Climate Change: What Do Scientists Say?

By Richard Lindzen April 2017

I am an atmospheric physicist. I have published more than 200 scientific papers. For 30 years I taught at MIT, during which time the climate has changed remarkably little. But the cry of “global warming” has grown ever more shrill. In fact, it seems that the less the climate changes, the louder the voices of the climate alarmists get. So, let us clear the air and create a more accurate picture of where we really stand on the issue of global warming or, as it is now called—“climate change.”

There are basically three groups of people dealing with this issue. Groups one and two are scientists. Group three consists mostly, at its core, of politicians, environmentalists and the media.

Group one is associated with the scientific part of the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change or IPCC (Working Group 1). These are scientists who mostly believe that recent climate change is primarily due to man’s burning of fossil fuels—oil, coal and natural gas. This releases C02, carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere and, they believe, this might eventually dangerously heat the planet.

Group two is made up of scientists who don’t see this as an especially serious problem. This is the group I belong to. We’re usually referred to as skeptics.

We note that there are many reasons why the climate changes—the sun, clouds, oceans, the orbital variations of the earth, as well as a myriad of other inputs. None of these is fully understood, and there is no evidence that CO2 emissions are the dominant factor.

But actually there is much agreement between both groups of scientists. The following are such points of agreement:

1) The climate is always changing.

2) CO2 is a greenhouse gas without which life on earth is not possible, but adding it to the atmosphere should lead to some warming.

3) Atmospheric levels of CO2 have been increasing since the end of the Little Ice Age in the 19th century.

4) Over this period (the past two centuries), the global mean temperature has increased slightly and erratically by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit or one degree Celsius; but only since the 1960’s have man’s greenhouse emissions been sufficient to play a role

5) Given the complexity of climate, no confident prediction about future global mean temperature or its impact can be made. The IPCC acknowledged in its own 2007 report that “The long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

Most importantly, the scenario that the burning of fossil fuel leads to catastrophe is not part of what either group asserts. So why are so many people worried, indeed, panic stricken about this issue. Here is where Group Three comes in—the politicians, environmentalists, and media.

Global warming alarmism provides them, more than any other issue, with the things they most want: For politicians it’s money and power. For environmentalists it’s money for their organizations and confirmation of their near religious devotion to the idea that man is a destructive force acting upon nature. And for the media it’s ideology, money, and headlines. Doomsday scenarios sell.

Meanwhile, over the last decade, scientists outside of climate physics have jumped on the bandwagon, publishing papers blaming global warming for everything from acne to the Syrian civil war. And crony capitalists have eagerly grabbed for the subsidies that governments have so lavishly provided.

Unfortunately, group three is winning the argument because they have drowned out the serious debate that should be going on. But while politicians, environmentalists and media types can waste a lot of money and scare a lot of people, they won’t be able to bury the truth. The climate will have the final word on that.

I’m Richard Lindzen, emeritus professor of atmospheric sciences at MIT, for Prager University

Quran and Violence

Question: Does the Quran really contain dozens of verses promoting violence?

Summary Answer:

The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule.  Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding.  Muslims who do not join the fight are called ‘hypocrites’ and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.

Unlike nearly all of the Old Testament verses of violence, the verses of violence in the Quran are mostly open-ended, meaning that they are not restrained by the historical context of the surrounding text.  They are part of the eternal, unchanging word of Allah, and just as relevant or subjective as anything else in the Quran.

Most of today’s Muslims exercise a personal choice to interpret their holy book’s many calls to violence according to what their own moral preconceptions find justifiable.  Apologists cater to their preferences with tenuous arguments that gloss over historical fact and generally do not stand up to scrutiny.  Still, it is important to note that the problem is not bad people, but bad ideology.

Unfortunately, there are very few verses of tolerance and peace to abrogate or even balance out the many that call for nonbelievers to be fought and subdued until they either accept humiliation, convert to Islam, or are killed.  Muhammad’s own martial legacy – and that of his companions – along with the remarkable stress on violence found in the Quran have produced a trail of blood and tears across world history.


The Quran:

Quran (2:191-193) – “And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers]… but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful.   And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah.”  The historical context of this passage is not defensive warfare, since Muhammad and his Muslims had just relocated to Medina and were not under attack by their Meccan adversaries.  In fact, the verses urge offensive warfare, in that Muslims are to drive Meccans out of their own city (which they later did).  The use of the word “persecution” by some Muslim translators is thus disingenuous (the actual Muslim words for persecution – “idtihad” – and oppression – a variation of “z-l-m” – do not appear in the verse).  The actual Arabic comes from “fitna” which can mean disbelief, or the disorder that results from unbelief or temptation.  Taken as a whole, the context makes clear that violence is being authorized until “religion is for Allah” – ie. unbelievers desist in their unbelief.

Quran (2:244) – “Then fight in the cause of Allah, and know that Allah Heareth and knoweth all things.”

Quran (2:216) – Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.”  Not only does this verse establish that violence can be virtuous, but it also contradicts the myth that fighting is intended only in self-defense, since the audience was obviously not under attack at the time.  From the Hadith, we know that this verse was narrated at a time that Muhammad was actually trying to motivate his people into raiding merchant caravans for loot.

Quran (3:56) – “As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.”

Quran (3:151) – “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”.  This speaks directly of polytheists, yet it also includes Christians, since they believe in the Trinity (ie. what Muhammad incorrectly believed to be ‘joining companions to Allah’).

Quran (4:74) – “Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.”  The martyrs of Islam are unlike the early Christians, led meekly to the slaughter.  These Muslims are killed in battle, as they attempt to inflict death and destruction for the cause of Allah.  Here is the theological basis for today’s suicide bombers.

Quran (4:76) – “Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah…”

Quran (4:89) – “They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks.”

Quran (4:95) – “Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt, and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons. Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home). Unto all (in Faith) Hath Allah promised good: But those who strive and fight Hath He distinguished above those who sit (at home) by a special reward,-”  This passage criticizes “peaceful” Muslims who do not join in the violence, letting them know that they are less worthy in Allah’s eyes.  It also demolishes the modern myth that “Jihad” doesn’t mean holy war in the Quran, but rather a spiritual struggle.  Not only is the Arabic word used in this passage, but it is clearly not referring to anything spiritual, since the physically disabled are given exemption.  (The Hadith reveals the context of the passage to be in response to a blind man’s protest that he is unable to engage in Jihad and this is reflected in other translations of the verse).

Quran (4:104) – “And be not weak hearted in pursuit of the enemy; if you suffer pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain…”  Is pursuing an injured and retreating enemy really an act of self-defense?

Quran (5:33) – “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement”

Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”  No reasonable person would interpret this to mean a spiritual struggle.

Quran (8:15) – “O ye who believe! When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them. (16)Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless maneuvering for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey’s end.”

Quran (8:39) – “And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disorder, unbelief) and religion should be only for Allah”  Some translations interpret “fitna” as “persecution”, but the traditional understanding of this word is not supported by the historical context (See notes for  2:293, also).  The Meccans were simply refusing Muhammad access to their city during Haj.  Other Muslims were allowed to travel there – just not as an armed group, since Muhammad had declared war on Mecca prior to his eviction.  The Meccans were also acting in defense of their religion, since it was Muhammad’s intention to destroy their idols and establish Islam by force (which he later did).  Hence the critical part of this verse is to fight until “religion is only for Allah”, meaning that the true justification of violence was the unbelief of the opposition.  According to the Sira (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 324) Muhammad further explains that “Allah must have no rivals.”

Quran (8:57) – “If thou comest on them in the war, deal with them so as to strike fear in those who are behind them, that haply they may remember.”

Quran (8:59-60) – “And let not those who disbelieve suppose that they can outstrip (Allah’s Purpose). Lo! they cannot escape.  Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force and of horses tethered, that thereby ye may dismay the enemy of Allah and your enemy.”

Quran (8:65) – “O Prophet, exhort the believers to fight…”

Quran (9:5) – “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.”  According to this verse, the best way of staying safe from Muslim violence is to convert to Islam.  Prayer (salat) and the poor tax (zakat) are among the religion’s Five Pillars.

Quran (9:14) – “Fight them, Allah will punish them by your hands and bring them to disgrace…”

Quran (9:20) – “Those who believe, and have left their homes and striven with their wealth and their lives in Allah’s way are of much greater worth in Allah’s sight. These are they who are triumphant.”  The “striving” spoken of here is Jihad (Arabic).

Quran (9:29) – “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”  “People of the Book” refers to Christians and Jews.  This was one of the final “revelations” from Allah and it set in motion the tenacious military expansion, in which Muhammad’s companions managed to conquer two-thirds of the Christian world in the next 100 years.  Islam is intended to dominate all other people and faiths.

Quran (9:30) – “And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!”

Quran (9:38-39) – “O ye who believe! what is the matter with you, that, when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, ye cling heavily to the earth? Do ye prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place.”  This is a warning to those who refuse to fight, that they will be punished with Hell.

Quran (9:41) – “Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah! That is best for you if ye but knew.”  See also the verse that follows (9:42) – “If there had been immediate gain (in sight), and the journey easy, they would (all) without doubt have followed thee, but the distance was long, (and weighed) on them”  This contradicts the myth that Muslims are to fight only in self-defense, since the wording implies that battle will be waged a long distance from home (in another country and on Christian soil, in this case, according to the historians).

Quran (9:73) – “O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination.”  Dehumanizing those who reject Islam, by reminding Muslims that they are merely firewood for Hell, makes it easier to justify slaughter.  It also explains why today’s devout Muslims have little regard for those outside the faith.

Quran (9:88) – “But the Messenger, and those who believe with him, strive and fight with their wealth and their persons: for them are (all) good things: and it is they who will prosper.”

Quran (9:111) – “Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Quran: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.”

 

Quran (9:123) – “O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness.”

 

Quran (17:16) – “And when We wish to destroy a town, We send Our commandment to the people of it who lead easy lives, but they transgress therein; thus the word proves true against it, so We destroy it with utter destruction.”  Note that the crime is moral transgression, and the punishment is “utter destruction.”  (Before ordering the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden first issued Americans an invitation to Islam).

 

Quran (18:65-81) – This parable lays the theological groundwork for honor killings, in which a family member is murdered because they brought shame to the family, either through apostasy or perceived moral indiscretion.  The story (which is not found in any Jewish or Christian source) tells of Moses encountering a man with “special knowledge” who does things which don’t seem to make sense on the surface, but are then justified according to later explanation.  One such action is to murder a youth for no apparent reason (74).  However, the wise man later explains that it was feared that the boy would “grieve” his parents by “disobedience and ingratitude.”  He was killed so that Allah could provide them a ‘better’ son.  (Note: This is one reason why honor killing is sanctioned by Sharia.  Reliance of the Traveler (Umdat al-Saliq) says that punishment for murder is not applicable when a parent or grandparent kills their offspring (o.1.1-2).)

 

Quran (21:44) – “We gave the good things of this life to these men and their fathers until the period grew long for them; See they not that We gradually reduce the land (in their control) from its outlying borders? Is it then they who will win?”

 

Quran (25:52) – “Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost strenuousness…”   “Strive against” is Jihad – obviously not in the personal context.  It’s also significant to point out that this is a Meccan verse.

 

Quran (33:60-62) – “If the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and the alarmists in the city do not cease, We verily shall urge thee on against them, then they will be your neighbors in it but a little while.  Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter.”   This passage sanctions the slaughter (rendered “merciless” and “horrible murder” in other translations) against three groups: Hypocrites (Muslims who refuse to “fight in the way of Allah” (3:167) and hence don’t act as Muslims should), those with “diseased hearts” (which include Jews and Christians 5:51-52), and “alarmists” or “agitators who include those who merely speak out against Islam, according to Muhammad’s biographers.  It is worth noting that the victims are to be sought out by Muslims, which is what today’s terrorists do.  If this passage is meant merely to apply to the city of Medina, then it is unclear why it is included in Allah’s eternal word to Muslim generations.

