Israeli FM: Catholic Bishops’ Synod “has become a forum for political attacks on Israel in the best history of Arab propaganda”

UPDATE: I owe the Melkite Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros an apology: when I wrote about his remarks at the recent Vatican Synod, I was relying on incomplete and inaccurate press reports, and did not fully understand his position. He explains his position here.


According to this report, the Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop Cyril Bustros “then escalated the situation by declaring that the original promises made by God to the children of Israel ‘were nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people.'”

If this is accurate, then it must be said that in his haste to parrot the jihadist political agenda, Archbishop Cyril contradicts the Catholic Church’s teaching that “the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures” (Nostra Aetate 4). Moreover, God “does not repent of the gifts He makes or of the calls He issues-such is the witness of the Apostle” (Nostra Aetate 4) — a reference to Paul the Apostle’s statement concerning the Jews that “the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).

Ever since the beginnings of Arab nationalism, Christian Arabs have identified with Muslims politically and culturally, in what was at least initially an attempt to blunt the force of the jihad against them by creating a foundation for an accord that was not religious, and allowed Christians and Muslims to coexist on equal terms — a sharp departure from the institutionalized discrimination of dhimmitude.

But as the great historian Bat Ye’or has pointed out, this attempt was foredoomed, and indeed, it has already failed. This was because for Muslims Islam was always the heart of the Arab identity in any case — as was succinctly summed up by pioneering Arab nationalist Michel Aflaq: “Arab nationalism is Islam.” And as long as Islam continued to exist, the imperative to subjugate the Christians would eventually reappear, since it had not been reformed or rejected by any ulama. And so it has.

The Christian Arabs would have been much better off allying with their fellow dhimmis, the Jews. And indeed, only in Israel, alone among Middle Eastern countries, has the Christian population grown since 1948. As this report notes: “Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said it was absurd that the Jewish state had been condemned since Israel is the only country in the region where Christians are actually thriving. According to statistics he provided, there were some 151,700 Christians in Israel last year, compared with 132,000 in 1999 and 107,000 two decades ago.”

Yet the bishops in their synod this week single out only Israel for particular criticism, and was relatively silent about the jihad doctrine, the Arab states’ support for it, and its cardinal role in sabotaging any peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. It is shameful.

“Israel slams ‘political attacks’ by Catholic bishops,” from AFP, October 24:

JERUSALEM — Israel on Sunday slammed critical remarks made by Middle East Catholic bishops after a meeting chaired by Pope Benedict XVI as “political attacks” on the Jewish state.

“We express our disappointment that this important synod has become a forum for political attacks on Israel in the best history of Arab propaganda,” Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said in a statement.

“The synod was hijacked by an anti-Israel majority,” he added….

“Recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the Word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable,” the synod said.

Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros, head of the commission which drew up the statement, went one step further, saying: “The theme of the Promised Land cannot be used as a basis to justify the return of the Jews to Israel and the expatriation of the Palestinians.”

“For Christians, one can no longer talk of the land promised to the Jewish people,” the Lebanese-born head of the Greek Melkite Church in the United States said, because the “promise” was “abolished by the presence of Christ.”

Ayalon said he was “especially appalled” at those remarks.

“We call on the Vatican to (distance) themselves from Archbishop Bustros’s comments, which are a libel against the Jewish people and the state of Israel and should not be construed as the Vatican’s official position.”…

I join that call.

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  1. says

    Yahweh refers in the Bible to HIS land and HIS people…certainly since Christ redeemed mankind, and to echo St. Paul, Christians share in that adoption spiritually.

    However, the land chosen by our Lord is described to be His “for all times.”

    The descendants of Ishmael are not the inheritors, according to both Biblical Testaments. While “Your inheritancec is through Isaac,” is not referring to a worldly inheritance, Islamic worship does not involve the God of the Bible. Ishmael and his mother Hagar may have worshiped the true God, but their modern day descendants do not…they are not the inheritors of a land called Isra-El, and not only do they reject Yahweh, but also the Hebrew people, and the Messiah.

  2. says


    If the restoration of Israel after 2000 years wasn’t in accord with Biblical revelation then it was the work of Satan. Satan then must be the source of Israel’s existence and survival against staggering odds for 62 years. Is Satan then more powerful than Christ Archbishop Bustros, negating his nullification? How can Israel’s existence not be the work of God’s Providence?

  3. says

    It’s slightly absurd that Jews should be concerned about getting validation from the Catholic church or anyone else, anymore than the Catholic church is worried about getting validation from Jews or Muslims. If you understand and accept the Jewish tradition and the deep bond between G-d and the Jewish people you realize that it is unequivocal.

    Just like the Muslims had to deal with the politics of invalidating all that came before them in order to have something special and better, the Catholic church had to do the same thing towards Judaism.

    Too bad that the Catholics have decided to go this route at this time — for me it is strictly political maneuvering — they are hoping that this anti-Jewish interpretation might help their cause for Christians living in Muslim lands, instead of confronting Islam. That wouldn’t work either I suspect. But I honestly don’t think this is going to help Christians at all.

  4. says

    I appreciate Robert’s clarifications. Unfortunately, too many Christians lack the in-depth knowledge that he has about Islam, and are therefore prone to error.
    Indeed, the situation of Christians, a dwindling minority in Islamic lands, will not be saved by compromising their integrity and core beliefs to Islam. Abrogating Nostre Aetate, a shining accomplishment of tolerance by the Catholic Church, only drags Christianity back into the bad old days of the theology of contempt, and will achieve nothing for the beleaguered Christian minority.

  5. says

    Robert, you point out a phenomena that has long saddened me, and I refer to the common occurence of anti-Jewish prejudices held by many Middle Eastern Christians.This, however, is not just a Jewish-Christian problem, but one I have noticed throughout the parts of the world dominated by Muslims, and even elsewhere: Those who should be united in their opposition to their shared oppression often are in opposition to one another. Greeks and Armenians often dislike one another as well.

    I think that the old principle of “divide and conquer” might be at work here. It’s used in prisons to control inmates; it was used on slave plantations to distract slavery’s victims.

    You did well in pointing out the huge growth in Israel’s Christian population, which is consistent despite emmigration for greater opportunities elsewhere. There must be any number of reasons why this is the reality.

    Remnant Christian populations of Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, etc. continue to dwindle and face eventual disappearance, yet the Lebanese bishop attacks Jews and states that Israel has no right to exist.

    It seems that the plantation slaves should be sticking together a bit more.

  6. says

    Such a stance will gain the Catholic world nothing, minus a possible little buying time with the Islamic world. No sensible and knowledgeable Catholic should ever suck up to the Muslim sphere while trashing the Jewish sphere. Doing so is evidence of either stupidity or complicity.

  7. says

    While I sympathize with the plight of non-Muslim “people of religion,” I have yet to see any proof whatsoever of the existence of God or any other sentient being, and prefer to base my thoughts and opinions on evolution, science, and critical thinking.

    While Muslims may specifically target Christians, Jews, and other non-Muslim “religious” peoples in their own lands, their bombs, et al, make no such distinction.

    I am loathe to work for the destruction of one evil ideology (Islam) only to have it supplanted by another which also historically has its roots in intolerance, mysticism, and other equally implausible (creationism) and ridiculous belief systems.

    That notwithstanding, I would prefer to debate the merits of any other religion BESIDES Islam as I know that my life will not be threatened for questioning it, irrespective of its validity.

  8. says

    I am a Catholic as well, but I believe that Israel are still God’s chosen people to whom he made a promise that will will never take back. It says in Romans 11:25-31

    My friends, I don’t want you Gentiles to be too proud of yourselves. So I will explain the mystery of what has happened to the people of Israel. Some of them have become stubborn, and they will stay like that until the complete number of you Gentiles has come in. In this way all of Israel will be saved, as the Scriptures say,

    “From Zion someone will come
    to rescue us.
    Then Jacob’s descendants
    will stop being evil.
    This is what the Lord
    has promised to do
    when he forgives their sins.”

    The people of Israel are treated as God’s enemies, so that the good news can come to you Gentiles. But they are still the chosen ones, and God loves them because of their famous ancestors. God doesn’t take back the gifts he has given or forget about the people he has chosen.

    At one time you Gentiles rejected God. But now Israel has rejected God, and you have been shown mercy. And because of the mercy shown to you, they will also be shown mercy. All people have disobeyed God, and that’s why he treats them as prisoners. But he does this, so that he can have mercy on all of them.

  9. says

    Hold on a minute a minute lets not get the Greek Catholic Church mixed up with the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church supports Israel’s right to nationhood and objects to any and all persecution of Jewish people.
    Bishop Bustros needs to be removed from his position for making comments and saying things that are not all what Jesus preached. It was the laws of Moses (not including the 10 commandments)that were were nullified, Even then they were not actually to be done away with but rather deemed not important to God. No where did Jesus say anything about the Jewish people losing their rights to Israel. In fact its very clear that Jesus asked God to forgive those that had him put to death on the cross.

  10. says

    According to this report, the Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop Cyril Bustros “then escalated the situation by declaring that the original promises made by God to the children of Israel ‘were nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people.'”

    While this comes as little surprise to me, I find it quite depressing.

    I can only imagine how dispiriting this is for Robert Spencer himself.

    Dhimmitude is terribly disfiguring. It not only oppresses non-Muslims, but often leads them to participate in the oppression of their fellow Infidels, as well.

    From above:

    And indeed, only in Israel, alone among Middle Eastern countries, has the Christian population grown since 1948. As this report notes: “Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said it was absurd that the Jewish state had been condemned since Israel is the only country in the region where Christians are actually thriving.

    I imagine Archbishop Bustros realizes that this will not change, no matter how much he abandons and slanders the Jews themselves.

    This speaks well of the Israelis, but rather less so of Archbishop Bustros himself. I sympathize greatly with the predicament he and his flock find themselves in vis-a-vis the threat of Islam, but cannot admire his stance here.

  11. says

    “Recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the Word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable…”

    So this Bustros is “authorized” to nullify the very Word of God to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in promising a homeland — and nation — for their loyalty? Bustros is “authorized” to nullify an entire people and their inheritance with his own cowardice?

    This is truly shameful from someone whose institution alleges to be the unbroken thread of faith going all the way back to Jesus Christ. This, however, is the way of Catholicism: the scriptures are subordinated to the oral tradition. He is doing the very thing he is accusing Israel (aka the Jews) of doing.

    I left the Catholic Church, among other reasons, because I was not given the required “approval” of my parish priest to become active in a number of pro-Israel groups including John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel — alleging they are “too political.” What HYPOCRISY.

  12. says

    Robert, you’re ashamed today to be a Melkite Greek Catholic? Don’t feel bad; you’re not alone.

    I am ashamed today and many other days to be a Roman Catholic. And why? Because often the Roman Catholic Church either is [culpably] silent about the evident evils of Islam or it is actively discouraging Catholics from criticising Islam in any way. The Catholic Church has become in many ways a dhimmi institution, more than willing to aid in the jihad (however unwittingly) either by refusing itself to criticise any aspect of Islam or, as I say, by actively discouraging any such criticism from its members. I can testify through personal experience on several occasions to being officially “silenced” by the Catholic Church and required – on pain of my employment in the diocese – and I quote: “not to make any general negative comments about Islam or Muslims.”

    That is, I personally have experienced on three separate occasions the official representatives of the bishop of our [U.S.Catholic] diocese insisting that I “cease and desist” any further public criticism of Islam. Mind you, I only spoke the truth. Nothing I ever said was false or even reported to be false.

    Didn’t matter. Stop criticising Islam or you’re fired.

    And these “orders” were from the Vicar of the diocese (second only to the bishop himself) and from another individual highly placed in the church hierarchy in this diocese.

    So what’s my point? My point is that the Catholic Church is already complicit in the evils of Islam. It is already culpably silent about the persecution that Christians suffer the world over at the hands of Muslims. And it is actively aiding and abetting the advance of Islam by silencing any of its members inclined to criticise it. The Catholic Church is already, sadly, a dhimmi tool of the resurgent Islamic jihad.

    Finally, I just finished reading a book which has your (Robert’s) brief review on the cover. Title: Anti-Christ: Islam’s Awaited Messiah by Joel Richardson. Great book. And it is ever so ironic that by silencing criticism of Islam, the Catholic Church is [wittingly? unwittingly?] actually preparing the world the more easily to be overcome by Anti-Christ, its presumptive arch-enemy.

    Criticism of Islam in Catholic circles will inevitably lead to talk about the “three great Abrahamic faiths…”, etc.

    I personally and firmly believe that Islam is from the devil himself and so to refer to it as an “Abrahamic faith” at all is revolting. But the Catholic Church in general has already bowed its dhimmi head to Islam. It only awaits the sword. And that doesn’t appear to be too far off.

    So, a shameful day for Melkite Catholics? Just one of many for Roman Catholics, I’m afraid. You’re not alone, my friend. Keep up the good fight.

    p.s. I’m a long time fan of Peter Kreeft. But I wish you much success in your upcoming debate with him. He’s a wonderful person. But like so many Catholics today, just so w-r-o-n-g when it comes to Islam. Good luck.

  13. says

    i hold my words of contempt towards the bustros guy in check. at the same time, and i do not mean to offend anybody if they happen to be a catholic of whatever stripe or colour, but if i do …well, so be it!
    these guys in their long black robes, can say whatever they want (since they are not attacking islam, obviously they have no reason to fear….neither moshe the cpa, nor esther the neurosurgeon, will kill these guys) the facts remain as follows: god’s chosen people or not, israel is alive and well in its own land and it needs no justification nor anybody’s blessings for being!

  14. says

    The Canadian Arab Federation(CAF) head claims to be a Christian, but his rants sound like a scripted diatribe from CAIR’s manual for MSM propaganda to bash israel and the USA.
    What was very telling for the CAF was that the President was on a radio show during the Hezballah terrorism from lebanon and he claimed the about 90% of Arabs and muslims support the hezballah freedom-fighters defending themselves form the agressors invading their soil.

