Friday, February 5, 2016

The Same God Heresy, Gateway to Apostasy (Part 3)

‘By their fruits you shall know them...'

(Continued from Part 1 and Part 2)

by Ralph H. Sidway

“After the San Bernardino attacks, everybody was saying, ‘If only Americans knew more about Islam, they wouldn’t be so afraid.’ Actually, it’s the reverse.”Bill Maher


‘I have been commanded to fight…’

The condemnations of Christianity in the Koran (cited in Part 2) have real-world implications, as can be seen in the 14 centuries of Islamic jihad and aggression, and in the modern global phenomenon of Muslim persecution of Christians. As Raymond Ibrahim painstakingly documents both in his book Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War Against Christians, and in his monthly series Muslim Persecution of Christians, Islam’s jihad against Christianity spans centuries, geography, race and language, and takes exactly the same form, whether in Nigeria, Sudan or Egypt (Africa), or in Iraq, Syria, Iran or Lebanon (the Middle East), or in Pakistan, Afghanistan and all the other ‘stans (Central Asia), or in Southeast Asia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and so on. 

Another reliable source, Open Doors, has just published their annual World Watch List on persecution of Christians for 2015, noting that the persecution of Christians in Muslim-majority countries, while horrific in 2014 and prior years, actually doubled in 2015. Over 80% of the 50 worst nations for persecution of Christians are Islamic nations or have large Muslim populations.

Why is Muslim persecution of Christians so universal, and why has it been going on for 14 centuries?

It certainly can’t be a retaliation for the Crusades, as they post-date the creation of Islam by more than four centuries, and were themselves a response against relentless Islamic aggression. 

Rather, the Muslim ummah was a completely new military force, which swept out of the Arabian peninsula in the mid-630s, conquering the Middle East and North Africa by the mid-7th century (and well into Central Asia in the East), followed by the Iberian peninsula (Spain), and even besieging Constantinople (for the first time) in the early 8th century. The below map shows the rapid expanse of Islam during the Arab jihad.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Voice of the Martyrs Publishes ‘Prayer Map’ of Christians Persecuted by Islamists

New resource provides helpful visual for praying for persecuted Christians, with reverse side providing background info on dominant Islamic groups in each region.

by Thomas D. Williams, PhD, Breitbart News, February 4, 2016:

The Christian aid group Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) has published a new “Prayer Map” highlighting countries where Christians face violent persecution at the hands of Islamic extremists around the globe.

Though the primary purpose of the map is to encourage people to pray for persecuted Christians, it also seeks to educate citizens on the state of Christian persecution throughout the world, especially perpetrated by radical Islamists, as well as active engagement to assist persecuted brethren in need.

One side of the Map (pictured above right right) identifies countries where Christians are beaten, tortured, imprisoned and even killed because of their faith. The reverse side highlights nations where Christians face violent persecution by Islamic extremists, showing the dominant Islamist groups in each region.

The resource identifies the location of nine Islamic extremist groups that are actively attacking Christians, including ISIS, Al-Qaida, the Taliban, Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab, helping people get a sense of where the jihadists operate worldwide.

VOM separates the different countries into “restricted nations,” “hostile areas,” and “formerly oppressed countries.”

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Same-God Heresy: Gateway to Apostasy (Part 2)

Allah’s Theological Jihad against Christianity

by Ralph H. Sidway
Continued from Part 1

The Koran: words against the Word.

The first problem for a Christian who affirms that Muslims worship the same God, is that such a Christian has to contend with the Koran, which Muslims believe to be the unalterable, eternal words of God, revealed to Muhammad alone, which pre-existed in heaven before all eternity. 

Allah in the Koran explicitly condemns the foundational truths of the Christian Way, calls Christians “blasphemers” and “deluded”, and pronounces curses on Christians:

The similitude of Isa [Jesus] before God is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: “Be”: And he was. (Sura 3:59) 
Say not “Trinity”: desist: It will be better for you: For God is One God: Glory be to Him: (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. . . . (Sura 4:173) 
In blasphemy indeed are those that say that God is Christ the Son of Mary. (Sura 5:19)
They do blaspheme who say: “God is Christ the son of Mary . . .” They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One God. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them (Sura 5:75,78) 
Christ the son of Mary was no more than an Apostle; many were the apostles that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how God doth make His Signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth! (Sura 5:78) 
The Jews call 'Uzair a son of God, and the Christians call Christ the Son of God. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the Unbelievers of old used to say. God's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! (Sura 9:30) 
In fact, they never killed him, they never crucified him — they were made to think that they did. All factions who are disputing in this matter are full of doubt concerning this issue. They possess no knowledge; they only conjecture. For certain, they never killed him. (Sura 4:157)

