Friday, March 31, 2006

Study on Prayer

For those who have read about the study on prayer (says prayer doesn't work) here's another take. Read.

This is really interesting. If you would like to know more about Islam from the Muslim side this site will help. Take a look at the live fatwa section. People write in questions and they are answered by imam. Really fascinating here's an example:

Question As-Salamu `alaykum, I would like to know the significance of seeing prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in a person's dream and what should that person do about it? Should he get his dream interpreted? Does she need to do any special thing (like offering special prayers or feeding the poor)? Jazaka Allahu khairan.

Answer Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear in Islam, thanks for your question.

In fact, seeing the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in a vision/dream is a hope that most Muslims wish to have. One who sees the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in a dream or vision has seen the Prophet himself in this vision, for Satan cannot appear in the shape of the Prophet as stated in a Prophetic hadith.

As for the interpretation of the dreams, including those in which a person sees the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), it differs from one case to another.. Therefore, you may contact a reliable local Muslim scholar and tell him about your vision so that he may be able to give you some conclusions based on your own conditions and circumstances.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Quote: "One who sees the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in a dream or vision has seen the Prophet himself in this vision, for Satan cannot appear in the shape of the Prophet as stated in a Prophetic hadith. "

Looks like the Koran covered all the bases, from a Christian perspective we would say there is indeed deception going on.


When Cynicism Meets Fanaticism

Interesting article. I am not going to comment either way. I will say this however, as bad as war is, I am glad Saddam is no longer in charge in Iraq. He doesn't seem to be a nice man.

Opponents of the war in Iraq, both original critics and the mea culpa recent converts, have made eight assumptions. The first six are wrong, the last two still unsettled.

1. Saddam was never connected to al Qaeda, the perpetrators of 9/11.

2. There was no real threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

3. The United Nations and our allies were justifiably opposed on principle to the invasion.

4. A small cabal of neoconservative (and mostly Jewish) intellectuals bullied the administration into a war that served Israel’s interest more than our own.

5. Saddam could not be easily deposed, or at least he could not be successfully replaced with a democratic government.

6. The architects of this war and the subsequent occupation are mostly inept (“dangerously incompetent”) — and are exposed daily as clueless by a professional cadre of disinterested journalists.

7. In realist terms, the benefits to be gained from the war will never justify the costs incurred.

8. We cannot win.

Read the whole thing...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Christians in Afghanistan

Sometimes in the US we forget how good things are. As a Chrsitian I often forget the freedoms that I am blessed with. Contrary to what some may say, we have a lot of liberties in this country and it would behoove us to not take it for granted.

This brings us to this article. We need to pray and believe that God is going to move in Afghanistan (and He is). The Christians there truly sacrafice to be a follower of Jesus. Let us never forget that our lives were paid with a heavy price. Our Christianity did not come cheap.

Afghan converts to Christianity lead dangerous lives and must keep their faith secret to avoid persecution by police, Islamists or even their own neighbors. Members of this secret society have to constantly keep looking over their shoulders. Read More.

What is the Gospel?

Joe Carter at the Evangelical Outpost explains what his understanding of the Gospel is. Very good.

What is the Gospel?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Reporting on an Evening with Atheists

This article brings out an interesting dilemna. As christians are we interracting with those we disagree with? Probably not too much. People need to know that true christians are not the yobs that are portrayed in the mainstream media. In order to do this we have to come in contact with pre-christians.

On Friday, March 24, I received an email from Justin Bosch, who was sponsoring a screening of the film, “The God Who Wasn’t There” at the historic Oriental Theater in Northwest Denver. Mr. Bosch screens films related to media reform and social ethics, but he was venturing into the religious deep. Since the film is very critical of Christianity—claiming that Jesus never existed and that Christians are dangerous simpletons—he wanted to give some response time to a Christian, as well as to an atheist. So, at the last minute it was arranged that Will Providence, a local atheist of the Objectivist stripe (a follower of Ayn Rand’s philosophy), and I would make some brief comments after the film and then answer questions.

Although I seldom participate in highly-charged public forums with little notice, I was interested in doing this because without me there would have been no Christian response. Further, I was familiar with the basic arguments of the film and was able to mine quite a bit of material on it and the producer on line.

The event nearly filled the theater. The first half hour or so was taken up by an audio presentation of a comedian who recounted her loss of Catholic faith and her turn to atheism. It was the most uncharitable presentation of the teaching of the Bible I had ever heard in one sitting. The Old Testament is nothing more an amoral mess. Jesus isn’t as nice as he thought. After all, he was impatient with his disciples, and so on. Read More.

