Apologetics

Islamic Culture’s Denigration of Women

Islam, women Christ

Robert Spencer director of Jihad Watch and author of The Politically Incorrect Gide to Islam (And the Crusades) as well as The Complete Infidels Guide to the Koran was guest on the March 2, 2016 edition of the Bible Answer Man broadcast. Robert was asked a variety of questions related to the topic of Islam. The following are some highlights from the discussion.

Hank Hanegraaff: I want to ask you about Islam and women because there seems to be a cognitive dissonance in society, particularly Western society, when it comes to, on the one hand, being very, very attuned to the rights of women, the equality of women, and yet in Islam, which today is being touted in a politically correct way, there are not the same kind of rights for women in Islam that there are for women in Christianity or Western Civilization at large.

Robert Spencer: No, they’re certainly aren’t, Hank and it’s very clear, Islam allows for polygamy, which devalues and dehumanizes women, commodifies them. Islam allows for easy divorce for men, all a man has to say to a woman to divorce her is you are divorced—talaq—and that’s it. If he says it three times it’s irrevocable and the woman has to actually go and be married by somebody else and divorced by him before she can go back to her husband. This rule is in the Qur’an and made there because it’s so easy to divorce a woman in Islam that it’s often done by men in a fit of anger and then they make up, he rescinds it the next day, but if he does that three times, then they can’t be remarried, until she remarries and divorces somebody else. It’s an absurd rule. It’s in the Qur’an. Also, a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man. Above all, I’m sorry not above all first, but first the inheritance is less for a daughter than for a son. And above all, there is wife beating. If a man fears disobedience, not even that the woman is disobedient but he fears disobedience from her, then he is to give her warnings, send her to a separate bed, and then third beat her. Now, spousal abuse, of course, is something that is found everywhere among all cultures and all countries, but only in Islam is it given divine sanctions, such that in Islamic courts, Sharia courts, if a woman comes in and says, my husband’s beating me, they’ll say, well you need to work harder to please him. They’re not going to say, you have any human rights to avoid this beating.

Hank: Reading USA Today this morning, there’s an article titled, “Shedding Light on Honor Killings,” and this has to do with four years ago an online wedding video that went viral cost three brothers their lives. The video shows the brothers dancing and women clapping at a wedding party in Northern Pakistan, and a council of elders issued a death sentence against the pair as well as four women and a twelve-year-old girl. Their crime? Well, it was beginning to be a dishonor on the families by violating a strict local code against men and women mingling. Talk about honor killing and how pandemic that is within Islam.

Robert: Honor killing is an extraordinary phenomenon that is rooted in Islamic teachings. The idea is that this is particularly something that victimizes young women. If they are considered to have committed an act of immorality, which could include being raped because in the Islamic scheme of things if a young woman is raped, it’s her fault. This is the understanding behind the veiling of women. Men are considered to be unable to control their temptations and so if a woman wants to make sure not to be raped then she has to veil and cover herself up and if she is attacked, sexually assaulted, then it’s her fault, and her responsibility. The honor of the family can then be cleansed by killing her, and this happens all too often. As a matter of fact, there are many countries in the Islamic world, where there are lesser penalties for honor killings. If a person commits murder, then he’s punished for murder. But, if he can establish that he did it because of honor, to cleanse the family’s honor, then he gets a reduced sentence, and sometimes no sentence at all. This comes directly from the idea that is enshrined in Islamic law that there is absolutely no penalty for a parent who kills a child.

Hank: What about the women that say that the burka, the veiling, an act of liberation for them?

Robert: Well, this is part of the deceptive campaign that Islamic supremacists have undertaken in the West to fool people into thinking that all these things are benign, to make them more acceptable to the West, as well as to make converts. The thing about it is that the veil might be somebody’s individual choice, there’re so many individuals in the world, that I’m sure there are many women who decided to veil, but the fact is that there is a long history of women who have been brutalized, victimized, even killed for not wanting to wear the veil. It is very much something that is a tool of violent intimidation and women find themselves brutalized on the basis of this threat of what will happen to them if they don’t wear it. So, when I hear women saying this is my free choice, I think well that’s wonderful but what about all the women who try to exercise their free choice in the other direction and are no longer with us? Even in the Western world Aqsa Parvez was a teenage girl in Mississauga, Ontario Canada. 2007 or 2008 she was murdered by her father and brother for refusing to wear the head scarf. There were two girls in the Dallas area who were killed by their father for adopting Western values and having non-Muslim boyfriends. This kind of thing happens far more than people realize in the West and certainly it is ramped in the Islamic world. A child’s life—a girl child in particular—is considered to be forfeit, if she besmirches the family honor in some way, and this is completely acceptable under Islamic law.

To request your copies of Robert Spencer’s The Politically Incorrect Gide to Islam (And the Crusades) and The Complete Infidels Guide to the Koran, click here.

(Interview taken from the March 1, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.)

Apologetics

Are There Limits to Religious Free Exercise?

Beckwith, Francis-Religious Free Exercise

This article first appeared in the Viewpoint column of the Christian Research Journal, volume 28, number 5 (2005). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to:  http://www.equip.org. The full text of this article in PDF format can be obtained by clicking here.

Religious freedom is one of the fundamental liberties in American constitutional jurisprudence. It was placed first in the text of the first 10 amendments of the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights (1790): “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This indicates that the religion clauses were solely intended to limit the law‐making power of Congress and not any other branch of the state or federal governments. Beginning in the early‐twentieth century, however, the Supreme Court began applying the First Amendment in a piecemeal fashion to all governments in the United States through the Fourteenth Amendment (1868). They did so by means of an interpretative technique called incorporation: because the Fourteenth Amendment refers to “liberty” that a state government should not abridge without due process of law, and because a state citizen is also a U.S. citizen, the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the liberties found in the Bill of Rights, including religious liberty.

