The Rise of Modern Christian Extremism

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The following are quotes from Christian author and journalist, Chris Hedges’ book “Wages of Rebellion”:

The breakdown of American society will trigger a popular backlash, which we glimpsed in the Occupy movement, but it will also energize the traditional armed vigilante groups that embrace a version of American fascism that fuses Christian and national symbols.

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Gabrielle Giffords, a member of the US House of Representatives, was shot in the head in January 2011 as she held a meeting in a supermarket parking lot in Arizona. Eighteen other people were wounded. Six of them died. Sarah Palin’s political action committee had previously targeted Giffords and other Democrats with crosshairs on an electoral map. When someone like Palin posts a map with crosshairs, saying, “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” there are desperate, enraged people with weapons who act. When Christian fascists stand in the pulpits of megachurches and denounce Barack Obama as the Antichrist, there are messianic believers who believe it. When a Republican lawmaker shouts “Baby killer!” at Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak, there are violent extremists who see the mission of saving the unborn as a sacred duty. They have little left to lose.

The kind of extremism that Hedges refers to, can be seen in the vitriol of Christian extremists such as Robert Spencer and Jonathan McLatchie. The next quote more accurately refers to these two missionaries:

Left unchecked, the hatred for radical Islam will transform itself into a hatred for Muslims. The hatred for undocumented workers will become a hatred for Mexicans and Central Americans.

More specifically, their self-delusion in referring to groups they dislike, as in the case of Jonathan McLatchie referring to Muslims as a cancer in European civilization speaks to their extremism. Hedges further says:

The ethnic groups, worshiping their own mythic virtues and courage and wallowing in historical examples of their own victimhood, vomited up demagogues and murderers such as Radovan Karadzic and Slobodan Milosevic. To restore this mythological past they sought to remove, through exclusion and finally violence, competing ethnicities. The embrace of non-reality-based belief systems made communication among ethnic groups impossible. They no longer spoke the same cultural or historical language. They believed in their private fantasy. And because they believed in fantasy, they had no common historical narrative built around verifiable truth and no way finally to communicate with anyone who did not share their self-delusion.

In conclusion about these extremists, he says:

Those who retreat into fantasy cannot be engaged in rational discussion, for fantasy is all that is left of their tattered self-esteem. Attacks on their myths as untrue trigger not a discussion of facts and evidence but a ferocious emotional backlash.

That last quote reminds me solely of Sam Shamoun. Rather than engage in intellectual dialogue, he copy pastes articles, and insults those he disagrees with. Thus, the rise of Christian fascism, and its role in spreading hatred and violence towards Muslims is a growing pattern among polemicists such as Robert Spencer, David Wood, Sam Shamoun and now recently Jonathan McLatchie. The result of this hate can only be expressed as follows:

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and God knows best.

Missionary Mishap: Isma’eel Abu Adam

Neil Littlejohn, otherwise known as the former Muslim “Isma’eel Abu Adam” has been making the rounds lately, working with the mentally ill (according to his own testimony) David Wood. As they say, birds of a feather flock together and this recent marriage is no different.

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I knew Neil through Facebook while he was still known as Isma’eel Abu Adam. He’s had quite the journey and it has been interesting to see what events eventually led to him apostating through four faiths and 5 different sects in the space of three years. Yes, you read that correctly, our friend Neil has been making the rounds on the religion merry-go-round and this is not the first time. I may be wrong, as his jumping from one faith to the other has been habitual, but this list is what I’ve gathered since knowing him through Facebook.

  1. Christianity to Salafi Muslim.
  2. Salafi Muslim to Sufi Muslim.
  3. Sufi Muslim to Qur’an Only/ Hadeeth Denier.
  4. Syncretic Islamo-Judaeo-Christianity to Messianic Judaism.
  5. Messianic Judaism to some form of quasi-Christianity.
  6. Christianity to….?

Neil has had a lot of problems in his life, and his jumping from one extremity to the next religious-wise emphasizes the difficult situation he finds himself in. When he jumped from Christianity to Islam and became a hardcore Takfeeri Salafi (one who claims others to be disbelievers regularly), he began to make YouTube videos which gained some small notoriety.

