Don't see that that holds much water:
However, in 2004 he stated an allegiance to deism, more specifically a belief in the Aristotelian God.
Seems deism, an "Aristotelian God", is rather a long distance from the Old Testament gods of the Bible and the Quran.
I didn't say he was a Christian. I said that he is a Christianity apologist. While Flew has professed a personal belief in a "philosophical Aristotelian God" (whatever he meant by that is unclear) he has routinely offered excuses to Christianity based on false or arbitrary historical interpretations.
For example in the passage you quote he said that all is needed to be a Christian is "the Nicene creed" while Islam offers a series of rules and regulations. That's a statement which is at best disingenuous and at worst a huge distortion of history and reality. The Nicene creed itself comes with several variations, and Christians of different denominations have changed or edited it for their purposes, and no denomination of Christianity comes without a long series of rules and regulations: most famously Catholics have to obey to what is written in the Cathechism of the Catholic Church. Until very recently violating one of the rules in the Cathechism meant that punishment was meted out through (at best) ostracism and bullying.
Christianity isn't much better than Islam when it comes to regulating its follower's lives. The only reason why today Christianity is more tame is that today a large part (and in many countries a sheer majority) of Christians are Cafeteria Christians, who cherry pick which rules to follow and which they don't, or even simply nominal Christians who care little for their religion except for a few specific cultural expressions.
This is because the power of Christian churches has been greatly reduce by secularization, a process which started with the Enlightenment, followed its course through the American and French revolution and culminated with the Second Vatican council. "Modernism" (a "tamer" version of Christianity, more compatible with modern values) was still denounced as heresy until the 1950s-1960s. Many Christian sects still denounce it.
Flew has become pretty dishonest in general when it comes to religion. He's also claimed, for example, that Bertrand Russell never mentioned the "Aristotelian god" in his writings (which is blatantly false) and has made claims in favor of pseudo-scientific ideas which look like a mish-mash of several Intelligent Design and Creationist tropes.
I wouldn't trust him on Christianity, and I would trust him even less on Islam.
Yes, a reasonable argument - in its essence. So to speak. But it seems quite a reasonable premise that societies, in general, have a right to impose some degree of conformity on their members - "for the greater good". However, as per my "in general", not all societies are predicated on the same values, or wish to impose the same things on their members. More specifically, a salient if not profound difference between Islam - a theocracy - and most western democracies is that the former is predicated on an untenable and unevidenced, not to say barbaric and psychotic, belief in a deity of a particular and odious nature. You can't really be seriously arguing that they are on par and that the same benefits or rights extended to the latter can and should be extended to the former?
Here you equivocate between theocracy (the legal supremacy of a religion over others) and religion itself. The only conformity that liberal democratic societies demand on their members is to accept the neutrality of laws and institutions, to accept that their religion shouldn't be legally and institutionally privileged over others. Liberal democratic states have no position
about the reality of religion itself.
If you're banishing religions because they're untenable and unevidenced (and let's face it, all religions are untenable and unevidenced) you're not supporting a liberal democracy, you're supporting State atheism
, which is an authoritarian idea. People have a right to believe in untenable and unevidenced ideas. What they don't have is the right to impose their untenable and unevidenced ideas onto others who don't believe in them.
Indeed, Delenda est.
is an idea still popular among American evangelicals. Do we exile them, too?
Rizvi, along with many others - at least along with the 50-odd people who liked his tweet or retweeted it, seems to be of the view that just because there are significant similarities between Christianity and Islam there can be no salient or essential differences that might well preclude the same evolutionary process in Islam that took place with Christianity. And it seems to me that a central one is that, as the Bible (I think) puts it somewhere, "render unto Caesar that which is Caesars": seems to be an intrinsic acceptance of a rather important difference between Church and State. Which is, of course, largely if not entirely absent from Islam.
The tendency to interpret "render unto Caesar that which is Caesars" as a different between Church and State is a modern interpretation. Historically that passage was interpreted first as a claim that Christians should pay taxes to Roman authorities (acquiesce to political power rather than recognize a distinction between Church and State), then (by Tertullian among others) as a warning that Christians shouldn't be overly concerned with worldly possessions and that they should give themselves to their god.
Speaking of Islam, some Muslim denominations (like the Ahmadi) accept the idea of separation of Church and State. Of course other Muslim denominations say that they're "not real Muslims" exactly for this reason.
It's all a matter of interpretation. Nobody, not even the fundamentalists, takes every single word
of their Holy Books literally. They can't, because those words are often vague and contradictory. All believers, no matter how much they think they're "following God's word", are actually cherry pickers who tailor their religion according to their other ideas.
The real problems rarely come from single, isolated believers. They come from the messages which the clergy and religious intellectuals spread. In the case of Islam the biggest threats come from the so-called "Muslim revivalism", a theocratic ideology which is anti-democratic, anti-modern and anti-liberal because it's anti-western. It's all about preaching "modern decadence" and the veneration for the old, including myths of Muslim unity (which never really existed on a large scale) and of a "pure Islam" of the origins (which is actually a modern myth).
Islam can be tamed, just like Christianity can be tamed, by integrating single Muslims into a liberal democratic setting, by fighting legally against those who preach violence and culturally against those who preach against integration.
It's the progressives who should do the second part, by offering service to Muslim women and Muslim LGBT people to defend their rights against pressure from their "communities", by defending the rights of ex-Muslims (who are far too often left alone to fend off by themselves), by insisting on the respect of the laws and principles of liberal democracy, by criticizing Islam without ifs and buts and by never giving up secularism in the name of "multiculturalism".
The religious conservatives of a different religion don't care about those values. They oppose Islam simply as a rival religion.
It's the progressives who should recognize the cultural threat that conservative Islam poses to a progressive society. Again, this is a cultural
war. People who don't preach or support violence or violations of laws cannot and should not be legally persecuted, but they can and should be criticized if they promote ideas which go against the principles of secularization and of defense of human rights.
The first obstacle to an effective cultural war against Islamic religious conservatism is the Regressive Left, i.e. the authoritarians who preach a neo-communist anti-democratic message and naively see conservative Islam as an ally against "Western corruption" (which means the liberal democratic values which all authoritarians hate).
Progressives need to distance themselves from it, to criticize it, mock it and reduce its social impact. Once the Regressive Left is restrained it'd be easier to address the issues within Islam in a more effective way.
However another threat to liberal democracy is the authoritarian right, which seeks to impose its (often religiously inspired) laws to ban Islam not because of its issues with liberal democracy, but because of a matter of "Western identity" or "Christian identity" which is as extraneous from real liberal democracy as conservative Islam. It's stupid to fight authoritarian Islam only to promote a mish-mash of authoritarian Christianity and "white identity".
Ali Rizvi is a much better figure in the cultural fight against conservative, authoritarian Islam than Sean Hannity.