Rick Warren Chrislam
FAITH INSPIRATION, NEWS CURRENT EVENTS, People

Rick Warren And Chrislam

Like Benny Hinn and Joel Osteen, pastor Rick Warren seems to be a constant lightening rod for drawing both praise and criticism from elements of the church. And from the fundamentalist side of Christianity, it’s pretty much a given that it will be criticism. There is much that is written about Rick Warren and Chrislam that is downright unfair.

One of the recent hit pieces on Rick Warren starts with the headline, “Rick Warren Partnering With Mosques To Teach That God And Allah Are The Same.”

For Some People, There’s Always Someone To Dislike

The article posted at NowTheEndBegins follows up with this byline:

Defying some of his fellow conservative Christian critics, one of the most prominent religious leaders in the country told several thousand American Muslims on Saturday that… “the two largest faiths on the planet” must work together to combat stereotypes and solve global problems.

Defying some of his critics? Where is it written that we always need to please our critics? Isn’t that what these people crucify people like Rick Warren and Joel Osteen for in the first place? Anyway, the article links to a different page where they show the 20-minute-or-so video clip of Rick Warren speaking at the ISNA 2009 conference. Having listened myself to the video clip, I have to conclude that, at best, the people at “Now The End Begins” either didn’t watch it themselves, or at worst, they’re downright manipulating the facts to justify their dislike for Rick Warren while not really processing what he actually said.

I’m not saying I agree with everything that comes out of Rick Warren’s mouth.

I’m not saying I don’t, either. The fact of the matter is I’ve not heard everything he’s said. Of what I’ve heard him say clearly in this video, I have to say I believe he says some pretty good things. They’re things I agree with.

Like this statement he made:

The easiest way to increase ratings on television is to create conflict. Civility is not a very interesting story. To increase civility you have to walk down the middle of the road. You know, I’ve discovered that if you walk down the middle of the road, you’ll get hit coming and going. You get hit from both sides if you’re walking down the middle. Actually, it’s easier to be an extremist of any kind, because then you only have one group of people mad at you. But if you actually start to build relationships by inviting an evangelical pastor to your [mosque], you’ll get criticized for it. So will I. But that’s not what matters.

It’s SO Easy To Stereotype

It seems to me that one of the easiest ways to create blog followers is to cater to that part of human nature that wants to stereotype and demonize the other side. I’ve written guest blogs before on different web sites and I’m stunned when i read some of the comments from people who I fundamentally agree with, who so badly misunderstand me and demonize me if I don’t throw every muslim under the bus as they drive it down the road.

I understand the battle for truth. As Jude said to the early church, “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3) And the reality is that there is a common core of beliefs that we share that makes Christianity and Islam like oil and water. They do not and cannot mix.

But the fastest growing church these days is in Iran. There are daily occurrences of stories about muslims seeing visions of Jesus, of converting to Christianity. The problem is that if we treat each and every muslim we encounter as the enemy, when some of them might well be the very ones whom Jesus is in the process of reaching and saving, then we might find ourselves actually at odds with the very God we believe we love.

I shudder sometimes when I think of the bible verse where Paul is speaking to the Corinthian church about the wisdom of God and how it looks so different from the wisdom of men. and he says, “None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1 Cor 2:8)

It is frightening sometimes to see how much we are totally blind to the spirit we are of. But it shouldn’t surprise us. Peter thought he would stand firm; Jesus knew he would fail. (Mark 14:30) Jimmy and Johnny (the sons of thunder) thought they would get Jesus’ approval by suggesting that they call down fire from heaven to consume their enemies. Jesus said, “you know not what spirit you are of.; for the Son of Man came not to destroy people’s lives but to save them.” (Luke 9:55)

We CANNOT Speak The Truth In Love If We Do Not Speak At All

There are always tensions between truths of scripture. There will always be. The book is dead words unless we understand them by the spirit of the living God. We know that there is no way to harmonize a religion centred around the reality that Jesus is the Son of God and a religion that claims that God has no son. And we are familiar with the passage that says, “two cannot walk together unless they agree.” But what it actually means, and what it says, depending on the translation, is, “do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?” Or, “can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” (Amos 3:3)

We cannot be unequally yoked. And no man can serve two masters. It is impossible to serve a God who sent his son into the world and, at the same time, deny the father and the son. That is the spirit of antichrist.

But if we do not agree to meet, to journey life together with any of them, how can we talk to these people? How do we expect to communicate the gospel to them? it’s almost as if Jesus does appear to them, we are the first ones to welcome them to the party; but up until that point, we treat them like the enemy. It reminds me of the passage in scripture in Mark 10….

And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.

These people were all walking along with Jesus. But when this blind man was trying to get to Jesus, the crowd had a gross misunderstanding of what kind of person it was that Jesus would take an interest in. And yes, once they saw that Jesus was interested in him, all of a sudden, they were too. But until that point, they all had their assumptions that Jesus and this miserable blind beggar would be on two different pages, and far be it that this man would ever be the kind of person Jesus would love. Are we guilty of that with muslims sometimes?