    But here’s the crack in their armour, the CAF website has a direct link and copy of the “Know your rights” pocket book issued by CAIR-canada. This booklet makes a tacit inference to coach Arabs and Muslims to not aid the West in exposing terror cells or their Muslim brothers on Jihad to create a caliphate in the West for the USA and canada.
    The CAF pres. is only Christian by name because he still spew and hatred that now real follower of Christ could ever create in their soul because you would have to be close to pure-evil to dream up the tirades from the CAF.
    After the recent episode for Mr.Hooper to toss Juan Williams under the bus,many Westerners are now waking up from their slumber or have pulled out the imbalming tube to get the blood back to the brain and see what is really going on with CAIR.
    CAIR is far from Civil when they display such misogynistic rants on TV at Ms.Geller or any female Muslims they don’t like, and CAIR is far from a group defending “Rights”, they are more LEFT than right,and in fact far more Wrong than Right.
    For Doug Hooper to be a white westerner convert to islam and gloat on TV for getting a Non-white/Non-Muslim fired from their job is all you need to know about islam and Shariah law.
    The GZ-Victory Mosque with be a throw-back to the 1950’s because CAIR and islam would force Rosa Parks to sit at the back of the Mosque as a temptress female inciting men to lust and rape , at least white-American finally got to the stage to let Rosa sit at the front of the Bus.
    But today, CAIR seems to kick Rosa Parks right off the bus and then toss her under it as a non-Muslim , or force her to the back again if Muslim men are on the bus.
    So much for islam exalting females and granted more Human Rights that the West has done for females, those feminists better dust off the old set of chains that used to keep them tied to the Kitchen and bed because the good-ole days will be back and with a new twist to wear the Burka and get beaten legally under Shariah law or even jailed for being raped because they caused it.

    No Islam – Know Peace
    Know islam – No peace

  15. says

    An article on Middle Eastern Christians and Islamochristians:

    Fitzgerald: Christians and islamochristians in the Middle East

    I understand that some Christians in the Muslim East have faced great problems.

    First, they no longer have the protection once afforded them by the Great Powers of Europe, the same powers that pressured the Ottoman government to officially do away with — unofficially the system often remained in place — the Shari’a-sanctioned mistreatment, because it was unequal treatment, of its non-Muslim minorities.

    Secondly, in order to survive they often had to take on, voluntarily, for protective coloration, the views of their threatening Muslim neighbors. Thus, when it came to Israel, many did not see the similarity in the treatment of Jews and Christians as dhimmis. Some did, such as Bishop Moubarac of Beirut, who spoke about the rightness and necessity for Christians in the Middle East to support the Jews, to support Zionism. His speech can be found in an appendix to Bat Ye’or’s Islam and Dhimmitude and it may also be retrievable online (I may have put it up myself — just can’t remember).

    Thirdly, there are those Christian Arabs, especially among those who live among and consider themselves to be so-called “Palestinian” Arabs, for whom the pressure, explicit and implied, of Muslims watching their every move compels them to make themselves as useful to the Lesser Jihad as possible. They feel that their identity as Arabs, the Arabness or ‘Uruba of their being, requires them to support, and defend, and protect Islam — for Islam and Arabness reinforce one another. Islam, after all, is a vehicle for Arab cultural, linguistic, and other forms of imperialism.

    Yet in the free and still non-Muslim West, Christians, including “Palestinian” Christians, should try to think through — if they can — the real nature of the war on Israel, and the real nature of the war on them, the Christian Arabs. They may consider why, despite all that Naim Ateek and Hanan Ashrawi and assorted “Palestinian” Christians have done, the only future for those Christians in the Middle East is in Israel, protected by and guarded by, the Jewish state. And in Lebanon, if Lebanon could once again achieve a Christian majority — if the Christians could leave Iraq en masse and re-settle in Lebanon as a Christian Zion.

    And meanwhile, the Alawite military caste in Syria might be persuaded by the Western powers to stop trying to curry favor with Sunni Arabs by letting them travel freely to Iraq to conduct Jihad against the “Rafidite dogs” of the Shi’a as well as against the Infidel American troops. They might also persuade them to stop trying to curry favor with the Shi’a by allowing the transfer of Iranian weaponry and money to Hizballah in Lebanon.

    There are all kinds of islamochristians. Archbishiop Cappucci, who stole icons from churches in order to help buy guns for the PLO, was Catholic — and was subsequently freed in a deal with the Vatican, which deal was not observed, for Cappucci continued to make political statements. Also Catholic is Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. He’s one more shill for the Muslim Arabs and the “Palestinian” cause that disguises the Lesser Jihad. Naim Ateek may be a Protestant, and so may Hanan Ashrawi. In this country, among the Presbyterians, a “Palestinian” islamochristian who has obtained American citizenship and is now a minister has risen high in the bureaucracy. He helped to push that anti-Israel declaration that was issued a year or two ago by that same bureaucracy. That bureaucracy is full of those who appear to have much more interest and sympathy in the “Palestinian” cause of Jihad than they do in the mistreatment of Arabic-speaking Christians.

    Maronites, on the whole, and Copts, if they are safely in the West, tend not to exhibit this “islamochristian” behavior. And more and more Arabic-speaking Christians when they get to the West are less inclined than they would have been a few years ago to exhibit this behavior. This may be because now their mistreatment by Muslims is obvious, and known in the West, and connects to the larger Muslim threat. It is much more difficult to keep up the pretense that the PLO, that the Muslims, are just swell, and it is the Israelis who have come along to spoil everything.

    At this point, those Christian Arab refugees who flee Islam for the freedom of Bilad al-kufr, but who nonetheless continue to harbor and express islamochristian sentiments, are not deserving of sympathy. They should be regarded with the same wariness that one should regard all collaborators of and supporters of any part of the Muslim agenda anywhere in the world. It is up to them, the Arabic-speaking Christians, to decide whether they wish to continue to be part of the support system for the very people who made their lives so difficult, and to weaken the Western world so that Muslims may expand their beachhead here — which merely means that there will be no further place for those Arabic-speaking Christians to go, and they will be in the same boat as all other infidels — or whether they will reintegrate fully into the Infidel world that has rescued them, and even offer, as a kind of recompense to their rescuers, aid in limiting the power and influence of Muslims by instructing the public in their own unhappy experiences and in what Islam is all about.

    [Posted by Hugh on July 2, 2007]

  16. says

    And one on the Christians in Israel:

    Fitzgerald: Arab Christians in Israel and elsewhere

    The notion that Arab Christians have a difficult time in Israel is belied by any number of telling facts. Christian sites are scrupulously taken care of, and available to all. It has not been the Israelis who took over the Church of the Nativity, used it as a place from which to fire, and vandalized it and defecated within it — but the usual “Palestinians” (it hardly matters to discuss which group “claimed credit” for whatever it was doing). It has not been the Israelis who have been terrorizing Christians in Bethlehem, leading to a steady drop in their numbers. So terrorized are the local Christian Arabs that it had to be the new Franciscan Guardian of the Christian Sites to tell the truth about the matter — for only he could, given his position and authority, escape Muslim Arab punishment. The current mayor of Bethlehem is a classic islamochristian, swearing up and down the land (and to a clearly skeptical BBC interviewer) that there is “no problem” for Christians in Bethlehem, and pooh-poohing that little business about a declining Christian population, and grandly asserting that “of course” (or was it the Arab “for sure”) his own children, now studying in — guess where? — the United States, would be returning to good old, safe-for-Christians, Bethlehem. Right.

    The whole business of Arab Christians, outside of those whose numbers have heretofore been sufficient to guarantee a certain security, and hence a certain confidence, and hence a certain ability to tell the truth about Islam, is discussed in two of Bat Ye’or’s books, “Islam and Dhimmitude” and “The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam.” These books should be read and thoroughly and assimilated by all those who wonder where they all went. Where did the Christians of North Africa go, the land where many of the early Fathers of the Church came from? What happened to that Christian civilization that produced Tertullian and then St. Augustine of Hippo? And what happened, over time, to the once-entirely Christian Coptic land of Egypt after the Muslim Arabs invaded? And what happened to the Nestorians of present-day Iraq, and the Christians of Syria, and even those of the Arabian Peninsula? What happened to them?

    For anyone who wants a concise statement of what Islam means for Christians, do google the name “Habib Malik.” Habib Malik, the son of the most eminent Lebanese statesman, the late Charles Malik (who understood the menace of Islam completely, and who lived in a different period, when Lebanon, the redoubt and refuge of the region’s Christians, was slowly but inexorably islamizing, as so many places will if nothing is done to prevent it). Habib Malik’s essay on Arab Christians should also be printed out and shared.

    The best example of “islamochristianity” is not Naim Ateek, busily pushing his anti-Israel resolutions through this or that bureaucracy of sinister or silly Christians completely oblivious to, often willfully oblivious to, the nature of Islam, its tenets, its history. Nor is it Hanan Ashrawi, such a good friend of the late Peter Jennings. Nor is it Archbishop Cappucci, the icon-stealer and seller, and gun-runner for the PLO. No, the best example of an “islamochristian” just trying to find some way for Christian Arabs to find a place for themselves in a dangerous Muslim neighborhood, is Michel Aflaq of Damascus. It was he, along with a “secular” (for what that word is worth in this context) Sunni Muslim, who came up with Ba’athism, which took much of its rhetoric and organizational ideas from the Fascists and Nazis of Europe. In its essence it offered a way of downplaying Islam, and substituting not quite as an alternative, but as a variant upon the dream of a world-wide united caliphate, the dream of a united Arab world. This pan-Arabism, in which Islam would be de-emphasized, was naturally popular in two places, and only two: Syria and Iraq. And this was for obvious reasons. In both, an already ensconced minority, constantly on the alert against a majority that was different in its brand of Islam, had to find a way to disguise its rule within an ideology that might appeal to others outside the small ruling elite.

    In Syria, the Alawites, turned by the opportunities that the French offered them into an officer caste, through their military control came to rule the country. They are a small minority, barely 12% of the population. But they have the planes and the tanks, and when there are threats from the “real” Muslims (who deplore the Alawite worship of Miriam, and other syncretistic features of this most unorthodox version of Islam), those “real” Muslims can be mowed down by the forces controlled by the Alawites. Think of Hama. Yet, Ba’athism allows some “real” (i.e. Sunni) Muslims, and of course Christians too, in small numbers, and also a few Kurds, to join the government, and to seem to be part of a “national” movement which merely disguises Alawite rule.

    In Iraq, too, the Sunnis, who now make up less than 20% of the population, found that once the monarchy and the ancien regime was gone, Ba’athism could be used to draw off some Christians and some Shi’a, into what was really a Sunni despotism. This became particularly useful after the 1958 coup which ended the Hashemite monarchy, and saw “strongman” Nuri al-Said hacked to bits, and his mutilated corpse further mutilated as it was dragged around the streets of Baghdad, so that excitable crowds could do just what they have done to American contractors in Fallujah, or American soldiers wherever they can: watch them roasted alive, and come out to jump up and down and enjoy the fun, screaming with hysterical pleasure. Tariq Aziz (a Christian who dutifully islamized his name) proved to be the right spokesman to the world. Shi’a (even Allawi) who were secular found that the Ba’athist Party, whatever else it might be, stood for the proposition, now being so obviously undone, that a Shi’a theocracy would not prevail, as it necessarily would if the Shi’a themselves prevailed.

    So that was Ba’athism. It has its origins in another desperate effort to escape from the anguish of being a Christian Arab (save for the Maronites and the Copts, who have been, many of them, at least until recently, more self-assured). It didn’t work. Not even for Michel Aflaq. On his deathbed, he converted to Islam. In the end, “arabness” and “Islam” are for so many so inextricably bound up that even those Christian Arabs cannot recognize their real enemy, and keep pretending, ululating along with the Muslims who scare them, against the putative Israeli enemy.

    But times have changed. The figures on Christians in Bethlehem and elsewhere are clear. The desperation of Arab Christians to be allowed to settle in Israeli-held Jerusalem, or in Arab villages elsewhere, or to leave for Canada, Australia, America where possible (and it should not be possible if those “Christians” bear with them essentially the views of Islam, for then they become, objectively, bearers of the Muslim menace even if they seem, outwardly, and no doubt think of themselves inwardly, as “Christians”), is also clear.

    Meanwhile, in this country, a clever campaign is afoot to convince Lebanese-Americans that they are to regard themselves as “Arab-Americans.” This is a transparent attempt to enroll in a Muslim campaign, through an appeal to a putative shared — entirely meretricious – identity. It is an attempt to convince the descendants of those who fled the Middle East precisely because they were Christians, especially the Maronites, that they should make common cause with Muslims. Yet the Maronites were not merely not Muslim, but in fact mere Arabic-users and not Arabs at all. They had lived in the area as Maronites before the Arab Muslim conquerors came in, and if they remained Maronites yet learned Arabic (many must have succumbed to Islam because the status of dhimmi was for so many unendurable), this did not — except in the definition of an “Arab” that the Arabs themselves insist must count — ever became Arabs. And why should they?

    Many Christians from Lebanon, once they get out, quickly throw off in the secure West their dhimmitude, their fear, and speak their minds about Islam. Others don’t quite manage to, or do about Islam but continue to take a dim view of Israel. It is hard, of course, if you have been imbibing anti-Israel nonsense all of your life, to quite so quickly throw it off, but it can be, and often is, done. But one should not expect all those who continue to call themselves “Palestinian,” as if this “nationality” invented after 1967 was in fact a permanent state, with easily recognizable unique characteristics (“Palestinian” language, “Palestinian” religion, “Palestinian” folktales, stories, and dances — oh, sorry, there’s been a real bull market in creating that instant past, an instant past so transparent in the motives for its instant creation, that mocking it would be too easy).

    Certainly those Christians who arrived in this country from Lebanon and Syria from 1890 to 1950 (in the early days, their Ottoman-Empire passports might read “Turco” or “Turk” or “Syrian”), had none of that anti-Israel or indeed the slightest anti-Western feeling. They knew what Islam was all about. For one example of this, read “Syrian Yankee” by Salomon Rizk, which appeared about 1954.

