Our Amazing Moon

In studying Picture1and familiarizing myself with more “Goldilocks” factors, or factors necessary for life to exist on this planet, I am reminded of some basics, considerations I was amazed and entertained by in my youth, but have since forgotten or dismissed. I remember leafing through science books about oceans, and volcanoes, and animals, endlessly looking at pictures and enjoying all the wonders of nature. One of my favorite science books was the one on our solar system; our sun, our nine planets (Pluto wasn’t under the scrutiny it faces these days), and our amazing moon.

Genesis 1:14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

There are so many studies we could do on Genesis chapter 1, but one interesting thing to note is that many critics of the bible levy a charge against it that it simply borrowed creation accounts from other ancient cultures, such as Babylonian. I recommend studying that charge, as it is pretty easy to debunk. But note that those other stories from other peoples use terms for the sun and moon.

Babylon names them Shamash (sun) and Sin (moon). If we go farther back, to the Sumerians, their references to the moon-god are Sin, and Nanna. The sun was Utu, and Venus was Iananna, and since these were moon worshipping cultures, the writings say that these two objects were the children of our moon.

Clearly these ideas could not have given rise to our Genesis account, and any attempt to accuse such can be dismissed with a simple reading of the text. But note that at this point in history, these objects in our sky had already been named. It is intriguing to me that in our account, it simply states, “a greater light” (maor gadol) and “a lesser light” (maor qaton). It states they are there, made, and simply describes them. Genesis does not name either the sun, or the moon, because when that portion of Genesis was written, they had not yet been given names!

The names of these celestial bodies were given long after, by the Sumerians post-flood. The bible does not use names for them until Genesis 15 -Shemesh, the Babylonian name- and Genesis 37 – Yareah, a Canaanite name. This is great literary evidence that the first chapter of Genesis was written long before the myths of pagan cultures.

Our moon is a compass, a clock, a calendar, and a nightlight. Its distance and size is designed perfectly to provide a gravity that interacts with Earth’s, and regulates her tilt. It also keeps our oceans healthy, and regulates biorhythms. It is easy to understand how such a wonderful creation could be misunderstood and idolized by primitive peoples. But as Romans 1:25 tells us, mankind still falls into this trap today:

“Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the created things more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”

The moon is 238,900 miles from Earth, a particular distance that allows it, on its particular Picture2orbit to do something extraordinary, create eclipses. I say particular because typically satellites orbit around their planet’s equator. Since our earth is tilted at approximately 23.4 degrees, this would send the moon up and down rather than along the same plane as the sun. Instead, God had it orbit in perfect alignment with the earth’s orbit around the sun, regardless of the earth’s tilt.

It also has a particular size. The sun is 400 times larger than the moon, while the sun is exactly 400 times farther away! The result is that from Earth, they appear to be the same size. And when its orbit around Earth takes the Moon directly between Earth and the Sun, the Moon blocks our view of the Sun in what we call a solar eclipse. Considering the enormity of these bodies, and trying to fathom their perfect timing, size, and placement, that allows us on earth to appreciate their splendor that much more, I would be a fool as a cosmologist to not believe in an all-powerful creator God.

Psalms 19:1
The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands

Unfortunately though, that is precisely what many cosmologists are doing. The evolutionary mindset of many sciences has blinded them into thinking that despite all this perfect order, what they see is nothing more than blind chance, accidental, coincidental luck.

They cling to the dying theory of molecules-to-man evolution so faithfully that it forces the prevailing theories on the moon’s origin to be laughable. This is NASA’s theory as it stands today. This is literally what they believe, or try to believe, and condone teaching to students. This is what hoping there is no God looks like:

“The leading theory of the moon’s origin is that a Mars-sized body collided with Earth about 4.5 billion years ago. The resulting debris from both Earth and the impactor accumulated to form our natural satellite 239,000 miles (384,000 kilometers) away. The newly formed moon was in a molten state, but within about 100 million years, most of the global “magma ocean” had crystallized, with less-dense rocks floating upward and eventually forming the lunar crust. ” – NASA, (http://moon.nasa.gov/about.cfm)

Did you get that? A planet sized body collided with ours and formed a molten moon from the accumulating debris of an impact, in its perfect position, a perfect distance away, and didn’t destroy the earth in the process. And people laugh at my biblical beliefs!

