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An Atheist Who Believes in God

July 9, 2017 Leave a comment

I have watched a video this afternoon which has inspired me to write this blog post. Frank Schaeffer tells about his spiritual journey and his new belief in a paradox. He believes that God does not exist and God does exist. He talks about the “certainty addicts” who seem to think they have all of the answers. He is still a member of a Greek Orthodox Church in Massachusetts. I can see some of the traces of the Orthodox way of thinking in some of his reasoning. However, although I can agree with him on some points, I cannot fully agree with him on everything.

Here is the video. It lasts about an hour.

As far as certainty is concerned, I think that Jesus taught that it is possible to be certain of some things. He taught that we can know the truth.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:31,32, NKJV)

Even the Koran teaches that one can be certain of the truth. It says:

There is no compulsion in religion. Certainly, right has become clearly distinct from wrong. Whoever rejects the devil and believes in God has firmly taken hold of a strong handle that never breaks. God is All-hearing and knowing. (Koran 2:256, Muhammad Sarwar)

The prophecies about Christ in the Old Testament and their fulfillment in the New Testament demonstrate that the Bible is the Word of God. The mathematical miracles in the Koran demonstrate that it is a work of Divine Providence and therefore a revelation from God.

However, both the Bible and the Koran teach that we cannot know everything. God is incomprehensible. We can never know everything that there is to know about God.

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” (Romans 11:33-35, NKJV)

Allah! There is no God save Him, the Alive, the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep overtaketh Him. Unto Him belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that intercedeth with Him save by His leave? He knoweth that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will. His throne includeth the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, the Tremendous. (Koran 2:255, Pickthall)

We cannot analyze God in the same way that we can analyze the parts of a frog after dissecting it. We always encounter a mystery whenever we encounter God. God is far bigger than we are.

There are two types of theology: apophatic theology and cataphatic theology. When we use apophatic theology, we define God in terms of what He is not. When we use cataphatic theology, we define God in terms of who He is.

Nature itself teaches us that there is a God. We should not doubt His existence.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:18-21, NKJV)

The created world in which we live points to a Creator — an Intelligence behind it all. The Contemporary Islamic Music artist, Maher Zain, has expressed this truth regarding the existence of God well in his song, “Open Your Eyes.”

God is in all places at all times. He is everywhere we are.

To God belong the East and the West; whithersoever you turn, there is the Face of God; God is All-embracing, All-knowing. (Koran 2:115, Arberry)

It is He that created the heavens and the earth in six days then seated Himself upon the Throne. He knows what penetrates into the earth, and what comes forth from it, — what comes down from heaven, and what goes up unto it. He is with you wherever you are; and God sees the things you do. (Koran 57:4, Arberry)

Hast thou not seen that Allah knoweth all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth? There is no secret conference of three but He is their fourth, nor of five but He is their sixth, nor of less than that or more but He is with them wheresoever they may be; and afterward, on the Day of Resurrection, He will inform them of what they did. Lo! Allah is Knower of all things. (Koran 58:7, Pickthall)

We indeed created man; and We know what his soul whispers within him, and We are nearer to him than the jugular vein. (Koran 50:16, Arberry)

God “fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:23)

Faith is necessary in order to draw near to God in prayer. If one wants to know God, he must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6, NKJV)

Genuine faith is faith without doubt. It is faith that manifests itself in good deeds.

The believers are only the ones who have believed in Allah and His Messenger and then doubt not but strive with their properties and their lives in the cause of Allah. It is those who are the truthful. (Koran 49:15, Sahih International)

Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing. (John 20:27, NKJV)

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:26, NKJV)

Those who do not strive to keep God’s commandments do not genuinely know Him.

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (I John 2:3,4, NKJV)

Both the Koran and the Bible teach that there will be a final judgment. God will judge everyone at the end of this age.

O ye who believe! Come, all of you, into submission (unto Him); and follow not the footsteps of the devil. Lo! he is an open enemy for you. And if ye slide back after the clear proofs have come unto you, then know that Allah is Mighty, Wise. Wait they for naught else than that Allah should come unto them in the shadows of the clouds with the angels? Then the case would be already judged. All cases go back to Allah (for judgment). (Koran 2:208-210, Pickthall)

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31, NKJV)

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. (Matthew 25:31-33, NKJV)

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7, NKJV)

Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead. (Acts 17:30,31, NKJV)

There can be no paradox that states that God exists and He does not exist. Both Christianity and Islam are revealed religions. Both teach that there is a God who created everything. Both teach that God is omnipresent. Both teach that genuine faith lacks doubt. Truth can be known. There are certainties. We cannot know everything, but we can be certain of some things. The existence of God is a certainty. The knowledge of God is possible. We discover God through prayer prayed in faith that He is there listening to our words. Maybe someday Frank Schaeffer will rethink his theology or the lack thereof. God is his judge. We should not judge him, but we should reject his error.

