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Showing posts from January, 2012

Evangelii Nuntiandi §55: Secularism and Secularization

Well, I had left this project off some time ago, a running commentary on the great writing of Pope Paul VI (Servant of God, I think?) on the Church's mission in the world. But I felt like I should take it up again for a season.


So, without further ado, here a section on the difference between secularization and secularism:
On the one hand one is forced to note in the very heart of this contemporary world the phenomenon which is becoming almost its most striking characteristic: secularism. We are not speaking of secularization, which is the effort, in itself just and legitimate and in no way incompatible with faith or religion, to discover in creation, in each thing or each happening in the universe, the laws which regulate them with a certain autonomy, but with the inner conviction that the Creator has placed these laws there. [...] Here we are thinking of a true secularism: a concept of the world according to which the latter is self-explanatory, without any need for recourse to Go…

Demographics in the USA and Europe

As many of you know, demographics is, in my opinion, the key factor in determining the future cultural direction of the West. As much as I am interested in religious conversion (here, and here, and here), and as much as I advocate welcoming Muslims into the household of God, the numbers of converts are just not large enough to make a big difference on a longterm societal level (right now).
So I was interested to find this article, about immigration and birth rates in the USA and Europe. The author says that most American babies will be Latinos. And that Europeans are also not having babies, but Muslim immigrants are, thus making 'Muhammad' the most popular male baby name in various european countries: Europe is dying as its nations run out of babies. Three-quarters of Europeans live in societies with fertility rates below 1.5. In the 14th century, the bubonic plague wiped out 75 million people; and in the 21st century, a larger number will be lost in Europe through demographic…

Egypt, the Shari'a, and the rights of non-Muslims

There is a fine article at the blog Free Orthodox Mind on the topic of the Islam being the basis of Egyptian law. The writer (a Copt) argues persuasively that it is impossible for Shari'a and Human Rights to co-exist.

Egypt today, England tomorrow, my friends. Read it all HERE. A sample:

- Gender inequality, the Islamic law hinders women from being judges, and from testifying in courts. A woman can't be a judge and can't testify in a court because she is inferior to man.
- Apostates (riddah) lose their possessions; a convert from Islam would lose his/her worldly possessions as well as other rights. In addition it's nearly impossible for them to change their religion in their IDs, and they have to be hidden from people in order not to be killed as according the Quran and the Islamic law the apostate should be killed (Quran 2:217)
- Witnessing in courts, A “Just” witness has to be a “free Muslim, i.e. not a slave Muslim”; non-Muslims witness in court is not admissible accor…

Muslims torturing and raping Christian children in Pakistan

By David Virtue

Christian children have become the victims of recent violence. The shocking protest of a Catholic Member of Parliament in Pakistan: "In Karachi children are being raped and tortured to eliminate the presence of Christians."

Children raped and tortured, families extorted, abuse and violence taking place at the expense of terrified victims who remain silent: this is the reality of what is happening to the Christian community in some suburban quarters of Karachi, Southern Pakistan's biggest city and the capital of the Sindh province.

Speaking to Catholic news agency Fides, Michael Shind, a Catholic MP working in Pakistan's Sindh province, gave a shocking statement condemning the situation for Christians in the Country. A statement by Vatican Radio, warned that for months now, Christians in the areas of EssaNagri, Ayub Goth and Bhittaiabad, have suffered indescribable violence perpetrated by members of political movements, such as the Pashtuns …

Ramon Llull and the 100 names of God

For anyone who has been reading the blog for a while, you know that my great hero is Ramon Llull. He is the father of the Church's mission to Muslims, and in all the 700 or so years since his ministry we have not seen anyone like him arise, though there are some who came close (Temple Gairdner of Cairo being the only one I can think of).

I just noticed that Lullian Arts now has made available Llull on the 100 names of God. Check out that website (see my blogroll) or just download the PDF by clicking here.

I love how Llull can take very simple ideas like 'God is infinitely glorious' and work very simply up to the logical necessity of the Holy Trinity. I mean, who else can do that?

Still hoping he will become officially canonized one of these days too...meanwhile, Blessed Ramon Llull, we share in your intercessions for the conversion of the Saracens whom God loves with a perfect love.

--AD

Muhammad's argument against the divinity of Christ

Here is Muhammad's argument against the divinity of Christ. Let me know what you think:
The Christians came to Muhammad and argued with him about Jesus, son of Mary. They asked him who his father was and uttered many lies and slanderous things about Allah - he is the only god; he has neither wife nor child. Muhammad said to them: "Do you not know that our lord is living and that he will not die? Jesus, however, was exposed to mortality." They said, "Yes." He asked them, "Was there a reason for Jesus being different?" They said, "No." He said, "Do you not know that nothing is hidden from Allah, whether on earth or in heaven?" They said, "Yes." He said to them, "Did Jesus know more than Allah taught him?" They said, "No." He said: "Our Lord fashioned Jesus as he pleased, in his mother's womb. Do you not know that our Lord neither eats nor drinks nor eliminates anything unclean?" They answer…

Abu Daoud on the Arab Spring

From Part II of my interview with Don Warrington. Read it all at his blog and leave some comments already! Here is one of the questions:

6) Where do you see MENA going, especially in view of events such as the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and the Arab Spring? This is the million-dollar question, isn’t it? First, the people who protested didn’t take political control, so as much as they wanted freedom and democracy, they just won’t get it, I’m sorry to say. The Egyptian elections were demonstrably corrupt, though the international press has not said so—I have no idea why. The Islamists will take power and they will not let it go. And why is this surprising? That is precisely what Muhammad did—engaged in diplomacy and compromise and so on, but once he had power he was ruthless. In the end, an Islamic society cannot be a free society. Islam and freedom are mutually exclusive.

The question I have is this: will it be like Iran? After the revolution in `79 Islam had a chance to prov…

Don Warrington interview Abu Daoud, Part i

Don Warrington over at Positive Infinity keeps a fine blog which has been on my blogroll for years here at Islam & Christianity. Don interviewed me about being in the mission field in the Middle East, and the first part of the interview has been posted. Check it out HERE.

Here is one section of the interview:

2) What type of training did you obtain for this? Was it helpful? For others who might be considering this, what kind of training is best?My own training was largely on my own. I will say that having a background in philosophy from a secular university is great. I mean, philosophy is all about listening very carefully to what people say and write, to the point where you understand them better than they understand themselves even. We debated and thought about the big questions—the relation of the soul to the body, the existence of God, the nature of good and evil, and so on. With that sort of background you are really able to interact with Muslims on a whole different…

Eliot on the Epiphany: Journey of the Magi

One of the best poems ever. You can hear him read it himself at Poetry Archive.

Journey of the Magi
by T.S. Eliot

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The was deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter."
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to …

Schmemann on the Eucharist

See how excellent Orthodoxy is? Some words from Schmemann to start the year:


He is our bread—because from the very beginning all our hunger was our hunger for Him and all our bread was but a symbol of Him, a symbol that had to become reality.

Aside from the fact that the New Year started at Advent, happy New Year to all of you. May God make us all fruitful and wise in 2012, and fill us with a great desire to share his grace and love with all around us.

--Abu Daoud