How Do We Talk About Islam After Charlie Hebdo?

Screenshot of CNN's Don Lemon asking human rights lawyer and editor of Islamic Monthly, Arsalan Iftikhar whether he supports ISIS.

So here we go again—militants acting in the name of Islam go on a murderous rampage. They shout “God is great” and declare their fealty to the Prophet Muhammad while they kill and terrorize. Sickening déjà vu moments. For all those who want assurance that Islam is indeed on a collision course with the West (and vice versa), the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris served to do just that.

Add to that the continuous carnage being wreaked by the so-called Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (or Da‘ish) under the banner of a revived “caliphate” and there can be little doubt, it seems, that Muslims are increasingly devolving into killing machines motivated by blind rage. Such a phenomenon is furthermore understandable because Muslims supposedly can draw seamlessly from Islamic history and vocabulary to provide justification for their violence.

No matter how many learned books and articles are written about the rich, diverse, tolerant, and dynamic Islamic tradition, some will continue to choose to believe in this frightening narrative. In a recent New York Times column Thomas Friedman almost gleefully referred to a Moroccan man known as “Brother Rachid,” who declared that he had renounced Islam and who was subsequently moved to counsel President Barack Obama thus:

Dear Mr. President, I must tell you that you are wrong about ISIL. You said ISIL speaks for no religion. I can tell you with confidence that ISIL speaks for Islam. … ISIL’s 10,000 members are all Muslims. … They come from different countries and have one common denominator: Islam. They are following Islam’s Prophet Muhammad in every detail. … They have called for a caliphate, which is a central doctrine in Sunni Islam.

Brother Rachid, whose program has aired on evangelical satellite channel Alhayat TV for nearly a decade, may or may not be telling the truth about his past, but his invocation makes it possible for Friedman to articulate a prevalent accusation against Muslims in toto without appearing to explicitly endorse it.

So the ritual begins in the wake of Charlie Hebdo—condemnations of the perpetrators must be made, especially by Muslim groups, which sometimes but not always will make it to the front pages of major Western newspapers. More clever op-ed pieces will be written insinuating that it’s not extremist Islam that’s responsible for such barbarities but Islam itself. Other, more level-headed essays will warn of overreacting to violent fringe elements in any religious tradition and warn against besmirching Muslims en masse on the basis of the actions of a few. It’s all too depressingly predictable and sickeningly familiar.

Those of us who teach Islamic Studies in various American institutions are particularly entitled to shudder when such violent actions in the name of Islam occur, for we are frequently asked to parse and explain such actions to our students and sometimes to the press. As specialists, of course we know that saving a human life is of the highest priority in Islamic ethics; of course we know that Islam does not condone attacks upon civilians; and of course we know that Muslim jurists deemed such attacks in Arabic hiraba (terrorism).

Sometimes our statements are met with skepticism; we’re accused by Islamophobic pundits of being apologists not only for Islam but, worse, for terrorism. And these days it’s getting harder and harder to get these facts across because frankly they seem to be belied by the spate of violence being committed by fanatical Islamist radicals.

It would be tempting to give in and stop trying to convey historically nuanced information in the face of such pushback. It’s also tempting to stop trying to counter an equally frightening rising tide of anti-Islamic sentiment in the West. But then we would fail as educators. It may seem trite and banal but the antidote to extremism and bigotry remains education which stresses exposure to complex concepts, historically nuanced data, and, yes, even to religious ideas.

A pervasive historical and religious illiteracy in contemporary societies has led to historical amnesia and religious myopia so acute that, at the popular level, opinion-makers often seem to either trade in empty dogma and religio-nationalist slogans and/or fall prey to them. As educators we have a mandate to convey our perspectives to a broader public, whenever such opportunities present themselves, to help provide much-needed historical context and balance.

Finally there is one more thing that Muslims in particular can and should be doing to avoid falling short of what their own religious tradition expects of them. The Qur’an (5:8) exhorts, “Let not the hatred of others towards you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice.”

