Understanding a World in Crisis
A friend writes:
Last Saturday we went to a series of lectures at Grace Community Church called “Understanding a World in Crisis”. Three lectures were delivered by Mathias Kern. Professor Kern is an adjunct professor at the Masters College, and has been involved in advising senior government officials in a number of countries for many years. He is […]
Grab the podcast using this link, or download / listen to the MP3 files individually here:
Son of top Hamas leader to produce epic historical account of the prophet Muhammad despite controversy surrounding Anti-Islam film.
Mosab Hassan Yousef, author of the NY Times bestseller Son of Hamas, condemns the film Innocence of Muslims, on one hand, and the ignition of violent protests throughout the Arab world, on the other.
“Innocence of Muslims is clearly not even worth mentioning,” released Yousef, the son of a top Hamas leader who turned his back on his father’s terrorist organization and worked to save the lives of many innocent people from terrorism. “While I personally find this Anti-Islam ‘video’ tasteless and insulting, it is the price we pay for democracy and freedom. This video is obscene and offensive to both Muslims and non-Muslims and to make matters worse, political and religious parties are taking advantage of this state of chaos and confusion to push their agendas. And when governments submit to their will, they reward and legitimize the terrorists and threaten everyone’s freedom to hear the truth and openly express their opinions. Our freedoms cannot be hijacked by violence.”
Brushing off the accusations across the Middle Eastern media that Mr. Yousef played the lead role in the video he commented,“Anyone with the ability to see with their eyes, can see that these are unjust lies spread as a smear campaign against me. Another form of terrorism. More importantly, I am saddened by the murder of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the three American security guards in Libya,” he added, “which Al-Qaeda as it turned out, had plotted to execute on 9/11 regardless of the movie. My condolences to the victims’ families.”
Recently back from his trip to Israel where Yousef announced his plans to make an epic $30M film version of the Islamic leader, Yousef said his vision will not insult Islam nor be a religious film, but be based on historical facts taken from the most trusted Islamic resources. “Islam deserves to be represented in this arena like all other religions. We cannot expect religions to peacefully co-exist if we do not have some sort of equality in how we can celebrate all religions and question their beliefs.”
Unlike convicted felon Nakoula Bassely Nakoula, aka Sam Bacile, the man behind the film Innocence of Muslims, Yousef was born a Muslim, the grandson of an Imam, and the son of an Imam who also founded the Islamic terrorist organization Hamas. Yousef is now casting the film and promises that it will be at par with some of the most respected Historical movies produced in Hollywood and around the world.
This fascinating read provides many insights into the thinking and actions within Islamic terrorism. See the full article here.
Dr. Tawfik Hamid reveals the indoctrination of Egyptian youth and the election of the extremist Muslim Brotherhood.
Dr. Tawfik Hamid (pronounced taw-feek hameed) was born and bred in Egypt. While attending medical school in Cairo he joined the Muslim terror organization Gamaat Islamiya, where his colleagues included Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current leader of Al Qaeda. Using the powers of his intellect, Dr. Hamid was eventually able to pry himself away from the extremist indoctrination and embrace a far more moderate and tolerant version of Islam.
Currently, Dr. Hamid is a Senior Fellow and Chair for the Study of Islamic Radicalism at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. His book, Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam, has been hailed as a manifesto on how to neutralize the threat of radical Islam.
Dr. Hamid spoke with Aish.com this week from his home in Washington DC. In a wide-ranging and candid interview, he offers insights into the recent election of Mohamed Morsi as president of Egypt; the possibility of a nuclear Iran; and the key to revitalizing Islam as a “religion of peace.”
Aish.com: Let’s go back to the beginning. How did you – who grew up in a liberal household, the son of an orthopedic surgeon – become a member of a radical Islamic group?
Dr. Hamid: I was a normal kid occupied with school and hobbies such as sports, stamp collecting, chess and music. Although my parents were secular, I had a desire to find God. I always believed that God and the world are aligned, but I never connected my heart to my mind. Then I took a biology class where I learned about the molecular structure of DNA. I felt that I’d discovered an expression of God in the world. This was the beginning of my spiritual journey. Unfortunately my zealousness for God led me to the darker side of Islam.
Aish.com: You joined Gamaat Islamiya, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization dedicated to the violent imposition of Sharia law. How did that come about?
Dr. Hamid: I was at medical school in Cairo. Studying anatomy and physiology increased my belief in God and made me more enthusiastic about Islam. The radicals were on the lookout for people like me. I was recruited and indoctrinated in three psychological stages: 1) hatred of non-Muslims and dissenting Muslims, and 2) suppression of my conscience. At that point I was open to accepting the third psychological stage: violence in the service of Allah without guilt.
