Friday, May 29, 2015

Muslims Post Home Address of Free Speech Rally Organizer Jon Ritzheimer

Former U.S. marine Jon Ritzheimer called for a "Draw Muhammad" contest and a peaceful rally for free speech outside an Arizona mosque (the same mosque where cartoon jihadis Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi prayed).

It wasn't long before Muslims posted Ritzheimer's home address online:



Ritzheimer's wife is taking precautions:

64 comments:

Paige said...

I'll be praying for this family for the weapons that Christians have available are not of this earth. Muslims are bound in chains to this earth and they fight as such, with earthly weapons like these threats. Fighting with the spiritual weapons available to Christians is like comparing a tenny penny cracker to a super nova explosion.

If you are Muslims and read this article, you have a choice to stand up against those Muslims now planning this act of terror, be it an empty threat or serious, and demand that they stop. As the Muslim community refuses to take a stand against its own followers, the argument for moderate Muslims grows more and more unsustainable.

nacanacazo said...

An interview of Ritzheimer on CNN. The irony is that gay journalists like AC would be the first to go if the jihadis have their way.

==========================
AC: Jon Ritzheimer who organized the event. Also with us is former FBI and CIA counter-terrorism official Phillip Mudd. Mr Ritzheimer we appreciate you being with us. So, you're encouraging hundreds of armed people to gather outside a mosque during a prayer service wearing t-shirts saying F islam... and I surely know you have the right to protest, everybody does in this country, but you yourself have said this is a provocation. I know you compared it to poking a bear or kicking a hornets nest. So what are you really trying to achieve?

JR: Well, I'm really trying to achieve exposing islam and the truth about what's written in the qur'an. You know, people, you know, even Mr. Mudd that's joining us he said that he thinks this is a bad idea. And someone probably argue that, you know, the signers that signed the declaration of independence was a bad idea back in their day.

AC: So you're comparing yourself to the signers of the declaration of independence.

JR: Ah, yeah. I just don't want to live in fear. I shouldn't have to live in fear.

AC: What are you afraid of?

JR: Well, we've received a bunch of credible threats. I've already had the police come to my house. My family is currently packing up and they're going into hiding.

AC: So I understand you don't like islam, you clearly equate islam with terrorism. You served in iraq. You served proudly in The Marines. And we should honor that service. You served in support of an islamic government in Iraq. So if you hate islam, how do you justify having done that?

JR: Well, I ... The core values of islam is what I really hate. The people out saying...

AC: But you were promoting an islamic government. You were helping bolster an islamic government in Iraq. So why were you doing that?

JR: OK, well, let me answer like this: I was over there and I was over there, I was following orders. I was a young guy....

AC: So do you feel that you were supporting terrorists while you were supporting an islamic government in Iraq? Do you say to the Marines who are heavy fighting in Afghanistan they're supporting terrorism as well?

JR: No. I do not. Let me finish. I was uneducated when I went over there. I was a junior marine following orders. I was scared but I was uneducated about islam. It wasn't until I came home and utilized my 9-11 GI bill and that's what started...

AC: But now that you're allegedly educated on islam. You were supporting an islamic government in Iraq. So you're saying that Marines and others who are currently serving in Afghanistan and elsewhere are supporting terrorists?

JR: If their government is going to be run under sharia law and stuff then yeah I don't support that.

AC: Well it's not sharia law but it is an islamic government. So you believe that all active duty service members right now are supporting terrorism around the world.

JR: No I do not believe that.

AC: But they are supporting islamic governments and you believe islam equals terrorism.

JR: I do not believe that.

AC: You don't believe that islam at its core is terrorism.

JR: Oh yes. true islam is terrorism. Yes, the ones that are out committing these attrocities and stuff, they're following the book as it's written.

nacanacazo said...

AC: So let me bring in Phil. Phil, in terms of what the US is trying to achieve in the islamic world, what Marines and others are fighting and dying for, do events like this thing that's going to happen tomorrow in Phoenix. Do you believe it actually hurts the US outreach to the vast majority of the muslim world?
PM: I see this kind of event and I look at isis and i know what they're going to say. This is proof that what we're telling you to recruit you out of Denver, out of Phoenix, out of Los Angeles, out of New York that that's true. They talk you about democracy, free speech, and living with your religion, regardless of what it is in America but they don't live that in practice.
AC: Mr. Ritzheimer. I think Phil brings out an interesting point. Aren't you playing into the narrative of isis of alkaida which is basically trying to say there is a war between islam and the west and you have to choose. You can't be a muslim in the United States. You have to be opposed to the United States. Aren't you playing into their hands? Isn't this exactly the reaction and the message that the terrorists want?
JR: Sure
AC: Sure? It is?
JR: Sure.
AC: OK So you're playing into isis and alkaida hands. Do you feel good about that?
JR: I'm just... I'm just doing what I have to do to make sure that my children have a good future.
AC: You don't believe that this is playing into the narrative of what isis and alkaida is trying to shed. I mean isis and alkaida to Phils point is pushing this narrative that there is a war between islam and the west. You fully believe there is a war between islam and the west I guess. Yes?
JR: Yes.
AC: So you see yourself as a foot soldier somehow in a war. So you think that it's wise for the west to have war against the billion plus muslims around the world.
JR: No. I don't want war. But they need to learn tolerance. We're not the ones out committing these acts. We're not the ones threatening anybody by believing otherwise.
AC: You don't think bringing guns to a mosque while people, while families are praying inside wearing a t-shirt that says F islam and shouting whatever it is that you're going to shout at them as they come and as they go. You don't think that that's promoting violence at all?
JR: I think the whole thing is... the cartoon contest especially, I think it's stupid and ridiculous but it's what needs to take place in order to expose the true colors of islam.

Big Easy said...

Why aren't these Mohammedans under arrest? What's exactly the purpose of NSA surveillance???

Paige said...

It is ignorance bordering on arrogance to think that we are not already "playing into isis and al-quaeda's hands" by defending the rights of a religion over the right to human beings to live! How ridiculous we must appear when we extol our democratic freedom and laws, when those same laws protect groups like CAIR and grant Islamic activists clemency. While I do not advocate violent provocation, playing detente with an enemy that wants you dead is decidedly more dangerous.

Charlie said...

One thing I have noticed with muslims is that they are cowards. Unless there are a group of them to intimidate you they cannot say anything. There was a dawah table outside my local supermarket. I waited to the second one to leave and went over and asked him some questions. He completely panicked and didn't know what to do - wanted to run away probably!

Philip K Eyrich said...

The tactic of posting addresses and contact info of people is one which gay groups and Democrats of sorts have used, and it is noteworthy that Muslims have been studying and implementing the methods of gay groups since they see the success of their work. I've also seen where Muslims have joined in support of gay agenda because it will mean the approval of polygamy eventually. (We will owe an huge apology to Mormons if that ever happens.)

Red Bee said...

What Mr. Ritzheimer does is making matters worse. His concerns are understandable, but his solutions are inadequate. The Islamic war machine possesses the weapon of threatening violence. We can't take that away from them so we should seek ways to minimize the effectiveness of this weapon. Providing jihadis with targets is doing the exact opposite.

Jihadis do not wear shirts that identify them as such; why should we tell them who and where to attack? Why give information when we don't have to?

Of course we must have another draw Mohammad contest, but this time choose a location that is difficult to attack.

Also a free speech or anti-Islam rally should not be outside a mosque. There you don't know what type of Muslims you are dealing with, jihadis or Muslims that support free speech. It also establishes a dangerous precedent; Muslims will claim the right to rally outside churches too. This is exactly what the Islamic propaganda machine wants: riots, isolated skirmishes, innocent people getting hurt, religious war.

A rally outside a mosque should have something to do with that particular mosque; protesting the imams failure to condemn the jihadis from his mosque for example.

http://members.ziggo.nl/iiat/

Paige said...

Dear Red Bee,

I agree entirely. While we must do something, we cannot just do anything! We are too often moving like a pendulum, reacting to a position by moving to its direct opposite. In Proverbs we read "there is a way that seems right to man, but ends in death". I do not know Mr. Ritzheimer or support his methods, but I can appreciate how his ways "seem" right to Americans who are frustrated by the inactivity of their leaders. Inevitably, though, both a position of detente or aggressive provocation play into ISIS' hands. There is a better way, a way that is right to God.

Maya Bohnhoff said...

Anybody thought about end game, here? We have thousands of Muslim m families in America. Some who are second or third generation Americans. What do you all propose we do? Place them in internment camps--concentration camps? Send them to majority My slim countries where they would be like fish out of water? Round them up and shoot them? We have room for mass graves in Nevada.

Or perhaps you think we should force them to recant their faith and become agnostics or Christians (they already believe in Christ, after all so no big, right?)

The Qur'an says there should be no compulsion in religion, but that's not OUR holy book. Does the Gospel advocate forced conversion? If not, shall we make an exception in this case?

What do you propose?

I propose we go by Christ's sermon on the mount and learn to love our neighbors, even the ones we feel we have good reason to despise. To do less is to fall short of the glory of God, as the apostle Paul put it.

David Wood said...

I see Maya has fallen for the "If you criticize Islam, you must want to annihilate Muslims" nonsense touted by organizations like CAIR. Sad to see that people like Maya can only think of violent and oppressive solutions to Islamic ideology!

Those of us who don't think in such violent terms know that the solution is actually much simpler. Stop protecting Muhammad from criticism. Stop protecting the Qur'an from criticism. Tell the truth about Muhammad. Tell the truth about the Qur'an. Islam cannot stand up to criticism, which is why criticism of Islam is so often met with threats or violence. Tell the truth about Islam, and many Muslims will leave the religion. Even those who remain Muslims will have their faith weakened by learning the truth about their prophet, and their weakened faith won't lead to violence.

See what happens when you don't assume that the only alternatives are (1) Pretend that there are no problems in Islam or (2) Annihilate all Muslims?

King Harkinian II said...

@Maya Bohnhoff Muslims do NOT believe in Christ. They believe in Jesus. But Islam explicitly denies the deity of Christ. Per 1 John 2:22, Islam is anti-Christ.

You should understand your case well enough to argue against it before you argue for it.

Maya Bohnhoff said...

@David Wood: Jon Ritzheimer, like a number of commenters here, was not just criticizing Islam. He was staging an armed protest of the presence of Muslims in his community. F### Islam isn't criticism; it's an attack.

You apparently didn't read my entire comment before you began typing your own. I said that my suggestion would be to follow the guidance of Christ—to love even our perceived enemies. When Christ taught that we should love our neighbor, He used as an example, the Samaritans who were hated by Jews and considered unclean. That's the benchmark.

The faith of Muhammad is growing, not diminishing. It's irrational to think it will diminish because a group of hateful people are willing to stand in the street and taunt and threaten. Armed people. Do you think this is the first time they've heard Muhammad called names or been called names themselves? Were you aware that back at the dawn of Christianity, it was rumored that Jesus was a drunkard and that His followers held orgies in the tombs and sacrificed their children to their heathen God?

If you want to know the truth about the Qur'an read it: all of it, not just slices pulled out of context to prove that Islam is a violent faith. You'll find more verses like this one: “It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the prophets; and giveth wealth, for love of Him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free; and observeth proper worship and payeth the poor-due. And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress. Such are they who are sincere. Such are the Allah-fearing.” (Surih 2:177 )

In keeping with that spirit the Muslims at the mosque Ritzheimer was protesting invited the protestors in for prayer and spoke to them in a spirit of kindness. They did not meet the criticism with threats or violence. A couple of the protestors actually did go in and talk to the Muslims. They both came out with a deeper understanding that these people were good human beings, sincere in their faith and not ISIS or Al-Qaeda. One man promised he'd never wear the F Islam T-shirt again.

Yes, there are problems in Islam. There are problems in any faith that the hand of man has touched and twisted to his own devices. But the principles of Islam are not the problem and those Muslims in that Mosque are not the problem. They are part of the solution.

So, let's hear solutions that do not involve violence. Real ones. I'm all ears.

Maya Bohnhoff said...

@King Harkinen: Have you actually read what the Qur'an says about Jesus Christ? It says that He was born of the Holy Spirit. Muhammad refers to Him as Ruhu'llah, "The Spirit of God" and as the Word from God.

What the Qur'an denies is that Christ was fathered in the way the pagan tribes of the time imagined—that God came in human form and lay with Mary. It is very emphatic that Christ was born of the Holy Spirit and that His sonship is a spiritual reality. The Bible also teaches this.

