Sunday, October 31, 2010

Needed: An Islamic Challenge Study Bible

What is the connection between Islam and study Bibles?
First, I love study Bibles.  They make it easy and inviting to understand the Bible in a number of ways.  They typically provide explanations of Bible text via copious footnotes on the same page as the text.  They have substantial introductions to books of the Bible and often significant introductions or discusson about individual chapters or themes of one or more chapters.  They not only explain the text in the context of time, place, people, culture, and issue involved, but often include personality and word studies and key lessons or application to current moral, cultural, religious, and political challenges.
Most study Bibles are written by and for conservative/orthodox protestants meaning that they focus on interpretations of traditional Christianity, although there are nuances of more liberal or conservative interpretations noted by the really well-informed.  In other words, study Bibles are written by and for Christians who take their faith seriously – who take the Bible seriously.  So seriously, in fact, that they really want to understand with as much accuracy as possible what it says, what it means, and how it should affect their lives and the culture around them.  They take it as truly the Word of God.  
My first study Bible was acquired about 26 years ago, the NIV Study Bible.  Since that time I have acquired and used:
  • The MacArthur Study Bible
  • ESV Study Bible (on Kindle)
  • NET Bible (on Kindle)
  • The King James Study Bible
  • The Life Application Study Bible
  • The NLT Study Bible
  • The Apologetics Study Bible
  • The Holman Study Bible
Why so many, you might ask?  They each have slightly different features, strengths, and weakness.  Take for example the rider on the White Horse in Revelation Chapter Six.  Does the rider symbolize Jesus or the Anti-Christ?  If one or the other, why?  Any one study Bible gives a partial answer.  All explanations taken together provide a more thorough explanation and understanding.  By the way, check out MacArthur's explanation which makes the most sense to me.  But the others help provide a fuller picture.
The Patriot’s Bible (that I don’t own but have skimmed through) is not actually a study Bible.  It is more of a traditional Bible with numerous articles about American patriots and founding ideas and documents interspersed that undeniably demonstrate America’s Christian heritage.
The Life Application Study Bible makes the best connection between Scripture and the application to today’s life issues.  However, such application is centered on moral, personal behavioral, and attitudinal issues.  For the most part it avoids discussion of conflicting interpretations, conflicting cults and religions or governmental/political issues.
The Apologetics Study Bible on the other hand does get into distinctions between orthodox Christianity and the unorthodoxy of various Christian sects, Mormonism, Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well Eastern religions and Islam.  However there are fewer than 60 explicit examples of differences with these other belief systems sprinkled throughout the 66 books of the Bible.  We know that there could be dozens if not hundreds of differences from conservative, orthodox Christianity pointed out for each of these belief systems. 
Especially lacking are Christian refutations of the legion of distortions and contradictions of the Bible and Christianity promoted by Islam.  All of the Christian sects combined do not pose the challenge to Christianity and our Bible-based liberties to the degree posed by Islam.  And most Christians remain ignorant of these distortions.
The Bible is for all time.  However, appropriate application of Bible truths and principles to the changing human condition and cultures vary virtually decade by decade, or certainly century by century.  In this decade and through the next several, resurgent Islam will be a growing challenge to Christianity.  Study Bibles are well-suited to address such challenges by focusing on passages and doctrine designed to overcome contradictory, un-Biblical, and potentially Satanic cultural and belief systems.
Muslims and the majority of secularists as promoted by the main stream media provide a continuing flow of disinformation about the relationship of Islam to Christianity.  Their obsfucationist, taqiyya-infected propaganda mills lead the ill-informed to believe that Islam is peaceful, that Christianity is corrupted, and that Islam is merely an extension of Christianity – indeed that Christ was Muslim!
There are hundreds of specific instances of Islamic corruption of Bible passages and Biblical themes that need to be made easily available and digestible to Christians.  An Islamic Challenge Study Bible is needed.  It might even be more inclusive, becoming an Islamist/Secularist Challenge Study Bible since Islamists and Secularists are in bed together in opposition to Christianity.
The most obvious areas for footnotes, special articles, introductions, timelines, and “You gotta be kidding” inserts in such a Bible are these:
  • Rewriting history:  Islamic revisionists attempts to transform 3,000 years of Judeo-Christian history.
  • So you think Ishmael, not Isaac, was Abrahams sacrifice?
  • No, Muhammad, Jesus was not a Muslim
  • One hundred differences between the nature and character of Allah of Islam and the God of the Bible.
  • Abrogation in the Bible and the Qur’an: Peace to war in the Qur’an; war to peace in the Bible
  • Literalism vs. spiritualizing in the Bible and the Qur’an
  • Distinctions between a fundamentalist Christian and a fundamentalist Muslim
  • Love in the Bible; hate in the Qur’an
  • Grace in the Bible; retribution in the Qur’an
  • Distinctions between Bible writers and the Qur’an writer
  • End times:  The anti-Christ and the Islamic Mahdi; Christ’s second coming and the anti-Mahdi.
  • The attitude toward lying and deceit in Christianity and Islam
  • How Bible principles and Qur’anic principles are typically played out in the lives of believers.  Include the lives of famous, devout Christians contrasted against the lives of infamous devout Muslims through the centuries, and highlighting those in the present day.
  • Worldly alliances with evil forces: the alliance of secularists and Islamists
  • The influence and dangers of Pagans in the Bible contrasted with pagans (unbelievers) in today’s culture.
These topics alone could generate a thousand informative distinctions between Christianity and Islam sprinkled throughout a dedicated study Bible.  And you can probably think of many more topics that should be revealed and contrasted.
The ICSB project would not likely have a comment on most verses in the Bible as the best good study Bibles contain.  However, I would anticipate three levels of commentary:
Level one:  1,000 or more footnote comments sprinkled throughout the 66 books noting and defending against Islamic and secular distortions.
Level two:  Several dozen short articles, one half to a full page each, going into more depth on topics such as Islam’s Jesus, Isa, or the concept of abrogation, taqiyya, grace-intolerance, love/forgiveness-hate/retribution, debunking moral equivalency, talking to a Muslim, confronting superior attitudes toward Islam or hostility toward the Bible; some basic apologetics principles.
Level three:  Several more lengthy articles; e.g. the life of Muhammad contrasted with the life of Jesus.  The character of Allah compared with God the Father.  Short history of Islamic conquests and methods.  Current events of Islamic inspired intolerance, supremacism, and terrorism. Ten or 15 others.
Effective integration of these comments in appropriate context of Bible text is critically important.  It should not appear that articles are placed randomly.  The American Patriot’s Bible appears to suffer from this. 
Include a number of timelines of Judeo-Christian and Islamic history.
Include maps of lands occupied or controlled by Jewish, Christian, and Islamic populations over the millennia.
Include Islamic word studies sprinkled about the text, plus a multi-page Islamic Glossary of Terms.
An integrated topical index would be extremely helpful; essential.
So, how about it Crossway, Zondervan, Nelson, Holman.  Can you put together a team of Bible and Islamic scholars such as Joel Richardson, David Jeremiah, Joel Rosenberg, Robert Spencer, David Horowitz, the experts at The Center for the Study of Political Islam, Dr. Steven Masood, Dr. James F. Gauss, and a number of others qualified to become a noteworthy team to build such a study Bible?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Four blogs written during my recent cruise…

