Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Islam, Totalitarianism, and the 'catastrophic spiritual ruin ahead of us'

"I am begging you to pray that if there is catastrophic spiritual ruin ahead of us, that God would open our eyes to it before it is too late. If you have not been praying with heartfelt sincerity and desperate dependence on God – start tonight."
~ Rev. Peter Sanlon, Church of England

Rod Dreher has posted an interview with Rev. Peter Sanlon, a young CofE pastor, over at his blog at The American Conservative, which is startling for its unflinching honesty and penetrating insights concerning the frightening rate of the post-and ever more stridently anti-Christian sentiment sweeping the West, and the immanent collapse of establishment Christianity as a result.

Rev. Sanlon identifies three movements, which he states are "certain to sink the ship": "Radical sexual gender ideologies, Islam, and governments’ totalitarian instincts." How he describes the dynamics of these three forces shows he has thought deeply on contemporary trends, and is not spinning hastily composed conspiracy theories.

It may well be the case that the Orthodox Church, due to our smaller numbers, may fare better than mainline Protestant denominations, Evangelicals, and Roman Catholicism. On the other hand, because Orthodoxy is by its nature more traditional and less subject to change with the times, it may be especially singled out and targeted by the forces of the spirit of Antichrist, as described in the most significant Christian book of the 21st century so far.

I cannot do justice to Rev. Sanlon's incisive and prophetic analysis, and urgently recommend you read the entire interview. Key excerpts below. I have made a few comments, which are bracketed and not indented.

Christian Life In Exile

by Rod Dreher, The American Conservative, March 5, 2018:

DREHER: Dr. Sanlon, you’ve mentioned to me that the situation for faithful small-o orthodox Christians in the West today is a lot like passengers on the Titanic refusing to believe that the ship is sinking. What do you mean?
SANLON: The Titanic was believed to be the ‘unsinkable ship’ – yet 1,503 souls perished in the icy Atlantic waters. The designers, financiers, media, crew and passengers held that the ship was unsinkable — and therefore were unable to consider or prepare adequately for her sinking. People are shaped and formed by their beliefs: if you believe something cannot occur, you will not think about it or prepare for it. This is all the more true if the thing you believe cannot happen is something that would be deeply unpleasant to you. 

"I do not believe the Church itself will be sunk. What I do mean is that the public, easy, culturally acceptable way we do church is sunk." — Rev. Peter Sanlon

The human heart has an astonishing capacity for self-deception, and together with those who are similarly disposed we have almost infinite abilities to participate in mass delusion. Consider how the shudders of the Titanic liner impacting the iceberg were dismissed as insignificant. Those down in the hull of the ship could see water pouring in — but those in the restaurants and cabins above them would not believe warnings. Those bringing the warnings were uncouth, less cultured, not as intelligent — and crucially theywere bringing warnings of tragedy that were unpalatable. The mind rationalizes what the heart desires. 
What then do I mean when I say that orthodox Christians in the West are like passengers on the Titanic? 
I mean that the Church in our Western nations has already hit the iceberg. Water is flooding into the hull — the ship will sink. The grinding judders of our ship impacting the iceberg have been felt — but the majority of Christians will do what the Titanic passengers and crew did — explain the evidence away and refuse to help one another prepare to save one another’s spiritual lives. 
The iceberg that has has ripped open the Church is composed of not frozen water, but three things. Radical sexual gender ideologies, Islam and governments’ totalitarian instincts. 
Why is it that these three movements are so certain to sink the ship? The reason is that the mainline churches in the West are deeply compromised. Over many decades our leaders have fostered the hope that by political action, legal efforts or even by embracing the cultures’ ideologies in these three areas, that it can prosper or survive. This has severely weakened the Churches and leaves us unprepared for the future. 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Mark Durie: 'The threat is not extremism, but Islam'

"Mark Durie warns a cognitive dissonance is stopping many of us from understanding Islamist violence. No, we are not facing the threat of 'extremism' but of Islam."

Another in our series, 'Reconnecting with Mark Durie'. 

Thanks to Andrew Bolt in the Herald Sun for the lede above, and for spreading this excellent analysis more widely. This is a good article to share with friends and family members who insist that there is no connection between Islam and terrorism, or that there are as many dangerous Christian extremists as Muslim ones, or that there is no difference between Islam and Christianity (a variant of the 'Same God' heresy), or ... "What about the Crusades?!"

Excuse me, but your cognitive dissonance is showing

by Mark Durie, June 19, 2017

Herald Sun issue on the June 2017 Islamic jihad
terror attack in Brighton, Melbourne, Australia.