 

Quran (47:3-4) – “Those who reject Allah follow vanities, while those who believe follow the truth from their lord.  Thus does Allah set forth form men their lessons by similitude.  Therefore when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners,”  Those who reject Allah are to be subdued in battle.  The verse goes on to say the only reason Allah doesn’t do the dirty work himself is in order to to test the faithfulness of Muslims.  Those who kill pass the test. “But if it had been Allah’s Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah,- He will never let their deeds be lost.”

 

Quran (47:35) – “Be not weary and faint-hearted, crying for peace, when ye should be uppermost (Shakir: “have the upper hand”) for Allah is with you,”  

 

Quran (48:17) – “There is no blame for the blind, nor is there blame for the lame, nor is there blame for the sick (that they go not forth to war). And whoso obeyeth Allah and His messenger, He will make him enter Gardens underneath which rivers flow; and whoso turneth back, him will He punish with a painful doom.”  Contemporary apologists sometimes claim that Jihad means ‘spiritual struggle.’  Is so, then why are the blind, lame and sick exempted?  This verse also says that those who do not fight will suffer torment in hell.

 

Quran (48:29) – “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard (ruthless) against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves”  Islam is not about treating everyone equally.  There are two very distinct standards that are applied based on religious status.  Also the word used for ‘hard’ or ‘ruthless’ in this verse shares the same root as the word translated as ‘painful’ or severe’ in verse 16.

 

Quran (61:4) – “Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way”  Religion of Peace, indeed!  This is followed by (61:9): “He it is who has sent His Messenger (Mohammed) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam) to make it victorious over all religions even though the infidels may resist.”

 

Quran (61:10-12) – “O ye who believe! Shall I lead you to a bargain that will save you from a grievous Penalty?- That ye believe in Allah and His Messenger, and that ye strive (your utmost) in the Cause of Allah, with your property and your persons: That will be best for you, if ye but knew! He will forgive you your sins, and admit you to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, and to beautiful mansions in Gardens of Eternity.”  This verse was given in battle.  It uses the Arabic word, Jihad.

 

Quran (66:9) – “O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them. Hell will be their home, a hapless journey’s end.”  The root word of “Jihad” is used again here.  The context is clearly holy war, and the scope of violence is broadened to include “hypocrites” – those who call themselves Muslims but do not act as such.


From the Hadith:

 

Bukhari (52:177) – Allah’s Apostle said, “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.”

 

Bukhari (52:256) – The Prophet… was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet replied, “They (i.e. women and children) are from them (i.e. pagans).”  In this command, Muhammad establishes that it is permissible to kill non-combatants in the process of killing a perceived enemy.  This provides justification for the many Islamic terror bombings.

 

Bukhari (52:220) – Allah’s Apostle said… ‘I have been made victorious with terror’

 

Abu Dawud (14:2526) – The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Three things are the roots of faith: to refrain from (killing) a person who utters, “There is no god but Allah” and not to declare him unbeliever whatever sin he commits, and not to excommunicate him from Islam for his any action; and jihad will be performed continuously since the day Allah sent me as a prophet until the day the last member of my community will fight with the Dajjal (Antichrist)

 

Abu Dawud (14:2527) – The Prophet said: Striving in the path of Allah (jihad) is incumbent on you along with every ruler, whether he is pious or impious

 

Muslim (1:33) – the Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah

 

Bukhari (8:387) – Allah’s Apostle said, “I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah’.  And if they say so, pray like our prayers, face our Qibla and slaughter as we slaughter, then their blood and property will be sacred to us and we will not interfere with them except legally.”

 

Muslim (1:30) – “The Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but Allah.”

 

Muslim (1:149) – “Abu Dharr reported: I said: Messenger of Allah, which of the deeds is the best? He (the Holy Prophet) replied: Belief in Allah and Jihad in His cause…”

 

Muslim (20:4645) – “…He (the Messenger of Allah) did that and said: There is another act which elevates the position of a man in Paradise to a grade one hundred (higher), and the elevation between one grade and the other is equal to the height of the heaven from the earth. He (Abu Sa’id) said: What is that act? He replied: Jihad in the way of Allah! Jihad in the way of Allah!”

 

Muslim (20:4696) – “the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: ‘One who died but did not fight in the way of Allah nor did he express any desire (or determination) for Jihid died the death of a hypocrite.'”

 

Muslim (19:4321-4323) – Three separate hadith in which Muhammad shrugs over the news that innocent children were killed in a raid by his men against unbelievers.  His response: “They are of them (meaning the enemy).”

 

Muslim (19:4294) – “When the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) appointed anyone as leader of an army or detachment he would especially exhort him… He would say: Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war…  When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them… If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them.

 

Tabari 7:97  The morning after the murder of Ashraf, the Prophet declared, “Kill any Jew who falls under your power.”  Ashraf was a poet, killed by Muhammad’s men because he insulted Islam.  Here, Muhammad widens the scope of his orders to kill.  An innocent Jewish businessman was then slain by his Muslim partner, merely for being non-Muslim.

 

Tabari 9:69  “Killing Unbelievers is a small matter to us”  The words of Muhammad, prophet of Islam.

 

Tabari 17:187  “‘By God, our religion (din) from which we have departed is better and more correct than that which these people follow. Their religion does not stop them from shedding blood, terrifying the roads, and seizing properties.’ And they returned to their former religion.”  The words of a group of Christians who had converted to Islam, but realized their error after being shocked by the violence and looting committed in the name of Allah.  The price of their decision to return to a religion of peace was that the men were beheaded and the woman and children enslaved by the caliph Ali.

 

Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 327: – “Allah said, ‘A prophet must slaughter before collecting captives. A slaughtered enemy is driven from the land. Muhammad, you craved the desires of this world, its goods and the ransom captives would bring. But Allah desires killing them to manifest the religion.’”

 

Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 990: – Lest anyone think that cutting off someone’s head while screaming ‘Allah Akbar!’ is a modern creation, here is an account of that very practice under Muhammad, who seems to approve.

 

Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 992: – “Fight everyone in the way of Allah and kill those who disbelieve in Allah.”  Muhammad’s instructions to his men prior to a military raid.

 


Additional Notes:
 

Other than the fact that Muslims haven’t killed every non-Muslim under their domain, there is very little else that they can point to as proof that theirs is a peaceful, tolerant religion.  Where Islam is dominant (as in the Middle East and Pakistan) religious minorities suffer brutal persecution with little resistance.  Where Islam is in the minority (as in Thailand, the Philippines and Europe) there is the threat of violence if Muslim demands are not met.  Either situation seems to provide a justification for religious terrorism, which is persistent and endemic to Islamic fundamentalism.

 

The reasons are obvious and begin with the Quran.  Few verses of Islam’s most sacred text can be construed to fit the contemporary virtues of religious tolerance and universal brotherhood.  Those that do are earlier “Meccan” verses which are obviously abrogated by later ones.  This is why Muslim apologists speak of the “risks” of trying to interpret the Quran without their “assistance” – even while claiming that it is a perfect book.

 

Far from being mere history or theological construct, the violent verses of the Quran have played a key role in very real massacre and genocide.  This includes the brutal slaughter of tens of millions of Hindus for five centuries beginning around 1000 AD with Mahmud of Ghazni’s bloody conquest.  Both he and the later Tamerlane (Islam’s Genghis Khan) slaughtered an untold number merely for defending their temples from destruction.  Buddhism was very nearly wiped off the Indian subcontinent.  Judaism and Christianity met the same fate (albeit more slowly) in areas conquered by Muslim armies, including the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe, including today’s Turkey.  Zoroastrianism, the ancient religion of a proud Persian people is despised by Muslims and barely survives in modern Iran.

 

So ingrained is violence in the religion that Islam has never really stopped being at war, either with other religions or with itself.

 

Muhammad was a military leader, laying siege to towns, massacring the men, raping their women, enslaving their children, and taking the property of others as his own.  On several occasions he rejected offers of surrender from the besieged inhabitants and even butchered captives.  He actually inspired his followers to battle when they did not feel it was right to fight, promising them slaves and booty if they did and threatening them with Hell if they did not.  Muhammad allowed his men to rape traumatized women captured in battle, usually on the very day their husbands and family members were slaughtered.

 

It is important to emphasize that, for the most part, Muslim armies waged aggressive campaigns, and the religion’s most dramatic military conquests were made by the actual companions of Muhammad in the decades following his death.  The early Islamic principle of warfare was that the civilian population of a town was to be destroyed (i.e. men executed, women and children taken as slaves) if they defended themselves.  Although modern apologists often claim that Muslims are only supposed to attack in self-defense, this is an oxymoron that is flatly contradicted by the accounts of Islamic historians and others that go back to the time of Muhammad.

 

Consider the example of the Qurayza Jews, who were completely obliterated only five years after Muhammad arrived in Medina.  Their leader opted to stay neutral when their town was besieged by a Meccan army that  was sent to take revenge for Muhammad’s deadly caravan raids.  The tribe killed no one from either side and even surrendered peacefully to Muhammad after the Meccans had been turned back.  Yet the prophet of Islam had every male member of the Qurayza beheaded, and every woman and child enslaved, even raping one of the captives himself (what Muslim apologists might refer to as “same day marriage”).

 

One of Islam’s most revered modern scholars, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, openly sanctions offensive Jihad: “In the Jihad which you are seeking, you look for the enemy and invade him. This type of Jihad takes place only when the Islamic state is invading other [countries] in order to spread the word of Islam and to remove obstacles standing in its way.”  Elsewhere, he notes: “Islam has the right to take the initiative…this is God’s religion and it is for the whole world. It has the right to destroy all obstacles in the form of institutions and traditions … it attacks institutions and traditions to release human beings from their poisonous influences, which distort human nature and curtail human freedom. Those who say that Islamic Jihad was merely for the defense of the ‘homeland of Islam’ diminish the greatness of the Islamic way of life.”

 

Muhammad’s failure to leave a clear line of succession resulted in perpetual internal war following his death.  Those who knew him best first fought to keep remote tribes from leaving Islam and reverting to their preferred religion (the Ridda or ‘Apostasy wars’).  Then, within the closer community, early Meccan converts battled later ones.  Hostility developed between those immigrants who had traveled with Muhammad to Mecca and the Ansar at Medina who had helped them settle in.  Finally there was a violent struggle within Muhammad’s own family between his favorite wife and favorite daughter – a jagged schism that has left Shias and Sunnis at each others’ throats to this day.

 

The strangest and most untrue thing that can be said about Islam is that it is a Religion of Peace.  If every standard by which the West is judged and condemned (slavery, imperialism, intolerance, misogyny, sexual repression, warfare…) were applied equally to Islam, the verdict would be devastating.  Islam never gives up what it conquers, be it religion, culture, language or life.  Neither does it make apologies or any real effort at moral progress.  It is the least open to dialogue and the most self-absorbed.  It is convinced of its own perfection, yet brutally shuns self-examination and represses criticism.

 

This is what makes the Quran’s verses of violence so dangerous.  They are given the weight of divine command.  While Muslim terrorists take them as literally as anything else in their holy book, and understand that Islam is incomplete without Jihad, moderates offer little to contradict them – outside of opinion.  Indeed, what do they have?  Speaking of peace and love may win over the ignorant, but when every twelfth verse of Islam’s holiest book either speaks to Allah’s hatred for non-Muslims or calls for their death, forced conversion, or subjugation, it’s little wonder that sympathy for terrorism runs as deeply as it does in the broader community – even if most Muslims personally prefer not to interpret their religion in this way.

 

Although scholars like Ibn Khaldun, one of Islam’s most respected philosophers, understood that“the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force”, many other Muslims are either unaware or willfully ignorant of the Quran’s near absence of verses that preach universal non-violence.  Their understanding of Islam comes from what they are taught by others.  In the West, it is typical for believers to think that their religion must be like Christianity – preaching the New Testament virtues of peace, love, and tolerance – because Muslims are taught that Islam is supposed to be superior in every way.  They are somewhat surprised and embarrassed to learn that the evidence of the Quran and the bloody history of Islam are very much in contradiction to this.