There will always be injustice in this world—like members of other religious groups, Muslims will continue to be victims of political oppression and their faith will continue to be targeted and lampooned by those who despise them simply for being Muslims. If they are worth their salt, Muslims will take the high moral ground as their holiest text adjures them to do and refuse to stoop to injustice themselves, regardless of the provocation. A tall order but one worth striving for—not only because it is commanded but also because there is no other effective and moral way of combatting what is wrong.

45 Comments

  • dkeane123@comcast.net' DKeane123 says:

    Excellent article. Unfortunately neither the radical Islamist or the right wing that will gain power from this violence cares about historical nuance. As long as preachers can show young men a book that is the word of a supreme being condoning violence, we will have this problem. We need more moderate preachers whispering in their ears.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    When the Muslim religion was started Christianity was trying (and succeeding) to establish itself as dominate. Islam seems like a reaction to the horrors of the Christian religion. The solution might be for the world to grow beyond a need for religion. If Christianity can first go away, then Islam would probably follow.

  • tendamematu@hotmail.com' Jusseim, Tanzania says:

    Islam is anti God of peace. Terrorism and Muslims is one although they pretend not. Qur’an is the opposite of Bibles’ 5 Books of Moses or Torah.

  • vernarek@gmail.com' Dean says:

    An explanation of this sentence would be helpful,as I didn’t find it in the article: “Such a phenomenon is furthermore understandable because Muslims supposedly can draw seamlessly from Islamic history and vocabulary to provide justification for their violence.”

  • tojby_2000@yahoo.com' apotropoxy says:

    HOW DO WE TALK ABOUT ISLAM …?
    ________________________________

    We start with the admission that religions that insist only one god exists and that it is the selected repository of that god’s will is in error. Next we reject religions that recruit members by convincing them that a hell exists and their only way to avoid it is through their guidance.

  • cgoslingpbc@aol.com' cgosling says:

    Well done article. Thank you. The writer and others of his nature must continue to voice their advice to the killers within. It seems obvious that Allah remains silent while terrorists and moderates speak for him. Similar to the Christian God, Allah is used by all political sides to justify a different point of view. Why doesn’t God speak more loudly and clearly to His followers? Why does He allow so many points of view concerning His doctrine? His silence, or his multiple voices, confuse his followers. Surly God in his power and glory can speak more succinctly to the faithful. Speak up God, your followers are being confused by those who speak in your name.

  • The Enlightenment view that “freedom” is absolute and the means to everything else in society might have made sense in the 18th/19th century European sociohistorical conditions in which it was conceived. However, current factors such as overpopulation, high speed travel and high speed communications have created a “clash of centuries” in which people of very different cultural mindsets confront each other directly, immediately and with no facilitating buffers between them. It may be time, therefore, we recognize that “freedom” is our own sacred symbol and needs to be questioned rationally as much as any other sacred symbol. One false assumption on display is that in “freedom” we have a level playing field. But this totally denies and erases the facts of imperialism, colonialism and ongoing racism, which hardly produce a level playing field. If we ignore these facts on the ground, “freedom” simply becomes a weapon with which the strong bludgeon the weak, and quickly becomes directly counterproductive for helping to build the kind of progressive social policies and cultural atmosphere many of us seek for the future. The counsel of removing the plank in one’s own eyes before turning one’s gaze on others might be rather salient at this point in time.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    The gap between rich and the rest of us has grown about 10 fold in the last 50 years. I guess you are right. It is just hard to understand when the rich own so much of the media and use that to influence us.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Wouldn’t society go out of control if you remove all the mind control tricks that are being used to keep things in check?

  • vorianalkkfko11@mailinator.com' vor says:

    How do you talk about islam? Well, you could start by ceasing to paint critics of your ideology as “illiterate” or motivated by “hatred”.

    In fact, we’re mostly able to read, are generally humane, and have knowledge of the content of your ideology. When you cite the quran as an authority, you endorse that method for others who do so. Many will find messages there that your article leaves out, including orders to decapitate enemies, whip lovers, beat wives.

