Friday, April 27, 2012

Studies in Islam: Sex with the Dead

Ah, those Muslim men.  What hopeless romantics they are!  We already knew that such practices as bestiality and pedophilia were sanctioned and enjoyed by the "prophet" Muhammad, but that's not the end of the story.   Now comes the word that Egypt's new Islamic parliament is poised to consider a bill legalizing "Farewell Intercourse:" i.e., the right of every Muslim man to have sex with the corpse of his deceased wife for a period of time after her death.  This most intimate of goodbyes is already legal in Morocco; and why not?  It's completely halal (accepted, "kosher") in Islam's most sacred texts.  In America and other civilized nations, some prison inmates are allowed "conjugal visits" with their wives or husbands on occasion.  In Islamic countries, apparently, "conjugal visits" by men will be made at mortuaries.

The proposed Egyptian law is receiving, um, stiff opposition from certain women's groups and others, as newly legislated sharia laws often do before they are imposed on a nation by the mullahs.  (The controversy is discussed in the Hindustan Times and the English edition of Egypt's own Al Arabiya.) Even some Muslim clerics, using the technique of taqiyya (lying to protect Islam), are critical of the law.  Thus, many learned disputations are taking place, in public at least, as to the propriety of a man having sex with a corpse.  This is part of the "Arab Spring" that the current President of the United States applauds, and that George W. Bush helped make possible: "democracy" in every country, even if it's under sharia law.

Which begs the question: in what other religion on earth is such a thing even considered? Do Orthodox Jews or Mahayana Buddhists or Presbyterians or Roman Catholics spend time debating the "godliness" of raping a corpse?  

I think not.  But, in dealing with Islam, we're not dealing with a legitimate religion.  We're dealing with sub-human barbarity.  Actually, I use the term "sub-human" loosely: even the beasts of the field don't sexually molest their dead.  But real Muslims, who believe their own religious texts, are morally inferior to beasts.  Because they're following the example and the precepts of their "prophet," who was one of the filthiest and most depraved human beings to ever walk the earth. 
Muslim necrophilia

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Israel!

Israel is celebrating her 64th Independence Day, following yesterday's Memorial Day for fallen Israeli soldiers and victims of Muslim and Palestinian attacks.  As a Christian, I rejoice in God's faithfulness to His nation, and praise Him for His righteousness and power, which is greater than the evil schemes or bloody deeds of any man or nation.  For a more suitable meditation on Israel's birthday, I offer the words of Rabbi Steven Moskowitz, courtesy of United with Israel:

Why is tragedy compelling? Why is fear motivating? Why is mourning viewed as a greater obligation than celebrating? Why are more people familiar with the details of the Holocaust than the history of Zionism and Israel? These are the questions that occupy my thoughts as we approach Yom Haatzmaut, Israel Independence Day.

To garner our support for the State of Israel we are inundated with images of Hezbollah missiles, Iran’s potential nuclear weapons, suicide bombings, divestment campaigns and in the estimation of many, dwindling support from the Obama administration. These are great worries to be sure. Israel does indeed face numerous threats. Some very real and some imagined. But my question on this Yom Haatzmaut is not about the dangers Israel faces, but instead about our personal connection to the Jewish state.

Why do we rally in far greater numbers when Israel is threatened rather than dance for joy each and every day that Israel continues to thrive? We live in an unparalleled generation of Jews. In our own day we find ourselves in a vibrant and successful diaspora community alongside a successful and vibrant Jewish state. Never before have these two co-existed. Either there was a thriving diaspora community as in Babylonia in the fifth century or a successful Jewish community in Israel as when King David ruled three thousand years ago. And so we lack historic parallels. How do we live and thrive side by side?

Of course we rise up when Israel needs us. Each of us knows how to stand by friends when they are in mourning, or experiencing suffering. But why don’t we feel just as a great an obligation to celebrate? We should stand by Israel and sing and dance—each and every day. For two thousand years a Jewish state was only a dream. We live in a time when the dream is a reality. In a mere twelve hours (ok that is only the plane flight) you could be in Israel touching the very stones generations of Jews only dreamed of touching.

In Jerusalem in particular the air is thick with prayers. At first one thinks it is thick with the prayers of the thousands and thousands and thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews running to pray. That is one’s first impression. It is true that a lot of people do a lot of praying in Jerusalem. I think it is instead that the air is thick with the prayers of generations. My great grandparents prayed that one day their people would return to the land of their ancestors. A hundred years later their great grandson visits there regularly. What a privilege it is to live in our generation!