Aside from the insurmountable ridiculousness of our leading cosmology theory, we run into another problem called lunar regression. It has been ascertained that the moon is slowly drifting away from the Earth at a rate of about 1.5 inches per year. Now, if we consider this drift from the presupposition that the bible’s chronology is accurate, after 6000 years or so this equates to moving the moon only 250 meters. Not a big deal.

However if, like NASA is declaring, the moon was blasted out of the Earth and somehow ended up in orbit 4 billion years ago, was it drifting the whole time? If we reverse the 1.5 inch drift over a period of  only 1.5 billion years (I say only, due to the vast ages applied to evolutionary theory) we reach what scientists refer to as “Roche’s Limit”. This puts the moon only 11,500 miles from the Earth, at which point, Roche calculated that the gravity of the two bodies would rip each other apart. This does not bode well for the theory that the moon could survive being blasted off the side of our planet. It also does not bode well for the moon’s age, which is purported to be 4 billion years old. This limiting factor of 1.5 billion years continues to baffle those who hope our beautifully arranged solar system has come about by mere chance.

In addition to this Roche Limit, it was also calculated (to further complicate the scenario) that the closer the moon was to the Earth, the faster the lunar regression would be, due to the Earth’s gravitational pull and spin ‘flinging’ the moon away faster. This means that we now have to account for even more regression in the past, and two bodies that cannot be too close.

And one final consideration. If Lunar regression puts the moon insanely close to the Earth a billion years ago -95% closer! –  and somehow scientists can bypass the reality of Roche’s Limit, what would gravity do to the tides of the oceans? Would the moon’s gravity flood the earth twice a day via global catastrophic flooding in a constant, destructive, never-ending, muddy, violent, perpetual water event? We already know evolutionists don’t believe in a global flood, right? (snicker snicker). But we would somehow have to explain how life not only came about and survived in this harsh environment, but also how it continued to thrive and evolve into more and more complexity.

I am glad it is not my challenge to solve, as I comfortably rest on the truth of God’s word. I can look up at the night sky, and feel blessed to look upon the heavens, and our amazing moon, and know that despite my sin, He loved me anyways.

Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Goodnight Moon.

 

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Satan’s Fall

Ezekiel 28 teaches us about the fall of Satan. When rebuking the King of Tyre, the chapter takes an aside to compare this king with Satan in the Garden of Eden.  Let’s look at the text:

Ezekiel 28: 12“You were the seal of perfection,
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The sardius, topaz, and diamond,
Beryl, onyx, and jasper,
Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold.
The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes
Was prepared for you on the day you were created.
14 “You were the anointed cherub who covers;
I established you;
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created,
Till iniquity was found in you.
16 “By the abundance of your trading
You became filled with violence within,
And you sinned;
Therefore I cast you as a profane thing
Out of the mountain of God;
And I destroyed you, O covering cherub,
From the midst of the fiery stones.
17 “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;
You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor;
I cast you to the ground,
I laid you before kings,
That they might gaze at you.
18 “You defiled your sanctuaries
By the multitude of your iniquities,
By the iniquity of your trading;
Therefore I brought fire from your midst;
It devoured you,
And I turned you to ashes upon the earth
In the sight of all who saw you.
19 All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you;
You have become a horror,
And shall be no more forever.”’”

Tyre was known for building wealth by swindling those nearby. Ancient writers referred to Tyre as a city filled with unscrupulous merchants. It was a center for idolatry and sexual immorality. The king is accused of greed and pride, and receives some of the strongest condemnations in the bible. But these descriptions surpass a king’s very human station as ruler. For example, could an earthly king claim to be “in Eden” or to be “the anointed cherub who covers” or to be “on the holy mountain of God?” This is a dual prophecy, not only about the fall of Tyre, but also the inevitable fall of Satan. Some suggest that it is possible the king of Tyre was actually possessed by Satan. But there is no way to know for sure. What we do know is God uses this condemnation of Tyre to describe Satan’s fall to us.

We also know that Eden is not only referred to in Genesis, but also in Isaiah, in Joel, as well as in Ezekiel. Furthermore, Christ refers to Man and Woman since the beginning in Mark 10:6, and Matthew 19:4, and sites Genesis 25 times – e.g. “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.”

In addition to all this, we know that Genesis records man’s first sin, and the fall, or curse, that is the result. This leads to expulsion from paradise, the curse of a fallen world, and death. We can familiarize ourselves with this truth from Paul’s words to the Romans in chapter 5:

12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses…
17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.
19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

So what can we conclude about Satan in the garden from these verses in the bible?