Just to recap the above, the Koran — Allah, that is — insists:

  • Jesus is like Adam, mere man created from dust.
  • God is too exalted to have a son.
  • Christians are blasphemers for confessing Jesus Christ as Son of God.
  • Christians are blasphemers for confessing the Holy Trinity.
  • Because Christians are blasphemers, a “grievous penalty” will befall them.
  • Christians are “deluded away from truth” when they confess Jesus Christ as Son of God.
  • Because Christians are blasphemers and deluded away from the truth, “God’s curse be upon them.”

Oh, and furthermore, Allah claims Jesus was never crucified.

All this condemnation of Christian dogma and calling down curses upon Christians comes forth in supposed direct — word-for-word literal — revelations from the True God.

Now, if Muslims and Christians worship the same God, then Allah = God. Yet Allah explicitly condemns Christian dogma, curses Christians and denies historical fact…


It is interesting that Allah goes to such lengths to condemn Christian teaching, even denying the historical fact of Jesus’ crucifixion, which was written about not merely by the authors of the gospels and the New Testament letters, but also by 1st century Jewish and Roman historians who drew on non-Christian contemporaneous sources to pen their accounts. This alone should cast doubt on the reliability of the Koran (which gets all sorts of historical facts mixed up and confused).

As seen in the above, Christianity and Islam cannot both be true. The Allah of Islam is directly, and in a specific, vigorous manner, opposed to the Christian God. 

Put another way, Allah’s self-revelation through Muhammad reveals him as completely opposed to the True God’s self-revelation through the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

These are not obscure theological points, they are foundational principles in Islamic faith, prayer and practice. The faithful Muslim prays this at least seventeen times a day, thousands of times a year:

...Guide us in the straight path, the path of those whom Thou hast blessed,not of those against whom Thou art wrathful,nor of those who are astray.

Offered as a prayer to “the Master of the Day of Doom,” this first sura of the Koran, called al-Fatihah, ‘The Opening’, refers specifically in these its final two verses to the Christians and the Jews. In traditional Islamic teaching, Islam alone is “the straight path,” whereas:

“The two paths He described here are both misguided,” and that those “two paths are the paths of the Christians and Jews, a fact that the believer should beware of so that he avoids them. The path of the believers is knowledge of the truth and abiding by it. In comparison, the Jews abandoned practicing the religion, while the Christians lost the true knowledge. This is why ‘anger’ descended upon the Jews, while being described as ‘led astray’ is more appropriate of the Christians.”  (Classic Koranic commentator Ibn Kathir, Commentary on Koran 1:7, Vol 1, p 87.)

This is the mainstream Islamic view, held to by most Muslim jurists, though not all Muslims realize whom they are condemning when they pray ‘The Opening’. But taken in context with the other Koranic verses cited above, it is clear that in the Islamic view, Jews and Christians alike are under Allah’s judgment and wrath.

Up Next, Part 3: By their fruits you shall know them...

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Same-God Heresy: Gateway to Apostasy (Part 1)

Introduction: An Epistemological Malady

by Ralph H. Sidway

Professor Larycia Hawkins
I am thankful for Rod Dreher’s December 17, 2015 post, “Muslim God, Christian God”, even if I am deeply saddened by it.

Dreher is grappling with one of the most important questions of our age, prompted by Wheaton College’s suspension of a professor over this very question. Dreher cites Wheaton’s statement:

On December 15, 2015, Wheaton College placed Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Larycia Hawkins on paid administrative leave in order to give more time to explore theological implications of her recent public statements concerning Christianity and Islam…  
[Her] recently expressed views, including that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, appear to be in conflict with the College’s Statement of Faith.

And so, we launch into the theological deep-end, with the “Same God” question finally being brought out into the public square. You can read the whole thing, which for all its obvious sincerity is hopelessly muddled, but I think that’s part of Dreher’s point.