In our own day our prayers have become reality. When we celebrate Yom Haatzmaut I plan to sing (and maybe even dance!). On this day especially I don’t want my support for Israel to be motivated by fear, or tragedy. I want it only to be out how fortunate we are to live during these times. How blessed is our generation that we live alongside a vibrant and thriving State of Israel!


Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Blood of Sprinkling

And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, 
that speaketh better things than that of Abel. (Hebrews 12:24)

Reader, have you come to the blood of sprinkling? The question is not whether you have come to a knowledge of doctrine, or an observance of ceremonies, or to a certain form of experience, but have you come to the blood of Jesus? The blood of Jesus is the life of all vital godliness. If you have truly come to Jesus, we know how you came--the Holy Spirit sweetly brought you there. You came to the blood of sprinkling with no merits of your own. Guilty, lost, and helpless, you came to take that blood, and that blood alone, as your everlasting hope. You came to the cross of Christ, with a trembling and an aching heart; and oh! what a precious sound it was to you to hear the voice of the blood of Jesus! The dropping of his blood is as the music of heaven to the penitent sons of earth. We are full of sin, but the Saviour bids us lift our eyes to him, and as we gaze upon his streaming wounds, each drop of blood, as it falls, cries, "It is finished; I have made an end of sin; I have brought in everlasting righteousness." Oh! sweet language of the precious blood of Jesus! If you have come to that blood once, you will come to it constantly. Your life will be "Looking unto Jesus." Your whole conduct will be epitomized in this--"To whom coming." Not to whom I have come, but to whom I am always coming. If thou hast ever come to the blood of sprinkling, thou wilt feel thy need of coming to it every day. He who does not desire to wash in it every day, has never washed in it at all. The believer ever feels it to be his joy and privilege that there is still a fountain opened. Past experiences are doubtful food for Christians; a present coming to Christ alone can give us joy and comfort. Today let us sprinkle our door-post fresh with blood, and then feast upon the Lamb, assured that the destroying angel must pass us by. 

- - - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Morning and Evening 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Jew hatred in Florida

At the outset, let the record show that the title of this post is not a reflection on the fine citizens of the great state of Florida; the incident to which I refer was very localized. Recently, a group of "pro-Palestinian" activists showed their true colors on the campus of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton: and the true colors of the "pro-Palestinian" cause, of course, are blood red - - - Jewish blood.

During the last week in March, a group calling itself "Students for Justice in Palestine" posted "eviction notices" on the dorm room doors of over 200 Jewish students, as well as those of non-Jewish students known to be supporters of Israel (translation: born-again Christian students).  The name of the group is probably questionable in every word, except perhaps the prepositions.  It is by no means clear that all of the group's members were "students" at the University; they were not seeking "justice," because justice already exists in Israel (although not in most of the Arab world); and there is no such thing as "Palestine," unless one is referring to a geographical region, like Eurasia or the American Midwest.  There is not, and has never been, a nation called "Palestine" on the face of this earth.  But the group used "for" and "in" properly.  Apparently, their studies have taught them something.

This act of blatant intimidation could, at a lower educational level, be considered an organized form of the "bullying" we hear so much about; at the other end of the scale, it might be considered low-level terrorism.  ("Agitprop" was the old Soviet term: agitation by propaganda.)  Whatever the case, it was definitely a classic example of "hate speech" and an attempt to demoralize the Jewish students and their friends.  Stripped to its absurd nucleus, the gist of the message was "You Jews evicted us from our homeland; now we're evicting you."  Hardly world-class statecraft; in fact, utterly sophomoric.  But then, those members of the group who were actually students may have been sophomores.  
The group Stand for Israel has posed several salient questions, and added some worthwhile conclusions.  From their website:

