Posts

Showing posts from June, 2008

Chesterton on Islam: it simplifies too much

From ch 1 of hishis book The New Jerusalem which is available online here for free or can be bought from amazon.com:

...the Moslem, the man of the desert, is intelligent enough to believe in God. But his belief is lacking in that humane complexity that comes from comparison. The man looking at the palm-tree does realise
the simple fact that God made it; while the man looking at
the lamp-post in a large modern city can be persuaded by a hundred
sophistical circumlocutions that he made it himself. But the man
in the desert cannot compare the palm-tree with the lamp-post,
or even with all the other trees which may be better worth looking
at than the lamp-post. Hence his religion, though true as far
as it goes, has not the variety and vitality of the churches
that were designed by men walking in the woods and orchards.
I speak here of the Moslem type of religion and not of the oriental type
of ornament, which is much older than the Moslem type of religion.
But even the oriental type of ornament, ad…

Demographics in Europe; European Islamdom III

The question of demographics is very important. The reason that Islam is growing faster than Christianity is entirely demographic. Worldwide there are more converts to Christianity each year than to Islam. But when Muslim families are having upwards of three or four children, and Christian families are hovering around one or two, maybe three, it does not bode well at all.

The IHT has an article on the topic here, though they try to spin the decline of Europe positively. Also, they make the same error as the secular liberal press always makes, which is to say that the main danger for Europe is economic. It is not. It is civilizational. What is the fate of Europe? I have proposed three options here:

European Islamdom I

And there is some more good info here: European Islamdom II

But for your pleasure, a section from the IHT article:

...The figure of 2.1 is widely considered to be the "replacement rate" - the average number of births per woman that can maintain a country's popula…

Christophe Luxenberg and the Syriac influence on the Quranic Text

From the (in)famous, Wikipedia:

Luxenberg, like many scholars before him, remarks that the Qur'an contains much ambiguous and even inexplicable language. He asserts that even Muslim scholars find some passages difficult to parse and have written reams of Quranic commentary attempting to explain these passages. However, the assumption behind their endeavours has always been that any difficult passage is true, meaningful, and pure Arabic, and that it can be deciphered with the tools of traditional Muslim scholarship. Luxenberg accuses Western academic scholars of the Qur'an of taking a timid and imitative approach, relying too heavily on the biased work of Muslim scholars.

The book's thesis is that the Qur'an was not originally written exclusively in Arabic but in a mixture with Syriac, the dominant spoken and written language in the Arabian peninsula through the 8th century.

“What is meant by Syro-Aramaic (actually Syriac) is the branch of Aramaic in the Near East original…

Rumors of War: Iran

From the AP:

The U.N. nuclear watchdog chief warned in comments aired Saturday that any military strike on Iran could turn the Mideast to a "ball of fire" and lead Iran to a more aggressive stance on its controversial nuclear program.

Schmemann on the Orthodox understanding of the Church

Alexander Schmemann:

In our [Eastern Orthodox] own "sources"– the Fathers, the Councils, the Liturgy – we do not find any formal definition of the Church. This is not because of any lack of ecclesiological interest and consciousness, but because the Church (in the Orthodox approach to her) does not exist, and therefore cannot be defined, apart from the very content of her life. The Church, in other terms, is not an "essence" or "being" distinct, as such, from God, man, and the world, but is the very reality of Christ in us and us in Christ, a new mode of God's presence and action in His creation, of creation's life in God. She is God's gift and man's response and appropriation of this gift. She is union and unity, knowledge, communion and transfiguration.

Part XVIII: Islam and Democracy

Part XVIII: Islam and Democracy
by Abu Daoud
June 18, 2008

Presently there exists in a large and important Middle Eastern country an effort to introduce democratic government. Indeed many of the people express a desire for greater freedom, and one might think that this would go hand in hand with some form of representative democracy, wherein no one party has all power and sides are forced to compromise and accommodate differing view points.

What is missing from this calculation is the fact that Islam is religion plus, as I pointed out in Parts IV and V of this series. Not only does it come with a complete set of ritual and doctrinal elements, it also presents a complete economic model (coming soon to a city near you in the form of Islamic banking, which is growing robustly) and a fairly detailed political model that does not include elements or practices traditionally associated with democracy at all.

At the heart of the Islamic polity is the Caliphate. The Arabic verb khalafa means “he s…

Martin Luther and Allah and Islam

Regarding the view that Muslims and Christians worship the same God:

Those Lutherans who would attribute such a view to Luther...seem to be revealing more about their own theology than rather than Luther's. In fact, in On War against the Turk, Luther identifies Allah as the devil.