Aish.com: What specific goal did they have for you?
Dr. Hamid: I met Ayman al-Zawahiri, now the leader of al-Qaeda, who was one of the top postgraduate students in the medical school. He dreamed of forcing the West to conform to a Taliban-style system where women are obligated to wear the hijab, are legally beaten by men to discipline them, and are stoned to death for extramarital sex.
I was groomed to go to Afghanistan to join other young Muslims in training for jihad, to perform crimes in the name of God. My sponsors pledged to make all the logistical and financial arrangements. I was excited to go because my personal dream was to be an Islamic warrior, in accordance with the verse: “When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks” (Koran 47:4). This seemed the easiest way to attain my purpose in life and to guarantee my salvation in the afterlife.
Full article here.
“Has the Church Replaced Israel?” A live debate between Calvin Smith and Stephen Sizer broadcast on Revelation TV 9th November 2011.
This 1h 30m debate is well worth a watch if you are interested in Israelology and Christian Zionism (small PDF).
Stephen Sizer has published a number of books dealing with this subject, and turned his PhD thesis into a book titled “Christian Zionism”.
Calvin Smith is the principal of King’s Evangelical Divinity School (UK).
Sizer’s polemical writings are offensive to many Christians (myself included), and Smith did well to highlight and condemn Sizer’s labeling of Christian Zionism as “deviant heresy” and “another gospel” (around 1:06 in the debate).
Other critiques of Sizer can be found here: seismic-shock.com
Arnold Fruchtenbaum is a Messianic Jewish scholar and expert on the life of the Messiah from a Jewish perspective (MP3s and DVDs are available — scholarly and popular books by that title may be on the way). Arnold was born in Russia and escaped Hitler before landing in the USA.
Arnold is a Bible encyclopedia — rumor has it he even studies the Bible in the shower. His scholarship is perhaps best evidenced during the Q and A times following each lecture. Arnold appears to know the Bible off-by-heart including the ability to cite chapter and verse for almost everything.
Arnold’s lectures are highly structured and methodical, and delivered in an accented monotonic manner. Notes are provided including lots of whitespace for you to add your own notes on them. Every lecture section ends by a Rabbi joke.
Following the lecture given in the photo above, one questioner asserted that the Jews have a debt owing to the church. Arnold replied correctly that the actual debt is the other way around. The church is hugely in debt to the Jews, and part of that debt should be an apology for the disgraceful treatment the Jews have received at the hands of Christians during their diaspora. This disgraceful behavior continues in parts of the anti-Semitic church today.
Hardly a Christian friendly article, but interesting nevertheless.
‘PROTESTANT ETHIC’ 2.0: THE NEW WAYS RELIGION IS DRIVING ECONOMIC OUTPERFORMANCE
A few snippets:
Organized religion in particular may be losing its appeal, particularly among the young. According to recent surveys, religious affiliation in the United States appears to be declining somewhat and secularism is on the rise; over the past 40 years the percentage professing no religious affiliation has grown over 140 percent while the percentage of the deeply faithful dropped 15%. The share of the population who claim “no religion” has risen to 15% overall and 22% of those between 18 and 29, notes a 2009 study by researchers at Trinity College. If these trends continue, the non-affiliated could represent a larger part of our population than the largest denomination, the Catholic Church.
No surprises here. The USA is trending in the same direction as its forerunners, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Many in the pundit class identify religion as something of a regressive tendency, embraced by the less enlightened, the less skilled, intelligent and educated. Yet some scholars, such as Charles Murray, point out that religious affiliation is weakening most not among the middle and upper classes but among the poorer and less educated who traditionally looked to churches for succor and moral instruction. Secularism may have not hurt the uber-rich or the academic overclass so far, but it appears to have helped expand our lumpenproleteriat.
Some might be surprised to learn that religious affiliation grows with education levels. A new University of Nebraska study finds that with each additional year of education, the odds of attending religious services increased by 15%. The educated, the study found, may not be eschewing religion, as social science has long maintained, even if their spiritual views tend to be less narrow, and less overtly tied to politics, than among the less schooled.
I guess this will be a surprise to the ‘Brights’ like Dawkins and his other ‘Religion for Dummies’ mates. No surprise in my circles however.
Religious people also tend to live longer and suffer less disabilities with old age, as author Murray notes. Researchers at Harvard, looking at dozens of countries over the past 40 years, demonstrated that religion reinforces the patterns of personal virtue, social trust and willingness to defer gratification long associated with business success.
