Friday, December 31, 2010
--Pope Benedict XVI
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life estimates that there are 2,869,000 Muslims in Britain, an increase of 74 per cent on its previous figure of 1,647,000, which was based on the 2001 census. No demographic statistics are reliable in an era of open borders, but such an expansion is unprecedented.
Read the whole article here.
Damian Thompson, commenting on this, rightly asks about the future of women's rights in the UK. Also, we need to acknowledge that the future of gay rights is very dark. How many children do gay couples produce? How many children do liberal couples produce? Many fewer than Muslims do. Also, as countries like Pakistan and Yemen continue to disintegrate look for the numbers of asylum seekers to increase. And then there's always 'family reunion', which is ridiculous (both in the UK and the US). Anyway, demography and immigration make it certain: the future of Western Europe is Islamic.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Friday, December 03, 2010
Under the Palestinian Authority, whose constitution gives Islamic law primacy over all other sources of law, Christian Arabs have found their land expropriated by Muslim thieves and thugs with ties to the PA's land registration office. Christians have been forced to pay bribes to win the freedom of family members jailed on trumped-up charges. And Arabs -- Christians and Muslims alike -- have been selling or abandoning homes and businesses to escape the chaos of the PA and move to Israel, Europe, South America, North America, or wherever they can get a visa.
From HERE: 'A Christian-free Holy Land' by Justus Weiner.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
As the number of converts in a region grows and the group also grows, a different set of challenges presents itself, and enthusiasm and commitment can decrease as people become more anonymous. There is often a subsequent loss of cohesiveness (Pitchford, Bader and Stark 2001:385-386). One man, who is one of the most experienced known converts in the city where he lives, has seen the number of converts grow from almost none to a group that is too large to keep together. Hesees that there is good in having different groups for different types of people, but also misses the cohesiveness that he felt when there were few converts [...]
Monday, November 15, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
That Muslims are converting to Christianity in numbers unprecedented throughout history comes as a (welcome) surprise to most Christians in the West. Every now and then I find someone who has heard about one of these movements, like the tens of thousands of Berbers in Algeria who in the last two decades have converted, or the hundreds each year who are baptized into the Catholic Church in countries like France and Italy. Or perhaps they have heard of the experimental laboratory that is Bangladesh, where there are groups of people who call themselves Christ-followers but don’t use the term Christian or Muslim to refer to themselves.
But one of the most numerically significant movements of Muslims to Christianity is among Iranians. I am not talking about people with Iranian citizenship who come from ethnic groups which are traditionally Christian (Armenians and Assyrians), but about the large ethnic group whose ancestors were Zoroastrians and slowly but surely, century by century converted to Islam. Today there are very few Zoroastrians left in Iran.
While I have spent most of the last five years in the Arab world, I have of course occasionally spent time in the US and the UK for multiple reasons—conferences, education, vacation, weddings, and so on. And during that time I have had the pleasure of meeting with many Iranian Christians. Some of them are brand new believers, just-baptized, some of them converted decades ago and are seasoned leaders in their churches. Some left Iran under favorable circumstances, while many left Iran as political, economic, or religious refugees. Some of them converted while still in Iran, some of them after their departure. I want to outline here a couple of things I have noticed about Iranian Christianity in the Diaspora.
First, this is a new church. If you have an Egyptian or Palestinian who comes to Christ, they are able to look back to their ancestry and say, ‘I had Christian ancestors, I’m returning to something ancient.’ And that can be important from a psychological and emotional point of view. Knowing that can bring them strength and encouragement. But Iranians never were Christians. So the churches they are forming and the sort of Christianity they are constructing is genuinely something brand new, and not simply a newer version of something ancient.
Second, Iranian Christianity preserves Iranian culture and identity. Iranians who become Christians tend to be critical of Islam to some extent. Many of them identify it with Arab culture and thus as something imported from afar, and ultimately something that degraded Persian culture. Most of their children have Persian names, and not Arabic ones. On the other hand, they continue to celebrate the Iranian New Year (Nowruz) with its rich traditions, because it is pre-Islamic.
Third, it is non-denominational. While these Christians by and large are evangelical and perhaps charismatic, there is no one denomination or Christian tradition that dominates the movement. On the plus side this means that Christians from many different churches and denominations are able to bring their ideas and spiritualities to the table. The down side is that personal differences among leaders can sometimes lead to divisions that probably did not need to happen. Over the years I have been in touch with Iranian Christians who are Anglican, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, as well as some who don’t belong to any one denomination. In spite of all this diversity, the good news is that the churches and leaders tend to stay in touch and consult together by means of meetings, conferences, the web, and so on.
Fourth, Iranian Christianity is facing huge challenges. The most obvious one is persecution within Iran, but there are others too. How does one train leaders when it is impossible to open a seminary (in Iran)? How can churches and leaders remain accountable to each other when they belong to so many different denominations? Will the prosperity gospel lead to a bitter split among their churches? And what to do with the second generation, who are born in the West and perhaps feel more at home in a normal English- or German-speaking church?
Nonetheless, the story of Iranian Christianity is exciting and inspiring. We can now very realistically speak of hundreds of thousands of Iranian Christians around the world, and a substantial population in Iran itself. But as the church grows, opposition increases too. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Remember the Iranian Church in your prayers. It is the new-comer to global Christianity, but one with a lot of energy, but a lot of difficulties to face as well.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Monday, November 01, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Muslim-background Arabs who choose to embrace a Christian faith. While facing
personal challenges confidently, such as those that we have already discussed, many expressed a sense of inner torture when talking about raising their children. Because of the strong patrilineal source of identity in Arab countries, children of converts are generally expected to be Muslim, not Christian, and therefore the child of a convert to Christianity is actually a Muslim being raised as a Christian. At the very least, s/he may be a Christian who knows that s/he is different. Most of the challenges that converts face, their children also face. In addition, parents are concerned because their children are facing those challenges without any personal conviction that Christian faith is better than Muslim faith or that a different identity is worth fighting for. One couple, who was expecting their first child when I met them, said that they are afraid for their child's future, and had actually prayed that the wife might not be able to have children.