About 3 to 4 years ago, he made a sudden and quick shift to the complete opposite of Takfeeri Salafism, and became a proponent of Super Spiritual Sufi Islam. It’s basically the jump from hyper-literalism to hyper-figurativism. These are two diametrically opposed religious ideologies, yet his dumping of one and adoption of the other was quick and very public. He began to engage in debates with those who belonged to his previous ideology in earnest. I recall seeing him arguing on Facebook for hours against his former co-religionists. This became a hobby and habit of his. Yet still then, the videos he began to reproduce on his YouTube channel continued to fall in views. Many had caught on to his flip-flopping and his mileage in the Muslim community was quickly running out.

At some point during that fiasco, he made it public knowledge that his local community’s masjid had banned him from the premises and effectively had shunned him from their community. Still then, he found it difficult to articulate as to why exactly an entire community had found him to be such a nuisance that he was universally rejected by them. Still, he persisted on his social media pages to call for support against the injustices he was facing from fellow Muslims. We would later come to know that Neil had many issues and his shunning from his local community was due to his erratic behaviour and to his holding of beliefs antithetical to orthodox Islam. Yet, our friend Neil was not done. Sometime during 2015 he made the jump once again, this time to Qur’an Onlyism.

Another extreme ideological shift. From one belief which emphasized the love of the Prophetic Sunnah, to a total and complete rejection of it entirely. Again, no reason was given for this shift, but he now continued to argue on his social media pages, promoting his new beliefs. Still then, he found no support among the Muslim communities he once derided and so his mileage in Islam had run dry. The tank was empty, there was no other jump he could make within Islam. It was at this point I debated him on his Facebook page about his new beliefs. We had many interactions, but Neil did not seem to understand his new beliefs well. I still recall him having to spend days before answering simple questions about the Qur’an. No one from the Muslim community was taking him seriously at this point. He never held onto one position for too long, he always claimed to exclusively hold to the truth, and that everyone other than him was either wrong, misinformed or misguided.

Sometime towards November or December that year, he posted on Facebook that “Isma’eel Abu Adam” was going on a break. Of course by then, the majority of Muslims had already regarded him as an apostate, and or a heretic due to his beliefs at that point. The only question that remained was, “what will he call himself the next time he rears his head?” It only took to the beginning of 2016 to get that answer. While still calling himself a “Muslim” and posting under the name, “Isma’eel Abu Adam”, he began to post Jewish prayers and songs on his social media pages. A few people asked him if he had converted to Christianity, but he would never answer the question directly. It took him a few more weeks before he acknowledged he was following some form of Islamo-Judaeo-Christian syncretism (a combination of all three faiths).

Yet, he was not done. A few months later he removed his “Isma’eel Abu Adam” Facebook page and re-emerged as the Messianic Jew, Neil Littlejohn! It was at this point he began to publicly mock, insult and deride Islam, while receiving help on making videos from the equally mentally disabled David Wood. He had come full circle. After jumping through several faiths and sects, he found an audience that would finally watch his videos and who would donate money to him. Ostracized from his community, rejected by his family, denounced by a his co-religionists, making up his new religion as he went along, Neil committed to his new quasi-syncretic faith. Eventually though, the allure of Christian donations was too difficult to resist.

Today he is a Christian, or so he calls himself. As pointed out in numerous videos, photos and articles by other Muslims, Neil refuses to discuss Christian theology or his theology with Muslims, or generally with anyone critical of him. Today he receives thousands of views on his videos, receives monetary support from the Christian community. He’s finally found an audience willing to ignore his theology, insofar as he identifies with the label of “Christianity”. That’s all it really took. He has no interest in theology, no interest in God, no interest in consistency, no interest in faith. His sole and only interest has, and always will be having an audience pander to him. As a Muslim, I have no quandary with Neil. I’ve seen the dramatic jumps he’s made, the ideological shifts he’s committed to, his flip-flopping with his beliefs when it best suits him.