Women go 'missing' by the millions

This is a frightening article. I would love to have more data, though it does sound very, very plausible. We in the west forget that in most of the world the life of a woman is not worth much.

(Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born Dutch legislator, lives under 24-hour protection because of death threats against her by Islamic radicals since the murder of Theo van Gogh, with whom she made the film "Submission" about women and Islam. This Global Viewpoint article was distributed by Tribune Media Services.)

As I was preparing for this article, I asked a friend who is Jewish if it was appropriate to use the term "holocaust" to portray the worldwide violence against women. He was startled. But when I read him the figures in a 2004 policy paper published by the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, he said yes, without hesitation.
One United Nations estimate says from 113 million to 200 million women around the world are demographically "missing." Every year, from 1.5 million to 3 million women and girls lose their lives as a result of gender-based violence or neglect.
How could this possibly be true? Here are some of the factors:
In countries where the birth of a boy is considered a gift and the birth of a girl a curse from the gods, selective abortion and infanticide eliminate female babies. Read More.

Religion Of Peace?

I know I have linked alot to Islam. After living in Cape Town South Africa and seeing radical Islam at its finest I've come to the conclusion that most Americans really do not have a good understanding of Islam. The Koran is a radical document that I recommend reading (at least some of it). This article is from Investors Business Daily and asks some very good questions about the Muslim faith.

War On Terror: In the wake of the cartoon jihad and mosque-on-mosque violence in Iraq, most Americans now think Islam has more violent believers than any other faith. Yet many still view it as a "peaceful religion."

Psychologists might call this cognitive dissonance — a state of mind where rational people essentially lie to themselves. But in this case, it's understandable. In our politically correct culture, criticizing any religion, even one that plots our destruction, is still taboo. And no one wants to suggest the terrorists are driven by their holy text.

Which explains a Washington Post-ABC News poll showing that Americans are becoming more aware of the broader threat (58% associate terrorists with Islam), but are still convinced terrorists are radicalizing Islam and not the other way around (54% don't think Islam itself encourages violence).

The new poll, however, still doesn't sit well with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group dedicated to improving public perceptions of Islam. It has denounced increasingly negative views as "Islamophobic" and vowed to redouble its "education" efforts.

Good. What better time for CAIR and other Muslim leaders to step up, cut through the politically correct fog and provide factual answers to the questions that give so many non-Muslims pause? Read More.

Temporary “Contemporary” Worship

This is a very good article on worship and the Church. We sometimes forget that worship should be a state of being (ontological) for the Christian (something we do all the time, that is a part of who I am). Further, modern worship should always be evolving because our culture is constantly changing. The message stays the same, but how we present it changes.

Recently we were speaking at a large conference on worship, and the speaker that preceded us made a statement that really caught our attention. He said the Church has spent much time, effort and energy creating “contemporary” worship services, but has missed the purpose of contemporary completely by accidentally creating new forms of “traditional” worship. He concluded with these words: “Think about it, folks. The root of contemporary is temporary.” Read More.


This is interesting, and shows the folk religious nature of the average Muslim. By this I mean the Koranic along with the old tribal religions. There are Christian groups that also suffer the same problem.

HUNDREDS of Muslims are descending on a Liverpool house to witness what many are calling a miracle. Two fish are causing huge excitement among the faithful, who say they are each inscribed with holy names.

Worshippers are convinced two Oscar fish bear the names of Allah and Mohammed in their scales. Long queues have been building up outside the terraced house in Mulgrave Street, Toxteth, where the fish are being kept.

Leaders at the nearby Al-Rahma mosque in Hatherley Street, are in no doubt about the authenticity. Sheikh Sadek Kassem, the mosque's Imam, said: "This is a proof and a sign not just to Liverpool's Muslims, but for everyone." The fish were bought last week from a pet store in Speke by Ali AlWaqedi, 23. He spotted a squiggle on the side of one fish that mirrored the Arabic word for God - Allah.

Then he noticed another fish, in a different tank, that seemed to bear the Arabic spelling of Mohammed, known by Muslims as Islam's last Messenger. Ali said: "This is a message from Allah to me, a reminder, and now my faith is stronger. Everyone is so excited by the discovery."