    Those orders are being carried out. From routine domestic violence, to the epidemic of executions in islamic states like Saudi Arabia and Iran, to today’s brutal torture of secularist Raif Badawi- there is no credible way to argue the calls to violence in the quran aren’t a root of the violence we’re seeing.

    So how can you talk to critics? You could take the reasoned step of acknowledging that the “god” myth is an incoherent pretext for irrational and reactionary ideology. That could give you a sound basis to reject those calls to violence. I doubt you’re ready for that, though, so finding some way to face up to the harmful content of your religion is the real challenge for you. Your other option would be to pretend the calls to violence aren’t there, focus on other verses, and smear your critics as “illiterate”. It’s a shame that appears to be the route you’ve taken so far.

  • Exactly my point, Jim. And it is only underlined by the fact that this inexorable wealth gap has been justified all along under the ideology of “freedom” (of markets, private ownership, anti-regulation, etc,) This is another example of the sacred symbol of freedom becoming directly counterproductive in the task of building a just and copacetic social future for our species.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Now that the US has been conquered, the next step is to globalize and go after the world. Fortunately for the rich, we are the only superpower, so our military can be used to make the world safe for capitalism. It might export more jobs and make it a little tougher for Americans who are not in the wealthy class to get by, but they have the option of signing up for the military to get a job, both men and women.

  • Vor-I am not a Muslim, Christian, or Jew. I do not live in the Middle East, nor would I want to at this time. However, you have, in your response, shown exactly what this author is talking about. I preach from an interfaith perspective and have spent time spending reading the Bible, the Qur’an, and the Tanakh. In all of these books are the things that you refer to, but guess what, they are describing events or practices from thousands of years in the past, not modern times. Most followers, who are true followers of the Abrahamic faiths, understand that the great teachers and prophets whose lessons should be embraced today are the same lessons – compassion, justice, love, peace. Not the religious extremists of the Apocalyptic Gospel movement, not ISIS, and not the Likud party of Israel. These groups are all interested in only one thing – political power, and they will do whatever is necessary to gain it, even to the point of world destruction while hiding behind religious doctrine and false applications of that doctrine.

    The author is right – historical context and nuance are imperative if we are to truly understand any faith’s teachings. That you choose to claim the author ignores the parts of the Qur’an stressing violence and murder in favor of the basic tenets of the faith, shows that you are no better than that which you condemn.

    The author is also right in one thing, the media does not present what most modern Muslims believe or even the full truth about what the Qur’an teaches. Modern religious illiteracy is so prevalent that people in positions of power are making decisions without any understanding whatsoever of what different faiths actually teach or believe. When you consider that no actual religious founding text is less than 1000 years old, and in that time we have fought numerous wars, expanded our knowledge base about life while shrinking our world through travel, and we have evolved beyond barbarity, if you fail to understand that these parts of religious texts are no longer valid, then you are embracing religious absolutism and extremism.

    The author also missed one point, and that is that people of the Christian and Jewish faiths who understand the teachings of the Qur’an’s basic tenets of peace, caring for others, and social justice must speak out and also condemn these extremists without condemning all Muslims in the process. Until these other leaders of faith speak out and make themselves heard by the media, the politicians, and the general public, the fears of this author are very real and very justified, as you response proves.

    Rev. Devon J. Noll
    New Word Universal Fellowship Church
    http://www.newworduniversalfellowship.org

  • God has spoken and His New Message is that He does not condone any of the world religions, but rather supports their common underlying tenets – care for each other and care for the planet. His New Message is the same one, but this time it is meant to be universal – one unifying message – because we have failed so miserably at actually living as He intended. Yet, it is vilified by those who speak claim to speak for Christians, Jews, and any other religious group you care to think of because God says He does not have a Chosen People, that we are all His Children. He has given us Ten Lesson to learn and live by, and if we do not, like a parent with a child addicted to self-destructive behavior, He will let us go with love, ie no rapture, no redemption, and no salvation. It is a short message in comparison to the ones found in the Bible, the Tanakh, or the Qur’an, and I teach it, right along side other religious texts to show how they are all the same message, but for different times and people.

