Why Thomas Aquinas Distrusted Islam
#1


From Breitbart:



Why Thomas Aquinas Distrusted Islam
by Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.
27 Dec 2015


The 13th-century scholar Thomas Aquinas, regarded as one of the most eminent medieval philosophers and theologians, offered a biting critique of Islam based in large part on the questionable character and methods of its founder, Mohammed.

According to Aquinas, Islam appealed to ignorant, brutish, carnal men and spread not by the power of its arguments or divine grace but by the power of the sword.

Aquinas, a keen observer of the human condition, was familiar with the chief works of the Muslim philosophers of his day–including Avicenna, Algazel, and Averroes–and engaged them in his writings.

Since Islam was founded and spread in the seventh century, Aquinas—considered by Catholics as a saint and doctor of the Church—lived in a period closer to that of Mohammed than to our own day.

In one of his most significant works, the voluminous Summa contra gentiles, which Aquinas wrote between 1258 and 1264 AD, the scholar argued for the truth of Christianity against other belief systems, including Islam.

Aquinas contrasts the spread of Christianity with that of Islam, arguing that much of Christianity’s early success stemmed from widespread belief in the miracles of Jesus, whereas the spread of Islam was worked through the promise of sensual pleasures and the violence of the sword.

Mohammad, Aquinas wrote, “seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh goads us. His teaching also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure.”

Such an offer, Aquinas contended, appealed to a certain type of person of limited virtue and wisdom.

“In all this, as is not unexpected, he was obeyed by carnal men,” he wrote. “As for proofs of the truth of his doctrine, he brought forward only such as could be grasped by the natural ability of anyone with a very modest wisdom. Indeed, the truths that he taught he mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity.”

Because of the weakness of Islam’s contentions, Aquinas argued, “no wise men, men trained in things divine and human, believed in him from the beginning.” Instead, those who believed in him “were brutal men and desert wanderers, utterly ignorant of all divine teaching, through whose numbers Muhammad forced others to become his followers by the violence of his arms.”

Islam’s violent methods of propagation were especially unconvincing to Aquinas, since he found that the use of such force does not prove the truth of one’s claims, and are the means typically used by evil men.

“Mohammad said that he was sent in the power of his arms,” Aquinas wrote, “which are signs not lacking even to robbers and tyrants.”

At the time Aquinas was writing, Islam was generally considered a Christian heresy, since it drew so heavily on Christian texts and beliefs. Aquinas wrote that Mohammed “perverts almost all the testimonies of the Old and New Testaments by making them into fabrications of his own, as can be seen by anyone who examines his law.”

According to the noted historian Hilaire Belloc, Islam “began as a heresy, not as a new religion. It was not a pagan contrast with the Church; it was not an alien enemy. It was a perversion of Christian doctrine. Its vitality and endurance soon gave it the appearance of a new religion, but those who were contemporary with its rise saw it for what it was—not a denial, but an adaptation and a misuse, of the Christian thing.”

In his Summa contra gentiles, Aquinas ends his argument against Islam by offering a backhanded compliment to Mohammed, noting that he had to keep his followers ignorant in order for them to remain faithful.

It was, Aquinas wrote, “a shrewd decision on his part to forbid his followers to read the Old and New Testaments, lest these books convict him of falsity.”

“It is thus clear that those who place any faith in his words believe foolishly,” he wrote.

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#2
(12-28-2015, 08:35 PM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: From Breitbart:



Why Thomas Aquinas Distrusted Islam
by Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.
27 Dec 2015


The 13th-century scholar Thomas Aquinas, regarded as one of the most eminent medieval philosophers and theologians, offered a biting critique of Islam based in large part on the questionable character and methods of its founder, Mohammed.

According to Aquinas, Islam appealed to ignorant, brutish, carnal men and spread not by the power of its arguments or divine grace but by the power of the sword.

Aquinas, a keen observer of the human condition, was familiar with the chief works of the Muslim philosophers of his day–including Avicenna, Algazel, and Averroes–and engaged them in his writings.

