On Islam and its Book of Violence

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Premium Times, one of the leading Nigerian media outlets, published a report yesterday titled, Boko Haram, Ten Years On: How hundreds of girls bear brunt of insurgency.

A Muslim named Akeem, in his reaction to the report, trotted out a liberal cop out to Islamic violence which is nothing short of intellectual dishonesty and moral cowardice. This comment caught my attention and I responded to it.

Another Muslim, Tajudeen, replied to me, and eventually resorted to attempting to bullying me into a free-for-all debate by boneheadedly “challenging” me to read the Quran.

Of course, over the years, I have developed certain criteria that guide me in who I engage and how I engage them on social media, and the limit to which I invest my time and energy in such pursuits.

I’ve been debating with Muslims online for 8 years now and I can almost predict each encounter. I don’t respond to everyone on every issue. I pick my battles with wisdom.

However, for the purpose of educating our Muslim friends out there, I’ve decided to publish this exchange here.

Let everyone who wishes to know the truth about Islam read the links provided and come to their own conclusions about who between us is presenting the truth or muddying (and denying) the facts.

Akeem’s words will appear in red, Taju’s in blue and mine in black.

The more reason why you need to use your own common senses given freely to you by God to know when you’re being led astray and when you’re on the right path.

Again, the problem with those being misled is that ‘they can’t read, understand nor interpret the Book being quoted for them’, but listen to the ‘words from the evil ones’.

Or could it be that the book itself turns good people into evil ones?

Couldn’t it be that this book is a veritable textbook of hate that robs those who soak it in of their humanity and common sense?

Your argument would have made sense if only Nigeria were plagued with such “misleadings,” but even a 10 year old knows that Islamic insurgency is found everywhere the religion holds sway.

When people from diverse cultures, geographical locations, religious exposures, social strata and political system all subscribe to the same violent ideology, then they are drinking from a common ideological fountain: a religious book of violence.

Have you read the ‘Book’? Can you expressly affirm that those who perpetrate violence are doing so based on the injunctions of the ‘book’?

Yes Tajudeen, I’ve read the Quran for more than a decade now. And I’ve read a number of hadiths. My first exposure to the Quran was in 2002. Frankly, it’s not a book of love, peace or justice.

So it would be very strange if I by now, I still didn’t know what its injunctions are, or whether Muslim jihadists have a credible support from Islam’s texts or not.

Perhaps you need to catch up on your history lessons to rediscover how yet another popular ‘book’ was used to enslave, violate, plunder and totally destroy other races by those claiming to be custodians of the messages of that specific book.

Don’t even try to deviate this issue to the Bible or Vedas or Adi Granth. The Bible or any other religious book beside the Quran is NOT the book being discussed here.

This is the well-worn path of the Muslim once they are backed up into a corner – deflecting to the Bible. They can’t defend their book without attacking another because they feel uncomfortable discussing their own book without running off in tangents. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the Muslim diversionary handbook.

Those who fight jihad read, quote and obey the Quran, not the Bible. They also follow Muhammad’s examples in the hadiths. They don’t follow the Bible or emulate Jesus Christ. Nice try, but I won’t fall for it.

The fact is, humans will always find justification for whatever they do, be it good or evil. And their ‘infallible’ argument will come from whichever ‘book’ they subscribe to.

Not in the case of Muslims who take their ideology from the Quran. That’s why you can prattle that “misinterpreted” line from here to Ceylon, it won’t fly because you have a religious figure – Muhammad – whose actions constitute your ethos and ethics.

He is your perfect example (uswa hasana) and you are expected to be violent as he was violent, fight as he fought his enemies, treat your wives as he treated his women, take people as slaves as he enslaved people, and by the “perfect legacy” he laid down for you to gain Allah’s approval, all his other heinous sins, practices and misguided worldview have become legally enshrined in your religious dogma.

That’s far off the bat from a person who seizes on certain Bible verses to approve of war, slavery or rape. These are opposed to the teaching and spirit of Christ. The Muslim who emulates Muhammad is the true Muslim and a Christian who doesn’t live as Christ lived is not of Christ. It’s as simple as that.