  1. Satan was created –  from the day you were created
  2. He was perfect (sinless) from that day of creation – You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created
  3. We know that on the seventh day, God said His creation was good. Since death was the result of the curse described in Romans, revelations etc, we know death had not entered into the world yet. This means Satan was good for a time between the seventh day and the fall.
  4. We know Satan was an Angel –  the anointed cherub
  5. We know Angels were shouted for joy when the land was created, which most likely refers to day three when dry land appears –  Job38:4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?Tell Me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6 To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, 7 When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
  6. We know that Angels are ministering spirits for people, which makes there creation and use symbiotic with human beings – Hebrews 1:14 – Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
  7. We know that Satan was perfect ‘until iniquity was found in him, and this resulted in him being cast out – Till iniquity was found in you. By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God.
  8. We know that it was this was caused by his beauty and pride – Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor
  9. And we know that this pride is the tool he used to entice mankind to fall – “Ye can be as gods”

Considering these texts from the bible, it is clear to me that Satan fell after creation while in the Garden with Adam and Eve. The result of this interaction is the curse of thorns, and sweat of the brow, and struggles, and death that we still feel to this day, but that will be lifted when Christ returns – [Revelations 21:4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
Revelations 22:3 And there shall be no more curse]

The fall of Satan, and of man, is crucial to understanding the redemptive work of Christ, as well as our understanding of a future heaven and future earth that has no pain, no curse, and no death.  If we look at these verses within the creation model, they all fit nicely together, and one can see the beautiful mosaic of life created, the fall, and the redemptive work of love to save us from it. If we, on the other hand, try to superimpose man’s theories of millions of years upon the words of the bible, we are forced to not only dismiss Genesis, but mounds of supporting verses, which must be thrown into obscurity, thus rendering much of the proven history of the Old Testament nothing more than fable, and folklore. We would have to conclude that the majority of all death, and troubles, and cursed ground we observe in the fossil record literally caused mankind, and was the method of his creation, rather than the result of sin. That the very curse described in our bible, and the reason for our savior, is merely the natural processes that God used to bring about all life. If this is the case, what exactly is Jesus Christ accomplishing on the cross? Is he merely stopping evolution? Declaring that those 4 billion years were enough?  If we do this, the authority of the text folds like a house of cards.

Romans 3:4 says, yea, let God be true, but every man a liar. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. Let us as Christians, imperfect though we may be, continue to strive towards looking at the world through the truth of God’s words, not man’s, and allow ourselves the possibility that man has denied truth in order to absolve his own guilt before a great creator God. Historically speaking, this is what we would expect.

 

If Jesus Doesn’t Know the Hour, Is He God?

Question posed to me by students studying apologetics:

“This is a question a lot of Muslims ask because they don’t believe in the Trinitarian attribute of our God and like to use Matthew 24:36 to “prove” that the Son and the Father are not one, but completely separate. So the question is, after reading the verse, how can Jesus the son be God the Father if God is omniscient and all knowing but Jesus does not know the hour and God knows the hour?”

This is how I answered:

The answer is based in what scholars have dubbed “the hypostatic union”, whereby Jesus Christ was both fully God and fully man. He walked and talked as a man, mourned as a man, suffered as a man, yet as God He was prayed to, worshiped, etc. We could certainly do a trinity, or deity of Christ study if need be, using John 1:1 (theos en ho logos), or in John 8 (before Abraham was I am) or Isaiah 7 (Emmanuel meaning God with us). In Micah He is called the everlasting father, etc.

But the emptying of himself on earth is described in Phil 2 “Who, being in very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man,he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death.”

Another example is in Hebrews 2 it states that “He was made for a little while lower than the angels.” We can infer from all this that Christ, during His earthly ministry, healed and did miracles by the father’s power, or the power of the Holy Spirit rather than His own. Therefore, having to live a perfect life as a man, He did this so perfectly or “fairly” may be a better term, that He did not know the day nor the hour.

If you are looking for a less intense, down and dirty answer, we’d simply refer to Revelations, which is a go-to place to witness to Mormons as well as those who practice Islam, since the deity of Christ is often attacked.

