Courage over Compromise: A Martyr for Christ

Shehbaz Bhatti, the only Christian in the Pakistani cabinet, was assassinated on March 2 by Muslim terrorists for opposing Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. As he reveals in this short interview shortly before his murder, Mr. Bhatti chose courage over compromise for the cause of Christ and his persecuted Christian brothers and sisters.

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42 replies
  1. Paul Henri says:

    All the more reason Muslims must be removed from the West and dominated militarily as the West did in the past with Muslim and non-Muslim nations such as the Soviet Union. If Muslims want Sharia Law and all the rest of Islam, repatriate them to suffer under those conditions instead of pretending they are just political/economic exiles that happen to believe in Islam, “meaning peace.” The Koran is nothing if not a sickening diatribe that non-Muslims are garbage and must be killed.

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  2. Toby R. says:

    “The Koran is nothing if not a sickening diatribe that non-Muslims are garbage and must be killed.”

    So is the bible if you read it like that.

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  3. Tim D. says:

    All the more reason Muslims must be removed from the West and dominated militarily as the West did in the past with Muslim and non-Muslim nations such as the Soviet Union.

    Wow. No. Just….no.

    Seriously? That’s disturbing. You’re the guys that are crying “inquisition,” remember? What do you call what you’re saying here? Sounds pretty much like an anti-Islam “Christian Inquisition.”

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  4. Ryan Frazier says:

    Paul, come on. Don’t turn what is meant to be an exposition of Christian character into another talk about how Christians are just as violent as every other religion. As Christians, and therefore Christ-followers, we must see how Jesus’ kingdom is spiritual now, and that He will judge in the end and He will institute His physical kingdom. It is not our responsibility, nor is it the right thing, to force Christ’s kingdom in a militaristic way. I agree with you that Islam as it is now can be very destructive and that Muslims are so lost in terms of salvation.

    It is easy to get mad over the killing of a brother, but we must aspire to carry on his courage in the face of persecution. A very prominent Muslim said, in essence, that if the peaceful, loving but true nature of Jesus Christ was displayed in all Christians, Muslims would probably believe in what He taught.

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  5. Andrea says:

    I used to think of myself as a smart person before my downfall into Christian mythology. To this day I can’t believe how I could’ve been so stupid to buy into the lies and injustice this system holds. Again I apologize to all the people I tried to coerce into Christianity and feel ashamed at the person I became while being into it. One day, out of nowhere I snapped out of it and started using my brain again. Christianity is one of the many oppressive myths that plague our world to this day. You can fall into it through buying into “the appearance of justice and good” like I did, or growing up under this belief, or a combination of both.

    I want to point us to Totalitarianism, to the people who have been rid of freedom and independence through dictatorship. Leaders such as Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Fidel Castro, and more recently Hugo Chavez. These leaders are people most of us dread because we stand against using people as mere instruments to further motives that only benefit the person in power. Yet have you ever thought that the idea of a “god” governing our Universe is an even more severe form of Totalitarianism? That these governments are modeled after the god of the Bible or gods in general?

    If god exists only his opinion counts. Only his subjective preferences are taken to heart. Sin is therefore defined as doing or liking something he doesn’t. If god likes bananas and you happen to like strawberries that is sin and will get punished for that. Either you accept god’s random preferences or you are cast out for being a disloyal servant. If god created satan limited why get offended if satan wanted to be like him or surpass him if this is an impossible feat? If what satan wanted to do is impossible why cast him out for not knowing better, especially since satan is created with the limited knowledge god gave him? Is satan the bad guy here? Bad for refusing to continue to be a toy in the hands of a totalitarian dictator? What is god showing us here? Why is Hitler to blame if he is only modeling what he sees the myth of god doing? Burning and destroying people for not fitting HIS image of “perfection”. Hmmm…. I wonder where Hitler got his gas chambers idea? If we don’t support slavery and oppression why do we continue to pass on religious myths that support this dehumanizing method of captivity?

    None of us like to be told what to do, that’s why people would rather own their own businesses and become clever entrepreneurs, to be self-employed and in control. The United States was formed out of rebellion to the King of Britain, George III. Kids long to get out of their parents’ homes to start their own lives because they want to do things their own way and not have to answer to anyone but themselves. We can never get out of the fact that in this world we will always have to answer to someone because we don’t have unlimited control. But why further this hardship by passing on religious dogma that tears people apart?

    I feel embarrassed of the three years of my life I was a Christian. I lost self-respect because I can’t believe I didn’t get out of it sooner. But the least I can do is speak out against the injustices and destructive ideologies it portrays in hopes of it not oppressing people any longer. Many people served as shining lights to slowly get the blindfold off my eyes. And to all of you I am grateful. But it was only when I realized it for myself that I woke up from a very bad dream. Unless you are a person who submits to everyone and has no wants of your own, why subscribe to myths that do just that, behind the veil of happy brainwashed faces? Myths that are made to control the masses, to benefit from their undivided devotion in monetary, physical work, or other material assets? Why not just help people because we just want to help them, instead of doing everything under the hidden agenda of conversion or making your congregation grow?

