Friday, September 28, 2007

Yeah, It's Been Slow Around Here

The posting around here has been quite spotty.  A little here, a little there - you'd think that I'm some lazy lounge lizard, doing nothing but lying around and eating live crickets.  Behind the scenes of such apparent inactivity, I have been working on a number of writing projects.  But in lieu of any substantive posts this week, I offer you the above picture of, yes, a real lizard lying down on a couch.  I found the original photo at Little Green Footballs - from there you'll find a link to the picture's source, and the story behind it.  When I first saw this I thought to myself - it would be amazing to have a lizard that can do that!  Then I realized that having a beast that can slouch on a couch and stare at you like that would be slightly terrifying.  This guy can keep his "pet." 

Thursday, September 13, 2007

When Science Goes to the Dogs

Genuine scientists are a dying breed.  Most of what populates the ranks of what many today term as "scientists" are just very smart individuals whose imaginations have gone to their head.  When I read this article, I realized that contemporary science just continues to go to the dogs:

Scientists say they cannot dismiss the possibility that a new universe could explode into life in your kitchen.  A new universe could be created at any time.  Nor can they rule out a Big Bang in your bedroom.  But don't be too concerned that you could become the centre of a new universe.  Scientists say the chances are so remote the figure is one divided by one followed by 100 million trillion trillion trillion trillion noughts.  "It is probably the smallest number in the history of physics," said Dr Sean Carroll, from the University of Chicago, who helped to work the figure out.  The universe was created out of nothing more than 14 billion years ago in the Big Bang.  

Created...out of nothing (ex nihilo)...in your kitchen or bedroom. 

Interesting. 

Notice that Carroll says our universe was created and that a new universe could be created again.  Think about that: created - that is an active verb.  Now scientists are not always known to be wordsmiths; their foci tend to lie in other areas, but the idea of created requires an active and intelligent agency behind it.  In reality, there is more truth in what Dr. Carroll said than he realized.  What he doesn't understand is that the "odds" of another universe being created are not what he suspects them to be.  In reality, the probability is actually 1 /1:

Revelation 21:1: 1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away...

It is a difficult thing to endure: watching secular scientists drive down the road of popular opinion as though they faced no real obstructions along the way.  It is bad enough that this is a common reality; what is worse is that most people will accept, without a single critical thought, statements like: "the universe was created out of nothing more than 14 billion years ago in the Big Bang."  

Question:  what exactly "created" that "bang" to begin with? 

I guess that we're not supposed to ask that question, or if we do, we are not allowed to assume that the first cause of all matter and life is the One who is called "The Creator" by name. 

Without any empirical knowledge of the Universe's beginning, it is impossible to extrapolate any probability of another "creation" event.  What we need is an eyewitness who can tell us about creation - and the Lord Himself has already done so.  This is proof, once again, that most of what passes for science is really a humanistic religion which requires a lot more faith than a mustard seed...much, much more.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I Pledge Allegiance to (Fill in the Blank)

Update:  At this point the flag ban has been lifted, however, the ACLU has already threatened to sue if the school board decides only to allow the US flag to be worn.  Predictably, the ACLU is on the wrong side of the issue.  The school should be able to ban foreign flags because of the street gang problems that the school faces.  I hope that they choose to stand and fight this one.

We live in such a litigious society that people have become more concerned about the unspoken rules of political correctness than they are about truth and personal integrity. Imagine, if you can, being asked to refrain from a simple expression of patriotism in order to avoid offending anyone.  This is, in a sense, what Jessica Langston was required to do by her school:  

SAMPSON COUNTY, N.C. – On the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, students at one high school were not allowed to wear clothes with an American flag.

Under a new school rule, students at Hobbton High School are not allowed to wear items with flags, from any country, including the United States.

The new rule stems from a controversy over students wearing shirts bearing flags of other countries.

Gayle Langston said her daughter, Jessica, was told to remove her Stars and Stripes t-shirt.

“Today she wanted to wear her shirt, and I had to tell her no,” said Langston. “She didn't like it at all because I knew it would get her in trouble. Of all days, 9/11, she could not wear her American Flag shirt.”

The superintendent of schools in Sampson County calls the situation unfortunate, but says educators didn’t want to be forced to pick and choose which flags should be permissible.