The four blogs that follow were written while on a 30-day cruise this past month (October 2010).  

Only the ill-informed make excuses for Islam.

People defend and justify the vile, barbaric Islamic “religion” in a number of ways. One way is to claim moral equivalence: Claiming all religions are equally evil or that Islam is justified in what it does because of the alleged abuses of Christianity.

Here are several common, but tired, and absolutely bazaar lines of reasoning ignorant Islamic defenders throw around to convince others that Islam ain’t so bad after all:

Look at the Crusades and what the Christians did. And Hitler considered himself a Christian and many of Germany’s “good” Nazis considered themselves Christians. They killed lots more Jews than Muslims have. And in Ireland Christians were until recently killing each other over small details in religion. And look at the “witch” burnings by Christians in early America. Timothy McVeigh was raised a Catholic and took communion before he died. And really, the Islamic Allah and the Christian God are the same god. [these are all paraphrased from a variety of comments to blog postings.]

Let’s take these warped interpretations of history one by one.

First, the Crusades: What did the Christians do? Look at the timeline of events of the Islamic conquests. Over a 400 year period Islam conquered, pillaged, and occupied both pagan and Christian lands and nations including the holiest sites of Christianity. Christians and Christian nations endured 400 years of terror, killing, and subservience. It is the Christian religion that provided the long suffering restraint during this extended period of Islamic terror. After 400 years, Christians finally responded with the Crusades. How dare Muslims and Muslim defenders use the Crusades as an example against us! Will we wait as long the next time?

