Monday, January 11, 2010

A Welcome Note

I received this note recently and decided to share it. I'm more accustomed to getting arguments than praise, so this was very welcome!

"Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ongoing Arguments.

The following is another answer to a letter I've received from visitors to this site and readers of my book. As usual, I believe my answer serves to reveal the contents of the original letter that prompted my reply.

As for your idea that I drew conclusions and then proceeded to research to find the proof, you truly have it reversed. When I began to study the Holy Books of all three religions, I was curious, especially about Islam, which I knew nothing about. It was only after I had studied the Koran that it finally dawned on me what Muhammad was actually saying. And, as I said to you before, I am NOT INTERESTED in which rules for daily life you or anyone follows, aside from the Ten Commandments, which all three religions try to embrace. Otherwise, I couldn't care less if anyone wants to sacrifice a cow on any day of the week. I am strictly concerned with what the Prophets revealed about God and the Promised Messiah.

Now, onto particulars! You advise me: “If you want to argue stuff, please do so with more knowledge and less hate.” I honestly cannot understand how you perceive “hate” in any sentence I’ve written, including my whole book: “Of
Promises and Previews.” And that is especially true of discussions of Muhammad, whose role as a God-sent Prophet commands my full and sincere respect. But I do NOT honor the CLERGIES of all three religions, and perhaps that is how you
think you see “hate” in my words. However, I certainly do NOT “hate” them—I am disgusted with them and their centuries-long efforts to prove their own religion the “Only Truth.”

In addition, “everything” is certainly not about Israel. Essentially “everything” is about the “gross darkness” that the Hebrew Prophets specifically described, which humans can now create through nuclear weapons. The “war” against modern Israel’s existence, on the land that God gave them, can
become the reason those weapons will be used. Thus, the darkest prophecies can readily be fulfilled, though the Prophets also told us we could avoid the “darkness” by turning our hearts to each other (Isaiah 60:2; Malachi 3:24/4:6). It is WISDOM for us to avoid the darkness--not because it will be the time of the Judgement--as you so glibly dismiss it--but because it will be a horrific nightmare that will not be relieved until the Messiah comes to rule the world from Jerusalem. You think the Judgement is at hand--but we have prophecies to see fulfilled before that happens--and I hope, for your sake and everyone's--that you and the billions like you have learned not to promote division before you are judged!

IF Jews, Christians and Muslims reconcile their concept of the One and Only Lord God, as Muhammad taught, they would lead the way for all mankind to “turn” their hearts to each other. And we could create a peaceful world that would
welcome the Person Muhammad described as “…the Messiah, Isa son of Marium…” who “… does not disdain to be a servant of God” (Women 4:171-172). In the course of writing my book, I have studied numerous English translations of the Koran and
some of them translate the Messiah’s name as “Jesus” and some call him “Isa.” But every one of them speaks of him as the “Messiah.” Muhammad was “simply” trying to explain to Christians (and Jews and Muslims) that the Messiah is NOT a
god, he is “the Messiah”—who “does not disdain to be a servant of God.” I’d sincerely like to hear why you, as a Muslim, ignore that elementary message that Muhammad spent his life delivering to mankind.

Aside from the Ten Commandments, which all three religions honor, I am NOT interested in what you and all believers eat and all the other various rules observed by the individual religions! My only concern is what ALL the Prophets
told us about God and the Messiah He promised to send us. On those subjects, the Prophets NEVER contradict each other. It is the individual CLERGIES that are so busy contradicting what other religions teach about Them and—sadly—it is the
clergies that you are so busy quoting.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Ignoring Muslims, Christians and Jews

In the last few months, I’ve received numerous letters from readers of my book and visitors to this site, which have prompted me to answer them in detail. I’ve now decided to print some of those answers here for those who haven’t written but could be interested in the ideas expressed. I believe the content of the original letter from a visitor is self-evident in my reply.

Dear Commentator,

In truth, I have little respect for how Muslims, Christians and Jews interpret their Scriptures! I do not learn about their religions from THEM or THEIR CLERGY. Instead, I listen very closely to the Prophets of all three faiths. I wrote my book, “Of Promises and Previews,” in the hope that others would also learn from ALL the Prophets, who told a continuous story. In fact, the Prophets never contradict each other. It has been the clergies that have tried to prove their own religion the “only true faith." By so doing, they have spread the hatred that plagues the world and now threatens to start a nuclear war. But, the Prophets also tell us that we don’t have to suffer that war and the "gross darkness" (Isa. 60:2) they vividly describe. And that is my sole purpose for writing my book: the Prophets precisely described a nuclear winter, but they also told us how to avoid it. And therein lies my whole focus.

