Dr. Jerald Dirks on Why He Rejected Christianity and Embraced Islam

[Written by John W. Loftus] Jerald Dirks is a former minister (deacon) of the United Methodist Church. He holds a Master's degree in Divinity from Harvard University and a Doctorate in Psychology from the University of Denver. Here he is interviewed on The Deen Show sharing why he accepted Islam. I was only going to skim through his interview, but I found myself captivated by his story. His critique of Christianity is penetrating and well founded.



One thing seems clear to me and that is Islam doesn't have as many problems as Christianity does because Muslims reject the Trinity, Incarnation, and the atonement, doctrines which are not rationally coherent at all. It seems to me Dr. Dirks rejected certain doctrines of Christianity as a liberal which left him open to accept Islam, but it is wishful thinking just the same, and it also lacks the required evidence to believe. Another thing is that he was influenced to believe by social contact with other Muslims. I'm surprised that a Ph.D. in psychology didn't realize how social contact changes our beliefs, much like how Christians now seek to evangelize with what they call Life Style Evangelism.

I'm very curious how as a former liberal Christian he can reconcile the Islamic faith with democracy and the rights of women, or how he deals with the opening chapters of Genesis 1-11, which Muslims accept as God's literal truth.

It seems to me he should turn this same critique against Islam like Ibn-Warraq has done. My claim is that if he does he will reject Islam as well. When it comes to Christianity I agree with the Protestant criticisms of the Catholics as well as the Catholic criticisms of the Protestants. And I also agree with the fundamentalist criticisms of the liberals as well as the liberal criticisms of the fundamentalists. And I agree with the Hindu, Muslim and Jewish criticisms of Christianity, as well as the Christian criticisms against their religions. When they criticize each other I think they’re all right! What’s left is the demise of religion and Christianity as a whole.

Just as Dirk recognizes there are different sects within Christianity he should know there are also different sects within Islam. Some of these sects are militant and would think Dirk is an infidel and worthy of being killed (yes, that's true!).

If anyone can find the Psychology Today article where they surveyed the Christian clergy who only believed 7% of what the people in the pews believed, I would be grateful.

[BTW: I sure like the music of the opening and closing songs. I might like Muslim cultural music if it wasn't for the words.]

15 comments:

Samphire said...

If anyone can find the Psychology Today article where they surveyed the Christian clergy who only believed 7% of what the people in the pews believed, I would be grateful.

John, that should read 40% and not 7%. Dirks was speaking of 10 fundamental beliefs of which the study revealed that the ordained ministry typically believed only 4. The laity believed in 7.

Anonymous said...

Sorry 'bout that. I would still like to find this article.

zenmite said...

"Another thing is that he was influenced to believe by social contact with other Muslims. I'm surprised that a Ph.D. in psychology didn't realize how social contact changes our beliefs, much like how Christians now seek to evangelize with what they call Life Style Evangelism."

I've had personal experience with this. My cousin was raised pentecostal and showed no signs of questioning or leaving her faith until she met a mormon and married him and became involved with his family. Within a short time she converted to mormonism.

My nephew was initially a baptist but began to question his beliefs as a teen, a process that eventually led him to reject belief in god altogether. He was an atheist for a year or two before making the decision to join the Marines. Within 6 weeks of joining he called home to say he'd become a born-again christian. Reading what I have about the overt evangelizing going on in the u.s. armed forces, this does not surprise me. It was as if he were brain-washed in basic training. Today, 10 years later and still in the Marines, he wavers back and forth between belief and atheism.

My youngest daughter was an atheist. (She'd attended church & sunday school occassionally with her grandmother but never had any interest at all in religion) Hers was a default type of atheism since she was never told what to or not to believe. As a teen she met and fell in love with the son of a local preacher. The lives of his family members revolved around the church and Jesus. (I live in the deep south and they are extremely religious even by local standards.) She began attending church with her boyfriend. She explained that she did this just to be with him and had no interest in christianity. They were eventually married. She moved several miles away and became much closer to his family. His family was not happy that he'd married an atheist. She was marginalized at first. Within a couple of years she was baptised (they are baptist) and became a fervent Christian, going to church 2 or 3 times per week. In our culture, it seems common for a wife to convert to her husband's religion. It sometimes goes the other way, but mostly seems to be the woman that changes. I've often said that if my daughter had met a fervent Muslim, there's no doubt in my mind she'd be praying towards Mecca and wearing a burka.