Next, what about Hitler? Hitler was universally declared an evil man. His conquests were entirely for political, economic, and military reasons – not religious. And when did he ever claim his conquests were in the name of Christianity? Never! When did his storm troopers ever shout “Jesus Christ is greatest” as they overran cities and as they turned the gas valves of their holocaust chambers? Thousands of Christians were also murdered in the holocaust. The “nominal” Christians were the ones who went along to get along. The devout were the ones who escaped to fight or who were killed in the holocaust. Just the opposite is true of Islam. The marginal Muslims are not considered “radical” while the devout tend to be the terrorists and most vocal anti-westerners and anti-Semites. In fact, history shows that one of the greatest alliances of the Nazi’s was with a Mufti [Islamic leader of the middle east] who together promoted the elimination of the Jews. Islam was actively complicit in killing Jews; many Christians tended to be ignorant, indifferent, or too scared to resist. Much the same can be said of Christians today in the face of Islamic deception and threats. Muslims today express admiration for Hitler. Mein Kamp remains a best seller in Islamic nations.

What about the inference that the fight between the Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland was over “small details of religion?” A Christian doctrinal war? Hardly. It, too, was a battle for political supremacy and control. Again, Christians the world over condemned the violence. On the other hand, Islam as understood by the ummah worldwide declares Islam supreme along with their right and duty to subdue unbelievers wherever they may be found. In the meantime, playing nice in areas where they are a small minority is an Islamic doctrinal tactic useful until their numbers and strength are sufficient in a particular locale to take control with whatever political or violent tactic best meets their objective of domination.

The trials and burning of alleged “witches” was a brief and localized episode in America that lasted over a period of fewer than three years in the late 1600’s. Those events have been condemned by Christianity and by American juris-prudence ever since. Islamic violence, by contrast, has been a basic feature of Islam from its beginning in the 600’s AD to the present. The prevailing Islamic leadership continues to promote deception, intimidation, threats, and terror to further the supremacist aims of Islam.

And Timothy McVeigh – was he a “practicing Christian?” Was he even a Christian, practicing or not? The prevailing evidence indicates he was not. And he certainly did not commit his heinous act out of any command accepted by prevailing interpretations of Christian doctrine. On the other hand, Muslims who carry out their terror, deceit, wife beatings, etc. etc. are doing so based on the prevailing interpretations of their Islamic doctrine. Sorry, Islamic apologists. There is no “moral equivalence” here, either.

And one of my favorites promoted by ignorant Christians and others who are trying desperately to find some common ground with Islam:

Allah and the God of Christianity are the same god. The Pope and our last two presidents are amazingly na├»ve or wishful thinkers on this one because they promote this deception. Are they holding their respective noses while doing their best at being politically correct, believing their deception is better than the truth? There could be no greater difference between religious characteristics as there is between the characteristics of Allah of Islam and God of Christianity. Allah is a creation of one man, Muhammad, concocted from the pagan astrologer’s moon god (thus the moon and star atop every mosque and adorning every Muslim flag); God is not a creation of anyone but is immortal and the creator of all. Allah is unknowable; God is knowable and wants us to know Him. Allah is impersonal; God is personal and has taken human form to relate to us. Allah had no son; God had a son, Jesus the Messiah. Allah has a harsh and unloving spirit; God is love and promotes love as the best principle of Godliness. In fact, many knowledgeable Christian commentators believe that the god of Islam and the God of Christianity are total opposites to the point of Allah being of satanic origin and God’s major opponent in the final battle prior to the second coming of Jesus. Likewise, many believe that the Islamic Mahdi and Jesus Christ are polar opposites, each being the “Satan” and “Savior” in the opposing religions.

And so you have it – the various attempts at “moral equivalence” by Muslims and Muslim apologists. Beware of these and similar attempts to defend Islam while demeaning Christianity. Ignorant Christians are among the most gullible in both using and believing these warped arguments.

