Op-Ed Polemical Rebuttals

The Küng Con­tro­ver­sy : An Analy­sis of Jochen Katz’s Recent Tirade

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Some time ago, MENJIn his capac­i­ty as exec­u­tive edi­tor of Bis­mi­ka Allahu­ma pub­lished Hans Kung’s view of the Prophet Muham­mad(P) along with a brief edi­tor’s note. It seems that Jochen Katz was quite out­raged at thisPer­haps what came across Katz’s mind was how dare a Chris­t­ian say some­thing pos­i­tive about Muham­mad(P)?” but more so at the edi­tor’s note” and soon after pub­lished a response”.

In short, Katz is say­ing that Kung only express­ing his own per­son­al opin­ion about the Prophet Muham­mad(P) and does not rep­re­sent all Chris­tians. He objects to the edi­tor’s fol­low­ing state­ment (under­lined by Katz): “…Hans Kung con­veys the Chris­t­ian opin­ion on Prophet Muham­mad(P).” Of course the edi­tor did not argue that Hans Kung is rep­re­sent­ing all the Chris­tians and has recent­ly cor­rect­ed his state­ment so that it now reads : “…Hans Kung con­veys a Chris­t­ian opin­ion on Prophet Muham­mad(P).” Cer­tain­ly, there is no one view among Chris­tians regard­ing Prophet Muham­mad(P) and so, just as Hans Kung does not speak for all Chris­tians, Answer­ing Islam cer­tain­ly does not speak for all Christians.

Yet Katz writes :

    MENJ has great dif­fi­cul­ties to answer our argu­ments against Muham­mad’s claim to prophet­hood. Not being able to respond with any­thing that is tru­ly con­vinc­ing, he seem­ing­ly tries to oust us from this debate by claim­ing that our argu­ments are not gen­uine­ly Chris­t­ian, and there­fore Chris­tians and oth­ers should not lis­ten to us.

This is a sense­less argu­ment. It does not fol­low that you are ignor­ing” or plan not to address issues sim­ply because you, on one occa­sion, bring to light some­one’s view on a par­tic­u­lar sub­ject. bis​mikaal​lahu​ma​.org deals with a vari­ety of sub­jects relat­ed to Islam (and Chris­tian­i­ty) and there­fore wide rang­ing papers are to be found there­in. At times respons­es to Answer­ing Islam are uploaded (and stat­ed as such) and on oth­er occa­sions, dif­fer­ent papers are put up that do not relate to some­thing pre­sent­ed with­in Answer­ing Islam. Katz, it seems, has a very dif­fi­cult time under­stand­ing this.

On this instance, MENJ sim­ply pre­sent­ed one par­tic­u­lar Chris­tians view regard­ing Prophet Muham­mad(P) mere­ly to show that not all Chris­tians think alike or have the same views, opin­ions and beliefs about Prophet Muham­mad(P). I don’t see how Katz con­clud­ed from this that MENJ seem­ing­ly” tried to oust” oth­ers from the dis­cus­sions by putting online the views of a Chris­t­ian schol­ar. Instead, this seems to be one of Katz’s delu­sions. Sim­i­lar­ly, it is hard to see how he could come up with the won­drous con­clu­sion that MENJ sup­pos­ed­ly has dif­fi­cul­ties” answer­ing the polemics at Answer­ing Islam or that he is alleged­ly not able to respond” to the polemics. This is Katz’s wish­ful think­ing. In short, when MENJ pub­lished the views of one Chris­t­ian, or that oth­er time wrote a paper address­ing an issue/​topic not com­ment­ed upon at answer­ing-islam, it does not mean that he seem­ing­ly” tries to oust oth­ers, or that he is ignor­ing some­thing. The writ­ers of Bis­mi­ka Allahu­ma will con­tin­ue deal­ing with mis­sion­ary polemics, as it is con­vinient for them, and also con­tin­ue pre­sent­ing papers on oth­er sub­ject matters.