Adam S. Francisco
'Luther, Lutheranism, and the Challenges of Islam'
in Concordia Theological Quarterly, July/October 2007

Pictures of Jerusalem

Some great recent pictures of Jerusalem are over at Pictures of Redemption, check them out:

Jerusalem Pictures

News from the Anglican Diocese in Egypt

Good to be back home in the Middle East! I will say the consultation I attended was very helpful and while I have some reservations I am looking forward to putting the stuff into practice.

That having been said I do have some more travel coming up, to GAFCON. If you will be there then you know what it is, if you don't know what it is then it's probably not important to you. If anyone will be there and would like to meet for kebab or something like e-mail me at winterlightning [a+] safe-mail [do+] net.

Meanwhile, here is some recent news from the Episcopal Diocese of Egypt, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa. Congrats to soon-to-be-bishop Bill, whom I have never met personally:

The following announcement was made by the office of the President Bishop and Bishop of Egypt [Mouneer Anis]:

It is with great joy that we announce the formation of a new Episcopal Area in North Africa. We have decided to appoint the Rev. Canon Dr. Bill Musk as Area Bishop for North Africa as well as Rec…

Allah says to Jesus, "I am terminating your life."

It has long been said that the Quran teaches that Jesus did not die, but that is not true. In fact if one can read the Arabic it is quite clear that Jesus did die:

[3:54] They plotted and schemed, but so did GOD, and GOD is the best schemer.

[3:55] Thus, GOD said, "O Jesus, I am terminating your life, raising you to Me, and ridding you of the disbelievers. I will exalt those who follow you above those who disbelieve, till the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me is the ultimate destiny of all of you, then I will judge among you regarding your disputes.

[3:56] "As for those who disbelieve, I will commit them to painful retribution in this world, and in the Hereafter. They will have no helpers."

[3:57] As for those who believe and lead a righteous life, He will fully recompense them. GOD does not love the unjust.

[3:58] These are the revelations that we recite to you, providing a message full of wisdom.

That is, of course, not from a Muslim translation of the meaning, but the word i…

Goodness, the Lord's Prayer in Arabic

Image
Here is some goodness: having dinner at an Indian restaurant with fellow missionaries to Muslims in places like Russia, Yemen, and Indonesia. That is goodness. I love working with these people. It is one of my favorite things about my job, I work with excellent people. Also goodness during this brief sojourn outside of MENA: being able to share and learn with other workers--what is working for them, and what is not? How can I communicate more clearly and effectively the good news? That is what we're talking about.

And also this: here is a plate with the Lord's Prayer in Arabic. The big word is Abana, which means "our Father" and then it just gets smaller :-)

Furor in France, Frustration in Jordan, and Women

Two interesting links here. One is regarding the furor in France:

PARIS (AP) - The bride said she was a virgin. When her new husband discovered that was a lie, he went to court to annul the marriage—and a French judge agreed.

The ruling ending the Muslim couple's union has stunned France and raised concerns the country's much-cherished secular values are losing ground to religious traditions from its fast-growing immigrant communities.

The decision also exposed the silent shame borne by some Muslim women who transgress long-held religious dictates demanding proof of virginity on the wedding night.

In its ruling, the court concluded the woman had misrepresented herself as a virgin and that, in this particular marriage, virginity was a prerequisite.

But in treating the case as a breach of contract, the ruling was decried by critics who said it undermined decades of progress in women's rights. Marriage, they said, was reduced to the status of a commercial transaction in which wo…

Personal Note

Abu Daoud will be traveling over the next week or so, so there won't be many posts. Just FYI.

EN 51, 52: pre-evangelism and evangelism

It is sections like 51 and 52 of Evangelii Nuntiandi that often confuse evangelical Christians. What evangelicals call evangelism is here called "pre-evangelism" though Paul VI says that even this first proclamation of the Gospel is indeed part of the larger work of evangelism.

What catholics call evangelism is what evangelicals often call discipleship or simply Christian education. By evangelism Paul VI is talking about, it seems, everything from the first proclamation of Jesus' name to the tribal leaders who have never heard it, to, presumably, catechesis and continuing education for grownups at their churches. The difference is that one view seeks to share the message and secure a commitment to it; the other seeks to deepen a person's allegiance to that message, wherever they may be on a spectrum of spiritual maturity.

We should not be surprised that evangelicals tend to identify that initial proclamation as the act of evangelizing, because "faith comes by he…