On June 5 in Brighton, Melbourne, at a spot I have driven past countless times, there was a terrorist incident. An armed Muslim, Yacqub Khayre, crying out support for the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, took a hostage, killed a hotel worker, and engaged police in a shootout, until he was shot dead. It is hard to imagine a less likely place for jihadist violence than affluent, Anglo Brighton, with its tidily quiet tree-lined streets of multi-million dollar homes. If it could happen in Brighton, it could happen anywhere.

Islamic terrorism has been a shock to the secular soul of the West. We have tried to address the security challenge, but are not across the intellectual challenge. Recently in the Australian, Jonathan Cole exploded three myths that hamper efforts to counter terrorism: the essentialist claim that Islam is a religion of peace; the idea that jihadists are political actors exploiting religion; and the idea that jihadists are deranged psychopaths. In response, Cole argued that the terrorism debate needs to engage with Islamic theology.

There is a fourth myth not canvassed by Cole, the ‘myth of the extremist’. This is the idea that the jihadist’s condition is a case of ‘extremism’, a state which transcends any particular religion, and which therefore has nothing particular to do with Islam. The myth is that the problem is not what jihadists believe, but the way they believe; not the content of their faith, but the blindness with which they pursue it. This was the view of Charles Wooley’s recent article ‘Blind faith breeds barbarity in Islam as it did in Christianity’.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Raymond Ibrahim: The ‘Baby Muhammad’ Jihad: Europe’s Future Nightmare

"Although the original, historic jihad was straightforward warfare on the infidel to make Islam supreme... so too jihad al-wilada (or childbearing) is seen as a way to contribute to the 'struggle' to make Islam supreme."

The ‘Baby Muhammad’ Jihad: Europe’s Future Nightmare

by Raymond Ibrahim, Feb. 20, 2018:

If Muhammad cannot beat the infidels on the battlefield, he’ll outbreed them—literally: “Mohammed most popular name for newborn boys in the Netherlands for second year in a row,” is the title of a recent report. Muhammad is apparently also the most popular name in England. In fact, Muhammad is one of the most popular names throughout Northwest Europe.

While this may seem innocuous enough—what’s in a name?—the fact is many Muslims see their offspring as their contribution to the jihad—the “struggle” to make Islam supreme—since more numbers equate more influence and power. Nor is the naming of “Muhammad” a coincidence but rather a cryptic reminder from the parents (usually father) concerning whom they most revere and hope their sons emulate—namely, the founder of Islam/jihad.

Although the original, historic jihad was straightforward warfare on the infidel to make Islam supreme, the ulema articulated a variety of other jihads, all of which work to the same end: as with jihad al-lisan (literally tongue, meaning propaganda, apologias, polemics, etc.) and jihad al-mal (monetarily or materially supporting jihadis, including through zakat), so too jihad al-wilada (or childbearing) is seen as a way to contribute to the “struggle” to make Islam supreme.

This can be achieved with either infidel or Muslim women. As an example of the first, a Muslim imam was videotaped saying that, because European men lack virility, their women seek fertility among Muslim men. Accordingly, “We will give them fertility! We will breed children with them, because we will conquer their countries! Whether you like it or not, you Germans, Americans, French, and Italians and all those akin to you [Western people]—take in the refugees. For soon we will call them [and their European born sons] in the name of the coming caliphate! And we will say to you, ‘These are our sons.’”

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Iraqi Archbishop: Muslim ‘Slow-Motion Genocide’ of Christians Began 1400 Years Ago

"Islamic persecution of Christians in the Middle East began with the founding of Islam itself in the 7th century, and thus is a permanent fixture of Islam that was present from the very beginning."

Thomas D. Williams of Breitbart has written a compelling article using a variety of contemporary voices to warn of the violent, hate-filled, anti-Christian ideology embedded in the foundation of Islam - the Koran and the example of Muhammad.

Iraqi Archbishop: Muslim ‘Slow-Motion Genocide’ of Christians Began 1400 Years Ago

by Thomas D. Williams, Breitbart, February 19, 2018:

The violent Muslim persecution of Christians in the Middle East did not begin with the Islamic State’s rise to power in 2014, said Iraqi Archishop Bashar Warda, but rather many centuries ago.

“Having faced for 1,400 years the slow-motion genocide that began long before the ongoing ISIS genocide today, the time for excusing this inhuman behavior and its causes is long since past,” said the Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil in a forceful speech last week at Georgetown University.

According to the archbishop, Islamic persecution of Christians in the Middle East began with the founding of Islam itself in the 7th century, and thus is a permanent fixture of Islam that was present from the very beginning.