Ask, who is this that says in Rev 1:11 , “I am the alpha and omega, the first and last.” The Mormon, or Muslim will say that refers to God (or Allah they may say). Then ask, what about here in Rev 21:6, “I am the Alpha and Omega, beginning and the end.” Who is that? They will say, God.
Then we refer to rev 1:17-18. “I am the first and the last, He that liveth, and was dead, and behold I am alive forever more.” Who is this? They will say, that is God, to which you reply, “When did God die?”

Also, on a side note, The Quran of Islam states that God departed the law and inspiration to the bible’s profits, that he sent down the law of Moses, and the Gospel of Jesus, (Sura 2:87; 3:3; 4:163; and 5:46),  and that the word of God cannot be altered (6:34, 6:115). However, most Muslims will state that the bible has been corrupted and that the Quran must be trusted over the Christian bible. The real question is how can the Muslim trust the Quran, if in its very text it states to trust the gospels, and Allah’s words cannot be changed. Another way to state this is in a simple proof which the text bears out:

1 – If the Bible is true than the Quran is false
2 – If the Bible is false, than the Quran is false
3 – Therefore, the Quran is false

Please feel free to comment, and let me know if you have any additional thoughts in regards to this question.

If you are interested in my Christian Fiction, The Last Saint, please check it out here or on Amazon. 

Islamic Extremism Part 4

As I try to wrap up this series, the next incident occurs, in Ohio this time. “A suspect was shot dead by police after he allegedly plowed into pedestrians with a car and then stabbed multiple people with a butcher’s knife at the Ohio State University campus in Columbus, Ohio, this morning, the university said.” – ABC News.

The name and identity of the attacker has just been released as I write this, one Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a Somali Islamic refugee.

When I wrote about the terrorist attack in Nice, France, I make reference to the politically correct challenges of realizing who conducted the action, knowing without being allowed to say, what faction or religion was tied to the event. We all kind of know, be we all kind of aren’t allowed to say anything. Well, when the assailant drove his car into a crowd, and then hopped out with a knife, stabbing at shocked pedestrians, we kind of knew. But of course, no one could say.

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We said as a final part to my series on Islamic extremism, we would  examine why extremist beliefs are found to be prevalent in Islamic countries. If you are just joining us, I am sure you consider this a bold statement, however, it is based off Part 3. Read that first before complaining. Also, I have already addressed the difference between the God of the Bible, and the god of Islam. The short version is, the Bible clearly teaches the trinity, and that Christ is fully God with us, while Islam teaches that Christ was not God or was even divine, didn’t die on the cross, and wasn’t resurrected from the dead. The Law of Non-Contradiction would stipulate that these are clearly not the same gods. For more on that, click here. Put another more blunt way, in Islam, their god asks you to die for him, while in Christianity, He loved us enough to come die for us. As proof, let us review some  Quran and Hadith Verses:

Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.

And there is the type of man who gives his life to earn the pleasure of Allah.

I would love to be martyred in Allah’s Cause and then get resurrected and then get martyred, and then get resurrected again and then get martyred and then get resurrected again and then get martyred.

Allah guarantees that He will admit the Mujahid (inner-struggler) in His Cause into Paradise if he is killed (we must ask why the inner struggle would result in death)

seeking death at places where it can be expected.

Nobody who enters Paradise will return to this world even if he were offered everything on the surface of the earth  except the martyr who will desire to return to this world and be killed ten times for the sake of the great honor that has been bestowed upon him.

they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth… and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.”

As the Ayatollah Khomeini put it, “The purest joy in Islam is to kill and be killed for Allah.”

At a  youth convention in 1999: “Fighting for freedom, fighting for Islam, that is not suicide. They kill themselves for Islam.”

Back on task, let us look at Islam through the lens of history. The angelic visit for Muhammad happened supposedly in the year 610, when Gabriel appeared. After many years of meditations and visits, Muhammad recited to his band of followers the words he claimed to hear (many were from visions and trances, and many contemporaries believed him to be possessed by demons). This means that the very angel that appeared to the virgin Mary and told her that her son would be on the throne, and be called the son of the Most High God has allegedly revealed new revelation 600 years after revelation was closed and reinterpreted the bible to inform Muhammad that Jesus was not a deity. As a Christian, I am reminded of Paul’s words in Galatians 1:8 “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” Interesting to note that the revelation of Islam and Mormonism both appeared from an angel, as if Paul knew full well what dangers lie ahead.

Another not so small difference between the Gospel of Christ and Islam is the works vs grace component, which like most of the world religions, is in glaring opposition in regards to a means for salvation.

