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March 27, 2008

Comments

Mark P. Shea

We aims to please!

bill912

The comment does have a familiar ring to it: You stinking, lying infidel dogs who shall rot in hell and whose parents were never married! Why do you not pay heed to me?

Deusdonat

JA.o readers scanning down to the combox will note a very familiar tone in the very very very extensive, yet almost totally insubstantial, rambling

*gulp* Don't look at me! : P

Seriously, were you thinking that is "Rusta?"

I have to say, I agree on all the points listed, but the biggest one is left out: Marriage. This is the number 1 reason why ANYONE converts (be it from Islam to Christianity, vice-versa, Buddhist to volcano-worshiper etc. In the case of Islam, there are two self-preservation clauses written into their religion; 1) a Muslim woman can NEVER be given to a non-Muslim in marriage and 2) all murtadeen (apostates) are to be put to death. Yet mostly because of reason 1 (i.e. Muslims living in the west in theory have laws that protect them from being killed for not converting or marrying the person they fall in love with) we see a lot more conversions than in Islamic countries.

A final note, and I cannot stress this enough, if you look at statistics worldwide, Christianity is still the fastest growing religion. Muslims say of course that it is Islam, and regardless of what logical argument you put before them, they will invariably use this sound-bite ad nauseam: "well then how come Islam is the fastest growing religion?" (aka the bandwagon argument). Religion is of course not a numbers game and even if only 3 people convert to Christianity next year, we should rejoice for those 3 that may attain salvation through God's church. I just thought it needed mentioning.

SDG

Seriously, were you thinking that is "Rusta?"

No, no. Just that, you know, there's a recognizable "house style," there. (I think you might have mentioned something about that, no?)

Smoky Mountain

A final note, and I cannot stress this enough, if you look at statistics worldwide, Christianity is still the fastest growing religion. Muslims say of course that it is Islam

I don't know whether the below site is accurate, but it suggests that Islam *is* the fastest growing religion based upon percentage growth of adherents:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3835

Interestingly, though, it notes that the trend is driven by birth rates (and on a regional scale by immigration), not by conversions.

I'd like to see data regarding worldwide conversion rates for various religions.

David B.

Note to self: coming late to a combox discussion makes everyone look like they're talking to a wall. :-) Visit more often to 'enjoy' the full experience.

Sherry Weddell

HI All:

Islam is growing fastest by birthrate, Christianity by conversion.

Here are the stats via the World Christian Encyclopedia:

19 million people convert to Christianity every year around the world!

122,000 new Christians are baptized every 24 hours

37,000 new Catholics are added to the Church every 24 hours (birth or conversion)

Conversions to all other faiths *combined*: about 2.5 million/year

And now the down side:

16.5 million Christians *leave* the faith every year.

If we don't worry about overlap (ie, someone enters and leaves within the same year, that would mean that 35 million people move in and out of the Christian faith every year (more than the entire population of Canada!)

Bottom line: A net gain of 2.5 million Christians/year or 69,000/day

Deusdonat

SMOKEY,

"There are lies, damned lies, then there are statistics" - Benjamin D'Israeli

As Sherry points out, if you rely on the figures from the website you mention;

1.3 billion Muslims growing at 1.8% a year = 23.4 million a year

2.2 billion Chrisitians growing at 1.3% = 28.6 million a year

So, while the growth percentage of Muslims is higher (i.e. if there are no Muslim eskimos and 1 converts, there is a 100% growth rate) the actual number of Christians each year is still growing at a higher rate. It just depends on what you are trying to prove, and who cares.

Incidentally, everyone loves a good conversion story and Youtube is full of them. One of the most memorable was about a 5-year-old boy back in 1999 who http://youtube.com/watch?v=mLY9qAPGAyA&mode=related&search=>converted thousands to Islam" (including his own Christian family) as he miraculously knew the entire Qur'an and spoke fluent Arabic, English, Italian, French and Swahili.

The reality of the hoax is he was a Kenyan dwarf whose family (unfortunately "Christian") who exploited his talents for memorizing a few words and passages in Arabic. He is now in his late 20's and is exiled somewhere in Africa (once he noticeably ceased to grow, the "miracle" was debunked). Distraught Muslims have since made up elaborate excuses to cover up the hoax, saying he was killed by Christians, went into hiding for his life, kidnapped by Israel etc.

I feel sorry for him wherever he is, as he was absolutely a victim of exploitation regardless.

Smoky Mountain

the actual number of Christians each year is still growing at a higher rate

Deusdonat,

I must respectfully disagree. You're correct that "fastest growing religion" is ambiguous -- various statistics could be used to measure it and each could produce different results. However, the term rate implies a normalized (e.g. percentage-based) approach; from that view, Islam appears to be the winner. As you point out, from the view of absolute growth (not growth rate) Christianity wins.

Cheers,
Matt

Holly

the term rate implies a normalized (e.g. percentage-based) approach

A rate is a quantity measured with respect to another measured quantity. By that definition, X people per year would be a rate, as both X people and a year are measured quantities. A percentage or proportion can also be rates, but the term rate is not limited to percentages.

Deusdonat

Thanks, Holly.

Smoky, as Holly says, rate does not equal percent (which is why it is called a "percentage rate" or number of quantity X found in 100 of Y). At the same time, you can compare the rate of Muslims per Christians each year. As I said, this is always greater for Christians.

Moot point, I think we all agree here. And numbers mean little (i.e. the one with the "most" doesn't necessarily win; that's up to each individual).

Deusdonat

By the way, before it is taken down (i.e. censured) anyone who wishes should watch http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=7d9_1206624103>FITNA the short film by Dutch politician Geert Wilders which was just released yesterday but banned in Holland.

Warning: not an easy thing to watch.

Florentius

What I find most amazing about the reasons ex-Islamic converts give is the central thread that ties them all together.

Love.

Gosh, it's almost like Jesus knew what he was talking about.

Modern Islam is like an egg and we're in the process of cracking the shell right now.

Foxfier

Question on the "Islamic rate" of growth-- does that include the Islamic assumption that, once born Muslim, one cannot convert away?

Or that the children of those who don't observe Islam but were born to it, when having children, give birth to Muslims?

I seem to remember that there was a lady in---Malaysia? Indonesia?-- who was legally prevented from being listed as a Christian because her dad abandoned her mother and converted to Islam for a while....

John Damascus

Deusdonat correctly predicted censorship. If you follow his link to FITNA you will see a statement saying it has been removed following death threats.

