Saturday, January 27, 2007

Chesterton on Islam

GK Chesterton was one of the most influential popular Christian authors of the 20th C. He was an Anglican-turned-Catholic and he wrote on Saint Francis, Saint Thomas Aquinas, the basics of the Christian faith, and many other topics. Here is a fascinating quote of his on Islam:

Unitarians (a sect never to be mentioned without a special respect for their distinguished intellectual dignity and high intellectual honour) are often reformers by the accident that throws so many small sects into such an attitude. But there is nothing in the least liberal or akin to reform in the substitution of pure monotheism for the Trinity. The complex God of the Athanasian Creed may be an enigma for the intellect; but He is far less likely to gather the mystery and cruelty of a Sultan than the lonely god of Omar or Mahomet. The god who is a mere awful unity is not only a king but an Eastern king. The heart of humanity, especially of European humanity, is certainly much more satisfied by the strange hints and symbols that gather round the Trinitarian idea, the image of a council at which mercy pleads as well as justice, the conception of a sort of liberty and variety existing even in the inmost chamber of the world. For Western religion has always felt keenly the idea “it is not well for man to be alone.” The social instinct asserted itself everywhere as when the Eastern idea of hermits was practically expelled by the Western idea of monks. So even asceticism became brotherly; and the Trappists were sociable even when they were silent. If this love of a living complexity be our test, it is certainly healthier to have the Trinitarian religion than the Unitarian. For to us Trinitarians (if I may say it with reverence)–to us God Himself is a society. It is indeed a fathomless mystery of theology, and even if I were theologian enough to deal with it directly, it would not be relevant to do so here. Suffice it to say here that this triple enigma is as comforting as wine and open as an English fireside; that this thing that bewilders the intellect utterly quiets the heart: but out of the desert, from the dry places and, the dreadful suns, come the cruel children of the lonely God; the real Unitarians who with scimitar in hand have laid waste the world. For it is not well for God to be alone.

(Quote is taken from the article Allah and the Trinity)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Islam and the Letter 'X'

Well, the letter 'x' is the same as the Saint Andrew's cross, but the Latin letter predated Christianity by quite a while I think. But that cannot stop the government of KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) from being annoying to the world and paranoid about everything:

"The letter "X" soon may be banned in Saudi Arabia because it resembles the mother of all banned religious symbols in the oil kingdom: the cross.

"The new development came with the issuing of another mind-bending fatwa, or religious edict, by the infamous Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice — the group of senior Islamic clergy that reigns supreme on all legal, civil, and governance matters in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

"The commission's damning of the letter "X" came in response to a Ministry of Trade query about whether it should grant trademark protection to a Saudi businessman for a new service carrying the English name "Explorer."

"'No! Nein! Nyet!' was the commission's categorical answer."

This, I think, supports my argument that Islam is, today at least, very worrried about itself. Very insecure. Very nervous. When you have to edit the world's dominant alphabet it shows that you lack self-confidence and vigor.

Here is the link:
NYSun

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

American Muslim Women

Muslims do best in societies where they are the minority. Why? Becuase they enjoy the benefit from the rights accorded to citizens which are genrous and liberal. But once Muslimss become the majority and Shari9 comes in, then the decline starts.

Here is a (positive) review of a book about Muslim women in America. All I can say is that they are not real Muslim women at all, because they do not live in an Islamic society. If they were in an Islamic society, they would do what Muslim women are supposed to do: be quiet.

But they are in America, so they have the freedom to write and publish--for now.

Excerpt:

"If there's anyone I was more sick and tired of than Muslims, it's Muslim–bashers. No one is allowed to criticize Islam and Muslims but those who do it from love. Those who do it from hate, step aside. And step aside, those who do it as a way to fame and fortune funded by neo–conservatives who think they can kaCHING up genuine "reform" in Islam and manufacture docile little McMuslims for the maintenance of U.S. McHegemony in the world. Neocons can kiss my Islamic ass."

Now tell me how that is different from the standard BBC line. The link is here

Lies and more Lies, courtesy of the German press

Here is a link to an article from the noted periodical Der Spiegel. It is sad to see things like this. Here is the particular section that is absolutely and historically incorrect. It is theoretically true, but in historical fact has never been practiced:

"Jews and Christians enjoyed the protection of the Muslim authorities. They were, after all, recipients of a scripture of revelation, who, like Muslims, believed in the one and only God - albeit, from an Islamic point of view, in a diluted form. Hence the designation dhimmi ("protected person") applied to both Jews and Christians living under Islamic rule. This exemptive status explicitly distinguished them from the non-believers who were the Muslims' predefined enemy."