Andrew Chambers, a religious education teacher at Shorefields comprehensive school, said: "It's clear that the markings match the Arabic script." Hat tip Michelle Malkin

Monday, March 27, 2006

Results of New In-Depth Study Revealed: Bush May Actually Be Hitler!

A little Humour. Keep in mind this is satire!

Read More.

Today Tehran, Tomorrow the World

This article is chilling. It makes me realize that as a Christian God is in control. He's in control even when it looks hopeless.

What's at stake in the dispute over Iranian nukes? Ultimately, human survival

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Under the Scimitar of Damocles

Very, very interesting.

Abdul Rahman faced death at the hands of our Afghan allies for the “crime” of converting to Christianity. This fate is no fluke, not a brutal Afghan variant on the practice of “tolerant” Islam. Death for apostacy is part and parcel of Islamic scripture and tradition. Read More.

It's Payback Time

One of the things (among others) that we in the west do not understand aboust the Middle East is the concept of blood feud. These feuds are very often generational, people there do not forget. This article on strategy page gives a good overview.

Deaths from revenge killings now exceed those from terrorist or anti-government activity. Al Qaeda is beaten, and running for cover. The Sunni Arab groups that financed thousands of attacks against the government and coalition groups, are now battling each other, al Qaeda, and Shia death squads. It's not civil war, for there are no battles or grand strategies at play. It's not ethnic cleansing, yet, although many Sunni Arabs are, and have, fled the country. What's happening here is payback. Outsiders tend to forget that, for over three decades, a brutal Sunni Arab dictatorship killed hundreds of thousands of Kurds and Shia Arabs. The surviving victims, and the families of those who did not survive, want revenge. They want payback. Read More.

Afghan Court Drops Case Against Christian

KABUL, Afghanistan - An Afghan court on Sunday dismissed a case against a man who converted from Islam to Christianity because of a lack of evidence and he will be released soon, officials said.

The announcement came as U.S.-backed President Hamid Karzai faced mounting foreign pressure to free Abdul Rahman, a move that risked angering Muslim clerics here who have called for him to be killed.

An official closely involved with the case told The Associated Press that it had been returned to the prosecutors for more investigation, but that in the meantime, Rahman would be released.

"The court dismissed today the case against Abdul Rahman for a lack of information and a lot of legal gaps in the case," the official said Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. Read More.

This isn't over, and we need to see what happens to President Karzai. This is a good start however.

New Mission Blog

This site details itself as, "A practical exploration of missional theology."

So far looks good.

Leadership Through Modelling

Leaders must be able to model what they want others to do. What is our life telling others?

IKEA billionaire founder proud to be frugal at 80

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) - IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, ranked 4th richest man in the world, drives a 15-year-old car and always flies economy class, in part to inspire his 90,000 employees worldwide to see the virtue of frugality.

The billionaire Swede, who turns 80 on March 30, explained his legendary habits during a rare television interview in Switzerland, his adoptive home for nearly 30 years.

His fortune was recently estimated at $28 billion by Forbes magazine -- trailing only Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, U.S. investor Warren Buffett and Mexican industrialist Carlos Slim.

"People say I am cheap and I don't mind if they do. But I am very proud to follow the rules of our company," Kamprad told French-language Swiss Broadcasting Corporation.

Asked to confirm he drove an old Volvo, he said: "She is nearly new, just 15 years old, or something like that."

Interviewer Darius Rochebin teased that Ikea employees were always told to write on both sides of the paper.

"Why not? If there is such a thing as good leadership, it is to give a good example. I have to do so for all the Ikea employees," Kamprad retorted.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Another amazing Church! I'm almost getting embarrassed.

Muslims mix religion, politics

In the Toronto Sun:

That a judge in Afghanistan can even think of sentencing someone to death for switching from the Muslim to the Christian faith speaks volumes about the problems of dealing with Islam.

Except for some Muslims, everyone is aghast at Judge Ansarulla Mawlavezda warning Adbul Rahman that he deserves to be hanged unless he recants his switch to Christianity 16 years ago when he worked with a Christian aid group in Pakistan.

Apostasy -- the abandonment or switching of religious belief -- is a crime that entails death under sharia law.

Steyn: Will we stick our necks out for his faith?

Fate conspires to remind us what this war is really about: civilizational confidence. And so history repeats itself: first the farce of the Danish cartoons, and now the tragedy - a man on trial for his life in post-Taliban Afghanistan because he has committed the crime of converting to Christianity.

The cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad were deeply offensive to Muslims, and so thousands protested around the world in the usual restrained manner - rioting, torching, killing, etc.

The impending execution of Abdul Rahman for embracing Christianity is, of course, offensive to Westerners, and so around the world we reacted equally violently by issuing blood-curdling threats like that made by State Department spokesman Sean McCormack: "Freedom of worship is an important element of any democracy," he said. "And these are issues as Afghan democracy matures that they are going to have to deal with increasingly."

The immediate problem for Abdul Rahman is whether he'll get the chance to "mature" along with Afghan democracy. The president, the Canadian prime minister and the Australian prime minister have all made statements of concern about his fate, and it seems clear that Afghanistan's dapper leader, Hamid Karzai, would like to resolve this issue before his fledgling democracy gets a reputation as just another barbarous Islamist sewer state. There's talk of various artful compromises, such as Rahman being declared unfit to stand trial by reason of insanity on the grounds that (I'm no Islamic jurist so I'm paraphrasing here) anyone who converts from Islam to Christianity must, ipso facto, be nuts.

On the other hand, this "moderate" compromise solution is being rejected by leading theologians. "We will not allow God to be humiliated. This man must die," says Abdul Raoulf of the nation's principal Muslim body, the Afghan Ulama Council. "Cut off his head! We will call on the people to pull him into pieces so there's nothing left." Needless to say, Imam Raoulf is one of Afghanistan's leading "moderate" clerics.

For what it's worth, I'm with the Afghan Ulama Council in objecting to the insanity defense. It's not enough for Abdul Rahman to get off on a technicality. Afghanistan is supposed to be "the good war," the one even the French supported, albeit notionally and mostly retrospectively. Karzai is kept alive by a bodyguard of foreigners. The fragile Afghan state is protected by American, British, Canadian, Australian, Italian and other troops, hundreds of whom have died. You cannot ask Americans or Britons to expend blood and treasure to build a society in which a man can be executed for his choice of religion. You cannot tell a Canadian soldier serving in Kandahar that he, as a Christian, must sacrifice his life to create a Muslim state in which his faith is a capital offense.

As always, we come back to the words of Osama bin Laden: "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse." That's really the only issue: The Islamists know our side have tanks and planes, but they have will and faith, and they reckon in a long struggle that's the better bet. Most prominent Western leaders sound way too eager to climb into the weak-horse suit and audition to play the rear end. Consider, for example, the words of the Prince of Wales, speaking a few days ago at al-Azhar University in Cairo, which makes the average Ivy League nuthouse look like a beacon of sanity. Anyway, this is what His Royal Highness had to say to 800 Islamic "scholars":

"The recent ghastly strife and anger over the Danish cartoons shows the danger that comes of our failure to listen and to respect what is precious and sacred to others. In my view, the true mark of a civilized society is the respect it pays to minorities and to strangers."

That's correct. But the reality is that our society pays enormous respect to minorities - President Bush holds a monthlong Ramadan-a-ding-dong at the White House every year. The immediate reaction to the slaughter of 9/11 by Western leaders everywhere was to visit a mosque to demonstrate their great respect for Islam. One party to this dispute is respectful to a fault: after all, to describe the violence perpetrated by Muslims over the Danish cartoons as the "recent ghastly strife" barely passes muster as effete Brit toff understatement.

Unfortunately, what's "precious and sacred" to Islam is its institutional contempt for others. In his book "Islam And The West," Bernard Lewis writes, "The primary duty of the Muslim as set forth not once but many times in the Quran is 'to command good and forbid evil.' It is not enough to do good and refrain from evil as a personal choice. It is incumbent upon Muslims also to command and forbid." Or as the Canadian columnist David Warren put it: "We take it for granted that it is wrong to kill someone for his religious beliefs. Whereas Islam holds it is wrong not to kill him." In that sense, those imams are right, and Karzai's attempts to finesse the issue are, sharia-wise, wrong.

I can understand why the president and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would rather deal with this through back channels, private assurances from their Afghan counterparts, etc. But the public rhetoric is critical, too. At some point we have to face down a culture in which not only the mob in the street but the highest judges and academics talk like crazies. Abdul Rahman embodies the question at the heart of this struggle: If Islam is a religion one can only convert to, not from, then in the long run it is a threat to every free person on the planet.

What can we do? Should governments with troops in Afghanistan pass joint emergency legislation conferring their citizenship on this poor man and declaring him, as much as Karzai, under their protection?