    One could go on. One could quote Bishop Moubarac of Beirut in 1947 on why the Christians of Lebanon, and the Jews of the nascent state of Israel, were in this together. But why bother — you can find his words in Bat Ye’or’s “Islam and Dhimmitude.” For now, simply start by googling in order to discover what Habib Malik has written on Christianity and Islam, then visit the websites of Brigitte Gabriel and Walid Shoebat and Nonie Darwish, and take it — va, va, va, voom — from there.

    [Posted by Hugh on November 30, 2005]

  17. says

    The behavior of some, perhaps many, but not all Christians — especially those who, like the Maronites, at one time felt confident enough, when in their immediate neighborhood the forces of Islam were less strong than they are today — can be explained though not justified. The desperation with which Michel Aflaq, for example, a Syrian Christian, tried to find a political space for Christians by coming up with Ba’athism, which was to offer a kind of hyper-Arab nationalism (non-Nasserite version), that would allow the Christians of Syria and Iraq a way to participate in political life (and only in Syria and Iraq could something called “Ba’athism” — differently motivated and exploited in the two countries, in Syria as a cover for an Alawite dictatorship, in Iraq as cover for a Sunni Arab despotism — allow a few Christians to participate, however wanly, in political life.

    Of all the Middle Eastern Christians it was always the Maronites of Lebanon, users of Arabic but well aware that they were not Arabs, who could afford to be, when they felt more powerful, to publicly proclaim their support for Israel, based on an understanding that the more powerful Israel is, the more secure are all non-Muslims in what is too easily,and inaccurately, now called “the Arab world.”

    At the Synod of MIddle Eastern bishops, one after another described the hideous condition of Christians in the Middle East, their persecution, daily humiliaton, even murder, at the hands of Muslims. The representatives from Iraq were particularly important in their descriptions of what Muslims due to Christians in Iraq. They could not, of course, say what they would say, if only they could, because they are worried always about what Muslims will do to those Christians in the MIddle East. It’s a case of lying, sometimes to oneself and always to others, in order not to inflame the Muslims whose cruelties can always be lit by the wrong word — that is a truthful word — spoken abroad. So we have to listen to the descriptions brought by these Bishops of the sufferings of the Christians, but ignore them when they refuse — they can’t, they just can’t — identify the true and only source of their woe, which are the texts, and tenets, and attitudes exhibited by the adherents, of Islam.

    The ritual and idiotic denunciation of Israel, as non a non sequitur as you can get, is disgusting, of course, but also completely predictable.

    Back in 1947, decades before the oil wealth came to the otherwise impoverished and backward Arabs, back before millions of Muslims had been allowed to settle deep within the West, and the West, despite World War II, seemed still to be more sure of itself, Bishop Moubarac of Beirut wrote a letter about the significance for Middle Eastern Christians, if they saw and dared to admit, both to themselves and to others, the truth, of the soon-to-be-born Jewish state.

    I have posted that letter before, but it merits frequent re-posting:

    Archbishop Ignace Moubarac Of Beirut, In 1947, On “The Two Homelands”

    Beirut, 5 August 1947

    Mr. Justice Sandstrom, Chairman, UNSCOP


    I regret that my absence in Europe coincided with the visit of the Special Committee on Palestine to the Lebanon, otherwise I should have had an opportunity to speak and to expressmy opinion – which is,moreover, that of the majority of the Lebanese people with regard to this question.

    This is not the first time I have voiced my opinion on this matter. A lot of ink has already been used and after each of my complaints the world press has seized upon my words and made ample comment on everything I said.

    Here in the Middle East, which is for the most part Moslem, if the present Lebanese Government is recognized as having an official right to speak on behalf of the Lebanese nation, we should feel disposed to answer and prove that the present rulers represent only themselves and that their so-called official statements are dictated only by the needs of the moment and by the imposed solidarity binding this preeminently Christian country to the other Islamic countries which surround it on all sides and enclose it, volens nolens, in their politico-economic orbit.

    By reason of its geographical position, history, culture and traditions, the nature of its inhabitants and their attachment to their faith and ideals, the Lebanon has always, even under the Ottoman yoke, kept itself out of the clutches of the other nations surrounding it and has succeeded in maintaining its tradition intact.

    Palestine, on the other hand, the ideological centre of all Old and New Testament,has always been the victim of all the troubles and persecutions. From time mmemorial, anything with any historical significance has always been ransacked, plundered and mutilated. Temples and churches have been turned into mosques and the role of that eastern part of the Mediterranean has, not without reason, been reduced to nothing.

    It is an incontestable historical fact that Palestine was the home of the Jew and of the first Christians. None of them was of Arab origin. By the brutal force of conquest they were forced to become converts to the Moslem religion, That is the origin of the Arabs in that country. Can one deduce from that that Palestine is Arab or that it ever was Arab?

    Historical vestiges, monuments and sacred mementos of the two religions remain alive there as evidence of the fact that this country was not involved in the internal war between the princes and monarchs of Iraq and Arabia. The Holy Places, the temples, the Wailing Wall, the churches and the tombs of the prophets and saints, in short, all the relics of the two religions, are living symbols, which alone invalidate the statements now made by those who have little interest in making Palestine an Arab country. To include Palestine and the Lebanon within the group of Arab countries is to deny history and to destroy the social balance in the Near East.

    These two countries, these two homelands[Lebanon and the Jewish National Home as a successor to Mandatory Palestine] have proved up till now that it is both useful and necessary for them to exist as separate and independent entities.

    The Lebanon, first of all, has always been and will remain a sanctuary for all the persecuted Christians of the Middle East. It was there that the Armenians who escaped extermination in Turkey found refuge. It was there that the Chaldeans of Iraq found a place of safety when driven from their country. It was there that the Poles, in plight from a blazing Europe, took refuge. it was there that the French, forced out of Syria, found protection. It was there that the British families of Palestine, fleeing from terrorism, found refuge and protection.

    The Lebanon and Palestine must continue to be the permanent home of minorities.

    What has the role of the Jews been in Palestine? Considered from this angle, the Palestine of 1918 appears to us a barren country, poor, denuded of all resources, the least developed of all the Turkish vilayets. The Moslem-Arab colony there lived an the borderline of poverty. Jewish immigration began, colonies were formed and established, and in less than twenty years the country was transformed: agriculture flourished, large industries were established, wealth came to the country. The presence of such a well-developed and industrious nation, next to the Lebanon could not but contribute to the welfare of all – the Jew is a man of practical executive ability, the Lebanese is highly adaptable and, for that reason, their proximity could only servo to better the living conditions of the inhabitants.

    From the cultural point of view these two nations may boast that they have as many cultured and intellectual people as all the other countries of the Near East put -, together. It is not fair that the LAW should be imposed by an ignorant majority desirous of imposing its will.

    It would not be fair to allow a million advanced and educated human being to be the plaything of a few interested persons who happen to be at the head of affairs, who lead several million backward and unprogressive people and dictate the LAW as they please. There is an order in the world, an order which establishes the proper balance. if the United Nations are really desirous of maintaining this order, it must do everything possible to consolidate it.

    Major reasons of a social, humanitarian and religious nature require the creation, in these two countries, of two homelands for minorities: a Christian home in the Lebanon, as there has always been~ a Jewish home in Palestine. These two centres connected with each other geographically, and supporting and assisting each other economically, will form the necessary bridge between West and East, from the viewpoint of Culture and Civilization. The neighborly relations between these two nations will contribute to the maintenance of peace in the Near East, which is so divided by rivalries, and will lessen the persecution of minorities, which will always find refuge it these two countries.,

    That is the opinion of the Lebanese whom I represent; it is the opinion of this people whom your Committee of Enquiry was unable to hear.

    Behind the closed doors of the Sofar Hotel you were able to listen only to the words dictated to our so-called legal representatives bythelords and masters of the neighboring Arab countries. The real voice of the Lebanese was smothered by the group who falsified the elections of 25 May.


    I have the honour to be, etc.,

    (Signed) Ignace Mobarac (Mubarak)

    Maronite Archbishop of Beirut.

  18. says

    Nothing new here. The Greek Catholics have always been anti-semetic. They manufactured blood libels against the Jews and massacred them over and over throughout the centuries. The books I have read from the last couple of centuries describe how the Muslims (both the Turks and the Arab ruling class) oppressed the Christians horribly. They feared the Muslims. But they hated the Jews with incredible passion because of the blood libels.

    The modern-day blood libels of blood-thirsty Jews murdering poor defenseless Arabs keeps their hatred going.

  19. says

    ‘Aquinas’@ 5:06pm, I’m sorry but I disagree with you entirely that the Catholic Church has said/done nothing about Islam.
    Even Pamela Geller on her site Atlas Shrugs says “I know, I know, POPE POPE POPE…………..but he rocks and he’s a hero and I can’t get enough of that fearless stuff (and yeah, I’m Jewish)”

    The Pope has spoken about Islam (or referenced it) many times, in fact there are Muslims who wanted the Pope dead after his Regensburg speech, part of which reads –

    In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: There is no compulsion in religion. It is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat.

    But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels,” he turns to his interlocutor somewhat brusquely with the central question on the relationship between religion and violence in general, in these words:

    Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.

    The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul.

    Why such an outcry against him if he hadn’t spoken out?

    Just do a search on “pope” on Pamela Geller’s site, and you’ll see all the ways the Church has spoken out.

  20. says

    Slightly OT, but is or has anyone here done a comparison of the Quran and Mein Kampf? I picked up (between thumb and forefinger) a copy of the latter at the library sale for that purpose. It’s been called the most boring book ever written and after checking out a couple chapters that would appear to be an understatement. Can anyone suggest specifically what to look for so I don’t have to slog through more of this wretched man’s droning on than necessary and can toss it back into the library sale bin at the earliest opportunity?

  21. says

    5 Islamic costume ideas for Halloween 2010.

    1} The standard Burka, smiley face optional

    2} Muhammad mask with obligatory blood and sex dripping from corner of mouth

    3} Muslim male with scull cap and stuffed baby doll named Aisha in arms

    4} Muslim male dressed in Islamic garb holding severed infidel head in one hand, sword of Islam and copy of Quran in the other

    5} Muslim female in chains of her own choosing

    Care 2 add some more?

  22. says

    ps, the Pope only yesterday in a sermon spoke about the freedom to practice religion by non-Mulsims –

    (Reuters) – Pope Benedict called on Islamic countries in the Middle East on Sunday to guarantee freedom of worship to non-Muslims and said peace in the region was the best remedy for a worrying exodus of Christians.

    He made his a appeal at a solemn mass in St Peter’s Basilica ending a two week Vatican summit of bishops from the Middle East, whose final document criticized Israel and urged the Jewish state to end its occupation of Palestinian territories.

    In his sermon at the gathering’s ceremonial end, the pope said freedom of religion was “one of the fundamental human rights that each state should always respect.”

    He said that while some states in the Middle East allowed freedom of belief, “the space given to the freedom to practice religion is often quite limited.”

    But getting back on topic, no, I don’t think that Bustros is speaking on/or reflecting the teaching of the Vatican.

  23. says

    Bruce, I’m not sure I follow exactly what you’re trying to say. When the Pope makes pronouncements on Faith and Morals ex cathedra, I am guessing that he doesn’t expect the churches who have broken away from the main Catholic Church to abide by that? Of course it would be good if they did. eg, the Patriarch and the Eastern Orthodox Church would not take what he says as something they should follow. So if the head of one of these other churches speaks, you can’t take that as being approved by the Vatican, or by the Pope – not as long as these others are separated from mother Church.

  24. says

    Is it possible that Christian Palestinians don’t like Israel because many of them were exiled during the 1948? What about the possibility that they do not like Israel because Israel has confiscated the land of many Christian Palestinians over many decades? What about the barrier that runs through the suburbs of Bethlehem on the land of many Christian farmers? What about the destruction of churches during the 1948 war?

    Is Stockholm Syndrome really the only possibility? How come Christian Palestinians that have lived in the western world for years continue to say that they got along well with their Muslim neighbors and felt oppressed by and afraid of Israel? Why would all of these people lie?

  25. says

    Jos B

    If you’re actually interested in the truth…turn off “American Idol” or “Survivor” long enough and…

    Do yourself a favor and go to and read for an hour or so all the absolute atrocities Muslims carry out on a daily basis in the name of their “god”. Then come back here and tell me the Catholic Church’s response has been adequate. I defy you.

    Girls buried alive or burned to death for “honor”. Women horribly abused and girls mutilated. Apostates and homosexuals tortured and killed. Non-Muslims bitterly persecuted and killed. Young girls stoned to death for having been the victims of rape. Young girls forced to marry and [therefore] be raped by old men in arranged marriages. Young Christian girls in Egypt and Pakistan and Sudan kidnapped, raped, and forcibly “converted” to Islam. Then go to and watch a few actual beheadings or stonings. Inform yourself before you speak, please.

    And the Catholic Church’s response to these diabolical atrocities is: “the space given to the freedom to practice religion is often quite limited.”

    And: [freedom of religion is] “one of the fundamental human rights that each state should always respect.”

    Don’t mean to embarrass you, but YOU’RE KIDDING, RIGHT?

    That’s like: a guy bursts into your house late at night and begins raping your wife and you stand there and state [dogmatically, of course]: “The bodily integrity of the individual human person is a right which should in principle never be violated.”

    Friend, Islam is on the march. People of good will, like Robert and Pam have recognized this fact. My questions are: Why is the Catholic Church so silent about the evident evils of this worldwide ideology of hatred and violence? And why does it specifically refer to Islam as an “Abrahamic faith”?

    Don’t get me wrong. I believe the Catholic Church is the true Church founded by Jesus Christ. No argument there. I AM a Catholic. But I am very curious to know why the Catholic Church has adopted such a dhimmi posture towards Islam and the current Islamic jihad.

    And, again, no lie: I personally have been commanded – officially and on pain of my employment in our diocese – never [again] to “make negative general comments about Islam or Muslims”.