 

Why Rape is Haraam

December 21, 2016 Leave a comment

Rape is Haraam

Last year in Cologne, Germany on New Year’s Eve, several women were raped by migrant refugees. They even raped a volunteer female police officer. This rape epidemic has spread all across Europe. Pseudo-Islamic extremists rape and even gang rape white, European women and girls. What is so sad is that many of the rapists are committing these crimes with impunity. In many Middle Eastern countries, the rape victims are blamed for being raped and the rapists are excused. If a woman is outside her home in Saudi Arabia without a male relative as a chaperone, she can be raped with impunity. If a woman is not wearing enough clothing to cover her body and her head sufficiently according to the opinion of some religious scholars, she can be raped with impunity. None of these reasons for rape are justified by the Koran. Actually, any sexual activity outside of marriage is haraam according to the Koran. So, raping a woman who is not one’s wife is against the teachings of the Koran. All rape including domestic rape is in fact haraam according to the Koran.

A man must be married to a woman before he can have sexual intercourse with her. Four things are required in order to form an Islamic marriage.

First, both the man and the woman must be monotheists.

Wed not idolatresses till they believe; for lo! a believing bondwoman is better than an idolatress though she please you; and give not your daughters in marriage to idolaters till they believe, for lo! a believing slave is better than an idolater though he please you. These invite unto the Fire, and Allah inviteth unto the Garden, and unto forgiveness by His grace, and expoundeth His revelations to mankind that haply they may remember. (Koran 4:32, Pickthall)

A Muslim may even marry a virtuous Jew or a Christian.

And so are the virtuous women of the believers and the virtuous women of those who received the Scripture before you (lawful for you) when ye give them their marriage portions and live with them in honour, not in fornication, nor taking them as secret concubines. (Koran 5:5, Pickthall)

“Those who received the Scripture” before them are the Jews and the Christians.

Secondly, there must be mutual consent on the part of both the man and the woman to enter into a marital relationship. Women, according to the Koran, have rights similar to those of men.

And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree above them. (Koran 2:228, Pickthall)

A woman can, therefore, choose which man she wants to marry. A man can choose which woman he wants to marry. A Muslim woman can even marry a virtuous Jew or Christian since she has “rights similar to those of men.” (See Koran 5:5.) A woman cannot be inherited against her will from a deceased relative.

O ye who believe! It is not lawful for you forcibly to inherit the women (of your deceased kinsmen). (Koran 4:19, Pickthall)

Obligatory levirate marriages existed in Old Testament times (Deuteronomy 25:5-10), but according to the Koran such marriages are no longer obligatory on the part of the woman. Slave-girls could choose to remain chaste and their owners had to respect their choice. So, even a slave-girl could refuse to marry her master.

Force not your slave-girls to whoredom that ye may seek enjoyment of the life of the world, if they would preserve their chastity. And if one force them, then (unto them), after their compulsion, lo! Allah will be Forgiving, Merciful. (Koran 24:33, Pickthall)

A divorced woman can marry whoever she wants. This verse from the Fourth Surah implies that she has a choice in the matter when it speaks of “an agreement between them,” that is, between the divorced woman and her new fiancé.

And when ye have divorced women and they reach their term, place not difficulties in the way of their marrying their husbands if it is agreed between them in kindness. This is an admonition for him among you who believeth in Allah and the Last Day. That is more virtuous for you, and cleaner. Allah knoweth; ye know not. (Koran 4:232, Pickthall)

The Pseudo-Islamic practice of arranging forced marriages is, therefore, contrary to the teachings of the Koran. In some Middle Eastern countries, young women are forced into marriages with men without their consent.

Thirdly, if a man intends to marry a woman, he must utter “a recognized form of words.”