Fitna is not an incitement to violence. It claims the Qur'an is violent and that this inspires Jihadist violence. It is tame compared to many anti-Christian polemics, freely broadcast.

Try Gates of Vienna for a list of current sites for Fitna.

The argumentum ad baculum is one reason for relatively few converts from Islam to Christianity. Converts from Islam are apostates and face death. Converting to Islam is a one-way-street - you can get killed if you go in the wrong direction.

Most adult Christians are aware of the objections to core aspects of their faith eg anti-christian explanations of the Resurrection. But because of lethal censorship most Muslims and potential Muslims are unaware Muhammad had sex with a 9 years old girl - Ayesha, executed hundreds of Jewish prisoners after they surrendered at Banu Qurayza, tortured Kinana to death to force him to reveal the treasure then had sex with his widow that night, kept slaves and had sex with them (ie rape) ... Muhammad is claimed to be the perfect man, who gave us the perfect book. Attempts to question Muhammad in the way that Jesus is routinely challenged, are met with wails of racism, Islamophobia and death threats.

The attractiveness of Christianity has been mentioned above. Christianity presents God as Love. Islam presents God as Power. Islam's main attraction is simplicity (no Trinity) - "Newtonian" in its simplicity compared with the "Einsteinian" truth of Christianity. In the West, Islam can also offer a strong sense of community and family values.

We need to keep the channels of communication with ordinary Muslims open. To respond firmly with love and courage. To challenge Muslims to come closer to God, and to see God as love. To challenge Muslims to interpretations of Islam which embrace democracy and equality eg when Muslims say "there is no compulsion in religion", pin them down to clearly state if this means Muslims must be able to leave Islam publicly without civil penalty, intimidation or death even in Muslim-majority countries?

Michael

Hillaire Belloc called Islam a form of Arianism.
I think John the Damascene said something similiar.
Can't find qoutes and sorry if I am wrong.

Islam is a heresy. It has some theological truth. It denies the Incarnation and the Trinity.
The "angel" (or Djinn in Arabic and/or Persian terminology like a Genie) Jibril (Gabriel) may well have been a demon.--or he was a great con artist but do not forget a supernatural explanation.

from the Conservative Blog for Peace

'One of the most powerful Ottoman viziers was the eunuch
Hasan Aga, formerly known as Samson Rowlie from Great
Yarmouth'
Last weekend, before the bombing began, while the papers
across Europe were still debating the resurgent argument
about the clash of civilisations, I was wandering around
Istanbul.
Passing along the Golden Horn in bright autumnal sunlight, I
came across a magnificent tomb complex. A shady garden
gave on to the courtyard of a mosque, behind which stood an
octagonal tower, the mausoleum for the Ottoman admiral Kilic
Ali Pasha. The Pasha, it turned out, had fought the combined
navies of the West at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 and was
one of the few Ottoman commanders to distinguish himself.
After this he was made Kaptan Pasha, or Lord High Admiral,
and two years later helped to seize Cyprus from the
Venetians.
Here, it seemed, was a figure who might be taken to
epitomise Berlusconi's clash of civilisations – "The Terrible
Turk" incarnate – until I read that Kilic Ali was, in fact, an
Italian from Calabria called Ochiali who had converted to
Islam. The easy assumption of some essential conflict
between two very different civilisations became a little more
nuanced still when I read that the complex had been
constructed by another Christian convert – the great architect
Sinan – and that the mosque he built was an almost perfect
miniature of the Byzantine Cathedral of Holy Wisdom, Hagia
Sophia.
Nor was this a unique case. At the same time as Kilic Ali was
the Ottoman High Admiral, one of the most powerful Ottoman
viziers was the eunuch Hasan Aga, formerly known as
Samson Rowlie from Great Yarmouth. At the same time in
Algeria, the "Moorish King's Executioner" turned out to be a
former butcher from Exeter called "Absalom" (Abd-es-
Salaam). And the Ottoman general known as "Ingliz
Mustapha" was a Scottish Campbell who had embraced
Islam and joined the Janissaries.
The links that bind Christianity and Islam are so deep and
complex that the occasional confrontations should perhaps