You, on the other hand, do not even mention those prophecies, but busy yourself with other matters that fail to capture my interest. For instance, I do not pretend to know the precise individuals God will condemn. In fact, I think it a grave error on your part--and all who join you--in your presumptuous proclamations about who will be saved and who will be condemned!

The God I worship and the Messiah He promised us will take care of judging us. I am solely trying to awaken people to Their Promises and the Previews of them. Some of those Promises can be fulfilled in our lifetime in the form of a nuclear war, the nuclear winter that follows the war and the eventual return of our Messiah to deliver us from our manmade horrors. But some of those Promises told us how we can avoid the prophesied destruction and experience the joyous return of our Messiah. In short, I'm simply not interested in the mysterious statements in the Book of Revelation that occupy you. I stay concerned with the realities of our world, which does not include conjecturing on the identify of "beasts." Nor do I think that mouthing phrases like "trying to live in peace with others” is worth a penny! People have been saying such things for thousands of years--it doesn't work! Nor does preaching "tolerance," and all other fine sounding sayings, mean anything in practical life.

We urgently need an improved and enlarged understanding of God and our promised Messiah, which we can gain by studying what ALL the Prophets told us. Without such understanding, the extremist Muslims will FULLFILL the most dreadful prophecies, which they believe it is their God-given duty to fulfill. And, sadly, they are probably right, since someone must fulfill them, if we refuse to grow wise enough to avoid them!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Elementary but Essential Information

Recently, I received a letter from a Christian visitor to this site who has been reading the Koran. He's asked me a reasonable question that I suspect has occurred to others. He questioned why the Koran, when repeating some Biblical stories, clearly contradicts the Biblical accounts. He cited, as a glaring example, the story of Abraham sacrificing his son. In the Hebrew Scriptures, Abraham attempts to sacrifice Issac (Gen. 22:1-12), but in the Koran, he offers Ishmael (37:102-107). In reply, I provided an excerpt from
Chapter 21 of my book, "Of Promises and Previews." And now I've decided to include it here, in case others have asked the same question, without expressing it.

An excerpt from Chapter 21, entitled "A Promise Resounds Across Arabia."

During the next 22 years—the rest of Muhammad’s life—Gabriel occasionally visited him. With each visit,
Gabriel revealed more of the Koran, which means “the Recital.” In turn, Muhammad recited Gabriel’s
messages to persons he trusted. At first, his recitations were memorized and passed by word of mouth. As belief in Muhammad grew, literate believers recorded his words on any available material, including stones, scraps of leather, and palm leaves.

After Muhammad died, Islamic authorities spent years collecting the verses and determining their authenticity, before publishing an authorized version of the Koran. The original Text, however, was written in a script that contained no vowels or diacritical points, which left the meaning of some words in doubt. To this day, official readings of the Koran vary, but they are all considered of equal authority.

Muslims firmly believe that God is the Principal Speaker throughout the Koran, though they also believe
Gabriel and Muhammad speak in specific passages. Still, the need for the first Muslims to memorize Muhammad’s recitations, record them on any material at hand, and collect them years later, has aroused reasonable suspicions about the Text. Today, even some devout Muslims doubt that Muhammad delivered every word included in the Koran. Furthermore, Koranic versions of certain Bible stories unmistakably differ from their Old Testament counterparts. Jews and Christians have always cited those glaring differences as proof the Koran was invented by Muhammad and other illiterate, ignorant Arabs, who cunningly used religion to gain power over their even more ignorant kinsmen. In truth, most Arabs knew little or nothing about Biblical persons and their deeds. After hearing only brief references to the numerous Bible characters, they could have easily erred when repeating the stories (even as today’s schooled Jews and Christians, when speaking extemporaneously, sometimes confuse particulars). The Koran, however, never alters the essential teachings of the Testaments.

In fact, the Koran was never intended to merely repeat Bible stories in the Arabic language. The Sacred Book of Islam brings its own messages. And many of those messages severely chastise Jews and Christians for corrupting their Scriptures in far more serious ways than by confusing the words and deeds of a few people!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Prayers To Fit All Believers

In 1962, the Catholic Good Friday Prayer included these thoughts: "…for the faithless Jews: that almighty God may remove the veil from their hearts ... (and) for the blindness of that people, that they may be delivered from their darkness." After Vatican II in 1970, the prayer was changed to: "Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God, that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant ... (and) may arrive at the fullness of redemption." This year, it’s reported that Pope Benedict has revised the prayer again to ask God to "enlighten" the hearts of the Jews so "…they may acknowledge Jesus Christ as the savior” of all mankind.

