The Apologetic Methods of Isma'Il R. Al-Faruqi and Cornelius Van Til
LONDON UNIV (UNITED KINGDOM) SCHOOL OFORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES
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International politics and an increase in Muslim residents have raised interest in Muslim-Christian relations in Western nations, including America. Conflict has plagued the history of contact between these two religions. The apologetic approaches of Ismail Al-Faruqi, a Muslim scholar and apologist, and Cornelius Van Til, a Christian scholar and apologist, demonstrate the root and fruit of the conflict. Both served in the American academic community as professors of religious studies. Both were twentieth century immigrants to America. Both had earned post-graduate degrees in Western philosophy from American universities. Both were devoted believers attempting to persuade modern people to embrace and follow their respective faiths. Each inspired continuing religious movements among their former students. They even lived and worked in the city of Philadelphia at the same time for over a decade. Yet the two never met and never had cause to cross swords of thought. Van Til saw Christian theism as the only sufficient system for human rational thought about anything, not just religion. Al-Faruqi claimed a purely rational and critical approach led one to either Islam or skepticism. Van Til openly admitted his views resulted from his Christian presuppositions. Al-Faruqi denied a Muslim bias in his thought. This paper examines the apologetic approach of both men to assess the role of presuppositions in the thought of each. The study finds that Al-Faruqi and Van Til approached their religious apologetic from different religious presuppositions Al-Faruqi, Islamic and Van Til, Christian. Having begun with different presuppositions they necessarily produce different religious systems and doctrines. Thus, real Muslim-Christian dialogue needs to deal with presuppositions as well as particular issues of difference.
- Government and Political Science
- Humanities and History