Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Three Questions for Norman Geisler
07/08/2010 - James WhiteAnd for Emir Caner, and of course, we'd love to hear from Ergun Caner (though rumor has it he is under orders to stay quiet---whose orders, I do not know).
Dr. Caner is scheduled to teach at two upcoming conferences sponsored by Veritas Evangelical Seminary, of which Norman Geisler is Provost. The first is July 24th in Littleton, Colorado, and the second is July 31st in Downey, California. Norman Geisler is likewise scheduled to speak at both events.
I would ask Dr. Geisler to provide full, documentation, logical responses to the following questions. I would suggest that if no meaningful, full, defensible answers are forthcoming, the leadership of Veritas Evangelical Seminary, and the speakers at the conferences, should request Dr. Caner step down from speaking and, should that not take place, surely those considering attending should contact Veritas and explain that until open and honest answers are provided, and in this case, confession and repentance take place, they will not be attending conferences featuring Ergun Caner speaking as an expert on the topic of Islam.
Question #1: Dr. Ergun Caner has claimed, not once, not twice, but dozens of times over a period of approximately nine years, to have grown up in Turkey, speaking the native language spoken in Turkey, living in particular places in Turkey, living in a majority Muslim country, coming to the United States in 1979 as a teenager.
Dr. Geisler, you have said Caner was raised in Sweden, yet, Caner claims to have been raised, till a teenager, in Turkey. Can you please tell us if it is a lie, or a mere misstatement, that Ergun Caner lived in Turkey until 1979? How can someone make a "misstatement" consistently over the course of nine years in dozens of different contexts? Is this not clear and compelling evidence of a purposeful effort on Ergun Caner's part to create a false persona for himself? Along with this question is the related inquiry directed to Dr. Emir Caner, who seems to be assisting in the defense of his brother (and, given that his own position is directly related to Ergun's claims, we can surely understand why): is that picture truly of Ergun Caner's tenth birthday, and was it taken, as Ergun claims on his Facebook page, in Turkey? Since Emir Caner is in the picture, does this tell us that both Ergun and Emir Caner traveled to Turkey in 1976? Is this the "forced removal to Turkey" that Monica Caner speaks of in the court documents? A court order was entered on August 22, 1975, stating that the children were not to be removed from Franklin County. This order was suspended pending further hearings on February 4, 1976. On March 11, 1976, custody was granted to Monica Caner, which would require any trips to Turkey to be, at best brief, in light of Acar Caner being now the non-custodial parent. There does not seem to be any travel restriction placed upon the boys from February 4, 1976 until April 14, 1978. Dr. Geisler now claims that Ergun Caner visited Turkey with his father "several times." How many times? How often could young children travel from Ohio to Turkey?
Dr. Emir Caner could end the speculation here, if he would but openly answer these questions. Dr. Emir Caner, have you ever been to Turkey? Did you ever live there? When? Where? Was Ergun with you? These are not difficult questions, and a lack of an open and honest a forthright answer will, in my opinion, be a rather clear answer in itself.
Finally, in defense of the simple meaning of language itself, can Dr. Geisler explain how even making visits to Turkey is relevant to Dr. Ergun Caner's statement that he had lived in majority Muslim countries and hence was unfamiliar with Christians? Dr. Caner did not make this claim one time, he made it many times. On January 12, 2005 he said, "I always lived in majority-Muslim countries and then I came to America." (This claim is repeated here and here as well). How can "I always lived in majority Muslim countries" be interpreted as "I visited Turkey a few times" especially within the context of the claim being made (i.e., that he was unfamiliar with Christians)? If he grew up in Ohio in the 1970s, wouldn't the majority of his classmates have been at least nominally Christian? Does it not take an amazing amount of gullibility to accept this kind of argumentation?