Kathryn Kraft, Community and Identity Among Arabs of a Muslim Background who Choose to Follow a Christian Faith, 2007, PhD diss, p 190.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Am tired and it's late for comments on my part. But this is great stuff!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Yesterday I posted an article about the French rioters, many of whom are disaffected youth from the ghettos. Today a reader sent me two more articles which point the finger at North-African Muslim youth.
Ivan Rioufol, of Le Figaro, wrote the following on his blog (FR):
All students are obviously not rioters. But the rioters of the past few days - and Wednesday morning again in the center of Lyon - are indeed students. They are, mainly, from the ghettos. The hooded people aren't marching to defend retirement at 60, or even the welfare system which enticed their parents or grandparents.
They're there to battle the Republic, its culture and it's most visible symbols: the security forces, the schools. That's why a school was burned down in Mans. The scenes of urban guerrilla warfare that they're reproducing are very similar to the images of the intifada of the young Palestinians confronting the Israeli forces. Comparisons are misleading, but these ethnic insurrections of youth who are often of Muslim culture, also reject the state seen as a colonizer and oppressor. These wild people, each time more intrepid and organized, remind us of the failure of their integration.
These raids contradict the lullabies which assure us that France controls immigration. "Integration works," says, for example former assistant of PM Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Hakim El Karoui (LeMonde, 10-11 October).
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
In today's issue which I just got in my inbox, there is an interesting story about tolerance in Algeria, may God prospoer that country and the church there. Here is a part of it:
The incident took place in Ain El-Hammam, a town in the province of Tizi Ouzou about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of the Algerian capital. Tizi Ouzou is part of Kabylie, an area of Algeria where the country’s Protestant church has grown with relative freedom in recent years.
Officers at a nearby police station saw the two men eating and confronted them for not fasting. When police realized the two men were Christians, they accused them of insulting Islam, according to local French-language press reports.
“I do not apologize for anything, and I regret nothing,” Fellak said before the verdict, according to Dernieres Nouvelles d’Algerie. “I have the right to not fast. I am a Christian, and until found guilty, the Algerian constitution guarantees respect for individual freedoms.”
The rest of the story is here.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Apart from political leaders, a reasonably diligent reader of a quality newspaper in the West will not be able to name a single Muslim distinguished in any field of human endeavor. Excluding the politically awarded Peace Prize, Muslims have won only three Nobel prizes since their inception more than a century ago, or one for every 450 million Muslims alive today. By contrast, there have been 169 Jewish Nobel Laureates (excluding the Peace Prize), or about one for every 89,000 Jews alive today. During the past century, a Jew was 5,000 times more likely to win the Nobel than a Muslim.
From Spengler at Asia Times.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Although the Qur’an states that it is in clear perfect Arabic tongue (al-Nahl 16: 103; al-Shu’ara’ 26: 195; al-Zumar 39: 28; al-Shura 42: 7; al-Zukhruf 43: 3), it could not be considered perfectly eloquent because of its imperfect Arabic grammar, its usage of foreign words, and its spelling errors. It contains many grammatical errors. The following are a few examples of these errors: al-Ma’idah 5: 69 (the Arabic word Alsabeoun should be Alsabieen); al-Baqarah 2: 177 (the Arabic word alsabireen should be alsabiroon); al-Imran 3: 59 (the Arabic word fayakoon should be fakaana); al-Baqarah 2: 17, 80, 124; al-A’raf 7: 56 (the Arabic word qaribun should be qaribtun); al-A’raf 7: 160 (the Arabic word asbatan should be sebtan); Ta Ha 20: 63 (the Arabic phrase Hazani Lasaherani should be Hazaini Lasahirieni); al-Hajj 22: 19 (the Arabic phrase ikhtasamu fi rabbihim should be ikhtasama fi rabbihima); al-Tawbah 9: 62, 69 (the Arabic word kalladhi should be kalladhina); al-Munafiqun 63: 10 (the Arabic word Akon should be Akoon); al-Nisa’ 4: 162 (the Arabic word Almuqimeen should be Almuqimoon); and al-Hujurat 49: 9 (the Arabic word eqtatalu should be eqtatala). Ali Dashti and Mahmud al-Zamakhshari (1075-1144), famous Muslim scholars, noted more than one hundred Quranic aberrations from the normal grammatical rules and structure of the Arabic language (Ali Dashti, Twenty Three Years: A study of the Prophetic Career of Muhammad, Allen and Unwin, London, 1985, p. 50).
From The Awakening.
Saturday, October 09, 2010
I wonder if Imam Rauof of the Ground-zero Mosque would be willing to come and say clearly that apostates from Islam in the Muslim world must be afforded freedom to make such a choice. I bet not.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
At the beginning of this scholastic year, the Greek Orthodox School “Bishop Timotheos” in Kufur Yasif was shut down by the Ministry of Education as it did not supply the license needed to operate. A year ago, the Mar Elias School in Daboria, established by the Greek Catholic Bishop Elias Shackor, was shut down for the same reason. It seems that the decision to disallow the operation of these schools is in keeping with the opposition of the ministers of education over the last few years to schools that are “recognized but not official “, especially those that are Christian
The state raised the banner of pluralism in the education system and in its citizens’ rights to teach their children according to their own world view. In the name of these values it founded public religious schools and acknowledged the existence of schools of the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish sector (Haredi) schools, who receive exaggerated benefits. A discriminatory attitude towards Christian schools that teach the core subjects and whose graduates excel in the matriculation exams should not be taken. Restricting these schools, which are firmly rooted in this land and are a success story, by preventing the opening of new such schools, despite the fact that their existence is a blessing and an element of improvement for the clumsy and tired mechanism of the Ministry of Education, is like shooting ourselves in the foot.