Since Islam was founded and spread in the seventh century, Aquinas—considered by Catholics as a saint and doctor of the Church—lived in a period closer to that of Mohammed than to our own day.

In one of his most significant works, the voluminous Summa contra gentiles, which Aquinas wrote between 1258 and 1264 AD, the scholar argued for the truth of Christianity against other belief systems, including Islam.

Aquinas contrasts the spread of Christianity with that of Islam, arguing that much of Christianity’s early success stemmed from widespread belief in the miracles of Jesus, whereas the spread of Islam was worked through the promise of sensual pleasures and the violence of the sword.

Mohammad, Aquinas wrote, “seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh goads us. His teaching also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure.”

Such an offer, Aquinas contended, appealed to a certain type of person of limited virtue and wisdom.

“In all this, as is not unexpected, he was obeyed by carnal men,” he wrote. “As for proofs of the truth of his doctrine, he brought forward only such as could be grasped by the natural ability of anyone with a very modest wisdom. Indeed, the truths that he taught he mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity.”

Because of the weakness of Islam’s contentions, Aquinas argued, “no wise men, men trained in things divine and human, believed in him from the beginning.” Instead, those who believed in him “were brutal men and desert wanderers, utterly ignorant of all divine teaching, through whose numbers Muhammad forced others to become his followers by the violence of his arms.”

Islam’s violent methods of propagation were especially unconvincing to Aquinas, since he found that the use of such force does not prove the truth of one’s claims, and are the means typically used by evil men.

“Mohammad said that he was sent in the power of his arms,” Aquinas wrote, “which are signs not lacking even to robbers and tyrants.”

At the time Aquinas was writing, Islam was generally considered a Christian heresy, since it drew so heavily on Christian texts and beliefs. Aquinas wrote that Mohammed “perverts almost all the testimonies of the Old and New Testaments by making them into fabrications of his own, as can be seen by anyone who examines his law.”

According to the noted historian Hilaire Belloc, Islam “began as a heresy, not as a new religion. It was not a pagan contrast with the Church; it was not an alien enemy. It was a perversion of Christian doctrine. Its vitality and endurance soon gave it the appearance of a new religion, but those who were contemporary with its rise saw it for what it was—not a denial, but an adaptation and a misuse, of the Christian thing.”

In his Summa contra gentiles, Aquinas ends his argument against Islam by offering a backhanded compliment to Mohammed, noting that he had to keep his followers ignorant in order for them to remain faithful.

It was, Aquinas wrote, “a shrewd decision on his part to forbid his followers to read the Old and New Testaments, lest these books convict him of falsity.”

“It is thus clear that those who place any faith in his words believe foolishly,” he wrote.


Excellent stuff, although I will go to my grave saying that Belloc's claim that Islam is a " Christian heresy" is absurd. To say that muslims are Christian heretics is to assert that Muslims are really Christians with false beliefs--- something that no muslim would ever claim for themselves and no honest reading of the koran could lead one to believe. Yes Jesus is a prophet who will come to judge men on the last day and Mary remained a virgin but outside of these things there's nothing more to suggest muslims are even remotely Christian.

At any rate thumbs up for Aquinas and his honest reading of islam. As much as I do not have a mind or a taste for Thomism no one could honestly say Aquinas wasn't an intellectual giant who probably took the same care and rigor in exploring and pondering islam as he did in pondering the mysteries of the Catholic faith.  This ought to make us take notice.

Has anyone here who can actually understand St Thomas read the Summa contra gentiles ? They have it in my parish library but I've never been able to read anything of his and understand it. I'm curious what people who can understand his style think of it.
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#3
    From what we conclude after visiting this site,

    http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/koran.html

    .... It would imply that Mohamed starts out with Christian beliefs. As we read we can see that he falls into that popularity trap and relishes the attention of his followers, that brings with it all it's material benefits and glory among men. He seems to feel confident that as long as he fence straddles, and does not portray himself a god, and render to Christian teachings a token acknowledgment of some truth, he can stay in favor with God.

