A Few Things to Remember on 9/11

The event and memories of 9/11 leave Christians in a difficult position. On one hand, we are called to respect our government and pray for our leaders, meaning we pray for the security of this nation and all actions that work to secure that security. We should pray for victory in Afghanistan and that the Lord would protect our servicemen. At the same time, we are called to make disciples of all nations and to display love towards our enemies, both of which would include the people of Afghanistan and the Taliban (and Al Queda). Thus, Christians are left praying for the victory of the nation, but also praying that Christ would redeem the Taliban and our opponents. Were the members of the Taliban to come to Christ tomorrow, it would be better than if all of them were to be killed; a friend gained is better than an enemy killed.

I think of the quote from St. Clement of Rome, where he wrote to the Corinthians,

“Love binds us fast to God. Love casts a veil over sins innumerable. There are no limits to love’s endurance, no end to its patience. Love is without servility, as it is without arrogance. Love knows of no divisions, promotes no discord; all the works of love are done in perfect fellowship.”

When reflecting on 9/11 we shouldn’t have images of revenge or wish for the death of our enemies. Instead, we should seek opportunities to help those who were deeply affected by the events of 9/11. We should find ways to reach out to our enemy and while praying for our military’s victory, pray even more that our enemy should come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. This is not an attempt to over-spiritualize, but rather a very practical view; how could the Taliban and Al Queda kill our soldiers or bring violence to our shores if they were wrapped up in the love of Christ?

There’s a lot of hurt, a lot of families who were impacted by 9/11. These are people we should be there for and pray for. But let us not lash out at people in our emotion. Rather than burning Qur’ans, why not open them up and read them (and subsequently expose the falsity of Islam)? Instead of condemning Muslims or feeling they are the enemy, why not invite them over for dinner (if they are open) or find a way to befriend them? The most powerful weapon Christians have is that of Trinitarian love, which conquers all. Ultimately, while our nation fights terrorists in far-away lands, at home we must constantly keep in mind that those who are Muslims are not our enemies, but rather slaves to a religious system. They are co-image bearers who are in chains to the Devil, as are all who do not have a relationship with Christ. As Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:12,

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

On 9/11, let us remember such a passage. Let us reflect on the tragedy that was brought to our shores. Let us be there for those who lost someone on 9/11. Let us not take out our pain and emotions on Muslims, even if they support the actions of 9/11. Overall, let us be a beacon in the darkness of this world, an oasis of love in tumultuous desert of this loveless world. Let us display the love of Christ to friend and foe so that we might win both to Christ and receive our eternal reward.

Let us reflect and apply the words of St. Ignatius of Antioch in his epistle to the Ephesians:

“Regarding the rest of mankind, you should pray for them unceasingly, for we can always hope that repentance may enable them to find their way to God. Give them a chance to learn from you, or at all events from the way you act. Meet their animosity with mildness, their high words with humility, and their abuse with your prayers. But stand firm against their errors, and if they grow violence, be gentle instead of wanting to pay them back in their own coin…so that in this way non of the devil’s noxious weeds my take root among you, but you may rest in Jesus Christ in all sanctity and discipline of body and soul.”


I don’t get it

When a man walked into church and killed George Tiller in cold blood, some in the media, most notably on the political left, were quick to discredit all pro-life advocates. Anyone who spoke against abortion and called it murder was immediately branded as co-equal with Tiller’s murderer whether or not the pro-life advocate agreed with the actions taken against Tiller.

We see the same thing occur for Christians as well. Fred Phelps’ actions are reflected upon anyone who disagrees with homosexuality as a lifestyle. The Religious Right is seen as an attempt at a theocratic nation even though most Christians have no desire for theocracy or to associate with the Religious Right when they take political stands. But none of this matters – conservative Christians get branded for certain beliefs.

All of this might be explained as a case of collectively jumping the gun or creating a bias, but then we face the situation in New York with the proposed Islamic Community Center (or Mosque…the developers haven’t been very clear on what it is). We are told by the political left that Islam is a religion of peace and that they have a right to their religion as the next person. Yet, these same people will fight against radical Christians getting protest rights at homosexual rallies or abortion clinics (both are activities I would never engage in, but people do have rights). They will defend a religion that worldwide has caused more deaths than we can possibly imagine. In Pakistan honor killings are the norm. In Saudi Arabia all non-Islamic religions are persecuted out of existence. In all Sharia countries women must look out if they are not Muslim because they can be raped.

In fact, Islam is a very violent religion. Yet, the level of tolerance shown for Islam is baffling. Not that I think Muslims should be rounded up or disallowed their right to worship because many American Muslims are very peaceful, but that’s because they aren’t devout. Devout Muslims, those who adhere to the Qur’an and take the teachings of the Imans seriously, worry me and they should worry you. A quick study of Islam will show that it didn’t spread through good works, but rather through war. People didn’t convert to it because of how compelling it was, but rather their conversion was at the tip of a sword.

Whether or not Muslims have the legal right to build near Ground Zero or whether or not such an idea is wise, the amount of tolerance shown towards Islam as opposed to Christianity boggles my mind. The central focal point of the Christian message, outside of loving God, is to love humans. When we see Christians bashing others and condemning them to Hell (which the Bible does forbid Christians to do when it comes to non-Christians) we can turn to the Scriptures and ask that Christians live like Christ. When Muslims fly planes into buildings, rape non-Muslim women, or murder innocent civilians we can’t turn to the Qur’an. We have nothing to turn to because when they do such things, they are simply following the Qur’an. Yet Islam gets the pass of tolerance while Christianity doesn’t?

Someone please explain this to me.

Is Islam a religion of peace?