 

Others simply accept the violence.  In 1991, a Palestinian couple in America was convicted of stabbing their daughter to death for being too Westernized.  A family friend came to their defense, excoriating the jury for not understanding the “culture”, claiming that the father was merely following “the religion” and saying that the couple had to “discipline their daughter or lose respect.” (source).  In 2011, unrepentant Palestinian terrorists, responsible for the brutal murders of civilians, women and children explicitly in the name of Allah were treated to a luxurious “holy pilgrimage” to Mecca by the Saudi king – without a single Muslim voice raised in protest.

 

For their part, Western liberals would do well not to sacrifice critical thinking to the god of political correctness, or look for reasons to bring other religion down to the level of Islam merely to avoid the existential truth that this it is both different and dangerous.

 

There are just too many Muslims who take the Quran literally… and too many others who couldn’t care less about the violence done in the name of Islam.

© 2006-2011 TheReligionofPeace.com. All rights reserved.

Evolution and Occult Thought

Very few people are aware of the events that led to the presentation of Charles Darwin’s theories on origins to Great Britain’s 19th Century scientific community. Darwin was aided in his research by his very close friend, Charles Lyell.  Lyell stood by the reluctant Darwin for more than twenty years of painstaking research in the development of his theories.  Additionally, Darwin was not a seeker of fame and notoriety.  As a matter of fact, he was very hesitant to bring his work into the public forum of the intellectual community.  (5)

However, the day arrived that Darwin was forced to publicly present his theories or else not only be upstaged by another, but witness the loss of all of his efforts.  In 1855, Darwin received a copy of a paper written by Alfred Russell Wallace that detailed the same theories that he himself painstakingly developed over the course of 20 years.  Darwin then immediately, at Lyell’s urging, began writing his infamous work, The Origin of Species. Both Darwin and Russell, however, were seeking the missing key component—the mechanism by which one species could effectively change into another. (The problem with the absence of such a mechanism is obvious, for there is absolutely no evidence [scientific or otherwise] that provides any proof that one species has or ever will evolve into another species.)

Three years after sending his paper on origins to Darwin, Wallace became very ill while living on the island of Ternate.  In the violent throes of a debilitating fever, a vision of the missing mechanism came to him in a “moment’s revelation.”  Wallace then sent that mechanism, The Survival of the Fittest, to Darwin.  The Ternate Paper contained “in complete form, what is today known as the Darwinian Theory of Evolution…”  (6)  In reality, the circumstantial evidence strongly suggests that Darwin plagiarised many of the key concepts of the infamous Origin if Species from Wallace’s work.  However, since Wallace was closer to New Guinea than to London when the presentation time arrived, the concepts presented to the Linnean Society in July of 1858 became known as the Darwin/Wallace Theory.

That, of course, is not the entire story.  Alfred Russell Wallace not only received the “vision” of The Survival of the Fittest to complete the evolutionary lie of Lucifer while delirious with fever, but Wallace harbored a much darker side.  During his early life, Wallace traveled to the Amazon and befriended Indians who shared with him their “black arts.”  Wallace then began to dabble in Spiritism, and he was openly ridiculed for his membership in the Society for Psychical Research. The extreme level that he became involved in the occult resulted in his virtual expulsion from Britain’s intellectual community, not to mention the removal of his name from the Darwinian theories

In the case of his Ternate Paper, the method of scientific discovery utilized by Wallace went beyond the unorthodox into the realm of the metaphysical.  As a matter of fact, revelations such as his are not uncommon in the realm of the “occult sciences” and, from a biblical perspective; this experience can be accurately placed into the category of demonic communication methodology.  (The Koran was communicated to the illiterate Mohammed in the midst of similar convulsions.)

The point here, however, is a specific demonic connection to the public presentation and proliferation of evolutionary theories into mainstream society.  Additionally, few realize that the men of the 19th Century who shaped the evolutionary and socialistic philosophies destined to permeate the future of mainstream society had little in common, and most were not formerly educated as scientists. Charles Darwin had a degree in theology, Charles Lyell was a lawyer, Thomas Huxley had a dubious degree in medicine, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Herbert Spencer had no formal education, and Hegel and Marx had degrees in philosophy.  There was, however, one thing that each of these men shared—a hatred of God and biblical Christianity.

Based on all of the above, there should be no surprise in learning that occult philosophies and pagan religions operate from a baseline of evolutionary thought.  These evolutionary principles within the occult world are actually based on another lie that Lucifer told Eve in the Garden of Eden:  “Ye shalt be as gods…”  New Agers, witches, and adherents to other earth-based religions believe that man is divine and simply needs to discover or develop the god or goddess within.  In addition, New Age practitioners such as Jean Houston teach that man is still evolving to a new evolutionary level—from homo sapiens to homo noeticus; and the concept of homo noeticus, the god-man, is actively promoted by organizations such as the Institute of Noetic Sciences, led by former NASA astronaut, Ed Mitchell.

Therefore, the Theory of Evolution did not only originate within an occult framework, but is absolutely the key in understanding occult philosophies.  For if one fails to realize that occultists believe the universe evolved from a primary energy source which it deems as “god,” “the force,” or “the mother goddess”—no understanding of occult philosophy will ever be reached.  In addition, the occult world holds to the notion that this “energy” or “force” indwells everyone and everything.  This all-indwelling force is termed immanence.  Immanence is one of the foundational principles of the occult world, and this indwelling force is seen by occultists as the evolutionary impetus that has implemented the cosmic changes that will eventually lead to the  emergence of homo noeticus—the god-man.

Wicca: A Biblical Critique

Michael Gleghorn examines some of the fundamental doctrines of Wicca, offers a biblical critique of those doctrines, and highlights the differences between Wicca and Christianity.

The Goddess and the God

By some estimates, Wicca “appears to be the fastest growing religion in America.”{1} But what exactly is “Wicca” anyway? One scholar writes, “The modern religion of Wicca, otherwise known as Old Religion, Magick, Witchcraft, the Craft, and the Mysteries, is part of the neo-pagan movement.”{2} In this article I hope to accomplish two things. First, I want to outline some of the fundamental doctrines of Wicca; second, I want to offer a biblical critique of those doctrines.

Let’s begin with Wiccan theology. Although some Wiccans are devoted exclusively to the Goddess, most worship both the Goddess and the God. Raven Grimassi, a Wiccan scholar, has written, “The Source of All Things, also known as the Great Spirit, is generally personified in Wiccan belief as a Goddess and a God.”{3}

It’s important to point out that the Goddess and God are merely personifications of this ultimate source of all things. The Source itself is both “unknowable” and “incomprehensible.”{4} It is perhaps for this reason that some “Neo-Wiccans” have simply abandoned such personifications altogether, choosing rather to view the gods as simply “detached metaphysical concepts.”{5} But for those who embrace such personifications, the Goddess has often been associated with the moon (and has thus sometimes been called the Queen of Heaven).{6} She is also known in three aspects, corresponding to the three stages of a woman’s life: Maiden, Mother, and Crone.{7} She was alleged to have reigned “with a male consort called The Horned One who was a nature god and was also associated with the sun.”{8} Interestingly, this god was not only viewed as the consort of the Goddess, he was also her son as well. Each year he was born of the Goddess, became her lover, and died-only to be reborn once more the following year from his own seed! This was known as the Year God cycle and was associated with the fertility of the land and the annual cycles of seedtime and harvest.{9}

Interestingly, modern Wicca shares many similarities with the ancient fertility religions of Canaan, religions specifically condemned by God in the Bible.{10} For instance, the Wiccan Goddess is revered by some as the Queen of Heaven, by others as Astarte.{11} But in the Bible, the worship of Ishtar, the queen of heaven, and Astarte, or Ashtoreth, is repeatedly condemned, as is the worship of her consort, known sometimes as Baal, sometimes as Tammuz.{12} Thus in Judges 2:11-13 we read: “Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord . . . they provoked the Lord to anger . . . they forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtoreth.” But if the only true God rejected the ancient Canaanite religions and their practices, would His reaction to modern Wicca likely be any different?

The Watchers

“The Watchers is a concept common to most Wiccan Traditions, although they are viewed differently by the various systems within Wicca.”{13} Raven Grimassi describes these “Watchers” as “an ancient race who have evolved beyond the need for physical form.”{14}However, he is quick to add that, historically, the “Watchers” have been conceived in a diversity of ways. For instance, in the early Stellar myths the Watchers were “gods who guarded the Heavens and the Earth.”{15} Later, he says, “the Greeks reduced them to the Gods of the four winds, and the Christians to principalities of the air.”{16}

The connection, observed by Grimassi, between the Wiccan concept of the Watchers and the Christian concept of angels may find some validation in the Bible. In Daniel 4:13-17, the pagan king Nebuchadnezzar relates a dream to Daniel. He tells him that during the dream a “watcher, a holy one, descended from heaven” and pronounced a judgment that is said to be “by the decree of the watchers . . . a command of the holy ones . . . that the living may know that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind.” Most conservative commentators understand the “watchers” in this passage to be angels. One commentator writes, “The king is probably referring to the angels which were known to him through the Babylonian religion.”{17} But that these beings are indeed the biblical angels seems evident from the fact that they are acting as messengers of the Most High God.{18}

In light of this connection between the “watchers” and angels, it is interesting to note that “Rabbinic and Cabalistic lore” made a distinction between good and evil Watchers.{19} This distinction parallels the biblical distinction between good and evil angels, or angels and demons. Indeed, Grimassi notes, “In the Secret Book of Enoch, the Watchers . . . are listed as rebellious angels who followed Sataniel in a heavenly war.”{20} We find a similar incident recounted in Revelation 12:7-9, where we read of a heavenly war in which Michael and his angels cast Satan and his angels from heaven to earth.

With this in mind it is interesting to note that Richard Cavendish, in his book The Powers of Evil, “lists the Watchers as the Fallen Angels that magicians call forth in ceremonial magick.”{21} This remark is especially noteworthy when one considers Grimassi’s comments concerning “the relationship that exists between a Wiccan and the Watchers.”{22} Grimassi points out that “every act of magick that a Wiccan performs is observed and noted by the Watchers.”{23} Furthermore, he says, “There is a definite link between the ‘powers’ of a Wiccan and their rapport with the Watchers.”{24} But since the God of the Bible clearly prohibits magic, is it likely that these “Watchers” should be thought of as good spirits (inasmuch as they oppose the ordinance of God)?{25}

The Art of Magick

Wiccans view magick as a genuine possibility because of humanity’s intrinsic connection both to Deity and a supernatural order. Raven Grimassi states: “The art of magick is one of creation. . . . The power to create from thoughts is linked to the divine spark within us. We create in accordance with the divine formula that created all things.”{26}

But how is this possible? Grimassi explains, “The astral plane is the link between the divine world and the physical. . . . Whatever manifests on the astral plane will eventually manifest on the physical plane.”{27} And human thought can manifest on the astral plane.{28} Thus, for one accomplished in the art of Wiccan magick, the power to secure a desired effect in the physical world is alleged to begin with the careful creation of a thought-form on the astral plane.{29} Grimassi continues: “Thought-forms begin to appear in the astral material, which then become vehicles for the spirits or deities that have been invoked (through which they will respond to the desire of the magickal intent).”{30} If done properly, “the magickal seeds planted in the astral plane” will eventually bear fruit on the physical plane.{31} This is the basic theory behind Wiccan magick. And one practitioner has boasted, “No matter what type of coven magic is used, it is usually effective.”{32}

Might there actually be some truth to this? Indeed, there might. The book of Exodus tells us that the Egyptian magicians were able to duplicate, by means of “their secret arts,” the initial plagues God brought upon Egypt!{33} Furthermore, the text never hints that this was done by any means other than some genuine secret power. In light of this we might ask why God is so opposed to the practice of magic. After all, couldn’t such power be used for good, as well as evil? But God specifically warned the Israelites: “There shall not be found among you anyone” who practices divination, witchcraft, sorcery, or spiritism.{34} Why is this?

