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Isaac and Ishmael, Together Again

A stray thought popped into my head tonight—apart from the fact that the West has been historically primarily Christian, why have the militant atheists appeared to focus almost exclusively on attacking Christianity? Why not Islam? So, I went to every blogger’s first resource, Google, and did a search for “books atheism Islam,” and was a little surprised to see 8.9 million hits. Apparently, there is no love lost between the militant ‘new’ atheists and Mohammed.

One of the first links was to a blog called “Islamic Insights,” where the author appears to be a Caucasian Imam in Iran, named Hajj Mohammad Legenhausen. He gives a quite cogent argument about the new atheists’ battles with all religions, especially theistic ones (one with a single specific deity, as opposed to the pantheistic faiths). He explains how 9/11 seems to have been a catalyst in widening the scope of ire to include Islam, and that there are even new atheists among Moslems, such as Ayaan Hisri Ali, of whom I think I may have heard before.

Furthermore, Legenhausen gives a good summary of the philosophical vacuum in which most new atheists seem to live, relying on demagoguery rather than solid logic and understanding of philosophy to sell their books and ideas. He also gives a brief history of milestones in the development of atheism.

The article is quite a good read, and I’d enjoy chatting with him over a halal repast. It is yet another reminder of the strange bedfellows we can have in this world, or, as the Arab saying goes, “brother fights brother until uncle comes.” Even Isaac and Ishmael buried their father together.

(I should add that there is a lively discussion among the comments as well, including from self-named new atheists who object to some of Legenhausen’s arguments. Some of their objections are valid in the sense that he and some of the commenters (and probably me as well) are painting with an overly broad brush. Unfortunately, that is often the nature of informal online discussions and why comments to posts and each other are so important to bringing out the nuances of the issues.)

Day 22 Praise:  Praise to the Lord of Truth who creates order, and gives us rational minds that we may explore and understand it, and through that, know Him all the more.


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