What the heck’s with Francis Beckwith?
Ah, the importance of presuppositions.
With that I should first disclose my own. While I have this restraint that I am supposed to conduct myself with charity, it is a restraint for me most of the time. My internal tension comes from my deep seated belief that the ridiculous should get but one thing: Ridicule. So Justice should be tempered with Mercy; Ridicule should be tempered . . . sometimes. No sense being a fanatic about it.
But since he’s a fellow convert from the denizens of protestantism to the One, Catholic, Holy, and Apostolic Church and a Pro life stalwart, I summon all the contents of the shallow, tepid well of my charity in his favor.
Second, I have a deep-seated suspicion of anyone who uses the first name of Francis which I acquired circa March, 2013. I shall exempt Professor Beckwith from suspicion since his use of the name was a) presumably imposed on him by his parents, rather than selected by himself as an adult; and, b) his use of the otherwise venerable name predates my relatively recent acquisition of the previously mentioned suspicion.
I should also note that I have acquired an even more recent predilection to consider anyone name “Andy” a heretic. But that’s another story.
Now to the point.
Professor Beckwith maintains a position that “Muslims and Christians worship the same God.” He does this without a scintilla (I love that word, scintilla) of evidence – in either history or in Scripture. He does rely on references to statements made in a Church document. But first, the presupposition.
Professor Beckwith presupposes – that is, takes as a fact without inquiry – that Islam is a religion at all. I submit, that it is not. It is instead a political system. Not just any political system but one founded by a pedophile. A political system that encourages sexual perversion of every variety, both speakable and unspeakable. (Hint: think sodomy, necrophilia, incest, bestiality.)
It is a political system that, like so-called Liberation Theology, wraps itself in some religious-sounding terminology. Kinda like abortophile, Christ-hating, America-hating Barack Obama saying “God Bless America”, doesn’t make America a Christian nation.
You want another analogy! Great, I gotta whole file-cabinet full of them: the U.S. Supreme Court calling one dude sticking his stuff into the poop chute of another “marriage” doesn’t make it so. OK. I just crossed a line.
But Professor Beckwith’s erroneous presupposition has consequences, as all presuppositions do. One of those consequences is that one can not effectively deal with an enemy if one doesn’t even acknowledge the enemy exists. This is true in the civil/national defense realm as well as the theological/ecclesiastical one on which Professor Beckwith opines.
If either Professor Beckwith’s presupposition or his conclusion are accurate, is it wrong for me to offer my daily prayers (which I do) for the eradication of Islam from the face of the Earth? If they worship the same God, should I not at the very least view them as separated brethren? I mean, who’s next? Lutherans!
Because his presupposition (Islam is a religion) is improvidently held, his conclusion (they worship the true God) is wrong.
One Scintilla por favor
Professor Beckwith is an academic with some legal training. Some basics there are examining evidence and drawing inferences and conclusions from that evidence. Never mind all that. “They worship the same God.” Two words. First one: bull.
Islam is a murderous regime. Always have been. Who (or what) has been behind the murder of several thousand US citizens on US soil over the last two decades? What group has beheaded and otherwise barbarically executed Christians (and others) around the world? What group has specifically targeted the Catholic Church for attack and destruction? OK, that last one includes Presbyterians, but you get my point.
But what about the “peaceful Muslims”? Inconsistent. Irrelevant.
Inconsistent with their own political system which promises paradise for those who die while killing infidels. (Note to Professor Beckwith: that includes you and me, brother.) Irrelevant because by definition they don’t matter. Peaceful Germans didn’t stop the holocaust; they were irrelevant. Nice Japanese didn’t stop the barbarities of the Emperor; they, too, were irrelevant. There have been, throughout history, lots of bad things done in the name of God and of religion. But what other “religion” has as one of its core tenets the murder of other faiths?
Going back a few years, C.S. Lewis posited a trichotomy. Jesus could not have been just a good man. He couldn’t have been just a prophet (as Islamists assert). Jesus Christ was one of three things: He was either a) a liar; b) a lunatic; or, c) He is Lord. Theologically, Islam is in la-la land. Or, as the used to call it, hell.
And before C.S. Lewis there are the creeds. We could look at them all, but just a glance at the Apostles and Nicene make the good Professor’s conclusions just a wee bit on the ridiculous side. No?
Then there’s the nagging little thing . . . what’s it called again. Oh yeah, I know: Holy Scripture. And just because Professor Beckwith has repudiated the notion of Sola Scriptura (as have I) doesn’t mean that Nolo Scriptura is the only alternative. Not coincidentally, many of the Scripture readings in the Church this month come from the epistle of I John. Some wonderful little nuggets of evidence found therein include:
- Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.(2:22-23)
- Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (4:3-4)
- Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. . . . He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. (5:1, 10)
And, from the Gospel of John (4:24), “God is a spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” So a two-member Trinity doesn’t exist. Neither does a four-sided triangle. Islam is a political system built on lawlessness and lies. They don’t worship God in “spirit and in truth.”
Or in any other way for that matter.
Michael R. Hirsh is an attorney in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also a convert to the Roman Catholic Church. He and his wife of 38 years have thirteen children and thirteen grandchildren. He regularly writes on Church and cultural matters at www.mrhirsh.com.