Whenever we see of Islamic threats or Islamic violence in the world, it is quite fashionable to offer the retort, “Islam is a religion of peace…these are just fringe extremists.” While such a statement might have been partially true at the turn of the 20th century, such a statement doesn’t stand the test of history or proper study of Islamic history. I want to seek to show that at its root, Islam is not a religion of peace. When looking to modern attitudes and how such attitudes and actions coincide with the first 400 years of Islamic history – including that of their founder Muhammad – indicating that at its origin, Islam is not peaceful. However, I also want to add the caveat that Islam can be a peaceful religion, but the requirement would be for Muslims to drop a few of their beliefs in their religion. I will also explore Christianity to show that though violence has occurred within Christianity, such violence is inconsistent with Christianity. Christianity is truly a religion OF peace that, unfortunately, lost her way.

Let me preface everything by saying that I am not condemning all Muslims. Anecdotally speaking, I’ve never met a violent Muslim. In fact, I’ve gone to school with, worked with, and taught Muslims, all of who had knowledge that I was a Christian from a Jewish background. Not a single one of them were ever rude and, in fact, we got along extremely well. Likewise, in my study of philosophy I have a great respect and great appreciation for Islamic philosophers (specifically Ibn Sina and Al-Farabi). I’m not painting Islam with a broad brush and saying every adherent to Islam is a terrorist or a supporter of the more violent aspects of Islam. In America, I believe the vast majority of Muslims to be moderate to liberal in their Islamic practices, but it is their moderate and liberal beliefs that make them peaceful; that is to say, were they devout adherents to Islam and followed Islam to its logical end, I do not believe they could be peaceful.

As a note to the content of what is written – everything I say can be verified. I have attempted to offer links to the Qur’an and Hadith when appropriate, though it may not go to the specific passage, one can rely on these links to look up the passages I am referring to if one doubts that I am using them properly. This is a lengthy read and would probably be best split up into different posts if not for the fact that doing so would create a fragmented case. If this is too long for one read, feel free to bookmark this page and come back and read it. If you are like me, sometimes it is best to print off long articles and then read them at your own pace, marking where you last left off. However you do it, I would ask that you read this article (no matter what your current stance on Islam is) and consider what I have to say.

Continue reading

A further reply to a Muslim

Paasurrey was kind enough to respond to my last post at his own website. In his reply, he states:

Hi fried Joel

Please quote from Jesus; not from what the sinful and unfaithful scribes, who deserted ‎Jesus when he most needed them.Later they sided with Paul who was an enemy of Jesus ‎and his friends. ‎

Jesus never could utter such words that he was a god. You say the Pharisees noticed it; I ‎don’t agree with you. The Pharisees were Jews; had they noticed it, it should have been ‎written also in the book of the Jews? Please quote from Jewish source that the Pharisees ‎noticed it.‎

Jesus denies of this claim as rightly quoted by Quran from Jesus:‎

My reply:

As I pointed out in my initial response to you, simply saying, “Oh, Paul was sinful and the Jews were sinful, therefore you can’t trust anything written about Jesus” is nothing more than a cop out. In fact, the passages I chose I did so specifically – these are passages that even the most anti-Christian scholars accept as actually occurring. That is, they believe these to be the actual sayings and happenings of Jesus. They may deny most of the New Testament, but they believe these specific passages I pointed out to be historically accurate. It is up to you to demonstrate how they were corrupted. Quoting the Qur’an, an interesting but ultimately fallible book, is not sufficient. You must provide actual evidence (changes in the manuscripts, older manuscripts compared to newer manuscripts, changes in language and vernacular within the same text, etc) before laying down such a big claim.

The reason for this is you simply can’t sweep aside what I quote by just declaring it fallible. You need to actually present some evidence as to why these specific passages are fallible and corrupt.

Likewise, as I pointed out in my initial reply, by claiming they are corrupt, you make God look utterly inept:

Now, there are far more proofs, but I wanted to use the most obvious ones that cannot be questioned historically. We cannot say these proofs are corrupted because almost all true historians – even those who are agnostic or believe that Jesus was merely a good man – accept these are historical truths. To say, “The Christians added to the text” might be convenient in order to throw out the argument, but it lacks the historical validation necessary to be an adequate argument.

Likewise, Muslims run into quite a few problems when they use that excuse. We hear that the Jews corrupted the Old Testament, thus God gave us the New Testament, but the Christians turned around and corrupted it as well. Thus, we end up with the Qur’an. But this poses a problem – how do we know that the early Arabs or even the Persians didn’t corrupt the Qur’an? We can say, “God protected it,” but if He protects the Qur’an, why was He so inept at protecting the Old and New Testaments?

Thus, the Muslim apologist is thrown into a quandary – if God had Gabriel recite the Qur’an to the Prophet due to the corruption of the Old and New Testaments, what promise do we have that the Qur’an is not likewise corrupted? Alternatively, if God has preserved the Qur’an, why wouldn’t He preserve the Old and New Testaments? Finally, if He did preserve the Old and New Testaments (an argument I’m not sure you would make as both the Qur’an and Hadith claim the Testaments are corrupted), why the need for the Qur’an? So before you use the argument of corruption, I think you would need to deal with these issues.

So I must ask the question; which is it? Is your god weak? Does he not see the future? Could he not prevent the corruption of the words of Christ? Why worship such a weak and inept god? I’d much rather worship the God who preserved His Word through the ages, who was in perfect Trinitarian fellowship prior to creation, who created out of love, who sent His only Son to die on our account, and who had the power to raise His Son from the dead. That is a God who is worthy of worship. A god that can’t get it right the first two times, a god that relies on the “third time is a charm” rule, isn’t a god worthy of worship.