Note that there is no historical evidence of this Gabriel visitation, eye-witness accounts etc, and unlike the bible, the Quran is a revelation from one mind alone, therefore unable to be verified by historical texts and witnesses, not to mention the revelation is the result of no biblical prophecy, and instead stands in violation of biblical commands. This is compared to Christ who fulfilled many.

The prophet, Muhammad, conducted himself according to his beliefs, for what we believe determines how we behave. Jesus did the same, as He healed, taught, preached, blessed, and sacrificed Himself for the world. Muhammad’s actions were quite different. The goals being conquest, a political state based on Islam, which was quite definitively an earthly kingdom. If you are curious, there was a consequence for not wanting to pursue this same goal, if you practiced Islam, as many Syrians are finding out. Dr. Nasr Farid Wasel, former Egypt Mufti, said that all scholars agree that the punishment for rejecting Islam is death. The punishment is indisputably mentioned in the Hadith: ‘whoever changes his Islamic religion kill him.’

So did Muhammad pursue military conquests? Some would claim that Jihad is about the ‘inner struggle’. But facts regarding Quran content are as follows; In Bukhari (Hadith) 97% of the Jihad references are about war and 3% are about the inner struggle. At least 75% of the Sira (life of Mohammed) is about Jihad, and very little of it is about actual religion. Due to abrogation, as well as cultural differences, there is a great disparagement between Islam of the Quran & Hadiths (sayings & conduct of Mohammed), and the Islam as defined/practiced by your Muslim neighbor, American convert, or Muslim group living in the West.

So for insight into the extremist beliefs of those members of Islam that conduct themselves according to the beliefs and actions of Muhammad himself, and not the westernized idea of Islam, let us consider that conduct here, as compared with Christ:

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In 626 AD, Jewish tribes were exterminated.

Rape of the married women captives was condoned, often in front of the captured or dying husbands ([Sahih Muslim, Book 8, number 3371]; [Sura 4:24 -Also (forbidden are) women already married, except those (captives and slaves) whom your right hands possess. Thus has Allah ordained for you];  [In regards to finishing inside a victim of rape, a response of Muhammad’s as opposed to disavowing the rape of women – “O Allah’s Apostle! We get female captives as our share of booty, and we are interested in their prices, what is your opinion about coitus interruptus?” The Prophet said, “Do you really do that? It is better for you not to do it (withdraw before finishing). No soul that which Allah has destined to exist, but will surely come into existence.” (Bukhari 34:432) -] ).

The ransom and beheading of prisoners was common.

In the last Jewish tribe in Medina (Banu Qurayzah), Mohammed decapitated 800-900 men in front of their families. This was 627 AD.

“We went out with Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Bi’l-Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing ‘azl (Withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid-conception). But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah’s Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him? So we asked Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him), and he said: It does not matter” (Sahih Muslim 3371)

635 Muslims besiege and conquer Damascus
636 Muslims defeat Byzantines at the Battle of Yarmuk
637 Muslims conquer Iraq at the Battle of al-Qadisiyyah
638 Muslims conquer and annex Jerusalem
638-650 Muslims conquer Iran
639-642 Muslims conquer Egypt
641 Muslims control Syria and Palestine
643-707 Muslims conquer North Africa

Spain 711
Battle of Tours, France – 732
Moors 711 – 1492
1009 Destruction of the Church of the Resurrection by al-Hakim
1012 Beginning of al-Hakim’s oppressive decrees against Jews and Christians
1055 Confiscation of property of Church of the Resurrection
1071 Turks invade Palestine
1073 Conquest of Jerusalem by Turks
1076 Almoravids conquer western Ghana
1094 Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus I asks western Christendom for help against Turkish Seljuk invasions of his territory
1095 Pope Urban II launches the first crusade; they capture Jerusalem in 1099
1193 – Buddhists
1389 – Kosovo

1453 – Constantinople
1683 – Vienna
1917 – Israel – 1917 (Balfour Dec)
1922 – Armenians
Europe today (“Londonistan,” OIC, Sharia law)

780 years of the Reconquista

Over 17,000 terrorist attacks since 9/11 in New York.

Pursuit of Caliphate – Europe, America.

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This sampling of history, which is not taught when the west learns of Islam, may start to provide an inkling of where the extremist ideals originate. At some point, one is forced to honestly ask, are the peaceful tenants of Islam truly following the teachings of Muhammad at all?

