Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ergun Caner - PHIL104 "Contemporary World View"

Dr. Ergun Caner has a series of videos associated with the course PHIL104 - Contemporary World View. One particular video is from Week 4, Lecture 9: "Islam." (link to video - will open in iTunes) I have not watched all of the videos for this course, so I cannot comment on the contents of the other videos.

In the Introduction video:

(0:27) "For the first half of my life"
  • Since he was over 35 when he made the video, it wasn't really the first half of his life that he was a Muslim, as far as we can tell.
(0:29) "Until I was almost in college I was a practicing devout Sunni Muslim"
  • Apparently he converted his sophomore or junior year of high school. Calling that "almost in college" sound like a little bit of an exaggeration.
(0:59) "On his fortieth birthday in 610 A.D."
  • It was not on Mohamed's fortieth birthday that he received his alleged first revelation, though apparently it was during the year following his fortieth birthday.
(2:03) "For eighteen years of my life, I was immersed in Islam"
  • As far as we can tell, before Ergun Caner even turned 17 he had converted.
  • Furthermore, his mother (who had custody of him for part of his childhood) does not appear to have agreed to raising her son in Islam.
In the Lecture itself:

(4:21) "the vision he receives, on his fortieth birthday"
  • As noted above, Mohamed's fortieth birthday is not the date of Mohamed's alleged first revelation. It is alleged to have occurred during the month of Ramadan.
(5:56) "You say the Shahada, 'there is only one God, Allah, and Mohamed is his final seal of the prophets.'"
  • That's not an accurate translation of the Shahada. The material about Mohamed being "the final seal" is extraneous, though it may be an accurate depiction of Sunni Muslim views.
(6:05) "Swan" for "Sawm"
  • This mispronunciation of one of the five pillars of Islam wouldn't be a big deal by itself. It does, however, tend to suggest that Caner was not quite as immersed in Islam as other comments in the lecture might suggest.
(6:21) "During the month of Ramadan, you fast from sunrise to sunset - forty days on the lunar calendar and there seems to be a parallel there, doesn't it: it's Lent."
  • Lunar months always have either twenty-nine or thirty days. That's because of the way that the moon, earth, and sun interact to vary the phase of the moon.
  • Ramadan is a lunar month, and consequently has either twenty-nine or thirty days.
  • I had previously suggested that Caner may be confusing Ramadan with Lent. This seems to confirm it - while Lent has 40 days in Roman Catholicism, Ramadan does not in Sunni Islam.
(7:09) "Jesus was not Messiah"
  • The Koran explicitly states that Jesus is Messiah. Perhaps Caner means to say that the Koran denies that Jesus was the Messiah in the full Biblical sense of the term, including Christ's divinity.
(13:09) "Jesus Christ strapped himself to a cross, so that I wouldn't have to strap a bomb filled with shrapnel to my body and kill innocent people."
  • There does not appear to be any evidence that Caner had interest in doing anything like that while he was a Muslim.
- TurretinFan

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