Current Jurisprudence and the Limits of Religious Liberty. Are there limits to this liberty? Should fundamentalist Mormons receive the state’s official approval for their polygamous unions? Ought the government allow Muslim citizens to operate under Sharia law, or Christian theonomists under “biblical law”? Should these groups be allowed to operate contrary to, or independent of, the law of the land?

It is important to recognize that some laws in fact include exemptions. For example, soon after the Supreme Court denied the right of Native American religionists in Oregon to be exempted from the state’s narcotics laws that prohibited the smoking of peyote (Employment Division v. Smith [1990]), the state legislature changed its drug laws to include a religious exemption. In addition, the Supreme Court has allowed religious exemptions to generally applicable laws. For example, in the case of Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972), the Court, employing the free exercise clause, carved out an exemption to the state’s mandatory school attendance law and allowed Amish students to opt out after eighth grade. The Court reasoned that since the Amish community has a stellar record of rearing its children, the state had to prove that it had a compelling interest in abridging the free exercise rights of Amish parents. The Court concluded that Wisconsin failed to meet this burden.

In Yoder, the burden was on the state to provide really good reasons for not allowing the Amish to educate their children consistent with their own religious tradition. In Smith, the Court shifted the burden from the state to the person who was suing the state. So, all the state had to show in Smith was that its law is generally applicable (i.e., it applies to all citizens similarly situated) and neutral (i.e., it does not single out or target a specific religious practice). The fact that the law impeded a group’s religious liberty was an incidental result of the law, and thus the law could not be declared unconstitutional simply for that reason.

So, under the Court’s current understanding of religious free exercise, as long as a law is generally applicable and neutral, all the state needs is a rational basis (i.e., any remotely plausible reason) for a law that forbids or limits the practices of religious polygamists, theonomists, Muslims committed to Sharia, and others.

Free Exercise as a Dead Letter. The problem with this understanding is that it seems to make the free exercise clause a dead letter. That is, with the exception of a blatant case of the government targeting a religion, a jurist can never effectively employ the free exercise clause to overturn generally applicable laws that are neutral but nevertheless limit or totally inhibit a citizen’s religious free exercise. Many citizens think that the government ought not permit polygamists, theonomists, or Muslims to have their own legal system that is parallel to, and not under the authority of, U.S. or state law; but they also think that the government should have a greater burden in justifying its laws if those laws encumber one’s religious free exercise.

Take, for example, Catholic Charities v. State of California Department of Managed Health Care (2004). Under California’s Women’s Contraception Equity Act, all employers in the state who offer their employees coverage for prescription drugs must also provide coverage for contraceptives. Catholic Charities (CC) did not want to provide contraceptive coverage as part of its prescription drug coverage because Catholic moral theology forbids the use of artificial contraception. Even though the law allowed for “religious exemptions,” the exemptions were defined in such a way that they did not protect organizations like CC. These groups are religious in their origin, affiliation, and mission, but fall outside the scope of these exemptions because they employ and provide care for many outside their faith and do not engage in evangelism or preaching. When before the California Supreme Court, CC argued, among other things, that these exemptions were written in such a way that CC’s free exercise rights were violated because it defined for CC and similar groups what counted as state‐defined religious practice. Appealing to Smith, the Court rejected CC’s case and ruled that the organization had to provide its employees with “benefits” that are used for purposes that CC’s moral theology teaches are sinful.

The sole dissenter was Justice Janice Rogers Brown, who offered this blistering analysis:

Here we are dealing with an intentional, purposeful intrusion into a religious organization’s expression of its religious tenets and sense of mission. The government is not accidentally or incidentally interfering with religious practice; it is doing so willfully by making a judgment about what is or is not religious. This is precisely the sort of behavior that has been condemned in every other context. The conduct is hardly less offensive because it is codified….This is such a crabbed and constricted view of religion that it would define the ministry of Jesus Christ as a secular activity.

Here’s the problem: how do we protect the religious liberty of groups like Catholic Charities while allowing the government to pass apparently good laws that do restrict the religious practices of others? I believe that the answer lies in the American Founders’ understanding of religious free exercise.

The Founders, Free Exercise, and Its Limits. America’s founders were wise enough to understand that religious freedom could not be limitless. They also understood that this precious liberty should not be restricted unless the state could provide good reasons why these restrictions are justified. This is why the wording of free exercise provisions in state constitutions at the time of the founding of America typically allowed for the limitation of religious liberty if the prohibited actions would interfere with some aspect of the community’s good. New York State’s Constitution (1777) is typical in this regard: “The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever hereafter be allowed, with this State, to all mankind: Provided, That the liberty of conscience, hereby granted, shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this State.”

The reasoning is similar to what the Supreme Court employed in 1878 when it rejected the argument of Mormons that the free exercise clause protected their religious practice of plural marriage. In 1862, the U.S. Congress had passed the first of several antipolygamy statutes for the purpose of stopping the growing population of practicing Mormon polygamists in Utah. Because Utah was a U.S. territory at the time, the federal government had jurisdiction over Utah, and thus the First Amendment of the federal constitution could be applied to the antipolygamy statutes. (Today, because of incorporation, it would not matter whether it was a state or federal statute.)

In Reynolds v. United States (1878) the Court rejected the Mormons’ free exercise argument on the grounds that even though “Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere opinion,…[it] was left free to reach actions [such as polygamy] which were in violation of social duties or subversive to the public good.” What the Court meant by this is that certain institutions and ways of life, such as marriage and the family, are essential to the preservation of civil society. The government may craft its laws in such a way that certain practices receive a privileged position in our social fabric, and actions contrary to them should be prohibited or at least discouraged, even if they have religious sanction. Such practices as polygamy, same‐sex marriage, adult incest, and child sacrifice, therefore, may be forbidden even if they arise from a religious understanding of the world; for they are actions that are deleterious to the public good.

