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Showing posts from March, 2007

Pray for Yemen

Yemen is one of the least-reached countries in the world. Personally, I have a particular burden for this country and the people living in it. It is a Gulf country, but it is very poor. It has the lowest GDP of any of the Gulf countries. It has an extremely high birth rate and government corruption is extremely high.

It is like Isaiah chapter 6: who will go for us? If you will to Yemen, I will help. E-mail me at winterlightning [at] safe-mail (dot) net.

This is the ends of the earth. Unlike other Muslim countries (Egypt, Jordan, Syria) this country has NO indigenous Christians. Here is the news:

SAN'A, Yemen: Heavy rains triggered floods that killed at least 36 people and injured 18 others in Yemen in the past week, local officials said Friday.The officials said the floods inundated several areas across the country, disrupting telephone and electricity networks, destroying houses, cutting off roads and washing away cars, crops and cattle.Some 115 families have bee…

First Church in Qatar (in a loooong time)

There are churches in Qatar from what I hear, but this is the first time since the advent of Islam that a building designed as a church is being built there.

Work has begun on the construction of Qatar's first purpose-built church in the desert outside Doha, the country's capital.Although the country's native inhabitants are entirely Muslim - and are prohibited by law from converting to another faith - the new Catholic church will cater to the large number of Christian migrants who have come to the Arabia Gulf state in search of work.
From Here

More African-Americans converting to Islam

Well, liberal Christianity told us not to be judgmental.

We should dumb down that difficult Catholic weekly fast every Friday. We should "sit back and be loved." Christianity is a relationship not a religion! All grace and rules! We are free from the law... And look where that has gotten us. I for one think that pastor or priest should be able to do what Ezra did: proclaim a mandatory fast. But that's legalism! No, Americans worshipping their own freedom, that's worse than legalism, it's idolatry. Islam has not lost its sense of discipline, nor has it forgotten that true religion is challenging: Byrdsong, executive director of the Community Empowerment Association, was attracted to Islam while serving a 10-year prison sentence for robbery. He said the religion appeals to many, including those in prison, because of strict rules banning alcohol and drugs and its success at keeping people from deteriorating into a life of crime.Here is the link. Read it all.

Part XI: Muslims' Main Objections to Christianity

In Part X of this series on Islam I wrote on four of the main things that attract Muslims to Christianity (The Bible, Dreams and Wonders, Charity and Kindness, and Christian Community or the Church), but now I want to outline the four main theological stumbling blocks for Muslims who are interested in the Christian faith. Note that I am talking about the ones who are interested, most Muslims actually have no desire whatsoever to learn about other religions, nor do they have any desire to ask hard questions about their book or the life of Muhammad. Islam does claim to be the supremely logical religion, but the ability to engage in critical thought in the Middle East is close to null.

In any case, here are the four theological topics which are most confusing and difficult for Muslims who are searching for truth. The four topics are born from Islamic caricatures or misunderstandings of genuine Christian teaching. I will make no effort in this article to show how Christians respond to t…

Muhammad and his Christian Uncle

You have probably not heard ofWaraqa bin Nawful. Not a whole lot is known about him, but he is actually a very important person because he was probably very influential in forming Muhammad's understanding of religious topics. He was the uncle of Khadija, Muhammad's first wife, and according to the ahadiith he knew Hebrew and was able to read and translate the Bible from that language.

Anyway, I am not an authority, but it is an important topic. This link goes to a conversation which represents the two views fairly well. If you Google him you will find that some people spell his name "Waraqa bin Naufal".

(Incidentally some think he was a Nestorian, which is related to my previous post on the Trinity. The Nestorian heresy was rejected at the Council of Ephesus in 431.)

Orthodoxy, Abouna Zacarias, and the Trinity

Folks in the West don't usually think about the Orthodox churches' missions to Islam very much. In fact, most Western Christians don't know the first thing about Eastern Orthodoxy.

One of various Orthodox churches is the Coptic Orthodox Church. For those of you who knows something about church history, they are one of the non-Chalcedonian churches. That is, they did not accept the Definition of Chalcedon (451 AD) wherein the Church said that Christ had two natures, one human, and one divine. He did not have some mixture of natures, nor was one eliminated or subsumed into the other.

The Coptic Orthodox Church is based out of Egypt, and they are by far the largest of the existing churches in the lands of Islamdom.

Now there is one Coptic priest named Abouna Zacarias. (Abouna is simply Arabic for 'our father' and is the title used for a priest here.) He is a brilliant scholar of Islam and is hands down the best-known apologist for Christianity in the entire region.

If yo…

Apostasy as a Capital Crime

Leaving Islam is a capital crime according to the ahadith (that's the plural of hadith which refers to recollections of various sayings and events during Muhammad's life, or the lives of the Rightly Guided Caliphs). For anyone who wants to know some specific references where death is mandated for apostates here you go:
Ali burnt some people and this news reached Ibn 'Abbas, who said, "Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet said, 'Don't punish (anybody) with Allah's Punishment.' No doubt, I would have killed them, for the Prophet said, "If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him."From SahihBukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 260
If you are having trouble with the link then cut and paste this:
http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/052.sbt.html#004.052.260

Or This from Volume 4, Book 52, Number 261:Eight men of the tribe of 'Ukil came to the Prophet and then they found the cli…

Slave of the Cross

That's what Abdul Saleeb means in Arabic: slave of the cross. His testimony is here, he is an MBB, that is, a convert from Islam. Here he describes himself before his conversion:

I thought of Islam as a faith with such high ideals that I did not consider myself worthy of the name Muslim but I wholeheartedly believed that Islam was God's last and most perfect religion for all mankind, based on God's final revelation, the Qur'an, and the prophet Muhammad, God's seal of prophethood. My view of other religions (especially Judaism and Christianity) was that although they were fundamentally the same since they had all been revealed by one God, they were all inferior to Islam because all of them had to various degrees corrupted the original message of their founding prophets, something that we as Muslims have not done.