more properly be looked upon as a civil war between two
different streams of the same tradition than any essential
clash of civilisations. When the early Byzantines were first
confronted by the Prophet's armies, they assumed that Islam
was merely a variant form of Christianity, and in some ways
they were not so far wrong; Islam, of course, accepts much of
the Old and New Testaments, obeys the Mosaic laws about
circumcision and ablutions and venerates both Jesus and the
ancient Jewish prophets.
Indeed, the greatest theologian of the early church, St John of
Damascus (d. 749), was convinced that Islam was at root not
a new religion, but a variation on a Judaeo-Christian form.
This perception is particularly remarkable as St John had
grown up as a young Arab aristocrat in the Ummayad Arab
court of Damascus – the hub of the young Islamic world –
where his Orthodox Christian father was the Chancellor. St
John himself was an intimate boyhood friend of the future
Caliph al-Yazid, and the two boys' drinking bouts in the
streets of Damascus were the subject of much gossip in the
capital.
Later, in his old age, St John took the habit at the desert
monastery of Mar Saba where he began work on his great
masterpiece, The Fount of Knowledge. The book contains an
extremely precise critique of Islam, the first ever written by a
Christian, which, intriguingly, John regarded as a form of
Christianity and closely related to the heterodox Christian
doctrine of Arianism. (After all, this doctrine, like Islam, took
as its starting point a similar position – that God could not
become fully human without somehow compromising his
divinity.)
This was a kinship that both the Muslims and the Christians
were aware of. In 649 the Nestorian Christian Patriarch wrote:
"These Arabs fight not against our Christian religion; nay,
rather they defend our faith, they revere our priests and
saints, and they make gifts to our churches and monasteries."
This tradition continued and led to many surprising
anomalies; Saladin's private secretary and the head of his
war office were both Coptic Christians, as were the Egyptian
commanders who defeated the Seventh Crusade in 1250.
Throughout the Middle Ages there were few, if any,
conversions by the Sword, a myth much propagated in anti-
Islamic literature and recently expounded on at length by Paul
Johnson in an incredibly ignorant article in that flag-waver of
the new bigoted Islamaphobia, The Spectator.
The longer you spend in the Christian communities of the
Middle East, the more you become aware of the extent to
which eastern Christian practice formed the template for the
basic conventions of Islam: the Muslim form of prayer with its
bowings and prostrations appears to derive from the older
Syrian Orthodox tradition still practised in pewless churches
across the Levant; the architecture of the earliest minarets,
square rather than round, derive from the church towers of
Byzantine Syria; and Ramadan, at first sight one of the most
distinctive Islamic practices, is nothing more than an
Islamicisation of Lent, which in eastern Christian churches
Independent Page 2 of 4
http://www.independent.co.uk/story.jsp?story=98990 10/17/2001
still involves a gruelling all-day fast.
Certainly, if a monk from sixth-century Byzantium were to
come back today, he would find much more that was familiar
in the practices and beliefs of a modern Muslim Sufi than in,
say, a contemporary American evangelical. Yet this simple
truth has been lost by our tendency to think of Christianity as
thoroughly Western, rather than the Oriental faith it actually
is. We also forget that Islam inherited the same Greek and
Roman foundations as our own culture; indeed the Muslims
preserved the classics for us, before passing them back via
the universities of Islamic Spain and Sicily.
The recent tendency to demonise Islam – and we have seen
a great deal of that recently, especially from The Telegraph
and The Times – has led to an atmosphere where few in
either camp are aware of, or indeed wish to be aware of, the
kinship of Christianity and Islam. Yet this essential kinship is
something Muslim writers have been aware of for centuries.
Jalal-ud Din Rumi, the 13th-century Sufi (d.1273), was
perhaps the greatest of all the mystical writers of Islam, and
lived in Konya, in Anatolia, at a time when its population was
almost equally divided between Muslims, Christians and
Jews.
When he was asked about the relationship between these
three apparently incompatible religions, he told a story about
a city of the blind:
One day the news came that an elephant was passing
outside the city, so the townsfolk decided to send a
delegation to report back as to what an elephant was. Three
men left and stumbled forwards until they found the beast.
They felt the animal and headed back to report. The first man
said: "An elephant is like a vast snake!" The second man was
indignant at hearing this: "What nonsense!" he said. "I felt the
elephant and what it most resembles is a huge pillar." The
third man shook his head and said: "Both these men are liars!
I felt the elephant and it resembles a broad, flat fan." All three
men stuck by their stories and for the rest of their lives
refused to speak to each other. Each professed that they and
only they knew the truth.
Of course all three blind men had a measure of insight. The
first felt the trunk of the elephant, the second the leg, the third
the ear, but not one had begun to grasp the totality or the
greatness of the beast. If only they had listened to one
another, they might have grasped the true nature of the
beast. But they were too proud and preferred to keep to their
own half-truths.
"So it is with us," said Jalal-ud Din. "We see the Almighty one
way, the Jews have a slightly different conception and the
Christians a third. To us, all our different visions are
irreconcilable. But what we forget is that before God we

from the Conservative Blog for Peace

http://islab.oregonstate.edu/koc/favorites/yazilar/william-dalrymple-011012.pdf

the link as the whole story may be too long for the rules--I apologize if it is

More specific answer and limited qoute

Indeed, the greatest theologian of the early church, St John of
Damascus (d. 749), was convinced that Islam was at root not
a new religion, but a variation on a Judaeo-Christian form.
This perception is particularly remarkable as St John had
grown up as a young Arab aristocrat in the Ummayad Arab
court of Damascus – the hub of the young Islamic world –
where his Orthodox Christian father was the Chancellor. St
John himself was an intimate boyhood friend of the future
Caliph al-Yazid, and the two boys' drinking bouts in the
streets of Damascus were the subject of much gossip in the
capital.
Later, in his old age, St John took the habit at the desert
monastery of Mar Saba where he began work on his great
masterpiece, The Fount of Knowledge. The book contains an
extremely precise critique of Islam, the first ever written by a
Christian, which, intriguingly, John regarded as a form of
Christianity and closely related to the heterodox Christian
doctrine of Arianism. (After all, this doctrine, like Islam, took
as its starting point a similar position – that God could not
become fully human without somehow compromising his
divinity.)
This was a kinship that both the Muslims and the Christians
were aware of. In 649 the Nestorian Christian Patriarch wrote:
"These Arabs fight not against our Christian religion; nay,
rather they defend our faith, they revere our priests and
saints, and they make gifts to our churches and monasteries."
This tradition continued and led to many surprising
anomalies; Saladin's private secretary and the head of his
war office were both Coptic Christians, as were the Egyptian

Ben

There are legitimate comparisons and good points of Islam. That does not mean that Islam is correct nor that it is equal as a religion nor that it is not currently problematic from a political/military/sociological point of view or even a broader philosophical and/or historical point of view. I know that some of these topics have been debated ad infinitum (or perhaps ad nauseum) and I don't want to minimize real problems or issues.

There certainly is a violent strain of Islam (it is certainly debatable how large or how inherent to Islam) today. Certainly, historically, Islam started with the trek by Mohammad from Medina to Mecca--and that was a battle and it was with swords and death.
However, that does not mean that Islam as a religion is devoid of truth nor that it is inherently impossible to deal with Muslims (as that would be impossible)--nor that the only way to deal with Muslims (as a group, individual countries, or as individuals) is through violence, force, and from a superior position.
Certainly, Islam has clashed with Christian civilization from the Battle of Tours in 732, the Battle of Lepanto or the Siege on Vienna (and perhaps it could be argued vice versa but certainly Christianity pre-existed Islam so to the extent that Islam came later it is or could be perceived as the agressor)

That being said there are many perspectives:
Theological
Spiritual
Historical
Political
Sociological (or political if not recognized as a science per se)

I would like to bring up some positive points and similiarities between Islam and Christianity. I am coming from the position that Catholic Christianity is not only the fullness of the Truth, and certainly not one of many equal religions, but religion itself par excellence. Catholicism is truth and necessary for salvation (although how that is defined is certainly debatable but not to debate that now)