On the other hand, the public good is undermined when citizens are forced to choose between the law and their religious practices when those practices do not undermine, and may very well advance, the public good. For example, when the Supreme Court in Yoder gave a free exercise exemption to the Amish, the public good was advanced. When Catholic Charities was forced by the California Supreme Court to pay for its employees’ contraceptive use, however, CC was literally required to underwrite sexual practices that are overtly hostile to its own theological understanding, an understanding that is integral to a well‐established tradition in moral philosophy. This ruling runs counter to the public good.

The Courts should return to the reasoning of the founders. It is a reasoning that allows for the widest possible religious free exercise consistent with preserving and protecting the public good. This, of course, will not eliminate debates on controversial questions over which reasonable citizens disagree. What it will do is provide us with a conceptual framework that puts teeth back into the free exercise clause while reintroducing us to the language of natural law, one that places a premium on the government’s obligation to protect the intrinsic dignity of the person and advance the public good.

— Francis J. Beckwith

Francis J. Beckwith is associate professor of Church-State Studies, and associate director of the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies, Baylor University.

Apologetics

Discerning Truth from Fiction about Violent Intolerant Islam and “Peaceful” Muslims

Spencer, Robert-Islam Intolerant to Jews Christian non Muslims

On the March 1, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast, Hank Hanegraaff interviewed Robert Spencer director of Jihad Watch and author of The Politically Incorrect Gide to Islam (And the Crusades) as well as The Complete Infidels Guide to the Koran. The following are some highlights from their discussion.

Hank Hanegraaff: It’s great to once again have this opportunity to speak to the nation, indeed to people from around the world about a crucial subject. We are in the midst of a clash of civilizations and someone who knows about this subject as anyone on the planet has joined me. His name is Robert Spencer. He’s the director of Jihad Watch, it is program the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is also the author of fourteen books, catch it, fourteen books on Islam and jihad. He’s led seminars on Islam and Jihad for the FBI and many other very significant groups. Robert Spencer is a man who is willing to stand for truth no matter what the cost. That’s precisely what you have been doing. You’re standing for truth no matter the cost. If you at what happened historically, you know better than just about anybody Robert, what has in history, you can go back to the seventh-century poetess who Muhammad himself murdered for a poetic slight, all the way to what happened with Theo van Gough the Dutch filmmaker murdered by Mohammed Bouyeri for artistically objecting to the subjugation of women. This is not child’s play.

Robert Spencer: No, it’s not. I know what’s at stake, but the thing is that—you know the signers of the Declaration of Independence, they said at the end of the document that to the great cause that they were delineating in the document, they were pledging their lives, fortunes, and their sacred honor, and I think that if we do not have people now who are willing to defend the freedoms that we enjoy in Judeo-Christian Western Civilization, and that are derived ultimately from Judaism and Christianity, from the Old Testament and the New Testament, that if we are not. If we don’t have people willing to defend with their lives those things, then we will certainly lose them. So, it’s imperative to take a stand. It’s not as if any of us have immortality anyway, I am willing to dedicate my life to this because it has to be done, and needs to be done, and I’m in a  position to do it, so that’s really there’s to it.

Hank: You should be admired for what you’re doing. You know I mentioned at the open, Robert, the common refrain that’s reverberated throughout the West—Islam is not our enemy—those were precise words spoken by Hillary Clinton right after the Paris terrorist attacks. What do you make of those words?

Robert: Well, it depends on what one means by it. I mean she’s probably conflating Islam and Muslims as most people do, when actually there needs to be a distinction drawn between the two. Certainly Muslims believe in Islam, but how much any particular person of any religions believes in the religion in a real sense, or lives out the teachings of the religion? That varies widely and of course we know that there are many Christians who bear the name of Christian, would say they are Christians, but they don’t live in any Christian manner. There are many Christians who don’t even know what it would be to be living in a Christian manner because they don’t study the Scriptures. They’re not aware of the teachings of Jesus Christ, and yet they would still call themselves Christians. Then, of course, there are Christians who are very observant and devout, and knowledgeable. It’s a spectrum. It’s the same thing in Islam. So, Hillary Clinton is probably concerned that we say that all Muslims are not our enemy and that’s obviously true. All Muslims are not our enemy.

But is Islam our enemy? Well, Islam teaches, the Qur’an teaches that it is the responsibility of a leader to wage war against and subjugate unbelievers under the rule of Islamic law, and deny them basic rights as part of that subjugation.  So, is Islam the enemy of all non-Muslims? Well, the Qur’an would say yes. The Qur’an says Muhammad is the apostle of Allah and those who follow him are merciful to one another but ruthless to the unbeliever. That’s sounds to me as if Islam is at war with the unbelievers. When the Qur’an says to fight against even the people of the Book, which is the Qur’an’s designation primarily for Jews and Christians, and says they must fight against the people of the Book until the people of the Book pay the jizya, which is a special tax, with willing submission and feel themselves subdued, they’re saying that Muslims have to fight against Jews and Christians until they conquer them, and make them submit to Islamic hegemony, which would indicate here again that Islam is at war with non-Muslims. That doesn’t mean every Muslim is pursuing the war but we would be naïve and would be rejecting simple reality, if we would pretend that these teachings are not in the Qur’an and that Muslims are not taking them seriously. Unfortunately, many Muslims are.

Hank: That is, I think, a very charitable collegial answer. But, I want to ask you about Barack Obama, who said that “throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.” Now, he says that and he prefaces his remarks by saying that he’s “a student of history,” he says I know this.