Christ's reality (is He more human or more divine) has been argued in Christian churches since the beginning of organized Christianity. New sects have been born out of the debate. Blood has been shed because of it. And the truth is, none of us can really understand it. It is also true that the Qur'an speaks of Christ's spiritual reality just as the Gospels do.

So, yes, you should understand your case well enough to argue against it.

D. Collaric said...

Jon R. set up a FB-Page about the protest. I spend quite a lot of time there, commenting.
Not using my own words but THE ISLAMIC sources. If some-one wrote about the OLD TESTAMENT violence, I'd point out ALLAH claims to have given it, (including the book of Psalms).
no drawings of abu-l-qasim allowed, my response POSTED just one Picture of the false Messiah of Islam. Other issues included the denial of the death of Jesus on the Cross, the satanic temptations, and of course how allah got the trinity wrong.

In one case told a "witch" in Islam she could be killed.

But the most success I seem to have gotten was by posting Sharia quotes.

THE CAIRO DECLARATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN ISLAM

The Member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the biggest VOTING BLOC in the UNITED NATIONS.

ARTICLE 24:

All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari'ah.

ARTICLE 25:

The Islamic Shari'ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration.

=end quote=

D. Collaric said...

o9.8 The caliph (o25) makes war upon

Jews, [NON-MUSLIMS]
Christians [NON-MUSLIMS] , and
Zoroastrians [NON-MUSLIMS]

(N: provided he has first invited them to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not,

then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya, def: o11.4)-which is the significance of their paying it,

not the money itself-while remaining in their ancestral religions)

(O: and the war continues)until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax (O: in accordance with the word of Allah Most High, =end quote=



o1.2 The following are *not subject* to retaliation:

[cut]

(2) a Muslim *for killing a non-Muslim*;

(3) a Jewish or Christian subject of the Islamic state for killing an apostate from Islam (O: because a subject of the state is under its protection, *while killing an apostate from Islam is without* consequences);

(4) a father or mother (or their fathers of mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring;

*end of quote*


#+#+#


QUOTE:
09.3 Jihad is also (0: personally) obligatory for everyone (0: able to perform it,

male or female,

old or young)

when the enemy has surrounded the Muslims (0: on every side, having entered our territory, even if the land consists of ruins, wilderness, or mountains, for non-Muslim forces entering Muslim lands is a weighty matter that cannot be ignored, but must be met with effort and struggle to repel them by every possible means.

=end of quote=

D. Collaric said...


“The Body”

e4.3

.3 Circumcision is *obligatory* (O: for *both men and women*. For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce (Ar. bazr) of the clitoris (n: not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert). (A: Hanbalis hold that circumcision of women is not obligatory but sunna, while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband.) [end quote]

And FOR all those who SUPPORT Gay-righs AND Islam at the SAME TIME:

SODOMY AND LESBIANISM

p17.1 In more than one place in the Holy Koran, Allah recounts to us the story of Lot's people, and how He destroyed them for their wicked practice. There is consensus among both Muslims and the followers of all other religions that sodomy is an enormity. It is even viler and uglier than adultery.

pI7.2 Allah Most High says:

"Do you approach the males of humanity, leaving the wives Allah has created for you?
But you are a people who transgress" (Koran 26:165-66).


pI7.3 The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

(1) "Kill the one who sodomizes and the one who lets it be done to him."

(2) "May Allah curse him who does what Lot's people did."

(3) "Lesbianism by women is adultery between them."

= end of quote =

D. Collaric said...


o25.0 THE CALIPHATE
(n: This *section has been added here by the translator* because the *caliphate is both Obligatory in itself and the necessary* precondition for hundreds of rulings (books k through o) established by Allah Most High to govern and guide Islamic community life. What follows has been edited from al-Ahkam al-sultaniyya wa al-wilayat ad-diniyya by Imam Abul Hasan Mawardi, together with three principal commentaries on Imam Nawawi's Minhaj al-talibin, extracts from which are indicated by parentheses and the initial of the commentator. Ibn Hajar Haytami (H:) Muhammad Shirbini Khatib (K:), or 'Abd al-Hamid Sharwani (S:).)

*end quote*

There was NOT one muSlime on the FB-Page who would dare to state that he or she wants Sharia. Yet these muSlimes may (like cair) TELL the public Sharia is compatible with the US constitution. Sorry for the many posts, but I could not post it in one piece.

Looks to me "maya" fell for the lies told by muSlimes.

One convert to Islam on that FB-Page told me also a lie, that the Cairo declaration of Human rights were just for EGYPT, while in fact it is one document meant for all the ISLAMIC member states, as well as the future world-wide caliphate.

Maya Bohnhoff said...

@D. Collaric: That's not the Qur'an. The Qur'an is a collection of the authoritative teachings of Muhammad. What you're quoting from is likely one of a number of collections of alleged sayings of Muhammad called Hadith that are not authoritative and are not even respected by all Muslims or viewed as of equal worth.

Female circumcision, for example, was a cultural practice that predates Islam by centuries. It is practiced by both Muslims and Christians in some regions of Africa. It is in conflict with the attitude of the Prophet toward women that is clear in the Qur'an. In a place and time where women were considered chattel by the pagan tribes, Muhammad gave them human rights and called upon male believers to revere them. If you doubt that, pick up a Qur'an and read the Surih entitled Women.

If we are to understand Islam, we need to separate what the Prophet actually teaches from what various groups of humans (such as ISIS and Islamophobes alike) have come to believe it teaches. The people committing acts of violence in the name of Islam do so by rejecting what Muhammad taught, not embracing it. And peaceful, community-minded Muslims the world over do not deserve to be tarred by the same brush.

Is that such a hard concept to understand? And why is it so hard to understand that hatred can never destroy hatred? It can only engender more of the same. That's why I asked above for people posting here to consider the end result of the shared sentiment that Islam just shouldn't be allowed here.

Regarding the worldwide Caliphate: there is no worldwide Muslim authority or mandate beyond the Qur'an. There is not even a single leader for each of the two major sects or a single charter by which the faith community is run. It is not even as centralized as most Christian sects today. Each group may be guided by the interpretations of an "imam" whose school of thought may be completely pacifistic or violent, who may emphasize the law or the spirit of the faith. Most are not violent. But actions like the one Jon Ritzheimer took and the hateful words like some in these comments, continually push people into opposition. It's easy to hate what you don't understand.

The Muslims in the US have the same right to freedom of worship and speech and assembly that any of us do, whether we are Christians, Jews, Bahá'ís, Hindus, Buddhists or follow some other spiritual path. Groups like ISIS are a threat to that freedom—and they are as much a threat to American Muslims as they are American Jews or Christians or other groups. Their form of Islam bears no resemblance to the Islam being practiced in the mosque that Ritzheimer protested. He was fighting the wrong battle with the wrong enemy,

The enemies are hatred, fear and ignorance.

David Wood said...

Maya, since almost everything you say about Islam is factually false, you might want to actually sit down and study Islam before spreading complete nonsense. I don't have time to go through all of your errors at the moment, so let's just look at the blunders in your first two paragraphs.

You said: "The Qur'an is a collection of the authoritative teachings of Muhammad."

Nonsense. The Qur'an is considered to be ALLAH'S word, with no input from Muhammad. The authoritative teachings of Muhammad are found in the Hadith.

You said: "What you're quoting from is likely one of a number of collections of alleged sayings of Muhammad called Hadith that are not authoritative and are not even respected by all Muslims or viewed as of equal worth."

NOT AUTHORITATIVE??? Muslims who don't believe in the Hadith are considered HERETICAL and are executed in Muslim lands. Muslims who reject the Hadith can't even follow the most basic Islamic practices. How does one become a Muslim? By reciting the Shahada. But the Shahada isn't found in the Qur'an. IT'S IN THE HADITH. How many times a day are Muslims required to pray? Five. But the Qur'an only says to pray three times per day. The five prayers ARE ONLY FOUND IN THE HADITH. The Qur'an (4:65) commands Muslims to obey all of Muhammad's decisions. But Muhammad's decisions aren't found in the Qur'an. THEY'RE FOUND IN THE HADITH. Hence, MUSLIMS CAN'T EVEN OBEY THE QUR'AN WITHOUT CONSULTING THE HADITH, AND YOU'RE CONFIDENTLY DECLARING THAT THE HADITH ARE IRRELEVANT. Stop this nonsense.

You said that female circumcision "is in conflict with the attitude of the Prophet toward women that is clear in the Qur'an." Bull. The Qur'an declares that women are the sexual property of men (2:223), that men can beat their rebellious wives into submission (4:34), that they can rape their female captives (4:24), and that they can have sex with prepubescent girls (65:4). Muhammad and Aisha both promoted female circumcision in the hadith (see Sahih Muslim 785). Why don't you go to an actual Muslim scholar to see what Islam teaches? If you did, you would read:

"Circumcision is not an inherited custom as some people claim, rather it is prescribed in Islam and the scholars are unanimously agreed that it is prescribed. Not a single Muslim scholar – as far as we know – has said that circumcision is not prescribed." (http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/60314/female_circumcision&date=2013-05-24)

You said: "In a place and time where women were considered chattel by the pagan tribes, Muhammad gave them human rights and called upon male believers to revere them." You sound like you're mindlessly copying some nonsense you're reading on lame websites. I can't believe I'm even responding to such silliness. BEFORE MUHAMMAD BECAME A PROPHET, Khadijah was a wealthy business woman in Mecca. Muhammad was one of her workers on the caravans. She was the one who proposed marriage to Muhammad. THAT'S BEFORE ISLAM, AND SHE HAD FAR MORE RIGHTS THAN LATER MUSLIM WOMEN HAD. If you'd like to know how Islam changed things, just ask Aisha, who said, "I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women" (Sahih Muslim 5825). Why are you telling us that Islam gave women rights when MUHAMMAD'S OWN WIFE DECLARED THAT MUSLIM WOMEN WERE TREATED WORSE THAN PAGAN WOMEN???

I think I'm actually going to need to do some full-length articles on your errors, since whatever websites are feeding your delusions are probably doing the same to other gullible Westerners.

Maya Bohnhoff said...

@David: I have studied Islam extensively as well as having studied several different translations of the Qur'an. I don't tend to frequent websites that purport to explain Islam because my own faith encourages the independent investigation of truth and reality.

Again, Hadith is not Muhammad's revelation, but things some purported him to have said. There are a number of volumes of Hadith, that are granted different levels of credibility by different schools of Islsm.

I didn't say male circumcision wasn't a Muslim practice. It is. Just as it is a Jewish practice and a cultural practice here in the West, if not always for religious reasons. I specifically referred to female genital mutilation, for which circumcision is a euphemism. It is not prescribed in any form in the Quran. It is, however practiced by some African tribes that profess to be Christian.

To understand the state of women in the area at he time, please read up on the history of Islam. Khadijah was thought to have been from a Christian family, the women of the pagan tribes fared far worse. Some tribes buried their daughters alive and, yes, esteemed women less than they did their horses or camels. Read the Quran yourself, as I did. Not just parts of it. All of it, in light of its historical setting. You might then understand that you've been misled by people who have approached Islam already having judged it.

D. Collaric said...

@Maya B. just in case you do come back: My source:

Reliance of the Traveller and
Tools for the Worshipper.
A CLASSIC MANUAL OF ISLAMIC SACRED LAW
BY AHMAD IBN NAQIB AL-MISRI (Died 1368 AD)
Edited and Translated by Sheik Nuh Ha Mim Keller

ANY objection you may have you can direct them to HIM.

There SEVERAL ISLAMIC sites where you can download it for free as PDF-FILE.

I've read the 1200 pages book, because it is PROMOTED as the Islamic LAW.


The Nineteenth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (Session of Peace, Interdependence and Development), held in Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt, from 9-14 Muharram 1411H (31 July to 5 August 1990),

they drew up what I quoted FIRST, article 24 & 25, of the Islamic human rights.

Again if YOU feel they are in error, (focusing on Sharia as the basis) CORRECT them. Tell them that THEY are misleading muSlimes.

Well maya, my problem is with your stoned-gawd allah. He JUST lies TOO MUCH, or is ignorant.

Yes, muSlimes are called to be nice to other people, (mostly to muSlimes) and do good things.

