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.

The Watchtower Mind Tricks

In a bid to uphold their false doctrine about the afterlife, the Watchtower Society resorts to various tactics to validate its position.

1. Deliberate mistranslation

In their New World Translation, they swallowed a camel in a bid to sustain their annihilation belief.

Matthew 27:50. “Again Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and yielded up his breath (NWT).

Luke 23:46. “And Jesus called with a loud voice and said: Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit (NWT).

These are parallel passages describing the same event: the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In Matthew’s account, ‘the Society’ had no difficulty substituting the word “breath” for the Greek “spirit” (pneuma), whereas based on the context and grammar, there’s no justification for such a replacement.

Jesus yielded up His spirit, not His “breath.” JWs forced the word “breath” into the Matthew text in order to cement their doctrine; it’s a Jedi mind to condition the Witness’ mind.

When they arrived at the passage in Luke, the JW translators too realized that their messy cat would be easily let out of the bag if they rendered it: “Father, into your hands I entrust my breath,” so they used the correct rendering “spirit” instead.

But the very fact that Christ dismissed His spirit proves the survival of the human spirit beyond the grave, or as Solomon so wisely put it: “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7).

Let me give another example.

Philippians 1:21–23. “For in my case to live is Christ, and to die, gain. Now if it be to live on in the flesh, this is a fruitage of my work—and yet which thing to select I do not know. I am under pressure from these two things; but what I do desire is the releasing and the being with Christ, for this, to be sure, is far better” (NWT).

Notice how the word “departing” was replaced with “releasing.” In their appendix to the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures (pp. 780-781), they wrote:

“In no way is the apostle here saying that immediately at his death he would be changed into spirit and would be with Christ forever … It is to this return of Christ and the apostle’s releasing to be always with the Lord that Paul refers at Philippians 1:23 … It must refer to the events at the time of Christ’s return and second presence…”

First of all, no reputable lexical work defines the Greek word analousai as “releasing.” The passage grates against their cherished belief, so they twist the text to conform to it.

Second, what apostle Paul is saying in Philippians 1 centers on his possible death and subsequent presence with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8), and also his concern toward the believers in Philippi. The coming of Christ is not the subject of discussion at all.

Paul never believed he would “sleep” in the grave till the resurrection because he clearly states he could either be with Christ after death or continue in the body to minister to the people. He described death as “gain.” There would be no gain in dying if men became non-existent after death. God is not the God of the dead or the non-existent (Mark 12:27).

Now, by denying that apostle Paul “would be changed into spirit and would be with Christ forever,” the Watchtower is also indirectly implying that he is not part of the 144,000 “anointed class.”

Why God would bypass Paul the apostle who “laboured more strenuously than all the rest” for the Gospel (1 Cor. 15:10) and was “poured out as a drink offering” as a martyr (Phil. 2:17), and consign him to the “great crowd” is a fatal contradiction that Jehovah’s Witnesses will have to explain.

2. Misquoting sources

In Reasoning from the Scriptures (pp. 169-170), a quote is offered from Encyclopedia Britannica (vol XXV, 236) to disprove the soul’s immortality. The part appearing in bold was intentionally omitted:

“In the NT, the Greek word psyche is often translated as “soul” but again should not be readily understood to have the meaning the word had for the Greek philosophers. It usually means “life” or “vitality,” or at times “the self.” While most Christians believe in a life after death, the Bible does not provide a clear description of how a person survives after death. Christian theologians have had to resort to the discourse of philosophers for an adequate means of describing survival of the individual after death, and philosophers have traditionally utilised the concept of the soul as the vehicle of immortality.”

3. Poisoning the well

They always link the Christian doctrine of the afterlife with paganism by misquoting their sources or utilizing the biased works of other annihilationists.

They also project a very negative image of pastors or Christian Bible teachers as ‘servants of Satan.’ This is a preemptive tactic deployed to seal the minds of JWs to whatever their opponents say.

The Bible’s teaching about the condition of the dead leaves many of Christendom’s clergymen in an awkward position. The very book on which they claim to base their teachings, the Bible conflicts with their doctrines. Yet, consciously or unconsciously, they feel impelled to reach into the Bible to seize on something to prove their point, thereby blinding themselves and others to the truth” (Is this Life All There Is? 1974, 98, 99).