Could it be that the “secret power” of magick is due, not to its various rituals, symbols and gestures, but rather to the supernatural intervention of spirit beings? In Acts 16 we read of a demon-possessed slave-girl described as “having a spirit of divination . . . who was bringing her masters much profit by fortunetelling.”{35} This passage clearly ties the power of divination to demons. With this in mind, it’s interesting to remember Grimassi’s admission: “There is a definite link between the ‘powers’ of a Wiccan and their rapport with the Watchers.”{36} Wiccans view the Watchers as a race of highly evolved spiritual beings.{37} But these beings are linked with angels and demons in other religious literature (including the Bible).{38} Is it possible that God prohibits magic because He wants to protect people from involvement with demons?

The Summerland and Reincarnation

Like Christians, Wiccans do not believe that physical death is the end of personal existence. Nevertheless, in its details the Wiccan doctrine of the “afterlife” differs substantially from the biblical view. How so?

To begin, Wiccans do not accept the biblical doctrines of heaven and hell. Rather, they believe that after physical death, “Wiccans pass into a spirit world known as the Summerland . . . a metaphysical astral realm of meadows, lakes, and forests where it is always summer. It is a Pagan paradise filled with all the lovely creatures of ancient lore, and the gods themselves dwell there.”{39} The Summerland is viewed as a place of rest and renewal for the soul before its rebirth into the physical world.{40}

The belief in the soul’s rebirth into the physical world, also known as reincarnation, is another way in which Wiccan doctrines differ from those of biblical Christianity. Though the doctrine of reincarnation is completely unbiblical, many Wiccans actually believe it is taught in the Bible. Raven Grimassi cites John 9:1-3 as evidence that even Jesus and His disciples believed in reincarnation!{41} In this passage Jesus’ disciples ask Him about a man born blind: “‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him.’” Grimassi comments: “Jesus does not denounce the question of this man’s existence prior to this birth, but explains that [his blindness] had nothing to do with his sins prior to his present life.”{42} But is this interpretation correct? Is Jesus really affirming that this man existed prior to his present life?

It’s important to understand both the disciples’ question, and Jesus’ response, from within the historical context of first century Judaism. “The Jewish theologians of that time gave two reasons for birth defects: prenatal sin (before birth, but not before conception) andparental sin.”{43} In other words, first century Jewish rabbis did not believe that birth defects resulted from bad karma in a previous incarnation! Rather, they thought such defects arose either from the sins of the parents being visited upon their children, or from the sin of the child while still in the mother’s womb.{44} Although Jesus denies that either of these causes was responsible for this man’s blindness, we must still bear in mind that His disciples were asking this question from within a first century Jewish context. We must also remember that elsewhere the New Testament explicitly affirms, “[I]t is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.”{45} Thus, far from affirming the Wiccan doctrine of reincarnation, the New Testament clearly denies it.

Is Wicca Another Way to God?

Scott Cunningham claimed, “All religions have one ideal at their core: to unite their followers with Deity. Wicca is no different.”{46} He also wrote, “Perhaps it’s not too strong to say that the highest form of human vanity is to assume that your religion is the only way to Deity.”{47} But is it really true that there are many ways to God, or is there only one?

Although it’s quite common in today’s pluralistic society to assume that all the enduring religious traditions of mankind are equally valid ways to God or Ultimate Reality, there are tremendous philosophical difficulties with this belief. Since we are here concerned with both Wicca and Christianity, let’s briefly compare some of the fundamental tenets of these two religions and see what we come up with.

Wiccans appear to believe in the essential divinity of human nature. Raven Grimassi writes, “[E]verything bears the ‘divine spark’ of its creator.”{48} He also claims, “Souls are like brain cells in the mind of the Divine Creator, individual entities and yet part of the whole.”{49}Thus, there doesn’t seem to be any clear distinction in Wicca between humanity and Deity. This explains why the Witch Starhawk could confidently declare, “there is nothing to be saved from . . . no God outside the world to be feared and obeyed.”{50}

Christianity, however, maintains a firm distinction between God and man. Man is created in God’s image, but he is neither God nor a part of God. Furthermore, although man bears God’s image, his nature has been corrupted by sin, which separates him from God. Man’s need, therefore, is to be saved from his sins and reconciled to God. This explains the significance of Christ for Christianity. As Peter put it, “Christ . . . died for sins once for all . . . that He might bring us to God.”{51} Christians believe that God dealt fully and finally with man’s sin through the death and resurrection of His Son.{52} Thus, contrary to Wicca, Christianity teaches that there is something to be saved from and that there is a God outside the world to be both feared and obeyed.

Because of their differences, the law of non-contradiction makes it impossible for both of these religions to be true. It’s therefore interesting to note Charlotte Allen’s observation: “In all probability, not a single element of the Wiccan story is true. The evidence is overwhelming that Wicca is . . . a 1950s concoction . . . of an English civil servant and amateur anthropologist” named Gerald Gardner.{53} But surely such questionable historical origins cast doubt on the truth of Wiccan religious beliefs as well. Christianity, however, is firmly rooted in the historical reality of Jesus of Nazareth, whose claim to be the only way to God was clearly vindicated when God “furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”{54}

Notes

1. Charlotte Allen, “The Scholars and the Goddess” The Atlantic Monthly (January 2001): 18.

2. Fritz Ridenour, So What’s the Difference? (Ventura, California: Regal Books, 2001), 209.

3. Raven Grimassi, The Wiccan Mysteries: Ancient Origins and Teachings (St. Paul, Minnesota: Llewellyn Publications, 2000), 33.

4. Scott Cunningham, The Truth About Witchcraft Today (St. Paul, Minnesota: Llewellyn Publications, 1999), 76.

5. Grimassi, The Wiccan Mysteries, 33.

6. Ibid., 25.

7. Cunningham, The Truth About Witchcraft Today, 73.

8. Grimassi, The Wiccan Mysteries, 26.

9. Ibid., 88-89.

10. Ridenour, So What’s the Difference?, 210. This is not to imply, of course, that Wicca itself is ancient. The antiquity of Wicca has been seriously challenged by modern scholarship.

11. Grimassi, The Wiccan Mysteries, 25; Cunningham, The Truth About Witchcraft Today,72.

12. For instance, see Judges 2:11-17; 2 Kings 23:4-14; Jeremiah 44:15-23; Ezekiel 8:14-15. For documentation concerning the consort of Ashtoreth being Baal and/or Tammuz see J.D. Douglas and Merrill C. Tenney, eds. The New International Dictionary of the Bible(Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1987), s.v. “Ashtoreth,” 100-01; “Tammuz,” 986. For documentation that Ishtar, the queen of heaven, was associated with Tammuz see Trent C. Butler, gen. ed. Holman Bible Dictionary (Nashville, Tennessee: Holman Bible Publishers, 1991), s.v. “Ishtar,” 721; “Tammuz,” 1321.

13. Grimassi, The Wiccan Mysteries, 99.

14. Ibid., 100.

15. Ibid., 101.

16. Ibid.

17. Edward J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel: A Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1978), 103.

18. Compare Daniel 4:17 with 4:24.

19. Grimassi, The Wiccan Mysteries, 102.

20. Ibid.

21. Ibid., 103.

22. Ibid., 106.

23. Ibid.

24. Ibid. This is not to imply that Wiccans explicitly worship Satan or demons (understood in the Christian sense). They are very careful to say they do not, and we should take them at their word. At the same time, is it legitimate to ask if one can be deceived by the devil without actually worshipping the devil? For while Wiccans may not worship the devil, the Bible seems to indicate that they have nonetheless been deceived by him. Wicca, for example, rejects the biblical doctrines of God, man, Christ, sin, salvation, etc. As a religion, therefore, Wicca helps prevent men and women from coming to a saving knowledge of God through faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible, however, declares that this is also one of the activities of Satan! It reveals that the devil “has blinded the minds of the unbelieving” to keep them from saving faith in Christ (see 2 Cor. 4:3-4). It is for this reason that Christians, while acknowledging that Wiccans do not worship the devil, nonetheless view the religion of Wicca as a means of Satanic deception since it keeps its followers from saving faith in Christ.

25. See Deuteronomy 18:9-13.

26. Grimassi, The Wiccan Mysteries, 140.

27. Ibid.

28. Ibid., 150.

29. Ibid., 140-41.

30. Ibid., 140.

31. Ibid., 159.

32. Cunningham, The Truth About Witchcraft Today, 125.

33. See Exodus 7:11-12, 22; 8:6-7.

34. See Deuteronomy 18:9-13.

35. See Acts 16:16-18.

36. Grimassi, The Wiccan Mysteries, 106.

37. Ibid., 100.

38. Ibid., 101-03.

39. Ibid., 30.

40. Ibid., 32.

41. Ibid., 113.

42. Ibid.

43. Norman L. Geisler and Ron Rhodes, When Cultists Ask: A Popular Handbook on Cultic Misinterpretations (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1997), 175.

44. Ibid.

45. Hebrews 9:27.

46. Cunningham, The Truth About Witchcraft Today, 77.

47. Ibid., 66.

48. Grimassi, The Wiccan Mysteries, 26.

49. Ibid., 27.

50. Starhawk (Miriam Simos), The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1979), 9, cited in Ridenour, So What’s the Difference, 213.

51. 1 Peter 3:18.

52. See Romans 4:25.

53. Allen, “The Scholars and the Goddess,” 19.

54. See John 14:6 and Acts 17:31.

©2002 Probe Ministries.

The Difference Between Islam and Christianity

Statement

I browsed thru your website and found it very interesting. My name is Adly. I am a 24 year old Muslim. I’m not very well versed in Islam myself but I’m learning. At the same time I am also learning (slowly) about Christianity. I would like to know sir, about what you think about Islam and Muslims. Do you think that we’re… what’s the word… lost? I would like to know if you have an opinion. I will not take any offence, heck, you might know more about Islam than I do! So if you have time, I would really appreciate it if you would give me your opinion.

Thank you very much.

 

Response

Thank you for writing. I really appreciate those people who are interested in investigating all truth claims and thinking through what they should or should not accept. I fear that in our culture today we place too little emphasis on intelligent thought and critical investigation. Even if one believes the right thing, believing it by happenstance is not a justifiable position.

To your question. In investigating such important claims, we must be very careful that we are open and honest in our critiques. We should use the same criteria for judging all faiths’ assertions, and we should understand each belief system from the point of view of its proponents – so as to not characterize the belief system.

Both Christianity and Islam hold to the belief that those who deny the basic tenets of their faith are to be judged on the Last Day. In fact one of the foundational beliefs of the faith is that a final day of judgement is coming, followed by heaven for the faithful and hell for the lost. (See http://www.whyislam.org/submission/articles-of-faith/belief-in-judgement-day/)

This belief is outlined in Sura 69:15-33 where we read:

15. On that Day shall the (Great) Event come to pass. 16. And the sky will be rent asunder, for it will that Day be flimsy, 17. And the angels will be on its sides, and eight will, that Day, bear the Throne of thy Lord above them. 18. That Day shall ye be brought to Judgment: not an act of yours that ye hide will be hidden.
(…)
30. (The stern command will say): “Seize ye him, and bind ye him, 31. “And burn ye him in the Blazing Fire. 32. “Further, make him march in a chain, whereof the length is seventy cubits! 33. “This was he that would not believe in Allah Most High.(1)

Christianity also teaches that those who do not believe in Jesus as their personal saviour will perish in hell. The Gospel of John states:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18)(2)

So, both faiths hold to a form of judgement for the non-believer. However, the reasons for judgement are very different. Islam believes that people are born as a kind of blank slate. They are not fallen and sinful beings, but they are not “saved” either. In order to be saved it is important to do good deeds to earn their “salvation”.

Christianity holds that people are born with a sin nature that separates them from God. This nature means that human beings have a penchant and proclivity to sin that they inherited from the first man, Adam, after he sinned in the Garden of Eden. Further, it means that man is incapable of doing any work that will earn him salvation. Man must be transformed by the Spirit of God in order to be found holy enough to abide in God’s presence.

Much of the differences in these truth claims can be seen in how each faith views the fall of Adam. Both Islam and Christianity believe that God created Adam in a Paradise as the first man, and that Adam disobeyed God by taking of a forbidden fruit.