    If you don’t like this world, I don’t think you will like heaven, unless the idea of being god’s robot is attractive to you… and not just for a short while, but for eternity.

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  6. CJ says:

    Andrea-
    When you were a Christian, what ideas and/or rules did you disagree with? In your opinion, are rules meant to protect the masses, or to control them? And, if rules are bad, if you now have children, or when you do have children, how will your philosophy of rules come into play? Just because we do not like something, does that mean it is necessarily wrong? Is there absolute truth in our world, and where does truth come from?
    Looking forward to your answers!

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  7. CJ says:

    Tim-

    Why? We live in a society that has rules. Are you opposed to the rules we live under currently? I guess I am wondering if there is a right and a wrong, and if there is, should one be forced to live with the consequences of their choices?

    -CJ

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  8. Ryan Frazier says:

    There is a good blog about God deciding rules “arbitrarily.” It is called the Euthyphro dilemma, and it’s on CrossExamined. In the end, people have made this dilemma say “God arbitrarily decides what is good” or “God is subject to the rule of goodness outside Himself.” But the answer is that it is actually not a dilemma because there is another option. God Himself is good. So His very nature dictates goodness. It is not even close to being like “God likes bananas and I like strawberries, so that’s a sin.”

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  9. Tim D. says:

    But the answer is that it is actually not a dilemma because there is another option. God Himself is good.

    That’s not really an “option” because it doesn’t really answer the dilemma, it just passes the buck — now, the dilemma is that we can’t describe “good” or “god” in a meaningful way, because the two are tautologically defined into each other. It’s like opening a dictionary and seeing this definition for endless loop:

    Endless loop (n.)
    1. see loop, endless

    And then flipping to “loop, endless” and seeing this definition:

    Loop, endless (n.)
    1. see endless loop

    There’s a similar dilemma in mathematics; if we don’t know the values of x and y, then saying x = y is basically meaningless without further extrapolation as to the values of x and y. If x = god and y = goodness, then saying “god is goodness” doesn’t solve the dilemma. Either way, we still can’t solve the equation, and the information given is completely useless on its own as it cannot be used to infer any further information.

    The same is true of any word used to describe god, in any way that any of us can understand: if we can use any word that actually means anything to describe god, it follows that the word of our choosing is some “standard” which exists apart from god, which is inherently superior to him, to which he is bound, in the same way that we would compare an essential concept of “blackness” to an object to decide whether it was black or some other color. You can’t just say that the object *is* “the essence of blackness,” otherwise it would be both meaningless and redundant to use the term “black” to describe it. Likewise, if, in fact, god is “the essence of goodness,” then it is both meaningless and redundant to use the term “good” to describe him, and we are left with absolutely zero final information about god.

    In other words, what does it mean for god to be good, in that case? That is the new dilemma.

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  10. Tim D. says:

    P.S.

    The dilemma can be further demonstrated by pointing out that, if god is good because he is godlike (i.e. like himself), then this is a tautology and thus god’s “goodness” is in fact arbitrary (because it is only “good” because it is “his,” and not because of some quality which makes it so).

    But then, these are less problems with god himself, per se, and more problems with the essentialist philosophy which is used to construct him in our minds.

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  11. Tim D. says:

    P.P.S.

    Why? We live in a society that has rules. Are you opposed to the rules we live under currently? I guess I am wondering if there is a right and a wrong, and if there is, should one be forced to live with the consequences of their choices?

    1) “Why” what?

    2) You’re going to have to be more specific. I support most of the rules of society, I oppose some, just like anybody else.

    3) What do you mean by “right” and “wrong?”

    4) What does any of this have to do with “god’s law” being arbitrary? See above postings for extrapolation.

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  12. Ryan Frazier says:

    To Tim D.

    “That’s not really an “option” because it doesn’t really answer the dilemma, it just passes the buck — now, the dilemma is that we can’t describe “good” or “god” in a meaningful way, because the two are tautologically defined into each other.”

    In the post on Cross Examined, this was touched on.

    “Ah but,” my atheist friends complain, “you’ve not defined good, you’ve just said that God is good, so your definition of good is God and your definition of God is good. That’s circular reasoning, and you can’t prove it.”

    But as we have already shown it is actually circular reasoning if you try to create a definition of good without a supreme moral giver. You need a standard and you need a standard giver.

    And I don’t think your mathematics example applies-that is just an example of needing two equations to solve for two unknowns. x=y does give more information than just the variables x and y, because now you know there is only one variable.

    Since my atheist friends cannot come to a definition of good without a standard, they are in a similar dilemma. At least our theory has explanatory power and is self-consistent.7

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  13. Ryan Frazier says:

    I’m just bouncing ideas out there now, and I’d like to do this on another blog because this one is about standing up for truth in the face of oppression. But what about this?

