Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Aquinas responds to Muslims

Holy Schnykies! I almost fell out of my chair just now. How in the world did I not know about this text?

(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

Why the West censors itself on political Islam

Political correctness and liberal guilt over historic colonial abuse in the Muslim world can easily blind Western leadership and society to the anti-social agenda of radical Islam. The unspoken policy is to keep blinders
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

What is the difference between Islam and Christianity?

A Muslima friend of mine asked me this recently. What do you say? How would you answer this question to a Muslima who sincerely wants to know your point of view?

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Constitution of the Holy Apostles on Bishops

You, therefore, O bishops, are to your people priests and Levites, ministering to the holy tabernacle, the holy Catholic Church; who stand at the altar of the Lord your God, and offer to Him reasonable and unbloody sacrifices through Jesus the great High Priest. You are to the laity prophets, rulers, governors, and kings; the mediators between God and His faithful people, who receive and declare His word, well acquainted with the Scriptures. Ye are the voice of God, and witnesses of His will, who bear the sins of all, and intercede for all; whom, as you have heard, the word severely threatens if you hide the key of knowledge from men, who are liable to perdition if you do not declare His will to the people that are under you; who shall have a certain reward from God, and unspeakable honour and glory, if you duly minister to the holy tabernacle. For as yours is the burden, so you receive as your fruit the supply of food and other necessaries. For you imitate Christ the Lord; and as He “bare the sins of us all upon the tree” at His crucifixion, the innocent for those who deserved punishment, so also you ought to make the sins of the people your own.

Book II, Sec. IV.

Where does the Hijab come from?

What Islamists do not admit is that the custom of the veiling of women in early Islam was not part of the dress code until Muslims conquered Persia and the Byzantine territories in the 7th century. It was only after this assimilation of the conquered cultures that head covering and veiling were viewed as appropriate expressions of Islam practice. Since the veil was impractical attire for working women, a veiled woman was a sign that she belonged to the upper class and that her husband was rich enough to keep her idle.

Chasing the Mirage, by Tarek Fatah, p 291

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Muslim Group at London U won't share prayer room with others

Hundreds of Muslim students have been holding prayers outside City University London for a month in protest at the closure of a prayer room used exclusively by them.

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.

From HERE.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Proof in the Pudding: Iran as the Great Failed Islamic Experiment

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

Geert Wilders: Stop all Muslim immigration to Europe

I can't believe that they would let someone say this in the British parliament:

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.”

From here.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Part XXI: Islam, Conversion, and Identity

Part XXI: Islam, Conversion, and Identity
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.

The nature of the Gospel, and of Christian mission in general, is not to replace any given culture with ‘a Christian culture’. For a while this was indeed the strategy, to become Christian meant getting a Western name and wearing European clothing and so on. Those days are long gone though. Today we understand that every culture will have elements that need to be confronted by the Gospel, but that does not mean that the Gospel itself becomes the new culture. It is like the salt, which makes the food good, but which you don’t eat on its own. Cultures are evangelized, not just individual persons.

And here is where Islam comes into the equation: shall we understand Islam as a cluster of cultures which need to be evangelized, but not replaced? Or shall we understand Islam as rival religion, which must be replaced by the Christian religion? There are multiple heated arguments on this topic going on all over the place today among missionaries and converts as well. Let me unpack the results of each theory:

If we say that, yes, Islam is indeed a culture, then, just like we have Jewish followers of Jesus (who don’t call themselves Christians), we can also have Muslim followers of Jesus. They worship God through Jesus Christ, read the Bible and believe in it, and will tend to have a positive view of the Qur’an and Muhammad. They do not call their gatherings ‘churches’ usually, and they tend to use the Islamic vocabulary and names (like ‘issa for Jesus), rather than Christian terms (yasuu’ for Jesus). This group will focus on using concepts that overlap with the Qur’an like ‘Kingdom of God’ and ‘straight path.’

But what if, when we look at Islam, we see a rival religion? Then there is no way to reconcile Muhammad and Jesus, the Bible and the Qur’an, nor should we try to do so. This approach would generally focus on the new identity a person has in Christ, with an emphasis on being part of the Church—a different community than the Islamic umma. It would be normal for a person to take a new (non-Islamic) name, though not required. Their view of Muhammad and the Qur’an will tend to focus on short-comings and deficiencies.

Clearly, I am painting with broad strokes here. But that should not obscure the very real issue at hand here—it is not just a matter of semantics. If Islam is more of a culture to be evangelized, but we preach as if Islam were a rival religion, we may fail to communicate the Gospel in an understandable manner relating to that culture’s context. On the other hand, if we emphasize how the Gospel and Islam as a culture go together, and thus create a community of Muslim followers of Jesus, we risk compromising central beliefs (the Trinity, the incarnation) and practices (baptism) that have always defined Christian orthodoxy. These are, broadly speaking, the two paths before the churches today as they seek to relate the message of new life in Messiah to the Muslims of the world.

London: Muslim leader converts to Orthooxy

Wow, I'm suprised here, but it's great news. I just wish the Orthodox here in the Middle East would show some vague interest in sharing the Gospel with Muslims too.

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

Europe: against bloggers but for financing terrorism

There is terrorism and there is Islamophobia. Of these two the latter is apparently the more serious misdemeanor. Europe is introducing draconian measures to monitor the internet for so-called “racism,” but at the same time the European Parliament has decided to deny America access to servers with international banking data that relate to terrorist organizations.

From here.