I commend Dreher for his honesty, especially this section (emphasis added):

To be honest, I’ve never thought at all about whether Muslims pray to the same God as Christians. The Catholic Church teaches that they do, and that was my belief when I was a Catholic, though I never gave it a minute’s thought. I don’t know what I believe now, to be honest. We know that Muslims do not pray to the Holy Trinity — but this is also true of Jews.  
Don’t Christians (most Christians) believe that Jews pray to the one true God, even if they have an imperfect understanding of His nature? If this is true for Jews, why not also for Muslims, who clearly adhere to an Abrahamic religion? This is why my tendency is to assume that Muslims do pray to the one true God, even though they have a radically impaired view of Him. 
But how far do we go with that?

How far indeed!

The Church Fathers would have plenty to say about this, including a vigorous denial — based on the Scriptures — of the statement that Islam is an “Abrahamic religion.” 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Celebrating the Nativity of Christ in Pakistan (with photos)

"After the Divine Liturgy, Fr. Joseph Farooq preached the deep theology of Christ’s incarnation which is interpreted by Blessed John Chrysostom Archbishop of Constantinople and the teacher of church. In his sermon, Fr. Joseph Farooq emphasized that the faithful should strengthen their faith as they face trials, tribulation and persecutions."

Please help support the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan by your prayers and your donations!

by Fr. Joseph Farooq, January 10, 2016

Merry Christmas!
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan HILARION, Archbishop of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, on January 7, 2016 the Russian Orthodox believers outside Russia in Pakistan celebrated Christmas according to Traditions and Faith of the Mother Church (Russia). It is our true joy and strong spiritual unity that we celebrated Christmas on the same date along with our Orthodox brothers and sisters around the world by following the “Julian calendar”. therefore Orthodox Christians annually celebrate Christmas Day on January 7.

January 7 “The Day of Joy and Blessing” For Pakistani Orthodox Christians

It is worth mentioning that the Christmas Lent is a favourable time in which we need to bring the fruits of repentance and prayer. The ROCOR priest Fr. Joseph Farooq in Pakistan preached forty days of fasting to the orthodox believers and they were taught not to eat meat and were asked to pray for the repentance of their sins and do some charity for the poor and needy. The Christian Community in Pakistan is very poor but they do some charity for their brothers and sisters. Many of the faithful come for confession during the regular Sunday’s Divine Liturgy to gain spiritual perfection. All the religious services on New Year and on Christmas Day were full of orthodox worshippers in Pakistan.

Islam and Islamism in America in 2015: Part I

An exhaustive and must read survey on Islam in America. 

Islam and Islamism in America in 2015: Part I
Gatestone Institute via Creeping Sharia, January 27, 2016:

The Muslim population of the United States surpassed 3.5 million in 2015, according to demographic projections compiled by the Pew Research Center. In percentage terms, Muslims currently comprise roughly 1% of the US population.

As in Europe, Islam was an ever-present topic in American newspaper headlines during 2015. Most news items involved terrorism-related issues — including many cases of lone-wolf terrorists — closely followed by articles about Muslim integration and assimilation. [or lack thereof]


January 6. Officials at the Rocky Heights Middle School in Littleton, Colorado, ignited controversy when they told female students to dress according to Sharia law while visiting a mosque during a field trip. Peter Boyles, a radio talk show host in Denver, said: “Public schools are forbidden from holding girls to different standards than boys. They’re holding these girls to a different standard, it’s a religious reason. Islam dictates many … repressive practices against women…. That’s their belief … but don’t apply it to public school kids.”

January 7. Hashim Hanif Ibn Abdul-Rasheed, a 41-year-old Muslim armed with two knives taped to his legs, attempted to buy a plane ticket at the Port Columbus International Airport in Columbus, Ohio. Abdul-Rasheed was shot after he lunged at a police officer. Police said his behavior was “consistent with someone who intended to hijack an aircraft.”

January 9. Abdalah Mohamed, a 19-year-old migrant from Kenya, was arrested after he threatened to kill the owner of a Jewish delicatessen in Portland, Oregon. Police said Mohamed entered the store asking for a single cigarette. When the owner replied that he did not sell individual cigarettes, Mohamed reportedly said: “I will blow up your store. I’m going to take care of you, you mother (redacted). I’ll call my people to take care of you to shoot you! I will blow up your store in the name of Allah, I will take care of people like you!”

