Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

More on Glenn Beck and Mormonism

September 15, 2010

Glenn Beck – born again Christian?  Some evangelical leaders as well as many rank and file Christians have somehow been fooled into thinking just that, and some of them just because Beck used the term “atonement”, as if no self-respecting Mormon would ever use such a “Christian” term.  Obviously those Christians haven’t ever looked deeply into Mormon theology, otherwise they would see that Mormon theology indeed does use that term, as well as other “Christian” terms.

So you ask, what’s wrong with that?  What’s wrong indeed.  While the terminology used sounds the same, the meaning of the terminology is very different.  The Mormon view of Christ’s atonement is that it was somehow limited – meaning that Christ’s death on the cross would not also cleanse man from really serious sin, like murder, and that man would have to atone for it himself by the shedding of his own blood, in contradiction to what it says in the Bible, that Christ died once and for all for all of the sins of mankind.

They also believe that God the Father and Jesus have physical bodies and that God the Father was once a man just like one of us.  They also believe that there was also a God the Mother, although they don’t refer to “her” very often.  They also claim that Jesus was the result of a physical union between God the Father and Mary.  They also claim that Jesus and Lucifer are brothers – spirit brothers to be more exact, since Lucifer was never allowed bodily form due to his rebellion in the spirit world.  They also believe that we can become gods if we are good and faithful to all of the Mormon doctrines and do all of the works required by the many Mormon ceremonies and other tasks.

They also believe that one can be saved even in the afterlife through something called Baptism for the Dead, or proxy baptism, and this particular doctrine has gotten the Mormon church in more than a bit of trouble with both the Jews and the Catholics, resulting in some legal action on the part of the Jews and some official directives issued by Mormon leadership where they told Mormons to stop proxy baptizing Jewish and Catholic dead people.  Mormons base proxy baptism on essentially one verse, 1 Corinthians 15:29, but the writer of the Corinthians is not establishing proxy baptism, but rather telling the Corinthians NOT to do it, instead telling them that because Christ rose from the dead, all Christians will also rise from the dead when Christ returns.  In other words, proxy baptism is NOT Biblical. In proxy baptism, spirit ministers go to the dead and offer them the chance to become Mormons and thus go to heaven.  This is called Second Chance, which again, is not found anywhere in the Bible.

Just like Islam, Mormons also teach make the claim that they are the one true church, although they have toned down their rhetoric about it.  Now they make the claim by saying that there was a great apostasy some time after Christ left the earth and the original apostles died, and that it took Joseph Smith, aided by the Book of Mormon and God the father and Jesus and others to restore true Christianity.  Yet they also make the claim that they are not Christians, saying that those who do claim to be Christians are not truly Christian – only Mormonism is truly Christian.

Finally, and getting back to Beck, his claims about the American Indians as being part of the “lost tribes of Israel” is simply ludicrous.  Granted that at one time it was more or less accepted fact, as was made evident through books like James Adair’s “History of the American Indians” back in 1763, I believe, but it has since been proven many times over that they are of a different ethnic group entirely and that they came to the Americas largely via the ancient land bridge where the Bering Strait is today.  Beck’s claims that the Smithsonian was/is allegedly in some kind of huge conspiracy with the government and other entities concerning the American Indians is equally absurd.  For years, the Mormons claimed that the Smithsonian Institute considered the Book of Mormon to be a reliable source concerning the indigenous peoples of the Americas.  Finally it got so bad that the Smithsonian issued a letter stating that they never endorse the Book of Mormon.  Apparently that letter wasn’t good enough, so a second letter was also issued.  It got so bad that the then current Prophet of the Mormon church had to issue a letter stating that until such time that legitimate evidence could be produced to substantiate Mormon claims about the Lamanite and Nephite civilizations, that they must stop making such claims.  I guess that Glenn Beck never read any of those letters, or else he would not persist in his “unusual” claims, including that the Bat Creek Stone and others somehow prove Mormon claims.

I guess that Mormons do indeed live in their own reality, totally ignoring all Biblical and scientific fact.  I believe that one of their early leaders said that they will have their own science, their own math, their own literature, and their own culture.  It’s just too bad that they have left the real world behind.

The following is a reproduction of the letter from the Smithsonian Institute.  Below it, there is a similar letter from the National Geographic society.

Information from the
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution Washington, D.C. 20560

Your recent inquiry concerning the Smithsonian Institution’s alleged use of the Book of Mormon as a scientific guide has been received in the Smithsonians Department of Anthropology.