Neil has a new home, but for how much longer, we cannot say. As far as I am concerned, this is just one other basket case finding homage and company among equally mentally disturbed individuals. What he needs is psychiatric help and he needs it badly. Christians today may be “celebrating” his “conversion” (if one can call it that), but having seen him devolve slowly into madness, I can feel nothing but sorrow and pity for a man who has lost everything and holds to nothing. When he jumps faiths again, or comes out with heretical beliefs, I am sure the Christian community will no longer be celebrating, they will lose interest in him as the Muslim community has. Regardless of what he says or does, Neil needs help and I pray and hope someone, somewhere can be the means through which he gets the help he needs.

In the meantime, it’s good to see that Acts17 have decided Jonathan McLatchie is bad for business and they now have a new poster boy to promote. One wonders how long the honeymoon will last this time around…

and God knows best.

Missionary Mishap: Korede vs Shamoun

We’ve previously reported on Sam Shamoun’s allegations of corruption, fraud and monetary misuse, as well as the following and teaching of a false Gospel at ABN/ the Trinity Channel. Here’s Sam’s comments about the issue. Here’s another article about the issue.

An obscure internet troll, known only as “Korede” from Nigeria, has challenged many Muslims to debates. In today’s case, he’s challenged a Br. Mustafa. Unfortunately, following in the footsteps of many criminals, this “Korede” person who follows Sam Shamoun, has decided to promote the same ABN/ the Trinity Channel which Sam has made serious allegations about.

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It seems as if there is no honour among thieves. Despite knowing the serious allegations leveled against the ABN/ Trinity Channel, Christians like “Korede” continue to use ABN as a means of spreading their false Gospel message and encouraging the crimes of fraud and the misusing of donations as indicated by former disgruntled employee, Sam Shamoun.

So who’s right and who’s wrong?

Is “Korede” in the right for using a platform involved in heresy and criminal activities? Is this the kind of criminal behaviour that Christians are supposed to be involved in? Only Mr. “Korede Olawoyin” can answer. Unfortunately, I reached out to “Korede” and received no answers on this moral quandary. Instead I received messages about Dr. Shabir and Islam. In other words, when confronted with serious allegations, “Korede” becomes silent and Christ is out of the picture, the only word he can use is “Islam”, however I don’t think the police or the judges would consider that an appropriate answer in cases of fraud and criminal conduct.

and God knows best.

Ask the People of the Book?

Question:

Many missionaries often quote Qur’an 10:94 as proof that they have true knowledge about God, and this verse proves that Muslims must depend on Christians and Jews to understand the Qur’an, Islam and God. How do we respond to this?

Answer:

It is important to first begin by understanding this passage. Qur’an 10:94 reads as follows:

“So if you are in doubt, [O Muhammad], about that which We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Scripture before you. The truth has certainly come to you from your Lord, so never be among the doubters.”

The passage does not state that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was in doubt, nor does it state that the Muslims should be in doubt. The passage then concludes by commanding that we should never doubt the Qur’an, “so never be among the doubters”. This passage therefore, does not give authority to modern-day Christians to be judges about the truth of Islam. To argue this, would be to ignore the entirety of what the passage says. Tafseer Maar’iful Qur’an comments about this passage:

In the third verse (94), the address is obviously to the Holy Prophet (ﷺ‎). But, it goes without saying that there is no probability of his doubting the revelation. Therefore, the purpose is to beam the message to the Muslim community through this address where he is not the intended recipient. Then, it is also possible that this address may be to human beings at large asking them if they had any doubts about the Divine revelation sent to them through Sayydina Muhammad al Mustafa (ﷺ‎). If they had, let them ask those who recited the Torah and Injil before them. They would tell them that all past prophets and their Books have been announcing the glad tidings of the Last among Prophets. This will remove their scruples and suspicions.