Robert: It’s just not historically true. It’s become a very common historical myth., as a matter of fact. I cannot understand why Obama would repeat it. There’s just no basis for it. Most of the time, people who say that Islam has created societies that were beacons of tolerance and pluralism, they point to al-Andalus, Muslim Spain in the Middle Ages, and they say that Jews and Christians lived in Muslim Spain in peace and were able to practice their religion and they interacted frequently with the Muslims, and it was a wonderful proto-multiculturalist paradise. Now, unfortunately, anybody who looks into the reality of Muslim Spain, looks at contemporary documents—I’ve discussed this in another book that I wrote years ago called Onward Muslim Soldiers, and there’s a new book about it called The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise—the fact is that the Jews and Christians lived a very precarious existence in Muslim Spain. They were tolerated to be sure but only in so far as they accepted and observed the restrictions, humiliating and discriminatory regulations, that mandated their second class status. In so far as they obeyed and abided by those restrictions then they were able to live in peace, but if they were to actually ask for equal rights, or to say that they ought to have equal rights, then that was out the window. So the idea that Islam has ever been tolerant in a real sense of non-Muslims is historically false. There actually is no Islamic society today, there’s no majority Muslim country today, and there has never been in history any majority Muslim country that ever granted full equal rights to Jews, Christians or other non-Muslims. That’s never been so in history that Jews Christians or other non-Muslims have ever enjoyed full equality of rights with Muslims in an Islamic society. It’s never happened and it’s not happening now.

Hank: We’ll be taking a few calls during the broadcast. In fact, we’ll go right to Christy in Saint Louis, Missouri. You’re on with Robert Spencer. Hi, Christy!

Christy: Hi, Hank. I feel like my question was somewhat answered just now. I work with several people who claim, you know, to be practicing Islam but they’re peaceful—peaceful Islam. You know, my question: Is that even considered true Islam? Wouldn’t that be the equivalent to a Christian saying, “I’m not concerned with winning souls, but I’m a Christian,” you know? So, I mean, peaceful Islam is there really even such a thing, or is that’s just something that, you know, they say?

Robert: Christy, the thing is this: The Qur’an and all the sects of Islam, and the example of Muhammad, they’re all unanimous. There is no form of Islam other than arguably the Ahmadiyyas, who are about 1.8% of Muslims worldwide and are persecuted as heretics in Pakistan because they are peaceful. There’s no other sect or school of Islamic law that doesn’t teach that Muslims must wage war against unbelievers.  It’s a universal teaching. It’s not like some tiny minority of extremists that devised this twisted version of Islam and all the rest of it is peaceful. That’s a media myth. It’s not the case. Now, that being said, what are your co-workers all about? Well, there’s no telling really. They could really believe that Islam is peaceful and that they should be peaceful people as Muslims, because they might not know, or they could be deceiving you and others because the Qur’an allows for deception of unbelievers, if one considers oneself to be under pressure. So, there’s really no way to tell. They could know better and be lying because that’s allowed, or they could simply not know better and think that this is really the real thing.

Complicating this is the fact that if you’re Muslim you have to pray in Arabic. You have read the Qur’an in Arabic. Most Muslims today are not native Arabic speakers. The largest Islamic country is Indonesia. That’s not an Arab country. The second largest Muslim population in the world is India, not an Arab country. The fact is that when Muslims today are not Arabs, they still have to pray in Arabic, so they are just most of the time reciting syllables that they do not understand the meaning of when they are praying and reading the Qur’an. So, it’s entirely possible that your co-workers don’t even know the teachings of Islam and still consider themselves to be devout and observant because they pray their prayers five times a day without necessarily knowing what they mean. It sounds absurd, but it’s a fact. I was speaking with a Pakistani Muslim a few years ago, and he says to me in all seriousness—when I tell the story people think it’s a joke—but he was quite serious, he said I’m very proud of my religion, and I’ve memorized almost all the Qur’an, and one day I’m going to get one of those translations and find out what it means.

To request your copies of Robert Spencer’s The Politically Incorrect Gide to Islam (And the Crusades) and The Complete Infidels Guide to the Koran, click here.

(Interview taken from the March 1, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.)

Apologetics

Generational Curses: Are Children Punished for the Sins of their Parents?

Hanegraaff, Hank-Gen Curses_Consequences Sin3

This is in regard to generational curses. Jeremiah 31:30 tells us, “But everyone shall die for his own iniquity.”1 In the next chapter, verse 18, the prophet prays to God and says, “You show steadfast love to thousands, but you repay the guilt of fathers to their children after them.” How to resolve this?

The principle of Scripture is very clearly stated in Ezekiel 18, which actually references Jeremiah 31:29.2 There are consequences for the sins of the fathers that follow for generations, and you can imagine that. The consequences of sin follow inextricably like night follows day, but every man and every woman is responsible for their own sin. This is made explicit by the Lord through the prophet Ezekiel. In fact, the Word of the Lord comes to Ezekiel, and the Word of God is

What do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, “The fathers eat the sour grapes, But the children’s teeth are set on edge”? “As I live,” declares the Lord God, “you are surely not going to use this proverb in Israel anymore. Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die” (Ezek. 18:2-4).

So, it’s not the father eating a sour grape and then the son’s teeth being set on edge. No. If the father eats a sour grape it will be his teeth that are set on edge. What is the point here? The Lord through the prophet Ezekiel is saying, you are misinterpreting my word. In other words, you are misreading Jeremiah 31.

Here in lies a greater principle. We need to take narrative passages of Scripture and allow them to be interpreted through the didactic or what’s known as the teaching. Didactic means teaching passages of Scripture. They explain those passages for us.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please see the following:

Are Generational Curses Biblical? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Territorial Spirits and Spiritual Warfare (Eric Villanueva)

Notes:

  1. All Scripture cited from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), unless noted.
  2. “In those days they shall no longer say: ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ ”

(This EquipBlog adapted from “Are generational curses biblical?”)

Apologetics

Islam, Political Correctness, and Death to Infidels

Hanegraaff, Hank-Robert Spencer_Islam, Political Correctness2

On the March 1, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast, Hank Hanegraaff interviewed Robert Spencer director of Jihad Watch and author of The Politically Incorrect Gide to Islam (And the Crusades) as well as The Complete Infidels Guide to the Koran. The following are some highlights from their discussion.

