Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Some Things that Dr. Geisler Overlooked
07/05/2010 - Tur8infanDr. Geisler provided a number of items of response in his "defense" of Dr. Ergun Caner. I'd like to highlight a few additional items that Dr. Geisler seems to have overlooked. These are some troubling issues in addition to the many that Dr. Geisler identified. I don't know whether Dr. Geisler's "defense" of Dr. Caner intentionally omitted these, or he dealt with them and I missed it, or whether he accidentally omitted them. I suspect that the latter is the case.
I wonder whether Dr. Geisler would care to let us know how Dr. Caner is innocent of wrong-doing with respect to the following issues. Please note that I'm not trying to say that these are things that have been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt. I'm saying that these are concerns that have been raised, and I haven't seen a clear answer that vindicates Dr. Caner from himself or any of his supporters with respect to any of these.
For ease of reference for those who are replying, I've avoided restarting the number of the troubling issues within each of the major sections.
I. Birth, Place, and Manner in which He Grew Up
1. Claimed to have been Born in Istanbul?
As documented here (link to documentation), Dr. Caner claimed to have been born in Istanbul. Most of the rest of the evidence that anyone has brought forward shows that Dr. Caner was born in (or around) Stockholm, Sweden. How is the statement regarding Istanbul a true statement or an honest mistake?
2. Lived in Ankara and Along Iraqi Border?
As documented here (link to documentation), Dr. Caner has claimed that he lived in Ankara and along the Iraqi border. Are those an honest mistake for some other place that Dr. Caner lived? If so, which place was he thinking of?
3. Watched Dukes of Hazzard and longed to marry Daisy Duke while growing up in Turkey?
As documented here (link to documentation) (second instance), Dr. Caner has claimed that while he was living in Turkey he got misconceptions about America by watching the Dukes of Hazzard. How is that somehow an honest mistake or simple misstatement? Please bear in mind that it is not possible that he watched the show, "The Dukes of Hazzard" before it began to show in 1979 (link to documentation).
4. Citizenship in 1978?
Dr. Geisler claims (he does not identify the source of his data) that Dr. Caner became a citizen in 1978. Why is it that at least one seemingly official biography of Caner indicates he became a citizen in 1984 - link to bio with colorful photo of Caner and Dr. Caner himself has claimed to have gained his citizenship in 1982 - see his article "Hatriotism." Which of the three stories, if any, is the truth?
Or is the citizenship-in-1978 claim just an excuse for apparently untrue comments like this one: "In 1978, his family moved to the United States so his father, an architect, could build a Mosque in Columbus, Ohio." (which STILL appears on Dr. Caner's blog as of 5 July 2010 - note that this comment appears to be an English translation of an article originally written in Korean, thus it has some really bizarre comments like: "His father was somewhat similar to an Islamic priest, a scholar of an Islamic sect called Ulima.")
5. Claims to have worn "a keffiyeh"
As documented here (first example)(second example), Dr. Caner has claimed that before his conversion he wore a "keffiyeh." The photo evidence we have of him, however, almost always shows him bareheaded (link to an amusing exception). Did he hide the keffiyeh when photos were being taken? (this example does not count)
II. Date of Conversion and Connection to Brothers' Conversions
6. November 4, 1982?
Dr. Ergun Caner has identified the date of his conversion as November 4, 1982 (example). However, his book, Unveiling Islam, gives that as the date for Emir Caner's conversion and indicates that Emir was saved "the following year" after Ergun. (Unveiling Islam, p. 19) How is this possible?
7. Relationship to Brothers' Conversions
Dr. Caner seems to have stated several accounts regarding the relationship of his conversion to that of his brothers. One account is: "that day my father disowned me, but both of my brothers accepted Christ" another is that Erdem was saved in the basement of "their home" and that "the following year" Ergun invited Emir to a revival service at which Emir was saved. Another account is that "a year later" than his own conversion, his brothers came to Christ. (link to documentation of these) In another account, his brothers get saved when Caner preaches his first sermon (see documentation here) How are these honest mistakes or somehow all reconcilable truths?
III. Claims About His Family
8. "Many Wives" of his father vs. Two Wives of his father
As documented here (link to documentation) Dr. Caner has claimed that his father had "many wives" when the evidence suggests that his father had two wives, one at a time.
9. "Half-brothers" that can't be found
As documented here (link to documentation - second source) Dr. Caner has claimed that he has half-brothers, sons presumably of those "many wives" that his father had. We can find record of two half-sisters by the the one second wife we can locate, but no half-brothers.
These are just a few of the issues that Dr. Geisler did not address, at least I couldn't find them addressed, in his recent "defense" of Dr. Caner. May I respectfully suggest that Dr. Geisler is simply not familiar with the troubling evidence. In view of this apparently new evidence that has come to light, is Dr. Geisler willing to say, "Upon further consideration, I have come to the conclusion that Ergun Caner did indeed embellish his autobiography," or will Dr. Geisler come up with some new justification for these documented states made either by Caner himself or by seemingly official websites?
Finally, as a tenth troubling issue, let me highlight the issue of Ramadan being "forty days" long according to Dr. Caner on multiple occasions (link to documentation). Dr. Geisler has tried to say that Dr. Caner has some justification of this. I suspect that what Dr. Geisler has read is similar to the material that the "Fake Ex-Muslims" site attributes to Dr. Caner here (link to site). That documentation alleges that there are some tiny groups of Islam that do fast for 40 days. Let's take that explanation as completely 100% true without actually investigating it. Does that being true justify this comment:
"We wore keffiyeh, we spoke Arabic and Turkish, we read the Koran, we fasted 40 days during Ramadan, we lived by the rules of halal and haram and mushbu, the dietary restrictions." (link to documentation)
Does that claim about a couple tiny sects of Islam fasting for 40 days justify the claim that the "lunar month" of Ramadan is forty days as documented in this video clip?
Or is the attempt to find a few tiny branches of Islam an attempt to cover up the glaring error of saying that Ramadan is 40 days long, when it is actually a lunar month of 29 or 30 days long?
I'm asking the questions, because I would like to believe that the issue is simply that Dr. Geisler is only familiar with the charges and Dr. Caner's private responses to the charges, and that Dr. Geisler is not familiar with the evidence itself or with a variety of the charges for which it would appear that Dr. Caner and his supporters have no good answer. Will Dr. Geisler respond? Who knows! I would encourage my friends to give Dr. Geisler some time to consider the evidence and respond before assuming that he will simply do what other of Dr. Caner's supporters have done and attack the messenger.