But before you go tripping with baseless conjectures and flaunting ignorance, Google the said ‘book.’ The English or Yoruba translations should be accessible to you.

In the Muslim mind, there’s no way you would read their Quran and not bow to Allah in adoration. To them, anyone who disagrees with Islam and its book must be labouring under baseless conjectures and ignorance. This is emotional bullying; like the high school jock calling a girl a lesbian for not accepting to dance with him.

It doesn’t occur to them – or they want to avoid accepting the possibility – that one can reject a religious system precisely because one has studied it through and through, but finds it spiritually objectionable, morally deficient, historically flawed and logically full of holes.

I promise, you will be amazed and astounded with what you find.

There’s nothing amazing and astounding in that book. It’s even an insult to the human intellect.

What do I want to find astounded with verses about rocks falling down in fear, Allah’s golden cow, sun sinking in the stream, meterors being thrown at jinn, an ant and Hoopoe bird talking to Solomon, semen being formed in the vertebra, the moon being splitted, a Jesus who escaped the cross and other outlandish claims that can only be found in a poorly written fiction for children?

I assure you that those who perpetrate violence/terror in the name of Islam, are not muslims.

That “they are not muslims” card has been overused. It’s time you guys cut it into pieces and threw it away.

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Its a lie, you have not read the Qur’an. Neither have you studied the hadiths. If you have, you would quote expressly where hate and violence is sanctioned just to spite every muslim.

You will buttress your points with verses and bash me in the face with facts, rather than tender these same worn out, threadbare arguments.

I don’t have to respond to you in accordance with your expectations. I don’t have to bash anyone in the face with facts, after all, your initial claim was that I was ignorant of your religion and you presumably know better.

It’s empty barrels that make the loudest of noise. Knowledgeable people are not always in an impulsive fit to bully people into accepting what they say.  That was your expectation, but I’m above that.

It was Sigmund Freud who first proposed what psychologists call “projection.” It’s an ego defense mechanism that propels a person to attribute their own negative (and positive) traits to others. For instance, when a person is a self-serving narcissist, he also sees others as narcissists. It’s a windscreen syndrome.

When a person lacks the internal capacity for telling the truth, even in the simplest of matters, he will be quick to label others as liars. He will find it difficult to take people’s words for it because truth is the farthest thing from his own mind.

When a man is intellectually insecure, emotionally immature and lacking in self-confidence, he will have an overwhelming urge to “overcompensate” by always wanting to throw his weight around or preening to impress the public with the shallow stuff he owns or knows.

Taju, I’m sorry I don’t fit into that box you are familiar with. I’m not interested in impressing you or anyone, I am more interested in presenting the truth. However, you are welcome to read my two-part article, Islam: the Religion of War (one and two) where I quote copiously from your authoritative texts.

In any case, you can still bash yourself in the face with facts by picking up your Quran and reading it and noting the violence taught in it.

Too many people, like you, have been thoroughly brainwashed by the vociferous and fully loaded ‘islamaphobia industry’. Their knowledge of Islam is at best third hand. Certainly not a direct intellectual enquiry.

Really? Well, such banal, pablum drooling scribblings are getting real old. I’ve had it up to my chin. That’s another distraction: poisoning the well. First you say I’m completely ignorant of Islam, next you accuse me of having a third hand knowledge of it.

Somehow, you pit yourself as some omniscient guy who implictly knows the nature and extent of what I have read.

The truth is, you can’t deal with the fact that I reject Islam because it’s false and destructive, so you try to make up all sorts of wild scenarios in your head about me to cement your malformed worldview. The whole world doesn’t revolve around you and your religion.

Speaking of “islamophobia,” you are deploying a worthless term like “homophobia,” used by liberals for smearing others. We are not “phobic” of Islam, we reject it, period. And you are very much welcome to interrogate our reasons for rejecting it rather than hiding behind stupid slogans.