No comment. --Abu Daoud
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Well, I'm not sure he'll every actually read this, but I thought it was worth writing. My letter to the Pope on the topic of Catholic witness to Muslims can be downloaded at St Francis Magazine's website. Or just click HERE for the PDF.
Here is a sample:
The first reform I suggest is regarding Holy Scripture. One of
the most recurrent themes in conversion narratives of Muslims is
the reading of the Bible. Yet how many hundreds of thousands of
emigrants live throughout the West without access to the bible in
their own language? What if parishes in areas with significant
immigrant populations were told they had to have bibles available
in those languages--perhaps Arabic, Urdu, Farsi, Pashto, Turkish,
or something else? What if each sleepy Catholic parish became a
de facto source of distribution of Scripture? I am not talking about
proselytism, or even evangelism.
Please pass this on or link to it on your blog or website, especially if you are Catholic. Catholic mission to Muslims today is very weak, and it doesn't need to be like that.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
From the Encyclopeadia Iranica.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Second, one of the hymns actually contains the explicit phrase, 'justified by faith.' Which I loved. Why be afriad of this phrase? This bishop recognizes that there is nothing unbiblical or indeed un-Catholic about this phrase. He embraces it.
Finally, most of the liturgy of the word was in Latin, which I much appreciated, though it surprised me.
May God giver this pastor success during the rest of his sojourn in this United Kingdom.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Ashraf Ramelah, here.
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
In other news, I am off to Scotland later this month and will be there for about two months, working seriously and (let's hope) productively on my dissertation.
Your prayers are coveted. Oh yeah, and I'll be at the Papal Mass.
Thursday, September 02, 2010
All the churches in that city [Cordoba] had been destroyed except the cathedral, dedicated to Saint Vincent, but the possession of this fane [church or temple] had been guaranteed by treaty. For several years the treaty was observed; but when the population of Cordova was increased by the arrival of Syrian Arabs [i.e., Muslims], the mosques did not provide sufficient accommodation for the newcomers, and the Syrians considered it would be well for them to adopt the plan which had been carried out at Damascus, Emesa [Homs], and other towns in their own country, of appropriating half of the cathedral and using it as a mosque. The [Muslim] Government having approved of the scheme, the Christians were compelled to hand over half of the edifice. This was clearly an act of spoliation, as well as an infraction of the treaty. Some years later, Abd-er Rahman I requested the Christians to sell him the other half. This they firmly refused to do, pointing out that if they did so they would not possess a single place of worship. Abd-er Rahman, however, insisted, and a bargain was struck by which the Christians ceded their cathedral.
And so the single remaining church in the city became the Great Mosque of Cordoba. This mosque became a cathedral again in 1236 when King Ferdinand III of Castile recaptured the city from Muslim Moors.
Note, however, in these following thumbnails from recent news accounts of Muslim attempts to take the cathedral back for Islam (I'm not kidding), the fudging or complete omission of the cathedral's Christian origins preceding the establishment of the Great Mosque.
From the Times of London, April 3, 2010, "Muslims arrested for trying to pray in Cordoba's former Great Mosque":
The Great Mosque of Córdoba was converted into a Christian church in 1236 after King Ferdinand III of Castile recaptured the city from the Moors. The building later became the modern-day Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption.
Muslim organisations have long campaigned for the right to pray inside the building, which was once one of the biggest mosques in the world.
However, Demetrio Fernández González, the recently appointed Bishop of Córdoba, reinforced a ban on Muslims praying in any part of the 24,000sq m (260,000sq ft) building, saying that canon law did not permit it.
A statement from the bishop’s office said: “The shared use of the cathedral by Catholics and Muslims would not contribute to the peaceful coexistence of the two beliefs.”
The Roman Catholic Church cited archaeological reports that said before the Mosque was built in the 8th century remains of an earlier Christian temple had stood on the same spot.
From HERE. Ah Spain, London, Paris. We must invent a new word for you: suigenocide.
1. Could you please define how you are using the words "contextualization" and "syncretism" here?
I am using a different definition of contextualization, and I think that it also the meaning that is being used by the seven self-church. The original meaning of contextualization was an extension of indigenization and was understood to be something carried out by the local believers, not by missionaries. Of course missionaries do indeed need to adapt aspects of their communication, that's not new at all. But the actual work of contextualization is primarily the prerogative of the local believers, in conversation both the church of history and other churches in the world. This is the understanding of contextualization advanced by Coe and Schreiter. This is what I cal organic contextualization.
Initially evangelicals didn't like this idea at all, as it came out of the World Council of Churches in the early and mid 70's.
Eventually, though, some did get on board but they started to view it not so much as an historical progression that would take place perhaps decades or even centuries after the initial founding of a church. Rather it was interpreted as a missionary method, something that missionaries could do ahead of time, in advance of the founding of the actual communities. Do you see the difference? It's quite dramatic, I think. So in the older sense of the word (organic) contextualization is an extension and the next step after indigenization (leadership and authority are xfered to the locals).
In the newer sense of the word, which is only used by evangelicals incidentally, this is what I would call directed contextualization.