Observations from a 30-day cruise…

My first ever cruise, this one to the Mediterranean, lasting 30 days and involving an Atlantic crossing is drawing to a close as I write this. Despite being one who is “wealth-challenged” – one of those who suffers from the “middleclassedness that disgusts Obama’s beloved Rev. Wright - some of my experiences are worth sharing. So here is my list of the most noteworthy observations and experiences from this cruise:

There is a lot of water out there. Crossing 4000 miles of Atlantic and viewing it from 100 feet above the surface of the ocean I could see 25 miles in all directions. I expected to observe an occasional ship or at least an occasional fish during this period. I saw neither for six days.

Europe is old. They celebrate the past. This makes me appreciate America which still celebrates the future, and especially Florida which is mostly new; where even retirees celebrate their new beginnings.

The ship averages 20 miles per hour, roughly the speed of a well-tuned golf cart. The sailing experience is best compared to being in a large, floating golf cart full of food.

Speaking of food, I couldn’t help wondering, meal after meal, how much food is wasted and discarded every day. And how many pounds the average already overweight patron has gained.

Mingling with the dress-up crowd on dress-up night in casual clothes made me feel like an illegal alien just before an Immigration and Naturalization Service raid.

The resort retirement community I live in is often referred to as a cruise ship experience. My cruise could be described as a resort retirement community experience. So why did I spend $5,000?????

Similar to retirement communities, there was very little observed on the pool decks that could be appropriately described as “sensual.”

I was amazed at the number (and apparent wealth) of cruisers who have imbibed in 20, 30, or more cruises. Many seem to spend their final years immersed in a life of perpetual cruises. Call me wickedly judgmental but I call these unbridled self-indulgent gluttons with apparently empty and purposeless lives. (Is there some jealousy here? - - - Naaah.)  I need to take into consideration that the monthly cost of cruising is very close to that of a good nursing home – a floating life care facility away from home. At least it’s not subsidized by Medicare.

A highlight was a series of daily Bible Studies which is apparently rare among cruises.  Ironically one attendee of this Study was a missionary short of resources for his mission.  Hmmm.

And finally, 30 days is much too long for a cruise for me – especially as a first timer. However, I do not anticipate cruising again for two reasons: There is too much else to do – and I am out of money.

America’s continuing blindness to Islamic threat…

Our government, especially those in high positions, higher education, our military, and in our media are ignorant or passive with regard to the Islamic threat.

What is meant by the “Islamic threat?” In a nutshell, the Islamic threat consists of the historic, orthodox doctrines of Islam as originated by Muhammad and contained in the Qur’an, and revived and promoted by the Islamic Brotherhood and similar organizations and their front groups. The “threat” inherent in these groups is the subversion of our form of government and our culture, economy, and our religions into that taught by Islam and embodied in its sharia laws. What is so bad about that, you ask? After all, we respect all religions. We are America. We have freedom of this, that, and the other. We can do, say, and promote anything we please, almost.

One interesting and key distinction between the cultural meanings we take for granted and what Islamic proponents are working toward imposing on us is the concept of “slander.” When we call something “slander” we refer to a derogatory lie said about someone. In Islam, slander is anything said about another that is offensive to that person, whether it is the truth or a lie. To tell a thief in the process of stealing something that he is a thief, and the thief is offended by that label, that is slander. The person who shouted “thief” committed slander and is subject to punishment by Islamic (sharia) law. This is an extension of the Islamic taqiyya toolbox: the doctrinal permission to lie to protect or not to offend.

We call such actions “being blunt,” “telling the truth,” “informative,” and “free speech.” Even our definition of slander is free speech if no damage can be shown in court. Consider the chilling effect the Islamic definition of “slander” has on free speech. The truth cannot be told about anyone or any organization or any action if that truth is thought to be offensive to that individual or organization.

This takes us to one of our greatest weaknesses that enables the advancement of Islam in this country: Our sensitivity to criticism of minorities. Muslims are milking every ounce of misguided compassion they can from America’s propensity to defend minorities. They do that by coupling their definition of “slander” with our sensitivity to criticism of minorities. This results in the “perfect storm” of America’s obliviousness to the seditious Islamic doctrines and intentions. Muslims can cry “slander” even when the truth is told about their ideology and the intent of their subversive front groups. And much of America falls in line, believing that even the truth about the evils of Islam is slander. This explains why some of the most seemingly kind-hearted, well meaning, but clueless liberals are taken in by this effective Islamic strategy.