“The harsh truth to this question is that without an end to this persecution and violence there is no future for religious pluralism in Iraq or anywhere else in the Middle East for that matter,” he said.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Islamic State targets Patriarch Kyrill, Vladimir Putin, in new 'BREAK THE CROSS' campaign

"The new poster against the Russian spiritual and political leaders shows the pair in crosshairs, with the words 'BREAK THE CROSS' in English and 'soon, very soon' in both Arabic and Russian." 


New propaganda posters from the jihadi organization ISIS are taking aim at His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and President Vladimir Putin of Russia in particular, as well as America and London, reports with reference to the SITE Intelligence Group.

The new poster against the Russian spiritual and political leaders shows the pair in crosshairs, with the words “BREAK THE CROSS” in English and “soon, very soon” in both Arabic and Russian.

The poster has been released on the eve of the March 18th Russian presidential election, and just after ISIS claimed responsibility for the shooting deaths of five Orthodox women just outside their church in Dagestan last Sunday. The Islamic State has also recently threatened to launch attacks against Russia due to the Kremlin’s support for Assad’s forces in Syria, as it has suffered massive blows in Syrian and Iraqi battlefields recently.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Mark Durie: 'The Abrahamic Fallacy: Why Abraham is not a point of unity for Islam, Judaism, and Christianity' (VIDEO)

Dr Mark Durie unpacks why the phrase ‘Abrahamic religion’ is a fallacy.

Continuing our series, 'Reconnecting with Mark Durie'.

The Abrahamic Fallacy: Why Abraham is not a point of unity for Islam, Judaism, and Christianity'

Scroll down for video...
by Mark Durie, Interface Institute, August 19, 2017:

The phrase ‘Abrahamic religion’ or ‘faith of Abraham’ was first promoted in ecumenical circles during the 1950’s and 1960’s by Lebanese Maronite priest, Youakim Moubarak, whose theological vision was political, of an ‘egalitarian Palestine in which Jews, Christians and Muslims demonstrate together its abrahamic and ecumenical vocation’.

In reality, however, Abraham is a divisive figure: in Judaism he is the Torah-observant father of the Jewish nation; for Christians he is the apostle of salvation by faith alone; for Muslims he is the proto-typical Muslim, a forerunner and validator of Muhammad.

Moubarak took the phrase ‘religion of Abraham’ from the Koran and his promotion of it is a manifestation of dhimmi theology, a worldview constrained by existential fear, psychological accommodation and denial. In fact the ‘Abrahamic vocation’ inspired by the Koran leads to Islamization and sharia implementation. The current state of the Middle East offers eloquent testimony to the hollowness of this vision.


Dr. Mark Durie is an academic, human rights activist, Anglican pastor, a Shillman-Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and Adjunct Research Fellow of the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam at Melbourne School of Theology.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Orthodox Lent begins with New Martyrs killed by Muslim after Forgiveness Vespers in Dagestan

"What was previously reported as an unidentified “gunman” was a jihad murderer, Halilov Khalil Umarovich, who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and then, screaming “Allahu akbar,” went to the church and opened fire." [1]

Imagine exchanging the divine gift of forgiveness with your brothers and sisters in the holy Church, signifying the beginning of Great Lent, and then being swiftly attacked, stabbed and shot at by a Muslim screaming "Allahu akbar." Imagine in that instant realizing you were going to die, and surrendering yourself into the hands of our merciful Lord Jesus Christ, and in that fleeting moment, forgiving even your enemies who are killing you.

This is the instantaneous realization these five women had this past Sunday.

This is happening all around the globe. Every day.

The martyrdom of these five Orthodox Christian women, is a sign of our age, a sign of life today under the sword of Islam, and a sign of the end of the age. As the choir of Christian martyrs under Islam continues to grow, we must be ever more vigilant, watchful, and faithful. We must earnestly and continuously repent and be ready at all times to be found in Christ and in His Holy Church. The enemy is at the very doors.

As the Great Prokeimenon for Great Lent exclaims:

Turn not away Thy Face from Thy child for I am afflicted,
Hear me, speedily draw near unto my soul,
and deliver it...

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me...

This post collects several reports on this horrific jihad attack in the Russian Republic of Dagestan.

Women killed at Dagestan Church to be buried on Church grounds as having received Martyric deaths,, 2/20/2018:

Kizlyar, Dagestan, Russia, February 20, 2018

The five women, Vera, Lyudmila, Nadezhda, Irina, and Vera, who were shot and killed outside of the Cathedral of St. George in the city of Kizlyar, in the Russian Dagestan Republic on Sunday will be buried on the territory of the church, the acting head of Dagestan Vladimir Vasiliev said at a meeting with Kizlyar city administration yesterday, reports Interfax-Religion.