The Book of Mormon is a religious document and not a scientific guide. The Smithsonian Institution has never used it in archaeological research and any information that you have received to the contrary is incorrect. Accurate information about the Smithsonians position is contained in the enclosed Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon, which was prepared to respond to the numerous inquiries that the Smithsonian receives on this topic.

Because the Smithsonian regards the unauthorized use of its name to disseminate inaccurate information as unlawful, we would appreciate your assistance in providing us with the names of any individuals who are misusing the Smithsonians name. Please address any correspondence to:

Public Information Officer
Department of Anthropology
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution, MRC 112
Washington, DC 20560

Prepared by
THE DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY
SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION

This is a similar letter from the National Geographic Society in response to similar Mormon claims.

National Geographic Society

WASHINGTON, D.C.  20036

January 11, 1990

Dear Mr. Larson:

    Thank you for writing to the National Geographic Society.

    The Society has never used the Book of Mormon to locate archaeological sites, and we do not believe that any of the places named in the Book of Mormon can be placed geographically by the evidence of archaeology. So far as we know there is no archaeological evidence to verify the history of early peoples of the Western Hemisphere as presented in the Book of Mormon.

    I hope you will find this information useful.

 

Yours truly,

Pamela Tucci
Research Correspondence

More on Islamic Terror

September 15, 2010

I’ve read a number of newspaper articles and online posts recently from a variety of sources, both conservative and liberal, and it amazes me how the liberals in our country and elsewhere just don’t seem to “get it” about Islamic violence. Instead, it is always brought up by the liberal factions that either the violence was brought on by aggressive actions against Islam, or by offending Muslims in one way of another, or that whoever was on the receiving end of the violence “deserved” it. Corollary to those notions is the ever popular assertion that “only radical Islamists or Islamic nutcases” are ever responsible for the violence/acts of terror. If that is indeed the case, just how many thousands or hundreds of thousands of “radicals” or “nutcases” are there? Are we to believe that Islam, in spite of its claims of being a religion of peace, should be more appropriately be called a religion with a lot of radicals, and that they seem to have far more radicals than all of the other religions put together? Exactly how many of the thousands of acts of violence committed every year are we to credit to “nutcases”? Could it not be the case that many of the acts of violence or terrorism are actually endorsed by the Islamic leaders as being legitimate acts ordered by Allah as dictated by the Qu’ran and that they might actually be encouraging their followers to engage in those acts to carry out the will of Allah for the world? Excuse me if I am possibly in error but that is certainly the way it appears to me, based on what I have learned about Islam and its history since its beginnings in the 7th century. I will grant that the level of violence seems to be at a lower level than during the first few centuries, but then it seemed to rise again toward the end of the 19th century through the 1950’s, then slow for awhile, and then in the 1970’s, start increasing again. Are we headed again toward some kind of new world conflict where we will see a modern battle between Islamic forces and the “infidels” (read non-Muslims and Christians who refuse to submit/convert to Islam)? It is starting to look that way to me. Whether through the “verbal jihad” of the Ahmadi Muslims or the very real jihad of the other sects, as well as the assertions from the Islamic world that only the Qu’ran has the pure word of God, there appears to be a very real battle line being formed, and the non-Muslim people of the world would be well-advised to stand up for their way of life or risk losing it to the “converting sword” of Islam.

I realize that this sounds more than a bit dramatic and alarmist, but all one needs to do is look at what has already happened in Europe other countries around the world where Islam has taken root and one can see that as far as Islam is concerned, there indeed is no religion other than Islam and no God other than Allah and that those who resist face probable violence and/or death.

Again, those from the liberal and/or Islamic side of things will try to insist that Christians are no better, that they have committed just as many grievous acts of terror as the radicals of Islam, but frankly, the facts just don’t back their claims.  They also point to the Crusades, claiming that it ws the Christians who acted first, when in fact they only acted after at least 300 years or more of Islamic violence and murder of Christians and non-Muslims in Christian lands.  No my friends, the Crusaders were only trying to defend or rescue Christians and non-Muslims from death, rape, and torture at the hands of armies of Muslims.  Were those Muslims just radicals and not representative of Islam?

It is my fervent desire that through this blog and others in the future, the US will wake from its slumbers and take a firm stand against the alleged religion of peace. Personally, I don’t have anything against Islam, even though I thoroughly disagree with it and am convinced that it is a false religion, and I pray daily that the “people of the book” will some day open their hearts to the true God – the Holy God of the Bible, and leave Islam.

The Bible vs. The Quran

September 14, 2010

Much fuss has been made over the violent passages in the Bible, and the people who make these claims try to say that there is no difference – that the Quran is no more violent than the Bible, or conversely that the Bible is as violent as the Quran.  The following article should go a long way toward dispelling those claims.