1. Islam has a belief in One God. That God is a similiar concept as that of Judaism and Christianity and actually closer to Christianity. I know that this issue is debated on this blog and others so I do not want to belaber the point.
The word Allah is used in some (if not many but certainly not all) of Christian liturgies of the Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Rite Catholics (in union with Rome), and Oriental Orthodox (non Chalcedon).
There is a primarily Protestant contention that Allah is a minor moon god of Arabia, and while that may be true (although I have not seen the evidence outside of Protestant tracts) the word Allah is also used for God for Christians that lived before Islam and even currently. (I have personally been to an Orthodox Church of the Antiochean Orthodox Church and a Melkite Catholic Church were the word for God is Allah both in liturgy and instruction but I am informed that other Eastern Rite Catholics do not used Allah but a permutation of that word) So, Allah is indeed God.
Pope John Paul II comments on the sublime beauty of Islam's 99 names for God (although certainly also criticizes or at least analyzes and distinguishes Islam)
But the God in Islam is an Almighty Spirit God and One and the Creator and uncreated and the God of Abraham.
Thus, I do not think it is stretch to say that Allah is God. That does not diminish very important theological differences such as the Incarnation and the Trinity or analogical understandings (the analogy of being concept in Christian theology)
The Islamic God may be too harsh or have Calvinistic understandings (the underlying concept of the nature of God in the brilliant yet criticized for other reasons talk of Pope Benedict XVI)
There may be a Scotus or Calvinistic understanding of God from the Islamic perspective (but that is also simplistic as there are different theological schools in Islam.
The Qur'an speaks of God in similiar terms as the Old Testament. The 99 names or attributes of God are on the whole in keeping with the theological understanding of Christianity (all powerful, all just, all merciful, etc)

Islam demands prayer--specifically multiple times during the day in the prostate form (the same prostate (as in bowing form not anatomical part) form used by Christians of the same region). The prayer recognizes the power and magnitude of God (although certainly attests to the prophetship of Mohammad). Thus a certain cosmology (sans Mohammad) is present in Islam of the proper "size" of God and the place and relationship of God to man. Also, more specifically (and more exact to Judaism) is Monotheism that God is One that God is God (as in self defined)
Thus the prayer is indeed to God as the One God, the Almighty, the Creator God, the all Merciful, the all Just, the God of Abraham, the God of Jesus (Jesus the prophet in their incorrect view)

The concept of "The Word"--In Judaism it is the Torah but in Christianity (although in some Protestant sects there is almost a Bibliolatory) the Logos is Jesus the Second Person of the Trinity. The Word (Jesus) pre-existed Creation. The same is true for at least some Muslims conception of the Qur'an (for them the word)--that it is the literal word of God that was dictated (different from a Catholic view and not just a modernist deconstructionist view but a traditional view)directly from God and was "written" before Creation. It as or at least almost if that the Qur'an is the equivalent of Christ the Logos.
Certainly it is incorrect or even a blasphemy but not intentional by most devout Muslims today.

There are other similiarities but I don't want to write to long and uninentionally violate a rule or even be rude but some besides:
1. Monotheism
and
2. Prayer
are
3. Pilgrimages--especially for the Shia branch of Islam and Sufis to other minor sites and to all Muslims to Mecca for the Hajj (there is no equivalent of a mandatory singular pilgrimage in Christianity but certainly pilgrimage in apostolic succession Christianity).
4. Alms for the poor a pillar of Islam and an important responsibility although not defined per se as a pillar in Christianity.
5. In Shia and Sufi sects (but prohibited in the more "Protestant" austere Sunni sects especially Wahabeism were prayer to dead, minor pilgrimages, saints are denied and forbidden) they have prayers for the dead, saints,--all that could be Catholic (Latin), Orthodox, or Oriental Christian practices and similiarites.
6. Fasting, Ramadan is certainly borrowed from Lent and has many similarities.
7. Certain similarities (and distinctions and clear differences) in morality and more in common than many modernist secularists, modern epicureans or hedonists in terms of the family, sexual morality, homosexuality, abortion, pornography and moral relativism.
8. Separate sacred spaces in Mosque with high culture architecture and iconoclastic art in the form of mosaics, tile, and most importantly calligraphy.
They still can be seen in Spain like the Al Ambra or the Taj Mahal in India (albeit a Masoleum), or Persian gardens and fountains (although Persia certainly had high culture before Islam). Just as Christianity inspired and architecture and art followed and flowed from theology and spirituality--the same is true for Islam.

There is no doubt that the Qur'an may justify concubines. There is no doubt that Mohammad had sexual relations with girls who would be underage today (but some of it is time and place as some place the Blessed Virgen Mary as 14 or even younger at the time of her betrothal) There is no doubt that the place of women in Islam today is not the same as the Christian West or the Secular West that claims a supposedly higher place or equality for women than traditional societies. There is no doubt that both historically that Islam has had perhaps inherent violent and certainly in practice violent both historically and today (as has Christianity although Christianity as distinguished from the Old Testament is far more inherently non governmental and peaceful although perhaps not as far as non violent or pacifist but arguably could be and certainly more so than Islam)

But there also high points and inherent points of respect (even if contradictory or self contradictory from other passages in the Qur'an) that on a practical level must be emphasized for co-existence:
1. the idea of Al-Kitabee (people of the books) and rights given to Christians and Jews (and even extended by some to Zoarastians and Hindus although certainly it would be other books from other view points)
and
2. the famous qoute that there is no compulsion in religion
That does not mean that there are not other qoutes.

This does not mean that I accept or condone Islamic peoples killing Christians in Sudan, or I think Sharia law in Nigeria for Christians is good, or that female genitilia should be "circumcised" (not an Islamic practice per se but an African tribal one)
or that Israelis should have buses or pizza parlors blown up--on the contrary they are evil things done by Muslims. But things must be put in context. There is historical context. There are comparisons. Too much is rhetoric, and demagoguery. Scholarship is not appeasement. Understanding is not stupidity.
There is more to write but that is for later.

I would suggest a book called:
"Islam" by Prof Hossein Nasr Seyyed (I have seen permutations on his name. He is a tradtionalist and perennialist (as in Rene Guenon who inspired Seraphim Rose to Buddhism before his conversion to Russian Orthodoxy Christianity) and wrote an interesting piece (actually commending the Tridentne Mass and much of Traditional Catholic thought and practice) called "Knowledge and the Sacred" (although it could have some gnostic or esoeteric tendencies and at least a more mystic approach but with heavy qoutes from Christian sources including Vatican librarian Agustino Steuco and schools of thought that the Fransicans used)

