Sunday, December 18, 2016

Response to Robert Morey's "Tough Love' Lecture

Dr. Robert Morey directed me to his lecture "Tough Love." The general theme of the lecture is that appeasement is not an effective solution to terrorism. As far as it goes, I certainly agree with that general theme. Moreover, there are certainly some true statements in the lecture, such as that the position of Christians in Sharia systems is inferior to Muslims. I also appreciate that Dr. Morey specifically states around 6 minutes that he doesn't want individuals to go out and engage in personal acts of violence or hatred against mosques or Muslims. Furthermore, I agree with the concluding statements that Dr. Morey provides, namely that the struggle with Islam is a spiritual one, and that Islam can only be defeated by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony, if I have correctly understood him as saying that the only way to defeat Islam is the gospel.

Nevertheless, I think Dr. Morey's main proposal is wrong. Around 23 minutes in, Dr. Morey gets to his main proposal and states: "Number One: The world must unite to destroy the kaaba in Mecca at once." Similarly, 25 or so minutes in, Dr. Morey states: "You must understand, if they do not pray to the kaaba, they don't go to the kaaba, they don't run around the kaaba, they don't do this, they don't do that, if Mecca is destroyed, their prayers, their pilgrimages, and their hopes for paradise are destroyed with it."

Dr. Morey speculates that if Mecca and Medina are destroyed, it would cause the collapse of the Wahhabist regime in Saudi Arabia and would cause an immediate response by "moderate" Muslims against the radicals who would blame them for the destruction of these "holy" sites. I tend to think that the response by moderate Muslims would be instead to unite against the attacks on their sites, just as the World Trade Center attack united Americans against Islamic terrorism rather than against President Bush.

Dr. Morey recognizes that people have taken the position I just expressed. He responds (around 28 minutes): "No, the majority of Muslims - do they make the pilgrimage? No. The majority - 90% of Muslims - are moderate. They don't care what the Koran says. They don't care. Their religion will go on without the Kaaba and the Mecca, because it's ... a cultural thing. Just as much as we have moderate Christians who are only culturally Christians. I do not believe that the moderate Muslims, who don't take their religion seriously. They will not rise up. It is only the terrorists who will be demoralized for this reason. The imams, the mullahs, and the muftis have gone on record: if the kaaba is ever destroyed, Islam is through. If Allah cannot protect Mecca, Islam is through. They've gone on record. Well then I'm takin' 'em up on their word."

A) Dr. Morey seems to think that the Saudi regime represents the most radical Islamic sect(s). This is not correct. In fact, the Saudis themselves are under constant attack or threat of attack from Islamic terrorists (see a list). Both Al Qaeda and ISIS/ISIL have attacked the Saudis (example).

B) Dr. Morey can't have it both ways. The moderate Muslims can't be so outraged that they will overthrow the radical regimes while simultaneously not caring that western governments did the actual attacks.

C) Dr. Morey is welcome to try to identify any imam, mullah, or mufti that has said that Islam is through if the kaaba is destroyed or Mecca is attacked. I would be surprised if he could identify any that have such an opinion, and even if one or two have said something like that, surely such a position is not representative either of mainstream Islam or even the radical sects of Islam.

D) The kaaba itself has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times. The current construction of the kaaba is from 1629. If destroying the kaaba would end Islam, Islam should be over long ago.

Dr. Morey's remaining proposals vary. For example, Dr. Morey's second proposal was on restricting Islamic immigration to the U.S. One is reminded of Trump's recent suggestions. I won't debate or discuss those here. Dr. Morey's third proposal involved a bundle of ideas, including punishing the families of suicide bombers. My own view is that such punishment of the families is clearly condemned as unjust by the Old Testament. Dr. Morey also suggests burying the remains of terrorists in "pigskin body bags." I don't support this idea, either.

Dr. Morey predicted that the next go around with radical Islam would be the survival of Israel. As we have seen, that turned out not to be the case.

Not only was his prediction wrong, but there were a number of less important but still troubling errors I heard in the lecture. For example, early in the lecture, Dr. Morey states "That instead of jumping up during my speech - and I've had them do that - I've had them chant Fatwa, Fatwa, Fatwa, death, death, death. And I would say, look I grew up in New York City with death threats, let's go on with the debate." The word "fatwa" does not mean "death." A fatwa is a decree, and it doesn't seem like a very likely word for Muslims to chant during a lecture.

Likewise, around 14 minutes in, Dr. Morey proposes that etymology of the word "whore" comes from the Arabic word "houri," which describes the 72 virgins that Muslims martyrs will allegedly receive. By contrast, the Online Etymology Dictionary states:
whore (n.) ...
1530s spelling alteration (see wh-) of Middle English hore, from Old English hore "prostitute, harlot," from Proto-Germanic *horaz (fem. *horon-) "one who desires" (source also of Old Norse hora "adulteress," Danish hore, Swedish hora, Dutch hoer, Old High German huora "whore;" in Gothic only in the masc. hors "adulterer, fornicator," also as a verb, horinon "commit adultery"), from PIE *ka- "to like, desire," a base that has produced words in other languages for "lover" (source also of Latin carus "dear;" Old Irish cara "friend;" Old Persian kama "desire;" Sanskrit Kama, name of the Hindu god of love, kamah "love, desire," the first element in Kama Sutra).

Whore itself is perhaps a Germanic euphemism for a word that has not survived. The Old English vowel naturally would have yielded *hoor, which is the pronunciation in some dialects; it might have shifted by influence of Middle English homonym hore "physical filth, slime," also "moral corruption, sin," from Old English horh. The wh- form became current 16c. A general term of abuse for an unchaste or lewd woman (without regard to money) from at least c. 1200. Of male prostitutes from 1630s. Whore of Babylon is from Revelations xvii.1, 5, etc. In Middle English with occasional plural forms horen, heoranna.
The word, with its derivatives, is now avoided polite speech; its survival in literature, so as it survives, is due to the fact that it is a favorite word with Shakspere (who uses it, with its derivatives, 99 times) and is common in the authorized English version of the Bible ... though the American revisers recommended the substitution of harlot as less gross .... [Century Dictionary]

Similarly, see this explanation Oxford Etymologist Anatoly Liberman:
Are houri and whore related? No, they are not. Houri, taken over into English from French, is ultimately an Arabic word meaning “gazelle-like in the eyes,” from hawira “to be black-eyed like the gazelle” (the transliteration is simplified). The meaning “voluptuous, seductive woman,” known from English and French, is secondary. By contrast, whore has retained its ancient meaning almost intact. The English word has cognates in all the Old Germanic languages (for example, Gothic hors meant “adulterer”). By a well-known rule, Germanic h corresponds to k in other Indo-European languages, so that we find Latin carus and Old Irish cara “friend” among the words akin to whore. In Germanic, the meaning “dear, loving” deteriorated and was associated with illicit sex and promiscuity. Thus, neither the sounds (Indo-European k versus Arabic h) nor the meanings of the two words match.

I haven't listened to other materials by Dr. Morey on the subject of Islam or how to deal with it. From this lecture, while I agree with his overall anti-appeasement posture and his conclusion that the gospel is the real solution, I would have serious reservations about some of his major proposals.