 

 

 

Islamic Extremism Part 3

When the world’s intelligence agencies arrive at the 15-25% of Muslims who are supporters of extremist thought, we must ask ourselves what constitutes extremism. As mentioned in Part 2, to have a barometer at all in regards to extreme action, evil, and sin, we must have an objective standard of good. As a Christian this standard is derived from the Word of God. With only moral relativism as our guide to determine what is right and wrong, we would be reduced to mere opinion, and those who carry the biggest stick will ultimately determine the rules for those around them. This is precisely why America, and before that England, were founded upon common law, and God given rights.

That being said, if we use this as a basis for what is right in God’s eyes, rather than man’s eyes (Judges 17:6 In those days … every man did that which was right in his own eyes),  we can determine what is extreme, or evil. The most obvious one is of course blatant terrorist acts, such as the planes crashing in to the towers on 9/11, the Fort Hood shooting, suicide bombers, the Boston bombing, the truck crashing through pedestrians in Nice, and many others. This is out-and-out murder, and it is quite obvious this behavior should not be condoned, which most American Muslims do not. However, it is interesting to note that though most Muslims are not terrorists, terrorists garner much of their support from governments and citizens who support them. These would be people who believe in Sharia law, and condone things such as suicide bombers, and honor killings.

For reference, here are a few key rules of the legal system of Sharia:

  • Theft is punishable by amputation of the right hand (above).
  • Criticizing or denying any part of the Quran is punishable by death.
  • Criticizing Muhammad or denying that he is a prophet is punishable by death.
  • Criticizing or denying Allah, the god of Islam is punishable by death.
  • A Muslim who becomes a non-Muslim is punishable by death.
  • A non-Muslim who leads a Muslim away from Islam is punishable by death.
  • A non-Muslim man who marries a Muslim woman is punishable by death.
  • A man can marry an infant girl and consummate the marriage when she is 9 years old.
  • Girls’ clitoris should be cut (Muhammad’s words, Book 41, Kitab Al-Adab, Hadith 5251).
  • A woman can have 1 husband, who can have up to 4 wives; Muhammad can have more.
  • A man can beat his wife for insubordination.
  • A man can unilaterally divorce his wife; a woman needs her husband’s consent to divorce.
  • A divorced wife loses custody of all children over 6 years of age or when they exceed it.
  • Testimonies of four male witnesses are required to prove rape against a woman.
  • A woman who has been raped cannot testify in court against her rapist(s).
  • A woman’s testimony in court, allowed in property cases, carries ½ the weight of a man’s because she “might forget”.
  • A female heir inherits half of what a male heir inherits.
  • A woman cannot drive a car, as it leads to fitnah (upheaval).
  • A woman cannot speak alone to a man who is not her husband or relative.
  • Meat to eat must come from animals that have been sacrificed to Allah – i.e., be “Halal”.
  • Muslims should engage in Taqiyya and lie to non-Muslims to advance Islam.
  • A woman captive of jihad may be forced to have to sex with her captors (now owners).

According to latest intelligence, 50% of the 200 million Muslims in Indonesia believe in strict Sharia law. 65% of the 80 million Muslims in Egypt want strict Sharia law placed in every Muslim country. 76% of Pakistan’s 179 million Muslims wish to place Sharia law in all Muslim Countries. Bangladesh is home to 150 million Muslims. 25% of them have said that suicide bombings are sometimes justified. With as much respect to peaceful Americans I can muster, I must logically conclude that this mindset is extremist in nature. If someone disagrees, I would be curious to hear the reasons why. By the way, 82% of them want strict Sharia law, and more specifically stated that honor killings of Muslim women can sometimes be justified. There are 54 million in Nigeria for Sharia, 62 million in Iran, 23 million in Turkey. All of Afghanistan (99%). In Jordan, Hamas, the anti-Israeli terrorist organisation has a 60% approval rating. I could go on and on (video summary by Ben Shapiro, and article), doing this with each country where Muslims have a majority. If we look at facts, determine our criteria to define extremism based on freedom, love, and grace, or more specifically on an absolute moral law regarding how to treat one another, as you can see we arrive at far more than 25% of the Muslim world who adhere to extremist beliefs. We are in fact in the 100’s of millions, unless someone wishes to defend Sharia as normative behavior.