Tolerance, co-existence, comparative religous study, informed knowledge, scholarship and analysis should be made a premium and not just a neo-Catholic (or even traditional Catholic) desire for the bravery of Don Juan of Austria (the bastard son of the Holy Roman Emporer and Spanish King) who was the victor at Lepanto (by Tradition with the intercession of Our Lady and the prayers of the Rosary and a contemporaneous psychic experience of knowledge of the victory by the Pope at that time) or the courage and power of Battle of Charles Martel of the Franks in Southern France. These are historical and important battles and models for soldiers, but soldiers and war are not the only models for Christian civilization.
Another model, are not just what some may view as heretics and betrayers the Copts and Nestorians and other Oriental Monophysites who welcomed the Arab invaders because of the heavy hand of Byzantium--but also the Arab and other Greek and Aramaic speaking Christians in the Middle East who co-existed in peace and relative parity at least in population for many centuries including until relatively recently (in the last 100 years) Some of it was for survival from a point of weakness, but some of it was not and different (the Mongols, with a Nestorian Christian influence and Buddhist rulers in what is now Iraq actually favored Christians)and Armenians have interesting commerce history and were persecuted more by a populace that became more secular. Actually, when Turkey became secular it actually became more Muslim by population. The opposite is true in Iraq where the secular Baath (founded by Christians the Baath party) party protected Christians especially Chaldean Catholics and now Christians of all stripes are brutally persecuted in the new Iraq right under the noses of US troops and in despite of an International presence and supposed protections in the relatively ignored constitution. But these are political matters that are prudential and debatable. The spiritual similarities, of peoples, even if in error and heresy (without intent and by accident of birth in most cases) must be dealt with in love and charity--that same love and charity that attracts Muslims to convet to Christianity.

Sleeping Beastly

Certainly, if a monk from sixth-century Byzantium were to come back today, he would find much more that was familiar in the practices and beliefs of a modern Muslim Sufi than in, say, a contemporary American evangelical. Yet this simple truth has been lost by our tendency to think of Christianity as thoroughly Western, rather than the Oriental faith it actually is.

Speculation and foolishness. Do we really have a "tendency to think of Christianity as thoroughly Western"? Or do all Christians (from Korean Presbyterians and Greek Orthodox to American Evangelicals and Brazilian Catholics) believe that their religion applies to all of humanity- that Jesus was born into the Jewish people, but died for the sins of all mankind? Is Christianity "actually" an "Oriental faith" or is it as catholic as most of us genuinely believe?

Despite your being hung up on the outward forms and practices of our religion, devotion to Jesus and appreciation of his sacrifice of love is more important to most Christians than whether they prostrate themselves in prayer or kneel at the feet of their beds. It's not some sort of "Western" tribalism that binds Christians, but a baptism of the spirit into the body of Christ.

Ben

The baptism of the Spirit is not always practiced universally but interpreted as a very American or even in Catholicism an Anglo-Protestant influenced form of post Vatican II Catholicsm that seems imperialistic and not universal to many. Even historically, Latin Catholicism was very imperialistic at times and did not respect the indigenous peoples it sought to convert and not fully recognizing their universal baptism in the spirit.

I agree that a semitic (and not oriental as we know the word today or even oriental per se in a traditionally scholarly way) birth does mean that Christianity is intrinsically tied to a time and place but it is historically tied to a time and place and the incarnation is not just a concept but also a historical reality. Western tribal ties are not what bind Christianity but Jesus Christ throught the power of the Holy Spirit that animates us to true universalism (that respects culture, differences and approach to anthroplogy by Pope John Paul II) that makes neither male nor female and neither Jew nore Greek--but all one and equal in the Christ.

Ben

One last thing Sleeping Beastly (your stated name and not an ad hominem or pejorative)
The point of baptism in the spirit and the universality is true BUT the point of Evangelicals who preach (sometimes well) and the modern music (sometimes very entertaining) but without any Sacraments let alone the Eucharist or any forms of icons, or traditional prayers (let alone postures), or the vase chasm in approach let alone theology, art, architecture, liturgy etc---is not just cultural but profoundly different. Just as Islam could be viewed as a Christian Heresy (a la Arianism or Nestorianism)--some Evangelical Christians, Jehovahs Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, even Presbyterians, Quakers, and others could be considered heretics and even very similiar (at different levels) on a theological and spiritual level to Islam.
The difference being that Islam is uniquely tied to specific history and government inherently.
There have been studies of the links between Islam and Quakers specifically Sufis and Quakers. There have been linked to the Eastern Orthodox mystical prayer practices of Gregory of Palamas and Heychasticism and Sufi approaches of prayer. When I was in Ephesus (Turkey) at the alleged home of the Blessed Mother and the Beloved Apostle John--there were many Muslims (mostly older women)who were in the Christian Shrine and in the sanctuary (under the control of Latin Rite Catholics I think French as there were a lot of French singing pilgrims) qoutes from the Qur'an honoring the Blessed Virgen Mary--and recognizing the Virgen Birth of Jesus (something many Modernists do not recognize) and the perpetual virgnitiy of Mary (something most Evangelical Christians don't recognize) and the special Blessed nature of Mary and the veneration of Her (Many Evangelical Christians do not recognize her as special and certainly do not venerate her)
Muslims place a higher place to Mary than most Evangelical Protestants.
So if a Syriac Christian Monk (fully Chalcedon and at that time in union with Rome although maybe not with a V1 understanding) came to the US today--he may not fully understand Evangelical Christianity (although I am not sure he would feel more at home with Islamic Sufism as the common denominator is still Jesus Christ)

Sleeping Beastly

I don't mean to be rude. I guess I just don't appreciate my faith being reduced to a collection of anthropological curiosities. I and nearly all other Christians are fully capable of peacefully coexisting with people of other faiths. We do it all the time. We don't need someone to tell us how similar those other faiths are in order to extend basic human respect, not to mention the charity commanded by our faith.

I had the same impression on reading the open letter written by a number of Muslim scholars to the Christian leaders of the world. (You can read the full text at http://www.acommonword.com/index.php?lang=en&page=downloads if interested.) Sure, Christianity and Islam have some common properties. So what?

The purpose of the letter was supposedly to establish a dialog and promote peace. But why is it necessary to establish shared theology in order to ensure peace? If this were the case, we'd never worry about conflicts between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq, or Protestants and Catholics in Ireland. We'd be more concerned with curbing the violence between Hindus and Zoroastrians in India, or the bloody battles between Buddhists and Shintos in Japan.

The interesting thing about the open letter (A Common Word) is that the primary concern for the authors was ensuring peace between Muslims and Christians. That brought up some questions for me.

Are they afraid that Christians will attack Muslims? If so, they must think these attacks will be motivated by differences of belief, otherwise they would not seek to demonstrate similarities as a safeguard against them. If not, why are they preaching theological similarities to Christians?

Sleeping Beastly

I guess your point is that there are many cultural and accidental similarities between Christians of a thousand years ago and certain modern sects of Islam- similarities that are not shared with certain modern Christian sects. I'll agree with you on that.