In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of "suttee" - the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Gen. Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks, and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."

India today is better off without suttee. If we shrink from the logic of that, then in Afghanistan and many places far closer to home the implications are, as the Prince of Wales would say, "ghastly."

Friday, March 24, 2006

Are Atheists America's Most Distrusted Minority?

Interesting article at All Things Beautiful. I agree the whole premise of atheism is untenable. I'll even take it a step farther and say I even believe there is a God and His Son is Jesus. How un pc is that?

I came across this strange study, which is due to come out in the April issue of the American Sociological review. It explores Americans' increasing acceptance of religious diversity as long as it does not extend to those who don’t believe in a God, according to a national survey by researchers in the University of Minnesota’s department of sociology.

From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in “sharing their vision of American society.” Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.

Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public. “Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years,” says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the study’s lead researcher.

Edgell also argues that today’s atheists play the role that Catholics, Jews and communists have played in the past—they offer a symbolic moral boundary to membership in American society. “It seems most Americans believe that diversity is fine, as long as every one shares a common ‘core’ of values that make them trustworthy—and in America, that ‘core’ has historically been religious,” says Edgell. Many of the study’s respondents associated atheism with an array of moral indiscretions ranging from criminal behavior to rampant materialism and cultural elitism.

Edgell believes a fear of moral decline and resulting social disorder is behind the findings. “Americans believe they share more than rules and procedures with their fellow citizens—they share an understanding of right and wrong,” she said. “Our findings seem to rest on a view of atheists as self-interested individuals who are not concerned with the common good.”

The researchers also found acceptance or rejection of atheists is related not only to personal religiosity, but also to one’s exposure to diversity, education and political orientation—with more educated, East and West Coast Americans more accepting of atheists than their Midwestern counterparts...Read More.

Afghan Clerics Call for Abdul Rahman's Death

In Muslim countries apostasy is illegal and punishable by death. Even if it's not illegal the population will get you.

This case makes clear that the threat to converts out of Islam does not just come from the state, but from private citizens as well. And it makes clear that the belief that apostates deserve death is not an aberration, but is more widespread that many would like to acknowledge. The resolution of this case may well be a barometer of Afghanistan's future, and the future of democracy in the Middle East.

See also: Sharia Calling

Eugene Volokh:

The striking thing about the Abdul Rahman prosecution — in which an Afghanistan court is considering whether to execute Rahman because he converted from Islam to Christianity — is how Establishment the prosecution is. The case is before an official Afghani court. The death sentence is, to my knowlege, authorized by official Afghani law. The New York Times reports that the prosecutor, an Afghan government official, "called Mr. Rahman 'a microbe' who 'should be killed.'" The case is in a country which is close to the West, and is presumably under at least some special influence from Western principles (whether as a matter of conviction or of governmental self-interest).

We're not talking about some rogue terrorist group, or even the government of Iran, which is deliberately and strongly oppositional to the West. We're talking about a country that we're trying to set up as something of a model of democracy and liberty for the Islamic world. And yet the legal system is apparently seriously considering executing someone for nothing more than changing his religion.

This is telling evidence, it seems to me, that there is something very wrong in Islam today, and not just in some lunatic terrorist fringe...

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin

What Teenagers Don’t Know

This is good at the Evangelical Outpost.

What is Gnosticism?

It's important to know what gnosticism is in order to understand the book The DaVinci Code.

Throughout this series on The Da Vinci Opportunity I have been speaking of Gnosticism. This is necessary because, though The Da Vinci Code doesn't discuss Gnosticism directly, it does draw from Gnostic writings, and it does speak favorably of the gospels generally known as Gnostic. Before I go further in this series, I want to put up a brief overview of Gnosticism.

Read the whole thing.

Blog Update

More and more people are coming to realise that all they need to know is at Ron's Bloviating!

City Hall evicts Easter Bunny

This is a howler, the Easter Bunny is not even a Christian symbol. In fact it's pagan and refers too... I'll leave that alone! The funny thing about this is that the name of the city St. Paul definitely does have a strong Christian meaning. Looks like a city name change is near.

So long, Easter Bunny.

A toy rabbit decorating the entrance of the St. Paul City Council offices went hop-hop-hoppin' on down the bunny trail Wednesday after the city's human rights director said non-Christians might be offended by it.