Islam, though, holds Adam to be a prophet of God. As with most prophets in the Islamic faith, Adam should be sinless. It does not make sense to an Islamic viewpoint that a prophet of God would be sinful the way the average man is today. Norman Geisler, in his book Answering Islam writes,

“Muslim scholars are of the opinion that prophets are either completely sinless or at least free from all major sins or faults. Some orthodox Muslims claim that even the power of sinning does not exist in the prophets. For example, Ibn Khaldun, the classical Muslim scholar (d.1406) says that ‘their characteristic mark is that before the coming revelation to them they were all found to be naturally good and sagacious, such men as shun blameworthy actions and all things unclean.’ This, he believes ‘is the meaning of their impeccability. (isma) Thus they seem to have an instinctive inclination to rise above things that are blameworthy and even shrink from them as though such things were repugnant to their born disposition.”(3)

This is one example, though, of where we have a logical contradiction. If Adam was made perfect by God and part of a world in which no sin yet existed, and he willingly did sin, then how could he have “shunned blameworthy actions”? Many Muslim scholars try to resolve this by claiming that Adam didn’t really sin, but merely had a lapse of judgement. This doesn’t solve the issue, though. If Adam didn’t commit a grievous sin, then how does one account for the introduction of evil in the world? Also, if directly disobeying a command of God is just a lapse in judgement, then how could anything be considered really sinful?

Now this type of tension in Islamic belief isn’t merely restricted to the fall of Adam. Muslims run into a real problem with the problem of evil because of their insistence that God is so sovereign, every act originates with him – even evil ones! This type of extreme determinism is illustrated in a quote from the authoritative Islamic theologian Al-Maturidi (d.944 A.D.) who writes:

“The sins of man occur by God’s will (irada), wish (mashi’a), ordinance (qada’), and power (qadr), but not by His pleasure (rida), love (mahabba), and command (amr), according to His Word, be He exalted: ‘He whom God wills to send astray, He maketh his bosom close and narrow’ (6:125), and His Word: ‘Yet ye will nothing, unless God wills it.'(76:31). If the creature were able to act by his own will, he could prevail over the will of God- be He exalted.”(4)

You can see in the example above that we have only God’s will in view here. Man cannot exercise his own volition. However, this means that every sin anyone commits, it was God who willed it and therefore forced the human to commit it. Thus God become the author of evil by instigating evil acts, and he becomes incredibly unjust in condemning men for committing the very acts that he willed them to do! (For the Christian position on evil see my page “Didn’t God Create Evil, Too?“)

I said at the start of this letter that in judging truth-claims one should use the same yardstick for all faiths. A good way of determining the validity of any truth claim is to test it two ways – is it consistent in all affirmations and beliefs and does it correspond with what we know to be true about the world. The Islam view of prophets being sinless is inconsistent with what it means to be human. Also, the position that Adam’s action in Eden wasn’t truly a sin demonstrates an inconsistent position of the Islamic faith. Further, the idea that God is ultimately responsible for all sin and evil on earth demonstrates the dissonance in the Islamic belief system.

I want to thank you again for taking the time to write and your willingness to investigate more fully the claims of both Islam and Christianity. I pray that you will look at the facts objectively and rationally and that in so doing you will find the truth.

Written by Lenny Esposito

References

[1] Ali, Abdullah Yusuf The English Translation Of The Holy Qu’ran http://www.islam101.com/quran/yusufAli/QURAN/69.htm2000 Sura 69:15-18, 30-33

[2] The Holy Bible King James Version http://www.blueletterbible.org/ 2000 John 3:16-18

[3] Geisler, Norman and Saleeb, Abdul Answering Islam
Baker Books GrandRapids, Michigan (1993) p.51

[4] Islam Edited by John Alden Williams, George Braziller, New York (1962) p.180

Buddhism from a Christian Standpoint

buddhism_devotion

 

  1. What is Buddhism?
  2. Who is Buddha?
  3. What is karma and reincarnation?
  4. Theory explains phenomena.
  5. Reincarnation is a theory
  6. Reincarnation contradicts the phenomenon of mediums invoking the spirit of the dead.
  7. Spirit possession theory explains all these phenomena.
  8. Demon possession.
  9. Deception.
  10. Works versus grace.
  11. Conclusion.

 1. What is Buddhism.

Buddhism is a widespread Asian religion or philosophy founded by Siddartha Gautama (Buddha; 563 – 460 BC) in north east India in the 5th century BC, which teaches that elimination of the self and earthly desires is the route to enlightenment.

There are two main schools of thought in Buddhism, the Theravada and the Mahayana,

Theravada Buddhists believe they must personally eradicate their mental defilements and develop all the great virtues in order to gain their final salvation by following the method and example prescribed by the Buddha. They respect Bodhisattvas but do not regard them as saviours.

In the Mahayana school of thought, the Bodhisattvas play an important role by showing others the path to attain Nibbana. A Bodhisattva is a person who is able to be released from Samsara and reaching Nibbana but delays doing so through compassion for suffering beings.

The practice of Buddhism has been modified by local customs, producing distinct varieties of worship. They include the Indian, Tibetan, Ceylonese (Sri Lankan), Burmese, Thai, Cambodian, Chinese and  Japanese varieties. It is claimed that the Siddhartha Gautama’s way of life and doctrine were substantially different from the Hindu (Vedic and Brahmanism) believing people in India. Yet he embraced the Hindu beliefs of Karma and rebirth explaining it as a natural law of cause and effect. Hence Buddhism is often considered as an off-shoot of Hinduism because it shares with Hinduism its core beliefs of Karma and reincarnation. It also shares many common terms, some of which are:  Dharma, Samsara, Mantra, Samadhi and Aum.

What distinguishes it from Hinduism is that it does not invoke the existence of gods.

Although claiming to be non theistic, yet the practice of Buddhism involves worship of the statue or image of Siddhartha Gautama. Buddhists claim is that these images are not idols but are symbolic representations of his great qualities

One of his original concepts is that of dependent origination. It claims that that life or the world is built on a set of relations, in which the arising and cessation of factors depend on some other factors which condition them so that all phenomena in this universe are relative, conditioned states and do not arise independently of supportive conditions. Hence Buddhism does not support the concept of a creator or first cause. Since everything is conditioned, relative, and interdependent, there is nothing in this world which could be regarded as a permanent entity, variously regarded as an ego or an eternal soul.

This provided the basis for another original concept called the Anatta doctrine, interpreted as the absence of a distinct soul, self and ego for each person. Yet he was of the opinion that the sum total of the Karma in the form of a consciousness for each person is distinct and continues after bodily death by reincarnating in another body. He introduced the idea of the Four Noble Truths, Suffering, the Arising of Suffering, the ceasing of Suffering, and the approach to the ceasing of Suffering.

Another original concept introduced  is The Eightfold path of a righteous life consisting of Right Speech, Sila Right Action Morality, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Samadhi Right Mindfulness Mental culture, Right Concentration, Right Understanding, Panna Right Thoughts Wisdom. The adherence to this path would bring a Buddhist devotee closer to the salvation called Nibbana.

In Buddhism, there is no such thing as sin as explained by other religions. Sin is merely unskilful or unwholesome action resulting in further suffering in the present life or future lives.  His rejection of the caste system appealed especially to the untouchables.

buddhist-thought 

2. Who is Buddha

A Buddhist apologist, K.Sri Dhammananda describes Buddha as follows:

Gautama Buddha, the founder of what came to be known as Buddhism, lived in Northern India in the 6th century B.C. His personal name was Siddhartha, and family name Gotama. The name ‘Buddha’ was given to Him after He attained Enlightenment and realized the Truth. It means the ‘Awakened’ or the ‘Enlightened One’. He generally called Himself the Tathagata, while His followers called Him Bhagava, the Blessed One. Others spoke of Him as Gotama or Sakyamuni.

He was born a prince who seemed to have everything. He had a luxurious upbringing and His family was of pure descent on both sides. He was the heir to the throne, extremely handsome, inspiring trust, stately and gifted with great beauty of complexion and fine presence. At sixteen He married His cousin named Yasodhara who bore Him a son whom they called Rahula. His wife was majestic, cheerful day and night, and full of dignity and grace.

Despite all this, He felt trapped amidst the luxury like a bird in a golden cage. During a visit to the city one day, He saw what is known as the ‘Four Sights‘, that is , an old man, a sick man, a dead man, and a holy recluse. When He saw the sights, one after another, the realization came to Him that, ‘it is subject to age and death’. He asked, ‘Where is the realm of life in which there is neither age nor death?’ The sight of the recluse, who was calm for having given up the craving for material life, gave him the clue that the first step in His search for Truth was Renunciation.

Determined to find the way out of these universal sufferings, He decided to leave home to find the cure not for Himself only, but for all mankind. One night in His twenty-ninth year, He bade His sleeping wife and son a silent farewell, saddled His great white horse, and rode off toward the forest.

His renunciation is unprecedented in history. He left at the height of youth, from pleasures to difficulties, from certainty of material security to uncertainty, from a position of wealth and power to that of a wandering ascetic who took shelter in the cave and forest, with His ragged robe as the only protection against the blazing sun, rain and winter winds. He renounced His position, wealth, promise of prestige and power, and a life filled with love and hope in exchange for the search for Truth which no one had found.

For six long years, He labored to find the Truth. He studied under the foremost masters of the day, and learned all these religious teachers could teach Him. When He could not find what He was looking for, He joined a band of ascetics and tortured His body so as to break its power and crush its interference, since it was believed that Truth could be found this way. A man of enormous energy and will power, He outdid other ascetics in every austerity they proposed. While fasting, He ate so little that when He took hold of the skin of His stomach, He actually touched His spine. He pushed Himself to the extent that no man had done and yet lived. He, too, would have certainly died had He not realized the futility of self-mortification, and decided to practise moderation instead.

On the full moon night of the month of Vesakha, He sat under the Bodhi tree at Gaya, wrapped in deep meditation. It was then that His mind burst the bubble of the universe and realized the true nature of all life and all things. At the age of 35 years, He was transformed from an earnest truth seeker into the Buddha, the Enlightened One.

For nearly half a century, the Buddha walked on the dusty paths of India Teaching the Dhamma so that those who heard and practised could be ennobled and free. He founded an order of monks and nuns, challenged the caste system, raised the status of women, taught religious freedom and free inquiry, opened the gates of deliverance to all, in every condition of life, high or low, saint or sinner, and ennobled the lives of criminals like Angulimala and courtesans like Ambapali.

He was towering in wisdom and intellect. Every problem was analyzed in component parts and then reassembled in logical order with the meaning made clear. None could defeat Him in dialogue. An unequaled teacher, He still is the foremost analyst of the mind and phenomena even up to the present day. For the first time in history, He gave men the power to think for themselves, raised the worth of mankind, and showed that man can reach to the highest knowledge and supreme Enlightenment by his own efforts.

Despite His peerless wisdom and royal lineage, He was never removed from the simple villager. Surface distinctions of class and caste meant little to Him. No one was too little or low for Him to help. Often when an outcast, or poor and dejected came to Him, his self-respect was restored and he turned from the ignoble life to that of a noble being.

The Buddha was full of compassion (karuna) and wisdom (panna), knowing how and what to teach each individual for his own benefit according to his level and capabilities. He was known to have walked long distances to help one single person.

He was affectionate and devoted to His disciples, always inquiring after their well-being and progress. When staying at the monastery, He paid daily visits to the sick wards. His compassion for the sick can be seen from His advice, ‘He who attends the sick, attends on me.’ The Buddha kept order and discipline on the basis of mutual respect. King Pasenadi could not understand how the Buddha maintained such order and discipline in the community of monks, when he as a king with the power to punish, could not maintain it as well in his court.

The Buddha did not claim to have ‘created’ worldly conditions, universal phenomena, or the Universal Law which we call the ‘Dhamma’. Although described as lokavidu or ‘knower of the worlds’, He was not regarded as the sole custodian of the Universal Laws. He freely acknowledge that the Dhamma, together with the working of the cosmos, is timeless, it has no creator and is independent in the absolute sense. Every conditioned thing that exists in the cosmos is subject to the operation of Dhamma. What the Buddha did (like all the other Buddhas before Him) was to rediscover this infallible Truth and make it known to mankind. In discovering the Truth, He also found the means whereby one could ultimately free oneself from being subjected to the endless cycle of conditioning, with its attendant evils of unsatisfactoriness.