The question isn’t whether or not Islam is violent. The question is, what do its followers believe? Because, as we know from teaching creation vs evolution, what you believe determines how you behave. A much more poignant and divisive question might be, why do so many believe this way? Where does this teaching stem from. For that we must compare Islam to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and determine just how so many are being influenced by what they believe to support evil. Again, I do not mean to be insulting, and if someone wishes to defend these actions as not evil, I am all ears. But my ardent wish is that Muslims will see the love and power of Jesus Christ through the gospels, and turn from Islam to the one true savior. I know this isn’t a popular notion here in America, and is looked at with disdain, and narrow-mindedness. But truth is difficult, and I don’t follow Christ because it is easy. I follow Him because it is truth. Christ Himself stated in Luke 12:51, “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division.” The truth is divisive, and as stated in part 2, tolerance can be a disguise for indifference.

In the final Part, we will examine why these beliefs are prevalent. Does Islam and the Quran promote such extremist thinking?

 

Let’s get political….

In America, looming just over the horizon is an election that will determine who the country’s executive will be for the next several years. With the foreign affairs issues, the debt, the social issues of our times, the divisiveness of our society as a whole, how we react in the coming years will determine our role as either a falling power, or an example of how to manage a country and it’s citizenry. Needless to say, though I will anyway, out of 350 million people, we have collectively narrowed it down to two powerful individuals (referring to power accrued through worldly gain and influence), who are morally questionable to say the least, and who struggle with gaining enough of our trust to look beyond their flaws as human beings as  to render them able to manage our affairs in a competent way.

That is putting it mildly, is it not? Truth be told, the race to the White House is ugly. Every day dirt flies, and the past is drudged up and vomited out on the conscious of the country, for us to dismiss or denounce based on our party line. But what if I told you that collectively, we are no better then they? 50% of our internet traffic is sex related. 22 million of us use illegal drugs, and as far as legal drugs… over 49% of us have used them in the last 30 days. Americans consume over 80% of the world’s opiate supply. 58 million babies have been aborted since Roe vs Wade; that’s 18% of today’s current American population. 20% of men have had more than 15 sexual partners, and 24 million children grow up without fathers in this country. Upon examining your own lives, I would dare say there are moments you are glad haven’t had the bright light of media shined on them, and shown to everyone you know, as well as all those you will ever know. Those rants in traffic, those secret conversations about your boss, your crush, your spouse. Is it possible that these two candidates are a proper reflection of who we are as a nation at present, despite our pseudo-righteous indignation towards the unscrupulous acts of the opposite party?

Consider Isaiah 6, and the ending of King Uzziah’s reign. Upon his death, he had ruled over Judah for 52 years. He was revered, and under his reign as king, the Hebrews enjoyed bounty and peace, and they looked to him to save them from troubling neighbors, as well as any threat to their lives. Never since Solomon was there such prosperity and piety. But Uzziah reached beyond his purview, acting as priest, when his role was that of king, and in doing so, brought about his own demise through leprosy. This left a vacuum of anxiety and fear, and Isaiah wasted no time in filling it with the truth:

“Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,

And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.

But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.”

They no longer had a worldly king to hang their hopes on, this great man, brought low because of pride, for no man can act as priest, prophet, and king, lest he be perfect. Without the hope of Uzziah guiding them in to the future, the prophet shared with them the fate of the people, and their inability to even hear the message, much less react to it. Their hearts were closed.

But look at what is promised in the end. ‘The holy seed shall be their substance’, a direct prophecy of the Son of God, one of many that Jesus Christ fulfills. In the end, it isn’t the imperfect political leader who thinks he is a savior that saves them, or the world for that matter. It is instead the only person who can act as savior, priest, prophet, and king . It is only Jesus Christ. Now you may say, hey that’s great, but that was 2700 years ago. What about now? Well, that’s the best part. Anyone we elect isn’t perfect enough to save anything. If we are lucky, who ever that is will recognize the fact that the very earth we walk on was created by someone much greater. But regardless of who is the political victor in November, Jesus Christ lives, and He is and will always be King. And it is only He that saves.

What is Apologetics?

Are we apologizing for being Christian? Heaven forbid. Apology in early English times did not convey the idea of excuse, or making amends for some injury done.An apologist should proudly proclaim the word of God as inerrant, divinely inspired, and expertly preserved through the ages, better than any other in history. For example, apologist John Warwick Montgomery says this: “To be skeptical of the resultant text of the New Testament books is to allow all of classical antiquity to slip into obscurity”. The reason? Because the bible manuscripts have been retained and preserved hundreds, even thousands of times better than many of the books we rely on from antiquity. Click on CARM.org link here to examine the difference between our bible and the writings of Plato, or Aristotle, or Homer. There is no comparison, as no other book in history demanded such reverence and respect when it came to authenticity.