My point is that the important aspects of Christianity are not architectural or artistic or even related to Marian devotion. These are all important in their own way, but not as critical as the real central matters of Christian theology- the ones that, for instance, allow us to petition the Father in the name of His Son.

Ben

I hope I am not being rude. Although there are other posts you are also may be referring to.
I don't think faith is reduced to anthropological curiosities. I think shared history and theology are important and at least a potential starting point (even if for the other side) for tolerance, co-existence, and understanding--or at least informed knowledgable understanding.
Certainly, our faith (if speaking of Catholic Christianity) is the True Faith instituted by God Himself through Jesus (True God and True Man) through the Successors of the Apostle Peter. However, the Incarnation also demonstrates that physical reality is good and the Incarnation happened in time and space and not just theory so semetic culture is perhaps not inherent theoretically but inherent actually to Christianity (and not a mere anthropological curiosity). The Incarnation is the main distinction with Islam but also the main reason we have art, architecure, icons, statues and a focus on beauty and the physical in Catholicism (as well as Orthodoxy) so it is not accidental but central to the Christian mission. Certainly, the ability to petition the Father in the Name of the Son is central, and it is not that it is more important than Marian devotion (as it is is intrinsically linked--Ad Jesum per Mariam) and certainly more so than art and architecture (but the art and architecture spring from theology and spirituality, again are linked, and hopefully the art and architecture lead back to Jesus and thus to God the Father)
My point is not to list anthropological curiosities or even similiarities (between Christianity and Islam) but to have a more educated discussion beyond one liners and rhetoric and speeches to inspire courage to fight Islam or even to cause hate and divisision. To be informed, even of an enemy, is important.

You do make a good point that theological similarity or shared history (as some of the worse enmity is between people close)does not equal better co-existence at least not necessarily (although there are counter examples)--but yes Zoarastians and Hindus, and Buddhists and Shintos (although they are not in contradiction necessarily on the second)--do have different cosmology, worldviews, theologies and spring from different philosophical principles. Some things are inherent and practical. And yes, there seem to be issues with Islam inherently not just textually but in this day an age practically:
1. Islam v Jews in Israel
2. Islam v Hindus in India or Islam v Sikhs historically
3. Islam v Slav and Orthodox culture in Chechnya
4. Islam v Filipinos in Minandao
5. Islam v the United States through terrorism
(although in the United States there really is no violence and terror absent 9-11 and not to diminish 9-11 but there is general co-existence with a small but significant Muslim minority)
Now each of these issues above has an explanation and other side. The Filipino Catholics are the majority and may oppress the Mulsims. The Russian (either Orthodox Christian or Communist) have been heavy handed with Muslims and also have committed atrocities. I don't even want to get into the whole Israel question). India is complex but also has Hindu violence against Muslims and Christians.
However, it still should be seen as Islam having issues (I think they have a concept of Dar al Islam and the abode of the unbeleivers but not to discuss that here)
So similiar theology does not always equal peace or co-existence. However, there has also been times of tolereance, trade, commerce, shared wealthy, and large Christian populations in Muslim lands as noted already.
Syria, Jordan (and previously Iraq) are countries that are better to their diverse and specifically Christian populations than Saudi Arabia, Iran or the current situation in Iraq. Muslims were almost non-existent in Western Europe until the modern age. There was discrimination, killing of, expulsions of, laws against practice etc Muslims in many modern European countries until recently. Ottoman millet systems and Caliphate governments were considered diverse with Christian viziers and participation compared to the Christians of the same era (although certainly Christianity pre-existed Islam and there were no Muslims born in those countries etc)

I am merely calling for a different type of dialogue and an end goal of co-existence (through reality and not naiveity) and not the insults, rhetoric, and sometimes historical, spiritual, and theological innacurracies that are present.

Ben

I also think that there should be seen the distinctions in Islam (the billion plus people are not monolethic.

My thoughts are that certain Sufi sects criticized Al Queda and Bin Laden before 9-11. Prof Hossein Nasr Seyyed has written a book on Sufism as being the Islamic path to peace and mysticism. Thus there are factions that are more (or less) easy to deal with regardless of ultimate theological truth as a practical way for co-existence.

The Barhlevi Muslim sect in Pakistan also demonstrates a greater focus on love, peace, and co-existence rather than other more recent movements in Pakistan or other subcontinent based Muslims.

Palestian Christian Francophile(Christian by birth and culture certainly he was a secularist and perhaps agnostic) Edward Said (I realize very criticized but I thought his books Orientalism and Covering Islam were at least interesting reads and worthy of discussion)said that the increase in Islamic fundamentalism was correlated (if not caused) by/with Zionism. That Israel actually created/caused a more radical Muslim movement because of their battle with a more urban/Christian/Secular PLO. Israel helped create Hamas to combat the more secular PLO (just as the United States helped create the Mujahadeen to help combat the Soviet Union but now that same Mujahadeen is combatting us or at least part of it in the form of Al Queda and the Taliban)

Hossein Nasr Seyyed (George Washington University Professor) is worth to include in this discussion especially in theological and spiritual terms.
His son Valli Nasr (I think at Princeton now) who has brieffed President George W Bush (and other Presidential candidates on foregin policy and area studies like Pakistan would be someone at the political level.

The followers of the late Falzur Rahman (who to Catholics would be the equivalent of a Islamic modernist) who still has followers of his school of thought at the University of Chicago and had books like Islam, and Islam and Modernity. These followers and academics, who are against Islamic terrorism and against Al Queda--should be included in dialogue.

Thus, it is important to pick the partners who have in their concepts love and co-existence.

Sleeping Beastly

I could argue some minor points, but I'll start with the points on which we are in agreement. I have witnessed a lot of anger against Muslims in this country since 9/11, and I've never liked it. I do think that this sentiment is part of what helped trick the American people into supporting the invasion of Iraq- something else I never liked.

I also understand your discomfort with cultural criticism of Islam. I think a lot of Muslims are right in feeling that they get a bad rap. Obviously, most Muslims are decent people, no more interested in cutting people's heads off than you or I; I've known and worked with plenty of Muslims who made great neighbors and coworkers. Yes, Muslims are more likely to get involved in holy wars, but if avoiding war is the best standard by which to measure a religion, Christians will have to step aside for Buddhists and Jains.

Still, I don't think most Christians care whether Islam is similar to Christianity. Most of us know that Islam, Christianity and Judaism are all related faiths that acknowledge the same God. However, this has nothing to do with whether we Christians peacefully coexist with our neighbors, and we can get along as easily with atheists and pagans as we can with other Christians.