    God has sent the same message over and over throughout time, but today, those who claim to speak for God in the various world faiths have taken it piecemeal and twisted it to fit their agendas – wealth, power, land, domination, and destruction in the hopes of salvation. This is in direct opposition to God’s message for any faith, and always was, despite man’s interpretation of His Message. I claim no interpretation in what I was given, only a translation. I teach what I know about it, and thus I give it an interpretation, but I tell people it is only mine, and that they should make their own judgments and we can discuss our views to gain a better understanding of what God wants from us. For me, it is simple – we work together to care for each other as God wanted us to do, and we fulfill our obligation to God to protect and care for all life on this planet by stopping our headlong drive to destruction of it and each other. Nothing too complicated there, but certainly considering our world today, very difficult to accomplish if we are unwilling to look past our differences based on gender, race, national origin or religion.

    So God has spoken today, but no one is listening.

    Rev. Devon J. Noll
    New Word Universal Fellowship Church
    http://www.newworduniversalfellowship.org
    You can get ‘GOD’S GOSPEL” through Amazon.com or the church website, and read this New Message for yourself.

  • As always Jim, your take is interesting. You understand, although somewhat subtly, the historical context in which Islam arose. Funny, in a sad sort of way, how history continues to repeat itself? I doubt if the result would be what you suggest, but perhaps if the need to dominate the world was taken away from Apocalyptic Christians who seem to control our politics these days, maybe the radical side of Islam would recede as well under pressure from Muslims themselves. No one seems to remember that ISIS did not exist until the US, egged on by the Religious Right and Dick Cheney’s crowd, created a power vacuum in the Middle East and Iraq. When you look closely at the Apocalyptic Gospel policies that this nation has adopted as integral to its foreign policy, it is easy to understand that for extremist Muslims survival is what drives them in their quest for power, not true faith as the article points out. Thus history is repeating itself in a most horrific way, through regression to acts that have no place in modern society to terrorize the world and no place in modern Islam as the article points out.

    Rev. Devon Jeanette Noll
    New Word Universal Fellowship Church

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    perhaps if the need to dominate the world was taken away from Apocalyptic Christians who seem to control our politics these days, maybe the radical side of Islam would recede as well

    Everyone needs to work to solve the problems created by their own religion. Right now everyone seems to want to solve the problems created by other religions and ignore the problems created by their own religion. That tends to lead to war.

  • cgoslingpbc@aol.com' cgosling says:

    Thank you Dr. Noll, How I wish that all god believers were like you. It would end humankind’s problems. Unfortunately, your words mean nothing to radical and fundamentalist religions. To them, you are clearly wrong. I ask you…How can moderate religionists, such as you, reach the radicals? How can you deal with fundamentalists who believe the world is 6,000 years old and all bible miracles are true? Your wise words are preached to your choir, but no one else is listening. What else can your God do to help mankind? So far prayers are not working, in fact our problems seem to be increasing. Where is God?

  • burkbraun@gmail.com' Burk says:

    Well, their holiest text doesn’t tire of telling them to kill infidels and hate them as well. The book is absolutely drenched in hatred. This doesn’t seem to make it into the article above. The whole “Islamic studies” concept needs to be recast as historical anthropology and get out of the business of defending what is not defensible on virtually any level- intellectual, cultural, or spiritual-, which is Islam as a living religion that adheres to its founding text. Modernity is morally superior, as well as intellectually superior.

  • smccloud987@gmail.com' BruceWayne says:

    Over half of the Muslims in countries whose official religion is Islam support some form of Sharia law. If we cannot discuss the problems of Islamism as an interpretation of Islam for fear of being called bigots, then extremism wins.

  • info@londonschoolofislamics.org.uk' IftikharA says:

    Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, released a statement condemning the Charlie Hebdo attack, which he characterized as terrorism, but also called for unity in the face of violence.