Hank Hanegraaff: I should note that Islam is the only religious system in the history of the human race with a socio-political structure of law that mandates violence against the infidel, and that graphic, global reality makes Islam a religious ideology espousing terrorism as a permanent policy not just a temporary expedient. Such is the historical reality from the seventh century Median massacres to the twenty-first century Manhattan massacre and so much more. Thus the portrait of millions of peaceful and tolerant Muslims must not obscure the very real depiction of Islam as a violent and intolerant religion. The current narrative is that to “tell it like it is” is tantamount to radicalizing Muslims and, therefore, exacerbating hostilities that might will otherwise lie dormant. As such, a common refrain reverberates throughout the West, “Islam is not our enemy.” In fact, those were precisely the words that Hillary Clinton used in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks just last November. Barack Obama went even further. He noted that in concert with Muslims worldwide, he shares common principles, principles of justice, progress, tolerance, and dignity of all human beings. Not only that, but according to Obama, throughout history Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.

Joining me on the broadcast today to discuss all this and more is Robert Spencer. He is the author of The Politically Incorrect Gide to Islam (And the Crusades) as well as The Complete Infidels Guide to the Koran. Robert is the director of Jihad Watch. He is also the author of fourteen books on Islam. He has led seminars on Islam for the FBI, for the Joint Terrorism Task Force, for the United States Central Command and other intelligence and military groups, and I am just delighted to have you on the broadcast.

Robert Spencer: Thanks so much Hank great to be here.

Hank: I just heard today that you have been banned from Britain, whatever for?

Robert: I was banned from Britain for the crime of saying that Islam is a religion that has a developed doctrine, theology and legal system that mandates warfare against unbelievers. In other words, I was banned from Britain for telling an obvious truth that the British government would rather not be told.

Hank: How do you fight the current narrative?

Robert: I just tell the truth, Hank. It’s very easy the job that I have. I sometimes think it must be very hard for the people who oppose me because they’re constantly having to devise ways to lie and spin the narrative whereas all I have to do is say what’s happening. What I do is when things happen like the various jihad terror attacks or the Islamic State doing various things that it has become notorious for doing, what I do is show at Jihad Watch, my web site or in my various books, that these things are all based upon various teachings of the Qur’an and Islam. Quoting the Qur’an, quoting the teachings of Muhammad and so on, you know I didn’t make up the quotes, and so it’s very easy to simply set it all out and then people can make the judgments that they’re going to make. But, in any case, I find it mystifying actually to tell you the truth that people think that what I do is hateful or bigoted, or something or other, because I’m usually just quoting their material. If there’s any hatred and bigotry, it’s in the Islamic sources.

Hank: The word that’s appended to you and many others like you who would speak the truth about Islam is that you are Islamophobic.

Robert: Yes. You know, Hank, if you think about it, that’s never a word we heard when we were young men; certainly, never a word that I heard all through my childhood, high school, college. It’s a new coinage. The idea of it is to intimidate people into that there’s something wrong with resisting jihad terrorism. It’s really an insidious coinage because of that. It makes people think that when jihad terror attacks happen, that there’s something going on with non-Muslims, that it must be our fault in some way. So, nobody every challenges the Jihadis to deal with the problems within—nobody every challenges the Muslims community that is in the larger sense to deal with the problems within the Qur’an and Sunnah, with the material in the Islamic texts and teachings, that Jihadis use to justify violence and to make recruits among peaceful Muslims.

Hank: A senior member of al-Qaeda called on you to convert. Is it convert or else?

Robert: Oh, yes! Oh yes! Well, see Muhammad the prophet of Islam taught that when you meet unbelievers you fist invite them to accept Islam. If they refuse that, then you invite them to submit to the hegemony of the Muslims, which would mean that you accept various humiliating discriminatory regulations in return for a so-called covenant of protection. If you refuse both of those then the Muslims will have to fight you. So, the idea is conversion or subjugation or war. Adam Gadahn, who was a convert to Islam from California, made a video. He came to be high up in al-Qaeda, he was killed later in an American airstrike, but he made a video that was introduced by Ayman al-Zawahiri—who is of course now the head of al-Qaeda but was then the number two man—and in that video Gadahn invited me by name to convert to Islam. I was pleased that he noticed my work, but of course I had declined. Now, the difficulty there is what that means is that he now is saying that Muslims can legitimately kill me because I’ve been invited to accept Islam, I’ve refused, and so now my life has been forfeited.

Hank: What do you make, Robert, of the boycott by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for your refusal to adhere to their dogma of Islam as a religion of peace?

Robert: Well, you know it’s kind of dispiriting, in a sense, Hank. The church is above all people—Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox—they should be aware of the history of the relations between Christianity and Islam. They should be aware of that fact that Islamic doctrine that mandated jihad against Christians in the Middle Ages, and really from the seventh-century, the very beginning of Islam, these teachings have not changed, they’ve not been reformed, they’ve not been rejected, they’ve certainty not been forgotten. Now with Islam resurgent all around the world, and Christians persecuted, they have a responsibility to educate their people about the nature of Islam, about the challenges that the West faces, and that the free world faces, and that Christianity in general faces from the Jihadis. Instead, they are systematically silencing voices that speak out about this, and working to make sure that the truth about Islam and jihad does not reach their people. For example, I was speaking at a Lutheran conference last summer in Dallas. I was the keynote speaker, speaking about Muslim persecution of Christians and why is it happening, what it is based upon in Islamic teachings, and so on. I was told once I got there that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops actually, they usually send a representative every year to this Lutheran conference, but this year they found out I was the keynote speaker, they pulled out. I think, you know, what terrible crime am I exactly guilty of? Well, I’m guilty of pointing out that the Qur’an and the example of Muhammad actually do contain things that the Jihadis use to incite violence, and that is so unpopular nowadays, such an unwelcomed thing that they would rather I be silenced, boycotted , etc.