Yes, some of the instructions in the koran resonate with the "good" peaceful nature in humans. BUT all the good things in ISLAM are not enough to balance out the lies and with it the violence committed in the name of allah.

take for example 9:111-112. Any Christian who knows the bible to some degree will spot the HUGE LIE allah tells in this passage alone.

You may be a nice, or good person, but I'm convinced that you are being mislead and lied to by others.

Did you know that the full veil was given in order to protect the early muslim women on their way to the open toilet space they were using?









D. Collaric said...

@ Maya YOU HIDE the POLITICAL goals of ISLAM behind a RELIGIOUS mask. BUT I tell you people are waking up to this game of cair.


o11.0 NON-MUSLIM SUBJECTS OF THE ISLAMIC STATE (AHL AL-DHIMMA)

011.1 A formal agreement of protection is made with citizens who are:
(1) Jews;
(2) Christians;
(3) Zoroastrians;

(4) Samarians and Sabians, if their religions do not respectively contradict the fundamental bases of
Judaism and Christianity;

(5) and those who adhere to the religion of Abraham or one of the other prophets (upon whom be
blessings and peace).


Sikhs Baha is Mormons etc

o11.2 Such an agreement may not be effected with those who are idol worshippers (dis: o9.9 (n:)), or
those who do not have a Sacred Book or something that could have been a Book.
(A: Something that could have been a Book refers to those like the Zoroastrians, who have remnants
resembling an ancient Book. As for the pseudoscriptures of cults that have appeared since Islam (n: such
as the Sikhs, Baha' is, Mormons, Qadianis, etc.), they neither are nor could be a Book, since the Koran
is the final revelation (dis: w4).)

o11.3 Such an agreement is only valid when the subject peoples:
(a) follow the rules of Islam (A: those mentioned below (o11.5) and those involving public behavior
and dress, though in acts of worship and their private lives, the subject communities have their own
laws, judges, and courts, enforcing the rules of their own religion among themselves);
(b) and pay the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya).

=end of quote =

Don't TELL ME that ISLAM has no POLITICAL goals!




D. Collaric said...

ISLAMIC STATE does what the early muSlimes did:


Ishaq:369 (PDF:209)


The Apostle said: 'Kill any Jew that falls into your power'.

“Thereupon Mas’ud leapt upon Sunayna, one of the Jewish merchants with whom his family had social and commercial relations and killed him. The Muslim’s brother complained, saying, ‘Why did you kill him? You have much fat in you belly from his charity.’ Mas’ud answered, ‘

By Allah, had Muhammad ordered me to murder you,

my brother,

I would have cut off your head.’

Wherein the brother said,

‘Any religion that can bring you to this is indeed wonderful!’”

[marvelous renders this another translation]

He became a MUSLIM....

[eoq]

Once again maya if YOU do not know this history, then you should ASK yourself the question: Why am I NOT told ALL OF THIS? Because I am sure ISLAMIC STATE Muslims KNOW this early tradition, because they can repeat it.

Enough food for thought :-)

Maya Bohnhoff said...

@David Wood: (1 of 2) I tried to answer your comments last night from my iPad, but it seems not to have posted. Last things first: I don't do my research on websites. When I first started researching Islam and studying the Quran, the worldwide web was a gleam in the eye of a handful of technophiles. I own four translations of the Quran, the first I acquired when I was a teenager. I did not approach Islam as a friend. I spent two years of my childhood in a Muslim country and found the attitudes toward people of other faiths and the status of women incomprehensible. I began to study the Quran to settle a challenge someone put to me and quickly realized that both these attitudes ran completely counter to Muhammad’s revelation.

Why? My study indicates the same reason that what’s taught from the pulpits of many churches bears little resemblance to what Christ taught in the Gospels. My lifelong study, has been in answer of that question—why do some Muslims believe Hadith is equal to the revealed words of the Prophet? Why do they listen to people who (as Christ put it) "teach for doctrine the commandments of men"? Why do some Christians behave as if the apostle Paul's word trump Christ's or allow their faith to be manipulated by men whose authority is dubious?

My own faith encourages independent investigation of truth and reality. That means both religious and scientific literacy are of great importance. So, no, I do not get my information from websites. Rather, I have done much studying of the Quran and of the history of the faith Muhammad revealed. And, yes, that the Quran is the revelation of God through Muhammad is given.

Now, about Khadijah. She was not a member of one of the pagan tribes. In fact, her family was, according to some scholars, Christian. In the tribes, such as the Quraysh of which Muhammad was a member, women were of less value than a good horse or camel, especially if they did not bear sons. Baby girls were sometimes buried alive. At the time I lived in Morocco, some local tribes still did that. Muhammad specifically forbids that practice in the Quran and, as I said, calls upon men to revere women.

Among the tribes, men could have any number of wives they wished and treat them as they wished, even killing them or divorcing them without reason. Muhammad limited the number of wives drastically and even framed the commandment in such a way that men who were paying attention understood that he had really meant them to have one wife. He also gave women rights in marriage and divorce; rights of inheritance and property ownership. He repeatedly made the point that in the eyes of God, men and women were of equal worth. If you like I can provide references to all of this in the Quran, but you might get more out of studying it independently. I recommend the Pickthall translation in print version because the author includes historical notes so that the reader can see where each surih fits into the timeline of the community and what events or needs of the community it is responding to. (continued)

Maya Bohnhoff said...

@David Wood: (2 of 2) The verses normally used to prove Islam is violent and intends for all non-Muslims to be killed, for example, are from the second surih, in which Muhammad is responding to the assaults on the Muslim community by the Jews of Medina who broke a covenant they had made with Muhammad. They not only turned on their own fellow citizens who had converted to Islam or who were friends of the faith, driving them from their homes and killing them, they joined forces with the Quraysh and other tribes to annihilate the Muslims who, up until that time, had born persecution with patience. The gist of those passages is this: Fight until the enemy ceases persecuting you. And if he ceases, forgive him. So, groups like ISIS are not following the teachings of the Quran, they are rejecting them. The peaceful Muslims of Jon Ritzheimer's community understand this, which is why they reached out to those who perceived them as enemies and sought to be friends with them.

About Aisha's comment: She's right. Muslim women suffered greatly ... at the hands of the enemies of the faith. It was because believing women were harassed and ill-treated in public that Muhammad said it would be best if they were veiled so they would not be molested.

I didn't say the Hadith were irrelevant. They clearly color greatly what some groups of Muslims believe. I said they are not part of Muhammad's revelation and are not equally authoritative. Again, there are 11 Sunni collections of Hadith and 4 Shia collections. Not all Muslims or schools of Islamic thought agree on which volumes of Hadith are accurate or authoritative or to what degree. Some Muslims of my acquaintance regard Hadith as a Christian might regard the religious philosophizing of a saint or revered clergyman. Some view it as an historical artifact.

You're not hearing what I AM saying. That Islam is not monolithic. All Muslims do not hold the same beliefs about Hadith, or veiling, or how many wives a man can have, or whether women and men both should be circumcised, or educated, or allowed to drive or any number of things. The core of Islam is the same as the core of Judaism or Christianity and comes down to the same central commandments to love God and love one's fellow human beings. The practices of different groups derive from interpretation or worse, manipulation. Religion is a powerful force. It's like a candle—in the hands of the wise it can light the house; in the hands of a fool or a criminal, it can burn the house to the ground.

"O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware." -- Quran, Surih 49:13

"Hast thou observed him who belieth religion? That is he who repelleth the orphan, and urgeth not the feeding of the needy. Ah, woe unto worshippers who are heedless of their prayer; who would be seen (at worship) yet refuse small kindnesses!" — Qur’an, Surih 107:1-7 (This was one of Muhammad's earliest revealed verses.)

I've done a number of full-length articles (and study classes) relating to Islam. Here's one: http://www.mayabohnhoff.com/?p=209

Paige said...

Dear Maya,

I'm glad that you posted on this website and I hope you will again. These discussions are essential and, as someone who is also commenting, I appreciate that you took the time to express your thoughts.

I have no intention of defending comments or actions that don't line up with the message and example that Jesus gave, and I agree entirely that we must love Muslims, and believe that freeing them from the lies of Islam is our end game.

Love however, in its most powerful form, is an action. It is far more than just tolerance or acceptance. It is a commitment to put the needs of another above your own regardless of the cost. As every human beings' greatest need is to be in relationship with their Heavenly Father, that means that pointing someone towards God, which involves kicking crap out of the way that's blocking them getting there, is love's highest goal. I don't believe this is what Mr. Ritzheimer did, but it was what Jesus did and what we should do.

You may assume I'm some narrow-minded Christian who's speaking from ignorance but everything I know about Islam I learnt directly from Islamic scholars, not Christian apologists, my pastors or teachers. In fact, prior to beginning my degree I had hoped to do a thesis and find the middle ground upon which Christians and Muslims could agree and build relationship. As I studied the Qur'an, the Hadiths, Shari'a Law and Fiqh, I became aware that this middle ground was an illusion, a masterful and elaborate illusion, but an illusion nonetheless.

I still have Muslim friends who I love and I know more will be in my life, but through advancing my Islamic knowledge I have learnt that we are diametrically opposed. This though makes me love my friends more, not less. It makes me care about their future in a way I never had, because I know where Islam "right path" leads.

You wrote: "The enemies are hatred, fear and ignorance.", you are right because hatred is seeded throughout the Qur'an and the Hadiths so that it eventually clings to you like a sickness; fear of 'the other', especially if that other is an obstacle to Islamic world rule is why Mohammad wiped out both enemies and innocents. And though the teachers I learnt from were of the highest calibre, "ignorance" was achieved by telling students they could not interpret the Qur'an on their own, everything must be read in context and that Islamic scholars had the last say on everything.

The Islam you represent would be rejected by both Christians and Muslims. Muslims most of all, though perhaps not in some Western countries where Muslims have learnt the advantage of hiding behind Westerner's flagrant misrepresentation of Islam. All Muslims are not bad, but I can assure you that all Islam is.

I would encourage you to read the Qur'an for yourself and I would be delighted to hear your thoughts after that.

D. Collaric said...

Maya you wrote that the PAGANS of Yathrib/medina were harassing muSlimaahs, (on the way to the toilet in open space). BUT what you DO NOT mention is the FACT that AFTER the PAGANS were forced to convert to Islam or died, WHO WOULD harass the women? In this case the REASON for the FULL VEIL was no longer valid. LOOK AT today’s SAUDI ARABIA! Fully veiled woman gets CHASED out of a mall, because she had BARE HANDS! Girls died in the Fire because they were NOT covered up! Also D.W. main focus is ON THE VIOLENCE meted out to the "believing women" BY muSlimes!

As to the information on the "net". My own research relies ON THE INFORMATION put up by M_U_S_L_I_M_S again if you feel they are not reliable TAKE IT UP with MUSLIMS.

BTW have you spotted the HUGE lie of allah in Sura 9:111-112?

As to misunderstanding the koran and Islam, if ISLAMIC-STATE muSlimes got it so wrong, why ARE you not
educating THEM?

Foolster41 said...

This is the typical Muslim defense.

Presumptions of hatred against Muslims.
"When Christ taught that we should love our neighbor, He used as an example, the Samaritans who were hated by Jews and considered unclean. That's the benchmark." This implies that David, and the rest of us who are pointing out what's wrong with Islam goes against Christ's teachings and shut up.

Cries of "out of context" and "Mohammad was really inovative for his time!", "Islam is not monolithic!" (straw man, of course no one said it was, but we're going off of what Islam teaches in the Koran and Hadiths), "All religions are bad" (but, which religion is the root of the majority of terror in the world? You hardly hear of Buddhists murdering people). and throwing out the Hadiths, which as Mr. Woods pointed out is an integral part of Islam.

But we know enough about Islam to not be fooled.

I hope Maya is just ignorant, and is is more willing to stick around and honestly debate here, as opposed to some of her co-coreligionists who've been here who've made dishonest answers, disturbing calls for violence against non-Muslims for disappear to avoid challenges to their assertions.

Maya Bohnhoff said...

@Paige: As I said above, I have studied the Qur'an and the history of Islam over a period of decades. I own several translations of the Qur'an. My comments are a product of that study.

You say that my views on Islam are not that of some Muslims, you're right. But Muslims are not identical in belief. The Muslims of my acquaintance hold the same spiritual teachings sacred that I do: that there is one God who loves humanity and has taught us "in diverse times and in sundry ways" (per the Book of Hebrews) through a succession of prophets, that we best serve God by serving each other, that our lives should bear witness to our love of God and our fellow human beings.