Flying Hijacked Planes into Glass Houses

A response to the American Muslim article:
Throwing Stones at the Quran from a Glass House


In an article entitled, “Throwing Stones at the Quran from a Glass House”, The American Muslim claims that the verses of violence and war in the Bible can be misread in “exactly the same way as some verses in the Qur’an” (emphasis ours). In other words, the on-line magazine alleges that, like the Quran, there are Biblical verses with open-ended commands to violence that are not bound by historical context within the passage itself.

Our first clue that this probably isn’t true is the scarcity of Christian terrorist groups. Not too many people are losing their heads to fanatics screaming praises to Jesus (or Moses, Buddha or the many Hindu gods either) as they are to shouts of “Allah Akbar!” That there are so many Islamic terrorist groups composed of fundamentalists (or purists) of the Muslim faith is enough to impress any reasonable person that there is something far more dangerous about Islam.

Nevertheless, to support their claim, The American Muslim quotes sixteen of the worst passages that the Bible has to offer in the way of violence. Others are alluded to as well, but delving into these particular verses should be a large enough sample to expose whatever sophistry might be at play.

Their first try is a passage from Deuteronomy that might appear to command present-day believers to take a city by force and slaughter the inhabitants on order from God:

“When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace. If it agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall serve you. However, if it does not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. When the LORD your God gives it into your hand, you shall strike all the men in it with the edge of the sword. Only the women and the children and the animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall use the spoil of your enemies which the LORD your God has given you. Only in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes” (Deuteronomy 20:10-17 – As quoted by The American Muslim

Except for the part about sparing women and children, this sounds similar to a verse from the Qur’an:

And when We would destroy a township We send commandment to its folk who live at ease, and afterward they commit abomination therein, and so the Word (of doom) hath effect for it, and we annihilate it with complete annihilation. (Quran 17:16)

But, in fact, the Biblical passage is not an open-ended command, but instead, a story of history bound within the text. Having trouble seeing this? That’s because the author of The American Muslim piece cleverly left out this part of the passage:

“Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the LORD your God has commanded you”

Yes, it turns out that this was a specific command, given at a specific time to the tribe of Israel concerning a discrete target. This is why Christians and Jews do not treat these verses as present-day imperatives.

Strategic omission is just one way that Muslim apologists manipulate Biblical passages. (In this case, The American Muslim editors did not even include an ellipsis in place of the omission, since it may have raised the suspicions of the reader).

The next passage that The American Muslim claims promotes violence is from the apostle Paul, who writes:

“Hymenaeus and Alexander I have delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” (1Timothy 1:20)

The violence in the passage is not exactly evident from this reading. In the context of the previous verse, these two men “suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith,” but there is nothing to indicate that they were physically harmed as a result. It was the practice of the early Church to excommunicate apostates, and there is every reason to believe that this was the “fate” of these two individuals. They were expelled from the Church by Paul. The Christian Church does not advocate killing apostates.

Contrast this with the words of Muhammad:

“Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'” (Bukhari 84:57)

Not much ambiguity there. Abu Bakr, the first caliph and several other Muslims testified that Muhammad had indeed put Muslim apostates to death. For this reason, the practice is coded in Islamic law.

The next passage that is supposed to inspire Christians to violence is the recounting of David’s victory against the Philistines:

“This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down, and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, Then David ran and stood over the Philistine, and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath, and killed him, and cut off his head with it…. And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armor in his tent. And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand.” (1 Samuel 17:46 – As Quoted by The American Muslim)

This is actually parts of verse 46 through 54. We won’t waste much time here, because it is apparent that this is a recounting of an historical event. The omitted passages from within the text make it even more obvious.

Compare this to the word of Allah in the Quran:

“I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.” (Quran 8:12)

There is no historical context to mitigate this Qur’anic exhortation either in the verse or in those that surround it. (The American Muslim actually makes a monumental effort to bring historical context to the verse from sources external to the Qur’an in this article, which contains several inaccuracies regarding the timing of the “revelation” of the verse, the justification for attacking caravans, and the fate of hostages taken in battle, some of whom were actually put to death).