After forty-five years of ministry, the Buddha passed away at the age of eighty at kusinara, leaving behind thousands of followers, monks and nuns, and a vast treasure store of Dhamma Teaching. The impact of His great love and dedication is still felt today.

 

  1. What is Karma and Reincarnation?

 

Karma is the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as affecting their future fates. (ie the effects of a person’s actions that determine his destiny in his next incarnation)

The origin of this word is from the Sanskrit karman which means ‘action _ effect _ fate’.

Reincarnation is the rebirth of a soul in a new body. Incarnation is a spirit embodied in a living human from.

To incarnate is to be invested in a bodily form. The origin of this word is from the Latin in- carn- which means ‘into’ ‘flesh’.

Reincarnation is a necessary adjunct to Karma. This is because incomplete punishment for a person’s evil deeds in this life will be completed in future lives.

How else would punishment for the evil deeds of Pol Pot and Idi Amin be justly meted out as these two persons died peacefully in ripe old age. It is believed that reincarnation takes place at conception or when the baby is in the womb or at birth.

 

  1. Theory explains phenomena. A phenomenon is a fact that is observed to exist or happen. A theory is a system of ideas intended to explain phenomena.

 

Consistency is a harmonious agreement amongst things or parts without contradictions. If a phenomenon contradicts a theory, then the theory is inconsistent and is probably false. If this phenomenon is consistent with another theory, then the second theory should replace the first theory.

 

  1. Reincarnation is a theory to explain the phenomena of persons being able to recall events experienced by individuals who have died.

 

The strongest evidence supporting the theory of reincarnation is from the work of Ian Stevenson who documented numerous cases of children ‘recalling’ historical events and relatives of deceased individuals. Some of these amazing claims have been corroborated. (Ref: Old Souls, the scientific evidence for past lives by Tom Shroder, published by Simon & Schuster, Rockefeller Center, 1230, Ave of the Americas, New York, NY 10020. ISBN 0-684-85192-X ©1999.)

 

  1. Reincarnation contradicts the phenomenon of mediums invoking the spirit of the dead.

 

Reincarnation cannot explain how temple mediums are able to invoke the spirits of the departed. If the spirit of the departed has already reincarnated into another body, how can it also appear in the temple medium?

 

  1. Spirit possession theory explains all these phenomena.

 

To possess is to have complete power over. The origin of this word is from the Latin possidere which means ‘occupy, hold’.

Spirit possession is the state of being under complete control of a spirit. Spirit possession is real (Mark 1:23-25, 5:1-20, 7:24-30, 9:17-27).

Spirit possession can explain how temple mediums are able to invoke the spirits of the departed. It can also explain how some persons are able to accurately recall events experienced by individuals who have long since died.

A definite case of spirit possession is described by Roy Stemman about a Thai Buddhist monk who was born one day before his previous body died.

This case cannot be explained by reincarnation because it would mean that the baby was born without a spirit and remained without a spirit for one day. The logical explanation is that the baby was already born with an original spirit. One day after birth,  his  body became inhabited or possessed by another spirit.

(Reincarnation, Amazing True Cases From Around The World by Roy Stemman (Editor of Reincarnation International), published by Judy Piatkus Ltd. Windmill Street, London W1P 1HF. ISBN 0-7499-1708-3 hbk, ISBN 0-7499-1787-3 pbk  ©1997 (Ref: in page 38))

I believe the spirit that possesses the body of a person suppresses the expression of the original spirit of that person. I believe all possessing spirits are evil, otherwise they would not possess.

I believe the Holy Spirit does not possess. On the contrary, the Holy Spirit renders a person free to choose.

 

  1. Demon possession.

A demon is an evil spirit. A person is demon possessed if he is completely controlled by an evil spirit.

I believe demons are fallen angels, Satan being chief among them.

A medium is a person who claims to be able to communicate between the dead and the living.

Temple mediums appear to be able to summon the spirit of the departed. They go into a trance, as if possessed, before they appear to talk like the deceased person. I believe that the demonic spirit which has possessed the departed individual was invited by the medium to speak through the medium.

I believe yoga meditation, which involves a process of emptying oneself of logic and reason, is a ploy by Satan to deceive the devotee into preparing himself as fertile ground for demon possession.

Demon possession is evil because it enslaves and suppresses the free will of the individual.

When the Hindu or Buddhist parents bring their children to their temples, they are actually offering their children as human sacrifice to demons for possession.

I believe when an unsaved person’s body dies, his original spirit is released into the spirit realm to dwell there until the final judgment because it is unable to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Through Hinduism and Buddhism, Satan and his fellow demonic spirits have deceived many generations of people in large parts of the world into unwittingly allowing their bodies and souls to be possessed. This permits the demonic spirits to  ‘reincarnate’ in them serially.

I believe the spirit realm is the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ (Psalm 23:4).

I believe the original spirit of an individual is from Adonai and is eternal. When an individual’s body dies, his original spirit leaves the body and enters the spirit realm.

When a person accepts Jesus as Saviour, his or her spirit becomes a sibling of Yeshua who is the first born of Adonai (Abba). As this spirit is a relative of Abba, it is permitted to enter and ‘dwell in the house of the Lord forever’ (Psalm 23:6).

If a person, during his lifetime, has not accepted Yeshua as his Savior, his spirit is not sanctified (separated as holy). Even if he has performed many miracles in the name of Adonai, his spirit would not be permitted to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7: 21-23).

When his body dies, his spirit would remain in the spirit realm until the day of final judgment, when he will be cast into the lake of fire to be tormented forever (Revelation 20:11-15).

 

  1. Deception.

 

Deception means to deliberately mislead or misrepresent the truth; to swindle, hoax, cheat, dupe, fool, or entrap.

I  believe the theory of spirit possession is able to explain all the phenomena attributed to the theory of reincarnation as well as explain the phenomenon of invoking the spirits of the departed.

Because of this, I consider the theory of reincarnation as redundant, unnecessary and even false.

As the theory of reincarnation is open to question, it then follows that the theory of karma is also open to question.

As the theories of reincarnation and karma form the foundations of Hinduism, Buddhism and New Age, then these systems of belief are also open to question.

Then what is the purpose of the theory of reincarnation?

I believe the purpose is deception.

 I believe this concept of Nirvana is a deception hatched by Satan and his fellow demonic spirits

I believe the demonic spirit seeks to escape from the valley of the shadow of death and the eventual great white throne judgment and inevitable punishment in the lake of fire.

I believe the demonic spirit believes that by doing good works it can seek favour with Adonai in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.

I believe on entry into the kingdom of heaven, these demons, under the leadership of Satan, will, once again, attempt to overthrow Adonai.

Since the demonic spirit is unable to do good deeds in the spirit form, it needs to incarnate (to become invested in a bodily form) by possessing the body of some unsuspecting person in order to do good deeds.

Hence it needs to ‘re-incarnate’. ‘Reincarnation’ does not occur with the original spirit of an individual. ‘Reincarnation’ occurs with demonic spirits. They hop from body to body, possessing and suppressing the original spirit within each new body.

Through Hinduism and Buddhism, and their core belief of karma and reincarnation, Satan has deceived many people into accepting and believing that by doing good works, a person would qualify to have his spirit elevated from one lifetime to the next in order to eventually reach a state of spiritual ‘enlightenment’.

I believe even rational and logical thinking persons can choose to believe in ‘reincarnation’. This is because they have been deceived by demonic spirits. They are rendered blind to reason and logic regarding spiritual matters.

 

Deception is the signature of Satan.

I believe Adonai created man to fellowship with. Adonai gave man dominion over the earth.

The first action of Satan to Adam and Eve was deception. Satan possessed the serpent and duped Eve and Adam into eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the one which Adonai specifically forbade them to eat. (Genesis 3:1-7)

By this hoax, Satan cheated mankind of his right standing with Adonai and dominion over the earth. Instead, mankind, including myself came under dominion of Satan and was headed for certain death.

In the ‘fallen’ state, I am unable to fellowship with Adonai. However, Adonai still wanted to fellowship with me.

The triune Godhead sent a part of Himself, Yeshua to earth as a man to die and bear the total punishment for the disobedience (sin) of all of mankind so that in believing in this sacrifice, my fallen spiritual self will die and become reborn as a  sibling of Christ Yeshua.

As a new creation (2Corinthians 5:17), I can directly fellowship with Adonai by casting all my cares to Him, secure in the belief that I have absolute right-standing with Him ( Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7)

When I believe in Yeshua as my savior, I am freed from bondage to Satan. Satan is powerless to prevent me from believing the good news of the divine exchange.

What he can do is to attempt  to deceive me with alternative routes to Adonai like Hinduism, Buddhism, New Age and Islam.

Satan inspired Hinduism and Buddhism with the core beliefs of Karma and reincarnation.

The concept of reincarnation has been debunked by the concept of demonic spirit possession explaining all the ‘evidence’ proffered for reincarnation.

Hence reincarnation is a lie and Hinduism, Buddhism, and New Age beliefs are deceptions. They bear the signature of Satan.

With the death burial and resurrection of Yeshua, Satan has had been stripped of his power over me and over anyone else who believe in the risen Yeshua Christ.

The demonic possessing spirit prevents the person from hearing and understanding the good news of Grace.

In order to set free any person under bondage of demonic spirits, one can drive out demons by calling on the name of Yeshua because ‘at the name of Yeshua, every knee will bow’ (Philippians 2:10).

Once liberated, that person, would be able to see and believe the Gospel (good news) which is ‘Adonai so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

 

  1. Works versus Grace

 

Most religions include in their system of beliefs the belief that doing good deeds and avoiding bad deeds make a person more spiritually ‘pure’ and therefore more acceptable by the creator.

I believe one of the main deceptions of Satan is the belief that ‘do good gets good and do bad gets bad and that if a person’s good deeds outnumber the bad, he gets to enter heaven. This is contrary to my belief that a person can never by his good deeds qualify for entry into heaven. It is only by the grace of Abba that those who have been chosen will be invited into heaven.

Grace Christianity is the only belief system which holds that nothing man does will qualify him to be acceptable by Adonai, and that it is only by the grace of Adonai is man accepted by Adonai. The grace of Adonai is His son, Yeshua. Only by accepting Yeshua as my personal savior can I be accepted by Adonai. All other ways, including doing good deeds count for nothing. Yeshua’s voluntary death at the cross permitted an exchange to take place, his life for mankind’s death, his perfection for man’s imperfection, his goodness for man’s evil etc. Also, Yeshua came to life again and returned to his father the creator.

Because I choose to accept Yeshua as my personal savior, I become a sibling of Yeshua. At the moment of my bodily death, as a relative of Adonai, my spirit can then enter and ‘dwell in the house of the Lord forever’ (Psalm 23:6). Because I believe in Yeshua, my spirit welcomes the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit dwelling within me, all possessing spirits would be driven out. The Holy Spirit will never leave me nor forsake me forever (Deuteronomy 31:8).

When an individual does not have the Holy Spirit dwelling within, he is open to demonic spirit possession and is especially vulnerable when depressed or despondent.

 

  1. Conclusion.

 

I believe Christianity is the only way of reaching the Creator,  God (Adonai). All other ways, though appealing, are not genuine. Because I believe in free choice after making my choice, I choose freedom from demon possession by calling  upon the name of Jesus.

 

The following is a collection of relevant definitions and comments.

 

Atman.

In Hinduism, atman is the spiritual life principle of the universe, especially when regarded as existing within the real self of the individual. The origin of this word is from the Sanskrit ătman which means ‘essence’.

 

Avatar.

 

In Hindu belief, an avatar is a manifestation of a deity or released soul in bodily form on earth. It is also defined as an incarnation of god on earth. The plural form is avatara. An example is Krishna. One living guru, Sai Baba claims to be an avatar. He has been reputed to perform many miracles.