But plight not your troth with women except by uttering a recognised form of words. (Koran 2:235, Pickthall)

The Koran does not explicitly say what those words should be. It says “recognized” meaning that he should use words that are recognized as expressing an intention to marry by the vast majority of the people within the society in which he lives.

Finally, he must give her a dowry.

And give unto the women (whom ye marry) free gift of their marriage portions; but if they of their own accord remit unto you a part thereof, then ye are welcome to absorb it (in your wealth). (Koran 4:4, Pickthall)

If these four Koranic requirements are not met, then a man and a woman do not have a legitimate right to have sexual intercourse with each other. Since rape is sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, the second requirement for marriage has not been met. Pseudo-Islamic extremists probably rape polytheistic women, too. When they do that, the first requirement for marriage has not been met. Rape is unlawful sex.

The Koran is not the only holy book that forbids rape. The Bible does, too. In the Torah, which is “a light and guidance for mankind” (Koran 6:92), it says:

And if there be a young damsel espoused to a man, and a man should have found her in the city and have lain with her; ye shall bring them both out to the gate of their city, and they shall be stoned with stones, and they shall die; the damsel, because she cried not in the city; and the man, because he humbled his neighbour’s spouse: so shalt thou remove the evil one from yourselves. But if a man find in the field a damsel that is betrothed, and he should force her and lie with her, ye shall slay the man that lay with her only. And the damsel has not committed a sin worthy of death; as if a man should rise up against his neighbour, and slay him, so is this thing; because he found her in the field; the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to help her. (Deuteronomy 22:23-27, LXX)

Death by stoning was abrogated by Jesus. (See John 8:1-11.) There is, therefore, no death penalty for adultery or fornication. Adulterers and fornicators are supposed to be disfellowshipped, not put to death. (Koran 4:26; I Corinthian 5:11) A rapist needs to be excluded from society by being exiled or imprisoned. The principle for excluding him from society can be derived from this verse in the Koran.

If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, take the evidence of four (reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way. (Koran 4:15, Yusuf Ali)

The four witnesses in this verse are probably four men who had sexual relations with the woman who may very well have been practicing prostitution. They probably repented and testified against her. Four witnesses are not needed in the case of rape, because the woman who was raped in the field in the passage from Deuteronomy did not need four witnesses. (Deuteronomy 22:25-27) Most rapes do not happen in front of four men. They usually occur in a secluded location where  no one is watching. The rape victim’s testimony is sufficient to convict her rapist in many cases, because if the sex were consensual she most likely would not testify against him. Requiring four witnesses to convict every rapist would not be an abrogating revelation of Allah. Abrogating revelations are better than or similar to the abrogated ones. (See Koran 2:106.) Requiring four witnesses is not better than the revelation of Allah in Deuteronomy 22:25-27.

Four witnesses are needed to convict prostitutes and those who have had sex in public (Koran 4:15; 24:4), but not rape victims. Witnesses need to be cross-examined in the same way that the Holy Prophet Daniel did in the case of Susanna. (Koran 4:26. See the History of Susanna. In the Septuagint, this is the first chapter of the Book of Daniel.)

A prostitute is a menace to the social order of a society. Therefore, she should be excluded from society in order to prevent further damage to the moral fabric of society. The rapist is a threat to society as well. Therefore, he, like the prostitute, should be excluded from society by either imprisonment or exile.

Among the Pseudo-Islamic extremists in Europe is the practice of taharrush. To the Pseudo-Islamic practitioners, this is a game which results in the gang rape of a woman. It is a part of Pseudo-Islamic Arab culture. It is haraam because the men who violate these women are not married to them. The Koran says:

And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way. (Koran 17:32, Sahih International)

Sexual Immorality Forbidden

In the Bible, it says:

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality. (I Thessalonians 4:3, NKJV)

Now the body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. (I Corinthians 6:13, NKJV)

God Forbids Immorality

 Here is a video showing this barbaric Pseudo-Islamic practice of taharrush.

The CBS News reporter, Lara Logan, was a victim of this Pseudo-Islamic practice of gang rape. She talks about her experience in this video.

In the video Lara says that the men called her an Israeli and a Jew, although she is neither of these. Even if she were a Jew or an Israeli, they should never treat her the way they did. In the Koran, it says:

Let not hatred of any people seduce you that ye deal not justly. (Koran 5:8, Pickthall)

The first generation Muslims loved those who did not love them (Koran 3:119) and were called by Muhammad “the best community that has been raised up for mankind.” (Koran 3:110) Those Pseudo-Islamic extremists clearly were not living up to this ideal by sexually assaulting Lara Logan.