To request your copies of Robert Spencer’s The Politically Incorrect Gide to Islam (And the Crusades) and The Complete Infidels Guide to the Koran, click here.

(Interview taken from the March 1, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.)

Apologetics

Proofs for God Found in Nature, Jesus Christ, and the Scriptures

Hanegraaff, Hank-Proofs for GodHow do I respond to atheists who keep saying, “No proof, no proof, no proof!”

The atheist who says, “No proof, no proof, no proof,” is willing to say that nothing created everything, which is a pretty big leap of faith. Not only that, but they say life came from non-life, and the life that came from non-life produced morals. Again, a pretty big leap of faith.

Christians, on the other hand, are looking at the universe, and we are saying, “Quite evidently, every design presupposes a designer.” If we see a basketball, we presume there has to be a basketball maker. In the same sense, if you see the universe in its infinite complexity and beauty, we say, “There has to be a designer of that universe.”

In a Christian worldview, there are evidences then that God created the universe. Moreover, the God who created the universe and left his finger prints there also condescended to cloak Himself in human flesh. Jesus Christ is God manifested to the world. We don’t believe in Jesus Christ through blind faith; rather, we believe in Jesus Christ through faith in evidence. Christ demonstrated that He was God not only through His miracles but though His ultimate miracle, the resurrection by which He laid down His life and took it up again.

There are many proofs that Jesus Christ is God in human flesh and that the Bible’s is God’s master print for living our lives. It is divine as opposed to merely human in origin.

There are proofs. Those proofs are evident in the Word of God. Those proofs are also evident in the world in which we live.

—Hank Hanegraaff

The heavens declare the glory of God, | and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. | Day to day pours out speech, | and night to night reveals knowledge (Psalm 19:1-2, ESV).

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me (1 Corinthians 15:3-8, ESV).

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV).

For further related study, please see the following equip.org resources:

Does the Bible Claim Jesus is God? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Did Jesus Claim to be God? (Hank Hanegraaff)

What Credentials Back Up Jesus’ Claim to Deity? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Is the Incarnation Incoherent? (Hank Hanegraaff)

The Folly of Denying God (Hank Hanegraaff)

Seven Science Questions for Skeptics (Fred Hereen)

Ghosts for the Atheist (Robert Velarde)

Atheists and the Quest for Objective Morality (Chad Meister)

A “Good” Problem for Atheists (Elliot Miller)

The FEAT that Demonstrates the FACT of Resurrection (Hank Hanegraaff)

The Resurrection: Miracle or Myth? (Hank Hanegraaff)

How Do We Know the Bible is Divine Rather than Human in Origin? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Bible Reliability: M-A-P-S to Guide You through Bible Reliability (Hank Hanegraaff)

Blog adapted from “How can I show atheists proof of God’s existence?

Apologetics

On the Clarity and Complexity of the Scriptures

Hanegraaff, Hank-Clarity and Complexity of Scriptures

How can an all knowing and wise God permit people to misinterpret the Bible?

God gave us the ability to think and reason, and He made certain things so clear that you couldn’t mistake them. The essentials of the historic Christian faith, they’re so clear that they’re unmistakable. But, in secondary issues, you have a very complex Scripture that people can misunderstand. The biblical faith is simple enough for a child to understand in terms of its essential Christian doctrine but its deep enough for a theologian to drown.

When you get into something that is a reflection of God Himself—for example the nature of God is such that finite people can never fully comprehend it, we can apprehend it in Scripture but we cannot fully comprehend it—so you can imagine something that is so sophisticated is maybe something that we can misunderstand, unless we spend the time studying the Scriptures.

That’s why as Christians we don’t say, “I’m a lone ranger Christian.” We stand on the shoulders of giants who’ve gone before us, so that we can learn from them. If someone has given their whole life to the study of the Book of Revelation, for example, as a believer and someone who has a keen mind, we do well to listen to what they might give us in terms of insights.

I think you have complexity that leads to misunderstanding and God just doesn’t make us omniscient. He’s made us finite beings and our finiteness cannot bear the burden of omniscience.

Are we then finite so that we’ll seek God and His guidance?

Yes, and we will also spend an eternity getting to understand the God who created us and exploring the universe that He created for us. It’s an on-going process. The difference in eternity we’re going to learn, and grow, and develop without error, but we will not be omniscient, we will not know all things, we will continue to learn and develop.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?” But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it (Deuteronomy 30:11-14, ESV).

Open my eyes, that I may behold | wondrous things out of your law (Psalm 119:18, ESV).

For further study, please see the following equip.org resources:

The Perspicuity of Scripture (Hank Hanegraaff)

What Denomination Should I Join? (John M. Frame)

This blog adapted from Why did God allow for the misinterpretation of his word?

Apologetics

What is the Appeal of Islam?

Hanegraaff, Hank-Quran Jesus Not Crucified

What is the appeal of Islam?

I think one of the things that happened is that Islam has been airbrushed, and therefore it has become palatable to Western Civilization. In many cases people think, “Well, the God of Islam, the God of Israel, not a whole lot of difference, it is the same God.”

The problem here is that the God of Islam is not the God of Israel nor is it the God of Christianity. For example, the Master Jesus Christ taught His disciples to pray, “Our Father in heaven” (Matt. 6:9). Devotes of Muhammad, or those who are involved in Islam, find the very notion of praying to “Our Father in heaven” offensive to their way of thinking. Calling God “Father,” and for that matter Jesus Christ “Son,” suggests sexual procreation. And they would say that believing that Jesus Christ is God or that God has a Son is the unforgivable sin of shirk. The Christian belief that Jesus is the only begotten Son of the Father full of grace and truth and that all the fullness of deity within Him in bodily form (John 1:1-5, 14; Col. 1:15-20; Heb. 1:3-4) for them is an unforgivable sin.

A lot of people unfortunately as Christians are unable to make the distinction between the Allah of Islam and the God of the Bible, and therefore it sounds like there’s neither distinction nor little difference.