Testimony of a Convert from Islam

These testimonies are all over the place on the net. I realize that Christians will find these immensely encouraging and Muslims will find them worrisome or perhaps will be angered or disgusted by them.

In any case, I would like to study this phenomenon more. Given the population in MENA it (converts from Islam) is probably a trickle, but still, conversions between the two religions will probably continue to increase in number in the globalized world of today and the near future.

An example:

When I went back to the Arabian Gulf after finishing the semester, I had a dream about Jesus. In the dream, Jesus told me to come to Him and read the Bible and He would show me the way, truth and the life. The next morning I was excited and told my mom about it. She said my dream about Jesus was a "victory" (a lucky dream), and that surprised me. A few days later I saw my friend and expected him to spend a lot of time with me that day. He told me that he was going to church (it was S…

Satanic Verses

Muhammad admitted that a few of the verses which he thought he had received from Gabriel were in fact from Satan. They would be in the surah The Star (al najm) had they not later been renounced.

Great story and it brings to mind some difficult questions regarding the validity of the rest of the Quran. Here is a section from one site and a few links for people who find this topic interesting. This quote is from a Muslim scholar. I try to quote Muslims more than non-Muslims on Islam:
One of the greatest Islamic scholars who wrote a Tafsir was Zamakhshari. He commented on this event as well.Here is his writings, quoted from "The Quran and its Exegesis, by Helmut Gatje, pages 53 - 55, published by Oneworld, Oxford, England [10]. "The faithful rendering of the revelation Zamakhshari on Sura 22:52/51 We have never sent any messenger of prophet before thee, but that Satan cast into his fancy, when he was fancying; but God annuls what Satan casts, then God confirms His signs …

Part I: Islam and the Future of Europe

To me this is one of the most interesting topics one can discuss. The
way I see it, and this is a summary so it lacks any kind of scholastic
rigour, there are a few possibilities:

1) Purge: This is
mentioned in this article. Europe has shown that it has a unique capability for violence in the past, and, lacking any kind of Christian ethical basis, it is not difficult to imagine forced deportations on a large scale, or perhaps something worse.

2) Evangelization of Muslims: Unlikely since the various churches in Europe are so peripheral to public life there.

3) Islamization and Decline: As Europe is Islamized tribalism and nepotism will grow, which are inextricably linked to Islam via Arab culture, and everything will decline in Europe: economic productivity,quality of education, just governance, freedom, and so on. Many educated Christian will emigrate, some companies will relocate. It will be Byzantine to Turkey all over again. The Byzantine Empire was the world center for science, educatio…

Claims of Anti-Muslim Racism in the UK

Quote:

According to a study, a majority of Muslim pupils are underachieving at schools because the curriculum is racist. [...] In state schools, Muslim pupils are placed in situation where they feel pressured into acting contrary to their beliefs and conscience and also experience Islamophobic sentiments and comments within schools.

Link:

Brussels_Journal

Islam and Commercialism

Jesus is the reason for the season! Well, Muslims may well be facing the challenge of formulating something like this for Islam. But really, Muhammad was very pro-commerce, having been a merchant himself before his calling/decision to be a prophet.

Alas, here is the link. Starbucks in Mecca! Egad!

Commercialism_in_Mecca

Muslims Dream of Jesus

Interesting website here, with information on Muslims having dreams about Jesus. Have seen one of the movies and it was very well produced and the acting was quite good.

Dreams

The Most Curious Country...

Western Sahara anyone? Western Sahara? Yep, it's country, there on the W coast of Africa, just south of Morocco. It is one of the least-reached countries in the world. I think that, foreigners aside, it is about 100% Muslim. Also, the population is pretty small.

Good article on this rare and unique country which has been under the control of Morocco for quite a long time now:

Western_Sahara

Great Article on Libya

Well, you don't read much about Libya in the news these days, but this is a good article. Not much on religion in there, but for those interested in the region in general:

IHT_Libya_Article

Marriage and the Terror War

Interesting post here, may have more to say on the topic in the future. I think that basically Islam Arabicizes culture. That is, where Islam goes Arabic vulture goes. Why else do you have white American Muslims wearing the dishdash, which is a 7th century robe that men wore back then? Because the religion of Islam and the idea of 7th C. Arab culture go hand in hand. Islam compels monoculturalism in a way that other religions like Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism never have.

In any case, he makes some good points about cultural stability and marriage.

Let
me also mention that I don't like the term, "war on terror," very much.
Not because I don't think that the conflict is important or
dangerous--it certainly is. But because "war" has traditionally been
understood to take place between two or more sovereign states. I much
prefer Huntington's term, a clash of civilizations.

Selection:

"In
this first in a series of essays on Muslim cousin-marriage, I want t…