They continue:

The ‘burning anger of Jehovah’ is against all who have misled their fellowmen by lying about God and his purposes. And he does not hold guiltless those who support such men by attending their religious services or being members of their organizations. The time left before the execution of divine judgement is short…you need to act quickly…to break all ties with the world empire of false religion.” (Ibid p. 187)

The scare-mongering and the appeal to isolation in these quotes are obvious. The amusing thing is that, on the one hand, JWs are told to quickly cut all ties with all churches, yet the JW who wrote this claims to know what church clergymen might say or do “consciously or unconsciously.” How did he know them?

Such a screeching rhetoric is aimed at preventing JWs from reading any reputable Christian work exposing the lies of the Watchtower Society. A renowned cult expert provides some interesting insights:

“First and foremost, the belief systems of the cults are characterized by closed-mindedness. They are not interested in a rational cognitive evaluation of facts. The organizational structure interprets the facts to the cultist, generally invoking the Bible and/or its respective founder as the ultimate source of its pronouncements … Secondly, cultic beliefs are characterized by genuine antagonism on a personal level since the cultist almost always identifies his dislike of the Christian message with the messenger who holds such opposing beliefs” (Walter Martin and Hank Hanegraaff, The Kingdom of the Cults, revised edition Bethany House, 1997, p. 33).

4. Comma shifting

Luke 23:43 “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

Here, Jesus was promising the pernitent thief that he would be with Him in paradise that very day. This is another proof of the immortality of the inner man and an eternal destination. This would torpedo the JW annihilation doctrine, so they shifted the comma to after the word “today” in their New World Translation (NWT) bible to read as:

“Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise”

To defend this spurious translation, they argue that:

“Westcott and Hort text put a comma in the Greek text before the word today… in the original Greek, no comma is found” (Kingdom Interlinear Translation, 1969, 408).

The fact is, the punctuation in English is determined by the context of the passage. The NWT has no scholarly support for this mis-punctuation. This is why all Bible versions (with the exception of the NWT) renders the comma after “you” and not “today.”

Greek scholars are in agreement. Dr Randolph Yaeger in his work, The Renaissance New Testament translates Luke 23:43 as:

“Therefore He said to him, truly I am telling you, Today you shall be with me in paradise.”

Greek scholar, Kenneth Wuest renders it:

“And He said to him, Assuredly I to you am saying, Today you will be with me in paradise” (The New Testament- An Expanded Translation, Grand Rapids, MI, 1961, 203).

As stated elsewhere, these are the tactics employed when a religious organization is bereft of truth.

Dr. Ron Rhodes explains why the JWs had to tamper with this Bible text:

“It is helpful to observe how the phrase, ‘Truly, I say unto you’ is used elsewhere in Scripture. The phrase – which translates the Greek word amen soi lego – occurs 74 times in the Gospels and is always used as an introductory expression …

“In 73 out of 74 times the phrase occurs in the Gospels, the New World Translation places a break – such as a comma – immediately after the phrase, ‘Truly I tell you’. Luke 23:43 is the only occurrence of the phrase in which the New World Translation does not place a break after it. Why? … this would go against Watchtower theology” (Reasoning from The Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Harvest House, 1993, 328).

Does the Bible Endorse Slavery? (II)

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One of the common charges levied against the Bible is that, since the New Testament writers exhorted slaves to obey their masters in the Roman social system, the Bible actually approves of slavery and has contributed to inhumanity and oppression.

First of all, the atheist has no moral or logical ground to stand on to condemn slavery. If our actions are determined by random collisions of molecules in our brain – as many atheists believe – then slavery cannot be morally wrong. It would be an expression of natural selection.

Unbelievers vainly boast that humans, not God, put an end to slavery in America while the slave traders justified their dehumanization with some Bible verses. The fact is, the abolitionists were Christians, and they appealed to the Bible to support their anti-slavery stance.

The chancellor of Protestant University, William Wilson, stated that slavery was “at war with the image of God in which man was created” as it treats other humans as less than human as God created him and lowering the person to property.