The decorations — including the stuffed rabbit, Easter eggs and a handcrafted sign saying "Happy Easter," but nothing depicting the biblical account of Christ's death and resurrection — were put up this week in the office of the City Council by a council secretary.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

Good review of this book that is quite popular. Much of what Bart Ehrman says is textual criticism 101. It's his later arguments that the Bible, as we have it, is corrupted and some of our theology is suspect where his arguments sink. My main problem with this type of book is that it makes dramatic statements concerning very technical issues in textual criticism that most people cannot understand. There has been alot of criticism of this book, but the average reader will never know about these serious scholarly issues.

Read the review.

A New Perspective On Evangelism

"God loves you"

Another Bad Slip for 'NY Times': Katrina Victim Unmasked

How ironic.

For the second time in less than a week, The New York Times today admitted to a serious error in a story. On Saturday it said it had misidentified a man featured in the iconic "hooded inmate" photograph from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Today it discloses that a woman it profiled on March 8 is not, in fact, a victim of Hurricane Katrina--and was arrested for fraud and grand larceny yesterday.

Read the whole thing.

The thing that interests me is, how much false reporting went on before the internet and we were none the wiser?

Theological Issues Confronting the Emerging Churches

Time to get academic:
David Fitch talks about several issues that the emergent Church needs to deal with.

What are the key theological issues posed by the current culture of postmodern, post Christian, post-Western Enlightenment culture to the emerging churches seeking to be missional in these contexts? Here’s what I think they are. I mention only a very few names of thinkers (just a few) who might help...

Very good comments that we need to deal with concerning theology and the 21st century.

Read the whole thing including comments. Especially where he elaborates on his concept of innerancy.

Damascus Knives

I appreciate handmade knives. The type I really like is called damascus. This is the wikipedia definition:

Damascus steel, also known as Damascened steel and sometimes water steel, now commonly refers to two types of steel used in custom knife and sword making, pattern-weld and wootz(true damascus). Both types of Damascened steel show complex patterns on the surface, which are the result of internal structural elements in the steel. These patterns are the result of the unique forging methods used for the creation of Damascened steel, and skilled swordsmith can manipulate the patterns to create complex designs in the surface of the steel.

Beautiful isn't it?

Afghan Clerics Demand Convert Be Killed

That the clerics in Afghanistan want Rahman dead for converting to Christianity shows the intolerance of Islam itself. One thing that is striking about Islam is that it is the religious educated that are the most intolerant. The average person on the street who knows little the Koran tend to be more moderate in their views.

Senior Muslim clerics demanded Thursday that an Afghan man on trial for converting from Islam to Christianity be executed, warning that if the government caves in to Western pressure and frees him, they will incite people to "pull him into pieces."

These are the religious moderates!

Famous Blogs

This blog gets around!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Whiny kid study

This is funny, posted on There has been a report published in Berkeley that says whiny children grow up to be conservative and self assured, strong, independant children grow up to be liberals. Probably true, the whiners grow up to be self-assured (conservatives) and the self assured kids get whiny (liberals). Or so it seems if you've ever read the daily Kos.

Does your child complain constantly? Does she have pictures on her wall of Ann Coulter? Does your son threaten to go “nuh-ku-ler”? Congratulations – you have yourself a little conservative. Or at least, that’s the finding from a researcher from Berkeley (City Motto: We Don’t Have a City Motto Because They’re Fascist), California.

To summarize the study: Some students were whiney and grew to become conservatives. Others had more of a ‘laissez fair’ attitude and grew to become individual strong liberals.

As you look at this study you have to ask yourself some important questions: How objective were these observations? Were they accurate? And what exactly is ‘laissez fair’? And is it allowed on prime time TV?

IMAO readers can be proud of the fact that IMAO bloggers pour over the data that others refuse to read because it may contain big words and have zero pictures. We then take this data and throw it away in favor simple words and immature drawings. (Which I’ll post later when my scanner works.)

Here is yet another Fake But Accurate Summary of the researchers and their findings.

The Berkeley Report: One kid. Two kid. Red kid. Blue Kid.

Observation: Suzie complains to the teacher: “Billy’s making fun of my hair.”
Notes: Billy seems to enjoy yanking on Suzie’s pigtails and calling her names. We do not suspect there is any misogyny involved.
Conclusion: By complaining, Suzie shows that she does not respect Billy’s right to free speech.