Now to your question about believers in Jesus who still call themselves Muslims. I would break them down into three categories, though maybe there are more. 1) Those who do this because they don't want to be persecuted. 2) Those who use the term for the sake of evangelism and not burning bridges. 3) Those who genuinely feel and think like Muslims, but with some kind of affection or love for Jesus and faith that he reconciles us to God. I don't know any of the third sort, though I'd be interested in meeting some. Based on my lengthy conversation with our common friend yesterday I *think* he is advocating the second category. That doesn't seem to be what I hear from CG people though.
The only real study of people I've read who might be in category three are the 'Jesus Imandars' in Dhaka by Jorgensen, which is really hard to get (I had to get it from Yale, good grief!) Even there, only a third of the believers would say they are 'muslims', another third said something like 'Muslim followers of Jesus' and the final third would not say they are Muslims at all.
Re Syncretism: I simply mean 'mixing' and I think it is integral to Christianity. The Christmas tree is syncretistic, but it's ok. Modeling worship after a concert is mixing too, and evangelicals love it. So syncretism is, I would say, neutral. There can be good or bad syncretism. But both of the forms of contextualization mentioned above are syncretistic.
Question 2. You said, 'In that [c5] approach the Western missionaries do the 'contextualizing' and then present their version of the 'contextualized' gospel to Muslims.' That is a pretty broad brush-stroke considering that c5 is not a methodology but a system of classifying indigenous "churches." Are you implying that, in your experience, all Muslims who have chosen to follow Jesus and retain their Muslim identity have been spoon-fed this concept?
The two terms 'c5' and 'contextualization' have suffered the same fate. They were removed from their original context and recruited as evangelistic tools. Thus C5 went from being, as you rightly noted, simply a descriptive tool, to being a church-planting strategy. Missionaries decided ahead of time what kind of church their team would plant, maybe c4, maybe c5, and they would tell you, even before their first convert. Does this not match your experience? It sure matches mine.
Spoon fed? That's a little bit stronger term than I would use. It implies a sort of mono-directionality to the relationship between missionary and disciple. I would not say they are spoon-fed it, but they are fed it, or at least offered it and told that's it a good dish. And in the end, Anglican missionaries tend to make Anglican converts, as do baptists and Catholics and Pentecostals. We teach what we know. We try to allow for self-expression and exploration, but for the most part what the missionary suggests is what the disciple will believe. If the missionary suggests, you can or you should continue to call yourself a Muslim, then guess what, he or she probably will.
Hope that helps. --AD
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
These are societies that are able to preen themselves on their sophistication and enlightenment only because they have managed to retire into an arbor of relative peace and considerable opulence. They feel no hazard in inviting the 7th century into the 21rst while deprecating their own traditions, usages, and foundational premises. It should be conceded, however, that the chief culprits in the charade of self-delegitimation derive mainly from the more advantaged and connected strata of society.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Better witness is borne to the Lord by the splendour of holiness and art which have arisen in the community of believers than by clever excuses which apologetics has come up with to justify the dark sides which, sadly, are so frequent in the Church's human history.
If the Church is to continue to transform and humanise the world, how can she dispense with beauty in her liturgies, that beauty which is so closely linked with love and with the radiance of the Resurrection?
No. Christians must not be too easily satisfied. They must make their Church into a place where beauty—and hence truth—is at home. Without this the world will become the first circle of hell.
Guess who said this...
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
But fear not, they will go to the UK.
The great fear of the West is Pakistan falling under the control of radical Islamists. The great fear of Pakistan’s leadership is the state fracturing (this is probably #2 for the West – a nuclear Yugoslavia.) But the endemic low level violence suggests another possibility, the state dissolving – a nuclear Somalia.
Medium and Long-Term Dangers
Meanwhile the terrible flooding is testing the capabilities of Pakistan’s institutions and they are failing. Their record at providing immediate relief is mediocre. But the floods have destroyed Pakistan’s crops, so that the country (which is already broke) will be forced to buy or beg food abroad. It will be several years before Pakistan’s agricultural production will return to their previous levels – so food shortages will be an ongoing problem. Even without the crisis food security was a problem in Pakistan. In addition, cotton crops, essential to Pakistan’s major export industry – textiles – have also been devastated. All of this can only further weaken an already precarious economy.
From The Terror Wonk, a blog that is new to me.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
I have been spending a good amount of time lately with people connected to ministry to Iranians, both in country and in the huge Iranian diaspora. You get juicy tidbits of news from time to time. For example:
+Iranians are more and more using traditional Persian names for their kids (Cyrus, Darius), rather than the Arab names you hear in the news (Mahmood, Aali, etc.)
+One lay minister estimated to me that 70% of Iranians don't believe in Islam. maybe half of those are secularists, the other half are looking for some other way to live in God's presence.
+Some young Iranians are trying to purge their language of Arabicisms. So rather than using the Arabic greeting 'salam' they will use Persian phrases.
+One man told me he used the phrase 'in sha' allah' (Arabic, but commonly used by Muslims all around the world), and she corrected him, you must say God willing (in Farsi, not Arabic).
+Some people ask, are you Iranian or Muslim?