Those who know me understand that I am very cynical about Christians who make American patriotism more important than the Gospel itself.  Frankly, I believe that many in our land today have blasphemously exalted American nationalism above their heavenly citizenship - and this is a serious mistake and derogation of the Gospel itself.  However, make no mistake - I am extremely thankful for God's providence in establishing this nation.  As well, I am extremely thankful for our freedoms, and for those who have laid down their lives in order to preserve those freedoms.  I am a veteran; I am a citizen; I am an American patriot, and...

I want to know what is going on in Sampson County, NC. 

In fact I called the school (Hobbton High School) and the Sampson Superintendent's office in order to give them a chance to tell their own story.  In short, I received no assistance from Hobbton High.  After two calls they have refused to give any statement concerning their official clothing policy.  As well, the Superintendent's office had only this to say:

"We have had a disruption in schools caused by the wearing of certain flags by some of our students.  We are in the process of consulting with our legal council in order to address the issue that has been presented."

There has been a "disruption" caused by the wearing of various flags.  Solution: ban the wearing of all flags, including the American flag, because they don't "want to be forced to pick and choose which flags should be permissible."  If this isn't political correctness and civil relativism, then I don't know what is. 

With this in mind, I have a little message for the Sampson County School District: 

Last year the NC senate passed a bill that requires public schools to "adopt policies that require the display of the United States and North Carolina flags, when available, in each classroom and adopt policies that require the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance."  [S.L. 2006-137].

S.L. 2006-137 also requires that schools "provide age‑appropriate instruction on the meaning and historical origins of the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance."

In other words - schools are required by law to teach and foster American patriotism, as represented by our flag and national pledge.

BUT - you don't "want to be forced to pick and choose which flags should be permissible."  

Let me then remind you of our nation's pledge:  "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all."

We are one nation - identified by one flag and established by the one and only God who made this nation for His own sovereign purposes. 

In brief - no one is asking YOU to choose "which flag is permissible."  As a public school district in North Carolina and in this nation - that decision has already been made.

The Sampson County School District would do well to read and apply S.L. 2006-137.  While I realize that the bill does not address dress codes - it does however emphasize the broader discussion about fostering and encouraging patriotism within our schools - public schools that we pay for with our taxes (yes, even homeschoolers like ourselves who have to pay taxes anyway).  My exhortation to the superintendent is this:  Instead of relativizing our nation's education, why not set an example to our youth by upholding our state's law which calls on schools to teach our children about the "meaning and historical origins of the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance" and thus encourage patriotism.  This is far better than having such students hiding their patriotism because of your legal fears. 

Remind them that our flag represents a vast sacrifice - a sacrifice of hard work, sweat, and blood.  Remind them that the privileges which they now enjoy came by a vast cost to many who lived and died before them. 

No, America isn't a perfect nation, and it in no way compares with the glory that is to be revealed (Rom. 8:18).  But it is the nation that God has ordained and has given to us who reside here as its citizens.  It is therefore appropriate that we show some respect and gratitude for what He has so graciously provided. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11th, 2007

 

 

Luke 13:1-5:

1 Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? 3 “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 “Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? 5 “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Christian Kafir

As Christians, we are all familiar with the truth concerning the Son's essential equality (homo-ousios) with the Father.  Christ is the exact representation of the Father's glory, and therefore, by beholding the glory of Christ, we also behold the nature and glory of the Father Himself:

John 14:8-9: 8 Philip *said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”9 Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

John 1:18 No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained [exegesato] Him.

There is also another text which speaks to the same issue, but with a slight distinction:  John 17:6  “I manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world; Thine they were, and Thou gavest them to Me, and they have kept Thy word.  It is in this very prayer of our Great High Priest that we are given a fascinating declaration.  The Son not only made the Father known (John 14:8-9) and explained Him (John 1:18), but Christ also says that He revealed the Father's name as well (John 17:6).  We must be careful not to miss this important distinction, after all, what is somewhat alien to our American culture is the very concept of a name: in ancient biblical cultures, names were designed to communicate the nature and attributes of the individual.  It is for this reason that the names of God are crucial theological studies by themselves.  For the sake of argument, consider the following examples from the O.T.: 

El-Shaddai:  In Genesis 17:1-5 the Lord promised that 99 year old patriarch (Abram) that he would become the father of a multitude of nations.  What would seem to be an impossible promise (humanly speaking) was in fact secured by the very name that the Lord gave Himself in the presence of Abram, who was "good as dead" (Romans 4:19):  El-Shaddai ~ God Almighty.  By this name, Abram was assured that the very promise that was given would be brought about by the One who had "all might" or omnipotence.  The Lord's name was therefore supplied as the very foundation of hope for the promise that was given. 

