Sunday, May 15, 2016

The More I Learn About Islam, the More I Hate It

Refugees heading to Europe
Islam has been in the news a lot lately, with Syrian refugees pouring into Europe, the vast majority of these refugees being Muslim males. Many Europeans are uncomfortable with the influx, for several reasons: financial, crime, integration, terrorist Trojan horses. Rapes and other violence from the refugees has skyrocketed, so some cities and countries want to ship them back.  Those who welcome them in argue that "Islam is a religion of peace", and cite humanitarian grounds.

What is the truth about Islam?

I've been collecting articles about Islam for a while intending to write a blog. As part of my research, I read "It IS About Islam" by Glenn Beck [1], and I found he already wrote what I wanted to say and more. So this blog is more of a book report. He makes his arguments from Islamic sources and Islamic authors, not posing as an expert himself, not trying to interpret the Koran for the reader, but taking statements from Islamic leaders and scholars. All quotes are from "It IS About Islam" unless otherwise noted.

In Part One of "It IS About Islam", Beck covers the agenda of Islam, which is to bring about a confrontation with the West, also known as Armageddon or the End Times. Again, this is in the words of Muslims, not Glenn Beck. He also covers the history of Islam, starting with its prophet Muhammed. He explains the major sects of Islam (Wahhabism and Salafism), Sharia law, and Islam's sacred texts. Most everyone has heard of the Koran, also spelled Quran, but less well known to Westerners is the Hadith "the collected deeds and sayings of Allah’s prophet Muhammad, which form one of the primary bases of Islamic law."

In Part Two, Beck discusses thirteen lies about Islam. Many of these lies we hear routinely from Islamic apologists like the ACLU or media outlets. I will summarize two lies so you get the point.

Lie #1: Islam Is A Religion Of Peace

Muslim/Islam/Salam. It seems logical if salam (peace) is in the name, it's a religion of peace, right? President Obama, among countless others, have asserted that Islam preaches peace - page 92. Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes explains,

The word Islam more accurately translates to “submission.” “There is no connection in meaning between salām and islām, peace and submission,” These are two distinct words with unrelated [meanings]. In brief, ‘Islam = submission.’ - page 93
ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said bluntly:
O Muslims, Islam was never for a day the religion of peace. Islam is the religion of war.
Where do modern Islamic leaders get these notions from? Here is a quote from Sura 9:29:
Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e., Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. - page 96
What about those who say the terrorists don't represent Islam? That they are extremists and don't speak for all Muslims? Take it from the Koran directly:
And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war to strike terror into the enemies of Allah and your enemy - Quran 8:60
Or take it from the Hadith:
 Allah’s Apostle said, “I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror. . . .” Sahih al-Bukhari 4:52: 220
The Koran and other sacred Islamic writings repeatedly command Muslims to fight, and to inflict terror, especially on Christians and Jews. It is not some modern interpretation by extremists that came up with this, it is in Islam's founding documents. Today's Muslim leaders DO know what they're talking about, they DO represent Islam, and command a large following among Muslims.

It is important to look at the facts, that is the behavior of Muslims, not argue philosophy or who wrote what. I was shocked to learn the extent of Islamic terrorism.

According to TheReligionOfPeace [2], since September 11, 2001, there have been over 28,000 Muslim terror attacks. 28,000!! That's over 1800 per year for fifteen years. The Religion Of Peace "monitors acts of Muslim violence from a range of news sources that are reliable, when it can be reasonably inferred that the perpetrator was motivated to some degree by their Islamic faith." - WND [3].

No way does Islam qualify as a religion of peace.

