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Showing posts from November, 2012

Aquinas on Tyranny

St. Thomas Aquinas, II-II, Question 42:

Tyrannical governance is unjust, since it is ordered to the private good of the ruler, not to the common good, as the Philosopher makes clear in the Politics and the Ethics. And so disturbances of such governance does not have the character or rebellion, except, perhaps, in cases where the tyrant’s governance is so inordinately disturbed that the subject people suffer greater harm from the resulting disturbance than from the tyrant’s governance. Rather, tyrants, who by seeking greater domination incite discontent and rebellion in the people subject to them, are the rebels. For governance is tyrannical when ordered to the ruler’s own good to the detriment of the people.
HT to Joel Martin over at  Living Word.

Action: save this Wikipedia page!

One of my favorite Wikipedia pages, on ex-Muslim studies, is up for deletion! I like this page because it has some good material on the new field of study of ex-Muslims and also because it references one of my articles, Apostates of Islam, which you should really read if you haven't.

Anyway, there is a question as to whether 'ex-Muslim studies' is a hoax, because there are no departments of ex-Muslim studies out there. Duh.

There are all sorts of people engaged in ex-Muslim studies (myself included), but one does not advertise it. Why? A few reasons:

1) If you work for a secular institution it is politically incorrect.

2) If you live in the West, it is politically incorrect.

3) If you are in the mission field, it could get you kicked out of your country.

There are additional reasons, but that's a starter. In some ways much of this blog's content is related to the discipline of ex-Muslim studies, though of course I focus on the folks who convert to Christianity more…

Emir Rishawi, ex-Muslim Christian, rejects penal substitution

Good quote here:

I have read some explanations on the death of our Redeemer and Saviour that represent it as a work that Christ did to appease the wrath of God, or as a ransom that Christ paid for man to free him from the bondage of Satan. But I believe that the wrath of God upon sinners and their bondage to Satan are moral images that aim at manifesting the true dimension and the deep contradiction between sin and God. The animal sacrifices that the Children of Israel offered to God expressed man's realisation of the distance that sin creates between him and God, and his conviction that death only can atone for sin, since sin is an uttermost offence against God.

This is from Rishawi's book A Struggle that led to Conversion. It is interesting to note how an Egyptian Christian, from an ex-Muslim background, accepts the doctrine of vicarious atonement, while rejecting the evangelical theory of penal substitution. Good for him!

John Gray on Al Qaeda, terror and making a New World

Splendid little book here by John Gray, Al Qaeda and what it means to be modern.

I recommend it, though some of his left-leaning suggestions seem incorrect to me. Also, I do not think we can accept without qualification his conviction that Al Qaeda is completely part and parcel of modernity. The idea of Al Qaeda of using violence to cause a revolution is, granted. But the use of terror to coerce political and social change for the entire world is as old as the Prophet himself. Strong points are his treatment of Saint-Simon and Positivism. A few good quotes from this book:

[Al Qaeda is]...a by-product of globalisation. (1)

Totalitarianism follows wherever the goal of a world without conflict or power is consistently pursued. (9)

There was never any doubt in Hitler's mind that Nazism was a modern project. An ardent admirer of Henry Ford and American techniques of mass production, the Nazi leader saw technology as a means of enhancing human power. Science enabled humanity--or some porti…

Orthodox outreach to Muslims in Indonesia

I have blogged from time to time on Indonesia. Click here to see some previous posts.

I ran across this article from SFM and it has a little synopsis of Orthodox outreach there. I know this blog has a few Orthodox readers, and I'm here in a city/country where the biggest Christian church is Orthodox. Just a few days ago I stepped into the local church to say a prayer for healing (back pains, ugh).

Anyway, here it is, by Darrell Jackson, "Mission and Orthodox Churches" in St Francis Magazine (September 2005), page 8:
The Orthodox Church in Indonesia started by the conversion of a young man of Muslim background who had converted to Protestant Christianity and was active in the Charismatic Movements of the 1970s. After studying at the Asian Center for Theological Studies and Mission, (ACTS) in Seoul, Korea, 1978, he picked up a copy of Timothy Ware’s book The Orthodox Church. In 1983 he converted to Orthodoxy and, after theological study in the US, returned as Priest in 1988…

Ali Sina: the Prophet Muhammad and mental illness

Ali Sina, a vocal critique of Islam and ex-Muslim, has written what appears to be quite a fascinating book: Understanding Muhammad: a Psychobiography.