    Assume God exists eternally. He has attributes, sum them all up by calling them “goodness.” We say, “What is goodness?” and answer “God’s attributes are goodness.” We don’t know what goodness is, except that God’s attributes make up goodness.

    Then God creates the universe and all the laws in it. His attributes take physical form in terms of actions and consequences and feelings. He injects the knowledge of goodness into people by creating them in His own image. In that way, they can know goodness. By coming across events in daily life, they can discern whether those events coincide with goodness because goodness is known to them in their nature.

    So God chooses how goodness is expressed, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that these are just expressions of His attributes. And even since God chose what expressions revealed goodness, it doesn’t take away anything from the fact that it is good.

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  14. Ryan Frazier says:

    P.S.
    In a math way, God says “Hey, I’m x, and goodness is y. But I know this because I am goodness. So x=y. I will express myself as a multiple of my nature plus some other attribute (call this attribute a constant=c). So x=ay+c.” As a person, I can then determine goodness, y=c/(1-a).

    Ok, so maybe math is a dumb example…

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  15. CJ says:

    Tim: “The problem is not that there are rules, the problem is that the rules are decidedly arbitrary.”

    1. Why are rules a “problem?”

    2. Which of the 10 commandments do you disagree with? For now I would love it if you would answer this question based on commandments 5-10, simply because you are an atheist, and as such, I feel that your comments on commandments 1-4 would be beating a dead horse so to speak, since all of us on here clearly understand your views regarding God (commandments 1-4 deal directly with God), basically, we don’t expect you to honor or respect a God you do not believe in.

    I’m going to leave it at that for now. I appreciate your honest answers. Also, please note that I am a chick, not a dude.:-) Thanks!

    Reply
  16. Tim D. says:

    But as we have already shown it is actually circular reasoning if you try to create a definition of good without a supreme moral giver. You need a standard and you need a standard giver.

    The only way that it would mean anything at all for god to be “good” is if “goodness” had its own subjective definition, apart from god (i.e. a standard independent of him, to which he was subject to comparison). If it has no such meaning, then it tells us no more about god to call him “good” than it does to call him “godlike.” It’s a completely tautological definition.

    And I don’t think your mathematics example applies-that is just an example of needing two equations to solve for two unknowns. x=y does give more information than just the variables x and y, because now you know there is only one variable.

    Exactly — even if we just say that “god = good,” we still have no further information about what the actual definition is. We still don’t know what “god” or “good” are, and we can’t solve for them with the information we have.

    Since my atheist friends cannot come to a definition of good without a standard, they are in a similar dilemma. At least our theory has explanatory power and is self-consistent.7

    Just about everyone except Christians can come up with some self-consistent definition of “good” — objective, even — because Christians must assume this circular case in which god and goodness are tautologically defined into one another. A Christian cannot make an actual case for god’s goodness because it must be assumed a priori and therefore cannot be demonstrated.

    Assume God exists eternally. He has attributes, sum them all up by calling them “goodness.” We say, “What is goodness?” and answer “God’s attributes are goodness.” We don’t know what goodness is, except that God’s attributes make up goodness.

    Exactly! That’s a tautology, and that’s what makes god’s “goodness” arbitrary — it’s not goodness because of some quality that makes it such, it’s simply good because it’s god. That’s a very different definition of “good” than is used traditionally, when people say something is “good” or “bad.” Generally, goodness is used to refer to some statement of well-being or prosperity, and it has at least *some* relation to the condition of conscious creatures to which a moral obligation is self-detected. Christian “goodness” has no such grounding in the human condition and is thus basically and utterly meaningless — it’s a philosophically essentialist statement that tells us nothing about what we should do or why, and it basically amounts to a “might is right” argument: god is mighty, therefore what he says is good, therefore god is goodness. That’s the same argument Christians accuse atheists of using (we don’t), and the very same reason Christians ceaselessly bring up Hitler — they see it as the inevitable result of a “might is right” approach to morality.

    So God chooses how goodness is expressed, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that these are just expressions of His attributes. And even since God chose what expressions revealed goodness, it doesn’t take away anything from the fact that it is good.

    You’re offering a new, unfamiliar and circular definition of “goodness” here that is completely divorced from consequence or explanation. When I’m talking about “goodness,” I’m talking about an explanation that is practical and explainable, and which is grounded in reasoning. The definition you offer is not really practical (it’s not applicable when discerning moral judgments), and it’s not grounded in reasoning (a case cannot be made for it using reasonable supporting arguments).

    In a math way, God says “Hey, I’m x, and goodness is y. But I know this because I am goodness. So x=y. I will express myself as a multiple of my nature plus some other attribute (call this attribute a constant=c). So x=ay+c.” As a person, I can then determine goodness, y=c/(1-a).

