Thursday, October 30, 2014

Obama Administration: We Must "Celebrate Islam" to Combat ISIS

Islam is an amazing thing. The more violence, torture, and rape it inspires, the more our leaders tell us to praise it.
(CNSNews.com) – A global effort to counter claims by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) that it is acting in the name of Islam must include a counter-narrative that highlights “our profound respect” for the religion, the administration’s point man in the anti-ISIS coalition said this week.

Retired Marine Corps Gen. John Allen was speaking in Kuwait, where representatives of more than a dozen Islamic and Western met to discuss using public communications to combat ISIS (also known as Da’esh – an acronym for the Arabic rendering of the group’s name, ad-Dawlah al-Islamiyah fil-Iraq wa ash-Sham).

“As we seek to expose Da’esh’s true nature,” Allen told the gathering on Monday, “we must also tell a positive story, one that highlights our respect – our profound respect for Islam’s proud traditions, its rich history, and celebration of scholarship and family and community.”

“We must work with clerics and scholars and teachers and parents to tell the story of how we celebrate Islam, even as we show that Da’esh perverts it.” (Continue Reading.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

UC Berkeley Thwarts CAIR's Attempt to Block Bill Maher from Speaking

I'm no fan of Bill Maher, but I am a fan of his attempts to have an open, honest discussion of Islam. The Council on American-Islamic Relations threw its latest tantrum over UC Berkeley students selecting Maher as the speaker for the winter commencement ceremony. The students backed down and decided to cancel Maher's speech. The university, however, overruled the students in the name of free speech. Here's the official statement:
UC Berkeley News Center—For many years it has been the responsibility of UC Berkeley undergraduates, through a committee known as the “Californians,” to select speakers for the university’s commencement ceremonies. In August the “Californians” chose Bill Maher as the speaker for the December commencement ceremony. However, last night the “Californians” reconvened without administration participation and came to a decision that the invitation should be rescinded.

The UC Berkeley administration cannot and will not accept this decision, which appears to have been based solely on Mr. Maher’s opinions and beliefs, which he conveyed through constitutionally protected speech. For that reason Chancellor Dirks has decided that the invitation will stand, and he looks forward to welcoming Mr. Maher to the Berkeley campus. It should be noted that this decision does not constitute an endorsement of any of Mr. Maher’s prior statements: indeed, the administration’s position on Mr. Maher’s opinions and perspectives is irrelevant in this context, since we fully respect and support his right to express them. More broadly, this university has not in the past and will not in the future shy away from hosting speakers who some deem provocative.

Finally, the unfortunate events surrounding the selection of this year’s winter commencement speaker demonstrate the need to develop a new policy for managing commencement ceremonies. The new process will ensure that these events are handled in a manner commensurate with our values and enduring commitment to free speech. We will be announcing the new policy as soon as it is ready. (Source)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Paul Beliar Williams Does it Again - Part 3

PW’s basic ignorance and lack of theological and philosophical rigor is on full display in his recent replies (see here and here), which conveniently only respond to one of the recent posts I wrote in response to his attempt to cover up the following lie about what Christians believe:


And this is only the latest instance of PW lying and trying to deceive people. As far back as April, 2012, as well as several other times in between, PW was caught in another attempted cover up when he wrote an ill-informed post on Psalm 22, which I quickly exposed. After I did so, PW quietly took down the offending post from his website, refusing all the while to let his readers know that what they read from PW was not true. Rather than confess his error and help correct those he misled by the original post, PW decided to hold on to his pride and was happy to let his readership languor in ignorance (see here and here). These are the actions of a man with a seared conscience, in which case it is quite possible that he doesn’t even know anymore when he is lying or telling the truth.

