9. "Half-brothers" that can't be found

As documented here (link to documentation - second source) Dr. Caner has claimed that he has half-brothers, sons presumably of those "many wives" that his father had. We can find record of two half-sisters by the the one second wife we can locate, but no half-brothers.


These are just a few of the issues that Dr. Geisler did not address, at least I couldn't find them addressed, in his recent "defense" of Dr. Caner. May I respectfully suggest that Dr. Geisler is simply not familiar with the troubling evidence. In view of this apparently new evidence that has come to light, is Dr. Geisler willing to say, "Upon further consideration, I have come to the conclusion that Ergun Caner did indeed embellish his autobiography," or will Dr. Geisler come up with some new justification for these documented states made either by Caner himself or by seemingly official websites?

Finally, as a tenth troubling issue, let me highlight the issue of Ramadan being "forty days" long according to Dr. Caner on multiple occasions (link to documentation). Dr. Geisler has tried to say that Dr. Caner has some justification of this. I suspect that what Dr. Geisler has read is similar to the material that the "Fake Ex-Muslims" site attributes to Dr. Caner here (link to site). That documentation alleges that there are some tiny groups of Islam that do fast for 40 days. Let's take that explanation as completely 100% true without actually investigating it. Does that being true justify this comment:

"We wore keffiyeh, we spoke Arabic and Turkish, we read the Koran, we fasted 40 days during Ramadan, we lived by the rules of halal and haram and mushbu, the dietary restrictions." (link to documentation)

Does that claim about a couple tiny sects of Islam fasting for 40 days justify the claim that the "lunar month" of Ramadan is forty days as documented in this video clip?

Or is the attempt to find a few tiny branches of Islam an attempt to cover up the glaring error of saying that Ramadan is 40 days long, when it is actually a lunar month of 29 or 30 days long?

I'm asking the questions, because I would like to believe that the issue is simply that Dr. Geisler is only familiar with the charges and Dr. Caner's private responses to the charges, and that Dr. Geisler is not familiar with the evidence itself or with a variety of the charges for which it would appear that Dr. Caner and his supporters have no good answer. Will Dr. Geisler respond? Who knows! I would encourage my friends to give Dr. Geisler some time to consider the evidence and respond before assuming that he will simply do what other of Dr. Caner's supporters have done and attack the messenger.



gary dilworth said...

What about the jibberish issue? That is difficult to reconcile with the "no intent to decieve" defense.

Turretinfan said...

There are indeed many more issues that can be identified. I've tried to limit myself to 10, so as not to be a burden on Dr. Geisler.

Dee Dee Warren said...

Out of all the issues, the jibberish one I think is most important. Please don't limit yourself to ten. The way you laid this out was very easy to understand. Please consider making a complete list and asking Dr. Geisler to just pick ten. These lists are important to us trying to explain to others why this is important. After all, unfortunately, you know that without a major movement of God, these men aren't going to answer.

hutchman said...

Lets not forget that he "Lost Everything" when his father disowned him.

That sounds much more dramatic than saying my father wouldn't have anything to do with me anymore.

Anonymous said...

Have you sent your questions to Geisler or are you hoping he sees your blog and will respond?


Turretinfan said...


I don't have his email address. Do you?


Patmos Pete said...

Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.ountstu

Peter Pike said...

Geisler reads this blog, as he said here:

"Second, a blogger-critic refuses to give his real name, using a pseudonym. This violates a moral and legal rule that one has a right to face his accusers. [This is also a good way to avoid libel charges.]"

So now we know that he's even further off the deep end than originally suspected. :-( Sad to see the guy who wrote "Christian Apologetics" burn the last shred of credibility he had after penning "Chosen But Free."

Tom said...

"Second, a blogger-critic refuses to give his real name, using a pseudonym. This violates a moral and legal rule that one has a right to face his accusers. [This is also a good way to avoid libel charges.]"

Geisler is obviously totally unfamiliar with the long-recognized use of pen names that a number of writers have used down through the centuries. Not the very least being Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay who wrote "The Federalist Papers" using the name "Publius." Their Anti-Federalist foe, whose real name is sitll unknown, wrote under "Brutus."

Fredericka said...

"What about the jibberish issue? That is difficult to reconcile with the "no intent to decieve" defense."

Plus in several of the testimonies he's speaking with a foreign accent, rolling his 'r's,' as is not normally done by folks who grew up in Ohio. How can anybody possibly do that without an intent to deceive?

Fredericka said...

