In past centuries, less inclined to dialogue and more focused on protecting the flock from doctrinal error, the proclaimers of the Gospel didn't mince words about heresy. In a recent article devoted to historical pronouncements on Islam, author Andrew Bieszad shows us that language used to be far more blunt:
“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. His teaching also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure. In all this, as is not unexpected, he was obeyed by carnal men. 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. He did not bring forth any signs produced in a supernatural way, 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.”
-St. Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274), Theologian and Doctor of the Church. Quoted from his De Rationibus Fidei Contra Saracenos, Graecos, et Armenos and translated from Fr. Damian Fehlner’s Aquinas on Reasons for the Faith: Against the Muslims, Greeks, and Armenians (Franciscans of the Immaculate. 2002.).
This is the money quote, among many firm statements, because it goes to the heart of the error as it relates to sins of the flesh -- to which we are all "goaded" by our fallen nature. It is the purpose of this blog to show that there are two possible responses to this concupiscence:
- The tendency (which objectifies women) can be woven into the divine plan, so that the very piety of men degrades women; or
- The tendency can be explained and measures offered to fight it, so that women (who depend on the goodness of men for their well-being) are uplifted by their piety.
Certainly, each woman is the guardian of her own soul, but consider what confuses her path to God:
- A theology that considers her unequal to her male counterparts;
- A culture that uses shame to influence her behaviour;
- A family structure that considers her chattel to barter for other goods;
- A prospect of marriage that may not be exclusive or life-long, depending on the husband.
Men are inclined to shows of strength, and this can be used to protect the dignity of those in their care, or simply to wield destruction. The raiding culture in which Muhammed lived was canonised by the Qur'an, and the harms to women were codified by the culture it bred. This cannot be disputed; it must be endorsed if God actually spoke to Muhammed or renounced out of hand if He did not. There is no middle ground.
This sad truth is only illustrated more boldly today, with the kidnapping of women, the use of sex slaves, the prevalence of honour killings, and the destruction of schools for girls in the wake of jihad. Although so many insist that these actions are not related to Islam, they are evidence of consistent behaviours over the centuries that underscore how Muslim piety harms women.
And what of heaven, according to the Islamic view?
“The Mahometan paradise, however, is only fit for beasts; for filthy sensual pleasure is all the believer has to expect there.”
St. Alfonsus Liguori (d. 1787). Quoted from his book, The History of Heresies and their Refutation.
See what heresy does to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb? That's why the Church Fathers were so bold in their statements.