Turning to his recent reply, let’s begin with some minor points and minor errors (with the exception of misplaced commas).   
Note: my name is Paul Bilal Williams, gratuitous insults are not appropriate for one who calls himself a Christian.
If our conversation has shown anything, it has shown that PW is either a brazen liar, in which case there is nothing gratuitous about associating him with his father (i.e. Belial or Beliar), or he doesn’t have a clue what a “Christian” is, in which case he has no idea what is appropriate behavior for one who bears that name, even though he falsely continues to parade his extensive knowledge of Christianity. I have it on good authority that someone who follows Christ is well within the range of appropriate, Christ-honoring behavior if he identifies implacable, impenitent, inveterate enemies of Christ who falsify the truth as liars or even as the sons of Belial or spawn of Satan, especially since such people refuse to understand or hear what they are being told and desire only to continue perpetuating their lies:
 43 Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. (John 8)
13 Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known; (Deuteronomy 13, KJV; see also Judges 19:22, 20:13, 1 Samuel 1:16, 2:12, 10:27, 25:17, 25, 30:22, 2 Samuel 16:7, 20:1, 23:6, 1 Kings 21:13, 2 Chronicles 13:7)
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever? (2 Corinthians 6)
PW claims that there are several Christians who agree with his sensibilities (against the above testimony of Holy Scripture, mind you), and who are so offended by how he and other Muslims are treated that they told him they don’t read this blog.

First, I find it exceedingly doubtful that there are several “Christians” communicating such things to PW, especially since I only have PW’s word for it, which I don’t trust for a moment; second, my loyalty is to Christ and His word and to those who are faithful to it, so I have little concern for measuring up to the standards of professing Christians whose loyalties are so skewed that they are given to whispering flattering words in PW’s ear, even if these nameless people exist; third, PW is not simply a Muslim innocently seeking for the truth…he is a proud apostate who spends his time lying about the faith and attacking Christ and His people, which isn’t true of all Muslims; fourth, I find all of PW’s whining quite disingenuous. Just like the enemies of Christ in John 8 spoke evil words concerning Him, and thus had no legitimate grounds for complaining when Jesus traced their evil words back to their true source, so PW has no legitimate grounds for complaining when I look at what PW and his rabble say about Christ, the Bible, and other Christians, and accurately trace them back to their source in Satan, their spiritual father. Here are some gems for the nameless “many” that allegedly sympathize with PW:

When people refer to Jesus as the lamb of God, PW responds with comments like the following:


When PW is irritated or irked, he dismisses his interlocutors as mentally unstable.


Rather than bore people with an excessive amount of additional examples, note finally PW’s reply to a Muslim who thinks it is funny to call himself “Jesus” while blaspheming the real Jesus. (This was a “welcome back” note from “Jesus” to PW after PW went on a vacation with,…well, I will let PW tell you. He tends to be very open about it.)


The above is one of the worst displays of hatred for Christ and vitriol spewed towards Him, a vitriol and hatred that perfectly mirrors that of the wicked people who wagged their heads and mocked Him at the foot of His cross.

Since PW’s attacks on David and Sam, even posting a series of pictures making them looking like homosexual lovers (*), are frequent and well known, as are his attacks against other people who disagree with him, calling them “closet queens,” “closet homosexuals,” etc., very strange comments coming from PW of all people (*), I will gloss over many other instances that further prove PW’s duplicity and disingenuousness in pretending to have some kind of moral high ground in this discussion. (Ironically, in the very post where PW put up pictures of David and Sam, PW had several Muslims chide him for his disreputable behavior.)

Since PW likes issuing challenges, I challenge him to produce the names of Christians, i.e. members in good standing of Reformed and Evangelical churches, or any other catholic (see below for clarification), who gleefully read the above comments on his blog and then congratulated him for his good behavior and truthful words over and against my call for PW to repent of being an inveterate liar and exchange his status from being a Son of Belial to a son of God through Christ. I would love to see if anyone, let alone several Christians, really fell for PW’s crocodile tears, or if this is just another one of PW’s lies. (NB: pseudonyms that PW and his Muslim readership can make up do not count.)