+I have a pretty good idea of the number of MBB's in Iran, it is sizable. But sometimes it is best not to publish such numbers on the internet.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Listen carefully to Muslim rhetoric in this country and elsewhere in the West. It is always not-quite-what-it-seems-to-be: we hear, for example, the phrase "we are here to stay." What does that ambiguous phrase mean? Is that a rousing sign of loyalty to the American political and legal system? Or is it, rather, an aggressive and defiant expression -- we're here, we're not going anywhere, and we will do exactly as we please, in putting relentless pressure on the American legal and political system, on its educational system, on its social understandings, and will never give up, and don't think about trying to stop us -- because "we're here to stay" and the lands that, for now, you possess do not really belong to you, but belong to Allah and to the "best of peoples," that is, the Muslims. You have only temporary possession, perhaps not even a life estate; the fee simple belongs to us, the Umma, the people who received rightly the message, from the Seal of the Prophets, that Perfect Man (al-insan al-kamil), Muhammad. And while some Muslims say no Infidel laws should be obeyed, others, more prudent, think that for now such a demonstration would not be in Islam's best interests. They take a different tack: we will obey your silly manmade Infidel laws insofar as they either do not contradict any part of the Shari'a. And they then add, in a sub-rosa coda meant to be understood only by fellow Muslims: "and only because it makes more sense for now to temporarily do so, in the same spirit of Muhammad treating with the Meccans at Hudaibiyya, that is, insofar as our present relative weakness in the West requires that we temporarily must, in order to bide our time and fortify further our position."
Monday, July 26, 2010
Archaeologists in Jordan announced on Tuesday the discovery of a cave under the church of St Georgeous in Rihab that they believe was used as far back as between 33 AD to 70 AD to shelter early disciples of Jesus Christ - making it the first Christian church in the world
See all the pics HERE.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
“The truth is that medieval Muslims came to realize the Crusades were religious but had little interest in them. When, in 1291, Muslim armies removed the last vestiges of the Crusader Kingdom from Palestine, the Crusades largely dropped out of Muslim memory.” (Madden 2009: 43)
“All the Crusades met the criteria of just war.” (42)
“In the Middle East, as in the West, we are left with the gaping chasm between myth and reality [regarding the Crusades].” (44)
“The Crusades were a medieval phenomenon with no connection to modern Islamist terrorism.” (41)
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Why Jordan is Occupied by Palestinians
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Deedat will have some accounting to do on the day of the judgment, I suspect. Thanks for writing this.
I also think that Deedat is wrong about Christians being trained to hate Islam. It is true that many, perhaps most, Christians hate or at least dislike Islam, but that is largely a product of what Muslims have done and are doing around the world. If we look for Muslim contributions to art, science, medicine and so on, we are very hard-pressed to find anything at all over the last centuries. Historically, when Muslims did take over such centers of learning as Constantinople and Alexandria the eventual outcome was always decline and stagnation. This will be the future of cities like Paris and London, I suspect.
If one is tempted to point to dar al hikmah in Abbasid Baghdad let me point out that a) the shari'a as it exists today was not yet developed, and b) once the Christians and Jews were properly submitted to Islamic rule and their rights and prerogatives circumscribed, decline was the only option, and indeed that is what happened.
But what are the implications of this theory? David Wood unpacks some of them here. Here is one snippet:
So who is responsible for the Christian belief that Jesus died on the cross? If Islam is correct, God started this idea when he decided to trick Jesus’ enemies into thinking that they had killed Jesus. This leads to even more problems. If the deception of the disciples was unintentional, then we must conclude that God didn’t realize that he was about to start the largest false religion in the world. If it was intentional, then God is in the business of starting false religions. Therefore, the God of Islam is either dreadfully ignorant or maliciously deceptive.
Muhammad’s position also means that Jesus was the greatest failure in the history of the prophets. He spent 33 years preaching (again, he began preaching Islamic theology at birth), yet shortly after his death, the children of Israel were divided into two broad camps. Those who believed his message became Christians, all of whom were guilty of the worst sin imaginable (shirk), while those who rejected his message were guilty of rejecting one of God’s greatest messengers. Thus, whether people believed in Jesus or rejected him, everyone would ultimately be condemned and cast into the hellfire.
It’s strange, then, that Muslims consider Jesus to be one of the greatest prophets ever. It seems that he should have been able to win at least one lasting convert to Islam. But he didn’t. Further, a true prophet of Islam should have warned his followers not to turn away from Islam by falling for God’s deception. But Jesus never got that message across. Indeed, millions of people from around the world now refuse to accept Islam because they believe that Jesus died on the cross for their sins, a teaching that goes back to a deceptive God and an incompetent Messiah.
It would be nice to hear a Muslim response to these points.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Here is a very nice site which facilitates conversion from Christianity (or any other religion) to Islam. Included are testimonies of converts and a lot of apologetics. I think this site really demonstrates the vibrancy of Muslim witness in the world today. There are thousands of Muslims in W Europe converting to Christianity every year, I know. But the future is demographics and migration, not conversions. And demographics/migration, both in Europe and outside, are on the side of Islam. Folks in W Europe and Canada need to know about Islam because that is their future, or at least the future of their children and grand children.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Anyway, this may be hard to believe, but there are two Abu Daoud's even more famous than me (smirk). One is the collector of ahadith (pl of hadith), or sayings of the Prophet and his companions, and the other one was the mastermind of the Munich Olympics terror attacks back in 1972.
And now both of them are dead. Muhammad Oudeh abu Daoud has passed away. Note that the CNN writer does not understand that Daoud is not to be handled as a family name. Abu Daoud is a single name, like Pope Paul VI or Cher or Charlemagne and belongs in the A section of a bibliography, not in the D section.
Anyway, here is the CNN article.
Abu Daoud, may you reap what you sowed.
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Jenkins in The Lost History of Christianity, p 194
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Understanding Muhammad, by Ali Sina
If any one has read this please let me know, and let me know what you thought.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Kyrgyz violence: Kyrgyzstan struggles to quell ethnic massacres
Check out their population stats HERE.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Nonie Darwish, ex-Muslim
Saturday, June 05, 2010
Brussels Journal. HERE.
