Isn't Robert Spencer's mythicist theory on Muhammad pretty dangerous?

Hello :slight_smile:

I followed some speeches of Spencer’s about Muhammad being a later invention in Islam. I couldn’t help but think that he should reiterate that this can’t be said of Jesus, or at last show how it would be different for the Lord.
In fact I am sure some mythicists could use the same idea about Christianity.

What do you think about ? Thanks!

I haven’t read Mr. Spencer’s claim, but if he has evidence, then he has something the Christ mythicists do not.

Also, I don’t think it is always necessary to refute false arguments against Christ when presenting arguments against Islam. Not even when the argument against Christ is superficially similar to an argument against Islam.

One of the arguments is that the Arabs, while conquering, didn’t claim it was because of Muhammad, or the Quran, or Islam. I think some others may as well say we have no evidence that Paul didn’t start Christianity. I don’t share the same view on the last point, because Paul himself talks about the good news of Christ, and the Apostles, but some could use this apparent analogy between the two religions.

I think one must always be cautious when reading someone’s work, even that of a scholar, which proposes an argument against a religion other than their own.

The funny thing about Mr. Spencer’s argument that Muhammad is a made up construct- it invalidates most of his other works that cite or treats Muhammad as a real historical person. I believe the phrase for that would be “to shoot oneself in one’s own foot.”

I think the entire question of Mohammed and his existence is rather dubious. I can’t think of many who think he didn’t exist. To look at the question itself in retrospect becomes a quest for what we actually do know, and then our understanding or evaluation of this. I mean, I can’t answer, but who read the book and concluded Mohammed didn’t exist? I didn’t read the book.

I think that meltzerboy made a solid point about being cautious. You know when someone is talking about a matter, which in essence involves the Church, such as with Spencer, than you can’t not revert all matter back to the Catholic Church and be Catholic and reach a different conclusion than the Church. Can you? You would be thinking of different mind than the Church?

Robert Spencer does not claim to be an original scholar in these Islamic matters regarding the existence of the prophet of Arabia, but he credits the following historical people for the compilation of his book:

The foreword was written by the eminent scholar Johannes Jansen, an Arabist and a Professor of Modern Islamic Thought at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Other historical authors in this book are:

Ignaz Goldziher
Theodor Nöldeke
Arthur Jeffery
Henri Lammens
Alphonse Mingana
Joseph Schacht
Aloys Sprenger
Julius Wellhausen
Suliman Bashear
Patricia Crone
Volker Popp
Yehuda Nevo
Michael Cook
Ibn Warraq
Judith Koren
Ibn Rawandi
Günter Lüling
David S. Powers
John Wansbrough

All of these historians contributed to the making of “Did Muhammad exist” and if you read his book, you’ll see that all credit is given to the above historians.

BTW ~ This very site, Catholic Answers, supports Robert Spencer and his work and even sell his books here in the book store.

Recently, a British historian, Tom Holland, also ventured out for the same project.
His documentary is on youtube.

youtube.com/watch?v=-dlXCrpKTt0

Well that was very kind of Mr. Spencer to go to the trouble of putting together a book whose very premise invalidates some of his own arguments and books.

Also, last I checked Catholic Answers was about answering questions about Catholicism, not Islam.

My post was about the danger to say Mohammed didn’t exist, which could be used for anti-Christianity mythicists. I thought someone other would see the problem in doubting the existence of the founder of Islam.
Catholic answers’ forums have many sections, some of which have nothing to do with Catholicism. Aren’t we not in the non-catholic section? I saw posts on protestantism, but on judaism, islam, even hinduism here, so why not?
Or should we take out sections like the water-cooler ? :shrug:

catholic.com/profiles/robert-spencer

The other poster was using the fact that Catholic Answers publishes one of Mr. Spencer’s works as proof that Mr. Spencer is creditable on the topic of Islam. That’s called an appeal to authority.

And Mr. Slick who runs CARM is actually more qualified to speak on Catholicism than Mr. Spencer is to speak on Islam.

Why not!

Why not put the prophet of Arabia, their Quran book, their ideology of Islam under investigation, historical scrutiny and under the microscope as many others have done to the Bible, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Saint Paul, the New Testament… etc. etc…

Islam is no exception.

If Catholic.com did not see Mr. Spencer as an authority on Islam they would not be supporting him.

Did you bother to read the Catholic.com link I provided and the high credentials they gave him.

CARM is very ANTI-Catholic.

Mr. Spencer is a Catholic.

Which has nothing to do with the fact that Mr. Slick is more qualified to be deemed an expert on Catholicism than Mr. Spencer is to be on Islam.

From Catholic.com - Since you didn’t bother to read.

Spencer (MA, Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) has been studying Islamic theology, law, and history in depth since 1980.

As an Adjunct Fellow with the Free Congress Foundation in 2002 and 2003, he wrote a series of monographs on Islam: An Introduction to the Qur’an; Women and Islam; An Islamic Primer; Islam and the West; The Islamic Disinformation Lobby; Islam vs. Christianity; and Jihad in Context.

More recently he has also written monographs for the David Horowitz Freedom Center: Islamophobia: Thought Crime of the Totalitarian Future (with David Horowitz); Obama and Islam (with David Horowitz); What Americans Need to Know About Jihad; The Violent Oppression of Women In Islam (with Phyllis Chesler); Islamic Leaders’ Plan for Genocide; and Muslim Persecution of Christians.

More from Catholic.com - which by the way is THIS site you are using as a forum.

Spencer has discussed jihad, Islam, and terrorism at a workshop sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the German Foreign Ministry.

He has also appeared on the BBC, ABC News, CNN, FoxNews’s O’Reilly Factor, the Sean Hannity Show, the Glenn Beck Show, Fox and Friends, and many other Fox programs, PBS, MSNBC, CNBC, C-Span, France24 and Croatia National Televison (HTV), as well as on numerous radio programs including Bill O’Reilly’s Radio Factor, The Laura Ingraham Show, Bill Bennett’s Morning in America, Michael Savage’s Savage Nation, The Sean Hannity Show, The Alan Colmes Show, The G. Gordon Liddy Show, The Neal Boortz Show, The Michael Medved Show, The Michael Reagan Show, The Rusty Humphries Show, The Larry Elder Show, The Barbara Simpson Show, Vatican Radio, and many others. He has been a featured speaker at Dartmouth College, Stanford University, New York University, Brown University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary, Washington University of St. Louis, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and many other colleges and universities.

~

Hmmmm… I wonder why the Vatican Radio would have him on if he is not an authority to speak on Islam… :rolleyes:

-Jihad Watch- owned by the David Horowitz Freedom Center
-FrontPage- another David Horowitz organization
-Human Events- owned by the company that owns Regnery
-Regnery- specializes in secular conservative political works, has published the majority of Mr. Spencer’s works, also happens to have published works by David Horowitz
-Encounter- published a book by Mr. Spencer, also specializes in secular conservative political works, also happens to have published works by David Horowitz
-Free Congress Foundation- think tank that focuses on, surprise surprise, secular conservative politics, and apparently he is the only adjunct fellow because he’s the only one who popped up on the first three pages of google searching “adjunct fellow free congress foundation”
-TV and Radio appearances- would it surprise anyone that the majority of those listed happen to also be shows that focus on secular conservative political and not religion?

I’m a little confused. Has Mr. Spencer said something wrong about Islam? I got a mixed vibe when I skimmed one of his books once. I didn’t read much, but I got the impression that he thinks violence is one of the things Islam is all about, and something bugs me about that attitude. Do you have more information?

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