The next item in PW’s catalogue of errors is his basic ignorance regarding the word “catholic.” Since I quoted the Athanasian Creed as an authoritative source defining orthodox Trinitarianism, which uses the “offending” word, PW asked,
So Rogers the fundamentalist evangelical is now a Catholic?
First, I have never called myself a “fundamentalist evangelical.” While that label is not entirely inappropriate, at least as long as PW is not supplying the meaning, for he hardly knows the difference between his own front and backside, my own theological convictions are more appropriately and fully described as “Reformed” or “Presbyterian.” In the Reformed tradition the Athanasian Creed, as well as the Apostle’s Creed, the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, and the Chalcedonian Creed are all accepted as accurate statements of the faith once for all entrusted unto the saints. Furthermore, in the Westminster Confession of Faith, which is one of the principal confessions of Reformed Christians, it defines the Church as catholic:
I. The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof; and the spouse, the body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all. 
II. The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation. 
III. Unto this catholic visible Church Christ has given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world: and does, by His own presence and Spirit, according to His promise, make them effectual thereunto. 
IV. This catholic Church has been sometimes more, sometimes less visible. And particular Churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the Gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them. (Ch. XXV)
Secondly, PW evidently thinks the word “catholic,” which is derived from katholikos, meaning “general” or “universal,” is the same thing as Roman Catholic, which is a later, and even contradictory (Roman = particular, local; catholic = universal), use of the term. Originally the term referred to all Christians who confessed the orthodox faith, whether they were Eastern or Western Christians. Somehow PW was a “Christian” and even studied Christianity at Birkbeck and Heythrop college at the University of London, or so we are told, and yet he doesn’t know what every freshman knows before the end of the first day of the first semester of Church History class. (It was at this same institution that PW was supposed to have become “competent in Greek,” and yet in our discussion of Mark 6:50, where Jesus identifies Himself as Yawheh, egw eimi, PW couldn’t get past English translations. Perhaps it is the schools fault, but I would rather not besmirch the name of an entire institution in order to absolve PW, a career deceiver.) Since he may have missed his Church History class that day or possibly even the entire semester, here is what it says about the word “catholic” in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church:
Catholic….It is first met with in Christian literature in St Ignatius of Antioch (Ep. Ad. Smyr. 8. 2). In Christian terminology it has come to have various uses: (1) Of the universal Church as distinct from local Christian communities. It is applied thus to the faith of the whole Church, i.e. the doctrine believed ‘everywhere, always, and by all’ (see VINCENTIAN CANON).….
So much for PW’s spectacular ignorance on something as basic as the meaning of the word “catholic.” Although not as major as the following error, where PW attempts to play philosopher and demonstrate the incoherence of the divinely revealed doctrine of the Trinity, it does illustrate the level of understanding that PW is working with, even on those occasions when he is not lying but just simply wrong.

What about the all-important issue of the Trinity? PW pretends on the one hand that the premise I supplied, and even gave four variations of, is not an additional premise, and then turns around and confuses it with the view of WLC, even referring to his “Cerberus analogy” as a “celebrated” analogy. I can only wonder whom PW thinks he is referring to when he speaks of those who “celebrate” this analogy. I personally can’t think of anyone who thinks it is a good analogy, not even those who hold to a Social Trinitarian model of the Trinity, which I do not. In any event, the very fact that PW thought my view was no different than that articulated by WLC shows how much of a sophomore he is and that he has no business pretending like he is offering anything of substance against my view. In fact, not only is WLC’s view not my view, but also it has not been the majority report in church history. The vast majority of Christian theologians, at least in the West, have held to and taught what is called the Latin Trinitarian view (q.v. J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrine, p. 234). 

According to the ST model, each person of the Trinity is simply an instantiation of divinity, such that when it is said that each person “shares” the divine nature and divine attributes, it is akin to the way in which separate human beings “share” human nature. In other words, each person of the Trinity on this view is thought of as sharing the same kind of nature, but not a single nature, essence, being, etc. This view has often been charged with tritheism. Adherents of this view repudiate this charge, but since I do not hold to this model, I will let those who do so defend themselves on that point, as indeed many have tried. As much as I dissent from WLC’s view, I don’t think anyone doubts that he would easily handle PW and make child’s play of his “arguments”.