Observation: Suzie making fun of John’s “corn rows”.
Note: John is not your typical Caucasian so his parents got him a cool hairstyle. Suzie asked him, “Why did you get corn-rows?” This was clearly inappropriate.
Conclusion: Suzie is demonstrating an insensitivity to hairstyles and reflects a narrow-minded, mono-cultural focus.

Observation: Johnny insisted on eating his crayons.
Note: The crayons were non-toxic.
Conclusion: Possible liberal. Not limited to traditional foods, although he did seem to eat only the dark colored crayons.
Update: Johnny marked for observation for potential Republicanism.

Observation: Jill let layer of glue dry on her palm. Then she peeled it off.
Note: This is a classic time-wasting device and squandering of the earth’s precious resources.
Conclusion: Jill is wasteful and insensitive to those with bad skin conditions.

Teachers Question: “Billy, what color is this?”
Student response: “Red.”
Note: Although this is done under the guise of teaching, we question the teacher’s choice of color.
Observation: Seeing red as red is sooooo conservative.

Teacher’s Question: “Johnny, what color is this?”
Student response: (Slow to notice question because he was eating paint chips) – “Color?”
Observation: Johnny doesn’t see color. He is a total free thinker.

Observation: Little Benjamin hits a lot of the kids.
Conclusion: Benjamin has serious issues that need discipline.

Observation: Little Jamal hits a lot of the kids.
Conclusion: Jamal comes from a disadvantaged family. Further action would be racist.

Observation: Johnny likes to pretend he’s a super hero.
Note: There is nothing wrong with ‘hero play’ in moderation. We must watch these students carefully or they may take extreme jobs such as law enforcement or military duty.
Conclusion: Sad to see the pursuit of typical boy fantasy.

Observation: Bruce likes to pretend he’s a girl.
Conclusion: Healthy thinking. Potential transgender. Good “outside the box” thinking.
Update: The word “box” not meant in a sexual way.

Observation: George says “please” and “thank you” to his teacher.
Conclusion: This shows that George is too subservient and meek. We suspect more than a bit of brown nosing.

Observation: Roberto says nothing. Nothing all day.
Conclusion: There is nothing wrong with being introspective. Many of these men grow to become liberal and make wonderful same-sex husbands.
Update: Turns out Roberto did not speak English.

Observation: Moonbeam, wanders the hallways without a pass.
Conclusion: A free spirit, and bold. Fly brave spirit. Fly!
Update: Moonbeam was later abducted. If you have any information on Moonbeam, please pass it on to your local law enforcement agency.

Observation: Georgie painted a picture of Jesus using finger paint.
Note: We encouraged the student to paint same sex families but they complained about how that behavior was “sinful”.
Conclusion: This student is a typical little Jesus freak.

The Way It Is: Afghanistan’s sharia problem — and ours.

This is an interesting article on Islam and the ramifictions of Sharia law. There is no way of getting around it, if a country is ruled by Sharia law a person who denounces Islam and converts to another religion faces the death penalty. This is the way it is, Islam as a religion is not well known for its tolerance. BTW homosexualtiy and adultery are also capital offenses. Kind of puts things in perspective for those in the west that advocate tolerance.

Andrew McCarthy writes,

bviously, I agree with the editorial elsewhere on National Review Online today that calls the prosecution of Abdul Rahman in Afghanistan is an “affront to civilization.” I’m constrained to note, however, that if we are willing to live in a world where policy is premised on polite fictions (purporting to give you the out not to deal with hard realities) and expressed in airy ambiguities (relieving you of the obligation to speak clearly and candidly), we will be hard-pressed to be taken seriously when we suddenly call “Time-out!” for a moment of moral clarity.

The editors say the Afghan constitution “stipulates that other religions are free to perform their ceremonies ‘within the limits of the law’ (whatever that means).” To the extent the whatever that means parenthetical endeavors to sow ambiguity into the constitution here, it fails. There is no ambiguity.

Islam is the state religion of Afghanistan. The sharia presumptively governs whenever there is not an explicit law directly on point. There is no other law regarding apostasy, and in sharia regimes, apostasy from Islam is a capital offense. End of story.

Read the whole thing.

Billy Geek?

This is really interesting. Now that Billy Graham is getting older ever wonder what the next Billy will look like? Tim Bednar at e-church says he will be a geek! Funny enough he may be right.

The next Billy Graham will be a geek

John McCain

Now for a little dose of politics, seems John McCain is feared by some if he runs for president. Read the article.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

ER Jesus: Homeless Schizo?