You say that religious scholars have the last word. That is a problem in every faith, including Christianity. One of the most stunning moments of my life was when I realized that what Christ taught and what was taught by most churches were not the same thing—not after 2000 years of human interpretation. In most church teaching, Christ’s words—the Word of God, the thing He said was our salvation—took a back seat to having the "correct" view of His divinity, the shedding of His blood, His resurrection. I had a mother who taught me to read and understand the scriptures for myself. What I practiced with the Gospels, I also practiced with the Qur'an. It only seemed fair.

If we do Christ a disservice when we associate Him with every group who calls Him "Lord", but fails to follow His word, is it just to do Muhammad the same disservice? Someone who preaches violence against non-Muslims is not following the teachings of Muhammad, but are, as Christ put it, "teaching as doctrine the commandments of men".

Islam was sundered upon the passing of Muhammad over the same thing that caused schism in the faith of Christ and the shedding of so much Christian blood—authority and succession. Islam has seen 1000 years of interpretation by a myriad "divines", each with his own agenda. It should be no surprise to you that different groups of Muslims share no more agreement than say, a Baptist and a Mormon.

The Qur'an is not “seeded with hatred”. Muhammad enjoins, in strong words, the duty of fighting to end persecution, something Christ didn't do. But Jesus was not the leader of a temporal community of believers who were under attack by their neighbors. If you want a more appropriate comparison, look at Moses, who also unified a group of antagonistic tribes. Moses allegedly promoted genocide, something Hebrew writers framed as righteous. Muhammad explicitly instructed Muslim warriors to only engage combatants and never to do such things as destroy wells or slaughter livestock or rape women. And if the enemy sued for peace, the Muslims were to stop fighting and forgive them.

This is in the Qur'an. As is the clear instruction not to convert by force. Have some Muslims turned a deaf ear to Muhammad’s words: "There is no compulsion in religion?" Yes, but they are no more deaf than members of other faiths. During the Crusades, Christian warriors slaughtered even infants. They committed atrocities that appalled their Muslim enemies. Atheist pundits today blame those atrocities on Christ and His faith. You and I both know that blame is unjustified. It is also unjustified in the case of Muhammad. The problem lies, not in the revelation of Islam, but with man's stunning ability to take what is most noble and sacred and turn it to his own perverse desires for power, territory, control.

The solution is not to attack Islam as a faith, or mock Muslims, or protest in front of their houses of worship for the behavior of other people—behavior they also find reprehensible. We understand the inherent injustice of judging all Christians and Christ by say, the Westboro Baptist church, or the Congolese militias, or the Aryan Brotherhood. But when it comes to those who are not "us", our empathy fails and we apply a standard that we would be horrified were it applied to us.

Maya Bohnhoff said...

@Foolster41: In mentioning the parable of the Good Samaritan, I was not implying you should shut up. You inferred that. I was, asking that those who care what Christ taught—and I'm not assuming that's everyone here—start by viewing the Muslims in the mosque Jon Ritzenheimer selected for his protest as their neighbors and consider how one might approach a neighbor under the circumstances. There are at this moment, Christian militias slaughtering non-Christians in Africa. There are no protests in front of Christian churches in Pittsburg, say, because most people understand that the Christians in Pittsburg have nothing to do with those in the Congo. They literally do not hold the same beliefs.

I see here an inability to make that same simple, logical step when the group is not "us".

Christianity had its dark days and much blood was spilled because of it. Yes, even Buddhists have committed mass slaughters of non-Buddhists. There is, to this day, a cadre of warrior priests who feel their violence against others is within the bounds of the Man who said that "Hatred does not cease by hatred; hatred ceases by love. This is an eternal commandment.

You seem to assume I am Muslim. I am not. I am a Bahá'í. Bahá'ís have been and are being persecuted heavily in Muslim majority countries, especially in Iran, where it is the largest religious minority. If you're interested at all in that aspect of this, you might go here for information: http://news.bahai.org

If you're wondering why a member of a faith that is considered heretical in a number of Muslim countries is defending Islam and Muslims it is in part because one of the core teachings of my faith is the independent investigation of truth. It is also because while it is true that the Bahá'í Faith is illegal in Iran and is subject to the hatred of some Muslims, it is also true that I serve on an interfaith council here in the US with Muslims who are loving, devoted servants of all mankind and who regard me as a sister.

You say you don't believe Islam is monolithic, but then treat it as if it were. As if there is one Islamic belief system that requires the murder of non-Muslims, as if all Muslims no matter where they reside or what their personal behavior are to be viewed in the same way that ISIS or Al-Qaeda is justifiably viewed. That, by the way, creates straw Muslims.

And that has ever only been my point: that Ritzheimer's protest at the mosque in his neighborhood took aim at the wrong enemy—just as the more hateful comments here have done. Those Muslims are not the Muslims who are wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq. They are not the Muslims who have killed thousands of Bahá'ís over the last century. And attacking them and their faith, verbally or physically, is unjust.

I understand that a seemingly implacable enemy like ISIS inspires fear and that feat begets anger and anger begets hate. Showing those emotions to people who are not responsible for them is not only a waste of energy, it's counterproductive. The best proof against ISIS here in the US is to make American Muslims our dearest friends. They do not deserve to be The Enemy.

Maya Bohnhoff said...

@Foolster41: In mentioning the parable of the Good Samaritan, I was not implying you should shut up. You inferred that. I was, asking that those who care what Christ taught—and I'm not assuming that's everyone here—start by viewing the Muslims in the mosque Jon Ritzenheimer selected for his protest as their neighbors and consider how one might approach a neighbor under the circumstances. There are at this moment, Christian militias slaughtering non-Christians in Africa. There are no protests in front of Christian churches in Pittsburg, say, because most people understand that the Christians in Pittsburg have nothing to do with those in the Congo. They literally do not hold the same beliefs.

I see here an inability to make that same simple, logical step when the group is not "us".

Christianity had its dark days and much blood was spilled because of it. Yes, even Buddhists have committed mass slaughters of non-Buddhists. There is, to this day, a cadre of warrior priests who feel their violence against others is within the bounds of the Man who said that "Hatred does not cease by hatred; hatred ceases by love. This is an eternal commandment.

You seem to assume I am Muslim. I am not. I am a Bahá'í. Bahá'ís have been and are being persecuted heavily in Muslim majority countries, especially in Iran, where it is the largest religious minority. If you're interested at all in that aspect of this, you might go here for information: http://news.bahai.org

If you're wondering why a member of a faith that is considered heretical in a number of Muslim countries is defending Islam and Muslims it is in part because one of the core teachings of my faith is the independent investigation of truth. It is also because while it is true that the Bahá'í Faith is illegal in Iran and is subject to the hatred of some Muslims, it is also true that I serve on an interfaith council here in the US with Muslims who are loving, devoted servants of all mankind and who regard me as a sister.

You say you don't believe Islam is monolithic, but then treat it as if it were. As if there is one Islamic belief system that requires the murder of non-Muslims, as if all Muslims no matter where they reside or what their personal behavior are to be viewed in the same way that ISIS or Al-Qaeda is justifiably viewed. That, by the way, creates straw Muslims.

And that has ever only been my point: that Ritzheimer's protest at the mosque in his neighborhood took aim at the wrong enemy—just as the more hateful comments here have done. Those Muslims are not the Muslims who are wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq. They are not the Muslims who have killed thousands of Bahá'ís over the last century. And attacking them and their faith, verbally or physically, is unjust.

I understand that a seemingly implacable enemy like ISIS inspires fear and that feat begets anger and anger begets hate. Showing those emotions to people who are not responsible for them is not only a waste of energy, it's counterproductive. The best proof against ISIS here in the US is to make American Muslims our dearest friends. They do not deserve to be The Enemy.

Maya Bohnhoff said...

I've tried to respond to a couple of the comments above, but my posts just sort of disappear, though it looks as if I'm logged in. Does this site normally not give a comment in moderation or other notice after you click "publish?"

Maya Bohnhoff said...

@D. Collaric:

Some Muslims have political goals. So do some Christians. Islam, as a religion, has no political goals because there is no single Muslim school of thought, government, or hierarchy. I'm sorry, but you've been misled if you believe that the document you posted defines all of Islam or even most Muslim belief.

By the way, I'm am a Bahá'í. In Iran, my faith is considered heretical and is essentially illegal. The attitude of the Shia Muslim hierarchy of Iran, however, no more speaks for all Muslims or Islam as a faith than the head of the Anglican church speaks for all Christians. Even the Pope cannot do that.

@Foolster: If that assumption—that anyone has the authority to speak for all Islam is an indicator of knowing "enough" about Islam, I beg you to learn more. Read the work of people who are Muslim and who are agnostic on the subject. Read Susan Maneck's work on the history of Islam, for example or the Elements of Islam which is part of a series on various faiths written by a Muslim. Or go to a mosque and talk to a Muslim. Please.

Maya Bohnhoff said...

@Foolster41: Assume that the only thing you had ever heard Christ quoted as saying was "I come not to bring peace, but a sword." That you did not read that sentence in context with His entire ministry. Or that you did not know that He also said the two greatest commandments are to love God and "love your neighbor as yourself; upon these two great commandments all the others depend." Or that He said to love your enemies and turn the other cheek if offered abuse.

If you insist that He said "I have come not to bring peace but sword" trumps everything else He said, just 'coz you like that part—that's cherry picking. If you seek to understand that statement in context with everything else He said, that's establishing context. It's important to understanding just about everything worth understanding.

The context in which Muhammad gave His instructions pertaining to warfare were that the Muslim community had been betrayed by the Jews of Medina and were under assault by the pagan tribes from which many of the believers had come. Here's the context: “Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors. And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. But if they desist, then lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrong-doers.” — Quran, Surih 2:190-193 (Pickthall)

In the same chapter, before these instructions, Muhammad describes what He means when He uses the word that is translated "disbelievers". He speaks to it at length, but this is probably the most comprehensive verse: "And when We made with you a covenant (saying): Shed not the blood of your people nor turn (a party of) your people out of your dwellings. Then ye ratified (Our covenant) and ye were witnesses (thereto). Yet ye it is who slay each other and drive out a party of your people from their homes… Believe ye in part of the Scripture and disbelieve ye in part thereof? …Such are those who buy the life of the world at the price of the Hereafter." — Quran, Surih 2:84-86

This covenant, not to kill their own people was what the "disbelievers" initially broke. They attempted to assassinate Muhammad and kill His followers—not just men, not just armed soldiers (there really weren't any at that point)—but any Muslims. And this is what caused Muhammad to give the commandment to fight.

That is what I mean by context. None of what you said above actually addresses the points I made, by the way. You repeat snippets of what I wrote, but you don't actually refute them.

Foolster41 said...

"In mentioning the parable of the Good Samaritan, I was not implying you should shut up. You inferred that. I was, asking that those who care what Christ taught—and I'm not assuming that's everyone here—start by viewing the Muslims in the mosque Jon Ritzenheimer selected for his protest as their neighbors and consider how one might approach a neighbor under the circumstances. There are at this moment, Christian militias slaughtering non-Christians in Africa. There are no protests in front of Christian churches in Pittsburg, say, because most people understand that the Christians in Pittsburg have nothing to do with those in the Congo. They literally do not hold the same beliefs. "
Alright, so Ritzenheimer may have been wrong if he said "f*** Islam" (I wasn't aware of this), but do you think treating a Muslim as their neighbor and following Christ precludes also pointing out troubling passages in the Qouran and Hadiths, as they are used in many cases (thousands since 9/11 alone)?

Also, you use the word "attack", and I took that as meaning to shut up because many Muslims say that merely pointing out what's wrong with Islam as "an attack". I hope you are civilized to not believe this.

I disagree with your comparisons between Islam and Christianity. You have to do far more bending to take that single verse out of context to paint Christ as violent, as opposed to the many verses about warfare and how to deal with the non-believer in the Qouran and Hadith. Of course anything could be dishonestly misquoted to twist it, but to pretend there is no problem in Islam is dishonest or foolish.

The major key in this is whether or not Mohmmad taught violence. There is some serious disagreement about whether Mohammad taught self-defense only, and whether he did fight in self-defense in the case of Q. 2. (for example http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Muhammad/myths-mu-medina-persecution.htm)

Of course peaceful (westernized) Muslims say Islam is peaceful, but this is apparently not the way thousands of Muslims in Islamic countries read the Qouran, and who we should be worried about it. When concerned westerners point to the violent muslims who quote the qouran to justify violence, telling us Islam is peaceful isn't helpful, since it is THEM who need to hear this!

