You have a link called investigating Islam, I know you have a little
disclaimer saying you might not agree with everything or everyone
but why do you have a pro muslim web site link in the midst of all
the good Christian sites? I'm confussed.
Quite a few of my Christian friends like to be well-informed about
what we are up against in dealing with the outside world. This has
been especially true of Islam where many Christians until recently
did not have a clue about what Muslims actually believe.
I have several articles on my web site written by Orthodox Jews who
openly disbelieve in Jesus.
I hope people who use my web site will have their discernment turned
on and learn to sort out truth from error. The greater dangers to our
Christian faith these days, I think, come from the many subtle
heresies and errors and hypocrisy arising from within the professing
community. Islam is so blatantly false I don't think there is much
danger of established Christians going astray in that direction.
Science is another difficult subject--much of prevailing scientific
orthodoxy today is actually atheistic naturalism, and yet the church
by and large embraces uncritically much of what science tosses out as
Thanks for writing, I appreciate your comments. I want to stay open
to the Spirit of God in managing my web site.
I thought that this was an important message, and perhaps one worth a little
It's true that established Christians are not very likely to go astray
in the direction of Islam. This probably applies to the hedonists among us,
as well. It may be good to define what established means, though. To me,
it is one who is grounded in the Word, who knows how to see the issues from
a biblical perspective. I am also aware that there are many true believers
out there who accept the Bible as authoritative and so on, who may not be
familiar with competing views (e.g., Calvinism v. Arminianism), and who may
not be challenged on a day-to-day basis by Islam, Orthodox Judaism, etc. (I
once knew a very devote chap who used to brag how he would slam the door in
the faces of Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses.)
Some of the things I like to talk about seem very esoteric to some.
Perhaps a lack of familiarity with some issues seems benign enough, but I
think the importance of some of these discussions can be very understated.
Specifically, I'm concerned with the children and young adults who are
brought up in a "church environment" who think that they understand what
being a disciple of Jesus is all about. To some, it's having a cell phone,
an SUV, a safe place to hang out during the week (and safe friends to hang
out with), and a cool store to buy Christian books and paraphernalia--pardon
When the 911 disaster occurred, I was there for my students at Cal
State, Northridge. The shock of events had several in tears. The Muslim
students were wide-eyed observing the reactions of their classmates. Even
in the university environment, there were incidents of hatred that were
difficult to deal with for professors. As I merely opened the floor to
discussion, questions came out that would have been startling to me if I
hadn't already anticipated them.
One young woman wanted to know what all the uproar was between Israel
and Palestine--she truly had no clue. She was speaking for a good portion
of class. (I did my best, starting with the Balfour declaration.) As you
must know, entering freshman are woefully ignorant of geography, let alone
history. (Some extreme cynics think this is almost deliberate because it
means that people can be manipulated more easily. What does the U.S. stand
for, and why is it so unique?) I've had students insist that New England is
a state. It would be absurd to talk about the differences between Catholics
and Protestants almost anywhere in America. One commentator I heard
recently said that it is because the entire U.S. is post-Reformation. We
have no clue that wars raged throughout Europe, nor do we have an inkling of
the kinds of horrors that were brought. The iron cages still hang from
cathedrals in Muenster; how many know that Calvin burned Michael Servitus at
the stake? The Holocaust is ancient history.
So, one of my real concerns is that we have hundreds and thousands of
young people, reared with a church background (and often kept out of these
discussions), who hit the so-called secular university campuses all round
the nation, and who simply have no clue at all what they are going to
encounter from their professors. I'd say the vast majority of my colleagues
are politically liberal, hold fast to the myth of evolution, and are openly
anti-fundamentalist (of any stripe, but particularly against those so-called
born-again Christians). Many are pro-Palestinian, even among the Jews.
Very few have any knowledge of the history of Islam, and if they do, they
simply assume that times have changed, that everybody thinks like us
(because America is so cool-everybody loves our music and the way we dress).
I'd say that the majority of my PhD colleagues have a naive view of mankind
that basically assumes Reason, that all people really want peace--after all
(it's the only reasonable choice between war and peace), and that all
religions teach the same thing.
Consequently, I feel that we are obligated to do whatever we can to
state what may be obvious to us. Using the words of Muslims to illustrate
what Islam is about is one step, but our response as established Christians
needs to be unequivocal. (I was somewhat disappointed with Franklin
Graham's official statements after 911 because they seemed political and
fuzzy. I truly hope he understands the differences.) We should neither
fear Islam nor discussing it.
As a professor, I often make the mistake of believing that my students
understand what I'm saying (the way I intend my carefully worded lectures).
I think I know (at least most of the time) the kinds of knowledge I try to
impart, and I think I'm relatively clear. My students often remark that I
make explanations clear, interesting, and sometimes funny, particularly when
compared to other professors. But, come exam time, the other reality
emerges. I can only imagine how much real information is passing from
teacher to student in those classes run by profs who don't particularly
care. We assume way to much. When speaking of the important figures of
British or American literature, it is assumed that students understand the
political and/or philosophical contexts--they don't. Reinterpreting
Shakespeare in the light of gay and lesbian interests has become par for the
In the case of Islam, most Muslims know about Mohammed's 9-13 wives and
the 9-year old he was betrothed to (in his 50s). Most know of jihad and
what it means. As the fastest growing religion on earth and in the U.S.,
Islam is important; our children need to know what it is. And, I think it
is exactly the wrong thing to do if we simply say, "Christians don't believe
in the Qur'an or Mohammed." That is precisely the kind of response that
plays into the enemy's hands. An uninformed person is a vulnerable person,
especially a child or a young adult who wants to experience the world of
academe. It may not be mere information that is acquired: I see students
swayed mostly by the personalities of their professors. Impressive indeed
are the many bright teachers with their PhDs from Harvard, Yale, or
Cambridge (in my department).
We need to explain why we base our lives on the Bible and the basis for
our convictions. We need to teach (the Christian virtue of) tolerance, yes,
but we also need to let people know that there really is objective Truth out
there that is not negotiable. If our Christian leaders make belief systems
relative, then we've lost the Truth.
It is not always a happy thing to realize. The Biblical worldview is
not something that exists in my head; it is not something I believe in, or
that is true to me. Think of all the martyrs. They did not die for their
beliefs. We need to understand the lie, and why it is a lie, and to
understand in the core of our being what motivated Stephen and all the
others throughout the ages to joyfully present themselves to a brutal death.
Why is that different from a young Palestinian who straps on a bomb and goes
to a popular Israeli nightclub?