Inside Catholic (www.insidecatholic.com)
There is a contest on for the soul of Islam
We have allowed the Islamists a theological safe haven, which is far more dangerous than the physical safe havens they enjoy in parts of Pakistan and elsewhere.There is a contest on for the soul of Islam. If we don't help the side that we wish to see prevail in that struggle, we had better get ready for things far worse than 9/11.
WASHINGTON, DC (Inside Catholic) - What happened to Islamic civilization? How did we get from Avicenna and Cordoba to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda? In his new book, The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis, Robert R. Reilly traces the problem back to a thousand-year-old theological debate over reason and the nature of God. InsideCatholic Editor Brian Saint-Paul spoke to him:
Brian Saint-Paul: Islam exploded out of Arabia as a kind of nomadic religion. In its earliest generations, it was less interested in philosophical issues than it was with general expansion and succession. But that changed. How?
Robert R. Reilly: The first four caliphs remained on the Arabian peninsula. At first, they kept their troops quarantined outside the cities they had conquered so that Muslims wouldn't be contaminated by alien cultures and beliefs. After the founding of the Umayyad caliphate around 660, the center of the new empire moved to Damascus, and then later the Abbasids moved it to Baghdad. They couldn't maintain the quarantine, and they encountered peoples for whom philosophy had been second nature, as it was infused in Christian apologetics at the time.So in their conversations with Christians, they felt the need to develop philosophical tools to advance or defend the Muslim faith. They needed their own apologetics. The question then arose: Is it legitimate for us to use these tools, like logic and philosophy, and what is permitted for us to know through these means?
BSP: This transformation centered around a particular school of Islamic thought -- the Mu'tazilites. READ MORE...