The Devil Encourages Immorality

Not all rapes carried out by these Pseudo-Islamic extremists are done collectively as gang rapes. Here are two videos about Muslim hypocrites who are raping women in Sweden and Norway.

In the last video, the rapist told his victim that “he had the right to do exactly as he wanted to a woman.” Well, we have already seen that the Koran forbids sex outside of marriage and it clearly forbids rape when it calls the Torah a light and guidance for mankind. Rape is forbidden in the Torah. Therefore, the rapist was not practicing Islam. He was practicing Pseudo-Islam.

Hypocrites

Many of the Pseudo-Islamic extremists blame the woman for not covering her body sufficiently, but that is still not the woman’s fault. The woman is still the victim. The Koran provides two things that men can do to keep from falling into the sin of sexual immorality (zina). They can “lower their gaze” (Koran 24:30) and pray (Koran 29:45).

Lower Your Gaze

Prayer Preserves from Sin

The example of Joseph is also given in the Koran. The Koran says that Joseph did not commit adultery with Potiphar’s wife because he had seen “the proof of his Lord.” (Koran 12:24) Knowing that there really is a God who is watching our actions can help one to be more vigilant against sin.

Joseph and Potiphar's Wife

There is really no excuse for this kind of behavior. Those Pseudo-Muslims cannot say that Islam teaches them to behave this way. The Koran clearly forbids sexual immorality. A man can only have sex with his wife. He cannot force a woman to become his wife. Women can choose whom they want to marry. (Koran 2:228; 4:19,232; 24:33) If they are using any of those unreliable hadiths written down over two hundred years after Muhammad died to support this barbaric and criminal practice, well, I think you know what I think about that if you have been reading my blogs. Is it really possible to produce a reliable nine volume encyclopedia of stories telling about what someone said and did two hundred years after he has died? Is it possible to produce six different encyclopedias like that one two hundred or three hundred years after someone died? What does the Koran say?

And follow not that of which you have not the knowledge; surely the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these, shall be questioned about that. (Koran 17:36, Shakir)

And they have no knowledge thereof. They follow but a guess, and lo! a guess can never take the place of the truth. (Koran 53:28, Pickthall)

I am very skeptical about any hadith that clearly contradicts the teachings of the Bible and the Koran.

Are You Missing a Prayer during Salat?

December 4, 2016 Leave a comment

This blog post is directed toward my Muslim readers, primarily. I am saying this only to get you to think and not with malicious intent.

I have wondered what exactly it is that Muslims pray during their prayers. So, I went to a few Islamic websites and I read the prayers. It was interesting. The prayers seem to be very good prayers. (To calm the fears of fellow non-Muslims, they do not pray that God will help them kill more Jews and Christians. So, there is no need for Islamophobia whenever you see them pray.) There is one prayer that is prayed quite frequently. It is the Fatihah. This is the first chapter of the Koran. It is very short — only seven verses.

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.
The Beneficent, the Merciful.
Master of the Day of Judgment.
Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help.
Keep us on the right path.
The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors. Not (the path) of those upon whom Thy wrath is brought down, nor of those who go astray. (Koran 1:1-7, Shakir)

Jesus said:

And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one. (Matthew 6:7-13, NKJV)

In the Koran, it says:

The Messenger believeth in that which hath been revealed unto him from his Lord and (so do) believers. Each one believeth in Allah and His angels and His Scriptures and His messengers — we make no distinction between any of His Messengers — and they say: We hear, and we obey. (Grant us) Thy forgiveness, our Lord. Unto Thee is the journeying. (Koran 2:285, Pickthall)

The Koran says that we should obey Jesus.

And (I come) confirming that which was before Me of the Torah, and to make lawful some of that which was forbidden unto you. I come unto you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to Allah and obey Me. (Koran 3:50, Pickthall)

When Jesus came with clear proofs (of Allah’s Sovereignty), He said: I have come unto you with wisdom, and to make plain some of that concerning which ye differ. So keep your duty to Allah, and obey Me. (Koran 43:63, Pickthall)

It also says that the Gospel is “a guidance to mankind” and in it is “guidance and light.” (Koran 3:3,4; 5:46) So, shouldn’t you be praying the prayer that Jesus told us to pray when you pray as well?