How did SJP know who the Jewish students were? Did they pick out the kids with the Jewish-sounding last names? Did they look for kids with particular facial features? Did they steal a class list from a Jewish Studies course? The attack can get really scary really fast depending on the answer to this question. SJP members claim that this was a stunt to “raise awareness.” Okay. The Jewish students at Florida Atlantic are now aware that you know where they live, consider them an enemy, and aren’t afraid to target them.    
 Second, if your goal is to “raise awareness,” why just “evict” the Jewish kids? 
 The anti-Israel movement has, for years, hidden its anti-Semitic elements behind the cloak of something they call “anti-Zionism.” We and others have given them fairly broad latitude in doing so because we (grudgingly) agree that it’s possible to oppose the Zionist experiment without being a Jew-hater.  
 The incident at FAU, however, is unmistakable. It must be dealt with harshly. Arab and Muslim groups must unreservedly condemn it. If FAU fails to prosecute the perpetrators – and we mean prosecute in court, not by applying student disciplinary guidelines – it will get worse. If organizations that may agree with SJP’s political goals don’t speak out now, it will get worse. And, as these Jew-haters test the fences of what they can and can’t get away with, we risk seeing much more serious attacks.  
 According to a press release, officials at FAU have taken  "appropriate corrective steps" to deal with the students involved in this act of hatred and fear-mongering.  However,  Charles L. Brown, senior vice president for student affairs,  piously claims, "We have found no evidence that the postings were intended to target or intimidate individuals of any particular religion, national origin or faith."   
In other words, Jew hatred is not only alive and well at Florida Atlantic University, but it is officially sanctioned, or at least winked at, by the administration. (In the above "Eviction Notice," the official university seal of approval is in the extreme lower right corner.) If you're a Jew hater who's looking for a place to pursue your "higher education," but don't want to go to Saudi Arabia, you now have a new option.   
God had a different idea in mind.  Speaking to Abraham: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed (Genesis 12:2, 3).

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Movie of the Year, 2013

It isn't my usual practice to plug motion pictures in this blog, but this "coming attraction" is simply too good to miss.  The film will be released in 2013 in IMAX 3-D.  If you're interested, you can read more about the production here.  If possible, maximize the video to full-screen when you watch; it's breathtaking.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

...And then?

This is the only possible or relevant follow-up to my previous post, of three days ago.  If you haven't read it, I invite you to do so; it makes this one possible.


He is risen!
He is risen, indeed!

From "Hymns Triumphant I & II," Sparrow Records
Performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and
The Amen Choir, First Baptist Church, Van Nuys, California
Arranged by Lee Holdridge

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

When God Punished My Sins

I was a sinner.  I was alone in the world, without hope and without God.  Although I was a young man, I was an adult, and had no excuse for my sins, my shortcomings, my stupidities, and my active or passive rebellion against my Creator.  There had to be a reckoning ... and there was.  My sins were punished, and punished with a ferocity that cannot be imagined.  It only happened once .... but once was enough.

It happened on a Wednesday afternoon, two thousand years ago.* That's when Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, was tortured beyond description, and murdered by crucifixion. And no one can imagine, much less describe, how terrible it was.
A few years ago, Mel Gibson received much criticism for the "excessive violence" and "gore" of his film, The Passion of the Christ. Of all the movies Hollywood has made about Jesus, Gibson's was certainly the most realistic (although not the most Biblically accurate); but the critics got it wrong.  It may have been excessively gruesome from an aesthetic point of view, but from a historical perspective, it wasn't gory enough.  It was a silly bit of fluff compared to what really happened to Jesus that day.

For a detailed description of the crucifixion, I commend to your attention A Physician Analyzes the Crucifixion by Dr. C. Truman Davis.  The article is painful to read, but should be read by every literate adult.  Dr. Davis has done his historical homework, and speaks from a uniquely qualified position as a medical man.  He answers some common questions ("Did Jesus really sweat blood in the Garden of Gethsemane?  Is that really possible?"); addresses some common misconceptions (the nails were placed in Jesus' wrists, not His hands: but, in both the Bible and medicine, the wrist is considered part of the hand); and reveals the actual primary cause of Jesus' death (not merely loss of blood, but also suffocation).  And, like the Bible itself, Dr. Davis gives the lie to all the Muslims and skeptics who claim that Jesus didn't really die at all.

I won't reprise Dr. Davis' article here, but everyone, especially every Christian, should know the real details of what happened that day.  Everyone knows that Jesus was beaten and whipped; and those who saw Gibson's movie think they know how bad it was.  But they don't.  No picture of the crucifixion, from the sketches of the early Christians to the magnificent paintings of artists throughout history, have ever revealed just how badly Jesus was hurt before He even reached the cross. So much of his flesh had been ripped away by the scourging, and so much swelling was present from the beatings from the flagellum, or "Roman half-death," the whip that was used, that the Bible indicates that He barely resembled a human being.  I say it reverently: hanging on the cross, Jesus probably looked like a large piece of raw meat.

