Sunday, January 08, 2012

Matt 24 watch, 148: Under duties of care to caution -- a warning from an ex-Muslim

As readers of this blog will realise, I am much more inclined to explore things like polywell fusion reactors and possibilities for energy and development -- or even solar system exploration, than to delve on matters that are bound to be controversial and painful.

But, I fear I must draw our attention to some significant cautions, as a duty of care.

In this case, let us begin with the report through MEMRI, datelined Jan 2, 2012, from two Yemeni journalists -- Abdel Razaq Al-Jamal and Amjad Khashafa -- who have spent a fortnight as invited guests of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan:
Khashafa wrote, "An insurgent told me that AQAP had invented a bomb called Qaria 1, that produces a huge explosion and throws many times more fragments than other bombs do, and causes fire when it explodes." He said that he was told that the bomb had been tested many times in Zanjibar. 

"AQAP has a nuclear weapon that no country has, and every member of the group is eager to use it," Khashafa quoted an AQAP member as saying. The AQAP member continued "It was the suicide missions that terrified Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Likewise, we may see from the headline of another MEMRI report:
Sheikh Dost Muhammad, the Taliban's official for Afghanistan's Nuristan province . . . . [is reported as saying] "Our Jihad [in Afghanistan] is On the Brink of Victory, Allah Willing, and It is Time to Reap Its Fruits" . . .
Thirdly, we have news from Nigeria, through the UK's Daily Mail, with the Boko Haram (= "Western education is sacrilege" or, more formally: "People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad") terrorist group:
Suspected gunmen from a radical Muslim sect attacked a town hall Friday in rural northeast Nigeria, killing at least 20 people who had gathered for a meeting of a Christian ethnic group, police said.

The attack at noon targeted a town hall where Christian Igbo people were holding a meeting, with gunmen chanting 'God is great' [i.e. the classic Islamic war-cry, often: Allahu akhbar] as they fired Kalashnikov rifles. The killings come after a spokesman for the sect known as Boko Haram threatened to begin specifically targeting Christians living in the country's Muslim north in its increasingly bloody sectarian fight with Nigeria's weak central government . . . .  
No arrests have been made in the attack, which left at least another 15 people wounded.
Friday's attack comes after gunmen attacked a church in the northeast Nigeria city of Gombe during a prayer service Thursday night, spraying the congregation with gunfire and killing at least eight people including the pastor's wife, local medical officials said.

No one has claimed responsibility for that attack, though Boko Haram has targeted churches in the past in its campaign to implement strict Shariah law [Islamic law] across Nigeria . . .

In short, the global war with IslamIST terrorism, whatever Western politicians may want to imagine, is far from over. Indeed, it seems to be spreading in some respects.

Against that backdrop, let us turn to the published note from a former Muslim who has chosen to be known as Abdul-Hurriyah (The Slave of Freedom), via Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugs. 

Yes, I too find her shrill, but she is reporting what no-one else seems to dare report, and I believe we need to pay careful heed to credible warnings in good time.

I clip verbatim, not correcting errors by someone who is obviously not a native English speaker, though I will take liberty to highlight what strikes me as particularly salient. Note as well, how this blog has gone over similar ground on IslamIST eschatological views, here.

>>. . . having been a muslim for so long I can't avoid looking at these issue from both a muslim perspective and a westerner perspective. Almost three decades of islamic faithful devotion don't disappear just because I've left Islam — I can still think like a muslim and analyze problems from an islamic perspective. On the other hand, my European upbringing is something that has never left me, that wasn't wiped away only because I embraced Islam . . . .

To all those non-muslims who like to believe that Islam is a religion of peace and that islamic-related violence is the result of the misinterpretation of islamic teaching carried out by a minority, I'd like to invite them to reflect on some issues which come from my direct experience of Islam.

Everybody probably knows that muslims have 5 obligatory prayers each day. Each prayer has a set number of rak'at — ie: standing up, bowing down, sitting, bowing and then standing up again — so that in total there are 17 rak'at (2+4+4+3+4) minimum in a muslim's day — yet, with extra supererogatory prayers, the number of rak'at goes easily up to a 100 per day. In each rak'ah, during the prayer, the muslims recite Surat al-Fatihah, the opening chapter of the Qur'an. The text of this surah embodies the mindset of the muslim and it is a slef-reminder of the meaning of life and the conduct he/she should follow in this life.