January 12. ISIS sympathizers hacked the official Twitter account of the US Central Command, the Pentagon division in charge of the Middle East. One tweet sent from CENTCOM’s account stated: “American soldiers, we are coming, watch your backs.” Another tweet said: “ISIS is already here…. With Allah’s permission we are in CENTCOM now.”

January 13. Representative André Carson (D-Indiana), a convert to Islam, was appointed to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Carson, who has extensive ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, is the first Muslim to sit on the committee.

January 14. Christopher Lee Cornell, a 20-year-old convert to Islam, was arrested in Cincinnati, Ohio, for plotting to “wage jihad” by attacking the US Capitol. Cornell and his accomplice, who was actually an FBI informant, planned to detonate pipe bombs and gun down lawmakers. Cornell, whose Muslim name is Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah, had bought two M-15 rifles and 600 rounds of ammunition. He had also posted messages and videos espousing support for ISIS.

January 14. Shelton Thomas Bell, a 21-year-old convert to Islam from Jacksonville, Florida, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for attempting to provide material support to terrorists. According to court documents, Bell “conspired to train and prepare as a combatant for overseas violent jihad, then travel from Jacksonville to the Middle East for the ultimate purpose of providing the skills to terrorists, including members of Ansar al-Sharia in Yemen.”

As part of his training, Bell conducted a late-night “jihadi training mission” that involved destroying religious statues in a multi-denominational cemetery in Jacksonville. He also uploaded training and recruiting videos onto the Internet, including one in which he makes homemade pipe bombs and another in which he burns an America flag.

January 15. Carol Swain, a prominent professor of law and political science at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, penned an op-ed in The Tennessean titled, “Charlie Hebdo attacks prove critics were right about Islam.” She wrote:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bishop Angaelos: Condemns Church’s silence, fails to mention Islam as cause of Christian 'decline'

As important as this report is, and the admonitions of Bishop Angaelos, it is noteworthy that absolutely nowhere in this story is there any mention of the actual cause of the "decline of Christianity in the Middle East." Why, judging from this news story and His Grace's words, the cause could be drought brought on by Climate Change. Or it could be lack of job opportunities. Or it could be falling oil prices.

The early 21st century is already drenched in blood and carnage by the global Muslim jihad against Christians, yet you don't get a word of that from this news report, nor from most Christian leaders.

The shameful irony of Bishop Angaelos' words is that, unless his remarks have been heavily edited, his condemnation of the Church's silence perpetuates that very silence when it comes to naming the root cause of the "decline of Christians in the Middle East": Islam and jihad in the name of Allah.

Bishop Angaelos: The Church’s silence has contributed to the decline of Christianity in the Middle East
Christianity Today via Pravmir, January 19, 2016:

The Church’s silence on refugees has been a contributing factor to the decline of Christianity in the Middle East, the General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK said today.

His Grace Bishop Angaelos addressed a conference hosted by the World Council of Churches and the UN to speak of practical ways leaders can respond to the refugee crisis.

He joined a number of other church leaders to highlight the mass exodus of Christians from their homeland in the Middle East.

“Where there was once a 25 per cent Christian population in the Middle East it is now around 5 per cent, and tragically 4 per cent of those 5 per cent are in Egypt,” he said.

“Our silence as Churches, nations, and as a world community, has been a contributing factor to this,” said Angaelos in an impassioned plea.

Orthodox Christian Mission in Pakistan: Donations via PayPal back online!

Important update enables global support for the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan to spread!

Forgive my delay in posting this announcement!  I am only now getting somewhat caught up after a tumultuous several weeks...

I received this welcomed email from Fr. Joseph Farooq back in mid-December:

Greetings and blessings in the Holy Name of Lord Jesus Christ! 
Met. Hilarion, and Fr. Joseph Farooq
It is my joy to inform that with blessings of my ruling bishop, His Eminence Met. Hilarion, our paypal account is activated. Now the kind donors are requested to send their charity and funds for the widows and orthodox children on Christmas. Please find the link mentioned below. 
Donations via PayPal back online 
May God grant you many good years, good health, well-being and spiritual growth. 
Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary!
With best wishes happiness and joy!
Fr.Joseph Farooq

And this post from the Mission's website:

2015 Deadliest Year for Christians Worldwide

Open Doors' World Watch List finds the persecution level against Christians virtually doubled from 2014, with Muslim nations representing nearly 90% of the top 50 worst offenders.

by Samuel Smith, Christian Post, January 13, 2016

Open Doors' 2015 World Watch List Map:  The entire Muslim world is united in ever-worsening persecution of Christians.