I've read the Qouran, both the good and bad, and I get pointed to Muslim sources by Muslims here. But the picture I see is not one of self-defense only. I see verses that talk about subduing non-beleivers to either convert, pay a tax or die. (Muslim 19:4294)

"You say you don't believe Islam is monolithic, but then treat it as if it were
in what way? This is hogwash! Of course I don't! I know there are peaceful Muslims (as I said above), and of course they aren't the ones we need to be worried about. You seem to be insisting we ignore the violent Muslims.

Foolster41 said...

"Muslims say that merely pointing out what's wrong with Islam as "an attack". I hope you are civilized to not believe this."

And to be clear: I know you are Ba'hai, but some non-muslims (generally on the far-left) too believe that any criticism of Isalm is "Islamaphobia" or an "attack".This statement wasn't to infer that you are a Muslim.

Also, I believe the word "persecution" (idtihad) isn't in that verse you quoted. The word there is Fitna (Unbelief).

Jericho Fallen said...

@Maya..

You said... Christianity had its DARK days and much blood was spilled
because of IT. Yes, even
Buddhists have committed
mass slaughters of non-
Buddhists. There is, to this day,
a cadre of warrior priests who
feel their violence against
others is within the bounds of
the Man who said that "Hatred
does not cease by hatred;
hatred ceases by love. This is
an eternal commandment.


@Maya
No!! Dear you have it all wrong. Much blood was spilled INSPITE of christianity and not because of it. Now, you claim there are warrior priests, probably christians from your allegations, that feel that violence is within their bounds. I notice that you have failed to give any verses to back up your ASSUMPTIONS.

But nevertheless let me draw the distinction for you. Christianity prohibits violence and killing ( Romans 14:19, Romans 12:18, Romans 13:9 ). If any christianity acts in violence or killing he is going against the prescriptions of his religion as there is absolutely no verses or instructions that will back such a "christian" up. You have spoken in ignorance.

On the other hand, if a muslim KILLS or uses violence to subjugate others he will find FULL justification for his actions. Here's just a nibble for you. I have tons of islamic references that can back me up. Will gladly post all upon request.

From the islamic quran. "Muhammad is Allah's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another. Through them, Allah seeks to enrage the unbelievers". - 48:29

I will not be surprised if you flock to the old testament under JUDAISM to flaunt a few "violent" verses against christianity. Do compare apples with apples.

Now since you seems to be so pro-islam and enlightened I would love for you to give us some surahs and/ or hadith in favour of islam about morals that is absent in christianity.

Here's a titbit of what christianity teaches. Ephesians 4:32-Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Luke 23:34
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive
them; for they know not what they
do. And they parted his raiment,
and cast lots.

Rom 12:20 - If your enemy is hungry
feed him; if he is thirsty give him
something to drink.

Matthew 5:44- But I say unto you,
Love your enemies, bless them that
curse you, do good to them that hate
you, and pray for them which
despitefully use you, and persecute you;

1 Peter 3:9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

1 Thessalonians. See that no one repays anyone evil
for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

You will not find a single surah that will even come remotely close to the verses that I've quoted here.

Its quite obvious that christianity has a far higher moral compass then islam. In fact to compare christianity with the evils of islam is a no brainer.

In Christ, For Christ, by Christ

Maya Bohnhoff said...

@D. Collaric: You wrote: "Maya you wrote that the PAGANS of Yathrib/medina were harassing muSlimaahs, (on the way to the toilet in open space)."

Please read more carefully. I didn't say that pagans (why all caps?) harassed Muslim women let alone on the way to the public toilet. Not sure where you got that. But it does rather impede communication when you misread what I've written. The populace in the area was mixed—pagan tribes (whose worship combined tribal deities with Jewish and Christian practices), Jews, and Christians. At the time, many Jewish women were veiled. This is, alas, a practice that is coming back into practice in Israel today among ultra-orthodox Jews, and is also being voluntarily adopted by Jewish women because of street harassment. The point of the veiling was that the women not draw the attention of those who would harass them.

I agree, actually, that given Muhammad's intention of protecting women from unwanted male attention, it would seem that in most cultures veiling women is counterproductive. But the situation at the time Muhammad said it would be better for the women to be veiled warranted it. The veiling of women is a practical social practice, intended to solve a problem of the time, which is why there is so much diversity in the Muslim community when it comes to the veiling of women. There are Muslim societies in which women are completely veiled, others where they wear only the hijab, and others where they do not go veiled at all.

There are similar laws in other faiths as well. The issue is not with the original social law, but with different theological attempts to hold onto it and make it applicable through time. Each religious community seems to feel that its revelation is final and that laws will never change. But human beings and human societies evolve and what suits one age and situation does not fit another—hence, the succession of Prophets. Christ makes a point of this when He changes the law of divorce. When asked why Moses gave one law, and Jesus another, the Lord says, "Moses gave you this law because your hearts were hard, but from the beginning, it was not so."

The Bahá'í writings speak very directly to this: “The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and centre your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.” - Bahá'u'lláh, Tabernacle of Unity

The problem is not the faith or the Prophet, the problem is us. Which brings me to this point: When you repeatedly misspell or sarcastically misuse the name of a person, group, or faith, (i.e MuSlimes), it reflects far more on you than it does the target of your venom. These are other human beings. Our brothers and sisters. When you call them names you only abase yourself.

Maya Bohnhoff said...

@Foolster41: (1/2) You were unaware Ritzheimer said F*** Islam? Sweetie, he had t-shirts made. That’s I was responding to—his group held placards, wore t-shirts, carried guns and yelled obscenities at Muslims peacefully observing their sabbath. He equates all Islam with groups like ISIS, which says to all peaceful Muslims: “You’ve got your faith wrong and ISIS has it right. So, give it up.”

A lot of people take criticism poorly. Which makes the measured, even forgiving response to Ritzheimer’s protest by the Muslims involved worth applause. Why aren't you applauding? Their imam called on his congregation to ignore it. Some even went out and began dialogues with the protestors; they changed hearts and minds. Why aren't you celebrating that these Muslims can take—not just critique, but open attack—in stride?

Criticism can be the source of positive change. But questioning Muhammad's teachings on warfare, say, is different than saying that Islam and Muslims are evil or bad or inherently violent. That’s not criticism; it’s a personal attack.

This comes back to identity—how we as individuals and members of different groups have come to define ourselves _in opposition to_ other individuals or groups. We are more concerned about our differences than our similarities; more zealous about what we hold apart than what we hold in common. This is self-defeating behavior and we will never have the world we want if we continue it.

You made reference to “the many verses about warfare and how to deal with the non-believer in the Qouran (sic) and Hadith" as opposed to the one verse I cited where Christ speaks of bringing a sword.

First, there is more than one verse in which Christ could be misconstrued as advocating violence. Second, I have had Christians use the “not peace but a sword” verse to justify everything from their massive gun collections to their hateful attitudes toward gays, Muslims, immigrants, take your pick. Third, there are 114 chapters in the Qur’an. Only one of them deals extensively with warfare (for which there is an historic context). Most are spiritual teachings, social teachings and pragmatic laws about things like inheritance, marriage, fair business practices, etc.

Whether Muhammad taught violence is easily discerned by a careful and contextual reading of the Qur’an—by seeing where He placed His emphasis. Like Christ, He placed it on individual virtue. If I had to choose one word to describe Muhammad's essential teachings, it would be kindness or perhaps generosity. These are the eternal spiritual virtues taught in the Qur'an. It is where Muhammad placed His emphasis. WE have decided to emphasize those verses in which He instructs His followers about their conduct in battle.

(Continued in a separate comment)

Maya Bohnhoff said...

Foolster41: (2/2) You wrote: “Of course peaceful (westernized) Muslims say Islam is peaceful, but this is apparently not the way thousands of Muslims in Islamic countries read the Qouran, and who we should be worried about it.”

You have come to the crux: We cannot affect the Muslims in faraway lands directly. (Though certainly how we treat their co-religionists may have an indirect effect.) We CAN have a direct effect on the thousands of Muslims here in the West. So, I ask you, does it makes sense to approach those peaceful Muslims with anger and fear that they do not deserve, or to approach them with open minds and hearts? Just the false assumption that they are peaceful because they are "westernized" is an expression of bias. Should we not prefer the idea that they understand their faith best and that it is the violent and the oppressive who are wrong?

You indicated that Muhammad taught non-believers must convert, pay tax or die. First, “convert or die” is in direct contradiction to the Qur’an, which is the only revealed teaching of Muhammad. There is a contradiction there. Which means some people have got it wrong. Right? Who do you think has it wrong—those peaceful Muslims who co-exist worldwide with people of other faiths or those who choose the contradictory and later teaching?

Second, the Qur’an calls for Muslims to pay alms for the poor and for non-Muslims to pay a tax because they are not bound by alms yet derive the benefits of living in a Muslim society. In what way is that unjust?

You said I seemed to want to “ignore the violent Muslims.” I have never even suggested that. What I have said—consistently—is that judging ALL Muslims by those who do violence in the name of God is unjust and prejudicial. It would be like judging all Christians by the Congolese militias or the Westboro Baptists. If you attack the peaceful Muslims when your anger is really directed at ISIS or Al-Qaeda, what do you accomplish? You have the wrong target.

Thanks for making it clear that you believe there are peaceful Muslims. I hope you understand that is the majority of them. But when you approach them with contempt for their entire faith, you treat them as if they were, indeed, part of a despised whole. That’s what I meant by saying you seem to view Islam as a monolithic entity.

Faith is like a candle—it can be used to light the room or burn the house down. Don’t treat those who are trying to shed light as if they are aspiring arsonists.

Maya Bohnhoff said...

@Jericho: (1/2) You wrote: “Much blood was spilled INSPITE of christianity and not because of it.”

I agree. The moment Christian raised sword against Christian, a covenant was broken (see John 15). But the worldly reality was that those Crusaders and Inquisitors, like ISIS and others, believed they were doing the will of God.

Do we agree they were wrong?

"Now, you claim there are warrior priests, probably christians from your allegations"

You misconstrued me. I referred to the Buddhist warrior priests. The quote from the Buddha was to underscore that they have no justification to do violence. Nor did the Christian warriors who laid waste to entire populations during the Crusades. Nothing justifies what is, in essence, a breach of faith. Christ’s teachings are aimed at love and unity, not just between Christians, but between His followers and people they had previously thought of as “other”.

“…if a muslim KILLS or uses violence to subjugate others he will find FULL justification for his actions. Here's just a nibble for you.”

The nibble left most of the verse out. Your citation: "Muhammad is Allah's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another. Through them, Allah seeks to enrage the unbelievers". - 48:29

Here’s the entire verse: “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves. Thou (O Muhammad) seest them bowing and falling prostrate (in worship), seeking bounty from Allah and (His) acceptance. The mark of them is on their foreheads from the traces of prostration. Such is their likeness in the Torah and their likeness in the Gospel - like as sown corn that sendeth forth its shoot and strengtheneth it and riseth firm upon its stalk, delighting the sowers - that He may enrage the disbelievers with (the sight of) them. Allah hath promised, unto such of them as believe and do good works, forgiveness and immense reward.” Qur'an 48:29

This is not about warfare or killing, but about pious behavior; it likens the virtue of Muslims to the virtue of Jews and Christians. What will enrage disbelievers is the sight of a thriving spiritual community. If you look at where I have cited the verses that actually do pertain to warfare, you’ll see a clear instruction: fight until oppression ceases, then forgive and show no hostility “except to wrong-doers”.

continued in a second comment...

Maya Bohnhoff said...

@Jericho: (2/2) You asked about the moral teachings of Islam absent in Christianity and say Christianity is better. This isn’t a competition that Christ wins if Muhammad loses, or vice versa. Both Christ and Muhammad saw Themselves as part of a succession of divine messengers. Hence, Christians and Muslims both accept the Jewish prophets and Jesus as being divinely sent.

I was raised a Christian so I'm pretty well-versed in the Gospel. Since you are less familiar with the Qur’an...