In stark contrast to this, however, according to the LT model, the one I hold to, each person of the Trinity does not possess merely the same kind of being, essence, or nature; rather, each person is numerically identical to the divine nature. That is, by definition, this view holds that there is only one being, not three beings, and the Father, Son, and Spirit, though personally distinct from one another, are essentially and absolutely one. Numerical identity is sometimes charged with being a form of modalism, a charge I do not believe actually sticks, but no one who is conversant in these matters thinks the view amounts to tritheism. In fact, at this point I will issue another challenge to PW: cite for me one theologian/philosopher who charges LT with being a form of tritheism.

The bottom line is this: all Christians would agree that each person of the Trinity is completely God and that each person possesses every divine attribute. The difference enters in when it is asked what this means. At this point, two different premises emerge: 1) the generic view; and 2) the numerical identity view. The former is the view PW is attacking, and is the only view he seems to be aware of. The latter is the view I hold, and it is the historic view. So PW doesn’t even know the difference between the view he is attacking and the historic view of the church, and yet he pompously enters into the fray expecting to make sport of Christians, all the while only playing the fool and parading his folly before all.

At a number of points PW accused me of making mere assertions when defining the doctrine of the Trinity, showing that he doesn’t know the basic difference between defining something and arguing for it. When it comes to saying what the doctrine of the Trinity is, the Church asserts that it is the doctrine that there is one God; that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is each fully God, i.e. they are numerically identical in their being and essence; and that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is each a distinct person; and since we are talking definition here, it is silly for PW to respond to this as mere assertions rather than an argument. Definitions aren’t intended to be arguments. This is what the doctrine is by definition, and this is what PW needs to show by way of argument to actually entail polytheism. So far he has not done so. So far, and at best, he has only attacked a view I don’t hold, although even at that I don’t think he has done much of anything. No advocate of ST will have lost any sleep after reading PW. And if they would not lose any sleep over his “arguments” against their view, you can be sure I haven’t lost any sleep over his failure to even so much as mention my view.

At this point the reader should be reminded what this whole discussion has been about. First, PW lied about Christians and said we hold to the concept that one God is actually three gods. Second, when called out on this lie, he tried to justify it, saying, in effect, that it was justifiable to misrepresent our view because, even if that isn’t our concept, it is entailed by what we believe. Third, I have now shown that tritheism isn’t entailed by what we believe, and so his later excuse for lying isn’t even a good cover-up.

For being a habitual and unrepentant liar PW isn’t very good at it. I hope he doesn’t take that as an indication that he needs more practice, but I would hardly be surprised if he does. After all, that is what any self-respecting son of Belial would do.


Monday, October 27, 2014

ISIS Suicide Bomber Kills 27, Injures 60

ISIS rapidly replenishes its forces through an influx of volunteers from around the world, while the local opposition struggles to survive.
BAGHDAD - A suicide bomber killed at least 27 Shi'ite militiamen on the outskirts of the Iraqi town of Jurf al-Sakhar on Monday after security forces pushed Islamic State militants out of the area over the weekend, army and police sources said.

The attacker, driving a Humvee vehicle packed with explosives and likely stolen from defeated government troops, also wounded 60 Shi'ite militiamen, who had helped government forces retake the town just south of the capital.

Holding Jurf al-Sakhar is critical for Iraqi security forces who finally managed to drive out the Sunni insurgents after months of fighting.

It could allow Iraqi forces to prevent the Sunni insurgents from edging closer to the capital Baghdad, sever connections to their strongholds in western Anbar province, and stop them infiltrating the mainly Shi'ite Muslim south.

The group has threatened to march on Baghdad, home to special forces and thousands of Shi'ite militias expected to put up fierce resistance if the capital comes under threat.

Gains against Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot made up of Arab and foreign fighters, are often fragile even with the support of U.S. airstrikes on militant targets in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

As Iraqi government soldiers and militias savored their victory and were taking photographs of Islamic State corpses on Sunday, mortar rounds fired by Islamic State fighters who had fled to orchards to the west rained down on Jurf al-Sakhar.

The blast hit the militiamen, killing dozens and scattering body parts, according to a Reuters witness. (Continue Reading.)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Theresa Corbin: A Muslim Feminist?