How I defended the scriptures there, using facts, resources, respected researchers and authors, that is apologetics. Defense, from the Greek “apologia” means a defense of conduct and procedure. A verbal defense, a speech in defense of what one has done, or of truth which one believes. This describes, like a lawyer might, the examining of facts and reason that would allow someone to believe, or make a case for belief.

“Apologia” is used 8 times in the new testament including the verse 1 peter 3:15 ‘But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer (defense, apologia) to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.’

Here are some other relevant verses
Acts 22:1 – hear my defense before you now
1 corinthians 9:3 My defense to those who examine me is this…
Philippians 1:7 … in the defense and confirmation of the gospel
Philippians 1:17 knowing I am appointed for the defense of the gospel…
The manner in which the word “apologia” is used in 1 peter 3:15, denotes the kind of defense one would make to a legal inquiry, asking, “Why are you a Christian?”

Everyone who is a Christian is responsible to give an adequate answer to this question. Christianity is either EVERYTHING to mankind, or it is NOTHING. It is either the highest certainty, or the greatest delusion. But we lovingly guide others to Christ knowing this; Christianity appeals to facts of history that are clearly recognizable and accessible by everyone. It is a factual faith. Here is a basic apologetic thesis:
“There is an infinite, all-wise, all-powerful, all-loving God who has revealed Himself by means natural and supernatural in creation, in the nature of man, in the history of Israel and the Church, in the pages of Holy Scripture, in the incarnation of God in Christ, and in the heart of the believer by the gospel.” – (Bernard Ramm, apologist.)
There are many ways to practice apologetics, and I would encourage you to follow your studies in a direction that the Spirit leads you, and based on how adeptly you pick up on the different types. Often you will have to decide at the onset of a discussion what pre-suppositions each party is starting with. These will have to be explored and defined, otherwise it will be very difficult to make points. As you already know, the world of religion is very complex, and debates can spin off onto several tangents very fast. One party may want to challenge the veracity of a God while the other is only prepared to start with the pre-supposition that the bible is true, accurate, inerrant etc. There is room in apologetics for every presupposition, as long as it is defined. In fact, you may find that the bulk of a discussion is spent defining the problem. There is nothing wrong with this. As it is often said, “If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution.”

One way to practice apologetics is Classical, which highlights rational argument for the existence of God. You have to show that God exists before you can show miracles, or necessitate Christ’s works. Without the presupposition that God exists, it is hard to show why we need redemption at all. Refining this argument further, you can approach from a couple positions. One states there must be a cause for matter to exist; some cause that was not caused itself, for there cannot be an infinite regression of causes. Another approach is the watchmaker argument. Basically, evidence of design proves there must be a designer.

Romans 1: 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
Evidential is another method of approaching apologetics. This appeals to history, the sciences, fulfillment of biblical prophecy, resurrection of Christ, etc. as evidence for the veracity of scripture and Christianity.

We must always be aware of our audience, just as the apostles were in Acts, and know from which point the audience is starting from. When Peter preached to the Jews in Acts 2, he spoke to citizens of Jerusalem with a clear knowledge of the beginning, with a respect for the Old Testament already:

“But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words… this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel… Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know…For David speaketh concerning him…”

Do you see how Peter approached by appealing to their patriarchs and already accepted history? Now compare that to an Acts 17 culture:

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”

Paul was speaking to Athenians here, steeped in an idolatrous polytheistic culture. It would have done Paul no good to start referring to Moses, and David, and the Ten Commandments. They had no frame of reference without first being introduced to who God was.

This is often the case in America today. In the 50’s and before, our western culture was one of Christian roots, and less apologetics had to be applied, because a biblical framework already existed. That isn’t so, today. By the admittance of even our own leaders, we are not a Christian nation, and the west certainly practices varied types of idolatry and religious inclusion that parallels the Acts 17 Athenians. Therefore, we must be prepared, as Paul was, to give a defense of our beliefs, and to lovingly guide others to the cross.

To join the conversation, please join and share at www.facebook.com/cooper.author 

For Excellent tutelage on apologetics, visit CARM.org/apologetics (Matt Slick)