So, let's have a look at the text of surah al-Fatihah:

(1) Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds,
(2) The Beneficent, the Merciful,
(3) Master of the day of Requital.
(4) Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help.
(5) Guide us on the right path,
(6) The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favours,
(7) Not those upon whom wrath is brought down, nor those who go astray.
These 7 verses remind the muslim where he/she stands in this life and the next one. It begins by praising Allah, the one God, Lord of the world, which is a reminder of the monotheistic islamic view. In the second verse, the distinction between God's attributes Beneficent (ar-Rahman) and Merciful (ar-Rahim) is subtle and difficult to render into English; some scholars said that the first refers to His mercy in this life, to all creatures, while the second refers to His mercy in the hereafter, therefore only to the muslims (including all true believers before Muhammad, which muslims consider as muslims)

Verses 3 and 4 remind the duty of devoting this life to obedience of His Will and relying on Him.
In verse 5 the muslim asks to be led on the straight path (as-Sirat al-Mustaqim) which is explained as being a bridge over the Hell fire that each muslim will have to cross in the day of Judgment, the success or failure in the task reflecting the conduct in this life.

Verse 6 clearly states that this path is reserved to those who are the chosen people of Allah, those who have been bestowed with the grace of the guidance of Muhammad and the holy Coran.

Verse 7 reminds the muslims that such a path is not the path of "those who have incurred in the Wrath of Allah" — ie: the Jews, which are considered wicked and treacherous people — nor "those who have gone astray" — ie: the Christians who are considered polytheists because of their distortions of monotheism.

Now, the point I am trying to make is that it only requires to think over these 7 verses to gain an insight into the muslim mindset. Can't you see how muslims prove their «being right» by «proving» others wrong? Muslims, basically speaking, magnify themselves by diminishing the Jews and the Christians.

This is not a minor issue — and surely it is not a minor one for the muslims, who every day, over and over again, recite these verses reminding themselves how lucky they are being on the right path, unlike Jews and Christians. And what is the proof that they are on the right path? Obviously, it is that they are not on the path of the Jews and the Christians!

. . . . Anyone who is wiling to study islamic litterature — ancient or modern, books, conferences or sermons — can't fail to notice the same pattern of surah al-Fatihah reproposing itself over and over again: the main concern is always the «treacherous Jewish enemy» altering the scriptures and conspiring against the muslism, and the «stupid emotional Christians» sabotaging the world with their emotions and lack of intellect. If you fail to see this pattern you must be blind.

This point can never be stressed enough! Christians don't go around diminishing others to proof they are the good guys. On the contrary, their arguments are based on the moral charecteristics of Jesus: they claim to be good because of the good things Jesus did, not because others were scumbags. The Jews either don't profess their being the chosen ones by demostranting that the rest ot the world are worthless . . . . 

When you look at the islamic prophecies of the end of the days, what you will find are depictions of a global conflict caused by the Jews who spread corruption on Earth until the point that Christian and Muslism will fight them in a Holy War in which the Mahdi will lead the Muslims, until Jesus comes back and leads both the Muslims and the Christian into the final Jihad against the Jews.

In a series of well know hadiths, Muhammad foretells that on the final days Jews will hide behind stones and trees but the stone and the tree will speak and shout "Oh Muslim, a Jew is hidying behind me!" and the Muslim will go and kill the Jew; except for a particular tree which is "the tree of the Jews".

Similar "prophecies" are fulfilling: how can you expect peace between muslims and Jews if the muslims have the expectations of a final war against the conspiring Jews? You must look at these prophecies as PRESCRIPTIVE texts, rather that descriptive  — because they shape the future by shaping the expectations the muslims have, and the muslims would never dissapoint their Prophet!

. . . . Many American might not like what I am saying, they might prefer to imagine that Islam is a friendly religion. But it is not so. Surely, many muslims might not share this worldview I've shown you, after all many muslims grown in the USA don't speak arabic and didn't study islamic «sciences» as I did — many did not even travel the muslim world, as a fact.

And I want to be clear on one point: we don't live with Islam, we live with the muslims. Islam is a set of ideas and practices, and without the people who carry and put into practice these ideas Islam would not exist. Every muslim has a choice regarding the level of devotion he/she might invest into his religion and how much to invest in the culture which he/she shares with the other people of his land. So, you will find lots of muslims who will reject any theory that sustains conspirancy theories of Jews ruling the world through a secret government, and so on.