The Qur’an specifically identifies who is to be asked. This may come as a surprise to many people, but the missionaries who often misuse this verse are unaware that their is a specific person the Qur’an referred to at the time of its revelation in nascent Islamic Arabia. The Qur’an in 46:10 states:

“Say, “Have you considered: if the Qur’an was from Allah, and you disbelieved in it while a witness from the Children of Israel has testified to something similar and believed while you were arrogant…?” Indeed, Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.”

The Qur’an clearly states that there was a witness from among the Children of Israel who testified to the truth of the Qur’an at the time of the Prophet (ﷺ‎). Therefore, when the Qur’an in 10:94 speaks of asking those who knew the previous messages sent by God, the Qur’an directly informs us that there was indeed a witness that confirmed what the Qur’an said from the People of the Book! The Qur’an therefore, does not identify modern day Christians, whether they be Protestants or Catholics as the people that the Qur’an in 10:94 referred to. Tafseer Maar’iful Qur’an comments about Qur’an 46:10 as follows:

“The statement by Sayyidina Sa’d (رضي الله عنه) reported in some narrations of Bukhari, Muslim and Nasa’i, that this verse was revealed about Sayyidina Abdullah Ibn Salam (رضي الله عنه) and the same statement from Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنه), Mujahid, Dahhak, Qatadah (رضي الله عنه), etc. is not against this verse being Makki, as in this case, it will be a prophecy for the future.”

In conclusion, Qur’an 10:94 asks a hypothetical and rhetorical question: if anyone is in doubt about what the Qur’an says, then they should ask those who know the previous revelations. The Qur’an then tells us who should be asked in 46:10, and it identifies a witness (who was known at that time) to be the one who is knowledgeable about the previous scriptures, and that this person confirmed the teachings of the Qur’an. Either way, this verse does not give authority to modern day Christians to judge about the truth of Islam, such an interpretation ignores the verse’s context and it’s overall message as it fits into the Qur’anic narrative. Should a missionary raise Qur’an 10:94, they should duly be informed of Qur’an 46:10.

and Allah knows best.

 

 

Second Response to Dr. James White on John 9:38 and John 20:28

Apologies – I thought I had already posted this video to the site since it got more views than the original video that brought about the discussion in the first place! A few people duly pointed out that the second response hadn’t yet made its way to the main website and already had 4x the views of the original video. 10 days late, but here it is:

There are some interesting comments that came about due to this discussion which I’ll have to write about later on, but at the end of it all, this was a healthy discussion about New Testament Textual Criticism between a Muslim and a Christian. Not many people can fully appreciate how in-depth the discussion got, but it’s a start.

and Allah knows best.

Between Ehrman and Error

Recently on Blogging Theology I posted a video on the tenacity of the proposed ausgangstext which filled the lacuna of John 20:28. The vast majority of Muslims (expectedly) were enthusiastic about discussing the tenacity of Doubting Thomas’ alleged statement. The vast majority of Christians were not, which was also understandable. Then there were those caught in-between, educated enough to know that there had to be, or that there was more evidence behind what I had published, and there were others who were incredulous as to what that evidence could have been. Upon release of my second response video, I took a little more time, some 20 minutes and expanded on the rationale leading to the conclusions I mentioned in my first video on the topic.

Everyone knows about Dr. Ehrman’s famous statement, “copies of copies of copies of copies”. Yet the only two arguments I received in return were quite amusing. The first of which was that some people were curious as to whether Dr. Ehrman had commented on this passage or not. For some reason I have yet to discover, some Muslims’ hold on simple textual criticism of the New Testament is limited to only what Dr. Ehrman says, yet at the same time they are fully willing to simultaneously argue against his famous aforementioned quote. I duly provided a list of scholarship that not only knew of the work I gained the reference from John 20:28 on, I also provided the name of a seminary which uses the work itself, while also foregoing to mention that the scholar in question has been cited by Dr. Ehrman himself – one of the Muslims who opposed me in those comments had perhaps not yet read Dr. Ehrman’s references to this scholar (and his conclusions).