But you see, your hatred of Islam is your personal choice. But it does not change its meaning and essence, which millions have discovered through the centuries.

But you see, your hatred of Christianity is your personal choice. But it does not change its meaning and essence, which millions have discovered through the centuries. And in this case, for at least five centuries before Muhammad arose in Arabia.

When people pout the word jihad without even knowing its meaning, I laugh. You don’t know what Jihad means, but I can tell you for free, it is aeons away from fighting or killing.

Yeah sure. Because you say so. Why don’t you “buttress your points with verses and bash me in the face (not literally, of course) with facts, rather than tendering these worn out, threadbare arguments” mouthed by lying Islamic apologists?

And too bad for those who think otherwise. Because they are ignorant. You don’t even know jack about the prophet of Islam.

You haven’t demonstrated anything of the sort, you have only given me an autobiographical window into the state your soul. Your barks are far out of proportion to your bites. Since you have failed to persuade those reading this, you have to resort to blustery and bombastic words.

You are free to refute any of these articles

The Sex Life of the Prophet

Islam and Sex Slavery

The Tongue of the the Prophet

The Cruelty of the Prophet

The Wickedness of the Prophet

The Miracles of the Prophet

The Prophet and his Demons

The Danger of Blind Belief

A Tiptoe through the Hadiths

Allah, Satan and the Hadiths

The Cult of the Slave Masters

Islam: the Demise of Love

Please read books written by both enemies and friends of Islam, then you will be illuminated.

Did you just say I should read books authored by enemies of Islam? I thought you earlier said that I have “been thoroughly brainwashed by the vociferous and fully loaded ‘islamaphobia industry'” who lack “intellectual enquiry” and whose knowledge of Islam is third hand?

Politics has found its way into religion across board. The terrorist are not Muslims. To you that is a cliche, to us it a living fact.

Alright, bring those living facts along and refute these

The Two Faces of Islam

The Seed of Jihad

It doesn’t really matter what you think. Islam has stood the test of time. It will still be here when we are all gone.

You should be more concerned about Islam’s fraudulent “plan of salvation” and where it is taking you when you leave this earth.

This is the problem, you guys have been indoctrinated into seeing yourself so intertwined with Islam that you take it as a personal offence when it is questioned. But faith is supposed to be personal. You should be more concerned about how your investigation of Islam will affect you as a person, rather than how it will affect the public image of Islam which you have been conditioned to uphold.

I challenge you yet again to read the Qur’an

Your challenge has been met years ago. Here is an example.

Salamu Alaikum brother Victor. Peace and blessings of God be with you.

And also with you.

When Witnesses leave the Watchtower

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According to an estimate, at least 70,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses leave that religious group annually.

Some of them are disfellowshipped for flouting their by-laws while others simply walk out of the cult due to a number of issues, such as the prevalence and cover-up of sexual abuse within the organization and spiritual emptiness.

Like most heretical sects, the JW belief system is a house of cards. If just one card falls, the entire structure crumbles. Interestingly, for each individual JW, it’s a different card which falls first.

For some, they find inexcusable errors in Watchtower teachings, some witness the injustice, others walk away when they can no longer stomach the Himalayan hypocrisy and the cruelty embedded within the system.

Janja Lalich, a professor studying cults and totalitarian leadership, made some statements regarding cult groups. “There’s this intense devotion and the inability to question or criticize or doubt,” Lalich told The Daily Beast. “They seem to be in a state of what we call cognitive dissonance, where what they believe doesn’t match reality,” she said.

Once the seed of doubt is sown into the heart of the Witness against his/her authoritarian leadership, the structure of their beliefs begins to crumble. It takes just one weak link to break a chain.

In the testimonies of former Witnesses who have come to know Jesus Christ, one can see various ways the Watchtower chains of deceit holding them down were broken.

“Between the two of us, we conducted ‘home bible studies’ with dozens of people, and we brought well over 20 of them into the organization as baptized Jehovah’s Witnesses,” says David Reed an ex-JW elder and his wife, Penni. “We weren’t stupid,” he continues, “but we were totally ignorant of the Bible. Besides, the Jehovah’s Witness program of indoctrination is so cleverly put together that it appeals to intelligent people.”