    The simple fact is that the Church’s response to Islam has been inadequate at best. Just as it would be criminal for the man to stand by and spout platitudes about the bodily integrity of the human person while his wife was being raped, it is INADEQUATE and INSUFFICIENT for the Pope to talk in generalities about the “freedom of religion” and “human rights” while Rome burns.

    p.s. I went to Pam’s site and searched “Pope”. Sorry, no counter-examples. The two articles I read actually were critical of the Pope for shaking Sheikh’s Tamimi’s hand in Israel (May, 2009) and for wearing the Keffiyah given to him by Palestinians (April 2009).

    Be honest: the statements the Pope makes are typical diplomat-speak and meant “not to offend” anyone. He speaks in generalities intentionally NOT to offend the sensibilities of Muslims. And to avoid their typically barbarian response. And his response to the Muslim outrage [and murder] after his speech at Regensberg was weak at best. He did not apologise. But he was evidently cowed by their violence. Why not just come out and call them the barbarians they are? Jesus called the Pharisees children of the devil. Why won’t the Pope speak the truth and openly call Islam the hateful, diabolical ideology that it manifestly is?

    If you’re the Vicar of Christ on earth: open your mouth and call Islam what it is: a diabolically evil ideology of intolerance, hatred, violence, and death. Many people can see that the emperor has no clothes; why can’t the Pope? And if he does see it: why doesn’t he SAY it? Or atleast make it a clear policy among his bishops and priests not to silence the rank and file lay Catholics if THEY want to criticise it?

    And WHY does the Catholic Church refer to Islam as an “Abrahamic faith”??? Have the Bishops actually read the Qur’an? Do they know what it teaches? Why even refer to Islam as a religious faith at all, once you know its teachings and objectives?

    Just my opinion. But in my opinion the Catholic Church’s response to Islam has been (and continues to be) supine and dhimmi.

  26. says

    Above, one ‘Joseph McCarthy’, who either does not know the extent and depth of mental warping that is dhimmitude, or who knows damn well but chooses to obfuscate, posted:

    “Is it possible that Christian Palestinians don’t like Israel because many of them were exiled during the 1948?” etc.

    Let’s have a reality check, courtesy of the experience and testimony of one ‘John Roy Carlson’, a descendant of Armenian Christian refugees from Jihad who had escaped to America. An investigative journalist, he posed as an American Islamophile and former admirer of Nazism, in order to gain access to Arab Muslim counsels during the 1948 war. He wrote about it in ‘Cairo to Damascus’. Carlson *saw the war*, on the ground, mostly from among the Arab Muslims (though he did slip across into the Jewish side, and reports, vividly, what he saw there, as well).

    And in an extensive footnote he discusses the much- talked-about flight of the local Arabs, both Muslim and Christian, during that war of 1948, which was initiated by the Arab Muslim side, and which was intended to bring about the annihilation of the Jewish population. Carlson records a conversation with a Muslim in Gaza who told him – gloatingly, gleefully predicting – that soon the sea off Gaza would be black with Jewish corpses.

    Anyway. Here’s that footnote.

    From the text proper, p.p 234-235 of the 1951 edition of ‘Cairo to Damascus':

    ‘Some fifty thousand Arabs had fled Jaffa’.


”This flight-psychosis, which prevailed among the Arabs and ultimately resulted in the frantic exodus of many Moslems and Christians, is a difficult phenomenon to explain.

    “It was a mass hysteria induced by poor morale *and by fear of revenge and retributiion for the Arab massacres and lootings from 1920 on* {my emphasis added – dda}.

    “Arab leaders – particularly in the Mufti’s Higher Committee – urged residents to clear the fighting areas, promising them that Palestine would be cleared of Jews within thirty days after the Mandate ended.

    “After the Jews had been pushed into the sea, Arab leaders said, Palestinians could return to their homes and at the same time share in Jewish booty.

    ‘*They implied that those who refused to leave were pro-Zionist; such people were threatened with retribution.* {my emphasis added – dda}

    “In contrast, I [Carlson] know of instances where the Jews begged the Arabs, particularly the Christian elements, to remain, guaranteeing their safety and full respect for property.

    “These Christians, however, joined the fleeing Moslems, *fearing the promised retribution following the promised Arab victory* {my emphasis added – dda}.

    “As an instance, the Armenians, who had always got along well with Arab and Jew alike, joined the panicky Moslems, *horror-stricken by the memory of the Turkish massacres* {my emphasis added – dda}.

    “Wealthy merchants, physicians, bankers, politicians and other leaders were the first to leave. Later came the poorer elements until, by the time the Mandate expired, those remaining were largely only the ill and the aged, *the looters*, and the innocents.

    “The exodus figure of 750 000 or more Arabs is sheer propaganda, a fictional number that cannot be supported by the facts.

    “The populace in the country from Jerusalem north to Jericho was not disturbed by the fighting, nor were the Arabs and Christians resident in the congested areas within the quadrangle formed by Ramallah, Tulkarm, Jenin, and Nablus – Palestinian territory now annexed by Jordan.

    “It must also be pointed out that many of the Moslem so-called refugees were homeless, nomadic wanderers in the first place. *Poor, nonrefugee Arabs, such as those in Gaza {NOTA BENE – dda}, have claimed refugee status in order to qualify for American aid* {my emphasis added – dda}.”

  27. says

    “Arab nationalist Michel Aflaq: “Arab nationalism is Islam.””

    So let me get this right. One of the main pioneers of Arab nationalism in the 1940’s and the one who identified it with Islam is a Christian? Man, the picture is getting a lot more complex.

    Robert, can you also tell us why the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine committed suicide bombings? I heard somewhere that they are a Marxist/Atheist group. Is this true? And if so, how come the Muslims have not considered them apostates and killed them a long time ago?

  28. says

    And, to go with the testimony of John Roy Carlson, the testimony of Martha Gellhorn.

    Her classic article, “The Arabs of Palestine” first appeared in The Atlantic monthly in October 1961.

    She had spent the previous year extensively interviewing and observing the Arab Muslims and Arab Christians in ‘refugee camps’ in Jordan, Gaza and Lebanon, as well as Arab Muslims and Arab Christians resident within Israel.

    All of this five years before the ‘six day war’. I strongly advise anyone new to this website and to this subject, who has not yet read Gellhorn’s article, to click on the link, and read.

  29. says

    For our disingenuous friend ‘Julien’, above, and for others who may be genuinely puzzled by Arabism and Islam and how they relate to one another.

    First, a classic essay by Hugh Fitzgerald

    and secondly, apostate from Islam, Anwar Sheikh, on Islam as the Arab National Religion.

    ‘Islam: The Arab Imperialism ―

    ‘Islam, the Self-Perpetuating Tool of Arab Imperialism’
    by Anwar Sheikh

  30. says

    Aquinas, well it’s easy enough for you and I to say that sitting in our nice armchairs at home here, but what do you think is going to happen to Christians in Muslim countries if the Pope speaks out heavily?

    There is only so much the Pope can say. After his Regensburg speech, Catholic churches were torched by Muslims and a nun killed. There is only so much one can say without endangering other lives.

    Pope Pius faced exactly this situation in World War II. His first encyclical Mit brennender Sorge was so anti-Hitler that the Royal Air Force and the French air force dropped 88,000 copies of it over Germany.

    Some more history –

    Pius XII followed the Dutch Roman Catholic hierarchy’s plan to name the Jews explicitly in their condemnation of Nazi deportations, and he intended to issue a similar statement himself. The Nazis threatened to arrest more Jews. The Dutch Reformed Church agreed not to protest openly, but the Roman Catholic hierarchy issued, in May 1943, their famous protest against the deportations.

    The Nazis then launched an all-out offensive against Jews (except those who had converted to the Dutch Protestant Reformed Church). Ironically, it was the Dutch hierarchy’s letter of open condemnation which led to the arrest and execution of Saint Edith Stein, the Jewish Roman Catholic nun and philosopher.

    The news of the increased persecution reached Pius XII. His own protest was due to go into L’Osservatore Romano (the Vatican newspaper) that very evening, but he had the draft burnt saying, “If the protest of the Dutch Bishops has cost the lives of 40,000 people, my intervention would take at least 200,000 people to their deaths.” Such was the result of openly naming the Jews; more death from vain gestures. There is no doubt that if Pius XII had made such a vain gesture, instead of saving more Jewish lives, he would then have been open to the criticism of having made the situation of Jews worse by vain and inopportune public statements.

    The Jewish historian Pinchas Lapide sums it up: “The saddest and most thought-provoking conclusion is that whilst the Catholic clergy of Holland protested more loudly, expressly and frequently against Jewish persecutions than the religious hierarchy of any other Nazi-occupied country, more Jews – some 11,000 or 79% of the total – were deported from Holland; more than anywhere else in the West.”

    So, you tell me what the Pope should say? And who would bear the brunt of the backlash? Again, it’s easy to sit safe at our computer stools and tell leaders what they should do, but they have more people to think about besides themselves.

  31. says

    The ADL is loseing all creditabile as than cival right group with they attack on anyboby dareingt to critiize the action of Israel in the occup land include East Jem. They even list Jewish Peace Groups as being anti-Israeli than those peace group are proud of action by the ADL.

  32. says

    Ah yes the Arab Christians, their devidance between their faith and their attraction to something that was so clearly arab was a factor from the beginning. If a large number of christian arabs hadnt betrayed the Roman/Byzantine empire at Yarmuk we most shurly wouldent have any Islam today to be bothered with. If so many Christians betrayed Chrisndom for ethnic sakes what can one expect concerning jews. Today while not all middle eastern Syrians, Arameans or Chaldeans have become Muslim all have become Arab, so loosing their supperior (ancient) culture to a clearly inferior one and so loosing all national identity that is not linked to islam (because what have non islamic arabs to offer). On the other hand one should not forget the other side, one should not forget the whole tribes of Arab Christians that tryed to break through to Anatolia (the last Byzantine Stronghold) through all of Muslim occupied Syria and the Arab Christian units that bravly fought a seemingly hopless guerillia war togather with the Byzantine millitia army to defend Anatolia against destructive raids of the first muslims, a war that surly saved western civilisation from certain destruction. From the very beginning christian arabs stood before the same choice that Christ stood when the devil offered him “all the kingdoms of the world” but the reactions were diffrent….

  33. says

    Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop Cyril Butros will do well to rid himself of his ridicules titles, cast off his similarly ridicules garments and do some serious Bible study. ROMANS 9-11: 11 v.1 “Say Then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I……”. For “forbid” the strongest Greek negative is used: “ginomai or mè”. Cyril just read the whole of the three chapters – you will get Paul’s message; stop making popular non Biblical statements to please your Muslim bed mates.

    Please note that “The Church” is a very broad term and most true evangelical Christians knows the importance of the land of Israel – it is there that the final act shall be played out, not because of, but in spite of the the teachings of some so called “churches”

  34. says

    Getting back to the ‘Christians against Israel’ movement, which we now know includes a large proportion of Catholics, perhaps the best and simplest answer is what St Paul says of the non-believing Jews in Romans 11:29 “the free gifts and the call are irrevocable”. Full stop! The gifts here cannot be the spiritual gifts mentioned elsewhere by Paul, because the unbelieving Jews were not considered to be the beneficaries of the gifts of the Spirit in the same way as baptized Christians. No, in this context, when speaking of the election through the Patriarchs, the gift of the Land is clearly implied. In the face of St. Paul’s unambiguous endorsement of the Abrahamic Covenant, as written, it is an embarassment and a shame to hear Christians, high-ranking Catholics among them, condemning the settlement of Jews in Judaea and Samaria as “a sin against God and man”, and reasserting their teaching of contempt for the Jews – the view that their covenant promises have been annulled and that they are no longer the chosen people. There could be no clearer example of politics trumping faith, in this case, the faith of the Apostle Paul. A workable political solution has to take account of the religious necessity of the Jews’ return to their homeland.

  35. says

    Agreed, Wellington: if you can’t say anything bad (because of ensuing violence) don’t say anything at all. CERTAINLY don’t praise or give undue credit, or give people who rely on what you say to be the truth the wrong idea, thus leading them into danger.

  36. says

    Robert, thank you for taking a stand and rejecting the Melkite Bishop’s position. My husband and I, who are Jewish, went to a Greek festival in our town, sponsored by the local Greek Orthodox church, and were surprised and dismayed to find among the pamphlets on display one that basically repeated the Melkite Bishop’s stance on Israel and the Jews. We had not been aware that this type of “replacement theology” was part of Christian theology any longer, although I must profess ignorance about the various denominations and divisions within the eastern churches.

    I am a longtime reader, though a rare commenter. Thanks for everything you do.

  37. says

    Jos B

    Forgive the glibness, but unfortunately…

    Your rhetorical questions make both of my points quite succinctly. You ask first: “What do you think is going to happen to Christians in Muslim countries if the Pope speaks out heavily?”

    Answer: Muslims will react in their typical barbarian fashion and kill Christians.

    Point #1: Islam is an evil ideology that inculcates irrational violence in its followers, who are only too willing to carry out this violence.

    Point made. Thank you.

    Next, you state: “There is only so much the Pope can say.”

    Says who? The Muslims who will react violently if he says the “wrong” thing. So – like a good dhimmi – he keeps his mouth shut altogether or mutters some innocuous platitudes about “human rights”.

    Point #2: The Pope and the Catholic Church have adopted the posture of a dhimmi in regard to Islam and the jihad.

    Point made. Thank you.

    Next, as for sitting in my armchair safely, bite your tongue. I have actively advocated for Israel and against Islam on the front lines of numerous public protests in my city and have traveled hundreds of miles to be at others. And you know why? Because I am not a dhimmi. So, you stay safe in your armchair while Robert, Pam, and others take care of the heavy lifting. I’m already fighting, so speak for yourself. You defend the Pope’s dhimmi posture because it is your own posture as well, it seems. But it is not mine.