Nonetheless, the second argument I received was that no other variant of John 20:28 existed post p66, although I did point out that this was the case in Codex Bezae, as minor of a variant as it is, the challenge that not one variant exists has thoroughly been debunked (for those unread, the manuscript was eventually edited by a scribe).

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Following from this ignorant argument, was the case that since we know what every text post p66 said, then we must know what p66 itself said. This again, coming from those who agree with Dr. Ehrman’s aforementioned statement. We are therefore left with the following problem. Hence the title, Between Ehrman and Error. We have the following from the gracious Dr. Ehrman (emphasis mine own):

My point has always been (for example, in Misquoting Jesus) that we can’t know with absolute complete certainty what was said in each and every passage of the NT. That point – which I think cannot be refuted – is principally directed against fundamentalists who want to claim that every word of the Bible is inspired by God. How can we say the words were inspired if we don’t know in a lot of cases what the words were???Source.

I don’t think there’s an easy answer to these questions.  But they shouldn’t be ignored, as they ALWAYS are (in my experience) by people who want to assure us that we “know the original text in 99% of all cases.”   Really?   Which original?

If it were just up to me, I would say that the “original” is the first form of the text that was placed in circulation.  But since that in fact is not the oldest form of the text, maybe we shouldn’t call it the original. – Source.

One very interesting piece of evidence for this view involves a fact that is not widely known outside the ranks of the professional textual critics.  It is this:  new papyri manuscripts – relatively very old ones – do show up all the time (several in the past few years).  Whenever a new papyrus turns up, it almost NEVER contains a textual variant that is completely new.  The variants are almost always variants that we know about from our later manuscripts.  This shows, the argument goes, that variants were not created later.  Our later manuscripts preserved variants, they didn’t create them.  And this shows, it is argued, that all of the earlier variants are to be found even in the later manuscripts.

This is a terrific argument, and very interesting.  On the surface, it seems pretty convincing.  But in fact, in my view, it does not actually show that we have the original reading or that we can know that we do.  I will explain why in the next post. – Source.

I don’t think our New Testaments are likely ever to change much.  And I don’t think we know in a lot of places what the originals said.  Where’s the contradiction?  I’m not saying that we *know* that we have the original text in 99.9% of the passages of the NT.  I’m saying we *don’t* know – for a wide variety of reasons that I haven’t gotten into very much here.   But I’m emphasizing the word “know.”  We simply don’t know.

Do I *suspect* that most of the time we are pretty close or even there?  Yes, that would be my guess.  But it’s just a guess based on scholarly assumption and suspicion. – Source.

During those 300 years, Mark was being copied, and recopied, and recopied, by scribes.  Until we get our first full copy.  Can we know that this copy from 300 years later was 99% like the version that came directly from the pen of the author?  Of course we can’t know.  How would we know?Source.

Between Ehrman and Error. It’s really as simple as that. Dr. Ehrman used the word “guess”, I used the word “guesswork”. Dr. Ehrman used the word “suspicion”, I used the word “speculation”. Dr. Ehrman repeatedly points out that we cannot know what the original text said. He repeatedly points out that most variant units are decided on guesses and suspicion. So the question begs itself, how far are the conclusions in my video, different from that of Dr. Ehrman’s himself?

The problem presents itself, as he described regarding Mark, we don’t know what version of what copy we received. Given that basic, common sense principle, extend that to John 20:28, given that p66 is our earliest and we have no intermediate text (that is, the text between what the original author(s) wrote and the text of p66 itself), and that it has a lacuna or gap for the famous, “and my God” – then there is no way of certainty of knowing what p66 itself said or what the intermediate text(s) said, what the archetypal text said, or what the autographic text said. To require that we must need a variant before being able to dispute what a missing text says, is essentially self-refuting, the gap itself presents us with a problem, we don’t know what it said and we don’t know if any of the intermediate texts said something variable. We simply cannot know, just as Dr. Ehrman says.

So between Ehrman and Error, I agree with him, we cannot know, it involves guessing and suspicion. Those who disagree, disagree with the very goodly Dr. they appealed to in the first place and are as such, in error.

and Allah knows best.

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