I think it is also really important to recognize that the Qur’an is not the same as the Bible. If you’re reading neither, you don’t really see that there’s a big distinction.

The Qur’an, from a historical standpoint, makes all kinds of mistakes. For example, the Qur’an says that Jesus Christ was not crucified (Sura 4:157-158). In Islamic circles, it is believed that God made someone look like Jesus, and the look alike was crucified in place of Jesus Christ. All the historical evidence, however, points beyond a shadow of a doubt, to the fact that Jesus Christ was indeed crucified, and that crucifixion was for our sin. It was the atonement by which we are reconciled to God (John 3:16; Rom. 3:21-26; 5:8; 1 John 2:1-2).

Another thing you have to recognize is that Islam is growing in terms of birth rate. As a result it is becoming widespread and moving all over the world in that sense as well.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please see the following:

Is the Allah of Islam the God of the Bible?

Is the Qu’ran Credible?

Allah Does Not Belong to Islam (Helen Louise Herndon)

Who are the Shia? The Other Islam (Patrick Cate and C. Wayne Mayhall)

“Be All Things to All People:” Surmounting Cultural Barriers in Presenting the Gospel to Muslims (Robert Scott)

Muhammad and Messiah: Comparing the Central Figures of Islam and Christianity (David Wood)

The Son of God and Muslim Idiom Translations (Michael F. Ross)

Chrislam: Insider Movements Moving in the Wrong Direction (Joshua B. Lingel and Bill Nikides)

 (This blog was adapted from “What is the Appeal of the Religion of Islam.”)

Apologetics

Talking The Complete Bible Answer Book Collector’s Edition Revised and Expanded with Hank Hanegraaff and Jack Countryman.

Hank Hanegraaff invited Jack Countryman on the February 9, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast to discuss Complete Bible Answer Book Collector’s Edition Revised and Updated. The following are some of the highlights from the conversation:

Hank HaCBAB_Revisednegraaff: I want to talk for at least a few minutes with the publisher of the Complete Bible Answer Book Collector’s Edition Revised and Updated. The reason I want to do this is because he is really the primal force behind this book. If it were not for my publisher Jack Countryman, this book would not exist today. From the very beginning, many, many years ago, he told me to take the questions that I answer on the broadcast, to chisel my answer until just the gym emergence, and to put that in a book, and it took him a number of years before I was convinced to do it. The book has come out now in three different editions. There was an initial edition, then a second volume, then the Complete Bible Answer Book Collector’s Edition and now there’s the complete Bible Answer Book Collector’s Edition Revised and Updated. And quite frankly, when Jack started talking about this project, I didn’t know how we could improve on the last one. And it wasn’t until I actually saw it in the studio that I realize that quite frankly this is the most beautiful book that I have ever seen. It is beautiful in its presentation. Of course I love the content, but the presentation is exquisite. It’s bigger than the last Bible Answer Book. It’s etched in silver. It’s, it’s, well its leather bound. It’s just an absolutely exquisite book, and I thought I’d have the publisher my good friend Jack Countryman on to talk about his vision for this book and to thank him for making a reality. Jack, good to have you on the broadcast.

Jack Countryman: Well, Hank it’s just great to be with you today and talk about our favorite subject the Complete Bible Answer Book.

Hank: You have been in this business the business of gift books and you’re the one who talked me into making this a gift book as opposed to what we would call a regular trade book. Talk about the difference between the two and why you thought this was perfectly suited for what is called the gift book category.

Jack: Well, as we discussed so many times, you chisel and really bring about the nuts and bolts of really the subject you’re dealing with, and I just felt like, from my experience with someone who has a beautiful book that they put in their hands, and they say, “My, this is just wonderful,” that first of all, they want to read it themselves, and secondly they want to give it to someone as a gift. And as we talked about putting this book together, I just couldn’t help but feel like this is the perfect subject. I mean after all you’ve done with this book one-hundred-and-ninety-five subjects. Can you imagine? This book is as important as a companion piece to the Bible. Then you added the twenty-five acronyms. So we have six-hundred pages here of just a material that is so valuable to our Christian walk to our Christian belief to our Christian understanding, and I just am thrilled that we’ve been able to do it and bring it out and we’re proud of this particular edition as you are.

Hank: Hard to believe when we started this project, Jack, many years ago that the book now would stand over half a million copies?

Jack: Well, it is a miracle but it also proves that people want to know the truth and truth matters. And people want to know what is the Bible has to say and you have been working for thirty years now? And telling people about the answers that the Bible has and that is just a wonderful experience and we’re hopeful to continue to build the numbers, so that the next time we talk, maybe will be talking about a million books.

Hank: Jack, you have sold so many millions of books in your lifetime. You’re in your eighties, very, very accomplished. A couple years ago I was privileged to attend your lifetime appreciation award. You were appreciated for how many books you have now put in the hands of people with Christian content?

Jack: Well’ we have published over eight-hundred titles, and we have now eighty-two million books in print. The first book that I published, God’s Promises for Your Every Need is now approaching twenty million. So God has really just blessed us beyond all measure.

Hank: Jack, your passion for Christian books. You probably could give many, many examples of people whose lives have been transformed by reading a book.

Jack: Well Hank you remember when we were in China together? And Elijah came to us and I was introduced to him and you told him that I was the publisher of God’s Promises for Your Every Need, and his eyes light up and he said, “I have that book! I’ve had that book for seventeen years and it’s all worn and tattered.” And I said to him, “You’ll have a new one in the morning.” I just couldn’t believe that we were over in China in Shanghai and the man had read the book that I published in 1982.

Hank: And I think that’s a great example of the fact that people in America read the book in English and often times fail to recognize that these books are translated into many different languages and they literally touch people around the globe.

Jack: Yes, in fact God Promises is now in twenty-nine different languages.