In short, I know that Christians can get along with people of other faiths, regardless of theological differences or similarities. These kinds of arguments don't convince me to trust Muslims more- rather they indicate to me that Muslims believe that shared theology is an important part of peaceful coexistence. That's fine, to an extent, for Christians, but it really doesn't bode well for Buddhists, atheists, animists and Taoists.

Deusdonat

MICHAEL,

I agree with what you said on the Trinity. But a slight correction: Djinn is NOT Arabic for Angel, but means "evil spirit". The word for angel is "Malak", so Jibril Al-Malak is "the angel Gabriel".

JOHN DAMASCUS (Great name!), what you say is sad but true. And regarding Liveleak, it didn't take a rocket scientist to see that one coming.

CONSERVATIVE BLOG FOR PEACE,

You posted two links to that story, so I'm not sure exactly where it came from, but unfortunately it is tripe (and I'm being charitable here). The author says, "Indeed, the greatest theologian of the early church, St John of Damascus (d. 749), was convinced that Islam was at root not a new religion, but a variation on a Judaeo-Christian form." This is incorrect on so many levels. First, I love St John Damascene (pray for us!) but there is no cause or basis to say he is the "greatest theologian of the EARLY church." Speculation, anachronistic and baseless. Second, St John NEVER says anywhere he is convinced Islam was "not a new religion". His writings make it very clear it is a religion and belief system apart from Christianity. The fact that he calls their beliefs "superstitions" and "heresies" does not diminish this fact. Further, the quote "intriguingly, John regarded as a form of
Christianity and closely related to the heterodox Christian doctrine of Arianism." is also bunk. St John merely showed the origins of Islam and it is quite obvious he believed it was a bastardization of an amalgomation of beliefs, some common to Christianity. It is obvious he was not saying it was an offshoot or sect of Christianity. Whichever author wrote these words has no clue and needs a severe does of reading comprehension skills.

Deusdonat

Sleeping, I agree with your points regarding insignificance of commonality with regard to peaceful coexistence. Knowledge is always power, and we should understand the similarities and differences between Islam and Christianity, but not be lulled into thinking that the more similarities we find, the easier peaceful coexistence should be. We could just as easily say, "Hey, you're a carbon based lifeform, I'm a carbon based lifeform. We should be getting along, right?"

One small issue: Buddhists are not all pacifist saints and have a long militaristic history as well. Buddhist empires in India, China the Himalayas, Japan and Southeast Asia were as brutal, bloody and militaristic as any European. Tibet was in fact an extremely brutal society up til just the start of the last century (i.e. massacring entire villages for loyalty to one Lama over another, killing off all converts to Christianity in the 18th century, castrating enemies and sons to work as slaves for the monks in Lhasa...some still living at the time of the Chinese invasion). The point is, as Public Enemy said, "don't believe the hype", especially when it come from Hollywood. I will grant you that Janes (and Quakers for that matter) are good examples of non-violence throughout their existence in history.

BEN, I find it interesting you admonish those prone to "sound bites" and rhetoric, yet tend towards repeating the same. The statement "but also the Arab and other Greek and Aramaic speaking Christians in the Middle East who co-existed in peace and relative parity." Can you give an example here? Where under any Muslim rule did Christians ever have the same rights as Muslims? When did they not have to pay the jizya? When did they not have to worry about mandatory conscription of their children (on top of paying the jizya)? When did they have the freedom to build or rebuild churches without the authority of the Muslim rulers? I'd appreciate specific historical examples here and not simply individual exceptions to the rule.

John Fernandez

Dear Friends,

Greetings from New Zealand.

I have been looking high and low all over the internet for the past 6 months for any site that is hosting for free all 48 talks by Father John Corapi on "The Teachings of Jesus Christ".

I came across one site -- but it had only 35 of the 48 talks not all 48 any information wil be helpful.

A Belated Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday to all of you.

New Zealand

BobCatholic

One of the things that is attractive about Catholicism vs-a-vis Islam is that Islam is so much like protestantism. Islam is not a monolithic religion, but rather a bunch of sects: Sunni, Shiite, Wahabbi, etc.

Tell me: Who has declared Osama Bin Laden Kafir? (1) (the Islamic equivalent of excommunication)

The answer: No authority he answers to. That's because his Islamic sect has no authority to declare him Kafir.

Islam is like protestantism. There is no Islamic equivalent of the Pope. There is no central authority to say "Bin Laden, you are out of line" or "Al Queda are Kafir, treat them as such."

Without any such authority, this always leads to relativism. Plain and simple.

Islam is relativism.

(1) Oh sure, some have issued their fatwas against him, but that's like an Anglican bishop excommunicating a Baptist - the Baptist won't accept his authority because in their sect, the bishop is not authoritative.

Deusdonat

Bob, some very good and astute observations there. Many Westerners fail to grasp exactly what you just said; that Islam has no real heirarchy or authority over the body (Umma) as a whole. Newspapers often cite (mistakenly) how some "Top Saudi cleric" said this or an "the Imam of Sudan issued a fatwa", but the reality is the authority of an Imam does not extend beyond his following, very much like a Protestant preacher. They can weasel their way into positions of authority and influence, but that rarely extends beyond their own tribal, ethnic or national group. This is why the phenomenon of Bin Ladin is really such a jaw dropper; he attracts non-Saudis, and even non-Arabs to follow his teachings and commands. The only other times this has been done in history (that is, not by force) is when a person claims to be the Mahdi (kind of like a Muslim Massiah) or prophecied unifier of all Muslims. Never pans out in the end tho.

As you mention, Islam really is a bunch of sects and traditions which often conflict with each other more than they agree. The most notable example is of course the Shia (Shi'ites) who are actual very much like the Catholic church (it is said they based their modus operandi and heirarchy on Nestorian Christianity). They actually have clerics (Mullahs) and a heirarchy, as well as imagery, saints etc. It is not uncommon to see Shi'ites praying in front of icons or statues at Christian churches in Iraq or Iran.

Debbie Portland

Muslim doctrine of taqiyyeh permits muslims to lie about their beliefs. Keep this in mind. Never forget it, okay?

Bumpersticker: "No Jesus No Peace."

Deusdonat

Debbie what you say is true. Many Muslims have "hunted" and persecuted Christians (especially Christian converts) by infiltrating their groups and pretending to be interested in Christianity when in reality, their only interest is eventually locating and killing "apostates".

http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/398>Hossam, Amal, Sylvia and Monica Rest In Peace

Sleeping Beastly

Many Muslims have "hunted" and persecuted Christians (especially Christian converts) by infiltrating their groups and pretending to be interested in Christianity when in reality, their only interest is eventually locating and killing "apostates".