Whenever there's a series of particularly violent jihadist attacks, CNN rushes to defend Islam, typically by telling us over and over again what a wonderful religion it is. I suppose the administrators at CNN mean well. They're probably thinking to themselves, "We need to protect peaceful Muslims from being associated with these violent extremists, and the best way to do that is to tell our readers and viewers that Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance, human rights, freedom, and democracy."

What CNN ends up doing in their rush to defend Islam, however, amounts to proselytizing for Islam. Some of the articles sound as if they're actually trying to convert people. Moreover, since CNN obviously doesn't bother to check the facts in the articles they post (doing so might be thought "racist" or "Islamophobic"), the network is being used to spread outright deception.

Let's look at an example. CNN's latest attempt to convince us that Islam is the ideal choice for Western readers is Theresa Corbin's "I'm a Feminist, and I Converted to Islam."


Maybe we should go through some of the article.
(CNN)—I am a Muslim, but I wasn't always. I converted to Islam in November 2001, two months after 9/11.
So Corbin was part of the surge in Muslim converts following the 9-11 terrorist attacks. These conversions were the result of three primary factors: (1) politicians and the media bombarding us with pro-Islamic misinformation, (2) a silly tendency among many Westerners to try to be "different" by adopting a controversial position, and (3) a misguided notion that converting to Islam is somehow helping to rescue a peaceful religion from its hijackers.
I was 21 and living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was a bad time to be a Muslim. But after four years of studying, poking and prodding at world religions and their adherents, I decided to take the plunge.
Given her defense of Islam, I have serious doubts that any of this "four years of studying" amounted to anything remotely resembling a careful examination of Islam. More on this below.
I am the product of a Creole Catholic and an Irish atheist. I grew up Catholic, then was agnostic, now I'm Muslim.

My journey to Islam began when I was about 15 years old in Mass and had questions about my faith. The answers from teachers and clergymen—don't worry your pretty little head about it—didn't satisfy me.
If she couldn't find a single Christian apologist or a book on Christian apologetics, how hard could she have been looking?
So I did what any red-blooded American would do: the opposite. I worried about it. For many years. I questioned the nature of religion, man and the universe.
Going against the grain! What a rebel!
After questioning everything I was taught to be true and digging through rhetoric, history and dogma, I found out about this strange thing called Islam. I learned that Islam is neither a culture nor a cult, nor could it be represented by one part of the world. I came to realize Islam is a world religion that teaches tolerance, justice and honor and promotes patience, modesty and balance.
A religion that teaches tolerance? I guess her Qur'an doesn't command:
Qur'an 5:51—O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.

Qur'an 9:29—Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

Qur'an 9:73—O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination.

Qur'an 9:111—Surely Allah has bought of the believers their persons and their property for this, that they shall have the garden; they fight in Allah's way, so they slay and are slain.

Qur'an 9:123—O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil).

Qur'an 48:29—Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves.

Qur'an 98:6—Verily, those who disbelieve (in the religion of Islam, the Qur'an and Prophet Muhammad) from among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) and Al-Mushrikun will abide in the Fire of Hell. They are the worst of creatures.
And I'm sure her prophet never said the things recorded in these ahadith:
Sahih Muslim 33—It has been narrated on the authority of Abdullah b. Umar that the Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and they establish prayer, and pay Zakat and if they do it, their blood and property are guaranteed protection on my behalf except when justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah.

Sahih Muslim 4366—It has been narrated by Umar b. al-Khattab that he heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say: I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim.

Al-Bukhari, Al-Adab al-Mufrad 1103—Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Do not give the People of the Book the greeting first. Force them to the narrowest part of the road."