But I warn you: the Quran and the teachings of Muhammad contain the seeds of a hate culture.
History is the best witness to what I am saying. Plant these seeds in any land, and if you «water them» with enough knowledge of Arabic language and classical textbooks, you'll end up always with the same islam that we've seen in history from the time of Muhammad to the present day.

Don't be naive, muslims take very literally their sacred texts . . .>>

There is much more, but we have seen more than enough to take sober warning.

If we will listen.
But, if we are wise, we will deal with the world as it credibly is, not as we wish it were like. END

F/N: Those troubled by the challenge to the classic Christian Triune understanding of God, may find the citations, arguments, discussion (and instructional diagrams) here helpful. As a sampler, let us consider:

>>The concept that Jesus is the Son of God is pivotal to New Testament theology, as we just saw from Rom 1, Col 1 and Heb 1, as well as John 3.

 A classic, ancient, representation of this bedrock principle of the Christian faith is the ICHTHUS -- fish -- creedal diagram and acrostic, as we may see from the following graffiti on a stone in Ephesus:

The Significance of the Ichthus, the Fish symbol, The Cross and the Wheel
(HT: Plymouth COC)

That is, "ησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ", (Iēsous Christos, Theou Yios, Sōtēr), which translates into English as "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Saviour":
I -- Iota -- Iesous -- Jesus

CH -- Chi -- Christos -- Christ (The Anointed, i.e. Messiah)

TH -- Theta -- Theos -- God

U -- Upsilon -- 'Uios -- Son of

S -- Sigma -- Soter -- Saviour
In short, the concept of Jesus as Son of God, God's Messiah as promised in the Old Testament/Tanakh is inextricably intertwined with the church's core gospel message. This can perhaps best be seen in light of a classic prophecy in Isaiah 7 and 9, which are backdrops for both the Daniel 7 prophecy as already discussed, and for the nativity accounts in Matthew and Luke:
Is 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Is 9:1b . . .  in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

        2 ​​​​​​​  The people who walked in darkness
        have seen a great light;
        those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
        on them has light shined . . . 
       6 ​​​​​​​​For to us a child is born,
        to us a son is given;
        and the government shall be upon  his shoulder,
        and his name shall be called
        Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
        Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
       7 ​​​​​​​​Of the increase of his government and of peace
        there will be no end,
        on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
        to establish it and to uphold it
        with justice and with righteousness
        from this time forth and forevermore.
        The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
Especially as rendered in the KJV and/or from Handel's Messiah, these are very familiar texts indeed. But, their full force only comes out when we juxtapose them with the key prophecy in Daniel 7 quoted by Jesus at his trial: 
Dan 7: 9 “As I looked,    
                    thrones were placed,
        and the Ancient of Days took his seat;
        his clothing was white as snow,
        and the hair of his head like pure wool;
        his throne was fiery flames;
        its wheels were burning fire.
      10 ​​​​​​​​A stream of fire issued
        and came out from before him;
        a thousand thousands served him,
        and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
        the court sat in judgment,
        and the books were opened . . . .
 13 “I saw in the night visions,     
                    and behold, with the clouds of heaven
        there came one like a son of man,
        and he came to the Ancient of Days
        and was presented before him.
      14 ​​​​​​​​And to him was given dominion
        and glory and a kingdom,
        that all peoples, nations, and languages
        should serve him;
        his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
        which shall not pass away,
        and his kingdom one
        that shall not be destroyed.
We see here a prophesied Son of Man who comes in glory and sits at the right hand of the Ancient of Days, a virgin-born infant of promise as a sign, and one who is to be exalted as Supreme Judge and Ruler of an eternal Kingdom. No wonder, these have always been central to the Christian understanding of Jesus the Christ.
That is why, for those with opportunity to hear that name and know its significance, the recorded witness of Jesus and the apostles is plain:
 Jn 14: 6Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me. [AMP]

Ac 4: 10Let it be known and understood by all of you, and by the whole house of Israel, that in the name and through the power and authority of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Whom you crucified, [but] Whom God raised from the dead, in Him and by means of Him this man [healed at the Gate Beautiful of the Temple in Jerusalem]  is standing here before you well and sound in body.  11This [Jesus] is the Stone which was despised and rejected by you, the builders, but which has become the Head of the corner [the Cornerstone].
  12And there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved. [AMP]