We are aware at a mental level that we need to treat them like those for whom Jesus died. But sometimes it’s only after the Muslim is saved that we wrap our head around the fact that Jesus loves him, too. Before that, we are all too often wanting to treat them like the enemy, even though Jesus was working in that Muslim’s heart.

Rick Warren is not suggesting we set aside our differences on this “little matter of who Jesus is.” He KNOWS who Jesus is, and wants the Muslims to know it, too. In fact, in this very video that these people say shows pastor Warren’s “love for Islam,” pastor Warren himself makes it very clear that he sees there is a huge divide about what we believe. Pastor Warren is not a fan of Islam. But he loves Muslim people. Do we?

Rick Warren seems to have the good understanding that if we don’t recognize that there are some well-meaning and good-hearted people in the Muslim community who truly do believe “there should be no compulsion in religion,” and if we don’t stand with these Muslims to end stereotyping on BOTH sides of the Christian/Muslim divide, we may end up working against the very purposes God has in mind for these people, which is to see them come to Jesus.

Do I believe that Islam is a false religion? Yes. I do. But there are at least a billion Muslims who believe that I hold to a false religion, too. And if we don’t talk to each other, and listen to each other, then how else will the spirit of the living God work in their hearts to bring them to a true understanding of who Jesus is so that they may be saved? It’s true that God can and sometimes does do that without the church; but it seems to me it grieves His heart when he cannot include us in the process because we think that truth is the only weapon we have. Love is the stronger tool. And we can love them even while we disagree with them.

Sometimes, it’s the only way they will see the difference between the truth and the lie.

(Last edited by The Cognitive Man, 2016-03-01)
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pope reads Quran
NEWS CURRENT EVENTS, Thoughts

The Pope, The Qu’ran And A Call For Responsible Blogging

Depending on who you follow on FaceBook and depending on who your friends are, you can wake up in the morning and get overwhelmed and depressed for the entire day just reading through the first five minutes of your feed.

There was an article in a news feed not too long ago that read, “Pope Francis To Followers: ‘Koran And Holy Bible Are The Same.‘ I checked recently and that article is gone. (That’s a good thing. It was a questionable web site and a bad article.)

The Pope is questionable in a lot of people’s minds. According to the Malachi prophecy (a vision of 112 popes from the 11th century) this pope is the last one, and, according to some, the one who will usher in the anti-christ. You can, for instance, see this take on things on Sid Roth’s TV show, ‘It’s Supernatural.’

Click THIS LINK for the episode on Sid Roth’s show.

With this much negative attention from evangelicals about this pope, and with the convergence of events watched by many evangelicals such as the blood moons and the shemitta, it’s easy to see that, for many of them, this pope COULD look like the beginning of the end.

The typical evangelical Christian is kind of ‘predisposed’ to EXPECTING this sort of thing from the pope.

The antichrist is supposed to get all the followers of different religions to buy into a one-world religious system of sorts. So if the pope were to make a statement like this, it wouldn’t seem like that much of a stretch for many.

This post about the pope and the Qu’ran appeared to come from a respectable news source: the WASHINGTON POST. Most people know that the Washington Post is a major news outlet. The Washington Times might be bigger; but the Washington Post is a force to be reckoned with, nonetheless.

The problem is that this link to the ‘Washington Post’ wasn’t really a link to THE Washington Post at all. The REAL ‘Washington Post’ as a link of http://washingtonpost.COM but THIS ‘Washington Post’ was REALLY a link to http://washingtonpost.COM.CO which is another animal entirely. So who are they, exactly?

As I said, this site seems to be gone now. But there wasn’t much on the WashingtonPost.com.co website that indicated who they were.

It LOOKED like a news site. The little news ticker at the top of the page was well-presented; it cycled through news stories of the day; and when you got a quick glimpse of the address in the address bar, your eye picked up on “`washingtonpost.com”`and you miss the little “.co” tacked on the end; or else, you just might have assumed it is an extension of some sort. My bet is that is exactly what they were hoping.

A little disingenuous? I can’t say for sure….

I don’t want to rush to judgement on people’s motives here. But it seems like the motive sure was to create an impression that many people might well take for the real Washington Post web site.

Their site had links to interesting stuff. But it is the quality of reporting that concerns me: sites like this are not accountable for journalistic excellence the way a professional news organization is accountable, and it seemed to be lacking. I’ve seen a lot of these sites and they seem to suffer from a common malady.

By the way: just because a newspaper IS a major media outlet, it doesn’t mean they always get it right, either. For instance, there was quite a “hit piece” by an exuberant reporter at the Toronto Star, put on a conservative investigative reporter named Ezra Levant recently written. You can read the Star’s response when they were caught in an embarrassing situation.