Lie #4: Muslims don’t actually seek to live under Sharia

Here is the lie in different terms from an Islamic apologist.
“There are so many varying interpretations of what sharia actually means that in some places, it can be incorporated into political systems relatively easily.” —Steven A. Cook, Council on Foreign Relations
But what do Muslim scholars say?
“Islam, it is generally acknowledged, is a complete way of life, and at the core of the code, is the law of Islam. . . . No other sovereign or authority is acceptable to the Muslim, unless it guarantees the application of the laws (shariah) in their entirety. - Imran Ahsan Kahn Nyazee 
By Bill Warner, PHD

The fact is that Sharia law has overwhelming support among Muslims. Beck gives the results of a Pew poll in Muslim nations asking who favors Sharia as the official law of the country, some countries polling as high as 99% - page 122. Get the truth straight from Osama Bin Laden himself:

Muslims, and especially the learned among them, should spread Shari’a law to the world— that and nothing else. Not laws under the “umbrella of justice, morality, and rights” as understood by the masses. No, the Shari’a of Islam is the foundation. . . . In fact, Muslims are obligated to raid the lands of the infidels, occupy them, and exchange their system of governance for an Islamic system, barring any practice that contradicts Shari’a from being publicly voiced among the people, as was the case in the dawn of Islam. . . . They say that our Shari’a does not impose our particular beliefs upon others; this is a false assertion. For it is, in fact, part of our religion to impose our particular beliefs upon others. . . . Thus whoever refuses the principle of terror against the enemy also refuses the commandment of Allah the Exalted, the Most High, and His Shari’a. - Osama bin Laden
Why do Muslims feel free to commit rape and other violence in Europe? They don't respect the laws of the lands they live in, they follow Sharia.
The Quran, Hadith, and a consensus of Islamic scholars suggest that Muslims should respect sharia law over the laws of whatever nation they happen to live in. - page 130 
Muslim immigrants are pressing for Sharia law in the US, the UK, and other European countries. Sharia law is incompatible with the constitution of the US and probably all Western nations.

There ARE decent Muslims in the world who don't approve of terrorism, violence, and Sharia law. The problem is there are large numbers who do, and they find justification in their founding documents.

Below are the thirteen lies Beck covers in "It IS About Islam". There are more. See The Myths Of Islam [4] for more. I did not go into Islam vs Christianity, or Koran vs Bible, or Allah vs God - maybe in a future post. The information is out there, the truth is out there. Islam is not a misunderstood religion. Muslims view their mission as a religious war. We would be foolish to ignore that.

  1. Islam is a religion of peace, and Islamic terrorists aren’t really Muslims.
  2. Islam is not much different than christianity or judaism.
  3. Jihad is a peaceful, internal struggle, not a war against infidels.
  4. Muslims don’t actually seek to live under Sharia, let alone impose it on others, there are so many different interpretations of it anyway.
  5. America is safe from Sharia law.
  6. The caliphate is a fanciful dream.
  7. Islam is tolerant toward non-Muslims.
  8. Addressing frustration, poverty, joblessness in the Muslim world— maybe even climate change— will end terrorism.
  9. Critics of Islam are bigots.
  10. Islam respects the rights of women.
  11. Iran can be trusted with a nuclear weapon.
  12. The Muslim brotherhood is a moderate, mainstream Islamic group.
  13. Islam respects freedom of speech.





Thursday, May 5, 2016

Is Leaven Sin?

Many churches who observe the Days of Unleavened Bread teach that leaven symbolizes sin. They base this on Jesus' words "beware the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees" in Matthew 16:6. The message was initially lost on the audience (the 12 disciples) because they thought He was talking about bread.

Even Jewish rabbis view leaven as symbolizing sin - Jews For Jesus [1]. Let's see how Jesus Himself interpreted leaven. In verse 12 of Matthew 16, Matthew says they (the disciples) understood Jesus was talking about the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Well, which is it? Does leaven represent sin or does it represent doctrine? As Grant Luton of Beth Tikkun [2] says, "If a scripture can be taken two ways, do it". That doesn't mean that an interpretation can contradict other verses however. But in this case, it seems reasonable to interpret leaven as sin or doctrine depending on the context.