 

Bodhisattva.

 

A person who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so through compassion for suffering beings.

 

Buddhism.

Buddhism is a widespread Asian religion or philosophy founded by Siddartha Gautama (Buddha;c.563-c.460 BC) in north east India in the 5th century BC, which teaches that elimination of the self and earthly desires is the route to enlightenment.

 

Deity.

 

God or goddess, especially in polytheistic religion.  

 

Dharma.

 

The eternal law of the cosmos, inherent in the very nature of things. Dharma is a Sanskrit term that denotes the underlying order of the cosmos and of life. It is symbolized by the wheel. In the sphere of morality and ethics, it means ‘the right way of living’. Dharma is a concept originating from India. There are various versions of dharma, the Hindu version, the Buddhist version, the Jain version and the Sikh version. The proponents of each believe theirs to be the ‘right’ or in truest accord with the deepest realities of nature.

 

Guru.

 

Guru is a Hindu spiritual teacher. Origin from Hindi and Punjabi. The origin of this word is from the Sanskrit  ‘guru’ which means ‘weighty, grave’, hence, ‘elder, teacher’.

 

Hinduism.

Hinduism is a major religious and cultural tradition of the Indian subcontinent, including belief in reincarnation and the worship of a large pantheon of deities.

An Indian Yogi, Sai Baba,  explains  Hinduism  as  follows:

Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world. The three cardinal principles of Hinduism are:

 

1) Belief in a series of births (reincarnation).

 

2) Belief in Avatars of the Lord for the reestablishment of Dharma and the transformation of those who have strayed from it.

 

3) Belief in Karma, the fact of every activity having its inevitable consequences and of human destiny being shaped by cumulative effect of all these consequences. Karma is the cause of births, the Jivi being compelled to undergo another ordeal for clearing its accounts and becoming free of both debit and credit.

The life aim of Hindus is to reach fulfilment through constant spiritual discipline, the fulfilment that comes from the awareness of one’s Divinity. Merging with the Divine is the attainment of fullness. The Vedas are the soul that sustains the spiritual life of Hindus. They are the breath that that keeps the people alive. The Vedas emanated from God Himself. The great sages received the Vedas as a series of sounds and spread it over the world by word of mouth from preceptor to the pupil. One can know from the Vedas the code of right activity and the body of right knowledge. The Vedas teach man his duties from birth to death. They describe his rights and duties, obligations and responsibilities in all stages of life. In order to explain the Vedas in simpler terms, the Puranas (scriptures) and epic texts appeared in course of time. Two such great epics are the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Another great spiritual text of Hinduism is the Bhagavat Geetha, which helps people to control the agitation of the mind, destroy the delusion, develop true knowledge and make one catch a glimpse of the glory of the Lord.

The word Hindu means those who keep away from the path of violence, away from inflicting injury on others. The essence of all the scriptural texts of Hinduism can be described in one sentence as “Help Ever, Hurt Never”.

Aum, which is a primary symbol of Hinduism, is the symbol of unchanging eternal, universal supreme God. Aum, is the primordial word, which gives life to all the other words. Aum is the origin of creation. It contains the essence of all the Vedas and is the source of all the scriptures.”

Another Indian Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda  explains Self Realization as the knowing that we are one with the omnipresence of God in body, mind and soul.

 

Jainism

 

Jainism is one of the oldest religions in the world originating in ancient India. The Jains follow the teachings of the 24 Jinas (conquerors) who are known as Tirthankars. The 24th is the 6th century BC Mahavira.

Jains believe that every human has an eternal soul and is responsible for his actions. The Jain religion places great emphasis on Karma. Essentially, it means that all people reap what they sow. A happy or miserable existence is influenced by the actions in previous lives.

Jains believe all souls are equal because they all possess the potential of being liberated and attaining Moksha. Tirthankaras are role models because they have attained Moksha.

Jains believe that we should live, think and act respectfully and honor the spiritual nature of all life. Adherents to the faith are required to be vegetarians.

God is viewed as the traits of the pure soul of each living being, chiefly described as infinite knowledge, perception, consciousness and happiness. They do not believe in an omnipotent, supreme, creator being.

Jains hold that this temporal world is full of misery and sorrow. In order to attain lasting bliss, they believe one must transcend the eternal cycle of soul transmigration. They believe the way to break out of this cycle is to practice detachment through rational perception, knowledge and conduct.

Hence Jainism holds re-incarnation and karma as foundational in its religion. Because the theory of re-incarnation has been refuted, I believe Jainism and Jainist beliefs are false.

 

Karma.

 

Hindus and Buddhists believe in the concept of karma. Karma is the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as affecting their future fates. The origin of this word is from the Sanskrit karman which means ‘action _ effect _ fate’.

Hindus and Buddhists believe that by doing good deeds, they accumulate positive karma credits. This would enable their spirit to reincarnate in a higher spiritual plane in the next lifetime.

Over many lifetimes, they would become more enlightened. Some eventually become enlightened enough to be like Gautama Siddhartha Buddha and attain the level of nirvana.

Mantra.

 A word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation. A Vedic hymn. The origin of this word is from the Sanskrit  ‘man’ which means ‘thought’, hence mantra is ‘instrument of thought’.

Maya.

Maya is the power by which the universe becomes manifest; the illusion of the phenomenal world. The origin of this word is from the Sanskrit ‘mãyã’ , from mã  ‘create’.

Meditate.

 To meditate is to focus one’s mind for a period of time for spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.

Moksha

Moksha (Sanskrit: liberation) or Mukti (Sanskrit: release) refer in Indian religions to liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth (re-incarnation) and all the suffering and limitation of worldly existence. Liberation is experienced in this life as a dissolution of the sense of self as an egoistic personality, reaching a state of Nirvana.

New Age.

New age’ is a broad movement characterized by alternative approaches to traditional Western culture, with an interest in spirituality, mysticism, holism, and environmentalism.

Nirvana.

Hindus and Buddhists believe in a state of Nirvana or Nibbana.

Nirvana is defined as a transcendent state in which there is no suffering or desire and no sense of self. The origin of this word is from the Sanskrit nirvăna where nirvă means ‘be extinguished’. On attaining nirvana, a person is released from the repeated cycles of reincarnation and suffering.

Pantheism.

A  belief  which  identifies  God  with  the  universe,  or  regards  the  universe  as  a  manifestation  of  God.

This concept holds that the creator and the creation are one and the same, and that the creator is not separate from the creation, and that the creator did not precede the creation.

Hence the concept of pantheism is consistent with the core beliefs of Hinduism and most New Age practices.

Reincarnation.

Reincarnation is the rebirth of a soul in a new body.

Incarnation is a spirit embodied in a living human from.

To incarnate is to be invested in a bodily form.

The origin of this word is from the Latin in- carn- which means ‘into’ ‘flesh’.

Samadhi.

Samadhi is a state of intense concentration achieved through meditation. The origin of this word is from Sanskrit samădhi which means ‘contemplation’.

Samadhi has also been described as a state in which one’s consciousness becomes in unity with the atman.

Yogis describe samadhi as a state of supreme happiness.  Hindus believe that they can attain samadhi by meditating and looking within themselves in order to ‘self-realize’. The devotee is required to disciple himself to a guru or yogi and move closer to Nibbana after many years of meditation, chanting of mantras and ascetic living.

By the process of Yoga meditation, the devotee attempts to empty himself of all his ego driven desires, reason and logic. The devotee believes that through practice and obedient following of a Yogi, he can achieve self realization.

Self realization is defined as the fulfillment of one’s own potential. An  Indian  Yogi,  Paramahansa Yogananda  explains  Self Realization as  the  knowing  that  we  are  one  with  the  omnipresence of  God  in  body,  mind  and  soul. Another  Indian  Yogi,  Sai  Baba,  states  that  the life aim of Hindus is to reach fulfillment through constant spiritual discipline, the fulfillment that comes from the awareness of one’s Divinity. Merging with the Divine is the attainment of fullness.

Samsara.

 Samsara is the cycle of death and rebirth in which life in the material world is bound. The origin of this word is from the Sanskrit samsăra.

Sikhism

Sikhism is a religious belief founded by Guru Nanak Dev 1469 to 1539 in Punjab, India. His writings are compiled in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib

Central in his teaching is the belief that there is one creator God called Satnam Vahiguru or Truth as revealed by Guru Nanak. He saw the universe as a creation of one supreme power, and since the creator was in the world he created, it could not be treated as unreal as proposed in Hinduism and Buddhism.

His teachings did not include the policy of renunciation of the world or detachment from worldly responsibilities. He denounced the leading of one’s life as an ascetic and put great emphasis on hard work and earning a livelihood. For him taking care of one’s family and providing food and shelter for them was one of the prime duties of man before God.

However, similar to Hinduism and Buddhism, he believed in reincarnation and karma. Because the theory of re-incarnation has been refuted, I believe Sikhism and Sikh beliefs are false.

Soul.

Soul is the spiritual or non-material part of a human regarded as immortal. The origin of this word is from the Old English, Germanic sāwol.

Spirit is the non physical part of a person which is the seat of emotions and character; this is regarded as surviving after death of the body, often manifested as a ghost. The origin of this word is from Latin spiritos which means ‘breath’.

Yoga.

 

Yoga is a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily positions, is widely practiced for health and relaxation. The origin of this word is from the Sanskrit yoga which means ‘union’.

Yogi.

 

A yogi is a person proficient in yoga. An example of a yogi is Paramahansa Yogananda. Born Mukunda Lal Ghosh on Jan 5, 1893 in the northern Indian city of Gorakhpur. Died Mar 7, 1952 in Los Angeles, USA. From the age of seventeen, he was trained in the yoga discipline by Swami Sri Yukteswar for ten years. Paramahansa considered his gurus as avatara. He was conferred with the Swami order in 1915, after graduating from the University of Calcutta. He founded a ‘how to live’ school for boys where yoga spiritual training was combined with modern educational methods. He went to the United States, founded a society called Self-Realization Fellowship in 1920 and five years later he settled in Los Angeles. He popularized a formof yoga called Kriya Yoga. He is well known for his ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ and an English translation of ‘The Bhagavad Gita’. In his autobiography, he refers to the part of the brain above and between the eyes as the ‘Christ consciousness center’. His disciples have deified him as an avatar.

Resource material:

Old Souls, the scientific evidence for past lives by Tom Shroder, published by Simon & Schuster, Rockefeller Center, 1230, Ave of the Americas, New York, NY 10020. ISBN 0-684-85192-X). ©1999.

Reincarnation, Amazing True Cases From Around The World by Roy Stemman (Editor of Reincarnation International), published by Judy Piatkus Ltd. Windmill Street, London W1P 1HF. ISBN 0-7499-1708-3 hbk, ISBN 0-7499-1787-3 pbk  ©1997 (Ref: in page 38)

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda published by Self-Realization Fellowship, 3880 San Raphael Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90065-3298 U.S.A.  ISBN 0-87612-082-6. 12th Ed. © 1981

 

History and Background of the Obelisk

Obelisks have an interesting background and are involved in the history of the Free Masons, Egypt and the Roman Catholic Church to name the major ones. There are over 60 major obelisks around the world in some amazing places.

An obelisk  from Ancient Greek: ὀβελίσκος obeliskos; diminutive of ὀβελός obelos, “spit, nail, pointed pillar”) is a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape or pyramidion at the top. These were originally called “tekhenu” by the builders, the Ancient Egyptians. The Greeks who saw them used the Greek ‘obeliskos’ to describe them, and this word passed into Latin and then English. Ancient obelisks were often monolithic (that is, built with a single stone), whereas most modern obelisks are made of several stones and can have interior spaces.

Quote:
There are three cities (city-states) across this planet that share striking similarities and play a crucial role in the global governmental system we have long been living under. The three city-states (along with the role they serve) is as follows:

City of London (Finance)

Washington DC (Military)

Vatican City (Religion)

 

The above video called “The Truth About Obelisks Around the World” covers a number of obelisks with interesting comments along the way. 

