Did Muhammad exist?
Spencer Warren writes:
FYI, Robert Spencer is the dinner speaker at the next Philadelphia Society meeting in April in Philadelphia. His topic: Did Mohammed exist?LA replies:
I’ve heard of that thesis, but never had the desire to look into it. It seems so ridiculous; I hope that Robert Spencer is putting it down, not promoting it. Here is—as Michael Hart reasonably argued in his book The 100—the single most important man who ever lived, a man who founded both a major religion and a political/military power that conquered a large part of the world and is followed by a fifth of humanity today. This man wrote in detail of his own experiences. Of his spiritual experiences that led to the beginning of the Koran. Of his changes in his teaching to a teaching of war and conquest after he gained power in Medina. Of his consuming hatred for the Jews after they rejected his claim of being the Jewish messiah. Of his consuming hatred of (and desire to torture in eternity) anyone who failed to accept his claim of being Allah’s messenger. Of his lust for his young relative’s wife that led him to command that Muslim women be veiled. So many specific things are written by and about him, showing a unique personality.
Daniel S. writes:
I do believe that this a thesis that Robert Spencer got from his friend, the secular humanist and apostate Muslim, Ibn Warraq (a questionable ally of Western traditionalists), who has several books arguing that Muhammad was likely some sort of historical construct of Arab imperialism. Now I would certainly concede that numerous accounts found in Muhammad’s biography are at best pious frauds invented by his later followers, but I think it takes much more of a leap to deny the existence of such a figure with historical impact that extends all the way down to our time than to affirm his well substantiated existence. I don’t know what Spencer’s motivation is in pushing this particular theory, since I doubt he lacks [?] the expertise to write seriously on the matter, other than that is controversial and thus more likely to sell books and get him time slots on the cable networks. I personally take Spencer much less seriously at this point than I did a few years ago.LA replies:
Does Ibn Warraq believe that Jesus existed, or that he was some sort of historical construct invented by the early Christians? Given (the last time I read him) Warraq’s kneejerk hostility to all religion, not just Islam, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the latter, though I would be happy to find out that I am wrong.D. Edwards writes:
At Jihad Watch, Robert Spencer quotes this description of his forthcoming book, “Did Muhammad Exist,” at Amazon:LA replies:
What Spencer says in the linked blog entry at JW focuses on an awfully obscure issue and would not persuade anyone that Muhammad did not exist.February 24
If Spencer and company are seriously proposing that Muhammad did not exist, then they are damaging their own credibility and for no good reason. When secularists try to argue that Jesus Christ never existed, it becomes clear to most observers that they are no longer engaging in reasonable criticism. Rather, it becomes clear that they are driven to absurd lengths by their animus against Christianity. Seriously proposing that Jesus did not exist isn’t an indication of clear headed skepticism; it is an indication of an undiscerning intellect that is willing to believe anything so long as it undermines an ideological enemy.February 24
Michael Hart writes:
Ibn Warraq’s book presents the arguments that Jesus is a mythical character. He does not take a stand on them. The arguments are substantial. I believe that Jesus was a real person, but the arguments were presented by real scholars, and I don’t find them nonsensical. He also presents the arguments that Muhammad is a fictitious figure. I don’t agree with the conclusion, but I don’t think the arguments should be dismissed out of hand.LA replies:
And who was it who wrote the things and made up the actions that are attributed to Jesus? Some unknown genius who just happened to have the divine knowledge and the unique personality of Jesus, but decided to remain in the background and create a fictitious mouthpiece for himself instead?LA continues:
Also, if the “real scholars” you mention are of the same water as those who people the Jesus Seminar, they are a joke. They have an agenda, and they will say anything, no matter how ridiculous, to advance it.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 23, 2012 08:38 PM | Send