Doctrine of Pharisees and Sadducees

Pharisees and Sadducees
On its own, doctrine is a neutral word meaning teaching. However, improper doctrine can give people license to sin. For example, the Pharisees and Sadducees had many traditions that set aside the word of God - Mark 7:13. The New Testament authors spent time refuting Gnosticism, a belief system that crept into the first century church, teaching that salvation was a matter of secret knowledge or gnosis. Gnosticism also teaches the spirit is good and the body is evil, therefore "one must defile the body through immoral activity" - Wiki [3], again giving people the license to sin. Not that it takes much to convince people to do what they wanted to do anyway.

A person who teaches a false doctrine, aka heresy, knowingly or unknowingly, puts themselves above God and His word, the Bible.
  • Does your church teach that the Sabbath has been changed to Sunday? 
  • Does your church teach that the Ten Commandments are done away?
  • Does your church teach that their prophet's writings supersede the Bible? 
  • Does your church teach Christmas and Easter instead of God's holy days revealed in the Bible? 
  • Does your church put a priest between you and God?
  • Does your religion reject Jesus as Messiah?
  • Does your religion teach that it's OK to kill infidels?
  • Does your religion teach that it's OK to lie to unbelievers?

Leaven of Hypocrisy

Luke records the same event with different wording, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy" - Luke 12:1. This puts a different twist on it. I doubt anyone would argue that the teaching of the Pharisees was hypocrisy, it just came out that way in their actions. A hypocrite is someone who is pretending, someone who has taken God's name but doesn't live a godly life, that is, someone who takes God's name in vain. Taking His name in vain means more than speaking His name casually or using His name in an idle curse. Consider how the example of the Pharisees (hypocrites) affected the people observing them.
Jesus likened the conduct of the Pharisees to actors–men pretending, playing a role. The Pharisees of Christ’s day were a powerful leadership body who claimed to be more zealous and more righteous than the rest of Jewish society. They set themselves up as models of what was right and godly, yet in Christ’s eyes their example was actually destructive. In Christ’s estimation the conduct of these men had a corrupting effect upon those who followed their example–a leavening effect, if you will. -  Howard Marchbanks [4]

Leaven of Herod

Mark records an interesting additional detail to Jesus statement, "beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod" - Mark 8:15. This takes it out of the church, sort of. Herod represents politics. One simple meaning of the leaven of Herod is to avoid politics in the church. The dirty little secret is that in Jesus' time, Herod appointed the high priest, and he was always a Sadducee, obtaining the position by bribery - High Priest Corruption [5]. Today, some Christians believe if they get their candidate elected, they can establish the kingdom of God on earth, then Jesus can return and take over, this is called Dominion Theology. In other words, create utopia by political machinations - Gayle Erwin [6].  "You can't solve spiritual problems with political means" - Fred Coulter  [7]. Getting involved politically goes beyond church politics, goes beyond making a deal with the government for your own benefit, it goes to becoming the government. It seems that church leaders get obsessed with establishing the perfect government (with them at the top of course), then everything will be OK. But God already had a perfect government long ago, and Satan still rebelled.

It's Not About the Bread

Over and over in John chapter 6, Jesus described Himself as the true bread from heaven. Some were offended when He said "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." Once again, we can take that two ways. He was certainly talking about the Passover service where we take the unleavened bread and wine as symbols of His body and blood. But He could have also meant to refer back to "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" - Matthew 4:4. And Jesus, being the Word of God, was referring to Himself, but also the written word of God - in other words, His teaching, His doctrine. It's not really about the bread.

Which is it then? Does leaven represent sin or does it represent heresy/hypocrisy/politics? I'm comfortable with "all of the above", because heresy/hypocrisy/politics lead to sin. Let us not focus solely on "putting sin out" because of a narrow interpretation of what leavened bread pictures. Let us focus on taking in the bread from heaven every day, pictured by eating unleavened bread during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.