Jehovah-Jire:  In Genesis 22 Abraham is given a substitute (a sacrificial ram) to offer in the place of his son of promise: Isaac.  It is here that Abraham referred to the Lord as Jehovah-Jire - The Lord Will Provide.  

Clearly, Christ is the living fulfillment of these names in that He is the true source of blessing unto the nations (Gal. 3) and He is the Father's provision who would die as our sacrificial substitute.  Ultimately, we should view these concepts as simply different facets of the same diamond of revelation.  In the person of Christ we have complete revelation and knowledge of the Father in all His perfections and attributes.  He has manifested the Father's name indeed.

These important truths stand in judgment against a recent revelation offered by a Dutch Catholic bishop, who (as one reporter summarized):  "suggested that Christians should refer to God as 'Allah' to promote better relations with Muslims. Bishop Martinus "Tiny" Muskens of Breda told the "Network" television show that 'God doesn't really care how we address Him.'  The Dutch bishop admitted that his suggestion was not likely to gain widespread acceptance. But he predicted that within a century or two, Dutch Catholics would be addressing prayers to 'Allah.'"

"Tiny's" concept of ecumenism is not new. We saw it when Pope Benedict went to Istanbul’s Blue Mosque and prayed towards Mecca. We also saw it when a small delegation of Muslims from Iraq visited Pope John Paul II (May of 1999) and presented him with a copy of the Qur’an. When it was presented to the Pope, he proceeded to kiss it as a sign of respect.  We also see calls to ecumenism from men like Peter Kreeft who said in his book Ecumenical Jihad: 

“God is raising an army, forging a new alliance of all who hate evil. This new alliance may prove to be more unifying than anything else in the history of religions. Perhaps all the world’s religions will eventually be united in this cause; but so far, in the West, we can see this army being made up of five religious groups, all of which are consistently vilified and libeled in the establishment media because they are the only five identifiable groups in our society who have not brought into the sexual revolution and its offspring, abortion: orthodox Catholics, Evangelical and Fundamentalist Protestants, Muslims, religious Jews, and Eastern Orthodox. Perhaps these five kings of orthodoxy are the five good kings of the Battle of Armageddon?”

With the rising pressures of ecumenism in our world today, I believe that it is all the more important that Christians address this question:  "should we refer to the Lord as 'Allah'?"  Allāh is a contraction of the Arabic article al [the] + ilah [deity]: thus, al-lāh ~ or “the God.” While modern Arabic has adopted various words from the Semitic family of languages,[1] such similarities must not be overrated.

Lexical Consideration: In Hebrew – “the God” would be rendered – Ha-Eloah [even Ha-El or Elohey] – not “Allāh” per se.  Even if one could argue that the name of Allah is an exact derivation from the Hebrew, it would still be necessary to distinguish between false and true deity. The Scriptures do this constantly -  Exodus 20:2-3: 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before Me."

Theological Considerations: Despite the insistence of some Muslims that “Allāh” is not used as a name, it must be noted that their nominal use of “Allāh” points to another reality:  Sura 1:1. "In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful."  Because of the uniqueness of this identity, the name of Allah should be avoided.  Islam teaches that Allah's chief prophet is Muhammad, and that he is the last prophet amidst the legacy of prophets in the OT and the NT. They believe that only those who embrace Islam truly understand the teachings of Moses and of Jesus. They also teach that Muhammad is the fulfillment of John 16:12-13, rather than the Holy Spirit.  By calling God "Allah" confounds absolutely everything.

Christological Considerations: The Qur'an clearly denies the Trinity (Qur'an 4:171)[2] and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (4:157)[3] - two of the most central tenants of Christian faith, and yet many today (whether by ignorance, or by fantasy-chasing) have advanced the idea of Islam being favorable towards the Christian faith. Sura 9:30. “…the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!”

I would suggest to Biship "Tiny" an alternative to his compromise - Jehovah-Qanna:

Exodus 34:14: 14 —for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God—

God does care about what we call Him, and therefore we must not trifle with such things.  The Savior Himself sacrificed all in order to manifest the precious name of the Father throughout His life and ministry.  May we as Christians be careful to communicate the glory of God's name, rather than merging His precious name with the false religions of this world.