Here is a section of the book's website:

Muhammad was an orphan. Spurned by his mother in his infancy and left in the care of a Bedouin couple, he had a loveless childhood. He then passed to the care of his grandfather and uncle who took pity on him and spoiled him. Not receiving love at a time he needed unconditional love and not receiving discipline when he needed to learn about boundaries, he developed narcissistic personality disorder, a trait that made him a megalomaniac bereft of conscience. He fantasized about unlimited power, expected praise and admiration, believed he was special, and expected others to believe him and go along with his ideas and plans.He took advantage of others, was jealous, yet believed others were jealous of him, and was …

Islam, religion of peace and religion of jihad...

Thus it has become unfathomable to the Arab mind to comprehend loving both Arabs and Jews and wishing both well. Our culture has deprived us for many centuries from loving all of humanity as equals, through intense religious indoctrination resulting in self-imposed isolation and non-integration with other cultures. This isolation and jihad against non-Muslims has become increasingly difficult to maintain. Muslims everywhere are trying desperately to save face, reform Islam’s image and deny the undeniable. But they also want to have their cake and eat it too. While they are telling the world Islam is a religion of peace, they still want to continue with the jihad against non-Muslim countries. While one leader says, let’s kill all the Jews and take over Rome, another says to Western media that Islam is a religion of peace and we are deeply offended by the anti-Islam rhetoric. To play [t]his sick game, Muslim culture must live a dysfunctional double life where everyone is deceived, incl…

Kenneth Cragg, Rest in Peace, some great quotes

From the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf website:

We mourn the death, give thanks for the life, and pray for the soul of the Rt Revd Kenneth Cragg, who has died in England at the age of 99. 
One of the greatest scholars of the relationship between Christianity and Islam, and one of the greatest workers in the field of Muslim-Christian understanding, Bishop Kenneth Cragg served both in Britain and in the Middle East, notably as Assistant Bishop in Jerusalem with particular oversight of Egypt, and in many other places too.
His scholarly and popular published works span more than 55 years and draw deeply on lived pastoral and human encounter. He was the most gracious and shrewd of Christians.
May he rise in glory.
Bp Cragg has been very influential to me and I have blogged on him from time to time. Here are some links to quotes on this blog that I think show his brilliance and skill:

On Islam and self-idolatry

Sacramentality and Islam

Cragg, Islam, and Prison

Liturgy and the Gospel for Mus…

"Game Over, America" by Abu Daoud

Game Over, America
by Abu Daoud
November, 2012 

It was an interesting experiment, but all things come to an end. The American experiment is over now. The country is destined to decline and stagnate and there is no hope in the near or medium-term future for any sort of real recovery. Why do I say this? A few points:

1) A state is only as healthy as its families. American families have deteriorated very seriously. Unprecedented numbers of children are begotten out of wedlock and/or do not live in two-parent households. Want to know why American kids are doing so poorly in school? It's all about the family situation. Read more HERE.

2) A nation of takers. The stats are terrible. Read them all HERE. More and more Americans are consuming and not contributing to the government or common life of the country. There has been a huge rise in entitlement outlays and no one will talk about how to fix it.

3) Huge retirement costs. You know all about this already. (If not, check out this or thi…

Israel and the evangelicals

Many evangelicals naively support Israel, not understanding that the State of Israel treats Christians with disdain and discrimination just like her Muslim neighbors. Israel likes Christian money and Christian weapons and Christian tourists. Israel does not like Israeli Christians though.

Recently from Christianity Today:

Christians Fight Israel's Marriage Ban

A new pope for the see of Alexandria!

The Coptic Orthodox Church is the largest indigenous Church in the entire Middle East. It also is based in the most populous Arab country in the world. All of this to say, this man will make decisions that have repercussions far beyond his country and Church. May God bless him and guide him!

Check out here for more info:

Oriental Orthodox Blog

PS: Tawadrus = Theodore

What does 'Christian' mean in a Muslim context?

A rather arcane (1938) document has recently come to my attention. It is the Riggs Report from the Near East Christian Council (NECC) meeting in Beirut back in the day. They were trying to figure out why so few Muslims were converting. (Though most people are interested in how this relates or does not relate to the whole Insider Movement debate, several other interesting points are made.)

Anyway, here is a section I thought was quite interesting and wanted to share with you:
[...] the name Christian, in the Near East, has almost exclusively a racial, political and social group-connotation, and does not suggest either a new way of life nor a spiritual rebirth within. If a group of believers is to grow up as indigenous and not alien, they cannot take on themselves that particular name. Some other terminology must be developed.
So what do you think? Can we toss out the word 'Christian' because it is misunderstood by Muslims? If so, what should we use in its stead?

The whole docum…