The Foundations of Islam

The western mind is in general unfamiliar with the Islamic faith. Current conditions have created a general curiosity about its origin and some basic precepts. An overview of the founding of the faith helps appreciate its basis.

Muhammad, the man who dictated the Koran and gave guidance to the movement was born in Mecca in the Saudi Arabian peninsula in AD 570. Until the age of 25 he worked with caravans and was exposed to both Christianity and Judaism. At age 25 he married a wealthy 40 year old widow. This allowed him financial independence. When he reached age 40 he related that a spirit called him to be an “‘apostle” and “‘prophet.” Neither of these terms are a part of any Arabian religion. He learned them from his days working with caravans.

After his death his writings were compiled as the Koran. The works are not arranged in any chronological or subject order.

At the time Muhammad received his initial visitation there were over 300 gods being worshiped in Mecca by pilgrims who came there each year to pray at the Kailaba. There was a small building there housing a black meteorite and effigies of the various gods. He chose one of these gods, Allah, the moon god as the object of his devotion. That is the reason the crescent is the symbol of Islam.

The Koran is divided into Suras, meaning chapters. Conscientious Muslims and non-Muslims are divided over the complex and occasionally conflicting passages. There are many peace loving Muslims. The religion is described as “the peaceful religion of Islam.” The multiple global acts of violence by Muslims advocating a holy war defy this description. These base their conduct on such passages as Sura 9:29 which commands Muslims to fight against Jews and Christians until their either submit to Allah or else agree to pay a special tax.

Sura 2: 65,66 and Sura 5:60 contain references to Jews as “apes and swine to be despised and rejected.”

In contrast to the “Golden Rule” which advocates doing unto others as you would have them do unto you Sura 2:194 sanctions revenge: “If anyone transgresses … against you, transgress likewise against them.”

Many not reared in the Islamic culture are confused by stories of suicide murderers being motivated by what awaits them in Paradise. The following is not an opinion it is merely a summary of Suras 52: 17-14, 55:54-56; and 78:32-34. Therein Paradise is depicted as a place of pleasure consisting of gluttonous feasts and endless sex orgies. One way to reach Paradise is to die fighting for Allah (Sura 3: 157).

Persons who would like to read for themselves some of these Suras will find a fully indexed copy of the Koran which can be searched by words and phrases at:

This has been written in response to persons who have asked for insight into what the Koran actually teaches. In our pluralistic culture tolerance is broadly advocated. I know our Muslim friends will be patient with those seeking to learn the teachings of the Koran.

The French Mentality

What’s with the French that they are so anti-America? One of their major problems is their selective memory.

The French head of state, Jenri Phillippe Petan arranged an armistice with Germany in 1940, and began accommodating the Nazis. On June 5, Germany attacked France. They overran the alleged impenetrable Maginot Line of the French and entered Paris on June 14. Germany easily conquered France.

American and allied forces landed on the beach at Normandy, June 6, 1944. Many Americans know of the battle at Normandy but have failed to realize it was in France. The Americans entered Paris August 25, and thus virtually achieved the liberation of the nation from German occupancy.

In less than ten years General Charles De Gaulle, French head of state, ordered all American troops out of France. A Georgian, Dean Rusk, was then our Secretary of State. He went to France and asked De Gaulle, “Does that order pertain only to American troops stationed in France or does it include those buried in French soil?”

The French have forgotten who befriended them and gave their nation new life.

A second reason for French reluctance is their current internal situation. Arab armies moved out of the Arabian Peninsula and engaged in conquests of a large part of Europe in the late 1500’s. In the late 1600’s they were turned back and driven out of Austria. Thus, the Moslem conquest of Eastern Europe ended. It resumed when in the 1980’s Muslim leaders urged their followers to move to Europe, principally France and Germany. The influx has been so dramatic that some French cities, such as Marseille, are now seventy-five percent Muslim. The Muslim milieu is now playing into the French and German conduct. They know that dissident Muslims within their countries inclined toward terrorism could cause them great internal difficulty.

