Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Horton's Comments on Islam or E2K?

"... it's a good thing that we no longer live in an era where Christianity is a culture."

I saw that Michael Horton had posted a series of three videos (about 15 minutes total) purportedly on Islam, in association with the "White Horse Inn." (part 1, part 2, part 3)

I offer the following by way of corrective and commentary.

In part 1, Horton states:

"Islam is all law."
"Salvation - deliverance - is not an Islamic idea, because this is all up to you."
"If you end up in paradise, it's because you pulled it off, not because you were saved."

These are not a completely accurate picture of Islam. First of all, in the Koran (and elsewhere) Allah is described as "Merciful" and "Forgiving" over and over, starting from the first Surah. In fact, traditionally one finds the following at the beginning of each Surah: "In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful," which is known as the Bismillah. If you listen to Muslim speakers, you will frequently hear them say this phrase, "bismi-llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm."

We could provide a variety of examples, but suffice that in Islam Allah's sovereignty is not strictly lawful but rather lawless. He forgives capriciously and condemns almost as capriciously. He is made in the image of Mohammed, for whom certain things were generally pleasing (such as monotheism and obeying Mohammed), but for whom other things (like murder) could be simply forgiven.

A fundamental problem with Islam is not that it is all law, but that it is not enough law. In Islam, there is no law of satisfaction. Allah can disregard the law, and so there is no need for a perfect sacrifice to satisfy justice and reconcile mankind with him.

Also in part 1 he states: "What the Koran reveals, according to Islam, are timeless eternal principles and truths, whereas Christianity has a very historical concern."

He then goes on to give the following example: "Think about, for example, the creed of Islam: Allah is one and Mohammed is his prophet. There are these timeless eternal principles and truths."

He later says: "Nothing in Islam hangs on historical events."

I have to wonder about this kind of description of Islam. The Koran does describe creation and does point people toward a future judgment. Moreover, the Koran makes Mohammed the pivot point of history.

It is true that the Koran does not place much emphasis on history, and is not arranged chronologically, but to say that Islam doesn't hang on historical events seems, strange.

It's particularly strange when the so-called creed of Islam mentions that pivotal man, Mohammed.

Unfortunately, Horton also makes the mistake of identifying "surahs" with verses, rather than chapters, both in the first part and in the second part.

In the second part, after some e2k material about "regime change," Horton alleges that Islam is not a religion of peace, based on identifying a number of ayat that are violent. Horton then continues on contrasting e2k with his perception of Islam as a primarily violent religion.

Finally, in the third segment, Horton describes the fact that he lives next door to Muslims and lets his kids play with them "all the time." Indeed, he indicates that he takes care to help the Muslim kids observe Ramadan (!).

He then goes on with more discussion of his e2k worldview, in which there cannot be Christian nations that do what the Westminster Confession says they should.

Horton points out that Islam is not consistent with freedom of religion. I'm sure many Muslims would dispute this point, but if he simply qualified his statement by saying that Islam dose not teach religious freedom "to the extent that U.S. law provides when Islam is in control," I think they would have to concede the point.

I may address Horton's various e2k statements (which seemed to be the pervasive message in his commentary) in a separate post. I will, however, point out his most disturbing remark, which is the last thing he says: "... its a good thing that we no longer live in an era where Christianity is a culture."

Obviously, I don't agree with his point. Christianity still invades contemporary US culture. It does so less than it did in previous generations, and that is sad, yet it still does so. The American culture is less Christian than it was, but it has not become what pluralists hope it will be. As I said above, however, I'll my postpone my detailed responses to his e2k teachings for another post or not at all.