Naughty Materialism

It’s touching when obscurantists band together and discover how much they have in common. Mustafa Akyol gives us an example.

Little does he realize that if there is any view on the origin of life that might seriously offend other faiths – including mine, Islam – it is the materialist dogma: the assumptions that God, by definition, is a superstition, and that rationality is inherently atheistic. That offense is no minor issue. In fact, in the last two centuries, it has been the major source of the Muslim contempt for the West. And it deserves careful consideration.

That offense is no minor issue. So it’s an ‘offense’ to try to give the best natural explanation of the world that one can discover – one we should all be soundly scolded for, no doubt (otherwise the word ‘offense’ would not have been used – it implies rudeness, moral wrongdoing).

Sadly, it was secularist Europe – and especially, theophobic France – rather than the religious United States that the Islamic world encountered as “the West.” No wonder, then, that the West eventually became synonymous with godlessness. Moreover, within Muslim societies, Europeanized elites grew in number and were seen – with a lot of justification – as soulless, skirt-and-money-chasing men drinking whiskey while looking down upon traditional believers as ignoramuses.

Yes, terrible pity about secularist Europe. (And there were probably one or two women in those elites, but never mind.) It’s the ‘ignoramus’ thing that is probably the real pea under the mattress, as it so often is with truculent Xian fundamentalists too. Believers suspect that non-believers think believers are credulous, and it really pisses them off – it is an offense. Thou shalt not think a believer is a credulous fool, lest my foot shall be moved.

Yet, despite these political conflicts, the perception of the West in the minds of devout Muslims remains the greatest underlying problem. Although they admire its freedom, they detest its materialism…A recent poll in Turkey revealed that 37 percent of Turks define Americans as “materialistic” while a mere 8 percent define them as “religious.”…Yes, but what exactly is materialism? Isn’t it more obviously represented by the extravagance of pop stars than by the sophisticated theories of atheist scientists and scholars? Isn’t the cultural materialism of, say, Madonna, quite different from the philosophical materialism of Richard Dawkins?…Cultural materialism means living as if there were no God or moral absolutes, and all that matters is matter. Philosophical materialism means to argue that there is no God to establish any moral absolutes, and matter is all there is. The former worldview finds its justification in the latter. Actually, in the modern world, philosophical materialists act as the secular priesthood of a lifestyle based on hedonism and moral relativism.

Therefore philosophical materialism is wrong, God exists, we have to do what he says and not do what he doesn’t say. Powerful argument.

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