The second question flows from Norman Geisler's posting of "new" information relating to Ergun Caner's false claims (on at least two occasions that we have found) to have debated one of the leading Islamic apologists, Shabir Ally. Dr. Geisler tells us that evidently Dr. Caner has a serious problem in misstating things, so that he makes the same mistakes multiple times. In this case, Dr. Geisler claims this debate took place in Lincoln, Nebraska. My question is simple: who did Dr. Caner debate in Lincoln, Nebraska? When? Where? Was it recorded? If not, why not? We need a name so we can contact this person and verify the debate, do we not? Shouldn't this be easy to do? I debated Gerry Matatics in Omaha, Nebraska, in November of 1992. We still have the recordings, and you can verify that with Gerry Matatics himself (I actually took Greg Bahnsen's spot in that debate). I even remember what I wore in one of the two debates we did, and I remember it was very cold. Now, if I can remember these things, and I am older than Ergun Caner, and my debates took place long before Caner would have started debating, why can't Ergun Caner provide this kind of simple information/documentation? Dr. Geisler needs to provide this information, since he has now repeated the claim, but without providing any evidence or documentation.
The final question comes from Dr. Geisler's attempted defense of the errors of Ergun and Emir Caner in their published writings and talks relating to the hadith literature of the Islamic religion. I would like to ask Dr. Geisler to answer the following question openly and honestly.
Let's say a student at Veritas Seminary, where you are Provost, turns in a paper in an apologetics class, that is filled with references such as Bible 1:35, Bible 4:52, Scripture 9:93, New Testament 2:67 and the like? What would you do with such a paper? And what if, upon challenging the student about such citations, his response was to claim that there is no one, standardized way of citing the Bible, and that the Bible is often cited without reference to a specific book? Would you accept this kind of argumentation? Would you find it so compelling that you would then recommend that the student speak at conferences on the topic of his paper?
This is a direct parallel to your attempted response to the mis-citation of the hadith collections in the writings and talks of Ergun and Emir Caner. You claim that Muslim scholars admit that there is no "official" way of citing the hadith literature. Please name the Muslim scholars who cite the hadith without reference to the collection in the way the Caners do? You say it is "often cited without reference to the collection." In the majority of references in Unveiling Islam the Caners do not provide any reference to the collection. Here is the list:
• "hadith 9.57" (pp. 19 and 187)
• "hadith 5.266" (p. 31)
• "hadith 2.460" (p. 32)
• "Hadith ... (2.375)" (p. 32)
• "hadith 2.448" (p. 33)
• "hadith 7.619" (p. 33)
• "hadith 1.35" (p. 35)
• "Hadith ... (52.42)" (p. 35)
• "hadith 7.590" (p. 37)
• "hadith 3.826" (p. 42)
• "Hadith ... (8.419)" (p. 110)
• "hadith 6.60.336" (p. 114)
• "The Hadith illustrates ... (2.486) ... (2.498) ... (2.514)" (p. 126)
• "hadith 3.826" (p. 134)
• "hadith 2.541" (p. 134)
• "hadith 1.268" (p. 135)
• "hadith 7.62.77" (p. 139)
• "Hadith 7.30, 33. Hadith chapter seven also includes ... (7.133)" (p. 140)
• "Hadith 7.64" (p. 141)
• "hadith 8.76.481" (p. 144)
• "The Hadith expounds ... (3.57)" (p. 146)
• "hadith 3.46.724" (p. 186)
• "hadith 5.716" (p. 188)
• "hadith 4.52.79" (p. 188)
• "hadith 4.53.412" (p. 189)
• "hadith 4.52.317" (p. 189)
• "hadith 5.58.240; repeated in 5.59.602" (p. 190)
• "hadith 5.59.599" (p. 191)
• "hadith 8.73.1" (p. 192)
• "Hadith 5.42.85" (p. 192)
• "hadith 9.50" (p. 192)
• "hadith 4.52.127" (p. 193)
• "hadith 4.52.85" (p. 194)
• "hadith 5.58.240; see also 4.42. This verse is repeated in 5.59.602" (p. 195)
• "hadith 9.93.549" (p. 195)
• "hadith 9.93.555" (p. 195)
• "Hadith volume 9, book 93" (p. 195)
• "hadith 9.93.519" (p. 196)
• "hadith 4.73" (p. 196)
So my question, Dr. Geisler is this: please quote for us Hadith 2425 and explain its relevance to the Qur'an. If you cannot do so, please explain your defense of Ergun and Emir Caner's use of a citation system that cannot lead one to the proper citation, but instead would leave one to have to guess.
Dr. Geisler, if you cannot provide full, scholarly, documented responses to these questions, then I submit it follows that your defense of Ergun Caner is not motivated by the facts of the matter. This would mean you are putting friendships, collegial relationships, employment relationships, and simple politics, ahead of the truth in this matter.