The next chapter in this “saga” finds conservative rabbis expressing “dismay” over the Catholic prayer asking God to help Jews “…acknowledge Jesus Christ as the savior.” But that prayer could help all believers, by serving as an example of other needed prayers.

While Catholics ask God to help Jews recognize Jesus as the world’s Savior, Muslims, following Muhammad’s teachings, could be praying for Christians to acknowledge Jesus as nothing less — nor more — than the Promised Savior, instead of the second member of a trinity of gods. And if Christians stopped calling Jesus “God,” Jews could become more able to recognize him as the world’s Savior.

While all this praying for others is going on, Jews could be praying for Muslims to obey Muhammad, who told them to believe all the Prophets who preceded him — and he especially mentioned Moses. But Moses told the world that someday God would restore Israel and return the Hebrews to their homeland. So, why are supposedly devout Muslims trying to destroy the fulfillment of that prophecy?

In short, if all Jews, Christians and Muslims engaged themselves in such prayers, we would have a world of people praying for each other instead of a blood soaked earth!

Then again, perhaps each religious family could try praying for their own enlightenment! So, Jews could ask to be enlightened about the Messiah’s identity. Christians could ask to be enlightened about the real identity of the One and Only Lord God. And Muslims could ask to be enlightened about their own role as the third monotheistic religion that came to correct — not eradicate — their fellow believers.

By helping themselves enlarge their own religious understanding, believers would be helping all of their fellowmen enjoy “peace on earth, goodwill toward men,” which is one thing God has always told all “peoples of the earth” to pursue!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Story of Anti-Semitism

The Sixth Commandment issued by Abraham’s God forbids us to murder our fellow human beings (Ex. 20:13). Yet, most of the blood that has drenched the earth has been spilled by “believers” in the God Who gave us that Commandment! Throughout their mutual existence, “believers” have openly hated each other. But few of the “religious haters” realize that the stage on which their hatred bloomed was not the crucifixion of Jesus. The “players” in the “game of hatred” — and the prophesied result of their hatred — first appeared in Noah’s time.

Noah, a man whose very existence is questioned by self-satisfied skeptics, was the forefather of today’s most troublesome “peoples!” The most prominent branch of Noah’s family began with his son, Shem, whose name has lived on to become part of our everyday vocabulary. From his name came the word, “Semite.” ALL of Shem’s descendants are “Semites.” Nowadays, however, anyone who practices “anti-Semitism” is actually against only one branch of Shem’s descendants: the Jews.

The word “Jew” is an abbreviation of Judah, one of the twelve Hebrew tribes. The word Hebrew stems from Shem’s great-grandson, Eber. Eber’s most prominent sons were Peleg and Joktan. The Hebrews descended from Peleg’s eldest son, while Joktan fathered the Semites known as “Arabs.”

Therefore, ALL the descendants of Noah’s son, Shem, are Semites. Some Semites became the world’s first monotheists known as Hebrews.
Because Shem’s descendants are Semites, and all Arabs and Jews are Semites, the way we use the word, “anti-Semitism,” is a gross distortion of its true meaning. What millions of people have actually practiced is pure and simple “hatred of Jews.” And, these days, that hatred is mounting around the world, largely because much of the world perceives the nation of Israel as a source of danger to everyone, everywhere. If Israel didn’t exist, the Semitic Arabs would live quietly in the Middle East — at least, that’s the “popular” anti-Jewish theory!

Do you believe that theory? If so, you are not “anti-Semitic.” You are a plain and simple “Jew hater.” And, while you might prefer to call yourself by a title that doesn’t explicitly label you a “hater,” that’s what you are. And your hatefulness is spurring the world toward the nuclear war that will fulfill the prophecy delivered in Noah’s time:

When the Flood ended, God made a covenant with Noah. He promised, “...never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth” (Gen. 9:11). Therefore, if, again, God cleanses the earth of violence, He will not wash away men and the tons of blood men have spilled. Next time, both Testaments warn, “...the earth and the works that are in it shall be burnt up” (II Peter 3:10). “For, behold, the day cometh, it burneth as a furnace, and all the proud, and all that work wickedness, shall be stubble...” (Mal. 3:19/4:1).