And that was before they placed the crown of thorns on His head, or began to drive the nails, or brandished the spear ... all wounds that He suffered for me.  Because it was on that day, in those terrible hours, that God punished my sins.  And yours, too: because on that day, during those hours, God punished the sins of every man, woman, and child who would ever live.  I emphasize that He was punished for my sins because those are the ones that I'm most concerned with - - - just as you should be concerned with yours.  And each of those terrible wounds had a special significance in my life.

A crown of thorns, big thorns, like spikes, pressed down on His head: why?  For the sins that have taken place in my imagination, and in my thoughts.  For my pride, and my haughtiness, and my infatuation with my own intellect.  For the times I've judged other people unjustly, while rationalizing my own sins. Yes, certain of my thoughts, and your thoughts, are worthy of a crown of thorns.

Huge nails, again like spikes, through His hands: why? For the things and the people that I've touched, that I had no right to touch; and the things that you've touched, too.  When I think where my hands have been during my life, and what they've done ... yes, a spike is well deserved.

A massive nail driven through His feet: why?  For the places I've gone, where my feet have so willingly walked, that were wrong, and that I knew were wrong at the time; and the places that you've gone, too.  Maybe we haven't been to the same places, but we've been to places we shouldn't have been.  And there have been places where our feet should have taken us, that we didn't go: to visit someone in prison, or to comfort someone who was hurting, or to worship God in an assembly of believers.  But we didn't; we used our feet for something else.

At the very end, a spear through His heart: why? (He was already dead, John 19:33, 34.)  What was that for?  For the sins of my heart ... for the things I've loved, that I should have shunned; and for the people I've despised, that I should have loved and had compassion for.  For my sins of affection ... and lack of affection.  And yours, too.

But even that wasn't the worst of it.  Because my sins don't just deserve physical punishment; they deserve Hell.  They deserve damnation.  And so, when the time for punishment came ... Jesus took that, too.  In one of the most mysterious, ineffable moments in history, God the Father actually turned His back on Jesus, and wouldn't have anything to do with Him.  Jesus!  The perfect One!  The very Son of God!  But when my sins and yours were laid upon Him, God the Father turned away. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Mark 15:34)

It's impossible to fully understand, but it's possible to believe, if one has an honest heart: At that moment, Jesus, although still God in the flesh, ceased to be God's Son.  How do we know this?  Because, throughout the four Gospels and elsewhere, Jesus' prayers are recorded: and He always addressed God the Father as "Father."  Even on the cross, at a different time: "Father, forgive them...." But not at this moment.  For the first and only time in His life, Jesus addressed His Father as "God," just as anyone would do.  Because God wasn't His Father during those awful moments.  And Jesus took upon Himself my alienation from God, and my damnation, and my Hell.  And yours.

And every sin that I've ever committed, or ever will commit, was forgiven, judicially, when Jesus was crucified. Someone aptly said, "He paid a debt He didn't owe ... because we owed a debt we couldn't pay."

And now, every man or woman is presented with a choice: will you accept Jesus' payment, and receive Him as your Saviour?  Your personal Saviour, the Saviour from your personal sins, and not just as the object of a "religion?"  Or will you say, "I'm not that bad.  I can make it.  If my good deeds outweigh my bad deeds, I'll be okay at the end.  God will give me a break."  If you say that, you're rejecting, consciously and knowingly, what Jesus did on that terrible afternoon.

Because it begs the question: if religion or "good deeds" or "good character" could get us to Heaven .... why did Jesus have to die at all? Why would the Father put Him through such agony, why would Jesus volunteer for it, if there were any other way?  If "Allah" or "the Noble Eightfold Path" or the Popes' speculations can save us, or if our own "good works" can save us, then Jesus' crucifixion was the most useless, obscene joke in history.

Those of us who have received Him, according to John 1:12, and been born again, know otherwise, by the grace of God.  We know a good deal when we see it.  We couldn't pay the debt, so we let Jesus pay it.  But if you reject His payment .... your judgment still awaits you.

Thank God for what He's done for us!  Hallelujah, what a Saviour!

*Wednesday, not "Good Friday."   Matthew 12:40 says that Jesus was in the grave for "three days and three nights;" He rose on "the first day of the week," which is Sunday (Mtt. 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, 19).  Despite what man-made traditions might say, Friday afternoon to Sunday morning is not "three days and three nights."