Auster published an essay claiming that Muslims worship a black moon rock which is the "hard drive" of Islam:
Another fundamental difference today from prior centuries is that millions of people understand that Islam has another tremendous weakness, another glass jaw, and that is their worship of the black moon rock in Mecca as Islam’s literal god-head. This black rock enshrined in the corner of the Kaaba is essential to Islam in a way that nothing in Judaism or Christianity is. The Cross lives in the hearts of Christians, and Christianity would not be destroyed if Jerusalem or Rome were destroyed. But that physical black rock in Mecca is the “hard drive” of Islam. Muslims believe that it contains all of the sins of all of the observant followers of the Prophet since the time of Mohammed, as sort of an Islamic Doomsday Book. Two of the Five Pillars of Islam involve the physical worship of that black moon rock. One is the Hajj to Mecca where pilgrims walk in a circle around the rock, and the other is the five-time daily prayer performed in its direction. (The other three pillars are ephemeral: the Shahada conversion prayer, the tithe, and observing Ramadan.) A religion that is impervious to change or self-examination (which James P says are strengths) cannot suddenly be reduced to The Three Pillars of Islam after 1,400 unbroken years as the Five Pillars of Islam.Firstly, it's odd that the black stone of Kaaba is here described as a "moon rock". Some have speculated without much evidence that the black stone may be a meteorite, but most meteorites are not a moon rocks.
Secondly, even if it's true that the Kaaba is essential to Islam in a way that nothing in Judaism or Christianity is, this ignores the fact that in ancient times Jews believed God himself to dwell in Solomon's temple. The reason Jews no longer believe that is because of Solomon's temple being destroyed by the Babylonians.
If Judaism survived the destruction of the building they believed God manifested himself in on the Earth, why couldn't Islam survive the destruction of the black stone of Kaaba?
If anything the Islamic faith would be more likely to survive given that I'm aware of no evidence that Muslims believe Allah to dwell in the black stone at Kaaba (much less that they attribute "literal godhead" to it).
In ancient Islamic history, the black moon rock was once stolen by a competing tribe, but after a brief time it was “found.” Islam carried on because nobody outside of a very small circle of imams even knew the rock was missing before it was replaced.This is a weird little fable based on a very flexible definition of the word "brief". The Encyclopedia Britannica says that "In 930 it [the black stone] was carried away by the fanatics of the Qarmatian sect and held for ransom for about 20 years."
But if Mecca was suddenly turned into a giant crater, there would be no way to conceal the fact from the world at large, including every Muslim. Today, observant Muslims believe that if every infidel nation fired every rocket and bomb at Mecca, Allah would turn them back or stop them in mid-flight. It is impossible for observant Muslims to believe that the Infidels could destroy the Kaaba, which is literally the physical manifestation on earth of their “greatest God.”It has not been demonstrated that Muslims believe the Kaaba, either the rock part or the building part, to be the literal physical manifestation on earth of Allah.
Today, the entire world would know in the same hour that Mecca had been destroyed. This would destroy Islam as surely as the Aztec and Inca religions and empires were destroyed when the Spanish conquistadors captured and executed the “living Gods” at the center of the Aztec and Inca belief systems.I suppose it was to lead up to this that the claim was made that Muslims believe the Kaaba to be the literal physical manifestation on earth of Allah. Because Muslims do not believe the Kaaba to be the literal physical manifestation on earth of Allah, the attempted historical analogy fails.
Laurence Auster replies:If that's excellence, I'd hate to see mediocrity.
I thank Matt Bracken for this excellent essay.