Another root of the French mentality can be traced to the writing of Francois Marie Arouet (1694-1778), known as Voltaire. His social philosophy and atheistic assault on spiritual values dramatically transformed the French culture. If a people have a collective conscience that of modern France was changed by Voltaire.

These factors combined with the economic entanglement between France, Germany, Belgium, and Iraq give answer to what is going on in the UN.

Here is an aside. When the Austrian king turned back the Muslim Turks in defeat it was a momentous event. It ended the Muslim encroachment into Eastern Europe. In celebrant of the event the king’s chef created a special pastry to commemorate the victory. He shaped it like the symbol of Islam, the crescent, and called it the croissant. It was designed to be devoured to symbolize the “devouring” of their foes by the Austrian army.

The French didn’t even give us the croissant. Now to add insult to injury. They didn’t give us French fries either. They came from Belgium.

We can only hope there will be a change of heart among certain European leaders before it is too late for them. Not from our standpoint, but that of their enemy they are as reluctant to admit as was Petan.

Free Speech And The Chicks

The Dixie Chicks spoke out critically of President Bush on the event of Operation Free Iraq. They followed it with the yo-yo statement regarding opposing the war and supporting the troops. What? That is like saying you support the means but not the end.

Supporters of the Chicks parrot their right to freedom of speech. That is not a question much less the question. They absolutely have the right to freedom of speech. In part, for that reason our military personnel were in Iraq.

Meanwhile a Congressman made comments regarding certain sexual behavior of which he disapproved. There have been demands for his resignation from committee posts and even from congress. While not agreeing with his statement can one defend his freedom of speech without being consider personally un-PC?

Freedom of speech is a wonderful distinctive birthed by our forefathers. It is a right to be cherished. However, there is a closely associated factor. That is, responsible speech. Say what ever you want but don’t cry and complain when others exercise their freedom of speech to express disapproval. Those disapproving are under no obligation to vote for or buy the CDs of those with whom they disagree.

If a person is going to make a statement they should be willing to defend it or apologize for it. In either case they should accept the consequences.

It is said that many people spend 90% of their time looking for someone to blame. It is such a chronic trait that it has spawned a book entitled, “I’m Not My Fault.”
The Chicks offered as a feeble excuse that they were in a foreign country. That is all the more reason the statement was out of line. The foreign country was England where their Prime Minister was under heavy criticism for aligning with President Bush in the war effort. It was an indirect criticism of Tony Blair. They got two birds with one stone.

Linked with freedom and responsibility is the consequence. There is a price to be paid for free speech. Showing the courage of convictions can be exacting. Our founding fathers were free to speak out against oppression. Having done so they showed the courage to stand by their convictions. It cost most of them dearly. The congressman and the Chicks having exercised their free speech should expect response.

This once more illustrates there is a difference in talent and wisdom. The Chicks by today’s standards are considered musically talented. That does not make them all knowing or all wise. It does make then all the more accountable because of the scope of their influence. To spin off an old axiom: “If you can’t stand the feedback stay away from the microphone.”

Freedom of speech is having the right to speak. Wisdom is knowing the right thing about which to speak, where, and when.

There is also a line in our law which says, “You have the right to remain silent….” That too is a freedom. It is at times a responsibility.

Scripture says, “Speak the truth in love.” There are times love prompts silence. The Chicks didn’t show our President any love or respect. Neither did they show our troops any support.

Faith In The Face Of Terrorism

“The city was under siege. As when a house is on fire, the inhabitants wanted to flee. The populace seemed eager to save themselves, even if naked and ashamed. Others heard of the calamity and received the exiles. Tales of the horrors which had befallen the city were widespread; stories of tortured souls shook the city. Shaking of foundations was a well-known cause of alarm.

