Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Contra Gentiles: Concerning Islam

Thomas Aquinas remains an awesome force for intellectual and spiritual progress many centuries after his passing, sadly most haven’t heard of nor read in any detail his works, for which I’d much enjoy posting something of his myself, this being the words of one of his most famous works, Summa Contra Gentiles. Although my reasoning for sharing the words of this great aren’t simply for edification, nor entertainment, but to refute falsehood, let’s begin by reading how he ends chapter II therefore.

To proceed against individual errors, however, is a difficult business, and this for two reasons. In the first place, it is difficult because the sacrilegious remarks of individual men who have erred are not so well known to us so that we may use what they say as the basis of proceeding to a refutation of their errors. This is, indeed, the method that the ancient Doctors of the Church used in the refutation of the errors of the Gentiles. For they could know the positions taken by the Gentiles since they themselves had been Gentiles, or at least had lived among the Gentiles and had been instructed in their teaching. In the second place, it is difficult because some of them, such as the Mohammedans and the pagans, do not agree with us in accepting the authority of any Scripture, by which they may be convinced of their error. Thus, against the Jews we are able to argue by means of the Old Testament, while against heretics we are able to argue by means of the New Testament. But the Muslims and the pagans accept neither the one nor the other. We must, therefore, have recourse to the natural reason, to which all men are forced to give their assent. However, it is true, in divine matters the natural reason has its failings.

Now, while we are investigating some given truth, we shall also show what errors are set aside by it; and we shall likewise show how the truth that we come to know by demonstration is in accord with the Christian religion.

To assert that any other group of worshippers are ‘in error’ how that Aquinas did was and is bold, however if what Aquinas wrote was lacking in substance it’s now in hindsight an assertion based upon nothing bar his own personal, perhaps misguided beliefs, and if ever such a possibility remained we’d do better to consign ourselves to scepticism rather than hostility regarding Islam, let’s examine some more of Contra Gentiles therefore, although this time we shall do so with relevant Islamic writings with which we’ll judge rightly on Aquinas’ verdict. Avoiding the links in blue we ought to first read what the great Christian thinker believed in his own words, which we find in chapter VI.

On the other hand, those who founded sects committed to erroneous doctrines proceeded in a way that is opposite to this, The point is clear in the case of Muhammad. He seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh goads us (Qu’ran 78:31-33.) His teaching also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure (Qur’an 4:24.) In all this, as is not unexpected, he was obeyed by carnal men (Sahih Bukhari 5:59:459.) 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 (Various apocrypha plagiarisms.) He did not bring forth any signs produced in a supernatural way (Quran 13:7, Quran 17:59), which alone fittingly gives witness to divine inspiration; for a visible action that can be only divine reveals an invisibly inspired teacher of truth. On the contrary, Muhammad said that he was sent in the power of his arms—which are signs not lacking even to robbers and tyrants (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1062, 1066, 1067.) What is more, no wise men, men trained in things divine and human, believed in him from the beginning, Those who believed in him were brutal men and desert wanderers (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 53, Number 386), utterly ignorant of all divine teaching (Mary, the mother of Jesus and the sister of Aaron, Sahih Muslim Book 25 Number 5326), through whose numbers Muhammad forced others to become his followers by the violence of his arms (Qur’an 2:193, Qur’an 3:83, Qur’an 8:39, Qur’an 9:5, Qur’an 9:11, Qur’an 9:29, Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 814, Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 879, Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 888-889, Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 915, Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 916, Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 959, Sahih Muslim Book 019, Hadith Number 4453, Sahih Al-Bukhari Book 59 Number 568, Sahih Al-Bukhari Book 59 Number 643.) Nor do divine pronouncements on the part of preceding prophets offer him any witness. On the contrary, he perverts almost all the testimonies of the Old and New Testaments by making them into fabrications of his own (Prayer to the Lord plagiarized, Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 589 plagiarized from 1 Corinthians 2:9, Volume 1, Book 10, Number 533 plagiarism of Matthew 20:1-14), as can be seen by anyone who examines his law. It was, therefore, a shrewd decision on his part to forbid his followers to read the Old and New Testaments (Volume 9, Book 93, Number 613), lest these books convict him of falsity (Matthew 7:15.) It is thus clear that those who place any faith in his words believe foolishly.

Allowing Islamic writings to speak for themselves you too can examine if Thomas Aquinas was indeed right when he called the early Islamic movement coercive, despotic and empowered without care for God or theological knowledge, but rather strengthened by way of lusting desert warriors. Search out the surrounding context behind these links, the commentaries which illuminate these minor writings further, and even judge based on how Muslim apologists explain as best they’re able, because I’ve done the same, for which I’ve found them wanting, what’s more their reasons are in bulk contrived, ad hoc, confused and in these manners flounderingly so. Thus I write it’s not enough to contrive some story for your beliefs being passable or worthy of someone’s attention, instead we must be able to explain why we believe in ourselves that God’s Word has been revealed through reasonable arguments and plausible assertion, furthermore these ought to be more plausible than their negations! Whether those be Islam, evolution, humanism or heathenism. This is in part why I’m a believer that Christ was who he claimed himself to be, a carpenter and King supreme.

― T. C. M

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