    That makes it even worse, actually. Because now you have two more unknowns that you cannot solve for, two new variables which are tautologically offered into the equation.

    See, the problem with this whole attempted solution to the dilemma is simple: if every variable is defined in terms of every other variable, then it is impossible to solve the equation. Likewise, if every attribute of god is defined in respect to every other attribute of god, then every attribute in itself is completely meaningless. We must first have some kind of objective basis or quality, which is not vague and philosophical or self-referencing but demonstrably observable — something which can be described on its own, without referencing other states of being — in order to describe other states or qualities which are defined in terms of that thing. Since we do not have such information about god, it follows that the reasoning which assumes his existence is completely and utterly circular and devoid of substance. At the end of the day, it’s all just wordplay.

    1. Why are rules a “problem?”

    False attribution; rules are not a problem.

    2. Which of the 10 commandments do you disagree with?

    I disagree with any commandment which asserts the wrongness (or rightness) of something without justifying it. As I’ve explained above, I do not care for the “might is right” approach to moral reasoning. If such a being actually existed which asserted that its own might somehow justified its claims to morality, I may still play by the rules for simple fear of reciprocation (or I may not — it depends on whether you’d join Hitler in order to stay out of Auschwitz, I suppose), but that does not mean I would accept it as moral on the basis of might. Might is not a substitute for sound moral reasoning — whether you’re a god or a man.

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  17. Ryan Frazier says:

    So I’m trying to understand this more.
    If God was good because He legislated off a standard of goodness, then He’s not really God in the way we understand because He is not the source of all things.

    If God was good because He called whatever He legislated good, then He is at worst capricious.

    If there is no God at all, then you say we can discover goodness through reason. But reason does not necessarily reach the same standard of goodness because certain axioms must be assumed to be good. For instance, if the guiding principle was do no harm, or feel pleasure, or be virtuous then the outcomes of goodness may be different. In other words it seems that goodness is not really discovered, it is created in the mind and guided by consequences (in a world without God).

    In reference to what I said above, if God was good because it is His nature, it means nothing to us until He expresses it in creation. So maybe He is being “capricious” in that He chooses how to express it, but it is still good. And if He is the creator then He would get to decide what good is.

    And as far as the math stuff goes, the extra letters (a and c) are not variables, but constants that God would get to decide in His expression of good. So God can decide that “a” is 2 and “c” is 1, so goodness is known to be -1.

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  18. CJ says:

    Hmmm…Tim, I guess discussing anything with you is pointless because you refuse to answer specific questions. Instead you go off on tangents:

    “I disagree with any commandment which asserts the wrongness (or rightness) of something without justifying it. As I’ve explained above, I do not care for the “might is right” approach to moral reasoning. If such a being actually existed which asserted that its own might somehow justified its claims to morality, I may still play by the rules for simple fear of reciprocation (or I may not — it depends on whether you’d join Hitler in order to stay out of Auschwitz, I suppose), but that does not mean I would accept it as moral on the basis of might. Might is not a substitute for sound moral reasoning — whether you’re a god or a man.”

    However, you did admit that rules themselves are not a problem…thank you!

    I will repeat my question, maybe you will truly read the commandments and answer the question I actually posed….this may be wishful thinking however….

    1. Out of commandments 5-10, which ones do you disagree with?

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  19. Tim D. says:

    In reference to what I said above, if God was good because it is His nature, it means nothing to us until He expresses it in creation. So maybe He is being “capricious” in that He chooses how to express it, but it is still good. And if He is the creator then He would get to decide what good is.

    Again, though: What is “good,” then?

    All of this is completely irrelevant if we can’t apply the definition of “good” to something.

    Hmmm…Tim, I guess discussing anything with you is pointless

    And yet you keep typing, rendering this assertion completely irrelevant.

    However, you did admit that rules themselves are not a problem…thank you!

    As I said before, I never said “rules are a problem” in the first place. Ever. No “admission” is necessary, as the word “admit” implies that I was ever trying to deny it in the first place. Which I clearly was not.

    I will repeat my question, maybe you will truly read the commandments and answer the question I actually posed….this may be wishful thinking however

    You are right about one thing: I will not answer your question about which commandments I disagree with. Whether I agree with all of them completely, or disagree with all of them completely, is completely irrelevant to my point. You are trying to frame this as a question of which rules we should accept, when in fact it is a question of why we should (or shouldn’t) accept any given rule. Answering your question, then, would not only deviate from the point but also bring nothing to the table.

    I mean seriously, what is this, the church of scientology? I make one statement and you ask a bunch of irrelevant questions and try to change the subject? Yeesh.

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  20. CJ says:

    Tim,

    If you will reread my original post on this blog posting, would you please note what my questions were regarding. Thanks!