Now every heart quivered. All saw death daily before their eyes. Terror was constant. Many were shut up within the walls of their own houses. The enemy was encamped around. There were those who roamed the streets seeking the guilty as well as the innocent. Formerly free persons sat shackled, anxiously inquiring of those they felt safe to ask, “Who today has been seized, carried off, or punished? How did it happen? How did they fall?’ The people lived a life more dreadful than death.

This calamity is an enigma, isn’t it? In this scene there is flight without an enemy. Inhabitants are expelled without a battle. There is captivity without capture. No fires of barbarians are visible. No faces of the enemy are seen.”

Those are the opening paragraphs of my book entitled “Farewell to Fear.” The story is a parody. The city is “you” and the enemy attacking the city is “fear.” Fear attacks us as an army lays siege to a city. Now read those paragraphs again.

Here is another line from the book, “No emotion so completely robs the mind of all its powers of reason and action as fear.”

Tension and stress caused by the uncertainty of potential terrorist activity has everyone a bit edgy. Y2K was only a primer compared to this. The terrorists have already accomplished part of their goal, that is, the disrupting of daily life and raising the fear factor. How can we respond most properly?

A young pilot returning from flying an unarmed reconnaissance flight over Iraq wrote to tell me of his fear. He had just been reading my book and he wrote, “I remembered the line from your book, “The God who conquered Canna said, “Fear not’ and in that I found consolation.'”

My working title for the book was “Fear Nots Untie Fear Knots.” I still think that was a good title.

This conflict has religious roots. The counter point personal remedy is a spiritual one. Use your spiritual resources and if you don’t have any make establishing them a priority. One of the most useful spiritual weapons is prayer. Prayer is not just telling God what He already knows – it is meditating and giving Him time to tell you what you don’t know. Commit Scripture to memory. Here is a starter: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand” (Philippians 4:6,7 NLT).

If you have your spiritual priorities in order you live in a no lose position. It is time to reassess what really is of value. With our value system properly ordered life takes on new meaning. That helps relieve tension and stress.

Evolution: Fact Or Theory

Attending a state university and having a major in biology I learned what is required for a matter to be considered a scientific fact. It must pass three tests.

1. Is or was it observable?
2. Is it demonstrable?
3. Is it repeatable?

In light of that three fold test consider whether evolution Is a scientific fact. Religion is not in that equation.

If it is not a scientific fact what is it? It is a theory. It is undeniable that there has been change. There is no evidence however that the species line has been crossed.

Reference is often made to “the missing link.” Link? Links. There are numerous reputable scientists with prestigious degrees who acknowledge it.

Consider point number one. Was anyone there to observe the first amoeba crawl out of the primordial swamp and become another higher creature?

Point three: Is there anywhere an ape in the process of becoming a Homo Sapien? Careful how you answer that one.

It is said most people believe in evolution. Not so. Studies show the opposite. Still most people who believe in evolution believe in it because they believe most people believe in evolution.

Why are some people so passionate about the issue? Some conscientiously believe it is a science. They have been taught only principles supporting the idea. They have never challenged their belief by reading such works as “Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution” by Dr. Michael J. Behe or “The Design Inference” by Dr. William A. Dembski or “Evolution: The Challenge of the Fossil Record” by Dr. Duane T. Gish. These are scientists highly regarded by their peers. A reading of some challenging articles can be readily accessed on the web at “Behe, Michael J. – On-line Articles.”

A good way to confirm your beliefs is to challenge them. I established my beliefs in college by being required to read material supporting evolution. In a secular classroom I saw enough flaws in the theory to at least evaluate alternatives. Though not required to do so why not read scientific works that challenge the theory of evolution? You might come out believing in it even more. You might not.

Don’t be like the Paduanesian theologians who refused to look through Galileo’s telescope for fear they would see something they could not believe. By giving concepts other than evolution a quality study you might see something you didn’t know and come to believe it. Explore! After all, isn’t that what science is all about?

Bottom line: creation or evolution, which ever you believe you will have to do it on the basis of faith. For proof of this review the three points above.

You don’t know what you don’t know —- you know.