Sunday, May 30, 2010

Book Review: Moon-o-theism, Chapter 3

When writing about a topic that has political relevance, the temptation to relate it to the current political scene is almost irresistible. Fleeing temptation, however, is universally good advice. This chapter, The Moon-o-theistic Apologetics, took an unfortunate turn away from the thesis (and indeed the purpose of the chapter) to incorporate current events.

I believe the purpose of this chapter, given the title, is to offer up the standard counter-arguments to the thesis, and then rebut them. Given that there has been only one full chapter developing the theory, it's a little early to introduce this. Unless an objection is so self-evident that it needs to be addressed initially, one is better off developing the theory fully before presenting the counter-arguments. None of these fit that category.

The bulk of the chapter focuses on historical and modern means (thus the insertion of politics) to combat criticism of Islam, which only constitutes a counter-argument to the thesis in the most general sense. The true meat of the chapter is in the section "Allah's Identity Theft Against Yahweh." Identity theft is something I know about. It's something I can work with.

The difference between the owner of the identity and the thief is context. The owner has it, the thief doesn't. For example, I have an (expired) forklift license. I can give you the context about when and how I acquired it, and all sorts of details about forklifts and my experience on them. The thief wouldn't have that experience, and wouldn't be able to provide the context. When the story is challenged, you get an excuse--"It was a long time ago..." etc.

Yoel Natan argues that, with no sense of irony, the devil is in the details. Allah provides the ID docs saying that he's actually Yahweh, but when you start looking at the context, there's a discrepancy. When you press it, there's an excuse.

Divine identity theft. If I take nothing else from this chapter but that description, it would have been worth the read.

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