    Finally, as for what the Pope should say. First, he should never praise Islam or refer to it as an “Abrahamic faith”. Second, he should speak internally, in a clear message to all of his bishops and priests, that lay Catholics who would [reasonably, responsibly] criticise Islam and point out the many injustices it engenders SHOULD NOT BE SILENCED. Hello. And, third, in the appropriate manner and at the appropriate time, he should say in no uncertain terms that the doctrines of Islamic supremacism and Islamic jihad are EVIL and that Muslims the world over should STOP persecuting their Christian neighbors. Muslims should STOP their jihad against the rest of the world. Muslims should STOP trying to impose Sharia Law on the rest of the world. He should state that Sharia Law is fundamentally EVIL because of what it mandates and what it permits.

    And then, when the inevitable Muslim violence erupts, people can begin to SEE for themselves the diabolical nature of Islam and its doctrines. And then we can begin addressing the problem as a united group, instead of as individuals here and there. The Pope has the power to unite people against Islam and Sharia Law in a way that no one else has. Obviously. He needs to use that bully pulpit to warn his flock and to begin to respond to the jihad that is already very much upon us.

    So, do as you please, Jos B. But I for one will never submit.

  38. says

    I had read each of the statements of this Synod and -as a Greek Catholic myself- was much discouraged by the predictable anti-Israeli statements and innuendos.
    However there were statements on the subject of vocations to the priesthood that I found very telling. Melkite-Greek Catholic Archbishop Michel (Abrass) mentioned something that might easily elude the reader: He reported that many men entering the priesthood in his Church were doing so more as “ecclesiastical career” than out of a spiritual consideration. (My paraphrase).
    I was quite surprised that he stated what has been a well-known little secret among Eastern Catholics. Every now and then ill-prepared clergy from the “old country” show up in “the diaspora.” Within a short time they get plum assignments, titles, etc. Everyone knows they are on a career-track. Either they will carve out their lucrative fiefdom in the New World, or return to the Old World for their consecration.
    It indicates a level of spiritual bankruptcy and of politics that is not limited to the Middle East, but seems to have become characteristic of the Middle Eastern Churches.
    About a century ago a “deal” was struck between Rome and the Eastern Catholic Churches, that married priests would NOT be sent to America. Since married priests are inelligible for the episcopacy, it would be good for the health of the Eastern catholic Churches in the diaspora if Rome would strike a new deal: ONLY married priests may come over. Such, of course, would be motivated by a proven call to ministry, sacrifice, empathy, labor-in-the-vineyard.
    As for relating to the topic: If this careerism is as endemic as it seems, it would follow that at least some of the hierarchy of these Churches would be feathering their nests, insuring their future, making politically-advantageous statements, etc.
    I believe strongly that if there were no Israel, the Melkites, Copts, Maronites, Antiochenes, et al would be pining for the good old days of the Turk.

  39. says

    This, of course, is a very discouraging development. But its importance should not be exagerrated. Given the disfunctional nature of the Catholic and other Christian communities in the Middle East, it was predictable. However, it should be noted well by Jihad Watch readers that the synod’s final statement is a list of “proposals” only – recommendations – to the Pope. It has no independent authority and does not, in and of itself, define Catholic doctrine. The authoritative outcome of the synod will be the “Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation” that Benedict will issue some weeks or months from now. That alone will be an official and authoritative document of the Catholic Church. Hopefully it will be a better, more balanced production than what we’ve seen here.

    On the other hand, Catholic though I am, I’ve long thought that Robert Spencer should take a much more critical view of the Holy See’s frequent statements about Islam than he has, and I’ve posted such thoughts on this site as well as in one or two emails I sent privately to him, but I suppose as only a minor and occasional commenter, he had little reason to pay much attention to my advice. Hopefully this pathetic fiasco at the Vatican will prompt a more vigilant and aggressive response at Jihad Watch to the many Islam-friendly positions taken by Church officials.

  40. says

    Please people, let’s stick to the topic. Are we going to use this forum to debate evolution – I’m on, but this is not the issue. Islam is – so let’s here their voice. By the way Nick222 – about all religions being con games; I’ll take my chances. Books! Try “Forbidden Archeology” Cremo & Thompson(non Christian), Michael J Behe’s “Darwin’s Black Box” and Dave Hunt’s “Cosmos, Creator and Human Destiny”, or for some real eye opening, try and study Prof. Werner Gitt’s research on Information Theory. Once you have done that, then come and post some “intelligent” jargon to impress others on this site.

  41. says

    Henry is grateful that you all let me post here even though I disagree with some of what you all say – so let me say that St. Paul is exactly correct and Spencer is wrong:”I SPEAK the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost: 2 That I have great sadness, and continual sorrow in my heart. 3 For I wished myself to be an anathema from Christ, for my brethren, who are my kinsmen according to the flesh, 4 Who are Israelites, to whom belongeth the adoption as of children, and the glory, and the testament, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises: 5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ, according to the flesh, who is over all things, God blessed for ever. Amen. 6 Not as though the word of God hath miscarried. For all are not Israelites that are of Israel: 7 Neither are all they that are the seed of Abraham, children; but in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 8 That is to say, not they that are the children of the flesh, are the children of God; but they, that are the children of the promise, are accounted for the seed. 9 For this is the word of promise:” True Jews are conceived by spiritual regeneration, not by flesh – baptism is rebirth into the family of God – Jerusalem belongs to the Christians

  42. says

    Hmmm. This thread is interesting.

    We need to clear up a few things. Petunia, writing as a Confessional Reformed Christian (Presbyterian/ Continental Reformed of the pre-modernist school), I can tell you that there are lots of Christians who could care less what the Pope says (or even be pre-programmed to doubt and dispute something simply because the Pope says it–why, some of my brethren would start counting on their fingers if the Pope said 3+2=5!). These include not only Protestants like me, but also many Eastern Orthodox and non-Chalcedonian (Copt, Armenian, Assyrian, Syrian Jacobite) people.

    Further, the worst thing is that too many people look at the death of Christ and see no “ransom for many” (Mark 10:45) or proof of how their own sins sent the Son of God to the cross, but decide it’s all the fault of the Jews–including those of today.

    And, believe it or not, there are pro-Israel Christians like me who do not believe that modern Israel represents a fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

    Yes, there IS a chosen people of God: it is all–Jew or Gentile–gathered around Jesus the Messiah. They’re there because God so predestined them, redeemed them, and then called them. This is one of the key themes in the writings of Paul. Yes, Salvation comes from the Jews (as Jesus told the woman of Samaria in John 4, when the woman noted that Jesus is a Jew), but it’s there for the Gentiles as well (back when the New Testament was being written, Christians of Jewish origin were clearly the “in” group in the church while the Graeco-Roman, Syrian, Egyptian, and other Gentiles were the “outs” from the far mission field). We Christians may be a large, fractious, discordant family, but we were brought together by God the Holy Spirit because God the Father gave us to God the Son. God wants us to be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests –I Peter 2:9 and Rev. 1:6, echoing Exodus 19:6. The call of God remains. As there was a remnant who honored faithful priests and prophets and yearned for a worthy monarch of Daivd’s line in Old Testament times (and prophets, priests, and kings were all anointed in the Old Testament), so are there those who hold to God’s anointed (Jesus–prophet, priest, and king in one) today.

    So, why are some of us still pro-Israel when our theology doesn’t require it? Well, Jesus promised that nation would rise against nation until He returns (i.e., history’s going to happen). Sometimes, some such nations have better stewardship of the land, more civil goodness (as opposed to sanctity, which is a whole other topic), or what-not than those against whom they fight.

    The RC Church’s stance reflected in the synodical statements above should serve notice to all and sundry that the RC Church is not some great, powerful organization that can snap its be-ringed fingers and get millions to do its bidding, but an organization that gets its own share of buffetings from forces inside and out. After all–and I write as a pro-life, monogamist heterosexual male myself–that the religious stats in America would change radically in favor of liberal Protestant bodies and various New Age cults if the RC Church really put its money where its mouth is and started excommunicating American RC’s who disagree with Humanae Vitae.

    By the same token, the Vatican’s anti-Communism was a very frail reed for most of the Cold War. It couldn’t keep half of Italy and France (mostly people baptized as RC) from voting Communist during the early Cold War; and could not prevent much of the Latin American Church from swallowing Marxism hook, line, and sinker with its “liberation” theology. Papal anti-Communism only worked when it had powerful friends elsewhere–especially at a time when the Soviet state was subject to great internal strains.

    Similarly, in the Middle East, the RC Church, like all Christian churches, is in a very vulnerable position. it can only tread very lightly and diplomatically. I’m sure that if Pope Benedict told all those Melkite and Syrian Rite RC’s that they needed to get in step with the post-Vatican II conciliatory stance towards the Jews, there’s be a sudden mass return to Eastern Orthodox or non-Chalcedonian affiliation.

    So, if militant Islam can drive the great Vatican giant into dhimmitude by holding Middle Eastern Christian populations hostage, when once even the militant worshipers of Moloch (the deified state) and Mother Nature (modern scientism) trembled in fear at Vatican pronouncements, isn’t it all the more clear evidence that we need a stronger anti-Jihad movement in the West?

  43. says

    Nick222 said that Henry is mentally ill – I’m trying to be objective about the topic of this thread, and this is what I am presently trying to understand – it is what Spencer said that Paul said in the book of Romans – ” 28 As concerning the gospel, indeed, they are enemies for your sake: but as touching the election, they are most dear for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance. 30 For as you also in times past did not believe God, but now have obtained mercy, through their unbelief; 31 So these also now have not believed, for your mercy, that they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God hath concluded all in unbelief, that he may have mercy on all.” See what is hard for me to understand? “29 For the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance.”How does that mean that that God means that the Jews have a God given right to Jerusalem? Perhaps a Baptized Jew – but if Baptized how is he any different than any other Christian? See why I appear to be a little mentally confused? But you can cure me by explaining how the above means those who believe in the Talmud get to get the gift of the Promised Land here on earth? Go ahead,cure me – and make me very happy.

  44. says


  45. says

    Is this a Roman Catholic Synod? It is hard to tell and the media often puts so much “spin” on things it is hard to tell what was really being said. The Roman Catholic church does not take a stand that Jewish people are somehow condemned, just that there are really no Jews living under the Old Covenant as they are no longer strictly living under the law, which includes animal sacrifices made to atone for sins. The Roman Catholic church recognizes Jesus as the Paschal lamb who fulfilled the Old Testament law and prophecy (Muhammad came 600 years later and rewrote the Bible – the Quran, replacing Jesus with himself as the main character). It is true, however, that the Roman Catholic hierarchy has been guilty at times of acting politically correct instead of spiritually correct and has not condemned evil as evil. Again, the media has put a lot of spin on it, but the solution of “dialogue” with Muslims is legally beneath Muslims and suicide for subjugated Christians.

  46. says

    Something all of us non-Muslim religious folk need to remember is this – and it applies particularly, I think, to the Jews and to all varieties of Christian, among whom I count myself – that is: our organisations do not simply operate from the top down, they also operate from the ground up.

    Sometimes leaders – whether it be the Chief Rabbi of this or that country, or the Pope, or the Dalai Lama – find the courage to be the first to say something.

    But sometimes it works the other way: sometimes they need to be instructed and encouraged by those they represent.

    In the case of Catholics, for example, it may be that the Pope and the Cardinals need to get, loud and clear, a double message.

    First, they need to hear, perhaps unofficially behind closed doors, a message smuggled through from those being held hostage within dar al Islam, that ‘we are prepared to be martyrs because we will be made martyrs in any case, we are persecuted and we will be persecuted, *no matter what you do or do not do*’, so, “do not let them use us as hostages, as bargaining chips to force your silence or your surrender”.

    The other message needs to be coming steadily from the informed membership within the non-Muslim world – ‘don’t be silent, speak up for our persecuted brethren, don’t be afraid to criticise Islam’.

    The way things are looking, it seems that it is the task of the laypeople, those on the ground in temple, synagogue or church, to educate their leaders. We have to create a situation where they know the facts and are willing to speak up and they also know that if they speak up, we will be behind them.

    I am currently preparing a little information pack for my [Anglican] Bishop, which will contain two or three useful things, most notably, Raymond Ibrahim’s Middle East Quarterly article on Taqiyya, and an article by Hans Jansen (he who has been an expert witness for Geert Wilders) comparing Christianity with Islam.

    I have personally spoken with the Bishop. He knows abysmally little about Islam. But if I can inform *him* – if I can just get him to read Mark Durie’s two little books (‘Revelation?’ and ‘The Third Choice’) and if he becomes realistically aware – then he is in a position to share his awareness with many, many others: with all the clergy under his care, and with his fellow Bishops when they have the national synod. Now if, in other dioceses, other Islamosavvy people like myself just keep working away at their own clergy, eventually a critical mass will be reached, and we may see things suddenly ‘flip’ – for instance, we may get an archbishop who is prepared to speak plainly.

  47. says

    Further thought.

    I keep thinking that perhaps it’s time to quit playing the hostage game.

    If we allow the Muslims to use non-Muslims inside Muslim lands – be it whole populations, like the dhimmi Christians [in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Sudan, Nigeria, and right across to Malaysia and Indonesia], or dhimmi Jews [in Yemen and Persia] or dhimmi Hindus [in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan], or just one kidnapped prisoner, like poor young Gilad Shalit, if he’s still alive, or the sailors captured by Somali Muslim pirates – as bargaining chips, to force us to pay up and shut up and to demand that we NOT criticise or condemn their routine cruelty toward those same non-Muslims, then we are lost.

  48. says

    Unfortunately the Holy See is getting itself involved with a lot of “right on” causes recently, including the biggest con job in human history,global warming. Likewise with this statement on Israel. The Vatican, seeking the approval of the liberals, are buying into the narrative of the oppressed Palestinians, that Isarel, the only democracy in the ME, is the root cause of their plight. Wrong. The root cause of their plight is Islamic jihad and the fact that they won’t make peace with their Jewish neighbours – despite three offers. The Palestinians will now seek recognition from the UN for a unilateral declaration of independence, and the UN will probably agree to this despite the fact that Gaza is ran by a group, Hamas, that deny women education, execute homosexuals and are basically depraved animals. As for the Vatican, I would urge them cease making statements to please the useful idiots on the left, They’ll still hate you either way. We await a statement from the Bishop of Rome on the disgraceful utterences of the Greek bishop – then again we may be waiting as the WW2 pope wasn’t exactly vocal was he?