On the other hand, the biblical texts the pro-slavery advocates were able to cobble together were weak, astutely wrenched and tortured paths.

These men were simply a bunch of wicked, racist and bigoted folks who used the Bible to rationalize their atrocities. That didn’t mean the Bible was really on their side.

Even the most well intentioned religious text can be misinterpreted and misused by people for their own advantage. Interestingly, the Western slave masters and modern atheists are united in their absurd misinterpretation and mutilation of the Bible. They approach the Book the same way a butcher approaches a hog!

It’s not enough for skeptics of all stripes to quote some extracted Bible verses (often to “prove” their preconceived notions), we must examine the complete testimony and see the big picture.

Of course, the dogmatic Bible hater will derisively dismiss this, but once their false assertions are refuted, their propaganda collapses into a pile of pixie dust.

The following texts are often quoted to “prove” that the NT upholds slavery:

“Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord” (Colossians 3:22).

Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ” (Ephesians 6:5)

Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative” (Titus 2:9).

1. Jesus Christ had already pointed to the mission of freedom from all forms of slavery: spiritual, mental and physical. Quoting Isaiah 61:1-2, He declared:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed (Lk. 4:18).

The practical application of this verse is what led to the elucidation of freedom and the denunciation of forms of slavery.

2. The church was born into an already existing secular social world. Christianity didn’t come with a social reform programme for Israel and Rome, because that is not how the kingdom of God – which is inward, rather than geographical – works.

Therefore, when apostle Paul exhorts slaves within the Roman systems to behave themselves, he is not promoting or advocating the situation they were in, but was calling for good conduct while in such an already existing predicament in the hopes that their masters would see such good conduct and convert to Christianity and be saved (Titus 2:10). It was for the benefit of people’s eternal salvation.

3. The apostles weren’t revolutionaries and the early Christians were minorites. The older religions within the Roman Empire (Heathenism, Mystery Religions, State religion) should have borne a higher responsibility of emancipation of slaves because they had greater political might.

As for Eph. 6:5 what did unbelievers expect Paul to say? Should he incite Christian slaves to defy their Roman masters? What do they think happened to insubordinate slaves under Roman law? Did they even bother to think that far?

Under Roman law, a runaway slave was often mercilessly dealt with:

“He could be scourged branded, mutilated, or fitted with a metal collar, perhaps even be crucified, thrown to beasts, or killed. (Joseph Fitzmyer, The Letter to Philemon, Doubleday Publishing, 2000, p. 28).

I am sure that if the NT had admonished Christian slaves to rebel against their Roman masters, modern atheists would still find a way to gripe over that. If believers walked by the Tiber, cynics would still say they walked because they couldn’t swim.

4. Paul exhorts slave masters to treat their slaves well. He commands those who are slave masters in this existing social system to be good to and not threaten their slaves.

Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your hearts. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free” (Eph. 6:6-8)

5. Paul affirmed freedom over slavery

Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so” (1 Cor. 7:21).

Gleason Archer has shown that while Paul exhorted slaves to obey their masters, he said that slaves should do do all in their ability to purchase their own freedom. (Gleason Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, Zondervan, 1982, p. 87).

6. The Bible does not support Slave and Master casses

Slavery runs on the cultural machinery of racial, political, religious and social-economic superiority. But the Bible elevates man as created in the image of God and affirms the equality of all men. This conflicts with the idea behind slavery.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).

“Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:11).

Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven” (Colossians 4:1)

Here, apostle Paul affirms both slaves and masters are equal having a true master in heaven, and that masters on earth must not mistreat their slaves.

7. The Bible condemns slavery and the slave trade

We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:9-10).

Notice that slavery is included in the list of vices here and slave traders are grouped together with murderers and ungodly people.

In Revelation 18:10-13 Babylon is rebuked and judged in the context of trafficking slaves and greedily making wealth with merchants:

And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore … cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.”

Most unbelievers are fond of selectively citing bible passages and neglecting cross-references, hence giving a distorted picture. And the most arrogant part is how they believe they know the Bible more than Christians who have spent the whole of their lives studying it.