The result is two-fold. Not only are the oblivious, taqiyya-ignorant Americans protective of Muslim inroads into the subversion of our culture but in addition, even those who are aware of Islamic doctrine and tactics are cowed into keeping their mouths shut.

One example is the tiptoeing around the truth of the root problem of Islam by one major “’Radical’ Islam” awareness group, ACT! For America. This organization, while doing much good work to expose some horrific aspects of Islam, refuses to publicly recognize “Islam” as the source of the deception, sedition, and sharia law that both American and foreign Muslims are in the process of imposing on our country. ACT! publicly refers to “radical” Islam as the root of the problem when in fact the root extends deep into Islam itself. ACT! refuses to publicly identify Islam, just plain Islam, as to root of this problem. Why? They don’t want to appear to “slander” or disrespect Muslims. The organization is influenced by their politically savvy leadership (the sort that tends to sacrifice truth for temporary gain) while being cowed by the Islamic version of slander. They bought into the deception: The truth is slander. It dare not be expressed.

It is likewise hard to believe that all Islamic apologists and facilitators in the United States government are ignorant of the Islamic threat and the methods of Islamic deception. Like ACT!, they persist in their narrow defense of the Islamic religion/ideology by singling out “radicals” or “Al Qaeda” or “Hamas” as the culprits, as if Islam itself is blameless and must be protected.  Isn’t it amazing how many “moderate” Muslims who are “assisting” our government turn out to be radicals.  Liberals remain oblivious to this fact.

The Islamic Brotherhood and their front groups, sharia law, radicals of every stripe – all have their roots in Islam, the source of their ideology, strategies, tactics, and subversive aspirations. The sooner we as individuals and as a nation get a grip on this reality, and face it courageously and truthfully, the more likely we will be able to maintain our government, culture, religion and freedoms. Otherwise, we have successfully demonstrated that we don’t appreciate what we have enough to defend it and we deserve whatever change we get.

Is it Multi-culturalism or is it Princess?

Multi-culturalism has it good points, I suppose, like providing a variety of foods, amusing us with cultural oddities, and a cause to help make liberals and elitists feel superior.  But multi-culturalism is not all it’s cracked up to be. This revelation became apparent during a recent cruise on the Princess line – my first ever.

Both the crew and the passengers were comprised of people from several dozen nations and languages. My experience within this milieu revealed to me how wars are started – the simple matter of failure to communicate.

The first hint came when my wife left the cafeteria dinner table for the lady’s room, with explicit instructions for me to protect the remains of her cherished dessert. Twenty seven seconds after she left, a waitress came over and as she reached for the half-full dessert plate, in a barely intelligible tongue asked if we were done – I guess. I held out the palm of my hand and spoke “no” while she began to pull the plate away. In a slightly louder tone I repeated “no”, further outstretching my “no” hand signal learned from being a safety patrol in elementary school. As she inched the plate further from the table, my next “no” was raised several more decibels. I guess that final effort startled her and she got the message.

We experienced a lovely guide on a tour bus in Barcelona. As she spoke, every other comment ended with a “yes” or “no.” “You see that monument over there, yes?” “That is one of the finest examples of sculpture in the 17th century, no?” Does “yes” mean “no” and “no” mean “yes?” I’m not sure, but I am glad I didn’t try to answer because I wouldn’t know whether to agree or disagree with her.

The Euro-exchange vending machine. Oh yes, the money grabber from hell. It made the slot machines seem like Mother Teresa by comparison. There was not one shred of verbiage on that piece of hardware that hinted at the cost of conversion. At least with attempted Christian conversions they explain you need to give your life. This machine was mute. After painfully discovering that we put many more dollars in it than we needed to, I felt a puff of smoke escaping from my ears as my feet propelled me to the Purser’s desk. I don’t recommend trying to explain a complex problem concerning the operation of a confusing mechanical device to someone who considers your language as foreign as you do theirs. Remember the “yes”/ “no” problem with the tour guide? Apply it to this scenario: Two ships passing in the night.

A few days later when I resolved to resolve the Euro problem, I encountered a breath of fresh air – a freshly minted Purser, an American girl on the job less than a month. Yes! Problem resolved, painlessly. Communication is a wonderful thing, as is uni-culturalism.

I’m not quite sure what problem God had with Babylon, but I can attest that having a common language and intelligible means of communication is a beautiful thing. Where can I sign an “English is our official language” petition?