Samphire said...

He was an atheist for a year or two before making the decision to join the Marines.

I'm too old to join the Marines so I suppose I will just have to remain an atheist.

Samphire said...

Here is the second half of the conversation:

http://tinyurl.com/ybvrkw7

As a christian minister Dirks believed in neither the divinity of Christ nor the Trinity so his journey has not been as far as one might imagine. An interesting story.

Nasty beard, though.

Piratefish said...

No longer believe in the divinity of Jesus and the holy trinity but believe in the 70 virgins, ok, good for this guy.

Will somebody be kind enough to tell him he is ALSO wrong this second time around?

busterggi said...

To paraphrase from the Arabian Nights, "New myths for old, new myths for old."

mah3r said...

I believe that it is a weak argument to say that he was influenced into Islam by his surroundings. The man is obviously educated, and we shouldn't undermine his intelligence by say that could have been "pressured" into becoming a Muslim. The fact was that he had already begun to practice its teachings long before he would formally call himself a Muslim should speak for itself.

Genesis 1-11 being inline with Islam is a claim unsubstantiated..

Muslims that would call him an infidel do exist, as do Christians that might see the major of their Christian brethren as being weak-Christians and could hence go out and kill abortion doctors.

M.P. said...

How does a Muslim reconcile Genesis 1-11 with science? A Muslim doesn't need to. Genesis 1-11 isn't part of the Muslim scriptures.

Walter said...

How does a Muslim reconcile Genesis 1-11 with science? A Muslim doesn't need to. Genesis 1-11 isn't part of the Muslim scriptures.

I thought that Muslims do accept parts of the Hebrew Bible as scripture?

mah3r said...

When in doubt about verses from the Bible we throw them out, especially when Genesis 1-11 makes God appear to be doing things as if in trail and error.

Islam's belief on the old and new testament is that both scriptures were indeed divinely revealed. However, they were given to their people through their prophets for that specific era in history. Then, with time they've become corrupted by men whether knowingly or unknowingly.

Anonymous said...

Why did he reject Christianity and embrace Islam? Because he likes killing people in the present day rather than just reading about how the Jews got to do it under the Old Testament.

mah3r said...

Why did he reject Christianity and embrace Islam? Because he likes killing people in the present day rather than just reading about how the Jews got to do it under the Old Testament.

Yes that's it beowulf, he just couldn't hold back his animal instincts to kill, so he snapped, lost it, and became a Muslim. Now he can quench his thirst for blood with as many non-Muslims or Infidels as he pleases. I mean how anyone could miss this fact is simply amazing!

O'Brien said...

"One thing seems clear to me and that is Islam doesn't have as many problems as Christianity does because Muslims reject the Trinity, Incarnation, and the atonement, doctrines which are not rationally coherent at all."

I agree with you that the trinity is logically incoherent (it is also unscriptural) but beyond that we part ways; I do not believe the followers of Mahound fare well against nontrinitarian Christians.

Anonymous said...

False teaching of Roman Church noticeable after the Jew - Roman war 70 A.D; heavily influenced by Paul-ine doctrine that Jesus have a rather 'special' Father as compared to the 'typical' Father mentioned by Prophet Isaiah and Prophet David.

Also, none of the Church Fathers were shown to quote Matthew 28:19 or 1John5:7 in their early days, however in the 4th century 'three in oneness' were added to the original texts of Matthew 28:19 and 1John 5:7 thus showing how twisted were the minds of men inventing lies. YHWH is One God. But Roman Christians replace YHWH with a Greek word; Kyrios meaning Lord.The reason is so that the doctrine of Trinity can be easily explained, as when Lord is used, it may refers to a man when one reads the sentence. Seize from saying YHWH is in triune.