Thursday, June 03, 2010
• to recite vocal prayers at certain hours;
• to abstain from meat four days in the week; to cease hunting and hawking;
• to defend with their lives the mysteries of the Christian faith;
• to observe the seven sacraments of the church, the fourteen articles of faith, the
creeds of the apostles and Athanasius;
• to uphold the doctrines of the Two Testaments, including the interpretations of the church fathers, the unity of God and the trinity of his persons, and the virginity of Mary both before and after the birth of Jesus;
• to go beyond the seas when called to do so in defense of the cause;
• to retreat not from the foe unless outnumbered three to one.
from 'The Knights Templar' in The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained by Brad and SHerry Stelger. 2003.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
During these four and half decades [1960-2005], you see one period—from 1988 to 1994—that towers over other periods with respect to the growth rate. The reason for that spike in growth is quite simple: the New Testament in modern Turkish was printed and distributed, beginning in mid 1987. We had another spike from 2000-2002, and that is because the whole Bible in modern Turkish was first printed and distributed at the beginning of that period. (Bultema 2010: 28)
Check it all out over at www.ijfm.org.
Friday, May 28, 2010
A conservative activist and the organizations she leads have paid several thousand dollars for the ads to run on at least 30 city buses for a month. The ads point to a website called RefugefromIslam.com, which offers information to those wishing to leave Islam, but some Muslims are calling the ads a smoke screen for an anti-Muslim agenda.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
For now though I leave you with this juicy tidbit from Miller on p 507:
Here is what I would regard as very a fundamental disjunct between
Islam and Christianity: The Cross is itself the revelation of the
absolute incapability of Empire and Temple to address the deepest
needs of the broken icon. The cross reveals to us how the Temple
and the Empire, when given free reign, actually kill God. How different
is this from Islam, where the proof of God’s choice of
Muhammad was his ability to harness both Empire and Temple to his
aims? We should not be surprised by this though: the polis is made
up of people, and if our anthropology is different, then so will be our
politic. “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, but has
lifted up the humble.”
Check the whole thing out here.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
As we become ever more aware of our inextricable human rooted-ness in history and tradition, it seems to me all the more important to embrace, explore, and yes, when necessary, reform, that tradition. Contrary to some popular thought, anchoring oneself in a tradition is more conducive to inter-traditional dialogue than claiming an autonomous distance from any tradition.
Hence, the Christian Tradition must needs be maintained--through study, through interaction, and through liturgical/sacramental practice--in order to continue to provide a "solid rock" on which to build our evangelistic efforts.
From Think, Ubu, Think! Share your thoughts either here or there.
Monday, May 24, 2010
12:17: "Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus."
This surprised me!
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Table Talk, On the Turk
Friday, May 14, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
And now we have this treat, the blog Energetic Procession, which is Orthodox, has a decent post arguing that the Didache is in harmony with Ignatius' monarchial episcopate. Check it out and decide for yourself for successful the argument is.
Apostolic Succession in the Didache
Friday, May 07, 2010
systematic theology in Dyrness ed. p. 866. Dictionary of Global Theology
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
“The purpose of Lutfi’s litigation was to restore back to her twins their identity as Christians, before reaching the age of 16 in June, when they will have their national ID cards issued,” she wrote. “Camilia said that because of the developments in their case, her worst nightmares would materialize, in which they would have Islam as religious affiliation on their ID cards.
Read it all HERE.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
But Christ has already won the victory. And his victory, quite appropriately, was at the hands of Rome's principal instrument for the execution of those rebellious barbarians: the cross. Christ died for our sins; but however much it would have 'worked' had his innocent life ended quietly in bed in Nazareth, can we really imagine Christianity being the same if the death that saves us from death was a quiet and peaceful death in his sleep? I think not. Christ conquers Rome's good news of civilization by dying at its hands; he shows the world for what it is; he shows us for what we are. The Old Adam dies in the mutilated Image of God at the hands of those who believe themselves to be gods. He becomes the rebel- "he became sin"- in order to win the victory that Caesar never could. The idolatry of earthly goods and the pride in human accomplishment lies in ruins scattered around the Mediterranean Sea, while the ambassadors of Christ continue to subvert the principalities of this world through our tiny colonies called churches. Who is the victor?
Monday, May 03, 2010
Richardson, KA. 2008. “Evangelical Theology” in The Global Dictionary of Theology, p 296.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
to become identified as a Muslim background believer. What we
may think of as ‘secret baptism’ is not really secret when one
Muslim baptizes another Muslim and some of their family and
friends are there. Those who have been baptized gather very
naturally into their family or friendship groups. They protect
each other and provide for each other’s physical and social needs.
The timing of a Muslim background believer’s baptism should be
the prerogative of the man or woman of peace who won them to
the Lord and is discipling them. I know of many occasions when
Barnabas told me that a person he was discipling was not ready
for baptism. It often involved a lack of comprehension of the
Gospel and the security issue. We have had people who join the
believer’s movement to spy out other believers either for the local
government security services or for the fundamentalist Muslim
movements. Sometimes a Muslim’s baptism is delayed until they
can lead other family members or friends to the faith and join
them to establish a believers group. In most cases, baptism gives
new courage to the Muslim background believer and the Holy
Spirit empowers him or her to grow stronger in their faith.
Register, Ray. 2009. 'Discipling Middle Eastern Believers' in SFM 5:2, p46.
Just have not run across much material for the blog lately. Don't get me wrong, I read and write massive amounts, but blogging doesn't communicate some things well. For example, I'm reading Qur'anic Studies by John Wansbrough. It is petty amazing, but extraordinarily dense. And to copy a two or three sentence clip from it would require a page or two of background.