  49. says

    proxy, the religionists, who witness for their gods every chance they get, will be up in arms that a “godless atheist” dares to call them to reason. Men such as Archbishops Bustros, who would throw an entire people to the wolves to protect his own religious tribe, are still counted as “men of God” and therefore superior to us.

    Ladies and gentlemen of the “Lord”, if you winced when you read proxy’s comment, let me assure you that that is how it is for us.

    All. The. Time.

    Sorry if I’m in a snarky mood about this, but I had my “wince” moment earlier this evening watching Sean O’Keefe blithely state that his survival of the Alaska plane crash that killed former Sen. Stevens “was such that any doubt you have about divine intervention goes away”. (Which statement makes absolutely no sense whatever, but I digress.) O’Keefe is still in a hard plastic neck collar and I was immediately thrown back to sitting in a hospital room in a similar condition following a near-fatal accident while a smug chaplain said virtually the same thing to me.

    Would it have killed to to at least ask if I was interested in her opinion?

  50. says

    Thank you, Xavier. The Catholic Church via the Vatican State did not issue this statement. I am a cradle Catholic and was brought up to love Jews and to view Judaism as the foundation of all truths in the world.

    A new family from Gaza came to my parish two years ago, fleeing violence and unrest. Funny, it was all foisted upon them by the Islamic Gazans, yet they despised the Jews, without being able to express “why.”

    The Muslims are the masters of the Middle East, and their dhimmis know upon which side their pita bread is buttered.

  51. says

    Respectfully, when the Pope speaks to the entire church on a matter of faith and morals, which he did in Nostra Aetate, he speaks for every particular Church. When the Pope speaks on such matters in that way he does not speak as the head of the Latin Church, or as the Patriarch of the West, but universally. Another way to look at it is that the Melkite Greek Catholic Church DID speak through its ultimate head on faith and morals – the Pope, through Nostra Aetate among other documents. So did all other churches that are in union with Rome on matters of faith and morals – the other Greek Catholic Churches, the Syriac Catholic Church, the Ethiopian Catholic Church, 15+odd others.

    When the Pope speaks from the chair of Peter, he does so not as the head of the Roman church specifically but as the head of the universal Catholic church in all of its particular Churches.

  52. says

    By “another,” Ima Freeman? Have to ask, what “another” is an “evil ideology?” Be careful you don’t fall into the trap of moral equivalizing or tu quoque reasoning (actually non-reasoning). No major faith threatens my liberty but Islam. And any errors committed by adherents of other major religions in centuries past are the stuff of long ago and such errors were in contradiction of, not fulfillment of, specific theological blueprints. In short, Islam is the problem and no other major religion remotely is. And I write this as the agnostic that I am.

  53. says

    This is off topic and I have no wish to start another thread. But…since you slipped it in I will slip in a brief reply.
    ,” I have yet to see any proof whatsoever of the existence of God ”
    There is other evidence than “to see”. There is the evidence of reason and logic. “To see” does not always mean physical evidence. “I see” can mean “I understand”.
    The world/universe did not make itself. Therefore (reason and logic) there must be a cause. ie there exists something other than the material universe.
    Also people often speak of “seeing” God in natural beauty – the cathedral of nature.

  54. says

    “I am loathe to work for the destruction of one evil ideology (Islam) only to have it supplanted by another”

    The hijackers who flew planes into the twin towers weren’t Jews, or christians or any other religion, they were muslims. Ditto London, Madrid Bali beslan.. We all know the list of the most well-known Jihad attacks so I won’t repeat it.
    But tell me, what other evil ideology would supplant Islam if it were destroyed? That can indeed happen and has happened. eg Nazism was driven out of Poland only to be replaced by Communism. The catholic church is still in Poland but I don’t think most Poles feel particularly threatened by the Catholic Church.
    In US what evil ideology is hovering in the wings to replace Islamic Jihad?
    If another evil ideology did move in then we would have to resist that too. Fear of what might happen if we succeeded in getting rid of Islam is not a good reason for allowing Islam to continue to grow unchecked, I suggest.

  55. says

    While it’s true that they reject the Messiah, Yahweh and the Scriptures, for the reasons of “secularism” and “nationalism”, they will soon come to realize that it doesn’t matter if they denounce God’s Covenant, because Islam says that they are cursed creatures upon the earth and that “the hour will not be established, until you fight the Jews… and kill them”.

  56. says

    hi lilredbird!
    why won’t you make your life easier and just read robert spencer’s ‘the truth about muhammad’.
    this shhhhhhhstuff is just mind boggling!

  57. says


    that is a *very* important point.

    “Split the camp” seems to be one of the oldest ploys of the jihadist.

    Pre-existing divisions and tensions between different groups of non-Muslims are subtly or unsubtly exacerbated; and where divisions do not already exist Muslims seek to create them, subtly or unsubtly.

    The aim is not only to weaken the Infidels but – by making each group of Infidels perceive the other group as *the* Enemy – to keep the eyes of the various groups of Infidels turned away from what the Muslims are doing.

  58. says

    So let me get this right. Now the problem is not Islam (which is just a tool for Arab cultural superiority) but the Arabs themselves. So you’re saying the problem is really ethnic rather than ideological? Wow, hate is a slippery slope. When will the internment camps commence ?

  59. says


    How do you get hate for all Arabs qua Arabs out of any of the texts I linked?

    Did you actually read Anwar Sheikh?

    I suggest you also read Lamin Sanneh and V S Naipaul – see Among the Believers, and Beyond Belief. They saw what they saw: Muslims, not ethnically Arab, driven *by Islam* to Arabise themselves, treating non-Arab languages and cultures with contempt (because such languages and cultures were not chosen as vehicles of the Quranic ‘revelation’), bowing to Arabia, slavishly imitating every mundane and/ or immoral detail of the life of a *bad* Arab, a corrupt and violent 7th century warlord, and It has been said that the problem with Islam is not that Mohammed was a Bedouin, but that he was a *bad* Bedouin.

    I think it can be argued, quite consistently, that Islam is to the Arabs as Nazism was to the Germans (with the one distinction, that persons can become an inferior class of ‘Arab’ by becoming Muslim; whereas it wasn’t possible for a non-Aryan to become an Aryan by embracing Nazism). What one might call ‘being German’ is a far bigger and better thing than the warped and amoral Nazi re-formulation thereof; but if the Nazis had won, and had gone on for a thousand years, how much of that original, broader German identity would have been left?

    I would argue that Islam – a limited and indeed evil formulation of Arab culture, seeking to impose itself worldwide – has been, and is, as bad for Arabs as Nazism (i.e. a system of German/ Aryan supremacism/ imperialism) was for Germans. And perhaps because the totalitarian Islamic system has held sway for far, far longer, it appears to be more difficult for persons who are ethnically Arab to free themselves of Islam, or of dhimmitude if they are non-Muslim Arabs, than it was for persons brought up inside Nazi Germany to free themselves from Nazism. Hitler had only had two generations of children to brainwash; Muslims in the core of dar al Islam have been brainwashed for many more generations than that.

    I don’t see Islam as genetic: it’s ideological. People whether Arab or non-Arab aren’t born Muslim; it’s programmed into them, often by violence.

    What’s more, Arabs who refuse to buy the program – an apostate from Islam to Christianity, like Walid Shoebat, or an Arab Christian such as the late blessed Rami Ayyad, martyr in Gaza, who refused to act like a dhimmi – are in danger; for their different way of ‘being Arab’ doesn’t fit with – it rejects and challenges – the limited and limiting Mohammedan way of ‘being Arab’. Just as Germans like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Sophie Scholl of the White Rose, who rejected and challenged the Nazi way of ‘being German’, got imprisoned, or executed.

    Defining Islam as the Arab National Religion, or the Arab Imperial Religion, doesn’t seem to me to necessarily involve hating Arabs as such or dismissing all of Arab culture as bad; any more than seeing Nazism as German nationalism run mad, necessarily involved hating Germans qua Germans, or rejecting all of German culture as bad.

    The self-defence of the non-Muslim world against Jihad will, I think, have to involve, sooner or later 1. stopping immigration of Muslims into majority non-Muslim lands and 2. deportation of large numbers of particularly aggressive Muslim colonists [and those locals who have joined their gang] out of majority non-Muslim lands (where many of them have been behaving rather like an invading army – raping, rioting, burning, pillaging and killing), back into dar al Islam.

    That would not be racism, nor anti- Arabism: after all, most of the Muslims in the UK are of Pakistani ethnicity. It would be based on recognition of the unique danger posed by the warlike Muslim ideology.

    I don’t want even one more Lebanese ‘Arab’ Muslim to be admitted into Australia. I would be very very happy if the entire Chaouk family of Lebanese Arab Muslim crime lords and all their hangers-on were scooped up, lock stock and barrel, and put on a plane back to Lebanon. But the Lebanese Maronite Christians, who have been here since the late 19th century, are perfectly welcome to stay; they have really been no trouble at all.

    ‘Palestinian’ Arab Christians along with their secularised kin (perhaps baptised Christian, but now practising western-type secularism) can stay, too; but they ought to be challenged, very strongly, by local Western Christians, to repent of their hatred for Jews. They will also need a lot of help to shed their deeply-ingrained dhimmitude – and it will be a painful, tearful, slow process, as slow and painful as it is for a battered wife, after she escapes physically, to free herself of the psychological enslavement and wounding imposed by her abuser.

  60. says

    I think there’s merit to both what you and Aquinas say. The Catholic Church has to be very careful in what it expresses about Islam because we all know how Muslims can go into lethal hysterics over the slightest slight towards Islam and Mohammed. It’s a knife edge the Church has to walk, but at the very least I think the Church, especially the Pope, should say nothing good about Islam. One small correction: Mit Brennender Sorge was issued as an encyclical in 1937 while Pius XI was still Pope, though Cardinal Pacelli, the future Pius XII, certainly had a hand in its construction.

    I also have long maintained that Pius XII has been grossly unfairly dealt with by many since Hochhuth’s The Deputy made its appearance in 1963. Pius almost certainly saved more Jews (some 800,000) than any other person in all of history. He did this by working behind the scenes, the strategy you mentioned, knowing full well that openly and regularly criticizing the Nazis would result in saving far fewer lives, both Jewish and non-Jewish. Besides, he did sometimes speak out in thinly veiled language against Hitler and Nazism, such as his Christmas message of 1942, but he kept these to a minimum for the reason I already mentioned. In my book, he’s an heroic figure and I write this as someone who is not religious in the least.

  61. says

    gerard, with respect to your “The world/universe did not make itself. Therefore (reason and logic) there must be a cause. ie there exists something other than the material universe”, my response is: get your head out of the sand!

    Specifically, to begin to learn something about how the universe seems to have created itself from totally nothing, I suggest that you read the most recent book by Stephen Hawking, “The Grand Design” (or just read some reviews of it, e.g., the one at ), read the forthcoming book by Lawrence Krauss (or see his video entitled “The Universe from Nothing” at ), or have a look at my own introductory summary at .

    In brief, the most certain knowledge that humans have been able to gain (even more certain than the knowledge that we exist – for we may all be just simulations in some humongous computer game) is that there are no gods and never were any. Therefore, relative to the topic of this thread, no god promised anything to anyone: all organized religions are organized con games that have thrived on ignorance such as your own. For more details, see, e.g., .

  62. says


    Thank you for your response. I always enjoy your posts. I have chosen to reply to you for this reason, and also to gerard in the same note.

    I in no way believe, on any level, that there is any “moral equivalence” shared by Christianity and Islam. I thought the subtlety of my post was enough, but I guess not. While the “evils” of Christianity (and those of/perpetrated by any people in the name of “insert name of religion here”,) are indeed historical in nature, I don’t believe this “fight of ours” should be about religion but about FREEDOM. Whether Christianity, Judaism, et al, are “evil ideologies” or not is a completely subjective determination.

    In my opinion, as long as we look at Islam as a religion and compare it with, for arguments sake, Christianity, we give both a legitimacy that neither deserve. However, I believe that people have the RIGHT to choose what they wish to believe as long as those beliefs don’t infringe on the rights of others to NOT believe in them. This, in my view, is most important where governments are concerned. When people like George W. Bush constantly invoke the word of God and actually base their policies (which affect all of us) on these religious beliefs, you end up with, for example, no stem-cell research (science) or no aid to countries that offer abortions (choice, common sense, empathy, etc.). Another example would be the Catholic church’s ban on birth control (condoms), the use of which could greatly curtail AIDS in Africa and elsewhere. These decisions are based on religious doctrines that we should be scared of, while I conceed that we need not worry about being threatened with death for non-adherence.

    I know that “No major faith threatens my liberty but Islam” as you so rightly point out, but I think we need to look at Islam as a tyrannical, bigotted, evil POLITICAL ideology masquerading as religion and remove its “legitimacy” by declaring it a non-religion.

    Gerard wrote:

    “Fear of what might happen if we succeeded in getting rid of Islam is not a good reason for allowing Islam to continue to grow unchecked, I suggest.”

    I in no way suggested that we should allow Islam to continue to grow unchecked. My entire point was that if our arguments digress to the point of quibbling about whose God promised which people what or where they deserve to live, etc., then we are all simply failing to see the bigger picture. Gerard was quite right when he brought up Naziism as an evil ideology, and this is how we should treat Islam, because the growth and perpetuation of this so-called “religion” makes no determination when subjugating those who would live under its authority, including Muslims (yes, I know about Dhimmi’s, the differences — in Islam’s view of Christians, Jews, and others — however subtle, in HOW we are subjugated).

    My point is that it is all about FREEDOM (to do what we will while living in secular democracies under laws determined to serve the best interests of ALL people), and that we would be better served to approach the destruction of Islam as an evil political ideology that would see the enslavement of the entire human race rather than trying to determine which religion and its tenets are superior to others (notwithstanding the obvious differences that are clear to all of us).