[1] Arabic and Amharic are more recent members of the Semitic family of languages, and therefore they do contain reflections of Hebrew and Aramaic.

[2] Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.

[3] That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Apostle of Allah”—but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not—“.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Evolution: A Theory in Crisis

Michael Denton's book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, is yet another book that fits into the Intelligent Design category of thought.  It is a very profitable read to the extent that it gives the reader the opportunity to consider the theory of evolution without the dogma of a Richard Dawkins who pontificates:

"Today the theory of evolution is about as much open to doubt as the theory that the earth goes round the sun..."  Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, p. 1.

What seems to be lacking within the scientific community today is any willingness to debate and contest even the most primitive assumptions of Darwinism.  The prevailing expectation among far too many today is that one must never question the majority view, or else they will be punished with childish ridicule, and thus suffer condemnation from those who pride themselves to be "scientists."  This point is easily verified by just reading the critiques and comments that are often found lurking around much of the Creationist and ID literature.  But works like Denton's should be read, understanding that he lies somewhere between the views of naturalistic evolution and Creationism.  It is apparent in his book that he too is frustrated by the dogmatism of men like Dawkins who would cease all discussions about evolution - simply because Mr. Dawkins said so - and those who disobey will be subject to an inquisition by the new majority:

"The lack of any scientifically acceptable competitor leaves evolutionary biology in a state of crisis analogous to the crisis in medieval astronomy when, although the Ptolemaic system was admitted to be a monstrosity, the lack of any conceivable alternative imprisoned the science for centuries within the same circle of belief (p. 357)...that [Darwinian theory] is neither fully plausible, nor comprehensive, is deeply troubling.  One might have expected that a theory of such cardinal importance, a theory that literally changed the world, would have been something more than metaphysics, something more than a myth." p. 358.

In saying this, Denton does not deny evolution in all its facets.  In fact it is important to note here that most (if not all) Creationists accept the concept of the special theory of evolution (microevolution).  The real problem lies within the realm of the general theory:

"For Darwin, all evolution was merely an extension of microevolutionary processes.  Yet, despite the success of his special theory, despite the reality of microevolution, not all biologists have shared Darwin's confidence and accepted that the major divisions in nature could have been crossed by the same simple sorts of processes."  p. 86.

What Denton is clearly denying is the notion that Darwinism necessarily suffices for all of the facets of the general theory (macroevolution).  Denton advances several arguments in order to expose Darwin's general theory as mere metaphysics.  As evidence of the many problems which plague Darwinism, he discusses the typology of nature (see page 117), incongruities in the fossil record (see chapter 8), complexities relating to the soft anatomy of supposed transitional forms (see p. 177), flight as the product of macroevolution (see chapter 9), the enigma which molecular biology presents to Darwinism (see chapter 11) and in the last few chapters, Denton reveals the fantastic notion of the spontaneous generation of life from an abiotic environment:

"...the possibility of life arising suddenly on earth by chance - is infinitely small.  To get a cell by chance would require at least one hundred functional proteins to appear simultaneously in one place.  That is one hundred simultaneous events each of an independent probability which could hardly be more than 10(-20), giving a maximum combined probability of 10(-2000).  Recently, Hoyle and Wickramasinghe in Evolution in Space provided a similar estimate of...'10(40,000) an outrageously small probability...'"  pp. 323-24.

In view of such odds, Denton then says:

"The Darwinian claim that all the adaptive design of nature has resulted from a random search, a mechanism unable to find the best solution in a game of checkers, is one of the the most daring claims in the history of science.  But it is also one of the least substantiated.  No evolutionary biologist has ever produced any quantitive proof that the designs of nature are in fact within the reach of chance.  There is not the slightest justification for claiming, as did Richard Dawkins recently:  '...Charles Darwin showed how it is possible for blind physical forces to mimic the effects of conscious design, and, by operating as a cumulative filter for chance variations, to lead eventually to organized and adaptive complexity, to mosquitoes and mammoths, to humans and therefore, indirectly, to books and computers.'"p. 324.