Fur­ther­more, Katz sim­ply attempts to poi­son the well when he unleash­es his sub­jec­tive per­son­al opin­ions regard­ing the effec­tive­ness of MEN­J’s replies as if they are uncon­test­ed facts” observ­able by all. Using the same type of argu­ment”, I can say : I think MENJ has done a fan­tas­tic job in expos­ing many polemics and that Katz and his friends have dif­fi­cul­ties defend­ing their claims, the his­toric­i­ty and integri­ty of the New Tes­ta­ment in par­tic­u­lar, and are utter­ly inca­pable to respond with any­thing that is tru­ly con­vinc­ing. So, will Katz and his friends stop writ­ing after read­ing this opin­ion of mine and depart from the scene ful­ly con­vinced that they are doing a rather lousy job because I say so ? Such types of argu­ments” only reveal Katz’s inner frustrations.

Katz also writes :

    The use of this arti­cle by MENJ is noth­ing but the fal­la­cy of appeal to authority.

Well, is there some­thing wrong” in pre­sent­ing some­one’s views and opin­ions for the read­ing of oth­ers ? MENJ was, after all, not using Kung in sup­port of any argu­ment, but sim­ply pre­sent­ing one Chris­t­ian opin­ion. There is noth­ing wrong with this. There­fore he was not com­mit­ting the fal­la­cy of appeal to author­i­ty. Fur­ther­more, is appeal­ing to an author­i­ty always wrong ? In the papers on Katz’s own web­site, numer­ous Chris­t­ian apol­o­gists, mis­sion­ar­ies and ori­en­tal­ists are quot­ed as author­i­ties in sup­port of this or that argu­ment. So if Katz has no prob­lems when it comes to appeal­ing to author­i­ties in argu­ments against Islam, then he should not object to Mus­lims when they appeal to author­i­ties in sup­port of their own argu­ments. How­ev­er, let me remind you again : since there are many views cur­rent among Chris­tians regard­ing Prophet Muham­mad(P), some­thing that would not be denied by Katz, MENJ pre­sent­ed the view of one par­tic­u­lar Chris­t­ian schol­ar for oth­ers to read. Katz is read­ing too much into the paper on this occasion.

Katz says :

    Even if he had quot­ed and appealed to the Pope, this would still not exempt him from deal­ing with the facts and arguments.

Of course, and where did MENJ say or indi­cate that he would ignore deal­ing with the alleged facts” and argu­ments” because he is quot­ing Kung here did he state or imply that his pre­sen­ta­tion of Kung’s view set­tled” every­thing once and for all so that there was no longer any need for him to address the polemics on Answer­ing Islam or any oth­er site for that mat­ter ? Nowhere. Katz is engag­ing” with sug­ges­tions that were sim­ply nev­er made or even implied. Real­ly, Katz…take it easy and don’t try to read what is not there. As read­ers will see, the con­tributers to Bis­mi­ka Allahu­ma will con­tin­ue refut­ing mis­sion­ary polemics and expos­ing — what we believe are — dis­tor­tions, despite the pre­sen­ta­tion of the views of Hans Kung. More­over, in the future, we will present sim­i­lar views and opin­ions of oth­er Chris­tians as well for the read­ing of others.

Katz writes :

    We nev­er said that Muham­mad is not a prophet because the Vat­i­can or some oth­er Chris­t­ian author­i­ty denies him that posi­tion, but we eval­u­at­ed Muham­mad’s claims to prophet­hood on the basis of the bib­li­cal cri­te­ria for a true prophet. Muham­mad clear­ly fails those.

First, nei­ther did MENJ say or imply that Muham­mad(P) is a prophet because” the Vat­i­can or some oth­er Chris­t­ian author­i­ty says so, nor did he imply that Katz and his friends should accept Muham­mad(P) based on Kung’s view, so what is Katz talk­ing about and respond­ing” to ? There­fore Katz’s com­ments are utter­ly base­less. Essen­tial­ly, Katz is mak­ing a huge fuss over the pre­sen­ta­tion of one Chris­tians view and is let­ting his imag­i­na­tion run wild to give his audi­ence the wrong and mis­lead­ing impres­sion about our edi­tor’s stance. His pur­pose, it seems to me, is to delib­er­ate­ly sim­pli­fy the edi­tor’s brief note through a sys­tem­at­ic dis­tor­tion and con­struc­tion of red herrings.