Sahih al-Bukhari 6922—Allah's Messenger said, "If anyone changed his Islamic religion, kill him."
Yep, sounds like tolerance. Corbin continues:
As I studied the faith, I was surprised many of the tenants [sic] resonated with me. I was pleased to find that Islam teaches its adherents to honor all prophets, from Moses to Jesus to Mohammed, all of whom taught mankind to worship one God and to conduct ourselves with higher purpose.
Jesus said that we have to honor the Son just as we honor the Father, and that if we don't, we're not honoring the Father:
John 5:22-23—Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
Hence, by attempting to "honor" Jesus as a mere prophet, Muslims are honoring neither the Son nor the Father. But Corbin goes further:
I was drawn to Islam's appeal to intellect and heartened by the prophet Mohammed's quote, "The acquisition of knowledge is compulsory for every Muslim, whether male or female."
Oh my goodness! Here's where we can see that Corbin's "studying" amounted to no more than perusing a few websites. If she had bothered to actually read the Hadith, she would know that this quotation isn't an "appeal to intellect" in the sense she imagines. The quotation comes from Sunan Ibn Majah:
Sunan Ibn Majah 224—It was narrated that Anas bin Malik said: "Seeking knowledge is a duty upon every Muslim, and he who imparts knowledge to those who do not deserve it, is like one who puts a necklace of jewels, pearls and gold around the neck of swines."
According to Muhammad, however, the only beneficial knowledge is religious knowledge. All other knowledge is superfluous:
Sunan Ibn Majah 54—It was narrated that Abdullah bin Amr said: "The Messenger of Allah said: 'Knowledge is based on three things, and anything beyond that is superfluous: a clear Verse, an established Sunnah, or the rulings by which the inheritance is divided fairly.'"
Notice that all three categories of beneficial knowledge are included in Sharia as part of submission to Allah. Muhammad declared that seeking knowledge for non-religious purposes is enough to earn you a spot in hell:
Sunan Ibn Majah 258—It was narrated from Ibn Umar that the Prophet said: "Whoever seeks knowledge for a reason other than for the sake of Allah, or intends it for a purpose other than for the sake of Allah, let him take his place in Hell."
Hence, Muhammad begged Allah to guard him from secular knowledge:
Sunan Ibn Majah 3837—Abu Hurairah told that the Messenger of Allah said: "Oh Allah, I seek refuge with You from four things: From knowledge that is of no benefit, from a heart that does not fear (You), from a soul that is never satisfied, and from a supplication that is not heard."
And Muhammad ordered his followers to do the same:
Sunan Ibn Majah 3843—It was narrated from Jabir that the Messenger of Allah said: "Ask Allah for beneficial knowledge and seek refuge with Allah from knowledge that is of no benefit."
Why is this important? Because Corbin (who, again, clearly never bothered to read the quotation) interprets Muhammad's command to "acquire knowledge" as a command to seek scientific and mathematical knowledge:
I was astounded that science and rationality were embraced by Muslim thinkers such as Al-Khawarizmi, who invented algebra; Ibn Firnas, who developed the mechanics of flight before Leonardo DaVinci; and Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi, who is the father of modern surgery.
This claim certainly isn't based on any studying whatsoever. Instead, it seems that Corbin simply went to the "1001 Inventions" exhibit at the National Geographic Museum. There's no way she would assert that Al-Khwarizmi "invented algebra" or that Ibn Firnas "developed the mechanics of flight" if she had actually read a book on algebra or flight. The only extant source for the claim that Ibn Firnas flew is from seven centuries after his death, and it merely claims that he covered himself in feathers, attached two wings to himself, flung himself into the air, and injured himself when he landed. Is this what qualifies as proof that he "developed the mechanics of flight"? Even if we grant that the story about Ibn Firnas is true, why not give the award for flight mechanics to the Chinese, who invented the kite more than a thousand years before Ibn Firnas and who even developed kites that could lift human beings into the air?

Al-Khwarizmi
As for Al-Khwarizmi inventing algebra, that's sheer nonsense. The Babylonians new some basic algebra a millennium before Al-Khwarizmi was born, and Diophantus of Alexandria took algebra much further in the third century AD. Since Al-Khwarizmi drew much of his work from Hindu mathematicians, we can only wonder why Muslim apologists still circulate the myth that he invented algebra (and why an erudite "feminist" like Theresa Corbin would believe the myth without so much as a 30-second visit to Wikipedia).