Protection? This is totally false. The dhimmi contract was revocable unilaterally and without notice from the Muslim ruler. What kind of security does that actually afford? You pay your jizya for ten years and then, without notice, raiders descend on your town, burning buildings, taking women and children to be sold as slaves, and executing men who might be able to fight--without your notice that your great treaty of protection has been revoked.

Please.

Here is the link: http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,460559,00.html (copy and paste)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Surge in Muslim Converts?

From Sleepy Old Bear:

Link

He goes country by country talking about the converts being made there. I think it is over-optimistic, but even if only half of what he says is true it is still a big deal. This information is generally very hard to get because both the Muslim converts and the Christianss working with them have to keep it that way for safety purposes.

Example:

Iraq: more than 5,000 new Muslim converts to Christianity have been identified since the end of major combat operations, with 14 new churches opened in Baghdad, and dozens of new churches opened in Kurdistan, some of which have 500 to 800 members. Also, more than 1 million Bibles shipped into the country since 2003, and pastors report Iraqis are snatching them up so fast they constantly need more Bibles.

Egypt: some reports say 1 million Egyptians have trusted Christ over the past decade or so. The Egyptian Bible Society told me they used to sell about 3,000 copies of the JESUS film a year in the early 1990s. But last year they sold 600,000 copies, plus 750,000 copies of the Bible on tape (in Arabic) and about a half million copies of the Arabic New Testament. “Egyptians are increasingly hungry for God’s Word,” an Egyptian Christian leader told me. Last Christmas, I had the privilege of visiting the largest Christian congregation in the Middle East, which meets in an enormous cave on the outskirts of Cairo. Some 10,000 believers worship there every weekend. A prayer conference the church held in May 2005 drew some 20,000 believers.

Afghanistan: only 17 Muslim converts to Christianity before 9/11/01, but now more than 10,000. Dozens of baptisms every week.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Muhammad died a political leader, and Jesus died on a cross

Here are some interesting comments from the Rt. Rev. George Carey. He is the former Archbishop of Canterbury. That means he was the head of the Anglican Communion, which numbers about 70 million around the world.

In general I agree with him, but I would clarify that my sense is that "moderate Islam" is largely a myth. That is, it is a fabrication, perhaps not malicious, but it does not exist on the scale that the Western press hopes for. True Islam is and must be profoundly conservative. It must be profoundly Arabic in a 7th Century sort of way because Muhammad is seen as the ideal man. Thus his way of living, eating, speaking, holding a water glass, trimming his beard, and so on, must be emulated. This is actually what the word "sunni" means: the way or manner of life of Muhammad.

Thus moderate Islam actually must support many of the people that are called terrorists in the West. I do think, however, that there is room within "moderate Islam" to condemn the 9/11 mujahidiin. That, however, would be a minority position within moderate Islam--condemning the 9/11 mujahidiin, that is. Sad to see how so many people misunderstand Islam. Claiming that there is a large "moderate" group that simply does not exist is not helpful to anyone at all.

Until the West begins to understand this there is no possibility for fruitful conversation.

Here are excerpts from that conversation, edited for space and clarity.

Q. I can't help but ask your thoughts about Pope Benedict and his comments last fall about Islam. What do you make of all that?

A. It didn't seem to relate to the message at all until one starts to look at the theme and what he was talking about. The secular mind can understand a God that's loving but cannot understand a God that's brutal and murders. So I think that in the pope's mind there was a link there: What kind of God do we believe in?

Now, I said that if people had looked at it carefully - it's a brilliant, brilliant essay on faith and secularism today - and the kind of thing he was saying indirectly about Islam, the Muslims need to face up to. The key question is why is Islam associated with terrorism? And it's no good saying that the terrorists are extremists.

There's something about the Islamic scriptures (that gives) justification for violence. There can be no denial about that actually. So there needs to be a really frank discussion.

Q. A lot of people who would call themselves Christians have committed acts of violence and used Scripture to justify (them). Do you see a difference?

A. I see a profound difference really. Because Islam - Muhammad - conquered by the sword. He died a political leader, and Jesus died on a cross. So there are two different concepts.

But you're absolutely right. There's been a lot of terrorism and violence done in the name of Christianity, which goes against the faith itself. I don't want to argue that Christians take the high moral ground on this. We can't. But what we have to say is we mustn't allow the terrorists to take Scripture over and bend it.... If Islam is a peaceful religion, then the moderates must deny the martyrs in terrorism and say that no terrorist actually is a martyr.

Here is the complete text: http://tinyurl.com/ye9ssk