JWs will not come to your doors to talk about their most absurd beliefs, but would rather start out teaching things that most people agree with and gradually introduce the more absurd beliefs as time goes by.

“When I think of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I recall a lifetime of bondage to a cult which I served for the first 28 years of my life,” wrote Paul Blizard, who was a third generation JW.

“I was taught that Jehovah’s Witnesses had the only true religion, a religion governed from Watchtower headquarters in Brooklyn, N.Y. The governing body controls 2.3 million people. I use the word ‘control’ because Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that everything written by the Watchtower is from God and is not to be questioned,” he wrote.

In Tammie’s case, she was “a religious zealot and looked scornfully at anyone too lazy to pursue the ‘Truth’ as we called it.” She adds, “I was persuasive enough to lead five people to the point of baptism. I reported a monthly average of 10 Bible studies and [gave out] hundreds of pieces of literature. I read and studied the organization’s materials to the extent that I was able to argue doctrine better than any elder I knew, and this by their own admission.” Yet, “I was desperately lonely and empty.”

An online Christian ministry that evangelizes JWs notes that:
There are two types of converts. Those who joined this religion because it met an emotional need and those who converted because it gave them ‘answers’ to the questions they were facing in life. While the second group is easier to reach through logical reasoning about doctrinal inconsistencies, the first group is the most difficult to reach.”

What attracts people to the group usually keeps them in it. Penni recalls, “We were at a Witness convention and a handful of opposers were picketing outside. One of them carried a sign that said ‘READ THE BIBLE, NOT THE WATCHTOWER’.”

That night, she and David decided to follow that instruction. They read their Bibles and their discoveries eventually led the couple out of the cult.

Paul Blizard was given a book titled ’30 Years a Watchtower Slave’ by a fellow JW. The book was authored by an ex-JW who had found the truth by reading the Bible without Watchtower materials:

“I knew that my duty as a good Witness was to turn in my friend to the elders, for we were forbidden to read any anti-Witness material. But in defiance, I read the book. It disturbed me very much, for the author was a former worker at headquarters, and I could relate to many of the things he was saying.”

Then the Watchtower fancy cards came crashing down:

“My wife and I secretly studied our new Bible long hours into the night, discovering that many of the major doctrines that we had been willing to die for were false. I confronted my father about some of these issues. Being an elder, my father saw that I was questioning some of the main teachings, and he reported my wife and I to the elders, to stand trial for apostasy.”

Tammie, had her doubts when she met true Christians:

“I wondered why I had been warned all my life not to read other people’s religious materials. I observed these people’s lives and how they really lived what they believed and I began to wonder why a God of love wanted to kill these people at Armageddon. Was God so cruel to want to destroy these people who obviously love Him, just because they were not Jehovah’s Witnesses?”

Cynthia Cooper questioned the JW religion when her sister married a non-JW man. “My parents had literally thrown all of my sister’s clothes out on the front lawn.” She wondered “this is your child, how can you say you love your child and you love God but you are treating your child this way?… This is not the love of God.”

After Cynthia left the Jehovah’s Witnesses, she was shunned by her family and nearly committed suicide. But with the support of her Christian friends and pastor, she regained her feet and is still in the Lord.

Daniel Rodriguez, who has led many JWs to Christ observed that:

“Many who exit the Watchtower on their own never again involve themselves with “religion” of any kind. Many become agnostics or atheists. Many have suicidal thoughts. Some succumb to those thoughts. Thankfully, there are those who, in time, work out the trauma of leaving the Watchtower organization and live meaningful lives. Many publications deal with ministering to Jehovah’s Witnesses; but very few address the trauma of those who exit the Watchtower organization (Winning the Witnesses, Chick Publications Inc., 2007, pp. 75-76).