The next five passages quoted by The American Muslim, in trying to make the case that the Bible can be used to command violence, all suffer from the same problems as above:

“Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.”… And there is also with you Shimei the son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a grievous curse on the day when I went to Mahanaim; but when he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the LORD, saying, I will not put you to death with the sword.’ Now therefore hold him not guiltless, for you are a wise man; you will know what you ought to do to him, and you shall bring his gray head down with blood to Sheol.” (2 Samuel 16:9, 1 Kings 2:8)

” When they came into the house, as he lay on his bed in his bedchamber, they smote him, and slew him, and beheaded him. They took his head, and went by the way of the Arabah all night, and brought the head of Ishbosheth to David at Hebron. And they said to the king, “Here is the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life; the LORD has avenged my lord the king this day on Saul and on his offspring.” (2 Samuel 4:7)

“That is not true. But a man of the hill country of Ephraim, called Sheba the son of Bichri, has lifted up his hand against King David; give up him alone, and I will withdraw from the city.” And the woman said to Joab, “Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall.” Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and threw it out to Joab.” (2 Samuel 20:21)

“at Jezreel by this time tommorrow…And when the letter came to them, they took the king’s sons, and slew them, seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent them to him at Jezreel. When the messenger came and told him, “They have brought the heads of the king’s sons,” he said, “Lay them in two heaps at the entrance of the gate until the morning.”. (2 Kings Chapter 10 verse 6) “God has now fulfilled the prophecy of the prophet Elijah. So Jehu put to death all who were left of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, as well as all of his close friends and priests, until he had left not one single survivor.” (2 Kings Chapter 10 verse 10) “He put to death all of Ahab’s house, who were left there and so blotted it out, in fulfillment of the word which YAHWEH had spoken to Elijah.” (2 Kings Chapter 10 verse 7)

“When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you. And when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them.” (Deuteronomy 7:1-2)

No doubt these were bad days to be particular individuals by the name of Shimei, Ishbosheth, Sheba or Ahab, but they obviously aren’t around anymore to complain. Same with the tribes mentioned in the passage from Deuteronomy. This is history, of course, not some open-ended instruction like:

“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are ruthless to the Unbelievers, but merciful to each other.” (Quran 48:29)

At this point, The American Muslim pulls two verses out of the New Testament Gospels. The first is quoted as if they are the words of Jesus:

“I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.”(Luke 19:26-27)

But, in fact, this is the tail end of a parable being told by Jesus. The words actually belong to one of the characters in his story.

Again, contrast this with the actual words of Muhammad:

[Allah’s Apostle said] “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.” (Bukhari 52:256)

We don’t have to play the same games here that The American Muslim does to try and convince Christians that they should kill based on the words of a parable. Not only are these Muhammad’s own words, but there are many Muslims at this very moment who are trying to kill Jews in Israel. Their religious leaders quote this passage to inspire them.

Moving along to the second New Testament verse that supposedly advocates violence:

“Do not think that I have come to send peace on earth. I did not come to send peace, but a sword. I am sent to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Matthew 10:34-35)

Though not quoted in the article, the passage actually goes on to say, “Your enemies will be the members of your own household. Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves a son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. ”

Obviously, Jesus is speaking of the coming hardships that will be suffered by Christians (ironically, the worst abusers eventually turned out to be Muslims). The “sword” is a metaphor for the persecution against believers, not an admonition for them to take up arms. In fact, elsewhere Jesus prevented one of his disciples from fighting on his behalf and rebuked him for doing so. In confirmation of this, none of his immediate followers formed an armed militia of any sort. There were no armies claiming to be “Christian” for many centuries.

By contrast, Muhammad was a military leader who killed people in battle, executed captives and enslaved women and children. When he said that “Jihad in the way of Allah elevates the position of a man in paradise” (Sahih Muslim 20:4645), his followers knew what he meant. They engaged in warfare following his death, which continues to this day.

The American Muslim then moves back to the Old Testament:

“I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.” (Exodus 23:27)

Is this an open-ended imperative for present-day Christians and Jews? Hardly. Here’s the next verse:

“I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way”

Again, not a good time to be a Hivate, Hittite, or a Canaanite… but who is these days?

By contrast, the Qur’an speaks ill of Christians, Jews, “unbelievers” and “pagans,” and commands its readers to “slay the infidel wherever ye find him.” The historical context of the verse is apparently not all that conspicuous, judging by the fact that so many Muslims are trying so hard to kill these people in the name of Allah.

The American Muslim tries again:

And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people. At God’s instructions, the Israelites “utterly destroyed the men, women, and the little ones” leaving “none to remain.” And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain. (Deuteronomy 2:33-36)

At this point, you can probably guess that there is something being left out. If you look at the original passage, you’ll find that it refers to the Battle of Jahaz and even says “at that time” (emphasizing that this is history – not edict).