The Christian persecution watchdog group Open Doors has released its annual list of countries where Christians face the greatest persecution and found that it has reached unprecedented levels worldwide as over 7,000 Christians were killed for their faith between Nov. 1, 2014, and Oct. 31, 2015.

Although the California-based ministry, which works in over 60 countries, stated last January that 2014 was the worst year for Christian persecution than any other time in modern history, the organization said during the rollout of its 2016 World Watch List that 2015 surpassed 2014 as the deadliest year for Christians worldwide.

Open Doors found that over 3,000 more Christians were killed for faith-related reasons during its reporting period for the 2016 World Watch List than it found during the reporting period for the 2015 report. Additionally, over 2,400 churches were attacked, damaged or destroyed during the reporting period, which is more than double the number from last year.

"The 2016 World Watch List documents an unprecedented escalation of violence against Christians, making this past year the most violent and sustained attack on Christian faith in modern history," Open Doors CEO David Curry explained at a Wednesday press conference introducing the report. "This research has concluded that after the brutal persecution of Christians in 2014, 2015 proved to be even worse with the persecution continuing to increase, intensify and spread across the globe."

For the 14th consecutive year, North Korea was listed at No. 1 on the World Watch List, again making it the greatest persecutor of Christians in the world with a persecution rating of 92 out of 100. As the Kim regime continues its intolerance toward religion, between 50,000 to 70,000 Christians are suffering in regime labor camps.

While pariah states like North Korea, Sudan (No. 8) and Eritrea (No. 3) continue to stomp on the religious freedoms of Christians and others, the dramatic rise in the amount of persecution against Christians is in part due to the rise of Islamic extremist groups like the Islamic State, Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab.

As IS continues to have a stronghold on much of the historically-Christian Nineveh province in northern Iraq, Iraq is listed at No. 2 on the list.

With the emergence of the IS, thousands of Christians have been forced to flee their homes and villages or risk being killed for their love of Christ. Due to the mass exodus of Christians, the research finds that Christianity is "on the verge of extinction" from Iraq, a place where Christians have lived for two millennia.

Considering that IS also has control of chunks of Syria, Open Doors lists Syria at No. 5 on the list.

"Islamic extremist caliphates are solidified and expanding," Curry said. "The data shows that the Islamic State caliphate has effectively carried out genocide against Yazidis and Christians in Syria and Iraq, pushing hundreds of thousands of Christians into refugee camps in North Iraq and other countries."

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Problem With Islam Is Aggressive Scripture, Not Aggressive 'Traditionalism'

Islamic culture and traditional societies, and Muslim behavior, are based on the Islamic scriptures, which are anything but "moderate."

By Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review Online, January 16, 2016:

The Koran — Beautiful script, eh? But is it the passage which commands Muslims to "Strike them over the necks, and smite over all their fingers and toes" (Sura 8:12).

On the Corner this week, the eminent Jim Talent touted (with some reservations) an essay about "moderate Islam" by Cheryl Bernard. A Rand Institute researcher, she is also a novelist, a defender of war-ravaged cultures, and the wife of Zalmay Khalilzad, the former U.S. ambassador to post-Taliban (or is it pre-Taliban?) Afghanistan. 
With due respect to Dr. Bernard, who does much heroic work, I believe the essay highlights what is wrong with Western academic analysis of Islam.

The problem comes into focus in the very title of Senator Talent's post, "Aggressive Traditionalism." That is the attribute of Islamic societies that Dr. Bernard blames for the frustration of her high hopes for "moderate Islam." In truth, however, the challenge Islam poses for moderation is not its tradition; it is Islamic doctrine -- the scriptural support for traditional sharia and Islamic supremacist ideology.

I give Bernard credit. She is the unusual strategist who is willing to admit failure -- in this instance, of the strategy of promoting "moderate Islam" as the antidote to "radical Islam."