Aquinas got it right 8 centuries ago. Why can’t we?

Aquinas got it right 8 centuries ago. Why can’t we?

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According to Aquinas, Islam appeals 'to ignorant, brutish, carnal men and spread not by the power of its arguments or divine grace but by the power of the sword.'

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 29, 2015 — As modern technology steadily improves our quality of life, it makes human accomplishments of the past all the more wondrous.

Writing for Breitbart News, Dr. Thomas Williams posted a fascinating story about the 13th-century scholar St. Thomas Aquinas, who presented a strong criticism of Islam. Largely focused upon the founder of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad, Aquinas’ premise was that Islam “appealed to ignorant, brutish, carnal men and spread not by the power of its arguments or divine grace but by the power of the sword.”

Williams makes the point that Aquinas, who was born almost 800 years ago, “lived in a period closer to that of Mohammed than to our own day.” So what was it the eminent medieval theologian understood about Islam that so many of our contemporary leaders fail to recognize?

Among his most important manuscripts Aquinas wrote “Summa contra gentiles,” a major undertaking that took six years to complete, from 1258 to 1264.

Williams summarizes the voluminous treatise in a single sentence that also sums up much of the debate between Islam and Christianity. “Aquinas contrasts the spread of Christianity with that of Islam, arguing that much of Christianity’s early success stemmed from widespread belief in the miracles of Jesus, whereas the spread of Islam was worked through the promise of sensual pleasures and the violence of the sword.”

Not only is Williams is deadly accurate in his summation of Aquinas’ arguments, but his statement also shows that little has changed since the days of Muhammad or Aquinas.

The Quran supports Aquinas, who wrote, “Mohammad seduced people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh goads us. His teachings also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure.”

Islamic scholars often speak of Muhammad’s favorite wife, Aisha, who was only 6 years old when the prophet married her. Muhammad was over 50 at the time of the marriage, which was not consummated until Aisha was 9. Islamic apologists would likely argue that the prophet waited three years out of respect for his child bride.

Even those who do not accept the historical accuracy of Muhammad’s wedding vows cannot dispute that male Islamic terrorists who die in the name of their religion are promised 72 virgins in the afterlife, a reward and an existence more carnal than most of them will ever achieve in the flesh. That matches Aquinas’ conclusions exactly.

Some argue that Islam, though vast in size, is nothing more than a cult. Many believe that, but dare not say it for fear of repercussions. However, Williams points to historian Hilaire Belloc, who wrote, “Islam began as a heresy, not a new religion. (emphasis added) It was not a pagan contrast with the Church; it was not an alien enemy. It was a perversion of Christian doctrine. Its vitality and endurance soon gave it the appearance of a new religion, but those who were contemporary with its rise saw it for what it was—not a denial, but an adaptation and a misuse, of the Christian thing.”

Those are powerful and damning words that few contemporary liberals or journalists would dare repeat.

According to Williams, “Aquinas wrote that ‘Muhammad perverts almost all the testimonies of the Old and New Testaments by making them into fabrications of his own, as can be seen by anyone who examines his law.’”

Muhammad was illiterate. Though the words of the Quran are his—or are those of Allah as revealed to him by the angel Gabriel—Muhammad did not write them himself. Many of the rituals and traditions of Islam were either copied or stolen from Judaism and Christianity.

Initially, for example, Jerusalem was the city Muslims faced when they prayed.

Islam came into existence six centuries after Christ, or about the same amount of time that elapsed between the time of Muhammad and Aquinas. It arose out of the poverty of the cruel, harsh, seventh-century Middle Eastern desert. Its truest followers were, and still are in many cases, ignorant, angry, desperate people.

The genius of Muhammad, writes Aquinas, was “a shrewd decision on his part to forbid his followers to read the Old and New Testaments, lest these books convict him of falsity.”

The reality is that little has changed over the centuries regarding the perversion of the truth. We see it, hear it and read it each and every day from our leaders, political correctness and our media.

Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award-winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (

Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News. Follow Bob on Twitter @MrPeabod

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