    Also, you were the one who jumped in and responded to a post that was directed toward Andrea (which I am fine with), which is why I then began asking you my questions. I am not the one who changed the subject, you are. My original questions had to do with the commandments/rules themselves, not about where good comes from or if God is good. I would venture a guess that to you God is nothing (either good or bad) simply because you don’t believe in Him, and if God does not exist, then He can’t be bad either.

    I am pretty sure you are not the only atheist on the blog, so I can get my questions answered by someone else. I was simply wondering how the commandments were viewed by an atheist.

    I was under the assumption that the people responding to this blog wanted to discuss a range of topics, not just TRY to make other people feel stupid (or have a pissing match). Can I just say Tim, none of your posts have made me even question any of my beliefs…perhaps it is because you seem so angry and condescending all the time. At least I am interested in WHY and WHAT lead you to your convictions, and I am asking for YOUR answer. I’m not just out there believing a blanket statement about the entire population of atheists. Perhaps it is easier for you to view ALL Christians as gullible twits…I’m sure it makes you feel so much smarter than us.:-)

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  21. Ryan Frazier says:

    CJ

    I understand your issues with the way Tim is answering your questions, but he is not trying to make people feel stupid. It is totally fine for someone to question what one believes, and the answers should make what you believe stronger or weaker. Please do not isolate atheists on the blog because that is where a lot of good discussion comes from-and in the end, we Christians can think about all kinds of stuff, but getting non-believers engaged and sharing the gospel with them is the most important thing we can do. I hate to use the cliche, WWJD, but just take a step back and look at what you wrote and examine your motives.

    Please understand I get worked up too and I lose my emotion all the time, so I am not speaking down to you-just a brother in Christ trying to help 🙂

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  22. Paul Henri says:

    This is about doors and borders. Christians dominating Muslims was an inaccurate expression in my March 17 post. Christian leadership and defending against Muslims was the intended meaning. Now to do that one must war with Muslim countries when necessary, prevent Muslim entry into the West, and repatriate the existing Muslims to the extent they are no longer a menace.

    Their very presence is a menace as we hear about day after day in the news. They don’t just want to live in peace; they want to take over. Christian nations must be conquered, and the Christians must convert, be killed, or live in a subservient status. Multiculturalism is their Trojan horse. If one does not see that day after day, then one does not want to see it. We are not talking about a mere difference in opinion among peace-loving people. Peace is not their religion. Just sit back and imagine what life would be like if the U.S. opened its borders to all Muslims. Christians could hold no power, as Mr. Turek’s article evidences.

    Sure there are many kind Muslims uninterested in politics, but they are going to follow Islamic leadership wherever it takes over. Americans are incapable of making some of its other minorities peace loving. We can’t expect to make a billion Muslims peace loving.

    Sure Christian culture dominates in Christian countries. That is why there are doors and borders.

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  23. Tim D. says:

    If you will reread my original post on this blog posting, would you please note what my questions were regarding. Thanks!

    Nah. Don’t really feel like it.

    Also, you were the one who jumped in and responded to a post that was directed toward Andrea (which I am fine with), which is why I then began asking you my questions.

    Very well. I’ll just wait for Andrea’s response, then.

    At least I am interested in WHY and WHAT lead you to your convictions, and I am asking for YOUR answer.

    Actually, you did not ask me “why” anything. I explained to you that my problem with “the 10 commandments,” for example, is not that they are “rules” (you tried to portray me as having said that “rules are bad mmmkay”, which I did not say), but that they were arbitrary — in other words, the rules themselves are irrelevant because their methodology is flawed; the reason Christians accept them as “good” is flawed because it is circular and arbitrary.

    I’m not just out there believing a blanket statement about the entire population of atheists.

    No, but you sure seem confident enough in my character to make blanket statements about moi.

    Perhaps it is easier for you to view ALL Christians as gullible twits…I’m sure it makes you feel so much smarter than us.:-

    No, I actually try not to treat Christians the same way they tend to treat atheists. Although yes, I am known to get irritated by people who just cover their ears and parrot sound bytes and whatnot. People like that are worse than internet forum trolls. At least trolls are funny.

    Christian leadership and defending against Muslims was the intended meaning. Now to do that one must war with Muslim countries when necessary, prevent Muslim entry into the West, and repatriate the existing Muslims to the extent they are no longer a menace.

    You know, Christian guys are not the only ones that Muslims are out to kill/conquer/etc. Everybody else everywhere is just as much of an “infidel” as you. It may be very easy to play the martyr here, but you’re no more a martyr for Christianity in that sense than I am a “martyr for atheism.” It’s not like they’ve specifically singled out Christians; they hate us “infidel atheists” as well. I’m sure if we were both standing next to each other in front of a jihadist with a machine-gun, he wouldn’t hesitate to take us both out in a single sweep.

    Their very presence is a menace as we hear about day after day in the news. They don’t just want to live in peace; they want to take over.