But perhaps the most important difference over time may be the impact of religion on family formation, with weighty fiscal implications. In virtually every part of the world, religious people tend to have more children than those who are unaffiliated. In Europe, this often means Islamic families as opposed to increasingly post-Christian natives. Decline in religious affiliation — not just Christian but also Buddhist and Confucian — seems to correlate with the perilously low birthrates in both Europe and many East Asian countries.
How does the New Atheism fit into this? From the above observations, I think we can understand at least two facets of the current New Atheist secularist shrill.
First is possible underpopulation of New Atheists as the new world order shakes out. A reasonable fear for the New Atheists secularists is that their highly evolved selves are not passing on their genes in competitive numbers. Thus instead of genes, they attempt to force their memes onto the rest of us by preaching, and by making converts and disciples through the university, media, and book publishing arenas.
The second is overpopulation of religious people. As populations continue to grow toward the theoretical 9 billion asymptote, religious people are not going away. What better way to halt religious growth than to decrease religious breeding using the guise of Earth overpopulation. FWIW, I’m partly with the secularists on the second point given the Biblical mandate to look after the planet; I just don’t share their panic of overpopulation or their global warming hysteria, I mean climate change hysteria, scare tactics. Given the intellectual bankruptcy of the New Atheists, there may not be too many Brights left in years to come anyway.
Interestingly, Africa is not mentioned at all in the article.
From a Slashdot story…
Human Rights Groups Push To Save Condemned Programmer In Iran
“Human rights Groups are making one final plea to save the life of Canadian programmer, Saeed Malekpour, who was sentenced to death for writing a program to upload photos to the Internet. From the article: ‘Malekpour’s supporters have created Facebook pages and websites in his support dating to at least 2009. Amnesty International has requested on its website that concerned individuals write Iranian authorities inside and outside the country to demand that Malekpour not be executed.”
From Newsweek Magazine and World News here.
This article was written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She is an ex-Muslim, now atheist, and visited New Zealand a couple of years ago. I listened to one interview she did with Kim Hill on Radio New Zealand National’s Saturday Morning.
From the article:
We hear so often about Muslims as victims of abuse in the West and combatants in the Arab Spring’s fight against tyranny. But, in fact, a wholly different kind of war is underway—an unrecognized battle costing thousands of lives. Christians are being killed in the Islamic world because of their religion. It is a rising genocide that ought to provoke global alarm.
But a fair-minded assessment of recent events and trends leads to the conclusion that the scale and severity of Islamophobia pales in comparison with the bloody Christophobia currently coursing through Muslim-majority nations from one end of the globe to the other. The conspiracy of silence surrounding this violent expression of religious intolerance has to stop. Nothing less than the fate of Christianity—and ultimately of all religious minorities—in the Islamic world is at stake.
If you doubt the evil being perpetrated by real Muslims (not the limp-wristed liberal Muslims of the West) then read Ali’s article.
TMS Graduate Bruce Alvord (M.Div.’92, Th.M.’98) writes about his recent travel to India where he met Obaid, a pastor who has fled his country because of threats on his life.
We just returned from India, where we met an Afghani pastor living in New Delhi. “Obaid” fled Muslim Afghanistan because of a death sentence against him for his belief in Christ. Since escaping to India, he has had several attempts on his life and believes that he has been followed to New Delhi. Someone almost succeeded in running him over with a car in front of his home, but his neighbors rescued him. [Read more…]
That is the essence of his argument although he closes with some statements that Israel cannot have peace in the “Occupied Territories” until “she acts with justice and reciprocity toward the Palestinians.” This is more political than biblical, but I can say this much.
First, he ignores the actual reason why Israel has occupied these territories since 1967. She has done this because masses of armies were gathering along the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Border, the Syrian Border, and the West Bank with the intent to destroy Israel. Israel defeated this threat in the Six Day War.
Second, the Palestinians have consistently rejected all peace efforts by Israel, both before and after that conflict. Even when Barak offered them over 95% of the territory they wanted, he was turned down with no counteroffer.
What the author is ignoring is that, thus far, the Arab aim has not been to merely establish a Palestinian State that will live side by side with Israel but the attempt to destroy Israel as a State. No true Koran-believing Moslem could ever accept Israel’s right to exist. As long as the Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist, refuse every peace offer, and insist on terrorist attacks (even having their own children blow themselves up just for the sake of killing Jews), there cannot be peace.
Israel is not totally innocent in all of her actions, but the author has blamed everything on Israel. In spite of his claim that Israel has a right to exist, he has not extended a single blame on what the Arab side has done. This is selective reading of the political news. But for us, the final issue is not what is politically expedient, but what is biblical.