Hank: Well Jack you have been a great friend to me for many years and I wanted to have you on the broadcast to publicly thank you for not only urging me to do this book—because without you, as I a mention at the opening of the show, the book wouldn’t be a reality—but I appreciate the fact that you and the rest of the staff at Thomas Nelson have put your genius to work in terms of the presentation itself, because it’s not just the cover, leather bound, and etched in silver, but it’s the complementary colors inside, the way the titles are laid out, I mean it’s just a masterpiece.

Jack: Well you know Hank, you’ve often said that you want to equip Christians to mine Bible for all of its wealth, and I appreciate the opportunity that you given us to serve you in this fashion, because you are making a difference in the kingdom and the material that you have in your book is so essential for people to get, to learn, to become aware of what is going on in the world, in the cults, in abortion, in Mormonism, in the gay life, and doctrine. All the different things, the acronyms that you placed in the book are just so essential that I really want to urge people to get this book in their hands and it will change your life, and bring to light the path that God really wants for each and every one of us to take.

Hank: Jack, before you go, I want you to talk for a moment about your age. And the reason I want you to do that is because you are the youngest person I have ever seen in their eighties and you believe that every single moment is precious, and every time I see you, you’re excited about life, you recognize that what you do now counts for all eternity, I want you to share that passion with our audience.

Jack: Well, I’m eighty-six, and I believe that retirement is not in the Bible, it’s never a part of life, and my ambition has always been—I’m an little athlete—and my motto has always been “Lord, don’t put me on the bench. Keep me on the playing field. Keep me out where the action is. Let me be a part of what you’re doing, and if you’ll do that, I will serve you faithfully.” And that is my passion; that is my belief; that is my life.

Hank:  And every single breath is significant. I remember my dad telling me that Jack when he was struggling with a fibrosis in the lungs, it encroached upon his ability to assimilate oxygen and as he was dying, I asked him, “Dad don’t you just want to get out of the misery go home and be with the Lord?” And he said, “No son, every single moment God gives me is precious.” And as I’ve shared with you privately he was able to pray for every one of his children and every one of his grandchildren and every one of his great-grandchildren before he went home to be with the Lord. So, even his last breath was significant. So, what you’re doing is encouraging all of us to run the race to finish the race to complete the race that the Lord our God is given us, so that when we stand before Him, He can say, “Well done.”

Jack: Amen, amen my brother.

Hank: Well Jack you have been a great friend to me as I said, and I really appreciate the work that you’ve done of this book. Give Laura the rest of the team my regards and tell them how deeply grateful I am. I know people—this is been one of the greatest months we’ve had and we’re just into it a few days, people are getting this book and their passing it on to other people, it’s been a wonderful resource to equip people.

Jack: Well we’re just so privileged to be a part of it and be able to bring it into the marketplace and we are as pleased with the beauty of the book as you. You know this book has six-hundred pages of absolute gold. So, I want to encourage everyone to get the book, to read it and make it be a part of their life.

Hank: Jack Countryman, he is the founder of the book division, the gift book division at Thomas Nelson, a great friend of mine for many, many years. Appreciate having you on the show Jack.

Jack: Well, thank you Hank. It’s been my privilege.

See a special video with Hank on The Complete Bible Answer Book Collector’s Edition Revised and Updated:

The Complete Bible Answer Book Collector’s Edition Revised and Updated is available for your gift to the ongoing work of the Christian Research Institute, the Bible Answer Man broadcast, our outreaches around the world. Get your copy for your gift, all this month. To order, click here. You can also call our resource center at 1-888-700-0274, or send your gift to PO Box 8500, Charlotte, NC 28271.

Apologetics

What role do angels play in our lives and how do we discern angels from demons?

Bible-Heb. 1.14_blog

What role do angels play in our lives and how do we discern angels from demons?

Let’s look at the opposite side of the coin for just a moment. We fight against the world (1 John 2:15), the flesh (Gal. 5:16-24), and the Devil (Eph. 6:10-20; 1 Pet. 5:8; Jas. 4:7), don’t we? But even in fighting the world, the flesh, and the Devil, we are called to put on the full armor of God so that we can stand against the wiles of the evil one. It’s never our prerogative to try to figure out where is the temptation coming from: Is this the world, the flesh, or the Devil? It is very hard to delineate between those categories. What we do is we put on the full armor of God so that we can withstand the wiles of the evil one. If we put on the full armor of God, we are going to survive spiritual warfare. If we do not we are going to be a guaranteed casualty.

I think the same thing is true with angels. Angels are ministering spirits but we don’t know precisely how God uses them in our life. We know in principle from texts like Hebrews 1:14, but we do not know what role angels play with regard to any specific circumstance.

I don’t deny the presence of angels and demons. We cannot deny this on the basis of biblical theology. The reality is this: angels are real and demons are real. Just as demons can be used to lead us into deception, so angels can be used by God in a ministering capacity. I’m simply saying that taking any given specific circumstance in our lives, it’s very difficult to directly apply an angel to the process, and say, “This was done by a ministering angel,” just as it is very difficult for you to say, “The temptation came from a particular demon.” What we know is that we are going to be tempted in general by the world, the flesh, and the Devil. Which one is the instrument at any given moment is something we cannot be absolutely certain about.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please see the following equip.org resources:

Can Christians be demonized? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Does Satan Have Access to Our Minds? (Hank Hanegraaff)

Is Satan Always the Cause of Sickness? (Hank Hanegraaff)

The Armor (Hank Hanegraaff)

Spiritual Warfare—God’s Way (Elliot Miller)

Can a Christian Be Demonized? (Brent Grimsley and Elliot Miller)

Learn more about spiritual warfare in The Covering: God’s Plan to Protect You from Evil (B665) by Hank Hanegraaff Another recommended book to read is Spiritual Warfare in a Believer’s Life (B182) by Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

(This blog adapted from “What part do angels play in everyday life, and how can I discern between angels and demons?” )