Raymond Franz, a former member of the Governing Body of JWs and cousin to a former President of the Watchtower Society, Fred Franz, provided some interesting insights into the hermetic mind control operating in this cult

“Sadly, in the case of most Witnesses, the organization has so persistently pushed its own self to the fore, has occupied such a large place on the spiritual scene, focusing so much attention on its own importance, that it has kept many from the closeness of fellowship with the heavenly Father that should have been theirs. The figure of the organization has loomed so large that it has overshadowed the greatness of God’s own Son, has clouded the vision of many from appreciating the warm relationship he invites persons to share with him, has distorted their perception of his compassionate personality.

“It is not surprising, then, that many persons, if expelled from the organization feel a sense of aloneness, of being adrift, floundering, due to no longer being tied to some visible authority structure, no longer having their lives channeled into its routine of programmed activity, no longer feeling the restrictive pressures of its policies and rulings” (Crisis of Conscience, 4th edition, Commentary Press, Atlanta, 2004, p. 397).

“When I told my parents that I had accepted Christ as my Savior, my mother cried and said she would never speak to me again,” recalls Tammie. “They believe Satan has blinded my mind so I can’t see the Truth anymore but I have discovered that the Truth is not an organization or a religion; it’s a Person, it’s Jesus Christ.”

After Paul Blizard and his wife were expelled and shunned, “Christians came to our home and helped us with food and money … The living testimony of these people affected my wife and I so much that we decided to start again studying the Bible.” From their study, “one night, my wife and I held our hands and gave our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Salvation is in Jesus Christ alone, it is not in a religious organization.

Touch not God’s Anointed: What it really Means

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This post is a quote from the appendix of a book I am currently reading, Christianity in Crisis: 21st Century authored by Hank Hanegraaff in 2009 (published by Thomas Nelson).

Hendrik “Hank” Hanegraaff, before his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy in 2017, was the president of the Christian Research Institute, an apologetic ministry founded by one of the brightest Evangelical minds in the 20th century, Dr. Martin Walter. For decades, Mr Hank was the anchor of “The Bible Answer Man.”

The first edition of Christianity in Crisis was published in 1993. It systematically unmasked the Word-Faith movement – a movement which threatens to undermine the foundations of the faith delivered to the saints.

The book was a bestseller and it won the Medallion Book Award for excellence in evangelical Christian literature. The new volume has been “augmented with a ‘Cast of Characters’ section that provides comprehensive information as well as biblical evaluation of the newest and most prolific stars in the faith galaxy—virtual rock stars who command the attention of presidential candidates and media moguls” (from the Introduction).

The following is an excerpt from Appendix A: Are “God’s Anointed” Beyond Criticism?

“During His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ exhorted His followers to not judge self-righteously or hypocritically. Is this necessarily what Christians do when they question the teachings of “God’s anointed” preachers and evangelists?

Many teachers who claim such anointing would say so, and many more of their followers commonly reply to all manner of criticism: “Touch not God’s anointed.”

Some of these teachers even add that such actions carry literally grave consequences. Consider what prominent Faith teacher Kenneth Copeland affirmed in his taped message Why All Are Not Healed (#01-4001):

“There are people attempting to sit in judgment right today over the ministry that I’m responsible for, and the ministry that Kenneth E. Hagin is responsible for . . . Several people that I know had criticized and called that Faith bunch out of Tulsa a cult. And some of ’em are dead right today in an early grave because of it, and there’s more than one of them got cancer.

In addition to certain Faith teachers, such sentiments may be found among various groups involved with shepherding and other forms of authoritarian rule (from diverse “fivefold” ministries to a host of large and small “fringe churches”).

The leaders of these groups are commonly regarded by their followers as having a unique gift and calling that entitles them to unconditional authority—sort of a heavenly carte blanche. To dispute any of their teachings or practices is not distinguished from questioning God Himself.

Advocates of such unquestionable authority assume that Scripture supports their view. Their key biblical proof text is Psalm 105:15: “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm” (KJV). But a close examination of this passage reveals that it has nothing to do with challenging the teachings and practices of church leaders.