From Norman Geisler's update: "Response: Ergun traveled with his father to Turkey several times."

He's upped the ante. Now EC was in Turkey, not once, but "several" times.

Tom said...

Speaking of Geisler's "Chosen But Free", James Whtie had a very interesting segment on today's (July 6) "Dividing Line." Apparently, Geisler harbored a deep resentment againt White for ten years, ever since White had the audactiy to write "The Potter's Freedom" to totally blow Geisler out of the water. At one point, acting like a spoiled brat who insisted on getting his own way, Geisler even refused to appear on a Phoenix radio station to promote his book unless the host guarenteed that the name of James White would never be mentioned during the interview!! If any caller mentioned White's name to Geisler, Geisler would immediately hang up on the spot!! the host would not submit to Geisler's demands, so he never appeared on the show.

Fredericka said...

This explains a lot. He says "we" when he talks about Kregel Publications, the Caners' publishers for 'Unveiling Islam,' though he doesn't explain the exact relationship.

gary dilworth said...

Is Geisler exposed to any probable and significant financial liability if Caner fully and thoroughly repents?

gary dilworth said...

Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. Colossians 4:6

Geisler answers his email. You can expect a response. Even more than one. I exchanged 4 with him. You can find his address on this page...halfway down...

BruinEric said...

This whole thing just stinks. Mr. Geisler is almost certainly communicating with the Caners in drafting these defenses so these pugnacious replies likely reflect their attitudes.

This is so shameful and just makes me sick. Instead of some spin-apology that was hastily removed, most all Christians would rush to support Mr. Caner if he had just acknowledged his exaggerations and the seriousness of them, admitted the weaknesses and reflected on his motivations. Sure... book sales would take a hit and the world would laugh heartily at him. But we Christians would cheer him as he was restored and healed.

Repentance is such a blessed thing. And the fact that it just isn't happening is so sad. It might as well be Congressman Caner because he and his crew of spinmeisters are behaving no differently. Maybe he and Richard Blumental (a politican caught making false claims about his personal history) are sharing notes on how to spin.

hutchman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hutchman said...

I just finished reading Geisler's response

Wow! I think I have lost all respect I ever had for the guy. I see a lot of legal quips that just made me sick like:

[This is also a good way to avoid libel charges.]

OK, Dr. Geisler, if you want to play that way ... how about we put the call out to all the events Caner spoke at and have them submit the audio/video. All of these issues exposed so far have come from a very small sampling of the "thousands" you claim are out there. And then how about we play them before an audience (of 12!) and see how they take it. Let's see what their reaction is when we then spring the "he has been in Ohio since he was 4 years old" part.

I already know what their impression will be. I've sat in the audience ... and I've heard him speak several times and I know I was pretty mad when I discovered the truth.

When you hear these messages in "context" they are indefensible!

Anonymous said...

Calling all Caner defenders: why doesn't Caner do what Geisler is doing? This would stop all of this.

It is really unbelievable that he will not do what Sbctoday, Peter Lumpkins and Geisler is doing.

Anonymous said...

"Second, a blogger-critic refuses to give his real name, using a pseudonym. This violates a moral and legal rule that one has a right to face his accusers. [This is also a good way to avoid libel charges.]"

Didn't Geisler author a book with someone who used a pseudonym?

From these men we constantly see: Do as I say, not as I do.

Anonymous said...

When you hear these messages in "context" they are indefensible!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010 12:12:00 PM

This was my reaction, too, after all this came out and I started listening to his sermons in full. I was astonished as how breezily he lies. It is as if it is congenital. I think he may have a real problem...and I think that problem is worse because he is maintaining that he is innocent. Geisler could very well be standing in the way of the work of the Holy Spirit in convicting Caner of serious sin.

Anonymous said...

From Geisler's site:

"Finally, his critics have not followed the instructions of Matthew 18 by going first to their brother and then to his church privately on these allegations. Rather, they have practiced unbiblical gossip in passing on defaming charges about another brother in Christ to others—indeed, making these charges public. "

I have long despaired over Christian leaders missapplying Matthew 18 to any layman that dares question public behavior or errant doctrine.

But this time, the misapplication of Matthew 18 is even more interesting. It is being applied by a Bible scholar to other Bible scholars who dared to question the public behavior of yet, another Bible Scholar.

This certainly does not say much for Geisler's Bible scholarship.

I saw long ago that Matthew 18 was often trotted out when certain leaders wanted bad behavior to remain hidden and not questioned by others.

mikeb said...