While Corbin correctly notes that Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi has been called "the father of modern surgery," she fails to mention that the same title has been given to the Indian surgeon Sushruta (6th century BC), French surgeons Guy de Chauliac (AD 1300-1368) and Ambroise ParĂ© (1517–1590), Italian surgeon Hieronymus Fabricius (1537–1619), Scottish surgeon John Hunter (1728–1793), American surgeons Philip Syng Physick (1768–1837) and William Stewart Halsted (1852–1922), English surgeon Joseph Lister (1827–1912), and German surgeon Theodor Billroth (1829–1894). Why focus on one of the many surgeons who contributed to their field and declare that this has something to do with Islam? Why not convert to Hinduism because Sushruta was a Hindu or to Catholicism because Guy de Chauliac was a Catholic? The answer, of course, is that followers of other religions generally don't make the silly sort of argument that somehow convinced Corbin that Islam is true. Hindus, for instance, don't run around trumpeting that Sushruta was "the father of modern surgery" as if this has anything to do with the truth of Hinduism. Muslim apologists, however, will use just about anything to defend Islam. So when they tell a gullible, uninformed Western "feminist" that Islam must be the truth because a medieval Muslim was a great surgeon, they get the result they're looking for. Moving on:
Here was a religion telling me to seek out answers and use my intellect to question the world around me.
Where did Islam tell Corbin to use her intellect to question the world around her? When Muhammad ordered his followers to ask Allah to protect them from non-religious knowledge? On the contrary, the Qur'an warns Muslims not to ask too many questions. Allah will reveal what they need to know in the Qur'an:
Qur'an 5:101-102—O ye who believe! Ask not questions about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble. But if ye ask about things when the Qur'an is being revealed, they will be made plain to you, Allah will forgive those: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Forbearing. Some people before you did ask such questions, and on that account lost their faith.
Beyond this, Muhammad declared that women are intellectually deficient.
Sahih al-Bukhari 2658—The Prophet said: "Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?" The women said: "Yes." He said: "This is because of the deficiency of her mind."
How is Corbin going to question the world around her when her prophet says that she simply isn't smart enough?

Now for the conversion:
It was 2001, and I had been putting off converting for a while. I feared what people would think but was utterly miserable. When 9/11 happened, the actions of the hijackers horrified me. But in its aftermath, I spent most of my time defending Muslims and their religion to people who were all too eager to paint a group of 1.6 billion people with one brush because of the actions of a few.

I was done being held hostage by the opinions of others. In defending Islam, I got over my fear and decided to join my brothers and sisters in the faith I believed in.
Let's recap.

(1) Theresa Corbin is a "feminist."
(2) She studied Islam for four years before converting, but never managed to actually read any authentic Islamic sources.
(3) Instead, she believed everything she was told by Muslim apologists, and it never occurred to her to look things up.
(4) Because she still hasn't bothered to study the Islamic sources, she makes claims about Islam that totally contradict what Islam actually teaches.
(5) CNN posts her story on its front page, without correcting any of her false claims.
(6) Her story is now used to recruit more gullible women to a religion that considers them intellectually deficient.

Welcome to the new face of American feminism! Islam is the most violently misogynistic religion in the world. Globally, eleven of the twelve countries most oppressive towards women are Muslim-majority countries. Women are being raped by jihadists as we speak (and the Qur'an allows it). And instead of confronting Islam, American feminists are defending it. But don't ask them to "worry their pretty little heads."

For a brief introduction to women in Islam, watch this:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Iran Executes Reyhaneh Jabbari for Killing Rapist

Reyhaneh Jabbari stabbed a man who was trying to rape her. The man later died. Since Jabbari couldn't produce the four male witnesses required by Sharia for accusations of rape, she was sentenced to death by hanging. After briefly postponing the execution, Iran hanged her today.
Reyhaneh Jabbari at her trial
(CNN)—An Iranian woman convicted of murder—in a killing that human rights groups called self-defense against a rapist—was hanged Saturday, state news agency IRNA reported.

Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, was sentenced to death for the 2007 killing of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former employee of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

The United Nations has said she never received a fair trial. The U.S. State Department also said there were concerns about the trial.