I also just recently completed the venerable conversion narrative of Bilquis Sheikh, I Dared to Call Him Father. Nowadays you can find conversion narrative books easily, but she converted in Pakistan in the 70's, so really just at the beginning of the growth of Islamic Christianity. A short book, inspiring, Catholics will like the role of the doctor-nun who tells a searching Bilquis to pray to God like she would talk to her father--hence the name of the book.
Am trudging also through Yusuf Al Qaradawi's The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam. Al Qaradawi was at Al Azhar, but I'm not sure what he's up to these days. Anyway, this is summa of what the name says. For example: if you find an animal which has fallen into a well and you can't cut it's throat to kill it, can you stab it in the rump and eat it? (Answer: yes.) Also, food given to Muslims by Christians and Jews is hallal, unless it is known that it was dedicated to someone other than God.
To round off the list, am also done with Secret Believers by Brother Andrew and Al Janssen. Not an academic book, but does a good job of giving examples of how complex mission in an Islamic context can be. Also, they don't romanticize much: two of the first converts get killed near the end of the book. One young Christian girl is kidnapped, forced to convert, forced to marry, made a slave....and so on. An easy read.
The Central Council of Muslims, which supports the right of devout women to display their faith by wearing a headscarf, spoke out amid a storm over the views of a secular Muslim woman who was set to be sworn in Tuesday as a regional government minister.
"Religion needs to be visible in public space. That applies to all religions," Ayyub Axel Koehler, the German-born president of the Council, told the German Press Agency dpa in an interview in Cologne.
From HERE. HT to Islam in Europe.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Gabriel Cardinal Zubeir Wako,
Archbishop of Khartoum
Khartoum, Easter 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
The Master, by residing in the Tao [Logos],
sets an example for all beings.
Because he doesn't display himself,
people can see his light.
Because he has nothing to prove,
people can trust his words.
Because he doesn't know who he is,
people recognize themselves in him.
Because he has no goad in mind,
everything he does succeeds.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Temple Gairdner, "THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH AS A HOME FOR CHRIST’S CONVERTS FROM ISLAM", Moslem World 1924, p 236.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
The Rt. Rev. Edmund Akanya, Archbishop of Kaduna and Bishop of Kebbi from the Anglican Province of Nigeria told conferees at the New Wineskins conference for Global Missions that outreach to Muslims in Nigeria with the gospel is "second nature" to Nigerian Anglicans and that Anglicans "face this challenge every day."
"After experiencing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior I went into mission. Up to 20 years ago we were dependent on missionaries. Now we have a thriving church with our own missionaries reaching out to Muslims, animists and pagans," he told the missions-minded audience many of whom had come from half way around the globe to plan mission strategies to reach the world for Jesus Christ.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Anyway, after a while he laid out carefully and intelligently the argument for Islam: the Gospel and Torah are corrupted, they were once integral but are not now. So God sent a final revelation, the Qur'an, through the last Prophet, to be a sure foundation and revelation to humanity. What is your response to this, he wanted to know.
I pointed out a few basic things: if God could not preserve the first three books, then why would he be able to preserve the fourth? (This is a question that has no answer, he said.) I also mentioned that the the Qur'an does not say the these books are corrupted. I said that 'tahriif' is simply an Islamic tradition, like the face veil, and you can take it or leave it as you like. I finally pointed out that in the Qur'an God tells Muhammad, "If you are in doubt about anything, ask the people who have read the book before you." Now how can God tell Muhammad to ask these people for advice if their Scriptures are corrupted? All pretty standard stuff.
Then something surprising happened. The other barber who had been listening jumped in, Yes, this is true, the Qur'an does not say the injiil is corrupted at all.
This surprised me a lot. I have never heard a Muslim who was not a follower of Jesus or an academic writing in some journal defend the integrity of the Gospel/injiil. Strange.
Anyway, I lent my NT to the first barber and told him next I'm back in his city I would go to pick it up, and see if he had found any corruption in it. Not sure when I'll be back down there, but God willing he will read it and we'll have a good conversation next I see him.
Friday, April 09, 2010
He will be baptized, but almost certainly not into the Catholic Church, because they have refused him. Now who is at fault for this man not being in communion with 'the vicar of Peter'?
One bright spot: some of the young laity who had witnessed some of these things told the priest that he had not acted correctly.
The branch that does not bear fruit is cut off and thrown into the fire.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Indeed. Since moving to dar al islam I have vastly expanded my knowledge of the Trinity and the Incarnation. Part of that, I suppose, is the natural process of learning more with time. But really, When you are living in an Islamic context knowing the Trinity becomes not a simple hobby or curios, but something central to your witness.
The whole post is at Circumpolar. I left a comment over there too, check out the whole thing.
Friday, April 02, 2010
Muslims Query Christian Beliefs
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
DE RATIONIBUS FIDEI (REASONS FOR THE FAITH AGAINST MUSLIM OBJECTIONS)
(and one objection of the Greeks and Armenians)
By St Thomas Aquinas, OP
And guess what, it's all online right HERE.
Will let you all know how this reading goes. If you read it (or have read it) let me know what you thought.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
on and mouths shut in the name of cultural relativism. This is a mistake.
To redress the wrongs of colonialism and imperialism, the West can take a
myriad constructive steps, including withdrawing support for the despots
and kings it props up and opening Western markets to goods and services
from the developing world. But capitulating to Islamists camoufl aged
as moderates and validating them up as genuine representatives of the
West’s Muslims is simply repeating the mistake of propping up the Saudis
as the legitimate spokesmen of Muslims worldwide.