Great point Dan Phillips makes here:

gary dilworth said...

From Geisler's site:

"Finally, his critics have not followed the instructions of Matthew 18 by going first to their brother and then to his church privately on these allegations. Rather, they have practiced unbiblical gossip in passing on defaming charges about another brother in Christ to others—indeed, making these charges public. "

Well, if Geisler really believes James White is in sin for not following Matthew 18, and if he really believes Matthew 18 is the course the follow in these situations, then surely Geisler contacted White privately and confronted him with these charges, and surely he went and got 2-3 witnesses and went back to White again to try to restore his brother, and surely they then told it to the church so they could all call him to repentance.

But does Geisler really believe that? Because James says what you believe, if you really believe it, can be demonstrated from your behavior. Otherwise it's a useless belief. But Mr. Geisler seems to ["have practiced unbiblical gossip in passing on defaming charges about another brother in Christ to others—indeed, making these charges public"] without ever having followed Matthew 18 himself.

He really doesn't believe Matthew 18 applies, otherwise he would have followed it in dealing with Mr. White's public criticism, which he thinks is gossip, and is therefore sin. Therefore, his criticism is empty, and void of meaning.

Fredericka said...

The tendency of Ergun's 'I was a teen-age jihadi' testimonies to disappear once attention is drawn to them shows guilty knowledge. For instance the Focus on the Family re-broadcast of the Prestonwood testimony was available for download at that site, but is no longer, so I'm told. If Dr. Geisler seriously believes there is nothing wrong with these testimonies other than what malicious critics have read into them, then he ought to host on his web-site an archive of them, before they all disappear.

gary dilworth said...

Geisler updated and futher defended Caner...

Turretinfan said...


I see that he has done that. Very sad.


gary dilworth said...

Very sad indeed. I agree with you 100%. This stuff breaks my heart.

gary dilworth said...

The above link doesn't work everyone. Try this...

Fredericka said...

Gary Dilworth wrote, "Geisler answers his email."

I can confirm he answers his e-mail, but I'm not going to bother sending another one. I asked him about Point No. 7, his refutation of the "many wives" as Ergun reported in the Alabama sermon: "Somebody stuck around for me. I came here as a missionary for you. I didn't know Christians. I thought you hated me. Everything I ever learned about American Christianity I learned in the mosque from my imam or from my madrassa, my training center. And so every other place I'd ever lived I lived there as a majority person, I always lived in majority Islamic countries. Then I come to America.

"My father was a muezzin. I'm the oldest of three sons, to his wife, this one wife; he had many wives. I came as a faithful and devout Muslim.

"Every debate I've ever had, the Muslim, 'Oh, you do not understand Islam. Oh, you need to understand the Arabic.' Let's dance. That was my language before English. English is hard."

Dr. Geisler's six-point response explained, "Many can mean two or more. . ."

Turretinfan said...

Can "other wives" mean one more?

Fredericka said...

TF wrote, "Can "other wives" mean one more?"

I wouldn't think so, but then I wouldn't think "he had many wives" could mean, 'he had two, consecutively, with divorce intervening.' I don't know if NG's going to tell you the same thing he told me, but this was Point One: "First of all, Ergun's father had two wives. Many can mean two or more just as in Greek (see Luke 1:1). He did not say he had many at the same time."

I don't know why he thinks 'many' in Luke 1:1 means 'two;' does he think saying otherwise opens the door to Q? Technically 'many' in Greek can mean 'more than one,' for instance certain pre-Socratic philosophers talked about 'The One and The Many,' though in common usage 'many' ['polus'] is contrasted with 'few.' But why are we talking Greek? In my e-mail I had used the word 'polygamy' ('many-wives') twice, did I open that door?

Just in case he takes the same tack with you, realize that 'one' can, in fact, be contrasted with 'many' (i.e. two can be 'many') as here: "For whence is there to be another one besides unity-itself? It must be not-one; but all things are either one or many, and of the many each is one." (Aristotle, Metaphysics Book III, Chapter 4 section 11, 1001b). Get it? 'Many' = 'not one.'

I'm sure there was not a soul in that Alabama church who thought EC meant anything other than that his dad kept a harem, multiple wives simultaneously, perhaps up to the allowed Koranic complement of four, but if NG wants to say he actually meant 'two, sequential' what's the point of arguing? Better to put cotton in your ears.

Dee Dee Warren said...

Geisler has deleted the Facebook discussion with the nearly one hundred or more comments that many people put time and thought into.