Hast thou observed him who belieth religion? That is he who repelleth the orphan, and urgeth not the feeding of the needy. Ah, woe unto worshippers who are heedless of their prayer; who would be seen (at worship) yet refuse small kindnesses! — Qur’an, Surih 107:1-7

Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has Faith, verily, to him will We give a new Life, a life that is good and pure and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions. — Qur’an, Surih 16:97

“It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the prophets; and giveth wealth, for love of Him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free; and observeth proper worship and payeth the poor-due. And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress. Such are they who are sincere. Such are the Allah-fearing.” —Surih 2:177 (Note how He begins with kin and expands until He’s taken in anyone who asks.)

O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). -- Quran, Surih 49:13

Foolster41 said...

"First, there is more than one verse in which Christ could be misconstrued as advocating violence."
Which verses are those? How much out of context (i.e. how small a portion has to be quoted)? I find when I look at the context of verses in the Qouran and Hadith that Muslims cry "out of context!" for (surrounding verses) they don't seem any more peaceful than before.

"So, I ask you, does it makes sense to approach those peaceful Muslims with anger and fear that they do not deserve, or to approach them with open minds and hearts?"
Are you presuming I, David Woods, or other commenters here do so? If so, by what basis? Of course I don't, and I don't believe Mr. Woods does either. The point of this article is the atrocious behavior by Muslims, not to praise in any way Mr. Ritzheimer.


"Should we not prefer the idea that they understand their faith best and that it is the violent and the oppressive who are wrong?"
Of course it'd be preferable if the right Islam is the peaceful one, but this is wishful thinking! You are making the assumption here that the "peaceful" Muslims are the right ones, but when I look at the verses that the violent muslims use to justify thier violence, I can't just dismiss them with a wave of the hand that they are wrong.


"You indicated that Muhammad taught non-believers must convert, pay tax or die. First, "convert or die" is in direct contradiction to the Qur’an, which is the only revealed teaching of Muhammad. There is a contradiction there"

Maybe you should explain that to the vast majority of muslims (Shi'a and Suni) who reject this as heresy. Meanwhile I'm going to keep pointing out the troublinbg Hadith that Muslims use to justify violence and consider an integreal part of their faith. Also, perhaps you should look up the concept of Abrogation. The verses during the Mecca period are overwritten by the Medina period. Muslims see no contradiction there, just a change of commands.

"You said I seemed to want to "ignore the violent Muslims." I have never even suggested that. What I have said *consistently* is that judging ALL Muslims by those who do violence in the name of God is unjust and prejudicial. It would be like judging all Christians by the Congolese militias or the Westboro Baptists. If you attack the peaceful Muslims when your anger is really directed at ISIS or Al-Qaeda, what do you accomplish? You have the wrong target. "
Straw man argument. As I said, I've done no such thing. I only point to the verses that are quoted by Muslims themselves, look for myself at the context (surrounding verses).

"I hope you understand that is the majority of them. But when you approach them with contempt for their entire faith, you treat them as if they were, indeed, part of a despised whole. That’s what I meant by saying you seem to view Islam as a monolithic entity. "
Again, if you are implying I do this, you are wrong.

Foolster41 said...

And you are wrong about convert or die not being in the Qouran.

"Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." (Q. 5:9, Pickthall)

You also seem to have missed Q. 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, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."

To think that the violent Muslims are more correct in their teaching is not to hold anger or contempt against the peaceful Muslims, that is nonsense.

So far, I don't see much proof that Islam is peaceful and peaceful explanations for violent verses. That there are peaceful verses in the Qouran doesn't much given the Islamic idea of abrogation. You'd have to show how the peaceful verses come from the later period, and a strong justification for the violent actions of Mohammad, something in 14 years of looking at Islam I've yet to hear from Muslim apollogists.

Philip K Eyrich said...

If "Islam, as a religion, has no political goals because there is no single Muslim school of thought, government, or hierarchy", how can it even be considered a religion, for the same reasons?

Jericho Fallen said...


@Maya

Part 1/2

You seem to agree to disagree. Its quite obvious that you're confusing two factors here. The fallible human flesh and religious prescriptions. Do keep them apart. When the "christian crusaders and inquisitors were acting in violence and killing on what did they base their justifications? Definitely not christianity.

Firstly the prescriptions in christianity are clear that we are required to live in peace with everyone, to love even our enemy and not to KILL. If any "christian" or crusader acts outside of these bounds he acts on his OWN desires and will and cannot hold christianity accountable for their "christian" atrocities.

What you don't seem to understand is that if a muslim KILLS or subjugate you he is NOT acting OUTSIDE of his islamic prescriptions. In fact islam does warrant killings and violence towards non-believers. People like ISIS does not act OUTSIDE of islamic prescriptions at all. They are more muslim then the so called moderates trying to sell a more sanitized islam. If a muslim fails to KILL or use violence as required in islam that is a breach of faith.
( Yusuf Ali: [002:216] Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But God knoweth, and ye know not.) Notice how fighting (violence) is sold as good to the muslims.

Muslims has an open mandate in surah 8:39 to fight unbelievers until ALL people worship allah. This means that muslims will fight until judgement day because there's no way ALL people will submit to allah. It would've been so much simpler if allah only mandated that they live in peace with ALL. But that's not the case with islam.

Quran (8:39) - "And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone [in the whole of the world ]. But if they cease (worshipping others besides Allah), then certainly, Allah is All-Seer of what they do."

I've used surah 48:29 to show you that muslims are required to be harsh to unbelievers and kind to their own. So the intention of my nibble was conveyed. There is no basis outside of the quran to use this surah to compare the "likeness" to the gospel as there is no verse that requires the pious christian to be harsh or fight against anyone. Does pious behaviour in islam warrant harshness and fighting? Every muslim, no matter how moderate, who declares the shahadah must prime his mind that he is required to kill and use violence for islam if and when the need arises. This is not so in christianity... Continue


Jericho Fallen said...

@Maya

Part 2/2
I don't see the relevance of surah 107:7 but this is probably to show the "morals" in islam. Who is this needy or poor people being referred to in that surah. That is definitely not for non muslims as we can see below.

You've quoted surah 2:177 to suggest that muslims give to the needy, the wayfarer and ANYONE who asks. You've even put a little emphasis in brackets. Unfortunately the islamic scholars disagrees with you on this point. In fact this surah allows you to use a persons predicament and bribe them towards islam. Let's ask the scholars..


Surah 2:177 - Giving to non muslims:
It is best that zakatu-l-fitr be
given to the poor and the needy
(al-miskin - someone whose level
of poverty is more or less than
the poor (al-faqir), but does not
let others know of his need nor
does he beg from others), these
are the first two categories of the
eight to whom zakat is normally
given to; this due to his salallahu
alayhi wa salam saying, ‘…and as
food for the needy’. The majority
of scholars are of the opinion
that zakatu-l-fitr is not to be
given to NON-MUSLIMS.
The way of giving Zakat al-Fitr in
non-Islamic Lands
Haytham bin Jawwad al-Haddad,
Islam Awakening, Article ID: 984



There is one category of zakaah
that may be given to the kuffaar,
which is “ to attract the hearts of
those who have been inclined
(towards Islam) ” (cf. al-Tawbah
9:60). It is permissible to give
zakaah funds to those kaafirs
who hold positions of authority
and influence among their
people, if there is the hope that
by giving them something they
may become Muslims, then
those who are under them may
become Muslim too. And Allaah
is the Source of strength.
Giving zakaah to kaafirs
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-
Munajjid, Islam Q&A, Fatwa No.
21384 ( notice how surah 2:177 actually applies to kafirs (non believers). It can be given but only as a bribe.
So NO!! Surah 2:177 does not give a good moral standing for islam, in fact it highlights their moral bankruptcy.

Surah 49:13 - What is this verse suppose to convey. The surah merely says that we were not supposed to despise each other but yet the quran itself spews on this surah. In surah 5:51 the muslims are not to take unbelievers as friends. Even allah himself despises the unbelievers himself yet he created different tribes and nations. Islam speaks in a fork tongue and it contradicts itself heavily.


Sher Ali: 5:51 O ye who believe ! take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends of each other. And whoso among you takes them for friends is indeed one of them. Verily ALLAH guides not the unjust people.

[008:055] Surely the vilest of animals in Allah's sight are those who disbelieve, then they would not
believe.


In Christ, for Christ, by Christ

D. Collaric said...

@ Maya.

The CAIRO DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS was drafted by ISLAMIC Scholars and politicians of FIFTY states. I'd say they carry a bit more authority than some followers of an Islamic heretical sect (as you wrote yourself)

“Reliance of the Traveler” is ISLAMIC Sacred Law.

But of course you being Bahai are going to tell people WHICH Islam is the TRUE ONE. When your leader was born sometime in the 1800. HAHAHAHAHA, sorry if I laugh.

The “political” Goals of ISLAM the (major sects here) and here I speak about the Sunni is one world-wide caliphate. The requirements and instruction can be found in Sharia.

You may reject the documents I've quoted, but this is ONE PERSONAL choice of yours.
Others do not have this luxury..

As to the veiling of muSlimaahs. I could quote the ahadih and the “commentary” about that.
That indeed the prophfeet was ASKED several times to ORDER the females to be VEILED, for that reason. To be safe from harassment on the way to the OPEN space.

How about SURE 9:111-112?

this is NOW the third time I'm raising this issue. Allah in this passage makes one HUGE claim, but it can NOT be verified. In PLAIN words allah LIES. Not that it were the only time.


Maya Bohnhoff said...

@Philip: If a religion must have a single school of thought or a single sect in order to be considered a religion, then the Bahá'í Faith would be the only religion on the planet. Moreover, why would political goals be a necessary part of religion? The US is one of the few countries in which religion plays such a large part in the political sphere in the way it does.

Consider Christianity. There are over 30,000 sects of the Christian faith in the world. They agree on general principles: that there is one God, that He has spoken historically through major and minor prophets and that the faith is based on the ministry of Jesus bar Joseph whom most Christians consider to be the Messiah promised in the Old Testament. Beyond that, they disagree over social laws and even the application of some spiritual principles. Christians of different schools of thought come into conflict regularly over issues such as immigration, abortion, racial prejudice, healthcare, and government programs to aid the poor.

Would you consider Christianity, therefore, to not be a religion?

The history of both faiths—and Judaism too—is a history of human schism and difference of opinion about how to interpret the revelation. But all have a holy book or books based upon revelation, and communities of people who experience their relationship with God and other human beings through the principles of that revelation, such as they interpret them. To me, that essential relationship with God, worshipped in concert by a group of people is what makes a religion.

Paige said...

Dear Maya,

Wow! Those are substantial responses! Good on you. I appreciate that you took the time to reply.

I am first and foremost very sorry that your experience within the churches you've attended has not been positive and that you've not experienced what it is like to be in an environment that nurtures and empower free thinking and healthy debate. I do not say this condescendingly. I am genuinely sorry.

From your comment that religious scholars have the last word in Christianity, as well as your references to sects and your comment that "most Christians consider (Jesus) to be the Messiah, I'm able to get a better picture of what your background has been.

As I read your comments it seems your mind is very made up on your position. It is, however, an unsustainable position because, ultimately, your position is that you are choosing 'not' to choose. I am in no way referring to simply Islam or Christianity, I am referring to the decisions that you know you must make, if only to exist as a rational, logical and intelligent human being.

At the end of the day we must be prepared to follow our convictions through to their logical conclusions and be honest with ourselves regarding the nature of our beliefs. It may seem like a noble thing to invent a better world, but it is that, an invention. A better world requires honesty and courage and the ability to see things as they are, and keeping on loving!

Philip K Eyrich said...

@Maya. Your original post which I had quoted was important to the context of our discussion. But that's the one prior to this one:

@Philip: If a religion must have a single school of thought or a single sect in order to be considered a religion, then the Bahá'í Faith would be the only religion on the planet. Moreover, why would political goals be a necessary part of religion? The US is one of the few countries in which religion plays such a large part in the political sphere in the way it does.""

The point here is that Islam is not something which is exclusively a religion or a political system. It is both, to devout Muslims who hold to the orthodox Islam as shown by the Quran, ahadith, sunna, etc, all of which comprise Islam as Muhammad set forth the example for Muslims to follow. Those Muslims who think Islam is merely a religion with a focus on charity and prayer don't know the rest of what Islam is about.

I'm sorry you did not keep the context of what I posted, so it would be easier.

Islam is a political system and religion in one. You may think it doesn't qualify because there is no central hierarchy or similar, but know that devout Muslims maintain the teachings of Allah were revealed in full clarity, so it's no surprise we see so many practicing Islam in the same way. It's those who don't know Islam who are unaware of its practices, thus misleading others into believing Islam is something it is not.