    “Freedom of expression and opinion are a
    cornerstone for any democratic society,” Al Hussein said, and those who try “to
    divide communities on grounds of religion, ethnicity or any other reason must
    not be allowed to succeed. The rule of law also requires that we seek to arrest
    and punish those directly responsible for carrying out, planning or acting as
    accomplices to specific crimes and do not attach blame to any wider group.”

    He continued, “If this attack is allowed to
    feed discrimination and prejudice, it will be playing straight into the hands of
    extremists whose clear aim is to divide religions and societies. With xenophobia
    and anti-migrant sentiments already on the rise in Europe, I am very concerned
    that this awful, calculated act will be exploited by extremists of all sorts.”

    The New York Times reports that the
    attack has come at a “dangerous moment” in Europe, citing the rise of
    Islamophobic rhetoric and a growing far-right movement which has launched
    virulent attacks against the continent’s immigrant communities, with special ire
    shown towards those from north Africa and other predominantly Muslim nations in
    the Middle East. According to the paper:

    As for the killing of Charlie Hebdo staff by two or three gunmen, I hold my head high and say that even though I don’t sanction, encourage, or endorse what they did, I’m not going
    to shed any tears for the vicious, racist, and malevolent victims who were the
    target of their excess. If a drug dealer gets run over by a car in my
    neighbourhood, I’m not expected to do a #Je_Suis_Drug_Dealer hash tag on
    twitter. I have more self-respect than that as a human being and as a Muslim. I
    do feel some pity for the Charlie Hebdo staff. I feel sorry that they chose to
    live a life of hate and die a death of hate, and that they could not find the
    stuff of human goodness in their hearts to do something better than be the
    Pharonic slave driver whipping the poor Hebrews of French society under their
    lash. I think there should be a uniform policy against publication of material
    that hurts religious feelings. Freedom of speech is all very well but with
    freedom should come responsible behavior or laws to ensure responsible behavior.
    There are limits to freedom of expression. These guys TRESPASSED them. They paid
    the fine for doing so.

    The vast majority of terrorist attacks on US soil
    have been by non-Muslims. The vast majority of terrorist attacks in Europe have
    been by non-Muslims. And Muslims are more often the victims of terrorism. The
    Muslims today are a demonized underclass in France. A people vilified and
    attacked by the power structures. A poor people with little or no power and
    these vile cartoons made their lives worse and heightened the racist prejudice
    against them. Even white liberals have acted in the most prejudiced way. It was
    as if white people had a right to offend Muslims and Muslims had no right to be
    offended? The difference was, when white people were offended, they had the
    state, white corporate media and the threat of a right wing mob to make their
    point — Muslims had nothing.
    IA
    http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

  • joerogers67@gmail.com' joeyj1220 says:

    While I agree with a lot of what you’re saying; you are playing a zero-sum game. In your scenario you are asking individuals rooted in a faith tradition to simply give up on the very idea of religion itself (“the ‘god’ myth is an incoherent pretext for irrational and reactionary ideology”). As an atheist myself, my problem with folks like Dawkins, Harris and Maher is that for them there is absolutely no room for religion in ANYONE’S life; all religion is irrational and leads to violence so just give it up. What I appreciate about this article is that it calls for another path from someone within. You & I as atheists (I apologize if I am presuming about your own belief or lack thereof) have absolutely nothing to say to a people within a religion. It then falls on the individuals working within the system to call for and challenge those followers.

  • maintour@yahoo.com' MainTour says:

    Dear Asma Afasaruddin;

    Please be more clear on the difference between “Moderate Islam” and “Radical Islam”. I’m by no means have any understanding on either. I actually enjoy posting here and seeing all the comments (both good and bad) that help me learn more (it is amazing how even negative comments on religion frequently reinforce my beliefs here). However, every day, I see more of the following:

    Moderate Islam – Vast majority of Muslims that are trying to peacefully coexist with the world. However, even moderate countries like Jordan, Iran, Afghanistan, etc appear to be intolerant of other religions and freedom of speech. They rely on a lot of modern interpretations to get themselves to be more politically correct and accepted in the world.