Denton's work is quite excellent, and I commend it to you for careful study and consideration.  If you are a dyed in the wool general theory Darwinist - then read this book in order to broaden the spectrum of your analysis of the subject.  As a former atheist and evolutionist, I can assure you that you won't be exposed to any of Denton's important questions within the spectrum of the standard texts on evolution today.  If you are a Christian, I would encourage you to read this work, but do remember that ID books are not a defense of biblical creationism - they are secular critiques of Darwinism.   But the critique is quite clear - Darwinism is more than a scientific hypothesis, as it was in Darwin's day. Now it has become an organized and mostly unchallenged religion. 

(Amazon Review)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Bones of Contention

"Today the theory of evolution is about as much open to doubt as the theory that the earth goes round the sun..."

Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene

That just about sums up my own attitude throughout my life as a young atheist.  As one who was raised on a diet of evolutionary theory throughout my life, I can understand the dogmatic assertions of a man like Dawkins.  After all, I too was not only an evolutionist and atheist - but I was an evangelistic atheist who sought to "convert" poor Christians to the majority viewpoint.  All of this is now a part of my past - before I became a Christian, and before I ever endeavored to examine the subject outside of the pale of our modern education system in which nothing is accepted as true unless it pays direct homage to that popular deity Evolution, and its revered prophet - Charles Darwin.  It is because of this background of mine that I found Bones of Contention, by Marvin Lubenow, to be a rather confounding read.  The difficulty that I encountered was not the fault of the book, but had to do with the fact that references to Neanderthal man, Java man and Homo erectus (among others) conflicted harshly with the academic social-engineering of my youth - where alternative viewpoints are not allowed to be mentioned.  The challenge that I had was to read this book while leaving my past programming behind - a process that is always necessary whenever one wishes to evaluate evidence by the value of its merit, rather than by the value of its legendary status within a society.  In fact, this is one of the central values of Lubenow's work.  He helps the reader to analyze the scientific data that is used in support of evolution, but without the bias of men like Dawkins who would have us to forgo any critical analysis of Darwinism simply because he said so.

No matter what your background is, I would strongly recommend that you read this book.  Lubenow gives a clear and rigorous presentation of the history of Evolution.  From the days of Darwin to the present, Lubenow reveals the precarious evolution of the philosophy of Darwinism by revealing how:

"Any series of objects created by humans (or God) can be arranged in such a way as to make it look as if they had evolved when in fact they were created independently by an intelligent being."  p. 21.

He also notes that popular opinions in our society are often governed by the fact that -

"The undiscerning public...considers scientists to be some sort of high priests of our society, paragons of objectivity who have no philosophical axes to grind."  p. 18.

Lubenow calls the reader to an open and honest evaluation of the empirical data that is often massaged and manipulated in order to facilitate the premise of evolution.  As a result of his research, he has concluded the following:

"We have all seen pictures of the impressive sequence allegedly leading to modern humans - those small, primitive, stooped creatures gradually evolving into big, beautiful you and me.  What is not generally known is that this sequence, impressive as it seems, is a very artificial and arbitrary arrangement because (1) some fossils are selectively excluded if they do not fit will into the evolutionary scheme; (2) some human fossils are arbitrarily downgraded to make them appear to be evolutionary ancestors when they are in fact true humans; and (3) some nonhuman fossils are upgraded to make them appear to be human ancestors." p. 21.

Lubenow is careful to point out that Darwinism is a subjective philosophy that is designed to reduce the universe (biotic and abiotic) to that which is the product of an unguided, naturalistic process:

"...Darwin's purpose was not just to establish the concept of evolution.  Darwin was wise enough not to stop there.  Darwin went for the jugular vein.  Darwin's master accomplishment was to convince the scientific world that it was unscientific to believe in supernatural causation.  His purpose was to 'ungod' the universe." p.191.

Without empirical data, evolution stands as nothing more than an atheistic philosophy.  Even Darwin comprehended the tenuous nature of his proposed theory.  What he developed on ink and paper was a philosophy whose fate would rest in the hands of future scientists:

"Geological research, though it has added numerous species to existing and extinct genera, and has made the intervals between some few groups less wide than they otherwise would have been, yet has done scarcely anything in breaking down the distinction between species, by connecting them together by numerous, fine, intermediate varieties; and this not having been effected, is probably the gravest and most obvious of all the many objections which may be urged against my views."  Darwin, The Origin of Species,

It is this crucial interval of research, from the days of Darwin to the present, that Lubenow reveals to the reader.  Overall he shows that Darwin began with nothing more than ink, paper, and wistful hope; and to this day, his followers have advanced his legacy with nothing more than ink, paper, and unscientific dogma

(Amazon Review)

The Truth about Muhammad

It would seem that the overwhelming majority of western civilization is working overtime in order to prove the old adage: 

"...those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."   