Really touching story, sometimes we forget that Christ loves everyone.

In my years in the ER, I saw Jesus daily doing His Kingdom work in and through a group of His followers. It was a true expression of the church. One day stands out beyond all the others and left me radically changed forever. It was the day I saw Jesus face to face…ER Jesus

Emerging Atonement: What is sin?

This article is a bit of a difficult read, but worth it. One of the things we as Christians must keep in mind is that our terminology ie., sin, the blood, redemption, means absolutely nothing to most people. Words are important, lets know how others interpret what we say.

Article: Emerging Atonement: What is sin?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Josh McDowell on how to respond to the DaVinci Code.

Hugh Hewitt has an excellent interview with Josh McDowell on the DaVinci Code. It's amazing how many people think this book is a work of non-fiction. It's a story folks! Fiction!

Learn how to Fish

Good article on Rick Warren (Purpose Driven Church).

"If you want to be a successful fisherman, you don't look for the most comfortable spot on the lake, said Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.

Instead, you go to where the fish are and you make it as easy and attractive as possible for the fish to swallow your hook."

Read the whole thing.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Vatican re-examines the Crusades

This is an interesting article in the London Times. Not quite sure how to view this although from a historical perspective the Crusades were not all bad, they certainly weren't good however.

THE Vatican has begun moves to rehabilitate the Crusaders by sponsoring a conference at the weekend that portrays the Crusades as wars fought with the “noble aim” of regaining the Holy Land for Christianity.

The Crusades are seen by many Muslims as acts of violence that have underpinned Western aggression towards the Arab world ever since. Followers of Osama bin Laden claim to be taking part in a latter-day “jihad against the Jews and Crusaders”.

The late Pope John Paul II sought to achieve Muslim-Christian reconciliation by asking “pardon” for the Crusades during the 2000 Millennium celebrations. But John Paul’s apologies for the past “errors of the Church” — including the Inquisition and anti-Semitism — irritated some Vatican conservatives. According to Vatican insiders, the dissenters included Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Benedict reached out to Muslims and Jews after his election and called for dialogue. However, the Pope, who is due to visit Turkey in November, has in the past suggested that Turkey’s Muslim culture is at variance with Europe’s Christian roots.

At the conference, held at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University, Roberto De Mattei, an Italian historian, recalled that the Crusades were “a response to the Muslim invasion of Christian lands and the Muslim devastation of the Holy Places”.

“The debate has been reopened,” La Stampa said. Professor De Mattei noted that the desecration of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem by Muslim forces in 1009 had helped to provoke the First Crusade at the end of the 11th century, called by Pope Urban II.

Islam is peace

Love the Che shirt.

Christian on trial in Afghanistan

Michelle Malkin has a post concerning a Christian on trial for coverting from Islam. Most Americans don't realise that in Muslim Sharia law it is an offense punishable by death to leave the Muslim faith.

Needless to say this greatly impacts evangelism in Muslim countries. BTW a person who becomes a Christian is considered to formally renounced Islam when they are baptised in water. For them it is a life and death issue.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


I have a passion for limoge china, this site has a good selection of nice pieces for sale.



Hugh Hewitt moderates an interesting blog with questions concerning Christianity and the modern world called One True God Blog. This question concerns suffering, very interesting.


What portions of Scripture are most relevant to the people who have lost family, friends, and financial security to Katrina and now Rita, and why?

What portions of Scripture are most relevant to those who have been watching, but for whom the suffering is far removed, and why?


The Religion Of Peace

Hat tip: Little Green Footballs

Same-Sex Marriage and Polygamous Marriage:

The Volokh conspiracy discusses the ramifications of same sex marriage and it opening the door for the legalisation of polygamy. The dangers of opening the pandoras box of same sex marriage is, I believe, only the beginning of the complete breakdown of marriage.

Canada is already experiencing this problem (same sex marriage has been legalised) with a lawsuit on the way for polygamy to be legalised.

The slippery slope is getting very slippery indeed. While I enjoy Ann Althouse and Volokh, I believe they have missed the boat. The slippery slope will lead to polygamy being legalised. For more see Charles Krauthammer's excellent article.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Emergent Southern Baptist

Fascinating article on the southern baptists and the emergent church.

Raises interesting questions on the emerging church and the question "Are SB evangelicals."

Beginning Post


This is the inaugural blog. Hopefully I will have something interesting to say about politics and religion. (That should get the juices flowing)