    Radical Islam – It appears to be based on Wahhabism / Salafist type movement and is predominant in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. They seek to violently convert everyone to their extremist views of religion. Just yesterday was an article on a religious blogger in Saudi Arabia being lashed 50 times. This extremism seems to be taught in a number of religion schools and emphasizes a very literal interpretation of the Quran and other Ancient Traditions which justifies killing anyone they can classify as an infidel, gay or apostate and forces women into near slave like conditions.

    p

  • maintour@yahoo.com' MainTour says:

    Agreed, People are starting to realize that “Radical Islam” is NOT compatible with “A Free and Democratic Society”. Where does Radical start and how can it be stopped?

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    You and Devon Noll are invoking some pretty confused history. Islam invaded Christian held territory, not the other way around.

  • whistling.girl2910@gmail.com' pennyroyal says:

    I’m stunned by reporters who speak of “the Prophet” Mohammed when we are not Islamic. Why cater to those who believe in a god who does not exist. I live in a Christian stronghold but as a skeptic of religion I always say “Jesus” and not “Christ”. No one gets bent out of shape.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    When Islam started it didn’t have any territory, and Christendom was politically and religiously dominating the world.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    This is just completely false.

    1. Christendom did not “dominate the world,” at least, not if all of Asia counts as part of “the world”

    2. Islam came to the Levant and then pushed further West and East from Arabia, via a series of successive invasions.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    You are right. Christendom only dominated what was the Roman empire and the surrounding enemy kingdoms. I think the fact that Christianity was so successful at gaining political control of these areas meant the world needed some kind of counterbalance, and that might have been what gave rise to Islam.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I think the Bible shows Jesus is a myth.

  • whistling.girl2910@gmail.com' pennyroyal says:

    you are leaving out the orthodox churches, those of the East, which took a different path (not the obsession with sin, for one).
    Check out Dairmaid MacCullouch’s Christianity, The First Three Thousand Years.

  • tommmaquino@yahoo.com' Jarnauga says:

    The Byzantines already had a counterweight- the Sasanian Persian Empire, which was Zoroastrian (although it had many people of other faiths too). The Sasanians under Khosrau II and the Byzantines under Heraclius exhausted themselves fighting each other just prior to the Arab invasions. A key part of the success of the Muslim conquest was as simple as excellent, fortuitous timing.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Isn’t that another Christian denomination? It counts as a part of Christian domination that must be countered.

    What is the beginning point and ending point of the first 3 thousand years?

  • polyearp2@gmail.com' Laurence Charles Ringo says:

    You think the Bible shows that Jesus is a myth?? What ARE you talking about,Mr.Reed? What Bible shows that?

  • polyearp2@gmail.com' Laurence Charles Ringo says:

    Exactly WHO are you talking about when you speak of”god”, Ms.Noll? I mean, seriously; are you missing the irony when YOU claim that…”God has spoken”…, presumably to YOU, but no one else (at least, no one who has”gotten His [her?] message right”except YOU)? What I find so amusing about your contentions is that although the True Word of God describes exactly what is wrong with mankind, and the remedy for his/her ailment, people like you reject it out of hand, and The Saviour is simply deemed a liar in the eyes of those of your ilk.I mean, is it really that hard for you to grasp why your so-called”church”, an ethereal entity concocted out of your own imagination, can get no traction? As long as you continue to delude yourself inre the true nature of mankind, you’ll get nowhere, Ms.Noll.Wake up and smell the reality. As long as humans are humans, they will conduct themselves as they do, and it will take more than pseudo – theological, New Age psycho-babble to change them.PEACE.