In view of the darkness that lurks in our human history, the idea of repeating such a past is no pleasant thought.  But this is exactly what we find happening throughout the world today as many world leaders are trying desperately to find a peaceful middle-ground between Islam and the rest of the world.  Yet it is this premise of finding a peaceful middle-ground that is so enigmatic, especially when one considers the core beliefs of Islam as revealed in the Qur'an.  It is to this very point that Robert Spencer's book, The Truth about Muhammad - Founder of the Word's Most Intolerant Religion, shows just how dangerous it is to remain ignorant about the history of Islam.  Within the short span of 194 pages, Spencer manages to synthesize three crucial Muslim texts, the Qur'an, the Hadith and the Sira, in order to give a comprehensive history of Muhammad's life and warring conquests.  He is factual, respectful, and measured in his own analysis of Islam's prophet.  In the end, Spencer's historical analysis becomes a clear condemnation against those who would characterize Islam as a peaceful religion:  

"...the example of Muhammad, the highest model for human behavior, constantly pulls them [Muslims] in a different direction.  The fact that Western analysts continue to ignore all this demonstrates the ease with which people can be convinced of something they wish to believe, regardless of overwhelming evidence to the contrary." p. 183. 

Spencer's assessment of the West's bias is very important also, for it would seem that many in our culture are willing to ignore the facts of history in order to embrace a fantasy that is far less terrifying - and there are plenty of Islamic organizations who are eager to feed that fantasy (as in the case of C.A.I.R. - the Council on American Islamic Relations, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas).  But those who endeavor to present Islam in a kinder light are forced to redact, or even ignore, the foundation and founder of Islam itself:

"It is difficult, if not impossible, to maintain that Islam is a religion of peace when warfare and booty were among the chief preoccupations of the Prophet of Islam.  Sincere Islamic reformers should confront these facts, instead of ignoring or glossing over them, and work to devise ways in which Muslims can retreat from the proposition that Muhammad's example is in all ways normative.  If they do not do so, one outcome is certain: bloodshed perpetrated in the name of Islam and in imitation of its prophet will continue." pp. 176-77.

It is this centrality of Muhammed that makes it impossible to separate out the violence, bloodshed and world domination that is inherent in Islam's epistemology:

Qur'an 33:21. Ye have indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah. 

Spencer is also careful to point out the fallacy which asserts that Islam is compatibility with Christianity (pp. 177-183).  Many people in the mainstream media have advanced this false notion, however the Qur'an clearly denies the deity (Qur'an 4:171) and crucifixion of Jesus Christ (4:157) - two of the most central tenants of Christian faith, and yet many today (whether by ignorance, or by fantasy-chasing) have advanced the idea of Islam being favorable towards the Christian faith.  However, the only way in which Muhammad ever demonstrated a partial tolerance of "Christians" is when they were willing to forsake their core beliefs as an act of subjugation under Islamic rule.  It frankly strains the limits of credulity to say that this is "tolerance" and yet this has become yet another mantra within the chorus of Islamic apologetics today. 

Finally, Spencer's work aids the reader in understanding the context of conflict within Islam when he states:

"The Sunni-Shi'ite fault line within Islam has given rise to considerable violence over the centuries, and in the twenty-first century threatens to erupt again into open war in Iraq, Pakistan, and elsewhere.  It is a legacy entirely in keeping with the attitudes and behavior of the Prophet of Islam."

This is an outstanding work and I commend Mr. Spencer for his labors in it.  I count this as a must read for anyone looking for an overview of Muhammed's life, and how his example is the very bedrock of Islam itself.  As a final note, I have written this review shortly after Bishop Martinus Muskens reportedly advised his congregants to refer to God as Allah, saying: "God doesn't really care how we address Him."  Though many in the world may view this as a form of lateral ecumenism, it is not.  Besides apostasy from genuine Christianity itself, the bishop's actions are yet another example of fearful subjugation and historical ignorance - two diseases that are already plaguing our world today.

 (Amazon Review)