“It is very important that the funeral ceremony will be held tomorrow [today] on the grounds of the church,” Vasiliev stated.

Today has been declared a day of mourning in Kizlyar.

According to the republic head, the decision to bury them on church grounds was made by Archbishop Varlaam of Makhachkala and Grozny.

“He said that they received martyric deaths on the territory of the church, and there is permission for them to be buried on the territory of the church,” Vasiliev stated. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Mark Durie: 'Muhammad killed many, Jesus none' (video)

Dr Mark Durie interviewed by Andrew Bolt, Monday 17 April 2017.  “Anglican Pastor Mark Durie questions people’s ability to recognise that religion has shaped culture…”
Click to watch the interview on the Interface Institute website...

This wide ranging interview lets Mark Durie explore how religion does influence culture, and how that is critical when considering Muslim culture and issues like FGM, abuse of women, and of course jihad and terrorism.

Unfortunately, I could not embed the video code, so do click over to the Interface Institute to watch this excellent interview.

Dr. Mark Durie is an author, academic, human rights activist, Anglican pastor, a Shillman-Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and Adjunct Research Fellow of the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam at Melbourne School of Theology.

Reconnecting with Mark Durie

New Institute and blog series catches up with one of Christianity's most significant voices regarding the challenge of Islam.

I was updating the Facing Islam blog last week, and noticed (again) that Mark Durie had not posted anything on his blog for many months now (late June 2017, to be exact). This concerned me, as I consider him to be one of the most important Christian writers on Islam, so I ventured over to his site to see if I could find out the reason for this apparent absence.

I found it, in an unassuming blog post from June 20, 2017, in which Rev. Dr. Durie announces a new organization and platform designed to provide resources to help people "understand global religious currents and their impact on areas such as public policy, human rights, security and conflict." The full description sets forth the Interface Institute's purpose:

Introducing The Interface Institute 
Readers of blog posts may wish to connect with the resources of the Interface Institute
The Interface Institute is a new resource which provides the public with resources to understand the nexus between society and religion, particularly in relation to monotheistic religions.

After a phase in western history when a dominant assumption was that spiritual influences were in decline, we find ourselves launched into what Richard John Neuhaus already in 1997 called ‘the approaching century of religion’. 
It is becoming increasingly clear that multiple social and political challenges are being brought on by profound global shifts in religious identity and allegiance, yet many feel ill-equipped to respond to these challenges. The Interface Institute assists people to understand global religious currents and their impact on areas such as public policy, human rights, security and conflict. 
The Interface Institute curates a diverse range of published resources, both from Muslim-majority contexts, and also from nations of the Muslim diaspora, including the West. It also welcomes original written contributions Potential contributions can be sent to 
Readers can connect with the Interface Institute’s resources at:
From Mark Durie

Upon exploring the Interface Institute's website, I found several new examples, including some video, of Mark Durie's most recent writings, interviews, and lectures, which are, as always, extremely thoughtful, informative, and persuasive.

I am adding the Interface Institute to the left hand banner here which provides current articles from important websites on Islam and jihad. I will also be posting a selection of Mark Durie's most significant recent posts at Interface Institute, which help illumine a dark and troubling subject, and provide helpful resources. Watch for more posts soon in this series, and do visit the Interface Institute.

You can also find links to Mark Durie's books in the right hand column here, or explore them on his website.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Is the Quran a Unique Book?

It is not uncommon to find shared stories in ancient literature. For example, a few verses in the New Testament epistle of Jude draw from the Jewish apocalyptic works of 1 Enoch and the Assumption of Moses. The inclusion of such non-canonical stories for illustrative purposes does not pose a problem for Christian interpreters. The inspired writers of Scripture were part of the synergy by which Scripture was given, and we would expect to see aspects of their historical and cultural environment in the sacred text.

The Quran, however, claims to be a direct revelation from heaven, dictated to Muhammad. Allah rebuffs those who accused Muhammad of reciting "tales of the ancients" (25:4-6). And, Muslim scholars have spilled considerable ink trying to prove (unsuccessfully) that the Quran is wholly and culturally unique, and thus divinely revealed.

This 20 min video, which is a polemic, uncovers the original historical sources behind a number of Quranic stories.  Rather than being a book dropped from heaven, the Quran underwent a historical process of literary formation indicative of its earthly origins.

Description:  The first half the video traces the history of Old Testament stories in the Quran.  Beginning at 9:41 the video turns to New Testament stories about Jesus, including the famous apocryphal tale in which He turns a clay bird into a real bird (13:39).  This story is found in Quran 3:49 and 5:110.  The historical parallels are given in full in the article, "Parallelism: Jesus Christ and Clay Birds."