One of the great things about the Church is that her doors and books are wide open. No need to infiltrate; just step right on in. Whether one's interest is genuine or feigned doesn't matter much in terms of how much information can be gathered. I don't doubt that a soul that peeks into a church with dishonorable intentions is still fair game to the Holy Spirit. Let 'em come, let 'em "infiltrate", let 'em be surprised to find the True Presence of God.

Deusdonat

Sleeping, no one is saying the church should close her doors to anyone. This would be contrary to everything Our Lord showed us. I am simply stating facts. Mohammedans in many communities utilize the concept of Taqqiya, as Debbie correctly points out, in order to seek out those who have converted from Islam and eventually persecute or kill them. I am not too worried about a Mohammedan showing up in an RCIA class with an interest in Catholicism. But there are several documented cases of Afghanis, Iranians, Arabs and Indonesians here in the US who have been targetted by their own community once it is ascertained they have converted to Christianity or worse still if they are respnsible for proseletyzing and bringing other Mohammedans to Christianity. And in several cases this came from Mohammedans practicing Taqqiya, or the concept of deceiving others that you are interested in their religion or in fact not a Muslim at all.

I'm not telling this cautionary tale to invoke any hysteria or backlash. I simply believe knowledge is power. And too many Americans just don't know who or what they are dealing with. Even after 9/11.

Sleeping Beastly

Deusdonat- Does this really happen in the US? I wouldn't think that kind of thing would be tolerated here. Do you have links to articles about it? People frequently come to the States looking for asylum from religious persecution. I'd like to think that the asylum they get actually means something.

Deusdonat

Sleeping, did you look at the link I posted? The initial reports were that it was done by other Egyptian Mohammedans, but then when NJ ran out of leads, they rounded up two drug dealers who lived in the same building and put them on trial.

I'm very close to that community, and everyone knows who is responsible. And yes, there are other cases as well here in the US.

John Damascus

Hizbollah protests against the association of Islam with violence in the film Fitna
Yahoo News Photo

John Damascus

I'm not sure my link above worked. Try here
Jihad Watch
and follow the link AP

Jim Carroll

Shalom! To get this a LEEETLE more on track, here's a question about the Blessed Virgin Mary and Islam. A Protestant on another board pointed to this list and said that contrary to Catholic tradition that says Mary will help convert Islam, NONE of these people mentioned Mary as a reason for converting. There are many stories of Muslims converting because they have had dreams or visions of "Issa", the Man in White; but none because they had a vision of the BVM.

So how do we show that the BVM is helping in converting Muslims? I'm saying that the respect Islam shows towards the BVM provides a chink in the Islamic armor that says you can't talk about Jesus as Savior. Is this the best way to go about presenting the Catholic view?

<><

Deusdonat

So how do we show that the BVM is helping in converting Muslims?

I'm a bit at a loss as to why this matters. It sounds like your issue on this subject is with Protestants and not Muslims. I don't think you will be converting any Protestants by saying, "Aha! See? Here former Muslim "X" states Mary as a reason for his conversion! Now that tears it. You have to convert now."

I'm saying that the respect Islam shows towards the BVM provides a chink in the Islamic armor that says you can't talk about Jesus as Savior.

I don't see any "chink" there. The Mohammedan respect for Mary is simply that she was in their view "the perfect Muslim", in that she obeyed (submitted) to God completely. This does not mean they necessarily have to admit anything regarding Jesus' divinity to do so.

Is this the best way to go about presenting the Catholic view?

I think a better example would be the approved apparition of the BVM at Zeitun, Egypt. She appeared above a church there in the early 70's and was visible to both Christians and Mohammedans alike. There are actually photos of this. Many Mohammedans did convert to Christianity during this time, even though the mosques and Imams tried to prevent this by saying, "this is merely a sign that Mariam (Mary) was physically here in Egypt, and the church merely marks the spot. But it is not an endorsement of Christianity." The point here is, apparitions are a real phenomenon, and this one happened to be of Mary, which both Christians and Mohammedans saw and acknowledged.

Jim Carroll

I'm a bit at a loss as to why this matters. It sounds like your issue on this subject is with Protestants and not Muslims.

Not with all Protestants. Just the ones who keep asking me why, when I'm obviously such a spirit-filled person, am I so involved with the Whore Who Rides the Beast? I'm not out to convert, just to get them to back down a little.

Thanks for the reference to Zeitun, Egypt. The conversation started because someone was asserting that the apparition at Fatima was obviously demonic, since the name of the place, Fatima, was the name of Mohammed's youngest daughter.

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Deusdonat

Just the ones who keep asking me why, when I'm obviously such a spirit-filled person, am I so involved with the Whore Who Rides the Beast? I'm not out to convert, just to get them to back down a little.

I have long realized that anyone who refers to the Catholic church as "the whore who rides the beast" is a) not playing with a full deck and b) no amount of logic will help them convert anyway. So, I don't think there is anything you could say to them here that would change their theological (?) stance. Hopefully you could simply show you are a model Christian, which they would eventually like to emulate (and not immolate).

The conversation started because someone was asserting that the apparition at Fatima was obviously demonic, since the name of the place, Fatima, was the name of Mohammed's youngest daughter.

While I can't say the "apparition" was demonic, I personally don't believe in it at all, since a) it has caused nothing but trouble and divisiveness in creating factions within the church and b) it goes contrary to the tone and message of previous apparitions.

Carlo

The war about number of conventions from/to Islam and from/to Christianity is useless because nobody really knows the reality.
I am a Christian and I have lived in Egypt and and Saudi Arabia for over 12 years. There they say that thousands of people change from Christianity to Islam everyday. In Europe I hear the contrary. In my opinion there is so much misunderstanding about both religions because people judge not the religion, but the people that follow it. After living in these countries I realized that 99% of them are very far from the Quran as far as 99% of the Christians are from the Bible.
I suggest that people read the Bible and the Quran. Do not listen to the people from these religions, because they know very little about it.
In the Muslim world, most behaviors are based on traditions and NOT on Islam, but they do not know this or prefer to make believe they don`t know it.

Carlo

If you want to talk to me, write to carloscersosimo@hotmail.it

Peter-The Islamic Directory Man

Please take a few minutes and review this very important video........... http://www.obsessionthemovie.com/trailer-12min.php

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