Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ouch... (From the aptly named Iconoclast*)

Make A List

Take thirty minutes. And write down, for each of the other "two abrahamic faiths," a list of one hundred people who now are part of the history of art, literature, science, philosophy. You may include names of those who, while they may be atheists, certainly came out of, were formed by, a civilization that can reasonably have been called Judeo-Christian and is now called, possibly a bit too optimistically, "Western civilization")

In one minute flat you should be able to write Newton and Locke and St. Augustiine and Shakespeare and Dante and Leonardo and Michelangelo and Einstein and Spinoza and Maimon...oops, time's up for me.

This link provides a list of the Five Greatest Muslims (listed as the "Five Greatest Persons" under the website's more general title "Five Greatest Muslims") of all time.
These are...the envelope, please.....yes, The Prophet Muhammad....well, no surprise there....The Prophet Abraham.....The Prophet Jesus....The Prophet Moses....and, finally, wait, I can't see the bottom of the Teleprompter...there, that's better...The Prophet Noah.


* Iconoclast (so Wiki tells us) may refer to:

Primary meaning:

A person who performs
iconoclasm, destruction of a culture's religious symbols.

An innovator.

One who attacks cherished beliefs.


However, the sarcasm is not quite merited. For there were great Muslim and Arab thinkers who wielded great influence over Western civilization, such as:

Averroes (1126-1198)

One of the most important Moslem philosophers ever was Averroes. He wondered what one should believe when the great work of Aristotle seemed at odds with the teachings in the Koran. It would be dishonest, he believed, to ignore the logic in Aristotle's arguments. We should use and trust our God-given reason. Why then did God send prophets to reveal truths that we could discover for ourselves? Because there are different kinds of people.

Ibn Khaldūn or Ibn Khaldoun

(full name, Arabic: ابو زيد عبد الرحمن بن محمد بن خلدون الحضرمي, Abū Zayd ‘Abdu r-Raḥman bin Muḥammad bin Khaldūn al-Ḥaḍramī) (May 27, 1332 AD/732 AH – March 19, 1406 AD/808 AH), was a famous Arab Muslim polymath: a historian, historiographer, demographer, economist, philosopher, sociologist and social scientist born in present-day Tunisia. He is considered the father of demography,[1] cultural history,[2] historiography,[3] the philosophy of history,[4] sociology,[1][4] and the social sciences,[5] and is viewed as one of the forerunners of modern economics. He is best known for his Muqaddimah (Latinized as Prolegomenon).

Omar Khayyám

Birth: 1048 Death: 1131

... was a Persian poet, mathematician, philosopher and astronomer who lived in Persia. His name is also given as Omar al-Khayyami[1].

He is best known for his poetry, and outside Iran, for the quatrains (rubaiyaas) in Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, popularized through Edward Fitzgerald's re-created translation. His substantial mathematical contributions include his Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra, which gives a geometric method for solving cubic equations by intersecting a hyperbola with a circle[2]. He also contributed to calendar reform and may have proposed a heliocentric theory well before Copernicus.

There is a longer list, here.

However, it is impossible not to notice that these persons lived and taught during the era when Islam was ascendant in the world, between the 9th and 12th centuries. What went wrong?


At 12:36 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Important points.

Also: science, philosophy, medicine, architecture, mathematics et al evolved as aspects of Islamic theology, thus encompassing every aspect of human experience.

Surely a lack of knowledge and true understanding of such history and accomplishments certain has impoverished a succession of generations which seemingly have no such aspirations. Otherwise it is hard to see how empty nationalism could appeal when the alternatives are models of such greatness within one's religious tradition as well as respected and honored by those of other faiths.


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