"There were serious concerns with the fairness of the trial and the circumstances surrounding this case, including reports of confessions made under severe duress," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Saturday.

"We condemn this morning's execution in Iran of Reyhaneh Jabbari, an Iranian woman convicted of killing a man she said she stabbed in self-defense during a sexual assault," Psaki said.

Jabbari's execution was originally scheduled for September 30, but was postponed. Amnesty International said the delay may have been in response to the public outcry against the execution.

Jabbari was convicted of murder after "a flawed investigation and unfair trial," according to Amnesty International.

The United Nations has said Sarbandi hired Jabbari—then a 19-year-old interior designer—to work on his office. She stabbed him after he sexually assaulted her, it said.

Jabbari was held in solitary confinement without access to her lawyer and family for two months, Amnesty International said in a statement. She was tortured during that time, the group said. (Continue Reading.)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Paul Beliar Williams Does it Again - Part 2b

PW’s third attempt at justifying his claim that Trinitarianism entails polytheism was:

The contradictions and absurdities of trinitarian belief might be itemised as follows:

i) God is one

ii) God is three co-equal persons

a) Is the Father completely God without any deficiency in his deity?  Christians in my experience always claim the Father is completely God, not lacking anything that pertains to complete deity or Godhead.

b) Is the Son of God completely God without any deficiency in his deity?  Christians in my experience always claim the Son of God is completely God not lacking anything that pertains to complete deity or Godhead.

c) Is the holy spirit completely God without any deficiency in his deity?  Christians in my experience always claim the holy spirit is completely God not lacking anything that pertains to complete deity or Godhead.

If we look again at point i) above we can see the problem. a b & c suggest three co-equal persons each one a separate god: Father, Son of God, and holy spirit. Each is completely God and each lacks no attribute of deity. There are three different and separate centres of consciousness, three separate wills, three separate persons. etc. And yet the contradictory and irreconcilable belief is held simultaneously: that God is “one”. (Emphasis original)

Although it is unsound, PW at least went through the trouble of trying to make this look like an actual argument. Unfortunately, the critical link in his syllogism necessary to infer his desired conclusion is completely missing.

PW has told us that Christians believe each distinct person of the Trinity is completely God. From this he jumps to the conclusion that each person is a separate God. For all the appearance of an argument, the premise needed to demonstrate why the first premise leads to PW’s conclusion is completely missing. Essentially, once we strip away all the fluff, the following is all PW has given us: 
Premise 1: Each one of the distinct persons of the Trinity is completely God and lacks no attribute of deity;
Premise 2: _________________; 
Conclusion: Christians believe in three gods or divine beings.
However, suppose the missing premise is one of the following:

“Each person of the Trinity is God by virtue of completely sharing/possessing the same being, essence, and nature as the other two persons.”

Or,

“The Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal.”

Or,

“All the fullness of the divine essence belongs to each person, such that they are not generically but substantially one.”

Or,

“The divine essence possessed completely by the Father is numerically identical to the divine essence possessed completely by the Son and completely by the Spirit.”

Would PW’s conclusion follow from any of these? Certainly not. That’s why PW left out the necessary premise. Anything he supplied would either not accurately reflect Christian belief, and thus would be a straw man, or it would be one or another of the premises I gave above, from which his conclusion would not follow. Accordingly, he suppressed the requisite premise and offered his elliptical argument hoping no one would notice.

Of course he may not have been trying to be deceptive here. The possibility exists that PW is no better as a logician than he is as a theologian or as an exegete of Holy Scripture. The problem with this option is that PW made reference to the Athanasian Creed in the original post where he first lied about what Christians believe, and this very creed explicitly states what PW suppressed:

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith; which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;

Neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance

For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son and another of the Holy Spirit.

But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal.

So not only did PW lie when representing what Christians believe about God; he also could not justify his excuse for doing so by demonstrating that our belief actually entails polytheism.

Although it would not be as fun, I think PW was better off when he didn’t even try to respond. As the saying goes, it is better to let other people think you lie like Muhammad than to open your mouth and prove it.