Maya Bohnhoff said...

Foolster41: (1/2) You ask what other verses of Christ have been misconstrued besides this one: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth. I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to ‘set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.’ And ‘a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.’” — Matthew 10:34-36

Here’s another: “If any man come to Me and hate not his father and mother, and wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” — Luke 14: 26

These are interpreted to mean that contempt and even hatred for anyone perceived as an unbeliever is justified. A Baptist acquaintance told me that he was justified in showing intolerance for other faiths (often by misspelling the Prophet’s name) because Christ was intolerant. To him, and to others I’ve had dialogues with or whose thoughts on the subject I’ve read, those verses suggest that hatred of others is a virtue.

This verse is also cited to support hostility and violence by Christians: “Then said He unto them, “But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it and likewise his pack; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. For I say unto you that this that is written must yet be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was reckoned among the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.” Luke 22:36-37

I hear this one frequently used as an argument for having a large arsenal of weapons with which to take up arms against one’s enemies. Do you doubt that it is this sort of interpretation that leads a clergyman, for example, to say that he hates a transgender woman with “a perfect hate”?

I do not for one moment think that all Christians understand these verses to promote intolerance, hostility or violence against non-Christians, or Christians with divergent beliefs. I know my parents didn’t. But a loud and angry cadre of Christians do, and their voice often drowns out the voices of those who see Christ’s purpose as connecting His followers with God’s love. To read any of these verses as advocating hatred of others creates a huge contradiction with what Christ gives as the greatest commandments—to love God and love our neighbors.

Those two greatest commandments are linked in the epistles as well. One example: “If a man say, “I love God,” and hateth his brother, he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” — 1 John 4:20

(continued)

Maya Bohnhoff said...

Foolster41: (2/2) I asked if it made sense to approach peaceful Muslims with anger and fear that they do not deserve. You asked why I would presume anyone involved in the comment thread doing that. My point is and has been that few of the commenters here, much less Mr. Ritzheimer, draw any distinction between peaceful Muslims and terrorists or between the way they observe or express their faith.

Mr. Ritzheimer said: F*** Islam. He said, “The core values of islam is what I really hate.” He said (while wearing a F*** Islam t-shirt and carrying a loaded gun) "they need to learn tolerance. We're not the ones out committing these acts. We're not the ones threatening anybody by believing otherwise.” (Neither were the Muslims in that mosque.) He said, “…true Islam is terrorism.”

Few of the commenters here have taken exception to Ritzheimer’s words. And some that have, have expressed concern that such protests will incite American Muslims to violence, not that the portrayal of Muslims is unjust or prejudicial.

Paige said: “Muslims are bound in chains to this earth and they fight as such…”

Charlie opined: “One thing I have noticed with muslims is that they are cowards. Unless there are a group of them to intimidate you they cannot say anything.”

D. Collaric has cited pages and pages of documentation that he claims defines the faith of all Muslims on the planet.

Here is what I know: The core values of Islam are defined by the Din—a life-transaction between God and the believer. These include that there is one God who has taught mankind through a series of prophets, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. That our purpose here is to know and love God and to serve mankind. That the secular and spiritual must be combined through human of leadership.

That last one is where the different sects of Islam disagree and that is why there is no single authority in Islam, because human beings with their own ideas about what the faith was about, claimed authority. This has also happened in other faiths, including Christianity.

You wrote: “Of course it'd be preferable if the right Islam is the peaceful one, but this is wishful thinking! You are making the assumption here that the "peaceful" Muslims are the right ones, but when I look at the verses that the violent muslims use to justify their violence, I can't just dismiss them with a wave of the hand that they are wrong.”

I’m not asking you to dismiss them, but to understand that they do not represent the majority of Muslims in this country or in the world at large. Even if you believe the Qur’an actually promotes violence against non-Muslims in any context, doesn’t it make more sense to cultivate their supposedly “wrong-headed” idea that it doesn’t? These Muslims—the ones Jon Ritzheimer and others attack—believe those verses applied to a specific time and situation early in the life of the faith. Shouldn’t you applaud and support that view?

I’m glad we understand each other. I am not suggesting you dismiss the violent Muslims, but not regard all Muslims as violent. You are not suggesting that all Muslims are violent or that the core teachings of Islam are violent.

But what I was responding to, initially, was exactly that sort of sentiment from Ritzheimer and others who commented here. If your attitude toward Muslims is not theirs, that’s fine, then you are not the object of my commentary.

Maya Bohnhoff said...

@Jericho:

You wrote: "You seem to agree to disagree. Its quite obvious that you're confusing two factors here. The fallible human flesh and religious prescriptions. Do keep them apart. When the "christian crusaders and inquisitors were acting in violence and killing on what did they base their justifications? Definitely not christianity."

LOL. That's exactly the message I'm trying to give you. Don't confuse the revelation with man's interpretations of it. I agree, more than you know, that the Crusaders were rejecting Christ when they committed violence. In the garden of Gethsemane Christ makes it crystal clear that if Christians cease to love each other, they are cut off from the True Vine. When Christian first raised sword agains Christian, that covenant was broken. His other clear teachings make in untenable for a Christian to hate or kill anyone. So, I agree, definitely not Christianity.

You understand the difference between revelation and interpretation in Christianity, yet when I quote the Qur'an, you go to the interpretations of men. "Let's go to the scholars." Why? Especially since they can't agree. Not all Muslim scholars interpret that verse in that way. The major schools of Islamic philosophy don't even agree on what possesses the most authority: Scripture, Hadith, tradition, reason, jurisprudence etc.

The same divergence exists in Christianity. Catholicism vests authority in the Pope and in tradition and has historically downplayed and even discouraged the reading of Scripture by the believers. Other denominations place the authority in Scripture or in their leaders interpretation of it. In my life as a Christian, I attended a variety of churches. Each one had a different take on everything from the Trinity, to Christ's sacrifice, to where a Christian should place their emphasis—correct doctrinal belief, or following the words of Christ.

Islam is no less fragmented and some of the fragments are extreme and violent because of the way that flawed human beings have interpreted scripture.

Maya Bohnhoff said...

@Phillip:

Islam, like Judaism, had both temporal and spiritual elements that faiths like Christianity and Buddhism, say, did not. The genesis of Islam is much like the genesis of Judaism after Moses’ revelation. Moses and Muhammad's missions were very similar in that both took antagonistic tribes and melded them into a people. The laws they revealed had distinct social aspects that were very much tailored to the time, the place and the people. Christ remarks on this when He changes the teaching on divorce: “Moses gave you this law because your hearts were hard, but from the beginning, it was not so.”

God teaches according to our capacity to understand.

The world has changed vastly since the time of Muhammad and the single, temporal community of believers no longer exists in the way that it did then. Some Muslims, like some ultra-orthodox Jews, hold to social laws that were applicable to the age in which the faith was revealed. Some don’t. I have colleagues in my interfaith council who are devout Muslims who exemplify this. One is an imam at a local mosque, the other is an amazing Muslima who is very outspoken and much admired by Muslim and non-Muslim alike. They represent a large body of believers who see the Sharia as practiced in the early days of the faith as something that is firmly in the past and for which the circumstances will never arise again. They see their faith as something that, like all other things, must evolve.

As a Bahá’í, I accept the idea that while there are eternal spiritual teachings (Love God and your fellow human beings, strive to live a life that is purposeful and transformative, seek knowledge—especially self-knowledge, etc) there are social teachings that must change with the needs of each age. I think people of faith can confuse the two and insist that the forms current 1000 or 2000 years ago, or even more, should be applicable now.

So, if we meet Muslims who believe the laws revealed for the social situation of the age of Muhammad are no longer applicable because the situation no longer exists, what do we gain by insisting they must apply verses that were revealed during a particular crisis in the young life of the faith to today’s world? To insist on that is to insist that all Muslims believe as extremists believe and that the Western powers have simply stepped into the shoes of the Jews of Medina and the tribes they allied themselves with.

The argument reminds of debates I’ve had with new atheist thinkers who insist that Christians have to take every word of the Bible materialistically and that to evolve our in understanding of our world and the scriptures of our faith is somehow cheating.

Maya Bohnhoff said...

@Paige: You misconstrued my comments about churches I attended. We changed churches because my mother believed that one should never question the authority of God, but always question the authority of men. If she heard doctrine preached for which she found no support in scripture, she asked the pastor about it. If he couldn’t reconcile it with scripture, we found a new church.

When I was 7, we joined a Presbyterian church that was full of the spirit of Christ. It was an extended family. When I was 10, my mother took our girl scout troop to the church basement when our usual meeting place was unavailable. She was accosted by two Catholic mothers who accused her of causing their daughters to sin by taking them into a “heathen church.” Later, I asked Mom, “Don’t we believe in the same God? Don’t we all love Jesus?” Crying, she said, “I thought so.”

That was my first experience with schism in my faith. It did not shake my faith in Christ.

That church disintegrated when our lovable minister retired and the new pastor seemed less lovable. The congregation drifted away. That did not shake my faith in Christ. But it did shake my faith in our ability to obey Him. As a teen searching for Christ I found that many sects believed they had Him exclusively. Evangelicals thought Catholics were going to hell; Catholics thought Protestants were going to hell; Jehovah’s Witnesses thought all other Christians were going to hell, forget about Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, etc.

This did not make sense, given Christ’s message, especially when I meditated on the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7). The God revealed by Christ is not stingy with spiritual food, reserving it for some of His children and not others. I believed that the spirit of Christ must exist in some community of believers and I was determined to find it. I found it when I was 19. Since then I have been in an environment that nurtures and empowers free thinking, healthy debate, and the acquisition of knowledge—both spiritual and material. My search for Christ yielded fruit when I became a Bahá’í. I chose. I left churches; I did not leave Christ.

One of my urgent questions growing up was how God could consign billions of souls to hell because they were not born in the right place at the right time. The answer I found was that He didn’t. He has always spoken to us according to our capacity to comprehend through a succession of Messengers. The Bible is a record of this. Moses speaks of it when He talks about “a Prophet like Me” who will appear to fulfill the Law. Jesus says He is that Prophet and that though His followers can’t understand everything He could tell them, another “Advocate” will come to lead them to further truths. This idea of a faith that is revealed progressively through the ages is foundational to Judaism, Christianity and Islam (and Hinduism and Buddhism).

I see Islam as part of a continuum. If the circumstances surrounding its revelation seem alien to me, it’s no surprise. My world is not that world. In the same way that I understand that some of the draconian laws of Moses were given because of the lack of capacity of His audience, I understand the same of the laws of Muhammad.

Here is what I know: treating Muslims who believe their faith to be one of tolerance and devotion to God as if they are a diabolical enemy no different than ISIS is destructive, counterproductive and runs counter to Christ’s message. I am certain beyond a shadow of doubt, that expressions of intolerance toward tolerant and peaceful Muslims will not bear good fruit whether they come from Christians or atheists like Sam Harris.

Words are powerful. The Bahá'í scriptures say that every word has an effect. Some are like honey, others like poison. When we unleash poisonous words on a group of people (and thereby on all the individuals in that group) we cause anyone within hearing harm. So, when I hear people saying “F*** Islam!” or calling Muslims cowards, or saying they are bound to the earth, or any number of angry things, it saddens me. I believe it also saddens Christ.

Paige said...

Dear Maya,

Your logic has led you down a rabbit hole where there is very little light. Like Plato's story of the man who lived for too long in a cave, you are seeing shadows as things that are real. Always one degree short of north in everything you say, you argue in favour of faiths that you simultaneously reject. You may have found a circle of people willing to water down their beliefs into a soupy puddle, but what is true has nothing to do with numbers or agreement.

As I said earlier, when all your arguments have finished you have simply chosen not to choose. This perhaps feels like a safe place for you, especially because of your background experiences, but better worlds are not created by sticking pieces of worlds together to make ones you like more.

Your faith, a spin off from Islam in the 1800s by a man who named himself "the glory of God", is described by Paul as he wrote to his disciple Timothy. It holds to "a form of godliness, while denying its power" (2 Tim. 3:5). Maya, God is not a concoction of good intentions and best wishes for mankind. Baha'i, like its mother faith Islam, are paths invented to find God while making sure he never does. While you're talking about progressive revelations and guidelines to find Him, God is already knocking at your door.

Jericho Fallen said...