    The irony is, in their attempts to “defeat the Muslim invaders,” etc., Christians have become so fear-ridden and terror-motivated that they’re willing to behave exactly like the Muslims are — violent, socially-manipulative, xenophobic, etc.

    I’m just saying….I totally understand not liking Islam, but I don’t think it’s unfair for me to try to warn you not to get too wrapped up in that sort of thing. There *is* such a thing as overdoing the reciprocation.

    Just sit back and imagine what life would be like if the U.S. opened its borders to all Muslims. Christians could hold no power, as Mr. Turek’s article evidences.

    For one, the U.S. already does open its borders to Muslims, as long as they enter legally and are not sought-after criminals. Just like anyone else.

    Second, under Sharia law, nobody except Muslims would be able to hold power. That’s not some strictly anti-Christian thing, you know. They also happen to not care much for our Jewish bros and sistahs, or so I hear.

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  24. Ryan Frazier says:

    True-in fact, if Muslims did take over, Christians and Jews are supposed to have the ability to pay taxes to the theocracy and just live peacefully without being subversive to Islam. Atheists would be much more persecuted. This is true as far as Islam’s teaching from it’s beginning. Today, however, the principle of letting “People of the Book” live and let live probably has the interpretation of being abrogated in many Muslim countries-so everyone might be just as persecuted.

    Anyway, I am proud of the Christian who was martyred for his faith, and I wish that stories like these would be more exposed (not necessarily happen more often, though!).

    Reply
  25. Toby R. says:

    “Anyway, I am proud of the Christian who was martyred for his faith, and I wish that stories like these would be more exposed (not necessarily happen more often, though!).”

    So what really makes this case any better than a person dying so that people can have a certain right, such as voting or any number of rights? Hundreds if not thousands die each day defending things that have nothing to do with religion. Where are the posts about them?

    Reply
  26. matt says:

    @Toby- Where are the posts about them?

    A: probably on another site. Go find those sites and let us know how it goes. This is a site about Christians, so the post is about a Christian martyr. If you are unhappy about that, find the aformentioned sites and enjoy yourself.

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  27. Tim D. says:

    Anyway, I am proud of the Christian who was martyred for his faith, and I wish that stories like these would be more exposed (not necessarily happen more often, though!).

    That’s fine. I just wanted to point out one of the very, very rare instances in which it seems that we (i.e. atheists and Christians) seem to have a common end in preventing, say, Sharia law.

    So nobody’s allowed to say that I *always* disagree with *everything* said by *everyone* here 0.0

    Reply
  28. Tim D. says:

    Dunno if this would be considered off-topic, but since we’re talking about Islam….did anybody else here know about the Organization of the Islamic Conference? For the last 12 years or so, they’ve been haranguing the U.N. to try and pass “blasphemy laws” that make it illegal (in any country, as I understand it) to blaspheme religious beliefs (and this was supposed to be a “universal human rights standard”).

    http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2011/03/24/islamic-bloc-drops-12-year-u-n-drive-to-ban-defamation-of-religion/

    Well it seems that this isn’t going to happen, because the U.N. recently passed a resolution that basically affirms the value of human life over the value of religious belief, taking pains to say that if anyone’s life is threatened because of their religious beliefs, then that is not acceptable (just as it would be unacceptable for their lives to be threatened for pretty much any other reason), but it is not the religion that grants anyone this special status; everyone has this right recognized by the U.N., regardless of religion.

    This is an interesting development considering the recent assassination of Governor Salman Taseer of Punjab, who was killed just for advocating repeal of the blasphemy law in Pakistan, which punishes blasphemy with death.

    Reply
  29. Toby R says:

    Having watched this video again I have come to the conclusion that this isn’t really about christianity, but about establishing a law similar to our first amendment. This goes beyond chrisianity or islam or any religion. this is a matter of individuals having the right to choose what they believe and not being told what to believe.

    Does it not strike anyone here that at the same time you’re decrying islam and sharia you’re engaged in fights that are essentially the same? Trying to force people to see the ten commandments, trying to force kids to pray in school, trying to tell people with different sexuality that they’re second class citizens. I think if christians suddenly had as much power in this country as muslims in iran, for instance, then we’d see the same kind of oppression and suppression of people’s freedoms.

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  30. Ryan Frazier says:

    Sadly, I think you are somewhat correct-such is the problem of imperfect people trying to rule in government-even more so imperfect people trying to be God’s diplomats on earth. However, if true followers of Christ were in power under current government, I would have to disagree with the statement-there is no way that a person guided by the truths and motives of the Bible would commit the crimes committed by Islam, since it does not command what Islam does. Indeed, if Christians ruled in love, then it would be MUCH different

    It’s also annoying how Christians have this persona of trying “force people to see the ten commandments” (force people to “see,”…really, come on, let’s not go there), and force kids to pray in school, and treat homosexuals as second class citizens, etc. I don’t feel like the fight is there…I really feel like the fight is for me to be able to practice my religion, to be able to pray in front of an audience, or by myself with people around; to be able to read a Bible in the midst of students without being disruptive; to wear a cross without breaking some “secular” rule. Maybe in other areas Christians are forcing the religion, but in my area, it is somewhat the opposite case. The same is true for the LGBTOQ community-I think you would be hard pressed to find Christianity (in the majority) to treat them as lower citizens-if they followed the Bible, they would know that we are all equal under God’s law. Also, Christian beliefs may drive certain political ideas, but that does not mean Christians are forcing the ideas. it could be a difference in political ideology-promotion vs. permission in social behaviors is an example.