Rom 1
3[The Gospel] regarding His Son, Who as to the flesh (His human nature) was descended from David,  4And [as to His divine nature] according to the Spirit of holiness was openly [a]designated the Son of God in power [in a striking, triumphant and miraculous manner] by His resurrection from the dead, even Jesus Christ our Lord (the Messiah, the Anointed One) . . . .
16For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (good news) of Christ, for it is God's power working unto salvation [for deliverance from eternal death] to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance, to the Jew first and also to the Greek,  17For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith]. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live and shall live by faith. [AMP]
 Heb 1:1IN MANY separate revelations [[a]each of which set forth a portion of the Truth] and in different ways God spoke of old to [our] forefathers in and by the prophets,     2[But] in [b]the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a] Son, Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time [He made, produced, built, operated, and arranged them in order].
    3He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the [c]out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God's] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power. When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high, 4[Taking a place and rank by which] He Himself became as much superior to angels as the glorious Name (title) which He has inherited is different from and more excellent than theirs. [AMP]

1 Jn 5:
1EVERYONE WHO believes (adheres to, trusts, and relies on the fact) that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah) is a born-again child of God; and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of Him (His offspring) . . . .   11. . .  God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.    12He who possesses the Son has that life; he who does not possess the Son of God does not have that life.
    13I write this to you who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) the name of the Son of God [in [c]the peculiar services and blessings conferred by Him on men], so that you may know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that you [already] have life, [d]yes, eternal life.

 In short, the Ichthus principle is part and parcel of the gospel. To be saved in response to the Gospel, we must penitently trust in and surrender to Jesus the crucified and risen Son of God, Saviour and Lord, who is the out-raying of the Father's glory, the exact representation of his being, who died for our sins in our place that we may have life for that look to the cross that repents, surrenders and trusts God based on his promises in his Word.

The scriptural testimony could not be more explicit.

And so, in a day and age that so often despises the testimony of the Word of God, this, too, is a sobering warning as to what we must do to be saved. Let us see this through the example of the gaoler in Philippi, who -- fearing that the prisoners had fled when a midnight earthquake broke the chains and set the prisoners free, so his life was forfeit -- had been about to "fall on his sword" rather than be shamefully and publicly put to death. But the apostles cried out to him, do yourself no harm for we are all here:
Ac 16: 29Then [the jailer] called for lights and rushed in, and trembling and terrified he fell down before Paul and Silas.     30And he brought them out [of the dungeon] and said, Men, what is it necessary for me to do that I may be saved?
    31And they answered, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ [[d]give yourself up to Him, [e] take yourself out of your own keeping and entrust yourself into His keeping] and you will be saved, [and this applies both to] you and your household as well . . . [AMP]

We then see easily how this same principle leads to the triune understanding of God, once we factor in Jesus' point that the Spirit who was poured out at Pentecost is another Comforter of the same essential nature.

In turn, as we respond to the One who came in love, died for our sins and rose triumphant over sin and death, we receive the Spirit sent by the Father and the Son, who empowers us in life, love, service and witness. Thus, as Matt 28:18 - 20 instructs, we are baptised in the name of the Father, Son and Spirit: the one and the many conjoined, reflecting the profoundly trinitarian roots of the whole concept and course of salvation. 

This may be illustrated by reminding ourselves of the picture of the shamrock, joined to the Ichthus symbol and leading to a decorated triquetra and the classic Shield of Faith diagram from Unit 3:

When we add the three-fold unity of the Shamrock to the ICHTHUS symbol of early Christianity, we arrive at the Triquetra, a triune symbol of God. This can then be expanded into the Triune Shield of Faith, which symbolically expresses
the Nicene and Athanasian creeds
These diagrams help us to see what redemptive, Christian Monotheism is about, and what the significance of Jesus being Son of God is about.  At the same time, the resulting complex unity, redemptive concept of God incarnate as Messiah is strange indeed, so strange that it is such that we humans would not -- nay, could not -- have conceived it on our own: it is a wondrous mystery.

That is, it must be revealed, rather than discovered by human insight and thought [cf.1 Cor 1:17 - 25!]; which is exactly what Christians have always claimed.>>
I trust this is helpful, as a beginning point.

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