Tarek Fatah, Chasing the Mirage, 312.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Book II, Sec. IV.
Chasing the Mirage, by Tarek Fatah, p 291
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The students declare that “multi-faith” alternatives are unacceptable because “a vast number of Muslim scholars throughout history believe it is impermissible for Muslims to offer prayers in a place where [a god] other than our Lord, Allah, is worshipped”.
In an open letter, the protesters also point out that the multi-faith room can accommodate only 40 people, which is too small for the number of Muslims who need to pray at least three times per day.
All-male groups have been praying on the pavement outside City since 15 February, with more than 200 reportedly turning up for Friday prayers in Northampton Square.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
When the Islamic revolution started in Iran and established complete Islamic rule in a country that enjoyed all the benefits of revival and progress, such as manpower, ample natural resources with vast quantities of oil at the top of the list, and a civilisation with a history going back thousands of years, people looked to the newly born Islamic revolution as an incisive test of all the contemporary Islamic movements. If it succeeded in establishing the "society of justice, freedom and progress," the other movements would, consequently, acquire a tremendous momentum that would be difficult to stop in any country throughout the Islamic world suffering from backwardness and sinking under the burdens of repressive regimes, and yearning for those voices calling for Islamic rule and application of the Sharia. The decisive test was there in that revolution, which took full control of an Islamic country of great consequence, an ancient history, and a future rich in encouraging potentials.
Nonetheless, the signs of failure manifested repeatedly following this Islamic revolution, year after year, were not echoed at all among the advocates of Islamic rule in the rest of the Arabic and Islamic countries.
Rishawi, Emir. A Struggle that Led to Conversion. Villach, Austria: Light of Life 1993. p 59. (Trans. unk)
Monday, March 08, 2010
The highly controversial politician also said he wants to halt the immigration of Muslims, despite the fact he agrees that the majority of Muslims are peace-loving and law-abiding.
“The majority of Muslims in our Western societies are law-abiding people like you and me,” Wilders said. “Still, I want to stop the immigration of people from the Islamic countries because they still bring a lot of culture that is not ours. Look at all the countries for instance in the Middle East where Islam is dominant – you see no rule of law, no functioning parliament, no civil society.”
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
by Abu Daoud
In part X of this series I talked about reasons why Muslims are attracted to the Christian faith. This topic of conversion is very interesting, and I want to discuss it a little more.
What led you to Christ?
The first time that I had the desire to study the New Testament in detail was when I was in front of the Kaaba in Mecca—I lived for a time in Mecca. Christian literature is strictly prohibited in Saudi Arabia and many websites are even blocked, but with the development of modern communications, it is not difficult for those who are looking to find the Word of God. After a time, I tried to convince and American who was working in the Saudi capital to convert to Islam. When I spoke to him, he responded with much courage and conviction. I was surprised by his courage, because in Saudi Arabia a man who preaches Christianity can easily be killed. Conversations with Christians in Saudi Arabia were very important for me. As someone associated with the Islamic mission in Arabia, I encountered many foreigners. I always remarked that in most cases, people converted to Islam, not because it was their free choice, but in order to keep working in Saudi Arabia and to obtain a release from the taxes imposed on non-Muslims. The fact is that the salaries of non-Muslims are lower than those of Muslims because of the need to pay a special tax, set by Muhammad. Salaries for Christians in Saudi Arabia are rather low, and some convert to Islam in order to earn more money. The majority of Filipinos who return home immediately renounce Islam. I began to explore Christianity even more and, little by little, I sensed its superiority over Islam. I first consciously encountered Orthodoxy in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia. Unfortunately, the priests in Sarajevo did not speak English and I could not really express what I wanted. After waiting for a group of Imams to pass by, I went into the Serbian church and I felt the astonished look of the Serbian priest when I made the sign of the cross in the Orthodox way and I made a prostration onto the ground. Then I knew that Orthodoxy was, of all the Christian confessions, the closest to me. I studied Christianity and Orthodoxy even more, reading books and watching films. I also liked the movie Ostrov (the Island). Slowly, I decided to ask for baptism in the Russian Orthodox Church.
Read it all HERE.
Monday, March 01, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
In country after country, immigrants, often from Muslim countries, are being targeted. More than at any point in recent decades, fear is becoming the dominant force in European politics, warns the French commentator Dominique Moisi. The immediate cause for this fear has been the economic crisis, which has stoked worries about outsiders stealing Europe's jobs and overburdening its welfare system. But the animosity reflects a deeper shift. Immigration to Europe has exploded in recent years, so much so that the EU has overtaken the U.S. as the world's premier destination for people seeking a better life abroad. Since 1990, 26 million migrants have landed in Europe, compared with 20 million in America. There they have helped fuel economic booms, reinvigorated the continent's declining birthrate, and transformed cities from Madrid to Stockholm. The European Commission estimates that, since 2004, migration by Eastern Europeans alone to Western Europe has added a net €50 billion, or 0.8 percent, to the bloc's GDP each year.
Yet not everyone is convinced of these benefits, and the migrants are provoking deep fears that Europe's racial and religious identity is being lost. Driven by such anxieties, governments are starting to turn against the newcomers. Many states, including Britain and Italy, have put new limits on immigration, while others, such as Spain and the Czech Republic, are paying migrants to go home. As a result of such measures and the downturn, labor migration to Europe plummeted last year.
Abu Daoud's prediction? Migration will not significantly decline. Maybe legal immigration will, but that's just one slice of the pie. As Muslim countries (Yemen, Pakistan) continue to disiintegrate look for many, many more immigrants/refugees. They will arrive and will do anything they can not to leave.