Sec­ond, Katz again presents his per­son­al sub­jec­tive opin­ions as if they are facts” observ­able by all. We cer­tain­ly do not believe that he has made any sen­si­ble argu­ments and we will con­tin­ue address­ing his polemics on this web­site, let­ting the read­ers decide for them­selves. Nor has he demon­strat­ed” that the Bible is the inerrant word of God to act as cred­i­ble cri­te­ria for any mat­ter. For him to use the Bible as a cri­te­ria” means noth­ing to Mus­lims since we don’t accept the Bible and using ones scrip­tures in this man­ner only amounts to cir­cu­lar reasoning.

Katz writes :

    Hans Kung’s arti­cle does not deal with the argu­ments we have presented.

Nei­ther did MENJ claim or sug­gest that Hans Kung had dealt with any argu­ments” on Answer­ing Islam, so why is Katz giv­ing the false impres­sion as if MENJ sug­gest­ed that Kung’s paper addressed any or all polemics at Answer­ing Islam ? Katz can do noth­ing more than mis­lead his read­ers through the con­coc­tion of fic­ti­tious scenarios.

Katz pro­ceeds with his strange line of rea­son­ing and ends :

    Muham­mad went even fur­ther, he worked hard to make the orig­i­nal con­form to the copy be re-nar­rat­ing the Bib­li­cal sto­ries in a changed way. This is dis­cussed in detail in the arti­cle I am ALL the prophets”.

Again he shares with us his sub­ject­ed opin­ions. Now I do not plan to deal with the above referred paper here, but, to briefly com­ment, its mes­sage can be summed up as follows :

Because the Bible says A and the Qur’an says B, the Qur’an is wrong because the Bible is the word of God and so it must always be right.

I don’t know about oth­ers, but I am not impressed with this line of argu­ment. From the Mus­lim per­spec­tive, sim­i­lar­i­ties and dif­fer­ences between the Qur’an­ic and Bib­li­cal accounts is no prob­lem at all since that only means that God has cor­rect­ed the mis­takes with­in the Bib­li­cal accounts and revealed the true accounts with­in the Qur’an. Chris­tians might say but this is cir­cu­lar argu­ment, you have assumed the Qur’an to be inspired”, but the Chris­tians have also con­ve­nient­ly assumed the Bible to be inspired and inerrant to put forth their arguments.

Putting aside our sup­po­si­tions and beliefs for a moment, how can we know that the Bib­li­cal accounts are real­ly the orig­i­nal”? What evi­dence is there to show the Bible is right in every­thing it says ? I have not seen Katz and his friends present such evi­dence that we can all ana­lyze. They have sim­ply and pious­ly assumed the Bible to be inspired” and thus cor­rect” no mat­ter what, and so this assump­tion of inspi­ra­tion” is the bases of their argu­ments for the rejec­tion of the Qur’an. Not impressive.

Mus­lims have already start­ed to refute such types of unim­pres­sive argu­ments” from the Chris­tians and will con­tin­ue to do so in the future. For now see these refu­ta­tions.

Now, let me repay Katz with the same favour by apply­ing his exam­ple upon the New Testament :Endmark

    Matthew and Luke re-nar­rat­ed Mark in a changed way in their gospels by pre­sent­ing a dif­fer­ent Jesus”. The author of the gospel of John went even fur­ther and re-nar­rat­ed in a changed way the sto­ry of Jesus. Paul went even fur­ther by re-nar­rat­ing the entire sal­va­tion his­to­ry in a changed way in his epis­tles. The Küng Controversy: An Analysis of Jochen Katz's Recent Tirade 26
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