Growing up Jewish, I was taught that Christian Baptism was the ultimate act of betrayal. Considering that Jewish people in the Middle Ages were forced into Baptism by so called Christians who had completely erased the Jewishness of the Gospel from the pages of the New Testament, its understandable that Jews today feel that way.
…until the early 60s, Palestine was always synonymous with Israel and/or Holy Land. Arabs in neighboring countries never called themselves Palestinians but rather Syrians, Lebanese, Jordanian, Egyptians, etc. Most Arabs in the early 1900s would have argued that Palestinian Arabs were simply Syrians.
Recently, an interesting new piece of evidence in favor of Jewish Palestine was found in the most unlikely of places. Some will argue that it is just anecdotal and that it certainly doesn’t prove anything, but I would beg to differ.
Complete article here:
In the west I think we need to understand that, despite the anti-west rhetoric spewed by spokesmen from ISIS, Islamism has so far proven to be more of danger to middle-eastern Moslems than to us.
For every American or European journalist and aid-worker butchered by ISIS, tens of thousands of Moslems (as well as Christians) in Syria and Iraq have also been brutally killed. So the apparant lack of condemnation of ISIS from western Moslems seems significant. [On the other hand, is the western media reporting when Moslems are condemning them?*]
Last Saturday I saw an interesting interview with Dr Qanta Ahmed, a Moslem woman who IS speaking out about the dangers of “Islamism”.
It was refreshing to hear a Moslem willing to speak against the atrocities being committed in the name of Islam and the danger that Islamism presents not only to western interests but to Moslems as well.
During the interview I think she politely put Andrew O’Keefe, the Aussie interviewer, “in his place” (though I’m sure he didn’t realise it) when he tried to compare/equate Islamic extremism (ISIS, Hamas etc) to other religious extremism in the world – also inferring that extremists in the US Bible Belt are no less dangerous than ISIS.
Andrew O’Keefe: I think the debate here in Australia is centred around Islam but meanwhile, in Burma, we have Buddhists running riot against Muslims trying to attempt a genocide there.
We have Hindu nationalism going crazy in parts of India.
The southern states of America, even now, there is an extreme fundamentalist Christianity that has sought to stamp out Judaism and other forms of religious, it’s any religious tradition.
Qanta Ahmed: Your point is well taken, any belief system can be galvanised into grounds for persecution but Islamism is extraordinary.
It’s over 100 years old that steals and borrows language from one of the world’s most populated religion, 1.62 billion Moslems.
So that has a power and scale that few ideologies can lend themselves.
There are Islamist governments that are in power and Iran, also in other countries which have wielded enormous influence.
So it’s much bigger than some of those things you’ve mentioned.
I have previously heard O’Keefe trying to minimise the dangers of Islamists by refering to the dangers presented by all religions. And it seems at times that some media sources can go the extra mile to downplay any Islamic responsibility regarding the rise of Islamism*. A trend not gone unnoticed by Dr Ahmed, who wrote last year:
Expressing concern, executive editor Chris Fields of The Blaze recent wrote “American journalists bend over backward to treat Muslims in a positive way, even to ludicrous extremes. As a result, terrorists are often called “militants”—even when they are on U.S. government terror watch lists. And any open criticism of radical Islam has typically been treated as “Islamophobia.”
He later draws a contrast with the much more critical portrayal of Christians in the media. His argument is long overdue, though most members of the press are too uncomfortable to consider engaging in this debate.
(It’s nice to see her make reference to claims of the all too common negative portrayal of Christians in the media.)
It is also refreshing to hear a Moslem speaking of Israel’s right to exist, especially when so many other voices, even “Christian” opinion has been so opposed to Israel, especially in recent months when Israel responded militarily to Hamas rocket attacks.
Dr Ahmed had this to say in an article from early 2013 (showing the persistency of the Hamas campaign against Israel, and the little value Hamas continues to place on the lives of the Palestinian people in Gaza).
Hamas is never sated – each year it devours ever more Palestinians, regardless of age or gender. If Israelis lose fewer citizens than the Palestinians in these conflicts it is for the same reason Israel exchanges more prisoners for each captive soldier: quite simply Israel values human life more than does Hamas, which relishes ground operations taking place among densely populate civilian areas.
Full article here:
I want to draw attention the the two statments above marked with *. Why does the media seem to have this attitude?
Two or three weeks ago I found myself banned from a blog that I’ve been following for a long time and on which I’ve regularly commented.
The blog owner seems not to have liked what I said about Sabbath observance in comments on his blog. The specific issue is one I addressed here after my banning:
He continued his discussion of the Sabbath in a recent posts, writing:
How does one observe the Shabbat? The traditional answer in Hebrew Roots is that we simply do what the Torah tells us to do, but there are problems with this explanation. We have to wrestle with the reality that the Bible doesn’t specifically define exactly how one spends their time and what behaviors one engages or avoids on the Sabbath.
And this brief except again highlights the issue that led to my banning and it has little to do with the Sabbath observance and a lot to do with the observing of tradition.
I find he misses the point entirely, that the Sabbath wasn’t meant to be a burden but a blessing – it was about resting and NOT doing.
It was NOT about creating new rules, regulations and practices to fill the absence of BIBLICAL instruction. If scripture is silent, don’t complicate things or create difficulties by adding to scripture.
I’m amazed to see how widely my blog has been seen. The map below shows which parts of the world it has reached.
Most of North and South America – apart from a couple of countries in South America; a large section of Asia, with a few in Central Asia missing. Africa has the most “white patches” to show they’ve provided no visitors here – and then to the north, Greenland remains unvisited.
Sadly Antarctica isn’t included on the map, so I’ll never know if someone there pays a visit.
How big was the early Jewish church and what happened to them?
Excerpt from “The Fascinating History of the First Jewish Believers”, by Ron Cantor.
We know from Scripture that the Messianic Community in Jerusalem was thriving in the first decades after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem. When Paul comes back to Jerusalem to greet the apostles, they report to him:
On hearing it, they praised God; but they also said to him, “You see, brother, how many tens of thousands of believers there are among the Judeans, and they are all zealous for the Torah.” (Acts 21:20 CJB)
There are two interesting points worth noting. First, they are Torah-honoring Jewish believers. This does not mean that they necessarily followed all the traditions of Pharisaical Judaism, but that they suddenly found deep meaning in the commands and feasts that they previously only kept out of religious guilt or soulish zeal. This is reported to Paul as a good thing. There is no hint that they are moving away from Torah or their Jewishness, but closer.
For the rest of the article see part 1 here:
Link to part two is provided at the end of part 1.