  • polyearp2@gmail.com' Laurence Charles Ringo says:

    IN CHRIST,Cgosling.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    In the middle of the first century you have the oldest Christian writings, the letters of Paul. There is a lot written in the letters about Christianity, but this is a picture of Christianity that gets its knowledge of Jesus from searching old testament scriptures, and from visions. There is nothing of the gospel Jesus stories that would appear in following decades. These later gospels fill in the details about Jesus of Nazareth, the man, and each one building on and adding to the previous gospels, and giving the Jesus character a more impressive back story. The Bible is the story of a Jesus story being generated from the middle of the century on to the end of the century.

  • polyearp2@gmail.com' Laurence Charles Ringo says:

    Yeah…To a certain degree you have a point, Mr.Reed.But that is a long way from your assertion that the Scriptures proclaimed Jesus was mythological. In a nutshell, the Book of Acts makes it clear, as does Paul’s Epistles, that his”marching orders”, if you will, was to, as Paul himself said…”preach Christ and Him crucified”…, NOT recreate a new biography of Jesus! (Are you aware that most Biblical scholars believe that Paul had his Damascus Road experience between 3 to 5 years after The Saviour’s Ascension? )-now, given the undoubted fact that when Paul met the Apostles they filled him in on whatever it was he didn’t know, I have NO doubt that the great Apostle wrote in his Epistles EXACTLY what the Risen Saviour through the Holy Spirit’s instructions wanted Paul to write.So…there it is, Mr.Reed.You want to view Jesus the Christ as mythological, you are certainly free to do so. But He is NOT considered mythical in the pages of Holy Writ. PEACE IN CHRIST.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    The words of the scriptures proclaim a religious message, but an analysis of what was written when and why shows the words were written for reasons of apologetics, and the reality was different from what the words were trying to say.

    It is doubted that the apostles filled in Paul when they met because Paul doesn’t say that, in fact the opposite, he says he got his gospel from no man, and he was not overly impressed with the Christian leaders in Jerusalem. He didn’t attach any special significance to them.

  • whistling.girl2910@gmail.com' pennyroyal says:

    it’s a comprehensive history of Christianity that goes back a millennia before Jesus’ birth. I like it because it tells a lot about the forms of Christianity we don’t hear a lot about, esp. as it moved east. Also good background on the split between the West (Roman Catholic) and East (Orthodox) with the latter sounding more appealing and less driven by power politics than in the West. It’s very long tho.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    To the author: I’d be interested in your explanation as to why there are no liberal democracies in the Islamic world.

  • Sunnynoclouds4445@aol.com' Sunnynoclouds says:

    The facts are, according to polls, according to science, that most Muslims even in the USA are radical, they don’t believe in free speech and the USA Constitution. They don’t belong in the USA. They should be moved back to Islamic countries where they can practice sharia law and where they don’t have free speech.
    .
    I want to uphold the USA Constitiution and free speech and I don’t want violence. If we can’t live together which the polls prove we can not (most Muslims don’t approve of the Constitution and free speech), then we should peacefully live apart.

  • Sunnynoclouds4445@aol.com' Sunnynoclouds says:

    I personally don’t care what anyone believes, God, gods, no God, whatever, as long as they don’t believe in violence. Unfortunately the polls show that even in the USA more than half of all Muslims believe anyone that says anything negative about Islam should be criminally prosecuted. That is sharia law and it is against the USA Constitution and free speech.
    .
    Islam and the USA Constitution are at odds with each other.
    .
    The USA government made the people of the USA pay for things such as the Pissing Christ and the picture of Mary (the mother of Jesus) with elephant do do on it. Christians did nothing, they were even forced to pay for the artist who created these creations which are very blasphmous to Christians. This proves that Christians aren’t a problem. In fact I am on the internet enough and I would have to say that Christians are blasted the most and yet Christians don’t stop the flow of words.

  • tojby_2000@yahoo.com' apotropoxy says:

    “… the polls show that even in the USA more than half of all Muslims believe anyone that says anything negative about Islam should be criminally prosecuted. ”
    ___________________________

    Care to share a link proving your statement?

  • tommmaquino@yahoo.com' Jarnauga says:

    This is just rubbish. Please read some history before you post.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    So it is not another Christian denomination. I guess it is a different branch of Christianity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *