Have you missed me? I took a vacation and didn't mention it because I thought I'd blog occasionally while traveling, but guess what? No internet access--unless I wanted to pay a bunch for using it a few minutes. So...I'm back. While I was gone I even heard about a study that shows people who take at least one vacation a year live longer. It's good to take a vacation--even a vacation from internet service, I guess.
Lately I've been reading a book by Robert Spencer titled Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't (Regnery Publishing, 2007. $27.95). I'm only into chapter four, but I can already recommend this book. The author clearly knows his stuff--about Islam and about Christianity. Here's a sample from chapter two:
"...it quickly became conventional wisdom after September 11 that the War on Terror had no religious dimension. Analysts acknowledged that at most, it involved a struggle against 'a global network of extremists who are driven by a twisted vision of Islam,' as Peter Wehner, deputy assistant to the president and director of the White Houses's Office of Strategic Initiatives, put it in January 2007, more than five years later. This is just one indication of how resilient this notion has proven to be. (2) Few in the mainstream media or in Washington offices would even consider the possibility that Islam was part of the problem, and no one would have dreamed of suggesting that Christianity could be part of the solution.
"President George W. Bush summed up mainstream assumptions when he declared: 'Our enemy doesn't follow the great traditions of Islam. They've hijacked a great religion.' Islam, he explained, 'is a faith that brings comfort to people. It inspires them to lead lives based on honesty, and justice, and compassion.' (3) To accompany this praise, the United States government sponsored the building of mosques in Afghanistan and elsewhere as a gesture of goodwill toward the Islamic world. (4)
"But in 2006, many in the mainstream media began speaking in deadly earnest about a religion that really was inciting violence and extremism, and which was a threat to the very survival of American constitutional government. Islam, however, was not the religion they had in mind. This dangerous religion, of course, was Christianity. Fostering the spread of this idea was the cascade of books that appeared that year, warning the American public about the growth of 'theocons,' 'Christian fascists,' or, in a conscious parallel to the term 'Islamist' (which denotes the proponents of political Islam), 'Christianist.' These groups are supposedly not only advancing a Christian agenda in the public sphere, but are also working to subvert the Constitution and establish a theocracy. Sure, the Islamists are working to impose religious rule on their own societies, but so are the Christianists--and the Christianists pose the far more serious threat. Some even charge that just as the Taliban practiced stonings and beheadings, so would these Christianists if they got half a chance." (From pages 13-14.)
Mr. Spencer goes on to give numerous examples with documentation. So far, his book has served to remind me (or show me) that a lot of dangerous ideas have been subtly slipped into our nation, society, and minds...and I haven't reacted as I should have. For example, I remember the feeling in my gut when I began hearing from the President and then echoed elsewhere that a few extremists had hijacked a great religion (Islam). I knew there was something terribly wrong with that thought, but I didn't stop to think about how wrong it was, let alone think about speaking up and saying something. To someone. Anyone. Until now.
You see what I think is so wrong with that statement...[pausing here to brace myself for all the hate mail that's going to come my way]...is that Islam is not "a great religion." (Well, perhaps in a manner of speaking it is...but let's not get distracted. I'll explain what I mean by that in my next post.) But what I'm thinking today is, when you get right down to it, there are only two ways to believe--two "religions": the one that is Truth, and then everything else can be lumped together as what is not truth.
Obviously I believe Christianity is Truth (or else I wouldn't believe it. Duh.). That means I believe every other "religion" is a false religion. Therefore, I do not believe Islam is "a great religion" because it leads people away from the one and only Truth: That Jesus Christ is not just a prophet but is indeed God come in the flesh; that Muhammad is not a prophet (not of the true God) and that he neither was nor is equal with Jesus; that the Holy Bible is the infallible words of God to us and the Quran is not; and that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Israel, the God of Jews and Christians is not the same as Islam's Allah.
How can a religion be good or great if it's anything but the truth?
At the end of Robert Spencer's chapter two he writes, "Judeo-Christian civilization deserves a better, more spirited defense." I absolutely agree.
I'm looking forward to learning more from him through the rest of his book. If you're interested, I've put a button over there on the right side of my blog to this book at Amazon.com. If you've received this by Feedblitz's e-mail, you'll have to click on the link to go to my actual blog to find the button.
Spencer's footnotes from the excerpt above:
(2) Peter Wehner, "The War Against Global Jihadism," RealClearPolitics.com, January 8, 2007.
(3) Remarks by President George W. Bush on U.S. humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, Presidential Hall, Dwight David Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Washington, D.C., October 11, 2002.
(4)"U.S. State Department funding mosque building in Bulgaria," Focus News Agency, October 4, 2004; "Faithful spurn U.S.-built mosque," News24.com, February 25, 2004.