Next is this passage from Joshua:

Joshua said to the people of Israel, “The Lord has given you the city of the all silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the Lord: They shall come into the treasury of the Lord. The people utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword. (Joshua 6:21-23 as Quoted by the American Muslim)

The manipulation of the original passage is so extensive that the verse is barely recognizable. The author employs both omission and juxtaposition to try and emphasize that the city in question was destroyed. In fact, the original does say that not everyone within the city was killed. Even so, this is still a violent passage… but it is not open-ended instruction.

The city in question was Jericho, and the verses tell of the battle between the ancient Israelites and the inhabitants therein – and the subsequent massacre. It is obviously a historical passage, and it no more inspires violence than reading an account of the Japanese slaughter of the people of Nanjing in 1937.

The American Muslim then pulls a verse from the Old Testament that it says can be interpreted to mean that apostates should be stoned:

“And he should go and worship other gods and bow down to them or to the sun or the moon or all the army of the heavens, …and you must stone such one with stones and such one must die.” (Deuteronomy 17:3-5, as quoted by the American Muslim)

What does the ellipsis leave out, you may be wondering? Well, it turns out that this was yet another specific command handed down to a specific people at a specific time:

“If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the LORD gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God in violation of his covenant, and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars in the sky, and this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly. If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death” (Actual text)

No Christian in their right mind would kill someone for worshipping a different god based on this passage. While it’s true that Christian apostates have been killed in sporadic and rare historical incidents, it was not the example of Jesus, nor is it a part of Christian teaching.

As we have already pointed out, however, Islam’s most reliable Hadith mandates the execution of apostates from Islam. It is firmly established in Islamic law, since it is the example set forth by Muhammad himself.

The American Muslim then submits a rare New Testament verse as proof that Christians can interpret the Bible as a command to murder in the way that Jihadis wage holy war:

“Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:20-32, as quoted by the American Muslim)

It is unclear why the author cites verses 20-32 but quotes only the last verse. The full text of the passage actually contains a rebuke against killing and it assigns judgment to God alone. The next verses in sequence confirm this:

“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?” (Romans 2:1)

God is the judge, and not man, according to the context of this passage. How anyone is supposed to interpret this to mean exactly the opposite – that they should kill another human being – is a leap of logic that escapes this writer (and generations of Christians as well, apparently).

Muhammad’s own words, however, contain no such cryptic message:

“Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.” (Quran 2:216)

Now, at last, The American Muslim pulls out the grand finale – the famous passage from Numbers that is quoted so enthusiastically by the detractors of Western religion:

“Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves.” (Numbers 31:17-18)

From the way this is quoted, it sounds as if God is telling today’s Bible-thumpers to kill every man within reach and enslave their women and children. What a horrible world this would be if Christians took this fragment literally and killed the nearest person.

So why aren’t the Jews and Christians of today doing this?

Well, it’s most likely because there aren’t any Midianites around, since that was the unfortunate tribe on which this vengeance is specifically commanded – as it is obvious from the surrounding verses. Again, this is a historical narration that clearly refers to an obscure tribe, unlike many of the open-ended passages of violence against unbelievers, “idolaters,” polytheists, Jews and Christians found in the Qur’an.

Contemporary Islamic apologists, such as the author of this American Muslim piece, apparently borrowed this research from secular critics of Christianity, who use passages such as these to make dark insinuations about the character of the god of the Bible and thus bolster their rejection of all religion.

This certainly makes for some strange bedfellows, given that most atheists would concur that the god of Muhammad is far more violent than the god of the New Testament. (Those who may not agree are free to travel to a Muslim country and see how publicly denying Allah there compares to Christian “intolerance” at home, but they may want to make out a will beforehand).

We’ll leave it to the theologians to respond, since the character of God and the nature of progressive revelation falls outside the scope of this discussion. Our only interest here is in the argument that Muslims are trying to make by citing such passages.

Since Muslims do not argue the point that Muhammad commanded the slaughter and enslavement of others at various times in his last ten years (a practice that his followers have faithfully applied to this very day), their logic here is quite tenuous. At best, these apologists appear to be trying to bring other religions down to the level of Islam, particularly Christianity.

What makes this noteworthy is that Christians and others do not act as if they need to bring Islam down to their religion of choice. The reason is that no other religion regularly kills members of every other faith explicitly in the name its god. And, on the rare occasions when this does happen, the response is anger and denouncement rather than the general indifference that Muslims have for Islamic terror (aside from the 15% or so who openly endorse it).

Islamic terrorists wage holy war on a daily basis because it is the literal command of the Qur’an. Western Muslim apologists (concerned solely with the image of Islam) window-dress these violent passages through a complex series of appeals to a patchwork of external Muslim sources. Then, after delicately arranging the products of this Herculean charade in such a way as to convince the rest of us that these Qur’anic verses of violence are not what they appear, the apologist steps back, wipes the sweat from his brow and says, “See how clear it is? No Muslim could possibly interpret this command to kill as a command to kill.”

Well, why are these verses in the Qur’an at all, then? If they are supposed to be history, then why do they appear as imperative? Why isn’t the context right there in the text as it is in the Old Testament?

After all, this is supposed to be Allah’s perfect book. How is it that it is so vulnerable to the worst sort of “misinterpretation”?

Lacking a decent answer to these questions, Muslims attack the Bible instead.

See also: Comparing Islam and Christianity, Muhammad and Jesus

Also: The Political Violence of the Bible and the Koran by Bill Warner in the American Thinker. This article points out that about 67% of the Quran is devoted to Jihad. The Islamic trilogy (the Quran, Hadith and Sira) contain 9.6 times as much violence as the Hebrew Bible (there New Testament has none).

The difference, as we point out in this article is not just quantitative, but one of quality as well. As Warner puts it: “The political violence of the Koran is eternal and universal. The political violence of the Bible was for that particular historical time and place. This is the vast difference between Islam and other ideologies. The violence remains a constant threat to all non-Islamic cultures, now and into the future.”

Glenn Beck: The New LDS Apologist?

August 25, 2010

This is weird.  Glenn Beck, who became a Mormon a few years back, is now using his program to promote Mormon archaeology.  If you click on these links you can view it.  He also has a conspiracy theory about how science, government, commerce, and religion, not in the least, the Smithsonian Institute, purposefully altered history.   My good friend Kurt Van Gorden sent me the links below, as well as the descriptions of what he is saying in the videos.

            In the first video, about half way through, I about fell out of my chair when Beck referenced Adair’s History of the American Indians ( imagine! ) as proof of similarity between Native American ceremonies and Israelites.  He forgot to mention that it predates the BOM by several decades (It was written arounde 1765!).  He then ties the Egyptian pyramid math to the Indian mounds (only FARMS and the Maxwell Institute have ventured in this arena, which instantly identified his sources for me).  Then in the second video, he uses the fraudulent Newark Stone and the fraudulent Bat Creek stone Hebrew inscriptions as proof of Hebrew among the Indians.  He dismisses the claims of fraud as a Smithsonian conspiracy to demean the intelligence of the Native American.  You’ve got to see it to believe it.  Modern science has abundantly proven the origin of the American Indians, yet Beck is still using a fairy tale written by Adair as “proof” of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon!

            One more thing.  Notice that when he discusses scalping of Colonialists and Indians, he makes the sweeping statement, “Even Puritan Ministers” scalped for money.  Now get this.  Here he is trying to tell us that people have changed history to benefit themselves, but he just did the same here.  There is no evidence that “Puritan Ministers” (plural) scalped Indians for money.  There is evidence that one Puritan minister (singular) did such, which was carried in a story in the Boston Globe (Boston Globe, Date: 12/31/2000 Page: B10 Section: Metro/Region.)  How is that for Beck changing history?  If this is Beck’s style for the new untainted history, then give me the old history any day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7bwIKq_9MQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9VA1cbh0jI

Has Glenn Beck become the new “face” of LDS apologetics?

Ben Stein’s Sunday message

April 5, 2010

Hi folks,

I just got this forwarded to me and I felt that it was too good to be relegated to just being forwarded via email.  It is allegedly a televised message by Ben Stein.  The reason I say allegedly is because I haven’t checked it out on Snopes.  It doesn’t really matter because I wholeheartedly agree with what Mr. Stein is saying.  Here is Ben’s message:

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish.  And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees..  I don’t feel threatened.  I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, ‘Merry Christmas’ to me.  I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto.  In fact, I kind of like it.  It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu .  If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians.  I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period.  I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country.  I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him?  I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too.  But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different:  This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her ‘How could God let something like this happen?’ (regarding Hurricane Katrina)..  Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response.  She said, ‘I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives….  And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out..  How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?’

In light of recent events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc.  I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.  Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school..  The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself.  And we said OK.

Then Dr…. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide).  We said an expert should know what he’s talking about.  And we said okay..

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out.  I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.  Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing..  Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.
 
If not, then just discard it… no one will know you did…  But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.  