    Reply
  31. Tim D. says:

    However, if true followers of Christ were in power under current government, I would have to disagree with the statement-there is no way that a person guided by the truths and motives of the Bible would commit the crimes committed by Islam, since it does not command what Islam does.

    1) I don’t think it’s realistic to say that the Bible preaches none of the same tenets as Islam. Christianity and Islam have a lot more in common than many people seem to think. It wouldn’t be the same, no, but it also wouldn’t be the “same” if Al Qaeda or the KKK ran the government. That doesn’t mean either one wouldn’t be equally bad.

    2) Problem is, even if the Bible *were* some sort of perfect set of tenets for living awesomely, *nobody* seems to have the restraint or sense (Christian or otherwise) to actually follow enough of them for it to reflect positively from a standpoint of government. Every time a prominent non-hippy-liberal Christian gets into office, the first orders of business tend to be either (A) stifle science education in any way possible, or (B) completely ignore economic and social issues and focus all resources on trying to force everyone to believe that America is a Christian empire nation. Seriously, what’s with all these affirmations lately?

    And anyway, what does it matter if Christianity is some perfect set of ethics if nobody anywhere is qualified to actually exemplify them? To approximate what Hitchens said in the Intelligence-squared debate, if you can’t be expected to behave any different from anyone else, then frankly, what good are you? Isn’t that the point of claiming moral-high-ground-by-church-affiliation in the first place?

    Reply
  32. Toby R says:

    “if true followers of Christ were in power under current government, I would have to disagree with the statement-there is no way that a person guided by the truths and motives of the Bible would commit the crimes committed by Islam, since it does not command what Islam does.”

    Good luck finding these mythical beings. There are thousands of christian sects and counting. Who are the true believers? I doubt such a beast exists.

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  33. Ryan Frazier says:

    True believers are those who believe in essential Christian beliefs as laid out by the Bible and historical Christianity. Just because disagreements exist doesn’t mean that there are no true Christians. The New Testament tells us not to divide over secondary issues. A good quote, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

    Essential beliefs based on the Bible and early historic Christianity:

    Deity of Christ
    Sinful man
    Trinity
    Resurrection of and atonement by Christ
    Truth of Scripture
    Eschatology

    And Christianity is not a perfect set of ethics-it is not about what people must do and how they should act. Most simply, it is what Jesus has done. Because no one can exemplify the standard of God perfectly, Jesus did. And because everyone transgressed the standard of God, everyone deserved punishment-the punishment which Jesus took willingly for us. In fact, I am NO good; I will try to exemplify the standards of God because that’s what having Jesus as Master means; but I, of myself, am no good. Claiming the moral high ground is not the point; claiming the Savior and His Lordship as their own is the point.

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  34. Tim D. says:

    In fact, I am NO good; I will try to exemplify the standards of God because that’s what having Jesus as Master means; but I, of myself, am no good. Claiming the moral high ground is not the point; claiming the Savior and His Lordship as their own is the point.

    1) Nobody is “no good,” that is a hyperbole. Personally, I would advise someone not to follow a set of beliefs which tells them that they are “no good.”

    2) If that’s the only point, then I can’t really see much of a point. If it doesn’t cause people to act any differently, then I don’t see how it’s really effective at all — it’s the “prescription” for a problem that only exists from within that particular worldview. If I don’t believe in Hell (or sin), then there’s no reason why any of that should matter to me at all.

    Reply
  35. Ryan Frazier says:

    And I would believe in such a religion that says I am no good. lol Not that I can’t be good on earth, but I have the otherworldly hope my Judge being merciful. However, Christ’s power isn’t just for the afterlife-I am “born again” in the present–not some distant judgment day. I am also being transformed into the likeness of Christ so that I may have a stronger relationship with Him-this should lead to “goodness” in the world, but is not THE goal. While I cannot speak for everyone, I know Christ has made me a better person. As an anecdote, there is no way I would have sat with a homeless person for two hours yesterday in the middle of finals testing, buying him pizza, potato chips, water, and Chinese food if I did not know Christ; I know who I was beforehand, and I would not have done it.

    Also, it is the solution to the problem of sin; it should matter to people as a way to set them free and find their purpose to be in relationship with the Creator and be in His presence in death. The only way this doesn’t matter to others is if the religion is false.