First, it needs to be noted that the Old Testament phrase “the Lord’s anointed” is typically used to refer to the kings of Israel (1 Samuel 12:3,5; 24:6, 10; 26:9, 11, 16, 23; 2 Samuel 1:14, 16; 19:21; Psalm 20:6; Lamentations 4:20), at times specifically to the royal line descended from David (Psalms 2:2; 18:50; 89:38, 51), and not to especially mighty prophets and teachers.

While the text does also mention prophets, in the context of Psalm 105 the reference is undoubtedly to the patriarchs in general (vv. 8–15; cf. 1 Chronicles 16:15–22), and to Abraham (whom God called a prophet) in particular (Genesis 20:7). It is therefore debatable whether this passage can be applied to select leaders within the body of Christ.

Even if the text can be applied to certain church leaders today, in the context of this passage the words “touch” and “harm” have to do with inflicting physical harm upon someone. Psalm 105:15 is therefore wholly irrelevant to the issue of questioning the teachings of any self-proclaimed man or woman of God.

Moreover, even if we accepted this misinterpretation of Psalm 105:15, how are we to know who not to “touch”—that is, who God’s anointed and prophets are? Because they and their followers say they are? On such a basis we would have to accept the claims of Sun Myung Moon, Elizabeth Clare Prophet, and virtually all cult leaders to be prophets.

Because they reputedly perform miracles? The Antichrist and False Prophet will possess that credential (Revelation 13:13–15; 2 Thessalonians 2:9)! No, God’s representatives are known above all by their purity of character and doctrine (Titus 1:7–9; 2:7–8; 2 Corinthians 4:2; cf. 1 Timothy 6:3–4).

If a would-be spokesperson for God cannot pass the biblical tests of character and doctrine, we have no basis for accepting his or her claim, and no reason to fear that in criticizing his or her teaching, we might also be rejecting God.

Finally, if any individual Christian is to be considered anointed, then every single Christian must be considered anointed as well. For this is the only sense in which the term is used (apart from Christ) in the New Testament:

“You [referring to all believers] have an anointing from the Holy One” (1 John 2:20). Thus no believer can justifiably claim any sort of special status as God’s “untouchable anointed” over other believers.

With this in mind, it is significant that the apostle John does not use this term with reference to inspired or dynamic preaching or teaching, but to the ability and responsibility of each believer to discern between true and false teachers (vv. 18–24). Nobody’s teachings or practices are beyond biblical evaluation—especially influential leaders.

According to the Bible, authority and accountability go hand in hand (e.g., Luke 12:48). The greater the responsibility one holds, the greater the accountability one has before God and His people.

Teachers and other leaders of the Christian community should be extremely careful to not mislead any believer, for their calling carries with it a strict judgment (James 3:1). They should therefore be grateful when sincere Christians take the time and effort to correct whatever erroneous doctrine they may be holding and preaching to the masses.

And if the criticisms are unfounded or unbiblical, they should respond in the manner prescribed by Scripture, which tells them to correct misguided doctrinal opposition with gentle instruction (2 Timothy 2:25).

There is, of course, another side to this issue: criticism often can be sinful, leading to rebellion and unnecessary division. Christians should respect the leaders that God has given them (Hebrews 13:17). Theirs is the task of assisting the church in its spiritual growth and doctrinal understanding (Ephesians 4:11–16).

At the same time, believers should be aware that false teachers will arise among the Christian fold (Acts 20:29; 2 Peter 2:1). This makes it imperative for us to test all things by Scripture, as the Bereans were commended for doing when they examined the words of even the apostle Paul (Acts 17:11).

Not only is the Bible useful for preaching, teaching, and encouragement, but it is equally valuable for correcting and rebuking (2 Timothy 4:2). In fact, we as Christians are held accountable for proclaiming the whole will of God and warning others of false teachings and those responsible for them (Acts 20:26–28; cf. Ezekiel 33:7–9; 34:1–10).”

[Hank Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis: 21st Century, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 2009, pp. 382-386]