Monday, March 22, 2010

Hugh Fitzgerald tears more strips out of Tarek Fatah, Steve Gilchrist, Michael Coren and Joan Crockatt

The Michael Coren Show: "Just As the Tamil Tigers Don't Define All of the Sri Lankans" (Part III) - Jihad Watch
Here is what Tarek Fatah might have said:

"Well, Steve, I'm afraid you've got it wrong. I'm afraid that in the Qur'an, and in many Hadith deemed by most authoritative muhaddithin to be the most authentic Muhammad's own behavior, his words and his acts, show that the message -- Kill the Unbelievers - certainly is there, explicitly in some places, and in many other places, it is the implicit message. And that, Steve, is exactly the kind of thing we have to know about, if we are to have any hope of convincing Muslims to re-interpret the Qur'an, to see it as a historical document, to put it back into history, and thus to truly "contextualize" what Muhammad said and did, as part of early seventh-century Arabia, as reflecting the mores and attitudes of that time, but not as if Muhammad himself were divine - Muslims like to mock Christians for believing in the divinity of Christ - and to convince themselves that to treat Muhammad as the Perfect Man, al-insan al-kamil, is to endow him with a quasi-divinity that comes perilously close to shirk, that is, polygamy. We must, Steve, if we are to save Islam, change its teachings, re-configure its meanings. I know this, I admit this, and that is what I am trying, nel mio piccolo, in my own little way, to do."
Now I take that "polygamy" to mean "polytheist"; it's the kind of copy error that creeps into a lengthy excoriation.

But, on reflection, it is kind of a useful "slip". The historical relationship between monogamy and (Judeo-Christian) monotheism, with its personal God, must be more than coincidental. If I'm a Christian, say, and if I'm not worshiping God, at least in part, when I love my wive - if my love for her is not modeled on some prior conception of the divine and its incarnation in each person - then my love must be idolatry. But if I presume to love (or ignore) several wives, then God indeed must be something unknowable, and/or the slippery slope to shirk must be all the more slippery however much I profess the oneness of God.


Xanthippa said...

re: a link between monogamy and monotheism

Have you ever heard of Hinduism? Monogamy, polytheism....

Or early Judaism?
'King David' was a polygamous monotheist.....and, polygamous Islam is also monotheistic - arguably more monotheistic than Christianity (which is more accurately described as a monolatry than monotheism)....and that's just off the top of my head.

truepeers said...

Dear Xanthippa, I didn't say there was an absolute correlation. Is there a tendency? Why did the Jews develop in the direction of monogamy, nuclear families, and highly individuated women?

I'm not sure what you're trying to say about Christianity, that its Saints are like gods? I'm not convinced. Anyway, if we're going to hash this out, we need a measure of what monotheism is. Why say Islam is more monotheistic? What's our measure, and why isn't polygamy part of it?

The way I look at it, polygamy is the natural state of things, while monogamy requires an evolved discipline.