My Best Regards,  Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

Mormonism and its growth rate

April 2, 2010

Hi folks,

I recently did research on the growth rate of Mormonism in the US and world-wide and found the statistics interesting and many times contradictory.  In general, however, I thought the following excerpt from and article on Mormonism by U.S. News and World Report from November 2000 worthy to pass along.  It is just a portion of the article, so as not to violate fair use law.  As with any article that contains membership numbers, they must be taken with several grains of salt because many people are retained as members even after they have left the church, which has always puzzled me.  If, after all, they are indeed the fastest growing religion, why the need to hold on to those who have left and thereby lie about how many members they actually have?

By the way, more interviews have been posted at www.solomonspalding.info, so be sure to check back at our site from time to time.

Art

By almost any measure, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of the world’s richest and fastest-growing religious movements. In the 170 years since its founding in upstate New York, the LDS church has sustained the most rapid growth rate of any new faith group in American history. Since World War II, its ranks have expanded more than 10-fold, with a worldwide membership today of 11 million – more than half outside the United States. In North America, Mormons already outnumber Presbyterians and Episcopalians combined. If current trends hold, experts say Latter-day Saints could number 265 million worldwide by 2080, second only to Roman Catholics among Christian bodies. Mormonism, says Rodney Stark [often referred to as a “cult apologist“] , professor of sociology and religion at the University of Washington, “stands on the threshold of becoming the first major faith to appear on Earth since the prophet Mohammed rode out of the desert.”

Church leaders express little surprise. The LDS message “strikes a spiritual resonance in people,” says Elder Neal Maxwell, one of the church’s 12 Apostles, a body of lay leaders near the top of the LDS hierarchy. Indeed, say religion experts, Mormonism’s unique doctrines along with its emphasis on family and wholesome living may help explain why so many spiritual seekers are drawn to the LDS church. But there are other, more mundane reasons. Among them, say the experts, are an aggressive missionary program that enlists more than 60 percent of all young Mormons; a powerful hierarchy of lay leaders who maintain organizational discipline and marshal the church’s vast resources with a businesslike efficiency unrivaled in other religious movements; and a highly motivated membership that submits in overwhelming numbers to the church’s strict moral code and to its taxing demands on their time, money, and allegiance. “We have a demanding religion,” says Gordon B. Hinckley, the church’s president, prophet, and chief spiritual leader, “and that’s one of the things that attracts people to this church.”

Being flush with cash doesn’t hurt either. The church keeps a tight lid on its financial records, but bits and pieces of information extracted over the years by journalists and former church members offer a tantalizing glimpse into the depth and breadth of the Mormon financial empire. In their 1999 Mormon America: The Power and the Promise, journalists Richard N. Ostling and Joan K. Ostling estimate the church’s assets at $25 billion to $30 billion, and annual revenue approaching $6 billion, at least $5.3 billion of which comes from member contributions (officials say tithing – the giving of 10 percent of one’s income – remains the primary source of church revenues). In recent years, the church has divested itself of some commercial assets, including banks, hospitals, and manufacturing plants. But it continues to amass farm and ranch land, is heavily invested in stocks and securities, and operates a far-flung media empire that includes two television stations, more than a dozen radio stations, and a newspaper. Besides its opulent temples, traditionally located in major Mormon population centers, the church owns and operates more than 12,000 local churches, or meetinghouses, throughout the world. Its real estate holdings are valued in the billions.

Yet as Harold Bloom noted in his 1992 book, The American Religion, beyond the inner circle of the Mormon hierarchy, “no one really knows what portion of the liquid wealth in America’s portfolios is held by the Latter-day Saints Church.” Even so, it is clear, wrote Bloom, that “Mormon financial and political power is exerted in Washington to a degree far beyond what one would expect from one voter in 50.”

That influence has been hard won. In its early years, the LDS church was widely regarded by outsiders with suspicion and outright disdain. Its members, many of whom practiced “the divine principle” of polygamy, were run out of Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. The movement’s leader and founding prophet, Joseph Smith, was murdered by an angry mob in 1844. Years later, the stronghold where the Mormon faithful had settled, now Utah, was denied statehood until after the church officially abandoned its practice of polygamy in 1890.

Although violent opposition has long since faded, the church has continued to face almost unrelenting controversy over its origins. From the beginning, critics have disputed and ridiculed Smith’s claim that an angel led him to a set of golden plates hidden in a woods near his home in Palmyra, N.Y. The plates were said to contain the sacred history of an ancient Israelite civilization in North America, along with teachings said to have come from Jesus during a post-Resurrection visit to America. Smith published his translation as the Book of Mormon.