Some blogs are written because people have a burning passion to disseminate truth to an audience that wants to hear it. And there are some who start and maintain blogs because blogging, when done well, can generate an income stream. There’s nothing wrong with that, necessarily. Even Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh started somewhere.

Anyway, from the washintonpost.com.CO article, we read this:

During his hour-long speech, a smiling Pope Francis was quoted telling the Vatican’s guests that the Koran, and the spiritual teachings contained therein, are just as valid as the Holy Bible.

“Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Jehovah, Allah. These are all names employed to describe an entity that is distinctly the same across the world. For centuries, blood has been needlessly shed because of the desire to segregate our faiths. This, however, should be the very concept which unites us as people, as nations, and as a world bound by faith. Together, we can bring about an unprecedented age of peace, all we need to achieve such a state is respect each others beliefs, for we are all children of God regardless of the name we choose to address him by. We can accomplish miraculous things in the world by merging our faiths, and the time for such a movement is now. No longer shall we slaughter our neighbors over differences in reference to their God.”

But, after doing some more research, our conclusions are similar to these (from a web site formerly called “thatsfake”:

Rumours that the Pope recently announced to his followers that the Holy Bible is the same as the Koran are circulating across social media. The rumours link back to an article on National Report that claims the Pope stated that Jesus Christ, Jehovah and Allah are different names to describe the same entity

However the rumours are false. There have been no mainstream media reports that claim the Pope likened the Bible and the Koran. It is true that in late 2014 the Pope was misquoted claiming that the Koran was a “prophetic book of peace” when he actually said this is how Muslims themselves describe their holy book.

The quotes and events in the National Report article appear to have been entirely fictionalised, with no other reputable reports claiming this to be true. Other low quality fake newswebsites, including a fake Washington Post website, have since republished the story.

Note: The “national report” website has since pulled the article. Good thing.

After more digging and cross-referencing, it appears that Pope Francis was essentially saying to them, ‘since you SAY that your muslim religion is a religion of peace, then let us work toward an end of living what we all claim to believe.’ He never said their Gods are the same; he never said the bible and the Qu’ran are equally the word of God. He said both Christians and Muslims claim to have roots in faith in a supreme God, and in living peacefully among men. He never said they are the same.

By the way, the disclaimer on the National Report said:

National Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within National Report are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental.

The story is badly reported. But a lot of conservative-leaning people read their stuff, repost it on the internet; and then a lot of OTHER people read it and re-post; and the skewed stories go round and round and round. Spewing stuff out for sensationalism, and conveniently covering it with a cheesy disclaimer that “any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental” is ridiculous.

At the washingtonpost.com.co website, there is this disclaimer:

This website is in no way affiliated with http://washingtonpost.com.  All content contained within has been reposted with the express written consent of the copyright holder.  If you are interested in acquiring this domain, please visit the ‘Purchase this Domain’ link.

I’m not sure of their motives. It feels like they’re trying to give an impression that they’re something they’re not. I just don’t know. What seems more certain is that they’re not so concerned about literary and journalistic excellence as they should be for the amount of influence they have, and for the number of people who will read this with an expectation that it’s true. It is presented like news; it needs to be researched and fact-checked in the same way. In this sense, we ARE our brother’s keeper.

If a blog is JUST about creating content to monetize for an income stream, then it’s easy enough to do. You don’t need to do a lot of hard work. And it doesn’t take a lot to convince people that what you’re saying is true. You quote some sources, you speak with authority and consistency and people believe you. But then again, they believed Bill Clinton, too. But the results can be so unfair and destructive to the body of Christ. Look, for instance, at what they do to Rick Warren, and how they seem to badly mangle what he is really trying to say. As Rick Warren says, it’s easier to demonize. It’s easier to be extreme: you only get one group mad at you instead of when you try to walk the middle, and get hit from both sides.

And this is a word of caution for any reader in the blogosphere. In the multitude of counselors there is wisdom. BE CAUTIOUS. Blogs that report events in a ‘news fashion’ owe it to their readers to do good research. But they don’t. At least, not all of them do.

Getting opinions from people by reading their blogs is fine. We are all curious about what other people think. But take everything that is presented as fact with a grain of salt. Do your homework. Check multiple sources. ALWAYS see what the other side has to say. Sites like thatsfake.com and snopes.com might not always be right, either. But they try; they show a healthy skepticism; and they give you things to think about (if you really WANT to think about it) from a different perspective.

Jesus said, ‘the truth will make you free.’ That applies, no matter WHAT the subject matter.

Regards,

The Cognitive Guy.

I intend to start an archive of sorts, rating ‘news’ sources as I come across them, to keep people informed of what my findings are regarding who is reliable, who doesn’t seem to care, who seems to explore the issues, who is writing satire, and who may or may not be writing satire but just don’t seem to bother telling you.

I’d love to have you subscribe to my email list, so I can keep you informed of updates on these kinds of things from time to time. Check back soon. I’m still working on it.

(Last updated 2016-07-09 by The Cognitive Man)
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