The Prophet Malachi told us that we must turn our hearts to each other (Mal 3:24/4:6), to avoid the “gross darkness” (Isa. 60:2) foretold by Isaiah, the “darkness” we can now recognize as a “nuclear winter.” If hateful Semites won’t even turn their hearts to their fellow Semites, what hope do we have that the hateful Christians will do it? Of course, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t even try! We could be magnificently surprised!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Difference Between Humans and Ants

In time for the Christams season, I'm reposting an article that appeared here earlier this year--because I realize that some visitors to this site don't go back to read much earlier articles, and because I truly believe we could use this brief discussion of faith.

A Difference Between Humans and Ants

“Is God Poison?” asks “Maclean’s,” a prominent Canadian magazine, on it’s April cover. I suspect that “clever” cover commanded the attention of believers, agnostics and atheists, alike — in other words, everyone that chanced to see it — while it prompted a bunch of sales!

It was a long article worth discussing. Today, however, I’m only going to talk about a statement in the article’s opening page, which quotes someone named Christopher Hitchens. His new book discusses "How Religion Poisons Everything.” Mr. Hitchens, while heartened by the world’s newfound interest in disputing God’s existence, tells us, “We atheists never thought religion would die out because it comes from fear of death….”

I agree, that’s one way to look at religion’s “origin and purpose.” But it certainly has never occurred to me, and I’ve been religious for ninety percent of my long life. If Mr. Hitchens seriously thinks that “fear of death” drove me to God, his reasoning is severely flawed from the “git-go.” I am one of the many people who go through life without giving death more than occasional thought, though I’ve had much to do with it in my family.

Of course, if Mr. Hitchens thinks that fear of death was what first prompted humans to conceive religious beliefs, that’s a plausible theory. But it is nothing more than an unproven, irrelevant theory, in company with numberless others.

As I see it, religion sets mankind apart from all living creatures on earth, as the only creatures on earth (as far as we know) who can seek to identify their Ultimate Creator and contemplate why they exist. In daily life, however, religion helps us live far more peacefully with ourselves and our fellowmen than we could live without it — even though, as nations and as individuals, our “peaceful” relations with others are endlessly and violently interrupted! And all those violent interruptions happen, while a huge portion of the world’s population embraces the Ten Commandments! Imagine how we’d behave if we’d never been told “Thou shall not murder” ? And why does “Mr. Hitchens & Co.“ think we needed to be told that? It certainly wasn’t because humans seldom killed each other!

For our ancestors to need to be Divinely commanded to abstain from killing their fellowmen tells us that murder was even more commonplace than it is today, throughout the world. Humans want to be rid of anyone who really “bothers” them. And it’s common for us to severely “bother” each other! Learning how to turn our hearts to each other, as the Prophet Malachi said we must do (Mal, 3:24/4:6) is now the urgently needed “uncommon” factor in human history.

Thousands of years ago, societies worshiped more than 2,000 gods who, according to the tales concocted about them, often warred with each other — a direct reflection of human life. Yet, Abraham’s God told us not to murder, unless we were executing a person who had intentionally killed someone, “…having hated him in time past” (Deut. 4:42). To be sure, “unbelievers” describe Abraham’s God, introduced in the Hebrew Scriptures, as a bloodthirsty deity, akin to most of the other “gods” people worshiped. But the Israelites, the first people to believe in Abraham’s God, were told to war with heathens only to claim the needed homeland God had promised them. In short, murdering their fellowmen for “personal reasons” was forbidden. And that was an UNCOMMON concept in human history, which Mr. Hitchens neglects to mention, while denouncing monotheism, in particular.

I, too, can conjecture about Hitchens as he does about me, a “believer.” So, perhaps Mr. Hitchens has suffered a fear of death since childhood and finds no solace in religion, which makes his unrelieved fear/dread/resentment of dying feed his argument against all the religious beliefs that have failed him. Or, he has convinced himself there is nothing to fear about death; our flesh decays and that’s the end of us, so he is trying to get multiple people to agree with him to convince himself he is “right.” Whatever his reasoning, he didn’t create our universe and he cannot destroy it, so he is “overpowered” by unknown forces beyond his control — and hating his helplessness. If true, that theory would simply prove that when we harbor “hatred,” we become destructive! But trying to destroy faith in God condemns Hitchens to fight a losing battle, which is a sad way to spend one’s life.

So, Christopher Hitchens, you appear to be a sad member of a species that is distinguished from all other creatures on earth by its ability to contemplate the Source of itself and all physical matter. You can “wait for science” to tell you how “the universe” happened, but the wait will exceed your lifetime. And that means you’ll go to your grave without ever “knowing faith” — a knowledge that appears to be exclusively “human.”