The Roman Emperors brought a good number to Rome, the city with the world’s record with 13 obelisks (12 in Rome and 1 in the Vatican City) and also to Constantinople. When the Roman Empire was in decline, one by one the obelisks began to fall, remaining buried until the Renaissance when there began to be interest in them again.

Vatican obelisk: Located in St.Peter’s Square, the Vatican obelisk was moved from Egypt to its current location in 1586. The circle at the base on the obelisk represents the female vagina and thus male/female duality. Also notice the lines extending from the circle, forming a Union Jack as seen on the British flag.

London obelisk (aka Cleopatra’s Needle): Located on the banks of the River Thames, this obelisk was transported to London and erected in 1878 under the reign of Queen Victoria. The obelisk originally stood in the Egyptian city of On, or Heliopolis (the City of the Sun). The Knights Templars’ land extended to this area of the Thames, where the Templars had their own docks. Either side of the obelisk is surrounded by a sphinx, also symbolism dating back to the ancient world

Washington Obelisk (aka Washington Monument): Standing at 555 feet, the Washington Monument is the tallest obelisk in the world and also the tallest standing structure in Washington DC. The monuments cornerstone, a 12-ton slab of marble, was donated by the Grand Lodge of Freemasons. Like the Vatican obelisk, the Washington monument too is surrounded by a circle denoting the female. The reflecting pool in front of the monument signifies the ancient Masonic/Kabbalistic dictum, as above/so below.

Christians should know the steeples on churches are from the old Obelisk and is Baal worship.

The ancient Axumite Kingdom of Ethiopia

Fontaine des Quatre Dauphins, 1667

Mamhead is a rural village and civil parish near Dawlish and Kenton in Devon, South West England

The Kagul Obelisk in Tsarskoye Selo is one of several such structures erected on behest of Catherine II of Russia in 1772


Villa Medici, Rome – a 19th century copy of the Egyptian obelisk moved to the Boboli Gardens in Florence in 1790


Nelson memorial, Springfield Park, Liverpool, circa 1805.

Brightling Needle”, Brightling, East Sussex (65 ft), circa 1815

 

Groton Monument at (Fort Griswold), Groton, Connecticut, 1830

Bunker Hill Monument, Charlestown, Massachusetts built between 1827 and 1843.

Obelisk of Lions, in Iași, Romania, 1834.

Villa Torlonia, Rome two obelisks erected 1842.

Reggio Emilia obelisk, commemorates marriage of Francis V, Duke of Modena to princess Adelgunde of Bavaria, built 1842

Rutherford’s Monument near Anwoth, Scotland erected in 1842 as a memorial to Samuel Rutherford.

Newcastle, New South Wales The Obelisk, built 1850.


Obelisk of Fontenoy, 1860

Wellington Monument, 1861, (62m, 205 ft), Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland

Lincoln’s Tomb in Springfield, Illinois, 1865

Nicholson’s obelisk, Margalla Hills, Pakistan 1868

Captain Cook Obelisk, Kurnell, New South Wales, 1870.

The Dauphin County Veteran’s Memorial Obelisk in Harrisburg, PA, completed 1876

The Oriskany Battlefield monument in Rome, NY, dedicated in 1884 as a memorial to the Revolutionary War battle in 1777.


Dalhousie Obelisk, in Raffles Place, Singapore, 1891

 

The William Dudley Chipley Memorial, in the Plaza Ferdinand VII, Pensacola, Florida, 1901

The Sergeant Floyd Monument, on US Highway 75, Sioux City, Iowa, 1901.

Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial, South Royalton, Vermont, 1905

McKinley Monument, Niagara Square, Buffalo, New York, 1907

The Veterans’ Monument, Elizabethton, Tennessee, dedicated in 1904

The Chalmette Monument, in Chalmette, Louisiana, commemorating the Battle of New Orleans, 1908

The Victory Memorial, Fort Recovery, Ohio, completed in 1913.

The National Women’s Monument in Bloemfontein, South Africa, It was erected in 1913

The Henry M. Flagler obelisk located on Flagler Monument Island in Miami Beach, Florida was built in 1920.

Extra Information About Egyptian Obelisks

There are ancient many Egyptian obelisks in the following locations around the world:

Obelisks are Everywhere Around the World

There are 60+ obelisks in many countries and cities around the world.

Obelisks are rather strange as they do not have any real use anymore. They could be used as a sun dial and a high place to view the surrounding area.

Click on the following for some basic background history and background if you would like. History and Background

Quote:
There are three cities (city-states) across this planet that share striking similarities and play a crucial role in the global governmental system we have long been living under. The three city-states (along with the role they serve) is as follows:

City of London (Finance)

Washington DC (Military)

Vatican City (Religion)

The Roman Emperors brought a good number to Rome, the city with the world’s record with 13 obelisks (12 in Rome and 1 in the Vatican City) and also to Constantinople. When the Roman Empire was in decline, one by one the obelisks began to fall, remaining buried until the Renaissance when there began to be interest in them again.The circle at the base on the obelisk represents the female vagina and thus male/female duality.

Vatican obelisk: Located in St.Peter’s Square, the Vatican obelisk was moved from Egypt to its current location in 1586.

1586_Rome_obelisk_erection
Erection of the Obelisk moved from Egypt in 1586. Notice the huge number of workers.

London obelisk (aka Cleopatra’s Needle): Located on the banks of the River Thames, this obelisk was transported to London and erected in 1878 under the reign of Queen Victoria. The obelisk originally stood in the Egyptian city of On, or Heliopolis (the City of the Sun). The Knights Templars’ land extended to this area of the Thames, where the Templars had their own docks. Either side of the obelisk is surrounded by a sphinx, also symbolism dating back to the ancient world

Washington Obelisk (aka Washington Monument): Standing at 555 feet, the Washington Monument is the tallest obelisk in the world and also the tallest standing structure in Washington DC. The monument’s cornerstone, a 12-ton slab of marble, was donated by the Grand Lodge of Freemasons. Like the Vatican obelisk, the Washington monument too is surrounded by a circle denoting the female. The reflecting pool in front of the monument signifies the ancient Masonic/Kabbalistic dictum, as above/so below.

washington-monument top
Washington Monument from the Top after 3 years of maintenance

Christians should know the steeples on churches are from the old Obelisk and is Baal worship.

20 meter high obelisk in Vigeland, Frognerparken, Oslo, Norway
20 meter high obelisk in Vigeland, Frognerparken, Oslo, Norway

The Obelisk in Oslo Norway is rather provoking and gives me a sense of how far civilization has fallen. This obelisk I believe influenced by the Tower of Babel story in the Bible. Anyone can see this obelisk in the park and that includes children and sexual perverts.

20 meter high obelisk in Vigeland, Frognerparken, Oslo, Norway
20 meter high obelisk in Vigeland, Frognerparken, Oslo, Norway
20 meter high obelisk in Vigeland, Frognerparken, Oslo, Norway
20 meter high obelisk in Vigeland, Frognerparken, Oslo, Norway

The ancient Axumite Kingdom of Ethiopia

Fontaine des Quatre Dauphins  Aix-en-Provence, 1667

Mamhead is a rural village and civil parish near Dawlish and Kenton in Devon, South West England

The Kagul Obelisk in Tsarskoye Selo is one of several such structures erected on behest of Catherine II of Russia in 1772

Gatchina Park – The Chesma Obelisk 1775
Roma_villamedici_obelisco
Roma Villa Medici Obelisk

Villa Medici, Rome – a 19th century copy of the Egyptian obelisk moved to the Boboli Gardens in Florence in 1790

Rumyantsev Obelisk
Rumyantsev Obelisk in St Petersburg 1799

Obelisk at Slottsbacken

Obelisk at Slottsbacken

Obelisk at Slottsbacken, Stockholm, erected 1800

Nelson memorial Springfield Park Liverpool
Nelson memorial Springfield Park Liverpool

Nelson memorial, Springfield Park, Liverpool, circa 1805.

Brightling Needle”, Brightling, East Sussex (65 ft), circa 1815

Groton Monument at (Fort Griswold), Groton, Connecticut, 1830

Bunker Hill Monument, Charlestown, Massachusetts built between 1827 and 1843.


Villa Torlonia, Rome two obelisks erected 1842.

Rutherford’s Monument near Anwoth, Scotland erected in 1842 as a memorial to Samuel Rutherford.

Newcastle, New South Wales The Obelisk, built 1850.


Obelisk of Fontenoy, 1860

Wellington Monument, 1861, (62m, 205 ft), Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland

Lincoln’s Tomb in Springfield, Illinois, 1865

Nicholson’s obelisk, Margalla Hills, Pakistan 1868

Captain Cook Obelisk, Kurnell, New South Wales, 1870.

The Dauphin County Veteran’s Memorial Obelisk in Harrisburg, PA, completed 1876,

The Oriskany Battlefield monument in Rome, NY, dedicated in 1884 as a memorial to the Revolutionary War battle in 1777.


Dalhousie Obelisk, in Raffles Place, Singapore, 1891

The William Dudley Chipley Memorial, in the Plaza Ferdinand VII, Pensacola, Florida, 1901

The Sergeant Floyd Monument, on US Highway 75, Sioux City, Iowa, 1901.

Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial, South Royalton, Vermont, 1905

McKinley Monument, Niagara Square, Buffalo, New York, 1907

The Veterans’ Monument, Elizabethton, Tennessee, dedicated in 1904

The Chalmette Monument, in Chalmette, Louisiana, commemorating the Battle of New Orleans, 1908

The Victory Memorial, Fort Recovery, Ohio, completed in 1913.

The National Women’s Monument in Bloemfontein, South Africa, It was erected in 1913

The Henry M. Flagler obelisk located on Flagler Monument Island in Miami Beach, Florida was built in 1920.

There is a great site for more detailed information on Obelisks at http://okamoto-shoji.jp/obelisk.htm by Shoji Okamoto. E-mail: shoji_okamoto31@yahoo.co.jp

A Geographic History of Islamic States through Maps

Maps can tell a great story without words, especially by showing a temporal depiction of the change of cultures and boundaries. Throughout history though, various empires conquered many lands across most of Asia and left behind many cultural influences that have molded today’s ethnic groups and languages in the region.

There are three main language families in this region depicted in the below map: Semitic (Yellow), Indo-Iranian (Orange), and Turkic (Green).

Semitic language roots trace back to the days of the Sumerians and Akkadians estimated around 2400 BC. These languages have evolved over time into the most commonly known languages of Arabic (commonly used in all Arab States), Hebrew (commonly used in Israel), Amharic (commonly used in Ethiopia), and Tigrinya (commonly used in Eritrea).

Indo-Iranian language roots trace back to 6th century BC. Indo-Iranian is most commonly known today as the Persian language family consisting of mainly Kurdish, Farsi, Pashto, Tajik, and Dari. Other Indo-Iranian languages are located in Pakistan and India.

Turkic language roots trace back to the early Middle Ages (around 8th century AD). Before the Turkic expansion occurred, most Turks were located in the Area known as Mongolia today. In the years following the early Middle Ages, the Turks expanded in all parts of Asia from Siberia to India to Turkey covering a vast land mass and influencing many cultures along the way. Today, Turkish, Azerbaijani, and the languages of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia make up what is part of the Turkic family.

The following maps are courtesy of the Gulf/2000 Project funded by Columbia University:

Linguistic Composition of Southwest Asian States: Present Day

The following group of maps reveals historic changes as a result of the various conquerors, empires, and cultures from 1450 to 2000 AD. Throughout the years, the only long standing empires have been the Ottoman/Turkey and Persia/Iran.

Islamic States ca. AD 1450
Islamic States ca. AD 1510
Islamic States ca. AD 1550
Islamic States ca. AD 1625
Islamic States ca. AD 1700
Islamic States ca. AD 1750
Islamic States ca. AD 1800
Islamic States ca. AD 1840
Islamic States ca. AD 1850
Islamic States ca. AD 1900
Islamic States ca. AD 1925
Islamic States ca. AD 1950
Islamic States ca. AD 2000

Thanks to Geocrusader https://geocrusader80.wordpress.com/about/