@Maya

You seem to base your defence of islam's atrocities on men's misinterpretations of their revelations. This might be the case in certain instances but not in ALL of them. It is for this reason that a person should do further reading and research to gain the correct interpretation an understanding of such a revelation or command. A person should distinguish between the meccan and medinian revlations as well as those abrogated surahs. My conclusion, after all, remains pretty much the same that islam is violent and intolerant towards others.

Since you agree that christianity is in general a religion that advocates peace, love, kindness and harmony I won't ponder to much on that.
However any person that comes across verses that "appears" to give any other meaning can easily be cleared upon further examination as said.

For example you've stated that people can misunderstand the verse in Matthew 10:34-35 that Jesus brought a sword. To do what with? In the same gospel Matthew 26:52 Jesus told one of his followers to put back his sword in its place as those who live by the sword shall die by the sword. The same Jesus also said "love you neighbour as yourself". Does this sound like someone who brought a "sword" to wage war? Only in the feeble mind.

Now back to the matter at hand. You are wrong. Muslims are indeed required to follow the tafsir and fatwa of scholars and not their own interpretations of islamic scripture as this is considered bid'ah.

I've given you the interpretations of renowned islamic scholars on surah 2:177. Clearly these "scholars" are not in agreement with your kufr innovated interpretation of their scriptures. Muslims are required to follow these fatwas or tafsir even to their dislike.

Since you're so big on people "misinterpreting" scriptures I would love to get your "correct" interpretation of surah 2:216, 8:39, 5:51 and 8:55 that you so casually brushed by in my previous posting. Perhaps I've not interpret these surahs and ayats for what they really mean, peace and harmony to all.

In Christ, for Christ, by Christ

D. Collaric said...

Maya wrote:

@David Wood: (2 of 2) The verses normally used to prove Islam is violent and intends for all non-Muslims to be killed, for example, are from the second surih, in which Muhammad is responding to the assaults on the Muslim community by the Jews of Medina who broke a covenant they had made with Muhammad.


Battle of the Trench and did the Jews fight AGAINST THE muSlimes?

Participants: (as shortly told as needed)

1.) muSlimes of Yathrib/medina
2.) JEWS, THE LAST TRIBE of Yathrib/medina
3.) arabs FIGHTING for their WAY OF LIFE,

Imagine if you will a circle, inside are 3.000 muSlimes, one section of the circle is in the hand of a THIRD party, the Jews. The rest of the circle (2/3 OF IT) is being controlled by Pagans. They came to FIGHT the muSlimes. ONE trench, under control of the muSlimes separates the two armies, Pagans & muSlimes. Maududi in his commentary about Sura 33, describes the situation more fully. Point here is, the TRENCH and the property of the Jews protected the muSlimes from the "enemies".


Tabari VIII:17 "The Muslims and the polytheists stayed in their positions for twenty nights with no fighting except for the shooting of arrows and the siege. =end quote=


The ONLY place left to cross into the enemy territory would be through the area controlled by the Jews.

Now what did the muSlimes actually expect from the Jews, that 6 to 900 males FIGHT on the behalf and with the 3.000 muSlimes, outnumbered as they were?

The Jews actually were PROTECTING the muSlimes. None of the PAGANS could cross into the inner circle, where the 3.000 muSlimes were.

Maududi tells a story of how a LYING muSlime a recent convert to Islam, who kept this fact hidden from the Jews and the PAGANS, was able to sow DISUNITY among the enemies. The Jews in the end did not remain on the side of the Pagans.

Had the JEWS OPENED their territory to the enemies, 10 or 12.000 of them could HAVE marched through it, and DO SERIOUS HARM to the muSlimes. Did this happen? NO, instead:

quote:
The siege was prolonged for more than 25 days. It was winter. The supply of food and water and forage was becoming more and more scarce everyday and division in the camp was also a great strain on the state of morale of the besiegers. Then, suddenly one night a severe windstorm accompanied by thunder and lightning hit the camp. It added to the cold and darkness. The wind overthrew the tents and put the enemy in disarray. They could not stand this severe blow of nature. They left the battleground even during the night and returned to their homes. end quote

Again IF THE JEWS had REALLY changed their mind, anytime during these 25 days why COULD THE enemies NOT enter the INNER circle, BREAK THE defensive and FINISH off the muSlimes? Because the Jews REMAINED NEUTRAL. They choose NOT to take sides.

Therefore they DID NOT betray the muSlimes. INSTEAD muSlimes of the FIRST hour went after the JEWS.


Quote:
D. Collaric has cited pages and pages of documentation that he claims defines the faith of all Muslims on the planet. =end quote=

No I have NOT I DID NOT CLAIM to know what ALL Muslims believe, BUT what I DO KNOW is the TEACHINGS of Islam, ITS POLITICAL GOALS and SOME LAWS gleaned from the MOST TRUSTED ISLAMIC SOURCES. If YOU have any problem what what I've posted, take it up with ISLAMIC Scholars.

FOURTH TIME: HAVE you SPOTTED the HUGE LIE of allah in the passage, 9:111-112?

Philip K Eyrich said...

@Maya:

Jesus exposed the Jews of his time as having departed from what God gave them. Muhammad should not be taken as the final prophet because that runs contrary to New Testament teaching and Muhammad's teachings are not in agreement with the New Testament, nor even the Old Testament.

Islam's teaching is that the final prophet to mankind is Muhammad, and the teachings from him and through him are clear, final, and unchanging, so those Muslims making claims to the contrary of that which was taught and practiced by Muhammad, their perfect example to emulate, are in error, not adhering to Islam just as the Jews of Jesus' time replace God's teaching with their own. The only real Muslims are those who are devout in following the example of Muhammad.

--------
@Phillip:

Islam, like Judaism, had both temporal and spiritual elements that faiths like Christianity and Buddhism, say, did not. The genesis of Islam is much like the genesis of Judaism after Moses’ revelation. Moses and Muhammad's missions were very similar in that both took antagonistic tribes and melded them into a people. The laws they revealed had distinct social aspects that were very much tailored to the time, the place and the people. Christ remarks on this when He changes the teaching on divorce: “Moses gave you this law because your hearts were hard, but from the beginning, it was not so.”

God teaches according to our capacity to understand.

The world has changed vastly since the time of Muhammad and the single, temporal community of believers no longer exists in the way that it did then. Some Muslims, like some ultra-orthodox Jews, hold to social laws that were applicable to the age in which the faith was revealed. Some don’t. I have colleagues in my interfaith council who are devout Muslims who exemplify this. One is an imam at a local mosque, the other is an amazing Muslima who is very outspoken and much admired by Muslim and non-Muslim alike. They represent a large body of believers who see the Sharia as practiced in the early days of the faith as something that is firmly in the past and for which the circumstances will never arise again. They see their faith as something that, like all other things, must evolve.

As a Bahá’í, I accept the idea that while there are eternal spiritual teachings (Love God and your fellow human beings, strive to live a life that is purposeful and transformative, seek knowledge—especially self-knowledge, etc) there are social teachings that must change with the needs of each age. I think people of faith can confuse the two and insist that the forms current 1000 or 2000 years ago, or even more, should be applicable now.

So, if we meet Muslims who believe the laws revealed for the social situation of the age of Muhammad are no longer applicable because the situation no longer exists, what do we gain by insisting they must apply verses that were revealed during a particular crisis in the young life of the faith to today’s world? To insist on that is to insist that all Muslims believe as extremists believe and that the Western powers have simply stepped into the shoes of the Jews of Medina and the tribes they allied themselves with.

The argument reminds of debates I’ve had with new atheist thinkers who insist that Christians have to take every word of the Bible materialistically and that to evolve our in understanding of our world and the scriptures of our faith is somehow cheating.

Paige said...

Dear Maya,

The background you described was very much the one I had imagined you'd been through. You've clearly been blessed by having a loving mother who cared so much for you.

Your argument comes from a place that many people find themselves in as they struggle to reconcile God with an ungodly world. Baha'i is very attractive to people on this search because it offers them a solution that separate God from evil, but, my friend, it also separates God from man. You will probably be dismayed at this statement as it's clear that you earnestly feel that you've found God by stepping away from man's interpretation.

The truth is there is actually no other way to know God except apart from man's interpretation. The Word of God tells us that for a fact when it says there is no longer any mediator between man and God but God Himself (1 Tim. 2:5). I am not troubled, nor my trust in the Body of Christ shaken, by the reality that people have different ways of doing things because my relationship is not contingent with any agreement I have with men.

You will likely agree with this sentiment, but it is only in theory. For in reality, you have found a safe place nested deep in the interpretations of one man who taught you to look with suspicion and fear upon every other man's interpretations. Unlike Jesus, he did not point you to a way, but to many, leaving his followers to play Russian roulette with their spiritual destinies.

You say that an understanding of progressive revelation exists in Christianity and Judaism as well, and you are right to an extent. But, as with almost everything else Bahai'a teaches, it is for a completely different reason. Look Maya, at why you are being taught about progressive revelation, what is the agenda it is supporting? As you'll realize this agenda does not exist in Christianity or Judaism, so to a larger extent your claim is wrong.

I think somewhere in your heart you know that the smorgasbord of spiritual contradictions before you is not what you are really looking for. You deserve more than a pocket full of half truths. If you would like to keep talking I'm more than happy to give you my email address.

Shalom.

Maya Bohnhoff said...

Paige: Interesting—what started as a discussion of ideas has become about me.

I WAS blessed in my mother. I was blessed with two loving parents, both devoted Christians. My father died when I was 15; my mother—who investigated the Bahá'í Faith with an eye to disproving it—became a Bahá'í six months after I did.

I've no problem "reconciling God with an ungodly world". It's clear to me that the evil in the world is the result of our inability do what God asks of us. Christ gave His disciples one central commandment to obey—that they love one another. Few make it through that narrow gate.

You say the Faith separates God and man. The reverse is true. I've been a Bahá'í my entire adult life and can tell you unequivocally that it's entirely about God reaching out to humanity. What I have "stepped away from" is human editing of scripture to exclude people and to justify our prejudices. A key teaching of Bahá'u'lláh is that “the vitality of man’s belief in God is dying out in every land” and that only God’s Word has the capacity to restore it. The Bahá'í Faith is entirely about our relationship with God and other human beings.

You say your "relationship is not contingent with any agreement [you] have with men.” We agree. I’m sure you’ve heard the aphorism “He who fears God fears no man.” That describes my regard for the interpretations of men. I have no fear of them, and I'm suspicious of them because they are often contradictory. I undertook my search for Christ (which led me to Bahá'u'lláh) because of those contradictions.

Your description of Bahá'u'lláh as pointing to many ways is not new, but it's no more true or coherent here. Three core teachings of the Bahá'í Faith are that there is one God who has spoken with love to humanity throughout our collective life here; that there is, therefore, one religion progressively revealed; that there is one human family of which we are all—without exception—members.

That is the “agenda” progressive revelation supports—human unity. The message: the world has ever and always been in need of divine guidance and that the Word of God, alone—when acted on in our individual and collective lives—has the capacity to forge that unity. The prophet Isaiah (2:2-10) spoke of it: “And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, “Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. O house of Jacob, come ye and let us walk in the light of the Lord.”

That is the goal of religion as taught by Bahá’u’lláh.

You mention spiritual contradictions. I saw many as I sought to understand how the plethora of Christian denominations could all claim a monopoly on truth yet disagree on its fundamentals. Jesus reveals a God beside whose love human emotion is a pale reflection. Yet I was asked to believe that this God had condemned billions of souls to hell simply because they had been born several thousand years before Christ in India. That alone raised profound questions about mans’ interpretation of scripture and Christ’s mission. The Bahá'í Faith answered those questions and laid those seeming contradictions to rest.

We all deserve more than a pocket full of half truths, Paige. I have been blessed that my search yielded so much more.

I'd be happy to continue our dialogue offline. I'm on Twitter (kaath09) Message me with your email address if you wish. I enjoy discussions of faith and life.

Paige said...

Dear Maya,

I so sorry but I've only just read your reply. I do so much appreciate reading your responses. You have a very elegant way of wording your thoughts which is very enjoyable to read.

I'm not on Twitter and such, but I have sent you a friend request on another social network thingy. My initials are A.P. (I use my middle name here) and I am rather fond of bees so I hope this helps you identify me.

Thank you so kindly for the offer and yes, I'd love to continue our discussions offline.

Cheers!

Paige