    I hope I have clarified my point. Thanks again for your input, and I look forward to reading more of your great posts.


  63. says

    “In my opinion, as long as we look at Islam as a religion and compare it with, for arguments sake, Christianity, we give both a legitimacy that neither deserve.”

    What criteria would Islam have to meet to attain the status of religion?

    Also, you imply strongly that Christianity a religion. If so how can it be both religion and illegitimate at the same time? Or how can illegitimate religion be a religion?

    Another example would be the Catholic church’s ban on birth control (condoms), the use of which could greatly curtail AIDS in Africa and elsewhere.

    You have omitted, perhaps unintentionally, that Church’s ban, besides being unenforceable, is accompanied by strong recommendation of pre-marital chastity and marital fidelity. The statistics show that African populations that follow Church’s position have the lowest rate of AIDS in Africa.

    According to 2003 statistics from the World Factbook of the US Central Intelligence Agency, shows Burundi at 62% Catholic with 6% AIDS infection rate.
    Angola’s population is 38% Roman Catholic and has 3.9% AIDS rate.
    Ghana is 63% Christian, with in some regions as much as 33% Catholic and has 3.1% AIDS rate.
    Nigeria, divided almost evenly between the strongly Muslim north and Christian and “animist” south, has 5.4% AIDS rate.
    Christian Uganda maintaining its abstinence and fidelity AIDS prevention programs and one of the lowest rates of AIDS in Africa, at 4.1%.
    Uganda’s population is listed by the CIA Factbook as 33% Roman Catholic and 33% Protestant.
    Of African countries with low Catholic populations, Botswana is typical with 37.3% AIDS, one of the highest in Africa, and 5% of the total population Catholic.”

    You would agree that for being such a retrograde force as you imply Church has better results in curtailing spread of AIDS than condom pushing NGO agencies.

  64. says

    Thank you for your reply, Ima Freeman. You know, though an agnostic, I don’t mind public policy being made with the Judeo-Christian ethic in mind. It is a very enlightened ethic which not only does not threaten my liberty but actually helps preserve it. Its emphasis on the dignity and worth of the individual goes quite well with democratic tenets.

    Yes, of course, I don’t want public policy constructed first and foremost with Jesus in mind or anything like that, but I do believe the public sector must be infused with a moral order in order to be most effective and decent. Democracy and capitalism without a proper moral compass produces sham democracy and crony capitalism. There are only two sources for such a moral order: religion or philosophy. The latter is for a minority of people. The former is what insures that most people in a true Judeo-Christian society will act properly and even nobly. So, George Bush invoking his faith when President didn’t bother me one bit. Actually, I think he walked the fine line between too much religion and too little with great skill.

    In any case, it would be hard to come up with a better set of rules to live by than the Ten Commandments and so many of Jesus’ ethical teachings. As the Founding Fathers of America knew quite well, though many of them were skeptics, religion is a very important part of a sound polity. Of course, if it’s a warped religion, i.e., Islam, then to hell with it, but for me Judaism and Christianity infusing the body politic with their ethical prescriptions is not only a good thing, but arguably a necessary ingredient to a state functioning at its most capable. As Ben Franklin noted, and he was a skeptic to be sure, if man is bad with religion, imagine what he’d be without it. The last hundred years of man’s history bitterly proves his point. Man with religion is bad enough, but without watch out.

    Of course, Islam is worse than no religion. On this I think we can agree, though I don’t agree with you that it is not a religion. It is. It’s just that it’s a warped, even wicked, faith and therein lies the real problem. Thanks again for the exchange.

  65. says

    Abisja, I was responding to gerard. Whether he was off topic, I won’t judge, but apparently he didn’t think so. As for my negative assessments of Islam, I’ve posted many, e.g., . And as for your recommendation to study Gitt’s book, you gotta be kidding! It’s garbage. My review would be similar to May’s and Fishman’s available at .

  66. says


    While your statistics are enlightening, you missed the point of my post(s) entirely; which was that discussing Islam as a religion from the point of view of another religion is self-defeating and doesn’t address the issue that we should ALL be fighting for: the preservation of freedom (for believers and non-believers) which is being threatened by an evil ideology masquerading as a religion.


  67. says

    Yay, Wellington

    I was waiting for you to weigh in. Your insight and pragmatism are always a source of enlightenment for me. I agree wholeheartedly with you regarding Judeo-Christian mores being a good “baseline” by which to live, and even that the 10 Commandments are a good start. The only thing I would add is that one need not belong to either of these religions or any religion at all in order to “act properly and even nobly.”

    As far as Islam being a “religion,” I should qualify my statement with my belief that it is certainly not, in any way, shape or form, anything I would ever want to call or associate with any religion that I would consider worthy of the same respect as those that I was brought up knowing, Christianity and Judaism.

    To be perfectly honest (and having lived in Asia for most of my adult life), if I HAD to choose a religion to follow, it would be Budhism and its live-and-let-live tenets, regardless of whether its adherents, as I witnessed them, actually do so.


  68. says

    Wellington: I wish you”d do some digging. If you did, I think you’d soon realize what a pile of B.S. you bought into:

    1. “The Judeo-Christian ethic… is a very enlightened ethic…”
    B.S. What you’re describing as “Judeo-Christian” was obtained over the religiously tortured and dead bodies of Humanists. Read something about the Enlightenment.

    2. “There are only two sources for such a moral order: religion or philosophy.”
    B.S. Which of those “two sources” do dolphins study, who will swim beneath a wounded cousin, periodically lifting it to the surface so that it can breathe? Read something about the evolutionary and social bases of morality.

    3. “In any case, it would be hard to come up with a better set of rules to live by than the Ten Commandments and so many of Jesus’ ethical teachings.”
    B.S. First, the Ten Commandments aren’t Jewish; they were included in “The instructions to Zi-ud-sura from his [Sumerian] father, Curuppag”, dated to be written at least 2,000 years older than when Ezra claimed that Moses received them (e.g., see ). Second, in the same reference, see that the “ethical teachings” of Jesus were just clerical rewrites of ethical teachings from the Egyptians, Zoroastrians, Stoics, and Indians (both Buddhists and Hindus) — and even then, the clerics screwed up “the Platinum Rule” (yielding the busybodies’ Golden Rule) and they totally botched the 2,000-year-older, Accadian idea about how to treat one’s enemies (yielding “love thy enemies”, which is commonly known as treason).

    4. “If man is bad with religion, imagine what he’d be without it. The last hundred years of man’s history bitterly proves [the] point.”
    B.S. For thousands of years, religion has been the source of such “bitterness”. During the last hundred years, similar “bitterness” has been derived primarily from ideologies (fascism, communism, Islam) similar to religious ideologies. In contrast, imagine if all such ideologies vanished, e.g., think of today’s Sweden.

    5. “I don’t agree with you that [Islam] is not a religion.”
    Well, then, study some more to see that even Islamists claim that it’s a political ideology (e.g., see ). Islam uses the trappings of religion to promote its supremacist ideology. Recall “Gott mit uns” of the Nazis.

  69. says

    Good to hear from you again, Ima. As to your points I respond thus: 1) Yes, no need to be a believing Christian or Jew to act according to the fine ethical system set up by these two religions. In fact, one can act decently even if oblivious of the Judeo-Christian ethic as long as ordinary common sense, a good heart and perhaps another enlightened ethical system (e.g., Aristotelian ethics) are your barometers in life. 2) In complete agreement with you that Islam by no means is entitled to the same respect that Judaism and Christianity are. Islam is the one major faith which is, to put it plain like, evil. It has elements of goodness but there’s so much rot in it and any goodness in it can be found elsewhere. All that is unique to Islamic theology has to be put in the negative column. Holy hell, what a legacy, eh? 3) Buddhism is a religion that has much merit to it, and, let’s face it, the world need not fear the phenomenon of Buddhist terrorists (to put it mildly). Were every Muslim in the world to wake up tomorrow a devout Buddhist, the world would be infinitely better off. Nonetheless, I do think that Buddhism’s emphasis on this world as some kind of illusion, and its theory of multiple existences, makes it significantly less likely that Buddhistic societies will prize the individual as much as Christianity and Judaism do, thus being a more difficult religion to square with democracy, a political system that rests upon the idea that the individual is far more important than any collective ideal or who gets multiple shots at enlightenment. Buddhism, I fear, insures a certain kind of intellectual torpor which precludes the development of such wonderful things as science and technology, though I again want to acknowledge its sapience respecting many aspects of the human condition. In short, I don’t have any major problem with Buddhism, just minor reservations, which I have already noted.

    Thanks again for the exchange. My best to you and yorus.

  70. says

    “While your statistics are enlightening, you missed the point of my post(s) entirely; which was that discussing Islam as a religion from the point of view of another religion is self-defeating and doesn’t address the issue that we should ALL be fighting for: the preservation of freedom (for believers and non-believers) which is being threatened by an evil ideology masquerading as a religion.

    First of all “my statistics” are direct response to your clearly expressed claim. You can disagree with it or not, but you can’t dismiss it once you have called it forth. If conveying a point is important to you then you should take care not to overload your message with remark(s) you now, implicitly at least, say are not relevant to your point.

    I would once again quote you:
    “In my opinion, as long as we look at Islam as a religion and compare it with, for arguments sake, Christianity, we give both a legitimacy that neither deserve.”
    I believe a statement, like the one above, should be coherent on its own right. If it is not it would only make “missing your point entirely” more likely.
    I called on you to clarify it. It is quite obvious to me you now that you are unable to do so – which is quite OK with me. What I don’t think is right is that you dodge a simple logical question by pretending that the very fact of my asking it shows that I am somehow “missing you entire point.”

    BTW you are again saying that Islam is “evil ideology masquerading as a religion.”

    Well, since you say “it is self defeating to discuss Islam from the point of view of another religion” I assume your assessment of Islam must be from the point of view of a secularist. Fine. Then please do explain what in your view Islam must have before you will grant it the status of religion.

  71. says

    hello Wellington,

    As always it’s a pleasure to read you.

    You say:
    “Buddhism, I fear, insures a certain kind of intellectual torpor which precludes the development of such wonderful things as science and technology…”

    It is very interesting. It is true that though the Buddhist civilization did not itself generate science and technology it nevertheless doesn’t have anything in it that stifles scientific inquiry. I have impression that Buddhism is a very pragmatic approach to reality. Once it was introduced to the Western science Buddhism easily “caught it”.
    In fact it is now on a par with the West as far as science and technology is concerned. So perhaps not an initiator, but formidable imitator.

    Take care,

  72. says

    Well, Thomas_h, a formdiable imitator is not to be discarded lightly, the Japanese for instance, who don’t invent things that well but re-invent things magnificently. This in itself is a talent of a very high order. Still, there is an originality found in Western Civilization that is unequaled by any other civilization in man’s history.

    The West invented democracy, was the first to fully separate the philosophical method from any theological approach (beginning with the Milesian School, a la Thales, Anaximander, et al.), developed the scientific method, created a visual artistic heritage second to none and, perhaps best of all, placed a noble emphasis on the individual human being more than any other society in man’s history.

    Yes, many other civilizations deserve approbation to be sure, but the West, I would argue, outdistances them all. I rather doubt that electric lighting, air conditioning, refrigeration, nuclear energy, the automobile, railroads, physics and astronomy as separate disciplines, higher mathematics, especially calculus, cancer remediation to the extent that it exists at present, modern surgery, the telegraph and telephone, music equaling Beethoven and Mozart, man going to the moon or so much else would have ever been developed by any other civilization but that of the West. There’s an inner uniqueness and creativeness about Western Civilization which is unparalleled by any other civilization in man’s history. How ironic, how bitterly and sadly ironic, that such a civilization is now in the position of being put down by its own inheritors and challenged from without by a system of thought in Islam which is deadening to the mind, oppressive to the spirit and inferior in every major way to that of the West.

    Good to hear from you again. Hope you are doing fine and enjoying a good brew from time to time. Take care, my friend.

  73. says


    Wow, you just don’t get what I’m trying to say, do you? OK, here it is in the simplest way I can say it.

    I believe all organized religions suck! If you want to believe in God or any other mythical, almighty, universe-creating being, that is your business, but keep it to yourself. If you want to nit-pick about how wonderful things are in African countries that have a strong Christian presence, knock yourself out.

    I am not denying that life in predominantly Christian countries (or Israel) is far superior to those of Muslim countries, but there is no cause-effect relationship there (look at the Philippines and most South American countries where there is a large Roman Catholic population, for example).

    Bottom line is, I’m not here to debate the merits of Christianity with you. MY POINT IS THAT ISLAM IS EVIL, WHETHER YOU WANT TO CALL IT A RELIGION OR NOT, AND IT NEEDS TO BE ERADICATED. An entirely secular humanist world with no religion at all would be perfectly acceptable to me, even preferable. Had that been the case during the middle ages, perhaps we would have reached the moon in the 17th century rather than the 20th.

    If you still don’t get my point, I’m not sure I can explain it in simpler terms. But thank you for your input, nevertheless.


  74. says

    Jos B, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church IS part of the Universal Catholic Church and is united with Rome and the rest of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals. No I would not expect Constantinople or the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch to assent to Papal teachings on anything; they are not in union with Rome, their ecclesiology is different. The Melkite Greek Catholic Church is similar to the Antiochian Orthodox Patriarchate except that the former is union with Rome and the latter with Constantinople; their demographics are similar as are their liturgical heritage, etc.

  75. says

    Your reply is perfectly incongruous.
    What in the world your repetitive announcements of your beliefs, or disbeliefs concerning religion has to do with my very simple question(s)?
    Where exactly did I indicate in slightest that I am interested to debate or even know your position on religion, or impress you with mine?

    Really, I can’t understand why you refute with such zest something I have never said, or even implied.
    Like here, for example:
    Bottom line is, I’m not here to debate the merits of Christianity with you.

    For the first I have never invited you to such a debate and secondly, it is YOU who does all that “debating”. I think you should read your comments before sending them in.