Detractors have dismissed Smith’s story as religious fantasy and the Book of Mormon as coarse fiction filled with clumsily reworked passages from the King James Version of the Bible. They argue that there is no archaeological evidence of an ancient Israelite sojourn in America – although some Mormon scholars say a link may exist to the ancient Mayan culture. Other critics contend that Smith, a former Mason, drew upon Masonic rituals rather than divine revelation when he instituted Mormon temple rites.

But today, religion experts note, the LDS church is widely respected for its devotion to faith and family, and its pioneer past is celebrated as an integral part of the American saga. Such a dramatic shift in public perception has not come easily or by accident. In 1995, leaders hired an international public-relations firm to combat what they saw as unfair characterizations of Mormons in the media. One of its first efforts was to encourage the redesign of the church’s logo to emphasize the centrality of Jesus Christ in LDS theology. “We don’t see it so much as PR,” says Maxwell, “as trying to define ourselves, rather than . . . letting others define us.” Church headquarters is gearing up for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and plans to take full advantage of the limelight.

The afterlife. Savvy media relations aside, LDS leaders emphasize the church’s unique doctrines and beliefs. Among LDS teachings, say church leaders and others, none has proved to be more attractive to potential converts than the church’s view of the afterlife. Mormons teach that only “sons of perdition”lapsed Mormons who betray the church and its teachings face eternal punishment. Everyone else will at least make it into the “telestial kingdom,” a sort of third-rate Paradise where one spends eternity apart from God. The most faithful attain the “celestial kingdom,” where they commune directly with God and may themselves become gods and inherit universes to rule and populate with their own spiritual offspring.

Even those who die outside the faith will get a second chance in the afterlife to hear and respond to the Gospel, according to Mormon doctrine, and will receive eternal rewards if they accept it. To pave the way for such postmortem redemption, Mormons believe they can undergo proxy baptism on behalf of ancestors who died as nonbelievers. Mormon temples are typically busy six days a week with the comings and goings of members taking part in the ritual. The church’s world-famous genealogical library in Salt Lake City has hundreds of millions of microfilmed records, many of them available on the Internet, to help church members identify non-Mormon ancestors for proxy baptism.

A strong focus on traditional families is a central feature of Mormon teaching, one many converts find appealing. As in other faiths, marriage is sacred and couples are encouraged to bear children and build strong, stable homes. But Mormons also teach that families can be bound together “for time and eternity” by undergoing a special “sealing” ritual in the temple. In the here and now, families are expected to conduct once-a-week “family home evenings” during which parents and children play, pray, and study Scripture together. Most local congregations, or “wards,” sponsor Scout troops, youth recreation programs, and other family activities.

For a devout family, like David and Mary Driggs and their four children, of Salt Lake City church activities dominate the week, from worship, classes, and committee work on Sundays to youth activities, temple visits, and volunteering at church-sponsored charities during the rest of the week. “It’s no burden,” says Driggs, 38, a University of Utah fundraiser and fifth-generation Mormon. Because so many church activities involve the entire family, he says, “it means we’re able to spend more time together, not less. And it gives my life and my family’s life tremendous order and peace and blessings.”

Faithful Mormons also are expected to adhere to a strict moral code that, among other things, emphasizes modest dress and rules out gambling, premarital and extramarital sex, and the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, or caffeinated beverages. The church’s heavy emphasis on a “wholesome lifestyle” is so pervasive, one academic observer wryly notes, that while many of their young peers get into trouble experimenting with sex, drugs, and alcohol, when Mormon teenagers rebel, “they sneak off and drink a Pepsi.”

Despite a birthrate higher than the national average, church officials say more than two thirds of new members each year are converts, making the Mormon church one of the most aggressive and successful at proselytizing. Last year, the church dispatched 58,600 missionaries about three fourths of them 19- or 20-year-old males across the United States and to 119 other countries. Each spent from three to eight weeks in “boot camp” at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, or at one of 14 satellite centers in other countries, where they study foreign languages and polish their door-to-door skills. Then they set out in pairs, at their own expense, on two-year assignments of teaching and preaching. Last year Mormon missionaries won more than 306,000 converts.

Welcome to my WordPress blog!

April 2, 2010

Hi everyone,
Welcome to my new WordPress blog. I was having tech problems at the Blogger.com site so I changed to this one at WordPress.com. I plan to continue the same general subject matter as at my Blogger site and perhaps expand to cover other subjects as well. Please feel free to post and comment to posts “as the spirit moves you”.

As with my other blog, please let’s keep all comments respectful whether there is agreement or disagreement. Discussions work much better when everyone shows respect and courtesy.

With that being said, I wish everyone a great weekend.

Art