    Reply
  36. Tim D. says:

    And I would believe in such a religion that says I am no good

    That’s kind of sad to me, that you are willing to sell yourself short like that. But to each his/her own, I guess.

    Not that I can’t be good on earth, but I have the otherworldly hope my Judge being merciful.

    That’s one dilemma for which I’ve never understood the apologetic:

    -) God is perfectly just without exception
    -) Humans deserve hell

    Given those two premises, it seems that the only possible conclusion is:

    -) Therefore, humans will go to hell

    In any other case — however “benevolent” it may seem to us, given that we’re supposedly the benifitiaries — it seems that god would be unjust, because he’d be giving humans something other than what they deserve. He would be going against his own nature/standard of judgment, which — as Mr. Turek and Mr. Mammen have argued here and elsewhere — would be necessarily immoral. And if we were to tautologically define this act as “moral” just because god did it, then well, I think god would basically explode from the logic fail because we’d have trapped him in an infinite loop 😮 Like those machines in the apocalypse movies that self-destruct when they try to comprehend the infinite logical loop.

    As an anecdote, there is no way I would have sat with a homeless person for two hours yesterday in the middle of finals testing, buying him pizza, potato chips, water, and Chinese food if I did not know Christ;

    See, I hear people say things like that all the time, but in my experience, that’s more of a product of the culture-bias which is created because of religions, than any sort of true reflection of reality. Personally, I also support RAKs — random acts of kindness — and anyone who performs them without any expectation of reciprocation….and yet, even though I tend to not make my beliefs known to just everybody (I don’t go around parading my atheism or any of my life philosophies to random people in hopes of “converting” or “deconverting” them), when people inevitably *do* get to know me better and they find out that I don’t believe in a god, they act all surprised. They think, “why would someone want to randomly help me if they didn’t believe that god would reward them for doing it?” They tend to act very suspicious towards me afterward, as if they expect me to ask for something in return, or try and use them somehow. They simply can’t understand — perhaps because of this meme that “god makes you do random kind things,” or perhaps just because of paranoia — that some people have strong or complex ethical beliefs that are not based on an unreasonable belief in the supernatural.

    To put it simply: I think the reason more “skeptical” people are not better known for such acts, is because people refuse to acknowledge them as such; skeptical people are tautologically assigned an “ulterior motive” by people who don’t want to acknowledge them as having genuinely kind or ethical motives — all because they simply can’t (or won’t) understand how someone who is not their particular religion can even have a system of ethics.

    Also, it is the solution to the problem of sin; it should matter to people as a way to set them free and find their purpose to be in relationship with the Creator and be in His presence in death. The only way this doesn’t matter to others is if the religion is false.

    Case in point:

    De-thetanization is the solution to the problem of body thetans; it should matter to people as a way to set them free and find their purpose to be free from the influence of the thetans. The only way this doesn’t matter to others is if Scientology is false.

    Needless to say, anyone arguing against the truth of this statement will necessarily be arguing from the premise that it is false.

    Reply
  37. Toby R. says:

    “They think, “why would someone want to randomly help me if they didn’t believe that god would reward them for doing it?” They tend to act very suspicious towards me afterward, as if they expect me to ask for something in return, or try and use them somehow.”

    I read this and though that maybe we should alter that old classic dilemma to this:

    “Are people generally good because they are good or are people generally good because of their religion?”

    Reply
  38. Ryan Frazier says:

    Great stuff! Maybe I can try to explain these reasons better. God is perfectly just without exception. Humans deserve hell for transgressing God. So why doesn’t God send everyone to hell?
    From the moment the Bible describes the fall of man, it also describes God as setting up a system that would reconcile people back to Him. As types and symbols that would point forward to Christ’s sacrifice, people would perform sacrifices to atone for their sins. The point was, however, not that the sacrifices atoned for their sins, but that the faith in God to atone for their sins with THE sacrifice would eventually come. (Hebrews 11)
    In this way, God set up that the substituted punishment, a sacrifice, would suffice as just retribution. Since He actually was the sacrifice, His just nature is perfectly melded into His merciful nature. Romans 5: 15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!

    As a side note, people of religion who do good things for an eternal reward as their first motivation are not doing “good” in a Biblical world view. Acts of goodness are to be performed as a lifestyle with a selfless mindset-one that would be closer to the selfless nature of Jesus.

    Another thing–it stinks that all people are not recognized for their good works, but I think Christians are not recognized either-especially since a lot of people try to downplay any sort of good thing they do. This especially happens when people debate on whether Christians are any better than anyone else. This is a meaningless debate, however, as we have already talked about. In fact, I think another reason some good acts are not recognized is due to the humility of the ones performing them, especially those acts which are not random, but entire lifestyles of a person.

    Tim-If I could ask two questions (you don’t have to answer them). Who is Jesus to you? How do you form your system of ethics?

    Reply

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