    So again, please read my last letter and answer my simple question(s)
    1.What criteria would Islam have to meet to attain the status of religion?
    2. You imply that Christianity is a religion. If so, how can it be both religion and illegitimate at the same time? Or how can illegitimate religion be a religion?

    These are perfectly neutral questions in the sense that they expect only logically coherent answer – not a value judgement.
    If you can’t answer them then say so. Or don’t say anything at all – I’ll understand.

    If you still don’t get my point, I’m not sure I can explain it in simpler terms.

    I think you must have guessed by now I am not interested in hearing explanation of your point. Rather I am hinting at the incoherence of the two assessments you are making while trying to drive in the point.

  76. says

    henry, I’d be pleased to make you “very happy”, but I’d be even more pleased to help you return to reality. Shaw said, “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one”, but the reality is this: the most certain knowledge that humans have been able to gain is that there are no gods and never were any.

    Meanwhile, you are quoting someone (Paul) who claimed to know the mind of god! As pro-consul Festus said to him (Act 26:24):

    “Paul, you are raving; too much study is driving you mad.”

    Paul intensely studied the concoctions of Ezra and Co-Conspirators. To help you become happy and, more importantly, to help you gain grips on reality, I’d recommend that you stop studying the Bible and set yourself the goal of getting at least your bachelor’s degree in Physics. After you accomplish that, then maybe you’ll be able to understand how humans have managed to get themselves is such a horrible mess pretending that such things as god exist. As for resulting happiness, I hope and expect that you’ll gain some when you feel you are contributing to the extermination of the god meme.

    And as for your ALL CAPS COMMUNICATION, henry, I do deeply appreciate all those who have sacrificed life and limb to try to stop the Muslim hordes. I similarly appreciate all those who constrained the Christian theocrats. As Robert Ingersoll wrote:

    “When I became convinced that the Universe is natural – that all the ghosts and gods are myths – there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood, the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom. The walls of my prison crumbled and fell, the dungeon was flooded with light, and all the bolts, and bars, and manacles became dust. I was no longer a servant, a serf, or a slave. There was for me no master in all the wide world – not even in infinite space.

    “I was free: free to think, to express my thoughts – free to live to my own ideal – free to live for myself and those I loved – free to use all my faculties, all my senses – free to spread imagination’s wings – free to investigate, to guess and dream and hope – free to judge and determine for myself – free to reject all ignorant and cruel creeds, all the “inspired” books that savages have produced, and all the barbarous legends of the past – free from popes and priests – free from all the “called” and “set apart” – free from sanctified mistakes and holy lies – free from the fear of eternal pain – free from the winged monsters of night – free from devils, ghosts, and gods.

    “For the first time I was free. There were no prohibited places in all the realms of my thought – no air, no space, where fancy could not spread her painted wings – no chains for my limbs – no lashes for my back – no fires for my flesh – no master’s frown or threat – no following another’s steps – no need to bow, or cringe, or crawl, or utter lying words.

    “I was free. I stood erect and fearlessly, joyously, faced all worlds. And then my heart was filled with gratitude, with thankfulness, and went out in love to all the heroes, the thinkers who gave their lives for the liberty of hand and brain, for the freedom of labor and thought – to those who fell on the fierce fields of war – to those who died in dungeons bound with chains – to those who proudly mounted scaffold’s stairs – to those whose bones were crushed, whose flesh was scarred and torn – to those by fire consumed – to all the wise, the good, the brave of every land, whose thoughts and deeds have given freedom to the sons of men. And I vowed to grasp the torch that they had held, and hold it high, that light might conquer darkness still.”

  77. says

    Although I’m sure Ima needs no help from me, perhaps you can find your way out of what you labeled as “perfectly incongruous” by considering what was written by the “right-hand man of the founder of Pakistan”, “prominent Islamic scholar”, Allama Pervez (1903–85):

    “Islam is not a “religion’ in the ordinary sense of the word. “Religion’ is the English equivalent for the Arabic word Mazhah, which does not occur even once in the whole of the Holy Quran. The Quran has, instead, used the word Addeen for Islam, which means a particular way of life.”

  78. says

    “Islam is not a “religion’ in the ordinary sense of the word. “Religion’ is the English equivalent for the Arabic word Mazhah, which does not occur even once in the whole of the Holy Quran. The Quran has, instead, used the word Addeen for Islam, which means a particular way of life.”

    This excruciatingly short quote of Allama Pervez, although vastly more apposite to my question than the amazingly immaterial prose sent in by I.F. provides little in way of positive definition of religion. Unfortunately, it doesn’t even remotely answer my question which still is: “what criteria must a thing meet to be referred to as religion?”

    Back to your quote of Mr. A. Pervez:
    To say that “Islam is not a religion in the ordinary sense of the word” doesn’t mean it is NOT a religion, it only suggests that it is more than religion, to wit “a particular way of life”.
    Which is a note of little value as I should think that anyone taking seriously his religion would strive to confirm it with “a particular way of life”, whether a devoted Buddhist, Hindu, orthodox Jew, faithful Christian or good Muslim.

    Also, since you choose to quote a Muslim to support your and IF claim I am sure you must be aware of other, significantly more accomplished and famous, Islamic scholars than Allama Pervez, for example: Ibn Sina, Shahrastani, Averroes, Ibn Khaldun, or considerably more recent, Abdel Rahman Badawi. I doubt very much you can find a quote from any of these greatest Islamic philosophers testifying to the fact they did not think Islam is a religion. On the contrary, they maintained Islam I the only true religion and every other faith either imperfect, or false.

    So, as much a I am grateful to you for the effort to enlighten me on the matter of Islam being, or not being a religion, I am sorry to tell you that you have not advanced a whit past the “point” presented by I.F.

    Still if you think you can supply an answer to my other question, namely:
    “… how can it (Christianity) be both religion and (according to IF) be illegitimate at the same time? Or how can illegitimate religion be a religion?”, I would be quite interested to hear it.

  79. says

    Thomas: normally I avoid argument that are “just semantics”, but you raise an important point, one that may need to be resolved in the U.S. by the Supreme Court, when attempts are made to ban Islam. If Islam is a religion, then it can’t be banned unless the Constitution is amended; if it’s not a religion, if it’s actually a supremacist political ideology, then we have a much better chance of banning it.

    The first, obvious question that needs to be addressed is: “What’s a religion?” The New Oxford American Dictionary provides the following definition for ‘religion':

    “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods
    • details of belief as taught or discussed
    • a particular system of faith and worship
    • a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance”

    According to the above definition, Islam does appear to be a religion. All dictionaries, however, attempt to provide “only” common meanings for words, and it can be important to investigate also a word’s etymology and its use in less-common circumstances (e.g., its use in law and politics).

    As you may know, the etymology of ‘religion’ is obscure. In his book “The Story of Religious Controversy” (which is available on the internet), Joseph McCabe writes: “To begin with the word [“religion’] itself, it belongs to the very earliest period of the Latin language, and even the Roman writers of the civilized periods had lost the meaning of it. Very often it is said to come from the word “bind’ (‘ligare’ or ‘religare’), and so it is represented as meaning “what binds man to the gods.’ But in that case the word would be ‘religation’, not “religion’, and we must try again. It seems to be connected with the Latin word for “cull’ or “select’, but what it really meant to the men who first used it we cannot tell.”

    For arguments before U.S. Courts, however, more significant than either the common definition of ‘religion’ or its etymology is the word’s use in politics and law. Here is where progress can be made (at least in the U.S.) because the first Amendment to our Constitution states the familiar:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Further, as you no doubt know, Jefferson explained the intent of this Amendment in his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association. The relevant paragraph is quoted below.

    “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

    From the above usage of the word ‘religion’ in U.S. law and politics, it seems possible to make progress toward deciding if Islam is legally and politically something that in the U.S. should be described as “a religion” rather than “a political ideology”. The following points are noted.

    • In the U.S. there exists a separation between Church (or Synagogue or Mosque or more generally, Religion) and State. Islam specifically and forcefully rejects such a separation. Therefore, Islam is not just a religion: it intrudes into matters that in the U.S. are the prerogative of the State.

    • In the U.S. our highest law is the Constitution; in Islam, the highest law is Sharia; so, again, Islam intrudes into matters of the State and is therefore not just a religion; it seeks to govern.

    • In the U.S., “the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions”; Islam, in contrast, claims authority to govern both actions and opinions; therefore, Islam is not just a religion, and in fact (by American standards) Islam is not just a government but is an illegitimate government.

    • In the U.S., the highest governing body “shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble…”; Islam abridges the freedom of speech, the press, and the right of the people peaceably to assemble. Those are defining and damning activities of totalitarian political organizations.

    Therefore, in sum, Islam is not just a religion (as recognized by U.S. law) but a damnable, hideous, supremacist, totalitarian political-ideology – which, similar to fascism and communism, should be banned.

  80. says

    Thomas: normally I avoid argument that are “just semantics”,

    Normally I avoid argument with someone who thinks my argument is “just semantics”, but since you nevertheless think “I raise an important point” I am sufficiently intrigued to see what this point may be to stay with you despite my inclination.
    I will skip the, to my mind immaterial, paragraph you devote to the etymology of “religion” and note instead with satisfaction that it seems we have no problem accepting the definition provided by The New Oxford American Dictionary.

    You then quote the first amendment and the famous letter of Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association and proceed with listing a number of points where Islam is clearly at odds with the Constitution of the US.
    Now one would expect that on the base of these observations you would declare loud and clear that religion of Islam, among other things, is incompatible with the US Constitution, or American ethos, or American way of life, or American political tradition, or spirit etc…That would be a standard type of conclusion arrived at through the conventional process of logical analysis. But instead you do something supremely arbitrary; you blithely declare that since the religion of Islam is incompatible with all these American things it, therefore, ceases to be religion thus canceling en passant the, until now valid, definition of religion. You have practically introduced a supreme criterion for a thing to be religion: its compliance with the American Constitution, ethos, way of life, tradition, democracy and so on…

    You conclude with:
    Therefore, in sum, Islam is not just a religion (as recognized by U.S. law) but a damnable, hideous, supremacist, totalitarian political-ideology – which, similar to fascism and communism, should be banned.

    Once again, American law is not in the business of recognizing “true” religions. Its business is to define the legal sphere of their actions.
    And BTW, the US. law doesn’t “ban fascism and communism”,(where did you get that from?), but it only curtails and punishes the actions of their followers the American law deems as subversive.

  81. says

    Well, Thomas, now we have a new one: you could be proud of the moniker “doubting Thomas”, but “sloppy Thomas” is something else. Some illustrations:

    1. You state “we have no problem accepting the definition [of ‘religion’] provided by the New Oxford American Dictionary.” It’s sloppy of you to use “we”: I described that definition as “common usage”, not necessarily adequate in politics and law.

    2. You state “the, to my mind immaterial, paragraph you devote to the etymology of ‘religion’.” It’s sloppy of you to ignore searches for the meaning of the word ‘religion’.

    3. You state “since the religion of Islam is incompatible with all these American things it, therefore, ceases to be religion.” That was doubly sloppy. First, I stated that “Islam is not JUST a religion”, which since you obviously have difficulty with logic, I apparently must point out to you that such a statement doesn’t mean that Islam is not a religion (according to the dictionary definition). Second, the important point is that, from the point of view of American politics and law (as opposed to the quoted dictionary definition), Islam fails the criteria for it to be recognized legally (in the U.S.) as a religion.

    4. And thus, amazingly sloppily, you state: “You have practically introduced a supreme criterion for a thing to be religion: its compliance with the American Constitution, ethos, way of life, tradition, democracy and so on.” Yes: that was deduced using the concept of ‘religion’ not as given in the dictionary but as used in American politics and law — which was the point of the analysis. But maybe I shouldn’t call that “sloppy” so much as just plain dumb.

    5. But then, back to your sloppiness, you end with “BTW, the U.S. law doesn’t ‘ban fascism and communism’, where did you get that from?)…” Let me ask you: where did I say that? I stated: “Islam is not just a religion (as recognized by U.S. law) but a damnable, hideous, supremacist, totalitarian political-ideology – which, similar to fascism and communism, should be banned.” What’s the matter: do you have trouble understanding the word ‘should’? Is English your second (or lower-order) language? Or are you just plain sloppy Thomas?

  82. says

    Gosh! What rage, what rudeness. And what shoddiness!

    The carrier of volatile mixture of a kilo of intellectual pretence suspended in gallon of superciliousness has exploded in a firework of pompous garbage intended to camouflage, so ruefully ineptly (sloppily?), the comical absurdity of his “proposal” that Islam be ejected from the category of religion because of its incompatibility with the American Constitution!

    But why limit yourself to the humble on the Jihad Watch, nick0.00?

    Hurry, make the Congress, the Encyclopedia Britannica, American Association of University Professors, the Vatican, the Burger King, the Guinness Book of Records .. aware of your ground –breaking insight!

    Seriously now:

    I should have paid heed to Wellington’s taking no notice of your desperately bungling and ridiculously stuck-up “reply” to his comment.
    Wellington is known by all here for being as courteous as he is intelligent. When he ignores someone it is a most reliable warning that the someone is either an oaf, stuck-up fool, or willful ignoramus – a waste of time.

    Well, goodbye to you now.
    I happen not to suffer stuck-up fools lightly, so I don’t intend to respond to your third-grade sophistry in the future.

    Re. your point number 5

    Well, as English indeed is not my first, or second, language I consulted an English teacher and logician. According to him the phrase can be understood both ways.
    Having the freedom of either interpretation I chose this particular one as it agreed better with the overall drivel you have produced. Had you written something more sensible I would have chosen the other interpretation.

    And BTW; the correct form is “…similarly to fascism and communism…” not “…similar to fascism and communism”.

    Nick123, the intellectual slob and poseur, is talking of sloppiness. Ha!

  83. says

    Wellington is known by all here for being as courteous as he is intelligent.

    Yes, but nick222 is known for being as intelligent as he is courteous. Well, a little less than that…

    Still, his “proof” that Islam is not religion because it should not be religion is quite hilarious.