    He was a man who fell for the trappings of this world. Mohamed was in a worldly way a successful Karesh and others who fell for the trickery.

   
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#4
(12-28-2015, 08:56 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: Has anyone here who can actually understand St Thomas read the Summa contra gentiles ? They have it in my parish library but I've never been able to read anything of his and understand it. I'm curious what people who can understand his style think of it.
I have a copy of the Koran and I have read it. My considered opinion substantially agrees with Tommo's.

It is a diabolically inspired plagiarism of Judaism and Christianity. Really, really scary stuff. As I finished the book I said to myself "if I have nothing else to be grateful for I must be grateful that I was not born into a culture inspired by this".

Anyhow, FB, don't try to read the Summa... it was thought up and written in Latin with a very formal Scholastic Method and translators have not been very accommodating to us plebeians. There have been many scholars and wise men who have done very good jobs of translating the general gist of his arguments into concepts and idiom that we can understand. I've mentioned some previously but right now my mind's a blank. I bet that there fishies who can rattle off a few good examples.
Reply
#5
(12-28-2015, 08:56 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote:
(12-28-2015, 08:35 PM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: From Breitbart:



Why Thomas Aquinas Distrusted Islam
by Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.
27 Dec 2015


The 13th-century scholar Thomas Aquinas, regarded as one of the most eminent medieval philosophers and theologians, offered a biting critique of Islam based in large part on the questionable character and methods of its founder, Mohammed.

According to Aquinas, Islam appealed to ignorant, brutish, carnal men and spread not by the power of its arguments or divine grace but by the power of the sword.

Aquinas, a keen observer of the human condition, was familiar with the chief works of the Muslim philosophers of his day–including Avicenna, Algazel, and Averroes–and engaged them in his writings.

Since Islam was founded and spread in the seventh century, Aquinas—considered by Catholics as a saint and doctor of the Church—lived in a period closer to that of Mohammed than to our own day.

In one of his most significant works, the voluminous Summa contra gentiles, which Aquinas wrote between 1258 and 1264 AD, the scholar argued for the truth of Christianity against other belief systems, including Islam.

Aquinas contrasts the spread of Christianity with that of Islam, arguing that much of Christianity’s early success stemmed from widespread belief in the miracles of Jesus, whereas the spread of Islam was worked through the promise of sensual pleasures and the violence of the sword.

Mohammad, Aquinas wrote, “seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh goads us. His teaching also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure.”

Such an offer, Aquinas contended, appealed to a certain type of person of limited virtue and wisdom.

“In all this, as is not unexpected, he was obeyed by carnal men,” he wrote. “As for proofs of the truth of his doctrine, he brought forward only such as could be grasped by the natural ability of anyone with a very modest wisdom. Indeed, the truths that he taught he mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity.”

Because of the weakness of Islam’s contentions, Aquinas argued, “no wise men, men trained in things divine and human, believed in him from the beginning.” Instead, those who believed in him “were brutal men and desert wanderers, utterly ignorant of all divine teaching, through whose numbers Muhammad forced others to become his followers by the violence of his arms.”

Islam’s violent methods of propagation were especially unconvincing to Aquinas, since he found that the use of such force does not prove the truth of one’s claims, and are the means typically used by evil men.

“Mohammad said that he was sent in the power of his arms,” Aquinas wrote, “which are signs not lacking even to robbers and tyrants.”

At the time Aquinas was writing, Islam was generally considered a Christian heresy, since it drew so heavily on Christian texts and beliefs. Aquinas wrote that Mohammed “perverts almost all the testimonies of the Old and New Testaments by making them into fabrications of his own, as can be seen by anyone who examines his law.”

According to the noted historian Hilaire Belloc, Islam “began as a heresy, not as a new religion. It was not a pagan contrast with the Church; it was not an alien enemy. It was a perversion of Christian doctrine. Its vitality and endurance soon gave it the appearance of a new religion, but those who were contemporary with its rise saw it for what it was—not a denial, but an adaptation and a misuse, of the Christian thing.”

In his Summa contra gentiles, Aquinas ends his argument against Islam by offering a backhanded compliment to Mohammed, noting that he had to keep his followers ignorant in order for them to remain faithful.

It was, Aquinas wrote, “a shrewd decision on his part to forbid his followers to read the Old and New Testaments, lest these books convict him of falsity.”

“It is thus clear that those who place any faith in his words believe foolishly,” he wrote.


Excellent stuff, although I will go to my grave saying that Belloc's claim that Islam is a " Christian heresy" is absurd. To say that muslims are Christian heretics is to assert that Muslims are really Christians with false beliefs--- something that no muslim would ever claim for themselves and no honest reading of the koran could lead one to believe. Yes Jesus is a prophet who will come to judge men on the last day and Mary remained a virgin but outside of these things there's nothing more to suggest muslims are even remotely Christian.

At any rate thumbs up for Aquinas and his honest reading of islam. As much as I do not have a mind or a taste for Thomism no one could honestly say Aquinas wasn't an intellectual giant who probably took the same care and rigor in exploring and pondering islam as he did in pondering the mysteries of the Catholic faith.  This ought to make us take notice.

Has anyone here who can actually understand St Thomas read the Summa contra gentiles ? They have it in my parish library but I've never been able to read anything of his and understand it. I'm curious what people who can understand his style think of it.

Iv read parts of it. I had to in college for a political thought class. The translation I have isn't terrible but I also had to read all sorts of fancy English so I had to learn to understand dialogue that isn't used anymore.

I would suggest finding a trustful commentary or summary of the chapters. That can usually help make it understandable.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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#6
I think St. John Bosco gave a good summary of Islam calling it "a monstrous mixture of Judaism, Paganism and Christianity."

I always find it funny when people are shocked to find out that priests and religious are required to pray every three hours. They say "that's like the Muslims," to which I reply, "Who do you think they stole it from?"
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#7
I do not agree. Islam is not a Christian heresy. I think it is a Jewish heresy. When Mohammed was having his "visions" he looked to the Jewish rabbis for their recognition as another Jewish prophet. 
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#8
I can understand the calling it a heresy of something since it borrows heavily from Judaism and Catholicism. However, it also has pagan influences too. It's a monster of its own which has no classification.

I like this blurb from newadvent
Quote:Mohammed's religion, known among its adherents as Islam, contains practically nothing original; it is a confused combination of native Arabian heathenism, Judaism, Christianity, Sabiism (Mandoeanism), Hanifism, and Zoroastrianism.
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#9
That Tommy was one smart cat, it is a shame that too many today including those in the Dominican order are ashamed of him. 

(12-29-2015, 07:54 AM)GangGreen Wrote: I can understand the calling it a heresy of something since it borrows heavily from Judaism and Catholicism. However, it also has pagan influences too. It's a monster of its own which has no classification.

I like this blurb from newadvent
Quote:Mohammed's religion, known among its adherents as Islam, contains practically nothing original; it is a confused combination of native Arabian heathenism, Judaism, Christianity, Sabiism (Mandoeanism), Hanifism, and Zoroastrianism.

That is a fundamental aspect of Islam in that it is a parasitic religion, almost like a scavenger preying upon the carcass of a dying animal in this case that of Byzantium and Persia.  How history would have been different if they did not spend 20+ years of war between each other, depleting each other's manpower and treasury, alienating so many tribes that when the mohammedans came like a bat out of hell, they had no choice but to align themselves with their cousins.  Islam would be confined to the Arabian peninsula, considered a weird sect to modern eyes.   
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#10
Also St  John of Damascus considered Islam a heresy. And he had a good knowlodge of the Quran(more than St Thomas), because he knew Arabic.

But the arguments from Summa Contra Gentiles are very insigtful. Aquinas constrats the preaching of the Apostles and from the false profet Muhammad, the first died while spreading  the Gospel of Christ; Muhammad propagated his false religion with terror and a lustful Paradise.
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